Trashing The Economy

Schadenfreude would be appropriate if real people weren’t being hurt.

Recent business news included the planned overseas move by that icon of Americana, Harley-Davidson. Although a quote attributed to the CEO to the effect that Trump is a moron who knows nothing about either trade or economics turned out to be bogus, the  decision to move production offshore sends a not-dissimilar message.

As Paul Krugman noted in a recent column, Harley-Davidson may be an icon, but it isn’t really a big economic player.

Nonetheless, I think the Harley story is one of those anecdotes that tells us a lot. It’s an early example of the incentives created by the looming Trumpian trade war, which will hurt many more American companies and workers than Trump or the people around him seem to realize. It’s an indication of the hysterical reactions we can expect from the Trump crew as the downsides of their policies start to become apparent — hysteria that other countries will surely see as evidence of Trump’s fundamental weakness.

No President can be an expert on all of the subjects on which a President must make consequential decisions. Most of those who have occupied the Oval Office have compensated for that reality by surrounding themselves with credentialed, expert advisers. But then, most of Trump’s predecessors were mentally stable enough to recognize that a need for advice about a highly technical area isn’t tantamount to an admission of inferiority.

There’s a reason the Trump Administration is filled with incompetents and sycophants–increasingly from Fox News–and even then, has seen unprecedented turnover.

And what Trump’s alleged experts have to say about the controversy offers fresh confirmation that nobody in the administration has the slightest idea what he or she is doing.

About that trade war: So far, we’re seeing only initial skirmishes in something that may well become much bigger. Nonetheless, what’s already happened isn’t trivial. The U.S. has imposed significant tariffs on steel and aluminum, causing their domestic prices to shoot up; our trading partners, especially the European Union, have announced plans to retaliate with tariffs on selected U.S. products.

And Harley is one of the companies feeling an immediate squeeze: It’s paying more for its raw materials even as it faces the prospect of tariffs on the cycles it exports. Given that squeeze, it’s perfectly natural for the company to move some of its production overseas, to locations where steel is still cheap and sales to Europe won’t face tariffs.

Opposition to tariffs used to be a hard-and-fast position of (what used to be) the Republican Party. It was a position I heartily endorsed, for reasons that Krugman alludes to and all Americans will soon begin to appreciate. That Harley and other companies would choose to move in reaction to those tariffs was entirely predictable.

But while it’s what you’d expect to see, and what I’d expect to see, it’s apparently not what Trump expected to see. His view seems to be that since he schmoozed with the company’s executives and gave its stockholders a big tax cut, Harley owes him personal fealty and shouldn’t respond to the incentives his policies have created….

So what do Trump’s economists have to say about all of this? One answer is, what economists? There are hardly any left in the administration. But for what it’s worth, Kevin Hassett, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, isn’t echoing Trump’s nonsense: He’s uttering completely different nonsense. Instead of condemning Harley’s move, he declares that it’s irrelevant given the “massive amount of activity coming home” thanks to the corporate tax cut.

That would be nice if it were true. But we aren’t actually seeing lots of “activity coming home”; we’re seeing accounting maneuvers that transfer corporate equity from overseas subsidiaries back to the home corporation but in general produce “no real economic activity.”

As real economists and business reporters have documented, those tax reductions have once again failed to “trickle down” to the workers they were supposed to benefit. Most have been used in corporate stock buy-backs. Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans are voting to rob Social Security and Medicaid and make access to other social welfare programs more difficult–just as the Administrations uninformed trade war policy threatens to tank the economy. We are already seeing a weakening in consumer spending.

There is a (very unattractive) part of me that is watching this train wreck as vindication–this is what happens when you turn government over to people who ignore history and evidence and scorn the “effete elites” who actually know what they’re doing.

Schadenfreude.

But then I think of all the people who will suffer needlessly thanks to this clown and his circus…

 

24 thoughts on “Trashing The Economy

  1. The fallout from Trump’s trade wars will be the ONLY thing that slaps Republican voters up the side of their fair haired heads. Don’t look for an emergence of conscience or morals or ethics not after revelations of caged children and screaming babies were dismissed and ignored so that summer fun could continue unabated.

