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Trump election time economic platform

The last time America saw a   paleo-conservative leaning candidate  was Pat Buchanan in 1996. An early win in Louisiana caused Buchanan to place second in Iowa and first in New Hampshire. Lacking money, Buchanan was steamrolled by the establishment in Arizona and, in terms of paleo-conservatism, many thought he was the Last of the Mohicans. Trump's campaign is Buchananesque with one difference: Trump has money, and loads of it. He can fend off any attack and self-finance his campaign. He is establishment kryptonite. --  by Joseph R. Murray II (Orlando Sentinel, Aug 12, 2015)

 
News Paleoconservatism Donald Trump -- election time fighter against excesses of neoliberal globalization Recommended Links Obamacare vs. Trumpcare Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism  Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few   Zombie state and coming collapse of neoliberalism
DNC emails leak: switfboating Bernie Sanders and blaming Vladimir Putin Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Obama: a yet another Neocon Michael Flynn  American Exceptionalism  Media-Military-Industrial Complex  New American Militarism  Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism  Protestant church on danger of neoliberalism
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Myth about intelligent voter Nation under attack meme Libertarian Philosophy   Pluralism as a myth Bernie Sanders betrayal of his supporters
Libertarian Philosophy The Iron Law of Oligarchy Principal-agent problem Neoliberalism US Presidential Elections of 2012   Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
"There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average man."

-- Gore Vidal

“The Democrats are the foxes, and the Republicans are the wolves – and they both want to devour you.” So what does that make Libertarians? Avian flu viruses?”

-- Leonard Pinkney

The race is no contest when you own both horses. That is why no matter which political party is in power nothing really changes other than the packaging. The puppets who drink at the champagne fountains of the powerful do the bidding of their masters. The people are superfluous to the process.

-- Daniel Estulin

In the “democracy” that America has evolved to, money counts more than people. In past elections, the votes were counted, now they are going to start weighing them.

America The Counter-Revolution - Salem-News.Com

(T)he rich elites of (the USA) have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens … the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot. Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it.”

-- Mike Lofgren


Introduction

As comment in Economist's View stated "Trump has a four point platform that was anti-neoliberal in its essence":

  1. Non-interventionism. End the wars for the expansion of American neoliberal empire. Détente was Russia. Abolishing NATO and saving money on this. Let European defend themselves. 
  2. No to neoliberal globalization. Abolishing of transnational treaties that favor large multinationals such as TPP, NAFTA, etc. Tariffs and other means of punishing corporations who move production overseas. Repatriation of foreign profits to the USA and closing of tax holes which allow to keep profits in tax heavens without paying a dime to the US government.
  3. No to neoliberal "transnational job market" -- free movement of labor. Criminal prosecution and deportation of illegal immigrants. Cutting intake of refugees. Curtailing legal immigration, especially fake and abused programs like H1B. Making it more difficult for people from countries with substantial terrorist risk to enter the USA including temporary prohibition of issuing visas from certain (pretty populous) Muslim countries.
  4. No to the multiculturalism. Stress on "Christian past" and "white heritage" of American society and the role of whites in building the country. Rejection of advertising "special rights" of minorities such as black population, LGBT, woman, etc. Promotion them as "identity wedges" in elections was the trick so dear to DemoRats and, especially Hillary (gender) and Obama (race card).

That means that Trump election platform on an intuitive level has caught several important problem that were created in the US society by dismantling of the "New Deal" and rampant neoliberalism practiced since Reagan ("Greed is good" mantra).

Of cause, after election he decided to practice the same "bait and switch" maneuver as Obama. Generally he folded in less then 100 days. Not without help from DemoRats (Neoliberal Democrats) which created a witch hunt over "Russian ties" with their dreams of the second Watergate.

But in any case, this platform still provides a path to election victory in any forthcoming election, as problems listed are real , are not solved, and are extremely important for lower 90% of Americans. Tulsi Gabbard so far is that only democratic politician that IMHO qualifies. Sanders is way too old and somewhat inconsistent on No.1.

Trump on free trade and victims of neoliberal globalization

From Gaius Publius When Trump Talks Trade, Voters Listen naked capitalism

Before you read, though, take a moment to watch less than two minutes of Donald Trump above, from his victory speech after winning in Michigan and Mississippi. I’ve cued it up to start at the remarks I want to highlight, Trump discussing our trade deficit.

Now Thomas Frank, writing in The Guardian. He starts by noting the utter invisibility of real working Americans to our elite class, including our media elites, and especially our liberal media elites (my emphasis throughout):

Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here’s why

When he isn’t spewing insults, the Republican frontrunner is hammering home a powerful message about free trade and its victims

Let us now address the greatest American mystery at the moment: what motivates the supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump?

I call it a “mystery” because the working-class white people who make up the bulk of Trump’s fan base show up in amazing numbers for the candidate, filling stadiums and airport hangars, but their views, by and large, do not appear in our prestige newspapers. On their opinion pages, these publications take care to represent demographic categories of nearly every kind, but “blue-collar” is one they persistently overlook. The views of working-class people are so foreign to that universe that when New York Times columnist Nick Kristof wanted to “engage” a Trump supporter last week, he made one up, along with this imaginary person’s responses to his questions.

When members of the professional class wish to understand the working-class Other, they traditionally consult experts on the subject. And when these authorities are asked to explain the Trump movement, they always seem to zero in on one main accusation: bigotry. Only racism, they tell us, is capable of powering a movement like Trump’s, which is blowing through the inherited structure of the Republican party like a tornado through a cluster of McMansions.

The conclusion of these writers is this:

The Trump movement is a one-note phenomenon, a vast surge of race-hate. Its partisans are not only incomprehensible, they are not really worth comprehending.

And yet…

A lot of people are racists, including those not supporting Trump. But people have other concerns as well, especially working people. They are dying faster than they used to, from drugs and despair, and they fear for their jobs and their families, for very good reasons. This economy is failing them.

They also hate — and understand — “free trade.”

Trump Also Talks Trade

Donald Trump talks about more than just race and immigration. He talks about trade and the trade deficit, an issue that powered Bernie Sanders to his Michigan victory as well. From the New York Times:

Trade and Jobs Key to Victory for Bernie Sanders

Democratic presidential candidate had campaigned in Traverse City, Mich., in decades until Senator Bernie Sanders pulled up to the concert hall near the Sears store on Friday. Some 2,000 people mobbed him when he arrived, roaring in approval as he called the country’s trade policies, and Hillary Clinton’s support for them, “disastrous.”

“If the people of Michigan want to make a decision about which candidate stood with workers against corporate America and against these disastrous trade agreements, that candidate is Bernie Sanders,” Mr. Sanders said in Traverse City, about 250 miles north of Detroit.

Mr. Sanders pulled off a startling upset in Michigan on Tuesday by traveling to communities far from Detroit and by hammering Mrs. Clinton on an issue that resonated in this still-struggling state: her past support for trade deals that workers here believe robbed them of manufacturing jobs. Almost three-fifths of voters said that trade with other countries was more likely to take away jobs, according to exit polls by Edison Research, and those voters favored Mr. Sanders by a margin of more than 10 points.

There is no question — America’s billionaire-friendly, job-destroying trade policy is toxic — again, literally. That’s why Obama and his bipartisan “free trade” enablers in Congress have to pass TPP, if they can, in post-election lame duck session. TPP is also toxic to political careers, and only lame ducks and the recently-elected can vote for it.

Frank again on Trump:

Last week, I decided to watch several hours of Trump speeches for myself. I saw the man ramble and boast and threaten and even seem to gloat when protesters were ejected from the arenas in which he spoke. I was disgusted by these things, as I have been disgusted by Trump for 20 years. But I also noticed something surprising. In each of the speeches I watched, Trump spent a good part of his time talking about an entirely legitimate issue, one that could even be called left-wing.

Yes, Donald Trump talked about trade. In fact, to judge by how much time he spent talking about it, trade may be his single biggest concern – not white supremacy. Not even his plan to build a wall along the Mexican border, the issue that first won him political fame. He did it again during the debate on 3 March: asked about his political excommunication by Mitt Romney, he chose to pivot and talk about … trade.

It seems to obsess him: the destructive free-trade deals our leaders have made, the many companies that have moved their production facilities to other lands, the phone calls he will make to those companies’ CEOs in order to threaten them with steep tariffs unless they move back to the US.

On the subject more generally, Frank adds:

Trade is an issue that polarizes Americans by socio-economic status. To the professional class, which encompasses the vast majority of our media figures, economists, Washington officials and Democratic power brokers, what they call “free trade” is something so obviously good and noble it doesn’t require explanation or inquiry or even thought. Republican and Democratic leaders alike agree on this, and no amount of facts can move them from their Econ 101 dream.

To the remaining 80 or 90% of America, trade means something very different. There’s a video going around on the internet these days that shows a room full of workers at a Carrier air conditioning plant in Indiana being told by an officer of the company that the factory is being moved to Monterrey, Mexico and that they’re all going to lose their jobs.

As I watched it, I thought of all the arguments over trade that we’ve had in this country since the early 1990s, all the sweet words from our economists about the scientifically proven benevolence of free trade, all the ways in which our newspapers mock people who say that treaties like the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement allow companies to move jobs to Mexico.

Well, here is a video of a company moving its jobs to Mexico, courtesy of Nafta. This is what it looks like. The Carrier executive talks in that familiar and highly professional HR language about the need to “stay competitive” and “the extremely price-sensitive marketplace.” A worker shouts “Fuck you!” at the executive. The executive asks people to please be quiet so he can “share” his “information”. His information about all of them losing their jobs.

Frank goes to greater length, and again, please click through. But you get the idea. This is what Trump is speaking to, whether he means what he says or not, and this is what his voters are responding to, whether they like his racism or not. After all, haven’t you, at least once, voted for someone with qualities you dislike because of policies you do like?

Whose Fault Is This? Both Parties, But Especially the Democratic Elites

One final point. Frank takes on the issue of responsibility:

Trump’s words articulate the populist backlash against liberalism that has been building slowly for decades … Yet still we cannot bring ourselves to look the thing in the eyes. We cannot admit that we liberals bear some [or most] of the blame for its emergence, for the frustration of the working-class millions, for their blighted cities and their downward spiraling lives. So much easier to scold them for their twisted racist souls, to close our eyes to the obvious reality of which Trumpism is just a crude and ugly expression: that neoliberalism has well and truly failed.

I am certain, if this comes up in a general election debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, she could very likely get her clock cleaned; not certainly, but certainly very likely. First, she can only equivocate, and Trump will have none of it. (Trump: “Let me understand. You were for this before you were against it? So … will you be for it again next year? I’m just trying to understand.”)

Second, this is a change election, Trump is one of only two change candidates in the race, and Clinton is not the other one.

Here’s that Carrier Air Conditioning “we’re moving to Mexico” video that Frank mentioned above. Take a look, but prepare to feel some pain as you watch:


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[Apr 04, 2017] Mexico is preparing to play the corn card

Apr 04, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne April 03, 2017 at 03:02 PM
http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/international-trade-lessons-for-the-new-york-times?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+beat_the_press+%28Beat+the+Press%29

April 3, 2017

International Trade Lessons for the New York Times

The New York Times told readers * that Mexico is preparing to "play the corn card" in its negotiations with Donald Trump. The piece warns:

"Now corn has taken on a new role - as a powerful lever for Mexican officials in the run-up to talks over Nafta, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"The reason: Much of the corn that Mexico consumes comes from the United States, making it America's top agricultural export to its southern neighbor. And even though President Trump appears to be pulling back from his vows to completely overhaul Nafta, Mexico has taken his threats to heart and has begun flexing its own muscle.

"The Mexican government is exploring buying its corn elsewhere - including Argentina or Brazil - as well as increasing domestic production. In a fit of political pique, a Mexican senator even submitted a bill to eliminate corn purchases from the United States within three years."

It then warns of the potential devastation from this threat:

"The prospect that the United States could lose its largest foreign market for corn and other key products has shaken farming communities throughout the American Midwest, where corn production is a vital part of the economy. The threat is particularly unsettling for many residents of the Corn Belt because much of the region voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Trump in the presidential election.

" 'If we lose Mexico as a customer, it will be absolutely devastating to the ag economy,' said Philip Gordon, 68, who grows corn, soybeans and wheat on a farm in Saline, Mich., that has been in his family for 140 years."

Okay, I hate to spoil a good scare story with a dose of reality, but let's think this one through for a moment. According to the piece, instead of buying corn from the United States, Mexico might buy it from Argentina or Brazil. So, we'll lose our Mexican market to these two countries.

But who is buying corn from Argentina and Brazil now? If this corn had previously been going to other countries, then presumably these other countries will be looking to buy corn from someone else, like perhaps U.S. farmers?

It is of course possible that Argentina and Brazil will switch production away from other crops to corn to meet Mexico's demand, but that would likely leave openings in these other crops for U.S. farmers. The transition to new markets for corn crops or a switch from corn to the crops vacated by Brazil and Argentina would not be costless, but it also may not imply the sort of devastation promised by the New York Times.

See, market economies are flexible. This is something that economists know, as should reporters who write on economic issues. This may undermine scare stories that are being told to push an agenda, but life is tough.

* https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/02/world/americas/mexico-corn-nafta-trade.html

-- Dean Baker

point -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 03:02 PM
Not mentioned is that Mexico is the home of corn, that thousands of farmers who used to make their livings raising native corns lost their farms to market rate competition from the USA under NAFTA.

[Mar 23, 2017] Embattled Trump Reneges on Health Vow

Notable quotes:
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... Moyers & Company ..."
Mar 23, 2017 | consortiumnews.com
Embattled Trump Reneges on Health Vow March 21, 2017

President Trump promised health insurance for all, but – now dependent on the political protection of House Speaker Paul Ryan – he is supporting a plan that will push millions outside the system, writes Michael Winship.

By Michael Winship

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Donald Trump still insists he's going to Make America Great Again! Mind you, it won't be a healthy or vigorous America - in fact, it will be coughing and wheezing to the grave, but boy, will it be great!

If you ever needed further evidence that Trump doesn't give a single good goddamn about the people who elected him, just look at his treacherous turnabout on health care. This Republican "repeal and replace" bill stinks on so many levels I'm tempted to say it should be taken far out to sea and dumped into the deepest depths of the Mariana Trench but I have too much regard for marine life, even the kind with the big googly eyes and the really scary teeth.

Remember that Trump was the carnival barker who declared during the campaign , "I am going to take care of everybody. I don't care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody's going to be taken care of much better than they're taken care of now." And right before his inauguration he told The Washington Post , "We're going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can't pay for it, you don't get it. That's not going to happen with us."

Then along comes the proposed Republican bill, which over a decade, according to the now-famous report from the Congressional Budget Office , would see 24 million fewer Americans with coverage, doubling the number of uninsured. Trump's own supporters would take it on the chin for what he tweeted is "our wonderful new health care bill."

According to John McCormick at Bloomberg News : "Counties that backed him would get less than a third of the relief that would go to counties where Hillary Clinton won. The two individual tax cuts contained in the Republican plan to replace Obamacare apply only to high-earning workers and investors, roughly those with incomes of at least $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples."

And remember all that nonsense about Obamacare's "death panels," a falsehood so rotten to the core it was declared PolitiFact's 2009 Lie of the Year ? Well, this Republican bill actually would kill people. Those older would pay more than the young, it would strip Planned Parenthood of funding and Medicaid programs would be slashed. It would eliminate money for the Prevention and Public Health Fund , which provides epidemiology, immunization and health-screening programs. And there would be no mandate that employers with 50 employees or more provide coverage.

Julia Belluz at Vox reports on:"[V]ery high-quality studies on the impacts of health insurance on mortality, which come to some pretty clear estimates. This research suggests that we would see more than 24,000 extra deaths per year in the US if 20 million people lost their coverage. Again, 20 million is less than the 24 million the CBO thinks will lose insurance by 2026. So the death toll from an Obamacare repeal and replacement could be even higher."

Ignoring the Needy

Notice that Trump has barely lifted a finger to assist those who need genuine reform that would bring quality care to all, the kind of help he promised as a candidate. Instead, he has directed his energies at helping Speaker Paul Ryan win over right-wing House members by promising to make the bill even crueler to those who need health care the most.

Take a look at this statement issued by tea partier and Alabama Republican Rep. Robert Aderholt after meeting with Trump on Friday, a statement so mind-boggling it's worth quoting in full :

"President Trump called me to the Oval Office this morning to discuss the American Healthcare Act, because of his understanding that I could not support the current language of the bill. I expressed to the president my concern around the treatment of older, poorer Americans in states like Alabama. I reminded him that he received overwhelming support from Alabama's voters.

"The president listened to the fact that a 64-year-old person living near the poverty line was going to see their insurance premiums go up from $1,700 to $14,600 per year. The president looked me in the eye and said, 'These are my people and I will not let them down. We will fix this for them.'

"I also asked the president point blank if this House bill was the one that he supported. He told me he supports it '1,000 percent.' After receiving the president's word that these concerns will be addressed, I changed my vote to yes."

Can you believe it? Trump's behind the bill 1,000 percent, the President claims, but don't worry, we'll fix it. It's hard to decide which of the two men is behaving more hypocritically: Trump saying he won't let the people down or Aderholt claiming to believe the President actually will keep his word. Each is endorsing a cutthroat scheme that will bring nothing but grief to the people but hundreds of billions in tax breaks to the wealthy and vast profits to the insurance industry.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities : "The top 400 highest-income taxpayers - whose annual incomes average more than $300 million apiece - each would receive an average annual tax cut of about $7 million , we estimate from Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data."

Andy Slavitt, who was President Obama's acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told The Washington Post , "This is a massive tax cut for unpopular industries and wealthy individuals. It is about cutting care for lower-income people, seniors, people with disabilities and kids to pay for the tax cut."

This is, in the words of Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, "a dumpster fire of a bill that was written on the back of a napkin behind closed doors because Republicans know this is a disaster." But thanks to ineptitude and an inchoate, ill-planned rush to pass the legislation, it looks as if the current Republican bill may be on its way to failure, if not in the House then in the Senate.

Lucky us - for now. But if the GOP and Trump White House do manage to force on us anything short of what's really needed – single-payer, universal health care - we're doomed to live in a nation the motto of which may no longer be "In God We Trust" but instead, "Die young and leave a good-looking corpse."

Michael Winship is the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Moyers & Company and BillMoyers.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MichaelWinship . [This article first appeared at http://billmoyers.com/story/trump-gop-prescription-america-dont-get-sick/ ]

[Mar 20, 2017] Donald Trump Isnt Even Pretending to Oppose Goldman Sachs Anymore

Notable quotes:
"... The ubiquity of Goldman Sachs veterans across numerous presidencies throughout history, both Republican and Democratic, has been well documented. But Donald Trump sold himself as something different, an economic nationalist determined to rankle Wall Street. He even ran campaign ads savaging bankers like Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein for their role in a "global power structure." ..."
"... That populist smokescreen is long gone now. ..."
"... After dalliances with unorthodox proposals for a Republican, Trump has settled into an agenda of tax cuts and deregulation - particularly for the financial industry. Cohn laid out the new paradigm in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last month, promising lighter supervision and even lower capital requirements for the financial sector. J. Christopher Giancarlo, Trump's choice to run the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which handles derivatives regulations, hijacked a federal advisory panel to recommend abandoning limits on commodity speculation, of the kind pursued by big banks like Goldman Sachs. ..."
"... Even in areas where populist sentiment was seen as pre-eminent, Trump has reportedly succumbed to the Wall Street advance. A dramatic piece in the Financial Times described a "civil war" within the White House over trade, pitting Trump's hard-liners like Bannon and trade policy adviser Peter Navarro against the likes of Cohn. It stated that Navarro was being sidelined, with Cohn taking a larger role in the negotiations over NAFTA, and with foreign leaders working through the National Economic Council rather than Navarro in trade talks. AFL-CIO official Thea Lee said in the story , "It appears the Wall Street wing is winning this battle." ..."
"... At the NEC, Cohn hired Andrew Quinn, a chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to coordinate international trade and development. A stewing Breitbart News called Quinn " the enemy within ." ..."
Mar 15, 2017 | theintercept.com

The continuity of Wall Street's dominant role in American politics - regardless of what party sits in power or how reviled the financial industry finds itself across the country - was perhaps never more evident than when Jake Siewert, now a Goldman Sachs spokesperson, on Tuesday praised the selection of Jim Donovan, a Goldman Sachs managing director, for the No. 2 position in the Treasury Department under Steve Mnuchin, himself a former Goldman Sachs partner.

"Jim is smart, extraordinarily versatile, and as hard-working as they come," Siewert gushed. "He'll be an invaluable addition to the economic team."

The punch line? Siewert was counselor at the Treasury Department to Timothy Geithner, as well as a White House press secretary under Bill Clinton.

The ubiquity of Goldman Sachs veterans across numerous presidencies throughout history, both Republican and Democratic, has been well documented. But Donald Trump sold himself as something different, an economic nationalist determined to rankle Wall Street. He even ran campaign ads savaging bankers like Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein for their role in a "global power structure."

That populist smokescreen is long gone now.

Mnuchin and Donovan are just two of five Goldman expats in high-level positions on Trump's team. Steve Bannon spent a limited time at Goldman Sachs, but White House assistant Dina Powell, who headed the bank's philanthropic efforts, and National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, Goldman's former president, had higher-ranking positions for a longer period. Jay Clayton, Trump's nominee for the Securities and Exchange Commission, was a partner for Goldman's main law firm, Sullivan and Cromwell.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus reportedly blocked Donovan from Treasury initially, amid fears of an image problem with too many "Goldman guys." But Donovan got the post anyway.

Other big banks are represented inside team Trump as well. Several expats of Mnuchin's OneWest Bank , which repeatedly brutalized homeowners during the foreclosure crisis, have been rumored for key spots at the banking regulators.

The same day as Donovan, Trump announced the nomination of David Malpass as treasury undersecretary for international affairs. Malpass was the chief economist for Bear Stearns right before the investment bank imploded. He literally wrote an opinion piece called " Don't Panic About Credit Markets " for the Wall Street Journal in August 2007, noting, "Housing and debt markets are not that big a part of the U.S. economy."

But it's not just the presence of ex-bank executives that matters; it's the policy menu oriented to Wall Street's wishes.

After dalliances with unorthodox proposals for a Republican, Trump has settled into an agenda of tax cuts and deregulation - particularly for the financial industry. Cohn laid out the new paradigm in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last month, promising lighter supervision and even lower capital requirements for the financial sector. J. Christopher Giancarlo, Trump's choice to run the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which handles derivatives regulations, hijacked a federal advisory panel to recommend abandoning limits on commodity speculation, of the kind pursued by big banks like Goldman Sachs.

Donovan is expected to play a major role in tax policy, which will be overwhelmingly tilted to benefiting the wealthy, despite claims from Mnuchin that the rich will see "no absolute tax cut." Even Trump's flailing health care proposal is really little more than a large tax cut for the wealthiest Americans , financed by cuts to the low-income Medicaid program.

Even in areas where populist sentiment was seen as pre-eminent, Trump has reportedly succumbed to the Wall Street advance. A dramatic piece in the Financial Times described a "civil war" within the White House over trade, pitting Trump's hard-liners like Bannon and trade policy adviser Peter Navarro against the likes of Cohn. It stated that Navarro was being sidelined, with Cohn taking a larger role in the negotiations over NAFTA, and with foreign leaders working through the National Economic Council rather than Navarro in trade talks. AFL-CIO official Thea Lee said in the story , "It appears the Wall Street wing is winning this battle."

At the NEC, Cohn hired Andrew Quinn, a chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to coordinate international trade and development. A stewing Breitbart News called Quinn " the enemy within ."

Not enough has happened on trade to declare the winner of this internecine battle; indeed, the Financial Times reported that Trump took Navarro's side in a recent Oval Office meeting. But in confirmation hearings Tuesday, Robert Lighthizer, Trump's pick for U.S. trade representative, praised his predecessor Michael Froman , architect of the TPP (and himself a former Citigroup executive), arguing that some of that work could be used in constructing a successor to NAFTA. Lighthizer also vowed tough enforcement of trade rules but said little about tariffs or the kinds of disruptive policies Trump touted in the campaign, which Wall Street disfavors.

Banks have celebrated since Trump's election, composing the lion's share of the "Trump bump" in stock prices. Goldman Sachs shares have risen from $181.92 on Election Day to around $250 today , an increase that accounts for as much as one-fifth of the total rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average over that period.

Not only do Goldman executives benefit, but so do their alumni: Cohn received nearly $300 million in severance from Goldman after moving into government. He's vowed to recuse himself from anything "directly" affecting his former company, but that doesn't necessarily apply to tax and regulatory policies affecting the entire financial sector.

[Mar 20, 2017] As French Election Nears, Le Pen Targets Voters Her Party Once Repelled

Notable quotes:
"... "There's been a real evolution," Philippe Renault-Guillemet, the retired head of a small manufacturing company, said as he handed out National Front leaflets in the market on a recent day. "A few years ago, they would insult us. It's changed ..."
"... With a month to go, the signs are mixed. Many voters, particularly affluent ones, at markets here and farther up the coast betray a traditional distaste for the far-right party. Yet others once repelled by a party with a heritage rooted in France's darkest political traditions - anti-Semitism, xenophobia and a penchant for the fist - are considering it. ..."
"... French politics are particularly volatile this election season. Traditional power centers - the governing Socialists and the center-right Republicans - are in turmoil. Ms. Le Pen's chief rival, Emmanuel Macron, is a youthful and untested politician running at the head of a new party. ..."
"... Those uncertainties - and a nagging sense that mainstream parties have failed to offer solutions to France's economic anemia - have left the National Front better positioned than at any time in its 45-year history. ..."
"... Frédéric Boccaletti, the party's leader in the Var, knows exactly what needs to be done. Last week, he and his fellow National Front activists gathered for an evening planning session in La Seyne-Sur-Mer, a working-class port town devastated by the closing of centuries-old naval shipyards nearly 20 years ago. Mr. Boccaletti, who is running for Parliament, keeps his headquarters here. ..."
"... It is not unlike the strategy that President Trump applied in the United States by campaigning in blue-collar, Democratic strongholds in rust-belt Ohio. No one thought he stood a chance there. Yet he won. ..."
"... "Now, we've got doctors, lawyers, the liberal professions with us," Mr. Boccaletti said. "Since the election of Marine" to the party's presidency in 2011, "it's all changed. ..."
"... The backlash against neoliberal globalization creates very strange alliances indeed. That was already visible during the last Presidential elections. When a considerable part of lower middle class professionals (including women) voted against Hillary. ..."
"... As Fred noted today (Why did so many white women vote for Donald Trump http://for.tn/2f51y7s ) there were many Trump supporters among white women with the college degree, for which Democrats identity politics prescribed voting for Hillary. ..."
"... I think this tendency might only became stronger in the next elections: neoliberal globalization is now viewed as something detrimental to the country future and current economic prosperity by many, usually not allied, segments of population. ..."
Mar 20, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K. : March 20, 2017 at 09:23 AM
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/19/world/europe/french-election-marine-le-pen-national-front.html

As French Election Nears, Le Pen Targets Voters Her Party Once Repelled

By ADAM NOSSITER

MARCH 19, 2017

SANARY-SUR-MER, France - The National Front's leafleteers are no longer spat upon. Its local candidate's headquarters sit defiantly in a fraying Muslim neighborhood. And last week, Marine Le Pen, the party's leader, packed thousands into a steamy meeting hall nearby for a pugnacious speech mocking "the system" and vowing victory in this spring's French presidential election.

"There's been a real evolution," Philippe Renault-Guillemet, the retired head of a small manufacturing company, said as he handed out National Front leaflets in the market on a recent day. "A few years ago, they would insult us. It's changed."

It has long been accepted wisdom that Ms. Le Pen and her far-right party can make it through the first round of the presidential voting on April 23, when she and four other candidates will be on the ballot, but that she will never capture the majority needed to win in a runoff in May.

But a visit to this southeastern National Front stronghold suggests that Ms. Le Pen may be succeeding in broadening her appeal to the point where a victory is more plausible, even if the odds are still stacked against her.

With a month to go, the signs are mixed. Many voters, particularly affluent ones, at markets here and farther up the coast betray a traditional distaste for the far-right party. Yet others once repelled by a party with a heritage rooted in France's darkest political traditions - anti-Semitism, xenophobia and a penchant for the fist - are considering it.

"I've said several times I would do it, but I've never had the courage," Christian Pignol, a vendor of plants and vegetables at the Bandol market, said about voting for the National Front. "This time may be the good one."

"It's the fear of the unknown," he continued, as several fellow vendors nodded. "People would like to try it, but they are afraid. But maybe it's the solution. We've tried everything for 30, 40 years. We'd like to try it, but we're also afraid."

French politics are particularly volatile this election season. Traditional power centers - the governing Socialists and the center-right Republicans - are in turmoil. Ms. Le Pen's chief rival, Emmanuel Macron, is a youthful and untested politician running at the head of a new party.

Those uncertainties - and a nagging sense that mainstream parties have failed to offer solutions to France's economic anemia - have left the National Front better positioned than at any time in its 45-year history.

But if it is to win nationally, the party must do much better than even the 49 percent support it won in this conservative Var department, home to three National Front mayors, in elections in 2015. More critically, it must turn once-hostile areas of the country in Ms. Le Pen's favor and attract new kinds of voters - professionals and the upper and middle classes. Political analysts are skeptical.

Frédéric Boccaletti, the party's leader in the Var, knows exactly what needs to be done. Last week, he and his fellow National Front activists gathered for an evening planning session in La Seyne-Sur-Mer, a working-class port town devastated by the closing of centuries-old naval shipyards nearly 20 years ago. Mr. Boccaletti, who is running for Parliament, keeps his headquarters here.

"I'm telling you, you've got to go to the difficult neighborhoods - it's not what you think," Mr. Boccaletti told them, laughing slyly. "Our work has got to be in the areas that have resisted us most" - meaning the coast's more affluent areas.

It is not unlike the strategy that President Trump applied in the United States by campaigning in blue-collar, Democratic strongholds in rust-belt Ohio. No one thought he stood a chance there. Yet he won.

"Now, we've got doctors, lawyers, the liberal professions with us," Mr. Boccaletti said. "Since the election of Marine" to the party's presidency in 2011, "it's all changed."

...

libezkova -> Peter K.... March 20, 2017 at 11:05 AM

The backlash against neoliberal globalization creates very strange alliances indeed. That was already visible during the last Presidential elections. When a considerable part of lower middle class professionals (including women) voted against Hillary.

As Fred noted today (Why did so many white women vote for Donald Trump http://for.tn/2f51y7s ) there were many Trump supporters among white women with the college degree, for which Democrats identity politics prescribed voting for Hillary.

I think this tendency might only became stronger in the next elections: neoliberal globalization is now viewed as something detrimental to the country future and current economic prosperity by many, usually not allied, segments of population.

[Mar 19, 2017] Malevolence tempered by incompetence.

Mar 19, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
sanjait : March 17, 2017 at 10:01 AM , 2017 at 10:01 AM
"Malevolence tempered by incompetence."

That's the *optimists'* take on the Trump administration.

It's clear they are incompetent, but I don't think we can be sanguine.

Mainly because, if something isn't outright unconstitutional, we are reliant on massive numbers of citizens noticing the malevolence and becoming outraged enough to scare the few squishy members of the GOP caucus into backing off.

But that's a fairly high bar.

On healthcare the GOP stepped on a rake, but that's an issue where many people are VERY significantly affected in visible, immediate ways. It's funny that even Trump seems to recognize this, so his admin is bravely leading from behind on the push to pass the American Health Carnage Act.

But contrast healthcare with something like climate change. Trump proposes to erase not only rules on immediate issues, but also very forward looking stuff like basic energy technology research and the people and satellites used *just to study the climate*.

Is there a natural constituency of GOP base voters that is going to become activated enough to stop this? If not, what might?

I don't see any barriers to a good portion of the malevolence, even if it is incompetent. The Trump admin and the GOP have turned incompetence like a badge of honor and their base voters love it.

pgl -> sanjait... , March 17, 2017 at 10:44 AM
Bat shit insanity on health care preceded Trump. The truly incompetent one is the Speaker of the House. And he is considered the policy wonk for the House Republicans. Trump is beyond awful but he is no worse than your modern Republican Party.
sanjait -> pgl... , March 17, 2017 at 11:47 AM
True, and it has been a mild surprise to me how poorly the GOP (ex-Trump) has executed on its agenda.

I always thought they were *pretending* not to understand how healthcare economics worked to cynically gin up anti-ACA talking points.

But it turns out, they really have no clue what they are talking about. They drank their own kool aid. They are what Stephen Colbert used to describe as "batshit serious."

[Mar 17, 2017] What Happened to Trump Infrastructure Push?

Notable quotes:
"... It would be Pharaohanic. Trump would leave his mark on America's landscape in a visible way--something that is, for somebody who has for two decades been playing the game of celebrity, a big win. ..."
"... The second was driven by the fact that there are an awful lot of small-government fanatics and some fiscal conservatives in the Trump coalition. That way would have generated a politics in which the normal fiscal infrastructure stimulus that both the situation and Trump's background seemed to call for would not happen. It would simply not be done. ..."
"... Instead, the Trump infrastructure plan would wind up building infrastructure on the government's dime. That infrastructure which would then have been given away to friends of the administration. They would then have charged monopoly prices for access to it. ..."
"... Little good as infrastructure -- monopolists charging monopoly prices are rarely public benefactors on any large scale. No good as stimulus. Think of Silvio Berlusconi, but not on an Italian but on a North American scale. ..."
"... And then, of course, there would be the Trump tax cut: another nail in the coffin of sane and prudent fiscal policy, and another brick in the wall of the Second Gilded Age. ..."
"... White House propaganda aides following their own propaganda agendas, and a Congress that seems to lack any sort of positive leadership. Not constructive infrastructure policy. Not bunga-bunga infrastructure policy. Simply no policy at all. ..."
Mar 17, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne : March 16, 2017 at 06:04 AM , 2017 at 06:04 AM
http://www.bradford-delong.com/2017/03/the-trump-infrastructure-plan-useful-or-bunga-bunga-policy-there-are-two-ways-the-trump-infrastructure-fiscal-expansi.html

March 15, 2017

What Happened to Trump Infrastructure Push?: Bunga-Bunga Policy, or No Policy at All

There seemed, back in November, two ways the Trump infrastructure fiscal expansion could have gone.

The first was driven by the facts that Trump seemed to have ambitions that were "Pharaohanic", and that Trump had been a real estate developer.

There were then no Trump plans for the infrastructure program. There were, however, plans to have plans. And the plans to have plans were aided by the fact that building things was what you would expect someone who had been a real estate developer to focus on. Since there were no plans, there was an opportunity to develop for Donald Trump a real, technocratic infrastructure plan. It would have had, from Trump's perspective, three advantages:

It would actually work--it would boost American economic growth, and so make people happy.

It would be Pharaohanic. Trump would leave his mark on America's landscape in a visible way--something that is, for somebody who has for two decades been playing the game of celebrity, a big win.

It would make Trump's presidency both be and appear to be a success, from the desired perspective of helping to make America even greater than ever.

And the idea that the economy was already at full employment, and did not need additional stimulus of any kind? That extra stimulus would be offset by the Federal Reserve, and that the overall effect on employment would be very small? That, taking into account the Federal Reserve reaction, the only major effect would be to raise interest rates? Perhaps. But that would not have been a downside. If you do seek--as we do--to normalize interest rates in the medium term, and if you want to see whether there are discouraged workers out there, moving away from monetary to fiscal as the stimulative balancing item is exactly the right thing to do. An extra $300 billion/year of bond funded infrastructure would substantially normalize interest rates.

The second was driven by the fact that there are an awful lot of small-government fanatics and some fiscal conservatives in the Trump coalition. That way would have generated a politics in which the normal fiscal infrastructure stimulus that both the situation and Trump's background seemed to call for would not happen. It would simply not be done.

Instead, the Trump infrastructure plan would wind up building infrastructure on the government's dime. That infrastructure which would then have been given away to friends of the administration. They would then have charged monopoly prices for access to it.

Little good as infrastructure -- monopolists charging monopoly prices are rarely public benefactors on any large scale. No good as stimulus. Think of Silvio Berlusconi, but not on an Italian but on a North American scale.

Another pointless episode of bunga-bunga policy.

The U.S. would have been likely to lose, substantially, if that was what the Trump fiscal expansion had turned out to be. And then, of course, there would be the Trump tax cut: another nail in the coffin of sane and prudent fiscal policy, and another brick in the wall of the Second Gilded Age.

We may still have this bunga-bunga policy.

But with each day that passes with not even a plan to plan to have a plan, it looks more as though there is no Trump administration--just the reality TV simulacrum of one, cabinet members following their own administrative agendas, White House propaganda aides following their own propaganda agendas, and a Congress that seems to lack any sort of positive leadership. Not constructive infrastructure policy. Not bunga-bunga infrastructure policy. Simply no policy at all.

Constructive infrastructure policy now looks completely off the table.

Destructive bunga-bung infrastructure policy is still a possibility, but a low probability one.

No infrastructure policy now looks like the way to bet at even odds...

-- Brad DeLong

[Feb 28, 2017] Noam Chomsky - Neoliberalism the Global Order

Jan 07, 2014 | youtube.com

This is the complete talk (excluding the Q&A) of Noam Chomsky speaking at Yale University on February 25, 1997

San Patch

Thank you, Noam Chomsky. Sharp, articulate, critical. Reminding us to cross-check our favourite ideologies against the facts. Free markets, my arse. I salute Chomsky's courage, his intellect and his humanity.

emir yi

He truly is the face of sheer honesty and intellectual openness. So admirable to be able to be so critical of a system in which otherwise many including himself are subsumed.

Dimitrios Mavridopoulos

I strongly recommend his book World Orders: Old and New, where he substantiates all his claims and accusations, in a far more coherent manner. He has a long chapter, where he explains how the principles of free trade and classical economics, have been consistently violated in history by the developed countries (imperial preference, tariffs, state-intervention), while demanding that Third World countries conform to them, through the IMF and the World Bank. Unfortunately he is not a gifted lecturer though he compensates by being a moral titan

Richard Huza

10x
I also tried to collect Chomsky's videos on my site at index:
http://milisoft.ro/MainPage.php?iditem=a02663aa20b879c3f4cfd508231dfb28fd74945e
I agree with the spirit of sharing of information

[Feb 01, 2017] The committee then approved Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., to become Health secretary and financier Steve Mnuchin to be Treasury secretary

Feb 01, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs -> im1dc... February 01, 2017 at 11:25 AM , 2017 at 11:25 AM
Senate panel sidesteps Dems to OK Cabinet picks
http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2017/02/01/senate-committee-approves-trump-treasury-health-picks-without-democrats/ja3yv0kRn06DaJvyGq65cO/story.html?event=event25 via
@BostonGlobe - AP

WASHINGTON - Republicans muscled through committee approval of President Donald Trump's nominees for Treasury and Health on Wednesday, suspending a key Senate rule in the latest escalation of partisan tensions in Congress.

Democrats boycotted a Finance Committee meeting and Republicans responded by temporarily scuttling a rule requiring at least one Democrat to be present for votes. The committee then approved Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., to become Health secretary and financier Steve Mnuchin to be Treasury secretary by a pair of 14-0 votes.

Democrats had been demanding time to ask more questions about both nominees. Democrats say there were unresolved questions about both nominees' financial backgrounds.

Separately, the Senate planned to vote later in the day on Trump's nomination of Rex Tillerson for secretary of state after several Democrats crossed party lines to back the former Exxon Mobil CEO.

[Jan 22, 2017] Bernie Sanders just said on CBS that he is ready to work with Trump on lowering drug price, infrastrcture projects and better trade deals

Jan 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
BenIsNotYoda : , January 22, 2017 at 07:59 AM
Bernie Sanders just said on CBS that he is ready to work with Trump on
1) lowering drug prices by purchasing drugs from abroad and Medicare negotiate prices
2) infrastructure projects
3) better trade deals

Lets see if entrenched interests in the GOP and Democrat party let them work together. My guess is NOT.
What that would accomplish is lay bare the corruption that is part of both parties.

Peter K. -> BenIsNotYoda... , January 22, 2017 at 08:31 AM
Let's see if Trump actually wants to do any of those things Sanders wants. In other words will he "reach across the aisle."

Let's see if Republicans in Congress cooperate.

I think it's unlikely although not impossible (as Krugman etc do)

Trump thinks of himself as a reality TV star. He likes the drama. But he seems to have no interest in the details of policy. He found the border tax his advisers were floating as too complicated.

[Jan 15, 2017] Depending on what the GOP does, we could get austerity rather than fiscal expansion.

Jan 15, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
jonny bakho : , January 14, 2017 at 12:02 PM
Depending on what the GOP does, we could get austerity rather than fiscal expansion.

Tax cuts for the wealthy are not much stimulus. The wealthy invest globally and could invest to offshore jobs rather than in the US. Or they could drive a bubble as what happened to the GWBush tax cuts.

Combine those with repeal of the ACA Medicaid and Medicare cuts, there would be less money available to pay for services.
Deporting immigrants reduces both demand and workers in the economy.
Privatizing government functions typically results in grift or worse and that money may go to the Caymans or elsewhere offshore.
The Trump plan is to build infrastructure using tax breaks
How much of this happens remains to be see.
Ryan has a budget that cuts taxes and butchers spending = austerity

cm -> jonny bakho... , January 14, 2017 at 12:46 PM
It's what they teach in MBA school - cost-cut your way to greatness.
pgl -> cm... , January 14, 2017 at 01:01 PM
Bloomberg did that as mayor of NYC. Which left a host of problems for the next mayor.
pgl -> jonny bakho... , January 14, 2017 at 01:00 PM
Yes - we need to look at the entire fiscal policy picture. Ryan is a small government type so he can give more tax cuts to his rich buddies.
Peter K. -> jonny bakho... , January 14, 2017 at 01:03 PM
A lot depends on what the Fed does even though I know you don't believe monetary policy matters much.
pgl : , January 14, 2017 at 12:59 PM
An interesting take from PK which seems to be back by recent data on interest rates:

http://econospeak.blogspot.com/2017/01/interest-rates-since-december-16.html

anne -> pgl... , January 14, 2017 at 01:16 PM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cnvK

January 15, 2017

Interest Rates on 10-Year Treasury Bonds and 10-Year Inflation-Indexed Bonds, 2014-2017


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=ckhP

January 4, 2017

Major and Broad Currency, Trade Weighted Price of an American Dollar, 2014-2017

(Indexed to 2014)

Peter K. : , January 14, 2017 at 01:02 PM
"So investors betting on a big infrastructure push are almost surely deluding themselves."

Since the election Sanjait has suggested investors weren't betting on a big infrastructure push. He has explained his thinking a couple of time but I still don't understand it. It doesn't add up.

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 01:23 PM
Nowhere does Krugman suggest that the initial investor euphoria has faded. He just says it's wrong.
pgl -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 01:33 PM
Look at the fall in interest rates since Dec. 16. Oh wait - you never look at the facts. Gets in the way of your pointless and dishonest smears.
anne -> pgl... , January 14, 2017 at 01:48 PM
Stop the personal insults.
pgl -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 01:48 PM
Tell him to stop the incessant lies and I will not have to point out that he lied.
ilsm -> pgl... , January 14, 2017 at 02:32 PM
You use the ad hominem too frequently?

It seems hard for you to express yourself rationally but give it a try.

I suspect you do not think some here would understand you, give it a try.

Maybe you did not tale enough of a break after Nov 8th?

pgl -> ilsm... , January 14, 2017 at 02:48 PM
Snore!
Jesse -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 02:15 PM

I agree with Anne.

The quick resort to name calling, rather than correcting someone with facts, is getting out of hand, and is very counterproductive if one really wishes to make a case.

pgl -> Jesse... , January 14, 2017 at 02:49 PM
I'm all for discussions based on facts. PeterK is not. That's the problem here.
Peter K. -> Jesse... , January 14, 2017 at 03:17 PM
He has no facts so he has to resort to name-calling.

He has no alternative.

He should really take a break. He's so mad all of time.

Watermelonpunch -> pgl... , January 14, 2017 at 07:31 PM
I agree with anne too. This petty back & forth has gone on long enough.
SomeCallMeTim -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 01:26 PM
In response to people looking for a Trump pivot at various points over the last two years, biographar Michael D'Antonio has said many times that there's no other 'there' to pivot to.

In Pennsylvania he roused folks by talking vaguely about bringing coal back, here in Oregon he changed nouns and rolled out the logging version.

How do you come to any meaningful decision about what he's going to do? I wouldn't bet on follow through on any policies (well, except maybe The Wall) that don't benefit Trump himself.

Peter K. -> SomeCallMeTim... , January 14, 2017 at 01:32 PM
I think all of these investors are thinking that Republicans control the White House and Congress so good things are coming for investors and rent-extraction, like tax cuts.

In a way they're right, but in a way they're just being ideological.

The Democrats have tried *so hard* to show how good they can be for Wall Street, and Wall Street doesn't really care.

The was my original comment about how it's kind of funny.

And Sanjait of course chimes in to say "no, no, there is no investor euphoria, it's an illusion."

And now PGL tries to change the subject about how the euphoria is fading. Maybe but NOBODY ELSE has commented on it yet. NOBODY.

But the people here in comments don't really care one way or the other, about what's right and wrong. They just want a civil discussion.

pgl -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 01:35 PM
"And now PGL tries to change the subject about how the euphoria is fading."

No dumbass. I presented facts. Of course facts to you are just "neoliberal" lies. The head troll just on and on.

anne -> pgl... , January 14, 2017 at 01:47 PM
Stop the personal insults.
pgl -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 01:51 PM
"And now PGL tries to change the subject about how the euphoria is fading."

Look at my post. I never even used the term "euphoria". I talked about anticipated fiscal policy and interest rates.

So once again PeterK flat out lied about what someone said to smear them. This is the insult. Calling out this pathetic liar is just putting the record straight.

No as long as this troll lies this way - we will call hin on his lies.

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 01:36 PM
The problem with Democrats and some of these prog neolib pundits is they want to equate Wall Street and Main Street. They want us all to be friends (so Wall Street can continue screwing Main Street). They're whores and sellouts.

It's why Bernie's primary campaign caught fire and why neolibs like Krugman attacked him regularly.

anne -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 01:44 PM
They're ------ and sellouts....

[ There is never a reason to use such sexist language. ]

Peter K. -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 01:45 PM
duly noted
pgl -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 01:52 PM
'they want to equate Wall Street and Main Street'.

Another flat out lie. Your forte.

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 01:37 PM
"And now PGL tries to change the subject about how the euphoria is fading. Maybe but NOBODY ELSE has commented on it yet. NOBODY."

Haven't seen anybody else comment on how the euphoria is fading. Krugman didn't even say anything in his blog post.

pgl -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 01:53 PM
I never used the term euphoria. And you never stop lying.
pgl -> pgl... , January 14, 2017 at 01:54 PM
Oh wait - "euphoria" is just another term for interest rates. Now I see how PeterK gets so incredibly confused.
pgl -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 02:50 PM
No lying wonder. You were the one who talked about euphoria - not me. Lord - you lies are so transparent.
Watermelonpunch -> SomeCallMeTim... , January 14, 2017 at 07:33 PM
I honestly don't think bringing coal back was of much interest to people in Pennsylvania. It's ridiculous to focus on that, because most people in PA (that I know) kind of rolled their eyes at that one... including the people who liked the other stuff.
anne : , January 14, 2017 at 01:50 PM
http://www.multpl.com/shiller-pe/

Ten Year Cyclically Adjusted Price Earnings Ratio, 1881-2017

(Standard and Poors Composite Stock Index)

January 13, 2017 - PE Ratio ( 28.13)

Annual Mean ( 16.71)
Annual Median ( 16.05)

-- Robert Shiller

anne -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 01:58 PM
From an historical perspective stock market prices are remarkably high, even though interest rates are low.

From a 10 year perspective looking forward, with an earnings price ratio of 3.55 and a dividend yield of 1.98, an investor can anticipate an average yearly return of 5.53% on stocks assuming the current price earnings ratio lasts the decade.

The 10 year Treasury bond yield is 2.39 so the risk premium for stocks is currently 5.53 - 2.39 = 3.14.

anne : , January 14, 2017 at 01:50 PM
http://www.multpl.com/s-p-500-dividend-yield/

Dividend Yield, 1881-2017

(Standard and Poors Composite Stock Index)

January 13, 2017 - Div Yield ( 1.98)

Annual Mean ( 4.38)
Annual Median ( 4.33)

-- Robert Shiller

anne : , January 14, 2017 at 01:52 PM
http://www.econ.yale.edu/~shiller/data.htm

January 15, 2017

Ten Year Mean Price Earnings Ratio, 1960-2016

(Standard and Poors Composite Stock Index)

1960 ( 18.3)
1961 ( 18.5) Kennedy
1962 ( 21.0)
1963 ( 19.0) Johnson
1964 ( 21.3)

1965 ( 22.9)
1966 ( 23.8)
1967 ( 20.1)
1968 ( 21.2)
1969 ( 20.8) Nixon

1970 ( 16.9)
1971 ( 16.4)
1972 ( 17.1)
1973 ( 18.6)
1974 ( 13.4) Ford

1975 ( 8.9)
1976 ( 11.3)
1977 ( 11.5) Carter
1978 ( 9.2)
1979 ( 9.2)

1980 ( 8.8)
1981 ( 8.5) Reagan
1982 ( 7.4)
1983 ( 9.6)
1984 ( 9.4)

1985 ( 10.7)
1986 ( 13.4)
1987 ( 16.0)
1988 ( 14.4)
1989 ( 16.6) Bush

1990 ( 16.5)
1991 ( 17.9)
1992 ( 19.5)
1993 ( 20.8) Clinton
1994 ( 20.5)

1995 ( 22.7)
1996 ( 25.9)
1997 ( 31.0)
1998 ( 36.0)
1999 ( 42.1)

2000 ( 41.7)
2001 ( 32.1) Bush
2002 ( 25.9)
2003 ( 24.1)
2004 ( 26.4)

2005 ( 26.0)
2006 ( 26.0)
2007 ( 26.8)
2008 ( 20.8)
2009 ( 16.9) Obama

2010 ( 20.7)
2011 ( 21.8)
2012 ( 21.4)
2013 ( 23.2)
2014 ( 25.5)

2015 ( 26.2)
2016 ( 26.1)

December

2016 ( 28.0)

-- Robert Shiller

anne : , January 14, 2017 at 01:54 PM
https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/list#/mutual-funds/asset-class/month-end-returns

January 13, 2017

The 3 month Treasury interest rate is at 0.52%, the 2 year Treasury rate is 1.19%, the 5 year rate is 1.89%, while the 10 year is 2.39%.

The Vanguard Aa rated short-term investment grade bond fund, with a maturity of 3.1 years and a duration of 2.6 years, has a yield of 1.87%. The Vanguard Aa rated intermediate-term investment grade bond fund, with a maturity of 6.0 years and a duration of 5.5 years, is yielding 2.67%. The Vanguard Aa rated long-term investment grade bond fund, with a maturity of 22.8 years and a duration of 13.2 years, is yielding 3.85%. *

The Vanguard Ba rated high yield corporate bond fund, with a maturity of 5.8 years and a duration of 4.5 years, is yielding 4.89%.

The Vanguard unrated convertible corporate bond fund, with an indefinite maturity and a duration of 4.1 years, is yielding 1.85%.

