Saturday, April 4, 2020


Philadelphia’s Only Surging Industry

Even under Covid-19 lockdown, crime flourishes in the City of Brotherly Love.
April 2, 2020
Public safety

Last week, Philadelphia’s police department reported that criminal activity in the first three months of this year increased by double-digit percentages when compared with the same period in 2019—the most violent year since 2007. So far in 2020, property and violent crimes have spiked by 16 percent and 11 percent, respectively, with the largest increases in retail theft—which skyrocketed 59 percent, after district attorney Larry Krasner announced that his office wouldn’t prosecute that crime—and other serious violent offenses, such as aggravated assault, up by 20 percent.
Though the Philadelphia Inquirer has tried to downplay the spike in crime, statistics show that, even as the Covid-19 pandemic unfolds, crime has increased overall, despite a slight dip during the city’s first full week of shutdowns. According to the city’s managing director, Brian Abernathy, the police department has deployed officers in more visible posts along commercial corridors to prevent property crime during the outbreak. This news, however, comes just a week after Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, newly transplanted from Portland, announced that her department—in response to the pandemic—will no longer make arrests for all narcotics offenses; thefts from persons, retail, and autos; burglaries, vandalism, and fraud; and prostitution. In addition, she announced a moratorium on bench-warrant arrests. The relaxed enforcement is motivated by health concerns for officers and inmates.
In an internal memo, Outlaw stated that officers should “temporarily detain the offender for the length of time required to confirm identity (this may require the deployment of mobile fingerprint scanners); prepare all relevant paper work; [and] release offender.” Then, once the alleged criminal is released back on the streets, the department sends an arrest-warrant affidavit to the district attorney’s charging unit. If the charges are approved, detectives will obtain arrest warrants to “be served at a later time.” Outlaw continued: “If an officer believes that releasing the offender would pose a threat to public safety, the officer will notify a supervisor, who will review the totality of the circumstances and utilize discretion, in the interests of public safety, in determining the appropriate course of action.”
These policies will perpetuate Philadelphia’s 

violent-crime problems. Last week, 

shooting targeted a man at a birthday party. 

Those shot included a one-year-old, 14-year-old, 

and four others. The reports of 

daily shootings continue, some in traditionally 

safe neighborhoods. It seems like violent crime is

the only “business” surging in Philadelphia during

the Covid-19 crisis.
Though decarceration and non-enforcement amid the pandemic aren’t unique to Philadelphia, the district attorney has attracted attention for his aggressively progressive tactics. Prior to becoming DA, Krasner was a wealthy defense lawyer who occasionally represented protest groups like Black Lives Matter. He had sued the police department some 75 times before running for office, branding the law-enforcement community he now leads as “systemically racist.” He supported aggressive decarceration policies. Since winning election in November 2017, with the help of financial backing from George Soros, he has not changed his approach, even after the onset of the Covid-19 crisis.
Crime has steadily risen in Philadelphia during Krasner’s tenure. He opposes cash bail and sends numerous violent criminals to diversionary programs called Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). Some of the results: a video-recorded shooting of a store clerk with an AK-47 by an offender with multiple priors; a barricaded siege-and-hostage situation resulting in the nonfatal shootings of six police officers; and the recent murder of a decorated Philadelphia SWAT team corporal by a suspect with warrants and parole violations. His policies have already earned Krasner the scrutiny of the state supreme courtstate and federal attorneys general, the U.S. Attorney, and President Donald Trump.
Krasner’s office is also embroiled in ethics 

