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  • “The Trade War Has Cost 175,000 Manufacturing Jobs and Counting”

    by Lydia Cox (Harvard University) and Kadee Russ (University of California, Davis), both formerly on the staff of the Council of Economic Advisers.



    A study released in December by Aaron Flaaen and Justin Pierce, two highly respected experts in trade and labor markets, was widely covered in the press. “Trump Tariffs led to job losses, higher prices for businesses,” was the most succinct and comprehensive among the article titles.

    ...By mid-2019, manufacturing employment ended 1.4 percent lower than would have been the case without the tariffs levied in 2018-2019, likely due to a combination of increased costs of production and retaliatory tariffs. Yet it was hard to find in the articles an articulation of how many jobs this represents in level terms.

    Exactly how many jobs is 1.4 percent of pre-trade-war manufacturing employment? Take 1.4 percent of 12.5 million, the number of manufacturing jobs at the end of January 2017, the month before the trade war began. The answer is 175,000 manufacturing jobs missing by mid-2019. Flaaen and Pierce’s study suggests that increased costs for imported inputs account for about two thirds of the total reduction in manufacturing employment. Retaliatory tariffs account for the remaining third.

    In fact, more than 175,000 jobs disappeared: this figure nets out the roughly 40,000 jobs that may have been added or protected in industries benefitting from tariff protection. Furthermore, the estimate captures the decline in manufacturing employment only through mid-2019, but the tariffs have remained in place for a year since that time, likely leading to additional losses.

    Digging a little deeper, we see evidence in Figure B5a that within this number, about 75,000 of these missing manufacturing jobs (about 0.6 percent of manufacturing employment, once we weight by the average cost share of steel) are associated with the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum that went into effect in March 2018. A potential positive impact on employment from import protection is much smaller and not significantly different from zero. The steel and aluminum tariffs plausibly may have led to an increase of 1,000 jobs in these industries and kept a few thousand more from disappearing...

    Flaaen and Pierce’s study design filters out effects of macroeconomic conditions like variation in the value of the dollar and changes in economic growth overseas. By doing so it can plausibly be seen as a conservative estimate if the escalating tariff war led to the dollar strengthening against some currencies or dampened global growth, as downward revisions in growth forecasts by the IMF and OECD have suggested. Moreover, the estimate of 175,000 missing manufacturing jobs does not include adverse effects on employment that may have occurred due to the way that trade policy uncertainty dampened investment and industrial production during that period across many countries, according to macroeconomists Dario Caldara, Matteo Iacoviello, Patrick Molligo, Andrea Prestipino, and Andrea Raffo.

    In addition to job losses, tariffs create a burden on households in the form of higher prices on goods and the inconvenience of having to substitute away from goods targeted by tariffs. Estimates assess the costs of the trade war from January 2018 to June 2019 at about $800 per household. Considering the macroeconomic effects of the trade policy uncertainty more than doubles this figure. The study by Caldara, Iacoviello, Molligo, Prestipino, and Raffo captures the overall impact of the trade war during that period, including trade policy uncertainty and attendant effects on national output through its adverse impact on investment and industrial production. They estimate that the trade war caused the U.S. economy be 1 percent smaller in 2020 than it would have been without the tariffs, equating to an average cost of $1,700 per household...


    http://econbrowser.com/archives/2020...s-and-counting

    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

    Comment


    • Trump Is in Trouble for a Lot of Reasons, But the K-Shaped Recovery Is a Big One

      The president's happy talk about the bounceback from the pandemic downturn will not resonate with the voters who may have put him over the top last time around.

      It was buried a bit in the autopsies of Tuesday night's presidential debate, what with the sitting president refusing to denounce white supremacists and repeatedly undermining the legitimacy of the coming election. But there was a telling bloc of discussion dedicated to economic issues, specifically the nation's recovery from the pandemic-fueled downturn. It was probably too much to ask for this discussion to be predicated on the basic fact that many of our problems in this arena are rooted in our failure—and really, the national government's decision to stop trying—to contain the virus. But moderator Chris Wallace could also have done more to make reality less negotiable.

      In the exchange, Wallace suggested that while the president insists we're seeing a "V-shaped recovery" from the economic meltdown, Joe Biden calls it "K-shaped." In the former, we'd be seeing a strong recovery across the board. The latter refers to the notion the recovery is actually being experienced differently by different people—the rich have recovered swiftly and comprehensively; those less well off are still struggling, or even experiencing continuing decline. Wallace presented this as an open question, one that's a matter of opinion or political ideology. But it is knowable. The Washington Post made that clear on Thursday.
      The economic collapse sparked by the pandemic is triggering the most unequal recession in modern U.S. history, delivering a mild setback for those at or near the top and a depression-like blow for those at the bottom...
      Recessions often hit poorer households harder, but this one is doing so at a scale that is the worst in generations, the analysis shows. While the nation overall has regained nearly half of the lost jobs, several key demographic groups have recovered more slowly, including mothers of school-age children, Black men, Black women, Hispanic men, Asian Americans, younger Americans (ages 25 to 34) and people without college degrees.

      The graphics in the Post piece make the situation abundantly clear: More well-off groups have largely recovered and were less likely to lose their jobs and income in the first place. The stock market is booming, but only a little more than half of Americans own any equities and, according to CNN, the wealthiest 10 percent of households own 87 percent of stocks and mutual funds. Meanwhile, poorer Americans—more likely to work jobs you can't do from home, in industries disrupted by the virus or the lockdowns—are seeing none of those market gains. We were already living in two Americas, but now we're experiencing two economies and two recessions. That's on top of two pandemics, where these same groups are also more likely to contract the virus and die from it.

      The president has proven incapable of—or unwilling to—grasp this reality. In an ABC News town hall this month, he declared that "stocks are owned by everybody," adding: "Look, we're having a tremendous thing in the stock market, and that's good for everybody, but people that aren't rich own stock and they have 401(k)s." Maybe he feels like he has no choice but to trumpet the strength of the economy he's overseen. Maybe it's that he's incapable of admitting weakness in anything he's associated with. But the gap between his message and many people's actual day-to-day lives may cost him dearly. He ought to know this based on how things shook out in 2016.

      Of the many factors in why Hillary Clinton lost that election—misogyny, racism, James Comey, Russian meddling, propaganda, ignoring Wisconsin and Michigan, decades of attacks during her time in public life that left the electorate primed to doubt her integrity—one is that the Democratic campaign misjudged the economic state of the country. While on the surface the Obama administration had overseen a dramatic rebound in employment and GDP growth since the Great Recession in 2009, and the growth of inequality began to slow down in Obama's second term, the recovery was not evenly shared.

