Commentary: $800 Billion Stimulus Program Failed Terribly and Mostly Benefited the Wealthy, MIT Economist Finds

Close up of federal check

The federal government has spent an astounding $42,000 per federal taxpayer on so-called “stimulus” efforts since the pandemic began. Where did all that money go? Well, as it turns out, one of the biggest stimulus programs, the Paycheck Protection Program, failed miserably.

At least, that’s the finding of a new study from MIT economist David Autor and nine coauthors. They examined the $800 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which gave “loans,” most of which won’t have to be paid back, to businesses. It was created by Republicans and Democrats in Congress alike in hopes of helping businesses preserve their employees’ jobs for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. 

The study tracks the money to see where it ended up and what it achieved. The results… aren’t pretty. 

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Commentary: Replacing the Irreplaceable Nancy Pelosi

President Joe Biden walks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as he departs the U.S. Capitol after addressing the House Democratic Caucus, Thursday, October 28, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Last week there was quite a lot of news media chatter about swapping Hillary Clinton for Joe Biden on the 2024 Democrat presidential ticket, a fascinating concept that pundits couldn’t stop talking about. It didn’t receive nearly the headlines, but whispers involving the impending retirement of Speaker Nancy Pelosi — and her eventual replacement — have also begun in earnest.

Of course, there’s been no formal announcement that she’s leaving — either from the Speaker herself or the poohbahs at Democrat National Committee headquarters. But like all worst kept secrets, everyone with a brain and some knowledge of American politics understands that Pelosi shares characteristics with a ticking time bomb set to go off later this year.

With the prospects for Democrats holding the majority after this year’s federal midterm elections growing dimmer by the day, folks have initiated a political death watch for the soon-to-be 82-year-old gavel bearer. A large number of veteran party incumbents have officially indicated they’re heading for the exits after this session concludes. Combined with redistricting changes (after the 2020 census) and a basketful of “moderate” (they’re really not balanced, but that’s how the media refers to them) Democrats facing fierce headwinds in their swing districts, and the numbers bloodbath could/should be scary.

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Senior White House Climate Official Resigns

Three wind turbines

Cecilia Martinez, a member of the White House Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ), announced that she would resign Friday, nearly one year after accepting the role.

Martinez explained that she needed rest and wanted to spend more time with her family in an interview with the Associated Press. She was in charge of crafting the White House’s aggressive environmental justice policy which had been lauded by climate activists but criticized by Republicans and the fossil fuel industry.

“It was a hard decision,” Martinez told the AP.

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Americans Ring in 2022 with Highest Mortgage Rates Since the Pandemic Started

Mortgage rates soared to their highest level since the beginning of the pandemic in the first week of 2022, according to Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.22% in the week ending on Jan. 6, up from a 3.11% average during the previous week and marking the highest level since May 2020, Freddie Mac announced Thursday. The 30-year rate dropped to 2.65% in early 2021, its lowest level on record.

“Mortage rates increased during the first week of 2022 to the highest level since May 2020 and are more than half a percentage higher than January 2021,” said Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac, according to a company release.

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U.S. Economy Adds Just 199,000 Jobs in December, Far Below Expectations

Man in a hard hat pointing his finger

The U.S. economy recorded an increase of 199,000 jobs in December and the unemployment dipped to 3.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Friday.

Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 199,000 in December, according to the BLS, and the number of unemployed Americans dipped to 6.3 million. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal projected the economy to add 422,000 jobs in December and for unemployment to fall to 4.1%.

December’s jobs report leaves the U.S. economy with roughly 6.5 million more jobs than at the end of 2020 but still 3.5 million short of pre-pandemic levels.

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European Tech Firm Chooses Arizona as First American Location

A European solar power tech company has chosen Arizona as its first location in the United States.

Switzerland-based mechanical engineering company Meyer Burger Technology AG is establishing a production site for high-performance solar modules in Goodyear, Arizona. Production is expected to be operational by the end of 2022, creating an initial 250 jobs and more than 500 jobs at full capacity.

