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                Congress and the Trump administration must act swiftly to send a lifeline to citizens and an economy reeling from the ravages of the coronavirus. The aid will come as welcome relief to many Americans, but lawmakers can't allow this unprecedented spending all to sit on the nation's credit card.

                The $2 trillion stimulus package -- the third round of virus aid from the federal government and by far the largest -- as of late Wednesday was on hold but passage is expected and would further add to America's huge deficit. We've already reached a $1 trillion budget shortfall. And our national debt is rushing toward the $24 trillion mark. The Congressional Budget Office in 2019 warned that unless major tax and spending changes are made, that federal debt was on an "unsustainable" course.

                That reality isn't going away.

                The latest 1,000-page aid deal reached in the Senate is slightly better than a House version that included a host of unrelated, pet spending projects.

                More than anything, Democrats have taken their most egregious requests and toned them down. Still included is funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities; the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.; loans for the U.S. Postal Service; and tax provisions that encourage employers to offer employees student debt relief. About $150 billion will head to state and local governments, which will likely go toward bailing out underfunded employee pensions.

                It's a far cry from the targeted and temporary legislation lawmakers should have pursued.

                "This is a less bad version, and it's reduced in scope, but the nature of the policies is still in there," says Romina Boccia, a fiscal and economic expert at The Heritage Foundation. "It's so full of pork-barrel spending it's appalling."

                The final version will offer the following relief:

                --Payments to lower- and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult, as well as $500 for each child.

                --About $500 billion, including $50 billion for U.S. airlines, to back loans and assistance to companies, in addition to state and local governments.

                --More than $350 billion to small businesses.

                --$150 billion for hospitals and other health-care providers for equipment and supplies.

                --Unemployment insurance extension to four months, at a higher rate.

                The federal government has a vital role to play during emergencies like we're facing now.

                But it should always be mindful of the debt. The gross national debt already exceeds the size of the U.S. economy. A crisis demands discipline and sacrifice. Congress and the president should commit to getting at least half of the stimulus funds from spending cuts.

                "Unless Congress acts to reform what's driving this growing spending, the resulting economic decline, as well as legislative fiscal measures to mitigate the economic damage, will heighten the risks of a public debt crisis," Boccia recently observed.

                These dangerous levels of debt will create uncertainty and have a damaging effect on future growth.

                Congress must also learn from this crisis and keep the country prepared for such a pandemic or other wide-scale emergency in the future by leaving space in the budget for these national needs -- and not using the funding for more enticing, politically advantageous projects.

                Taxpayers should demand it.

This system works if you are like most people that have multiple debts, a few credit cards, car loans, student debt, mortgage etc etc.

Lets look at credit cards.. most people send a bit more than the actual minimum due to all their cards...

The best way to actually eliminate you debt is to write down all your debt from smallest amount to largest...

Then write down the minimum payment next to it and write down how much you are actually sending to that card monthly....

Subtract the minimum due from the amount you are currently sending and put the difference in another column...

Do this for every debt you are sending more than the minimum montly payment to.....

Then add up all the additional money over the minimum due that you are sending in total.....

NOW send that total amount to your smallest debt in addition to it's minimum due ......

 

So lets say you have 4 credit cards you are sending an additonal $50 a month to... so you are actually sending an extra $200 a month spread out over the 4 cards....

To pay off debt just send that extra $200 a month to your lowest debt that has lets say a minimum due of $35 ....so you are sending them now $235 each month and only the minimum due to all others..

You will pay off that card soon and you didn't change your monthly expenses....

Then when the card is paid off you add that payment of $235 (the total you were sending to the previous lowest balance card) to the next lowest balance card that lets say that one has a minimum due of $75 a month... you are now sending them $310 a month...

