Tax Policy Winners And Losers

I’ve posted previously about the GOP’s tax “reform” plan, and some of the truly despicable provisions hidden in the fine print. As more details emerge, it appears that my list–like the one below–barely scratches the surface.

Whatever the arguments in favor of the $1 trillion in corporate tax breaks contemplated by the measure, the original idea–the justification for reducing the rate– was that the rate could be lowered if the loopholes that allow large profitable corporations to pay little or no tax despite the published rate were eliminated. Somehow, however, the current version of the “reform” bill leaves corporations with both lower rates and their loopholes.

Speaking of corporations, Dana Milbank reported a revealing exchange in a recent Washington Post column.

Individuals lose the ability to deduct state and local taxes, tax preparation, moving expenses and most medical expenses. But corporations — think of them as Very Important Persons with superhuman privileges — can still deduct these same expenses.

At Monday’s markup, Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) quizzed a tax expert on this corporate exceptionalism:

“Will a teacher in my district who buys pens, pencils and paper for his students be able to deduct these costs from his tax returns under this plan?” He will not.

“Will a corporation that buys pens, pencils and papers for its workers be able to deduct those costs from its tax returns?” It will.

“Will a firefighter in my district be able to deduct the state and local sales taxes that she pays from her tax return?” She will not.

“Will a corporation be able to deduct sales taxes on business purchases?” It will.

“If a worker in my district had to move because his employer was forcing him to relocate . . . can he deduct his moving expenses under this plan?” He cannot.

“Can a corporation under this plan deduct outsourcing expenses incurred in relocating a U.S. business outside the United States?” It can.

We Americans just love our corporations….they’re people, you know.

And isn’t it nice that Republican Americans are so “pro-life”? (Well, they’re pro pre born life; once that little bugger emerges from the womb, they are considerably less solicitous.) Among the non-fiscal measures in the tax “reform” bill is one intended to “protect babies”–aka fetuses and fertilized eggs. You’d think these pro-life men (they’re all men) would do anything they could to support  adoption as an alternative to abortion. But you’d be wrong.

The House Republican tax reform bill would completely eliminate the adoption tax credit, which has been in the tax code since 1997. It was a bipartisan achievement pushed through by former Texas Republican Rep. Bill Archer, who was chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. Designed to help cover “reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, and other expenses,” the credit is available for up to $13,460 per child.

Some employers also offer adoption assistance in the form of financial aid and paid leave time. As of now, this type of assistance is tax-exempt, but the proposed bill would make such benefits subject to taxation.

The bill would also make adoption assistance from employers — which usually takes the form of financial aid and paid leave time — taxable.

Words fail.

I’m less surprised by the measures that would effectively destroy graduate education; the current crop of Republicans considers educated people snotty elitists. GOP officeholders sneer at scientists, oppose research funding, and think college professors are unAmerican.

Most graduate students get through their degree programs depending on assistantships, tuition waivers and lots of ramen noodle dinners. As Forbes reports,

Currently, these tuition waivers are paid by the college directly to itself, on behalf of the graduate student, and are not counted as taxable income. Under the current “reform” proposal, tuition waivers would be taxed as regular income, making graduate school an unaffordable proposition except for those already independently wealthy.

And then there’s that pesky little detail that the Congressional Budget Office finds problematic: this monstrosity will add 1.7 trillion to the deficit. (And that’s evidently after robbing Medicare and Social Security…) If you are looking for some of those Republican “deficit hawks” of yore, you are probably out of luck.

On the other hand, if you’re wondering why Paul Ryan is reportedly optimistic about passing this Thanksgiving turkey, Representative Chris Collins explained it the other day.

Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) got points for honesty Tuesday while advocating for Republicans’ tax bill to slash the corporate tax rate and eliminate the estate tax, among other things.

“My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again,’” Collins said.

