America Is Not Yet Lost – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“Many of us came into 2017 expecting the worst. And in many ways, the worst is what we got.Donald Trump has been every bit as horrible as one might have expected; he continues, day after day, to prove himself utterly unfit for office, morally and intellectually. And the Republican Party — including so-called moderates — turns out, if anything, to be even worse than one might have expected. At this point it’s evidently composed entirely of cynical apparatchiks, willing to sell out every principle — and every shred of their own dignity — as long as their donors get big tax cuts.

Meanwhile, conservative media have given up even the pretense of doing real reporting, and become blatant organs of ruling-party propaganda.Yet I’m ending this year with a feeling of hope, because tens of millions of Americans have risen to the occasion. The U.S. may yet become another Turkey or Hungary — a state that preserves the forms of democracy but has become an authoritarian regime in practice. But it won’t happen as easily or as quickly as many of us had feared.”

Yes. Thank you Paul Krugman. Here are two top comments I ed=ndorsed.

R. Law

is a trusted commenter Texas 15 hours ago

Dr. K., we trust in the American people, but with McConnell, McCain, Graham, and other GOP’ers having all taken $7+ million$ from a Russian oligarch connected not just to Putin but to one of the sanctioned Russian banks in the 2016 cycle according to the Dallas Morning News:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/8/4/1687031/-Dallas-Morning-News-R…

it appears the entire GOP will fall in lockstep behind Putin’s Poodle POTUS, to conceal the nefariousness that tars their party.

It is an additional reason GOP’ers are trying to throw up dust by investigating the uranium deal with Russia that occurred under Obama.

We find the quote from David Frum (speechwriter for Dubya) in his new book ‘Trumpocracy’ to be chillingly believable, from what we’ve observed:

” If Republicans become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism, they will reject democracy. ”

From here, it looks like Winter is upon us, in the form of GOP’er vultures.

At least in Tibet, people are dead before they are fed to the buzzards:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3301536/The-Tibetan-sky-burials-…

Ralph Averill

New Preston, Ct 13 hours ago

I am optimistic as well. The Trump phenomena has awaken many sleepy Democrats and perhaps inspired a lot of independents who no longer have Hillary Clinton to kick around any more.
I think many Americans have come to realize that it really can happen here; we can lose this great experiment. We are only two or three elections away from giving it all away. The 2018 mid-term elections will be the most critical elections since just before the Civil War.

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Passing Through to Corruption – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“Unless something drastic happens, this will be the week Republicans ram through a tax cut that adds more than a trillion dollars to federal debt while undermining health care for millions. They will do so by violating all previous norms for major legislation, having held not a single hearing and rushed to a vote before the new senator from Alabama could be seated.The question is, why are they doing this? For this bill isn’t just a policy crime; it also seems to be a political mistake. It will, however, be good, one way or another, for the bank accounts of quite a few Republican members of Congress. Is that why it will pass?

About the politics: Normally, politicians willing to add a trillion dollars to the debt can hand out enough goodies to make their plans popular, at least for a while. The George W. Bush tax cuts heavily favored the rich over the middle class, but they contained enough clear middle-class tax cuts to have broad public approval, at least at first.This bill, however, faces heavy disapproval. Ordinary voters may not be able to parse all the details, but they have figured out that this bill is a giveaway to corporations and the wealthy that will end up hurting most families. This negative view isn’t likely to change.”

Republicans Are Coming for Your Benefits – Paul Krugman – NYT

“Republicans don’t care about budget deficits, and never did. They only pretend to care about deficits when one of two things is true: a Democrat is in the White House, and deficit rhetoric can be used to block his agenda, or they see an opportunity to slash social programs that help needy Americans, and can invoke deficits as an excuse. All of this has been obvious for years to anyone paying attention.

So it’s not at all surprising that they were willing to enact a huge tax cut for corporations and the wealthy even though all independent estimates said this would add more than $1 trillion to the national debt. And it was also predictable that they would return to deficit posturing as soon as the deed was done, citing the red ink they themselves produced as a reason to cut social spending.

