Is your head spinning yet? Mine is. As a certified news junkie™, I had a hard time digesting today’s headlines.
It’s a good day to remember that the only real way out of the mess we currently find ourselves in includes voting on November 6th.
Let’s start with Law and Order, White House Edition…
A satirical Onion headline “Giuliani Insists Breaking The Law Not A Crime,” is becoming much closer to the truth as the Trump administration moves the rhetorical goalposts once again.
The media construct called “collusion” is not a crime, unless it’s perpetrated by Democrats, according to this morning’s White House TwitterTantrum:
“Collusion is not a crime, but that doesn’t matter because there was No Collusion (except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats)!”
The President’s brain-addled lawyer, Rudy Guiliani, let slip on CNN on Monday about a strategy-planning meeting two days before the infamous sit-down with the Russians at Trump Tower. Rick Gates, who’s now a witness for Robert Mueller’s investigation, was at this particular meeting. Now Guiliani is saying there was no meeting.
“If he’s proven to have not told the whole truth about the fact that campaigns look for dirt, and if someone offers it, you listen to them, nobody’s going to be surprised…There are some things in politics that you just take for granted.”—Rep. Darrell Issa on Fox with Neil Cavuto
So getting data from a foreign power is now okay. Right.
Here’s the (probably) sad part…Call it collusion, call it a conspiracy, call it whatever you want. The administration already knows the end result.
The biggest misconception surrounding the special counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election is that it will likely end in some sort of legal proceeding involving President Donald Trump. It won’t — for a bunch of reasons, the most important of which is that Robert Mueller, who is running the investigation, doesn’t seem to believe a sitting President can be indicted.
The much more likely outcome is that Mueller releases the findings from his investigation sometime this fall — and lets the chips, as they relate to Trump, fall where they may. Which means — and this is what Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have understood for months — that, ultimately, this isn’t a legal fight, it’s a public relations one.
Check, Please…Seventy-eight percent of full-time workers in the U.S. say they live paycheck to paycheck. The big wage boost promised in the wake of the Republican’s $1.5 trillion tax cut last December didn’t happen.
From New York Magazine:
In the first six months after the Trump tax cuts were passed, corporate investment in equipment declined, America’s projected long-term deficit swelled by nearly $2 trillion, and wages for the vast majority of American workers fell on an inflation-adjusted basis…
…Instead of channeling their profits into productive investment, S&P 500 companies are on pace to plow a record-setting $800 billion into buying back their own stocks. The point of such “stock buybacks” is to increase a firm’s share price (and thus, in many cases, the performance-based pay of its CEO) by reducing the supply of shares on the market.
The practice of executing buybacks–when a company takes profits, cash reserves, or borrowed money to purchase its own shares–was in fact barred until the Ronald Reagan administration.
A new report by Irene Tung of the National Employment Law Project and Katy Milani of the Roosevelt Institute says share buybacks are “pulling money away from employee compensation, research and development, and other corporate priorities—with potentially sweeping effects on business dynamism, income and wealth inequality, working-class economic stagnation, and the country’s growth rate.”
From the Atlantic:
How much might workers have benefited if companies had devoted their financial resources to them rather than to shareholders? Lowe’s, CVS, and Home Depot could have provided each of their workers a raise of $18,000 a year, the report found. Starbucks could have given each of its employees $7,000 a year, and McDonald’s could have given $4,000 to each of its nearly 2 million employees.
Guess who’s getting rich? Corporate CEOs, according to Politico, which uses the word ‘eyepopping’ to describe the frenzy at the slop trough:
Some of the biggest winners from President Donald Trump’s new tax law are corporate executives who have reaped gains as their companies buy back a record amount of stock, a practice that rewards shareholders by boosting the value of existing shares.
Now, the Trump administration is proposing to use a legally dubious maneuver to give another $100 billion to the top 97% of income earners via an executive order requiring the Treasury Department to change the rules on how capital gains taxes are calculated.
As Kerry Elevald at Daily Kos notes:
Practically speaking, such an executive order would almost certainly be tied up in court for some time. But in terms of political calculus, it would give Trump yet another opportunity to remind voters of exactly whom he values and whom he’s working on behalf of: the mega-rich.
Medicare for All: Please and Thank You… It occurs to me that the arguments for universal health care are turning a significant corner.
In the face of polling showing public support for expanding Medicare, the wizards of the right sought to publicize a study with the frightening headline claiming a price tag of $32.6 trillion over a ten year period.
Fox News, ABC, the Hill, and many media outlets took the bait.
And then somebody decided to actually read the report. There’s actually a $2 trillion dollars savings at the end of that rainbow.
Here’s Jordan Wiseman at Slate:
The study was published by Charles Blahous of the libertarian Mercatus Center at George Mason University, who is known, among other things, for arguing that Social Security retirement benefits need to be cut. Blahous seems to have set out to show that, even if you assume switching to a single-payer system will lead to major cost savings on medical care and administrative expenses, it will still require a massive increase in federal spending. He calculates that if Sanders’ bill delivered on all of its promises, it would increase federal spending on health care by $32.6 trillion between 2022 and 2031—which is, of course, quite a bit of money, and the number that conservatives are choosing to focus on. But as economist Ernie Tedeschi noted on Twitter this morning, Blahous’ report also shows that total U.S. health care spending would fall by about $2.05 trillion during that time period, even as all Americans would finally have insurance, because the plan would reduce payments to doctors and hospitals to Medicare rates (which are lower than what private insurance pays) while saving on prescription drug costs and administrative expenses.
I’m sure there will be another right-wing study prior to the election making the claim that Medicare for All will be the end of civilization. The point is, in my opinion, that the rest of the industrialized world seems to do better when it comes to healthcare costs.
Expect more Tweets about the wall:
Fox And Friends First this morning ran a segment fearmongering about violence spilling across the border from Mexico into Baja California — Baja California is in Mexicohttps://t.co/aakc4E7p86 pic.twitter.com/hfDfjW2dAP
— Media Matters (@mmfa) July 31, 2018
Like I said, it’s a good day to remember that the only real way out of the mess we currently find ourselves in includes voting on November 6th.
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