War–What’s It Good For?

Remember the question Edwin Starr asked back in the 60’s?

Just a short reminder…..

 
I brought this up because of the news that has been reported…not by the MSM….but by others concerned on the spending for our many many wars……

American taxpayers have spent $6.4 trillion on post-9/11 wars and military action in the Middle East and Asia, according to a new study.

That total is $2 trillion more than the entire federal government spending during the recently completed 2019 fiscal year. The U.S. government spent $4.4 trillion during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, according to the Treasury Department.

The report, from the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University, also finds that more than 801,000 people have died as a direct result of fighting. Of those, more than 335,000 have been civilians. Another 21 million people have been displaced due to violence.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/20/us-spent-6point4-trillion-on-middle-east-wars-since-2001-study.html

$6.4 trillion….what could have been accomplished if this had been spent improving the country’s infrastructure…or the education….or health care….or….well you get my drift.

It has cost the American taxpayer $7500+ for these wars……why do Americans allow this to continue….do they care so little for the lives of our troops?

I have about had enough….I will, NEVER vote for a candidate that defends the wars and the reasons for them….that means I will NOT vote for any candidate on the stage for the last debate other than Tulsi…..the MSM is doing all they can to make her voice a silent one….they are pulling NO punches belittling and demeaning some one with principles and I have NO use for MoveOn or MSNBC and their wealth of warmongering toadies as pundits.

Just listen to them…they want a true centrist to be the candidate….that means that their owners, the corporations, will be safe and profitable.

So what is war good for?  PROFITS….period!

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“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Economic Realism–2019

We hear almost daily at a Trump rally just how good the economy is doing since he became president….I will admit that the markets, stock markets, are doing well and that is where it ends…..there is nothing good happening beyond those hollow promises.

Trump and the GOP keeps Tweeting about what great condition the economy is in….but I feel they need a refresher course….the economy means….”the wealth and resources of a country or region, especially in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services.”

Markets are soaring…the economy not so much.

I mean a 10% drop in manufacturing (I thought it would all come back under a Trump admin) and investment lagging…..all thanks to the economic policies of this president….

Decisions based on false or misleading information can lead to wrong and harmful solutions. The constant harping on Chinese trade having “cost” America millions of jobs is false, especially given what we now know: that 85 percent of American job losses have resulted from technology, not trade.

This complicated issue is detailed in a Yale University School of Management report. However, this is not the end of the story.

Millions of simple manufacturing jobs have been replaced with service and advanced manufacturing jobs, where America still leads. In fact, American manufacturing’s major problem right now is a shortage of a million skilled workers. We need better worker re-training programs and a campaign to change attitudes towards the social standing of skilled workers in place of our current hyper-focus on college degrees.

Trump’s Trade War Has Dire Consequences

Americans are starting to see just how disastrous Trump policies are for them….these policies may help his rich friends but do very little for mainstream America…..

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. voters said they are not better of financially since Donald Trump took office, a new poll of likely voters finds.

The October 2019 poll conducted by the Financial Times and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation found that 31 percent of potential U.S. voters reported being worse off financially since Trump took office in January 2017. An additional third of Americans surveyed, 33 percent, said there has been no change in their financial status under the Trump administration.

Just over one-third of those surveyed, 35 percent, said they were better off since Trump moved into the White House.

https://www.newsweek.com/trump-presidency-helped-americans-financial-standing-poll-us-voters-1469625

The bottom line on the economy is…..not good.

While you weren’t looking — perhaps while you were watching impeachment hearings – the trade war with China went completely off the rails and lost its meaning.

To understand why, you have to know why the US started a trade war with China started in the first place. It started with a very specific investigation — an investigation into China’s theft of US intellectual property (IP) using Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.

The investigation determined what many in the business community had been talking about for years, the fact that China abused its US partners, stole the IP of American companies, forced those companies to reveal their technology to Chinese counterparts and muscled US firms out of the Chinese economy in favor of state owned enterprises (SOEs).

