The Essential Five
President Biden’s economic advisers are preparing to recommend spending as much as $3 trillion on a sweeping set of efforts aimed at boosting the economy, reducing carbon emissions and narrowing economic inequality, beginning with a giant infrastructure plan that may be financed in part through tax increases on corporations and the rich.
It looks like the plan is to split the spending into two bills, one for infrastructure, the other for the “CARE” economy (healthcare, childcare….etc). The bills be funded by a variety of tax increases on corporations and the wealthy. I am willing to bet that the latter bill will not pass, but the former might. America is in desperate need of investing in itself both in sci/tech and infrastructure. The future of America as a world power is at stake.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday signed a massive overhaul of election laws, shortly after the Republican-controlled state legislature approved it. The bill enacts new limitations on mail-in voting, expands most voters' access to in-person early voting and caps a months-long battle over voting in a battleground state.
Democrats opposed several pieces of the bill, including language that removes the secretary of state as chair of the State Election Board, allowing the SEB and lawmakers a process to temporarily take over elections offices and limiting the number, location and access to secure absentee drop boxes.
It’s easy to spot the growing wealth of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and other entrepreneurs who made their fortunes with publicly traded companies. The Robert Brockmans of the world are harder to spot.
If you don’t know who Brockman is, I don’t blame you. The Texas software billionaire, who has never appeared on Forbes’ vaunted list of the wealthiest Americans, is allegedly responsible for the largest tax fraud in US history. What’s more, new economic research suggests he is hardly the only high-earning American dodging taxes under the radar.
Seems like it we could pick the low hanging fruit of tax evasion first to help fund infrastructure. We wouldn’t even need new legislation to make this happen, just “law and order.”
Most economic forecasters expect very strong GDP growth in 2021 as the $1.9-trillion American Rescue Plan works its way through the economy and more people are vaccinated. The consensus is that real GDP will increase about 6% between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the fourth quarter of 2021. If this growth materializes, output by the end of 2021 will be about back to the level it would have been had the pandemic not occurred (using the Congressional Budget Office’s pre-pandemic 2020 economic projection to gauge that level).
This will not be another jobless recovery. If the GDP forecasts prove accurate, we estimate that monthly payroll employment gains over the next 10 months will average between 700,000 and 1 million per month, a lot faster than many forecasters anticipate.
Some as predicting a new “roaring” twenties analogous to what followed in the 1918 “Spanish” flu. I think this is highly doubtful and we are more likely to see continued 2% ish GDP growth for the foreseeable future without drastic reform of the US economy. Besides, the 1920s ended with a crash...
Facing more than $1.3 billion in liabilities over her post-election conspiracy theories, lawyer Sidney Powell told a judge that the defamation lawsuit Dominion Voting Systems filed against her earlier this year should be dismissed because “no reasonable person” would believe that her well-publicized comments about an international plot against former President Donald Trump were “statements of fact.”
“Given the highly charged and political context of the statements, it is clear that Powell was describing the facts on which she based the lawsuits she filed in support of President Trump,” her attorneys wrote in a 54-page motion to dismiss on Monday, noting that Dominion characterized her theories as “wild accusations” and “outlandish claims.”
In a way, actually, Sidney’s argument holds water. Her allegations of Dominion machines being rigged, Hugo Chavez, and a litany of other outlandish claims, are certainly not believable by any reasonable and prudent person. The same holds true for the “stop the steal” movement as a whole.
But CONTEXT matters and things work differently on groups than they do on individuals. There is something uniquely potent about people in positions of relative power pushing such a wide variety of claims 24 hours a day, seven days a week from April 2020 to Jan 2021. The sheer amount of nonsensical claims makes it difficult for the average Joe to keep up, leaving many to conclude that there MUST be something wrong with the election, even if they didn’t know specifics.
The sheer number of false claims being made from (Kemp, CIA, North Korea, Hugo Chavez, the FDA….and on and on and on) makes it impossible to counter this disinformation in accordance with Brandolini’s Law. See more on this here. https://www.lianeon.org/p/why-misinformation-spreads-so-easily
Oakland's project is significant because it is one of the largest efforts in the U.S. so far, targeting up to 600 families. And it is the first program to limit participation strictly to Black, Indigenous and people of color communities.
The reason: White households in Oakland on average make about three times as much annually than black households, according to the Oakland Equity Index. It's also a nod to the legacy of the Black Panther Party, the political movement that was founded in Oakland in the 1960s.
I included this article because I found the last sentence to be amusing as it attempts to sidestep the rationale for this program and twist itself into a pretzel. Low income is low income, regardless of skin pigment.
This program elects to exclude a certain group of people solely based on the pigment of their skin, even if said people are in just as deep of poverty as someone with different skin pigment. This is the very definition of racism, whether well intended or not. Programs like these only solidify the idea that one’s skin pigment natters. It’s precisely the opposite direction this country should be going in.
