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After Dramatic Obamacare Failure, Trump Now Faces A Looming Government Shutdown He May Not Be Able To Prevent

If you thought that the Obamacare debacle was bad, just wait until you see what happens next.  The continuing resolution that is currently funding the government expires on April 28th, and if a new funding agreement is not reached prior to that time, there will be a government shutdown like we witnessed in 2013 starting on April 29th.  Unfortunately, as I will explain below, if a government shutdown happens it may go for a lot longer than just a couple of weeks this time around.

April 28th may sound like it is quite some time away, but because the congressional calendar has so many “holes” in it, there is actually not very much time for Congress to act.

If you can believe it, there are only 12 “legislative days” between now and April 28th, and if something is not done on one of those 12 days the government will shut down on April 29th.

Needless to say, a government shutdown would greatly rattle the financial markets.  Thanks to the Obamacare disaster, the Dow has now experienced its longest losing streak in six years, and another down day for the Dow on Tuesday would make it the longest losing streak since 1978.

With the Republicans in control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, you would think that a government shutdown would be unlikely.

Sadly, that is not the case.  In fact, political reporter Mike Allen says that a “top Republican” told him that a government shutdown on April 29th is “more likely than not”…

A top Republican with close ties to the White House tells me that after the GOP failure on healthcare, a government shutdown — looming when a continuing resolution runs out April 28 — is “more likely than not… Wall Street is not expecting a shutdown and the markets are unprepared.”

And Chris Krueger of Cowen Washington Research Group today will warn financial clients: “Hello April 29 government shutdown.”

That’s Day 100 of the Trump presidency, by the way.

During a government shutdown, essential government services continue to operate, but everything else ceases.  Huge numbers of government employees are temporarily furloughed, government parks are closed, and some government agencies pretty much quit functioning at all.  The last time this actually happened was in 2013

The issue confronting Trump is similar to the one that President Obama and then-House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio faced in 2013: a block of conservative Republicans who are willing to vote ‘No’ instead of bowing to pressure from the White House, Wall Street, and even powerful establishment interest groups.

But unlike then, a single party holds all three major levers of power in government.

The government shut down for more than two weeks in 2013 after Tea Party members refused to backdown and tried to use the leverage of a shutdown to defund Obamcare.

So why would conservative members of Congress want to force a government shutdown in 2017?

Well, for one thing we continue to add more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt.  During the Obama era, the U.S. national debt rose from 10.6 trillion dollars to just under 20 trillion dollars.

In a just society, the politicians that have been stealing trillions of dollars from future generations of Americans would be put in prison, but instead we have just come to accept that selling our children and our grandchildren into debt slavery is normal.

We have got to quit going into so much debt, and so someone needs to take a stand, and it is becoming clear that it won’t be President Trump.

Just a few weeks ago, Trump made his intentions crystal clear during a conversation with New York Times Magazine contributor Robert Draper

When I spoke with Trump, I ventured that, based on available evidence, it seemed as though conservatives probably shouldn’t hold their breath for the next four years expecting entitlement reform. Trump’s reply was immediate. “I think you’re right,” he said. In fact, Trump seemed much less animated by the subject of budget cuts than the subject of spending increases. “We’re also going to prime the pump,” he said. “You know what I mean by ‘prime the pump’? In order to get this” — the economy — “going, and going big league, and having the jobs coming in and the taxes that will be cut very substantially and the regulations that’ll be going, we’re going to have to prime the pump to some extent. In other words: Spend money to make a lot more money in the future. And that’ll happen.” A clearer elucidation of Keynesian liberalism could not have been delivered by Obama.

In other words, Trump wants to take government spending to an even higher level than Obama did.

And Trump is certainly correct that this would help the economy in the short-term, but it would also be extremely destructive to the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.

In addition to addressing our exploding national debt, conservatives in Congress are going to want to tie defunding Planned Parenthood to any agree to continue funding the government…

  • The current continuing resolution to fund the government expires on April 28.
  • The conservative House Freedom Caucus — the group Trump blamed on Twitter this morning for killing his Obamacare replacement bill — will almost certainly make defunding the women’s health group and country’s biggest abortion provider a non-negotiable condition for it to support the government funding bill.
  • That’s a big problem. There’s no way a bill that defunds Planned Parenthood gets 60 votes in the Senate.

This is the issue that could force a government shutdown to last for an extended period of time.

Today the Republicans control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives.  If Planned Parenthood is not going to be defunded now, it never will be.

If I was a member of the Freedom Caucus, I would make defunding Planned Parenthood my line in the sand.  These butchers systematically kill millions of American babies, they auction off the body parts to the highest bidders, and the federal government gives them approximately 500 million dollars a year to keep operating.

If President Trump and Paul Ryan choose to fight the Freedom Caucus over defunding Planned Parenthood, any agreement to fund the government will not have enough Republican votes in the House.  But any bill which defunds Planned Parenthood will get filibustered by Democrats in the Senate.

There is always the possibility that President Trump could turn his back on the conservatives in Congress and try to make a deal with the Democrats, but then he would have to get that deal passed by a Republican-controlled House and a Republican-controlled Senate.

To me, it is worth forcing a government shutdown in order to defund Planned Parenthood.

If Donald Trump decides that he wants to do a deal that includes continued funding for Planned Parenthood that is not okay.

Let me repeat – that is not okay.

If Donald Trump or any other Republican member of Congress agrees to a deal that includes continued funding for Planned Parenthood, that will mean that the blood of all the children that are murdered by Planned Parenthood from that day forward will be on their hands too.

Most people don’t realize this, but this is actually one of the most critical moments in American history.

If President Trump and the Republicans defund Planned Parenthood, that will be an exceptionally good thing for our country.

But if President Trump and the Republicans choose not to do this, there will be no more excuses left to offer, and I believe that the consequences for our nation will be far more severe than most people would dare to imagine.

