Missouri Economic Leaders Give Glimpse of How $2.6 Billion in Federal Pandemic Funds Will be Spent

Maggie Kost

Missouri’s Department of Economic Development (DED) recently previewed how Gov. Mike Parson plans to allocate the state’s $2.6 billion portion of federal pandemic funds.

In late December, Maggie Kost, acting director of the DED, outlined major priorities for Missouri’s portion of the more than $195 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. A total of $350 billion will be delivered to the 50 states and the District of Columbia and local and Tribal governments throughout the nation to support the response and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The total amount of ARPA funds, passed in March 2021, is $1.9 trillion.

“We want to give you an idea of what to expect as we get into the legislative and budget session here in January,” Kost said. “As you’re planning and setting priorities locally for communities, we want to make sure you have an idea of what’s to come so you can think about how to leverage state funds as you’re building out your local priorities.”

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Federal Judge Tosses Lawsuit Challenging Biden’s Authority to Block Keystone Pipeline

Keystone XL Pipeline

A federal district court judge granted the Biden administration’s request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by more than 20 Republican attorneys general challenging the Keystone XL Pipeline’s permit revocation.

Judge Jeffrey Brown, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, ruled that he couldn’t determine the constitutionality of President Joe Biden’s action because TC Energy, the pipeline’s developer, had abandoned the project. On June 9, TC Energy announced its intention to permanently halt construction of the pipeline, saying it would focus on other projects.

Biden canceled the pipeline’s federal permit immediately after taking office on Jan. 20 in an executive order. The order said the U.S. “must prioritize the development of a clean energy economy” and that the Keystone project would undermine the nation’s role as a climate leader on the world stage.

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Iowa Leaders React to Biden Administration’s $1 Billion for Expanding Independent Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity

Inside of a butcher shop with meat hanging up

The Biden Administration announced Monday it will spend $1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funds to increase independent meat and poultry processing capacity.

The administration will invest $375 million on independent processing plant projects that fill a need for diversified processing capacity, spend up to $275 million in working with lenders to increase availability of loans, particularly to underserved communities, for independent processors, and spend $100 million to back private lenders investing in independently owned food processing and distribution infrastructure to move product through supply chain.

It will spend and additional $100 million to support training, safe workplaces and jobs in meat and poultry processing facilities, $100 million in reducing overtime and holiday inspection costs for small and very small processing plants, and $50 million to provide independent business owners and producers with technical assistance and research and development.

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Connecticut Governor Lamont Directs Increase in Earned Income Tax Credit to Benefit Lower-Income Taxpayers

Ned Lamont

Nearly 200,000 households in Connecticut will benefit from an increase in the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, Gov. Ned Lamont said.

The governor said in a news release that the Department of Revenue Services will increase the 2020 Earned Income Tax Credit from 23% to 41.5% as directed by the state budget.

Lamont said the increase will “provide needed economic support to low-to-moderate income working individuals and families” who faced negative economic impacts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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European Tech Firm Chooses Arizona as First American Location

A European solar power tech company has chosen Arizona as its first location in the United States.

Switzerland-based mechanical engineering company Meyer Burger Technology AG is establishing a production site for high-performance solar modules in Goodyear, Arizona. Production is expected to be operational by the end of 2022, creating an initial 250 jobs and more than 500 jobs at full capacity.

“I am very pleased to welcome Meyer Burger to our community,” Mayor of Goodyear Joe Pizzillo said in a news release.“The decision to make a large investment in our community shows Goodyear is an excellent location for advanced manufacturing businesses. Our highly skilled workforce, modern infrastructure, and low cost of doing business has created an environment where companies can thrive.”

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Iowa Farmers Prepare for California’s Prop 12

Man in gray tee and blue jeans walking in a field with two hogs behind him

Hogs born Jan. 1, 2022, or later are subject to California’s Prop 12.

Some Iowa agricultural leaders have criticized the law, which prohibits the sale of pork from hogs that are the offspring of sows that were raised in pens with less than 24 square feet of usable floorspace per pig.

California accounts for about 15% of the U.S. pork market, the National Pork Producers Council said in a September news release. The NPPC is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to determine Prop 12’s constitutionality.

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Manchin Reportedly Told the White House He Supports a Billionaire Tax

Joe Biden and Joe Manchin

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin told the White House last week that he was willing to endorse some type of billionaire tax in President Joe Biden’s domestic spending package before coming out against it days later, The Washington Post reported.

