Opinion | Stop Calling Trump a Populist – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“Message to those in the news media who keep calling Donald Trump a “populist”: I do not think that word means what you think it means.

It’s true that Trump still, on occasion, poses as someone who champions the interests of ordinary working Americans against those of the elite. And I guess there’s a sense in which his embrace of white nationalism gives voice to ordinary Americans who share his racism but have felt unable to air their prejudice in public.

But he’s been in office for a year and a half, time enough to be judged on what he does, not what he says. And his administration has been relentlessly anti-worker on every front. Trump is about as populist as he is godly — that is, not at all.

Start with tax policy, where Trump’s major legislative achievement is a tax cut that mainly benefits corporations — whose tax payments have fallen off a cliff — and has done nothing at all to raise wages. The tax plan does so little for ordinary Americans that Republicans have stopped campaigning on it. Yet the administration is floating the (probably illegal) idea of using executive action to cut taxes on the rich by an extra $100 billion.”

DL: Yes, Thank you. And here is a top comment I recommended:
Pono
Big IslandAug. 2
Times Pick
The term “Populist” was never, and will never be, accurate in describing him.
The word “demagogue” is the shoe that fits.
Defined as:
“a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument”
Sound familiar?

Reply 738 Recommended

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Opinion | Trump’s Supreme Betrayal – Paul Krugman – NYT

“By now, it’s almost a commonplace to say that Trump has systematically betrayed the white working class voters who put him over the top. He ran as a populist; he’s governed as an orthodox Republican, with the only difference being the way he replaced racial dog-whistles with raw, upfront racism.

Many people have made this point with respect to the Trump tax cut, which is so useless to ordinary workers that Republican candidates are trying to avoid talking about it. The same can be said about health care, where Democrats are making Trump’s assault on the Affordable Care Act a major issue while Republicans try to change the subject.

But I think we should be seeing more attention devoted to the way Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court fits into this picture. The Times had a good editorial on Kavanaugh’s anti-worker agenda, but by and large the news analyses I’ve seen focus on his apparently expansive views of presidential authority and privilege.

I agree that these are important in the face of a lawless president with authoritarian instincts. But the business and labor issues shouldn’t be neglected. Kavanaugh is, to put it bluntly, an anti-worker radical, opposed to every effort to protect working families from fraud and mistreatment.”

David Lindsay: Yes, Bravo. Here is the top comment to enjoy.
Socrates
Downtown Verona. NJJuly 30
As far as a majority of Republican and Trump voters are concerned, the United States Supreme Court is for enshrining Christian Shariah Law, negating the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts and preserving the inalienable right of White Christian Male terrorists to randomly slaughter as many Americans as possible based on their individual mood swings.

The corporate and 1% raping of 99% of America doesn’t really register with these voters.

As long as Republicans wave the slightly veiled neo-Confederate flag of White Spite, these voters are perfectly comfortable with 350:1 CEO:worker pay ratios, the elimination of class action suits, mandated corporate arbitration, the destruction of union/worker rights, the fouling of the water, the air and the land, and the elimination of all common sense regulation that protects consumers, citizens and the non-rich.

Trump and the Grand Old Plantation party know exactly what they’re doing and they’ve been doing it very effectively since 1968 when they began their neo-Confederate Strategy.

The Republican Party is no friend of anyone except the richest Americans.

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” Lyndon B. Johnson

Kavanaugh is for Corporate Shariah Law that reduces Republican voters to Grand Old Peasants.

D for democracy; R for right-wing, Randian radicalism.

Resist.

Reply783 Recommended

Opinion | More on a Job Guarantee (Wonkish) – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“As I wrote the other day, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may call herself a socialist and represent the left wing of the Democratic party, but her policy ideas are pretty reasonable. In fact, Medicare for All is totally reasonable; any arguments against it are essentially political rather than economic.

