The insanity of Trump’s economics

This just in:  It has been said that economics is a “soft science” because the outcomes of certain actions are not always predictable.  In fact, there is an entire field of economics known as Behavioral Economics, that tries to find out why this is so.  This diversity of outcomes from a repeated experiment is why we find several economic opinions that all differ with regards to nearly any given topic.

But there are some things we can count on, either by observation or irrefutable logic.  On these types of issues, the economic world is in nearly unison with their recommendations.

One such issue is Trump’s fantasy world of economics.  Nationally and abroad, the absurdity of Trump’s actions are astounding anyone that is paying attention.

Let’s look at a broad view of what I mean.

I will lay this out in steps, trying to put order to something that is nearly random.

  1. Trump wants to deport millions of illegal aliens.  These are people that have raised families here.  They pay taxes.  They commit crimes at a much lower rate than others.  And, this is important, they are filling many of the jobs that most of us would not take due to the low pay.  Trump’s policy of deporting these people is, in large part, justified by “They are taking away jobs that belong to U.S. citizens.”  Somehow, Trump is saying that for every field hand we deport, a high paying job is Silicon Valley opens up.
  2. Trump, and the Republican Congress passed a tax bill that takes from the nation as a whole, and gives to the vastly rich.  There are two ideas behind this: (1) Rich people will hire us to mow their lawn if they have more money.  This is known as Trickle-Down economics and is the most widely disproven economic theory there is.  And (2) Corporations will use their tax breaks to raise wages.  This makes the assumption that corporations are benevolent.  Instead, companies exist to make a profit.  If they already have employees that come to work for $x per hour, why would they pay more?  In fact, they didn’t. Instead, they are in the process of buying back company stock which has the effect of enriching shareholders, not workers.
  3. Trump cut subsidies for Green Energy, one of the fastest growing industries in the world today.  Many of the jobs in this industry are good paying.  Instead, Trump is investing in coal and other fossil fuels; an industry that is rapidly shrinking.
  4. Trump dropped out of the Trans Pacific Partnership and is now threatening to drop out of the World Trade Organization.  There is no clear reason for doing this but the outcomes are certain.  These are the exact steps one would take if they wanted to reduce the amount of goods we sell overseas.  Confusingly, Trump complains about the Trade Deficit all the time.  He thinks its a bad thing (it’s not) and then he does the exact opposite of what it would take to increase exports.
  5. Trump is putting tariffs on everyone that pisses him off.  As president, he can levy a tariff as high as 25% if it is deemed necessary for national security.  So,  suddenly, Canadian cheese imports are a threat.  The result of this is two-fold.  First, is causes our trading partners to levy counter-tariffs against us.  These counter-tariffs raise the price of our goods overseas.  Harley Davidson is a good example of this.  Tariffs placed on their product means they will sell fewer of these  overseas…unless….they move the factories and jobs overseas…which is exactly what Harley Davidson is doing.  Secondly, we now pay more for good that are imported.  If we put a tax on imported steel, then everything that uses imported steel will cost us more.  Already we are seeing spikes in goods like automobiles.

In summary, Trump touts jobs and then does everything he can to eliminate them.  He claims he is putting more money into the hands of the middle class and yet, they small amount we all get from the tax cut is quickly eaten up by the higher prices we are paying for anything imported.

And here is the kicker.  Europe, China and the rest of the world want to make this stop.  they actually want to know what it will take to make Trump stop this Globally Destructive behavior.

The thing is, even Trump doesn’t know what he wants.  The conversation goes like this…

Trump:  Here are some tariffs on the rest of the world.

The World: What can we do to make you change your mind?

Trump: I have no idea.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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Said in my best “not fake news” voice

This just in:  I saw some responses from Trump supporters when they were asked about the Mueller investigation.  They used terms like “witch hunt” and “fake news”.  In spite of the fact that there are about 20 indictments and 5 guilty findings so far, people seem to think this is all about nothing.  My guess is that they watch Fox News.  However, I watch other stations and maybe I’m being influenced as well.

So, I thought that I would report some facts and leave out the commentary.  This will let you, the reader, make up your own mind without my influence.

