Skip to content

What the Republican Tax Bill Portends for the Future

2017 December 2
by Ian Welsh

I haven’t written about this before because I don’t have a great deal to say that hasn’t been said by other people. The bill is an obvious cash grab by various private interests which will cause great hardship.

The idea that it will “pay for itself” is ludicrous, and no one with a shred of intellectual integrity believes it.

It is six trillion in tax cuts, with 4.5 trillion in tax raises, including not taxing private education, but taxing public education.

A lot of Americans will suffer greatly as a result and a smaller number will do very well.

There will be an attempt to gut Medicare and Social Security next year, and it will be argued as necessary on budgetary grounds, after decades of deliberate acts like this tax bill, which hurt the budget. (And is basically bullshit even on budget grounds, but that’s a different article.)

As for the corporate tax cut from 35 percent to 20 percent, well, the 35 percent was paid by very few large companies–if any, but the last thing the US needs is corporate tax cuts: Corporations are sitting on vast quantities of cash, and they are not investing it. They should be taxed punitively on any non-reinvested profits, and that money should be spent by the government, if corporations don’t. This is common sense stuff.

Taxing overseas profits at a lower rate than domestic profits is a special sort of insanity.

None of this is likely to stand.

A lot of people in the US will suffer because of this. Some will die. All of it will most likely be repealed within eight years, because, as with the Tories in Britain completely destroying the economy for ordinary people, this will lead to a huge backlash.

It will stand only if “centrists” succeed in making sure that genuine left-wing principles are locked out of the Democratic party, as Blairites tried to do with Labour, only barely failing.

However, a genuine left-wing candidate on the Democratic ticket, with policies similar to Corbyn’s, will win in a landslide, because the youngs will vote for them in massive majorities (and, as Corbyn showed, the rule “young people don’t vote” isn’t true when someone champions their causes).

By 2024 at the latest, there will be enough of a generational shift, and enough people hurt badly enough and unable to pretend that the status quo ante was every good, that the Left, if not prevented by internal party politics, will win.

And they will win with a fairly radical agenda.

There are alternative scenarios, of course, nothing is 100 percent. But the feared fascism is unlikely to stick in the US, because the youngs aren’t onside with it (unlike the youngs in Eastern Europe). The people who want fascism in the US are mostly old and getting older (and dying).

Every time fascists come out for a march, Antifa outnumber them vastly.

What is more likely, if the possibility of a large shift to the left is stifled, is cyberpunk dystopia (sadly, so far, minus the cyberwear). Surveillance police state, vast slums abandoned by corporations and governments, corporate syndicalist towns and enclaves (already happening, as tech companies start building housing for their employees), and so on.

Those are the two most likely scenarios for the US. Those who think they can go back to the (illusory) Clintonian prosperity are deluded. The present marches into the future, and the neoliberal era is dying. The question is not if it will be replaced, but by what.

Choose your sides.


The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.

104 Responses leave one →
  1. December 2, 2017

    All of this posturing about the tax cut is a lot of sounding brass. Surely nobody can seriously believe it will pass in anything very close to its present form.

  2. Ian Welsh permalink*
    December 2, 2017

    Passed the Senate. It now goes to reconciliation. I doubt that Republican Senators and Republican Reps differ hugely.

  3. Charlie permalink
    December 2, 2017

    “By 2024 at the latest, there will be enough of a generational shift, and enough people hurt badly enough and unable to pretend that the status quo ante was every good, that the left, if not prevented by internal party politics, will win.

    And they will win with a fairly radical agenda”

    It’s about time.

  4. Herman permalink
    December 2, 2017

    I am skeptical that generational change will be decisive in bringing about a major move to the Left. This has been claimed of earlier generations including the Baby Boomers whose left-wing radicals were better organized and probably more numerous than their Millennial counterparts and had the added benefit of operating when New Deal liberalism was still somewhat powerful and more importantly when real socialist societies, however imperfect, existed. Today there are almost no actually-existing socialist societies to use as models for a future socialist movement.

    Because of the lack of actually-existing socialist models the modern Left has largely accepted the neoliberal worldview and has become preoccupied with identity issues as Bill Mitchell and Thomas Fazi have pointed out.

    https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2017/08/make-left-great/

    That being said I agree that we either come up with a new model or we end up in a horrible cyberpunk dystopia. I am just not as sanguine about generation change being the big turning point. I think the turning point will likely be some massive catastrophe that the upper reaches of the middle class cannot avoid. The upper middle-class is the core constituency of neoliberalism since they provide the votes and expertise to make the system work and so far it has benefited them. If the upper middle-class starts to feel the heat in a serious way then the system is in trouble.

  5. V. Arnold permalink
    December 2, 2017

    Ah the future is so bright; tax cuts for the bottom half and major tax increases for the rich; what could possibly go wrong in this fantasy.
    Usians are so thoroughly fucked and they don’t even know it.
    It’s very difficult to feel sorrow for those such as this…

  6. jonst permalink
    December 2, 2017

    I generally, with one exception, agree with your analysis, I am more circumspect than you apparent seem categorizing people (of all ages) who don’t ‘turn out’ to demonstrate. *Anything* about them.. I think, among some youth, there is a growing (though underreported) dissatisfaction with, speaking of growing, thee ‘Administrative State’ that dominates all, and I mean all, aspects of American Life.

    But other than that….they are taking a firehose and pumping out cash, in hopes of the escaping soul deadening (and body breaking) restraints imposed by bi partisan austerity policies. This is ‘damn the torpedos (deficits), pump up the economy. You and I, I suggest, would ‘spray the hose’ in a different direction, more to the people who need the cuts. But in any event, it is all has a Keynesian whiff to it. But it is a desperate gamble for reasons you point. IOW…it damn well better work getting growth rates up to 4%……or, Katie Bar the Door. ‘There will be blood’

  7. December 2, 2017

    You are welcome to join large highly vocal bordering on mob crowds repleat with agents provocateurs, riot cops on horseback with real fire hoses, a variety of gasses, bean bags and bullets and portable chainlink fencing to corral protesters. Been there, done that. Still walk with a limp fifty years on.

    Sabotage. Guerilla protest. Head down, mouth shut; take every opportunity to throw a monkey wrench in the works, clogs in the loom.

    The one percent are legitimate targets.

