Who Or What Killed The Middle Class?

The Middle Class has been disappearing for decades but what or who is to blame?

Easy answer….Reagan or better yet Reaganomics…..

It death spiral began with Reagan’s dash to slice taxes on the rich and it has continued ever since……

There’s nothing “normal” about having a middle class. Having a middle class is a choice that a society has to make, and it’s a choice we need to make again in this generation, if we want to stop the destruction of the remnants of the last generation’s middle class.

Despite what you might read in the Wall Street Journal or see on Fox News, capitalism is not an economic system that produces a middle class. In fact, if left to its own devices, capitalism tends towards vast levels of inequality and monopoly. The natural and most stable state of capitalism actually looks a lot like the Victorian England depicted in Charles Dickens’ novels.

At the top there is a very small class of superrich. Below them, there is a slightly larger, but still very small, “middle” class of professionals and mercantilists – doctor, lawyers, shop-owners – who help keep things running for the superrich and supply the working poor with their needs. And at the very bottom there is the great mass of people – typically over 90 percent of the population – who make up the working poor. They have no wealth – in fact they’re typically in debt most of their lives – and can barely survive on what little money they make.

Source: Reaganomics killed America’s middle class – Salon.com

The Dems have taken up the mantle of the Middle Class and so far they have failed miserably……but yet they keep trying the same failed policies that they have come to champion…..and there is NO end in sight…..

The Democrats don’t have a “white working-class problem.” They have a “working-class problem,” which progressives have been reluctant to address honestly or boldly. The fact is that Democrats have lost support with all working-class voters across the electorate, including the Rising American Electorate of minorities, unmarried women, and millennials. This decline contributed mightily to the Democrats’ losses in the states and Congress and to the election of Donald Trump.

Source: The Democrats’ ‘Working-Class Problem’ Is Worse Than We Think | Alternet

There is a slight chance that this situation can be reversed…..but the Dems are playing the same cards as they always play…..and they lose.

Sadly we are seeing the final days of the Middle Class….and few seem to care.

Blueprint For A Banana Republic

Back in March, which seems like a lifetime ago, Pres. Trump released his fist budget…..and it was a doozey….but instead of sounding like a plan it reads more like the ideas of a banana republic.

President Trump has released a budget blueprint outlining increased military spending and cuts across other agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department. Congress will still have to draft a formal budget, but the plan released Thursday by the White House indicates the president’s priorities. Read the full document below. Read more about the specific proposals and their implications here.

But if you do not like others analysis of the budget then take the time a read the damn thing for yourself and see what is being done to this country.

Source: Full Text Of President Trump’s 2018 Budget Blueprint : NPR

If you read and are capable of understanding what you have read then you will see that this budget is turning our country into a banana republic style military dictatorship….and if you remember any history at all then you will recall that this will lead to NOTHING good.

A combination of spending cuts that will escalate domestic poverty while simultaneously increasing investments in militarism.

The Trump administration has officially unveiled its proposed budget to “Make America Great Again,” and by all accounts it’s a total flop. Most news outlets are ignoring the greater implications of what is proposed in the budget itself—the society America would become if the Trump budget became official.

Source: Trump’s Budget Is a Blueprint for a Banana Republic-Style Military Dictatorship | Alternet

The only saving grace is that this budget seems to have very little support from either side of the aisle.  It may well be dead before it arrives…..

We can hope that calmer more reasonable minds will prevail…..but I am not holding my breath.

Those Deep Cuts

There is no bones about it….I do not like or agree with the decisions our president is making concerning foreign policy……I do not think that Tillerson is the right person to lead the State Department and I definitely do not agree with the purposed cuts in foreign aid that is in the new budget.

In the past the US has spent about $40 billion in foreign aid….now compare that to the approximately $660 billion for the defense budget…..foreign aid is a small amount of money spent for the good it can do.

The deep cuts proposed by Trump could do more damage than he thinks…..yes we will save a bit of cash but the loss of American aid could open up Central and South Asia to more  and more Chinese influence…..

It looks like U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s plan to reduce the foreign aid budget will come at a cost to his administration’s other aims in South and Central Asia.

Some of the cuts come as no surprise as they target programs, like climate change, that the president came into office determined to roll back. But others will undermine stated administration priorities, such as regional counterterrorism and cooperation with India.

