Blake Bortles didn’t last long with the Denver Broncos. Bortles was released by the team Saturday after quarterback Drew Lock was able to get in a full week of practice.
Blake Bortles didn’t last long with the Denver Broncos. Bortles was released by the team Saturday after quarterback Drew Lock was able to get in a full week of practice.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third.
Securities Litigation Partner James Wilson Encourages Investors Who Suffered Losses Exceeding $100,000 In Peabody To Contact Him Directly To Discuss Their Options New York, New York--(Newsfile Corp. - October 31, 2020) - If you suffered losses exceeding $100,000 investing in Peabody stock or options between April 3, 2017 and October 28, 2019 and would like to discuss your legal rights, click here: www.faruqilaw.com/BTU or call Faruqi & Faruqi partner James Wilson directly at 877-247-4292 or ...
Three days from Nov. 3, here's how eligible voter turnout rate for the 2020 presidential election may compare to past cycles.
YEAHKA LIMITED ("Yeahka" or the "Company", stock code: 9923.HK), a leading technology platform in China, announced that its proprietary consumer cloud and blockchain-powered coupon platform (the "Consumer Cloud Platform") has been included in the fourth set of blockchain information service providers released on 30th by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday lifted its "no sail" order on U.S. cruise ships and set out a framework for how cruising could restart.Under the new structure, cruise companies must demonstrate adherence to stringent health and safety protocols including extensive testing, quarantine measures and social distancing. If they meet these CDC standards, first on a series of crew-only test sailings, they will eventually be allowed to resume passenger excursions.The "no sail" order was originally issued March 14 for all American cruises after it emerged that cruise ships played a major role in the initial outbreak of the coronavirus. The ships were remarkably efficient at spreading the virus: On board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan in February, each case of COVID-19 was transmitted to approximately 15 other people. In Wuhan, China -- the original epicenter of the virus -- one person transmitted the disease to about four other people, a recent study published in the Journal of Travel Medicine found.In September, the CDC recommended an extension to the policy until February amid reports of outbreaks on ships in other countries, but that advice was overruled by a White House coronavirus task force.The restrictions on sailings have ravaged the cruise industry with companies reporting billions of dollars in losses as their fleets have remained idled in open waters or in ports. In recent months, cruise executives have been scrambling to put together teams of scientists and health experts to devise comprehensive safety protocols that will allow cruising to return, and they gave a lengthy list of suggestions to the CDC.On Friday, the CDC said the benefits of the new framework outweigh the costs of not allowing cruise ships to sail, providing flexibility for companies that have taken necessary precautions to mitigate risk, while continuing to prohibit operations for those that fail to implement the necessary measures.Here's how the decision will likely impact cruises in the coming months.Q: How soon will I be able to get on a cruise?A: In short, not soon.The first ships to sail in U.S. waters will be simulated voyages designed to test a vessel's capabilities to implement health and safety protocols and prove the cruise line's ability to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 onboard.Cruise lines will not be allowed to commence passenger operations until they meet all the requirements and are granted a conditional COVID-19 sailing certificate issued by the CDC.Most major cruise lines have announced that they will not resume operations until 2021.The largest cruise companies, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean and MSC have canceled their sailings through the end of November. Last month, Carnival canceled all its 2020 cruises, except for those between Miami and Port Canaveral, Florida, which are scheduled to restart in December.Q: What safety measures can I expect?A: The ships will be required to provide rapid laboratory testing of all passengers and crew on the day of embarkation and the day of disembarkation. Onboard testing capabilities will be developed in coordination with the CDC to test all symptomatic travelers, including crew members and future passengers.Under the new order, cruise ship operators must meet standards for hand hygiene, face coverings and social distancing for passengers and crew as well as ship sanitation. Meal services and entertainment venues will be modified to ensure that physical distancing can be implemented.Q: Does that mean I'll have to wear a mask?A: For the test cruises, the CDC said that masks are one of the measures that "may be required by CDC technical instructions or orders," but it does not lay out where and when they might be mandated. Mask use was included among the suggestions from the industry executives to the CDC.Q: What happens if I test positive for the coronavirus?A: Passengers who test positive for COVID-19 before boarding a cruise ship will not be permitted to board. Those who test positive onboard a ship will be isolated and then transferred to a dedicated facility on shore. All remaining passengers and nonessential crew will also be required to go into quarantine. In the spring, some passengers spent weeks confined to their staterooms after cases broke out on board their cruises.Cruise operators are expected to have the proper medical equipment, expertise and training to treat severely ill passengers who contract COVID-19 while on board until they can be safety transferred to onshore medical facilities.Q: Will passengers be allowed to go on shore excursions?A: Initially shore excursions will be closely controlled and limited to private and domestic destinations. Cruise operators are devising protocols to vet vendors for onshore excursions to ensure that they comply with health and safety protocols that are applied on board ships. The measures include physical distancing, sanitation, personal protective equipment, personnel screening and training.On a recent sailing by the Costa Diadema, a ship belonging to the Carnival Corp.'s Italian cruise operation, cases cropped up despite testing after passengers took shore excursions on the Greek Islands. The guests were asymptomatic and tested positive upon reentry into Italy.Under the CDC's new requirements, cruise ships will not be permitted to sail with an itinerary that lasts longer than seven days. This period may be shortened or lengthened based on public health considerations.The health agency's framework applies to cruise ships that intend to operate in U.S. waters.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
Sean Connery, who has died at the age of 90, was known not only for movie roles including the British secret agent James Bond but also for his support of Scottish independence from Britain. "He was a lifelong advocate of an independent Scotland and those of us who share that belief owe him a great debt of gratitude."
The fundraising was to revive the loss-making company and bolster its balance sheet with more than £500m in cash in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Securities Litigation Partner James Wilson Encourages Investors Who Suffered Losses Exceeding $100,000 In Credit Acceptance To Contact Him Directly To Discuss Their Options New York, New York--(Newsfile Corp. - October 31, 2020) - If you suffered losses exceeding $100,000 investing in Credit Acceptance stock or options between November 1, 2019 and August 28, 2020 and would like to discuss your legal rights, click here: www.faruqilaw.com/CACC or call Faruqi & Faruqi partner James Wilson directly at ...