“I am very pleased to welcome Meyer Burger to our community,” Mayor of Goodyear Joe Pizzillo said in a news release.“The decision to make a large investment in our community shows Goodyear is an excellent location for advanced manufacturing businesses. Our highly skilled workforce, modern infrastructure, and low cost of doing business has created an environment where companies can thrive.”

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Kansas Lawmakers Reveal Draft Bill to Eliminate the Food Tax

Laura Kelly

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and the Legislature’s Democratic leadership on Thursday released a draft bill to get rid of the food sales tax in the state. 

Known colloquially as the “Axe the Food Tax” bill, the legislation would eliminate the state’s 6.5% sales tax on food. The draft bill also includes a full exemption on state and local taxes for items bought at farmers markets. 

Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes, D-Lenexa, and House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer, D-Wichita, helped craft the legislation and are formally looking for co-sponsors. 

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Commentary: When Envy Trumps Economics

President Joe Biden has seized on a winning message: tax the rich. He tweets incessantly, “Big corporations and the super wealthy have to start paying their fair share of taxes. It’s long overdue,” and claims his Build Back Better agenda “will be paid for by the wealthy paying their fair share.”

Instead of highlighting the few benefits of his Build Back Better Act, (H.R. 5376) his public positioning is about harming a particular group. Why? This message sells with three key constituencies he’s counting on to pressure Congress to vote yes.

Younger millennials and Gen Z who believe the uber-rich should not exist.
The working rich who believe taxing themselves is a solution to poverty and a source of economic growth.
The governing elites who want to accumulate more government control by enlarging the dependent class.
Younger Millennials and Gen Z: Being Rich Is Inherently Bad
A recent PEW research poll revealed that half of adults under 30 believe billionaires are bad for the U.S. One self-proclaimed “anticapitalist” Millennial and trust fund beneficiary summed it up this way: “I want to build a world where someone like me, a young person who controls tens of millions of dollars, is impossible.” Accordingly, wealth comes from exploitation. Giving their money away (or giving it to Washington to redistribute into a social justice plan) is making “reparations.”

Using this logic, the late Steve Jobs should have been prohibited from earning ridiculous amounts of wealth. Because of his ingenuity, however, millions of jobs have been created, young people have been inspired, and some of the greatest technology has been made available. Like Jobs, those who earn their billions through innovation (and experience many failures in their pursuit and on their own dime) reinvest it in the economy in ways the government could not. Moreover, their earnings are a result of what others were willing to pay them.

Working Rich: We’re Moral People
A 2019 letter penned by more than a dozen of the wealthiest Americans — including George Soros, heiress Abigail Disney, and Molly Munger, daughter of Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger— stated, “it is our duty to step up and support a wealth tax that taxes us.” They believe America “has a moral, ethical and economic responsibility to tax our wealth more.” Mr. Biden’s allies on the Left share this opinion.

A “transfer of wealth” by taxing the rich is nothing short of legal theft. Government is not, and cannot be, altruistic. Government has nothing to give that it has not taken from another by force. With few exceptions, this type of help will erode self-reliance and the moral incentive of charitable action, leading to more government spending.

Ignored is that the free market has done more to break the cycle of poverty than any government program, as it empowers people and mends the nonfinancial, relational parts of society.

The wealthy could put their money to better use by directly donating to effective charitable causes, investing in local communities, or investing in expanding their businesses to serve more consumers and create more jobs. Moreover, there is nothing stopping billionaires from giving their wealth directly to the U.S. government. If they genuinely believe it is their “moral, ethical and economic responsibility,” there is no need to wait.

Governing Elites: We Like Being In Control
They say it’s about social or economic justice, but President Biden’s messaging is déjà vu from Obama-era calls to redistribute wealth, or Marxist accolades of redistribution as a form of economic justice. The increasing popularity of taxing the rich makes the job of government elites easier. President Biden even engages in shame-tweeting such as, “Those at the top have been getting a free ride at the expense of the middle class for far too long.” But the bureaucrats’ real reason to tax the rich is to snatch individuals’ birthrights of personal responsibility, a move toward a centralized system that deflates personal choices and violates personal rights.

Taken together, these ideas unfortunately resonate beyond younger millennials and Gen Z, the working rich, and the governing elites. Jumping onto the “tax the rich” bandwagon feels good because – why should the rich have that much money anyway?

