Friday, March 3, 2017

What Our Tweety-Bird President & His Administration Don't Seem to Grasp

During his Address to Congress at least, King Donald did almost zero whining.  Thank Heaven for that.  I'm guessing the primary reason for that blessing was the fact that the speech was 100% scripted, and Trump pretty much read it word for word.  The content (and other statements), however, revealed some genuine flaws in the thinking of this Corporatist Administration.  Here's what they don't appear to grasp...or they do and they're simply presenting a fraud.  It's hard to know which one.

1.  Trump and some of his staff claim that the budget increases for the Defense Dept. (which should go back to its original name, War Dept.) and for Homeland Security will be offset by cuts in other Depts./Agencies.  Since they claim that, they must already have the numbers.  Let's see those numbers.  I very seriously doubt their claim to be true.  My guess is that all the cuts won't amount to even 10% of the billions in increases.  Furthermore, the proposed cuts undoubtedly will be in social programs and environmental/health/safety (EHS) programs... you know, those programs that improve the lives of common people.  The combined budgets of all those programs already are dwarfed by the Defense Dept. budget before the increase (never mind Homeland Security's budget).  In addition, our "Defense" Budget already is larger than the next seven largest in the world COMBINED.

2.  Along those same lines, Trump & staff are proposing a TRILLION Dollar infrastructure re-building program.  At the same time, they're proposing a massive tax cut.  Supposedly, the economy will boom so greatly that the trillion dollar expenditure will be covered by tax revenue generated by all the unemployed we have now, those who soon will have full-time permanent jobs.  The Don appears to believe that tax cuts and regulation reduction will result in Mega & Mid-Size Corporations making capital investments and thus creating many new jobs.  Fairly recent history suggests otherwise.  In this sorry Age of Financialization, mega & mid-size companies no longer need to hire more people in order to increase company profits.  Instead, they downsize, or ship facilities overseas (cheaper labor there), or invest in Hedge Funds, or become a bank (General Motors makes just as much money on car loans as it does on car production), or invest in foreign factories or real estate, or invest in foreign currencies or bonds, or become corporate raiders buying up companies and then downsizing or dismantling them, or simply bank the extra cash...usually offshore.

3.  As David Stockman (formerly of the Reagan Administration) wisely points out, a crucial date is looming--- March 15, 2017.  That's the day when the Debt Ceiling "Holiday" (developed by Obama & Boehner) ends.  After that, the National Debt by law cannot exceed $20 trillion unless a Republican Congress raises that Ceiling and thus kicks the can down the road again.  By summer, the Fed Gov't will be out of cash for everything but absolutely essential services.  According to Stockman, tax cuts will not yet be in place, ObamaCare will not yet be replaced, and any job-producing Infrastructure activities will have to be postponed.  As of tonight, the National Debt is $19.981 trillion dollars and increasing at a phenomenal rate.  It won't be long at all before it hits $20 trillion.

4.  To avoid the Mother of all Fiscal Crises, it seems to me the Congress will be forced to raise the Debt Ceiling yet again.  [They always do.]  Most likely, that will result in foreign governments and banks dumping the Dollar even faster than they are now.  That will bring the demise of the Dollar ever closer.  The Petro-Dollar already is on its last legs.  These events will hasten the culmination of the worldwide economic crisis already in progress... and will render Trump's vague economic plan useless.

5.  Trump's proposed slashing of the EPA will freeze the SuperFund Toxic Waste Cleanup Program (that's already happened), the Radon Program, the Brownfields Redevelopment Program, and several other programs that greatly contribute to clean air, clean water, and unpolluted land.  The result will be a poorer quality of life for everyone.  Trump mistakenly believes that any money saved by companies being able to avoid EHS regulatory compliance will be used to create jobs.  That's the great myth.  See the second half of number 2. above for the reality.

6.  Except for bashing immigrants & refugees and beating the Perpetual War drums, Trump & Crew seem to have no focus.  Rarely resolving anything, they jump from one item to the next.  That's especially true of the Don.  Yes, it's early yet in his Kingship; however, if the first forty or so days are any indication, the man won't accomplish much at all that's positive and good for We the People.  On top of that, the Executive staff slots still aren't all filled.  Plus, with seemingly sincere & consistent---but incompetent & narrow-minded---people like Jefferson Beauregard Sessions in place, the whole Reality Show of an Administration becomes a circus.
Finally, a few closing observations (and reminders)---
1.  During the Golden Age of American Capitalism (from the end of WW II through the 1950's & into the early 1960's), the greatest economic expansion in our history as a nation, with few exceptions corporations were taxed at a 90% rate.  They now pay (if at all) 35%.
2.  Politically speaking, I'm not Red or Blue; I prefer Purple.  So do 41% of American adults.  25% are Red and 31% are Blue.  3% don't give a damn, and given our recent history (30-40 years), can't say that I blame them much for that view.  :)
3.  Trump & Company are either incompetent, ignorant, or devious fraudsters... or some combination of those.  In any case, they are wrong for this country and the world.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well