D E C E M B E R   2 0 1 7

Wednesday, December 6, 2017:   The Bully Keeps Looking For A War
Now that the idiot in chief has the entire United States military arsenal at his disposal, he continues to try and start a war. It isn't enough that we have military personnel engaged in conflicts all over the world, he has to have is own war. So he continues to poke several bears in the hope that one of them will give him an excuse to send Americans in to battle. Let's look at the most recent examples.

Despite repeated attempts, he hasn't been able to goad Kim Jong-un into open conflict. The most recent escalation was the deployment of American stealth bombers to South Korea. A US 7th Air Force official said the top-of-the-line F-22s are being joined by Air Force and Marine Corps F-35s in the largest concentration of fifth-generation fighter jets ever in South Korea. US Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican hawk who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told CBS News that North Korea's advancing military technology makes the possibility of pre-emptive war more likely. But alas, it is yet to be.

So what does the Donald due? I mean his trigger finger gets itchier by the day. Well, why not screw up the Middle East a bit more. Let's see, the Israeli/Palestine thing is powder keg, so why not just throw some gasoline on it and see if someone lights a match. So he breaks with 70 years of policy, and signs a document recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's Capital. Like his failure to sign the climate accord, this sets us apart from the rest of the world. John O. Brennan, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, said in a statement that Mr. Trump's action was "reckless" and would "damage U.S. interests in the Middle East for years to come and will make the region more volatile." But wait, when the Palestinians react, it will give the Trumpster an excuse to throw our military might at the Gaza. I mean, what good is the Sixth Fleet if it just cruises around the Mediterranean.

Friday, December 1, 2017:   Washington's 2017 Christmas Gift - Tax Reform At Its Worst
This year's Christmas message from the Republicans in Washington and the dufus in charge is that we all are going to benefit from the abomination of a tax bill being pushed through congress. Their pitch is equivalent to someone with syphilis telling you that you're about to experience the best sex ever. The long term consequences of what they are proposing will be devastating.

Yes, there may be some minor short term tax benefits for some in the middle class, but it raises the marginal tax rate on the poorest and the benefits for the middle class have a sunset provision that takes them away 2025. Further, it has been broadened into a catchall legislative creation that could reshape major areas of American life, from education to health care.

What is certain is that the super rich and corporations will reap a windfall most of which will be permanent. Some of this re-engineering is straight out of the traditional Republican playbook. Corporate taxes, along with those on wealthy Americans, would be slashed on the presumption that when people in penthouses get relief, the benefits flow down to basement tenements when in fact the only thing that flows down is their shit and a bill for the $1.5 Trillion deficit.

What we do know is that the plan to reduce taxes will create a budget deficit of 1.5 Trillion. The lie that is being told is that the deficit will be eliminated by growth in the economy. This is the same sad story that the Republicans have been trying to sell for years and it is bullshit. Let's look at some of the facts.

  • We are currently a full employment economy, which means there is little or no capacity to significantly increase GDP. While productivity has continued improve, none of the associated profits have flowed to the worker nor will they in the future.

  • Corporations are already more profitable and sitting on more cash than anytime in their history. Despite all their cash and a tight labor market, they have consistently refused to raise wages. The primary reason they can get away with this is the demise of unions. The workforce has no leverage to drive up wages. The effort by likes of the Kochs and the DeVoss to undermine collective bargaining has succeeded.

  • We are a consumer economy. Growth in our economy happens when Joe Smuck gets a buck and spends it. When the rich get an extra dollar, they don't spend it, they put it in the bank. Money flowing to the rich only makes them richer. It doesn't do a thing to grow our economy.
So what will happen if the current tax bill passes. Well, first the deficit will happen and all of us who are not in the .1% will have to make up for the lack of revenue. If the Republicans remain in power, they will start fixing the problem by cutting those programs that benefit the masses: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment and any and all programs that benefit the most vulnerable in our country. Second, they will raise taxes on the vast middle class by changing the rules for exemptions and deductions, increasing the marginal tax rates, and moving the income points where the marginal tax rates are applied. But alas, the rich will remain unscathed as the repeal of the estate tax and the reduction in corporate taxes will remain in place.

And then there is the all the other crap that is being strapped to the back of this "tax" bill. According to a November 29, 2017, article in the New York Times By Peter S. Goodman and Patricia Cohen, "Some measures are barely connected to the realm of taxation, such as the lifting of a 1954 ban on political activism by churches and the conferring of a new legal right for fetuses in the House bill both on the wish list of the evangelical right.

With a potentially far-reaching dimension, elements in both the House and Senate bills could constrain the ability of states and local governments to levy their own taxes, pressuring them to limit spending on health care, education, public transportation and social services. In their longstanding battle to shrink government, Republicans have found in the tax bill a vehicle to broaden the fight beyond Washington.

The result is a behemoth piece of legislation that could widen American economic inequality while diminishing the power of local communities to marshal relief for vulnerable people especially in high-tax states like California and New York, which, not coincidentally, tend to vote Democratic."

You may like the few bucks you will have next year, but I'll bet you don't want the economic STD that is price you will have to pay for the short term boost in your net income. This kind irresponsible tax policy could easily destroy our economy and the future for several generations.

Copyright J. R. Avery
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