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The Pronk Pops Show 970, September 22, 2017: Breaking Story 1: Rocket Man Kim Jong-Un Promises To Explode Hydrogen Bomb Over Pacific Ocean — Story 2: The Democratic and Republican Party Failure To Completely Repeal Obamacare Including Repealing The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and All Related Mandates, Regulations, Taxes, Spending and Subsidies — Obamacare Collapsing — Replace Obamacare With Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Health Insurance — Keep The Federal Government Out Of The Health Insurance and Health Care Business — Videos — Story 3: Obama’s Secret Surveillance Spy State Scandal — Misuse of Intelligence Community For Political Purposes — Gross Abuse of Power and Political Conspiracy — Violation of Fourth Amendment — Videos —

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Image result for rocket man kim h bomb in pacific

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Breaking Story 1: Rocket Man Kim Jong-Un Promises To Explode Hydrogen Bomb Over Pacific Ocean —

North Korea Threatens Nuclear Test in the Pacific Ocean

What could happen if NKorea tests hydrogen bomb over ocean?

Kim Jong-un makes unprecedented statement at Trump as N. Korea suggests future …

Panel on Kim Jong Un Calls President Trump ‘Dotard’ and ‘Frightened Dog’ #DonaldTrump #NorthKorea

“Rocket Man” : North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Calls President Trump ‘a Frightened Dog’ and ‘Dotard’

Putin warns US, North Korea on verge of conflict

Hydrogen Bomb vs. Atomic Bomb: What’s The Difference?

North Korea nuclear test: Hydrogen bomb ‘missile-ready’ – BBC News

Fareed Zakaria on North Korea hints at detonating H-Bomb in Pacific. #Breaking #FareedZakaria

LGM-30 Minuteman Launch – ICBM

Why Is It So Hard to Build an ICBM?

Why North Korea Can’t Build An ICBM (yet)

 

People in Pyongyang, North Korea, watched a television broadcast on Friday of Kim Jong-un’s response to President Trump’s speech at the United Nations. CreditEd Jones/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has long cultivated an image of defiant belligerence, punctuating its propaganda and diplomacy with colorful threats, insults and bluster. But by addressing President Trump in a personal statement on Friday, the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has pushed his government’s brinkmanship to a new, potentially more perilous level.

In a statement written in the first person, published on the front pages of state newspapers and read on national television, Mr. Kim called Mr. Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” who had “denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world.”

Mr. Kim vowed to take the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”

In a country where the leader is essentially portrayed as a god, Mr. Kim’s decision to respond personally to Mr. Trump’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly and pledge reprisals escalated the standoff over the North’s nuclear program in a way that neither he nor his predecessors had done before.

Though the statement made no mention of nuclear weapons, in the context of a political system built on a cult of personality, Mr. Kim’s intervention appeared to sharply reduce the possibility that his government might retreat or compromise, even in the face of war.

Mr. Kim condemned Mr. Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea if the United States is forced to defend itself, and he declared that it had “convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last.”

Mr. Ri could not have made such an alarming comment without approval from Mr. Kim, although some analysts question whether North Korea has the technology or political daring to conduct an atmospheric nuclear test, something the world has not seen for decades.

Mr. Trump responded on Friday by further personalizing the dispute. On Twitter, the president pronounced Mr. Kim to be “obviously a madman.”

North Korea has often issued statements in the names of its government and its People’s Army, and since taking power in late 2011, Mr. Kim has delivered an annual New Year’s Day speech. But Friday’s statement was the first by Mr. Kim directed openly at a foreign head of state. Mr. Kim’s father and grandfather, who ruled North Korea before him, never made such a statement, South Korean officials said.

In effect, Mr. Kim, whose cultlike leadership rests upon his perceived daring toward North Korea’s external enemies, has turned the nation’s standoff with the United States into a personal duel with Mr. Trump, analysts said.

The North Korean news media carried photographs of Mr. Kim sitting in his office and reading his statement, but his voice was not broadcast. On the country’s state-run Central TV, a female announcer read his statement.

“This is totally unprecedented,” said Paik Hak-soon, a longtime North Korea analyst at the Sejong Institute, a think tank outside Seoul, referring to Mr. Kim’s statement. “The way North Korea’s supreme leadership works, Kim Jong-un has to respond more assertively as its enemy gets more confrontational, like Trump has.

“There is no backing down in the North Korean rule book,” Mr. Paik said. “It’s the very core of their leadership identity and motive.”

Until now, Mr. Kim himself has appeared to refrain from personal attacks on the American president, even as Mr. Trump has called him a “maniac,” a “total nut job,” and, most recently, “Rocket Man.”

On Friday, Mr. Kim said he took Mr. Trump’s latest assault personally and accused him of making “the most ferocious declaration of a war in history.”

Mr. Kim also suggested Mr. Trump’s belligerent rhetoric signaled American weakness rather than resolve. “A frightened dog barks louder,” he said.

Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, said that Mr. Kim, faced with Mr. Trump’s threat of annihilation, could respond only with equal force.

“When Trump stood before the United Nations General Assembly and threatened to totally destroy his country, Kim Jong-un had to take that as the United States telling the world of its intention for possible military action,” Mr. Koh said. “He had to respond in kind, launching the same kind of verbal bombs.”

Analysts said that by putting his reputation on the line with his statement, Mr. Kim was now far more unlikely to stand down. Instead, his government was likely to conduct more nuclear and missile tests, they said.

“Trump shot himself in the foot with his unabashedly undiplomatic United Nations General Assembly speech,” said Lee Sung-yoon, a Korea expert at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. “By threatening to totally destroy North Korea, he created the impression around the world that it is actually the United States — instead of North Korea — that’s motivated by aggression. In effect, Trump gave Kim Jong-un a freebie for another major provocation. Kim will oblige, and claim that it was in ‘self-defense’ against Trump’s unnerving threats.”

Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, compared the Korean standoff to the October 1962 crisis over Soviet missiles in Cuba, urging the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, to convene the six parties that were previously involved in talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula — China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the United States — to discuss reducing fever-pitch tensions.

“We are in a cycle of escalation that leads to a very bad end,” Mr. Kimball said.

North Korea has conducted all of its six nuclear tests within deep underground tunnels to diminish the spread of radioactive materials, and has stepped up the pace of its missile tests. Some analysts fear that the next step might be for North Korea to try to prove that it can deliver a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile, no matter how dangerous and provocative that might be.

It has been 37 years since any nation tested a nuclear weapon in the planet’s atmosphere, reflecting the nearly universal opposition to such tests over fears of the effects of radioactive fallout on human health and the environment. The last atmospheric test took place in 1980, when China fired what experts believed to be a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile into a desert salt flat more than 1,300 miles west of Beijing.

Mr. Trump addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. CreditChang W. Lee/The New York Times

Shin Beom-chul, a security expert at the government-run Korea National Diplomatic Academy in Seoul, said that even if North Korea wanted to conduct an atmospheric nuclear test in the Pacific, it did not have the ability to dispatch test-monitoring ships to the open ocean while the United States military was on the prowl.

Mr. Shin said North Korea probably would not risk the radioactive fallout and other grave dangers involved in a nuclear missile test. The country has yet to master the technologies needed to prevent the warhead at the tip of its long-range ballistic missile from burning up while re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, South Korean officials said.

“What if the nuclear missile goes wrong midflight and detonates over Japan? It would mean a nuclear war,” Mr. Shin said. “More likely, North Korea will graduate its provocations, as if moving on steppingstones.”

Analysts said North Korea had been escalating tensions in stages in what they called a “salami tactic,” as in slice by slice.

Kim Dong-yub, a defense analyst at the Seoul-based Institute for Far Eastern Studies of Kyungnam University, said that North Korea would probably try to disprove skeptics in the West over its ability to strike long-range targets by firing its Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile over Japan and farther into the Pacific — but without a nuclear payload.

Some analysts said the North Korean leader was acting more defensively than offensively, with his threats aimed at forcing the Trump administration to ease sanctions. On Thursday, Mr. Trump issued an executive order empowering his government to punish international banks and other entities that trade with North Korea.

But other analysts warned that North Korea’s determination to improve its nuclear capabilities — and act offensively — had long been underestimated.

“If we follow what North Korea has been doing, it will be almost certain that it will fire its missile sooner or later to demonstrate an ICBM range,” Mr. Kim, the Kyungnam University analyst, said. “I don’t think the missile will carry a nuclear warhead, but I can’t shake off the fear that it might, because North Korea has time and again carried things beyond my expectation.”

Story 2: Obamacare Collapsing– American People Be Damned — Democratic and Republican Parties Fail To Completely Repeal Obamacare Including Repealing Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and All Related Mandates, Regulations, Taxes, Spending and Subsidies — Replace Obamacare With Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Health Insurance — Keep The Federal Government Out Of The Health Insurance and Health Care Business — Videos

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Graham-Cassidy Will Probably Fail. McCain and Paul Announce No Votes

BREAKING NEWS: McCain kills Obamacare repeal for a second time and announces he’ll oppose his p…

Rand Paul a No Vote on Graham-Cassidy HC Bill. He Explains

RAND PAUL FULL ONE-ON-ONE EXPLOSIVE INTERVIEW WITH MARTHA MACCALLUM (9/18/2017)

Rand Paul Goes Off On Obamacare “Repeal”

Senator: Graham-Cassidy not an Obamacare repeal

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) On Latest Obamacare Effort: This Is Not Repeal – The Five

RAND PAUL FULL ONE-ON-ONE EXPLOSIVE INTERVIEW WITH NEIL CAVUTO (9/14/2017)

 

Paul: ‘I won’t be bribed or bullied’ on repeal vote

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) pushed back on Friday against pressure from President Trump to vote for a last-ditch GOP effort in the Senate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, saying that he “won’t be bribed or bullied.”

In an early-morning tweet, Trump warned Paul that if he failed to vote for Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy‘s (R-La.) health-care proposal, he would forever be known as “‘the Republican who saved ObamaCare.'”

But in a series of tweets following the president’s post, Paul contended that the Graham-Cassidy measure does not fulfill the GOP’s longtime promise to repeal the ACA, and ultimately keeps ObamaCare’s taxes and spending.

The Graham-Cassidy measure revives the GOP’s efforts to repeal and replace parts of the ACA after a slimmed-down repeal bill failed in July. It seeks to end ObamaCare’s insurance subsidies and the Medicaid expansion, and instead convert those pots of money to block grants for the states.

The new proposal needs at least 50 votes to pass the Senate with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Pence, and backers are scrambling to round up the votes before a Sept. 30 procedural deadline, after which the measure would need a filibuster-proof 60 votes.

The White House has thrown its weight behind the measure and Trump has tweeted his support for it in recent days, casting the bill as a new opportunity for the GOP to fulfill its seven-year promise to do away with ObamaCare.

So far, Paul is the only GOP senator who has indicated he will vote against the Graham-Cassidy proposal. But three others — Sens. Susan Collins(Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and John McCain (Ariz.) — are being closely watched.

The trio voted “no” on the “skinny” ObamaCare repeal bill in July leaving that bill one vote short of passing. All three remain undecided about the Graham-Cassidy proposal.

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/351865-paul-i-wont-be-bribed-or-bullied

3 red-flag provisions in the Graham-Cassidy health care bill

Posted September 21, 2017 08:36 AM

by Daniel Horowitz

Red flag storm warning

John-Kelly | Getty Images

Previously, I noted that while Graham-Cassidy does nothing to change the fundamentals of the current system of health care and medical insurance, it at least repeals the individual mandate, which will allow us to escape from the dumpster fire and potentially start a new system. But any “holding of the nose” to pass this bill should only be under the condition that the other provisions are not worse than the status quo. That’s the only way we can take “half a loaf rather than none” — or in this case, more like ten percent. That rationale breaks down if there are provisions that will make the system worse or further entrench Obamacare in current law.

Thus far, I have found three concerning provisions:

Protected class for insurance coverage

Page 13 of the bill stipulates that “a health insurance issuer may not vary premium rates based on an individual’s sex or membership in a protected class under the Constitution of the United States.”

Readers of Conservative Review are well aware that the radical king courts have already made foreign nationals and transgenders protected classes under the U.S. Constitution in many respects. Most certainly, once we codify such language into statute, there is no limit to what lower court judges and Anthony Kennedy will do to expand “constitutional” rights to all sorts of insurance coverage. They could use this provision to mandate coverage for illegal aliens. They could use this provision to carve out all sorts of coverage for homosexuals and for sex-change operations. Most certainly, it will give states trouble in cutting off subsidy funding for abortions.

This might possibly be worse than current law.

Forcing Texas and conservative states to expand government-run health care

Proponents of the bill are touting this system as an exercise in federalism because it devolves the subsidies and Medicaid expansion to the states in one giant pot. Some D.C. conservatives think it’s a good thing that red state that didn’t originally expand Medicaid will “get their fair share.” However, those who truly oppose Obamacare and understand free markets know that expanded Medicaid not only is costly and creates dependency but also distorts the market and inflates the cost of health care for everyone else. Furthermore, it hurts private practices because the programs pay hospital physicians more than private practice physicians. Medicaid expansion has been a boon for the hospital cartel and has destroyed any semblance of market-based health care.

Until now, we all celebrated the one silver lining of some red states not expanding Medicaid. Now, this bill brings this aspect of Obamacare, and its ensuing price inflation on the market, to the states that don’t currently have it. Worse, the bill (page 15) puts a gun to the heads of these states and says that if they want a waiver for even the few regulatory relief provisions offered in this bill, they must take and administer the federal Obamacare/Medicaid expansion grants.

Thus, to the extent a state can waive a regulation for an individual insurance contract, they must give subsidies to that individual — regardless of his status. He could be a millionaire!

As Chris Jacobs, noted health policy expert at the Texas Public Policy Institute, wrote, “Moreover, some conservatives may view provisions requiring anyone to whom a waiver applies to receive federal grant funding as the epitome of moral hazard—ensuring that individuals who go through health underwriting will receive federal subsidies, no matter their level of wealth or personal circumstances.” He further observed, “By requiring states to subsidize bad actors—for instance, an individual making $250,000 who knowingly went without health coverage for years—with federal taxpayer dollars, the bill could actually raise health insurance premiums, not lower them.”

Thus, this is not a “half a loaf,” this is a poisonous loaf. While blue states are free to move the funding further to the Left and create single-payer, in no way can red states move towards free markets, because for every step they make towards regulatory relief, they must add more market-distorting funding than even under the status quo. This will hook the politicians from the reddest of red states on the dope they didn’t fully embrace before now.

The bailout fund

It would be one thing to leave most of Obamacare in place, as opposed to leaving it all in place. But this bill adds a state bailout fund that entrenches Obamacare even further. Not only does it codify the illegal cost-sharing subsidies for three years (and we all know the three years will be expanded indefinitely), it creates an unaccountable $35 billion slush fund for HHS to dole out at their full discretion to “fund arrangements with health insurance issuers to address coverage and access disruption and respond to urgent health care needs within States.” And of course, rather than disappearing in 2020, this will create a funding cliff that will only expand the program thereafter.

As I mentioned before, the only saving grace of this bill is that repeal of the individual mandate will prompt consumers to leave the insurance cartel and create direct care and health-sharing associations as an alternative to this entire scheme. However, by creating an unaccountable bailout program, HHS bureaucrats will work with state bureaucrats and insurance cartel lobbyists (no elected officials involved!) to mask the price inflation to keep the insurance monopoly intact.

It will codify, enshrine, and expand Obamacare.

Overall, it’s understandable why conservatives would want to support something over nothing at this late hour. And with the right focus on supply-side market reforms, we could possibly make a partial repeal work, with the elimination of the mandates. But politicians must first focus on not making things worse. Moreover, they should at least negotiate to get rid of the bailout fund and these onerous provisions while working for some true health care reforms, such as price transparency and parity of tax treatment. If this requires using the reconciliation bill for next year to fix health care, then so be it.

The mother’s milk of the D.C. swamp is the false dichotomy of “take or leave it.” Don’t fall for the trick without first fighting for more.

https://www.conservativereview.com/articles/3-red-flag-provisions-in-the-graham-cassidy-health-care-bill

Story 3: Obama’s Secret Surveillance Spy State Scandal — Misuse of Intelligence Community For Political Purposes — Gross Abuse of Power and Political Conspiracy — Violation of Fourth Amendment — Videos —

Sharyl Attkisson speaks out about Obama-era surveillance

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Special Report : Krauthammer on FBI, CIA and NSA served subpoenas in unmasking probe : 5/31/2017

Released Documents Prove Obama’s Administration Routinely Violated Fourth Amendment

Hannity : Circa News reports Obama’s FBI illegally shared spy data about Americans : 5/25/2017

James Clapper Admits To Unmasking Trump

President Obama went to British intelligence to spy on Trump for him! – Judge Napolitano

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It looks like Obama did spy on Trump, just as he apparently did to me

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The Pronk Pops Show 969, September 21, 2017, Story 1: President Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Institutions and People Doing Business With North Korea — Communist China Trades With and Enabled North Korea Nuclear Weapon and Missile Programs — Waiting For Embargo Banning All Trade and Investment in Communist China — Videos — Story 2: Fed To Start Quantitative Tightening In October 2017 by Selling Some ($10 Billion Per Month or $120 Billion Per Year) of $4,500 Billion Bond Portfolio As U.S. Economic Slows in 2017? — Videos

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 Story 1: President Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Institutions and People Doing Business With North Korea — Communist China Trades With and Enabled North Korea Nuclear Weapon and Missile Programs — Waiting For Embargo Banning All Trade and Investment in Communist China — Videos —

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BREAKING NEWS: President Donald Trump Announces New Sanctions on North Korea through Executive Order

Trump: China has told its banks to stop doing business with North Korea

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John Bolton calls for ‘sweeping’ set of sanctions on China

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John Bolton: We are at a ‘crisis point’ with North Korea

Trump administration undercuts his message on North Korea

Former CIA Director James Woolsey: North Korea Has Been Able To Hit Power Grid For Years | CNBC

Ralph Peters on North Korea: China will never help us

Peters: People don’t understand how desperate North Korea is

China getting away with ‘trade murder’: Ralph Peters

What Are Economic Sanctions?

Chinese sanctions will help US trade deficit, but could backfire: Andrew Peek

Gordon Chang: China understands the effects of US sanctions

Lou Dobbs : Is China helping North Korea create nuclear missiles? : 5/30/2017

Gordon Chang: NKorea is forcing the United States to act

Trump unplugging Chinese banks will end China’s economy: Gordon Chang

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What Is Life Really Like In North Korea?

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Trump signs order aiming to cut off funding for North Korean missile program

  • President Donald Trump signs an executive order to expand his authority to target people and institutions doing business with North Korea.
  • With the action, he aims to reduce funding going to the dictatorship’s nuclear and missile programs.

President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Trump unveils order aiming to cut off funding for North Korean missile program  

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order expanding his authority to target people and institutions that do business with North Korea.

Through the measure, the president aims to cut off the communist dictatorship’s funding and deter its nuclear and missile ambitions amid a string of recent tests and provocations.

“North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile development is a grave threat to peace and security in our world and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime,” Trump said before a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. “Our new executive order will cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind. The order enhances the Treasury Department’s authorities to target any individual or entity that conducts significant trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea.”

The isolated nation has tested ballistic missiles and an apparent hydrogen bomb in recent weeks in the face of international economic sanctions and warnings. On Tuesday, Trump told the U.N. General Assembly that the U.S. “will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” if it is forced to defend itself or its allies.

President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Donald Trump speaking as he meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017.

Last week, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed fresh measures to punish the communist dictatorship economically, with the support of China and Russia. Trump has repeatedly pressed China, North Korea’s only major ally, to do more to force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

Trump on Thursday highlighted that China’s central bank has told its banks to strictly implement U.N. sanctions. He thanked President Xi Jinping for what he called a “bold” and “somewhat unexpected” move.

On Tuesday, he also commended Beijing for signing on to two recent sanctions packages enacted by the Security Council. The U.S. sees China’s commitment to sanctions as crucial to forcing Pyongyang to end its nuclear and missile programs.

Trump appeared to try to quash speculation that he is targeting China or other North Korean trading partners with the action.

“I want to be clear — the order targets only one country, and that country is North Korea,” he said.

Trump said the order identifies industries including textiles, fishing, information technology and manufacturing, which the Treasury Department can target with “strong sanctions.” The president added that the order includes “measures designed to disrupt” shipping and trade networks to reduce North Korea’s ability to avoid the sanctions.

Earlier, national security advisor H.R. McMaster said Trump would take more action to stop North Korea “short of war.” Trump’s advisors have repeatedly said they prefer to use diplomatic methods to curb North Korea’s aggression.

The president again said that he seeks the “complete denuclearization” of North Korea.

Trump had separate bilateral meetings scheduled with both Moon and Abe on Thursday.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/21/trump-to-make-north-korea-announcement-mcmaster-says.html

 

Trump announces new economic sanctions targeting North Korea over nuclear program

 September 21 at 12:45 PM

President Trump announced an executive order on Sept. 21 to enforce economic sanctions on North Korea and countries that do business with the “rogue regime” of North Korea. (The Washington Post)

NEW YORK — President Trump announced an executive order Thursday granting the Treasury Department additional authority to enforce economic sanctions on North Korea and target foreign companies and individuals that do business with the rogue nation in Northeast Asia.

