Economy Section….

My anti-GOP rants have gained favor with liberals & disdain from conservatives.  This is a thoroughly perplexing development as my core beliefs have generally always been more center-right & made me a lifelong GOP supporter.  That is, of course, until the party went insane by shifting off to the radical right, bought into echo-lies & became the party of Trump.  The Dems who appreciate my messages would disagree with my positions on a whole host of issues.  I’m fiscally conservative & can clearly see from the math our escalating debt on entitlements will bury us, while admitting to always being very uneasy with the ever-expanding safety net through more & more governmental benefit programs (although enormous headwinds now faced by the working class & rising income inequality have made me embrace the need for government intervention beyond what I’ve ever believed before, seeing the need for innovative ideas in swinging the pendulum towards benefiting labor over capital, while also leveling the playing field so small business can more effectively compete against the mammoth corporations).  I’m also pro-life, hawkish on defense since enemy states & terrorists could obliterate us with the lethal state of modern weapon systems, plus skeptical that climate change can be definitively traced to man-made causes (although we should not stymie the progress towards expanding alternative energy).

I’m the exact opposite of what Reagan once said about the Dems, that he didn’t leave the party, the party left him.  Well, the GOP shifting to the extremes has meant the party left me, so essentially I’m now politically homeless without a party.  With both major parties mainly having shifted to the fringes, I’m open to any party willing to move back closer to the bipartisan middle, including a potential independent party.  So the real purpose of my commentaries is to inform the GOP base how far off the rails they’ve gone, in the hopes they’ll trend back closer to the pragmatic center & we can fix the party.  But I adamantly don’t believe in either trickle down or redistributionist policies, so both parties have it all wrong & are far behind the times.  And a total reliance on free markets alone or government alone won’t work with the unique challenges offered up by the modern global economy.  It will take brainstorming & cooperation on a macroeconomic scale with a public-private alliance, even expanding to a multi-nation approach.  A massive challenge we’re facing of worker economic instability & concentrated wealth at the top, to reverse such disturbing trends requires massive commitments & actions.  The American Dream & our strong economy were previously fueled by a prosperous middle class, which we must aspire to bring it back through breakthrough ideas spurring shared economic growth!  Our economic issues are serious & entrenched, so I reject the common refrain out there the economy is strong, not when roughly half of U.S. families are living paycheck-to-paycheck.

From the Related Articles below, the views expressed inside this link are hard to argue: trump-tariff-trade-immigration-debt-republicans-both-wrong-side.  And I also can’t quibble with this: corporate-america-invites-backlash-editorials-debates.  Then in the next 3 paragraphs taken from americans-arent-being-bamboozled-by-bonuses-the-gop-tax-law-is-a-flop, here’s more evidence of what I’ve been saying all along, the spoils from the huge Trump tax cuts go to the very top & don’t trickle down much to the masses:

It’s been a little over two months since President Donald Trump signed the bill into law, but it’s becoming clearer each day that the GOP’s signature legislative accomplishment during their first turn at dominating the federal government in a dozen years has turned into a complete dud. For a minute there — as Republicans rushed to publicize every temporary bonus announced by a company and attributed to the GOP tax bill, even though several had been announced months earlier  — it looked like the law was a winning issue for Trump’s party. Even as American corporations were making near-record profits, Republicans insisted on spending nearly $1 trillion of the bill’s total $1.5 trillion cost to slash the statutory rate for corporations from 35 percent down to 21 percent. The percentage of the federal revenue generated by corporate taxes is now expected to drop to the lowest level since World War II.

And as predicted, much of the windfall is already ending up in the pockets of the wealthy — not workers. Warren Buffett announced that Berkshire Hathaway received a $29,000,000,000 (that’s billion) windfall from the tax cut. Many U.S. corporations are double dipping instead of trickling down, boosting their own stock prices by buying back their stocks. Almost 100 American corporations have trumpeted such maneuvers since the bill’s passage. According to a recent Wall Street Journal analysis of S&P 500 companies, “Share buybacks announced by large U.S. companies have exceeded $200 billion in the past three months, more than double the prior year.” That is the largest amount unveiled in a single quarter, according to Birinyi Associates, a market research firm. By comparison, Republicans are touting $3 billion in bonuses so far for only about four million workers. The New York Times further illuminates the chasm between wealthy stockholders and average workers: [T]he vast majority of the billions of dollars in planned share purchases will benefit the richest 10 percent of American households, who own 84 percent of all stocks. The top 1 percent of households own about 40 percent of all stocks. Corporate CEO’s were surveyed before the bill’s passage about what they would do with the tax cut and they said they would not pass it down to workers in the form of increased wages or new jobs.

