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Biden calls for America to tackle 'systemic racism' in 4th of July message

Joe Biden weighs potential running mates

Conventional wisdom among people who study gender and politics says former Vice President Joe Biden will likely pick a woman of color as his running mate; Jacqui Heinrich reports.

Joe Biden's Fourth of July message focused on America's long history of racial injustice — from slavery to George Floyd's death — as he called for Americans to strive to achieve the country's founding ideal of equality.

Biden said America's history is no "fairy tale" as the country has never lived up to the words of the Declaration of Independence that  "all men are created equal."

But the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee released a hopeful video that the country can turn the tide after "more than 200 years of systemic racism."

"We have a chance now to give the marginalized, the demonized, the isolated [and] the oppressed a full share of the American Dream," Biden said in a new campaign video. "We have the chance to rip the roots of systemic racism out of this country."

Biden's acknowledgment of America's flawed history and the "racism that has torn us apart" comes a day after President Trump delivered a defiant Mount Rushmore speech where he stood up to the "cancel culture" of racial justice activists and those who are trying to wipe out American history, tear down statues and defame heroes.

The president asserted that recent attacks on the nation's monuments were symptoms of a "left-wing cultural revolution" that was threatening to "overthrow the American Revolution."

While Trump has staked his Independence Day campaign message on a strong defense of American monuments — even deploying a special federal unit for the July 4 weekend to protect statues from potential vandalism — Biden has concentrated on reckoning with America's imperfections.

"We're all created equal. We've never lived up to it — but we've never stopped trying," Biden tweeted. "This Independence Day, let's not just celebrate those words, let's commit to finally fulfill them."

TRUMP GIVES OPTIMISTIC INDEPENDENCE DAY MESSAGE, SAYS US IS ‘COMING BACK’ AFTER ‘TERRIBLE PLAGUE FROM CHINA

Biden has drawn distinctions between taking down monuments of Confederate leaders who fought to defend slavery and past presidents who own enslaved people, including Thomas Jefferson.

"The idea of comparing whether or not George Washington owned slaves or Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, and somebody who was in rebellion committing treason trying to take down a union to keep slavery, I think there’s a distinction there,” Biden said earlier this week.

Former President Obama retweeted Biden's July 4th video message and urged everyone to support his former vice president.

"Our founding promise has never been guaranteed," Obama tweeted "Each generation has been called to bring us a little closer to our highest ideals—and history’s calling on us right now. So let’s all do whatever we can to help [Biden]."

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Trump's homage to Independence Day will continue at the White House tonight with a "Salute to America" event before the fireworks on the National Mall.

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World News

Rep. Eric Swalwell calls for a nationwide mask mandate: 'You're protecting others'

Rep. Eric Swalwell on California reversing reopening plans this holiday weekend as coronavirus cases spike

California closing many beaches for Fourth of July holiday amid spike in coronavirus cases.

Democratic California Congressman Eric Swalwell said Saturday that he agrees there should likely be a nationwide mask mandate amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview on "Cavuto LIVE" with host Neil Cavuto, Swalwell noted case and hospitalization rates in his home state — like much of the South — are increasing at an alarming rate following reopening phases.

DOES WEARING A FACE MASK POSE ANY HEALTH RISKS?

"Well, you know, we are seeing about a 56 percent increase in hospitalizations in California. In my area, about 200 cases each day in Alameda County — one of the largest counties in Northern California," he stated. "And, it's not that we're increasing the testing. Of course, we're increasing the testing…The rate of people testing positive is going up, and that's what's most concerning."

Swalwell noted that while there is a marked increase in infections of America's youth, the risk is "much higher" when "you put young people with their parents or grandparents over a holiday weekend."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., talks to reporters on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, May 5, 2020, in Washington. 
(AP)

According to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, there are now almost 2.8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States and close to 130,000 deaths.

"The most important [thing] is to follow the science. And, [in] the calls I've been on with the governor [he says that] he's going to let the science dictate this," Swalwell explained. "And, you saw a number of counties open up in California for in-room dining, for bars, for hair salons and nail salons, and then have had to roll it back. And so, we really are evolving, Neil."

The best way to combat the spread, according to Swalwell, is masking up.

"And, if we wear a mask and then keep investing in the testing, tracing, and treatment, we can come out of this," he told Cavuto.

Last weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she believes a federal mandate on mask-wearing is "long overdue"

However, wearing a mask has become a political point of contention across the U.S.

On Wednesday, state officials in Pennsylvania announced that residents are now required to wear masks when outside their home, joining a growing list adopting universal mask mandates.

"I think we should have a nationwide mask mandate. I don't think anyone believes we should have mask, you know, police. But, I don't think you should be allowed in any public place without wearing a mask," Swalwell remarked.

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"You're not doing it for protecting yourself. You're protecting others. And, that's what, you know, being courageous is. That's what being caring and kind is. [It’s] worrying about protecting others," he pointed out.