Envy permeates this ideology. Yet economics trumps envy.

The actual tax burden will not fall on folks writing checks to the US Treasury. The rich will, for the most part, still be rich. It’s the middle- and working class who will pay dearly when high-income individuals respond to the tax hike by simply investing less, resulting in fewer job opportunities and lower wages.

Left to fend for their economic lives will be small-business owners. President Biden may consider them wealthy, but taxing these individuals more will decimate communities, as jobs are lost or not created, and wages and hours are cut.

There’s no question that taxing the rich is popular. Problem is, it’s also reckless.

Instead of highlighting the few benefits of his Build Back Better Act, (H.R. 5376) his public positioning is about harming a particular group. Why? This message sells with three key constituencies he’s counting on to pressure Congress to vote yes.

Younger millennials and Gen Z who believe the uber-rich should not exist.
The working rich who believe taxing themselves is a solution to poverty and a source of economic growth.
The governing elites who want to accumulate more government control by enlarging the dependent class.

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Newt Gingrich Commentary: Abolish the Georgia State Income Tax

Newt Gingrich

The time has come to abolish the Georgia state income tax.

Sen. David Perdue was exactly right in proposing to eliminate the state income tax. He was also right in suggesting that he could work with the Georgia state legislature and find ways to return money to the people of Georgia rather than focusing it on the state bureaucracies.

The money is clearly there. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported, “Despite pandemic, Georgia ends fiscal year with a record $3.2 billion jump in revenue.” The article went on to note, “The state saw revenue grow 13.5% over 2020. … Besides the boon in state tax collections, Georgia is also receiving about $4.7 billion or so from the latest federal COVID-19 relief plan.”

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Georgia’s Limited COVID Restrictions Reduced Economic Damage: Report

Georgia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic saved it from severe economic downfall, according to a recent report from the Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO).

The GCO measured the impact of local and state governments’ actions in response to the pandemic on each state’s economy in a 510-page report, Assessing Each State’s Response To The Pandemic: Understanding The Impact On Employment & Work.

Each state had to temporarily close businesses and implement COVID-19 restrictions, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of people being unable to work. The GCO noted Georgia had been less severe in shutting down its economy when compared with other states.

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Poll: Approval for Biden’s Handling of Economy, Coronavirus Sinks Further

Approval of President Joe Biden’s handling of the economy and coronavirus sank even further in recent days, according to a new CNBC All-America Economic survey.

Roughly 46% of respondents approved of Biden’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic while 48% disapproved, marking the first time his pandemic approval rating is underwater, according to CNBC.  Biden’s economic approval also plummeted, with 37% approving and 56% disapproving.

“The Covid (approval) number is actually I think the more important one,” said Micah Roberts, a partner at Public Opinion Strategies, the Republican pollster for the survey. “As goes COVID, so goes the Biden presidency, and that’s really proving to be quite true.”

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Inflation Hits Highest Level in 39 Years

Large crowd of people shopping during the holidays

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.9% in November, bringing the key inflation indicator’s year-over-year increase to 6.8%, the highest figure in four decades.

The CPI’s increase is the largest increase in four decades, up from October’s 6.2% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report released Friday morning. Experts surveyed by CNBC projected inflation would increase 0.7% in November, translating to a 6.7% gain on a year-over-year basis.

“These are frighteningly high inflation numbers, the likes of which we haven’t seen for decades,” Allen Sinai, chief global economist and strategist at Decision Economics, Inc., told The Wall Street Journal.

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Experts Predict Less Economic Growth, Elevated Inflation for Years to Come

Woman shopping, going up escalator

A survey released Monday found that business experts expect prices and inflation to rise at elevated levels for years to come.

The National Association for Business Economics released the results of a survey of 48 economic experts who downgraded their growth predictions and projected elevated inflation through the second half of 2023, if not later.

“NABE Outlook survey panelists have ramped up their expectations for inflation significantly since September,” said NABE Vice President Julia Coronado, founder and president, MacroPolicy Perspectives LLC. “The core consumer price index, which excludes food and energy costs, is now expected to rise 6.0% from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to the September forecast of a 5.1% increase over the same period.”

