Let's Fix This Country
the economy

The Deficit Soars, the Debt Balloons, So Let’s Cut Taxes Again

Trump wants to make that a second term promise

In his State of the Union address, the president celebrated the economy with exuberance:

"In just over two years since the election, we have launched an unprecedented economic boom — a boom that has rarely been seen before. There’s been nothing like it… The U.S. economy is growing almost twice as fast today as when I took office. And we are considered, far and away, the hottest economy anywhere in the world. Not even close."

Hyperbole and "twice as fast" falsehood aside, the economy is indeed flourishing. Unemployment is near an historic low with millions of jobs created, wages of the

lower-paid have finally been rising, inflation remains tamed. Mr. Trump is in the habit of taking all credit but the boom arrived at the culmination of a long and continuous upward trajectory from the deepest dive we've seen in our lifetimes dubbed the Great Recession. For his part, he did give the economy an added boost by signing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that slashed corporate taxes from 35% to 21% and left the public with a bit more money after withholding's bite of their paychecks.

But he did so at a great cost that went unmentioned in his speech. Days earlier the Treasury Department announced that the deficit for calendar year 2019 had topped $1 trillion for the first time since the 2008 economic collapse, a plunge that brought unemployment of 9.9% at the outset, followed by an economy of part-time "gigs" and minimum wage paychecks that crippled government revenues. Government revenue in 2009 was only $2.1 trillion compared to $3.44 trillion last year.

Compared to those years, how could a $1 trillion deficit happen at a time of 3.6% unemployment, rising wages, a soaring stock market? A trillion-dollar-plus…

law

Did Roger Stone Deserve 7-to-9?

Whether or not, we're looking at the breakdown of the American justice system

With the sentencing of former Trump adviser Roger Stone imminent, the president tweeted his displeasure at the sentencing recommendation of seven-to-nine years, Attorney General William Barr immediately reduced the guidelines, Trump congratulated Barr for doing so, four prosecutors quit the case in protest,

one quitting the department altogether, and Barr unleashed a stunning rebuke of the president's "public statements and tweets", saying they "make it impossible for me to do my job".

That leaves out a lot, stated in brief because you probably already know the story. It headlined every television news program and newspaper for days. But our take here is to do what the breathless reporting hasn't done: delve into the question of whether the proposed sentence is fair or unjust. To answer that, we turned to the indictment itself. The takeaway is mostly that the disputants don't seem to know what the charges against Stone say. We'll get to that.

Barr claimed that he was already working to mitigate the sentence, had spoken to one of the prosecutors, when Trump burst forth with his opening salvo:



The proseutors went ahead anyway, ignoring Barr, and issueing a 26-page sentencing memorandum calling for seven-to-nine years in prison for Stone. That caused Barr to step in the next day to call for a reduction and earning Trump's appreciation:



This takes us from seven-to-nine years to "a case that…perhaps should not have even been brought" accompanied by a libel of Robert Mueller who did no such…

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foreign policy

Deeply Cynical “Peace Plan” Is a Gift for Israel

For decades America's presidents

have pursued the grail of a peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians, an achievement that would add luster to their names, not to mention a sure fire Nobel Peace Prize. All of them failed. Donald Trump, who thought he should have won that prize last year — "I saved a country…I saved a big war, I've saved a couple of them" he said, without further explanation — has found the answer: simply impose a plan on the Palestinians, they to have no say. It's "the deal of the century", he proclaimed.

For Trump in this election year, the move is to bolster support of evangelicals, who believe God's eternal promise gave Jerusalem — and the rest of Palestine — to the Jewish people, and what kick-starts the apocalypse is Israel’s takeover of the Holy Land. Israel is delighted with this support, even though the evangelicals' end times call for the conversion or extermination of the Jewish people.

The plan is a gift to Bibi Netanyahu, who needed to please right-wing Israelis just before a third election in a country that has not been able to form an enduring coalition. There in the White House to announce the diktat… Read More »

entitlements

Social Security: A Year Closer to Crisis and Still No Fix

Over 40% of millennials think they'll get nothing

"Nobody in politics wants to deal with Social Security a second before they have to", quipped Alan Simpson, the towering former Republican senator from Wyoming. That again held true in 2019 even though the money coming in from payroll taxes is no longer sufficient to pay benefits. Starting in 2018 the administration had to begin recalling the surplus tax collections it has loaned to

the federal government over the years, but that so-called trust fund will run out in 2034. From that point forward the SSA won't have enough and will have to cut benefits to all retirees by by 21%.

The country was faced with this same threat in 1983, but Congress raised the payroll tax and the eligibility age, sending revenues into surplus enough to keep the system healthy for over three decades. Congress shows no sign of taking action this time. Fourteen years will go by quickly. Where will that leave you?

Let's first take the measure of the crushing demands the Social Security program faces in coming years. As it is, in fiscal 2019 it paid $1.1 trillion in benefits to 69 million recipients, assisted 43 million visitors at its offices, and fielded 75 million calls to its toll-free line. The population bulge of those born between 1946 and 1964 — the Baby Boomers — define its future. They… Read More »

impeachment

So Many Reasons Not to Impeach

The president's defense in the Senate trial hoisted a flurry of reasons that impeachment was unwarranted. We put together the following list with our own observations. You can probably think of a couple we overlooked:

Why impeach when the election is so near? has been the most pervasive argument. Let the voters decide whether President Trump should remain in office. Democrats remind us that the moment he heard Robert Mueller's anemic performance before Congress, Trump declared, "I can do whatever I want as president of the United States", and then did precisely that… Read More »

impeachment

The Perfect Phone Call That Everyone Knew Was Wrong

"Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats? AND I DID NOTHING WRONG!". Donald Trump believes that because, hadn't he decreed that "I can do anything I want as president of the United States" just the day before he made his "perfect" July 25th phone call? He was incapable of wrong.

It was striking just how universal was the opposite reaction when one after another witness in the impeachment hearings said they knew that what they were hearing… Read More »

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