  2. Suffering is inevitable within a market-driven society. The goal is to be a winner knowing there will be plenty of losers. It forces us to be selfish versus creating an economy that works for the collective human race.

    Winning is all that matters.

    Trump thinks he is winning because he’s surrounded himself with sycophants who applaud his every move. His Ego needs the daily feeding of admiration. It’s why he watches Fox News and calls all the others #FakeNews.

    Their propaganda is winning.

    This sentence jumped off the page this morning, “And what Trump’s alleged experts have to say about the controversy offers fresh confirmation that nobody in the administration has the slightest idea what he or she is doing.”

    What is sad is the deeper down the rabbit hole he digs, his loyal fans defend him. He’s delusional so this must mean that millions of Americans are also delusional.

    Denial covers up for the Ego. It always has. It keeps people from seeing the truth about themselves and others. We see it collectively in communities across America. There is a very large percentage of Americans and Hoosiers who honestly believe that automotive plants will come back to their communities and resurrect them from the dead. Trump’s bloviations appeal to their denial.

    For those of us in reality, it’s sad to watch as Sheila decries.

    But, I know what deep suffering can cause. It allows a beacon of light to shine. Clarity. A moment of truth.

    We must recognize that America is broken, not some beacon of excellence our media spin to their viewers. It is broke and more Fascism isn’t the answer. More free markets aren’t the cure. Nationalism will backfire as borders are erased globally.

    Here’s a clip from Chris Hedge’s recent article:

    “The two political parties are one party—the corporate party. They do not debate substantive issues. They each support the expansion of imperial wars, the bloated military budget, the dictates of global capitalism, the bailing out of Wall Street, punishing austerity measures, assaulting basic civil liberties through wholesale government surveillance and the abolition of due process, and an electoral process that has cemented into place a system of legalized bribery. They battle over cultural tropes such as abortion, gay rights and prayer in schools. We elect politicians based on how we are made to feel about them by the public relations industry. Politics is anti-politics.”

    https://www.truthdig.com/articles/america-the-failed-state/

    #Bravo

  3. Schadenfreude!

    We’re witnessing just another Fascist leader without the benefit of reality. All you have to remember is Adolph Hitler’s failed decision to go war against the Soviet Union despite the desperate warnings of German military intelligence. That misadventure will pail in comparison to what is in store for the followers of Donald Trump in the U.S.

    The German Jews were less than 1% of the population. This jerk has decided to take on 40% of the population. Good luck!

  4. Rest assured, there will be no tariffs on textiles, handbags, or shoes, so the Trump empire will not suffer.

  5. At least there is one Republican Senator who is thinking about returning to reality:

    Ted Cruz: ‘Vote for the Democrat’ over the GOP Nazi – POLITICO
    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/…/ted-cruz-arthur-jones-vote-democrat-6887…
    3 days ago – CHICAGO — Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz on Friday urged residents of a Chicago-area congressional district to vote for a Democrat if they must.

    What does he think Donald Trump is all about?

  6. “Although a quote attributed to the CEO to the effect that Trump is a moron who knows nothing about either trade or economics turned out to be bogus…”

    The source of that particular quote may be bogus; the heart of the quote is a given fact. Just as; we may have become a nation of paranoids, that doesn’t mean Trump and his cronies are not out to get us.

    “The two political parties are one party—the corporate party. They do not debate substantive issues.” “They battle over cultural tropes such as abortion, gay rights and prayer in schools.”

