Ballot Is Expected to Offer Stark Choice on Economy - New York Times

Photo Hillary Clinton at a campaign event in Pittsburgh this month. She emphasizes that most of her economic initiatives are paid for. Credit Eric Thayer for The New York Times The contempt that Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump express for each other will continue to play out in vitriolic sound bites. But their profound differences on what to do about the economy and the struggling middle class are far more important.

This election will be won by whichever candidate convinces middle-class voters they are better for their jobs and future prospects, said Stephen Moore, an economist at the Heritage Foundation and an adviser to Mr. Trump.

Gene B. Sperling, a leading economic official under President Bill Clinton and President Obama, and an adviser to Mrs. Clinton, said, This is about whether economic forces hollow out the middle class or whether those forces strengthen the middle class, creating jobs and higher wages.

As the economy has recovered from the 2008 crisis, the unemployment rate has shrunk to less than half of what it was eight years ago and wages have started to rise. But median average family income, in real dollars, is less than it was 10 years ago.

On the issue voters say is their top concern, the two presumptive nominees offer radically different remedies. Mrs. Clinton goes out of her way to show that most of her initiatives are paid for.

Continue reading the main storyMr. Trump, in defiance of Republican orthodoxy, seems unfazed by debt. He proudly says that borrowing fueled his business ventures and has even suggested that as president, he might try to negotiate down American debt obligations.

Mrs. Clintons agenda includes calls for a higher minimum wage, 12 weeks paid leave for chronically ill workers and parents with a newborn, more funds for job training and education, especially higher education, and a $275 billion infrastructure plan.

She would raise taxes by $1.1 trillion over the next decade, the Tax Policy Center estimates. These raises are mainly aimed at wealthier Americans and include higher capital gains taxes on assets held for longer periods, a larger estate tax for wealthy heirs, and closing some corporate loopholes and advantages enjoyed by hedge fund and private equity executives.

These increases will be offset, however, by a subsequent middle-class tax cut.

Mr. Trump, by contrast, has offered huge tax cuts, which policy experts estimate will cost $9 trillion to $11 trillion over a decade. He also vows to end or soften many federal regulations, which he calls job killers. Look for him to focus on a pro-growth energy policy that his camp calculates would split two of Mrs. Clintons important constituencies: labor and environmentalists.

But the core of Mr. Trumps proposals for job creation involves getting tough on trade by renegotiating previous treaties and imposing heavy duties on imports, particularly from China or Mexico. Although international laws and the need for congressional approval could inhibit such actions, a president does have flexibility to impose some trade sanctions.

In the coming months, each candidate will be pressed to provide more specifics; Mr. Trump has been especially vague.

He has delegated two advocates of supply-side tax cuts to revise his plan to make it less costly. One of them, Mr. Moore of the Heritage Foundation, says the objective is to cut the projected deficit by at least two-thirds, to around $3 trillion over a decade. This, he says, would be achieved primarily by limiting deductions for upper-income taxpayers.

Mr. Sperling suggests that a middle-class tax cut, higher education and a larger infrastructure plan are candidates for expansion by Mrs. Clinton.

Until more specifics are forthcoming, it is difficult to gauge the economic impact of either candidates plans. Several economic analyses, including those by Moodys Analytics and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have estimated that Mr. Trumps plans, primarily because they rely on protectionism, deportation of undocumented workers and debt, would throw the economy into a recession. Mr. Trump rejects that contention and says that he would create growth of 6 percent a year, a level last achieved in 1983.

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Bernie Sanders: Hillary Clinton is not qualified to be president

Last Updated Apr 7, 2016 1:04 AM EDT

On Wednesday night, Bernie Sanders laid into Hillary Clinton with a harsh attack on her qualifications for the presidency.

"I don't believe that she is qualified," Sanders said to a cheering crowd of more than 9,000 people in Philadelphia.

Sanders then listed the reasons behind his assertion that she's unqualified, pointing to her super PAC's acceptance of millions from special interest groups; he attacked her prior support for trade agreements, her vote for the "disastrous" Iraq War and her support of the Panama free trade agreement.

"I don't think you are qualified if you supported the Panama free trade agreement. Something I very strongly opposed and which as all of you know has allowed corporations and wealthy people all over the world to avoid paying their taxes to their countries," Sanders said.

The crowd booed. Sanders also told the audience that he was just responding to Clinton.

"Secretary Clinton seems to be getting a little bit nervous. We have won seven out of the eight recent primaries and caucuses," Sanders said. "She has been saying lately that she thinks that I am quote-unquote 'not qualified to be president.'"

