Memo to Sen. Bernie Sanders:
Americans by overwhelming numbers say they would vote for a qualified presidential candidate nominated by their party who is Catholic, a woman, black, Hispanic or Jewish.
They say they would be somewhat less inclined to support a Mormon, a gay or lesbian, an evangelical Christian or Muslim for president, according to a new Gallup Poll released Monday. Yet more than half of those Americans surveyed said they would be accepting of anyone from this group who managed to garner their party’s presidential nomination. Even a qualified atheist would be acceptable to 58 percent of those questioned.
But only 47 percent said they could vote for a socialist for president. Fifty percent said they would absolutely not.
Sanders, 73, an independent who is challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, is the only Jewish candidate in the race. And while many wrote him off early on as a fringe candidate with limited appeal, Sanders has subsequently generated considerable buzz among liberals and progressives, and has made respectable showings in some of the early polling, including in New Hampshire.
With his ringing anti-Wall Street populist message, Sanders is tapping into the Democratic Party’s progressive wing – including some who had hoped at one time that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) might change her mind and enter the race. However, the former University of Chicago student radical and self-described democratic socialist, supports proposals similar to those of mainstream social democratic governments in Europe, particularly those of Scandinavia.
Five of the declared candidates for president are Catholics – including Republicans Jeb Bush, George Pataki, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum, and Democrat Martin O'Malley. Two are women -- Clinton and Republican Carly Fiorina. Republican Ben Carson is the only black candidate in the race, while two candidates are Hispanic -- Republicans Rubio and Ted Cruz.
Here are Gallup’s findings:
Federal, state and local governments spent about $441 billion on infrastructure in 2017, with the money going toward highways, mass transit and rail, aviation, water transportation, water resources and water utilities. Measured as a percentage of GDP, total spending is a bit lower than it was 50 years ago. For more details, see this new report from the Congressional Budget Office.
The GOP tax cuts have provided a significant earnings boost for the big U.S. banks so far this year. Changes in the tax code “saved the nation’s six biggest banks $3.3 billion in the third quarter alone,” according to a Bloomberg report Thursday. The data is drawn from earnings reports from Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo.
We told you Thursday about the Trump administration’s announcement that average premiums for benchmark Obamacare plans will fall 1.5 percent next year, but analyst Charles Gaba says the story is a bit more complicated. According to Gaba’s calculations, average premiums for all individual health plans will rise next year by 3.1 percent.
The difference between the two figures is produced by two very different datasets. The Trump administration included only the second-lowest-cost Silver plans in 39 states in its analysis, while Gaba examined all individual plans sold in all 50 states.
The cap on Social Security payroll taxes will rise to $132,900 next year, an increase of 3.5 percent. (Earnings up to that level are subject to the Social Security tax.) The increase will affect about 11.6 million workers, Politico reports. Beneficiaries are also getting a boost, with a 2.8 percent cost-of-living increase coming in 2019.