2020 #1 Issue

We can pretend that there is a wealth of issues that will drive them voters to the polls…..beating, Trump, Climate Change, nation security, etc etc, but the truth is that all these are secondary………the main issue that the candidates need to clarify their positions is…..economics.

Whatever distractions candidates promote to win voters, some underlying issues will wield their influence on 2020 election outcomes in any case. The biggest of these are the historically accumulated anger and betrayal felt by millions of working class Americans. Since the 1970s, their relative position within income and wealth distributions has declined. Real wages stagnated while workers’ rising productivity made ever more profits for employers, widening inequality. That alone depressed the class, but US society is structured to add many political, cultural, and social demotions onto those whose relative economic position declines.

As stagnant real wages constricted workers’ consumption growth, political supports (from government programs to politicians’ attentions) shrank. Shifting cultural norms (smart phones, fashionable bars, fancy sports arenas, etc.) entailed new costs that were increasingly unaffordable. Rising consumer debt (mortgages, car loans, and credit card balances) only partly offset the new costs. Yet that debt also raised new kinds and degrees of financial anxieties.

American History and the 2020 Election

Candidates, the party matters not, do what they must to gain votes….pretend the issue is important then lie about what they will do to rectify the problem.

And the American worker is still waiting for that candidate that will do what they say to improve their lot…….this batch of candidates is a typical batch…..liars and pretenders every one.

But since they seem to have a hard time finding a foothold then let me help them out…..

A Congressional Budget Office analysis published Monday showed that raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 would significantly increase pay for over 27 million workers and lift 1.3 million people—including hundreds of thousands of children—out of poverty.

The CBO also found that more than doubling the federal minimum wage would boost the income of families earning less than three times the poverty rate by nearly $22 billion.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/09/cbo-analysis-shows-15-federal-minimum-wage-would-raise-pay-27-million-workers-and

See!  It is that easy to find an issue that would make the voters smile.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

VOTE!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

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Are You Middle Class?

Remember when that was something to strive for in your job search? Remember when that was the American Dream? Remember when you could work 40 hours a week and still have enough to live on and even save a little for retirement?

If you remember that then you are an old fart and are remembering something from the “good old days”.

The American Conservative has looked into the Middle Class……

Can we define the middle class in practical terms? To be sure, there are probably as many sociological definitions of the middle class as there are commentators seeking definitions. So let’s set aside the socio-swamp of beliefs, values, and taxonomies of class in favor of a definition with measurable thresholds.

Many commentators attempt to define the middle class by income, and people tend to self-report that they belong to the middle class based on income. The self-evident way to define the middle class by income is to set aside the top 10 percent (households earning $145,000 or more) and those defined as poor by the U.S. Census Bureau (households making less than $25,000), roughly 25 percent of all households.

Somewhere between the two is the middle class, though trying to narrow it down forces us into an impassable statistical thicket. For example, government agencies report income in different ways. The IRS reports individual tax returns (147 million) while other agencies report household income (117 million households).

Are You Really Middle Class?

If you are asking yourself….”what the Hell happened”? Then this can help explain it as simply as possible…..

Something massive and important has happened in the United States over the past 50 years: Economic wealth has become increasingly concentrated among a small group of ultra-wealthy Americans.

You can read lengthy books on this subject, like economist Thomas Piketty’s recent best-seller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (the book runs 696 pages and weighs in at 2.5 pounds). You can see references to this in the campaigns of major political candidates this cycle, who talk repeatedly about how something has gone very wrong in America.

Donald Trump’s motto is to make America great again, while Bernie Sanders’s campaign focused on reducing income inequality. And there’s a reason this message is resonating with voters:

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/this-cartoon-explains-how-the-rich-got-rich-and-the-poor-got-poor

We need to assign guilt to the best person….Ronald Reagan….his policies started this decline and it has never let up……

The Middle Class is quickly disappearing and as it does it is taking the American Dream with it.

And the GOP wants you to be happy with your decline…..

Listening to Republicans, it’s apparent they don’t have much respect for the intelligence of the American people.

Over 70 percent of Americans want a national health care system like every other developed country in the world has, but the GOP tells us that we just aren’t smart enough to make it work. It’ll be too confusing and complex for average Americans, they say, and, besides that, if the government “takes over” our health care system, we’re on our way to tyranny.

About two-thirds of Americans think that we should have free college education for anybody intellectually capable of attending, and free trade schools as well—like pretty much every other developed country in the world (and quite a few of the developing countries). Republicans tell us that we can’t use government funds to pay off our nation’s $1.5 trillion in student debt because we just borrowed that exact amount last year to give tax rebates to billionaires, so there’s nothing left. We’re just not smart enough to fix the problem.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/04/04/republicans-have-put-our-country-path-warp-speed-decline-and-they-want-you-think

As the article says….”as long as the GOP gets some of the people to believe their bullshit all the time”…..the rest of us are screwed!

