Monday, September 26, 2016

If This Night Doesn’t Save Hillary’s Campaign, Nothing Will.

By Jim Geraghty 
The National Review
September 27, 2016

This was a terrible night for Donald Trump, so he’ll probably surge in the polls.

Hillary Clinton began oddly, with a lame knock on “Trumped-up trickle-down”, and claiming Trump’s main focus was to help the rich. (Is the “basket of deplorables” rich?) This is the exact same playbook she would have run against Ted Cruz, or Marco Rubio, or Jeb Bush or any other Republican. Of course, Trump is really different from a traditional Republican.

But after the first fifteen minutes or so, she shifted to steadily working her way through the anti-Trump briefing book. She clearly had memorized a whole briefing encyclopedia on Trump’s controversial statements, scandals, lawsuits, and worked in most of them over the course of 90 minutes.

I think if you look at Trump’s face immediately after the debate, he knew he didn’t have a good night. One could argue the topic selection played against him: a whole section on his birther argument against President Obama, extended discussion of his unreleased tax returns, whether he stiffed former contractors. The debate included nothing on immigration (!) border security (!), Benghazi, or the Clinton Foundation. The discussion of Hillary’s e-mails was brief.

One of Clinton’s key strengths of the night was keeping her cool as Trump bulldozed over moderator Lester Holt and brought his traditional relentless, jabbing, unstoppable style. A lot of Trump’s GOP candidates never quite figured out how to deal with this human hurricane who doesn’t care at all about time limits, what question he was asked, interrupting the opponent, and so on. Then again, none of Trump’s primary rivals had the advantage of a one-on-one matchup.

Trump started better than he finished; he may be in better shape if the audience size declined over the course of the night. But on issue after issue, it was one missed opportunity after another.

It’s a shame Lester Holt couldn’t be there this evening; a lot of people wondered how he would perform as moderator… oh, he was there? I suppose he just forgot about the no-applause, no-cheering rule as the night wore on.

If this doesn’t reverse the polls for Hillary Clinton, what can?


Article Link To The National Review:

The First Debate Proved What We Knew: Trump Is A Monster

Why the Clinton-Trump clashes won't fundamentally change the nature of the 2016 election.


By Brian Beutler
The New Republic
September 27, 2016

Monday night’s first presidential debate saw Donald Trump essentially admit that he’s paid no federal income tax recently (“that makes me smart ... it would be squandered anyway”), repeat discredited lies about the origins of his birther obsession, and refuse to apologize to those offended by his racism, saying he was proud of making President Barack Obama produce his birth certificate.

Trump also boasted about stiffing small companies that helped him build his commercial properties. He rambled incoherently through lengthy segments of the debate, and interrupted Hillary Clinton over and over again—displaying an impetuousness Clinton seemed happy for him to broadcast to tens of millions of viewers.

Clinton’s opponents, meanwhile, saw Trump land effective critiques of her use of a private email server during her four-year stint as secretary of state, and for affecting little change over a 30-year career in politics.

To me, it was no contest. It is difficult for me to see how Trump’s performance could be viewed as having cleared even an arbitrarily low “expectations” bar any pundit might set.

But as explosive and difficult to assess as these moments were, it should in no way alter our sense of the stakes of the election, or how unusual and dangerous they are. It would be shocking, in fact, if a 90-minute debate, under the circumstances we face, was able to change the fundamental character of this fundamentally unique campaign.

The importance of debates has always been overstated; the tension and pageantry surrounding these events, while real and palpable, come to occupy more space in the imaginations of journalists than in the decision-making processes of most voters.

As politics has polarized, this has become even more true. Campaigns are more acrimonious; election stakes increase; but voters are so sorted that the likelihood that a debate will change many minds has gone down.

This election epitomizes that trend. That a major party nominated Trump for the presidency is a political debacle of historic proportions. Trump’s methodical destruction of the norms and courtesies that have defined and hemmed in past presidential campaigns has added an element of unpredictability to events, like debates, that are generally formulaic and subdued.

But while Trump has introduced a kind of volatility that makes for exciting television, it is that very volatility that makes the Clinton-Trump debates vestigial, and Monday night’s event was no exception.

Trump’s erratic behavior—his thin skin, his racism, his dishonesty, his unpredictability—has reduced the valence of familiar left-right ideological disputes and replaced them with a more fundamental question of what American political leadership should look like. Questions that basic don’t lend themselves to being settled through political debate.

This seems obvious by way of contrast with presidential debates in recent elections. By 2012, for instance, polarization was already a defining quality of U.S. politics. But we were also in the midst of a slow, grinding economic recovery from a catastrophic recession. In a debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney about what federal policies would best help struggling people, it was possible to imagine a segment of the electorate disinclined to vote for Republicans taking a flyer on replacing Obama.

Indeed, by some indications, after the first debate in 2012, Romney pulled ahead of Obama, before time and subsequent debates restored the status quo ante.

That is not the case this election. This year, as evinced by the ancillary role policy has played in the campaign so far, voters won’t be rendering a verdict on what they want the government to do, but what kind of government they want to have.

The point was expressed pithily (in a way) by one of Trump’s top surrogates, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich:

"Clinton is a fox who knows many things you can fact check. Trump is a hedgehog who knows one very big thing: We need change."

This is, unsurprisingly, not how I would put it. But take the pro-Trump gloss off of it, and it is basically right. Ridiculous, dishonest things tumble out of Trump’s mouth at an astonishing rate, and if you were to fact check every one of them—as many outlets did on Monday night—you’d miss all of the other horrifying things in Trump’s record that would drive a candidate in a more normal election out of the race. But he does represent dramatic change of a kind, and that’s enough to make his supporters overlook or ignore his myriad shortcomings. Whether they’re drawn to his appeals to white grievance or his disparagement of the political establishment—or whether they’re just dyed-in-the-wool Republican voters—Trump’s supporters want (or can accept) something very different than what they’ve been offered in any recent election.

That’s not to say this debate and subsequent ones won’t have a noticeable impact on polls, or even a decisive impact on the election. It has happened on occasion in the past. If Trump can outperform Clinton in surveys that gauge trustworthiness, he can feasibly convince people who aren’t normally inclined to support racist demagogues that he’s neither of those things, even if, as it seems, he failed to do so on Monday night.