    Regarding these copied and pasted Chris Hedges’ quotes from Todd; his view lacks substance and knowledge of American civil and human rights when he refers to issues such as abortion, gay rights and prayer in schools as “cultural tropes” (trope: figurative use of a word or expression). America is in the process of breaking – it is not yet totally broken – we are still in the process of fighting to regain our rights to abortion as a medical decision, gay rights as a fact of life and prayer in schools (public schools being the target of the government) have not yet been fulling instated at the national level. We, whatever the percentage may be who are seeing the beginnings of personal suffering under Trump, are just beginning our fight to end Fascism. We lost a battle on that early morning of November 9, 2016…we did NOT lose the war. We can have another “D-Day” at the polls on November 6, 2018, which can be the beginning of the end – or the end of the beginning – of the current Civil War in this country.

  7. Trump + tariffs = tirade. No more substance than a spoiled psycho-social arrested narcicist creating a disturbance to distract attention toward him and not encroaching threats such as Muellar.

  8. As JoAnn points out, we’re not yet broken. Hedges has always been a doomsayer, but does point out trends. Todd goes from A-Q while missing all the other letters.

    Yes, 11/6/18 will be the end of the beginning of our Civil War if we’re allowed to have the election, or the Russians haven’t completely hacked into our stupid electronic voting systems, or the 92 million faux patriots stay home again, or if the Republicans and Trump aren’t repudiated by a massive blue tsunami across the board. Then, it will be the beginning of the end.

  9. JoAnn,

    “Regarding these copied and pasted Chris Hedges’ quotes from Todd; his view lacks substance and knowledge of American civil and human rights when he refers to issues such as abortion, gay rights and prayer in schools as “cultural tropes” (trope: figurative use of a word or expression).”

    Very astute observation. Many years back, I made a special trip to New York to confront Hedge’s on his new book: “American Fascists: The Christian Right and It’s War Against America,” during his book signing at the Barnes and Noble bookstore on 5th Avenue. The strangest thing, there was no mention of RACE when it came to discussing the dangers of American Fascism in his book.

    In his defense, it probably made the difference as to whether or not his book would be published. Nevertheless, he refused to respond to my questioning during his short lecture.

    The danger from this type of omission is that it prevents us from “staying ahead of the puck,” as it, seriously, misleads his large readership, whether intentional or not.

  10. The business empire that Agent Orange’s father gave him deals in properties. Most of the value in a business like that is created by location, location, location. As far as what is built at that location the value is in hiring good architects with an eye on building the most eye appeal for the cheapest price then hiring contractors who are most desperate to deal. Trump’s father raised him to have a personality that fit that business but DJT expanded it into the celebrity business, not much of a stretch. The Kardashian’s demonstrate that.

    His extension into politics took advantage of times here where we had it too good and celebrated by turning our minds over to entertainment media and that put them as easy prey for a celebrity with an ego without bounds. Now we have a Kardashian family as President, a cabinet of plunderers and theives and a Congress dedicated to enjoying the ride.

    The only real government we have is the administrative state of professionals who get abused every day by the children we put over them in the organization.

    We are only still afloat by the momentum of the previous administration and the ponderous maneuverability of the beaurocracy that is required in this overpopulated highly complex world.

    The only good news would be if we can end it as quickly as it rose to power. They have less than 6 month left on their lease and if people who care about their country still outnumber those addicted to entertainment we can start the eviction process that soon. This part won’t be pretty as the corruption that always accompanies power is in full orgasimic crescendo. All of the wars our predecessors fought for us though were just as ugly and difficult and it’s merely our turn to continue in the tradition of saving freedom, justice, opportunity and progress. We have it so much easier that all those before us had it. Can we match their dedication?

    Will we?

  11. Eugene Debs made a similar statement to the quote by Hedges above: “The Republican and Democratic parties are alike capitalist parties — differing only in being committed to different sets of capitalist interests — they have the same principles under varying colors, are equally corrupt and are one in their subservience to capital and their hostility to labor.”

    Some people refuse to see this.

    Here in Indianapolis, both Democrats and Republicans (Republicrat Party) join hands and approve whatever amount of taxation is necessary to build, maintain and subsidize our Professional Teams, owned by Mega-Billionaire.

    >> After a lengthy government career defined by his central role in bailing out predatory Wall Street banks as former President Barack Obama’s Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner appears to have found his true calling in the private sector, where he now heads a large financial institution that exploits the economic struggles of poor Americans for profit.

