Donald Trump recently laid out his economic policies in a speech in Detroit, Michigan. It is no surprise he did it there. Detroit is a disaster, created by a variety of mistakes, both from politically active but administratively unqualified Democrats and then from greedy, uncaring, arrogant Republicans who want basically to buy up Detroit and make a profit on it at the expense of the citizens, who are primarily black and poor.
Trump uses the term, “America First.” It is not a new term and that is why he uses it. It was first used by a large isolationist, somewhat anti-Semitic group prior to World War II, up to 1941 that included such members as Charles Lindburgh, but also Justice Potter Stewart, General Robert Wood, President of Sears, Roebuck, and student members like Gerald Ford, Sarge Shriver and Jack Kennedy. It was a popular movement, with memberships in over 450 locations around the country. It virtually died with the 2500 men at Pearl Harbor. But it eventually became more and more problematic as news of Nazi and Japanese atrocities became more evident and as it took on more of an anti-Semitic image. Probably not a good image for Trump to emulate, given his own image of racism, warranted or not.
Let’s start with his comment that we have abandoned the policy of putting America first. He says that we no longer do, and that it has cost us trillions but we still have the money to resettle millions of refugees here. Well, we have resettled many refugees, although it may be “millions” over a long period of time unless you consider busloads of children from Central America sent here to avoid being murdered by gangs, who are then largely returned. Immigrants cost us money the first year they are here. After that, they make money for us. Those are facts from people like FAIR, the organization that tries to get rid of immigrants. And they are talking about illegal immigrants, not refugees who are often the intellectuals in a state that dictators want to bump off first.
And as far as China destroying our economy. It is not China. China has a right to build its own economy, where people make less than fifty cents a day by comparison with our standard of living. We, our corporations, are the ones sending jobs to China. Not Hillary Clinton. U.S. Corporations. And who supports them? George W. Bush and Dick Cheney introduced legislation, and with a Republican Congress passed legislation to give incentives to corporations sending jobs abroad. Is that virtually criminal, along with their other crimes? Hillary Clinton thinks so, as does the Democratic Party and Bernie Sanders. But Donald Trump not only does not thinks so, Donald Trump owns companies that manufacture products in China, just like Walmart and thousands of other firms in the U.S.
Now, as to our roads and bridges and infrastructure being in disrepair, this is nothing new. President Obama (apparently Trump has a worse memory than he is given credit for) introduced and actually was able to pass $787 billion in infrastructure repair in his first term before Republicans deducted about $300 billion for needless and foolish tax cuts like the ones Trump is now suggesting. Many, many jobs bills by Democrats were shot down and not even allowed to reach the floor of Congress before the President and the Democrats in Congress realized that they were not up against traditional Republicans, but Neo-Fascists, dedicated true believers, supported by billionaires like Trump, and gave up. Trump is a Republican, and as you will see, a liar, so why should anyone believe that he will actually promote infrastructure development. He is simply pointing out what everyone knows we need. He won’t actually do anything about it. The main reason that our roads and streets are in disrepair is that Paul Ryan was head of the appropriations committee and is now Speaker of the House.
If you want better roads and safe bridges (many of which, the ASAE says are in grave danger of collapse) get rid of Paul Ryan, along with Trump. Paul Ryan, who spends some of his winter months speaking to billionaires about how to use the political system at Koch Brothers seminars at places like Palm Springs and Palm Beach, has had the control of the public purse for years. He is beholden to those who want to do away with health care for all Americans. He is beholden to those who want to eliminate Social Security and substitute a completely worthless 401K system instead. He lies to the public in order to support the billionaires who support him in his political campaigns in backwoods, apparently, Wisconsin. They don’t want to spend anything because it comes largely out of their very deep pockets. Ryan accommodates them by not spending money on anything and pushing legislation to repeal health care guarantees and cut taxes even more. After a meeting, in which Ryan undoubtedly told Trump what his pals the other Right Wing billionaires want, they fell into bed together. You will never get anything from that duo to which large corporations and multi-millionaires and billionaires have not agreed.
