The Weiner Component V.2 #52 – The Trump Phenomena

In order to begin to understand President Trump one has to get in touch with his core beliefs and attitudes.  This begins from a sexist standpoint.  To him, over most of his life, women were objects of desire or disgust.  He has, years ago, referred to his eldest daughter Ivanka, during a Howard Stern interview, as a “piece;” as a sexual toy for male pleasure.  Outside of the fact that he is now 71 years old has this attitude changed?  I doubt it.  Mentally women to Trump are objects rather than individuals.  He recently has had a porno star paid $130,000 by his lawyer to keep a relatively recent affair he had with her secret.

 

He is also, like many fellow Republicans, racist, thinking of people as Northern European White as opposed to Eastern European White.  He is very aware of different races: Black, Brown, possibly even Red.  From what he has said he prefers the Northern Europeans, the Norwegian types, as immigrants to the United States.

 

Actually on a scientific basis, the difference between species is determined by their ability to reproduce.  The difference in skin color between different colored people has nothing to do with their ability to reproduce.  They are all of one specific species; they can all reproduce with one another.  The color was originally determined by the area from which they originally came.  For example Blacks tolerate the sun better than others; Asians have an extra flab of skin in the area of their eyes which enable them to function better in cold regions.  The Northern European types were the world explorers who defined races in the early 19th Century, verbally making themselves the superior race.  Trump would naturally consider himself part of this group even though the pseudoscience is at least one hundred years out of date.

 

Trump would seem to be a prime candidate of the era in which he spent his prime years.  When he was much younger and working with his father as a landlord, they were reluctant to rent apartments to Blacks.  This behavior may have been fashionable in his far earlier years, it isn’t anymore, but has Trump changed?  He began his presidential campaign by accusing Mexico of sending its criminals and rapists illegally across the border and into the United States.  To Trump all Middle Eastern people are potential terrorists.  He seems always ready to accuse an entire national or ethnic group as a racial disaster.

 

Trump seems to feel that he knows everything necessary to be able to properly function.  Anything he doesn’t know, to him, probably isn’t worth knowing.  This allows him to go through life in his own alternative reality which is seemingly very different from everyone else’s.

***************************************

At a conference with his aids President Trump, presumably in exasperation, called Haiti and all African nations “Shithole Countries,” meaning places where there are no toilets.  He later denied making the statement but no one believed him.

 

No doubt he considers the United States an advanced nation and these countries backward.   While all these nations are poorer then the U.S. in certain respects they are far advanced from the United States in other ways.  Their infrastructures tend to be much more modern, as are their cities and public restrooms.

 

One of Trump’s major problems is that he is besieged by racism.  In a sense he is still living in the time of the “white man’s burden.”  Whether he’s aware of it or not he considers the so-called White race superior to the Black and all other so-called races.  Consequently in his mind anything Blacks or otherwise has to be by definition inferior to what Whites have in countries like the United States.

 

The issue goes back historically to conditions in the United States when America was first settled by Northern European Caucasians.  When the Eastern Europeans came there was objections to them.  Blacks were originally brought over as slaves.  Asians arrived on a large scale during the 20th Century.

 

While the United States is today a potpourri of groups it was originally a nation of North European Whites with some Blacks and Indians.  It is no longer a country with a White majority.  Instead it today consists of large groups of which the White population is one.  There are also large groups of Blacks, Browns, and Asians.

******************************************

The Republicans, of which Trump is one, tend to be elderly Whites who will be challenged in the next election not only by other groups but also by women, the Me-To group.

 

On Saturday, January 20, 2018, Trump celebrated his first year as President of the United States.  On that same day there were women’s marches throughout the major cities of the United States with women and their male supporters, among other things, holding up signs stating their anti-Trump and anti-Republican positions.  They stated that they could do a lot better than the current male Republican legislators.  In fact many stated that they would be running for office, both state and federal, in 2018.  None of them would be running as Republicans.  These marches were not only in the United States; they also occurred over a good part of the world.

 

The anti-Trump marches also went on a year earlier when Trump first assumed office.  The 2018 Midterm Election during the first Tuesday in November should not only be shocking to Trump it should also put him in a nonfunctional position as President for his last two years in office.  He will, at least, lose the Republican control of the Senate.  Currently the Republicans there are ahead by one vote, 51 to 49.  It might also cost him the Republican control of the House of Representatives, 35 Republicans have announced that they are retiring from Congress.  It will take 24 more Democrats elected there to turn the House of Representatives to a Democratic majority.  At that point, on January 20 2019, he will have to negotiate everything with the Democrats.

************************************

On Tuesday, January 30, 2018, Trump gave his first State of the Union address, presumably telling what had happened during his first year as President and setting a course for his second year.  The speech lasted one hour and twenty minutes.  It used mostly the Reagan technique of introducing assorted people and announcing their accomplishments to his mostly Congressional audience.

 

The speech was very carefully done and just as carefully read from the Teleprompters.  It was not really a Trump speech.  He carefully stuck to what he read; there was almost no adlibbing.

 

The issue with Russia interfering with the 2016 Presidential Election or the Mueller investigation were never mentioned.  What was mentioned, and this four times during his speech was the MS 13 Mexican gangs, symbolically equating illegal Mexican immigrants with this violent group, as though all illegal Mexican immigrants were gang members bringing narcotics over the border.  He tended to mix immigrants with violent criminals.

 

Among other things President Trump came out with an interesting and, in certain respects, a totally anti-democratic comment which was put forth in a positive way.  During his year in office Trump has had problems with different department heads who have functioned in nonpolitical offices.  He has demanded their absolute loyalty to himself rather than to the government they serve, asking them who they voted for in the last election and other questions dealing with their loyalty.

 

His statement, which he threw out, was that he wanted to reward good workers and give his cabinet members the power to arbitrarily fire government employees who were not functioning “for the good of the country.”  His cabinet members would arbitrarily decide what was “for the good of the country.”

 

After a vigorous campaign Trump has just gotten rid of the deputy head of the FBI, Andrew McCabe.  McCabe had worked with the former head of the FBI in both the Russian investigation and that of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails.  McCabe’s wife also ran for a local position as a Democrat.  He had been asked by Trump who he voted for in the last election.  McCabe worked in the FBI for the last twenty years.

 

The implication of the above statement by Trump is that such a law which would give him and his cabinet this power over nonpolitical jobs.  It would allow them to, at will, replace the heads of all or any departments.  This type of policy was utilized from the time of our seventh president, Andrew Jackson in 1829 until well into the 20th Century; it was then called the Spoils System.  It would be a shame to bring back some of the negative aspects of the past.  This was the power for which Trump was asking.

******************************************

It would seem that President Trump feels limited by the powers given to a democratically elected President.  One gets the feeling that he doesn’t understand or has never really read the Constitution.  It would seem that he wants to be the major autocrat of the United States to whom everyone owes allegiance.  In fact it would seem that he wants to be the Vladimir Putin of the United States.

The Weiner Component V.2 #52 – The Trump Phenomena

 

In order to begin to understand President Trump one has to get in touch with his core beliefs and attitudes.  This begins from a sexist standpoint.  To him, over most of his life, women were objects of desire or disgust.  He has, years ago, referred to his eldest daughter Ivanka, during a Howard Stern interview, as a “piece;” as a sexual toy for male pleasure.  Outside of the fact that he is now 71 years old has this attitude changed?  I doubt it.  Mentally women to Trump are objects rather than individuals.  He recently has had a porno star paid $130,000 by his lawyer to keep a relatively recent affair he had with her secret.

 

He is also, like many fellow Republicans, racist, thinking of people as Northern European White as opposed to Eastern European White.  He is very aware of different races: Black, Brown, possibly even Red.  From what he has said he prefers the Northern Europeans, the Norwegian types, as immigrants to the United States.

 

Actually on a scientific basis, the difference between species is determined by their ability to reproduce.  The difference in skin color between different colored people has nothing to do with their ability to reproduce.  They are all of one specific species; they can all reproduce with one another.  The color was originally determined by the area from which they originally came.  For example Blacks tolerate the sun better than others; Asians have an extra flab of skin in the area of their eyes which enable them to function better in cold regions.  The Northern European types were the world explorers who defined races in the early 19th Century, verbally making themselves the superior race.  Trump would naturally consider himself part of this group even though the pseudoscience is at least one hundred years out of date.

 

Trump would seem to be a prime candidate of the era in which he spent his prime years.  When he was much younger and working with his father as a landlord, they were reluctant to rent apartments to Blacks.  This behavior may have been fashionable in his far earlier years, it isn’t anymore, but has Trump changed?  He began his presidential campaign by accusing Mexico of sending its criminals and rapists illegally across the border and into the United States.  To Trump all Middle Eastern people are potential terrorists.  He seems always ready to accuse an entire national or ethnic group as a racial disaster.

 

Trump seems to feel that he knows everything necessary to be able to properly function.  Anything he doesn’t know, to him, probably isn’t worth knowing.  This allows him to go through life in his own alternative reality which is seemingly very different from everyone else’s.

***************************************

At a conference with his aids President Trump, presumably in exasperation, called Haiti and all African nations “Shithole Countries,” meaning places where there are no toilets.  He later denied making the statement but no one believed him.

 

No doubt he considers the United States an advanced nation and these countries backward.   While all these nations are poorer then the U.S. in certain respects they are far advanced from the United States in other ways.  Their infrastructures tend to be much more modern, as are their cities and public restrooms.

 

One of Trump’s major problems is that he is besieged by racism.  In a sense he is still living in the time of the “white man’s burden.”  Whether he’s aware of it or not he considers the so-called White race superior to the Black and all other so-called races.  Consequently in his mind anything Blacks or otherwise has to be by definition inferior to what Whites have in countries like the United States.

 

The issue goes back historically to conditions in the United States when America was first settled by Northern European Caucasians.  When the Eastern Europeans came there was objections to them.  Blacks were originally brought over as slaves.  Asians arrived on a large scale during the 20th Century.

 

While the United States is today a potpourri of groups it was originally a nation of North European Whites with some Blacks and Indians.  It is no longer a country with a White majority.  Instead it today consists of large groups of which the White population is one.  There are also large groups of Blacks, Browns, and Asians.

******************************************

The Republicans, of which Trump is one, tend to be elderly Whites who will be challenged in the next election not only by other groups but also by women, the Me-To group.

 

On Saturday, January 20, 2018, Trump celebrated his first year as President of the United States.  On that same day there were women’s marches throughout the major cities of the United States with women and their male supporters, among other things, holding up signs stating their anti-Trump and anti-Republican positions.  They stated that they could do a lot better than the current male Republican legislators.  In fact many stated that they would be running for office, both state and federal, in 2018.  None of them would be running as Republicans.  These marches were not only in the United States; they also occurred over a good part of the world.

 

The anti-Trump marches also went on a year earlier when Trump first assumed office.  The 2018 Midterm Election during the first Tuesday in November should not only be shocking to Trump it should also put him in a nonfunctional position as President for his last two years in office.  He will, at least, lose the Republican control of the Senate.  Currently the Republicans there are ahead by one vote, 51 to 49.  It might also cost him the Republican control of the House of Representatives, 35 Republicans have announced that they are retiring from Congress.  It will take 24 more Democrats elected there to turn the House of Representatives to a Democratic majority.  At that point, on January 20 2019, he will have to negotiate everything with the Democrats.

************************************

On Tuesday, January 30, 2018, Trump gave his first State of the Union address, presumably telling what had happened during his first year as President and setting a course for his second year.  The speech lasted one hour and twenty minutes.  It used mostly the Reagan technique of introducing assorted people and announcing their accomplishments to his mostly Congressional audience.

