According to news reports, including the Associated Press, the pride of the Russian military – Vladimir Putin’s T-14 Armata tank – broke down in the middle of Red Square on Thursday during a practice run of the Victory Day parade scheduled for Saturday. The state-of-the-art tank was one of eight rolling through Moscow Thursday morning when it unexpectedly came to a halt while the others rolled on.
According to the AP, the soldiers on hand first tried to tow the tank away, but were unsuccessful. After about 15 minutes, the problem was apparently solved, and the tank rolled off under its own power.
An executive of the company that produced the tank told the AP that, despite the apparent attempts to tow it away, the tank had not broken down and was functioning properly.
The T-14 is meant to be the main battle tank that will carry the Russian Army into the rest of the 21st century. Its unmanned turret is controlled remotely by crew members safely inside an armored compartment in the body of the tank. It has advanced weapons system and armor, and is believed to be a match for any tank currently in service with North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces.
The T-14 has been written about extensively in the government-controlled Russian press, and its public unveiling is being treated as a major event. In addition, the parade Saturday will be watched not only by millions of Russians, but also by dozens of foreign dignitaries on hand to hel celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. That means any malfunction of the tank during the actual parade on Saturday would be terribly embarrassing to the Kremlin.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated this week that President Trump has now signed legislation that will add a total of $4.7 trillion to the national debt between 2017 and 2029. Tax cuts and spending increases account for similar portions of the projected increase, though if the individual tax cuts in the 2017 Republican overhaul are extended beyond their current expiration date at the end of 2025, they would add another $1 trillion in debt through 2029.
Are interest rates destined to move higher, increasing the cost of private and public debt? While many experts believe that higher rates are all but inevitable, historian Paul Schmelzing argues that today’s low-interest environment is consistent with a long-term trend stretching back 600 years.
The chart “shows a clear historical downtrend, with rates falling about 1% every 60 years to near zero today,” says Bloomberg’s Aaron Brown. “Rates do tend to revert to a mean, but that mean seems to be declining.”
Lawmakers are considering three separate bills that are intended to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Here’s an overview of the proposals, from a series of charts produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation this week. An interesting detail highlighted in another chart: 88% of voters – including 92% of Democrats and 85% of Republicans – want to give the government the power to negotiate prices with drug companies.
From Gallup: “A record 25% of Americans say they or a family member put off treatment for a serious medical condition in the past year because of the cost, up from 19% a year ago and the highest in Gallup's trend. Another 8% said they or a family member put off treatment for a less serious condition, bringing the total percentage of households delaying care due to costs to 33%, tying the high from 2014.”