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I came across this posting on Facebook today:

Yes, fixing all of Flint’s pipes would eat up only one tenth of one percent of Warren Buffett’s net worth.

What’s the point?

Are these private citizens expected to pay for the damage caused by the governor of Michigan and his incompetent administrators?

It has also been suggested that the federal government should pay for Flint’s pipes. I certainly don’t want my California taxes to go to pay for the negligence of the governor of Michigan and his incompetent administrators!

But while we’re comparing innocent citizens’ net worth with public administration disasters, how about we look at some of our military spending. The U.S. military is planning on buying 2,443 F-35 jets, each at a cost of more than $200 million. Check my blog post to that effect here. My suggestion is we get by with a measly 2,442 F-35 jets and use the $200 million we save to give $55 million to Flint for their pipes.

Then we have $145 left, which should pay for about a year of the Trump family’s vacations and associated security costs.

Win – win – win!

 

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Effect of Trump Tax Returns

Trump killed the publishing of tax returns by presidential (and other) candidates. I predict that no candidate will ever again publish his or her tax return.

I certainly would not, were I to run for office.

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I don’t know if you all remember, but Mnuchin was one of the raiders that personally benefited from the real estate crash of 2007 that wiped out the savings and homes of millions of Americans. What leadership we have!

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What in the world happened to Paul Ryan? He used to be smart, principled, thoughtful and gracious.

Ryan was ridiculed after his tweet which made it sound like a $1.50 a week increase in a secretary’s paycheck was good news! Oh, yes, her Costco membership for a year is now covered!

He later deleted that tweet. I thought I’d keep it alive here.

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Wisdom of Eric Trump

“There are things as Americans we should be united on. And if we can’t be united on God, if we can’t be united on African-American unemployment being at the lowest it’s ever been.”

— Eric Trump, complaining on Fox News that Democrats didn’t stand when Trump said we were united on God.

Sorry, Eric, but just because you believe in a sky fairy does not mean I have to stand and applaud it when it’s mentioned, particularly in a governmental setting in a country that should have state and church separated. What is great about America is exactly that – my right to sit when you blather about something that is completely meaningless to me.

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My post titled Stock Market under Obama and Trump of June 2017 attracted a number of comments from an anonymous reader. While I usually don’t respond to posts by readers who do not identify themselves with a name (Hopeyouarentafinancialadvisor), this one had enough substance that I not only thought it warranted responses, but further research and discussion here.

My argument in June was that, yes, during Trump, the economy, as measured by stock market value increases, has been booming, but I wanted to bring back some credit to Obama, where that boom actually had started back in 2009. I used this chart to illustrate that point.

In subsequent exchanges, the reader said I picked a random starting date for both presidents. Well, the day of inauguration is not all that random. The reader suggested I should use the dates of election, and it would show a different picture. So let’s do that and add to this chart:

[click to enlarge]

Source: Macrotrends.net

My point of the original post was that Trump could not alone take credit for a rising stock market. The stock market had been rising since 2009 at a steady clip, without major dips that we experienced in the Bush years. My point also was that Obama entered during freefall, whether you look at his date of election or inauguration. Yes, if you look at the election dates, due to the timing of the Bush freefall, and subtract the two, the election date difference is smaller than the inauguration date difference.

And yes, looking at the graph 6 months later, one year into the Trump administration, it is visible that there is an inflection point at Trump’s entry and the curve has increased to a steeper slope, particularly in the last six months. I give credit to Trump’s approach of opening regulation and pro-business general policies.

However, if you look at a president’s first year in office alone with respect to the Dow, measuring in percentage gains, not point gains, there is a surprising statistic. Trump is only third in history, beaten by FDR and – surprisingly – Obama. This was well illustrated in the USA Today of January 22, 2018:

[click to enlarge]

Here is another view that shows that Obama’s gain during his first year in office was larger than that of Trump. I know Hopeyouarentafinancialadvisor will argue that this should have been done using election dates rather than inauguration dates, and the numbers would be smaller. However, skewed smaller, because since Obama took over during a freefall, we certainly can’t penalize him from the continued drop before things, thankfully, got caught on the bottom.

So I reassert – given the economic conditions of where Obama started – in a mess – he did alright. I wish it had grown faster, too.

Trump keeps saying he took over a mess. He did not. He took over when things were going quite well, and had been going upward steadily for 8 years. That’s not a mess, even if Hopeyouarentafinancialadvisor might argue that it could have been better.

The real numbers, of course, will be those of the next few years under Trump. Will this trend continue? What will a full four or eight years show?

