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January 1, Dem Lawmaker Takes Aim at Pelosi with Ban on Congress Stock Trades

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Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) is set to introduce a bill that would ban active members of Congress from holding or trading individual stocks — an apparent rebuff of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who recently defended the controversial practice that has earned her husband millions of dollars from trading tech stocks.

Ossoff’s ethics bill, which he plans to file as soon as he finds a Republican cosponsor, would also prohibit lawmakers’ spouses and family members from trading stocks while they’re in office.

The freshman senator may have trouble finding a cosponsor within the Senate GOP, as no Republicans have publicly denounced congressional stock trades. However, he may have better luck with House GOP members, as several have spoken out against the practice, including Texas Reps. Michael Cloud and Chip Roy.

“As Speaker Pelosi’s recent transactions make clear, decisions made for the people should be separate than decisions made for personal enrichment,” Roy told The Post.

In March, four Democratic Senators introduced the Ban Conflicted Trading Act, which garnered bipartisan support. But that measure only bans the practice among active lawmakers and senior staff members, meaning Paul Pelosi’s trading habits would be unaffected.

Ossoff’s bill is a bit stricter, putting it more closely in line with the bipartisan House proposal called the TRUST In Congress Act.

“We are a free market economy. They should be able to participate in that,” Pelosi told reporters last month. Pelosi’s husband holds millions of dollars worth of stocks and options in companies like Apple, Disney, Amazon, and Google.

“These lawmakers are just out of touch with how normal people view the situation,” said Arizona Republican Senate Primary candidate Blake Masters. “Members of Congress should not be buying call options on Big Tech companies they’re in charge of regulating, that is ludicrous.” 



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Jon Ossoff exploring bill to ban Congress stock trades, rebuffing Pelosi

Finance

Governor Declares “State of Emergency” Over Bidenomics

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Georgia has entered a state of emergency, and it’s not due to a natural disaster. Governor Brian Kemp announced this state of emergency in direct response to the skyrocketing inflation hitting his state.

Taking actionable steps to alleviate the strain on his citizens, Kemp has initiated a temporary suspension of Georgia’s gas tax, aimed at lightening the load for the state’s drivers.

It’s set to run from September 20 to October 12. Based on the numbers provided by Kemp’s office, this tax hiatus is anticipated to bring Georgians a notable reduction of 31.2 cents per gallon for regular gas, and a 35 cent drop for diesel, as noted by the Georgia Recorder.

The root of this crisis? Governor Kemp doesn’t mince words, laying blame squarely at the doorstep of the Biden administration and the evident failures of its economic strategy, or as many are calling it, “Bidenomics”.

In a hard-hitting statement, Kemp voiced the frustrations of many: “From runaway federal spending to policies that hamstring domestic energy production, all Bidenomics has done is take more money out of the pockets of the middle class,” he said.

“While high prices continue to hit family budgets, hardworking Georgians deserve real relief and that’s why I signed an executive order today to deliver it directly to them at the pump. Working with partners in the General Assembly, we’ll continue to help Georgians weather the economic headwinds caused by this president, his administration, and their allies in Congress.”

To put the gas crisis in perspective: while many states are grappling with inflated gas prices, Georgian wallets are feeling the strain acutely. A mere year ago, in September 2022, the average price at Georgia’s gas pumps was $3.24. Fast forward to today and the average price has jumped by 33 cents, as cited by AAA.

With Kemp’s tax suspension in play, the price to fill a standard 15-gallon tank will drop to $48.87 from its present $53.55.

For those seeking a national overview, AAA reports the current U.S. average for gas is $3.86 a gallon. The steepest gas prices are haunting the West Coast, with Californians forking out an exorbitant $5.46 a gallon, and Washington residents not far behind at $5.05.

The inflating cost of living, spurred by rampant inflation, has taken its toll across the nation, and fingers are pointed at the Biden administration for its role in this fiscal tempest.

Offering insights on Fox News, Gov. Kemp expressed hope that his emergency measures would provide some respite for Georgians battling the repercussions of Bidenomics—a policy purportedly draining over $700 monthly from American households.

As our loyal readers, we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue. Let your voice be heard and join the discussion below.


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Biden’s Food Stamp Expansion Drives Up Grocery Prices By 15%

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Recent moves by the Biden administration to bolster food stamp benefits by $1 trillion might be tied to a substantial 15% surge in grocery prices, a government watchdog’s findings suggest.

In an attempt to revise the nutritional standards of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 2021, the Department of Agriculture expanded its scope by a remarkable 27% from the levels seen before the COVID pandemic.

This observation was put forward by the Foundation for Government Accountability.