But as media events—news-making moments that help reporters, opinion makers and others understand this election, and what the public needs to know about it—presidential debates have never served less of a purpose. Debates can’t erase the fact that Trump is a hair-trigger racist who has appealed to white racism for the entirety of his campaign, they can’t change the fact that he lacks basic command of policy issues, and they can’t turn Clinton from a seasoned political operator who’s intimately familiar with the federal bureaucracy into an outsider willing to gore sacred cows. A decent debate this cycle can be judged by the extent to which they reinforce these basic truths, as Monday’s debate did.

It would be alarming, in a way, if candidates as different but well known as these managed to convince large numbers of people they’ve been completely misjudged. It would likewise be very strange for a critical mass of voters to decide enormous questions of national character on the basis of the kinds of debate theater criticisms journalists typically make. Debates can be useful forums for broadcasting visions of national character, but in this case the differences between candidates and visions are so stark that debates will serve less to win arguments than to move message and reinforce existing or forming perceptions.

That’s why Clinton baited Trump into showcasing his racism, sexism, and distemper, and Trump insisted (ridiculously in my view) that his judgment and toughness made him a better fit for the presidency than her, but major issues like immigration and health care went entirely unmentioned. If after this debate millions of previously undecided people walk away with the impression that Trump is fit to be president, or an empathic and tolerant man, it won’t be because we misjudged him. It’ll be evidence of a catastrophic media failure.


Article Link To The New Republic:

Clinton Gets Under Trump’s Skin

The Republican nominee loses his cool as a composed Clinton hits him on his business record, the Iraq war, and his secret Islamic State plan.


By Shane Goldmacher
Politico
September 27, 2016

A composed Hillary Clinton got under Donald Trump’s skin during their high-stakes showdown on Monday night, with the Republican nominee persistently interrupting Clinton as she needled him on his business record, the size of his fortune and his relationship with the truth.

“You know, Donald was very fortunate in his life and that's all to his benefit. He started his business with $14 million, borrowed from his father, and he really believes that the more you help wealthy people, the better off we'll be and that everything will work out from there,” Clinton said in her opening blow, as she worked throughout the night to paint him as a crass billionaire who has stomped on everyday Americans.

“My father gave me a very small loan in 1975 and I built it into a company that's worth many, many billions of dollars with some of the greatest assets in the world, and I say that only because that's the kind of thinking our country needs,” Trump shot back.

The much-hyped debate opened up with niceties, with a friendly handshake at Hofstra University and pleasantries, briefly masking the tension of a knife’s edge contest that is well within the margin of error in the most crucial swing states.

But once Clinton taunted Trump on his business record, the billionaire took the bait, and the debate shifted to a rowdy affair.

In an unprecedented moment for presidential politics, the Democratic nominee accused the Republican nominee of racism.

“He has a long record of engaging in racist behavior,” Clinton said, during an exchange on Trump’s years-long questioning of the American citizenship of President Obama.

Trump soon fired back with one of the evening’s most memorable lines. “When you try to act holier than thou it really doesn’t work.”

The exchange was emblematic of a debate not deep on substantive policy differences but full of attacks, with both candidates landing blows that will resonate with their established bases of support.

“I have a feeling that by the end of this evening I am going to be blamed for everything,” Clinton said with a smile.

“Why not?” Trump retorted.

“Just join the debate by saying more crazy things,” Clinton snapped back.

Under sustained attack, Trump did not have a meltdown, however, even as he misrepresented key elements on his record, including citing opposition to the war in Iraq despite the public record, and insisting that Clinton began raising questions of Obama’s citizenship.

Trump was consistent in knocking Clinton as a predictable, talking-point driven, lifelong politician.

“Typical politician. All talk. No action. Sounds good. Doesn’t work. Never gonna happen,” Trump said in a staccato summation of his debate plan.

The sniping continued as the two candidates clashed on everything from climate change to the economy to ISIS to Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns.

“At least I have a plan to fight ISIS,” Clinton said.

“No wonder you've been fighting ISIS your entire adult life,” Trump shot back about a group that has only existed for a few years.

Clinton set the early terms of debate with both prepared lines and clear plans to goad Trump into uncomfortable territory, accusing him of rooting for the housing collapse in 2008, suggesting he isn’t as rich as he claims, and saying he’d made his money by taking a big loan from his father.

When Clinton hit Trump for “Trumped-up trickle-down” economics, Trump dismissed her detailed economic plans.

One of the longest exchanges came not on tax policy — but Trump’s refusal to release his taxes, breaking decades of precedent for presidential candidates.

Trump got a rise out of the audience – against the debate’s ground rules of silence from the crowd -- by pledging to release his tax returns if Clinton releases all of the emails her staff deleted from the private email server she used as secretary of state.

“I will release my tax returns, against my lawyer's wishes, when she releases her 33,000 e-mails that have been deleted,” Trump declared.

“So it's negotiable?” moderator Lester Holt asked, with Trump shooting back, “It's not negotiable, no.”

Clinton tried to turn the attack on her private email use back on Trump, who had previously said he wouldn’t release his tax returns until a routine audit is completed.

“I think you've just seen another example of bait and switch here. For 40 years, everyone running for president has released their tax returns,” Clinton said.

“First, maybe he's not as rich as he says he is,” she said, detailing her theories about why he’s been reluctant to disclose his returns. “Second, maybe he's not as charitable as he claims to be. Third, we don't know all of his business dealings but we have been told, through investigative reporting, that he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks. Or maybe he doesn't want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he's paid nothing in federal taxes.”

The former secretary of state, often appearing relaxed as Trump scowled and tried to jump in during her answers, also accused Trump of rooting for the housing collapse of 2008.

“Donald was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis,” she said.

“That’s called business,” Trump tried to jump in.

Clinton plowed ahead, talking about the millions of people who lost their jobs and homes, and her plan to rebuild the economy.

She also got under his skin early on, saying he’d started his own businesses with a $14 million loan from his father. Trump took the bait. “My father gave me a very small loan in 1974,” he said.

Clinton keep digging in, saying “Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it's real.”

“I did not say that,” Trump countered. “I did not say that.”

Trump and Clinton faced two fundamentally different questions heading into Monday night. For Trump: Could the celebrity candidate best known only a few short years ago as the star of “The Apprentice” demonstrate the gravitas necessary for voters to envision him in the Oval Office? For Clinton: Could a woman who has been in the public spotlight for more than two decades — as first lady, senator and secretary of state — ease the electorate’s lingering questions about her trustworthiness?

