Big Government, Economics, Politics, Shmuckonomics

US GDP Revised Downward; Nowhere Near 5%

Remember the GOP tax plan requires 5% growth year-over-year to only put a $1.3t hole in the budget.

The Commerce Department on Thursday lowered its estimate for US economic growth in the third quarter as consumer spending was a little weaker than previously reported.Gross domestic product, the total value of every good and service produced in the US, was found to have grown by 3.2%, down from 3.3% in the third estimate. Personal consumption, which makes the biggest contribution to the economy’s growth, was revised down to a 2.2% increase from 2.3%.GDP remained above the 3% pace that President Donald Trump had promised for the US economy while he was campaigning. A strong fourth quarter with growth near this level will be needed to achieve 3% GDP on an annual basis, something the US economy hasn’t achieved since 2005.

5% is suddenly looking lofty.

Source: US GDP revised lower in Q3 2017 third estimate – Business Insider

Politics, Warfare State

Obama Invades Libya, Destabilizes Government Allowing Slave Trades, Kinda Takes Responsibility

Former President Barack Obama has come under criticism after a series of videos showing men and women being sold in a renewed slave trade have gone viral in recent weeks.

Some critics have begun questioning how much the Obama administration contributed to the problem with its 2011 intervention in Libya. Obama has acknowledged the issue before, calling it the “worst mistake” of his presidency.

But as videos showing humans being sold into slavery shocks people around the world, the scrutiny has been renewed.

Well, in fairness, it wasn’t all Barack Obama’s idea.  President-in-Waiting Hillary Clinton wanted it also and probably talked him into it.

Because, you know, you only get freedom by bombing, destabilizing, and enabling slavery.

via Obama blamed for Libyan slave trade as shocking video goes viral

Economics, Politics, Ridiculous, Shmuckonomics

Paul Ryan’s $700 A Year Savings Plan

So Paul Ryan, speaker of the House, tweeted this…

23722507_10212707144946952_2935605813834620996_n.jpg

Let’s meet Cindy, shall we?  At $30,000 she’s living paycheck to paycheck.

If we divide that massive windfall of $700 into 52 paychecks, she now makes (not takes home) an additional $13 a week.

Yeah that’s future-proofing, Mr. Ryan.

But let’s assume that this woman living paycheck to paycheck saves ALL of that $700 a year.

If she’s 25, and retires at 65, that’s 40 years of $700 a year.  That’s $28,000 in savings when she retires assuming all other things stay constant.

If she’s living paycheck to paycheck on $30,000, saves EVERY dollar of your “cut” to her taxes, and keeps saving for 40 years, she’ll not have enough to live her current paycheck to paycheck lifestyle based on inflation being where it is today.

Good plan, sir.  Good plan.

 

Localized, Politics

NY City Councilman Wants to Extend Term Limits

Boy they sure do like their positions of little work and lots of power, don’t they?

A candidate for City Council speaker has drafted a bill to extend term limits for the Council to three terms.

Councilman Jumaane Williams plans to introduce the legislation by the end of the year to allow Council members to serve three four-year terms instead of the current two, if voters approve the idea in a referendum.

Williams is among eight candidates running for Council speaker — all of whom have said they’d support giving their fellow pols a third term.

Of course the city has voted FOR term limits 3 times, even though Bloomberg decided he deserved a third term and got the Council to give him one.

But hey.  Democracy.  The people.  All that.

via City Council speaker candidate wants to extend term limits – NY Daily News

Politics

Money In Politics Is Not A Problem? Oh… Right… Democrats Won…

Political experts have cited many reasons for Democrat Ralph Northams huge win in Tuesdays elections. Credit has gone to the states changing demographics. And to high voter turnout. And to loathing for Donald Trump, which helped drive turnout. Some on the right blamed Republican Ed Gillespie not being Trumpian enough.

One explanation was conspicuous by its absence, however: money.In the closing weeks of the campaign, Northam enjoyed a 2-1 advantage in financing: He went into October with 5.7 million in his pocket, compared to Gillespies 2.5 million. By the time the polls closed, Northam had spent 32 million to Gillespies 23 million.

Northam also got a lot of help. The League of Conservation Voters spent more than 1 million to help him out. Planned Parenthoods Virginia affiliate kicked in 3 million. Environmentalist Tom Steyer threw in another 2 million, Michael Bloombergs gun control group added more than 1 million, a group affiliated with Barack Obama added 1 million more, and so on. Why hasnt this “outside money” been cited as a factor in the race—or as proof that “money buys elections”?

Getting money out of politics is a laughably stupid ambition, mainly because the people that crow the most about the magnitude of that problem are usually fine with “the right kind of money” coming in.

For example, everyone hates Koch money, but no one seems to mind Soros money.  Everyone hates “corporate” money but is fine with “union” money.  Your perspective on whether or not money should be kept out (or whose should be kept out) generally aligns with which color pompoms you carry.

Me?  I don’t give a damn; both sides are corrupt anyway.

via Money in Politics Apparently Isnt So Bad When Democrats Win – Reason.com

Big Government, Politics

Senator Settles $27k Sexual Harassment Suit With Taxpayer Money

Nice work if you can get it.  You can be a scumbag and then, when you get caught, you don’t even have to pay out of your own pocket!

Michigan Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat and the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a former employee who alleged she was fired because she would not “succumb to [his] sexual advances.”

Documents from the complaint obtained by BuzzFeed News include four signed affidavits, three of which are notarized, from former staff members who allege that Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Judiciary Committee, repeatedly made sexual advances to female staff that included requests for sex acts, contacting and transporting other women with whom they believed Conyers was having affairs, caressing their hands sexually, and rubbing their legs and backs in public. Four people involved with the case verified the documents are authentic.

Conyers confirmed he made the settlement in a statement Tuesday afternoon, hours after this story was published, but said that he “vehemently denied” the claims of sexual harassment at the time and continues to do so.

Rep. John Conyers speaks at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 45th annual legislative conference, Washington, DC, September 18, 2015.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

Rep. John Conyers speaks at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 45th annual legislative conference, Washington, DC, September 18, 2015.

And the documents also reveal the secret mechanism by which Congress has kept an unknown number of sexual harassment allegations secret: a grinding, closely held process that left the alleged victim feeling, she told BuzzFeed News, that she had no option other than to stay quiet and accept a settlement offered to her.

“I was basically blackballed. There was nowhere I could go,” she said in a phone interview. BuzzFeed News is withholding the woman’s name at her request because she said she fears retribution.

Last week the Washington Post reported that Congress’s Office of Compliance paid out $17 million for 264 settlements with federal employees over 20 years for various violations, including sexual harassment. The Conyers documents, however, give a glimpse into the inner workings of the office, which has for decades concealed episodes of sexual abuse by powerful political figures.

The woman who settled with Conyers launched the complaint with the Office of Compliance in 2014, alleging she was fired for refusing his sexual advances, and ended up facing a daunting process that ended with a confidentiality agreement in exchange for a settlement of more than $27,000. Her settlement, however, came from Conyers’ office budget rather than the designated fund for settlements.

via She Said A Powerful Congressman Harassed Her. Here’s Why You Didn’t Hear Her Story.