Detroit is no different from other black communities, which, in many cases, in many areas, are justifiably called ghettos. In the past, has Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Brothers, or even Mitt Romney, born and raised in Detroit, ever done anything at all to alleviate the suffering, create jobs or contest the recent plundering of the city and state resources by Republicans? Did any Republican make any statement against the totally failed Republican administration in Lansing? Not one. Why not? Because they are in the pockets of the friends of Donald Trump, who is just another Right Wing Republican billionaire, with an attitude and a flair for showmanship and the capacity to allow himself to be repeatedly humiliated.
Who can transform Detroit? Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Dick Durbin, Tammy Duckworth….any of these individuals have, at one time or another, proposed, or even sent legislation to the Republican Congress to make funds available to restore inner cities. But Paul Ryan and the racists and Neo-Fascists in the Republican Party have shot down every single piece of legislation before it got started. And what has the governor of Michigan done? He bankrupted the city in order to avoid paying retirement funds to thousands of individuals. Thousands lost money. Even more are being forced to literally pay money to the city for mistakes that the city, not the employees, made.
He makes the claim, the often repeated Republican claim, that the Democratic candidate, in this case Hillary Clinton, will take us into debt and raise taxes. She will raise taxes, on the richest individuals and corporations, now paying large amounts of taxes but very low percentages of their income. We need more tax revenue. We have traditionally had about 20% of GDP in revenue. But since Ronald Reagan we have only had an average of 18.5% in revenue. This has resulted in deficits of trillions an a national debt of over $19 trillion. We have a continuously expanding government that needs revenues commensurate with the needs of government. We haven’t been doing that and Trump’s plan to cut taxes would make it worse.
Detroit is not controlled by Democrats. Trump knows it. It is run by an appointee of the Republican governor. (Trump lie #1) Governor Snyder forced through legislation that virtually makes him a dictator. He can toss out any elected official and put in his own man. In Detroit, that is exactly what he did.
He fell back on the old Republican mantra that the Democrats will simply “tax and regulate” and that is how they govern. Of course it isn’t true. What is true is that when Democrats have raised taxes, the economy grows rapidly. In 1993, Bill Clinton raised taxes to begin to reduce the national debt. Markets responded and venture capital came out of everywhere and created a balanced budget. The dot.com era was off and running. Despite the fact that not one Republican voted for what they called the “largest tax increase in the history of the country” which was basically just a raise of the top rate from 35% to 39.6%, the country had the longest sustained period of increases in GDP in our history. Bill Clinton balanced the budget, raised taxes, ended a war in 90 days, helped to create, encouraged, supported and supported the growth of Internet corporations.
Business isn’t bad. The stock market has never been higher. Corporations are thriving. The problem is that all the new income bypasses the average American worker. Products are created and produced abroad by American corporations who then bring those products in to the U.S. to sell them to workers who now make lower wages. The profits go directly to the owners but none of the work and therefore none of the wages are earned by U.S. workers. This is what causes stagflation. Congress will not introduce legislation by the President to create jobs or to force corporations to hire a certain percentage of the work force here in the United States. Once again, it is Trump, who has products made in China and his fellow billionaires and corporate CEOs who promise to hire workers here but send jobs to Mexico and Brazil.
Trump says Hillary will divide us? This again, is Trump clearly knowing that what he says is wrong but says it anyway. (Lie #2) Does anyone remember Governor Walker of Wisconsin telling one of his billionaire corporate campaign contributors on videotape that he intended to divide the average person from the unionized teachers in order to break the power of the unions and bring about right-to-work laws? He actually said “divide and conquer” on a publicly recorded video.