Trump said the new powers aim to cut off international trade and financing that dictator Kim Jong Un’s regime uses support its nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programs. The president also said that Chinese President Xi Jinping had ordered Chinese banks to cease conducting business with North Korean entities. Trump called the move “very bold” and “somewhat unexpected,” and he praised Xi.

“North Korea’s nuclear program is a grave threat to peace and security in our world, and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime,” Trump said in brief public remarks during a meeting with the leaders of South Korea and Japan to discuss strategy to confront Pyongyang.

He added that the United States continues to seek a “complete denuclearization of North Korea.”

He added that the order will give Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin the “discretion to target any foreign bank knowingly facilitating specific transactions tied to trade with North Korea.”


President Trump meets with South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Thursday. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

A White House fact sheet said the executive order imposes a ban on airplanes or ships that have visited North Korea will be banned for 180 days from visiting the United States, a move to crack down on illicit trade.

“This significantly expands Treasury’s authority to target those who enable this regime…wherever they are located,” Mnuchin said.

Trump’s announcement came as he has sought to rally international support for confronting Pyongyang during four days of meetings here at the United Nations General Assembly. In a speech to the world body on Tuesday, Trump threatened to “totally destroy” the North if necessary and referred derisively to Kim as “rocket man.” But the president and his aides have emphasized that they are continuing to do what they can to put economic and diplomatic pressure on the North in order to avoid a military conflict.

“We are witnessing a very dangerous confrontation spiral,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a speech to the United Nations, filling in for President Vladimir Putin, who skipped the forum. “We resolutely condemn the nuclear missile adventures of Pyongyang in violation of Security Council resolutions. But military hysteria is not just an impasse, it’s disaster…There is no alternative to political and diplomatic ways of settling the nuclear situation on the Korean Peninsula.”

China is North Korea’s largest trading partner, but Mnuchin emphasized that “this action is in no way specifically directed at China,” and he said he called Chinese officials ahead of the announcement to give them a heads up.

In recent weeks, the U.N. Security Council has approved two rounds of economic sanctions but also left room for further penalties. For example, the sanctions put limits on the nation’s oil imports but did not impose a full embargo, as the United States has suggested it supports. The Trump administration has signaled it also wants a full ban on the practice of sending North Korean workers abroad for payments that largely go to the government in Pyongyang.

Sitting down with South Korean President Moon Jae-in before the trilateral discussion with Japan, Trump said the nations are “making a lot of progress.”

Moon praised Trump’s speech to the U.N., saying through a translator that “North Korea has continued to make provocations and this is extremely deplorable and this has angered both me and our people, but the U.S. has responded firmly and in a very good way.”

The Security Council had also applied tough new export penalties in August, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that there are signs those restrictions are having an economic effect.

“We have some indications that there are beginning to appear evidence of fuel shortages,” Tillerson said in a briefing for reporters. “And look, we knew that these sanctions were going to take some time to be felt because we knew the North Koreans…had basically stockpiled a lot of inventory early in the year when they saw the new administration coming in, in anticipation of things perhaps changing. So I think what we’re seeing is a combined effect of these inventories are now being exhausted, and the supply coming in has been reduced.”

There is no sign, however, that economic penalties are having any effect on the behavior of the Kim regime and its calculation that nuclear tests and other provocations will ensure its protection or raise the price of any eventual settlement with the United States and other nations.

All U.N. sanctions have to be acceptable to China, North Korea’s protector and chief economic partner. China’s recent willingness to punish its fellow communist state signals strong disapproval of North Korea’s international provocations, but China and fellow U.N. Security Council member Russia have also opposed some of the toughest economic measures that could be applied, such as banking restrictions that would affect Chinese and other financial institutions.

“We continue to call on all responsible nations to enforce and implement sanctions,” Trump said.

Trump said the United States had been working on the North Korea problem for 25 years, but he asserted that previous administrations had “done nothing, which is why we are in the problem we are in today.”

Through executive orders and other measures extending back to the Clinton administration, the United States has been trying to undermine the economic underpinnings of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.

Each new sanction from Washington has been followed by evasive measures by Pyongyang, and then another attempt from Washington to ramp up pressure. Earlier sanctions restricted trade between U.S. companies and businesses involved with the North Korean regime and its weapons efforts. Until recently, however, such sanctions had limited effects because North Korea continued an expansive trade with other countries, mainly China.

In recent years, the United States has sought to expand the economic pressure by working through the international banking system, where the country has particular leverage because so much of international trade is conducted in dollars. The “vast majority of international transactions are denominated in dollars, the world’s reserve currency,” a Congressional report found last year.

Even when the companies are outside the United States, trade conducted in dollars typically must run through U.S. banks, and last year, that provided the Obama administration an opportunity to interrupt such business.

In November 2016, a special measure implemented by the Treasury barred U.S. banks from providing the accounts that handle such transactions for any North Korean bank or any party acting on its behalf. The measure essentially cut off North Korean banks from any trade denominated in U.S. dollars.

North Korea, however, has continued to conduct such trades by using front companies located in third countries, at least some of which are in China.

The new executive order expands the U.S. pressure on the North by allowing the Treasury to single out those front companies, and any banks helping to finance any trade with North Korea, for sanctions. Those sanctions would cut off trade with those companies or forbid them from conducting transactions in dollars.

Anne Gearan in New York,  Abby Phillip in Washington and Peter Whorisky contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/09/21/trump-says-the-u-s-will-impose-new-sanctions-on-north-korea/?utm_term=.f13cecf3e9e7

US-North Korea standoff could spark economic war with China

  • The escalating saber rattling between the U.S. and North Korea has raised the prospects of an economic confrontation between America and China.
  • So far, economic sanctions against Pyongyang have done little to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to curb his ambitions to develop a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland.
  • Now, critics of those measures are calling for stepped-up pressure on China, North Korea’s largest trading partner.

President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) walk together at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 7, 2017.

The escalating saber rattling between the U.S. and North Korea has raised the prospects of an economic confrontation between America and China.

At issue are a series of sanctions against Pyongyang designed to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to curb his ambitions to develop a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland.

But those measures have had little impact on the increasingly bellicose stand-off, and on Thursday President Donald Trump repeated his complaint that Beijing needs to lean harder on Pyongyang to defuse rising tensions.

“I think they can do a lot more and I think they will do a lot more,” the president told reporters. “We lost hundreds of billions of dollars a year on trade with China. They know how I feel. It’s not going to continue like that.”

On Tuesday, Trump threatened to inflict “fire and fury” on North Korea if it continues to pursue its nuclear weapons program. A recent series of successful North Korean test launches were matched Wednesday by Kim’s threats to launch a missile at the U.S. territory of Guam.

The latest round of sanctions includes fresh restrictions, unanimously approved Saturday by the United Nation Security Council, that target North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. The measures also ban countries from hiring more North Korean laborers, bar new joint ventures with North Korea and ban fresh investment in existing joint ventures.

“We say to China, ‘You have a choice whether you do business with North Korea or you do business with the U.S. but you can’t do both.'”-Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

Economic sanctions so far have proved ineffective largely because North Korea has found ways to get around them with “evasion techniques that are increasing in scale, scope and sophistication,” according to a February U.N. report.

“Designated entities and banks have continued to operate in the sanctioned environment by using agents who are highly experienced and well trained in moving money, people and goods, including arms and related material, across borders,” the U.N. report found.

The widest flow of goods and cash, by far, crosses North Korea’s border with China. As North Korea’s largest trading partner, China accounted for roughly 85 percent of overall volume in 2015, according to data from the United Nations Comtrade database.

Coal and other minerals accounted for more than 40 percent of North Korean exports in 2015, followed by textiles (29 percent), metals (7 percent) and machinery (6 percent). North Korea’s biggest imports included textiles, machinery and raw materials including minerals, metals and plastics.

Though China has taken some steps to curb imports from North Korea, exports rose by nearly 30 percent in the first half of this year, according to Chinese customs data. During the six-month period, overall trade flows across the North Korean-China border rose 10 percent to $2.65 billion.

That’s why critics of the existing North Korean sanctions say the measures don’t go nearly far enough in cutting off the flow of cash and goods to the Pyongyang regime.

Some of those critics are calling for “secondary sanctions,” which would cut off trade and financial flows to any country doing business with North Korea.

“We say to China, ‘You have a choice whether you do business with North Korea or you do business with the U.S., but you can’t do both,'” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D.-Md., told MSNBC on Thursday. “That is what got people’s attention with the Iran sanctions, and that’s what we need to do now.”

Last month, Van Hollen co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Pat Toomey, R.-Pa., that would impose secondary sanctions targeting third parties and countries that do business with North Korean companies and individuals.

Secondary sanctions offer a powerful financial weapon by allowing the U.S. government to bar foreign banks access to the U.S. financial system.

In late June, the White House imposed limited secondary sanctions on two Chinese citizens and a shipping company for helping North Korea develop nuclear weapons and also accused a regional Chinese bank, the Bank of Dandong, of laundering money for Pyongyang, Reuters reported.

Beyond cutting off cash and supplies to the North Korean regime, secondary sanctions squeeze the flow of cash to individuals, putting pressure on Kim’s political allies, according to David Cohen, a senior CIA official in the Obama administration.

“Imposing secondary sanctions would send a strong message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the financial noose is tightening in a way that could drive a wedge between Kim and the Pyongyang elite critical to his continued hold on power,” Cohen wrote in a recent op-ed piece.

Imposing secondary sanctions that single out major Chinese banks and state enterprises comes with the risk of economic retaliation from Beijing.

To minimize that risk, the White House will need to build a much wider coalition of Asian countries, says Nicholas Burns, former U.S. ambassador to NATO during the George W. Bush administration.

But developing that coalition will be a tough task for an administration that has yet to fill dozens of key diplomatic positions. So far, the White House has filled fewer than half of the State Department positions that require Senate confirmation.

“It really is a time for diplomacy,” Burns told CNBC on Thursday. “But there’s no American ambassador to South Korea, there’s no secretary of State for East Asia. So, you’ve also got to fill out the ranks.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/10/us-north-korea-standoff-could-spark-economic-war-with-china.html

 

How did North Korea get nuclear weapons?

North Korea showed off its arsenal of missiles during this parade to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017.

North Korea showed off its arsenal of missiles during this parade to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2017.

AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

North Korea is known for its bluster and outrageous propaganda, but the nuclear threat posed by the country is taken seriously by those in the know.

The “hermit kingdom” is estimated to have between 13 and 30 nuclear weapons, according to the Institute for Science and International Security. It could have up to 50 by the year 2020.

U.S. President Donald Trump has made it clear that he considers North Korea a legitimate threat. In early April, Trump dispatched the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its battle group to waters off the Korean Peninsula, and said “major, major conflict” was quite possible.

WATCH: Trump discusses military option for North Korea

Tensions have since soared over fears that North Korea may be about to conduct its sixth nuclear weapons test. On Friday, the country sent a letter to American lawmakers, saying any sanctions would only cause its nuclear testing program to “gather greater pace, beyond anyone’s imagination.”

But how did a country as isolated and impoverished as North Korea get its hands on nuclear weapons in the first place?

The Korean War

In 1950, a few months into the Korean War, U.S. President Harry Truman said in a press conference that the use of an atomic bomb was under “active consideration.”

Truman’s nuclear threat remained just that, with the Korean War formally ending in an armistice in 1953. But U.S. forces still laid waste to North Korean targets, dropping over 650,000 tons of bombs and napalm, according to The Korean War: A History.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay estimated that the U.S. “killed off 20 per cent of the Korean population.”

WATCH: North Korea propaganda video puts White House in crosshairs, simulates strike on US Capitol

After the war, North Korea tried to convince its wartime ally China to share its nuclear weapons technologies. Supreme Leader Kim Il-Sung, grandfather of present-day leader Kim Jong-Un, twice asked Chinese ruler Mao Zedong for help but was refused both times, according to The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History.

Denied an easy path to a nuclear bomb, North Korea set about cobbling together an indigenous nuclear weapons program.

Soviet support

It helped that the country already had basic nuclear infrastructure in place.

As a founding member of the Soviet-led Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, North Korea had for years sent its scientists to the Soviet Union for nuclear energy training, according to a timeline compiled by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

The Soviets even helped North Korea set up its first nuclear reactor in 1964. The reactor was used to produce radioactive isotopes for medicinal, industrial and research purposes.

READ MORE: Mike Pence urges China, Russia to pressure North Korea to abandon weapons program

But in the years that followed, the country began to explore weapons capabilities, summoning its best scientists home — including from Canada, according to NTI — to work on its fledgling nuclear weapons program.

But while North Korea’s scientists had the technical training, they lacked designs for the highly sophisticated facilities needed to produce nuclear weapons.

Path to a plutonium weapon

 In the ‘70s and ‘80s, North Korea set about acquiring sensitive nuclear technologies from Europe, taking advantage of the lack of adequate nuclear information safeguards at the time.

At one point, North Korean agents went to a conference in Vienna and chatted up some Belgian scientists who had a design for a plutonium separation plant, The Atlantic reported.

“Lo and behold, it wasn’t long before the North Koreans obtained the design information for that installation… and then eventually over a period of 10 to 15 years, they set that technology up, they deployed the plant, they started to experiment with it and use it,” Mark Hibbs, a senior fellow with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told The Atlantic.

READ MORE: North Korea says it’s ready for war if Donald Trump wants

In 2003, CIA director George Tenet told the Senate Armed Services Committee that North Korea “probably” has one or two plutonium-based nuclear warheads, according to The Statesman’s Yearbook 2012.

The following year, second-generation Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Il invited a delegation of Western nuclear scientists to North Korea to see its plutonium extraction facility. One of them, American scientist Dr. Siegfried Hecker, revealed in a Google Tech Talk lecture that North Korean officials at one point brought out two marmalade jars of plutonium.

“Inside one was a plutonium powder and the other one had plutonium metal,” Hecker said.

He even held one of the jars in his hand, and concluded from its appearance, weight and warmth that it contained radioactive plutonium.

In 2006, two years after Hecker’s visit, North Korean state media announced the country’s first nuclear weapon test.

By then, the country’s scientists had increasingly begun redirecting their efforts away from plutonium-based nuclear weapons to uranium-based ones, according to NTI. This is because the facilities needed to produce weapons-grade uranium can more easily be hidden underground, away from prying satellites and weapons inspectors.

North Korea wanted to cover all its bases.

Pakistani proliferation

The groundwork for North Korea’s uranium nuclear weapons program was laid in the ‘90s, with substantial help from Dr. A.Q. Khan, the pioneer of Pakistan’s atomic bomb program.

Khan orchestrated the clandestine transfer of uranium centrifuges, enrichment machines and technical data to North Korea over a period of several years, according to the book Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A.Q. Khan and the Rise of Proliferation Networks.

According to the book’s author, Mark Fitzpatrick, some of Khan’s deals were likely tied to existing official agreements between the two countries, wherein North Korea provided ballistic missile technologies to Pakistan.

WATCH: Pakistan test fires submarine-based cruise missile

In 2003, the U.S. learned of North Korea’s plans to build a uranium-enrichment facility with Pakistan’s help. The following year, Khan admitted to running a global nuclear proliferation ring, with Iran and Libya among his other clients.

Khan later told German magazine Der Spiegel that he was merely acting on behalf of the Pakistani leadership.

He even released what he claimed was a 1998 letter from Jon Pyong-ho, one of the architects of North Korea’s nuclear program, in which Pyong-ho assures that $3 million has been transferred to Pakistan’s army chief, and asks that Khan dispatch “the agreed documents, components, etc.” via a North Korean emissary.

READ MORE: Pakistan refuses to release doctor who helped US find Osama bin Laden

Khan was later pardoned by Pakistani leader Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

“By freely selling enrichment equipment and putting the designs on computer disks, Khan significantly lowered the technical barriers to nuclear weapons development,” Fitzpatrick wrote.

And no country benefited more from Khan’s largesse than North Korea.

READ MORE: Pakistan issues nuclear warning to Israel on Twitter after fake news story

In 2010, Dr. Siegfried Hecker was again invited to North Korea, and was this time taken on a tour of a uranium enrichment facility. He described what he saw as “truly mind-boggling” — around 2,000 centrifuges that appeared to contain highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium.

“[The North Koreans] take whatever they can get, and then they build things themselves, and they do it quite well,” Hecker concluded in his Google Tech Talks lecture.

The Nuclear Silk Road

In early 2015, debris from a North Korean satellite launch were analyzed by experts and found to contain components manufactured in the U.K. and routed through Chinese companies, according to a United Nations Panel of Experts report.

The following year, foreign journalists on a tour of a Pyongyang factory spotted a shipment of boxes from Calgary-based chemical producer Dow Canada, the Washington Post reported.

These are but two of several known instances of North Korea evading international sanctions and export controls to procure weapons components.

WATCH: China says it will impose more sanctions on North Korea if missile test conducted: Tillerson


“North Korea is very creative in the way that it goes about sanctions evasion, and the patterns in which it goes about it vary,” Andrea Berger, a senior researcher with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, told Global News.

Berger says North Korea often sends trusted nationals to China to set up front companies, often in collaboration with Chinese citizens. These companies then import equipment from Western manufacturers, who often have no way of knowing that the companies are really fronts controlled by the North Korean regime.

“Let’s say you’re Siemens in Germany and you get a purchase request from ‘Golden Star General Trading Corporation’ in China. You look into that company and it doesn’t have a big web presence  —  because most Chinese small and medium-sized enterprises don’t  — and you assume, after some limited due diligence, that it’s probably fine,” Berger says.

READ MORE: China defends trade practices with North Korea after Chinese-made vehicles seen towing ballistic missiles

Even Chinese banks themselves often get deceived, she adds.

“The bank account might be under, say, ‘Golden Star General Trading Corporation’ or a Chinese director,” Berger says. “The Bank of China might not immediately be the wiser that there’s a North Korean beneficiary behind that account.”

By covering their tracks in this manner, front companies procure sensitive goods before re-exporting them to North Korea, evading Chinese export controls via misleading shipping labels or creative smuggling techniques.

READ MORE: U.S. mulls North Korea sanctions, targeting cash that flows through Chinese banks

The racket doesn’t exclusively involve surreptitious front operations, however.

In 2015, a large Chinese company called Shenyang Machine Tools bought equipment from a European manufacturer under the explicit condition that the items wouldn’t be re-sold to North Korea, according to the Institute for Science and International Security.

Shenyang Machine Tools promptly broke the agreement by embedding the products into its own line of industrial machines, which were then exported to North Korea.

The equipment in question is commonly used to manufacture missile parts and uranium centrifuges.

Financial skullduggery

So how does North Korea pay for the expensive parts that it acquires illegally?

Turns out it doesn’t just use front companies to buy  —  it also uses them to sell its own military products.

Earlier this year, the UN Panel of Experts reported the interception of a shipment of 45 military radios bound for Eritrea. The shipment was sent by a Malaysian-based company called Glocom — which investigators found to be controlled by the North Korean intelligence agency.

Glocom was selling the radios to developing countries at North Korea’s behest — for $8,000 per unit.

READ MORE: U.S. urges UN Security Council to increase economic pressure on North Korea over weapons program

Berger, who is familiar with the Glocom investigation, said the company was “being used to facilitate sales of that technology specifically.”

The combination of such clandestine military deals, the sale of missile technologies and the export of coal and minerals have enabled North Korea to fund its nuclear procurement, the UN report suggested.

The “disco ball” warhead

In March 2016, North Korean state media released photographs of Kim Jong-Un standing in front of what it claimed was a miniaturized nuclear warhead “standardized to be fit for ballistic missiles,” Reuters reported.

The object was silver, shiny and shaped like a giant orb. It was roundly mocked on Twitter for resembling a disco ball.

So you’re saying this new disco ball with old CDs stuck on the side will be more glittery? 

But experts aren’t laughing.

Melissa Hanham, a researcher who analyzes open source data and photos to assess North Korea’s weapons programs, says it’s “plausible” that the object is a working nuclear warhead.

“We can’t see inside it to say, ‘Yes, it is’ or ‘No, it isn’t’ a nuclear warhead,” Hanham told Global News. “But they’ve had five nuclear tests, so it wouldn’t be surprising for them to have that kind of compact warhead by that many tests.

READ MORE: North Korea’s latest missile launch could be 2nd test of new technology, experts say

“I can tell you that we’ve measured it a lot, and it does fit into the payload of many of their missiles.”

Hanham admits it’s bizarre that North Korea would let its Supreme Leader stand so close to the real thing, but points out that “there are other photographs of Kim Jong-Un engaging in really dangerous activities that confuse us as well” — referring to photos of him smoking next to a solid-fuel rocket engine and standing underneath a heavy object dangling from a crane.

A legitimate threat

The purported warhead may have been goofy-looking, but it represented one of many milestones in a ramped-up schedule of North Korean nuclear weapons development over the past year and a half.

“North Korea in 2016 spent a lot of time doing a point-for-point refutation of every major narrative of the things it ‘couldn’t do’ in its nuclear missile program,” Berger says.

“All the developments we’re seeing in the nuclear missile program are deeply serious, and the more we continue to laugh about it, the more North Korea will attempt to demonstrate that it has a credible military program that is making rapid advancement.”