Manchin said that a tax on billionaires’ wealth could be a means to pay for the package, according to the Post, citing three people familiar with his offer to the White House. The outlet reported that it was unclear whether Manchin provided an estimate of how much money the provision would raise.

Programs in Manchin’s $1.8 trillion counteroffer included universal pre-K for ten years, expansions to the Affordable Care Act and billions of dollars for climate change mitigation measures, according to the Post, but it did not include the child tax credit, which many Democrats have touted as one of the single biggest policy achievements of the year.

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Newt Gingrich Commentary: Abolish the Georgia State Income Tax

Newt Gingrich

The time has come to abolish the Georgia state income tax.

Sen. David Perdue was exactly right in proposing to eliminate the state income tax. He was also right in suggesting that he could work with the Georgia state legislature and find ways to return money to the people of Georgia rather than focusing it on the state bureaucracies.

The money is clearly there. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported, “Despite pandemic, Georgia ends fiscal year with a record $3.2 billion jump in revenue.” The article went on to note, “The state saw revenue grow 13.5% over 2020. … Besides the boon in state tax collections, Georgia is also receiving about $4.7 billion or so from the latest federal COVID-19 relief plan.”

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Big Oil CEOs Thumb Nose at Green Energy Transition, Say Fossil Fuels Still Have ‘Essential Role’

Mike Worth, Darren Woods and Amin Nasser

Executives of major oil companies slammed the aggressive global push to renewable forms of energy and warned that such policies could crash economies.

Crude oil and natural gas continue to be key to the world economy’s health and cannot be discounted, CEOs of ExxonMobil, Chevron, Halliburton and Saudi Aramco said during the ongoing World Petroleum Congress in Texas on Monday. The executives agreed that climate change should be addressed, but not to the detriment of current energy needs.

“I understand that publicly admitting that oil and gas will play an essential and significant role during the transition and beyond will be hard for some,” Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said during his remarks at the summit, the Financial Times reported.  People “assume that the right transition strategy is in place. It’s not,” Nasser said, Reuters reported. “Energy security, economic development and affordability are clearly not receiving enough attention.”

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Studies: Trump Tax Cuts Helped Lower Income Families, Build Back Better Helps Wealthier Americans

family of three eating pizza

Democrats have argued that the tax reforms implemented through the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) only benefited the rich, and that the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) will help middle-and working-class Americans the most.

But several nonpartisan groups found that the TCJA reduced the tax burden for the middle- and working-class by up to 87% and, they argue, the $2.4 trillion BBBA – before the U.S. Senate this week – would increase taxes on the middle- and working-class by up to 40%.

A new analysis published by the Heartland Institute found that the TCJA reduced the average effective income tax rates for taxpayers in every income tax bracket – but the lower- and middle-class saw the greatest benefits – with the lowest-income filers receiving the largest tax cuts.

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Report: Pennsylvania Taxpayers Spend Tens of Millions on Government Lobbying

People shaking hands

A Pennsylvania government watchdog group is highlighting how the incestuous relationship between local government entities and lobbyists is costing taxpayers millions of dollars. The Commonwealth Foundation also is supporting legislation designed to put an end to the practice.

The Commonwealth Foundation issued a report Monday that reveals Pennsylvania taxpayers paid at least $42 million in lobbying expenses between 2007 and 2020 to advocate for more government spending, though the actual cost is likely substantially more.

The foundation sent public information requests to 1,518 government entities to collect data on taxpayer-funded lobbying, which involves boroughs, cities, counties, school districts and state agencies that hire lobbyists or pay dues to associations to lobby other areas of government.

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Fraudsters Used Paycheck Protection Program Loans for Bentleys, Diamonds, Luxury Homes: Watchdog

woman on laptop with eye glasses and mug next to her

This week’s Golden Horseshoe goes to the Small Business Administration for millions in Paycheck Protection Program loans it issued to fraudsters who used the money to purchase luxury homes, high-priced jewelry and expensive cars, including a Bentley and two Lamborghinis, according to a watchdog report.

The Paycheck Protection Program had the highest percentage of cases of criminal activity of all the pandemic relief programs, according to the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee’s recent Semiannual Report to Congress.

“A total of 14 OIGs have indictments/complaints, arrests, and/or convictions from April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021, related to the federal government’s COVID-19 pandemic response,” PRAC reported.

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Smithsonian’s New FUTURES Exhibit Asks Visitors When We’ll See ‘Single Global Government’

Bill Nye talks about the new FUTURES exhibit to go in Washington D.C.

