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Takeaways from State of the Union: Economy, not impeachment – Lethbridge News Now

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He told a young girl she would get a scholarship to attend a better school. He announced that a soldier had returned home to surprise his wife and children in the balcony reserved for the president’s special guests. And he dramatically asked his wife, Melania, to drape the Medal of Freedom around the neck of conservative radio stalwart Rush Limbaugh.

The speech was hardly memorable. The stagecraft won’t soon be forgotten.

IT’S STILL THE ECONOMY, STUPID

Trump delivered his speech of nearly 80 minutes without specifically mentioning the reality of one of the most consequential events of his presidency: his impeachment trial in the Senate, where he is expected to be acquitted Wednesday.

Trump made clear he is staking his re-election on the state of the economy. Deploying his penchant for superlatives, Trump said the American economy had never been stronger. The subtext was clear: He was asking voters who might not like him personally to judge him on whether they believed their own financial fortunes had improved with him as president.

His message drew from Ronald Reagan’s question to the country when he ran for re-election in 1984: Are you better off than you were four years ago?

A president who often talks about issues in terms of profit and loss also extolled the rise in the stock market and the increase in incomes of those in lower earning brackets.

“This is a blue-collar boom,” he said.

Yet Trump’s chest-thumping included some misleading stats, especially as he tried to paint the state of the U.S. economy before he took office in dismal terms. He failed to acknowledge that manufacturing has slumped in the past year, after having advanced in the prior two years. The president’s tariffs regime and slower growth worldwide hurt the sector in ways that suggest Trump’s policies robbed it of some of its previous strength.

NOT EVEN A CLAPBACK

There were no niceties. No efforts to hide the tension.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi extended a handshake to the president.

He turned away.

She gave a look.

He started into his speech.

Pelosi, wearing the white suit of the suffragettes that has become a lasting fashion statement of the House Democratic women, who swept to power in the 2018 election, stopped there with the niceties.

She delivered just a curt introduction to the president of the United States and then busied herself with paperwork. He talked.

She raised an eyebrow here, smirked some there, as Trump told the chamber, and the American people, of his accomplishments.

The speaker, whose House impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, didn’t need to say much more.

The House has spoken. The Senate, though, is set to acquit Trump of the two charges Wednesday.

As she presided over the chamber, Pelosi wore a gold pin shaped as the speaker’s mace, which she often puts on for times like these.

When Trump finished, Pelosi dramatically ripped a copy of the speech in half.

LIONIZING RUSH LIMBAUGH, PLAYING TO BASE

It was the kind of high drama moment that animates Trump. In a gesture that left nearly everyone — including its recipient —- looking dumbfounded, Trump announced he was giving Limbaugh the nation’s highest civilian honour.

Limbaugh, who announced this week that he had advanced lung cancer, appeared stunned, his jaw visibly dropping as Trump made the announcement. Others sat in silence as first lady Melania Trump draped the medal around his neck on the spot.

“Thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country,” Trump told Limbaugh, commending “all that you have done for our Nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and that you inspire.”

Honouring Limbaugh was one of the clearest examples of Trump making yet another play to his political base. But he reminded them of many others, including his appointment of conservative judges, fervent support for gun rights, opposition to abortion and what he called defence of “religious liberty.”

“In America, we do not punish prayer. We don’t tear down crosses. We don’t ban symbols of faith,” he said. “In America, we celebrate faith.”

COUNTERPROGRAMMING

The president always commands the stage at the State of the Union, but Democrats hit the president on the issue that most voters in their party say is their top priority: health care.

And with good reason. Trump tried to label Democrats’ health care plans as “socialism” that would deprive millions of Americans of their private health insurance, a reprise of his attack on the health care plan offered by Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Democrats were prepared. They pre-emptively decried the administration’s support for a federal lawsuit that would gut President Barack Obama’s health care law. “We all want to tell the president, ‘Drop the lawsuit, drop the lawsuit, drop the lawsuit,’” Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democratic lawmakers said in unison.

Trump also said he would always protect “pre-existing conditions” even though gutting Obamacare would do that.

A “PRESIDENT” IN WAITING

Foreign policy was a small portion of Trump’s speech. Among the surprise guests invited by the White House was Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has been seeking international help in his bid to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from office.