Brian Fallon, Clinton's national press secretary, took to Twitter to combat Sanders' claim.

"Hillary Clinton did not say Bernie Sanders was 'not qualified.' But he has now - absurdly - said it about her. This is a new low," Fallon tweeted.

He then re-tweeted something former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter had put out -- and a hashtag to go with it:

#TakeItBackBernie https://t.co/1IGsMW26OO

Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) April 7, 2016

One Clinton aide went even further in saying "these are not the actions or statements of a confident campaign."

And in an email to supporters, the Clinton campaign said, "This is a ridiculous and irresponsible attack for someone to make -- not just against the person who is almost certainly going to be the nominee of their party this November, but against someone who is one of the most qualified people to run for the presidency in the history of the United States."

Earlier this week, Sanders was criticized for a lack of detail when asked by the New York Daily News editorial board how he would break up the big banks. In that interview, he also said that he would not support allowing victims of a firearms crime to to sue the manufacturer.

During an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Clinton was asked whether Sanders is ready to be president. She declined to address the comment directly, saying that she would "leave it to voters to decide who of us can do the job the country needs." But she added that his NY Daily News interview "raised a lot of serious questions" because, she said, it did not seem as though he understood how to break up banks under Dodd-Frank.

Clinton did not, however, push for her opponent to get out of the race.

"I'm the last person who would tell anybody to walk away from a campaign because I remember very well, and I think you commented on this quite a bit, people telling me not to go to the next contest, not to make my case," Clinton said reflecting on her presidential bid in 2008.

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HVAC Is Easy When You Read This Article - HVAC Contractors In NJ

HVAC Contractors In NJ will help you to acquire your own home working yet again. Maintaining a comfortable living environment at home is essential to feeling happy, and having a poor HVAC system can really make your life miserable. If it too cold or too hot, not only will you incur higher costs, it will make your body feel very uncomfortable. Below you will find many good tips on how to make sure that your HVAC system stays as good as new.

Although most people are thinking of their heating systems during the winter months, air conditioning is also important. When installing a new furnace or heating system, make sure the air ducts are also set up to work with your air condition system. Using the ducts for both cooling and heating is the most economical choice.

Be sure to learn about all of the requirements your state has legislated regarding licencing and insurance if you must hire someone to help you out with your HVAC system. If they meet these requirements before you hire them, you need to be able to ask anyone you plan to hire.



Clean the fan blades and coils on the condenser fan every spring. Shut off the power to ensure that none of the parts will move while you work on it, before you do so. Secondly, pop the grill off, take the blades off and clean them as well as the actual unit.

Or if you can get permission from your landlord, install double-paned windows in place of any single panes in your home, if you are a homeowner. Because the cool air is kept inside the home, having double pane windows allows your air conditioning unit to be run much less during the summer. Your home will also stay warmer in the winter.

Consider installing fans in your home if you want to cool your home in the summer without using your air conditioning on full. An attic fan can blow hot air out while sucking in cool air into your basement, and ceiling fans help distribute the air in your rooms evenly.

When the spring comes and the days begin to warm up, call in a pro to give your HVAC a once over. This will ensure that your air conditioner works as expected all summer long, stopping you from sweating it out when you least expect the system to fail.

If your HVAC system needs to be fixed or needs to be replaced, sometimes, it can be hard to figure out. If your system frequently breaks down, is always turning on or off on its own, or if your bills are too high, it may pay to have it replaced. Otherwise, little things can just be fixed.

The correct HVAC system should have sealed air ducts to minimize heating or cooling loss as air travels to different rooms. The heating or cooling requirements of different rooms in the home should be taken into consideration. There is no reason to increase energy usage by controlling the temperature in rooms that are used very little.

Turn your AC off if no one is at home. If your house will not become extremely hot or cold, you may want to turn your unit off. Leaving your heating or cooling running full blast while you are away is a waste of money and energy.

Use your HVAC system to heat your water for free! In the summer, residual heat pulled out of your house is used to heat water through a geothermal system. This will cool hvac your home while allowing you to save a ton on hot water costs, plus it's environmentally friendly to boot!

An investment in a smart thermostat is truly going to save you money. You can program it to turn off and on at certain temperatures or times, allowing you to ensure that your air conditioner or heater isn't running when it doesn't need to be, saving you a ton.

To reduce the air conditioning's energy cost, close drapes, shades and blinds that cover windows which face the sun. Also, white shades will reflect the heat away from the house, keeping it cooler and saving you money. It is also recommended that you close the vents in rooms that are not used often. This will ensure that you are not spending money cooling less-used rooms.

