Summitgate and the Campaign vs. ‘Peace’ | The Nation

Not surprisingly, Trump’s meetings with NATO and Putin are being portrayed as ominous events by Russiagaters.
— Read on www.thenation.com/article/summitgate-campaign-vs-peace/

Peace is war.

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The War On Curiosity | Zero Hedge

Take this litmus test:

How do you react when presented with new information or a viewpoint that contradicts your beliefs?

If the revelation stimulates your intellect and makes you thankful for the chance to expand your knowledge and gain a better understanding of an opposing position, you have the gift of curiosity. You welcome the opportunity to challenge your beliefs with this new information, a process that may enable you to more strongly confirm the justness of your belief and sharpen your argument in favor of it. Or, if the new viewpoint is persuasive enough, you alter your belief, owing a debt of gratitude to the one who opened your eyes.

On the other hand, if you react with anger, anxiousness or a general feeling of being threatened, you are likely allowing your emotions to snuff out your intellectual curiosity.

“Motivated Ignorance”
— Read on www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-13/war-curiosity

“These Problems Aren’t Going Away” – States Are Woefully Unprepared For The Next Recession | Zero Hedge

The problem for most states is that aging populations mean that more money is being spent on medicaid and pensions while revenues have largely been stagnant. And while a booming economy might temporarily boost revenues, “some of these longer-term pressures are definitely not going away,” said Gabriel Petek, managing director at S&P Global Ratings.

An aging population is also putting pressure on state Medicaid budgets and pension funds. State pension contributions were 78% higher in 2017 than in 2010, according to census data. And state Medicaid payments were 59% higher in 2016 than in 2010, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Many US states have depleted or nearly depleted emergency funds. With some states like Oklahoma having only 1.6% of expenditures in their rainy day funds.

Measured as a share of spending, 21 states had smaller rainy day funds in 2017 than they did in 2008, according to data from the National Association of State Budget Officers compiled by the Tax Policy Center.

[…]

North Dakota had only 1.5% of its expenditures in a rainy-day fund in the 2017 fiscal year, down from 16.6% in 2008. Oklahoma’s rainy day fund had 1.6%, down from 9.3%. New Jersey emptied its rainy day fund in 2009 and has yet to begin refilling it.

Many states also have lower credit ratings now than they did during the crisis, which will raise the cost of borrowing during a recession.

Many states governments have seen their bond ratings downgraded during this expansion for not taking the appropriate measures to get their fiscal houses in order. Eleven states have lower bond ratings than they did in 2010 while only five have higher ratings, according to Moody’s Investors Service. Fitch Ratings lists seven states with worse ratings and six with better ones since the recession. And analysts at S&P Global rate 12 states lower than in 2010 and 10 states higher.
— Read on www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-10/these-problems-arent-going-away-states-are-woefully-unprepared-next-recession

US Budget Deficit Hits $607 Billion In 9 Months, As Spending On Interest Explodes | Zero Hedge

Interest costs are increasing due to three factors: an increase in the amount of outstanding debt, higher interest rates and higher inflation. A rise in the inflation rate boosts the upward adjustment to the principal of TIPS, increasing the amount of debt on which the Treasury pays interest. For fiscal 2018 to-date, TIPS’ principal has been increased by boosted by $25.8 billion, an increase of 54.9% over the comparable period in 2017.

The bigger question is with short-term rates still in the mid-1% range, what happens when they reach 3% as the Fed’s dot plot suggests it will?

— Read on www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-12/us-budget-deficit-hits-607-billion-9-months-spending-interest-explodes

When Work Is Punished: The Tragedy Of America’s Welfare State | Zero Hedge

Exactly two years ago, some of the more politically biased progressive media outlets (who are quite adept at creating and taking down their own strawmen arguments, if not quite as adept at using an abacus, let alone a calculator) took offense at our article “In Entitlement America, The Head Of A Household Of Four Making Minimum Wage Has More Disposable Income Than A Family Making $60,000 A Year.” In it we merely explained what has become the painful reality in America: for increasingly more it is now more lucrative – in the form of actual disposable income – to sit, do nothing, and collect various welfare entitlements, than to work. This is graphically, and very painfully confirmed, in the below chart from Gary Alexander, Secretary of Public Welfare, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (a state best known for its broke capital Harrisburg). As quantitied, and explained by Alexander, “the single mom is better off earnings gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045.”
— Read on www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-11-27/when-work-punished-tragedy-americas-welfare-state

When Work Is Punished: The Tragedy Of America’s Welfare State | Zero Hedge

Exactly two years ago, some of the more politically biased progressive media outlets (who are quite adept at creating and taking down their own strawmen arguments, if not quite as adept at using an abacus, let alone a calculator) took offense at our article “In Entitlement America, The Head Of A Household Of Four Making Minimum Wage Has More Disposable Income Than A Family Making $60,000 A Year.” In it we merely explained what has become the painful reality in America: for increasingly more it is now more lucrative – in the form of actual disposable income – to sit, do nothing, and collect various welfare entitlements, than to work. This is graphically, and very painfully confirmed, in the below chart from Gary Alexander, Secretary of Public Welfare, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (a state best known for its broke capital Harrisburg). As quantitied, and explained by Alexander, “the single mom is better off earnings gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045.”
— Read on www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-11-27/when-work-punished-tragedy-americas-welfare-state