Category Archives: economic news

It’s not ‘Trump’s money’


Those COVID-19 relief checks are starting to arrive and it is producing heated exchanges between at least two people, one of whom is a friend of mine, the other is a total stranger.

These individuals differ on their views about Donald J. Trump. My friend is an anti-Trump guy; the other fellow is a Trumpkin/Trumpster/Trumpenator.

The Trump guy is angry at my friend, apparently, because he is accepting his stimulus payment, even though he opposes Trump’s policies.

Hmm. The stranger in this fight says my friend shouldn’t be taking “Trump’s money.”

Whoa! I reminded my friend, who didn’t need reminding, that he isn’t taking “Trump’s money.” It didn’t come out of his pocket. It came out of his pocket, and mine, and his Trump-loving friend’s pocket. It’s our money.

My friend laughed out loud. He did remind his Trumpkin pal that the relief package was approved by a healthy majority in both congressional chambers, it was a “bipartisan” effort. He also took note of ow Trump took no active part in the negotiations with Democrats.

I fear we have cheapened our deep and intense political and philosophical differences to this kind of childish level. I also would be willing to wager that other “friends” — in addition to the fellows I have just described — have ensued across the nation.

What a shame.

Mnuchin joins Trump casualty list


Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin might have thought he was indestructible, that Donald Trump wouldn’t — couldn’t possibly — throw him under the proverbial bus.

Then came Trump’s bizarre video tweet and his rejection of a COVID-19 relief package that Mnuchin negotiated with congressional Democrats and Republicans on Trump’s behalf.

He now has joined the list of Cabinet officers who have fallen out of favor with a president who first picked them, then turned on them. Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, Jeff Sessions all have been booted or quit because they no longer could work for Trump. I haven’t even counted the multiple White House chiefs of staff and national security advisers.

Mnuchin’s betrayal might be the most bizarre of all.

As the Washington Post reported: The president’s denunciation of the agreement represented a stunning public broadside against his own treasury secretary, who for four years loyally shielded the president’s tax returns, endured repeated presidential tirades in private, and defended even Trump’s most incendiary and contradictory remarks. Through it all, Mnuchin had emerged with the unique ability to walk a tightrope between Trump and congressional leaders, serving as an emissary in difficult negotiations. That all ended on Tuesday, when Trump posted a video on Twitter ridiculing the agreement.

Mnuchin’s loyalty to Trump could end with painful setback as president shreds stimulus deal (

The deal called for $600 payments to Americans; it extended unemployment insurance for millions of Americans; it keeps the government running past next Tuesday. Mnuchin packed Trump’s load for this deal while working with members of Congress. Now he’s been stabbed deeply in the back.

Wow! That’s all I have at this moment.

Trump’s chaotic end as president could possibly inflict an enormous number of casualties. I do not include Secretary Mnuchin among them. They would include millions of Americans who are waiting on some form of relief from their government. Now comes this astonishing rejection by the man elected president of the United States — the guy who took an oath to protect Americans — of a deal his team negotiated on his behalf.

Can there be anything more disgusting than this? Sure, but holy smokes, man! This really stinks!

Steve Mnuchin now stands as the latest example of how Donald Trump measures loyalty. It goes only in one direction. This individual does not return it … to anyone!

GOP angry at OMB pick


I feel the need to explain in some detail my concern about President-elect Biden’s decision to nominate Neera Tanden as the next director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Tanden’s selection has drawn fire from Republican U.S. senators. Why? Because she has said mean things about them on Twitter and other media outlets.

Their concern upsets my tummy. It’s not because Tanden shouldn’t have said those things about the Republican congressional caucus. I happen to agree with her. She runs a liberal think tank. Tanden is called upon often by media outlets to comment on this and/or that. She did so frequently during Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry.

What does trouble me is that President-elect Biden pledged an effort to unify the nation after four years of Trump and after a nasty and epithet- and threat-filled presidential campaign.

Neera Tanden is precisely the kind of nominee I would hope the president-elect would avoid. He didn’t do that. He has tapped a fierce partisan to take on what should be a job left to impartial, critical fiscal analysis.

To be clear, Donald Trump also selected a fierce partisan to run OMB when he selected former South Carolina U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who then became “acting” White House chief of staff for most of the second half of Trump’s term as president.

President-elect Biden, though, pledged a different tone were he elected to the office. I am afraid Neera Tanden doesn’t meet that standard.

Do I care that she has spoken critically of the GOP? Not in the least. I do care that Joe Biden’s effort to calm the rough seas might be placed in jeopardy.

OMB pick draws fire


Neera Tanden wants to become the next head of the Office of Management and Budget in the Joe Biden administration.

But wait a minute. She’s running into some serious headwinds from Senate Republicans. Why? Well, it seems that she has been highly critical of GOP policymakers and policies, and of course of Donald Trump, the guy Biden defeated to become the nation’s next president.

I’ll be candid. Biden’s decision to select Tanden does puzzle me. She has been a sharp-tongued pundit. I really don’t know about her budgetary experience. Not only that, the president-elect’s pledge to “unify” the country seems at odds with the selection of a sharp partisan, such as Neera Tanden.

She runs a progressive think tank, the Center for American Progress. Tanden could be seen and heard throughout the Biden-Trump campaign blasting Donald Trump to smithereens. To be blunt, I have no problem with what she said about Trump.

I do have a problem with an appointment such as hers and whether it is faithful to President-elect Biden’s pledge to heal the wounds that have divided us.

Socialism = scare tactic


I never have thought of Harry Truman as being a squishy socialist, a guy who wanted to wrest control of our lives from private interests and hand it all over to the government.

What he says in these remarks attributed to him near the end of his presidency do resonate today as conservatives seeks to paint so many efforts to help Americans as a ploy to enact socialistic policy.

I hear it from friends of mine. One of them, an Amarillo business owner, believes that President-elect Biden is a tool of socialist interests who are intent on enacting a full government takeover of virtually every aspect of our lives. That’s how the dictionary defines socialism, by the way.

Well, I will stand by my own belief that it is not going to unfold as the president-elect’s critics suggest. They are intent on injecting fear among us.

President Truman’s wisdom is in short supply among many contemporary politicians.

Socialism = red herring | High Plains Blogger

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.