In case you didn’t see this in a previous “Comments” section, reader “Vincent” wrote: “It is not enough that politicians should be honest; they need to appear honest.”
My response was:
Some politicians appear to be honest. None actually are.
All politicians believe the public is relatively ignorant, and cannot be trusted with the truth. In that, they are correct.
So, you will not hear the truth from Trump, Clinton or Johnson. They all lie.
For instance, they all tell you The Big Lie (Federal taxes fund federal spending.) They believe that you, the public, will punish them for telling the truth, and they probably are correct.
As a voter, the best you can do is determine your own leanings, and select the one candidate most in line with those leanings.
Personally, I cannot subscribe to the basis of libertarianism (less government regulation, which allows the rich and powerful to rule the weak). So that eliminates Johnson.
For similar reasons, I cannot subscribe to the right wing belief that the rich and powerful should rule the weak). So that eliminates the Republican candidate.
By the process of elimination, I am left with the candidate that comes closest to my own beliefs (narrow the Gap between the rich and the rest), even though she still is too right wing for my tastes.
While listing Trump’s and Clinton’s lies is entertaining, in the National Enquirer vein, it is not a good basis for voting.
Then reader “Elizabeth Harris” wrote:
Hillary has the unanimous support of bankers, of neocons, of Wall Street, and the One Percent. She will deliver everything they demand, including mass privatization, the TPP, endless war (perhaps a world war with Russia) and a wider-than-ever gap between the rich and the rest.
For average people, life under Hillary will be a nightmare. And the more it becomes a nightmare, the more they will comfort themselves with the delusion that “Trump would have been worse.” This despite the fact that Trump is opposed by all those who will create the nightmare.
Among common folk, non-stop Trump-bashing is a desperate attempt to deny what they know inside about Hillary and her rich backers. It is a desperate attempt to deny the reality that in many ways, Trump is the de facto Democrat, and Hillary is the de facto Republican. Such people camouflage the economic realities of Hillary by focusing on the social inanities of Trump, such as his proposed border wall, which Congress would never agree to. They focus on Trump’s verbal gaffs about Muslims, while they ignore Hillary’s track record of exterminating Muslims. (Hillary cheered for the destruction of Libya, and has publicly vowed to nuke Iran.)
As President, Trump would not be able to get the US Congress to agree to anything he wants. However Trump would be able to veto the US Congress, and thereby trip up things like the TPP, and war with Russia.
What we need is an ineffective Trump, not an effective neocon-neoliberal Hillary.
And I responded:
True, Trump is not a Republican, but he would appoint more Scalias to the Supreme Court, which would be a disaster for America — unless you like unlimited political contributions, unlimited guns, the reduction in minority voting rights, a theocracy, and jurists who accept free “hunting trips” from the wealthy.
And, Trump’s crazed hand above the button — he wants to nuke ISIS — gives one pause. (Please give me your references for Hillary’s desire to nuke Iran and for her cheering the destruction of Lybia. I’ve not seen those)
And to describe Trump’s vow to exclude Muslims as merely a “verbal gaff” is unbecoming to you, Elizabeth. Is deporting 11 million undocumented Mexicans also just a “gaff”?
By the way, when was the last time any Congress voted for war, and the President vetoed it? Doesn’t it always go the other way?
Unfortunately, Hillary is a continuation of Barack’s policies, which as poor as they may be, still exceeded Bush II and today’s Congress, by a long way,
Sorry, but you can’t shine up a broken Trump. A vote for Trump is a vote for a male version of Sarah Palin with a tinge of Hannity.
The point: Today’s election campaign is more hate-filled and dangerous than any I can remember.
On the one side we have people who simply hate Bill Clinton and partly by extension, also hate Hillary Clinton. They say (rightly) that the Clintons are liars and crooked and will endorse war and everything else that benefits big bankers (aka contributors).
On a second side are the people who hate Trump. They say (rightly) that Trump is a liar and crooked, and an incompetent loose cannon who spreads hatred for minorities and hatred for foreigners, and who will appoint fellow bigots to the Supreme Court.
Then, on yet another side, we have the people who hate the federal government because it’s “big” (but seem O.K. with state and local governments — even more crooked and incompetent than the federal government — and hate the laws that protect the poor from the rich.
And we have the Bernie Sanders people and the independents, and the Greens, and all of them lie and hate the others for lying.
Maybe this is the way it always has been, and it only feels like more hatred than ever.
But, none of this would matter much, if you simply do what I suggested to Vincent, and merely vote for the candidate who comes closest to your own leanings. Heaven knows there are plenty of candidates from which to choose.
There is however, a huge problem with my suggestion: If no candidate receives 270 electoral votes, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives will select the President from the top three candidates, and they will choose Donald Trump for President.
The Republican majority in the Senate will select the Vice President from the top two candidates, and they will select Mike Pence.
Bottom line: If you want Trump/Pence in the White House, vote for Trump or for Johnson, or for Sanders or for Stein (Green Party) or for an independent or even for yourself in a write-in. They all would be votes for Trump.
There is yet another possibility, of course: The House of Representatives could pick someone else altogether — someone the voters did not select — but that would lead to the destruction of America’s political system.
These are dangerous times, indeed.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Ten Steps to Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich afford better health care than the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE AN ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA, AND/OR EVERY STATE, A PER CAPITA ECONOMIC BONUS (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012
Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONEFive reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefiting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE CORPORATE TAXES
Corporations themselves exist only as legalities. They don’t pay taxes or pay for anything else. They are dollar-tranferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the government (the later having no use for those dollars).
Any tax on corporations reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all corporate taxes come around and reappear as deductions from your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and corporate taxes would be an good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.