  8. highrpm permalink
    December 2, 2017

    @ten bears,
    i’d disagree w/you on guerilla protest. it’s a bandaid. the vertical exponential growth of inequity between the bozos at the top and the massive homeless encampents in the la la lands and bay areas at the bottom, with the meth cancers riddling the fly overs. the craziness playing out in the hollywoods east & west and in between is way past the vietnam era. and even the occupiers of several years ago. hordes. there are enough fire hoses or riot horses or armored riot vehicles. nukes, maybe. but hordes need a righteous dictator. where’s their messiah? (uh-oh, now i’m getting crazy religious.)

  9. jonst permalink
    December 2, 2017

    Tenbears wrote: “The one percent are legitimate targets”. Yeah, that’s all cool to write (a little tougher to do)…but just understand, the next 1%, that take the place of the present 1%, and there ALWAYS IS, AND ALWAYS (sadly) seems to be, the ‘next 1%) will be targets too. See Trotsky, and the subject of the Terror in the French Revolution…..

  10. practicalanarchist permalink
    December 2, 2017

    Looks like Obama is going to get what he wants in the end, and all you shitheads who voted lesser of two evils are responsible for this. Great job, assholes.

  11. December 2, 2017

    I hope that you are right, Ian, but this reads a lot like an expectation that “heightening the contradictions” will lead to a better future finally, and I am skeptical. My view is more like Herman’s.

    This is more or less what you get when enough people think that the American political spectrum is all the same for any “important” issue — it ain’t.

  12. someofparts permalink
    December 2, 2017

    The upscale folks who voted for these people and got wealthy from it are quickly conjuring up an orgy of murderous blame-shifting. They get extra game points and extra kicks for doing it to identifiable social justice warriors.

  13. StewartM permalink
    December 2, 2017

    The current tax proposals are nothing but what the conservatives have been doing ever since Reagan, which is shifting the tax burden from those who can pay and those who are already taxed at the lowest rates and who get the most guv’mint goodies (the rich) to those who are taxed at higher rates and who get the fewest (the bottom 20 % bearing the brunt, but everyone even up to the 90 % percentile has been on the losing end of the equation). This shows up even in the Federal income tax rates, our most progressive form of taxation. In 1960, the richest paid an effective (not nominal, what they really paid) rate of c. 75 % (and this effective rate was even higher earlier) whereas the median was merely 13.1 %; under Reagan the top 1 % fell c. 30 % whereas the median climbed to almost 20 %.

    When you consider other forms of taxation it really hits home. Conservative economics cheered on by the Peters here is not based upon any great philosophical objection to “taxation being theft” but merely all about gifting the society’s moochers while taxing the producers. They are perfectly fine with “stealing” from 90 % of the population even if it means denying some people the essentials of life.

    I too am less optimistic this being repealed. While as someone here wrote, while it is true that the Clintons and Obamas are not running anymore, the Dem establishment is lining up the Kamala Harrises and Cory Bookers to take their place. If past history is any indication, these would merely tinker with the worst parts of Trumpism and leave most of it in place (just like Clinton left Reagan in place, and Obama left Bush). I also believe, a la Tony Blair, these would actively try to subvert even a mild left-wing candidacy like Sanders because despite all the huffing and puffing about how awful Trump is, they would prefer Trump to someone like Jill Stein.

    https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/8x5pw3/jill-stein-profile

    Really turning the US ship around requires turning the Clintons, Obamas, Harrises, Bookers, et al into what they were some 60 years ago–Republicans. Back then Sanders’s economic policy was more of the center of the Democratic party, not its left. And because people like the Obamas and Clintons were Republicans, back then the Republican party wasn’t all a collection of bigots and ideologues, and the whole Overton window was thus shifted leftwards.

  14. Holden Pattern permalink
    December 2, 2017

    I think you’re far too optimistic about the ability to undo this. There are too many choke points in the US constitutional structure, with too many of them weighted toward reactionary political power. The Dems (even if they allow themselves to have the lefty politics to do it, rather than retreat to their permanent crouch) won’t be able to to take over all of the choke points simultaneously.

  15. Willy permalink
    December 2, 2017

    If the upper middle-class starts to feel the heat in a serious way then the system is in trouble.

    Don’t forget the evangelicals. I know many, and many of their children are already feeling it. You can sense the impact on their parents who no longer have the drive to debate economic issues, but focus on self-rationalizing liberal caricaturizations instead.

  16. December 2, 2017

    Ah yes, the revolution is always just around the corner…. I think Herman is right not to put too much stock into a generational shift ushering in a Corbyn type politician. If you take a closer look at those “MAGA rallies”, you’d see that a good percentage of the crowd is actually young and male.

  17. Herman permalink
    December 2, 2017

    @Willy,

    I know some people who vote Republican primarily because of culture war issues like abortion and they are basically in siege mode these days. Their entire world is collapsing economically and culturally and they are holding on to the GOP as a kind of last ditch effort to save their world. Some like Rod Dreher openly advocate trying to separate from the mainstream.

    Downscale social conservatives know they lost the culture war and their economic lives are ruined so you have a lot of despair among these people. It is actually pretty sad because some of these people are very decent on a personal level it is just that they were duped by the Republicans and abandoned by the Democrats as being hopelessly retrograde so they are increasingly miserable and lost.

  18. December 2, 2017

    Also, Ian’s advice from way back, before he got sidetracked or seduced by the Trump stuff, is looking better and better. Namely, iirc, if you’re young and able or old and able or just able, you should seriously considering leaving the US. The handwriting is everywhere.

  19. Duncan Kinder permalink
    December 2, 2017

    Of course we should march to the left, but I doubt if we will.

    Re: cyberpunk dystopia.

    At issue, therefore, is whether – though human creativity – we can somehow take the cyberpunk dysopia and transform it into something humane.

    While writing this, I am thinking of William Blake.

  20. December 2, 2017

    It’s funny watching people pin this on Obama as though the Republicans and their voters have no agency of their own.

  21. December 2, 2017

    “Every time fascists come out for a march, Antifa outnumber them vastly.”

    Oh, that’s comforting.

  22. StewartM permalink
    December 2, 2017

    Mandos

    It’s funny watching people pin this on Obama as though the Republicans and their voters have no agency of their own.

    Democrats like Obama and the Clintons created the opportunity for someone like Trump; after decades of screwing their own base. I’m tired of people who voted for Stein or stayed home being chastised by corporate Dems that they “elected Trump”, when it was the corporate Dems abandonment of the white working class vote that resulted in not only Trump, but also resulted in the Democrats going from the majority party to being a minority in Congress and nearly losing enough statehouses so that the Republicans came close to being able to hold a constitutional convention.

