Retiring Wealthy Now Means More Than $3 Million In Many U.S. States

Retiring Wealthy Now Means More Than $3 Million In Many U.S. States

The cost of living in American cities has skyrocketed so much that retirees now need more than $3 million to be considered “wealthy” in them, according to a new study from GoBankingRates.

In this study, a team of researchers first calculated the minimum savings needed to retire for 20, 25 and 30 years in America’s 50 largest cities.

They analyzed each city’s annual cost of living and subtracted the annual Social Security income (as sourced from the Social Security Administration’s Monthly Statistical Snapshot as of May 2024).

Then, to find the savings needed to be “rich”, the study took the minimum savings needed in each city and doubled those amounts. We ranked each city based on the smallest to largest amounts needed to be considered rich for 25 years of retirement.

The study found:

  1. It takes more than $3,000,000 to be considered wealthy in 10 cities. The top three cities where you’ll need the most savings to be rich are all in California: San Francisco (~$6,000,000), San Jose (~$5.5M) and Oakland (~$4.5M).
  2. It takes significantly less savings to be wealthy in New York than it does in San Francisco. You’ll need roughly $3.8M to retire rich in New York, which is substantially less than the $5.95M needed in San Francisco.
  3. Austin is more expensive than many people realize. Austin was the 11th most expensive city on our list, ranking right next to Boston. In Austin, you’ll need more than $2.5M to be considered rich for 25 years of retirement.

According to the data, the financial requirements for retirees looking to enjoy a rich lifestyle are particularly steep in cities such as San Francisco, San Jose, and New York City.

For instance, in San Francisco, the savings needed for a 20-year retirement amount to a staggering $4,757,745. Extending this to a 25-year retirement pushes the savings requirement to $5,947,182, and for a 30-year retirement, retirees would need an eye-watering $7,143,762. The annual cost of living after Social Security in San Francisco is $118,944, reflecting the high cost of living in this iconic city.

Similarly, San Jose demands equally substantial savings, with $4,422,401 needed for a 20-year retirement, rising to $6,640,241 for 30 years. The annual living cost post-Social Security here is $110,560, emphasizing the financial burden retirees face in the heart of Silicon Valley.

New York City, another major metropolitan area, requires retirees to save $3,069,460 for 20 years of retirement, increasing to $4,608,798 for 30 years. The annual cost of living after factoring in Social Security stands at $76,736, making it one of the most expensive cities to retire in. This trend is mirrored in other high-cost cities like Los Angeles and Oakland, where retirees need upwards of $2.8 million and $3.6 million respectively for a 20-year retirement, and the costs only escalate with longer retirement periods.

The study and data on all 50 states can be read in its entirety here

Tyler Durden
Sun, 06/30/2024 – 19:15

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California Has Seized Nearly 7 Million Fentanyl Pills Since January

California Has Seized Nearly 7 Million Fentanyl Pills Since January

Authored by Rudy Blalock via The Epoch Times,

A California task force has seized nearly 7 million fentanyl pills since January thanks to efforts statewide and near ports of entry into the United States from Mexico, officials announced this week.

The updated figures were issued in a June 26 press release from Gov. Gavin Newsom, who said the state will continue its crackdown on the drug.

“We will continue to take fentanyl out of our neighborhoods, hold drug traffickers accountable, and expand access to life-saving medicine,” he said, referencing Narcan, an opiate blocker.

In a May press release, Mr. Newsom announced that the same task force had assisted in the seizure of 5.8 million fentanyl pills since the start of the year.

During a one week stretch in April more than 1 million pills and more than 500 pounds of methamphetamine were seized in San Diego County and at the border, according to the press release.

Mr. Newsom increased the number of California National Guard officers near the state’s southern ports of entry last year by 50 percent to help stop drugs from being brought across the border, according to his office.

The crackdown has resulted in over 62,000 pounds of fentanyl seized in 2023, 1,066 percent more than what was confiscated in 2021 and up 115 percent from 2022.

A recently launched state website,, also now offers a “one-stop-tool” for drug prevention, treatment resources, and updates on the state’s battle to hold pharmaceutical companies and drug traffickers accountable for the drug crisis, according to the governor’s most recent press release.