KIRKLAND, Wash. -- After months of near-isolation inside his senior care facility, Charlie no longer recognizes his wife of almost 50 years. In another nursing home, Susan's toenails grew so long that she could not squeeze into her shoes. Ida lost 37 pounds and stopped speaking. Minnie cried and asked God to just take her.They are among thousands of older people stricken by another epidemic ravaging America's nursing homes -- an outbreak of loneliness, depression and atrophy fueled by the very lockdowns that were imposed to protect them from the coronavirus."A slow killer," said Esther Sarachene, who said she watched her 82-year-old mother, Ida Pasik, wither and fall mute during the months she was confined to her nursing home room in Maryland. "She didn't know who I was."COVID-19 continues to scythe through the halls of long-term care facilities despite an array of safety measures and bans on visitors, put in place months ago to slow the devastation.More than 87,000 residents and workers have died of the virus, which has infected more than half a million people tied to facilities, and new clusters continue to erupt with numbing regularity: 16 people reported dead this month at a nursing home in Chesterfield, Virginia; all 62 residents of a Kansas nursing home infected.At the same time, the damage of solitude is being overlooked, families and advocacy groups say. They say that widespread lockdowns are still necessary to protect people from the virus, but also that facilities must now confront a growing physical and mental toll of social isolation as the pandemic shows no sign of abating.Separation from family and friends is among the hardest deprivations of the pandemic. Experts say the absence can inflict particularly serious damage on people with dementia and Alzheimer's disease, thousands of whom have been confined to their buildings since March.Operators of long-term care facilities say they are facing an impossible choice between depriving residents of vital human contact and inviting the virus inside."We have to walk a very fine line," said Robin Dale, president of the Washington Health Care Association, a trade group that has noted a recent uptick in virus cases in the state's facilities amid a new surge nationally. "We need to work toward more in-person visits, but it is difficult right now."In more than two dozen interviews across the country, long-term care employees described increased confusion, anger and anxiety among residents. Family members said their relatives were deteriorating in short-staffed facilities that have pared back physical therapy, exercise classes and visits into the community.One worker described how a resident told her one evening that she was the first person she had seen all day."Mom's just not there," said Deanna Williams, as she and two siblings headed to the Life Care Center of Kirkland, Washington, to visit their 89-year-old mother, Peggy Walsh, who loved motoring around the country before she developed dementia.Life Care, in suburban Seattle, was the nation's first COVID-19 hot spot in February, a place that gave a first glimpse at how the virus could tear through homes. Forty-six Life Care residents have died.Since the outbreak, as the deaths of residents of long-term care facilities swelled to account for almost 40% of the country's 229,600 coronavirus deaths, Walsh has spent each day sitting quietly in her wheelchair, facing the fence and bushes outside her room.She used to say "I love you" when her children visited and kissed her, but it has now been eight months since they have been able to touch her. Some days, she does not seem to notice when they wave through her bedroom window or dance around with decorative autumn scarecrows to catch her eye."If we could just give her a hug or a kiss on the cheek," another daughter, Colleen Mallory, said. "It's like losing her again and again and again."Life Care has continued to operate throughout the pandemic, though families say its population of 200 patients has ebbed. The initial outbreak that killed dozens of residents and sickened much of the staff has now faded, but families say they still get sporadic notifications of a new infection inside.As Walsh's children chatted at a Starbucks before one morning's visit, their phones suddenly buzzed in unison -- it was a text message from Life Care reporting that one patient and three staff members had tested positive.Life Care Centers of America, which has more than 200 facilities, faces wrongful-death lawsuits from the families of two former Kirkland residents, and federal and state regulators cited lapses in its response to the outbreak.Life Care has disputed the lawsuits and appealed findings by regulators. In September, an administrative law judge in Washington state sided largely with Life Care, saying that the facility had violated some regulations, but that the evidence did not show that care or residents' health had been jeopardized.Nancy Butner, northwest division vice president for Life Care, said the Kirkland facility was doing well and was a top-rate facility. "They are providing a high level of service in a safe environment that ensures peace of mind for our residents and their families," she said.All told, the virus has infected more than 581,000 people at some 23,000 long-term care facilities, which include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, memory care centers, retirement communities and other care facilities for older adults.In the early months of the pandemic, most facilities for older adults banned family and friends from entering their buildings. State and federal regulators issued guidance, restricting visitors and nonessential health care personnel, and canceling communal activities within buildings. In the months since, even as illness and deaths have continued inside some facilities, government restrictions have been eased in many places.Research groups recently reported that thousands of nursing homes were still facing serious shortages of masks, gowns and other equipment. Adding to the risks, nursing home employees are continuing a long-running practice of working in multiple facilities, increasing the chances they could bring the virus from location to location, particularly if the virus spreads more easily this winter.Mark Parkinson, president of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, a trade group, said that despite the efforts of facilities to protect residents, they are in large part at the mercy of their surrounding communities.For now, a patchwork of state and federal guidelines governs how long-term care facilities are handling visits from family and friends of residents. Some let families inside while many only allow outdoor visits, a dwindling option in colder weather.Before, relatives could visit to make sure residents finished lunch and had their teeth brushed. A family member's face and touch can be anchors, experts said, and such a presence helps to engage people's long-term memories."Those familiar faces are what our residents rely on in order to determine whether they are in a safe place or not," said Dr. Jim Wright, a nursing home medical director in Richmond, Virginia, who criticized safety conditions at a facility where he used to work, following the deaths of 51 residents in the spring.Back at the beginning of the pandemic, Charlie Cape could still recognize his wife of 50 years, Linda.Charlie Cape learned he had Alzheimer's disease a decade ago and had spent the past two years at a senior care facility in Sarasota, Florida, where Linda Cape visited him almost every day. A nurse, she would sometimes help feed him, shower him, shave him and periodically give him a pedicure.His weight was stable, she said, about 180 pounds. He could string together some words. He went to gatherings when they were held on his floor, even dancing with his