Donald Trump is finally showing us more of his economic plan beyond the "Make America Great Again" slogan on his red hat.
America has now learned:
-- He wants to tax the rich more and the middle class less.
-- He wants to lower corporate taxes.
-- He wants to cut government spending and stop raising the debt ceiling.
"The hedge fund people make a lot of money and they pay very little tax," Trump said in an interview Wednesday with Bloomberg. "I want to lower taxes for the middle class."
In short, Trump is willing to raise taxes on himself and those like him.
Now we know that the rich have not paid more in taxes. Initially, the wealthiest 1% got over 20% of the benefit from the Trump tax cut, with the amount rising to over 80% of the benefit for the top 1% by 2027.
"It’s going to cost me a fortune, which is actually true," the Republican presidential front-runner candidate told reporters, as he unveiled a bold — and fairly detailed — tax plan, under which half of Americans would pay no federal income tax and the rich would face closed loopholes and slashed deductions.
Laboratory tests of surgical and N95 masks by researchers at the University of California, Davis, show that they do cut down the amount of aerosolized particles emitted during breathing, talking and coughing. Tests of homemade cloth face coverings, however, show that the fabric itself releases a large amount of fibers into the air, underscoring the importance of washing them. The work is published today (Sept. 24) in Scientific Reports.
I don a new surgical mask for every session and have been making patients do the same because I don't have confidence they're cleaning their own masks regularly. Besides, many of their masks look ratty and don't fit well.
In an analysis of potential Election Day outcomes based on the economic proposals of President Trump and Biden, Moody’s found that a Democratic sweep would bring the quickest return to full employment, highest number of jobs added and best rebound in economic growth.
“The economic outlook is strongest under the scenario in which Biden and the Democrats sweep Congress and fully adopt their economic agenda,” wrote Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, who provided economic analysis for the late Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential campaign, and economist Bernard Yaros.
Nice, if correct, but I'm more concerned about going full authoritarian regime if Trump wins.
In a NY Times Op-ed, psychiatrist Richard Friedman offers some debate advice to Joe Biden. Friedman recommendations draw upon his understanding of narcissistic and antisocial personalities. He also pulls a bit from cognitive research.
Don't argue point by point with each lie, attempting to refute them all. That would let Trump control the debate by turning Biden's comments into a series of responses that dance to the tune Trump is calling. Furthermore, research suggests that refuting lies, if not done in the right way, can lend credibility to lies.
Friedman suggests instead that ridicule can rattle a boasting narcissist:
Mr. Trump, faced with a pandemic and an economic downturn, tells Americans what a great job he’s done. In response, Mr. Biden should smile and say with a bit of laugh: “And just where have you been living? South Korea? Or Fiji? You cannot be in the United States — except maybe on the golf course. We’ve got about 4 percent of the world’s population and 21 percent of all Covid deaths and the highest unemployment since the Great Depression! You must be living on another planet!”
He also suggests "truth sandwiches," for lies in the pursuit of a goal, which are the kind of lies that are commonplace among sociopaths. This type of lie must be confronted directly, according to Friedman:
“The fact is that more than 200,000 Americans have died — even if the president falsely suggests that the number is lower. But let’s focus on the grim truth: More than 200,000 of our loved ones died from coronavirus, many because of the president’s deception.”
The sandwich refers to placing true statements before and after false claims, capitalizing on the primacy and recency effects in memory. People tend to remember the first and last statements in a series. This is the most effective way to correct a lie as opposed to giving it credibility.
Friedman also notes that the debate will not include an audience, which places Trump at a disadvantage. He relies heavily on his emotional fluffers to build him up. Without audience support, ridicule will land heavily on him.
The question I have about all of this is "to what end?" If Biden were to execute this perfectly, will these tactics change any votes? Will they motivate Biden supporters to vote, or will the discourage any Trump voters from voting? Or is this just about how to survive a debate with a lying sociopath, so that Biden doesn't look incapable? That latter may be reason enough to adopt these tactics, but I would like to hear more of Friedman's thoughts on the practical effects of this approach.