A federal jobs guarantee is more problematic, and a number of progressive economists with significant platforms have argued against it: Josh Bivens, Dean Baker, Larry Summers. (Yes, Larry Summers: whatever you think of his role in the Clinton and Obama administrations, he’s a daring, unconventional thinker when not in office, with a strongly progressive lean.) And I myself don’t think it’s the best way to deal with the problem of low pay and inadequate employment; like Bivens and his colleagues at EPI, I’d go for a more targeted set of policies.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval
“But I’m fine with candidates like AOC (can we start abbreviating?)” No, no NO! You can call her Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or just Ocasio-Cortez. The public is still learning her name and her record. You are part of the cabal. The NYT is on a secret mission to hide the fact that Ocasio-Cortez is also a hard-line environmentalist, and has called for a Green New Deal for sustainable energy development, soft words for a Marshall Plan of investment for combating climate change through sustainable energy development. David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

Opinion | Just Saying Yes to Drug Companies – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“Last week we learned that Novartis, the Swiss drug company, had paid Michael Cohen — Donald Trump’s personal lawyer — $1.2 million for what ended up being a single meeting. Then, on Friday, Trump announced a “plan” to reduce drug prices.

Why the scare quotes? Because the “plan” was mostly free of substance, controlled or otherwise. (O.K., there were a few ideas that experts found interesting, but they were fairly marginal.) During the 2016 campaign Trump promised to use the government’s power, including Medicare’s role in paying for prescription drugs, to bring drug prices down. But none of that was in his speech on Friday.

And if someone tries to convince you that Trump really is getting tough on drug companies, there’s a simple response: If he were, his speech wouldn’t have sent drug stocks soaring.

None of this should come as a surprise. At this point, “Trump Breaks Another of His Populist Promises” is very much a dog-bites-man headline. But there are two substantive questions here. First, should the U.S. government actually do what Trump said he would do, but didn’t? And if so, why haven’t we taken action on drug prices?”

Opinion | Let Them Eat Trump Steaks – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“In general, Donald Trump is notoriously uninterested in policy details. It has long been obvious, for example, that he never bothered to find out what his one major legislative victory, the 2017 tax cut, actually did. Similarly, it’s pretty clear that he had no idea what was actually in the Iran agreement he just repudiated.

In each case, it was about ego rather than substance: scoring a “win,” undoing his predecessor’s achievement.But there are some policy issues he really does care about. By all accounts, he really hates the idea of people receiving “welfare,” by which he means any government program that helps people with low income, and he wants to eliminate such programs wherever possible.”

Opinion | Politicians Don’t Need New Ideas – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“The 2020 election is still two and a half years away, but the Big Sneer is already underway. Name a potential Democratic candidate, and you know how pundits will react: the same way they reacted to Al Gore and Hillary Clinton. He/she (especially she), they’ll say, is tired, boring, annoying. Above all, they’ll complain, he/she doesn’t offer any new ideas.

Somehow it’s always Democrats who get this kind of criticism, even though every prominent Republican for the past three decades has espoused the same three bad ideas: tax cuts for the rich, slashed benefits for the poor, and more pollution. Paul Ryan 2010 was basically Newt Gingrich 1995 with a lower BMI, yet he got praised endlessly as an innovative thinker.

But let’s leave the asymmetric treatment of the parties aside, and ask a simple question: why, exactly, do we demand that politicians have new ideas?

I’m not saying that politicians shouldn’t be open to new thinking and evidence about policy. But a political party isn’t like Apple, which needs to keep coming up with glitzier products to stay ahead of Android. There are huge problems with U.S. policy on many fronts, but very few of these problems come from lack of good new ideas. They come, instead, from failure to act on what we already know – and, for the most part, have known for a long time.”

DL: Keep reading. Hallelujah for Paul Krugman.

Opinion | How’s That Tax Cut Working Out? – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“. . . To get major wage gains before, for example, the 2024 election — never mind 2020 — we’d need to have a huge near-term boom in business investment, mainly financed by inflows of capital from overseas. I mean really, really huge. And there’s no sign that this is happening.True, business investment as a share of G.D.P. is up slightly over the past year, but it’s still well below its level before the financial crisis — let alone the heights it reached in the 1990s.

Is it just too soon to expect results? Are businesses getting ready to ramp up investment, so that we’ll see them laying out the big bucks in the near future? Not according to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. A vast majority of businesses say either that the tax law has had no effect on their investment plans, or that they are planning only a modest increase.