Clinton’s campaign prepared for two different Trumps to show up at Hofstra, her aides said ahead of the debate. The first was the insult-throwing bombastic showman who rampaged through Republican primaries. The second was the more controlled and sober candidate who has appeared on the campaign trail of late, someone who might even make a magnanimous gesture toward Clinton on the debate stage.

The tension between the two Trumps was visible throughout the debate.


Article Link To Politico:

Presidential Candidates Neck And Neck As They Go Toe-To-Toe

By John Whitesides and Steve Holland
Reuters
September 26, 2016

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump will seek to win over undecided voters on Monday in their first, high-stakes presidential debate, which could rank as one of the most watched and highly anticipated political showdowns in U.S. history.

The tight race for the White House and the unpredictable clash in styles between two well-known but polarizing opponents has generated wide interest in the potentially pivotal debate, which comes six weeks before the Nov. 8 election after a campaign that has stretched over more than a year.

The gap between the two candidates in recent national opinion polls has narrowed in the past week, with the latest Reuters/Ipsos polling showing Clinton ahead by 4 percentage points, with 41 percent of likely voters.

The debate could help swing undecided and independent voters who have yet to make up their mind about either candidate.

Clinton recently pulled ahead of Trump in the crucial battleground state of Florida, according to the Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project released on Monday. If the election were held today, Clinton would defeat Trump, with an 88 percent chance of reaching the 270 electoral college votes needed, according to the project, which is based on a weekly online tracking poll of more than 15,000 Americans.

The debate will be the first time Clinton and Trump go toe-to-toe, and the size of the television-viewing audience is expected to challenge the record of 80 million Americans who watched 1980's encounter between Democratic President Jimmy Carter and Republican Ronald Reagan. Some commentators forecast Super Bowl-sized viewership of about 100 million.

Unlike the single-party debates held during the Republican and Democratic nominating campaigns, the audience will be asked to remain silent and not applaud or respond to the candidates' answers. The debate will be divided into six 15-minute segments.

Clinton won a coin toss and chose to take the first question. She will have two minutes to answer, after which Trump will be given equal time. Trump will then be given the first question at the beginning of the next segment.

The 90-minute debate will begin at 9 p.m. (0100 GMT on Tuesday) at Hofstra University on New York state's Long Island. It is the first of three planned presidential debates.

Market Jitters


With the contest tightening and the looming debate putting it in stark relief, Wall Street investor jitters increased on Monday, contributing to stocks' fall. Some investors see the close race sparking volatility in certain sectors, including health insurers, drugmakers and industrials.

Both Trump and Clinton, who polls show are the least liked White House candidates in modern history, hope to use the debate to erase lingering voter doubts and address campaign-trail weaknesses.

The volatile Trump, a New York businessman and former reality television star, will get an opportunity to show a depth and steadiness worthy of a commander in chief, while the cautious Clinton will be able to try to connect directly with voters who do not trust her, strategists said.

But Trump, a political newcomer who has often shown more affinity for put-downs than policy, could benefit from lower expectations from voters.

"There is no question it's a lower bar for Trump," said Dan Schnur, a former Republican strategist and now a political scientist at the University of Southern California. "He doesn't have to be brilliant, he just can't be too bombastic."

The stakes are enormous. Clinton once had a sizable lead, but that has evaporated amid more questions about her family's foundation and use of a private email server while secretary of state under President Barack Obama.

A second Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday showed half of America's likely voters would rely on the debates to help them make their choice. More than half, 61 percent, were hoping for a civil debate and were not interested in the bitterness shown on the campaign trail.

Two other candidates in the election - Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein - were not invited to participate in the debate because neither had obtained at least 15 percent support in national polls, the threshold established to qualify.

Grudge Match


Clinton, 68, and Trump, 70, have regularly exchanged sharp insults, raising the prospect of a fiery grudge match. Trump frequently refers to Clinton as "Crooked Hillary" and has called for her jailing for the email controversy. Clinton condemns Trump as temperamentally unfit for the White House.

Trump dominated the crowded Republican debates with rapid-fire attacks on his rivals but has no experience in a one-on-one debate setting that requires more prolonged discussion of issues.

Clinton has participated in many one-on-one debates on the national stage: with Obama during her unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign and with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic nominating race earlier this year.

Clinton's camp has done its best to raise the bar for Trump, and in television interviews on Monday both campaigns tried to frame expectations.

"What we don't want to have is some sort of double standard where Donald Trump can get the most-improved award, but Hillary Clinton ... is getting judged on the fine points of policy," Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told NBC News, calling Trump "an entertainer."

Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said Clinton's vast experience was unlikely to translate onto the debate stage, where Trump held an advantage.

"He's not going to be robotic and scripted," she said separately on NBC.

The role of moderator Lester Holt of NBC News also has come under scrutiny before the debate, with the Clinton campaign and her Democratic supporters urging him to correct Trump if he makes false claims.

Trump also has tried to influence Holt and the moderators of the other showdowns with Clinton, saying the candidates should be the ones to correct the record.

But in a year when outsiders like Trump and Sanders have made a mark, Trump's best argument could be that he is a better agent of change than Clinton, said Scott Reed, a veteran Republican operative who is now chief strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

"He's got to draw the contrast between Trump as the candidate of change and Clinton as the candidate of more of the same," Reed said.


Article Link To Reuters:

Monday, September 26, Night Wall Street Roundup: Wall St. Drops As Investors Brace For Presidential Debate

By Noel Randewich
Reuters
September 26, 2016

Wall Street fell on Monday as Deutsche Bank weighed on financials and investors hunkered down for the first debate between U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Big banks led the declines as investors worried that Deutsche Bank might need to add additional capital to pay for a$14 billion U.S. demand to settle claims it mis sold mortgage-backed securities.

Its U.S.-listed shares fell 7.06 percent to a record low after the bank said it had no need for German government assistance, a response to an earlier report that Chancellor Angela Merkel had warned not to expect any.

The race for the White House has so far had little discernible effect on the sentiment but that may change if Monday's encounter leaves a decisive winner.

With just over six weeks until the Nov. 8 vote, some investors see the neck-and-neck contest sparking volatility in sectors including health insurers, drugmakers and industrials.

"Wall Street favors Hillary at this point because she is a known commodity. Trump is a wild card," said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa. "But I don't think it's too late for Wall Street to warm up to Trump."

Pfizer Inc fell 1.81 percent after it decided against splitting into two. The stock was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 healthcare index, which declined 1.22 percent.

