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  • Sep 28, 2017 09:36 AM
    Last: 6hr

    This is still not on the topic of tax reform, but since we are discussing it, here are a couple of articles to ponder...

    Marketplace.org: 15 years of labor shortages predicted for the U.S. economy

    Huffington Post: Hospitals Are Paying Billions To Recruit Nurses In The Face Of Looming Shortage

    The Marketplace.org article cites the Conference Board, a leading global economic research organization, as it documents emerging labor shortages in a wide range of industries across many regions of the country...resulting from a confluence of demographic and economic factors, including retiring baby boomers, labor productivity, and business conditions.

    The Huffington Post article describes the current situation of nurse shortages in hospitals. This goes with doctor shortages discussed in another post on BernieCare.

    There are, of course, regions of the country and certain demographics that cannot find good paying jobs, but if they are unemployable now, they might remain unemployable for the foreseeable future...maybe until they retire or die. That is an issue for another thread and not tax reform, except that tax reform must address the plight of the poor more than it is currently being proposed by Trump.

  • Oct 20, 2017 06:45 AM
    Last: 13hr

    Yes, but he uses social media (Twitter) to get into the mainstream media. From this Newsmax article:

    “Tweeting is like a typewriter,” Trump told [Fox Business host] Bartiromo. “When I put it out, you put it immediately on your show. I mean the other day, I put something out, two seconds later I am watching your show.”

    “When somebody says something about me, I am able to go bing, bing, bing and I take care of it,” the president said.

    Trump said he felt that he was especially well-suited for Twitter and social media in general.

    “You know they are well-crafted,” he said, referring to his tweets. “I was always good student. I am like a person that does well with that kind of thing. And I doubt I would be here if weren’t for social media, to be honest with you. Because there is a fake media out there, I get treated very unfairly by the media.”

    “You have to keep people interested also,” Trump explained. “You know, you have to keep people interested.”

  • Oct 19, 2017 07:05 PM
    Last: 50m
    Or he may resign.
  • Oct 19, 2017 07:05 PM
    Last: 50m

    "The one thing I was always told is you absolutely have to tell truth to power. Whether you're a second lieutenant working with a captain and a lieutenant colonel, or a four-star general working with the Office Secretary of Defense and the White House, the decision makers have got to have ground truth." -- John F. Kelly

    John Kelly has worked hard to cultivate his image as a good no nonsense "truth telling" soldier, but he has his weaknesses. Does he share a certain animosity towards women of color just like his boss as Lawrence O'Donnell suggested on his show? Perhaps.

    We also know as well from past comments that he doesn't have a high regard for the law makers in Washington. Perhaps there was something that Rep Wilson had said in a prior speech that he remembered and confused. Her signature cowboy hat would make her stand out and be remembered. The hat in itself could be seen as a means of "show boating" for someone like Kelly.

    But as many media sources have now shown, John Kelly had his facts very wrong in castigating Rep. Wilson. The Washington Post has an editorial stating that Kelly owes Rep Wilson an apology. John Kelly is the news on Friday and now the whole weekend of Saturday and Sunday Talk shows. It will weigh heavily on his mind.

    For someone that prides himself on telling the truth it is hard to understand his out of character tirade against Rep Wilson. His image has been tarnished, and the best thing he could do is go on the Sunday talk shows and apologize from the heart...sincerely like he spoke about the death of his son.

    Will that happen? Or will he let the White House staffers and Trump continue to double down on their concocted fake story?

    Kelly may privately realize that he was "set up" by White House staffers (e.g. decision makers) to do Trump's dirty work again to bail out another lie. But will he have the guts to admit it publically? To do so will go against his boss, and one thing you can say about Kelly --he is a good loyal soldier who follows orders.

    So will he make a showing on one or more Sunday talk shows to do damage control? I think so.

  • Oct 19, 2017 07:05 PM
    Last: 50m

    Trump brought this whole mess upon himself due to his own incompetence. If he had sent out the letters of condolences on the first day and also had been open to the media, it would have passed. Instead he delays for who knows what reason, and then true to form he invokes Obama and past presidents as an excuse. That certainly invited the scrutiny.

