Honest Joe

Good ole Joe. Honest Joe.

That’s it.

That’s all the blog post.

Let me elaborate on that some more.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is honest in his statements, yes we can recognise he has made some misleading or false claims here and there but, when your opponent has made 13,435 false or misleading claims way before he even had 1000th in office, the bar is not that high.

Unless you are Paulette Dale, who loves President Donald Trump’s smile– Wait, she’s voting for Biden?!

Wow, who could have guessed it? Telling lies doesn’t help, imagine that.

Jokes aside, let us look at the numbers, shall we?

By American voters, Democratic candidate Joe Biden is seen as more honest, more even-tempered, and a better role model than US President Donald Trump.

On a poll conducted June 16-22 by Pew Research Centre among 4,708 adults, including 3,577 registered voters, found overall headline figures of 54% of registered voters who said that if the election were held today, they would vote for Biden or lean toward voting for him, putting him ten points ahead of Trump, who was backed by 44%.

So you could say Trump is LIE-ing low in the polls. No? Okay.

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Pandemic Eviction

Yes, that is and thing and it is happening during a time where every single health authority and official, advice is to stay home. A growing number of people are being forced out of where they live because they can’t pay the rent.

Because being stressed about catching Covid-19 and losing your job is not enough, you have to be stressed about getting evicted and since that’s not hard enough on its own, you could be getting evicted during a pandemic too.

There is a new eviction ban being enacted through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The goal is to stem the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, which the agency says in its order “presents a historic threat to public health.”

Housing advocates and landlord groups both have been warning that millions of people could soon be put out of their homes through eviction if Congress does not do more to help renters and landlords and reinstate expanded unemployment benefits

“While an eviction moratorium is an essential step, it is a half-measure that extends a financial cliff for renters to fall off of when the moratorium expires and back rent is owed.” says Diane Yentel, CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Landlords are worried about falling off a cliff too. Doug Bibby is the president of the National Multifamily Housing Council. He says, “An eviction moratorium will ultimately harm the very people it aims to help by making it impossible for housing providers, particularly small owners, to meet their financial obligations and continue to provide shelter to their residents”

Evictions for reasons other than nonpayment of rent will be allowed. The government says it will impose criminal penalties on landlords who violate the ban.

The bottom line here is, we need legislation with funding that helps both renters and landlords, because when Covid-19 is over (and I sincerely hope it will be over, and becomes a thing of the pass at some point) the rent will be due, and you will either be a renter with a huge amount due, or a landlord with an empty property and with very few people able to afford a roof above their heads

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The People Have Spoken

But did the President listen?

President Donald Trump said he couldn’t hear the protesters who booed him and first lady, Melania Trump when they paid their respects to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court on Thursday.

The numbers of news outlets with videos of this precise moment are too many to count, but I can tell you something the “vote him out” chant was deafening, the people spoke, yet it wasn’t clear enough for Trump.

He later said that he and the first lady couldn’t hear what was being chanted.

“Well I think that was just a political chant, I couldn’t — we could hardly hear it from where we were. Somebody said there was some chanting, but they were right next to the media. But really couldn’t– hardly hear too much,” Trump said Thursday afternoon on his way from the White House to a campaign rally in North Carolina. “We heard a sound, but it wasn’t very strong.”

I wonder, will the people stay this loud come November?

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Coronavirus USA

The daily confirmed Covid-19 (Coronavirus) cases, today Oct. 6th 2020, is of 40.705.
This is the current number of Covid-19 cases by state, starting with the highest:

