Won’t Get Fooled Again

BRADFROMSALEM

The other day I heard a rerun of the tail end of the May 5 Stephanie Miller program still touting the wonderfulness of all things Hillary. I find her hard to take anymore. Then, later that same day Bill Maher demonstrated for all to see and hear, how very wrong he and the establishment Democrat’s analysis of why Hillary Clinton lost to the only candidate in the entire 18 (or was it 19?) field of Republican candidates for President that she had a chance of beating. But the star of the “Still with Her” of the Democratic establishment supporters defending Hillary’s loss as not HER fault, was Hillary herself.

I think it was on a Thursday that Clinton addressed her loss, admitting she made mistakes. But what Clinton went on to say after her mea culpa, demonstrates precisely why she lost, when her intention was to explain it. If Clinton stopped at saying she made mistakes, it would have been a tiny step toward understanding both why Progressives rejected her and why the Reagan Democrats voted for Trump. But instead, not being able to keep her trap shut (I sympathize with her on this disability, I have been known to toss politest to the wind myself, to my own detriment. However I have never run for president.) Hillary goes on to minimize and even trivialize her mistakes by noting that nobody runs a perfect campaign. No shit, (S)Herlock Clinton. Without stretching out to rebut the further points she made, none of which actually mattered, such as Comey’s now revealed reason during the day prior to her speech, for sending a letter to Congress about reopening the Clinton server investigation or the release by Wiki Leaks of the DNC emails. A reason that as Comey explained made some sense. I still think there is more to the story, but none of that is the reason I am writing this post.

In all of these diatribes about how, in the words of Clinton, on Oct 27, she was winning. And that was an actual juvenile whine by a person that her supporters had ardently claimed to be the most qualified person to ever seek the office of President of The United States, explains why she may have had the best resume, but as it turns out still was not qualified for the job. And to any Hillary sycophants, like Stephanie Miller, drooling into their microphones at the thought of a Hillary Clinton Presidency, and now drooling about Clinton joining the “resistance” that just jumps their heart rates right into the danger zone, I just have to say.. Fool.me once, shame on me, Try to fool me twice… I Won’t Get Fooled Again. Yes, paraphrasing W’s really jumbled thoughts now passes for cleverness.

Hillary and her resistance crew. Yes, Hillary, by claiming she is part of the waste of time anti-Trump resistance has become its titular leader. When I heard Miller on the radio jumping for joy, that Clinton claimed to be part of the resistance and she was about to embark on creating a new political organization, recruiting board members and raising funds told me all I needed to know. In Clinton world, and with the resistance groupies it is still about money. The lessons of 2016 and how she stole money from local candidates, and outspent Trump, and that she spent all of it on telling everyone how horrible Trump would be is totally lost on her and her followers. That includes opinion makers such as Bill Maher and Stephanie Miller; who both seemed to bother to actually think things through when it came to Bush. And here, finally is my point. It ain’t my freaking fault that Donald Trump was elected President. Because that was the point of Maher’s rant. It was unsaid by Hillary, but you could feel it. By what rubric did I “owe” my vote to Hillary Clinton?

See, that is what people mean when they complain about how many votes Jill Stein got, and that if Stein’s votes all went to Hillary, then it would be “Madame President” instead of “Madman President”. Sorry, that argument holds no water. I owed her my vote because she ran with a “D” after her name? I did not hear or see Hillary Clinton come to me and tell me why I should vote for her. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment paid lip service to the movement instigated by Bernie Sanders, and expected us to fear Trump and fall in line. My vote costs a lot more than that. A lot. She could have won me over, and by extension millions of more Progressive Americans. She could have won. Hillary was quoted in the forthcoming book “Shattered” which is about her campaign, where she noted that she has no idea what is going on with the American electorate. That statement says it all. Trump does have at least a gut feeling of what is happening, and being a con artist salesman that is how he ran his campaign and now his administration. But a person’s whose profession is politician that does not know the pulse of the nation, cannot possibly be president. We have won, because Trump can be manipulated by the masses. He is like the creatures that often show up in Star Trek and other Sci-Fi movies and literature. Those monsters feed off of some chosen emotion, usually anger or hate, Trump feeds on his ego and the main staple of his diet is making the sale. Joining with Trump supporters, gently welcoming them to our ranks, will eventually bring Trump himself to the political table with something we want him to sell us. Political affiliations don’t matter anymore.