The proposed budget will end funding completely for four strategically located countries in this region, and shrink health funding by half region-wide. The proposed budget will also eliminate two categories of aid, one known as Development Assistance and one called Assistance for Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia (AEECA), instead using the Economic Support Fund (ESF) category as a preferred vehicle for the countries in which U.S. aid will continue.

Source: Trump to Cut Foreign Aid Budgets, Opening South and Central Asia’s Door to Chinese Influence | World Affairs Journal

Frugality is a good thing….that is until it turns on us and bites us in the ass.

And who do you will profit from this frugality?

Hint:  Will NOT be the US!

President Trump’s Corporate Government

Pres. Trump is doing what every American president has done for many long decades…..enriching corporate America.

We’re 100 days into Corporate Government.While giant corporations have for decades and on a bipartisan basis exerted far too much influence over government decision-making, we’ve never seen anything like the Trump administration.

The key officials in the federal government, starting with the president himself, come from Big Business; the administration openly seeks guidance and direction from giant corporations and corporate CEOs on policymaking; and the Trump administration is rushing to deliver subsidies, tax breaks and deregulatory gifts to the giant corporations to which the administration apparently owes its primary allegiance.

A day-by-day review of the administration’s first 100 days in office shows that virtually every day there has been a new, extraordinary grant of power to corporate interests and/or another development in Donald Trump’s get-rich-quick-scheme known as the American presidency.

Source: President Trump’s Corporate Government | Alternet

I think it is disgusting that corporations get all the breaks and benefits from the administration……Trump is not doing anything different from the last several presidents…but it seems that he is doing it better than his predecessors.

It’s Tax Reform Time Again

Well sports fans it is that time of the year again….the presidential push for tax reform.  And our Trumpy boy is no different….he has said he wants to give the country tax reform…..but as usual when the GOP uses the term “tax reform” they mean a tax cuts…reform is NO where in the equation.

The problem is what he is offering is not tax reform but rather the ever popular tax cuts.

The White House on Wednesday began laying out President Trump’s tax plan, which calls for sharp cuts for businesses and individuals. The administration says the cuts will spur economic growth and bring jobs and prosperity to America’s middle class, though lawmakers were worried about ballooning federal deficits. Much of the details have yet to be hashed out with Congress. Some highlights, per the AP:

  • Trump’s plan would reduce the number of personal income tax brackets to three from seven: rates of 10%, 25%, and 35%. The current maximum is 39.6%.
  • It would double the standard deduction for married couples to $24,000, while keeping deductions for charitable giving and mortgage interest payments.
  • The administration plans to provide tax relief for families with child care expenses, too, although the specifics have yet to be included.
  • The plan would trim deductions utilized by wealthier Americans. This would include deductions for state and local tax payments, a change that could alienate support from lawmakers in states such as California and New York with higher state taxes.
  • It would also repeal the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax.
  • On the corporate side, the top marginal tax rate would fall from 35% to 15%.

Small businesses that account for their owners’ personal incomes would see their top tax rate go from 39.6% to the proposed corporate tax rate of 15%. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who earlier called the plan the “biggest tax cut” in history, said the change for small-business owners—a group that under the current definition could include doctors, lawyers, and even major real estate companies—would be done to ensure that wealthier Americans could not exploit the change to pay less in taxes.

As you can see…these are tax cuts….reform would require legislative action on the tax code….a thousand plus page code…..this does nothing to reform….but it does return us to the days of the damn silly “trickle down economics”….or “voodoo economics”…….

President Trump’s tax reform plan unveiled Wednesday heralds the return of the Laffer curve, or as it’s more commonly known—thanks to the first President Bush—”voodoo economics.” The New York Times reports the Laffer curve was first sketched on a napkin by Arthur Laffer in 1974. The curve says that if you cut taxes enough, you can make up for the financial shortfall through economic growth. And that’s exactly what Trump’s team is pitching—though it’ll mean adding billions upon billions of dollars to the national deficit while waiting on that promised growth. Here’s what else you need to know about Trump’s tax reform plan:

  • While Republican lawmakers were supportive in public, they’re grumbling in private, CNN reports. Congressional Republicans are upset Trump’s promised tax-reform plan is more of a tax-cut plan. One senior GOP aide says it’s “not even close” to tax reform.
  • CNBC reports the plan is missing one thing that Wall Street really wanted: a steep reduction—all the way to 10%—for companies that bring earnings back to the US from overseas.
  • There are eight reasons Trump’s tax reform plan likely won’t get through Congress, according to the Washington Post. They include that Republicans may not tolerate a huge deficit increase and that the GOP head of the Senate Finance Committee is openly wondering if it’s a “good idea.”
  • Politico argues the plan released Wednesday was less a step toward actual tax reform and more something for Trump to use to bolster his 100-day presidential resume. It was a single page of “mostly general principles” largely carried over from campaign promises.
  • Mother Jones reports Trump’s tax reform plan will make the Trump family richer in four different ways, including by cutting the tax rate for “pass-through corporations.” The Trump Organization is made up of pass-through corporations, and the plan would cut the tax rate of Trump and his children from 39.6% to 15%.
  • But we may never know exactly to what extent Trump stands to benefit from his tax reform plan, according to the Washington Post, as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the president still “has no intention” of releasing his tax returns.

The trickle down was promised in the 1980’s and so far that trickle has not found the middle class….and yet the GOP still thinks the idiots in society will believe the bullshit from 35 years ago…..and guess what…they will!

Please stop calling it reform and label it what it is….a cut….nothing more than that.

Foreign Aid And National Security

We have a new president, 89 days in case you were unaware (LOL), his policies are clear foreign aid bad, national security good…..the problem is the two issues can go hand in hand…..

President Trump released his first budget on March 16th which largely functions as his programmatic wish list, or perhaps better said, as his strategic vision for the nation’s priorities.  The drastic cuts he proposed will likely not all come to fruition as Congress still has it’s say on the matter, but they speak volumes to the workforce who has to implement his programs and to our partners overseas whom we rely on for security cooperation.  Leaving aside the cuts to domestic agencies, the President’s proposed cuts to the State Department generated a lot of angst among national security professionals.  In what seems to be a hallmark of decision making by the Trump Administration, the architects of the budget seemed unable to account for second and third orders of effect of their budgetary decisions—in this case, that these massive budget cuts to the State Department would have significant effects on our Homeland Security.

Source: Foreign Aid and Homeland Security: A Match Made in Washington | RealClearDefense

The problem is no one wants to look at the correlation between the two issues…..one can strengthen the other.

Another problem is I do not believe that the current administration is capable of commonsense decisions….they feel everything must be sweeping a Tweet-worthy.

The Republican Brain

No that is not an oxymoron!  (Although if it were it would be a damn good one)

These days the actual conservs do not think for themselves instead they out source that function to a think tank, the Heritage Foundation.

Most of my regulars know that I do not think much of so-called think tanks…..the reason is that most of them have a conclusion and then set about making stats and such fit what they want to report to say.

The worst among these fake intellectual endeavors is the Heritage Foundation……this group decides what the GOP will offer as way of policy and they, the politicians, do as they are told…..but to get a better grip on how this “foundation” works…….

The mood was jubilant two days after the November 2016 election at a Washington, D.C., panel co-hosted by two powerhouse conservative thinktanks—the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation.

In his opening remarks, Heritage president Jim DeMint rejoiced that Donald Trump’s election had “preserved our constitutional republic.” Panelist John Yoo, a Berkeley law professor best known as the architect of George W. Bush’s justification for torture, drew laughs with feigned surprise at the audience size. “I thought everyone at Heritage was working over at transition head quarters,” Yoo quipped. “I asked the taxi cab driver to take me to Trump transition headquarters, and he dropped me off here.”

Source: The Right-Wing Machine Behind the Curtain

The radical conservative Heritage Foundation has spent 40 years trying to gut the federal budget. Now Trump is proving to be the perfect tool.

Many of its proposals are lifted straight from the recommendations of an elite ultra-conservative D.C. think tank: the Heritage Foundation.

Trump’s Budget proposal, released on Thursday, echoes none of the populist, anti-establishment themes of candidate Trump’s campaign for higher office. Instead, it calls for a large increase in defense spending while reducing spending for a variety of popular domestic programs.

That’s not surprising considering where those ideas came from. Rather than bringing in new ideas from outside of the Beltway, many of its proposals are lifted straight from the recommendations of an elite ultra-conservative D.C. think tank: the Heritage Foundation.

Source: Trump the Outsider Outsources His Budget to Insider Think Tank

It is disgusting to out source your policies, policies that are not anything promised while luring idiots to his cause, but that is how you do it when a bunch of screaming amateurs are running the Greatest country on the planet.

All the American people can do now is bend over and wait for the insertion….sans Vaseline.