scandals. He has found himself the subject of 

litigation for firing 31 prosecutors in his first 

weeks in office. A year later, those seasoned 

employees were replaced by progressive college 

graduates who couldn’t pass the bar exam. In 

addition, Krasner was sued for terminating the 

Victim Services Chief, Tami Levin, and replacing

her with Movita Johnson-Harrell, a campaign 

donor and now-incarcerated politician. He also 

hired a former creditor of the DA’s office for a 

position with a $160,000 annual salary.
The DA’s office has been exposed for harassment and violating the civil rights of veteran police detective Derrick “Jake” Jacobs; appointing a disbarred lawyer to its senior staff; and plea bargaining or dismissing violent-crime charges in politically contentious cases—without consulting witnesses—for crimes ranging from domestic assault to homicide. It’s no surprise, then, that Krasner’s office is accused of resisting legally filed public-records requests into its activities.
Yet Philadelphia’s rising crime can’t be attributed solely to a dysfunctional district attorney. Mayor Jim Kenney recently began criticizing Krasner’s policies, but his hiring practices only compound the problem. Kenney replaced the well-respected police commissioner Richard Ross, for example, with Outlaw, who came from one of America’s most progressive cities. Under the new commissioner, Philadelphia’s law-enforcement community may feel less motivated to pursue criminals.
In order for Philadelphia to become a safer place to live, work, and visit, the city must encourage transparency in law enforcement, from the police department to the DA’s office. Criminal-justice reform shouldn’t be pursued at the expense of community safety. Philadelphia needs to adopt proven crime-control and prevention strategies while giving second chances to former offenders who have proved themselves rehabilitated.
The city’s current tactic of refusing to enforce the law endangers public safety, and its leading newspaper’s attempt to soft-pedal these realities insults the intelligence of Philadelphians, who know enough to trust what they see with their own eyes.


Today, we're celebrating 25th Anniversary of Alien Nation: Common Sense About America's Immigration Disaster by offering you $20 off: all copies signed by the author.

There are only 21 paperback, and 44 hard copies left before this out-of-print book is gone.

Study: More than 7-in-10 California Immigrant


More than 7-in-10 households headed by immigrants in the state of California are on taxpayer-funded welfare, a new study reveals.

The latest Census Bureau data analyzed by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) finds that about 72 percent of households headed by noncitizens and immigrants use one or more forms of taxpayer-funded welfare programs in California — the number one immigrant-receiving state in the U.S.
Meanwhile, only about 35 percent of households headed by native-born Americans use welfare in California.
All four states with the largest foreign-born populations, including California, have extremely high use of welfare by immigrant households. In Texas, for example, nearly 70 percent of households headed by immigrants use taxpayer-funded welfare. Meanwhile, only about 35 percent of native-born households in Texas are on welfare.
In New York and Florida, a majority of households headed by immigrants and noncitizens are on welfare. Overall, about 63 percent of immigrant households use welfare while only 35 percent of native-born households use welfare.
President Trump’s administration is looking to soon implement a policy that protects American taxpayers’ dollars from funding the mass importation of welfare-dependent foreign nationals by enforcing a “public charge” rule whereby legal immigrants would be less likely to secure a permanent residency in the U.S. if they have used any forms of welfare in the past, including using Obamacare, food stamps, and public housing.
The immigration controls would be a boon for American taxpayers in the form of an annual $57.4 billion tax cut — the amount taxpayers spend every year on paying for the welfare, crime, and schooling costs of the country’s mass importation of 1.5 million new, mostly low-skilled legal immigrants.
As Breitbart News reported, the majority of the more than 1.5 million foreign nationals entering the country every year use about 57 percent more food stamps than the average native-born American household. Overall, immigrant households consume 33 percent more cash welfare than American citizen households and 44 percent more in Medicaid dollars. This straining of public services by a booming 44 million foreign-born population translates to the average immigrant household costing American taxpayers $6,234 in federal welfare.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder. Sues the New York Times

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Read the new details of the complaint here.
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Meanwhile, the jobs of millions of workers are being wiped out in what is rapidly developing into the deepest economic slump since the Great Depression.