    Think that a coalition of Third Way Wall Streeters and identity politics focused only on the upwardly-mobile/already-successful (i.e., “glass ceilings”) could win elections?? Great work geniuses!!

    Ks:

    Also, Ian’s advice from way back, before he got sidetracked or seduced by the Trump stuff, is looking better and better. Namely, iirc, if you’re young and able or old and able or just able, you should seriously considering leaving the US. The handwriting is everywhere.

    Wholeheartedly agree. Nothing last forever, and the US may rebound, but for revolutions to succeed the general prerequisite is that the leadership must so bankrupt the country and misery must be so widespread that the leadership loses control of the police/military might needed to keep them in power. It has to get very ugly before there is change.

    I have now come to really appreciate FDR and how lucky we were earlier to have him, and this time we may not be that lucky.

  23. December 2, 2017

    [you mean “Tr-illions,” not “B-illions”]

    tax policy and student loans have already emptied the pockets of the lower 2-3 quintiles.

    this new tax plan is “reform” indeed- it will empty the pockets of the rest of the 3rd, the 4th and a good part of the 5th quintile and direct the proceeds upward.

    u.s. corporations are already making record profits [people keep waiting for them to mean-revert]. most of those profits have gone to stock buybacks, c-suite options and some to dividend increases. much of the stock market move is a reflection of this.

    very little is going to capital investment because demand is slack. hiking corporate profits further will just funnel more money into equities.

    the u.s. has given up on [domestic] growth and is reduced to the really wealthy looting the assets of everyone else.

    the crisis is still building. how it resolves remains to be seen.

  24. Elliott permalink
    December 2, 2017

    This is one case where Trickle-down Economics is real: the GOP Senators put forth all the tax breaks and tax loopholes they could think of to benefit their donors, and friends (and their own rich selves), so they themselves can continue to bathe in all the $$ their benefactors trickle down upon them.

  25. different clue permalink
    December 2, 2017

    Getting a “leftist Democrat” is why it is so important to purge and burn every last bit of Clintonite filth and Obamaform pus from out of the Democratic Party.

    If the Democratic Party can’t be declintaminated and disobamafied, then it will have to be exterminated if there is to be any hope for a “leftist reformation” from any other party, because a Clintonite Shitobamacrat Party will continue to attract millions of votes from people who still want to believe in the Democratic Party. Those are votes that would have otherwise gone to a credible leftist party. The Clintonite Shitobamacrats will try to keep their party in bussiness ( the “losing” bussiness) as long as possible to keep aborting the rise of any “credible left” party.

  26. December 2, 2017

    Freedom isn’t free, and those who would trade freedom for security deserve neither. If you’re not willing to fight for it, it, and you, ain’t worth shit.

  27. December 2, 2017

    I’m tired of people who voted for Stein or stayed home being chastised by corporate Dems that they “elected Trump”, when it was the corporate Dems abandonment of the white working class vote that resulted in not only Trump, but also resulted in the Democrats going from the majority party to being a minority in Congress and nearly losing enough statehouses so that the Republicans came close to being able to hold a constitutional convention.

    Be it Nader, Stein, or whoever, the logic of the US electoral system hasn’t changed. There’s no such thing as an anti-vote, there’s only a missing vote. That missing vote is a vote for the closest competitor. The only thing that remains is the heighten-the-contradictions argument.

    Think that a coalition of Third Way Wall Streeters and identity politics focused only on the upwardly-mobile/already-successful (i.e., “glass ceilings”) could win elections?? Great work geniuses!!

    The fact that you’re willing to jettison “identity politics” as a frippery of the “already successful” is why the “Clintonite wing” of the party is able to win presidential primaries — because whatever else, they don’t sound this way.

  28. December 2, 2017

    Getting a “leftist Democrat” is why it is so important to purge and burn every last bit of Clintonite filth and Obamaform pus from out of the Democratic Party.

    If the Democratic Party can’t be declintaminated and disobamafied, then it will have to be exterminated if there is to be any hope for a “leftist reformation” from any other party, because a Clintonite Shitobamacrat Party will continue to attract millions of votes from people who still want to believe in the Democratic Party. Those are votes that would have otherwise gone to a credible leftist party. The Clintonite Shitobamacrats will try to keep their party in bussiness ( the “losing” bussiness) as long as possible to keep aborting the rise of any “credible left” party.

    This strategy is entirely transparent and the “millions of votes from people who still want to believe in the Democratic Party” are often aware of what you are doing and will react to it in the way that you are reacting. This is a zero sum game.

  29. different clue permalink
    December 2, 2017

    @Mandos,

    Dear Mr. Mandos,

    Thank you for your interest in my comment. I am always happy to hear from you. Please let me know if you have any other concerns.

  30. different clue permalink
    December 2, 2017

    @ StewartM,

    ” Think that a coalition of Third Way Wall Streeters and identity politics focused only on the upwardly-mobile/already-successful (i.e., “glass ceilings”) could win elections?? Great work geniuses!!” . . . . .

    Indeed. And not just Any “glass ceilings”. TIFFany “glass ceilings”!

  31. Duncan Idaho permalink
    December 2, 2017

    Downscale social conservatives know they lost the culture war and their economic lives are ruined so you have a lot of despair among these people. It is actually pretty sad because some of these people are very decent on a personal level it is just that they were duped by the Republicans and abandoned by the Democrats as being hopelessly retrograde so they are increasingly miserable and lost.

    Most of those people were not abandoned by the Democrats, they abandoned the Democrats after the civil right act of 1964 and the voting right act of 1965. Racial resentment is what drove those people to the Republican party.

    To put it crudely: Most of those people would rather eat a shit sandwich than give a nickel to a n***er .

    Now the bread has gotten really thin and the shit really thick…

  32. edmondo permalink
    December 2, 2017

    OMG – If the only thing protecting this country from a “cyberpunk dystopia” is the Democratic Party then we are truly doomed. They are useless – more likely complicit – in the last 40 years of middle and working class abuse.

  33. ttu permalink
    December 2, 2017

    A couple of smallish observations:

    1. It seems to me rather odd to complain about party/electioneering language (or the lack thereof) here. I’m no expert but I would think people who read and comment here do so with the expectation that they can say what they will, rather than resort to posting regurgitated points handed down from on high.

