Let’s Get Proactive in Restoring the Financial Security of the American Working Class…Our Part 3’s posted at the end of the week here on The VORACS always focus on the economy & American working class.  Today we’ve posted many excerpts from lots of articles detailing how the American working class continue to get the shaft!  At the bottom is a song that fits right in with our theme of laborers being treated poorly, who don’t get the respect, credit & pay they really deserve.  Our country produces enormous wealth, which it’s patently unfair & unconscionable a declining share is going to labor, as investors continue to reap the lion’s share of economic growth.  We’d better fix capitalism fast before a far worse alternative emerges, as with Trump we’re sliding closer towards fascism, while the more progressive Dems could take us closer to socialism.  There must be a better way!

I get replies from far-right Trumpeters/echo-heads that my economic commentaries are whiny like a Debbie Downer, which I say in response the first step in solving our problems is agreeing around what the main problems really are.  These echo-absorbed hardliners also comment to me America’s post-WWII industrial glory days are long gone & can never be brought back.  If that’s how most Trumpeters feel, it looks like they’ve completely given up on MAGA.  While it’s true as a nation we’ll never duplicate the large number of high-paying factory jobs our parents/grandparents once relied on, by making real commitments & working together moving forward on smart domestic initiatives along with the will to act, it’s possible to transform modern-day capitalism in a positive direction for restoring shared economic growth & upward mobility that always defined the American Dream.  I do believe we can fix this & swing the pendulum back into equilibrium, but our bitter polarization keeping us mired in gridlock has blocked any attempts to agree around a viable/important venture based on our common purpose.   

 

Articles Showing Real Hardships for American Working Class Families

I’ll personally have more to say about this topic further below, but first we have plenty of relevant articles from media sources describing & verifying we’re in many ways dealing with a broken (& very lopsided) economic system.  We’ll begin with this article seen in msn.com/en-us/money/markets/a-decade-after-the-recession-many-families-still-struggle:

Four in 10 Americans sometimes face what economists call “material hardship,” struggling to pay for basic needs such as food and housing, according to a new study from the Urban Institute. Even middle-class families routinely struggle financially and are occasionally unable to pay their bills. The finding is striking given the U.S. has experienced a decade of economic growth in the decade since the recession ended. The unemployment rate is at its lowest in half a century, and the stock market has enjoyed a decade-long bull run. But for many Americans, incomes haven’t kept up with the rising cost of necessities such as housing and health care, resulting in financial anxiety. About 39 percent of Americans ages 18 to 65 experienced at least one type of material hardship last year, statistically unchanged from the 39.3 percent who suffered hardship in 2017, the nonpartisan think tank found. The study spans the first two years of the Trump administration, as well as the first year of the tax overhaul. Yet there was little progress easing the financial challenges experienced by U.S. adults last year, the Urban Institute said.

 

“The modest declines in hardship during the current favorable economic environment suggest further progress will require additional policies to raise and stabilize incomes, offset the cost of essential expenses and protect families against adverse financial shocks,” the study noted. The Urban Institute started tracking material hardship in 2017 ahead of proposed cutbacks in federal safety-net programs, such as proposals to add work requirements to food stamps and Medicaid. Some U.S. states have already moved forward with such plans, such as Maine’s work requirement for its food stamp recipients. The think tank is revisiting the survey each year to measure changes in how American families are are faring financially. The study surveyed more than 7,500 adults about whether they had trouble paying for housing, utilities, food or health care. 

 

The hardships experienced by U.S. families underscores that income is only one part of the equation, the Urban Institute said. “It is also important to consider the cost of major expenses such as housing, utilities, child care, transportation and health care” on household budgets, it noted. Food insecurity and medical bills remain a sticking point for many families, with nearly 1 in 5 families saying they had experienced difficulty paying for food or medical care. But the researchers found that even middle-class families are struggling with the bills. Almost 1 in 3 households that earn at least twice the federal poverty level — equivalent to annual income of $50,200 for a family of four — say they struggled with meeting basic needs. The bills that caused them the most trouble — medical and food costs, the study found. About 1 in 7 middle-class families said they struggled with medical bills or didn’t receive medical care because of the cost. 

 

To be sure, low-income families — those earning less than twice the federal poverty level, or less than $50,100 for a family of four — are struggling most. About 60 percent of those surveyed said they struggled to pay their bills, with 53 percent reporting paying more than half their income on housing, considered a severe housing burden. “These housing-cost burdens are likely to constrain low-income families’ ability to pay for housing and other essential expenses, such as food, medical care, transportation, and child care,” the authors noted. 