The Vanguard A rated high yield tax exempt bond fund, with a maturity of 17.1 years and a duration of 7.1 years, is yielding 3.30%.

The Vanguard Aa rated intermediate-term tax exempt bond fund, with a maturity of 8.5 years and a duration of 5.1 years, is yielding 2.16%.

The Vanguard Government National Mortgage Association bond fund, with a maturity of 7.0 years and a duration of 4.8 years, is yielding 2.01%.

The Vanguard inflation protected Treasury bond fund, with a maturity of 8.6 years and a duration of 8.1 years, is yielding 0.06%.

* Vanguard yields are after cost. Federal Funds rates are no more than 0.75%.

Peter K. : , January 14, 2017 at 02:09 PM
Bernanke:

"While it's hard to know how much of the market's optimism reflects expected policy changes under the new administration, the rise in equities, interest rates, and the dollar since the election is precisely the configuration that standard macroeconomics would predict in anticipation of a Trump-backed fiscal expansion. (A similar pattern occurred in the early Reagan years, which was dominated by tax cuts, increased military spending, higher deficits, and rate increases by the Federal Reserve.)"

Krugman:

"So investors betting on a big infrastructure push are almost surely deluding themselves."

PGL suggests the "optimism" is fading. Has anybody else anywhere echoed his sentiments?

pgl -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 02:53 PM
PGL suggests the "optimism" is fading.

Oh it is not euphoria now - it is optimism. Is that your new term for interest rates. You have been lying about what I have said. I never used "euphoria" or "optimism" in anything I wrote.

So yea - you lie 24/7. What to make it so obvious.

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 14, 2017 at 03:15 PM
"Bernanke:

"While it's hard to know how much of the market's optimism reflects expected policy changes under the new administration,"

Again it's funny how none of the regular commenters care about what's being said.

ilsm : , January 14, 2017 at 02:33 PM
poor pk like a mule with blinders after the teamster took a 2 by 4o to it.
anne : , January 14, 2017 at 02:33 PM
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/13/world/africa/africa-donald-trump.html

January 13, 2017

Trump Team Questions Value of Aid to Africa
By HELENE COOPER

The list of Africa-related queries from the transition staff suggests an American retreat from development and humanitarian goals.

[ Setting aside the sole question of domestic infrastructure formation or emphasis, there is every reason to think that the coming administration will not value and foster international infrastructure formation. At a time when infrastructure formation in developing countries is both sorely necessary and showing special promise, I find this worrisome indeed. ]

anne -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 02:41 PM
Paul Krugman's essay is all too convincing and worrisome in that there is reason to think that domestic infrastructure formation from the New Deal through the Eisenhower administration was the basis for the fastest years of American productivity growth in the last century.

Productivity growth for all our information technology applications has slowed markedly since about 2005, and I would argue a neglect of infrastructure formation is an important or even essential factor.

anne -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 02:42 PM
http://lsb.scu.edu/economics/faculty/afield/AER%20September%202003e.pdf

November, 2003

The Most Technologically Progressive Decade of the Century
By Alexander J. Field

Abstract

There is now an emerging consensus that over the course of U.S. economic history, multifactor productivity grew fastest over a broad plateau between 1905 and 1966, and within that period, in the two decades following 1929. This paper argues that the bulk of the achieved productivity levels in 1948 had already been attained before full scale war mobilization in 1942. It was not principally the war that laid the foundation for postwar prosperity. It was technological progress across a broad frontier of the American economy during the 1930s.

anne -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 02:55 PM
Interestingly and importantly, China has been emphasizing infrastructure development in developing countries from Asia to Africa. The response from Ethiopia to South Africa to Nigeria to Laos, Cambodia and Pakistan... has been markedly encouraging though little noted in American media.
DeDude : , January 14, 2017 at 02:50 PM
If they can turn it into a way that GOP campaign contributors can rip of the public it may get support in congress. Handing over repairs on public bridges to private companies, followed by big fat tolls - may be a go if Wall Street can get in on it.
anne -> DeDude... , January 14, 2017 at 02:56 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/24/business/dealbook/private-equity-water.html?ref=business

December 23, 2016

In American Towns, Private Profits From Public Works
By DANIELLE IVORY, BEN PROTESS, and GRIFF PALMER

Desperate towns have turned to private equity firms to manage their waterworks. The deals bring much-needed upgrades, but can carry hefty price tags.

DeDude -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 03:09 PM
Exactly, it ends up costing a lot more. Its just that the cost is on the utility bill rather than on your taxes. The politicians don't want to commit suicide by raising taxes. Then after decades of neglect of the infrastructure they face a crisis.
anne : , January 14, 2017 at 03:34 PM
Testing:

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2060971/all-aboard-africas-heartland-train-built-china

January 10, 2017

All aboard for Africa's heartland – on a train built in China
Inaugural journey on 750km line from Djibouti and the Suez Canal to landlocked Ethiopian capital
By Laura Zhou

anne -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 03:37 PM
An example of the Chinese emphasis on infrastructure development and the welcome of the emphasis in developing Africa...

[ The rest of the fine article, which can be read at the link, cannot be posted however, though I do not understand why. ]

anne -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 06:47 PM
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/14/china-silk-road-trade-train-rolls-london

January 14, 2017

Silk Road route back in business as China train rolls into London
After 16 days and 7,456 miles, the locomotive's arrival heralds the dawn of a new commercial era
By Tracy McVeigh - Guardian

When the East Wind locomotive rumbles into east London this week, it will be at the head of 34 carriages full of socks, bags and wallets for London's tourist souvenir shops, as well as the dust and grime accumulated through eight countries and 7,456 miles.

The train will be the first to make the 16-day journey from Yiwu in west China to Britain, reviving the ancient trading Silk Road route and shunting in a new era of UK-China relations.

Due to arrive on Wednesday, the train will have passed through China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France before crossing under the Channel and arriving in the east end of London at Barking rail freight terminal.

Faster than a ship, cheaper than a plane, the East Wind won't be quite the same train that left Yiwu on 2 January. Differing rail gauges in countries along the route mean a single locomotive cannot travel the whole route. But the journey still marks a new departure in the 21st-century global economy. The new train, which will start to run weekly while demand is tested, is part of China's One Belt, One Road policy – designed to open up the old Silk Road routes and bring new trade opportunities, said Prof Magnus Marsden, an anthropologist at Sussex University's School of Global Studies, who has been studying the trading patterns in Yiwu. China Railway has already begun rail services to 14 European cities, including Madrid and Hamburg. As a result, Yiwu's markets are now loaded with hams, cheese and wine from Spain and German beer is available on every corner....

Dan Kervick : , January 14, 2017 at 05:09 PM
Yes, Trump has no real policy smarts or shop.

If he doesn't push an infrastructure program, Dems should propose a gigantic one themselves, and point out to the country that Mr. Make-America-Great-Again is a small-thinking fraud.

Here's one. It's called the "Rebuild America Act".

https://berniesanders.com/issues/creating-jobs-rebuilding-america/

Watermelonpunch -> Dan Kervick... , January 14, 2017 at 07:43 PM
I wrote to my representative in congress (Democrat) about that, and he wrote back with a kind of subtext pooh-poohing it.
Dan Kervick -> Watermelonpunch ... , January 14, 2017 at 08:44 PM
It's going to be had to get most Dems to do anything. Their sole partisan aim right now is to make sure the next two years are a maximum clusterfu**.
EMichael -> Dan Kervick... , January 14, 2017 at 09:15 PM
Your political IQ is 1.

Serves no purpose.

When the Dems held the White House and Congress they put forward another stimulus bill after the ARRA that never hit the floor. The effect of that obstruction on the electorate was zero.

Now somehow you think some bs that has no chance in the world to get out of committee means something.

This is why progressives keep losing. There are too many who live in an alternate universe.

btg : , January 14, 2017 at 05:11 PM
Some republicans voting with the democrats might be enough...

but remember that republicans will do anything to stop the Democrats from winning back the White House, which means they will need to give in to Trump on a few key promises where they disagree, or else ditch Trump to get Pence

[Jan 15, 2017] Trumpian Uncertainty

Notable quotes:
"... But, if it seemed clear that there would be political consequences, their form and timing were far less obvious. Why did the backlash in the US come just when the economy seemed to be on the mend, rather than earlier? And why did it manifest itself in a lurch to the right? After all, it was the Republicans who had blocked assistance to those losing their jobs as a result of the globalization they pushed assiduously. It was the Republicans who, in 26 states, refused to allow the expansion of Medicaid, thereby denying health insurance to those at the bottom. And why was the victor somebody who made his living from taking advantage of others, openly admitted not paying his fair share of taxes, and made tax avoidance a point of pride? ..."
"... Donald Trump grasped the spirit of the time: things weren't going well, and many voters wanted change. Now they will get it: there will be no business as usual. ..."
Jan 15, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne : January 14, 2017 at 08:53 AM , 2017 at 08:53 AM
https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/2017-economic-forecast-trump-uncertainty-by-joseph-e--stiglitz-2017-01

January 9, 2017

Trumpian Uncertainty
By JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ

NEW YORK – Every January, I try to craft a forecast for the coming year. Economic forecasting is notoriously difficult; but, notwithstanding the truth expressed in Harry Truman's request for a one-armed economist (who wouldn't be able to say "on the other hand"), my record has been credible.

In recent years, I correctly foresaw that, in the absence of stronger fiscal stimulus (which was not forthcoming in either Europe or the United States), recovery from the Great Recession of 2008 would be slow. In making these forecasts, I have relied more on analysis of underlying economic forces than on complex econometric models.

For example, at the beginning of 2016, it seemed clear that the deficiencies of global aggregate demand that have been manifest for the last several years were unlikely to change dramatically. Thus, I thought that forecasters of a stronger recovery were looking at the world through rose-tinted glasses. Economic developments unfolded much as I anticipated.

Not so the political events of 2016. I had been writing for years that unless growing inequality – especially in the US, but also in many countries throughout the world – was addressed, there would be political consequences. But inequality continued to worsen – with striking data showing that average life expectancy in the US was on the decline.

These results were foreshadowed by a study last year, by Anne Case and Angus Deaton, which showed that life expectancy was on the decline for large segments of the population – including America's so-called angry men of the Rust Belt.

But, with the incomes of the bottom 90% having stagnated for close to a third of a century (and declining for a significant proportion), the health data simply confirmed that things were not going well for very large swaths of the country. And while America might be at the extreme of this trend, things were little better elsewhere.

But, if it seemed clear that there would be political consequences, their form and timing were far less obvious. Why did the backlash in the US come just when the economy seemed to be on the mend, rather than earlier? And why did it manifest itself in a lurch to the right? After all, it was the Republicans who had blocked assistance to those losing their jobs as a result of the globalization they pushed assiduously. It was the Republicans who, in 26 states, refused to allow the expansion of Medicaid, thereby denying health insurance to those at the bottom. And why was the victor somebody who made his living from taking advantage of others, openly admitted not paying his fair share of taxes, and made tax avoidance a point of pride?

Donald Trump grasped the spirit of the time: things weren't going well, and many voters wanted change. Now they will get it: there will be no business as usual.

But seldom has there been more uncertainty. Which policies Trump will pursue remains unknown, to say nothing of which will succeed or what the consequences will be.

Trump seems hell-bent on having a trade war....

Joseph E. Stiglitz, recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001 and the John Bates Clark Medal in 1979, is University Professor at Columbia University.

Fred C. Dobbs -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 09:24 AM
(It was another 'Hopey-Changey' thing, after all.)

'How's That Hopey, Changey Stuff?' Palin Asks http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123462728
Via @NPR - February 7, 2010

('How's that workin' out for ya?')

[Jan 13, 2017] Neoliberalism vs Make America Great Again slogan

Notable quotes:
"... Our model for funding infrastructure is broken. Federal funding means project that are most needed by cities can be overlooked while projects that would destroy cities are funded. ..."
"... The neo in neoliberalism, however, establishes these principles on a significantly different analytic basis from those set forth by Adam Smith, as will become clear below. Moreover, neoliberalism is not simply a set of economic policies; it is not only about facilitating free trade, maximizing corporate profits, and challenging welfarism. ..."
"... But in so doing, it carries responsibility for the self to new heights: the rationally calculating individual bears full responsibility for the consequences of his or her action no matter how severe the constraints on this action-for example, lack of skills, education, and child care in a period of high unemployment and limited welfare benefits. ..."
"... A fully realized neoliberal citizenry would be the opposite of public-minded; indeed, it would barely exist as a public. The body politic ceases to be a body but is rather a group of individual entrepreneurs and consumers . . . ..."
"... consider the market rationality permeating universities today, from admissions and recruiting to the relentless consumer mentality of students as they consider university brand names, courses, and services, from faculty raiding and pay scales to promotion criteria. ..."
"... The extension of market rationality to every sphere, and especially the reduction of moral and political judgment to a cost-benefit calculus, would represent precisely the evisceration of substantive values by instrumental rationality that Weber predicted as the future of a disenchanted world. Thinking and judging are reduced to instrumental calculation in Weber's "polar night of icy darkness"-there is no morality, no faith, no heroism, indeed no meaning outside the market. ..."
Jan 13, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
sanjait : , January 13, 2017 at 01:09 AM
I just read through the Zingales, Schiller, Smith and Wren-Lewis pieces.

They all make what I would consider to be obvious points, though all are arguably worth repeating, as they are widely not accepted.

pgl -> sanjait... , January 13, 2017 at 02:07 AM
Let's see. Zingales does not like crony capitalism whereas Schiller praises LBJ's Great Society. I think most progressives agree with both.
Libezkova -> sanjait... , January 13, 2017 at 04:37 AM
There is nothing common between articles of Zingales and Schiller.

My impression is that Schiller might lost his calling: he might achieve even greater success as a diplomat, if he took this career. He managed to tell something important about incompatibility of [the slogan] "Make America Great Again" with neoliberalism without offending anybody. Which is a pretty difficult thing to do.

Zingalles is just another Friedman-style market fundamentalist. Nothing new and nothing interesting.

pgl : , January 13, 2017 at 01:32 AM
Noah Smith is wrong here: "This idea is important because it meant that we shouldn't expect fiscal stimulus to have much of an effect. Government checks are a temporary form of income, so Friedman's theory predicts that it won't change spending patterns, as advocates such as John Maynard Keynes believed."

Friedman's view about consumption demand is the same as the Life Cycle Model (Ando and Modligiani). OK - these models do predict that tax rebates should not affect consumption. And yes there are households who are borrower constrained so these rebates do impact their consumption.

But this is not the only form of fiscal stimulus. Infrastructure investment would increase aggregate demand even under the Friedman view of consumption. This would hold even under the Barro-Ricardian version of this theory. OK - John Cochrane is too stupid to know this. And I see Noah in his rush to bash Milton Friedman has made the same mistake as Cochrane.

jonny bakho -> pgl... , January 13, 2017 at 03:23 AM
What Friedman got wrong is not including current income. People with high income spend a fraction of that income and save the rest. Their demand is met, so the additional income mostly goes to savings.

People with low income spend everything and still have unmet demands. Additional income for them will go to meet those unmet demands (like fixing a toothache or replacing bald tires).

Friedman was biased against fiscal intervention in an economy and sought evidence to argue against such policies

Our model for funding infrastructure is broken. Federal funding means project that are most needed by cities can be overlooked while projects that would destroy cities are funded.

Federal infrastructure funding destroyed city neighborhoods leaving the neighboring areas degraded. Meanwhile, necessary projects such as a new subway tunnel from NJ to Manhattan are blocked by States who are ok if the city fails and growth moves to their side of the river.

Money should go directly to the cities. Infrastructure should be build to serve the people who live, walk and work there, not to allow cars to drive through at high speeds as the engineers propose. This infrastructure harms cities and becomes a future tax liability that cannot be met if the built infrastructure it encourages is not valuable enough to support maintenance.

We are discovering that unlike our cities where structures can increase in value, strip malls decline in value, often to worthlessness. Road building is increasingly mechanized and provides less employment per project than in the past. Projects such as replacing leaking water pipes require more labor.

pgl : , January 13, 2017 at 01:37 AM
Simon Wren Lewis leaves open the possibility that an increase in aggregate demand can increase real GDP as we may not be at full employment (I'd change that from "may not be" to "are not") but still comes out against tax cuts for the rich with this:

"There is a very strong case for more public sector investment on numerous grounds. But that investment should go to where it is most needed and where it will be of most social benefit"

Exactly but alas Team Trump ain't listening.

Libezkova : January 13, 2017 at 03:45 AM
Re: Milton Friedman's Cherished Theory Is Laid to Rest - Bloomberg View

Friedman was not simply wrong. The key for understanding Friedman is that he was a political hack, not a scientist.

His main achievement was creation (partially for money invested in him and Mont Pelerin Society by financial oligarchy) of what is now called "neoliberal rationality": a pervert view of the world, economics and social processes that now still dominates in the USA and most of Western Europe. It is also a new mode of "govermentability".

Governmentality is distinguished from earlier forms of rule, in which national wealth is measured as the size of territory or the personal fortune of the sovereign, by the recognition that national economic well-being is tied to the rational management of the national population. Foucault defined governmentality as:

"the ensemble formed by the institutions, procedures, analyses, and reflections, the calculations and tactics that allow the exercise of this very specific albeit complex form of power, which has as its target population, as its principle form of knowledge political economy and as its technical means, apparatuses of security"

Here is Wendy Brown analysis of "neoliberal rationality": http://lchc.ucsd.edu/cogn_150/Readings/brown.pdf

== quote ===

A liberal political order may harbor either liberal or Keynesian economic policies -- it may lean in the direction of maximizing liberty (its politically "conservative" tilt) or of maximizing equality (its politically "liberal" tilt), but in contemporary political parlance, it is no more or less a liberal democracy because of one leaning or the other.

Indeed, the American convention of referring to advocates of the welfare state as political liberals is especially peculiar, given that American conservatives generally hew more closely to both the classical economic and the political doctrines of liberalism -- it turns the meaning of liberalism in the direction of liberality rather than liberty.

For our purposes, what is crucial is that the liberalism in what has come to be called neoliberalism refers to liberalism's economic variant, recuperating selected pre-Keynesian assumptions about the generation of wealth and its distribution, rather than to liberalism as a political doctrine, as a set of political institutions, or as political practices. The neo in neoliberalism, however, establishes these principles on a significantly different analytic basis from those set forth by Adam Smith, as will become clear below. Moreover, neoliberalism is not simply a set of economic policies; it is not only about facilitating free trade, maximizing corporate profits, and challenging welfarism.

Rather, neoliberalism carries a social analysis that, when deployed as a form of governmentality, reaches from the soul of the citizen-subject to education policy to practices of empire. Neoliberal rationality, while foregrounding the market, is not only or even primarily focused on the economy; it involves extending and disseminating market values to all institutions and social action, even as the market itself remains a distinctive player.

... ... ...

1. The political sphere, along with every other dimension of contemporary existence, is submitted to an economic rationality; or, put the other way around, not only is the human being configured exhaustively as homo economicus, but all dimensions of human life are cast in terms of a market rationality. While this entails submitting every action and policy to considerations of profitability, equally important is the production of all human and institutional action as rational entrepreneurial action, conducted according to a calculus of utility, benefit, or satisfaction against a microeconomic grid of scarcity, supply and demand, and moral value-neutrality. Neoliberalism does not simply assume that all aspects of social, cultural, and political life can be reduced to such a calculus; rather, it develops institutional practices and rewards for enacting this vision. That is, through discourse and policy promulgating its criteria, neoliberalism produces rational actors and imposes a market rationale for decision making in all spheres.

Importantly, then, neoliberalism involves a normative rather than ontological claim about the pervasiveness of economic rationality and it advocates the institution building, policies, and discourse development appropriate to such a claim. Neoliberalism is a constructivist project: it does not presume the ontological givenness of a thoroughgoing economic rationality for all domains of society but rather takes as its task the development, dissemination, and institutionalization of such a rationality. This point is further developed in (2) below.

2. In contrast with the notorious laissez-faire and human propensity to "truck and barter" stressed by classical economic liberalism, neoliberalism does not conceive of either the market itself or rational economic behavior as purely natural. Both are constructed-organized by law and political institutions, and requiring political intervention and orchestration. Far from flourishing when left alone, the economy must be directed, buttressed, and protected by law and policy as well as by the dissemination of social norms designed to facilitate competition, free trade, and rational economic action on the part of every member and institution of society.

In Lemke's account, "In the Ordo-liberal scheme, the market does not amount to a natural economic reality, with intrinsic laws that the art of government must bear in mind and respect; instead, the market can be constituted and kept alive only by dint of political interventions. . . . [C]ompetition, too, is not a natural fact. . . . [T]his fundamental economic mechanism can function only if support is forthcoming to bolster a series of conditions, and adherence to the latter must consistently be guaranteed by legal measures" (193).
The neoliberal formulation of the state and especially of specific legal arrangements and decisions as the precondition and ongoing condition of the market does not mean that the market is controlled by the state but precisely the opposite. The market is the organizing and regulative principle of the state and society, along three different lines:

  1. The state openly responds to needs of the market, whether through monetary and fiscal policy, immigration policy, the treatment of criminals, or the structure of public education. In so doing, the state is no longer encumbered by the danger of incurring the legitimation deficits predicted by 1970s social theorists and political economists such as Nicos Poulantzas, Jürgen Habermas, and James O'Connor.6 Rather, neoliberal rationality extended to the state itself indexes the state's success according to its ability to sustain and foster the market and ties state legitimacy to such success. This is a new form of legitimation, one that "founds a state," according to Lemke, and contrasts with the Hegelian and French revolutionary notion of the constitutional state as the emergent universal representative of the people. As Lemke describes Foucault's account of Ordo-liberal thinking, "economic liberty produces the legitimacy for a form of sovereignty limited to guaranteeing economic activity . . . a state that was no longer defined in terms of an historical mission but legitimated itself with reference to economic growth" (196).
  2. The state itself is enfolded and animated by market rationality: that is, not simply profitability but a generalized calculation of cost and benefit becomes the measure of all state practices. Political discourse on all matters is framed in entrepreneurial terms; the state must not simply concern itself with the market but think and behave like a market actor across all of its functions, including law. 7
  3. Putting (a) and (b) together, the health and growth of the economy is the basis of state legitimacy, both because the state is forthrightly responsible for the health of the economy and because of the economic rationality to which state practices have been submitted. Thus, "It's the economy, stupid" becomes more than a campaign slogan; rather, it expresses the principle of the state's legitimacy and the basis for state action-from constitutional adjudication and campaign finance reform to welfare and education policy to foreign policy, including warfare and the organization of "homeland security."

3. The extension of economic rationality to formerly noneconomic domains and institutions reaches individual conduct, or, more precisely, prescribes the citizen-subject of a neoliberal order. Whereas classical liberalism articulated a distinction, and at times even a tension, among the criteria for individual moral, associational, and economic actions (hence the striking differences in tone, subject matter, and even prescriptions between Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations and his Theory of Moral Sentiments), neoliberalism normatively constructs and interpellates individuals as entrepreneurial actors in every sphere of life.

It figures individuals as rational, calculating creatures whose moral autonomy is measured by their capacity for "self-care"-the ability to provide for their own needs and service their own ambitions. In making the individual fully responsible for her- or himself, neoliberalism equates moral responsibility with rational action; it erases the discrepancy between economic and moral behavior by configuring morality entirely as a matter of rational deliberation about costs, benefits, and consequences.

But in so doing, it carries responsibility for the self to new heights: the rationally calculating individual bears full responsibility for the consequences of his or her action no matter how severe the constraints on this action-for example, lack of skills, education, and child care in a period of high unemployment and limited welfare benefits.

Correspondingly, a "mismanaged life," the neoliberal appellation for failure to navigate impediments to prosperity, becomes a new mode of depoliticizing social and economic powers and at the same time reduces political citizenship to an unprecedented degree of passivity and political complacency.

The model neoliberal citizen is one who strategizes for her- or himself among various social, political, and economic options, not one who strives with others to alter or organize these options. A fully realized neoliberal citizenry would be the opposite of public-minded; indeed, it would barely exist as a public. The body politic ceases to be a body but is rather a group of individual entrepreneurs and consumers . . . which is, of course, exactly how voters are addressed in most American campaign discourse.8

Other evidence for progress in the development of such a citizenry is not far from hand: consider the market rationality permeating universities today, from admissions and recruiting to the relentless consumer mentality of students as they consider university brand names, courses, and services, from faculty raiding and pay scales to promotion criteria. 9

Or consider the way in which consequential moral lapses (of a sexual or criminal nature) by politicians, business executives, or church and university administrators are so often apologized for as "mistakes in judgment," implying that it was the calculation that was wrong, not the act, actor, or rationale.

The state is not without a project in the making of the neoliberal subject. It attempts to construct prudent subjects through policies that organize such prudence: this is the basis of a range of welfare reforms such as workfare and single-parent penalties, changes in the criminal code such as the "three strikes law," and educational voucher schemes.

Because neoliberalism casts rational action as a norm rather than an ontology, social policy is the means by which the state produces subjects whose compass is set entirely by their rational assessment of the costs and benefits of certain acts, whether those acts pertain to teen pregnancy, tax fraud, or retirement planning. The neoliberal citizen is calculating rather than rule abiding, a Benthamite rather than a Hobbesian.

The state is one of many sites framing the calculations leading to social behaviors that keep costs low and productivity high. This mode of governmentality (techniques of governing that exceed express state action and orchestrate the subject's conduct toward himor herself) convenes a "free" subject who rationally deliberates about alternative courses of action, makes choices, and bears responsibility for the consequences of these choices. In this way, Lemke argues, "the state leads and controls subjects without being responsible for them"; as individual "entrepreneurs" in every aspect of life, subjects become wholly responsible for their well-being and citizenship is reduced to success in this entrepreneurship (201).

Neoliberal subjects are controlled through their freedom-not simply, as thinkers from the Frankfurt School through Foucault have argued, because freedom within an order of domination can be an instrument of that domination, but because of neoliberalism's moralization of the consequences of this freedom. Such control also means that the withdrawal of the state from certain domains, followed by the privatization of certain state functions, does not amount to a dismantling of government but rather constitutes a technique of governing; indeed, it is the signature technique of neoliberal governance, in which rational economic action suffused throughout society replaces express state rule or provision.

Neoliberalism shifts "the regulatory competence of the state onto 'responsible,' 'rational' individuals [with the aim of] encourag[ing] individuals to give their lives a specific entrepreneurial form" (Lemke, 202).

4. Finally, the suffusion of both the state and the subject with economic rationality has the effect of radically transforming and narrowing the criteria for good social policy vis-à-vis classical liberal democracy. Not only must social policy meet profitability tests, incite and unblock competition, and produce rational subjects, it obeys the entrepreneurial principle of "equal inequality for all" as it "multiples and expands entrepreneurial forms with the body social" (Lemke, 195). This is the principle that links the neoliberal governmentalization of the state with that of the social and the subject.

Taken together, the extension of economic rationality to all aspects of thought and activity, the placement of the state in forthright and direct service to the economy, the rendering of the state tout court as an enterprise organized by market rationality, the production of the moral subject as an entrepreneurial subject, and the construction of social policy according to these criteria might appear as a more intensive rather than fundamentally new form of the saturation of social and political realms by capital. That is, the political rationality of neoliberalism might be read as issuing from a stage of capitalism that simply underscores Marx's argument that capital penetrates and transforms every aspect of life-remaking everything in its image and reducing every value and activity to its cold rationale.

All that would be new here is the flagrant and relentless submission of the state and the individual, the church and the university, morality, sex, marriage, and leisure practices to this rationale. Or better, the only novelty would be the recently achieved hegemony of rational choice theory in the human sciences, self-represented as an independent and objective branch of knowledge rather than an expression of the dominance of capital. Another reading that would figure neoliberalism as continuous with the past would theorize it through Weber's rationalization thesis rather than Marx's argument about capital.

The extension of market rationality to every sphere, and especially the reduction of moral and political judgment to a cost-benefit calculus, would represent precisely the evisceration of substantive values by instrumental rationality that Weber predicted as the future of a disenchanted world. Thinking and judging are reduced to instrumental calculation in Weber's "polar night of icy darkness"-there is no morality, no faith, no heroism, indeed no meaning outside the market.

Julio -> Libezkova...

I agree with this. But I think it's extraordinarily wordy, and fails to emphasize the deification of private property which is at the root of it.

anne -> Libezkova... January 13, 2017 at 05:10 AM

http://lchc.ucsd.edu/cogn_150/Readings/brown.pdf

January, 2003

Neoliberalism and the End of Liberal Democracy
By Wendy Brown

Chris G :

Brown - who I haven't read much of but like what I have - sounds a lot like Lasch.

Brown:

"The extension of market rationality to every sphere, and especially the reduction of moral and political judgment to a cost-benefit calculus, would represent precisely the evisceration of substantive values by instrumental rationality that Weber predicted as the future of a disenchanted world. Thinking and judging are reduced to instrumental calculation in Weber's "polar night of icy darkness"-there is no morality, no faith, no heroism, indeed no meaning outside the market."

Lasch in Revolt of the Elites:

"... Individuals cannot learn to speak for themselves at all, much less come to an intelligent understanding of their happiness and well-being, in a world in which there are no values except those of the market.... The market tends to universalize itself. It does not easily coexist with institutions that operate according to principles that are antithetical to itself: schools and universities, newspapers and magazines, charities, families. Sooner or later the market tends to absorb them all. It puts an almost irresistible pressure on every activity to justify itself in the only terms it recognizes: to become a business proposition, to pay its own way, to show black ink on the bottom line. It turns news into entertainment, scholarship into professional careerism, social work into the scientific management of poverty. Inexorably it remodels every institution in its own image."

Libezkova -> anne... January 13, 2017 at 05:43 AM
The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy Paperback – January 17, 1996

by Christopher Lasch

https://www.amazon.com/Revolt-Elites-Betrayal-Democracy/dp/0393313719

anne -> anne...
Correcting:

https://www.theworkingcentre.org/course-content/2717-communitarianism-or-populism-ethic-compassion-and-ethic-respect

May, 1992

Communitarianism or Populism? The Ethic of Compassion and the Ethic of Respect
By Christopher Lasch

[Jan 13, 2017] Making America Great Again Isnt Just About Money and Power

Notable quotes:
"... Excellent article by an economist who understands that economic extends beyond markets and intersects with political enlightenment. Were more economists that inclusive and divorced from self promotion the study would have more effective application. ..."
"... For many today, greatness is simply a government in the business of actively governing, as opposed to shying away from it under one excuse or the other. One example: the meteoric rise of incomes for the wealthy, which is a direct result of less financial regulation. First discovered by Reagan, then perfected by Clinton, the method involves highlighting regulation as a dirty word and overstating its link to American Capitalism, and in the bargain achieving less work for government, plus bag brownie points for patriotism. ..."
"... But what it really was, was a reluctance to govern for almost thirty years. Thank goodness Trump called it out for the fraud it was, and Obama decided he would spend his last month making a show of "governing". ..."
"... So that's what greatness means to most today: Government, please show up for work every day and just do your job. Not draw lines in sand and unlock every bathroom in sight and let illegals in. Just your job please, that's all. Yes? Grrreaat, thank you Donald. ..."
"... I doubt many think that the greatness of America is just about money and power. But many corporations are run on exactly this limited idea of the greatness of corporations. ..."
"... And, unfortunately, these same misguided bottom-line corporations now control Congress and the GOP. Corporate control of Congress should not be primarily for increasing corporate profits. Part of the profits stemming from automation should be used to mitigate the tremendous disappearance of jobs that corporations are causing by introducing AI and automation. ..."
"... I have traveled overseas enough to have an idea of life in other countries. My father shared something with other veterans--a sense of belonging to something bigger than them based on being "in the service." ..."
"... That comradeship, born of intense experience while young, is rare. In terms of the sense of belonging to a city or state, the most successful of us move around and cities have lost most of what made them unique. ..."
"... there is no central cultural core to being American--as compared to being French or British--other than technology and the meritocracy of money, a personal sense of ownership in America on the part of a majority of Americans runs contrary to contemporary experience. ..."
"... The first step on this path is real social & economic justice for all in our wonderful country. The current economic inequality in the U.S. is a disgrace to any just & civil society. We must figure out a way to fairly deal with that & our other inequalities of education, opportunity & racial injustices, if we are to achieve our potential of being that 'shining city on the hill' that the rest of the world will want to follow. ..."
"... A Great Society cannot be great in any meaningful sense unless it is determinedly honest -- not just self-relievingly frank. Thus, although I was happy to see this article, which I judge to be 'exemplarily' honest, I had disappointment that, in an age when the term post-truth is being used to describe conversation in English-speaking society, it neglects to emphasize the essentiality of honesty in any debate about what being a great society entails. Adam Smith did his best to point that out, but the rich and powerful and especially those in public office and those of capitalistic ideological bent appear these days to be letting us all down in this respect. ..."
"... This article is long overdue. Mr Trump has never explained is what MADE America great in the past. If questioned, he demurred. His shallow approach to policy and his poor understanding of American history and civics makes any answer from him questionable. ..."
"... Our current Free Trade pacts make it too easy for employers to shift jobs abroad. Other countries protect their industries. We should do the same, by again placing tariffs on any goods which have been manufactured abroad which could be made here. This would not be "forcing employers to restore or maintain jobs". It would be saying that if you want to sell your products here, then you will either make them here or pay tariffs on them. ..."
"... The Free Trade pacts have an additional problem. They allow international corporations to sue us if they think that one of our laws or regulations is keeping them from making as much money as they otherwise could. These lawsuits are conducted in special courts whose decisions cannot be appealed. This allows international corporations to interfere with our democracy. They should not be allowed to sue us for enforcing our own laws. ..."
"... The issue isn't what the definition of "great" is. It's who America is great *for.* America is outstandingly great for a very slim slice at the tip-top of the economy. ..."
"... The GOP are now proving that they are traitors to the general welfare. They are determined to make this nation's chief goal be to protect the welfare of the wealthiest and best-connected. If we are depending on a free press or the voting booth to protect us, we are fooling ourselves. The forces that have seized our democracy are going to gut both the press, and our civil liberties, so that this country can never again be "of, for and by the people." It will henceforth be for the plutocrats. ..."
"... The rest of us should just go quietly, and die on our own. ..."
Jan 13, 2017 | www.nytimes.com

"Make America Great Again," the slogan of President-elect Donald J. Trump 's successful election campaign, has been etched in the national consciousness. But it is hard to know what to make of those vague words.

We don't have a clear definition of "great," for example, or of the historical moment when, presumably, America was truly great. From an economic standpoint, we can't be talking about national wealth, because the country is wealthier than it has ever been: Real per capita household net worth has reached a record high, as Federal Reserve Board data shows.

But the distribution of wealth has certainly changed: Inequality has widened significantly. Including the effects of taxes and government transfer payments, real incomes for the bottom half of the population increased only 21 percent from 1980 to 2014. That compares with a 194 percent increase for the richest 1 percent, according to a new study by Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

That's why it makes sense that Mr. Trump's call for a return to greatness resonated especially well among non-college-educated workers in Rust Belt states - people who have been hurt as good jobs in their region disappeared. But forcing employers to restore or maintain jobs isn't reasonable, and creating sustainable new jobs is a complex endeavor.

Difficult as job creation may be, making America great surely entails more than that, and it's worth considering just what we should be trying to accomplish. Fortunately, political leaders and scholars have been thinking about national greatness for a very long time, and the answer clearly goes beyond achieving high levels of wealth.

Adam Smith, perhaps the first true economist, gave some answers in " An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations ." That treatise is sometimes thought of as a capitalist bible. It is at least partly about the achieving of greatness through the pursuit of wealth in free markets. But Smith didn't believe that money alone assured national stature. He also wrote disapprovingly of the single-minded impulse to secure wealth, saying it was "the most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments." Instead, he emphasized that decent people should seek real achievement - "not only praise, but praiseworthiness."

Strikingly, national greatness was a central issue in a previous presidential election campaign: Lyndon B. Johnson , in 1964, called for the creation of a Great Society, not merely a rich society or a powerful society. Instead, he spoke of achieving equal opportunity and fulfillment. "The Great Society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and to enlarge his talents," he said. "It is a place where leisure is a welcome chance to build and reflect, not a feared cause of boredom and restlessness."

President Johnson's words still ring true. Opportunity is not equal for everyone in America. Enforced leisure has indeed become a feared cause of boredom and restlessness for those who have lost jobs, who have lost overtime work, who hold part-time jobs when they desire full-time employment, or who were pushed into unwanted early retirement.

But there are limits to what government can do. Jane Jacobs , the great urbanist, wrote that great nations need great cities, yet they cannot easily create them. "The great capitals of modern Europe did not become great cities because they were the capitals," Ms. Jacobs said. "Cause and effect ran the other way. Paris was at first no more the seat of French kings than were the sites of half a dozen other royal residences."

Cities grow organically, she said, capturing a certain dynamic, a virtuous circle, a specialized culture of expertise, with one industry leading to another, and with a reputation that attracts motivated and capable immigrants.

America still has cities like this, but a fact not widely remembered is that Detroit used to be one of them. Its rise to greatness was gradual. As Ms. Jacobs wrote, milled flour in the 1820s and 1830s required boats to ship the flour on the Great Lakes, which led to steamboats, marine engines and a proliferation of other industries, which set the stage for automobiles, which made Detroit a global center for anyone interested in that technology.

I experienced the beauty and excitement of Detroit as a child there among relatives who had ties to the auto industry. Today, residents of Detroit and other fading metropolises want their old cities back, but generations of people must create the fresh ideas and industries that spawn great cities, and they can't do it by fiat from Washington.

All of which is to say that government intervention to enhance greatness will not be a simple matter. There is a risk that well-meaning change may make matters worse. Protectionist policies and penalties for exporters of jobs may not increase long-term opportunities for Americans who have been left behind. Large-scale reduction of environmental or social regulations or in health care benefits, or in America's involvement in the wider world may increase our consumption, yet leave all of us with a sense of deeper loss.

Greatness reflects not only prosperity, but it is also linked with an atmosphere, a social environment that makes life meaningful. In President Johnson's words, greatness requires meeting not just "the needs of the body and the demands of commerce but the desire for beauty and the hunger for community."

sufferingsuccatash ohio 3 hours ago

Excellent article by an economist who understands that economic extends beyond markets and intersects with political enlightenment. Were more economists that inclusive and divorced from self promotion the study would have more effective application.

TMK New York, NY 5 hours ago

For many today, greatness is simply a government in the business of actively governing, as opposed to shying away from it under one excuse or the other. One example: the meteoric rise of incomes for the wealthy, which is a direct result of less financial regulation. First discovered by Reagan, then perfected by Clinton, the method involves highlighting regulation as a dirty word and overstating its link to American Capitalism, and in the bargain achieving less work for government, plus bag brownie points for patriotism.

But what it really was, was a reluctance to govern for almost thirty years. Thank goodness Trump called it out for the fraud it was, and Obama decided he would spend his last month making a show of "governing".

But Reagan did not hesitate to govern on the international stage. That credit goes solely to Obama, a president who's turned non-governance into something of an art. From refusing to regulate bathroom etiquette, to egging people to have more casual sex (condoms on government, no worries, go at it all you want), to unleashing 5 million illegals on domestic soil with a stroke of the pen, this President has been the most ungoverning president in US history.

So that's what greatness means to most today: Government, please show up for work every day and just do your job. Not draw lines in sand and unlock every bathroom in sight and let illegals in. Just your job please, that's all. Yes? Grrreaat, thank you Donald.

John Brews Reno, NV 6 hours ago

I doubt many think that the greatness of America is just about money and power. But many corporations are run on exactly this limited idea of the greatness of corporations.

And, unfortunately, these same misguided bottom-line corporations now control Congress and the GOP. Corporate control of Congress should not be primarily for increasing corporate profits. Part of the profits stemming from automation should be used to mitigate the tremendous disappearance of jobs that corporations are causing by introducing AI and automation.

Duane Coyle Wichita, Kansas 7 hours ago

I was born in America in 1956 to native-born Americans. My father served starting right after the Berlin Blockade, up through the Korean Conflict. My political consciousness was formed by Vietnam, Kent State, the COINTELPRO Papers, the Pentagon Papers, the Church Committee reports.

My father had trust in the federal government, whereas I have none. I became a lawyer, and married a lawyer. My brothers and my wife's sisters are all college-educated professionals.

Financially speaking, America has been very good to me. But as far as having any intellectual or visceral concept of what America is, or what being an American means, I couldn't tell you.

I have traveled overseas enough to have an idea of life in other countries. My father shared something with other veterans--a sense of belonging to something bigger than them based on being "in the service."

That comradeship, born of intense experience while young, is rare. In terms of the sense of belonging to a city or state, the most successful of us move around and cities have lost most of what made them unique.

Given how very little we are expected to contribute to our city, state or country, or even our neighbors, and as there is no central cultural core to being American--as compared to being French or British--other than technology and the meritocracy of money, a personal sense of ownership in America on the part of a majority of Americans runs contrary to contemporary experience.

Wayne Hild Nevada City, CA 9 hours ago

I think this article touches on not only what will make America great, but also on how we should act in order to show the rest of the world why liberal democracies are truly the path to prosperity & peace in this oh so imperfect world.

How do we go about defeating ISIL & winning the smoldering economic/military contest with Russia & China & other authoritarian regimes? By living righteously & daily demonstrating that treating the planet & each other justly & humanely is the way to real happiness on Earth. & that we can at the same time create plenty of wealth & life-fulfilling opportunities for all our citizens.

The first step on this path is real social & economic justice for all in our wonderful country. The current economic inequality in the U.S. is a disgrace to any just & civil society. We must figure out a way to fairly deal with that & our other inequalities of education, opportunity & racial injustices, if we are to achieve our potential of being that 'shining city on the hill' that the rest of the world will want to follow.

If the great liberal democracies of Europe & North America & the southern pacific region can reinvigorate our optimism & our commitment to the communal values that have driven the world's prosperity since WWII, we can surely convince the rest of the world through the awesome leverage of 'social media' that our liberal values of education, fairness, & love for all of our fellow humans is the true path to happiness & peace on Earth.

Angus Cunningham Toronto 9 hours ago

As a Britisher, educated at Wharton by the grace of an American-owned company, I feel gratitude for American generosity; yet I am now a Canadian citizen, having decided that the US in the time of Nixon could never be a place where my family could be happy. So I write this with mixed feelings.

A Great Society cannot be great in any meaningful sense unless it is determinedly honest -- not just self-relievingly frank. Thus, although I was happy to see this article, which I judge to be 'exemplarily' honest, I had disappointment that, in an age when the term post-truth is being used to describe conversation in English-speaking society, it neglects to emphasize the essentiality of honesty in any debate about what being a great society entails. Adam Smith did his best to point that out, but the rich and powerful and especially those in public office and those of capitalistic ideological bent appear these days to be letting us all down in this respect.

Having made a modest livelihood as an executive coach, I do not pretend that being honest (without being self-relievingly so) is easy in high-level negotiations. Indeed it requires enormous courage, intellect, empathy, and articulation skills. So I have enormous grief and considerable anxiety for the state of US society today. But efforts like this one by the New York Times are certain to be helpful. Thank you. I hope my contribution will be valuable to this fine newspaper and its readers alike.

R Charlotte 9 hours ago

This article is long overdue. Mr Trump has never explained is what MADE America great in the past. If questioned, he demurred. His shallow approach to policy and his poor understanding of American history and civics makes any answer from him questionable.

FreedomAndJusticeForAll United States 9 hours ago

Hope and Change.

Tom is a trusted commenter Midwest 9 hours ago

Yet almost every policy and piece of legislation by Republicans seems aimed at making more money for business. They assume it will trickle down to the workers (and we have seen over 30 years of how good that is working). So Republicans will ignore your plea or denigrate it. Doing anything close to what you suggest gets in the way of making money.

ann Seattle 10 hours ago

"But forcing employers to restore or maintain jobs isn't reasonable, "

Our current Free Trade pacts make it too easy for employers to shift jobs abroad. Other countries protect their industries. We should do the same, by again placing tariffs on any goods which have been manufactured abroad which could be made here. This would not be "forcing employers to restore or maintain jobs". It would be saying that if you want to sell your products here, then you will either make them here or pay tariffs on them.

The Free Trade pacts have an additional problem. They allow international corporations to sue us if they think that one of our laws or regulations is keeping them from making as much money as they otherwise could. These lawsuits are conducted in special courts whose decisions cannot be appealed. This allows international corporations to interfere with our democracy. They should not be allowed to sue us for enforcing our own laws.

Let's restore our sovereignty.

Jack and Louise North Brunswick NJ, USA 10 hours ago

The issue isn't what the definition of "great" is. It's who America is great *for.* America is outstandingly great for a very slim slice at the tip-top of the economy.

It's great for the Trumps and his cabinet members. These people have so much wealth that they have bought our government. The gleeful look on McConnell's face last night after the GOP moved to get rid of health care for millions, and to turn it back to the whim of the insurance companies, said it all: America is great again for him. It's great for his owners.

The GOP are now proving that they are traitors to the general welfare. They are determined to make this nation's chief goal be to protect the welfare of the wealthiest and best-connected. If we are depending on a free press or the voting booth to protect us, we are fooling ourselves. The forces that have seized our democracy are going to gut both the press, and our civil liberties, so that this country can never again be "of, for and by the people." It will henceforth be for the plutocrats.

The rest of us should just go quietly, and die on our own.

[Jan 11, 2017] The Folly of Trumponomics

Notable quotes:
"... This article appears in the Winter 2017 issue of ..."
"... magazine. Subscribe here . ..."
"... White House Burning ..."
Jan 11, 2017 | prospect.org
­ The Folly of Trumponomics The Folly of Trumponomics It may produce a short-lived boom. Then, look out. Simon Johnson January 9, 2017 You may also like Denzel Washington Brings August Wilson's 'Fences' to the Screen Peter Dreier New film captures playwright's iconic family drama about race, community, and baseball No, Feminism Isn't Over -- But It Needs to Change Adele M. Stan To counter Donald Trump's victory, the very structure of liberal and progressive politics must be seized by women. Disclosing the Costs of Corporate Welfare Greg LeRoy A new government accounting rule will soon spotlight the true costs of corporate tax breaks. This article appears in the Winter 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here .

D onald Trump's administration will implement large tax cuts and substantial financial deregulation. President Trump may also change U.S. policies on trade, although precisely what he will do is less clear-and the shift may be more rhetorical than real. Trump is also likely to substantially cut or privatize federal spending. To the extent that his policies add up to a coherent economic strategy, they are reminiscent of Ronald Reagan's, but with an extra dose of cronyism and the wild card of economic nationalism.

Trump himself and several of his key appointees are also poster children for oligarchy and even kleptocracy-government operated to serve the business interests of elites, including top officials. The intermingling of business, family, and government as the Trump administration takes shape unfortunately parallels what I have observed in corrupt developing countries over the past 30 years, including during my time as chief economist for the International Monetary Fund.

President Trump is likely to please his supporters in the short run.

Despite emerging contradictions between his presidency and who he purported to be during the campaign, President Trump is likely to please his supporters in the short run. His tax cuts, promoted by supporters for their supposed supply-side benefits, could provide a temporary Keynesian jolt to demand. His gestures on trade, like pressuring Carrier to keep jobs in Indiana, will strike a tough posture and save a very small number of jobs. But over time, Trump supporters-and the rest of the country-will become profoundly disappointed as economic security, opportunity, and prosperity are undermined for most Americans.

Taxing, Spending, and Obfuscating

Amid this muddle, one thing is clear. There will be a big tax cut for upper-income Americans-this is the implication of Trump's pledges during the presidential campaign, and this is also what Senate and House Republicans want. Steven Mnuchin, the nominee for Treasury secretary, says there will be no reduction in the amount of tax actually paid by rich Americans-arguing there will also be a limit on the deductions they can take. But the math of Trump's proposals is quite straightforward, and the result of the planned reductions in personal, corporate, capital gains, and inheritance taxes is that the rich will undoubtedly pay less.

In other words, we will re-run a version of the economic experiment previously conducted in the 1980s under Reagan and again under George W. Bush. James Kwak and I wrote a book, White House Burning , on this issue, and there is really very little disagreement among careful analysts on what happened over the past 30 years. Lower taxes on rich people led to higher post-tax income for them and not much by way of higher incomes for others; inequality went up. Despite supply-side claims, reduced revenues increased budget deficits, giving Republicans a pretext for deeper spending cuts. During the same time period, manufacturing jobs declined, the median wage stagnated, and the job market became increasingly polarized.

Albin Lohr-Jones/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images Steven Mnuchin arrives at Trump Tower, in New York.

As for economic insecurity-an issue emphasized by Mr. Trump-this is about to get much worse. Health insurance will be stripped away and partly privatized at the behest of House Republicans, who also hope to turn Medicare into some form of voucher program-effectively reducing benefits for older and lower-income Americans. They may face some resistance from their colleagues in a closely divided Senate, but Medicare already has a (voluntary) voucher component, the so-called Medicare Advantage program, which enrolls about a third of Medicare recipients. To provide greater space for tax cuts, Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (previously known as food stamps) will likely become some form of block grant (a preset transfer amount to state and local government)-which is really just a way to cut these forms of assistance to people in need (many of whom have jobs, but are paid very low wages).

It is literally impossible to have a rational conversation-either about the data or about what happened in our recent economic history-with some leading House Republicans. Now this House Republican belief system appears likely to motivate and guide economic policy-Trump needs their support to pass legislation, and he is working closely with them, including Mike Pence, formerly a leading House Republican, as vice president, and Representative Tom Price, the nominee to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.

As for measuring potential loss of revenue from tax cuts, not to worry-the House Republicans have already changed the rules to reflect so-called "dynamic scoring." The Tax Policy Center estimates that under Trump's tax plan, "federal revenues would fall by $6.2 trillion over the first decade before accounting for added interest costs. Including interest costs, the federal debt would rise by $7.2 trillion over the first decade and by $20.9 trillion by 2036." But the official scoring by the Congressional Budget Office will likely show no such loss of revenue-because the Republican Congress has already mandated that tax cuts will stimulate economic growth by an enormous (and implausible) amount. The alternative (i.e., distorted) reality of Trump's campaign rhetoric is about to show up also in the driest possible budget documents.

Watch carefully what happens on "infrastructure." During the campaign, Trump seemed to support upgrading our national road, rail, and air transportation systems-and the need for renewal across the country goes much deeper. But as more detailed plans become evident, it seems likely that the actual Trump infrastructure program will just be a cover story for tax credits and privatizations-not genuine public infrastructure.

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Expect a very large increase in our budget deficit and national debt, exactly as was forecast by reputable analysts during the election campaign. This might provide some short-term stimulus to the economy, as my colleague Olivier Blanchard suggests. In that scenario, there are longer-term problems in the form of higher deficits and more debt. As Blanchard points out, inequality is very likely to increase.

And in light of what has happened since the election, it's not entirely clear that economic growth will pick up-keep in mind we are already in a recovery and the job creation numbers have been good for a long while (nearly 200,000 net new jobs per month since early 2010). And in recent weeks, stock prices have increased, but the yield on bonds has also jumped higher (up to 2.2 percent on the ten-year Treasury bond on November 15 and now around 2.4 percent; compared with 1.8 percent immediately before the election). This is a big and unexpected move, signaling that investors are worried about the potential impact on inflation.