Member Of Congress Warns Of A 1,000 Point Stock Market Crash If Obamacare Lite Does Not Pass

Obamacare LiteAre we going to see a dramatic stock market plunge if the effort to get “Obamacare Lite” through the U.S. House of Representatives ultimately fails?  On Thursday, a vote on the Republican healthcare bill was postponed once it became clear that there would not be enough votes for it to pass.  House Republican leaders are still optimistic that there will still be a vote on Friday, but that is far from certain.  Many strong conservatives in the House are balking at supporting this bill because while it does eliminate a few of the most troublesome provisions of Obamacare, it keeps many of the elements of Obama’s signature healthcare law that have proven to be popular with the American people.  In other words, this bill is much more about “tweaking” Obamacare than “repealing” it.

This is the first major legislative test for President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, and so far they are failing.  House Republican leaders have gone into panic mode, because a “no” vote could have some very serious implications outside of Washington.  In fact, one member of Congress is warning that if this bill does not pass that we could see the Dow drop 1,000 points in a single day

It happened in real life on Sept. 29, 2008, when the House first voted on a Wall Street bailout intended to stem the financial crisis. In a swirl of uncertainty, Republican members stampeded to “no,” defeated the measure and watched the Dow tumble by more than 700 points. The same thing could happen on the GOP health bill, a veteran member told CNBC on Thursday — only bigger.

“If this goes down, we could take a 1,000-point market hit,” the member said. To be sure, traders and investors tell CNBC the market likely will go lower if there is no compromise Thursday, but the decline won’t likely come near a 1,000-point drop. That would represent a nearly 5 percent drop in the Dow, a bit less than the 7 percent decline when the index fell 777 points in September 2008.

And even if this bill does pass, we are probably headed for some sort of significant downturn anyway.  Sven Henrich has just told CNBC that he believes that “the market could see a 5 to 10 percent drop in the near term”…

The market has enjoyed a stellar bull run, but a correction is likely looming, according to Sven Henrich, also known as the “Northman Trader.”

A very long-term analysis of the S&P 500, in conjunction with a look at the CBOE Volatility Index, leads Henrich to believe the market could see a 5 to 10 percent drop in the near term.

But fixing our failing healthcare system is far more important than trying to prop up the financial markets, and so the strong conservatives in the House are quite right to stand by their principles.

Simply “tweaking” Obamacare is not going to fix anything, and it is extremely disappointing that President Trump and Paul Ryan are advocating such an approach.

Thankfully, there are a number of strong conservatives in Congress that are willing to take a stand for what is right even if it means standing up against their own party.  One of those principled conservatives is Senator Rand Paul, and he says that right now there are at least 35 Republican “no” votes in the House, and that would be enough to kill the bill…

I think there’s easily 35 no votes right now so unless something happens in the next 24 hours, I would predict they pull the bill and start over. I think if conservatives stick together, they will have earned a seat at the table where real negotiation to make this bill an acceptable bill will happen. But it’s interesting what conservatives are doing to change the debate. We went from keeping the Obamacare taxes for a year—hundreds of billions of dollars—but they’re coming towards us because we’re standing firm. So we have to stick together, and if we do stick together there will be a real negotiation on this. The main goal I have is not to pass something that does not fix the situation. If a year from now, insurance rates and premiums are still going through the roof and it’s now a Republican plan it will be a disservice to the president and all of us if we pass something that doesn’t work.

If this bill is ultimately defeated, I have an idea that might work.

Why don’t we get the government out of the healthcare business entirely?

Once upon a time when we actually let the free market determine the allocation of healthcare resources, we had the best healthcare system in the entire world.

But after decades of experimenting with socialist principles and adding mountains of rules, regulations and red tape to the system, we have a giant mess on our hands.

Either we need to go back to a true free market system, or we might as well go ahead and just socialize the entire thing.

Right now, hard working families have to pay for their own healthcare and also pay for the socialized healthcare that more than 125 million other Americans are receiving.

Yes, when you add up all of the Americans that are on Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare and other government programs, it comes to more than 125 million people.

So a lot of hard working families are scared to ever go to the hospital because their insurance deductibles are so high, and yet their taxes go to pay for all of the free healthcare that people on government assistance are receiving.

If the government is going to pay for the healthcare for nearly half the country, why should the rest of us have to pay for ours?

What we have now is such a ridiculous system, and what President Trump and Paul Ryan are proposing is not “free market” in any way, shape or form.

So I say let this horrible bill fail even if it means that financial markets will freak out for a little while.

Hopefully what transpires over the coming days will cause Republican leadership to go back to the drawing board, and a clean repeal of Obamacare would be a really good place to start.

How Angry Will You Be If The Republicans In Congress Do Not Repeal Obamacare?

Obamacare Report Card - FacebookTop Republicans are now publicly saying that Obamacare will never be fully repealed. In fact, many Republicans in Congress are already using the term “repair” instead of “repeal” to describe what is going to happen to Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law. Without a doubt, the Republicans in Congress are eventually going to do something, but strategists in both parties are now suggesting that most of the key elements of Obamacare are going to remain once everything is all said and done. It will be put into a more “conservative” package, but it will still be Obamacare.

On Thursday, former House Speaker John Boehner made headlines all over the country when he said that a complete repeal of Obamacare is “not what’s going to happen”.  Instead, Boehner said that Republicans are going to “fix Obamacare” and that they will “put a more conservative box around it” in order to keep their constituents happy.

Of course this isn’t what we voted for. For years, Republican politicians all across the country have been promising that Obamacare would be repealed once they got control of Congress, but now Boehner is telling us that all of that was just “happy talk”

Earlier in the panel discussion, Boehner said he “started laughing” when Republicans started talking about moving lightning fast on repeal and then coming up with an alternative.

“In the 25 years that I served in the United States Congress, Republicans never, ever, one time agreed on what a health care proposal should look like. Not once,” Boehner said. “And all this happy talk that went on in November and December and January about repeal, repeal, repeal—yeah, we’ll do replace, replace—I started laughing, because if you pass repeal without replace, first, anything that happens is your fault. You broke it.”

