Category Archives: Economy and Meltdown

Arizona Senate Hears Of Multiple Inconsistencies Found By Election Audit

Arizona Senate Hears Of Multiple Inconsistencies Found By Election Audit

Authored by Jack Phillips and Mimi Nguyen Ly via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Arizona lawmakers were told on Friday during a hearing on an audit conducted in the state’s most populous county of inconsistencies uncovered during a forensic audit into the 2020 election.

The Arizona state Senate discusses the Maricopa County audit results during a hearing in Phoenix, Ariz., on Sept. 24, 2021. (Allan Stein/Epoch Times)

The Maricopa County audit was commissioned by Republicans in the Arizona Senate.

Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican, issued a letter on the same day to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich recommending further investigation following the audit’s findings. In the letter, she raised concerns over signature verification on mail-in ballots, the accuracy of voter rolls, the securing of election systems, and the record-keeping of evidence related to the elections.

I am therefore forwarding the reports for your office’s consideration and, if you find it appropriate, further investigation as part of your ongoing oversight of these issues,” Fann told Brnovich in the letter.

Brnovich, a Republican running for the U.S. Senate, said in a statement, “I will take all necessary actions that are supported by the evidence and where I have legal authority. Arizonans deserve to have their votes accurately counted and protected.”

His office said that its Election Integrity Unit “will thoroughly review the Senate’s information and evidence.” Specific allegations cannot be commented on until the review is complete, the office added.

Fann said Friday at the hearing that the audit had faced unnecessary obstruction from Maricopa County officials, who went to court in a bid to try to block the audit and subpoenas from the state Senate. While the forensic audit did not uncover a significant difference in the total vote tallies—the difference was only hundreds in the final report— evidence was uncovered of numerous other anomalies, including statutes being broken and chain of custody not being followed, Fann added.

Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based company hired by the state Senate to conduct the audit, said its review involved over 1,500 people and a total of over 100,000 hours. While the company said it only found in the recount a vote discrepancy of 994 in the presidential race and 1,167 in a U.S. Senate race, the report highlighted potential issues with a combined total of 53,305 ballots.

Maricopa County on Friday issued a series of statements on its Twitter page in response to findings laid out in a purported draft audit report of Cyber Ninja’s forensic audit that had been released ahead of the Senate audit hearing.

The draft audit report’s figures did not entirely correlate with that of Cyber Ninja’s final report. Fann said Friday at the hearing, “As you know somebody leaked one of the draft reports out over the last 24-48 hours. It was a draft report, so I can tell you that what’s in that is not entirely what’s in the final report.” However, some key allegations in the draft report regarding ballots did match that of the final report.

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann talks to reporters in Phoenix, Ariz., on May 26, 2020. (Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo)

23,344 Mail-In Ballots Voted From Prior Address

According to the Cyber Ninjas’ final report, 23,344 mail-in ballots were received from voters’ previous addresses.

“Mail-in ballots were cast under voter registration IDs for people that may not have received their ballots by mail because they had moved, and no one with the same last name remained at the address. Through extensive data analysis we have discovered approximately 23,344 votes that may have this condition,” the report states.

Cyber Ninjas noted in its report that if ballots are sent by forwardable mail, this would violate the Arizona Elections Procedures Manual.

“The Senate should consider referring this matter to the Attorney General’s Office for a criminal investigation as to whether the requirements of ARS 16-452(C) have been violated,” the company stated in the report.

Maricopa County refuted the allegation on Friday, saying, “Mail-in ballots are not forwarded to another address.” It also asserted that voting from a previous address “is legal under federal election law,” such as in the case of American military and overseas voters. The county also said it had 20,933 one-time temporary address requests for the 2020 general election.

Ballots from the 2020 general election wait to be counted at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Ariz., on May 1, 2021. (Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images)

9,041 More Ballots Returned by Voter Than Received

Cyber Ninjas found that 9,041 more ballots were returned by voters than were sent to them.

According to the report, “9,041 more ballots show as returned in the EV33 Early Voting Returns File for a single individual who voted by mail than show as sent to that individual within the EV32 Early Voting Sent File.” “In most of these instances, an individual was sent one ballot but had two ballots received on different dates.”

Auditors later noted they were told that some of the discrepancies “could be due to the protected voter list,” but were not able to validate that. Maricopa County released a statement to similar effect on Friday.

