POTUS Signs New Law That Will Save Millions of Lives

President Trump suicide prevention signing

President Trump just signed a law establishing a new suicide hotline. The hotline number is 9-8-8 and will go live starting in mid 2022. The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act passed in September.

The new law will replace the current ten-digit suicide hotline number which is currently 1-800-273-8255. It’s a good move, as 9-8-8 is far easier to remember, and with the right marketing campaign, this could save a lot of lives.

Suicide hotline in America

The FCC has estimated the costs associated with switching to the new three digit hotline will cost approximately $570 million dollars the first year and another $175 million dollars the second year.

This would cover the call center’s staff and training as well as a new public awareness campaign. Law makers have stressed that the importance of saving American lives will far outweigh the close to $1 billion dollar price tag on the new initiative.

2020 has been a rough year for the economy. Unemployment rose higher in three months of COVID-19 than it did in two years of the Great Recession. Not only are many Americans out of work, they’re also facing the fear of some new unseen enemy. The Covid-19 virus has turned our entire way of life upside-down.

president trump suicide prevention hotline

With the downturn in the economy came a huge spike in mental heath issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported a rise in substance abuse and suicidal ideation in 2020. Symptoms of anxiety and depression have increased considerably in the United States from the same time last year.

In 2019, approximately 8.1% of American adults reported having feelings of anxiety. That number has risen to 25.5%, a three-fold increase. That is substantial, and it’s no surprise. Many Americans have lost their jobs and businesses due to the pandemic. Many states are forcing small businesses to close, which is totally destroying some American’s only way to earn a living.

Normal way of life shattered

Furthermore, social distancing measures are keeping loved ones away from each other and children out of schools. Our familiar daily routines and normal ways of life have been shattered by this virus and many Americans are finding it hard to cope.

On top of all this, we have protests, riots and civil unrest in cities across the country. Every time you tune into the news it seems to be happening somewhere else. The presidential election is just days away and many Americans are preparing for the worst if their chosen candidate loses.

2020 has been a hard year for many of us but there’s still hope. It’s important to remember that America has been through plenty of hard times before.

A Civil War, several World Wars, depressions, recessions, pandemics and terror attacks. We’ve seen it all, and we’re still here. Americans are strong and brave people. We’ll get through this.

If you or someone you know are feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts, just know that you are not alone. There are people here to help you. Please, don’t hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and text “HOME” to 741741 for the crisis line. Crisis support in Spanish is available at 1-888-628-9454.

Source

Wisconsin’s Great Recession Recovery Shows The Path Forward After COVID-19: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Following a period of profound economic prosperity, Americans are staring another recession in the face thanks to the Wuhan coronavirus lockdowns. With the next election right around the corner, the economy is on the ballot as voters decide who will best lead us onward after the shutdowns subside. A new study shows a clear path forward. The most important focus? Jobs, jobs, jobs.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty has a new study out today analyzing the economic recovery of Wisconsin and other Midwestern states following the Great Recession. Hindsight has revealed the longer-term effects of welfare reform under Republican Gov. Scott Walker, and they’re promising.

Emerging from Wisconsin’s Recession

During the Great Recession, Wisconsin and Indiana became eligible for waivers of federal work requirements for food stamp programs. Walker and then-Gov. Mike Pence, however, chose not to seek these waivers, meaning eligibility for these welfare programs was conditional.

In Wisconsin, beginning in April 2015, in order to qualify for the state’s FoodShare program, residents were required to take part in a job-training program or work at least half time, meaning at least 80 hours per month. Iowa, Missouri, and Indiana employed similar policies. Despite these reforms being contentious, hindsight reveals they were successful in decreasing unemployment, growing the labor force, and increasing work.

At their core, these programs prioritized the worker, founded on the principle that Americans’ lives are better when they have a sense of purpose through a job. By adding work requirements to Wisconsin’s food stamps program, Walker’s administration incentivized Wisconsinites to get back into the workforce and returned their sense of personal agency.

“We’re not making it harder to get government assistance,” Walker told The Federalist in an interview. “We’re making it easier to get a job. And that’s really what it was all about was long-term employment, people pursuing their careers knowing that in the end … true freedom and prosperity don’t come from the clumsy hand of the government. They come from empowering people to control their own lives and set their own destinies through the dignity that comes from work.”

Based on the data, he’s right. According to the study, across Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri, unemployment declined 0.53 percent on average as a result of food-stamp reform. The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty estimates that since the 2008 Great Recession, these four Midwest states saw an average 0.62 percent increase in the labor force participation rate, with 28,786 people joining the labor force in Wisconsin alone. This figure denotes the number of able-bodied people who are actively working or seeking employment.

