Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018 and Hope
What a no good horrible, very bad year 2017 turned out to be.
Newly sworn in Donald Trump quickly dashed any hope of a different-from-his campaign, comfortable in his skin, as he unleashed a gaggle of twisted tweets about his self-perceived gigantic (not!) inaugural crowd size, as if discussing his hands wasn’t enough.
As his WH weeks rolled on, President and Commander in Chief Trump found no slight or put down too small for him to respond, generally calling attention to his own greatness or that of his family or fortune.
No official, personality, country, or US institution proved too prominent or august for him to insult or disdain. In his campaign, he started on John McCain, Mexicans, Muslims, various foreign nations and leaders, and never stopped until the year wound down, claiming he—alone--brought back the “Merry Christmas” phrase.
The interim year generated many DJT news stories about the following people and issues, in no particular order.
--his blatant nepotism;
--befuddled sense of the Constitution and his role
--his blatant nepotism;
--befuddled sense of the Constitution and his role
--his explosive tweets;
--keeping stake in his family businesses through kids;
--Sean Spicer (and SNL!!); Sean gets replaced by “Biscuit” Sanders;
--unprecedented presidential attacks on the FBI, CIA, and Us intelligence agencies;
--Trump’s ongoing “Putin Bromance”;
--Russian dossiers complete with “golden showers”;
--Michael Flynn and Jim Comey are axed;
--AG Jeff Sessions recuses himself from Russia investigation;
--Robert Mueller named Special Prosecutor and promptly gets maligned by WH trolls;
--Trump immigration efforts/travel bans get rejected by various courts;
--Mexico doesn’t pay for “Wall”;
--DJT has GOP Obamacare legislative defeat in Senate;
--Trump’s dispute with NFL players and owners; dispute with Black military widow and Florida congresswoman;
--Offers Puerto Rican put downs post Hurricane Irma;
--North Korea (Score: Kim-5, DJT-O), China, Iran, NATO allies; England;
--Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon get fired/removed (but he still takes their phone calls and advice);
--the (not healthy) Prez’s Big Mac diet;
--Trump’s HRC and FBI “wiretapped me” accusations;
--Media report Rex Tillerson calls Trump “an idiot”;
--POTUS praises Duerte;
--POTUS finds virtues in Right Wing/Nazi demonstrators in Charlottesville, but then quickly changes tune (a recurring pattern?);
--Mara Largo (Trump Inc.) charges government for DJT stays;
--Secret Service vacates Trump Towers over lease dispute with Trump Inc.;
--HHS Secretary Tom Price resigns;
-- June 2016 meeting with Russians is revealed, slowly with changing WH story lines;
--Record US hurricanes and fires in the face of his rejection of global warming or climate change;
--despite vowing no vacations (“I’m going to be working for you, I‘m not taking off…”), Trump takes off record vacation days to play golf and visit more than a 100 of his family-owned properties;
--Several women reiterate their claims that DJT—before becoming President--sexually assaulted them or otherwise abused them;
--Trump scuttling “bad” trade deals;
--challenges Canadian lumber imports and Mexican everything;
--Prez insults Australia;
--“Little Rocket Man”:
--North Korean missiles fly everywhere (Score: Kim--7, Trump—still 0);
--DACA and dreamers (most have jobs, pay taxes, and are not druggies or murderers”);
--Anthony Scaramucci, we barely knew you;
--“Pocahontas,” we heard too much about you from DJT;
--Omarosa Manigault did what for the President/our nation?
--Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Syria, Yemen;
--DJT supported Republican Ed Gillespie loses Virginia’s Governor’s race to Democrat Ralph Northam;
--Trump recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel;
--Sen. Kirsten Gillebrand;
--Poster child for gluttony, (Mrs.) Louise Mnuchin, wife of Treasury Secretary Steve, gets her be-jeweled and designer coated picture taken at the eclipse in Kentucky—then brags about how much federal tax her husband pays US (not so much anymore, Louis!)--and then in similar finery, is pictured with hubby fingering freshly printed sheets of US dollar bills,
--DJT claims: “I did not say, ‘Grab them by the p….’ “, but Billy Bush asserts DJT is lying;
--Roy Moore (ugh!);
--GOP Senate turns against Trump judicial candidates who can’t answer fundamental legal questions;
--and much, much agitating and stomach roiling more which I am sure I missed.