The county disputed the finding on Twitter, saying the majority of times when there are multiple entries in the EV33 file are when voters “returned a ballot without a signature or with a signature discrepancy,” and in such cases, election staff contact the voter.

In this screenshot from video, ballots are moved from the Arizona State Fairgrounds to a truck for transport to Maricopa County, in Phoenix, Ariz., on July 29, 2021. (Pool via AP)

Cyber Ninjas: Voters Potentially Voted in Multiple Counties

Cyber Ninjas noted that some 5,295 ballots were affected by voters who potentially voted in multiple counties.

The company said that it had compared Maricopa County’s list of all its voters who cast a ballot in the election (also referred to as the VM55 Final Voted File) to the equivalent files of the other 14 Arizona counties, to find a total of 5,047 voters with the same first, middle, last name, and birth year, representing some 10,342 votes among all the counties.

The Ballot Impacted was calculated by the total number of votes (10,342) and subtracting the number of maximum number of potential unique people (5,047). This yielded 5,295,” the report said.

Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Arizona, on May 6, 2021. (Matt York/Pool/AP Photo)

Separately, the company found that the number of ballots tallied in the official Maricopa results were 3,432 more than the total number of people who voted.

The official result totals do not match the equivalent totals from the Final Voted File (VM55),” Cyber Ninjas said (P12).

Cyber Ninjas said the finding is significant because “the number of individuals who showed up to vote should always match the number of votes cast.” The company recommended that legislation “that would require the Official Canvass to fully reconcile with the Final Voted File” should be considered.

Cyber Ninjas said in another finding that there were 2,592 more duplicate ballots than original ballots sent to duplication—a process for replacing damaged or improperly marked ballots with a new ballot that preserves the voter’s intent.

“This is probably one of the more interesting parts … that we had more duplicates than original ballots,” Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan said in his presentation on Friday. “According to our counts from our audit, we had 26,965 original ballots and we had 29,557 that were duplicate ballots, and those numbers should be the same.

Based on the numbers received from Maricopa county, we should have had 27,869 of both originals and duplicates and they should have matched up perfectly,” he added.

Other findings of the ballots impacted included 2,382 in-person voters who had moved out of Maricopa County, and 2,081 voters who moved out of state during the 29-day period preceding the election. Responding to the findings, the county said it had completed separate spot checks and found “no discrepancies” for either of the figures.

Cyber Ninjas also reported that there were 1,551 votes counted in excess of voters who voted, as well as a slew of other categories of findings that affected a smaller number of ballots, such as 397 mail-in ballots sent without there being a record of them having been sent, 393 ballots that had incomplete names, 282 votes cast by individuals who “were flagged as deceased,” and 198 votes cast by individuals who registered to vote after the Oct. 15 deadline, among other smaller categories.

Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are audited at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Ariz., on April 29, 2021. (Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic via AP/Pool)

17,322 Duplicates of Early Voting Ballot Return Envelopes

Shiva Ayyadurai, who was commissioned by the Senate to “check the signatures or lack thereof” on the early voting ballot (EVB) return envelopes, said during Friday’s presentation that the audit “reveals anomalies raising questions on the verifiability of the signature verification process.”

Ayyadurai said that his team was hired only to verify whether the envelopes contained a signature—not whether the actual signature matched that of the voter in question.

Of the 1,929,242 return envelopes provided by the Senate, 17,322 duplicates were found, with some voters having cast the same ballot three to four times, according to Ayyadurai’s report (pdf). He noted that Maricopa county’s canvass report, meanwhile, did not report any duplicates. 

In response to duplicated ballot allegations, Maricopa County wrote Friday, “Re: duplicated ballots. Every time a voter has a questioned signature or a blank envelope, we work with that voter to cure the signature. That’s our staff doing their job to contact voters with questioned signatures or blank ballots. Only one ballot is counted.”

Among other several key findings, Ayyadurai noted that over 25 percent of the duplicate ballots were received between Nov. 4 and Nov. 9, 2020.

Workers examine ballots cast in Maricopa County in the 2020 election during an audit at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Ariz., on May 6, 2021. (Matt York/AP Photo)

Allegations of Deletions

Auditors stated in their report that “according to the Master File Table (MFT) of the drives, a large number of files on the Election Management System (EMS) Server and HiPro Scanner machines were deleted.

These files would have aided in our review and analysis of the election systems as part of the audit,” the report reads. “The deletion of these files significantly slowed down much of the analysis.”