Mr. Newsom also met with President Joe Biden in February to discuss border policy and immigration issues, and last October spoke with Chinese leader Xi Jinping about addressing the transnational shipping of precursor chemicals that are used to create fentanyl, according to the same announcement.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 06/30/2024 – 19:00

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‘BI-DONE!’ – Plane Trolls Biden’s ‘Joyless’ Dud Of A Hamptons Mega-Donor Event

‘BI-DONE!’ – Plane Trolls Biden’s ‘Joyless’ Dud Of A Hamptons Mega-Donor Event

In the wake of his historically disastrous presidential debate performance, President Biden set out to ease the worries of Democratic mega-donors gathered at a sprawling Hamptons oceanfront estate on Saturday afternoon.

However, a powerful, competing message was in the air — literally — as an airplane flew by the event toting a sign with a message that concisely proclaimed that Biden’s 2024 re-election bid is already over: “BI-DONE!” According to the New York Post’s sources, the next-level aerial trolling was the work of an unnamed New York Republican donor.

The truth is up there: This fly-by of Biden’s star-studded mega-donor event in the Hamptons sought to feed growing doubts (photo obtained by New York Post)

The aerial rhetorical assault proved unnecessary — as donors who attended the event told the Wall Street Journal it was a “joyless” affair, and said Biden’s appearance only served to solidify their deep worries about his fitness. The event was tightly orchestrated, and Biden did his speaking with the aid of a teleprompter, reminding attendees of his inability to manage unscripted dialogue — even with a friendly audience. 

The event was hosted by hedge fund billionaire Barry Rosenstein on his 18-acre beachfront property in East Hampton, NY. Rosenstein and his wife Lizanne set a then-US record for a home purchase price when they paid $137 million for the place in 2014. Attendees reportedly included celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick and Howard Stern, along with Michael J. Fox and his wife Tracy Pollan, all of whom paid upwards of $250,000 to see Biden’s hollowing husk in person. Loews Hotels CEO Jonathan Tisch attended too. 

The aircraft flew a route that took it from Montauk to Sag Harbor via East Hampton. 

Ahead of the event, anonymous mega-donors shaken by Biden’s Thursday-night disaster confided to the Post that they were gritting their teeth and following through on their planned attendancewhich they’d already paid for. “We have no choice but to believe Biden will redeem himself. The alternative is so unthinkable,” said one of them. “I’m going and everyone I know is still going.” 

Another longtime Democratic funder, who’d opted against attending, said the mood among the people who write the big checks is dark: “Everyone going [to the fundraiser] is extremely disappointed. Everyone paid in advance… so it could be an opportunity to encourage him to drop out.” The same donor pointed a finger of blame at Jill Biden: “Lots of people are blaming his wife … for not telling him [to step aside].”

Donors who spoke to the Journal said they’re waiting for the incoming round of post-debate polling results, anticipating that cratering support would greatly ease the challenge of ejecting Biden, who would be 86 years old if he defied all odds and managed to serve out a second term. 

Meanwhile, as the editorial boards of major newspapers like the New York Times and Atlanta Journal-Constitution have begun urging Biden to quit the race, Democrats of a lesser station aren’t waiting for new polls before doing some urging of their own. These demonstrators, positioned alongside Biden’s motorcade route to Saturday’s Hamptons fundraiser, tried some gentle-but-firm messaging: 

Tyler Durden
Sun, 06/30/2024 – 18:05

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Iowa Utility Board Approves Eminent Domain For Controversial CO2 Pipeline

Iowa Utility Board Approves Eminent Domain For Controversial CO2 Pipeline

Authored by Beth Brelje via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

In a major project milestone, the Iowa Utility Board (IUB) this week approved a proposal by Summit Carbon Solutions to build the world’s largest carbon capture pipeline.

Fourth-generation South Dakota farmer Ed Fishbach is leading the charge against a five-state carbon capture pipeline proposal by Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions. (Allan Stein/The Epoch Times)

The total project spans five states: Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. It will slice through 2,500 miles of land and connect with 57 ethanol plants, and affects thousands of private landowners, many of whom have fought against the project. The portion approved in Iowa is 680 miles, a Summit spokeswoman told The Epoch Times.

Many landowners have said, in public hearings and official protest letters submitted to the IUB, that they object to allowing the company to have a right-of-way on their land.