When the Republicans finally get around to doing something, they will inevitably declare it to be a great victory, but will it actually be that much different from what we have now?

Yes, the IRS penalty for not having health insurance will probably go. But there will still be coverage for children up to the age of 26, there will still be mandatory coverage for preexisting conditions, there will still be mandatory coverage for maternity expenses, there will still be some form of Medicaid expansion and there will still be subsidies for the poor.

In the end, we are still going to have a healthcare system where half the country pays for the healthcare for the other half of the country.

That isn’t fair, and it never will be.  One half of the country shouldn’t have to pay much higher rates for their own health insurance and also pay for the healthcare of everyone else in the nation as well.  Either we should go back to a free market system, or they might as well go ahead and socialize the entire thing.

The thought of sticking with what we have right now is utter insanity, but unfortunately that is what top Republicans mean when they speak of “repairing” Obamacare. The following comes from the New York Times

“When you talk about ‘repeal,’ you have just used a word that is very polarizing,” said Representative Tom MacArthur, Republican of New Jersey, who meets weekly with moderate Republicans and Democrats of equal number. “When you go to Democrats and say, ‘Help us repeal,’ that puts them in a box. If you say, ‘Would you help us repair something?’ people start listening in a whole other way.”

How in the world do you “repair” a steaming pile of garbage?

I just don’t understand.

What the Republicans need to do is very simple. As Jim Demint has suggested, the Republicans in Congress simply need to pass the same Obamacare repeal that Barack Obama vetoed not too long ago…

Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, the former South Carolina Republican senator, called on activists attending the Conservative Political Action Conference to push their members of Congress to send to President Donald Trump the same legislation that dismantled the law and was vetoed by President Barack Obama with all due haste.

“We must and we can repeal Obamacare now,” DeMint said. “They should send that same bill to President Trump right now.”

So what is keeping Republicans in Congress from moving forward?

One thing is the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Some liberal Republicans are promising to vote against any Obamacare repeal bill that defunds Planned Parenthood

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) says she will not vote for an ObamaCare repeal bill that defunds Planned Parenthood.

In her address to Alaska’s state legislature Wednesday, the moderate Republican offered her firmest commitment yet that she will not support defunding Planned Parenthood.

“I, for one, do not believe that Planned Parenthood has any place in our deliberations on the Affordable Care Act,” she said.

Another thing that is giving some Republicans pause are the angry protesters that they are running into at town hall meetings…

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Reps. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Tom McClintock of California are among Republicans who faced hostile audiences at recent town hall meetings.

This comes after the Women’s March on Washington that drew hundreds of thousands of protestors the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

“Republicans need to be paying attention and doing their best to understand the energy from the town halls,” said Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of Inside Elections, a Washington-based publication that tracks congressional races.

Of course a lot of those “angry protesters” are from Barack Obama’s private army of more than 30,000 volunteers that are being deployed around the nation in a desperate attempt to defend Obamacare.

In the end, the truth is that the Republicans should be listening to the voters that sent them to Washington in the first place. Most of those voters expected an immediate Obamacare repeal, and now that it has not happened it is making for a very confusing tax season. The following comes from Politico

Republicans’ stalled campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act is sowing confusion among those now trying to do their taxes.

Many taxpayers believe Republicans have already repealed the law, tax preparers say, and they’re surprised and upset to learn they are still subject to Obamacare’s penalty for failing to have health insurance — a charge that climbed this year to more than $2,000 per family.

Until it is repealed, Obamacare will continue to kill jobs and will continue to kill the middle class.

It was one of the worst pieces of legislation ever written, and it boggles the mind that so many Republicans in Congress are hesitant about repealing it.

Unfortunately, just as I portray in my novel, America is rapidly going crazy.

We have been given over to a reprobate mind, and our leaders can’t even seem to think straight any longer.

If Obamacare is going to be repealed, now is the time. Please contact your representatives in Congress and tell them that a “fix” will not work and that we want Obamacare to be completely repealed and replaced with a free market alternative.

Here Come The Robots – And They Are Going To Take Almost All Of Our Jobs

Robot Human Hand - Public DomainWhat is going to happen to society when robots are able to do just about everything better, faster and cheaper than human workers can?  We live at a time when technology is increasing at an exponential pace.  Incredible advancements in robotics, computer science and artificial intelligence are certainly making our lives more comfortable, but they are also bringing fundamental changes to the workplace.  For employers, there are a lot of advantages to replacing human workers with robots.  Robots don’t surf around on Facebook when they are supposed to be working. Robots don’t need Obamacare, lunch breaks or vacation days. Robots never steal from the company and they never complain.  Up until fairly recently, human workers could generally perform many tasks more cheaply than robots could, but now that is rapidly changing.

For example, a coffee shop has just opened up in San Francisco that is manned by a robot instead of a human…

Tired of your barista misspelling your name on your morning cup of joe? Perhaps a robot could do better. On Monday, Cafe X opened its very first robotic cafe in San Francisco’s Metreon shopping center. Promising “precision crafted specialty coffee in seconds, the way the roaster intended,” Cafe X thinks that anything a human can do, its machines can do better.

Specifically, one very special machine. Nicknamed Gordon, after a Cafe X employee, this robot mans, or robots, two standard professional coffee machines in order to serve up espressos and lattes. In the San Francisco location, customers can grab a cup of coffee with beans from AKA Coffee, Verve Coffee Roasters, or Peet’s. While the coffee itself may not make Cafe X stand out from the competition, the startup hopes that the robot’s efficiency will.

If that coffee shop demonstrates that it can be much more profitable than a coffee shop with human employees, it is just a matter of time before human baristas start to be phased out all over the nation.

A similar thing is happening in many supermarkets.  Personally, I hate the “self-checkout lines”, but you are starting to see them everywhere these days.