    2. The alternatives presented here seem more or less correct, though I might change them in degree rather than kind. That said, I am inclined to think dystopia is at least somewhat more likely because the UK isn’t really an apt comparison. Yes, the UK like the US has been slowly ground down by neoliberalism, but they still believe the state has a significant role in fostering public welfare. The NHS may be tampered with but it will never be eliminated, unlike the increasingly tenuous-looking welfare-lite[sic] social programs in the US. I am also skeptical about US youth when I see smallish but potentially telling bits of evidence like the finding that Americans under 30 are more likely to favor possession of automatic weapons. (Guardian Nov. 17). One other problem is that there really isn’t any large-sized permanent organization (like Labour) in the US. I’m not saying dystopia must happen, but I do suspect that unless the US moves away at least somewhat not just from neoliberalism as economic policy but the entire ersatz philosophy that the individual right to shoot and plunder others must never be tampered with it’s going to be rather difficult to get there.

    Interesting development as I write this: the UK government’s “social mobility” commissioners have just resigned on the ground that by committing to Brexit the Tories have made mobility more rather than less difficult. Yes, the entire commission resigned. Even if Trump wasn’t in the White House I can’t imagine such a commission ever existing in the US, much less resigning in protest. (I swear I didn’t know this when I started writing this comment.)

  34. Hugh permalink
    December 2, 2017

    “It is six billion in tax cuts, with 4.5 billion in tax raises, including not taxing private education, but taxing public education.”

    That should read “six trillion” and “4.5 trillion”, respectively.

    This is not bad policy. It is monumental theft, robbery, crime. Everyone connected with this bill should get a life sentence in one of the less pleasant federal slammers. I would bet that if we took every cent stolen in a bank robbery from the beginning of the country, it would be less than what will be stolen in this bill in one year.

    I do not want to hear one word ever again from fiscally conservative, deficit hawks with their smirks and transparent lies about the growth fairy waving her wand and making everything come out all right. I never want to hear another word about “principled conservatives”. It was the principled conservatives who provided the margin to get this betrayal of the American people passed in the Senate.

    It is being sold as the Republicans need an accomplishment, but in what turned upside down, inside out terminology is this rape of ordinary Americans an accomplishment? This bill is just the latest evidence that the greatest contribution the rich and elites could make to our society is as corpses rotting in a field.

  35. StewartM permalink
    December 2, 2017

    Mandos

    The fact that you’re willing to jettison “identity politics” as a frippery of the “already successful” is why the “Clintonite wing” of the party is able to win presidential primaries — because whatever else, they don’t sound this way.

    1) the identity politics played by the Clinton camp IS one geared to the already successful–it’s about more women corporate vice presidents becoming CEOs, or more black NFL assistant coaches becoming head coaches, or other tokenisms. Meaning, the rights of ordinary women to reproductive care continue to be eroded away and ordinary African-Americans get shot by police.

    2) They win elections because a) they’ve shrunk the Democratic party from almost 50 % of the electorate to less than 30 %, and b) Clintonite policies have worked hand-in-hand with Republican governance to effectively disenfranchise a sizeable fraction of young African-Americans. The more you shrink the party, the easier it is to win!!

    3) I would add that that Wall Street money has corrupted a fair number of “liberal” spokespeople to toe the DLC line, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus:

    https://shadowproof.com/2016/02/12/congressional-black-caucus-became-a-corporate-lobby/

    In electoral terms, with a sizeable fraction of the young vote who are less likely to listen to these mouthpieces and who are more likely to get their news from the internet disenfranchised, it’s the older black voters who are more likely to heed and trust these mouthpieces.

    A case in point was the 2010 primary challenge by Bill Halter against Blanche Lincoln, with polls showing that Lincoln was doomed to lose to the Republican Jon Boozman while Halter might win, both Clintons and Obama flew down to Arkansas to make sure that Lincoln would survive the primary challenge so that the Democrats (cough cough cough) would lose the seat. They did this largely convincing African-American voters (those that still could vote, I should say) that corporate-friendly Blanche Lincoln was the real friend of African-Americans, even though she was to the right of Halter on not only economic issues but many social issues.

    So when people start wagging fingers at people who refused to vote for Clinton or Obama, ask them why it was perfectly Ok for the Clintonistas and Obamacrats to knowingly campaign to lose a Senate seat that might have been preserved rather than to see a more-progressive Democrat win.

  36. Herman permalink
    December 2, 2017

    @Duncan Idaho,

    You are right that racism is a big factor behind why many whites left the Democratic Party but the Democrats have done nothing to win them back because they assumed that their coalition of affluent socially liberal professionals and non-whites was unbeatable and the wave of the future and that working-class whites are a dying breed. From what I can tell this is still the long-term strategy of the Democratic Party. Demographics is destiny and all that. There are a few big problems with this strategy:

    1. It assumes that the Republicans will never be able to win non-white voters in significant numbers. George W. Bush got something like around 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004 and the Republicans can do that again. All the Republicans need to do is start to pitch conservatism to upwardly mobile non-whites with the same arguments they’ve been using with their white voters about keeping your hard-earned money and keeping the meddling bureaucrats and welfare bums away. They can also appeal to culture war anxieties among religious non-whites who are more downscale. I suspect that this strategy will work.

    2. It assumes that Millennials will continue to be a left-wing voting bloc into the future. Millennials have not reached their peak earning years. In about 10 years we will see a big divide develop between affluent and poorer Millennials. Affluent Millennials will try to maintain their relative status and will refuse any efforts at redistribution or egalitarianism except for maybe free or affordable college because that policy will disproportionately benefit professionals and higher earners. This is not even getting into cultural divisions between Millennials that are still powerful such as the religious vs. secular divide.

    3. Liberals overestimate the impact of secularization on the United States. Religious people have more children than secular people and this is especially true of people in conservative denominations. Higher birth rates among the religious means that they will continue to be a powerful voting bloc for the Republicans even if they never win on the culture war front (except for maybe on abortion restriction). In fact losing culture war battles helps to maintain and strengthen the siege mentality among conservative Christians who will hunker down and stick even more strongly to the GOP. Contrary to expectations Trump did very well with evangelicals.

  37. StewartM permalink
    December 2, 2017

    Most of those people were not abandoned by the Democrats, they abandoned the Democrats after the civil right act of 1964 and the voting right act of 1965. Racial resentment is what drove those people to the Republican party.

    Maybe true to a point, but if you’re talking about the South, many of those voters were already fairly conservative on economic issues. But it does not explain the voters who had previously voted for Obama and switched, and worse it’s an outright lie to explain why people who voted third-party abandoned the Dems (because these voted for both a woman and a black man heading the ticket).