The Smithsonian Institution’s new FUTURES exhibit asks attendees when they think we will see a “single global government.”

The global government question appears on a screen inside the exhibit that allows visitors to wave their hands in front of a camera to select an answer to the questions that show up.

“When might there be a single global government?” reads the question.

The answers that someone can choose from include time frames ranging from 10 years to 100 years or never.

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Thanksgiving Dinner, Travel, Black Friday Shopping More Expensive as Inflation Continues to Rise

People on an escalator in an indoor shopping mall

As Americans prepare for Thanksgiving this year, traveling and cooking a family dinner will be significantly more expensive.

Inflation has increased by more than 6.2% this year, according to the consumer price index (CPI), representing the highest rate of price hikes in nearly 31 years.

In January 2021, before Biden “took over the presidency, annual inflation was at a stable 1.4 percent,” Americans for Tax Reform notes. “While inflation has already hit American families hard, President [Joe] Biden is pushing policies which would make this problem even worse.”

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Commentary: The New ‘Blue Confederacy’

Why are progressive regions of the country—especially in the old major liberal cities (e.g., Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle)—institutionalizing de facto racial quotas through “proportional representation” based on “disparate impact”? Why are they promoting ethnic and racial chauvinism, such as allowing college students to select the race of their own roommates, calibrating graduation ceremonies by skin color and tribe, segregating campus “safe spaces” by race, and banning literature that does not meet commissariat diktats?

Why are they turning into one-party political fiefdoms separating the rich and poor, increasingly resembling feudal societies as members of the middle class flee or disappear? What does it mean that they are becoming more and more intolerant in their cancel culture, and quasi-religious intolerance of dissent, on issues from climate change and abortion-on-demand to critical race theory and wokeness?

Isn’t it strange that there are entire states and regions wholly reliant on the money and power of “one-crop” Big Tech monopolies? And why, in the 21st century no less, are Democratic-controlled counties, cities, and entire states nullifying federal law?

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House Passes Democrats’ Social Spending Bill After Congressional Budget Office Score

Kevin McCarthy and Nancy Pelosi

Congressional Democrats passed a $1.75 trillion social spending plan Friday, putting the bill’s fate in the hands of a deeply divided Senate.

The bill funds universal pre-kindergarten, climate change spending, Obamacare subsidies, an extension of the monthly child tax credit payment and more wide ranging spending items. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke more than eight hours on the House floor overnight to delay the vote until Friday morning, but afterward it passed 220-213 along party lines with one Democrat opposed.

“We are very excited for what it does for the children, for the families,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a press conference after the bill’s passage.

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Sen. Cruz: Skyrocketing Inflation in U.S. Comparable to 1970s under Carter

Ted Cruz

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, says that skyrocketing inflation and long lines at gas stations are a result of President Joe Biden’s policies and are returning the U.S. to the days of high inflation, high cost of living and gas lines under President Jimmy Carter.

Eleven months into Biden’s term, inflation reached a 31-year high and gas prices surpassed a seven-year high.

“I’ve got to tell you the trillions that are being spent, the trillions in debt that’s being racked up, it is historic and not in a good way,” Cruz told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”

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Pennsylvania Lawmakers Consider Dumping Daylight Savings Time

Russ Diamond

Pennsylvania state Rep. Russ Diamond says it’s time to “stop the madness of changing clocks twice a year” and permanently place the Keystone State on Eastern Standard Time.

Lawmakers in the General Assembly’s State Government Committee discussed his plan to ditch Daylight Savings Time in a hearing last week.

“The general consensus among Pennsylvanians is they’re tired of changing clocks,” Diamond, R-Lebanon, told his colleagues on the committee.

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Biden’s FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn Wants to ‘Silence Dissent,’ Top Senate Republicans Say

Gigi Sohn

Senate Commerce Republicans are whipping opposition to the nomination of Gigi Sohn, one of President Joe Biden’s picks for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Biden nominated Sohn, former FCC counsel under Tom Wheeler and Ford Foundation alum, to an empty spot on the commission in late October, along with current acting Chair Jessica Rosenworcel to the permanent position.

While Republicans have been quiet in their response to the nomination of Rosenworcel, many are pointing to Sohn’s public statements on conservatives as reasons to oppose her confirmation.

