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It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders.
As you might imagine, riding a tiger is not for the fainthearted. Tigers have been known to eat people.
So why is the Republican party riding several tigers, all at once? Follow the money.
I. The Russian Oil Money Tiger
In excerpts from an hourlong interview published by the Wall Street Journal on Friday, Trump said: “If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?”
Trump suggested he might do away with the sanctions – imposed by the Obama administration in late December in response to Moscow’s alleged cyber attacks – if Moscow proves helpful in battling terrorists and reaching other goals important to Washington, the Journal reported.
Follow the money: Will Trump repay Putin by ending Russian sanctions and killing the Paris climate deal?
CEO Rex Tillerson — an extreme Russophile and long-time director of a US-Russian oil company — is Trump’s puzzling choice for Secretary of State.
I say “puzzling” because the long-serving Exxon employee (from age 23!) has no qualifications to be secretary of state — other than a history negotiating major oil deals with countries like Putin’s Russia, which in any sane world would actually disqualify him or at least force a recusal from all State Department dealings with Russia.
But that puzzle disappears if we follow the famous dictum from the Watergate era for uncovering a tangled web of covert campaign acts: “Follow the money.”
A half trillion dollars to line their pockets and prop up the Russian economy offers a tangible motivation for team Putin to get Trump elected. And it was Tillerson who had made the $500 billion oil deal with Putin that got blocked by sanctions.
It matters what Trump and his cabinet do in response to the overwhelming evidence that Putin did clandestinely interfere in the election.
Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin writes that if Trump doesn’t aggressively go after Putin, including working with “Congress to pass a stiff sanctions package,” and instead “sticks with Putin, he’ll have proved Putin and Trump’s critics right — he really is a patsy for Putin.”
Indeed, if Trump and Tillerson instead end the sanctions that are blocking the Exxon-Rossneft deal, it is going to look suspiciously like a half trillion dollar quid pro quo for Putin’s help getting elected.
Trump is not even President yet, and already he has begun the process of paying off Putin.
Ending sanctions will be the first step in putting vast amounts of money in Trump’s and Tillerson’s pockets.
At Tillerson’s confirmation hearing on Wednesday, the former Exxon Mobil CEO got a number of questions about his conflicts of interest — his huge interest in Exxon, through the direct ownership of about $54 million worth of shares, plus another $175 million in a financial contract called restricted stock units (RSUs).
Follow the money.
II. The Obamacare (ACA) “Repeal and Replace” Money Tiger
After six years of thinking, and more than 50 “Repeal” votes, the Republicans still have not developed a “Replace” plan. But Mr. Trump is optimistic it magically will appear.
Here is what he said, recently:
“It’ll be repeal and replace. It will be essentially, simultaneously. It will be various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably, the same day, could be the same hour.
“So we’re gonna do repeal and replace, very complicated stuff. And we’re gonna get a health bill passed, we’re gonna get health care taken care of in this country.
“You have deductibles that are so high, that after people go broke paying their premiums, which are going through the roof, the health care can’t even be used by them because their deductibles bills are so high.
“ObamaCare is the Democrats’ problem. We are gonna take the problem off the shelves for them. We’re doing them a tremendous service by doing it. We could sit back and let them hang with it. We are doing the Democrats a great service.
“So as soon as our secretary is approved and gets into the office, we’ll be filing a plan. And it was actually, pretty accurately reported today, The New York Times. And the plan will be repeal and replace Obamacare.
“We’re going to have a health care that is far less expensive and far better. Okay.”
If you understand that word salad, please send your translation to Mr. Trump, because it’s clear he has no idea what he’s talking about.
In the coming days, you will hear many stories about how Obamacare has raised healthcare prices for many people, totally ignoring the 20 million people who have obtained healthcare via this program.
In truth, Obamacare isn’t a great program; it isn’t even a good program. (A great program would be federally funded, comprehensive Medicare for every man, woman, and child in America.)