Walker’s administration believed that welfare programs, although necessary, should serve as a trampoline, springing people back on their feet, rather than a hammock.

“If you make it easier not to work, not everybody, but some people are going to take that path of least resistance, which is not only not good for the taxpayers,” Walker said, “but it’s ultimately not good for the person because they’re better off controlling their own destiny and not being dependent on the government.”

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

This same focus on workers should guide America’s policy response to the COVID-19 recession, according to Walker. On top of welfare reforms, the former governor said the Paycheck Protection Program is promising because “it’s really about keeping people working. It’s not about helping the business itself.”

“I think one of the most important things government has done at any level has been the Paycheck Protection Program — I think things like that where they don’t just give money to businesses but they tied it directly to keep people staying on the payroll,” Walker said. “I don’t like picking and choosing winners and losers. I don’t like bailing out businesses. But what was unique about the Paycheck Protection Program — and I think elected officials in both parties should be supportive of it — is it’s tied directly into giving an employer assistance but only if they, in turn, have to keep people on the payroll.”

While the former governor was encouraged by worker-centric government responses like the PPP, he also identified problems in our COVID-19 response, namely the government’s tendency to impose serious restrictions and lockdowns without articulating a rationale.

“The biggest problem I’ve had with elected officials … is I think too many government leaders at many different levels — local, state, and even some at the federal — have rushed out to tell people what to do, but they have done little to nothing to explain why,” Walker said in a rebuke to the elitism of the nanny state. “I still felt early on we could have limited the amount and the length of the shutdown of businesses if we’d spent more time talking about why certain things were necessary,” such as wearing masks and social distancing.

Like parenting, Walker said, once your kids get older, if you only tell them what to do and not why, they’re either not going to do what you tell them, or they will stop doing it when you’re not around. Freedom, paired with an explanation, is important.

Our Best Chance for Recovery

In just over a week, Americans must cast their vote for who will lead us into coronavirus recovery. Considering the problem of this elitist authoritarianism and the importance of getting people back to work, the choice seems clear.

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden laid out clear and starkly contrasting visions for life after the election. While Biden warns of a “dark winter” and promises masks and further lockdowns (not to mention his pledge to eradicate the oil industry, which employs more than 600,000 people in the United States), Trump says, “We’re learning to live with it. We have no choice. We can’t lock ourselves up in a basement. … We’re opening up our country.” Like Walker, the president understands the importance of getting people back to work:

We have to open our country. We’re not going to have a country. You can’t do this. We can’t keep this country closed. This is a massive country with a massive economy. People are losing their jobs. They’re committing suicide. There’s depression, alcohol, drugs at a level that nobody’s ever seen before. There’s abuse, tremendous abuse. We have to open our country. I’ve said it often, the cure cannot be worse than the problem itself, and that’s what’s happening. And [Biden] wants to close down. He’ll close down the country if one person in our massive bureaucracy says we should close it down.

The difference is “night and day” between how Trump and Biden would handle the economy, Walker noted. Unlike Trump, Biden wants “significant tax increases, major new regulations, higher cost for energy — those things would be job-killers at a time when, now more than ever, Americans need to just get back to work.”

Source

Woman Receives ODD Phone Call From Dept. of Employment Security…What is Going on HERE

Receives

A Springfield, Illinois woman who has waited several weeks for a callback from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) finally got her wish, but it didn’t turn out the way she wanted it to. Needless to say, Leah Cheistder is livid after she receives the following message:

“Yeah, I don’t really know what you’re calling about…Umm six, six, that’s just freakin’ weird…well, Okay, have a good day.”

Cheistder is looking for answers regarding this horribly rude phone call.

Ms. Cheistder is having a difficult time paying her bills because of the IDE bureaucracy not being able to get their act together. Indeed, she was actually doing the dishes in her Illinois home and she missed her call back, but she had been on hold for at least twelve days, from September 24th to October 6th.

“Then, I saw that there had been a voicemail, and I was like, “A voicemail? Really? I thought they had only called once, so I’d better check it’, and so I did,” Cheistder recounted.

Needless to say, she was fairly taken aback by the first 15 seconds of the voicemail, and things only went from bad to worse:

“Hello, this is the Illinois Department of Employment Security, commonly referred to as the IDES. Uhhhh, well Leah, it looks like you gave us a call and then you got a call back. I’m really not sure why, so let’s see what’s going on.”

To top it all off, after that somewhat cavalier and lackadaisical message, then this Ms. Chiestdter heard this alleged IDES employee yawn as loudly as possible.

