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The Democrats Get Trump And The Republicans To Fold, And That Means There NEVER Will Be A Border Wall April 25, 2017

Well, that didn’t take long.  Yesterday I reported that the Democrats were threatening to force a government shutdown if money for a border wall was included in the bill to fund the government, and one day later Donald Trump has unconditionally surrendered.  Despite all of Trump’s promises, a border wall isn’t going to happen at this time, but of course he is pledging to “try again” in September.  But will anything change for the Democrats between now and September?  Of course not.  The Democrats will continue to use these same tactics whenever funding for a border wall comes up, and because Republicans always end up backing down on the most controversial issues that means that there never will be a border wall.

Do you know why the Democrats always get virtually everything that they want?

It is because they have a backbone.

They would have been willing to force a government shutdown that could have lasted for many months just to make sure not a single penny of taxpayer money was allocated for a border wall.

I certainly don’t agree with their principles, but at least the Democrats are willing to stand up for them.

On the other hand, Trump is showing that he is willing to flip flop on just about anything once he meets the least bit of resistance.

And if Trump is willing to give up on his number one campaign promise so easily, what else will he be willing to give up on?  The Huffington Post has compiled an excellent timeline of Trump’s border wall promises right here.  As you can see, he was very bold while he was campaigning, but now according to NBC News he has essentially thrown in the towel on a border wall less than 100 days into his presidency…

President Donald Trump has indicated that he’s willing to back away from his demand that a government funding bill include money to build a wall on the Southern border, a move that could help clear the way for Congress to avoid a shutdown.

A senior administration official tells NBC News that the president is open to obtaining funding for the border wall in the regular appropriations process for 2018 later this year instead of insisting it be included as part of the large spending bill to keep the government’s lights on past this week.

Of course we are being told that building the wall is still “an important priority” for Trump and that the administration will try again in September.  The following comes from Bloomberg

“Building that wall and having it funded remains an important priority to him but we also know that that can happen later this year and into next year, and in the interim you see other smart technology and other resources and tools being used toward border security,” Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway said on Fox News on Tuesday.

But why in the world would the Democrats change their minds and give him funding for a border wall in a few months when they are so vehemently against it right now?

I have to say that I agree with Rush Limbaugh on this one…

“The Democrats seem to have successfully used this stupid, silly threat of a government shutdown to get their way,” Limbaugh said Tuesday, in one of his first major rebukes of the president. “What Trump is saying is if we need to get this done, then I’ll delay the spending on the wall until September. And it’s just a measly billion dollars.”

He continued: “Trump, I’m sure, does not ever think he caves on anything. But outward appearances are what they are. And the bottom line is that if he is willing to withdraw a demand of his for a measly billion dollars for the wall because the Democrats are threatening a shutdown, then the Democrats will have just learned that this threat works on Trump, too, not just all the other Republicans.”

Of course Trump and the Republicans have caved in on defunding Planned Parenthood too.

Actually I don’t think that they ever intended to put up much of a fight.

This is another battle that the Democrats would have been willing to shut down the government indefinitely to win.  They are completely united in their support for Planned Parenthood, and they would have been willing to risk the greatest governmental crisis in U.S. history to get their way.

So even though the Republicans control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Democrats are winning on big issue after big issue because they back up their convictions with courage.

Yes, there are potentially other ways that the Republicans could sneak the defunding of Planned Parenthood into various pieces of legislation, but because enough Republican members of Congress are “squishy” on this issue it isn’t likely to ever actually happen.

I have said it before, and I will say it again.  If Planned Parenthood was going to ever be defunded, now was the time.

Since the Republicans have chosen not to even put up a fight, that is a very, very ominous sign for our nation.

Just like every single one of the Democrats, any Republican that votes for any bill that includes funding for Planned Parenthood or that signs such a bill is going to be partially responsible for the blood of the countless number of babies that Planned Parenthood slaughters each year.

