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No matter which party you support, any alterations to Social Security using the guidelines below will affect every American citizen- Social security is not a give away, each person who has worked, earned these benefits. It is true there are social programs associated with this but remember the less fortunate who receive these benefits could be you or your family. Bear in mind that the tax reform helped no one except the upper 1-10 %  earners. Touting tax cuts for the middle class is a meaningless phrase since there is literally no longer a middle class, the “Tax Reform” took care of  that. This administration has tried to gut the ACA with no replacement and your representatives have done nothing about it and thereby abdicated their responsibilities to a Megalomaniac. MA

Maggie Haberman and Alan Rappeport 9 hrs ago

When President Trump suggested to an interviewer at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland that he would, “at some point,” look at cutting entitlement programs, his Democratic critics seized on the comments as evidence that Mr. Trump would gut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in a second term.

“Even as the impeachment trial is underway, Trump is still talking about cutting your Social Security,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said at the beginning of a news conference that was ostensibly about the Senate impeachment trial.

The Democratic super PAC Priorities USA posted on Twitter about Mr. Trump’s remarks, and others contrasted his statement with his 2016 campaign pledge not to touch entitlement programs.

On Thursday, the president tried to clean up his own mess.

“Democrats are going to destroy your Social Security,” Mr. Trump tweeted shortly before leaving the White House for a campaign-related event in Florida. “I have totally left it alone, as promised, and will save it!”

Advisers said the president’s comments in Davos, Switzerland, came as he is keeping a wary eye on the ballooning deficit, which he promised to eliminate within eight years if elected. Under Mr. Trump’s watch, the federal budget deficit has risen rapidly as his tax cuts and increased spending necessitate more government borrowing.

Last year, the deficit topped $1 trillion for the first time since 2012, and it is projected to stay above that mark for several years. Even with a strong economy, the deficit has grown nearly four times as fast, on average, under Mr. Trump than it did under President Barack Obama.

Still, senior administration officials insisted that Mr. Trump was not seeking to make a new policy announcement. They also insisted that he was not making a significant break with anything he has said before. They described proposals he has made in previous budgets as efforts to grapple with the growing costs of social safety net programs without breaking his campaign pledge.

A Trump administration official familiar with planning for the upcoming the White House budget said that the president was not expected to announce any draconian cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid when the document is released next month.

However, Mr. Trump’s budget proposal could outline some of the administration’s plans for additional tax cuts. While those cuts have yet to be detailed, they would invariably add to the deficit unless they were offset with other spending cuts or tax increases. That fiscal reality could spur Republicans to renew calls for cutting entitlement programs, whose costs are estimated to grow as an aging population relies more on Social Security and Medicare.

Some Republicans argued that Mr. Trump was continuing with a longstanding practice of making vague but sometimes contradictory statements that allow people to select what they want to believe from what he has said.

But Democrats spied an opportunity to highlight the disparity between Mr. Trump’s messaging and what his government does.

Mr. Trump’s understanding that entitlement programs, particularly those for older Americans, are a political land mine was clear in 2016, when he broke with other candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination and promised unequivocally to protect Social Security.

“I will do everything within my power not to touch Social Security, to leave it the way it is,” Mr. Trump said during a March 2016 debate, adding that he would solve the problem of the program’s solvency by making the United States a wealthier country.

At the time, Mr. Trump was also blunt about the political realities of cutting safety net programs, noting that Democrats want to bolster Social Security benefits for retirees.

“And that’s what we’re up against,” he said. “And whether we like it or not, that is what we’re up against.”

Despite that promise, Mr. Trump has made several moves to chip away at America’s social safety net programs.

The Trump administration has already tried to cut food stamps, rental assistance for low-income housing, and Medicaid through efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, said Chye-Ching Huang, the director of federal fiscal policy at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The most recent White House budget proposed a $10 billion cut to the Social Security Disability Insurance program, which provides benefits to disabled workers.

“This is just the latest of many instances of the Trump administration making clear through statements, budgets, legislation and administrative actions that their basic policy goal is tax cuts for the well-off hand-in-hand with targeting critical programs, including those that support low- and moderate-income people,” Ms. Huang said.