So, Hillary people, please just forget the idea that most Progressives did not vote for Hillary because she did not pass a “purity” test. That is just a continuance of the condescension spoken out loud by Hillary supporters since the day Sanders announced. We did not vote for Hillary for two important reasons. I’ll wait a second here, for Hillary people to get pen and paper. _____________________________________________ Ok. Progressive did not vote for Hillary because she marginalized Progressives, and that includes treating us with contempt, especially when she called herself a Progressive. And second because she won the nomination via cheating. We are damn certain that her campaign managed the DNC leaders and there is sufficient evidence to justify an investigation into the actual Primary voting. And she expected us to vote for her because her opponent sucks? This was not a matter of the lesser of two evils. It was a matter of no more evil. A conservative friend noted that during the Primary, when he marked his ballot for Sanders, how wonderful it felt to vote FOR someone. The Identity politics of gender, party, and resume was where Clinton got the vast majority of her votes. Almost nobody voted for HER. And that is why she lost.

The Apprentice Learning on the Job

BradFromSalem

Pardon me for revisiting the election, or should I say “election” that happened last November. Before anything else, I would like to apologize to all my friends that supported either Hillary or The Donald. I truly do respect that you made your choice and acted upon that choice by voting, but I get the feeling from both camps, inspired by the candidates themselves, that the implications and the stories of the November 2016 Presidential election are still reverberating and being digested. Listen up folks that support or just voted for The Donald, let’s talk about your guy. Mainly because you won, but also because I am pretty sure that most of you just thought your vote was a middle finger statement to the establishment. Admit it, you probably thought your guy would not win. Not for popularity issues, but because you were sure the election was fixed.

You voted for The Donald, and some of you still embrace his Presidency; while others are pissed that you had no choice. It was the hated Hillary Clinton or the middle finger to the establishment Donald. Those were the choices. But oddly, a number of persons that voted for The Donald have come forward and have spoken out that Bernie Sanders was their first choice, or that at least in a race between The Donald and Bernie, there was a distinct possibility their vote may have gone to Bernie. – Fascinating. But the choice was not Bernie vs. The Donald, you voted for Trump, you got Trump. If you really are happy with his performance so far, then God bless you. It truly is beyond my comprehension, because he has failed at every attempt to implement his agenda. Either by the courts, performing their Constitutional duty to uphold the Laws of the US and defend the Constitution; or by politics. It is a funny thing about being a politician, it’s sort of like any other profession. Take Librarian for example. A Librarian needs to know how to manage a library and what the numerous tasks are that only a librarian could enumerate. The same is true for a politician, they don’t just make laws and there are numerous tasks they must perform. Someone that has demonstrated little patience to actually learn the job, or bring in as close advisors people that have learned the job, is destined to fail. Donald Trump is failing, his campaign positions are melting away and his promises are morphing into mere suggestions when they are not being spun around 180 degrees. This emasculation has taken place over his first 100 days. He may recover, but until that happens I will find it very hard to support him on any issue. One last comment to all my Hillary supporting friends, no I do not regret not voting for her. The Donald is worse than I thought he would be, but I should have seen that coming based on his business success rate.

MMT Discussion – Part 3 – My taxes paid for That!

BRADFROMSALEM

If you have not read Part 1 and are unfamiliar with the concept of Modern Money Theory [MMT], click here for a brief introduction. In Part 2 I cover 4 of the 5 reasons taxes are still necessary even though MMT explains that taxes do not fund Federal spending, click here to read about the first 4 reasons. Below, is the 5th reason for collecting taxes in an economy that honors the MMT economic descriptions.