I’m sure those donors are selfless patriots who simply want to see middle-class Americans get some tax relief. (And if you believe that, I have a swamp in Florida to sell you…)

38 thoughts on “Tax Policy Winners And Losers

  1. So here we have it
    Republicans working ONLY for the Richest 1% – again
    The rest of us can go to hell – again
    Sounds right
    They never really change
    The LIES they use to get elected change,
    but THEY never change.
    Prepare to be “Trickled On” once more

  2. What Republicans and those getting the tax breaks do not understand is that everyone loses with this plan. No one wins with this bill because it helps to destroy the very base of the economy we have today… the consumers. When you keep taking money out of the consumer’s pocket so that a minority can have more, you are really taking that money out of the consumer economy. This is not going to end well.

  3. It’s a LEGAL holdup of the 99% by the 1%. “Are you deaf and dumb, put your hands up and give me everything you’ve got.”

    By the time they’re through RAPING us, we’re not going to be any better off than the Blacks were in South Africa under APARTHEID.

  4. Not only are we deaf and dumb, we’re also BLIND. Solely being RE-ACTIVE and using DEDUCTIVE reasoning is to no avail. We must respond by being PRO-ACTIVE and using INDUCTIVE reasoning.

    We have to START at the BEGINNING, not the END.

    It’s our last and only chance. Will we ever learn? Probably not.

  5. Kathleen Parker hits it in this post:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-gop-tries-to-trade-polar-bears-for-tax-cuts/2017/11/10/08980788-c657-11e7-afe9-4f60b5a6c4a0_story.html?utm_term=.972206d55528

    “We might also ping William Faulkner while we’re at it, who noted that the past isn’t past. In Alabama, where I once worked as a reporter, the past just keeps on truckin’. ”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/daily-dish/archive/2008/03/-the-past-isnt-dead-it-isnt-even-past/218789/

  6. This is an excerpt from “They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-45” by Milton Mayer (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, 1955) pp-166-173, just a part of one of the 13 interviews with Germans who lived through Nazism. I have previously posted this excerpt. It’s extremely important that it be understood before it is too late:

    “……Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about—we were decent people—and kept us so busy with continuous changes and ‘crises’ and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by the machinations of the ‘national enemies,’ without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us. Unconsciously, I suppose, we were grateful. Who wants to think?”

    “To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it—please try to believe me—unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the BEGINNING, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.”

    “How is this to be avoided, among ordinary men, even highly educated ordinary men? Frankly, I do not know. I do not see, even now. Many, many times since it all happened I have pondered that pair of great maxims, Principiis obsta and Finem respice—‘Resist the beginnings’ and ‘Consider the end.’ But one must foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings. One must foresee the end clearly and certainly and how is this to be done, by ordinary men or even by extraordinary men? Things might have. And everyone counts on that might.”

  7. I have been writing on my FB page extensively, including a few videos, pounding the same drum or similar anyway daily. We must not let up for a minute!!

  8. About the loss of that adoption tax credit; my 24 year old granddaughter died 8 years ago, she was 5 months pregnant and had a seizure problem which she knew could be fatal (John Travolta’s son died of the same type seizures disorder), especially when pregnant. It was her choice to try to carry her baby to term, prior to Pence’s anti-abortion law. (As an aside, are there statistics to show how many women have died due to Pence’s law?) She left behind a 6 year old daughter. Her mother, my daughter, was a licensed foster parent so of course was given custody of her granddaughter…with an Indiana state law catch. Apparently family members can only foster-parent a child for a short time; they must then decide whether to adopt or the child is returned to the foster care system and placed with strangers – with no time limit and including a monthly stipend, often for years. My daughter of course adopted our beautiful Aarionna. They didn’t know until the adoption proceedings that the birth mother’s name is REMOVED from the birth certificate and replaced with the adoptive mother’s name. They did not want this done; they did opt to change Aarionna’s last name to include her hyphenated mother’s and father’s last names. This should be optional for the adoptive parent; removing my granddaughter’s name from the birth certificate was a senseless cruelty, the judge asked publicly why they were crying when informed of this part of the proceedings.

    This ruling in the tax-hungry state of Indiana has cost tax payers millions of dollars for many years (my grandparents accepted three foster children, two sisters and a brother, during the late 1920’s, they remain family today in their 90’s.) paying monthly stipends to foster parents till the child ages-out of the system. Allowing the adoption tax credit would would benefit the state for the many who opt not to adopt a family member, whatever the situation with the child.