    It’s very clear why Clinton lost–Trump got fewer votes than either McCain or Romney, but Clinton got fewer votes than Obama in 2008 and 2012. The real reason was Clinton’s not wanting to embrace Bernie’s positions and court his voters but instead ditch the “practical progressive” facade and run as “the true and smart Republican in this race”. This was simply her reacting in character; like Bill and Barack, she despises progressive causes and felt most at ease with Republicans controlling Congress.

    You saw this on the MSNBC shows, she had all the conservatives who would say “I’m with her” trotted out to be interviewed she could get. It was the unabashed endorsements of the likes of these more than anything else that decided my vote. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one by a long shot, her strategy depressed Democratic turnout.

  38. Hugh permalink
    December 2, 2017

    jonst, funneling money to the rich is not Keynesian.

    Mandos, the Clinton won the primaries largely because her operatives controlled the party apparatus and the primary process was rigged from beginning to end.

    But this does raise the question of where were the Democrats in this tax swindle. Why weren’t the Democrats calling this tax bill robbery? Why didn’t they have a simple, clear alternative? While details in the Republican plan kept morphing, the basics remained unchanged. So there was lots for them to be against in this bill and lots for them to be for in an alternative. But except for a few mush-mouthed anodyne expressions, it was pretty much crickets from Chuck and Nancy on down. I can’t say I’m surprised. Standing for nothing is what the Democrats do best nowadays.

    ttu, in a class ridden, class crippled country like the UK, the concept of a social mobility commission sounds like the punchline of a joke. It’s like having a council of foxes opining on the state of the chickens in the chicken coop.

    We could have a real discussion on social mobility and the economics of taxation, but it would have nothing to do with the current discourse on these issues. The Establishment of the rich and elites has created an entire fictional world in which only their concerns and their interests count. Two plus two varies according to the day of the week and the phases of the moon. They tell us that no matter how bad things get, it’s our fault for not listening enough to them, and that if we just obeyed them more everything would work out even if it killed us all. It’s like listening to a discussion of relativity or evolution. All the correct terms are being used but they are talking about what incantations they should be used in. The cognitive dissonance is deafening.

  39. Charlie permalink
    December 2, 2017

    Usually the Republicans push issues that neither party cares about to serve as wedge issues, such as abortion. Given the non-recovery recovery, and neo-liberal gutting of middle class industries through offshoring, immigration, etc, that very hollowing out became a core issue.

    Since corporate and pro-globalization politicians could not use abortion to split the vote anymore, and even many evangelical Christians letting go of the gay marriage issue, in step the Democrats with their own wedge issue of identity, an issue they don’t really care about. The beating wasn’t bestowed on the very upper class whites responsible for institutional racism and sexism, but “deplorable rednecks” who have no real power to effect that. Hence, the protest vote went to Trump.

    So, let’s just keep talking about what the upper class doesn’t care about so they can keep stealing and contributing to climate change through jet set air travel, mining rare earths for their Apple phones, and war war war, because, you know, those Middle Easterners are not “our’ brown people, yet. Of course, they’ll make good slaves once we extract them from all the places they wish to bomb for resource extraction.

    But then, I’ll be dead soon, so what should I care, eh Mandos?

  40. Dan permalink
    December 3, 2017

    It’s a question of whether enough damage is done before the Boomer die off is complete and whether the Millennials have the stones to stick together and do the right thing. Enough of them might go NRx and just accept the Hunger Games lifestyle they’ve been prepared for.

  41. December 3, 2017

    @Hugh:

    You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. Both Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi spoke out strongly against the tax bill:

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/chuck-schumer-tax-bill_us_5a2224fde4b0a02abe91524b

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/nancy-pelosi-gop-tax-plan-a-ponzi-scheme-shell-game-to-hurt-middle-class/article/2639457

    There are a lot of problems with the modern-day Democratic party, but this awful tax bill was passed over strong Democratic opposition.

  42. kj1313 permalink
    December 3, 2017

    Ian, I agree with many of your assessments and the first order of business is to expunge every neolib in the Democratic Party. They’ll fight like hell to stay in power but they all have to defeated.

  43. jonst permalink
    December 3, 2017

    Hugh, you wrote: “jonst, funneling money to the rich is not Keynesian”. I would think we could find common ground on that assertion. I do not believe that is what I wrote. I wrote it–the bill–has a “Keynesian *whiff* to it”. That is a different from your claim/response. Time will tell, but if I had to guess right now, my guess is, the Dems will attack this bill less as a “corporate giveaway’, and more, like a hectoring parent, saying this is terrible because of the budget deficits. They–the Dems– do not want to cut their bloodsucker ties to Corporate America, and they desperately try to sound like ‘responsible adults’ worrying about deficit spending. In a Western World, literally, being dragged down by austerity and inequality, resulting in some of the most stubborn low growth rates in history. It was the GOP, sadly, that broke the silent, and not so silent agreement to keep spending down. And shot the works…funneling money out. Period. We can lament WHO and HOW they sent it out there…but we should not lament the general concept of spending your way out of the deadly neoliberal trough we’ve been in now for decades.

  44. Hugh permalink
    December 3, 2017

    NR, somehow I missed all Chuck and Nancy flooding cable news with their daily appearances to fight this tax bill. I missed too all the events they staged and street demonstrations they organized to showcase public opposition to the bill. I missed the simple, clear alternatives they had that showed what a real middle class tax bill would and should be. I guess the principal reason I missed all this is because none of it happened.

    I don’t know how long you have been online, but years ago we used to do detailed analyses of this kind of political kabuki. Strong Democratic opposition is bogus. The only votes that would have counted were if a Democrat backed the bill (House or Senate) or if enough Republicans voted against it to kill it (the Senate). Vote-wise, Democratic opposition was meaningless.

    Harry Reid once said, and not in a good way because he wanted to pass a particularly nasty piece of legislation, that when the Senate was under the gun facing deadlines, a single Senator could stop the Senate dead in its tracks if he/she wanted to. Quorum calls, points of order, rejecting the unanimous consent agreements under which most of the Senate’s business is done, all of this could be done by a single Senator if they wanted to, and the effect would have been to slow the Senate to a crawl and force the Republicans to blow past their deadlines. The Democrats had not just one but 48 Senators (46 Democrats and 2 independents) to work with, but they bailed. You see that would have been real opposition. It would have left blood on the floor for all to see. And it never happened. Just as going outside the system to the public didn’t happen either. Oh sure, we could expect a few pro forma gestures to the rubes, but nothing real, nothing substantive. Instead we got the aborted dog-and-pony show of Nancy, the Representative of the West Coast corps and Chuck, the Senator of Wall Street, meeting with Trump to discuss the best way to sell this travesty to the American public. That this godawful piece of shit that Pelosi called a Ponzi scheme and a shell game a month ago back on November 2 (as you point out) was unredeemable should have precluded any such meeting, any accommodation. But the only reason that it never happened was because Trump blew it up in one of his tweets.

