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House Republicans’ Plan To Strip Office Of Congressional Ethics Of Its Power Backfires

In a surprise move, House Republicans on Monday voted to strip the Office of Congressional Ethics of its power with no notice. After Democrats, government watchdog groups, and even President-Elect Donald Trump criticized the move, Republicans reversed course.

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In a surprise move, House Republicans on Monday voted to strip the Office of Congressional Ethics of its power with no notice. After Democrats, government watchdog groups, and even President-Elect Donald Trump criticized the move, Republicans reversed course. But the move shows a concerning chism between what Mr. Trump promised voters and what House Republicans are actually pursuing. Should Republican voters be worried? What exactly is the OCE and why would House Republicans want it gone?

What Do House Republicans Have Against The OCE?

On Monday, House Republicans voted to essentially remove any teeth from the Office of Congressional Ethics. On Tuesday, those same politicians backtracked and halted their plans. However, the damage was done. On the first day of a new congress, this seems like a particularly odd move. But what’s more odd is that the incoming Republican president, Donald Trump, publicly rebuked them for it.

What is the Office of Congressional Ethics?

Put simply, the OCE is an eight-person, independent office of former members of congress, lawyers, and others founded in 2008 to review allegations of misconduct against House members, officers, and staff. The OCE makes recommendations to the House Ethics Committee, and its reports and findings are almost always publicly released. It’s the first independent body to have an oversight role in House ethics and has no Senate counterpart. No current members of congress may belong to the OCE.

House Republicans voted to implement new rules, which stated the OCE would not have been allowed to receive anonymous tips, investigate criminal activity, or share its findings with the public or even other branches of government. The new rules would have made sure the OCE had no ability whatsoever to conduct an independent investigation of potential wrongdoing by members of Congress.

Thankfully, Republicans backed off the move after Trump tweeted that it’s a bad move. But considering Trump promised to “drain the swamp” and clean up corruption and influence peddling in Washington, the move seems like a huge disconnect between the incoming president and his congress. What’s even more of a disconnect is that one of Trump’s top aides, Kellyanne Conway, defended House Republicans, saying the move was necessary for significant change.

What she didn’t mention is that there are multiple House Republicans currently under investigation by the OCE. At least six lawmakers are being investigated stemming from complaints that started under the OCE, including the fourth highest-ranking House Republican, Washington state Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Get more info about their self-policing intentions right here, thanks to Freedom Of Press

For now, the OCE stays intact as it is, but it’s a scary thought that on day one, a new congress is looking to remove any independent oversight. Thankfully, Mr. Trump put a stop to that. One thing is certain, and that is that the next four years should be interesting.

Get last Friday’s business news right here. 


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This publication provides general information about certain subjects, and should not be construed or taken as advice (legal, financial, investment, tax, or otherwise). Do not construe or take any information in this publication as a solicitation, offer, opinion, or recommendation to buy or sell any securities, bonds, or other financial instruments or to provide any legal, financial, investment, tax, or other advice or service about the suitability or profitability of any financial instruments or investments.

The Capitalist disclaims any liability for the accuracy of or your reliance on any statements, views, opinions, or information in this publication.


Featured image via The Atlantic

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Nam1

    January 4, 2017 at 4:54 PM

    Simply put, the alligators were trying to take the teeth out of the bite of the one agency that can help Trump drain their swamp… Nice try, now behave or else.

  2. Pingback: Monday 1/9/2017: Sneak Peek at the Week; Mercury Direct; Meryl Streep, Right on Schedule

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Economy

Could Trump’s Tariffs Hurt The U.S. Economy?

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Could Trump’s Tariffs Hurt The U.S. Economy

About a year ago, the media was talking about how Trump’s trade wars could negatively affect many industrial companies, the agricultural sector, and right down to the every day American worker.

The recent stats from Gross Domestic Product has now revealed the current reality of Trump’s multiple front trade war.

Data shows that imports increased, while exports decreased by over 5%. Business investments have declined by 0.6%, and this decline has been happening since 2016. Most North American corporate capital spending is also on a declining trend.

Trumps’s tax reform was short-lived for most American companies. We did not get many benefits from the trade tensions either. U.S. corporate debt is getting much worse and far more significant than household debt.

Many are speculating that the cutting interest rates will lead to more zombie companies that will threaten both the U.S. and global economy.

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Economy

CryptoRuble | Cryptocurrency in Russia

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What do you get when you implement cryptocurrency in Russia? Cryptoruble! Read on to find out how Russian cryptocurrency is doing.

CryptoRuble | Cryptocurrency in Russia

Russia’s Pivot Toward a Pro Cryptocurrency Policy

Prior to the great boom which propelled Bitcoin over $7,000, both Russian bankers and politicians alike voiced their conflicting opinions and hesitancy toward the cryptocurrency.

Vladimir Putin called for tighter regulation of cryptocurrencies only a month prior to his speech where he touched on nurturing the new technology, while authoritative bankers compared cryptocurrencies to Ponzi schemes.

At one time, a proposal was made that would punish those owning bitcoin with up to seven years in jail for a violation.