 

The speech was very carefully done and just as carefully read from the Teleprompters.  It was not really a Trump speech.  He carefully stuck to what he read; there was almost no adlibbing.

 

The issue with Russia interfering with the 2016 Presidential Election or the Mueller investigation were never mentioned.  What was mentioned, and this four times during his speech was the MS 13 Mexican gangs, symbolically equating illegal Mexican immigrants with this violent group, as though all illegal Mexican immigrants were gang members bringing narcotics over the border.  He tended to mix immigrants with violent criminals.

 

Among other things President Trump came out with an interesting and, in certain respects, a totally anti-democratic comment which was put forth in a positive way.  During his year in office Trump has had problems with different department heads who have functioned in nonpolitical offices.  He has demanded their absolute loyalty to himself rather than to the government they serve, asking them who they voted for in the last election and other questions dealing with their loyalty.

 

His statement, which he threw out, was that he wanted to reward good workers and give his cabinet members the power to arbitrarily fire government employees who were not functioning “for the good of the country.”  His cabinet members would arbitrarily decide what was “for the good of the country.”

 

After a vigorous campaign Trump has just gotten rid of the deputy head of the FBI, Andrew McCabe.  McCabe had worked with the former head of the FBI in both the Russian investigation and that of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails.  McCabe’s wife also ran for a local position as a Democrat.  He had been asked by Trump who he voted for in the last election.  McCabe worked in the FBI for the last twenty years.

 

The implication of the above statement by Trump is that such a law which would give him and his cabinet this power over nonpolitical jobs.  It would allow them to, at will, replace the heads of all or any departments.  This type of policy was utilized from the time of our seventh president, Andrew Jackson in 1829 until well into the 20th Century; it was then called the Spoils System.  It would be a shame to bring back some of the negative aspects of the past.  This was the power for which Trump was asking.

******************************************

It would seem that President Trump feels limited by the powers given to a democratically elected President.  One gets the feeling that he doesn’t understand or has never really read the Constitution.  It would seem that he wants to be the major autocrat of the United States to whom everyone owes allegiance.  In fact it would seem that he wants to be the Vladimir Putin of the United States.

The Weiner Component V.2 #51 – DACA & Funding the Federal Government

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

Never before in the history of the United States has a President been an embarrassment to the country.  Instead of making America Great Again he has diminished the nation in the eyes of the world.  Where the United States used to be the leading nation that function has now passed to Germany.

 

Recently, as President, Donald Trump got a physical to determine both his state of mental and physical health.  For a seventy-one year old man he is apparently in good health but overweight.  Interestingly there was no evidence that he had ever had bone-spurs.  These are what kept him from being drafted into the military during his younger years.  Could it be that this condition was faked by a well-paid doctor?

 

Trump’s past history is very colorful in a negative way.  It seems that Trump recently paid a porn star $120,000 to keep secret a one year affair he had with her.  After collecting the money she sold her story to a rumor newspaper.  Another woman, this one a centerfold star, was paid $150,000 for exclusive rights to the story of her affair with Trump by the Enquirer.  The story was then suppressed.  All of this was shortly before Trump ran for the presidency.  The question here is: Where did all this money come from?  If it came from his campaign funds it would be illegal.  Trump is very secret about his income and expenditures.

 

Interestingly all this occurred during Trump’s third marriage.  But there is no fear about his wife divorcing him.  Melania intends to stay married to Trump.  Presumably she had forgiven him again.  He is well into his seventy-first year now.  He may not be able to function as well as he did a few years ago or, for that matter, he may no longer function at all.  The body’s capability does wear out with age.  His fidelity may not be a problem anymore.  After all he is currently our oldest president.

************************************

The Company, Apple, recently announced that they would be moving their headquarters to California in the United States and that over the next two years they will create at least 20,000 new jobs.  Trump has modestly taken credit for this move, stating that it has occurred because of his new Tax Reform.  Is this true?  Sort of!

 

Apple several years ago moved its major headquarters to Ireland.  They made a deal with the Irish government to pay very low taxes.  Ireland, since the inception of the European Union has been part of it.  Within recent years the European Union has been in the process of suing Apple for 20 billion dollars in back taxes for Ireland.

 

By moving back to the United States and, with the new tax laws, paying a very low rate of taxes, can Apple still be sued by the European Union?  Would the jurisdiction for the suit be in Ireland which Apple is leaving or in Europe, or, for that matter, in the United States?

 

I seem to remember that directly after the American Revolutionary War in the late 18th Century the Southern planters in the U.S. all owed large amounts of money to English merchants which they refused to pay.  Some of the merchants sued some of the planters in the new United States.  None of them won their case in the U.S. courts.  Would it be any different now if Apple were sued in an American court?  Is Apple moving because of Trump’s actions or to get out of being sued?

**************************************

As a businessman Trump liked to change the terms of the contracts he hired for his various projects like his casinos.  Generally this meant not making the last payment due to the subcontractors.  This was usually their profits.  They could, of course, sue him but the cost of the lawsuit generally exceeded the amount of money they were due.  A number of these individuals went bankrupt after working for Trump.

 

In many respects he never changed his methodology after he was elected to the presidency.  Trump, who by his own admission is the greatest deal maker alive, does not like to make deals.  And this seems to be because he might be on the wrong side of the deal.  Consequently he does not specifically lead.  What Trump likes is to give Congress and the nation a general idea of what he wants and then let Congress pass a bill which he might or might not approve.  We have seen him follow this path several times.  It is the way he has been handling the stoppage of government funding up until January 20th when a law had to be passed continuing to fund the U.S. government.

 

What, among other things, does Trump want with the new funding?  It seems that he wants Congress to vote him 18 to 20 billion dollars in order to build a 1,200 mile wall between the United States and Mexico.  Before the fund stoppage Trump has had two offers to continue funding the government.  Each contained a billion and ½ dollars to start the wall.  Apparently they have not been acceptable to Trump.  He wants the full amount in advance.

************************************

On Friday, January 20th it seemed that the United States Government was about to run out of money.  Congress had to pass a law funding the U.S. Government.  However there were problems and no law was passed.

 

Up until the end of December 2017, with the exception of a bill to apply new sanctions upon Russia for messing in the 2016 Presidential Election, the Congress had passed one other important piece of legislation.  That dealt with so-called tax reform.  It was passed by Republican votes in both Houses of Congress.  No Democrat voted for it.  In addition the tax cuts are based upon deficit spending.  The bill after five years will increase the National Debt by 1 ½ trillion dollars.

 

The Democrats would support nothing the Republicans do unless they could get something out of the legislation.  Currently the Republicans wanted to extend the functioning of the government for a short period of time, until February 8, 2018, and they didn’t want to give the Democrats anything.  The Democrats wanted a major spending bill for infants and young children, CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), which had recently expired and the Republicans were allowing it to lie dormant.  They wanted to reduce government spending on entitlement programs for the poor and middle class in order to help pay for their tax program.  This program funds the health of about nine million poor children whose parents can not afford proper medical care for their children.

 

In addition the DACA Program (Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals), which was set up by President Obama, is close to expiring.  It needs to be extended.  There are multi-thousands of people who were brought to the United States as young children and know no other country, who are legally considered aliens and can be sent to Mexico, a country they know nothing about.  Many of these individuals are today in college or the military.  It does not seem right that they should suffer for what their parents did.

 

This was what the Democrats wanted in exchange for extending government funding.  On Monday, January 22, after assorted discussions enough Democrats supported funding the government to pass the bill.  In return he Republicans in the Senate promised to consider both Chip and DACA.  Both of these issues could have been resolved well before the issue of funding the government arose.  The probability at that time was that even if the Senate complied with the Democrats the House of Representatives would kill the bills.

 

In the House of Representatives the Republicans have a fair majority while in the Senate they have a majority of one senator. In order to pass a funding bill the Senate needs some Democratic support.  The Democrats would not vote for the bill unless they get extensions of CHIP and DACA.  The Republicans just want a short extension of the funding bill; they have stated that they will negotiate after they get a spending extension bill.

 

But both CHIP and DACA should have been extended before the Federal Government needed a new law extending spending.  Are the Republicans telling the truth?  House Speaker Paul Ryan has stated more than once that ways have to be found to reduce government spending and that these monies should come out of “entitlement  programs;” that is programs slated to fund the poor and middle class.  Are the Republicans just gaming the Democrats or are they telling the truth?  There has been a lot of stalling going on with both these programs so far.

************************************

In addition to this morass President Trump wants to fund an 18 billion dollar fence for twelve hundred miles between the U.S. and Mexico.  While he wants an extension of the funding bill he doesn’t seem to know what else he wants.  His basic attitude is that if the bill is not funded it’s the fault of the Democrats.  Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, has stated more than once, that if Trump will just tell them what he wants they will attempt to turn it into a law.  The probability is that Trump does not know specifically what he wants but it will be the Democrats fault if he doesn’t get it.

****************************************

Main while a 39 year old man was deported after 30 years in America.  The man’s comment: “It wasn’t my choice to come.”  The man, Jorge Garcia, was married to an American citizen and has a family.  He has no criminal record and has been spending his life working and taking care of his family.  He is now in Mexico while his family is in the United States.  Hopefully he may be allowed to return to the U.S.

 

Trump in a general meeting in a highly derogatory way denounced all immigrants from Haiti and the African states as coming from “shithole” countries.  His statement indicated that none of these nations had functioning toilets which is, of course, total nonsense.  What we wanted he stated were more people from Norway.  The problem here is that all the people from Norway have total medical coverage from birth to death and they also have a decent basic standard of living whether or not they are employed.  Norway has no homeless problem.  Someone coming from Norway to the United States, actually someone coming from most of Western Europe to the United States, is coming to a country with a lower standard of living than from the one in which they are living.  The United States has been criticized by the United Nations for the negative conditions of many of its citizens, particularly for those present in every large city living out in the streets, generally under bridges.  There is an inordinate number of homeless in the United States and the number seems to be increasing.  The wealth produced mostly goes up to the upper one percent.

 

Trump has added to this state by continually lowering standards of living throughout the country by limiting Affordable Health Care (Obamacare) and diminishing other protections for the poor and middle class.  He is actually attempting to make the United States into what he accused Africa of being.

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The current Republican dominated Congress has done nothing except exacerbate the problem of unequal incomes in the United States.  They have been too busy to pass any laws to attempt to improve conditions in the country.  Their only ability has been to criticize Democratic presidents.

 

The country is now at a point of total non-functionality with President Trump attempting to blame everything upon the Democrats.  Currently many of the women are marching in protest against the President’s racism and sexism.  These women and their men will all vote Democratic in the November Midterm Election.

 

Chuck E. Schumer, the Democratic minority leader in the Senate has commented that negotiating with Donald Trump is like negotiating with jello.  It doesn’t matter what he says because one never knows what he’s going to do or say later on.

 

The great issue of funding the Federal Government was resolved three days later on Monday, January 22nd  with an agreement by moderate Senators, both Democrats and Republicans, who called themselves the Common Sense Coalition.  The Senate voted 81 to 18 to pass the bill refunding the Federal Government.  It included a six year extension to the Children’s Health Bill (CHIP) which had expired in September.  Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader also promised to bring up DACA for a vote before the current three week extension of government funding expires.

 

No sane person does not want the government funded.  Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives brought the bill up in the House where it passed and it was signed by President Trump that same evening.

