3 million Americans are not paying their mortgages right now Reply

By Irina Ivanova

CBS News

The number of Americans struggling to pay their mortgages has skyrocketed as the economy reels from the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly 3 million Americans behind by at least one month on their mortgage payments in the week ending April 12, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Nearly 6% of all mortgages were in forbearance, the industry term for being behind on payments. The week before, 3.7% of home loans were past due by at least a month. The first week of March, just 0.25% of such loans were past due by a month.

This high a figure on a nationwide level is unprecedented, said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist.

“You might have seen this high of a share in Houston after Hurricane Harvey, but it was always a local phenomenon,” he said. “What’s different this time is it’s national. To have 6% of mortgage loans in forbearance, that’s about 3 million homeowners saying they can’t make their mortgage payments due to COVID-19.”

Fratantoni expects that number to keep rising, citing an additional 1.8% of homeowners who called banks to request forbearance last week.

“As we get to the time when May payments are due, I expect to see those numbers going up again,” he said. “We are hopeful that, now that some of the stimulus payments are arriving and unemployment benefits are expanded, that can provide some cushion to keep these numbers from going higher too fast.”

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Amazon warehouse workers plan nationwide protest this week to demand coronavirus protections Reply

By Annie Palmer

CNBC

Amazon warehouse workers are planning a “mass call out” this week to call attention to what they call a lack of protections for employees who continue to come to work amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Amazon workers at Amazon's Staten Island warehouse strike in demand that the facility be shut down and cleaned after one staffer tested positive for the coronavirus on March 30, 2020 in New York. © Provided by CNBC Amazon workers at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse strike in demand that the facility be shut down and cleaned after one staffer tested positive for the coronavirus on March 30, 2020 in New York.

More than 300 Amazon workers across at least 50 facilities have signed up to take part in the protest, according to United for Respect, a worker rights group. To participate in the protest, workers will call out of work “en masse across the country” starting tomorrow and throughout the week. The protest is taking place across several days because workers are scheduled to report to their shifts on different days and at various times.

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Is the left willing to pay THIS price to claim power? Reply

Krystal is coming along in her ideological evolution.

Attack the System is a far-left revolutionary anarchist tendency that embraces all forms of anti-authoritarianism (pan-anarchism/anarcho-pluralism), crosses over to the radical center (class-based populism, the people vs. the elites), the populist-right (isolationism, anti-state/local control, free association, pro-gun, pro-free speech, anti-tax, individual rights), and the politically disengaged (boycott the system). The Democratic Socialists of American and the Green Party are middle of the road moderates compared to ATS, which is in the Twilight Zone by comparison. Attack the System embraces a much, much wider range of marginal social groups and cultural diversity than the conventional Left.

Attack the System is the true Left. Meanwhile, both the reactionary-Left (socialists, communists, old left anarchists) and the reformist-Left (social democrats, progressives, Greens, left-liberals, anarcho-progressives) need to do five things: 1) recognize neoliberals as the primary enemy; 2) forget Democratic Party loyalty; 3) forget the SJWism and pathological right-wingophobia; 4) put anti-imperialism, anti-statism, and class struggle above cultural politics; and 5) turn their back on “progressive” worship of the public administration state and become anarchists (and not just “anarcho-progressives”).

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Krystal Ball looks at a NYT op-ed that showcases what Bernie voters really think of Joe Biden, and discusses the powerlessness of the working people on the left.

Stimulus checks and other coronavirus relief hindered by dated technology and rocky government rollout Reply

It’s government, folks. It’s government.

By Heather Long, Jeff Stein, Lisa Rein, Tony Romm

Washington Post

The national effort to get coronavirus relief money to Americans is at risk of being overwhelmed by the worst economic downturn in 80 years, as understaffed and underfunded agencies struggle to deliver funds.

Three weeks after Congress passed a $2 trillion package to lessen the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, millions of households and small businesses are still waiting to receive all the help promised under the legislation, according to government data and firsthand accounts.

The bulk of the challenges have occurred with three initiatives designed to get cash to struggling Americans: $1,200 per adult relief payments that launched this week, $349 billion in Small Business Administration loans, and $260 billion in unemployment benefits for the more than 22 million people — and growing — out of work.

The SBA ran out of money to make small business loans this week, almost no unemployment aid has reached eligible self-employed and gig workers, and a significant number of Americans who were due to receive relief payments this week went on the IRS.gov website only to see this message: “payment status not available.”

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Ilhan Omar unveils bill to cancel rent and mortgage payments amid pandemic Reply

Is Ilhan coming through?