WATCH: Should we be worried about North Korea?

That advancement is the result of over half a century of steadily accumulated scientific know-how and single-minded subterfuge, with North Korea taking advantage of lax regulations and shady foreign partners to hoodwink the international non-proliferation regime.

Berger says China’s “conscious negligence” — in relation to both clamping down on front companies and tightening export controls — has resulted in such a huge flow of illicit goods to North Korea that it would take “an enormous effort” to rein it in at this point.

“The problem we have is enormous policy inertia, and very few good ideas of how to address the situation,” Berger says.

READ MORE: Could North Korea’s nuclear missiles reach Canada?

Hanham agrees. “I think there are probably still opportunities to slow or disrupt their program, but they’ve already crossed a lot of important thresholds that make it unlikely that they will give up their [nuclear] program entirely,” she says.

“North Korea has shown that it’s dedicated to acquiring nuclear weapons, and it’s very hard to stop any country that’s completely dedicated.”

How did North Korea get nuclear weapons?

Story 2: Fed To Start Quantitative Tightening by Selling Its $4,500 Billion Bond Portfolio As U.S. Economic Slows in 2017? — Videos

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Fed will finally wind down historic rescue program

The Federal Reserve is leaving interest rates alone to give the economy room to keep growing.

But the central bank did take historic action on Wednesday: It will begin undoing the extraordinary steps it took to prop up the economy for almost a decade after the financial crisis. The Fed said it would begin shedding some of the $4.5 trillion in investments starting next month.

The announcement marks a milestone in the long recovery from 2008, and reflects confidence by Fed officials that the economy will continue to grow.

Starting in October, the Fed will begin unloading $10 billion of debt from its so-called balance sheet, including $6 billion in Treasury securities and $4 billion in agency debt each month through December.

For years, the central bank piled up purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities, a strategy intended to stimulate the economy by reducing borrowing costs for everyone. At the time, it also reduced its benchmark interest rate to zero, and only began raising it in December 2015, seven year after the crisis.

On Wednesday, the Fed left rates unchanged, hovering between 1% and 1.25%.

Related: The CNNMoney Trump Jobs Tracker

The central bank has raised that rate three times since December as the economy has gradually improved. Raising rates too quickly could risk hobbling the recovery.

Still, the majority of Fed policymakers signaled on Wednesday that they expect to lift rates one more time this year.

Central bankers pointed to signs of strength in the U.S. economy, including a pickup in household spending and growth in business investments, in a statement following the Federal Open Market Committee’s two-day meeting.

“Job gains have remained solid in recent months, and the unemployment rate has stayed low,” the Fed said in a statement.

While Fed officials cautioned that the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria would hold back the U.S. economy in the “near term,” they said the storms would not “materially alter” the country’s economy overall.

“Within a few months, rebuilding activity has typically kicked in, returning economic growth to normal—or maybe even a little higher than normal,” wrote Eric Winograd, AB senior economist in a note. “So, despite the storms, we’re still confident the U.S. economy will keep its momentum, because the foundations are sound.”

Related: Fed Chair Janet Yellen warns – Monitor your credit report!

Some Fed officials have warned against raising interest rates until inflation — which reflects the prices of everything from meat and cheese to houses and cars — meets the goal of 2% that they consider healthy for the economy.

But inflation is still running below that target, even though the job market has picked up and other explanations have fallen away. In a press conference, Fed chair Janet Yellen described it as something of a “mystery.”

In past years, she said the Fed has been able to point to root causes of low inflation: the gap between those employed versus those that aren’t, energy prices and a rising dollar.

“This year’s inflation shortfall is more of a mystery,” Yellen told reporters at the press conference. “I will not say that the committee clearly understands what the causes are.”

Central bankers have been in a bind over when to lift rates again. Inflation has been stubbornly low for years, suggesting the Fed should hold off. But economic growth and low unemployment suggest they should act.

Fed officials cautioned that they do expect inflation to be higher than normal — at least for a little while — following the hurricanes that have devastated Texas, Florida and now Puerto Rico.

“Inflation remains the wild card of Fed policy and the temporary boost to gasoline prices following the hurricanes only clouds the picture further,” said Bankrate.com’s chief financial analyst Greg McBride. “Whether the Fed hikes in December will remain an open question until December.”

Along with one more rate hike this year, the Fed also predicted three more possible moves next year.

“It is too soon for the committee to conclude that the recent slowing in inflation was sufficiently permanent to alter the Fed’s plans,” Michael Gapen, a Barclay’s analyst wrote in a research note.

The Fed said it continues to expect inflation to remain at 1.6%, below its target, and the unemployment rate to be 4.3%, based on its updated economic projections.

The central bank did, however, offer a rosier picture of the overall economy, upping its economic growth forecast to 2.4% from 2.2%.

Yellen again declined to address speculation about whether President Trump will nominate her for a second four-year term leading the Fed. Her first term ends in February.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/20/investing/federal-reserve-janet-yellen/index.html

Fed prepares to cut $4.5 trillion portfolio: What it means
By Matthew Rocco Published July 12, 2017 The Fed FOXBusiness Opens a New Window.

USA-FED/ The Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will be on Capitol Hill for two days of congressional testimony starting Wednesday, and investors will be closely watching the proceedings for any clues about the central bank’s plans to shrink its securities portfolio.

The Fed has begun to pave the way toward cutting its balance sheet, which grew from about $1 trillion to $4.5 trillion in five years. The large increase is the result of an aggressive bond-buying stimulus program known as quantitative easing. The program was implemented to keep interest rates low and support a collapsed housing market. Since December 2015, the Fed has gradually raised the benchmark fed funds rate from near zero amid an improved labor market and U.S. economy. But its large portfolio of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities has remained in place.

With officials phasing out its crisis-era monetary policies, the Fed is now discussing a timeline to start winding down its portfolio to about half its current size.

“[The Fed] is in uncharted territory. They’ll be very cautious because they are committed to reducing interest rates and reducing the balance sheet. The first foray will be fairly limited,” said Nariman Behravesh, IHS Markit’s chief economist.

Investors have mostly prepared themselves for the Fed’s next move by anticipating an increase in interest rates. If anything, the Fed tends to “do less than the market expected,” Behravesh added.

“I think the good thing is the Fed is raising rates in an environment that’s not gangbusters, but it’s decent. Rates will go up, no question, but if they go gradually, it won’t do a great amount of damage to the economy,” he said, noting that the fed funds rate remains historically low. “Monetary policy is becoming tighter, but at the end of next year, it still won’t be tight.”

Fed members have already decided on a plan of action. Currently, the Fed purchases new bonds to replace the ones that come due. Once it starts the clock, the central bank will allow bonds to mature and roll off its balance sheet.

At their June policy-setting meeting, members of the Federal Open Market Committee set up a plan to shed as much as $6 billion worth of government bonds and $4 billion in mortgage-backed securities each month as a starting point. The Fed would raise the amount every quarter, eventually hitting a cap of $30 billion in Treasury and $20 billion in mortgage bonds per month.

Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen holds a news conference after the Fed released its monetary policy decisions in Washington, U.S., June 14, 2017. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTS1750PExpand / Contract
Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen holds a news conference after the Fed released its monetary policy decisions in Washington, U.S., June 14. (Joshua Roberts / Reuters)
Demand for bonds will weaken once the Fed stays on the sidelines, thus lowering prices and forcing interest rates to climb. (Bond yields move in the opposite direction as prices.) The magnitude of that rate increase will depend on how gradually the Fed sells off its holdings, Behravesh explained.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield has declined about 0.081 percentage points since the start of the year, hitting 2.36% in recent trading.

As for when the Fed will kick off the process, several officials prefer to “announce a start to the process within a couple of months,” according to minutes of their June meeting Opens a New Window. . Others believed that a decision later in 2017 would give the Fed more time to study inflation, which has fallen short of the central bank’s target, and U.S. economic activity.

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The general consensus is that the Fed will make an announcement in September. In her prepared remarks to Congress Opens a New Window. , Yellen affirmed that the Fed will “likely” implement the program this year, as long as the economy “evolves broadly as anticipated.”
“We do not intend to use the balance sheet as an active tool for monetary policy in normal times,” Yellen said, adding that the Fed is prepared to “resume reinvestments” if it sees a deterioration in the economic outlook.

No matter when the Fed begins to shrink its portfolio, economists expect it to move in the same way it raises interest rates: slowly.

“It’s hard to tell how slowly they are going to go,” Behravesh said, but the Fed is determined to move one step at a time. The impact on the financial and housing markets isn’t fully clear, and the Fed plans to raise the fed funds rate at the same time it dumps assets.

In June, the Fed raised the fed funds rate another quarter of a percentage point to a range of 1% to 1.25%. The next rate hike is expected in December.

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2017/07/12/fed-prepares-to-cut-4-5-trillion-portfolio-what-it-means.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 967, September 19, 2017, Story 1: President Trump United Nations Speech Names North Korea and Iran As Threats to World Peace and Critical of Those Nations (China) Who Trade With Them –Totally Destroy North Korea And The Rocket Man Mr. Kim — Videos — Story 2: Major 7.1 Richter Scale Killer Earthquake Hits Central Mexico — 76 Miles Southwest of Mexico City Centered in Puebla state town of Raboso,  — Damages and Collapses Buildings — Over 150 Deaths — Videos — Story 3: Category 5 Hurricane Marie With Sustained Winds of 165 Miles Per Hour and Wind Gust 195 MPH Hits Puerto Rico, British and American Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 964, September 14, 2017

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Image result for president trump addresses the united nationsThe earthquake struck 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles

 

NASA News, Sep 19, 2017

 

Story 1: President Trump United Nations Speech Names North Korea and Iran As Threats to World Peace and Critical of Those Nations (China) Who Trade With Them — Totally Destroy North Korea And The Rocket Man Mr. Kim — Videos —

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Image result for branco cartoons rocket man kim jung un

 

Trump On North Korea: ‘Rocket Man Is On A Suicide Mission’

President Donald Trump‘s first address to the United Nations General Assembly was marked by tough talk for North Korea and Iran.

The president referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as “rocket man” and threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” if the United States is forced to defend itself or allies against the North’s aggression.

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said Tuesday. “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.”

The UN secretary general warned UN members Tuesday morning that the threat of a nuclear attack is at its highest level since the end of the Cold War, and that fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.

At the Pentagon, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis was asked about the president’s new nickname for Kim Jong Un.

“We’re dealing with the North Korea situation through the international processes, and we will continue to do so with Secretary Tillerson leading the effort,” he said. “We will hopefully get this resolved through diplomatic means.”

Trump also slammed the Iranian government, calling it an “economically depleted rogue state” whose chief export is violence.

Questioning the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Trump said the world cannot allow the “murderous regime” to continue its destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles. He added world leaders “cannot abide” by the agreement if it “provides cover” for Iran to eventually build its nuclear program.

“The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me. It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction,” Trump said.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that scrapping the deal would be a big mistake.

“I think that it’s better than nothing,” he said.

Iran’s president hasn’t given any specifics about how the country would react to a withdrawal.

“Given that Mr. Trump’s reactions and actions and policies are somewhat unpredictable, we have had long thought and discussions about our reactions,” President Hassan Rouhani said.

During his more than 40-minute inaugural address to the UN General Assembly, Trump said that he will “always put America first” and the U.S. can no longer be taken advantage of in its dealings around the globe.

Trump said he will “defend America’s interests above all else.” He says the U.S. will “forever be a great friend to the world,” including its allies, but the U.S. can no longer be taken advantage of and get nothing in return.

But Trump said that UN member states should unite to face global dangers, and rallied other countries to do their part in solving global issues, including sharing the burden of fighting terrorism.

“We live in a time of extraordinary opportunity… but each day also brings news of growing dangers that threaten everything we cherish and value,” Trump said. “Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet. Rogue regimes represented in this body not only support terrorists but threaten other nations and their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity.”

“To put it simply, we meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril,” Trump said. “It is entirely up to us whether we lift the world to new heights or let it fall into a valley of disrepair.”

The president talked tough on terror saying “it is time to expose and hold responsible” nations that provide funding and safe harbor to terror groups. He says all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and “the Islamic extremist that inspires them.”

“We will stop radical Islamic terrorism, because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation and, indeed, to tear up the entire world,” said the president.

The leaders of Russia and China, among others, were not in attendance. Trump did not mention Russia in his speech, but he will meet with Russia’s foreign minister and host a reception for UN leaders Tuesday night.

After his address, Trump went to a luncheon where he gave a toast, admittedly calling himself a critic of the UN for years.

“To the potential — the great, great potential — of the United Nations. Thank you all for being here,” he said.

More: UN General Assembly Street Closures

In his first appearance at the United Nations on Monday, Trump made a call for sweeping reforms.

“In recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement,” Trump said.

The U.S. is the UN’s largest contributor, paying at least 25 percent of the operating budget. The president encouraged other nations to consider joining in, reviewing the UN’s spending and efficiency.

“I think the main message is ‘Make the United Nations great,’ not again, ‘Make the United Nations great.’ Such tremendous potential and I think we’ll be able to do this,” Trump said.

“Major portions of the world are in conflict and some in fact are going to hell, but the powerful people in this room, under the guidance and auspices of the United Nations can solve many of these vicious and complex problems,” Trump said. “The American people hope that one day soon the United Nations can be a much more accountable and effective advocate for human dignity and freedom around the world.”

North Korea was a major conversation point in Monday’s phone call with China’s president. Trump also met with French President Emanuel Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu focused on Iran.

Dinner with Latin American leaders was centered around trade and instability in Venezuela, which Trump addressed during his speech Tuesday.

“The Venezuelan people are starving, and their country is collapsing, their Democratic institutions are being destroyed,” Trump said. “This situation is completely unacceptable and we cannot stand by and watch. As a responsible neighbor and friend, we and all others have a goal — that goal is to help them regain their freedom, recover their country and restore their democracy.”

Trump accused its President Nicolas Maduro of stealing power from elected representatives to preserve his “disastrous rule.”

There is no sign that Trump will falter on his choice to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord unless it is renegotiated, which will likely be a major topic this week.

Trump On North Korea: ‘Rocket Man Is On A Suicide Mission’

Story 2: Major 7.1 Richter Scale Killer Earthquake Hits Central Mexico — 76 Miles Southwest of Mexico City Centered in Puebla state town of Raboso,  — Damages and Collapses Buildings — Over 150 Deaths — Videos —

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LIVE 🔴 Mexico 7.1 Earthquake 🔴 LIVE COVERAGE Hurricane MARIA Tracking CATEGORY 5 UPDATES 24/7

Crisis in Mexico’s MEGACITY

 

Mexico City hit by deadly 7.1 magnitude earthquake on anniversary of 1985 disaster

Rescuers search through rubble after the city is struck on the anniversary of a 1985 quake that killed thousands of people.

Rescuers frantically try to move rubble after the 7.1 magnitude quake
Image:Rescuers frantically try to move rubble after the 7.1 magnitude quake 

A major earthquake has struck central Mexico, with reports that at least 134 people have been killed and thousands forced on to the streets.

Panicked workers fled from office buildings and clouds of dust rose up from the crumbling facades of damaged buildings after the 7.1 magnitude quake struck.

The tremors came hours after preparation drills were held on the anniversary of a devastating 1985 earthquake that killed more than 5,000 people in the city.

Police try to clear the area around a collapsed building in Mexico City
Image:Police try to clear the area around a collapsed building in Mexico City

At least 30 people had died in the capital, while there were reports of people trapped in collapsed and burning buildings and local TV footage showed rescuers frantically trying to dig into rubble with pickaxes.

Speaking minutes after the earthquake struck, resident Georgina Sanchez sobbed: “I’m so worried. I can’t stop crying. It’s the same nightmare as in 1985.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BZO_UM9lvbH/embed/?cr=1&v=7&wp=538#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A314.25000000000006%7D

Gala Dluzhynska said she was taking a class with 11 other women on the second floor of a building in the fashionable Alvaro Obregon street area when window and ceiling panels fell as the building began to tear apart.

She said she fell in the stairs and people began to walk over her, before someone finally pulled her up.

“There were no stairs anymore. There were rocks,” she said.

Rescuers, firefighters, policemen, soldiers and volunteers remove rubble and debris from a flattened building in search of survivors after a powerful quake in Mexico City on September 19, 2017
Image:Firefighters, police, soldiers and volunteers have come together in an effort to rescue survivors

The US Geological Survey said the quake was centred near Raboso in Puebla state, 76 miles (123km) southeast of Mexico City.

A civil protection official in Puebla said two people had been killed after a school collapsed, while Mexico state’s governor confirmed eight deaths, including a quarry worker killed by a rockslide and another victim hit by a falling lamppost.

Officials asked people not to smoke in the streets of Mexico City – which has a population of 20 million – warning of possible ruptured gas pipes.

Mexico City International Airport suspended operations, while electricity and phone lines were down in parts of the capital.

“We got out really fast, leaving everything as it was and just left,” said Rosaura Suarez, as she stood with a crowd on the street.

Alfredo Aguilar, 43, said the quake was “really strong – buildings started to move”.

He added that he saw a woman fainting as “people started to run.”

Rescuers display a placard reading 'Silence' as they hurry to free possible victims out of the rubble of a collapsed building after a quake rattled Mexico City on September 19, 2017
Image:Rescuers call for ‘Silence’ as they try to find victims in the rubble

The earthquake came less than two weeks after an 8.1 magnitude tremor in southern Mexico killed at least 98 people.

Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto was on a flight to Oaxaca – one of the areas hardest hit by the previous quake – on Tuesday.

He tweeted that he would be returning to Mexico City as soon as possible to deal with the emergency.

http://news.sky.com/story/mexico-city-hit-by-71-magnitude-earthquake-on-anniversary-of-1985-disaster-11043859

 

At least five dead’ after 7.1-magnitude earthquake rocks Mexico City – shaking buildings and sending people fleeing into the street

  • Tremor hit hours after emergency drills around the nation on the anniversary of another devastating quake
  • Horrifying images coming out of country’s capital show rubble and chunks of buildings strewn across roads
  • Local resident Georgina Sanchez said: ‘I’m so worried. I can’t stop crying. It’s the same nightmare as in 1985’

At least five people are dead after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit Mexico leaving buildings shaking and sending people fleeing into the street.

The tremor hit just hours after emergency drills around the nation on the anniversary of another devastating quake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985.

Today’s quake hit 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles, the US Geological Survey said.

Horrifying images coming out of the country’s capital show rubble strewn across roads and enormous chunks of collapsed buildings laying on the ground with hundreds of terrified locals fleeing onto the streets.

As structures fell around her, local resident Georgina Sanchez, 52, said: ‘I’m so worried. I can’t stop crying. It’s the same nightmare as in 1985.’

It comes just days after a powerful 8.1 quake hit Mexico killing at least 98 people.

At least five people are dead after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit Mexico leaving buildings shaking and sending people fleeing into the street.

The tremor hit just hours after emergency drills around the nation on the anniversary of another devastating quake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985.

Today’s quake hit 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles, the US Geological Survey said.

Horrifying images coming out of the country’s capital show rubble strewn across roads and enormous chunks of collapsed buildings laying on the ground with hundreds of terrified locals fleeing onto the streets.

As structures fell around her, local resident Georgina Sanchez, 52, said: ‘I’m so worried. I can’t stop crying. It’s the same nightmare as in 1985.’

It comes just days after a powerful 8.1 quake hit Mexico killing at least 98 people.

Horrifying images coming out of the country's capital show rubble strewn across roads and enormous chunks of collapsed buildings laying on the ground with hundreds of terrified locals fleeing onto the streets

This car was left crushed under falling debris during the 7.1-magnitude earthquake

Hospital patients who were evacuated from wards were taken outside in their beds as a safety precaution

As structures fell around her, local resident Georgina Sanchez, 52, said: 'I'm so worried. I can't stop crying. It's the same nightmare as in 1985'

Rescuers are seen working through piles of debris in Mexico City with the help of bystanders

Rescuers are seen working through piles of debris in Mexico City with the help of bystanders

In the capital Mexico City, thousands of people streamed out of buildings into the streets in a panic filling the plaza around the Independence Monument with a mass of people.

Traffic came to a standstill as masses of workers blocked streets while clouds of dust rose from fallen facades.

Office workers were also seen hugging each other to calm themselves.

In the city’s Roma neighborhood small piles of stucco and brick fallen from building facades littered the streets.

Panic in Mexico City as 7.1 earthquake hits capital

The tremor hit just hours after emergency drills around the nation on the anniversary of a devastating quake that killed thousands in Mexico City in 1985

Locals are pictured clearing debris from the earthquake which left dozens of buildings collapsed - with metal and concrete sent falling to the ground

Clouds of dust rose from fallen facades following the dramatic tremor which sent panic throughout the capital city's 20million inhabitants

The impact of the quake ripped buildings to pieces with materials torn from structures by the force of the tremor

Two men calmed a woman, blood trickling form a small wound on her knee, seated on a stool in the street, telling her to breathe deeply.

Lazaro Frutis, a 45-year-old who escaped an office building before it crumpled to the ground, said: ‘We ran outside thinking all was going to collapse around us.

