President Trump’s Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway is no stranger to controversy. She’s been in a constant battle with the media since Trump took office, famously coming under fire for her use of “alternative facts” and her “Bowling Green Massacre” example for tightening border security. But while her interviews have come under fire in the past, she’s never crossed any ethical lines – until now. Conway took advantage of a live national news broadcast to go off topic and specifically plug Ivanka Trump’s clothing brand. Is Conway in trouble?
How Does Kellyane Conway’s “Commercial” Affect the Trump Administration?
President Trump has been a lightning rod for controversy. Every executive order he signs and every candidate he nominates regardless of position causes arguments and debate between Republicans and Democrats. So when Donald Trump used his personal account to chastise Nordstrom for dropping Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, and then retweeting that from the POTUS Twitter account, Democrats said he went too far.
But the real fuel for their fire came as Kellyanne Conway stepped in to back Trump in an interview with Fox news. After an interview question came up about Ivanka, Conway responded with “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff, is what I would tell you. It’s a wonderful line. I own some of it. I fully — I’m going to just, I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”
Democrats went wild as Conway may have crossed a significant ethics boundary. Federal law prohibits public employees from using their positions to endorse any product, service, person, or enterprise. That includes friends, family, or people with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.
Check out this article! Spicer: Conway has been 'counseled' after Ivanka Trump plug https://t.co/Ddf8x5g5Kx. Article posted at… February …
— Obama Second Term (@Obamaterm) February 9, 2017
Democrats say she broke the law, while Republicans say that code doesn’t apply to her since she’s not an elected government official. Press Secretary Sean Spicer says Conway has been “counseled” after plugging Ivanka’s clothing line, but is that enough? The Left is out for blood, and Conway may walk away without so much as a slap on the wrist.
The real significance of the plug is that it gives Democrats a foothold on which to point allegations of impropriety and ethical violations. As a result of her actions, the White House will now have ethics committees and lawyers looking at the administration through a magnifying glass. How will this affect the president? Now more than ever people will be clamoring for his tax returns and to examine a full list of his assets to ensure there is no conflict of interest.
Watch the controversial interview from CBS Los Angeles:
It will be interesting to see how the White House responds to the latest allegations of impropriety, but regardless of Trump’s response, or the outcome of Conway’s action, the damage is done and now Trump will have even more of a fight defending his actions to critics.
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Biden Plan Could Mean 60% Tax Rates, But Here’s Who Will Get Stuck With Higher Taxes
New York and California may start losing high-income residents by the droves next year if Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins the election in a few weeks.
That’s because the two left-leaning states would have a combined federal and state rate over 60% under Biden tax plan.
Even New York resident and rapper 50 Cent tweeted earlier this week that despite his apparent dislike for President Trump, he said “Vote Trump” and “62% are you out of ya (expletive) mind,” when he learned about Biden’s tax plan.
According to calculations from Jared Walczak of the Tax Foundation, California residents earning more than $400,000 per year could face a combined tax rate as high as 62.6% under the Biden plan. New Jersey residents could see taxes reach 58.2% and New York would top out at just over 62%.
But somehow, it could get even worse.
Tax Rates Can Still Go Higher Under Biden
Walczak points out that if you include the contributions to the tax hikes by employers, which are often passed along to employees, the combined rates would jump to over 65% in California, 62.9% in New Jersey and 64.7% in New York City. They could still go even higher if California and New York raise taxes on high earners. This is something some legislators have proposed to try and close multibillion-dollar budget gaps.
“These rates would be the highest in about three and a half decades,” said Walzcak, “and imposed on a broader tax base than was in place previously.”
The Middle Class Will Suffer?
But Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone believes the wealthy won’t pay higher taxes at all – the middle class will.
“The middle class will not be exempt. Tragically, it will punish them. It isn’t going to punish us,” said Langone.
Appearing on Fox Business yesterday, Langone said due to Biden’s tax hikes, “the middle class will be in peril.”
He said that despite Biden saying the wealthy should pay more in taxes, the middle class will feel the effects of Biden’s tax plan. Langone said he is in favor of a tax code that is more progressive and equitable. This includes eliminating loopholes that favor the rich and large corporations.
“I don’t know if there’s any of us that have done well that will have a problem with paying more taxes, but it’s a ruse to think that hitting us and us alone is going to get the job done,” Langone said, adding ““It won’t and the middle class will be in peril and when you take money out of the hands of the middle class, you do a dramatic impact negatively on the economy.”
He said that increasing taxes on the middle class will lead to a recession.
“The problem is, when you go after the middle class, you begin to attack the backbone of the economy and we will have a bad recession. We will have a very bad recession,” Langone said.
“These are very precarious times and not the time to be screwing around,” he added.
Market Volatility Rises As Election Polls Show Tightening Race
The relatively calm markets earlier this month are giving way to more volatility as we approach the election. This is according to a team of strategists at JPMorgan.
