But Instead of Tax Cuts for the Rich, Now the Talk is of making it a more Progressive Tax Code…For a nation like ours that produces tremendous wealth, yet has roughly half the population living paycheck to paycheck & would struggle coming up with a few hundred dollars for an emergency, it’s a ludicrous situation.  With frustrations among the populace boiling over & DC leadership’s abhorrent failures to address the problems, such inherent flaws that have cropped up within modern-day capitalism threaten to crash our economic system without an adequate fix coming soon.  A more progressive tax code is fine so long as we don’t overcompensate for the misbegotten Trump tax bill, but fixing the very core of our disjointed economic structure will require a lot more ideas than just fiddling with the tax code.
 
We’re seeing in the rhetoric from 2020 Dem contenders their proposed solutions are leaning a bit more socialist than capitalist.  Ideas like free college, expanded entitlements, Medicare-for-all, 70% tax rates on top incomes & taxing personal wealth, are proposals gaining steam since they speak to those middle-class frustrations in the absence of any better ideas coming from current leadership.  I can’t deny there’s some validity to these progressive dreams.  The Dems haven’t shifted as far to the left as the GOP has shifted way out on the extreme right over the past decade, but they have unmistakably shifted towards the fringe left in response to the financial pinch Americans are facing.  As seen in Warren-s-ultramillionaire-wealth-tax-and-Ocasio-Cortez-s-tax-hike-on-high-incomes-change-everything, progressive Dems have fundamentally changed the debate, with polls generally favoring more progressive taxation.  Ironically, GOP/echo attacks on AOC only highlights her ideas all the more.
 
But as we examine all these proposals of government assistance, I would caution our debt levels are already in the stratosphere: endless-welfare-benefits-are-not-the-answer-to-ending-income-inequality.  Consider how taxing wealth punitively could have unintended consequences, like incentivizing wealth to move offshore which curtails private investment & job creation here in America.  So it’s fine if we want to replace the Trump tax cuts with a tax code targeted to benefit the working class, but let’s not overdo it to our own demise.  Also be aware such changes to tax rates for helping narrow huge wage/wealth gaps would only be a part of the overall package, as a far-reaching comprehensive plan to restore opportunity/upward mobility will be needed in creating more productive/well-paying careers for workers in this modern era.
 
 
Other Tax Code Thoughts
 
Another alternative idea on a more progressive tax plan suggests increasing the tax rate on capital gains and dividends and closing loopholes, as revealed in opinion/aoc-wealth-tax.  Then there’s yet another worthy idea worth examining in more detail, making more use of the earned income tax credit as seen inside a-simple-fix-to-address-income-inequality.  This is all part of the larger discussions we need to be having: maybe-this-time-we-could-have-honest-debate-about-taxes.  Let’s also examine why it is our current tax code needs fixed.  In every Part 3 for over a year we’ve always had plenty to say on the folly of the Trump tax cuts.  So these next links below show us the results his tax bill now over a year old has brought us.
 
First, we see exploding deficits: treasury-borrowing-debt-government-spending-tax-reform & also the-debt-is-still-out-of-control.  Next, we’re seeing those tax cuts are not having much of an impact on businesses making capital investments or new hiring: 1-5-trillion-u-s-tax-cut-has-no-major-impact-on-business-capex-plans-survey.  And then we see the claims of a revenue-neutral tax bill looks more like a pipe dream, as CBO projections expect growth to fall far short of the administration’s expectations: new-forecasts-cast-doubt-on-trumps-economic-goals.  Yep, despite what he always says, Trump doesn’t have much to brag about with his economy: trump-economy-lags-clinton-s-obama-s-reagan-s-and-even-carter-s
 
 
The Never-Ending Battles Faced By Working Moms
 
Things are certainly not easy these days in our modern society for working mothers, having to juggle two important responsibilities: scandal-working-mothers-40-per-cent-more-stressed-other-people.  This discussion of a memoir chronicles the struggles of a single mom working a low-wage job as she tries to build a better life.  Like so many, she perseveres in a stressful world where it’s a constant battle every month just to pay the bills & provide for her daughter.  The pay structure for many of these jobs make it virtually impossible to earn a livable wage with any sort of margin or cushion to fall back on.  These excerpts from theres-no-way-to-save-up-money-maid-author-stephanie-land-on-the-rigged-math-of-being-poor lead into a longer interview: 
 