‘The worst thing is, we don’t know about our families or anything.’

At a nearby market, a worker in a hard hat walked around the outside of the building, warning people not to smoke as a smell of cooking gas filled the air.

The earthquake struck 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles

The earthquake struck 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles

It comes just days after a powerful 8.1 quake hit Mexico killing at least 98 people. Locals are pictured helping a woman during today's incident

It comes just days after a powerful 8.1 quake hit Mexico killing at least 98 people. Locals are pictured helping a woman during today’s incident

Office workers huddle as major earthquake shakes Mexico City

Market stall vendor Edith Lopez, 25, was caught up in the quake and said she saw glass bursting out of the windows of some buildings.

Mexico City’s international airport suspended operations with personnel checking the structures for damage. It is not immediately clear how many flights have been affected.

Earlier this month, an 8.1 magnitude quake struck off the coast of Chiapas killing at least 98 people.

Streams of smoke were seen streaming from piles of collapsed buildings in the capital Mexico City

Streams of smoke were seen streaming from piles of collapsed buildings in the capital Mexico City

Mexicans were left shocked as the quake struck just hours after emergency drills

The hardest-hit area was Juchitan, Oaxaca, where a third of the city’s homes collapsed or were uninhabitable.

The remains of brick walls and clay tile roofs cluttered streets as families dragged mattresses on to pavements to spend another anxious night sleeping outdoors.

Members of the ‘Topos’ (Moles) specialised rescue team dug through piles of debris looking for folk’s loved ones and hoping to find some that were still alive.

People fled for their lives after the earthquake struck the capital Mexico City

People fled for their lives after the earthquake struck the capital Mexico City

Today's quake hit 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles, the US Geological Survey said

Today’s quake hit 5 miles southeast of Atencingo in the central state of Puebla at a depth of 32 miles, the US Geological Survey said

Soldiers of the Army and Navy also joined in on the search and rescue, hoping to locate the bodies still missing in the wreckage.

Pena Nieto declared three days of national mourning when he first broke numbers on the deaths associated with the earthquake

The epicenter of the earthquake was 123km southwest of the town of Pijijiapan.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4900334/Strong-7-4-quake-hits-Mexico-anniversary-deadly-1985-tremor.html#ixzz4tA0OWmRB

 

Mexico City airport suspends operations following 7.1 magnitude earthquake

MGN
By Associated Press |
 
MEXICO CITY (AP) – The Latest on the strong earthquake that hit Mexico City (all times local):

2:55 a.m.

Mexico City’s international airport says it has suspended operations due to the magnitude 7.1 quake that shook the central part of the country.

The airport says in a tweet that airport personnel are checking the structures for damage. It’s not immediately clear how many flights have been affected.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

2:45 p.m.

Mexican television stations are showing dramatic images a several story building collapsing following a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that rattled the center of the country. It was unclear if people were inside the building.

Numerous other buildings collapsed or suffered serious damage across central Mexico in Tuesday’s quake.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.1 and was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

2:20 p.m.

Mexican television stations are broadcasting images of collapsed buildings in heavily populated parts of the city following Tuesday’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake. Televisa broadcast images of a plume of smoke rising from one large structure.

One of the collapsed buildings is a large parking garage alongside a hospital.

There are no immediate reports on casualties.

___

2:10 p.m.

Puebla Gov. Tony Gali says buildings have been damaged in his state in central Mexico by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake.

Gali said on his official Twitter account that “we will continue reviewing” damages and urged people to follow emergency procedures.

“What we have reports of is material damage … we have no reports of deaths so far,” tweeted Puebla Interior Secretary Diodoro Carrasco.

He said the towers of some churches have fallen in the city of Cholula, which is famous for its many churches.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.1 and was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

2 p.m.

On Mexico City’s main boulevard, thousands of people streamed out of buildings into the streets in a panic, filling the plaza around the Independence Monument with a mass of people.

Office workers hugged each other to calm themselves.

In the city’s Roma neighborhood, which was struck hard by the 85 quake, small piles of stucco and brick fallen from building facades littered the streets.

Two men calmed a woman, blood trickling form a small wound on her knee, seated on a stool in the street, telling her to breathe deeply.

At a nearby market, a worker in a hard hat walked around the outside of the building, warning people not to smoke as a smell of cooking gas filled the air.

Market stall vendor Edith Lopez, 25, had been in a taxi a few blocks away when the quake struck. She said she saw glass bursting out of the windows of some buildings.

1:50 p.m.

Buildings have been seriously damaged in Mexico City after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook central Mexico.

Local television stations broadcast images of collapsed facades and streets filled with rubble.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

___

1:35 p.m.

The U.S. Geological Survey says it calculates the earthquake that struck central Mexico as magnitude 7.1

It says the epicenter was near the town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

Mexico’s seismological agency calculated its preliminary magnitude at 6.8 and said its center was east of the city in the state of Puebla.

Earlier in the day buildings across the city held preparation drills on the anniversary of the 1985 quake.

http://www.ktuu.com/content/news/UPDATE-Buildings-collapse-following-71-magnitude-earthquake-in-Mexico-445804783.html

Richter magnitude scale

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Richter magnitude scale (ML, also Richter scale) assigns a magnitude number to quantify the size of an earthquake. The Richter scale, developed in the 1930s, is a base-10logarithmic scale, which defines magnitude as the logarithm of the ratio of the amplitude of the seismic waves to an arbitrary, minor amplitude, as recorded on a standardized seismograph at a standard distance.

As measured with a seismometer, an earthquake that registers 5.0 on the Richter scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times greater than an earthquake that registered 4.0 at the same distance. As energy release is generally proportional to the shaking amplitude raised to the 32 power, an increase of 1 magnitude corresponds to a release of energy 31.6 times that released by the lesser earthquake.[1] This means that, for instance, an earthquake of magnitude 5 releases 31.6 times as much energy as an earthquake of magnitude 4.

The Richter scale built on the previous, more subjective Mercalli intensity scale by offering a quantifiable measure of an earthquake’s size.[2]

In the United States, the Richter scale was succeeded in the 1970s by the moment magnitude scale. The moment magnitude is currently used by the US Geological Survey to describe magnitudes for all earthquakes.[3]

Development

In 1935, seismologistsCharles Francis Richter and Beno Gutenberg of the California Institute of Technology developed a scale, later dubbed the Richter magnitude scale, for computing the magnitude of earthquakes, specifically those recorded and measured with the Wood-Anderson torsion seismograph in a particular area of California. Originally, Richter reported mathematical values to the nearest quarter of a unit, but the values later were reported with one decimal place; the local magnitude scale compared the magnitudes of different earthquakes.[1] Richter derived his earthquake-magnitude scale from the apparent magnitude scale used to measure the brightness of stars.[4]

Richter established a magnitude 0 event to be an earthquake that would show a maximum, combined horizontal displacement of 1.0 µm (3.9×10−5 in) on a seismogram recorded with a Wood-Anderson torsion seismograph 100 km (62 mi) from the earthquake epicenter. That fixed measure was chosen to avoid negative values for magnitude, given that the slightest earthquakes that could be recorded and located at the time were around magnitude 3.0. The Richter magnitude scale itself has no lower limit, and contemporary seismometers can register, record, and measure earthquakes with negative magnitudes.

{\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L} (local magnitude) was not designed to be applied to data with distances to the hypocenter of the earthquake that were greater than 600 km (370 mi).[3] For national and local seismological observatories, the standard magnitude scale in the 21st century is still {\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L}. However, this scale cannot measure magnitudes above about {\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L} = 7,[5] because the high frequency waves recorded locally have wavelengths shorter than the rupture lengths[clarification needed] of large earthquakes.

Later, to express the size of earthquakes around the planet, Gutenberg and Richter developed a surface wave magnitude scale ({\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}}) and a body wave magnitude scale ({\displaystyle M_{\text{b}}}M_\text{b}).[6] These are types of waves that are recorded at teleseismicdistances. The two scales were adjusted such that they were consistent with the {\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L} scale. That adjustment succeeded better with the {\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}} scale than with the {\displaystyle M_{\text{b}}}M_\text{b} scale. Each scale saturates when the earthquake is greater than magnitude 8.0.

Because of this, researchers in the 1970s developed the moment magnitude scale ({\displaystyle M_{\text{w}}}M_\text{w}). The older magnitude-scales were superseded by methods for calculating the seismic moment, from which was derived the moment magnitude scale.

About the origins of the Richter magnitude scale, C.F. Richter said:

I found a [1928] paper by Professor K. Wadati of Japan in which he compared large earthquakes by plotting the maximum ground motion against [the] distance to the epicenter. I tried a similar procedure for our stations, but the range between the largest and smallest magnitudes seemed unmanageably large. Dr. Beno Gutenberg then made the natural suggestion to plot the amplitudes logarithmically. I was lucky, because logarithmic plots are a device of the devil.

Details

The Richter scale was defined in 1935 for particular circumstances and instruments; the particular circumstances refer to it being defined for Southern California and “implicitly incorporates the attenuative properties of Southern California crust and mantle.”[7] The particular instrument used would become saturated by strong earthquakes and unable to record high values. The scale was replaced in the 1970s by the moment magnitude scale (MMS, symbol Mw); for earthquakes adequately measured by the Richter scale, numerical values are approximately the same. Although values measured for earthquakes now are {\displaystyle M_{w}}M_{w} (MMS), they are frequently reported by the press as Richter values, even for earthquakes of magnitude over 8, when the Richter scale becomes meaningless. Anything above 5 is classified as a risk by the USGS.[citation needed]

The Richter and MMS scales measure the energy released by an earthquake; another scale, the Mercalli intensity scale, classifies earthquakes by their effects, from detectable by instruments but not noticeable, to catastrophic. The energy and effects are not necessarily strongly correlated; a shallow earthquake in a populated area with soil of certain types can be far more intense in effects than a much more energetic deep earthquake in an isolated area.

Several scales have historically been described as the “Richter scale”, especially the local magnitude{\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L} and the surface wave {\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}} scale. In addition, the body wave magnitude{\displaystyle m_{\text{b}}}m_\text{b}, and the moment magnitude{\displaystyle M_{\text{w}}}M_\text{w}, abbreviated MMS, have been widely used for decades. A couple of new techniques to measure magnitude are in the development stage by seismologists.

All magnitude scales have been designed to give numerically similar results. This goal has been achieved well for {\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L}{\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}}, and {\displaystyle M_{\text{w}}}M_\text{w}.[2][8] The {\displaystyle m_{\text{b}}}m_\text{b} scale gives somewhat different values than the other scales. The reason for so many different ways to measure the same thing is that at different distances, for different hypocentral depths, and for different earthquake sizes, the amplitudes of different types of elastic waves must be measured.

{\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L} is the scale used for the majority of earthquakes reported (tens of thousands) by local and regional seismological observatories. For large earthquakes worldwide, the moment magnitude scale (MMS) is most common, although {\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}} is also reported frequently.

The seismic moment{\displaystyle M_{o}}M_o, is proportional to the area of the rupture times the average slip that took place in the earthquake, thus it measures the physical size of the event. {\displaystyle M_{\text{w}}}M_\text{w} is derived from it empirically as a quantity without units, just a number designed to conform to the {\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}} scale.[9] A spectral analysis is required to obtain {\displaystyle M_{o}}M_o, whereas the other magnitudes are derived from a simple measurement of the amplitude of a specifically defined wave.

All scales, except {\displaystyle M_{\text{w}}}M_\text{w}, saturate for large earthquakes, meaning they are based on the amplitudes of waves which have a wavelength shorter than the rupture length of the earthquakes. These short waves (high frequency waves) are too short a yardstick to measure the extent of the event. The resulting effective upper limit of measurement for {\displaystyle M_{L}}M_L is about 7[5] and about 8.5[5] for {\displaystyle M_{\text{s}}}M_{\text{s}}.[10]

New techniques to avoid the saturation problem and to measure magnitudes rapidly for very large earthquakes are being developed. One of these is based on the long period P-wave;[11] the other is based on a recently discovered channel wave.[12]

The energy release of an earthquake,[13] which closely correlates to its destructive power, scales with the 32 power of the shaking amplitude. Thus, a difference in magnitude of 1.0 is equivalent to a factor of 31.6 ({\displaystyle =({10^{1.0}})^{(3/2)}}=({10^{1.0}})^{(3/2)}) in the energy released; a difference in magnitude of 2.0 is equivalent to a factor of 1000 ({\displaystyle =({10^{2.0}})^{(3/2)}}=({10^{2.0}})^{(3/2)}) in the energy released.[14] The elastic energy radiated is best derived from an integration of the radiated spectrum, but an estimate can be based on {\displaystyle m_{\text{b}}}m_\text{b} because most energy is carried by the high frequency waves.

Richter magnitudes

Earthquake severity.jpg

The Richter magnitude of an earthquake is determined from the logarithm of the amplitude of waves recorded by seismographs (adjustments are included to compensate for the variation in the distance between the various seismographs and the epicenter of the earthquake). The original formula is:[15]

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A-\log _{10}A_{\mathrm {0} }(\delta )=\log _{10}[A/A_{\mathrm {0} }(\delta )],\ }M_\mathrm{L} = \log_{10} A - \log_{10} A_\mathrm{0}(\delta) = \log_{10} [A / A_\mathrm{0}(\delta)],\

where A is the maximum excursion of the Wood-Anderson seismograph, the empirical function A0 depends only on the epicentral distance of the station, {\displaystyle \delta }\delta . In practice, readings from all observing stations are averaged after adjustment with station-specific corrections to obtain the {\displaystyle M_{\text{L}}}M_\text{L} value.

Because of the logarithmic basis of the scale, each whole number increase in magnitude represents a tenfold increase in measured amplitude; in terms of energy, each whole number increase corresponds to an increase of about 31.6 times the amount of energy released, and each increase of 0.2 corresponds to a doubling of the energy released.

Events with magnitudes greater than 4.5 are strong enough to be recorded by a seismograph anywhere in the world, so long as its sensors are not located in the earthquake’s shadow.

The following describes the typical effects of earthquakes of various magnitudes near the epicenter. The values are typical only. They should be taken with extreme caution, since intensity and thus ground effects depend not only on the magnitude, but also on the distance to the epicenter, the depth of the earthquake’s focus beneath the epicenter, the location of the epicenter and geological conditions (certain terrains can amplify seismic signals).

Magnitude Description Mercalli intensity Average earthquake effects Average frequency of occurrence (estimated)
1.0–1.9 Micro I Microearthquakes, not felt, or felt rarely. Recorded by seismographs.[16] Continual/several million per year
2.0–2.9 Minor I to II Felt slightly by some people. No damage to buildings. Over one million per year
3.0–3.9 III to IV Often felt by people, but very rarely causes damage. Shaking of indoor objects can be noticeable. Over 100,000 per year
4.0–4.9 Light IV to VI Noticeable shaking of indoor objects and rattling noises. Felt by most people in the affected area. Slightly felt outside. Generally causes none to minimal damage. Moderate to significant damage very unlikely. Some objects may fall off shelves or be knocked over. 10,000 to 15,000 per year
5.0–5.9 Moderate VI to VII Can cause damage of varying severity to poorly constructed buildings. At most, none to slight damage to all other buildings. Felt by everyone. 1,000 to 1,500 per year
6.0–6.9 Strong VIII to X Damage to a moderate number of well-built structures in populated areas. Earthquake-resistant structures survive with slight to moderate damage. Poorly designed structures receive moderate to severe damage. Felt in wider areas; up to hundreds of miles/kilometers from the epicenter. Strong to violent shaking in epicentral area. 100 to 150 per year
7.0–7.9 Major X or greater[17] Causes damage to most buildings, some to partially or completely collapse or receive severe damage. Well-designed structures are likely to receive damage. Felt across great distances with major damage mostly limited to 250 km from epicenter. 10 to 20 per year
8.0–8.9 Great Major damage to buildings, structures likely to be destroyed. Will cause moderate to heavy damage to sturdy or earthquake-resistant buildings. Damaging in large areas. Felt in extremely large regions. One per year
9.0 and greater At or near total destruction – severe damage or collapse to all buildings. Heavy damage and shaking extends to distant locations. Permanent changes in ground topography. One per 10 to 50 years

(Based on U.S. Geological Survey documents.)[18]

The intensity and death toll depend on several factors (earthquake depth, epicenter location, population density, to name a few) and can vary widely.

Minor earthquakes occur every day and hour. On the other hand, great earthquakes occur once a year, on average. The largest recorded earthquake was the Great Chilean earthquake of May 22, 1960, which had a magnitude of 9.5 on the moment magnitude scale.[19]The larger the magnitude, the less frequently the earthquake happens.

Beyond 9.5, while extremely strong earthquakes are theoretically possible, the energies involved rapidly make such earthquakes on Earth effectively impossible without an extremely destructive source of external energy. For example, the asteroid impact that created the Chicxulub crater and caused the mass extinction that may have killed the dinosaurs has been estimated as causing a magnitude 13 earthquake (see below), while a magnitude 15 earthquake could destroy the Earth completely.[citation needed] Seismologist Susan Hough has suggested that 10 may represent a very approximate upper limit, as the effect if the largest known continuous belt of faults ruptured together (along the Pacific coast of the Americas).[20]

Energy release equivalents

The following table lists the approximate energy equivalents in terms of TNT explosive force – though note that the earthquake energy is released underground rather than overground.[21] Most energy from an earthquake is not transmitted to and through the surface; instead, it dissipates into the crust and other subsurface structures. In contrast, a small atomic bomb blast (see nuclear weapon yield) will cause only light shaking of indoor items, since its energy is released above ground.

Approximate magnitude Approximate TNT equivalent for
seismic energy yield
Joule equivalent Example
0.0 15 g 63 kJ
0.2 30 g 130 kJ Large hand grenade
1.5 2.7 kg 11 MJ Seismic impact of typical small construction blast
2.1 21 kg 89 MJ West fertilizer plant explosion[22]
3.0 480 kg 2.0 GJ Oklahoma City bombing, 1995
3.5 2.7 metric tons 11 GJ PEPCON fuel plant explosion, Henderson, Nevada, 1988
3.87 9.5 metric tons 40 GJ Explosion at Chernobyl nuclear power plant, 1986
3.91 11 metric tons 46 GJ Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb
6.0 15 kilotons 63 TJ Approximate yield of the Little Boy atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima (~16 kt)
7.9 10.7 megatons 45 PJ Tunguska event
8.35 50 megatons 210 PJ Tsar Bomba—Largest thermonuclear weapon ever tested. Most of the energy was dissipated in the atmosphere. The seismic shock was estimated at 5.0–5.2[23]
9.15 800 megatons 3.3 EJ Toba eruption 75,000 years ago; among the largest known volcanic events.[24]
13.0 100 teratons 420 ZJ Yucatán Peninsula impact (creating Chicxulub crater) 65 Ma ago (108 megatons; over 4×1029 ergs = 400 ZJ).[25][26][27][28][29]

Magnitude empirical formulae

These formulae for Richter magnitude {\displaystyle \textstyle M_{\mathrm {L} }}{\displaystyle \textstyle M_{\mathrm {L} }} are alternatives to using Richter correlation tables based on Richter standard seismic event ({\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }}M_{\mathrm {L} }=0, A=0.001mm, D=100 km). Below, {\displaystyle \textstyle \Delta }\textstyle \Delta  is the epicentral distance (in kilometers unless otherwise specified).

The Lillie empirical formula:

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A-2.48+2.76\log _{10}\Delta ,}{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A-2.48+2.76\log _{10}\Delta ,}

Where {\displaystyle A}A is the amplitude (maximum ground displacement) of the P-wave, in micrometers, measured at 0.8 Hz.

For distances {\displaystyle D}D less than 200 km,

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A+1.6\log _{10}D-0.15,}{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A+1.6\log _{10}D-0.15,}

and for distances between 200 km and 600 km,

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A+3.0\log _{10}D-3.38,}{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A+3.0\log _{10}D-3.38,}

where {\displaystyle A}A is seismograph signal amplitude in mm and {\displaystyle D}D is in km.

The Bisztricsany (1958) empirical formula for epicentral distances between 4˚ to 160˚:[30]

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=2.92+2.25\log _{10}(\tau )-0.001\Delta ^{\circ },}{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=2.92+2.25\log _{10}(\tau )-0.001\Delta ^{\circ },}

Where {\displaystyle \tau }\tau  is the duration of the surface wave in seconds, and {\displaystyle \Delta }\Delta  is in degrees. {\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }}M_{\mathrm {L} } is mainly between 5 and 8.

The Tsumura empirical formula:[30]

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=-2.53+2.85\log _{10}(F-P)+0.0014\Delta ^{\circ }}M_\mathrm{L} = -2.53 + 2.85 \log_{10} (F-P) + 0.0014 \Delta^{\circ}

Where {\displaystyle F-P}F-P is the total duration of oscillation in seconds. {\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }}M_{\mathrm {L} } is mainly between 3 and 5.

The Tsuboi, University of Tokyo, empirical formula:

{\displaystyle M_{\mathrm {L} }=\log _{10}A+1.73\log _{10}\Delta -0.83}M_\mathrm{L} = \log_{10}A + 1.73\log_{10}\Delta - 0.83

Where {\displaystyle A}A is the amplitude in micrometers.