And according to the Sun, Amazon is playing around with a concept that would employ hardly any human workers at all…

In the case of Amazon’s automated retail prototype, a half-dozen workers could staff an average location. A manager’s duties would include signing up customers for the “Amazon Fresh” grocery service. Another worker would restock shelves, and still another two would be stationed at “drive-thru” windows for customers picking up their groceries, fast-food style.

The last pair would work upstairs, helping the robots bag groceries to be sent down to customers on “dumbwaiter”-like conveyors, a source said.

With the bare-bones payroll, the boost to profits could be huge. Indeed, the prototype being discussed calls for operating profit margins north of 20 percent. That compares with an industry average of just 1.7 percent, according to the Food Marketing Institute.

During the recent presidential campaign, much was made of the fact that we have shipped millions of good paying jobs overseas over the past several decades.

We can certainly try to make some laws that would keep American workers from losing jobs to foreign workers, but pretty soon workers all over the world are going to be losing millions of jobs to technology, and it is going to be just about impossible to make laws to prevent that from happening.

Just check out what is happening in China.  Many big firms had moved manufacturing to China because labor was much cheaper over there, but now a lot of those cheap Chinese workers are being replaced by robots

Apple’s iPhone manufacturer, Foxconn, in fact, has already begun automating certain work that was previously done by hand. A Chinese government official told a Hong Kong newspaper in May that Foxconn had replaced 60,000 workers with robots at one factory there. And the company is receiving incentives north of Shanghai in the eastern-central Jiangsu Province to accelerate investments in robotics to replace human labor, according to Chinese state media organization Xinhua.

Sadly, this is just the beginning.  According to one study, 49 percent of all activities currently performed by human workers could already “be turned over to some sort of machine or robot”…

About 49% of worker activities can be turned over to some sort of machine or robot, increasingly helped along by artificial-intelligence software, according to consultancy McKinsey.

About 58% of CEOs plan to cut jobs over the next five years because of robotics, while 16% say they plan to hire more people because of robotics, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey.

And Carl Frey of Oxford University has determined that some professions have more than a 90 percent chance of becoming automated in the coming years

The revelations that dependable office jobs such as insurance workers and real estate agents have a more than 97% chance of becoming computerised could now spark fears among the middle class workforce.

‘While low-skilled jobs are most exposed to automation over the forthcoming decades, a substantial number of middle-income jobs are equally at risk.’ Frey told The Times.

Other jobs that feature high on the ‘risk list’ are credit analysts who have a 97% chance of losing their jobs to robots, postal service workers at 95% and lab technicians who have an 89% chance of seeing their role become automated.

So what in the world are we going to do with billions of human workers around the globe that are no longer needed when technology takes virtually all of our jobs?

Some have suggested that the idea of “work” will become a thing of the past, and that society will evolve into a socialist utopia where everything we need is provided for by the government.  In fact, the concept of a “universal basic income” is already being promoted in Europe and elsewhere.

But others see a dystopian future where the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” grows greater than ever before.  Humanity has always been plagued by poverty and greed, and everyone agrees that the gap between the very wealthy and the rest of us has been growing very rapidly in recent years.

Where there is nearly universal agreement is on the fact that big changes are coming.  Workers are going to be displaced by technology at an accelerating rate in the years ahead, and this will present a tremendous challenge for us all.

The End Of The Obama World Order

Barack Obama Looking Into A Mirror - Public DomainFor the past eight years, Barack Obama has been using the power of the U.S. presidency to impose his vision of a progressive world order on the entire globe.  As a result, much of the planet will greatly celebrate once the Obama era officially ends on Friday.  The Obama years brought us the Arab Spring, Benghazi, ISIS, civil war in Syria, civil war in Ukraine and the Iran nuclear deal.  On the home front, we have had to deal with Obamacare, “Fast and Furious”, IRS targeting of conservative groups, Solyndra, the VA scandal, NSA spying and the worst “economic recovery” since the end of World War II.  And right at the end of his presidency, Barack Obama has committed the greatest betrayal of Israel in U.S. history and has brought us dangerously close to war with Russia.

So is the end of the Obama world order worth celebrating?

You better believe it is.

Of course Obama and his minions are in a great deal of distress that much of their hard work over the past eight years is about to be undone by Donald Trump.  On Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden warned the elitists gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos that their “liberal world order” is in danger of collapsing

Vice President Joe Biden delivered an epic final speech Wednesday to the elites at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The gist of his speech was simple: At a time of “uncertainty” we must double down on the values that made Western democracies great, and not allow the “liberal world order” to be torn apart by destructive forces.

And without a doubt, we definitely want it to collapse.

During his time in the White House, Barack Obama has used the full diplomatic power of the government to promote “abortion rights”, “gay rights” and other “liberal values” to the farthest corners of the globe.  Here at home, the appointment of two new Supreme Court justices under Obama paved the way for the Supreme Court decision that forced all 50 states to recognize gay marriage.  During his final press conference on Wednesday, Barack Obama told the media that he was particularly proud of this

Obama said he’s particularly proud of the “transformation” on gay rights during his presidency, which saw monumental Supreme Court decisions on gays in the military and same-sex marriage. Obama said his role was mostly to deliver “a good block downfield to help the movement advance.”

He said gay and lesbian activists deserve most of the credit, and singled out talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, to whom he awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year.

And the final press conference of his presidency also afforded Obama the opportunity to talk about UN Security Council Resolution 2334.  Sadly, Obama still does not have any regrets for betraying Israel so dramatically…

“It was important for us to send a signal, a wake-up call, that this moment may be passing, and Israeli voters and Palestinians need to understand that this moment may be passing,” he said.

As far as many of us are concerned, January 20th cannot get here soon enough.

Somehow we have survived as a nation for the last eight years, but without a doubt a massive amount of damage has been done.

Many are hoping that Donald Trump will be able to start repairing that damage and will work hard to set this nation on a positive course once again.

It still doesn’t seem quite real to me that Donald Trump will soon be residing in the White House.  Perhaps after I watch him being inaugurated on Friday I will feel differently.  And I certainly am not expecting any miracles under Trump, but it sure will be nice to have a new face in the Oval Office.

