Nearly half of all Americans oppose the Republican tax bill, poll finds

Demonstrators take part in a protest against tax cuts for rich people as the Empire State Building is seen at the background in New York City November 27, 2017.
Demonstrators take part in a protest against tax cuts for rich people as the Empire State Building is seen at the background in New York City November 27, 2017

Opposition has grown among Americans to a Republican tax plan before the U.S. Congress, with 49 percent of people who were aware of the measure saying they opposed it, up from 41 percent in October, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday. Congressional Republicans are trying to rush their tax legislation to a vote on the Senate floor before the end of the week. President Donald Trump strongly backs the bill and wants to sign it into law before the end of the year. In addition to the 49 percent who said they opposed the Republican tax bill, 29 percent said they supported it and 22 percent said they “don’t know,” according to the Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll of 1,257 adults conducted from Thursday to Monday. When asked “who stands to benefit most” from the plan, more than half of all American adults surveyed selected either the wealthy or large U.S. corporations. Fourteen percent chose “all Americans,” 6 percent picked the middle class, and 2 percent chose lower-income Americans. The tax bill being crafted in the Senate would slash the corporate tax rate, eliminate some taxes paid only by rich Americans and offer a mixed bag or temporary tax cuts for other individuals and families. As congressional discussion on the bill has unfolded, public opposition to it has risen, on average, following Trump’s unveiling of a nine-page “framework” on Sept. 27 that started the debate in earnest, Reuters/Ipsos polling showed.

Sears’ stock soars as net loss narrows, while sales fall on store closures

Shares of Sears Holdings Corp. after the troubled department store chain reported fiscal third-quarter losses that narrowed from a year ago. The net loss for the quarter to Oct. 28 was $558 million, or $5.19 a share, compared with $748 million, or $6.99 a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue fell to $3.66 billion from $5.03 billion, with store closures contributing to over half of the decline. Also hurting sales were reductions in pharmacies at Kmart stores and the reduction of consumer electronics assortments in both Kmart and Sears stores. Same-store sales fell 15.3%, amid a 13.0% decline at Kmart stores and a 17.0% decrease at Sears stores. There weren’t enough analyst estimates provided to FactSet to produce consensus estimates for Sears’ results. There were 510 Kmart stores and 594 Sears stores, for a total of 1,104 stores as of Oct. 28, compared with 801 Kmart stores and 702 Sears stores, for a total of 1,503 stores a year ago. Sears said it would continue to look to diversify revenue streams through third-party partnerships, and look to build on momentum around appliances and mattresses. The stock had tumbled 55% year to date through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.82% had climbed 17%. Nick Bit: I don’t care if they want to rally this stock.  Its lost have a billion dollars and same store sales off 15%. Will someone please take them out back and shoot them to stop the suffering.

Sen. John McCain says he’ll vote for Senate GOP tax plan

(CNN)Sen. John McCain said Thursday he will support Senate Republicans’ tax plan, a major sign of progress for GOP leaders as the party barrels toward a vote on their overhaul of the US tax system by the end of the week. McCain, who had remained a wild card and had kept his position on the tax bill unclear even from leadership, said that he came to support the legislation because he believed it had gone through committee and would improve the economic outcome of Americans. “After careful thought and consideration, I have decided to support the Senate tax reform bill. I believe this legislation, though far from perfect, would enhance American competitiveness, boost the economy, and provide long overdue tax relief for middle class families,” McCain said in a released statement Thursday morning. “For months, I have called for a return to regular order, and I am pleased that this important bill was considered through the normal legislative processes, with several hearings and a thorough mark-up in the Senate Finance Committee during which more than 350 amendments were filed and 69 received a vote.” Republicans have 52 members in the Senate, and could only afford to lose two votes and still pass their legislation.

For GOP leaders, McCain’s decision to support the measure is equal parts major victory and relief. One senior GOP aide said earlier this week his position was “a black box,” and members and staff were consciously giving him space to come to a final decision.
McCain’s opposition to the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, combined with the partisan nature of the recent process and the stinging defeat he provided the party on health care, left top GOP aides to speculate he may eventually oppose the measure. McCain, who at one point spoke positively of the process, was less forthcoming in recent weeks, raising concerns he had shifted his view.

Bannon Says Trump Unable to Survive Impeachment Vote – Reports

According to a poll, support for Donald Trump’s impeachment has risen among US citizens, former White House strategist Stephen Bannon has commented on Trump’s chances of surviving an impeachment vote.

