Category Archives: economic news

Trump gives us all the shaft


It’s no surprise to anyone on Earth to know that I am not a wealthy man.

I made a nice living for many years and was able to provide for my family, but I certainly never acquired great heaps of material wealth, a la … Donald J. Trump.

However, I damn sure paid a whole lot more in federal income taxes than the Trumpkin in Chief paid over the course of the past 15 years, as revealed by The New York Times.

What am I supposed to think of this? Well, first of all, it’s no surprise to learn any of this, given Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns. Am I angry? Sure I am! However, I fall into the “never Trump” category of voters, so my anger is tempered a bit by what I have long suspected about the president of the United States, that is a fraud.

Here’s the question of the day: How should the Trumpkins out there, those who have paid their fair share of taxes, feel about their guy’s tax dodge?

I will shake my head violently if we hear from them that they’re OK with this. The guy who purports to speak for the masses of Americans disgruntled and angry with government now has been revealed to be someone who cheated the government out of revenue while understanding that his fervent, ardent and occasionally rabid followers are paying through their noses.

How many more lies is he going to concoct to persuade those among us that what he has done is OK, that it simply makes him “smart”?

This is what the cult of personality has produced, ladies and gentlemen. Go figure.

Yes, Sen.Cruz … we’re interested in this Trump tax story


U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz — the former Donald Trump critic turned Donald Trump suck-up — tried this morning to speak for millions of Americans regarding the New York Times story on the taxes that Trump did not pay.

The Cruz Missile tried to say that Americans don’t care about the tax story, about reports that Trump didn’t pay federal income taxes for 10 out of 15 years, that the so-called billionaire paid $750 the year he was elected president of the United States.

Americans “don’t care”? Oh, yes we do … senator!

The lengthy NYT story reveals several things about the charlatan/con man/fraudulent president. One of them is that he isn’t nearly as savvy a businessman as he led us to believe he is. Another is that didn’t pay as much in federal tax as your rank-and-file waiter or waitress.

Many of us have been clamoring for years to see Trump’s financial records. We have insisted that the public be able to see how the nation’s chief governmental executive’s finances hold up under public scrutiny. The president’s portfolio happens to be our business. He helps set tax policy and he makes demands on Americans to pay our fair share of taxes. Doesn’t that require a president to pay his fair share as well?

We now know that Donald Trump does nothing of the sort.

He has cheated the government. He has been revealed as many of us have suspected to be a fraud.

Back to Ted Cruz. Senator, this story matters a lot to many millions of Americans. I am just one of them, but I believe there are many others just like me who want to know the whole truth about our president’s financial standing.

Tax returns! Let’s see ’em!

OK, it’s time for an admission.

I am fixated by Donald John Trump’s tax returns, his financial record/history and whether he is as crooked as I fear.

Where did I obtain this fixation? From Donald Trump his own self, that’s where!

For as long as I’ve been aware of Trump’s existence — which goes back a good while — this fellow has been bragging his brains out about how rich he is. I’ll say that I detest braggarts. No one who is as rich as Trump says he is has to tell the world about it; nor does anyone as smart as he says he is have to brag about his or her smarts. Yet this clown has been doing so ever since Daddy Trump staked him to his business and got the boy started.

So then he announced the start of his political career. He did so with panache. Along the way to his winning the White House, Trump kept telling us about his immense wealth, his “self-made” success … and he pledged to release his full financial records as soon as the Tax Man completed a “routine audit.”

I’m going to presume that (a) the audit is now done or (b) Trump lied about the audit, given that he never provided a shred of evidence that it was being done.

So, where are the tax returns? He now is fighting like hell to keep them from us.

He is the nation’s highest elected public official. His personal records, by association, become our business. Trump helps set tax policy, he asks Congress to spend our tax money, he is commander in chief of our armed forces, he is our employee.

Trump has fought so hard to keep those records from us that he went to the Supreme Court. Hah! The high court showed him he ain’t the boss, declaring that presidents aren’t immune from prosecution, that even Donald Trump isn’t above the law.

All of this adds up to my fixation with the tax records and Donald Trump’s financial history. I want to know whether he is as rich as he claims to be, whether he has business dealings that might compromise our national security and whether he is a crook.

That’s not too much to ask. Is it?

These numbers are mind boggling … to be sure

I always have considered the study of economics to be a fairly precise endeavor. Experts look at hard data and make determinations based on what they see as hard evidence of trends.

I also am not an expert on these matters, so take this brief blog post with a grain or two of salt if that suits you.