The most popular feature of the MMT description of how money is created, circulated into the economy, and then ultimately destroyed is undoubtedly the approach to taxes. In the previous entry I described 4 reasons why taxes are collected even though the MMT description does not require tax receipts to fund government activities. Instead government activities are funded by money creation and taxes are ultimately destroyed. But MMT’s description of money creation limits that act to funding government expenses that serve a public purpose. Currently, in the news we have an expenditure that cannot be described as providing a public purpose. I use the example of the cost of maintaining a lavish and separate lifestyle for Mr. Donald Trump and his wife more for its notoriety than its dollar amount.

If we were funding government expenditures solely by creating whatever is required to pay for everything that is an expense, what is the public recourse? While there is little truth to the near myth that printing money will cause inflation, there is as my language indicates a path to that occurring. Also as I noted in the previous blog, should inflation start to accelerate, then raising taxes would brake that situation. To take the Trump example a little further, without a lever that the public can exercise to prevent extravagant spending by not just the President, but by all elected officials; who would gladly use that power to enrich each other along with their friends and others as well. It becomes evident that eventually the power will be abused and even with a remedy at hand (raising taxes) a better approach would be to allow tax receipts to be “allocated” as an accounting trick to certain government expenses.

This will allow taxpayers the right to proclaim, as they do now, that they do not want to pay taxes for Trump’s lifestyle choices. Taxes to serve the public purpose of maintaining citizen sense of ownership. In fact it’s more than a sense of ownership, it is real ownership. Something that rounds out the public purpose of spending. The question is then, how are public purpose expenditures separated from operational expenses that will not enhance serve the public purpose? One possible way is to fund all maintenance costs from tax collections. This would be items like road repair, upkeep of National Parks, along with salaries and expenses of Federal office holders and their direct staff. One critical expense would be all military spending, unless there is a true declared war.

Spending via money creation would be on all capital expenses. New infrastructure, Health Care, Social Security, Federal Job Guarantee, Basic Income Guarantee, and Public Education come to mind immediately. These are all items that serve a public purpose. Under the present arrangement these are the costs that are deferred, cut back or never even considered because it is believed we cannot afford it.

There are political advantages to restricting some expenses to be budgeted according to tax revenues. Using the model of assigning maintenance costs to those revenues is not perfect. There will be public purpose spending happening, but since the maintenance areas are the ones people care about the most means there is less push back from taxpayers when they have well maintained parks, roads and power grids.

There is one last caveat to the capital expenses that must be understood. The MMT descriptions only apply to the Federal government’s expenses, states, counties along with city & towns still must collect taxes to pay their bills. With an MMT model we do get more done with less taxes, but as I have shown taxes are a necessary and critical component of a healthy economy and a component essential to a dynamic democracy.

(I plan to write some more on other MMT aspects such as the Basic Income and Job Guarantee along with why it describes money so well and other descriptions are lacking.)

MMT Discussion – Part 2 – Lessen the Burden on Taxes

BRADFROMSALEM

If you have not read Part 1 and you are unfamiliar with the concept of Modern Money Theory [MMT] then please click here for a short introduction. There are 5 reasons why taxes are necessary even in an economy built to take full advantage of MMT descriptions of money. A central observation of MMT is that taxes are not required to fund the government. But still taxes have an essential role and of the 5 reasons the first 4 are listed below. The last reason will appear in a separate blog following this one.