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Labor Board Orders New Union Election at Amazon Warehouse

Amazon warehouse in Maryland

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ordered a new unionization election at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, ruling that the company violated federal labor law during the first election.

“Today’s decision confirms what we were saying all along – that Amazon’s intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace – and as the Regional Director has indicated, that is both unacceptable and illegal,” Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) President Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement Monday.

“Amazon workers deserve to have a voice at work, which can only come from a union,” he continued.

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Commentary: Green Technologies Have a Glaring Problem of Scale

In the context of the massive attention paid to climate change, nations around the world have committed to substantially reducing and even eliminating their carbon emissions by 2050. Achieving these goals relies on several ‘green’ technologies that would form the basis of a future energy system. As envisioned, mass deployment of these technologies will encounter fundamental physical limits that call into question their ability to function as replacements for their equivalents in the current energy system. By placing firm targets, nations around the world have committed to terminating their carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 to offer confidence that a better world is achievable if only society implements the right policies and employs the correct technologies. This assumption is inaccurate, based on a view that is at odds with nature.

Due to unavoidable physical constraints, future green technologies offer little promise for achieving economies of scale. Many of the improvements suggested to improve their performance remain marginal and frequently come with the environmental costs of additional embedded energy requirements, extensive land use and greater material complexity. The outcomes achieved under laboratory conditions are not guaranteed to be viable at the scale necessary for them to make a significant difference.

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Commentary: Biden Is Making Russia Great Again

Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in Geneva, 16 June 2021

Under former President Donald J. Trump, for the first time in decades, the United States became a net exporter of natural gas and oil. That helped to keep global energy prices relatively low. It also gave the United States leverage over the international system in ways it had not enjoyed since before the 1970s.

Alas, the propagation of the novel coronavirus from Wuhan, China, along with the ceaseless lies of the Western “mainstream” media made such a prosperous and secure future under Trump an impossibility.

In the eight months since assuming office under a cloud of controversy, Joe Biden has done more to harm America’s inherent strategic advantages in the global energy market than any U.S. rival could have imagined. Under Biden, the United States has gone from being a net exporter of global energy to begging the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to produce more oil for the world to consume.

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U.S. Home Sales Continued to Grow in October as Housing Market Remains Hot

A beige house in a suburban community during the day

Home sales in the U.S. grew in October as buyers continue to enter a hot market, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Existing home sales increased at the fastest pace since January, growing 0.8% in October from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 6.34 million, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Monday. October home sales declined 5.8% compared to the figure in October 2020, with the inventory of unsold homes decreasing 12% to 1.25 million on a year-over-year basis.

“Home sales remain resilient, despite low inventory and increasing affordability challenges,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in the report. “Inflationary pressures, such as fast-rising rents and increasing consumer prices, may have some prospective buyers seeking the protection of a fixed, consistent mortgage payment.”

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Biden Will Run for Reelection, Critics Point to Economic Concerns

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that President Joe Biden will run for reelection in 2024, but critics have been quick to point out economic difficulties during his presidency.

Psaki addressed reporters’ questions about previous reporting that Biden would run for the White House again in 2024, saying, “That’s his intention.” Biden would be 82 years old at the start of his second term.

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Commentary: The Countries with the Cleanest Environments in the World Are Also the Most Economically Free, Research Shows

One of the most frequently raised arguments against capitalism is that it is the primary driver of environmental pollution and climate change. But if we compare Yale University’s ranking of countries with the highest environmental performance with the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, a very different correlation emerges.

For more than 20 years, Yale University has been publishing the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) and ranking countries according to their environmental health and ecosystem vitality. The EPI uses 32 performance indicators across eleven issue categories:

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Poll: Biden Approval Rating Hits New Low

President Joe Biden’s approval rating has dropped to its lowest level since taking office.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that Biden’s approval rating has plummeted in recent months among steadily rising inflation, a difficult withdrawal from Afghanistan, and other economic issues.

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Retail Sales Grew in October as Shoppers Faced Higher Prices Entering the Holiday Season

U.S. retail sales increased in October as shoppers faced the largest price increase in 30 years entering the holiday season.