 

If the terms of the DACA agreement are carried out when the new bill to fund the government comes up on February 8th the Federal Government will be funded for another year.  We are now left with four days before the Federal Government has to be funded again.  DACA has not been brought up in Congress.  The coming week should be exciting.

 

 

 

The Weiner Component V.2 #50 – Cycles of Wealth: Part 2

English: President Barack Obama confers with F...

English: President Barack Obama confers with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke following their meeting at the White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mitt Romney, when he ran against Barack Obama for President of the United States in 2012, specifically stated, more than once, that had the major banks faced bankruptcy when he became President he would have allowed them to go into partial bankruptcy.

 

 

He would have had them to go into Chapter 7, wherein the courts would have declared their common stock worthless.  That way the stock holders would have taken the loss but the banks would have continued to function.  The banks, where they were retrievable, would have been able to release a new issue of stock which could have been sold to raise necessary funds.  That way the banks could have continued to function and would not need funding or loans by the Federal Government.

 

Would it have worked?  That’s an interesting question.  We’ll never know the answer because it wasn’t tried.  Had it been tried and failed then the entire financial system of the United States would have collapsed.  Apparently President Barack Obama and Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke, were not willing to take the chance that it might not work.  Their method of reform was far safer.

 

In addition a number of banks like Countryside were allowed to go under.  Their remaining assets were taken over by continuing financial institutions like the Bank of America.

 

Romney’s method of reform has been invariably tried out.  In many instances it has worked, one relatively recent case was with General Motors which took loans from the Federal Government and also utilized Chapter 7.  Their common stock was declared by the Court as having no value.  They eventually sold a new issue of common stock and the company continued to function.

 

But there have been many cases wherein the public refused to buy the new issue of stock and that particular company has gone under.  No one can totally predict the future.  There is no way of absolutely knowing what will happen.  A bad guess would have thrown the country into a long period of economic disaster.  President Barack Obama and Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke did not take the chance.

************************************

The results of Obama and Bernanke’s decision further slanted the distribution of the National Income in the direction of the well-to-do.  If we consider what the next President, Donald J. Trump, has done with taxes we are seeing the bulk of the money go to the upper one percent of the population.  They are in the process of having their taxes reduced while the remaining middle and lower classes will have their taxes gradually raised.

 

Interestingly the American public is currently in an historical situation not unlike France was in 1789 just before the French Revolution.  Since there is a midterm election coming up the first Tuesday in November of 2018, ten months from now, we will be able to miss all the excitement the French had and vote out those individuals who would cause us unhappiness by extending the unfair situation.  In fact we can begin the process of reversing the situation.  This was historically done by Theodore Roosevelt after he became President at the beginning of the 20th Century.  He had the Progressive Movement functioning on a Federal level.

 

Currently as we’ve seen from the few special elections, both statewide and nationally, the elections, even in strong Republican Districts like the state of Alabama, have gone to Democratic candidates.

 

In the 2016 Presidential Election the Republicans achieved a majority in the House of Representatives.  They got 239 seats.  The Democrats were able to get 193 seats.  There were 3 vacancies.  In the Senate the Republicans were able to get 52 of the 100 seats.  The Democrats got 46 and the Independents got 2.  They always voted with the Democrats.  That gave the Republicans a majority of 2 seats in the Senate.  They lost one of those seats when Jeff Sessions became Attorney General.  A Democrat was elected in his place giving the Republicans a majority of one seat in the Senate.

 

Using that majority and voting strictly on a party basis the Republicans were able to pass their tax relief bill for the rich strictly on a party basis.  Every Republican voted for the bill and every Democrat voted against it.  The Republican President happily signed the tax lowering bill for the rich which, no doubt, saved him millions of dollars in a tax bill which was funded by deficit spending.

 

After the Midterm Election of November 2018 the probability is that the Senate will pass to a Democratic majority and the House of Representatives may also do so.  A number of Republican House members are retiring. Particularly those in Districts that voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential Election.  Will enough Democrats win to make up a majority in the House?  There’s a good chance.  But we’ll have to wait and see.

*********************************

Prior to the 2018 Midterm Election the probability is that the Republicans will attempt to pay for the tax relief for the rich by gutting Medicare and attempting to privatize Social Security.

 

There is a lot of needed legislation.  For example a needed functioning immigration policy is long past due.  A realistic Dacca program is desperately needed for those who were brought to this country as small children.   While they know no other country and are not citizens of the United States they are currently being used by the Republicans as a form of blackmail.  There are also needs to upgrade the infrastructure, help states and regions like Puerto Rico recover from massive storms.  This is to just name a few of the present needs.  It does not count military operations or other needs.  The United States is at war in the Middle East but Congress has taken no responsibility for this military action.  The probability is that the current Congress will ignore these and other needs and spend its last year in office trying to fund its tax relief for the rich.  It would seem that the Republicans are more interested in serving their own needs than those of the country to which they have taken an oath to serve.

 

If we take a close look at the images that emerge from Congress we come to a very disheartening conclusion.  Our current Republican dominated Congress is paying back its major contributors for money they have given in recent political campaigns.  The wealthy members of Congress are also reducing their own taxes.  The large contributors are being encouraged to share their future reductions in taxes with their favorite political party.  The whole thing smells like a room full of rotten fish.  One can ask: What happened to honor and integrity, and an oath to the Constitution of the United States?  Are we truly back to exploiting the poor for the benefit of the rich?

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There is an interesting note of irony to all of this.  Many of the well-to-do may be sadistic and enjoy seeing homeless in every major city living under bridges out in the weather, essentially doing without many of their needs.  But by limiting the potential for increased productivity they, the rich, are also limiting their own potential for becoming richer.

 

The wealthy tend to store their excess funds leaving them dormant while with a reasonable or fairer distribution of funds to all classes of society the money tends to be spent over and over again producing a far greater Gross Domestic Product than would otherwise be made.  With a more general distribution of the funds there is a far greater GDP and everyone does better, including the rich.

 

The country seems to be entering a new period of greed.  The laws now passed by the Republicans in Congress and signed by the President are moving the country in the direction of Government of, by, and for the Rich.  This can continue through 2018 but the next Congress will be better balanced.  The Republican control will again be limited.  In order for laws to be passed the government will have to have the cooperation of both political parties.  We will either have cooperation or total inactivity between the two parties, with no laws being passed.  If it’s the later Congress will not even be able to fund the Federal Government.

 

It would seem that even with a Republican President and a Republican majority in both Houses of Congress there are still problems getting bills through Congress.  For example it would seem that some ultra conservative Congress members in both Houses of Congress are against funding the Federal Government.  In order to get a bill passed the Republicans need Democratic help.  But if the Democrats cooperate with the Republicans they want something in return.  These trades take serious negotiating.  They are not easy to do nor are necessarily always successful.  There may be problems just funding the current government, even with a Republican majority.

The Weiner Component V.2 #49 – Cycles of National Wealth: Part 1

Homeowners could always raise money by getting second mortgages on their properties.  Sometime during the 1970s someone, probably in banking, came up with the idea of splitting these mortgages up into many different pieces and selling each piece to a different owner.  By the early 1980s, and this was the time of President Ronald Reagan and pure capitalism, Hedge Funds were set up which took fractional shares of each mortgage putting them into different Hedge Funds.  The point here was if some of the mortgages didn’t pay occasionally the dividends would still be large enough to justify the existence of the Hedge Fund.  These were considered absolutely safe investments.  American mortgages had become a form of massive investment securities.

 

Meanwhile executive pay rose into the multimillions and wages rose very slowly and very slightly, not even keeping up with increases in productivity.  Most banks, particularly the larger ones like Bank of America or Wells Fargo, encouraged their customers to finance and refinance their homes, to use their domiciles as bank accounts, in order to buy whatever they desired.  One of the arguments being that continued refinancing continually raised the value of the property, therefore what they withdrew was practically free money.  People were spending the ever increasing profit in their homes, not worrying about ever paying off their mortgages.  Consequently the continued fees in doing this were also absorbed by the continued increases in the value of the property.  Seemingly it was a no lose situation for both the banks and their customers.

 

In places like California people tended to move every five years, replacing their home with a larger more expensive abode.  A lot of individuals bought into this continual refinancing program.  Many of these people made up the group that the banks needed and wanted to carry out their programs.  The banks and many of their employees made fortunes in fees and refinancing.  The homeowners tended to live as though they were earning three or four times as much as they actually earned.  It created a housing fantasy or bubble that lasted until 2007.

 

Actually the crash did not come until 2008.  Most of the bankers were in denial that the system could fail; it had lasted for twenty-seven years, most if not all of their careers.  When the crash came many of the banks were suddenly at the point of bankruptcy.  President George W. Bush and his Secretary of the Treasury, Hank Paulson, lent money to the banks to keep them solvent.

 

Basically what happened was that the distribution of funds throughout the economy broke down; most of the wealth went to the upper few percent of the society; it was not shared.  More money was needed for the country to function properly.  Much more of the wealth produced should have been applied to wages.  In addition the Federal Reserve, which is a dynamic institution, should have supplied more cash to the economy but its longtime chairman, Alan Greenspan, did not believe in doing this, particularly since it had not been done earlier.  Also the increases in worker productivity should have been compensated in increased wages.  Instead they went into increased profits which ended up in greater compensation for executives and higher dividends for stockholders.

 

What occurred from the 1980s was a more rapid separation between worker salaries and executive compensation.  More and more of the wealth produced in dollars went to the upper few percent.  More and more inequities were being built into the society.  The general public were being compensated by the flow of cash being supplied by the banks in creating the housing bubble.  This would last until 2008 when it all came crashing down.

 

In 2008 practically overnight the value of the dollar dropped like a heavy lead weight.  Many people suddenly owed more on their homes than they were then worth.  A percentage of these homeowners just took off, deserting their domiciles, others stayed but could no longer afford to make the payments.  They were either unemployed or had lost a large percentage of their commissions.

 

The pattern many banks had followed was to issue mortgages, then sell the mortgages to Hedge Funds or set up their own Hedge Funds, retrieve the cash they had invested, and lend out the money again.  This pattern was repeated over and over again.  It was practically an endless process.  The banks got their initial cash back and administered the loans for an endless cycle of fees.

 

Since the banks believed in speed and efficiency they had set up their own recording concern.  Going through the traditional process of recording all these transactions was too slow.  The problem that came into being was that the endless recording that this agency did was fraught with errors so that when the time came to check out the ownership of the financing and continued refinancing, the records were worthless.  In actuality there were no real records.  Mortgages could have been split into a hundred pieces or more, each going to a different Hedge Fund.  In essence there were so many owners that no one owned enough of a mortgage to have any control of it.  Actually no one owned these mortgages.

 

Initially the banks had shredded their mortgages once they had been sold to the various Hedge Funds.  After the crash a number of banks printed up new documents of ownership to the homes they processed but did not own and then began a process of foreclosure and resale of these homes, keeping the money they made from this process.  The entire transaction was illegal.

 

Seemingly there was no objection on homes that had been deserted.  But where people continued to reside many were illegally pushed out of their homes by banks that didn’t really own the mortgages on these houses.  Cases came up and were heard at the local courts.

 

Interestingly a number of lawyers were disbarred for daring to suggest that the banks were dishonest.  It seemed that many judges could not believe that banks would forge documents.  I would assume that when this was later proven many former lawyers got their licenses back.  The banks were heavily fined in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and some homeowners did collect some money for having lost their homes; no one went to jail for the fraud committed.

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What happened, when Barack Obama became President in 2009, the country was on the edge of going into a depression that could have been far worse than the Great Depression of 1929.  The entire economy of the United States could have totally collapsed.  It was, after all, based upon the use of the banks.  This could have spread to Europe and Asia bringing about a massive world depression.