    And those of us receiving Social Security or Disability and rely on Medicare are still waiting for that ax to fall. It is nearing mid-November with no information regarding Social Security and Medicare coverage which shouldn’t be considered part of either the tax or health care bills.

  9. Republicans are claiming the changes to the corporate income tax will increase jobs and wages by letting these wonderful people bring their money back from the tax havens where it is currently hidden and spending it to hire more people and raise salaries.

    This is a load of bull. At this time, at the current rate, corporations have tons of cash sitting in their banks. They are NOT using it to give raises to their employees. They are doing stock buy-backs to increase their own price per share. This does raise compensation, but only for the ceos and other executives whose bonuses are based on share value.

  10. Frankly, I expect more out of people. More awareness. More thought. More perception. More insistence on facts. More skepticism. More attention to ideas. Less regard for memory and the saccharin sugars of manners.
    I was awfully disappointed in a fellow Democrat, yesterday. She ranted about the manners and decorum of the Trump administration, completely dominating a long lunch. But not once did she identify a bad idea to oppose. Oh, but she had data…data as to posturing and posing and how to make friends and influence shallow people–I should have been impressed with her ability to recite quotes on civility by famous people, dozens of them. Drivel! She reminded me of my mother-in-law, who actually praised Hitler for his grooming and manners. “Welcome. Please, come in. For your convenience, the sauna and showers are at the end of the hall.” Stalin was a bad man only because he was crude. As if polish makes the car and a genteel tea party is life’s ultimate objective. Bipedal animals like this, for whom ideas travel on invisible waves, do not deserve Democracy.

  11. Don’t be too hard on Republicans, they’re not the only sellouts to their donors. Mr. Clooberg, a wealthy DNC donor was interviewed on MSNBC and told the pundit that he threatened to take away is $1.8 million if, “the party moved one inch to the left from where it is now.”

    He also said, “Stop the attacks against millionaires and billionaires.”

    I love when the Donor Class claims victimhood. Or better yet, when they bribe public officials.

    Until we remove monetary gain from the corrupted two-party political apparatus, there is no democracy or representative republic. When Indiana’s congressman owe more to their out-of-state donors than they do their constituents, what we peddle to the word is a faux democracy.

    Our country is a Kleptocracy owned by Plutocrats.

  12. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday became the latest Republican to admit the GOP is trying to ram through massive tax cuts for the rich to satisfy its wealthy donors, telling a journalist that if the party’s tax push fails, “the financial contributions will stop.”

    We suspected this conjunction of why campaign donations are made, but politicians always respond that the donations do not effect their votes. Now we know there is a link!!!

    Quote by Bernie Sanders – “It’s nice to see Republicans in Congress looking out for the people who really matter: their wealthy donors”.

    The release of the Paradise Papers has demonstrated who, how and where the Rich and Famous, Billionaire Oligarchs and Multi-National Corporations set up shell companies to avoid taxation. The Paradise Papers reveal the factual reality of how are financial system is rigged to protect the 1%. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/nov/08/key-revelations-from-the-paradise-papers

    All these various scams to avoid taxes are given legality by elected politicians who we know now are in the pockets of the wealthy donors.

    The Paradise Papers have been given very little or no coverage by FOX, CNN or MSNBC or our local edition of Pravda the Indianapolis Star. The suppression of this story of the Paradise Papers in the USA is like something an authoritarian state would do. This suppression is understandable as we Proles might learn just how bad we are being screwed!!!!

  13. When Ben Carson, before Congress, can not or will not give the answers required of him regarding cuts to HUD I see the writing on the wall. And when there are rumors of an upcoming Social Security increase which, if true, will automatically purge Medicaid of tens of thousands of needy people, I also see how things are going.
    Corporations, as people, are clapping their greedy collective hands, knowing they will, again, be able to stash bucketsful of money in offshore accounts. And this will of course ensure that the middle class will take the last agonizing step into poverty. None of this means anything to those in power because they are getting their instructions (as the puppets they are) from the Kochs, NRA, and all the others who bankroll them. What sickens me is knowing these people, if they applied their collective expertise, dollars, and brain power could work toward the greater good, and still make a profit, but don’t.