    Rachel Maddow had a good segment on Niger and why the US soldiers might have been ambushed. It goes back to Trump including Chad on his list of countries under his "immigration ban". Chad was an important friendly ally in the heart of Africa fighting the ISIS inspired terrorists in Niger. When Trump pulled the plug on Chad with his immigration ban for reasons as yet unknown (some say a knee jerk reaction not supported by his military staff) then Chad immediately decided to pull their troops out of Niger in response, leaving the US and European troops unsupported by the Chadian troops who better understand the logistics and people, and who also provide critical intelligence.

    Putting Chad on the immigration ban list was an affront to the Chad government and may have been directly responsible for the surprise attacks on the US soldiers by the ISIS or Al Qaeda group responsible. Very, very short sighted on Trump's part and goes to his overall incompetence.

  • Oct 20, 2017 08:54 AM
    Last: 1d
    Yes this this group is excellent and speaks the truth. I hope Trump gets to watch it in his bedroom in private. Thanks for sharing.
  • Sep 28, 2017 09:36 AM
    Last: 6hr
    Carlitos Wrote:
    Schmidt Wrote:

    Carlitos -- We are off topic here somewhat, but this article on Sweden is relevant to the USA situation.

    Bloomberg: This country has plenty of jobs. Where are all the workers?

    Sweden's unemployment rate is 6.0 percent. And they have lots of job openings that they cannot fill because the unemployed are just not qualified.

    "The number of job vacancies per person seeking a job is at the highest since 2000 and no less than 12 of 15 job sectors are experiencing a labor shortage, according to the Public Employment Service."

    “Everyone wants the government to educate more trained people to your sector but I don’t think that’s possible at the moment, because there aren’t any,” [CEO Mattis] Johansson said. In the construction industry, quality and safety may suffer if workers are hired who don’t have the adequate skills, he said."

    Hey Schmidt,

    The way I say it is this....

    If corporate/business profits are good, then employers are always hiring.

    At a minimum, they will hire to replace workers with lower cost workers or replenish their workforce at same cost.

    When profits are bad, they want to reduce headcount and drastically reduce cost.

    Because GDP growth is rather flat and nothing to hang our hat on, it is not clear that employers, as a whole, are looking to add to headcount, but that is what is assumed.

    Employers don't like to train people because that adds to cost. Hiring managers are typically ‘managed from above’ and when they can't find people to hire meeting the parameters they have been given they report a 'skills shortage.'

    At the same time, there is clearly 'spoilage' of the buffer stock of labor or what Marx called the 'reserve army of labor'.

    The world went thru a prolong period of economic crisis, and many parts are still suffering (southern Europe for example). Workers that went without jobs for long periods of time lost job skills and many may not be employable because they are now addicted to drugs, don't have stable family lives, have giant resume gaps, etc. Without a ‘transitional’ mechanism to restore their employability and mobility, they could be stuck outside the employed workforce, and that could translate to an inflation problem if the economy were truly 'short' the workers needed to meet demand. If that were the case, employers would be caught in an upward wage price-spiral. That's clearly not happening. While 'quarterly capitalism' and business consolidation (which reduces business competition for workers) might create ‘friction’ (or training and wage budget 'stickiness' in New Keynesian terms), corporate profits and merges won't survive if business has to 'turn away' sales because they won't 'pay up' to hire (and train) additional labor to do the work.

    Carlitos -- I will agree that the economic growth and employment is uneven. That's always been the case, even in boom times. There is a certain threshold of unemployment or underemployment that is a bottom that even in the best of times cannot be easily moved for the reasons we have stated.

    Certain cities and parts of the country can be undergoing an economic boom while other parts are in decline. Young people will most likely migrate to where the job opportunities are greatest. That is great for the boom towns but further accelerates the decline in the poorer cities.

    In addition to the geographical disparities there are obviously educational and skills disparities as well as age disparities. Add to that the other factors we have discussed (health, lack of mobility) and the practical bottom level of unemployment is somewhere around 4 percent or maybe a bit lower.

    The economic good times of the 1990s saw the unemployment rate slowly decline to a rate of 4 percent in 1999 before another recession hit. Recessions are another part of the cycle that makes it hard to lower the unemployment rate to below 4 percent.

