Gilead coronavirus drug is $3,100. We can’t purchase India’s generic for 1/4 the price!

Daniel O’Day, Chairman & CEO, Gilead Sciences, recently sent an open letter to the American Public, indicating why its U.S. Patented drug Remdesivir to treat the coronavirus will be a company $$ bonanza with its new pricing.

Because of the way the U.S. system is set up and the discounts that government healthcare programs expect, the price for U.S. private insurance companies, will be $520 per vial, O’Day explained.

Dan O’Day

The drug requires six vials, so the total price is $3,120 per person. He said that  governments will get a “special” price break at $2,340.

To ensure broad and equitable access at a time of urgent global need, we have set a price for governments of developed countries of $390 per vial. Based on current treatment patterns, the vast majority of patients are expected to receive a 5-day treatment course using 6 vials of remdesivir, which equates to $2,340 per patient.

O’Day said we are lucky, because his company should have charged even more:

Taking the example of the United States, earlier hospital discharge would result in hospital savings of approximately $12,000 per patient. Even just considering these immediate savings to the healthcare system alone, we can see the potential value that remdesivir provides.

In the weird world of drug pricing, are patients here really getting a big break – a $12,000 value for “just” $3,100, according to Gilead? But there’s more to this story, and it isn’t pretty.

In the developing world, where healthcare resources, infrastructure and economics are so different, we have entered into agreements with generic manufacturers to deliver treatment at a substantially lower cost. These alternative solutions are designed to ensure that all countries in the world can provide access to treatment.

The deal is we pay $3,100 in the U.S., including Medicare patients, and other countries can sell generic versions for a fraction of that price.

If administered in the hospital – a logical development – billing could approach the average markup there of 497% the usual price, or about $15,000. That would be tragic news for those without drug insurance.

For Medicare – the only drug plan if older than 65 – the treatment will eat up most of the prescription drug savings for seniors that were included in Obamacare. Once seniors spend a total of insurance and co-pays of $4,020, they are in the the coverage gap, and are charged no less than 25% of drug costs, even if their prescriptions are many tens of thousands of dollars a month.

Meanwhile, in the world of unfair healthcare, Indian drug makers Cipla and Hetero Labs are launching their own generic versions of  COVID-19 treatment Remdesivir after an agreement with Gilead Sciences.

Cipla has priced its drug at less than Rs 5,000 ($66) per vial, and Hetero will charge Rs 5,400 ($71) per vial for its copy. That means the drugs are priced there about $400 per treatment course.

That low price applies to everyone, including the very rich, like Mukesh Abani – worth $64.5 billion U.S. – or any of the other 105 Indian billionaires, let alone the nation’s 750,000 millionaires.

You can bet that the generic coronavirus drugs from India will quickly travel here through the black market, but they won’t have to secretly import the generic into China, arguably the most advanced economy and technically-superior nation in the world.

China will be using the brand name, since China also patented Remdesivir, and will only pay a licensing fee to Gilead. Price for the drug in China will be an estimated $200 for the entire treatment course, compared to our $3,100.

This deal that should be examined by our government. Gilead agreed that China could patent the drug for exclusive sale in China, excluding Gilead from selling there, and vice-versa – China can’t sell in the rest of the world, giving Gilead that monopoly (17 years).

Meanwhile, Gilead promises to give additional “poor” countries, like India, the right to produce generics, and sell them for a fraction of what we pay here.

Most Americans recognize that they are being ripped off by the pricing of prescription drugs and often pay huge amounts for drugs here (Xarelto – $7 in India, $500+ in U.S.), but the drug company lobbyists control our lawmakers.

Sally Pipes

One of the most despicable spokespersons – in my opinion – for the legal drug cartel is Sally Pipes, CEO and President of Pacific Research Institute (PRI), who defends Gilead without a blink of regret:

Some Democratic lawmakers and policy experts attacked remdesivir’s price as soon as it was announced. They claim that Gilead could sell the drug for as little as $1 per dose – and that the higher price reflects nothing more than the pharmaceutical company’s desire to capitalize on the crisis.

That critique makes little sense. Even some of the drug industry’s most prominent critics have acknowledged that remdesivir’s price is fair, as the value it delivers could end up being a lot higher than its price tag. Further, selling innovative drugs for pennies would starve companies of the funding they need to develop the next generation of cures.

Despite the reality that other nations develop drugs, sell them inexpensively, somehow Pipes believes:

If the government set drug prices or seized patents to give away drugs for free – two policies that have recently gained ground among Democrats – drug development would grind to a halt. No investor would fund such risky research if the chances of recouping their outlays were null. Without adequate funding, it would take even longer to develop a successful new drug than it does today.

Conclusion: if you can’t make a few billion dollars profit, why make the effort, we’re a profit-industry, not national treasures or institutions. PRI is a brainchild of the Koch folks and other so-called “libertarian groups” who want to privatize everything in America and the world, and leave the government with no public functions, except protecting Wall Street, international corporations and the rich elites’ mansions and yachts.

The other side of the pricing controversy is more compelling.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has demanded that remdesivir be priced at no more than one U.S. dollar per dose, according to Businesswire.

AHF further demanded that Gilead Sciences also disclose all its public research and development costs and all public investments in connection with the development of remdesivir.

AHF’s dollar per dose demand is based on a University of Liverpool research study, “Minimum costs to manufacture new treatments for COVID-19” that allows for recovery of the cost of manufacturing plus a reasonable profit.

“The U.S. taxpayer paid for the research for this drug. Medicaid and Medicare are very likely going to pay for the prescriptions for this drug in the United States,” explained AHF President Michael Weinstein.

This massive expenditure of public resources requires full disclosure of how extensive the taxpayer is subsidizing drug companies.

We further demand that Gilead not enforce or claim any exclusive rights on patents for remdesivir, that it make available to the public all data, samples and information for the generic production of remdesivir, and that it improve transparency to show its manufacturing capacity and existing supply to allow for proper governance of the allocation of the drug according to medical needs, added Weinstein.

“Given Gilead’s abysmal record of making lifesaving treatments available for HIV and Hepatitis C, also financed at taxpayer expense, this pandemic profiteering enterprise can’t be trusted to look out for the public’s interest,” he explained.

And then there are cats, and this subject becomes more far-ranging:

When Robin Kintz’s two kittens, Fiona and Henry, contracted a fatal cat disease last year, she began hearing of a black-market drug from China. The use of the Gilead drug, known as GS-441524, is based on legitimate research from UC Davis, but the ways to get it seemed much less so, according to The Atlantic.

. “It was, ‘If you want to save your cat, send me thousands of dollars, and I’ll DHL you some unmarked vials,’” she says. And she did. Kintz transferred the thousands of dollars, got the unmarked vials from China, and then injected the clear liquid into her dying cats every day for months.

…The first remarkable thing, given the nature of the transaction, is that Kintz says the vials actually worked. Henry lived for almost another year, and Fiona made a full recovery. She’s still scampering around today, fluffy and alive—a miracle considering that vets had long thought her disease, feline infectious peritonitis, to be incurable and 100 percent fatal

The second remarkable thing is that GS-441524 is almost identical to a much buzzed-about human drug: remdesivir, the antiviral currently our best hope for treating COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Black-market GS-441524 is expensive. A 12-week treatment for cats can cost upwards of $10,000, depending on the brand, and weight of the cat. Plus, there is no legal way to buy GS-441524 as medicine—not for cats, not for humans.

Henry (L) and Fiona (R) were both treated with GS-441524. Henry died earlier this year, but Fiona is still alive, which her owner Robin Kintz attributes to the drug. (photo by Robin Kintz and The Atlantic)

An alternative (much cheaper) to Remdesivir?

Farmworkers cause jump in U.S. COVID-19 cases; deaths hit new low from peak of 2,804

Day-labor farm workers recently demanded improved wages, fair representation, end to sexual harassment and access to clean water as they marched from Baja in a national caravan, “Fair Wages and Dignified Life.” They earn $9 an entire day in their home country and can earn that much in one hour in the U.S.