Land’s smoothness in carrying on a conversation about the policy and cultural blindspots that keep the country from being able to make meaningful progress for the working poor while basically doing two jobs at once is a living example of the determination and grace on display in her memoir, in which she renders vividly the back-breaking and often surreal work of deep-cleaning strangers’ homes while navigating the baffling bureaucracies of government assistance programs ostensibly designed to help her, all the while daring to dream of — and then build — a better future for herself and her daughter. Land’s personal story brings together so many intersecting issues which are rarely considered from a holistic perspective, such as the dangers facing women in abusive relationships who don’t have financial safety nets; the health issues that manual labor and substandard housing can cause or exacerbate for the entire family, and their financial implications; the affects of hunger and poor nutrition on a working parent; the psychological and financial tolls of unstable hourly-wage work; and the public assistance systems that are frequently more frustrating than helpful. Land and I spoke about all of that and more. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

 
We Keep Losing Ground
 
Yes indeed, we keep seeing articles about the high percentage of Americans living paycheck to paycheck: 40percent-of-americans-only-one-paycheck-away-from-poverty.  That really hit home with so many federal workers & contractors struggling to make ends meet from going a month without pay: shutdown-laid-bare-americas-financial-precarity The age old expectation of succeeding generations doing better than their parents is about to be broken.  No wonder frustrations are running so high, since declining generational lifestyles are quite disturbing for young people & their parents alike.  See definitive proof of our lost ground in excerpts from buttigieg-2020-millennials:
 

For Americans under the age of 40, the 21st century has resembled one long recession. I realize that may sound like an exaggeration, given that the economy has now been growing for almost a decade. But the truth is that younger Americans have not benefited much. Look at incomes, for starters. People between the ages of 25 and 34 were earning slightly less in 2017 than people in that same age group had been in 2000. The wealth trends look even worse. Since the century’s start, median net worth has plummeted for every age group under 55.

Why is this happening? The main reason is a lack of economic dynamism. Not as many new companies have been forming since 2000 — for reasons that experts don’t totally understand — and existing companies have been expanding at a slower rate. (The pace of job cuts has also fallen, which is why the unemployment rate has stayed low.) Rather than starting new projects, companies are sitting on big piles of cash or distributing it to their shareholders. This loss of dynamism hurts millennials and the younger Generation Z, even as baby boomers are often doing O.K. Because the layoff rate has declined since 2000, most older workers have been able to hold on to their jobs. For those who are retired, their income — through a combination of Social Security and 401(k)’s — still outpaces inflation on average. But many younger workers are struggling to launch themselves into good-paying careers. They then lack the money to buy a first home or begin investing in the stock market. Yes, older workers face their own challenges, like age discrimination. Over all, though, the generational gap in both income and wealth is growing.

Given these trends, you’d think the government would be trying to help the young. But it’s not. If anything, federal and state policy is going in the other direction. Medicare and Social Security have been spared from cuts. Programs that benefit younger workers and families have not. The biggest example is higher education. Over the past decade, states have cut college funding by an average of 16 percent per student. It’s a shocking form of economic myopia. In response, tuition has risen, and students have taken on more debt. Worst of all, many students attend colleges with high dropout rates and end up with debt but no degree.

And as badly as the government is treating the young today, the future looks even more ominous. First, the national debt, while manageable now, is on pace to soar. The primary cause is the cost of health care: Most Americans receive far more in Medicare benefits than they paid in Medicare taxes. The Trump tax cut also plays a role. It is increasing the debt — and it mostly benefits older, affluent households. There are some unavoidable trade-offs between the young and the old: A dollar spent on Medicare is unavailable for universal pre-K. But the country’s biggest economic problems aren’t about hordes of greedy old people profiting off the young. They’re about an economy that showers much of its bounty on the already affluent, at the expense of most Americans — and of our future. The young pay the biggest price for these inequities. That’s a vital subject for the 2020 campaign, whoever the leading candidates end up being.

 
Socialist Vision Borne of Broken Capitalism
 
That previous article helps explain why young people are becoming more favorable towards socialism: socialism-capitalism-poll-generation-z-preference.  As I’ve stated repeatedly for years, which during that time we’ve failed to move the needle, if we can’t find a viable way to fix capitalism & in particular give the working class a fair shake, the other redistribution option is soon to become our new reality.  There is one class doing extremely well in today’s America: billionaires-wealth-offshore-taces.  And there are plenty of signs indicating many of them cheated the system to get where they are, as evidenced by the opening to this article theres-a-wider-scandal-suggested-by-the-trump-investigations:
 

The scope of financial crimes unearthed so far by state and federal authorities investigating President Trump and his associates is remarkable. Paul Manafort was found guilty of bank and tax fraud, and faces another trial involving charges of money laundering. Former campaign adviser Rick Gates pleaded guilty to financial fraud. Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to tax evasion and illegal campaign donations. The Trump Foundation was just dissolved over what the New York attorney general described as “a shocking pattern of illegality.” And authorities opened new investigations following a recent New York Times exposé describing hundreds of millions of dollars of potential financial fraud by the Trump family.