      That was true based on income and wealth level, as richer Americans experienced a full recovery while poorer Americans did not, and it reflected structural inequalities on racial lines. It was also true of geography. Smaller cities in, say, the industrial Midwest never really recovered from the economic cataclysm of 2009, which rounded off decades of decline in manufacturing and beyond. Clinton highlighted inequality as an issue, and suggested she'd make the super-wealthy start paying their fair share, but the Democratic nominee failed to channel the energy of a key slice of the electorate in what was another Change Election. Maybe it was an impossible task for a candidate who was, essentially, running as an extension of the Obama years.

      Meanwhile, Trump lied fragrantly about the state of the Obama economy—and continues to this day. But for some, the message likely resonated. The Republican candidate may have been trying to attack the Obama record as a whole, but the rhetoric might have landed most with people who felt the top-line numbers—which showed an economy that had returned to good health—did not represent their experiences. The core of Trump's appeal was to his base supporters' fear and resentment of a changing world, the threat crystalized by changing demographics and the ascension of Barack Obama to the presidency. These are many of the circa 40 percent of people who, the polling suggests, support him unconditionally. But he likely could not have won without roping in some voters along the margins, who, faced with a choice between a steady and professional hand who says things are largely on track, and a chaos vector pledging to shake things up, went for the latter. Others, unconvinced that Clinton grasped their situation and would do anything to meaningfully change it, may have just stayed home.

      This time around, Trump will, despite his best efforts, own the current economy, where the emerging American underclass may be left even further behind than they were in the 2009 downturn. He has clearly demonstrated he has no plan to create good jobs that pay a living wage for the millions of people who are un- or underemployed. While the left doubts his commitment, Joe Biden has pledged to spend $2 trillion on clean energy and infrastructure with a plan that touts union jobs that pay $15 an hour. He is also, conveniently for him, not the president currently presiding over an epidemiological and economic disaster. He's also not a degenerate narcissist who is set to reject the outcome of a democratic election. So there's that, too.
      ___________

      "Proud Boys - Stand back and stand by" ~ President Donald J Trump 30 September 2020

      "Standing down and standing by sir"~ Proud Boys 30 September 2020

      “Trump basically said to go fuck them up...This makes me so happy.” Joe Biggs, a leader of the Proud Boys 30 September 2020

      Comment


      • US unemployment rate has dropped to 7.9%.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by surfgun View Post
          US unemployment rate has dropped to 7.9%.
          "This is the highest the unemployment rate has been ahead of a presidential election since the government started tracking the monthly rate in 1948."

          https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/02/econo...ion/index.html
          “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
          Mark Twain

          Comment


          • Jobs report shows fewer hires as recovery loses momentum

            Nonfarm payrolls rose by a lower than expected 661,000 in September and the unemployment rate was 7.9%, the Labor Department said Friday in the final jobs report before the November election.

            Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting a payrolls gain of 800,000 and the unemployment rate to fall to 8.2% from 8.4% in August. The payrolls miss was due largely to a drop in government hiring as at-home schooling continued and Census jobs fell.

            “The issue is momentum, and I think we’re losing it,” said Drew Matus, chief market strategist for MetLife. “When you go through a significant disruption to the labor market, it takes time to fix itself. That’s without regard to whether there’s a virus.”



            The decline in the unemployment rate came along with a 0.3 percentage point drop in the labor force participation rate to 61.4%, representing a decline of nearly 700,000. However, a separate, more encompassing measure that counts discouraged workers and those working part-time for economic reasons also saw a notable decline, falling from 14.2% to 12.8%.

            The unemployment decline for Blacks was even sharper than the headline rate, falling from 13% to 12.1%. The Asian rate declined from 10.7% to 8.9%.

            Leisure and hospitality led job gains with 318,000 while retail added 142,000 and health care and social assistance increased by 108,000.

            As expected, government was the biggest drag on the month, losing 216,000 due to a drop in local and state government education as many schools maintained at-home instruction due to the virus. A reduction in Census workers also pulled 34,000 from the total.

            In other sectors, health care and social assistance gained 108,000, professional and business services contributed 89,000 and the transportation and warehousing sector was up 74,000. Manufacturing grew by 66,000, financial activities added 37,000 and the other services category rose by 36,000.

            Markets reacted little to the report, with stocks still heading for a lower open following news that President Donald Trump said he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19.

            Despite the deceleration in job creation, there were some positive signs as the economy continues its pandemic-era recovery.



            Those reporting being on temporary layoff fell by 1.5 million to 4.6 million. Workers holding part-time jobs for economic reasons fell by 1.3 million to 6.3 million, and the totals for longer-term layoffs also decreased considerably.

            The temporary layoff total peaked at 18.1 million as payrolls fell by 22 million in March and April.

            However, permanent job losses increased by 345,000 to 3.8 million, in total a 2.5 million increase since February, the month before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus pandemic.

            “Permanent jobs losses rose by more than 300,000. That’s not a good thing. The labor force participation rate declined, which pulled the overall unemployment rate down. That’s not a good sign, either,” said Kathy Jones, head of fixed income at Charles Schwab. “We’re looking at state and local government layoffs, we’re looking at a higher level of permanent job losses and more people leaving the workforce. None of that is good for the long run.”

            The report comes amid a raft of mostly positive economic signals, including strong signs from the housing market and retail spending, as well as worries that rising coronavirus cases could threaten the recovery.

            While millions more remain unemployed, September’s activity means that about 12 million jobs have been recovered since the mid-March economic shutdown that saw about 22 million layoffs.

            Previous months’ job totals were revised higher. July moved up 27,000 to 1.76 million while August’s already strong total went up by 118,000 to 1.49 million.

            Average hourly earnings were little changed over the month but still about 4.6% higher than a year ago. However, hourly comparisons are difficult in the current environment considering the virus impact and the continued tendency of higher-wage workers returning to their jobs before those on the lower end.
            __________

            There's that pesky "context" thing again
            "Proud Boys - Stand back and stand by" ~ President Donald J Trump 30 September 2020

            "Standing down and standing by sir"~ Proud Boys 30 September 2020

            “Trump basically said to go fuck them up...This makes me so happy.” Joe Biggs, a leader of the Proud Boys 30 September 2020

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post

              "This is the highest the unemployment rate has been ahead of a presidential election since the government started tracking the monthly rate in 1948."

              https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/02/econo...ion/index.html
              Obviously you are a glass half empty kind of guy. You need to get with the surfgun program and the glass is full...

              Comment


              • Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post

                Obviously you are a glass half empty kind of guy. You need to get with the surfgun program and the glass is full...
                The problem is what it’s full of ...
                Trust me?
                I'm an economist!