See also

References

Story 3: Category 5 Hurricane Marie With Sustained Winds of 165 Miles Per Hour Gust 195 MPH Hits Puerto Rico, British and American Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe — Videos

Hurricane Maria is Crazy Powerful. Puerto Rico Bracing!

Cat 5 Hurricane Aimed at Puerto Rico

Bob Henson discusses the path of Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria could be the worst ever for Puerto Rico, meteorologist says

Hurricane Maria Hits Puerto Rico British Virgin Islands Dominica Dominican Republic Guadeloupe 9/19

Rep. Luis Gutierrez on Category 5 Hurricane Maria Barreling Toward Puerto Rico

Live Now Hurricane Maria Category 5 Trash Guadeloupe & Dominica With High Speed Winds (Sep 19, 2017)

CATEGORY 5 ~ HURRICANE MARIA HITS DOMINICA ( Pray for the Dominican republic)

Puerto Rico Faces Hurricane Maria After Irma’s $1 Billion Damage

 
 
  • Governor warns flood-zone residents their lives are in danger
  • Island orders rationing of already scarce basic necessities

Two weeks ago, Puerto Rico was spared a devastating hit when Hurricane Irma ripped up the Caribbean. This time, it may not be so lucky.

 The bankrupt island, already contending with the aftermath of a storm that left as much as $1 billion of damage and hundreds of thousands still without power, faces even more upheaval with Hurricane Maria set to hit as soon as Tuesday night. The government ordered rationing of basic necessities, including water and batteries, although those items were already gone from some San Juan store shelves as residents prepared for what could be the worst storm for the U.S. territory in decades.

Hurricane Maria heading west on Sept. 19.

Source: NOAA

“If you are in a flood zone or in a wood house, your life is in danger,” Governor Ricardo Rossello said during a press conference Monday in San Juan. “There has never been an event like this in our history in the last 100 years. Our call is for all citizens to move to a safe place.”

 Puerto Rico is facing an active hurricane season with little financial ability to navigate a natural catastrophe. It filed for bankruptcy in May after years of economic decline and borrowing to fill budget gaps. A series of defaults have effectively left it unable to raise money in the capital markets. And its aging government-owned electric utility, the Electric Power Authority, is also operating under court protection from creditors. Puerto Rico’s emergency fund stood at about $32 million before Irma passed through.

Prepa, the government-run utility, is still trying to restore power to hundreds of thousands of residents after its electrical infrastructure sustained as much as $400 million of the nearly $1 billion of damage from Irma. It was already in need of upgrades because it relies on oil to produce most of its electricity and the median plant age is 44 years, more than twice the industry average.

“We will not have sustainable electric infrastructure in the near future,” Rossello said. “We will be bringing in crews from outside of Puerto Rico to attend to these measures.”

Rossello’s administration has opened nearly 500 shelters throughout the island and may set up more. Water, batteries, baby food and generators were already scarce in San Juan by Monday evening and motorists waited at least half an hour in line to buy gasoline. Officials estimate the last time the island withstood such a powerful storm was in 1928 with Hurricane San Felipe.

“No matter what happens here in the next 36 hours, Puerto Rico will survive, we will rebuild, we will recover and with your support, we will come out stronger than ever,” Rossello said in a statement Tuesday.

Maria’s threat hasn’t rattled the bond market, given that Puerto Rico has already defaulted and is seeking to have some of its debts discharged in bankruptcy. While its securities were actively traded as the storm gathered force, Puerto Rico debt maturing in 2035 changed hands Tuesday at an average price of 56.7 cents on the dollar, the lowest level since Sept. 1, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The island is mostly insured by local firms, though has been seeking more international interest, according to a report published last year by the commonwealth’s commissioner of insurance’s office. Universal Insurance Group of Puerto Rico is the No. 1 provider of home coverage on the island, with almost 62 percent market share, according to data compiled by ratings firm A.M. Best. MAPFRE North America Group, ranked second with 22.5 percent of the market, is a unit of Spanish insurer Mapfre SA.

— With assistance by Sonali Basak

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-19/puerto-rico-faces-hurricane-maria-after-irma-s-1-billion-damage

Saffir–Simpson scale

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Saffir–Simpson scale
Category Wind speeds
Five ≥70 m/s, ≥137 knots, ≥157 mph,≥252 km/h
Four 58–70 m/s, 113–136 knots,130–156 mph, 209–251 km/h
Three 50–58 m/s, 96–112 knots,111–129 mph, 178–208 km/h
Two 43–49 m/s, 83–95 knots,96–110 mph, 154–177 km/h
One 33–42 m/s, 64–82 knots,74–95 mph, 119–153 km/h
Related classifications
Tropical storm 18–32 m/s, 34–63 knots,39–73 mph, 63–118 km/h
Tropical depression ≤17 m/s, ≤33 knots, ≤38 mph,≤62 km/h

The Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale (SSHWS), formerly the Saffir–Simpson hurricane scale (SSHS), classifies hurricanes – Western Hemisphere tropical cyclones that exceed the intensities of tropical depressions and tropical storms – into five categories distinguished by the intensities of their sustained winds. To be classified as a hurricane, a tropical cyclone must have maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph (33 m/s; 64 kn; 119 km/h) (Category 1). The highest classification in the scale, Category 5, contains storms with sustained winds exceeding 156 mph (70 m/s; 136 kn; 251 km/h).

The classifications can provide some indication of the potential damage and flooding a hurricane will cause upon landfall.

Officially, the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale is used only to describe hurricanes forming in the Atlantic Ocean and northern Pacific Ocean east of the International Date Line. Other areas use different scales to label these storms, which are called “cyclones” or “typhoons“, depending on the area.

There is some criticism of the SSHS for not taking rain, storm surge, and other important factors into consideration, but SSHS defenders say that part of the goal of SSHS is to be straightforward and simple to understand.

The scale was developed in 1971 by civil engineer Herbert Saffir and meteorologist Robert Simpson, who at the time was director of the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).[1] The scale was introduced to the general public in 1973,[2] and saw widespread use after Neil Frank replaced Simpson at the helm of the NHC in 1974.[3]

The initial scale was developed by Saffir, a structural engineer, who in 1969 went on commission for the United Nations to study low-cost housing in hurricane-prone areas.[4] While performing the study, Saffir realized there was no simple scale for describing the likely effects of a hurricane. Mirroring the utility of the Richter magnitude scale in describing earthquakes, he devised a 1–5 scale based on wind speed that showed expected damage to structures. Saffir gave the scale to the NHC, and Simpson added the effects of storm surgeand flooding.

In 2009, the NHC made moves to eliminate pressure and storm surge ranges from the categories, transforming it into a pure wind scale, called the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (Experimental) [SSHWS].[5] The new scale became operational on May 15, 2010.[6]The scale excludes flood ranges, storm surge estimations, rainfall, and location, which means a Category 2 hurricane which hits a major city will likely do far more cumulative damage than a Category 5 hurricane that hits a rural area.[7] The agency cited various hurricanes as reasons for removing the “scientifically inaccurate” information, including Hurricane Katrina (2005) and Hurricane Ike (2008), which both had stronger than estimated storm surges, and Hurricane Charley (2004), which had weaker than estimated storm surge.[8] Since removed from the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale, storm surge predicting and modeling is now handled with the use of a computerized numerical model developed by the National Weather Service called “Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes” (SLOSH).

In 2012, the NHC expanded the windspeed range for Category 4 by 1 mph in both directions, to 130–156 mph, with corresponding changes in the other units (113–136 kn, 209–251 km/h), instead of 131–155 mph (114–135 kn, 210–249 km/h). The NHC and the Central Pacific Hurricane Center assign tropical cyclone intensities in 5 knot increments, and then convert to mph and km/h with a similar rounding for other reports. So an intensity of 115 knots is rated Category 4, but the conversion to miles per hour (132.3 mph) would round down to 130 mph, making it appear to be a Category 3 storm. Likewise, an intensity of 135 knots (~155 mph, and thus Category 4) is 250.02 km/h, which according to the definition used before the change would be Category 5. To resolve these issues, the NHC had been obliged to incorrectly report storms with wind speeds of 115 kn as 135 mph, and 135 kn as 245 km/h. The change in definition allows storms of 115 kn to be correctly rounded down to 130 mph, and storms of 135 kn to be correctly reported as 250 km/h, and still qualify as Category 4. Since the NHC had previously rounded incorrectly to keep storms in Category 4 in each unit of measure, the change does not affect the classification of storms from previous years.[5] The new scale became operational on May 15, 2012.[9]

Categories

The scale separates hurricanes into five different categories based on wind. The U.S. National Hurricane Center classifies hurricanes of Category 3 and above as major hurricanes, and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center classifies typhoons of 150 mph or greater (strong Category 4 and Category 5) as super typhoons (although all tropical cyclones can be very dangerous). Most weather agencies use the definition for sustained winds recommended by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which specifies measuring winds at a height of 33 ft (10.1 m) for 10 minutes, and then taking the average. By contrast, the U.S. National Weather ServiceCentral Pacific Hurricane Center and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center define sustained winds as average winds over a period of one minute, measured at the same 33 ft (10.1 m) height,[10][11] and that is the definition used for this scale. Intensity of example hurricanes is from both the time of landfall and the maximum intensity.

The scale is roughly logarithmic in wind speed, and the top wind speed for Category “c” (c=1 to 4, as there is no upper limit for category 5) can be expressed as 83×10^(c/15) miles per hour rounded to the nearest multiple of 5 – except that after the change mentioned above, Category 4 is now widened by 1 mph in each direction.

The five categories are, in order of increasing intensity:[12]

Category 1

Category 1
Sustained winds Most Recent
33–42 m/s
64–82 kn
119–153 km/h
74–95 mph
Max 2017-09-14 1705Z.jpgHurricane Max shortly before landfall in Mexico in September 2017.

Very dangerous winds will produce some damage

Category 1 storms usually cause no significant structural damage to most well-constructed permanent structures; however, they can topple unanchored mobile homes, as well as uproot or snap weak trees. Poorly attached roof shingles or tiles can blow off. Coastal flooding and pier damage are often associated with Category 1 storms. Power outages are typically widespread to extensive, sometimes lasting several days. Even though it is the least intense type of hurricane, the storm can still produce widespread damage and can be a life-threatening storm.[5]

Hurricanes that peaked at Category 1 intensity, and made landfall at that intensity include: Flossy (1956), Gladys (1968), Agnes (1972), Juan (1985), Ismael (1995), Claudette (2003), Gaston (2004), Stan (2005), Humberto (2007), Isaac (2012), Manuel (2013), Earl (2016), Hermine (2016), Newton (2016), Franklin (2017), and Max (2017).

Category 2[edit]

Category 2
Sustained winds Most Recent
43–49 m/s
83–95 kn
154–177 km/h
96–110 mph
Arthur Jul 3 2014 1615Z.jpg
Arthur in 2014 approaching North Carolina.

Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage

Storms of Category 2 intensity often damage roofing material (sometimes exposing the roof) and inflict damage upon poorly constructed doors and windows. Poorly constructed signs and piers can receive considerable damage and many trees are uprooted or snapped. Mobile homes, whether anchored or not, are typically damaged and sometimes destroyed, and many manufactured homes also suffer structural damage. Small craft in unprotected anchorages may break their moorings. Extensive to near-total power outages and scattered loss of potable water are likely, possibly lasting many days.[5]

Hurricanes that peaked at Category 2 intensity, and made landfall at that intensity include: Able (1952), Alice (1954), Fifi (1974), Diana (1990), Calvin (1993), Gert (1993), Rosa (1994), Erin (1995), Alma (1996), Juan (2003), Alex (2010), Richard (2010), Tomas (2010), Carlotta (2012), Ernesto (2012), and Arthur (2014).

Category 3

Category 3
Sustained winds Most Recent
50–58 m/s
96–112 kn
178–208 km/h
111–129 mph
Otto 2016-11-24 1605Z.jpg
Otto near its landfall on Nicaragua.

Devastating damage will occur

Tropical cyclones of Category 3 and higher are described as major hurricanes in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific basins. These storms can cause some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings, particularly those of wood frame or manufactured materials with minor curtain wall failures. Buildings that lack a solid foundation, such as mobile homes, are usually destroyed, and gable-end roofs are peeled off. Manufactured homes usually sustain severe and irreparable damage. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures, while larger structures are struck by floating debris. A large number of trees are uprooted or snapped, isolating many areas. Additionally, terrain may be flooded well inland. Near-total to total power loss is likely for up to several weeks and water will likely also be lost or contaminated.[5]

Hurricanes that peaked at Category 3 intensity, and made landfall at that intensity include: Easy (1950), Carol (1954), Hilda (1955), Celia (1970), Ella (1970), Eloise (1975), Olivia (1975), Alicia (1983), Elena (1985), Roxanne (1995), Fran (1996), Isidore (2002), Lane (2006), Karl (2010), Sandy (2012) and Otto (2016).

Category 4[edit]

Category 4
Sustained winds Most Recent
58–70 m/s
113–136 kn
209–251 km/h
130–156 mph
Harvey 2017-08-25 2231Z.png
Harvey in August 2017 shortly before its Texaslandfall.

Catastrophic damage will occur

Category 4 hurricanes tend to produce more extensive curtainwall failures, with some complete structural failure on small residences. Heavy, irreparable damage and near complete destruction of gas station canopies and other wide span overhang type structures are common. Mobile and manufactured homes are often flattened. Most trees, except for the heartiest, are uprooted or snapped, isolating many areas. These storms cause extensive beach erosion, while terrain may be flooded far inland. Total and long-lived electrical and water losses are to be expected, possibly for many weeks.[5]

The 1900 Galveston hurricane, the deadliest natural disaster to hit the United States, peaked at an intensity that corresponds to a modern-day Category 4 storm. Other examples of storms that peaked at Category 4 intensity, and made landfall at that intensity include: Hazel (1954), Gracie (1959), Flora (1963), Cleo (1964), Betsy (1965), Frederic (1979), Joan (1988), Iniki (1992), Luis (1995), Iris (2001), Charley (2004), Dennis(2005), Gustav (2008), Ike (2008), Joaquin (2015), and Harvey (2017).

Category 5

Category 5
Sustained winds Most Recent
≥ 70 m/s
≥ 137 kn
≥ 252 km/h
≥ 157 mph
Maria Geostationary VIS-IR 2017.pngMaria in September 2017 approaching landfall on Dominica.

Cataclysmic damage will occur

Category 5 is the highest category of the Saffir–Simpson scale. These storms cause complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings, and some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Collapse of many wide-span roofs and walls, especially those with no interior supports, is common. Very heavy and irreparable damage to many wood frame structures and total destruction to mobile/manufactured homes is prevalent. Only a few types of structures are capable of surviving intact, and only if located at least 3 to 5 miles (5 to 8 km) inland. They include office, condominium and apartment buildings and hotels that are of solid concrete or steel frame construction, public multi-story concrete parking garages, and residences that are made of either reinforced brick or concrete/cement block and have hipped roofs with slopes of no less than 35 degrees from horizontal and no overhangs of any kind, and if the windows are either made of hurricane-resistant safety glass or covered with shutters. Unless all of these requirements are met, the absolute destruction of a structure is certain.[5]

The storm’s flooding causes major damage to the lower floors of all structures near the shoreline, and many coastal structures can be completely flattened or washed away by the storm surge. Virtually all trees are uprooted or snapped and some may be debarked, isolating most affected communities. Massive evacuation of residential areas may be required if the hurricane threatens populated areas. Total and extremely long-lived power outages and water losses are to be expected, possibly for up to several months.[5]

Historical examples of storms that made landfall at Category 5 status include: “Cuba” (1924), “Okeechobee” (1928), “Bahamas” (1932), “Cuba–Brownsville” (1933), “Labor Day” (1935), Janet (1955), Camille (1969), Edith (1971), Anita (1977), David (1979), Gilbert (1988), Andrew (1992), Dean (2007), Felix (2007), Irma (2017),[13] and Maria (2017).[14] No Category 5 hurricane is known to have made landfall at that strength in the eastern Pacific basin.

Criticism

Some scientists, including Kerry Emanuel and Lakshmi Kantha, have criticized the scale as being simplistic, indicating that the scale takes into account neither the physical size of a storm nor the amount of precipitation it produces.[7] Additionally, they and others point out that the Saffir–Simpson scale, unlike the Richter scale used to measure earthquakes, is not continuous, and is quantized into a small number of categories. Proposed replacement classifications include the Hurricane Intensity Index, which is based on the dynamic pressure caused by a storm’s winds, and the Hurricane Hazard Index, which bases itself on surface wind speeds, the radius of maximum winds of the storm, and its translational velocity.[15][16] Both of these scales are continuous, akin to the Richter scale;[17] however, neither of these scales have been used by officials.

“Category 6”

After the series of powerful storm systems of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, a few newspaper columnists and scientists brought up the suggestion of introducing Category 6, and they have suggested pegging Category 6 to storms with winds greater than 174 or 180 mph (78 or 80 m/s; 151 or 156 kn; 280 or 290 km/h).[7][18] Only a few storms of this intensity have been recorded. Of the 33 hurricanes currently considered to have attained Category 5 status in the Atlantic, 17 had wind speeds at 175 mph (78 m/s; 152 kn; 282 km/h) or greater and only seven had wind speeds at 180 mph (80 m/s; 160 kn; 290 km/h) or greater (the 1935 Labor Day hurricaneAllenGilbertMitchRitaWilma, and Irma). Of the 15 hurricanes currently considered to have attained Category 5 status in the eastern Pacific, only six had wind speeds at 175 mph (78 m/s; 152 kn; 282 km/h) or greater (PatsyJohnLindaRick, and Patricia), and only three had wind speeds at 180 mph (80 m/s; 160 kn; 290 km/h) or greater (Linda, Rick, and Patricia). However, most storms which would be eligible for this category were typhoons in the western Pacific, most notably Typhoon Tip in 1979 with sustained winds of 190 mph (310 km/h) and typhoons Haiyan and Meranti in 2013 and 2016, respectively, with sustained winds of 195 mph (314 km/h).[19]

According to Robert Simpson, there are no reasons for a Category 6 on the Saffir–Simpson Scale because it is designed to measure the potential damage of a hurricane to human-made structures. Simpson stated that “…when you get up into winds in excess of 155 mph (249 km/h) you have enough damage if that extreme wind sustains itself for as much as six seconds on a building it’s going to cause rupturing damages that are serious no matter how well it’s engineered.”[3] Despite his statements, the counties of Broward and Miami-Dade in Florida have building codes which require critical infrastructure buildings to be able to withstand hurricane winds of 156 and up,[20] which contradicts Mr. Simpson’s assessment of building strength. Absent a “Category 6”, governments have no guidance as to where “up” should end.

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ Williams, Jack (May 17, 2005). “Hurricane scale invented to communicate storm danger”USA Today. Retrieved February 25, 2007.
  2. Jump up^ Staff writer (May 9, 1973). “’73, Hurricanes to be Graded”. Associated Press. Archived from the original on May 19, 2016. Retrieved December 8, 2007.
  3. Jump up to:a b Debi Iacovelli (July 2001). “The Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale: An Interview with Dr. Robert Simpson”Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Retrieved September 10, 2006.
  4. Jump up^ Press Writer (August 23, 2001). “Hurricanes shaped life of scale inventor”. Retrieved March 20, 2016.[dead link]
  5. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h The Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale National Hurricane Center. Accessed 2009-05-15.
  6. Jump up^ National Hurricane Operations Plan Archived July 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., NOAA. Accessed July 3, 2010.
  7. Jump up to:a b c Ker Than (October 20, 2005). “Wilma’s Rage Suggests New Hurricane Categories Needed”LiveScience. Retrieved October 20, 2005.
  8. Jump up^ “Experimental Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale” (PDF). National Hurricane Center. 2009.
  9. Jump up^ Public Information StatementNOAA. Accessed March 9, 2012.
  10. Jump up^ Tropical Cyclone Weather Services Program (June 1, 2006). “Tropical cyclone definitions” (PDF). National Weather Service. Retrieved November 30, 2006.
  11. Jump up^ Federal Emergency Management Agency (2004). “Hurricane Glossary of Terms”. Archived from the original on December 14, 2005. Retrieved March 24, 2006. Accessed through the Wayback Machine.
  12. Jump up^ “Name That Hurricane: Famous Examples of the 5 Hurricane Categories”Live Science. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  13. Jump up^ “Famous Hurricanes of the 20th and 21st Century in the United States” (PDF). http://www.weather.gov/crh/.
  14. Jump up^ Brown, Daniel. “Hurricane Maria Tropical Cyclone Update”. National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  15. Jump up^ Kantha, L. (January 2006). “Time to Replace the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale?” (PDF). Eos87 (1): 3, 6. Bibcode:2006EOSTr..87….3Kdoi:10.1029/2006eo010003. Retrieved December 8, 2007.
  16. Jump up^ Kantha, Lakshmi (February 2008). “Tropical Cyclone Destructive Potential by Integrated Kinetic Energy” (PDF). Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Boston: American Meteorological Society89 (2): 219–221. Bibcode:2008BAMS…89..219Kdoi:10.1175/BAMS-89-2-219.
  17. Jump up^ Benfield Hazard Research Centre (2006). “Atmospheric Hazards”Hazard & Risk Science Review 2006University College London. Retrieved December 8, 2007.
  18. Jump up^ Bill Blakemore (May 21, 2006). “Category 6 Hurricanes? They’ve Happened: Global Warming Winds Up Hurricane Scientists as NOAA Issues Its Atlantic Hurricane Predictions for Summer 2006”ABC News. Retrieved September 10, 2006.
  19. Jump up^ Debi Iacovelli and Tim Vasquez (1998). “Supertyphoon Tip: Shattering all records” (PDF). Monthly Weather Log. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  20. Jump up^ Jennifer Kay (September 2017). “Irma could test strength of Florida’s strict building codes”The_Washington_Post. Washington, DC. Retrieved September 16, 2017.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saffir%E2%80%93Simpson_scale

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The Pronk Pops Show 960, September 8, 2017, The Breaking and Developing Story 1: Category 4 Hurricane Irma Over 500 Miles Wide Bigger Than Texas with 150 MPH Sustained Winds Slows Down Turns Toward West and Tracks Directly Over All of South Florida — Evacuate Now — Hurricane Hit Landfall Sunday Morning With Storm Surge  Up To 12 Feet and Rain Fall 10-18 Inches — Over Florida For 24 Hours — All Day Sunday —  Mass Mandatory Evacuation For South Florida — Videos

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Breaking and Developing Story 1: Category 4 Hurricane Irma Over 500 Miles Wide Bigger Than Texas with 150 MPH Sustained Winds Slows Down Turns Toward West and Tracks Directly Over All of South Florida — Evacuate Now — Hurricane Hit Landfall Sunday Morning With Storm Surge  Up To 12 Feet and Rain Fall 10-18 Inches — Over Florida For 24 Hours — All Day Sunday —  Mass Mandatory Evacuation For South Florida — Videos

 

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Hurricane Irma shifts away from Miami, taking aim at Tampa

Last Updated Sep 9, 2017 5:24 PM EDT

MIAMI — Hurricane Irma hurtled toward Florida with 125 mph winds Saturday on a new projected track that could put the Tampa area — not Miami — in the crosshairs. The Tampa area has not taken a direct hit from a major hurricane in nearly a century.