As Mexico enters a dangerous hike in coronavirus hospitalizations and fatalities, American media is promoting more lock-downs of entire U.S. states, arguing increased positive tests detected in Arizona, California, Utah, Nevada, Texas and Florida are caused by violating “social distancing.”

Mexico had 719 deaths Saturday, versus 612 in the U.S., and 602 deaths versus 285 in our country on Sunday. That 285 is the record LOW since April 19 peak of 2,804, even as the pundits tell you the world is ending.

Our southern neighbor – the most income unequal of nations – is a major source of virus cases coming here. Hospitals in that country are overflowing with COVID-19. People who need help go across the border.

Homeless in Los Angeles

Los Angeles (LA) accounted for half of all new positive test cases in California on Sunday – 2,523 – more than all but four U.S. states.

LA alone also suffered 20 of the 31 deaths statewide in California that day, and some blame its status as a sanctuary city that attracts the sick from beleaguered Mexico. Contributing to the infection hike are the health problems and poor sanitary conditions in the city’s susceptible homeless enclaves.

An even larger concern is the effect on farm states from the immigrant workers arriving here in recent weeks, spreading the virus due to corporate irresponsibility and government blindness. This has sparked fears within the agriculture industry that cases will continue to skyrocket as harvest season stretches into summer, and more and more crews will be sent into fields to pick, pack and ship crops.

Some 400,000 of the 2.5 million-person workforce follows the harvest, often traveling state to state, able to spread COVID-19 everywhere they go.

Lori Johnson, managing attorney of the Farmworker Unit of Legal Aid of North Carolina, warned:

It’s very concerning given that there have been several outbreaks at farm labor camps this early in the season in North Carolina.

The North Carolina hot spots have emerged in farm worker camps across the state, but not all positive cases are being reported, according to Anna Jensen, executive director of the North Carolina Farmworkers Project.

Jensen said the lack of access to comprehensive, clear test results is why she believes “things are going to get worse.”

Lupe Gonzalo, a longtime farm worker in Immokalee, Florida, agreed:

People are really scared, there are a lot of unknowns,

We’re still seeing many issues here in Immokalee where people still have to go to work, still have to provide for their families, and don’t have that access or ability to be able to socially distance from one another, not only in work, but also in their living situations.

By early May, Immokalee had 44 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Currently there are more than 1,000 cases, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Jean Stowell

Doctors without Borders has established a mobile clinic in Immokalee to offer testing for migrant workers, and distribute sanitation products –  the first time the organization has worked in the U.S. It usually serves conflict zones.

In May, the clinic, which travels from farm to farm testing workers after shifts end, recorded a huge 35 percent positive rate, evidence that community spread was occurring, according to Jean Stowell. She heads the group’s U.S. Covid-19 effort. By comparison, the national positive rate is just six percent, some 1/7th that of farm workers.

Tomato season is wrapping up in Florida, and pickers are beginning to move north to follow harvests in other states. Stowell said.

Covid is here for the foreseeable future, so the issue of not having access to safe isolation will continue to be a problem for this community wherever they move, whether it’s Immokalee or Michigan

Like meatpacking plant employees, farm workers have been deemed essential workers, but the feds have not made safety rules mandatory, allowing farmers to decide if they will spend the money to enact any safety measures at all. The result: some workers have been protected and others died from the disease

One report noted:

Farm industry groups insist they are capable of keeping workers safe, noting that many farms have rebuilt workers’ housing to provide more separation among sleeping laborers. Many have also added hand-washing stations and mask requirements.

Meanwhile, farms in nearly every region see spikes in positive cases. More than 100 workers at two large produce operations in New Jersey contracted the virus in May. In North Carolina, a strawberry farm in Guilford County was closed after workers tested positive for the virus.

Fruit-packing workers in the Yakima Valley, Washington state, fought for personal protective equipment and other precautions after 500 of them were sickened by the virus. They finally pressured “What, me worry” Governor Jay Inslee to issue safety requirements. Testing might have revealed many more infections.

The CDC and OSHA, the nation’s public health and worker protection agencies, recently issued additional guidance for farm workers during the pandemic.

The joint guidance noted that “agriculture work sites, shared worker housing, and shared worker transportation vehicles, all present unique challenges for preventing and controlling the spread of Covid-19.” It recommended that farmers screen laborers for coronavirus risk, take temperatures and separate workers exhibiting symptoms when possible.

Marc Schenker, a public health professor at the University of California, Davis, and founder of the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety, said:

All the characteristics of farm workers are risk factors, such as an inability to keep distance from coworkers, lack of readily available clean water and housing accommodations.

He said that OSHA has a long history of a “hands off attitude” that doesn’t adequately oversee the safety of agricultural workers:

Media’s rabid fear of Covid-19 virus in Texas, California, Florida and Arizona

News to keep you locked up in the family cave with two boulders at the entrance:

The focus on young coronavirus positive patients comes as nearly half of states are reporting a rise in new positive cases and some continue to break records in their daily reported cases. Florida on Monday surpassed 100,000 total coronavirus cases, according to data released by the Florida Department of Health.- CNN yesterday

Imagine, 100,000 suffering Floridians, hospitals overloaded, patients treated on the sidewalks, doctors and nurses flying in from across the country.

That’s the picture painted by CNN and other media, as they recently reported 30,000 “active” cases in one state or another.

The only problem is that the 100,000 cases in Florida includes everyone who has been positive since they began testing in March. It also includes the 96% of folks who tested positive and never went to the hospital, because they had mild or – in most cases – no symptoms.

The media, including NYT and WAPO, are also obsessed with danger, danger, danger in California, Arizona and Texas.

CNN gets its cues from Johns Hopkins University (JHU), which has offered frightening prediction of virus deaths in the U.S.

For example, on May 5 a Johns Hopkins study had to be clarified:

Analysis included in leaked government documents that showed the U.S. could see up to 3,000 deaths per day (on June 1) from coronavirus was not meant to be used for official forecasts, JHU claimed.

The university said researchers at its school of public health produced the study for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist planning, as states begin loosening their restrictions intended to slow the spread of the virus.

But Hopkins was completely wrong with its 3,000 deaths-per-day prediction..

Deaths fell to 865 on May 17, and then to 353 on May 24, almost 1/8th the scary projection.

The JSU study also showed the U.S. reaching 200,000 new cases daily by June 1. By May 24 cases had fallen to 26,000, also about 1/8th the Hopkins’ forecast.

About 2,357,000 in the U.S. have tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic. The test total is 28,500,000, so about eight percent of those tested were positive, but only four percent of those have been hospitalized, which means that 320 of every 100,000 tested actually required hospitalization.

Despite all the reports of overwhelming deaths and serious illnesses, the total coronavirus hospital cases across the nation was 16,000 on Sunday.

The chart in today’s blog is sorted by the rate of deaths per million residents. New York is the worst – 1,605 deaths per million.

What about the states that CNN points out as danger spots?

Florida is one/11th the New York death rate (1,605) with just 147 per million. California is 140. Arizona is 184 .

Compare that not just to New York’s 1,605, but also: New Jersey – 1,463, Connecticut – 1,195, Massachusetts – 1,140 and dozens of other states with much higher death rates.

But what about CNN’s dire view of Texas? It was too low to fit on my chart, but their death rate per million was 76. You are 20x as likely to have died from the virus in New York than in the Lone Star state.

What you won’t see on CNN is a report on why there are suddenly more than usual new cases in those particular states.

All have a common problem – current heavy influxes of legal and “undocumented” farm workers, primarily from Mexico, and they are being heavily tested.

Our neighbor south of the penetrable border is in trouble with 1,044 deaths yesterday, versus 363 in the entire U.S., and its hospitals are filling up fast – another reason for their residents to seek jobs and virus medical treatments here.

The most deadly states are Northeast coastal, but the media is now focusing on places that have done an excellent job in keeping death rates low. A fair Press would ask why deadly nursing home policies, plus unrestricted air travel in the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions, have led to the unnecessary deaths of so many.

