This just in:  I died last night at around 8:30 pm, CST.  I know this because I remember it like it was yesterday.

I recall being born at around 4:30 am.  I was disoriented at the time and then, after a few moments, I realized I was in a hotel room in Saint Joseph, MO.  That was the start of a great life; one of many that I’ve had.

Breakfast was waiting for me in the lobby.  I could eat all I wanted!  They even had coffee that I could take along with me; complete with a lid and a little sleeve to make sure I didn’t burn my hand.

I spent a large part of that life at a manufacturing plant.  I met a lot of people; some for the first time and some that I remember from a previous life.  They were all glad to see me.  We’d talk about their lives and mine and how together, we could set the stage for even better future lives.

On the way back to my “hotel of birth” I stopped to get a pizza.  I probably didn’t need the calories or carbs but, hey, you only live a few thousand times.

Back in the womb-room, I watched television and thought about my day.  I’d called my wife and thought, “How lucky can one guy be.”  I called two of my kids, both had birthdays yesterday.  They are doing great!

Overall, it was a great life.

From the moment I was born, I knew it would end.  My goal, one that flittered in and out of my consciousness, was to make it a life that I could look back on and think, “That was well lived.”

Eventually, with a full tummy and warm blankets wrapped around me in a cool room, I died….content.

Past lives are great things.  I can learn from them and, while they seem to influence future lives, they only do so if I allow it.  I’m in charge of each life that I live which means that I can choose my perspectives, my memories and my goals.  I can do this every day but there is one catch.

I can only choose well if I’m aware that I have the ability to do so.

A life left to be lived by accident will look like…and accident.

I only have hours to live this life.  Tonight, I’ll die another death.  I’ll be at home with my family.

It will be perfect.

Just before I close my eyes for that last moment of life, I’ll reflect back on how I lived.  When that happens, I want there to be no regrets.

I know I’ll live again but that is for another day.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

This just in:  I was watching Robert Gates, ex-Secretary of Defence, on Face the Nation a couple of days ago.  He was brilliant and I found myself agreeing with him, even on those occasions where he agreed with Trump.  How could that be?  I feel like everything Trump does is wrong, and yet Gates found things to praise.

I want to talk about this a bit as a tool for helping myself to figure this out.

Let’s start with Gates….

He said, Trump brings a certain amount of disruption to foreign policy.  Take North Korea; The last 3 administrations basically all followed the same policy with regards to North Korea.  The result is what we have today – a rogue country with nuclear weapons.  Why not stir things up?  Why not try something different since what we have been doing has not worked?

So, he likes the “outside the box” approach.

He then goes on to caution about Trump’s spontaneity.  He’s concerned that Trump’s unique approach is not well thought out and could quickly lead to undesirable consequences.

So, he has concerns about Trump’s “outside the box” approach.

Gates took one issue and broke it down into two compartments; one he liked and one he didn’t.

I then look at my own predisposition to not like Trump.  I look at Trump’s foreign policy and throw a giant blanket over everything.  I subconsciously understand that there are things I like and things I don’t like.  I like the “stirring things up” but I don’t like Trump’s “spontaneity.”

Since my fear of the later is greater than my affection for the former, the latter is what I use to judge ALL of Trump’s policy.  I’m only using one blanket to cover everything and thus, only allow myself one opinion.

Someone else may be less concerned about Trump’s spontaneity and more happy about “stirring the pot” and thus, when they throw their single blanket over Trumps’ foreign policy, they like it.

I look at my conclusion and their conclusion and decide, “We are complete opposites.”

The truth is that we are probably very close.  Trump supporters don’t want nuclear war with North Korea any more than I do.  They just think the likelihood is lower than I do.

Who knows?  They may be right.

To me, this explains how I can talk issues with someone from the political right (I am left) and find that we agree on a lot of things.  However, If I just consider them Trump Supporters and I am a Bernie Supported, it appears that we are complete opposites.

I’m going to have to think on this some more.