wife to "My Girl" before the pandemic.Then the facility stopped allowing visitors.Linda Cape said that she tried to talk with her husband using video chats but that the technology was intimidating. He did not understand how the iPad worked and would look elsewhere or get up and walk away. On such calls between March and August, she could see he was losing weight and withdrawing. He no longer takes part in group activities, she said. It has been months since she could understand anything he was saying.Linda Cape said she did not blame the facility for banning visitors, adding that she had been impressed with its staff and its communication during the pandemic. The facility, HarborChase, did not respond to interview requests."Charlie doesn't know us any more," she said after seeing him as visits resumed in October. She and her son go every Sunday with a cookie and a Diet Coke, unless Charlie Cape is sleeping. Sometimes, during these visits, Charlie Cape just sits and cries.Some of his decline may be attributable to Alzheimer's, Linda Cape said, but she believes that the long period of isolation from family accelerated its progress. If nothing else, she feels she missed a crucial period of his life when he still knew who she was."I wish that I had had a little bit more time with him, a bit more quality time," she said. "That's my regret."A survey of 365 people living inside nursing facilities around the country found that most no longer leave their rooms to socialize. Three in four residents said they felt lonely.Susan Hailey, 77, is trying to recover from five months of isolation. She moved into the Life Care Center of Kirkland to recover from knee surgery but contracted the coronavirus and watched as her roommate and her closest friend at the facility died of the virus. She fell twice and began hallucinating that dead people were visiting her."I missed talking to my family and touching them, kissing them on the cheek," she said.In August, she moved into a small adult-care home where she has begun learning to walk again. She still has cognitive problems, and cannot read mystery novels anymore because she forgets what happened from one paragraph to the next.But she says she is happy now, and hopeful, and when her two daughters visited one evening, Hailey smiled and asked, "Touch me, will ya?"This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
Twenty-five years before he was elected president, Donald Trump went to Capitol Hill to complain that Congress had closed too many tax loopholes. He warned that one industry, in particular, had been severely harmed: real estate.The recent demise of real estate tax shelters, part of a landmark 1986 overhaul of the tax code, was "an absolute catastrophe for the country," Trump testified to Congress that day in November 1991."Real estate really means so many jobs," he said. "You create so many other things. They buy carpet. They buy furniture. They buy refrigerators. They buy other things that fuel the economy."Trump was sounding a theme that has made real estate perhaps the tax code's most favored industry.Legislators lapped it up. Trump and his fellow real estate investors got much of what he wanted, including the ability to fully deduct losses -- sometimes only on paper -- against other income.Trump's low taxes over the years were largely a product of his businesses hemorrhaging money, according to federal tax records obtained by The New York Times. But the records also show that depreciation losses and other benefits for the real estate industry have helped Trump reduce his federal income taxes. In 2016 and 2017, he paid $750.From the beginning, the real estate industry, with its claim to be a bedrock of the American way of life and its formidable lobbying power and lavish campaign contributions, has held disproportionate sway over how tax laws are written.Tax breaks for real estate have been embedded in the federal income tax law for a century. New benefits sprouted up every few years. Even when lawmakers cracked down on business-friendly tax treatment, they often made special exceptions for real estate."The real estate industry has enjoyed the most lucrative tax breaks for decades," said Victor Fleischer, a tax law professor at the University of California, Irvine, and former chief tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee. The industry "thinks of the tax code as a basket of goodies to feast on rather than a financial obligation of doing business."The perks come in many varieties. One allows real estate investors to avoid capital gains taxes when they sell properties as long as they use the proceeds to quickly buy others. Another gives developers a big break on taxes when they spend money on historical preservation.Foremost among them is a deduction for depreciation, a provision originally included in the federal tax code in response to lobbying by the railroad industry.Taxpayers are allowed to deduct from their annual taxable income a portion of the cost of an asset, such as a locomotive or a building, as well as money spent on improving that asset. If you buy a building for $270,000, you can deduct $10,000 a year from your taxable income for 27 years. A profitable business can actually report losses on its tax returns because of depreciation deductions.The tax benefit was meant to reflect the deterioration in value over time of an asset. But for the real estate industry, it can be a boondoggle: Many buildings kept in reasonable repair increase in value over time, unlike, say, cars or computers.Depreciation is the ultimate tax shelter, critics say, because it permits real estate investors to take deductions for spending other people's money. If a bank lends an investor $70 million to buy a $100 million office building, and none of the principal is repaid for a decade -- a common structure for such loans -- the investor still gets to deduct that $100 million over several years, even though only $30 million of that is his or her own money.In 1962, Congress passed rules that made the depreciation tax break less lucrative when someone sold the asset on which he or she had been taking deductions. But Congress exempted real estate."The real estate lobby always had a stronghold," recalled Donald Lubick, at the time a top tax official in President John F. Kennedy's Treasury Department.Trump has taken hundreds of millions of dollars in depreciation deductions, his tax records show.Most but not all of his depreciation expenses since 2010 stemmed from money he spent improving his golf courses and on transforming the Old Post Office building in Washington into a luxury hotel. Some of that spending was done with nearly $300 million that he borrowed from Deutsche Bank."That's Trump's story," said Michael Graetz, a top tax official in the first Bush administration and now a professor at Columbia Law School. "His losses are somebody else's money."Trump has publicly credited depreciation with lowering his tax bills. "I love depreciation," he said during a presidential debate in 2016.In reality, the fact that his businesses were losing money was a major factor in reducing his taxes.For example, for Trump's commercial real estate properties that reported losses between 2010 and 2018, about half the losses -- $54 million -- came from depreciation, his tax records show.Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, has also benefited from depreciation. The Times reported in 2018 that he most likely didn't pay federal income taxes for years, largely because he took deductions from depreciation.In 1986, Congress reined in depreciation benefits and capped the amount of losses that real estate investors could use to offset other income.The changes were meant to combat a proliferation of tax shelters in which investors put money into real estate partnerships that, thanks to depreciation, generated enormous only-on-paper losses that then canceled out income from other sources."The tax shelters were out of control," said Daniel Shaviro, a tax professor at the New York University School of Law who worked on the Joint Congressional Committee on Taxation and helped draft the 1986 law. "Every lawyer and dentist had one."Knowing the real estate industry would mobilize, the congressional tax committee kept the proposed changes under wraps as long as possible. The industry "was caught flat-footed," Shaviro said. Even so, "I knew they'd get it back thanks to their raw political power."It didn't take long.Trump, who blamed the 1986 law for a subsequent fall in real estate prices and a deep recession, was one of several developers who urged lawmakers to restore the breaks in full.In 1993 Congress restored those breaks. At the same time, it carved out another advantage for the real estate industry. For most businesses, canceled or forgiven debts had to be recognized as income. Real estate investors for the most part got a pass, though they had to relinquish some future deductions. Trump has benefited from those rules, such as when his lenders canceled about $270 million of debt on his Chicago skyscraper, his tax records show.Then Trump ran for president. On the campaign trail, he acknowledged that he had been a big winner from the tax code's favoritism toward the real estate industry. He said his expertise on the subject would help him close loopholes and make the tax code fairer."The unfairness of the tax laws is unbelievable," Trump said in 2016. "It's something I've been talking about for a long time, despite, frankly, being a big beneficiary of the laws. But I'm working for you now. I'm not working for Trump."But Republicans' 2017 tax overhaul, which remains Trump's signature legislative achievement, expanded and enhanced several lucrative tax breaks for real estate developers. For example, while the law barred people and companies from avoiding capital gains taxes by selling one property and buying another, one industry was exempted: real estate.The law was a boon to people, like Trump, who owned golf courses. It permitted real estate investors to immediately write off the full cost of various expenses, including improvements to golf courses.In recent years Trump has also taken advantage of a tax credit that covered 20% of developers' costs of rehabilitating historical structures, which is meant to encourage the preservation of old buildings.Trump has said he spent $200 million transforming the Old Post Office Building in Washington, a designated landmark, into a luxury hotel. That could translate into a tax credit of as much as $40 million, which Trump could use to offset his taxes for up to 20 years. (The caveat is that such tax credits reduce a developer's ability to take other tax deductions in the future.)Trump's tax records show that in 2017 he used at least $1.5 million in historical preservation tax credits. That was one of the reasons his federal income tax bill that year was only $750.The 2017 law made that tax benefit less generous, reducing it to 4% from 20% of the rehabilitation costs. But properties opened before 2017 were exempted. Trump's hotel opened in 2016.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
It's complete with festive sprinkles. 🌲
Early voting has swept across the US in record form, including by a 99-year-old first-time voter. There are lots of lawsuits. News you need to know.
Regular readers will know that we love our dividends at Simply Wall St, which is why it's exciting to see Franklin...
In competitive markets, firms are rewarded for treating their customers well and punished for treating them badly. The former gains in profit and share price; the latter doesn’t. So too in political markets.
Social Security has always seemed like a future problem, with experts long predicting a benefits squeeze in the decades ahead. But the coronavirus has put tens of millions of Americans out of work, and economists are predicting that the recovery will take years.That means the future is now.If nothing is done to shore up the program, all benefit checks would need to be cut by roughly one-quarter in perhaps 11 years -- or, if the recession is protracted and severe, maybe even sooner."We thought we had more than a decade, and now it could be less than a decade," said Kathleen Romig, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "That makes a big difference both psychologically and in policy terms."The pandemic has hastened the cash crunch's arrival by wiping out jobs and the payroll taxes -- Social Security's dedicated source of revenue -- that they provide. Fewer people are paying into the retirement trust fund, and the longer they're out of work, the deeper the problem becomes. (Even more pressing may be a fix for Social Security's disability program, which has a trust fund of its own. A report issued by the Congressional Budget Office last month projects that fund could be exhausted in 2026.)Despite such grim projections, Social Security hasn't received a lot of attention during the presidential campaign, given everything else going on. But whoever wins next week will have little choice but to stretch out his hand toward the third rail of politics. And both candidates have offered ideas that could significantly shift how Social Security works.President Donald Trump hasn't released a proposal, but he has said he wants to eliminate the payroll tax as an expansion of the temporary holiday enacted by executive action over the summer. (Few companies have stopped collecting the tax, which would have to be repaid in 2021.)"At the end of the year, on the assumption that I win, I'm going to terminate the payroll tax," he said in August. Instead, he said, he would pay for the program through the general budget, which could count on "tremendous growth."Trump has stated this on more than one occasion, but Sarah Matthews, deputy White House press secretary, said the president meant only that he wants to forgive the taxes deferred under his order."President Trump will always protect Social Security, as he has stated numerous times," she said.Policy experts are highly skeptical that the payroll tax could be eliminated; it would require congressional action and be politically difficult. But if it happened, Social Security would have to compete for funding in a way it hasn't before."We have a very crowded budget as it is," said Shai Akabas, economic policy director at the Bipartisan Policy Center. "And having Social Security in the mix with everything else puts the program at risk in the future."Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, has released a proposal that's more moderate than many offered by his party's progressive wing. But it would nonetheless make fundamental changes.Biden proposes an expansion of the payroll tax, but only on the highest earning Americans. Currently, the payroll tax -- 12.4%, split between employees and employers -- applies to the first $137,700 of a worker's earnings. Under Biden's plan, high earners would also have the tax assessed on their earnings above $400,000. (Because the $137,700 threshold rises over time, eventually all income up to $400,000 would be subject to the tax -- in about 30 years, the Urban Institute estimated.)For decades, the amount a worker pays into the system has factored into how much they ultimately receive in benefits. But Biden has suggested that higher earners might not get anything in return for the added tax they pay, a change that would break a link that has been in place since the program began. The issue is still being studied, however, and no decision has been reached."A key principle of social insurance in general -- and the Social Security program in particular -- is that contributions are linked to benefit calculations," said William Arnone, chief executive