It has been a long time since we had significant inflation in the United States, and many people seem to have forgotten how unpopular it is. Ronald Reagan told Americans they should care about the "misery index"-the sum of inflation and unemployment. And inflation is almost always bad for people on lower incomes, including pensions (which will not be fully indexed to rising costs). Trump's supporters will not be so delighted once the full implications of his tax cuts and other macroeconomic policies begin to sink in.

Any Trump boom could also be short-circuited by the deepening crisis in Europe, even without the added assault of Trump-style protectionism.

Any Trump boom could also be short-circuited by the deepening crisis in Europe, even without the added assault of Trump-style protectionism. With the fall of the Italian government and Italy on the verge of a banking crisis-on top of the UK's Brexit (planning to leave the European Union), and the rise of far-right Marine Le Pen in France-the European Union and its elements are coming under increasing pressure.

Ironically, the instigators of Europe's latest economic crisis are Trump-style populists-and they draw explicit inspiration from Trump's political brand. But their success will weaken the European economy, and hurt the U.S. economy and Trump's brand at home.

Financial Deregulation

House Republicans are dead set on repealing financial regulation-rolling back the rules to what they were before 2008. Excessive financial deregulation leads to a predictable cycle of boom-bust-bailout, in which rich people do very well, and millions of people lose their jobs, their homes, and their futures.

During the last crisis, presumptive Treasury Secretary Mnuchin bought IndyMac, a distressed bank, receiving a great deal of help from the government-and then sold it at a large profit. At the same time, millions of Americans lost everything in the housing crash and their appeals for assistance of any kind fell on deaf ears. In fact, appeals for the reasonable restructuring of loans made by IndyMac were apparently also turned down; this lender has a reputation as ruthless (and careless) in its foreclosure practices.

If the Treasury Department ends up being headed by someone who gains from economic volatility, how careful would officials really want to be? Trump himself spoke of the housing crisis as a great opportunity-for him, that is. Rich and powerful people often do well from extreme booms and busts; most Americans do not.

Deregulating finance is always sold with the claim that it will boost growth, and in the short run perhaps the headline numbers will improve-but only because we do not measure the economy with any regard for macroeconomic risk. If we had risk-adjusted employment and output (and corporate profits) during the George W. Bush years, we would have realized that economic expansion was based on unsustainable risk-taking in the financial sector-manifest in the crisis of September 2008 and the deepest recession since the Great Depression.

respres/Creative Commons Trump himself spoke of the housing crisis as a great opportunity-for him, that is. If the Treasury Department ends up being headed by someone who gains from economic volatility, how careful would officials really want to be?

In the House Republican mantra, honed over six years of refusing to cooperate with President Barack Obama, financial deregulation did not contribute to the meltdown of 2008. These congressional representatives fervently believe that growth has been slow because of a supposedly high burden of regulation on business-despite the fact that the United States is one of the easiest places in the world to do business.

In reality, growth has been slow in recent years precisely because the financial crisis was so severe-and deregulation will set us up for another crisis. The question is just how long this will take to become evident to voters.

On finance, as well as on taxes, Trump and the House Republicans are likely to work hard and effectively together-creating what will become a more extreme version of the unequal and unstable George W. Bush–era economy. Expect consequences that are similar to what happened during and after the Bush regime.

Trade

There were some defects in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as both presidential candidates discussed during the election campaign. But refusing to implement the TPP agreement or altering the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is not likely to bring back manufacturing jobs-just as gutting the Environmental Protection Agency would not bring back coal.

There is a defensible version of economic nationalism, which includes investing in people (education and opportunities), building public infrastructure, and working to ensure that new technology creates jobs. Transitioning to a lower-carbon and greener economy can create both jobs and exports.

In the short run, Trump may score some points with his supporters by talking tough on trade, although his corporate allies are likely to reduce that to mostly rhetoric.

But Trump's strategy is very far from this. In the short run, Trump may score some points with his supporters by talking tough on trade, although his corporate allies are likely to reduce that to mostly rhetoric. The president is likely to have a number of high-profile photo ops, when he strong-arms (or pays) a few corporations to keep a small number of jobs in the United States.

The key part of reality missing from Trump's vision is that manufacturing jobs have disappeared in recent decades primarily because of automation-not because of trade agreements or the supposedly high burden of taxation and regulation on business; again, the United States is one of the best and easiest places in the world to start and run a company.

The surge in imports from China in the early 2000s did have a negative impact on manufacturing, but this effect is hard to undo-and threatening a trade war (or talking on the phone with the president of Taiwan) will either have no significant effect or prove disruptive. Imposing tariffs on Chinese imports will result in retaliation; trade wars do not typically lead to higher growth or better jobs.

And one impact of Trump-a sharp appreciation of the dollar since his election-runs directly against what he wants to achieve. A stronger dollar means it is harder for firms to export from the United States, while imports become cheaper. The U.S. trade deficit (exports minus imports) will increase if the dollar remains at its current level.

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If Trump's fiscal policies push interest rates higher, as currently seems likely-either because of the market reaction or how the Federal Reserve feels compelled to respond-that will further strengthen the dollar and undermine manufacturing jobs in the United States. Again, the question is how long it will take his supporters to notice that Trump oversold them on what he would do. At some point, perhaps, this tips over into the perception that they-and everyone else-have actually been deceived.

Special Interests and Crony Capitalism

For now, Trump will retain some popularity, courtesy of a fiscal stimulus and economic nationalism. But over a longer period of time, reality will catch up with him. And at the heart of what will go wrong with the Trump administration-in perception and reality-is the role of special interests.

Candidate Trump made a big deal of wanting to "drain the swamp," by which he meant reducing the power of special interests, including corporate lobbyists. Perhaps his highest-profile pledge in this regard was to introduce term limits for members of Congress-in fact, this was the first in a long list of commitments made in his Gettysburg speech on October 22, 2016. But one day after the election, Mitch McConnell, Republican leader in the Senate, said that there will be no such term limits. This takes the issue completely off the table.

On swamp-related issues more broadly, lobbyists were running Trump's transition team, and the appointment process looks like a feeding frenzy for special interests, as they compete to get industry-friendly people into key positions and to advance their legislative agenda.

The bad news for the broader economy is that the Trump circle could allocate to themselves tens of billions of dollars, through government contracts, insider trading, and other mechanisms.

The bad news for the broader economy is that the Trump circle could allocate to themselves tens of billions of dollars, through government contracts, insider trading, and other mechanisms. The U.S. Constitution cleverly creates an intricate set of checks and balances precisely to put constraints on executive authority. But with Republicans in control of the executive branch, the legislature, and much of the judiciary (including the Supreme Court), there will not be much by way of disclosure, let alone effective oversight.

Representative Jason Chaffetz, chair of the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, says he will further investigate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. How exactly that will help ensure good governance over the next four years is unclear. The potential self-dealing of President Trump, his family, and his colleagues will cry out for serious investigations, but there will be no congressional venue for that unless Democrats take back the House or the Senate in 2018.

The United States is a rich nation, with the most advanced economy, military, and technology the world has ever seen. We also have its most advanced oligarchy. In the Trump iteration, special interests seem likely to focus a great deal of attention on enriching themselves and their friends-"the rules are for other people" seems likely to become the motto of this presidency.

Trump has already indicated that he may pursue foreign policy in ways that advance his (or his family's) private business interests. And of course, Trump is famously proud of how he legally manipulates the bankruptcy system-a skill he shares with Wilbur Ross (incoming commerce secretary) and Steven Mnuchin (Treasury secretary).

None of these people inspire confidence in the outcomes for the broader economy. Most likely their policies will further enrich powerful insiders, cut effective worker earnings, and add little if anything to the productive economy.

All oligarchs always say the same thing-their projects are good for the country. And in the end, the outcomes are always identical: They have the yachts and the offshore accounts; everyone else gets nothing.

In Why Nations Fail, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson documented the myriad ways in which powerful people around the world help themselves to economic riches and, along the way, undermine political institutions. There is often some short-term growth, seen in the headline numbers, but oligarch-centric economies are never inclusive-and lasting benefits always prove elusive. In fact, as those authors emphasize, oligarchic control is often a prelude to nations running into serious crisis and state failure.

If, by the time of his inauguration, Trump refuses to divest himself from his business interests-and if he continues to refuse to publish his tax returns (which would presumably show the full extent of his foreign relationships)-then we are just another profoundly oligarchic country, albeit with nuclear weapons.

What would be the U.S. role in the world if this happens? Probably we will have little sway. How can you lead other democracies when you are a laughingstock? Some other corrupt countries might want to cooperate, but this is worth very little. We are in the world of G-Zero. No one is in charge and there is chaos in many places. Only people who thrive on chaos will do well.

[Jan 11, 2017] The Folly of Trumponomics - Simon Johnson

Jan 11, 2017 | prospect.org

pgl said... Simon Johnson has a long and interesting discussion of what concerns him about the Trump economic plan. His big two concerns can be summed up as lots of give aways for the rich and a return to financial deregulation. Reagan II unfortunately.

[Jan 05, 2017] In Light of the Elections: Recession, Expansion, and Inequality By Olivier Blanchard

Jan 05, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
pgl : , January 05, 2017 at 09:50 AM
Olivier Blanchard:

https://piie.com/experts/senior-research-staff/olivier-blanchard

"The arguments are well known, but worth repeating. Tariffs by themselves may indeed reduce imports, increase the demand for domestic goods, and increase output (although, even then, as pointed out by Robert Mundell more than fifty years ago, the exchange rate may appreciate enough to lead to lower output in the end).

But the "by themselves" assumption is just not right: Tariffs imposed by the United States would most likely lead to a tariff war and thus decrease exports.

And the decrease in imports and exports would not be a wash. On the demand side, higher import prices would lead the Fed to increase interest rates further. On the supply side, and in my opinion more importantly, the tariffs would put into question global supply chains, disrupt production and trade, and decrease productivity. The effects might be hard to quantify, but they would be there."

Menzie Chinn:

http://econbrowser.com/archives/2016/11/further-dollar-appreciation

"the collision of expansionary fiscal and counter-cyclical monetary policy will result in an appreciated dollar. How much more appreciated?"

Blanchard and Chinn are simply noting what we have all learned from the great Robert Mundell some 50 plus years ago. I get that Peter Navarro never grasped these concepts but it seems certain readers of this blog have not either.

anne -> pgl... , January 05, 2017 at 10:09 AM
https://piie.com/blogs/realtime-economic-issues-watch/light-elections-recession-expansion-and-inequality

November 14, 2016

In Light of the Elections: Recession, Expansion, and Inequality
By Olivier Blanchard

pgl -> anne... , -1
Thanks. Another excellent discussion - even if a few here clearly do not understand his message.

[Dec 27, 2016] A Battle Over American-Made Products Is Looming and Republicans Are in the Middle of It

Notable quotes:
"... By Leo W. Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers union. President Barack Obama appointed him to the President's Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations. Follow him on Twitter @USWBlogger. Originally published at Alternet ..."
"... as long as the trade balance is zero ..."
"... Removing Buy-USA language shows exactly who he thinks his constituency is, and it isn't the good people of Janesville, Wisconsin. If liberals could sense an opportunity, they'd run him over with a steamroller. ..."
Dec 27, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

... ... ...

By Leo W. Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers union. President Barack Obama appointed him to the President's Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations. Follow him on Twitter @USWBlogger. Originally published at Alternet

... ... ...

By advocating night after night for American Made, President-elect Trump essentially warned Ryan not to strip the Buy-American provisions out of the Water Resources Development Act. But Ryan did it anyway early in December when he got the act from the Senate.

The act contained strong, permanent Buy America language when the Senate sent it over. These provisions are significant because they use tax dollars to create 33 percent more U.S. factory jobs , something that is, again, important to voters, 68 percent of whom told the Mellman Group & North Star Opinion Research in November in a national survey conducted for the Alliance for American Manufacturing that they were worried that the country had lost too many manufacturing jobs.

In addition-and President-elect Trump knows this from the response he gets at his rallies-Buy American policies are very popular. Seventy-four percent of voters say large infrastructure projects financed by taxpayer money should be constructed with American-made materials and American workers. And those who voted for President-elect Trump agree more strongly – 79 percent of them say American-made should be given preference over the lowest bidder.

This is a very big deal to iron and steel producers and workers in the United States. Far too many mills are closed or partially shuttered because of unfairly traded imports, and more than 16,000 steelworkers across this country have been laid off over the past year.

China is the main culprit, but there are others. China produces so much steel now that it has managed to inundate the world with more steel than anyone needs. It is dumping steel on the world market at such low prices that no one can compete. As a result, producers from places as far flung as Mexico, the U.S., Canada, India, the U.K. and Spain are shutting down and throwing workers out of their jobs.

China props up that excess steelmaking capacity with methods that are illegal under the terms of the agreements it entered into to gain access to the World Trade Organization and Permanent Normalized Trade Relations with the United States. If steel is sold domestically, a country can provide steel firms with subsidies like exemptions from utility payments and taxes, interest-free loans and free land. But those free market-warping subsidies violate international trade agreements when the steel is exported. That's what China is doing. And it's killing American steel companies and American jobs.

When Ryan eliminated the permanent Buy American provision in the Water Bill, essentially saying it's fine to import illegally subsidized Chinese iron and steel for taxpayer-financed water projects, he was also saying it is fine to bankrupt American steel companies and destroy American jobs.

If the United States is reduced to buying steel from China to build its military tanks and armor, that's okay with Ryan, as long as he maintains a great relationship with the lobbyists for the foreign steelmakers. They pushed him hard to drop the Buy American provision through Squire Patton Boggs, a Washington, D.C. lobby and law firm employing Ryan's predecessor Speaker John Boehner and numerous former top GOP aides .

He got hit with a tweet storm after he chose Chinese jobs over American jobs, though. Buy American supporters and members of the Congressional Steel Caucus began pointing out on Twitter just how good #BuyAmerica is for American jobs and the economy and cited @realDonaldTrump, the President-elect's Twitter handle on every Tweet, which means his account was alerted.

This came from Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown:

" .@RealDonaldTrump : Tell @SpeakerRyan to put #BuyAmerica back in Water bill. American tax dollars for American jobs."

And steelworkers wrote protests on Ryan's Facebook page and hundreds called Ryan and his anti-American-made congressional crew.

Ryan responded. Sort of. He restored one-year Buy American language to the bill. Nothing like the permanent provisions achieved in other federal laws, but it does keep the jobs for 12 months and the issue alive until President-elect Trump can take on Ryan mano-a-mano on Buy American after the inauguration.

Ryan has made clear his anti-American preference, so this will be a royal rumble. But the Speaker should beware. The last time the President-elect stepped into the ring with a heavyweight, it was with the ring's owner, World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon, a former professional wrestler. And McMahon left bald and defeated. Altandmain , December 27, 2016 at 2:18 am

Perhaps the only good thing to come our of Trump is that he might energize a populist base to support manufacturing. The Trump base really needs to push hard on this matter.

The only other is that Trump is less likely to get involved in a war with Russia.

Otherwise I would suspect that he has long betrayed his promises. He won't be addressing corruption like he promised during the election. He's already stuffed his cabinet with cronies. The good news is that elements of his base are already crying foul. Let's hope that they can win on this one.

On the left, the battle with the Establishment Democrats is a serious challenge for real change. They have learned nothing from 2016, the election of Trump and how popular Sanders was. Either that or they have no desire to admit they know, but won't admit the truth.

KK , December 27, 2016 at 2:52 am

Nothing will change because nothing can change: if you have mixed all the ingredients for a sponge cake and baked it in the oven, can the children elect a leader to change it into a chocolate cake?

ambrit , December 27, 2016 at 4:32 am

You forget that the ultimate strategy is to destroy the sponge cake utterly and start over from scratch. Desperate people do not always act "rationally." If the general public come to see the Trump administration as having betrayed them, they do not have to switch to the Democrat team. That's the Neo Democrat's mistake. TINA is not an "inevitable" strategy. The Dems tried TINA with the "inevitable" H Clinton, and lost.
To torture your analogy somewhat, the 'sponge cake' can become fertilizer for helping to grow something new.

PlutoniumKun , December 27, 2016 at 6:28 am

+1. If Trump badly lets down his base, then the likelihood is that they will turn to an even nuttier and more dangerous strand of the right, not liberal Dems. Thats why its absolutely vital that the left presents a coherent and popular alternative.

aab , December 27, 2016 at 7:01 am

That, or even fewer people go to the polls, destabilizing and delegitimizing the system further without providing a path to productive change. The cake analogy is really only useful within the context of electoral choice in our system. We're only being offered box mix Red Velvet cake vs. box mix Devils Food cake. So whether you need protein, or fermented cabbage, or calcium, or just want coconut cake, you are SOL - you can't make any of those things from those two box mixes, and those two box mixes both have too many toxins and too few nutrients for the body politic to survive on.

PlutoniumKun , December 27, 2016 at 9:45 am

I think thats the big question mark. Will angry disappointed voters just give up voting? Or will they keep picking non-mainstream choices until eventually they succeed. I suspect the former, but there is no doubt the establishment fears the latter.

cocomaan , December 27, 2016 at 9:56 am

Will angry disappointed voters just give up voting?

I think the answer probably lies in other democracies that stagnated. So if we can find some of those, we have a historical lesson.

I actually don't think the powers that be want to have low turnout. It starts to delegitimize the system. It's bad for everyone.

Lune , December 27, 2016 at 12:22 pm

Recent history gives us an answer: the Republican base has been upset with the establishment since GWB. But their voter participation hasn't declined. They channeled it into the tea party, and ever-crazier politicians, to the extent that the 'first wave' of tea party outsiders are now being chased out be even crazier second and third wavers.

Remember that Newt Gingrich was the original barbarian at the gate. And now he's almost a centrist statesman compared to the people being supported by the Republican base. And Paul Ryan was chosen by Mitt Romney precisely because he was a tea party darling when elected, and now he's considered a RINO as the base continues its walk into insanity.

Vatch , December 27, 2016 at 10:07 am

or even fewer people go to the polls, destabilizing and delegitimizing the system further

The CEOs of giant corporations and the billionaires who own the United States don't care how many people actually vote. They just want their privileges to be preserved, and that is far more likely with low voter turnouts.

fco , December 27, 2016 at 11:46 am

however, you can slice that sponge cake into thin layers, lightly brush it with the liqueur of choice, layer it with fair trade organic chocolate ganache, and voila, a chocolate cake to die for! Bon Appetite and Let them eat cake.

ambrit , December 27, 2016 at 1:18 pm

That's for the Masters fco. We toiling masses, and now even the toadying class, have to settle for Oreos. (And now that the Oreo has been replaced by a Twinkie )

readerOfTeaLeaves , December 27, 2016 at 2:14 pm

+100
Beautifully stated.

And FWIW, I'm not sure what 'left' or 'right' actually mean anymore.
Fundamentally, we need new ways of thinking about economics.

If those manufacturing plants are all owned by offshore, or tax haven veiled interests, there's no guarantee that the workers will still get a fair pay for their work. What we need are manufacturing skills, but also more equitable business structures.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , December 27, 2016 at 3:13 pm

Two way to get fertilizer from that sponge cake.

1. Destroy it

2. Eat it and wait a few hours. (Faster this way?)

oh , December 27, 2016 at 9:34 am

If the leader is a good salesman like Barry, using media propaganda, he can sell it as chocolate cake.

Katharine , December 27, 2016 at 10:11 am

Unsatisfactory metaphor. A cake is a finished product. Politics is an ongoing process, with continually changing policies. If it were true that nothing could change, we might still have strong unions–or be living in a state of nature with no government or civilization at all.

Lee , December 27, 2016 at 12:45 pm

http://twentytwowords.com/cavemen-and-the-problem-with-living-organically/

Lambert Strether , December 27, 2016 at 3:39 am

Interesting display of (some) muscle.

Joe Jordan , December 27, 2016 at 9:12 am

One aspect left out of this analysis that I would like to see incorporated is the argument Robert Brenner makes in "The Economics of Global Turbulence." The gist of the book is a (drawn-out) citing of statistics that confirm a classical Marxist 'declining profit rate' argument that after factories become efficient enough, and this seems particularly true for commodities like steel, there is really not a good way to bring back employment in that sector. Basically, it seems as if a few dozen Chinese steel factories can supply all of the steel for the whole world. This would imply that even if we slapped tariffs high enough on Chinese steel to cause the introduction of new plants in the US, it would still not actually produce that many jobs. Whether it makes sense to take the Marxist analysis one step further and say that few jobs = few profits is perhaps debatable, but the core of the analysis seems sound to me and so I wonder how much effect a buy American campaign could really have in high capital industries like steel.

Steve H. , December 27, 2016 at 9:56 am

Joe Jordan, this is a perspective rather than an answer: Viewing the benefits solely in jobs (or profits) is insufficient. Strategic resources like steel require not only factories but skills. If domestic production goes to zero, so does motivation for not only research to new processes, but retention of base knowledge.

When we put the metal roof on this fall, our supplier talked about Chinese steel panels being lesser quality, as well as the coating on them. As they degrade faster than expected, new roofing will be required, driving further demand. If Chinese subsidize steel for export beyond the normal bezzle/vig level, the sector becomes unsustainable. The payoff is can be in monopoly control, or in strategic timing. From "Unconditional Warfare":

"Even though they are the same ancient territorial disputes, nationality conflicts, religious clashes, and the delineation of spheres of power in human history, and are still the several major agents of people waging war from opposite directions, these traditional factors are increasingly becoming more intertwined with grabbing resources, contending for markets, controlling capital, trade sanctions, and other economic factors, to the extent that they are even becoming secondary to these factors."

Also:

"this is because the monopolizing of one type of technology is far more difficult than inventing a type of technology."

Steve H. , December 27, 2016 at 10:20 am

Edit: "Unconditional Warfare" to " Unrestricted Warfare "

readerOfTeaLeaves , December 27, 2016 at 2:33 pm

I'm really glad to see someone reiterate this point, which Yves has made repeatedly the past few years:

Strategic resources like steel require not only factories but skills. If domestic production goes to zero, so does motivation for not only research to new processes, but retention of base knowledge.

It's not simply the quality of materials, and I personally have nothing against the Chinese. (Rather the opposite: I have huge admiration for what they have accomplished.) However, without people working in manufacturing, there are entire categories of knowledge that get lost.

I could make a solid case that one of our current problems is too many business schools, too much financialization, and too many lobbyists: all of those people are thinking about abstractions and not enough practical hands-on understanding of how the world actually works.

I sometimes think that I've learned more about economics from planting, hoeing, weeding, and harvesting my veggie garden than I've learned from university coursework. Economics is fundamentally complex and unpredictable; like gardening, you just have to keep at it and hedge your bets and pay attention.

Basically, we have a whole bunch of people who have never assessed the quality of their soil, so - Paul Ryan being a classic case! - they don't grasp the elemental reality that you can't grow a crop in depleted soil. Good manufacturing policies are like building up your humus (soil, related to the work "humility"). And good business policies are like having good seeds, or good plant cuttings; they come from good stock, and if well cared for have a chance to produce ongoing prosperity.

Okay, off my soapbox . (Can hardly wait for the Gardening Catalogs to start arriving next week! ;-)

PlutoniumKun , December 27, 2016 at 10:00 am

I think a key problem in steel is that the Chinese (and India) have been squeezing every last bit of product out of old outdated mills in order to keep prices down. China has some of the most high tech mills in the world side by side with Mao era backyard mills, still churning it out. Its these old mills which are responsible for some of the worst pollution this winter as the government has revved up yet another construction boom. Its long overdue to shut down a lot of this capacity. The Indians are somewhat notorious for buying up old mills in Europe and elsewhere and basically working them to destruction, then walking away when they can't squeeze out any more profit.

So I think the steel industry at the moment is not a competitive industry in the classic supply and demand sense. If the US were to seriously pursue an 'American first' policy that would be a major shock to the industry. I've no idea how much capacity remains in the US industry, but I'd suspect it would in the short term be very profitable in the short term if there was a big shortfall. But that would I think be short term, and wouldn't necessarily change long term trends in profitability.

But environmentally, it would be great if an American first policy led to a big shutdown in steel capacity elsewhere. Thats assuming the Chinese and Indian didn't opt for a hugely expansionary policy to compensate.

Lune , December 27, 2016 at 12:30 pm

I would only agree with this if the playing field were level. That is, if Chinese mfg'ers comply with the same environmental, safety, and labor regulations that the U.S. does, and still manages to provide lower cost goods, then perhaps we should let them do it. (NB: I don't care about the govt incentives; the U.S. has an industrial policy called defense that comprises a larger GDP than any other country in the world).

But even then, the theory of comparative advantage only works as long as the trade balance is zero . That is, it's fine to give up steel production if you can find something else to export that you do better. Even a zero profit producer provides value to the local economy from all the wages paid to its employees, and the downstream activity of its local suppliers.

reslez , December 27, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Basically, it seems as if a few dozen Chinese steel factories can supply all of the steel for the whole world. This would imply that even if we slapped tariffs high enough on Chinese steel to cause the introduction of new plants in the US, it would still not actually produce that many jobs.

This seems to be a non sequitur - you appear to have missed a supporting argument that would actually link these two statements. But then so does most of the political establishment when they tell us TINA as if they read it in the Bible.

If the US is legally required to "buy American" for infrastructure products that's going to restore some jobs and preserve steel-making know-how domestically. I think Trump's supporters would be OK with that, even if it's not huge in terms of jobs numbers.

craazyboy , December 27, 2016 at 9:24 am

"First, the infrastructure spending won't lead to an increase in fiscal spending, so it will not act as an economic stimulus. "

Not quite so. The other problem is private investment is going towards areas of what should be termed as mal-investment. Most damaging is corporate investment off shore – it costs money to destroy American jobs- but the Fed is helping with ZIRP policy making it a little more cost effective to destroy jobs. Then other private mal-investment areas are buying into a overpriced stock market (it's used stock – companies don't get the funds for investment), over priced bonds and – every passive investors' favorite – selling corporate bonds to buy back corporate stock. This is like "black hole" capitalism.

But the main problem with private infrastructure investment is it usually entails the granting of market monopolies to private entities. This has never ended well and results in price gouging of the consumer, unless there is a well functioning regulating body controlling prices. But we are always told regulation is bad .and the [monopoly]market setting prices is good and crony capitalists are working in our best interests, even tho it doesn't always seem that way .

So we're in an era where private investment has failed the country. Pouring huge Federal stimulus on top of the current transmission paths leads to some "trickle down", at best. Really, the most effective thing to do is just steal all the money back. :)

Trump could get a good start by becoming our "Bankrupter in Chief". Cancel the F-35, forcing Lockheed into a prepackaged bankruptcy like they did with Government Motors. We'd then have Government Defense Contractor, with the stockholder and bondholder liability gone off the balance sheet. The factories would still be there – just a new and improved cost structure. Then work out a similar approach for health, drugs and education. We'd be amazed how easily our "private sector" collapses if Uncle Sam just stops paying it for a little while. :)

Steven , December 27, 2016 at 10:48 am

@Craazyboy – Like your ideas about "steal all the money back" (I believe M. Hudson calls this 'claw back' – of all the money stolen from the public with the help of the Fed after the 2008 financial crisis) and "Bankrupter in Chief". But I'm hoping you were just being 'craazy' and don't really believe Trump and his cronies want to do 'good'.

Let's hope Trump and the boys from GSachs concentrate on setting up toll booths and Maginot Lines on the nation's borders when they think infrastructure. That way the damage they do could conceivably be undone in 10 – 20 years. Take a look at http://www.counterpunch.org/2006/06/28/taken-for-a-ride-on-the-interstate-highway-system/ Following the model it suggests would of course require them to think longer term than their take the money and run, short term profit seeking mentality most likely permits, i.e. publicly funded infrastructure which sets the rules for the operation of 'free markets' for a century to come.

For example, they could construct, at public expense, a national power grid anchored at the nation's largest, dirtiest coal mines instead of the best solar or wind locations. That way coal could again become 'cheaper' than wind or solar for decades to come. The general idea here is the construction of infrastructure which offers the possibility of the greatest LONG TERM profit, even at the expense of short term principles like private ownership of public infrastructure.

craazyboy , December 27, 2016 at 11:08 am

I believe Trump has the proven job experience to be our "Bankrupter in Chief". But, no, I don't have high hopes he will exercise his strengths in that area.

I have bad dreams that Trump finds out that he can only hire Mexican labor to build The Wall, because they're the only ones living in the neighborhood.

But, as you point out, they can create their own 100 year TINA. Another current example – health care. We can't have single payer – because "in America we have health insurance companies!"

Steven , December 27, 2016 at 11:24 am

A new acronym is needed for TINA. How about TIANA – 'there is ABSOLUTELY no alternative'? I just love the stuff "the smartest guys in the room" come up with – for example, erecting tolls booths on everything and then off-shoring, out-sourcing and downsizing the jobs their customers need to be able to pay the tolls!

Pete , December 27, 2016 at 11:39 am

I must confess i forgot what TINA stood for. Thanks for spelling it out.

polecat , December 27, 2016 at 12:07 pm

Or how 'bout TATIANA ~ 'TRUMP ANNOUNCES there Is Absolutely no alternative'

What so say you .. 'Comrades ??'

Yves Smith Post author , December 27, 2016 at 1:14 pm

The statement is correct as written. No increase in fiscal spending means that the increase in infrastructure spending has come about by cutting spending somewhere else. We've separately written at great length as to the problems with privatization, which is what these public-private partnerships would amount to.

DJG , December 27, 2016 at 9:57 am

Even as liberals are still wallowing in psychobabble, we see some ways of handling the Republican elites and the Trump administration, and even handing them some defeats. Ryan is a Republican intellectual (Obama told us so), and someone who is politically weak. Removing Buy-USA language shows exactly who he thinks his constituency is, and it isn't the good people of Janesville, Wisconsin. If liberals could sense an opportunity, they'd run him over with a steamroller.

Meanwhile, we will see if it is possible to hang this conundrum on the members of Trump's cabinet, who are used to being coddled executives and to exporting other people's jobs whenever they felt like it. Another possible opportunity. (Just don't look for the DLC wing to lead on this issue.)

So the predicted fascist regime already can't get its act together. What we're seeing is Reagan Redux, and there were plenty of ways of defeating the tactics of that last TV star.

Left in Wisconsin , December 27, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Removing Buy-USA language shows exactly who he thinks his constituency is, and it isn't the good people of Janesville, Wisconsin. If liberals could sense an opportunity, they'd run him over with a steamroller.

Very interesting comment. I'm not in Ryan's district but I know many people who are. The district has been gerrymandered to make it easier for Ryan to hold (he still has Janesville but no longer has D-leaning Beloit), but the fact is he is hugely popular despite holding position after position that is contrary to the (economic) interests of his constituents. I wish it were different but my sense is Ryan could go shoot people in Times Square and still be re-elected for as long as he wants.

Kurt Sperry , December 27, 2016 at 2:54 pm

"Removing Buy-USA language shows exactly who he thinks his constituency is, and it isn't the good people of Janesville, Wisconsin. If liberals could sense an opportunity, they'd run him over with a steamroller."

Liberals aren't (or perhaps are no longer) looking for opportunities that benefit the 99%. Conservatives, of course, aren't either because those politicians work for roughly the same hundred families as the Liberal politicians do. A left-populist would easily win today, Sanders would have landslided Trump. But, of course, left-populism is the one great existential political danger to those hundred families' wealth piles. Liberalism, conservatism or even right-populism can all be managed and navigated–and indeed exploited. Left-populism, let's not forget, came really dangerously close to getting the executive this year. Like to the point that the kayfabe was in danger and "the force" was palpably in flux.

The table is really set for left-populism right now to the extent that any special catalyst or nucleation point could push it into open battle with those hundred families. A battle that will be extraordinarily difficult for them to navigate. All of the anti-democratic cheats combined: the systemic corruption, the gerrymandering, the crooked primaries, the voter suppression and outright electoral fraud, the captive media and so on combined, as impressive as they are, can only tilt the playing field so far. Exceed or surmount the entry barriers, and much of those corruptive infrastructures listed above fall as well. You can only game any putative democracy so far, and while that is a long way, it isn't ever absolute. It's like having an impressive system of dikes holding back the ocean, it all can work perfectly up to its engineering limits, but once those physical limits are exceeded, none of it subsequently works as it should. The extreme amount of energy holding the illusion in place only becomes readily–undeniably–apparent when that amount of energy is suddenly insufficient.

Sanders getting within a whisker of the executive is, I think, one hell of a lot more significant than people know or allow. But I think perhaps the longer it takes for left-populism to prevail, the stronger its momentum will be. I don't see the devastations of the current bipartisan, globalist neoliberalism empowering any other group as well. Trump will in all likelihood do great damage to right-populism, clearing out the field even more.

Steve H. , December 27, 2016 at 10:15 am

: To be the reserve currency issue, you need to be willing to run trade deficits on an ongoing basis so there is plenty of your currency in foreign hands. That is equivalent to having your domestic demand support foreign jobs, or exporting jobs. [ Yves ]

This may indicate that any job growth in the U.S. won't be from making more stuff ('buy American'), but rather by restricting immigration ('hire American').

reslez , December 27, 2016 at 12:54 pm

Saw this yesterday:

Report: 71 Percent of New Jobs Go to Foreign Born Legal, Illegal Immigrants in NH

A CIS analysis using data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey showed that since 2000, 71 percent of the net increase in the number of working-age (16 to 65) people holding a job in New Hampshire has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal), even though the native-born accounted for 65 percent of population growth among the working-age.

John k , December 27, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Yes, this is a conundrum. A high import duty makes dollars harder to get to those foreigners that want to save in dollars, so pushes up the price, somewhat negating the duty.
Immigration roughly doubled in 1990, to current 1 million per year. Maybe 32 million since 1975, 10% of current pop.
1 million per year current immigration adds up, 10 million since 2006 or, if unchanged, another 10 million by 2026.
This blog talks of stagnant middle lower class wages since mid-seventies, wonder what effect 32mm immigrants had on wages or 24mm current unemployed or given up looking workers?
Who do we care about most unemployed here or unemployed over there? What, exactly, is wrong about a wall, or drastically reducing immigration? Once somebody gets citizenship their family members get priority is this good policy for the bottom 50%? We do know that corps would like to further drive down wages, explaining her hopes for open borders.
And what about students? Is it good policy to educate foreigners instead of locals? Who wants to explain their reasons to locals turned away? To their families? (To influence future foreign leaders? Really? Xi was educated here would you say he is therefore our good buddy?) so who is hurt, and who is helped, if we end or reduce student visas?

What is the progressive position on America, or Americans, first? I would say that when unemployment is truly low we could allow some immigration, when we expand our universities to account for pop growth we could allow some foreign participation.

No more foreign adventures. We are already confronting Russia big time sack the neocons at state and war departments and CIA. Slash armaments spending. End the useless wasteful f35, redirect spending to infra. Withdraw 'tactical' nukes surrounding Russia.

Enforce steel and other violations of WTO agreements with great vigor. Maybe a tariff would catch the attention of those assuming they have unfettered access to our markets and therefore have no need to cooperate in other ways. I doubt our tariffs would lead to a trade war exporters desperately need our markets because their own unemployment terrifies them and or because austerity has killed their own. (We can explain that unemployment is, for the first time in decades, beginning to terrify our own pols.)

Support Brexit with guarantee that existing trade agreement remains in place. the sooner the euro disaster crashes and burns the better.

Ranger Rick , December 27, 2016 at 10:38 am

I fully expect a fight to come over labeling and country of origin laws. The automobile industry already stretches the definition of "made in America" to its breaking point for tax purposes.

John Wright , December 27, 2016 at 12:41 pm

I spent some time looking for American made tools in the local Sears store.

What surprised me was the socket ratchets, that used to have "Made in the USA" stamped in them now had no country of origin shown. "Made in China" is only on the packaging.

I found, and bought, some pliers and tin snips that were still made in the USA (and marked on the product as well) so it appears if a product is not marked "Made in USA" one should assume it is imported.

At the local salvage yard, I found a sharpening stone that had cynically printed on the packaging "Distributed with Pride in the USA" on it while being made in China.

It is difficult to find American manufactured products at the retail level. Even the iconic American brand Vise-Grip tools moved from DeWitt, Nebraska to China, and I don't imagine the wages were very high in Nebraska.

jrs , December 27, 2016 at 3:57 pm

And even then if all you have is a "made in the U.S.A." label there is no certainty it isn't produced by prison labor (made in the U.S.A.!), many companies use it, but not every industry.

inode_buddha , December 27, 2016 at 5:09 pm

I deal with tools for a living. what has happened is the apex group has bought up rights to the classic USA brands and offshored the lot. dozens of brands all held by private equity. as an industrial/plant mechanic, myself an all coworkers can verify that everything
has crapified. I now go exclusively on eBay for functional antiques.

stefan , December 27, 2016 at 11:32 am

Americans are addicted to cheap.

ambrit , December 27, 2016 at 1:12 pm

"Cheap" masks the decline in an American's wages, and also the decline in their standard of living. I've found that "cheap" imported tools are inferior in the main. So, "cheap" helps Americans to delude themselves that the "American Dream" is still alive.

Grizziz , December 27, 2016 at 11:47 am

The article lacks the names of the offending agents. What are the names of the iron and steel importers and their chief executives and/or principal owners.
In order to fight you need to know who to fight.

Lune , December 27, 2016 at 12:36 pm

"First, the infrastructure spending won't lead to an increase in fiscal spending, so it will not act as an economic stimulus. "

To add to craazyboy's comment, this isn't the full picture. If Trump's policies incentivize private money towards infrastructure spending that has a higher GDP multiplier effect than other activities like corporate share buybacks, then the net macroeconomic result will be equivalent to stimulus even without an increase in direct fiscal spending.

That said, I'm not a fan of public/private partnerships for precisely the reasons you mentioned. But in this new administration, we may have to be content with the crumbs :-) (plus, when the public/private investments inevitably go bankrupt they'll be socialized at only twice the cost of building it with public funds in the first place )

reslez , December 27, 2016 at 1:04 pm

> If Trump's policies incentivize private money towards infrastructure spending that has a higher GDP multiplier effect than other activities like corporate share buybacks, then the net macroeconomic result will be equivalent to stimulus even without an increase in direct fiscal spending.

I don't think this is likely, primarily because the "PPP" projects are going to erect tolls on major infrastructure. Tolls function as regressive taxes and are going to act as a decelerator pedal on the economy, diverting money from people who would spend it productively into the pockets of politically-connected rentiers. Does it net out better than dumping the same amount of private resources into stock buybacks? Not if you believe in rational market theory. I mean at least a new road or bridge exists that didn't before, but the economics of private ownership are going to quickly extract even more. If they couldn't, the investors would have done the buyback instead.

Yves Smith Post author , December 27, 2016 at 1:21 pm

Huh? What do corporate stock buybacks have to do with fiscal spending? Nada. That is apples and oranges.

You seem to be putting your fingers in your ear re the fiscal impact issue. There will be no fiscal multiplier because this is not fiscal spending. It's going to be privately financed with tax gimmies of various sorts. To the extent those tax gimmies reduce tax revenues (the intent is not much, that's the whole point of doing it this way), they'll be paid for with cuts in spending elsewhere.

You have a fiscal multiplier effect ONLY with actual fiscal spending. This is not that. All those studies that folks like Summers cited to support infrastructure spending are irrelevant to how Trump is planning to do this.

John k , December 27, 2016 at 1:51 pm

Bank loans also injects money into private sector. Most spending likely to be gov backed loans, immediate effect similar to fiscal deficits, though negated when loan paid back over time.

Lune , December 27, 2016 at 12:42 pm

"That American-job-creating, buy-American thing is supported by 71 percent of the American public"

Is that the same 71% of the public that's made WalMart the largest employer in the country? Buy American is a great concept in general but a terrible policy to pursue individually in the face of cheaper imports. That's why Donald Trump hires illegal immigrants to clean his hotels, and Pat Buchanan drove a Mercedes.

The only way to do it meaningfully is by law and trade restrictions. And I doubt Trump cares to do the hard work of passing those types of laws (while overcoming entrenched bipartisan opposition). Much easier to pay a few companies to temporarily keep a few jobs around and then take a victory lap.

susan the other , December 27, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Ryan stands to lose everything with old tricks like this. He has been a toady all of his career. Now whatsa slimy toad to do?

laura , December 27, 2016 at 2:53 pm

In 1989, California suffered a major earthquake and the bridge between Oakland and San Francisco was deemed unsafe. The Legislature requested that the rebuild use only US Steel. Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed that and so China sourced the steel.
Guess what, it delayed rebuilding and the new span is considered to be unsafe. . . . In a future quake.

Pat , December 27, 2016 at 3:33 pm

You would think that the government "buying American" would not be so controversial. Not only does that give the corporations more responsibility to do it right, it is also the right thing to do for many reasons.

1.) It employs Americans.
2.) It employs Americans, who can use that paycheck to buy things in America, providing even more employment for Americans who can then go and
3.) It employs Americans, who pay taxes on those wages. Taxes that go to building things in America, like infrastructure, or educating our children, or yes feeding our hungry.
4.) It employs Americans, who for the most part have no reason to want to sabotage those things, build back doors into them, or yes copy the plans so they can be made cheaper in another country.
5.) It is the right thing to do.

I'm sure others can come up with other additions to the list, but to me it is a no brainer. But of course it is a no brainer for most voters, it is only our corrupt elected officials currying favor with foreign and multinational corporations that have a conflict of interest who refuse to admit it.

[Dec 26, 2016] https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/812676949646647296

Dec 26, 2016 | twitter.com

People are really having a hard time wrapping their minds around the extent of the catastrophe that is the Trump admin. A case in point 1/

Here James Kwak, generally a fine analysts, tries to cope with the choice of Larry Kudlow as economic adviser (*) 2/

He criticizes Kudlow for simplistic adherence to Econ 101. Would that that were all! Ludlow is a full-on crank; we could only wish that 3/

he was doing freshman-level economic analysis, as opposed to living in a fantasy land where tax cuts for the wealthy are magical 4/

And yet Kudlow looks like the least crazy, least goldbuggish of the new admin's economic hires. We need to stop sugar-coating! 5/

*- Larry Kudlow and Economics in the Trump
Administration - December 23, 2016 - James Kwak
https://baselinescenario.com/2016/12/23/larry-kudlow-and-economics-in-the-trump-administration/ Reply Saturday, December 24, 2016 at 10:01 AM pgl said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... And I though Kwak nailed Kudlow. OK - Krugman is right. BTW - look above for some comic relief. JohnH is attacking Kwak on the exchange rate thing. Kudlow is a terrible choice for CEA but let's be thankful did not pick JohnH for that job.

[Dec 18, 2016] Will Donald Trump Cave on Social Security

First Bush II bankrupted the country by cutting taxes for rich and unleashing Iraq war. Then Republicans want to cut Social Securty to pay for it
Notable quotes:
"... His nominee to run the Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, a Republican congressman from Georgia, has been a champion of cuts to all three of the nation's large social programs - Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. When discussing reforms to Social Security, he has ignored ways to bring new revenue into the system while emphasizing possible benefit cuts through means-testing, private accounts and raising the retirement age. ..."
"... But Mr. Price, who currently heads the House Budget Committee, has found a way to cut Social Security deeply without Congress and the president ever having to enact specific benefit cuts, like raising the retirement age. ..."
"... Mr. Trump's hands-off approach to Social Security during the campaign was partly a strategic gesture to separate him from other Republican contenders who stuck to the party line on cutting Social Security. But he also noted the basic fairness of a system in which people who dutifully contribute while they are working receive promised benefits when they retire. Unfortunately, he has not surrounded himself with people who will help him follow those instincts. ..."
www.nytimes.com

Donald Trump campaigned on a promise not to cut Social Security, which puts him at odds with the Republican Party's historical antipathy to the program and the aims of today's Republican leadership. So it should come as no surprise that congressional Republicans are already testing Mr. Trump's hands-off pledge.

... ... ...

As Congress drew to a close this month, Sam Johnson, the chairman of the House Social Security subcommittee, introduced a bill that would slash Social Security benefits for all but the very poorest beneficiaries. To name just two of the bill's benefit cuts, it would raise the retirement age to 69 and reduce the annual cost-of-living adjustment, while asking nothing in the way of higher taxes to bolster the program; on the contrary, it would cut taxes that high earners now pay on a portion of their benefits. Last week, Mark Meadows, the Republican chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said the group would push for an overhaul of Social Security and Medicare in the early days of the next Congress.

... ... ...

Another sensible reform would be to bring more tax revenue into the system by raising the level of wages subject to Social Security taxes, currently $118,500. In recent decades, the wage cap has not kept pace with the income gains of high earners; if it had, it would be about $250,000 today.

The next move on Social Security is Mr. Trump's. He can remind Republicans in Congress that his pledge would lead him to veto benefit cuts to Social Security if such legislation ever reached his desk. When he nominates the next commissioner of Social Security, he can choose a competent manager, rather than someone who has taken sides in political and ideological debates over the program.

What Mr. Trump actually will do is unknown, but his actions so far don't inspire confidence. By law, the secretaries of labor, the Treasury and health and human services are trustees of Social Security. Mr. Trump's nominees to head two of these departments, Labor and Treasury - Andrew Puzder, a fast-food executive, and Steve Mnuchin, a Wall Street trader and hedge fund manager turned Hollywood producer - have no government experience and no known expertise on Social Security.

His nominee to run the Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, a Republican congressman from Georgia, has been a champion of cuts to all three of the nation's large social programs - Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. When discussing reforms to Social Security, he has ignored ways to bring new revenue into the system while emphasizing possible benefit cuts through means-testing, private accounts and raising the retirement age.

There is no way to mesh those ideas with Mr. Trump's pledge. But Mr. Price, who currently heads the House Budget Committee, has found a way to cut Social Security deeply without Congress and the president ever having to enact specific benefit cuts, like raising the retirement age. Recently, he put forth a proposal to reform the budget process by imposing automatic spending cuts on most federal programs if the national debt exceeds specified levels in a given year. If Congress passed Mr. Trump's proposed tax cut, for example, the ensuing rise in debt would trigger automatic spending cuts that would slash Social Security by $1.7 trillion over 10 years, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. This works out to a cut of $168 a month on the average monthly benefit of $1,240. If other Trump priorities were enacted, including tax credits for private real estate development and increases in military spending, the program cuts would be even deeper.

Mr. Trump's hands-off approach to Social Security during the campaign was partly a strategic gesture to separate him from other Republican contenders who stuck to the party line on cutting Social Security. But he also noted the basic fairness of a system in which people who dutifully contribute while they are working receive promised benefits when they retire. Unfortunately, he has not surrounded himself with people who will help him follow those instincts.

Susan Anderson is a trusted commenter Boston 1 hour ago
There is a simple solution to Social Security.

Remove the cap, so it is not a regressive tax. After all, Republicans appear to be all for a "flat" tax. Then lower the rate for everyone.

There is no reason why it should only be charged on the part of income that is needed to pay for necessary expenses should as housing, food, medical care, transportation, school, communications, and such. Anyone making more than the current "cap" is actually able to afford all this.

There is no reason the costs should be born only by those at the bottom of the income pyramid.

As for Republican looting, that's just despicable, and we'll hope they are wise enough to realize that they shouldn't let government mess with people's Social Security!

Thomas Zaslavsky is a trusted commenter Binghamton, N.Y. 1 hour ago
The idea hinted in the editorial that Trump has any principle or instinct that would lead him to protect benefits for people who are not himself or his ultra-wealthy class is not worthy of consideration. No, Trump has none such and he will act accordingly. (Test my prediction at the end of 2017 or even sooner; it seems the Republicans are champing at the bit to loot the government and the country fro their backers.)
Christine McM is a trusted commenter Massachusetts 2 hours ago
I wouldn't hold Trump to any of his campaign promises, given how often he changes positions, backtracks, changes subjects, or whatever. His biggest promise of all was to "drain the swamp" and we know how that turned out.

He might have a cabinet of outsiders, but they are still creatures from outside swamps. That said, if there is even the barest of hints that this is on the agenda, I can pretty much bet that in two years, Congress will completely change parties.

Imagine: cutting benefits for people who worked all their lives and depend on that money in older age, all in order to give the wealthiest Americans another huge tax cut. For a fake populist like Trump, that might sound like a great idea (he has no fixed beliefs or principles) but to his most ardent supporters, that might be the moment they finally get it: they fell for one of the biggest cons in the universe.

Rita is a trusted commenter California 2 hours ago
Given the Republican desire to shut down Medicare and Social Security, it is not hard to predict that they will do so a little at a time so that people will not notice until its too late.

But since the Republicans have been very upfront with hostility towards the social safety net, one can conclude that their supporters want to eliminate social safety net.

Mary Ann Donahue is a trusted commenter NYS 2 hours ago

RE: "To name just two of the bill's benefit cuts, it would raise the retirement age to 69 and reduce the annual cost-of-living adjustment..."

The COLA for 2017 is .03% a paltry average increase of $5 per month. There was no increase in 2016.

The formula for how the COLA is calculated needs to be changed to allow for fair increases not reductions.

Mary Scott is a trusted commenter NY 4 hours ago
Republicans have been promising to "fix" Social Security for years and now we are seeing exactly what they mean. We can see how low they're willing to stoop by their plan to cut the taxes that high earners now pay on a portion of their benefits and decimate the program for everybody else. I wouldn't be surprised if they raised SS taxes on low and middle income earners.

There has been an easy fix for Social Security for years. Simply raise the tax on income to $250,000 thousand and retirees both present and future would be on much firmer footing. Many future retirees will be moving on to Social Security without the benefit of defined pension plans and will need a more robust SS benefit in the future, not a weaker one.

Don't count on Donald Trump to come to the rescue. He seems to hate any tax more than even the most fervent anti-tax freak like Paul Ryan. Mr. Trump admitted throughout the campaign that he avoids paying any tax at all.

The Times seems to want to give Mr. Trump limitless chances to do the right thing. "Will Donald Trump Cave on Social Security" it asks. Of course he will. One has only to look at his cabinet choices and his embrace of the Ryan budget to know the answer to that question. Better to ask, "How Long Will It Take Trump To Destroy Social Security?"

At least it would be an honest question and one that would put Mr. Trump in the center of a question that will affect the economic security of millions of Americans.

serban is a trusted commenter Miller Place 4 hours ago
Cutting benefits for upper income solves nothing since by definition upper incomes are a small percentage of the population. The obvious way to solve any problem with SS is to raise taxes on upper incomes, the present cap is preposterous. People so wealthy that SS is a pittance can show their concern by simply donating the money they get from SS to charities.
david is a trusted commenter ny 4 hours ago

We can get some perspective on what Social Security privatization schemes would mean to the average SSS recipient from Roger Lowenstein' analysis of Bush's privatization scheme.

Roger Lowenstein's Times article discusses the CBO's analysis of how the Bush privatization scheme for Social Security would reduce benefits.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/16/magazine/16SOCIAL.html?_r=1&pagewa...

"The C.B.O. assumes that the typical worker would invest half of his allocation in stocks and the rest in bonds. The C.B.O. projects the average return, after inflation and expenses, at 4.9 percent. This compares with the 6 percent rate (about 3.5 percent after inflation) that the trust fund is earning now.