                Comment


                • Originally posted by DOR View Post

                  The problem is what it’s full of ...
                  Just going off his post history, Trump Kool-Aid and Conspiracy Theory Bullshit
                  "Proud Boys - Stand back and stand by" ~ President Donald J Trump 30 September 2020

                  "Standing down and standing by sir"~ Proud Boys 30 September 2020

                  “Trump basically said to go fuck them up...This makes me so happy.” Joe Biggs, a leader of the Proud Boys 30 September 2020

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by DOR View Post

                    The problem is what it’s full of ...
                    Might you have some data on the number of permanent job losses there have been among Americans? I hear it is upwards to 4 million permanent losses not temporary losses. With low hanging fruit already picked and re-hired things don't seem to have a rosy outlook headed into the holidays.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post

                      Might you have some data on the number of permanent job losses there have been among Americans? I hear it is upwards to 4 million permanent losses not temporary losses. With low hanging fruit already picked and re-hired things don't seem to have a rosy outlook headed into the holidays.
                      Pretty damn close. From my last post:

                      However, permanent job losses increased by 345,000 to 3.8 million, in total a 2.5 million increase since February, the month before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus pandemic.

                      "Proud Boys - Stand back and stand by" ~ President Donald J Trump 30 September 2020

                      "Standing down and standing by sir"~ Proud Boys 30 September 2020

                      “Trump basically said to go fuck them up...This makes me so happy.” Joe Biggs, a leader of the Proud Boys 30 September 2020

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
                        Pretty damn close. From my last post:

                        However, permanent job losses increased by 345,000 to 3.8 million, in total a 2.5 million increase since February, the month before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus pandemic.
                        Good answer, depending on what definitions are used.
                        Permanent, as in job eliminated?
                        Employed, as in full-timers only?
                        Trust me?
                        I'm an economist!

                        Comment


                        • 'The Coal Industry Is Back,' Trump Proclaimed. It Wasn't.


                          PAGE, Ariz. — For decades, waves of electricity poured from this behemoth of a power plant on the high desert plateau of the Navajo reservation in northern Arizona, lighting up hundreds of thousands of homes from Phoenix to Las Vegas as it burned 240 rail cars’ worth of coal a day.

                          But as the day shift ended here at the Navajo Generating Station one evening early this year, all but a half-dozen spaces in the employee parking lot — a stretch of asphalt larger than a football field — were empty.

                          It was a similar scene at the nearby Kayenta coal mine, which fueled the plant. Dozens of the giant earth-moving machines that for decades ripped apart the hillside sat parked in long rows, motionless. Not a single coal miner was in sight, just a big, black Chihuahuan raven sitting atop a light post.

                          Saving these two complexes was at the heart of an intense three-year effort by the Trump administration to stabilize the coal industry and make good on President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign promise to end “the war on coal.”

                          “We’re going to put our miners back to work,” Trump promised soon after taking office.

                          He didn’t.

                          Despite Trump’s stocking his administration with coal-industry executives and lobbyists, taking big donations from the industry, rolling back environmental regulations and intervening directly in cases like the Arizona power plant and mine, coal’s decline has only accelerated in recent years.

                          And with the president now in the closing stages of his struggling reelection campaign, his failure to live up to his pledge challenges his claim to be a champion of working people and to restore what he portrayed four years ago as the United States’ lost industrial might.

                          The story of the complex in Arizona demonstrates the lengths the administration went to in helping a favored industry, the limits of its ability to counter powerful economic forces pushing in the other direction and ultimately Trump’s quiet retreat from his promises.

                          In the years after Trump’s election, the federal government offered help valued at as much as $1 billion to keep this one power plant and coal mine up and running by embracing an industry plan to relax costly air-quality requirements.

                          A Republican lawmaker from Arizona sought to force one of the state’s largest utilities to continue to buy power from the plant. Peabody, the world’s largest coal company, offered to discount the price of the coal it was selling the power plant from the Kayenta mine.

                          None of it proved to be enough. By late last year, both the Kayenta mine and the Navajo Generating Station had gone offline, a high-profile example of the industry’s broader collapse and the resulting economic and political aftershocks.

                          Alvin Long, 61, who spent nearly three decades maintaining the earth-moving machines at the Kayenta mine before it closed and remains unemployed, said the past several years have led him to reassess his political allegiance. After backing Republicans since the 1970s and voting for Trump in 2016, he said he was leaving the party.

                          “We really thought we had a chance to keep it going, when we voted for Trump,” he said. “But I don’t care to listen to him anymore. All of his promises went down the drain.”


                          To some degree, Trump was defeated by powerful market forces, primarily, low natural gas prices that made coal a less attractive fuel for power plants and the increasing economic viability of renewable energy sources like solar and wind. The pandemic made matters worse, slowing coal sales as energy consumption in the United States dipped.

                          But an examination of the administration’s efforts to support coal in Arizona and elsewhere, including a review of thousands of pages of emails and other documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, also raises questions about whether the president had any realistic prospect of saving the industry or whether he mostly wanted to be seen as trying.

                          After all of the efforts the administration made in Trump’s first three years in office, the White House has offered no big new plans this year to keep the industry afloat, casting doubt on how much political capital he is willing to invest to protect coal jobs. The president rarely mentions it on the campaign trail.

                          Peter Shulman, a historian at Case Western Reserve University and the author of “Coal and Empire,” about the history of the industry, said he suspected that Trump was focused as much on coal as a convenient symbol as he was the fate of the industry.

                          “Trump’s pledges to coal miners were rhetorical appeals to hardworking, blue-collar Americans like when Nixon put on a hard hat after a meeting with labor union leaders back in 1970,” Shulman said. “But there was no policy Trump could have implemented that would have changed this situation with coal.”

                          The White House defended Trump’s record, saying he had reversed policies enacted by the Obama administration that were strangling the industry, and other officials said coal now had a better chance of remaining competitive.

                          “Our actions have given coal a fair chance in the future,” said Mandy Gunasekara, the Environmental Protection Agency’s chief of staff.

                          Since Trump was inaugurated, 145 coal-burning units at 75 power plants have been idled, eliminating 15% of the nation’s coal-generated capacity, enough to power about 30 million homes.

                          That is the fastest decline in coal-fuel capacity in any single presidential term, far greater than the rate during either of President Barack Obama’s terms.
                          An additional 73 power plants have announced their intention to close additional coal-burning units this decade, according to a tally by the Sierra Club.

                          An estimated 20% of the power generated in the United States this year is expected to come from coal, down from 31% in 2017.

                          In part because of the coronavirus-induced recession, total coal production is expected to drop this year to 511 million tons, down from 775 million tons in 2017. That 34% decline is the largest four-year drop in production since at least 1932.

