Economy

Blowout: The U.S. Economy Added 4.8 Million Jobs in June, Unemployment Fell to 11.1%

The U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs in June and the unemployment rate fell to 11.1 percent, both better than expected. The economy has added around 7.3 million jobs in the past two months. The increase in the ranks of employed workers shows that companies ramped up hiring as the economy reopened and consumers came back to stores, restaurants, and other businesses that had been shuttered in March and April. Job growth was strong in restaurants and bars, reflecting the reopening of those establishments across the country, which added 1.5 million jobs, the Labor Department said Thursday. But employment remains 3.1 million below February’s level, the month before the pandemic hit the U.S. economy. Retail stores added 740,000. There were big gains in clothing stores, furniture stores, department stores, and auto dealerships. Despite the gains, total employment is around 1.5 million below February’s level. Manufacturing employment rose by 356,000 but is down by 757,000 since February. June employment increases were concentrated in the durable goods component, with the auto sector adding 196,000 jobs, accounting for over half of the job gain in manufacturing. Construction employment increased by 158,000 in June, following a gain of 453,000 in May. Employers added the jobs even as much of the country was beset by urban riots, looting of commercial districts, and marches by self-styled “black lives matter” activists calling for the defunding of police and the toppling of statues of political leaders from America’s past. Despite the increase in the number of employed workers, there are still tens of millions fewer Americans working today than February. Compared with a year ago, there are 12.957 million fewer jobs in the U.S. And a separate report on Thursday showed that over 1.427 million Americans were laid off last week, the fifteenth week in a row of one million-plus new claims for unemployment benefits but the thirteenth week in a row of declining claims. The previous week’s level of jobless claims was revised up by 2,000 from 1,480,000 to 1,482,000. Economists had been expecting around 3 million new jobs, although the range of estimates was unusually wide due to the unprecedented nature of the shutdown and reopening. Estimates ranged from 1.9 million jobs to more than 9 million. The unemployment rate was expected to fall to 12.4 percent from 13.3 percent. A report on private payrolls from ADP and Moody’s Analytics on Wednesday estimated that businesses increased their workforces by 2.37 million in June. The estimate for May, which initially showed a loss of 2.76 million jobs, was revised to show a gain of 3 million. The government’s nonfarm payroll data, which covers both private and public sector workers, showed the economy gaining 2.5 million jobs in May, far more than expected and indicating an accelerated pace of the recovery. The number of unemployed people who were out of the labor but rejoined in June rose by 711,000 to 2.4 million. The labor force participation rate increased by 0.7 percentage points in June to 61.5 percent, but is 1.9 percentage points below its February level. Total employment, as measured by the household survey, rose by 4.9 million to 142.2 million in June. The employment-population ratio, at 54.6 percent, rose by 1.8 percentage points over the month but is 6.5 percentage points lower than in February. Average hourly wages are up 5 percent compared with a year ago, although they fell 1.3 percent compared with May. Average wages often rise at times of mass layoffs when lower-paid employees are more likely to lose their jobs. The average workweek slipped from 34.7 hours to 34.5 hours. The number of unemployed persons who were on temporary layoff decreased by 4.8 million in June to 10.6 million, following a decline of 2.7 million in May. But this was more than offset by an increase in the number of permanent job losers, which rose by 588,000 to 2.9 million in June. It’s likely that some people who considered themselves only temporarily laid off now realize they have been permanently cut. The Trump administration’s aid programs appear to be working. Direct relief payments to taxpayers and enhanced unemployment have kept incomes up despite the huge rise in unemployment, which in turn has boosted demand for consumer products. The Paycheck Protection Progam, which provides forgivable loans to small businesses that avoid layoffs, also seems to have supported employment and rehiring. While some in Washington, D.C. may see the better than expected job figures as a reason to pull back on the aid or decline to extend enhanced unemployment benefits past their end of July expiration, a stronger case can be made for extending aid that has played such a crucial role in helping the labor market recover. Without the loans, relief payments, and unemployment enhancement, it is unlikely consumer demand would support such high levels of hiring. Withdrawing the support prematurely would risk a second-stage collapse in employment. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Thursday said the moment for enhanced unemployment payments had passed. The administration is working on ways to modify the unemployment enhancement so that it does not create a disincentive to work by paying people more in benefits than they earned on the job. That could include stepping down the enhancement from $600 a week, which is paid on top of regular state unemployment benefits, to a lower level, perhaps $300 per week. Another possible solution explored by the administration would be to transform the enhancement into a “back to work bonus” that would continue to be paid when work resumed. Kudlow and others inside the White House have referred to this as a “re-employment bonus” that could replace the “unemployment bonus.” On Wednesday, President Donald Trump said he supported a fresh round of relief payments and indicated that he would increase their size from the $1,200 paid in the prior round. The monthly figures are constructed from data collected mid-month, in this case, the week ended June 12. As a result, they may not reflect any slowdown that may have been caused by a renewed surge of coronavirus infections and backtracking on reopenings in some states later in the month.

