President Trump considers declaring a national emergency at the border.
February 04, 2019
Democrats release new proposal altering Social Security. The proposal gradually introduces changes to keep the social insurance program solvent. In addition to cutting federal income taxes on Social Security benefits for about 12 million middle-income earners, the bill would raise the payroll tax rate on earnings in excess of $400,000. Supporters of the bill believe that its 2 percent average increase in benefits and its increase in the minimum benefit will ensure that older Americans, who consume more health care, are able to retire. If no changes are made to the program, actuaries at the Social Security Administration predict that the trust funds for retirement and disability benefits will be depleted by 2034. [NY Times]
President Trump considers declaring a national emergency at the border. A GOP negotiator on the bipartisan group of lawmakers tasked with striking a deal on immigration said, if Congress does not reach an agreement, Trump “would be forced” to declare a state of national emergency. The statement comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reaffirmed her position against a border wall, saying that any congressional compromise will not include border-wall funding. When asked if he would consider including the declaration in his upcoming State of the Union address, Trump advised reporters to listen to the speech on Tuesday. [Politico]
Economic Indicators and News
Global data on trade growth has worsened. On Friday, the J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, which has reliably predicted real global trade volumes, dropped to 50.7 for January. Although a value above 50 indicates growth, this reading signals the weakest expansion in over two years, with the exports portion of the index reaching its lowest value since May 2016. Weak data could cumulatively impact stocks and bonds worldwide, especially those in trade-sensitive Asian markets. [WSJ]