The compartmentalization seems to explain a lot for me.  It could be a useful tool going forward.  By “useful” I mean something I can use to help reduce the divisiveness that seems to be eating us all up.

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  I have noticed a few behavioral traits of Trump that I’d like to put here for posterity.

  1. When something goes well and there is praise to be handed out, he is the first in line; this is true even if he had nothing to do with it.  For example, a company makes plans in 2015 to open a plant somewhere in the United States.  Trump reads a story which is the latest update on these long standing plans.  He then proudly announces that “I’m bringing back jobs.  Just look at this article!”
  2. When something goes wrong, Trump is the first to blame someone else.  Comey firing went south so he blames others.  He claims he was wiretapped and when that is shown to not be true, he blames some story he read or saw on television.
  3. Trump has a short attention span.  Watch him in an interview.  It’s not unusual for him to start to free-associate and forget the question all together.  His staff reports that his briefings have to be in short sound bites.
  4. When interviewing and then getting backed into a corner about a lie, Trump will do one of the following 3 things: (1) Redirect.  Ask him about voter fraud lies and he goes off on Hillary.  (2) He will claim that “lot’s of people have said that.  “That” being the current lie he is trying to justify and then (3)  He says “You know what I’m talking about” as he tries to get you to unwittingly participate in his lie, “The NSA is spying on everyone.  Lot’s of people are talking about it.  I know you’ve heard it yourself.”
  5. He creates bigger disasters to cover the latest one he has caused.  For example, when Comey first testified before Congress, Trump got skewered.  Trump’s response was to say, “Obama’s Rice unmasked some guys.  That’s the real story.  That’s what everyone is talking about.”  For the record, no one was talking about Rice doing something that was completely proper.
  6. Trump is a counter-puncher.  He readily admits this.  If someone crosses his, especially in public, Trump will go out of his way to write some sort of nasty tweet like saying Saturday Night LIve is losing it’s ratings.
  7. Trump likes to watch himself on television.
  8. Trump lies, a lot.  Politifact says that 68% of the statements from Trump that they have investigated have been rated as Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire.
  9. Trump clings to old school thoughts like Mexicans are taking our jobs or Marijuana is a gateway drug.
  10. Trump admires tyrants like those running Russia, Turkey, North Korea and the Philippines.
  11. Trump appears to know virtually nothing about what is going on. He doesn’t understand international trade deals.  He doesn’t understand healthcare, he doesn’t understand diplomacy and he doesn’t understand the military.  What he does understand is how to act like he understands.  I have yet to see a Trump interview where I sat back and thought, “Now there is a guy that knows what he is talking about.”

Watch for these traits.  They are your cliff notes to understanding Trump.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

This just in:  I’ve decided to become a Republican…for the duration of this post.  I then interview myself.

Old Me: So, it looks like Trump was warned about Flynn by Obama and Yates long before Flynn was fired.  In fact, Flynn was only fired once the Washington Post revealed this fact.

Republican Me:  Yes, we should find out who leaked that information to the Washington Post.  Leaks, not Russia, are the biggest threat to democracy.

 

Old Me: We should invest in Green Energy since it means a cleaner planet and tens of thousands of high payinig jobs.

Republican Me: Coal is the future.  We should also drill for oil in our national parks and off the shores of California.  We also need to lift the anti-pollution regulations surrounding fossil fuels since they are the reason we coal jobs are going away.

 

Old Me: We should fix our borders and deport those that have come here illegally AND have proven that they are a danger to our society.  However, I don’t think we deport law abiding people that are here already and are paying taxes and contributing to the community.

Republican Me:  Mexicans are taking jobs from Americans.  If we deport all people currently picking lettuce, then we will have millions of new, high paying jobs.

 

Old Me: The Free Press is a cornerstone of our Country.

Republican Me:  If its not on Fox News, its not flattering to my party and thus, is fake news.  I applaud the Trump plan to ban all television stations but Fox News in government facilities.  No, I don’t see any relationship to this plan and the RT news outlet in Russia.