“Maduro is an illegitimate ruler, a tyrant who brutalizes his people. But Maduro’s grip of tyranny will be smashed and broken,” Trump said, praising Guaidó as the “true and legitimate President of Venezuela” and a “man who carries with him the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of all Venezuelans.”

In addition to offering a major public boost to Guaidó, the move also helped Trump bolster a message he has used to hit the Democratic candidates: that socialist policies are dangerous.

“Socialism destroys nations.” he said. “But always remember, freedom unifies the soul. ”

The Trump administration was among the first governments to throw its weight behind Guaidó. Yet Maduro remains in power nonetheless.

OBAMA LIVES RENT-FREE IN TRUMP’S HEAD

Trump started with an upbeat address, but could not resist criticism of his predecessor, even when the context is unclear. “If we hadn’t reversed the failed economic policies of the previous administration,” Trump said, “the world would not now be witnessing this great economic success.”

The economic recovery from the Great Recession that started in 2008 began under President Barack Obama, whose own record for job creation matched Trump’s.

Jill Colvin, Lisa Mascaro And Alan Fram, The Associated Press

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Statistics Are Mixed But On Balance Say The Economy Is Weak – Forbes

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If you listen to the White House, you hear that the economy is strong. Others will tell you that it has already sunk into recession. Such “analytical” differences are common at almost all times and almost always reflect the speaker’s political agenda more than any straightforward reading of the statistical evidence. These days things look more ambiguous than usual. Statistics offer ammunition for both views. The president can point, and he does, to the robust growth in payrolls. Those with a less sanguine view of things can point to among other things two consecutive quarterly declines in the nation’s real gross domestic product (GDP). Although the balance of the evidence points clearly toward a weakening economy, it is also fair to admit that the statistics paint a strangely mixed picture.

The Labor Department’s monthly employment report illustrates. On the positive side, the July survey of employers showed a striking expansion in payrolls, a gain of 528,000 positions. Private payrolls expanded by 471,000 positions. Though these are not record increases, they are nonetheless beyond most historical experience and far beyond where consensus expectations were. But in the same report, the survey of households showed July jobs up only 179,000. This tells quite a different story from the employers’ tally. The jobs gain was not only much smaller but was insufficient to overcome the June decline in jobs so that over the two months June and July the nation by this measure shed some 136,000 jobs.

Despite this contrast – still unexplained by the Labor Department – what tips the balance to the negative side is the flow of information from elsewhere and from the rest of the department’s monthly report. True, the unemployment rate dipped slightly from 3.6% of the workforce in June to 3.5% in July, but department also reported that some 538,000 people dropped out of the workforce in July. Since they are neither working nor seeking work, this movement more than accounts for the fall in the unemployment rate. What is more, the average weekly hours worked remained unchanged in July at 34.6, still down from April’s measure.

Outside the Labor Department’s accounting, there are of course the first and second quarter declines in real GDP, precipitous declines in consumer confidence, and reporting by the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) of slowing overall and an outright decline in the new orders part of the measure. This list of negatives is of course far from complete, but it is nonetheless indicative.

Apart from the current statistics that point to economic decline, two other considerations weigh heavily on the economy’s prospects. One is the ongoing inflation. At last measure, for June, the consumer price index (CPI) rose 9.1% from year-ago levels. This kind of price pressure seems likely to last. Even if it abates some — say to 8% or 7% — it will remain sufficient to impair economic growth prospects by eroding business and consumer confidence and discouraging the saving and investment on which economic growth ultimately depends. These effects could bring on recession all on their own. It certainly would not be the first time in history that inflation did so.

A still more potent recessionary threat emerges from the Federal Reserve’s (Fed’s) fight against inflation. The Fed began this effort last March. Before then, it had pursued a pro-inflationary monetary policy. It had kept short-term interest rates near zero and poured new money into financial markets buying bonds directly – mostly treasuries and mortgages – a practice the Fed refers to as “quantitative easing.” But since the March policy shift, the Fed has drained money from financial markets by selling from the hoard of bonds it had previously acquired and by pushing up short-term interest rates some 1.75 percentage points. While these are standard anti-inflation moves, they also restrain economic activity. What is more, the Fed seems determined to take further steps along these lines in coming weeks and months – a pattern that will make recession still more likely.