Another wrinkle in reporting the extent of the virus revolves around the principal source quoted by media – Johns Hopkins.

Here again, let’s follow the money and the politics.

Hopkins is advocating testing every contact of every person tested positive every day, which means isolating those exposed, and those exposed to those exposed.

If 10,000 folks tested positive tomorrow, virtually all without symptoms, each of their contacts (estimate 40) in the past two weeks must be found and isolated. Forty times 10,000 equals 400,000, which leads to 400,000 times 40 equals 16 million – all to be placed under quarantine.

Imagine then contact tracing the 40 contacts of the 16 million quarantined?

This might have worked early in the spread when there were 50 cases total, but to even attempt it today would require many hundreds of thousands of contact tracers, and even then it seems an impossible task in a country so large without forcing major privacy violations.

Despite the insanity of such a plan, tv talk show phenom Dr. Anthony Fauci fully endorses the concept of contact tracing and attempting to eventually test each of our 330 million residents.

And what Fauci isn’t advertising is that you may be negative one day, but an hour later you can test positive. Daily testing – at the least – seems necessary in this idiot-savant fantasy.

If nothing else, the companies who make the tests will get rich and the folks administering them will be very busy.

What is the source of the enthusiasm for contact tracing at Johns Hopkins?

It comes from Fauci’s associate, multi-billionaire and Trilateral Commission member Michael Rubens “Mike” Bloomberg.

On April 30 Bloomberg sketched out his plan to team up with Hopkins to develop mass coronavirus contact tracing in New York and eventually across the country.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed and said to stop the spread of COVID-19, his state will need 6,400 to 17,000 workers to trace the contacts of those who test positive in New York.

Cuomo, whose state had the most deaths in the nation per thousand from the virus, wants to increase diagnostic testing, and trace contacts of those who test positive and isolate those who have been in close contact with affected people.

If New York needs 17,000 tracers for its 20 million residents, initiating the program for 330 million across the nation (20x as large) would require 330,000 tracers.

“When you get a positive, you talk to that person and trace back who they have been in contact with. Then test those people. You then isolate those people, so you don’t increase the rate of infection,” Cuomo said. “That’s what tracing is. The faster you trace, the better.”

And then there’s that Bloomberg-suggested  smartphone app that knows when you contact someone who has tested positive. Does a drone suddenly appear overhead and shout – “Report to the virus camps immediately, or else?” The other choice would be sirens wailing as police rush you into a van that takes you to railroad cars that lumber into camps surrounded by barbed wire.

What a goofy plan.

And you have to wonder why such a prestigious university would go along with Bloomberg’s impossible dream.

VOX reported in November, 2018:

Former New York mayor (and potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate) Michael Bloomberg has given $1.8 billion to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, to use for financial aid.

For a lot less than $1.8 billion, I would wear an “I LIKE MIKE”

But, I don’t think I would go on television every week and lie about how we need to test every soul in the U.S., and then be obliged to quarantine tens of millions, destroying the country in vain pursuit of absolute perfection, while pleasing my billionaire buddy.

“TRUST” Act can end Social Security as we know it – fast track rules for approval – only two hours debate!

American politics’ number one weasel and 2012 Bilderberg attendee, Willard “Mitt” Romney (R-Utah), is pushing Congress to appoint special commissions to “reform” (cut) Social Security and Medicare under the guise of Homeland Security. The bill’s title is a perfect misnomer: Time to Rescue United States Trusts Act (TRUST).

Willard Romney – eyeing your savings

The “security” farce is that public health and retirement programs can cause debt, and debt itself is somehow a dire threat to the nation. That’s the limp excuse for using the Homeland committee .

The hedge fund master’s merry band of 13 co-conspirators includes four Democrats and nine Republicans: Joe Manchin (D-WV), Todd Young (R-IN), Doug Jones (D-AL), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Shelley Capito (R-WV), Lamar Alexander (R-IN), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Angus King (D/I-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Martha McSally (R-AZ), John Cornyn (R-TX) and David Perdue (R-GA).

Who else but Romney would openly organize such a threat to middle class Americans, who depend on Social Security and Medicare for their existence? This is the same Romney who ran for President and picked Paul Ryan as his running mate. Ryan was the Ayn Rand-admiring deficit hawk who openly called for private-profit ownership of Medicare and hiking our retirement age to 70.

Instead of regular committee public hearings and votes, three members of the Senate and three members of the House – from each party – 12 in total – will decide by a simple majority vote to approve a report and submit it to the House and Senate.

Similar legislation has been introduced in the House by Reps. Ed Case (D-HI); Mike Gallagher (R-WI).; Ben McAdams (D-UT); and William Timmons (R-SC).

Once approved by the commissions, no amendments will be allowed to the TRUST Act by any member of Congress.

The bill cannot by stopped with a normal 60-vote cloture rule in the Senate.

Only two hours of debate will be permitted in either the Senate or House before a vote that can pass with a simple majority.

That’s called “railroading” a bill through a legislature.

The two-hour discussion allowed will create the laws for the Social Security Trust, Medicare Trust and Highway Trust for the next 75 years.

The TRUST Gang of 12 will consist only of Congress members appointed by each party’s leaders. The commissions can interview, hire staff, and listen to lobbyists like Maya MacGuineas. She heads an organization – Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) – that has long pointed daggers at the Social Security pensions paid for by FICA taxes on payrolls.

CRFB has been heavily funded by the late Pete Peterson fortune, and like most big investors, he hated Social Security and Medicare. The banking class wants privatization, so Wall Street can grab big profits by fee-managing your payroll tax contributions.

MacGuineas and CRFB are just nuts about TRUST:

In reviewing programs and evaluating options, rescue committees would work closely with relevant federal agencies, CBO, the Government Accountability Office, Congressional leadership, committees of jurisdiction, other members, and each other.

Commissions could put forward a proposal with a simple majority of total members, including at least two members from each party to ensure bipartisan support. Though due the week after the 2020 election, recommendations could be put forward at any point if consensus is reached. Legislation reflecting these proposals would receive fast-track consideration in both chambers of Congress.

While the TRUST Act does not force policymakers to save the major trust funds, it does force them to work together on a bipartisan basis toward that goal.

To fully understand CFRB and MacGuineas, you must engage in a little kitchen table economics, and realize her husband is Robin Jermyn Brooks, whose positions have included economist at: Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP, managing director and vice president of Goldman Sachs Wall Street investment banking, economist at the International Monetary Fund, and research fellow at Brookings Institution.

Who better to trust with your hard-earned retirement savings than Maya and Robin?

Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, said Romney is “acting true to his income” with a plan to pave the way for benefit cuts.

“They want to pretend that they’re saving the program, and they are going to do it behind closed doors in a fast-track process,” Altman said. “They want to do something the American people don’t want, which is why they’re doing it this way.”

Advocates of increasing benefits under the present system point to the nearly three trillion dollars In the Social Security Trust, caused by over payments since 1986. Under privatization that giant pot of FICA money would be turned over to the bankers for their investing.

Why the three trillion surplus? This fund growth was designed to cushion baby boomer retirements in the 2020s, when FICA income began to decline with a lower worker/retiree ratio. That hasn’t happened yet, but President Donald Trump is proposing a temporary halt in payments into FICA, which will deplete the fund, and less reserves gives more ammo to deficit hawks.

Adding lighter fluid to the fire, a group of 60 Congress members have sent a letter urging that TRUST commissions be enabled quickly:

United States Congress
Washington DC, 20510
June 1, 2020

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy:

We, a bipartisan group of representatives, remain committed to fighting the pandemic and the economic downturn to help the American people through this hardship. The unemployment rate is nearly 15%, and GDP could fall as much as 30%. We must confront the economic fallout from this crisis head on. As the crisis recedes and our nation recovers, we cannot ignore the pressing issue of the national debt, which could do irreparable damage to our country.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the debt held by the public is likely to exceed 100 percent of GDP in just a few months, and it will hit record levels in a few years. In addition, trust funds for some of our most critical programs will face exhaustion far sooner than we expected as a result of the current crisis. Trust fund insolvency threatens serious hardship for those who depend on the programs.

