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Jay Powell Confirms Full Recovery Unlikely Until People Feel Safe From the Pandemic

Fed Chair Powell Says "Full Recovery Unlikely Until People Feel Safe"



This article was originally published by ZeroHedge.

Fed Chair Powell Says "Full Recovery Unlikely Until People Feel Safe" Tyler Durden Mon, 06/29/2020 - 16:08
Fed Chair Jay Powell has released his prepared remarks for his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee tomorrow (with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin).
”We have entered an important new phase and have done so sooner than expected,” Powell noted. “While this bounceback in economic activity is welcome, it also presents new challenges—notably, the need to keep the virus in check.”
While noting the push to lift restrictions on commercial activity, Powell critically expressed the need to contain the virus, noting that "a full recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities." Nothing jumps out from the prepared remarks that should be market-moving *  *  * Full Prepared Remarks below: (emphasis ours) Chairwoman Waters, Ranking Member McHenry, and other members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today to discuss the extraordinary challenges our nation is facing and the steps we are taking to address them. We meet as the pandemic continues to cause tremendous hardship, taking lives and livelihoods both at home and around the world. This is a global public health crisis, and we remain grateful to our health-care professionals for delivering the most important response, and to our essential workers who help us meet our daily needs. These dedicated people put themselves at risk day after day in service to others and to our country. Beginning in March, the virus and the forceful measures taken to control its spread induced a sharp decline in economic activity and a surge in job losses. Indicators of spending and production plummeted in April, and the decline in real gross domestic product, or GDP, in the second quarter is likely to be the largest on record. The arrival of the pandemic gave rise to tremendous strains in some essential financial markets, impairing the flow of credit in the economy and threatening an even greater weakening of economic activity and loss of jobs. The crisis was met by swift and forceful policy action across the government, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). This direct support is making a critical difference not just in helping families and businesses in a time of need, but also in limiting long-lasting damage to our economy. As the economy reopens, incoming data are beginning to reflect a resumption of economic activity: Many businesses are opening their doors, hiring is picking up, and spending is increasing. Employment moved higher, and consumer spending rebounded strongly in May. We have entered an important new phase and have done so sooner than expected. While this bounceback in economic activity is welcome, it also presents new challenges—notably, the need to keep the virus in check. While recent economic data offer some positive signs, we are keeping in mind that more than 20 million Americans have lost their jobs, and that the pain has not been evenly spread. The rise in joblessness has been especially severe for lower-wage workers, for women, and for African Americans and Hispanics. This reversal of economic fortune has caused a level of pain that is hard to capture in words as lives are upended amid great uncertainty about the future. Output and employment remain far below their pre-pandemic levels. The path forward for the economy is extraordinarily uncertain and will depend in large part on our success in containing the virus. A full recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities. The path forward will also depend on the policy actions taken at all levels of government to provide relief and to support the recovery for as long as needed. The Federal Reserve's response to these extraordinary developments has been guided by our mandate to promote maximum employment and stable prices for the American people as well as our role in fostering the stability of the financial system. Our actions and programs directly support the flow of credit to households, to businesses of all sizes, and to state and local governments. These programs benefit Main Street by providing financing where it is not otherwise available, helping employers to keep their workers, and allowing consumers to continue spending. In many cases, by serving as a backstop to key financial markets, the programs help increase the willingness of private lenders to extend credit and ease financial conditions for families and businesses across the country. The passage of the CARES Act by Congress was critical in enabling the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department to establish many of these lending programs. We are strongly committed to using these programs, as well as our other tools, to do what we can to provide stability, to ensure that the recovery will be as strong as possible, and to limit lasting damage to the economy. In discussing the actions we have taken, I will begin with monetary policy. In March, we lowered our policy interest rate to near zero, and we expect to maintain interest rates at this level until we are confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve our maximum-employment and price-stability goals. In addition to these steps, we took forceful measures in four areas: open market operations to restore market functioning; actions to improve liquidity conditions in short-term funding markets; programs, in coordination with the Treasury Department, to facilitate more directly the flow of credit to households, businesses, and state and local governments; and measures to encourage banks to use their substantial capital and liquidity buffers built up over the past decade to support the economy during this difficult time. Let me now turn to our open market operations. As tensions and uncertainty rose in mid-March, investors moved rapidly toward cash and shorter-term government securities, and the markets for Treasury securities and agency mortgage-backed securities, or MBS, started to experience strains. These markets are critical to the overall functioning of the financial system and to the transmission of monetary policy to the broader economy. In response, the