A Disaster Named Victory- Trump Sacrifices Economy for Ratings Boost.

A dark cloud on the American horizon
Donald Trump has always gone around saying that he understands the tax code better than any man alive. If true, such a fact suggests to the layman that an ant could do your taxes, if only it could hold a pencil. Actually, however, it is a fundamental truth of American life that the process is very confusing. Litigator Andrew Grossman recently wrote an article, titled Is The Tax Code Really 70,000 Pages Long? 
This is why the approval ratings for Trump and the GOP have recently taken an upward bounce. Although they have wrought a disaster in the form of their new tax plan, they hailed it as a victory. And most red voters have no idea at all why this is wrong.
Paul Ryan tweeted out the following- and promptly deleted it.
“A secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, PA, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week- said that would more than cover the cost of her COSTCO membership next year!”
One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Is this something to worry about? Yes, it’s scary. Anytime anything good happens for those jackals, it’s scary. But it was easy to predict they would get a bounce off this before it starts to hurt people. The negatives will start hitting home pretty soon. And when they do, we have to catch it and make sure that we give credit where it’s due. 
The bill is a disaster in every way. Fareed Zakaria called it “possibly the worst piece of major legislation in a generation
But even still, they did manage to pass something through a legislature, for the first time in Trump’s entire disaster of a presidency. For that reason alone, this looks like a victory for the GOP on the surface. Unless people can be shown how bad this will cost them, we will not have what we need to get that giant mammal out of the White House.
Remember when Bush got reelected in 2004? He was all smiles and sweetness before the election. Within another year, though, he showed his true intent. The first thing that happened was we had the gas price crisis smash home, safely after he’d have 4 more years to do all the harm he could.
Then, those who’d voted for him were miserable. Lamentations could be heard at every gas station in America. Unkind fate, that gives us what we pay for!
If we wish to avoid a repeat of those horrible years, a number of things are necessary, but certainly among them, developing a working understanding of what state tax dollars do and where they go is critical.
States help educate the nation’s children, build and repair its roads and bridges, provide health coverage to low-income families and their children, and much more.  Many of these services are essential to building strong, healthy communities and the nation’s long-term economic vitality.
Although the exact amount varies greatly from state to state, federal tax money is distributed to all the states and is a sizeable chunk of its revenue, the revenue allotted to the maintenance of these crucial infrastructural expenses.
Thus, less federal revenue means less money for the states. Less money for the states means less money for local areas, which means local and state tax and cost increases.
This is how local and state and cost increases in education and healthcare give such a severe beating to middle income.
Gigantic federal top income tax cuts lead to regular folks getting slammed with state and local increases.
All of this is the pits for anyone who isn’t a billionaire, of course, but the conservative media machine rolled right into effect to make it seem otherwise. The trick is both disingenuous and brutal. 
They cut one part of your taxes, the federal, and make it personal by boasting about it on television. They then take a substantially larger piece of your income from you as state and local taxes, but they make it abstract. They do all they can to keep the two from being related in the minds of the people. 
During Obama’s tenure in office, the data demonstrated clearly that the U.S. individual income tax was very progressive, borne mainly by the highest income earners. In 2014, the top 1 percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes than the bottom 90 percent combined.
Reversing that state of affairs is the reason that Trump was put in power.
Poor people and seniors will get slammed terribly and subjected to varying indignities from those who believe one must earn the right to live. Medicaid is always first on the chopping block; in fact, just last month, the Trump administration announced that it would grant states the right to impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients.
Local and state governments will raise cash by setting more regulations. More fines, more fees, raised vehicle registration, increased water bills. etc.
An expert in the field wrote Millennial Democrats with the following observation.
“Every penny, dime, and dollar that top income gets a tax cut for, low and middle income gets backdoor increases to pay for it.”
The people will get hit from both ends, and then be told that this is because Democrats want to raise their taxes and give the money to Muslims. Middle America gets badly burned, to the sound of the Trump voter cheering for it. 
Low and middle income will get hit with a few hundred or a few thousand cost increases. City officials will literally sit around, thinking up rules for us to break. Whatever minute tax cut we’ll get will be consumed by that. Only the 1% will benefit. 
Before the GOP started in with this crap about the big top income tax cuts, local and state taxes for people of average income was about $800 a year. The average now is around 6 thousand a year per person.
One of the first thing states do is cut funding for college tuition, forcing colleges to hike tuition fees. This is the reason college tuition is so high. Before big Republican tax cuts in the 80’s, college tuition was very low. Millennials, ask yourselves- How many of us can’t even have a bank account now, thanks to lifelong student loan debt?
Another good example is water bills. Water bills used to be very low. But this also is among the first thing cities do when they get less funding due to less federal revenue, and therefore less state revenue. They hike water bills.
It has to be understood that federal revenue is distributed to the states and that state and local depend more on that than they do local and state taxes.
The GOP tax cuts are a massive fraud. They are a titanic transfer of more taxes and costs that average Americans, even upper-middle-income Americans, cannot afford to pay without greatly reducing their living standards. All so guys like Donald Trump and the Koch brothers can strut around like satraps.
Hillary Clinton was the only candidate that ran with a plan to protect average Americans if the market tanked from huge losses. She bothered to take the time about developing one because she realized that the market is a gamble.
If it should take a dive at a time when millions are having to retire, due to health and other issues, they get slammed. Social Security is guaranteed, but this already does not provide enough for most low and middle-income seniors, and the Republicans want to reduce benefits even more.
Republicans are also constantly trying to whack Medicaid. That program, along with Medicare, crucially supplements low-income seniors. This is not going to work. We are going to have a nation full of seniors in dire straits as soon as they can no longer work. Again- Millennials, this will be our parents and ourselves.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, far from being a victory, will be a very serious crisis for America in a decade or two. We will be fleeced little by little from a million different angles. We need to raise awareness of how this breaks down. Getting people to understand how bad they are going to be hurt before they feel it is an indispensable condition for #TheBlueWave.
We simply cannot keep giving top income tax cuts at the expense of low and middle income. The middle class is the backbone of society. If it breaks, we cannot stand up.