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Commentary: I Am Challenging the Vaccine Mandate to Protect My Workers’ Jobs

Blue Collar Worker

The Biden administration has finally published its anticipated ultimatum threatening companies like mine with severe fines and penalties for not firing any employee who declines to be vaccinated against or submit to invasive weekly testing for COVID-19. The new rule promulgated by the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under the guise of workplace safety may well bankrupt the business my father founded. So, as the CEO of the Phillips Manufacturing & Tower Company, I am joining with The Buckeye Institute to challenge OSHA’s vaccine mandate in court. Here’s why.

Phillips is a 54-year-old company based in Shelby, Ohio, that manufactures specialty welded steel tubing for automotive, appliance, and construction industries. OSHA’s emergency rule applies to companies with 100 or more employees — at our Shelby Welded Tube facility, we employ 104 people. As a family-owned business I take the health of my workers seriously — they are my neighbors and my friends. When I heard of the mandate, we conducted a survey of our workers to see what the impacts would be. It revealed that 28 Phillips employees are fully vaccinated, while antibody testing conducted at company expense found that another 16 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies and likely possess natural immunity. At least 47 employees have indicated that they have not and will not be vaccinated. Seventeen of those 47 unvaccinated workers said that they would quit or be fired before complying with the vaccine or testing mandate. Those are 17 skilled workers that Phillips cannot afford to lose.

Perhaps the Biden administration remains unaware of the labor shortage currently plaguing the U.S. labor market generally and industrial manufacturing especially. Like many companies, Phillips is already understaffed, with seven job openings we have been unable to fill. Employees already work overtime to keep pace with customer demand, working 10-hour shifts, six days a week on average. Firing 17 veteran members of the Phillips team certainly won’t help.

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Analysis: Five Controversial Policies Tucked Inside $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Passed by Congress

The final $1.2 trillion INVEST in America Act passed the Democrat-led House in a late night vote on Friday. Tucked away inside the infrastructure bill are some controversial policies, including these five:

1. The cryptocurrency tax provision in the Senate version of the bill was the subject of scrutiny from Democrats and Republicans. The language was not amended in the final bill that passed the House. The legislation includes an IRS reporting requirement for brokers of cryptocurrency transactions.

2. Under the “national motor vehicle per-mile user fee pilot” section of the bill, there is a pilot program to create a vehicle miles traveled system for taxing drivers based on their annual vehicle mileage. During his confirmation process, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg floated the idea of taxing motorists based on the number of miles they travel each year as a way to partly fund the legislation. The Biden administration backed off of full-scale development of the controversial proposal, settling instead for a pilot program.

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Inflation Increases at Record Rate for Second Month in a Row

Woman shopping

The Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures inflation at the wholesale level, rose 8.6% year-over-year as of October, growing at a record rate for a second straight month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Thursday.

BLS reported Thursday that the PPI, which measures inflation before it hits consumers, grew 0.6% in October, in line with Dow Jones estimates, highlighting that inflationary pressure is still strong.

Over 60% of the month-over-month increase in producer prices resulted from a 1.2% spike in the price of goods rather than services, BLS reported. Goods prices rose 1.2% in October compared to a 0.2% increase in the cost of services.

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As Fuel Costs Rise Heading into the Winter, Biden May Utilize Strategic Reserves

Jennifer Granholm

As the supply chain crisis continues to worsen, Americans can expect to pay higher energy costs in order to maintain heating in the coming winter, says Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.

In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday, Granholm said “this is going to happen…it will be more expensive this year than last year.”

While Granholm claimed that “we are in a slightly beneficial position…relative to Europe,” she nonetheless admitted that the United States has “the same problem in fuels that the supply chains have, which is that the oil and gas companies are not flipping the switch as quickly as the demand requires.”

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Commentary: Financial Stability Is Key to Being Able to Leave Job for Refusing Vaccine Mandate

Joshua Mawhorter

Until recently, I was a California teacher working in two charter schools, one as a full-time classroom teacher of Government/Economics and sometimes U.S. History, and the other as a part-time independent study teacher who assists families with a program primarily based around homeschooling. I have taught for about five years and love teaching.

Last week, I was fired from one school and put on unpaid administrative leave at the other because of my refusal either to take and demonstrate proof of the COVID-19 vaccine or test weekly. I even filed a religious exemption stating the following that was rejected:

“As a committed follower of Christ, I religiously and philosophically cannot submit to either a government vaccine mandate or weekly testing.

