Economy Section

Even if the seemingly strong economy can be credited to Trump, would that be worth undermining our constitutional democracy & rule of law over?  But for Trump’s policies to have actually created such a positive impact in such a relatively short period of time defiles credulity.  It looks as though we have seen a short-term spike from corporate execs/shareholders being giddy over their huge tax cuts, so as a gesture of goodwill have spread some of the morsels down to their workers, maybe even for the optics of justifying those huge cuts.  We should expect their benevolence to be short-lived, as they have the leverage to steer the ongoing spoils to top management & shareholders.  It’s the epitome of the rich getting richer with their laborers in general struggling to scrape by.  What the Trump doctrine has done is lift short-term optimism, with very little to suggest it can be sustained, since his agenda doesn’t get at the core of our problems.  And to the extent America is experiencing growth, that is a trend we’re seeing at this point in time throughout the world, so the Trump economy is just riding that international wave.  One of the most encouraging trends on the world stage in recent years has been a notable drop in poverty rates.  Maybe we can learn from others, since our income inequality levels are among the highest in the developed world.  So the Donald Trump plan may not be providing as good of results as some give him credit for.

Instead of tax cuts, I do see the deregulatory climate as providing a far more sustained economic growth, removing the load of burdensome regulations on the backs of businesses. The concern with that under Trump’s impulsive leadership, is to the degree removing such regulations was actually researched & well-thought-out (not).  It could take years to know the true impact of health, safety & bank predatory practices that could result from all this. So other than reducing regulations, what we’ve also seen is an ill-conceived tax cut which I see as nothing more than trickle down, which really will be a trickle when it reaches the workers, along with those cuts driving up deficits. Recent policies have also revved up energy production & the other consequential action is a conservative court appointment, but what else has he really done in year one? He had a majority in both the House & Senate, so the lack of accomplishments has actually been quite stunning. Naturally, polarization & a tribal mentality of gridlock is a big part of the stalemate, which it’s been like that for years.  And the stalemate is likely to only get worse, since I believe as more evidence comes out of real crimes connected with Russia, the attack on our Constitution & the rule of law will dominate the discussion, grinding his political agenda to a halt. So regardless of the cheery pablum coming in the SOTU address, fully expect 2018 to become extremely rocky, a necessary process where our nation will be challenged & required to get through it.

The State of the Union will get some of the population ginned up, almost exclusively on the GOP side.  Expect reactions to be split along party lines in our very divided nation.  As a con man, the prez will try pulling a con job on the American people.  As a pathological liar, he’ll parade out a series of falsehoods & exaggerations.  But remember the speech will be written by others, so it will present the good side of him that’s not really him.  It will no doubt be full of braggadocious embellishments, taking stats out of context, cherry-picking the few positives, & painting a rosy picture mostly distant from reality.  So he’ll unveil those Donald Trump plan, but are they his, or his advisor’s ideas subject to be changed by him?  His policies are always a moving target.  And it will likely take mere hours or even a few days for him to undo whatever positives he said in that speech, with some outlandish tweet or self-defeating news headline that will more than offset any good vibes coming from the SOTU.  As we’ve seen repeatedly with this chaos presidency, he’ll do something stupid to stomp on any good narratives he tries to convey.

If he does manage to soon pull off some kind of bipartisan agreement on DACA & border security, that would be a real feather in his cap on an extremely divisive, polarizing & bitterly fought debate on immigration.  As much as immigration reform is really needed, it’s been consistently derailed by the extremes on both sides.  So as much as that would be a tremendous accomplishment for the prez, it could risk driving a permanent wedge between him & the hardliners in his base.  Passing immigration legislation is still a long shot since there are so many competing interests, but if it happens I would welcome such a development as a positive in a couple different ways.  It would finally achieve a long-needed comprehensive bipartisan deal on immigration, plus pit the echo & Trumpeter base against Trump & even get them fighting among themselves.  Much like the negative impact the Russians are perpetrating in trying to take down our democracy through feeding divisions among the American people, that similar dynamic could play out in a positive way by taking down the echo & Trumpeter-nation through having them attack each other.  Whereas the Russians need to be stopped, it’d be wonderful to watch the echo & Trump base implode through their own infighting.  I long for the day conservatives finally have that aha moment when they see clearly how the echo-machine has profited from them & taken them for fools all these years.  Always please do share part 2 of these messages, consistently helping expose the magnitude of echo-deception.

Ultimately, if any value emerges from the Trump presidency, especially if he goes down in flames this year, it’s in taking down with him the echo & his radicalized rabid base. Another potential positive assuming our hallowed institutions safeguarding democracy hold up from this Trump barrage, is in the way he’s shook up stodgy establishment DC norms, so future presidents might be able to buck the system & push back against the crony capitalist system that’s been in place too long.  What a wonderful thought that future leaders be permitted to focus their attention on policies for restoring the working middle class.  Perhaps that’s just wishful thinking, but we can always hope.  Politicians actually seeking to help the people by developing innovative ideas for restoring opportunity & better-paying jobs, it’s what we’ve been waiting for a long time now.  And since America still has higher wages relative to most of the rest of the world, responsible governing should not only examine the wage side, but look into correcting the factors contributing to our high costs-of-living.  Do whatever it takes for working people to better earn a livable wage. Our nation certainly creates enough wealth, we just need an improved system where an honest day’s work is better rewarded.