“I really felt insulted,” Ms. Chiesdter said. “These people are responsible for basically aiding in the worst unemployment of our times, and I just don’t feel like they were taking it very seriously or even being very professional about it.”

The voicemail closed with the employee’s “freakin’ weird” comment, and Chiesdter couldn’t help but wonder if she was the only one that this was happening to. Chiesdter said this was her chance to get her issues resolved, but now she has no choice but to go back to the end of the line, start all over again, and hope against hope that she can find someone with a bit more compassion next time.

IDES Acting Director Kristin Richards put out a statement regarding this incident:

“This type of behavior is unacceptable and beyond the pale. We expect that our employees will always give their very best when they represent the Illinois Department of Employment Security, and all of our claimants deserve that kind of service.

Department employees are going to be reminded that this type of behavior is unprofessional and inexcusable. Someone who receives this type of treatment is going to feel terrible. We are taking this matter very seriously and are looking at all necessary disciplinary actions.”

IDES officials did not name the employee, but they did say that this individual is most likely a year-round, regular employee and not one of the 500 temporary employees that Governor J.B. Pritzker had hired to field calls and keep up with the demand.

What do YOU think about the terribly unprofessional conduct of this IDES employee and the horrible treatment that this woman receives?

Source

Senate Democrats Refuse to Help Americans, Pull BS Move to Stifle Recovery

Senate Majority Leader McConnell speaks about COVID aid package
Senate Majority Leader McConnell speaks about COVID aid package

Senate Democrats united to vote against a COVID relief bill on Thursday, ultimately preventing it from reaching the 60 votes necessary for the bill to pass.

The proposed bill was supported by every Republican senator except for Rand Paul. The relief package would have given $650 billion for small businesses through the paycheck protection program, K-12 education, and drug or vaccine development and distribution, along with many other initiatives.

Senate Democrats have accused the Republicans of not providing enough aid in the package. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke to MSNBC prior to voting on the bill. “We’re trying to get a bill that deals with the issues here. McConnell has become more and more cynical. His bill is a cynical bill. It’s cynical in what it’s left out… As the crisis gets bigger and bigger, Republicans think smaller and smaller. They’re moving backwards. This isn’t a ‘skinny’ bill. It’s emaciated,” said Schumer.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell roasted the Democrats with his response on Twitter, stating: “Every Senate Democrat just voted against hundreds of billions of dollars of COVID-19 relief. They blocked money for schools, testing, vaccines, unemployment insurance, and the Paycheck Protection Program. Their goal is clear: No help for American families before the election.”

The original proposal from the Republicans was also denounced by the Democrats, which included more funding, to the tune of $1 trillion. It seems that the Democrats will not be happy with a bill to help the American people unless it includes funding for their pet projects, or a total overhaul of our election system.

“The reason why we are at this specific package is because this is what we could find consensus after literally weeks of discussion and research. And so it’s doing the best we can do at this point with the information we have,” said Senator Mike Rounds, a Republican from South Dakota.

The Democrats proposed a stimulus bill back in May that would have cost $3.4 trillion, and extended the enhanced unemployment benefits of $600/week from the first COVID aid package. Republicans have taken issue with the enhanced benefits, stating that they are just an incentive for people to not return to work.

Over the summer, the White House’s attempted negotiation with Democrat leadership failed, as they were unable to reach a compromise.

Source

Optimistic Recovery – Weekly Jobless Claims 860k, Lower Than Expected…

The U.S. Department of Labor has released weekly jobless claims totals showing an employment recovery effort still underway. While the initial claims are 860,000 they are lower than expectations, highlighting positive job gains in the overall economy.

(DOL) In the week ending September 12, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 860,000, a decrease of 33,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 9,000 from 884,000 to 893,000. The 4-week moving average was 912,000, a decrease of 61,000 from the previous week’s revised average. (link)

(CNBC) […] Another piece of good news was a decline in continuing claims, which fell 916,000 to 12.63 million, compared with the 13 million consensus from FactSet. The four-week moving average for continuing claims dropped by 532,750 to 13.5 million. Continuing claims peaked at 24.9 million in early May. (more)

The key for continued economic success is to get the blue regions and blue states to re-open their economies.  However, unfortunately that positive direction is against their political interests.  Democrats are willing to inflict economic pain for political benefit.

[embedded content]

Source

Democrat Leaders Prove Just How Worthless They Are, Nancy and Schumer are STILL Holding Funding Hostage

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer

Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and other leading Democrats are once again refusing to compromise on a coronavirus aid package. Republicans have proposed a $500 billion aid package, while the Democrats are looking to spend closer to $3 trillion.