“While it is perhaps true that during the first two weeks of October risk markets were supported by a widening of US presidential odds, which by itself implied a lower probability of a close or contested US election result, over the past week or so these odds have started narrowing again,” said a team of strategists at JPMorgan Chase, led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou.
According to recent polls by RealClearPolitics, in key battleground states, Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads President Trump by 3.9 percentage points, 49.1 vs. 45.2. That lead has shrunk from a 5 percentage point advantage for Biden about a week ago.
A general election nationwide poll by RCP shows a wider 8.6 percentage-point lead for Biden. However, there are many who feel those polls are not correcting for sampling bias.
MarketWatch recently interviewed Phil Orlando, the chief equities strategist at Federated Hermes. There, he said he doesn’t believe the polls accurately reflect how close the race is. In relation to this, he pointed to the surprise win by Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“Our base case is that the polls are wrong, there’s an oversampling biased error that a lot of polls aren’t correcting for,” Orlando said.
With a tightening race for the White House, volatility has returned to the market. It will also likely increase in the final two weeks leading up to the election.
A report put out yesterday by SentimenTrader showed that the CBOE Volatility Index or VIX, jumped to levels last seen during the Great Financial Crisis, and tends to rise as stocks fall as it is typically used as a hedge against market downturns.
Market analysts use the ratio to measure how speculative traders are getting. A rise in the put/call ratio means that investors are expecting plenty of volatility between now and November 3.
The VIX, which measures investor bullish or bearishness on the S&P 500 for the next 30 days, is currently near 29, well above its historical average between 19 and 20. This week alone the VIX jumped 6.3%.
Source of Volatility
Jeffrey Mills, the chief investment officer at Bryn Mawr Trust, said some of the volatility likely comes from investors trying to position their portfolios based on who they perceive will win the election. “There could be some front-loaded selling but I do feel like that’s a near-term phenomenon,” he said. But he says no matter who wins, there’s really only one place to invest, and that’s the stock market.
“There is going to be this continued pull toward equity markets — where else are you going to go when you need to earn a certain percentage to fund retirement, fund education?”
If investors are moving money today based on who they think will win the election, Daniel Clifton, head of policy research at Strategas Securities said each candidate will likely benefit different sectors.
A Biden victory will be good for stocks in the infrastructure, renewable energy and technology sectors, said Clifton.
If President Donald Trump is reelected, Clifton said there’s “huge upside” in some sectors. These include defense, financials and even the for-profits like prisons, education and student loan lenders.
Report: Biden’s Economic Plans Would Mean 5 Million US Jobs Lost, 10% GDP Drop
A Joe Biden presidency would destroy millions of jobs and derail the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. This is according to a new report from the Hoover Institute at Stanford University.
The report says that based on the economic plans laid out by Biden, nearly 5 million Americans would lose their full-time job. Meanwhile, the country’s gross domestic product, the measure of its economic output, would drop by nearly 10% over the next decade.
These losses would trickle down to the average household. The median household income will fall by $6,500 per year by 2030, according to the report.
Derailing Economic Recovery?
The authors of the report lay out a laundry list of changes. These changes include reversing some of President Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts And Jobs Act, a tax increase on corporations and high-income households and pass through entities, reversing much of the regulatory reform of the past three years as well as setting new environmental standards, and create or expand subsidies for health insurance and renewable energy.
When it comes to renewable energy, the report says that the proposal to cut our nation’s reliance on fossil fuels is “ambitious” and would require cutting electrical use back to levels not seen since 1979.
“These plans are ambitious. Unless people drive a lot less, the electrification of all, or even most, passenger vehicles would increase the per capita demand for electric power by about 25 percent at the same time that more than 70 percent of the baseline supply (i.e., electricity generated from fossil fuels) would be taken off line and another 11 percent (nuclear) would not expand. To put just the 25 percent in perspective: that is the amount of the cumulative increase in electricity generation per person since 1979, which is a period when nuclear and natural gas generation tripled.”
Taxing Wealthy Americans
To pay for most of these “ambitious” plans, Biden has already said he would significantly raise taxes on wealthy Americans. They, he says, include anyone who earns more than $400,000 per year, through higher taxes, an increase in the payroll tax that funds Social Security, and fewer tax deductions. He also plans on raising the corporate tax rate.
The Penn Wharton Budget Model, a nonpartisan group at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, says nearly 80% of Biden’s proposed tax increases would affect the top 1% of earners in the United States. It will primarily do so through raising the top individual income tax bracket to 39.6% from 37% for those earning more than $400,000 annually.
That means an annual tax increase of nearly $300,000 for households in the top 1%, according to the Tax Policy Center, who say even middle-class families will see a tax increase under Biden’s plan.
Corporations would feel the pinch as Biden said he would raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% on “day one.”
During an interview in September, Biden said, “I’d make the changes on the corporate taxes on day one. And the reason I’d make the changes to corporate taxes, it can raise $1.3 trillion if they just started paying 28% instead of 21%. What are they doing? They’re not hiring more people.”
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