Friday, March 03, 2017

Crazy Promises...



Donald Trump took Crazy Promises to a whole new level this past campaign season, but it's not like the GOP hasn't been playing the same game a long time now.  Well, now the GOP - and Trump is ostensibly one of them now - has majority control of the White House, Congress, the courts, and 2/3rds of the state governments.  So, what about all those Crazy Promises?

Crazy Promise #1:  The Wall

The other day, a Mexican politician climbed a section of wall that was already built and sat there, to prove a point.

“I was able to scale it, climb it, and sit myself right here,” (Mexican congressman) Guerra said in a video. “It would be simple for me to jump into the United States, which shows that it is unnecessary and totally absurd to build a wall.”
Tangentially, Trump also realized that there's no way we're getting rid of millions of people, most of whom have been here for a long time now, and it's time to start talking at least 'legal status,' if not citizenship.  Conservatives and are not happy with this.

The Wall itself is estimated at anywhere from 12-22 billion dollars, of which DHS has identified 20 million dollars so far to put toward it.  To pay for it, Trump floated a 20% tax on imports from Mexico, which lasted about a day, and then maybe just on exports, no, and then morphed into this BAT (border-adjusted tax) idea, which actually may be a very good way, in general, to compete with countries that rely heavily on VAT taxes (value-added taxes which, in a practical sense, often work the same way) instead of income taxes.  Of course, most all those countries also have universal healthcare too, so employers there still have a big edge.  Either way, Mexico will not be paying for this silly Wall - you will.

Crazy Promise #2:  Repeal Obamacare

During President Obama's terms, the Republicans in the House voted to repeal Obamacare 67 times.  They haven't voted on it since Trump's swearing-in.  Say's John Boehner (who shortly after a few rods with the Pope, quit his job), “They’ll fix Obamacare, and I shouldn’t have called it repeal and replace because that’s not what’s going to happen. They’re basically going to fix the flaws and put a more conservative box around it.”

Let's keep to these two for now.  Any more, and we'll have more comments than I could possibly address!

JMJ

72 comments:

  1. For all practical purposes, the ACA "tax" has already been "repealed." The IRS ain't gonna "collect it" anymore (Trump Executive Orders).

    "Don't ask, don't tell has a new meaning." We won't ask if you have health insurance, you don't need to tell, either. :)

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  2. As for #1, the Dems are falling ALL over themselves in anticipation of $1 trillion in new "infrastructure spending." Nothing says "infrastructure" like walls. :)

    And yes, Mexico, tariffs are BACK. It's what economic nationalism is ALL about! :)

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  3. Even if you can't tax a corporation's profits, you CAN tax the products that cross the border. Even the Founders knew that!

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  4. The Senate voted to make room for a repeal vote from the House, and yes, the President has already directed enforcement away from ACA-related matters. The legality of that order seems okay, but as a matter of actual effects, the taxes are still there. If the law is unchanged, you'd be making a big mistake to pretend otherwise. It's one of the reasons some of the House GOP are demanding retro-activity in the tax changes promised sometime before September (Ryan says April, but experience says August).

    Infrastructure has to have a purpose, otherwise it's like the Pyramids - odes to old dead empires. Roads, wires, canals, dams, bridges, rails, towers, reservoirs, waste treatment, these are examples of useful infrastructure that will spur private development. A Wall along the southern border will not do anything good or useful I can think of.

    Tariffs are not back, yet. The President can apply tariffs, in this case, up to 120 days but from there he'd need congress. You'd be paying those tariffs as increased prices at the stores. If we tax exports, then it would be a tax on Mexicans, but the goods, in this case, are mostly agricultural commodities, hence the BAT concept. But if we're going to start using BAT or any other VAT sort of tax, federally, then we have GOT to make federal taxes FAR MORE progressive. We can only squeeze so much from consumers. In general, I'd prefer we consume less, learn to live within our means, so I am not against consumption taxes, but they DO disproportionately hit you more the poorer you are. Progressive income taxes can balance that out.