Right at this moment, moving trucks are in the front of the White House and those that worked for Obama are packing up and leaving.  This is a somber moment for them, but a joyous one for tens of millions of patriotic Americans.  Many of us have been waiting for this for eight long years, and by Friday morning the current White House staff will all be gone

In between closing out final projects and typing up reports on the work they’ve done, White House staffers are packing away their knickknacks, coffeemakers and photos. The boxes stack up in offices already vacated by staffers who have departed over the past few weeks.

By Thursday night, all must be gone to make way for Trump’s team.

Before they leave the building for the final time, they’ll go through a checklist that completes their formal separation from the White House: cell phones handed in, computers locked and papers properly filed to be archived. The last step, aides said, is the hardest: handing in the badge that provides access to the complex day or night.

But just because the left lost the election does not mean that they are ready to roll over and give up.

On the contrary, emotions are running extremely high on the left, and many of them are preparing to make the inauguration of Donald Trump as chaotic as possible.

For instance, on Tuesday night a man actually set himself on fire in front of the Trump International Hotel in Washington…

A protester set himself on fire outside Trump International Hotel in Washington DC on Tuesday.

The 45-year-old man, who has not yet been identified, said the act was in protest of the President-elect’s looming inauguration.

Witnesses described how he yelled ‘Trump’ several times as ‘flames ran up his back’ before lying down in the street.

And it is being reported that radical leftists plan to blockade major roads and metro lines throughout the D.C. region on Friday in an attempt to prevent people from getting to the inauguration of Trump.

So let us rejoice that the Obama world order is ending, but let us also understand that the battle is not over.

In fact, the truth is that the war for America is just beginning.

The election of Donald Trump has energized the left like never before, and they are going to hit his administration with everything that they have got.

Donald Trump is going to need our support, our voices and our prayers if he is going to have any chance to succeed.

And all Americans should want him to succeed, because our nation is at a crossroads, and if we go off on the wrong path we may never find our way back.

As Predicted, Obamacare Is Absolutely Killing The Middle Class

Obamacare Frustration - Public DomainThe critics of Obamacare have been proven right.  The Obama administration promised that health insurance premiums would go down.  Instead, they have absolutely skyrocketed.  The Obama administration promised that Obamacare would not kill jobs.  Instead, firms are hiring fewer workers because of suffocating health care costs.  As you will see below, even the Federal Reserve is admitting this.  The Obama administration also promised that the big health insurance companies would love the new Obamacare plans and would eagerly compete with one another to win customers in the new health insurance marketplaces.  Instead, many of the big health insurance companies are now dropping Obamacare plans altogether.

We witnessed the latest stunning example of this phenomenon just a few days ago.  It turns out that Aetna has been losing hundreds of millions of dollars on plans sold through the health exchanges, and now they plan to pull out of the program almost entirely

Earlier this week, Aetna, which covers about 900,000 people through the health exchanges created under Obamacare, announced that it would dramatically reduce its presence those exchanges. Instead of expanding into five new states this year, as the insurer had previously planned, the company said that it would drop out of 11 of the 15 states in which it currently sells under the law.

Aetna’s decision follows similar moves from other insurers: UnitedHealth announced in April that it would cease selling plans on most exchanges. Shortly after, Humana pulled out of two states, Virginia and Alabama. More than a dozen of the nonprofit health insurance cooperatives set up under the law—health insurance carriers created using government-back loans in order to spur competition—have failed entirely. While some insurers are entering the exchanges, even more are leaving.

Another one of “the big five”, UnitedHealth, is going to lose more than half a billion dollars on Obamacare plans.  So just a few months ago they also announced that they would be dramatically scaling back their participation in the program.

Because of the ridiculous costs, health insurance companies are either going to have to abandon the exchanges completely or they will have to raise rates substantially.

Needless to say, the people that are going to ultimately feel the pain from all of this are consumers

Customers who are now forced to obtain insurance or pay a hefty fine that grows more costly over time are being left in a difficult position. Americans are essentially stuck between a rock and hard place, either losing coverage entirely, or having to cough up money for a plan they can’t afford.

Something has to give,” said Larry Levitt, a healthcare law expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Either insurers will drop out or insurers will raise premiums.

On the low end of the spectrum, tens of millions of poor Americans benefit from government programs that provide health care at little or no cost.

On the other end of the spectrum, the very wealthy can afford to pay the ridiculously high health insurance premiums that we are seeing under Obamacare.

So what this means is that the people that are being hurt the most by Obamacare are those that belong to the middle class.

As I mentioned above, employers are now hiring less workers because of Obamacare, and that is very bad news for the middle class.  One recent study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York discovered that nearly one out of every five firms is “employing fewer workers” because of this insidious law

According to a new survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 20.9% of manufacturing firms in the state said they were employing fewer workers because of the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law known as Obamacare, while 16.8% of respondents in the service sector said the same.

And middle class Americans that have to pay for their own health insurance are being hit with much higher bills these days.  According to one recent study, it is being projected that the average Obamacare premium will go up 24 percent in 2016…

Now, courtesy of a new study by independent analyst Charles Gaba – who has crunched the numbers for insurers participating in the ACA exchanges in all 50 states – we can also calculate what the average Obamacare premium increase across the entire US will be: using proposed and approved rate increase requests, the average Obamacare premium is expected to surge by a whopping 24% this year.

Even NBC News, which is about as pro-Obama as you can get, is reporting on the crippling premium increases that are devastating the middle class…

Millions of people who pay the full cost of their health insurance will face the sting of rising premiums next year, with no financial help from government subsidies.

Renewal notices bearing the bad news will go out this fall, just as the presidential election is in the home stretch.

“I don’t know if I could swallow another 30 or 40 percent without severely cutting into other things I’m trying to do, like retirement savings or reducing debt,” said Bob Byrnes, of Blaine, Minnesota, a Twin Cities suburb. His monthly premium of $524 is already about 50 percent more than he was paying in 2015, and he has a higher deductible.