Here we go…

  1. Trump Lawyer Cohen set up a company that has received millions of dollars from other countries and businesses based on Cohen’s promise of access to the president.
  2. A mysterious source of banned CFC emissions has been discovered coming from East Asia. These are the banned ozone-destroying chemicals.
  3. Trump wants to help China save 75,000 Chinese jobs by helping a telephone manufacturing company that the United States has found to be a danger to national security.
  4. China is providing $500,000,000 to a Trump-linked project in Indonesia. (Note:  The announcement about this money and Trump saving China jobs came within about 2 days of each other).
  5. Canada is pissed that Israeli snipers shot a Canadian doctor at the Israeli border with Palestine. The doctor was in Doctor Garb and helping a wounded man at the time he was shot.  60 Palestinian people died that day for protesting at the border.  Note: Some protesters threw fire bombs at the fence/border.
  6. Japan is planning on a $400,000,000 hit on U.S. Goods in response to Trump’s tariff.
  7. Senate investigation concludes Russia wanted to help Trump win the election.
  8. France complains to U.N. about Israeli killings of Palestinian protesters.
  9. European Union President warns world the U.S. President is “A bad friend who acts with capricious assertiveness.”
  10. Ebola outbreak in Congo
  11. E.U. is willing to block U.S. sanctions on Iran.
  12. Trump lawyer asked Qatari government for $1,000,000 which he claimed would be passed along the Trump family.
  13. North Korea calls South Korea “incompetent”
  14. Without evidence, Trump claims Obama put a spy on his campaign.
  15. Two more women claim Trump paid them “hush” money.
  16. China buys record amount of soy from India as they drop U.S. suppliers because of Trump tariffs.
  17. 13% of Americans consider Trump honest and trustworthy.
  18. FBI head warns about Trump deal with China company ZTE.
  19. The UK agrees with France and Germany that they can uphold the Iran deal without the U.S.
  20. Ex-Secretary of State warns of “alternative realities” with Trump administration.
  21. Steve Bannon asked Cambridge Analytica to help suppress minority voters.
  22. Trump eliminates job of national Cyber-Security Coordinator.
  23. Trump calls some immigrants “animals”
  24. GOP lawmaker says oceans are rising because “rocks are falling into the water.”
  25. The senate narrowly passed Net Neutrality Bill. 100% of those that voted against it were Republicans.
  26. North Korea says it will not hold talks with U.S. unless concessions are made.
  27. There are 186 things Donald Trump Jr. can’t remember of doesn’t know about the meeting with Russians in the Trump Tower.

So, there you have it. These are the top headlines for today.  Just the facts.  Make your own decision.  For example.  North Korea did say what the headline says.  This is a fact.  No speculation about what this means.

However, if I might be so bold as to notice some things….

  1. It looks like Trump and Russia are wearing the same pajamas.
  2. The world does not like that the U.S. reneged on the Iran deal.
  3. Also, the world is against the U.S. tariffs.
  4. China understands that Trump can be bribed.
  5. North Korea looked like they were going to make it easy for Trump…but then changed their mind.
  6. The GOP doesn’t believe in a lot of things that they are paid to “not believe in.”
  7. Trump is a racist that thinks immigrants are “animals” and Africa is a “shithole.”

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

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Pay to Play

This just in:  Ever since Trump first ran for office, we’ve been hearing about the Emoluments Clause (aka Title of Nobility Clause).  Here is what it says in the Constitution:

The Title of Nobility Clause is a provision in Article ISection 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution,[1] that prohibits the federal government from granting titles of nobility, and restricts members of the government from receiving giftsemoluments, offices or titles from foreign states without the consent of the United States Congress. Also known as the Emoluments Clause, it was designed to shield the republican character of the United States against so-called “corrupting foreign influences.” This shield is reinforced by the corresponding prohibition on state titles of nobility in Article I, Section 10, and more generally by the Republican Guarantee Clause in Article IV, Section 4.

In simple terms, it says the President should not be bribable.  He should not profit from foreign enterprises.  He should do his job as president.

Now, on a completely unrelated subject…

Trump has decided to help China’s telephone company ZTE because our sanctions are costing them jobs.  We put these sanctions in place because ZTE shipped banned components to Iran.

Trump made this decision about 72 hours after China agreed to contribute $500,000,000 to a Trump linked project in Indonesia.

Elsewhere...

Trump’s lawyer is in deep trouble for selling access to the president.  He received over $4,000,000 for providing this access.  Money that he can’t account for and some suspect he passed along to his boss…Trump.

Elsewhere…

Last year, Trump’s son-in-law asked Qatar for a personal  loan of about $500,000,000.  When they said “no”, the United States immediately sided with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries in punishing Qatar.

Now, if Trump wasn’t associated with a lifetime of corruption, I might be willing to overlook this.  However, it appears to me that he has turned his presidency into a “Cash Grab.”  This include his apparent love of Russia, who bailed him out of several bankruptcies when no one else would.

On the entertainment page...