Thus, when economists project a jobs report that looks toward a 20 percent unemployment rate nationally and the loss of about 9 million non-farm jobs in the past month, I tend to take those projections seriously. I mean, the pandemic has slammed the brakes on the national economy.

That didn’t happen today when the U.S. Labor Department released its latest monthly jobs report.

Labor’s bean counters said the nation added nearly 3 million jobs and the jobless rate dropped from 14 percent to 13 percent in the past month.

How in the name of data-driven study did they miss the mark so badly?

If this had been done during the administration of, say, Barack Obama, we could expect to hear accusations immediately coming from, oh, Donald Trump that the numbers were cooked up. That they were phony. That the Labor Department is being run by a cabal of partisan hacks intent on feathering the president’s political fortunes.

Donald Trump, though, is the immediate beneficiary of these stunning numbers … and this stunning misreading of the nation’s economic standing.

I won’t question the veracity of this jobs report, given my own stated belief that the Labor Department is run by professionals who know what they heck they are doing. I have defended the Labor Department when Donald Trump hurled baseless accusations about previous jobs reports.

At least they know what they’re doing, um, most of the time.

However, I look forward to a thorough explanation of just how the best and the brightest economic minds in the nation missed this call by a country mile.

How will POTUS react to the horrific job-loss news that’s coming?

You know by now the way Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump rolls.

He gets good news, he unlimbers his Twitter fingers to declare that only he could produce such joyous information; I can’t think of the last time he did it, but we all know that’s how he reacts.

What about the bad news? He still unlimbers the Twitter digits, but then declares that it’s someone else’s fault; Barack Obama is a favorite foil, given the intense envy he displays over Obama’s sophistication.

This brings me to the news that every economist in the country says is going to bring a huge gas around the world. The U.S. Labor Department will release the job figures for April. Projections tell us that in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re going to experience a job loss of around 20 million. That number will dwarf the 710,000 non-farm jobs that disappeared in March as a result of the killer virus and the shutting down of the national economy.

I now am officially wondering how Trump is going to respond to that bit of hideous news.

This guy wants desperately to be re-elected this November. He had been touting the supposedly “historic” economic success he had enjoyed until the fecal matter hit the fan with the pandemic. What on Earth is he going to say when confronted with a jobless rate that is projected to exceed 15 percent.

I want to be clear. Donald Trump did not cause the pandemic. However, his clearly negligent initial (non)response to its severity has contributed mightily to the health and economic crises that have gripped the country by its throat.

He likely is going to find all manner of ways to blame others for his failure. My belief that he lacks what I call “presidential temperament” leads me to worry that he might go apoplectic.

When the March jobs report came out, we all knew it would get worse. I wasn’t aware at that time that it would plummet to the level we likely are about to witness.

We might need to get ready for a presidential implosion from Donald Trump.

Trump ought to call those who have lost loved ones to the pandemic

Donald Trump isn’t wired to show compassion.

He doesn’t grieve openly. He won’t be seen wiping tears from his eyes. The president is too preoccupied with “making America great again,” and “telling it like it is.”

Donald Trump finds himself concocting rosy scenarios where none exists. He is separating himself from the suffering that is occurring in rural America and in our inner cities. He doesn’t seem interested in dealing on a personal basis with those who are suffering untold heartbreak.

As The New York Times reports: As he presides over the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic collapse, Mr. Trump has hosted o called many people affected by the devastation, including health company executives, sports commissioners, governors, cruise ship company heads, religious leaders, telecommunications executives and foreign heads of state. One category that has to make his list: Americans who have lost someone to the pandemic.

I will not hold breath waiting to hear from anyone of those victims out here who has received a phone call from Donald Trump.

Trump’s failures as a leader are becoming even more evident than they were already. Many of us knew he lacked the compassion gene, or the gene that enables him to hurt along with the country. It’s just that watching all this play out in real time remains a sight to see.

While the country’s death toll soars past 60,000 individuals, Trump launches Twitter tirades and chastises: CNN, Democratic politicians, the media in general, China, MSNBC, Fox News. He can’t even take time on Twitter to say how profoundly sorry he is to hear about the misery that millions of Americans are feeling.

They are hurting because they have lost their jobs. Their loved ones have died from the viral infection. Their businesses are withering.

Donald Trump’s reaction? It is to blame others for his own failures and to lie about what a “fantastic” job he and his team are doing.


Wondering about re-opening too soon

I believe I have developed an acute case of coronavirus pandemic heebie-jeebies.