Much needed good news!!  And, what’s great is just how WRONG the dominantly liberal mainstream media predicted it would be.  Scroll down to see how that idiot Rachel Maddow blew it.  It’s a beautiful thing, lol.  For more on this story, click on the text above.     🙂

Stocks Rise At End of Best Quarter in Decades

Stocks ended June with another move higher, capping the best quarter for the major indexes in decades. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 217 points, 0.85 percent higher. The S&P 500 jumped 1.5 percent. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.87 percent. The Dow ended the second quarter with a 17.8 percent gain, the biggest quarterly gain since 1987. The S&P 500 is up nearly 20 percent, the best quarter since 1998. Nasdaq Composite is up 30.6 percent, the best quarter since 1999. The yield on the 10-year ticked up slightly to 0.658 percent, 0.022 points higher. Oil slipped slightly lower, with West Texas Intermediate crude closing at $39.38 a gallon, 0.86 percent lower, and the global standard Brent Crude falling 1.37 percent. All 11 sectors of the S&P were up for the day. Energy was the best performing sector, followed by health care and consumer discretionary. Utilities, industrials, and consumer staples–sectors that tend to outperform when investors seek to reduce risk–were the laggards.

Definitely some much-needed good news!     🙂

Opinion/Analysis: Carbon tax is a bad idea that would hurt our economy and destroy jobs