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-trade-war-us-china-tariffs-lost-no-meaning-2019-11

Sadly those so-called “Free Markets” are killing the very sector it is suppose to help and advance…..

National industrial policy was once something you might read about in today’s equivalent of a friend’s Facebook post, as hard as that might sound to believe. It was in newspapers; it was on the radio. Taxi drivers had opinions about it. That all changed in the last 35 years, when the rise and fall of the stock market and a shallow conversation about unemployment rates took over. Industrial policy became an inside-baseball conversation, and to the extent that it was discussed, it was through the prism of whether it imperiled the golden gospel and great economic distraction of our time, “the free market.”

The decades of free-market propaganda we’ve been exposed to are basically an exercise in distracting the public from the meaningful choices that are now made behind closed doors. The two big political parties that outwardly represent symbolic issues like gun rights and school prayer spend the bulk of their time and political energy on complex industrial and regulatory questions.

America Will Keep Losing Its Middle Class as Long as ‘Free Markets’ Dominate the Economic Debate

Trade wars do nothing to help the Middle Class advance….and after so many years of a “free Market” mentality the proof is in the dwindling of the Middle Class.

The stock markets are not the economy in its entirety.

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I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Closing Thought–30Oct19

Tax Cuts!

Every time we have a cut in taxes we are told that they will pay for themselves and that all the benefits for the wealthy will trickle down to the rest of us peasants….both are lies that the people believe every time and every time we , the average person, gets the shaft.

That said what about the tax cuts of two years ago the Speaker Ryan helped pass and screw us people….

After two years, President Trump’s tax cuts are not on track to pay for themselves, the latest Treasury data released Friday suggest.

Total federal government revenues ended up lower in 2019 than was projected before the passage of the GOP tax overhaul in 2017.

Then, in 2017, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that fiscal 2019 revenues, without the tax cuts, would be $3.69 trillion. Instead, revenues with the tax cuts were only $3.46 trillion.

To be certain, the difference, $225 billion, cannot be attributed solely to the tax cuts. Other economic factors have influenced economic growth over the past two years. For example, the tariffs put in place as part of Trump’s trade wars likely counteracted the stimulative effect of the tax cuts.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/two-years-in-trump-tax-cuts-not-on-course-to-pay-for-themselves

THat was a con job…..but what about all the bravado that Trump thumps his chest about….like” this is the best economy in our history”

More con….more lies…..look at the stats for yourself…..

It’s true the economy has been doing well – but there have been periods when it was even stronger.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-45827430

The truth is that the economy is the best in decades but only if you are already wealthy and are getting wealthier…..the rest of us continue to struggle….day to day……

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Can We Afford Medicare For All?

One very popular, (at least with the voter, not so much with the industry)…I wrote a post a few months ago that got the ire of the health industry demanding that I explain how we will pay for the program……please check out the comments on that post……https://lobotero.com/2019/03/04/medicare-for-all/

So in that vane I have read a piece that will help explain how this can be paid for……

Health care is Americans’ number-one priority, based on recent polls, so it’s no wonder it’s been a hot topic in the Democratic primary.

Every candidate is offering a plan, ranging from Joe Biden’s Affordable Care Act upgrade to Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” that would abolish private health insurance. Even the president is joining the bandwagon and unveiled his own Medicare plan.

On the high end, a full-scale single-payer heath care system would come at a steep price: I estimate about US$40 trillion over 10 years.

There is, however, a simpler and less costly path toward single-payer, and it may have a better chance of success: simply strike the words “who are age 65 or over” from the 1965 amendments to the Social Security Act that created Medicare, which would mean virtually everyone would be covered by the existing Medicare program.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/10/07/how-us-could-afford-medicare-all

I say we can and must fund a policy of health care….I do not care what we call it just that it gets done and soon.