office of the National Academy of Social Insurance, a nonpartisan group of social insurance experts.Biden's plan also proposes more generous benefits, including a new minimum benefit for new retirees equivalent to 125% of the poverty level, or $15,950 in 2020. He would also allow certain caregivers unable to work full-time to earn Social Security credits. Those provisions and others would immediately lift more than 350,000 beneficiaries out of poverty, according to a recent analysis by the Urban Institute.And all retirees would probably see their benefit checks grow slightly faster. Biden's plan would calculate cost-of-living adjustments using a different price index that more closely tracks the spending of older consumers, like on health care bills.Even with the tax on high earners, Biden's proposal would buy the program only an additional five years of solvency, according to the Urban Institute analysis, although it would soften the benefit cuts that would be necessary if further changes aren't made.Biden's policy advisers, however, said the proposal is something of an opening bid."The vice president's financing proposal shows how he would protect and increase benefits for all Social Security recipients while making a down-payment on long-term solvency," said Gene Sperling, an outside adviser to Biden and a former national economic adviser to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.Just about every American has something at stake, or someone close to them who does: Roughly 178 million workers contribute to the program, and, this year, an estimated 45.8 million retirees will receive nearly $70 billion in benefits -- the average monthly check is about $1,500 per month, according to the Social Security Administration.Under current law, retirement benefits can only come out of the trust fund, which will be depleted by 2034, according to Social Security Administration estimates that do not take the pandemic into account. At that point, taxes collected will be enough to pay only 76% of benefits. (A Congressional Budget Office report from September predicted the trust funds would run out in 2031, others, including the Bipartisan Policy Center, project it could be sooner.)The cost of inaction is serious, Akabas said, because as insolvency creeps closer, the changes necessary will become increasingly painful -- tax increases will need to be greater, any cuts more severe."The longer we wait to fix the problem," he said, "the fewer people who can play a role in the solution."About half the population 65 and older live in households that receive at least half of their income from Social Security, according to a 2017 study published in the Social Security Bulletin. Roughly 25% of elderly households rely on Social Security for at least 90% of their income.Joyce Welch, a 73-year-old retiree in Sacramento, California, subsists on Social Security alone. A single mother who raised two sons, she worked full time for most of her life. But her health started to decline roughly 15 years ago because of an undiagnosed autoimmune disease, and within a couple of years, she had to retire from her job as a site supervisor and family consultant at a caregiver support center in Los Angeles.She paid $800 a month to extend her health insurance through COBRA, which she funded with retirement savings that quickly dwindled because of early withdrawal penalties. She eventually applied for Social Security Disability and moved in with her youngest son."I lost my home, my life savings and my independence," she said.Her Social Security retirement check of $1,370 is deposited on the third of each month, and she shops for the month at Costco and a local food co-op. By the 15th -- after paying for her share of rent and other expenses -- she has just a few dollars left.Without the program, she'd have nothing."What happened to me," she added, "is not unique."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
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Securities Litigation Partner James Wilson Encourages Investors Who Suffered Losses Exceeding $100,000 In Loop To Contact Him Directly To Discuss Their Options New York, New York--(Newsfile Corp. - October 31, 2020) - If you suffered losses exceeding $100,000 investing in Loop stock or options between September 24, 2018 and October 12, 2020 and would like to discuss your legal rights, click here: www.faruqilaw.com/LOOP or call Faruqi & Faruqi partner James Wilson directly at 877-247-4292 or ...
GREENSBURG, Pa. -- At 32, Ryan Walsh has never voted in a presidential election. He didn't identify with either party before this year. But in the spring, he registered as a Republican, and he plans to cast a ballot in person Tuesday for President Donald Trump."I'm petrified of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi getting power and doing all this stuff that's going to totally destroy the economy," said Walsh, who works for a social services agency of state government.He cited a string of proposals that trouble him -- broad tax increases, the Green New Deal, "Medicare for All" -- that Biden has said he opposes. Walsh does not believe him.Voters who didn't show up in 2016 are Trump's "secret weapon," said Walsh, who lives outside Pittsburgh and works in Westmoreland County, an exurb where the Trump campaign is indeed hoping to expand its margin compared with 2016. Walsh called polls showing the president trailing "a joke," adding, "He will do nothing but gain in the areas he won last time."With recent electoral history and current polls suggesting that Democrats are likely to make gains in the vote-rich suburbs nearly everywhere, Trump's path to reelection has always required expanding his support in rural and exurban counties in Pennsylvania, as well as in other industrial states where he squeezed out victories in 2016.Now that early voting is underway, the question of whether he can increase that support is no longer academic. Trump is attracting tens of thousands of voters like Walsh who sat out 2016 in Pennsylvania. Around 24% of the 424,000 registered Republicans who have cast early mail-in votes in the state did not vote four years ago, according to TargetSmart, a Democratic elections data firm.But before the Trump campaign takes a victory lap, the same data analysis shows that in Pennsylvania -- where at least 1.9 million voters had returned ballots as of Thursday -- Democrats are keeping pace. About 1 in 4 of the 1.3 million registered Democrats who have voted did not vote in 2016.Both parties are succeeding in one of their chief goals this year: to motivate large numbers of infrequent voters or nonvoters to come off the sidelines for what supporters of both nominees call the most crucial election of a lifetime. It was a goal that eluded Sen. Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary, but with Democrats united, Biden is pulling it off. And Trump is answering critics who said his appeal was limited to those in his base who voted for him four years ago.The trends playing out in Pennsylvania are seen across 14 battleground states, where more than 10 million people who didn't vote in 2016 have already cast ballots this year, making up 25% of the early vote in those states."The fact that 1 in 4 didn't vote in 2016 suggests there's a whole lot of these turnout targets who didn't come out before, who have been motivated to come out," said Tom Bonier, chief executive of TargetSmart.So far, the data shows that more Democratic-leaning voters who didn't cast ballots in 2016 are turning out than Republican-leaning voters."Nationally, Democrats have a modeled advantage of 14.5% with those non-2016 voters," Bonier said.But that is partly because Trump has made mail-in ballots toxic to many of his supporters through his frequent (and unfounded) claims that mail voting is ripe for fraud. Trump supporters are expected to dominate in-person voting on Election Day in some battleground states. The current Democratic advantage with non-2016 voters could even out by Election Day.Remarkably, the surge of voters who did not vote four years ago is not primarily driven by people who have turned 18 since 2016. Nationally, the number of early voters this year who are 50 and over and didn't turn out in 2016, which was 6.4 million as of Thursday, was greater than those under 30, about 4.9 million. All age groups are exhibiting an intense interest in voting.Geraldine Folk, 82, of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, recently sent in a mail ballot for Biden, her first presidential vote ever."I've never seen a president like this in all my life, and I went through a lot of presidents," she said of Trump."He was on with Stahl last night on '60 Minutes' and he was obnoxious and left -- he's not a decent person," Folk said of Trump's bolting from an interview with CBS journalist Lesley Stahl. "I hate the way he's running this country. It's just a disgrace."Folk worked as a sewing machine operator in a factory until she was injured in an auto accident. Her husband, who died a dozen years ago, was an electrician in a cement plant. Today she has a partial disability. "If my legs were good, I'd be out there campaigning, and they wouldn't like what I had to say -- I'm a very outspoken woman," she said. "I think he's a useless you-know-what."TargetSmart's data is different from a poll. The firm matches every early vote to the name of a person in state databases of registered voters. Although it is impossible to know how a person voted, the voter file unlocks a trove of information, including a voter's age, race, sex and history of past voting. In states without partisan registration, the firm models voters' likely party preference based on other information.Trump's 44,000-vote victory in Pennsylvania four years ago, in which he won by less than 1 percentage point, hinged on places like Westmoreland County, once a blue-collar Democratic stronghold, which the president carried by 31 points, a wider margin than in any of the state's other populous counties.The Trump campaign and its allies have pumped resources into expanding that margin. Route 30 into Greensburg, the county seat, features a pro-Trump billboard promising to "Keep Nat Gas and Coal Jobs" and another attacking Biden as "a totally corrupt politician."Brittney Robinson, the Republican National Committee's state director in Pennsylvania, said the party had made a "huge investment" in data that it has used to "find these people who are likely to support the president who may not have voted for him in 2016" and try to turn them out.The Biden campaign said that Trump's share of voters has not grown even if he is turning out new supporters.It pointed to internal data that Democratic early voters who didn't participate in the last presidential election outnumber Republican voters who didn't turn out by 2 to 1."Our strategy in Pennsylvania has always been to energize, mobilize and turn out our base in Democratic strongholds, expand on Democratic gains in the suburbs and collar counties, and win back voters who gave Trump a shot in 2016 or may have sat out that election,'' said Brendan McPhillips, the Biden campaign's state director.Without the state's 20 electoral votes, Trump would have an extremely narrow path to reelection. Biden has wider options, based on current polling in battleground states.Despite efforts by the president's campaign and outside groups to expand his support with the voters most likely to back him -- white blue-collar workers -- polling shows him trailing his 2016 bench marks. In the latest New York Times/Siena College poll of Pennsylvania, the president led Biden among white voters without four-year college degrees by 13 points -- a considerable narrowing from his 32-point edge among these voters against Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to exit polls.Four years ago, polls of congressional districts with large numbers of white working-class voters were a little-noticed alarm signaling Clinton's vulnerability in the state. Now, public and private polls of those districts in Pennsylvania suggest trouble for Trump.A Muhlenberg College survey in September of the 7th Congressional District, in the Lehigh Valley, showed Biden with a 7-point lead over Trump. Pennsylvania's districts were redrawn two years ago; Trump lost the equivalent of the new 7th District to Clinton by 1 percentage point.Rep. Mike Kelly, a Republican representing the 16th District in northwest Pennsylvania, which includes the city of Erie, boasted to reporters last week of record-high enthusiasm for the president, citing farmers who "take time to paint the sides of their barns" with Trump's name, as well as the rising number of newly registered Republicans.Kelly pointed to internal polls showing "a lead of 9, 10%" for the president in the district.The problem for Trump, though, is that he carried the equivalent of the 16th District by twice that much, 20 points, in 2016, according to a New York Times analysis.In Erie County, where Trump and Biden have both recently campaigned, Marie Zamiska, 65, cast a mail ballot this year for Biden, the former vice president. She did not vote four years ago."To be honest, in 2016 I didn't think either candidate would have made a good president, so I chose to abstain," said Zamiska, a retired health care consultant. "The last four years have been very painful. He has certainly not brought any unity to the country," she said of Trump. "He hasn't solved any problems other than his own that he feels he can make money on. I certainly don't want to live through another four years of Trump."On the other end of the state, in Allentown, Salena Sanchez is a 2016 nonvoter who is still on the fence about whether she will vote this year.Registered as a Democrat, Sanchez, 37, who works the overnight shift in a warehouse, said she leaned Republican these days.She was all set to vote for Trump -- until the first debate, with the president's constant interrupting and Biden's retort of "Shut up, man.""About 20 minutes in, I shut it off," she said. "I was really leaning toward Trump, but with the debate, that's what turned me away from wanting to vote."Sanchez had to work last week during the final debate, but she plans to catch up with a recording. Depending on what she sees, she said, she will make up her mind about whether to cast a ballot or not.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump has dispensed with intelligence briefings from a career analyst in favor of updates from political appointees including John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence and a longtime partisan defender of his, in the closing weeks of an election targeted by intensifying foreign interference, according to interviews.While the president has long distrusted the intelligence community and displayed frustration with head of the CIA and antipathy toward the FBI director, Ratcliffe has served as a more supportive figure. He secured influence by delivering on the president's political agenda, chiefly by declassifying documents related to the Russia investigation.Critics have attacked Ratcliffe's embrace of Trump, saying Ratcliffe cannot be trusted to deliver unvarnished facts in this highly polarized election and is focused on politics in what is supposed to be an apolitical role. Ratcliffe, who took the job in May, has shown little interest in the workforce or making sure the intelligence community's budget is being properly allocated, former officials said.Cliff Sims, a senior adviser to Ratcliffe, said the director had "kept his commitment to keep politics out of intelligence." Administration officials said there was no evidence that Ratcliffe was slanting intelligence