Maricopa denied the allegation in a Twitter post on Friday, saying, “Maricopa County strongly denies claims that @maricopavote staff intentionally deleted data.” The county also said it has “backups for all Nov. data & those archives were never subpoenaed.”

While auditors finished part of the audit that deals with the ballots, they say an evaluation of voting machine equipment is ongoing.

“Because the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and the Arizona Senate have recently settled their dispute concerning outstanding subpoena items, this portion of the audit is not yet complete,” the Cyber Ninjas’ report states.

Response to Findings

Jack Sellers, Chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, said in a statement in response to the Senate audit hearing, “The Cyber Ninjas’ opinions come from a misuse and misunderstanding of the data provided by the county and are twisted to fit the narrative that something went wrong.”

Once again, these ‘auditors’ threw out wild, damaging, false claims in the middle of their audit and Senate leadership provided them the platform to present their opinions, suspicions, and faulty conclusions unquestioned and unchallenged. Today’s hearing was irresponsible and dangerous.

Arizona Democrats, meanwhile, pounced on the auditors’ report.

“The Cyber Ninjas embarrassed Arizona for months, violated voters’ trust, refused transparency, and stuck AZ taxpayers with a multi-million dollar bill. What’d they find? Biden won,” Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat who has frequently criticized the audit and is trying to become Arizona’s next governor, wrote on Twitter. “The so-called leaders who allowed and encouraged this need to be held accountable in 2022.”

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich speaks at a news conference in Phoenix, Ariz., on Jan. 7, 2020. . (Bob Christie/AP Photo)

But Fann has long said that the goal of the audit was to improve Arizona’s election system and wasn’t designed to overturn the results.

“Our No. 1 goal is to make sure those laws are followed,” Fann said during Friday’s hearing, adding that there are “a lot of people” with questions about the state’s election integrity. Citing a poll, Fann said that 45 percent of Arizona’s voters had significant distrust in the election system.

Ahead of the official release of the report on Friday afternoon by the state Senate, Trump said the audit uncovered “significant and undeniable” fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

The audit has uncovered significant and undeniable evidence of fraud!” he said in an emailed statement. “I have heard it is far different than that being reported by the fake news media.”

Trump added, “Until we know how and why this happened, our elections will never be secure. This is a major criminal event and should be investigated by the Attorney General immediately.”

Arizona was one of several key swing states, including Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, and Wisconsin, that were certified for Biden during the Nov. 3 election. Trump won those states, with the exception of Nevada, in 2016. According to official results, Biden won Arizona over Trump by a margin of just over 10,000 votes.

Maricopa County hasn’t responded to The Epoch Times’s request for comment.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 09/27/2021 – 21:00

Despite Record Cargo Backlogs, Ports Of L.A. And Long Beach Still Don’t Operate Around The Clock

Despite Record Cargo Backlogs, Ports Of L.A. And Long Beach Still Don’t Operate Around The Clock

Some of the busiest U.S. ports, including many in California, are still struggling with how to deal with significant cargo backlogs. 

Yet, despite the backlog, the busiest U.S. port still shuts down for hours on most days and is closed on Sundays, the Wall Street Journal reports. “Tens of thousands” of containers remain stuck at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. More than 60 ships are lined up to dock, the report says.

More than 25% of all American imports pass through one of the two ports. LA and Long Beach collectively manage 13 private container terminals. Long Beach officials finally said last week they would try operating 24 hours a day between Monday and Thursday. LA says it’s going to keep existing hours and wait for the rest of the supply chain to extend their hours first. 

Gene Seroka, executive director of the larger Port of Los Angeles, said: “It has been nearly impossible to get everyone on the same page towards 24/7 operations.”

Ports in places like Asia and Europe, for contrast, have operated around the clock “for years”, the report notes. 

Uffe Ostergaard, president of the North America region for German boxship operator Hapag-Lloyd AG said: “With the current work schedule you have two big ports operating at 60%-70% of their capacity. That’s a huge operational disadvantage.”

As the shortage continues, all members of the supply chain including truckers, warehouse operators and railways, are blaming each other for the shortages of products. All parts of the supply chain are also struggling with a shortage of labor. 

A longshore shift at either of the two ports used to be either 8AM to 4PM or 6PM to 3AM. Overnight shifts of 5 hours were “rarely used” because they are up to 50% more expensive, the report says. 

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union says their members will work a third shift, but only after the pileup of containers is fetched out of the port so there is space.