                          Far from bringing back jobs, the downturn has translated into 5,300 coal mining jobs, or nearly 10%, being eliminated since Trump took office.

                          Nationwide, 12,000 jobs were lost at fossil-fuel burning power plants in the United States in the first three years of Trump’s term, despite efforts by many coal-burning utilities, including the owner of the Navajo Generating Station, to find work for employees at other plants.

                          For people like Marie Justice, the former president of the United Mine Workers of America union local and a Navajo tribe member who worked for Peabody in two mines in northern Arizona for 31 years, the shutdowns were a betrayal.

                          “We were lied to,” Justice said. “Every time we turned around they kept telling us coal miners they would save our jobs. That is what we heard from Trump. But the mines keep closing.”

                          Arizona is now an electoral battleground for Trump. But the economic trauma from coal’s rapid collapse extends to Kentucky and other coal-mining states. After the shutdown of coal-fueled power producers like the Paradise Fossil Plant in western Kentucky, the Genesis Mine in Centertown, Kentucky, laid off its 250 workers in late February.

                          Coal’s accelerating decline has produced one of the Trump era’s most counterintuitive outcomes: Air pollution in the United States related to power production has declined rapidly despite the administration’s aggressive rollback of environmental regulations.

                          The amount of sulfur dioxide coming from power plants, which can cause health complications including breathing difficulties and heart disease, dropped by nearly 30% nationwide in the first three years of Trump’s tenure, a faster rate of decline than the first three years of Obama’s presidency. Nitrogen oxide, another hazardous pollutant, also dropped much faster than in Obama’s first three years.

                          Coal-fired power plants are the largest source in the United States of the carbon emissions that are responsible for climate change. Navajo Generating Station alone emitted 15 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, equal to about 3.7 million cars driven for one year.

                          In northwestern Arizona, the closing of the Navajo Generating Station means less haze clouding views across the Grand Canyon.

                          The Promise

                          A dozen coal miners lined up behind Trump one afternoon in March 2017 during his first visit to the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency. He was there for a carefully choreographed event to celebrate a profound shift in federal policy.

                          The Obama administration had spent eight years rolling out measures intended to curb climate change — regulatory actions that either increased the cost of operating a coal-burning power plant or restricted access to new sources of coal.

                          Modern mining machines used on the surface mines in the West had already drastically curbed the number of coal jobs. The fracking boom had further reduced employment by driving down the price of natural gas to a point where even newer and more efficient coal-burning power plants could not compete.

                          Trump had come to the EPA headquarters to promise coal miners that he was going to turn back the clock.

                          “The miners told me about the attacks on their jobs and their livelihoods,” Trump said, moments before he signed an executive order instructing federal agencies to freeze or reverse many of the Obama-era measures. “They told me about the efforts to shut down their mines, their communities and their very way of life. I made them this promise: We will put our miners back to work.”

                          Among those in the audience were lobbyists and top executives from some of the country’s largest coal mining companies. Trump and Republicans had reaped millions of dollars in campaign donations from those on hand, including J. Clifford Forrest III, the chief executive of Rosebud Mining in Pennsylvania; Joseph W. Craft III of Alliance Resource Partners of Oklahoma; and Robert E. Murray, the chief executive of Murray Energy, the owner of the Genesis Mine in Kentucky.

                          Just days earlier, Murray had sent the White House and a number of Cabinet agencies a detailed “action plan” for “getting America’s coal miners back to work.”

                          The members of the team Trump had assembled to carry out his plan — including Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator, and Ryan Zinke, the interior secretary — had been carefully selected.

                          Pruitt came from Oklahoma, where he had gained a national reputation while attorney general for defending coal and natural gas companies from the Obama-era environmental rules. His actions there included an unsuccessful lawsuit that attacked the same regulation that required the Navajo Generating Station to spend as much as $1 billion on new emissions controls.

                          Pruitt would also select as his chief of air pollution policy a coal-industry lawyer named William Wehrum, who had spent the past decade as a paid advocate for coal-burning power plant owners. Now he would oversee the dismantling of the coal-industry regulatory system.

                          Other top advisers on Pruitt’s team included Andrew Wheeler, a former coal-industry lobbyist, who would go on to replace Pruitt.

                          Zinke had repeatedly pressured the Interior Department while he represented Montana in the House to abandon a plan to increase royalties paid by coal companies for coal extracted from federal and Indian lands. He had also pressed federal officials to sign off on a new ship terminal in Washington state to allow a major expansion of coal exports to power plants in Asia.

                          “We sit on one-third of our nation’s recoverable coal reserves, which are valued at more than $1.5 trillion on the global marketplace,” Zinke wrote in a May 2015 letter to Obama’s interior secretary at the time, Sally Jewell, referring to coal reserves in Montana.

                          The tables had now turned. Jewell was out. And Zinke was in charge.

                          ‘What Do We Do Now?’

                          At its peak in 1988, coal generated 57% of all of the electricity in the United States, while only 9% came from renewables, like solar, hydroelectric and wind.

                          In Arizona, coal can be credited in large part for the rise of Phoenix, now the fifth largest city in the United States. The Navajo Generating Station opened in 1974 to create the huge amount of power needed to move 1.5 million acre-feet worth of water annually from the Colorado River down along 336 miles of canals into the once-desertlike reaches of central and southern Arizona, where golf courses and grass-filled yards and parks have since bloomed.

                          The station, built 15 miles from where the Colorado River enters Grand Canyon National Park, dominates the community of Page. The plant’s 775-foot-tall caramel smokestacks, which are among the largest structures in Arizona, tower above everything else, including the region’s famed sandstone formations.

                          The mines and the power plant became the workplaces of choice for generations of local families, helping build a middle class in an otherwise poor region.

                          Ernest J. Whitehorse, 57, started working at the plant as a welder when he was 18. His brother Earl also worked there, as did his son Jerome who took a job in the control room. Attending a high school basketball game early this year, where one of his grandsons was on the court, Whitehorse looked out at the bleachers and counted up the many faces he knew from the plant.

                          When the mine and power plant closed, tens of millions of dollars’ worth of paychecks, local government tax revenues and retail sales disappeared. The plant and mine directly employed about 850 Native Americans from the area’s Navajo and Hopi tribes, paying $100 million a year in wages and benefits. Wages at the mine averaged $117,000 per employee in a community where nearly 40% of the population lives in poverty.

                          The plant and mine also made payments worth about $50 million a year to the tribes for coal royalties and other benefits, including college scholarships.

                          In 1920, a typical miner in the United States extracted an average of 4 tons of bituminous coal per day. Today in the western United States, which has the largest surface mines in the nation, that figure is about 140 tons a day.