“Senate Republicans appear dead set on another bill, which doesn’t come close to addressing the problems and is headed nowhere,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in a joint statement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fired back in a statement, saying “Working families must not suffer more than necessary because Democrat leaders think citizens’ pain may help their political fortunes.”

One of the major battles when it comes to this aid package is whether to provide bailout money to states. Democrats insist that the federal government should be providing additional funding to states, or else they may have to lay off state employees. Republicans disagree, calling the proposal a “blue state bailout.”

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows spoke about the funding, saying: “We’re not going to bail out cities that have been poorly run for a long time.”

Another contentious point is the increased unemployment benefit that was enacted through the first COVID aid package, which gave up to $600 per week in increased benefits. Democrats want to extend those benefits in the new package, while Republicans want to decrease the payment to $300, and some want to remove the increased payment entirely. Republicans view the enhanced benefits as incentive not to work.

Democrats have also requested $60 billion in food assistance, while the Republican bill only allocates $250,000.

The Republicans have also rejected the Democrats proposal to include $25 billion in funding for the Postal Service, which has been losing money due to being poorly run for decades.

Democrats refuse to compromise on any of these issues and are continuing to reject any Republican attempt to trim down their proposals.

Source

U.S. Economy Adds 1.4 Million Jobs In August

<!–

 

–>
<!–

–>

The U.S. job numbers for the month of August are showing signs of what could be a bounce-back economy that’s been largely shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic for months.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.4 million jobs were added to the economy in the late summer month, while unemployment dropped to 8.4 percent.

Unemployment dropped by 1.8 percent compared to July, the agency reports.

Source

The U.S. Economy Added 1.37 Million Jobs in August, Unemployment Fell to 8.4%

The U.S. economy added 1.4 million jobs in August and the unemployment rate fell to 8.4 percent, providing reassurance that the labor market has kept up some of its post-lockdown momentum.

Economists had forecast an addition of around 1.4 million jobs and a decline in the unemployment rate to 9.8 percent from 10.2 percent last week.

The economy has added around 10.5 million jobs in the past four months. The increase in the ranks of employed workers shows that companies ramped up hiring as the economy reopened and consumers came back to stores, restaurants, and other businesses that had been shuttered in March and April. Despite the gains, total employment in August was lower than its February level, highlighting just how deep the pandemic cut into what had been the strongest jobs markets in decades.

More people came into the workforce and found jobs in August. The unemployment rate declined by 1.8 percentage points to 8.4 percent, and the number
of unemployed persons fell by 2.8 million to 13.6 million. Both measures have declined for 4  straight months but are higher than in February, prior to the pandemic.

The fall in unemployment was widespread among the major worker groups. The unemployment rates declined in August for adult men (8.0 percent), adult women (8.4 percent), teenagers (16.1 percent), Whites (7.3 percent), Blacks (13.0 percent), and Hispanics (10.5 percent). The jobless rate for Asians (10.7 percent) changed
little over the month.

The labor force participation rate moved up by 0.3 percentage points to 61.7 percent in August but is 1.7 percentage points below its February level. Total employment rose by 3.8 million in August to 147.3 million.

Manufacturing has been one of the stronger sectors on the economy during the reopening cycle. In August, employment rose by 29,000, with gains concentrated in the nondurable goods component, up by 27,000. That is a good monthly showing for manufacturing but the sector still lags far behind its pre-pandemic employment level. Despite gains in recent months, employment in manufacturing is 720,000 below February’s level, the Labor Department said.

In a new data point, the government now reports on people working remotely. In August, 24.3 percent of employed persons teleworked at some point during the month because of the coronavirus pandemic, down from 26.4 percent in July.

A report on private payrolls from ADP and Moody’s Analytics on Wednesday estimated that businesses increased their workforces by just 428,000 million in August, less than half the consensus forecast. The ADP reports have been wildly off in recent months, apparently unable to correctly anticipate the impact of the reopening of the economy.

The Trump administration’s aid programs appear to have worked to stave off economic disaster in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Direct relief payments to taxpayers and enhanced unemployment kept up incomes despite the huge rise in unemployment, which in turn has boosted demand for consumer products. The Paycheck Protection Progam, which provides forgivable loans to small businesses that avoid layoffs, also seems to have supported employment and rehiring.

Those programs, however, have largely run their course. The $600 a week enhancement to unemployment benefits expired a month ago. The Paycheck Protection Program was meant to support employment for just a few months and most of the funds are now exhausted. Negotiations to re-up the programs stalled on Capitol Hill due to fierce resistance by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats to reaching any deal with the Trump administration and House Republicans.

