If You’re a Poor Person in America, Trump’s Budget Is Not for You

“If you’re a poor person in America, President Trump’s budget proposal is not for you,” Steven Mufson and Tracy Jan write for The Washington Post.

“Trump has unveiled a budget that would slash or abolish programs that have provided low-income Americans with help on virtually all fronts, including affordable housing, banking, weatherizing homes, job training, paying home heating oil bills, and obtaining legal counsel in civil matters.”

“During the presidential campaign last year, Trump vowed that the solution to poverty was giving poor people incentives to work. But most of the proposed cuts in his budget target programs designed to help the working poor, as well as those who are jobless, cope.”

Obamacare Isn’t in a ‘Death Spiral.’ (Its Replacement Probably Won’t Be Either.)

New York Times: “…the new estimates from the Congressional Budget Office contradict this long-held talking point. According to the budget office, the Obamacare markets will remain stable over the long run, if there are no significant changes. The House plan would cause near-term turmoil, it found, but the markets would eventually become stable.”

“Mr. Ryan is right that the Obamacare market has endured hardships… But those recent woes are not the same as a death spiral, a term used to describe a complete market failure in which premiums spiral upward so only the sickest customers buy coverage.”

“For now, it looks as if the Republican plan would make the markets less stable in the short term, and possibly make them equally stable, if smaller, 10 years from now.”

More Than 1.1 Million Borrowers Defaulted on Their Federal Student Loans Last Year

CNBC: “The number of people who have defaulted on their federal student loans increased 17 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to a Consumer Federation of America analysis of U.S. Department of Education data.”

“Last year, 42.4 million Americans owed $1.3 trillion in federal student loans. More than 4.2 million borrowers were in default as of the end of 2016, up from 3.6 million in 2015. In all, 1.1 million more borrowers went into or re-entered default last year.”

Who Pays for Rolling Back Regulations?

“The new Congress and administration seem to understand—as Oscar Wilde once quipped—the price of everything and the value of nothing,” Joe Valenti and Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza write for the Center for American Progress.

“The House of Representatives is quickly advancing bills that would cripple federal agencies’ abilities to issue and implement regulations. The 2017 version of the Regulatory Accountability Act, or RAA, for example, now under consideration in the Senate, combines the provisions of six separate bills aimed at gutting government. The bill would add more than 80 steps to rulemaking, including gratuitous analyses, and impose a six-month delay on the implementation of all new rules. It would also require agencies to adopt the rules that are the least costly to big business… Not to be outdone, President Donald Trump has issued three executive orders on regulations.”

“Proponents of this anti-regulatory push claim that regulations are pricey for businesses and suppress economic growth. But all too often they ignore the value of these regulations to everyday Americans—a value that can sometimes be measured in dollars or even human lives.”

These Maps Show What Americans Think About Climate Change

Grist: “These maps show what Americans think about climate change. Darker oranges show where most people acknowledge the existence of climate change, and lighter yellows color where more people still aren’t convinced.”

“What’s surprising is that the divide isn’t all that extreme. Although there’s some visible difference between the coasts and the middle of the country, some 70 percent of survey respondents across the map acknowledge that global warming is, in fact, happening.”

You can find all the results here.

Why Our Nuclear Weapons Can Be Hacked

Bruce Blair: “Imagine the panic if we had suddenly learned during the Cold War that a bulwark of America’s nuclear deterrence could not even get off the ground because of an exploitable deficiency in its control network.”

“We had such an Achilles’ heel not so long ago. Minuteman missiles were vulnerable to a disabling cyberattack, and no one realized it for many years. If not for a curious and persistent President Barack Obama, it might never have been discovered and rectified.”

“We need to conduct a comprehensive examination of the threat and develop a remediation plan. We need to better understand the unintended consequences of cyberwarfare — such as possibly weakening another nation’s safeguards against unauthorized launching. We need to improve control over our nuclear supply chain. And it is time to reach an agreement with our rivals on the red lines. The reddest line should put nuclear networks off limits to cyberintrusion. Despite its allure, cyberwarfare risks causing nuclear pandemonium.”

Why Left-Wing Economics Is Not the Answer to Right-Wing Populism

Zack Beauchamp: “The problem is that a lot of data suggests that countries with more robust welfare states tend to have stronger far-right movements. Providing white voters with higher levels of economic security does not tamp down their anxieties about race and immigration — or, more precisely, it doesn’t do it powerfully enough. For some, it frees them to worry less about what it’s in their wallet and more about who may be moving into their neighborhoods or competing with them for jobs.”

“The upshot is that a significant shift to the left on economic policy issues might fail to attract white Trump supporters, even in the working class. It could even plausibly hurt the Democrats politically by reminding whites just how little they want their dollars to go to ‘those people.’ One can only imagine what Trump would tweet.”

“In this context, tacking to the left on economics won’t give Democrats a silver bullet to use against the racial resentment powering Trump’s success. It could actually wind up giving Trump an even bigger gun.”

The World Prepares to Move on Without U.S. on Trade

Adam Behsudi: “Here’s what happens when the U.S. pulls out of a major trade deal: New Zealand seizes the opportunity to send more of its milk and cheese to China. Japanese consumers pay less for Australian beef than for American meat. Canadians talk about sending everything from farm products to banking services to Japan and India.”

“President Donald Trump dumped the 12-nation TPP right after he took office, saying it was a ‘horrible’ deal and blaming it for sucking American jobs abroad. But now other countries are ready to rush into the vacuum the U.S. is leaving behind, negotiating tariff-cutting deals that could eliminate any competitive advantage for U.S. goods.”

The GOP’s Obamacare Replacement Is a Disaster for Some of Its Most Loyal Voters

Jeff Guo: “Grant County, Nebraska is one of the most pro-Trump places in America. In this rural community of about 700, the President won over 93 percent of the vote in the last election. But Grant County is also a place that has benefited hugely from the Affordable Care Act. In 2016, the law provided more than a quarter of its residents with tax credits to help them purchase health insurance.”

“Now, under the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, many Grant County residents would suffer steep cuts to the tax credits they’ve come to rely on. It’s a nationwide pattern: Some of the harshest consequences of the GOP’s health bill would fall on rural Republican strongholds — precisely the voters who helped elect Trump.”

“Among the counties where Trump won his biggest victories, nearly all would face deep cuts in tax credits under the Republican plan to replace Obamacare. And, in the parts of the country that would lose the most in tax credits, a majority of voters were Trump supporters.”

What the CIA WikiLeaks Dump Tells Us: Encryption Works

“If the tech industry is drawing one lesson from the latest WikiLeaks disclosures, it’s that data-scrambling encryption works, and the industry should use more of it,” Anick Jesdanun and Michael Liedtke report for AP.

“Documents purportedly outlining a massive CIA surveillance program suggest that CIA agents must go to great lengths to circumvent encryption they can’t break. In many cases, physical presence is required to carry off these targeted attacks.”

The Obamacare Nightmare Scenario

“The nightmare scenario for Obamacare is a meltdown of the individual health insurance market. If health insurers lose confidence as Republicans struggle with their repeal efforts — or because of the turmoil and price hikes that have already been underway — even more could withdraw, leaving Obamacare customers with nowhere to turn to keep their coverage,” Bob Herman writes for Axios.

The bottom line: Health insurers need certainty very soon about what the individual markets will look like. The market stabilization rule has assuaged some industry concerns, but the Republican replacement plan has not. Molina’s CEO told Axios the GOP plan ‘doesn’t reassure me that the marketplace is going to be more stable in the future.’ And for every insurer that leaves, ‘it raises the stakes for the next carrier to leave,’ Hempstead said.”