    As president of Warburg Pincus—a major New York private equity firm—Geithner helps manage a lucrative predatory lending outfit called Mariner Finance, which mass-mails loan checks to low-income Americans, hides exorbitant interest rates in the fine print, and quickly sues those who fail to repay the loan and interest in time, according to a detailed Washington Post report published late Sunday.<<< https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/07/02/after-long-career-bailing-out-big-banks-obama-treasury-secretary-tim-geithner-now
    ================================================================

  12. I was born in 1942 when WWII was all of the news. Since then, as I grew up, the rise and defeat of fascism has been analyzed to death. Back then we did get the order right, defeat then analyze when time permits.

    I fear that we might be tempted to analyze too much now at the expense of acting.

    Acting in November is critical and uncertainty can be paralyzing which is completely unaffordable.

  13. Krugman is right > Harley is not a big economic player, not like the steel and aluminum players, who are big. However, Harley is an icon. Everybody knows about Harleys; how many know the names of Chinese and German steel and aluminum makers? The move of Harley’s production to Thailand is admittedly designed to supply the EU market with 40,000 motorcycles free of the 25% counter tariff that market has imposed on their products as a result of Trump’s tariff games. Trump is playing the fear game with his tariff endeavors and has lately (via planned leaks) even suggested that he may withdraw from WTO, NATO et al., thus putting the finishing touches on his Bannon-inspired plan of “deconstruction of the administrative state,” aka the destruction of our influence in the world and, ultimately, our democracy.

    Trump’s tariff wars are going to spread unless stopped. Section 8 of the Constitution plainly gives the power to regulate trade to the Congress, but the Congress is preoccupied in fundraising most of the time between committee appearances and can’t be bothered – so they delegate such authority to the president upon a Section 232 finding by the president that national security is involved which, to a power hungry Trump, is an open invitation to make such a finding so as to enable him to play tariff games (never mind that Canadian and Mexican armies are NOT massing at our borders, nor have May or Merkel asked their legislators for a declaration of war against the United States).

    Harley’s home office and its big production facilities are in Milwaukee, where layoffs are coming and where Governor Walker, a big Trump backer, reigns. Any comment, Governor?

  14. “Here in Indianapolis, both Democrats and Republicans (Republicrat Party) join hands and approve whatever amount of taxation is necessary to build, maintain and subsidize our Professional Teams, owned by Mega-Billionaire.”

    Monotonous; maybe you should clarify it is the Democrats and Republicrats elected to office who “join hands and approve whatever amount of taxation…”. We, the taxed, are never asked to approve or disapprove. That new 1 cent per gallon gas tax that just went into effect somehow increased the price of gas per gallon by about 20 cents…it was $3.09 this morning for regular.

  15. ‘Vindictive and Cruel’: After Work Requirements Struck Down, GOP Governor Cancels Dental and Vision Medicaid Coverage for 460,000 in Kentucky.

    “After a federal judge blocked Kentucky’s gutting of Medicaid, which would throw 95,000 off coverage, the governor responded with a Trumpian tantrum.”

    In what was described as a “Trumpian tantrum” that comes just days after a federal judge struck down his attempt to impose work requirements on his state’s 1.4 million Medicaid recipients, Kentucky’s Republican Gov. Matt Bevin on Monday completely canceled dental and vision coverage for 460,000 Kentuckians.

    “This action is vindictive and cruel,” declared the Southern Poverty Law Center, which represented 15 Kentucky residents in their lawsuit against the state’s proposed work requirements, which a federal judge ruled were unlawfully approved by the Trump administration.

    Bevin has also warned that he may attempt to go even further, threatening to cancel Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion if he is barred from imposing work requirements on Medicaid recipients. If Bevin succeeds in rolling back Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion—which was implemented under Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear—500,000 people could lose health insurance entirely.
    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/07/02/vindictive-and-cruel-after-work-requirements-struck-down-gop-governor-cancels-dental
    =====================================================================
    This the way the Republicans play the political game. If we had Single Payer or Enhanced Medicare for All, this type of inhuman cruelty would not be possible. The Establishment Corporate Democratic Party will not support Enhanced Medicare for All.