From the span of 2019 to 2022, there was a more than twofold surge in program spending, skyrocketing from $4.5 billion in 2019 to an astonishing $11 billion in 2022, as highlighted by the recently released study by the government accountability organization.

Despite the expiration of some emergency provisions, spending reached $8.6 billion in March 2023.

Moreover, an upward trajectory of 5.8% is anticipated for the year.

This uptick in program scope is anticipated to set US taxpayers back by over $1 trillion in the coming ten years, as estimated by the Congressional Budget Office.

The watchdog group claims that the escalation in food stamp expenditure has spurred grocery prices and added to the inflationary pressure.

“USDA cooked their books to hike food stamp benefits by 27% — the largest permanent increase in program history. And they bypassed Congress to do it,” Jonathan Ingram, vice president of policy and research at the Foundation for Government Accountability, told Fox News.

“Data show the Biden administration’s overreach led to massive spikes in grocery prices. They’re feeding inflation, not stopping hunger.”

Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz (Flickr)

The research referenced World Bank’s retail scanner data post the 2008 Great Recession, indicating that with every 12.5% increment in per-capita food stamp spending, food prices surge by 1%.

Labor Department data, which the group analyzed, showed that between December 2019 and March 2023, prices of items like margarine and eggs surged by over 50%, while frozen vegetables saw a 36% price hike.

The Foundation for Government Accountability also posits that by retracting Biden’s expanded food stamp initiative, Congress could potentially recover upwards of $193 billion in taxpayer funds.

roots vegetarian and organic grocery store (2)

This heightened food stamp expenditure is poised to be a pivotal topic in the impending Congressional debates regarding the reauthorization of the Farm Bill, which dictates a spectrum of spending parameters — from food perks for city dwellers to facilitating rural broadband.

While Republicans are advocating for a curtailment in SNAP expenditures, Democrats tread with caution, especially in light of a recent agreement with House Republicans that necessitated work requirements for certain food stamp beneficiaries in exchange for the upliftment of the federal debt cap earlier this year.

As our loyal readers, we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue. Let your voice be heard and join the discussion below.


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Taxpayer Alert: Lawmakers Approve $750 Monthly Handouts

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Durham County in North Carolina has set forth a new pilot program centered on guaranteed income, aiming to assist underprivileged families within its jurisdiction.

Christened “DCo Thrives,” this initiative secured unanimous support from the Durham County Board of County Commissioners during a recent session.

As a part of DCo Thrives, 125 selected families will be awarded a guaranteed monthly income of $750, followed by subsequent surveys to measure the initiative’s impact.

This move from Durham is in alignment with a series of other such programs that have been initiated across various U.S. cities.

The primary objective of these programs remains testing the potential and efficacy of universal basic income (UBI) — a concept advocating that a pre-determined amount of monthly income could lead to enhanced alleviation of poverty and an uplifted standard of living.

To further evaluate the program’s implications, another sample set comprising 125 individuals, who aren’t beneficiaries of the monetary grant, will be surveyed to juxtapose the results against those who did receive the $750 monthly boost.

Financial backing for DCo Thrives is sourced from $1.69 million secured from the American Rescue Plan Act — a COVID-19 relief bill passed shortly after President Biden’s inauguration.

Criteria for enrollment in the program stipulate that beneficiary households must encompass a child aged 18 or below and have an income level equal to or below 30% of the county’s median income.

In a statement to ABC 11, Chairwoman of the Durham County Board of Commissioners, Brenda Howerton, accentuated the program’s child-centric focus.

“Children cannot thrive. If their parents are not thriving and they don’t have a house to live in, if they don’t have food for their children, our children cannot thrive, and they cannot learn,” Howerton articulated.

Historically, this isn’t Durham’s maiden venture into UBI-aligned pilots.

A prior initiative titled “Excel,” initiated by the City of Durham last year, disbursed $600 monthly stipends to 109 formerly incarcerated individuals. Though this initiative culminated earlier this year, Durham earmarked $1 million in its budget for program continuation.

UBI’s proponents champion its potential in facilitating more feasible employment prospects due to diminished economic constraints.

They further believe in its capability to aid families in navigating healthcare and education hurdles. Conversely, UBI’s critics perceive it as financially unfeasible on a national scale, emphasizing the enormous tax implications it could trigger.

Andrew Yang, during his 2020 presidential campaign run, brought UBI into the limelight, labeling it as a “Freedom Dividend.”

The wave of UBI trials isn’t just domestic.

On an international scale, notably, an expansive UBI pilot is underway in Africa. Spearheaded by GiveDirectly since 2017, this trial has involved transferring funds to around 20,000 individuals across nearly 200 Kenyan villages. An additional 100 villages serve as a control group in this study.

As our loyal readers, we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue. Let your voice be heard and join the discussion below.


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