                          This surge in productivity meant huge declines in jobs even when coal was the dominant source of fuel for power plants, dropping from 862,000 miners in the 1920s to 135,000 by 1990, before leveling off around 50,000 nationwide during the Obama administration.

                          That number dropped to 42,000 in April, as coronavirus shutdowns spread nationwide, federal data shows. The industry has started to rehire some of those workers, but employment is not expected to reach 2019 levels again, with long-term consequences for local economies built around mining and coal-burning power plants.

                          “What do we do now?” Whitehorse said, as he looked out at the crowd during the Page Sand Devils basketball game. “What is next? I don’t know the answer for this town.”

                          A Rush to Save the Plant

                          When the levers of power flipped in Washington on the day Trump was sworn in, there was an immediate sprint among the Cabinet agencies to prove who could move the fastest to help the coal industry.

                          The Interior Department moved first, lifting a moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands that was imposed under Obama. Zinke, the department’s chief, also repealed a plan to increase the royalties paid for coal extracted from federal lands. And with the help of Congress, the agency nullified a rule restricting coal companies from dumping waste from coal extraction into area streams.

                          At the EPA, work began to reverse the Obama administration’s highest profile climate-change effort, called the Clean Power Plan, which was projected to cut carbon emissions from power plants by a third. Pruitt, the EPA administrator, then moved to further cut costs at coal-burning power plants by delaying deadlines for a rule that required them to stop the discharge of toxic metals into rivers.

                          Inside both agencies, another effort got underway with a more targeted goal: saving Navajo Generating Station and the Kayenta mine.

                          The Interior Department’s 24% stake in the power plant was under the control of a federal agency called the Bureau of Reclamation, which had helped settle the West by delivering a steady supply of water.

                          The bureau was told by Zinke to work with the power plant, as well as with Peabody, the owner of the mine, and leaders of the Navajo and Hopi tribes to find a way to save Navajo Generating Station, known as NGS.

                          “One of interior’s top priorities has been to roll up our sleeves with diverse stakeholders in search of an economic path forward to extend NGS and Kayenta mine operations after 2019,” Zinke said in a statement in 2017.

                          Ray Shepherd, a former House aide who had gone on to work as a lobbyist for Peabody, repeatedly intervened with officials to develop a rescue package that would include the repeal of the costly air-quality requirements.

                          Shepherd worked most closely with Scott Cameron, a top political appointee who then supervised the Bureau of Reclamation.

                          “Is Peabody eligible to take this tax credit at NGS?” Cameron wrote in an email, suggesting a tax break that the company could take on its sales to the power plant.

                          Yes, Shepherd responded, assuming Congress extended the tax break.

                          Shortly after Trump signed an executive order calling for agencies to curb regulatory costs on energy companies, Shepherd wrote again to Cameron.

                          “Given the President’s recent EO,” Shepherd wrote, “I wonder whether we couldn’t fashion some regulatory relief for NGS.”

                          Shepherd soon offered a more detailed plan. In an effort in 2014 to reduce haze that plagues the Grand Canyon, the EPA adopted a rule that most likely would have required the Navajo plant to spend as much as $1 billion to install devices that curb the release of nitrogen on two of its three coal-burning units, and to shut down the third.

                          Eliminating that upgrade, which had been projected to avoid nearly 800 asthma attacks each year in Arizona among other more serious ailments, would make it much easier to find a new buyer who could keep the plant and coal mine in business.

                          “This requirement is a significant obstacle for new ownership,” Shepherd wrote.

                          Shepherd also pushed a top EPA official, Gunasekara, the agency’s chief of staff.

                          “Happy to discuss further, but the key is $1 billion in value from regulatory relief,” he wrote in a May 2017 email, forwarding her a slide presentation that detailed a rescue plan.

                          Agency records show at least two dozen meetings or conference calls to discuss the Arizona plant, including trips to Arizona by EPA, Energy Department and Interior Department officials to meet with plant executives and local leaders.

                          Cameron made clear that he was willing to push other federal agencies to help, asking Shepherd for his “wish list” of regulatory rollbacks.

                          “I’ll then explore options on those items with other agencies,” he wrote to Shepherd.

                          In response, Cameron received a 12-item agenda titled, “Peabody/Lazard’s NGS Asks,” which he passed on to his boss, James Cason, a deputy Interior Department secretary.

                          “Attached are what Lazard and Peabody have asked us to do, based on two very long phone calls this week,” Cameron wrote. “I think these are reasonable requests that don’t put us at risk.”

                          The administration then moved to grant Peabody what it wanted. Pruitt wrote a letter to Peabody’s financial adviser confirming a tactic the plant could use to avoid the $1 billion project to install new emissions controls. He called the shift “compliance flexibilities.”

                          Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., also floated a plan that would have waived additional Clean Air Act requirements and exempted the plant and mine from federal environmental reviews if a new owner took over.

                          ‘Yes to NGS’

                          In Arizona, a campaign to save the Navajo Generating Station was funded by Peabody and other mining industry players, who formed an alliance with the Navajo tribe and the United Mine Workers union to create a movement they called “Yes to NGS.”

                          The plan was to put pressure on the Central Arizona Project — the agency that runs the canal system providing water to the region — to continue to buy power from the plant. The group would also push officials in Washington to follow through with the cost-cutting regulatory rollbacks.

                          But the Central Arizona Project board refused to back down, after concluding that its customers would save $14 million in 2020 alone by stopping all power purchases from the plant.

                          Justice, then the union president, and other miners went to Washington — with the cost covered by the coal industry, she said — seeking help from Congress.

                          “If these operations shut down a quarter-century before Congress intended, the impact will be devastating,” she said at a House hearing in April 2018. “For Navajo, this represents our children, our grandchildren, grandparents, aunts and uncles.”

                          But Nicole Horseherder, a Navajo tribe member and the leader of a local environmental group promoting a shift to solar and wind energy, was there, too, with a very different message. The coal miners and the administration were trying to hold on to a “fairy tale,” she told lawmakers.

                          “There is nothing that will halt the decline in coal,” she told the House committee.

                          Justice began to wonder if the whole pro-coal effort was a charade.

                          Little actual progress had been made, she said, to line up customers who wanted to buy the electricity the plant produced. “We were getting a lot of lip service, but not enough action,” she said.

                          She was hardly the only one doubting that the government would deliver on Trump’s promise.

                          Environmental groups like the Sierra Club had been pressuring officials in California and Nevada to stop buying coal-powered electricity from the Navajo station and even consider selling off stakes they owned in the plant, which Los Angeles did.

                          George W. Bilicic, the vice chairman of investment banking with Lazard, the firm hired by Peabody to find a buyer for the plant, also grew worried.