 

If the U.S. banks had been allowed to go bankrupt the entire movement of money in the country would have practically stopped.  The collapse of businesses would have accelerated as massive funding would have disappeared.  Unemployment could have reached 75% or higher.  There would have been starvation and riots as the economic system disintegrated.  It would have taken years both in property ownership and bank usage for the country to work its way out of the disaster caused by the banks.

 

Instead President Obama and his administration took control of the situation and changed what could have been a massive depression into the Great Recession.  Unemployment which could have been unimaginably high in 2007 was at 4+%.  By 2009, President Obama’s first year in office, it reached 8%.  In 2010 it rose to 10%.  Thereafter if gradually dropped to 5% by 2016.  Through the use of money a potential massive depression was changed into the Great Recession which returned the economy to essentially normal conditions by the end of President Obama’s second term in office.

 

The period was known as the Great Recession.  By, among other things, lending massive amounts of money with interest charges to the banks and the American automobile industry the President brought the country out of imminent disaster and back to recovery over his two terms in office.

 

In addition for a little over two years during his second term in office President Obama and his Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, bought back 50 billion dollars’ worth of housing loans pieces monthly and shredded them while adding another 50 billion dollars to the economy.  By the end of this period, when Janet Yellen became Chair of the Federal Reserve the amounts were reduced 10 billion monthly until they reached zero.

 

This process supplied money to the economy.  A goodly percentage of people, for one reason or another, had stopped making mortgage payments on their homes.  Some had lost their jobs and didn’t have money, others had reduced funds, and still others had retirement funds dry up.  For whatever reason payments were no longer being made and people were not being dispossessed.  Generally there was money available which should have been allocated to home payments but was being kept by some of the homeowners.  Much of this money was being spent on other things like restaurant dinners and entertainment.  There was quite a bit of money out in the society which the Federal Government was indirectly supplying.

 

No one, not even the government, knew specifically which homes the Federal Government owned.  People were able to live in these houses without making any payments.  Those that had money largely spent it.  As long as property taxes were paid on these homes the people could freely live in them.  Where property taxes were not paid the houses were picked-up by wealthy retailers for payments of back taxes, generally fixed up, and rented out or sold.

 

Some rich people got much richer in this process.  No doubt these people started out in that condition.  A percentage of the homes ended in their possession as rentals.  They could also sell the houses.  The process helped to rebalance wealth in the hands of the few and further reduce the middle class.

 

In any event largely in a decade or less it would solve the ownership problem for most of these unowned homes.  Without this solution the problem could have dragged on for thirty or forty years or longer.  The banks did a fantastic job of fouling everything up.  President Obama solved the problem and brought order to the economy.  The price of doing this was indirectly paid by the taxpayers.  A relatively small group within the country made billions of dollars.  It was expensive but it avoided a depression greater than that of 1929.

The Weiner Component V.2 #48 – Cycles of History

English: US derivatives and US wealth compared...

English: US derivatives and US wealth compared to total world wealth 1995-2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: United States wealth compared to the ...

English: United States wealth compared to the rest of the world in the year 2000. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In certain respects cycles of history do at times, more or less, repeat themselves.  Following the Civil War massive changes in industrial production coupled with a great increase in immigration from Eastern Europe changed the country in a relatively short period of time from a rural society to an urban one.  In just a few decades the nation went through the Industrial Revolution and the Rise of Cities.

Real GDP for the United States 1920-1940 in 19...

Real GDP for the United States 1920-1940 in 1999 constant dollars, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since there were no laws at this time the period pertaining to urban growth, building construction, or social conditions this period became one of unfettered corruption as the country worked its way through gradually developing labor laws, urbanization and integrating the new population.  As mentioned this was also a period of intense immigration which allowed for the construction of slum dwellings throughout many of the industrial urban centers.

 

The period was known for monopolies and oligopolies and for Boss Politics by both political parties.  New York City had Democratic Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall while upstate there were Republican bosses and political organizations.  This pattern existed throughout the United States.

 

In response, on a grass roots basis, a Progressive Movement began locally in state politics, reaching Congress and the Presidency around the turn of the century.  Reform would continue until the outbreak of World War I, which was called the Great War at that time.

 

Among the population, a very small percentage, probably less than 2% of the population was extremely wealthy, getting richer all the time and controlling upwards of 80 to 90% of the available wealth.  The bulk of the population: small middle class and lower class, lived upon the balance.

 

A similar situation developed from the 1980s on with the upper part of the richest 1% eventually controlling 90 or more percent of the wealth particularly toward the end of the first year of the presidency of Donald J. Trump when the Republican dominated Congress passed the so-called tax reform which was a giant tax give-away to the rich.

 

Among the various so-called reforms was one measure which attempted to radically limit Affordable Health Care (Obamacare) and another measure that did away with or radically reduced the amount of taxes that could be used for a property deduction.  The object of this measure when it was first introduced many years ago was to encourage people to buy their own home.  Without this measure it is easier to rent than to buy property.

 

Doing away with this right changes the complex of home ownership.  There are no longer any real advantages to owning one’s own home.  Instead renting becomes easier and creates a market for those that have excess cash.  This, of course, will be the upper small percentile that is acquiring 90% of the GDP.  It is a simple and safe investment.  And it adds to the money these people acquire, giving them, in time, well over the 90% of the GDP.  In fact it creates a super-rich, a very small middle class, and everyone else.  It is probably the most unproductive distribution of the wealth of the nation.

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Following different studies on and about 2017 the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the United States goes from 18,624,475 to 19.3 trillion dollars per fiscal year.  That is the amount of wealth produced in the nation in the period of a year translated into dollars; the value of all the goods and services utilized in a twelve month period.  It is the highest level of any nation on the planet.  Currently 90% of it is controlled by the upper part of the top 1% of the population.

 

This is still a strange distribution of the National Wealth, particularly since the current tax system focuses more and more of it in the hands of fewer and fewer people each year.  These people tend to keep most of this money dormant, simply stored away or put into safe investments like real-estate.  The money is not being used productively.  The society functions on the non-dormant ten percent plus the little this wealthy group is willing to spend.

 

For a society to be healthy there should be a wide distribution of its wealth.  Money that is distributed to the entire society is spent over a number of times, usually from three to twelve times.  It creates numerous times its basic amount of value.  While money going to the upper class generally does not create more than its face amount.  A wide distribution of income means a wide increase in wealth in which everyone benefits, including the very wealthy.  A narrow distribution of wealth does very little for the growth of the society or the living conditions for most of its population.

 

If we consider the GDP, taking the average projection 19 trillion dollars and divide what is probably the average population of the United States, 230 million according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  Thinking back to the errors made at the last Census in 2010 this is probably a conservative figure; 250 million would be more accurate.  With 230 million we get an equal distribution of 82.6 thousand dollars per person.  If the population is 250 million then the distribution is 76 thousand dollars per person.

 

With a narrow distribution of wealth, mostly going to the upper fraction of 1% the mean income is far below the amount stated above.  The current society includes a sizable homeless population which can barely afford to stay alive.  The United States today is anything but a healthy society.

 

While these amounts are approximate they do give an indication of what would be spent upon new productivity.  It would be overwhelming.  Everyone would benefit from the progress and no one, whether they worked or not, would suffer from any kind of want.  To my knowledge no society has ever functioned on this level.  There are always winners and losers within each society.  But do the losers have to be so poor that the depth of their standard of living is questioned by members of the United Nations?

 

Keep in mind that the Federal minimum hourly wage, which was set in 2009, is $7.25 an hour.  While many states have raised their minimum wage well above that figure there are still a large number of states where this is paid to a goodly percentage of their workers.

 

This is $290 a week before anything is taken out for Social Security or Medicare or anything else.  One well known Republican Senator, Orrin Hatch of Utah has stated that the poor are poor because they don’t want to work.  He stated this after serving 42 years in the Senate.  I doubt if he ever tried to live on $290 a week.

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As a rule governments tax their populations in order to raise money to meet their operating expenses.  The Trump tax reform is the first time a government has given a tax reduction based upon deficit spending.  The current tax bill presumably, if no changes occur, will in a decade increase the National Debt by 1 ½ trillion dollars.  The reductions to the wealthy and the large corporations are presumably permanent while the changes to the middle and lower classes are temporary, ending in 2025.

 

Obviously with the Republicans having a majority of one Senator in the Senate the probability is that the Democrats will gain leadership there in the Midterm Election of 2018.  Since the Tax Reform Bill is highly unpopular with the general public it is very possible that the Democrats could also gain control of the House of Representatives in 2018.  This could allow the Democrats to force Trump to allow changes in his current Tax Law in 2019.

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The concept of taxation goes back to the beginnings of civilization.  There is a cost factor to the existence of any form of governmental organization.  Historically there has always been a means established of raising funds, either in kind or financially to pay for this.  Usually the societal leaders figure the cost and tax the people accordingly.

 

Trump’s use of deficit spending is a new variant to taxation.  Here, presumably, a future generation will pay for the tax relief in the present or continue to pay interest upon the amount.

 

Another important use of taxation, which developed over the years, is to attempt to more or less equalize incomes so that everyone in that country can maximize the benefits of that particular society.  Today this would be many of the European nations where everyone has socialized medicine as well as a guaranteed minimum standard of living whether they are employed or not.  Here, unlike the United States, the wealthy pay a larger percentage of their incomes in taxes than those who earn far less.  It is a far more realistic approach than that of America.

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Currently the United States, with Donald J. Trump as President, has a government far more like the one that existed in the late 19th Century than the one that existed after World War II, when the Federal Government turned the country into a middle class nation. His Cabinet consists of millionaires and billionaires, many of whom seem more interested in their own welfare than that of the United States.

 

Lately President Trump has come out with strange statements like the Justice Department was his instrument to use as he saw fit rather than follow the Constitution and the laws.  Trump is attempting to emerge as an absolute autocrat running the United States.  He does not seem to understand the meaning or function of the Constitution.  This type of behavior could lead, even with the current Republican majority in the House of Representatives, to a possible future impeachment.

 

 

 

 

The Weiner Component V.2 #47 – Modernizing the Constitution of the United States

The Constitution of the United States was written during the period of May 25 through September 1787 at the Philadelphia Legislative Building. The State Legislature had taken their summer vacation and the building was available through the summer.

 

This was toward the end of the 18th Century, when ships moved in the oceans through the use of current, wind power blowing against sails, or muscle power being pulled in a becalmed sea by one or more large row boats.  Communication was very slow and most people spent their lives within a few miles from where they were born.  It was a time totally different from the 21st Century where national and world communication is almost instantaneous and people fly in jets across the oceans in hours.

 

The Constitution is the basic Document of Government in the United States from which all laws and powers are derived.  It consists of a statement of purpose or authorization by the then male, property owning population of the new country.  It consists of 7 Articles, the names of the founders, and, at present, 27 Amendments, the first 10 being the Bill of Rights, most of the rest made basic changes to the Constitution to meet the needs of the times.  This document was written in 1787 and was voted into existence shortly thereafter.  With  changes through the amendment process this Constitution is still the basis of the Federal Government of the United States.

 

It is past time to edit this document, to take out the remaining sections that still pertain to the preindustrial world of the 18th Century and those areas which limit the functioning of a true democracy.  In content the basic document is as pertinent today as it was then.  Those sections no longer pertinent today could be easily edited out making the document shorter and more precise.  Other issues such as the unfairness of the bicameral legislative body and gerrymandering which tend to make the document undemocratic could also be adjusted.