Retail sales, a measure of how much consumers spent on goods, increased 1.7% in October, far exceeding September’s 0.7% figure, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday. Core sales, excluding autos, jumped 1.7% in October.

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Investigator Who Helped Unravel Russia Case Says Next Mission Is Forcing Media Corrections

Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville speaks with Acting Defense Secretary Christopher C. Miller and Miller’s Chief of Staff Kash Patel, at the opening of the National Museum of the United States Army, Fort Belvoir, Va., Nov. 11, 2020. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

The congressional investigator who played a key role in unraveling the Russia collusion narrative says his next mission is to force the news media to make necessary corrections to the avalanche of false stories they produced over the last many years.

“The course correction that I’ve been trying to work on since I left government service is you have to find a way to correct the media,” Kash Patel told Just the News.

“Because for years, they lied to 50% of the American population who believe everything they said, that Trump was in bed with Russians and Putin and that Trump was getting paid. And Trump knew that Vladimir Putin was using U.S. dollars to kill American soldiers.”

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Trump Comes to Bannon’s Defense, Says Contempt Prosecution Proof ‘USA Is a Radicalized Mess’

Steve Bannon and Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump on Sunday came to the defense of Steve Bannon, suggesting the Biden Justice Department’s prosecution of his ex-adviser on contempt of Congress charges was evidence that America is a “radicalized mess.”

“This Country has perhaps never done to anyone what they have done to Steve Bannon and they are looking to do it to others, also,” Trump said, making a likely reference to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows who also has been threatened with contempt charges if he doesn’t cooperate with the House investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

The 45th president suggested his former advisers were being treated more harshly than American adversaries like China and Russia.

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Biden Approval Rating Falls to 42 Percent

President Joe Biden’s approval rating has fallen to 42%, according to a new NBC News poll; his disapproval rating hit 54%, up 6 points from August.

The majority polled, 71%, including nearly half of registered Democrats, say the country is headed in the wrong direction. Republicans and Independents say the country is headed in the wrong direction, 93% and 70%, respectively, with 48% of Democrats saying the same.

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Commentary: When the Regular Joes Shrugged

Until recently, conservatives were the party of business. They defended the business world not as a necessary evil or because of its efficiencies, but because they thought it exemplified an enterprising, individualist morality. It respected rights of contract, served as an arena for creativity, and allowed socially useful competition. Even now, Republicans condemn the Left’s programs as creeping socialism, seemingly forgetful of the last decade in which corporations became the vanguard of the cultural revolution.

Part of American conservatives’ embrace of capitalism comes from its historically central place in American life. Americans had tamed the wilderness and become an industrial powerhouse by the middle of the 20th century. Most of this activity was rooted neither in the pursuit of glory nor religious conviction—as, perhaps, with Spanish colonialism—but by ordinary economic self-interest, the spirit of Yankee ingenuity.

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American Airlines Cancels More Flights Citing Weather and Labor Shortage

American Airlines plane in the air

American Airlines canceled 340 flights on Monday after cutting almost 2,000 flights during the weekend due to staffing shortages and weather delays, multiple sources reported.

The airline cut 343 flights Friday, 548 Saturday, and over 1,000 Sunday, according to American Airlines data obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The company canceled 2,291 flights as of Monday morning, representing over 10% of its schedule.

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Democrats Laden $3.5 Trillion Budget Bill with ‘Green New Deal’ Handouts

Field of sunflowers with several wind turbines in the distance

Democrats have inserted numerous provisions and subsidy programs into their $3.5 trillion budget that would benefit green energy companies and speed the transition to renewables.

The Build Back Better Act would invest an estimated $295 billion of taxpayer money into a variety of clean energy programs in what would amount to the most sweeping climate effort passed by Congress, according to a House Committee on Energy and Commerce report. That price tag doesn’t factor in the other costly measures approved by the House Ways and Means, Agriculture, Natural Resources, Oversight and Transportation committees last month.

“This bill is crammed with green welfare subsidies, specifically for corporations and the wealthy,” House Ways and Means Ranking Member Kevin Brady told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.

