- President Donald Trump announced Monday that his administration will be meeting with House and Senate Republicans to discuss passing payroll tax cuts, as well as relief for hourly wage earners.
- The announcement came the same day the U.S. Stock Market finished its worst day since the 2008 financial crisis, with the Dow Jones closing 2,000 points and 7.8% lower.
- On Fox Business, Host Trish Regan then blasted Democrats for politicizing the coronavirus in relation to Trump, though many online later blasted her for politicizing the issue.
Trump Payroll Tax Cut
President Donald Trump announced that his administration would be meeting with top Republicans on Tuesday to discuss passing legislation that would provide payroll tax cuts as well as relief for hourly wage earners.
Trump also announced the White House will be working with industries like airlines, cruise ships, and hotels, all of which have been hit by the coronavirus as people cancel travel plans.
“We are going to take care of and have been taking care of the American public and the American economy,” Trump said from the White House Press Room Monday night.
Trump’s proposed tax cuts would be in addition to the recent passage of an $8.3 billion aid package focused on vaccine research and other medical efforts.
While Trump has announced his plan to have Republican lawmakers introduce legislation into Congress, much of the specifics of the plan are still unknown.
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Trump called his meeting with top Republicans “great,” saying there was “tremendous unity;” however, no decision was reached.
In that meeting, Trump reportedly proposed a temporary payroll tax cut that could cost the government $40 billion a month, but some Republicans reportedly proposed different plans, while others worried that payroll tax cuts might not do enough to stimulate the economy.
What Are Payroll Tax Cuts?
Payroll tax cuts are what they sound like: cuts aimed at reducing the amount of money taken out of a paycheck, where that paycheck is weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc. Generally, they include both Social Security and Medicare.
Usually, when Congress implements a payroll tax cut, it tends to scale back Social Security. In fact, in 2011, Social Security taxes fell from their standard 6.2% to 4.2%, meaning people got to pocket that extra 2%. Medicare taxes, however, were not changed.
The general idea of payroll tax cuts is the hope that people will spend that extra money; however, some have expressed concerns that such cuts might not translate into spending as people avoid shopping during the outbreak.
Of course, more money for citizens also means less money for the federal government. In fact, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, if Congress and the White House end up reducing the payroll tax by only 1%, that would cut federal revenue by between $55 and $75 billion.
Worst Stock Market Day Since 2008
Part of Trump’s announcement and the reason why his administration would want spending in the first place is that the stock market has been quickly falling since mid-February.
On Tuesday, the stock market saw its worst day of trading since the 2008 financial crisis, with the Dow Jones falling more than 2,000 and closing 7.8% lower.
In fact, at one point, the stock market even temporarily stopped trading. Such a move has not happened since 1997.
Notably, that only lasted 15 minutes, and it was triggered by Saudi Arabia slashing at oil prices as part of a trade war with Russia. Still, much of that trade war stems from the coronavirus (particularly from Asia’s drop in oil consumption), and there is fear that the coronavirus could end up plunging the global economy into recession.
On Tuesday, the Dow jumped back up 945, though it drifted downward later in the day before stocks closed.
It is, however, hard to judge the stock market by only looking at its daily position. In mid-February, the Dow was at around 29,000 points. Monday, it ended just shy of 24,000 points.
Reaction from Lawmakers
Regarding a payroll tax cut, Monday, Senator Chuck Grassley said (R-IA) “everything is on the table.”
Another senator, John Cornyn (R-TX), called right now too early to employ tax. “I usually love tax cuts,” he said, “but I think it’s a little bit premature…”
On the other side of the aisle, Democrats are working on their own plan, which could reportedly be published in full later this week.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced some of the details of that plan on Monday. It would include free coronavirus testing, paid leave for those affected by the epidemic, expanded food subsidies, and expanding the federal unemployment insurance system.
On the note of paid leave, there seems to be some common ground between Democrats and the Trump Administration. Vice President Mike Pence has indicated that the Trump Administration will work with Congress to make sure people don’t lose their paychecks.
“Coronavirus Impeachment Scam”
Following Trump’s announcement that he was hoping to introduce tax break policy into Congress, Fox Business host Trish Regan blasted Democrats, saying they have politicized the coronavirus.
Next to her on the chyron read the words “Coronavirus Impeachment Scam.
“The chorus of hate being leveled at the president is nearing a crescendo as Democrats blame him and only him for a virus that originated halfway around the world,” Regan said. “This is yet another attempt to impeach the president, and sadly, it seems they care very little for any of the destruction they are leaving in their wake.”
