Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Saturday, January 19, 2019

Why Economists Blame Trump For Volatile Financial Markets

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

Republicans’ massive tax reform bill — largely a giveaway to corporations and the super wealthy — was supposedly justified by a massive boom in the American economy that would make everyone, not just the most direct beneficiaries of the cut, richer.

It hasn’t happened.

In fact, we’re not just missing out on a massive economic uptick. The stock market appears to be in absolutely dire straits, boomeranging wildly and hanging on by a thread, since the tax bill was passed.

“All the four major U.S. stock indexes declined at least 4.6% for the year through Friday — and they’re poised to all finish with negative annual returns for the first time since 2008.…

Read More

If You’re Over 50, Leaving Your Job May Not Be Voluntary

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica.

 

Tom Steckel hunched over a laptop in the overheated basement of the state Capitol building in Pierre, South Dakota, early last week, trying to figure out how a newly awarded benefit claims contract will make it easier for him do his job.

Steckel is South Dakota’s director of employee benefits. His department administers programs that help the state’s 13,500 public employees pay for health care and prepare for retirement.

It’s steady work and, for that, Steckel, 62, is grateful. After turning 50, he was laid off three times before landing his current position in 2014, weathering unemployment stints of up to eight months.



Read More

On Economy, Trump Is His Own Worst Enemy

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

 

It was a long, slow climb from the depths of the Great Recession to the sunny meadows of prosperity, but in 2018, the U.S. economy reached it. A rare combination of strong growth, full employment, low inflation and rising wages combined to create a blissful sense of security and optimism.

“Sweet spot” is the term that fit the moment. Through the course of the year, consumer confidence was the highest it had been since 2000. Businesses were making money; the stock market was soaring; taxes were down; and workers were finally getting raises. “We are the hottest economy in the world right now,” exulted chief White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow in October.…

Read More