When that one is paid off you send the additional $310 to the next card that has lets say a $100 minimum due monthly... now you are sending them $410 until that is paid off and then you do that with the fourth card that has a minimum due of lets say $125 a month... you are now sending them $535 a month... ..... continue this until all cards are paid off the total amount is now going to your next credit/loan... lets say a car lone... at this point you should be sending an additional $535 a month to your car loan which has a monthly payment of $365 a month ....  you are now sending them $900 a month (make sure you send the additional $535 as a seperate payment marked "principle only").... soon your car loan will be paid off and you can send the additional $900 to your mortgage (AGAIN....make sure you send the additional $900 as a seperate payment marked "principle only")......you can see how this will quickly pay off your debt without increasing your budget

Created by Ray Dalio this simple but not simplistic and easy to follow 30 minute, animated video answers the question, "How does the economy really work?"

Based on Dalio's practical template for understanding the economy, which he developed over the course of his career, the video breaks down economic concepts like credit, deficits and interest rates, allowing viewers to learn the basic driving forces behind the economy, how economic policies work and why economic cycles occur.

see video at this link:

https://www.economicprinciples.org/

Thursday, 26 March 2020 11:02

In the Dog House! It's Business As Usual

One of the regular take out stands on Fort Myers Beach; The Dog House is still open for business and though not as busy as they would normally be this time of year they are staying consistent with customers coming and going.

Now us locals have known about this island gem for a long time, I love a good Cuban and personally, their Cuban Sandwich is in a class all by itself. It is absolutely the best!

They also have great breakfast menu and all kinds of sandwiches and other stuff for the rest of the day, they are currently open from 11am til 7pm and you can't eat on property during this social distancing period.

If you are hungry and don't want to cook, go check them out at 1207 Estero Blvd. Ft Myers Beach Fl 33931

or call ahead at 239-940-1043

tell them Bobby sent you!

doghouse2

doghouse1

 

 

 

 

 

Former Vice President and presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has joined a mostly-Democrat chorus of critics in demanding Gov. Ron DeSantis issue a statewide shelter-in-place order to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Florida.

Biden called on DeSantis to “explain why” he is going against “science-based” advice from public health experts who say a statewide stay-at-home order would temper coronavirus spread and to “let the experts speak to the public."

DeSantis has resisted calls to order a blanket stay-at-home order, repeatedly explaining a more targeted approach is better-suited to containing geographically isolated outbreaks. There are no reported cases across a third of the state and only light reports of COVID-19 in another third, he said, while the outbreak is severe in south Florida.

 

DeSantis has closed bars, gyms, state parks, the Lottery and south Florida beaches. He's restricted restaurants to take-out or delivery and ordered arrivals from New York and several other hot spots to remain in self-isolation for at least two weeks. The governor, however, has left shelter-in-place decisions to local governments.

Several Florida cities and counties have done so. Broward and Miami-Dade counties have closed all nonessential businesses. Orange County’s stay-at-home order goes into effect Thursday night for 1.3 million people.

“You simply cannot lock down our society with no end in sight,’’ DeSantis said Tuesday.

Biden on Tuesday night, however, called on DeSantis to “let the experts speak to the public” so they can understand how dangerous not imposing a shutdown could be.

“In this moment of growing uncertainty and anxiety, Floridians want – and deserve – to hear from the public health officials leading the charge,” Biden said. “To get through this, we need our leaders to listen to the public-health experts and their guidance.”

 

Ten of Florida’s 13 Congressional Democrats also dispatched a letter to DeSantis on Tuesday, urging him to order a statewide shutdown the way governors have in other states, noting of the 10 states with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases, only Florida and Georgia do not have statewide stay-at-home orders.

“Without an FDA-approved vaccine or treatment for COVID-19, our already-strained health-care system could be overwhelmed,” the Democrats wrote. “That is why we need a statewide order as soon as possible.”

The Congressional Democrats’ letter came a day after Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the state’s lone statewide-elected Democrat, called on DeSantis to issue a stay-at-home order.

Florida Director of Emergency Management Jared Moskowitz, a former south Florida Democratic state representative, said DeSantis was analyzing options that include limiting open business to “essential businesses,” instituting curfews and issuing a shelter-in-place order.