Frank Ponce De Leon, a coast committeeman at the ILWU, said: “Congestion won’t be fixed until everyone steps up and does their part. The terminal operators have been underutilizing their option to hire us for the third shift.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the supply chian, Federal safety regulations prevent commercial truck drivers to 11 hours of driving in a 14 hour workday. Port truckers like to start early in the morning so they can maximize the number of loads they can transport in a day.  

Tom Boyle, chief executive of Quik Pick Express LLC, a trucking and warehousing provider, told the Journal: “The biggest issue it probably comes down to is labor.”

Rail operator Union Pacific says it sees most delays when it picks up cargo from ports and hands it to trucks at destinations. 

Wim Lagaay, chief executive of APM Terminals North America, who operates at the port of LA, said: “If you work a gate 24/7 it will improve your velocity. Up to 30% of overall truck appointments are not met because there are not enough trucks, drivers or chassis.”

Matt Schrap, chief executive of the Harbor Trucking Association, added: “There is too much congestion from empty containers on terminals. The shipping lines aren’t moving the boxes out, which is preventing us from returning empties that we are storing in our yards.”

Mario Cordero, executive director at the Port of Long Beach concluded: “It’s impossible to effectively move such volumes if we don’t move to 24/7 operations across the supply chain. They do it in other parts of the world.”

Tyler Durden
Mon, 09/27/2021 – 20:40

Here’s What ‘No-Coiners’ Don’t Get: It’s Not Up To The Government

Here’s What ‘No-Coiners’ Don’t Get: It’s Not Up To The Government

Authored by Mark Jeftovic via BombThrower.com,

My last couple of posts, the first on why a China-style Bitcoin ban can’t happen in Westernized liberal democracies  and the second on how cryptos are a beneficial counterforce to the coming CBDCs seem to have a hit a nerve.

More people than usual made the trip all the way over here to my blog to be sure to tell me how clueless I am and there was a lot of defeatism  in the comments on Zerohedge that all converged around a theme that governments will simply not permit the use of cryptocurrencies once their existence ceases to suit them.

I’ve been involved in cryptos since 2013, and for a long time I too was strategizing out the game theory around why would governments permit cryptos to gain traction.

It wasn’t until relatively recently, that I started to fully grasp something I read a long time ago, before all this crypto business ever started. It was in a rather obscure book by one W R Clement called Quantum Jump: A survival guide for the new Renaissance and it helped me understand the key point of today’s post.

I started alluding to it in A Network State Primer that described how what we understand as “the nation state” is in the process of losing relevance to ascendent network states and crypto-claves. You can chart out the structural differences between those three different governance models based on what the architecture of the monetary layer is:

When it comes to technological leaps like the internet and then public key cryptography and decentralized, non-state, sound money; those who eschew the new paradigms generally do so because they have difficulty fitting the new model into their worldview.

People like Alvin Toffler called this “Future Shock” and he ascribed it mostly to an accelerating rate of change. He wasn’t wrong about that, but what Clement layered atop of that was the ascending level of abstraction.

In the 1400’s the seemingly innocuous discovery of perspective opened the floodgates to the Gutenberg Press and double-entry accounting which opened the path for the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. Each revolution occurred despite the objections of the incumbent power structures of their day, and that made for volatile, even violent transitions.

In the mid-90’s people were trying to wrap their heads around “cyberspace”. Somebody once wrote in Mondo2000 (I can’t remember who it was, sorry) that “cyberspace is where you are when you’re on the phone”. Meanwhile US lawmakers were calling the internet  “a series of tubes”.

That contrast results from differing levels of abstraction.

Which brings us to the entire point of today’s post.

Levelling up to the next plateau of abstraction alters the architecture of the intellectual constructs upon which systems are based. What worked at the lower level of abstraction not only doesn’t work at the higher abstraction levels, it malfunctions. Clinging to it creates absurdities. Atrocities.

Further, once the level of abstraction jumps, it is the proverbial Promethean dynamic. In this chapter of history, Satoshi has stolen the secret of fire from the Gods and given it to the people. (He did so anonymously, I presume, in an effort to avoid the part where his gizzard is eaten by vultures for all eternity).

But it’s done now, humanity possesses the secret of decentralization and cryptography and nothing short of a complete and total system collapse can undo the newfound cognitive horizons that will accompany it. If society stays on the rails, then the new model will keep spreading at that higher level of abstraction and it will keep accelerating.