At a time when America’s economy has been crippled by shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic and 45 million Americans have lost their jobs, we need major economic stimulus and employment programs to put Americans back to work. The absolute last thing our country needs is a new tax that would slow our economic recovery and hiring. But environmental zealots have never let facts get in the way of their radical policies to restructure our entire economy to be “green” – so why start now? Disregarding America’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the green crusaders are pressing on with their dream of taxing carbon dioxide emissions, ostensibly to slow climate change. Lately, environmentalists have taken to calling their carbon tax a “fee” – as if changing the name means it won’t be taking money out of the pockets of individuals and businesses. This is absurd. It makes as much sense as calling robbery “income redistribution.” For decades, the environmental movement has sought to make America green. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden tried to regulate a green America into being by offering billions of taxpayer dollars to green companies. And the two used the Environmental Protection Agency to impose costly and unnecessary regulations on American oil, natural gas and coal companies – forcing up the price of the energy we all rely on. Growing up in the 1980s during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, I have imprinted in my soul the belief that taxes and government programs are never a solution. Reagan taught us the nine most frightening words in the English language: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Government proposals aimed at improving life will usually make it worse. An organization seeking creation of a carbon tax called the Climate Leadership Council has even enlisted prominent Republicans in its ranks, including former Secretaries of State and Treasury James Baker III and George Schultz. While both these man are prominent figures who command respect and gratitude for their service to our nation, neither is an environmental or energy expert. They are simply wrong in seeking approval of a destructive carbon tax. I also criticized former New York City Mayor Michael Blomberg during his short-lived campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination for his belief that taxes should be used to dictate behavior. Whether this idea – and the carbon dioxide emissions tax it supports – is backed by a Republican or Democrat, it is bad policy on many counts. Keep in mind that all of us (and all animals) emit carbon dioxide every time we exhale. So we are not talking about toxic fumes coming out of factory smokestacks here – carbon dioxide has been part of our natural world since before human beings inhabited Earth. A tax on carbon dioxide emissions presumably wouldn’t be levied on all us whenever we exhale. Even the most fanatical environmentalist isn’t crazy enough to try that. But it would apply to everything that uses fossil fuels for energy – cars, trucks, trains, airplanes, most electric power plants, factories and more. That would translate into higher costs to fill up your vehicle’s fuel tank, heat and cool your home and keep the lights on, and for purchases of just about everything you buy. Factories, farmers and stores would all have to pass the carbon tax on to consumers. Beef prices have doubled in the past month because of the coronavirus pandemic. If they had doubled to pay for a carbon tax would Americans rejoice in a moral victory or just be burdened by the higher costs? The Climate Leadership Council claims the money that these taxes generate will be returned to the American people through dividend checks. The group claims we’ll pay more upfront, but we’ll get the money back from the Internal Revenue Service in the end. This proposal is a joke. This is the U.S. government after all, and we all know how well it manages money. It does a great job taking our money – but not in wisely spending it. President Reagan knew this. At the end of his presidency he warned us: “You can’t be for big government, big taxes, and big bureaucracy and still be for the little guy.” I watched that speech live on TV. I was 13. Carbon dioxide emissions are a global issue. The Paris Climate Accord – the international agreement aimed at reducing carbon emissions – recognizes this. But China emits twice as much carbon dioxide as the United States, yet has no plans to reduce emissions – let alone adopt a carbon tax for some global benefit. China doesn’t care about the rest of the world; we are still in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic because the communist country withheld the truth of the outbreak. In addition to China, most other countries are also not meeting the Paris Climate Accord mandates – among them major carbon dioxide emitters like India, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia Russia, the world’s fourth-largest carbon dioxide emitter, made no commitment at all. We can safely assume that nation will not impose a carbon tax on itself. The very reason President Trump abandoned the Paris Climate Accord was because he wisely understood it makes no sense to punish Americans with a costly new tax while some of the world’s biggest emitters take no action. China would certainly applaud America for imposing a carbon tax on ourselves. Since 2000, almost 4 million American jobs have been lost to China. Why? U.S. policies made China more competitive and more attractive to businesses. Corporations seek only to increase their profit margins. A carbon tax would send businesses a signal: ship even more American jobs to foreign countries. Corporations would go elsewhere and do so without any second thoughts. They’ve done it before. It took 28 years for the White House to have an occupant as skeptical of big government and as aggressive in cutting taxes and keeping jobs in America as Reagan, but we have one now. Will that continue? Biden – the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee – is ahead in the polls. As president, he would punish the use of oil, natural gas and coal. This would not spur innovation nor would it reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It would just make life more expensive and throw even more Americans out of work. As President Trump pointed out in his speech to his rally in Tulsa Saturday night, Biden is relying on socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York – the sponsor of the extremist Green New Deal – to advise him on energy policy, naming her as co-chair of his energy task force. This is like appointing a pacifist to head a task force on national defense, or a vegan to head a task force on policy toward the meat industry. It spells disaster for the energy we all need. A carbon tax is anti-freedom, anti-growth, and thoroughly anti-Reagan. In his 1981 inaugural address, President Reagan told us “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” He was right then and his view remains right today.