    My advice is know the players, know the process, know what counts and what doesn’t, distinguish between what they say and what they do, understand the difference between what they did and what they could have done, and finally look for the blood on the floor, or the lack of it. Everything else is PR, CYA, BS.

  45. someofparts permalink
    December 3, 2017

    @Herman,

    Thanks for the link to the post at American Affairs Journal. The analysis they offer is a real game-changer.

    My own small experience of people on respective sides of the political divide makes your hard-headed analyses of events ring true.

  46. December 3, 2017

    This whole debate is an instance of all the other debates on this topic that have been had here. It’s obvious that Democratic party leaders don’t want to cater to the portion of the economic left that is present here — everyone knows that. It’s also the case that there’s a large portion of the party grassroots that is suspicious of the sort of viewpoint represented here — StewartM’s dismissal of identity and symbolic politics as mere trivial “tokenism” is extremely alienating for a large portion of the party’s constituency. Saying is doing.

    It’s not hard to see why: as I’ve said many times before, in a hierarchical representative system specifically designed to force incremental compromise between at most two sides on any issue, professional politicians do not want their long-term careers to be based on an ideologically demanding political minority. It’s obvious.

    The tide may turn if US voter mood turns in the way that the mood has turned in the UK, partly spurred by the obvious incompetence and broken ideology of the Tories. It’s not clear that the sort of political divisions that exist in the USA can support that kind of turn, and it’s not clear that the “guns-and-butter” left really has the cultural nous to take advantage of it. This whole thread is the evidence.

  47. Duncan Idaho permalink
    December 3, 2017

    You are right that racism is a big factor behind why many whites left the Democratic Party but the Democrats have done nothing to win them back because

    Racism isn’t a the big factor, it’s the only factor. There is nothing you can offer those people to change their vote.

    1. It assumes that the Republicans will never be able to win non-white voters in significant numbers.

    The Republican could appeal to the non-white voters, but to do that they would have to tamp down their racism which might cause to lose more racist whites votes than gain upper-middle class non-whites votes. It’s a nasty Catch 22 to be in.

    2. It assumes that Millennials will continue to be a left-wing voting bloc into the future. Millennials have not reached their peak earning years. In about 10 years we will see a big divide develop between affluent and poorer Millennials.

    As long as the Republican party is as blatantly racist as it is right now, it will have a hard time getting their vote. The younger generation of Cubans in Florida is moving into the Democratic column, Asians in California have moved in the Democratic column, Arabs in Michigan have moved in the Democratic column. The greatest predictor of your party affiliation and voting patterns thirty years from now is your party affiliation and voting pattern today.

    3. Liberals overestimate the impact of secularization on the United States. Religious people have more children than secular people and this is especially true of people in conservative denominations.

    Outside of the South, there aren’t that many conservative denominations, and in the South it has nothing to do with Religion and every thing to do with Race. Watch Moore, the alleged child molester, get elected to the Senate in a few days.

    Outside of a few fringe groups (Amish, Hasidim) the birth rate of religiously conservative women isn’t much greater than that of secular women.

    PS Utah which is the State with the highest TFR is at 2.29 which is barely above replacement rate.

  48. realitychecker permalink
    December 3, 2017

    Interesting discussion (and I would include the article in American Affairs, linked to above by Herman), but since virtually all seem to implicitly rely on voting our way to a reversal of the entire power structure (possible exception being Hugh, who (Finally! lol) says: “This bill is just the latest evidence that the greatest contribution the rich and elites could make to our society is as corpses rotting in a field.”), and since the sentient among us understand how far-fetched is the notion of an un-rigged election process (recalling that Hillary STOLE the primary from Bernie), I await a discussion that might realistically face up to the obvious necessity of considering other-than-elective strategies that might bring about the magical result we all desire.

    OR, maybe it’s just my bad for bringing that up.

  49. StewartM permalink
    December 3, 2017

    Mandos

    StewartM’s dismissal of identity and symbolic politics as mere trivial “tokenism” is extremely alienating for a large portion of the party’s constituency.

    I note that Bernie won both the female and African-American under-30 demographic. I think my explanation fits best, the under-30 crowd gets their information from the internet, while the older voters got theirs from the TeeVee filled with “I’m with her” ‘liberal’ sellouts whose job was to contort themselves into knots telling us why Obama just had to propose cutting SS repeatedly and why Clinton just had to support NAFTA.

    And no, “saying is NOT doing”. Doing is doing. Obama’s and Clinton’s campaigns were all about giving uplifting speeches while actually *doing* things that were awful, and in some cases diametrically opposed to what they campaigned on. Moreover, they did these things not because they were forced to (TPP, NAFTA, welfare reform, the crime bill, repeal of Glass-Steagall, putting SS on the chopping block, the public option, Syria, etc).

    Even when it came to “just saying”, Clinton probably could have rescued her candidacy if she had campaigned stridently on Bernie’s positions, especially about disavowing TPP in a way so upfront and unambiguous that it would be difficult to walk back. But she did not; after declaring she was against it she shut up about it. And Obama, who continued pushing the disaster, and Democrats like her ally Terry McAuliffe didn’t help:

    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jul/26/terry-mcauliffe-predicts-hillary-clinton-will-supp/

    PHILADELPHIA — Sticking yet another thumb in the eye of Sen. Bernard Sanders’ supporters, longtime Clinton ally Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Tuesday that Hillary Clinton will change course and support the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal once elected president.

    Speaking to Politico, Mr. McAuliffe predicted that Mrs. Clinton will defy progressives who hate the proposed TPP trade deal and end up supporting it.

    The comments are sure to rile Sanders supporters even more, and both key Clinton supporters and a McAuliffe spokesman had walked back the comments before the night was over.

    “I worry that if we don’t do TPP, at some point China’s going to break the rules. But Hillary understands this,” Mr. McAuliffe said. “Once the election’s over, and we sit down on trade, people understand a couple things we want to fix on it, but going forward we got to build a global economy.”