Yet even the most cynical among us are startled both by how quickly the bait-and-switch is proceeding and by the contempt Republicans are showing for the public’s intelligence.In fact, the switch began even before the marks swallowed the bait.

During the Senate debate over the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Senator Orrin Hatch was challenged over support for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers nine million U.S. children — but whose funding lapsed two months ago, and has not been renewed. Hatch declared his support for the program, but insisted that “the reason CHIP’s having trouble is because we don’t have money anymore” — just before voting for a trillion-and-a-half-dollar tax cut that will deliver the bulk of its benefits to the richest few percent of the population.He then went on to say, “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything.” “

Republicans’ Tax Lies Show the Rot Spreads Wide and Runs Deep – Paul Krugman – NYT

“On Thursday morning, The New York Times revealed that Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, has been lying for months about Republican tax plans. Mnuchin has repeatedly claimed the existence of a Treasury report that — unlike every independent, nonpartisan assessment — found that these plans would pay for themselves, increasing growth and hence revenues so much that the deficit wouldn’t rise. But there is no such report, and never has been; Treasury staffers weren’t even asked to study the issue.

Also on Thursday, John McCain — who has delivered sanctimonious lectures on the importance of “regular order” in the Senate — declared his support for the G.O.P. tax bill. Remember, Senate leaders rushed this bill to the floor without holding any hearings or soliciting expert testimony (and tax policy is an area where you really, really need to hear from experts, lawyers and accountants even more than economists). In fact, at the time McCain declared his support, some key provisions were still secret, so they could be presented for a vote with no time for debate.

McCain declared that he had made his decision after “careful consideration.” Careful consideration of what? He didn’t even wait for an analysis of the bill’s economic impact by the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’s own scorekeeper — the only official assessment, since the Trump administration was, as I said, lying when it claimed to have its own analysis.Later that day the joint committee delivered its predictable verdict: Like all other reasonable studies, its review found that the Senate bill would do little for U.S. economic growth, while directly hurting tens of millions of middle-class Americans, blowing up the deficit, lavishing benefits on the wealthy and opening up new frontiers for tax avoidance. But thanks to the moral collapse of McCain and other supposedly principled Republicans, at the time this column was filed the bill nonetheless seemed on track to clear the Senate.”

David Lindsay:  Thank you Paul Krugman. It is easy to give in to despair, upon such grave and dismal anlaysis. I consoled one despondent friend recently, that the pendulum will swing back in the direction of progessive democracy, unless there is a right wing coup. Economists on both sides of the aisle have been suggesting for years that a 20% corporate tax rate makes a great deal of good sense, when coupled with eliminating the myriad loop holes, that allow many corporation to pay less than 20%, even zero percent, when many smaller companies pay much more than 20%. This 20% corporate tax rate might well be something to build on, Paul Krugman is right, as usual, when he ends his piece saying the only solution to GOP bullying and lies now is through electoral politics. The way to get back to environmental sanity, probity and compassion, is by dilligence at the ballot box. Lets give the pendulum a little push.
David Lindsay Jr is the author of The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam, and blogs at InconvenientNews.wordpress.com.

The Biggest Tax Scam in History – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“Donald Trump likes to declare that every good thing that happens while he’s in office — job growth, rising stock prices, whatever — is the biggest, greatest, best ever. Then the fact-checkers weigh in and quickly determine that the claim is false.

But what’s happening in the Senate right now really does deserve Trumpian superlatives. The bill Republican leaders are trying to ram through this week without hearings, without time for even a basic analysis of its likely economic impact, is the biggest tax scam in history. It’s such a big scam that it’s not even clear who’s being scammed — middle-class taxpayers, people who care about budget deficits, or both.