Divide and conquer? Creating divisiveness? Paul Ryan spends his winters in places like Palm Springs and Palm Beach lecturing billionaires at Koch Brothers Foundation meetings on how to use “class warfare” to divide other billionaires from the people. It is the Republicans who enacted the Bush-Cheney legislation that enabled the rich to compound their incomes while the average worker has had no wage increases at all in the last 25 years. Trump may have forgotten on simple detail–he is the candidate for President for that political party! If he had wanted to change the structure of American economic life to make it better for the Middle Class, he would have joined the Democratic Party. But we don’t need him. We have Hillary Clinton, who was there when her husband created an economic atmosphere where the tide lifted all boats. All sectors of the economy…the wealthy, the higher educated, the middle class, the poor and every ethnic group increased their net worth during those years.
Trump’s complaints about taxes are wrong and his proposal for taxes is also incomprehensible. We don’t pay too much in taxes. Corporations often don’t pay any taxes. In fact, in 2015, 27 of the Fortune 500 corporations, including GE and EXXON paid no taxes at all. Highly profitable companies who paid no income taxes whatsoever. We don’t need to lower taxes. Hillary Clinton will tax those, like hedge fund managers, who pay no taxes or almost no taxes on billions of dollars a year. She has vowed to close corporate loopholes and force corporations to bring funds home that they now keep abroad so that they can avoid paying taxes on it. Trump won’t do it, no matter what he says. His corporation is one of those who benefits most from loopholes.
He wants to simplify the “burdensome and complex” U.S. tax code. Most Americans can fill out the single-page tax form that has been simplified over and over again. Trump doesn’t do his taxes. His taxes are done by men hired for the job. They are not complaining about a complicated tax code that provides them with well-paying jobs, nor are they complaining about the results. Corporate taxes are about 1% of GDP, the lowest in history. Trump says that for many individuals, his tax plans would result in their paying zero taxes. He apparently does not know that only about half of all Americans actually pay taxes. The tax rates are a schedule. The top rate has been set so low that by the time you get to the lower rates on the tax schedule, some people owe no taxes at all. It is because middle class incomes and top tax rates have both been going down for a long time.
He accuses others of losing jobs but how many people have lost jobs when he went bankrupt or his suppliers did not get paid, or how many have lost their jobs when he simply liked to hear himself say, “You’re fired!” The fact is that Hillary Clinton took office the January before 9/11. That one incident cost billions of dollars, a major recession in New York state and over one hundred thousand jobs were lost in New York. Tourism plummeted and 3,000 jobs were lost in that industry in New York alone. In the six months following 9/11, business in New York City alone is estimated to have decreased by as much as $30 billion. So Trump wonders why Hillary did not come through with job increases? New York went into a steep decline after 9/11. But Trump knows that. He lives in New York. (Lie #3)
But even that was not the worst of it for Hillary and upstate New York. Eastman Kodak (6,000 jobs) in Rochester decided to bet on its film business instead of digital photography, which it invented.Kodak owned about 70% of the film market, which went away, leaving them with 70% of nothing and by 2011, they declared bankruptcy. Xerox, with big problems in the late 1990s, and early 2000’s laid of workers in thousands as a result of changing technology and the 9.11 New York recession accelerated those job losses.
There have been too many articles to quote and too many little details in people’s lives to enumerate, but suffice to say thousands of New Yorkers are devoted followers of Hillary Clinton for her follow up to get more money from government for restoration and for jobs and to insure that the health care of the first responders became an issue that would never leave the government consciousness. What she did for New York gives an indication of what she would do for the country.
Donald Trump, for the most part, for the larger bulk of his holding, i.e., his New York properties, is no genius. He is not even anything exceptional. He was left his father’s real estate, which was, by and large in those days tenement buildings, but very valuable property. He maintained it and built it up and perhaps may have made some good investments. He’s not stupid. But to say that he is a brilliant businessman because he build properties in Manhattan is a little like saying that a cider producer was a business genius because he discovered that a small forest on his land was composed largely of apple trees. Property values in New York City went up 151% between 1993 and 2010. If you build a building and it lands in a city with very high occupancy rates and it’s known value is somewhere between 1 and 51 percent more than its price on day one, you don’t need to be brilliant. Just show up.