Exactly right!  Thanks to Daniel Turner for that excellent piece.  Daniel is the executive director of Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs. Follow him on Twitter @DanielTurnerPTF

Dow reclaims 27K, Nasdaq nears record as jobs, economy recover

Investors piled into U.S. equities after a surprise jobs report showed the U.S. economy is seeing a faster than expected rebound from its COVID-19 lockdowns. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 829 points or 3.15 percent, while the S&P 500 jumped 2.62 percent. New economy stocks helped the tech-heavy Nasdaq touch an intraday all-time high of 9,842, but the index closed just under that level with a gain of 2.06 percent. Amazon, Microsoft and Apple, which hit a fresh record, all contributed to the gains lifting the Nasdaq 100 Index. The U.S. economy added 2.51 million jobs in May as the unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent, according to a report released Friday morning by the Labor Department. Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitv were expecting the economy to lose 8 million jobs as the unemployment rate spiked to 19.8 percent. President Trump, who posted an enthusiastic tweet afterward, praised the strength of the U.S. economy in a Rose Garden news conference and said 2021 would be its best year yet. That would also be the first year of Trump’s second term, should he fend off Democratic challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden to win re-election in November. “We’ll go back to having the greatest economy anywhere in the world, nowhere close,” Trump promised. The labor market may see further gains in the month of June after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday said New York City will begin its Phase 1 reopening on Monday, allowing construction, manufacturing and limited retail services to restart. Looking at stocks, Dow components Goldman Sachs and Home Depot helped drive the gains. Air carriers continued to soar after United Airlines announced plans to reinstate flights to 150 destinations beginning in July. Rival American Airlines announced on Thursday it would increase its flight schedule to 55 percent capacity. Hertz shares surged on the heels of the positive travel updates. The car-rental company filed for bankruptcy on May 22. Other travel-related names, including cruise operators, hotels and booking sites, also outperformed. In retail, embattled department store J.C. Penney is closing 154 sites in 38 states as it reorganizes its business after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month. On the earnings front, Gap lost nearly $1 billion during the three months through March as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the company to shutter stores. The retailer said 55 percent of its locations have reopened and online sales are strong. Messaging platform Slack, meanwhile, was under pressure as first-quarter revenue growth was little changed despite the majority of Americans working from home. West Texas Intermediate crude oil jumped 5.72 percent to $39.55 per barrel after OPEC and its allies neared a deal to extend production cuts through July. The energy component surged 11 percent this week. Gold fell 2.48 percent to $1,676.20 an ounce on Friday and lost 3.49 percent for the week. U.S. Treasurys remained under pressure, with selling driving the yield on the 10-year note up to 0.903 percent. In Europe, France’s CAC advanced 3.71 percent, Germany’s DAX climbed 3.36 percent and Britain’s FTSE rose 2.25 percent. Asian markets rallied across the board, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up 1.66 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.74 percent and 0.39 percent, respectively.

Incredibly great news!!  Let’s pray this continues!!       🙂

Hidden Figures: Black Employment Expanded in May

What’s the best-kept secret about the labor market in May? Probably the expansion of black employment. The number of African Americans holding jobs expanded to 16,523,000 from 16,240,000 in May. That 283,000 rise was more than ten time the rise of the population, so it involves a real expansion of employment among African Americans. Both black men and black women gained jobs. Black male jobholders increased by 170,000 to 8.97 million. Black female jobholders rose by 102,000 to 10.97 million. Those are record-high gains for each category. So why did Bloomberg and others report these record-high job gains as if they were losses? “Trump Invokes Floyd on Job Data Even as Black Unemployment Soars,” a Bloomberg headline proclaimed. The black unemployment rate did rise slightly in May, ticking up from 16.7 to 16.8. But that was because the reopening of the American economy drew more African Americans into the workforce, increasing it by 377,000 workers. That raised the workforce participation rate from 58.6 percent to 59.6 percent. The unemployment rate is the percentage of workers who say they want work but cannot find it. Even with no change in employment, it can fall if people stop looking for jobs, becoming what economists call “discouraged workers.” And it can rise if more people look for work, which is what happened in May for African Americans. In other words, the black unemployment rate rose for the best possible reason: because more African Americans were finding jobs, drawing even more into the workforce. That is how President Donald Trump could have explained to PBS Newshour White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor that this is “a victory” It’s also notable that even with the expansion of the workforce, African American unemployment dropped to 15.5 from 16.1. It rose among black women from 16.4 to 16.5 and black teenagers from 28 percent to 34 percent. Of course, African American employment has still suffered horrendously under the coronavirus shutdowns. Back in February, the participation rate had risen all the way to 63.1 percent. The unemployment rate had fallen 5.8 percent. A total of 19.73 million African Americans held jobs. So the economy has a long way to go to rebuild black employment. But May was a good month for black employment and the beginning of the recovery rather than another step-down.