One thing is clear, however: One way or another, the bill would hurt most Americans. The only big winners would be the wealthy — especially those who mainly collect income from their assets rather than working for a living — plus tax lawyers and accountants who would have a field day exploiting the many loopholes the legislation creates.The core of the bill is a huge redistribution of income from lower- and middle-income families to corporations and business owners. Corporate tax rates go down sharply, while ordinary families are nickel-and-dimed by a series of tax changes, no one of which is that big a deal in itself, but which add up to significant tax increases on almost two-thirds of middle-class taxpayers.Meanwhile, the bill would partially repeal Obamacare, in a way that would sharply reduce aid to lower-income families and raise the cost of insurance for many in the middle class.”

DL:: Bravo Dr. Krugman.

Here is one of many good comments I endorse.

gemli

is a trusted commenter Boston 13 hours ago

The logic is clear. For Republicans, there are two groups of people: those with high net worth, and those without. In other words, one group is worth a lot, and the other is worthless. Why would anyone give away precious money to worthless people?

It would be interesting if someone had recorded what went on in those Republican tax strategy sessions. I’m sure it would be similar to Romney’s Moochers and Takers bombshell, except that we’d hear an eerie chorus of wizened Republicans stroking their bankrolls and softly hissing “my precioussss,” much as Gollum did as he stroked The Ring.

These guys simply want all the money. They don’t care who gets hurt, because they’re fixated on the idea that the poor and the needy aren’t worth their keep. Orrin Hatch responded angrily to a similar accusation by a Democrat by saying hey, he was poor once. But of course, now he’s loaded. He’s proven his worth, unlike those lazy takers who didn’t have the wherewithal to become a Senator. Let ‘em eat cake.

Republicans couldn’t get away with this in a country whose citizens were worth saving. It’s a hallmark of the American people that they can be utterly clueless, have no awareness of their self-interests, can be wooed by the most simpleminded scams and yet still find a voting booth and pull a lever that may as well be connected to a trap door under their sorry feet.

 

Paul Krugman | Lies- Incoherence and Rage on Tax Cuts – NYT 

“One thing you can count on in 21st-century U.S. politics is that Republicans will lie about taxes. They did it under George W. Bush, they did it under Barack Obama and they’re still doing it under Donald Trump.

Yet this time is different. It’s not just that the lies have gotten even more brazen. There’s now a combination of incoherence and rage that we, or at least I, haven’t seen before. These days, they can’t even seem to get their fake story straight — and they literally start yelling obscenities when someone tries to point out the facts.

G.O.P. lies about taxes generally involve two issues: who is hurt or helped by tax changes, and what these changes will do to the budget.”

Donald Trump- Paul Ryan and the Con Man Caucus – by Paul Krugman – NYT

Paul Krugman savages Paul Ryan, and rightfully so. He then goes on:

“But these big tax cuts would blow a multitrillion-dollar hole in the budget, so Republicans have been scrambling to find “pay-fors” that limit the addition to the deficit. What they came up with was a hodgepodge of stuff: ending deductions for some state and local taxes, limiting deductions for mortgage interest, phasing out child tax credits, and so on.

Since the point of these measures is to offset tax cuts for the rich, they will, more or less by definition, end up raising taxes on large numbers of middle-class families.Will this bill pass the House? Unclear: Some important interest groups, like homebuilders and the small-business lobby, have already declared opposition. In any case, it almost surely can’t become law in anything like its current form: A tax bill can’t pass the Senate with less than 60 votes if it raises the long-term budget deficit, which this bill surely does. In fact, this bill might not even get a simple Senate majority.”

Read the whole thing, not surprisingly, its brilliant, but easy to understand.
Here are the top comments, all of which I approved:

gemli is a trusted commenter Boston 14 hours ago

Professional wrestlers put on a more convincing show than these Republican millionaires as they try to convince the rubes that they’re looking out for a bunch dumb poor people whose health care they recently tried to destroy. People who believe a single word Ryan and his henchmen say about this “plan” deserve to have their pockets picked.