  1. Collecting taxes payable in US currency establishes the dollar as a legitimate currency. If taxes must be paid, and you provide a service where you collect your pay in a barter agreement, then how will you pay your taxes? Some may romanticize using such a system for payments, but it is just not practical. Using dollars allows us to spread out our debts into manageable chunks, paying taxes in dollars reinforces that the dollar has a critical value.
  2. Taxes are the simplest means the government has to control the money supply allowing it to manage inflation, which by the way does not happen if the government creates more money. But, should other external events like the 1970’s energy shortage in the US and inflation gains momentum, raising taxes can take the wind out of that sail real fast. But, the tool also goes both ways, taxes can also be lowered to provide stimulus during a slowdown. Ideally, in a well-managed economy the tax tool will be needed infrequently. MMT, by noting that we overburden taxes by assigning conflicting economic tasks creates an economy that is easier to manage by lessening the workload we currently needlessly assign to money.
  3. Taxes and fines can be used to manage socially positive behavior. We do this now with taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, along with fines on selling those items beyond the legal parameters. This may be the most controversial issue of what taxes (and fines) but one must also consider that the use is not just for “sin” taxes but is also the justification behind a carbon tax and other environmental issues. Encouraging, not just people but business interests as well into acting for a Public purpose or not acting against a public purpose is a critical role of a civilization, and taxes are a powerful tool for enforcing that. Also, by adhering to the principle that taxes are not needed to fund the government’s expenditures, means that these sin taxes don’t end up as necessary to fund the government.
  4. When taxes are not driving all expenditures then tax collections can do all of the previous three tasks and help in the redistribution of unequal wealth acquisition. Yes, Robin Hood taxes may not actually redistribute wealth, but it does, at a certain point, force high earners to reconsider whether or not being paid only 30 cents of each dollar earned is a wise way to make more money. Forcing wealthy, highly paid persons to truly push their wealth back into the economy can significantly help to reverse current income trends.

In the next post I will discuss the 5th reason for we need taxes. And that reason is based on politics, not economics.

Modern Money Theory – Part 1 – Not a Theory, It’s a Description

BRADFROMSALEM

We all know that the US collects taxes and then uses those tax dollars to pay for whatever expenditures the US has. We also know that for nearly every single year of this nation’s existence, the taxes, tariffs, fines and fees collected were not enough to pay for those expenses, so the US borrowed money by issuing Treasury notes, to cover the difference. That is the annual deficit. Of course the deficit borrowing gets paid back with interest from taxes, tariffs, fines and fees [TTF&F] or new borrowing as each Treasury note matures.

All pretty well known and nearly universally accepted. Except, it does not represent fiscal reality. That reality is neatly described in an economic philosophy called “Modern Money Theory” [MMT] which posits that since all US Dollars originate from the US government (a legal fact, try to print your own US Dollars!) and all TTF&F must be paid in those same US Dollars. Then as those dollars come back to the Treasury where they were first created, each one of those dollars are effectively destroyed. That means that every dollar spent by the US is created by the Federal Reserve, an agency that was created for that purpose. The amount of money it creates is not in any manner solely dependent upon any part of the TTF&F collected. I suggest obtaining J.D. Alt’s book on Amazon that explains how this all works with simple language and drawings of bathtubs and other plumbing artifacts by clicking here.

But even though the US does not need your tax money to pay its expenditures, it still must collect taxes. In fact there are 5 reasons it needs to levy and collect taxes. I will cover those 4 of those reasons in a blog to be published in the next day or two, followed by a blog covering the 5th reason a day or two after that.

Propose Don’t Oppose

BRADFROMSALEM

Republicans, free of any serious opposition, have revealed their unverified template to reinvigorate the American economy, dissolve government’s role in any matter not connected to protecting the US from foreign entities real or imagined, and enhance government’s role in enforcing moral choices connected in any manner to sexual or other personal activities.