Indeed..  Definitely good news!

Dow jumps 527 points with economic rebound in focus

U.S. equity markets secured a fourth straight day of gains Wednesday as investors received better-than-expected news on the jobs front and as the riots and looting that gripped America over the past week showed signs of abating. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 527 points, or 2.05 percent closing above 26,000, a key psychological level. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.36 percent and 0.78 percent, respectively. Financials, industrials and energy stocks helped drive the gains. West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained 1.3 percent to $37.29 a barrel. Protests following the death of George Floyd continued across the country on Tuesday evening, but there were fewer reports of violence than on previous nights. Meanwhile, the ADP Employment Report released Wednesday morning showed the private sector lost 2.7 million workers in May versus the 9 million job losses that analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting. The report showed 20 million job losses in April. On Friday, the May jobs report will be released. Looking at stocks, gun-related names that had seen big gains over the past few sessions cooled off. Heavily beaten-down airline stocks continued their recent grind higher while cruise operators turned lower. Elsewhere, Tiffany & Co. shares were in focus after fashion trade publication Women’s Wear Daily reported board members of French luxury-goods maker LVMH expressed concerns about its acquisition of the jeweler. Coty and Kim Kardashian West are in talks to collaborate on certain beauty products. The company paid $600 million for a 51 percent stake Kylie Cosmetics, owned by Kardashian West’s half-sister Kylie Jenner, in November. On the earnings front, Zoom Video Communications reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue as the company benefitted from the increase in telecommuting caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company raised its full-year revenue outlook to between $1.78 billion and $1.8 billion, nearly double its previous forecast of $915 million. Campbell Soup saw first-quarter earnings surge 31 percent as consumers stocked up on canned soup and other non-perishable items to ride out the COVID-19 pandemic from home. Canada Goose warned it expects “negligible” revenue in its fiscal first quarter, a time when online sales reach a low point for the year, due to the uncertainty caused by COVID-19. The company’s fourth-quarter revenue outpaced Wall Street estimates. Looking at metals, gold fell 1.59 percent to $1,697.80 an ounce and U.S. Treasurys were under pressure, pushing the yield on the 10-year note up to 0.679 percent. Germany’s DAX led the advance in Europe, up 3.88 percent, while Britain’s FTSE and France’s CAC were higher by 2.61 percent and 3.36 percent, respectively. Markets gained across Asia with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up 1.37 percent, Japan’s Nikkei higher by 1.29 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite edging up 0.07 percent.