Government is supposed to protect us from thieves, liars and con men, not hold us down while they skin us alive. But we’ve got a professional scam artist for president and a cadre of self-serving, bible-thumping hypocrites looking for any excuse to steal from the poor to give to the rich.

I suppose they felt emboldened after so many millions of people put an idiot in the White House. No grifter worth his salt would fail to take advantage of people so clueless that they couldn’t tell the difference between presidential and pestilential.

Our only hope is that enough people like Dr. Krugman and the few decent souls who remain in what’s left of this tattered government shine a light on this dark deal and make the saps understand what they’re in for.

On a side note, Where Are The Democrats? They’ve got to make some noise about this. It’s got to be loud, nasty and continuous. At this point, I don’t know what they’ve got to lose.

Reply 840Recommended

Socrates is a trusted commenter Downtown Verona NJ 13 hours ago

We have met the enemy, and it’s Republican.

If you were going to charge $1.5 trillion to the national credit card (because you didn’t have any money), it would be a could idea to spend that money on something productive…like roads, tunnels, bridges, trains, infrastructure, research & development, education, healthcare — items that fuel the economy and make it function better in this ultramodern age.

Spending it on millionaires and rich corporations – which the GOP plan does -who will pass the savings on to a few wealthy shareholders, will accomplish mostly one thing – an explosion of national debt, accompanied by an explosion of debt interest payments and a spike in interest rates that will depress the economy.

If you’re a fan of Greece’s huge national debt, then you’ll be a fan of the GOP’s explode-the-debt plan.

The Republican $1.5 trillion explode-the-debt tax cut plan will put the national debt on GOP steroids.

Under existing tax law, national debt is set to grow from a post-World War II era high of 77% of GDP to 91% by 2027.

With the GOP’s proposed explode-the-debt millionaire tax cut, which would cost about $1.8 trillion after interest costs, national debt would instead reach 97% of GDP in 2027 and equal the size of the American economy by 2028.

Who cares about bankrupting the country when you’ve got a confident Bankruptcy-Filer-In-Chief leading the charge over the reckless cliff ?

Greedy and Stupid is no way to run a nation, and a good way to bankrupt it.

Reply 702Recommended

KJ Portland 13 hours ago

They want to create a huge deficit so they can privatize social security and destroy medicare.

Ryan is a libertarian. Good government is no government.

They want to kill the New Deal.

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Reply 695Recommended

Trump Won’t Bring Joy to Moolaville – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“Over the weekend Donald Trump raged against the Russia “witch hunt,” which he claimed was an effort to distract from his push for “historic Tax Cuts & Reform.” And there actually is a relationship — but it goes in the other direction. If Trump survives this crisis — which may mean that American democracy doesn’t — tax cuts will have a lot to do with it.

For Republicans in Congress know perfectly well that Trump is utterly unfit for office and has been abusing his position for personal gain. Many of them surely suspected, long before Monday’s indictments, that members of his inner circle, and perhaps he himself, have colluded with a hostile foreign power.

If they nonetheless circle the wagons around Trump — in particular, if they allow him to fire Robert Mueller, which now seems all too likely — there will be one main reason: Trump offers their big opportunity to cut taxes for the very wealthy. Indeed, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that almost 80 percent of the Trump tax cut would go to people with incomes over $1 million; these people would get an average cut of around $230,000 a year.

But here’s what gets me: The wealthy donors for whom the G.O.P. will apparently do anything, up to and including covering up for possible treason, will get no joy from their tax cuts.”

The Doctrine of Trumpal Infallibility – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“Last week John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, tried to defend President Trump against charges that he was grossly insensitive to the widow of a U.S. soldier killed in action. In the process, Kelly accused Frederica Wilson, the member of Congress and friend of the soldier’s family who reported what Trump had said, of having behaved badly previously during the dedication of an F.B.I. building.