"And look, the sooner we do this, the sooner we come out of this. But, we can be our own worst enemies if we're not going to wear masks," Swalwell concluded.

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Economy

Here's the timeline for Social Security benefit cuts

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For more than eight decades, the Social Security program has played a critical role in providing a financial foundation for our nation's retired workers. According to the Centers for Budget and Policy Priorities, it singlehandedly pulls more than 15 million retirees out of poverty every year.

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IRS PERMITS MORE AMERICANS TO TAP RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS WITHOUT PENALTY

But it's also a program that's facing serious financial hurdles in the years that lie ahead. For each of the past 35 years, the Social Security Board of Trustees report has cautioned that there wouldn't be enough revenue collected over the long run (defined as the 75 years subsequent to the release of a report) to cover all projected outlays, including cost-of-living adjustments. While this doesn't mean bankruptcy or insolvency, it does imply that Social Security benefit cuts may become necessary to maintain program solvency.

How big would these benefit cuts be? Though the answer tends to change every time the U.S. economic outlook is altered or broad-sweeping fiscal measures are introduced, the 2020 report calls for a possible 24% across-the-board reduction to retired worker and survivor payouts. That's not negligible.

The big question is, when might this happen? Let's take a closer look at the timeline of events that could lead to a significant Social Security benefits cut.

WORKERS TAP RETIREMENT SAVINGS TO COPE WITH CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

2021: The first year of net cash outflows

You might be surprised to learn that the first in series of events is expected to occur as soon as next year.

The latest trustees report forecast that Social Security would bring in a $4.4 billion net cash surplus in 2020, but see $21.1 billion in net cash outflows in 2021. The last time the program suffered a net cash outflow (i.e., more spending than revenue collected) was all the way back in 1982, the year before the Reagan administration passed the last major bipartisan overhaul of the Social Security program.

CORONAVIRUS AND UNEMPLOYMENT: 401(k) TIPS

Although the program entered the decade with almost $2.9 trillion in asset reserves (net cash surpluses built up since inception), the projection is that almost $1.1 trillion will be gone by the end of 2029, leaving $1.82 trillion. This net cash outflow is expected to worsen every year this decade.

2034: The OASI exhausts its asset reserves (if treated separately)

Social Security is actually comprised of two trusts:

  • The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance trust, which provides payouts to retired workers and survivors of deceased workers; and
  • The Disability Insurance trust, which supplies payments to workers that are long-term disabled.

THIS INVESTING STRATEGY IS BEATING THE MARKET AMID A PANDEMIC

When the Trustees examine the long-term outlook for Social Security, they hypothetically combine the financials of these two trusts into one (known as the OASDI). But if these two trusts were examined individually, the OASI is in far greater danger of exhausting its asset reserves sooner. Based on the latest report, the OASI is expected to deplete its asset reserves by 2034, at which point benefit cuts would become necessary to sustain solvency.

2065: The DI depletes its asset reserves (if treated separately)

By comparison, the DI Trust has a considerably longer runway before it runs into trouble. The 2020 trustees report opines that the DI Trust won't exhaust its asset reserves until 2065, which is actually 13 years later than what was projected in the 2019 Trustees report.

34% OF WORKERS TODAY WORRY ABOUT THIS DEVASTATING RETIREMENT EXPENSE

According to the newest report, this change stems from a historically low rate of disability insurance applications and benefit awards, as well as reduced disability incidence rate modeling over the long run.

2035: The likeliest year when benefit cuts will be needed

Now, for the bottom line of when Social Security benefit cuts are likely. Since revenue collection can be diverted to the OASI or DI via congressional action, as necessary, the combination of the OASDI is expected to completely exhaust its almost $2.9 trillion in asset reserves by 2035.

THE MEDIAN RETIREMENT SAVINGS BALANCE AMONG BABY BOOMERS IS SHOCKINGLY LOW

In spite of the DI trust's 45-year runway before it runs out of its net cash surpluses, the DI Trust only accounts for $95.2 billion of the $2,897 billion that's currently held in asset reserves. Thus, the DI Trust would only add about a year of cushion to the OASI's funding shortfall.

If Congress were to fail to act by raising additional revenue and/or reducing outlays, this 24 percent reduction for retired workers and survivors would be expected to take place in roughly 15 years.

But wait — there’s more

Then again, the trustees' report is just one educated group's opinion of what might happen with the most successful social program in the United States.

One thing that the Trustees report doesn't take into account is the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Since Social Security's primary source of revenue is the 12.4% payroll tax on earned income, and the unemployment rate has skyrocketed from a 50-year low of 3.5% to a nearly nine-decade high of 13.3% in a couple of months, there's little question that the program's near-term income-collecting capacity has been harmed by COVID-19.