or withholding information from the president.Trump has not had a briefing led by his designated briefer, veteran intelligence officer Beth Sanner, in more than a month, people familiar with the matter said. The last formal intelligence briefing led by Sanner was scheduled for Oct. 2, though administration officials said it was canceled after the president disclosed early that morning that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.Instead, Trump has relied on Ratcliffe to brief him two or three times a week, including one delivered Thursday, the people said. He supplements those meetings with informal briefings from Robert C. O'Brien, the national security adviser; Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff; and others.The shift toward briefings conducted by Ratcliffe reflects Trump's busy campaign schedule and an effort to reduce the number of people around him as he was sick with COVID-19, according to two administration officials. They also said the president was getting the information he needed, pointing to his fielding of questions about the state of the cease-fire between Armenia and Azerbaijan.Early in Trump's presidency, aides shrunk the size of traditional intelligence briefings to prevent leaks, officials have said.Ronald Reagan was the last president not to regularly hear from his designated intelligence briefer. Trump is also the first president to rely primarily on the director of national intelligence to deliver his intelligence since the position was created in 2004."The president is doing something highly unusual, at least for the last 15 years," said David Priess, a former CIA officer and the author of "The President's Book of Secrets," a book about intelligence briefings.Directors of national intelligence have typically provided "color commentary" about the intelligence presented by the president's designated briefer, said Chris Whipple, author of "The Spymasters," a history of relations between the White House and the intelligence chiefs. Given Ratcliffe's history, Whipple warned, the director may be telling Trump only "what he wants to hear."Ratcliffe's displays of loyalty extended to public appearances, as well; he has appeared on Fox News defending Trump. And ahead of a nationally televised news conference last week where Ratcliffe and other officials revealed Iranian and Russian attempts to influence the election, he altered comments prepared for him to read from, according to two officials.Ratcliffe deleted a reference to the Proud Boys, the far-right group whom Iranian hackers pretended to be when sending spoofed emails to voters, and added the fact that Iran's effort was intended to hurt Trump's reelection campaign. The changes, which Politico reported earlier, did not alter the accuracy of the comments, intelligence officials said. But they made the remarks more palatable to Trump, who often bristles at discussions of election interference.Sims said Ratcliffe's influence was good for the intelligence community."Their unique insights are reaching the highest levels and informing policy decisions," Sims said.Trump's animosity toward the intelligence community dates to its early 2017 assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and developed a preference for his candidacy.But there is evidence that the president's unease with Christopher A. Wray, the FBI director, and Gina Haspel, the CIA director, is growing.Trump displayed his unhappiness with Wray on Twitter after Wray testified on Capitol Hill in recent weeks about two well-documented issues, Russia's election interference and far-right violent extremism, that the president has sought to de-emphasize.The president does not even like to hear about the FBI during intelligence briefings, people familiar with them said. Trump has told aides that Wray has actively undermined him and that he intends to fire him after the election, said people familiar with Trump's thinking. The president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., said recently that if his father won reelection, he has "to break up the highest level of the FBI."The White House did not respond to a request for comment about Trump's plans to dismiss Wray. The FBI declined to comment, but a senior bureau official pointed to a recent letter from associations representing current and former FBI agents backing Wray.Trump has also grown weary of Haspel, though aides are divided over whether he would oust her after the election."Director Haspel continues to proudly serve at CIA, and we'll leave the election season speculation to others," said Timothy Barrett, the agency's spokesman.Trump has privately expressed frustration for what he sees as a failure by Haspel to adopt his priorities, namely her opposition to Ratcliffe declassifying documents about the Russia investigation and related matters. While Haspel was said to express concern that their release would reveal the CIA's sources of information and methods of intelligence gathering -- among the agency's most closely held secrets -- Trump's allies saw the material as important political fodder for his reelection campaign.Last year, when O'Brien took over as national security adviser, Haspel was meeting with the president two or three times a week, according to a senior official. But when Richard Grenell, a close political ally of Trump's, took over as acting director of national intelligence in February, Haspel's attendance at White House briefings grew more infrequent, and it has tapered off further since Ratcliffe took up the post, according to current and former officials.Haspel's decreased trips to the White House are at least in part because of the pandemic and also a reflection of the fact that Ratcliffe has the lead on election interference, the most urgent national security issue of the moment, according to people familiar with the matter.Haspel has also avoided the spotlight and Washington power battles, allowing Ratcliffe to emerge as the more influential figure in the latest iteration of turf battles between CIA directors and directors of national intelligence."Trump clearly has a level of comfort with Ratcliffe," Priess said. "Ratcliffe is seen not just as the director of national intelligence; he is seen first and foremost as a political ally and someone who is on the president's team."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
NEW YORK -- At one New York City hospital, coronavirus patients began arriving a few weeks ago from Brooklyn neighborhoods and nearby suburbs that have seen a resurgence of the virus.But in contrast to March and April -- when so many seriously ill New Yorkers flooded into the hospital, Mount Sinai, that a field hospital was erected nearby in Central Park -- patients were showing up in smaller numbers and were often less sick. After treatment, they were going home."There is a much lower recent mortality rate," said Dr. David Reich, president of the hospital, despite the fact that the number of people being treated for COVID-19 had grown from the single digits in August to 56 on a given day last week.As virus cases surge nationwide, hospitals around the country, particularly in rural areas of the Midwest, are seeing their largest uptick yet of critically ill patients. Some have begun to fill to capacity -- an autumn wave of the pandemic that appears to get worse each day.In New York City, hospitalizations have been slowly but steadily rising, eliciting painful memories of the surge of infections in the spring that killed more than 20,000 people. But the terrifying inundation of patients that overwhelmed hospitals then has yet to materialize again in New York City, even as cases rise.Broad acceptance of face masks and social distancing has helped curb the spread of the virus, public health experts said. Fewer cases means fewer patients, allowing hospitals to better care