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Article 1 deals with the legislature:

It authorized that the laws be made by a bicameral Congress.  The legislative bodies meet regularly because the changing conditions within the country require a continuing flow of legislation to meet the ever-changing needs of the country.  The Congress’s major job is to meet the ever-changing needs of the nation with new needed legislation.

 

The reason for the bicameral houses of Congress was because there were both large and small states among the original 13.  In the Senate every states is equally represented by two Senators elected by each of the State Legislatures while in the House of Representatives each state is represented by legislators elected directly by the people; their number being based upon the population of the state.  In order to be elected to the Senate for a six year term one has to be 30 years of age or older while to be elected to the House for a two year term one has to be 25 or older.  People then generally did not live as long as they do today.

 

The Electoral College is a group of elected officials chosen every four year to elect the President of the United States.  The number of Electors for the Electoral College that each state has is based upon the number of their representatives in both Houses of Congress.  This measure is now out of date and can allow, as it did in Trump’s case, a candidate who does not have the majority vote of the people the ability to achieve the presidency.  As the independence of each state, large and small, is no longer dependent upon their independence the Electoral College by an Amendment to the Constitution should be done away with and the choice of the new President should be directly dependent upon the majority of votes by the voting population of the United States.  This would be much fairer than the current system.

 

In point of fact people in the actual election vote for their candidate.  The political parties choose the electors who will then vote for their candidate.  Doing away with the Electoral College will just allow the initial votes to count directly for the choice of the Presidential candidate.

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Originally the Founding Fathers never visualized political parties.  Instead they believed the “wisest,” best educated men would make up the two Houses of Congress.  The State Legislators chose the two most mature men in the State for their Senators and the male, property owning citizens chose from the best of the younger well educated men or man within the voting District or State for the House of Representatives..

 

In 1913 the 17th Amendment to the Constitution changed the Election of Senators, making the people within the states responsible for them, direct election of Senators by the citizens of each state.  The reason this came about was the rise of the corporations and monopolies from the post-Civil War on.  The new super-rich executives were able to bribe the state legislatures into appointing their lawyers to the Senate, which. In turn, became a body representing the monopolies rather than the states.  The 17th Amendment was a part of the Progressive Movement that was a reaction against the rise of the monopolies.

 

Even though a minimum number of people is needed for each Representative in the House at least one Representative is chosen from each state regardless of how small the population of that state is.  Eight states have so low a population that they have only one member in the House of Representatives while California has so large a population that it has 53 members there.  Originally and still the Senate gives each state equal representation in the Congress regardless of the population of that state while the House of Representatives is based upon population.  The representation in the House is adjusted every ten years when a census is taken of the entire population.

 

Is it reasonable for the states with very small populations to have the representation they have in the Congress?  As a group their votes count more than those in the larger states in the choice of the President.  It might make more sense at this time to limit them to one Senator.

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Alexander Hamilton organized the Federalist Party.  Hamilton saw the mercantile class, the businessmen, as the growing group and these people were the major beneficiaries of his policy. The first President was George Washington.  His Secretary of the Treasury was Alexander Hamilton while the second Secretary of State from 1790 to 1793 was Thomas Jefferson whose vision of the new United States was different from that of Hamilton. He favored the small yeoman farmer. While Washington was apolitical he did tend to favor Hamilton’s policy.

 

Washington served as president from 1789 to the beginning of 1797, two terms.  The second president was John Adams who served for one term.  By 1800 Thomas Jefferson had organized a second political party, the Democratic-Republican Party and, in a dramatic election, won the presidency in 1800.  His policy would change the focus of the new government.  In fact he believed that the purchase of the Louisiana Territory would supply land for the small farmers for the next one hundred years.  The Federalists were never able to mount a successful Presidential Election again.  They went out of existence after the War of 1812.

 

On April 40, 1789, the first inauguration of George Washington occurred.

On May 29, 1790, Rhode Island became the 13th state to join the Union.  It was voted in by only three percent of the population.

In 1791, the Bill of Rights, the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution was ratified.  James Madison wrote Twelve Amendments, of which ten were passed.

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In terms of editing the Constitution:

Article 1 pertains to the legislature, Section 2, Third paragraph: “counting slaves as 3/5s of a person for reasons of representation or taxation” can be excluded.

Section 9, Paragraph 1: Pertains to importation and taxation of slaves.

Article 2 deals with the Executive, Section 1, Second, Third, and Fourth paragraphs deal with the Electoral College.  If the Electoral College were to be done away with by having the people directly elect the President these paragraphs can be dropped.

Article 3 has to do with the Judicial System of the Country.

Article 4 details State rights.

Article 5 explains the process by which the Constitution can be amended.

Article 6 deals with prior debts, laws, and a required Oath or Affirmation to support the Constitution by all it officers.

Article 7 pertains to the ratification of the Constitution.

The second paragraph can be omitted.

This is followed by the names of the signers and the Amendments to the Constitution.

 

We are now in the 21st Century.  Do we really need the extraneous material that was included in a preindustrial document?

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While major changes to the Constitution are difficult to do at one time it is past time to do away with the Electoral College.  In 1876 the Republican, Rutherford B. Hayes, won the election with the majority of the popular vote going to the Democrat, Samuel J. Tilden.  In 2000 the Republican, George W. Bush, won the Presidential Election with the Democrat, Al Gore, getting the majority of the popular vote.  If Gore had won there would have been no unnecessary war against Iraq and the probability is that the Middle East would not have become as disrupted as it became and is still today.  In the Election of 2016 Hillary Clinton had three million more popular votes than Donald J. Trump but Trump won the Electoral College vote and became President.  So far his Presidency has been a disaster disrupting conditions in both the United States and the world.  For the first time since the Cold War and the Missile Crisis under John F. Kennedy the U.S. is facing the possibility of an atomic war with North Korea.  It seems that both countries have thin-skinned egomaniacs as leaders.

 

It is certainly time to get rid of the Electoral College.

 

The Weiner Component V.2 #46 – Results of the Trump Tax Bill

The red "GOP" logo used by the party...

The red “GOP” logo used by the party for its website (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Everyone knows a bribe is illegal but a contribution to a political party is not.  The American political system requires a lot of contributions to successfully operate.  The House of Representatives has an election every two years; the President is elected every four years and the Senate every six years, one third of the body being elected every two years.  For a politician to get elected and stay in office he/she needs a massive and continuous campaign fund.  Consequently he/she and their party is always raising money.  Apparently the Republicans are today receiving very large contributions from very rich individuals and from large corporations.

 

The question remains: When does a contribution become a bribe?  Actually legally it never does; but large constitutions exert a lot of influence upon how a political party acts,

 

Individuals, companies and corporations directly or through lobbyists contribute money to both their favorite political party and to their favorite politicians.  If the contribution is large enough when does it affect the individual politician or the political party causing them to take on the political position of the contributor?  Apparently whatever that financial point is the Republican Party is strongly affected by it.

 

Most corporations meet with their shareholders once a year to have them vote on various issues.  Shareholders can raise questions at this time.  One of these tends to be: What is the amount being contributed to political parties?  The company always requests a no vote on this issue.  I have never seen the measure passed.  I suspect if it were passed it would be ignored.

 

When does a contribution become as big as a bribe?  Or is the Republican Party expecting to get a goodly percentage of the Trump tax reduction as contributions that the upper echelon and the corporations will be receiving?  It would seem that the Republicans are very good at integrating their beliefs with those of the money interests in the United States.

 

Actually it seems that the Republican Party is getting its share of the tax giveaways that are currently being applied to the wealthy.

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On Tuesday, December 19th the House of Representatives passed the final version of Trump’s Tax Reform Bill.  Paul Ryan and other House Republicans spoke with great enthusiasm about this 1,000 page Bill which essentially significantly lowered taxes for the economically upper few percent of the population and the large corporations.  This is a bill which no one really read in advance, was put together secretly, probably in the dead of night, had the majority of the population of the country strongly against it, and also had adjustments being made to it up until it was voted upon.  From what I understand a last minute addition was added which gave to real estate owners a tax pass through which would give these people millions of dollars in tax benefits.  Besides real estate owners throughout the country this positively affected Trump and a number of Senators.  The public and also most of the Republicans have yet to find out all the ramifications of this thousand page bill.

 

There was a minor technical glitch on the House version of the bill and they had to pass the Bill twice over a two day period.  Trump and his cohorts were congratulating one another over the wonderment of this bill, stating how it was for the middle class: how it would lower their taxes and create endless new jobs.  According to President Trump this was the greatest thing that has happened in this country in the last fifty years.

 

To the majority of Americans the Bill is vastly unpopular.  There were loud protests while the Bill came up on the Senate floor.  Some protestors were removed from the gallery.  There have been protests all over this country by millions of people against this Bill, many political offices throughout the nation have been invaded by individuals loudly protesting this Bill.

 

The Bill passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 224 to 201 and in the Senate by a vote of 51 to 48.  The vote was along party lines; no Democrat voted for Trump’s so called Tax Reform.  In the House several Republicans voted against the Bill.  They came from states that had voted for Hillary Clinton in the Presidential Election.

 

The Bill drops the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% and lowers the maximum rate paid by those earning over $418,000 from 39.6% to 37%.  It doubles the current rate charged on inheritances from 5.5 million dollars to 11 million dollars and repeals the inheritance tax after 2025. Apparently Trump expects to live for a long time.

 

It removes the requirement that requires everyone to either belong to a medical plan like Obamacare or pay a penalty.  This. In Trump’s opinion, kills the Affordable Care program.  Actually this allows many younger people to opt out of the program and subsequently forces the insurance companies to further raise their premiums.  Interestingly about 9 million new people have signed up for Obamacare.  The program is far from expiring.

 

At the last minute a measure was added for real estate owners to allow a portion of their profits to pass through their real estate investment.  The amount saved, by the one Republican Senator who was originally going to vote against the Bill from taxes, is over thirty thousand dollars.  It has been estimated that this will cost the government about 45 billion dollars in lost taxes.  This measure convinced this reluctant Republican Senator who is not running for reelection in 2018 to vote for the Bill.  It will profit him and the President.  In addition it will profit a number of Senators and real estate owners throughout the country.

 

The Bill allows oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  It is estimated that Trump’s Tax Reform will add 1.46 trillion dollars over the next decade to what is currently a National Debt of over 20 trillion dollars.  The Republicans do well at adding large amounts to the National Debt.

 

It should also be noted that as far as the Bill is concerned the tax cuts to the upper echelon and the corporations are permanent but those for the middle and lower class end in 2025.  Of course they can be made permanent by a subsequent Congress but that will grow the National Debt further.

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The question arises: How permanent are all these changes?  Keep in mind that the Bill was passed in the Congress only by the votes of the Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress.  The majority of the population opposed the bill, many loudly and vociferously.  A midterm election is coming up on the first Tuesday of November 2018 and in January 2019 there will be a new Congress in Washington.

 

In addition the Bill passed in the Senate by 51 Republican votes to 48 Democratic and Independent votes.  Senator John McCain was not present; he was in a hospital in Arizona getting chemotherapy.  In Alabama a Democrat was just elected to the Senate who has not yet taken his Senatorial seat.  Instead a temporary replacement appointed Republican voted for the change.  This Democratic Senator would have changed the balance to 50 Republicans to 49 Democrats.  We don’t know how John McCain would have voted.  We do know that the Bill was crafted at night and much of its contents kept secret.