The second feature of the plan would link future benefit increases to inflation rather than to wages. Because wages typically grow faster, this would mean a rather substantial benefit cut. In other words, absent a sustained roaring bull market, the private accounts would not fully make up for the benefit cuts. According to the C.B.O.'s analysis, which, like all projections of this sort should be regarded as a best guess, a low-income retiree in 2035 would receive annual benefits (including the annuity from his private account) of $9,100, down from the $9,500 forecast under the present program. A median retiree would be cut severely, from $17,700 to $13,600. "

[Dec 02, 2016] K. Scott Schaeffer's review of Crippled America Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again

Dec 02, 2016 | www.amazon.com
Few detailed solutions, some crazy quotes, but actually better than his rivals' books. , November 3, 2015 By K. Scott Schaeffer Verified Purchase ( What's this? ) This review is from: Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again (Hardcover) Unlike a lot of political books, this one does not appear to be ghost-written. Trump's bombastic communications style is loud and clear from beginning to end. It's definitely coming from him. So I congratulate him on the fact that he's capable of writing a book on his own, unlike Ben Carson, who needed his wife to help him write his last two books.

The book starts off poorly, however, with CHAPTER 2 being a draw-out rant about how the media treats Trump unfairly. It made me wonder if he was ever going to get to the issues. When he did refer to the issues, he seemed to think the presidency was the same as The Apprentice when he said, "The weaker schools will be closed, and ineffective teachers will be fired." So if you thought the teacher-student ratio in schools was bad, it looks like Trump firing teachers left and right will make it far worse.

Shortly after, he follows with the unrealistic quote, "we need a military that will be so strong that we won't have to use it." We already spend 8 times more than the Russians do on defense. We already have enough nukes to wipe out the planet. But terrorists really don't care about that. Reagan and Bush already proved that no matter how much we spend on defense, terrorists still attack everything from the Beirut Embassy to the World Trade Center to our troops in Iraq.

CHAPTER 3 goes right to his #1 topic – THE WALL: "Mexico will pay for it. How? We could increase the various border fees we charge. We could increase the fees on temporary Visas .we could pay for the wall through a tariff or cut foreign aid to Mexico." First, these are all small revenue generating ideas that wouldn't come close to paying for a 1000 mile wall. Second, American consumers would be the ones paying the tariffs, not Mexico.

CHAPTER 4, on DEFENSE, starts with "Look at the state of the world right now There has never been a more dangerous time. The so-called insiders within the Washington ruling class are the people who got us into this trouble." Yeah, just ask someone when a Republican president did a better job. When Reagan was president, he gave scud missiles to Iraq after Saddam invaded Iran and started an 8 year war, while the Soviets invaded Afghanistan through Reagan's entire presidency. Foreign affairs are always a mess, and the Republicans do just as bad, if not worse, than the Democrats.

There were a few good quotes in this chapter, however. Here are a few:

Good quote: "We defend Germany. We defend Japan. We defend South Korea. We get nothing from them. It's time to change all of that." In other words, if we are going to defend other countries or help them in a war, we should be fully compensated for that. I've been thinking that for years. (Note "I wrote this before I was aware that Trump was so eagerly supported by Putin and was willing to turn his back on our NATO allies. We should not make the same mistake the Soviets did when they signed the non-aggression pact with Hitler and let him have his way in Europe, only to turn and kill 14 million Soviets when he was done. Putin may be the most dangerous man on earth.)

Good quote: "if we are going to intervene in a conflict, there had better be a direct threat to our national interests Iraq was no threat to us."

Good quote: "There is no reason the federal government should profit from student loans" - a sentiment already expressed by progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren.

CHAPTER 6: This ENERGY chapter is where the book goes south again, with quotes like this one regarding the Keystone Pipeline: "eventually, the world will need that oil and we will need the good jobs that it will create." Trump unwittingly reveals the problem with his stance with this quote – American oil will be shipped to the world and not kept here where we need it. That will decrease our energy independence. Trump proves to be just one more Republican who is interested in serving global oil more than he is the American people.

CHAPTER 7 is the HEALTHCARE chapter in which his best solution (after repealing Obamacare) is "I'd like to see a private insurance system without artificial lines drawn between states." He says this will increase competition and give customers more choices. But I fear that after a while, we'll have no more choices than we do with airlines. Trump offered virtually no other healthcare solutions in the brief healthcare chapter, which is worrisome.

CHAPTER 8 is about the ECONOMY, where every conservative book fails, and this one is no exception. Here's where Trump resorts to lies: "Our national debt is more than $19 trillion Even the most liberal economists warn that as we head past the $20+ trillion debt levels, we'll be in big, big trouble." Economists aren't concerned about total dollars, since they go up with time due to population, inflation, and production growth. They are concerned with debt as a % of GDP. Right now our public debt is about 75% of GDP, as long as GDP grows as much as the debt, which is pretty much the way it is now, little will change. Once public debt reaches more than 100% - 120% of GDP (it reached 118% in 1946), then perhaps we'll be doomed.

Here's a bigger lie: "When you also take into account the large number of jobholders who are underemployed, the real unemployment rate soars to the high teens or even 20%." This is a proven lie. The U6 unemployment rate (which includes discouraged and part-time workers looking to be full-time) is 10.0% as of 9/15 – the same as it was in 2005 and 1996, when the economy was considered good (you can look this up at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website).

This economics chapter offers few solutions. He just says he'll negotiate better trade deals, and in the defense chapter, he says he'll create more jobs with increased defense spending, which we know will balloon the debt the way it did under Reagan and Bush. He says in the following chapter that we'll spend more on infrastructure to create a lot of jobs. I agree with that point, but it's still more government spending that will add to the debt.

And that brings us to his TAX PLAN in CHAPTER 17. In it, families who earn less than $50,000 (which is just below the household median income) will pay no income tax. That's about 50% of Americans. And then the rates beyond that are 10%, 20%, and 25%. That's big tax savings for everyone. And he says "any business of any size will pay no more than 15%", compared to the current corporate tax of 35% (a big break for foreign billionaires who use America's infrastructure, safety, and workers to operate their American plants, but pay no personal taxes since they aren't Americans). How will this drastic tax cut for everyone not add to the debt? Trump's answer: "With disciplined budget management and elimination of waste, fraud, and abuse, this plan will allow us to balance the budget." This is a pathetically-empty promise. The problem with it is that it takes a lot more spending to more-extensively monitor waste, fraud, and abuse, and even with that, doing so is a tedious task that's easier said than done.

In the chapters I didn't single out, Trump repeatedly toots his own horn by reviewing all of his wonderfully-successful business accomplishments, while failing to address the failures. And I don't recall the 4 corporate bankruptcies being mentioned, either.

Despite this book's weaknesses, it's still better than Ben Carson's and Mike Huckabee's books. Huckabee focused on turning southerners and heartlanders against the rest of the country, while Carson frequently employed the blame-the-worker/blame-the-poor approach in his appeal to increase taxes on the poor while cutting their assistance – which is just plain cruel. I'm still afraid of Trump becoming president, but not as horrified as I would be with most of the other Republicans becoming president.

[Dec 02, 2016] Paul Krugman Why Corruption Matters

Notable quotes:
"... The Paul Ryan plan to privatize Medicare will invite the corrupt health insurance oligopoly to basically rob all folks blind. Privatization effectively ends Medicare. But can the NYTimes just say that? Of course not but Dean Baker can ..."
"... With 50 million people suffering directly or indirectly from family member suffering, voters will wage war on those responsible, and demand those responsible be punished: politicians, insurers, hospitals, doctors, drug companies, many of which are suffering financial declines ..."
"... NHS start looking like the obvious bailout of the health care industry. Every worker still employed plus half those fired or retired would become government employees running the NHS, just like in post WWII Britain. ..."
"... Pillage and plunder requires leaving your victims plenty of time to rebuild and build capital to make a return pillage and plunder worth the effort. ..."
"... Tax cuts have pillaged and plundered, leaving little possible profit. With the bottom 50% and top 1% paying no taxes, who profits from tax cuts? The 1% who can't get their government contracts past Ted Cruz due to current tax cut deficits? ..."
Dec 02, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
pgl : , November 28, 2016 at 10:15 AM
The Paul Ryan plan to privatize Medicare will invite the corrupt health insurance oligopoly to basically rob all folks blind. Privatization effectively ends Medicare. But can the NYTimes just say that? Of course not but Dean Baker can :

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/is-the-nyt-trying-to-explain-republican-medicare-plan-or-disguise-it

mulp -> pgl... , November 28, 2016 at 01:38 PM
How can you rob people who on the whole have no money to steal?

Let's imagine the right get everything they want, and end to Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, and employer health benefits tax deductibles. Now it's either private insurers or nothing. Half the people will either be denied private insurance of fall short of being able to pay for it, especially if healthy, so insurers only get the people most likely to get sick enough to profit from insurance. Doctors and hospitals either refuse care for half the population beyond minor care, or they shift costs of the uninsured onto the insured, or they go bankrupt, or sharply downsize and do only. concierge care.

With 50 million people suffering directly or indirectly from family member suffering, voters will wage war on those responsible, and demand those responsible be punished: politicians, insurers, hospitals, doctors, drug companies, many of which are suffering financial declines .

NHS start looking like the obvious bailout of the health care industry. Every worker still employed plus half those fired or retired would become government employees running the NHS, just like in post WWII Britain.

Unfortunately, Republicans are not that stupid, and Democrats not sufficiently Machiavellian to throw millions of Americans under the bus for five years for the great good in the following twenty years, by which time conservatives will have a new free lip unchanged plan to justify pillage and plunder.

Pillage and plunder requires leaving your victims plenty of time to rebuild and build capital to make a return pillage and plunder worth the effort.

Tax cuts have pillaged and plundered, leaving little possible profit. With the bottom 50% and top 1% paying no taxes, who profits from tax cuts? The 1% who can't get their government contracts past Ted Cruz due to current tax cut deficits?

Wage and benefit cuts have pillaged and plundered workers into seeing poverty surrounding them, so who is left to slash wages and benefits? High tech workers? Immigrant labor hired by high tech?

Industry has been pillaged and plundered. Farmers have been pillaged and plundered.

Who is better off today than in 1980? Who sees greater opportunity today than their peers saw in 1980? Which of the flyover States with solid conservative government for years, even decades, see great opportunity ahead from new conservative pillage and plunder Laws?

Economies are zero sum in the long run. Conservatives have spend labor income aka labor cost from before 1980, from 1980 to the present, and realistically from today to at least 2040 to pay for their pillage and plunder of all factors of the economy, including government, since 1980. The US is diminished as a result, with only the larger population, larger due to immigration, representing an increase in capital value. But the human capital is burdened with debt run up by conservatives since 1980.

ilsm -> mulp... , November 28, 2016 at 03:54 PM
'Rob people with no money':

The $2800B in accumulated SS Trust Fund was a down payment on $5000B spent by the pentagon and CIA showing al Qaeda how they can get Syria, too.

Tax cuts for the wealthy........

ilsm -> pgl... , -1
How the "corrupt health insurance oligopoly" got rich: Obamacare.

Ryan will do for the "corrupt health insurance oligopoly" what Obama is doing.

[Nov 28, 2016] Amazon.com K. Scott Schaeffer's review of Crippled America How to Make America Grea...

Nov 28, 2016 | www.amazon.com
Few detailed solutions, some crazy quotes, but actually better than his rivals' books. , November 3, 2015 By K. Scott Schaeffer Verified Purchase ( What's this? ) This review is from: Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again (Hardcover) Unlike a lot of political books, this one does not appear to be ghost-written. Trump's bombastic communications style is loud and clear from beginning to end. It's definitely coming from him. So I congratulate him on the fact that he's capable of writing a book on his own, unlike Ben Carson, who needed his wife to help him write his last two books.

The book starts off poorly, however, with CHAPTER 2 being a draw-out rant about how the media treats Trump unfairly. It made me wonder if he was ever going to get to the issues. When he did refer to the issues, he seemed to think the presidency was the same as The Apprentice when he said, "The weaker schools will be closed, and ineffective teachers will be fired." So if you thought the teacher-student ratio in schools was bad, it looks like Trump firing teachers left and right will make it far worse.

Shortly after, he follows with the unrealistic quote, "we need a military that will be so strong that we won't have to use it." We already spend 8 times more than the Russians do on defense. We already have enough nukes to wipe out the planet. But terrorists really don't care about that. Reagan and Bush already proved that no matter how much we spend on defense, terrorists still attack everything from the Beirut Embassy to the World Trade Center to our troops in Iraq.

CHAPTER 3 goes right to his #1 topic – THE WALL: "Mexico will pay for it. How? We could increase the various border fees we charge. We could increase the fees on temporary Visas .we could pay for the wall through a tariff or cut foreign aid to Mexico." First, these are all small revenue generating ideas that wouldn't come close to paying for a 1000 mile wall. Second, American consumers would be the ones paying the tariffs, not Mexico.

CHAPTER 4, on DEFENSE, starts with "Look at the state of the world right now There has never been a more dangerous time. The so-called insiders within the Washington ruling class are the people who got us into this trouble." Yeah, just ask someone when a Republican president did a better job. When Reagan was president, he gave scud missiles to Iraq after Saddam invaded Iran and started an 8 year war, while the Soviets invaded Afghanistan through Reagan's entire presidency. Foreign affairs are always a mess, and the Republicans do just as bad, if not worse, than the Democrats.

There were a few good quotes in this chapter, however. Here are a few:

Good quote: "We defend Germany. We defend Japan. We defend South Korea. We get nothing from them. It's time to change all of that." In other words, if we are going to defend other countries or help them in a war, we should be fully compensated for that. I've been thinking that for years. (Note "I wrote this before I was aware that Trump was so eagerly supported by Putin and was willing to turn his back on our NATO allies. We should not make the same mistake the Soviets did when they signed the non-aggression pact with Hitler and let him have his way in Europe, only to turn and kill 14 million Soviets when he was done. Putin may be the most dangerous man on earth.)

Good quote: "if we are going to intervene in a conflict, there had better be a direct threat to our national interests Iraq was no threat to us."

Good quote: "There is no reason the federal government should profit from student loans" - a sentiment already expressed by progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren.

CHAPTER 6: This ENERGY chapter is where the book goes south again, with quotes like this one regarding the Keystone Pipeline: "eventually, the world will need that oil and we will need the good jobs that it will create." Trump unwittingly reveals the problem with his stance with this quote – American oil will be shipped to the world and not kept here where we need it. That will decrease our energy independence. Trump proves to be just one more Republican who is interested in serving global oil more than he is the American people.

CHAPTER 7 is the HEALTHCARE chapter in which his best solution (after repealing Obamacare) is "I'd like to see a private insurance system without artificial lines drawn between states." He says this will increase competition and give customers more choices. But I fear that after a while, we'll have no more choices than we do with airlines. Trump offered virtually no other healthcare solutions in the brief healthcare chapter, which is worrisome.

CHAPTER 8 is about the ECONOMY, where every conservative book fails, and this one is no exception. Here's where Trump resorts to lies: "Our national debt is more than $19 trillion Even the most liberal economists warn that as we head past the $20+ trillion debt levels, we'll be in big, big trouble." Economists aren't concerned about total dollars, since they go up with time due to population, inflation, and production growth. They are concerned with debt as a % of GDP. Right now our public debt is about 75% of GDP, as long as GDP grows as much as the debt, which is pretty much the way it is now, little will change. Once public debt reaches more than 100% - 120% of GDP (it reached 118% in 1946), then perhaps we'll be doomed.

Here's a bigger lie: "When you also take into account the large number of jobholders who are underemployed, the real unemployment rate soars to the high teens or even 20%." This is a proven lie. The U6 unemployment rate (which includes discouraged and part-time workers looking to be full-time) is 10.0% as of 9/15 – the same as it was in 2005 and 1996, when the economy was considered good (you can look this up at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website).

This economics chapter offers few solutions. He just says he'll negotiate better trade deals, and in the defense chapter, he says he'll create more jobs with increased defense spending, which we know will balloon the debt the way it did under Reagan and Bush. He says in the following chapter that we'll spend more on infrastructure to create a lot of jobs. I agree with that point, but it's still more government spending that will add to the debt.

And that brings us to his TAX PLAN in CHAPTER 17. In it, families who earn less than $50,000 (which is just below the household median income) will pay no income tax. That's about 50% of Americans. And then the rates beyond that are 10%, 20%, and 25%. That's big tax savings for everyone. And he says "any business of any size will pay no more than 15%", compared to the current corporate tax of 35% (a big break for foreign billionaires who use America's infrastructure, safety, and workers to operate their American plants, but pay no personal taxes since they aren't Americans). How will this drastic tax cut for everyone not add to the debt? Trump's answer: "With disciplined budget management and elimination of waste, fraud, and abuse, this plan will allow us to balance the budget." This is a pathetically-empty promise. The problem with it is that it takes a lot more spending to more-extensively monitor waste, fraud, and abuse, and even with that, doing so is a tedious task that's easier said than done.

In the chapters I didn't single out, Trump repeatedly toots his own horn by reviewing all of his wonderfully-successful business accomplishments, while failing to address the failures. And I don't recall the 4 corporate bankruptcies being mentioned, either.

Despite this book's weaknesses, it's still better than Ben Carson's and Mike Huckabee's books. Huckabee focused on turning southerners and heartlanders against the rest of the country, while Carson frequently employed the blame-the-worker/blame-the-poor approach in his appeal to increase taxes on the poor while cutting their assistance – which is just plain cruel. I'm still afraid of Trump becoming president, but not as horrified as I would be with most of the other Republicans becoming president.

[Nov 27, 2016] Trumps Economic Plan This Isnt Going to Work

Notable quotes:
"... Steve Bannon, who is Trump's chief strategist and advisor, knows that he won't be able to build a strong, divers coalition to support his political revolution without boosting growth and improving conditions for working people. That's why fixing the economy is Job 1. ..."
"... Trump also wants to reduce the top tax rate from 39.6% to 33%, while making modest reductions to the other brackets. Under the Trump plan, "a taxpayer who makes between $48,000 to $83,000 a year would save about $1,000 (while) people in the top 0.01%, making $3.7 million or more in a year, would receive $1 million in annual tax savings." (USA Today) ..."
"... The idea that a Congressman can devote all his energy to lifting the ban on "abusive mortgages" - just eight years after abusive, predatory, toxic mortgages blew up the global financial system costing roughly $50 trillion and years of agonizing retrenchment– seems almost treasonous, doesn't it? And yet, at the very least, Hensarling is likely to become one of Trump's chief advisors on financial regulations. Go figure? ..."
Nov 27, 2016 | www.unz.com
Steve Bannon, who is Trump's chief strategist and advisor, knows that he won't be able to build a strong, divers coalition to support his political revolution without boosting growth and improving conditions for working people. That's why fixing the economy is Job 1.

Here's a quote from Bannon:

"The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f-ed over. If we deliver "we'll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we'll govern for 50 years. That's what the Democrats missed. They were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It's not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about."

"It's everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I'm the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it's the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution - conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement." ( Ringside with Steve Bannon , Hollywood Reporter)

I don't pretend to know anything more about Steve Bannon than I've read in the newspapers and on the Internet. What I do know, however, is that if he is sincere in his desire to defeat the corrupt political establishment and build a coalition that "will govern for 50 years", he's going to have to find a way to climb down on his hardline immigration policies in order to implement his economic strategy. That said, I expect Trump will settle on some way to minimize the damage he has done to himself and call on congress to get more involved in the hot-button immigration issue. In other words, he's going to have to punt if he wants to govern.

ORDER IT NOW

Bannon is the main architect of Trump's economic plan, a plan that has already earned broad public support, but a plan that won't succeed unless it is drastically changed. Here's why:

Trump's economic plan can be broken into three parts: Tax cuts, deregulation and fiscal stimulus.

As far as tax cuts, there are three main subsets:

1–The corporate tax rate, which Trump wants to drop from 35 percent to 15 percent.

2–A tax cut on the so-called "repatriation of funds"– which lowers the rate on roughly $2 trillion of cash that's currently stashed overseas by uber-rich US businesses that have been evading US corporate taxes for years. Trump wants to give these tax dodgers a one-time "holiday" with a 10% penalty for companies that agree to bring their cash back to the US. Trump believes that the one-time tax break will increase business investment and employment in the US. Critics say the scheme will not work unless the economy strengthens and demand grows.

3–Trump also wants to reduce the top tax rate from 39.6% to 33%, while making modest reductions to the other brackets. Under the Trump plan, "a taxpayer who makes between $48,000 to $83,000 a year would save about $1,000 (while) people in the top 0.01%, making $3.7 million or more in a year, would receive $1 million in annual tax savings." (USA Today)

Here's a brief summary from economist Dean Baker:

"According to the analysis of the Tax Policy Center at the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, (Trump's) tax plan will reduce revenue by more than $9 trillion (close to 4 percent of GDP) over the course of the next decade. This tax cut plan would effectively add close to $800 billion to the annual deficit when it first takes effect, with the amount increasing over time

"According to the Tax Policy Center, more than half of Trump's tax cuts will go to the richest one percent of the population. The richest 0.1 percent will get tax cuts that average almost $1.5 million annually. The Trump tax cut is consistent with the fundamental principle of the Republican Party, and unfortunately many Democrats, of putting as much money as possible in the pockets of the rich." ( Republican deficit hawks abandon their religion , Smirking Chimp)

As you can see, most of the benefits from the proposed tax cuts go to the extremely rich. How does that fit with Trump's campaign promise:

"I am proposing an across-the-board income-tax reduction, especially for middle-income Americans The tax relief will be concentrated on the working and middle-class taxpayer. They will receive the biggest benefit – it won't even be close."

The tax cuts look like a serious betrayal of Trump's supporters. They also look like a misguided , short-term strategy that will derail Bannon's plan for broad coalition based on a strong economic growth and rising wages. This latest iteration of "trickle down" economics will not help him achieve that goal.

Unfortunately, the other parts of Trump's economic plan are equally dismal. For example, Trump is determined to repeal many of the key provisions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, the toothless bill that Congress passed in order to prevent another financial meltdown. At present, Texas congressman, Jeb Hensarling - an outspoken critic of Dodd-Frank appears to be the frontrunner in the competition for US Treasury Secretary. Hensarling, who just last week said "Dodd-Frank was a grave mistake", is pushing his own Wall Street-friendly Financial CHOICE act, which would replace the bill with a "pro-growth, pro-consumer" alternative" that would protect the banks from 'growth-strangling regulation." ( Housingwire )

Is that what we really need, more laws to protect the banks?? Check out this clip from Fortune Magazine:

"Hensarling wants to put the market in charge. His view is that encouraging banks to hold lots of capital (as Dodd-Frank does) goes far enough by itself to shore up the system, making banks far safer than the law's dense web of stress tests, complex limits on trading, and banning of mortgages and credit cards deemed "abusive" by regulators. Now that Republicans control Congress and the White House, it's highly possible that the Hensarling manifesto, or a large part of it, will become law

"I will not rest until Dodd-Frank is ripped out by its roots and tossed on the trash bin of history," (Hensarling) declared in a recent speech. The centerpiece of the CHOICE act is a provision that would exempt banks from the more restrictive Dodd-Frank regulations " ( This Congressman Could Turn the Dodd-Frank Financial Reforms Upside Down , Fortune)

The idea that a Congressman can devote all his energy to lifting the ban on "abusive mortgages" - just eight years after abusive, predatory, toxic mortgages blew up the global financial system costing roughly $50 trillion and years of agonizing retrenchment– seems almost treasonous, doesn't it? And yet, at the very least, Hensarling is likely to become one of Trump's chief advisors on financial regulations. Go figure?

What, in God's name, is Trump trying to achieve? On the one hand, he blames the Fed for inflating another gigantic asset bubble and, on the other, he tries to remove the regulatory obstacles to bubble-making. What sense does that make?

Here's a little more background on Trump's crusade against regulation. This is from the Wall Street Journal:

"Donald Trump has tapped a longtime critic of heavy regulation to flesh out his new administration's plans for remaking the financial rule book, including the potential dismantling of much of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul.

Paul Atkins served as a Republican member of the Securities and Exchange Commission from 2002 to 2008, where he spoke out against big fines for companies, arguing they punish shareholders. Now Mr. Atkins, 58 years old, is the member of the president-elect's transition team charged with recommending policies on financial regulation, according to current and former regulators briefed on the matter.

Mr. Trump has detailed little about his views on financial regulation beyond his vow to dismantle the 2010 Dodd-Frank law." ( Donald Trump's Point Man on Financial Regulation: A Former Regulator Who Favors a Light Touch , Wall Street Journal)

Trump also wants to dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) which recently imposed a $100 million fine on Wells Fargo for using bank employees to create more than 2 million unauthorized accounts to meet sales quotas. The action was applauded by consumer groups across the board which is why Trump will make every effort to defang the watchdog agency. The president-elect appears to be gearing up to eliminate any rule that impairs Wall Street's ability to rake in bigger profits, whether it puts the American people at risk or not.

So how does this square with Steve Bannon's comments about coalition building and desire for a stronger economy?

I can't figure it out, after all, Bannon sounds like a true believer, a no-nonsense, red-blooded, blue collar working guy who hates the Wall Street, the Republican establishment and the mainstream media. What's not to like about that?

But how does Bannon's hardscrabble upbringing, his commitment to tea party uprising, and his take-no-prisoners combativeness, jibe with these flagrant tax giveaways, this anti-worker deregulation, and a fiscal policy that only benefits the uber wealthy? I don't get it??

In an extremely persuasive interview with Buzzfeed News, Bannon disparages the new strain of "Ayn Rand" capitalism that objectifies people and turns them into commodities. He expands on this idea by giving a brief synopsis of the financial crisis that many will find galvanizing. Here's a clip:

"The 2008 crisis, which, by the way, I don't think we've come through - is really driven I believe by the greed, much of it driven by the greed of the investment banks.
And one of the reasons is that we've never really gone and dug down and sorted through the problems of 2008. Particularly the fact - think about it - not one criminal charge has ever been brought to any bank executive associated with 2008 crisis. And in fact, it gets worse. No bonuses and none of their equity was taken. So part of the prime drivers of the wealth that they took in the 15 years leading up to the crisis was not hit at all, and I think that's one of the fuels of this populist revolt that we're seeing as the tea party

The bailouts were absolutely outrageous, and here's why: It bailed out a group of shareholders and executives who were specifically accountable.

In fact, one of the committees in Congress said to the Justice Department 35 executives, I believe, that they should have criminal indictments against - not one of those has ever been followed up on. (and) Middle-class taxpayers, people that are working-class people, right, people making incomes under $50,000 and $60,000, it was the burden of those taxpayers, right, that bailed out the elites.

It's all the institutions of the accounting firms, the law firms, the investment banks, the consulting firms, the elite of the elite, the educated elite, they understood what they were getting into, forcibly took all the benefits from it and then look to the government, went hat in hand to the government to be bailed out. And they've never been held accountable today. Trust me - they are going to be held accountable." ( This Is How Steve Bannon Sees The Entire World , Buzzfeed News)

Repeat: "They are going to be held accountable."

Bravo! He wants to lock them up. He wants the bankers to be held accountable and locked up! Who doesn't want that? Every working slob in America wants that. This is why Bannon has attracted such a loyal following; it's because his analysis of the financial crisis and its aftermath are "dead on". The American people know they were ripped off, know that Wall Street is infested with crooks and parasites, and know that the country is governed by a corrupt and unaccountable oligarchy of racketeers.

Bannon has tapped into powerful feelings of frustration and rage, and he's built a thriving movement on top of them. But where's the beef? His economic policy just doesn't deliver the goods. Bannon is talking the talk, but he's not walking the walk.

The tax cuts don't deliver for working people and neither does deregulation. So what about the third part of Trump's economic plan, the fiscal stimulus component?

Bannon says he's the driving force behind the $1 trillion infrastructure development program. Unfortunately, the program is little more than a scam. Let me explain:

Typically, when people think about fiscal stimulus, they imagine expensive Keynesian "shovel ready" infrastructure projects with lots of well-paid government workers building bridges, roads, rapid transit systems and even schools. That's not what this is. According to economist Jared Bernstein:

"Instead of just allocating the needed resources as in the traditional approach, they propose to "offer some $137 billion in tax breaks to private investors who want to finance toll roads, toll bridges, or other projects that generate their own revenue streams."

Since the plan depends on private investors, it can only fund projects that spin off user fees and are profitable. Rural roads, water systems, and public schools don't fall into that category. Neither does public transit, which fails on the profitable criterion (it depends on public subsidies." ( Trump's misguided flirtation with Keynesianism , Politico)

This isn't going to work. It's completely self defeating. This is just more of the same, more handouts to big business. The whole point of fiscal stimulus is to get money in the hands of the people who will spend it fast, rev up the economy, boost growth, generate more demand and get the economy out of its eight-year-long funk. The rebuilding of infrastructure is secondary, in fact, it doesn't even matter. What matters is getting money circulating in the perennially-moribund economy. Caspice?

Here's more on the Trump infrastructure boondoggle from an article in the Washington Post:

"Trump's plan is not really an infrastructure plan. It's a tax-cut plan for utility-industry and construction-sector investors, and a massive corporate welfare plan for contractors. The Trump plan doesn't directly fund new roads, bridges, water systems or airports, as did Hillary Clinton's 2016 infrastructure proposal. Instead, Trump's plan provides tax breaks to private-sector investors who back profitable construction projects. There's no requirement that the tax breaks be used for expanded construction efforts; they could all go just to fatten the pockets of investors in previously planned projects

Second, as a result of the above, Trump's plan isn't really a jobs plan, either. Because the plan subsidizes investors, not projects; because it funds tax breaks, not bridges; because there's no requirement that the projects be otherwise unfunded, there is simply no guarantee that the plan will produce any net new hiring.

Buried inside the plan will be provisions to weaken prevailing wage protections on construction projects, undermining unions and ultimately eroding workers' earnings. Environmental rules are almost certain to be gutted in the name of accelerating projects." ( Trump's big infrastructure plan? It's a trap. Washington Post)

These so called "public-private partnerships" are just another way for big business to suck money out of the government. They don't help the economy, not really, and they don't help workers either. If Bannon is serious about building his coalition on the back of a robust economy, there's an easier way to do it. First get rid of the corporate ideologues and supply side radicals whose theories never work. Then hire a team of reputable economists who have first-hand experience implementing thorny stimulus programs of this magnitude. (Joseph Stiglitz, James Galbraith, Dean Baker, Michael Hudson, Jack Rasmus)

Then start with the low-hanging fruit, that is, put money into already-running programs that will produce immediate results. For example, in James Galbraith's epic article "No Return to Normal" the economist recommends increasing Social Security payments. Think about that. It's a complete no-brainer. The people who live on Social Security spend every dime they get every month, which means that - if their payments go up by, let's say, $200 or more per month– then all that dough goes straight into the economy which is what fiscal stimulus is all about. Also, increase food stamp funding, lower the Medicare age of eligibility, and rehire a portion of the 500,000 federal workers who lost their jobs in the Crash of '08. These policies will put money into the economy immediately, boosting growth, increasing wages, and strengthening the prospects for whatever political party happens to be in office.

The point is, fiscal stimulus doesn't have to be a boondoggle and it doesn't require "shovel ready" jobs. All that's needed is a competent team of economic advisors who know what the hell they're doing and the political will to get the job done. Trump's economic plan doesn't do that, all it does is slightly improve GDP while trillions of dollars are transferred to the bank accounts of behemoth corporations and Wall Street cronies.

If Bannon is serious about fixing the economy and rebuilding the Republican party, my advice to him would be: Give Galbraith a call.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition . He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com .

[Nov 24, 2016] Trumpism Has Dealt a Mortal Blow to Orthodox Economics and Social Science by Sanjay Reddy

Notable quotes:
"... The role of economics in furnishing the now-rebuked narratives that have reigned for decades in mainstream political parties can be seen in three areas. ..."
"... The dominant economic ideas taken together created a framework in which deviation from declared orthodoxy would be punished by dynamics unleashed by globalization and financialization. The system depended not merely on actors having the specific interests attributed to them, but in believing in the theory that said that they did. [This is one of the reasons that Trumpism has generated confusion among economic actors, even as his victory produced an early bout of stock-market euphoria. It does not rebuke neoliberalism so much as replace it with its own heretical version, bastard neoliberalism, an orientation without a theory, whose tale has yet to be written.] ..."
"... Trumpism is a crisis for the most prestigious methods of understanding economic and social life, ennobled and enthroned by the metropolitan academy of the last third of a century. It has caused mainstream 'social science' to fall like a deck of cards. It can only save itself through comprehensive reinvention, from the ground up. ..."
"... What about 30 year of ignoring and excluding Full Employment Economics policies? In the US, "globalization" , "securitization" and "financialization" were never forced to consider the interests of all stakeholder just direct market forces. ..."
"... The pain and insecurity of many people is real and there is no simple solution to assist middle and working class people in their competition with capital investments. ..."
"... The patterns are pretty similar wrt to increasing economic pressure, loss of trust and legitimacy in institutions and 'new' media influence on public opinion by spreading rumors rather than truthful news and substantiated opinions ..."
"... so long as the establishment (read elite, professional class..) want no change it will use and support and get the alugnment from the mainstream economists. ..."
Nov 24, 2016 | www.ineteconomics.org
How orthodox economics paved the way for the political shocks of 2016 Grappling with the shock of Donald Trump's election victory, most analysts focus on his appeal to those in the United States who feel left behind, wish to retrieve a lost social order, and sought to rebuke establishment politicians who do not serve their interests. In this respect, the recent American revolt echoes the shock of the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, but it is of far greater significance because it promises to reshape the entire global order, and the complaisant forms of thought that accompanied it.

Ideas played an important role in creating the conditions that produced Brexit and Trump. The 'social sciences' - especially economics - legitimated a set of ideas about the economy that were aggressively peddled and became the conventional wisdom in the policies of mainstream political parties, to the extent that the central theme of the age came to be that there was no alternative. The victory of these ideas in politics in turn strengthened the iron-handed enforcers of the same ideas in academic orthodoxy.

It is never clear whether ideas or interests are the prime mover in shaping historical events, but only ideas and interests together can sustain a ruling consensus for a lengthy interval, such as the historic period of financialization and globalization running over the last 35 years. The role of economics in furnishing the now-rebuked narratives that have reigned for decades in mainstream political parties can be seen in three areas.

First, there is globalization as we knew it. Mainstream economics championed corporate-friendly trade and investment agreements to increase prosperity, and provided the intellectual framework for multilateral trade agreements. Economics made the case for such agreements, generally rejecting concerns over labor and environmental standards and giving short shrift to the effects of globalization in weakening the bargaining power of workers or altogether displacing them; to the need for compensatory measures to aid those displaced; and more generally to measures to ensure that the benefits of growth were shared. For the most part, economists casually waved aside such concerns, both in their theories and in their policy recommendations, treating these matters as either insignificant or as being in the jurisdiction of politicians. Still less attention was paid to crafting an alternate form of globalization, or to identifying bases for national economic policies taking a less passive view of comparative advantage and instead aiming to create it.

Second, there is financialization, which led to increasing disconnection between stock market performance and the real economy, with large rewards going to firms that undertook asset stripping, outsourcing, and offshoring. The combination of globalization and financialization produced a new plutocratic class of owners, managers and those who serviced them in global cities, alongside gentrification of those cities, proleterianization and lumpenization of suburbs, and growing insecurity and casualization of employment for the bulk of the middle and working class.

Financialization also led to the near-abandonment of the 'national' industrial economy in favor of global sourcing and sales, and a handsome financial rentier economy built on top of it. Meanwhile, automation trends led to shedding of jobs everywhere, and threaten far more.

All of this was hardly noticed by the discipline charged with studying the economy. Indeed, it actively provided rationales for financialization, in the form of the efficient-markets hypothesis and related ideas; for concentration of capital through mergers and acquisitions in the form of contestable-markets theory; for the gentrification of the city through attacks on rent control and other urban policies; for remaking of labor markets through the idea that unemployment was primarily a reflection of voluntary leisure preferences, etc. The mainstream political parties, including those historically representing the working and middle classes, in thrall to the 'scientific' sheen of market fetishism, gambled that they could redistribute a share of the promised gains and thus embraced policies the effect of which was ultimately to abandon and to antagonize a large section of their electorate.

Third, there is the push for austerity, a recurrent trope of the 'neoliberal' era which, although not favored by all, has played an important role in creating conditions for the rise of popular movements demanding a more expansionary fiscal stance (though they can paradoxically simultaneously disdain taxation, as with Trumpism). The often faulty intellectual case made by many mainstream economists for central bank independence, inflation targeting, debt sustainability thresholds, the distortive character of taxation and the superiority of private provision of services including for health, education and welfare, have helped to support antagonism to governmental activity. Within this perspective, there is limited room for fiscal or even monetary stimulus, or for any direct governmental role in service provision, even in the form of productivity-enhancing investments. It is only the failure fully to overcome the shipwreck of 2008 that has caused some cracks in the edifice.

The dominant economic ideas taken together created a framework in which deviation from declared orthodoxy would be punished by dynamics unleashed by globalization and financialization. The system depended not merely on actors having the specific interests attributed to them, but in believing in the theory that said that they did. [This is one of the reasons that Trumpism has generated confusion among economic actors, even as his victory produced an early bout of stock-market euphoria. It does not rebuke neoliberalism so much as replace it with its own heretical version, bastard neoliberalism, an orientation without a theory, whose tale has yet to be written.]

Finally, interpretations of politics were too restrictive, conceptualizing citizens' political choices as based on instrumental and usually economic calculations, while indulging in a wishful account of their actual conditions - for instance, focusing on low measured unemployment, but ignoring measures of distress and insecurity, or the indignity of living in hollowed-out communities.

Mainstream accounts of politics recognized the role of identities in the form of wooden theories of group mobilization or of demands for representation. However, the psychological and charismatic elements, which can give rise to moments of 'phase transition' in politics, were altogether neglected, and the role of social media and other new methods in politics hardly registered. As new political movements (such as the Tea Party and Trumpism in the U.S.) emerged across the world, these were deemed 'populist'-both an admission of the analysts' lack of explanation, and a token of disdain. The essential feature of such movements - the obscurantism that allows them to offer many things to many people, inconsistently and unaccountably, while serving some interests more than others - was little explored. The failures can be piled one upon the other. No amount of quantitative data provided by polling, 'big data', or other techniques comprehended what might be captured through open-eyed experiential narratives. It is evident that there is a need for forms of understanding that can comprehend the currents within the human person, and go beyond shallow empiricism. Mainstream social science has offered few if any resources to understand, let alone challenge, illiberal majoritarianism, now a world-remaking phenomenon.

Trumpism is a crisis for the most prestigious methods of understanding economic and social life, ennobled and enthroned by the metropolitan academy of the last third of a century. It has caused mainstream 'social science' to fall like a deck of cards. It can only save itself through comprehensive reinvention, from the ground up.

Sanjay Reddy Associate Professor of Economics , The New School for Social Research

Boris DeLaine 16 hours ago

What about 30 year of ignoring and excluding Full Employment Economics policies? In the US, "globalization" , "securitization" and "financialization" were never forced to consider the interests of all stakeholder just direct market forces.

Many of the conspiracy theorist characterize the benefactors of Globalization as the Global elite, but they are people close to all of benefiting in various forms and not hidden among some secret organization. Too many people have been searching for simple answers for complex problems.

The pain and insecurity of many people is real and there is no simple solution to assist middle and working class people in their competition with capital investments.

Carl Henning Reschke 3 hours ago
These are not so new courses of events in my opinion. I had a feeling since 1989/90 that 'the West' did not react properly to the revolution in Eastern Europe and Asia. There was some but hardly a 'requisite' change of politics and structural elements in the western political, social and economic system.

So, while it is true that "However, the psychological and charismatic elements, which can give rise to moments of 'phase transition' in politics, were altogether neglected, and the role of social media and other new methods in politics hardly registered." it actually is to be located from 1989 on.

Re the psychological elements in phase transitions, we have even seen similar courses of events in the past in e.g. the English revolutions of 1648 and 1688, the French revolution of (1787-) 1789. The patterns are pretty similar wrt to increasing economic pressure, loss of trust and legitimacy in institutions and 'new' media influence on public opinion by spreading rumors rather than truthful news and substantiated opinions.

Michael Newman 4 hours ago
In fact, the tools in social science exist in particular ethnography but also other forms of qualitative analysis such as genre theory, discourse analysis, and so on. Perhaps they are not that mainstream in economics, but in my field sociolinguistics, they certainly are and of course they're central in anthropology. Another question is that we've tended to focus on groups we find marginalized and to explore if not celebrate their resistance. However, we're now hearing of work done with participants from right wing movements.
dougcarmichael a day ago
Very to the point. Bravo. But so long as the establishment (read elite, professional class..) want no change it will use and support and get the alugnment from the mainstream economists. But if things change and a new arrangement is required for capital to find a place in a greening or deteriorating world, then the mainstream will demand, embrace, support alternative economics.
Marc dougcarmichael a day ago
Good points. What I find strange is why do we call what happened for the last 40 years "economics" at all - it appears to be a strange form of mathematical social modeling which, in my view, had little to do with the economics of the past and had little to do with the economics as practiced in the United States before it came into vogue.

Given also that there has been data which directly contradicted those theories since their invention, I tend to think those theories are not really "economic theories" per say but tools of elite academics to compete with other elite academics. This sort of distinction seems important, since a lot of economics appears to be really just elite competition, rather than models which aim at truth.

[Nov 24, 2016] Can Trump Really Make U.S. Coal Great Again

Notable quotes:
"... i expected trump to be a standard republican, but with two important possible benefits, scuttling the trade treaties and recognizing the huge blunder the republicans committed in iraq (yes i know the democrats helped them immensely), and thus somewhat less likely to get us into a war with russia. ..."
"... Going back to the employment levels of the 70's was NOT on the ballot two weeks ago. What was on the ballot was a candidate who promised a hard or even crash landing for US coal and another who implied a much softer and stretched out landing. ..."
"... Does the research measure and compare the cost of polluting, to put "very expensive" in context? Mostly seems that the neoliberal "logic" of "free" markets never consider the costs of externalities, whether they be social or environmental. ..."
"... Many here are assuming that the current fracked natural gas volumes will continue indefinitely. This is a wrong hypothesis. ..."
"... Coal might be needed because locally produced natural gas can became expensive pretty soon and burning it for generating electricity would be unwise. It is an more important as input for chemical industry then for power generation. In power generation it is essential only for rapid balancing wind and solar energy production. ..."
"... The current costs of natural gas, which makes it suitable for power generation, are "unnatural" and can't be sustained for another ten years. So anybody who plans beyond that should think about alternatives. Coal is one of them. ..."
Nov 24, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
rd November 24, 2016 at 8:50 am

It's not greenhouse gas and climate change that killed coal. It was sulfur and soot. For some odd reason, people didn't like having acid rain and smog. So regulations were passed to manage that. Natural gas stepped in as an inexpensive clean replacement.

Coal was already on the way out before carbon emissions came to the fore.

Recent coal ash spills into rivers are also adding new cost layers to coal. People downstream of power plants want to have actual water in their streams and rivers. Power companies are spending billions of dollars now managing coal ash. That item wasn't on their ledger 5 years ago.

Jeff Jenkins November 24, 2016 at 11:43 am

coal is still king in the third world. it amazes me how provincial we still are not to know such things, but then we don't have any vacation, so go figure.

Phil November 24, 2016 at 2:19 am

A really good con builds trust, first. A genius con can have his "mark" eating out of his hand, even if the mark is wary, at first. Then, the con reels in his "mark", little-by-little. A promise here; a promise there; just delivering on the initial promise hooks the mark a little deeper.

The con's appeal is always to the mark's most vulnerable weaknesses and desires. A genius con can spot vulnerabilities in a potential mark within minutes. It's uncanny.

Once the con has begun, the mark is presented with statements of reassurance by the con, with the mark eventually engaging in more and more confirmation bias, as, over time, the mark begins to realize that things are not "quite right". The con keeps the mark busy by throwing up all kinds of smoke screens about how the mark "shouldn't worry". Eventually, before the mark comes to full awareness of have been completely screwed over, the con is long gone, having profited from his game, and moved on to his next thing.

pretzelattack November 24, 2016 at 2:34 am

well most grifters imo aren't like clinton; they don't have a nasty ideological streak which gives their scamming a more sinister purpose than merely staid old self enrichment (they're fine with that, too). i think some of them can be loyal, too, to people they know, and they have to try to be realistic. so the question would be who trump is conning, and how much regard he has for his kids interests, which is mixed in with his own self regard if only because they represent his only shot at immortality.

i expected trump to be a standard republican, but with two important possible benefits, scuttling the trade treaties and recognizing the huge blunder the republicans committed in iraq (yes i know the democrats helped them immensely), and thus somewhat less likely to get us into a war with russia.

i didn't expect him to move so quickly to help us emit more co2. given the increasing pace of climate change, that represents almost the level of threat of risking a war with russia. interesting times.

Chris November 24, 2016 at 7:26 am

I've often wondered why the Pentagon doesn't more aggressively 'lobby' both the Executive and Legislative branches on such issues as climate change and income inequality. Both issues factor heavily into defense planning scenarios and war gaming efforts. If the Pentagon were to openly acknowledge that climate change and income inequality directly impede their ability to fulfill their role in the national security strategy and defend the country, I'd have to believe the public would rally around them on these issues, the President and Congress as well.

PlutoniumKun November 24, 2016 at 5:34 am

Its always hard to tell with those individuals. Plenty of them are 'true believers', but its become impossible to get anywhere in Republican politics without buying into the 'climate change is a hoax' meme – even McCain was forced to recant. So I would guess that some of them know full well its a threat and would be pragmatic when it comes to decision making. I think also international pressure could be significant, even isolationists don't want to become pariahs.

PlutoniumKun November 24, 2016 at 4:11 am

My guess is that his instinct will be to pull a fast one on the coal industry if its in his interest. The energy industry is not a monolith – as an obvious example, the gas frackers would love to kill coal stone dead, by shutting down coal thermal capacity they guarantee themselves a bigger future market as gas displaces coal as base load. And the blob will be whispering in his ear that oil and gas is more important than coal in maintaining energy independence. So I suspect he will deliver his promises on oil and gas, but not coal.

The Trumpening November 24, 2016 at 5:36 am

I think saying that since Trump will be unable to bring US coal back to its heydays in the 70's that he somehow broke a campaign promise is unjust. All he said he would do is "save" the coal industry. Going back to the employment levels of the 70's was NOT on the ballot two weeks ago. What was on the ballot was a candidate who promised a hard or even crash landing for US coal and another who implied a much softer and stretched out landing.

And whatever environmental damage that may be created by extending the life of the US coal industry will be more than offset for by the decrease in environmental damage due to the decrease in immigration Trump will bring about.

Overpopulation used to be discussed in environmental circles but since the related concept of overimmigration became an item this whole discussion has been shut down. The more Trump's enforces immigration restrictionist policies, the lower the US population will be in 2100. Current immigration trends end up with a US population of 520 million or so. Very strict immigration restrictions could result in steady state or no-growth population policy which could mean only around 340 million in 2100.

rd November 24, 2016 at 8:42 am

The non-polluting part is key We are still cleaning up manufactured gas plants from the 1800s. The converted coal into coal gas and coal tar to provide lighting and heat.

EndOfTheWorld November 24, 2016 at 9:15 am

Well, H fuel cell cars are already on the scene, so it's a question of whether people like them or not. You can purchase a Toyota Mirai with three years' complimentary fuel for a mere $57,500. (CA rebate–$5,000)

Alejandro November 24, 2016 at 11:12 am

"very expensive process (if it is done in a non-polluting way)"

Does the research measure and compare the cost of polluting, to put "very expensive" in context? Mostly seems that the neoliberal "logic" of "free" markets never consider the costs of externalities, whether they be social or environmental.

Vernon Hamilton November 24, 2016 at 7:52 am

I have worked in power industry O&M for 35 years. The prospect of a coal renaissance is as welcome as a zombie invasion, and about as likely. Burning gas is leaps and bounds better in every imaginable way, and there wont be any going back.

Burning coal is miserable brutal work. wearing full body PPE while shoveling all day in the summer is certainly an honest respectable living, Bill Ramey and the rest of the coal lobbyists are welcome to come on down and pitch in if they think its so wonderful.

Telling ex-coal miners "we are sending you back in to the mines (because there is no other work for you), and you will like it" (and they cheer) is the most appalling con worked in modern times.

TG November 24, 2016 at 9:50 am

....Nothing trumps (sorry) population growth. It is the engine. Per-capita energy consumption in the US is well below the 1970 peak – total is only going up because of population growth. As far as the rest of the world: India makes noises about green tech, but these are fantasies: the real plan is to burn so much coal that even if the US eliminated all carbon emissions it would not matter.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/542091/indias-energy-crisis/

Unless we address population growth as a factor which cannot be ignored – which is largely the result of pro-natalist government policies and official silence – anything else is irrelevant.

Mark Frederi November 24, 2016 at 10:21 am

In a word, no. Coal and oil fired electric plants are converting to natural gas at a rapid pace. As the conversions continue and old coal fired plants are retired the outlook for coal grows more dire. Even if the GOP Congress manged to provide some tax incentives or significantly eases regulations, coal mining is not the manpower intensive enterprise it once was so employment will not reach pre "slump" levels. Even so, it cost 66$ to generate 1MWh using natural gas, $92 for coal. The economies of scale, ease and lower cost of transport and less wear and tear on the physical plant and of course lower harmful emmisions of all types means natural gas is the fuel of choice for the foreseeable future.

JimTan November 24, 2016 at 11:11 am

Coal's economic issues also stem from technological innovations that favor natural gas over coal for to generate electricity. New Combined Cycle Natural Gas power plants generate more electricity per unit of fuel than Coal Steam power plants. According to the U.S. Department of Energy "Coal steam power plants require more energy input per megawatthour of generation than natural gas-fired combined-cycle plants the low cost of coal relative to natural gas until recent years favored the use of coal-fired generating":

http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=25652

I think this means that current technology allows us to convert more energy to electricity from Natural Gas than Coal. This favors Natural Gas as a power source unless Coal is significantly cheaper.

Rosario November 24, 2016 at 11:12 am

No, costs are getting too high for extraction even without regs and there are limits to how much even Trump can do. The amount of labor engaged in the industry is less and less each year, the antagonism toward the industry is growing in tandem. Wrecked roads, property, watersheds, it is too visible and too messy, fracking is a bit cleaner, at least on the surface, pun intended.

Maybe the coal industry can swing it for a few more decades in Wyoming but not in Eastern KY and to a certain extent in W. Virginia (W. Virginia is fine for a while, they still have a less compromised "coal culture" and a lot of coke quality coal with a much higher wholesale rate). Also, you can't deregulate natural gas and "save" coal at the same time. Natural gas will drop in cost displacing what little room is left for coal. Remember that many coal plants are being retired for wear and tear reasons, not just regulations. Lower natural gas will accelerate a move to combined cycle facilities in a climate of low natural gas prices.

Once the domestic market is saturated with natural gas, producers will (try to) export the natural gas, then the price will go up, then utilities will be in a pickle. Even if that doesn't happen, as is always the case with fracked wells, the depletion rate is logarithmic. What to do then, build more coal plants and swing back into a dying realm of power production? I doubt it. Irony is, Trump may very well be the push needed to force utilities in the middle US to consider renewables as viable to their portfolio. My hope is a less shitty candidate in 2020 can take advantage of the stressful utility market to push a federal level energy initiative. Dreams, dreams.