On a side note……the Pentagon is also in the Middle Class screwing game……

According to SAIS Professor Hal Brands, progressives and Americans should embrace the social benefits military spending offers to the middle class. Not only does American military strength support the liberal world order that makes the world “safe for democracy,” Brands claimed, but military spending undergirds millions of middle-class jobs for service members, civilian employees, and contractors for the Pentagon.

In reality, the opposite is true: American military adventurism and massive spending undermines middle-class prosperity and makes the world less free and secure. A militarized approach to American foreign policy harms global freedom and security far more than it helps.

How the Pentagon Budget is a Threat to the Middle Class

You can stop this…….VOTE!

Vote for the candidate that has the best plan to stop this slide.

Vote for the candidate that best has the best interests of the country at heart.

VOTE!

Tax Day=Pay Day

Today is when most Americans learn if they owe or get a trefund from the IRS…..the tax reforms of 2017 screwed many Americans out of their deductions…..but as usual corporations get a pay day…..

M-IC will be the big winners on Tax Day……

In tax season, most of us think more about getting our forms in on time—and getting our refunds—than about where our tax dollars actually go.

It’s probably no surprise that a significant portion—24 cents out of every dollar—of your taxes go to the military. But where those dollars go from there should be a national scandal.

Out of those 24 cents, just 5 cents go to our troops. But 12 cents go to corporate military contractors.

For a country that claims to celebrate our troops, with holidays and yellow ribbons and patriotic displays of the flag, we sure don’t put our money where our mouth is. Every year for tax day, my organization looks at where our tax dollars go. And every year, far more money goes to Pentagon contractors than to our troops.

All told, the average taxpayer handed over $1,704 to Pentagon contractors last year, compared to $683 for military pay, housing, and other benefits (except military health care, which has its own agency). Still, the taxes we pay for military contractors are more than twice as much as the average contribution for veterans’ health and benefits ($833).

 
Me?  I broke even this year….I was lucky…..most Americans will not be that fortunate.
 
Little do we know…..nothing good has come out of these tax cuts…….especially for the revenue of the nation…..
 
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And believe it or not……the Trump tax cuts are popular only with the uber rich….go figure……

Multiple polls show a majority of Americans don’t think they got a tax cut at all — even though independent analyses show they did. And only around a third of the country approves of the legislation itself, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed by Congress at the end of 2017.

So as Trump moves closer to full-time reelection mode later this year, he will have to battle a stark reality: While his personal rating on the economy remains high, his signature legislative achievement is widely viewed as a political dud, one that has drawn special anger in places with high state and local taxes and pricey housing markets where deductions were limited to reduce the overall cost of the tax plan.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/15/donald-trump-tax-cuts-unpopular-1273469

Not to worry……this all comes around again next year.

 

The Rich Get Richer

A Sunday and I feel like the idle rich……sitting in my garden sipping wine….eating cheese and nuts and fruit…..and enjoying the day without a care……

I try to make IST an entertaining blog and a little FYI thrown in……

Today I want to try and explain the saying “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”……..this article in VOX will help one understand what is happening here in the US…..

Something massive and important has happened in the United States over the past 50 years: Economic wealth has become increasingly concentrated among a small group of ultra-wealthy Americans.

You can read lengthy books on this subject, like economist Thomas Piketty’s recent best-seller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century(the book runs 696 pages and weighs in at 2.5 pounds). You can see references to this in the campaigns of major political candidates this cycle, who talk repeatedly about how something has gone very wrong in America.

Donald Trump’s motto is to make America great again, while Bernie Sanders’s campaign focused on reducing income inequality. And there’s a reason this message is resonating with voters:

It’s grounded in 50 years of reality.

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/this-cartoon-explains-how-the-rich-got-rich-and-the-poor-got-poor

This article tells the tale that few can grasp……to massage the rich then the poor must pay…it is that simple and to pretend anything other is a LIE!

There are so many people that cannot grasp just how this system works….hopefully this will help in some small way…..

A new Congress and a Congresswoman has proposed, AOC, a 70% rate of the uber rich…..I have NO problem with that…..will not fly because most of those in our Congress are uber rich…..they will not vote to tax themselves….I give her an “A” for the try…..but disappointment waits.

And now the old professor will just sit and smile at the day…..I found an excellent Malbec from Argentina…..

