Friday, December 22, 2017

The real cost of the Tax Cut for the Wealthy

What is the real cost of this ts bill for each American?  What will they get for their temporary tax reduction, if indeed they get them?

The NY Times tax bill calculator below does not ask for your real estate taxes or state of residence which could make a significant difference,so results will vary. New Yorkers would usually do worse because of state and local taxes not being fully deductible in some cases.

So with the tax calculator you can get a rough idea of how you will do.  But how much more of the National Debt will each person owe?

The average American's portion of the increased debt from this bill individually is about $4300, and it's $8600 for a couple and $17,200 as the share of the increased debt for a family of 4. (The Increased Debt = $1,500,000,000,000 divided by 350,000,000 Americans to get $4300 each person.) This is your share of the debt individually you've incurred for the extra $25 a week you will receive from the tax cut if you are married with 2 kids and make between $25,000 and $75,000 per year. The exact details on your status will make a difference.

But this does not count the decrease in government services that you would have had access to that you will not have access to in the future that is sure to follow. If they cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid by $1,000,000,000,000 your total new debt plus LOSS OF FUTURE SERVICES would be about $7,100 individually or $28,400 for a family of 4.

Yet even this total does not count the increase in premiums from higher health care insurance costs which this tax bill would cause. If that is also $1,000,000,000,000 you are now in the hole for $10,000,000 or $40,000 for a family of 4! This is what you'd get for the extra $25/week based on my assumptions.

But here is the final straw; if you are priced out of the health insurance market due to premiums being too high and you get ill - your loss can be almost any amount - leading to bankruptcy. And if Obamacare is gutted to the point where pre-existing conditions are cause to be denied coverage, you could be dead.

Now of course the above math goes for the wealthy as well - but what is $10,000 in total to a rich person or $40,000 to a rich family when they may see $100,000 or much more in lower taxes every year, not to mention the decrease in the Estate Taxes for their heirs or the PERMANENT  tax cuts for corporations owned primarily by the wealthy? And that is why this tax cut is for the wealthy.

The Coalition of Decency

There are two separate aspects to the tribalism now engulfing the U.S. One tribalism involves a moral chasm and the other is a dogmatic economic chasm.

The dogmatic economic chasm is the difference in economic and political governance between the extreme right and moderate left/center; an example is the extreme right wing idea that a tax cut for the wealthy is good for the country vs. the moderate left/center idea that income inequality is really at the root of slowing economic growth in the U.S. It is my opinion that the extreme right wing position is delusional and that the problem of income inequality is objectively obvious. Please note that I have not mentioned policies that could address this problem but instead only identified what I think the underlying problem.

The second aspect of U.S. tribalism in a sense is more important in my opinion; people of good will could be in error on economic policy - it is not an exact science. A person of good will can be excused for getting the economics wrong.  The second, more important aspect is a question of  moral values.  Simply put, the extreme right has a thread of racism/intolerance/sexism/greed running through it. Those "right wingers" not in that camp reject these "values" can include otherwise economic dogmatic right wingers, such as Jeff Flake or John McCain or George Will, etc.  They can be "forgiven" for their "errors" and be bargained with, one could hope.  They are not loathsome.  I would say they are simply wrong in their economic opinions.

However, here are the moral issues that a large segment of the extreme right and the President's supporters accept, embrace and promote:

Racism (birtherism, anti-immigrant sentiment, White Nationalism and Supremacy, etc.)
Intolerance (Islamophobia, Christian fundamentalism and privilege, homophobia, anti-transgender bathroom bills, etc.)
Sexism (acceptance of sexual assault, pedophilia, male chauvinism, etc.)
Greed (cutting taxes for the wealthy and rich corporations while not funding CHIP, and threatening to end Obamacare with no replacement, cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to pay for the tax cuts for the wealthy)

These last items are MORAL issues; they are about right and wrong in the sense of harming or helping actual people directly. A morality that is divorced from actual harm or well being of persons is a useless morality even if it is claimed it is the supposed "word of god." Acceptance of obvious harm to many others in the name of a dogmatic belief (such as religion, tradition, dogma or "free markets") is USELESS.

And here is the embodiment of the moral rot that is at the core of the tribalism in the U.S.: former senatorial candidate Roy Moore, supported and endorsed by the Republican Party and the President as well. He stands for every immoral position listed above and he was the candidate of the extreme right, the Republican party and the President. I can forgive economic wrong-headedness, but the immorality of Roy Moore and those who supported him is unforgivable and cannot be reconciled with people of good will.  This tribe of moral indecency MUST be opposed.

