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Author Archives: Cliff Jones

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The financial cost of 16 years in Afghanistan

Trump’s budget: Spends on defense, slashes safety nets President Trump vowed on Monday to beef up the American military presence in Afghanistan, a strategy that promises to extend the longest war in U.S. history and add billions to its financial cost. One current estimate pegs the conflict’s total cost at $841 billion. That comes from Anthony Cordesman, the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Cordesman, who served as a consultant to the Departments of State and Defense during the Afghan and Iraq wars, says that figure includes Trump’s budget request for next year. Related from CNN: Afghanistan: 16 years, thousands dead and no clear end in sight Other estimates place the 16-year cost in the trillions of dollars because they measure a broader range of factors. For instance, Neta Crawford, a co-director of the Cost of Wars Project at Brown University, has ... Read More »

Wall Street doesn't want this Trump official to quit

Cohn outlines Trump tax cuts Wall Street didn’t flinch at the sudden exits of White House officials like Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer. Things may not stay as calm if Gary Cohn follows them out the door. Cohn is President Trump’s top economic adviser, and considered to be one of the most important remaining players in the administration. Cohn has acted as a moderating force on Trump’s populist instincts on delicate issues like trade. Cohn is also quarterbacking the push to cut taxes along with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Cohn is such a vital member of Team Trump that rumors over his resignation due to the president’s handling of the violence in Charlottesville spooked the market last week, briefly causing stocks to drop on Thursday morning. A White House official sought to reassure Wall Street, telling reporters that “nothing has changed,” and that reports of Cohn’s stepping down ... Read More »

JPMorgan gives $1 million to fight hate groups after Charlottesville

James Murdoch’s $1 million donation to ADL JPMorgan Chase is fighting back against hate groups by donating $1 million to nonprofits that expose extremists. The nation’s largest bank announced on Monday that it is giving $1 million to be split equally by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. The donations are part of an effort to address “deep divisions” in the U.S. following a violent white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia this month, the bank said. “The events in Charlottesville have increased the urgency to confront hate, intolerance and discrimination wherever it exists,” Peter Scher, JPMorgan’s head of corporate responsibility, wrote in a memo to employees. JPMorgan(JPM) said it has previously given to both groups, which the bank praised for “tracking, exposing and fighting hate groups and other extremist organizations across the country.” Founded in 1971, the Southern Poverty Law Center is a nonprofit legal group that ... Read More »

China blasts U.S. 'protectionism' after Trump triggers trade probe

Trump probes China’s trade practices China has expressed “strong dissatisfaction” over the Trump administration’s decision to launch an investigation into some of its trade practices. The Chinese Commerce Ministry on Monday accused the U.S. of “unilateralism and protectionism,” saying it will take “all appropriate measures … to safeguard China’s legitimate rights and interests.” Following a request from President Trump, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Friday announced he was formally starting an investigation into whether China is unfairly getting hold of American technology and intellectual property. “After consulting with stakeholders and other government agencies, I have determined that these critical issues merit a thorough investigation,” Lighthizer said in a statement. Related: How China squeezes tech secrets from U.S. companies The process could eventually allow Trump to impose tariffs on Chinese imports or take other punishing trade actions. Let’s block ads! (Why?) Read More »

Often missing in the health care debate: Women's voices

This state line divides the Medicaid debate Women, in particular, have a lot at stake in the fight over the future of health care. Not only do many depend on insurance coverage for maternity care and contraception, they are struck more often by such diseases as autoimmune conditions, osteoporosis, breast cancer and depression. They are more likely to be poor and depend on Medicaid — and to live longer and depend on Medicare. And it commonly falls to them to plan health care and coverage for the whole family. Yet in recent months, as leaders in Washington discussed the future of American health care, women were not always allowed in the room. To hammer out (behind closed doors) the Senate’s initial version of a bill to replace Obamacare, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed 12 colleagues, all male. Some Congress members made clear they don’t see issues like childbirth as a ... Read More »

What if lawmakers or Trump fail on the debt ceiling?