    JMJ

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    1. You'll need a Democrat President to enforce the ACA tax provisions... same problem as Obama's executive orders. By then the fines will simply make paupers out of poor people. Good luck w/that.

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    2. The Excise Tax for employer sponsored health care coverage goes into effect in 2018. The government has established a threshold for the cost of health care coverage. The limit is $10,200 for individual plans or $27,500 for family plans. If the total cost, including both employer and employee cost, of coverage for a plan exceeds the limit, businesses must pay a tax of 40 percent of the excess.
      Many organizations believe that these predefined thresholds are so high that their organization is not likely to hit the ceiling. However, according to ADP, as many as 60 percent of employers have health care plans that will reach this limit – some as soon as 2018. For many organizations, the only way to avoid the excise tax will be to change the types of health coverage offered.

      60% of AMericans will likely get their benefits cut in 2018 if the ACA tax penalties are enforced... think about what the voters will think of THAT!

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    3. You'd think the fact that all this time we've been getting such crappy insurance and that even modest base-lines for defining the fuckin' term would be the end of the business as we know it, according to you guys.

      Details aside, the ACA has principles and practicalities that we need and need to keep in effect. The GOP has two choices - wait a bit and see what happens, fix it up, put it in a "conservative box" as Boehner said, and get the rest of the states in on it. If this modest base line can only be filled by interstate insurance, than the states are going to have to come tto grips with that too. Remember, when Obamacare was used well and as intended, as in Kentucky, it worked surprisingly well, quite amazing, actually.

      JMJ

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    4. The "baseline" for government participation in health care should be the treatment of contagious diseases, NOT "individual health goods" like "birth control. The PHS and Dept of Veterans Affairs were created for this purpose. Medicare/Medicaid/ACA represent gross government over-reach.

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    5. I have no way to address that argument, FJ. To call Medicare overreach? It's just stunning. You're talking a weird, indirect Social Darwinism here - the survival of the wealthiest.

      JMJ

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    6. And yet the cost of birth control is negligible.

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    7. Social goods vs individual goods. You need to prevent disease outbreaks, not heart attacks.

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  5. As for infrastructure, where does the $$$ come from? The GOP was very adept at stifling borrowing at 0% interest during the Obama Admin, calling it fiscally irresponsible. How will they justify it now without looking blatantly partisan?

    We do need work on our roads, bridges etc. It's a shame even needed work must be so stinking partisan these days.

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    1. Rhetorically, at least, the GOP has made some progress on the subject of infrastructure these days. And they've always borrowed. They just don't talk about it - at all. I've heard "taxes and spending" a million times, never, "taxes, spending, and borrowing." I've been bitching about this since the beginning of my blogging days. This stupid War on Inflation is killing us. Zero interest rates are a two-lane street to nowhere. No one wants to buy the debt. Why would you? Hence the pile of money dangerously positioned on Wall Street right now. A crash is coming, and it's going to come at a time when the party in power is not nearly competent enough to handle it. Infrastructure spending could help with this and in all sorts of other ways. Now is definitely the time and the GOP would be the heroes for it. Their ideology obviously means NOTHING. Most of their voters don't know William F Buckley, Milton Friedman, and Reagan is no more than a comic book hero to these folks. That's why Donald "Oh My God I Can't Believe This Happened" Trump is now POTUS. Besides, since when has hypocrisy ever mattered to the GOP?

      JMJ

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  6. What kind of infrastructure improvements do you need when drones are making all your on-line order deliveries? The GPS satellites are already in place...

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    1. No question, Gert! Amazon "should have been" (in the absence of government-corporate protections) Toffler's "prosumers".