Getting back to SOTU, it will focus on the positive stats of the stock market & low unemployment.  Not a word will be spoken on the truth about important metrics that are basically the same as Obama’s last term, with job creation, GDP, wage growth & participation rates basically not budging.  There are also indications personal savings rates have just fallen to a 10-year low, suggesting consumer debt is climbing along with the federal debt.  And the wage/wealth gaps keep growing wider apart, which Trump’s tax cuts will only worsen that wide divide.  The short-term gains from Trump’s policies mask the long-term core problems, which we’re not even working on good ideas to solve the ongoing structural issues.  Don’t expect any new initiatives or a bigger vision for the country tonight, because he really has none.  The cupboard is bare on big-picture plans.  And as a master distractor, Trump will use a similar strategy he employs for the Russian scandal, where he uses clever diversions to spread a narrative everything is hunky dory & the main problems don’t even exist.  So far in year one we’ve seen Trump, supposedly a great salesman, doing a terrible job using the bully pulpit selling his healthcare & tax plans, has been all over the board on the immigration plan, & has shown no inclination to sell the public on infrastructure.  We’ll see whether he can use SOTU to turn a new page & better paint what his agenda is looking to achieve, plus he’ll try striking a tone of unity (surely coming across as disingenuous), but most importantly can he stick to that main script in the days & weeks following the speech tonight.  Probably not.

Getting to the articles, inside the link building-a-stronger-america-starts-with-a-stronger-middle, this sounds like the kind of congressional initiate our nation & middle class workers so desperately need.  If we could just put partisanship aside & get behind such efforts for the common good, we might finally start addressing the core problems which DC has basically ignored for decades.  Here are the first 3 paragraphs from the article by Reps. Gallagher & Krishnamoorthi:

As 2018 begins, it is important to reflect on what matters to American families. While the level of vitriol and hostility in Washington, D.C. continues to rise, we in Congress must not forget about the need for common-sense solutions to the key issues facing the millions of working and middle-class Americans.

For over three decades, the share of adults living in middle-income households fell from 61 to 50 percent. As this trend continues, we need to do more to strengthen and support workers and families who are doing their very best to work, raise a family and pursue their own American dream.

With most Americans feeling that the federal government does not do enough for the middle class, it is clear that policies that were meant to help the middle class are now holding it back. It’s also become increasingly clear to us that the partisan gridlock in D.C. has gotten us nowhere. If we are going to effect real change for the middle class, then both sides of the aisle must set aside their political differences, work together, and find solutions to these problems. This is why together we launched the Middle Class Jobs Caucus.

There’s an interesting poll seen in the link poll-americans-want-government-do-more, showing these percentages:

The January NBC/WSJ poll found 58 percent of Americans agreed with the statement, “Government should do more to solve problems and help meet the needs of people” while only 38 percent agreed that “Government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.”

Inside the link does-america-have-a-caste-system, the article concludes with this excerpt, which we need to reluctantly admit the American Dream is in trouble, badly in need of a dramatic new fix:

Caste gives Americans a way to articulate their sense of persistent marginalization. And by virtue of being apparently foreign — it comes from India, after all — it usefully complicates the dominant American Dream narrative.  The U.S. has a class problem. It has a race problem. And it may just have a caste problem, too.

From there we see an article where Trump has largely passed over small business, in a business climate where they badly need fiscal policies to help make them more competitive.  Then we see some other articles where economic prosperity is not spreading to parts of the economy that really need it.  And with a seeming animus towards the underprivileged, his policies virtually ignore those mired in poverty.  As we move down the list of links, by clicking on the-current-fiscal-free-for-all-is-untenable, in these two paragraphs we see a dire warning on the effects of the tax cuts & the way it is likely to balloon deficits.  Conservatives are always going ballistic on growing deficits, so long as a Dem is in the White House:

Welcome to the new fiscal-free-for-all. A huge unpaid-for tax cut is unlikely to be followed by measures to improve the situation, which should include scaling back some of the tax bill and/or adding pay-fors, but rather will probably lead to more borrowing. The budget deal being negotiated by congressional leaders and the administration right now would increase defense and non-defense discretionary spending substantially, reportedly well beyond simply reversing the reductions from the sequester.


This package could end up costing a whopping $400 billion if it is not paid for, resulting in an annual deficit impact comparable to the tax reform legislation enacted last year. Now more than ever, this country needs strong leaders who are willing to enact policies to put this country on the right fiscal path. If not, change may very well come through crisis.

Toward the bottom, there’s an important article gridlock-deepens-under-trump-is-our-democracy-at-risk, which explains the destructive effects of polarizing gridlock with the sides being dug in by tribal loyalties.  Someday, somehow, someone, some way, we need to establish a culture in DC where the logjam is broken, & the sides learn to work together again.

The leader of our nation loves only gold….
and the adulations of what he derives from his riches.  His long history suggests a life of a con man spinning deceit to enrich himself.  Anyone so egomaniacally self-centered, we should be leery of his motives, where he will ALWAYS put self before country.  Keep in mind as we watch SOTU tonight, when he’ll crow about achievements only loosely connected with his efforts, these lyrics should ring true from a 007 theme song:
Golden words he will pour in your ear
But his lies can’t disguise what you fear
donald trump plan with shirley bassey
(Click about image for full video)