Monthly Archives: February 2018

For the first time since Columbine, most Americans believe mass shootings can be stopped

By Christopher Ingraham

A CNN poll released this week shows striking evidence of a shift in American attitudes toward mass shootings: Nearly two-thirds of adults now believe that mass shootings can be prevented, the first time since Columbine that a majority of Americans have felt that way.

The survey suggests the Parkland, Fla., shooting is changing the public attitudes about gun violence in a way that other recent killings haven’t.

As recently as the summer of 2015, when nine black parishioners were shot to death by a white supremacist in a Charleston church, less than 40 percent of Americans said that government or society could do anything to stop the shootings.

Four months ago, when 58 people were killed and hundreds more injured in a shooting in Las Vegas, a plurality of respondents told pollsters that government and society were essentially powerless to stop these incidents.

Today, however, 64 percent of Americans say that “government and society can take action that will be effective in preventing shootings like the one in Parkland, Florida from happening again.” Just 32 percent say shootings like Parkland “will happen again regardless of what action is taken by government and society.”

The question has referenced different shootings each time it’s been asked, so some of the variation in responses to it likely reflects the differences between those shootings: venue, victims, shooters and other individual circumstances.

But the numbers nonetheless reflect the contours of a political routine with which we’ve all become familiar: a national tragedy, followed by outrage, prayer and calls for action. Ultimately, however, federal firearm policy remains unchanged, an outcome driven in large part by congressional Republicans’ vehement opposition to substantive regulations on gun ownership. In the past, some red-state Democratic senators, such as North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin III, have also been instrumental in voting …read more

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New Fed chair Jerome Powell sees little risk of a recession

By Heather Long

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell is starting his job short-staffed, with only three of the seven Fed governor positions filled. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Jerome H. Powell, the new chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, made his debut public appearance Tuesday, where he told the House Financial Services Committee that he is committed to “clearly explaining” Fed thinking and that the U.S. economy is getting better. He said the recent stock market jitters don’t worry him, and he reiterated that the Fed intends to raise interest rates at a slow and steady pace — similar to its moves under his predecessor, Janet L. Yellen.

“My personal outlook for the economy has strengthened since December,” Powell said, adding that he has little concern about a recession any time soon. “I don’t see [the recession risks] as at all high at the moment.”

In December, the Fed predicted the U.S. economy would grow at a 2.5 percent pace this year. Since then, President Trump’s tax cuts passed and Congress agreed to raise federal spending by about half a trillion dollars. Powell didn’t give a firm growth estimate Tuesday, but he sounded upbeat, noting that the economy grew at “about 3 percent” in the second half of 2017, which is Trump’s goal.

[As GOP tax cuts take hold, Democrats struggle for line of attack]

Powell has one of the more difficult jobs in Washington right now. He has to keep Wall Street calm, unemployment low and inflation in check — all while facing pressure from Trump. While the Fed is an independent entity over which Trump has no direct control, Powell is a Trump nominee, and the president has made it clear he wants faster economic growth and a booming stock market.

On Tuesday, Republican lawmakers repeatedly tried to …read more

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