President Donald Trump has used executive orders to maintain federal support for unemployment benefits and the CDC has announced an emergency ban on evictions. But those additional payments did not start until this month and would not

Source

Jobless Claims Fall to 881,000, Lowest Since Pandemic Hit

Fewer than one million U.S. workers filed new claims for unemployment benefits in the final week of August, the Labor Department said in its weekly report Thursday.

The government said 881,000 new claims for the week ending August 29, a new low for unemployment claims since the labor market was rocked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Economists had forecast 958,000 new claims, down from the 1.006 million initially reported for the prior week. The prior week was revised up by 5,000 to 1,011,000.

Claims hit a record 6.87 million for the week of March 27. Until a month ago, each subsequent week had seen claims decline. But in late July, the labor market appeared to stall and claims have since hovered around one million, a level so high it was never recorded before the pandemic struck.

Jobless claims are a proxy for layoffs and have been closely watched as a signal for how the pandemic is influencing the economy.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said last week it was changing the method employed for adjusting initial jobless claims to account for seasonal swings in employment. This means that this week’s claims figures are not directly comparable to those of the prior weeks.  It is likely that the now-retired method for making seasonal adjustments had inflated the level of claims over the past month or so.

The unadjusted initial jobless claim rose slightly to 833,352 from 825,761, the fifth straight week in which unadjusted claims have been below 1 million. Claims typically rise at the end of summer as seasonal work ends.

A Distorted Picture of the Labor Market
Jobless claims can create a distorted picture of the labor market because they measure only job losses and not gains. Despite hundreds of thousands of new claims, continuing claims during the week ending August 22 fell to 13,254,000, a decrease of 1,238,000 from the previous week’s revised level. These figures are reported with a week’s lag.

The insured unemployment rate was 9.1 percent for the week ending August 22, a decline of eight-tenths of a percentage point from the previous week’s unrevised rate. This is calculated on a different basis than the unemployment rate that will be reported in tomorrow’s employment report. That rate includes all those looking for work rather than just those collecting unemployment insurance.

Where the Job Losses Hit Hardest

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending August 15 were in:

  • Hawaii (18.6),
  • Nevada (16.4),
  • California (16.3),
  • Puerto Rico (16.1),
  • New York (15.2),
  • Connecticut (14.0),
  • Louisiana (13.3),
  • Georgia (12.6),
  • the Virgin Islands (11.8),
  • District of Columbia (11.7),
  • and Massachusetts (11.7).

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending August 22 were in:

  • California (+6,562),
  • Illinois (+3,856),
  • Pennsylvania (+1,926),
  • Kansas (+1,061),
  • and Rhode Island (+503).

The largest decreases were in

  • Florida (-21,127),
  • Texas (-9,248),
  • New Jersey (-5,235),
  • Virginia (-3,715),
  • and North Carolina (-3,708).

Source

Black Employment Rose Faster than White Employment in July, Black-White Jobless Gap at Historic Low

The better than expected jobs gains in July boosted black employment in the United States by more than it boosted white employment. As well, the black-white gap in unemployment is at a historic low.

The number of black Americans holding jobs in the United States rose 1.4 percent in July, according to data released by the Department of Labor Friday. That bested the 0.6 percent gain for white Americans and 0.7 percent gain for Hispanic Americans. The biggest jobs gains went to Asian Americans, who saw total employment rise by 5.1 percent.

Black Americans also saw a gain in the labor force participation rate, which rose two-tenths of a percentage point to 60.2 percent. The participation rate for black men rose four-tenths of a percentage point, to 65.6 percent. Black women experience a two-tenths gain the participation rate to 60.2 percent.

By contrast, the white participation rate declined two-tenths of a percentage point to 61.4 percent. White men saw their participation rate drop three-tenths to 69.8 percent. The participation rate for white women was unchanged at 56.9 percent.

The black unemployment rate fell eight-tenths of a percentage point to 14.6. The white unemployment rate fell by nine-tenths to 9.2 percent, a bit higher in part because the white participation rate declined.

The gap in unemployment between black and white Americans is now at its narrowest point in historical records going back to the 1970s. Typically, black unemployment rarely falls below 200 percent of the white unemployment rate. Even in recessions, when unemployment is generally rising, the racial gap remains close to 200 percent. Last year, as unemployment rates hit historic lows, the gap narrowed to 1.6 to 1, the lowest on record since 1972.

When unemployment soared as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, some feared the gap would rapidly return. But it has not. In July, black unemployment was just 156 percent of white unemployment. In June, it was just 152 percent. That was a new record low.