The Nasdaq biotechnology index dipped 1.3 percent, with cancer drugmaker Celgene Corp falling 2.85 percent.

Many view a potential Clinton presidency as negative for pharmaceutical companies because of criticisms she has made about high drug prices. Trump has promised to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which has boosted health insurers since 2010.

The S&P financial index fell 1.5 percent, with JPMorgan's 2.19 percent decline and Bank of America Corp's 2.77 percent slide weighing most. The S&P 500 bank index dropped 2.24 percent, its steepest drop since July 5 in the wake of the Brexit vote.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 0.91 percent to end at 18,094.83 points and the S&P 500 lost 0.86 percent to 2,146.1.

The Nasdaq Composite lost 0.91 percent to finish at 5,257.49.

It was the second consecutive day of declines on Wall Street, leaving the S&P 500 2 percent below its record high set in May but still up 5 percent in 2016.

"Investors are acting extremely nervous with regards to the debate ... and it highlights the fact that the markets are not focusing on the health of the economy, interest rates and geopolitical events," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth.

The CBOE Market Volatility index, also known as Wall Street's "fear gauge", rose 17.9 percent, clocking its biggest percentage gain in two weeks.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.56-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.16-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted two new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 63 new highs and 31 new lows.

About 5.9 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, short of the 6.8 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.


The Questions That Clinton And Trump Should Be Asked

By Albert R. Hunt
The Bloomberg View
September 26, 2016

The U.S. is still fighting a war in Afghanistan and has troops in Iraq, the Iranian nuclear deal remains controversial, the Islamic State is weakened but continues to be threatening, North Korea is launching missiles, Russia flaunts international norms and China has expansionary designs.

It's a dangerous world. Yet in the U.S. presidential election the foreign policy debate chiefly involves insults and cliches. None of these issues will disappear by Inauguration Day; the press and public should pressure Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to better define their views over the next six weeks.

Based on suggestions from six top national security experts, Republicans and Democrats, here are some questions that should be answered.

Let's start with Clinton. She is more of a foreign policy hawk than President Barack Obama. She voted for the Iraq War in 2003, spearheaded the 2011 Libyan intervention and unsuccessfully tried to get the U.S. more involved in the Syrian civil war.

Question: Libya is now a dysfunctional terrorist haven; Obama says the worst mistake of his presidency was failing to prepare for what happened after toppling Moammar Qaddafi. Do you disagree with the president, were you mistaken, and what have you learned?

Question: How likely is it that all the parties in the Syrian crisis -- the U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey --could cut a delicate deal: Bashar al-Assad remains in power for a while, then a transition government prepares for elections? If not, what other path is there for resolution?

As secretary of state, Clinton said the the Trans-Pacific Partnership was the "gold standard" for trade deals and would bolster U.S. security and economic interests in Asia. As a presidential candidate, facing the anti-free trade Bernie Sanders, she flipped.

Question: Most of America's important allies in Asia say the TPP is crucial to counter Chinese political and economic hegemony in the region. Why are they wrong?

For Trump:

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is the alliance between the U.S. and 27 countries, including the three Baltic states: Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Article 5 of its charter explicitly states that an attack on one member should be considered an attack on all.

Question: You have praised President Vladimir Putin, vowing to fashion better relations with Russia. But if, as he did in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, Putin intervened militarily in one of the Baltic states, would you favor invoking NATO's Article 5 and sending forces to counter Russia?

Question: Explain your concept of nuclear deterrence and how your willingness to have Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia acquire nuclear weapons enhance global security?

In the 1968 election, candidate Richard Nixon claimed to have a "secret plan" to end the Vietnam War. He won the election and the war lasted six more years, with more than 21,000 Americans killed.

Question: Secret plans usually are secret because they aren't real. You have claimed to have a "fool-proof " plan to defeat the Islamic State. Unless you specifically lay out a plan, that promise is as empty as Nixon's secret plan for Vietnam plan. How would you eliminate the Islamic State and how quickly?

Question to both candidates: Since Jimmy Carter's Camp David summit, five different presidents have failed to make much progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What would you do differently, or should the U.S. stay out?

Question to both candidates: Top national security advisers are central to a president's conduct of policy: Nixon had Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter had Zbigniew Brzezinski and George H.W. Bush had Brent Scowcroft. Could you name a few of your most important foreign policy advisers?

The stilted format makes it unlikely that a whole lot of information will be forthcoming at Monday night's much hyped debate. But these questions should be pursued vigorously over the next 43 days.


Article Link To The Bloomberg View:

A Millennial’s ObamaCare Lament

The White House needs more young people to subsidize the program, but its policies simply aren’t affordable.


By David Barnes
The Wall Street Journal
September 26, 2016

ObamaCare won’t work without young Americans like me, and the Obama administration knows it. That’s why the president is holding a Millennial Outreach and Engagement Summit focused on the Affordable Care Act at the White House on Tuesday. But no matter what the president says, many young Americans simply aren’t buying what he’s selling—mainly because we can’t afford it.

The administration has targeted my generation to sign up for ObamaCare for one reason: We’re healthy. The health-insurance companies selling plans on the law’s exchanges need us to pay a pretty penny in premiums without using much medical care. We’re supposed to subsidize the system so that it stays afloat. That was the plan, anyway. It fell apart when we didn’t sign up in droves like the White House expected.

Since ObamaCare’s implementation three years ago, the percentage of enrollees under 34 has remained steady every year at about 28%. According to the Census, some 16% of Americans between 25 and 34 have opted to remain uninsured, which is 71% higher than the uninsured rate for 45- to 65-year-olds.

But without our premiums, health insurers can’t turn the profit they were counting on. Their only options are to raise premiums on everyone else or abandon the ObamaCare exchanges. That’s why premiums are skyrocketing almost everywhere and why more than 40 insurers have abandoned the law in the past two years.

Hence the White House’s new sense of urgency to sign us up. Tuesday’s summit is supposed to kick off this campaign. The goal, as Mr. Obama recently explained in a letter to health insurers, is “to enroll more youth in the Marketplace” this fall. The administration is also taking its message to social media—using the condescending hashtag #HealthyAdulting—and pandering to us by signing up private companies and celebrities to push its message.

Then there’s the administration’s June announcement that it would use confidential taxpayer information to target young Americans who haven’t signed up. The details haven’t been released, but it’s hard to see how this doesn’t cross an ethical line. Our personal information at the Internal Revenue Service is supposed to be private.

