Taxes

I spent my working life studying and teaching American history and government. Everyone agrees that our national government is dysfunctional but not enough people are doing anything about the problem. We complain about Congress and the President, forgetting that we the people are the cause of the dysfunction.

Every society is made up of sub-cultures. In the US we are divided into racial groups, pro/anti-abortion groups, gay/straight groups, gun rights groups, pro/con conservation groups, etc. etc, etc.

One point of contention that has become an increasingly hot topic is taxes. We argue over who pays the most and who pays the least. I have studied and taught about taxes and have never seen a more accurate presentation on the issue than this one from Vox. The chart you see below is NOT the total. Watch to the end. Yes, there are differences from state to state, but this is a great summary every citizen should see.

Mike Lawrence

Trump

When I taught government classes in high school for 37 years I gave the sitting President mostly a free ride. Once he was out of office, I took shots. I have not been willing to use this site to attack the President, but enough is enough.

Trump is a school-yard bully.

When measured against Jesus in the Gospels, his score is zero.

He cares about Trump alone.

He wants to be a dictator because he believes he alone knows what is best for the nation.

He is additionally dangerous because he is ignorant outside of shady New York City land deals. Even then, he got himself $1.5 billion in debt and never paid it back.

Here are a few select news items aimed at fact-checking the Lier-in-Chief.

From New York Times

 

From Los Angeles Times

https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-02-05/many-of-trumps-state-of-the-union-claims-dont-hold-up

FactCheck.org

Trump Repeats Falsehoods in Celebrating Acquittal

Trump Repeats Falsehoods in Celebrating Acquittal


A day after his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial, President Donald Trump made celebratory remarks in the White House on Feb. 6, thanking many Republican politicians and repeating several false and misleading claims, many of which we’ve checked before.

The president twisted the facts on the Russia investigation, former FBI officials, European contributions to Ukraine, the stock market, Medicare for All and drug prices.

 

Here is the Donald’s score from PolitiFact site

Scorecard

 

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Forget Trump’s Lies, Here’s the Real Economic State of the Union

Nothing has trickled down to average workers.

If fully implemented, the 2017 tax cut will result in tax increases for most households in the bottom 80 percent. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

If fully implemented, the 2017 tax cut will result in tax increases for most households in the bottom 80 percent. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

I wasn’t going to comment on Trump’s lie-filled State of the Union message but the whoppers were so big—especially on the economy—that I feel compelled. Here, for the record, is the real state of the union:

1. JOBS: Average monthly job creation dropped from 223,000 in 2018 to 176,000 in 2019. The employment rate for working-age adults has increased less than during the Obama recovery, and is still significantly below that of other developed countries. The pace of job creation is also markedly slower than it was under Obama.

2. WAGES: Wage growth has slowed, except in states with minimum-wage increases. The typical American household remains poorer today than it was before the financial crisis began in 2007. The median wage of a full-time male worker (and those with full-time jobs are the lucky ones) is still more than 3% below what it was 40 years ago.

3. TAXES: The Trump-Republican tax cut has been a huge failure. We were promised an increase in business investment, but business investment has contracted for the third straight quarter—the first time this has happened since the Great Recession in 2009. Instead, the tax cut triggered an all-time record binge of share buybacks – some $800 billion in 2018.

If fully implemented, the 2017 tax cut will result in tax increases for most households in the bottom 80 percent.

And it has resulted in record peacetime deficits (almost $1 trillion in fiscal 2019) in a country supposedly near full employment. Even with weak investment, the US had to borrow massively abroad: the most recent data show foreign borrowing at nearly $500 billion a year, with an increase of more than 10% in America’s net indebtedness position in one year alone.

Nothing has trickled down to average workers. To the contrary, If fully implemented the 2017 tax cut will result in tax increases for most households in the bottom 80 percent.

4. TRADE: The 2018 goods deficit was the largest on record. Even the deficit in trade with China was up almost a quarter from 2016.

5. GROWTH: Last quarter’s growth was just 2.1%, far less than the 4%, 5%, or even 6% Trump promised to deliver, and even less than the 2.4% average of Obama’s second term. That is a remarkably poor performance considering the stimulus provided by the $1 trillion deficit and ultra-low interest rates.

6. WORKERS’ RIGHTS: Trump administration has systematically weakened workers’ rights. More than eight million workers will be left behind by the Trump overtime rule. Workers would receive $1.4 billion less than under the 2016 rule. New Trump administration joint-employer rule has $1 billion price tag for workers.

7. HEALTH: Millions of Americans have lost their health coverage, and the uninsured rate has risen, in just two years, from 10.9% to 13.7%. US life expectancy, already relatively low, fell in each of the first two years of Trump’s presidency, and in 2017, midlife mortality reached its highest rate since World War II.

8. CLIMATE: losses related to climate change have already reached new highs in the US, which has suffered more property damage than any other country – reaching some 1.5% of GDP in 2017.

Robert Reich

Robert Reich, is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the the twentieth century. He has written fiften books, including the best-sellers AftershockThe Work of NationsBeyond Outrage and, Saving Capitalism. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, “Inequality For All.” Reich’s newest book is “The Common Good.” He’s co-creator of the Netflix original documentary “Saving Capitalism,” which is streaming now.