Art Eclectic November 24, 2016 at 11:46 am

Even if federal regulations are removed, there are still state regulations and the fastest growing demand for energy is coming from states that are ideologically blue and committed to expanding renewable energy use and fighting pollution. Chances of getting any new coal fired plants in the states with the greatest demand and greatest capability to build new plants is unlikely.

Plus, there are the economics of natural gas as mentioned numerous times above. Trump promising to "bring coal back" is like promising to bring horse and carriages back. Technology, demand, and costs have moved on.

likbez November 24, 2016 at 12:33 pm
Many here are assuming that the current fracked natural gas volumes will continue indefinitely. This is a wrong hypothesis.

Coal might be needed because locally produced natural gas can became expensive pretty soon and burning it for generating electricity would be unwise. It is an more important as input for chemical industry then for power generation. In power generation it is essential only for rapid balancing wind and solar energy production.

The current costs of natural gas, which makes it suitable for power generation, are "unnatural" and can't be sustained for another ten years. So anybody who plans beyond that should think about alternatives. Coal is one of them.

[Nov 24, 2016] Trump destroys media stars face to face in his golden tower by Jon Rappoport

Notable quotes:
"... (To read about Jon's mega-collection, Exit From The Matrix , click here .) ..."
"... 'We're in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong.' He addressed everyone in the room calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars. He called out Jeff Zucker by name and said everyone at CNN was a liar, and CNN was [a] network of liars," the source said. ..."
"... Understand that these grifters-because that's what they are-believe they own the news and the truth, even as they're making it up by the ton. They and their masters-six companies that control 90% of big media-dispense fake reality to the populace 24/7. And now ..."
"... They've got money, they've got arrogance, and they've got the airwaves, and it's not enough. ..."
"... Their little trick-"how dare you insult us"-won't work. In fact, it'll make things worse for them. Not long ago, one survey placed the public's trust in media at 6%, which is about on the same level as the trust in public bathrooms in scuzzy bars by the railroad tracks next to mining camps in the 19th century. ..."
jonrappoport.wordpress.com

(To read about Jon's mega-collection, Exit From The Matrix , click here .)

It was instant legend.

Trump met yesterday with the rancid cream of media in his golden tower. They were there thinking it was all about creating a structure for access to the next president. Little did they know.

Charlie Rose was there. Wolf Blitzer. Jeff Zucker, head of CNN. Martha "I weep for Hillary" Raddatz. Gayle King. Lester "the weasel-king of interrupters" Holt. Chuck Todd. George "property of the Clintons" Stephanopoulos.

Fake, fake, fake, fake, fake. The whole gang. The NY Post has the story : "It was like a f–ing firing squad," one source said of the encounter. "Trump started with [CNN chief] Jeff Zucker and said 'I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed,' " the source said.

"The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing down," the source added. "Trump kept saying, 'We're in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong.' He addressed everyone in the room calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars. He called out Jeff Zucker by name and said everyone at CNN was a liar, and CNN was [a] network of liars," the source said.

" he referred to a horrible network correspondent who cried when Hillary lost who [also] hosted a [presidential] debate – which was Martha Raddatz who was also in the room." So You can hate Trump, but if you can't find joy in this story, you're in need of a blood transfusion.

Way back at the beginning of the presidential campaign, I said that if Trump does nothing but run against the media he'll be doing the country a great service, because they're all snakes and cover-up artists and liars and they've been hypnotizing the population for as long as they've been around. Trump went on to exceed my expectations in that regard.

If you can't stand Trump, you can fantasize about some other theoretical president who might have carried off his attacks on fake news as well, and with the same effect, but this is the man who did it. And yesterday was a landmark event in history.

Understand that these grifters-because that's what they are-believe they own the news and the truth, even as they're making it up by the ton. They and their masters-six companies that control 90% of big media-dispense fake reality to the populace 24/7. And now

They're lost inside their own bubble. They've never felt this kind of fury from a president. They don't know what to do.

They've got money, they've got arrogance, and they've got the airwaves, and it's not enough. Of course they're outraged, and of course they'll continue doing whatever they can to undermine Trump, but they know he couldn't care less that they're deeply, deeply offended. Their little trick-"how dare you insult us"-won't work. In fact, it'll make things worse for them. Not long ago, one survey placed the public's trust in media at 6%, which is about on the same level as the trust in public bathrooms in scuzzy bars by the railroad tracks next to mining camps in the 19th century.

These media honkers can stand in front of their mirrors and keep combing their hair and they can bring in new make-up people, and adjust the studio lighting and build new desks, and they can laugh and smile at cocktail parties and pretend they're still in the ascendance, but they're rapidly turning into laughingstocks, and the derision keeps building. If you feel sorry for them, your sympathy is grossly misplaced.

The final straw here is Steve Bannon, Trump's new chief strategist and special counselor. The editor of Breitbart, Bannon recently stated in an interview : "The media bubble is the ultimate symbol of what's wrong with this country. It's just a circle of people talking to themselves who have no f-ing idea what's going on. If The New York Times didn't exist, CNN and MSNBC would be a test pattern. The Huffington Post and everything else is predicated on The New York Times. It's a closed circle of information from which Hillary Clinton got all her information - and her confidence. That was our opening."

Trump is carrying out a sustained war against big media. He hasn't stopped. There is no sign he will stop. He knows, and Bannon knows, that the public is fed up with mainstream media.

The unchallenged authority of The News has been cracked like an egg.

Yesterday, Trump doubled and tripled down.

Wake up and smell the singed hair and the sagging plastic surgery. The media stars are fading in their fake sky.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED , EXIT FROM THE MATRIX , and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX , Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at NoMoreFakeNews.com or OutsideTheRealityMachine .

[Nov 24, 2016] Trump adviser tells House Republicans Youre no longer Reagans party TheHill

Notable quotes:
"... Moore surprised some of the Republican lawmakers assembled at their closed-door whip meeting last Tuesday when he told them they should no longer think of themselves as belonging to the conservative party of Ronald Reagan. ..."
"... They now belong to Trump's populist working-class party, he said. A source briefed on the House GOP whip meeting - which Moore attended as a guest of Majority Whip Steve Scalise - said several lawmakers told him they were taken aback by the economist's comments. ..."
"... "Just as Reagan converted the GOP into a conservative party, Trump has converted the GOP into a populist working-class party," ..."
"... Moore has spent much of his career advocating for huge tax and spending cuts and free trade. He's been as close to a purist ideological conservative as they come, but he says the experience of traveling around Rust Belt states to support Trump has altered his politics. ..."
"... "It turned me more into a populist," he said, expressing frustration with the way some in the Beltway media dismissed the economic concerns of voters in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. ..."
"... "Having spent the last three or four months on the campaign trail, it opens your eyes to the everyday anxieties and financial stress people are facing," Moore added. "I'm pro-immigration and pro-trade, but we better make sure as we pursue these policies we're not creating economic undertow in these areas." ..."
"... Moore now believes Republican House members should be less ideologically pure and instead help Trump give the voters what he promised them. ..."
"... "He wants to spend all this money on infrastructure," Moore said, referring to Trump's potentially trillion-dollar infrastructure package. ..."
"... It's a massive spending bill that naturally appeals far more to Democrats than Republicans. Moore, who has worked for the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation, is not a fan of the stimulus package, but he is prepared to support it. ..."
"... "But the political reality," he added, "is there's a backlash against trade. Whether we like it or not we better adapt the rules in ways that benefit American workers more, or free trade is not going to flourish. ..."
"... But Moore knows the days of Reaganite conservatism are probably over. "Reagan ran as an ideological conservative. Trump ran as an economic populist," he said. "Trump's victory," Moore added, "turned it into the Trump party." ..."
Nov 23, 2016 | thehill.com

's economic adviser Stephen Moore told a group of top Republicans last week that they now belong to a fundamentally different political party.

Moore surprised some of the Republican lawmakers assembled at their closed-door whip meeting last Tuesday when he told them they should no longer think of themselves as belonging to the conservative party of Ronald Reagan.

They now belong to Trump's populist working-class party, he said. A source briefed on the House GOP whip meeting - which Moore attended as a guest of Majority Whip Steve Scalise - said several lawmakers told him they were taken aback by the economist's comments.

"For God's sake, it's Stephen Moore!" the source said, explaining some of the lawmakers' reactions to Moore's statement. "He's the guy who started Club for Growth. He's Mr. Supply Side economics."

"I think it's going to take them a little time to process what does this all mean," the source added of the lawmakers. "The vast majority of them were on the wrong side. They didn't think this was going to happen."

Asked about his comments to the GOP lawmakers, Moore told The Hill he was giving them a dose of reality. "Just as Reagan converted the GOP into a conservative party, Trump has converted the GOP into a populist working-class party," Moore said in an interview Wednesday. "In some ways this will be good for conservatives and in other ways possibly frustrating."

Moore has spent much of his career advocating for huge tax and spending cuts and free trade. He's been as close to a purist ideological conservative as they come, but he says the experience of traveling around Rust Belt states to support Trump has altered his politics.

"It turned me more into a populist," he said, expressing frustration with the way some in the Beltway media dismissed the economic concerns of voters in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

"Having spent the last three or four months on the campaign trail, it opens your eyes to the everyday anxieties and financial stress people are facing," Moore added. "I'm pro-immigration and pro-trade, but we better make sure as we pursue these policies we're not creating economic undertow in these areas."

After such a transformative experience - and after witnessing Trump's stunning victory - Moore now believes Republican House members should be less ideologically pure and instead help Trump give the voters what he promised them.

"He wants to spend all this money on infrastructure," Moore said, referring to Trump's potentially trillion-dollar infrastructure package.

It's a massive spending bill that naturally appeals far more to Democrats than Republicans. Moore, who has worked for the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation, is not a fan of the stimulus package, but he is prepared to support it.

"I don't want to spend all that money on infrastructure," Moore said. "I think it's mostly a waste of money. But if the voters want it, they should get it."

"If Trump says build a wall then he should build a wall. If Trump says renegotiate TPP [the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal], he should renegotiate TPP." "Elections have consequences," Moore added, "and I do think Donald Trump has a mandate." Moore says his "view on trade has adjusted a bit" over the course of the 2016 campaign. "I used to be unilateral free trader," he said. "If somebody wants to sell something to us at less cost than we can produce here, then do it."

"But the political reality," he added, "is there's a backlash against trade. Whether we like it or not we better adapt the rules in ways that benefit American workers more, or free trade is not going to flourish. "We can scream and whine all we want but that's reality."

Moore is excited about large parts of Trump's agenda. He helped write Trump's tax plan and thinks the cuts will accelerate economic growth and create new jobs. He's also had a hand in Trump's energy plan and looks forward to slashing regulations hindering American energy production.

But Moore knows the days of Reaganite conservatism are probably over. "Reagan ran as an ideological conservative. Trump ran as an economic populist," he said. "Trump's victory," Moore added, "turned it into the Trump party."

[Nov 19, 2016] Steve Bannon Interviewed Its About Americans Not Getting disposed

Notable quotes:
"... " Like [Andrew] Jackson's populism, we're going to build an entirely new political movement ," he says. "It's everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I'm the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it's the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks . It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution - conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement." ..."
"... Nobody in the Democratic party listened to his speeches, so they had no idea he was delivering such a compelling and powerful economic message. He shows up 3.5 hours late in Michigan at 1 in the morning and has 35,000 people waiting in the cold. When they got [Clinton] off the donor circuit she went to Temple University and they drew 300 or 400 kids." ..."
"... Bannon on Murdoch: "Rupert is a globalist and never understood Trump" ..."
"... " The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f-ed over . If we deliver-" by "we" he means the Trump White House "-we'll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we'll govern for 50 years. That's what the Democrats missed, they were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It's not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about ." ..."
"... ... I'd say, IMO, Steve Bannon is more than an excellent choice for President Trump's team ... Bannon's education, business, work and military experience speaks highly of his abilities ... I wish the MSM would stop labelling him a white nationalist and concentrate on his successful accomplishments and what he could contribute to Trump's cabinet. ..."
Nov 19, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com
Bannon next discusses the "battle line" inside America's great divide.

He absolutely - mockingly - rejects the idea that this is a racial line. "I'm not a white nationalist, I'm a nationalist. I'm an economic nationalist, " he tells me. " The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f-ed over . If we deliver-" by "we" he means the Trump White House "-we'll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we'll govern for 50 years. That's what the Democrats missed, they were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It's not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about ."

Bannon's vision: an "entirely new political movement", one which drives the conservatives crazy. As to how monetary policy will coexist with fiscal stimulus, Bannon has a simple explanation: he plans to "rebuild everything" courtesy of negative interest rates and cheap debt throughout the world. Those rates may not be negative for too long.

" Like [Andrew] Jackson's populism, we're going to build an entirely new political movement ," he says. "It's everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I'm the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it's the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks . It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution - conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement."

How Bannon describes Trump: " an ideal vessel"

It is less than obvious how Bannon, now the official strategic brains of the Trump operation, syncs with his boss, famously not too strategic. When Bannon took over the campaign from Paul Manafort, there were many in the Trump circle who had resigned themselves to the inevitability of the candidate listening to no one . But here too was a Bannon insight: When the campaign seemed most in free fall or disarray, it was perhaps most on target. While Clinton was largely absent from the campaign trail and concentrating on courting her donors, Trump - even after the leak of the grab-them-by-the-pussy audio - was speaking to ever-growing crowds of thirty-five or forty thousand. "He gets it, he gets it intuitively," says Bannon, perhaps still surprised he has found such an ideal vessel. "You have probably the greatest orator since William Jennings Bryan, coupled with an economic populist message and two political parties that are so owned by the donors that they don't speak to their audience. But he speaks in a non-political vernacular, he communicates with these people in a very visceral way. Nobody in the Democratic party listened to his speeches, so they had no idea he was delivering such a compelling and powerful economic message. He shows up 3.5 hours late in Michigan at 1 in the morning and has 35,000 people waiting in the cold. When they got [Clinton] off the donor circuit she went to Temple University and they drew 300 or 400 kids."

Bannon on Murdoch: "Rupert is a globalist and never understood Trump"

At that moment, as we talk, there's a knock on the door of Bannon's office, a temporary, impersonal, middle-level executive space with a hodgepodge of chairs for constant impromptu meetings. Sen. Ted Cruz, once the Republican firebrand, now quite a small and unassuming figure, has been waiting patiently for a chat and Bannon excuses himself for a short while. It is clear when we return to our conversation that it is not just the liberal establishment that Bannon feels he has triumphed over, but the conservative one too - not least of all Fox News and its owners, the Murdochs. "They got it more wrong than anybody," he says. " Rupert is a globalist and never understood Trump. To him, Trump is a radical. Now they'll go centrist and build the network around Megyn Kelly." Bannon recounts, with no small irony, that when Breitbart attacked Kelly after her challenges to Trump in the initial Republican debate, Fox News chief Roger Ailes - whom Bannon describes as an important mentor, and who Kelly's accusations of sexual harassment would help topple in July - called to defend her. Bannon says he warned Ailes that Kelly would be out to get him too .

Finally, Bannon on how he sees himself in the administration:

Bannon now becomes part of a two-headed White House political structure, with Reince Priebus - in and out of Bannon's office as we talk - as chief of staff, in charge of making the trains run on time, reporting to the president, and Bannon as chief strategist, in charge of vision, goals, narrative and plan of attack, reporting to the president too. Add to this the ambitions and whims of the president himself, and the novel circumstance of one who has never held elective office, the agenda of his highly influential family and the end runs of a party significant parts of which were opposed to him, and you have quite a complex court that Bannon will have to finesse to realize his reign of the working man and a trillion dollars in new spending.

"I am," he says, with relish, "Thomas Cromwell in the court of the Tudors."

Life of Illusion nibiru Nov 18, 2016 2:32 PM ,
now that is direct with truth

" The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f-ed over . If we deliver-" by "we" he means the Trump White House "-we'll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we'll govern for 50 years. That's what the Democrats missed, they were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It's not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about ."

Deathrips Life of Illusion Nov 18, 2016 2:34 PM ,
William Jennings Bryan!!!! Bonus Points.

http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/documents/1876-1900/william-jennings-bryan-cro...

Read cross of gold about bimetalism. Gold AND Silver

PrayingMantis wildbad Nov 18, 2016 3:51 PM ,
... I'd say, IMO, Steve Bannon is more than an excellent choice for President Trump's team ... Bannon's education, business, work and military experience speaks highly of his abilities ... I wish the MSM would stop labelling him a white nationalist and concentrate on his successful accomplishments and what he could contribute to Trump's cabinet.

........ from wiki ...

Stephen Kevin Bannon was born on November 27, 1953, in Norfolk, Virginia into a working-class, Irish Catholic, pro-Kennedy, pro-union family of Democrats. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1976 and holds a master's degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. In 1983, Bannon received an M.B.A. degree with honors from Harvard Business School.

Bannon was an officer in the United States Navy, serving on the destroyer USS Paul F. Foster as a Surface Warfare Officer in the Pacific Fleet and stateside as a special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon.

After his military service, Bannon worked at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker in the Mergers & Acquisitions Department. In 1990, Bannon and several colleagues from Goldman Sachs launched Bannon & Co., a boutique investment bank specializing in media. Through Bannon & Co., Bannon negotiated the sale of Castle Rock Entertainment to Ted Turner. As payment, Bannon & Co. accepted a financial stake in five television shows, including Seinfeld. Société Générale purchased Bannon & Co. in 1998.

In 1993, while still managing Bannon & Co., Bannon was made acting director of Earth-science research project Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona. Under Bannon, the project shifted emphasis from researching space exploration and colonization towards pollution and global warming. He left the project in 1995.

After the sale of Bannon & Co., Bannon became an executive producer in the film and media industry in Hollywood, California. He was executive producer for Julie Taymor's 1999 film Titus. Bannon became a partner with entertainment industry executive Jeff Kwatinetz at The Firm, Inc., a film and television management company. In 2004, Bannon made a documentary about Ronald Reagan titled In the Face of Evil. Through the making and screening of this film, Bannon was introduced to Peter Schweizer and publisher Andrew Breitbart. He was involved in the financing and production of a number of films, including Fire from the Heartland: The Awakening of the Conservative Woman, The Undefeated (on Sarah Palin), and Occupy Unmasked. Bannon also hosts a radio show (Breitbart News Daily) on a Sirius XM satellite radio channel.

Bannon is also executive chairman and co-founder of the Government Accountability Institute, where he helped orchestrate the publication of the book Clinton Cash. In 2015, Bannon was ranked No. 19 on Mediaite's list of the "25 Most Influential in Political News Media 2015".

Bannon convinced Goldman Sachs to invest in a company known as Internet Gaming Entertainment. Following a lawsuit, the company rebranded as Affinity Media and Bannon took over as CEO. From 2007 through 2011, Bannon was chairman and CEO of Affinity Media.

Bannon became a member of the board of Breitbart News. In March 2012, after founder Andrew Breitbart's death, Bannon became executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC, the parent company of Breitbart News. Under his leadership, Breitbart took a more alt-right and nationalistic approach towards its agenda. Bannon declared the website "the platform for the alt-right" in 2016. Bannon identifies as a conservative. Speaking about his role at Breitbart, Bannon said: "We think of ourselves as virulently anti-establishment, particularly 'anti-' the permanent political class."

The New York Times described Breitbart News under Bannon's leadership as a "curiosity of the fringe right wing", with "ideologically driven journalists", that is a source of controversy "over material that has been called misogynist, xenophobic and racist." The newspaper also noted how Breitbart was now a "potent voice" for Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Escrava Isaura The Saint Nov 18, 2016 6:11 PM ,

Bannon: " The globalists gutted the American working class ..the Democrats were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It's not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about ."

Well said. Couldn't agree more.

Bannon: " Like [Andrew] Jackson's populism, we're going to build an entirely new political movement I'm the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan.

Dear Mr. Bannon, it has to be way more than $1trillion in 10 years. Obama's $831 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) didn't make up the difference for all the job lost in 2007/08. Manufacturing alone lost about 9 million jobs since 1979, when it peaked.

Trump needs to go Ronald Reagan 180% deficit spending. If Trump runs 100% like Obama, Trump will fail as well.

[Nov 16, 2016] Stemming the Rot in American Manufacturing May Defeat Even Trump

Notable quotes:
"... All this means that, as a practical matter, China's contribution to a smartphone's total added-value may amount to little more than a few percentage points. Thus tariffs on China alone will, with the best will in the world, create remarkably few American jobs. ..."
"... even if Trump succeeded in imposing massive tariffs on Chinese goods, Apple would presumably retain the right to move the work to other cheap-labor nations such as Vietnam, India, Mexico, and Brazil. ..."
Nov 16, 2016 | www.unz.com
Meanwhile as Trump has repeatedly pointed out, many American airports are so dysfunctional and badly served by ground transport that they would not be out of place in the Third World. According to the latest annual survey by the Skytrax company of the world's best airports, Denver placed highest among American airports – but ranked a mediocre 28 in the world. By comparison five East Asian airports, including two in Japan alone, made it into the top 10.

Infrastructure apart, far bigger problems lurk just below the surface. They are summed up in one statistic, albeit a statistic that a perennially out-to-lunch American press rarely mentions: the trade deficit. Measured on a current account basis (which is the widest and most meaningful measure), the trade deficit last year was $463 billion. This represented a stunning 4.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). By comparison the worst figure in the 1970s – a decade when the United States was already seen, both at home and abroad, as losing out badly in global competition – was a mere 0.5 percent. The truth is that the United States has not run a trade surplus consistently since the 1960s, and in the last two decades the deficits have rarely fallen below 3 percent of GDP.

Why does trade matter matter? For many reasons, not least because deficits have to be financed. In practice most of the financing has come from major sovereign investors, particularly the governments of China and Japan and to a lesser extent other East Asian nations. Typically it comes in the form of massive purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds. So far, the money has kept flowing but there is evidently an implicit understanding: in return for doing their bit to keep both the U.S. dollar and U.S. financial markets on an even keel, the East Asians will brook no lectures from Washington on opening their markets to foreign trade. Hence a conspicuous silence in Washington in recent years on East Asian trade barriers. Washington has entered a Faustian bargain and it is hard to see how even Trump, with all his undoubted energy and determination, can break out of it.

He has talked about reopening shuttered factories. That is easier said than done. Once a nation loses its position in any advanced manufacturing specialty, it finds it almost impossible to get back in.

Take electronics. Trump seems to believe that by the simple expedient of imposing stiff tariffs on Chinese imports he can encourage Apple to make iPhones in America. In reality, this badly misdiagnoses the problem. Where the manufacture of sophisticated electronic consumer products is concerned, China is a much less significant player than meets the eye. The product may bear a "Made in China" label but this refers merely to the place of final assembly. Admittedly China does possess the knowhow to make some components but generally only the simpler ones such as the plastic housing for a smartphone. The serious components are made typically in high-wage nations like Japan and to a lesser extent Korea, Taiwan, and Germany. Meanwhile Japan reigns supreme as the source of many of the most important materials and production machinery used in the industry. Little noticed outside East Asia, such materials and machinery are the ultimate driver of the electronic revolution.

All this means that, as a practical matter, China's contribution to a smartphone's total added-value may amount to little more than a few percentage points. Thus tariffs on China alone will, with the best will in the world, create remarkably few American jobs.

Moreover such jobs would be labor-intensive and therefore fundamentally unsuitable for a high-wage economy. In any case it is highly debatable whether such jobs would be created in the first instance: the point is that even if Trump succeeded in imposing massive tariffs on Chinese goods, Apple would presumably retain the right to move the work to other cheap-labor nations such as Vietnam, India, Mexico, and Brazil.

[Nov 16, 2016] This Trump speech is probably one of the finest political speeches from a major US politician

This is a really anti-establishment position... FDR level speech... See also This Video Will Get Donald Trump Elected - YouTube
Nov 16, 2016 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Patient Observer, November 15, 2016 at 3:50 pm

In case no one has seen this Trump ad:

Its probably one of the finest political speeches from a major US politician.

[Nov 16, 2016] We need the adoption of a federal job guarantee, a policy that would insure the option for anyone to work in a public sector program, similar to what the Works Progress Administration established in the 1930s.

Notable quotes:
"... Each job offered under a federal employment assurance would be at a wage rate above the poverty threshold, and would include benefits like health insurance. A public sector job guarantee would establish a quality of work and the level of compensation offered for all jobs. The program would be great for the country: It could meet a wide range of the nation's physical and human infrastructure needs, ranging from the building and maintenance of roads, bridges and highways, to school upkeep and the provision of quality child care services"" ..."
Nov 16, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
financial matters November 16, 2016 at 8:30 am

Not sure if Trump realizes this but there is already a blueprint for creating infrastructure jobs. (hat tip SK)

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/07/11/are-we-ready-for-the-next-recession/a-guaranteed-federal-jobs-program-is-needed

""A lot of this has to do with the fact that Americans continue to be subjected to bad jobs or unstable employment - and those who are employed often face stagnant or even declining wages. The fragility of Americans' economic well-being is epitomized by the National Coalition for the Homeless' estimate that 44 percent of homeless persons actually have jobs, albeit poorly paid jobs.

The expansion of "flex work" arrangements, which make work hours uncertain, contribute significantly to income volatility for workers in low-pay sectors of the economy. Around 50 percent of Americans could not meet a $400 emergency expense by drawing upon their personal savings if they had to.

An alternative to these conditions is the adoption of a federal job guarantee, a policy that would insure the option for anyone to work in a public sector program, similar to what the Works Progress Administration established in the 1930s.

Each job offered under a federal employment assurance would be at a wage rate above the poverty threshold, and would include benefits like health insurance. A public sector job guarantee would establish a quality of work and the level of compensation offered for all jobs. The program would be great for the country: It could meet a wide range of the nation's physical and human infrastructure needs, ranging from the building and maintenance of roads, bridges and highways, to school upkeep and the provision of quality child care services""

[Nov 16, 2016] The adoption of a federal job guarantee would insure the option for anyone to work in a public sector program, similar to what the Works Progress Administration established in the 1930s

Notable quotes:
"... Each job offered under a federal employment assurance would be at a wage rate above the poverty threshold, and would include benefits like health insurance. A public sector job guarantee would establish a quality of work and the level of compensation offered for all jobs. The program would be great for the country: It could meet a wide range of the nation's physical and human infrastructure needs, ranging from the building and maintenance of roads, bridges and highways, to school upkeep and the provision of quality child care services"" ..."
Nov 16, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

financial matters November 16, 2016 at 8:30 am

Not sure if Trump realizes this but there is already a blueprint for creating infrastructure jobs. (hat tip SK)

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/07/11/are-we-ready-for-the-next-recession/a-guaranteed-federal-jobs-program-is-needed

""A lot of this has to do with the fact that Americans continue to be subjected to bad jobs or unstable employment - and those who are employed often face stagnant or even declining wages. The fragility of Americans' economic well-being is epitomized by the National Coalition for the Homeless' estimate that 44 percent of homeless persons actually have jobs, albeit poorly paid jobs.

The expansion of "flex work" arrangements, which make work hours uncertain, contribute significantly to income volatility for workers in low-pay sectors of the economy. Around 50 percent of Americans could not meet a $400 emergency expense by drawing upon their personal savings if they had to.

An alternative to these conditions is the adoption of a federal job guarantee, a policy that would insure the option for anyone to work in a public sector program, similar to what the Works Progress Administration established in the 1930s.

Each job offered under a federal employment assurance would be at a wage rate above the poverty threshold, and would include benefits like health insurance. A public sector job guarantee would establish a quality of work and the level of compensation offered for all jobs. The program would be great for the country: It could meet a wide range of the nation's physical and human infrastructure needs, ranging from the building and maintenance of roads, bridges and highways, to school upkeep and the provision of quality child care services""

[Nov 16, 2016] This Changes Everything

Notable quotes:
"... Trump promised to nominate a conservative to replace the late Antonin Scalia, and the possibilities he floated were well-received on the right. Assuming he keeps his promise, the only thing standing in the way is a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. ..."
"... Obamacare has some highly popular provisions that cannot work without its other elements or some replacement for them. The ban on discrimination against those with preexisting conditions is a prime example-by itself, it would encourage people to wait until they got sick to sign up for insurance, setting off the dreaded "death spiral." ..."
"... Here's an area where conservatives-at least conservatives in the "budget hawk" sense, as opposed to the "cut taxes and stick our kids with the tab" sense-should be worried. Trump's tax plan involved trillions of dollars of tax cuts targeted at the rich, with nowhere near enough spending cuts to pay for them. ..."
"... But Republicans love irresponsible tax cuts. They can't help themselves. It will be a combination of sad and ironic if a signature achievement of a populist movement is to cut taxes for the rich. ..."
"... We could certainly see, however, a variety of real reforms that have been held up for years by a Washington consensus that the American people don't share: things like more border fencing (which was already supposed to be built under a 2006 law ), an end to "deferred action" (accomplished through mere executive action to begin with), stronger enforcement against employers who hire illegal workers, reduced levels of low-skill immigration, and enhanced (even extreme!) vetting of immigrants from regions especially likely to send us terrorists. ..."
"... A silver lining for immigration supporters: getting the illegal-immigration problem under control could eventually make it easier to amnesty those already here. ..."
"... Rust Belt states hammered by free trade voted for Trump, and they will reap the policy rewards starting on day one . Phil Levy put it well in Foreign Policy : by now, "President Barack Obama once hoped to have completed both Atlantic and Pacific trade deals, as well as a Bilateral Investment Treaty with China. It now appears he will conclude none of these." Trump also would like to renegotiate NAFTA and pursue China more aggressively for unfair trade practices. ..."
Nov 16, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Pretty much everyone thought Hillary Clinton would be the president-elect right now. As a result, few spent much time gaming out the scenario we find ourselves in: next year, Donald Trump will be the president, accompanied by a Republican (though not filibuster-proof) Senate and a solidly GOP House.

I'm as guilty as anyone. My last pre-election column was about what President Clinton would do to the Supreme Court. A month ago I tried to find Obamacare tweaks that Republicans could demand in exchange for helping to fix the law, because only a moron would think anything more dramatic might be possible.

So here's an attempt to atone for my sins and outline the possibilities for a Trump presidency in a number of domestic-policy areas.

The Supreme Court

Trump promised to nominate a conservative to replace the late Antonin Scalia, and the possibilities he floated were well-received on the right. Assuming he keeps his promise, the only thing standing in the way is a Democratic filibuster in the Senate.

Problem is, Democrats eliminated the filibuster for non-Supreme Court nominations back in 2013 via the "nuclear option" -- setting a precedent that could easily be followed in a second bombing mission, this time directed at nominations for the high court. And to up the temptation, just weeks ago Tim Kaine was mouthing off about how Democrats were already prepping the nuke. "If these guys think they're going to stonewall the filling of that [Scalia] vacancy or other vacancies, then a Democratic Senate majority will say, 'We're not going to let you thwart the law,'" he said.

(It is not thwarting the law to stonewall a nomination.)

Unless they wimp out-a possibility that should not be discounted -- Republicans are going to grab that bomb and set it off right in the Democrats' faces, to the immense enjoyment of conservatives everywhere. Any Trump nominee acceptable to Senate Republicans will be confirmed, both to replace Scalia and in the event that another justice retires or passes away during the time Republicans have the Senate and the presidency.

In that case, everything I wrote last week is the opposite of reality. With Anthony Kennedy as the swing justice once again, there will be more victories for the conservative legal movement. And if Kennedy or a liberal justice is replaced with a conservative as well, some might get their hopes up about bigger wins, like overturning Roe v. Wade .

Obamacare

Here the politics are less straightforward. Obamacare has some highly popular provisions that cannot work without its other elements or some replacement for them. The ban on discrimination against those with preexisting conditions is a prime example-by itself, it would encourage people to wait until they got sick to sign up for insurance, setting off the dreaded "death spiral."

And as with the Supreme Court, the Senate filibuster is an obstacle to any move Republicans might want to make. To get around this, the GOP has a few options: (1) pass the bill through the budget "reconciliation" process; (2) kill the filibuster for legislation too, not just nominations, which would be a drastic step; or (3) find some other creative workaround .

They already did a dry run of the first approach, sending a (predictably vetoed) repeal bill to President Obama. There's an important limitation, though: only the parts of the law that affect the budget can be changed through the reconciliation process. The law's insurance regulations, for instance, would still stand .

Another major question is whether to replace the law immediately, or sunset it gradually while a replacement is hammered out. Considering there's some intra-party disagreement about how to replace Obamacare, and considering no one has actual legislative language handy, the second option seems wise.

(Both Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan do have health-care plans outlined, though. Like most conservative health-care plans, these are attempts to combine flexible subsides with consumer choice and deregulation to provide coverage at an affordable cost.)

A note of caution will hang over the proceedings. Democrats passed Obamacare with zero Republican support, twisting the rules to avoid a filibuster after the election of Scott Brown. By the time problems with the law started cropping up, Republicans had gained some power back and refused to help fix the mess. If Republicans do what Democrats did in 2009 and 2010, Democrats will respond the way Republicans did when the tables turn once again.

Budget

Here's an area where conservatives-at least conservatives in the "budget hawk" sense, as opposed to the "cut taxes and stick our kids with the tab" sense-should be worried. Trump's tax plan involved trillions of dollars of tax cuts targeted at the rich, with nowhere near enough spending cuts to pay for them.

With most of Trump's more harebrained ideas, we can hope that he'll back off a bit, that new advisors will be more serious (or influential) than the ones he listened to (or didn't) during the campaign, or that Republicans in Congress won't send him a bill to sign. But Republicans love irresponsible tax cuts. They can't help themselves. It will be a combination of sad and ironic if a signature achievement of a populist movement is to cut taxes for the rich.

Immigration

This is one of those areas where we can expect Trump to back off of his campaign rhetoric a bit. Mass deportations and a ban on Muslim immigration won't likely become a reality.

We could certainly see, however, a variety of real reforms that have been held up for years by a Washington consensus that the American people don't share: things like more border fencing (which was already supposed to be built under a 2006 law ), an end to "deferred action" (accomplished through mere executive action to begin with), stronger enforcement against employers who hire illegal workers, reduced levels of low-skill immigration, and enhanced (even extreme!) vetting of immigrants from regions especially likely to send us terrorists.

A silver lining for immigration supporters: getting the illegal-immigration problem under control could eventually make it easier to amnesty those already here.

Trade

Rust Belt states hammered by free trade voted for Trump, and they will reap the policy rewards starting on day one . Phil Levy put it well in Foreign Policy : by now, "President Barack Obama once hoped to have completed both Atlantic and Pacific trade deals, as well as a Bilateral Investment Treaty with China. It now appears he will conclude none of these." Trump also would like to renegotiate NAFTA and pursue China more aggressively for unfair trade practices.

All of this just scratches the surface. Trump's election completely changes the picture, from climate-change and energy efforts to criminal-justice reform. The electorate's decision may prove right or wrong, but that it's exciting is undeniable.

Robert VerBruggen is managing editor of The American Conservative. Follow @RAVerBruggen

[Nov 15, 2016] Trump in the White House by Noam Chomsky

Notable quotes:
"... The angry and disaffected are victims of the neoliberal policies of the past generation, the policies described in congressional testimony by Fed chair Alan Greenspan ..."
"... As Greenspan explained during his glory days, his successes in economic management were based substantially on "growing worker insecurity." Intimidated working people would not ask for higher wages, benefits, and security but would be satisfied with the stagnating wages and reduced benefits that signal a healthy economy by neoliberal standards. ..."
"... in 2007, at the peak of the neoliberal miracle, real wages for non-supervisory workers were lower than they had been years earlier, or that real wages for male workers are about at 1960s levels while spectacular gains have gone to the pockets of a very few at the top, disproportionately a fraction of 1%. Not the result of market forces, achievement, or merit, but rather of definite policy decisions, matters reviewed carefully by economist Dean Baker in recently published work. ..."
Nov 15, 2016 | www.defenddemocracy.press
According to current information, Trump broke all records in the support he received from white voters, working class and lower middle class, particularly in the $50,000 to $90,000 income range, rural and suburban, primarily those without college education. These groups share the anger throughout the West at the centrist establishment, revealed as well in the unanticipated Brexit vote and the collapse of centrist parties in continental Europe. The angry and disaffected are victims of the neoliberal policies of the past generation, the policies described in congressional testimony by Fed chair Alan Greenspan – St. Alan as he was called reverentially by the economics profession and other admirers until the miraculous economy he was supervising crashed in 2007-8, threatening to bring the whole world economy down with it. As Greenspan explained during his glory days, his successes in economic management were based substantially on "growing worker insecurity." Intimidated working people would not ask for higher wages, benefits, and security but would be satisfied with the stagnating wages and reduced benefits that signal a healthy economy by neoliberal standards.

Working people who have been the subjects of these experiments in economic theory are, oddly, not particularly happy about the outcome. They are not, for example, overjoyed at the fact that in 2007, at the peak of the neoliberal miracle, real wages for non-supervisory workers were lower than they had been years earlier, or that real wages for male workers are about at 1960s levels while spectacular gains have gone to the pockets of a very few at the top, disproportionately a fraction of 1%. Not the result of market forces, achievement, or merit, but rather of definite policy decisions, matters reviewed carefully by economist Dean Baker in recently published work.

The fate of the minimum wage illustrates what has been happening. Through the periods of high and egalitarian growth in the '50s and '60s, the minimum wage – which sets a floor for other wages – tracked productivity. That ended with the onset of neoliberal doctrine. Since then the minimum wage has stagnated (in real value). Had it continued as before, it would probably be close to $20 per hour. Today it is considered a political revolution to raise it to $15.

With all the talk of near-full employment today, labor force participation remains below the earlier norm. And for a working man, there is a great difference between a steady job in manufacturing with union wages and benefits, as in earlier years, and a temporary job with little security in some service profession. Apart from wages, benefits, and security, there is a loss of dignity, of hope for the future, of a sense that this is a world in which I belong and play a worthwhile role.

The impact is captured well in Arlie Hochschild's sensitive and illuminating portrayal of a Trump stronghold in Louisiana, where she lived and worked for many years. She uses the image of a line in which these people are standing, expecting to move forward steadily as they work hard and keep to all the conventional values. But their position in the line has stalled. Ahead of them, they see people leaping forward, but that does not cause much distress, because it is "the American way" for (alleged) merit to be rewarded. What does cause real distress is what is happening behind them.

... ... ...

These are just samples of the real lives of Trump supporters, who are deluded to believe that Trump will do something to remedy their plight, though the merest look at his fiscal and other proposals demonstrates the opposite – posing a task for activists who hope to fend off the worst and to advance desperately needed changes.

Exit polls reveal that the passionate support for Trump was inspired primarily by the belief that he represented change, while Clinton was perceived as the candidate who would perpetuate their distress. The "change" that Trump is likely to bring will be harmful or worse, but it is understandable that the consequences are not clear to isolated people in an atomized society lacking the kinds of associations (like unions) that can educate and organize. That is a crucial difference between today's despair and the generally hopeful attitudes of many working people under much greater duress during the great depression of the 1930s.

[Nov 12, 2016] Trumps infrastructure plan faces speed bumps

Nov 12, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs : November 12, 2016 at 08:15 AM , 2016 at 08:15 AM

Trump's infrastructure plan faces speed bumps http://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trumps-infrastructure-plan-faces-speed-bumps-1478884989
via @WSJ - David Harrison - Nov 11

Donald Trump's proposal for $1 trillion worth of new infrastructure construction relies entirely on private financing, which industry experts say is likely to fall far short of adequately funding improvements to roads, bridges and airports.

The president-elect's infrastructure plan largely boils down to a tax break in the hopes of luring capital to projects. He wants investors to put money into projects in exchange for tax credits totaling 82% of the equity amount. His plan anticipates that lost tax revenue would be recouped through new income-tax revenue from construction workers and business-tax revenue from contractors, making the proposal essentially cost-free to the government.

Mr. Trump has made a $1 trillion infrastructure investment over 10 years one of his first priorities as president, promising in his victory speech early Wednesday morning to "rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals."

The Trump team's $1 trillion infrastructure investment plan over 10 years is laid out in a description of the proposal on the website (#) of Peter Navarro, an adviser to Mr. Trump and a public-policy professor at the University of California, Irvine. A presidential transition website that went up this week (*) said Mr. Trump planned to invest $550 billion in infrastructure, without offering details on where that funding would come from. Top Trump aides couldn't be reached to comment on the proposal.

Experts and industry officials, though, say there are limits to how much can be done with private financing. Because privately funded projects need to turn a profit, they are better suited for major projects such as toll roads, airports or water systems and less appropriate for routine maintenance, such as repaving a public street, they say.

Officials also doubt that the nation's aging infrastructure can be updated without a significant infusion of public dollars. ...

#- http://www.peternavarro.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/infrastructurereport.pdf

*- https://www.greatagain.gov/policy/transportation-infrastructure.html

[Oct 27, 2016] Hillary Clinton's infrastructure investment plans are too small as she Wall Street stooge

Oct 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Peter K. : October 26, 2016 at 08:20 AM , Hillary Clinton's infrastructure investment plans are too small as she Wall Street stooge

Sanjait and PGL tell us that Hillary plans about $1.65 trillion in additional spending over the next ten years.

Wow that sounds like a lot! No wonder conservative web sites are all up in arms about the new spending. (No doubt they're trying to fan the flames of their already enflamed readers.)

Alan Blinder is a smart economist. He says otherwise:

"Former Fed Vice Chairman Alan Blinder said he's skeptical that fiscal policy will be loosened a great deal if Clinton wins the election, as seems likely based on recent voter surveys.

"She is promising not to make budget deficits bigger by her programs," said Blinder, who is now a professor at Princeton University. "Whatever fiscal stimulus there is ought to be small enough for the Fed practically to ignore it.""

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-25/fed-inclined-to-raise-rates-if-next-president-pumps-up-budget

But PGL bashed Bernie Sanders supporters and supported centrist Clinton during the primary. What gives?

Why is he lying about her fiscal plans now?

And what about Hillary's endorsement of the centrist view that we are not allowed to discuss the Fed during a Presidential election. The deplorable voters aren't to be trusted (when the experts like PGL and Bobby Rubin did such a fine job with the housing bubble and financial crisis).

As the Blinder quote shows, Fed policy is very important especially if it can "brush off" fiscal policy's effects on employment levels and aggregate demand.

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , -1
Larry Summers and Krugman argue that Hillary Clinton's infrastructure investment plans are "substantially" too small. And they supported her!

Krugman went so far as to lie about Sanders and his supporters. Summers called them populist authoritarians.

And yet PGL just outright ignores what they have to say when he brown-noses them on every other occasion.

We know Sanjait is a centrist at heart the way he bad-mouths Dean Baker on a regular basis.

[Oct 23, 2016] From a speech given today in PA

Oct 23, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com
J S Bach Never One Roach Oct 22, 2016 10:22 PM ,
From a speech given today in PA...

If you still can't decide which candidate the "best policies", you're the enemy.

Here is the list of the "Contract with the American Voter" policies detailed by Trump:

  1. Propose a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress
  2. Institute a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health)
  3. Require for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.
  4. Institute a five year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service
  5. Create a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.
  6. Institute a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.
  7. Announce intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205.
  8. Announce withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  9. Direct Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator.
  10. Direct the Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately.
  11. Lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars' worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal.
  12. Lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward.
  13. Cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America's water and environmental infrastructure.
  14. Cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama.
  15. Begin the process of selecting a replacement for Justice Scalia from one of the 20 judges on my list, who will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.
  16. Cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities.
  17. Begin removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won't take them back.
  18. Suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered extreme vetting.
  19. Work with Congress on a Middle Class Tax Relief And Simplification Act.An economic plan designed to grow the economy 4% per year and create at least 25 million new jobs through massive tax reduction and simplification, in combination with trade reform, regulatory relief, and lifting the restrictions on American energy. The largest tax reductions are for the middle class. A middle-class family with 2 children will get a 35% tax cut. The current number of brackets will be reduced from 7 to 3, and tax forms will likewise be greatly simplified. The business rate will be lowered from 35 to 15 percent, and the trillions of dollars of American corporate money overseas can now be brought back at a 10 percent rate.
  20. Work with Congress on a End The Offshoring Act. Establishes tariffs to discourage companies from laying off their workers in order to relocate in other countries and ship their products back to the U.S. tax-free.
  21. Work with Congress on a American Energy & Infrastructure Act. Leverages public-private partnerships, and private investments through tax incentives, to spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years. It is revenue neutral.
  22. Work with Congress on a School Choice And Education Opportunity Act. Redirects education dollars to gives parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. Ends common core, brings education supervision to local communities. It expands vocational and technical education, and make 2 and 4-year college more affordable.
  23. Work with Congress on a Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act. Fully repeals Obamacare and replaces it with Health Savings Accounts, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines, and lets states manage Medicaid funds. Reforms will also include cutting the red tape at the FDA: there are over 4,000 drugs awaiting approval, and we especially want to speed the approval of life-saving medications.
  24. Work with Congress on a Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act.Allows Americans to deduct childcare and elder care from their taxes, incentivizes employers to provide on-side childcare services, and creates tax-free Dependent Care Savings Accounts for both young and elderly dependents, with matching contributions for low-income families.
  25. Work with Congress on an End Illegal Immigration Act. Fully-funds the construction of a wall on our southern border with the full understanding that the country Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such wall; establishes a 2-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for illegally re-entering the U.S. after a previous deportation, and a 5-year mandatory minimum for illegally re-entering for those with felony convictions, multiple misdemeanor convictions or two or more prior deportations; also reforms visa rules to enhance penalties for overstaying and to ensure open jobs are offered to American workers first.
  26. Work with Congress on a Restoring Community Safety Act. Reduces surging crime, drugs and violence by creating a Task Force On Violent Crime and increasing funding for programs that train and assist local police; increases resources for federal law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors to dismantle criminal gangs and put violent offenders behind bars.
  27. Work with Congress on a Restoring National Security Act. Rebuilds our military by eliminating the defense sequester and expanding military investment; provides Veterans with the ability to receive public VA treatment or attend the private doctor of their choice; protects our vital infrastructure from cyber-attack; establishes new screening procedures for immigration to ensure those who are admitted to our country support our people and our values
  28. Work with Congress on a Clean up Corruption in Washington Act. Enacts new ethics reforms to Drain the Swamp and reduce the corrupting influence of special interests on our politics.

[Oct 23, 2016] Exclusive - Trump Economic Adviser Donald Will Tell Wall Street to 'Go to Hell' While He Fixes Economy for American Workers

While trump idea of cutting taxes for business might work in a sort term, the whole neoliberal system is so corrupt that any attempt to make distribution more fair will be sabotaged. and Trump appeal to small business owners is somewhat fake. When political in the USA talks about small business owners typically he is a Wall Street stooge.
Notable quotes:
"... Donald J. Trump, the Republican nominee for president, is in a unique position to be able to tell the Wall Street lobbyists and special interests to "go to hell" while he actually fixes the U.S. economy, his senior economic adviser Peter Navarro told Breitbart News Saturday. ..."
"... The basic problem is for a congressman or a president to get elected, they need obscene amounts of money. And the only place you can get obscene amounts of money is from Wall Street and the big corporations who benefit from shipping our jobs and our factories overseas-that's the fundamental political problem. That's the beauty of Donald Trump. He's the change agent. He can tell Wall Street and these big people and corporations that want to ship our jobs overseas to go to hell. He stands up for our workers. ..."
"... Navarro's interview came just an hour before Trump's address in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he laid out what he will do in his first 100 days as president if elected on Nov. 8, and made his closing argument to the American people in the campaign. ..."
"... What happens is there will be a major speech that goes on for 40 minutes laying out in precise detail exactly what's going to get done and then the media will take a clip from that that's unrelated to the policy agenda and make that the news. It's difficult to push through that when so much of the media has a NeverTrump agenda. ..."
"... For every one percent of GDP growth that we have lost over the last 15 years, we've lost 1.2 million jobs. If you add that up over the 15-year period, that would be over 20 million jobs, which is about what we need to put everybody back to work at a decent wage. So that's the grim reality. ..."
"... Clinton is part of the problem. In fact, it's extraordinary to me-you cannot name a presidential candidate in history who has singlehandedly through bad trade deals destroyed more American jobs and more American factories than Hillary Clinton. She did NAFTA, she did China's entry into the World Trade Organization, she did the South Korean 2012 deal, every single one of those. We're talking about millions and millions and millions of jobs and just misery in all of the swing states in this election. ..."
www.breitbart.com

Donald J. Trump, the Republican nominee for president, is in a unique position to be able to tell the Wall Street lobbyists and special interests to "go to hell" while he actually fixes the U.S. economy, his senior economic adviser Peter Navarro told Breitbart News Saturday.

Navarro said on the program, which aired on SiriusXM Patriot Channel 125 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday:

The basic problem is for a congressman or a president to get elected, they need obscene amounts of money. And the only place you can get obscene amounts of money is from Wall Street and the big corporations who benefit from shipping our jobs and our factories overseas-that's the fundamental political problem. That's the beauty of Donald Trump. He's the change agent. He can tell Wall Street and these big people and corporations that want to ship our jobs overseas to go to hell. He stands up for our workers.

Navarro's interview came just an hour before Trump's address in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he laid out what he will do in his first 100 days as president if elected on Nov. 8, and made his closing argument to the American people in the campaign.

Navarro told Breitbart News Saturday of the speech:

This is basically a broad overview of the whole Trump policy agenda for America. It's very exciting news. If you think about what's going on this year in America, we've got the slowest growth since World War II. We've got a national security mess in every theater in the world from Asia to the Middle East, and we've got a healthcare plan that is imploding, and we've got an immigration plan that is overwhelming this country, so in the remaining days until Nov. 8 Mr. Trump is going to lay all of this out and it's going to be exciting to hear positive policies talked about to the American people instead of anything but policy.

Trump, Navarro noted, has been giving detailed policy-oriented speeches across the United States over the past several months while his Democratic opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton has been running a policy-free campaign focused on insults and the politics of personal destruction. Nonetheless, the media completely ignores Trump's solutions-focused campaign. So what Trump plans to do now is circumvent the media while taking his message directly to the American people. Navarro said:

What happens is there will be a major speech that goes on for 40 minutes laying out in precise detail exactly what's going to get done and then the media will take a clip from that that's unrelated to the policy agenda and make that the news. It's difficult to push through that when so much of the media has a NeverTrump agenda.

So what Mr. Trump's going to do is just take the case to the American people between now and election day that his agenda is the right one on the economy, immigration, healthcare, and everything on down-national security-this is a critical election.

Hillary Clinton's agenda, Navarro said, would devastate the United States on every front. He said:

In fact, if we turn the country over to Hillary Clinton at this point we know the following: We know that she can't possibly be better at economically than we've been doing and she'll probably do worse. We know that she will continue with the Obamacare agenda which is collapsing before our eyes. We know that Hillary Clinton's foreign policy agenda will continue to be weakness and chaos in places like the Middle East. We know all of this and it's important for the American people to learn more in more granular detail about the competing policies of each of the candidates and that's the mission between now and Nov. 8.

One of the key points he brought up during the interview was Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the United States, which since the early 2000s has significantly slowed down compared with the latter half of the 20th century. That crushes Americans' chances of getting a good job with high-paying wages, as the slowdown in the 21st century has cost the United States around 20 million jobs, maybe more. Navarro went on:

Let me give you just the central statistic of American life right now: From 1947 to 2001, our economy grew at an average rate of 3.5 percent a year. Since 2002, that rate's fallen to 1.9 percent a year. For every one percent of GDP growth that we have lost over the last 15 years, we've lost 1.2 million jobs. If you add that up over the 15-year period, that would be over 20 million jobs, which is about what we need to put everybody back to work at a decent wage. So that's the grim reality.