I remember believing during my youth that presidential candidates routinely voted for their opponents as an act of social grace and a rejection of pride. It didn't matter if you cast your ballot in secrecy. God sees everything. Right is right, so you just do the right thing.
This belief was an indicator of how seriously I took my Catholic school education. Moreover, I don't think my belief that candidates voted for their opponents was that far off from what I had been taught in school: "Don't let the left hand know what the right hand is doing," "love thy neighbor as thyself," "do nothing from rivalry or conceit but humbly count others more important than oneself."
And so I believed that it would be unseemly for politicians to vote for themselves.*
I hadn't even begun to learn the meaning of unseemly.
*Some claim that Zachary Taylor voted for his opponent because he didn't think it would be right to vote for himself, but how can anyone know for sure.
It's the belief that economic freedom, à la deregulation and massive tax cuts, especially for the wealthy, will lead to greater political freedom.
Not only has that not happened, but it also has, in some places, led to greater political corruption, oligarchies, and more money for rent-seeking on a scale commensurate with increases in wealth at the top end of the economic heap. So it turns out that economic freedom isn't as fungible as many people believed.
Other factors such as the local sequelae of globalization, immigration, and the rapid pace of social change may be behind the rise of authoritarian attitudes, but it's pretty clear that neoliberalism is not the antidote. Moreover, it may exacerbate rising tendencies toward authoritarianism as those who are stagnating look to strongmen to save them from their purported enemies.
This is also a view I espoused in my more Libertarian and Republican incarnations. One reason I believed in this idea was that I thought economic freedom would give people a taste for freedom more generally. I also bought into a reductionist-logical mindset that saw economic and political freedom as rooted in the same principle of individual liberty. Show people one kind of freedom, and they'll understand and accept the other because they've implicitly accepted the underlying belief. As a philosophical exercise, that sounded compelling to someone who was naive about how the mind works. In some sense, it was a Randian way of looking at human behavior. Of course, people don't think that way. People have many more emotional factors involved, biases, group identifications and interests that give rise to beliefs that are often contradictory. A logical argument isn't compelling in the face of such beliefs, and even when the logic is understood, simple pragmatism often overcomes the logical argument.
Asked about a peaceful "transfer of power," Trump replied:
Well, we’re going to have to see what happens. You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster. Get rid of the ballots and you'll have a peaceful... there won't be a transfer, frankly. There'll be a continuation.
So Trump has now publicly declared, without evidence or equivocation, that mail-in ballots are already invalid. and therefore, he cannot lose. That is his position.
We already know that lawyers are preparing their challenges on behalf of Trump and the GOP in battleground states. On election day or shortly thereafter, Trump will almost surely declare himself the victor, regardless of the vote tallies. I fully expect Trump loyalist legislators and lawyers to wage an all-out war on the election results in the very likely event that Trump loses. We may be shocked by just how brazen and lawless they become in these efforts.
I also think it more likely than not, that they will get away with it and Trump will get away with it. At that point, I expect Trump, an admirer of Putin's methods, to move further toward a full-on Putin-like regime. I would not be surprised if opponents are arrested on entirely trumped-up charges. Trump obviously lacks a conscience, which is a fact that too many have ignored to the peril of our nation because they mistakenly believed that it can't happen here.
Trump also stressed the need to quickly appoint his soon-to-be-announced pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court to avoid a four-four split on a potential election-related issue.
There is virtually no chance that Trump will concede defeat.
President Donald Trump signaled that he could overrule any tightening of U.S. rules for the emergency clearance of a coronavirus vaccine, a move that could increase concerns that the race to find a Covid-19 shot is being politicized ahead of the presidential election.
The Food and Drug Administration is expected to soon issue final guidelines for an emergency-use authorization. Regulators and drugmakers have in recent weeks vowed to adhere to science, not politics, in deciding when a vaccine is ready to reach the market.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Trump said it “sounds like a political move”
So the FDA setting safety standards is a political move, but Trump ignoring the standards so that he can claim a vaccine is ready before Election Day isn't a political move.
George Orwell: "uh huh."
Once again, the health and safety of Americans take a back seat to Trump's personal interests.