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  1. #496
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    Re: The Run to the WH

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    John Hickenlooper
    Winston, a.k.a. Alvena Rae Risley Hiatt (1944-2019), RIP

  2. #497

    Re: The Run to the WH

    Quote Originally Posted by dryrunguy View Post
    Hopefully the next senator from Colorado.

  3. #498

    Re: The Run to the WH

    Trump’s speech at a Shell plant drew thousands of workers. They were paid overtime to be there.

    By Marisa Iati and Morgan Krakow August 17 at 4:03 PM

    Workers at a Royal Dutch Shell plant in Monaca, Pa., were forced to choose Tuesday between attending a speech by President Trump or forgoing overtime pay that their co-workers would earn.

    Attendance was optional, but contract workers who chose not to stand in the crowd would not qualify for time-and-a-half pay when they arrived at work Friday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Several companies with thousands of unionized workers have contracts with Shell, one the world’s largest oil and gas companies.

    Workers at the unfinished Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex had to arrive at 7 a.m., scan their ID cards and stand for hours until Trump’s speech began, the Post-Gazette reported.

    “NO SCAN, NO PAY,” a supervisor for one of the contractors wrote to workers, according to the Post-Gazette.

    The contractor’s memo also banned yelling, protesting or “anything viewed as resistance” at Trump’s speech, the Post-Gazette reported.

    “An underlying theme of the event is to promote good will from the unions," the document said, according to the Post-Gazette. "Your building trades leaders and jobs stewards have agreed to this.”

    The Washington Post on Saturday was unable to immediately reach Shell or the plant’s unions for comment.

    Trump has a long history of falsely claiming that liberal demonstrators have been paid to protest. When people angrily flooded the streets of some cities after Trump won the presidency, he accused them of being “professional protesters” who had been “incited by the media.” When women protested Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, he said they were “paid professionals.”

    And when protests bubbled up at airports in 2017 in response to Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, he alleged that the demonstrators were “professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters."

    Trump’s speech on Tuesday felt at times like a campaign rally, The Washington Post previously reported. Between remarks about U.S. energy production, Trump urged the workers to support his reelection and complained about a laundry list of his perceived enemies: the media, the Democrats running for president and the Academy Awards.

    About 5,000 workers attended the speech, according to Newsweek magazine.

    Shell spokesman Ray Fisher told the Post-Gazette that workers at the plant have a 56-hour workweek, which includes 16 hours of overtime pay — so workers who showed up on Tuesday were paid for the week at a higher rate.

    Another Shell spokesman, Curtis Smith, told Newsweek that workers who chose to skip the rally received “paid time off,” which does not count as hours worked and therefore does not trigger overtime pay. Trump’s speech was treated as a training that differed from other training sessions only in that it included “a guest speaker who happened to be the President,” Smith said.

    “We do these several times a year with various speakers,” Smith told Newsweek in a written statement. “The morning session (7-10 a.m.) included safety training and other work-related activities.”

    Ken Broadbent, business manager for the union Steamfitters Local 449, told the Post-Gazette his workers respect Trump for his title, regardless of whether they liked or disliked him. Anyone who did not want to go to work on the day of Trump’s speech could skip it, Broadbent said.

    “This is just what Shell wanted to do and we went along with it,” Broadbent told the Post-Gazette.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  4. #499

    Re: The Run to the WH

    I am currently working in a Shell project. Their level of hypocrisy is off the charts.
    Missing winter...

  5. #500

    Re: The Run to the WH

    White House officials eyeing payroll tax cut in effort to reverse weakening economy

    By Damian Paletta August 19 at 4:27 PM

    Several senior White House officials have begun discussing whether to push for a temporary payroll tax cut as a way to arrest an economic slowdown, three people familiar with the discussions said, revealing the growing concerns by President Trump’s top economic aides.

    The talks are still in their early stages, and the officials have not decided whether to formally push Congress to approve the cut, these people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose internal discussions. But the White House in recent days has begun searching for proposals that could halt a slowing economy.