  14. All,

    This sophisticated readership knows what’s going on and is not fooled by the Republican subterfuge. When Republicans talk about “liberty and freedom”, it’s time to grab your wallet. Poor people are not free to do what they want to do. People in debt are not free to do what they want. Without the necessary regulations, none of us are free of the excesses of industry and capitalism. It’s in their nature to exploit, use up, cast aside and waste.

    We the people cannot allow our noses to be rubbed into the mess the Republicans have made and are making with our tax code, our public education fiasco nor our wretched private health care insurance systems.

    Think Tuesday, November 4, 2017 as the breakout day for saving America from the oligarchs.

  15. John,

    U R right it’s a “Plutocracy.”

    The white-male-Christian PLUTOCRACY, especially with the ultra-conservative, mega-rich, Texas oil men at the helm [Carl Rove got his start with one of them, ex-Texas Governor Bill Clements] has always been there. It went along with a facade of democracy until the Civil Rights Movement came along in the 60’s After that, its been downhill all the way with a SLOW-MOTION, 2 STEPS FORWARD, 1 BACKWARD, strategy moving toward FASCISM.

    It’s simple. Just read Vernon Turner’s book.

    How else could they have maintained their power for themselves as well as their family and friends?

  16. “Grifters, Oligarchs, Plutocrats.”

    Totally brazen, no efforts at all to hide or lie low while doing this thoroughly contemptible act. They do their dirty work right out in the open for all to see and their elected minions who will do their dirty work on us before doing anything else bow and scrap before their masters.

    This is not America and if we don’t find someway to act against this we will lose the America that we know, love, and given that it’s Veteran’s Day, serve for and die to protect. If these creeps pull this off and we do nothing to stop it we will have ourselves to blame as well.

    I did not serve my country and take a solemn oath to defend it and its Constitution to just sit back and watch it be handed off as a gift to oligarchs. No one else should either. This is our country and it belongs to all of us. We all work hard, we take pride in our communities and in our country and we need to show it by standing firm against this heinous act!!!

  17. “Think Tuesday, November 4, 2017 as the breakout day for saving America from the oligarchs.”

    Unfortunately,no. On that day,the plebes will be allowed to vote for either the same (incumbent) or for new faces to serve the donor class. The donor class has won. They won decades ago. Citizens United and the allowing of corporations to be looked upon lawfully as people were the final nails into the coffin……Where was the resistance?

    There has been no resistance to endless wars from the public. There has been no resistance to the Powell Manifesto from Democrats. Tweeting dissatisfaction amongst ourselves and sternly worded letters from impotent Democrats isn’t the answer. Voting for the same names/people/prostitutes isn’t the answer. Republicans have been allowed to run amok because there has not been a genuine counter to their efforts. Democrats lack conviction,resolve and have become ineffective milksops because the Democratic leadership serves the same interests as the Republicans.

    Why does Monsanto have so much lobbying power? Because representatives such as Joe Donnelly are in bed with them. And, Joe Donnelly will continue to receive the votes from Democrats regardless of his voting record because of blind brand loyalty from rubes.

  18. We’re in a domestic war. It’s been declared. However, at the moment [I hope it stays that way] it’s being fought with words instead of bullets. Does anyone disagree? If not, then what is our ORDER OF BATTLE?

    DEFINITION OF ORDER OF BATTLE
    NOUN [PLURAL ORDERS OF BATTLE.]
    1. the organization or hierarchy of military forces in preparation for a battle.

    2. the planned SEQUENCE in which military units arrive and are deployed on a battlefield, usually based on estimates of their combat effectiveness.

    This is our basic problem. We don’t have an EFFECTIVE Order of Battle because there is no admission by the so-called Pro-Democracy leadership that we are at war. They no better. But the problem is that most of them are incompetent to lead in this new reality.