May you be well and safe…….chuq

The Markets Made Me Do It!

Christmas is in the rear view mirror…..shopping has replaced religious thoughts with the dreams of “deals”….so what has this world wrought?

In case you were too busy trying to decide what to buy for Uncle Cletus…..the financial markets have taken a beaten…..down 1600+ points just last week….and the news does not look any better for this week….

So much for the Santa rally on Wall Street. The stock market tanked again Monday in a short trading day, making for one of its worst Christmas Eves on record, per the Washington Post. The Dow fell 653, or 2.9%, to 21,792; the S&P 500 fell 65, or 2.7%, to 2,351; and the NASDAQ fell 140, or 2.2%, to 6,192. The day’s selloff worsened after President Trump took to Twitter to blast the Fed as “the only problem our economy has,” notes the Wall Street Journal. The bleak numbers also came after Treasury chief Steven Mnuchin tried to soothe the markets before they opened, but his reassurance might have backfired.

Our dynamite Sec Treasury….that Mnuchin dude tried to soothe the savage economic beast by calling around…..

Treasury chief Steven Mnuchin made an unusual move over the weekend in an attempt to soothe rattled financial markets. But based on the stock market’s open, it appears that Mnuchin’s call to the CEO of the six largest US banks didn’t help. In fact, one financial analyst tells CNN that the call—meant to reassure the banks that all was well—might have actually spooked markets even more. Whatever the reason, the Dow plunged more than 400 points in the first hour of trading, threatening to dip below 22,000. As of 10:20am, the Dow was down 332, or 1.5%, and the S&P 500 (1.5%) and Nasdaq (1.1%) were similarly in the red. (The market woes reportedly have President Trump wondering about firing the Fed chief.)

It appears that the blame is Fed Chair and now the Sec Treas Trump is ranting that these people are to blame…..

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin could become the latest White House official to get the boot. President Donald Trump has been souring on Mnuchin for some time now and the continued decline in the stock markets could be the final straw, reports Bloomberg. One source told Bloomberg that the president has considered firing Mnuchin while another said that whether he stays on or not will depend in large part on what happens to the markets.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/12/trump-is-reportedly-considering-firing-mnuchin-over-stock-market-declines.html

Mnuchin is not someone that I would ever support but in this case this toad is NOT to blame…..it is the disgusting economic policies of a person that tells everyone he is a genius…..and the markets do not trust him either……his attempt to calm things cost the markets another 600 points.

And if that does not work then he is considering firing the Fed Chair…..another person that did not create a terrible market atmosphere…..

I love when egocentric slugs blame people around him for the problems the fool created…..

The markets will be a telling story….

How fast can Mr. Trump tap dance?

Where Oh Where Did The Economy Go?

If you are a junkie for this president then you will know about the extremely good economy that he is presiding over, right?

Then explain the yo-yo effect in the last week.  Something has investors nervous.  Wassup wit dat?

We hear that hundreds of thousands of jobs are being created…..or the factories that are re-opening….on and on…..but just how good is this economy for those that do not have legacy money or lots of zeros in a bank account?

The U.S. mobility rate dropped again to a new low in 2017, with just 10.1% of Americans moving homes, according to new data from the Census Bureau.

Why it matters: Economic opportunity isn’t enough to get people moving anymore. And less mobility could mean the wealthy areas of the U.S. continue to accumulate wealth, while the poorer areas will remain poor because people are less likely to move for better jobs and companies are less likely to move for cheaper labor.

https://www.axios.com/americans-not-moving-economy-booming-mobility-acea1512-0f7d-45e2-a8b1-dd8ea02ea1bb.html

With all the great news about the economy then why is there still abject poverty?  Why is that?

What does it mean to be poor? Currently there are two basic ways to define poverty. To get a better measure of who needs help — and a better sense of how to provide it — society needs a third definition.

The first definition is absolute poverty — essentially, material destitution. Human beings need food, water and shelter, and if we can’t afford these things, life is pretty miserable. In the U.S., the federal government has poverty guidelines that are based on food consumption: If you make less than about three times the minimum amount people need to spend on food each year, you’re poor.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-11-26/poverty-in-america-greater-than-statistics-indicate

THe American Dream is dead….dead….dead…..and who can we say killed it?

Donald Trump, during a recent stop on his “Anarchy in the UK” tour, argued that the mass influx of immigrants into Europe is causing Great Britain and other nations to “lose their culture.” The fear of cultural dilution and transformation as a consequence of shifting demographics is widespread, and it resonates in the United States, too, especially among those who support the current president.