Federal Open Market Committee purchased Treasury securities and agency MBS in the amounts needed to support smooth market functioning. With these purchases, market conditions improved substantially, and in early April we began to gradually reduce our pace of purchases. To sustain smooth market functioning and thereby foster the effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions, we will increase our holdings of Treasury securities and agency MBS over the coming months at least at the current pace. We will closely monitor developments and are prepared to adjust our plans as appropriate to support our goals. Amid the tensions and uncertainties of mid-March and as a more adverse outlook for the economy took hold, investors exhibited greater risk aversion and pulled away from longer-term and riskier assets as well as from some money market mutual funds. To help stabilize short-term funding markets, we lengthened the term and lowered the rate on discount window loans to depository institutions. The Board also established, with the approval of the Treasury Department, the Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF) under our emergency lending authority in section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. Under the PDCF, the Federal Reserve provides loans against good collateral to primary dealers that are critical intermediaries in short-term funding markets. Similar to the large-scale purchases of Treasury securities and agency MBS that I mentioned earlier, this facility helps restore normal market functioning. In addition, under section 13(3) and together with the Treasury Department, we set up the Commercial Paper Funding Facility, or CPFF, and the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility, or MMLF. Millions of Americans put their savings into these markets, and employers use them to secure short-term funding to meet payroll and support their operations. Both of these facilities have equity provided by the Treasury Department to protect the Federal Reserve from losses. After the announcement and implementation of these facilities, indicators of market functioning in commercial paper and other short-term funding markets improved substantially, and rapid outflows from prime and tax-exempt money market funds stopped. In mid-March, offshore U.S. dollar funding markets also came under stress. In response, the Federal Reserve and several other central banks announced the expansion and enhancement of dollar liquidity swap lines. In addition, the Federal Reserve introduced a new temporary Treasury repurchase agreement facility for foreign monetary authorities. These actions helped stabilize global U.S. dollar funding markets, and they continue to support the smooth functioning of U.S. Treasury and other financial markets as well as U.S. economic conditions. As it became clear the pandemic would significantly disrupt economies around the world, markets for longer-term debt also faced strains. The cost of borrowing rose sharply for those issuing corporate bonds, municipal debt, and asset-backed securities (ABS) backed by consumer and small business loans. In effect, creditworthy households, businesses, and state and local governments were unable to borrow at reasonable rates and other terms, which would have further reduced economic activity. In addition, small and medium-sized businesses that traditionally rely on bank lending faced large increases in their funding needs as measures taken to contain the spread of the virus forced them to temporarily close or limit operations, substantially curtailing revenues. To support the longer-term financing that is critical to economic activity, the Federal Reserve, in cooperation with the Department of the Treasury and using equity provided for that purpose under the CARES Act, announced a number of emergency lending facilities under section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. These facilities are designed to ensure that credit would flow to borrowers and thus support economic activity. On March 23, the Board announced that it would support consumer and business lending by establishing the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF). The TALF is authorized to extend up to $100 billion in loans and is backed by $10 billion in CARES Act equity. This facility lends against top-rated securities backed by auto loans, credit card loans, other consumer and business loans, commercial mortgage-backed securities, and other assets. The TALF supports credit access by consumers and businesses and provides liquidity to the broader ABS market. The facility made its first loans on June 25, and, to date, has extended $252 million in loans to eligible borrowers. Since the TALF was announced, ABS spreads have contracted significantly. Thus, the facility might be used relatively little and mainly serve as a backstop, assuring lenders that they will have access to funding and giving them the confidence to make loans to households and businesses. To support the credit needs of large employers, the Federal Reserve also established the Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility (PMCCF) and the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF). These facilities primarily purchase bonds issued by U.S. companies that were investment grade on March 22, 2020. The two facilities have a combined purchase capacity of up to $750 billion and are backed by $75 billion in CARES Act equity. Final terms and operational details on the PMCCF were announced on June 29, and it stands ready to purchase newly issued corporate bonds and syndicated loans, serving as a backstop for businesses seeking to refinance their existing credit or obtain new funding. The SMCCF buys outstanding corporate bonds and shares in corporate bond exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to facilitate smooth functioning of the secondary market. The SMCCF complements the PMCCF, because improvements in secondary-market functioning associated with the SMCCF facilitate access by companies to bond and loan markets on reasonable terms. The SMCCF launched with ETF purchases on May 12. Earlier this month, the facility began gradually reducing purchases of ETFs as it started buying a broad and diversified portfolio of individual corporate bonds to more directly support smooth functioning and market liquidity in the secondary market. Purchase volumes are tied to market functioning and are currently