With this decision, 859 land parcels can be taken by the company through eminent domain.

“After weighing numerous factors for and against Summit Carbon’s petition, the Board found that the service to be provided by Summit Carbon will promote the public convenience and necessity,” the IUB wrote in its decision. “The Board found Summit Carbon could be vested with the right of eminent domain.”

Conditions of Approval

It did put some conditions on the approval.

Summit will be required to submit certain revised exhibits as compliance filings for IUB review before the board issues the construction permit. And Summit must obtain and maintain at least a $100 million insurance policy; comply with certain construction methods; and ensure that landowners and tenants are compensated for damages that may result during construction.

Also, Summit needs approval in all the other states.

“The momentum will continue as we prepare to file our South Dakota permit application in early July,” said Lee Blank, Summit CEO in a statement. “We look forward to engaging with the state throughout this process and are confident in a successful outcome.”

The company reports that it has already signed easement agreements with 75 percent of Iowa landowners on the route.

Landowners Protested Project

Iowa land owners attend Iowa Utility Board hearing in Fort Dodge in August, 2023, on permitting of Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline project that would require easements on hundreds of private properties. (Courtesy of Jessica Mazour)

Landowners have argued that the project is not for the public good, but instead, is an untested science that will only profit the company making use of the private lands.

There is a deep-rooted passion for our farm ground in many farmers, and to have something like this rip it apart for something so unnecessary is unimaginable,” said Austin Hayek, a Fort Dodge, Iowa, farmer whose land is to be affected if the project goes ahead. “Many have wanted to be able to allow their families to continue their legacy of farming as they want, and if this is allowed, it takes options off the table for them.”

The project is encouraged with federal tax credits as an answer to climate change. It will capture carbon dioxide from ethanol plants, compress the captured CO2, and send it by pipeline to North Dakota where it will be permanently stored underground in deep geologic storage locations.

Doing so will drastically reduce the carbon footprint of ethanol production and enhance the long-term economic viability of the ethanol and agriculture industries,” Summit’s website explains.

Large-scale carbon sequestration projects receive federal tax incentives like the federal Carbon Capture and Sequestration tax credit, also called the 45Q, which is worth up to $85 per ton of CO2 captured.

Summit expects to store 16.7 million tons of CO2 per year. That amounts to $1.4 billion in tax incentives from taxpayers.

Tax credits can be converted into cash. Companies that have more tax credits than they can use, sell them at a discount to other companies. This way, the seller makes a profit, and the company buying the credits gets a break on their taxes, paying less than face value for the credits.

The decision came after the IUB reviewed nearly 4,200 written comments, 7,500 pages of hearing transcripts, testimony at hearings from more than 200 witnesses and landowners; and the IUB reported receiving some 50,000 pages of prefiled testimony and exhibits from hundreds of witnesses and landowners, accepting more than 150 intervenors into the docket, and conducting 33 public information meetings over 34 months. The IUB heard a range of viewpoints in these materials.

The Sierra Club Iowa Chapter is one group that has partnered with landowners in opposition of the project.

This is far from over,” Sierra Club Iowa Chapter Conservation Coordinator Jess Mazour said in a statement. “We will appeal this decision and make our arguments in front of a fair decision maker.”

Tyler Durden
Sun, 06/30/2024 – 17:30

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Watch: Chinese Rocket Static-Fire Test Goes Horribly Wrong 

Watch: Chinese Rocket Static-Fire Test Goes Horribly Wrong 

Beijing Tianbing Technology Co., also known as Space Pioneer, suffered a catastrophic failure on Sunday during a static-fire test of the first stage of its Tianlong-3 launch vehicle at a testing facility in the Henan Province.

“The first stage of its Tianlong-3 rocket under development had detached from its launch pad during a test due to structural failure and landed in a hilly area of the city of Gongyi in central China,” Reuters reported. 

Space Pioneer’s two-stage Tianlong-3 (“Sky Dragon 3”) is a partly reusable rocket that is under development to compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Tianlong-3 is comparable to SpaceX’s Falcon 9.

Footage uploaded on X shows the Tianlong-3’s first stage detached from the test bench due to structural failure and soared into the sky, only to come back and crash down to Earth, igniting in a massive fireball about a mile away from the launch facility.  