It’s got me spooked, man. The nervous jerks kicked in when I heard about Texas’ major university systems announcing they intend to return to in-person classes this fall. All Texas public schools — from grade school to college — suspended that activity while the state launched its fight against the pandemic.

Now they’re going to open the classroom doors once more. In the fall. Just a short period after Gov. Greg Abbott launched his gradual, phased-in reopening of Texas business, which has ground to a halt during this pandemic matter.

There’s more to it, of course. The universities are going to play football. In the fall. How are they going to do that? How do they fill Memorial Stadium in Austin, or Kyle Field in College Station or Jones Stadium in Lubbock?

Do they put only a fraction of the fans into those big-time venues?

Hey, I am anxious for college football to start its season, too. I don’t have a Texas favorite, but I do have a favorite college team in my home state. The University of Oregon Ducks are facing the same quandary. In-person classes shut down there as well as in Texas. Furthermore, the Ducks have a big game scheduled Sept. 12 in Eugene against the Ohio State Buckeyes; I want the Ducks to beat them Buckeyes. But should they seek to do so this early?

I don’t know. I am leery. I am anxious. None of us wants a second or third hideous spike in infection or, worse, in death.

I simply fear the worst could happen if we move too quickly to return to what we used to think is “normal.” I believe we have crossed the threshold into the “new normal” that we need to prepare to accept as the way it will be.

What’s with this order to keep meat packers operating?

I admit readily that I don’t understand a lot of things in life.

One of them deals with an executive order that Donald Trump plans to issue that keeps meat packing plants running while the nation is still fighting the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Meat packers report their employees are falling ill to the killer virus; some of them have died. Trump wants to issue an order that protects meat packers from legal liability in case workers sue them for exposing employees to the COVID-19 virus.

If I read that correctly, Trump is more interested in protecting the companies than in protecting the employees who work for them … and who put themselves at risk of possible exposure to a virus that could kill them.

Trump will invoke the Defense Production Act, declaring the food supply chain as essential to our national security. Oh, but wait! He only recently said the food supply chain was in no jeopardy. Others are saying something quite different. The head of Tyson Foods says the “supply chain is breaking.”

I get back to my essential point, which is that I don’t understand how a president of the United States can order a privately run industry to operate and put employees in potentially mortal danger.

We moved to the Metroplex a couple of years ago after living in the heart of the cattle-feeding industry. We called the Texas Panhandle home for nearly 23 years. That region feeds roughly 20 percent of all the beef consumed in this country. A shutdown of the Tyson packing plant in Amarillo would do serious harm to the region’s economy, not to mention the nation’s meat supply. I totally get it.

But what about the men and women who work in that plant, many of whom are immigrants who came here to seek a better life? What kind of “better life” can they enjoy if they become sickened by COVID-19? Or if, heaven forbid, the disease kills them?

I am trying to understand it. I cannot get there.

Stimulus arrives, but do I swoon over name on memo line? Uhh, no

Our “economic stimulus payment” arrived in the mail today.

The name below that term on the check’s memo line read “President Donald J. Trump.”

Gosh. What am I supposed to do now? Do I swoon over the fact that Donald Trump’s name appears on the memo line? Would I do so were I a dedicated adherent to the cult of personality that Trump seems to have cultivated?

I cannot put myself into the shoes of one of those folks.

I looked at the payment. We signed it. We’re going to deposit it into the bank. I will not give another thought — not even a passing thought — to the name on the memo line. You see, this payment was much less Donald Trump’s doing than that of the Treasury secretary and the leaders of both congressional chambers; and, by howdy, that includes the Democrats who control the House and who comprise a substantial minority in the Senate.

How much heavy lifting did Donald John Trump do to bring this payment to one American household? My best guess: hardly any.

‘Total authority’ takes a back seat to reality

Donald Trump’s claim to possess “total authority” to tell governors what to do in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic has taken a back seat to obvious reality.

I want to believe reason set in, that the president of the United States has looked — finally! — at the U.S. Constitution to see what it says about such authority.

But I cannot believe such a thing. What likely happened is that someone told Trump that his incoherent blathering was doing far more harm than good. I’ll go with that … or something like that.

The president is announcing “guidelines” that governors and local officials can exercise in deciding whether to relax restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 virus.

Of course his emphasis will be on the economic impact on the virus. Yes, he is giving some lip service to the suffering that has occurred among many thousands of Americans. Rest assured, Trump’s major concern continues to be — in my view — whether the economic collapse will harm his re-election chances this November.

All that said, the total authority that Donald Trump once proclaimed for himself has given way to a more reasonable approach that hands the vast bulk of that authority back to the states and those who govern them.