All over the nation people are getting hit like this.

Personally, my health insurance company wanted to nearly double the rate I was paying when Obamacare fully kicked in.  So I searched around and found another plan that was only about a 30 percent increase, but at least it wasn’t nearly double what I had been paying before.

But when the time came to renew that plan, they wanted to jump my premium up another 50 percent per month.

Those of us that are in the middle are being crushed by Obamacare.  We aren’t poor enough to qualify for government assistance, and we aren’t wealthy enough for these ridiculous health insurance premiums not to matter.

Just about everything that Barack Obama promised us about Obamacare has turned out to be a lie.

So where in the accountability?

This is one of the big reasons why nearly one out of every five U.S. adults lives with their parents or their grandparents these days.  Many young adults cannot afford the basics of life such as health insurance, and so they have got to find a way to cut back expenses somewhere.  If that means moving back in with Mom and Dad, that is what some of them are going to do.

I am astounded that our system of health care has become so messed up.  But this is just more evidence of how our society is falling apart in thousands of different ways, and I am not optimistic that things will be turned around any time soon.

Working 60 Hours A Week At 3 Part-Time Jobs And Still Living Paycheck To Paycheck

Woman Face Skyline - Public DomainWhat can you do when you are working 60 hours a week at three part-time jobs and it is still not enough?  In America today, many people have taken on more than one job in a desperate attempt to make ends meet, but they still come up short at the end of the month.  And those that are actually working are the fortunate ones, because in one out of every five families in the United States nobody has a job.  There are more than 100 million working age Americans that are currently not employed (yes this is true), and as I pointed out yesterday, job cut announcements by major firms are currently running 24 percent ahead of last year’s pace.  But unemployment is just part of the overall problem.  There is this growing misconception out there that if you “have a job” that you must be doing okay.  Unfortunately for the growing number of “working poor” in America, that is not true at all.

Just consider the case of 55-year-old Erlinda Delacruz.  At one time she had a good full-time manufacturing job, but then her factory closed down.  Millions of other Americans have also seen their good paying jobs sent out of the country in recent years, and yet our politicians refuse to do anything about it.  Today, she works 60 hours a week at three different part-time jobs and she still makes less than she once did at the manufacturing plant…

For 15 years, Erlinda Delacruz had a full-time manufacturing job in rural Winters, Texas.

It gave her health benefits and four weeks of paid vacation along with a salary that supported a good life. Then the rug was pulled from under her in 2009, when the plant closed. Since then, it’s been a battle of survival as Delacruz worked a string of part-time jobs. Last summer, she even lost her home to foreclosure.

Delacruz, 55, still works part-time. Except at three different places — Monday through Wednesday she works eight hours a day at a senior citizens center serving meals, and Thursday through Sunday Delacruz divides her time between two other jobs as a cashier at Walmart (WMT) and the Wes-T-Go convenience store.

She told CNN that she lives paycheck to paycheck”, and just like half the country, she is basically flat broke at this point.

Barack Obama promised to be the hero of the working class when he was elected, but it seems like almost everything that he has done has hurt the working class even more.

Take Obamacare for example.  Health insurance premiums have soared through the roof since Obamacare was implemented, and many struggling families now find that they can no longer afford health insurance at all.

And many of those that have signed up for Obamacare are often discovering that many doctors and hospitals won’t even accept their coverage.  The following comes from the New York Times

AMY MOSES and her circle of self-employed small-business owners were supporters of President Obama and the Affordable Care Act. They bought policies on the newly created New York State exchange. But when they called doctors and hospitals in Manhattan to schedule appointments, they were dismayed to be turned away again and again with a common refrain: “We don’t take Obamacare,” the umbrella epithet for the hundreds of plans offered through the president’s signature health legislation.

“Anyone who is on these plans knows it’s a two-tiered system,” said Ms. Moses, describing the emotional sting of those words to a successful entrepreneur.

“Anytime one of us needs a doctor,” she continued, “we send out an alert: ‘Does anyone have anyone on an exchange plan that does mammography or colonoscopy? Who takes our insurance?’ It’s really a problem.”

Unfortunately, things are not going to be getting any better for the working class because we have now entered the early stages of the next major economic downturn.

Earlier today, I received an email from someone that works for a very large company that provides produce for some of the biggest grocery chains in America.  According to him, there has been a dramatic decline in orders coming in recently, and this is something that didn’t even happen during the depths of the last major recession.

So why in the world would that be happening if the economy was in good shape?

I have been receiving similar anecdotal reports from people all over America.  We may not be experiencing a full-blown economic implosion like Venezuela is quite yet, but we are starting to slide in that direction.

And just like in Venezuela and elsewhere around the globe, when economic conditions get harder violent crime goes up.  I have warned that this would happen over and over again, and it is already starting to happen in major cities all over the nation

According to new reports, 2016 is shaping up to be an even more murderous year than last in over two dozen major U.S. cities as homicides rise at their fastest pace yet.

Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Las Vegas have seen the worst, all of which experienced increased homicides in 2015, evidenced by acceleration of murders in the first three months of 2016.

Law enforcement officials and experts are saying the increase over the last year is due to many factors, including an uptick in gang and drug-related violence. Yet, many believe cops and citizens are now interacting differently since the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement has shifted attitudes to distrust police.

Of course we haven’t even gotten to the bad stuff yet.

What we have seen so far is just the very beginning of the chaos that is coming to America.

Before I go today, I want to mention a couple of things.

First of all, the Dow was down another 180 points today, and someone out there is betting unprecedented amounts of money that a major market crash is imminent.  Just check out this chart.  You buy shares of financial instruments such as UVXY because you think that the market is going to implode.  So if there is a giant market crash in our very near future, whoever purchased all of those shares of UVXY stands to make an enormous amount of money.

Secondly, I really started to sound the alarm about German banking giant Deutsche Bank back in September.  And sure enough – their stock price plunged to an all-time record low earlier this year.