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are projected to cost the government more than $30 trillion through 2029, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The combined annual outlays represent more than 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and threaten to weigh on long-term economic growth.

The programs themselves face a financial predicament. The cost of Social Security, the federal retirement program, will exceed its income in 2020 for the first time since 1982 and its reserve fund is projected to be depleted in 16 years, according to an annual government report released last year.

Medicare’s hospital insurance fund is projected to be depleted in 2026. At that time, doctors, hospitals and nursing homes will not receive their full compensation from the program and patients could face more of a financial burden.

Cutting entitlement programs, which are funded by workers through payroll taxes, has long been considered the “third rail” of American politics. Suggestions of trimming benefits or raising the retirement age to make programs more sustainable has been a nonstarter with older voters, who more reliably show up at the polls. In 1981, when President Ronald Reagan proposed a plan that would have reduced the benefits paid to early retirees, he was rebuffed by Congress and dealt a political blow. It took a bipartisan commission two years to agree to overhauls for the program.

Republican lawmakers who consider themselves fiscal conservatives have long wanted to restructure America’s safety net programs, but they have generally held their tongues under Mr. Trump. Last year, however, some lawmakers started to press the president to tackle the issue.

“We’ve brought it up with President Trump, who has talked about it being a second-term project,” Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, told The New York Times last year.

The need to find cuts could become more pressing if the administration tried to push through another tax cut.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that Mr. Trump had asked him to begin developing a plan for more middle-class tax cuts to further stimulate the economy.

“The president feels that we need to continue to incentivize the middle class,” Mr. Mnuchin said on CNBC. “That their taxes have been too high historically.”

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Yahoo Finance

Rick Newman

Rick NewmanSenior Columnist

Yahoo FinanceJanuary 22, 2020, 2:48 PM CST

If you’re beating inflation by 1%, is that a “boom”?

 

President Trump thinks so. In a speech at the annual gathering of the ultra-rich in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 21, Trump declared that his presidency has generated a “blue-collar boom” and a “roaring geyser of opportunity.” “The American Dream is back,” Trump said. “No one is benefitting more than America’s middle class.”

 

As with many of Trump’s scripted speeches, select facts provided by White House economists are mostly correct. But Trump’s overall characterization is not, and as usual, Trump falls back on the bogus conceit that everything was terrible before he arrived in Washington, while everything is fine now.

 

Trump has presided over an economy that has generally improved at about the same pace since 2013 or so. The pace of job growth and stock-market gains—frequent Trump bragging points—are about the same as they were during President Obama’s second term. And Trump’s focus on short-term comparisons obscures pernicious problems that no president has figured out how to solve, such as exorbitant health care costs and worsening wealth and income inequality.

Providing context for some of Trump’s claims in Davos highlights the extent to which he’s overstating prosperity. Examples:

 

The “blue-collar boom.” Here’s the trend in manufacturing employment since 1980:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Does this look like a boom? The U.S. economy hemorrhaged manufacturing jobs from 2001 to 2010, with a modest recovery since then. The pace of job creation in manufacturing accelerated slightly in 2018, but it slowed again this year and declined in December. Trump’s tariffs on imports have raised costs on manufacturers and depressed output, the opposite of what he promised as a candidate in 2016.

“Wages at the bottom of the income ladder are enjoying the largest gains.” Average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers—generally considered lower-income blue-collar laborers – grew 3% in 2019. Inflation in 2019 was 2.3%. So those workers are gaining on inflation by less than 1 percentage point per year. But that’s only true for families not exposed to out-of-pocket health care costs, which are rising at least twice as fast as overall inflation.

“Since my election, the net worth of the bottom half of wage earners has increased three times faster than the increase for the top 1%.” This is true, according to Federal Reserve data. Lower-income Americans have mostly benefited from the rebound in home values that began in 2012. Yet the bottom 50% controls just 1.5% of the wealth in the United States, while the top 1% controls nearly one-third. Wealth inequality in the United States is nearly the worst among advanced nations, an insidious problem nobody has come close to solving.