Video of the dedication shows, however, that Kelly’s claim was false, and that Representative Wilson’s remarks at the ceremony were entirely appropriate. So Kelly, a former general and a man of honor, admitted his error and apologized profusely.See? I made a joke!In reality, of course, Kelly has neither admitted error nor apologized. Instead, the White House declared that it’s unpatriotic to criticize generals — which, aside from being a deeply un-American position, is ludicrous given the many times Donald Trump has done just that.

But we are living in the age of Trumpal infallibility: We are ruled by men who never admit error, never apologize and, crucially, never learn from their mistakes. Needless to say, men who think admitting error makes you look weak just keep making bigger mistakes; delusions of infallibility eventually lead to disaster, and one can only hope that the disasters ahead don’t bring catastrophe for all of us.

Which brings me to the subject of the Federal Reserve. What?

The truth is that what I’m calling Trumpal infallibility — the insistence on clinging to false ideas and refuted claims, no matter what — is a disease that infested the modern Republican Party long before Trump. And one of the areas where the symptoms are especially severe is monetary policy.”

David Lindsay: Bravo. read the whole piece it gets better. Here is a comment I liked:

John Woods.

Madison, Wisconsin 5 hours ago

I have read this column in various forms many times. I am glad you continue to write it, however. I keep hoping that these ideology-bound economists will read it and think to themselves that what you’re saying make sense because it comports with the facts. However, I’m afraid that’s wishful thinking.

But we shouldn’t be surprised given the Republican perspective on global climate change, health care, renewable energy, gun control, labor unions, protection of the environment, immigration, and every other area in which the government operates.

Their policies are nearly always wrong and make things worse rather than better. There is no reason to believe that Trump and his minions’ attitude on monetary policy and who should lead the Fed would be any different. They have no interest in the reality-based world, and we will be paying the price for their actions long into the future.

The G.O.P. Is No Party for Honest Men – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“According to a new CBS News poll, almost 60 percent of the American public believes that the current Republican tax plan favors the wealthy. Some people see this number as a sign that the plan is in trouble; I see it as a sign that Republican lies are working far better than they deserve to.

For the plan does indeed favor the wealthy — overwhelmingly, undeniably. It’s shocking that as many as 40 percent of Americans don’t realize this.It’s not difficult to see how the plan is tilted toward the very top. The main elements of the plan are a cut in top individual tax rates; a cut in corporate taxes; an end to the estate tax; and the creation of a big new loophole that will allow wealthy individuals to pretend that they are small businesses, and get a preferential tax rate. All of these overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy, mainly the top 1 percent.”

Yes.
Here is a comment I also endorse.

Ron Cohen is a trusted commenter Waltham, MA 4 hours ago

Carl Hulse reported recently in The Times that big Republican donors are “furious.” They want their taxes cut. http://tinyurl.com/yawvr272

Why do the rich care so much? After all, the potential tax savings are relatively modest for each of them. Answer: it’s not about money; rather, it’s about personal identity. They are the “makers;” the rest of us are “takers,” don’t you know, sponging off their efforts.

The great English historian, R.H. Tawney, in his magisterial work, “Religion and the Rise of Capitalism” (1926), tells us that by the mid 1600’s, most English Puritans saw in poverty “not a misfortune to be pitied and relieved, but a moral failing to be condemned, and in riches, not an object of suspicion … but the blessing which rewards the triumph of energy and will.”

This ideal of individual morality, derived from Calvin, has been with us ever since. But it has surfaced with renewed zeal in the 21st Century, with men like the Koch bothers, Robert Mercer, Art Pope, Sheldon Adelson and others determined to spend whatever it takes to replace democracy as we know it—a leveling force—with a fascistic, plutocratic model of government.

For these billionaires, however, religion plays little role. Rather, it’s how they see themselves that motivates their lust for power, their need to dominate. Identity politics isn’t just for Democrats anymore.

For a penetrating interpretation, see George Monbiot’s short but defining piece in The Guardian: http://tinyurl.com/p5dg6b5

Reply 124 Recommended