Unfortunately, most of these gutless Republican politicians seem unwilling to stand up for much of anything these days.  In fact, one Republican member of Congress has openly stated that she is “not going to risk a shutdown over anything”

Republicans will also be content: many members of the GOP had indicated they would be satisfied with a spending bill that included money for means of strengthening security along the border other than a wall. “Border security’s the main issue—whether that includes a wall or technology, drones, or repairing what we have,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.) said Monday evening. Ms. Capito said she wasn’t interested in risking a shutdown over the border wall.

“I’m not going to risk a shutdown over anything,” she said.

So the Democrats are going to use the threat of a government shutdown to get their way on these big issues year after year until Republicans finally grow some spines and decide to stand up for themselves.

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Democrats: Trump Must Surrender On Funding For A Border Wall To Avoid A Government Shutdown On His 100th Day In Office April 24, 2017

Is Donald Trump going to unconditionally surrender to the Democrats and completely give up his dream of building a border wall in order to avoid a government shutdown on his 100th day in office?  As I have warned before, the Democrats are perfectly willing to force a government shutdown if the Trump administration and the Republicans in Congress do not let them win all of the key battles in this funding bill fight.  It is being reported that the Trump administration wants 3 billion dollars for extra border security and for construction of a border wall, and the Democrats are insisting that they will keep any bill that includes money for a border wall from ever getting through Congress.  And of course the Democrats are also taking a very hard line on funding for Planned Parenthood, federal support for key Obamacare provisions, and resistance to increased defense spending.  If the Trump administration and enough establishment Republicans in Congress cave in to the outrageous demands of the Democrats, a government shutdown will be avoided.  If not, a government shutdown will begin on April 29th (Trump’s 100th day in office), and it could easily turn out to be the longest government shutdown in the history of the United States.

If Trump gives up on his border wall now, it is quite likely that he will never get it.

Emboldened by this success, the Democrats will simply threaten to block any new bill that contains funding for a border wall in the future.  At some point Trump is going to have to stand up for himself if he ever wants to see his number one campaign promise become a reality, and the longer he waits the less leverage he is going to have.

At this moment, the Trump administration appears to be taking a tough stance on border wall funding, and they have even offered a deal to the Democrats that would trade continued Obamacare payments to insurers for money for a border wall…

Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s budget chief, said the wall is the administration’s “top priority” for the talks, adding they would support key ObamaCare payments to insurers if Democrats backed the border wall money.

“We’d offer them $1 of CSR payments for $1 of wall payments. Right now that’s the offer that we’ve given to our Democratic colleagues,” Mulvaney said during a Bloomberg Live interview, referring to the ObamaCare payments known as cost-sharing reduction (CSR).

In that same interview, Mulvaney added that “you cannot expect a president who just won [an] election to give up very easily on his highest priority.”

And I certainly agree with Mulvaney.  The border wall was the number one issue that Trump campaigned on, and if he unconditionally surrenders to the Democrats on this issue without much of a fight, it will essentially be the neutering of his entire presidency.

The Democrats seem to know what is at stake, and they are digging in for war.  At this point they are completely united in their stance that there will not be a single penny for a border wall.  The following comes from CNS News

Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that President Trump should not expect Congress to give him any money to fund his “outlandish” border wall.

Trump has requested $1.4 billion to get the wall started in the current fiscal year, which runs through September, but Durbin on Sunday called it a political stunt and a poison pill:

“I hope the president will back off,” Durbin said.

So will either side back down by Friday?

I don’t think so, and that means that a government shutdown is coming.

Of course there is talk that Congress could pass a one week or two week extension to give negotiations more time, but that would just delay the inevitable.

And it isn’t just the border wall that is a sticking point.  Other issues such as funding for Planned Parenthood and increased spending for national defense could potentially derail any deal.  The following comes from Business Insider

Thomas Block, a Washington policy analyst at Fundstrat, described the problem in a note to clients on Monday:

“In the House, there is a group consisting of Tea Party and Freedom Caucus Republicans who believe that almost any spending bill is too large for them to support. Therefore, Speaker Ryan is likely going to need some Democratic support to get a bill passed. The problem is that no Democrats will support a bill that contains the president’s stated priorities.