Why raising the debt ceiling is not a license to spend September and October may be the most important months for Congress and President Trump to not fall down on the job. Lawmakers will have to pass legislation on several deadline-driven issues. But of all of them, one is a must-pass, fail-at-everyone’s-peril priority: Raise or suspend the country’s debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said he feels confident that the Treasury can continue paying the country’s bills in full and on time through September 29 without breaching the limit, currently set at $19.81 trillion. Since mid-March, when the most recent debt ceiling suspension expired, Mnuchin has had to use special accounting measures to stay under the limit. He estimates those measures will be tapped out by the end of September. Others, like the Congressional Budget Office, have estimated the so-called X date could come in the first half of ... Read More »

Machines, not Americans, could replace immigrant workers

Fed leader: More rate hikes needed to get to ‘normal’ Jim Bogart sees a growing trend in his patch of America: Farmers are turning more and more to machines because they can’t find enough workers to harvest fruits and vegetables. It’s an issue costing California farmers millions of dollars and, they argue, it will eventuallymean higher food prices at supermarkets. “With the shortage of workers, we have to develop other means to help us grow, harvest and process our crops — robotics, mechanization, automation,” says Bogart, who is president of the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California. The farmers in Bogart’s area aren’t alone. Farmers across the state are investing more in robots and other automated technologies as they struggle to fill job openings, according to a Federal Reserve survey published in July. Related: Trump immigration plan to cost 4.6 million jobs, Ivy League study finds That reality in California may ... Read More »

Trump's war on regulation comes with big tradeoffs

To tweet or NOT to tweet? A question for CEOs, presidents No president in modern history has sought toslash regulationson businesses quite like Donald Trump. And as a result, Internet service providers can sell and track your data without your permission. Coal mining companies won’t be obligated to protect the nation’s streams from debris when extracting coal from mountain tops. Firms that operate in hazardous industries, like electrical contractors and freight truck operators, face looser reporting requirements when their employees get hurt or sickon the job. Electronic cigarette makers won’t have to meet the same labeling and approval processes as other tobacco providers anytime soon due to a delay by the Trump administration. The list goes on. Related: Trump gives banks (a lot of) what they want Since he took office onJanuary 20, Trump has swiftly moved to eliminate hundreds of regulations, often exerting hispresidential powers to unwindor delay rules ... Read More »

The truth about the Republicans' plan for Medicaid spending

This state line divides the Medicaid debate Would the Republican health care plan cut Medicaid spending or not? Trump administration officials and Republican lawmakers say that Congress is not cutting Medicaid, just slowing its growth rate to strengthen the program. Health Secretary Tom Price told CNN this week: “The fact of the matter is the Medicaid proposal in the Senate bill goes up every single year that the plan is in place.” And President Trump himself tweeted that Medicaid spending would rise under the Senate plan, a vote on which was delayed earlier this week after it became clear that the GOP couldn’t muster the support it needed for passage. Democrats purposely misstated Medicaid under new Senate bill – actually goes up. pic.twitter.com/necCt4K6UH — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2017 Yet, the Congressional Budget Office says the Senate bill would reduce federal spending on Medicaid by a total of ... Read More »

Debt ceiling deadline: US could risk default by early October

Why raising the debt ceiling is not a license to spend The Congressional Budget Office on Thursday narrowed its projections for when Treasury might run short on money if lawmakers don’t raise or suspend the country’s debt ceiling. The CBO now estimates that Treasury might risk defaulting on some payments in the first half of October. Previously, it had predicted that the so-called X date — the point when Treasury won’t have enough cash and revenue on hand to pay all bills in full and on time — would come sometime in the fall. “The range of possible dates has narrowed as the budget outlook for this year has become clearer and CBO has increased its estimate of the Treasury’s net borrowing needs,” the agency noted in a new report. Related: Mnuchin cites September as possible debt ceiling crunch Currently the legal borrowing limit is set at $19.81 trillion. Since ... Read More »

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