#StateConfirmed Cases#StateConfirmed Cases
1California835,97126Iowa93,448
2Texas809,56027Oklahoma91,982
3Florida720,12528Arkansas87,430
4New York500,41529Nevada82,437
5Georgia323,71430Utah78,723
6Illinois306,13331Colorado73,537
7Arizona221,93432Kentucky73,158
8Nort Carolina219,75433Kansas63,580
9New Jersey212,56434Connecticut59,120
10Tennessee203,69935Nebraska48,259
11Pennsylvania169,66436Idaho44,422
12Louisiana168,51237Oregon35,049
13Alabama160,47738New Mexico30,632
14Ohio160,03039Rhode Island25,596
15Virginia153,18240South Dakota24,598
16South Carolina152,15941North Dakota24,364
17Michigan142,72642Delaware21,466
18Missouri138,43243West Virginia16,936
19Massachussetts135,46244District Of Columbia15,652
20Wisconsin134,35945Montana14,847
21Maryland128,20446Hawaii12,854
22Indiana125,97647New Hampshire8,680
23Minnesota104,79948Alaska8,613
24Mississippi100,70349Wyoming6,629
25Washington94,09450Maine5,565
51Vermont1,821
Source: worldometers.info/

These numbers give a grim perspective, I can tell you that in each the state the number of cases that made a full recovery is more than 50% and yes, the death toll is high, yet the percentage of deaths is very low; take California for example, the total number of deaths is 16,178 and that amounts for approximately around 1.9% of the confirmed cases.

I agree that number of deaths should be 0, but we can’t all be Vermont that up to this date has had less than 2000 confirmed cases: I’d love for Vermont to have a super neat trick or secret to keep that number so low but they just did the standards like frequent hand-washing, mask-wearing and social distancing

Yes, it is that simple!

Unless you ask President Donald Trump, who until now has given some pretty misleading information, such as:

  • On the Nature of the Outbreak: The outbreak would be temporary: “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle—it will disappear.” This is the one I wish were true, but sadly it isn’t. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned days later that he was concerned that “as the next week or two or three go by, we’re going to see a lot more community-related cases.” He was right—the virus has not disappeared.
  • Blaming the Obama Administration: The Trump White House “inherited” a “broken,” “bad,” and “obsolete” test for the coronavirus. The novel coronavirus did not exist in humans during the Obama administration. Public-health experts agree that, because of that fact, the CDC could not have produced a test, and thus a new test had to be developed this year.
  • On Coronavirus Testing: “Anybody that needs a test, gets a test. We—they’re there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful” and “If somebody wants to be tested right now, they’ll be able to be tested.” Trump made these two claims two months apart, but the truth was the same both times: The U.S. did not have enough testing.
  • On COVID-19 Treatments and Vaccines: Trump was being “sarcastic” when he suggested in a briefing on April 23 that his medical experts should research the use of powerful light and injected disinfectants to treat COVID-19. Trump’s tone did not seem sarcastic when he made the apparent suggestion to inject disinfectants. Turning to Birx and a Department of Homeland Security science-and-technology official, he mused: “I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? … It would be interesting to check that.” When he walked this statement back the next day, he added that he was only asking his experts “to look into whether or not sun and disinfectant on the hands [work].” [PLEASE DO NOT DRINK OR INJECT BLEACH OR DISINFECTANTS]

Also, North Dakota.
What’s going on there?
Covid-19 hospitalizations in North Dakota have hit a new high, the state Department of Health reported Monday.

We are not experts on the matter to be given out recommendations, but we can quote the experts:

In an interview with “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on MSNBC, Dr. Fauci addressed when people would most likely be able to do things again that they had done before the pandemic, such as going to an indoor movie theater “with impunity.”
While a vaccine may be available by the end of the year, he said, “by the time you mobilize the distribution of the vaccinations, and you get the majority or more of the population vaccinated and protected, that’s likely not going to happen till the mid or end of 2021.”
In a panel discussion at Harvard Medical School he said “we need to hunker down and get through this fall and winter because it’s not going to be easy.” Ms. Mitchell pointed out that this conflicted with what President Trump had said at the White House on the same day, that the country had “rounded the final turn” on the virus.
He said “what we don’t want to see is going into the fall season when people will be spending more time indoors — and that’s not good for a respiratory borne virus — you don’t want to start off already with a baseline that’s so high.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its website to warn that the coronavirus can spread through the air, something public health experts have been warning about for months but went unacknowledged by the agency until Monday.
“There is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than 6 feet away,” the CDC says on its website.

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Will There Be A Second Stimulus Check?

Remember the second stimulus check?
It might never happen.