As the coronavirus tolls soar worldwide

Deaths from COVID-19 in New York double in three days

The number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in New York state has doubled in the past three days, from 1,550 to more than 3,200, with more than 102,000 cases statewide. New York City alone accounts for about half of these, with 1,600 dead and 57,000 cases. The country as a whole now has, as of this writing, 277,161 cases and 7,392 deaths, including a record 32,284 new cases yesterday and 1,321 deaths.
New York is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and is rapidly becoming the epicenter of the pandemic worldwide. There are now just under 1.1 million confirmed cases of the disease internationally, and less than a quarter have so far recovered. An estimated 4 billion people around the world are under some form of stay-at-home order. To date, more than 56,000 men, women and children of all ages have died, placing the current average fatality rate at 5.4 percent.
Other countries with surging coronavirus cases include:
  • Italy: 119,827 cases and 14,681 deaths

  • Spain: 119,199 cases and 11,198 deaths

  • Germany: 91,159 cases and 1,275 deaths

  • France: 64,338 cases and 6,507 deaths

  • Iran: 53,183 cases and 3,294 deaths

  • Britain: 36,168 cases and 3,605 deaths

  • Turkey: 20,921 cases and 425 deaths
This was the context in which President Donald Trump gave yet another press conference on Friday combining self-praise, bullying of the press, stonewalling and outright lies. In prepared remarks, Surgeon General Jerome Adams stated that, “We now know that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms,” and that they “can transmit the virus to others before they show symptoms.”
What blatant falsifications! Health experts in China and the World Health Organization (WHO) warned in January that the novel coronavirus was spreading so fast because those who were contagious often did not show symptoms for up to 14 days. It is the primary reason that the WHO has for months stressed the need to “test, test, test” for the virus. The US itself recognized this fact in January when it began two-week quarantine periods for all people traveling from Wuhan, the first epicenter of the pandemic.
Trump again displayed his criminal indifference to the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people who are infected in the country, summed up in his response to a question about appeals from states and municipalities for desperately needed medical equipment. “We’re not a shipping clerk,” he snapped.
At the same time, he casually mentioned that the various oil executives with whom he had met earlier in the day, multimillionaires all, “were all given the [coronavirus] test before they came into the room.” Trump himself “had the test yesterday.” He seemed oblivious to the reality of millions of ordinary Americans, including those with symptoms, being denied testing, while the wealthy and well-connected have no problem getting access to the test.
He once again absolved himself of any responsibility for the dearth of masks, protective gear, ventilators and other critical medical supplies, blaming the Obama administration. After Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive and lobbyist, asserted, falsely, “For fifteen years now, this country has had a massive effort at the federal, state and local level of preparedness for a pandemic,” Trump gave no indication why lifesaving equipment needed to fight a pandemic was not available. He silenced a reporter by stating, “You should speak to the previous administration, because the shelves were empty.”
Trump blamed New York for its lack of ventilators, declaring, “They should’ve had more ventilators at the time.” Despite warnings from Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio that they will be unable to care for new critical patients next week, Trump said, “We happen to think that [Cuomo] is well-served with ventilators.”
In the meantime, Trump’s much ballyhooed deployment of field and naval hospitals to New York City has proven to be a cruel deception. The hospital ship Comfort, which has been docked in the city’s harbor for a week, has only taken on a mere 20 out of a potential 1,000 patients.
Deborah Birx, the Coronavirus Task Force response coordinator, continued the whitewashing efforts by declaring that only “when we get through this” could there be any “questions about could we have done some piece of this better.”
This is a bipartisan position. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she was establishing a bipartisan committee to monitor the federal response to the COVID-19 crisis. But she stressed that its mandate would be to oversee the “here and now” and not be “retrospective,” i.e., that the Democrats would oppose any serious investigation into the criminally negligent response of the government to the virus.

