Trump’s 50 Most Unthinkable Moments

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

Halfway through Donald Trump’s term in the Oval Office, The Atlantic has cataloged 50 norm-shattering moments from his presidency, analyzed by 50 Atlantic writers and contributors. This project, titled Unthinkable, ranks the incidents—from the outlandish to the dangerous—that would have been considered improbable during any prior administration, of either party

Donald Trump’s 50 Most Unthinkable Moments

Jeffrey Goldberg Editor in chief of The Atlantic

Trump’s Five Craziest Arguments About the Shutdown

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

Oh, and about that wall. Here’s a financing plan that’s a win-win.

Brought to you by Nicholas Kristof

Income Inequality – Charts & Policy

Published / by Stephen Chapel

Share This:

Top Charts of 2018, Economic Policy Institute – Twelve charts that show how policy could reduce inequality—but instead is making it worse. December 20, 2018.

  1. The upward march of inequality is firmly reestablishing itself
  2. Depending on the state, the average top 1-percenter makes between 12.7 and 44.4 times more each year than the average bottom 99-percenter
  3. The Fed can look to the late 1990s for guidance on how to raise wages
  4. Attacks on unions have hurt their ability to hold inequality in check
  5. An attack on public-sector unions is an attack on women, teachers, and African Americans

Read on: Top Charts of 2018…

The Cats Are Going To Pay For It?

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

Thanks to Me Me:

Trump’s Understanding of Tax & Tarrif Policy

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

A Krugman Lesson on Tax Policy

Krugman on what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez knows about tax policy? (a lot) versus what Trump knows? (not much)

A Comment on Trump’s Twisted Tariff Logic

Trump claims Chinese tariffs have brought in millions. Wrong. A tariff on imports is a Tax. The Tax is paid by companies importing Chinese products. These taxes are at least partially passed to consumers of the products. If it looks like a duck, swims a duck, and quacks like a duck it probably is a duck.

Trump Isn’t The Only Problem – Part 4

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

More from Robert Reich:

Why We Must Get Big Money Out of Politics

The most important thing we must do to save our democracy is get big money out of politics. It’s a prerequisite to accomplishing everything else.

Today, big money continues to corrupt American politics – creating a vicious cycle that funnels more wealth and power to those at the top and eroding our democracy.

In the 2018 midterm elections, wealthy donors and Super-PACs poured millions into the campaigns of the same lawmakers who voted to pass the 2017 tax cuts, which gave them huge windfalls.

Consider conservative donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, whose casino business received an estimated $700 million windfall, thanks to Trump and Republicans’ tax cuts. The couple then used some of this extra cash to plow more than $113 million dollars into the 2018 election, breaking the record for political contributions by a single household.

That’s not a bad return on investment – for them.

All told, almost 40 percent of total contributions in the 2018 midterms came from people who donated $10,000 or more. Yet these mega-donors comprise a tiny 0.01 percent of the U.S. population.

Read on

Fences & Neighbors: A Blast From The Past

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

Robert Reich wrote this for the November 30, 1998 issue of the New Yorker magazine. He posted it to his blog today. It could not be more time appropriate.

Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?

It used to be that people who owned a lot of things could protect themselves and their things by erecting sturdy houses and, if necessary, putting a lock on the door. Today, it seems, that’s not enough. It’s estimated that three million American households live within gated communities – twenty thousand of them, often equipped with private security guards and electronic surveillance systems. Some years ago, the town of Rosemont, Illinois, erected a beige wrought-iron fence. Rosemont is a suburb of Chicago, with a population of four thousand, and it has one of the largest auxiliary police forces in the United States.

A wall is being erected around the nation, too – an outer perimeter, separating the United States from the Third World. So far, our national wall extends along only sixty-four miles of the nearly two-thousand-mile border with Mexico, but Congress has appropriated funds for lengthening it and also fortifying it.

The urge to erect walls seems to be growing, just as disparities in wealth are widening. Many of the Americans who reside within gates like Rosemont’s have become substantially wealthier during the past several years, whereas a great many Americans who live outside the gates have not. (One man, appropriately named Bill Gates, has a net worth roughly equaling the combined net worth of the least wealthy forty percent of American households.)

On a much larger scale, inhabitants of the planet who reside at latitudes north of the national wall are diverging economically from those who live south of it. The consequence is that at both perimeters – the town wall and the national wall – outsiders are more desperate to get in and insiders are more determined to keep them out. Yet the inconvenient fact is that increasingly, in the modern world, the value of what the insiders own and of the work they do depends on what occurs outside.