We, therefore, respectfully request that further pandemic-response legislation include provisions for future budget reforms to ensure we confront these issues when the economy is strong enough. These reforms should have broad, bipartisan support. They should not stand in the way of our making the necessary decisions to deal with the crisis at hand. They should ensure that, in addition to addressing health and economic needs, we lay the foundation for a sustainable fiscal future by building on reforms with established bipartisan support.

First, we must have common ground on the facts and keep this issue in our deliberations. The Fiscal State of the Nation resolution would increase the transparency of our fiscal situation by requiring GAO to present an annual report to Congress and the country detailing the fiscal health of the nation.

Second, we must create mechanisms to help Congress demonstrate greater accountability in navigating the decisions to restore our fiscal health and sustainability. Trust funds for Social Security, Disability Insurance, Medicare Hospital Insurance, and Highway programs face insolvency, now possibly all within a decade. Enacting a consensus process like the Time to Rescue United States Trusts (TRUST) Act would create special bipartisan, bicameral rescue committees to give these programs the priority and urgency they deserve. Other commission structures, such as those from the Sustainable Budget Act or the Budget Control Act’s joint select committee, provide models for a comprehensive fiscal agreement.

Third, the federal debt is growing at an alarming pace. Though emergency borrowing is necessary now, we must have a credible plan for responsibility to bring the debt burden to sustainable levels as the pandemic recedes and the economy recovers. We support a process for establishing overall budgetary goals—such as debt-to-GDP targets—that would reduce debt- limit brinkmanship as long as the budget remains on a responsible path.

Including budget reforms like these with any further pandemic-response legislation would put in place a plan to make sure that as we address our nation’s health and economic concerns, we will deal with our debt challenges at the appropriate time as well.

As the first branch of government, Congress can and must address current needs while planning for tomorrow. These bipartisan options can help us come together—as Americans—to build a brighter, more resilient future. We urge you to include them in the next pandemic response legislation. We stand ready and willing to work with you.


Scott H. Peters and Jodey Arrington,
Member of Congress

Additional signers include: Ben McAdams, Dean Phillips, Jim Banks, Tom Reed, Ed Case, Stephanie Murphy, Kathleen M. Rice, Kurt Schrader, Bill Huizenga, Mike Johnson, Lloyd Smucker, Dan Crenshaw,Derek Kilmer, Vicky Hartzler, Jimmy Panetta, Dan Newhouse, Cindy Axne, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Tom O’Halleran, Mike Gallagher, Anthony Brindisi, Rob Woodall, Ron Kind, Warren Davidson, Kendra S. Horn, Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M., Abigail D. Spanberger, Darin LaHood, Jim Cooper, Tom Rice, Jim Costa, George Holding, Henry Cuellar, Drew Ferguson, Xochitl Torres Small, Ralph Norman, Daniel W. Lipinski, David Schweikert, Collin C. Peterson, Ron Estes, Joe Cunningham, Mark Walker, Harley Rouda, Jason Smith, Ann McLane Kuster, Roger Marshall, M.D., Colin Allred, Debbie Lesko, J. Luis Correa, Bruce Westerman, Chrissy Houlahan, Adrian Smith, Terri A. Sewell, Jack Bergman, Sharice L. Davids, Mike Kelly, Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. and Roger Williams

While it would be easy to blame this on Republicans, the effort to destroy earned benefits through taxes such as Medicare and Social Security is a longtime two-party effort.

First, President Ronald Reagan in a moment of fading lucidity allowed Alan Greenspan and his globalist buddies to gut Social Security. Their “reforms” included: taking out more taxes than the program paid, raising the retirement age to 67, introducing tiers that cut many benefits from prior 50% to 15%, and subjecting earned Social Security to Income Tax ($40 billion paid last year alone).

Second, President Barack Obama pushed for the Simpson-Bowles Commission, very much the same sneaky animal as the TRUST deal – a group of politicians blindly approving a commission’s report with virtually no public input. That failed, when members could not reach a super majority of 14 of 18 members. The TRUST commission, however, will only need a bare majority.

President Donald Trump ran in 2016 decrying cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

He can fulfill that promise with a veto of the TRUST act if approved by Congress. The White House has not commented on the bill, probably waiting until after the election to either support the public, or once again cave to the investor class.

Text of the TRUST Act

116th CONGRESS 1st Session S. 2733 To save and strengthen critical social contract programs of the Federal Government. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES October 29, 2019 Mr. Romney (for himself, Mr. Manchin, Mr. Young, Mr. Jones, and Ms. Sinema) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs _______________________________________________________________________ A BILL To save and strengthen critical social contract programs of the Federal Government. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the “Time to Rescue United States Trusts Act” or the “TRUST Act”.

In this Act:
(1) Co-chair.–The term “co-chair” means an individual
appointed to serve as a co-chair of a Rescue Committee under
section 4(a)(4)(C)(i).
(2) Critical social contract program.–The term “critical
social contract program” means a Federal program the Secretary
identifies in the report under section 3.
(3) Rescue committee.–The term “Rescue Committee” means
a committee established under section 4(a).
(4) Rescue committee bill.–The term “Rescue Committee
bill” means a bill consisting solely of legislative language
that a Rescue Committee approves and submits under clauses (i)
and (vi), respectively, of section 4(a)(3)(B).
(5) Secretary.–The term “Secretary” means the Secretary
of the Treasury.

Not later than 45 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the
Secretary shall submit to Congress a report that identifies each
Federal program–
(1) for which a Federal trust fund is established;
(2) the amount of outlays of which, for the fiscal year
immediately preceding the fiscal year in which this Act is
enacted, were not less than $20,000,000,000; and
(3) the amount of dedicated Federal funds and Federal trust
fund balances that the Secretary determines will be inadequate,
on any date during the period beginning on the date of
enactment of this Act and ending on the last day of fiscal year
2035, to meet the total amount of outlays of the Federal
program that would otherwise be made.