A New York-based commercial analytics company that tracks GPS movement on mobile phones and other devices is offering DeSantis and other decision-makers access to a free “real-world graphing” tool that could provide a treasure trove of data in analyzing what works and what doesn’t.

Unacast unrolled its Social Distancing Scoreboard on Tuesday. It gives Florida a B grade overall in its coronavirus response, based on a 39 percent reduction in travel. States and places that topped 40 percent earned A grades.

According to Unacast, daily travel since March 10 is down 56 percent in Palm Beach County, with mobility down by at least 50 percent in Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange and Osceola counties. They all received A grades, as did Seminole County with a 43 percent reduction in mobility.

Pinellas, Hillsborough, Lee, Duval and Alachua were among counties with B grades. Eight counties – mostly rural – received F grades, including Sumter, which includes The Villages, where daily movement is down only 6 percent from normal.

John Haughey

The Center Square

President Donald Trump has declared Florida a major federal disaster, granting Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administrative request to grease the rails in delivering federal aid under a massive COVID-19 relief package agreed to in the U.S. Senate early Wednesday.

Florida joins at least five other states that Trump has classified as major federal disasters. Also Wednesday, he declared Texas a major disaster after doing so for Louisiana on Tuesday. California and New York were declared disasters last week.

While Florida continues its fight against the spread of COVID-19, a national bipartisan coalition of criminal justice groups is calling on state officials to not overlook prisons and jails during the coronavirus pandemic after a state Department of Corrections employee tested positive for COVID-19.

 

The state’s DOC operates the nation’s third-largest state prison system, housing 95,000 inmates at more than 140 sites – including 43 prisons – and employs about 23,000 Floridians, including about 17,000 as corrections officers.

On Tuesday, an employee at the state Marion Correctional Institution’s Work Camp in Ocala tested positive for coronavirus, spurring Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) to urge DeSantis to call a special session on prison safety.

“COVID-19 poses a grave threat to prisoners and corrections professionals,” FAMM Florida Director Greg Newburn wrote. “Minimizing that threat requires giving the Department of Corrections important tools they currently lack. Giving the department these tools requires legislative action, and legislative action requires a special session.”

Prisons can be locked down relatively easily, but inmates are communally penned up for days, weeks and months and then released into the general public from the state’s 67 county and dozens of metro city jails, warns the REFORM Alliance.

The coalition, which includes the American Conservative Union, Americans for Prosperity, Faith and Freedom Coalition, Justice Action Network, National Urban League, R Street Institute and Right on Crime, issued a call to Florida officials Monday to adopt a five-point plan to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus within Florida’s jails and prisons under the acronym “SAFER”:

• Suspend jail for technical violations; suspend probation office visits and payment of fines;

 

• Adopt smart alternatives to incarceration and contact visitation;

• Free medical visits and treatment, hand sanitizer, soap and protective gear;

• Extra precautions for guards and staff;

• Release elderly and vulnerable to home confinement.

“People in prisons, jails, or under community supervision are more at risk of contracting and spreading the virus, given their age, underlying health conditions, and close contact to each other,” REFORM Chief Advocacy Officer Jessica Jackson said. “Protecting these individuals from coronavirus is not just a moral obligation, but necessary to preserve the health and safety of our communities.”

There have not been reports of widespread COVID-19 outbreaks in the nation’s prisons, but the transitory, yet compressed, nature of jails make them viral swish buckets, criminal justice advocates said.

On Saturday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases at Rikers Island City Jail in New York City jumped from eight to 38 – 21 detainees, 12 jail employees and five correctional health workers.

New Jersey on Tuesday announced it will release up to 1,000 people from county jails – those jailed for probation violations, convicted in municipal courts or sentenced for low-level crimes in Superior Court – making it the first state to begin sending some inmates home to keep the coronavirus from spreading.

President Trump said Sunday he was considering issuing an executive order to free older, nonviolent offenders from federal prisons.