    H.R.676 – Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act has 122 co-sponsors all Democrats, Nancy Pelosi’s name is absent from the list of Co-Sponsors.

    So there can be all the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth over Republican Gov. Matt Bevin vindictive inhumane decision, but where is the plan of opposition to set things straight??

    The Republicans were categorized as the party of NO, during the Obama Regime, the Democrats as a Party today, I see as the Party of NO Ideas and NO guts.

  16. JoAnn, my point was whenever the Pacers or Colts need new stadiums or subsidies, both political parties Republicans and Democrats, transform into a Republicrat Party to approve it. Gold$mith had a new stadium built for the Pacers and Peterson had a new stadium built for the Colts. Corporate Welfare is bi-partisan in respect to Professional Sports Teams.

    I cannot recall a single member of the City-County Council ever objecting to this Corporate Welfare for Professional Sports.

    As far as the penny increase in the gas tax, I will gladly pay it if it all goes to fixing our pathetic highways and roads.

  17. Outstanding post again, Sheila! What worries me is that, as Trumpy Bear himself has pointed out, it really doesn’t matter what bad, stupid, ill-advised or otherwise wrong thing he does–his racist base would stick with him even if he murdered someone in cold blood on 5th Avenue in NYC in broad daylight with hundreds of witnesses.

    So, the rest of us know where things are going–there are indicators that a major recession may be on the horizon, fueled by these tariffs and tax cuts to the uber-wealthy, which will cause the debt to explode. Republicans have already drafted bills to drastically cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and SNAP benefits, so the not so uber-wealthy elderly Trumpy Bear supporters will be hurt. Even those who saved money and invested will get killed if the stock market takes a dive. Nevertheless, he puts those brown vermin and their kids in cages and tells off those uppity women, liberals, blacks and intellectuals, which feeds their racist, misogynist and xenophobic souls, so they feel good. For now, at least.

  18. Professional sports have become too big to go without at the city level. The blackmail of cities to fund their venues is a consequence of the point that we are addicted to our entertainment just as surely as opioid addicts are hooked on pain free happiness.

  19. Never let it be said that I gave credit to Agent Orange for having a cogent thought but I will follow this with someone else’s analysis of Trumpy’s intuitive bull in the china shop destruction.

  20. Disclaimer: I don’t know who wrote this. It was sent to me by a friend. However, I find it fascinating as an analysis of the President’s operational tactics. Thought you might enjoy it, too.

    There are 5 simple rules for understanding President Trump. They define how he’s lived his life until now. And what still drives him at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. If you understand them, you will get what he’s doing. If you don’t, there’s always a job waiting at the New York Times.

    If you keep the below rules in mind when you see Prez Trump do something which the media and others react to as being controversial, you will have a clear understanding of why he did it. You will not find a more concise explanation of Trump. In actuality, it would behoove the Democrats to memorize these rules. Then they would know what they are up against and perhaps be willing to compromise somewhere in the middle.

    1. Act, Don’t React

    Trump hates reacting, he loves taking the initiative and forcing others, rivals, competitors, media syndicates or foreign dictators, to react to him. That’s the essence of strategy and he nails it the way few have.

    When UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson muttered that there was a “method to his madness”, that was it. The method is becoming the driving force in an escalating conflict. Instead of reacting to attacks, Trump forces his attackers to react to him. He takes the initiative and leaves his opponents sputtering. That’s how he became the President of the United States. It’s what he’s doing internationally.

    By acting, Trump takes control of each encounter. What happens next may not be ideal, but Trump cares more about maintaining the initiative than about forcing a specific outcome. He doesn’t see politics as a chess match, but as a boxing match. He doesn’t get locked into predetermined goals. Instead he lets the kinetic confrontation create opportunities by exploiting his opponent’s reactions.