    Consequently, we can’t have the proper SEQUENCE since we don’t have in existence the proper ORGANIZATIONS to carry out the vital tasks.

    That’s why our messages have little or no effect. If we don’t wake-up in time, we are going to lose more than just our “shirts.”

  19. Traditionally the donor class supplied or withheld the funds and consumer/taxpayer/worker/voters supplied or withheld the power. I’m sure that ambitious elected politicians carry around in their heads some balance sheet of how many donor dollars it takes to “buy” votes that are necessary to have the power to sell, the foundation of the Ponzi Scheme. Pervasive fake news for sale media has changed the balance requiring more dollars to get the power.

    This is what some economists call an “arms race”. Any increment of increase just raises the ante and pretty soon both sides are paying lots for temporary small incremental advantage. That doesn’t ever end but eventually collapses under its own weight.

    The blatantly dysfunctional trickle down tax game is a desperate attempt by Republicans now saddled with Trump to gain a small incremental advantage for this election which will soon be table stakes and devious minds will be thinking about the next set of arms race weapons.

    The environment has changed fellow voter dinosaurs and if we don’t adapt the country we built will go extinct. We have to give our votes to the only solution left, the DNC, and convince others to, for free because we love what we built not because of endless commercials in every pocket, purse and living room in the country.

    Republicans will as the Trump/Pence/McConnell/Ryan debacle ripens have to up the financial ante to maintain power thus this tax rip off of the middle class. It’s worked so far for them although the stench is becoming indisputable.

    The solution is Americans who built the country giving away our votes rather than selling them to the highest bidder. Our backs are to the wall.

  20. Let’s look at the tax situation this way. $5.6 trillion, with no end in sight. That’s the cost of America’s wars since 9/11. That must be paid for somehow and who better than the new people on the block, the corporations. If they are required to foot the bill for our nation’s endless wars, you can bet that these silly and non-essential wars will end as that is the rational manner in which corporations do business.

    It is obvious that working families cannot pay for the endless wars. $5.6 trillion by next September works out to $310 billion per year to prop up our endless wars. That’s $23,386 per taxpayer per year. Slice it however you want, it’s an incomprehensibly massive number. Furthermore, there has been income stagflation since the 1980’s and in recent years individual have been piling on personal debt such that today’s total household debt is at a record of almost $13 trillion. That’s bad itself, however, we just keep freefalling into gargantuan war debt such that the US is now technically bankrupt.

    The bottom line, end war or have corporations taxed to pay for war. Little people cannot carry the entire burden of debt, both federal and personal.

  21. The economic chickens are coming home to roost. For William to say that Democrats lack conviction because they seek the necessary means to run for office at the same trough as the Republicans is not seeing the whole picture. The failure of Democrats has been their lack of re-framing American politics in the minds of those outside the suburbs and cities.

    On this blog, we’ve seen people confounded by voters voting against their own best interests by voting for Republicans. The reason is they have bought into the framing that the Republican PR people have created. Re-frame the issues and watch what happens. I say this, because the polls show that over 60% of us want the basic agenda fronted by Bernie Sanders in the last campaign.

    Yes, Citizens United is a great impediment to fair and free elections. All elections should be publicly funded, but that won’t happen until the words and music stick with enough of the voters to foment that change.

  22. I am reminded on this holiday that I spent some time in the South and Central Pacific during WW II, from New Guinea to Purple Beach in the Carolines not for FDR, Truman or even a symbolic flag. I volunteered to spend time there in the defense of democracy against fascism, and it appears my efforts were in vain. Why? Because we are now almost totally under control of corporate fascism, or total corporate control of the lives and fortunes of America and its people, my greatest fear. I now know that fascism can come from within as well as without.

    The tax proposals of not just conservative but also Ayn Rand and libertarian Republicans pick our pockets to further this takeover and, perhaps worse, adds either a predicted 1.5 or 1.7 trillion (take your pick) to the national debt for our great grandchildren to pay (speaking of taxation without representation). Republicans when told of CBO and other measures showing such deficits and long term debt assure us that with such trickle down monies in the hands of corporations (including banking corporations) we will ignite economic growth that will dry up such predicted deficits and additions to debt and that they will evaporate. If that happens, it will be the first time in economic history, since such public largesse in the past, far from igniting investments in new plant, new employment etc., historically winds up in “shareholder value,” executive stock options and bonuses or, alternatively, in Swiss and Cayman banks under layers of trustees to avoid detection for tax purposes.