    You mentioned the GDP rate. It was 3.1 percent in the 2nd qtr and the advanced estimate for the 3rd qtr is 2.9 percent. Is that bad?

    If you are a college graduate this year, the job prospects are good.

    2017 college grads: You’re entering the best job market in 10 years

    On the other hand, if you are a 50 something unemployed coal miner in West Virginia you might feel that job prospects are the worst in your lifetime. They blame Obama and cling to the hope that coal will be king again as Trump promised them again and again and again. They believe him because he says, "believe me!". Why move on when the coal jobs are most assuredly coming back?

    Now I will agree that there is a pool of potential labor (part of that 4 percent) that can be made a productive part of society and contribute to further GDP growth. But tapping that 4 percent is very difficult and requires cooperative commitment from local, state and federal governments for job retraining programs as well as businesses for hiring and apprenticeships. It is not just sitting there "on demand" and the free market itself will not take care of it. I do not see that happening in a big way, and certainly not under the free market Republicans in power.

    In other words, 2017 and perhaps the first half of 2018 might be as good as it gets for GDP growth and the unemployment rate.

    This is off the tax reform topic somewhat but a subject worthy of debate.

  • Sep 28, 2017 09:36 AM
    Last: 6hr

    MSN.com: IRS announces 2018 tax brackets, standard deduction amounts

    The IRS has announced the rates for the 2018 tax year -- what you will use when you file in April 2019 unless Trump changes these before then. They will serve as the base reference when we examine the changes proposed by the Trump administration.

    If you are one of those people who use software like TurboTax or use a tax filing firm like H&R Block, you likely have little interest in "what's under the hood" when it comes to calculating what you owe...kind of like a "low information tax filer". However, I would encourage you to spend some time browsing the tables as well as the changes to such things as Earned Income Tax Credit or Child or Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit or Medical Savings Account. It is hard to understand Trump's tax reform plan if you do not understand the starting point.

  • Oct 10, 2017 03:06 PM
    Last: 4d

    Corker is not alone. The latest Trump lie is for him to claim that none of the other presidents wrote letters or called the families of soldiers who died on the battlefield. Aides for Obama and Bush are pushing back on this outrageous lie. But Gregg Popovich, the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, was particularly incensed in a call to David Zarin of the Nation:

    "This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner—and to lie about how previous Presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers—is as low as it gets. We have a pathological liar in the White House: unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this President should be ashamed because they know it better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it. This is their shame most of all." -- Gregg Popovich

    You can bet that if the San Antonio Spurs win the NBA championship they will not be invited to the White House.

    Waiting for Trump to tweet how awful Popovich is as a coach.

  • Oct 16, 2017 08:13 AM
    Last: 3d

    wwjd -- Yes many of our threads invariably get sidetracked onto Bernie or Hillary and I plead guilty of that. So getting back on topic - that Trump predicts he will appoint four Supreme Court nominees -- there is a method to his madness.

    1) He needs to keep his varied base energized until the next elections. He does that by telling each of them exactly what they want to hear again and again. He makes promises that he has no idea on how to deliver (the con artist) and he lavishes each with lavish praise. His favorite adjectives: terrific, unbelievable, amazing, incredible and a few "very, verys" and "really, reallys" thrown in for added effect. "Believe me".

    2) He demonizes any person or organization that says anything bad about him. It also tells his base to not believe the "fake news".

    3) He hogs the news cycle with tweets that are meant to sensationalize the story. MSNBC and CNN are obsessed with his tweets and give them full coverage, just like in the election coverage.

    4) He finds things to divide us by twisting the message. The NFL protests are just one example of how he seeks to divide us.

    5) Focusing on the low information voter, he shifts blame when things don't work out and claims responsibility when there is good news.

    Ultimately his goal is to have his conglomeration of base supporters to vote in huge numbers, while the rest of Republican establishment predictably will vote with their tribes, and the Democrats will remain as divided as ever protesting by not voting or voting for a 3rd party candidate or in some cases voting for Trump...again. It worked in 2016. It's the same formula for 2018 and 2020.

    The Russian thing could slow or stop him, but Mike Pence is waiting to carry the baton forward.

    When Roe v Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court and abortion is outlawed, Democrats will whine and protest in the streets. They'll ask how did this happen? And blame each other.