 

 

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The Republicans must be crazy.

The Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House. They have now done so for exactly a year. They knew this day would come. And they could not prevent a shutdown?

And they actually blame the Democrats???

If the president had any kind of leadership skills, if he had engaged himself in the effort and lobbied in Congress and the Senate for votes, if he had put forth a plan and an agenda, this could have easily been done.

But the president is lazy and inept.

The Republicans must be crazy.

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Here is a worthwhile post from a conservative blogger I follow. There are some things I appreciate about Trump — did I really just say that? — but this is one of them. We need  to stop sending American money by the container-load overseas, where it provides fodder for corruption, and where it creates its own subculture of dependencies.

Read the Chiefio’s post and marvel for yourself!

$Billion to Palestine? For what? Dear Mr. Trump: Just stop sending our money to people who hate us. Please.

via $3/4 Billion for Palestine? WTF? — Musings from the Chiefio

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The Trump administration has ordered the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) not to use the following words in official communications:

  • vulnerable
  • entitlement
  • diversity
  • transgender
  • fetus
  • evidence-based
  • science-based

This is 1984 double-speak.

If they go any further they’ll start burning books in universities. Hiding the truth by not allowing it to be spoken, and making out adverse news and criticism of the government to be lies (fake news), our government is systematically checking off all the boxes on the way to achieving dictatorship.

Then they’ll go after midwives for witchcraft and sentence them to death by quartering.

Then they’ll come after me for writing critical content in this blog.

Then they’ll announce that Trump decided to be president for life, and the title will be inherited by Jr. This is right out of the playbook of the Kim dynasty in North Korea, so fervently admired by Trump.

We need to remove these sick clowns from our government.

vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based vulnerable entitlement diversity transgender fetus evidence-based science-based

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The Tax Cut Thing

I talked to my CPA about taxes. He thinks they are too high. I agree with him. Lower taxes are good. But you can only lower taxes if you lower spending. I do not see any less spending in the budget. The 57% we spend on defense is even going up. If we are lowering taxes (revenues) and not spending, we are increasing the dreaded debt we blame Obama for.

I just don’t get it.

The Bush tax cuts put vast amounts of money into the pockets of the wealthy. The middle class got one-time checks for $200 or so. This drove up the national debt tremendously, and eventually the economy nearly collapsed.

Then Obama bailed out, and in the process added $10 trillion to the debt. Obama didn’t spend more money. Look at the budgets. The additional debt that occurred during the Obama years was to undo damage created during the Bush years.

Now Trump wants to cut taxes again. The budget office calculates that the Trump tax cuts will add $5 trillion to the debt.

Seriously?

We just blasted Obama for adding to the debt, and now we’re adding more to the debt? And that is called fiscally responsible?

I get a kick out of Trump popularizing the estate tax he wants to get rid of. He talks to audiences of his supporters and calls it the “death tax.” The estate tax is a 40% tax on estates after the first $5.5 million for individuals and $11 million for couples. I venture to say that there is not a single couple in those Trump rally crowds that has a net worth of more than $11 million for whom the abolishment of the estate tax would make any difference.

However, there are a lot of individuals in Trump’s cabinet who would benefit from it. And there is Trump himself.

He has convinced the American electorate that the abolishment of the “death tax” is a good thing for them.

A con man Trump is.

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Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign

Clinton just came out with her own book, titled What Happened. After reading Shattered I decided I don’t need to read Hillary’s book.

Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes are political writers who had deep access to all levels of the Clinton campaign. Through their insight, they have reconstructed the spirit of the campaign from before it actually began, through election night.

The insight is “shattering.” The campaign was never streamlined. Terrible infighting at the top levels caused the strategy to lack cohesiveness and resulted in a poorly defined message. Hillary never quite clarified why the people should elect her, other than she was, well, Hillary Clinton. Power struggles, lack of direction from the top, and poor use of funding based on analytics that was terribly flawed were the main causes of the eventual defeat.

The campaign didn’t know how close Trump was. Bill Clinton waved off the Virginia governor from coming to New York for the victory celebration immediately after Florida, one of the first states, was called for Trump.

Bill Clinton knew then.

I have always said that Trump did not win the election. Clinton lost it.

After reading Shattered, I am more convinced than ever that this was the case. The Democratic Party elevated an entitled, ego-driven politician, with a muddled message, with terrible baggage, who made very poor decisions along with way, and pegged her against the greatest wild card in American history, Donald Trump. The Democratic Party lost, Hillary will never be president, and the country is being damaged and looted by a self-serving populist con man.