for those who do come through the door.And while there is no cure for COVID-19, doctors, nurses and other medical personnel in New York City have used their experiences during the spring surge to make significant improvements in hospital care.Across the city's public and private hospitals, patients with an illness serious enough to need treatment are given a diagnosis and cared for more quickly, spend less time on average in the hospital, and are less likely to end up on mechanical ventilation, doctors and hospital executives said.Fewer are dying: 139 people in the four weeks ending last Saturday. On the worst day during the spring, New York City recorded over 800 confirmed and probable deaths.That trend has been mirrored in other parts of the country and world, as studies have begun to show lower death rates."You would expect there would be a lot more in the way of hospitalizations and deaths and, happily, there are not," said Dr. Mitchell Katz, head of New York City's public hospital system. He noted that at the peak in April the city's public hospital system had more than 900 critically ill COVID-19 patients on ventilators. On a recent day there were nine."How can I call that a second wave?"Public health officials and epidemiologists had expected a resurgence of the virus in New York as the weather cooled, but many believed its effect would likely be less devastating than in the spring. Now, about 460 people are hospitalized in the city with COVID-19 -- near the highest levels seen since late June. That is nowhere near the peak in April, when the virus patient count on one day was more than 12,000.For now, patients who have been admitted tend to be doing better.Lorenzo Paladino, an emergency room doctor at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, recalled how during the spring, some patients were "dying at the door" as they entered the emergency department or going into cardiac arrest while in the ambulance bay.Now, he said, patients tended to arrive in better shape.One reason might be that patients are not waiting to go to the hospital, as they were encouraged to do by health authorities at the height of the pandemic in New York, when crowding was an issue and seemingly milder cases were turned away.There are other factors, too. Nursing home patients today make up a smaller share of new cases, Katz said. And there are some indications that people being infected now tend to be younger on average than those in the spring, making them more likely to recover.Once hospitalized, patients are faring better because doctors have a better idea of how to treat them, such as using dexamethasone, a steroid.An NYU Langone Health study of more than 4,500 patients treated at its hospitals for COVID-19 from March to June found that outcomes began improving over time, even in the early months of the pandemic. At Mount Sinai, the mortality rate has similarly improved.After a summer of low numbers, the tide of cases began to rise. By early October, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had ordered localized shutdowns of schools and businesses in parts of Brooklyn, Queens and the city's northern suburbs.New hospital admissions began to rise, too, nearly doubling from their low point in September to about 120 a day across New York state, according to state health officials. A large part of the increase came from the communities with the sharpest rise in cases.But as of Sunday, fewer people were hospitalized in New York City than in the rest of the state, a reverse of the situation in the spring.The new cases have not been evenly distributed among hospitals. Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx has recorded only a slight rise in its coronavirus patient population. On Oct. 21, 32 people were hospitalized there, up from 30 two weeks earlier and 22 in early August.But in some parts of Brooklyn, the ambulance sirens -- after falling silent these past few months -- seem to have returned. Maimonides Medical Center, near the epicenter of an outbreak in south Brooklyn, was treating 57 patients with COVID-19 in mid-October. In late summer, there were typically about a dozen virus patients there.Mount Sinai, on Manhattan's Upper East Side, has also seen a sharp jump in patients, mostly from Brooklyn and the northern suburbs of Rockland and Orange counties, areas experiencing localized outbreaks. "It's busy but very stable," Reich said.Doctors and public health experts expressed confidence that treatments that emerged earlier in the year had prepared hospitals to better help patients, while underscoring that social distancing and mask-wearing remained critical."It's unlikely that New York City will experience again what it experienced in April and May," said Dr. Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.Out of 461 patients hospitalized Tuesday in the city, 122 were being treated in intensive care units, according to state data. On the worst days in April, more than 3,100 patients were in the ICU.Katz said he believed that a lower percentage of people with COVID-19 needed hospitalization now than in the spring. But he cautioned that it was hard to say for sure because testing was so limited then, and mild and moderate cases were far more likely to go undocumented.On April 7, the city saw its largest death toll -- 815 confirmed and probable deaths -- along with 6,045 cases and more than 11,000 hospitalizations. On Oct. 21, the most recent date for which city data is complete, the city recorded four deaths and 591 cases. On that day, 454 people were hospitalized.Katz listed a range of improvements that had helped patients at public hospitals, including a better understanding of when to put someone on a ventilator and improved use of blood thinners. Doctors have also seen the importance of turning COVID-19 patients onto their stomachs, a technique known as proning that helps distribute oxygen throughout the lungs.Similar developments have taken place at private facilities. At NYU Langone Health hospitals, for example, the length of stay for most virus patients has been declining, fewer were being treated in the ICU, and fewer were dying."Quite frankly, there were things that were tried early on in the pandemic that we weren't sure whether they were beneficial," Dr. Fritz Francois, chief medical officer at Langone, said. In some cases, he added, they "might have caused harm."For example, in the earliest days of the pandemic, hospitals in New York City tended to intubate patients early. Now, if possible, they avoid intubation, in which a mechanical ventilator breathes for a patient who is deeply sedated. Instead, doctors first attempt to give patients oxygen by less invasive means.Hospitals are also better prepared to rapidly assess patients from the start; get reliable virus test results in as little as two hours; and make better-informed decisions about whether people need to be admitted, taken to the ICU or provided some sort of oxygen support.So far, doctors and nurses have been helped by the small number of cases, allowing them to focus more attention on each patient.Like many health care workers, Dr. Ben McVane, who works in the emergency room at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, had spent months bracing for the return of virus cases. More recently, some doctors have also begun to worry about flu season, and what simultaneous infections from both the flu and the coronavirus could do to patients.In recent weeks, McVane said, there had been a small but noticeable uptick of COVID-19 patients at Elmhurst.For the time being, he said, the increase of patients was manageable, even if it did bring to mind the dark days of the spring, when the hospital was one of the hardest hit in New York."For now, it's more foreboding about what comes next," he said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company