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Thursday, Jul 18th

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Workers barely benefited from Trump’s sweeping tax cut, investigation shows

Worers barely benefited from Trump tax cuts

Big companies drove Donald Trump’s tax cut law but refused to commit to any specific wage hikes for workers, despite repeated White House promises it would help employees, an investigation shows.

The 2017 Tax and Jobs Act – the Trump administration’s one major piece of enacted legislation – did deliver the biggest corporate tax cut in US history, but ultimately workers benefited almost not at all.

This is one of the conclusions of a six-month investigation into the process that led to the tax cut by the Center for Public Integrity, a not-for-profit news agency based in Washington DC.

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Bed Bath & Beyond plans to close at least 40 stores this year but open 15 new locations

bed Bath & Beyond to close 40 storesBed Bath & Beyond will be closing and opening stores this year.

The New Jersey-based home goods retailer, which also operates Buy Buy Baby, Harmon Face Values and World Market, announced mixed results during its fourth-quarter call with financial analysts this week.

"We expect to open approximately 15 new stores in fiscal 2019. This will be offset by a minimum of approximately 40 stores we expect to close," Robyn D'Elia, chief financial officer and treasurer, said during Wednesday's earnings call. "This number will grow unless we are able to negotiate more favorable lease terms with our landlords."

D'Elia said most of the "planned closures are for Bed Bath & Beyond stores."

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Federal deficit soars 32 percent to $895B

ocbThe federal deficit hit $895 billion in the first 11 months of fiscal 2018, an increase of $222 billion, or 32 percent, over the same period the previous year, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The nonpartisan CBO reported that the central drivers of the increasing deficit were the Republican tax law and the bipartisan agreement to increase spending. As a result, revenue only rose 1 percent, failing to keep up with a 7 percent surge in spending, it added.

Revenue from individual and payroll taxes was up some $105 billion, or 4 percent, while corporate taxes fell $71 billion, or 30 percent.

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President Trump's early jobs tweet leads to criticism from Obama officials

Bureau of Labor StatisticsPresident Trump seemed excited about the release of Friday morning's job report.

"Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning," he tweeted.

The problem: The president's tweet came before the release of the report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which breaks protocol about not commenting on the report before its public release. Trump's tweet hinted a positive report, providing a signal to markets.

Presidents typically get to see the numbers the day before, per a longstanding tradition. Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, confirmed that he told the president about the numbers on Thursday night aboard Air Force One.

TVNL Comment: Trump broke the law with this move.  In the very least, he did his usual dumb thing: whatever he wants without consulting anyone.  For the duration of his presidency, Trump should not receive the numbers before the are made public.

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China's Xi renews vow to open economy, cut tariffs as U.S. trade row deepens

China's Xi vows to open eonomy, cut tariffsChinese President Xi Jinping promised on Tuesday to open the country’s economy further and lower import tariffs on products like cars, in a speech seen as an attempt to defuse an escalating trade dispute with the United States.

While much of his pledges were reiterations of previously announced reforms that foreign businesses say are long overdue, Xi’s comments sent stock markets and the U.S. dollar higher on hopes of a compromise that could avert a trade war.

Xi said China will widen market access for foreign investors, addressing a chief complaint of its trading partners and a point of contention for U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, which has threatened billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese goods.

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World’s Wealthiest Billionaires Got Nearly $1 Trillion Richer In 2017: Bloomberg

money goes to moneyThe rich aren’t just getting richer — they’re getting much, much richer.

Citing its Billionaires Index, Bloomberg reported Wednesday that the world’s 500 wealthiest people became almost $1 trillion richer ― that’s $1,000,000,000,000 ― in 2017, thanks largely to booming stock markets. For comparison, that’s over four times as much wealth as they gained last year.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, saw the biggest gain in wealth in 2017. He added $34.2 billion to his net worth, which now totals $100 billion.

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The GOP tax plan could negatively affect your Social Security benefits

Tax reform? No, tax CUTS for the wealthy!Without a guaranteed monthly stipend, the number of seniors living below the federal poverty level could well rise by millions. In fact, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reports that 34% of elderly Americans receiving benefits relies on Social Security for 90% or more of their monthly income. Stats like these are why Social Security is so important, and why current and future retirees are eager to see this critical program protected.

But this "financial rock" is primed to face some serious obstacles in the years to come. The most recent annual report from the Social Security Board of Trustees estimates that it'll begin paying out more in benefits than it's collecting in revenue by 2022. Just 12 years later, in 2034, its approximately $3 trillion in asset reserves will be completely depleted. To continue making monthly payments through 2091, the Trustees believe an across-the-board cut to benefits of up to 23% may be needed.

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