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Commentary: Taking the Infrastructure Bill Hostage Didn’t Work

Nancy Pelosi, AOC's mother and her all together

Back in August, New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait blessed the strategy of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to withhold their votes for the Senate’s bipartisan physical infrastructure plan until that bill was effectively linked to a bigger, broader, and surely partisan, measure investing in a range of items from climate protection to universal preschool. He argued that “ransoming the infrastructure bill” would turn the tables on the party’s moderates:

Historically, most partisan bills are shaped by the preferences of the members of Congress closest to the middle, and their colleagues on the political extreme simply have to go along with it. … This time, the left has real power. Progressives can credibly threaten to sink a priority that moderates care about more than they do.

Twice in the past two months, most recently last Thursday, the House progressives successfully executed this strategy, blocking attempts by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pass the bipartisan infrastructure legislation before an agreement is reached on the larger “Build Back Better” bill.

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Ohio Businesses in Line for Easier City Income Tax Filing Process

Bill Roemer

Filing municipal income taxes for businesses might get a little easier if a bill passed unanimously by the Ohio General Assembly gets Gov. Mike DeWine’s signature.

State Rep. Bill Roemer, R-Richfield, said House Bill 228 will reduce unnecessary state and municipality paperwork for Ohio businesses and simplify the tax filing process.

“The way we currently file municipal net profits taxes in Ohio places an unneeded burden on business owners,” Roemer said. “The last thing businesses need is another hoop to jump through. This bill streamlines the filing process so business owners can get back to creating jobs and contributing to their communities. I am very pleased that both the House and Senate have unanimously agreed to send this bill to Governor DeWine.”

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Starbucks Announces Wage Hikes Amidst Labor Struggles

Outside view of Starbucks Coffee

Seattle-based Starbucks announced it will increase hourly wages next year as the coffee giant faces the dual pressures of unionization attempts and staffing shortages.

According to a press release from the company, starting in January of 2022, hourly employees with two or more years of service could see a 5% raise and those with five or more years of service could see a 10% raise.

By the summer of next year, the company says its average hourly pay will be $17, up from the current average of $14. Employees will make between $15 and $23 an hour across the country, depending on location and tenure.

The press release did not address what impact the moves will have on coffee prices.

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Commentary: Biden’s Banking Nominee Would Pursue Soviet Economics

Saule Omarova

Magicians try to distract the audience from looking at one hand by dangling something shiny in the other. So do politicians.

The left’s latest magician: Saule Omarova, President Biden’s nominee to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. OCC is an important agency — it has power to regulate all national banks and federal savings associations. OCC’s wrong moves negatively affect millions of Americans, making banking and other services more expensive and inaccessible, particularly for vulnerable, unbanked Americans.

Rather than answer serious congressional inquiries about whether she is the right fit for OCC, Omarova has attacked duly-elected members of Congress whose voters empower them to serve their interests. By refusing to answer basic questions about her work and worldview, Omarova has obstructed the constitutionally prescribed legislative process.

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Commentary: This Is Obama’s Third Term

On October 30, 2008, five days before Barack Obama won that year’s presidential election, he promised to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” He nearly lived up to that promise.

Obama doubled the federal debt. He oversaw the worst economic growth of any president since Herbert Hoover. Under Obama, Americans experienced a stagnant median household income, a decline in homeownership, an increase in health insurance rates, and an increase in the number of Americans on food stamps, to mention just a few lowlights.

By every metric that should have mattered to Americans, Obama had failed. But from Obama’s point of view, he had succeeded. American prosperity is anathema to Obama and the modern-day Democratic Party. The Democratic Party’s power doesn’t come from happy, successful, and independent Americans; but rather from miserable, forlorn, desperate, and impoverished Americans who are dependent upon the government for their salvation.

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Big Tech Companies Apple and Amazon Warn of Worsening Supply Chain Crisis

A ship arriving at the Hamburg harbor.

On Thursday, two of the biggest tech companies in the world posted earnings that fell below market expectations, attributed to the ongoing supply chain crisis that is paralyzing the American economy, according to CNN.

For the third quarter of 2021, Amazon’s net sales amounted to around $110.8 billion, which was a 15 percent increase from the previous year; however, this ultimately fell below market analyst predictions of about $111.6 billion. Amazon’s overall net income for the same period decreased from the same period in 2020 to about $3.2 billion, when predictions estimated around $4.6 billion.

Apple’s sales during the same quarter were $83.4 billion, with iPhone sales at $38.9 billion; both were lower than original projections.

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U.S. Consumer Spending Grew Slowly in September amid High COVID-19 Cases, Supply Chain Problems and Rising Inflation

U.S. consumer spending growth slowed in September, and income dropped due to high COVID-19 cases, supply shortages, rising inflation, and ending unemployment benefits.