There is more….there is the LIE that hospitals will close with Medicare For All…..call this what it is manure (I was being polite)…….this lie was spread by a Dem candidate, Delaney…..

Delaney’s staff told us his talking point came from three sources. First: the fact Medicare pays hospitals on average 87 cents for every dollar of costs. Second: a federal report suggesting that “more than two-thirds of hospitals are losing money on Medicare inpatient services.” Third: Delaney, his staff said, “has been asking this question at the rural hospitals he has visited over the course of the campaign.”

Experts we spoke with offered a different take — mainly, that his evidence is not strong enough to support his claim. In addition, they told us that the potential impact of Medicare for All on hospitals would be much more nuanced — it is not at all clear that “every single hospital” would close, and while some would do worse, some might do better.

Delaney’s Debate Claim That ‘Medicare For All’ Will Shutter Hospitals Goes Overboard

I will be honest (more than the people that would lie this proposal out of existence) this Medicare For All is just a re-name of the old single payer…..and is it for all?

This “is an issue that affects, literally, every single person in this country,” he said. “Even putting the medical issues aside, it’s an economic issue. The way we finance health care promotes economic inequality.”

Medicare-for-all, in the purest sense, largely would replace private health insurance with a single, government-run program covering most everyone. It would be similar to traditional Medicare, the current federal health insurance program for most adults over 65 and young people meeting federal disability requirements, hence the name.

Sounds simple? It’s not.

https://www.propublica.org/article/medicare-for-all-is-not-medicare-and-not-really-for-all-so-what-does-it-actually-mean

Both sides of the issue have put so much stuff out there that this whole issue as become, to use my grandmother’s words, clear as mud.

We need a program that will help the population get the adequate health care they need and at a reasonable price……you will hear and read many versions of this please do some research and get the real story not some sanitized crap we always get.

On an up note—-a health industry insider is telling the tale of the profit system of the industry…..

Eleven years ago, after a moment of reckoning at a country health clinic in Tennessee, Potter left a high-ranking job as head of corporate communications at Cigna to tell the truth about the excesses and abuses of the health insurance industry. Since then, he has worked hard to spread the word, authoring two best-selling books, Nation on the Take (with Nick Penniman) and Deadly Spin, and founding the nonprofit investigative journalism site Tarbell.org, named after muckraking Progressive Era reporter Ida Tarbell.

Now, among all his other efforts, activist Wendell Potter has become president of Business for Medicare for All, the only national business organization working for single payer health insurance. This group of the economically pragmatic lends expertise and credibility to the cause of reform at a time when many, including some of those running for the Democratic presidential nomination, question the viability of single payer.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/30/healthcare-reformer-wendell-potter-profit-system-unraveling

You want to know why your medical bills are so high……ask Sen. Moscow Mitch…..

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised last month that he would block a drug pricing plan introduced in the House, calling it a “socialist” program that would do “damage to the healthcare system.”

Now, new analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has found that drug plan, put forward by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, would in fact save Medicare $345 billion over a decade.

The bulk of this savings would come from allowing the program to negotiate lower prices with pharmaceutical companies — something that is currently banned by law — to save money on the insulin and other expensive medications.

https://shareblue.com/mitch-mcconnell-nancy-pelosi-medicare-prescription-drug-pricing-plan-345-billion-congress/

So please stop blaming Obama for the higher prices and start blaming the slugs that are making the higher charges possible…..Moscow Mitch and his Ilk.

I await the industry hit man to make his presence known.

Until then a bill offered up by Speaker Pelosi to lower drug prices according to the CBO would save Medicare millions….

Democrats quickly touted the projected savings to show that their bill would effectively lower drug prices. 

https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/465491-cbo-pelosi-bill-to-lower-drug-prices-saves-medicare-345-billion

But not to worry a Pharma friendly Dem, Rep. Neal, is crushing the lower drug pricing bill……like he is paid to do…..