      Marshall McLuhan and Barrington Nevitt suggested in their 1972 book Take Today, (p. 4) that with electric technology, the consumer would become a producer. In the 1980 book, The Third Wave, futurologist Alvin Toffler coined the term "prosumer" when he predicted that the role of producers and consumers would begin to blur and merge (even though he described it in his book Future Shock from 1970). Toffler envisioned a highly saturated marketplace as mass production of standardized products began to satisfy basic consumer demands. To continue growing profit, businesses would initiate a process of mass customization, that is the mass production of highly customized products.

      However, to reach a high degree of customization, consumers would have to take part in the production process especially in specifying design requirements. In a sense, this is merely an extension or broadening of the kind of relationship that many affluent clients have had with professionals like architects for many decades. However, in many cases architectural clients are not the only or even primary end-consumers, a distinction touched upon in the H+ Magazine essay 'Prosumption Architecture: The Decentralization of Architectural Agency as an Economic Imperative'.[2]

      Toffler has extended these and many other ideas well into the 21st-century. Along with more recently published works such as Revolutionary Wealth (2006), we can recognize and assess both the concept and fact of the prosumer as it is seen and felt on a worldwide scale. That these concepts are having global impact and reach, however, can be measured in part by noting in particular, Toffler's popularity in China. Discussing some of these issues with Newt Gingrich on C-SPAN's After Words program in June 2006, Toffler mentioned that The Third Wave is the second ranked bestseller of all time in China, just behind a work by Mao Zedong.

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    2. Private retail will be dead worldwide once they begin drone deliveries....

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    3. ...as they have automated product tracking like no one else ever dreamed.

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    4. The scariest thing is that people like my daughter, who realise the danger, also like their emulation of the Real World shopping experience. Can't get enough of it, actually! :-((

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    5. I fully expect an Amazon/Palantir alliance: to better analyse our shopping habits!

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    6. Acxiom:

      In 2003, more than 1.6 billion customer records were stolen during the transmission of information to and from Acxiom's clients; the information included names, addresses, and e-mail addresses. Prosecutors described the 2006 case against the hacker accused of stealing the data as the "largest ever invasion and theft of personal data" ever tried.[25] The stolen data only came to light during an investigation of a separate data theft incident.[26]
      Based on their investigation, prosecutors said there was no risk of identity theft or harm to individuals based on the breaches. They also praised Acxiom for being aggressive in pursuing the hackers and cooperating with authorities. "The positive outcome of this investigation is testament to the strong partnerships we have established with our counterparts at the headquarters and field offices of various organizations, from the FBI and Department of Justice to the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Attorneys' Office in Little Rock," said K. C. Crowley, Special Agent in Charge of Secret Service's Little Rock Field Office. "Furthermore, I commend Acxiom Corporation for their cooperation and responsible approach to the situation. Acxiom's quick response in contacting federal investigators after determining there had been a network intrusion should serve as a model for others in similar circumstances."


      O-kaaaayy!

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    7. Prosumers:

      Years ago, when I bought my first DELL tower online, I basically built the thing during purchase, then paid acc. spec.

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  7. ps - End all income taxes. Let corporations pay tariffs to fund the federal government, as the Founders intended.

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  8. As a pretty sarcastic guy myself Thersites, I can't tell if you're serious or not with that question.

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  9. The Orange Charlatan's fiscal policy seems Reaganesque: he wants a balanced budget, yet talks about nothing but spending and tax cuts!

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  10. You've been added to my 'faves', BTW. :)

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  11. Replies
    1. I can just imagine 80 somethings on a flyboard. 😉

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    2. You are right though Thersites. Cars as we know them today aren't the future.

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    3. My current car has adaptive cruise control, anti-collision braking and lane keeping assist ('16 Accord). Pretty soon, it won't need me to do anything but get in and tell it where to go.

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  12. Infrastructure 1.0 roads/bridges is like DOS... it's time to dump it!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Should we pour hundreds of billions into upgrading out canal system? I think not.