“Losses in the stock market, all this, unfortunately, just part of the political casualties for them,” she added. “You know, this is the time to be united, not to be pointing fingers, not to be encouraging hate, and yet, what do we see? We see the absolute opposite from the left tonight!”
Trump later retweeted a clip of Regan’s video, but Regan also faced substantial criticism online, either by people saying she herself was politicizing the coronavirus. Many then pointed out the fact that her comments came as people were dying in the United States.
Wow. The chorus of nonsense being leveled by Trump and lackeys like you is nearing a crescendo as I listen to you try and politicize something that you call for no one to politicize— J 🌹 (@_Treppy_) March 10, 2020
You’re not even trying to hide that you’re doing it. Such a hypocrite.
Oddly enough, the same night on Tucker Carlson Tonight, Carlson painted a much different story for his viewers, even seemingly making an indirect jab at President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus in the U.S.
“Meanwhile, if we’re being honest, the other side has not been especially helpful either,” Carlson said of Republicans. “People you trust, people you probably voted for, have spent weeks minimizing what is clearly a very serious problem. ‘It’s just partisan politics,’ they say, ‘Calm down.’ ‘In the end, this is just like the flu, and people die from that every year.’ ‘Coronavirus will pass. And when it does, we will feel foolish for worrying about it.’ That’s their position.”
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (CNBC) (Newsweek)
Biden to Mandate COVID Vaccines for Federal Workers as CDC Changes Masking Guidance
News of the efforts came on the same day that the U.S. reported more than 100,000 new daily COVID cases for the first time since February.
Federal Vaccine Mandate
President Joe Biden will announce Thursday that all federal employees must get vaccinated against COVID-19 or consent to strict testing and other safety precautions, White House officials told reporters Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, Biden said he was considering the requirement but did not provide any more information.
While the officials also said the details are still being hashed out, they did note that the policy would be similar to ones recently put in place by California and New York City, which respectively required state and city workers to get the jab or submit to regular testing.
Also on Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their guidelines to recommend that Americans who live in areas “of substantial or high transmission,” as well as all students and teachers, wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status.
Delta Causes Spikes, But Vaccines Still Prove Effective
The renewed COVID mitigation efforts come as the delta variant is driving massive surges all over the country.
Coronavirus cases have quadrupled throughout July, jumping from a weekly average of 11,799 on the first day of the month to 63,248 on Tuesday, according to The New York Times tracker. Tuesday also saw new daily infections topping 100,000 for the first time since February, with more than 108,000 reported, per The Times.
While the vast majority of new infections are among people who have not been vaccinated, there have also been increasing reports of breakthrough cases in people who have received the jab.
Those cases, however, do not mean that the vaccines are not effective.
No vaccine prevents 100% of infections. Health officials have said time and time again that the jabs are intended to prevent severe disease and death, and they are doing just that.
According to the most recent data for July 19, the CDC reported that only 5,914 of the more than 161 million Americans who have gotten the vaccine were hospitalized or died from COVID-19 — a figure that represents 0.0036% of vaccinated people.
While safety precautions may be recommended for some people who have received the vaccine, many media narratives have overstated the role breakthrough cases play in the recent spikes. As New York Magazine explains, it is imperative to understand these new mask recommendations are not happening because the vaccine is not effective, but because not enough people are getting the vaccine.
“Because breakthrough infections have so often made the news due to their novelty, that can create a perception of more cases than are actually happening — particularly without more robust tracking of the actual cases to provide context,” the outlet wrote.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (CNBC)
Wisconsin Police Deny Planting Evidence in Viral Video, Release Their Own Body Cam Footage
The footage police released shows that during a search, officers found a corner tear from a plastic bag inside a backseat passenger’s pocket. An officer then discarded it into the car after determining that it was empty.
Viral Video Appears To Show Officer Planting Evidence
The Caledonia Police Department in Wisconsin has responded to a viral cell phone video that appears to show an officer planting a small plastic baggie inside of a car during a traffic stop.
The now-viral footage was posted to Facebook by a man who goes by GlockBoy Savoo.
The user, who also filmed the clip, wrote in his post’s caption that the officer did this “just to get a reason to search the car” and said the cop didn’t know he was being recorded by the passenger.
Police Shut Down Accusations With Their Own Footage
After that video spread across social media, many were outraged, calling the Caledonia police dirty for seemingly planting evidence. All the outrage eventually prompted the department to announce an investigation Saturday.
Within hours, the department provided an update, claiming that officers didn’t actually plant any evidence or do anything illegal.