No mention was made by any member of the political establishment or media of the workers who are dying after being forced to stay on the job without adequate protective equipment. Five workers at Ford and eight at Fiat Chrysler have so far died after being exposed to the virus at work. Instacart, Amazon and Whole Foods workers have walked out to demand that the corporations—the latter two owned by multibillionaire Jeff Bezos—ensure that their employees are protected from the ravages of the disease.
While New York is the most seriously hit, many other regions in the country are facing a similarly catastrophic situation. New Jersey, Michigan, California, Massachusetts, Louisiana and Florida all have at least 10,000 cases and at least 170 deaths. Cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Seattle and New Orleans are particularly inundated. Their health care systems are likely a week behind the breakdown taking place in New York City.
One of the many reasons these and other areas are unable to cope with the crisis is the pervasive and massive price gouging on basic medical supplies. Gloves are often four times the regular price, while masks are marked up as much as 15 times. Hospitals in upstate New York owned by Arnot Health report that Blank Industries has tried to force them to buy N95 respirator masks for $4.92 each, and only if they order one million at a time. Such large orders of masks before the pandemic would have cost less than $50,000.
Such chaos and criminality are hallmarks of capitalism, which puts profit before human life.
With each passing day, it becomes ever clearer that the American ruling class has no intention of taking any measures that will prevent the pandemic from claiming hundreds of thousands and potentially millions of lives. Rather, all of the efforts of the entire political establishment and both corporate-controlled parties are devoted to protecting and even increasing the wealth of the financial oligarchy, as seen in the $6 trillion corporate bailout package passed last week with virtually unanimous support from both Democrats and Republicans—including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Meanwhile, the jobs of millions of workers are
being wiped out in what is rapidly developing 
into the deepest economic slump since the 
Great Depression.

The vital social resources needed to contain this pandemic and care for those infected must be seized by the working class from the capitalist owners and transformed into public utilities under the democratic control of the working people, as part of a centrally planned socialist economy based on the satisfaction of social needs, not private profit.

New York City is lying about Chinese virus death rates

The mass hysteria over COVID-19 in the U.S. is driven in large measure by misleading statistics and bad math about the disease’s body count.
Now that New York has become the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, we are now regularly inundated on cable TV news with the latest pandemic statistics from the city.  The statistics grow gloomier by the hour.
These figures have frightened people into submission as state and local governments across America enact repressive measures they say are necessary to contain the virus or slow its proliferation. 
After doing everything in their power to oust President Donald Trump, journalists and others are now calling him a weakling for supposedly not doing enough, while they demand an unprecedented nationwide crackdown.
The problem starts with the fact that the highly influential statistics from the Big Apple paint a false picture of what is actually happening.
In New York City, the death of anyone who dies who tests positive for COVID-19 is counted as a coronavirus death.  This is the case even if the coronavirus failed to play a significant role in the person’s passing or illness. 
This calculus violates established scientific standards.
Brit Hume of Fox News read about New York City’s unscientific methods in a Twitter thread initiated by a thoughtful user named Adam Townsend (@adamscrabble).
Hume tweeted April 1:  “Very informative thread.  Explains why NY’s Covid 19 fatality numbers are inflated.  They don’t distinguish between those who die with the disease and those who die from it.”
A medical doctor once explained this critical distinction to me.
Arguing against ordering excessive tests for his patients, he said that plenty of old people die who have cancer present in their bodies.  Sometimes they don’t even know the cancer is present because the growth is tiny and slow-growing and doesn’t affect them.  As they age, they die of some other cause even though they do in fact have cancer.  When they die, it is not counted as a cancer-caused death because the cancer cannot be said to have killed them.
New York City’s government isn’t the only one worldwide doing this.
In an open letter to Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, Professor Emeritus of Medical Microbiology at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, wrote:
"[T]he mistake is being made worldwide to report virus-related deaths as soon as it is established that the virus was present at the time of death – regardless of other factors.  This violates a basic principle of infectiology:  only when it is certain that an agent has played a significant role in the disease or death may a diagnosis be made.”
Infectiology, also known as infectology, is “a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, management and treatment of various infectious or contagious diseases,” according to Medihub
Why do the rules of infectiology not apply to the Chinese virus?

Photo illustration by Monica Showalter with use of public domain images from Pixabay