(a) Establishment of Rescue Committees.–
(1) Establishment.–On the date on which the Secretary
submits the report under section 3, there shall be established
a Rescue Committee for each critical social contract program.
(2) Goals.–The goals of each Rescue Committee shall be to,
with respect to the critical social contract program for which
the Rescue Committee is established–
(A) avoid depletion of the Federal trust fund
established for the critical social contract program;
(B) provide for the solvency of the Federal trust
fund established for the critical social contract
program during the 75-year period beginning on the date
described in paragraph (1);
(C) simplify the critical social contract program
to the extent practicable; and
(D) otherwise improve the critical social contract
(3) Duties.–
(A) In general.–
(i) Improving critical social contract
programs.–Each Rescue Committee may develop
recommendations and legislative language that
will significantly improve the critical social
contract program for which the Rescue Committee
is established, including by–
(I) increasing the duration of
positive balances of the Federal trust
fund established for the critical
social contract program; and
(II) to the extent practicable,
providing for the solvency of the
Federal trust fund established for the
critical social contract program during
the 75-year period beginning on the
date described in paragraph (1).
(ii) Recommendations of committees.–Not
later than 30 days after the date described in
paragraph (1), each committee of the Senate and
the House of Representatives may transmit to
the relevant Rescue Committee any
recommendations of the committee relating to
changes in law to improve the critical social
contract program for which the Rescue Committee
is established in accordance with the goals of
the Rescue Committee described in paragraph
(B) Report, recommendations, and legislative
(i) In general.–Not later than November
12, 2020, each Rescue Committee shall meet to
consider, and may vote on–
(I) a report that contains a
detailed statement of the findings,
conclusions, and recommendations of the
Rescue Committee described in
subparagraph (A)(i) and the estimate of
the Congressional Budget Office
required under paragraph (5)(D)(ii);
(II) legislative language to carry
out the recommendations of the Rescue
Committee in the report described in
subclause (I), which shall include a
statement of the economic and budgetary
effects of the recommendations during
the 75-year period beginning on the
date described in paragraph (1).
(ii) Advisory nature.–Any proposed change
to the Standing Rules of the Senate or the
Rules of the House of Representatives included
in a report or legislative language under
clause (i) shall be considered to be merely
(iii) Approval of report and legislative
language.–A report and legislative language of
a Rescue Committee under clause (i) shall
require the approval of a majority of the
members of the Rescue Committee, provided that
such majority shall be required to include not
less than 2 members of each party.
(iv) Additional views.–
(I) In general.–A member of a
Rescue Committee who gives notice of an
intention to file supplemental,
minority, or additional views at the
time of the final Rescue Committee vote
on the approval of the report and
legislative language of the Rescue
Committee under clause (i) shall be
entitled to 3 days to file those views
in writing with the staff director of
the Rescue Committee.
(II) Inclusion in report.–Views
filed under subclause (I) shall be
included in the report of the relevant
Rescue Committee under clause (i) and
printed in the same volume, or part
thereof, and such inclusion shall be
noted on the cover of the report,
except that, in the absence of timely
notice, the report may be printed and
transmitted immediately without such
(v) Report and legislative language to be
made public.–Upon the approval or disapproval
of a report and legislative language under
clause (i) by a Rescue Committee, the Rescue
Committee shall promptly make the report, the
legislative language, and a record of the vote
on the report and legislative language
available to the public.
(vi) Submission of report and legislative
language.–If a report and legislative language
are approved by a Rescue Committee under clause
(i), not later than 3 days after the date on
which the report and legislative language are
made available to the public under clause (v),
the Rescue Committee shall submit the report
and legislative language to the President, the
Vice President, the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, and the majority and minority
leaders of each House of Congress.
(vii) Rule of construction.–Nothing in
this subparagraph shall be construed to
prohibit a Rescue Committee from voting on a
report and legislative language under clause
(i) before November 12, 2020.
(4) Membership.–
(A) In general.–Each Rescue Committee shall be
composed of 12 members appointed in accordance with
subparagraph (B).
(B) Appointment.–Not later than 14 days after the
date described in paragraph (1), with respect to each
Rescue Committee–
(i) the majority leader of the Senate shall
appoint 3 individuals from among the Members of
the Senate who shall serve as members of the
Rescue Committee;
(ii) the minority leader of the Senate
shall appoint 3 individuals from among the
Members of the Senate who shall serve as
members of the Rescue Committee;
(iii) the Speaker of the House of
Representatives shall appoint 3 individuals
from among the Members of the House of
Representatives who shall serve as members of
the Rescue Committee; and
(iv) the minority leader of the House of
Representatives shall appoint 3 individuals
from among the Members of the House of
Representatives who shall serve as members of
the Rescue Committee.
(C) Co-chairs.–
(i) In general.–Not later than 14 days
after the date described in paragraph (1), with
respect to each Rescue Committee–
(I) the majority leader of the
Senate shall appoint 1 individual from
among the members of the Rescue
Committee who shall serve as a co-chair
of the Rescue Committee; and
(II) the Speaker of the House of
Representatives shall appoint 1
individual from among the members of
the Rescue Committee who shall serve as
a co-chair of the Rescue Committee.
(ii) Staff director.–With respect to each
Rescue Committee, the co-chairs of the Rescue
Committee, acting jointly, shall hire the staff
director of the Rescue Committee.
(D) Period of appointment.–
(i) In general.–The members of a Rescue
Committee shall be appointed for the life of
the Rescue Committee.
(ii) Vacancy.–
(I) In general.–Any vacancy in a
Rescue Committee shall not affect the
powers of the Rescue Committee, but
shall be filled not later than 14 days
after the date on which the vacancy
occurs, in the same manner as the
original appointment was made.
(II) Ineligible members.–If a
member of a Rescue Committee ceases to
be a Member of the Senate or the House
of Representatives, as applicable–
(aa) the member shall no
longer be a member of the
Rescue Committee; and
(bb) a vacancy in the
Rescue Committee exists.
(5) Administration.–
(A) In general.–With respect to each Rescue
Committee, to enable the Rescue Committee to exercise
the powers, functions, and duties of the Rescue
Committee, there are authorized to be disbursed by the
Senate the actual and necessary expenses of the Rescue
Committee approved by the co-chairs of the Rescue
Committee, subject to the rules and regulations of the
(B) Expenses.–With respect to each Rescue
Committee, in carrying out the functions of the Rescue
Committee, the Rescue Committee is authorized to incur
expenses in the same manner and under the same
conditions as the Joint Economic Committee is
authorized under section 11(d) of the Employment Act of
1946 (15 U.S.C. 1024(d)).
(C) Quorum.–With respect to each Rescue Committee,
7 members of the Rescue Committee shall constitute a
quorum for purposes of voting, meeting, and holding
(D) Voting.–
(i) Proxy voting.–No proxy voting shall be
allowed on behalf of any member of a Rescue
(ii) Congressional budget office
(I) In general.–The Director of
the Congressional Budget Office shall,
with respect to the legislative
language of a Rescue Committee under
paragraph (3)(B)(i)(II), provide to the
Rescue Committee–
(aa) estimates of the
legislative language in
accordance with sections 308(a)
and 201(f) of the Congressional
Budget Act of 1974 (2 U.S.C.
639(a) and 601(f)); and
(bb) information on the
budgetary effect of the
legislative language during the
75-year period beginning on the
date described in paragraph
(II) Limitation.–A Rescue
Committee may not vote on any version
of the report, recommendations, or
legislative language of the Rescue
Committee under paragraph (3)(B)(i)
unless the estimates and information
described in subclause (I) of this
clause are made available for
consideration by all members of the
Rescue Committee not later than 48
hours before that vote, as certified by
the co-chairs of the Rescue Committee.
(E) Meetings.–
(i) Initial meeting.–Not later than 45
days after the date described in paragraph (1),
each Rescue Committee shall hold the first
meeting of the Rescue Committee.
(ii) Agenda.–For each meeting of each
Rescue Committee, the co-chairs of the Rescue
Committee shall provide an agenda to the
members of the Rescue Committee not later than
48 hours before the meeting.
(F) Hearings.–
(i) In general.–Each Rescue Committee may,
for the purpose of carrying out this section,
hold such hearings, sit and act at such times
and places, require attendance of witnesses and
production of books, papers, and documents,
take such testimony, receive such evidence, and
administer such oaths as the Rescue Committee
considers advisable.
(ii) Hearing procedures and
responsibilities of co-chairs.–
(I) Announcement.–The co-chairs of
each Rescue Committee shall make a
public announcement of the date, place,
time, and subject matter of any hearing
to be conducted under this subparagraph
not later than 7 days before the date
of the hearing, unless the co-chairs
determine that there is good cause to
begin such hearing on an earlier date.
(II) Written statement.–A witness
appearing before a Rescue Committee
shall file a written statement of the
proposed testimony of the witness not
later than 2 days before the date of
the appearance of the witness, unless
the co-chairs of the Rescue Committee–
(aa) determine that there
is good cause for the witness
to not file the written
statement; and
(bb) waive the requirement
that the witness file the
written statement.
(G) Technical assistance.–Upon written request of
the co-chairs of a Rescue Committee, the head of a
Federal agency shall provide technical assistance to
the Rescue Committee in order for the Rescue Committee
to carry out the duties of the Rescue Committee.
(b) Staff of Rescue Committee.–
(1) In general.–The co-chairs of a Rescue Committee may
jointly appoint and fix the compensation of staff of the Rescue
Committee as the co-chairs determine necessary, in accordance
with the guidelines, rules, and requirements relating to
employees of the Senate.
(2) Ethical standards.–
(A) Senate.–Members of the Senate who serve on a
Rescue Committee and staff of the Rescue Committee
shall adhere to the ethics rules of the Senate.
(B) House of representatives.–Members of the House
of Representatives who serve on a Rescue Committee
shall be governed by the ethics rules and requirements
of the House of Representatives.
(c) Termination.–Each Rescue Committee shall terminate on the day
after the date of the sine die adjournment of the 116th Congress.