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Jen Psaki: Biden Wants to Use Pandemic to ‘Make Fundamental Change in Our Economy’

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki proudly declared on Tuesday that Joe Biden is using the pandemic to inflict “fundamental change” on the American economy.

When asked during the White House press briefing whether some programs in Biden’s $4.5 trillion budget proposal should get cut, Psaki rejected the notion, asserting that the pandemic was the perfect opportunity for Democrats to exploit the pandemic.

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Locales Across Georgia See Good Employment News; Big-Government and Union-Friendly States Less Well-Off

Georgia has a lower percentage of unemployed residents now than it did immediately before COVID-19 arrived, with some locales, like Warner Robins, experiencing their lowest jobless rates ever.

In Sept. 2020, around six months after the pandemic hit, the small city just south of Macon had a 5.3-percent jobless rate. Two months ago, Warner Robins’s rate fell to 2.9 percent, the city never before having seen such a small fraction of its residents out of work.

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Manchin Reportedly Calls on Democrats to Push Budget Back to 2022

Joe Manchin

Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin reportedly said in private that the “strategic pause” he has pushed for regarding his party’s budget should last through the end of the year.

Manchin’s remarks, first reported by Axios, would mean a sharp departure from Democrats’ long-stated goals, which include passing both the budget and the bipartisan infrastructure bills before the end of September.

His remarks align both with a Wall Street Journal op-ed he wrote earlier this month and recent comments he made calling for a “pause” on the budget as Congress addressed other priorities ranging from a messy Afghanistan withdrawal to multiple natural disasters.

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Retail Sales Surprisingly Increased Last Month After Plummeting in July

Woman checking out a business

Retail sales unexpectedly increased last month despite continued challenges facing the economy as it recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

Sales ticked up 0.7% in August relative to July and totaled $618.7 billion, according to a Census Bureau report published Thursday. E-commerce, furniture, general merchandise, building materials and energy purchases drove last month’s sales increase.

Dow Jones economists had expected sales to decline 0.8%, CNBC reported. In July retail sales posted a sharp 1.8% decline as coronavirus cases surged, the Census report said Thursday.

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Commentary: New Study Vindicates States that Canceled Expanded Unemployment Welfare Early

Debate over the welfare state is once again making headlines. On Monday, the expanded unemployment welfare system was finally allowed to expire after more than a year. Originally created as a “short-term” measure authorized for a few months in March 2020 then repeatedly extended, these benefits paid many of the unemployed more than their former jobs, with benefits reaching up to $25/hour in dozens of states.

Dozens of Republican-led states chose to end the benefits early. This week’s termination of enhanced benefits was in the Democrat-run states that maintained the expanded payouts, and with their lapse, the debate over whether these benefits were disincentivizing work was reignited.

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The Global Chip Shortage Will Have a Major Impact on Consumers

Computer mother board

The global chip shortage is beginning to impact consumers, driving up prices of smartphones, vehicles and personal electronics as manufacturers struggle to keep up with rising demand.

“We’re seeing 5% to 10% price increases right now,” Glen O’Donnell, vice president and research director at Forrester, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “They will increase more as this issue drags on.”

Semiconductors, the internal components essential to the functioning of almost every electronic device, have been in short supply since early 2020 due to high consumer demand of mobile electronics cloud services, and other products that require computer chips, according to O’Donnell. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the problem by stalling semiconductor production and disrupting supply chains, with demand for consumer electronics only skyrocketing due to more people working from home.

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Hunger Didn’t Rise During Pandemic Thanks to Government Programs, Study Says

Two men in grocery aisle, shopping

The expansion of several government programs last year likely prevented hunger from rising despite the sudden economic downturn caused by the pandemic, a study showed.

The percentage of U.S. households that reported food insecurity was virtually unchanged in 2020 compared to the year prior despite the recession, according to a report from the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service released Wednesday. More than 20.5 million Americans lost their jobs in April 2020 as state and local officials implemented strict restrictions on business activity to curb the spread of coronavirus, Labor Department data showed.