US jobless numbers head toward Depression levels

US job-loss figures for March, which show employers cut the workforce by 710,000, are only the start of what is shaping up to be the deepest collapse of the labour market since the Great Depression—one, moreover, that is occurring at a much faster rate.
The official March data are a significant underestimation because they are based on surveys conducted in the first two weeks of the month, before widespread lockdowns were in place. Since then, some 6.6 million people filed for unemployment benefits this week on top of the 3.3 million who submitted claims two weeks ago.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said the report reflected “some of the early effects” of the pandemic and it was not possible to “precisely quantify” its full effects over the month.
But even though the latest data are an underestimation, they nevertheless express the speed of the crisis. More jobs were lost than in any month since the worst days of the 2007-2009 recession. The unemployment rate for March rose to 4.4 percent from 3.5 percent in February, the largest one-month increase since January 1975.
More than half the job losses, 417,000, were at restaurants and bars, among the first areas affected by shutdowns. The job losses exceed all the gains over the past two years.
Hotels and other hospitality areas recorded 42,000 job losses. Retailers cut 46,000 jobs, health care employment went down 43,000. Manufacturing lost 18,000 jobs and construction 29,000.
A report in the Wall Street Journal said the real situation was much worse than the headline figures indicated. It was likely that 3 million had lost their jobs, with the bad news only just beginning.
Even though understated, the article described the employment report as “stunningly grim.” It noted that economists, on average, had expected only a “modest loss of 10,000 jobs.”
The BLS report showed that the number of unemployed people increased by 1.35 million from February to March. But this may also be an underestimate, as those who have given up looking for work, because there are no jobs available, are not included in the unemployment rate. The number of people who consider themselves to be employed fell by 3 million.
Forecasts by Oxford Economics are that the US will have lost 27.9 million jobs by May and the unemployment rate will have shot up to 16 percent. This means that in the space of just a few weeks, all expansion of employment since 2010 will have been wiped out.
The Congressional Budget Office has said that the unemployment rate will go over 10 percent in the second quarter.
The rapidly rising US jobless numbers are only one expression of the plunge of the world economy into deep recession, if not depression. All talk of a V-shaped recovery and a sharp rebound, common just a month, ago has gone.
Today, the Financial Times reported: “The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown imposed on both sides of the Atlantic has pushed the global economy into the sharpest downturn since the Great Depression.”
It drew this conclusion on the back of the jobs data in the US and the latest purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the services sector of the UK economy. With a level of 50 indicating neither expansion nor contraction, it fell from 53.2 in February to 34.5 in March.
IHS Market, which conducts the surveys, said it was the fastest fall in the services sector since it began taking the survey in 1996.
PMI data across Europe have all fallen by about 20 points, indicating that levels of business activity are going below those reached at the worst stage of the 2008-09 global financial crisis. One set of PMI data in Italy hit the lowest level on record at 17.4.
Speaking on a joint television presentation with the World Health Organisation, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, said: “This is a crisis like no other. Never in the history of the IMF have we witnessed the world economy coming to a standstill. It’s way worse than the global financial crisis.”
She warned that just as COVID-19 hit hardest at individuals with pre-existing conditions, so the economic impact would take its worst toll on weaker economies.
The demand for IMF financing has skyrocketed. “In, fact, never in the 75 year history of our institution have so many countries found themselves in need of emergency financing—85 countries have approached us so far, all at one time,” she said.
The assets of so-called emerging market economies are being dumped on a scale never seen before. According to the Institute for International Finance, foreign investors have withdrawn $95 billion from stocks and bonds in the period since January 21. This is a rate of withdrawal four times faster than took place in the global financial crisis.
The fall in oil and commodity prices is a major factor in the crisis, as producers in Latin America and Africa have seen the price drop from near $70 a barrel to somewhere between $20 and $30.
And the job cuts in restaurants, bars, hotels and the hospitality industry in the major economies are sending out shock waves around the world. A large portion of the workforce in these areas are foreign-born workers who send remittances to their families in their countries of origin in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. These remittances are now drying up, putting a further strain on foreign currency reserves.
Much worse is to come, as major rating agencies move to downgrade emerging market corporate bonds and other financial assets. Yesterday, Fitch cut its rating on the debt of Mexico’s state oil company, Pemex, to junk status and forecast that the company would have a clash outflow of between $15 and $20 billion for the year.
If other rating agencies follow Fitch, then investors who are required to hold only investment grade debt will be forced to sell. This could trigger turbulence in the unstable junk bond market that goes beyond Pemex and oil.