Even more remarkable is what these investigations tell us about the levels of criminality among America’s business and political elite. Tax evasion, money laundering, financial fraud and campaign finance violations: Every turned stone reveals thick webs of financial misdeeds. These white collar crimes, which often implicate the powerful and the wealthy, notoriously thrive in the loose regulatory environments created when big money exerts undue influence on politics.

Mounting indications: The Trump investigations join a growing body of evidence pointing to lax enforcement of high-level financial crimes. We know, for example, that massive fraud involved in the 2008 financial collapse — from mortgage lenders who deceived customers to banks that deceived investors — went essentially unpunished. We know that under-enforcement is common with certain big-ticket tax evasion practices — like misstating the value of assets under the gift tax. Gift tax fraud, which may save millions of dollars to a taxpayer, is a major component of the alleged tax evasion scheme of the Trump family. Lax enforcement and minor punishments are notoriously common with violations of campaign finance laws — the point where private and public corruption often meet. And as for money-laundering: According to congressional testimony, regulations against it are so ineffective that “the bottom-line metrics suggest that money-laundering enforcement fails 99.9 percent of the time.”

Executive, legislative and judicial failures: The blame for this loose regulatory environment is not limited to lax executive enforcement. Legislative and judicial actions play a substantial part in the swirling financial illegalities. Congress, for example, is responsible for the many easily abused tax deductions for the rich that populate our tax code. And legislators have long refused to fund the IRS at levels allowing effective tax enforcement. It is also Congress that has structured the Federal Election Commission as a weak and conflict-ridden enforcer of campaign finance regulations. The courts have similarly contributed to the lax regulatory environment. As a professor of constitutional law (and ex-prosecutor), I have watched with concern as recent Supreme Court cases extended ever-increasing constitutional protections to the alliance between big money and politics.

A Report We Should Be Anticipating
 
More importantly, our political leaders should pay attention to it, since it sounds like it will contain some good ideas, which is far better than the basically nothing we’re doing now!  Read this preview to that report coming out next week, as most of the article is posted here from inside americans-are-being-left-behind-heres-how-we-fix-it:
 

Many Americans are being left behind by today’s modern, global economy, and they are justifiably angry about it. Growing numbers of people feel our economic and political systems are rigged against them. And it’s no wonder why. Recent progress in low- and middle-income wage growth is a blip against decades of wage stagnation. Low unemployment masks the fact that millions of prime-age men and women are missing from the workforce altogether. Today’s adults are less likely to earn as much as their parents did, and they foresee the same fate for their own children. Concrete economic policy solutions are urgently needed. But the hollowing out of America’s middle class has coincided with the disintegration of our political center and the weakening of the very political institutions that sustain our democratic policymaking process. No issue underscores this breakdown more than the historically long government shutdown our country just suffered.

We must turn these tides. Our experiences in public service have taught us that policymaking among parties that passionately disagree is never easy, but it is made possible through adherence to certain principles of good governance. First among them is a commitment to truth, which must be rooted in rigorous analysis. There can simply be no good policymaking without first establishing a common set of facts about what is happening in the world and what any given policy or proposal will likely accomplish. Second, good policymaking requires that lawmakers trust one another. This takes time, the ability to convene in confidence and a mutual commitment to shared goals. Third, our leaders must be willing to make principled compromises. Finding the middle ground has never been easy, and nobody wants to lose a negotiation. But today, our leaders are equating compromise with moral failure, making it that much harder to begin a discussion, much less reach agreement.

Recognizing the importance of these principles in effective policymaking, in 2017 we formed the Aspen Economic Strategy Group, a group that is committed to evidence-based policymaking, civil discourse and exchanging policy ideas with those who hold different points of view. Over the course of the past year, we collected policy ideas to address the barriers to broad-based economic opportunity and identified concrete proposals with bipartisan appeal. These proposals are being released Feb. 4 in the edited volume “Expanding Economic Opportunity for More Americans: Bipartisan Policies to Increase Work, Wages, and Skills” by the Aspen Institute. The policy ideas are based in evidence, not ideology, and are wide-ranging in scope, including massive federal investments in community colleges, dedicated strategies to promote the economic health of rural labor markets, sensible zoning reform to promote housing affordability and a payroll subsidy to offset the cost of minimum-wage increases on employers, among others. 

We believe that practical ideas such as these provide a thoughtful starting place for policymakers and community leaders to work together to address our nation’s deep structural problems. But our leaders must first commit themselves to the principles of good governance that have sustained our democratic policymaking for generations. Doing so is as important to the health of our economy as it is to the strength of our democracy.

 
GOP the Do-Nothing Party Devoid of Good Ideas
 
On a separate subject, this colony collapse disorder is a far bigger concern than what’s being reported on: bees-are-facing-yet-another-existential-threat
Sorry to say, this party basically has no real plans: house-republican-agenda-2020.  Yep, doing nothing productive legislatively has especially been true of GOP leadership as they held the White House & Congress the past two years.  These excerpts from the-real-wall-is-between-conservatism-and-fresh-ideas very accurately describe the enormous disconnect we’ve seen from GOP policies & fresh ideas:
 

What we’re actually seeing is a shift in the intellectual energy of American politics. This is the lesson of the disarray in the Republican Party, and the ultimate capitulation of President Trump in the shutdown fight he initiated. Trump’s decision to close the government in the vain pursuit of an essentially meaningless goal showed a party and ideological movement lost in the wilderness. Trump’s rise itself was a symptom of this. Traditional conservative nostrums of tax cuts for the best-off and business-friendly deregulation were not answering the needs of less affluent Republicans. Frustrated, they embraced Trump’s nationalism and protectionism along with, in many cases, his racialized appeals. They also noticed that Trump defended key social-insurance programs, especially Social Security and Medicare, which serve an aging Republican base.

In practice, Trump has stuck resolutely to the old conservatism, with the corporate tax cut being his major achievement. His administration is a coterie of millionaires and billionaires whose insensitivity to the shutdown’s victims suggested a worldview inspired by French Bourbons, not prairie populists. Trump has asked his blue-collar loyalists to live on a diet of rhetoric and empty symbols — the border wall being Symbol No. 1. Trump’s deteriorating poll numbers showed that all but the most extreme of his supporters were losing faith in his project. In the meantime, liberals and the left have absorbed key lessons from the Trump insurgency. One of them is that a progressive movement seen as speaking primarily for affluent metropolitan areas will never command a durable majority. Another is that there is room for bolder political thinking given the discontent in the country with unevenly shared economic growth.

What is interpreted as a leftward lurch can thus be better seen as an effort to pull the entire political spectrum away from the premises that have dominated U.S. politics since the Reagan era. These exerted a gravitational pull even on the Barack Obama and Bill Clinton presidencies. Conservatives succeeded in selling the poppycock that showering money on the investing class — the “makers not the takers,” the “job creators” — would lead to prosperity for all. Influential books were essential to conservatism’s rise, and you can see this billionaire-friendly notion now under assault from both moderate progressives (Steve Pearlstein’s “Can American Capitalism Survive? Why Greed Is Not Good, Opportunity Is Not Equal, and Fairness Won’t Make Us Poor”) and voices further left (Robert Kuttner’s “Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?”).

Presidential candidates — those thinking of running and other Democratic politicians — are also responding to the policy vacuum on the right embodied by the shutdown-for-a-symbol. For starters, supply-side economics is so yesterday. There is now room to talk about a wealth tax, proposed last week by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and a large middle- and working-class tax cut offered by Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California. Meanwhile, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has inspired serious debate (unimaginable even a few years ago) about a 70 percent tax rate on earnings over $10 million. The underlying assumptions of the right are under assault as well. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has made “the dignity of work” his battle cry, making a case for the priority of labor over capital. During Jimmy Carter’s administration in the late 1970s, conservatives launched an intellectual revolution that left liberals gasping for breath and helped create the presidency of Ronald Reagan. Trump is doing all he can to become the latest one-term president to empower a philosophical and policy rebirth among his opponents. The real wall is between conservatism and fresh ideas.

Losing the Love
 
There are some encouraging signs of pushback from within his own party over that dumb shutdown Trump orchestrated.  Coupled with the Dem wave in the House from the midterms, certain GOP leaders are finally expressing discontent over the direction the president’s leadership is taking us (& we have a song for that below).  This should bode well when investigations produce proof of multiple crimes revealed here in 2019, since at least 20 of 53 GOP senators should be ready to convict after Trump gets impeached in the House: i-hope-we-get-some-common-sense-republicans-reeling-from-political-damage-cause-by-shutdown.  He’s even losing a bit of traction with some of his most loyal demographic groups, such as white men without college & white evangelicals: evangelical-historian-explains-christians-came-put-trump-ahead-jesus.  Or it’s sad a lot of older folks have been hoodwinked as reported on inside baby-boomers-are-the-biggest-suckers-for-fake-news_partner.
 