Trump not only attacks Hillary Clinton, he now attacks President Obama, citing his poor record of 1.2% average GDP growth in the economy. Well, let’s take 2009 and 2010 and 2011 and 2012…the first four years. On his first day in office, people were still jumping out of buildings and 700,000 a month were showing up at the unemployment office. By October, his actions stopped the unemployment lines at a rousing 10%…not seen since Reagan and not before than since before World War II. Bush left him all this and four consecutive years of trillion dollar deficits before he could bring them down, which he did, despite the previously explained efforts of the Republicans under Mitch McConnell to stop progress, stop employment altogether, and to “make Barack Obama a one-term President.” Yeah, there was some racism in there, too. Plenty.
Obama brought down the deficits, now lower than under the early years of George W Bush (before he cut taxes twice and started two wars.) He has brought down the same unemployment statistics used by every President since FDR to under 5 percent, which in a day of jobs going overseas, still, on a daily basis, is remarkable. He has tried any number of things to get Congress to cooperate with him to create jobs. They wouldn’t do it. They wouldn’t even pay the final weeks of unemployment for those who had been out of work for two years, 1.3 million workers, thrown aside by the Bush-Cheney Republican Depression of 2008-2012.
Trump points out that there are 44.3 million workers “outside the workforce.” Typically, that could mean almost anything to Donald Trump. But if we take the terms and the numbers as somewhat accurate, here are some figures that match it roughly. We know that there are now about 46 million people who earn wages that put them under the poverty line, about 23 thousand dollars for the average family of three. That’s a lot of people in poverty and it is a substantial increase since 2008. And why is that? After President Obama got his initial stimulus package through Congress, although 340 billion of the 787 billion dollars the Republicans forced into a useless tax cut, he was never able to get another jobs bill or economic bill, transportation bill or infrastructure improvement bill through Congress.
Billionaires only need roads from their homes to their airplanes. They can always live in the penthouses of the buildings they own. And it is pretty clear by now that they don’t give a damn about better wages for American workers. The Republican Congress won’t pass the President’s legislation to keep jobs here, nor legislation to create better roads and bridges and schools, nor proposals to inrease the minimum wage. So the Republican candidate is telling you to vote for him so he can work with the Republican Congress. What do you suppose a narcissist billionaire, a Republican, is going to do for you when he gets together with a Republican congress. If you think it will help you, I have some swamp land in Florida that you’re going to love.
The American Society of Civil Engineers does a survey of the state of America’s infrastructure every year. Since many of these highly skilled engineers are also professors, it is a survey that has a national grade: A,B.C.D.or F, with A being the best. For the last several years the grade has been D-. The country’s structures and roads are falling down while Euope’s are getting better every day, even after 2500 years of pretty constant use. Part of the reason for the problem with a lagging workforce is that we do not keep government growing as the population has grown. The numbers are simply a factor of the country now having a population of 320 million which makes Trump’s numbers seem larger than they are. (Trump knows this. Lie #4.)
Trump attacks Obama and Clinton on home ownership, saying it is at its lowest in 51 years. That is someplace, as a declared Republican, he really shouldn’t go. Has he heard of the 2008 Bush-Cheney real estate and subsequent stock market crash? Does he know that restrictions put on banks by government and on banks by banks and on mortgage companies by banks and on home owners by mortgage companies reduced the market for home ownership to practically only those in the upper middle class for a long, long time? Does he know that home ownership went down by about 15 million Americans either foreclosed on or otherwise thrown out of or forced to sell their homes at the loss of their equity? Of course not, he is a privileged child of a multi-millionaire who does not realize how long it takes to build up equity in a home after Republicans have robbed you of your net worth. Enough on that. Trump is a moron.