“You need to leave — not tonight, not in an hour, right now,” Gov. Rick Scott warned residents in the evacuation zones ahead of the storm’s predicted arrival on Sunday morning.

As of 5 p.m. ET, the powerful Category 3 storm was located about 115 miles southeast of Key West.

For days, the forecast had made it look as if the Miami metropolitan area of 6 million people on Florida’s Atlantic coast could get hit head-on with the catastrophic and long-dreaded Big One.

The westward swing in the hurricane’s projected path overnight caught many on Florida’s Gulf coast off guard. By late morning, few businesses in St. Petersburg and its barrier islands had put plywood or hurricane shutters on their windows, and some locals groused about the change in the forecast.

Donna Tubbs, who lives in a mobile home park in Lakeland, says she’s packed her bags but she’s not leaving home. “All the families around here are planning to stay,” Tubbs told CBS affiliate WTSP-TV in Tampa. She said many in the area are retired nurses who intend on helping with recovery efforts.

Tampa has not been struck by a major hurricane since 1921, when its population was about 10,000, National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said. Now the area has around 3 million people.

The new course threatened everything from Tampa Bay’s bustling twin cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg to Naples’ mansion- and yacht-lined canals, Sun City Center’s sprawling compound of modest retirement homes, and Sanibel Island’s shell-filled beaches.

Forecasters warned of storm surge as high as 15 feet along a swath of southwest Florida and beyond.

“This is going to sneak up on people,” said Jamie Rhome, head of the hurricane center’s storm surge unit.

With the new forecast, Pinellas County, home to St. Petersburg, ordered 260,000 people to leave, while Georgia scaled back evacuation orders for some coastal residents.

Irma has left more than 20 people dead in its wake across the Caribbean, ravaging such resort islands as St. Martin, St. Barts, St. Thomas, Barbuda and Antigua.

The storm weakened slightly in the morning but was expected to pick up strength again before hitting the Sunshine State.

Meteorologists predicted its center would blow ashore Sunday in the perilously low-lying Florida Keys, then hit southwestern Florida and move north, plowing into the Tampa Bay area. Though the center is expected to miss Miami, the metro area will still get pounded with life-threatening hurricane winds, Feltgen said.

On Saturday morning, the state was already beginning to feel Irma’s muscle. Nearly 30,000 people had lost power, mostly in and around Miami and Fort Lauderdale, as the wind began gusting.

In Key West, 60-year-old Carol Walterson Stroud sought refuge in a senior center with her husband, granddaughter and dog. The streets were nearly empty, shops were boarded up and the wind started to blow.

“Tonight, I’m sweating,” she said. “Tonight, I’m scared to death.”

In one of the biggest evacuations ever ordered in the U.S., about 6.4 million people in Florida – more than one-quarter of the state’s population – were warned to leave. Gas shortages and gridlock plagued the evacuations. Parts of interstates 75 and 95 north were bumper-to-bumper.

Some 54,000 people crowded 320 shelters across Florida. At Germain Arena not far from Fort Myers, on Florida’s southwestern corner, thousands waited in a snaking line for hours to gain a spot in the hockey venue-turned-shelter.

“We’ll never get in,” Jamilla Bartley lamented as she stood in the parking lot.

The governor activated all 7,000 members of the Florida National Guard, and 30,000 guardsmen from elsewhere were on standby.

Major tourist attractions, including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, all prepared to close Saturday. The Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports shut down, and those in Orlando and Tampa planned to do the same later in the day.

With winds that peaked at 185 mph, Irma was once the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the open Atlantic. Given its mammoth size and strength and its projected course, it could still prove one of the most devastating hurricanes ever to hit Florida and inflict damage on a scale not seen here in 25 years.

It could also test the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s ability to handle two crises at the same time. FEMA is still dealing with aftermath of catastrophic Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area.

Ray Scarborough and girlfriend Leah Etmanczyk left their home in Big Pine Key and fled north with her parents and three big dogs to stay with relatives in Orlando. Scarborough was 12 when Hurricane Andrew hit in 1992 and remembers lying on the floor in a hall as the storm nearly ripped the roof off his house.

“They said this one is going to be bigger than Andrew. When they told me that, that’s all I needed to hear,” said Scarborough, now a 37-year-old boat captain. “That one tore everything apart.”

Andrew razed Miami’s suburbs with winds topping 165 mph, damaging or blowing apart over 125,000 homes. The damage in Florida totaled $26 billion, and at least 40 people died.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hurricane-irma-shifts-course-takes-aim-tampa/

 

Forecasters say Irma’s prime target is now Tampa, not Miami

MIAMI (AP) — With the window closing fast for anyone wanting to escape, Irma hurtled toward Florida with 125 mph winds Saturday on a new projected track that could put the Tampa area — not Miami — in the crosshairs.

The Tampa area has not taken a direct hit from a major hurricane in nearly a century.

“You need to leave — not tonight, not in an hour, right now,” Gov. Rick Scott warned residents in the evacuation zones ahead of the storm’s predicted arrival on Sunday morning.

For days, the forecast had made it look as if the Miami metropolitan area of 6 million people on Florida’s Atlantic coast could get hit head-on with the catastrophic and long-dreaded Big One.

“For five days, we were told it was going to be on the east coast, and then 24 hours before it hits, we’re now told it’s coming up the west coast,” said Jeff Beerbohm, a 52-year-old entrepreneur in St. Petersburg. “As usual, the weatherman, I don’t know why they’re paid.”

Tampa has not been struck by a major hurricane since 1921, when its population was about 10,000, National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said. Now the area has around 3 million people.

The new course threatened everything from Tampa Bay’s bustling twin cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg to Naples’ mansion- and yacht-lined canals, Sun City Center’s sprawling compound of modest retirement homes, and Sanibel Island’s shell-filled beaches.

Forecasters warned of storm surge as high as 15 feet along a swath of southwest Florida and beyond.

“This is going to sneak up on people,” said Jamie Rhome, head of the hurricane center’s storm surge unit.

With the new forecast, Pinellas County, home to St. Petersburg, ordered 260,000 people to leave, while Georgia scaled back evacuation orders for some coastal residents.

Irma has left more than 20 people dead in its wake across the Caribbean, ravaging such resort islands as St. Martin, St. Barts, St. Thomas, Barbuda and Antigua.

The storm weakened slightly in the morning but was expected to pick up strength again before hitting the Sunshine State.

Meteorologists predicted its center would blow ashore Sunday in the perilously low-lying Florida Keys, then hit southwestern Florida and move north, plowing into the Tampa Bay area. Though the center is expected to miss Miami, the metro area will still get pounded with life-threatening hurricane winds, Feltgen said.

On Saturday morning, the state was already beginning to feel Irma’s muscle. Nearly 30,000 people had lost power, mostly in and around Miami and Fort Lauderdale, as the wind began gusting.

In Key West, 60-year-old Carol Walterson Stroud sought refuge in a senior center with her husband, granddaughter and dog. The streets were nearly empty, shops were boarded up and the wind started to blow.

“Tonight, I’m sweating,” she said. “Tonight, I’m scared to death.”

In one of the biggest evacuations ever ordered in the U.S., about 6.4 million people in Florida — more than one-quarter of the state’s population — were warned to leave. Gas shortages and gridlock plagued the evacuations. Parts of interstates 75 and 95 north were bumper-to-bumper.

Some 54,000 people crowded 320 shelters across Florida. At Germain Arena not far from Fort Myers, on Florida’s southwestern corner, thousands waited in a snaking line for hours to gain a spot in the hockey venue-turned-shelter.

“We’ll never get in,” Jamilla Bartley lamented as she stood in the parking lot.

The governor activated all 7,000 members of the Florida National Guard, and 30,000 guardsmen from elsewhere were on standby.

Major tourist attractions, including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World, all prepared to close Saturday. The Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports shut down, and those in Orlando and Tampa planned to do the same later in the day.

With winds that peaked at 185 mph (300 kph), Irma was once the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the open Atlantic. Given its mammoth size and strength and its projected course, it could still prove one of the most devastating hurricanes ever to hit Florida and inflict damage on a scale not seen here in 25 years.

It could also test the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s ability to handle two crises at the same time. FEMA is still dealing with aftermath of catastrophic Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area.

Ray Scarborough and girlfriend Leah Etmanczyk left their home in Big Pine Key and fled north with her parents and three big dogs to stay with relatives in Orlando. Scarborough was 12 when Hurricane Andrew hit in 1992 and remembers lying on the floor in a hall as the storm nearly ripped the roof off his house.

“They said this one is going to be bigger than Andrew. When they told me that, that’s all I needed to hear,” said Scarborough, now a 37-year-old boat captain. “That one tore everything apart.”

Andrew razed Miami’s suburbs with winds topping 165 mph (265 kph), damaging or blowing apart over 125,000 homes. The damage in Florida totaled $26 billion, and at least 40 people died.

___

Galofaro reported from Orlando. Associated Press writers Seth Borenstein in Washington; Terry Spencer in Palm Beach County; Gary Fineout in Tallahassee; Terrance Harris in Orlando; Jay Reeves in Estero; and Jason Dearen, Jennifer Kay and David Fischer in Miami contributed to this report.___

https://apnews.com/8aeee2664ccb42fdbb5ada7f2f0dc6c6/Irma-shifts:-The-prime-target-is-now-Tampa,-not-Miami

 

South Florida’s shelters overflow, evacuation has chaotic start

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The Pronk Pops Show 956, August 31, 2017, Part 2 of 2, Story 1: President Trump’s Tax Speech — Very Light On Specifics — Let Congress Fill in The Details — Formula For Failure — Tax Rate Cuts Are Not Fundamental Tax Reform — A Broad Based Consumption Tax Such as The FairTax or Fair Tax Less Not Even Mentioned — What Good Is Dreaming It If You don’t actually do it! — Videos —

Posted on September 1, 2017. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Health Care Insurance, History, House of Representatives, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Investments, IRS, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, Medicare, Monetary Policy, National Interest, Natural Gas, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Social Security, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Trade Policy, U.S. Dollar, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Part 2 of 2 Story 1: President Trump’s Tax Speech — Very Light On Specifics — Let Congress Fill in The Details — Formula For Failure — Tax Rate Cuts Are Not Fundamental Tax Reform — A Broad Based Consumption Tax Such as The FairTax or Fair Tax Less Not Even Mentioned — What Good Is Dreaming It If You don’t actually do it! — Videos —

FULL. President Trump speech on tax reform in Springfield, Missouri. August 30, 2017.

Special Report with Bret Baier 8/30/17 – Special Report Fox News August 30, 2017 TRUMP TAX REFORM

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Dan Mitchell on GOP Tax Reform Wrangling, Part II

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Mark Levin: Donald Trump gave a good speech on tax reform (August 30 2017)

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Milton Friedman – Why Tax Reform Is Impossible

Honda – “Impossible Dream” Power of Dreams Advert Full

 

Trump’s Tax Reform Plan Targets Middle-Class Tax Complexity

Policy director at Competitive Enterprise Institute

President Trump visited Missouri to talk about tax reform, stressing simplicity and middle-class tax relief and “plans to bring back Main Street by reducing the crushing tax burden on our companies and on our workers.”

Noting the elimination of “dozens of loopholes,” special interest carve-outs, and the reduction of brackets and rates that Congress achieved three decades ago, Trump said, “the foundation of our job creation agenda is to fundamentally reform our tax code for the first time in more than 30 years. I want to work with Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, on a plan that is pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-worker — and pro-American.”

We’re about to re-enter Obamacare repeal-style complexity and venom, but it’s important, I think, for the public to see the tax reform debate as something other than a campaign to benefit business. The U.S. does have comparatively high corporate tax rates. And the Econ 101 lesson on tax incidence shows that consumers pay much of the corporate tax, not the company.

It’s probable some Democrats would like to reform the tax code, especially come 2016, but the zero-tolerance of Trump, such as that seen at the Commonwealth Club when Sen. Diane Feinstein was barely favorable toward him, prevails.

But things can turn on a dime, as the response, likely bipartisan, to Hurricane Harvey may further show. And separately the controversial debt limit needs to be addressed no matter what (hopefully with parallel cuts in regulatory costs), and that debate will influence the trajectory of tax reform.

My broader point here though is is that taxation is just the beginning of the story when it comes to the complexity of regulatory compliance. The economy marinates in compliance burdens to service noble ends, but sometimes serve regulators instead. Trump characterized the Internal Revenue Service’s unfairness to the typical taxpayer like this:

The tax code is now a massive source of complexity and frustration for tens of millions of Americans.

In 1935, the basic 1040 form that most people file had two simple pages of instructions. Today, that basic form has one hundred pages of instructions, and it’s pretty complex stuff. The tax code is so complicated that more than 90 percent of Americans need professional help to do their own taxes.

This enormous complexity is very unfair. It disadvantages ordinary Americans who don’t have an army of accountants while benefiting deep-pocketed special interests. And most importantly, this is wrong.

There’s solid backup for what Trump’s talking about in terms of pubic burdens, even if some are disinclined  to reckon with it, or if their allegiances require professing public disdain for corporations (one of the great democratizing forces in human history, but that’s another story).

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) agrees, I think, that Trump’s example of the IRS is a good one. In the course of a project I have of compiling examples of government proclamationsthat are not laws from Congress, nor even formal regulations from agencies, but instead “memoranda” and “guidance,” the IRS emerged as a leading “offender.”

A September 2016 GAO report called  “Regulatory Guidance Processes: Treasury and OMB Need to Reevaluate Long-standing Exemptions of Tax Regulations and Guidance,” looked at the Internal Revenue Service’s hierarchy of law, regulations, guidance, and explanatory material with respect to communicating interpretation of tax laws to the public.

It’s an eye-opener.

A pyramid diagram presented by GAO was topped by the Internal Revenue Code, as passed by Congress. Beneath that, in widening stages, one finds “Treasury Regulations,” “Internal Revenue Bulletins,” (IRB), “Written Determinations,” and “Other IRS Publications and Information.” The IRS regards the bulletins as generally authoritative, while determinations tend to apply to individual taxpayers.

That’s a lot of public guidance, difficult to absorb.

As the GAO explains:

Treasury and IRS are among the largest generators of federal agency regulations and they issue thousands of other forms of taxpayer guidance. IRS publishes tax regulations and other guidance in the weekly IRB. Each annual volume of the IRB contains about 2,000 pages of regulations and other guidance documents.

From 2013 to 2015, each annual Internal Revenue Bulletin edition contained some 300 guidance documents; back in 2002-2008, about 500.

When one sees such document proliferation from the IRS, an impartial observer might surmise the time for tax reform and simplification has arrived.

Likewise, when regulatory guidance multiplies that applies to various sectors—like finance, Internet, health care—one might similarly conclude the time has come for Congress to enact regulatory liberalization. Trump mentioned cutting the overall federal regulatory burden in the Missouri speech, too.

We knew it all along, but paying taxes also requires paying a lot of attention to regulations. In more ways than one, tax reform and regulatory reform go hand in hand.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/waynecrews/2017/08/30/trumps-tax-reform-plan-targets-middle-class-tax-complexity/#31fda3736ef8

Ann Coulter goes off on Trump over taxes, saying he delivered his ‘worst, most tone-deaf speech’

Conservative author Ann Coulter rebuked President Donald Trump over his speech on Wednesday in which he rolled out the broad outline of his tax reform plan.

In a slew of tweets on Wednesday, the firebrand conservative pundit said the president’s focus on simplifying the tax code and lowering business taxes to 15% was missing an opportunity to prioritize some of his more incendiary, but unique, policy objectives, including building a southern border wall and deporting immigrants living in the US without permission.

This isn’t a “once in a lifetime” shot at tax cuts! EVERY GOP cuts taxes! This is “once in a lifetime” shot to save US: Wall & deportations!

Bush cut taxes! Did it create millions of jobs? Nope. The rich pocketed their tax cut & sent jobs abroad, hired guest workers. F– them.

It’s so obvious Trump’s only getting polite applause for tax cuts. Want to get the crowd hollering, @realDonaldTrump? Talk about THE WALL!

It’s like Night of the Living Dead watching our beloved @realDonaldTrump go to DC & start babbling the same old GOP nonsense on tax cuts.

Tax cuts are a 2d term issue. 1st term: BUILD THE WALL, End DACA, Deport Illegals, No Refugees, No Muslims, Immigrn Moratorium. SAVE USA!

Cutting taxes doesn’t do a damn thing for wages if you allow businesses to keep bringing in cheap foreign labor!

To create jobs for AMERICANS, no more cheap foreign workers, CUT REGULATIONS & cut corporate taxes. (NOT income taxes.)

Coulter particularly singled out the similarities between Trump’s plan and a hypothetical plan that other Republicans like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would’ve put forward.

This speech could have been given by Jeb! — except even he wouldn’t have talked about the govt helping yuppie women with child care costs.

Oh stop pretending this is about letting “families” keep more of their money. HALF OF AMERICANS DON’T PAY TAXES! This is for Wall Street.

Indeed, beyond the prominent former Wall Street figures playing key roles in overhauling the tax code, Trump’s administration has absorbed some financial figures from Bush’s policy world.

Notably, Bush’s former senior policy director Justin Muzinich joined the Treasury Department in March to work closely with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on “major policy initiatives” and on tax reform.

Over the past several months, Coulter has increasingly criticized Trump and mocked him on social media and in interviews, saying that he has not fulfilled his anti-immigration campaign promises.

“The millions of people who haven’t voted for 30 years and came out to vote for Trump, thinking, ‘Finally, here’s somebody who cares about us’ — Nope!” Coulter told The Daily Beast after former chief strategist Steve Bannon left the White House earlier this month. “Republicans, Democrats — doesn’t matter. Jeb exclamation point, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton — doesn’t matter. Goldman Sachs is running the country.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/ann-coulter-trump-taxes-speech-2017-8

 

Who Pays Income Taxes?

The charts below illustrate the share of taxes paid by income percentiles for Tax Year 2014, the most recent set of data available from the IRS. NTUF has broken down the federal share of income taxes by gross income to show how much each bracket contributes yearly.

For more information:

 

https://e.infogr.am/38b876d9-6c59-4a84-8b02-1ed223f6a454?src=embed

https://www.ntu.org/foundation/page/who-pays-income-taxes

Trump Hits The Road To Promote Tax Cuts (Details To Come)

President Trump participates in a tax overhaul kickoff event at the Loren Cook Company in Springfield, Mo., on Wednesday.

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

President Trump called for a major rewrite of the U.S. tax code during a visit to Springfield, Mo., on Wednesday afternoon. The speech came a day after Trump’s trip to Harvey-hit Texas and is the first in what is expected to be a series of traveling sales pitches on taxes from the president.

But the White House is not ready to spell out what the rewrite will look like or what kind of price tag it will carry. Trump spoke in broad terms about creating a tax system that favors middle-class Americans and keeps business in the U.S.

“First and foremost our tax system should benefit loyal, hardworking Americans and their families. That is why tax reform must dramatically simplify the tax code, eliminate special-interest loopholes,” he said.