This leaves us to ponder our options for the future; we must consider working with all those who support moral decency even if their economic policies are not ideal or are even what we consider "wrong."  We must now have a "Coalition of Decency" and work of people of good will with opposing views on non-moral issues.  We cannot afford to lose otherwise.

Trickle Down?

The origin of "trickle down" economics apparently was a joke by Will Rogers many years ago. But nothing is too crazy that a lot of people won't believe it anyway.

Bottom line: if you want economic growth, more money to the wealthy is NOT the answer - they tend to hoard their money and spend less of their earnings than the non-wealthy. Instead, more money and net income to lower income persons who spend most of their income will increase demand for goods and motivate businesses to expand. Duh!

This article is from 2015 and is not an anti-Trump reaction article.

Is it Objective to be Disgusted?

The "anti-Trump" texts sent between FBI agents were released in December 2017 to lawmakers and the shocking thing about them is that THEY ARE NOT SHOCKING AT ALL!

They are certainly less shocking than the chants of "lock her up" encouraged by the so-called President's former NSA director. They are less shocking than a million things said by congresspersons who were supposed to "objectively" investigate the Benghazi nothingburger or the Clinton email server nothingburger. They investigated and found nothing - but they sure said a lot!

The "anti-Trump" texts are actually indicative of what an OBJECTIVE PERSON would feel about a person running for the highest office in the country or in the highest office in the country who was a) a lying racist birther b) a lying candidate who spread vicious lies about his competitors (such as Lying Ted Cruz's father helped assassinate JFK b) was bigoted against Muslims as per his proposed Muslim ban d) bragged about groping and sexually assaulting women and invading the privacy of teenage beauty contest contestants e) insults and provokes a fellow loathsome idiot with nuclear weapons named Kim Jong Un, f) lies all the time and g) other items too numerous to mention. None of this is in dispute.

Yes, objectively, the so-called President IS loathsome; objectively he IS an idiot; objectively his presidency IS terrifying. Anyone who does not see this is NOT objective or fair.

And remember, those who disagree are persons we know to be NOT objective. "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters," Trump said. THOSE voters are NOT objective ACCORDING TO HIM.

Any FBI agent who does NOT see the so-called President as loathsome or an idiot or terrifying is oblivious. He or she should not be an FBI agent. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The "grown-up" has left the room

The so-called President's Chief of Staff, General John Kelly is not what we have been told he is. We have been told he is the "grown-up" in the room and that he stood between the so-called President and chaos. He is not the "gown-up" in the room. He has become just another alternative fact machine that works in the White House.
The so-called President began this episode when he was asked about the incident in Niger that led to the death of 4 U.S. soldiers. He failed to explain the incident and instead chose to attack previous presidents who, he claimed, failed to call the families of fallen soldiers, while he claimed to have called "virtually" all the families, an issue he was NOT asked about. The so-called President's claim about the other presidents was a lie and so was his claim about his calling the families himself. This lying is something we have come to expect of this so-called President as is his immediate politicization of an important issue while at the same time accusing his critics of the politicization!
To bolster his false claim, he told the press to ask General John Kelly whether Obama ever called after his son had died in Afghanistan. It turns out the General Kelly had attended a breakfast or two for Gold Star families with the Obamas, though technically they may not have spoken on the phone.
Furthermore, since the so-called President had not called the families of the 4 recently fallen soldiers (and probably others previously) he rushed to do so soon after his false  claims.
Apparently the call by the so-called President to the family was not well received and present to hear the call (as they were on their way in a car to pick up his body) was Rep. Wilson, a former mentor and long time family friend to the fallen solider, La David Johnson. When Rep. Wilson retold the account of the call, the White House attacked.
The so-called President sent General Kelly the next day to a press conference to do his dirty work where, to deflect from the fact that he basically was confirming Rep. Wilson's version of the call, he retold the story of Rep. Wilson behaving poorly at a building dedication years before where she took credit for the funding of the building:
"“A congresswoman stood up, and in a long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building, and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money, and she just called up President Obama, and on that phone call, he gave the money – the $20 million – to build the building, and she sat down, and we were stunned,” Kelly said during his extraordinary press conference.
All of the above retelling was UNTRUE. Please take note that General Kelly mentioned that she "stood up there" presumably to make her speech and "she sat down and we were stunned" when she ended her speech. Please note on the actual video of the actual event, she never mentioned the $20million, and that she received a STANDING OVATION after her very appropriate and professional speech in which she was magnanimous to the FBI, Republican Rep. John Boehner and Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
General Kelly either lied or mis-remembered. No matter what, he was wrong. Here is how we now know he is not the "adult in the room." The next day, the White House re-doubled their attack on Rep. Wilson. No apologies. They simply claimed her grandstanding was not on tape even though what General Kelly described, "her standing up and sitting down," was precisely what the tape contained. Who are you going to believe - the so-called President and his Chief of Staff, or your lying eyes?