 

The probability is that over the next year the Republicans will attempt to reduce government costs by significantly reducing their spending on entitlement programs, programs for the poor and the middle class.  They may attempt to do away completely with Affordable Health Care by making it a state program with fixed reduced Federal grants.  And they may attempt to privatize Social Security.  The interesting thing here is that when Social Security was fixed in the 1980s and also had Medicare separated from it under President Ronald Reagan a lot more was paid into it than was needed.  The excess has traditionally been put into the General Fund and Social Security has been given a paper credit for that amount.  The paper credits added up today equal well over two trillion dollars of the National Debt.  If Social Security were privatized would this amount be added to the amount transferred to private enterprise or would it just be forgotten?

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The blatant cynicism within this bill by the Congressmen who had all taken an oath to the Constitution is appalling. These men are serving themselves first and the country second.  Many openly voted for a bill that would give them tax advantages.  Others like Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, are highly ambitious.  Even though Ryan comes from a safe Republican area, I understand, he has chosen not to run in 2018; He is temporarily retiring from the government.  Alabama was a safe Republican state that elected a Democratic Senator.  Wisconsin could do the same.  Ryan would like to be President of the United States.  He ran with Mitt Romney in 2012 as Vice Presidential candidate.  If he retires in 2018 he can run in 2024 as the Republican Presidential candidate.

 

It has been suggested by a Republican Congressman that 2018 could be a political blood bath.  The Republicans have forced through Congress strictly on a party basis an unpopular tax reduction bill.  In 2018 they may try and possibly succeed in passing other unpopular bills.  Comes the first Tuesday in November they could easily lose their small majority in the Senate.  They could also lose their larger majority in the House of Representatives.  A lot of people are very angry with Trump and the Republican Party.  They will probably vote accordingly.

 

Virtually all of Trump’s Bill could be eradicated before the end of 2019.  From what I understand Paul Ryan, running for the Presidency in 2024 may have a platform of lowering taxes for rich individuals and large corporations.  That would, of course, be determined by the Democrats.

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The majority of the country is highly dissatisfied with the Trump Tax Cut that was passed toward the end of December, 2017.  The Midterm Election will be held the first Tuesday in November 2018 and the new Congress will take office in January 2019.  Many current Republican members will not run for office in 2018.

 

The probability is that from January 21, 2019 either the Senate will achieve a Democratic majority or both Houses of Congress will do so.    If the Democrats gain control of the Senate they should be able to force the Republican House of Representatives to accept changes to the tax bills by adding amendments to all Republican bills.  Bills can deal with any number of subjects.

 

When these bills go to a Conference Committee the Democrats can refuse to allow the Republicans to remove these amendments from the original bills.  In this case the Republicans have a choice either to kill the bill or give in to the Democrats.  If the Democrats win both Houses of Congress then President Trump has the choice to approve Democratic bills in return for something Trump wants.  It seems also that the rules of the Senate have been changed limiting debate; there will be no filibustering to frustrate the Democrats.

The Weiner Component V.2 #46 – Results of the Trump Tax Bill

Everyone knows a bribe is illegal but a contribution to a political party is not.  The American political system requires a lot of contributions to successfully operate.  The House of Representatives has an election every two years; the President is elected every four years and the Senate every six years, one third of the body being elected every two years.  For a politician to get elected and stay in office he/she needs a massive and continuous campaign fund.  Consequently he/she and their party is always raising money.  Apparently the Republicans are today receiving very large contributions from very rich individuals and from large corporations.

 

The question remains: When does a contribution become a bribe?  Actually legally it never does; but large constitutions exert a lot of influence upon how a political party acts,

 

Individuals, companies and corporations directly or through lobbyists contribute money to both their favorite political party and to their favorite politicians.  If the contribution is large enough when does it affect the individual politician or the political party causing them to take on the political position of the contributor?  Apparently whatever that financial point is the Republican Party is strongly affected by it.

 

Most corporations meet with their shareholders once a year to have them vote on various issues.  Shareholders can raise questions at this time.  One of these tends to be: What is the amount being contributed to political parties?  The company always requests a no vote on this issue.  I have never seen the measure passed.  I suspect if it were passed it would be ignored.

 

When does a contribution become as big as a bribe?  Or is the Republican Party expecting to get a goodly percentage of the Trump tax reduction as contributions that the upper echelon and the corporations will be receiving?  It would seem that the Republicans are very good at integrating their beliefs with those of the money interests in the United States.

 

Actually it seems that the Republican Party is getting its share of the tax giveaways that are currently being applied to the wealthy.

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On Tuesday, December 19th the House of Representatives passed the final version of Trump’s Tax Reform Bill.  Paul Ryan and other House Republicans spoke with great enthusiasm about this 1,000 page Bill which essentially significantly lowered taxes for the economically upper few percent of the population and the large corporations.  This is a bill which no one really read in advance, was put together secretly, probably in the dead of night, had the majority of the population of the country strongly against it, and also had adjustments being made to it up until it was voted upon.  From what I understand a last minute addition was added which gave to real estate owners a tax pass through which would give these people millions of dollars in tax benefits.  Besides real estate owners throughout the country this positively affected Trump and a number of Senators.  The public and also most of the Republicans have yet to find out all the ramifications of this thousand page bill.

 

There was a minor technical glitch on the House version of the bill and they had to pass the Bill twice over a two day period.  Trump and his cohorts were congratulating one another over the wonderment of this bill, stating how it was for the middle class: how it would lower their taxes and create endless new jobs.  According to President Trump this was the greatest thing that has happened in this country in the last fifty years.

 

To the majority of Americans the Bill is vastly unpopular.  There were loud protests while the Bill came up on the Senate floor.  Some protestors were removed from the gallery.  There have been protests all over this country by millions of people against this Bill, many political offices throughout the nation have been invaded by individuals loudly protesting this Bill.

 

The Bill passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 224 to 201 and in the Senate by a vote of 51 to 48.  The vote was along party lines; no Democrat voted for Trump’s so called Tax Reform.  In the House several Republicans voted against the Bill.  They came from states that had voted for Hillary Clinton in the Presidential Election.

 

The Bill drops the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% and lowers the maximum rate paid by those earning over $418,000 from 39.6% to 37%.  It doubles the current rate charged on inheritances from 5.5 million dollars to 11 million dollars and repeals the inheritance tax after 2025. Apparently Trump expects to live for a long time.

 

It removes the requirement that requires everyone to either belong to a medical plan like Obamacare or pay a penalty.  This. In Trump’s opinion, kills the Affordable Care program.  Actually this allows many younger people to opt out of the program and subsequently forces the insurance companies to further raise their premiums.  Interestingly about 9 million new people have signed up for Obamacare.  The program is far from expiring.

 

At the last minute a measure was added for real estate owners to allow a portion of their profits to pass through their real estate investment.  The amount saved, by the one Republican Senator who was originally going to vote against the Bill from taxes, is over thirty thousand dollars.  It has been estimated that this will cost the government about 45 billion dollars in lost taxes.  This measure convinced this reluctant Republican Senator who is not running for reelection in 2018 to vote for the Bill.  It will profit him and the President.  In addition it will profit a number of Senators and real estate owners throughout the country.

 

The Bill allows oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  It is estimated that Trump’s Tax Reform will add 1.46 trillion dollars over the next decade to what is currently a National Debt of over 20 trillion dollars.  The Republicans do well at adding large amounts to the National Debt.

 

It should also be noted that as far as the Bill is concerned the tax cuts to the upper echelon and the corporations are permanent but those for the middle and lower class end in 2025.  Of course they can be made permanent by a subsequent Congress but that will grow the National Debt further.

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The question arises: How permanent are all these changes?  Keep in mind that the Bill was passed in the Congress only by the votes of the Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress.  The majority of the population opposed the bill, many loudly and vociferously.  A midterm election is coming up on the first Tuesday of November 2018 and in January 2019 there will be a new Congress in Washington.

 

In addition the Bill passed in the Senate by 51 Republican votes to 48 Democratic and Independent votes.  Senator John McCain was not present; he was in a hospital in Arizona getting chemotherapy.  In Alabama a Democrat was just elected to the Senate who has not yet taken his Senatorial seat.  Instead a temporary replacement appointed Republican voted for the change.  This Democratic Senator would have changed the balance to 50 Republicans to 49 Democrats.  We don’t know how John McCain would have voted.  We do know that the Bill was crafted at night and much of its contents kept secret.

 

The probability is that over the next year the Republicans will attempt to reduce government costs by significantly reducing their spending on entitlement programs, programs for the poor and the middle class.  They may attempt to do away completely with Affordable Health Care by making it a state program with fixed reduced Federal grants.  And they may attempt to privatize Social Security.  The interesting thing here is that when Social Security was fixed in the 1980s and also had Medicare separated from it under President Ronald Reagan a lot more was paid into it than was needed.  The excess has traditionally been put into the General Fund and Social Security has been given a paper credit for that amount.  The paper credits added up today equal well over two trillion dollars of the National Debt.  If Social Security were privatized would this amount be added to the amount transferred to private enterprise or would it just be forgotten?

***************************************

The blatant cynicism within this bill by the Congressmen who had all taken an oath to the Constitution is appalling. These men are serving themselves first and the country second.  Many openly voted for a bill that would give them tax advantages.  Others like Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, are highly ambitious.  Even though Ryan comes from a safe Republican area, I understand, he has chosen not to run in 2018; He is temporarily retiring from the government.  Alabama was a safe Republican state that elected a Democratic Senator.  Wisconsin could do the same.  Ryan would like to be President of the United States.  He ran with Mitt Romney in 2012 as Vice Presidential candidate.  If he retires in 2018 he can run in 2024 as the Republican Presidential candidate.

 

It has been suggested by a Republican Congressman that 2018 could be a political blood bath.  The Republicans have forced through Congress strictly on a party basis an unpopular tax reduction bill.  In 2018 they may try and possibly succeed in passing other unpopular bills.  Comes the first Tuesday in November they could easily lose their small majority in the Senate.  They could also lose their larger majority in the House of Representatives.  A lot of people are very angry with Trump and the Republican Party.  They will probably vote accordingly.

 

Virtually all of Trump’s Bill could be eradicated before the end of 2019.  From what I understand Paul Ryan, running for the Presidency in 2024 may have a platform of lowering taxes for rich individuals and large corporations.  That would, of course, be determined by the Democrats.

*********************************

The majority of the country is highly dissatisfied with the Trump Tax Cut that was passed toward the end of December, 2017.  The Midterm Election will be held the first Tuesday in November 2018 and the new Congress will take office in January 2019.  Many current Republican members will not run for office in 2018.

 

The probability is that from January 21, 2019 either the Senate will achieve a Democratic majority or both Houses of Congress will do so.    If the Democrats gain control of the Senate they should be able to force the Republican House of Representatives to accept changes to the tax bills by adding amendments to all Republican bills.  Bills can deal with any number of subjects.

 

When these bills go to a Conference Committee the Democrats can refuse to allow the Republicans to remove these amendments from the original bills.  In this case the Republicans have a choice either to kill the bill or give in to the Democrats.  If the Democrats win both Houses of Congress then President Trump has the choice to approve Democratic bills in return for something Trump wants.  It seems also that the rules of the Senate have been changed limiting debate; there will be no filibustering to frustrate the Democrats.