“Furthermore, many Republicans want to use the spending bill to stop all funding for Planned Parenthood, a clear poison pill as far as most Democrats are concerned.”

In order for the public to have three days to examine any bill before a vote happens, a spending bill is going to have to be unveiled in the House by Wednesday at the latest in order to meet the deadline.

Is that going to happen?

I doubt it, but it is always possible.

But even if a bill gets through the House, that doesn’t mean that the Senate will be on board with it, and unless that bill contains funding for a border wall Trump may not sign it.

So what specifically would happen during a government shutdown?  The following is a good summary from Zero Hedge

  1. Details of which government functions stop are determined by the Office of Management and Budget.
  2. If it looks like a shutdown will occur, White House budget office works with federal agencies to determine which federal functions and employees are “essential” or “excepted.” The White House has latitude in how broadly it defines “excepted.”
  3. Agencies and services considered non-essential close. Federal workers will be furloughed without pay. The Federal Government employs over 4-million individuals, so this can be hundreds of thousands of workers affected. Congress may decide after the shutdown to pay them for the time off. Financial disruption is one concern.
  4. “Emergency personnel” continue to be employed, including the active duty military, federal law enforcement agents, doctors and nurses working in federal hospitals, and air traffic controllers. For the Department of Defense, at least half of the civilian workforce, and the full-time, dual-status military technicians in the US National Guard and traditional Guardsmen (those on Title 32 status) are furloughed without pay. Members of Congress continue to be paid, because their pay cannot be altered except by direct law.

Congress is only going to be back in session for two weeks before another extended 10 day vacation begins on May 5th.

That means that the clock is ticking, and at this point a deal does not seem close.

Personally, I am fully convinced that the Democrats are more than willing to allow a government shutdown to happen, because they believe that it will damage the Republicans far more than it will damage them.

So they are not going to move from their demands, and that means that either Trump is going to have to give up his dream of a border wall or there will be a government shutdown on his 100th day in office.

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11 Facts That Prove That The U.S. Economy In 2017 Is In Far Worse Shape Than It Was In 2016 April 23, 2017

There is much debate about where the U.S. economy is ultimately heading, but what everybody should be able to agree on is that economic conditions are significantly worse this year than they were last year.  It is being projected that U.S. economic growth for the first quarter will be close to zero, thousands of retail stores are closing, factory output is falling, and restaurants and automakers have both fallen on very hard times.  As economic activity has slowed down, commercial and consumer bankruptcies are both rising at rates that we have not seen since the last financial crisis.  Everywhere you look there are echoes of 2008, and yet most people still seem to be in denial about what is happening.  The following are 11 facts that prove that the U.S. economy in 2017 is in far worse shape than it was in 2016…

#1 It is being projected that there will be more than 8,000 retail store closings in the United States in 2017, and that will far surpass the former peak of 6,163 store closings that we witnessed in 2008.

#2 The number of retailers that have filed for bankruptcy so far in 2017 has already surpassed the total for the entire year of 2016.

#3 So far in 2017, an astounding 49 million square feet of retail space has closed down in the United States.  At this pace, approximately 147 million square feet will be shut down by the end of the year, and that would absolutely shatter the all-time record of 115 million square feet that was shut down in 2001.

#4 The Atlanta Fed’s GDP Now model is projecting that U.S. economic growth for the first quarter of 2017 will come in at just 0.5 percent.  If that pace continues for the rest of the year, it will be the worst year for U.S. economic growth since the last recession.

#5 Restaurants are experiencing their toughest stretch since the last recession, and in March things continued to get even worse

Foot traffic at chain restaurants in March dropped 3.4% from a year ago. Menu prices couldn’t be increased enough to make up for it, and same-store sales fell 1.1%. The least bad region was the Western US, where sales inched up 1.2% year-over-year and traffic fell only 1.7%, according to TDn2K’s Restaurant Industry Snapshot. The worst was the NY-NJ Region, where sales plunged 4.6% and foot traffic 6.3%.

