Monday, September 4, 2017

Trump's Big CON: Happy Labor Day Suckers!

"[A]s a candidate, Trump correctly identified the anger and disappointment so many people feel about the contemporary U.S. economy, where the vast bulk of the benefits goes to those who are already wealthy and millions struggle to get by. The system, he told them, was “rigged” by those who already have wealth and power, and they believed him because of what they saw in their own lives and communities.

As Trump went around the country in 2016, he promised to turn back the clock to the days when factories were humming and factory towns were growing — and said he’d bring back all the coal jobs to boot. It was a cynical hoax, because the economy of the 1950s and 1960s for which he had such praise was made possible not only by a technological era that is far behind us, but by U.S. labor unions — unions that are under relentless assault from Trump’s party. Those old-fashioned factory jobs, where you could start without much in the way of education or experience and earn good wages and strong benefits, negotiated for you by the union, are largely gone. If you can find a manufacturing job today, chances are you won’t be represented by a union, and your employer will say, 'This is what you’ll get. Take it or leave it.' . .

You can see it in this extraordinary New York Times article by Neil Irwin profiling two women who started as janitors at companies that defined innovation in their respective heydays. Gail Evans began working at Eastman Kodak in the early 1980s, in a janitorial position with vacation benefits and support for workers wanting more education to improve their skills. She got her college degree and eventually rose to become chief technology officer of the entire company. Marta Ramos cleans floors at Apple today, but she’s employed by a contractor and has virtually no chance of getting any permanent position at Apple, let alone rising up in the company.

That difference is the result of enormous and complex changes that range across the entire economy, changes that one president can’t reverse. But what has Trump done to help ease the burden on workers and expand opportunity? Here are a few things:

Tried to take health coverage away from millions of low-income workers

Revoked an order by Obama requiring large federal contracts to go only to companies that weren’t guilty of violating labor laws

Nominated to be labor secretary the head of a fast-food company notorious for its abuse and exploitation of low-wage workers (the nominee later withdrew)

Appointed anti-labor nominees to the National Labor Relations Board

Moved to undo the Obama administration’s regulation expanding overtime pay for millions of workers

Proposed to cut the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health by 40 percent

Pushed back regulations forcing companies to protect worker safety and inform workers of hazards

Argued in court that employers should be able to force workers to give up their right to file class-action lawsuits

Reversed the Obama administration’s crackdown on for-profit education scams that saddle people with worthless degrees and huge debt

Promoted “right to work” laws that hamper unions’ ability to organize

And now we get to the centerpiece of the Trump administration economic plan: A gigantic tax cut for the wealthy and corporations! Of course." [Link in original.]

Read the Washington Post, Trump told workers that the system is rigged. Now he’s showing them just how much.

Trump's Big CON: Too Undisciplined, He Is Simply Not Presidential Material

UPDATE II:  Two reasons The Donald is simply not capable of being an effective president:

He is "poorly informed and . . . impulsive" says Senator John McCain.

That's putting it mildly.  

UPDATE:  Read the Washington Post, Trump fatigue comes early, in which Joe Scarborough argues that:

“Americans eventually tire of the presidents they elect. . .

President Trump is, of course, the most radical example of this negative political phenomenon. Seven months into his maniacal presidency, Trump is driving his approval ratings to record lows and causing friends and foes alike to experience premature presidential fatigue."

I don't agree.

I think people are realizing that The Donald is simply not capable of being an effective president.

The reasons are many.

"President Trump spent the final days of August dutifully performing his job. He tended to the massive recovery from Hurricane Harvey. He hit the road to sell his tax-cut plan. And he convened policy meetings on the federal budget and the North Korean nuclear threat.

Behind the scenes during a summer of crisis, however, Trump appears to pine for the days when the Oval Office was a bustling hub of visitors and gossip, over which he presided as impresario. He fumes that he does not get the credit he thinks he deserves from the media or the allegiance from fellow Republican leaders he says he is owed. He boasts about his presidency in superlatives, but confidants privately fret about his suddenly dark moods.

And some of Trump’s friends fear that the short-tempered president is on an inevitable collision course with White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.

Trump chafes at some of the retired Marine Corps general’s moves to restrict access to him since he took the job almost a month ago, said several people close to the president. They run counter to Trump’s love of spontaneity and brashness, prompting some Trump loyalists to derisively dub Kelly “the church lady” because they consider him strict and morally superior."

Read the Washington Post, During a summer of crisis, Trump chafes against criticism and new controls.

Trump's Big CON: The Same Old Trickle-Down Economics

UPDATE II:  "Having failed in their attempt to strip millions of health insurance by repealing Obamacare, President Trump and the Republican Congress are moving to their biggest priority: tax cuts for corporations and the rich. The plan is still being written, but Trump has already begun his push for it. And every part of the administration’s tax pitch is divorced from reality (a gentle way of saying it is a lie and a fraud). . .

There are sensible tax reforms that could be passed. Raise rates on the rich and use the money to fund a massive rebuilding of America’s infrastructure, starting with accelerating the move to renewable energy. That would create jobs, reduce inequality, invest in research and new technology, help capture a lead in growing global markets and begin to address climate change. Tax income from investments at the same rate as income from work. Require global corporations to pay taxes at the same rates as domestic companies by ending deferral. Tax financial speculation to raise revenue and at least slow the destabilizing financial casino.

These and other common-sense ideas would raise revenue and support badly needed public investments that would create real jobs and growth while not fueling greater inequality. It won’t surprise you that none of them are on the table in the back room where Republicans are struggling to come up with a tax plan.

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, there may be no words in the English language more scary than 'a Republican president and Congress announce it is time for tax reform.'"

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s tax-reform pitch is entirely divorced from reality.

UPDATE:  "Republicans have one idea and one idea only: That we should cut taxes for the rich. The only thing that changes is the sales pitch.

And the latest pitch, offered by President Trump on Wednesday, is a bit of a doozy."

Read the Washington Post, Republicans have only one idea. And Trump’s pitch for it is a doozy.

Trump yet unreleased tax reform plan will be sold as a 'made in America tax to 'un-rig the economy' by ending special interest loopholes and benefit workers, leveling the playing field with the rest of the world.

It will include few details, but "we already know that the most recent version of his plan would shower most of their benefits on the wealthy and corporations. . .

[And] it is expected to slash the top rate and corporate rate and repeal the estate tax. . .

But the broad strokes of that formulation, despite its packaging in the rhetoric of economic nationalism, actually constitute trickle-down economics. . .

The Tax Policy Center analyzed his final plan during the campaign, by estimating the combined distributive impacts of both the individual and business tax cuts on households. The results were summed up by TPC’s Howard Gleckman in an email to me:

'The Tax Policy Center estimates that half the benefit of Trump’s final campaign tax plan, including both the business and individual tax cuts, would go to the top 1 percent, who make $700,000 or more. Middle-income households would get about 6 percent of the benefits. To put it another way, the average tax cut for the top 1 percent would be $214,000 or 13 percent of their after-tax income while the average tax cut for a middle-income household would be about $1,000 or 2 percent of their after-tax income.'
An analysis of the most recent White House plan yielded similar findings. . .

Now, if Trump wants to make the case that huge high-end tax cuts will actually help workers, fine — let’s have that debate. But the point is that Trump is revealing once again that his populist economic nationalism — as he himself defined it — was largely a scam all along."

Read the Washington Post, Today you will hear the death rattle of Trump’s economic populism.

Happy Labor Day Suckers!