“Space Pioneer was conducting its test as a buildup to an orbital launch of the Tianlong-3, which is benchmarked against the SpaceX Falcon 9, in the coming months,” according to Space News, adding, “The company announced earlier this month that it has secured $207 million in new funding.” 

Meanwhile, SpaceX continues to dominate the industry with its reusable rockets.

Data from BryceTech shows that Musk’s rocket company launched an impressive 525 spacecraft (mainly Starlink satellites) in the first quarter of 2024 – more than any other rocket company or nation.

Musk is quite literally America’s rocket program: SpaceX launched about 429,125 kg of spacecraft upmass in the first quarter, significantly outpacing China’s rocket program (China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation), which launched a measly 29,426 kg. 

It’s not just China struggling to compete with SpaceX’s reusable rockets (read: “SpaceX Leads Reusable Rocket Race, While China Continues Crashing Boosters To Earth”) . Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is also lagging behind

Tyler Durden
Sun, 06/30/2024 – 16:55

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Le Pen Is Mightier: Conservative National Rally Crushes Macron, Socialists In 1st Round Of French Election

Le Pen Is Mightier: Conservative National Rally Crushes Macron, Socialists In 1st Round Of French Election

As expected, Le Pen’s conservative (or in the world’s of the liberal media, “Far Right”) National Rally (RN) party won the first round of France’s parliamentary election on Sunday, exit polls showed, but the final result will depend on several days of horsetrading before next week’s run-off.

The RN was seen winning around 34% of the vote, exit polls from Ipsos, Ifop, OpinionWay and Elabe showed. That was ahead of both far-left and centrist rivals, including President Emmanuel Macron’s Together alliance, whose bloc was seen winning a paltry 20.5%-23%, a far cry from his crushing victory several years ago. The New Popular Front (NFP), a hastily assembled left-wing coalition, was projected to win around 29% of the vote, the exit polls showed.

The exit polls were in line with opinion polls ahead of the election, but provided little clarity on whether the anti-immigrant, eurosceptic RN will be able to form a government to “cohabit” with the pro-EU Macron after next Sunday’s run-off.

The RN’s chances of winning power next week will depend on the political dealmaking made by its rivals over the coming days. In the past, centre-right and centre-left parties have teamed up to keep the RN from power, but that dynamic, known as the “republican front,” is less certain than ever.

If no candidate reaches 50% in the first round, the top two contenders automatically qualify for the second round, as well as all those with 12.5% of registered voters. In the run-off, whoever wins the most votes take the constituency.

According to Reuters, the high turnout on Sunday suggests France is heading for a record number of three-way run-offs. These generally benefit the RN much more than two-way contests, experts say.

Sure enough, the horsetrading began almost immediately on Sunday night. In a written statement to the press, Macron called on voters to rally behind candidates who are “clearly republican and democratic”, which, based on his recent declarations, would exclude candidates from the RN and from the hard-left France Unbowed (LFI) party. The problem, of course, is that Macron’s party was crushed in the recent European parliamentary elections precisely because the people have had enough with “clearly republican and democratic” puppets of the World Economic Forum and want actual change.

LFI leader Jean-Luc Melenchon said the second-placed NFP alliance will withdraw all its candidates who came third in the first round.”Our guideline is simple and clear: not a single more vote for the National Rally,” he said. It is, however, unlikely that many will care what the French socialists want: after all, last week the French socialist leftist alliance said it would raise the top marginal income tax rate to 90% if it were to take over the government.

Meanwhile, Jordan Bardella, the 28-year-old RN party president, said he was ready to be prime minister – if his party wins an absolute majority. That’s right, a 28 year old kid may soon be a prime minister of the 2nd largest European economy. He has ruled out trying to form a minority government and neither Macron nor the NFP will form an alliance with him.

“I will be a “cohabitation” Prime Minister, respectful of the constitution and of the office of President of the Republic, but uncompromising about the policies we will implement,” he said.

While the RN is seen winning the most seats in the National Assembly, only one of the pollsters – Elabe – had the party winning an absolute majority of 289 seats in the run-off. Experts say that seat projections after first-round votes can be highly inaccurate, and especially so in this election.