Trump called on Congress to join him and “unite in the name of common sense and the name of common good” to create jobs and improve America’s “competitive advantage.”

“I am fully committed to working with Congress to get this job done, and I don’t want to be disappointed by Congress,” he said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn have been meeting regularly with Republican congressional leaders to discuss tax policy. Thus far, though, they’ve committed only to a vague statement of principles that calls for lower tax rates on both individuals and businesses. Cohn said it will be up to lawmakers to fill in the details.

“We’ve got a great, I would say, skeleton,” Cohn told reporters earlier this month. “We need the Ways and Means Committee to put some muscle and skin on the skeleton and drive tax reform forward. And it’s our objective to do that between now and the end of the year.”

With Republicans in control of the House, Senate and the presidency, supporters have described this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to overhaul the tax code in accordance with GOP principles. But after Trump’s insistence on swift, ultimately unsuccessful bids to repeal the Affordable Care Act, some observers are skeptical that Trump has the patience or discipline to see a tax overhaul through to completion.

Mnuchin insists tax cuts are now Trump’s No. 1 priority.

“He’s going to go on the road,” Mnuchin said. “The president is 100 percent supportive of us passing legislation this year.”

The White House has been promising such a sales campaign for weeks, only to see much of August consumed with controversy over the president’s Charlottesville, Va., remarks and his intraparty carping with fellow Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Mnuchin conceded that rewriting the tax code is a taller order than he initially imagined.

“Earlier in the year I said I thought we’d get it done by August, and I was wrong,” the Treasury secretary said. “I am now going to say that I’m very hopeful, and I think we can get this done by the end of the year, but we will continue to revisit it.”

“The president’s leadership on this is critical,” said a senior White House official who briefed reporters on the Springfield trip. “Everybody involved understands that and believes that. And he is ready to really take this conversation where it belongs and that’s the heartland of America.”

The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The president now feels that it’s the right time to begin engaging directly with the American people on tax reform,” he said.

The administration argues the current tax code is too complicated and rates are too high to encourage investment in the U.S.

“We are not competitive with the rest of the world on the business tax and on the personal income tax,” Cohn said.

Neither the White House nor congressional leaders have spelled out how much lower tax rates should go, nor have they specified how the government would make up the lost revenue. They’re counting on faster economic growth to help close the gap. They’ve also promised to eliminate unspecified tax “loopholes,” which Trump called out multiple times in his speech on Wednesday.

Back in April, the White House proposed lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent while reducing the top individual tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. That’s broadly similar to a proposal Trump put forward during the presidential campaign. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center said at the time 78 percent of the tax savings in Trump’s campaign plan would go to people on the top 20 percent of the income ladder. (Nearly a quarter would go to the top one-tenth of 1 percent.)

The campaign plan was also forecast to reduce government revenue by more than $6 trillion over a decade — a gap that would be difficult to erase through growth and loophole closings.

The White House has said it wants to preserve deductions for charitable contributions, retirement savings and mortgage interest.

One popular tax break that could be on the chopping block is the deduction for state and local taxes. That’s one of the biggest loopholes in the tax code. Eliminating it would boost federal revenues by an estimated $1.3 trillion over a decade. The tax break is particularly popular with residents in the Northeast and West Coast, typically blue states with relatively high tax rates.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., favored a so-called border adjustment tax on imports as another way to raise revenue and offset the cost of income tax cuts. But lawmakers ultimately scrapped that idea after consultation with the administration.

Senate Republicans plan to use a procedural tactic to prevent Democrats from blocking the tax overhaul with a filibuster. Under Senate rules, though, any measure passed with that tactic must not add to the federal deficit for more than 10 years.

This presents a choice for Republicans: Go with a more modest tax cut that can be offset by growth and closing loopholes, or opt for a more ambitious cut but allow it to sunset after a decade.

For all the challenges, GOP lawmakers are under political pressure to pass something they can brand as “tax reform.” Otherwise, they’ll have to face voters in 2018 with little to show for two years of single-party rule.

http://www.npr.org/2017/08/30/547114024/trump-hits-the-road-to-promote-tax-cuts-details-to-come

 

Trump’s Fill-in-the-Blanks Tax Reform Plan

The president is leaving the details to Republicans in Congress. Only they haven’t figured them out yet, either.

Alex Brandon / AP

notable

On Wednesday, President Trump traveled to Missouri to expand on the need for tax reform, to lay the groundwork for a major legislative push in Congress this fall. But more than anything else, what Trump’s speech revealed was that despite months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Republicans aren’t much closer to enacting the most significant overhaul of the tax code in 30 years than they were back in April.

Trump was pitching a plan that doesn’t exist and demanding votes for a bill that hasn’t been written. If anything, the address the president delivered was even less detailed than the skimpy blueprint the White House issued in the spring. The most specific item Trump mentioned—a 15 percent corporate tax rate, down from the current 35 percent—is something that Republican tax-writers on Capitol Hill believe is impossible to achieve under the parameters with which they must work. He talked in broad terms about simplifying the code so that it’s easier for people to file their taxes, removing unspecified special interest loopholes, and encouraging businesses to bring back profits they’ve parked overseas—all policies that have been central to GOP proposals for years and offer little indication of the particular direction the party plans to go.

This was a bully pulpit speech. Having laid down his principles, Trump is once again leaving the dirty work to Congress, a strategy that even he seemed to acknowledge was as risky as it is politically necessary. “I don’t want to be disappointed by Congress, do you understand me? Do you understand?” he warned at one point, a none-too-subtle reference to his recent hectoring over the GOP’s failure to deliver on health care.

To the delight of Republican leaders, the one lawmaker Trump singled out for pressure was not one of their own; for the first time in weeks, the president picked on a Democrat, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, who is up for reelection in a state he won easily in November. If McCaskill doesn’t vote for tax reform—whatever it turns out to be—“you have to vote her out of office,” Trump demanded of the crowd.

Top Republicans were evidently pleased with the speech, or at least with the fact that the president stuck to the message they were told beforehand he would deliver. Within minutes after it ended, statements (undoubtedly prewritten) flowed in with glowing reviews. “President Trump is taking the case for tax reform straight to Main Street,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said. “We are united in our determination to get this done.” Representative Kevin Brady, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said his remarks were “excellent.” Even members of Trump’s Cabinet that have no role in tax reform, like Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, or in domestic politics whatsoever, like Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, chimed in with praise.Yet while Trump talked at length about the need for tax reform, he said little about how Republicans would get it done. And that’s because they still don’t know themselves. GOP leaders haven’t made several crucial decisions. Will the legislation be a revenue-neutral tax reform that fully offsets the reduction in rates by eliminating costly—and popular—exemptions and deductions? Or will it be a more straightforward tax cut, that would likely have to expire within a decade to comply with Senate rules? How low will they try to push down the corporate rate? About all they’ve determined is that 15 percent is too low, but will it be closer to 20 percent or 25 percent? And on, and on.
The Ways and Means Committee is currently writing the tax bill, but the only timeline they’ve set is to get it done by the end of 2018. The longer they take to write it, however, the less realistic that deadline becomes. And as I explainedearlier this month, Republicans must first pass a budget before they can even get to tax reform, which, to this point, has been no easy task.These unresolved details have also tripped up Trump’s messaging toward Democrats. Does he want their support, or are Republicans planning to do it alone as they tried to do on health care? In his speech, the president started out by saying he wanted to work with both parties to enact tax reform. Later on, however, he attacked Democrats as “obstructionists” and called out McCaskill. By the end, he was back where he began, saying tax reform was an issue on which lawmakers should put aside partisanship.Democrats say there’s been no outreach from the administration on taxes, and they’ve noted that Republicans are, for now, planning to use the same budget reconciliation process on tax reform that they used in trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That would allow them to skirt a Democratic filibuster and pass tax reform with a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate. Unlike Obamacare repeal, some Democrats have expressed a willingness to work with the administration on taxes, so long as the GOP plan is not skewed to benefit the wealthy. With so few details, they were unimpressed with Trump’s speech in Missouri. “Stepping to the podium to declare that we need tax reform does not signal leadership on this issue; rather, doing so without offering any proposals on how to achieve it is an abdication,” said Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the second-ranking House Democrat. “If the president is serious about tax reform, he should focus on the how, not the why.”Trump is not a detail-oriented president. That much is clear. But while he may be able to stick to broad strokes in rally-the-public speeches and leave the rest to Congress, his party will eventually have to make the tough decisions about who’s going to pay more, who gets to pay less, and by how much. Until that happens, tax reform isn’t going anywhere.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/trumps-fill-in-the-blanks-tax-reform-plan/538509/

Trump’s populist message on taxes comes with heavy dose of corporate rate cuts

Trump’s speech didn’t mask the fact that lawmakers still face a wide range of knotty questions when they return to Washington next week.

08/30/2017 01:59 PM EDT

Updated 08/30/2017 04:08 PM EDT

Trump maintained that a new tax system was crucial to ushering in a new prosperity in the U.S., in a speech that White House officials acknowledged beforehand would be light on policy details.

“Instead of exporting our jobs, we will export our goods. Our jobs will both stay here in America and come back to America. We’ll have it both ways,” Trump said at a Springfield, Mo., manufacturer, adding that millions of people would move from welfare to work and “will love earning a big fat beautiful paycheck.”

“We believe that ordinary Americans know better than Washington how to spend their own money and we want to help them take home as much of their money as possible and then spend it,” he said. “So they’ll keep their money, they’ll spend their money, they’ll buy our product.”

But Trump’s speech also underscored just how big a challenge he and a Republican Congress will face in pulling off a true overhaul of the tax code. The president only briefly touched on policy details, saying that businesses would “ideally” be taxed at a top rate of 15 percent and that the tax code would contain incentives for child care — a top priority of his daughter, Ivanka Trump.

“I am fully committed to working with Congress to get this job done,” Trump said. “And I don’t want to be disappointed by Congress. Do you understand me?”

Trump’s speech was aimed at showing that Republicans have the message down on tax reform, but lawmakers have yet to confront the monumental task of turning the rhetoric into reality.

Senior White House officials this week repeatedly billed the president’s speech as an address focused on why tax reform needs to happen, not how it will materialize. That’s the sort of big-picture cover on taxes that Trump didn’t offer congressional leaders in their doomed efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.

But while congressional leaders undoubtedly welcome the president making the broad case for a tax revamp, Trump’s speech doesn’t mask the fact that lawmakers still face a wide range of knotty questions when they return to Washington next week.

Republicans still have to figure out how to pass a budget this fall, a process that will play a big role in deciding how generous a tax plan they can write. They also have to decide whether tax changes should be permanent or temporary, or a mix of the two, and whether their plan should be a net tax cut that would add to the deficit.

And that’s before they will feel the full brunt of a massive lobbying push on what would be the first major tax overhaul in more than 30 years. Already, GOP lawmakers are starting to hear from industries that might be the losers in a tax overhaul, such as big corporations that don’t want a minimum tax on foreign earnings and a retirement sector wary of potential changes to savings plans.

The hurdles won’t be limited to policy, either, after a summer that saw both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue grow increasingly wary of the other as the GOP’s health care efforts imploded. Republicans on Capitol Hill steamed privately in July that Trump’s obsession with White House infighting and the Russia controversy was a major factor in the death of the repeal effort. They’re crossing their fingers that he won’t be so easily distracted on tax reform.

 

Fact-checking President Trump’s speech on his tax plan

 August 31 at 3:00 AM
The Fact Checker’s round-up of five fishy claims made by President Trump in his speech on Aug. 30. (Meg Kelly/The Washington Post)

President Trump on Wednesday delivered an address on his “principles” for a tax plan in Springfield, Mo., though he provided few details. He also shifted from extolling how well the economy is doing to language that suggested the United States was suffering terribly. As usual, some of the president’s  facts and figures were a bit fishy, so here’s a roundup of 10 of his claims.

“In the last 10 years, our economy has grown at only around 2 percent a year.”

This is misleading. By going back 10 years, Trump includes the worst recession since the Great Depression, which brings down the 10-year average. This chart shows that that quarterly average since the recession was well above 2 percent, even hitting 5 percent in the third quarter of 2014. The GDP growth rate for the United States averaged 3.22 percent from 1947 to 2017.


Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis via Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

“We just announced that we hit 3 percent in GDP. Just came out. And on a yearly basis, as you know, the last administration, during an eight-year period, never hit 3 percent.

Trump plays some sleight-of-hand with the numbers. He first cites an annualized quarterly figure — 3 percent GDP growth in the second quarter of 2017 — and then compares it to what appears to be calendar-year figures for former president Barack Obama.

As the chart above shows, the economy grew better than 3 percent in eight quarters during Obama’s presidency, most recently in the third quarter of 2016. (Technically, this is known as “annualized quarterly change” or SAAR — seasonally adjusted at annual rate.) Trump gets his terminology wrong, using the phrase “yearly basis,” which could mean from the third quarter of 2015 to the the third quarter of 2016, in which case Obama easily exceeded 3 percent numerous times. On an annual basis, Obama’s best year was 2015, when annual growth was 2.6 percent.

“If we achieve sustained 3 percent growth, that means 12 million new jobs and $10 trillion of new economic activity over the next decade. That’s some numbers.”

With this statement, Trump downgrades promises he made during the 2016 campaign — he said he would achieve 4 percent GDP growth and 25 million jobs over 10 years.

“In 1935, the basic 1040 form that most people file had two simple pages of instruction. Today, that basic form has 100 pages of instructions, and it’s pretty complex stuff.”

Trump is correct that in 1935, the basic 1040 individual income tax form had two pages of instructions, but this claim needs historical context.

There are many reasons the instructions were so simple back then — including that just about 4 percent of the population paid the federal individual income tax. In 1935, the individual income tax largely was a tax on the wealthy. In fact, the top rate in 1935 was 63 percent — and President Franklin D. Roosevelt raised it to 75 percent later that year.

This changed with World War II. “Driven by staggering revenue needs, lawmakers in both parties agreed to raise taxes on everyone: rich, poor, and — especially — the middle class,” wrote Joseph Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project.

“The tax code is so complicated that more than 90 percent of Americans need professional help to do their own taxes.”

This is misleading. The 90 percent figure he is referring to includes people using tax software, such as Turbo Tax, which helps people file their taxes on their own. According to the National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2016 report, 54 percent of individual taxpayers pay preparers and about 40 percent of individual taxpayers use software that costs about $50 or more.

Yet later during the speech, he made it sound as if the “professional help” is only referring to hired accountants: “That is why tax reform must dramatically simplify the tax code … and allow the vast majority of our citizens to file their taxes on a single, simple page without having to hire an accountant.”

“Our last major tax rewrite was 31 years ago. It eliminated dozens of loopholes and special interest tax breaks, reduced the number of tax brackets from 15 to two, and lowered tax rates for both individuals and businesses. At the time it was really something special … In 1986, Ronald Reagan led the world by cutting our corporate tax rate to 34 percent. That was below the average rate for developed countries at the time. Everybody thought that was a monumental thing that happened. But then, under this pro-America system, our economy boomed. It just went beautifully right through the roof. The middle class thrived, and median family income increased.”

Trump heaped praise on Reagan’s Tax Reform Act of 1986, which simplified tax brackets and eliminated tax shelters; it also lowered the top individual tax rate to 28 percent but raised the capital gains rate to the same level, giving them parity. But this is a rather strange flip-flop because Trump always has been a fierce critic of the bill, blaming it repeatedly for the savings and loan crisis, a decline in real estate investing and the 1990-1991 recession.

“This tax act was just an absolute catastrophe for the country, for the real estate industry, and I really hope that something can be done,” Trump told Congress in 1991. In a television interview with Joan Rivers, he said: “What caused the savings and loan crisis was the 1986 tax law change. It was a disaster. It took all of the incentives away from investors.”

Trump also frequently attacked one of the Democratic sponsors of the bill, Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), such as in a Wall Street Journal commentary in 1999. “Mr. Bradley’s last big idea to be enacted into legislation was also one of the worst ideas in recent history,” Trump wrote, saying Bradley was responsible for the elimination of a tax shelter for real estate investments. (He said the good parts of the bill could be attributed to Reagan.)

“We lost the jobs. We lost the taxes. They closed the buildings. They closed the plants and factories. We got nothing but unemployment. We got nothing.”

As Trump frequently notes, the unemployment rate in July was 4.3 percent — the lowest level in 16 years. So this overwrought language seems misplaced.

“We have gone from a tax rate that is lower than our economic competitors, to one that is more than 60 percent higher. … In other words, foreign companies have more than a 60 percent tax advantage over American companies.”

The United States certainly has one of the highest statutory corporate tax rates in the world, currently pegged as high as 39.1 percent when including state taxes. (The federal rate is 35 percent.) Trump says it is 60 percent higher than “our economic competitors,” comparing 39.1 percent to the average rate for the other members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which is 25.5 percent when not weighted for GDP. (It is 29.6 percent when weighted for GDP.)

But the official rate does not necessarily tell the whole story. What also matters is the actual tax a company pays, after deductions and tax benefits. That is known as the effective tax rate, which can be calculated differently depending on the survey. According to the Congressional Research Service, the effective rate for the United States is 27.1 percent, compared to an effective GDP-weighted average of 27.7 percent for the OECD. “Although the U.S. statutory tax rate is higher, the average effective rate is about the same, and the marginal rate on new investment is only slightly higher,” the CRS says.

The Congressional Budget Office, when it examined the issue, said the U.S. effective tax rate was 18.6 percent, which it said was among the highest of the biggest economic powers, the Group of 20.

Trump, naturally, used the numbers that suggest the difference is really huge.

“Today, we are still taxing our businesses at 35 percent, and it’s way more than that. And think of it, in some cases, way above 40 percent when you include state and local taxes in various states. The United States is now behind France, behind Germany, behind Canada, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and many other nations.”

As we noted, the statutory federal corporate tax rate in the United States is 35 percent, making the United States the highest among G-20 countries, including the countries Trump listed. But the effective corporate tax rate in the United States in 2012 was 18.6 percent, making it the fourth highest among G-20 countries, behind Argentina, Japan and Britain, according to the CBO.

“Because of our high tax rate and horrible, outdated, bureaucratic rules, large companies that do business overseas will often park their profits offshore to avoid paying a high United States tax if the money is brought back home. So they leave the money over there. The amount of money we’re talking about is anywhere from $3 trillion to $5 trillion.”

There are no official, current numbers on the profits held overseas by U.S. companies, just estimates. The White House would not respond to a query on where Trump is getting these numbers, but his high-end figure appears to be an exaggeration. The Internal Revenue Service in 2012 said the figure was $2.3 trillion, and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that it had risen to $2.6 trillion in 2015. There are other estimates as well, but none top $2.8 trillion, according to PolitiFact.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/08/31/fact-checking-president-trumps-speech-on-his-tax-plan/?utm_term=.8ea0dc0c4d24

 

Story 2: Revised Second Estimate of Real GDP Growth in Second Quarter of 2017 Is 3 Percent — Videos

Economic growth hits 3% in Q2

Growth Rates Are Crucial

Nightly Business Report – August 30, 2017

Can Trump’s plan double U.S. economic growth?

How Trump’s economic proposals offer a vision from the past

What is Gross Domestic Product (GDP)?

Nominal vs. Real GDP

Real GDP Per Capita and the Standard of Living

EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EDT, Wednesday, August 30, 2017
BEA 17—42

* See the navigation bar at the right side of the news release text for links to data tables, contact personnel and their telephone numbers, and supplementary materials.

Lisa Mataloni: (301) 278-9083 (GDP) gdpniwd@bea.gov
Kate Pinard: (301) 278-9417 (Corporate Profits) cpniwd@bea.gov
Jeannine Aversa: (301) 278-9003 (News Media) Jeannine.Aversa@bea.gov
National Income and Product Accounts
Gross Domestic Product: Second Quarter 2017 (Second Estimate)
Corporate Profits: Second Quarter 2017 (Preliminary Estimate)
Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.0 percent in the second quarter of
2017 (table 1), according to the "second" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the
first quarter, real GDP increased 1.2 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the
"advance" estimate issued last month.  In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 2.6
percent. With this second estimate for the second quarter, the general picture of economic growth
remains the same; increases in personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and in nonresidential fixed
investment were larger than previously estimated. These increases were partly offset by a larger
decrease in state and local government spending (see "Updates to GDP" below).

Real GDP: Percent Change from Preceding Quarter
Real gross domestic income (GDI) increased 2.9 percent in the second quarter, compared with an
increase of 2.7 percent (revised) in the first. The average of real GDP and real GDI, a supplemental
measure of U.S. economic activity that equally weights GDP and GDI, increased 3.0 percent in the
second quarter, compared with an increase of 2.0 percent in the first quarter (table 1).

The increase in real GDP in the second quarter reflected positive contributions from PCE, nonresidential
fixed investment, exports, federal government spending, and private inventory investment that were
partly offset by negative contributions from residential fixed investment and state and local government
spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased (table 2).

The acceleration in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected upturns in private inventory
investment and federal government spending and an acceleration in PCE that were partly offset by
downturns in residential fixed investment and state and local government spending and a deceleration
in exports.

Current-dollar GDP increased 4.0 percent, or $189.0 billion, in the second quarter to a level of $19,246.7
billion. In the first quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 3.3 percent, or $152.2 billion (table 1 and table
3).

