Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Economic Policies

Donald Trump’s recent speech about the economy in the Economic Club of Detroit was filled with trickled down economic and nationalist demagogy. Donald Trump advocated cutting taxes for the wealth and slashing regulations on big business. He claimed that will cause an American economic boom when the economy is complex and trickled down economics have never worked to solve economic problems comprehensively. His speech didn’t address the economic slump caused by the 2008 Wall Street crash from which the world economy has yet to emerge from. World capitalism is in crisis. He also omitted words about the trillion dollar bailout of large banks which caused long term negative consequences to the world economy. The speech didn’t deal with the auto industry bailout which also caused wages to be cut by 50 percent for new hires. He said that the social conditions in Detroit were caused by the Democratic Party. Yet, both parties are responsible for the situation. The bankruptcy of Detroit, which led to wage cuts, mass layoffs, and destruction of pensions and health benefits, existed under a Republican governor and state legislature (including a Democratic mayor and city council). We have a situation where labor force participation is down, jobs have increased (much of the job growth is low wage jobs), and we have a high poverty rate. Black youth unemployment is high too. Yet, his solutions include cutting taxes on businesses and the rich, cut regulations, end all restrictions on oil drilling and coal mining, plus economic nationalism. The speech was invitation only. Trump claims that his policies with revive American steel , automobile, coal mining, and other heavy industries excluding foreign imports. Yet, his policies will cause a trade war against rivals of American capitalism. He wants to oppose NAFTA and other trade deals. I have no problem with opposing NAFTA, but any trade deal must be fair and have workers' rights among all (not just in America).

The giant Detroit-based General Motors and Ford, like their corporate counterparts elsewhere, operate globally, pitting workers in every country against each other in a race to the bottom for wages, benefits and working conditions. He wants to cut the estate tax when that tax is rarely paid by the super wealthy. His tax plan is similar to Paul Ryan’s House Republican plan (who wanted to cut the top tax rate from 39.6 percent to 33 percent). The direct impact of these cuts would be a bonanza for the wealthiest families, while taxes would decline only marginally or not at all for middle-class and working-class families. According to the Tax Foundation, families in the top one percent would see a 5.3 percent increase in after-tax income, while middle-income families would gain 0.2 percent, and families in the bottom 40 percent would gain nothing at all. Trump wants a tax break for childcare expenses. Even this would benefit primarily the upper layers of the middle class, since it would be structured as a tax deduction rather than a tax credit, meaning the nearly 70 percent of the population who do not itemize deductions on their tax returns would gain nothing. Trump wants to cut the corporate income tax rate from its current (purely nominal) rate of 35 percent to only 15 percent. This would funnel trillions into the coffers of giant corporations. Moreover, those companies that have parked some $2 trillion in profits in offshore accounts awaiting more favorable tax treatment in the US would be allowed to pay a rate of only 10 percent if they repatriated the funds to the United States. This one tax break would be worth $500 billion to a handful of corporate giants like Apple, Cisco Systems and General Electric. His views aren’t surprising since his economic advisory team is made up of billionaires and international banking interests. This refutes the lie that Trump is some economic populist. His advisory economic team include people like oil man Harold Hamm, hedge fund boss John A. Paulson, real estate mogul Steven Roth, and Steven Feinberg, cofounder of the private equity firm Cerberus. Other people include  Dan DiMicco, former president and CEO of Nucor Corporation, the leading operator of US “mini-mills,” the pioneer in the campaign to slash steelworkers’ wages and benefits and Wilbur Ross, the financial speculator and asset-stripper who took much of the US steel industry through bankruptcy, reaping billions in the process, and pillaging workers’ pension funds.