Recently however, these antagonistic statements from central banks and the Kremlin have pivoted with a series of official announcements that would strengthen Russia’s position as a possible focal point for the impending and inescapable cryptocurrency revolution. The major impetus for this considerable change in rhetoric is demanded from people all over the world for digital cash as instruments of investment, payment, and more. The people’s demand hasn’t fallen on deaf ears in Russia.

But the Russian elite have answered the people’s call in a uniquely Russian way.

To everyone’s surprise, President Putin, in late October of 2017, announced his support for cryptocurrency in Russia and subsequently ordered legislation that would put into place infrastructure for its national adoption.

Unique legal frameworks has since been conceived for the taxation of cryptocurrency mining, regulating initial coin offerings (ICOs), developing blockchain technology in business, and establishing a far-reaching system of payment for Russian citizens.

Perhaps, the most astonishing statement given by President Putin’s was his announcement that Russia intends to form a digital crypto rendition of the ruble termed the ‘CryptoRuble’. The CryptoRuble is supposed to be interchangeable with the ruble on a 1:1 ratio. Quite dissimilar to other more ‘traditional’ forms of cryptocurrencies, the CryptoRuble will not be able to be mined and will be exclusively issued by the Russia’s central bank. This kind of approach is distinctly Russian, and is based on years of meticulous observation of how various forms of cryptocurrency has previously affected other countries.

This Russian model cedes some economic freedoms for government control, while still preserving and incorporating the technology’s primary advantages.

Additionally, an unchangeable ledger will make citizen cash flows transparent to the government and help stem fraud and corruption. In theory, it should also help to bring down walls of previous systems plagued by middlemen.

CryptoRuble income is expected to be taxed at a rate of 13 percent for those wo’re unable to provide a legitimate source for it. Not only is this an attempt at preventing corruption, but it’s also a way the Russian government can profit from it.

Russian leadership is likely to remain watchful of any new methods they can use to achieve a competitive edge in international politics, finance and trade.

Cryptocurrency seems to be one of the most likely channels for increased influence across borders; thus, Russia’s pivot toward a pro-crypto policy stance is quite logical.

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Economy

Robots, Not Jobs, are Being Created Mr. President

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One of Donald Trump’s ongoing promises has been jobs. And lots of them. Specifically in manufacturing. However, he’s also pushing for innovation, especially here in the U.S. during “Made in America Week”. There’s one little problem, though. The jobs Trump wants to push are directly at odds with his message of innovation. And that’s becoming obvious as more and more companies turn to technology to compete with online retailers

What “Jobs” does the President Actually Make?

The economy is doing just fine under President Trump. Nowhere is that more evident than in the stock market, which has soared to record high after record high after record high. Unemployment is steady, hovering around 4.5 percent. And the dollar has gotten so strong that the president has had to speak against it to weaken our currency before the economy suffered as a result. Yet, Trump is still talking about job creation. But here’s the thing, companies aren’t looking to create more jobs, they’re looking to create more efficiency, and that comes through technology.

Case in point, Wal-Mart.

While the robots we think of from movies are still years away, more basic robots are already replacing human labor in restaurants such as McDonalds, and retailers like Wal-Mart, especially as a result of a growing cry for a $15 minimum wage. These bots are replacing thousands of jobs across the country, many of which will hit Trump’s main voter base. Wal-Mart, for example, is installing Cash360 machines in almost all their 4,700 U.S. stores.

The Cash360 machine counts money exponentially faster than a human, which is a specific job Wal-Mart has always hired for. Now, instead of paying $13/hr for a money counter, the machine does the same work significantly more efficiently, making those jobs obsolete. While the company claims those employees will be moved to new positions, the fact is most of them can’t do any other jobs and are forced to leave the company.

That’s just one example.

The more routine a job is, the more likely it is to be replaced. Ordering a burger at McDonalds through a digital touch screen. Self checkout lanes at the grocery store. Toll takers. Even autonomous vehicles, which will replace delivery drivers in a few years.

 

Can Trump’s policies drive manufacturing jobs back to America? Watch this news clip from Fox Business:

And the biggest group who have routine jobs? Trump’s supporters. Especially in the manufacturing jobs he keeps promising. Innovation and job creation are currently at odds with each other — as long as we’re looking at the same jobs. Moving forward, we need more innovative jobs, not just innovation within existing jobs.

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The statements, views, and opinions of any article, contribution, editorial, or advertisement in this publication are not necessarily those of The Capitalist or its editorial staff, and are not considered an endorsement, sponsorship, or recommendation of any referenced product, service, issuer, or groups of issuers.

This publication provides general information about certain subjects, and should not be construed or taken as advice (legal, financial, investment, tax, or otherwise). Do not construe or take any information in this publication as a solicitation, offer, opinion, or recommendation to buy or sell any securities, bonds, or other financial instruments or to provide any legal, financial, investment, tax, or other advice or service about the suitability or profitability of any financial instruments or investments.

The Capitalist disclaims any liability for the accuracy of or your reliance on any statements, views, opinions, or information in this publication.

 

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