U.S. President Donald Trump (R), trailed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, arrives to speak to reporters after their meeting at Trump's golf estate in Bedminster, New Jersey U.S. August 11, 2017

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Former White House strategist Stephen Bannon believes that US President Donald Trump most likely would not be able to keep his post in the event of an impeachment vote, if it took place, the magazine Vanity Fair reported. According to the magazine, citing sources, Bannon had conducted a study, on which members of the government would remain loyal to Trump, if the 25th amendment to the US Constitution (on early termination of the president’s duties) were applied. Bannon and ex-adviser to Trump’s campaign headquarters, Roger Stone, believe that the representatives of the Republican Party “are waiting for a chance to impose a Trump impeachment,” the report said. “One thing Steve wants Trump to do is take this more seriously. Stop joking around. Stop tweeting,” a source close to Bannon said, as quoted by the publication. According to the publication’s sources, Bannon told Trump during telephone calls on Monday and Tuesday that the president needed to install an assertive lawyer to stand above his lawyer Ty Cobb, who is in charge of managing issues related to the ongoing investigations into alleged Russian interference in the election and possible collusion by Moscow with the Trump campaign. Also, Bannon discussed two methods of putting pressure on Congress, in order to deprive US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of financing or limit its scope. The US Congress is currently investigating Russia’s alleged meddling in last year’s US presidential election. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been carrying out a similar investigation.

Scarborough: Trump Has ‘Early Stages of Dementia,’ Must Be Removed from Office

‘People close to him during the campaign told me had early stages of dementia’

President Trump has “early stages of dementia,” according to sources close to the president, Joe Scarborough claimed Thursday morning. ‘Morning Joe’ Hosts Respond To Trump Tweets With Blackmail Allegation The MSNBC morning anchor, who took angry exception to Trump suggesting Wednesday that the mysterious 2001 death of intern in then-Congressman Scarborough’s office deserved further investigation, today accused the president of being mentally unfit to remain office. Scarborough called on Trump’s cabinet to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. (That amendment, adopted in 1967, deals with replacing a president who is no longer able to “discharge the powers and duties of his office.”)  “He is completely detached from reality, we had a New York Times and Washington Post piece saying so a couple of days ago, and the question is Mika,” Scarborough said, “if this is not what the 25th Amendment was drafted for, I would like the cabinet members serving America, not serving the president” to act accordingly.  The host repeatedly warned that America was on the brink of nuclear war. “We are headed towards a nuclear showdown,” the anchor said. “Most insiders say, Richard [Haas] has said it matches everything we’ve heard from inside the administration, we are closer to war on the Korean peninsula that most Americans know, we heard this months ago, that we are going to have a ground war in Korea, they believe that inside the White House for a very long time.”  Scarborough called on the cabinet to remove Trump from office, saying Americans lives are “literally” at stake.

 

Yellen: $20 trillion national debt ‘should keep people awake at night’

With Congress wrestling over a tax reform plan that critics say would explode the government budget deficit, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said she also is concerned over the surging level of public debt.

A Senate committee passed the GOP-sponsored proposal, which would slash the corporate tax rate and lower individual income rates for many Americans.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies on the U.S. economic outlook, before the Congressional Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C., November 29, 2017.
Janet Yellen: Gradual rate increases will be appropriate

However, the price tag of the plan is in the area of $1.5 trillion at a time when the Congressional Budget Official already is projecting a deficit of more than $1 trillion in the years ahead and with the total debt level at $20.6 trillion and rising. Of that total, $14.9 trillion is owed by the public. The Trump administration contends that the lower tax rates would pay for themselves through growth. In her semiannual testimony before Congress, Yellen was asked about a proposal that would trigger tax hikes if economic goals are not met. The central bank chief did not specifically comment on the trigger plan but said Congress is right to be thinking about the future of the national debt. “I would simply say that I am very worried about the sustainability of the U.S. debt trajectory,” Yellen said. “Our current debt-to-GDP ratio of about 75 percent is not frightening but it’s also not low.” “It’s the type of thing that should keep people awake at night,” she added. The Fed has critics of its own, though, who say that the central bank helped balloon the debt through low interest rates kept in place since the financial crisis. The Fed kept its benchmark rate anchored near-zero for seven years, from December 2008 through December 2015. During that time, the national debt grew 77 percent. Under Yellen, the Fed has hiked rates four times and begun to slowly shrink its $4.5 trillion balance sheet.