Voter participation was high compared with previous parliamentary elections, illustrating the political fervour Macron aroused with his stunning decision to call a parliamentary vote after the RN trounced his party in European Parliament elections earlier this month.

His decision plunged France into political uncertainty, sent shockwaves around Europe and prompted a sell-off of French assets on financial markets.

A longtime pariah, the RN is now closer to power than it has ever been. Le Pen has sought to clean up the image of a party known for racism and antisemitism, a tactic that has worked amid voter anger at Macron, the high cost of living and growing concerns over immigration.

At 1500 GMT, turnout was nearly 60%, compared with 39.42% two years ago – the highest comparable turnout figures since the 1986 legislative vote, Ipsos France’s research director Mathieu Gallard said.

In short, the people have had enough and they finally want to be heard.


Tyler Durden
Sun, 06/30/2024 – 16:45

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IRS, Treasury Announce New Crypto Tax Reporting Rule For Brokers

IRS, Treasury Announce New Crypto Tax Reporting Rule For Brokers

Authored by Naveen Athrappully via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published a final rule on Friday that requires cryptocurrency brokers to report details of digital asset transactions to the tax agency.

The Treasury Department in Washington on March 25, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

The final regulations announced today will require brokers to report gross proceeds on the sale of digital assets beginning in 2026 for all sales in 2025,” the Treasury said in a June 28 press release.

Brokers will be required to also report information on the tax basis for certain digital assets beginning in 2027 for sales in 2026.” Tax basis refers to the original purchase price of digital assets and is used to determine taxes owed following its sale.

The new rule does not change tax requirements for taxpayers. It is only directed at brokers for reporting on crypto transactions.

Normal taxpayers engaged in digital asset transactions have always owed taxes on the sale or exchange of digital assets. Earlier, they had to rely on expensive third-party services to calculate their gains or losses to pay taxes, the Treasury stated. But under the new rule, the brokers will send this information to taxpayers.

By implementing the law’s reporting requirements, these final regulations will help taxpayers more easily pay taxes owed under current law, while reducing tax evasion by wealthy investors,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Aviva Aron-Dine in the press release.

Various organizations had previously raised concerns about the rule when it was proposed last year. In comments submitted by Cboe Global Markets, the organization pointed out that while the rule requires “brokers” to file information returns and provide payee statements related to digital asset transactions done by customers, “we are concerned about the overly broad definition of broker.”

The rule defined a broker as including certain digital asset trading platforms, payment processors, and hosted wallet providers.

Cboe pointed out that the definition covers “entities that are not best positioned to provide information for tax reporting purposes.” And by requiring these entities to comply with the new reporting requirements, the rule creates complications, it said.

For instance, “digital asset exchanges—like Cboe Digital—would have different and more onerous tax reporting obligations from those that exist for traditional securities exchanges.” The rule would also require exchanges “to report information that may be outright infeasible to provide.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce criticized the rule’s effective date which begins on Jan. 1, 2025. The chamber said the deadline does not provide enough time “for even the most sophisticated, well-resourced digital asset brokers” to develop and test systems required to implement the reporting rules.

Boosting Tax Compliance

IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel praised the reporting requirements, noting that the regulations were finalized after reviewing thousands of public comments. The final rule addresses concerns raised by the public, he said. The regulations will help close the “tax gap” related to digital assets.

These regulations are an important part of the larger effort on high-income individual tax compliance. We need to make sure digital assets are not used to hide taxable income, and these final regulations will improve detection of noncompliance in the high-risk space of digital assets,” Mr. Werfel stated.

“Our work to address potential non-compliance in digital currency is another reason why it is so critical to fully fund IRS operations … These new assets expand the complexity of our tax system, and the technology and personnel necessary for the IRS to keep pace with these changes is resource intensive.”

The IRS pointed out that the new regulations were not applicable to brokers who do not take possession of the digital assets being exchanged. These brokers are also called decentralized or non-custodial brokers. The IRS and the Treasury intend to provide rules for these brokers in the future.

Meanwhile, current tax rules require Americans to report all cryptocurrency and digital asset incomes they made when filing taxes.