 

Old Me: Democracy means that everyone gets to vote; every vote counts.

Republican Me: If people don’t vote Republican then screw them.  Gerrymandering and voter suppression are legitimate tools.

 

Old Me:  There sure is a lot of smoke about Russia and Trump.  The National Security position was filled by a man later found to be associated with Russia and lied about it.  The Attorney General met with Russians and lied about it.  Senior Advisor Kushner met with the Russians and lied about it.  The Secretary of State was awarded a Friend of Russia by Putin.  Other advisors have also been found to have been associated with Russia and WikiLeaks and lied about it.  There is something there.

Republican Me: Fake news.

 

Old Me: Fix Healthcare.  Cover more people.  Lower costs.  Look to numerous successes in the rest of the world for models of what works.  Single Payer seems to be a success everywhere they use it.

Republican Me: So long as we pass something that is not ObamaCare, we really don’t care what that healthcare plan accomplishes.

 

Old Me: Trump lies too much.  In fact, one lie is too many; never mind the numerous lies each and every day.

Republican Me: Fake news.

 

Old Me:  Our international relations are important.  They make us secure.

Republican Me:  We have the biggest military so…Fuck the UK, Fuck Australia, Fuck Mexico, Fuck Canada, Fuck Germany, Fuck France, Fuck the EU and Fuck Nato.  Did I miss anyone?

 

Old Me: Our country was not founded on Christianity but rather on religious freedom

Republican Me:  God likes Christians. In fact, God want Christian churches to be able to contribute to my campaign funds.  Muslims are terrorists.

 

Old Me: Income inequality is the biggest threat to our economy.  In fact, Ben Bernanke was on television the other day and said exactly that several times; at the same time disparaged Trump’s tax plan.  I also agree with Bernanke that infrastructure spending will return more to the economy than the investment.

Republican Me: What we need is to lower the tax rate on the rich. That is how we will achieve economic growth never before seen.  Bigly!

 

Old Me:  If we cut $850 Billion from Medicaid, the poor and the elderly will have less coverage.

Republican Me:  By cutting $850 billion and then taking what is left and sending that to the states, the increase in efficiency will easily pay for the cut.  Move along….there is nothing to see here….

 

Wow!  That was really easy.

Time to shower the Republican off for me.  I have a world to save.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

 

pat·sy

  1.  a person who is easily taken advantage of, especially by being cheated or blamed for something.

This just in:  Trump supporters elected him because he would change government.  After a while, it appeared that he was incompetent but his supporters just called it a “learning curve.”  As things got worse, they tried to spin his words always starting with “What really meant was….”.  Lately, it has been, “He’s got his secret reasons for what he does.”  The implication is that he is playing Rope-a-Dope; only appearing to be incompetent so that he can get us right where he wants us.

It’s time to admit – Donald Trump is damaged.  He is hollow.  He is incompetent.  He is a liar.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Occam’s razor.

Occam’s razor (also Ockham’s razorLatinlex parsimoniae “law of parsimony“) is a problem-solving principle attributed to William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347), who was an English Franciscan friar, scholastic philosopher, and theologian. His principle can be interpreted as stating Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.

In other words, if it walks like a duck, acts like a duck and smells like a duck…it’s probably a duck.

The simplest explanation for Trump is that he actually is incompetent.

The only people that don’t know this are that 36% of all Americans that don’t want to know it.

Let me tell you who DOES know this about Trump.

The Republican Party is delightfully aware of the fact that Trump is clueless.  This includes his obliviousness to how he is being manipulated by them.

There is just no way that Trump came into office thinking “If I just allow coal mines to pollute, we will bring back jobs and become energy independent.”  The Republican Party handed him that Executive order and he just signed it blindly.

There is no way he thought, “Drilling for oil in national parks is a will be a big boost for our economy.”  The Republican Party gave him that to sign as well.