Someone just keep him away from the nuclear football!
Everyone out there, just a little worried about this President’s tendencies and lack of control, urge Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to send a memo reminder to the national monuments staff: “At Rushmore, hold up on moving Teddy over a bit and initiating ‘the Donald’ sculpting?”
Tax Law—bad for the United States,
But could be bad for Republicans, too
The very bad news—for which I must grant them political credit—is President Trump and his GOP political allies produced an impressive/substantial legislative tax law win for the Republican party just before Christmas, unforutnately he represents more than just that group.
It was poorly constructed, woefully designed, and broadly unfair relative to the GOP-claimed middle-income beneficiaries, but Trump and his allies pulled off a monumental financial rape of the US Treasury—on behalf of big business and the “haves”—with the entire US and world watching.
It was the legislative embodiment of his campaign boast that he could kill someone in the middle of NYC and—so far--not be held responsible.
The new law--which most mainstream non-conservative media, economists, and financial commentators not associated with right wing think tanks—is seriously flawed and heavily favored those who didn’t need it.
Likely—unless changed by a future Congress—its toll will be paid by middle and low income Americans and their children.
But Trump and his posse prevailed.
The Republicans, despite years of bitching about deficit spending and the need for federal budget cuts (meaning for the lower income and working class) gathered their forces around colossal fake analyses and specious tax arguments--which have failed for years to sway congressional votes--and squeaked out Senate and House wins, which still may cost them control of one or both in 2018 midterm elections.
I hope their political victory will be short term and pyric.
Yes, true tax reform would have been desirable.
Sorry, this law was not sound public policy being forged by thoughtful public officials. It was mass ideological carnage cleaning out the US Treasury on behalf of major GOP campaign givers and nothing more.
After Christmas, it allowed our President to swagger and boast to his fellow wealthy Mara Largo party goers, “You all just got a lot richer.” (Oh and Mara Largo this year increased its Christmas holiday guest fees.)
Class—or in President Trump, no class—always shows.
And the Republicans are not finished yet spending your future tax payments with continued 2018 deficit spending.
Wait until DJT seeks greater military spending, not to mention federal infrastructure subsidies, employing their identical “feed the cows to feed the crows” theories.
(For those of you unfamiliar with the phrase—or the ideological meaning--it means the GOP nurturing the big old cows, who then pass excrement through their systems, which the crows fight over to consume.)
I can’t ignore the tax bill’s financial class-bigotry and rewarding the Trump caviar eaters (the “cows”), who suggest a few hundred dollars in someone’s pay check over 12 months balances the billions going to businesses, which not only don’t need it to be successful, but who have doing quite well by any measure of corporate return.
From Yahoo Business:
thetwo-way/2017/12/26/ 573520996/salt-lake-tribune- calls-for-sen-orrin-hatch-to- step-down-in-blistering- editorial
Obviously Treasury and the FHFA talked to one another and temporarily solved each other’s GSE political problem.
Mel Watt has been warning about the GSEs having no capital and the tax bill causing a DTA write-down that would cause Treasury to write checks to the GSEs.
And Treasury’s Steve Mnuchin--up to his ass in non-GSE alligators, not to mention Mrs. M-- didn’t have time to putz around with this itty-bitty issue (in his grand scheme of things).
So, they amended the PSPA and created a tiny $3 Billion capital cushion for each and quickly moved on.
It’s another “kick the can down the road” tactic and now they‘ll wait until next year to deal with it, when they have Corker –Warner 2.0 likely introduced.
But, the tax bill—despite the GOP bunting placed around it—hurt the home building and home selling industries. Will they sign up for a big serving of the market unknown and uncertainty of killing the GSEs and restructuring the market on behalf of the big banks in a mid-term election year?
Having romped with the tax rewrites, will the Republicans now want to savage Fannie and Freddie??
My answer is yes, they certainly will try.
As 2018 evolves...
One final comment. I'm cyncial, as these blog pages suggest, but at bottom I'm looking and hoping for a better future.
I think our federal government is a sham, right now, with only an aware and politically active citizenry able to throw out enough of these dud Senators and Members--when they seek re-election in 10 months--and correct the course on our national ship.
It is that and your participation to which I look forward. If not us, who?
Happy New Year!!