ERIE, Pa. — With the backdrop of a union facility in a key battleground county of Pennsylvania, Joe Biden on Saturday blistered President Donald Trump as only pretending to care about the working-class voters who helped flip the Rust Belt to the Republican column four years ago.
“Anyone who actually does an honest day’s work sees him and his promises for what they are,” Biden told a masked, socially distanced crowd at a training facility for plumbers and other tradespeople.
The Democratic challenger has hammered Trump on the economy in recent weeks, from sweeping indictments of how the president has downplayed the novel coronavirus and its economic fallout to a withering personal contrast between Biden’s middle-class upbringing with that of the multimillionaire’s son and self-proclaimed billionaire.
Nowhere could Biden’s arguments prove more decisive than in Erie County. Long a Democratic bastion, it was among the most populous counties in the nation to flip from the Democratic column to Republicans in 2016.
Trump outpaced Democrat Hillary Clinton by almost 12,000 votes, four years after President Barack Obama led Republican Mitt Romney by 19,000 votes. That accounted for a net 31,000-vote swing in a state that Trump won by about 44,000 votes. Trump was the first Republican presidential nominee to carry Erie since President Ronald Reagan’s landslide reelection in 1984 and the first GOP standard-bearer to win Pennsylvania since George Bush’s election in 1998.
Erie County rebounded strongly to Democrats in the 2018 midterms.
“The president can only see the world from Park Avenue. I see it from Scranton and Claymont. Y’all see it from Erie,” Biden told union officers and members, referring to his childhood hometowns in Pennsylvania and Delaware.
He lamented “the most unequal recovery in American history” since COVID-19 ground the economy to a halt in the spring. The investor class and top wage earners are fine, Biden said, “but what did the bottom half get?”
The former vice-president and his aides believe it’s critical for voters to connect the pandemic to the economy. A Pew Research poll conducted from Sept. 30 through Oct. 5 found Biden with a wide advantage when voters were asked who they trusted to handle coronavirus. Biden topped Trump on the question 57% to 40%. Yet Trump held a 52% to 51% edge as voters’ choice to “make good decisions about economic policy.”
Biden used the stop at the training facility to show off his knowledge of apprentice programs and underscored the role that tradespeople play in the larger economy.
“If every investment banker in New York went on strike, nothing would much change in America,” Biden said, “but if every plumber decided to stop working, every electrician, the country would come to a halt.”
Biden delivered the first speech of his campaign at a Pittsburgh union hall in April 2019, and he’s since piled up a long list of union endorsements. The president’s reelection campaign is looking for a repeat of 2016, when Clinton won many of the same union endorsements but large swaths of rank-and-file members split from their leadership to back Trump.
The president and his GOP allies have pushed paid media and social media messaging arguing that Biden’s tax and energy policies would cripple industrial state economies, especially energy-producing states like Pennsylvania. Trump has repeatedly stated, falsely, that Biden will outlaw fracking as a means to extract natural gas. Biden has proposed only barring new leases on federal land, a fraction of U.S. fracking operations.
“No matter how many lies he tells, I am not, not, not banning fracking,” Biden said. “Period.”
Associated Press writer Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, contributed to this report.
Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
Fed's Brainard calls for more fiscal aid for economy – TheChronicleHerald.ca
By Dan Burns and Ann Saphir
(Reuters) – Despite a “heartening” bounceback from the initial hit to the U.S. economy delivered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the recovery is uneven and uncertain and will require continued support to ensure it becomes broadbased and sustainable, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said on Wednesday.
The economy’s overall improvement, however, masks big disparities among sectors and among Americans that could hold back the recovery.
The Fed, she told an online conference of the Society of Professional Economists, is committed to providing “sustained accommodation” to the economy for as long as needed, and won’t raise rates if inflation rises temporarily above 2%.
That could happen as early as next spring, she said, as data registers year-over-year gains from the nadir of the coronavirus crisis.
At the same time, the biggest risk to her outlook for recovery is that fiscal support from the federal government will be withdrawn too soon. It’s a view widely shared by her Fed colleagues. Talks on a new pandemic relief package are ongoing, but prospects remain dim for the Republican-controlled Senate to approve any aid before the Nov. 3 election.
“This strong support from monetary policy – if combined with additional targeted fiscal support – can turn a K-shaped recovery into a broad-based and inclusive recovery that delivers better outcomes overall,” Brainard said.