“This is huge news — it shows you how much of a buffer we had from an expanded safety net,” Urban Institute researcher Elaine Waxman told The New York Times. “There was no scenario in March of 2020 where I thought food insecurity would stay flat for the year. The fact that it did is extraordinary.”

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U.S. Economy Added Just 235,000 Jobs in August, Way Short of Economists’ Projections

Woman organizing table contents in restaurant

The U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in August and the unemployment rate fell to 5.2%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.

The number of unemployed people decreased to 8.4 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Economists projected 720,000 Americans — roughly three times the actual number — would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“Despite the delta variant, there is still an opening up of the service sector of the U.S. economy,” Nationwide Mutual Insurance Chief Economist David Berson told the WSJ. “While that started some months ago, it’s not nearly complete.”

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Inflation Measure Surges Again, Hits New Three-Decade High

People on an escalator in an indoor shopping mall

An index measuring inflation surged at an annual rate of 4.2% last month, reaching its highest level since 1991, according to the Department of Commerce.

The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index, which measures prices, increased 4.2% in the 12-month period between August 2020 and July 2021, according to a Department of Commerce report published Friday. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the index spiked 3.6%, the report showed.

The last time consumer prices increased this much in one year was more than three decades ago in January 1991, CNBC reported. The figure reported Friday is in line with what economists expected.

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Retail Sales Dipped in July Amid Spiking Coronavirus Cases

Woman shopping

Retail sales in the U.S. declined in July as the number of coronavirus cases spiked, localities renewed some restrictions and businesses delayed their return to in-person work.

Sales dropped 1.1% in July compared to June and totaled $617.7 billion, according to the Census Bureau report released Tuesday. The decrease was driven mainly by declining used and new car sales, clothing purchases, building materials sales, sports goods sales and furniture purchases.

Economists expected retail sales to fall 0.3%, a relatively modest drop compared to the actual decline, CNBC reported. All major stock market indices declined between 0.5% and 0.8% on Tuesday morning following the worse-than-expected report.

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Biden ‘Inflation Tax’ Erases Gains in Workers’ Pay, as Democrats’ Own Economists Admit Fears

Person using Apple Pay at cafe

One promise from the U.S. economy emerging from the pandemic was that American workers would benefit from a tight labor pool driving up salary and pay. And while that happened, the benefits have all been erased by the sudden surge of inflation on President Biden’s watch.

That means workers aren’t running in place, they are actually falling behind as rising prices force middle- and working-class families to make hard choices, like whether to fill the gas tank or the refrigerator.

Inflation topped out at 5.4% in July, the government reported Wednesday, the third straight month above 5%. When President Trump left office in January, inflation was in check at just 1.4%.

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U.S. Economy Added Whopping 943,000 Jobs in July as Recovery Accelerates

Group of people gathered, talking next to an office desk

The U.S. economy reported an increase of 943,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate fell to 5.4%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.

Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 850,000 in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, and the number of unemployed persons decreased to 8.7 million. Economists projected 845,000 Americans would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“The jobs recovery is continuing, but it’s different in character to any we’ve seen before,” payroll software firm ADP economist Nela Richardson told the WSJ. “I had been looking at September as a point when we could gain momentum—with schools back in session and vaccines widely available. But with the delta variant, we need to rethink that.”

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The Congressional Budget Office Says the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Will Increase Deficits by $256 Billion over 10 Years

The Congressional Budget Office estimated Thursday that the bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill will add $256 billion to the deficit over the next decade, undercutting its backers’ claims the spending had been offset.

In FY2020, the deficit hit a record $3.1 trillion. So far in FY2021, the deficit is $2.2 trillion. The national debt is climbing to $29 trillion for the first time in U.S. history.

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Jobless Claims Fall Below 400,000, Hit Economists’ Expectations

Unemployment sign

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims decreased to 385,000 last week as the economy continues its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics figure released Thursday represented a slight decrease in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending July 24, when 399,000 new jobless claims were reported. That number was revised down from the 400,000 jobless claims initially reported last week.

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Report: Private Companies Added Half as Many Jobs as Expected in July

Private companies added 330,000 jobs in July, far fewer than expected and the lowest amount since February, according to a major payroll report.