at very low levels. The facility currently holds a total of about $10 billion in bonds and ETF shares. Following the announcement of the two corporate credit facilities in late March, conditions in the corporate bond market improved significantly. Credit spreads on investment-grade bonds retraced much of the widening experienced in February and March, and issuance in the primary market rebounded strongly. In the secondary market, liquidity also improved, and by mid-April, flows out of mutual funds and ETFs specializing in corporate bonds reversed. The Federal Reserve also launched the Main Street Lending Program, which is designed to provide loans to small and medium-sized businesses that were in good financial standing before the pandemic; such firms generally are dependent on bank lending for credit because they are too small to tap bond markets directly. Under the Main Street program, banks originate new loans or increase the size of existing loans to eligible businesses and sell loan participations to the Federal Reserve. The facility is backed by $75 billion in CARES Act equity and can purchase up to $600 billion in loan participations. The Federal Reserve has published all of the legal documents that borrowers and lenders will need to sign under the program and lender registration began on June 15. Loan participations will be purchased soon. Additionally, the Federal Reserve recently sought feedback on a proposal to expand the Main Street program to include loans made to small and medium-sized nonprofit organizations, such as hospitals and universities. Nonprofits provide vital services around the country, and the program would likewise offer them support. While businesses in certain sectors that were particularly hard hit by the pandemic have reported continued difficulty in accessing credit, the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which draws from existing bank lines, has apparently met the immediate credit needs of many small businesses. In the months ahead, Main Street loans may prove a valuable resource for firms that were in sound financial condition prior to the pandemic. To bolster the effectiveness of the Small Business Administration's PPP, on April 16, the Federal Reserve launched the Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility. The facility supplies liquidity to lenders backed by their PPP loans to small businesses and has the capacity to lend up to the full amount of the PPP. As of last week, the facility held over $65 billion in outstanding term loans to participating financial institutions. The most recent monthly survey from the National Federation of Independent Business released in May indicates that small businesses have been able to meet their funding needs in recent months largely due to the PPP. To help state and local governments better manage cash flow pressures in order to continue to serve households and businesses in their communities, the Federal Reserve, together with the Treasury Department, established the Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF). The MLF is backed by $35 billion of CARES Act equity and has the capacity to purchase up to $500 billion of short-term debt directly from U.S. states, counties, cities, and certain multistate entities. The facility became operational on May 26, and, to date, the MLF has purchased $1.2 billion worth of short-term municipal debt. With the MLF and other facilities in place as a backstop to the private market, many parts of the municipal bond market have significantly recovered from the unprecedented stress experienced earlier this year. Municipal bond yields have declined considerably, issuance has been robust over the past two months, and market conditions have improved The tools that the Federal Reserve is using under its 13(3) authority are for times of emergency, such as the ones we have been living through. When economic and financial conditions improve, we will put these tools back in the toolbox. The final area where we took steps was in bank regulation. The Board made several adjustments, many temporary, to encourage banks to use their positions of strength to support households and businesses. Unlike the 2008 financial crisis, banks entered this period with substantial capital and liquidity buffers and improved risk-management and operational resiliency. As a result, they have been well positioned to cushion the financial shocks we are seeing. In contrast to the 2008 crisis when banks pulled back from lending and amplified the economic shock, in this crisis they have greatly expanded loans to customers and have helped support the economy. The Federal Reserve has been entrusted with an important mission, and we have taken unprecedented steps in very rapid fashion over the past few months. In doing so, we embrace our responsibility to the American people to be as transparent as possible. With regard to the facilities backed by equity from the CARES Act, we have conducted broad outreach and sought public input that has been crucial in their development. For example, in response to comments received, the Treasury and the Federal Reserve have made a number of changes to expand the scope of the Main Street Lending Program to cover a broader range of borrowers and to increase the flexibility of loan terms. And we are now disclosing and will continue to disclose, on a monthly basis, names and details of participants in each facility; amounts borrowed and interest rate charged; and overall costs, revenues, and fees for each of these facilities. We recognize that our actions are only part of a broader public-sector response. Congress's passage of the CARES Act was critical in enabling the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department to establish many of the lending programs. The CARES Act and other legislation provide direct help to people, businesses, and communities. This direct support can make a critical difference not just in helping families and businesses in a time of need, but also in limiting long-lasting damage to our economy. We understand that the work of the Federal Reserve touches communities, families, and businesses across the country. Everything we do is in service to our public mission. We are committed to using our full range of tools to support the economy and to help assure that the recovery from this difficult period will be as robust as possible. Thank you. I'd be happy to take your questions.