    How’ya think this played int the Rust Belt states, huh?

    The reason she did not do this was that, I believe, is in some ways, HRC was more honest than Obama–who apparently no problem saying something in one speech (public option, renegotiating NAFTA, etc) then doing the opposite once in office (all justified on TeeVee by paid-for Democratic newspeak surrogates). Clinton didn’t want to campaign as a progressive, because she did not want to govern as one. Clinton, the former Goldwater Girl, wanted to be the country’s first woman Smart Republican. Once she was free to run her campaign that way without having to pretend she was with those annoying progressives that’s what she did.

    If Democrats want to win elections (and I’m not convinced that the Obamacrats and Clintonistas really want them to) then they must go from being a party which has the allegiance of < 30 % of the electorate to one that commands c. 50 %. That is not fantasy, it is history, and it can be done again if the Democrats take back the working class vote by restoring New Deal (or superior) policies. And when they did have this, Dems won elections, and all the 'identity' causes you support–as do I–went forward too, as well as civil liberties, the rights of the accused, and voting rights.

    It is simply NONSENSE to lay their failure to achieve this is because of racism or misogyny or ethnocentrism or homophobia of the working class. What, are you contending that the America of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s was *less* racist, misogynist, ethnocentric, or homophobic than today? That contention is simply not credible. In some ways the rise of the Religious Right and its associated intolerance and bigotry can be seen (in an anthropological perspective) as a response to ditching the god of postwar liberalism and materialism when these failed to keep providing working class whites better material conditions in the 1970s. The timing matches this phenomena pretty well.

  50. StewartM permalink
    December 3, 2017

    Hugh

    NR, somehow I missed all Chuck and Nancy flooding cable news with their daily appearances to fight this tax bill. I missed too all the events they staged and street demonstrations they organized to showcase public opposition to the bill. I missed the simple, clear alternatives they had that showed what a real middle class tax bill would and should be. I guess the principal reason I missed all this is because none of it happened.

    Well, they *did* come out against it in public. And there have been demonstrations (though I don’t think any Democratic bigwigs have attended these).

    But your point is well taken, most of the Democratic newspeak has been focused on “Russia!! ™” and allegedly the Trump campaign’s cooperation with the Russians to post ‘fake news’ (in other words, undeniably true leaked information about the DNC and Clinton) during the 2016 campaign.

    NR

    You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. Both Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi spoke out strongly against the tax bill

    Yeah, but were Dem votes really needed?

    Remember Pelosi was against illegal and unconstitutional NASA spying too, giving speeches against it and shaking an angry fist in the air. Then, lo behold, in 2013 a coalition of Tea Party conservatives and progressives actually got an amendment to the floor to end it. And Pelosi, in a close vote *where her vote really counted*, voted to continue mass surveillance:

    http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/07/25/how-nancy-pelosi-saved-the-nsa-surveillance-program/

    Votes without context don’t matter. Pelosi not only took the impeachment of G. W. Bush off the table, plus Medicare-for-all, she also played her role in killing the public option by not allowing it back into the final reconciliation bill and putting Obama’s White House in the deliciously awkward position of having to veto their own grand proposal (in other words, their promise to all of us) in order to keep their secret promises to AHIP, pharma, and for-profit medicine made in the summer of 2009. That would have been something to see, no?

  51. Billikin permalink
    December 3, 2017

    “The question is not if it will be replaced, but by what.”

    Wir wissen, daß wir Vorläufige sind
    Und nach uns wird kommen: nichts Nennenswertes.
    — Bertolt Brecht

    “We know that we are fore-runners,
    And after us will come: nothing worthy of a name.”

    Sorry, I could not resist. 🙂

    Actually, I am cautiously optimistic. The kleptocrats are in charge now, and their nominal opposition are without conviction. War, the traditional uniter of nations, is not doing so, nor is it dividing us. I doubt if current conditions can last long, but things could get worse. They certainly did in Germany.

  52. Billikin permalink
    December 3, 2017

    The 70s have gotten a bum rap, economically, in the US. Mainly because of stagflation, I suppose. But despite high inflation, it was overall a prosperous decade. It also marked the start of the stagnation of real wages, the rise of inequality, and healthcare inflation in the US. But the real damage was done in the succeeding decades, and is continuing today.

  53. Ché Pasa permalink
    December 3, 2017

    Just as it was easy to predict the results from the bipartisan Reagan Tax Cuts (and later tax increases) or the results of the passage of Proposition 13 in California all those many years ago, it’s easy to predict the results of this one:

    — more concentration of wealth at the top
    — more immiseration and exploitation of the Rabble
    — more homelessness
    — more untreated mental illness
    — more drug and alcohol abuse
    — more preventable deaths among the Rabble
    — less access to education (at every level)
    — less access to health care
    — less public investment in anything except more war.

    And let’s face it: that is the policy of the US government, Dems, Rs, and Trump regime in concert.

    The government’s priorities are clear, and they are not very favorable to most readers here. Are they?

  54. wendy davis permalink
    December 3, 2017

    ‘The Trump-US House $4.6 TrillionTax Cut–Who Pays?’, by Jack Rasmus, Nov. 13
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/13/the-trump-us-house-4-6-trilliontax-cut-who-pays/
    (his analysis of the house version, before reconciliation, of course.

    “But the main solution will be to offset the more than $1.5 trillion net tax breaks with more spending cuts on social programs. In 2011 Congress and Obama cut spending by $1 trillion on education, health, transport, etc. Another $500 billion was cut in 2013. They will, therefore, try to repeat the ‘fiscal austerity’ solution to enable tax cutting for corporations. But that’s not new. The process of spending cuts to finance corporate-wealthy tax cuts has been going on since Ronald Reagan. It’s one of the main causes of the growing income inequality in the US that is the hallmark of Neoliberal policy since the 1980s.”