“Real median household income is at the highest level ever recorded.” True, but so what? In a growing economy this should always be true, as it has been many times before under many prior presidents. Superlatives based strictly on population and economic growth can mask important weaknesses. What matters more are per-capita measures. On the Yahoo Finance Trumponomics Report Card, for instance, Trump ranks third out of the last 7 presidents on GDP per capita, one reason his overall grade is a respectable B rather than the A+ Trump would probably give himself.

Trump is hardly the only politician to exaggerate his accomplishments and take credit for salutary developments that would have happened anyway. But he does have to justify an unpopular tax cut, a war on regulation, a confounding trade policy and a disruptive style of governing. Voters will have their say in November, letting Trump know whether they see the same boom he does.

Rick Newman is the author of four books, including “Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success.” Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman. Confidential tip line: rickjnewman@yahoo.com. Encrypted communication available. Click here to get Rick’s stories by email.

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In trying to parse out the recent Virginia Gun rights demonstration, I have slogged through a mountain of information to come to this:

“Red flag law

Red flag law
In the United States, a red flag law is a gun control law that permits police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves. A judge makes the determination to issue the order based on statements and actions made by the gun owner in question. Refusal to comply with the order is punishable as a criminal offense. After a set time, the guns are returned to the person from whom they were seized unless another court hearing extends the period of confiscation.

Wikipedia”

Apparently gun advocate and gun-owners have extrapolated this law as a prelude to “gun grabbing”. The presence of hardware on the hips and in the arms of the demonstrators served no purpose other than an opportunity to show their hardware. As I see it the law applies to folks who have firearms and could harm others due to their diminished mental state whether permanent or temporary. It provides for the return of these firearms upon such time as there’s is no danger of these firearms being used in an unlawful manner. The only issue I have ever had with some firearm owners is the idea that any proposed firearm law is an attempt to grab their weapons. My opinion is: Rather than amass armed individuals for a demonstration against something that is largely misunderstood and the lack of participation in crafting what they (firearm owners) consider  correct legislation. Unfortunately the NRA has always been  involved in some of these misrepresentations for years as a way to keep and increase membership with little return on investment for many of its members. This is a clear example of  the”single issue” mentality which has swallowed up the country. All of these single issues are fomented by the numerous talking heads in the mainstream and online media. Remedy: Get the facts then form your opinion- using the available access to many forms of media one can easily determine facts which will allow for an informed opinion. For clarity: I am a firearm owner.

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“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. observed, ‘Everybody can be great – because anybody can serve’

It is excruciating to see the Congress aka Government in the small hands of a unapologetic liar and conman. There was a time when the major parties worked for the good of the country and its (citizens (their bosses). No matter the political differences, the bottom line in most cases was the well being of the country and the residents of the United States no matter the Race, creed or color. We used to welcome immigrants who arrived here legally and many who did not. It is absolutely true that some citizens native born naturalized or illegal are bad actors and need to be watched, incarcerated or deported and that is the Normal way to handle it. What we have now is an administration and Congress that has allowed and advocated for some the worst actions on the citizens of all legalities or illegalities. All of this in the light of a Congress and administration that no longer functions as a unit that works for all of us. Some of us remember when what is happening now would have been an exception , not a rule and calmer heads would have mitigated the extremes to achieve a better outcome for us all. Now we truly have a “failure to communicate” and it is crushing the soul of our country. We as citizens have a duty to correct it through the power of the ballot. Carefully examine this “impeachment issue” and the actions of the participants then decide how many of them do you want to continue in office.