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United Airlines adds new flights to faraway destinations

The airline said that it has been working hard to "find hidden gem destinations."



Since countries started opening up after the pandemic in 2021 and 2022, airlines have been seeing demand soar not just for major global cities and popular routes but also for farther-away destinations.

Numerous reports, including a recent TripAdvisor survey of trending destinations, showed that there has been a rise in U.S. traveler interest in Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea and Vietnam as well as growing tourism traction in off-the-beaten-path European countries such as Slovenia, Estonia and Montenegro.

Related: 'No more flying for you': Travel agency sounds alarm over risk of 'carbon passports'

As a result, airlines have been looking at their networks to include more faraway destinations as well as smaller cities that are growing increasingly popular with tourists and may not be served by their competitors.

The Philippines has been popular among tourists in recent years.


United brings back more routes, says it is committed to 'finding hidden gems'

This week, United Airlines  (UAL)  announced that it will be launching a new route from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Morocco's Marrakesh. While it is only the country's fourth-largest city, Marrakesh is a particularly popular place for tourists to seek out the sights and experiences that many associate with the country — colorful souks, gardens with ornate architecture and mosques from the Moorish period.

More Travel:

"We have consistently been ahead of the curve in finding hidden gem destinations for our customers to explore and remain committed to providing the most unique slate of travel options for their adventures abroad," United's SVP of Global Network Planning Patrick Quayle, said in a press statement.

The new route will launch on Oct. 24 and take place three times a week on a Boeing 767-300ER  (BA)  plane that is equipped with 46 Polaris business class and 22 Premium Plus seats. The plane choice was a way to reach a luxury customer customer looking to start their holiday in Marrakesh in the plane.

Along with the new Morocco route, United is also launching a flight between Houston (IAH) and Colombia's Medellín on Oct. 27 as well as a route between Tokyo and Cebu in the Philippines on July 31 — the latter is known as a "fifth freedom" flight in which the airline flies to the larger hub from the mainland U.S. and then goes on to smaller Asian city popular with tourists after some travelers get off (and others get on) in Tokyo.