Trump has been cheering on the Republican healthcare bill.  However, it is undeniably clear that he has no idea what is in it.  The GOP praises him for his leadership as they pass a bill that is as nearly the opposite of what Trump has promised as any piece of legislation can be.  Trump seems to be unaware of this.  It’s as if they said, “We passed some legislation so now it’s time for you to clap.”

Trump threatens North Korea with an aircraft carrier that doesn’t seem to be in the same ocean that Trump says it’s in.  Then, he supports a bill for another $50 Billion in military spending.  He has no idea why but it sounds good and someone told him people would clap for him if he did it.

Trump will eventually lose his job.  He’ll either be impeached or resign because “he was being treated unfairly.”

In his wake will be a complete loss of international relationships and a polluted planet.

When it’s clear that Trump is on his way out, the Republican Party will drop him like an Atlas rocket dropping one of its boosters.

They will say, “We had no idea!” or “Thank goodness we were able to help the American people get rid of this guy.”

But alone in heir private chambers they will lift there glasses and toast “To Donald Trump, the best patsy we have ever had.”

They can do this because they just voted to take $800 billion out of Medicaid and then looked right into the camera and said, “There will be no loss of coverage.”

The people that believe this magic are the same ones that voted in Trump.

And that…..is why we can’t have nice things.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

 

This just in:  The Republican Party is trying to pass a national health care plan with the following 2 goals in mind: (1) Get rid of the policy that was put in place by the opposing party because “It was put in place by the opposing party” and (2) Reduce the tax burden on the wealthiest Americans (those that are the biggest donors to their party) that is due to any national health care plan.

Notice the absence of any motive that has to do with what is best for our citizens as a whole.

We hear about “patient centered healthcare.”   This is a nice bumper sticker slogan but it means nothing.  I can pick my own insurance now.  I can pick my own doctor.  I can pick my own level of coverage.  I can take it with me from state to state.

Trump, who appears to know nothing about Obamacare or Trumpcare is making promises that are in direct conflict with the actual bill the Republican Party is selling.  I heard on Congressman say that Trump was threatening people with their jobs if they don’t support his bill.  “Vote for the bill I know nothing about or I will not support you during reelection.”

Let me make just a couple of points; knowing that I am beating a dead horse…

  • The neutral Congressional Budget Office has not yet rated this latest plan.  This means those voting on it have no idea about the cost and coverage impact of what they are voting on.  And yet…they will vote.  Why?  They claim there is some urgency.  That is why they spent an entire 9 days on this latest plan and can’t wait for another week to see what the CBO says….this after having 7 years to come up with something.  My guess is that they know what the CBO will say and it won’t be what they want to hear.
  • If the cost of this plan, to the government, is less but our healthcare needs remain unchanged, then that missing support from the government will fall onto our shoulders.  If you think government has no business in healthcare…then stop reading now and go do a bit of research on Economics, the Free Market and Healthcare.
  • High risk pools mean that those with pre-existing conditions will be corralled together and have to pay more.  The GOP claims the government will help with those higher plans…all the while providing less financial support than before.  This comes down the to following claim: By having healthy people in one group and sick people in another group we will somehow pay less even though their overall needs have remained unchanged.  This way of thinking openly demonstrates and complete lack of understanding about how insurance works.
  • When pressed on how costs will go down, the Republican claim is that their reorganization will reduce inefficiency but provide no evidence as to why that would be the case.  In fact, there is nothing in the bill to address efficiency.  It’s just a bumper sticker.
  • The government plan to supplement insurance for high risk people is “Send us the bill and we will pay it until we run out of money.”  Two problems.  First, they are going to provide much, much less money than before so that well will go dry quickly.  Secondly, this means a healthcare provider can charge whatever they want; even if its far above what your insurance will pay because they know they will get money from the government.  This type of “cost plus” billing is the exact opposite of “efficiency.”

In the end…I look at Trump and shake my head.

Then I look at the GOP and think…they are no better.

