Soil and the economy

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Everyone talks about the economy, but no one knows what to do

Trump said last week the economy is booming, roaring, on fire! No, it is not, and as long as the U.S. increases carbon emissions, the unemployment rate does not really matter.

False tweets

“Despite the tremendous success that I have had as President, including perhaps the greatest ECONOMY and most successful first two years of any President in history, they have stollen two years of my (our) Presidency (Collusion Delusion) that we will never be able to get back…”

Most people want to believe the U.S. economy is booming, no one wants to hear bad news. Trump is a master manipulator, playing the victim. It is all a delusion. Let’s dig in.

How is ignoring the climate emergency, eliminating environmental regulations, and promoting fracking and deepwater drilling for oil and gas a tremendous success?

Economic activity is based on the production and consumption of goods and services. International trade benefits the U.S. economy. Honduras, for example, has been a great source of bananas. U.S. products are sold all over the world. Trade creates new markets for U.S. products, and benefits Americans buying low-cost items. Trade agreements are based on respect, trust, and honest relationships. In two years, Trump has offended America’s long-term trade partners and imposed massive import tariffs.

Tariffs are taxes on American families

Tariffs slow the flow of trade like potholes on the road, creating delays, waste, and corruption. There are many ways to get around trade barriers. Tariffs are fees paid at the point of entry by companies like Walmart and U.S. manufacturers importing goods for domestic sale. Import fees go to the U.S. Treasury and American consumers pay for the massive tariffs.

Last Sunday, Trump tweeted, “For 10 months, China has been paying Tariffs to the USA of 25% on 50 Billion Dollars of High Tech, and 10% on 200 Billion Dollars of other goods. These payments are partially responsible for our great economic results. The 10% will go up to 25% on Friday. 325 billions of dollars in additional goods sent to us by China remain untaxed, but will be shortly, at a rate of 25%. The Tariffs paid to the USA have had little impact on product cost, mostly borne by China.”

Trump doesn’t understand trade or the economy. He fires the best people and ignores expert advice. Trump, the tariff man runs the show. Let’s do the math. For 10 months American consumers have paid $12.5 billion on high-tech products and $20 billion of other goods. Thus, $32.5 billion has been paid by American consumers to the U.S. treasury, a hidden tax on the middle class.

On Friday, tariffs on “other goods” will increase from $20 to $50 billion, to be followed by $81.25 billion more. American consumers will pay $143.75 billion more per year!

Please Google “Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says President Trump doesn’t understand economics,” and “Trump struggles to understand the basics of his own tariffs.”

Healthy soil

One way to understand the economy is to see how Nature provides all we need to grow healthy food. Soils are complex mixtures of minerals, water, air, organic matter, and countless organisms. Healthy soil is vital to life on earth. It all starts with a humble seed. Sunlight, healthy soil, clean air, and water grow healthy plants, the natural way. Chemical pesticides and herbicides are unacceptable.

Soils and economies are fragile and complex. They must be handled by experts. Farmers measure time in decades with a clear vision for the future. Their land is sacred, a treasure for generations. The Dust Bowl and the Great Depression were man-made disasters. Lies, tariffs, economic sanctions, and fracking are false solutions. Running the American economy is not a job for amateurs.

Soil without clean water and air, sunlight, and an expert hand is not enough. An economy without access to education, housing, healthcare, peace, justice, equality, and respect, is an empty promise.

Dead end jobs are not a way to make a living.

Dr. Luis Contreras

6 COMMENTS

  1. If you don’t have a job, what do you do when you get sick? In Arkansas, if you are homeless or without email access you are out of luck.

    Arkansas Works 2.0 is designed to remove people from Medicaid, requiring 80-hours of work, reported on time on a clumsy website.

    Here is a November 2018 report:

    Concerned about the number of Arkansans who have lost health coverage, a federal advisory panel on Thursday urged a top federal official to temporarily stop the state from enforcing its work requirement for Medicaid expansion enrollees. In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, the chairman of the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program Payment and Access Commission cited the small number of enrollees who met the requirement by using a state website to report their hours of work or other approved activities.

    “J.R. Davis, a spokesman for Gov. Asa Hutchinson, said the state’s outreach to enrollees has included appearances on television and radio news programs and thousands of letters and phone calls.”

    Some of those getting moved off the program may no longer need the assistance, he said.

    “We believe there’s a lot of individuals who have either moved on into work and have just decided not to notify DHS about that, have moved out of state or maybe moved onto a spouse’s insurance,” Davis said. “Until they get in touch with us and let us know, there’s really nothing else that we can do.”

    In September, for instance, just 1,532 met the requirement by reporting their hours. An additional 2,263 used the site to report an exemption, and 222 reported some hours but not enough to meet the requirement.

    Meanwhile, 16,535 were found out of compliance because they didn’t report any activities through the website.

    An additional 52,714 were not required to report because information in state records showed they were exempt or indicated they were meeting the requirement.

    “The low level of reporting is a strong warning signal that the current process may not be structured in a way that provides individuals an opportunity to succeed, with high stakes for beneficiaries who fail,” wrote the commission’s chairman, Penny Thompson.

    She said the commission is calling for “a pause in disenrollments in order to make program adjustments to promote awareness, reporting and compliance.”

    The nonpartisan, 17-member commission was created by Congress in 2009 to make recommendations on policies governing the health care programs for low-income people. Its letter to Azar followed a commission discussion on Oct. 25.

    In a letter to Thompson six days later, Arkansas Medicaid Director Dawn Stehle said state officials were disappointed that they weren’t included.

    Stehle contended that a presentation to the commission included “numerous errors and flawed language that misrepresent the program as designed.”