    One of the commentators today rightly suggests that such further impoverishment of consumers represented by this proposed Republican tax act means a decrease in aggregate demand, and this in a marketplace where demand is already tepid as demonstrated by the retail crisis in which stores across America are closing, merging or being cannibalized by vulture corporations in Chapter 11 proceedings. Her observation is accurate, and the retail sector’s problems, in my opinion, are just the tip of the iceberg.

    I predicted a recession in 2018 the day Trump was elected, and renew that prediction here. The temporary nudge we are seeing in the Dow and demand today merely reflects Wall Street’s anticipation of the huge tax cut in progress and the miniscule nudge in demand is financed by historic credit card debt and not any substantial raises in the median wage. I would have guessed that we would have a recession in 2017 but it takes a while for Trump’s policies or lack thereof to take hold. I hope I am wrong and that economic growth on the order of five or six percent happens, but my Keynesian instincts and study of economic history tell me otherwise. These tax cuts for the rich and corporate class have nothing to do with corporate efficiency in terms of managerial or worker productivity, innovation, new marketing techniques or the like. Such cuts are gifts from you and me pure and simple, gifts to the few that will decrease aggregate demand and help accelerate us down the road to recession. So not to worry because such tax policy is designed for the common good and economic growth will come to the rescue and make the long term bogeyman of debt go away? Trickle down economics has never worked in large economies before per the Nobel Prize winning economist, Joseph E. Stiglitz, and won’t work now – quite the contrary – as another recession comes into view.

  23. From an ethical standpoint, I don’t see much difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Both are SELL-OUTS. The Republicans sell out to the ultra-rich Conservative donors and the Democrats sell out to the more ultra-rich Progressive or Liberal donors who are probably also supporting the Republican candidates through some type of “strawman.”

    The ultra-rich Democratic supporters wouldn’t support the Democratic Party candidates if they CAUSED TOO MUCH TROUBLE. That’s one of the main reasons we are “up Shits Creek without a paddle.” The same goes for their contribution to the so-called pro-democracy NGO’s. As Americans, we’re being sold out on both sides. We need to face it. That should be our #1 priority. (When I was a Treasury Department attorney in Dallas, I headed-up the Illegal Political Constributions Section which encompassed three states” Texas, Arkansas, and Lousiana). I know what I’m talking about.

    Thousands of years ago, Thucydides, the Greek warrior and philosopher, alluded to the DIRE consequences that would ACCRUE from the type of DESPICABLE actions that are being carried out within the INSIDE of the so-called pro-democracy community.

    des-pi-ca-ble (di spik’ e bel) adj. deserving scorn; contemptible

    ~Webster’s New World Dictionary

  24. Unfortunately Marv elections are for people not ideas and here and now virtually every election is won by someone representing one of only two parties.

    We see the indisputable results of voting for Rs in the discussion here of this massive wealth redistribution bill.

    Are Ds as bad? If so it’s over for America IMO. We can’t let perfect get in the way of necessary.

  25. Gerald, unlike you and many others on this blog I have never studied economics. I just know what I see and experience, and what I am seeing these days does not bode well.

    What I see driving East Washington Street is miles of empty strip malls, numerous businesses that I used to frequent now with closed doors, the emergence of second hand stores and flea markets, and a stock market too good to be true. What I see are people cutting back, or worse, giving up. Just look at the suicide rate for men in their thirties and forties. What I see is more and more advertisements for luxury items indicating that the only market left is fast becoming exclusive to the rich. Meanwhile I am trying to conserve what I have. My broker friend advised that the market was overdue for a correction, and I needed to “capture” the profits earned this year and put it all into something very safe. I have.

  26. Pete,

    “Unfortunately Marv elections are for people not ideas and here and now virtually every election is won by someone representing one of only two parties.”