Half a world away from Rosemont are places whose currencies, denominated in bahts, ringgits, rupiahs, and won, began toppling more than a year ago, and seem to have come to rest only in the last several weeks at levels far below where they started. This has caused most of these countries’ citizens to become far poorer. An Indonesian who had worked for the equivalent of three dollars and thirty-three cents a day before the rupiah’s decent is now working for about one dollar and twelve cents. Efforts by the International Monetary Fund to build back the “confidence” of global investors in these nations by conditioning loans on the nation’s willingness to raise interest rates and cut their public spending have had the unfortunate side effect of propelling more of their citizens into ever more desperate poverty. After the tremors spread to Russia last summer, and it defaulted on its short-term loans, the worldwide anxiety grew, spreading all the way to Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America, with the widest gap between rich and poor. In return for its promise of austerity, Brazil is now set to receive an international line of credit totaling forty-one and a half billion dollars, designed to convince global investors that its currency will not lose its value, and that, therefore, there is no reason for them to take their money and run.

All this commotion has also diminished the economic security of quite a number of people who thought of themselves as safely walled in. …. Recent government data show that in the third quarter of 1998 the profits and investments of Americans companies shrank for the first time since the recession year of 1991. This is largely because their exports to Asia and Latin America have continued to drop, while cheap imports from these regions are undercutting their sales in the United States. In consequence, they have been laying off American workers at a higher pace, and creating new jobs at a slower pace, than at any time in recent years.

We do not know how many residents of Rosemont will lose their jobs or the value of their stock portfolios because of the continuing global crisis. No burglars will climb over the steel barrier now walling off the United States and then scale Rosemont’s beige wrought-iron fence, but some residents of Rosemont will lose a bundle nonetheless.

The major risks of modern live now move through or over walls, sometimes electronically, as with global investments, but occasionally by other means. A lethal influenza virus originating among a few Hong Kong chickens could find its way to Rosemont via a globe-trotting business executive. Drugs are flowing across the border as well, not because the walls are insufficiently think but because the people behind them are eager to buy. Something these is in capitalism that doesn’t love a wall.

So why do we feverishly build more walls when they offer us less and less protection? Perhaps it is because we feel so unprotected of late. Amid all the blather about taking more personal responsibility for this or that, there is a growing fear that random and terrible things can happen to us. Solid walls at least create the illusion of control over what we call our own, and control is something we seem to need more of these days, when almost anyone can be clobbered by a falling baht.

Share

Trump Tax Cut – Wrong!

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

You want to know how wrong the Trump tax cut is? Read this, written by someone with the economic chops to know.

NYTimes.com: The Trump Tax Cut: Even Worse Than You’ve Heard

Climate Change – “The Science Is Settled”

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

A global heat wave. Extreme rainstorms. Severe droughts. Rapidly intensifying Gulf Coast storms. The deadliest wildfire in California history. And a presidential administration that’s trying to make the problem worse. David Leanhardt,  NYT’s Op-Ed Columnist

Climate change gets a network’s spotlight

“NBC devoted the full hour of December 30 “Meet the Press” to climate change, featuring an interview with Michael Bloomberg vowing to elevate its role in the White House race.”

“We’re not going to debate climate change, the existence of it. The Earth is getting hotter. And human activity is a major cause, period. We’re not going to give time to climate deniers. The science is settled, even if political opinion is not.”

— Chuck Todd at the open of today’s show

“Bloomberg said he’ll work to ensure that 2020 Democratic presidential candidates offer strong proposals on climate.”

“I don’t know whether I’m going to run or not, but I will be out there demanding that anybody that’s running has a plan. And I want to hear the plan, and I want everybody to look at it and say whether it’s doable.”
— Bloomberg on “Meet the Press”

To Preserve Democracy – America’s New Year’s Resolution

Published / by Stephen

Share This:

America’s New Year’s Resolution: Remove Trump

After his first bizarre year, his apologists told us he was growing into the job and that in his second year he’d be more restrained and respectful of democratic institutions.

Wrong. He’s been worse

Republican members of Congress must join with Democrats to get this task done as quickly as possible. Nothing is more urgent. It must be, in effect, America’s New Year’s resolution

Read on for why …