                          “There needs to be a discipline and sense of urgency applied to the process around the various sides of the octagon-shaped table,” Bilicic wrote in one email to officials at the Interior Department. “We are having lots of discussions but limited concrete progress.”

                          The message was becoming clear, Bilicic warned: “There are clearly, in our mind, some folks who would be quite pleased to see the plant shut down.”

                          But Peabody kept pushing ahead, at least until a surprising turn: The Navajo tribe, an ally until that point, switched sides. Tribal leaders decided to embrace a new clean-energy future, in effect ending the effort to save the plant.

                          “Our people, our sovereignty and our right to self-determination predate the first coal seam found on Navajo, and we will endure and thrive together,” Seth Damon said in announcing the decision last year, shortly after he was elected as a new leader of the tribe.

                          What Happened to Paradise?

                          A different fight was playing out in Kentucky over the Paradise Fossil Plant, owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority, the federally chartered company created during the Great Depression to help bring jobs and electricity to much of the rural South.

                          By the 1960s, the TVA had become the biggest consumer of coal in the United States, eventually operating 12 coal-burning plants, including Paradise, which had the largest coal-burning units in the world when it opened in 1963.

                          Trump sought to buttress the TVA’s commitment to coal, filling four vacancies on its board with his own appointees, including Kenneth Allen of Kentucky, a former executive at Armstrong Coal, whose customers included the Paradise plant.

                          By the summer of 2018, the president was talking as if he had successfully completed his work in reviving the industry.

                          “We are back. The coal industry is back,” Trump declared to a crowd in Charleston, West Virginia, including miners in their hard-hats holding signs that said “Trump Digs Coal” and “Promises Made. Promises Kept.”

                          But that was hardly evident in the postage-stamp-size town of Paradise, Kentucky, made famous by a 1971 song by folk singer John Prine, whose family was from the area. The town of Paradise no longer really exists, except for a small cemetery that overlooks the power plant’s three giant cooling towers,

                          “The coal company came with the world’s largest shovel,” Prine sang about the town, adding, “Mister Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away.”

                          Despite Trump’s reassuring words about the industry, Bill Johnson, then the TVA president, was having second thoughts about continuing to burn coal there. Paradise was built to provide so-called base load power, meaning once its coal-burning units were running, they rarely shut off. But modern power needs are increasingly cyclical, rising at one point, then dropping at others.

                          “To get these plants to run on Thursday, you have to start them on Tuesday,” Johnson explained to his board last year.

                          Natural gas prices had also fallen so low that the authority could get power cheaper from gas plants. Maintenance issues at Paradise were also causing increasingly frequent “forced outages.”

                          A TVA staff report had concluded that if the agency closed Paradise and a second coal-burning plant it owns, its ratepayers would save $320 million by turning to cheaper, gas-fueled plants and other alternative sources, including solar power.

                          Murray Energy, which operated three Kentucky coal mines that delivered more than 1 million tons of coal to the Paradise plant in 2018, joined with plant workers, business owners and even teachers to protest the plan

                          One plant employee called Johnson an “anti-coal Obama appointee.” A second said he was in “disbelief when I look at the massive number and cost of upgrades that have been done to this plant in the last couple of years, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, and TVA wants to shut us down.”

                          Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the majority leader, along with Kentucky’s governor at the time, Matt Bevin, and other top elected officials, joined the campaign.

                          “It is wonderful to imagine on a sunny day that the sun is going to power our electricity and the wind is going to blow,” Bevin said early last year during a Kentucky rally organized by the coal industry to save the plant. “But it is not real.”

                          For weeks, there was silence from the White House, until Trump weighed in on Twitter just after that rally.

                          “Coal is an important part of our electricity generation mix and @TVAnews should give serious consideration to all factors before voting to close viable power plants, like Paradise #3 in Kentucky!” Trump tweeted.

                          But just three days after Trump’s tweet, the TVA board, including three of Trump’s four appointees, voted to shut the plant down. The TVA as recently as 2007 drew 58% of its power from coal. As of 2020, it would be 15%.


                          “It is not about coal,” Johnson said. “It’s about keeping rates as low as feasible.”

                          Drifting Toward Death

                          “Alpha Silo Ratchet Gate Closed,” came the call on the radio from the coal unit controller at the Navajo Generating Station back in northwestern Arizona. The controller’s job was to make sure the plant had a steady supply of coal.

                          But this was not a normal day, according to interviews with many of those who were present and a later visit to the site. For weeks, employees had been watching as the mountainous pile of coal they keep at the site — delivered by rail cars from the Kayenta mine 78 miles away — was slowly shrinking, leaving a black-stained, muddy field. By last November, they were ready for the closing act.

                          “Bravo Silo Ratchet Gate Closed,” the call came back.

                          The act of turning coal into power is cacophonous, with high-pitched steam releases from the boiler after it heats the water to 1,001 degrees and 3,500 pounds of pressure, the deafening roar of the steam-driven turbine, and the piercing hum of the generator, a bus-size rotating electromagnet surrounded by a large coil of wires that produces the electricity.

                          But it all starts in the so-called firebox, where pulverized coal is blown into the boiler and ignited in a fireball more than 25 feet tall.

                          The firebox has seven separate levels of coal dust that can be ignited at once. So turning off the plant means carefully shutting down seven levels of fire. That is what the coal-unit controller was announcing on the radio, as he closed off the gates, starving the boiler of fuel.

                          In the control room was Fred Larson, who started working part time at the Navajo Generating Station when he was 22. He was now 64 and standing along with a dozen other workers as the alarms started to go crazy, warning that the plant was running out of coal.

                          Bells were ringing. Lights were flashing. Warnings were popping up on the computer screens, as the machinery there all but begged for more coal. Gauges measuring throttle pressure, boiler temperature, feed pump suction pressure and water flow all began to slope down.

                          Larson had perhaps the most important job still to do. He watched as the power output slowly dropped, as the seven levels of fires burned out one at a time, as the Navajo Generating Station drifted toward its death.

                          The plant was built to produce as much as 2,250 megawatts of power. It was now producing 20. Then 15. Then 10. Larson’s boss walked over and made sure he was ready.

                          “This is the moment you have been waiting for,” he said, which Larson thought to himself was the entirely wrong thing to say.

                          The power output dropped to just 5 megawatts and Larson reached out to put his hands on the pistol grip-shaped handle of the two main breakers that connect the power plant to the grid. At once, he flipped them both open. The plant was now offline. In fact, to keep the lights on at the plant, as well as the flashing strobes atop the exhaust stacks, the power plant started to pull electricity from the grid.

                          An eerie silence took over as the crew members on this last shift gathered their personal items and prepared to walk out.

                          On a visit early this year, the lights were still on in the plant, and the equipment was still in place, including operating manuals in the control room and the clipboard recording the final load of power.

                          In the room where the workers had gathered at the beginning of their daily shifts, hard hats rested atop open lockers, and leftover lunch supplies, like a jar of kosher dill pickles and a can of cannellini beans, sat inside, waiting for crews that will never return.

                          Three months later, in western Kentucky, Paul Stalker headed into work at the Genesis Mine on a Thursday night. Once there, he took the 45-minute shuttle ride through a tunnel for about 5 miles until it reached the well-lit spot, about a quarter-mile below ground.

                          Crews there used a machine to rip coal from the face of mine, before it was carried to a feeder that cut it up and then to the surface on a conveyor belt. It was a normal shift for Stalker, he later recounted, until the day shift supervisor showed up.

                          “I just heard from the surface,” said the supervisor, according to Stalker. “They said, ‘Square the unit up.’”

                          Stalker knew what this meant.

                          A notice had been sent out on the day after Christmas to all of the Genesis mine workers informing them that “there will be a mass layoff and subsequent plant closing.” It added that “this layoff will be permanent.”

                          Genesis had long been one of the mines that helped fuel the Paradise plant, which had shut down in early February. Having lost a major customer, a wave of coal mines were closing in Kentucky.

                          Squaring the unit up meant making sure there was a clean, straight line on the underground wall of coal they had just cut. The foreman wanted this last cut to be neat.

                          “I guess this is it then, ain’t it,” Stalker told his boss.

                          The night shift of about 30 men assembled in the locker room and were told to wait for a boss to come in.

                          “‘You guys know this has been coming,’” Stalker recalled the Murray Energy executive telling them. “‘You are the best group of men I have ever worked with. You never slowed down. But we are going to stop producing coal here. And unfortunately some of you guys are going to get laid off. It has been good working with you. You have all done a good job.’”

                          There was not much show of emotion, according to several of the miners there that day.

                          But in the employee parking lot, Stalker, 45, ran into a fellow miner, who was much newer in his career — still in his 20s. He had some advice for him.

                          “Man, get out of this industry,” Stalker said. “Don’t be like me, 45 years old and looking for a new industry to start out in.”

                          “Yeah, my dad has been telling me the same thing,” his colleague responded.

                          In 2017 and 2018, the Trump administration had granted Murray Energy several of the changes it had sought in the “action plan” submitted by Robert Murray, the company’s chief executive, but the power plants and mines still closed.

                          Murray Energy itself filed for bankruptcy, and its assets were sold last month to a new, smaller company.

                          Bruce Summers, 45, who has been on unemployment since the Genesis Mine closed, said he was fed up and unsure who to vote for this year.

                          “I did not believe in the beginning. Honestly I really didn’t,” he said. “You really can’t change what was already in motion.”

                          The Aftermath

                          On a hillside a few minutes from Peabody’s now-closed Kayenta coal mine, two new solar complexes have recently been constructed by the Navajo tribe.

                          They are tiny for now, generating only about 2.5% of the power that the Navajo plant was capable of producing. Only two people work at the Navajo solar complex, compared with the roughly 850 who worked at the power plant and coal mine.

                          Whitehorse, the former plant worker, said the community, and the Navajo tribe at large, would be hurt given Trump’s failure to honor his promise.

                          “As a community, we will suffer,” he said. “But we will get through it. We will persevere, survive, like our forefathers did.”
                          ________________

                          Why would you believe an obvious con man, touting to bring back something that's been in decline since the 1920s?

                          "Proud Boys - Stand back and stand by" ~ President Donald J Trump 30 September 2020

                          "Standing down and standing by sir"~ Proud Boys 30 September 2020

                          “Trump basically said to go fuck them up...This makes me so happy.” Joe Biggs, a leader of the Proud Boys 30 September 2020

                          Comment


                          • https://www.npr.org/2020/10/02/91965...-lung-benefits

                            Man Who Fought Against Rules That Protect Miners Applies For Black Lung Benefits

                            Influential coal executive Bob Murray reportedly has black lung disease and has applied for federal benefits. Murray spent years fighting regulations to protect coal miners from black lung.

                            TONYA MOSLEY, HOST:

                            One of the country's most influential coal executives has black lung disease. Bob Murray, founder of Murray Energy, long fought rules aimed at preventing the debilitating disease. Here's more from Dave Mistich and Brittany Patterson of West Virginia Public Broadcasting and the Ohio Valley Resource.

                            DAVE MISTICH, BYLINE: Bob Murray says he's been mining coal since he was a teenager in the 1950s. In 1988, he founded Murray Energy, the largest privately owned coal mining company in the country. After years of criticizing his competitors for shedding debts and liabilities by declaring bankruptcy, in October of last year, Murray Energy did the same. The company cited increasingly tough market conditions for coal. Murray no longer owns the company, but he serves on its board. Last fall, Murray told NPR he had a lung condition. The hissing sound you hear is from a stream of oxygen he says he needs to survive.

                            (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

                            BOB MURRAY: It's idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, IPF. And it is not related to my work in the industry. It's - they've checked for that.

                            MISTICH: But now, on a Labor Department form, he says his diagnosis is from years of working underground, first as a miner and then later while supervising operations. We confirmed the authenticity of Murray's claim documents through the department's online portal. When we called Murray this week, he wouldn't let us record the conversation. But he did say he's entitled to the federal benefits he's applied for.

                            BRITTANY PATTERSON, BYLINE: It wasn't that long ago that experts thought black lung was nearly eradicated. But today, Appalachia is seeing a deadly resurgence of the most severe form of black lung. Wes Addington is an attorney with the Appalachian Citizens' Law Center, a nonprofit law firm in eastern Kentucky that represents coal miners seeking federal black lung benefits.

                            WES ADDINGTON: Today in 2020, we're seeing more miners with more advanced black lung than the country has ever seen. And yet the industry, over the past 10 to 20 years, has consistently fought against any regulation that would try to limit the amount of dust that miners breathe.

                            PATTERSON: He says that includes Murray. In 2014, Murray Energy spearheaded a lawsuit against the Obama administration over a federal rule that strengthened control of the coal dust that causes black lung. The company argued it would be too expensive. The lawsuit didn't succeed. But then in 2017, Murray found a new ally - President Donald Trump. Here he is speaking on Fox Business in April 2018.

                            (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

                            MURRAY: He is an absolutely wonderful president.

                            PATTERSON: The outspoken climate denier and a 16-point deregulatory wish list to Trump administration officials. Among the requests - overhaul the agency that regulates mine health and safety and weaken rules to protect miners from coal dust. Murray claimed those tighter regulations would cost the industry thousands of jobs. That request has not been fulfilled.