This is the one subject that has Americans glued to the news:

  • subreddit dedicated to discussions about stimulus checks has over 25,000 members.
  • And a Google search of “Second Stimulus Check” returns 190 million results.

The “skinny” deal’s total package of $650 billion was a noticeable mark down from the $1 trillion HEALS Act Republicans proposed in July and about a fifth of the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act the House of Representatives passed on May 15.

Both the Heroes Act passed by House Democrats and the HEALS Act introduced by Senate Republicans include a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment (EIP). President Trump favours stimulus payments.

The IRS could send payments quickly. When and if another stimulus check happens, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said it would take about a week to orchestrate the first payments. “I can get out 50 million payments really quickly. A lot of it into people’s direct accounts,” he said.

There were no second stimulus checks in August. There’s still chance they will go out in September (or what is left of it). Maybe a bill will be passed in September, with checks issued in October

One reasonable fact still remains: if a second stimulus package isn’t passed in September, with checks issued in October, our next best hope will be 2021.

Since the recent hearing with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, what is the current talk about stimulus?

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Pandemic Eviction

U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Don Beyer (VA-08), Vice Chair and House leader of Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, introduced the Worker Relief and Security Act. The legislation would automatically continue and provide for additional enhanced emergency unemployment benefits for the duration of the public health emergency and ensuing economic crisis until conditions return closer to pre-crisis levels.

30 million unemployed workers face a drastic cut in income. The gap in unemployment benefits will inflict anguish on millions of American families, many of whom will have extreme difficulty paying for food and housing, and do serious damage to the economy.

The Worker Relief and Security Act would:

  • A worker who exhausts their traditional unemployment compensation benefits (funded by the state) will be able to receive additional unemployment benefits fully financed by the federal government without limit until 26 weeks after the end of extreme social distancing.
  • A worker receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits for those who do not qualify for traditional UI will also not face limits on the number of weeks they can draw benefits until 26 weeks after the end of the Public Health Emergency.
  • Workers receiving the extra $600 in weekly benefits will continue to receive it until 30 days after the end of the President’s emergency declaration, after which it will begin to phase down over 13 weeks.

“Crushing levels of unemployment are likely to linger even as some businesses start to open, and workers who lose their jobs need unemployment benefits until the job market gets close to pre-crisis levels. Extending unemployment benefits will bolster the economy and protect millions of households from financial ruin and serious hardship,” said former Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew

“If we are committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure the economic dignity and security of our workers and families during this nearly unprecedented crisis, the single most important policy may be an extension of a robust unemployment benefit that is tied not to an arbitrary date, but to when our job market and public health response is strong enough to let tens of millions safely return to work. Ensuring that all workers who are jobless, or facing reduced hours due to the crisis, have a benefit that helps them pay their bills, stay in their homes, and support themselves and their families must be our first priority both in terms of our values and economic common sense” stated National Economic Advisor to President Obama and President Clinton, Gene Sperling

“Rather than pretending we know exactly what will happen in our economic future, the legislation smartly makes support and assistance contingent on what actually happens. This approach is long overdue” Jason Furman, Chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers said: “Expanded and extended unemployment insurance is the most important economic response to the crisis we are in today. It is critical that it continue as long as it is needed”

“With the economy in crisis, it is absolutely crucial that we build a better safety net for marginalized and low-income households. The Worker Relief and Security Act provides strongly-targeted support for the millions of families that have been impacted by COVID-19 and, most importantly, requires that support to continue until the economy recovers” Senior Advisor at Employ America Arnab Datta

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Standalone Unemployment Assistance Enough?

How far can these checks go for those out of a job?

More than 1 million Texans have applied for unemployment. Amber Bradshaw is among them.

She and the team she manages at a furniture store were furloughed late April. She expects to get $521 per week on unemployment, plus $600 per week in federal pandemic benefits.

Enough to cover her bills? “For me it is, and for my staff it will be also,” Bradshaw said.

Benefits vary widely, says Michele Evermore at the National Employment Law Project. “You see anything from $213 on average in Mississippi, to $555 in Massachusetts,” Evermore said.