Police shared a lengthy summary of events, along with two body camera clips from the incident. That statement explained that the driver of the vehicle was pulled over for going 63 in a 45mph zone.
Two passengers in the backseat who were then spotted without seatbelts were asked to identify themselves and step out of the car. During a search of one passenger’s pockets, an officer pulled out “an empty corner tear” from a plastic baggie.
Police claim the corner tear did not contain any illegal substances, though they said this type of packaging is a common method for holding illegal drugs.
In one body cam clip, an officer can be heard briefly questioning the backseat passenger about the baggie. Then, that piece of plastic gets handed off to different officers who also determined it as empty before the officer in the original viral video discarded it into the back of the car.
The officer can also be seen explaining where the plastic came from to the passenger recording him.
“Aye, bro you just threw that in here!” the front seat passenger says, as heard in his version of the events.
“Yeah, cause it was in his pocket and I don’t want to hold onto it. It’s on their body cam that they took it off of him…I’m telling you where it came from, so. It’s an empty baggie at the moment too, so,” the officer replies.
The department went on to explain that while it would discourage officers from discarding items into a citizen’s car, this footage proves that evidence was not planted.
Authorities also noted that no arrests were made in this incident and the driver was the only one issued a citation for speeding. The statement added that since four officers were present at the scene, police have more than six hours of footage to review but they promised to release the footage in full in the near future.
See what others are saying: (Heavy)(CBS 58) (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Medical Groups, Local Leaders Push for Healthcare Workers and Public Employees To Get Vaccinated
The move comes as COVID cases have nearly quadrupled in the last month due to the rapid spread of the highly infectious delta variant.
Increased Calls for Mandatory Vaccinations in Certain Sectors
More than 50 of America’s largest medical groups representing millions of healthcare workers issued a statement Monday calling for employers of all health and long-term care providers to require mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations.
The groups, which included the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, and 55 others, cited contagious new variants — including delta — and low vaccination rates.
“Vaccination is the primary way to put the pandemic behind us and avoid the return of stringent public health measures,” they wrote.
The call to action comes as new COVID cases have almost quadrupled during the month of July, jumping from just around 13,000 infections a day at the beginning of this month to more than 50,000.
While the vast majority of new infections and hospitalizations are among those who have not received the vaccines, many healthcare workers remain unvaccinated. According to data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, over 38% of nursing home staff were not fully vaccinated as of July 11.
An analysis by WebMD and Medscape Medical News found that around 25% of hospital workers who were in contact with patients had not been vaccinated by the end of May when vaccinations became widely available.
In addition to calls for medical professionals to get vaccinated, some local leaders have also begun to impose mandates for public employees as cases continue spiking.
Last month, San Francisco announced that it was requiring all city workers to get vaccinated. Also on Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that all municipal employees — including police officers and teachers — must either get the jab or agree to weekly testing by the time school starts in September.
Dr. Fauci Says U.S. Officials Are Considering Revising Mask Guidance for Vaccinated People
Numerous top U.S. health officials have applauded efforts by local leaders to mitigate further spread of the coronavirus, including the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who confirmed Sunday that federal officials are actively considering whether to revise federal masking guidelines to recommend that vaccinated Americans wear face coverings in public settings.
In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said people who are vaccinated do not need to mask in public. Although that was a non-binding recommendation, many states and cities that had not already lifted restrictions on masking began to do so shortly after.
But now, local leaders in areas seeing big spikes have begun reimposing mask mandates — even for those who are vaccinated — including major counties like Los Angeles and St. Louis.
In his remarks Sunday, Fauci also emphasized that, despite claims from many conservatives, those efforts are in line with the federal recommendations, which leave space for local leaders to issue their own rules.
While Fauci and other top U.S. public health officials have encouraged local governments to take action, Republican lawmakers in several states are taking steps to limit the ability of local leaders and public health officials to take certain mitigation measures.
According to the Network for Public Health Law, at least 15 state legislatures have passed or are considering bills to limit the legal authority of public health agencies — and that does not even include unilateral action taken by governors.
Some of the leaders of states suffering the biggest spikes have banned local officials from imposing their own mask mandates, like Arkansas, which has the highest per capita cases in the country right now, as well as Florida, which currently ranks third.
Notably, some of the laws proposed or passed by Republicans could go beyond just preventing local officials from trying to mitigate surges in COVID cases and may have major implications for other public health crises.
For example, according to The Washington Post, a North Dakota law that bans mask mandates applies to other breakouts — even tuberculosis — while a new Montana law also bars the use of quarantine for people who have been exposed to an infectious disease but have not yet tested positive.