Following the lead of pharma-friendly Rep. Richard Neal, Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee this week crushed several progressive amendments to a House drug pricing bill that would have expanded the number of medicines covered by the legislation and extended lower costs to the nation’s tens of millions of uninsured.

The Intercept reported Wednesday that Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, warned his Democratic colleagues against offering any amendments to the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019 (H.R. 3) during the committee’s markup of the legislation on Tuesday.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/24/led-pharma-friendly-rep-richard-neal-democrats-crush-progressive-amendments

Not to worry…..if your meds are expensive then you probably will not get a break….the staus quo remains.

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“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Trump’s Trade War

There are a wealth of effects of the trade war that dear leader has set his policies on…..like higher prices and Christmas on the way…..but the one number that Americans will pay attention to is the jobs numbers…..

A job count is depressing……….

President Trump says he is “winning big time, against China.” But his trade war is causing measurable damage to the U.S. economy, with the pain likely to worsen.

Forecasting firm Moody’s Analytics estimates that Trump’s trade war with China has already reduced U.S. employment by 300,000 jobs, compared with likely employment levels absent the trade war. That’s a combination of jobs eliminated by firms struggling with tariffs and other elements of the trade war, and jobs that would have been created but haven’t because of reduced economic activity.

The firm’s chief economist, Mark Zandi, told Yahoo Finance that the job toll from the trade war will hit about 450,000 by the end of the year, if there’s no change in policy. By the end of 2020, the trade war will have killed 900,000 jobs, on its current course. The hardest-hit sectors are manufacturing, warehousing, distribution and retail.

Other data back up the Moody’s Analytics numbers. Employers have created 1.3 million jobs so far this year, down from 1.9 million during the same period in 2018. The manufacturing sector has actually contracted, with many producers struggling with higher prices caused by Trump’s tariffs. Business investment is growing by the smallest amount since late 2016.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/trumps-trade-war-has-killed-300000-jobs-194717808.html

Since this trade war will be a drag on Trump’s re-election hde had to come up with something to change the conversation……and he possibly has found his answer…..the problem is it will a deficit buster…..

President Donald Trump promised to unveil an “inspirational” middle class tax cut next year during a political retreat in Maryland late Thursday, just as the Treasury Department said the nation’s budget deficit topped the $1 trillion mark for only the second time on record. 

Trump told House Republicans in the state’s biggest city, Baltimore, that his “substantial” tax cut plans would be “very, very inspirational … for  middle-income folks, who work so hard,” and that details would be released early next year. Congress, however, would need to approve and pass any suggested tax reductions from the executive branch, setting up a potential election-defining fight with Democratic lawmakers heading into next year’s presidential elections.

The pledge will also add further pressure on the nation’s finances after the Treasury reported a $169 billion shortfall in revenues in August, taking the overall deficit for the 11 months ended in August, the government’s fiscal year, to $1.07 trillion. The last trillion-plus deficit was recorded in the three years that followed the 2008 global financial crisis. 

(thestreet.com)

Where are the deficit hawks?  The Fiscal Conservatives are a bunch of low life cowards.

This is just a promise like all his promise hollow and without merit.

Closing Thought–29Aug19

I have not been a fan of the newest super jet fighter that the defense industry is making and selling around the world….personally I think it is a worthless waste of money and I have written as much…..https://lobotero.com/2016/11/03/f-35-the-flying-turd/

After $1.45 trillion….. yep that is trillion with a “T”….and this brick still cannot get off the ground….

The fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters flying in the critical operational testing phase is struggling to stay airborne, which could delay the troubled program’s great leap forward into mass production.

As I recently reported for the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), a document from the program’s test force shows that the fleet’s test aircraft, housed at California’s Edwards Air Force Base, have netted an average 11 percent “fully mission capable rate”—the key measure of how often an aircraft can perform all of its assigned missions—since the process began last December. 