United's network expansion includes new 'fifth freedom' flight

In the fall of 2023, United became the first U.S. airline to fly to the Philippines with a new Manila-San Francisco flight. It has expanded its service to Asia from different U.S. cities earlier last year. Cebu has been on its radar amid growing tourist interest in the region known for marine parks, rainforests and Spanish-style architecture.

With the summer coming up, United also announced that it plans to run its current flights to Hong Kong, Seoul, and Portugal's Porto more frequently at different points of the week and reach four weekly flights between Los Angeles and Shanghai by August 29.

"This is your normal, exciting network planning team back in action," Quayle told travel website The Points Guy of the airline's plans for the new routes.

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Walmart launches clever answer to Target’s new membership program

The retail superstore is adding a new feature to its Walmart+ plan — and customers will be happy.



It's just been a few days since Target  (TGT)  launched its new Target Circle 360 paid membership plan. 

The plan offers free and fast shipping on many products to customers, initially for $49 a year and then $99 after the initial promotional signup period. It promises to be a success, since many Target customers are loyal to the brand and will go out of their way to shop at one instead of at its two larger peers, Walmart and Amazon.

Related: Walmart makes a major price cut that will delight customers

And stop us if this sounds familiar: Target will rely on its more than 2,000 stores to act as fulfillment hubs. 

This model is a proven winner; Walmart also uses its more than 4,600 stores as fulfillment and shipping locations to get orders to customers as soon as possible.

Sometimes, this means shipping goods from the nearest warehouse. But if a desired product is in-store and closer to a customer, it reduces miles on the road and delivery time. It's a kind of logistical magic that makes any efficiency lover's (or retail nerd's) heart go pitter patter. 

Walmart rolls out answer to Target's new membership tier

Walmart has certainly had more time than Target to develop and work out the kinks in Walmart+. It first launched the paid membership in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, when many shoppers sheltered at home but still required many staples they might ordinarily pick up at a Walmart, like cleaning supplies, personal-care products, pantry goods and, of course, toilet paper. 

It also undercut Amazon  (AMZN)  Prime, which costs customers $139 a year for free and fast shipping (plus several other benefits including access to its streaming service, Amazon Prime Video). 

Walmart+ costs $98 a year, which also gets you free and speedy delivery, plus access to a Paramount+ streaming subscription, fuel savings, and more. 

An employee at a Merida, Mexico, Walmart. (Photo by Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Jeff Greenberg/Getty Images

If that's not enough to tempt you, however, Walmart+ just added a new benefit to its membership program, ostensibly to compete directly with something Target now has: ultrafast delivery. 

Target Circle 360 particularly attracts customers with free same-day delivery for select orders over $35 and as little as one-hour delivery on select items. Target executes this through its Shipt subsidiary.

We've seen this lightning-fast delivery speed only in snippets from Amazon, the king of delivery efficiency. Who better to take on Target, though, than Walmart, which is using a similar store-as-fulfillment-center model? 

"Walmart is stepping up to save our customers even more time with our latest delivery offering: Express On-Demand Early Morning Delivery," Walmart said in a statement, just a day after Target Circle 360 launched. "Starting at 6 a.m., earlier than ever before, customers can enjoy the convenience of On-Demand delivery."

Walmart  (WMT)  clearly sees consumers' desire for near-instant delivery, which obviously saves time and trips to the store. Rather than waiting a day for your order to show up, it might be on your doorstep when you wake up. 

Consumers also tend to spend more money when they shop online, and they remain stickier as paying annual members. So, to a growing number of retail giants, almost instant gratification like this seems like something worth striving for.

Related: Veteran fund manager picks favorite stocks for 2024

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President Biden Delivers The “Darkest, Most Un-American Speech Given By A President”

President Biden Delivers The "Darkest, Most Un-American Speech Given By A President"

Having successfully raged, ranted, lied, and yelled through…



President Biden Delivers The "Darkest, Most Un-American Speech Given By A President"

Having successfully raged, ranted, lied, and yelled through the State of The Union, President Biden can go back to his crypt now.