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The news cycle is revolving around the impeachment of the current President yet many are missing the real issue. The underlying issues are the failures of our elected legislators to do their due diligence by exerting their proper checks on the executive branch. While this impeachment is called political, it really is not or rather should not be. It is the duty of CONGRESS! to protect us (the voters) from any Commander In Chief who misuses his office (his office directly affects all of us). The sidestepping of duty for political or monetary gain is a crime no matter what party is n power and when the party becomes the main driver of legislation then the legislators need to be held accountable at the ballot box and in the courts if required. I have heard so many people espouse their support for the actions of this President with no real thought of the long-range and potentially long-lasting effects of his actions on ALL of us. Our opportunity is at hand where we can shed the “innocence” of cursory information and deep dive into the real world of truth. It is unfortunate that so many of us have become one-issue voters and we have allowed the rise of manipulative elected officials and news media whose sole objective is to sell their services and or enrich themselves on our unsuspecting backs. Our opportunity to correct this problem is at the ballot box but only if we educate ourselves in an open-minded fashion. Remember-the truth never changes-lies have to.

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Charles M. Blow 12 hrs ago

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

When I was young I idolized the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the way most boys look up to athletes or pop stars.

I had a poster of him. I had a T-shirt with his face on it. I recited his “I Have a Dream” speech. It seemed to me that he was a role model, an example of a life for a Southern boy who loved books and learning, leadership and public speaking.

There was a dignity about King to which I aspired, a politics of character, a Southern erudition that was rooted in religion, but encompassed an exquisite learnedness.
He was a black man who most people had come to venerate, one existing, it seemed, above the trivialities of tense day-to-day racial exchanges, one existing on a higher moral plane.
But, as I grew older and learned and read more about King, it became ever more clear to me that the King I had been fed was a caricature of the man he was. I had been taught a reduced King, smooth and polished, a one-dimensional impersonation of a person.
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I had been taught only the “Dream” King. That is what America wants King to remain: Frozen in perpetual optimism, urging more than demanding, appealing to America’s better angels rather than ruthlessly calling out its persistent demons.
But, that must not be done. That must not be done.
As King said in a 1967 interview when asked about the “Dream” speech, after much soul-searching he had come to see that “some of the old optimism was a little superficial, and now it must be tempered with a solid realism.”
That evolution, toward a more “solid realism,” toward the more rational King, toward the more radical King, is why I happen to believe that one of King’s most consequential speeches is a little-discussed address he gave in 1967 at Stanford University. It was called “The Other America.”
In it, King blasted “large segments of white society” for being “more concerned about tranquillity and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity.”
He slammed what he called the “white backlash” for being the cause of black discontent and demands for black power, rather than the result of it, calling it “merely a new name for an old phenomenon.”
And he declared that true integration “is not merely a romantic or aesthetic something where you merely add color to a still predominantly white power structure.”
This speech was delivered after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. As King put it in the 1967 interview, passage of those acts came at “bargained rates.”
He explained: “It didn’t cost the nation anything. In fact, it helped the economic side of the nation to integrate lunch counters and public accommodations. It didn’t cost the nation anything to get the right to vote established. And, now we are confronting issues that cannot be solved without costing the nation.”
It seems that King was even open to the idea of reparations, if not explicitly by name, at least in spirit.
King said in his Stanford speech:
“In 1863 the Negro was freed from the bondage of physical slavery. But at the same time, the nation refused to give him land to make that freedom meaningful. And at that same period America was giving millions of acres of land in the West and the Midwest, which meant that America was willing to undergird its white peasants from Europe with an economic floor that would make it possible to grow and develop, and refused to give that economic floor to its black peasants.”
He extended this thought in other speeches, pointing out that not only did the government give the land to these white people, it also used government money to start land-grant colleges to teach them how to farm, sent out county agents to further their expertise, offered low-interest loans so that they could mechanize and instituted a system of subsidies for them, and these became “the very people telling the black man he ought to lift himself by his own boot straps.”
As King put it about his Poor People’s Campaign, “Now, when we come to Washington in this campaign we’re coming to get our check.”
King was assassinated a month before the campaign was supposed to head to Washington.
And King was not afraid to point out white people’s hypocrisy, particularly that of the white moderates, those who were opposed to anti-black cruelty but did not genuinely endorse black equality, fully and unequivocally.
King wrote in his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail”: “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice.”
As a child, I idolized the narrowed King. As an adult I love the more complicated King: agitated, exhausted and even angry.