In short, the effects of the Trump tax cut are already looking like the effects of the Brownback tax cut in Kansas, the Bush tax cut and every other much-hyped tax cut of the past three decades: big talk, big promises, but no results aside from a swollen budget deficit.

You might think that the G.O.P. would eventually learn something from this experience, realize that tax cuts aren’t magical, and come up with some different ideas. But I guess it’s difficult for a man to understand something when his campaign contributions depend on his not understanding it.”

Opinion | Scam I Amn’t: Voters and the Tax Cut – by Paul Krugman – NYT

I don’t know what will happen in the midterm elections. But if Republicans pull it out – that is, if they lose the popular vote by a small enough margin that gerrymandering and the geographic concentration of nonwhite voters frustrate the public’s will – it will be the result of tribalism. It won’t be because the G.O.P. won voters over with a tax cut.That’s not what they expected. The people who rammed through a massive tax cut without hearings or analysis thought they could sell it to voters as free money for everyone; never mind the big bucks for corporations and the wealthy, look at the extra cash we’re putting in your pocket.

Opinion | Unicorns of the Intellectual Right – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“The hiring-then-firing of Kevin Williamson followed a familiar script. A mainstream media organization hires a conservative in the name of intellectual diversity, then is shocked, shocked to discover that he’s dishonest and/or holds truly reprehensible views – something that the organization could have discovered with a few minutes on Google. But when the bad hire is let go, the right treats him as a martyr, proof of liberal refusal to let alternative viewpoints be heard. Why does this keep happening?

As others have pointed out, the real problem here is that media organizations are looking for unicorns: serious, honest, conservative intellectuals with real influence. Forty or fifty years ago, such people did exist. But now they don’t.”

Yes. And here is the most popular comment:

Socrates
Downtown Verona. NJ

In 1993, Kudlow predicted that Bill Clinton’s tax increases would dampen economic growth.

When the economy boomed in the late-1990s, Kudlow credited it to tax cuts enacted during the Reagan administration (1981-1989).

Kudlow was a strong advocate of George W. Bush’s substantial tax cuts, and argued that the tax cuts would lead to an economic boom of equal magnitude.

After the implementation of the Bush tax cuts, Kudlow insisted year after year that the economy was in the middle of a “Bush boom”, and chastised other commentators for failing to realize it.

Kudlow firmly denied that the United States would enter a recession in 2007, or that it was in the midst of a recession in early to mid-2008. In December 2007, he wrote: “The recession debate is over. It’s not gonna happen. Time to move on. At a bare minimum, we are looking at Goldilocks 2.0. The Bush boom is alive and well. It’s finishing up its sixth splendid year with many more years to come”.

In a May 2008 column entitled “‘R’ is for ‘Right'”, Kudlow wrote: “President George W. Bush may turn out to be the top economic forecaster in the country”.

By July 2008, Kudlow continued to deny that the economy was looking poor, saying “We are in a mental recession, not an actual recession.”

The most important Republican political talent is a sociopathic combination of pathological liars, congenital greedsters, and award-winning incompetents.

Republicans adore manmade catastrophe.

Grand Old Psychopaths are in the cockpit.

Opinion | What’s the Matter With Trumpland? – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“Take, for example, the case of Mississippi, America’s poorest state. In the 1930s, per-capita income in Mississippi was only 30 percent as high as per-capita income in Massachusetts. By the late 1970s, however, that figure was almost 70 percent — and most people probably expected this process of convergence to continue.

But the process went into reverse instead: These days, Mississippi is back down to only about 55 percent of Massachusetts income. To put this in international perspective, Mississippi now is about as poor relative to the coastal states as Sicily is relative to northern Italy.

Mississippi isn’t an isolated case. As a new paper by Austin, Glaeser and Summers documents, regional convergence in per-capita incomes has stopped dead. And the relative economic decline of lagging regions has been accompanied by growing social problems: a rising share of prime-aged men not working, rising mortality, high levels of opioid consumption.

An aside: One implication of these developments is that William Julius Wilson was right. Wilson famously argued that the social ills of the nonwhite inner-city poor had their origin not in some mysterious flaws of African-American culture but in economic factors — specifically, the disappearance of good blue-collar jobs. Sure enough, when rural whites faced a similar loss of economic opportunity, they experienced a similar social unraveling.”