The House of Representatives today voted 371-48, with massive majorities in both parties, in favor of another $578 billion military spending bill to cover the remainder of fiscal year 2017. The bill now moves on to the Senate, where it again is expected to easily pass. The exact meaning of the figures is a little difficult to understand this time around, because Congress had already passed a military spending bill for fiscal year 2017 back in December, which was $611 billion. That bill was only ever intended to be a fraction of what was to be spent, aiming to give way to a second “emergency” bill before April, which is today’s bill, which would cover the rest of the year. That said, there is a lot of overlap between the two and the overall budget is not just a matter of adding the two together.
The American economy has slowly compressed the middle class into a minority group. When the manufacturing sector slowly eroded away, waiting in the wings to replace those higher paying jobs was low wage service sector employment. Now as it turns out the top 10 largest occupations in the United States are occupied by low wage service sector fields. Contrast this to the last generation where many of the top largest occupations paid a wage that was enough to propel someone into the middle class. Out of the top 10 occupations, there is only one job that pays a higher wage and this requires a college degree and specialized training.
The Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC), an entity created to “guarantee” pensions of private corporations, is on the verge of bankruptcy. Teamsters and other unions are poised to take huge pension hits. Previously, airline employees have taken a hit.
Strip away the centralized power that protects and funds cartels, and prices would plummet. The mainstream narrative is “the problem is low wages.” Actually, the problem is the soaring cost of living. If essentials such as healthcare, housing, higher education and government services were as cheap as they once were, a wage of $10 or $12 an hour would be more than enough to maintain a decent everyday life.
Last year, the kiosks were coming. It didn’t take them long to get here. Wendy’s plans to install self-ordering kiosks in 1,000 of its stores — about 16 percent of its locations — by the end of the year.
A prominent 47-year-old hedge fund trader was killed when he jumped from a luxury apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, in an apparent suicide, authorities told the NY Post.
Americans now hold an incredible $4.1 trillion in consumer debt. This latest data shows that Americans are now back to having an insatiable appetite for spending beyond their means. Unlike mortgage debt, consumer debt is not building up any future equity here. The largest category of consumer debt is student loan debt. Even at the peak of the last debt bubble, consumer debt totaled roughly $2.5 trillion. While student debt makes up about $1.4 trillion of the consumer debt here, auto debt is above $1 trillion. We’ve also seen a large rise in subprime auto debt suggesting that people are borrowing beyond their means to consume. Delinquencies are also rising suggesting any tiny slip up in the overall economy and this credit bubble can burst too.
The New York Teamsters Road Carriers Local 707 Pension Fund has won the unfortunate award for “First Pension to Officially Run Out of Money.” According to the New York Daily News, and a host of angry former truck drivers who’ve had their pension benefits slashed, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) has officially been forced to step in and take over payments to retirees of the Local 707, albeit at a much lower rate.
Most taxpayers will never pay $10,000 in flights for an overseas trip, but in the year prior to the 2016 election, taxpayers paid for 557 such trips that each cost more than $10,000 for a member of Congress or a staffer. Those five-digit global itineraries made up 40% of all individual congressional trips for which travel costs were publicly reported. By comparison, less than 0.2% of tickets purchased by the general public through U.S. travel agencies in 2015 and 2016 were more than $10,000, according to the Airlines Reporting Corp.
President Donald Trump is seeking what he called a “historic” increase in defense spending, but ran into immediate opposition from Republicans in Congress who must approve his plan and said it was not enough to meet the military’s needs. The proposed rise in the Pentagon budget to $603 billion comes as the United States has wound down major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and remains the world’s strongest military power.
Jobs. That is what the marijuana industry hopes will keep the Trump administration from cracking down on cannabis companies. A new report from New Frontier Data projects that by 2020 the legal cannabis market will create more than a quarter of a million jobs. This is more than the expected jobs from manufacturing, utilities or even government jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS says that by 2024 manufacturing jobs are expected to decline by 814,000, utilities will lose 47,000 jobs and government jobs will decline by 383,000. This dovetails with data that suggests the fastest-growing industries are all healthcare related.
Americans are truly in denial over the transformation of global labor markets, where robots could replace almost 50% of all workers by 2030. As this further necessitates a Universal Basic Income, people will exist at the instance of the state.
The wave of automation that swept away tens of thousands of American manufacturing and office jobs during the past two decades is now washing over the armed forces, putting both rear-echelon and front-line positions in jeopardy.