 
Tanking in the Polls
 
Trump’s approval ratings hit historic lows after two years in office (a few polls have him down in the mid-30’s), plunging from taking the blame for the shutdown: donald-trumps-approval-rating-hits-historic-low-as-public-blames-president-for-government-shutdown.  His posturing was pointless as the prez drove us straight into a brick wall, causing plenty of damage with that silly shutdown: press-trump-wastes-35-days-for-nothing.  The CBO report estimates the cost to the economy over the shutdown was twice the amount Trump requested for his goofy wall: government-shutdown-economic-cost-total-11-billion-cbo-says.  But even beyond the shutdown fiasco, these polls below reflect more & more people are seeing Trump for who he really is, a fraud, a con & a liar.  There are too many links here for us to post live, so after my brief comments you can search for any of these articles you wish:
 
Basically half have no confidence at all in Trump: thehill/nearly-half-of-americans-say-they-have-no-confidence-at-all-in-trump
 
Plus by nearly 2 to 1 they don’t trust Trump to make correct decisions for America’s future: huffingtonpost/trump-poll-confidence-down
 
A strong majority want Dems in House to investigate Trump & get his tax returns: vox/poll-democrats-investigate-trump
 
His polling is dismal in numerous categories: inquisitr/president-trump-doesnt-fare-too-well-in-latest-poll
 
More than 2 to 1 say the country is on the wrong track: bloomberg/majority-of-americans-think-country-on-wrong-track-nbc-wsj-poll
 
More on the wrong track polling: businessinsider/ap-ap-norc-poll-most-americans-see-nation-on-the-wrong-track-2019
 
Those lousy wrong track numbers in spite of the economy reported as being strong: thehill/poll-most-americans-think-us-is-on-wrong-course
 
Consumer confidence also down: msn/consumer-confidence-tumbles-again-amid-federal-shutdown
 
Two-thirds are against Trump declaring a national emergency to fund the wall, while a majority are opposed to the wall itself: thehill/opposition-to-trump-emergency-for-wall-nearly-twice-as-strong-as
 
Pelosi beat Trump like a drum: businessinsider/government-shutdown-2019-poll-americans-think-pelosi-won-over-trump-2019
 
White working-class women are leaning Dem: thehill/what-americas-thinking-pollster-says-white-working-class-women-are-increasingly
 
A lot more GOP voters seen turning on Trump: thehill/one-third-of-gop-voters-dont-want-trump-on-2020-ticket
 
Americans oppose most of our current policies: thehill/americans-satisfied-with-just-5-of-22-policy-areas-gallup
 
And Americans do not like Trump’s foreign policies: apnews/0d9271aba67143bcb1a7604459046975/most-americans-oppose-trumps-foreign-policy
 
Even his polling on economy falls: apnews/dbda02c76cea42a3844185774435d629/president-trumps-marks-on-the-economy-slips
 
He’s down for the count: washingtonpost/trump-down-not-getting-back-up
 
RNC can spin it all they want, but the polls look terrible for their guy: vox/rnc-poll-parscale-trump-districts
 
And he’s even worse than expected with his woeful personal traits: washingtonpost/midway-through-first-term-trump-is-not-meeting-the-publics-modest-expectations-for-his-job-performance-poll-finds
 
Shutdown also hurts Fox News ratings: newshounds/trump_shutdown_hurt_fox_ratings_too_boosted_msnbc
 
Trump’s biggest liability is he governs by what the radical morons on Fox tell him: msn/as-trump-slides-in-new-poll-he-retreats-deeper-into-fox-news-fantasyland
 
Numbers wallowing in the gutter, as Mr. Art-of-the-Deal can’t even negotiate his way out of a paper bag: dailykos/Wow-These-new-Trump-poll-numbers-are-in-the-sewer
 
 
Lost Love
 
With Trump’s shutdown shenanigans & all the other chaos that defines his presidency, the prez has been losing the love from some of his GOP supporters.  Even some GOP political leaders & echo-pundits are showing signs of falling out of love with Trump.  We’ve picked a heartfelt song that best describes this sad predicament sung from Trump’s perspective:  
 
 
    
Attachments area
Preview YouTube video Eddie Rabbitt – You Don’t Love Me Anymore (Live)