John Haughey

The Center Square

 

 

 

 

 

Nearly 3.3 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week, a record number as businesses were forced to shut down to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that 3.28 million claims were filed in the week that ended March 21. That marked an increase of more than 3 million claims over the week prior, when 282,000 claims were filed.

The previous high in a single week, according to the department, was in October 1982, when about 695,000 claims were filed. The nearly 3.3 million claims filed last week is nearly five times the prior record.

The hotel industry alone has lost more than a million jobs, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

 

A $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill that passed the U.S. Senate late Wednesday night includes an expansion of unemployment benefits. The measure, which still awaits action in the U.S. House, would extend jobless insurance benefits by 13 weeks. It would include independent contractors such as freelancers, furloughed employees and gig workers, such as Uber drivers.

Among the states, Pennsylvania saw the most drastic increase: 378,908 claims filed last week compared to 15,439 the week prior, an increase of 363,469.

California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas and Washington also saw six-figure increases.

 
 

​Dan McCaleb 

the center square

Sooooooooooo.... We need to call Bull Crap.......... on the idea that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and the Democrats came up with a 1,119 page COVID-19 relief bill over the weekend.

They didn’t. What they did was take a bunch of Democratic plans that have been percolating for a while and throw them into a bill one Republican senator described as a “Disney World wish list.”

This presented bill was a veritable cornucopia of stuff the Democrats have been looking to implement for a while that had nothing to do with fighting the coronavirus threat or helping America recover economically.

see full story : https://www.westernjournal.com/dems-put-1000-page-covid-bill-together-1-weekend-didnt-set/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=jeffersonnewsletter&utm_campaign=lminetwork&utm_content=2020-03-24&fbclid=IwAR1ElPgDAXijyGr9vHOauf1Gc6sk04UjnxQSH2CJEXrrNbrJwDp8HH0dor4

This presented bill was a veritable cornucopia of stuff the Democrats have been looking to implement for a while that had nothing to do with fighting the coronavirus threat or helping America recover economically.

see full story : https://www.westernjournal.com/dems-put-1000-page-covid-bill-together-1-weekend-didnt-set/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=jeffersonnewsletter&utm_campaign=lminetwork&utm_content=2020-03-24&fbclid=IwAR1ElPgDAXijyGr9vHOauf1Gc6sk04UjnxQSH2CJEXrrNbrJwDp8HH0dor4

Telemedicine and older patients were made for each other. The inconvenience and infection risk associated with constant rounds to various waiting rooms constitute a waste of elders' time and limited health care resources.

The recent move by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to use its new power to pay physicians who perform consultations with Medicare recipients by phone and video has the potential to revolutionize the way geriatric care is delivered in this country.

Telemedicine can save lives now, during the outbreak of a novel virus that has already demonstrated devastating power to sweep through communities where older residents are clustered together. And it can save even more lives in the future, as a huge cohort of baby boomers, living with a host of chronic diseases, age into a health care environment where geriatric expertise is becoming increasingly rare.

"The use of telemedicine and remote care services are critical to the management of the COVID-19," Patrice A. Harris, president of the American Medical Association noted Tuesday, "while also ensuring uninterrupted care for 100 million Americans with chronic conditions. The AMA encourages any private payers that are not already covering telehealth services to remove those limitations now."

In a meeting Tuesday with President Donald Trump, private insurers said they would pay for virtual doctor visits with people who may have the novel coronavirus -- an important move toward expanding access within an overtaxed system, while sustaining the social separations that can suppress the spread of illness.

Telemedicine -- from long-distance doctor-patient conferences to remote monitoring of vital signs -- has been around since the dawn of video chats. But the reluctance of Medicare administrators, as the primary change agents of the U.S. health care system, to reimburse doctors for time spent in this way has prevented the highest and best use of a relatively simple technology. Only in rural America, with its shameful shortages of adequate medical service, have pilot projects in telemedicine been fully funded.