The Weiner Component V.2 #45 – Implications of the New Tax Bill

Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan

Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY)

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday, 12/5/17, under Mitch McConnell’s leadership the Senate went to work on a final edition of the so-called 1,000 page Tax Reform Bill.  Apparently they were willing to work through the night of December 6; but finished the bill at about Two A.M.  McConnell

worked with individual Senators changing sections of the bill to meet their objections.  The final version contained multi crossed out sections and pages and innumerable changes written in in pencil, hand written in the margins.  In addition there were sections added by lobbyists, including one by McConnell benefiting distillers of alcoholic beverages.  Apparently Kentucky, where McConnell comes from, has a large number of distilleries.  It should be noted that no one in the Senate had read through the final version of the bill before it was voted on.

 

The Democrats requested that a vote not be taken on the bill until the following Monday so that they could read it before voting on the potential law.  This was refused.

 

With one exception McConnell just had the necessary votes to pass the bill.  It was passed strictly on a party bases.  Ninety-nine Senators were present.  Fifty Republican Senators voted for the bill.  One Republican Senator, Bob Corker of Tennessee, voted against it because it would add one trillion or more dollars to the National Debt.  All the forty-seven Democratic Senators plus the two Independents voted against the bill.

 

While the Republican Senators were very pleased with their accomplishment the Senate’s version of Trump’s idea of Tax Reform, while essentially similar in content to the House of Representatives bill, was still very different from their proposed law.  In order for this bill to become law both versions have to be identical.  They were far from that point.

 

What happened was that a Conference Committee, composed of members of both political parties from both Houses of Congress met, with the Republicans in the majority, and they worked out a compromise bill made up of the two versions which, in turn, went back to both Houses of Congress and be voted upon.  It was further worked upon and passed both Houses of Congress and the President several days later signed it and the bill will become law in January of 2018.

 

The problem here was that the House of Representatives is made up of a Republican majority which consists of very extreme conservatives like the Freedom Caucus to relatively moderate Republicans.  The Democrats are totally opposed to this bill.  The Bill continued getting modified until it gained support from all Republicans.

 

In the Senate the Republican majority currently is one Senator.  One Republican Senator, Bob Corker of Tennessee who is retiring from the Senate in 2018, was against the bill.  He was pacified and changed his vote when a section was added allowing him to keep more from his real estate holdings.  Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine was having second thoughts about the bill   She also was pacified with promises.  The Bill passed.

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Prior to the above vote there was also a special Senate election in Alabama to replace Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, on Tuesday, December 12th.  The Republicans ran Roy Moore, an accused pedophile who attempted a sexual encounter with a 14 year old high school student when he was a 32 year old Assistant District Attorney.  Several other women have accused him of similar actions when they were 16 or older.  In Alabama the age of consent is 16.  Moore initially admitted knowing some of these women and then denied having met any of them.

 

Alabama elected a relatively liberal Democrat?  The governor of the state has said that she considers Moore guilty but will still vote for him.  The state is mostly evangelical.  The majority of the population is very conservative.  The Republican candidate, Roy Moore lost by over 20,000 votes but has refused to concede the election.

 

This will give the Democrats 49 votes and the Republicans 51 votes in the Senate.  The Democrats requested that the vote be held off until the Democrat, Doug Jones, takes his seat.  The Republicans refused and had the temporary Republican appointee vote.

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On a broad basis the Tax Bill will present a giveaway to the large corporations and the upper stratum of society.  Trump, himself, will save multimillions of dollars after the bill is passed.  It will slash the top corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent.  In addition it will cut the upper income tax rate individuals pay from 39.6% for an income of $418,488 or more and for 39.6% for married couples earning $426,700 or more to $1,000,000 or more.  This one action will seriously reduce the amount of money collected in income taxes and massively reduce the percentage paid in taxes by the upper percentile of the population.

 

While most of the traditional deductions will be gone or seriously reduced there will be new ones that can be used by the upper echelon and the corporations.  For example a tuition deduction for private schools or for a future college education for children will probably be instituted.  Also companies will have their entire costs of automation deductible.  The tax bill will allow companies to deduct their entire expenditure on robots that replace workers.

 

The Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, had been promising to release an analysis of the Trump or Republican Tax Plan.  Instead he issued a one page memo upon the effects of the proposed new taxes.  Presumably in massive studies, which the Treasury people deny ever happened, the tax bill will generate enough new revenue to pay for the tax bill and add an additional 300 million over a decade.  Tax policy experts have called this into question.  “This is not a serious analysis effort,” stated Mark Mazur, director of the Tax Policy Center.

 

The governments of several European nations have also issued warnings that sections of the new tax bill interfere with international trade agreements and could disrupt it.  There has been no real analysis of the effects of this bill by any group, partisan or nonpartisan.

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The pattern of Supply Side Economics which the Bill uses as its basis was first espoused by President Ronald Reagan and his administration from 1981 through 1989.  Reagan took the United States, which in 1981 was the largest creditor nation in the world and in eight years turned it into the largest debtor nation on the planet.  During that period the National Debt grew from 997 billion dollars to 2.85 trillion dollars.  He was able to do this with what was then called Supply Side Economics.

 

His philosophy was to reduce government spending, reduce federal income and capital gain taxes, and reduce government regulation.  This would grow the economy.  When companies got more cash they would hire more workers and expand their businesses and produce additional products which would generate more taxes.  In essence if Supply were increased so would consumption grow.  It didn’t quite work that way.

 

People will expand their purchasing when they have more income.  Reagan gave the biggest income increases to large companies and the upper echelon of society.  The companies produced their goods based upon demand.  They didn’t increase production and assume they could sell as much as they produced.  Supply Side Economics was a myth; it never came about in the real world.  People whose incomes were increased put that money into old industry like the stock market.  There was no real expansion of new investment.

 

This was Reagonomics.  The next two Republican Presidents, George H.W. and George W. Bush both cut taxes mostly for the rich and greatly expanded the National Debt with their wars.  The Democratic President, who came between those two, President Bill Clinton, lowered taxes for everyone, expanded the economy, and began reducing the National Debt in the last years of his presidency.

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We now have Donald Trump as President of the United States and both Houses of Congress are controlled by Republican majorities.  If one looks at a political map of the United States the Republican controlled states and electoral regions with the states are all marked in red and the Democratic controlled states and regions within the states are marked in Blue.  The most populous state within the United States is California which is mostly a blue state.  Then come New York and Florida, both having the same number of Congressmen.  After that there is Texas.  The other states all have smaller populations.  The various individual deductions that the new tax bill has done away with mainly effect the larger Democratic states where people itemize their deductions.  This would be California and New York.  The Republicans have built into the bill a form of punishment for Democrats who are mainly members of the middle class.  Their taxes will actually rise with this so-called tax reform.

 

Florida is a purple state on a political map, containing large numbers from both political parties and Texas is a red state.  The group that will be most affected by the tax reform will be retired senior citizens.  The Senate bill does away with the requirement to belong to Affordable Health Care.  This will cause premiums to rise significantly as the younger generation will opt not to join.

 

In addition Congress will need to help pay for the tax cuts.  Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House and Senator Marco Rubio have both indicated that money will have to come from entitlement programs.  It has long been a Republican goal to privatize Social Security and Medicare.  This may well be the chance the Republicans have been waiting for.

 

The Weiner Component V.2 #44 – Patterns of History: Part 4: The Trump Tax Reform

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

The western front of the United States Capitol...

It was the expenditure of money directly after the Second World War that brought about the prosperity that came about in the United States, Europe, and Asia.  In the earlier period of 1918 to 1919 at the end of the First World War there was an instant recession as the many veterans in the U.S. attempted to come back to civilian life directly after the war.  At that time no economic adjustments were made.  In 1945 to 1946 the Federal Government created and applied large amounts of money to the issue and there was no economic problem.

 

In addition the Federal Government added massive funds through the Marshall Plan and otherwise from 1948 to 1952 which also solved the reconstruction problems of Europe and Asia.

 

During and after 1945 the various economic problems were solved on many levels by the Federal Government using the free application of money.  The money was not an object of value but a source of exchange.  It allowed for a free exchange of goods and services for other needed or wanted goods and services.  By the United States freely giving money to nations in Europe and Asia in the Marshall Plan and the Asia Recovery Act they allowed these nations to rebuild and created jobs not only in those nations but also in the United States which supplied the materials and equipment needed for the reconstructions.  The actual wealth created at that time was the new cities in these countries and the multitude of jobs created in Europe and Asia and in the United States.

 

This wealth which the United States created by the simple act of increasing the money supply and distributing it to all these countries brought about a higher level of prosperity than had existed in any of the nations involved before the Second World War.  And this included the United States.  The money had been the tool that allowed each war-torn nation to harness its work forces and rapidly rebuild.

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Prior to 1933 money had been an object of wealth.  It was mainly gold and silver in the form of coins.  After that year, in the United States, the gold was collected, withdrawn from circulation, and replaced by printed paper currency.  Thereafter money became a means of exchange having no real value except what was assigned to it by the government that printed it.  It became a means of exchange allowing labor for different labor.  The new currency could be immediately used or kept for any period of time and then used.

 

From 1933 on the entire concept of money was changed, first within the United States and then throughout the entire world.  The use of money thereafter became the use of a tool to enhance productivity which then became the new form of wealth.

 

In 2009, after the Real Estate Bubble Burst and the United States was facing a possible depression greater than the Great Depression of 1929 President Barack Obama used money to turn that disaster into the Great Recession which he resolved during his turn in the Presidency.  Money was the tool that ended the Great Recession.

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Is there a difference between money as gold being the object of wealth and a paper means of exchange?  The answer is, of course, yes.

 

If money is the object of wealth which is required for any and all types of business to occur then the amount of gold in existence determines the amount of business that can be done.  The question that continually arises is: Is there enough gold in the form of money available to conduct all the necessary business?

 

The answer to that question is, No.  There has never been enough gold coinage (with the exception of the 16th Century, when Spain looted the New World) available to conduct the necessary amount of business in Europe or elsewhere.  In fact the mining and minting of gold is a totally different subject from the growth of business in the world.  The two have nothing to do with one another.  But up until 1933 the existence of the two were tied together.

 

If business is tied to the amount of gold coins available then it is extremely limited.  For business practices to be able to grow unfettered it has to have the potential to have an unlimited amount of money potential.  This is what exists when the amount of paper money in circulation is based upon legislative printing decisions within each country.

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Currently in the United States the seated President, Donald J. Trump, is attempting to bring about, what he calls, Tax Reform.  This is actually a massive tax cut for the wealthy like himself and for the large corporations within the country.  He is touting it as a tax cut for everyone but that is nonsense.  Trump is attempting to give himself and his group, the economically upper 1%, massive increased tax advantages which will be paid in part by those earning $10,000 to $75,000 a year and by deficit spending.

 

He and most of the Congressional Republicans are willing to say and promise anything to get enough support to get this bill through Congress and onto Trump’s desk where he will sign it into law.  Once it is accomplished Trump and his cohorts in Congress will continue to state how everyone is benefiting from this new law but the truth will be the opposite.

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There are two different categories of taxes: most are regressive, that means the lower your income the greater a percentage is paid in taxes.  These would include sales tax, excise tax, gasoline taxes, all licenses, etc.  Everyone pays, at least, some of these taxes.  Some of them are use taxes like automobile, liquor, or cigarette taxes.  These could be federal, state, county, and city taxes.

 

Then there are progressive taxes.  These are generally income taxes which some states and the Federal Government have.  These taxes are largely based upon ability to pay; that is, the more one earns the greater the percentage of their income is taxed.  The Federal Income Tax is progressive up to 39.6% or $470,700 for a married couple filing together.  For a single tax payer it would be half as much.