The IRS has placed a question related to these transactions on tax forms. For tax year 2023, the question was: “At any time during 2023, did you: (a) receive (as a reward, award, or payment for property or services); or (b) sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of a digital asset (or a financial interest in a digital asset)?”

All taxpayers filing forms 1040, 1040-SR, 1040-NR, 1041, 1065, 1120, 1120 and 1120S must answer the question regardless of whether they conducted digital asset transactions or not.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 06/30/2024 – 16:20

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Replace Biden With Gavin Newsom? Polls Show Democrats Would Still Lose

Replace Biden With Gavin Newsom? Polls Show Democrats Would Still Lose

Remember when it was “conspiracy theory” to question Joe Biden’s cognitive abilities? After Joe Biden’s dismal debate performance in Atlanta this week, the media-sphere is swirling with conjecture over a potential replacement for the doddering candidate.  The Biden team continues to insist that he won’t drop out of the race by the time the Democratic National Convention launches in Chicago this August.  That doesn’t mean the DNC won’t consider picking another candidate to run, though.

Convention rules are not legal requirements, they are simply rules dictated by the DNC and by tradition.  Delegates that already voted for Biden are supposed to continue their support, but there are avenues by which they can change their minds and trigger an open nomination process on the convention floor.  It’s telling that far-left media outlets like Time Magazine and Politico are already war-gaming the possibility of Biden stepping down; that’s how poorly received his debate performance was.

Following Thursday’s debate Johanna Maska, a Democratic consultant and former Barack Obama aide, posted a video on X urging her party to change its 2024 presidential candidate. She said: “We cannot do this, Democrats. Joe Biden can’t put a sentence together. We have to change our candidate, and we have so many good candidates who are sitting on the sidelines.”

While some (like Maska) don’t like the idea, one name that is continually mentioned in this discourse is California Governor Gavin Newsom.  Many Democrats and some Republicans believe he would be the primary alternative if Biden is somehow removed from the running.  Their suspicions have merit – Last year Newsom was given ample attention by the establishment media and he did act as if he was running for president.     

Newsom’s capacity for authoritarianism was made clear during his strict pandemic lockdowns, as was his hypocrisy when he was caught attending lavish parties while millions of other Californians were ordered to stay home and away from friends and family.  

His one and only talent seems to be a capacity for twisting statistics to fit his false narratives; he has consistently misrepresented California’s increasing economic distress as “success” and downplayed growing homelessness and crime.  His advantage is that he’s able to do this with a completely straight face, and for those unfamiliar with such statistics and how they can be manipulated, Newsom appears knowledgeable and formidable. 

Beyond that, he’s not very impressive as a candidate and the polls show this.

A March Rasmussen Reports survey of 912 likely voters found that former President Trump would lead by 17 points (51 percent to 34) if Newsom were the 2024 Democratic nominee.

In February 2024, an Emerson College Polling survey of 1,225 showed that Trump would win in a hypothetical White House race against Newsom by 10 points (46 percent to 36).

A November 2023 Fox News poll of 1,001 registered voters found that Trump would win an election against Newsom by four points (49 percent to 45).

Other candidates fare even worse.  Trump crushes Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (also a potential alternative to Biden) by 12 points in Emerson polls.  

Kamala Harris loses by 6.6 points in Real Clear Politics polling.  Meanwhile, former first lady Michelle Obama also trailed behind Trump in a hypothetical matchup (50 to 43 percent) according to Rasmussen.

Bottom line?  The Democrats might want to replace Biden, but they don’t have anyone that will win according to the current data.  A switch may occur simply as a way to avoid any irreparable disgrace to the party going into November, but it’s important to remember that Biden is simply a foil, a mouthpiece for a political ideology of socialist extremism that the majority of Americans now find dangerous and ugly.  Every candidate the Democrats put forward will espouse the same exact rhetoric and promote the same exact policies. 

Tyler Durden
Sun, 06/30/2024 – 15:45

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Can Democrats Replace Biden? It’s Complicated…

Can Democrats Replace Biden? It’s Complicated…

Authored by Susan Crabtree via RealClearPolitics,

Amid the Democrats’ chaotic meltdown over President Biden’s Thursday night debate performance, one image stood out: A shrewd observer on posted a video of a baseball pitcher just off the field dramatically engaged in big, arm-circle warm-ups.