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Angry Little Girls Comic Strip for January 20, 2020 Prickly City Comic Strip for January 20, 2020 Clay Bennett Comic Strip for January 20, 2020


Outdoor power equipment is a source of aggravations for many. The simplicity of these machines is surprisingly simple. First most if not all manufacturers small engines (including riding mowers) are similar in that they are simple combustion engines. First, let’s look at the most prevalent problem-starting:

  1. Always use a middle-grade gas (89octane) these 2 points above the standard regular gas makes a huge difference. The extra octane provides a hotter and cleaner burn in these small carburetors.
  2. Check the oil level (4 cycle engines)
  3.  Treat the gas for this equipment with a quality gas treatment each time you fill the gas can.
  4. Be sure you use the correct ratio of oil to gas if you have 2 cycle tools.
  5. FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS, if it is stated that you need to push the bulb 3 times or 10 times, that is what you do!
  6.  At the beginning or end of the season, purchase replacement spark plugs and air filters for each tool. Note: if you wait until the end of the season the prices of many of these items will be reduced.
  7.   Off-season no matter what the tool is: start them up several times during the offseason.  Insure that the blades (if there are blades) are sharp if you are unable to do it yourself, it is worth the money to have it done ( do it offseason).                              The average life of an outdoor power tool is 3 to 10 years, some smaller tools tend to burnout and require replacing the carburetor, this is a simple repair but best left to the professionals as adjustments need to made. The price of a small engine carburetor ranges from $20.00 to  $50.00 and more, add the cost of labor, your repair cost could start at $85.00 and go up. This is the basic maintenance for most gas-powered power tools.

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One of the most popular daytime shows is Jerry Springer, this is a show where people are paid to come and air their dirty laundry in front of a live audience. This airing invariably results in two or more folks punching one another, pulling hair and ripping clothing. The audience is so caught up in this that they are encouraged to shout “jerry, jerry” until silenced by the showrunners. I have dubbed some Trumpers as Jerry People in that they are in the game for the entertainment, not the truth. No matter what you think you know, you don’t know the half of what is going on in this administration, aided and abetted by the Congress. All of the actions by TOTUS and his cohorts are geared to his (TOTUS) aggrandizement. The upside ( for his supporters) is “he doing what he said he would do”, the downside is the long-lasting harm done now and later due to these uninformed and self-serving actions. The tariffs were espoused as damaging for China and we (the USA) would be the winners, upon close examination that latter is a false claim. United States farmers and producers (especially metal importers) have borne the brunt of these tariffs and the retaliatory tariffs along with the drop in exports due to tariffs. Now that more facts are known about the “Ukraine” deal, it plain to see that TOTUS has no other objective beyond his own needs and wants. Each person can decide for themselves who they support but bear in mind what your support may bring if you do not vet the people you support to represent you. Too long in office may bring poor results no matter the party.

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Politics

Lee Moran
January 18, 2020, 5:10 AM CST 0:39 0:47

A group of prominent anti-Trump conservatives on Friday released a new ad that urges GOP senators to conduct a fair impeachment trial of President Donald Trump over the Ukraine scandal.
The Lincoln Project demands in the caption for its video that Republican lawmakers “consider the impeachment charges against Trump on their merits” instead of simply taking sides along party lines.
Senators must uphold their sworn oaths to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” the project adds.
The ad itself shows footage of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) stating they’ve already decided to support Trump in the trial, as the following text appears:
President Donald Trump thinks he’s above the law. He believes he’s untouchable. Senate Republicans want to prove him right. They know who Trump is. They’ve forgotten their oaths. Let’s remind them.
It then encourages people to sign a petition demanding a fair trial.
The Lincoln Project, which aims to end Trump’s presidency at the ballot box in November, was launched by George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, and anti-Trump GOP strategists Rick Wilson, Steve Schmidt and John Weaver.
“We do not undertake this task lightly, nor from ideological preference. We have been, and remain, broadly conservative (or classically liberal) in our politics and outlooks,” they wrote in a New York Times op-ed last month. “Our many policy differences with national Democrats remain, but our shared fidelity to the Constitution dictates a common effort.”

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