    I didn’t say not to vote for Democratic Party candidates. I hate to admit, I even voted for Hillary Clinton. The Democratic Party alone is not the answer. If it was, we wouldn’t be in the trouble that we’re ALL now in. Donald Trump isn’t responsible for all our troubles; He’s an opportunist and has taken full advantage of them.

    I like Barack Obama, but he was highly ineffective in keeping us going in the right direction. I attempted to warn of his NAIVETE, in the June 30th edition of “The Nation Magazine” over 4 months before he was elected. After 8 years and the end of his term, the country was “ripe for a takeover”and that is exactly what we’re now facing.

    During the Obama years, the pro-democracy NGO’s, did little or nothing to “stem the tide.” They were working under a terrific formula for success…. The less we accomplish, the more $$$ we will receive. “Let’s don’t rattle the boat,” our CONTRIBUTORS will be scared off.

    I don’t agree with William’s tactics or strategy, however no one is more in touch with reality than he is. We are all coming from different places. I highly respect his position. Like I respect yours.

  27. If, as the Supreme Court has ruled, corporations are people, then there just needs to be one set of rules & taxation policies.

  28. Well, Deborah, corporations are people for certain but not all purposes. The defendant in the Citizens United case was the FEC and corporations became people and money became speech, but only in political contexts. I thought the decision was wrong in that it invites Big Money to take over our electoral process and hastens the end of our democracy. I still think of corporations the way I was taught in law school – that they are artificial persons resulting from a contract (charter) between incorporators and the state. Citizens United changed that classic definition, but in limited fashion. I will be a happy guy the day that case is reversed or modified to stop or slow the corrosive effects of money on our politics.

  29. I m not seeing the voter mob the republicans local meetings,or mob the politician when he shows up like with health care. now were down to social media,and tweets to rouse the inept politician from his goliath. seems with so little outcry, be ready for a slavery via economic conditions in the very near future, maybe joe biden will run,and trump can go home looking like a fool..

  30. I never thought I’d be thankful for incompetence in legislating until this administration and Congress. They are also very brazen – not at all bashful about robbing the poor to enrich the rich.

    Elections across the country last week show the public IS paying attention to the media and people like Sheila Kennedy. (Have you shared her blog with others?)

    There’s hope for America and the world.

  31. Where is the good in mobilizing voters to oust republican office holders?

    If Congress were 100 percent democrat clones of Jesus Christ, over half, perhaps three-quarters, still would be beholden to corporate donors. And the rules—Citizens United, FECA OR PECA—that make that happen, whether you get off naming the result oligarchy or plutocracy or something else, can only be changed by the dudes in Congress who benefit; they are the only ones who have a vote on such matters. How do you overcome that? Not by voting. Not by whining. Not by publication of diagnostics.

    Somehow the relationship between office holders and corporate donors has to be broken, and it cannot be undone with our vote, our whine, our analytical tome. It cannot be done through process, since the process has been re engineered into the ultimate Catch 22.

    How?

    All other discussion is mere entertainment…or hysteria.

  32. In the interest of “all ideas given an ear”, how about everyone just giving up on The United STATES of America and buying small shares in a number of corporations and then refusing to appoint a proxy to act on your behalf when votes are called for?

    Insist on casting your vote yourself.

    The larger the corporation the more difficult for an owner of large blocks of shares to own enough shares to dictate policy, and the easier it becomes for the sum of owners of small share blocks to unite and affect policy.

    Since we are now the UNITED CORPORATIONS OF AMERICA, within that context is the only place where the individual’s vote could possibly count.

    Since the rules of the government game has changed, it makes no sense to play by the old rules.

  33. Larry,

    “Somehow the relationship between office holders and corporate donors has to be broken, and it cannot be undone with our vote, our whine, our analytical tome. It cannot be done through process, since the process has been re engineered into the ultimate Catch 22.”

    “How?”

    Listen more to what Professor Kennedy is saying. Our problem is FREEDOM OF SPEECH. What good does voting do if the voting public doesn’t even recognize what the important issues are.

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