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    3. Easy there, Herring. It was just an example of things that do things, or at least did for a long time. We had a chance to get more in on the Panama Canal upgrade and couldn't do it. We just can't do anything anymore. Everything is all bullshitted up. No accountability. And the cons? They want even less accountability! That's why people don't do business with Russia. You know if you get screwed, there's no where to turn. You're just screwed, if not found in a bag in a river. We have to have more accountability from government, from business, from the banks, and we need it now more than ever. Here's to hoping Trump scares the shit out of people enough to realize this even if just a little more.

      JMJ

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    4. We had a chance to get more in on the Panama Canal upgrade and couldn't do it. We just can't do anything anymore. Everything is all bullshitted up.

      Yeah, Carter gave it back to Panama.

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    5. No, that didn't matter. Besides, that was always the plan. It was a treaty. It was the canal operations and upgrades itself that mattered, and we could gotten the business, but we didn't. China grabbed it. Hell, the Chinese are building like crazy. I remember, when American container lines were going out of business, the Chinese backed their lines, didn't care in the least they were in the red for years, and when the recession hit, they stuck with it, and those lines all make money now. Ours are gone. We just don't get it. Just because something may not seem profitable at any given moment doesn't mean it doesn't have value. You have to invest, wisely, with the bigger picture and the future in mind.

      JMJ

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    6. Please. I'm a merchant mariner. America's shipping lines are non-competetive. The only thing keeping it marginally afloat is the Jones Act. And if we don't act soon, all of our industries will be like shipping. Global competition is the end of the American worker.

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    7. "Man and Technics" by Oswald Spengler (a Nietzchean). Read it to understand "China" v "the West".

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    8. The ships got "bigger" and the cargo was organized more efficiently.... but the world could "copy" them and build/operate them with $0.10 an hour labor.... we didn't stand a chance. Making the canal locks even "bigger" won't solve the essential "wage" inequities.

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    9. I worked for COSCO and China Shipping for years. Neither turned a profit for years. But they were essential to the Chinese, so they supported them through those years, and they are now powerhouse worldwide operations, from door-to-door and everything in from there. Meanwhile, SeaLand is a distant memory, and I can tell you from working with some of their people, it's no wonder. Too many inside-the-box status-quo group-thinkers in mgmt. COSCO and China Shipping were nothing here 20 years ago, they were picking up people from all sorts of backgrounds and experimenting with new ways of doing things. They didn't care about the profits - they cared about moving goods, efficiently and right. The profits naturally came within a few years (we were surprised how fast in both cases). We need to see the bigger picture better. We are too tuned in to only short-term profits.

      JMJ

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    10. I sailed for APL, States Lines and Prudential, then did seven years in the Beth Steel shipyards (SF and Sparrows Point). The only thing we could compete for were USN/MSC conversions. I also did a stint at Marine Transport Lines running some MSC charters. The only money they made were with foreign flags/foreign crews... unless they were MSC charters.

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  13. Replies
    1. After all, if you can "regulate me" into buying green energy, I can "regulate you" into purchasing flying cars. :)

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    2. Regulation is what it's all about. Whether one likes it or not simply depends on which side you are on. 😉

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    3. Now you've got it. Figure out who Trump's donors were and I'll tell you where the trillion in infrastructure spending is going.

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    4. ...and let me give you a hint, Trump's Secretary of State was no "Solyndra" guy.

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  14. There seems to be some confusion about "infrastructure." The only way to get useful infrastructure done with a real bang for the buck is at the federal level, directly contracted, working with the states and localities as much as only necessary. This is how we did all the great interstate projects in this country through our history. Doing this wrong is how we've gotten nothing out of any federal infrastructural investment in 40 years. By "devolving," "localizing," and over-privatizing, all we did was add layers of government and bureaucracy to every investment, and further obscure accountability. And so the money just disappears, the projects are half-assed, always overpriced, take forever, etc. The American worker actually understands this. That's another reason they voted for Trump.