There is a lot to think about when you install an air conditioner unit. For example, a big unit won't remove humidity while a small unit won't cool enough. Placing it in the wrong place can make it less efficient, and not insulating your home adequately could render it almost useless.

If you feel like you are spending too much money on your heating and cooling, there is a simple way to reduce this cost. Raise or lower the temperature depending on the season. A single degree in temperature change can equate to almost a nine percent savings in cooling and heating costs.

Try testing ducts for leaks if you current HVAC doesn't work that well. Your utility company will usually test the unit for free or for a small fee. When the leaks are repaired, you'll find that the testing paid for itself.

When comparing quotes from multiple contractors, think carefully about those on the bottom of the price list. It's likely they didn't really look into your home deeply. Alternatively, they're making promises they can't keep. Do they offer you a guarantee? Are they insured? Do they have a current licence in your state?

When buying an air conditioner, you want to find out with a SEER rating of 13 or higher. 13 is the minimum standard set by the government, so higher ratings, while not mandatory, are going to offer you better efficiency. SEER ratings can go as high as 19, so keep this in mind as you shop.

Expect an evaluation. Any good HVAC contractor will want to look at your home before proposing any changes or recommending any products. Every home is different and what works for one home may not work well in another. Look elsewhere if a contractor starts trying to sell you on a particular HVAC system without actually seeing your home.

Look for deals on equipment. The equipment you need to update, maintain or repair your HVAC system tends to be expensive. Keep your eyes open for available coupons, store discounts and rebates on this equipment. Stock up on things you always need, like filters, when they are on sale.

Determining the right HVAC service professional to provide repair or replacement work can be tough when a certain amount of know-how is lacking. To really ensure that the best approach is being taken, some advance research is essential. Hopefully the material presented above has fulfilled readers' needs for useful insights in this realm.



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Staggering Stats: There Have Been More Mass Shootings Than Days This Year - NBCNews.com

Despite only accounting for five percent of the global population, an astounding 31 percent of the world's mass shootings occur in the U.S.

That sobering statistic from the University of Alabama Department of Criminal Justice was again brought to the forefront Wednesday, when a couple killed at least 14 people in San Bernardino, California the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. since the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, three years ago.

Even worse: This year, there have been more mass shootings defined as incidents in which four or more victims are shot than days in the calendar year. According to ShootingTracker.com, which tracks deaths by guns in America, the U.S. has seen 355 mass shootings so far in 2015.

Twenty days of 2015 saw four or more mass shootings in a single day.

In the past week, there have been six mass shootings, ShootingTracker.com reports including the shootout at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The San Bernardino massacre was the second one on Wednesday alone: Earlier in the day, four people were shot in Georgia, one of whom died.

And gun sales are going up. There were more gun background checks on this year's Black Friday than any other single day on record: 185,345, according to the FBI. That's up five percent from Black Friday last year, when there were 175,754 background checks.

Image: Image: People who were near the San Bernardino shooting arrive at at a community center to reunite with their family members. Jae C. Hong / AP

There are roughly 300 million firearms in the U.S. enough for every American. Tens of millions of Americans, however, do not own guns.

Fifty times more Americans have been killed by guns than terrorist attacks since 9/11, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Global Terrorism Database says.

The San Bernardino suspects Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, 27 were killed after exchanging gunfire with police more than four hours after the rampage at the Inland Regional Center.

Authorities have not ruled out terrorism as a motive.

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GOP rhetoric on Muslims seen as having little cost - Las Vegas Sun

By Rachel Zoll and Adam Geller, Associated Press

Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015 | 1:59 a.m.

Some leading Republican presidential candidates seem to view Muslims as fair game for increasingly harsh words they might use with more caution against any other group for fear of the political cost. So far, that strategy is winning support from conservatives influential in picking the nominee.

Many Republicans are heartened by strong rhetoric addressing what they view as a threat to national security by Islam itself, analysts say. Because Muslims are a small voting bloc, the candidates see limited fallout from what they are saying in the campaign.

"I think this issue exists on its own island," said Steve Schmidt, a Republican political consultant who ran Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. "It's highly unlikely to cause a political penalty and there is no evidence that it has."

Since the attacks that killed 130 people in Paris, GOP front-runner Donald Trump has said he wants to register all Muslims in the U.S. and surveil American mosques. He has repeated unsubstantiated claims that Muslim-Americans in New Jersey celebrated by the "thousands" when the World Trade Center was destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001.

"Donald Trump is already very well known for being brash and outspoken and is appealing to a group of people a minority of American voters, but a large minority who seem to like that kind of tough talk," said John Green, director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron.

