Loading...
Bless all of our hearts. When did we all lose ourselves and become hateful, angry, argumentative people with no respect...

Trump policies open new robber baron age

douglascohn.jpg
1 of 2

Douglas Cohn

eleanorclift.jpg
Loading…

Sunday, March 10, 2019

President Trump has nobody to blame but himself for the burgeoning trade deficit and the rise in the budget deficit (up 77 percent in the first four months of fiscal year 2019), which is expected to exceed a trillion dollars by next year.

Trump’s trade policy of imposing tariffs on foreign goods boomeranged when wealthy Americans flush with cash from last year’s tax cut bought even more foreign-made products, creating a record imbalance.

And now with Tax Day, April 15 approaching, U.S. taxpayers are noticing they’re not getting a refund, or it’s much smaller than in the past. The 2017 Trump tax cut was frontloaded, so the benefits kicked in immediately, and now the sugar highs are over.

What we call “Trumpenomics” is taking us back to the days of the Robber Barons, the rich financiers who bought up whole industries in the last part of the 19th century and mercilessly exploited workers.

Trump’s tax cut for the wealthy accelerated the transfer of wealth, and now it’s coming back to bite him. The tax cut didn’t shield the Republicans from massive losses in the 2018 election, and it’s putting Trump on the defensive going into 2020.

He promised to address the imbalance of trade with China and other countries, and now it turns out to be even worse more than two years into Trump’s presidency. The White House is talking up the potential of a grand bargain trade deal with China, but it hasn’t happened yet.

The growing income inequality in the country goes back to the 28 percent flat tax policies initiated under President Reagan which were then advanced by President George W. Bush in two massive tax cuts during his presidency.

Compounding the damage was the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 Citizens United decision in 2010 that undermined campaign finance laws and allow unlimited sums of money to pour into campaigns, often anonymously. Senate Republicans under the leadership of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are adamantly opposed to campaign finance reform, and no wonder, since they are the overwhelming beneficiaries of the current rules.

McConnell used to be for full disclosure of campaign donations, but he’s backed off that. He also used to be for fiscal conservatism, but he doesn’t say much about the rising deficit. He’s all about growing the economy these days, and that’s fine, but not when it just grows for the uppermost earners and wages stay stagnant for the working class.

As we near Tax Day, corporate and personal tax revenue are down 25 and 2 percent, respectively, from October through January, according to the Treasury Department. This is a massive drop for a deficit without a purpose.

There are just two good reasons to drive up the deficit. The first is to pay for a war, as the country did with the deficits incurred by FDR to support World War II. The other is to dig out of a deep economic hole, as FDR understood when he inherited the Great Depression in 1933.

The tax cut that was supposed to encourage corporations to take on more labor and provide more benefits had the reverse effect. It incentivized businesses to “buy back” their stocks, generating higher revenue for their stockholders but contributed nothing to the Treasury, or to job creation, or to the country’s overall social welfare.

Trump’s 2017 tax cut was a giveaway, a way to keep a campaign promise. After the legislation passed, Trump boasted to his friends at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida golf course, that he had just made them much richer.

We have had other wealthy presidents from the Roosevelts to Kennedy, but they had an altruistic sense of noblesse oblige that would be foreign to Trump and his oligarchy of modern Robber Barons.

Douglas Cohn’s latest books are World War 4: Nine Scenarios (endorsed by seven flag officers) and The President’s First Year: The Only School for Presidents Is the Presidency.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

July 12, 2019

Over the past three years, I have had the good fortune to work on a project that has the potential to transform the farming landscape in eastern North Carolina, one that involves harnessing gas produced from hog waste.

As CEO and founder of OptimaBio, our work with Smithfield Foods to capture…

Maloney

July 01, 2019

The American system of checks and balances government does not work the way most people think it does or the way the Founding Fathers said it would.

The president serves at the pleasure of Congress, just as the prime minister of the UK serves at the pleasure of Parliament, which means that the…

eleanorclift.jpg.jpg

June 26, 2019

Several Democratic presidential hopefuls are calling for Americans to make reparations for slavery. On June 19, the House judiciary subcommittee on the constitution, civil rights and civil liberties held a hearing. Its stated purpose was "to examine, through open and constructive discourse, the…

Walter Williams

June 10, 2019

The New York Times 

“Because it’s there.” For those who grew up on George Mallory’s famous explanation for his yearning to scale Mount Everest, with all the romance, danger and spirit of exploration it implied, that viral photograph of an endless line of climbers in…

June 10, 2019

Although it may not appear so, the leaders of both major political parties in North Carolina favor lowering the tax burden of large businesses. Their real dispute is about the scope and magnitude of the tax relief.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has consistently opposed recent state budgets, crafted by…

john hood.jpg

June 10, 2019

We are just weeks away from the first of 20 Democratic debates scheduled this primary season. It gets underway over two nights in Miami on June 26 and 27, and never before has there been a debate this early in the election and potentially this important.

The reason there are so many candidates, 23…

eleanorclift.jpg.jpg

June 09, 2019

Gerrymandering has always been part of American politics. After all, the term was coined in 1812 after Massachusetts governor and Founding Father Elbridge Gerry endorsed a state senate district that resembled a salamander.

Until recently, federal courts have been highly reluctant to enter the…

Steve and Cokie Roberts

June 09, 2019

It is not unfair to point out that President Trump, on many important subjects, is just an ignoramus.

A vivid illustration of this unfortunate fact came this week in London, when it was revealed that Prince Charles, a knowledgeable environmentalist, had tried to educate the president on climate…

Eugene Robinson

June 09, 2019

"When you are told all your life you're dumb, unworthy, you start believing it. God changed that for me."

Jerry, from Youngstown, Tennessee, hesitated to be interviewed by Chris Arnade, because "I don't know my ABCs, so I can't really talk right." He told Arnade, the author of the new book…

kathrynlopez

June 09, 2019

Senate Republicans are pushing back on President Trump's plan to impose tariffs on Mexico. But if Mexican officials think these Republicans are going to save them from Trump's tariffs, it's time for them to think again.

So far, congressional Republicans have managed to remain bystanders in Trump's…

MarcThiessen
179 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 18
        Next Page»   Last Page»