Navarro said the reason this has happened is because of a "structural problem" in the U.S. economy that people like Hillary Clinton refuse to solve:

Now, the question is: Why has this happened? The answer is simply that we have a deep structural problem in our economy and the basic answer is we don't invest on American soil like we used to. That's a major problem. We invest in Mexico and China and Vietnam and Cambodia instead. That drains our GDP directly, and then we also run a massive trade deficit: $766 billion a year, which alone probably takes a point off our growth rate. Now, Donald Trump recognizes this. He recognizes that two of the most important things are to get more investment on domestic soil by corporations and businesses and to eliminate the trade deficit.

Trump will solve the problem on four separate fronts, Navarro said, something that will take bold leadership and courage in Washington. Navarro continued:

So what do you do? You attack that on four different fronts: regulatory, trade directly, energy, and basically what we need to do is realign the incentives of corporations so that it's better to invest in Michigan than Mexico. One of the ways to do that is to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent down to 15 percent, which would make us competitive with all of those countries which have lower corporate tax rates and are basically running huge surpluses with us: Germany, Japan, South Korea, China, Mexico. These are the countries that are just killing us strategically. So, if we want to get better growth-stronger growth-we have to attack this structurally. Now, what Obama and Clinton have been doing is treating the problem not structurally but as a cyclical phenomenon that you can simply use what we call Keynesian stimulus - named after John Maynard Keynes, famous economist: the idea that if you simply spend a bunch of government money and print a bunch of government money that somehow that will stimulate the economy. Well, we've had eight years of that. Barack Obama has doubled our debt from $10 to $20 trillion using fiscal stimulus and our Federal Reserve balance sheet has been totally destroyed and what do we have to show for it? We have one percent growth instead of 3.5 or 4.

Navarro said Clinton has two separate ideas to "stimulate the economy," both of which he said won't work.

"One is to basically tax the rich and give the money to everybody else," he said, noting that that is essentially classic leftist redistribution of wealth that will "depress savings and investment from the people who save the most and allow the most investment." Navarro added:

And the other is this wacky thing to significantly raise business taxes to get a pot of money and then build some infrastructure. It might sound good to some people-we definitely need the infrastructure-but the last thing we want to do is reallocate funds in America from the efficient private sector to the less efficient public sector. Trump has an infrastructure plan which will produce twice as much spending without having to raise any taxes. He uses an elegant system of a tax credit to incentivize the private sector to build this stuff.

Navarro said the problem is, in addition to cheap labor overseas, a number of government policies that strangle business development in the United States while encouraging offshoring of U.S. companies. He elaborated:

Cheap labor is a small part of the problem at work here. If it were only cheap labor, America would be in trouble. Because it's other things too, we have a great chance to turn it around. Here's the problem: Our high corporate tax rate pushes our companies offshore. Our high regulatory burden pushes our companies offshore. To the extent we put our coal miners and oil and gas industry out of business and raise electricity costs and energy costs, that pushes our corporations offshore. To the extent that we allow China to illegally subsidize goods and sell them into this country, that pushes our jobs and factories offshore. To the extent we don't hold the World Trade Organization and Mexico accountable for manipulating the rules of the VAT versus income tax is very injurious to this country.

Navarro added that if someone is elected president with the "will and the intelligence" to take on the special interests and fix the problems, America can survive this threat. He concluded:

All of this stuff is in our hands. It simply takes the will and the intelligence to do it, and the ability to resist the special interests who are on the other side of that equation. Trump will solve this problem, Clinton is part of the problem. In fact, it's extraordinary to me-you cannot name a presidential candidate in history who has singlehandedly through bad trade deals destroyed more American jobs and more American factories than Hillary Clinton. She did NAFTA, she did China's entry into the World Trade Organization, she did the South Korean 2012 deal, every single one of those. We're talking about millions and millions and millions of jobs and just misery in all of the swing states in this election. If anybody is listening to this in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, North Carolina, please recognize that Hillary Clinton bears a major responsibility for whatever misery your state is going through.

LISTEN TO PETER NAVARRO'S FULL INTERVIEW ON BREITBART NEWS SATURDAY:

R

[Oct 12, 2016] Trump and Trade: He's Not All Wrong

Oct 12, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne : October 11, 2016 at 06:46 AM , October 11, 2016 at 06:46 AM

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/trump-and-trade-he-s-not-all-wrong

October 11, 2016

Trump and Trade: He's Not All Wrong

Given his history of promoting racism, xenophobia, sexism and his recently exposed boasts about sexual assaults, not many people want to be associated with Donald Trump. However that doesn't mean everything that comes out of his mouth is wrong.

In the debate on Sunday Donald Trump made a comment to the effect that because of the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade deals, "we lost our jobs." The New York Times was quick to say * this was wrong.

"We didn't.

"Employment in the United States has increased steadily over the last seven years, one of the longest periods of economic growth in American history. There are about 10 million more working Americans today than when President Obama took office.

"David Autor, an economist at M.I.T., estimated in a famous paper that increased trade with China did eliminate roughly one million factory jobs in the United States between 2000 and 2007. However, an important implication of his findings is that such job losses largely ended almost a decade ago.

"And there's no evidence the North American Free Trade Agreement caused similar job losses.

"The Congressional Research Service concluded in 2015 that the 'net overall effect of Nafta on the U.S. economy appears to have been relatively modest.' "

There are a few things to sort out here. First, the basic point in the first paragraph is absolutely true, although it's not clear that it's relevant to the trade debate. The United States economy typically grows and adds jobs, around 1.6 million a year for the last quarter century. So any claim that trade has kept the U.S. from creating jobs is absurd on its face. The actual issue is the rate of job creation and the quality of the jobs.

Here there are three issues to consider.

  1. The direct job loss – the jobs that were displaced due to imports substituting for domestically produced goods and services;
  2. The wage effects – the downward pressure on the wages of workers that retain their jobs that can result from job loss and also the threat of job loss;
  3. The impact of a trade deficit on the level of demand in the economy.

Taking these in turn we now have some pretty solid evidence on some of the job loss attributable to trade. David Autor's work ** found that imports from China cost the economy more than 2 million jobs in the years from 2000-2007.

"Estimates of the net impact of aggregate demand and reallocation effects imply that import growth from China between 1999 and 2011 led to an employment reduction of 2.4 million workers" (page 29).

These are workers who are directly displaced by import competition. In addition, as the article goes on to note, there were more workers who likely lost their jobs to the multiplier effect in the local economies most directly affected by imports.

The impact of trade with China was more dramatic than trade with Mexico and other countries because of the huge growth in imports over a short period of time. However, even if the impact from trade with other countries was smaller, it still would have a substantial effect on the communities affected.

It is also worth noting that even though our trade deficit has declined from its 2006 peak (the non-oil deficit has recently been rising again), workers are constantly being displaced by imports. The Bureau of Labor Statistic reports there have been an average of 110,000 layoffs or discharges a month in manufacturing thus far this year. If just a quarter of these are trade-related, it would imply that more than 300,000 workers a year are losing their jobs due to trade.

Of course people lose jobs for other reasons also, like increased productivity. So the fact there is job loss associated with trade doesn't make it bad, but it is not wrong to see this as a serious problem.

The second point is the wage effect, which can go beyond the direct impact of job loss. The oil market can give us a useful way of thinking about this issue. Suppose that Saudi Arabia or some other major producer ramps up its oil production by 1 million barrels of oil a day. This will put downward pressure on world prices, which will have the effect of lowering prices in the United States as well. This could mean, for example, that instead of getting $50 for a barrel of oil, producers in North Dakota will only get $40 a barrel. This will mean less money for workers and companies in the oil industry. In the case of workers, it will mean fewer jobs and lower pay.

This can happen even if there is very little direct impact of trade. The increased supply of Saudi oil may result in some modest reduction in U.S. exports of oil, but the impact on price will be much larger. The analogous story with trade in manufactured goods is that the potential to import low cost goods from Mexico, China, or other countries can have the effect of lowering wages in the United States, even if the goods are not actually imported.

Kate Bronfenbrenner, a professor of industrial relations at Cornell, documented one way in which the potential to import can have the effect of lowering wages. She found *** that employers regularly used the threat of moving operations to Mexico as a way to thwart unionization drives. While most workers are not typically involved in unionization drives, it is easy to imagine this dynamic playing out in other contexts where employers use the real or imagined threat from import competition as a reason for holding down wages. The implication is the impact of trade on wages is likely to be even larger than the direct effect of the goods actually brought into the country.

Finally, the balance of trade will have an impact on the overall level of employment in the economy when the economy is below its full employment level of output. Until the Great Recession, most economists did not think that trade could affect the overall level of employment, but only the composition. This meant that trade could cause us to lose manufacturing jobs in the Midwest, but these job losses would be offset by gains in Silicon Valley and other tech centers. This could still mean bad news for the manufacturing workers who lost their jobs, but the net effect for the country as a whole would still be positive.

The Great Recession changed this view, as many economists came to believe that the United States is facing a period of secular stagnation: a sustained period in which lack of demand in the economy constrains growth and employment. In this context, the trade deficit is a major cause of the lack of demand since it is spending that is creating demand in other countries rather than the United States. If we could reduce the annual trade deficit by $100 billion then as a first approximation it will have the same impact on the economy as a stimulus of $100 billion.

From this perspective, the trade deficit is a major source of job loss. Our current trade deficit of $500 billion a year (@2.8 percent of GDP) is a major drag on demand and employment. For this reason, a politician would be absolutely right to cite trade as a big factor in the weakness of the labor market.

It is worth noting that many economists (including many at the Federal Reserve Board) now believe that the economy is close to its full employment level of output, in which case trade is not now a net cause of job loss even if it had been earlier in the recovery. There are two points to be made on this view.

First, there are many prominent economists, such as Paul Krugman and Larry Summers, who argue that the economy is still well below its full employment level of output. So this is at least a debatable position.

Second, if we accept that the economy is near full employment it implies that close to 2 million prime age workers (ages 25-54) have permanently left the labor market compared to 2007 levels of labor force participation. (The gap is close to 4 million if we use 2000 as our comparison year.)

There is no generally accepted explanation as to why so many prime age workers would suddenly decide they didn't feel like working, but one often invoked candidate is the loss of manufacturing jobs. The argument in this story is that the manufacturing sector provided relatively good paying jobs for people without college degrees. With so many of these jobs now gone, these workers can't find jobs. If this argument is true, then it means that trade has cost the country a large number of jobs even if the economy is back at full employment.

In short, there are good reasons for a politician to complain about trade as a major source of our economic problems. There is much research and economic theory that supports this position.

* http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/10/09/us/elections/fact-check-debate.html#/factcheck-25

** http://www.ddorn.net/papers/Autor-Dorn-Hanson-ChinaShock.pdf

*** http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1018&context=cbpubs

-- Dean Baker

[Oct 12, 2016] Trump claims that he escape GOP "mainstream republicans" (read hard core neoliebrals) shackles (for now)

Notable quotes:
"... Trump later tweeted "the shackles have been taken off me". ..."
"... It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to. ..."
"... With the exception of cheating Bernie out of the nom the Dems have always proven to be far more loyal to each other than the Republicans! ..."
"... Disloyal R's are far more difficult than Crooked Hillary. They come at you from all sides. They don't know how to win - I will teach them! ..."
Oct 12, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs : October 11, 2016 at 08:03 AM

'The shackles have been taken off':
Trump amps up GOP civil war
http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2016/10/11/donald-trump-blames-paul-ryan-disloyalty-for-hurting-campaign/V5gRA9Xs6MvdU93iUa64cK/story.html?event=event25
via @BostonGlobe - AP - October 11, 2016

Donald Trump is attacking House Speaker Paul Ryan. He's calling him ''very weak and ineffective'' a day after the House speaker said he would not campaign for the Republican nominee.

Ryan told Republican lawmakers on a conference call Monday that he would focus instead on helping the party keep control of the House.

Trump referred to that call in his tweet Tuesday morning. He said Ryan ''had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty.''

Trump later tweeted "the shackles have been taken off me".

The real estate mogul also claimed Democrats were more loyal to their party than Republicans.

House Speaker Paul Ryan all but abandoned Donald Trump, obliterating whatever bounce he may have received from Sunday's debate.

It was his second tweet of the morning targeting Ryan. The other said Ryan's ''zero support'' was making it hard for Trump to do well.

Ryan did face some pushback from members upset he was abandoning Trump. The House Speaker continues to endorse the nominee.

Donald J. Trump ✔ ‎@realDonaldTrump

Despite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support!

8:16 AM - 11 Oct 2016

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump

Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan, had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty.

9:05 AM - 11 Oct 2016

Donald J. Trump ✔ ‎@realDonaldTrump

It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.

10:00 AM - 11 Oct 2016

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump

With the exception of cheating Bernie out of the nom the Dems have always proven to be far more loyal to each other than the Republicans!

10:15 AM - 11 Oct 2016 · Queens, NY, United States

Donald J. Trump ✔ ‎@realDonaldTrump

Disloyal R's are far more difficult than Crooked Hillary. They come at you from all sides. They don't know how to win - I will teach them!

[Oct 11, 2016] Trump claims that he escape GOP "mainstream republicans" (read hard core neoliebrals) chucles (for now)

Oct 11, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs : October 11, 2016 at 08:03 AM 'The shackles have been taken off':
Trump amps up GOP civil war
http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2016/10/11/donald-trump-blames-paul-ryan-disloyalty-for-hurting-campaign/V5gRA9Xs6MvdU93iUa64cK/story.html?event=event25
via @BostonGlobe - AP - October 11, 2016

Donald Trump is attacking House Speaker Paul Ryan. He's calling him ''very weak and ineffective'' a day after the House speaker said he would not campaign for the Republican nominee.

Ryan told Republican lawmakers on a conference call Monday that he would focus instead on helping the party keep control of the House.

Trump referred to that call in his tweet Tuesday morning. He said Ryan ''had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty.''

Trump later tweeted "the shackles have been taken off me.

The real estate mogul also claimed Democrats were more loyal to their party than Republicans.

House Speaker Paul Ryan all but abandoned Donald Trump, obliterating whatever bounce he may have received from Sunday's debate.

It was his second tweet of the morning targeting Ryan. The other said Ryan's ''zero support'' was making it hard for Trump to do well.

Ryan did face some pushback from members upset he was abandoning Trump. The House Speaker continues to endorse the nominee.

Donald J. Trump ✔ ‎@realDonaldTrump

Despite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support!

8:16 AM - 11 Oct 2016

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump

Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan, had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty.

9:05 AM - 11 Oct 2016

Donald J. Trump ✔ ‎@realDonaldTrump

It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.

10:00 AM - 11 Oct 2016

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump

With the exception of cheating Bernie out of the nom the Dems have always proven to be far more loyal to each other than the Republicans!

10:15 AM - 11 Oct 2016 · Queens, NY, United States

Donald J. Trump ✔ ‎@realDonaldTrump

Disloyal R's are far more difficult than Crooked Hillary. They come at you from all sides. They don't know how to win - I will teach them!

10:48 AM - 11 Oct 2016 Reply Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 08:03 AM

[Oct 11, 2016] Trump and Trade: He's Not All Wrong

Oct 11, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne : October 11, 2016 at 06:46 AM , October 11, 2016 at 06:46 AM

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/trump-and-trade-he-s-not-all-wrong

October 11, 2016

Trump and Trade: He's Not All Wrong

Given his history of promoting racism, xenophobia, sexism and his recently exposed boasts about sexual assaults, not many people want to be associated with Donald Trump. However that doesn't mean everything that comes out of his mouth is wrong.

In the debate on Sunday Donald Trump made a comment to the effect that because of the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade deals, "we lost our jobs." The New York Times was quick to say * this was wrong.

"We didn't.

"Employment in the United States has increased steadily over the last seven years, one of the longest periods of economic growth in American history. There are about 10 million more working Americans today than when President Obama took office.

"David Autor, an economist at M.I.T., estimated in a famous paper that increased trade with China did eliminate roughly one million factory jobs in the United States between 2000 and 2007. However, an important implication of his findings is that such job losses largely ended almost a decade ago.

"And there's no evidence the North American Free Trade Agreement caused similar job losses.

"The Congressional Research Service concluded in 2015 that the 'net overall effect of Nafta on the U.S. economy appears to have been relatively modest.' "

There are a few things to sort out here. First, the basic point in the first paragraph is absolutely true, although it's not clear that it's relevant to the trade debate. The United States economy typically grows and adds jobs, around 1.6 million a year for the last quarter century. So any claim that trade has kept the U.S. from creating jobs is absurd on its face. The actual issue is the rate of job creation and the quality of the jobs.

Here there are three issues to consider.

1) The direct job loss – the jobs that were displaced due to imports substituting for domestically produced goods and services;

2) The wage effects – the downward pressure on the wages of workers that retain their jobs that can result from job loss and also the threat of job loss;

3) The impact of a trade deficit on the level of demand in the economy.

Taking these in turn we now have some pretty solid evidence on some of the job loss attributable to trade. David Autor's work ** found that imports from China cost the economy more than 2 million jobs in the years from 2000-2007.

"Estimates of the net impact of aggregate demand and reallocation effects imply that import growth from China between 1999 and 2011 led to an employment reduction of 2.4 million workers" (page 29).

These are workers who are directly displaced by import competition. In addition, as the article goes on to note, there were more workers who likely lost their jobs to the multiplier effect in the local economies most directly affected by imports.

The impact of trade with China was more dramatic than trade with Mexico and other countries because of the huge growth in imports over a short period of time. However, even if the impact from trade with other countries was smaller, it still would have a substantial effect on the communities affected.

It is also worth noting that even though our trade deficit has declined from its 2006 peak (the non-oil deficit has recently been rising again), workers are constantly being displaced by imports. The Bureau of Labor Statistic reports there have been an average of 110,000 layoffs or discharges a month in manufacturing thus far this year. If just a quarter of these are trade-related, it would imply that more than 300,000 workers a year are losing their jobs due to trade.

Of course people lose jobs for other reasons also, like increased productivity. So the fact there is job loss associated with trade doesn't make it bad, but it is not wrong to see this as a serious problem.

The second point is the wage effect, which can go beyond the direct impact of job loss. The oil market can give us a useful way of thinking about this issue. Suppose that Saudi Arabia or some other major producer ramps up its oil production by 1 million barrels of oil a day. This will put downward pressure on world prices, which will have the effect of lowering prices in the United States as well. This could mean, for example, that instead of getting $50 for a barrel of oil, producers in North Dakota will only get $40 a barrel. This will mean less money for workers and companies in the oil industry. In the case of workers, it will mean fewer jobs and lower pay.

This can happen even if there is very little direct impact of trade. The increased supply of Saudi oil may result in some modest reduction in U.S. exports of oil, but the impact on price will be much larger. The analogous story with trade in manufactured goods is that the potential to import low cost goods from Mexico, China, or other countries can have the effect of lowering wages in the United States, even if the goods are not actually imported.

Kate Bronfenbrenner, a professor of industrial relations at Cornell, documented one way in which the potential to import can have the effect of lowering wages. She found *** that employers regularly used the threat of moving operations to Mexico as a way to thwart unionization drives. While most workers are not typically involved in unionization drives, it is easy to imagine this dynamic playing out in other contexts where employers use the real or imagined threat from import competition as a reason for holding down wages. The implication is the impact of trade on wages is likely to be even larger than the direct effect of the goods actually brought into the country.

Finally, the balance of trade will have an impact on the overall level of employment in the economy when the economy is below its full employment level of output. Until the Great Recession, most economists did not think that trade could affect the overall level of employment, but only the composition. This meant that trade could cause us to lose manufacturing jobs in the Midwest, but these job losses would be offset by gains in Silicon Valley and other tech centers. This could still mean bad news for the manufacturing workers who lost their jobs, but the net effect for the country as a whole would still be positive.

The Great Recession changed this view, as many economists came to believe that the United States is facing a period of secular stagnation: a sustained period in which lack of demand in the economy constrains growth and employment. In this context, the trade deficit is a major cause of the lack of demand since it is spending that is creating demand in other countries rather than the United States. If we could reduce the annual trade deficit by $100 billion then as a first approximation it will have the same impact on the economy as a stimulus of $100 billion.

From this perspective, the trade deficit is a major source of job loss. Our current trade deficit of $500 billion a year (@2.8 percent of GDP) is a major drag on demand and employment. For this reason, a politician would be absolutely right to cite trade as a big factor in the weakness of the labor market.

It is worth noting that many economists (including many at the Federal Reserve Board) now believe that the economy is close to its full employment level of output, in which case trade is not now a net cause of job loss even if it had been earlier in the recovery. There are two points to be made on this view.

First, there are many prominent economists, such as Paul Krugman and Larry Summers, who argue that the economy is still well below its full employment level of output. So this is at least a debatable position.

Second, if we accept that the economy is near full employment it implies that close to 2 million prime age workers (ages 25-54) have permanently left the labor market compared to 2007 levels of labor force participation. (The gap is close to 4 million if we use 2000 as our comparison year.)

There is no generally accepted explanation as to why so many prime age workers would suddenly decide they didn't feel like working, but one often invoked candidate is the loss of manufacturing jobs. The argument in this story is that the manufacturing sector provided relatively good paying jobs for people without college degrees. With so many of these jobs now gone, these workers can't find jobs. If this argument is true, then it means that trade has cost the country a large number of jobs even if the economy is back at full employment.

In short, there are good reasons for a politician to complain about trade as a major source of our economic problems. There is much research and economic theory that supports this position.

* http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/10/09/us/elections/fact-check-debate.html#/factcheck-25

** http://www.ddorn.net/papers/Autor-Dorn-Hanson-ChinaShock.pdf

*** http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1018&context=cbpubs

-- Dean Baker

[Oct 09, 2016] Trump has promised to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act . That would take an act of Congress, but would not be necessary.

Oct 09, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Science Officer Smirnoff October 7, 2016 at 3:37 pm

David Dayen reenforces the point that Paul Ryan is party ideologist (and has been for years) in bringing up Ryan's Wednesday statement that "he intends to jam through the Ryan budget next year under a procedure that bypasses Democratic opposition in Congress-and make that vow without fear of reprisal, right in the heat of election season":

. . . Even today, the media assists Ryan when he tries to distance himself from Donald Trump-when in reality, Trump would likely be little more than an autopen as president , signing whatever noxious policy Ryan shuttled through the House and put on his desk. Despite this, the media almost affords him sympathy for his plight about dealing with Trump (he's campaigning with Trump on Saturday, so it can't be that wrenching), rather than recognizing his role as the author of the agenda the next Republican president will carry out.

The normalization of Ryan as a serious, honest figure allows him to put out as radical a budget as would ever be initiated in American history without anyone batting an eyelash. This may not come back to sting the country next year, if Trump falls the way his poll numbers currently suggest. But at some not-too-distant point, when conservatives capture the entire government, they'll be able to implement this blueprint, the Ryan budget, that should have been made into nuclear waste long ago.

https://newrepublic.com/article/137553/detoxified-paul-ryans-budget

Grover Norquist would put it slightly differently: Republicans only need a dead man walking to sign their bills.

cwaltz October 7, 2016 at 5:19 pm

Isn't it nice that Ryan's plan is to save the Democratic Party in 2018 when they face challenges in keeping their seats at the same level the GOP is facing this year?

If Ryan thinks there won't be consequences in ramming through changes to Social Security or Medicare, he's bleeping insane and clearly hasn't been paying attention.

I almost wonder if he can get the rest of his coalition to sign his little suicide pact. If Trump doesn't implode him then Ryan's budget just might.

Science Officer Smirnoff October 7, 2016 at 7:05 pm

Consequences?

Republicans merely can cherry-pick Ryan's budget-but they're a monolith on core doctrine, tax cuts on income from wealth and deregulation, eh?

. . . or this bonus–Robert Kuttner in American Prospect:

Trump has promised to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act . That would take an act of Congress, but would not be necessary. He'd need only to appoint stooges to several key Treasury positions, or repeal existing regulations and not write new ones. The same is true of a broad swath of environmental, civil-rights, and labor regulation, not to mention rights of immigrants. . . Trump could reach out to such relatively conservative unions as police, fire, and building trades with a blend of carrots and sticks. He could try to enlist industrial unions such as the Steelworkers and the United Auto Workers that are most threatened by trade, and ask for their explicit support. Then he could concentrate his fire on left unions like the Service Employees International Union, which has a heavily black and Latino membership. His white working-class bona fides would be strengthened-and the labor movement's alliance with the Democratic Party sundered.

Consequences?

NY Union Guy October 7, 2016 at 7:36 pm

As a white union guy in an AFL union who knows plenty of other white guys in other AFL unions, I find your whole scenario entirely plausible.

Trump is very popular among my cohorts, which I find rather ironic since he spent years on TV playing the role of boss. It wouldn't take much, maybe a federal pre-emption of state right-to-work laws, to get the union factions you spoke of on board. Cardcheck seems to be more of an SEIU/UFCW type of issue and those definitely aren't Trump unions.

cwaltz October 7, 2016 at 10:00 pm

As the wife of a white union guy I don't,

The union leadership is quite often lazy and self serving. They"ll continue to back Democrats even though they get very little from the alliance,

As a matter of fact I got my first anti Trump mailer today, It was from the SMART PAC(railroad union)

hunkerdown October 7, 2016 at 8:47 pm

Even today, the media assists Ryan when he tries to distance himself from Donald Trump

Curiously, he fails to mention - or mentioned but editors cut - allegations that to do so was official Hillary policy. The impending flame-out of this Party system can be hung right on her and her mooks' shoulders.

Benedict@Large October 7, 2016 at 9:20 pm

I have no fear of Ryan enacting his budget. Any party that enacts that budget will be removed from power for the following three generations. Everyone that was alive when that happened would have to die before that party ever got another chance.

No doubt that party would then repeat that same mistake.

[Oct 09, 2016] The Anti-Trust Election

Oct 09, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
I have a new column:

The Anti-Trust Election of 2016 : A report on the " Benefits of Competition and Indicators of Market Power " from the White House Council of Economic Advisors documents that monopoly power has been increasing the last few decades, and it argues persuasively "that consumers and workers would benefit from additional policy actions by the government to promote competition within a variety of industries." The report is part of an initiative by the Obama administration last spring to promote a "fair, efficient, and competitive marketplace" through stricter enforcement of antitrust regulations, and through other measures such as patent reform and the reform of occupational licensing.

To those who believe more aggressive enforcement of antitrust laws is needed, and I am one of them, Hillary Clinton's recent announcement of "A new commitment to promote competition, address excessive concentration and the abuse of economic power, and strengthen antitrust laws and enforcement" is an encouraging sign that if Clinton is elected the Obama administration's initiative will not end when he leaves office.

The presence of monopoly power harms the economy in several ways. ...

Donald Trump has promised to make deregulation one of the focal points of his presidency. If Trump is elected, the trend toward rising market concentration and all of the problems that come with it are likely to continue. We'll hear the usual arguments about ineffective government and the magic of markets to justify ignoring the problem. If Clinton is elected, it's unlikely that her administration would be active enough in antitrust enforcement for my taste. But at least she acknowledges that something needs to be done about this growing problem, and any movement toward more aggressive enforcement of antitrust regulation would be more than welcome.

Posted by Mark Thoma on Friday, October 7, 2016 at 09:03 AM in Economics , Fiscal Times , Market Failure , Politics , Regulation | Permalink Comments (23)

[Oct 06, 2016] They can't admit Trump is partly right about anything?

Oct 06, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Peter K. -> anne... October 06, 2016 at 06:21 AM , October 06, 2016 at 06:21 AM

Center left economist ignore what Dean is pointing out. Why is that?

They can't admit Trump is partly right about anything?

http://cepr.net/publications/op-eds-columns/the-high-dollar-president-clintons-unaffordable-tax-cut

he High Dollar: President Clinton's Unaffordable Tax Cut

by Dean Baker

Truthout, November 15, 2006

Everyone knows about George W. Bush's unaffordable tax cuts, the big tax breaks that gave millions to millionaires and billions to billionaires, but few people are aware of the even more unaffordable tax cut from the Clinton administration. That is because President Clinton's tax cut took a somewhat different form: an over-valued dollar.

While few people recognize it, the effect of an over-valued dollar on the US economy is very similar to the effect of large tax cuts. Tax cuts reduce revenue, which leads to deficits and a growing debt, which will impose a larger interest burden on the country in the future. In the same way, an over-valued dollar leads to a trade deficit, which results in borrowing from abroad. In future years, the country will have to pay interest on the money it borrows from abroad today, leading to lower living standards in the future. In fact, the most important difference between the two is that the trade deficit is much larger, clocking in at more than $800 billion in 2006 (6.1 percent of GDP), while the budget deficit is a comparatively modest $260 billion (2.0 percent of GDP).

Clinton did not start his administration with a high dollar policy. Lloyd Bentsen, his first Treasury Secretary, deliberately allowed the dollar to weaken in the first years of the Clinton administration, with the hope of keeping the trade deficit at a manageable level. When he left office in 1994, the trade deficit was less than 1.5 percent of GDP, a level that could be sustained indefinitely.

The high dollar policy came into being under Bentsen's replacement, Robert Rubin. Rubin argued that a high dollar would help control inflation. He made it the official policy of the Clinton administration to support a high dollar.

As a short-term measure, Rubin is exactly right; a high dollar does help to control inflation by making imports available at a lower cost. This has the effect of keeping prices lower in the United States and putting US manufacturing firms at an enormous competitive disadvantage. The basic story is relatively simple - if the dollar is over-valued by 20 percent, then this is equivalent to providing a 20 percent subsidy to imports, while placing a 20 percent tariff on all goods exported from the United States. With the high dollar policy in place, it should not be a surprise that we have lost more than 3 million manufacturing jobs in the last decade.

But, it is important to realize that the feel good part of the high dollar policy is only a short-term story. Just as a tax cut can put more money in people's pockets until the interest burden starts to exceed the size of the tax cut, eventually the foreign debt builds to the point where it is no longer possible to sustain the over-valued dollar. At some point in the future, the dollar will fall, and it will hit a level that is much lower than would have been the case if we had not built up a massive foreign debt (now more than $3 trillion) during the years of the high dollar. As a result future generations will be paying much more for everything that the country imports from abroad - oil, other raw materials, manufactured goods and services. In other words, future generations will experience lower standards of living because of today's high dollar, and the impact is more than three times as large as the impact of the budget deficit.

The blame for the high dollar policy is bi-partisan. It started under Clinton-Rubin, but it has continued in the Bush years, even as the trade deficit exploded to more than twice its previous record (measured relative to the size of the economy). The Bush administration could have taken steps to bring down the value of the dollar and thereby reduce the trade deficit, but this would have meant sharp increases in import prices, which would lower living standards. This would be no more popular than tax increases - it is not surprising that Bush would not choose to go this route.

Instead, President Bush continued the high dollar policy that he inherited from Clinton, obviously hoping that its collapse occurs when someone else is sitting in the White House. For the politicians, this is a convenient pass the buck story; only the person sitting there at the time will have to take the blame when the bill from the high dollar policy comes due. But, those of us who will have to pay this bill should be clear, it was Bill Clinton and Robert Rubin who started the tab running and George W. Bush who lacked the courage to close the account.

[Oct 06, 2016] Donald Trump, Economic Theory, and Trade Deficits

Oct 06, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne : , Thursday, October 06, 2016 at 06:07 AM

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/economic-theory-and-trade-deficits

October 6, 2016

Donald Trump, Economic Theory, and Trade Deficits

The desire to beat up on Donald Trump is understandable, but it is important to realize that not everything he says is wrong. For example, according to press accounts he adheres to the belief that the world is round.

Anyhow, Greg Ip goes a bit over board in a Wall Street Journal piece where he argues that Trump's claim that a trade deficit can be reduced or eliminated with tariffs is wrong. Referring to Trump's approach to the trade deficit, Ip tells readers:

"But that is out of step with standard economics, which predicts that a country's trade balance is determined by the gap between what it invests and saves, not by tariffs."

As an accounting identity a country's trade balance is always equal to the gap between what it invests and what it saves. This means that if the U.S. invests $200 billion a year more than it saves, then it will by definition be true that it has a trade deficit of $200 billion.

However this accounting identity tells us nothing about causation. If we are below the full employment level of output, and Donald Trump's tariffs or threats of tariffs, reduce our annual trade deficit by $200 billion (@ 1.1 percent of GDP), then this would lead to additional employment, output, and savings in the United States. A standard multiplier would suggest that a $200 billion reduction in the size of the trade deficit would lead to a $300 billion increase in GDP. This higher GDP would lead to more corporate and individual savings, as well as more tax revenue, which also count as savings. (The growth in GDP would also led to more imports, partially offsetting the initial improvement in the trade deficit.)

In other words, it is totally possible to reduce the size of the trade deficit as long as the economy is below its full employment level of output. This is basic economic theory. Folks should be clear on this point, even if it suggests that Trump might be partly right on something.

-- Dean Baker

[Oct 06, 2016] Trump and global trade

Notable quotes:
"... Policy makers and politicians, Goodman writes, "failed to plan for the trauma that has accompanied the benefits of trade. When millions of workers lost paychecks to foreign competition, they lacked government supports to cushion the blow. As a result, seething anger is upending politics in Europe and North America.' ..."
"... Along these lines, Trump has successfully appropriated an issue - the distributional impact of free trade - that was, in recent years, the turf of Democrats. ..."
"... 'The story of Trump's amazingly successful movement is also the story of how Democrats turned their backs on their working-class roots and sided with the elites on the crucial economic question of our times: Who would win from globalization, and who would lose? ..."
"... 'I don't want you to do that. And if you do it, you're not going to have any cars coming across the border unless you pay a 35 percent tax.' ..."
"... 'I'm going to tell the head of Carrier: "I hope you enjoy your stay in Mexico folks. But every single unit that you make and send across our border, which now will be real, you're going to pay a 35 percent tax."' ..."
Oct 06, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs : October 06, 2016 at 05:28 AM

Global Trade War, Trump Edition
http://nyti.ms/2dGGS9a
NYT - Thomas Edsall - Oct 6

Let's take Donald Trump's trade policies at face value.

If he is elected, "The era of economic surrender will finally be over," Trump declared, repeating a favorite theme in a July speech in Monessen, Pa., once the heart of the state's steel industry. (#) "I want you to imagine how much better your life can be if we start believing in America again."

As the world knows, Trump's rhetoric has found a receptive audience among angry white working-class voters who have lost well-paying jobs to automation and outsourcing.

Legions of Trump supporters have legitimate grounds for discontent. As my colleague Peter Goodman wrote last week:

'Trade comes with no assurances that the spoils will be shared equitably. Across much of the industrialized world, an outsize share of the winnings has been harvested by people with advanced degrees, stock options and the need for accountants. Ordinary laborers have borne the costs and suffered from joblessness and deepening economic anxiety.'

Policy makers and politicians, Goodman writes, "failed to plan for the trauma that has accompanied the benefits of trade. When millions of workers lost paychecks to foreign competition, they lacked government supports to cushion the blow. As a result, seething anger is upending politics in Europe and North America.'

Along these lines, Trump has successfully appropriated an issue - the distributional impact of free trade - that was, in recent years, the turf of Democrats.

On Sept. 30, Rex Nutting, a columnist at MarketWatch.com, wrote "How Donald Trump hijacked the Democrats' best issue":

'The story of Trump's amazingly successful movement is also the story of how Democrats turned their backs on their working-class roots and sided with the elites on the crucial economic question of our times: Who would win from globalization, and who would lose?

The downside of Trump's trade policy proposals is, however, considerable. Trump's protectionist policies would negatively affect overall American economic performance and further aggravate the harsh distributional consequences of globalization for just those workers who support him.

( https://www.donaldjtrump.com/policies/trade/ )

Gordon Hanson, an economics professor at the University of California, San Diego, emailed me his analysis of Trump's economic scheme:

'Trump's strategy is essentially one of withdrawal from the world economy. He wants less trade and less outward foreign investment. He offers no plans for how to improve our export performance. This is protectionism, pure and simple.'

Erik Brynjolfsson, an economist at M.I.T.'s Sloan School of Management, was more forceful:

'No nation can succeed by trying to protect the past from the future. We will succeed by having the confidence to embrace competition, and leveraging our comparative strengths, which are numerous. We have the largest, most productive and most technologically advanced economy that's ever existed on this planet. The more open the world economy is, the more we have an opportunity to leverage our many strengths.'

Looked at this way, Trump's stance is an implicit admission that he and his followers do not "believe in America" - an argument that the United States cannot compete successfully in the world arena unless protected by the imposition of high tariffs and punitive taxes on foreign production and foreign competitors.

Robert Reich, an economist at Berkeley, former secretary of labor under Bill Clinton and a leading supporter of Bernie Sanders during the primaries, agrees.

Trump's trade proposals, Reich argues, 'assume the U.S. can't compete and must erect trade barriers lest other countries flood America with better and cheaper products. That's the opposite of believing in America.'

On Jan. 7, Trump told The New York Times that he would impose a 45 percent tax on goods imported from China. "I would tax China on products coming in," he told the paper's editorial board. "The tax should be 45 percent."

When Ford proposed building new manufacturing facilities in Mexico, Trump declared in a September 2015 speech that he would call the president of Ford and tell him:

'I don't want you to do that. And if you do it, you're not going to have any cars coming across the border unless you pay a 35 percent tax.'

Trump said the same thing in March after the Carrier Corporation announced plans to move air-conditioning production facilities to Mexico:

'I'm going to tell the head of Carrier: "I hope you enjoy your stay in Mexico folks. But every single unit that you make and send across our border, which now will be real, you're going to pay a 35 percent tax."'

Andrew McAfee, a director of M.I.T.'s Initiative on the Digital Economy and co-author of "The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies," was sharply critical of Trump. In an email, McAfee wrote:

'There's a reason that all good economists support free trade, and that none of them are supporting Trump's proposals. The reason is that trade gives us more and better access to goods and services than we could produce on our own. It also provides jobs for exporters, people working in airports and ports, and so on.

Free trade is not surrender, and not something that only suckers do. In fact, just the opposite. Closing our borders would be surrender to a nonexistent enemy. It would make us poorer without bringing back the jobs.'

Sean Wilentz, a historian at Princeton, contends that Trump's proposal is only slightly less drastic than the Smoot-Hawley Tariff - a law passed over the objection of more than 1,000 economists and signed by Herbert Hoover in June 1930. Smoot-Hawley is largely acknowledged as one of the principle causes of the subsequent worldwide economic catastrophe. In an email, Wilentz wrote:

'Smoot-Hawley raised tariffs across the board, with every trading partner. The results were disastrous for the world economy, let alone for the U.S. at the opening stage of the Great Depression. A worldwide trade war commenced, and international trade was shattered. Trump so far has proposed only sharp tariff hikes with Mexico and China - but these are two of the three largest sources of U.S. imports.' ...

#- Newsweek investigation: How Donald Trump
ditched U.S. steel workers in favor of China
http://www.newsweek.com/how-donald-trump-ditched-us-steel-workers-china-505717
Kurt Eichenwald - 10/3/16

... A Newsweek investigation has found that in at least two of Trump's last three construction projects, Trump opted to purchase his steel and aluminum from Chinese manufacturers rather than United States corporations based in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. ...

Reply Thursday,

[Oct 01, 2016] Donald is at least pointing out the problem and proposing tax and tariff measures to partially restore manufacturing jobs to the Rust Belt. Hillary offers platitudes

Notable quotes:
"... Clinton was told over eight years ago that a huge number of Americans are in pain with good reason. See John Edwards' Two Americas… She was ignoring it then, she planned on ignoring it again. Unfortunately Trump came along and recognized the pain. Sanders felt it. Clinton doesn't feel diddly except her own personal greed, ambition, entitlement, and anger at anyone who thinks her being a public servant means actually working in the public interest not her own. ..."
"... Yeah but Donald is at least pointing out the problem and proposing tax and tariff measures to partially restore manufacturing jobs to the Rust Belt. Hillary offers platitudes and attacks on Donald as her solution to the Dispossessed Americans. ..."
"... The Republican party is almost a monolith on core doctrine. Let's see Congressional Republicans move to upend the current trade regime or, indeed, give any indication. ..."
"... These 2 utterly wretched candidates do not cancel out each others' flaws at all. They both stink like rotten meat. The Trump-cheerleading that now typifies this comments section is as pitiable as the slavish Hillary boosting crap that tars the pages of the New York Times. ..."
"... It's not cheerleading. It's the reasonable assessment that Trump MIGHT be a disaster, but Clinton WILL be a disaster. ..."
"... OK. You're comparing a heel to a known mass murderer who took petty bribes to destroy entire countries. I don't really understand how you arrived at your conclusion, but ok. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

Pat October 1, 2016 at 12:08 pm

Clinton was told over eight years ago that a huge number of Americans are in pain with good reason. See John Edwards' Two Americas… She was ignoring it then, she planned on ignoring it again. Unfortunately Trump came along and recognized the pain. Sanders felt it. Clinton doesn't feel diddly except her own personal greed, ambition, entitlement, and anger at anyone who thinks her being a public servant means actually working in the public interest not her own.

For that alone she needs to be dropped kicked into obscurity and a future where she and Bill really do find out what being broke and looking forward to the Social Security Check is like.

nycTerrierist October 1, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Amen

Dave October 1, 2016 at 12:19 pm

Yeah but Donald is at least pointing out the problem and proposing tax and tariff measures to partially restore manufacturing jobs to the Rust Belt. Hillary offers platitudes and attacks on Donald as her solution to the Dispossessed Americans.

Science Officer Smirnoff October 1, 2016 at 3:05 pm

He proposes, but who disposes?

If we had journalism instead of Poodledom there would be first a laying out of what are presidential powers-given the limited possibilities of who controls the other branches of government. And secondly, a replay of recent history of the two parties' actions on the major issues affecting the common good (which admittedly doesn't exist for libertarians and Thatcherites).

The Republican party is almost a monolith on core doctrine. Let's see Congressional Republicans move to upend the current trade regime or, indeed, give any indication.

FluffytheObeseCat October 1, 2016 at 4:48 pm

Donald Trump is not a "much better candidate" than Clinton. More's the pity. The Donald is a heel; a frivolous egotist who has screwed up many times over the decades. His money and showman's cunning allowed him to prosper despite all the screw overs and screw ups. He's been a heel for decades and there is no likelihood he'll improve if he attains high office. Hillary Clinton - by contrast, not - is a supercilious elitist with more baggage than the cargo compartment of a fully loaded 747.

These 2 utterly wretched candidates do not cancel out each others' flaws at all. They both stink like rotten meat. The Trump-cheerleading that now typifies this comments section is as pitiable as the slavish Hillary boosting crap that tars the pages of the New York Times.

Plenue October 1, 2016 at 5:01 pm

It's not cheerleading. It's the reasonable assessment that Trump MIGHT be a disaster, but Clinton WILL be a disaster.

jgordon October 1, 2016 at 5:07 pm

OK. You're comparing a heel to a known mass murderer who took petty bribes to destroy entire countries. I don't really understand how you arrived at your conclusion, but ok.

[Sep 26, 2016] Trump's Economic Policies

Sep 26, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne : September 23, 2016 at 09:42 AM , September 23, 2016 at 09:42 AM

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dont-believe-trumps-tax-and-spending-plans/

September 22, 2016

Don't believe Trump's tax and spending plans
By Mark Thoma

[ Excellent essay in each case. ]

anne : , Friday, September 23, 2016 at 09:42 AM
http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/excellent-nyt-reporting-on-trump-energy-plan

September 23, 2016

Excellent NYT Reporting on Trump Energy Plan

The New York Times did what we should expect newspapers to do when reporting on presidential campaigns, it told readers that Donald Trump's energy plans don't make any sense. In the first paragraph of a piece * on a speech Donald Trump gave in Pittsburgh, the NYT told readers that his promise to increase production of both coal and natural gas is "impossible." This is of course true, since the fuels are substitutes. In fact, the main reason coal production has fallen sharply in the last five years has been the boom in low cost natural gas from fracking. If we increase the latter further, then it is almost inevitable that it will result in a further drop in coal production.

Mr. Trump may not know he is promising the impossible, but now NYT readers do.

* http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/23/us/politics/donald-trump-fracking.html

-- Dean Baker

pgl -> anne... , -1
Dean seems to be saying that coal production fell as a result of a fall in its demand curve which would lower coal prices along the supply curve. This chart of coal prices confirms this story:

https://www.quandl.com/collections/markets/coal

What part of basic economics does Trump not understand?

pgl : , Friday, September 23, 2016 at 09:59 AM
All excellent points but let me expand on one that I have blogged about:

"his estimates of the additional growth we would get from cutting taxes and deregulating are wildly inflated, and the cuts to nondefense appropriations would amount to cuts of approximately 25 percent over 10 years which is not politically feasible."

Cutting nondefense Federal purchases by 25% would be very bad policy. At the same time, it would not reduce spending by nearly the made up numbers Trump is claiming even if this really bad policy were passed.

Of course Trump is not as bad as Paul Ryan whose magic astericks if actually turned into a real policy proposal would mean eliminating all nondefense Federal purchases. And for some reason people consider Ryan a serious policy person. No? He is nothing more than a lying clown.

Anon. : , -1
How do you reconcile these views with the lack of reaction from the stock market as Trump's chances improve?
reason -> Anon.... , -1
Maybe they are(or were) better at assessing Trump`s chances than you are.
pgl -> reason ... , -1
Nate Silver's probabilities over time:

http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/

Clinton's chances > 60%.

Lord : , Friday, September 23, 2016 at 02:49 PM
For being an outsider he seems devoid of new ideas and other than some distinctions in defense, immigration, and trade, mostly conventional. Hardly a change candidate, only more of the same.
jonny bakho -> Lord... , -1
Trump: Many criticisms of current government.
No workable solutions.
Trump is a pure outsider. He knows almost nothing about what it takes to govern.
Trump would speechify and present bread and circuses while Pence or Bannon would do the real work in the shadows

The question people should ask?: Will Trump policy help my situation?

[Sep 26, 2016] Neoliberal globalization had already run its course and a reversal is in cards. Trump or Hillary the problems facing nation are really huge

Sep 26, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

jonny bakho -> Lord... September 24, 2016 at 12:17 AM

Trump: Many criticisms of current government.
No workable solutions.
Trump is a pure outsider. He knows almost nothing about what it takes to govern.
Trump would speechify and present bread and circuses while Pence or Bannon would do the real work in the shadows

The question people should ask?: Will Trump policy help my situation?

Reply Saturday, likbez -> jonny bakho ... , Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 01:58 PM
"Trump is a pure outsider. He knows almost nothing about what it takes to govern."

Does not the absence of Washington experience make him preferable by definition? ;-)

Because we know the results of those who supposedly "knew something" (the son of previous President with English language problems and "change we can believe in" -- junior senator with questionable biography and very little experience in governing as well as Joe Lieberman as his Senate mentor).

But in more serious mode it is unclear whether he can be worse then Hillary, who is "status quo" candidate.

My hope is that with his paleoconservaive inclinatins, he might be able to suppress excessive financization and slightly tame Wall Street sharks. Looks like he does not like Wall Street and that might be huge positive.

While Hillary is definitely is in the pocket (like her husband Bill).

According to Mark Thoma for internal economic policy Trump is a more questionable choice. And that might well be true. But neoliberalism is now in deep internal crisis anyway, so all choices are bad.

As for foreign policy he is definitely preferable over more jingoistic and reckless neocon Hillary.

Looks like we have a very difficult choice here folks.

RueTheDay : , Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 01:58 PM
I'm shocked at how quickly the GOP has fallen in line behind his anti free trade policies. It appears that the official platform of the GOP is now in favor of protectionism and subsidies. The silence from the small-l libertarian wing of the GOP has been deafening.
likbez -> RueTheDay ... , -1
That's all pretense. They are still behind "free trade" but now need to hide that from the electorate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjbPi00k_ME
Casablanca gambling? I'm shocked!

Neoliberal globalization had already run its course and a reversal is in cards. Brexit was the first swan.

That means "Free traders" now are under the gun as the results of their policies are pretty evident and different from the promise that "a rising tide lifts all boats". Republicans attitude reflect this reality -- that's why Trump managed to get into position he is now.

"Peak (or more correctly Plato) Oil" is another big factor here and if the price dynamics is up this will be another nail in the coffin of neoliberal globalization.

As Obama put it in different context "I am the only one who is standing between you and pitchforks". And he really served this role for eight long years.

But the mood of electorate changed dramatically. That's why both parties now try to distance themselves from this idea at least for the period of elections.

With Trump election pitchforks might really move closer to their targets. That's why Wall Street and "Clinton's Demorats" are so firmly behind Hillary candidacy.

Hillary is a "status quo" candidate and has two additional advantages over Trump:

-- her failing health which might prevent serving her the full term,

-- there is a possibility of her impeachment for "emailgate", which really would be a "skeleton in the closet" for her administration.

So it is unclear who is the best candidate.

Pick your poison.

[Sep 25, 2016] 4 Reasons Trump's Economic Policies Would Be a Disaster

Notable quotes:
"... In many ways, Donald Trump follows the Republican playbook on fiscal policy. He believes in low taxes for the wealthy, and he wants to scale back or eliminate social insurance programs such as Obamacare. But there are two programs he has indicated he will try to protect, Social Security and Medicare. The question is whether he is serious about insulating these programs from cuts or saying whatever is needed to get votes, and whether these programs can be protected if he implements his tax cut plans. ..."
"... However, his estimates of the additional growth we would get from cutting taxes and deregulating are wildly inflated, and the cuts to nondefense appropriations would amount to cuts of approximately 25 percent over 10 years which is not politically feasible. If his plan were implemented, the debt would likely go up by trillions leaving Republicans with just three choices, reverse the tax cuts, make cuts to programs such as Medicare and Social Security, or accept the higher debt numbers. ..."
"... Many people struggling to make ends meet each month believe that it doesn't matter much for their lives who is elected president; their lives will go on much the same. But that is not true. Despite Trump's attempt to convince you otherwise, the working class has a lot to lose if he makes it to the White House. ..."
Sep 23, 2016 | The Fiscal Times

Donald Trump's chances of becoming president are higher than I ever expected them to be, and there is a chance that he will be able to put his economic plans into place. He claims his economic policies will be good for the working class, but in reality his plans for high income tax cuts and deregulation adhere closely to standard Republican ideology that has favored the wealthy and powerful. Even his plans for international trade, an area where he claims populist support, would hurt far more people than it would help. Here are the four areas where Trump's economic plans concern me the most:

Social Security and Medicare: In many ways, Donald Trump follows the Republican playbook on fiscal policy. He believes in low taxes for the wealthy, and he wants to scale back or eliminate social insurance programs such as Obamacare. But there are two programs he has indicated he will try to protect, Social Security and Medicare. The question is whether he is serious about insulating these programs from cuts or saying whatever is needed to get votes, and whether these programs can be protected if he implements his tax cut plans.

Donald Trump's latest tax plan does not increase the national debt as much as his original plan, revenues will "only" fall between $4.4 trillion and $5.9 trillion over a decade instead of $9.5 trillion. Trump has claimed that all of the lost revenue will be made up through the plan's impact on economic growth, cuts to nondefense appropriations (essentially everything except defense, Social Security, and Medicare), and deregulation.