More than three months into the U.S. vaccination drive, many of the numbers paint an increasingly encouraging picture, with 70% of Americans 65 and older receiving at least one dose of the vaccine and COVID-19 deaths dipping below 1,000 a day on average for the first time since November.
Also, dozens of states have thrown open vaccinations to all adults or are planning to do so in a matter of weeks. And the White House said 27 million doses of both the one-shot and two-shot vaccines will be distributed next week, more than three times the number when President Joe Biden took office two months ago.
The United States has been the world’s leading science and technology power for over seventy years. A critical factor in that success has been the United States’ ability to attract some of the world’s most talented students and professionals working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. In the last few decades, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has emerged as the largest and arguably most important source of high-level international STEM talent in the United States.
However, the administration of former president Donald Trump implemented a range of policies that are making it more difficult for Chinese nationals with STEM backgrounds to live and work in the United States. These policies can be broadly organized into three categories: national security–related measures intended to counteract Chinese civil-military fusion and illicit technology transfer; visa and immigration policies designed to restrict migration flows for all nationalities but which disproportionately affect Chinese nationals; and travel restrictions developed in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Some of these measures have a basis in legitimate policy concerns. But cumulatively, they risk unnecessarily harming the U.S. science and technology base by disrupting one of the key pipelines of international talent supplying the U.S. STEM ecosystem. A better balance is needed.
The US is extremely dependent on foreign students in STEM. Over half of all Masters and about half of PhDs awarded by American universities goes to foreign students, many of whom choose to the stay in the US. The US’s actions on limiting foreign students cuts off a crucial lifeline for America’s long term prospects.
With the rise of artificial intelligence, supercomputing, and data analytics, the world today is at a crucial turning point in the national security and the conduct of war. Sometimes known as the AI triad, these characteristics and other weapons systems, such as hypersonics, are accelerating both the speed with which warfare is waged, and the speed with which warfare can escalate. Called “hyperwar” by Amir Husain and one of us (John R. Allen), this new form of warfare will feature levels of autonomy, including the potential for lethal autonomous weapons without humans being in the loop on decision-making.
Democrats are considering a variety of possible tax increases, including boosting the corporate tax rate and the top marginal income-tax rate on individuals, to raise revenue as President Biden completes his infrastructure, climate and education proposal.
After the recently signed $1.9 trillion coronavirus-relief package, White House officials have crafted a preliminary plan for the next legislative push, a roughly $3 trillion proposal split into two parts. One would be aimed at infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges and water systems, while a second would focus on education and antipoverty measures.
The plan also breaks the tax increases into two pieces, proposing to raise taxes on businesses as part of the infrastructure bill and reserving tax increases on high-income households for the second package, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Matthew Kotchen, an economist at Yale University, has found that fossil fuel companies in the U.S. are getting approximately $62 billion in implicit subsidies every year. In his paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Kotchen describes how he calculated the costs associated with use of fossil fuels in the U.S. and what it means for those who produce it.
As Kotchen notes, fossil fuel providers in the U.S. are not made to pay for the costs associated with use of their products. Burning oil and coal, he notes, produces air pollution, which, in addition to contributing to global warming, also adversely impacts the health of people breathing polluted air.
This is little discussed, but crucial to understand when we talk about govt support for sustainable energy.
Now that President Biden’s COVID-19 relief bill is signed into law, Democrats are gearing up for their next legislative feat: a sweeping infrastructure bill. And like clockwork, there are already a number of news stories about the drama — legislators pushing their own agenda items, conflict over how best to pay for the bill and worries about how lawmakers will reach consensus.
For their part, Biden and the Democrats seem to welcome the media attention at this point. But they might want to be careful with just how much media attention they attract. Studies find that media attention often makes it harder — not easier — to get actual legislation through Congress. Case in point: The early stories of conflicting agendas on infrastructure may be an early sign that media coverage will be counterproductive. Media coverage has a tendency to focus on conflict and process, which can turn off voters and ultimately reduce support for policy proposals.
Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News on Friday, arguing the cable news giant falsely claimed in an effort to boost faltering ratings that the voting company had rigged the 2020 election.
The lawsuit is part of a growing body of legal action filed by the voting company and other targets of misleading, false and bizarre claims spread by President Donald Trump and his allies in the aftermath of Trump’s election loss to Joe Biden. Those claims helped spur on rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in a violent siege that left five people dead, including a police officer. The siege led to Trump’s historic second impeachment.
A new study from the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick combines research on populist rhetoric, emotions and security in order to examine how particular groups of voters are mobilized.
The article argues that populists like Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, or some Brexit campaigners, construct fantasies of past national greatness and belonging to instill audiences with a sense of pride and nostalgia.
At the same time, these political entrepreneurs use rhetoric that targets feelings of resentment and anger, representing themselves and their audiences as victims of the establishment.
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