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Andy Puzder’s Withdrawal the Latest in a Series of Red Flags for Trump’s Administration… Can it be Fixed?

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It seems like President Trump’s administration has been under constant fire recently. The media has lampooned Kellyanne Conway for her “alternative facts” and “Bowling Green massacre” quotes. And that was before her possible breach of ethics while hocking Ivanka Trump’s clothing brand on national TV with a “free commercial”. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was confirmed solely on a historic tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence, a dangerous sign considering Republicans control the Senate. Just a few days ago, Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigned under allegations of impropriety with Russian contacts. Now, Trump’s pick to head the labor department, Andy Puzder, has withdrawn from consideration for the position.  Should the administration be concerned?

Why Would Andy Puzder Withdraw?

The last four weeks since taking office have been rough on Donald Trump. Between dealing with protests, butting heads with the media, and Twitter wars with celebrities, President Trump is meeting with foreign heads of state, signing executive orders, and overseeing the policies of this country. His administration’s job is to make his life easier by handling the day to day responsibilities of the office. However, they’re just making his life harder. Trump’s latest concern, the withdrawal of Andrew Puzder from consideration for Labor Secretary.

Puzder is withdrawing because he’s “tired of the abuse” he’s taking from Democrats and the media. Reports have surfaced of allegations of domestic abuse from decades ago, which would be made public during his confirmation hearings. In addition, he paid back taxes for hiring an undocumented housekeeper. Both are incidents Republicans would prefer to avoid.

And avoid they are. At least seven Republican senators have declined to publicly back Puzder leading up to his scheduled Thursday confirmation hearing. Four Republican Senators already said they would not vote for him, with sources saying that number could be as high as 12. With Democrats holding 48 seats, all they would need for a no would be three Republican votes. Now, Puzder bows out without having his dirty laundry aired to the public.

How bad is this for Trump?

It’s definitely not a sign of a competent administration as many of Trump’s top advisors continue to come under attack. But this is actually a blessing in disguise for the president. Trump has a chance to make a hard pivot and start uniting parties with whoever he chooses to replace Puzder.

While Puzder was pro-business, critics said he was extremely anti-worker and wanted to replace employees with automated machines. That’s not a great trait for someone being chosen to represent the interest of the American work force. Labor workers, unions, and politicians were all vocally opposed to Puzder.

 

Watch the news from Fox Business regarding Andy Puzder’s expected withdrawal:

As Trump scrambles for a replacement, he should consider looking for a Democratic candidate who the Dems would not only approve, but applaud. As the wall of supporters around the president shows some cracks, he can gain support on the left by compromising and throwing the Democrats a bone. With many top White House positions still not filled almost a month into his presidency, Donald Trump may need to bend to strengthen his role in leading this country.

See the news on Janet Yellen latest congress testimony right here.

 

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Marc Clamage

    February 16, 2017 at 12:43 PM

    Luckily for us, he won’t. He’ll just find someone even more horrible than Puzder because it’s not about doing what’s best for the country; it’s about stickin’ it to the libs and making them squirm. That’s what makes his base happy, that’s what makes him happy. His whole political philosophy is based upon getting even for slights real and imagined.

    Incidentally, if he does offer a “bone” to the Democrats,the answer should be no. It is essential that the entire grand clusterfuck of the Trump administration be ascribable solely to the Republican Party. There can be no “well, you voted for it too” mantra in the upcoming elections when it comes time to apportion the blame. Sorry, GOP, he’s all yours.

    “Treason doth never prosper, what’s the reason?
    For if it prosper, none dare call it Treason.”

    — John Harington

  2. Avatar

    Donald J.

    February 16, 2017 at 3:50 PM

    Sounds like the new administration is getting serious vetting unlike the previous administration with so many ties to ISIS and unpaid back taxes who were given free rein by the previous administration and the political elite (in their own mind). Does anyone in addition remember the previous POTUS administrations tie with ISIS and how many hadn’t paid back taxes? The MSM is complicit in the turmoil being forced on us at every turn every day.