However, his estimates of the additional growth we would get from cutting taxes and deregulating are wildly inflated, and the cuts to nondefense appropriations would amount to cuts of approximately 25 percent over 10 years which is not politically feasible. If his plan were implemented, the debt would likely go up by trillions leaving Republicans with just three choices, reverse the tax cuts, make cuts to programs such as Medicare and Social Security, or accept the higher debt numbers.

Republican members of Congress, who would almost surely be in control if Trump wins the election, will not reverse the tax cuts. But they have been eager to cut entitlement programs, only the threat of a veto from Obama stood in their way. Would Trump allow the debt to skyrocket, or would he, as I believe, end up signing legislation from Congress that includes large cuts to Social Security and Medicare? Despite his promises, two key programs the working class relies upon would be vulnerable with Trump as president.

Deregulation: I've already mentioned Trump's plan to reduce regulation, to the point of calling for severe reductions in the budgets of agencies such as the EPA, the Education Department, food safety enforcement, and a reversal of Dodd-Frank and other financial regulation. Deregulation of the magnitude Trump is proposing would be a disaster waiting to happen.

There are obvious dangers to areas such as the environment and food safety, but sticking with economics it would also make the financial system, which needs more regulation not less, more likely to crash again. There would be more tolerance of monopoly power – a source of rising inequality, and less protection generally of workers and consumers from powerful business interests. Trump claims that deregulation will create economic growth, but that didn't happen when Reagan and Bush deregulated and there's no reason to think it will be different this time.

Federal Reserve Composition and Independence: Trump's statements about the Fed have been inconsistent. In November he said that Janet Yellen hasn't raised interest rates "because the Obama administration and the president doesn't want her to." But in May he said, "I'm not a person that thinks Janet Yellen is doing a bad job. I happen to be a low-interest rate person unless inflation rears its ugly head," which he added he doesn't see happening anytime soon. But more recently he has gone back to a critical stance, saying that Fed Chair Yellen is "obviously political," that "She's doing what Obama wants her to do," and that she "should be ashamed of herself."

Trump has said he would replace Yellen if he is elected, and given his obvious lack of knowledge about monetary policy he would likely rely upon his advisors to select a new Fed Chair and make appointments to the Federal Reserve Board. That means we are likely to get a Chair and Board members who are hawkish on inflation, opposed to financial regulation, more likely to base policy on strict adherence to a Taylor rule (according to this framework, interest rates should have already been increased), and less likely to take aggressive action if the economy crashes (except perhaps to bail out cronies on Wall Street).

That would be bad enough, especially for the working class who would take a back seat to concerns about inflation and the interests of the financial sector, but my biggest worry is that Trump would compromise the independence of the Fed. Trump's personality is such that he will want to be in control of policy, and he will likely appoint people who are willing to do his bidding. The Fed's reputation with the public is has fallen in recent years, and Trump's false accusation that the Fed is working to serve Obama's political interests hasn't helped. If he further politicizes the Fed by appointing Board members who will implement policy at his direction, it could do damage to the Fed as an institution that would be very difficult to reverse.

International Trade: Trump's plans to renegotiate trade deals and impose tariffs on countries that will not bend to his will have been discussed at length, and most economists believe it would be very harmful for the economy. So let me just note that the most recent estimate of the consequences of his trade policy from the Peterson Institute is that his plan would cost the economy 4 million jobs, send us into a recession, and be "horribly destructive." That's just an estimate, the actual number could be larger or smaller, but whatever the actual number it would be very costly for workers.

There is little doubt that international trade has had a negative impact on workers in recent decades, but the loss of millions of jobs and a recession is not the solution to this problem. We need tax and transfer policies that ensure the gains from trade are widely shared, enhanced social protections for workers who lose their jobs, and a concerted effort to attract more businesses that offer decent employment opportunities. Trump's plans do not address these important issues.

Many people struggling to make ends meet each month believe that it doesn't matter much for their lives who is elected president; their lives will go on much the same. But that is not true. Despite Trump's attempt to convince you otherwise, the working class has a lot to lose if he makes it to the White House.

Related: How Hillary Can Win the First Debate

Related: Hillary Lied, Withheld Evidence, Traded Power for Money, and Could Be President

Related: Trump Is Trouncing Clinton When It Comes to Running Up the Debt

Related: Abolish Social Security? Gary Johnson's Libertarian Party Gets a Closer Look

[Sep 10, 2016] Donald Trump is right about defense spending – and that should scare you

Notable quotes:
"... It's gonna be so strong, nobody's gonna mess with us. But you know what? We can do it for a lot less. ..."
"... U.S. military spending is out of control. The Defense Department budget for 2016 is $573 billion. President Barack Obama's 2017 proposal ups it to $582 billion. By comparison, China spent around $145 billion and Russia around $40 billion in 2015. Moscow would have spent more, but the falling price of oil, sanctions and the ensuing economic crisis stayed its hand ..."
"... As Trump has pointed out many times, Washington can build and maintain an amazing military arsenal for a fraction of what it's paying now. He's also right about one of the causes of the bloated budget: expensive prestige weapons systems such as the Littoral Combat Ship and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. ..."
"... "I hear stories," Trump said in a speech before the New Hampshire primary, "like they're ordering missiles they don't want because of politics, because of special interests, because the company that makes the missiles is a contributor." ..."
"... America's defense is crucial. But something is wrong when Washington is spending almost five times as much as its rivals and throwing away billions on untested weapon systems. Most of the other presidential hopefuls agree. "We can't just pour vast sums back into the Pentagon," Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said during a campaign stop in South Carolina. ..."
"... Cruz promised to rein in the military, audit the Pentagon and figure out why it's spending so much cash. Then he promised to add 125,000 troops to the Army, 177 ships to the Navy and expand the Air Force by 20 percent. ..."
"... Cruz wouldn't put a price tag on these additions. But his plan would likely up the annual defense budget by tens of billions of dollars – if not hundreds of billions. One military expert, Benjamin Friedman of the CATO Institute, estimated that the Cruz plan would cost roughly $2.6 trillion over the next eight years. ..."
"... He's not alone. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wants to revitalize the Navy, double down on the troubled F-35 and develop a new amphibious assault vehicle. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, like Cruz, wanted to reform military spending while increasing the Pentagon budget by $1 trillion over the next 10 years. ..."
"... The Super PAC that backed Bush funded a string of attack ads accusing Kasich of going soft on defense. Not wanting to appear weak, the governor now talks about increasing defense spending by $102 billion a year. ..."
"... Even the Democrats are in on the game. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has yet to propose a military budget, but she has long pledged strong support for the troops. Meanwhile, she is calling for an independent commissioner to audit the Pentagon for waste, fraud and abuse – the usual suspects. ..."
"... Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is one candidate who has a clear record in terms of the Pentagon budget. He wants to reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal and has long supported a 50 percent cut in defense spending. ..."
"... At the same time, however, Sanders seems to tolerate the $1.5-trillion albatross, the F-35. Which makes sense if you consider that Vermont could lose a lot of jobs if the F-35 disappeared. Sanders persuaded the jet's manufacturer to put a research center in Vermont and bring 18 jets to the state National Guard. ..."
"... Sanders has a history of protecting military contractors - if they bring jobs to his state. When he was mayor of Burlington in the 1980s, he pushed its police force to arrest nonviolent protesters at a local General Electric plant. The factory produced Gatling guns and also was one of the largest employers in the area. ..."
"... During a radio program last October, for example, Trump called out the trouble-ridden F-35. "[Test pilots are] saying it doesn't perform as well as our existing equipment, which is much less expensive," Trump said. "So when I hear that, immediately I say we have to do something, because you know, they're spending billions." ..."
"... Like so many Trump plans, the specifics are hazy. But on this issue, he's got the right idea. ..."
"... In a political climate full of fear of foreign threats and gung-ho about the military, it could take a populist strongman like Trump to deliver the harsh truth: When it comes to the military, the United States can do so much more with so much less. ..."
blogs.reuters.com

Donald Trump could be the only presidential candidate talking sense about for the American military's budget. That should scare everyone.

"I'm gonna build a military that's gonna be much stronger than it is right now," the real- estate-mogul-turned-tautological-demagogue said on Meet the Press. "It's gonna be so strong, nobody's gonna mess with us. But you know what? We can do it for a lot less."

He's right.

U.S. military spending is out of control. The Defense Department budget for 2016 is $573 billion. President Barack Obama's 2017 proposal ups it to $582 billion. By comparison, China spent around $145 billion and Russia around $40 billion in 2015. Moscow would have spent more, but the falling price of oil, sanctions and the ensuing economic crisis stayed its hand

As Trump has pointed out many times, Washington can build and maintain an amazing military arsenal for a fraction of what it's paying now. He's also right about one of the causes of the bloated budget: expensive prestige weapons systems such as the Littoral Combat Ship and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The much-maligned F-35 will cost at least $1.5 trillion during the 55 years that its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, expects it to be flying. That number is up $500 billion from the original high estimate. But with a long list of problems plaguing the stealth fighter, that price will most likely grow.

"I hear stories," Trump said in a speech before the New Hampshire primary, "like they're ordering missiles they don't want because of politics, because of special interests, because the company that makes the missiles is a contributor."

America's defense is crucial. But something is wrong when Washington is spending almost five times as much as its rivals and throwing away billions on untested weapon systems. Most of the other presidential hopefuls agree. "We can't just pour vast sums back into the Pentagon," Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said during a campaign stop in South Carolina.

Cruz promised to rein in the military, audit the Pentagon and figure out why it's spending so much cash. Then he promised to add 125,000 troops to the Army, 177 ships to the Navy and expand the Air Force by 20 percent.

Cruz wouldn't put a price tag on these additions. But his plan would likely up the annual defense budget by tens of billions of dollars – if not hundreds of billions. One military expert, Benjamin Friedman of the CATO Institute, estimated that the Cruz plan would cost roughly $2.6 trillion over the next eight years.

Ballistic-missile-launching submarines aren't cheap, for example, and Cruz wants 12 of them. "If you think it's too expensive to defend this nation," Cruz said, "try not defending it."

He's not alone. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wants to revitalize the Navy, double down on the troubled F-35 and develop a new amphibious assault vehicle. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, like Cruz, wanted to reform military spending while increasing the Pentagon budget by $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

Ohio Governor John Kasich might be expected to have a more reasonable stance. After all, he sat on the House Armed Services Committee for almost 18 years, where he slashed budgets and challenged wasteful Pentagon projects.

But that past is a liability for him. The Super PAC that backed Bush funded a string of attack ads accusing Kasich of going soft on defense. Not wanting to appear weak, the governor now talks about increasing defense spending by $102 billion a year.

Even the Democrats are in on the game. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has yet to propose a military budget, but she has long pledged strong support for the troops. Meanwhile, she is calling for an independent commissioner to audit the Pentagon for waste, fraud and abuse – the usual suspects.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is one candidate who has a clear record in terms of the Pentagon budget. He wants to reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal and has long supported a 50 percent cut in defense spending.

A Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighter flies toward its new home at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, January 11, 2011. REUTERS/U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Joely Santiago/Handout

At the same time, however, Sanders seems to tolerate the $1.5-trillion albatross, the F-35. Which makes sense if you consider that Vermont could lose a lot of jobs if the F-35 disappeared. Sanders persuaded the jet's manufacturer to put a research center in Vermont and bring 18 jets to the state National Guard.

Sanders has a history of protecting military contractors - if they bring jobs to his state. When he was mayor of Burlington in the 1980s, he pushed its police force to arrest nonviolent protesters at a local General Electric plant. The factory produced Gatling guns and also was one of the largest employers in the area.

Yet, Sanders ideological beliefs can sometimes color his views. He was chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in 2014 as scandal swept the Department of Veterans Affairs. Even as many VA supporters called for reforms, Sanders defended the hospital system because he felt conservatives were attacking a major government social-welfare agency.

He still defends his stewardship of the committee. "When I was chairman, what we did is pass a $15-billion piece of legislation," Sanders said during a recent debate with Clinton. "We went further than any time in recent history in improving the healthcare of the men and women in this country who put their lives on the line to defend us."

In the age of terrorism and Islamic State bombers, the prevailing political wisdom holds that appearing soft on defense can lose a candidate the general election. For many of the 2016 presidential candidates, looking strong means spending a ton of cash. Even if you're from the party that holds fiscal responsibility as its cornerstone.

But Trump doesn't care about any of that. In speech after speech, he has called out politicians and defense contractors for colluding to build costly weapons systems at the price of national security.

During a radio program last October, for example, Trump called out the trouble-ridden F-35. "[Test pilots are] saying it doesn't perform as well as our existing equipment, which is much less expensive," Trump said. "So when I hear that, immediately I say we have to do something, because you know, they're spending billions."

Like so many Trump plans, the specifics are hazy. But on this issue, he's got the right idea.

In a political climate full of fear of foreign threats and gung-ho about the military, it could take a populist strongman like Trump to deliver the harsh truth: When it comes to the military, the United States can do so much more with so much less.

[Sep 04, 2016] Neoliberalism is every bit the wellspring of neofascism

Notable quotes:
"... It is fascinating that younger US neoliberals (e.g. Matthew Yglesias) are totally sold on the the positives of 'metrics', statistics, testing, etc, to the point where they ignore all the negatives of those approaches, but absolutely and utterly loathe being tracked, having the performance of their preferred policies and predictions analyzed, and called out on the failures thereof. Is sure seems to me that the campaign to quash the use of the US, Charles Peters version of neoliberal is part of the effort to avoid accountability for their actions. ..."
"... If "conservative" is to be a third way to the opposition of "reactionary" and "revolutionary", the "liberals" are a species of conservative - like all conservatives, seeking to preserve the existing order as far as this is possible, but appealing to reason, reason's high principles, and a practical politics of incremental reform and "inevitable" progress. The liberals disguise their affection for social and political hierarchy as a preference for "meritocracy" and place their faith in the powers of Reason and Science to discover Truth. ..."
"... Liberalism adopts nationalism as a vehicle for popular mobilization which conservatives can share and as an ideal of governance, the self-governing democratic nation-state with a liberal constitution. ..."
"... It wasn't Liberalism Triumphant that faced a challenge from fascism; it was the abject failures of Liberalism that created fascism. ..."
"... he Liberal projects to create liberal democratic nation-states ran aground in Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia between 1870 and 1910 and instead of gradual reform of the old order, Europe experienced catastrophic collapse, and Liberalism was ill-prepared to devise working governments and politics in the crisis that followed. ..."
"... What is called neoliberalism in American politics has a lot to do with New Deal liberalism running out of steam and simply not having a program after 1970. Some of that is circumstantial in a way - the first Oil Crisis, the breakup of Bretton Woods - but even those circumstances were arguably results of the earlier program's success. ..."
Sep 04, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

Cranky Observer 09.03.16 at 6:28 pm

= = = I am actually honestly suggesting an intellectual exercise which, I think, might be worth your (extremely valuable) time. I propose you rewrite this post without using the word "neoliberalism" (or a synonym). = = =

It is fascinating that younger US neoliberals (e.g. Matthew Yglesias) are totally sold on the the positives of 'metrics', statistics, testing, etc, to the point where they ignore all the negatives of those approaches, but absolutely and utterly loathe being tracked, having the performance of their preferred policies and predictions analyzed, and called out on the failures thereof. Is sure seems to me that the campaign to quash the use of the US, Charles Peters version of neoliberal is part of the effort to avoid accountability for their actions.

bruce wilder 09.03.16 at 7:47 pm
In the politics of antonyms, I suppose we are always going get ourselves confused.

Perhaps because of American usage of the root, liberal, to mean the mildly social democratic New Deal liberal Democrat, with its traces of American Populism and American Progressivism, we seem to want "liberal" to designate an ideology of the left, or at least, the centre-left. Maybe, it is the tendency of historical liberals to embrace idealistic high principles in their contest with reactionary claims for hereditary aristocracy and arbitrary authority.

If "conservative" is to be a third way to the opposition of "reactionary" and "revolutionary", the "liberals" are a species of conservative - like all conservatives, seeking to preserve the existing order as far as this is possible, but appealing to reason, reason's high principles, and a practical politics of incremental reform and "inevitable" progress. The liberals disguise their affection for social and political hierarchy as a preference for "meritocracy" and place their faith in the powers of Reason and Science to discover Truth.

All of that is by way of preface to a thumbnail history of modern political ideology different from the one presented by Will G-R.

Modern political ideology is a by-product of the Enlightenment and the resulting imperative to find a basis and purpose for political Authority in Reason, and apply Reason to the design of political and social institutions.

Liberalism doesn't so much defeat conservatism as invent conservatism as an alternative to purely reactionary politics. The notion of an "inevitable progress" allows liberals to reconcile both themselves and their reactionary opponents to practical reality with incremental reform. Political paranoia and rhetoric are turned toward thinking about constitutional design.

Mobilizing mass support and channeling popular discontents is a source of deep ambivalence and risk for liberals and liberalism. Popular democracy can quickly become noisy and vulgar, the proliferation of ideas and conflicting interests paralyzing. Inventing a conservatism that competes with the liberals, but also mobilizes mass support and channels popular discontent, puts bounds on "normal" politics.

Liberalism adopts nationalism as a vehicle for popular mobilization which conservatives can share and as an ideal of governance, the self-governing democratic nation-state with a liberal constitution.

I would put the challenges to liberalism from the left and right well behind in precedence the critical failures and near-failures of liberalism in actual governance.

Liberalism failed abjectly to bring about a constitutional monarchy in France during the first decade of the French Revolution, or a functioning deliberative assembly or religious toleration or even to resolve the problems of state finance and legal administration that destroyed the ancient regime. In the end, the solution was found in Napoleon Bonaparte, a precedent that would arguably inspire the fascism of dictators and vulgar nationalism, beginning with Napoleon's nephew fifty years later.

It wasn't Liberalism Triumphant that faced a challenge from fascism; it was the abject failures of Liberalism that created fascism. And, this was especially true in the wake of World War I, which many have argued persuasively was Liberalism's greatest and most catastrophic failure. T he Liberal projects to create liberal democratic nation-states ran aground in Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia between 1870 and 1910 and instead of gradual reform of the old order, Europe experienced catastrophic collapse, and Liberalism was ill-prepared to devise working governments and politics in the crisis that followed.

If liberals invented conservatism, it seems to me that would-be socialists were at pains to re-invent liberalism, and they did it several times going in radically different directions, but always from a base in the basic liberal idea of rationalizing authority. A significant thread in socialism adopted incremental progress and socialist ideas became liberal and conservative means for taming popular discontent in an increasingly urban society.

Where and when liberalism actually was triumphant, both the range of liberal views and the range of interests presenting a liberal front became too broad for a stable politics. Think about the Liberal Party landslide of 1906, which eventually gave rise to the Labour Party in its role of Left Party in the British two-party system. Or FDR's landslide in 1936, which played a pivotal role in the march of the Southern Democrats to the Right. Or the emergence of the Liberal Consensus in American politics in the late 1950s.

What is called neoliberalism in American politics has a lot to do with New Deal liberalism running out of steam and simply not having a program after 1970. Some of that is circumstantial in a way - the first Oil Crisis, the breakup of Bretton Woods - but even those circumstances were arguably results of the earlier program's success.

It is almost a rote reaction to talk about the Republican's Southern Strategy, but they didn't invent the crime wave that enveloped the country in the late 1960s or the riots that followed the enactment of Civil Rights legislation.

Will G-R's "As soon [as] liberalism feels it can plausibly claim to have . . .overcome the socialist and fascist challenges [liberals] are empowered to act as if liberalism's adaptive response to the socialist and fascist challenges was never necessary in the first place - bye bye welfare state, hello neoliberalism" doesn't seem to me to concede enough to Clinton and Blair entrepreneurially inventing a popular politics in response to Reagan and Thatcher, after the actual failures of an older model of social democratic programs and populist politics on its behalf.

Rich Puchalsky 09.03.16 at 11:09 pm
I write more about this over at my blog (in a somewhat different context).
John Quiggin 09.04.16 at 6:57 am
RW @113 I wrote a whole book using "market liberalism" instead of "neoliberalism", since I wanted a term more neutral and less pejorative. So, going back to "neoliberalism" was something I did advisedly. You say
The word is abstract and has completely different meanings west and east of the Atlantic. In the USA it refers to weak tea center leftisms. In Europe to hard core liberalism.
Well, yes. That's precisely why I've used the term, introduced the hard/soft distinction and explained the history. The core point is that, despite their differences soft (US meaning) and hard (European meaning) neoliberalism share crucial aspects of their history, theoretical foundations and policy implications.
likbez 09.04.16 at 4:18 pm
I would say that neoliberalism is closer to market fundamentalism, then market liberalism. See, for example:
http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Neoliberalism/Articles/definitions_of_neoliberalism.shtml

=== quote ===
Neoliberalism is an ideology of market fundamentalism based on deception that promotes "markets" as a universal solution for all human problems in order to hide establishment of neo-fascist regime (pioneered by Pinochet in Chile), where militarized government functions are limited to external aggression and suppression of population within the country (often via establishing National Security State using "terrorists" threat) and corporations are the only "first class" political players. Like in classic corporatism, corporations are above the law and can rule the country as they see fit, using political parties for the legitimatization of the regime.

The key difference with classic fascism is that instead of political dominance of the corporations of particular nation, those corporations are now transnational and states, including the USA are just enforcers of the will of transnational corporations on the population. Economic or "soft" methods of enforcement such as debt slavery and control of employment are preferred to brute force enforcement. At the same time police is militarized and due to technological achievements the level of surveillance surpasses the level achieved in Eastern Germany.

Like with bolshevism in the USSR before, high, almost always hysterical, level of neoliberal propaganda and scapegoating of "enemies" as well as the concept of "permanent war for permanent peace" are used to suppress the protest against the wealth redistribution up (which is the key principle of neoliberalism) and to decimate organized labor.

Multiple definitions of neoliberalism were proposed. Three major attempts to define this social system were made:

  1. Definitions stemming from the concept of "casino capitalism"
  2. Definitions stemming from the concept of Washington consensus
  3. Definitions stemming from the idea that Neoliberalism is Trotskyism for the rich. This idea has two major variations:
    • Definitions stemming from Professor Wendy Brown's concept of Neoliberal rationality which developed the concept of Inverted Totalitarism of Sheldon Wolin
    • Definitions stemming Professor Sheldon Wolin's older concept of Inverted Totalitarism - "the heavy statism forging the novel fusions of economic with political power that he took to be poisoning democracy at its root." (Sheldon Wolin and Inverted Totalitarianism Common Dreams )

The first two are the most popular.

likbez 09.04.16 at 5:03 pm

bruce,

@117

Thanks for your post. It contains several important ideas:

"It wasn't Liberalism Triumphant that faced a challenge from fascism; it was the abject failures of Liberalism that created fascism."

"What is called neoliberalism in American politics has a lot to do with New Deal liberalism running out of steam and simply not having a program after 1970. Some of that is circumstantial in a way - the first Oil Crisis, the breakup of Bretton Woods - but even those circumstances were arguably results of the earlier program's success."

Moreover as Will G-R noted:

"neoliberalism will be every bit the wellspring of fascism that old-school liberalism was."

Failure of neoliberalism revives neofascist, far right movements. That's what the rise of far right movements in Europe now demonstrates pretty vividly.

[Aug 30, 2016] 6 Key Issues Where Trump Neutralizes Hillary or Runs to Her Left

Mar 18, 2016 | Alternet

To be sure, it's not clear what Trump would do if elected, because so many of his "positions" are little more than sound bites. Still, here are six issues in which he is mixing progressive or liberal Republican stances amid his authoritarian outbursts. That strange brew means that for the first time in decades, Americans could be facing two candidates with progressive planks on many issues.

1. The Anti-Free Trader. On no other issue does Trump so closely parallel Sanders as he is when slamming trade deals and bragging that he, the great negotiator, would push American CEOs into keeping jobs here or bring them back. Last week, he singled out Carrier Air Conditioning, Ford and Eaton Corp. for moving manufacturing abroad. A week before, he boasted, "I'm going to get Apple to start making their computers and their iPhones on our land, not in China. How does it help us when they make it in China?"

Suffice it to say that Trump is to the left of Clinton on trade deals, at least when it comes to sound bites.

2. Cutting America's Military Budget. That sounds out of sync coming from Trump, who has repeatedly said he wants to rebuild the military and never misses a chance to threaten ISIL. But according to reporters who have trailed him since last year, he has repeatedly called for cutting military spending by closing America's overseas military bases. "Donald Trump could be the only presidential candidate talking sense about the American military's budget. That should scare everyone," wrote Matthew Gault in a detailed piece for Reuters. "As Trump has pointed out many times, Washington can build and maintain an amazing military arsenal for a fraction of what it's paying now. He's also right about one of the causes of the bloated budget: expensive prestige weapons systems."

It's hard to imagine that Trump will be the "peace candidate" in the campaign, as a liberal strategist told the Nation's Greider. But closing overseas bases would be a hard break from both Republican and Democratic Party orthodoxy, including under Obama, where the Pentagon budget keeps rising and temporary cuts, like sequestration, are seen as creating unnecessary crises. Here, too, Trump's positioning could track to the left of Clinton. And unlike Sanders, whose state has an F-35 fighter plane base, Trump has explicitly said that plane was a waste of money. "Like so many Trump plans, the specifics are hazy. But on this issue, he's got the right idea," wrote Gault.

3. Rejecting Big Money Political Corruption. You can expect Trump will go after Clinton as a corrupt insider cashing in on her connections, no matter how many millions he, as the nominee, would end up raising for Republicans for the fall or take from party coffers because presidential campaigns cost upward of $1 billion. Trump has the higher moral ground, compared to Clinton, who hasn't even released the texts of her speeches to Wall Street banks or discussed returning speaking fees. As Trump touts, he's been on the check-writing side of America's corrupt but legal system of financing candidates for decades.

Trump's stance here echoes Sanders. It barely matters that Clinton has said she would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn decisions like Citizens United, which created giant new legal loopholes for wealthy interests and individuals. Being the rich outsider forced to play along, not the political insider taking the checks, is in Trump's favor, pushing him to the left of Clinton.

4. Preserving Social Security and Medicare. As most progressives know, millions of baby boomers approaching their senior years are going to be relying on Social Security for most of their income and for Medicare as their health plan. Progressives also know that Social Security benefits could be cut by a fifth after 2030 because of that demographic bump, and have proposed raising payroll taxes to preserve benefits and increase them. Trump, unlike the other GOP candidates, wants to leave Social Security alone, saying a booming economy will fix the shortfall. While we have heard that before-Reagan's rising tide lifts all boats-Trump's status quo stance is completely at odds with the modern GOP, which wants to up the age when one can start taking Social Security benefits, create new payment formulas, means-test recipients or flat-out privatize it.

Clinton said she wants to preserve Social Security and raise payments to people who need it most, such as widowers, who see cuts after a spouse dies, women and poor people who have historically been underpaid compared to white men. Sanders, in contrast, said benefits must be raised for everyone. Trump's stance on this issue is far from ideal, but it's outside the GOP's mainstream. It's neither constructive nor destructive, but that tends to neutralize the issue in a fall campaign with Clinton.

5. Lowering Seniors' Prescription Drug Costs. Here's another issue where Trump is saying he wants to do what Democrats like Obama, Clinton and Sanders have long called for, but which has been blocked by congressional Republicans. Trump wants the feds to negotiate buying in bulk from pharmaceutical companies, which has been explicitly prohibited by the GOP in past legislation.

"We don't do it. Why? Because of the drug companies," Trump said in January before the New Hampshire primary. This is another issue where he is blurring the lines with Clinton and the Democrats.

6. Breaking Health Insurance Monopolies. Trump has railed against the health insurance industry for preserving its state-by-state monopolies under Obamacare, saying neither Democrats nor Republicans made an effort to repeal a 1945 law that prevents Americans from buying cheaper policies in another state. "The insurance companies," Trump said, "they'd rather have monopolies in each state than hundreds of companies going all over the place bidding… It's so hard for me to make deals… I can't get bids."

We know that Trump has pledged to get rid of Obamacare and he hasn't said much about its replacement other than it would involve consumers crossing state lines. But this is another area where Trump's sound bites can superficially push him to the left of Clinton, who has made defending Obamacare part of her campaign and agenda if elected president.

[Aug 18, 2016] Problems with Obamacare

Notable quotes:
"... Federal officials say they are determined to see that the requests are scaled back. Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans - market leaders in many states - are seeking rate increases that average 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota, according to documents posted online by the federal government and state insurance commissioners and interviews with insurance executives. ..."
"... The donor class candidate in 2016 promises to fight against the interests of the donor class using every dollar the donor class gives her. ..."
"... Gullible liberals cheer – parrot 'white nationalist' talking points on command – hold up signs – 'Willing to sell out for chance to call fellow Americans 'racist white nationalists.' ..."
crookedtimber.org

kidneystones 08.15.16 at 1:02 am

What electing the donor class candidate again means to real wages, and why Trump's promise to scrap and replace the Affordable Care Act with something better matters: Zero Hedge citing the NYT: "…Health insurance companies around the country are seeking rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more, saying their new customers under the Affordable Care Act turned out to be sicker than expected.

Federal officials say they are determined to see that the requests are scaled back. Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans - market leaders in many states - are seeking rate increases that average 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota, according to documents posted online by the federal government and state insurance commissioners and interviews with insurance executives.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-07-06/obamacare-sticker-shock-arrives-insurance-premiums-soar-20-40

The donor class candidate in 2016 promises to fight against the interests of the donor class using every dollar the donor class gives her.

Gullible liberals cheer – parrot 'white nationalist' talking points on command – hold up signs – 'Willing to sell out for chance to call fellow Americans 'racist white nationalists.'

[Aug 13, 2016] Hillary was a foreign policy disaster who killed thousands

Notable quotes:
"... BTW Pat Buchanan says that if the R establishment tries to coalesce around Rubio or Cruz then Trump will simply choose one of them as his running mate and end of story. That's assuming Trump does in fact maintain his poll lead with actual votes. ..."
"... It's our foreign policy that is fubar and it's been fubar for awhile. This idea that Clinton somehow was the worst Secretary of State is revisionism. Was she bad? Yes. Was she worse than Condeleeza "I ignored a memo that said AQ was determined to attack" Rice? That is incredibly debatable. ..."
"... I'm less for her being the fall guy for ME policies that have been a disaster for at least as long as I've been alive(and let's face it installing the Shah, trading hostages for arms, etc, etc there's been ALOT of mistakes there) ..."
"... As soon as one subordinates themselves, they become the agent to a principal, whether that principal be a natural person, a class, an identity group, or an old piece of paper with happy horse dung written all over it. Given the choice between downward mobility and schizophrenia, most choose compartmentalization as an imperfect but effective coping mechanism to help workers stay sane and maintain their identity in the ever more grueling workplace. ..."
"... Hmm. You're saying that split consciousness screws up principal-agent relationships, not metaphoricallly, but literally? That's a really interesting argument, a new way to think about elites ("know your enemy"). ..."
"... Does anybody really believe that the Clinton who takes off the Secretary of State hat and puts on the Clinton Foundation hat, or who takes off the Clinton Foundation hat and puts on the Campaign hat, is not the same Hillary Clinton? She'd have to be a sociopath to keep her mind and heart that compartmentalized, no? But if we accept the Clinton Dynasty's "attitude toward public service," as we put it, that's what we'd have to believe. I don't believe it. ..."
"... So, either Clinton is a sociopath (the "compartmentalization") or deeply corrupt. Which is it to be? ..."
"... If you're saying that split consciousness makes for split loyalties, I'd agree. It's part of what makes that compartmentalized "workaday me" role slightly corrosive to community and citizenship. ..."
"... According to people who were there it was Clinton who pushed for regime change in Libya while Obama was reluctant. The French were pushing for it as well but within the administration she was the advocate. She also favored regime change in Syria although US actions there are murkier. ..."
"... So Trump and Cruz were quite justified in what they said. She also favored the surge in Afghanistan while Biden opposed. She has compared Putin to Hitler and presumably fully supports the confrontation with Russia. ..."
"... Condi on the other hand was just a functionary for policies being made by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the neocons. It was a very different situation. ..."
"... Whatever one thinks of Trump it's quite possible he'd be a less dangerous choice than Hillary when it comes to foreign policy. The Dems don't see it this way because so many of them agree with her–particularly the Democrats' wealthy backers. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com
Carolinian

Cruz–Trump's mini-me–has apparently also been claiming lately that Hillary was a foreign policy disaster who killed thousands. This is what Sanders hasn't been saying forever. Libertarian Raimondo gives his take on the debate and says Rand Paul had a big night.

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2015/12/16/gop-debate-triumph-isolationism/

BTW Pat Buchanan says that if the R establishment tries to coalesce around Rubio or Cruz then Trump will simply choose one of them as his running mate and end of story. That's assuming Trump does in fact maintain his poll lead with actual votes.

cwaltz

Sanders doesn't mention Hillary by name (probably because she isn't the primary problem. It wasn't like Condeleeza Rice was a stellar Secretary of State or there weren't indictments under the Reagan Secretary of State.) However, he has been saying that our foreign policy is part of the problem which is the REAL problem. Clinton is just a symptom.

Steven D.

I thought you were going pin the blame on Barry O since he was Hillary's boss. The system doesn't cut it as a target. It excuses the actors. Nobody has agency? Clinton had and has a lot of power. She has had options. She has chosen her path.

cwaltz

Clinton's behavior was similar to her predecessors which was similar to her predecessors and so on and so on.

It's our foreign policy that is fubar and it's been fubar for awhile. This idea that Clinton somehow was the worst Secretary of State is revisionism. Was she bad? Yes. Was she worse than Condeleeza "I ignored a memo that said AQ was determined to attack" Rice? That is incredibly debatable. I'm all for Hillary being held accountable.

I'm less for her being the fall guy for ME policies that have been a disaster for at least as long as I've been alive(and let's face it installing the Shah, trading hostages for arms, etc, etc there's been ALOT of mistakes there)

Steven D.

Who makes foreign policy? People do. There are institutional prerogatives but she didn't have to be so damned good at being so bad.

hunkerdown

As soon as one subordinates themselves, they become the agent to a principal, whether that principal be a natural person, a class, an identity group, or an old piece of paper with happy horse dung written all over it. Given the choice between downward mobility and schizophrenia, most choose compartmentalization as an imperfect but effective coping mechanism to help workers stay sane and maintain their identity in the ever more grueling workplace.

So who's the principal?

Lambert Strether Post author

Hmm. You're saying that split consciousness screws up principal-agent relationships, not metaphoricallly, but literally? That's a really interesting argument, a new way to think about elites ("know your enemy").

I said something similar - OK, "interesting" could mean confirming my priors - here:

Does anybody really believe that the Clinton who takes off the Secretary of State hat and puts on the Clinton Foundation hat, or who takes off the Clinton Foundation hat and puts on the Campaign hat, is not the same Hillary Clinton? She'd have to be a sociopath to keep her mind and heart that compartmentalized, no? But if we accept the Clinton Dynasty's "attitude toward public service," as we put it, that's what we'd have to believe. I don't believe it.

So, either Clinton is a sociopath (the "compartmentalization") or deeply corrupt. Which is it to be?

Nose- or rather brain-bleeds at the commanding heights….

different clue

Sociocorruptopath.

hunkerdown

Split attribution enables screwed-up principal-agent relationships. Think sex workers, used-car salesmen, fresh-out-of-Harvard Democratic strategists, other agents who loyally if resignedly carry out what the mainstream deems inhospitable and/or dirty work to the benefit of their principals, yet share no interest apart from the engaged work.

Cultivating a straw self-identity or group-identity, or maybe role, for the purpose of attribution is an effective though problematic way to keep the evil from sticking to one's self-definition.

If you're saying that split consciousness makes for split loyalties, I'd agree. It's part of what makes that compartmentalized "workaday me" role slightly corrosive to community and citizenship.

Carolinian

According to people who were there it was Clinton who pushed for regime change in Libya while Obama was reluctant. The French were pushing for it as well but within the administration she was the advocate. She also favored regime change in Syria although US actions there are murkier.

So Trump and Cruz were quite justified in what they said. She also favored the surge in Afghanistan while Biden opposed. She has compared Putin to Hitler and presumably fully supports the confrontation with Russia.

In Honduras she covertly supported the coup government at the urging of her crony Lanny Davis and the Honduran children who are fleeing to the United States can be chalked up as another of HIllary's little missteps. Whether or not she was the worst Sec State ever she's up there.

Condi on the other hand was just a functionary for policies being made by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the neocons. It was a very different situation.

Whatever one thinks of Trump it's quite possible he'd be a less dangerous choice than Hillary when it comes to foreign policy. The Dems don't see it this way because so many of them agree with her–particularly the Democrats' wealthy backers.

Lambert Strether Post author

Clinton really believes that stuff. She's not pandering. Well, I mean, she's pandering too, of course, but from a base of conviction, not political posturing.

Steven D.

You give her too much credit. Like Lyndon Johnson, she's afraid of the Republicans getting too much to her right on foreign policy. It's purely reactive. If she believes anything, it's probably that Democrats need to be hawkish to avoid being portrayed as pansies. A fruit of her McGovern experience in 1972.

different clue

Then she may be misreading that experience. My brain keeps circling back to Hunter S. Thompson's argument that McGovern didn't start falling badly until he was seen visibly seeking to appease the Establishment Democrats that his campaign had just beaten. If Thompson't analysis is correct, McGovern betrayed his own campaign and everyone who worked in it.

But of course the Clintons just saw "evil workers supporting Nixon against our beloved McGovern". I still wonder how much of Clinton's support for NAFTA was driven by a desire for revenge against the working class which voted against his beloved McGovern? Revenge being a dish best served cold, and so forth.

Carolinian

You are probably right, which just makes it worse. No dissuading a fanatic.Hillary doesn't seem like the type who is inclined to admit to mistakes.

Ted Rall says that for once Trump's "s-bombs" are justified.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/15/in-defense-of-trumps-name-calling/

Steven D.

The Honduran coup was a crime that disqualifies her.

[Aug 12, 2016] Trump agenda looks like more of the same

How Trump plans to make America great again by cutting taxes on Wall Street traders? that will not work.
CNN.com
Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington and the author of "Getting Back to Full Employment: A Better bargain for Working People," and "The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive." The views expressed are his own.

(CNN)Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gave his first major economic address on Monday. Most of the speech was devoted to putting forward a more or less standard set of Republican policies -- Trump promised large tax cuts that would primarily benefit higher-income taxpayers, ending the Affordable Care Act and curtailing government regulation. But he also broke with Republican orthodoxy, rejecting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, proposing renegotiating NAFTA, and vowing to take a firmer stance on currency management and other issues with our trading partners.

What would some of this mean in practice?

The proposal for tax cuts would put in place a system with three tax brackets of 12%, 25%, and 33%. Trump didn't indicate the cutoffs for the brackets, so it's not possible to determine how much the different groups would save. However, it is certain that the highest-income taxpayers would save under the Trump plan.

Currently, high-income taxpayers pay a 39.6% tax rate on income over $415,000 for a single individual. If a high-level executive or Wall Street trader makes $2.4 million a year (roughly the average for the richest 1%), they would save $120,000 from their tax bill just on the reduction in the top tax bracket. For the richest 0.1%, the savings would average almost $700,000 a year.

Trump also called for large cuts in the corporate tax rate. Currently, corporations pay on average a bit more than 25% of their profits in taxes. Trump committed to a tax code in which no corporation would pay more than 15% of its profits in taxes. This implies a reduction in revenue from the corporate income tax of more than 25%, or a loss in revenue of close to $100 billion a year.

These tax cuts are virtually certain to lead to large deficits, as occurred with previous tax cuts under President Ronald Reagan and President George W. Bush. Trump has also proposed a substantial boost to infrastructure spending (although, while more spending on infrastructure is badly needed, this will further boost the deficit).

Trump has suggested he will address the deficit by reducing waste, but presidents from both parties have promised to reduce waste for decades. Unless he is prepared to make large cuts to programs like Social Security, Medicare, or the military, it is inevitable that his tax cuts will hugely increase the budget deficit.

Some increase in the deficit would actually be a good thing, because the economy has not yet replaced the demand lost when the housing bubble burst. However, Trump's plan almost certainly goes too far and will lead to high interest rates and/or serious problems with inflation.

Trump's attack on government regulations, meanwhile, are an illusion. While some regulations surely are wasteful, the vast majority serve important purposes, like keeping lead out of the water our children drink. The Dodd-Frank financial reform bill has been a particular target of Trump and other Republicans, yet small businesses report that credit has never been easier to get.

Meanwhile, the Affordable Care Act, which Trump promises to repeal, has given insurance to millions of people. And contrary to Trump's claims, there is no evidence it has cost jobs. In fact, job growth accelerated after the ACA took effect.

Arguably, though, Trump's position on trade is the most interesting of the policies he has outlined. We would benefit from having more balanced trade, which could create millions of jobs, mostly in manufacturing. However it is not clear that Trump knows how to get there.

He complained about countries not honoring our copyrights and patents. However, more royalties for copyrights and patents are a tradeoff for a larger trade deficit in manufactured goods. In other words, if we make China and Brazil pay more money to Microsoft for Windows and to Pfizer for its drugs, then they will have less money to buy our manufactured goods. Trump does not seem to appreciate this trade-off and is promising that everyone will get more.

On the whole, the Trump agenda looks like the Republican agenda that we have seen many times before: It centers on large tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, something that has not worked in the past to create either strong growth or rising living standards for working people. And while Trump does offer a qualitatively different perspective on trade, it is too contradictory to be able to determine if it will actually benefit ordinary workers.

Dave Green

"Unless he is prepared to make large cuts to programs like Social Security, Medicare, or the military, it is inevitable that his tax cuts will hugely increase the budget deficit." <-----------This whole article could be summed up to that one statement.

So much for an alternative to the "establishment." Same ole GOP spend spend spend but lower taxes and pray that increased revenue leads to investments that make up for the shortage. It's never worked and it wont work now.

Tax and spend liberal or no tax and spend conservative. Gee...Somehow that looks familiar.


Twick33

I wonder why the silence about Omar Mateen's father at a Clinton rally. If the parents of Dylan Roof showed up to a Trump rally and offered their endorsement, it would be all over the news.

But, I am sure there is some justification that democrats will push.

REZIN8

@Twick33 They love minorities! And as they said. Terrorists are the minority of muslims. Makes total sense.

LALefty

@Twick33
To be sure, that was an embarrassment to the Clinton campaign, but it hasn't been at all silenced in the media. That story has been covered all day.


[Aug 09, 2016] What economic policy Trump suporters want

Notable quotes:
"... Campaign Finance Reform: If you can't walk into a voting booth you cannot contribute, or make all elections financed solely by government funds and make private contributions of any kind to any politician illegal. ..."
"... Re-institute Glass-Steagall but even more so. Limit the number of states a bank can operate in. Make the Fed publicly owned, not privately owned by banks. Completely revise corporate law, doing away with the legal person hood of corporations and limit of liability for corporate officers and shareholders. ..."
"... Single payer health care for everyone. Allow private health plans but do away with health insurance as a deductible for business. Remove the AMA's hold on licensing of medical schools which restricts the number of doctors. ..."
"... Do away with the cap on Social Security wages and make all income, wages, capital gains, interest, and dividends subject to taxation. Impose tariffs to compensate for lower labor costs overseas and revise industry. ..."
"... Cut the Defense budget by 50% and use that money for intensive infrastructure development. ..."
"... Raise the national minimum wage to $15 and hour. ..."
"... Severely curtail the revolving door from government to private industry with a 10 year restriction on working for an industry you dealt with in any way as a government official. ..."
"... Free public education including college (4 year degree). ..."
"... Obama and Holder, allowing the banks to be above the law have them demi-gods, many of whom are psychopaths and kleptocrats, and with their newly granted status, they are now re-shaping the world in their own image. Prosecute these demi-gods and restore sanity. Don't and their greed for our things will never end until nothings left. ..."
"... This is why Hillary is so much more dangerous than trump, because she and the demi gods are all on the same page. The TPP is their holy grail so I expect heaven and earth to be moved, especially if it looks like some trade traitors are going to get knocked off in the election, scoundrels like patty murray (dino, WA) will push to get it through then line up at the feed trough to gorge on k street dough. I plan to vote stein if it's not Bernie, but am reserving commitment until I see what kind of betrayals the dems have for me, if it's bad enough I'll go with the trump hand grenade. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

Dave , June 2, 2016 at 11:04 am

There are all good ideas. However, population growth undermines almost all of them. Population growth in America is immigrant based. Reverse immigration influxes and you are at least doing something to reduce population growth.

How to "reverse immigration influxes"?

I too am a lifetime registered Democrat and I will vote for Trump if Clinton gets the crown. If the Democrats want my vote, my continuing party registration and my until recently sizeable donations in local, state and national races, they will nominate Bernie. If not, then I'm an Independent forevermore. They will just become the Demowhig Party.

Jack Heape , June 2, 2016 at 10:00 am

Here's a start…

  1. Campaign Finance Reform: If you can't walk into a voting booth you cannot contribute, or make all elections financed solely by government funds and make private contributions of any kind to any politician illegal.
  2. Re-institute Glass-Steagall but even more so. Limit the number of states a bank can operate in. Make the Fed publicly owned, not privately owned by banks.
  3. Completely revise corporate law, doing away with the legal person hood of corporations and limit of liability for corporate officers and shareholders.
  4. Single payer health care for everyone. Allow private health plans but do away with health insurance as a deductible for business. Remove the AMA's hold on licensing of medical schools which restricts the number of doctors.
  5. Do away with the cap on Social Security wages and make all income, wages, capital gains, interest, and dividends subject to taxation.
  6. Impose tariffs to compensate for lower labor costs overseas and revise industry.
  7. Cut the Defense budget by 50% and use that money for intensive infrastructure development.
  8. Raise the national minimum wage to $15 and hour.
  9. Severely curtail the revolving door from government to private industry with a 10 year restriction on working for an industry you dealt with in any way as a government official.
  10. Free public education including college (4 year degree).
TedWa , June 2, 2016 at 10:56 am

Obama and Holder, allowing the banks to be above the law have them demi-gods, many of whom are psychopaths and kleptocrats, and with their newly granted status, they are now re-shaping the world in their own image. Prosecute these demi-gods and restore sanity. Don't and their greed for our things will never end until nothings left.

tegnost , June 2, 2016 at 11:56 am

This is why Hillary is so much more dangerous than trump, because she and the demi gods are all on the same page. The TPP is their holy grail so I expect heaven and earth to be moved, especially if it looks like some trade traitors are going to get knocked off in the election, scoundrels like patty murray (dino, WA) will push to get it through then line up at the feed trough to gorge on k street dough. I plan to vote stein if it's not Bernie, but am reserving commitment until I see what kind of betrayals the dems have for me, if it's bad enough I'll go with the trump hand grenade.

[Aug 09, 2016] Donald Trump tries to reboot campaign with economic address

Notable quotes:
"... Along with all that came another plan, eliminating the estate tax, that could undercut his populist appeal. Its benefit would be limited to high-net-worth families like Trump's, with estates greater than $5.45 million, which are the only ones taxed under current law. ..."
"... "These reforms will offer the biggest tax revolution since the Reagan tax reform," Trump said, reading from a teleprompter. "I want to jump-start America." Then he ad-libbed, "It can be done. And it won't even be that hard." Trump also modified the size of personal income tax breaks he wants to give the wealthiest Americans. Instead of reducing the top tax bracket from 39.6 percent to 25 percent, as he previously proposed, he would now cut it to 33 percent, as proposed by House Republicans. That would limit, but not eliminate, some of the damage it would wreak on federal budgets. ..."
"... And analysts across the ideological spectrum noted that Trump's new child-care deduction, designed to appeal to educated female voters, would help middle- and upper-middle class families far more than lower-income workers struggling paycheck to paycheck. That's because low-income Americans pay very little to no federal income tax. ..."
Aug 08, 2016 | The Boston Globe

Donald Trump tried rebooting his presidential campaign Monday with an economic speech in Detroit focused on American pocketbook anxieties, pushing tax cuts and deregulation to the forefront after weeks of self-inflicted controversies and plummeting poll numbers.

But the relatively modest speech made news mostly because it hewed closely to conventional Republican policy doctrine, a fresh tack for an unconventional candidate.

He repackaged some of his older proposals, including big tax reductions for corporations and business partnerships, and added some new tax-reduction benefits for the middle-class and the wealthy.

He also promised a fat income tax deduction for child-care expenses, a policy his daughter Ivanka first touted in her Republican National Convention address last month.

Along with all that came another plan, eliminating the estate tax, that could undercut his populist appeal. Its benefit would be limited to high-net-worth families like Trump's, with estates greater than $5.45 million, which are the only ones taxed under current law.

What is Donald Trump's economic vision?

The speech was an anti-trade version of trickle down economics, as Trump proposed to tweak the global economy to benefit US businesses.

"These reforms will offer the biggest tax revolution since the Reagan tax reform," Trump said, reading from a teleprompter. "I want to jump-start America." Then he ad-libbed, "It can be done. And it won't even be that hard."

Trump also modified the size of personal income tax breaks he wants to give the wealthiest Americans. Instead of reducing the top tax bracket from 39.6 percent to 25 percent, as he previously proposed, he would now cut it to 33 percent, as proposed by House Republicans. That would limit, but not eliminate, some of the damage it would wreak on federal budgets.

Trump kept his cool, sticking mostly to his script on how to make America win again, as hecklers interrupted his speech more than a dozen times. He slammed Hillary Clinton's economic policies and characterized her as a "candidate of the past" while promising to "massively" cut regulations and renegotiate trade deals in his quest for economic renewal.

Clinton is scheduled to deliver her economic rebuttal to Trump on Thursday, also from Detroit.

Clinton is making jobs and the economy a centerpiece of her campaign, seeing it as an area in which to draw a stark contrast with Trump. Her campaign tried to preempt Trump's speech by posting a video Sunday arguing that "Trumponomics" would trigger recession, job losses, and possibly another financial catastrophe.

Republican strategists praised Trump's speech for refocusing on a policy area they see as his strength, and said Trump could have a "fighting chance" against Clinton if, and only if, he spends the next three months delivering his message in a disciplined and consistent manner.

He cannot afford to veer off course with any more unscripted personal attacks, they said. Clinton's lead over Trump opened up by 10 points in the wake of both conventions and a series of missteps including his recent criticism of a Muslim couple whose son was killed in combat.

"It was a good, big-boy-pants speech," said Dave Carney, a Republican consultant from New Hampshire.

"Compared to what he normally does, it was 180 degrees different. Ten days ago, he was doing great, and then it was all over. The economy and national security - those are the two baskets he should be peddling for the next 90 days,'' Carney said.

Some analysts expressed doubt whether the speech will make much of a difference in a campaign they view as especially unorganized, with little to no ground game in swing states.

"Is there anything different today than yesterday? I don't see that there is," said Doug Heye, a Republican strategist and former spokesman for the Republican National Committee who has said he would not vote for Trump.

"He'll give more speeches from teleprompters but it's hard to see how they will make any more substantive difference for his campaign, because what you see on the ground is a campaign that is nonexistent,'' Heye said. "It is a campaign that exists on television and on Twitter but nowhere else."

The latest Real Clear Politics average of national polls showed Clinton with a lead of more than 7 points.

Trump doubled down on his criticisms of Clinton throughout his speech, repeating a false statement about Clinton wanting to raise taxes on the middle class, even though the fact-checking organization Politifact rated his claim as "pants on fire" three days ago.