The average nationwide is $370. Add that to the pandemic benefits and it totals $970, about the same as the average weekly pay of Americans nationwide.

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Legislative Impact of Coronavirus

California voters can enact their own laws outside of the state Legislature by putting initiatives up for a public vote. To qualify for the ballot, proposed laws must get signatures of at least 5% (623,212 signatures) of voters who cast ballots in the previous election for governor. Supporters say they collected 900,000 signatures.

Fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has delayed by two years what likely would have been one of the most expensive California ballot battles leading up to this November’s election, initiative supporters said Thursday.

The proposal would raise the limit for damages for pain and suffering in medical malpractice lawsuits from the $250,000 cap set in 1975, to now tie the cap to inflation, increasing it to about $1.2 million.

Proponents will delay the campaign until 2022 because of the uncertainty prompted by the pandemic, Jamie Court, president of the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, said in an emailed statement.

Two-thirds of voters in 2014 rejected a similar proposal after a coalition of medical groups raised nearly $60 million to defeat it. They argued that increasing lawsuit awards would have raised health care prices for everyone.

“Voters are overwhelmed with trying to keep their families safe and deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19” Consumer Watchdog board member Scott Olsen, said in a statement.

The cap is also being challenged as unconstitutional in an Alameda County Superior Court lawsuit.

Supporters say the cap disproportionately impacts people of color, citing a study from the Brookings Institute saying babies of well-educated Black mothers are more likely to die before their first birthday than babies of white mothers with less than a high school education.

“It’s unfortunate that while California’s health providers are courageously working on the front lines of this pandemic, a few opportunistic trial lawyers have remained focused on a ballot measure that would substantially increase the burden on California’s doctors and clinics while inflating health care costs for everyone,” said Lisa Maas, executive director of Californians Allied for Patient Protection, which opposes the measure.

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The Economy & The Election

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden laid out starkly divergent visions of how to dig the U.S. economy out of the deepest downturn since the Great Depression amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The goal of the next president will be to get back to full employment as fast as possible

  • Trump promised more cuts to taxes and regulations, and he dangled the prospect of additional tariffs against China; “We will go right after China,” Trump said. “We will not rely on them one bit. We’re taking our business out of China. We are bringing it home. We want our business to come home.” He added, “We will continue to reduce taxes and regulations at levels not seen before.”
  • Biden Biden vowed to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations and use the money to spend trillions to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure and shift to a clean-energy future, make housing and child care more affordable and improve education, among other proposals.
  • Trump In his nomination speech, he suggested he’ll propose cutting individual taxes but didn’t say which. Trump’s campaign has generally provided vague economic proposals that could be fleshed out later. The president, for example, vowed to create 10 million jobs in 10 months but didn’t specify how.
    Economist Chris Edwards of the libertarian Cato Institute says: “Trump will be better from a free-market perspective.”
    The Tax Foundation says it’s difficult to analyze the ideas without more details.
    Critics question the legality of a payroll tax cut that’s not approved by Congress.
    “Tax cuts provide a small economic bang for the buck, adding significantly to the nation’s debt load and providing little economic lift.“ said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics
  • Biden His administration would raise taxes and eliminate loopholes for individuals earning more than $400,000.
    Economist Nancy Vanden Houten of Oxford Economics says she supports the plan because it targets wealthy individuals who likely would save, rather than spend, their tax windfall, doing relatively little harm to the economy.
  • Trump is trusted more than Democratic nominee Joe Biden to handle the economy, polls show, even with more than 40 million Americans filing jobless claims and growth stalled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Biden, who has held online events from home during the shutdown, should be out in communities across the country demonstrating how to reopen businesses while following public health guidance. He needs to show what life is going to be like and how we are going to do it.
  • Trump has staked his political future on the economy, pushing a return to normal. An improving economy could play to Trump’s strengths, said Ian Sams, an adviser at Navigator, a polling organization.
  • A Biden adviser said re-opening should be dictated by public health concerns and that phased approaches being done by most states make sense. “From an economic standpoint, the worst-case scenario would be opening up and having to shut down again,” the adviser said.
    Economists see a recovery beginning in the third quarter, with job gains expected at more than 2 million, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia survey. But those forecasters still see a double-digit unemployment rate by the November election. “The unemployment rate will probably be falling relatively quickly later this year and next year, but it’s still going to be at a very high level,” the Biden adviser said.
    “It’s not that we don’t want to reopen the economy,” prominent Michigan Democrat, Vaughn Derderian, the chair of the Oakland County Democratic Party said. “We don’t know what it means to reopen the economy safely.”