By Sophie Kasakove

The Guardian

The Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar has unveiled a bill that would cancel rent and mortgage payments for millions of Americans struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the legislation announced on Friday, landlords and mortgage holders would be able to have losses covered by the federal government. The program would extend for a month beyond the end of the national emergency, which was declared on 13 March, and would be made retroactive to cover April payments.

The proposal comes amid an unprecedented housing crisis: 31% of Americans in rental accommodation could not pay rent at the beginning of this month. Millions have lost their jobs since.

Federal answers have been limited. The Cares Act stimulus package included $12bn for Department of Housing and Urban Development programs targeting homelessness and rental assistance. But those funds do little to address the needs of millions of Americans who now find themselves on the edge of acute housing insecurity

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Thanks to Lockdowns, State and Local Tax Revenues Are Plummeting 1

Always a silver lining.

By Ryan McMaken

Mises.Org

Unlike the federal government, state and local governments in America can’t just create money out of thin air. So when tax revenues go down, that money is simply not available to the state legislatures and city councils anymore. These governments either have to borrow the money or raise taxes and hope the tax hike itself doesn’t cause total revenue to fall.

The tax revenues in these states, cities, and counties are heavily dependent on economy activity. That is, sales must take place for sales tax to be collected. Income must be earned for state income taxes to be collected.

Thanks to government-coerced economic shutdowns—on top of the severe recession currently brewing—tax revenues are plummeting. And many governments are already expecting the hit to be larger than it was during the Great Recession. These realities will put pressure on politicians to relax their social distancing rules in the hope that local taxpayers can again earn money and generate sales taxes in their jurisdictions. A failure to do so will mean layoffs for government employees and large cuts to government budgets.

Politicians may not care about your household budget or whether you have a job. But they care deeply about their government budgets and jobs for their friends. This, perhaps more than anything else, will hasten moves by state and local politicians toward allowing the US economy to function again.

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Biden’s deplorables 2.0 Hillary strategy puts everything in Trump’s hands Reply

Yep. During the period between the 1970s and 1990, liberal and left opinion decides that backwater peasants with their retrograde social views were the “real enemy” rather than the actual ruling class, and Donald Trump is what they got in response. A billionaire carnival barker marshaled the populist-right, capitalized on the class issues, and took the game away from the Left.

Exposing Trump’s phony populism, no friend of workers Reply

This is some pretty impressive economic/class/political analysis. It’s amazing that a former MSNBC journalist and a former White House correspondent actually get this stuff and are willing to say so.

Krystal Ball exposes the Trump administration’s corporate interest in reopening the economy, explains how tax cuts for the next stimulus bill will disproportionately benefit the wealthy.

Paycheck Protection Program out of money: Thousands of small businesses shut out Reply

By Stephen Gandel

CBS News

A key piece of the federal government’s stimulus efforts to help small businesses and their employees has run out of money, shutting out thousands of potential borrowers who were seeking aid amidst the coronavirus-driven economic plunge.

The U.S. Small Business Administration said Thursday morning the Paycheck Protection Program wouldn’t be accepting any more applications for the $349 billion program. The agency reported approving more than 1.6 million Paycheck Protection Program loan applications totaling more than $339 billion from over 4,900 lending institutions.

While that money has been approved, most borrowers are still waiting for those loans to be funded — and for money to even show up in their accounts.

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Glitches prevent $1,200 stimulus checks from reaching millions of Americans Reply

It’s government, folks. What do you expect?

By Heather Long and Michelle Singletary 

Many Americans woke up Wednesday expecting to find a payment of $1,200 or more from the U.S. government in their bank account, but instead they realized nothing had arrived yet — or the wrong amount was deposited. Parents of young children complained they did not receive the promised $500 check for their dependent children.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has instructed the Internal Revenue Service to get payments out as fast as possible to help offset the pain of losing jobs and shutting down businesses, but numerous glitches — affecting filers who used tax preparers, parents of dependent children and people with 2019 tax returns still to be processed — are delaying payments and causing confusion.

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Nurses push back on pressure to work without right equipment Reply

At least the present crisis seems to be awakening a little bit of class consciousness.

By Martha Mendoza and Kimberlee Kruesi

Associated Press

Nurse Mike Gulick was meticulous about not bringing the coronavirus home to his wife and their 2-year-old daughter. He’d stop at a hotel after work just to take a shower. He’d wash his clothes in Lysol disinfectant. They did a tremendous amount of hand-washing.

But at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, Gulick and his colleagues worried that caring for infected patients without first being able to don an N95 respirator mask was risky. The N95 mask filters out 95% of all airborne particles, including ones too tiny to be blocked by regular masks. But hospital administrators said they weren’t necessary and didn’t provide them, he said.

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