#TheBlueWave- Where We Stand, Going Forward.

Millennial Democrats and #TheBlueWave

New House and Senate ratings from CNN point the way to an excellent set of midterms for the Democratic Party.

That said- Beware complacency.

Those two words are so gigantic in this case, that they could be the whole article.

There’s a number of different factors at play in the political scene of America at this time. Some of them are in no way American, but most of them are.

One of the biggest is voter apathy.

Millennial readers, ask yourselves this: How many conversations have you had, with people our age about politics, in which you have heard somebody say: “Ah, all governments are fascist. There’s no difference between one or the other.” Or had a menu of talking points from Fox News or Infowars with them?

Many others act like they’re afraid to talk at all, either because they don’t know enough, or because they don’t care enough, or because people get so intense about it.

This is the state of things when a polarity this extreme and disparate exists between the people of the country.

People aren’t getting their information from the same places anymore. You can tell when you’ve been talking to someone deeply indoctrinated by Rush Limbaugh and the Breitbart band. You’ll immediately be confronted with a whole galaxy of half-truths, lies, and slanders.

Most of the time you won’t even know what they’re talking about, the stuff will be so out there. And by the time your smartphone has proved them wrong, they’ve already made fifty more specious claims. It becomes clear very quickly that they don’t have any interest in getting at the truth.

You can’t even talk to them anymore.

An understanding of this fundamental truth is where any realistic discussion of how to win the midterms must begin.

A great deal of time and money has been invested by those currently in power, seeing to it that those without it remain apathetic and confused regarding the process. Nor have they closed their wallets.

Charles Koch and members of his Seminar Network- donors who contribute a minimum of $100,000 to the various political organizations run by the Koch brothers– have big plans for the midterm elections.

At a retreat this weekend, the group announced plans to spend between $300 million and $400 million in 2018- a 60 percent increase from its spending in 2016-  to defend Trump administration policies that Charles and David Koch and their network overwhelmingly support- while distancing themselves from a man that is personally unfit to serve as president.

They want it both ways, and they figure with enough cash they can get it. Once the strategy gives them the power they are seeking, they figure it will all be worthwhile. If they can dominate and make a shell of the governmental apparatus, they can change things around all they like. Those changes will be catastrophic to every environment we live in.

We have to find a way to stop them and to do so we will need to surmount some difficult challenges.

Republican standing has improved recently. It’s going to take awhile for people to understand just how stupid those tax cuts were. It’s going to take a while before it hurts them.

CNBC’s John Harwood calls Trump’s tax reform a “remarkable paradox,” as middle America will not benefit as much as the coastal elites his base so loves to stick it to.

Howmuch.net, a cost information website, has created a handy infographic to help us understand how middle-to-low income households are losing.

Howmuch explains that “Some taxpayers would definitely benefit from Trump’s tax reform — especially those at the higher end of the income scale. There are others, however, who would see their tax rates go up. Especially those on lower incomes.”

This is important, because the tax plan is the reason the GOP has been polling better recently. Their strategy going forward will be to beat that drum as hard as they can. It’s the only legislative accomplishment they’ve got.

Many of them are showing signs of indigestion of the conscience, as evidenced by the fact of so many of the GOP leaders in Congress retiring, but it’s a little late for that.

Another key factor to watch this year will be Russian interference in our elections.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo was asked during an interview with the BBC on Monday whether he anticipates a Russian influence campaign later this year.

“I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that,” he said.

“But,” he added, “I am confident that America will be able to have a free and fair election — that we’ll push back in a way that is sufficiently robust that the impact they have on our election won’t be great.”

What a joke.

Later the same day as those comments were made, the Trump administration announced that it will not impose the new Russian sanctions. And the other Republicans are just as bad. All of them are complicit in the biggest treason of all time.

Aside from all that, there’s the usual electoral stuff to consider. The House, in which Democrats need a 24-seat pickup to win the majority, looks very favourable. And ever since the stunning victory of Alabama’s Doug Jones, a plausible path to control of the Senate has arisen.

