- 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)
Conservatives Slam Elmo For Getting Vaccinated Against COVID-19
While critics accused the muppet of promoting propaganda, CDC data shows the shots are safe and effective.
Elmo Gets Vaccinated
Conservative politicians expressed outrage on Twitter after the beloved “Sesame Street” character Elmo revealed he got vaccinated against COVID-19 on Tuesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently cleared the way for children between the ages of six months and five years to get vaccinated against the virus. The famous red muppet is three years old, making him finally eligible for the jab.
In a video shared by “Sesame Street,” Elmo said that he felt “a little pinch, but it was okay.”
Elmo’s father, Louie, then addressed parents who might be apprehensive about vaccinating their own kids.
“I had a lot of questions about Elmo getting the COVID vaccine,” he said to the camera. “Was it safe? Was it the right decision? I talked to our pediatrician so I could make the right choice.”
“I learned that Elmo getting vaccinated is the best way to keep himself, our friends, neighbors, and everyone else healthy and enjoying the things they love,” he continued.
Republicans Criticize “Sesame Street”
While some praised the video for raising awareness and addressing the concerns parents may have, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx) quickly lambasted the effort.
“Thanks, Sesame Street for saying parents are allowed to have questions,” Cruz tweeted. “You then have Elmo aggressively advocate for vaccinating children UNDER 5. But you cite ZERO scientific evidence for this.”
Despite Cruz’s claim, the CDC has provided ample resources with information on vaccines for children.
He was not alone in criticizing the video. Harmeet Dhillon, a committeewoman of the Republican National Committee for California, suggested that Elmo would be taking puberty blockers next.
Other anti-vaxxers claimed Elmo would get myocarditis and accused “Sesame Street” of promoting propaganda.
COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be both safe and effective against transmission of the virus, but this is not the first time conservatives have turned their anger against a friendly-looking muppet who opted to get the jab. When Big Bird got vaccinated in November, Cruz and other right-wing figures accused the show of brainwashing kids.
Big Bird’s choice to get vaccinated was not a shocker though, clips dating back to 1972 show him getting immunized against the measles.
See what others are saying: (CNN) (The Hill) (Market Watch)
Uvalde Puts Police Chief on Leave, Tries to Kick Him Off City Council
If Pete Arredondo fails to attend two more consecutive city council meetings, then he may be voted out of office.
Police Chief Faces Public Fury
Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo was placed on administrative leave Wednesday following revelations that he and his officers did not engage the shooter at Robb Elementary for over an hour despite having adequate weaponry and protection.
Superintendent Hal Harrell, who made the announcement, did not specify whether the leave is paid or unpaid.
Harrell said in a statement that the school district would have waited for an investigation to conclude before making any personnel decisions, but chose to order the administrative leave because it is uncertain how long the investigation will take.
Lieutenant Mike Hernandez, the second in command at the police department, will assume Arredondo’s duties.
In an interview with The Texas Tribune earlier this month, Arredondo said he did not consider himself in charge during the shooting, but law enforcement records reviewed by the outlet indicate that he gave orders at the scene.
Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told state senators on Tuesday that some officers wanted to enter the classrooms harboring the shooter but were stopped by their superiors.
He said officer Ruben Ruiz tried to move forward into the hallway after receiving a call from his wife Eva Mireles, a teacher inside one of the classrooms, telling him she had been shot and was bleeding to death.
Ruiz was detained, had his gun taken away, and was escorted off the scene, according to McCraw. Mireles later died of her wounds.
Calls for Arredondo to resign or be fired have persisted.
Emotions Erupt at City Council
Wednesday’s announcement came one day after the Uvalde City Council held a special meeting in which community members and relatives of victims voiced their anger and demanded accountability.
“Who are you protecting?” Asked Jasmine Cazares, sister of Jackie Cazares, a nine-year-old student who was shot. “Not my sister. The parents? No. You’re too busy putting them in handcuffs.”
Much of the anger was directed toward Arredondo, who was not present at the meeting but was elected to the city council on May 7, just over two weeks before the massacre.
“We are having to beg ya’ll to do something to get this man out of our faces,” said the grandmother of Amerie Jo Garza, a 10-year-old victim. “We can’t see that gunman. That gunman got off easy. We can’t take our frustrations out on that gunman. He’s dead. He’s gone. … Ya’ll need to put yourselves in our shoes, and don’t say that none of ya’ll have, because I guarantee you if any of ya’ll were in our shoes, ya’ll would have been pulling every string that ya’ll have to get this man off the council.”
One woman demanded the council refuse to grant Arredondo the leave of absence he had requested, pointing out that if he fails to attend three consecutive meetings the council can vote him out for abandoning his office.
“What you can do right now is not give him, if he requests it, a leave of absence,” she said. “Don’t give him an out. We don’t want him. We want him out.”
After hearing from the residents, the council voted unanimously not to approve the leave of absence.
On Tuesday, Uvalde’s mayor announced that Robb Elementary is set to be demolished, saying no students or teachers should have to return to it after what happened.
We make it a point to not include the names and pictures of those who may have been seeking attention or infamy and will not link out to websites that might contain such information.
Texas Public Safety Director Says Police Response to Uvalde Shooting Was An “Abject Failure”
New footage shows officers prepared to engage the shooter one hour before they entered the classroom.
Seventy-Seven Deadly Minutes
Nearly a month after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers, evidence has emerged indicating that police were prepared to engage the shooter within minutes of arriving, but chose to wait over an hour.
The shooting at Robb Elementary began at 11:33 a.m., and within three minutes 11 officers are believed to have entered the school, according to surveillance and body camera footage obtained by KVUE and the Austin American Statesman.
District Police Chief Pete Arredondo reportedly called a landline at the police department at 11:40 a.m. for help.
“It’s an emergency right now,” he said. “We have him in the room. He’s got an AR-15. He’s shot a lot… They need to be outside the building prepared because we don’t have firepower right now. It’s all pistols.”
At 11:52 a.m., however, the footage shows multiple officers inside the school armed with at least two rifles and one ballistic shield.
Law enforcement did not enter the adjoined classrooms to engage the shooter until almost an hour later, at 12:50 p.m. During that time, one officer’s daughter was inside the classrooms and another’s wife, a teacher, reportedly called him to say she was bleeding to death.
Thirty minutes before law enforcement entered the classrooms, the footage shows officers had four ballistic shields in the hallway.
Frustrated Cops Want to Go Inside
Some of the officers felt agitated because they were not allowed to enter the classrooms.
One special agent at the Texas Department of Public Safety arrived about 20 minutes after the shooting started, then immediately asked, “Are there still kids in the classrooms?”
“It is unknown at this time,” another officer replied.
“Ya’ll don’t know if there’s kids in there?” The agent shot back. “If there’s kids in there we need to go in there.”
“Whoever is in charge will determine that,” the other officer responded.
According to an earlier account by Arredondo, he and the other officers tried to open the doors to the classrooms, but found them both locked and waited for a master key to arrive. But surveillance footage suggests that they never tried to open the doors, which a top Texas official has confirmed were never actually locked.
One officer has told reporters that within minutes of the police response, there was a Halligan bar, which firefighters use to break down locked doors, on-site, but it was never used.
At a special State Senate committee hearing Monday, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw called the police response an “abject failure” and “antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre.”
“The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from (entering rooms) 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children,” he said. “The officers have weapons, the children had none.”