• Outsports: The queer-centric sports website tracked the achievements of the 180 out athletes at the Tokyo Summer Olympics reimagining them as a unified team. Had they been their own country, Team LGBTQ would have finished 7th, ahead of France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Brazil, taking home 11 Gold, 12 Silver, and 9 Bronze medals. Continue reading “News Round-Up: August 9, 2021”
New forecasts that incorporate the $1.9 trillion stimulus package that President Biden signed into law in March give little credence to warnings by Republican lawmakers and some economists that runaway inflation from all that spending could cripple the economy. Instead, the budget office predicted that a recent spike in prices for cars, airline tickets and other products would be temporary and begin to recede this year.
Administration officials downplayed the deficit projections and focused instead on the predictions for economic growth, saying the strong numbers validate Mr. Biden’s push to douse the economy in stimulus and reinforce their view that inflation poses little threat to the recovery.
The budget office, which is nonpartisan, predicted the economy would grow 6.7 percent for the year, after adjusting for inflation. That would be the fastest annual growth in the United States since 1984. It is significantly faster than the budget office and the Biden administration had each projected this year.
The CBO also anticipates that the unemployment rate will fall below 4 percent next year.
Many say Biden’s push for vaccine distribution helped to accelerate the economy.
The economy picked up speed last quarter, shaking off some of the lingering effects of the pandemic as consumer spending grew, bolstered by government stimulus checks and an easing of restrictions in many parts of the country.
The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the economy expanded 1.6 percent in the first three months of 2021, compared with 1.1 percent in the final quarter last year.
On an annualized basis, the first-quarter growth rate was 6.4 percent.
Over at Axios, Nicholas Johnston reports on a research note from Goldman Sachs (titled ‘Anatomy of a Boom’) that forecasts “more than 7% growth in 2021, a sustained pace not seen in more than 30 years.”
According to the research note, economists post-vaccine hopes for an economic rebound are “changing from ‘from forecast to fact.'”
You’ll recall during the presidential campaign last year, “the former guy” constantly told his followers the economy would tank if he wasn’t reelected.
While the stock market isn’t “the economy,” check out these charts tracking the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 for the past four months.
The research outlook suggests that as the virus recedes, many of the industries that have been stuck in limbo such as leisure and hospitality will spring back to life, and workers who have been on the sidelines will make their way back to the job market.
Ultimately, the bank forecasts that unemployment will drop to 3.2 percent by 2024. If that were to happen, it would surpass the 50-year record set in the Trump administration, notching a significant win for President Biden and boosting his chances for reelection.
But the research note also pointed out that generous unemployment benefits approved in the $1.9 trillion relief plan may play a role in pushing the recovery toward the end of the year.
Crediting the monetary and fiscal support provided thus far during the coronavirus pandemic, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in an interview Thursday the U.S. economy may recover to pre-pandemic levels sooner than expected.
Powell said during a Thursday virtual interview that the unprecedented amount of stimulus approved by Congress and the White House, along with the Fed’s aggressive intervention, has likely prevented the U.S. from suffering deeper long-term economic damage.
The Fed chief stressed that the U.S. economy would not fully recover until the raging coronavirus pandemic is under control. Powell, however, said that a rebound to the historically low unemployment seen before COVID-19 derailed the economy could return quicker than many expected when the pandemic hit.
More than 20 million jobs were lost during March and April thanks to coronavirus-related closures. The unemployment rate skyrocketed from 3.5 percent to a staggering 14.7 percent. By December, around 10 million of those jobs had been recovered as the unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent.
That said, the Department of Labor is reporting initial jobless claims soared to 965,000 last week.
That figure is much higher than economists’ forecasts of 800,000 claims. It’s also the largest total since August 22, when the economy began a short recovery during the summer.
In related news, the U.S. economy lost 140,000 jobs in December and according to CNN “all of them were held by women.”
Fed Chair Powell says a lesson from the central bank’s experience after the 2008 financial crisis is: “Be careful not to exit too early” from providing support for economy.
Trump and his followers often tout the stock market and unemployment under Trump as “the best economy in the history of the world.”
But crunching the numbers from the final three years of the Obama administration and the first three years of Trump’s time in office – which leaves out the devastation of the current pandemic on the US economy – the data shows Trump is not better on economic issues than his predecessor.