Brainard’s reference to a “K-shaped” recovery nods to an increasingly popular description of the rebound from the spring’s low point in activity, under which many households and small businesses have seen little improvement.
“Premature withdrawal of fiscal support would risk allowing recessionary dynamics to become entrenched, holding back employment and spending, increasing scarring from extended unemployment spells, leading more businesses to shutter, and ultimately harming productive capacity,” Brainard said.
Among the more troubling developments from the recession caused by the pandemic, she said, are that job losses have occurred disproportionately among minority populations and, more recently, that prime-age working women have left the labor force.
“If not soon reversed, the decline in the participation rate for prime-age women could have longer-term implications for household incomes and potential growth,” she said.
Brainard signaled that the Fed will not only keep rates at their current near-zero level for years, but will, even after liftoff, raise them only gradually to keep rates at levels designed to stimulate economic growth.
That approach, laid out in a newly adopted framework that Brainard repeatedly called “powerful” on Wednesday, ensures the Fed will not tighten policy too soon.
Brainard said it will take time to see a sustainable rise in inflation, which she expects to linger below the 2% target for the next few years.
The central bank will also “have the opportunity” in the months ahead to clarify how the Fed’s asset purchase program could best work in combination with forward guidance on rates, she said.
Asked about the risk of a potentially contested U.S. presidential election, Brainard sidestepped a direct response but said the Fed is in a “good place” to maintain financial stability through its extensive monitoring and its existing backstop facilities.
(Reporting by Ann Saphir and Dan Burns; Editing by Andrea Ricci)
Varcoe: Facing historic 10 per cent hit to economy, it's time for Calgary to play more offence – Calgary Herald
Article content continued
She also pointed to a CED study last year that found companies across the province will spend $18.4 billion on digital transformation initiatives across various industrial sectors by 2022.
CED expects the number of local technology companies to at least double by 2030, while the sector creates almost 50,000 new jobs in Calgary over the next decade.
“The offence strategy is about diversification, but it’s also about digital transformation,” Moran said in an interview.
Economic growth in 2021 will also come from areas such as agriculture, health care and clean energy technology, said ATB chief economist Todd Hirsch.
“We need to embrace the fact that the world has changed,” Hirsch said after the event.
“We need to stop trying to get back on track. What we need to do is forge a brand new track.”
The track has to make sure unemployed Calgarians aren’t left behind. Thousands of people need a steady paycheque. Access to education, retraining and economic supports will be critical.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said even if the city’s GDP increases next year, he’s concerned it will bring a jobless recovery along with it.
“The work we do in Calgary needs to be singularly focused on good, decent jobs,” he said in an interview.
Finally, here’s a positive economic note, even with fierce headwinds rocking the city.
“We do see 2021 as the start of a consistent recovery period,” said Goucher.
“We see conditions essentially improving on all fronts and it should lead to a stable recovery in Calgary from 2021 and on.”
After a gruelling 2020, the recovery can’t get here soon enough.
Chris Varcoe is a Calgary Herald columnist.
China's fiscal revenues rise 4.7% in third-quarter as economy gains steam – TheChronicleHerald.ca
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s fiscal revenues grew 4.7% in the third quarter from a year earlier, reversing a 7.4% drop in the previous quarter, the finance ministry said on Wednesday, as the country’s economic recovery picked up pace.
China’s economy in the July to September quarter expanded by 4.9% from a year earlier, weaker than analyst expectations but faster than the second quarter’s 3.2% growth.
For the first nine months of the year, fiscal revenues fell 6.4% from a year earlier to 14.10 trillion yuan ($2.12 trillion), while fiscal expenditures dropped 1.9% to 17.519 trillion yuan, the ministry said.
Liu Jinyun, a finance ministry official, told a briefing that tax receipts could get a boost from China’s continued economic rebound in the fourth quarter.
“The decline in accumulative fiscal revenues will gradually moderate,” he said.
The government is on track to cut taxes and fees by more than 2.5 trillion yuan in 2020, including 1.88 trillion yuan in the first eight months, the ministry said.
China has allocated 200 billion yuan in local government special bonds to help resolve risks at small banks, Wang Kebing, a second finance ministry official, told the briefing.
In July, China’s cabinet said it would allow local governments to use part of the money they raise from special bonds this year to recapitalise some small banks.
China’s local governments will be allowed to issue 3.75 trillion yuan in special bonds this year, up from 2.15 trillion yuan in 2019.
(Reporting by Kevin Yao, Writing by Gabriel Crossley; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Christian Schmollinger)
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