    Picking a fight with the North Korean dictator, led to a peace summit. A trade war with China has already led to some serious concessions. A trade shoving match with Europe and Canada offers potential wins.

    Unlike previous administrations, Trump isn’t satisfied with the status quo. And that means that he tries a lot of things.

    That takes us to Rule 2.

    2. Try Everything

    Critics have poked fun at Trump’s failed business ventures. But you don’t succeed without trying and failing. Trump is comfortable with failure. He knows that if you’re willing to knock on 100 doors, you might get 1 sale. His approach to politics is trying a lot of different approaches and policies to get to a win.

    When Obama expressed a willingness to meet with dictators and terrorists, it’s because he was already sympathetic to them. The seeds of the Iran deal were always in him. The negotiations just took him where he already wanted to be. Trump however isn’t meeting with Kim Jong-un because he likes him. He’s doing it because it might pay off. Or it won’t and then he’ll try something else.

    Obama needed Iran. Trump doesn’t need North Korea. He can take it or leave it. He’s hungry for wins, but he also sees the potential for them everywhere so he doesn’t overcommit to any individual deal.

    Political professionals scoff at that scrappy attitude. They insist on the importance of posture and position. Trump knows all about posture and position, but he refuses to be its prisoner. He can insult Kim one day and flatter him the next. Politics is just business with countries instead of companies.

    Trump’s approach is the same to both politics and business. Do whatever it takes to get the deal. And then decide if the deal is worth taking.

    3. Chaos is Power

    Most people want to minimize chaos. Countries and companies spend fortunes, fight wars and dedicate decades to reducing chaos. Trump however thrives on chaos. Instead of trying to control chaos, he generates it, causing uncertainty and then offering a sense of security in exchange for a good deal.

    That’s what Trump is doing with trade. It’s what he did to China and North Korea.

    Trump tries everything (Rule 2) and escalates confrontations (Rule 1) so that his opponents have no way to counter him except by escalating the confrontation and creating more chaos. And then Trump forces them to negotiate by proving he can function in a chaotic and uncertain situation better than they can.
    That’s how he got North Korea to the table. After decades of the Norks intimidating previous administrations by creating chaos with their threats, Trump topped those threats. The media warned that a nuclear war would break out. Instead China and North Korea chose a peace summit.

    The summit may come to nothing, but Trump had already broken the Nork ability to intimidate us.
    China, Europe and Canada don’t want a trade war. They have nothing to gain and plenty to lose. By creating economic chaos, Trump also became the only man who can end the chaos and restore security.

    Chaos is power.

    When the United States became a world power, its administrations emphasized stability over everything. Trump welcomes chaos because it’s a much more effective negotiating strategy. Entities that seek order can be intimidated with chaos. But politicians who seek chaos can’t be intimidated.

    Trump doesn’t seek order. He wants victory.

    4. Never Show Your Hand

    Conventional politicians have a narrow window of agenda items. They’re very clear on what they want, what they don’t want, what they’re willing to do and what they’re willing to give up to get it.

    Trump has always been ambiguous. Parse his sentences and you can read them three different ways. Each assertion eventually uncovers a contradiction. That’s confusion. Tactical confusion.

    As Trump has mentioned plenty of times, he loves being unpredictable.
    Trump is the only president in a century who is able to go into negotiations with a completely unpredictable outcome. And the roster of competing figures around him only creates more chaos.

    To truly create chaos (Rule 3), you have to be unpredictable. That creates insecurity. It forces your opponents to read things into every move you make. And then to be stymied by the futility of it.

    Ambiguity leaves the other side unable to assess what the United States would actually settle for. Instead it ends up offering far more than we would settle for just to restore that sense of security.

    Trump is the most famous man in the world. And yet his decision-making remains mysterious.

    5. Don’t Be Afraid to be the Bad Guy

    If Americans have a fatal flaw, a weakness that undermines our domestic and international politics, it’s a need to be liked. Most other countries don’t wonder whether the rest of the world likes them.