Gavin stretching in the bullpen,” the observer commented.

The pithy remark itself wasn’t too much of a stretch. Gavin Newsom, in fact, was already on deck, albeit figuratively. Before the debate, the photogenic 56-year-old California governor with the slick hair and silver tongue worked the pre-debate spin room as Biden’s top surrogate. And, after the year-long rumors that he could step in to replace the president as the nominee if Biden’s deteriorating health or performance should force Biden to step aside, Newsom had mastered his response to the persistent questions about it.

Asked about whether Biden should step down, Newsom appeared irritated. “Do you think it’s unfounded?” an MSNBC reporter asked him.

“I think it’s unhelpful – and I think it’s unnecessary,” Newsom replied. “We’ve got to keep our head high, and as I say, we’ve got to have the back of this president. You don’t turn your back because of one performance. What kind of party does that?”

Talking to reporters in the post-debate “spin room,” Newsom maintained that his party “could not be more wholly united behind Biden” and argued the president should not step aside. Despite Newsom’s protests, the intra-party conversations already had shifted – possibly irrevocably.

Biden managed to change the narrative tonight – he sunk his campaign,” declared CNN’s Chris Wallace.

Right after the debate, MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace acknowledged that frank conversations were occurring among party leaders and inside Biden’s circle about whether the president should “be in this race tomorrow morning.”

One senior Democratic operative told RCP he and his colleagues were rattled to the core and expressed concern that even the cable network most sympathetic to the president was discussing whether the party should replace him on the ticket.

The person next in line wasn’t having any of it. Like Newsom, Vice President Kamala Harris swatted away questions about Biden’s performance – and wouldn’t go near talk of succession.

Yes, it was a slow start, but it was a strong finish,” she said. “And what became very clear through the course of the debate is that [the president] is fighting on behalf of the American people. On substance, on policy, on performance, Joe Biden is extraordinarily strong.”

But the doubts were not so easily dispelled, and even MSNBC engaged in a post-debate discussion about a contested Democratic Party convention.

Referring to the convention math needed to replace him, anchor Joy Reid said someone sent her the party nomination rules.

Consistent Trump critic Nicole Wallace confirmed: “The rules are circulating.”

Yet, changing horses this late in the race, with just five months left, is a daunting, if not impossible, task. Party rules essentially prohibit it without the nominee’s consent, and Biden has repeatedly sworn off stepping down. Moreover, there’s no smooth path to doing so even if the party can coalesce around an alternative – and no consensus over who would play the role of party savior.

The most immediate problem is that polls show Kamala Harris’ job approval ratings are no better than Biden’s. Bypassing her for, say, Newsom would face an obvious obstacle: How could the modern Democratic Party, which champions diversity, equity, and inclusion, cast aside a woman whose heritage is African American and Asian? No matter how telegenic and articulate he may be, the intra-party critique writes itself: Gavin Newsom is a privileged white male from the same state – and same city – as Kamala Harris. Are the Democratic delegates really going to cast her aside because Biden is too old?

Moreover, any switcheroo now would inevitably provoke charges from the Democratic Party’s liberal base that party elites were overturning the results against the voters’ will. Intra-party resentment is still lingering from the 2016 primaries when supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders argued that the party leaders were rigging the election in favor of Hillary Clinton. In 2024, Biden captured nearly all of the primary delegates – 99%.

Still, rules do exist for switching nominees if the party’s nominee is incapacitated or opts to step aside. Biden may decide it’s time to do so, considering the constant second-guessing he will inevitably endure if he remains on the trail. He would, of course, have the option of serving out the final months of his term in the White House, as Lyndon Johnson did in 1968.

Theoretically, at least, a rancorous intra-party battle could take place at the August convention in Chicago, though it could set off a free-for-all among Democrats.

Along with Newsom and Harris, possible contenders circulating Thursday night include Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. If Michelle Obama should suddenly shed her long-held distaste for partisan politics, Democratic leaders might jump at the chance to coronate the dynamic former first lady as the rightful heir to the Obama legacy. Such a choice would also help blunt charges that the party ditched Harris, a black woman, over her poor approval ratings.