Too many working Americans are trapped in the dire circumstances of living paycheck-to-paycheck, where one unexpected expense could push them over the edge, as seen posted in the first part of the article from msn.com/en-us/money/personalfinance/half-of-americans-are-just-one-paycheck-away-from-financial-hardship:

Missing more than one paycheck is a one-way ticket to financial hardship for nearly half of the country’s workforce. A new study from NORC at the University of Chicago, an independent social research institution, found that 51% of working adults in the United States would need to access savings to cover necessities if they missed more than one paycheck. Certain communities were more prone to economic hardship in the event of missing a paycheck. Roughly two-thirds of households earning less than $30,000 annually and Hispanic households would be unable to cover basic living expenses after missing more than one paycheck, the researchers found. The findings were based on a survey of more than 1,000 adults. The researchers interviewed a nationally representative panel designed to be indicative of the U.S. population.

 

The survey provides a sobering look at Americans’ precarious finances even as the economy is improving, jobs are more plentiful and the stock market has — despite this week’s volatility — generally continued its upward trajectory this year. Though wage growth has accelerated recently, those gains have been concentrated among the wealthiest Americans most. “Even short disruptions in pay can cause significant hardship, as most Americans appear to be living paycheck-to-paycheck,” Angela Fontes, director of the Behavioral and Economic Analysis and Decision-Making (BEAD) program at NORC at the University of Chicago, said in the report. Of course, many Americans don’t have savings to fall back on. A study from home repair service HomeServe USA found that roughly 50% of consumers either have nothing set aside to cover an emergency or less than $500 put away. And research from the Federal Reserve has indicated that roughly 4 in 10 Americans couldn’t afford a $400 emergency.

We have stagnant wages to blame, especially problematic when so many major/essential expenses have gone up at a rate far exceeding pay increases.  Underneath the glossy economic stats being touted is plenty of decay, as explained in the beginning to thehill.com/opinion/finance/443794-rosy-economic-data-obscures-the-harsh-reality-for-many-americans:

To read the economic reports coming out of Washington, you might assume that the American economy is firing on all cylinders. But beneath this rosy picture is a much darker reality. Most middle- and lower-income Americans have not shared in the economy’s economic advances over the last several decades. If the economy slides off with job losses, many middle- and lower-income Americans will face financial difficulties that could be even more extreme than those in 2008. Yes, the market is up, and unemployment is the lowest it’s been in nearly 50 years. But education, health care and, in many places, housing are much more expensive than they once were, even as wage growth has fallen flat.

 

The broader economy may be steaming ahead, but consumer borrowing, particularly student debt is at an all-time high. Today, 40 percent of Americans would struggle to come up with $400 in the face of a crisis, with many choosing to sell something or take a loan to come up with the cash. Many Americans, particularly those living in America’s heartland, exist on the knife’s edge. Aggregates and averages obscure the economic turmoil that’s opened wounds in places like Dearborn, Mich., and York County, Pa. While enhanced inequality may be the end result of these divergent trends — that’s certainly where many in Washington focus their attention — the underlying issue is disparate economic opportunity. The sorts of jobs that were once gateways to the middle class — like manufacturing jobs that came with defined-benefit pensions — are being replaced by low-wage positions and chances to join the “gig economy.” When you set home values aside, many middle- and working-class American families have become progressively less wealthy.

For many years the American working class has fallen behind with lots of ground to make up, with the misguided Trump tax cuts totally missing their mark.  See these excerpts pulled from ourfuture.org/20190514/the-reality-behind-the-surging-u-s-economy:

And yet most of the gains from our growing economy are still going to those who least need a boost. Stock market rallies, for example, further concentrate wealth among the very richest Americans. The top 1% of Americans own more than half of stocks and mutual funds. The bottom 90% own just 7%. For ordinary Americans, the slight uptick in wages is not enough to make up for many years of stagnation. Average hourly pay rose just 6 cents in April 2019 and 4 cents the month before that. Workers need a much bigger raise if they are to receive their fair share of economic gains, especially with prices for many essentials rising much faster than wages. For example, compared to the 3.2% increase in average earnings over the past year, spending on prescription drugs is up 7.1% while the average house price rose 5.7%. Average childcare costs jumped 7.5% between 2016 and 2017.

