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Making the click-through worthwhile: some childish expenditures at the top levels of our government, the claiming adverse Larry Kudlow, and addition admired academy of the adolescence of Generation X closes its doors.
Beware the Ides of March!
Spend Too Much on a Table and You May Not Be Sitting at It for Much Longer
Your tax dollars at work:
Housing and Urban Development admiral again consulted with Secretary Ben Carson’s wife about the anticipation of adornment his appointment aftermost year, according to new abstracts appear beneath the Freedom of Information Act.
The advance to redecorate Carson’s appointment in the weeks afterward Admiral Donald Trump’s commencement – alike afore the above pediatric neurosurgeon had taken appointment – has appear beneath aldermanic analysis in contempo weeks. HUD’s above arch authoritative officer, Helen Foster, filed a complaint with the department’s appropriate admonition aftermost abatement charging that she was demoted in allotment because she warned added admiral that the planned face-lifting would crave aldermanic notification because it would beat $5,000.
The 163-page release, acquired by the left-leaning accumulation American Oversight, includes a alternation of email exchanges over the advance of aftermost year in which top HUD staffers vet altered appliance options and accost ascribe from Carson’s wife Candy, as able-bodied as the secretary…
The appliance coursing did not end in February, however: an crumbling appointment table and its accompanying chairs acclimated for Carson’s clandestine lunches with guests accepted so ambiguous that his assembly absitively to adjustment a backup at the amount of $31,561. The set included a Newport dining table with a amber accomplishment forth with adipose chairs.
Carson’s wife advised in on that acquirement as well, according to emails amid Rodriguez and colleagues including Greenwood, who now serves as the secretary’s arch of staff.
“I accept Allison has book outs of the appliance the Secretary and Mrs. Carson best out,” Rodriguez wrote, apropos to Allison Mills, Carson’s controlling assistant.
In a March 5 Facebook post, Carson countered, “The secretary’s dining allowance is acclimated for business luncheons with a advanced array of bodies and groups. The appliance is 30 to 50 years old and is actual worn. It has additionally been characterized as unsafe.” (Be accurate about those alarming tables and chairs.)
He added, “I was as afraid as anyone to acquisition out that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered.” It is adamantine to aboveboard Carson’s affirmation that he was blind of the acquirement with the email at the time apropos to the Carsons acrimonious out the furniture.
A HUD secretary in a Republican administering is not declared to absorb tens of bags of dollars on a new appointment table. (If you attending online, you’ll apprehension it’s adamantine to alike acquisition a table listed for added than $19,000. You can get a ten-foot appointment table with eight covering chairs befuddled in for beneath than $2,000.)
Nor is the Health and Human Casework secretary declared to allotment airplanes for accepted flights, nor is the secretary of Veterans Affairs declared to absorb added than $4,000 in aborigine dollars to fly his wife with him on a cruise to Europe. It’s fair to ask whether the appointment of the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency bare a new soundproof berth for buzz calls, and if so, whether the accomplished activity bare to amount $43,000.
The revolving-door presidential chiffonier hasn’t helped the Trump administration, but if the abutting annular of changes brings in some secretaries who adios these sorts of big-ticket ideas, or at atomic accumulate an eye on these kinds of expenditures, back the secretaries accumulate claiming they didn’t apperceive the costs — or aloof accept some staffer accumulate an eye on it! — it will be an improvement. Activity as a chiffonier secretary is not declared to feel like that of a affiliate of a aristocratic family.
It’s aloof a abashment that no one anytime offered any adumbration that the man who became HUD secretary could be arrogant, entitled, and dismissive.
The Claiming of Advising Trump
I answer aggregate Rich says about Larry Kudlow . . . with a aside agenda of trepidation, as Kudlow isn’t dispatch into an accessible situation. He’ll be the free-market free-trade articulation at the table with an aimlessly protectionist president. Kudlow is impassioned, knowledgeable, actuating . . . but Trump has had protectionist angle his absolute developed life. Over the accomplished few months, Trump has developed added instinctive, impulsive, and erratic. It’s not accessible to actuate a man who trusts his gut instincts so completely.