 

If the Blue Wave is indeed going to sweep over this country in the midterm elections, we are going to have to work very hard, because nobody is going to do it for us. It can and will happen because we will be here to fight for it tooth and nail.

Going forward, the key is to find out which races are the most competitive, target them, and put our resources into fighting for them. We are actively asking our readers for help on this. Anything you’ve got that might be useful, please feel free to send it in. We’ve got a lot of work to do. And it is going to take us all.

Obama Policies Boost Economy, Trump Claims Credit.

Trump is boasting unjustly

On Wednesday, U.S. government experts had something good to say, for a change.

Our economy has expanded at a 3.3 percent annual rate in the third quarter. We have performed beyond expectation slightly, three-tenths of a percent faster than their first estimate.

The economic recovery since the 2007-2009 recession is now in its eighth year and showing little signs of slowing down.

The recovery is primarily being powered by a tightening labour market. This has allowed for the maintenance of the strong performance that started during former President Barack Obama’s first term.

The growth rate we are seeing now is in line with the nation’s recovery and with President Obama’s targeted goal. However, unlike President Obama, Trump doesn’t understand that this will fluctuate. Economists generally see such a pace as unsustainable and expect growth to slow sometime in 2018. Trump sees it as proof that he’s making everything great, all the while plotting happily to destroy it.

The Senate Budget Committee advanced its bill Tuesday, sending it to the full chamber for a vote later this week.

Weighing in in favour of the bill was Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs.  Unsurprisingly, he thinks the new tax plan is a great idea. Make your voices heard any way you can think up, folks.

The administration’s remaining supporters gesture limply toward stock market returns. But the stock market is not the only measure of the economy, nor even a particularly reliable one.
If the market’s history teaches us anything, it is that markets go up and down. A market disaster may wait just over the horizon. Trump has promised to blame the judicial branch if we experience another terrorist attack. One wonders where he’ll find a scapegoat when stock markets fall, the real estate market slows, or inflation takes off? What sort of a goat could even do all that anyway?
Temporary deficit spending can sometimes help the economy. Economist Paul Krugman cites the 2008 financial crisis as an example when unemployment was very high.
The Federal Reserve—normally our first line of defence against recessions—had limited ability to act, because the interest rates it controls were already very close to zero. That was a time for serious pump-priming; unfortunately, we never got enough of it, thanks to scorched-earth Republican opposition.”
Our economy is very different in 2017. Unemployment is near historic lows. Quit rates, which show how confident workers are in their ability to find new jobs, are back to pre-crisis levels. Wage rates are rising at last, and the Federal Reserve has begun raising interest rates. If we just keep walking straight, we’ll be fine.
Krugman had the following to say on the matter.
“Whether or not we’re back to full employment is for the economists to debate”, but “the economic engine no longer needs a fiscal jump-start. This is exactly the wrong time to be talking about the desirability of bigger budget deficits.”

Trump’s recklessness and slovenly manner of governing set fire to the foundations needed for sustained national economic growth. If the Trump administration continues to stoke fear, it may soon do exponential damage to the fundamental legal and cultural infrastructure that made America a great place to invest and do business.

Quinnipiac University released a new poll about this on Wednesday. Most Americans know to give credit to former President Obama for the current state of the U.S. economy than to Trump, although it should be fairly conceded Trump’s constant boasting has had some effect. Constantly assuming credit over his betters, he has convinced some people through sheer repetition that he can take credit for this somehow, and that’s where we come in.

Trump’s policies are going to lay waste the good work that President Obama spent eight years on.

Tax plans are confusing. They tend to be full of numbers and technical jargon. They give the gift of throbbing temples to most of us. But one thing, at least, is easy to grasp. It’s going to hurt the middle class terribly. This plan is legislative savagery at its worst.

Trump’s tax plan is much like his other policies. Ill-conceived, worse planned, and terrible for very nearly everyone. The CBO report speaks for itself. It’s really more of a tax plot.

As expected, the plan would help the wealthy at the direct expense of the middle class. It will actively hurt the poor. It is also known that foreign oligarch investors, including many from Russia, will be the beneficiaries.

The tax break improves for each income level, meaning that the people who need the most help get the least of it. The top 1 percent would get an 8.5 percent break.

“This nasty and backwards budget green lights cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in order to give a tax break to big corporations and the wealthiest Americans. It shifts the burden from the wealthy and puts it squarely on the back of the middle class, and blows a hole in the deficit to boot,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“I think it will go down in history as one of the worst budgets Congress has ever passed.

In full agreement are the more than 400 millionaires and billionaires who are reportedly asking Congress not to cut their taxes.

The group, which includes doctors, lawyers and chief executives, plans to send a letter to Congress and ask that their taxes not be cut under the GOP tax overhaul, The Washington Post reported.

Those of us with sense enough to stand against these cuts must speak out. Loudly, and now. If not, then Medicare, Medicaid and other safety net programs will be gutted and burned. All so that the GOP can pay out a tax cut to the ones who need it the least. We will fight this to the end, and we will bear witness.