In other words, now that cryptos have created non-state, decentralized, open source money, the dynamics of finance and economics have irrevocably changed, and there’s nothing the priests of the temple at The Fed can do about it.

Any attempt by nation states and central banks to preserve the old system, to extend the lifespan of their fiat currencies by porting them into digital forms like CBDCs are simply trying to linearly extrapolate something into a landscape that has fundamentally changed. Faster horses in a new era of cars.

This is what no-coiners do not understand, granted, because many of them are engaged in livelihoods which depend on them not understanding it:

It is not a question of whether governments will permit Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies to exist.

It is a question of whether governments can successfully adapt to the new reality created by the dawning of the decentralized era.

So while policy makers can and will regulate the on-ramps and off-ramps (the exchanges), this is to be expected and it’ll be around these chokepoints where some sort of equilibrium between these two monetary universes will take form.

This diagram depicts the core thesis of The Crypto Capitalist Letter. It’s that the institutionalized financial repressions of NIRP, ZIRP, targeted inflation and coming regimes of UBI, MMT and CBDC-driven social credit are such that capital will exodus from the global bond and fiat bubbles over into the anti-fiat world. Anti-fiat includes gold and silver, it includes real estate, income producing businesses, commodities, intellectual property and cryptos.

It is true that regulations can ramp up and clamp down and become more repressive, for awhile. But as we’re seeing in the world today, the pandemic emergency response is wearing thin and people’s patience for things like lockdowns and mandatory vaccinations is beginning to wane. Here in the West, people were willing to have their freedoms curtailed to meet the exigencies of a global crisis, but they will not countenance government overreach as a way of life. In an ironic sense, the kind of Big Government that may have previously taken decades to creep into intolerable levels may have just accelerated its own rejection and obsolescence with the near ubiquitous, rampant mishandling of COVID.

No matter what happens, the nation state monopoly over the issuance of money is over. That’s why it really doesn’t matter if governments “ban” cryptos. Increasingly higher levels of wealth and capital that are moving into the crypto economy are on a one-way mission: it has no intention of ever returning to the fiat side of the system.

*  *  *

I cover this dynamic extensively in The Crypto Capitalist Letter, a long with a tactical focus on publicly traded crypto stocks. Get the overall investment / macro thesis free when you subscribe to the Bombthrower mailing list, or try the premium service for a month with our fully refundable trial offer.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 09/27/2021 – 20:20

China Bans Advertisements For ‘Cosmetic Beauty’ Loans

China Bans Advertisements For ‘Cosmetic Beauty’ Loans

A few weeks ago, Beijing abruptly scrubbed one of China’s most famous actresses from the Chinese Internet, then outlawed the portrayal of “sissy men” – that is, men dressed effeminately, weak or woman-like (the South Korean boy band sensation BTS comes to mind) in Chinese movies and TV.

Now, as President Xi pushes China to embrace more elements of its Marxist-Leninist founding principles, another cosmetics-related order comes down from on high.

This time, Reuters reports that China on Monday banned advertisements for so-called “medical beauty loans” from playing on televisions, radios and online platforms, saying such advertisements enticed young people with low interest rates, while misleading consumers and causing other “adverse effects”.

With the Evergrande debt crisis still in the news, the timing of this latest crackdown is interesting. It seemingly kills two birds with one stone. It’s pressing back against cosmetic surgeries which are becoming increasingly popular in the US and China. Many original Communists looked down on makeup and fashion, and cosmetic surgery likely would have been forbidden in many early Communist societies. It was once said that the original Bolsheviks didn’t wear makeup.

Beijing has also recently cracked down on out-of-control online fandoms where fans sometimes would even have plastic surgery to look more like their idols.

As one CNBC reported out, the decision to ban advertisements for these types of loans might not have been on anyone’s  ‘bingo card’ for what Beijing might do next.

But it fits in with how President Xi is trying to remake China according to its original Marxist-Leninist principles.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 09/27/2021 – 20:00

Pritzker Goes To Bat For What The Wall Street Journal Calls “One Of The Greatest Fiscal Cons In History”

Pritzker Goes To Bat For What The Wall Street Journal Calls “One Of The Greatest Fiscal Cons In History”

Authored by Mark Glennon via Wirepoints.org,

President Biden and his allies in Congress are having a rough time winning support for a new, historic, gigantic spending plan, but they knew who to call for help.