Either way, the White House is doomed to fail. Young Americans are avoiding ObamaCare because it isn’t a good deal for us.

Last week I visited Healthcare.gov to scout out the most-affordable health-insurance plans I could buy for next year. In Arlington, Va., where I live and work, the cheapest option is $200 a month with a $6,850 deductible. Across the Potomac in D.C., the premiums are slightly cheaper but the deductible is still sky-high.

My experience isn’t unique. ObamaCare is plainly unaffordable for many young Americans. We’re at the start of our careers—and the bottom of the income ladder—so paying so much for something we likely won’t use makes little sense. The IRS penalty of $695 or 2.5% of our income is often cheap by comparison. We may be young, but we can do the math.

Nothing the White House says at the summit on Tuesday can change this reality. Young Americans aren’t looking for “outreach” and “engagement” from President Obama. We’re looking for affordable health-insurance plans—and ObamaCare doesn’t offer them.


Article Link To The Wall Street Journal:

The ‘Clean Power’ Putsch

A watershed case about democratic consent and the separation of powers.


By Review & Outlook
The Wall Street Journal
September 26, 2016

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments Tuesday in a challenge to President Obama’s use of unilateral federal and executive power to impose his climate agenda. The case is a watershed for the Constitution’s separation of powers that will echo well beyond this Administration.

In the name of reducing carbon emissions, the Environmental Protection Agency’s so-called Clean Power Plan, or CPP, requires states to reorganize their energy economies across electric plants, energy-intensive industries and even households. In February the Supreme Court stayed enforcement of the CPP—an extraordinary rebuke—after some 28 states sued, arguing the plan usurps their authority under the Constitution.

The EPA asserted such authority under a brief and heretofore inconsequential backwater of the 1970 Clean Air Act known as section 111(d). No one who supported that law voted to, and the statutory text does not, empower the EPA to address climate change. But the CPP requires the states to carry out federal policy instructions even if they refuse to submit their own compliance plans.

In the American system of cooperative federalism, the federal government is supreme and can pre-empt state laws, and it often does. The EPA has the power, for example, to impose efficiency improvements or air-quality standards on existing power plants. But with the CPP it is stretching this power to unprecedented levels and commandeering state resources.

At the heart of cooperative federalism is the right of refusal—states must retain the power to opt out of any federal scheme. If that scheme is grounded in a law passed by Congress, the feds can take over and regulate themselves. In this case the EPA has no authority to do anything of the kind.

Even if the CPP explicitly banned coal-fired power, the EPA cannot mandate that states switch to solar panels and wind turbines. The agency can destroy but it cannot create. Here the EPA is expecting that states will undertake the extensive and costly preparation and regulation to compensate for lost carbon power because they have no other choice to keep the lights on. The EPA is happy to let states take responsibility for problems the EPA is creating.

The Supreme Court has often policed and struck down such commandeering. In 1992’s New York v. United States, the High Court invalidated a command to states related to low-level radioactive waste, while 1997’s Printz v. United States overturned a provision on background checks for gun purchasers. As recently as the ObamaCare cases of 2012, the Court ruled that the law’s Medicaid expansion was an unconstitutionally coercive “gun to the head” and gave states the right to opt out.

The CPP is far more bullying than any of these examples. Redesigning state-based energy systems to replace fossil fuels is a capital-intensive and decades-long transition, to the extent it is possible. It requires power-plant retirements and upgrades, restructuring transmission lines, building new natural-gas pipelines. States must avoid blackouts and service disruptions to protect public safety and the economy. ( David Rivkin and Andrew Grossman have more legal details nearby.)

The EPA says the CPP is run-of-the-mill pollution regulation, but Mr. Obama held an East Room ceremony calling it historic and the rule is the heart of the U.S. commitment to the Paris climate accord. Both claims can’t be true. The EPA also claims the CPP “shows a deep respect for states’ sovereignty by giving them the opportunity to design an emissions-reduction plan that makes sense for their citizens.” In other words, as long as they are willing to suffer, they can suffer in their own way.

Climate change has become religious faith on the left, and Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats have packed the D.C. Circuit with liberals precisely to bounce cases like this one. The court is hearing West Virginia v. EPA en banc because of its extraordinary importance, and the 10-member panel is stocked with more liberals than conservatives. But liberal judges who care about the rule of law should also worry about the danger to the constitutional order and democratic consent from the EPA’s breathtaking power grab.


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U.S., Russia Trade Blows Over Syria As Warplanes Pound Aleppo

By Michelle Nichols and Suleiman Al-Khalidi 
Reuters
September 26, 2016

The United States accused Russia of "barbarism" in Syria on Sunday as warplanes supporting Syrian government forces pounded Aleppo and Moscow said ending the civil war was almost "impossible".

A diplomatic solution to the fighting looked unlikely as U.S. and Russian diplomats disagreed at a U.N. Security Council meeting called to discuss the violence, which has escalated since a ceasefire collapsed last week.

Rebels, who are battling President Bashar al-Assad's forces for control of Aleppo, said any peace process would be futile unless the "scorched earth bombing" stopped immediately.

Capturing the rebel-held half of Syria's largest city, where more than 250,000 civilians are trapped, would be the biggest victory of the civil war for Assad's forces.

They have achieved their strongest position in years thanks to Russian and Iranian support and launched a fresh offensive for a decisive battlefield victory on Thursday. Residents and rebels say thousands have been killed in the new strikes.

"What Russia is sponsoring and doing is not counter terrorism, it is barbarism," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, told the 15-member council.

"Instead of pursuing peace, Russia and Assad make war. Instead of helping get lifesaving aid to civilians, Russia and Assad are bombing the humanitarian convoys, hospitals, and first responders who are trying desperately to keep people alive."

The French and British foreign ministers also took aim at Russia, saying it could be guilty of war crimes.

But Russia defended its position.

"In Syria hundreds of armed groups are being armed, the territory of the country is being bombed indiscriminately and bringing a peace is almost an impossible task now because of this," Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the council.

Scorched Earth

In the first major advance of the new offensive, Syrian forces seized control of the Handarat Palestinian refugee camp, north of Aleppo.

Rebels counter attacked and said on Sunday they had retaken the camp before the bombing started.

"We retook the camp, but the regime burnt it with phosphorous bombs," said Abu al-Hassanien, a commander in a rebel operations room that includes the main brigades fighting to repel the army assault.