But it’s a huge improvement over the current Republican “screw them” plan to force millions of people to go without healthcare insurance.
Why do the Republicans want to end Obamacare? Again, follow the money.
I predict that any Republican plan will involve privatization, benefitting the healthcare industry moguls, while costing the poor and middle-classes more.
Privatizing elements of ACA will be the next step in putting vast amounts of “thank you” money into Trump’s pockets.
And, as always with the political right, it will widen the Gap between the rich and the rest.
III. The Climate Change Money Tiger
Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon Mobil chief, would head up U.S. international negotiations on the matter under the Paris climate agreement.
Yet Tillerson stated that while humans are changing the climate, “our ability to predict that effect is very limited” — a dubious assertion when it is clear that more emissions equal more warming, and when scientists can now directly connect the volume of emissions with particular temperature ranges for the planet.
Later in his testimony, he went said of the changing climate, “I don’t see it as the imminent national security threat that perhaps others do.”
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan), Trump’s pick to head the CIA is on record as raising doubts about the very fundamental climate trend itself: “There are scientists that think lots of different things about climate change. There’s some who think we’re warming, there’s some who think we’re cooling, there’s some who think that the last 16 years have shown a pretty stable climate environment.”
Actually, it’s clear that the planet is warming, and scientists have in fact said that is “unequivocal.”
Why the climate change denial? As with all things Trump, “follow the money” is good advice:
If Trump and Tillerson work together to kill the Paris climate deal, the last best chance to save Americans from catastrophic climate change, that will look like they are putting Putin’s interests and Exxon’s profits above America’s national interest and the health and well-being of our children.
It bears repeating that ExxonMobil’s future is inextricably tied to their stalled oil deal with Putin — and their future drilling plans would benefit from continued global warming and melting of polar ice.
Presumably, denying climate change and ending efforts to prevent it, will be the next step, not only in paying off Putin, but in putting vast amounts of money in Trump’s and Tillerson’s pockets.
IV. The Privatized Transportation Money Tiger
Chao: Trump administration looking to ‘unleash’ potential of private investment in transportation
WASHINGTON — Trump is looking to “unleash the potential” of private investors to boost the national transportation networks that underpin the U.S. economy, Transportation Secretary-designate Elaine Chao told lawmakers Wednesday.
Unions say that as labor secretary, she mostly sided with industry when enforcing labor and safety rules.
Chao advocated using “innovative financing tools” that can “take full advantage of the estimated trillions in capital that equity firms, pension funds and endowments can invest.”
She said private investment should be encouraged with “a bold, new vision.”
Donald Trump recommends providing $137 billion in tax credits to infrastructure investors.
But transportation experts note that investors are interested only in transportation projects that produce revenue, such as toll roads, and there are relatively few large projects like that. Providing tax incentives runs the risk of providing a windfall to investors for projects that would have been built anyway.
Chao’s department frequently faces pressure from industry to relax safety rules and block new ones. (She, having been) associated with conservative think tanks, is likely to lend a sympathetic ear to industry pleas for less regulation.
See the pattern, here? Less safety for the workers; more profits for investors.
Donald Trump has no moral code. He is all money all the time. If ever you are puzzled about something Trump does, you need only to follow the money.
The road may be convoluted, even hidden, but somewhere at the end of every Trump trail, you will find his pot of gold (plate).
Riding tigers is dangerous. Trump takes the risk that the voting public finally will catch on to his unrelenting greed and toss him out of office. But the outcome will be worth the risk if by then, he has amassed billions in profits for his various businesses and his family.
You know the old saying, “No risk, no reward.” And when the potential rewards are so staggeringly vast, Trump and his “Trumpites” are willing to ride the tiger — the public be damned.
The looting of America has begun.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The single most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the have-mores and the have-less.
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.
Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:
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 can afford better health care than can 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 ANNUAL 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 benefitting 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-transferring 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 a 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.