I recently came across a report from USA Today comparing the economic records of Donald Trump and Barack Obama.
• Employment: According to the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the economy created 6,979,000 jobs during Obama’s final three years in office. In Trump’s first three years through this past January, the economy added 6,585,000 jobs to a total of 158,714,000. That’s 394,000 fewer under Trump than under Obama during a similar time span.
• Economic growth: During Obama’s final three years, the economy (inflation-adjusted gross domestic product) grew 2.5% in 2014, 3.1% in 2015 and 1.7% in 2016, or an average of 2.43%, according to figures from the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. Under Trump, the economy grew 2.3% in 2017, 3.0% in 2018 and 2.2% in 2019, for an average of 2.5% a year – just below one-tenth of a percent per year under Trump, who came into office promising to produce an economy that would sprint ahead at a 4% annual pace or even higher.
• Wage growth: During Obama’s final three years in office through January 2017, hourly earnings adjusted for inflation grew 3.3%, according to BLS figures. During Trump’s first three years, inflation-adjusted hourly earnings grew an identical 3.2%.
• Stock market: During Trump’s presidency, the S&P 500 climbed 50.4%, from a close of 2,271.31 on Jan. 20, 2017, when he was inaugurated, to 3,4433.12 today. Under Obama, the S&P 500, which was 805.22 on Jan. 20, 2009, grew 182% during his presidency. During his second term, it grew 52% (from 1,492.56 on Jan. 22, 2013).
• InstaHunks: So, who noticed openly gay Florida nurse and Crossfit athlete Robbie Rodriguez (above) on NBC’s ‘Titan Games’ recently? Follow the inspiring healthcare provider on Instagram here.
• Washington Blade: The African nation of Gabon has decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations becoming one of the few countries in sub-Saharan Africa to legalize them. A 2019 law that criminalized same-sex relationships by a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a 5 million Central African CFA franc ($8,561) fine was repealed by both chambers of Parliament and the president of Gabon signed the measure on Tuesday.
• Instinct Magazine: Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) and Broadway producer Justin Mikita are officially fathers. The couple announced that their newborn baby boy, Beckett Mercer, was welcomed into the world on Tuesday, July 7.
• CNBC: As the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic continues, 32% of U.S. households have not made their full housing payments for July yet. About 19% of Americans made no housing payment at all during the first week of the month, and 13% paid only a portion of their rent or mortgage.
• NY Times: Joy Reid has been announced as the new anchor for the 7 p.m. ET hour on MSNBC. Her new show, “The ReidOut,” will premiere in the slot previously held by Chris Matthews’ “Hardball” on July 20. The new assignment makes Reid one of only a few Black women who have anchored a major American evening news program.
• AP News: Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said Wednesday Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa in late June that drew thousands of participants and large protests “likely contributed” to a dramatic surge in new coronavirus cases. Tulsa County reported 261 confirmed new cases on Monday, a one-day record high, and another 206 cases on Tuesday. During the week before the Trump rally, there were 76 cases on Monday and 96 on Tuesday.
• LGBTQ Nation: Out actress Javicia Leslie has been cast as the new Batwoman in the CW series, following Ruby Rose’s departure after just one season in the titular role. She will be playing Ryan Wilder, a different character from Rose’s Kate Kane. She’s described as “likable, messy, a little goofy and untamed.” While Ryan is “nothing like Kate Kane,” the new character is also a lesbian. Ruby Rose congratulated her successor on social media.
Stocks surged Tuesday — rebounding from their worst day in more than three decades — as Wall Street cheered White House plans that could inject $1 trillion into the U.S. economy to cushion the blow of the coronavirus.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1,048.79 points higher, or 5.2%, at 21,237.31. It briefly dipped below 20,000 for the first time since February 2017 before rebounding. The S&P 500 was up 6% at 2,529.19 while the Nasdaq Composite gained 6.2% to end the day at 7,334.78.
The Trump administration is weighing a fiscal stimulus package of more than $1 trillion that includes direct payments to Americans, according to a source familiar with the matter. Earlier, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters the government is considering directly sending checks to Americans in the next two weeks. “Americans need cash now,” he said.