Much needed good news!  Let’s pray it continues…

Stocks jump for month as oil posts record gain

U.S. equity markets curbed the bulk of their losses Friday after President Trump announced a new wave of crackdown efforts on China, but stopped short of instituting new sanctions or upending the trade deal between the two countries. The Nasdaq led the way, rising 1.29 percent, while the S&P 500 added 0.48 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped fractionally, closing down more than 17 points. All three of the major averages posted weekly and monthly gains. Trump’s new initiatives include limiting some foreign nationals entering the U.S., a working financial markets group to examine Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges and the termination of America’s relationship with the World Health Organization. Meanwhile, at least nine states and Washington D.C. eased lockdown restrictions on Friday, with Illinois allowing outdoor seating at bars and restaurants and Michigan letting nonessential medical procedures resume. Washington will now permit outdoor seating at restaurants and the reopening of barber shops as well as curbside pickup and delivery for non-essential retail. Looking at stocks, China-based companies were in focus and social-media companies remained under a watchful eye after the president on Thursday issued an executive order that targets a liability shield, given to tech companies by Congress, if they “engage in censoring or any political conduct.” Trump lashed out against Twitter on Friday, saying the company is “doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party” while targeting conservatives. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has the option to buy more than 1.6 million shares at $350.02 each — less than half their current price — after the stock’s performance exceeded targets set by the board of directors. Exercising that right would net Musk nearly $800 million. In the tech industry, Dow component Cisco Systems acquired the cybersecurity software firm Thousand Eyes for about $1 billion, according to Bloomberg. On the earnings front, Costco reported mixed fiscal third-quarter results and said global comparable sales fell in April as a result of stay-at-home orders, social distancing and the temporary closure of some locations. Nordstrom said first-quarter sales slumped 40 percent from a year ago as COVID-19 led to the temporary closure of its stores. The company expects all of its stores to be reopened by the end of June. Commodities posted monthly gains with oil rising over 88 percent to $35.49 per barrel, the biggest monthly gain on record, while gold rose to $1,736.90 an ounce. U.S. Treasurys rallied, driving down the yield on the 10-year note to 0.65 percent. European markets were lower across the board, with Britain’s FTSE down 2.29 percent, Germany’s DAX tumbling 1.65 percent and France’s CAC falling 1.59 percent. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slid 0.74 percent and Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.18 percent while China’s Shanghai Composite added 0.22 percent.

Stocks surge as reopening America gathers steam

U.S. equity markets rallied sharply Wednesday morning as investor optimism grew over plans to reopen America. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 348 points, or 1.39 percent, in the opening minutes of trading while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.95 percent and 0.12 percent, respectively. The benchmark S&P 500 ended Tuesday’s session 12 percent below its all-time high set in February while the Nasdaq finished within 5 percent of its peak. At least two states eased lockdown restrictions, with Colorado allowing limited in-person dining at restaurants and Minnesota letting places of worship open to 25 percent capacity. Additionally, Kansas and Nevada on Tuesday evening announced further relaxing of their restrictions. The social and economic momentum boosted airlines, cruise operators and other travel-related names for a second straight day. Meanwhile, social-media companies were in focus after Twitter added a “fact check” of President Trump’s tweets for the first time on Tuesday evening. The president responded by saying, on Twitter, that the company is “stifling free speech” and that he “won’t allow it to happen.” Dow component Boeing will lay off 2,500 workers this week, as the jet maker works toward its previously announced goal of reducing its labor force by 10 percent. On the earnings front, Ralph Lauren lost $249 million in its fiscal fourth-quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic and Hong Kong protests had an adverse impact on business. While the apparel-maker’s loss was bigger than Wall Street analysts expected, sales of $1.27 billion outpaced estimates. Domino’s Pizza reported U.S. same-store sales surged 14 percent in the months of April and May. International sales edged up 1 percent over the same period. Rival pizza chain Papa John’s reported North American same-store sales soared a record 33.5 percent in May. Global revenue climbed 7 percent. Elsewhere, electric-vehicle maker Tesla announced price reductions for vehicles in North America and China as demand waned in the wake of COVID-19. The size of the price reductions are not yet known. Chinese rival Nio was upgraded to neutral and its price target raised to $3.50 from $2 at J.P. Morgan, ahead of the company’s quarterly earnings report, which is expected on Thursday. West Texas Intermediate crude oil slid 1.25 percent to $33.92 per barrel and gold sank 1.39 percent to $1,704 an ounce. U.S. Treasurys fell, pushing the yield on the 10-year note up 2 basis points to 0.718 percent. In Europe, France’s CAC gained 2.09 percent, Germany’s DAX climbed 1.68 percent and Britain’s FTSE rallied 1.45 percent. Asian markets ended mixed, with Japan’s Nikkei up 0.7 percent while China’s Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.34 percent and 0.36 percent, respectively.