Worse yet, the coronavirus pandemic is unlikely to allow the U.S. economy to bounce back at the flip of a switch. This means long-lasting negatives for Social Security.

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In a recently released analysis using the Penn Wharton Budget Model from the University of Pennsylvania, Social Security's projected asset reserve depletion has been moved forward by two to four years, depending on the pace of the economic recovery. If the U.S. economic recovery is swift and V-shaped, Social Security will exhaust its asset reserves by 2034 instead of 2036, as the PWBM had previously forecast. But if it's a slower U-shaped recovery, Social Security could burn through its nearly $2.9 trillion by 2032, a full four years earlier than originally expected.

Keep in mind that these estimates are taking into account a large number of dynamic variables, including birth and mortality rates, net immigration, fiscal and monetary policy, the inflation rate, and economic growth forecasts, to name a few. They're not perfect or set in stone.

But one consistent message the American public has seen from these forecasts is that the need for possible Social Security benefit cuts is closing in, and lawmakers are running out of time to implement an effective fix.

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World News

YouTube not playing videos for some people – how to fix it now

WEB browser Microsoft Edge is causing some major problems for users just trying to watch YouTube videos.

The problem reportedly occurs when a user is also running AdBlock or AdBlock Plus.

According to 9to5Google, if you're running the ad blocker on the browser and trying to load a YouTube video you'll just be met with a black screen.

This message is also said to appear: "An error occurred. Please try again later."

Fortunately, Microsoft has acknowledged the problem and has issued a fix via a blog post.

It said: "Thankfully, the team has also identified an easy workaround while they investigate this further.

"If you’re experiencing issues with YouTube and have either Adblock extension enabled, they recommend disabling it then reloading the web page.

"Give it a try and let us know if it works in the comments below!"

Microsoft also wants users to warn it if they're experiencing this issue without an AdBlock extension or if the workaround doesn't work.

It said: "Please submit feedback through Microsoft Edge by holding down Shift+Alt+I within the browser, or navigating to the '…' menu, selecting 'Help and feedback', then choosing 'Send feedback'.

"Please include a detailed description of what you’re encountering, and select the checkbox to include diagnostic data."

One of Edge's most appealing features is the fact it can run AdBlock extensions originally designed for Google Chrome.

In other news, a Windows 10 update has been bugging users with false security warnings about apps that don't exist.

Android users have been warned to delete a rogue app called SnapTube.

And, scammers are using Google Alerts to send out links to malware.

Do you use Microsoft Edge? Let us know in the comments…

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Markets

Cirque du Soleil files for bankruptcy protection

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Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada on Monday in an effort to restructure its operations as it faces pressure from closed shows due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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(Associated Press)

Investment firms TPG, Fosun Group and Caisse de Depot et placement du Quebec have submitted a proposal to buy the circus company's assets. The companies' stalking horse bid would provide Cirque du Soleil with $300 million of liquidity.

As part of the proposal, economic development agency Investissement Quebec would provide $200 million in debt financing to support the proposed acquisition.

BROADWAY THEATERS TO REMAIN CLOSED THROUGH EARLY JAN. 2021 DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

TPG, Fosun, and Caisse have been investors in Cirque du Soleil since 2015, they said.

The circus company said it will also file a companion bankruptcy in the U.S. to seek protection from creditors in the U.S.

In connection with the restructuring, the company will also lay off about 3,480 employees who were furloughed in March due to the coronavirus-induced government-mandated shutdowns. The investors will also set up two funds worth $20 million to offer additional relief to affected employees and independent contractors.

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The funds will go toward helping the company relaunch, providing relief for affected employees and partners and assuming some of the company's outstanding liabilities.

The company's existing secured creditors will get $50 million of unsecured, takeback debt as well as a 45% equity stake in the restructured company. Some of its first lien lenders will also get a repayment of an interim loan of around $50 million.

The purchase agreement will set the minimum acceptable bid for an auction of the company and will be supervised by the court and a court-appointed monitor.

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Economy

I'm leaving Seattle for Texas so my employees can be free: Billion dollar business owner

Chuck DeVore on Tesla potentially opening a factory in Texas

Reaction from former California Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, vice president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

I’m moving my business headquarters off the West Coast. We tried San Francisco. We tried the Seattle area. Both were wonderful in their own ways, especially in natural beauty and personal friendships. But both have become hostile to the principles and policies that enable people to live abundantly in the broadest sense.

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That’s why my company is in the final stages of purchasing office space in Austin, Texas. By the end of the year, I hope to move dozens of employees to the Lone Star State and to be ready to hire hundreds more. While uprooting a big part of a billion-dollar company isn’t easy, the decision to move to Texas wasn’t hard. Our staff and their families will be able to flourish to a much greater extent.