Consumer spending increased 0.6% in September, down from a 1% jump in August, the Commerce Department announced Friday. Personal income fell 1% in September, driven by a 72% drop in unemployment insurance benefits that offset a 0.7% spike in wages and benefits, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Economists polled by Reuters projected a 0.5% in consumer spending. Delta variant cases peaked in the middle of September, and the continued supply chain backups have caused shortages and rising prices, making it harder for consumers to purchase their desired goods, the WSJ reported.

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Commentary: If Demography Is Destiny, So Are Suburbs and Small Towns

cars parked in front of red brick building

Policy and politics often collide at the intersection of geography and demographics. The non-urban, non-college-educated white voter causing concern among Democrats these days, the suburban voter of 2018, and the heartland voter of 2016 are all profiles built on the common interests of certain people in certain types of places.

After 18 months of domestic migration prompted by a pandemic, another interest in addition to where people live has emerged in this equation: where people wish they lived.

Americans of all stripes, including young people, have long preferred suburban to urban living despite the prevailing (mis)conception in the media, but the twin crises of Covid and urban unrest in 2020 have clearly accentuated Americans’ desire to leave denser places. Not only have Americans continued apace in their usual migration from cities to suburbs, they also now aspire to live in towns and hinterlands more than one might expect.

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Russian Hackers Behind SolarWinds Attack Are Targeting the Supply Chain, Microsoft Says

silhouette of person with hoodie on

The same group of Russian hackers behind the December 2020 SolarWinds attack are targeting companies in the U.S. technology supply chain, according to a Monday report released by Microsoft.

Russian hacking group Nobelium is targeting cloud infrastructure companies and information technology software resellers in an attempt to gain access to these companies’ customers, according to Microsoft’s research. Microsoft believes Nobelium to be the same group responsible for the SolarWinds hack in late 2020 that affected multiple Cabinet-level agencies, federal contractors and critical infrastructure companies.

“This recent activity is another indicator that Russia is trying to gain long-term, systematic access to a variety of points in the technology supply chain and establish a mechanism for surveilling – now or in the future – targets of interest to the Russian government,” Tom Burt, Microsoft’s vice president for customer security and trust, wrote in the report.

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Commentary: The Farce of American Despotism

Reflecting on Joe Biden’s disastrous “town hall” with Anderson Cooper on Thursday, The Spectator’s Dominic Green asks a question that has to weigh heavily on the mind of every American adult: “Is it more worrisome that Joe Biden might not be in charge, or that he actually is in charge?” I have long argued that allowing Biden to appear in public is a form of elder abuse, and I have speculated that he really is not in control of his actions but is manipulated, puppet-like, by a shadowy cadre of unnamed string-pullers I have called “The Committee.”

I do not have any proof that such is the case. I infer the existence and machinations of The Committee from Biden’s ostentatious incompetence and apparent senility. Has any president in the history of the Republic overseen such a destructive litany of failures so early in his tenure? Observers around the world caught their breath in August as our botched exit from Afghanistan went from appalling to something much worse and more deadly. What will be its defining image? The desperate Afghans clinging to and then falling from the landing gear of a transport plane as it took off from the Kabul airport? Or will it be the images of the slaughter perpetrated by a suicide (that is, a homicide) bomber outside the airport, an incident that killed some 170 people include more than a dozen U.S. military personnel?

Or maybe it will be the image of the drone strike launched in retaliation for that slaughter, a strike that was supposed to have targeted an ISIS-K operative but in fact killed zero terrorists and instead blew to bits 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children. The United States initially said they had obliterated an ISIS-K operative along with the collateral damage, but eventually they had to admit that, nope, they got no bad guys, just 10 innocent Afghans. 

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Stokes ‘Hyperinflation’ Fears

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

 Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stirred up more fears around inflation with his comments over the weekend saying that hyperinflation is “happening.”

“Hyperinflation is going to change everything,” the tech leader posted on Twitter. “It’s happening.”

The post sparked a flurry of responses. Replying to comments on his post, Dorsey added, “It will happen in the US soon, and so the world.”

Hyperinflation is defined by Investopedia as “rapid, excessive, and out-of-control general price increases in an economy.”

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‘Way Off Track’: Emissions Levels Hit New Record in 2020 Despite Pandemic, Paris Accords

Person filling up red car with petrol/gasoline

Total global greenhouse gas emission levels hit a new record last year despite the pandemic-induced economic shutdowns and previous commitments from world leaders, the United Nations said.