  3. Avatar

    Kbuzz

    February 16, 2017 at 4:49 PM

    Makes me wonder if Trump is playing a game of chess.
    Is he sacrificing pawns?
    In a world of cut-throat business and political back-stabbing, the guy that got their is usually the one who did it best. Trump is no amateur to politics – no Billionaire ever is because they have to play both sides.
    The real threat is the leaks – that and the masses that are so easily swayed..

  4. Avatar

    Bill Mackey

    February 16, 2017 at 4:53 PM

    I don’t think it’s good policy to choose anti-efficiency positions simply because it keeps people employed. It reminds me of the painter’s union which prohibited use of paint rollers when they were invented because they increased efficiency. So they used huge, 1 foot wide brushes. I know – I have one that my uncle, a union painter gave to me. It’s ridiculous. In the long run it simply hurt the union because non-union workers could work so much faster. They did the same thing when airless paint sprayers came out.
    If robots can flip burgers faster and cheaper than Europeans, Mexicans, Africans, Asians or Arabs (yes – I’m aware that some of you ‘easily offended’ will be offended – whatever) can, then trying to stem that tide of automation is a losing battle. What are you going to do – outlaw automatic burger flippers?
    The fact is that with efficiencies increasing, which they will continue to do, there will not be enough actual non-‘make-work’ labor needed to keep everyone ‘gainfully’ employed.
    Society can only use only so many ‘artists’ to build silly-looking ‘sculptures’.
    So how can society deal with the increasing numbers of essentially useless mouths to feed?
    It seems pretty foolish to me to have a welfare-dependent class living alongside an illegal-immigrant class that is doing the jobs that the welfare-dependent don’t want to do – at least until the illegals (or their children) figure out how also to become members of the welfare-dependent class.
    Is it reasonable for society to promote an industry of poorly educated girls whose ‘job’ is to get pregnant? But isn’t that exactly what subsidized housing, free phones, food stamps, welfare, free child care, free schooling, free school lunch programs, etc. do?
    Of course, it’s pretty obvious that that’s what the Democratic Party promotes because it means votes for them. But, regardless of their pandering politician’s self-serving rhetoric, it’s not good policy.

    Sooner or later, someone is going to have to address overpopulation.

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Automobiles

Pump Prices to Edge up After Attack on Iranian General, but Long-Term Effect Unclear

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By Jeff Ostrowski, The Palm Beach Post, Fla.

Motorists soon will see the effects of President Donald Trump’s decision to kill a prominent Iranian general. Whether pump prices rise a little or a lot depends on how quickly international tensions intensify.

Florida gas prices climbed an average of 7 cents a gallon in the past three days and could increase an additional 5 cents, AAA – The Auto Club Group said Monday.

The 7-cent increase was coming even before the U.S. air strike Thursday that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. That hike was a result of a rise in the price of crude oil in December.

News of the targeted killing of Soleimani sent crude oil surging nearly $2 per barrel on Friday. An increase of that magnitude typically translates to a 5-cent hike at the pump, AAA said.

The U.S. benchmark for crude oil traded Monday just above $63 per barrel, the highest level since May 2019. The price of oil makes up about half the price of a gallon of gas.

“What happens in the Middle East can have a direct impact on Americans’ daily lives by influencing what they pay at the pump,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins. “Crude prices rise when there’s a threat of war, because of concerns over how the conflict could hamper supply and demand.”

Oil analyst Tom Kloza of energy firm OPIS agreed that pump prices in Florida likely will rise about 5 cents a gallon in the coming days.

“Then I have a hunch that things are going to calm down,” Kloza said Monday. “I don’t think we’re looking at $3 gas.”

The national average pump price Sunday was $2.585, while the Florida average was $2.526, AAA said.

Kloza expects only modest increases in part because of the timing of the attack. January is always a slow month for gas consumption in the United States.