On Friday, Gov. JB Pritzker joined Biden on a Zoom call to with local reporters to make the case for the pending federal legislation.

You may know the bill as the “$3.5 infrastructure bill,” which is what it has been commonly called in the media.

But that’s just a testament to media distortion. It’s not $3.5 billion and it’s not infrastructure.

The true cost is likely to be $5 to $5.5 trillion over ten years according to the bipartisan Committee For A Responsible Budget.

A primary gimmick being used, it said, is pretending that programs intended to be permanent expire, which they say obscures “the true cost of the legislation and put program beneficiaries at risk.”

A Wall Street Journal editorial detailed various “time shift gimmicks” and also explained how some states will be stood up for paying, on their own, part of the cost of new, universal pre-K entitlement and free community college. Hence, their preface: “Behold one of the greatest fiscal cons in history.”

“The press has reported almost none of this,” said the Journal about the phony cost estimates.

The Biden’s Administration’s answer to the cost issue is astonishing, even by its standards. The cost is actually “zero,” they say. Biden himself said the cost is “nothing.” On what basis? They claim they will raise taxes enough to cover the cost.

How’s that for chutzpah? As long as you are billing taxpayers, you can say it costs nothing.

And infrastructure is only a small part of what it’s about, even by CNN’s charitable description: “The sweeping 10-year spending plan marks the biggest step in Democrats’ drive to expand education, health care and childcare support, tackle the climate crisis and make further investments in infrastructure.”

The bill in fact includes a massive expansion of multiple government dependency programs, which CNN tried to list, based on “what we know so far,” as they candidly put it last week. Does anybody really know besides a few insiders?

Adding to the guesswork, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled over the weekend that the size of the bill may be negotiated down, but she also said the first vote may come as early as today, Monday. If that happens, don’t expect most members of Congress to have an honest understanding of what they will be voting on.

What’s most troubling is the timing of the expansion of dependency programs. If ever there was a time to move people out of government dependency and into employment it is now. It doesn’t get any better than this. Jobseekers today have the best job market in American history – over 10 million jobs are unfilled while just 9 million are unemployed. Many employers are desperate for workers. The bill’s supporters, however, measure success by how many can be added to government programs.

The U.S Chamber of Commerce has it right: “This reconciliation bill is effectively 100 bills in one representing every big government idea that’s never been able to pass in Congress,” Chamber President and CEO Suzanne Clark said. “The bill is an existential threat to America’s fragile economic recovery and future prosperity. We will not find durable or practical solutions in  one  massive  bill that  is  equivalent to  more  than  twice the  combined  budgets  of all 50 states.”

Getting back to the Pritzker and Biden Zoom call with local reporters, why did they do it that way? Why not also release the tape of the call so we could see for ourselves? Instead, we got only the media’s post-digestion remains. Dare I say that we should be suspicious of how Biden and Pritzker deal with questions and the media, and with what comes out at the end?

If the subsequent reports in Crain’s and the Chicago Tribune are correct, Pritzker spoke primarily about the expansion of benefits directed toward children. One is child care, lack of which “is holding back our recovery,” he said.

Child care costs no doubt have always been a problem that keep some people from working, but did it occur to any of the reporters on the call to ask Pritzker this: Why would child care be more of an issue today, with the state’s unemployment rate at 7%, than it was before the pandemic when the rate was under 4%? To our knowledge, nobody ever asks that question.

And think about the expansion of the per-child tax credit in the pending legislation, which is the most expensive element in the bill. In concept, that’s a popular idea and has significant bipartisan support, primarily because it is projected to lift many out of poverty. The credit would be for $3,000 to $3,600 per child, depending on age.

But it’s hardly for the poor alone. The credit does not even begin to phase out until relatively high income levels — $75,000 for single parents and $150,000 for married couples. There would be no work requirement to get the credit, and the pending bill would end long-standing rules requiring a child to be a relative of the person taking the credit, as CNBC reported. Instead, whoever is caring for the child could take the credit, regardless of whether they’re related. Seems like a formula for abuse and a step toward making the federal government the family provider.

Whatever the issues are with the pending legislation, Pritzker undoubtedly is thrilled with the prospect of more federal cash flowing into Illinois. That would allow him to kick the can again on addressing the state’s structural deficit, and continue to announce program after program of new spending as he has been doing recently with federal assistance already received.

Biden called the right guy for help.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 09/27/2021 – 19:40