In such a free-wheeling and desperate political environment, anything is possible, and deals can be made. Months before the debate, reports surfaced that Harris was open to succeeding Newsom as governor if Biden lost the election and she was out of a job. Party leaders could present that as another option, although dangling a future Supreme Court or attorney general position may be more enticing for Harris.

Harris and Newsom, often considered to have a “sibling rivalry” relationship of sorts, operated in the same political circles and shared the same political consultant. (They also have the same mentor in former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.) The two made a pact many years ago. Harris decided to pursue an open Senate seat, and Newsom chose to run for governor.

The two ambitious pols have also strived to demonstrate there’s no animosity between them – at least on the surface. For instance, Newsom asked Harris to administer his oath of office when he was sworn in as lieutenant governor for the second time in 2015.

However, that cordial détente could disintegrate at any moment if the party determines Biden needs to be replaced, and they are both instantly jockeying for the job.

“It’s been a cold war so far this election for sure,” Rob Stutzman, who served as chief of staff to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, told RCP last week, noting that it could quickly become a hot war if the two have to vie against one another. “If Biden loses, there is a lot of speculation that Harris will come back and run to succeed Gavin versus trying to run for president.”

Considering the fraught political dynamics of two California Democrats best positioned to replace Biden, party leaders could theoretically decide to sidestep that problem altogether and set up 2016 instead of a 2020 rematch.

Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker predicted in early June that worries about Biden’s age would galvanize support for replacing him – and suggested Hillary Clinton as a prime candidate.

A few days before the debate, Sen. Dick Durbin, the Senate’s No. 2 Democratic leader, poured cold water on that scenario.

No, I don’t think [Hillary Clinton is] likely to run again,” he told The Hill newspaper.

But Durbin, at the time, also called stories about Biden stepping aside this summer or fall “bizarre.”

What a difference a few days and a debate debacle make.

Susan Crabtree is RealClearPolitics’ national political correspondent.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 06/30/2024 – 12:50

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

“The Ultimate Uncertainty”: Nearly Half Of EV Owners Want To Go Back To Gas-Powered Cars

“The Ultimate Uncertainty”: Nearly Half Of EV Owners Want To Go Back To Gas-Powered Cars

A brand new study from McKinsey has revealed that nearly half of Americans who own EVs want to go back to traditional gas powered vehicles. 

Apparently trillions of dollars in ‘green’ taxpayer-backed global subsidies over the last decade are no match for good ole’ fashioned common sense and free markets. Go figure.

Speaking to Automotive News, Philipp Kampshoff, leader of the consulting firm’s Center for Future Mobility said: “I didn’t expect that. I thought, ‘Once an EV buyer, always an EV buyer.’ ”

The study found that over 40% of U.S. electric vehicle owners are likely to buy a combustion engine car next. 

Charging concerns are a major hindrance to EV adoption, with 29% of global EV owners considering a switch, rising to 46% in the U.S. Consumers cite inadequate public charging infrastructure, high ownership costs, and impacts on long-distance travel as key issues.

These concerns align with the slow rollout of the U.S. National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program. Only eight stations are operational, and 23 states have started using funds from the $5 billion federal program as of May, according to EVAdoption.

The U.S. isn’t alone in facing EV charging challenges. Only 9% of global respondents find the public-charging infrastructure adequate. This issue is set to grow, as future EV buyers will depend more on public charging, according to Kampshoff.

McKinsey’s survey highlights include:

  • 21% of global respondents never want to switch to an EV, with 33% citing charging concerns.
  • Range expectations have increased from 270 miles in 2022 to 291.4 miles today, outpacing current EV offerings.

McKinsey’s biennial survey, released on June 12, included around 200 questions to over 30,000 consumers in 15 countries, covering over 80% of global sales. The survey shows a slight increase in willingness to consider EVs, with 38% of non-EV owners eyeing a plug-in hybrid or full electric for their next vehicle, up from 37% in 2022.

Consumer preferences for EVs, plug-ins, and combustion powertrains, coupled with evolving global regulations, complicate planning for the auto industry and its supply chain.

Kevin Laczkowski, global co-lead of McKinsey’s automotive and assembly practice, concluded: “OEMs and suppliers now have to invest in multiple technologies. This is the ultimate uncertainty right now, like almost never before.”

Tyler Durden
Sun, 06/30/2024 – 12:15

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden