Bid out Puerto Rico work to get it done

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionNow that an obscure Montana contractor with suspicious political connections has been dismissed as the developer for a new power system in devastated Puerto Rico, I think it’s time for Congress to seek bids for the contract. This would legitimize the entire project and give GE, among others, the opportunity to do what they do best and the reconstruction would be done right. At what cost? Well, at least at the cheapest available. And it would save our neglected territory, as well as our reputation.How this will fare, as well as that of needed national infrastructure spending, in the face of the proposed corporate tax cuts remains to be seen.David ChildsJohnstownMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFeds: Painting stolen by Nazis and found at Arkell Museum returned to familyTroopers: Colonie man dies in Montgomery County Thruway crashEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

Trump’s gamble on the economy might make sense

first_imgHe’s allowing the government to run large budget deficits — some of the largest ever outside wartime or recession — in the hopes that this will somehow put growth on a higher trajectory.Irresponsible as that might sound, it actually makes some sense.In the long run, economic growth is a function of two variables: population and productivity.For decades, America had plenty of both. Birth rates were ample, and any additional labor could be attracted from elsewhere.From 1947 to 2007, workers’ output per hour grew at an average annual rate of 2.3 percent.So for the most part, American presidents could focus on improving rather than reviving growth.But since the last recession, the picture has changed. In advanced economies, central banks have the tools they need to fight it.Slow productivity growth, by contrast, has become a real concern, especially as countries seek the resources to take care of aging populations and still invest in their futures.Republicans and Democrats may disagree on the best way to create deficits, whether it be tax cuts and military spending or investments in infrastructure and education. But the balance of risks leans toward trying this experiment.Be it the Trump administration or the next, someone was eventually going to take the gamble.Conor Sen is a Bloomberg View columnist. He is a portfolio manager for New River Investments in Atlanta and has been a contributor to the Atlantic and Business Insider.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? Categories: Editorial, OpinionPresident Donald Trump is conducting a risky experiment on the U.S. economy. So the whole game becomes a big bet that deficits — created by the government’s tax cuts and spending plans — will boost productivity growth. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested as much last week when he said that the Trump administration’s policies could lead to wage growth without inflation, and that people shouldn’t worry about the forthcoming deficits.Ironically enough, this policy was espoused by the Bernie Sanders campaign (as my colleague Noah Smith has noted).The idea is that by running the economy hot and making labor more expensive, the government can induce businesses to do more investment than they would in a normal economy.Ever since the financial crisis, a weak economy has discouraged businesses from investing, leading to weaker productivity growth — so why not try the opposite? It’s a theory that hasn’t been tested in recent decades, but an intriguing one.What are the potential risks and rewards? Sticking with the status quo promises more of the same underperformance — annual real GDP growth of about 2 percent. The deficit experiment has two possible outcomes.In the best case, the U.S. gets some form of productivity miracle. In the other, rising inflation forces the Fed to raise interest rates to cool off the economy, triggering a recession.Most policymakers, economists, and investors aren’t worried about a period of inflation like what the world experienced in the 1970s. Labor-force growth is slowing as baby boomers retire. For a variety of reasons, some understood and some not, productivity has decelerated as well.The Obama administration largely accepted the new reality: In a 2016 report, it projected inflation-adjusted gross-domestic-product growth of just 2.2 percent for the next decade, and offered fairly traditional ideas such as immigration reform, more cross-border trade, infrastructure spending and education investments.Trump has taken a very different approach, aiming for annual growth of 3 percent over the next decade.This certainly won’t come from population, particularly given his administration’s attitude toward immigration.That leaves productivity, which some of his policies don’t do much to encourage, either.Tariffs on imports such as steel and aluminum will serve largely to make output more expensive.Tax cuts might prompt companies to make more productivity-enhancing investments, but the effect will likely be modest given uncertainty about how long the cuts will remain in place.last_img read more

It’s hard not to feel sorry for Melania

first_imgShe’s enshrined in a virtual palace atop a New York City skyscraper. The carefree young socialite has the best of everything, including stylish clothing and her own dedicated servants, traveling in the best circles, thoroughly enjoying her status as the wife of one of the world’s richest men. It’s like a fairy tale.But then disaster strikes. Melania’s husband gives up control of much of his fortune and accepts a public service position in Washington, D.C. Dutifully, she accompanies him on his career move. She’s now reduced to living in a 200-year-old house provided, furnished and provisioned by the government in the middle of a vast swamp, where the swamp creatures jostle for position to tear her apart. Her servants are government workers dedicated to maintaining proper protocols. Her social life is dominated by people that her husband needs to impress.She has fallen from her lofty position as a billionaire’s wife to being simply first lady of the United States, replete with the duties and restrictions of the position. How can one not feel sorry for her?Jim MoorheadScotiaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Schenectady teens accused of Scotia auto theft, chase; Ended in Clifton Park crash, Saratoga Sheriff… Like many people, I have begun to feel sorry for Melania Trump and what has befallen her recently. Picture a young immigrant from Eastern Europe. While pursuing her modeling career, she catches the eye of a multi-billionaire, a modern day prince who could have had almost any woman he wanted. But of them all, he chooses her to be his wife and bear his child. Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Monday, Jan. 13

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionFind hope in others sharing my viewsI have come to realize that the pro and anti-Trumpers are well ensconced in their opinions and I try to respect that. For myself, who is practically daily in awe of the things he and his administration say and do (and I mean negative awe), it is hard to believe that society has evolved to this point.That being said, my purpose for writing it to thank other letter writers, columnists, cartoonists and late-night TV show hosts for helping me feel there are others out there who share my viewpoint.It gives me hope that America will continue to be as great as it always has been.Ethel RobinsonSchoharieGrateful for work on Niskayuna Co-opWe attended the Niskayuna Co-op membership meeting on Jan. 7 and have been co-op members for over 20 years. Despite challenges, it is clear that the co-op is moving in a positive direction. It is also clear that change is hard, especially for employees and customers who have been doing things the same way for decades.However, we believe that the changes create opportunities to grow the co-op brand to reach new audiences.We were impressed with the work of co-presidents Sarah Bilofsky and Sunny Lee, as well as the entire board, and left with the feeling the co-op is in good hands.They understand the role of the market and its importance to the community.The interim general manager has moved quickly to learn about us and make positive changes. The meeting allowed for a critical conversation with a broad audience and allowed everyone to feel heard.Thank you to the staff for making the Niskayuna Co-op the wonderful institution it is and thank you to the board for working so hard to keep it thriving for years to come.Bill and Jennifer WilkersonNiskayunaFEMA individual flood aid is limitedWhile I share The Gazette’s concerns for the victims of the 2019 Halloween flood (Jan. 8, “FEMA must help flood victims”), it is misleading to expect FEMA to make people whole again, even if individual assistance was approved. Readers should be aware that individual assistance grants are very limited in scope.The maximum amount of assistance is under $35,000. The average grant is less than $8,000.The program is meant to cover short-term rent and utilities and some uninsured damage. For people who do not have flood insurance, additional assistance from the federal government is only available in the form of a Small Business Association loan.The federal law establishing the individual assistance program was not designed to make people whole or to rebuild ruined houses. And typical homeowner’s insurance policies exclude damages from floods. Only a flood insurance policy, either through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program or through a private insurance company, will cover flood damages. Flood insurance is expensive, but much less expensive than rebuilding your home after a flood.Tax dollars should not be used to repair buildings, only to see them flooded again. Government assistance should instead be used to help elevate or buy out flood-prone homes so that damages are not repeated, and further taxpayer expenditures are not needed.Homeowners and renters must take responsibility for their own risk by purchasing a flood insurance policy.To find out if you are in or near a flood zone, google “FEMA Map Service Center.”William NechamenSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Take a role in police reformsHIGH NOTES: PPEs, fighting hunger, backpacks and supplies for kidsEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Make a game plan for voting. Do it now.last_img read more