    “For [the commission] to attempt to establish itself as a monitor over individual state Medicaid programs is a new and slippery path that should be reconsidered,” Stehle wrote.

    Arkansas in June became the first state in the more than 50-year history of the Medicaid program to implement a work requirement for some enrollees.

    The requirement applies to enrollees in Arkansas Works, which covers people who became eligible for Medicaid when the state extended eligibility in 2014 to adults with incomes of up to 138 percent of the poverty level.

    Most of the program’s more than 252,000 enrollees receive the coverage through private plans, with the Medicaid program paying some or all of the premium.

    To stay in compliance, enrollees must spend 80 hours a month on work or activities and report their hours through the website, access.arkansas.gov.

    Those who fail to comply for three months during a year are terminated from the program and barred from re-enrolling for the rest of the year.

    More than 8,400 enrollees lost their coverage in September and October after accumulating three months of noncompliance.

    An additional 4,841 had accumulated two months of noncompliance as of Oct. 8 and were set to lose coverage last week unless they reported their work hours or an exemption for October. The state Department of Human Services is expected to report next week on how many ended up being terminated.

    In the letter, Thompson said the requirement to report through the website “may be challenging for beneficiaries given limited Internet access in the state and the multi-stage process for establishing an account and entering information.”

    The lack of Internet access may also be hampering the state’s efforts to inform enrollees about the requirement since “many educational resources are available only online or through social media, which is problematic given the low level of Internet access,” she wrote.

    Enrollees also may need help finding and keeping a job, she wrote. Although information on transportation assistance and other services is available on the Human Services Department website, she said the department isn’t “directly connecting” enrollees to organizations that provide the services or collecting information on the need for such services.

    Noting that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has not yet approved a plan for evaluating the work requirement, she said her agency also is concerned about whether officials “will be able to interpret early experience and evaluate progress towards evaluation goals.”

    In her Oct. 31 letter to Thompson, Stehle said that about 95 percent of enrollees who responded to calls to let them know about the requirement did not indicate that a lack of Internet access or computer literacy was a barrier to reporting through the website.

    The department also is conducting focus groups and client surveys to “determine clients’ knowledge, understanding and accessibility related to reporting their work requirements,” she wrote.

    “We have extensive engagements with stakeholders across the state in our continued efforts to educate working age adults about the community engagement requirements,” Stehle wrote. “Our goal is to have everyone actively and fully engaged in these opportunities, but we also recognize some may choose not to participate.”

    The letter to Azar came a day after 39 health-policy professors and researchers, including the deans or associate deans of six public-health or health-policy schools, asked to submit a brief in Washington, D.C., federal court in support of a lawsuit challenging the Arkansas work requirement. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg granted the request Thursday.

    Agreeing with the plaintiffs — represented by the National Health Law Program, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Jonesboro-based Legal Aid of Arkansas — the researchers said the federal law governing Medicaid does not allow work requirements.

    They said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in justifying such requirements, had misrepresented research on the effect of employment on the health of low-income people and ignored research on the economic benefits of expanding Medicaid coverage.

    They also argued that the work requirement will reverse the state’s success in reducing the number of its residents who are uninsured and leave hospitals and other health care providers with more unpaid bills.

    “Even a more conservative estimate reflecting the actual current rate of disenrollment finds that between 19 percent and 30 percent of the approximately 161,000 people subject to work requirements in Arkansas, or 30,700 to 48,300, will lose coverage by June 2019, the first year of the amended Arkansas Works demonstration, clearly a devastating result,” the researchers said in the brief.

    A spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the agency and Health and Human Services Department had no comment on the brief or letter from the commission.

    https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2018/nov/09/letter-advises-pause-of-state-medicaid-/

  2. Does the U.S. goverment lie when it claims low unemployment? YES

    The Real unemployment rate is higher than the number you see in the news – used to make the numbers look good

    The true unemployment rate for rural Arkansas is 30 percent, not 3.2 percent. Why? If there are no good jobs where you live, it doesn’t matter what the news tells you about the rest of the nation.

    If you work two partime jobs just to pay your bills, you know the true U.S. economy unemployment

    https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-the-real-unemployment-rate-3306198

  3. Anything you buy made-in-China (think Sam’s Club, Walmart, etc) will go up in price 25 percent. You will pay the full amount plus the sale taxes for state, county and city. In Arkansas, Sam’s has 3 sales taxes, 9.5 percent, 3.125 percent and 1.00 percent based on the subtotal amount for your purchase.

    You may be paying 30 percent on what you buy – as a new tax – and Trump wants to pretend China will pay for the tariffs. Yeah, and Mexico is paying $25 Billion for the Trump Wall

    http://www.salestaxstates.com/sales-tax-calculator-arkansas

  4. The world economy is not a game.

    WASHINGTON – May 8, 2019
    On the eve of tense trade talks, China made it official Wednesday: If President Donald Trump hits them with new tariffs, they will hit Trump and the United States with tariffs of their own.

    “The escalation of trade friction is not in the interests of the people of the two countries and the people of the world,” said a statement from China’s Commerce Ministry. “The Chinese side deeply regrets that if the US tariff measures are implemented, China will have to take necessary countermeasures.”

    The counter-threat came as a Chinese trade delegation made its way to Washington, three days after Trump’s threat of new tariffs roiled global markets and cast doubt on the prospects of a new trade deal.

    On Wednesday, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office filed an official notice of new tariffs that would take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday if no new trade deal is reached.

    U.S. and Chinese negotiators are scheduled to meet on Thursday.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/05/08/trade-china-threatens-retaliate-if-trump-orders-new-tariffs/1144887001/

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