The 330,000 jobs added to private payroll last month represented a significant decline from the 680,000 jobs added in June, the ADP National Employment Report showed. Economists predicted that private companies would add 653,000 jobs in July, nearly double the number reported Wednesday, according to CNBC.

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Commentary: The Elites’ Abuse of Average Americans

Man in camo holding an American flag

When I went to pick up my laundry last week, one of the employees, who had just finished folding my clothes, began weeping. “This is the last load I’ll ever do here,” she said in a choked voice. “They’re letting us all go.”

That one little stifled sob described more than just one woman bemoaning the loss of her job. In it was the relentless cry of the average American who is increasingly crushed by the ignorance of our elites.

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Key Inflation Measure Spikes Again, Hits Highest Level Since 1991

Person in white shirt, walking into Gap store

A consumer price measurement used by the Federal Reserve to track inflation spiked again in June and hit its highest level since 1991, government data showed.

The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index increased 4% over the 12 months between July 2020 and June, according to a Bureau of Economic Analysis report released Friday. Excluding volatile energy and food prices, the index spiked 3.5% in that same 12-month period.

The index increased 0.5% in June, in line with economists’ forecasts, CNBC reported.

“Inflation has increased notably and will likely remain elevated in coming months before moderating,” Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell said during a press conference this week. “As the economy continues to reopen and spending rebounds, we are seeing upward pressure on prices, particularly because supply bottlenecks in some sectors have limited how quickly production can respond in the near term.”

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PayPal Teams Up with Far-Left Anti-Defamation League to Target Right-Wing Users

PayPal outside shot of logo

On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a far-left hate group, announced a new initiative in conjunction with the online payment processor PayPal, aimed at targeting so-called “extremist and hate movements” on the platform, the Daily Caller reports.

The partnership is led by the ADL’s “Center on Extremism,” and will involve the ADL studying the use of PayPal’s services by alleged “extremists,” and sharing their findings with politicians and law enforcement, for the purpose of disrupting “the financial pipelines that support extremist and hate movements.” PayPal’s Chief Risk Officer Aaron Karczmer released a statement celebrating the new program as having the potential to make “an even greater impact than any of us could do on our own.”

PayPal has frequently and exclusively targeted conservatives in recent years, while ignoring actual extremism from the Left. Following the peaceful protests at the United States Capitol on January 6th, PayPal suspended its services for several organizations and individuals that paid for travel expenses for people attending the march, which was in protest of the widespread voter fraud that took place in the 2020 election. PayPal also banned the anti-terrorism website Jihad Watch in August of 2017, after Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters attacked a peaceful right-wing protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, leading to the death of one left-wing protester.

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Janet Yellen Warns of ‘Irreparable Harm’ If Congress Doesn’t Raise the Debt Ceiling

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned congressional leaders Friday that failing to raise the debt ceiling would risk “irreparable harm to the U.S. economy and the livelihoods of all Americans.”

In a letter, Yellen said that she did not know how long the Treasury Department could prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its debt, which could carry catastrophic economic consequences. The debt ceiling is set to expire on Aug. 1.

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Biden’s Approval Rating Hits Lowest Point Since Taking Office

Joe Biden in the office

As President Joe Biden faces concerns over the economy and the crisis at the southern border, his polling numbers have dipped to the lowest point since he took office.

Polling data released by Gallup found that Biden’s approval rating has dropped to 50%, down six points from the previous month.

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Jobless Claims Surge Past 400,000, Far Higher Than Economists’ Expectations

The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims increased to 419,000 last week as the economy continues its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics figure released Thursday represented a large increase in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending July 10, when 368,000 new jobless claims were reported. That number was revised up from the 360,000 jobless claims initially reported last week.

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Small Business Owners Struggling to Find Workers

Small Business Struggle

Small business owners are continuing to have problems attracting new workers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and are trying to entice them with new incentives, a new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows.

“Small businesses are bearing the brunt of the current worker shortage,” said Tom Sullivan, vice president of small business policy at the Chamber. “Many have given up on actively recruiting new workers as it is too hard to find skilled and experienced workers for their open positions.”

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