Rival Ben Carson said allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S. would be akin to exposing a neighborhood to a "rabid dog." Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said, "I'd like for Barack Obama to resign if he's not going to protect America and instead protect the image of Islam."

Such statements appeal to Republicans who think Obama and Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former secretary of state, have not done enough to fight jihadis, Green said. The sentiment also plays well for evangelicals concerned about violence directed at Christians in the Middle East and angered about restrictions their missionaries face in predominantly Muslim countries.

"There's a religious undercurrent here, aside from foreign policy issues," Green said.

Other inflammatory rhetoric from the Trump and Carson campaigns has generated far different reactions.

When Trump announced his campaign, he said Mexican immigrants are "bringing crime. They're rapists." He was widely denounced. Polls find Latinos strongly disapprove of his candidacy and his remarks alienated other immigrant groups.

The potency of comments criticizing Muslims was apparent even before recent attacks by extremists in France, Lebanon and Egypt.

Carson's campaign reported strong fundraising and more than 100,000 new Facebook friends in the 24 hours after he told NBC's "Meet the Press" in September, "I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation."

Campaign manager Barry Bennett told The Associated Press, "While the left wing is huffing and puffing over it, Republican primary voters are with us at least 80-20."

"People in Iowa particularly, are like, 'Yeah! We're not going to vote for a Muslim either," Bennett said at the time. "I don't mind the hubbub. It's not hurting us, that's for sure."

According to a 2014 poll by the Pew Research Center, Republicans view Muslims more negatively than they do any other religious group, and significantly worse than do Democrats. A different Pew poll last year found that 82 percent of Republicans were "very concerned" about the rise of Islamic extremism, compared with 51 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independents.

Today, 84 percent of Republicans disapprove of taking in Syrian refugees, most of whom are Muslims, compared with 40 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of independents, according to a Gallup poll released just before Thanksgiving.

In recent years, Americans' attitudes toward Islam and Muslims have been relatively stable following terrorist attacks. But opposition jumped in the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq and around major elections. To Dalia Mogahed, research director for the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and former executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, those are signs that "the public was being manipulated" by politicians with agendas.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, when President George W. Bush visited a Washington mosque and said "Islam is peace," public opinion of the faith actually improved, she said. But the absence of such a leader has created a clear path for candidates who oppose Islam.

"They've now latched onto Muslims as an easy target with no consequences," Mogahed said. "We've really moved the threshold of what is socially acceptable."

Singling out Muslims is not new.

Before the 2012 presidential election, Republican candidate Newt Gingrich called for a federal ban on Islamic law and said Muslims could hold public office in the U.S. if "the person would commit in public to give up Shariah." Huckabee, then considering a presidential run, called Islam "the antithesis of the gospel of Christ."

But candidates at the top of the field stayed away from such rhetoric.

"The kind of things that Donald Trump and Ben Carson are saying today are things that Mitt Romney would have never said," said Farid Senzai, a political scientist at Santa Clara University. Romney was the Republican nominee in 2012.

Criticism of Muslims is hardly limited to presidential campaigns. In recent years, there have been ads by anti-Muslim groups and well-organized campaigns against the building of mosques, along with pressure on state legislatures to ban Shariah law.

"All of these things built up over more than a decade by a few very vocal people have created a climate in which it is not just acceptable for politicians to play to our basest instincts, but perhaps politically expedient," Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, said in an email.

The intensity of the rhetoric is partly a symptom of the large field of GOP candidates, all trying to stake out ground to prove themselves as the most patriotic and toughest on national security, said Charles Dunn, former dean of the school of government at Regent University, which was founded by Pat Robertson, an evangelist and one-time GOP presidential candidate.

"The tone is much more strident now, much less forgiving," Dunn said.

American Muslims make up just under 1 percent of the U.S. population, Pew estimates. They come from many different backgrounds and are widely dispersed, limiting their political influence, Green said.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council, a policy and advocacy group based in Los Angeles, sent letters in October to all the presidential candidates asking them to attend the organization's public policy forum. The candidates either did not respond or declined, council spokeswoman Rabiah Ahmed said.

"Over the last 10 years, the political and civic organizations for U.S. Muslims have become much better organized, but I think their voice is still fairly muted," Green said.

Even so, some observers say the verbal attacks risk alienating larger segments of voters, particularly other immigrants worried they could be next.

Suhail Khan, who worked in a number of posts in George W. Bush's administration and has decried criticism by Republican politicians of fellow Muslims, said: "There's no doubt that when specific candidates, in this case Dr. Carson and Mr. Trump, think that they can narrowly attack one specific group, other Americans of various faiths and backgrounds are paying attention."

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