I once wrote a story about how an underaged kid got a local mentally handicapped man to buy buy alcohol for him.  This is how the Republican Party is using Trump.  He is constantly confused (someone should investigate why we had a Civil War) but is the rubber stamp for whatever the GOP wants.

Right now, they want a tax cut for their big donors.  Trump is just there to talk about himself in the third person and sign whatever is pushed in front of him.

Sad.

Up, up and away….

Jim

 

This just in:  There are things going on right in front of us but the “spin” makes them almost unnoticeable.  I thought I would point out a few.

Healthcare:  Right now, Obamacare says that insurance companies must accept new patients with their pre-existing conditions and they can’t charge those people more than others.  What this means is that the insurance companies must take on high risk people but then spread the cost of that risk among everyone.  This is the essence of insurance.

The GOP is saying “Insurance companies must offer insurance to people with pre-existing condition BUT they can charge those people more.”  So, a person with cancer will pay significantly more than someone without cancer.  By significantly, I mean tens of thousands of dollars more.  The GOP calls this “making insurance available” but leave out the part about affordable.  They do claim lower premiums which will be true for those that don’t have pre-existing conditions.

So, I am old and you are young.  Age is my only pre-existing condition.  I will pay far, far more than you.  As I age, my insurance will go up; pushing me towards bankruptcy at the end of a long life.

This is the GOP healthcare plan.

More Healthcare:  The GOP wants insurance companies to be able to compete across state lines.  They can do this now.  I have Kaiser.  I can move to another state and still have Kaiser.  I can buy my plan in California and then take it with me to Kansas.  I have seen no evidence that insurance companies are terrified of the GOP plan because “competition” will cause them to lower their rates.  No evidence.  This is a false premise offered to those that read chapter 1 in their very first class on Economics and think they have a handle on things.

Flynn:  The White House claims it fired Flynn because he lied about his ties to Russia.  Specifically, Pence claims he was lied to by Flynn and had no idea about Flynn’s Russian connections.  The truth is a congressman told Pence specifically about Flynn way before Flynn was given the position of National Security Advisor (he has a copy of the letter he sent to Pence).  Next week, a previous Attorney General will testify that she also warned Pence about Flynn in advance.  So, Pence lied and in doing so, actively participated in the Trump/Russia coverup.

Spending Bill:  The GOP is claiming victory in the latest spending bill.  Why?  Because they were able to spend 5 times as much money on the military as they did on the rest of the country. Paul Ryan is openly bragging about this.  This is my opinion but…our military is big enough.  Infrastructure spending has a return of 4 to 5 times what we invest in it.

As I write this, Republican Congressman Steve King was on CNN.  He would not say the new plan guarantees coverage of pre-existing conditions and claimed everything was working fine before Obamacare.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

On the funny pages…

Within the last two weeks, both Trump and the Republican Congress have threatened to close down the government that they are running.  In both cases they blamed the Democrats.

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  I started out as anti-Trump but still hoped that he would be successful.  As time goes by, it is clear, at least to me, that Trump is spectacularly unqualified for the job of President of the United States.

It has been “Opposite Day” for more than 100 days in a row now.  For example, I think coal is a dead industry and see jobs in Green Energy as Trump gets rid of regulations on coal; pretending that regulations are the reason coal is on the way out.

Yes, he could be mentally ill but I can only speculate as I am not a psychologist and he may just be eccentric.

He’s made a lot of money but, had he simply invested his dad’s seed money in a stock market index fund, he would have been much richer than he is now.

Yesterday, he said Andrew Jackson was upset about the Civil War and yet…Jackson died 16 years before the war began.

My impression is that Trump is just not a very intelligent person.