Why the $1.45 Trillion F-35 Still Can’t Get Off the Ground

This plane is the state of the art in electronic devices and weaponry….and yet we let the Chinese make parts for the “super fighter”…..

On Jun. 14, 2019 Sky News reported that a Chinese-owned company has been manufacturing key circuit boards for F-35 Lightning II fifth generation fighters flown by the U.K. and U.S.

Exception PCB, based in Gloucestershire, southwest England, which produces the parts was acquired in 2013 by its Chinese parent, Shenzhen Fastprint.

The circuit boards control many of the F-35’s core capabilities, including its engines, lighting, fuel and navigation systems, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a press release.

However the MoD said Exception PCB is an established manufacturer and presents no risks to the fighter F-35’s supply chain.

Chinese-owned company produces parts for F-35 Fifth Generation Fighters

Let me get this straight….on the most sophisticated fighter jet in the world and we out-sourced the production of needed parts?

Seriously?  We go to the Walmart of the defense industry for the top secret parts?

Wonder why NO infrastructure then look no further than this piece of crap…..now ask why?

Where were the so-called “deficit hawks” on this one?

God I love this stuff!

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Social Security 2100

As an old fart I am always watching to see what measures are proposed then taken by this government that would effect us elderly people.

Social Security has been a battlefield for generations…..the big lie that seems to surface with every election is that SS is going bankrupt…..

Arguably the biggest Social Security lie is the idea that the program will soon be bankrupt and not able to provide a benefit to future retirees. This lie is perpetuated by the latest annual report from the Social Security Board of Trustees, which calls for a major shift come 2022. In four years, the program will begin paying out more in benefits than it’s generating in income for the first time in 40 years. This shift is a result of a growing number of baby boomers entering retirement and thus lowering the worker-to-beneficiary ratio, an increase in longevity over many decades, and growing income inequality that has allowed the rich to live substantially longer (and collect a bigger Social Security check) than lower-income folks.

By 2034, a dozen years later, Social Security’s approximately $3 trillion in asset reserves is expected to be completely exhausted. It’s this excess cash depletion that has 51% of Americans, according to a 2015 Gallup survey, confident that they won’t receive a dime from the program by the time they retire. Thankfully, more than half of all Americans are wrong. 

Social Security has three funding mechanisms, and one of those funding sources ensures that the program is incapable of going bankrupt. Social Security’s lesser funding sources are the interest earned on its asset reserves ($88.4 billion in 2016) and the taxation of Social Security benefits ($32.8 billion in 2016).

(The Motley Fool)

Rep. John Larson has put forth a plan to strengthen Social Security…..it is called Social Security 2100 Act…..
Bill Text  | Full Press Release | Fact Sheet

For millions of workers, Social Security is all they have to keep them from destitution in old age. Even with Social Security’s guaranteed benefits, they struggle to make ends meet. Fortunately, Congress can easily strengthen retirement security by expanding Social Security. Congressman John Larson (D-CT) has a bill to do just that: The Social Security 2100 Act, which is supported by 90 percent of Democrats in the House of Representatives.

Nearly four in five Americans live paycheck to paycheck. In 2018, the Federal Reserve Board found that four in ten Americans could not afford $400 for an emergency expense. Low wages combined with the high cost of health care, housing and education prevent people from putting aside funds for retirement. The Government Accountability Office reported earlier this year that almost half of households headed by Americans aged 55 and older have no retirement savings.

Equally concerning, most companies no longer offer pensions to their workers—a guaranteed monthly income. Instead, if they are lucky, workers get small financial contributions toward their retirement that do not amount to a whole lot. 401k plans and other so-called “defined contribution” plans do little good if workers are forced to spend their income on basic needs and have no money to save.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/08/13/social-security-2100-path-protecting-americas-elderly-communities

A good plan but as long as Moscow Mitch has a strangle hold on the Senate this will probably go no where.

Read the act over and if you like what you see then let your representative and senators know…..

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