Republicans continued to ram the bill through Congress undeterred. According to a new HuffPost/YouGov survey, Americans were more than twice as likely to have seen news about bonuses — credited to the GOP tax cut — than stories about companies buying back shares of their own stock. However, only one-third of Americans think they will see an income tax cut. Even a new poll from a pro-Trump group found that nearly half of Americans believe major corporations are giving workers “crumbs” while top executives benefit from big bonuses, a fact Republicans pilloried House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for noting. Quinnipiac University poll released Feb. 20 found that voters say they still trust Democrats more than Republicans to handle the issue of taxes. And perhaps most troubling for Republicans, if the election were held today, a USA Today/Suffolk University Poll finds that Democrats hold a 15 percentage-point advantage in the so-called generic ballot. Except for an increase in stock buybacks, not much else positive will come of the GOP bill before November. If anything, the news will only get worse for Republicans. In late February, Disney workers alleged that their announced $1,000 bonuses were being used as leverage in labor negotiations. With each passing day, the myriad problems hidden within the massive law become apparent.


Another article why-we-need-rise-up-economics-not-trickle-down explains since trickle down is a farce, we need to aim for rise-up economics, so here is how the article begins:

How to build the economy? Not through trickle-down economics. Tax cuts to the rich and big corporations don’t lead to more investment and jobs. The only real way to build the economy is through “rise-up” economics: Investments in our people — their education and skills, their health, and the roads and bridges and public transportation that connects them. Trickle-down doesn’t work because money is global. Corporations and the rich whose taxes are cut invest the extra money wherever around the world they can get the highest return.

The best part of dear-democrats-corporate-america-is-not-your-friend comes from this paragraph:

Consider, for example, the treatment of their workforces. Why does the white-collar professional creative class get plied with extensive perks and decent pay while blue-collar and service workers get treated like a chain gang? Corporate America happens to see value in professional workers and treats them like actual human beings so that they will actually stick around. The working class, on the other hand, is viewed as disposable, a commodity to be continually replaced (unless forced to do otherwise by unions or bad publicity).

The many related articles on tariffs have opinion pieces presenting both sides.  We should have started pushing for fair trade deals decades ago, especially when it became obvious our manufacturing sector was hemorrhaging jobs.  So Trump has successfully shined a light on the issue.  But his remark trade wars are easy to win is just plain ridiculous (donald-trump-is-wrong-about-trade-wars-which-are-not-good-or-easy-to-win).  It reminds me of the various Cleveland Browns coaches having shuffled through here the last couple decades, who keep inferring as they’re hired football games would be easy to win, while we keep witnessing the losingest stretch of football in NFL history.  We need smart & beneficial trade deals for us & all our trading partners, not off-the-cuff decisions sparking trade wars which could raise prices on a variety of products, negating whatever extra pocket change people got from the tax cuts.  I’m also receptive to the idea of a gas tax to help finance infrastructure, but going overboard could serve to slow economic growth by obliterating the amounts workers received from the tax cuts.  Furthermore, I’m all for fixing the flaws in healthcare coverage, but taking steps to chip away at Obamacare will cause hardships to some which will dwarf the benefits from the tax cuts.  So the overall effects of Trump’s policies which aren’t well-thought-out & curtail growth by offsetting the income gains from the tax cuts, the end result becomes the rich get richer as deficits explode, while the middle class still can’t get ahead.

So I do see both sides of this tariffs controversy Trump sparked.  Our steel industry does need protection from foreign dumping.  But with steel & aluminum being intermediate goods used to make a variety of final products, meaning higher costs of those core materials will raise prices on lots of products, the debate becomes a catch-22.  Plus sparking trade wars would be extremely problematic for the macroeconomy.  We should work toward some sort of happy medium.  I’ve seen the devastation over several decades brought on many communities here in northeast Ohio, through bad trade deals & other factors ravaging our manufacturing base.  Rather than an automatic knee-jerk reaction either for or against these tariffs, it’s vitally important to examine the various core factors needed to restore pride, productivity & proper payback to those whose lives have been turned upside-down by this more deindustrialized society.  We should come to the table with our trading partners, just like we also need to commit to advanced job training programs in preparing more workers for the jobs in higher demand.  So these next 3 paragraphs pulled from trumps-tariffs-were-missing-the-bigger-picture help present the bigger picture:

 Here in D.C. Friday morning, even the howling wind seems angry about President Trump’s new tariffs on steel (25 percent) and aluminum (10 percent) imports. Every single analysis I’ve seen so far warns of price increases, trade wars, job losses, falling stock prices, hits to the macroeconomy, and a threat to the global order. I share many of these concerns. But I also fear we’re all quite remarkably still missing something: Even after Trump’s upset victory, Brexit, and the global rise of a populism nostalgic for a bygone era and industrial mix, political and economic elites still refuse to acknowledge and deal with those hurt by trade and globalization. No question, these tariffs are a crude tool in that regard, likely to hurt more than they’ll help. But what has the dominant policy community offered in their place? Huge tax cuts for corporations and wealthy heirs, share buybacks, and proposals to slash the safety net. Tax cuts for the rich; work requirements for the poor.