“The abundance of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere once again reached a new record last year,” the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) stated Monday morning after releasing its Greenhouse Gas Bulletin report.

While total emissions unsurprisingly hit a new record, however, the year-over-year increase between 2019-2020 was lower than the 2018-2019 increase, according to the report. Fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions, the largest contributor to greenhouse gas warming, dropped 5.6% last year compared to the year prior.

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Commentary: The Deliberate Attempts to Wreak Havoc on America

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, joined by White House staff, participate in a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Since Jan. 20, 2021, many of us have wondered whether the policies of the Biden administration are driven by folly and stupidity, or whether they are deliberate attempts to wreak havoc on the United States of America. The foolish and tragic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the ongoing demolition of businesses and occupations by a prolonged pandemic and now by vaccine mandates, the shipping and trucking crisis, the skyrocketing inflation: Do these and so many other fiascoes, we ask ourselves, derive from ignorance or from calculation?

Two days ago a definitive answer to this question arrived in the mail.

It’s deliberate.     

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General Assembly Keeps Foreign Languages, Home Economics in Ohio Schools

Cleveland Metropolitan School District 8th grade students read with their kindergarten buddies and help the young learners discover the joy of reading.

Foreign languages, business education and home economics still will be a required part of curriculum in Ohio schools after the Ohio Senate voted unanimously to stop a proposal from the Ohio Department of Education that would have allowed them to be eliminated.

The Senate concurred with House Concurrent Resolution 35 to stop a plan that would have changed the state’s administrative code to eliminate those required courses of study, a change put forth by the State Board of Education. The House passed the resolution, 95-0.

Wednesday’s vote marked the first time in 25 years the General Assembly stopped a rule from going into effect, according to Sen. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, who serves on the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.

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The U.S. Is Running Out of Warehouse Space, Intensifying Supply Chain Bottlenecks and Adding to Inflation

Man in blue polo and jeans working on a warehouse on his laptop

Available warehouse space near significant distribution hubs fell to historic lows in the third quarter of 2021, placing even more pressure on supply chain bottlenecks and increasing inflation, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Demand for industrial real estate in the third quarter outpaced supply by 41 million square feet, increasing the vacancy rate to 3.6%, down 0.7% from Q3 2020 and marking the lowest level since 2002, according to data from CBRE, the WSJ reported.

Warehouses near the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports in California, some of the most important distribution points of entry in the country, reached a vacancy rate of 1% in Q3 this year, according to the WSJ. During the same quarter in 2020, the vacancy rate was 2.3%.

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Expect Inflation, Supply Shortages to Last Well into 2022, Economists Say

High inflation will last well into 2022, economists say, indicating that supply chain bottlenecks will keep increasing prices and curbing production.

Experts expect to see average inflation of 5.25% in December, slightly down from the current maximum predicted 5.4% figure, according to The Wall Street Journal. If inflation stays around its current level, Americans will experience the longest period during which inflation has stayed above 5% since 1991.

“It’s a perfect storm: supply-chain bottlenecks, tight labor markets, ultra-easy monetary and fiscal policies,” Michael Moran, Daiwa Capital Markets America’s chief economist, told the WSJ.

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Roughly 40 Percent of Americans Say They Recently Suffered Financial Difficulties, Study Shows

Soldiers assigned the Ohio National Guard’s HHC 1-148th Infantry Regiment – 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the Ohio Military Reserve, give the thumbs-up for troopers assigned to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, to send more vehicles through the line at a drive through food distribution event at the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank, May 9, 2020. The food bank teamed up with the Ohio National Guard and the Highway Patrol to conduct the first-ever drive through event at the food bank. More than 700 Ohio National Guard and Ohio Military Reserve members were activated to provide humanitarian missions in support of Operation Steady Resolve COVID-19 relief efforts, continuing The Ohio National Guard’s long history of supporting humanitarian efforts throughout Ohio and the nation. To date, the Ohio National Guard has assisted in the distribution of more than 9.9 million pounds of food and pantry items to Ohioans in need. (Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Beth Holliker)

Over 40% of U.S. households said they experienced severe financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic, citing difficulties paying bills, credit cards and draining their savings, according to a Harvard University report.

The survey conducted by the Harvard T.H.Chan School of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the National Public Radio asked roughly 3,600 participants between July and August about problems they faced during the pandemic and how it affected their lives in recent months. Respondents were asked about financial, healthcare, education and personal safety concerns.

Roughly 30% of adults interviewed said they used up all or most of their savings during the pandemic, while 10% reported they had no savings before the pandemic began, according to the report.  About one in five households had difficulties paying credit cards, loans, and other debts as well as utilities.