The army, which is also being helped by Iranian-backed militias, Lebanon's Shi'ite Hezbollah militant group and a Palestinian militia, acknowledged rebels had retaken Handarat.

"The Syrian army is targeting the armed groups' positions in Handarat camp," a military source was quoted on state media as saying.

Planes continued to pound residential areas on Sunday, flattening buildings, rebels and residents said.

"The Assad regime and with direct participation of its ally Russia and Iranian militias has escalated its criminal and vicious attack on our people in Aleppo employing a scorched earth policy to destroy the city and uproot its people," a statement signed by 30 mainstream rebel groups said on Sunday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said at least 45 people, among them 10 children, were killed in eastern Aleppo on Saturday.

The army says it is targeting only militants.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the civil war and 11 million driven from their homes.

Diplomatic Efforts

Russia and the United States agreed on Sept. 9 a deal to put the peace process back on track. It included a nationwide truce and improved humanitarian aid access but it collapsed when an aid convoy was bombed killing some 20 people.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who hammered out the truce in months of intensive diplomacy, pleaded with Russia to halt air strikes.

U.N. Syria mediator Staffan de Mistura appealed to the Council meeting to come up with a way to enforce a ceasefire.

"I am still convinced that we can turn the course of events," he said, adding that he would not quit trying to bring peace in Syria.

However, Russia is one of five veto powers on the council, along with the United States, France, Britain and China. Russia and China have protected Assad's government by blocking several attempts at council action.

China's U.N. envoy Liu Jieyi repeated a call for all sides to work harder to help find a political solution but also said counter-terrorism was a "very important component" to a resolution, state news agency Xinhua said.

"The Syrian conflict has led to the rise and spread of terrorism; without rooting out terrorism, there will be no peace for the Syrian people, and there will be no security for regional countries," Liu said.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Russia was guilty of prolonging the war in Syria and may have committed war crimes by targeting an aid convoy.

"We should be looking at whether or not that targeting is done in the knowledge that those are wholly innocent civilian targets, that is a war crime," he said in a BBC interview aired on Sunday.

The rebels said they could not accept Russia as a sponsor of any new peace initiative "because it was a partner with the regime in its crimes against our people".

It said Russian-backed Syrian forces were using napalm and chemical weapons without censure from the international community.

U.N. investigators are looking into the alleged use of the incendiary weapons phosphorus and napalm in several cities.

The war has ground on for nearly six years, drawing in world powers and regional states. Islamic State - the enemy of every other party to the conflict - has seized swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq.

World powers appeared to believe that neither Assad nor his opponents were capable of decisive victory on the battlefield.

But Russia's apparent decision to abandon the latest peace process could signal it now thinks that victory is in reach, at least in the western cities where the majority of Syrians live.

Assad's fortunes improved a year ago when Russia joined the war on his side. Since then, Washington has worked hard to negotiate peace with Moscow, producing two ceasefires. But both proved short-lived, with Assad showing no sign of compromise.

Outside Aleppo, anti-Assad fighters have been driven mostly into rural areas. Nevertheless, they remain a potent fighting force, which they demonstrated with an advance of their own on Saturday.


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Squeezing North Korea: Old Friends Take Steps To Isolate Regime

By Ju-min Park and Tony Munroe
Reuters
September 26, 2016

From kicking out North Korean workers and ending visa-free travel for its citizens, to stripping flags of convenience from its ships, Cold War-era allies from Poland to Mongolia are taking measures to squeeze the isolated country.

More such moves, with prodding from South Korea and the United States, are expected after North Korea recently defied U.N. resolutions to conduct its fifth nuclear test.

North Korea's limited global links leave most countries with few targets for penalizing the regime on their own.

Mounting sanctions over the years have made Pyongyang more adept at evasion and finding alternative sources for procurement, a recent paper by experts at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found.

Nonetheless, South Korea has been especially active in pushing the North's allies for unilateral action in hopes of reining in Pyongyang's arms program.

"If long-standing friends of North Korea continue to publicly curb their ties with the country, Pyongyang will have fewer places overseas where its illicit networks can operate unhindered or with political cover from the host capital," said Andrea Berger, deputy director of the proliferation and nuclear policy program at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

South Korean officials have declined to say whether they have made inducements to countries to punish North Korea.

"Presumably in the course of that diplomatic interaction it is also being made clear to Pyongyang's partners that deeper trade ties with economies like South Korea will not be fully realizable" without taking steps against North Korea, Berger said.

Angola, for one, has suspended all commercial trade with Pyongyang, banning North Korean companies from operating there since the U.N. toughened sanctions in March, a South Korean foreign ministry official told Reuters recently.

Angola was suspected of buying military equipment in 2011 from North Korea's Green Pine Associated Corp, which is under U.N. sanction, according to a 2016 U.N. report. North Korea had also cooperated with Angola in health care, IT and construction, South Korea's embassy there said in December.

Angolan officials did not respond to requests for comment, but the country told the U.N. in July it had not imported any light weapons from North Korea in recent years.

North Korea's export of cheap labor has also been targeted.

Earlier this year, Washington urged countries to curb the use of North Korean workers, who number roughly 50,000 and generate between $1.2 billion and $2.3 billion annually for Pyongyang, according to a 2015 U.N. report.

Poland, which hosted as many as 800 North Korean workers, according to some estimates, this year stopped renewing visas, as did Malta.

Travel restrictions have also increased, with Ukraine recently revoking a Soviet-era deal that allowed visa-free visits for North Koreans.

Singapore, which has been a hub for North Korea-linked trade, will require visitors from the country to apply for visas starting next month, its immigration authority said in July.

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The vast majority of North Korea's trade is with China, and experts warn sanctions will have limited impact without Beijing's backing. China condemns Pyongyang's nuclear program but is also its chief ally and is unwilling to pressure leader Kim Jong Un's regime too far, fearing a collapse that would destabilize the entire region. That means agreeing significantly tightened U.N. sanctions could be difficult.

Some of the most tangible results of recent efforts to isolate North Korea have seen countries ban its ships from their registries. North Korean-owned vessels are suspected of using other flags to camouflage the movement of illicit cargo.

Landlocked Mongolia, which is among Pyongyang's steadiest allies but also has close ties with Seoul, canceled the registrations of all 14 North Korean vessels flying its flag, according to a report it submitted to the U.N. in July, even though sanctions compelled it to act on just one of them.