For example, what is Kudlow declared to do back the admiral aloof . . . makes up credibility in negotiations with adopted leaders?
“Trudeau came to see me. He’s a acceptable guy, Justin. He said, ‘No, no, we accept no barter arrears with you, we accept none. Donald, please,’ ” Trump said, artful Trudeau, according to audio of the clandestine accident in Missouri acquired by The Washington Post. “Nice guy, attractive guy, comes in — ‘Donald, we accept no barter deficit.’ He’s actual appreciative because everybody else, you know, we’re accepting killed.
“. . . So, he’s proud. I said, ‘Wrong, Justin, you do.’ I didn’t alike apperceive . . . . I had no idea. I aloof said, ‘You’re wrong.’ You apperceive why? Because we’re so brainless . . . . And I anticipation they were smart. I said, ‘You’re wrong, Justin.’ He said, ‘Nope, we accept no barter deficit.’ I said, ‘Well, in that case, I feel differently,’ I said, ‘but I don’t accept it.’ I beatific one of our guys out, his guy, my guy, they went out, I said, ‘Check, because I can’t accept it.’
“‘Well, sir, you’re absolutely right. We accept no deficit, but that doesn’t accommodate activity and balk . . . . And back you do, we lose $17 billion a year.’ It’s incredible.”
The Appointment of the United States Barter Representative says the United States has a barter surplus with Canada.
Put added specifically, we beatific $266 billion in appurtenances to Canada in 2016, and they beatific us $278 billion, which comes a $12 billion arrears in goods. But already you bandy in casework – travel, transportation, bookish acreage — we beatific them $54.2 billion in services; they beatific us $26.9 billion in services. That comes out to a $24.6 billion account surplus in 2016, added than the appurtenances deficit, advancing out to a $12.5 billion surplus.
The Days of Toys “R” Us Appear to an End
For those of us whose childhoods were abounding with dreams of active through the aisles of Toys “R” Us, the account that the alternation will abutting or advertise its food is sad — the end of a 70-year-era.
Of course, it’s a fair catechism for us misty-eyed with nostalgia: When’s the aftermost time we absolutely stepped central a Toys “R” Us? In my case, it charge be at atomic two years. I did about all of my Christmas arcade online aftermost year; it’s easier to annal through screens on Amazon than accord with crowds and delay in band at the stores.
As the Motley Fool observed, as afresh as the mid-2000s, Toys “R” Us was one of the few places that parents and kids could see a huge array of toys. That fabricated it a destination store. But now if you airing into Walmart or Target for some added product, you’re acceptable to canyon a adequately abounding toy section. Most Barnes & Noble food now accept a ample toy section. The bounded capital has a Lego Store.
And it’s fair to ask how the arcade acquaintance at Toys “R” Us compared to added places:
“If you’re activity to accept that across of inventory, you charge addition in the abundance to advice you acquisition it, advice you acquaintance it,” said Greg Portell, advance accomplice at retail adviser A.T. Kearney. “It’s adamantine to advertise toys in a cold, barn environment.”
Even Toys “R” Us CEO David Brandon conceded in an SEC filing aftermost abatement that the aggregation had collapsed abaft competitors “on assorted fronts, including with attention to accepted budget and the action of our stores.”
This is bad account for Toys “R” Us employees. Perhaps 30,000 jobs could be lost.
ADDENDA: Added fun facts from the OpenTheBooks “Mapping The Swamp” report: The federal government employs 2,573 dieticians and nutritionists, spending $190 actor on them, with an boilerplate advantage of $73,884. The Department of Veterans Affairs employs 2,338 of them; addition 130 assignment for the Department of Agriculture and 93 assignment for the Department of Health and Human Services. Across the government, 251 “diet and nutrition” advisers accomplish added than $100,000 per year.
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