Whatever 'they' gave Biden, every American man, woman, and the other should be allowed to take it - though it seems the cocktail brings out 'dark Brandon'?

Tl;dw: Biden's Speech tonight ...

  • Fund Ukraine.

  • Trump is threat to democracy and America itself.

  • Abortion is good.

  • American Economy is stronger than ever.

  • Inflation wasn't Biden's fault.

  • Illegals are Americans too.

  • Republicans are responsible for the border crisis.

  • Trump is bad.

  • Biden stands with trans-children.

  • J6 was the worst insurrection since the Civil War.

(h/t @TCDMS99)

Tucker Carlson's response sums it all up perfectly:

"that was possibly the darkest, most un-American speech given by an American president. It wasn't a speech, it was a rant..."

Carlson continued: "The true measure of a nation's greatness lies within its capacity to control borders, yet Bid refuses to do it."

"In a fair election, Joe Biden cannot win"

And concluded:

“There was not a meaningful word for the entire duration about the things that actually matter to people who live here.”

Victor Davis Hanson added some excellent color, but this was probably the best line on Biden:

"he doesn't care... he lives in an alternative reality."

*  *  *

Watch SOTU Live here...

*   *   *

Mises' Connor O'Keeffe, warns: "Be on the Lookout for These Lies in Biden's State of the Union Address." 

On Thursday evening, President Joe Biden is set to give his third State of the Union address. The political press has been buzzing with speculation over what the president will say. That speculation, however, is focused more on how Biden will perform, and which issues he will prioritize. Much of the speech is expected to be familiar.

The story Biden will tell about what he has done as president and where the country finds itself as a result will be the same dishonest story he's been telling since at least the summer.

He'll cite government statistics to say the economy is growing, unemployment is low, and inflation is down.

Something that has been frustrating Biden, his team, and his allies in the media is that the American people do not feel as economically well off as the official data says they are. Despite what the White House and establishment-friendly journalists say, the problem lies with the data, not the American people's ability to perceive their own well-being.

As I wrote back in January, the reason for the discrepancy is the lack of distinction made between private economic activity and government spending in the most frequently cited economic indicators. There is an important difference between the two:

  • Government, unlike any other entity in the economy, can simply take money and resources from others to spend on things and hire people. Whether or not the spending brings people value is irrelevant

  • It's the private sector that's responsible for producing goods and services that actually meet people's needs and wants. So, the private components of the economy have the most significant effect on people's economic well-being.

Recently, government spending and hiring has accounted for a larger than normal share of both economic activity and employment. This means the government is propping up these traditional measures, making the economy appear better than it actually is. Also, many of the jobs Biden and his allies take credit for creating will quickly go away once it becomes clear that consumers don't actually want whatever the government encouraged these companies to produce.

On top of all that, the administration is dealing with the consequences of their chosen inflation rhetoric.

Since its peak in the summer of 2022, the president's team has talked about inflation "coming back down," which can easily give the impression that it's prices that will eventually come back down.

But that's not what that phrase means. It would be more honest to say that price increases are slowing down.

Americans are finally waking up to the fact that the cost of living will not return to prepandemic levels, and they're not happy about it.

The president has made some clumsy attempts at damage control, such as a Super Bowl Sunday video attacking food companies for "shrinkflation"—selling smaller portions at the same price instead of simply raising prices.

In his speech Thursday, Biden is expected to play up his desire to crack down on the "corporate greed" he's blaming for high prices.

In the name of "bringing down costs for Americans," the administration wants to implement targeted price ceilings - something anyone who has taken even a single economics class could tell you does more harm than good. Biden would never place the blame for the dramatic price increases we've experienced during his term where it actually belongs—on all the government spending that he and President Donald Trump oversaw during the pandemic, funded by the creation of $6 trillion out of thin air - because that kind of spending is precisely what he hopes to kick back up in a second term.