                            MISTICH: In his claim for benefits, Murray says he's near death. Experts say getting approval for black lung benefits can take years. Even if he passes away and the claim is later approved, his wife would receive benefits for life.

                            For NPR News, I'm Dave Mistich.

                            PATTERSON: And I'm Brittany Patterson in Morgantown, W.Va.
                            __________________________________________________ _______________________

                            More hypocritical bullshit from it's all a waste, a joke a rip off....until I need it.
                            “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                            Mark Twain

                            Comment


                            • Thirty years from now the Navajo Power Plant will still be standing in place and photographers will be breaking into the plant, in the dead of night, to shoot pictures. Our little Chernobyl without the radiation.

                              Comment


                              • Goldman Sachs: A Democratic sweep would mean faster economic recovery

                                New York (CNN Business)President Donald Trump is once again warning voters that Democrats would "shut our economy and jobs down" if they win in November.

                                Goldman Sachs is telling its clients the exact opposite.


                                Just hours after Trump's all-caps Monday morning tweet predicting economic disaster, Goldman economists pointed out that polls "suggest a 'blue wave' in which Democrats gain unified control of Washington is becoming more likely" -- and they're not suggesting investors dump stocks.

                                In fact, "all else equal, such a blue wave would likely prompt us to upgrade our forecasts,"
                                Goldman Sachs chief economist Jan Hatzius wrote in a Monday report.

                                It's true that if Democrats sweep into power early next year, it would likely translate to higher taxes and regulation. Such a reversal from the Trump agenda could eat into corporate profits and the earnings for affluent families.

                                But Joe Biden is also promising a bonanza of government spending that, coupled with extremely low interest rates, would likely speed up the economy.

                                Goldman Sachs wrote that a blue wave would "sharply raise the probability" of a fiscal stimulus package of at least $2 trillion shortly after the January 20 inauguration. The bank also cited Biden's longer-term spending plans on infrastructure, climate, health care and education.

                                Taken together, this spending "would at least match the likely longer-term tax increases on corporations and upper-income earnings," Goldman Sachs wrote.
                                "It would likely result in substantially easier US fiscal policy, a reduced risk of renewed trade escalation, and a firmer global growth outlook," the report said.

                                Moody's: 7.4 million more jobs under Biden's plan
                                Goldman Sachs isn't the only Wall Street firm to point out the positive benefits of a blue wave.
                                Moody's Analytics found that Biden's economic proposals, if enacted, would create 7.4 million more jobs than would Trump's. The economy would return to full employment in the second half of 2022, nearly two years earlier than under Trump's plan, Moody's said.


                                "The economic outlook is strongest under the scenario in which Biden and the Democrats sweep Congress and fully adopt their economic agenda," wrote Moody's economists led by Mark Zandi, who advised Senator John McCain during the 2008 presidential race.

                                Although few on Wall Street had expected a sweep for Democrats earlier this year, that thinking has changed significantly.
                                "We view a 'blue wave' as the most likely outcome of the election," strategists at UBS wrote to clients Monday.

                                The prediction markets are also pointing to a blue wave, though it's no slam dunk. A bettor on PredictIt can pay 58 cents to win $1 if Democrats win the White House, Senate and House in 2020. That's up from 43 cents in late August.

                                Polls leaning in Biden's direction
                                It's too early to say how Trump's fight with Covid-19 will impact the election. But Biden's lead over Trump expanded to its widest yet in a CNN poll conducted after the first debate and a few days after the president's coronavirus infection was made public. Among likely voters, 57% back Biden and 41% support Trump.

                                Not only is Trump trailing nationally overall, but his lead over Biden on the economy specifically has vanished in CNN's polling.

                                In May, 54% of registered voters said Trump would handle the economy better, compared with 42% for Biden. Now it's tied, with 49% of registered voters backing each candidate. Among likely voters, Biden gets 50%, compared with 48% for Trump. That's little changed from the last CNN poll, conducted August 28 to September 1.

                                Citing FiveThirtyEight polling averages, Goldman Sachs also pointed out that Biden leads by an average of six percentage points in the "most likely tipping-point" state: Pennsylvania. Biden expanded his lead to 12 percentage points in Pennsylvania in a new Monmouth University poll of registered voters published Tuesday.

                                Biden also holds smaller leads in Florida and Arizona. Goldman Sachs notes those battleground states "should finish their voting around midnight and could therefore resolve the uncertainty earlier than widely expected."

                                'Mixed' impact for stocks
                                In other words, clear-cut wins for Biden in Florida and Arizona could lower the risk of a contested election, a nightmare scenario that would rattle financial markets. And that, in turn, could boost markets that have been bracing for post-election turmoil.

                                Looking at the bigger picture, a blue wave would create newwinners and losers on Wall Street.

                                For instance, oil-and-gas companies, private prisons, student lenders and some banks could underperform because of the risk of new regulation. High-tax stocks that benefited from Trump's corporate tax cut could get punished, too, but companies that would benefit from increased spending on infrastructure, education and clean energy could outperform.

                                "A blue wave would have mixed implications for broad US equity indices," Goldman Sachs wrote, adding that stronger government spending and faster economic growth would be a positive for cyclical sectors of the market.

                                When will the Fed get off zero?
                                One risk for the stock market is that it alters Wall Street's expectation of never-ending easy money from the Federal Reserve.

                                The US central bank has signaled rock-bottom interest rates are here to stay, through at least 2023. Goldman Sachs thinks the Fed won't hike rates until early 2025. Those forecasts have essentially forced investors to bet on stocks because returns on government bonds are muted.

                                But if Democrats sweep in November, the economy could speed up so much that it creates long-elusive inflation, forcing the Fed to act. Goldman Sachs said its analysis suggests a blue wave could pull forward the Fed's first rate hike by up to two years ."The rising probability of a blue wave," Goldman Sachs wrote, "adds to our sense that markets may have become too complacent about Fed policy."

                                Even if markets object to rate hikes, average Americans would benefit if the economy is growing fast enough for the Fed to begin gradually raising interest rates.
                                _________

                                Weird! Yet another one of Trump's apocalyptic "Only I can fix this!" predictions turns out to be a bald faced lie

                                Oh wait, Goldman Sachs? Deep State Socialist Agents, no doubt.

                                Interesting that Moody's thinks that Trump has a plan, other than "Stay Out Of Prison"
                                "Proud Boys - Stand back and stand by" ~ President Donald J Trump 30 September 2020

                                "Standing down and standing by sir"~ Proud Boys 30 September 2020

                                “Trump basically said to go fuck them up...This makes me so happy.” Joe Biggs, a leader of the Proud Boys 30 September 2020

                                Comment

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