He talks about people added to food stamp rolls. Once again, does he know what happened after 2008? Does Trump realize that there was no recovery for some middle aged and older workers coming out of this Depression. There was not war, as in 1942. There were people returning to a worse economy where jobs were going overseas, with GOP-sponsored incentives, wages here in the U.S. being cut, unions busted, skilled jobs turned over more and more to robots and adminstrative jobs handed to young college graduates, now about fifty percent of high school graduates. A high school diploma became a college diploma from any state or regional college. Those forty-five years of age or older, out of work, with no four-year certificate were becoming part of the unemployment numbers. And it stayed that way. Poorer jobs lead to poorer pay and eventually to more people on food stamps. The Republicans cut back on food stamps last year and Trump would do the same when he finds that no Republican legislator can afford to say that he or she is for more jobs. They would lose their funding from the corporate CEOs, making 350 times what the average well-paid worker is making.
Trump complains about income taxes on your behalf, as he should. But he says the average Amreican pays 31.5 percent in Federal taxes and another ten percent to state. Here’s the truth. The average person actually lays out about ten percent in actual cash to Uncle Sam. People pay virtually nothing up to about $35,000, sometimes $40,000. The top rates, 28% and up, don’t even start until over $200,000, and state taxes are a percentage of federal taxes, so fractional at best. Everyone pays about 7-8% for Social Security and Medicare, but you can opt out, perhaps, if you are that secure or just get it all back in one lump sum. The point is that it does not average any thing like 31.5 percent–outlay– and that is why this is a deliberate misstatement. (Lie #5)
Trump has the idea that he will hire a group of blue stockings and they will go out West or to the Middle East and tame the savages. Well, it doesn’t work like that any longer. One mistake and there goes Philadelphia or Minsk. (which some people…) Our job now, as it was in the Cold War era, is to fight a different kind of war intelligently. It is a secret war, a war of individual terrorists who will only go away as we stamp them out one by one. ISIS will eventually lose. They are losing territory every day. Terrorists usually lose. But they only do so when pressure is applied with intelligence and couter terrorist activities that hurt them more than they can hurt you. Trump has no patience nor any skill at this. And as far as strategic thinking, we now have the most highly educated and, ironically, as a result of a war that none of the generals wanted, we also have the best battle-tested Middle Eastern combat generals we could have asked for. Any President will take orders from them, not they from him. They know what to do. They don’t want war but they know how to fight one to a quick conclusion. No better possible President than a former Senator on the Armed Services committee for eight years and then a Secretary of State who has been to every area and knows every diplomat and leader the world over. And they know her.
He wants to eliminate the inheritance tax, which he so very cleverly calls “the death tax,” (the Republican term for it) the tax on people, like him, leaving inheritances in excess of $5 million dollars per person, $10 million for a couple. What is the inheritance tax? Some call it the Paris Hilton Retirement Tax. If Paris Hilton were to receive her inheritance from her old man, and it was more than $5 million, she would have to somehow live on that five million, which she never worked an hour for, and on the roughly half of the rest of the inheritance which could be anywhere from another million to another 100 million. But about half of that over 5 million bucks would go to the government. Paris Hilton or if she is married, she and her husband, with ten million plus the rest will get bye. The Treasury needs that money, that she did not earn but received as a gift for having been born rich and lived a rich life all her life. It can be used to help reduce some of the debt caused by her daddy and grandaddy’s not paying the appropriate amount of tax while they were alive.
His next big brainstorm is to create jobs by allowing companies to immediately expense new business investments. Good for the companies. But those jobs will almost certainly require hi-tech, skilled employees. Where will we find them? And how many will they employ? And, finally, what in the hell does expensing investment write offs have to do with creating new businesses? Nada. Zip. Zero.It isn’t how business incubation works. Not even close. The same goes with writing your child care expenses off your tax form. Most people who really need child care don’t even fill out more than a single page tax form and many none at all. Another idiotic Republican idea that everyone makes $200,000 a year and their most important decision is whether to lease a Mercedes or a Bimmer. His plans are sounding more and more like those that Paul Ryan would write. Lie to the people and then go make your cell phone call to a billionaire to see if they are happy with it.