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Leaving the West Coast might seem strange for a company focused on tech ventures and related investments. It’s true that the company has benefited greatly from the larger pool of forward thinkers and industry disrupters in the tech hot spots of San Francisco and Seattle. But the best places to be in tech have now become some of the worst places to raise a family, practice a faith, or even think freely. This hurts my team and the business.

These areas are culturally diverse but increasingly monolithic in terms of ideology. In the past few weeks, radical protesters took over a portion of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. The mood in the area was that this experiment in anarchy was acceptable and even praiseworthy. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan even issued a statement commending the “First Amendment activities” of the occupiers.

Peter Rex is founder and CEO of Rex Teams, a tech, investment and real-estate firm.

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Economy

Don't fall for these 5 student loan myths

When it comes to student loans, separate fact from fiction and protect your finances. (iStock)

Student loans can help you get an education, but the terms and fine print can be confusing. Whether you’re talking with other students or trying to navigate the implications on your own, it’s easy to find—and believe—the misconceptions during and after you sign the paperwork.

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Misinformation can be costly if you make mistakes with your loans. Instead, know the truth about these five student loan myths.

1. Myth: Always borrow the maximum amount

When you apply for federal and private student loans, you may be offered more than you need. It can be tempting to take the maximum amount—who doesn’t love upfront cash? But this might not be the smartest idea in the long run when you have to pay it back.

Rate-shopping marketplaces like Credible allow you to compare offers from multiple lenders at once and determine the repayment term and total loan cost. This will give you an idea of what loan amount you can handle.

8 OF THE BEST PRIVATE STUDENT LOANS

You’re not obligated to take the full package in your financial aid award letter. Instead, calculate precisely how much you will need. Then, consider other ways you can get some financial help, including methods that don't have to be repaid, like scholarships and grants or a part-time job for extra income. Or choose a less expensive school.

A large loan amount will result in a larger monthly payment. Credible’s online student loan calculator will help you estimate the total amount you’ll owe and identify your monthly payment. This will help you see how much the maximum amount will impact your budget later and compare it to your anticipated income.

Even if you're going into a field where you can apply for loan forgiveness, most programs require that you work several years to qualify. You’ll have to make your payments during that time, and only the remaining will be wiped away.

2. Myth: You should always refinance your student loans

Interest rates are at record lows, and current student loan rates may be lower than what you have. That means you should refinance, right? Not necessarily. While refinancing your student loan can lower your rate and your payment, if you have a federal student loan, you may want to stay the course.

5 STUDENT LOAN MISTAKES THAT CAN COST YOU THOUSANDS

To refinance federal student loans, you need to convert them into private student loans, which strips away the benefits you can get from federal loans. For example, you would no longer be eligible for a federal repayment plan, such as income-driven repayment, which lowers your monthly payment based on your ability to pay. You'd also waive your ability to participate in a Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Be sure to consider the benefits federal loans offer before you refinance them away, and compare and shop around to choose the best offer if you do.

3. Myth: Federal student loans have the lowest interest rates

Federal and private interest rates are low right now, but just as the economy fluctuates, that is subject to change. Federal student loans usually offer the lowest rates, but if you have excellent credit, you may be able to get a lower interest rate.

Also, since private student loans are not need-based or subsidized by the federal government, you usually qualify for a higher loan amount. Having a single low-interest but bigger student loan balance may be more attractive for your financing goals for consolidation.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO PAY OFF YOUR STUDENT LOAN?

4. Myth: Don’t worry about paying back your student loans in school

Borrowers aren’t required to pay back student loans while they’re still in school, but it can be a myth to think it’s the best method for handling your finances. It may be smart to start making student loan payments while you’re in school or in the loan’s grace period to decrease the overall amount of the loan.

Even small payments, such as $25 a month, can cut down on your accrued interest and decrease your student loan balance, making it more manageable later. You’ll be doing your future self a favor if you can afford to start the repayment plan sooner, and hopefully avoid having trouble paying it back later.

5. Myth: I’ll never pay off my student loans

If your student loan balance is substantial, paying it off can feel overwhelming. The average undergraduate degree loan amount is $29,000, according to the College Board. Graduate degree loans are much higher, with the average master's degree student loan balance being $55,200, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, and doctorate loan amounts going into six figures.

WHEN TO REFINANCE YOUR STUDENT LOANS 

Even though a standard student loan term is 10 years, it can feel like you’ll never get to the finish line. But you have options. If you have loans, you can apply for an income-driven repayment plan. You can also refinance to reduce the total amount of interest you’ll pay. Be careful not to extend your term, though. Otherwise, you'll push the end-date out even further. And one of the most effective methods is reexamining your budget and creating a plan to pay off your loan ahead of schedule.

Resources

The best time to start thinking about paying back a student loan is before you take it out so you can avoid making a mistake or believe student loan myths. If you’re considering taking out private student loans to help pay for college, visit an online tool like Credible to view a rates table.

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