This is the second day in a row of great news on Wall Street!  Let’s hope the Great American Comeback is underway!!      🙂

Daughter-in-chief: Ivanka Trump pushes food distribution program

The U.S. Agriculture Department is unveiling a new food distribution program with an emphasis on aiding small businesses – an issue that is being pushed by a very prominent White House adviser. Her name: Ivanka Trump. Under the “Farmers to Families Food Box Program,” the federal government buys meat, produce and dairy products from farmers and ranchers and then provides it to local distribution centers that pack and deliver food boxes to those in need. It “really creates a virtuous cycle,” Trump told USA TODAY in an interview, citing a “robust demand” from food producers, consumers and “the most vulnerable in these challenging times.” Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who also participated in the interview, said the program will also address gaps in the food supply chain spawned by the coronavirus. “There was a misallocation of supply and demand, temporarily,” Perdue said. The program is a symbol of how the president’s eldest daughter is making her presence felt on a number of issues during the coronavirus pandemic. She has pushed for more aid to small businesses in programs designed to manufacture personal protective equipment, the paycheck protection program, and economic injury disaster loans. Trump, who called UPS chief executive David Abney about volunteering trucks to make food box deliveries, said she and others are “pulling all the levers” they can. And, no, the last name doesn’t hurt. “I think when you work in the White House, you tend to have your calls returned,” Trump said. “And I think most Americans are patriots and want to answer the call to action when things are requested of them.” She added: “I’m not shy about asking people to step up to the plate. The whole country needs to be galvanized in the effort, both to combat this deadly virus, but also to rebuild … to rebuild our economy as we emerge.” Trump spoke a day before the formal kickoff of the Food Box program, part of the stimulus plan known as the CARES Act. She will visit a distribution center in Laurel, Maryland, as the first food box deliveries go out the door. The USDA has already awarded $1.2 billion to food distributors to buy meat, dairy and produce products that farmers have been unable to sell because of government lockdowns. The distributors will pack the food into boxes for delivery to food banks, community and nonprofits that have had trouble getting food because of problems with the supply chain. “We’ll be up to $3 billion in total as it rolls out,” she said.

Outstanding!!  Major kudos to Ivanka for her work on this important issue.  For more, click on the text above.   Excellent!!      🙂

Trump announces $16 billion in direct payments for farmers hurt by pandemic ’caused by China’

President Trump on Tuesday announced $16 billion in direct payments for farmers and ranchers to compensate them for lost business from the coronavirus outbreak that he said was “caused by China.” During an event at the White House, Mr. Trump also directed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to pursue cutting off trade deals with countries that ship beef cattle to the U.S. He said the U.S. beef industry is “very self-sufficient.” The direct payments, funded by the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that was approved in March and a commodity credit law, follows farm bailouts totaling $28 billion in 2018 and 2019. Those earlier payments compensated growers and ranchers for losses from tariffs imposed by China during the administration’s trade war with Beijing. “Now we’re standing strong with our farmers and ranchers once again,” Mr. Trump said during an announcement at the White House. Growers lost much of their customer base when restaurants were ordered to close during the outbreak. Much of the money will be used to purchase food to supply food banks around the country. The president said of the pandemic, “It should have never happened. You know that, I know that. The people that caused the problem, they know that, too.” “These payments will compensate farmers for losses related to the global pandemic caused by China,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ll be providing billions of dollars for corn, cotton, soybean and specialty-crop farmers, cattle ranchers, just about every category I can think of.” Robert Mills Jr., owner of Briar View Farms Inc. in southern Virginia, said the money is not a bailout. “We always expect the unexpected, and we didn’t expect this [pandemic],” he said. “It’s not a rescue program. It’s going to help these farm families be able to make good, wise financial decisions. This country relies on what these farmers and ranchers do every day.”

It sure does!  What was also left out of this article from today’s announcements at the White House was Ivanka Trump’s comments about efforts to package up food into “20-25 pound boxes” that would otherwise be going to waste, and is now going to food banks to give to those in need.  As has already been mentioned (see previous article above), it is an effort that the First Daughter has been speerheading, and something she deserves credit for.