Midday open thread: Economy hints at slowing; Booker to introduce wealth-equalizing 'baby bonds'
Today’s comic by Matt Bors is A totally normal teargassing of children:
While GDP remains an important gauge of the economy, it’s always good to remember Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 assessment of its shortcomings.
• Though still high, consumer confidence slips, and hints of economic slow down emerge: October marked the 18-month high for consumer confidence, but that slipped a couple of points in November. That’s just one month’s data, which doesn’t qualify as a trend. While not all the jobs are that great, employment growth is still strong. But the announced layoffs of 14,000 at GM add a sour note. At the beginning of the month the Institute for Supply Management announced a drop in the manufacturing index to a six-month low. But the ISM service index rose again to the second highest level ever. While housing prices nationwide increased again in November, the percentage of increase has fallen each month for the past six months. But those prices are still rising faster than most Americans’ incomes can keep up. Then there’s GM’s layoffs. Few economists expect a recession any time soon. But the “R” word has been being talked about more often in the past few months. June 2019 will mark the 10th year since the economy began expanding in the wake of the Great Recession. Of all the recessions since the end of World War II, the longest period between the end of one and the start of another was … 10 years.
• Open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act ends in most states on December 15: If you’ve been delaying, it’s time to get a move on if you need insurance! Free help is available. If you have questions about signing up or want to talk through your options with a trained professional, free help is just a quick call or click away. Call 1-800-318-2596, visit localhelp.healthcare.gov or make a one-on-one appointment now.
A former Facebook manager has accused the company of “failing” its black employees, saying they face widespread discrimination and exclusion and that the social network is biased against its black users.
A letter from Mark S. Luckie, who recently stepped down as strategic partner manager for global influencers, provided a detailed account of racism and prejudice at the embattled Silicon Valley corporation, noting that “in some buildings, there are more ‘Black Lives Matter’ posters than there are actual black people”.
Mike Espy joins a long list of red state Democrats who lost in 2018, but who built up grassroots infrastructure and campaign expertise that will serve as the foundation for greater advances in years to come. Sometimes before you can go blue, you have to get bluer first. Ã¢Â˜Â‘Ã¯Â¸Â
— Nick Knudsen Ã°ÂŸÂ‡ÂºÃ°ÂŸÂ‡Â¸ #WaveCast (@DemWrite) November 28, 2018
As he ponders mounting a campaign for the White House in 2020, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) is preparing to introduce radical and ambitious legislation aimed at narrowing the persistent black-white wealth gap. His idea — commonly described with the catchy monicker, “baby bonds” — is a proposal to grant at birth every American a cash account that could be used in adulthood to climb the ladder of economic success.
If the baby bonds concept catches public support, as Booker hopes it will, the audaciously ambitious policy might well strike down two of his personal goals in a single blow — reducing wealth inequality between blacks and whites and supplying his potential run for the Oval Office with populist fuel.
For most, the time spent staring at screens — on computers, phones, iPads — constitutes many hours and can often disrupt sleep. Now, researchers have pinpointed how certain cells in the eye process ambient light and reset our internal clocks, the daily cycles of physiological processes known as the circadian rhythm. When these cells are exposed to artificial light late into the night, our internal clocks can get confused, resulting in a host of health issues.
• In an interview in Esquire, The Boss smacks down Trump: Bruce Springsteen has been critical of Trump previously, but his latest remarks are the most acerbic so far. Trump, the 69-year-old singer says “has no interest in uniting the country, really, and actually has an interest in doing the opposite and dividing us, which he does on an almost daily basis. So that’s simply a crime against humanity, as far as I’m concerned.” […] “He’s deeply damaged at his core. … Anyone in that position who doesn’t deeply feel those ties that bind is a dangerous man, and it’s very pitiful.”
• Sanders Institute hosting “A Gathering of Minds to Envision the World We Want”: The get-together runs from Nov. 29-Dec. 1 in Burlington, VT.
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Greg Dworkin on the Pelosi endgame and a mysterious, still outstanding election. Joan McCarter on Trump’s most racist judge yet, the next shutdown & ACA enrollment. Bear witness to the birth of the NHPA, the National Hockey Puck Association.