My wife and I like to find shows we can watch together.  It’s not unusual for us to spend an hour watching an episode of some show we both like, before turning in for the night.  We look for shows that have a lot of episodes.  There are two reasons for this.  First, if they probably don’t make a lot of episodes of a show no one will like.  Secondly, we don’t want to have to research for a new batch of shows to watch every few days.  Finding an show with a lot of episodes means we have something to watch for weeks.

We have just started watching two shows that we like: Numb3rs and Chuck.

As for shows that I watch without my wife: Justified and Expanse.

Also…I watched the remake of the Lost in Space series.  I liked it a lot.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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I was wrong…imagine that!

This just in:  For basically forever, I have said that the president cannot be held responsible for the economy; at least in the short run (less than a year).

I remember Obama taking over in 2004 and a week later, the Republican Party blamed him for the millions of jobs lost during the Bush administration.  They blamed him if gas prices went up for a month.  They blamed him if the stock market took a 1-day dip.  They blamed him if unemployment went up.  All of this was blamed on him after about 20 minutes in office.

My response was to say, “Hey, Congress passes the laws.  Congress passes the budget.  Our economy is huge and cannot turn on a dime.  The president doesn’t have the power to change the economy very much and has zero ability to change anything economically in the short run.”

Turns out I was wrong…

Trump, all by himself (as the Republican Party acts as if they are busy elsewhere) has managed to tank our economy in about a year.  Yes, we are not in a recession…yet; however, the table has been set for us to begin a steep downward slide into insignificance.

He started with using his executive powers to drop us out the the Trans Pacific Partnership.  This effectively put billions of customers out of reach for our products.  He then started trying to renegotiate NAFTA; a partnership that involves our biggest trading partner, Canada.  Then he started exporting undocumented workers.  Yes, he broke up families but it also sent cheap labor out of the country.  This didn’t create high-paying jobs in the the tech industry.  What it did do was raise the price you pay for nearly everything you buy in a grocery store.

Now it’s tariffs.  It took about a week for a trade war with China to go nuclear.  A trade war with another country is like having a starvation diet competition with your neighbor.  You both suffer until one of you dies.  When that happens, the remaining person can say, “I won” as his body lays crippled on a hospital gurney.  Expect inflation; the inevitable result of a trade war.  Expect higher interest rates; the inevitable result of inflation.  Expect your home value to drop; the inevitable result of high interest rates.

The stock market is having its worst quarter since the Great Depression.  This is all the result of one man….Donald Trump.  A man fooling with our economy that was once called “the dumbest student I ever had” by his college economics professor.

Trump does not know what is in the tax bill he signed.  Trump does not know what is in the Trans Pacific Partnership.  Trump does not know what is in NAFTA. Trump does not understand tariffs or international trade in general.  Trump even famously asked Flynn, his then National Security Advisor, “What’s the difference between a strong dollar and a weak dollar?”

And yet…he is in charge.

So…I was wrong.  The president can have a major impact on the economy.

Score one for the big Cheeto in the White House.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

Note: I drop out of Facebook on 1 May.  If you want to still read these posts (for some reason), make sure you subscribe in the right sidebar.  Also, I will no longer be able to post these blogs on Facebook so if you think others might like the content, from time to time, please repost.

j

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A short list of Trump’s Troubles

This just in:  I was wondering about what Trump thinks of as he starts each day.  What are his priorities?  His goals?  Then it occurred to me that he must have very little time to do anything other than Damage Control.  I would like to think “Poor Trump.  He tries so hard and yet the world is against him.”  However, I think that most, if not all, of his troubles are of his own making.

Let’s take a look at them…

  • Colluding with Russia during the 2016 election has to be high on his list of troubles.  This is not an illegal thing unless there was a Quid Pro Quo; unless he promised them favors in exchange for their help.
  • The Mueller investigation seems to be expanding.  Mueller has the ability to investigate anything that arises as a result of his initial investigation into Russian Collusion.  This has given birth to a whole family of problems.
  1. Trump’s extensive Russian connections are being discovered.
  2. Trump’s finances are being investigated.
  3. Trump’s daughter and son-in-law are being investigated.
  4. Money laundering comes up a lot
  5. Dealings with Russian banks is a constant; especially when they found ways to loan him money when normal banks would not.
  6. Several of his closest associates have been indicted including his Senior Security Advisor and his campaign manager.  It’s as if everyone Trump worked with in his campaign is associated with Russia.
  7. Obstruction charges are likely to be brought simply because Trump has and is actively trying to stop the investigation.  This includes firing the head of the FBI as well as constant pressure to get his Attorney General to quit.

