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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Ho Hum, Let's All Be Dumb

I did not vote for Donald Trump. His racist, sexist, and xenophobic rhetoric, his southern strategy on steroids may or may not reflect his heart but if it doesn't, his opportunistic methods make him, in my opinion, unfit to serve in any public office, let alone the presidency.

The hypocritical support he won from fundamentalists and right wing evangelical leaders is also immensely disheartening to me as a Christian and a pastor. His impulsivity worries me greatly and I fear that he will do something extremely foolish.

All this said, the new red scare tactics of the Democrats troubles me even more. I assume the Russian government is capable of hacking  the DNC and I take for granted that our discredited intelligence services got it right this time.

Even if the Russians hacked the DNC for the purpose of undermining Clinton, it is ludicrous to believe that the American people were any more influenced by Russian subterfuge than they were by the corporate propaganda that has determined every election for the last 40 plus years.

Of course I expect the Democratic party to make Trump into an evil monster the same way the Republican party did Obama. This is the same old smoke and mirrors, bait and switch game that successfully distracts Americans with cultural issues that are never going to make a difference in their economic lives.

For all the hysteria about our deeply divided government, the evidence shows that on all major economic and foreign policy issues, the two parties are in agreement. We serve the interest of transnational corporations, and any claim to the contrary is a bump to pick your pocket.

So please when someone starts going bonkers about Russia influence, remind them of how we hacked Angela Merkel's email and tell them to google Stuxnet. Gore Vidal was right. We are the United States of Amnesia.

And no... I don't think that inauguration day demonstrations are going to change anyone's mind about anything. What we need to do is ask our Democratic senators and representatives to do the right thing and offer this deal to the Donald:

Deeply cut or completely eliminate all payroll taxes and double or triple the COLA for seniors each of the next 8 years. Tell him we want to block grant $2 trillion in new infrastructure spending. Grant him the low ball compromise of  $1 trillion, but if he wants to simply flatten corporate income taxes and subsidize the purchase of public infrastructure, filibuster him the rest of his time in office.

Of course there is no way the bi-partisan austerity fetish is going to be replaced with simple,clear policy that would put money in every American's  pocket. We are more likely to get a bogus loophole-closing, fair share everywhere tax reform package that brings the top rate back down to 36%, or maybe so the Democrat's can claim victory, 37%.

Yeah... we will likely get an $8 an hour minimum wage that covers everyone making less than $25K with a promise to raise it to $10 by 2021 if inflation rises above 5% annually.
An infrastructure stimulus that privatizes large chunks of new toll roads will keep unemployment from soaring and provide just enough consumer confidence to allow interest rates to climb and credit card purchases to soar. We might see the unemployment rate rise to 6 percent by 2018 but be back down to 5.6 percent by 2020.

Trump will boast that he has created 12 million new jobs and the Democrats will argue that it was only 10 million and real wages have fallen. Half of America will say they are better off  than they were 4 years ago and we will get Trump back in office while Democrats retake Senate and House by a slim margins.

Abortion rates will remain the same and gay people will still get married and divorced just like straight people. A few more people will be able to buy guns. The death penalty will be less popular but African-American and Hispanic men will get the needle at the same rate they are now, more often than white guys. Trump will be on his way to breaking Obama's deportation record, Raul Castro will die, and Mormons will build a hotel in Havana.

Does anybody want any more no-brainer predictions? The honeymoon with Putin will be over in less than 2 years. Drone and cyber warfare will increase on all fronts. Ok... enough.

As cynical as I sound, I still think there is hope but it is going to take some out-of-the-box effort and a huge amount of patience. Next time... a strategy. And if enough Trump populists figure out they've been had, it just might work.

Stay tuned.