On Monday, a combination of domestic and international factors contributed to a significant reassessment by market participants of the probability of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike in March. Now the markets are pricing in a more realistic probability of 52 percent, up from less than 40 percent last week.
Paul Constant describes what patriotism means to him:Progressives around the country are marking President Donald Trump’s first state of the union address with videos, tweets, and Facebook posts marked with the “#ProudPatriot” hashtag. Here, Mr. Constant wrote a moving Medium piece where puts forward a very admirable vision of patriotism.
It is our duty as Americans to make America better than it was yesterday.This can seem like an impossible task in a time when immigrants and trans Americans face life-threatening consequences from discriminatory, shoddily written executive orders. But I also see people every day who are working to improve the nation, from government employees doing their jobs in uncertain circumstances to protesters fighting for LGBTQ rights to politicians who are trying to do the best they can by their constituents.
Tweet of the day:
Tax-raising liberal Jerry Brown and tax-slashing true believer Sam Brownback took office at the same time. How's it going? pic.twitter.com/hX8qflHSRO
Having a liquid market is valuable, but the market is telling other bond issuers that it wants lots more long-term debt. The Treasury should sell more 30-year bonds, and even 50-year or 100-year bonds to meet that demand.
Ireland, Belgium and Mexico have recently sold 100-year bonds. Ford, Disney and Coca-Cola have sold 100-year bonds as well. The Canadian Pacific Corp. sold a 1,000-year bond.
And many governments, such as the U.K., have issued bonds that have no maturity date at all: Called perpetuals or consols, these bonds continue paying a coupon year-after-year until the principal is redeemed. The U.K. recently redeemed the consols that had financed its earlier wars against Napoleon and the kaiser.
The subtle force of Tom Perez:I, for one, I am quite pleased with the Perez selection and I’m on the far-left flanks of the Democratic Party. Justin Miller at American Prospect has a very good piece on the DNC’s new chair:
Perez has proven himself an able handyman, steering a dizzying array of labor rules and regulations through Washington’s often-stymied bureaucracy despite constant political threats and general hostility coming from Republicans and the business lobby. Those include not only the overtime rule, but an expansion of federal labor protections to cover home-care workers; a long-shot crusade to establish new standards in the retirement-advising industry; an executive order to use the federal government’s contracting process to create good jobs; and a stern guidance aimed at stopping rampant worker misclassification.
This is why I have no patience for liberal talk of reaching out to Trump voters. There is no more a compromise point with those who accept, promote and defend bigotry, misogyny and xenophobia than there is a designation of “almost pregnant.”
Trump is a cancer on this country and resistance is the remedy. The Trump phenomenon is devoid of compassion, and we must be closed to compromise.
Kevin Brady is this week’s Trickle Downer:I’m sure it’s very difficult to choose just ONE trickle downer per week, but somehow Justin Miller manages. This week he highlights House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady. Brady and Paul Ryan are “hawking a “border adjustment” tax (BAT) that would levy what is essentially a tariff on imports and a rebate on exports.”
Top put this plan in perspective, Obama’s REPAYE plan “has borrowers pay 10 percent of their income over 20 to 25 years before qualifying for forgiveness.”
Ryan’s tax plan is headed for failure:Jennifer Rubin (who once was considered a Republican) criticizes Paul Ryan’s quite silly tax plan. Worth a read, if only to see Rubin lambasting the GOP’s rising star.
The central task for many of us now is not to resist Donald Trump. He’ll seal his own fate. It’s to figure out how to replace him — how to respond to the slow growth and social disaffection that gave rise to him with some radically different policy mix.
State Republican Party Chair Susan Hutchison is trying to play to those questions, suggesting that Inslee might be interested in running for president himself. It’s one of the oldest political tactics used against a governor who deals with national politics: Get people to wonder whether their governor is working for them or just raising his own political profile. Hutchison claims to have “sources.”
At the outset, Acosta appears to be a mild choice compared with Puzder. As a member of the Federalist Society and a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Acosta is unquestionably a staunch conservative, but he also is well regarded in government circles as a thoughtful colleague with a sharp legal mind.
Carls Jr. CEO Andrew Puzder was supposed to sit for Labor Secretary confirmation hearings tomorrow. The Trump administration repeatedly pushed the hearing back—it was originally supposed to happen over a month ago—and Puzder openly complained about how difficult the process has been.
And news is breaking that Puzder officially withdrew from the nomination entirely.
This is not because of the lack of Republican Senatorial support, though that is an issue, but because—poor baby—it’s too much work:
Good riddance. Puzder was an incredibly bad choice for Labor Secretary. In fact, he was possibly the single worst person in the country to be head of the Department of Labor. Justin Miller at the American Prospectwrote a great explainer on why Puzder is such a bad candidate, beginning with the fact that he “made more in one day ($17,192) than one of his full-time minimum wage workers would make in a year ($15,130.)”
I want to make no mistake about this so I’m going to restate: Puzder was quite possibly the worst Labor Secretary nominee this country has ever seen. He openly cheers on automation, saying that robots are “always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex or race discrimination case.” He does not have the worker in mind. He is firmly on the side of the CEO and against the average American.
But I have to be clear about another fact, too: Puzder is not an aberration. Now that he’s whined his way out of the confirmation process, he won’t be replaced with a polar opposite. In fact, Puzder was perfectly in line with Donald Trump’s employment policies.
According to the Palm Beach Post, Trump won approval from the U.S. Labor Department in October to hire 64 foreign workers through the H-2B visa program, which allows eligible U.S. employers to hire foreign nationals to fill temporary jobs… Trump will pay the staff wages comparable to what he offered last year. Though some will make less than they made last year, most will get a 1 percent raise.
Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach resort owned by the Trump Organization, doubled its initiation fee to $200,000 following the election of Donald Trump as president.
So the rich get richer while the poor get the shaft. That’s Donald Trump’s business philosophy. And even though Puzder didn’t get through the nomination process, that is what Trump’s going to look for in a Secretary of Labor. While today’s news that Puzder can’t stand the heat in this particular kitchen is heartening, we have to remember that the fight isn’t anywhere near over. It’s just beginning.