But wait…there is more outside of the Russia stuff…

  • Trump has dropped the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, leaving our seat at the head of the table empty, until China stepped in.
  • Trump has dropped the U.S. out of the Trans Pacific Partnership, leaving our seat at the head of the table empty, until China stepped in.  (China is not part of the TPP but is suddenly a major player in the regions economics and will likely join the TPP soon).
  • Trump has pissed on Canada and Mexico by trying to renegotiate NAFTA even though he apparently has no idea what that means.
  • Trump lies constantly which really highlights “Oh what a tangled web we weave.”  He seems to have overcome the burden of remembering his lies by simply not caring about them. However, his international credibility is shot; especially since he recently announced he intentionally likes to Canada’s PM.
  • The EU is putting together plans to ramp up a trade war after Trump fired the first shot with needless tariffs.
  • The Deficit is starting to shoot up and out of control following the recent tax plan; a plan that gives billions to the richest among us and virtually nothing to the poor and middle class.
  • The mid-term elections are shaping up to be a runaway for the Democrats if recent special elections are any indicator.  Republicans are being dumped right and left as the country observes their complicit behavior when it comes to Trump’s misdeeds.
  • An analytical firm that played a very major role in Trump’s election was recently outed as a company willing do just about anything to get their client elected.  Just by being associated with this company has cost Facebook $50 billion in the last 48 hours.  Trump, Russia, Bannon and Kershner all have their thumbs in this toxic pie.
  • A pornstar is about to spill the beans on Trump.  Watch 60 minutes this Sunday.
  • Trump got tens of millions of dollars from the NRA who is now being investigated for taking money from Russia and passing it along to Trump.  The is made worse by the fact that a bunch of teenagers noticed that the NRA is apparently a terrorist organization.
  • Trump is under criticism for his “brilliant” plan to fight the opioid crisis with a combination of commercials and death sentences.
  • Trump’s cabinet is experiencing the highest turnover in modern history with insiders describing Trump’s organization as being “in chaos.”

So, he wakes up to Russia, to money laundering, to questionable associations, to a world now led by China and to at least one pornstar.

Which of these are not of his own making.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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The State of Trump’s Union

This just in:  I didn’t watch the State of the Union address live.  There are two reasons for this.  First, I have learned that nothing Trump says means anything and secondly, Guardians of the Galaxy was on another channel.

I did read quite a bit about it and came away feeling unimpressed.  This does not mean disappointed, just…so what.

Here are my State of the Union talking points.

The three biggest winners of the Trump presidency thus far are (1) large corporations, (2) Russia and (3) China.

  1. Corporations win because they got a huge tax cut.  They basically saw their profit margins take a big leap and all they had to do was pay for the lobbyists that got the bill passed into law.
  2. Russia wins because of the Quid Pro Quo they have with Trump.  They helped him win an election and he does not implement tough sanctions that Congress passed nearly unanimously.
  3. China wins because every time we step away from a trade deal, they step in.  The future will record this last year as the turning point: that point in time where the United States stopped leading the world and let China take a shot at it.

The three biggest losers of the Trump presidency thus far are (1) non-super rich tax payers and (2) American security and (3) the truth.

  1. Trump says, “I just passed the biggest tax cut of all time.”  What he should have said is, “I just charged the biggest debt to our national credit card of all time.”  He should also say, “The debt would have been even bigger except the states of New York and California will pay higher taxes as a result of my national tax cut.”  Now, if we get the 4% or 5% growth Trump claims we’ll get from this tax deal, I will eat my words.  But he won’t.  Not even close.  This was nothing more than a redistribution of wealth from the middle class and poor to the very richest of the rich.
  2. American Security has taken a hit from several fronts.  Trump has alienated NATO.  Trump has allowed Russia into his inner sanctum where they now call the shots.  Trump has attached our FBI and National Security agencies; hurting their credibility.  As we will see by 2019 when we slide into a Trump recession, he has weakened our economy which is the very soul of our strength.
  3. As for the truth…that doesn’t seem to matter at all any more.  When I saw that Bush lied about the WMD’s 15 years ago, I left the Republican Party.  Now, Trump does worse than that on a nearly daily basis.  It sometimes feel like “opposite day” has stretched into the infinite future.  Everything Trump does makes absolutely no sense…unless you suspend your belief that the truth matters.

I really wanted Trump to succeed.  I didn’t think he would but I would have welcomed the surprise if he did.

Instead, he has been worse than I could have imagined.

Now, a secret part of me wants him to fail – spectacularly.  I want this because only such a monumental failure will have the potential of turning the heads of those Trump Faithful Forever.  Something needs to happen that slaps some of these blind followers right up side their heads in a way that they can’t help but notice.  Notice that their King has no clothes.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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