That’s a large agenda, and to be fair, not all Republicans are on board with every line item in the two major proposals, Mr. Ryan’s Health Care bill and Mr. Trump’s Budget proposal. The party as a whole, however, will define these two critical items with next to no alternatives coming from the Democrats in office. Democrats will pushback against the Republican plans and instead of responding to criticisms of the ACA, most elected Democrats respond entirely by defending the ACA, when all the solutions to the problems with the ACA can be corrected. It is called Medicare for All. The Republican idea that a budget and any legislative proposals reduce annual deficits is universally accepted as the “gold standard” of economic virtue and that guarantee to growing the American economy is never opposed by elected Democrats. This leaves little room for proposed legislation such as infrastructure growth, free higher education and expanded Social Security, all items that will grow the economy organically based on historically verifiable precedent.

The Republican assumptions cannot be accepted by anyone that is opposed to their vision of America. The debate can no longer be about presumed truths, presumed enmities (that include both Russia and China), who talks to who or any metric that is not measured against doing what is moral and right. Amorality has become America’s real enemy and both party’s establishment fully endorses and legislates on amoral standards. Changing the paradigm will break down the political monopoly trust that is stagnating the US. Yes, Trump has got to go, because doing so will start to establish that the American people are ready for the change to a moral standard; a goal much, much larger than firing a single incompetent President.

THE PEOPLE MUST FIRE TRUMP

Trump’s removal from office will not come from Congress or the VP.
It can only happen if we demand Trump be removed.

BRADFROMSALEM

I am going to be blunt, very blunt. Donald Trump must be impeached, or removed from office since he is unable to capably perform the job of President of the United States. This removal must come from the American electorate waking up to the realization that the CIA manipulations about Russia are not happening to remove Trump, but instead to prove to him that he must comply and take a hard stand against Russia. What is being called the deep state is rumored to be behind this. I don’t think the deep state has the single mindedness to pull that off. Instead its an operation being run by the long state. The outline of US foreign and domestic policy that continues to operate in the same mode of a continuous Cold War, with some Warm Wars to give us false heroes, and a whole lot of distractions.

So why is it so important to remove Donald Trump? First, he is truly not capable of performing the job. Second, he most certainly has committed various acts worthy of impeachment, but nearly every President has; especially since the inception of the Cold War. Third, the American people have already lost confidence that their vote counts, their complaints listened to, or their needs met. And that is the most important reason Trump must be removed. Removing Trump must come not from some Congressional inquiry, or a CIA manufactured smoking gun, it must come from the American people. Demanding government accountability and pushing the government to act in ways to benefit the needs of every American, reacting to public demands openly and honestly, and lining up at the polls on election day in numbers unheard of in the last 60 years. And Trump has unleashed, inadvertently, the outrage to make that happen. And to ensure it carries forward into the 2018 elections, the people have to demand a change in leadership. People are outraged that America has become the most xenophobic nation on Earth. Promises made by candidate Trump are being rolled back, the swamp was drained of the alligators only to be replaced by bigger meaner alligators, there has been no action on creating American jobs, the press is being ridiculed, secret meetings take place lowering the confidence that Mr. Trump is acting fully on the behalf of all Americans, health care replacement is nothing more than a tax giveaway to the rich while exhuming and attaching to it every bad Republican health care idea. I can go on to include discussion regarding his mental state, lack of attention to any detail, his entire administration’s obtuseness on implementing or even talking about any remedy to climate disruption and of course The Wall. I am not saying that policy wise he is any worse than his predecessors, but they were all politically savvy enough to add the poison slowly so we wouldn’t recognize how we were all being sold out to the oligarchy. I am saying that enough American people that can now see what has been happening because Trump chooses to do it in front of everyone, are ready to demand an end. With Trump we can all taste the poison and the opportunity to (re?)gain control of our government, our foreign policy, and our economy can be jump started by The People demanding that Donald Trump be removed from office.

The false hope being spread that he will be caught up in some Russian scandal, is just that. False hope. The long state needs a useful fool, too many people are beginning to catch on. The hard part is to help the people who found comfort in voting for Trump as a means to influence change that for change to happen, he has to go. And the same goes for those still loyal to the Democratic establishment, they have to give up their reliance on the Russia story giving them what they want.