    Blame Hollywood, dime novels or comic books, but as Americans we see ourselves as the heroes. And our enemies, foreign and domestic, know that they can break us by making us question our goodness.

    It’s how they did it in Vietnam, in Iraq and too many foreign policy debates to count.

    One of Trump’s great strengths is that he’s not afraid to be the bully, the heavy and the jerk. He can flatter Kim Jong-un, Trudeau and any other leader. Or call them names.

    He can say shocking things and take unacceptable positions if it gets him what he wants.

    That’s the attribute that upsets and infuriates Never Trumpers. But it also gives the United States far more negotiating leverage and freedom than it ever had before. And that’s why the people chose him.

    Trump embodied all the things that had been going unsaid and all the truths that needed telling. Past presidents valued their personal relationships with foreign leaders. But Trump is willing to throw a punch at the boy band leader of Canada if it gets a farmer in Wisconsin a better deal for his dairy.

    On the global stage, President Trump has forced North Korea, China, Europe and Canada to react to him. He’s trying everything. He’s creating chaos. He’s hiding his hand and he’s winning.

    The media shouts that Trump is isolated. If he were isolated, the world wouldn’t be revolving around him. The world doesn’t stop when Putin or China’s Jinping issue a statement. But a single Trump tweet can upend the priorities of international diplomacy for days, weeks and even months.

    Trump isn’t reacting to the world. The world is reacting to him.

    And as long as he can keep the world reacting to him, he’s the one setting the agenda for the world.

  21. Pete,

    That is the most complete and logical analysis of Trump’s behavior I’ve ever read or imagined. Thanks for that – I guess.

    The scariest part of that analysis is that this bastard being in power tends to perpetuate the five points of this horror story. Notice that democracy, and its machinations, are ALL anti- to this lunatic’s strategy.

    The world may not survive Trump. The United States is at extreme risk of failing due to this egomaniac’s foolishness.

  22. “June 21, 2018
    INDIANAPOLIS – A gas tax increase will soon go into effect in Indiana.

    Lawmakers passed a bill last year that raised the 18-cent per gallon tax by 10 cents in order to fund road repairs.

    The 1-cent increase going into effect next month was part of a smaller section of the bill, The Journal Gazette reported . The increase is part of an annual inflationary adjustment that’ll continue through 2024.”

    Monotonous; we wouldn’t mind a 1 cent per gallon gas increase to repair roads if it were only 1 cent but this is an ongoing increase and we could see evidence of actually repaired our roads. In April I received the registration renewal for my 22 year old Pontiac Sunfire with an added Transportation Infrastructure Improvement tax increase of $15; one friend received a $20 increase on her 20 year old car and another friend with a 2003 pickup truck received a $100 increase. I also received an increase in my property taxes, a percentage which also goes for infrastructure repair. I hope the already crumbling pot hole repairs on washboard streets throughout this area of the east side are not what we are paying these additional taxes for. No idea if Mayor Hogsett received the millions of dollars he requested from the state for road repair. When you include the other taxes we have been paying for years for road repairs as we watch our infrastructure crumble around us with some areas bad enough to cause vehicle damage…I am beginning to question where these repaired roads are located.

    Daily “Trashing The Economy” comes to mind.

  23. JoAnn – Most of that gas price increase came from the reduced supply driving up the price of crude oil. Part of the reduced supply was Trump shutting off Iranian oil when he backed out of the deal and reapplied sanctions.

    Pete – That was a very good analysis of Trump’s behavior, but suffers a bit in drawing conclusions. It works when you are rich bully who can get away with not paying your bills and having rich Russians bail out your failed businesses. It doesn’t work so well in international relations. Like the mythical Social Darwinian tribe, where everyone wanted all of the spoils – after the hunt, they killed each other off — which is why you never heard of them. 8)>

    BTW – Kim, petty dictator of a backwater country, wanted that elevation to equality with the leader of the US. Trump didn’t “get him to the table”; Trump gave away the prize with nothing in return.

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