Hungary Taxes Multinational Chains, Banks to Fund Health Worker Bonuses

ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The Hungarian government says it will impose new taxes on multinational retail chains and banks to boost state budget revenues needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Retailers will pay about $106 million and banks about $162 million, while a vehicle tax totalling $100 million normally paid by car owners to municipalities will be transferred to the central budget.
Gergely Gulyas, Prime Minister Viktor Orban´s chief of staff, also said Saturday that political parties will lose 50 per cent of their state funding, saving the budget about $3.5 million.
Gulyas said health sector employees will get a bonus of about $1,500 at the start of summer.

Measures totaling 18-20 per cent of GDP to counter the economic effects of the pandemic will be announced early next week.
Hungary has reported a total of 678 confirmed virus cases and 32 deaths.

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HealthLondon / EuropePoliticsChinacoronavirusCOVID-19HungarypandemicViktor OrbánWuhanWuhan virus

Bullard Says Unemployment Could Rise to 30%

Photo by John Vachon/Library Of Congress/Getty Images
23 Mar 2020523
The unemployment rate in the U.S. could hit 30 percent, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said in Bloomberg News interview.
“This is a planned, organized partial shutdown of the U.S. economy in the second quarter. The overall goal is to keep everyone, households and businesses, whole,” Bullard said. “It is a huge shock and we are trying to cope with it and keep it under control.”
That would be the highest rate of unemployment since the Great Depression.
Bullard said he expects economic growth to plunge 50 percent in the second quarter but for the economy to bounce back later in the year, so long as the appropriate measures are taken by the fiscal and monetary authorities.
“I would see the third quarter as a transitional quarter,” Bullard said. The next six months, however, could be very strong. “Those quarters might be boom quarters,” he said.
Bullard also said the Fed was far from being “out of bullets,” as some Fed watchers have claimed.
“There is more that we can do if necessary,” he said. “There is probably much more in the months ahead depending on where Congress wants to go.”

Donald Trump’s Economic Record Isn’t What He Says It Is

He claims the economy is “the best it has ever been.” A closer look at the data tells a different story.
February 5, 2020
U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr
Donald Trump has been on a mission this week to distract from his impeachment by touting his administration’s economic record. First, he launched a 30-second ad after the Super Bowl promising that “the best is yet to come.” Then, in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Trump highlighted the “American Comeback.” The speech was full of audacious—and characteristically inaccurate—claims: “our economy is the best it has ever been”; the “average unemployment rate … is lower than any administration in the history of our country”; and “wages are rising fast.”
The reality, however, doesn’t match Trump’s 
rhetoric. In fact, it would take much longer than a 
30-second commercial to highlight the many 
ways that the U.S. economy isn’t working for all
Still, the moment provides an opening for Democratic presidential candidates to challenge the president’s record.
In 2019, for instance, the gap between the richest and poorest households in the United States reached its highest point in more than 50 years. The number of Americans without health insurance continues to climb following years of declines since the passage and implementation of Obamacare. And household debt is now in excess of $14 trillion, exceeding the pre-recession high.
Even with low unemployment, wage growth is lagging. The most recent employment report reported wages increasing by just 2.9 percent over the last year. With inflation at 2.1 percent, that’s not much of a pay raise. To the extent that wage growth has picked up in recent months, a major contributor has been increases in state and local minimum wages that Republicans and the president opposed.
Trump’s signature legislative accomplishment, the 2017 tax cut, has produced none of its promised benefits, including the $4,000 pay raise that he and his allies promised to American workers. 
In fact, as a result of the tax cut, 91 companies in the Fortune 500 paid no federal taxes last year. The country’s six biggest banks saved $32 billion at the same time that they laid off more than 1,000 employees.
The tax cut has also failed to produce the “four, five and even six percent” economic growth that Trump promised. In the fourth quarter of 2019, the GDP growth of 2.1 percent was lower than both the growth rate before the tax cut was passed in 2017 and the average of Obama’s second term (2.4 percent). Instead, the tax cuts have produced annual budget deficits of $1 trillion, which Trump has signaled may lead to cuts in Social Security and Medicare, in addition to his ongoing efforts to erode the social safety net.
Ironically, despite the president’s pledge to help the “forgotten men and women,” blue-collar job growth—which includes construction, manufacturing, and mining—remains anemic, only growing at 0.8 percent in 2019 compared to 2 percent in Obama’s final term.
What’s more, the ongoing trade war plunged the manufacturing sector into recession last year, which has stunted economic growth in states like Wisconsin and Michigan. Tensions with China produced a 24 percent increase in farm bankruptcies last year, with the most coming from Wisconsin. The Congressional Budget Office estimated recently that Trump’s trade policies will cost American households an average of $1,277 this year.
Worse yet, employers reported the highest number
of layoffs in four years. For workers who are able 
to find new jobs, data shows they earn about 10 
percent less than before. That gap is even greater 
for workers who were at the same job for three 
years or more.
But while the economic reality under Trump is troubling for most Americans overall, it’s even more daunting for African-American workers, who have an unemployment rate almost twice as high as white workers. Displaced African Americans earn 13 percent less in their new jobs. Those who were employed for three or more years earned 31 percent less in their new jobs.
Despite the headlines, too many workers are not feeling the economic boom Trump describes. Instead of making investments to provide Americans with the world-class education and training needed for 21st-century jobs, the president and the Republican Congress chose stock buybacks to benefit the wealthy and a temporary sugar high for the economy that has now worn off.
Democrats can and should challenge Trump on the economy in 2020. Millions of workers are looking for good jobs and a pay raise. Policies to build an economy for all should be central to any campaign’s message. But it’s more than just good politics. Building an economy that works for the 90 percent instead of just the top 10 percent is sound economic policy.
“The remarkable thing is how weak wages are, how weak the economy is, given that as a result of the tax bill we have a $1 trillion deficit.”