But now the whispers are getting louder that even bigger trouble is ahead for this pillar of the European financial system.  The following originally comes from Berenberg analyst James Chappell

Too many problems still: The biggest problem is that DBK has too much leverage. On our measures, we believe DBK is still over 40x levered. DBK can either reduce assets or increase capital to rectify this. On the first path, the markets do not exist in the size nor pricing to enable it to follow this route. Going down the second path also seems impossible at the moment, as the profitability of the core business is under pressure. Seeking outside capital is also likely to be difficult as management would likely find it hard to offer any type of return on new capital invested.

Keep a close eye on Deutsche Bank.  They may very well end up providing us with the next “Lehman Brothers moment” that so many people have been waiting for.

There is so much going on “under the surface” right now, and I am convinced that it will not stay “under the surface” for very much longer.

The global financial system is starting to come apart at the seams even as you read this article, and this is going to have enormous implications for every man, woman and child on the planet in the years ahead.

So as bad as things are for the working class in America right now, the truth is that they are about to get a whole lot worse.

23 Percent Of Americans In Their Prime Working Years Are Unemployed

Unemployment - Public DomainDid you know that when you take the number of working age Americans that are officially unemployed (8.2 million) and add that number to the number of working age Americans that are considered to be “not in the labor force” (94.3 million), that gives us a grand total of 102.5 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now?  I have written about this before, but today I want to focus just on Americans that are in their prime working years.  When you look at only Americans that are from age 25 to age 54, 23.2 percent of them are unemployed right now.  The following analysis and chart come from the Weekly Standard

Here’s a chart showing those in that age group currently employed (95.6 million) and those who aren’t (28.9 million):

Americans In Their Prime Working Years Not Working

“There are 124.5 million Americans in their prime working years (ages 25–54). Nearly one-quarter of this group—28.9 million people, or 23.2 percent of the total—is not currently employed. They either became so discouraged that they left the labor force entirely, or they are in the labor force but unemployed. This group of non-employed individuals is more than 3.5 million larger than before the recession began in 2007,” writes the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee.

Clearly, we have never recovered from the impact of the last recession.

But let’s try to put these numbers in context.

Below, I would like to share two charts with you.  They show what has happened to the inactivity rates for men and for women in their prime working years in the United States in recent years.

In order to be considered “inactive”, you can’t have a job and you can’t be looking for a job.  So this subset of people is smaller than the group that we were talking about above.  The 23.2 percent of Americans in their prime working years that are unemployed right now includes those that are looking for a job and those that are not looking for a job.

These next two charts do not include anyone that has a job or that is currently looking for a job.  These charts only cover “inactive” people in their prime working years that are not considered to be in the labor force.

As you can see in this first chart, the inactivity rate for men in their prime working years exploded higher during the last recession and then continued to go up even after the recession supposedly ended.  At this point, it is hovering near all-time record highs.  Does this look like an “economic recovery” to you?…

Inactivity Rate Men

For women, we see a similar thing.  In this next chart, you can see that the inactivity rate for women in their prime working years rose during the last recession and then just kept on rising.  At this point, it remains far higher than it was during the last recession…

Inactivity Rate Women

What are we to make of all this?

For both men and women in their prime working years, the inactivity rate is significantly higher than it was during the last recession.

All of these people neither have a job nor are they looking for one.

So what in the world is going on here?

Are they independently wealthy?

Have these people found rich spouses to marry so they don’t have to work?

No, the truth is that the middle class in America is steadily eroding and poverty is absolutely exploding.  Credit card debt has soared to a new record high, and 48 percent of all U.S. adults under the age of 30 believe that “the American Dream is dead”.

The issue isn’t that people don’t want to work.

The issue is that people cannot find enough work.

And even if you have a job, that does not mean that you are on easy street.  According to the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

Tens of millions of Americans are now among the ranks of “the working poor”.  So many families are watching their expenses soar while their paychecks go down or stagnate.  If you are in this situation right now, then you probably know how exceedingly stressful it can be.

Just look at what is happening to the cost of health insurance.  The following comes from Fox News

Health insurance premiums have increased faster than wages and inflation in recent years, rising an average of 28 percent from 2009 to 2014 despite the enactment of Obamacare, according to a report from Freedom Partners.

And I am not exactly sure where they got those numbers.  Personally, I know that my health insurance rates have gone up far faster than that.

Two years ago, my health insurance company wanted to double the health insurance premiums for my family even though we never get sick.  So I switched to another insurance company that offered a policy that was only about 30 percent higher than my last one.  But then when it came time to renew, that insurance company wanted to raise my rate by another 50 percent.

Thanks to Obamacare, American families are being absolutely crippled by the cost of health care.  And of course we are seeing the rising cost of living so many other places as well.  Our paychecks are being squeezed harder and harder, and this is absolutely killing the middle class.  In fact, the middle class in America is now a minority for the first time ever.

And now for the real bad news – this is about as good as things are ever going to get in this country.  As you can see from what I have shared above, we never really had any sort of meaningful “economic recovery”, and now we have entered the early phases of the next major downturn.

So where do we go from here?  Unfortunately, our debt-fueled prosperity has provided us with a massively inflated standard of living that is not even close to sustainable.  As this bubble bursts, the economic pain is going to be absolutely unprecedented.

But it won’t be just economic pain that we are facing.  In my new book, I detail the things that I believe that are coming to this country, and I explain why the entire planet will soon be facing incredibly challenging times.  It is going to be one of the most controversial Christian books of 2016, because it directly challenges many of the things that are being taught in mainstream churches today.  My book is an ominous message of warning and an inspiring message of hope, and I truly believe that it is the most important thing that I have ever written.

No matter how you may see the future, the key is that we all learn to love one another.  The years ahead are going to be extremely challenging, and those that want to chase everyone else away and survive as lone wolves are going to have a very rough time.  We all need each other, and those that have friends, family and communities around them are going to be in a much better position to weather the coming storms.