Now -- just as the exigencies of World War II prompted Great Britain to establish the urgent care operation that would become its national health network -- the novel coronavirus pandemic could prove to be the shock to our system that will allow us to make our own medical history.

In Southwest Florida, a pressing necessity among the oldest old is for reliable transportation to multiple medical appointments. Telemedicine cannot remove all requirements for in-person visits to clinics and hospitals, but it can put a sizable dent in this ongoing challenge.

Telehealth holds promise to become a vital means of cultural connection. Now that medical professionals can be properly paid for adapting their practices to this technology, retirement communities and other centers that serve older adults can become supportive hubs for checkups, education, treatments and therapies.

By becoming early adopters of the opportunity to use computers and cell phones as tools for healing and staying well, our elders can lead the way in transforming our medical culture.

               

Thursday, 26 March 2020 09:57

The Robot Rule

What if?

The novel coronavirus' fatality rate is highest in men over 70. All three men left in this presidential race are over 70. I am certainly not the only one who has thought about this.

Parties, not states or the federal government, control the nominating process. I know the Democratic rules; for better and for worse, I wrote some of them.

So what if a nominee, say, Joe Biden, gets infected after the Democratic National Convention? While the convention is technically the governing body of the Democratic Party, the party doesn't hold a new one when situations change.

The Democratic National Committee then meets and decides.

The DNC. When I told people I worked there, people would look at me strangely thinking it had something to do with a gynecological procedure. When I was a member, I got invited to all kinds of fun things and met great friends. How did I get there? Did it matter that my dear friends were running the governor's political operation? Might that also have something to do with my chairmanship of the Ballot Law Commission? Many of my old pals are still members.

The DNC is equally divided between men and women. It is diverse and inclusive. It is not exactly independent -- if, by that, you mean that members decide everything like an outside director. Not a bit.

Governors have way more power than senators because they run the home-state operation. There are definitely money people, lots of union people, longtime party stalwarts. Last time I checked, this was not Bernie Sanders' crowd. Independent is another matter.

If the DNC picks -- if it's after the convention -- you'll be crazy not to put your money on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

BUT what if ...

Biden gets sick before the convention? He wants to withdraw? He does withdraw? He doesn't withdraw? Does Bernie get all his delegates? Does he get to decide who is voted for?

Some of the more recent histories of the Democratic Party quote the longtime party rule that pledged delegates are pledged, but they are not bound. They may have gotten there because of Biden or Sanders or anyone else, but that doesn't mean they're bound to vote for who they pledged to, or for a candidate they endorse. This is not the longtime rule.

Back in 1980, the reelection campaign of President Jimmy Carter, obviously afraid of the risks ahead, inserted a paragraph in the call to the convention and the party rules, rule F(3)(c), that for the first time, purported to "bind" them to vote for the candidate whose votes got them there.

We called it the Robot Rule. We had pins that depicted a robot with a red slash across it. It became the central fight of the convention. It became the raison d'etre then-Sen. Ted Kennedy did not withdraw from the race and instead traveled around the country all summer before the convention "briefing" our enthusiastic delegates about the fights ahead, saying that Carter was trying to force the convention to vote for him rather than win their support.

We wanted a real vote. What was Carter afraid of?

To this day, I don't know. His campaign must have known what we did: that delegates who pass the scrutiny of the candidate's campaign, as they must, are as committed as the pig in the ham and egg breakfast. All a delegate had to do if she wanted to vote for Kennedy instead of Carter was vote with us on the rule. Hours of debate on prime time. Do you want to guess how many Carter delegates voted with Kennedy? Two. When a commission was formed after that loss, we got rid of the robot rule. I can't think of a single instance in which it mattered.

There won't be a brokered convention. That is too big of a risk. One lesson we learned too well is that if you have a "bad" convention -- if you can't control your message and all you do is fight -- you pay for it in the general election. But there will also certainly be plenty of brokering before we get there. Or at least plenty of trying. The back room may not be smoky, and we women have earned our seats, but it's still a back room.

Susan Estrich