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Ohio Ranks As One of the Least Safe States in Terms of COVID

Man getting COVID vaccine

With rankings near the bottom in five key categories, Ohio stands as one of the least safe states during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recently released report.

WalletHub, a personal finance website, ranked Ohio the fifth-least safe state in the nation based on data from five key areas, including COVID-19 transmission, positive tests, hospitalizations, deaths and the percentage of the eligible population vaccinated.

Ohio’s highest ranking was in transmission rate, which still ranked 35th. Its death rate was 41st, while vaccination rate (42nd), positive test rate (43rd) and hospitalization rate (44th) were among the worst in the country.

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Texas Democrats: Biden’s Energy Policies Will Cost Jobs, Create Dependence on Foreign Oil

Henry Cuellar

Seven Democratic U.S. representatives have asked Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, to not target the oil and gas industry in the budget reconciliation bill before Congress.

Despite the concerns they and those in the industry have raised, Democrats in the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee pushed through a section of the bill, which includes billions of dollars in taxes, fines and fees on the oil and gas industry in the name of climate change.

Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., said the section of the bill that passed “invested in millions of American jobs” and put the U.S. “on a more stable long-term economic and environmental path.”

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Democrats’ Budget Set to Include Global Minimum Tax, Treasury Secretary Says

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that she is confident that the Democrats’ budget will include a global minimum tax for corporations just days after nearly 140 countries endorsed the measure.

“I am confident that what we need to do to come into compliance with the minimum tax will be included in a reconciliation package,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told ABC News on Sunday. “I hope that it will be passed and we will be able to reassure the world that the United States will do its part.”

Though the United States and 135 other countries signed the agreement, each nation must pass its own legislation to enact the minimum tax rates. Democrats are currently crafting the budget, a spending package that would reshape the social safety net, but the process has slowed by disagreements between the party’s moderate and left wings.

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Republican Leaders Push Back Against Global Business Tax

Mike Crapo and Kevin Brady

Republican lawmakers are pushing back against the Biden administration’s plan to join a global compact implementing a tax on U.S. corporations regardless of where they operate.

One hundred and thirty six136 countries agreed Friday to implement a global business tax, and G-7 finance leaders agreed to the plan Saturday. President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen praised the plan.

Proposed by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental economic organization, the global tax is necessary to respond to an “increasingly globalized and digital global economy,” OECD said.

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U.S. Economy Added 194,000 Jobs in September, Badly Missing Expectations

Person using a laptop, pointing to the screen

The U.S. economy reported an increase of 194,000 jobs in September, and the unemployment rate fell to 4.8%, according to Department of Labor statistics.

The number of unemployed people fell by 710,000 to 7.7  million, according to the Department of Labor statistics released Friday.   Economists projected that employers created 500,000f jobs in September, more than double the figure in August, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Despite the spike in employment, the labor market remains thin due to the pandemic, and job growth earlier in the year was considerably stronger, according to the WSJ.

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Commentary: The Senate Must Defeat Communist Saule Omarova for Comptroller of the Currency

Saule Omarova

 
Every so often we receive a comment to the effect that we are paranoid and should stop seeing a Communist under every bed, however, it appears that based on the views expressed by Prof. Saule Omarova, President Biden’s nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, our concerns about the takeover of the Democratic Party by Socialists and Communists have received some very solid confirmation.

Indeed, Omarova is so far out in Communism’s Left Field that Janet Yellen, Biden’s Treasury secretary (a garden variety liberal Democrat) raised concerns about her taking the post.

And Secretary Yellin’s concerns are amply justified.
In 2019, Omarova posted to Twitter in support of the “old USSR” where there was “no gender pay gap.” She attempted to do damage control after being criticized for it, but failed to fully condemn the Soviet Union.

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‘We Will Use the Full Range of Tools’: Trade Representative Says U.S. Will Enforce Phase One Trade Deal with China

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, sign the U.S. China Phase One Trade Agreement Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the Biden administration would enforce the Phase One trade agreement negotiated by the Trump administration with China while giving a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Monday.

“For too long, China’s lack of adherence to global trading norms has undercut the prosperity of Americans and others around the world,” Tai said in prepared remarks. “China made commitments that benefit certain American industries, including agriculture, that we must enforce.”

China has fallen short on the purchase totals it agreed to as part of the agreement, increasing its purchases by only 69% as of July 2021, according to the non-partisan Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE).

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