I have created a quiz that I think most of us would do well on.  Based on what I have seen of Trump thus far, I would be surprised if he was able to get ANY of the following questions right…

  1. Give two instances where the strength of the dollar is preferred to be strong, or weak; your choice.
  2. Name one, very specific thing that you don’t like about NAFTA.
  3. Name one, very specific thing that you don’t like about the TPP.
  4. Name one, very specific thing you don’t like about Obamacare along with your plan to fix it.
  5. Name any 5 Amendments in the Bill of Rights.
  6. Why will “competition” among healthcare providers bring down prices when it never did before?
  7. Make your case for Trickle-Down economics.
  8. Name one case presided over by the Supreme Court justice you just picked.
  9. Name three consequences of tariffs.
  10. Name 5 members of NATO.
  11. Name just 3 people that voted illegally in 2016, that were NOT Republicans.
  12. Give an example of one job you have created as the result of your being president (Position created for your daughter does not count).
  13. What is the difference between a Bill and an Executive Order?
  14. What is nepotism?
  15. What document contains the “emoluments clause” and what does that clause mean?
  16. How many aircraft carries does the United States have and name the location of any 3 of them.
  17. When did Andrew Jackson die?
  18. What is the definition of a Free Market?
  19. Name just five members of the EU.
  20. Find Germany on a map.
  21. Name one person, other than yourself, that believes either of the following (1) Obama wiretapped you or (2) 3 to 5 million people voted illegally.
  22. Give one instance where your negotiating skills have gotten something accomplished while in office.
  23. Why are you talking about jobs when the United States has far more jobs than it has qualified people to fill those jobs?
  24. What specific traits of the following cabinet members made you choose them for their positions: Sessions, Flynn, Devos, Pruitt?
  25. Give three instances of fake news and provide evidence that those instances are fake.

Trump doesn’t know what is in ObamaCare or its replacements.  Trump doesn’t understand economics.  Trump has no idea how to conduct Foreign Policy.  Trump does not understand the Tax Code. Trump does not understand issues regarding the Environment, Education or Poverty.

But the biggest problem is: Trump is to caught up in himself to bother learning anything new.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

 

 

This just in:  My New Year’s Resolution was to live a more expansive life; to broaden my horizons.

Oddly…this is harder to do that I thought.  Turns out doing nothing new is my default mode of operation.

I find that keeping a resolution is a lot like trying not to fall asleep while meditation.  I forget that I’m meditating and fall asleep anyway.  Just like I forget I’m expanding and slip right back into my old and familiar routines.

Now, my wife and I have a plan.

We live in Marin County.  She just came across a Best of Marin article which has at least a year’s worth of expansion in it.  We will start going to the Best Beach or the Best Indian Food or the Best Whatever.  Our mission will be to knock off as many of the things on this list as we can before the year is over.  I’ll keep you informed.

On the back pain page…

I am now enrolled in the Stanford Study on back pain.  I fill out a daily Pain Survey.  I will get and MRI in a couple of weeks and another one in a few months.  They will measure my brain somehow to see if my ability to mitigate and manage pain can be measured.  There are weekly group sessions where they teach meditation and various behavioural changes that are supposed to be effective.

I was taking Gabapentin for pain but turn out it makes me kind of stupid.  Since I spend most of my time on near the “stupid line” as it is, I’ve given it up and now rely on Advil.

Cub reported Kim recommended a cream.  I ordered some but it turns out I ordered a different cream. (I was still taking Gabapentin at the time).  So, I started using this new cream and it works quite well!  Imagine that.  It’s called Penetrex.

On the Trump page….

I watched Face the Nation on Sunday and my suspicions were confirmed – We have a mentally unstable man as president.  Don’t take my word for it, read the full transcript yourself here.

I have no idea where our country is heading with regards to Healthcare, Tax Reform, Foreign Policy, Education and Infrastructure.  I have no idea because Trump is sending mixed signals, the GOP is trying to spin everything Trump says so they can do what they want and the Democrats are being led by a couple of ancients whose entire platform is to stand next to Trump with a shirt that has an arrow pointing to Trump and says, “I’m not with him.”