    Conservatives have to come to grips with this, philosophically. And they can. The party that most represents them has had a sizeable majority in government for some time now, and we've clearly seen the failures of devolution, right there in their hands. It's just more government, less accountability. Now, we're looking at profiteering broadband, less access, less choices coming from the FCC, all the while a national FO grid with Net Neutrality, just those two things alone, cheap and relatively easy, would probably add 2-3% to the GDP in just a few years, just from the entrepreneurship it would generate.

    JMJ

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    1. Comrades pick your arms
      The long arm of the lawn is indeed in charge
      I won't talk to nice people if they look rich
      I know it's not on mate, I'm such a fuckin bitch
      Surfing comments
      Lookin' at the likes
      Whilst the coppers chase bandits through the top valley skies
      To disagree on social networking sites
      Is to kill the counter-culture
      The overturn has died
      We pander to the camera
      And we want to be observed
      We dont get what we ask for
      We get what we deserve
      Stale flags hang on my clothes like indie band badges
      As I remember last night ignoring people I don't like
      Trying to buy a pint
      And what does it matter
      What if I rot inside a care home
      With eight of the bastards
      Immobile with crap banter
      Oh look there's Angry J - wah heeeey!
      Give us a tinkle on the rattling joanna, mate


      -Sleaford Mods, "Under the Plactic and N.C.T"

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    2. He's like Lou Reed meets Joe Strummer.

      JMJ

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    3. w/o the "redemption"

      Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
      None but ourselves can free our mind.
      Whoa! Have no fear for atomic energy
      Cause none of them-a can-a stop-a the time
      How long shall they kill our prophets
      While we stand aside and look
      Yes, some say it's just a part of it
      We've got to fulfill the book
      Won't you help to sing
      These songs of freedom
      Cause all I ever had
      Redemption songs
      All I ever had
      Redemption songs
      These songs of freedom
      Songs of freedom

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    4. Strummer did a lot. His work with the Clash is still my fave, though. Ever listen to "Straight to Hell"?

      "If you can play on the fiddle
      How's about a British jig and reel?
      Speaking King's English in quotation
      As railhead towns feel the steel mills rust
      Water froze
      In the generation
      Clear as winter ice
      This is your paradise

      There ain't no need for ya
      There ain't no need for ya
      Go straight to hell, boys, go straight to hell, boys

      Wanna join in a chorus
      Of the Amerasian blues?
      When it's Christmas out in Ho Chi Minh City
      Kiddie say papa papa papa papa pappa-san, take me home
      See me got
      Photo photo photograph of you and mamma mamma mamma-san
      Of you and mamma mamma mamma-san
      Let me tell you 'bout your blood, bamboo kid
      It ain't Coca-Cola, it's rice

      Straight to hell
      Go straight to hell boys
      Go straight to hell
      Go straight to hell boys

      Oh Papa-san
      Please take me home
      Oh Papa-san
      Everybody, they wanna go home
      So Mamma-san says

      You want to play mind-crazed banjo
      On the druggy-drag ragtime U.S.A.?
      In Parkland International
      Ha, junkie-dom U.S.A
      Where pro-caine proves the purest rock man groove
      And rat poison
      The volatile Molotov says

      Straight to hell

      Can you really cough it up loud and strong?
      The immigrants, they wanna sing all night long
      It could be anywhere
      Most likely could be any frontier any hemisphere
      In no-man's-land
      There ain't no asylum here
      King Solomon he never lived 'round here

      Straight to hell, boys
      Go straight to hell, boys
      Go straight to hell, boys
      Go straight to hell, boys
      Oh, papa-san, please take me home"

      JMJ

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    5. About when was that, Jersey? post'75?

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    6. That was on the "sell out" album that I think is one of the greatest albums in Rock history, Combat Rock, which was 80, early 80's?

      JMJ

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    7. Yes there was a stint in the early 80s when a bunch of Vietnamese American kids were repatraited to the US.

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