Donald Trump is ‘just wrong’ about the economy, says Nobel Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz

President Donald Trump told business and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland last week that the economy under his tenure has lifted up working- and middle-class Americans. In a newly released interview, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz sharply disagreed, saying Trump’s characterization is “just wrong.” 
“The Washington Post has kept a tab of how many lies and misrepresentations he does a day,” Stiglitz said of Trump last Friday at the annual World Economic Forum. “I think he outdid himself.”
In Davos last Tuesday, Trump said he has presided over a “blue-collar boom,” citing a historically low unemployment rate and surging wage growth among workers at the bottom of the pay scale.
“The American Dream is back — bigger, better, and stronger than ever before,” Trump said. “No one is benefitting more than America’s middle class.”
Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University who won the Nobel Prize in 2001, refuted the claim, saying the failure of Trump’s economic policies is evident in the decline in average life expectancy among Americans over each of the past three years.
“A lot of it is what they call deaths of despair,” he says. “Suicide, drug overdose, alcoholism — it’s not a pretty picture.”
The uptick in wage growth is a result of the economic cycle, not Trump’s policies, Stiglitz said.
“At this point in an economic recovery, it’s been 10 years since the great recession, labor markets get tight, unemployment gets lower, and that at last starts having wages go up,” Stiglitz says.
“The remarkable thing is how weak wages are, how weak the economy is, given that as a result of the tax bill we have a $1 trillion deficit.”
As the presidential race inches closer to the general election in November, Trump’s record on economic growth — and whether it has resulted in broad-based gains — is likely to draw increased attention.
“The middle class is getting killed; the middle class is getting crushed," former Vice President Joe Biden said in a Democratic presidential debate last month. "Where I live, folks aren't measuring the economy by how the Dow Jones is doing, they're measuring the economy by how they're doing," added Pete Buttigieg, a Democratic presidential candidate and former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
Trump has criticized Democrats for tax and regulatory policies that he says will make the U.S. less competitive in attracting business investment.
“To every business looking for a place where they are free to invest, build, thrive, innovate, and succeed, there is no better place on Earth than the United States,” he said in Davos.
Stiglitz pointed to Trump’s threats last week of tariffs on European cars to demonstrate that turmoil in U.S. trade relationships may continue, despite the recent completion of U.S. trade deals in North America and China.
“He can’t help but bully somebody,” Stiglitz said.
Max Zahn is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Find hi