(a) Qualifying Legislation.–Only a Rescue Committee bill shall be
entitled to expedited consideration under this section.
(b) Consideration in the House of Representatives.–
(1) Introduction.–If a Rescue Committee approves and
submits legislative language under clauses (i) and (vi),
respectively, of section 4(a)(3)(B), a Rescue Committee bill
consisting solely of that legislative language may be
introduced in the House of Representatives (by request)–
(A) by the majority leader of the House of
Representatives, or by a Member of the House of
Representatives designated by the majority leader of
the House of Representatives, on the next legislative
day; or
(B) if the Rescue Committee bill is not introduced
under subparagraph (A), by any Member of the House of
Representatives on any legislative day beginning on the
legislative day after the legislative day described in
subparagraph (A).
(2) Referral and reporting.–Any committee of the House of
Representatives to which a Rescue Committee bill is referred
shall report the Rescue Committee bill to the House of
Representatives without amendment not later than 10 legislative
days after the date on which the Rescue Committee bill was so
referred. If a committee of the House of Representatives fails
to report a Rescue Committee bill within that period, it shall
be in order to move that the House of Representatives discharge
the committee from further consideration of the Rescue
Committee bill. Such a motion shall not be in order after the
last committee authorized to consider the Rescue Committee bill
reports it to the House of Representatives or after the House
of Representatives has disposed of a motion to discharge the
Rescue Committee bill. The previous question shall be
considered as ordered on the motion to its adoption without
intervening motion except 20 minutes of debate equally divided
and controlled by the proponent and an opponent. If such a
motion is adopted, the House of Representatives shall proceed
immediately to consider the Rescue Committee bill in accordance
with paragraphs (3) and (4). A motion to reconsider the vote by
which the motion is disposed of shall not be in order.
(3) Proceeding to consideration.–After the last committee
authorized to consider a Rescue Committee bill reports it to
the House of Representatives or has been discharged (other than
by motion) from its consideration, it shall be in order to move
to proceed to consider the Rescue Committee bill in the House
of Representatives. Such a motion shall not be in order after
the House of Representatives has disposed of a motion to
proceed with respect to the Rescue Committee bill. The previous
question shall be considered as ordered on the motion to its
adoption without intervening motion. A motion to reconsider the
vote by which the motion is disposed of shall not be in order.
(4) Consideration.–The Rescue Committee bill shall be
considered as read. All points of order against the Rescue
Committee bill and against its consideration are waived. The
previous question shall be considered as ordered on the Rescue
Committee bill to its passage without intervening motion except
2 hours of debate equally divided and controlled by the
proponent and an opponent and 1 motion to limit debate on the
Rescue Committee bill. A motion to reconsider the vote on
passage of the Rescue Committee bill shall not be in order.
(5) Vote on passage.–The vote on passage of the Rescue
Committee bill shall occur not later than 3 legislative days
after the date on which the last committee authorized to
consider the Rescue Committee bill reports it to the House of
Representatives or is discharged.
(c) Expedited Procedure in the Senate.–
(1) Introduction in the senate.–If a Rescue Committee
approves and submits legislative language under clauses (i) and
(vi), respectively, of section 4(a)(3)(B), a Rescue Committee
bill consisting solely of that legislative language may be
introduced in the Senate (by request)–
(A) by the majority leader of the Senate, or by a
Member of the Senate designated by the majority leader
of the Senate, on the next day on which the Senate is
in session; or
(B) if the Rescue Committee bill is not introduced
under subparagraph (A), by any Member of the Senate on
any day on which the Senate is in session beginning on
the day after the day described in subparagraph (A).
(2) Committee consideration.–A Rescue Committee bill
introduced in the Senate under paragraph (1) shall be jointly
referred to the committee or committees of jurisdiction, which
committees shall report the Rescue Committee bill without any
revision and with a favorable recommendation, an unfavorable
recommendation, or without recommendation, not later than 10
session days after the date on which the Rescue Committee bill
was so referred. If any committee to which a Rescue Committee
bill is referred fails to report the Rescue Committee bill
within that period, that committee shall be automatically
discharged from consideration of the Rescue Committee bill, and
the Rescue Committee bill shall be placed on the appropriate
(3) Proceeding.–Notwithstanding rule XXII of the Standing
Rules of the Senate, it is in order, not later than 2 days of
session after the date on which a Rescue Committee bill is
reported or discharged from all committees to which the Rescue
Committee bill was referred, for the majority leader of the
Senate or the designee of the majority leader to move to
proceed to the consideration of the Rescue Committee bill. It
shall also be in order for any Member of the Senate to move to
proceed to the consideration of the Rescue Committee bill at
any time after the conclusion of such 2-day period. A motion to
proceed is in order even though a previous motion to the same
effect has been disagreed to. All points of order against the
motion to proceed to the Rescue Committee bill are waived. The
motion to proceed is not debatable. The motion is not subject
to a motion to postpone. A motion to reconsider the vote by
which the motion is agreed to or disagreed to shall not be in
order. If a motion to proceed to the consideration of the
Rescue Committee bill is agreed to, the Rescue Committee bill
shall remain the unfinished business until disposed of. All
points of order against a Rescue Committee bill and against
consideration of the Rescue Committee bill are waived.
(4) No amendments.–An amendment to a Rescue Committee
bill, or a motion to postpone, or a motion to proceed to the
consideration of other business, or a motion to recommit the
Rescue Committee bill, is not in order.
(5) Rulings of the chair on procedure.–Appeals from the
decisions of the Chair relating to the application of the rules
of the Senate, as the case may be, to the procedure relating to
a Rescue Committee bill shall be decided without debate.
(d) Amendment.–A Rescue Committee bill shall not be subject to
amendment in either the Senate or the House of Representatives.
(e) Consideration by the Other House.–
(1) In general.–If, before passing a Rescue Committee
bill, a House receives from the other House a Rescue Committee
bill consisting of legislative language approved by the same
Rescue Committee as the Rescue Committee bill in the receiving
(A) the Rescue Committee bill of the other House
shall not be referred to a committee; and
(B) the procedure in the receiving House shall be
the same as if no Rescue Committee bill had been
received from the other House until the vote on
passage, when the Rescue Committee bill received from
the other House shall supplant the Rescue Committee
bill of the receiving House.
(2) Revenue measures.–This subsection shall not apply to
the House of Representatives if a Rescue Committee bill
received from the Senate is a revenue measure.
(f) Rules To Coordinate Action With Other House.–
(1) Treatment of rescue committee bill of other house.–If
a Rescue Committee bill is not introduced in the Senate or the
Senate fails to consider a Rescue Committee bill under this
section, the Rescue Committee bill of the House of
Representatives consisting of legislative language approved by
the same Rescue Committee as the Rescue Committee bill in the
Senate shall be entitled to expedited floor procedures under
this section.
(2) Treatment of companion measures in the senate.–If,
following passage of a Rescue Committee bill in the Senate, the
Senate then receives from the House of Representatives a Rescue
Committee bill approved by the same Rescue Committee and
consisting of the same legislative language as the Senate-
passed Rescue Committee bill, the House-passed Rescue Committee
bill shall not be debatable. The vote on passage of the Rescue
Committee bill in the Senate shall be considered to be the vote
on passage of the Rescue Committee bill received from the House
of Representatives.
(3) Vetoes.–If the President vetoes a Rescue Committee
bill, consideration of a veto message in the Senate under this
paragraph shall be 10 hours equally divided between the
majority and minority leaders of the Senate or the designees of
the majority and minority leaders of the Senate.


Funding for each Rescue Committee shall be derived in equal
portions from–
(1) the contingent fund of the Senate from the
appropriations account “Miscellaneous Items”, subject to the
rules and regulations of the Senate; and
(2) the applicable accounts of the House of

The provisions of this Act are enacted by Congress–
(1) as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate
and the House of Representatives, respectively, and, as such,
the provisions–
(A) shall be considered as part of the rules of
each House, respectively, or of that House to which
they specifically apply; and
(B) shall supersede other rules only to the extent
that they are inconsistent therewith; and
(2) with full recognition of the constitutional right of
either House to change such rules (so far as relating to such
House) at any time, in the same manner, and to the same extent
as in the case of any other rule of such House.

