“If COVID-19 precautions are mandatory, they must at some point be legally enforced, with all the risks that entails, including violence and racial discrimination. The public health payoff might justify those risks in certain contexts—if a dense crowd happens to gather in Central Park, for instance, or if subway riders refuse to wear masks (although that was the situation in the video that the Times cites as evidence of overkill). But the risks cannot be eliminated if voluntary compliance is less than perfect, as it always will be.”
“For years, states have been warned to stop making unrealistic promises about investment returns—a trick used to make shortfalls look smaller than they really are—and to fully fund their retirement systems instead of deferring payments to later years. Both strategies are widespread in state pension systems, and both have contributed to the mess that states now face. Policy makers have clung to the belief that reforms were unnecessary because future investment growth would close the funding gaps.
That idea should now be dispelled. Even a decade of growth wasn’t enough for many pensions to fully recover from the last recession—and that should have been a warning right there, if policy makers were paying attention.”
Policy Basics: Federal Tax Expenditures 11 18 2019. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/policy-basics-federal-tax-expenditures The biggest U.S. tax breaks Drew Desilver. 4 6 2016. Pew Research Center Estimates of Federal Tax Expenditures for Fiscal Years 2019-2023. 12 18 2019. The Joint
“A rule that creates new barriers to low-income immigrants seeking to enter the US went into effect on Monday, bringing to fruition the kind of vast restrictions on legal immigration that President Donald Trump has long sought.
The so-called “public charge” rule, published in August by the Department of Homeland Security, establishes a test to determine whether an immigrant applying to enter the US, extend their visa, or convert their temporary immigration status into a green card is likely to end up relying on public benefits in the future.
Immigration officials will now have more leeway to turn away those who are “likely to be a public charge” based on an evaluation of 20 factors, ranging from the use of certain public benefits programs — including food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers, and Medicaid — to English language proficiency.”
“Trump has justified the rule as a means of ensuring that immigrants are “financially self-sufficient” and has argued it will “protect benefits for American citizens.””
“The rule, which has been anticipated for more than a year, has had a chilling effect already: Noncitizens have been needlessly dropping their public benefits out of fear that they will face immigration consequences. It’s difficult to quantify just how many immigrants have unenrolled already, but one survey suggested that about one in seven had done so as of 2018.
Many immigrants aren’t eligible for public benefits unless they have green cards or certain humanitarian protections — and not all public benefits are available to noncitizens.”
“It also makes getting into the US much harder for immigrants sponsored by family members, the phenomenon Trump has excoriated as “chain migration.”
The rule is only one of several policies the Trump administration has pursued to dramatically shift which immigrants are legally able to come to the United States. Under Trump, the legal immigration system increasingly rewards skills and wealth over family ties to the US, while shutting out a growing number of people from low-income backgrounds.”
“With the public charge regulation, Trump is painting immigrants as abusing public benefits. But they are actually “less likely to consume welfare benefits and, when they do, they generally consume a lower dollar value of benefits than native-born Americans,” according to the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.”
“few immigrants would end up being penalized, under the final version of the rule, for using public assistance. But the rule has already been effective in dissuading many immigrants from continuing to access the public benefits they need.”
“The two scientists from the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development had developed the vaccine against another coronavirus, SARS — but that epidemic ended before their vaccine was ready. And once the crisis was over, most of their funding dried up.”
“That was a big missed opportunity. They and other scientists say SARS should have been seen as a coronavirus warning shot, not an isolated outbreak, and it should have triggered federal investments like the billions sunk into flu vaccines a decade or so earlier. They want the federal government to act rapidly now to declare a public health emergency, get a vaccine developed, have it approved by the FDA and ready to slow the Wuhan virus’ march across China and globe.
Based on past experience, though, the chances of all that falling into place fast enough to turn the tide aren’t great, many scientists say.”