If this assessment is correct – and it does seem likely – then the statistics on which the optimists rely – including the White House – will turn negative in coming months. The evidence of economic weakness, if not outright recession, will become overwhelming. Whether this resolution of the economic picture takes place in the next month or two remains uncertain, but it is hardly likely that the ambiguities will remain in place very much longer.

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Ontario Supports Significant Aerospace Investment to Boost Regional Economy – Government of Ontario News

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Ontario Supports Significant Aerospace Investment to Boost Regional Economy  Government of Ontario News



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Economy

How to Improve your Credit Score in Canada

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Improving your credit score is important for many reasons. First, it could help you get a lower interest rate on your loans or mortgages. Second, it could help you qualify for better rates on car loans, cell phone plans, and other types of loans. Third, having a good credit score could increase your chances of being approved for a job or apartment. Finally, keeping your credit score high can help you avoid becoming financially stressed in the future. Here are some of the ways you can improve your credit score in Canada:

Monitor your payment history

Your payment history is the most important factor for your credit score.

To improve your payment history:

  • always make your payments on time
  • make at least the minimum payment if you can’t pay the full amount that you owe
  • contact the lender right away if you think you’ll have trouble paying a bill
  • don’t skip a payment even if a bill is in dispute

Use credit wisely

Don’t go over your credit limit. If you have a credit card with a $5,000 limit, try not to go over that limit. Borrowing more than the authorized limit on a credit card can lower your credit score.

Try to use less than 35% of your available credit. It’s better to have a higher credit limit and use less of it each month.

For example:

  • a credit card with a $5,000 limit and an average borrowing amount of $1,000 equals a credit usage rate of 20%
  • a credit card with a $1,000 limit and an average borrowing amount of $500 equals a credit usage rate of 50%

If you use a lot of your available credit, lenders see you as a greater risk. This is true even if you pay your balance in full by the due date.

To figure out the best way to use your available credit, calculate your credit usage rate. You can do this by adding up the credit limits for all your credit products.

This includes:

  • credit cards
  • lines of credit
  • loans

For example, if you have a credit card with a $5,000 limit and a line of credit with a $10,000 limit, your available credit is $15,000.

Once you know how much credit you have available, calculate how much you are using. Try to use less than 35% of your available credit.

For example, if your available credit is $15,000, try not to borrow more than $5,250 at a time, which is 35% of $15,000.

Increase the length of your credit history

The longer you have a credit account open and in use, the better it is for your score. Your credit score may be lower if you have credit accounts that are relatively new.

If you transfer an older account to a new account, the new account is considered new credit.

For example, some credit card offers come with a low introductory interest rate for balance transfers. This means you can transfer your current balance to this new product. The new product is considered new credit.

Consider keeping an older account open even if you don’t need it. Use it from time to time to keep it active. Make sure there is no fee if the account is open but you don’t use it. Check your credit agreement to find out if there is a fee.

Limit your number of credit applications or credit checks

It’s normal and expected that you’ll apply for credit from time to time. When lenders and others ask a credit bureau for your credit report, it’s recorded as an inquiry. Inquiries are also known as credit checks.

If there are too many credit checks in your credit report, lenders may think that you’re:

  • urgently seeking credit
  • trying to live beyond your means

How to control the number of credit checks

To control the number of credit checks in your report:

  • limit the number of times you apply for credit
  • get your quotes from different lenders within a two-week period when shopping around for a car or a mortgage. Your inquiries will be combined and treated as a single inquiry for your credit score.
  • apply for credit only when you really need it

“Hard hits” versus “soft hits”

“Hard hits” are credit checks that appear in your credit report and count toward your credit score. Anyone who views your credit report will see these inquiries.

Examples of hard hits include:

  • an application for a credit card
  • some rental applications
  • some employment applications

“Soft hits” are credit checks that appear in your credit report but only you can see them. These credit checks don’t affect your credit score in any way.

Examples of soft hits include:

  • requesting your own credit report
  • businesses asking for your credit report to update their records about an existing account you have with them

Use different types of credit

Your score may be lower if you only have one type of credit product, such as a credit card.

It’s better to have a mix of different types of credit, such as:

  • a credit card
  • a car loan
  • a line of credit

A mix of credit products may improve your credit score. Make sure you can pay back any money you borrow. Otherwise, you could end up hurting your score by taking on too much debt.

 

Credit: Canada

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