Cambodia, once the most popular flag of convenience for North Korea, ended its registry scheme for all foreign ships in August, although it did not single out North Korea.

The flags of 69 North Korean ships, none of them on a U.N. blacklist, have been de-registered since the U.N. tightened sanctions in March, South Korea's foreign minister said last month. The North's merchant fleet is estimated by the U.N. at roughly 240 vessels.

Still, one-off measures by various countries mean Pyongyang can simply shift its business elsewhere - a shortcoming of unilateral actions in general.

China and Russia employ the bulk of North Korean workers and have publicly shown no inclination to halt the practice.

This month, North Korea opened an embassy in the Belarusian capital Minsk, bringing to 54 the number of its diplomatic missions.

Pyongyang has been known to use diplomatic personnel, several whom have been caught with large amounts of gold or cash, to procure banned equipment or fund illegal activities.

China, experts say, remains the key.

"Rather than being efficient, unilateral actions put psychological pressure on the North," said Chang Yong-seok, a senior researcher at the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University. "But like criminal gangs, North Korea won't cringe much under psychological pressure."


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The Wrong Immigration Debate

By Robert J. Samuelson
The Washington Post
September 26, 2016

The conversation — or argument — we’ve been having on immigration has been remarkably skewed. It’s been all about the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, otherwise known as the “undocumented.” Actually, what counts far more are the estimated 31 million immigrants who are here legally and the roughly 1 million who gain legal entry every year.

Of course, the question of undocumented immigrants is important. As a society, it’s intolerable to have so many people living in a legal twilight zone, often despite years of responsible and law-abiding behavior (two-thirds of illegal immigrantshave been in the United States for 10 years or more, reports the Pew Research Center). Still, one powerful reason for settling this issue — to legalize most of those already here and to suppress new illegal flows, even with a wall — is to move on to larger subjects.

We need an immigration system that gives priority to skilled over unskilled workers, rather than today’s policy that favors family preferences for green cards. This sort of system would promote assimilation (because skilled workers have an easier time integrating into the workforce and society), increase economic growth (because skilled workers have higher “value added” than unskilled labor) and reduce poverty (because many unskilled immigrants have incomes below the government’s poverty line).

Although we can’t easily quantify these benefits, they would promote the greater good for an aging society with a sputtering economy. Anyone who doubts immigration’s pervasive influence should examine a massive report issued last week by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. It’s titled “The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration.” Here are some highlights.

● Immigration is no longer a side issue. From 1995 to 2014, the number of immigrants increased from 24.5 million (9 percent of the population) to 42.3 million (13 percent). When the children of immigrants are added to the total, nearly 1 in 4 Americans is of immigrant stock. Immigrants are increasingly shifting from traditional “gateway” states (California, New York, Florida) into nontraditional states (North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Nevada).

● The number of illegal immigrants has stabilized at about 11 million since 2009. The number of Mexicans illegally in the United States declined from 6.4 million in 2009 to 5.8 million in 2014. Others have taken their place. All these figures represent “net changes” — illegal immigrants entering the United States minus those leaving. Although these flows now roughly balance, they’re still huge, averaging about 300,000 to 400,000 annually.

● Poor immigrants — heavily from Latin America — have increased U.S. poverty. In 2011, the poverty rate (the share of the people below the government’s poverty line) was 35 percent for Mexican immigrants and their children and 22 percent for El Salvadoran immigrants; by contrast, the poverty rate was 11.1 percent for Korean immigrants and their children and 6.2 percent for Indian immigrants. The poverty rate for all native-born Americans was 13.5 percent.

● Immigrants and their children impose costs on government, mainly for local schooling, which the Supreme Court has decreed must be provided for all immigrant children. By contrast, Congress has barred even legal immigrants from receiving some federal benefits. In 2013, the study estimated, immigrants’ costs to government exceeded their taxes by $388 billion, slightly more than 2 percent of gross domestic product.

What justifies immigration if it generates more in government costs than in taxes? The answer is that the benefits of immigration can — and, in this case, do — go beyond taxes. By one estimate, immigrants (including their entrepreneurial activity) have increased the size of the U.S. economy by 11 percent or about $2 trillion. With baby boomers retiring, all the projected growth in the U.S. labor force from 2020 to 2030 stems from immigrants and their children, the study reported.

The gains from immigration would be magnified if we emphasize high-skilled workers. Productivity would be higher, poverty lower. Interestingly, this also would help low-skilled Americans, both natives and recent immigrants. They wouldn’t have to compete against new low-skilled immigrants, who would vie for their jobs and depress wages.

Whether we have the political competence and courage to face these issues candidly is an open question. The study deliberately steered away from policy prescriptions; it was mainly a fact-finding exercise, reflecting (presumably) the subject’s controversial nature.

The presidential campaign offers little ground for optimism. Donald Trump has used immigration as a wedge issue and shows little understanding of the underlying substance. Hillary Clinton seems intent on placating her Hispanic supporters, many of whom surely support family preferences for immigrating legally to the United States.

But the underlying realities will not retreat no matter how much we wish they would. If we cannot maneuver immigration to our advantage, it will almost certainly work to our disadvantage.


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Monday, September 26, Morning Global Market Roundup: Asian Shares Slip, U.S. Presidential Debate Awaited

By Lisa Twaronite 
Reuters
September 26, 2016

Asian shares began the week under a cloud on Monday after losses on Wall Street, and as investors' attention turned from central banks to American politics ahead of the first U.S. presidential debate.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS extended early losses and was down 0.7 percent by midday, while Japan's Nikkei stock index .N225 fell a similar amount as the yen firmed.

Wall Street logged weekly gains but ended with solid losses on Friday. Still, the S&P 500 managed to record its best weekly performance in more than two months after the U.S. Federal Reserve held interest rates steady on Wednesday.

With around six weeks to go before the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election, Reuters/Ipsos polling shows about 20 percent of the electorate remains undecided, far higher at this stage in the campaign than the 12 percent undecided four years ago.

Monday evening's debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton (0100 GMT in Asia on Tuesday) is the first of three debates ahead of the election. It could set U.S. television audience records and will also be watched around the globe.

"There won't likely be any outcome affecting the Japanese market directly, but investors are watching how the currency markets will move. Anything triggering fears for a strong yen trend is negative to stocks," said Takuya Takahashi, a strategist at Daiwa Securities.

Clinton will press Trump to provide more specifics on his policies, two top Clinton campaign aides said. Asian investors in particular will be looking for more comments from both candidates on their critical positions on free trade deals.