“The U.S. economy today is 25% smaller than it would have been without the surge of regulations since 1980.” Probably the best that could be said of this is that it is more than likely a complete fabrication. Who knows from what such a broad and unsubstantiated statement could have come. I rate it totally false. (If it is: lie #5) What happens if you don’t regulate? You get worthless mortgages, scheming bankers and a crash that cost the American public, in its savings, jobs lost, 401ks lost, and equity in homes lost…about $7.5 trillion dollars. You want to know why the economy hasn’t grown faster (over and above Republican obstruction?) Because the American people had lost their equity, their wealth, and it takes a long time to build your wealth back, your net worth, once someone has lost it for you.
The places in the world, the countries in those areas that are the most competitive with us, not China which is simply a price competitor, but Japan, Germany, the advanced nations….all have more regulations than we do by far. Regulations are good if you want clean air, potable water (the people of Flint, Michigan found out about Snyder water) safe roads, edible meats and produce, and clean, sanitary medical facilities, let alone safe drugs. ALEC, the national lobbying organization, along with its pretend-research arm, the National Policy Institute work to convert legislatures in all 50 states to eliminate anti-pollution legislation. Cigarette companies are big supporters of ALEC, as are oil and chemical companies, especially those that pollute. So are the cable companies, which is why we pay twice the cost and get half the speed with our Internet compared to Europe and even less compared to Asia. ALEC wants Trump in office in the worst way. And if he gets in, it will be in the worst way.
Trump’s claims about Hillary’s attitude towards international trade, seem, without looking up each and every one, very, very far from the truth. She has said she is for trade that is sensible. We can not be totally isolationist.
We cannot, for example, completely try to force Mexico into having no industry or jobs at all and then complain that Mexicans try to get here in order to find jobs. You can’t have, as the Right Wing religous nuts want you to have…no contraception and no abortion. That won’t work in 2016. The world has moved on. Families are smaller. We don’t lose children in childbirth at the same rate as we did before things like antibiotics.
Trump ia all over the lot with his claims about what damage international trade has done. Much of it is wage disparities. Will closing our borders to foreign products and keeping manufacturing here end that problem? Well, we do not want free trade competition with our own companies. Trump has yet to suggest that we make U.S. corporations pay tariffs on products that they make overseas. Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have. We won’t be able to stop corporations from trading or manufacturing abroad. So we want to sell our products to foreign countries, too. If you want someone to negotiate with China, with Europe, with Latin America, who better than a former Secretary of State. Or would you rather have someone rude, arrogant, uncouth and with the mindset of a slumlord? Hillary Clinton is respected around the world. Trump is not even respected by the leaders of the political party that he says he belongs to. Corporations send jobs abroad because they can and because they make more profit, at the expense of American workers. If you stop corporations from going abroad, you will create more jobs, at least four or five million over several years. Hillary says she will stop corporations from sending jobs abroad and she has the record of being smart enough and tough enough and of working for working class people.
Trump says that Hillary Clinton will authorize TPP because large interests, like Trump’s billionaire pals, who back the Republican (not the Democratic) Party, will somehow force her to do so. The best argument against that is Trump himself. He has no money. He will bankrupt himself again if he tries to finance his own campaign. Hillary has plenty of money, in small donations and in large, anonymous Pacs. She won’t need more money. Trump is making his own argument, that key donors will have a call on her determinations, fall apart. She is rated by the top poll taker, who has never been wrong, a higher than 70% chance of winning. Let’s be honest. Trump really doesn’t care. He will have clubhouse stories to tell his golfing billionaire buddies well into his later years. He doesn’t care about the Presidency. He doesn’t care about you. He doesn’t care about anyone, except maybe his family, but himself.
Trump is for Trump.