Clinton herself took direct aim at Trump's speech during a rally in St. Petersburg, Fla., Monday afternoon.

She said his recently-named economic advisers "tried to make his old tired ideas sound new, but here's what we all know because we heard it again: his tax plans will give super big tax breaks to large corporations and the really wealthy, just like him and the guys who wrote the speech."

As with foreign policy, the Clinton campaign is painting Trump as too dangerous and erratic to command the helm of the US economy.

They point to his business record, emphasizing his companies' multiple bankruptcies and the slew of lawsuits from vendors and contractors he didn't pay, as evidence he is not a good steward for the economy writ large.

The Clinton campaign ran interference against Trump's economic speech Monday by hosting about a dozen press events in battleground states.

Gene Sperling, a former top Obama economic aide, said in one conference call that even with the tweaks announced Monday, Trump's tax plan would exacerbate income inequality by delivering the vast majority of its benefits to the top 1 percent of Americans.

And analysts across the ideological spectrum noted that Trump's new child-care deduction, designed to appeal to educated female voters, would help middle- and upper-middle class families far more than lower-income workers struggling paycheck to paycheck. That's because low-income Americans pay very little to no federal income tax.

The National Federation of Independent Business, a small business association, praised Trump's proposal to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. The plan was seen as a bone to the GOP establishment.

The Clinton campaign criticized it Monday as simply another way to allow millionaires and billionaires to pay lower taxes by reclassifying their salary income as business income.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Senator John McCain's chief economic adviser during the 2008 presidential campaign and president of the conservative American Action Forum think tank, called Trump's economic plan "more relaunch than revised."

The new changes and Trump saying he plans to build upon GOP principles were "a pretty clear olive branch to the rest of the Republican Party."

"That doesn't leave us with a lot of clarity about what his actual plan is," Holtz-Eakin said. "It's now a work in progress again."

Tracy Jan can be reached at tracy.jan@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @TracyJan.

[Aug 09, 2016] Donald Trump delivered an economic policy speech Monday in Detroit. By Kevin Cirilli and Jennifer Jacob

Please read Transcript of Donald Trump's economic policy speech to Detroit Economic Club TheHill
Notable quotes:
"... One key change from Trump's earlier proposals is that he would set a new top individual income-tax rate of 33 percent. While that rate is higher than the 25 percent rate Trump had initially proposed, it still represents a cut from the current top rate of 39.6 percent. ..."
"... A news release from Trump's campaign said he wanted to ensure that the wealthy pay their ''fair share,'' using language that is more commonly heard from Democrats. But his proposals to cut individual tax rates and the tax rate on income from partnerships-along with eliminating the estate tax-mean the wealthy would pay less under his plan, said Kyle Pomerleau, director of federal projects at the conservative Tax Foundation. ..."
"... Some analysts have noted that Trump's proposal to end the special tax treatment of carried interest-the portion of investment gains paid to fund managers-might mean lower taxes for members of partnerships, which is how many private-equity funds are organized. Carried interest is currently taxed as capital gains, meaning the income qualifies for a tax rate as low as 23.8 percent. Under Trump's plan to cut business taxes, though, members of partnerships who get carried interest might be taxed at a 15 percent rate. ..."
"... Trump reiterated his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and his desire to renegotiate NAFTA, ''or walk away if we have to,'' according to his campaign's news release. He also seeks to reverse much of the Obama administration's climate-change and energy agenda by defending the coal industry, rescinding environmental rules, and asking TransCanada to renew its Keystone pipeline permit application if he's elected. ..."
"... Trump's speech follows his announcement last week of an unorthodox economic advisory council that includes financiers John Paulson, Andy Beal, and Stephen Feinberg, as well as energy executive Harold Hamm. Trump also announced raising $80 million for his campaign and party entities in July. ..."
Aug 08, 2016 | Bloomberg

Donald Trump on Monday sought to cast Hillary Clinton's economic program as an ineffective relic, and to reset his own presidential campaign after a string of missteps.

''We now begin a great national conversation about economic renewal for America,'' Trump said in a speech to the Detroit Economic Club, urging a return to his ''America-first'' governing vision.

''The city of Detroit is the living, breathing example of my opponent's failed economic agenda,'' Trump said.

In prepared remarks released by Trump's campaign as he spoke, the nominee proposed a temporary moratorium on new agency regulations. He also proposed making U.S. families' child-care costs tax-deductible, which his daughter Ivanka promised last month in a prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention.

Protesters repeatedly interrupted Trump, who acknowledged them more calmly than he sometimes has at campaign rallies. ''This is all very well planned out,'' he said.

One key change from Trump's earlier proposals is that he would set a new top individual income-tax rate of 33 percent. While that rate is higher than the 25 percent rate Trump had initially proposed, it still represents a cut from the current top rate of 39.6 percent.

That tweak will reduce the estimated cost of Trump's tax plan-which some analysts had set at roughly $10 trillion over 10 years. But the child-care proposal-which Trump in prepared remarks said would allow ''parents to fully deduct the average cost of childcare spending"-also represented a new cost. That measure's price tag would be roughly $20 billion a year, said economist Stephen Moore, a Trump adviser.

''It's not a big cost,'' Moore said.

Trump's tax plan would slash the tax rate on corporate and business income to 15 percent, down from a current top corporate tax rate of 35 percent. It would also consolidate the current seven individual income tax rates to three, with the lower two brackets set at 25 percent and 12 percent.

A news release from Trump's campaign said he wanted to ensure that the wealthy pay their ''fair share,'' using language that is more commonly heard from Democrats. But his proposals to cut individual tax rates and the tax rate on income from partnerships-along with eliminating the estate tax-mean the wealthy would pay less under his plan, said Kyle Pomerleau, director of federal projects at the conservative Tax Foundation.

''His rhetoric is not lining up with his proposals,'' Pomerleau said.

Some analysts have noted that Trump's proposal to end the special tax treatment of carried interest-the portion of investment gains paid to fund managers-might mean lower taxes for members of partnerships, which is how many private-equity funds are organized. Carried interest is currently taxed as capital gains, meaning the income qualifies for a tax rate as low as 23.8 percent. Under Trump's plan to cut business taxes, though, members of partnerships who get carried interest might be taxed at a 15 percent rate.

Trump reiterated his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and his desire to renegotiate NAFTA, ''or walk away if we have to,'' according to his campaign's news release. He also seeks to reverse much of the Obama administration's climate-change and energy agenda by defending the coal industry, rescinding environmental rules, and asking TransCanada to renew its Keystone pipeline permit application if he's elected.

After Trump said Aug. 2 he would double Clinton's infrastructure spending plan in a major government expansion, aides said he will speak later this summer about his plan for the nation's roadways.

Trump's daughter's acknowledgement of soaring child-care costs, an issue of growing importance in U.S. politics, won plaudits as Trump lags Clinton badly in polls of female voters.

Child-care bills have proven to outpace rent and tuition costs in most states, often threatening to derail parents' housing and job plans. The nation is the third-most expensive for childcare among 34 countries, according to 2012 data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The issue offers a good example of the candidates' different approaches. Where Trump is providing a simple supply-side prescription, Clinton is flooding the debate with detail.

Her proposal includes tax relief but is more focused on government support and broader investments in early childhood education, while pledging to ensure that no family has to spend more than 10 percent of income on high-quality care.

Trump's speech follows his announcement last week of an unorthodox economic advisory council that includes financiers John Paulson, Andy Beal, and Stephen Feinberg, as well as energy executive Harold Hamm. Trump also announced raising $80 million for his campaign and party entities in July.

Unveiling the council and the better-than-expected fundraising results, and giving the Detroit speech major billing, were moves by the Trump campaign to steady its course after the Democratic National Convention, where the Muslim parents of a slain U.S. soldier spoke out against Trump and drew the Republican nominee into a multi-day feud on Twitter and TV airwaves.

Between that and other controversies-including Trump's initial refusal to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan for re-election-Trump has seen his poll numbers slumped and has worried Republicans who are eager to save their majorities in Congress in November's elections.

Trump's plans align in many ways with the election-year policy proposals rolled out by Ryan and House Republicans, including his call for undoing the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and limiting any regulations that burden businesses. The House plan wouldn't allow any new financial regulations to take effect unless the House votes.

Trump, however, has proposed deeper tax-rate reductions. The House plan would drop the top individual tax rates from 39.6 to 33 percent. Corporate tax rates, meanwhile, would be lowered from 35 to 20 percent.

Billy House, Lynnley Browning, and Michelle Jamrisko contributed.

[Aug 09, 2016] Trump to Propose Moratorium on New Financial Regulations - Bloomberg Politics

www.bloomberg.com
Donald Trump will propose a temporary moratorium on new financial regulations in an economic speech Monday in Detroit in an effort to draw a stark contrast with the domestic policies of Hillary Clinton, who he says "punishes" the American economy.

The Republican presidential nominee's speech will focus on providing regulatory relief for small businesses, according to senior campaign aides familiar with its contents. More broadly, Trump will say he will not propose any new financial regulations until the economy shows "significant growth," the aides said. Trump has previously said he would repeal and replace the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.

QuickTake Dodd-Frank

Trump will also propose a repeal of the estate tax, sometimes called the "death tax." Under current law, the 40 percent tax applies only to estates larger than $5.45 million for individuals and $10.9 million for couples.

For U.S. businesses, Trump will propose a tax rate of 15 percent and suggest strengthening intellectual-property protections. He's expected to call for three income-tax brackets, down from the current seven. He'll call for the elimination of special tax treatment for carried-interest income at private-equity firms and other investment firms-the latter of which is a proposal his Democratic rival also supports .

Carried interest, which is a portion of investment gains paid to certain investment managers, is currently taxed like capital gains-at rates that can be as low as 23.8 percent. Trump proposes to tax them as ordinary income, but for members of partnerships, that could actually mean a rate cut to 15 percent.

Trump will continue to stress his opposition to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement backed by the Obama administration and many prominent Republicans in Congress, and he will reinforce his commitment to the coal industry, saying a federal moratorium on some coal-mining permits would be the focus of a targeted review in his administration.

Other items on his energy agenda, he is expected to reiterate in the speech, include asking TransCanada to renew its Keystone pipeline permit application; rescinding the Climate Action Plan and "waters of the U.S." rule; opening offshore drilling; and killing the Paris climate agreement.

He will portray President Barack Obama's regulatory policies as having crushed middle- and lower-class Americans and will propose making all child care tax deductible. Clinton, in contrast, has proposed a cap on child-care costs at 10 percent of a family's income.

Targeting the federal bureaucracy, Trump is expected to say that civil servants whose focus is job-killing regulation should be replaced with experts who would help create jobs.

Trump will take direct aim at the Clintons and Obama, pointing to Detroit as an example of their failed economic policies. He will argue that their "record-breaking pace of new regulations, tax increases, restrictions on private-energy production and one-sided trade deals" have hurt Detroit and other cities, according to excerpts of his remarks shared with Bloomberg Politics.

He will call Obama's Clinton-backed regulations a "lead-weight on the economy, an anchor dragging us down." And he will say that Americans "need to hit the pause buttons on these regulations so our businesses can reinvest in the economy."

"She's the candidate of the past and ours is the campaign of the future," Trump plans to say. "Every policy that has failed Detroit has been fully supported by Hillary Clinton. The one common feature of every Hillary Clinton idea is that it punishes you from working and doing business in the United States."

His campaign aides said this is one of several economic speeches Trump will deliver this summer. One will include the unveiling of an infrastructure spending plan , while another will focus on financial regulations such as Dodd-Frank, the aides said.

Crunch Time

For Trump, the challenge at this stage in the race is two-fold. His campaign is coming off one of its worst weeks following a series of self-inflicted gaffes that led to a sharp dip in national and swing-state polls, and economic indicators suggest that the economy is improving.

The nation's unemployment rate in July was 4.9 percent-a sharp decline from a post-recession peak of 10 percent in October 2009, according to federal statistics.

Clinton, who was set to campaign in Florida on Monday, has spent the days following the Democratic National Convention attacking Trump on the economy. The Republican is pushing an agenda "that experts across the political spectrum say would lead to a recession and cost millions of American jobs," the Clinton campaign said in a statement Monday.

Independent voters-particularly small-business owners and their respective trade groups-have argued for years that Obama's regulatory proposals have stifled the economy. Trump's proposal to issue a moratorium on regulations could help him win support from workers at mid-sized banks as well as small-business owners who say it's unfair for them to comply with Dodd-Frank regulations written for big banks.

Trump enlisted conservative economists Peter Navarro, Larry Kudlow, and Stephen Moore; former Nucor CEO Dan DiMicco; and others to help with his speech.

Donors Watching

Republican donors and Trump supporters said they have high expectations for the speech.

Texas investor Doug Deason, who backed Ted Cruz for president in the primary, said he'd like to see Trump "lay out a plan to lower corporate taxes, eliminate federal bureaucracy costs by 10 percent or more, end all corporate welfare programs, convert welfare programs to work programs and dramatically reduce all of the silly federal rules the current administration has put in place."

Deason, who helped Donald Trump Jr. raise money for his father in Dallas and Houston last month, added that he'd also like to see Trump name three or four agencies or departments he could eliminate.

Several donors said they're craving specifics on how to repatriate profits trapped overseas, what exactly Trump would do with infrastructure, and how he'd pay for it, and how he'd encourage capital investments in plants and equipment.

"I would hope that he would cover the full range of economic targets from corporate and personal income tax to trade policy to regulatory reform and energy strategy," said Wilbur Ross, chief strategy officer at WL Ross & Co., which has invested more than $11 billion in distressed companies, including Bethlehem Steel, since its founding in 2000.

[Aug 08, 2016] Donald Trump slams globalization in economic speech

CNNPolitics.com

Monessen, Pennsylvania (CNN)Donald Trump on Tuesday trashed U.S. trade policies that he said have encouraged globalization and wiped out American manufacturing jobs in a speech in which he promised to herald a U.S. economic resurgence.

Speaking before a colorful backdrop of crushed aluminum cans, Trump pitched himself at a factory in Rust Belt Pennsylvania as a change agent who would bring back manufacturing jobs and end the "rigged system," which he argued presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton represents.

Trump promised sweeping changes if elected -- including killing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement -- and urged voters to be wary of a "campaign of fear and intimidation" aimed at swaying them away from his populist message.

"Our politicians have aggressively pursued a policy of globalization -- moving our jobs, our wealth and our factories to Mexico and overseas," he said, reading from prepared remarks and using teleprompters. "Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very, very wealthy. I used to be one of them. Hate to say it, but I used to be one of them."

Trump repeatedly slammed Clinton for supporting free trade agreements and argued that under a Clinton presidency "nothing is going to change."

"The inner cities will remain poor. the factories will remain closed," Trump said at Alumisource, a raw material producer for the aluminum and steel industries in Monessen, Pennsylvania, an hour south of Pittsburgh. "The special interests will remain firmly in control."

Echoing Clinton's chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Trump also argued that Clinton has "voted for virtually every trade agreement" and accused her of supporting trade deals that have hurt U.S. workers.

Trump's speech drew a swift rebuke Tuesday from opposing ends of the political spectrum.

The Chamber of Commerce, the big business lobby that traditionally backs Republicans, issued a swift statement warning that Trump's proposed policies would herald another U.S. recession.

"Under Trump's trade plans, we would see higher prices, fewer jobs, and a weaker economy," the group tweeted, linking to a lengthier article warning that a recession would hit the U.S. "within the first year" of a Trump presidency.

"I'd love for him to explain how all of that fits with his talk about 'America First,'" Clinton said in a speech last week.

Trump moved quickly on Tuesday to insulate himself from the criticism from his rival's campaign and others opposed to his vision of radically changing U.S. economic policies.

Trump repeatedly warned Americans to gird themselves against a "campaign of fear" he argued Clinton and others are running against him -- a notable criticism given the accusations that several of his policies, including a ban on Muslims and a plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, have played to voters' fears.

The de facto GOP nominee promised to instruct his treasury secretary to "label China a currency manipulator" and to order the U.S. trade representative to bring lawsuits against China at the World Trade Organization and in U.S. courts to combat what he characterized as unfair trade policies.

And he also warned of potentially levying tariffs on imports from China and other countries, reviving a common theme of his campaign.

Trump has frequently argued on the stump that the U.S. is getting "killed" by other countries on trade and threatened to raise certain tariffs on China and Mexico up to 35%.

Early on in his yearlong campaign, Trump singled out specific American companies -- notably Ford and Nabisco -- for plans to move some of their manufacturing plants abroad.

Slamming Nabisco for building a factory in Mexico, Trump has vowed he's "not eating Oreos anymore."

A senior Trump aide told CNN earlier on Tuesday the speech would be "the most detailed economic address he has given so far."

Trump has frequently lamented the economic slowdown working-class communities in America have faced as a result of a drop in American manufacturing, particularly in the last decade.

[Aug 05, 2016] The Myth of Trumps Alternative Worldview

Looks like this guy is a neocon... the take on NATO is similar to presstitutes in CNN On NATO, Donald Trump would break sharply with US foreign policy tradition - CNNPolitics.com
As Scott Adams noted: "Clinton's campaign has such strong persuasion going right now that she is successfully equating her actual misdeeds of the past with Trump's imaginary mental issues and imaginary future misdeeds".
They use a Rovian strategy: Assault the enemy's strength. You've got to admire the Chutzpah: Killing your parents, then complaining you're an orphan. The candidate who didn't raise a voice against the Iraq War and pushed the administration in favor of war with Libya (which we're now bombing again) paints their opponent as a lunatic warmonger.
Notable quotes:
"... it's hard not to applaud when he pisses off the stuff shirts at the Washington Post. ..."
"... the frustration with Obama's foreign policy - the continuation of wars, the expansion of drone attacks, the failure to reduce nuclear weapons - has prompted some to piece through Donald Trump's sayings in a desperate search for something, anything, that could possibly represent an alternative. ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... If we cannot be properly reimbursed for the tremendous cost of our military protecting other countries, and in many cases the countries I'm talking about are extremely rich. Then if we cannot make a deal, which I believe we will be able to, and which I would prefer being able to, but if we cannot make a deal…. I would be absolutely prepared to tell those countries, "Congratulations, you will be defending yourself. ..."
"... We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem. And we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel. The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable. ..."
"... Hillary Clinton has traditionally adopted foreign policy positions to the right of Barack Obama. As president, she will likely tack in a more hawkish direction. ..."
"... John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy In Focus. ..."
August 3, 2016 | Foreign Policy In Focus

Trump's foreign policy isn't an alternative to U.S. empire. It's just a cruder rendition of it. ;

Donald Trump may be a bigot and a bully, but it's hard not to applaud when he pisses off the stuff shirts at the Washington Post.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has staked out a foreign policy position quite distinct from his opponent, Hillary Clinton. It is not, however, "isolationist" (contra Jeb Bush and many others) or "less aggressively militaristic" (economist Mark Weisbrot in The Hill ) or "a jolt of realpolitik " (journalist Simon Jenkins in The Guardian ).

With all due respect to these sources, they're all wrong. Ditto John Pilger's claim that Clinton represents the greater threat to the world, John Walsh's argument that Trump is "the relative peace candidate," and Justin Raimondo's assertion that if Trump wins then "the military-industrial complex is finished, along with the globalists who dominate foreign policy circles in Washington."

...His comments on foreign policy have frequently been incoherent, inconsistent, and just plain ignorant. He hasn't exactly rolled out a detailed blueprint of what he would do to the world if elected (though that old David Levine cartoon of Henry Kissinger beneath the sheets comes to mind)...

However, over the last year Trump has said enough to pull together a pretty good picture of what he'd do if suddenly in a position of nearly unchecked power (thanks to the expansion of executive authority under both Bush and Obama). President Trump would offer an updated version of Teddy Roosevelt's old dictum: speak loudly and carry the biggest stick possible.

It's not an alternative to U.S. empire - just a cruder rendition of it.

The Enemy of My Enemy

Both liberals and conservatives in the United States, as I've written , have embraced economic policies that have left tens of millions of working people in desperate straits. The desperation of the "left behind" faction is so acute, in fact, that many of its members are willing to ignore Donald Trump's obvious disqualifications - his personal wealth, his disdain for "losers," his support of tax cuts for the rich - in order to back the Republican candidate and stick it to the elite.

A similar story prevails in the foreign policy realm. On the left, the frustration with Obama's foreign policy - the continuation of wars, the expansion of drone attacks, the failure to reduce nuclear weapons - has prompted some to piece through Donald Trump's sayings in a desperate search for something, anything, that could possibly represent an alternative. ... ... ...

Examined more carefully, his positions on war and peace, alliance systems, and human rights break no new ground. He is old white whine in a new, cracked bottle.

Trump on War

... ... ...

True, Trump has criticized the neoconservative espousal of the use of military force to promote democracy and build states. But that doesn't mean he has backed off from the use of military force in general. Trump has pledged to use the military "if there's a problem going on in the world and you can solve the problem," a rather open-ended approach to the deployment of U.S. forces. He agreed, for instance, that the Clinton administration was right to intervene in the Balkans to prevent ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.

In terms of current conflicts, Trump has promised to "knock the hell out of ISIS" with airpower and 20,000-30,000 U.S. troops on the ground. He even reserves the right to use nuclear weapons against the would-be caliphate. By suggesting to allies and adversaries alike that he is possibly unhinged, Trump has resurrected one of the most terrifying presidential strategies of all time, Richard Nixon's "madman" approach to bombing North Vietnam.

... ... ...

... Trump holds out the possibility of a war with China . He'd keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan . Back in 2011, he channeled his inner Malcolm X in promising war with Iran: "Iran's nuclear program must be stopped - by any and all means necessary." He would expand the use of military drones in overseas conflicts, as he said in an interview with a Syracuse newspaper in April - which makes Simon Jenkins's claim that "at least President Trump would ground the drones" particularly mystifying. Trump has also promised to use unarmed drones to patrol the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico.

This is not isolationism. It's not even discriminate deterrence. As in the business world, Trump believes in full-spectrum dominance in global affairs. As Zack Beauchamp points out in Vox , Trump is an ardent believer in colonial wars of conquest to seize oil fields and pipelines.

About the only place in the world that Trump has apparently ruled out war is with Russia. Yes, it's a good thing that he's against the new cold war that has descended on U.S.-Russian relations...

... ... ...

Trump on Alliances

Trump has made few friends in Washington with his criticisms of veterans and their families and his "joke" encouraging Russia to release any emails from Hillary Clinton's account that it might have acquired in its hacking. Yet it's Trump's statements about NATO that have most unsettled the U.S. foreign policy elite.

In an interview with The New York Times , Trump said:

If we cannot be properly reimbursed for the tremendous cost of our military protecting other countries, and in many cases the countries I'm talking about are extremely rich. Then if we cannot make a deal, which I believe we will be able to, and which I would prefer being able to, but if we cannot make a deal…. I would be absolutely prepared to tell those countries, "Congratulations, you will be defending yourself.

... ... ...

Again, I doubt Trump actually believes in abandoning NATO. Rather, he believes that threats enhance one's bargaining position. In the Trump worldview, there are no allies. There are only competitors from whom one extracts concessions.

Some Trump enthusiasts have quietly celebrated the candidate's more hard-headed approach to Israel. Justin Raimondo, for instance, has praised Trump's understanding of the conflict as a real-estate dispute that requires a more even-handed mediation. But Trump, in his speech before the American Israel Political Action Committee, lambasted the Obama administration for "pressuring our friends and rewarding our enemies." He then said :

We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem. And we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel. The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable.

Ultimately President Trump would extend the same reassurances to other allies once he is briefed on exactly how much they contribute to maintaining U.S. hegemony in the world.

Trump on Pentagon Spending

Critics like Jean Bricmont rave about Trump's willingness to take on the U.S. military-industrial complex: "He not only denounces the trillions of dollars spent in wars, deplores the dead and wounded American soldiers, but also speaks of the Iraqi victims of a war launched by a Republican president."

But Donald Trump, as president, would be the military-industrial complex's best friend. He has stated on numerous occasions his intention to "rebuild" the U.S. military: "We're going to make our military so big, so strong and so great, so powerful that we're never going to have to use it."

More recently, in an interview with conservative columnist Cal Thomas , he said, "Our military has been so badly depleted. Who would think the United States is raiding plane graveyards to pick up parts and equipment? That means they're being held together by a shoestring. Other countries have brand-new stuff they have bought from us." That the United States already has the most powerful military in the world by every conceivable measure seems to have escaped Trump. And our allies never get any military hardware that U.S. forces don't already have.

Well, perhaps Trump will somehow strengthen the U.S. military by cutting waste and investing that money more effectively. But Trump has promised to increase general military spending as well as the resources devoted to fighting the Islamic State. It's part of an overall incoherent plan that includes large tax cuts and a promise to balance the budget.

An Exceptional Ruler

Let me be clear: Hillary Clinton has traditionally adopted foreign policy positions to the right of Barack Obama. As president, she will likely tack in a more hawkish direction.

... ... ...

John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy In Focus.

[Aug 05, 2016] Cornered Neocons Trump's heresy on foreign policy has put Republican hawks in nightmare scenario - backing Hillary Clinton

www.salon.com

It's heresy in the GOP to question the neoconservative paradigm – just ask Rand Paul. It's assumed, as an article of faith, that America is the moral leader of the world; that we must not only defend our values across the world, we must also use force to remake it in our image. This is the thinking that gave us the Iraq War. It's the prism through which most of the GOP still views international politics. Trump – and Bernie Sanders – represents a departure from this paradigm.

Although it's unlikely to happen, a Trump-Sanders general election would have been refreshing for at least one reason: it would have constituted a total rejection of neoconservatism.

Most Americans understand, intuitively, that the differences between the major parties are often rhetorical, not substantive. That's not to say substantive differences don't exist – surely they do, especially on social issues. But the policies from administration to administration overlap more often than not, regardless of the party in charge. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Much of the stability is due to money and the structure of our system, which tends toward dynamic equilibrium. And there are limits to what the president can do on issues like the economy and health care.

But one area in which the president does have enormous flexibility is foreign policy. Which is why, as Politico reported this week, the GOP's national security establishment is "bitterly digging in against" Trump. Indeed, more than any other wing of the Republican Party, the neoconservatives are terrified at the prospect of a Trump nomination.

"Hillary is the lesser evil, by a large margin," said Eliot Cohen, a former Bush official with neoconservative ties. Trump would be "an unmitigated disaster for American foreign policy." Another neocon, Max Boot, says he'd vote for Clinton over Trump: "She would be vastly preferable to Trump." Even Bill Kristol, the great champion of the Iraq War, a man who refuses to consider the hypothesis that he was wrong about anything, is threatening to recruit a third party candidate to derail Trump for similar reasons.

Just this week, moreover, a group of conservative foreign policy intellectuals, several of whom are neocons, published an open letter stating that they're "united in our opposition to a Donald Trump presidency." They offer a host of reasons for their objections, but the bottom line is they don't trust Trump to continue America's current policy of policing the world on ethical grounds.

Trump isn't constrained by the same ideological conventions as other candidates, and so he occasionally stumbles upon unpopular truths. His comments about the Iraq War are an obvious example. But even on an issue like the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, Trump says what any reasonable observer should: we ought to maintain neutrality and work to solve the dispute with an eyes towards our national interest. Now, Trump couldn't explain the concept of "realism" to save his life, but this position is perfectly consistent with that tradition. And if Republicans weren't blinkered by religious fanaticism, they'd acknowledge it as well. The same is true of Trump's nebulous critiques of America's soft imperialism, which again are sacrilege in Republican politics.

[Aug 04, 2016] Donald Trump on Foreign Policy

ontheissues.org
Diplomacy & respect crucial to our relationship with Russia

Q: This week we're going to see a lot of world leaders come to Manhattan. Might you have a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin?

TRUMP: Well, I had heard that he wanted to meet with me. And certainly I am open to it. I don't know that it's going to take place, but I know that people have been talking. We'll see what happens. But certainly, if he wanted to meet, I would love to do that. You know, I've been saying relationship is so important in business, that it's so important in deals, and so important in the country. And if President Obama got along with Putin, that would be a fabulous thing. But they do not get along. Putin does not respect our president. And I'm sure that our president does not like him very much.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 20, 2015

Putin has no respect for America; I will get along with him

Q: What would you do right now if you were president, to get the Russians out of Syria?

TRUMP: Number one, they have to respect you. He has absolutely no respect for President Obama. Zero. I would talk to him. I would get along with him. I believe I would get along with a lot of the world leaders that this country is not getting along with. I think I will get along with Putin, and I will get along with others, and we will have a much more stable world.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

We must deal with the maniac in North Korea with nukes

[With regards to the Iranian nuclear deal]: Nobody ever mentions North Korea where you have this maniac sitting there and he actually has nuclear weapons and somebody better start thinking about North Korea and perhaps a couple of other places. You have somebody right now in North Korea who has got nuclear weapons and who is saying almost every other week, "I'm ready to use them." And we don't even mention it.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

China is our enemy; they're bilking us for billions

China is bilking us for hundreds of billions of dollars by manipulating and devaluing its currency. Despite all the happy talk in Washington, the Chinese leaders are not our friends. I've been criticized for calling them our enemy. But what else do you call the people who are destroying your children's and grandchildren's future? What name would you prefer me to use for the people who are hell bent on bankrupting our nation, stealing our jobs, who spy on us to steal our technology, who are undermining our currency, and who are ruining our way of life? To my mind, that's an enemy. If we're going to make America number one again, we've got to have a president who knows how to get tough with China, how to out-negotiate the Chinese, and how to keep them from screwing us at every turn.
Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 2 , Dec 5, 2011

When you love America, you protect it with no apologies

I love America. And when you love something, you protect it passionately--fiercely, even. We are the greatest country the world has ever known. I make no apologies for this country, my pride in it, or my desire to see us become strong and rich again. After all, wealth funds our freedom. But for too long we've been pushed around, used by other countries, and ill-served by politicians in Washington who measure their success by how rapidly they can expand the federal debt, and your tax burden, with their favorite government programs.

American can do better. I think we deserve the best. That's why I decided to write this book. The decisions we face are too monumental, too consequential, to just let slide. I have answers for the problems that confront us. I know how to make American rich again.

Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 7 , Dec 5, 2011

By 2027, tsunami as China overtakes US as largest economy

There is a lot that Obama and his globalist pals don't want you to know about China's strength. But no one who knows the truth can sit back and ignore how dangerous this economic powerhouse will be if our so-called leaders in Washington don't get their acts together and start standing up for American jobs and stop outsourcing them to China. It's been predicted that by 2027, China will overtake the United States as the world's biggest economy--much sooner if the Obama economy's disastrous trends continue. That means in a handful of years, America will be engulfed by the economic tsunami that is the People's Republic of China--my guess is by 2016 if we don't act fast.

For the past thirty years, China's economy has grown an average 9 to 10 percent each year. In the first quarter of 2011 alone, China's economy grew a robust 9.7 percent. America's first quarter growth rate? An embarrassing and humiliating 1.9 percent. It's a national disgrace.

Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 30 , Dec 5, 2011

Things change; empires come and go
A lot of life is about survival of the fittest and adaption, as Darwin pointed out. It's not all there is, but it's an indication of how the world has evolved in historical terms. We've seen many empires come and go -- the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire -- there have always been surges of power. Sometimes they last for centuries. Even so, some of us have never learned of them as of today. In other words, things change. We have to keep up with the changes and move forward.
Source: Think Like a Champion, by Donald Trump, p. 23-4 , Apr 27, 2010

Criticized Buchanan's view on Hitler as appeasement

In Buchanan's book, he actually said the Western allies were wrong to stop Hitler. He argued that we should have let Hitler take all of the territories to his east. What of the systematic annihilation of Jews, Catholics, and Gypsies in those countries? You don't have to be a genius to know that we were next, that once Hitler seized control of the countries to his east he would focus on world domination.

Pat Buchanan was actually preaching the same policy of appeasement that had failed for Neville Chamberlain at Munich. If we used Buchanan's theory on Hitler as a foreign policy strategy, we would have appeased every world dictator with a screw loose and we'd have a brainwashed population ready to go postal on command.

After I [wrote an article on this for] Face the Nation, Buchanan accused me of ⌠ignorance." Buchanan, who believes himself an expert, has also called Hitler ⌠a political organizer of the first rank." Buchanan is a fan.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.267-68 , Jul 2, 2000

Post-Cold War: switch from chess player to dealmaker

In the modern world you can't very easily draw up a simple, general foreign policy. I was busy making deals during the last decade of the cold war. Now the game has changed. The day of the chess player is over. Foreign policy has to be put in the hands of a dealmaker.

Two dealmakers have served as president-one was Franklin Roosevelt, who got us through WWII, and the other was Richard Nixon, who forced the Russians to the bargaining table to achieve the first meaningful reductions in nuclear arms.

A dealmaker can keep many balls in the air, weigh the competing interests of other nations, and above all, constantly put America's best interests first. The dealmaker knows when to be tough and when to back off. He knows when to bluff and he knows when to threaten, understanding that you threaten only when prepared to carry out the threat. The dealmaker is cunning, secretive, focused, and never settles for less than he wants. It's been a long time since America had a president like that.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.111-12 , Jul 2, 2000

Support Russia, but with strings attached

I don't understand why American policymakers are always so timid in dealing with Russia on issues that directly involve our survival. Kosovo was a perfect case in point: Russia was holding out its hand for billions of dollars in IMF loans (to go along with billions in aid the U.S. has given) the same week it was issuing threats and warnings regarding our conduct in the Balkans. We need to tell Russia and other recipients that if they want our dime they had better do our dance, at least in matters regarding our national security. These people need us much more than we need them. We have leverage, and we are crazy not to use it to better advantage.

Few respect weakness. Ultimately we have to deal with hostile nations in the only language they know: unshrinking conviction and the military power to back it up if need be. There and in that order are America's two greatest assets in foreign affairs.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.134 , Jul 2, 2000

China: lack of human rights prevents consumer development

Why am I concerned with political rights? I'm a good businessman and I can be amazingly unsentimental when I need to be. I also recognize that when it comes down to it, we can't do much to change a nation's internal policies. But I'm unwilling to shrug off the mistreatment of China's citizens by their own government. My reason is simple: These oppressive policies make it clear that China's current government has contempt for our way of life.

We want to trade with China because of the size of its consumer market. But if the regime continues to repress individual freedoms, how many consumers will there really be? Isn't it inconsistent to compromise our principles by negotiating trade with a country that may not want and cannot afford our goods?

We have to make it absolutely clear that we're willing to trade with China, but not to trade away our principles, and that under no circumstances will we keep our markets open to countries that steal from us.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.119 & 123 , Jul 2, 2000

Be tougher on China-we're too eager to please

Our biggest long-term challenge will be China. The Chinese people still have few political rights to speak of. Chinese government leaders, though they concede little, desperately want us to invest in their country. Though we have the upper hand, we're way to eager to please. We see them as a potential market and we curry favor with them at the expense of our national interests. Our China policy under Presidents Clinton and Bush has been aimed at changing the Chinese regime by incentives both economic and political. The intention has been good, but it's clear that the Chinese have been getting far too easy a ride.

Despite the opportunity, I think we need to take a much harder look at China. There are major problems that too many at the highest reaches of business want to overlook, [primarily] the human-rights situation.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.117-18 , Jul 2, 2000


Donald Trump on Mideast

Too risky to take in Syrian refugees

Q: Would you block Syrian refugees from entering the US?

RUBIO: The problem is we can't background check them. You can't pick up the phone and call Syria. And that's one of the reasons why I said we won't be able to take more refugees. It's not that we don't want to. The bottom line is that this is not just a threat coming from abroad. What we need to open up to and realize is that we have a threat here at home, homegrown violent extremists, individuals who perhaps have not even traveled abroad, who have been radicalized online. This has become a multi-faceted threat. In the case of what's happening in Europe, this is a swarm of refugees. And as I've said repeatedly over the last few months, you can have 1,000 people come in and 999 of them are just poor people fleeing oppression and violence but one of them is an ISIS fighter.

Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview on SSyrian Refugee crisis , Nov 22, 2015

Let Russia bash ISIS; let Germany defend Ukraine

Q: Russia has invaded Ukraine, and has put troops in Syria. You have said you will have a good relationship with Mr. Putin. So, what does President Trump do in response to Russia's aggression?

TRUMP: As far as Syria, if Putin wants to go and knock the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100%, and I can't understand how anybody would be against it.

Q: They're not doing that.

TRUMP: They blew up a Russian airplane. He cannot be in love with these people. He's going in, and we can go in, and everybody should go in. As far as the Ukraine is concerned, we have a group of people, and a group of countries, including Germany--why are we always doing the work? I'm all for protecting Ukraine--but, we have countries that are surrounding the Ukraine that aren't doing anything. They say, "Keep going, keep going, you dummies, keep going. Protect us." And we have to get smart. We can't continue to be the policeman of the world.

Source: Fox Business/WSJ First Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

Provide economic assistance to create a safe zone in Syria

Q: Where you are on the question of a safe zone or a no-fly zone in Syria?

TRUMP: I love a safe zone for people. I do not like the migration. I do not like the people coming. What they should do is, the countries should all get together, including the Gulf states, who have nothing but money, they should all get together and they should take a big swath of land in Syria and they do a safe zone for people, where they could to live, and then ultimately go back to their country, go back to where they came from.

Q: Does the U.S. get involved in making that safe zone?

TRUMP: I would help them economically, even though we owe $19 trillion.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 interview on Syrian Refugee crisis , Oct 11, 2015

US should not train rebels it does not know or control

Q: The Russians are hitting Assad as well as people we've trained.

TRUMP: Where they're hitting people, we're talking about people that we don't even know. I was talking to a general two days ago. He said, "We have no idea who these people are. We're training people. We don't know who they are. We're giving them billions of dollars to fight Assad." And you know what? I'm not saying Assad's a good guy, because he's probably a bad guy. But I've watched him interviewed many times. And you can make the case, if you look at Libya, look at what we did there-- it's a mess-- if you look at Saddam Hussein with Iraq, look what we did there-- it's a mess-- it's going be same thing.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd , Oct 4, 2015

Better to have Mideast strongmen than Mideast chaos

Q: You think the Middle East would be better today if Gaddafi, Saddam and Assad were stronger? That the Middle East would be safer?

TRUMP: It's not even a contest. Iraq is a disaster. And ISIS came out of Iraq.

Q: Well, let me button this up. If Saddam and Gaddafi were still in power, you think things would be more stable?

TRUMP: Of course it would be. You wouldn't have had your Benghazi situation, which is one thing, which was just a terrible situation.

Q: Would you pull out of what we're doing in Syria now?

TRUMP: no, I'd sit back.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd , Oct 4, 2015

Good that Russia is involved in Syria

Q: You came across to me as if you welcomed Putin's involvement in Syria. You said you saw very little downside. Why?

TRUMP: I want our military to be beyond anything, no contest, and technologically, most importantly. But we are going to get bogged down in Syria. If you look at what happened with the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, that's when they went bankrupt.

Q: So, you think Putin's going to get suckered into--

TRUMP: They're going to get bogged down. Everybody that's touched the Middle East, they've gotten bogged down. Now, Putin wants to go in and I like that Putin is bombing the hell out of ISIS. Putin has to get rid of ISIS because Putin doesn't want ISIS coming into Russia.

Q: Why do you trust him and nobody else does?

TRUMP: I don't trust him. But the truth is, it's not a question of trust. I don't want to see the United States get bogged down. We've spent now $2 trillion in Iraq, probably a trillion in Afghanistan. We're destroying our country.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd , Oct 4, 2015

More sanctions on Iran; more support of Israel

What does Donald Trump believe? Iran and Israel: Walk away from nuclear talks. Increase sanctions.

Trump has said that the U.S. is mishandling current Iran negotiations and should have walked away from the table once Tehran reportedly rejected the idea of sending enriched uranium to Russia. He would increase sanctions on Iran. Trump has been sharply critical of the Obama administration's handling of relations with Israel and has called for a closer alliance with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Source: PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series , Jun 16, 2015

[Aug 04, 2016] Trump attacks Clinton on 'scandal' of US paying 400 million dollars to Iran after nuclear deal

Iran deal was signed when Hillary was not the Secretary of state (her last month was Feb 2013). Is Trump delusional or stupid ?
Notable quotes:
"... whatever the 'ransom', both Clinton and Trump are hellbent on undermining the Iranian deal. idiots. ..."
"... The more I think about it, US deserve to have Trump as president. He will screw up the US so royally that may shock American people to start thinking straight. ..."
"... Trump would certainly screw up the US, but if 8 years of Bush couldn't get them to start thinking straight, I am not sure what would. ..."
"... Hillary hates Iran more than Trump does... she's just extremely good in deceiving.. Remember when Sanders said to reach out to Iran about the Syrian conflict? Her reply was exactly this; "asking Iran for cooperation in Syria is like asking a pyromaniac to extinguish a fire" .. when president, I fear she will not only avoid cooperation but will be playing real hardball with Iran, where Trump, as someone who seems to be sympathetic to the Russian regime, might get more friendly with Iran (the friends of your friends...) ..."
"... It's a mess anyways... trump changes like how the wind blows, and Hillary is a snake (understatement of the year) ..."
"... The US has not held up to the term of the nuclear agreement! The banks are still afraid of US to deal with Iran. Congress has stopped the beoing deal, etc. The US congress is acting as bully! Actually not holding itself with the very deal the US signed is very bad! I can see Iran reluctant to negotiate any deal with a bunch of liars ..."
"... There were no bank relations between the US and Iran, so cash was the only option. It was conducted in secret because who's going to announce that a plane full of cash is in route to, well, anywhere? ..."
"... The US owed that money to Iran. The transfer was kept secret for the reason mentioned by bob. ..."
"... Ultimately, Mr. Trump's outrage over the $ (true or not) is yet another dodge avoiding the real question that he needs to be asked: "Do you want a war with Iran?" ..."
"... Course, I think everybody probably already knows the answer. It'd just be nice to have it print (or a tweet as the case may be). ..."
"... If the reports about Trump asking his foreign policy advisers about the utility of using nuclear weapons are accurate, there are probably several nations, including Iran, who'd be wise to acquire nuclear weapons as soon as possible to let him know why they shouldn't be used. ..."
www.theguardian.com

Ron Jacobs

It was Iran's money that Washington froze . Besides, if I recall, the great Republican hero Ronnie Reagan traded weapons to Iran for hostages.

Joel Marcuson

It probably hasn't dawned on him that Hillary has not been a member of the current Gov't for about 4 yrs now. How could she possibly be responsible for that decision, the type our Gov't has made all along for as long as I can remember? What a screwball.

onu labu

whatever the 'ransom', both Clinton and Trump are hellbent on undermining the Iranian deal. idiots.

trucmat

The gist of reality here is that the US confiscated a bunch of Iranian money and are decades later starting to give it back. Scandalous!

ViktorZK

They should be attacking Clinton over the DNC resignations and a whole bunch more. But the entire week has been taken up damping down fires Trump and his surrogates keep lighting. Even this story (which is a non-event really) will struggle for oxygen. The biggest headline today is GOP ELDERS PLAN INTERVENTION TO REHABILITATE FAILING CAMPAIGN. Hard to top that.

macmarco 1h

One must remember that Obama early and often said Reagan was his political hero. The same Reagan who bought hostages freedom with a cake, a bible and a bunch of weapons.

ClearItUp

The more I think about it, US deserve to have Trump as president. He will screw up the US so royally that may shock American people to start thinking straight.

rberger -> ClearItUp

Trump would certainly screw up the US, but if 8 years of Bush couldn't get them to start thinking straight, I am not sure what would.

ChangeIranNow

At this point, with tens of billions of dollars in frozen assets already on their way to Iran and a virtual Tehran gold rush in which Western firms are seeking to profit from the collapse of sanctions going on, revisiting the way the Iran deal was sold to the nation seems beside the point. But with Iran already signaling that it will demand even more Western appeasement to keep complying with the terms of the nuclear pact, an examination into the cash-for-hostages' aspect of the story is important. Let us hope our next president is willing to harden its stance on the Iran regime and support an era of domestically-fostered peace and stability.

doublreed legalimmigrant

DryBack, Voilà: Wikileaks recently released documents proving that Hillary Clinton took $100,000 of cash from a company she ran (and worked for in the 80's and 90's) that also funded ISIS in Syria. French industrial giant, Lafarge, gave money to the Islamic state to operate their (Lafarge's) cement plant in Syria, and purchased oil from ISIS. Lafarge are also large donators to Clinton's election and the Clinton Foundation. More is here: http://yournewswire.com/clinton-was-director-of-company-that-donated-money-to-isis/

Lafarge is a regular donor to the Clinton Foundation – the firm's up to $100,000 donation was listed in its annual donor list for 2015.

Zepp

Who on Earth would consider Tom Cotton and the Wall Street Journal to be credible sources?

They took the (true, verified) story of the Bush administration flying pallets of $100 bills into Baghdad where they promptly vanished, filed the numbers of, and resurrected it for this story. The WSJ is a Murdoch organ, and Cotton is a crackpot.

itsmeLucas

Hillary hates Iran more than Trump does... she's just extremely good in deceiving.. Remember when Sanders said to reach out to Iran about the Syrian conflict? Her reply was exactly this; "asking Iran for cooperation in Syria is like asking a pyromaniac to extinguish a fire" .. when president, I fear she will not only avoid cooperation but will be playing real hardball with Iran, where Trump, as someone who seems to be sympathetic to the Russian regime, might get more friendly with Iran (the friends of your friends...)

It's a mess anyways... trump changes like how the wind blows, and Hillary is a snake (understatement of the year)

coffeeclutch

Donald Trump and Tom Cotton are the verifying sources for this information? Tom Cotton, who claimed that Iran needed to be stopped because "[they] already control Tehran?"

The circus act of American politics is really beyond belief. I'm still in awe the Republicans faced no consequences for issuing a warning letter to a foreign government in the midst of diplomatic negotiations with the President and the State Department. All while running around Obama's back and inviting Israel's Prime Minister to address them directly in suggesting how Americans should approach their foreign policy.

WorkingEU

To shift focus to an Iranian deal seems a good line of attack. But from a historical perspective it may be a little guileless. The Iranian Revolution was a populist revolt against globalization, elitism, corruption, foreign treachery and all the other abundant evils.

The clergy promised the earth, and delivered heaven. I confess this is a somewhat superficial analysis when compared to the profound depth of the Trump campaign.

coffeeclutch -> WorkingEU

If I recall correctly the religious sphere was also one of the areas of social life not micromanaged and controlled by the Shah (secular authority at that time was rather hands-off on its approach to the clergy), so the clergy were in a unique position to manipulate a lot of desperate people by presenting themselves as an "open and freer" alternative to the grossly exploitative, corrupt, and often violent rule of the secular regime.

Of course once the were able to wrest enough power to shunt aside the various leftist and student protest groups rising up at the same time, all that concern about anti-corruption and public welfare was immediately tossed into the bin. Pretty much a Scylla and Charybdis situation.

jokaz

The US has not held up to the term of the nuclear agreement! The banks are still afraid of US to deal with Iran. Congress has stopped the beoing deal, etc. The US congress is acting as bully! Actually not holding itself with the very deal the US signed is very bad! I can see Iran reluctant to negotiate any deal with a bunch of liars

DBakes

I would like to understand more details about the cash payment and the reason. Was it really a secret payment? That being said I will never vote for Trump who to me is an imminent threat to national security.

bobj1156 -> DBakes

There were no bank relations between the US and Iran, so cash was the only option. It was conducted in secret because who's going to announce that a plane full of cash is in route to, well, anywhere?

MtnClimber -> DBakes

The US owed that money to Iran. The transfer was kept secret for the reason mentioned by bob.

MiltonWiltmellow

The US state department has denied this.

The WSJ quoted Tom Cotton, a Republican senator from Arkansas, as accusing the Obama administration of ...

Does the accusation even matter?

A Murdoch rag prints an unsubstantiated political accusation made a Murdoch political sympathizer and somehow it becomes credible enough for the Guardian to repeat the smear?

Here's what those of us who live in the Real World™ say.

Where's your fucking proof??

williamdonovan

However, although the cash payment to Iran coincided with the release of a group of Iranian American prisoners, there is no evidence to suggest any link between the two events.

Evidence maybe not but the read could draw easily make a "inference"

Blacks Law 4th Edition

INFERENCE. In the law of evidence. A truth or proposition drawn from another which is sup- posed or admitted to be true. A process of reasoning by which a fact or proposition sought to be established is deduced as a logical consequence from other facts, or a state of facts, already proved or admitted. Whitehouse v. Bolster, 95 Me. 458, 50 A. 240; Joske v. Irvine, 91 Tex. 574, 44 S.W. 1059.

A deduction which the reason of the jury makes from the facts proved, without an express direction of law to that effect. Puget Sound Electric Ry. v. Benson, C.C.A. Wash., 253 F. 710, 714.
A "presumption" and an "inference" are not the same thing, a presumption being a deduction which the law requires a trier of facts to make, an inference being a deduction which the trier may or may not make, according to his own conclusions; a presumption is mandatory, an INFERENCE

eyeinlurk -> williamdonovan

Kind of like the Reagan arms for hostages deal with...uh...Iran. Back in the 80's.
I'm starting to miss the 80's, and I never thought I'd say that.

Ranger4 -> eyeinlurk

And they used the cash to .............fund an insurrection

williamdonovan -> eyeinlurk

I was working at the Pentagon then and found myself having inside knowledge of Iran-Contra before it unfolded to the rest of the world. Given that the information was highly classified Top Secret/SRA access. I had been given access to what I thought at the time was two completely unrelated events moving of the missiles and the training and arming of the contras. The information was compartmented meaning few people knew about either program and even far fewer people new both programs where related (it wasn't called Iran-Contra until after much later) Just weeks before the public new. I was given access to the complete picture. Even then I couldn't figure how could something like this be legal. Because as we know now it was not.

You could easily draw inference between the these two events.

As I already have!

jrcdmc6670

Ultimately, Mr. Trump's outrage over the $ (true or not) is yet another dodge avoiding the real question that he needs to be asked: "Do you want a war with Iran?"

Course, I think everybody probably already knows the answer. It'd just be nice to have it print (or a tweet as the case may be).

jrcdmc6670

If the reports about Trump asking his foreign policy advisers about the utility of using nuclear weapons are accurate, there are probably several nations, including Iran, who'd be wise to acquire nuclear weapons as soon as possible to let him know why they shouldn't be used.

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/03/trump-asks-why-us-cant-use-nukes-msnbcs-joe-scarborough-reports.html

[Aug 04, 2016] Donald Trump Reaffirms Support for Warmer Relations With Russia

Aug 2, 2016

Donald Trump Reaffirms Support for Warmer Relations With Russia, NYT, 01 Aug 2016

Donald J. Trump unabashedly trumpeted his support for warmer relations with Russia at a campaign rally here on Monday night, acidly mocking opponents who say he is too friendly to Vladimir V. Putin, the country's strongman president. Mr. Trump, who has been under fire from Democrats and some conservative national security leaders for his accommodating stance toward Mr. Putin, cast his supportive remarks as a matter of practical necessity. By aligning itself with Russia, he said, the United States could more easily take on the Islamic State and other terrorist groups. "If we could get Russia to help us get rid of ISIS -- if we could actually be friendly with Russia -- wouldn't that be a good thing?" Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, said. Repeating the question moments later, he won loud applause from the crowd: "If we could get along with Russia, wouldn't that be a good thing, instead of a bad thing?"