A badly flagging economy of course works more to Biden’s political favor than Trump’s. But it’s also possible that the economy will simply matter less in this election than in past presidential contests.

The economy has gone into recession, unemployment is at 11.1%, and record numbers of new COVID-19 cases could substantially boost unemployment yet again. Come November, the economy could be a strong headwind for the incumbent president.

The election is determined on the margins, in other words. Plenty of people know how they’ll vote, regardless of their income or even whether they have a job on Election Day. But for those people in swing states without strong party affiliations, the economy could nudge their voting decisions one way or the other.

Bottom line,  the economy will play a determining factor in the election.

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Trump’s Eviction Executive Order

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Aug 8 that addressed eviction policy.

An eviction moratorium for properties linked to federal housing financing was included in the CARES Act, a major coronavirus relief bill. The moratorium expired in late July.

Trump’s executive order doesn’t extend the moratorium. Instead, it takes a softer approach by telling executive branch officials to think about possible solutions to evictions during the coronavirus pandemic and its related economic downturn.

As of Aug. 24, tens of millions of renters who were protected from eviction are no longer shielded against losing their homes for being late on rent payments.

Making matters worse, the weekly federal unemployment bonus of up to $400 that President Donald Trump ordered in August hasn’t yet kicked in, leaving nearly half of all US renters at risk of eviction in the coming months, according to an analysis by Statista.

Without new or renewed protections or financial safeguards like expanded unemployment or a second round of stimulus checks, as many as 40 million people could be displaced from their homes over the next year, according to the Aspen Institute — all during the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.

The order instructs the U.S. Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to identify funds that could potentially be used to help renters and homeowners who can’t make their housing payments because of the coronavirus.

In the meantime, renters can still be evicted and homeowners may still lose their homes. Over 30% of U.S. households had outstanding housing payments at the beginning of August, a recent survey from rental website Apartment List found.

Congress has allowed many of the financial provisions from the CARES Act to expire, including the federal eviction moratorium, as it struggles to reach a new deal.

Over 30 million people are out of work and about 19 to 23 million renters are at risk of eviction by October, according to the Covid-19 Eviction Defense Project, a coalition of economic researchers and legal experts.

When President Donald Trump signed an executive order on August 8 to shield tenants from the threat of eviction, he said it would “solve that problem largely, hopefully completely.”

It won’t work

Not only this action would fail to halt evictions, it wouldn’t do much of anything to immediately help the 20 million or so Americans who face the loss of their homes in the next few months amid the coronavirus crisis

“It’s nothing but a political ploy,” said House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who dismissed the “so-called executive order” as a stunt designed to deflect criticism from the president. “It means nothing.”

The order will “mislead renters into believing that they are protected when they are not,” National Low Income Housing Coalition President and CEO Diane Yentel said in a statement. “This executive order is reckless and harmful, offering false hope and risking increased confusion and chaos at a time when renters need assurance that they will not be kicked out of their homes during a pandemic,” she added.

Negotiations to renew both measures as part of the next relief package have broken down. The expiration of those benefits means somewhere between 19 million and 23 million people — about one in five renters in the U.S. — will be at risk of eviction by the end of next month, according to an analysis by the Aspen Institute.

Trump, questioned at his Tuesday 11th August press conference about the prospect of mass evictions, said, “We are not allowing that to happen.” “We are stopping evictions,” he added, referring to the executive order.

The House has passed two bills that would provide $100 billion to help tenants pay their rent, but the Senate has not moved on either piece of legislation.