Cartoon courtesy of Tom Stiglich

FWD doesn’t mean “Forward” to this group of richest elite

At first blush sounded like a nice organization. Maybe I was prejudiced – my initials are FWD (middle name: William), and twitter handle is @fwdpost.

Was I wrong! is just another way to increase profits for the elite and eliminate jobs for the rest of us, especially our STEM grads.

This lobbying cabal was contrived in 2013 by big investors and leaders of the major tech firms, including Microsoft, Facebook and Google. The plan was to import more H-1B workers into the U.S., and replace native, highly paid professionals with often marginal-ability visa-holders, primarily from India and China. (See the list of founders and funders at the end of this blog)

Their efforts worked.

Last year, 60,300 Americans graduated with a computer science degree and 20,000 developers completed coding boot camps, a total of 80,300. Meanwhile 85,000 available H-1B visas were issued to foreigners to compete against those grads for the same tech jobs.

All of the visa holders were accepted to positions even before they arrived in this country.

About 25% of American tech grads had to settle for another, lower-paying field. In addition, thousands of U.S. tech workers were laid off in 2019 and replaced with foreigners. has convinced many politicians that more immigration, not higher pay, is necessary for hiring staff. The result – increasing numbers of H-1B visas for the tech industry..

To the dismay of workers President Donald “The Thumper” Trump, has embraced during the past three years, spewing the “best and brightest” were needed from overseas, and ignoring the 330 million “pretty smart folks” who live here.

Trump’s allegiance to global corporations in general, versus his populist 2016 campaign stance, suggests he is spending too much time carousing in the swamp, making friends with the nation’s economic enemies.

The Trump doctrine before he took office: He was asked if he would end H-1B visas.

I will. First of all, I think and I know the H1B very well. And it’s something that I frankly use and I shouldn’t be allowed to use it. We shouldn’t have… Very, very bad for workers.

And second of all, I think it’s very important to say, well, I’m a businessman and I have to do what I have to do. When it’s sitting there waiting for you, but it’s very bad. It’s very bad for business in terms of…and it’s very bad for our workers and it’s unfair for our workers. And we should end it.

Trump’s promise was well said, then soon forgotten.

The stakes for workers and employers are very high.

Google alone employs more than 130,000 contractors and temp workers, plus 123,000 full-time employees.

Meanwhile, has formed an alliance with hundreds of colleges and universities to promote fewer American and more international students – the so-called Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. is also urging more foreign students in Optional Practical Training (OPT) for computer degree programs here, and wants the government to offer fast-track citizenship for their many DACA employees.

Investors are also trying to  expand OPT by passing GOP. Sen Mike Lee‘s S.386 bill, which lifts country caps on Indian graduates coming here.

There is a disturbing alliance between the right and left wings of politics to crush wages and hike profits. immigration and prison “reform” views are shared by both the Koch Bros. network of think tanks and the George Soros organizations.

Just one example is left-wing Democrat Rep. Julian Castro, who has campaigned for more migration, while running in the 2020 Democratic primary. Calling himself a progressive, he was a founder of a billionaires’ lobbying group similar to — the New American Economy. That group was created at the same time as in 2013 by Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Microsoft co-founder Steve Ballmer, and Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch to promote the “Gang of Eight” amnesty.

In an omen of things to come. wants to allow many migrants to get occupational licenses for blue-collar jobs. These permits would allow investors to hire cheap migrants in place of American electricians, plumbers, natural-gas technicians, and many other jobs.

Founders of FWD.US

Funders of FWD.US

What’s good advice to help you get into your first choice college? Just pretend you are a citizen of China and pay full price!

Some 400 college and university presidents belong to the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration – see here – which advocates for ever more international students.

Follow the money, and you discover the huge advantage of recruiting foreign students, who are never allowed to receive school or federal aid, and so they always pay full tuition.

Take the University of California (UC) for example:

Foreign nationals pay UC about $70,000 a year. The same school charges $27,000 to an average American student (family earns $100,000, owns their home and has $100,000 assets). That’s a total subsidy of $43,000 from the school and federal programs.

The international student’s tuition and room and board is 2.5 times an American’s, so colleges and universities vie for foreigners to increase institutional revenue.

Money, not merit, may often be making admission decisions.

All together, post-secondary institutions receive $45 billion in extra tuition fees each year by refusing American students and giving openings to international applicants.

This is not a small problem.

In 2019, the total number of international students enrolled in US colleges was 1,095,299, including:

  • 431,930 undergraduate students
  • 377,943 graduate students
  • 62,341 non-degree students
  • 223,085 Optional Practical Training (OPT) workers

The most recent statistics available show foreign students – who made up 12% of the total student population – contributed nearly 30% of all tuition revenue at public universities.

The top five US schools displacing American students with foreign students in 2019 were:

  1. New York University -19,605 foreign
  2. University of Southern California Los Angeles -16,340 foreign
  3. Northeastern University – 16,075 foreign
  4. Columbia University – 15,897 foreign
  5. University of Illinois/Urbana – 13,497 foreign

If you are concerned with what happens to these millions of international students after graduation, don’t worry – most of them have it made. The information industry is where many are headed, and big tech companies employ hundreds of thousands of foreign workers, who replace Americans under various government programs.

All told, Information Technology (IT) employment in the United States reached an estimated 12.1 million workers last year, growing by more than 307,000 in just 12 months.

A California lawyer, Randy Berholtz, told the San Diego Union-Tribune his experience with preferences for foreign, versus American students:

First, we are taking needed positions away from Californian and American students. My daughter’s guidance counselor at a San Diego high school told her students not to apply to UC San Diego, because she felt that even though they had top grades, they wouldn’t be accepted there, owing to its difficult admission policies.

The situation is compounded by the huge number (370,000) of international students from Communist China, Berholtz explained

Second, we are educating students from a fairly hostile communist country with which we are embroiled in a trade war, and we may eventually be involved in a major military conflict at some point.

In addition, there are many cases of China’s students, researchers and the like, who have been linked to an organized effort by that country to spy on us, and steal important inventions and other trade-secret information from American entities.

He also said that residents of other USA states are not being actively recruited, while schools seek applicants from China and elsewhere.

Third, it appears that UC admissions officers have decreased their efforts to attract other American students from outside of California in favor of students from China.

I am originally from the coal regions of Pennsylvania, where poverty rates are in the 50% to 60% range. Students from my hometown and region would love to attend UC San Diego, as well as students right here in outlying cities and communities in San Diego and the rest of California.

On a personal note, he added:

One of my daughters had very high grades from a well-known high school in San Diego, and did not get into UC San Diego. She instead was admitted to the Claremont Colleges.

My Shanghai colleague’s daughter, however, was admitted as an undergraduate into UC San Diego, which just isn’t right.

With the current Covid-19 scare, we are losing millions of jobs, many forever. It is time to prioritize Americans for remaining job openings. Those in the higher education business must help America’s “best and brightest”, and let other countries invest the time and money to take care of their own.

President Donald Trump’s recent proclamation to limit workers and students from China does not apply to undergraduate students and also allows in all graduate students, except those tied to the Chinese military or government. The move was nothing but a token effort – political optics at a time when we need insightful vision.

Next Tuesday: How the “Alliance” joined with FWD.US to put Americans last!

Why work, when millions can earn much more staying home, collecting $600 plus average $400 state unemployment check

Republican and Democrat politicians, plus the Media brain trust, are missing the catastrophe coming from the $600-a-week Covid-19 unemployment compensation supplemental benefit for all 50 states.

In the ivory tower of statistic worship and technocratic analysis, the supplement makes sense. When millions lose jobs, unemployment insurance only covers about $400 average per week. With overtime, stock bonuses and such, the average earnings before taxes in America is about $970 a week, so $400 + $600 = $1,000, totally replaces the median wage.

The tragedy of this false logic: it ignores that half of the full time employed make more than $970, and half make less, many far less, as low as minimum wage: $270 weekly, after taxes.