 

After this amount of earning the tax becomes regressive.  39.6% is paid no matter how much above the $470,701 amount is earned.  The percentage is frozen If the couple earns ½ million dollars or one million or ten million or more.  It remains at 39.6%.  Actually the more the couple earns the lower a percentage of their income is taxed.  In 2012, when Mitt Romney ran as the Republican candidate for the Presidency, he paid 12% of his earning in taxes while the average middle class family, who earned a lot less than he did, paid at least 20% of their income in taxes.  We don’t know how much Donald Trump pays since he has refused to release his tax form.

 

President Trump, in his new Tax Plan would lower the maximum category of these taxes.  The upper two percent would reach the maximum level at a lower point than the 39.6% level.

 

Today most members of the lower class pay no income tax because their incomes are too low, but in all other taxes they pay a larger percentage of their incomes than the middle class.

 

Trump’s assorted Cabinet, from Secretary of State on, are all millionaires or billionaires.  They would all directly benefit from Trump’s tax plan.

 

No one is arguing that the income and other taxes in this country don’t need reforming.  The laws are 7,000 pages long.  But the Trump tax plan is not reform, it is a reduction in taxes for the rich.  In the opinion of the experts it will be harmful for the country.  While the bill is still being worked upon by the House of Representatives and the Senate the Republicans are touting in TV adds that the bill will save the average citizen $2,100.  Where is reality?  And for how long?  The upper echelon’s taxes presumably go on forever but everyone else’s tax benefits expire in about five years.

 

The Republicans originally wanted to gut Obamacare by dumping it upon the states and using the money they saved to pay for the tax cut.  That didn’t work.  The plan is now to reduce their taxes by increasing the National Debt.  After all what is a trillion and a half more or less added to the National Debt!

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There is another extremely negative consequence that would come about if this bill became law.  It would help tremendously in the demise of the middle class.  Over the last twenty years or so incomes in the United States have followed a strange pattern.  For the executive class across the country compensation packages have risen significantly, generally in the millions.  But for members of the middle class wages have gone up very slowly, if at all.

 

With the exception of the Real Estate Bubble bursting in 2008 there has been little wage growth.  In 2008 there was a wage collapse.  Inflation during this period was very low, about 1 ½% a year.  But if you take 1 ½% for a period of two decades it equals a 30% increase in the price of living.  This means that the value of the wages and their purchasing power has shrunk considerably.

 

What has happened in the United States is that standards of living have dropped quite a bit and with it the number of people within the middle class.  The country is moving, once again, in the direction of a growing lower class.  Historically we seem to be going back to the 1880s or 1890s with all the corruption which existed at that time.

 

Trump’s Tax Plan would exacerbate the shrinking of the middle class.  It would bring about a massive worsening of conditions in the United States.  The country needs reform.  But this is not reform.  Instead it is an extension of the negative conditions of over a hundred years ago.  Hopefully Trump’s Tax Reform will die just like “Repeal and Replace” did several times over a nine month period.

 

If it does pass the probability is that in the 2018 Midterm Election the Democrats will become the majority in the Senate and even possibly in the House of Representatives.  If this happens there will be some fancy negotiating with Trump over the following two years and a strong possibility of a Democrat becoming President in 2020.  This could bring about a new era of tax reform.

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The difference between money as a means of exchange or goods and services and an object of wealth is subtle but of extreme importance to the welfare of the society.  As an object of wealth money tends to be dormant within the society.  It is essentially stored in dormant forms of wealth like stocks or other kinds of older investments by the well to do who possess most of it.  This limits the amount of currency available for spending, investment and growth within the society.  While money as a means of exchange continues to be present and is in constant circulation within the country allowing for maximum economic growth among the entire population.  Trump’s basic tax reform plan will make it an object of wealth within the society and actually limit economic growth and expansion.  It could eventually cause an economic recession or depression by bringing about a strong economic contraction.

 

In point of fact today, December 17, 2017, the eleven hundred page Tax Bill is still being worked upon.  Presumably on Monday, December 18 the bill will be finalized and probably voted upon.  We only know generally some of its features.

 

The Weiner Component V.2 #43 – Patterns of History: Part 3: Post World War II

Umezu signing the instrument of surrender to t...

Umezu signing the instrument of surrender to the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of a number of posters created by the Econ...

One of a number of posters created by the Economic Cooperation Administration to promote the Marshall Plan in Europe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Map of Cold-War era Europe and the Near East s...

Map of Cold-War era Europe and the Near East showing countries that received Marshall Plan aid. The red columns show the relative amount of total aid per nation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

George C. Marshall, General of the Army.

George C. Marshall, General of the Army. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On September 2, 1945, Japan formally surrendered unconditionally and World War 2 was over.  Germany had surrendered unconditionally earlier, on May 8, 1945.  Italy had given up two years before on September 8, 1943.  The Axis Powers no longer existed after Japan surrendered.  The war was over.

 

Allowing for the massive bombing destruction and the millions killed during the war, many cities, both belonging to the Allies and the Axis had been bombed to almost complete rubble.  The world was then at peace but recovery from the destruction still had to come about.

 

Keep in mind that if economic conditions had been better in the period between the two wars World War II would never have occurred; the people who gained control of Italy, Japan, and Germany would never have been successful in taking over these countries without the dire economic conditions brought about by the depression.  The ultimate cause of the war was the Great Depression.

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The war, both in the United States and otherwise, had been a time of deprivation.  In order to win the war people had done without much of the goods and services needed for proper living.  Virtually all production for the duration of the conflict had been aimed at winning the war.  Countries could now begin recovery in Europe and Asia, while in the United States it was a time for a return to civilian goods.  There had been no actual fighting in America.

 

Before World War II most people in the United States were still coming out of the Great Depression; they were surviving more or less.  Conditions improved under President Roosevelt but the economic level that had existed before 1929 was never reached.  Then, for about five years, the country had been involved in fighting a major World War.  Production in most industries had been involved in fighting World War II.  Most of the goods and services produced went into the war effort.  Civilians did without.

 

Production in most industries had geared up to its maximum point.  The President was continually calling for higher production goals.  If an individual wasn’t in the military he or she was involved in some form of industry or they were farmers producing as much food as they could and receiving top dollar for their products.  People invested their new excess funds in war bonds or they had banked this money.  During the war there wasn’t much upon which to spend their earnings.  Most production, as we’ve seen, was for the war effort.

 

Now in 1945, with the war over, people wanted the luxuries they had never really had.  Industry in the United States turned from war production to civilian production.  Automobile plants retooled and began producing civilian cars.  It would take several years to just meet the demand for new automobiles.

 

A new industry that began at this time was television.  While the technology had been developed in the 1930s it was not practically applied until the mid-forties.  People bought large cabinets containing seven inch screens that initially broadcast in black and white for a few hours each evening.

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Basically what happened in the United States was a nation flush with money and flush with new or reconstituted older industries was raring to make up for what they had missed over the last five years.  The remnants and probably even the memory of the prewar depression were gone.

 

In addition the nation through Congress wanted the soldiers brought back home as quickly as possible now that the war was over.  The country felt extremely grateful to the G.I’s for what they had done and Congress, in addition to bringing the troops back home, came out with the G.I Bill.  Veterans, who had left school to join the military were offered an opportunity to go back to school and finish their education.  The Federal Government would fund them, living expenses, tuition, and books.

 

Some veterans returned to high school and finished up the last year or two there in a few months and then went on to college.  Even if they were married and had children the government would fund them.  For many, who had never thought of higher education, it was easier to go to school than immediately get a job.  This included those with families.

 

Consequently many came back to high school, finished in a short period of time and went on to college.  It didn’t matter what their responsibilities were the government funded them.  A whole generation of individuals who had originally never intended to go to college got higher education degrees and subsequently became members of the middle class with higher incomes than they had ever conceived. .

 

In addition for those who didn’t want to go to college the Federal Government funded them opening up their own business.  Many became, among other things, television technicians and store owners.

 

In essence the Federal Government through funding and education created and encouraged the existence of a large middle class.  It transformed the United States into something it had never been before, mainly a middle class nation.  This meant much higher expectations for the majority of Americans throughout the nation and a much higher standard of living for virtually everyone within the country.

 

The process of doing this, the spending of all this money by the Federal Government massively increased the National Cash Flow within the country, which, in turn, also worked toward raising everyone’s standard of living.

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Europe emerged from the war as a basket case.  A good part of the war had been largely fought there.  Its major cities were largely destroyed.  Many had to be rebuilt almost from scratch.  They had the labor but not the funding.

 

Secretary of State and former General George C. Marshall in a speech given in 1947 recommended foreign assistance by the U.S. to help rebuild Europe.  This became, what President Harry S. Truman called, The Marshall Plan or European Recovery Program.  It was passed in both Houses of Congress on a bipartisan basis in 1948 and signed by the President that year.  The United States spent over 13 billion dollars in 1948 dollars; that would equal 135.4 billion dollars in September 2017 dollars.  This was money given to the European nations.

 

The program lasted four years.  Eighteen European countries participated in it.  The Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc Countries, which the Soviets controlled, refused any of this aid.  This actually made it easier for the bill to sail through a Republican dominated Congress.

 

The United States provided similar aid in Asia but they were not part of the Marshall Plan.

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The question that now arises is: Was the United States totally altruistic, helping both its allies and enemies in World War II?  Interestingly the answer to that question is both Yes and No.

 

We did help those eighteen countries and shortly thereafter the Asian nations also recover from the ravages of World War II.  In fact, their new infrastructures were far more modern than that of the United States.  But what we supplied was the money to buy the goods that allowed both the recovery and modernization.  The actual goods needed were purchased mostly from the United States.  The production of these goods also added to the overall prosperity of the country supplying them.  Simply stated, we gave these countries a checking account to be used essentially in the United States.

 

The question then arises: Where did all this money come from?  Taxes were certainly not raised in the United States to pay for all this productivity used by these nations for economic recovery.

 

To understand this we have to think back to what President Roosevelt did in the United States in 1933; he doubled the U.S. money supply by taking the country off the gold standard.  Money was no longer gold, instead paper currency became a means of exchange not really backed by anything of value.  It was created by having the government of the nation simply printing and issuing it.  As long as the supply of money in circulation did not exceed the amount of goods and services that the country could produce there was no real inflation and it retained its value as a means of exchange.

 

The major currency in the world in 1945 was the American dollar.  It was in demand throughout the globe.  There was no way inflation could occur then.  It stabilized all the other currencies, which were measured against it.  The United States printed the money as needed and spent it within the country and throughout the world.  From these dollars both in and out of the country massive human productivity occurred and recovery from the war came about historically in a relatively short period of time.  The results were prosperity for both the recipients of the funds and also for the suppliers of the money.

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It is vital to remember that money is now an object of exchange.  It itself has no real value except that which is arbitrarily assigned to it by the nation that prints it.  By making it the object of exchange the money then served to enhance the productivity needed to restore the different nations to a new level of economic productivity.  The different nations, after World War II, reached a new level of prosperity that was greater than what had existed before the Great Depression.

 

Keep in mind that that was just a starting point for each individual nation.  The economies were higher and more sophisticated than they had been earlier but they were still in flux.  The national economies could still go up or down bringing about continued grown, recession, or depression.  But by 1952 were at a higher economic point than they had ever been prior to that time.

 

Also the true key to the real wealth of a nation today is determined by the extent of its productivity.  This overall productivity is controlled by the distribution of the money throughout the society.  If everyone get a reasonable amount to spend over each period of a year then the nation’s potential can be reached.  But if the distribution is totally unequal then the productive potential becomes limited and the Gross Domestic product (All the goods produced in a twelve month period.) is limited.  This can occur by making money itself the object of wealth rather than just the means of exchange.