This comes after a dismal February, when foot traffic had dropped 5% year-over-year, and same-store sales 3.7%.

#6 In March, U.S. factory output declined at the fastest pace in more than two years.

#7 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, not a single person is employed in nearly one out of every five U.S. families.

#8 U.S. government revenues just suffered their biggest drop since the last recession.

#9 Nearly all of the big automakers reported disappointing sales in March, and dealer inventories have now risen to the highest level that we have seen since the last recession.

#10 Used vehicle prices are absolutely crashing, and subprime auto loan losses have shot up to the highest level that we have seen since the last recession.

#11 At this point, most U.S. consumers are completely tapped out.  According to CNN, almost six out of every ten Americans do not have enough money saved to even cover a $500 emergency expense.

Just like in 2008, debts are going bad at a very alarming pace.  In fact, things have already gotten so bad that the IMF has issued a major warning about it

In America alone, bad debt held by companies could reach $4 trillion, “or almost a quarter of corporate assets considered,” according to the IMF. That debt “could undermine financial stability” if mishandled, the IMF says.

The percentage of “weak,” “vulnerable” or “challenged” debt held as assets by US firms has almost arrived at the same level it was right before the 2008 crisis.

We are seeing so many parallels to the last financial crisis, and many are hoping that our politicians in Washington can fix things before it is too late.

On Monday, the most critical week of Trump’s young presidency begins.  The administration will continue working on tax reform and a replacement for Obamacare, but of even greater importance is the fact that if a spending agreement is not passed by Friday a government shutdown will begin at the end of the week

Trump has indicated that he wants to tackle the repeal and replacement of Obamacare and introduce his “massive” tax plan in the next week, all while a shutdown of parts of federal government looms Friday.

By attempting three massive political undertakings in one week, investors will have a sense of whether or not Trump will be able to deliver on pro-growth policies that would be beneficial for markets.

If Trump can pull off the trifecta, it could restore faith that policy proposals like tax cuts and infrastructure spending are on the way. If not, look out.

Members of Congress are returning from their extended two week spring vacation, and now they will only have four working days to get something done.

And I don’t believe that they will be able to rush something through in just four days.  The Republicans in Congress, the Democrats in Congress, and the Trump administration all want different things, and ironing out all of those differences is not going to be easy.

For example, the Trump administration is insisting on funding for a border wall, and the Democrats are saying no way.  The following comes from the Washington Post

President Trump and his top aides applied new pressure Sunday on lawmakers to include money for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border in a must-pass government funding bill, raising the possibility of a federal government shutdown this week.

In a pair of tweets, Trump attacked Democrats for opposing the wall and insisted that Mexico would pay for it “at a later date,” despite his repeated campaign promises not including that qualifier. And top administration officials appeared on Sunday morning news shows to press for wall funding, including White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, who said Trump might refuse to sign a spending bill that does not include any.

And of course the border wall is just one of a whole host of controversial issues that are standing in the way of an agreement.  Those that are suggesting that all of these issues will be resolved in less than 100 hours are being completely unrealistic.  And even though the Trump administration is putting on a brave face, the truth is that quiet preparations for a government shutdown have already begun.

The stage is being set for the kind of nightmare crisis that I portrayed in The Beginning Of The End.  The stock market bubble is showing signs of being ready to burst, and an extended government shutdown would be more than enough to push things over the edge.

Let us hope that this government shutdown is only for a limited period of time, because an extended shutdown could potentially be catastrophic.  In the end, either the Trump administration or the Democrats are going to have to give in on issues such as funding for Obamacare, the border wall, Planned Parenthood, defense spending increases, etc.

It will be a test of the wills, and it will be absolutely fascinating to see who buckles under the pressure first.

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