President-Elect Donald Trump has put forth his cabinet picks. If they’re all approved, this would mark the wealthiest U.S. cabinet in history. But before each pick can be granted his or her position, they must go through the Senate nomination hearing. And for some, that hearing was worse than for others. For Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s pick for Treasury Secretary, things did not go well. Just hours before his hearing, it was revealed that Mnuchin failed to disclose $100 million in assets, as well as a few other important pieces of information. What’s next for the treasury nominee?
Here’s a List of Assets Mnuchin Failed To Disclose
In politics, there is always heated opposition from across the aisle. Accusations run rampant, and hostilities are always high. But in the case of Treasury nominee Steve Mnuchin, the Democrats were handed an arsenal of firepower with which to hammer Mnuchin during his nomination hearing in front of the Senate when it was revealed he failed to disclose $100 million in assets. And it only got worse from there. Can Mnuchin survive the nomination process or does Trump need to decide on a plan b?
Things got ugly for Mnuchin during the hearing when Democrats focused on his financial disclosure form. In his revised form, Mr. Mnuchin disclosed $95 million in real estate holdings spread across New York, California, and Mexico. He also originally failed to mention that his children own $1 million in art collections. But the biggest omissions on Mnuchin’s part were bigger than money.
Mr. Mnuchin also initially failed to disclose that he is the director of Dune Capital International, an investment fund incorporated in the Cayman Islands, along with management posts in seven other investment funds. That’s a big deal because the Cayman Islands act as a tax haven for corporations, meaning that Mnuchin could be using federal loopholes to avoid paying millions in taxes – not a good look for the nominee for Secretary of Treasury.
Mnuchin was also hammered on his foreclosure practices when he was running OneWest bank following the 2008 housing crisis – by a Republican senator. The questions from Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nevada) focused on how many people received assistance from his bank, which profited heavily from the crisis. Sen. Heller prodded for answers saying he’d asked 7 times over two weeks, and still had not received an answer. OneWest foreclosed on 60,000 families nationwide while denying 75 percent of mortgage modification applications.
Watch the news report from The Wall Street Jornal for a glimpse of what happened in Mnuchin’s senate hearing:
Democrats believe Mnuchin is an example of “the swamp” Trump claims to want to drain. They believe Mnuchin’s proposed corporate tax cut, lowering tax from 35 to 15 percent for corporations, will only help the super rich, and not do a single thing for the poorest 8 million families in the U.S. However, Republicans are embracing Mnuchin, and believe his tax plan will bring money back into the country, increasing economic growth by 3-4 percent a year. And with a Republican controlled Congress and Senate, there’s a fair chance Mnuchin is our next Treasury Secretary.
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Featured image via Esquire
Is a Second Stimulus Check Still Happening?
This year’s fall season has never been so hectic and anxiety-ridden. Coronavirus is still a thing. Economies are trying to recover, while businesses are trying to reopen. Jobs are slowly coming back, while schools are in flux. The campaign for the presidency kicked up a notch as it winds to its last stages. Lost in the chaos is an important question among Americans. Is a second stimulus check still happening?
RELATED: New Coronavirus Stimulus Package
Last July, Congress adjourned without coming out with a comprehensive relief program. Both sides continued to negotiate during the break but ended up being further apart. The previous program’s benefits expired on July 31, and until now, there are no new bills. A $600 extra jobless benefit, a moratorium on evictions, and the window to apply for PPP loans all have lapsed since.
President Donald Trump issued executive orders last August that aimed to provide relief. The jury’s still out on the orders, as there were questions on implementation and funding. Now that the Senate is back from recess, there’s hope for a new round of relief for Americans. What the relief package contains is still up for debate.
GOP Proposes the”Skinny Bill”
On Tuesday, Senate Republicans introduced a less-than-expected coronavirus aid bill. It does not have the anticipated stimulus check, but it does have unemployment aid. Instead of the extra $600 unemployment benefit, the GOP proposed half, or $300. The “skinny bill” also includes liability protections for businesses and health-care facilities. It also funded more money for health-care funding and schools. Finally, it also contains the second round of Paycheck Protection Program funding. While the bill provides only a part of the previous relief, it only costs between $500 billion to $700 billion. Unspent funds for Federal Reserve facilities support will cover some of the costs.
All in, $105 billion would go to schools, $16 billion into Covid-19 testing, and $31 billion toward the development and stocking of vaccines. Another $15 billion would go towards childcare grants. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called it a “targeted proposal.” He said: “We want to agree where bipartisan agreement is possible… get more help out the door and then keep arguing over the rest later.” He hopes that Congress will vote on the proposal later this week.
Democrats Say No Again
In response to the skinny bill, the Democrats remained unimpressed. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) noted that this bill won’t help. In a joint statement, they claimed “Senate Republicans appear dead-set on another bill which doesn’t come close to addressing the problems and is headed nowhere.” Dems criticized the bill because it excluded other sectors that need help. Missing are funds for state governments, rental and mortgage, USPS, and food. As a result, the bill likely will not get the needed 60 votes to pass the Senate. It would also take a miracle to get approval in the Democrat-controlled House.
While acknowledging that Americans need aid, Republicans balk at spending more money. Earlier, they shot down a Democrat stimulus proposal worth $3 trillion. The GOP insisted on a $1 trillion budget and refused to resume talks even when the price tag went down to $2 trillion.
Reacting to the Democrats, McConnell said: “Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer said a targeted deal on jobless benefits and the Paycheck Protection Program would be ‘piecemeal,’ but then-Speaker Pelosi came rushing back to pass the most piecemeal bill imaginable: Postal Service legislation.” He noted that this bill “completely ignored the health, economic, and education crises facing families.”
McConnell added: “Everything Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer have done suggests one simple motivation: They do not want American families to see any more bipartisan aid before the polls close on President Trump’s re-election. They have taken Americans’ health, jobs, and schools hostage for perceived partisan gain.”
The Deadline is Looming
The November elections are putting the squeeze for incumbents to do something. The White House, in particular, would prefer the release of second stimulus relief aid before the polls. Incumbents facing tough reelection also need party help to boost their chances.
It’s time for parties to realize that there is more than the election at stake. The more important deadline was the one set by everyday Americans. Election year or not, if a second stimulus check will happen, it has to happen now.
Watch CNBC Television: Texas Senator Ted Ruz doesn’t believe Congress likely won’t pass stimulus before Election Day:
Do you think that both parties can come to terms with submitting a bipartisan bill to provide a second stimulus relief package to Americans? Or has the time run out to come up with something? Let us know how you feel about this by leaving your comments below.
American Firms Keep Hiring, Easing Worries of Weakening Economy
The unemployment rate is “now at a half-century low of 3.5%” – this matches the lowest jobless rate since 1969 – and economists have also given a warning that hiring would soon slow because there are fewer unemployed workers. However, in November, employers added 266,000 jobs – the highest number since January. Monthly hiring has averaged 205,000 for the past three months.
Associated Press reported that “Friday’s jobs report largely squelched fears of a recession that had taken hold in the summer. Steady job growth has helped reassure consumers that the economy is expanding and that their jobs and incomes remain secure.”
President Trump tried to focus voter’s attention on the state of the economy instead of his impeachment inquiry. Trump even tweeted “JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!”
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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