This is a policy agenda that directly violates the fundamental rationale for free trade: Yes, trade creates winners and losers, but the benefits to the winners are large enough to more than offset the losses to the losers. American economic/social policy, even after all that’s transpired, still gets the first part right: more trade. But not only do the winners fail to compensate those hurt by trade, they use their winnings to buy politicians and policies that consolidate their gains while further penalizing those left behind. Then, when our generally faux populist president actually takes a rare step, albeit misguided, to allegedly help these folks on the wrong side of globalization, all we hear is Econ 101 shouting about the distortions caused by tariffs. Like I said, I agree with much of that shouting, but colleagues, I ask you this: What else have you got?! Because if that’s all we’re bringing to the table, then we need to go back into our offices, shut the door and think a lot harder about a policy agenda to help lift the left behind.

And yet, even after that lid was blown off, there’s still no coherent policy agenda that’s been articulated to help connect those who’ve been left behind. Instead, we hear endlessly about the stock market, trickle-down tax cuts, health “reform” that takes away what precarious coverage folks have, budgets that slice away at training programs to help displaced people regain a foothold, threats to the safety net and the social insurance programs designed explicitly to provide a backstop against poverty, ill-health and market failures. So, to everyone complaining about these tariffs, myself included, I have one simple request. After you’ve vented about their economic distortions, put forth the policy initiative you think is needed to help those hurt by trade. Absent that, you may have the economics right, but unless you get the political economics right as well, it’s not just that your analysis is incomplete. It’s that it may well make things worse.

So in the Related Articles, see the first group of political updates on economic issues discussing low-paying contract jobs & poverty.  Inside links such as relax-breathe-wait & also president-trumps-rhetoric-means-nothing-even-to-his-own-administration, we see Trump’s word is not his bond & is clear as mud.  Whichever way the wind blows, his shifting positions change by the moment.  That’s what happens with someone so lacking in core beliefs & values, while being as impulsive as a child.  There is also a group of links on taxes & deficits, many links on trade & tariffs, & from there links on various topics including DACA & guns.  At the bottom in a group where something’s got to give with our broken government, here’s the link & excerpt for independents-can-bring-innovation-to-politics, explaining what might be a necessary alternative to break the current stranglehold & gridlock brought on by our two-party system:

At the core of government gridlock and dysfunction is a two-party duopoly that has stopped serving “We, the people” and is instead focused on serving itself and colluding to prevent any new competition. Today’s political incentives for getting attention, raising money, and winning votes have driven both parties toward their respective ideological extremes. Pragmatism and problem-solving have given way to tribalism and point-scoring. It is no surprise that both political parties are losing market share at a rapid pace. Today, 44 percent of Americans self-identify as independent, according to Gallup. At the same time, 61 percent believe both parties do such a poor job representing the American people that a major third party is needed. The politics industry is ripe for disruption and innovation, and a new startup — Unite America — is ready to bring it by recruiting and electing common-sense, independent candidates to office.

Believe in me, I’m with the high command….

This seems to be the basic message Trump is sending out to his cult followers, a narrative echoed by his compliant surrogates inside the White House, Congress & the echo.  Our prez has always shown authoritarian tendencies, but over the weekend actually came out & admitted we should try making him president for life.  It’s the same message China’s Communist Party is now feeding to their people by declaring Xi Jinping their president for life, which Trump just gleefully endorsed.  It’s the same message Putin keeps repeating to the Russian people, the dictator Trump continues to envy & adore.  It’s also the same message blasted out continually by North Korea’s state-run media to a doting people trapped in a closed-off society.  It’s a similar message used by dictators down through the ages, including 1930’s Germany when that hate-filled bigoted & nationalistic rhetoric was sold to & bought into by a sizable portion of the population.

These lyrics below look a lot like what might be told to & believed by a citizenry on the brink of falling into totalitarianism, which currently in America it’s conservatives who have been duped by the deceitful group-think, so allow me the liberty to interpret how Trumpeters & the echo-crowd might view these words to a song:

By now the fighting will be close at hand…..(a call to civil war if their leader gets removed)
Don’t believe the church and state
And everything they tell you……(obtaining worldly power necessitates abandoning God’s love, grace & principles, plus fight against the deep state in support of their leader)
Believe in me, I’m with the high command…..(the unquestioned omnipotent president)


There’s a gun and ammunition
Just inside the doorway….(a call to arms which these days means AR-15’s)

Swear allegiance to the flag
Whatever flag they offer…..(the tea-party’s Gadsden flag)

Will rise up and fight while we stand still….(again a call to civil war)

 economic issues mike and the mechanics

(Click on image for full video)