Deconstructing Bannon’s Baloney

  By James A. Kidney Presidential Rasputin Steve Bannon called for “deconstructing the administrative state” at a convention of those-who-used-to-be-known-as-Reagan-conservatives-but-are-now-just-Trump-nuts Thursday at the new MGM gambling palace in Maryland. “Deconstructing the administrative state” echoes Lenin after a couple bottles of vodka screaming in Red Square, or maybe just a long-haired 19-year-old outside the 1968 Democratic convention. It is both threatening and laughably cracked. The phrase probably is just a word pudding for the old Republican oligarch’s favorite book, A Treasury of Economic Nonsense, a political Kama Sutra coauthored during a fevered coupling of Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman. These are the erotic (to Republicans) positions that cause enthusiastic ejaculations by Paul Ryan – no taxes, no rules, no government, except to buy military equipment and to protect patents. Give Bannon credit for PR. “Deconstructing administrative excess” certainly is gentler sounding than “gutting the government.” Once you are accustomed to the … Read more of this post . . .

How to Leverage Right Wing Plans into Liberal Success Stories

By James A. Kidney There is lots of fear, angst and anger about Trump in Congress, in the blogosphere, in op-eds and on “the street” among us little folk.  But all of us could exercise a little intelligent strategizing on how to deal with the reality of President Trump in addition to protesting and complaining. Let’s use our economic power. Here is a look at an alternative way to deal with two Trump proposals, one announced and the other circulating in draft, if either becomes policy or law.  On these, as well as other proposals, liberal wealth could be used to leverage the right wing agenda to reduce its influence and elevate better ideals of freedom and liberty. One of these proposals is the one Trump announced while pandering to the right wing “Christian” crowd at the annual White House prayer breakfast.  Trump said he plans to “destroy” the 64-year-old … Read more of this post . . .

Free To Be Us — Liberalism Unshackled

By James A. Kidney Tuesday’s election results — President, Senate and House — freed liberalism from its shackles.  The ransom payment is high. In the long run, it may be worth the price.  The key is to put aside defeatism and start adopting new tactics now that the Democratic Party elite has been shamed and defeated by a horrible con man and his angry allies. Liberalism — by which I mean a set of political goals recognizing and trying to contain the power of the elite, bringing genuine equality of economic opportunity to those not sharing in the top five percent, and sponsoring a strong foreign policy using force as a last resort — has been treated by the Democratic Party for years as the smelly uncle at the dinner table who talks too much but contributes too little. Hillary Clinton embodied this party sentiment in her campaign, fully endorsed … Read more of this post . . .

Finally, A Museum Dedicated to Our Most Tested Americans

by James A. Kidney I was fortunate enough to get a sneak preview of the new National Museum of African- American History and Culture (“the African American Museum”) on the National Mall six days before it is to be formally opened to the public with a ceremony featuring the President.  It is the nearest building on the Mall east of the Washington Monument and is across 14th Street from the Museum of American History. One of my first questions when I plan to visit a city for a couple of days is whether it has a museum.  If the answer is affirmative, I always visit it.  I am familiar with many museums around the world and, as a native Washingtonian, the Smithsonian museums in particular.  I am no curatorial expert, but believe I know a good museum when I see one. In my judgment, the African-American Museum is spectacular.  It is a model which … Read more of this post . . .

Why is Wall Street Killing Market Capitalism?

By James A. Kidney Happy birthday, Vanguard S&P Index Fund! You turned 40 years old on August 31 and you are the granddaddy of index funds, says a congratulatory article in The Wall Street Journal.  You also are very healthy and growing like a newborn. But investing in the Vanguard S&P 500 or other such funds will not save “market capitalism” which, at about 250-years-old is suffocating to death — thanks to Wall Street. Two other Wall Street Journal stories provide signs — as if any more were needed — that the stock markets no longer function as places where people and institutions make bets on those public companies that are expected to perform well and those expected to perform poorly. That is, or was, the sole utility of stock markets — to reward companies with a bright future and punish those that misstep.  It was the way capitalism among public … Read more of this post . . .

Make Real Economic Change: Raise Taxes On the Rich — A Lot

By James A. Kidney  Now that the major party nominees are chosen, the economic pundits are making their recommendations on how to boost what remains a moribund economy. Despite recent months of reported job increases and a slight uptick in average pay last month, few believe the economy is robust or expected to be so.  See also here (pay wall).  The reasons — and proposed cures — depend on your politics, of course.             Where the Candidates Stand Donald Trump this week proposed the usual failed trickle down policies.  He wants tax cuts for the wealthy, including elimination of the estate tax (which effects about 0.2 percent of citizens).  He would increase the earned income tax credit, which is a pure redistribution of a little income to the poor which does not create jobs.  He would provide only a tax deduction for child care — which means you have to … Read more of this post . . .

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