One new nugget I saw yesterday is about Pence.  He is the VP that was lied to by Flynn about Flynn’s ties to Russia…or was he?  It turns out that Pence led the vetting of Flynn and was well aware of Pence’s ties to both Russian and Trump.  He was not lied to because he knew all along!

I’m thinking that the Democrats are starting to smell blood in the water.

Time to save the world…

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  Trump just put forth a Tax Plan that will be hugely good.  Or so he says.

Here is what it looks like to me…

First of all, I wrote a blog post called The Schrodinger President a few days ago.  I explained how Trump puts out a promise and then basks in the afterglow as if he has actually accomplished something.  When we peek at his plans, we see they are empty but by that time, he has move on to another false promise and another self-congratulatory session…for doing nothing.

This tax plan is a lot like that.

It’s 1 page long and has the same amount of content that you’d find in a high school freshman’s English theme for an assignment of “In 500 words or less, what did you do last summer.”

My guess is that Trump slapped this together in about 15 minutes.

He then marched it out and is taking credit for major tax reform in his first 100 days.

Aside from the fact that this plan means nothing and contains almost nothing, let’s look at a few issues.

First, we have a very high corporate tax rate (35%).  However, once you factor in tax credits and loopholes, the realized rate is actually between 12% and 17%.  This is based on a Study by the Government Accounting Office in 2010.

The Republican Party knows this.  So, when they are saying “35%” they are lying directly to you.

I don’t mind a corporate tax cut but it must be offset by eliminating loopholes.  If you don’t do this, then a new tax rate of 15%, as proposed by Trump, will result in an actual tax rate near zero.

Trumps tax plan is going to cost about $7 trillion over the next 10 years.  That’s how much less money we will collect from corporations.

However, the Republican Party has switched our accounting system over to something called “Dynamic Scoring.”  This means that if we need to make up $7 trillion in the next 10 years, the Republicans just make up a GDP growth number that will generate that figure.  There is no data needed.  This is really just a guess.  They reach into thin air and say “GPD will grow at 3% or 7%” or whatever balances the books.

If they did use data, they would find that historically, tax cuts result in short term growth in the GDP followed by an ongoing loss of revenue and a higher debt.  Just look at Kansas if you want to see how tax cuts work.

Second, loopholes actually serve a purpose.  These are rules that are created to incentivize companies to behave a certain way.  San Francisco wants investment south of Market Street.  They tell Twitter they will give them a tax break if they build a building there and hire a certain number of people.  This is an effective use of the tax code.

So, don’t get rid of all loopholes.  Just get rid of the ones that are being abused or that are no longer needed.

Third,  the GOP is stuck on Trickle-Down economics (aka Supply Side economics).  According to them, if you give a rich person more money, they will hire more people.  This is nonsense and possibly the most thoroughly disproven economic policy of all time.  The truth is that consumers create jobs.  In the United States, the middle class makes up 2/3 of our consumers.  If you want to create jobs, give the middle class more money.  GM will build another plant when people can afford to buy more cars, not because of a tax cut.

Forth, The United States has far more job openings than we have people to fill them.  Sending home immigrants is making this even worse.  The H-1B visa program is needed simply because we don’t have enough skilled people at home so we need to import them.  Trump keeps saying “Make American Great Again by bringing back jobs.”  How come no one is asking, “Why will that make us great when we can’t fill the need for jobs right now?”

Fifth, Eliminating the Estate Tax and the Minimum Alternative tax is a gift.  Specifically this is a gift to Trump and other members of the 1% that benefit from this tax elimination.  It won’t affect you or me; aside from increasing our debt.

I would love to pay less in taxes.  However, I expect tax reform to be meaningful, not some sort of propaganda stunt without substance.  It’s time we started taking care of the 99% and stop worrying about whether or not Trump’s heirs will have to pay too much in tax once he finally bites the dust.

There you have it.

I think the probability is very high that the 20 minutes I spent writing this post if more time than Trump put into his Tax Plan.

Up, up and away…

Jim