There’s also the reality that sanctions leave Iran unable to export oil. Complicating the calculus is Iraq’s response to the U.S. attack. The drone strike on Soleimani took place in Baghdad, and some Iraqi politicians considered the assault an affront to Iraqi sovereignty.

While there’s no Iranian oil supply to be disrupted by a war, Iraq is an important producer.

Trump keenly watches oil prices and realizes that a price spike might erode his support in this year’s presidential election, Kloza said.

At the same time, Kloza added, “This president has proven to be unpredictable.”

Trump’s response has been typically uneven. Delivering an official statement at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Trump’s tone was measured. He said the targeted killing was designed to pre-empt Soleimani’s planned attacks on American diplomats and soldiers.

“We took action last night to stop a war,” Trump said Friday. “We did not take action to start a war.”

However, over the weekend, Trump took to Twitter to threaten attacks on Iranian cultural sites.

“The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment,” Trump wrote Sunday on Twitter. “We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way…and without hesitation!”

##IFRAME_1##Iran has vowed vengeance, but military experts say the nation isn’t powerful enough to wage a direct war against the U.S.

“It’s still far too early to know how much of an impact this conflict will have overall on prices at the pump,” AAA’s Jenkins said.

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Economy

Stocks Rally Despite Impeachment News

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Stocks rose on Thursday as investors looked past the news of President Donald Trump’s impeachment as well as mixed U.S. economic data.

The Dow Jones Industrials advanced 53.85 points to begin trading at 28.293.13

The S&P 500 recovered 4.93 points to 3,196.07

The NASDAQ added 19.39 points to Wednesday’s all-time record, at 8,847.12.

The S&P 500 is up nearly 7% since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry in September.

Cisco Systems was the best-performing Dow component, rising 1.6%. The consumer staples and real estate sectors led the S&P 500 higher, gaining 0.4% each. Micron Technology shares also contributed to Thursday’s move higher. Conagra shares surged more than 14% and were on pace for their biggest one-day gain since Oct. 16, 1989.

Micron shares climbed 3.5% on the back of strong quarterly results. The chipmaker posted earnings per share and revenue that topped analyst expectations.

On the economic data front, weekly jobless claims fell to 234,000 from 252,000 the week before. However, economists expected claims to fall to 225,000.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s business conditions index fell to 0.3 in December from 10.4 in the previous month. Economists expected the index to slip to 8.

The Democrat-led House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Trump became only the third president to be charged with high crimes and misdemeanors and will now face a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Prices for the 10-Year U.S. Treasury were lower, raising yields to 1.94% from Wednesday’s 1.93%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained seven cents to $61.00 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices moved forward $1.80 at $1,480.50 U.S. an ounce. Copyright © 2019 Baystreet.ca Media Corp. All rights reserved.

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401 K

Senator Rand Paul: Pay Off Your Student Loans With Your 401k

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Senator Rand Paul says you should pay for your student loans with your 401k. Paul’s new legislative proposal, the HELPER Act (Higher Education Loan Payment and Enhanced Retirement), would allow benefits like tax-free money for college, tax-free employer-sponsored plans, no cap on student loan interest deduction, and many others. Essentially, it would allow students and parents to withdraw retirement funds to settle expenses for college.

The act “would allow Americans to take out up to $5,250 from a 401(k) or IRA tax- and penalty-free each year to pay for college or make monthly student loan payments,” explained CNBC.

According to Forbes, “Paul seeks to reshape the way people save and pay for higher education, driven through tax and savings incentives.” He notes that “the current student loan interest rates can be as high as 7% for graduate students and parent borrowers.” Student loan refinancing rates, on the other hand, have dropped to below 2%.

Paul’s critics will likely note objections such as removing money from a retirement account for any purpose that is not related to retirement may not be a wise financial move; many students cannot both save for retirement and pay off student loans; and the annual amount may not be enough to help borrowers make a meaningful impact.

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