New JLL England chief plans autumn rethink

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From grime to prime

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Mixed fortunes on Countrywide tour

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MWB slumps to £63m loss

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KPAI urges govt to decide who gets custody of orphaned children of IS affiliates

first_img“If the closest relatives cannot take care of them, the children must be adopted by another family, or put under the state’s custody if no one can take them,” Retno went on to say.Citing data from the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD previously said that some 689 Indonesians had been identified as IS sympathizers in Syria and Turkey, as well as other countries.Read also: Why Indonesia should bring IS families back homeAccording to the data, some 228 people still hold identification as Indonesian citizens while others do not have proper documents to prove their citizenship. Indonesian authorities have previously suggested that most of the Indonesian IS supporters were women and children. While asserting that the government banned Indonesian affiliates of IS from returning to Indonesia, President Joko “Jokowi” said the government was mulling a plan to bring home orphans under 10 years old.“But so far we still don’t know if there are any,” Jokowi said recently.Retno expressed appreciation for the President’s willingness to bring orphans back to Indonesia, but criticized his decision to limit the age to those under 10 years old.“According to the 2014 law on child protection, anyone below the age of 18 is considered a child,” Retno said. (hol)Topics : The government must decide who will take care of the orphaned children of Indonesian nationals who joined the Islamic State (IS) movement in Syria when they return to Indonesia, the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) has said.“The government must decide who will get custody of these children when they arrive in Indonesia,” KPAI commissioner Retno Listyarti said on Friday, as quoted by kompas.com.She added the government was obliged to put the children in the custody of their closest relatives according to Government Regulation (PP) No. 44/2017 on foster care for children.last_img read more

South Korea starts virus checks on 200,000-plus sect members

first_imgThe vast majority — more than 80 percent — of Wednesday’s new infections were in Daegu and the neighboring province of North Gyeongsang, which between them account for the bulk of the national total.An American soldier stationed at Camp Carroll 30 kilometers north of Daegu tested positive for the virus, commanders said, the first infection among the 28,500 troops Washington stations in the South to defend it against the nuclear-armed North.The 23-year-old serviceman had been put in self-quarantine at his home, US Forces Korea said, adding it was conducting “contact tracing” to determine whether other soldiers had been exposed.The streets of Daegu — population of 2.5 million — have been largely deserted for days, apart from long queues at the few shops with masks for sale.Authorities have urged the public to exercise extra caution, advising citizens to stay home if they have a fever or respiratory symptoms. But they say they are not considering putting the city in lockdown the way China did for Wuhan, where the virus first emerged.Scores of events have been cancelled or postponed as the outbreak has spread in the world’s 12th-largest economy, from K-pop concerts to the start of the K-league football season and the World Team Table Tennis championships, while museums and other public venues have closed.In Daegu, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a meeting the government would “mobilize all resources and means” to try to control the outbreak.South Korea has an advanced medical system, a free press and a strong culture of public accountability, and observers say that its health statistics can be treated with confidence. Topics : More than 200,000 members of a religious sect were being checked for coronavirus symptoms by South Korean authorities Wednesday, as US commanders reported the first case among American forces in the country.Most of South Korea’s novel coronavirus are linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, an entity often accused of being a cult.After days of mounting public anger, the secretive Shincheonji group handed over a list of 212,000 members, the government said.center_img Local authorities across the country — which has more coronavirus cases than anywhere else outside China — will check if they have symptoms of fever or respiratory disease and put them in quarantine at home if so, said vice health minister Kim Gang-lip.Shincheonji claims its founder Lee Man-hee has donned the mantle of Jesus Christ and will take 144,000 people with him to heaven on the day of judgment.A 61-year-old female member developed a fever on February 10, but attended at least four church services in Daegu — the country’s fourth-largest city and the epicenter of the outbreak — before being diagnosed.The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported 284 new infections Wednesday — its largest daily increase to date —  taking the overall national tally to 1,261, with the death toll rising to 12.last_img read more