    Millions of Americans pay a “payroll tax” on their earnings, a 6.2 percent levy that is used to finance Social Security programs. The payroll tax was last cut during the Obama administration to 4.2 percent, as a way to encourage more consumer spending during the recent economic downturn. But the cut was allowed to reset back up to 6.2 percent in 2013.

    Americans pay payroll taxes on income up to $132,900, so cutting the payroll tax has remained a popular idea for many lawmakers seeking to deliver savings for middle-income earners and not the wealthiest Americans. But payroll tax cuts can also add dramatically to the deficit and – depending on how they are designed – pull billions of dollars away from Social Security.

    The payroll tax cuts during the Obama administration reduced taxes by more than $100 billion each year, but the Obama administration directed the lost revenue to Social Security programs, so those initiatives didn’t lose money. The cuts added to the deficit, however.

    The size of the cut could equate to a bigger tax cut for many families than the 2017 tax law.

    The Trump administration discussions about whether to pursue a new payroll tax cut have only begun in recent days, the three people said, and specific details about the design have not been reached yet.

    Trump and top aides have spent the past few days trying to convince the public that the economy is strong and that fears about a recession are misguided. But White House officials quietly have begun scrambling for new ideas to reverse public concerns and boost business confidence.

    Some administration officials have felt that planning for an economic downturn would send a negative perception to the public and make things worse, but Trump has spent much of the past week conferring with business executives and other confidants seeking input on what they are seeing in the economy.

    There are signs the U.S. economy is slowing, and economists fear that Germany and the United Kingdom already are tipping towards a recession. So far, consumer spending has remained one of the U.S. economy’s bright spots, and White House officials are aware that Trump’s reelection chances could hinge on the economy staying strong into next year.

    Payroll tax cuts have remained popular with Democrats largely because they are seen as targeting working Americans, and the money is often immediately spent by consumers and not saved. That way, the money gives consumers more spending power, but it also helps businesses who rely on the income.

    One of the biggest causes of economic downturns is a pullback in consumer spending. That hurts businesses, which then lay off workers, who then cut back on spending — a painful economic loop.

    In the past, Democrats have strongly supported payroll tax cuts, while Republicans have been more resistent. Republicans have complained that these cuts do not help the economy and disproportionately harm the deficit.

    The Fed funds rate, which Trump is trying to tell central bankers to cut, is currently set at 2.25 percent. Slashing it 100 basis points would lower this rate to 1.25 percent, giving them very little additional wiggle room to maneuver if a full-fledged recession began.

    His directive for them to launch a new phase of “quantitative easing” is shorthand for asking the Fed to pump more money into the economy, a step that could weaken the U.S. dollar. This is also seen as an extreme step that central bankers take when they are trying to urgently address a slumping economy, not a tactic that is employed when the economy is still growing.

    Fed officials have said they do not make decisions based on political pressure, but Trump has taken his attacks on the central bank to new extremes, particularly this month amid numerous signs that the U.S. economy is weakening more than expected.

    After a tumultuous week in the markets suggested that the economy is heading onto shaky ground, Trump and his top officials have touted what they believe are the economy’s strengths, particularly consumer spending, and predicted that a recession will not occur.

    As concerns mount, Kudlow has scheduled briefing calls this week with state and local business leaders, conservative groups, and others to both guage the economy’s strength and seek more input.

    White House spokesman Judd Deere said the calls, which “have been long-planned,” will focus on Trump’s economic agenda, including issues such as deregulation and energy production.

    But even as the White House has dismissed the notion that the country may be headed toward a recession, Trump and his aides have sent mixed messages.

    In an exchange with reporters in Morristown, N.J., shortly before taking off for Washington on Sunday evening, Trump brushed aside the possibility of a downturn, saying, “I don’t see a recession.”

    “I mean, the world is in a recession right now — although that’s too big a statement,” he added, in a remark that appeared to undercut his effort to calm fears.

    - Felicia Sonmez contributed to this report.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

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