Carl Icahn, the notorious corporate raider and union-buster of the 1980s, was only left off the list of advisers because he has launched a “super PAC” on behalf of Trump, and claimed that for legal reasons he could not be formally associated with the campaign. Chinese and Mexican workers being scapegoated for outsourcing only ignores the fact that the policies of the 1% which are responsible for deindustrialization and other financial issues in the first place. He wanted the top rate to be cut from 40 percent to 33 percent. His Detroit speech offered no job creation program, no student loan debt relief, and no mobilizing of the Federal Reserve to credit to provide 0% financing from infrastructure, jobs, and production. He has no national infrastructure plan at all. Trump refuses to increase the federal minimum wage. He doesn’t say anything about trade unions. We need universal pre-K, the improvement of Social Security and Medicare. We need to maintain food stamps to help the poor. I have no problem with a Marshall Plan to improve conditions in the inner cities and rural areas of America. Trumps even thinks that the moderate Dodd-Frank law is too draconian, which is ludicrous. Trump's economic policies would cost the US government about $1 trillion per year over the next 10 years, for a total of $10 trillion. This would have blunted the austerity demagogy of the Republicans today, and might have created problems with the traditional reactionary ideologues that support Ryan. Supply side economics doesn’t work. Wealth should never been redistributed from the poor, the working people and the middle class to the super rich.  Stephen Moore, now one of Trump’s key economic advisers, and his sidekick Larry Kudlow, are both radical devotees of the supply-side and trickle-down methods left over from the Reagan years.  When tax cuts are offered in equal percentages, the wealthy benefit mostly. Tax cuts can be offered in equal dollar amounts not in equal percentages. Tax reform from the bottom up is needed. Trump wants to totally deregulate the US economy, especially Wall Street. He would wipe out all of Obama’s executive orders, both good and bad. He would give a tremendous reward to the greedy financial entities and speculators who created the 2008 derivatives bubble and Lehman Brothers panic.

Speculators have benefited from the Reagan stock market bubble of the 1980’s, the .com bubble in the late 1990’s, and the derivative market that destroyed much of the U.S. economy in the 21st century. His supporters Steven Mnuchin have ties to Goldman Sachs. There is no way that Trump is a populist outsider when his policies have bankrupted industries and his advisors are from the financial establishment itself. That is why I believe in a 1% sales tax on stocks, bonds, and derivatives to build the economy. I believe in a strong social safety net, the building of our factories, and farms. I have no problem with transforming the Federal Reserve to act as a national bank or be nationalized to finance long term needs of the American people (via national bank credits. Financial growth deals with the capital goods industry not just consumer led processes. Low interest or interest free federal credit should be given to manufacturing, constructing, scientific research, and other forms of commodity production). Tons of young people want the refinancing of student loans. We want economic justice. Regardless of my disagreements with Hillary Clinton on some issues (especially on foreign policy), I condemn Donald Trump’s recent words about her in terms of the Second Amendment. Trump’s words were despicable, inappropriate, and just plain wrong period.

I read more about this story and Thema Williams was completely mistreated and disrespected by the The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee and the FIG. First, Thema has clearly said that she was not seriously injured at all. Williams was pulled out of last month’s test event in Brazil by the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation hours before it was due to begin. She was blatantly restricted of an opportunity to compete in the test event by the TTGT. At the end of the day, Thema was cheated out of an opportunity to perform gymnastics in Rio. It is no secret that colorism is found in Trinidad and Tobago. Also, we should learn about the international news of the day. The Olympics is an international affair and there are news that there have been recently about 10,000 Afro-Brazilians black women protesting against racism in Brazil (as Brazil has a big police brutality and racism problems). A solution will not be one thing. Black liberation also deals with legislative changes, community organizing, economic empowerment, political empowerment, and self-determination. We are descendants of the first human beings on this Earth and we believe in fighting for justice. I have no problem with revolution. The current system promotes police non accountability, economic inequality, imperialism, and racial injustice. The current system must end and be replaced with a system of justice. There is nothing wrong with forming our own organizations, but these organizations must be eliminated of elitism and classism. I have no problem with owning businesses, but if there is no subsequent plan to confront poverty & income inequality, then it is limited. A solution deals with strategies, plans, and an outlook that advances economic and social justice. Many of the bourgeois black people who love classism are more in love with capitalist exploitation (and worship capitalism as a deity almost) than honoring freedom for black poor people. A true revolution has nothing to do with trivialities. A real revolution (as advocated by our black heroes) is about eliminating racial oppression and any structures of injustices. To have victory, we must fight using nonviolence and self defense if necessary (as the oppressor will never give black people land, ownership, resources, etc. in a high level voluntarily. If someone wants land, ownership, etc. that person must fight to maintain and own that land plain and simple). Classism is anti-poor by nature as many bourgeois black people (Malcolm X condemned many bourgeois black people as late as 1965. Yes, I'm going there. Some of these bourgeois types want the upper middle class or the richer black folks primarily to control the black community. There is no real freedom in elitism. Freedom deals with cross class black solidarity) love to condemn black poor people for every problem under the sun, which is repugnant. We are black people and we won't back down. Growing institutions is a necessity along with fighting injustice.

By Timothy

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