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 0.8 percent in the second quarter, compared
with an increase of 2.6 percent in the first quarter (table 4). The PCE price index increased 0.3 percent,
compared with an increase of 2.2 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index
increased 0.9 percent, compared with an increase of 1.8 percent (appendix table A).


Updates to GDP

The percent change in real GDP was revised up from the advance estimate, reflecting upward revisions
to PCE and to nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by a downward revision to state
and local government spending. For more information, see the Technical Note. A detailed "Key Source
Data and Assumptions" file is also posted for each release.  For information on updates to GDP, see the
“Additional Information” section that follows.

                                    Advance Estimate        Second Estimate
			           (Percent change from preceding quarter)
Real GDP                                  2.6                  3.0
Current-dollar GDP                        3.6                  4.0
Real GDI                                   …                   2.9
Average of Real GDP and Real GDI           …                   3.0
Gross domestic purchases price index      0.8                  0.8
PCE price index                           0.3                  0.3


For the first quarter of 2017, the percent change in real GDI was revised from 2.6 percent to 2.7 percent
based on revised first-quarter tabulations from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages
program.

Corporate Profits (table 12)

Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment and capital
consumption adjustment) increased $26.8 billion in the second quarter, in contrast to a decrease of
$46.2 billion in the first quarter.

Profits of domestic financial corporations decreased $29.4 billion in the second quarter, compared with
a decrease of $40.7 billion in the first quarter. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased
$64.8 billion, compared with an increase of $3.8 billion. The rest-of-the-world component of profits
decreased $8.6 billion, compared with a decrease of $9.3 billion. This measure is calculated as the
difference between receipts from the rest of the world and payments to the rest of the world. In the
second quarter, receipts increased $8.5 billion, and payments increased $17.1 billion.





                                       *          *          *




                           Next release:  September 28, 2017 at 8:30 A.M. EDT
                     Gross Domestic Product:  Second Quarter 2017 (Third Estimate)
                      Corporate Profits:  Second Quarter 2017 (Revised Estimate)




                                       Additional Information

Resources

Additional resources available at www.bea.gov:
•	Stay informed about BEA developments by reading the BEA blog, signing up for BEA’s email
        subscription service, or following BEA on Twitter @BEA_News.
•	Historical time series for these estimates can be accessed in BEA’s Interactive Data Application.
•	Access BEA data by registering for BEA’s Data Application Programming Interface (API).
•	For more on BEA’s statistics, see our monthly online journal, the Survey of Current Business.
•	BEA's news release scheduleNIPA Handbook:  Concepts and Methods of the U.S. National Income and Product Accounts

Definitions

Gross domestic product (GDP) is the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s economy
less the value of the goods and services used up in production. GDP is also equal to the sum of personal
consumption expenditures, gross private domestic investment, net exports of goods and services, and
government consumption expenditures and gross investment.

Gross domestic income (GDI) is the sum of incomes earned and costs incurred in the production of GDP.
In national economic accounting, GDP and GDI are conceptually equal. In practice, GDP and GDI differ
because they are constructed using largely independent source data. Real GDI is calculated by deflating
gross domestic income using the GDP price index as the deflator, and is therefore conceptually
equivalent to real GDP.

Current-dollar estimates are valued in the prices of the period when the transactions occurred—that is,
at “market value.” Also referred to as “nominal estimates” or as “current-price estimates.”
Real values are inflation-adjusted estimates—that is, estimates that exclude the effects of price changes.
The gross domestic purchases price index measures the prices of final goods and services purchased by
U.S. residents.

The personal consumption expenditure price index measures the prices paid for the goods and services
purchased by, or on the behalf of, “persons.”

Profits from current production, referred to as corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment
(IVA) and capital consumption adjustment (CCAdj) in the NIPAs, is a measure of the net income of
corporations before deducting income taxes that is consistent with the value of goods and services
measured in GDP. The IVA and CCAdj are adjustments that convert inventory withdrawals and
depreciation of fixed assets reported on a tax-return, historical-cost basis to the current-cost economic
measures used in the national income and product accounts.

For more definitions, see the Glossary: National Income and Product Accounts.


Statistical conventions

Annual rates. Quarterly values are expressed at seasonally-adjusted annual rates (SAAR), unless
otherwise specified. Dollar changes are calculated as the difference between these SAAR values. For
detail, see the FAQ “Why does BEA publish estimates at annual rates?”

Percent changes in quarterly series are calculated from unrounded data and are displayed at annual
rates, unless otherwise specified. For details, see the FAQ “How is average annual growth calculated?”

Quantities and prices. Quantities, or “real” volume measures, and prices are expressed as index
numbers with a specified reference year equal to 100 (currently 2009). Quantity and price indexes are
calculated using a Fisher-chained weighted formula that incorporates weights from two adjacent
periods (quarters for quarterly data and annuals for annual data). “Real” dollar series are calculated by
multiplying the published quantity index by the current dollar value in the reference year (2009) and
then dividing by 100. Percent changes calculated from real quantity indexes and chained-dollar levels
are conceptually the same; any differences are due to rounding.

Chained-dollar values are not additive because the relative weights for a given period differ from those
of the reference year. In tables that display chained-dollar values, a “residual” line shows the difference
between the sum of detailed chained-dollar series and its corresponding aggregate.


Updates to GDP

BEA releases three vintages of the current quarterly estimate for GDP:  "Advance" estimates are
released near the end of the first month following the end of the quarter and are based on source data
that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency; “second” and “third” estimates
are released near the end of the second and third months, respectively, and are based on more detailed
and more comprehensive data as they become available.

Annual and comprehensive updates are typically released in late July. Annual updates generally cover at
least the 3 most recent calendar years (and their associated quarters) and incorporate newly available
major annual source data as well as some changes in methods and definitions to improve the accounts.
Comprehensive (or benchmark) updates are carried out at about 5-year intervals and incorporate major
periodic source data, as well as major conceptual improvements.
The table below shows the average revisions to the quarterly percent changes in real GDP between
different estimate vintages, without regard to sign.

Vintage                               Average Revision Without Regard to Sign
                                         (percentage points, annual rates)
Advance to second                                     0.5
Advance to third                                      0.6
Second to third                                       0.2
Advance to latest                                     1.1
Note - Based on estimates from 1993 through 2015. For more information on GDP
updates, see Revision Information on the BEA Web site.

The larger average revision from the advance to the latest estimate reflects the fact that periodic
comprehensive updates include major statistical and methodological improvements.

Unlike GDP, an advance current quarterly estimate of GDI is not released because data on domestic
profits and on net interest of domestic industries are not available. For fourth quarter estimates, these
data are not available until the third estimate.

https://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/2017/gdp2q17_2nd.htm

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 755, Part 1 of 2, Story 1: President Trump’s Tax Speech — Very Light On Specifics — Let Congress Fill in The Details — Formula For Failure — Tax Rate Cuts Are Not Fundamental Tax Reform — A Broad Based Consumption Tax Such as The FairTax or Fair Tax Less Not Even Mentioned — What Good Is Dreaming It If You don’t actually do it! — Videos — Story 2: Revised Second Estimate of Real GDP Growth in Second Quarter of 2017 Is 3 Percent — Videos

Posted on August 31, 2017. Filed under: Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Independence, Labor Economics, Law, Life, Media, Monetary Policy, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Resources, Rule of Law, Security, Senate, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Trade Policy, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, War, Wealth, Weather, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Image result for branco cartoons on trump tax reformImage result for fairtax

Image result for branco cartoons on trump tax reform

Image result for branco cartoons on trump tax reform

Image result for branco cartoons on trump tax reform

Image result for branco cartoons on trump tax reform

 

Image result for average quarter to quarter real gdp growth

Image result for average quarter to quarter real gdp growth

Image result for annual real gdp growth 1950-2017

Image result for annual real gdp growth 1950-2017 u.S. economy

Image result for annual real gdp growth 1950-2017 u.S. economy

Image result for annual real gdp growth 1950-2017 u.S. economy

Story 1: President Trump’s Tax Speech — Very Light On Specifics — Let Congress Fill in The Details — Formula For Failure — Tax Rate Cuts Are Not Fundamental Tax Reform — A Broad Based Consumption Tax Such as The FairTax or Fair Tax Less Not Even Mentioned — What Good Is Dreaming It If You don’t actually do it! — Videos —

FULL. President Trump speech on tax reform in Springfield, Missouri. August 30, 2017.

Special Report with Bret Baier 8/30/17 – Special Report Fox News August 30, 2017 TRUMP TAX REFORM

Destroy Trump Media – President Trump Pitches Tax Reform Plan – Kellyanne Conway – Hannity

President Trump’s tax plan

Will US Markets Finally Get Tax Reform – 29 Aug 17 | Gazunda

Keiser Report: The bizarre decade (E1117)

Dan Mitchell on GOP Tax Reform Wrangling, Part I

Dan Mitchell on GOP Tax Reform Wrangling, Part II

Dan Mitchell Discussing the Fate of Tax Cuts and Tax Reform

How Trump’s tax plan impacts average Americans

Trump’s Tax Cut Plan Alienates His Base

Cohn Says White House Is Concerned About U.S. Wages

Gary Cohn on the Trump administration taking on tax loopholes

As White House Cracks Show, Are Rex Tillerson and Gary Cohn Headed Out? | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Gary Cohn’s take on tax reform

Limbaugh Airs Montage Of The ‘3 LIES’ Media Said After Trump’s Tax Speech

Trump’s tax cuts will be done before Thanksgiving: Grover Norquist

Donald Trump Is To Give Speech On Tax Reform But He Has No Tax Reform Plan | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

Freedom from the IRS! – FairTax Explained in Detail

Mark Levin: Donald Trump gave a good speech on tax reform (August 30 2017)

Why U.S. Tax Reform Isn’t Likely in 2017

Milton Friedman – Why Tax Reform Is Impossible

Honda – “Impossible Dream” Power of Dreams Advert Full

 

Trump’s Tax Reform Plan Targets Middle-Class Tax Complexity

Policy director at Competitive Enterprise Institute

President Trump visited Missouri to talk about tax reform, stressing simplicity and middle-class tax relief and “plans to bring back Main Street by reducing the crushing tax burden on our companies and on our workers.”

Noting the elimination of “dozens of loopholes,” special interest carve-outs, and the reduction of brackets and rates that Congress achieved three decades ago, Trump said, “the foundation of our job creation agenda is to fundamentally reform our tax code for the first time in more than 30 years. I want to work with Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, on a plan that is pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-worker — and pro-American.”

We’re about to re-enter Obamacare repeal-style complexity and venom, but it’s important, I think, for the public to see the tax reform debate as something other than a campaign to benefit business. The U.S. does have comparatively high corporate tax rates. And the Econ 101 lesson on tax incidence shows that consumers pay much of the corporate tax, not the company.

It’s probable some Democrats would like to reform the tax code, especially come 2016, but the zero-tolerance of Trump, such as that seen at the Commonwealth Club when Sen. Diane Feinstein was barely favorable toward him, prevails.

But things can turn on a dime, as the response, likely bipartisan, to Hurricane Harvey may further show. And separately the controversial debt limit needs to be addressed no matter what (hopefully with parallel cuts in regulatory costs), and that debate will influence the trajectory of tax reform.

My broader point here though is is that taxation is just the beginning of the story when it comes to the complexity of regulatory compliance. The economy marinates in compliance burdens to service noble ends, but sometimes serve regulators instead. Trump characterized the Internal Revenue Service’s unfairness to the typical taxpayer like this:

The tax code is now a massive source of complexity and frustration for tens of millions of Americans.

In 1935, the basic 1040 form that most people file had two simple pages of instructions. Today, that basic form has one hundred pages of instructions, and it’s pretty complex stuff. The tax code is so complicated that more than 90 percent of Americans need professional help to do their own taxes.

This enormous complexity is very unfair. It disadvantages ordinary Americans who don’t have an army of accountants while benefiting deep-pocketed special interests. And most importantly, this is wrong.

There’s solid backup for what Trump’s talking about in terms of pubic burdens, even if some are disinclined  to reckon with it, or if their allegiances require professing public disdain for corporations (one of the great democratizing forces in human history, but that’s another story).

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) agrees, I think, that Trump’s example of the IRS is a good one. In the course of a project I have of compiling examples of government proclamationsthat are not laws from Congress, nor even formal regulations from agencies, but instead “memoranda” and “guidance,” the IRS emerged as a leading “offender.”

A September 2016 GAO report called  “Regulatory Guidance Processes: Treasury and OMB Need to Reevaluate Long-standing Exemptions of Tax Regulations and Guidance,” looked at the Internal Revenue Service’s hierarchy of law, regulations, guidance, and explanatory material with respect to communicating interpretation of tax laws to the public.

It’s an eye-opener.

A pyramid diagram presented by GAO was topped by the Internal Revenue Code, as passed by Congress. Beneath that, in widening stages, one finds “Treasury Regulations,” “Internal Revenue Bulletins,” (IRB), “Written Determinations,” and “Other IRS Publications and Information.” The IRS regards the bulletins as generally authoritative, while determinations tend to apply to individual taxpayers.

That’s a lot of public guidance, difficult to absorb.

As the GAO explains:

Treasury and IRS are among the largest generators of federal agency regulations and they issue thousands of other forms of taxpayer guidance. IRS publishes tax regulations and other guidance in the weekly IRB. Each annual volume of the IRB contains about 2,000 pages of regulations and other guidance documents.

From 2013 to 2015, each annual Internal Revenue Bulletin edition contained some 300 guidance documents; back in 2002-2008, about 500.

When one sees such document proliferation from the IRS, an impartial observer might surmise the time for tax reform and simplification has arrived.

Likewise, when regulatory guidance multiplies that applies to various sectors—like finance, Internet, health care—one might similarly conclude the time has come for Congress to enact regulatory liberalization. Trump mentioned cutting the overall federal regulatory burden in the Missouri speech, too.

We knew it all along, but paying taxes also requires paying a lot of attention to regulations. In more ways than one, tax reform and regulatory reform go hand in hand.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/waynecrews/2017/08/30/trumps-tax-reform-plan-targets-middle-class-tax-complexity/#31fda3736ef8

Ann Coulter goes off on Trump over taxes, saying he delivered his ‘worst, most tone-deaf speech’

Conservative author Ann Coulter rebuked President Donald Trump over his speech on Wednesday in which he rolled out the broad outline of his tax reform plan.

In a slew of tweets on Wednesday, the firebrand conservative pundit said the president’s focus on simplifying the tax code and lowering business taxes to 15% was missing an opportunity to prioritize some of his more incendiary, but unique, policy objectives, including building a southern border wall and deporting immigrants living in the US without permission.

This isn’t a “once in a lifetime” shot at tax cuts! EVERY GOP cuts taxes! This is “once in a lifetime” shot to save US: Wall & deportations!

Bush cut taxes! Did it create millions of jobs? Nope. The rich pocketed their tax cut & sent jobs abroad, hired guest workers. F– them.

It’s so obvious Trump’s only getting polite applause for tax cuts. Want to get the crowd hollering, @realDonaldTrump? Talk about THE WALL!

It’s like Night of the Living Dead watching our beloved @realDonaldTrump go to DC & start babbling the same old GOP nonsense on tax cuts.

Tax cuts are a 2d term issue. 1st term: BUILD THE WALL, End DACA, Deport Illegals, No Refugees, No Muslims, Immigrn Moratorium. SAVE USA!

Cutting taxes doesn’t do a damn thing for wages if you allow businesses to keep bringing in cheap foreign labor!

To create jobs for AMERICANS, no more cheap foreign workers, CUT REGULATIONS & cut corporate taxes. (NOT income taxes.)

Coulter particularly singled out the similarities between Trump’s plan and a hypothetical plan that other Republicans like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would’ve put forward.

This speech could have been given by Jeb! — except even he wouldn’t have talked about the govt helping yuppie women with child care costs.

Oh stop pretending this is about letting “families” keep more of their money. HALF OF AMERICANS DON’T PAY TAXES! This is for Wall Street.

Indeed, beyond the prominent former Wall Street figures playing key roles in overhauling the tax code, Trump’s administration has absorbed some financial figures from Bush’s policy world.

Notably, Bush’s former senior policy director Justin Muzinich joined the Treasury Department in March to work closely with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on “major policy initiatives” and on tax reform.

Over the past several months, Coulter has increasingly criticized Trump and mocked him on social media and in interviews, saying that he has not fulfilled his anti-immigration campaign promises.

“The millions of people who haven’t voted for 30 years and came out to vote for Trump, thinking, ‘Finally, here’s somebody who cares about us’ — Nope!” Coulter told The Daily Beast after former chief strategist Steve Bannon left the White House earlier this month. “Republicans, Democrats — doesn’t matter. Jeb exclamation point, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton — doesn’t matter. Goldman Sachs is running the country.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/ann-coulter-trump-taxes-speech-2017-8

 

Who Pays Income Taxes?

The charts below illustrate the share of taxes paid by income percentiles for Tax Year 2014, the most recent set of data available from the IRS. NTUF has broken down the federal share of income taxes by gross income to show how much each bracket contributes yearly.

For more information:

 

https://e.infogr.am/38b876d9-6c59-4a84-8b02-1ed223f6a454?src=embed

https://www.ntu.org/foundation/page/who-pays-income-taxes

Trump Hits The Road To Promote Tax Cuts (Details To Come)

President Trump participates in a tax overhaul kickoff event at the Loren Cook Company in Springfield, Mo., on Wednesday.

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

President Trump called for a major rewrite of the U.S. tax code during a visit to Springfield, Mo., on Wednesday afternoon. The speech came a day after Trump’s trip to Harvey-hit Texas and is the first in what is expected to be a series of traveling sales pitches on taxes from the president.

But the White House is not ready to spell out what the rewrite will look like or what kind of price tag it will carry. Trump spoke in broad terms about creating a tax system that favors middle-class Americans and keeps business in the U.S.

“First and foremost our tax system should benefit loyal, hardworking Americans and their families. That is why tax reform must dramatically simplify the tax code, eliminate special-interest loopholes,” he said.

Trump called on Congress to join him and “unite in the name of common sense and the name of common good” to create jobs and improve America’s “competitive advantage.”

“I am fully committed to working with Congress to get this job done, and I don’t want to be disappointed by Congress,” he said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn have been meeting regularly with Republican congressional leaders to discuss tax policy. Thus far, though, they’ve committed only to a vague statement of principles that calls for lower tax rates on both individuals and businesses. Cohn said it will be up to lawmakers to fill in the details.

“We’ve got a great, I would say, skeleton,” Cohn told reporters earlier this month. “We need the Ways and Means Committee to put some muscle and skin on the skeleton and drive tax reform forward. And it’s our objective to do that between now and the end of the year.”

With Republicans in control of the House, Senate and the presidency, supporters have described this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to overhaul the tax code in accordance with GOP principles. But after Trump’s insistence on swift, ultimately unsuccessful bids to repeal the Affordable Care Act, some observers are skeptical that Trump has the patience or discipline to see a tax overhaul through to completion.

Mnuchin insists tax cuts are now Trump’s No. 1 priority.

“He’s going to go on the road,” Mnuchin said. “The president is 100 percent supportive of us passing legislation this year.”

The White House has been promising such a sales campaign for weeks, only to see much of August consumed with controversy over the president’s Charlottesville, Va., remarks and his intraparty carping with fellow Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Mnuchin conceded that rewriting the tax code is a taller order than he initially imagined.

“Earlier in the year I said I thought we’d get it done by August, and I was wrong,” the Treasury secretary said. “I am now going to say that I’m very hopeful, and I think we can get this done by the end of the year, but we will continue to revisit it.”

“The president’s leadership on this is critical,” said a senior White House official who briefed reporters on the Springfield trip. “Everybody involved understands that and believes that. And he is ready to really take this conversation where it belongs and that’s the heartland of America.”

The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The president now feels that it’s the right time to begin engaging directly with the American people on tax reform,” he said.

The administration argues the current tax code is too complicated and rates are too high to encourage investment in the U.S.

“We are not competitive with the rest of the world on the business tax and on the personal income tax,” Cohn said.

Neither the White House nor congressional leaders have spelled out how much lower tax rates should go, nor have they specified how the government would make up the lost revenue. They’re counting on faster economic growth to help close the gap. They’ve also promised to eliminate unspecified tax “loopholes,” which Trump called out multiple times in his speech on Wednesday.

Back in April, the White House proposed lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent while reducing the top individual tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. That’s broadly similar to a proposal Trump put forward during the presidential campaign. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center said at the time 78 percent of the tax savings in Trump’s campaign plan would go to people on the top 20 percent of the income ladder. (Nearly a quarter would go to the top one-tenth of 1 percent.)

The campaign plan was also forecast to reduce government revenue by more than $6 trillion over a decade — a gap that would be difficult to erase through growth and loophole closings.

The White House has said it wants to preserve deductions for charitable contributions, retirement savings and mortgage interest.

One popular tax break that could be on the chopping block is the deduction for state and local taxes. That’s one of the biggest loopholes in the tax code. Eliminating it would boost federal revenues by an estimated $1.3 trillion over a decade. The tax break is particularly popular with residents in the Northeast and West Coast, typically blue states with relatively high tax rates.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., favo