Just what you should now expect from the Chief of Staff of the so-called President.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Graceless so-called President

The so-called President claims President Obama did not call the families of fallen soldiers and implied that he did not call Gen. John Kelly when his son was killed in Afghanistan.

A few things about this:

First, no one had asked the so-called President whether HE had called the families of fallen soldiers. HE instigated this politicization of this issue ALL BY HIMSELF when he failed to answer a question about what had happened in Niger and instead chose to falsely bash previous previous presidents for not calling such families. ( )

Second, Gen. Kelly did not ask that the so-called President publicize the fact that Obama did not call him after his son's death. ( )

Third, President Obama, may not have directly called Gen. Kelly, "but a person familiar with the breakfast for Gold Star Families at the White House on May 30, 2011, told NBC News that Kelly and his wife attended the private event and were seated at first lady Michelle Obama’s table." (NBC News, below)

OK, maybe they did not speak on the phone but they did have breakfast at an event specifically for the families of fallen soldiers. Gen. Kelly sat at Michelle Obama's table.


Niger and the unfit so-called President

*The so-called President was asked, in a press conference, about the deaths of 4 soldiers in Niger a few weeks ago. The question was asked because most Americans did not know that U.S. soldiers were in harm's way in Niger.

Here is the actual ENTIRE question: "Why haven't we heard anything from you so far about the soldiers that were killed in Niger? What do you have o say about (OFF-MIKE)?" 

PLEASE NOTE that the question did not include any query about whether he had called the families.  In fact, he did not answer the actual question which was a question about the situation that led to the deaths of the soldiers or the situation in Niger itself with which most Americans were not aware of.

But now look at part of the so-called President's answer which he volunteered without being asked: "...if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls. A lot of them didn't make calls. I like to call when it's appropriate, when I think I am able to do it."

It was the so-called President who IMMEDIATELY politicized the situation. No one had asked about whether he had called the families but he got defensive anyway. This defensive reaction is a part of his unfitness.

But it gets worse. He does finally eventually call the wife of one of the fallen soldiers, LaDavid Johnson's wife, Myeshia Manual. "In the call, Trump told her, “He must have known what he signed up for,” according to an account of Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.), who was riding in a limousine with the soldier’s family when the president called and heard the conversation on speakerphone. Wilson said Trump’s comments made the young woman cry...When she actually hung up the phone, she looked at me and said, ‘He didn’t even know his name.’ That’s the worst part,” Wilson said Wednesday on CNN’s “New Day...”

OK, anyone can have a tough day, and perhaps the so-called President had North Korea on his mind. But wait! There's more! He needs to put his signature on this story - BY LYING!

From WAPO: "Trump pushed back in an early-morning tweet Wednesday, saying Wilson “totally fabricated” her account of the phone call — and that he has proof... I didn’t say what that congresswoman said; didn’t say it all. She knows it,” Trump said when asked about the exchange by a reporter.

"(Rep.) Wilson, who met Johnson while running a mentoring program for black youths in Miami, stood by her statement, saying she was not the only person who heard the call. In a Facebook message to The Washington Post, Cowanda Jones-Johnson (the mother of the fallen solider) said that she, too, was in the limousine, and that (Rep.) Wilson’s account of the conversation was accurate. 
President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband,” Jones-Johnson said."

Though he ignored the death of the 4 soldiers in Niger for days and days, saying nothing, when he was finally asked about it he chose, instead to bash President Obama; and then lie about what he said when he finally did call the family of one of the soldiers. But this does not stop the hypocrite-in-chief and his supporters from bashing football players who protest racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. Some patriot!

The so-called President is unfit for the office of President of the United States.