Stephen Bannon, Tucker Carlson, and other popular right-wing figures have warned of threats to national identity in an American context, contending that Mexicans will not assimilate and that Islam is incompatible with liberal democracy and secular governance. Liberals and libertarians often respond by recalling the long tradition of assimilation in American history, along with the outrage that often accompanies new arrivals. Nearly every ethnic group, from the Italians to the Chinese, has been the target of political and social hostility. It is an old story, but one worth telling, and it is an old debate, but one worth having. Border sovereignty, even to someone like me who probably favors more liberal immigration laws than most TAC readers, is a legitimate issue and not to be easily dismissed.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/corporate-capitalists-killed-american-identity/

But if things are as bad as all this then why is Trump trumpeting(no pun intended) his support for the Middle Class and all Americans?

President Trump’s iron clad campaign promise that auto layoffs would cease has evaporated into hot air. At his rustbelt rallies Trump insisted that if he won the election the auto industry would so fear him that they would not only end layoffs of American workers, but bring back the factories they had built overseas.

Late last month, General Motors announced it would slash its salaried workers by 15 percent and terminate one in four of its executives. The “reset” will be felt well beyond the company’s Oshawa plant in Ontario, Lordstown, Ohio, Detroit and Warren, Michigan and White Marsh, Maryland GM targeted for layoffs.

https://www.rawstory.com/2018/12/trumps-concern-working-class-just-convenient-campaign-slogan/

If you have money then you are smiling….if you have no savings then you are worried about the coming year……pretty much America as usual.

By The Way….remember those tax cuts that were gonna makes us all wealthier?

Most Americans expect to pay less in federal taxes this year, after President Trump and Republicans in Congress passed a last-minute tax bill last December.

But thanks to a rule change that the Internal Revenue Service made Thursday, a lot of Americans will reportedly be paying a bit more in taxes in 2019 than they thought they would–and even more in later years. Eventually, maybe a lot more.

It all comes down to a simple math equation, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal–or more accurately a series of simple math equations. Because the tax law uses particular dollar amounts to establish thresholds for different things–tax brackets, the amounts of deductions, etc.–the IRS has to adjust many of these numbers for inflation each year.

Where’s That Middle Class?

I would post on that diabolical “caravan” but it seems to have vanished off the news…..go figure……

Now that the Midterms are over and we have a new Democratic House…..there is one question I want to ask them……”whatcha ya gonna do” for the Middle Class?

How many times have you heard a reference to the “Middle Class” by your politicians?

The Middle Class use to be the poster child for capitalism and for the US.  The Middle Class expands and the economic society is healthy and progressing….

Sad to say that the Middle Class nowadays is nothing but a slogan in the same vane as “patriotism, veterans, etc”….a campaign slogan that few believe any longer…..

Like or not the “bourgeois is getting recast as the proletariat”…..interesting concept right?

The American Conservative has a view on the Middle Class that every American should read……

Everyone loves the middle class. Everyone claims to be middle-class—some to put a gloss on their sketchy escutcheons, others to dodge chastisement for their awkward riches. But in fact both the socioeconomic reality and the concept of the middle class have been turned on their heads and, at the same time, trivialized into a mere lifestyle choice.

Economically, the middle classes were once proprietors, self-employed owners of property and their own labor. Morally, they were the equivalent of “solid citizens”: decent, hard-working, law-abiding, temperate, proper, staid, virtuous, and—well, moral. The qualifications for being middle class have gotten a whole lot looser, to say the least.

The European term “middle classes” originally served to describe merchants, tradesmen, investors, and skilled craftsmen. The habitat of these classes was the walled city—the burg, bourg, or borough—hence their appellation, les bourgeois. The bourgeoisie occupied a middle ground between the nobility and the lower classes of peasants and servants.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/what-middle-class/

Wages flat….not what Trump wants the “Middle Class” to believe…..we are now divided into two distinct classes…..wealthy and worker…..as long as the corruption continues the chances of a reset are looking better and better…..

Things are changing……

“Out of the frying pan, into the fire” is an apt description of our current place in history. No matter what you think of globalization, I believe we’ll soon discover that capitalism without it is much, much worse.

No one needs to convince establishment economists, politicians and pundits that the absence of globalization and growth spells trouble. They’ve pushed globalization as the Viagra of economic growth for years. But globalization has never been popular with everyone. Capitalism’s critics recognize that it generates tremendous wealth and power for a tiny fraction of the Earth’s seven billion people, makes room for some in the middle class, but keeps most of humanity destitute and desperate, while trashing the planet and jeopardizing human survival for generations to come.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/11/01/catabolism-capitalisms-frightening-future/

The Middle Class is disappearing……what will the new “House” do to change that?