Shattered is a hard book to read. If you are really into politics, if you want to work in a campaign, if that’s your career, this is a good book to internalize. It shows how politics works. I am more interested in the cliff notes, so from time to time the reading was too detailed and dry.

But  then, if you’re going to read one book about “what happened,” this is the book you should read.

 

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Here is Tom Price, the authority on reckless spending, who has just shown us how, given enough backing by a corrupt administration, spending other people’s money on your own comfort is easy.

And Trump started throwing him under the bus, since Price is not really part of the billionaire’s club he likes to hang out with. Price is rich, but not quite rich enough to own his own jet. So Trump didn’t “like the optics.”

I paid over $30,000 in federal taxes last year. Just enough for one of Price’s day trips to have lunch with his son in Oklahoma.

Are we about done with the notion that someone who has spent his life ripping other people off and getting very rich doing it understands how the common people live?

Seriously, are we still convinced that this gang of corrupt con men are in it for the good of the American people?

It’s all about them. In a few years we’ll read the tell-all books and shudder. We have been conned big time.

 

 

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Here is the moment when Senator John McCain voted “No” on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Mitch McConnell, standing by with crossed arms, watching every senator vote, walked away defeated moments later. He knew he didn’t have the votes.

It has been incomprehensible to me how a government, by the people, for the people, would want to take action that takes insurance coverage away from a significant percentage of its people.

There are 243 million people in the U.S. over age 16, so let’s call them the adult population. Taking health care coverage away from 26 million people would affect 10% of the population.

Picture yourself being one of those 26 million. You may have had a pre-existing condition like diabetes, and now, by the stroke of a pen by your president, that coverage is gone and gone forever. You have diabetes, and you can’t get insurance that you can afford anymore.

Why? Because evil Obama made it so that wealthier Americans pay more taxes to fund shortfalls. Because insurance and pharma executives make millions of dollars a year and their companies are wildly profitable because their non-competitive practices are sanctioned by our laws and regulations. And because a significant percentage of our government is bought off by those individuals and organizations and they have a president who can’t think beyond soundbites on Fox News and will sign anything as long as it serves his aggrandizement.

This entire initiative to kill the Affordable Care Act is motivated not by making things right for the American people, but by political ambitions. The president has said that the Affordable Care Act is a disaster for the American people, and – by golly – many of the dumbed-down American people believe him.

Congress Republicans wanted to score a point, with the president, and with their paymasters. Now we have a White House that not only appears to have been put in place by the aid of an adversarial power, but it also actively sabotages one of the laws of the land – the Affordable Care Act. Rather than upholding the laws, the government is sabotaging the laws.

Trump says he wants to make America great again. By throwing 10% of the adult population off their healthcare? What kind of problem-solving is that? It’s oligarchy. It’s making himself and those in his orbit in debt rich. I do not understand how he can have 37% of the population is his support. A significant percentage of his own supporters would lose their healthcare coverage. Really? That’s a lot of people supporting Trump with no healthcare. Somebody help me understand that.

McCain understood that, and he listened to his constituents. Unlike dozens of his colleagues in the Senate, who also must know deep down how wrong all this is, he showed backbone and he did what is right for the American people. Too bad there isn’t going to be another opportunity to vote for McCain for president.

For more reading on McCain:

See my open letter, also sent to him in hardcopy: Here.

My book review on Faith of my Fathers. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to understand the man John McCain and the experiences of a prisoner of war. If you only read one chapter, read the one about “John McCain’s Towel.”

Here is an article about McCain and torture.

 

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Unbridled demagoguery has driven the GOP to an inflection point from which there is no turning back. If a populist prevails in the primary, as appears increasingly likely, the party faces either devastating defeat in the general election or a new, unrecognizable identity. In either scenario, a large swath of the GOP electorate will be forced to eat crow and reevaluate its affiliation. Call it, if you will, a moral debt restructuring, one caused by the reckless behavior of a man who knows a thing or two about bankruptcy.

— Anthony Scaramucci, January 13, 2016, Fox Business

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Punctuating each word — one by one — the U.S. Navy admiral said, “I will not violate the oath that I have taken in the 36 years as a commission officer.”

Rogers’ face hardened and his voice cracked as he added: “I won’t do that.”

— ABC News

Trump supporters will call this “Fake News” but fortunately, there is nothing fake about a United States military officer standing up for the oath he took. This is the kind of man we need in a leadership position in our country.

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