"Clinton will be trying to win over Republicans who are disaffected with Trump but yet don't trust her, while Trump will be trying to win over those independents who aren't sure whether he's Presidential material," Marshall Gittler, head of investment research at FXPrimus, said in a note.

The dollar edged down 0.1 percent to 100.92 yen JPY=, moving back toward a one-month low of 100.100 touched last week.

"People are worried about the uncertainty about the election, so for a while, the yen stay around its current level, between 100 and 101 yen, that area," Harumi Taguchi, principal economist at IHS Markit in Tokyo.

The euro inched up slightly to $1.1231 EUR=.

Underpinning the greenback, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said on Friday that he believed U.S. short-term interest rates should be raised now and warned a decline in the jobless rate below its long-run sustainable level could derail economic recovery.

Japanese government bonds were quiet, with the superlong zone modestly weakening.

Investors will also pay more than the usual attention to JGBs this week, after the Bank of Japan announced last week that it is shifting its monetary policy framework to yield curve control, with the aim of pushing down short- to medium-term borrowing costs while allowing for a natural rise in super-long yields.

U.S. crude futures CLc1 added 0.7 percent to $44.81 a barrel, after tumbling 4 percent on Friday on signs Saudi Arabia and arch rival Iran were making little progress in achieving preliminary agreement ahead of this week's meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

For the week, U.S. crude still managed to gain 3 percent. [O/R]

Brent crude LCOc1 rose 0.8 percent to $46.27 a barrel, after shedding 3.7 percent on Friday. For the week, it rose 0.3 percent.


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Oil Prices Rebound After Algeria Says All Options Open At OPEC Meeting

By Keith Wallis
Reuters
September 26, 2016

Crude prices rebounded on Monday after Algeria's energy minister said the day before that all options were possible for an oil output cut or freeze at this week's informal meeting of OPEC producers.

That came after prices tumbled 4 percent on Friday amid signs Saudi Arabia and Iran were making little progress in achieving preliminary agreement to freeze production.

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in Algeria from Sept. 26-28, where they will discuss a possible output-limiting deal.

"We will not come out of the meeting empty-handed," Algerian energy minister Noureddine Bouterfa said in Algiers on Sunday.

A weaker U.S. dollar also supported oil prices.

Brent crude futures had climbed 39 cents to $46.28 a barrel as of 0330 GMT after settling down $1.76, or 3.7 percent, at the previous close. The benchmark advanced 0.3 percent last week.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 32 cents to $44.80 a barrel after falling $1.84, or 4 percent, in the previous session. U.S. crude gained 3 percent last week.

"The fact countries like Algeria are still talking about a deal means it's still on the table regardless of others' views about what might be happening," said Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Sydney's Ayers Alliance.

"I expect Algeria and Venezuela to keep pushing for a deal - it's imperative for them to keep the price up," Barratt said.

Signals have been mixed so far on whether a deal on cutting or freezing production is possible.

Sources told Reuters on Friday that Saudi Arabia did not expect a decision to be made in Algeria, while Saudi Arabia had also offered to reduce production if Iran caps its own output this year, an offer to which Tehran had yet to respond.

"Our base case is that OPEC will meet on Sept. 28 without a formal statement. A nonbinding commitment to stabilize oil markets is possible, but it would likely lack teeth," Morgan Stanley said in a note on Monday.

"Rather, we expect OPEC to note how this meeting lays the foundation for a more constructive and formal discussion at the official November OPEC meeting," the bank added.


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Germany's Lanxess To Buy Chemtura For About $2.12 Billion In Cash

By Ismail Shakil
Reuters
September 26, 2016

Lanxess AG (LXSG.DE) said on Sunday it would buy specialty chemical company Chemtura Corp (CHMT.N) for about $2.12 billion in cash to improve the German company's additives business.

Lanxess's offer of $33.50 for each Chemtura share, represents a premium of about 19 percent to the Philadelphia-based company's close on Friday.

The world's largest synthetic rubber maker will use existing funds and new debt to buy Chemtura in a deal with an enterprise value of about 2.4 billion euros ($2.69 billion), Lanxess said in a statement.

The boards of both companies have unanimously approved the deal, which is expected to close around mid-2017, Chemtura said in a separate statement.

Lanxess also said it will no longer pursue its earlier-announced share buyback of around 200 million euros.

Morgan Stanley advised Chemtura on the deal.


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Majority Of UK CEO's Considering Moving Operations Abroad Post-Brexit

By Kylie MacLellan
Reuters
September 26, 2016

Three-quarters of British company bosses are considering moving operations abroad following the vote to leave the European Union, according to a survey published on Monday.

The KPMG survey of 100 UK chief executives, from companies with revenues between 100 million pounds and 1 billion pounds ($130 million-$1.30 billion), found 86 percent were confident about their company's growth prospects and 69 percent were confident about the British economy's growth prospects over the next three years.

However, 76 percent said they were considering moving either their headquarters or their operations outside Britain because of the June 23 "Brexit" vote.

"CEOs are reacting to the prevailing uncertainty with contingency planning," said Simon Collins, KPMG UK chairman.

"Over half believe the UK's ability to do business will be disrupted once we Brexit and therefore, for many CEOs, it is important that they plan different scenarios to hedge against future disruption."

The June vote has created uncertainty over Britain's future economic and trade relationship with the European Union.

John Nelson, chairman of Lloyd's of London, told Reuters last week that the insurance market would be ready to move some of its business to the EU as soon as Britain invoked Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, which triggers the start of exit from the bloc.

Aides to Prime Minister Theresa May have suggested she hopes to trigger Article 50 early next year, opening the way for up to two years of negotiations.

Asked what would encourage businesses to continue investing in Britain following the Brexit vote, the majority of CEOs surveyed by KPMG ranked certainty over trade terms as the most important.

Only one CEO said a timetable for triggering the formal divorce process and the subsequent exit was the most important factor.

KPMG said 72 percent of the CEOs surveyed had voted to remain in the EU.

The Brexit vote has hit the British currency, with sterling skidding to a five-week low close against the dollar on Friday, but a Reuters poll this month found Britain is expected to narrowly dodge a mild recession that was widely predicted after the referendum.

More than 20 European business associations and companies interviewed by Reuters said they backed their governments' position that Britain's banking sector can only enjoy EU market access post-Brexit if the country still follows the bloc's rules.


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