AARP: 5.2 million seniors could see taxes increased by GOP bill

AARP: 5.2 million seniors could see taxes increased by GOP bill
© Greg Nash

Millions of senior citizens could see tax increases under the Senate’s version of the GOP’s tax reform plan, according to an analysis from the AARP.In an article published Wednesday on the group’s website, the AARP’s vice president and policy director argue that one in five seniors, about 6.3 million taxpayers, will see either no change or a tax increase in 2019 under the plan passed by the Senate Finance Committee. Of those individuals, 1.2 million people would get a tax hike. The authors argue that number will jump “more than four times” by 2027 to 5.2 million seniors “as a result of sunsetting the [Finance Committee’s] middle-class tax cuts.” Another issue of concern for older Americans, the AARP says, is the automatic cuts to Medicare and other services under the GOP plan. “The bottom line is that even today’s 65+ as well as those who turn 65 by 2027 who benefit initially may end up paying higher and ever increasing taxes soon thereafter,” the authors write. “Further, as the result of growing deficits, they may receive reduced value from Medicare or other programs that are central to older Americans’ wellbeing.” The Senate Finance Committee approved the chamber’s tax bill earlier this month, and on Tuesday, the Senate Budget Committee advanced the bill on a part-line vote. It will now head to the full Senate floor for a vote. Protesters repeatedly interrupted Tuesday’s Budget Committee meeting, chanting phrases such as “stop the tax scam” and “kill the bill.” Thirty-six demonstrators were arrested by Capitol Police. A similar bill passed the House earlier this month, by a margin of 227-205 with no Democratic support. More than a dozen Republicans broke ranks to oppose it.

Special counsel delays grand jury testimony amid signs of Flynn deal talks

(CNN)Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team has postponed an anticipated grand jury testimony linked to his investigation into Michael Flynn amid growing indications of possible plea deal discussions. Additional witnesses were expected to be questioned soon including a public relations consultant hired by Flynn’s lobbying firm who was given an early December date deadline to appear before the grand jury, according to a person at the company. Ahead of the delay, the impression was that the testimony needed to happen soon, the source said. “Time seems to be of the essence,” said the source at Sphere Consulting, the PR firm where the consultant worked. The grand jury testimony was postponed, the person said, with no reason given. There could be many reasons for a delay, including scheduling issues.

Flynn's lawyers no longer sharing information with Trump's legal team
The consultant’s expected testimony comes as the investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser’s business dealings has taken a new turn. Flynn’s attorney told Trump’s legal team last week that he would no longer share information about the investigation, a move that signals Flynn is beginning conversations with the government that could involve a plea deal or a cooperation agreement. ABC News reported that Flynn’s attorney met with special counsel’s attorneys on Monday. Sphere’s government relations arm, SGR LLC Government Relations and Lobbying, is one of several companies Flynn Intel Group hired to work for Inovo BV, a Netherlands-based company owned by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, according to filing made by Flynn Intel Group under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Inovo hired Flynn to research Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish cleric who Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused of being behind the 2016 attempted military coup to overthrow him, the filing said.
Inovo paid Flynn’s group $530,000 for the research, which was supposed result in a video documentary but it was never finished. Sphere’s SGR was paid $40,000. Sphere has been cooperating for months with the investigation. The inquiry was originally opened before the appointment of the special counsel, according to the source. Sphere, which was subpoenaed around June, was described as “a cooperating witness at best.” Sphere has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Saudi prince freed after reportedly paying more than $1 billion Ransom

Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah was released on Tuesday 29th November, 2017 after reportedly reaching a settlement deal with authorities of over $1 billion.

Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah was released on Tuesday 29th November, 2017 after reportedly reaching a settlement deal with authorities of over $1 billion. Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, detained earlier this month in a corruption crackdown, has been released after paying authorities more than $1 billion for his freedom, according to media reports.

Once seen as a contender to the throne, Prince Miteb was among hundreds of other political and business figures rounded up in a sudden anti-corruption purge at the start of November. The 64-year old cousin of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was said to have been released on Tuesday after reaching an “acceptable settlement agreement,” Reuters reported, citing a government source .

 

One-third of US workers could be jobless by 2030 due to automation: McKinsey

Robots artificial intelligence
iLexx | Getty Image

As much as one-third of the United States workforce could be out of a job by 2030 thanks to automation, according to new research from McKinsey. The consulting firm now estimates that between 400 million and 800 million individuals globally could be displaced by automation and need to find new work. “Even if there is enough work to ensure full employment by 2030, major transitions lie ahead that could match or even exceed the scale of historical shifts out of agriculture and manufacturing,” according to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute published this month. “Even as it causes declines in some occupations, automation will change many more – 60 percent of occupations have at least 30 percent of constituent work activities that could be automated.” Professions most susceptible to automation include physical ones in “predictable environments,” including operating machinery and preparing fast food, according to the research. Alternatively, automation will have a more muted effect on jobs that involve managing people, expertise, and those that require frequent social interactions. “Unpredictable” jobs such as gardeners, plumbers, or providers of child- and elder-care are also less likely to see automation over the next decade as they remain challenging to automate and don’t usually earn high wages, according to McKinsey. This selective effect on the workforce has many worried that income inequality could continue to worsen in the United States. “Income polarization could continue in the United States and other advanced economies,” noted the research. “If reemployment is slow, frictional unemployment will likely rise in the short-term and wages could face downward pressure.”