Two examples:

  • Median high school grad 25 and older (26 million workers) earns $710 weekly after payroll taxes, laid off and receives $400 unemployment compensation, plus $600 supplemental – a total $1,000. Earnings are $290 a week more by not working.
  • Minimum wage worker earning $270 weekly, laid off and receives $210 unemployment compensation, plus $600 supplemental – a total of $810, three times as much by not working.

For millions of workers it pays to not work. Not only do they make more money, there’s no miserable boss, crazy deadlines, childcare costs, driving or transit expense. Even if the government payments were the same, let alone three times as much, wouldn’t nearly everyone stay home?

Some libertarians disagree, claiming that employees love their jobs, miss their fellow workers, find meaning in life by spending 40 hours or more away from home and family. This is another proof that libertarians are rich folks, who make up jobs they like, and just want to get away from the clatter of servants washing dishes (or a nagging spouse). For the rest of us, their golf and three-hour lunches are not real work.

Unfortunately, this supplemental unemployment cash will last until the end of July.

And that means going to work is stupid and irresponsible if you are the average person. Stay home. Enjoy the summer. You might even vacation with that earlier additional $1,200 per person stimulus check that went to every adult, except those claimed as a dependent on someone else’s income tax return (including blind, crippled and senile).

For two more months the current 17 million unemployed, mostly in lower paying jobs, will make every effort not to return to work.

For many businesses no staff means no income, and they will close, go bankrupt.

Even when workers return, what will be their reaction when, for example, their weekly pay is $300, not $800?

However, you might ask, suppose your boss decides to reopen and offer you your job again?

You might hate your boss if this happens. An employer who makes someone accept $300 or $400 a week for working, instead of earning $700 or $800 by not working, is asking for serious labor troubles.

Most employers are smart. They won’t bring back the workers until after the end of July.

And so the shutdown must continue for many businesses, even though they might enter the green phase,

This will kill the economy as more business go bankrupt – a bonanza by the way for the hedge funds, banks and investors who snatch up distressed firms.

A recent interview with National Public Radio (NPR) illustrated the problem:

“The very people we hired have now asked us to be laid off,” according to shop owner Sky Marietta, “Not because they did not like their jobs or because they did not want to work, but because it would cost them literally hundreds of dollars per week to be employed.”

You also have to think [of] the benefit of not having to go to work, especially during a pandemic.

It’s not that we don’t wish that we could pay our employees at that level all the time. You’re always wanting to pay your staff the best you possibly can. But to be put in a position where you can’t compete with them being at home, unemployed, it’s really tricky. It’s a really difficult situation to be in.”

To make things worse, the Covid-19 stimulus act also includes a provision to lend businesses money that doesn’t have to be repaid if it is used to pay salaries to retain workers.

Jamie Black-Lewis

Jamie Black-Lewis, who owns Oasis Medspa & Salon and Amai Day Spa in Washington state, said she received two forgivable loans through the new federal Paycheck Protection Program, She thought it was great to help keep her 35 employees who had their pay halted when the spas closed.

No surprise, the loans and being kept on payroll made many of her employees angry. The reaction she got was a “firestorm of hatred about the situation,” Black-Lewis said.

These employees realized they could make more money from unemployment than employment.

It’s a windfall they see coming, In their mind, I took it away.

Of course, the unethical business owner can win big if they want to break the rules.

First, don’t offer jobs back to your past employees, who are now on unemployment benefits.

Then hire new workers, who are employed elsewhere at a lower wage, and report you are not cutting staff and deserve a forgivable federal loan.

In time for August 1, lay off the “replacement” workers and rehire the old staff.

That way, they get the extra money, you get the help, and taxpayers are on the hook for your scam.

And with the efficiency of our government whiz kids, no reviews will be made of cheating the program, even if there was any way or desire to recover our money.

Feds approve right to watch everything you do on Internet!

The Senate has decided you have no right to privacy on your “private” phone or email. They can also examine the web sites you visit, keystrokes and clicks, all browsing and Internet searches.

If fed watchers might wonder why you get spam, especially goofy emails of millions from Nigerian ministers, how will you respond? Even checking the sale price of fertilizer might raise flags of possible explosive plans by you, worthy of investigation by an agency that discourages domestic bombing, but missed 9/11.

To spy on you, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) only needs their secret request approved by a secret court (FISA) with the results kept hidden from you. So that other agencies and big shots know you may be in trouble, virtually all “unmasking” requests are approved, because there are no opposition opportunities for you, no lawyers defending you, and you aren’t even allowed to appear yourself.

There are currently exceptions to this rule.

First, you can’t do this to Senators, or other politicians, or their friends in the Media. Eisenhower may have been right about the Military/Industrial complex in the 50s, but today it’s more like the Carpetbaggers/Communicators combine. One group claps for attention and the other cheers the news to a dumbed-down America.

Another institution is exempt – churches. Even Senators know that you must at least pretend justice for religious groups, or they’ll raise Holy Hell, and that means lost votes at power-renewal time.

There was almost hope Wednesday, last week, when a majority of the Senate voted 59-37 to go ahead with a change to the H.R. 6172 – USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020.

The proposed amendment (S.Amdt.1583) would have required the government to have a warrant approved before retrieving all your past and future web browsing and other personal Internet activities.

One of the co-sponsors, Bernie Sanders (I-VT), wasn’t present for the vote. Others missing in action  included Patty Murray (D-WA), Ben Sasse (R-NE), and Lamar Alexander (R-TN). All four are often on tv giving their opinions, but on Wednesday any one of them could have actually defended our Constitutional rights.

No more “patience” listening to filibuster

One vote was needed to move the amendment to a regular, not cloture, vote. In the world of Mitch McConnell, bills need 60 votes to avoid a filibuster, and since Mitch doesn’t want to force the opposition to give speeches for hours on end, he just gives up and says the law failed.

The Majority Leader thinks he’s the Super Majority Leader – 60 votes out of 100. No wonder nothing gets done, unless it’s bipartisan earned benefit cuts for the elderly or tax cuts for the rich.

If the Republican majority wanted to eliminate the 60-vote charade, they could do it with their 54 votes, but McConnell says he likes it this way.

And Mitch was one of the politicians who voted against the bill, which would have protected all Americans. He later pushed through another amendment that excludes, religious groups, elected officials and the denizens of newsrooms everywhere, but not you and me.

The Wednesday effort to really protect privacy rights was sponsored by Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Browser data and internet search history is some of the most personal and revealing information that can be collected on private citizens, Daines said.

Government should not have access to such private information without a warrant. This is about securing our most basic 4th Amendment rights to protect our citizens’ most personal data.

The Senate was closer than it has ever been before with over half the senate – 59 Senators – voting to protect Americans privacy.

“I’ll keep working on this issue with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as I believe it’s critical to increase the privacy of all Americans,” he added.

Democrats voting against the amendment, and voting for invading your privacy::

Thomas Carper (D-DE)
Bob Casey (D-PA)
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Margaret Wood Hassan (D-NH)
Doug Jones (D-AL)
Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Mark Warner (D-VA)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Many Republicans – the usual establishment supplicants – opposed the pro-privacy change:

John Barrasso (R-WY)
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Roy Blunt (R-MO)
John Boozman (R-AR)
Richard Burr (R-NC)
Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Susan Collins (R-ME)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Tom Cotton (R-AR)
Deb Fischer (R-NE)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)
James Inhofe (R-OK)
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
James Lankford (R-OK)
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
David Perdue (R-GA)
Rob Portman (R-OH)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Mitt Romney (R-UT)
Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Richard Shelby (R-AL)
John Thune (R-SD)
Thom Tillis (R-NC)
Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Todd Young (R-IN)

Wyden said ahead of the vote:

The typical American may think to themselves, I’ve got nothing to worry about. I’ve done nothing wrong. The government has no reason to suspect me of anything. Why should I worry?

Unfortunately, the question is not whether you did anything wrong.

The question is whether a government agent believes they have the right to look at your web searches.

Future invasions of privacy can best be predicted by recent actions of the FBI.

Courtesy Tom Stiglich