If reelected, the president wants to "revive" parts of his so-called Build Back Better agenda, which he tried and failed to pass in his first year. That would bring a significant expansion of domestic spending. And Biden remains committed to the idea that Americans must be forced to continue funding the war in Ukraine. That's another topic Biden is expected to highlight in the State of the Union, likely accompanied by the lie that Ukraine spending is good for the American economy. It isn't.

It's not possible to predict all the ways President Biden will exaggerate, mislead, and outright lie in his speech on Thursday. But we can be sure of two things. The "state of the Union" is not as strong as Biden will say it is. And his policy ambitions risk making it much worse.

*  *  *

The American people will be tuning in on their smartphones, laptops, and televisions on Thursday evening to see if 'sloppy joe' 81-year-old President Joe Biden can coherently put together more than two sentences (even with a teleprompter) as he gives his third State of the Union in front of a divided Congress. 

President Biden will speak on various topics to convince voters why he shouldn't be sent to a retirement home.

According to CNN sources, here are some of the topics Biden will discuss tonight:

  • Economic issues: Biden and his team have been drafting a speech heavy on economic populism, aides said, with calls for higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy – an attempt to draw a sharp contrast with Republicans and their likely presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

  • Health care expenses: Biden will also push for lowering health care costs and discuss his efforts to go after drug manufacturers to lower the cost of prescription medications — all issues his advisers believe can help buoy what have been sagging economic approval ratings.

  • Israel's war with Hamas: Also looming large over Biden's primetime address is the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, which has consumed much of the president's time and attention over the past few months. The president's top national security advisers have been working around the clock to try to finalize a ceasefire-hostages release deal by Ramadan, the Muslim holy month that begins next week.

  • An argument for reelection: Aides view Thursday's speech as a critical opportunity for the president to tout his accomplishments in office and lay out his plans for another four years in the nation's top job. Even though viewership has declined over the years, the yearly speech reliably draws tens of millions of households.

Sources provided more color on Biden's SOTU address: 

The speech is expected to be heavy on economic populism. The president will talk about raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy. He'll highlight efforts to cut costs for the American people, including pushing Congress to help make prescription drugs more affordable.

Biden will talk about the need to preserve democracy and freedom, a cornerstone of his re-election bid. That includes protecting and bolstering reproductive rights, an issue Democrats believe will energize voters in November. Biden is also expected to promote his unity agenda, a key feature of each of his addresses to Congress while in office.

Biden is also expected to give remarks on border security while the invasion of illegals has become one of the most heated topics among American voters. A majority of voters are frustrated with radical progressives in the White House facilitating the illegal migrant invasion. 

It is probable that the president will attribute the failure of the Senate border bill to the Republicans, a claim many voters view as unfounded. This is because the White House has the option to issue an executive order to restore border security, yet opts not to do so

Maybe this is why? 

While Biden addresses the nation, the Biden administration will be armed with a social media team to pump propaganda to at least 100 million Americans. 

"The White House hosted about 70 creators, digital publishers, and influencers across three separate events" on Wednesday and Thursday, a White House official told CNN. 

Not a very capable social media team... 

The administration's move to ramp up social media operations comes as users on X are mostly free from government censorship with Elon Musk at the helm. This infuriates Democrats, who can no longer censor their political enemies on X. 

Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers tell Axios that the president's SOTU performance will be critical as he tries to dispel voter concerns about his elderly age. The address reached as many as 27 million people in 2023. 

"We are all nervous," said one House Democrat, citing concerns about the president's "ability to speak without blowing things."

The SOTU address comes as Biden's polling data is in the dumps

BetOnline has created several money-making opportunities for gamblers tonight, such as betting on what word Biden mentions the most. 

As well as...

We will update you when Tucker Carlson's live feed of SOTU is published. 

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/08/2024 - 07:44

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