 

Such small pay increases won’t do much to chip away at the country’s $1.6 trillion in student debt — a burden leading 1 in 15 borrowers to consider suicide, according to a recent survey. Wages have also lagged far behind the increase in corporate profits (7.8% in 2018). Despite promises that workers would reap huge benefits from the Republican tax cuts, big corporations have used most of their tax windfalls to enrich wealthy shareholders and CEOs, blowing a record-setting $1 trillion on stock buybacks that inflate the value of their shares. Another reason for the disconnect between the rosy headlines and people’s lived experiences: GDP is a deeply flawed measure of economic well-being.

 

While presiding over an economic recovery that started under his predecessor, Trump has done nothing on his own to lift up working people. Unless workers have more power to negotiate for their fair share of economic awards, even a real economic boom will have limited benefit for those who need it most.

They’re not happy out in the heartland & we can’t blame them.  Leadership keeps crafting policies designed to help those who are already doing extremely well.  When the middle class is struggling, why not design legislation to help them?  It’s because politicians (especially on the GOP side) still give deference to their large donors!  It’s a crony-capitalist set-up deal intended to manipulate the system against laborers for the mutual benefit of political & corporate leadership.  So to keep Trumpeter echo-heads happy, politicos concoct preposterous narratives how they’re working so hard to empower the people, when all they’re really doing is trying to justify keeping the system rigged for the top earners, which is described in this post from ourfuture.org/20190513/american-workers-are-not-happy:

Americans are not happy. And for good reason. They continue to suffer financial stress caused by decades of flat income. And every time they make the slightest peep of complaint about a system rigged against them, the rich and powerful tell them to shut up because it is all their fault. One percenters instruct them to work harder, pull themselves up by their bootstraps and stop bellyaching. Just get a second college degree, a second skill, a second job. Just send the spouse to work, downsize, take a staycation instead of a real vacation. Or don’t take one at all, just work harder and longer and better. The barrage of blaming has persuaded; workers believe they deserve censure. And that’s a big part of the reason they’re unhappy. If only, they think, they could work harder and longer and better, they would get ahead. They bear the shame. They don’t blame the system: the Supreme Court, the Congress, the President. And yet, it is the system, the American system, that has conspired to crush them.

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, unemployment is low and the stock market is high. But skyrocketing stocks benefit only the top 10 percent of wealthy Americans who own 84 percent of stocks. And while more people are employed than during the Great Recession, the vast majority of Americans haven’t had a real raise since 1979. It’s bad out there for American workers. Last month, their ranking dropped for the third year running in the World Happiness Report, produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a U.N. initiative. These sad statistics reinforce those in a report released two years ago by two university professors. Reviewing data from the General Social Survey, administered routinely nationally, the professors found Americans’ assessment of their own happiness and family finances has, unambiguously, declined in recent years.

 

But if Americans would just work harder, everything would be dandy, right? No. Not right. Americans work really, really hard. A third of Americans work a side hustle, driving an Uber or selling crafts on Etsy. American workers take fewer vacation days. They get 14, but typically take only 10. The highest number of workers in five years report they don’t expect to take a vacation at all this year. And Americans work longer hours than their counterparts in other countries. Americans labor 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more than Brits, and 499 more than the French, according to the International Labor Organization. And the longer hours aren’t because American workers are laggards on the job. They’re very productive. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates that the average American worker’s productivity has increased 400 percent since 1950. If pay had kept pace with productivity, as it did in the three decades after the end of World War II, American workers would be making 400 percent more. But they’re not. Their wages have flat lined for four decades, adjusting for inflation. That means stress. Forty percent of workers say they don’t have $400 for an unexpected expense. Twenty percent can’t pay all of their monthly bills. More than a quarter of adults skipped needed medical care last year because they couldn’t afford it. A quarter of adults have no retirement savings.

 

If only Americans would work harder. And longer. And better. Much as right-wingers have pounded that into Americans’ heads, it’s not the solution. Americans clearly are working harder and longer and better. The solution is to change the system, which is stacked against workers. Workers are bearing on their backs tax breaks that benefited only the rich and corporations. They’re bearing overtime pay rules and minimum wage rates that haven’t been updated in more than a decade. They’re weighted down by U.S. Supreme Court decisions that hobbled unionization efforts and kneecapped workers’ rights to file class-action lawsuits. They’re struggling under U.S. Department of Labor rules defining them as independent contractors instead of staff members. They live in fear as corporations threaten to offshore their jobs – with the assistance of federal tax breaks. Last year, the right-wing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court handed a win to corporatists trying to obliterate workers’ right to organize and collectively bargain for better wages and conditions. The court ruled that public sector workers who choose not to join unions don’t have to pay a small fee to cover the cost of services that federal law requires the unions provide to them. This bankrupts labor unions. And there’s no doubt that right-wingers are gunning for private sector unions next. This kind of relentless attack on labor unions since 1945 has withered membership. As it shrank, wages for both union and nonunion workers did too.

 

It doesn’t matter how hard they work, they aren’t going to get the time-and-a-half pay they deserve. Just like the administration and the Supreme Court, right-wingers in Congress grovel before corporations and the rich. Look at the tax break they gave one percenters in 2017. Corporations got the biggest cut in history, their rate sledgehammered down from 35 percent to 21 percent. The rich reap by far the largest benefit from those tax cuts through 2027, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center. And by then, 53 percent of Americans – that is workers not rich people – will pay more than they did in 2017 because tax breaks for workers expire. The White House Council of Economic Advisers predicted the corporate tax cut would put an extra $4,000 in every worker’s pocket. They swore that corporations would use some of their tax cut money to hand out raises and bonuses to workers. That never happened. Workers got a measly 6 percent of corporations’ tax savings. In the first quarter after the tax cut took effect, workers on average received a big fat extra $6.21 in their paychecks, for an annual total of a whopping $233. Corporations spent their tax breaks on stock buybacks, a record $1 trillion worth, raising stock prices, which put more money in the pockets of rich CEOs and shareholders. That’s continuing this year. Workers are never going to see that $4,000. No wonder they’re unhappy. The system is working against them.

Men most want to be able to support themselves & their families.  When the deck is stacked against them, they can tend to retreat & become detached from family in their futile hopelessness.  For many it’s a sick culture featuring a societal tiered system which they feel not a part of, which has a devastating effect on individual families & society at large, shown in this research posted from nytimes.com/2019/05/13/opinion/working-class-men:

A society is healthy when its culture counterbalances its economics. That is to say, when you have a capitalist economic system that emphasizes competition, dynamism and individual self-interest, you need a culture that celebrates cooperation, stability and committed relationships. We don’t have that. We have a culture that takes the disruptive and dehumanizing aspects of capitalism and makes them worse. This truth is poignantly captured by Kathryn Edin, Timothy Nelson, Andrew Cherlin and Robert Francis in a paper titled “The Tenuous Attachments of Working-Class Men,” in The Journal of Economic Perspectives. The researchers conducted 107 in-depth interviews with working-class men. Many of the men told them that the economy doesn’t allow them to provide the same standard of living that their fathers could provide. That has created the culture of the side hustle. The men feel that they have to have three or four occupations, and they bounce around among them so they can stay employed full time.

 

The researchers emphasize that while economic forces have disrupted the men’s lives, they are insufficient to explain the detached mode of life that has become common. Cultural forces have also played a role, namely the emphasis on autonomy — being your own person, focusing on your own personal growth, shucking off any constraints. This ethos, at least in the cities where the interviews happened, has replaced the older working-class ethos, based on self-discipline, the dignity of manual labor and being a good provider, they conclude. “Our interviews strongly suggest that the autonomous generative self that many men described is also a haphazard self,” the authors write. In short, at the very moment information-age capitalism detaches many working-class men from stable careers, the autonomy ethos teaches that it’s right to be semidetached, that the best life is one lived in perpetual flux, with your options peMen most want to support themselves & their families.  rpetually open. It’s not working, even though the men have the best of intentions. This way of being too often leads to an alienated life. It certainly doesn’t work for the children. Every week, it seems, I meet some young person whose life was decimated when Dad left.

The wide divides keep expanding in Western democracies, found in this opening to businessinsider.com/growing-inequality-is-a-threat-to-democracy-and-capitalism-ifs-study:

The deepening divide between the rich and poor in Western countries is posing “a threat not just to capitalism but also to our democratic system,” according to a new study into the impact of growing inequality in the UK. The study, which is being led by Sir Angus Deaton at the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank, suggests that rising inequality is harming the UK and other major Western economies. The IFS’ initial report, released on Tuesday, finds that low-earners have seen their wages stagnate in recent decades, with widening gaps between the rich and poor undermining public belief in democracy and the capitalist system.

It’s described as income insufficiency in this article seen inside theguardian.com/us-news/2019/apr/18/income-insufficiency-steve-schwarzman-rich-poor-gap, as there’s been a marked decrease in the number of children who go onto careers that outearn their parents:

Income “insufficiency”, not inequality, is to blame for the widening gap between rich and poor, private equity titan Steve Schwarzman said on Thursday, becoming the latest billionaire to publicly worry about the issue. The CEO of Blackstone and former Trump adviser outlined what he called a Marshall plan for the middle class on cable channel CNBC – referencing the US initiative that aided the rebuilding of western Europe after the second world war. Schwarzman’s plan would eliminate taxes for teachers, introduce a higher minimum wage and more technical training for people who don’t go to college. But Schwarzman, who Forbes estimates to be worth $13.7bn, seemed keen to avoid the term income inequality at a time when inequality, which has been growing markedly for more than 30 years, has become a hot political topic. “What we have is less an issue of income inequality than income insufficiency for the bottom 50% of the society,” he said on CNBC’s Squawk Box. “I look at this as a systemic problem. This is not anecdotal,” he said. “This is like, half of our society is severely disadvantaged. We can’t allow that to continue, so that means you need policy solutions.”

 

Schwarzman follows a bushel of other billionaires who have begun to publicly worry about the widening gap between rich and poor, often triggering widespread skepticism from figures less well off. Last month Jamie Dimon, the head of JP Morgan, wrote: “It is absolutely obvious that a big chunk of [people] have been left behind. Forty percent of Americans make less than $15 an hour. Forty percent of Americans can’t afford a $400 bill, whether it’s medical or fixing their car. Fifteen percent of Americans make minimum wages, 70,000 die from opioids [annually].” Dimon, estimated by Forbes to be worth $1.3bn, warned that socialism was not the answer, taking a swipe at Democrats including 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who have called for a socialist overhaul of the US, arguing it would lead to “stagnation, corruption and often worse”. Schwarzman and Dimon’s worries have been echoed by other billionaires including investment guru Warren Buffet and hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio, who has called income inequality a “national emergency”, pointing out that the percentage of children who grow up to earn more than their parents has fallen from 90% in 1970 to 50% today.

Having identified what the primary challenges are, the question then becomes how do we solve this?  An exchange of ideas were presented in an event described inside thehill.com/policy/finance/444111-lawmakers-grapple-with-the-future-of-americas-workforce, which posted here is part of those discussions which also included our Ohio senators:

The future of the American workforce will depend on how well government, business and educators work together to address the technological and economic changes ahead, according to lawmakers and experts at The Hill’s event on “Workers & The Innovation Age” on Thursday. The event, sponsored by Paychex, brought together a bipartisan group of lawmakers, business leaders, human relations professionals, and policymakers, who all stressed the need for creative solutions. The panelists weighed the challenges presented by increasing automation, the rise of the gig economy, new obstacles to retirement savings and the skills gap.

 

Lawmakers from both parties expressed concern over a lack of jobs with solid wages and benefits available to workers without a college degree or special technical skills. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) noted the lack of available federal student aid for workers seeking technical education, “We have this skills gap that can only be filled by flexible responsive programs that are primarily somewhere between high school and a college degree,” Portman said. The senator has proposed a bill to expand Pell Grants to specialized technical education. “Think coding. Think welding, machinist. Think truck-driving. Think of all the health care, tech jobs. That’s what we need in Ohio,” Portman added. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said American businesses should take a lead role in training new employees, especially those companies that have laid off or outsourced jobs. “Workers have become too much a cost to be minimized,” Brown said. “There needs to be some corporate responsibility to this, too.”

 

“The system is not working for everyone,” said Michele Chang, director of the Rework America Business Network at the Markle Foundation, highlighting the need for a collaborative approach. “Employers are saying they can’t find the workers they need. Educators are saying they don’t know what skills to train students for, and workers are struggling to clearly articulate what they can do to employers.” Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., president and CEO, Society for Human Resource Management, said there was a need to think more broadly about the skilled workforce the country needs. Taylor said there was a demand for skilled workers outside of the tech jobs many associate with the modern economy. “We need welders, we need carpenters. Those are skilled jobs but we don’t think of them that way,” Taylor, Jr. said. “Those are many of the jobs that are going unfilled right now.”

 

The event also highlighted the economic challenges workers are facing. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) said declining pensions and concerns about long-term health care were among her constituents’ chief concerns. “It used to be back in the day you went to work, you had a pension, you had health benefits,” Blunt Rochester said. “People are concerned, ‘Will my benefits still be there for me and will I still have a future?’” But business leaders also stressed that workers will also need to be more flexible to navigate the changing economy. “It’s not the same anymore where you work for a single company for 40 years or even 15 years,” said Adam Segal, founder and CEO of Cove. “We’re becoming more and more like free agents, so we need to have that skill base where we’re able to adapt and retool ourselves in a creative way.” 

Our current president got elected largely on the bold promises he made to the American working class.  In practice, he has abandoned those workers with policies mainly further enriching the corporate oligarchs.  This disruptive president has become counterproductive & dangerous, as described in the article from salon.com/2019/05/15/the-divider-in-chief:

Donald Trump’s goal is, and has always been, division and disunion. It’s how he keeps himself the center of attention, fuels his base and ensures that no matter what facts are revealed, his followers will stick by him. But there’s another reason Trump aims to divide—and why he pours salt into the nation’s deepest wounds over ethnicity, immigration, race and gender. Donald Trump’s goal is, and has always been, division and disunion. It’s how he keeps himself the center of attention, fuels his base and ensures that no matter what facts are revealed, his followers will stick by him. But there’s another reason Trump aims to divide—and why he pours salt into the nation’s deepest wounds over ethnicity, immigration, race and gender.

 

This enormous imbalance is undermining American democracy. Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern concluded a few years ago that “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” After analyzing 1,799 policy issues that came before Congress, they found that lawmakers only respond to the demands of wealthy individuals and moneyed business interests. No secret here. In fact, Trump campaigned as a populist—exploiting the public’s justifiable sense that the game is rigged against them. But he hasn’t done anything to fix the system. To the contrary, his divide-and-conquer strategy as president has disguised his efforts to reward his wealthy donors and funnel more wealth and power to those at the top.

 

Trump’s tax cuts, his evisceration of labor laws, his filling his cabinet and sub-cabinet with corporate shills, his rollbacks of health, safety, environmental and financial regulations: all have made the super-rich far richer, at the expense of average Americans. Meanwhile, he and his fellow Republicans continue to suppress votes. Senate Republicans have denounced Democratic proposals to increase turnout, even calling the idea of making election day a federal holiday “a power grab.” Of course, it’ s a power grab—for the people. Trump and his enablers would rather opponents focus on the ethnic, racial and gender differences he uses to divide and conquer. Don’t fall for it. We must be united to take back our democracy.

More articles are below describing the way Trump has utterly failed the American working class.  Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, he was put in office under the presumption he would achieve MAGA by being on the side of workers, but the reality of his policies have consistently sided with big corporate interests.  While the wealthy get wealthier, the workers are still mostly mired in financial duress, with the wage/wealth gaps increasing at an unrelenting pace.  As for the much-needed bold/new initiatives for actually turning things around for workers, the cupboard is bare as a clueless Trump has absolutely no idea how to fulfill his campaign promises made to them.  His only retort is convincing his base the economy is much stronger than it actually is, hyping selective economic data which actually shows stats riding the same trajectory we’ve been on for nearly a decade coming out of the great recession.  Very little Trump has done really helped much, other than a deficit-fueled tax cut.  This prez & his party remain utterly inept in thinking outside the box for transformational ideas which could substantially lift up the many millions of struggling middle class families.  Click on these links to see the folly of the Trumpian way:

theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/19/trump-economy-americans-voters-unemployment

time.com/5590236/what-defines-worldwide-democracy

theweek.com/articles/841251/trump-running-economy-like-ran-businesses

theweek.com/articles/841296/why-capitalists-hope-have-short-memory

nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/05/trump-voters-are-giving-the-right-qualms-about-capitalism

 

Sometimes I Go Off on a Rant

It helps me vent & let off some steam!  Those closed-minded Trumpeters I referred to earlier who are taking instructions from the echo-messaging machine have it all wrong.  They are far too trusting of Trump, his party & unfettered free markets.  It’s their obstinance & misguided beliefs which are holding us back from the big ideas needed to solve our basic dilemma.  Doing right by the American working class can’t be done by tweaking around the edges or remaining in the grips of hyperpartisan tribalism.  We must arrive at a smart, fundamental shift in how our free-market capitalist system operates.  The far-right allowing corporate powers to exploit us won’t work, & neither will the far-left’s version of redistribution & more government handouts.  It will take something in-between but something totally different.  The rules of high-tech, modern-day globalism require a brand new system totally apart from what served us so well in the previous century.

As for Trump’s version of MAGA, it unequivocally won’t work!  Granted, for roughly half the population, the economy as it’s been trending for years has turned out fine for them.  But it’s a very uneven, disjointed economy where far too many have fallen through the cracks.  Those Trumpeters supporting the president’s policies are backing stale positions that are decades obsolete & disconnected from our modern world.  The Trumpian doctrine not only fails to address the entrenched structural problems, but can actually make them worse.  We’re seeing more of the rich getting richer without the promised trickle down, while the powers that be in boardrooms of large multinational corporations are more emboldened than ever to exploit their workforce.

While it’s true we’ll never again see the days workers can go straight from high school to the factory floor & comfortably support a family on one income, we should at least endeavor to restructure the system so the American working class can earn their rightful share of the economic pie.  But I guess our echo-friends in their MAGA hats remain mesmerized by those far-right policies that have no chance of fixing our domestic troubles, so maybe they’re just hunky dory with escalating income inequality & workers trapped in dead-end jobs with dim prospects for the fututre, while their meager paychecks are being swallowed up by the monthly bills that keep growing larger. 

So it looks to me like the MAGA-world allegiance has somehow bought into this crony capitalist agenda delivered by echo-delusion messaging, where Trumpeters have been duped into thinking whatever benefits giant corporations will somehow make their lives better.  Granted, we face this conundrum where we need wealthy corporations/investors spending the money on plants & equipment, plus they hire workers & create the jobs.  But at this point in our American history, the equation has gotten way out of balance as the system really has become rigged.  It would require a total buy-in & willing cooperation from the public & private sectors to engineer a paradigm-shifting/innovative-type capitalism enabling full-time workers in America to earn a livable wage, while also lowering the barriers of entry to start a business.  America overall does create such enormous wealth, it just doesn’t make sense roughly half the workforce should be struggling to scrape by.  As the song at the bottom says, workers should rally around the message to Treat Me Right!

As I said, it could just be the echo-inspired Trump fandom has given up on MAGA.  They’ll be fine staying with the status quo giving corporations unabridged power & leverage as the American working class keeps falling further behind.  It’s a crying shame they feel that way, since without their cooperation it’s very difficult to get worthy things done inside the DC corridors of power.  I truly believe if we could ever work together & put our minds to it in pursuing the common good, MAGA is doable by reinventing capitalism so all Americans have true opportunities for pursuing/achieving success.  To make significant progress, we need bipartisan consensus on a major comprehensive plan where many moving parts can work together in synergy.  Unfortunately, those MAGA-heads have yet to come around to the reality that’s become abundantly clear to the rest of us, which the hopes of achieving MAGA are only possible without Trump as our president.   

 

Immigration Proposal DOA

This week’s immigration proposal is the mild version by Trump standards, a merit-based system fashioned more by sonny-in-law Jared rather than hardliner Stephen Miller.  But it’s asinine to propose anything like this without a DACA fix:

salon.com/2019/05/16/after-meeting-with-jared-kushner-on-immigration-republicans-say-hes-clueless-on-the-issue

dailykos.com/stories/2019/5/16/1858146/-Shameless-liar-Sarah-Sanders-calls-protecting-DACA-recipients-divisive-the-facts-say-otherwise

motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2019/05/new-study-no-link-between-crime-and-undocumented-immigrants

rawstory.com/2019/05/wrong-on-so-many-levels-trumps-own-appointee-for-top-ice-post-called-him-heartless

 

Drug Prices

Not only are Americans being way overprescribed on drugs, but Big Pharma is exploiting us with exorbitant pricing:

alternet.org/2019/05/lawsuit-by-44-states-sites-hard-evidence-of-big-pharmas-multi-year-conspiracy-to-hike-drug-prices-by-over-1000

thinkprogress.org/states-are-suing-generic-drug-manufacturers-for-alleged-conspiracy-to-inflate-prices

axios.com/big-pharma-pricing-power-health-care-profits-q1-2019

 

Short Bits Highlighting Other Issues

Gig Economy: salon.com/2019/05/19/is-the-gig-economy-a-path-to-prosperity-or-the-indenture-of-just-getting-by

The Retail Sector: businessinsider.com/stores-closing-in-2019-list-2019-3#shopko-371-stores-5

Housing: vox.com/2019/5/17/18628267/jenny-schuetz-weeds-interview

Social Security: thehill.com/opinion/finance/443465-social-security-just-ran-a-9-trillion-deficit-and-nobody-noticed

EMP’s: theweek.com/articles/836611/how-electromagnetic-pulse-could-cause-entire-society-collapse

Who’s the Liar?

Those of us living outside the delusional echo-bubble & where to us facts do matter, polls show rational Americans are fully aware the Trump/Barr version of reality cannot be trusted.  Their investigating the origins of the Russia probe & spying accusations are a total debauchery of normal human thought processes!  Of course the FBI would launch an investigation based on credible intelligence a foreign enemy (Russia) was attacking our democracy!  Dah!  After Pearl Harbor, did the American preisident & Justice Dept. blame the Japanese or other Americans?  After 9-11, did the American president & DOJ blame Islamic radicals or other Americans?  The pathological lying is what particularly bothers me the most about Trump, & accusing investigators with trumped up charges offering zero valid evidence is perhaps the most despicable lie of all! 

This Trump/Barr deception used as a cover up for the real crimes, trying to pin blame on FBI spying is asinine beyond comprehension, so it’s astounding that many unmitigated morons would actually believe them.  Such boldfaced lies along with Trump’s recent defying subpoenas offer more proof than ever he wants to turn the presidency into a rogue dictatorship, so we’d better take these threats seriously, with the drumbeat for impeachment proceedings definitely growing louder.  With recent news reports on witness tampering directed at Michael Flynn & financial shenanigans going on with Deutsche Bank (see the next section), plus the congressional testimonies likely happening soon from McGahn & Mueller, as more shoes drop it could leave no other choice but to impeach.  See the polling numbers on trust in these links:

businessinsider.com/fox-news-poll-people-trust-mueller-more-than-trump-bill-barr

dailykos.com/stories/2019/5/17/1858498/-Senile-or-Stupid-Trump-is-ECSTATIC-About-His-Total-Misreading-of-a-Devastating-FOX-News-Poll

theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/19/william-barr-donald-trump-robert-mueller-congress

 

A Crack in the GOP Armor

This could set an important precedent.  In spite of opening himself up to tremendous backlash, at least one GOP rep is getting on the right side of history by calling for impeachment.  Expect others in the GOP to be slow to follow, but at least the ice has been broken & could someday be seen as an important step in sinking this presidency.  As more solid evidence of criminal activity is exposed, the Amash declaration can make it easier for a lot more Dems to jump on the impeachment bandwagon, while even a few more GOP reps & senators could soon break ranks to join in.  This impeachment headline story might also get some among the GOP base to take these criminal charges the various probes are implicating the prez in a little more seriously.  It also puts an emphasis on the likelihood reports of serious crimes are still coming with the realization we still have a lot more to learn. 

Today we heard another bombshell story about Deutsche Bank from the NYT casting more suspicions about Trump, which flagged him & sonny-in-law Jared for potential money laundering schemes that following the money trail is the focus of current investigations.  We’ll have more details on this NYT story (reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-deutsche-bank/bank-staff-flagged-trump-kushner-transactions-for-watchdog-nytimes) in our Part 1 post early in the week.  Here are some newsfeed articles on Amash, which his viewpoint was well researched & thought out:

huffpost.com/entry/justin-amash-republican-trump-impeachment

usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/05/18/gop-congressman-says-trump-has-engaged-impeachable-conduct

nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/05/amash-becomes-first-gop-lawmaker-to-support-impeaching-trump

washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/05/19/why-justin-amash-stands-alone

 

Uncle Joe

Biden has officially kicked-off his candidacy in Philly & starts off as a strong frontrunner, but we should give all the candidates their say in the hopes the cream can rise to the top.  This could be a defining election for America!  Uncle Joe is facing the very same challenges holding back Warren & other Dem candidates: www.thevoracs.com/elizabeth-warren-decides-to-run

 

Treat Me Right!

Our nation, in particular political & corporate leadership, had better start treating the American working class right, otherwise we may soon have a revolt on our hands.  These are lyrics workers should want to be shouting at the White House, such as I’m losing my patience, you’re nearing the end.  Other lyrics that should be directed squarely at Trump include:

Do you think I’m a fool, well you better think twice
I’ve had enough baby, it’s time you realized
That you can’t have it both ways, it’s no way to live
You’ve done all the takin’, it’s your turn to give

One of these days you’re gonna reach out and find
The one that you count on has left you behind
Don’t want to be no martyr, with no one, no say
Oh my, my baby, before it’s too late

Treat me right, treat me right
Open your eyes, maybe you’ll see the light
Oh, treat me right

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFDtToo170w