So let us hope for the best, but let us also prepare for the worst…

The Average Age Of A Minimum Wage Worker In America Is 36

Dollar Stacks - Public DomainDid you know that 89 percent of all minimum wage workers in the United States are not teens?  At this point, the average age of a minimum wage worker in this country is 36, and 56 percent of them are women.  Millions upon millions of Americans are working as hard as they can (often that means two or three jobs), and yet despite all of their hard work they still find themselves mired in poverty.  One of the big reasons for this is that we have created two classes of workers in the United States.  “Full-time workers” are entitled to an array of benefits and protections by law that “part-time workers” do not get.  And thanks to perverse incentives contained in Obamacare and other ridiculous laws, we have motivated employers to move as many workers from the “full-time” category to the “part-time” category as possible.  It may be hard to believe, but right now only 44 percent of all U.S. adults are employed for 30 or more hours each week.  But to get any kind of a job at all is a real challenge in many parts of the country today.  As you read this article, there are more than 100 million working age Americans that are not employed in any capacity.  And according to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if the federal government was actually using honest numbers the unemployment rate would be sitting at 23 percent.  That is not an “employment recovery” – that is a national crisis.

The following infographic comes from the Economic Policy Institute.  I certainly do not agree with a lot of the things that the Economic Policy Institute stands for, but I think that these numbers do accurately reflect what “part-time America” looks like today…

Minimum Wage - Economic Policy Institute

So what is the solution to this problem?

Most Democrats believe that raising the minimum wage would fix this.  But as Zero Hedge has pointed out, it isn’t quite that simple…

Last week, we noted that Democratic lawmakers in the US are pushing for what they call “$12 by ’20” which, as the name implies, is an effort to raise the minimum wage to $12/hour over the course of the next five years. Republicans argue that if Democrats got their wish and the pay floor were increased by nearly 70%, it would do more harm than good for low-income Americans as the number of jobs that would be lost as a result of employers cutting back in the face of dramatically higher labor costs would offset the benefit that accrues to the workers who are lucky enough to keep their jobs.

Yes, raising the minimum wage would make life better for many minimum wage workers in America.  But a large number of them would also lose their jobs completely, and a lot of small businesses would deeply suffer financially.

Ideally, what we would love to see happen is for the U.S. economy to be producing so many good jobs that the only people that are looking for entry-level part-time jobs would be teens, people just starting out in the workforce, etc.  Back when I was a teen, I remember walking into a McDonald’s and getting hired on the spot because they were in dire need of workers.  Sadly, those days are long, long gone.

Over the past several decades, millions of good paying American jobs have been shipped overseas, and millions more have been lost to advancing technology.  And as I wrote about the other day, Barack Obama is deeply betraying American workers by working on a global economic treaty that would destroy millions more good paying jobs.

Thanks to the foolishness of our politicians, there is now intense competition even for minimum wage jobs at this point.

We keep hearing about an “employment recovery”, but it is a giant lie.  Posted below is a chart of the civilian employment to population ratio.  As you can see, the percentage of the working age population that is actually employed is much, much lower than it used to be…

Employment Population Ratio 2015

In recent months, we have seen the employment-population ratio move slightly higher.  But can this be called “an employment recovery”?  Of course not.  We are still way, way below the level that we were at just prior to the last recession, and now the next recession is just about upon us.

Meanwhile, the quality of our jobs continues to decline as more Americans are being pushed into “part-time work” with each passing year.

Since February of 2008, the size of the U.S. population has grown by 16.8 million people.  But during that same time frame, the number of full-time jobs in this country has actually decreased.

And at this point, the majority of American workers simply do not make enough money to support a middle class family.  The following income numbers come directly from the Social Security Administration

-39 percent of American workers make less than $20,000 a year.

-52 percent of American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

-63 percent of American workers make less than $40,000 a year.

-72 percent of American workers make less than $50,000 a year.

Are you starting to see why I am so fired up about all of this?

We have developed a business culture in this country which does not care about workers.  In business schools all over America, future executives are taught that a corporation only has one goal – to maximize wealth for the shareholders.  Taking care of those that are part of your team is treated as an afterthought at best.

As corporations have gotten bigger, they have shown less and less concern for those that work for them.  These days, employees are generally regarded as “expensive liabilities” that are to be discarded the moment that their usefulness has come to an end.  And news of layoffs is often rewarded by Wall Street by a surge in the stock prices of the companies making those layoffs.

In the old days, more businesses in America were family-owned, and employees were often regarded as almost “part of the family”.  Unfortunately, those days have disappeared forever.

Now, employees are treated like scum by many big companies, and if they don’t like how they are being treated they are told that they can leave.  For example, just consider what was going on at a security company down in Florida

Jose Molero worked as a site inspector for the company, which provides security for neighborhoods and companies across the country, for more than a year.

Molero says when he went to the Kensington Golf and Country Club guardhouse, he found wooden paddles on a desk, some with staff names on them and one reading “for staff discipline.”

He says there was also what is called a “Wall of Shame,” where the supervisor points out and posts reports that contain grammatical errors.

When Molero complained about these things to his district manager, he was told that if anyone was offended “maybe they shouldn’t work here”…

Molero contacted his operations manager, who told him to speak with the district manager. He says the district manager sent him an email response that said, “if that hurts their feelings then maybe they shouldn’t work here.”

Do you have a similar horror story to share?

Most of us do.

The U.S. economy is absolutely dominated by cold, heartless corporations that have no interest in listening to the little guy.  If they could find a way to do it, many of them would operate with no low-level employees at all.  And as technology continues to advance, they will replace as many of us as they can with robots, drones, machines and computers.

I’ll be honest with you – the future for workers in America looks really bleak.  The competition for any jobs that can’t be shipped overseas or replaced by technology is going to become even more heated.  This means that the middle class is going to get even smaller, the number of Americans dependent on the government is going to continue to explode, and the disparity between the wealthy and the poor is going to become even greater.

So what is the solution to this giant mess?  Please feel free to tell us what you think by posting a comment below…

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