    “The Trump-Ryan proposals are just the latest iteration of Neoliberal fiscal policy that has been making the rich richer while destroying the economic and social base of the USA. Neoliberal policies associated with tax and spending programs, free money for bankers and investors provided by the central bank (the Federal Reserve), industrial policy deregulating everything and destroying unions, and trade policy enabling offshoring of production and jobs and free re-entry of US goods produced overseas back to the US (aka free trade) have been together ripping a gaping and ever-growing hole in the social fabric of the country. That has in turn been giving rise to ever more desperate radical right-wing politics and solutions—i.e. the political consequences of the Neoliberal economic policies.”

    wsws has skewered dems repeatedly on their bogus concerns for the rape of the rabble in this bill, including in this one: ‘The US Senate tax bill: The financial oligarchy on the rampage’, dec. 2

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/12/02/pers-d02.html

    “Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer was not in the group, but he has repeatedly indicated his support for the main goals of the tax bill, which are to slash the corporate income tax rate, now 35 percent, and to allow giant companies holding trillions in cash overseas to “repatriate” the funds and pay only a nominal tax. He closed out the Senate debate with unctuous praise for Republicans, “many of whom I admire,” and an appeal for them to reconsider and reach a bipartisan deal with the Democrats.”

    some of their authors have noted that the D party is too busy with their mcCarthyite russia-gate cuz yanno, that’s what’s important.

    but for those of you who believe in reforming the D party, the real news network features a hella lot of that. oh, and nick brana’s bernie revolution party w/o bernie.

  55. Peter permalink
    December 3, 2017

    The tax and spend fanatic’s display of gnashing of teeth and rending of garments whenever the Right lowers taxes has become a conditioned response. It’s always a horror story of greed and class war that dooms all the little people but never lives up to those predictions.

    I looked at some Pew research and IRS history to find that even with large tax cuts fed tax revenues continue to grow. In the last ten years they have increased by about $1 trillion even with the great recession. We have a progressive tax system where the top quintile pays about seven times the effective tax rate as the lowest quitile and twice the rate of someone earning $100K.

    The only troubling statistic was that about 40% of tax returns were for less than $30K. These people pay little or no income tax but too many are stuck in these low pay jobs.

  56. December 3, 2017

    @Hugh:

    “Harry Reid once said, and not in a good way because he wanted to pass a particularly nasty piece of legislation, that when the Senate was under the gun facing deadlines, a single Senator could stop the Senate dead in its tracks if he/she wanted to. Quorum calls, points of order, rejecting the unanimous consent agreements under which most of the Senate’s business is done, all of this could be done by a single Senator if they wanted to, and the effect would have been to slow the Senate to a crawl and force the Republicans to blow past their deadlines.”

    Except for the fact that this tax bill was passed under reconciliation, which means it is not subject to the usual procedural rules and hurdles that apply in the Senate, and can be passed with only 51 votes rather than 60. You are completely ignorant of what you are talking about. Stop it.

    I get that you hate the Democratic party (and there are certainly good reasons for that), but they are not the villains here.

  57. December 3, 2017

    Doing the math, it’s striking how trivial a difference this will make for most all income groups, certainly in the short run. I say this based on a graph I took of an interview on rt.com, which is sourced from pbs new hour. Listing the top range of income brackets as “Income”, for 2019, I get:

    income $ delta % change
    ===================
    10000 -80 -0.80%
    20000 -47 -0.24%
    30000 -3.72 -0.01%
    40000 245 0.61%
    50000 470 0.94%
    75000 813 1.08%
    100000 1206 1.21%
    200000 2095 1.05%
    5000000 6509 0.13%
    1000000 21691 2.17%

    My conclusion is that the real action is on corporate tax cuts, and rhetoric regarding personal income is mostly a smokescreen. This won’t help Republicans get middle class votes in the next election, except possibly that the economy does so well that wages surge. (I’m actually expecting a crash.).

    It looks like the swamp is winning, and Trump is out to lunch (or else complicit with the real agenda). Hard to tell with him, as he seems equally happy to buck the establishment, as well as do their bidding.

    Another analysis I saw said that there would have been a positive result for all income brackets, if you ignore expected increases in healthcare costs.

  58. StewartM permalink
    December 3, 2017

    Peter

    I looked at some Pew research and IRS history to find that even with large tax cuts fed tax revenues continue to grow.

    Not as % of GDP.

    The best way to do this is to adjust the receipts/spending value for population, inflation, and GDP. The historical average is c. 18 %, and we’re close to that now. However, ‘who pays’ is important, and increasingly that burden has been shift away from the rich (corporate tax shares, slashing the top rate) downwards. That’s WHY those poor blokes you mention making < $30,000 are paying more taxes, to make up for the income lost by not-taxing-the-rich and not-taxing-corporations. In 1960, by comparison, when the richest taxpayers paid over 70 % income taxes alone, the median rate was just 13 %.

    We have a progressive tax system where the top quintile pays about seven times the effective tax rate as the lowest quitile and twice the rate of someone earning $100K.

    No, we don’t have such a tax system. And moreover, you try to dodge the issue by talking about the top 20 %, when even half of that group has lost ground in the Reagan economy, under which we still suffer. You have to hit the 90-percentile to hit the break-even point in the Reagan economy.

    You pooh-pooh state/local taxation, yet the government that has grown most during the Reagan economy is that of states, despite conservatives being largely silent about this. Oh, but you see, these can’t run deficits (so they have to tax and balance their budgets!) and these tax the bottom 20 % the highest rates, so that’s all Ok and dandy, right?

    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Federal,_state,_and_local_tax_revenue_as_a_percent_of_GDP.pdf

  59. Ché Pasa permalink
    December 3, 2017

    Instead of gnashing your teeth and rending your garments in futile efforts to “reform” the *Democrat Party* (h/t Lambert) why not instead help the WH boychik implode the R party, extinguishing it and its service to wealth, its cons and lawlessness once and for all? Literally none of what progressives say they want is going to come from Trump and the Rs. Nothing. Much they say they hate, on the other hand is guaranteed to happen under the current regime.

    The Republican Party should have been RICOed out of existence a looooong time ago.

    Meanwhile let the Dems be what they are: a conservative/neoliberal, elitist, status quo party with occasional (rare) flashes of conscience.

    And — if you still believe that Elections Will Change Things — develop a viable, popular, genuinely leftist party to fill in the void where Democrats used to be, or where you thought they were.

    I’d like to know why it hasn’t happened already. Of course there is the Green Party, but many of us understand that it has long been a tool of the Republicans.

    If you’re so dissatisfied with the Dems, why can’t you give them up? If they’re so abusive — as they are — let them go.

  60. StewartM permalink
    December 3, 2017

    Let’s try this again, having problems with the posting preview.

    Peter

    I looked at some Pew research and IRS history to find that even with large tax cuts fed tax revenues continue to grow.

    Not as % of GDP.

    The best way to do this is to adjust the receipts/spending value for population, inflation, and GDP. The historical average is c. 18 %, and we’re close to that now. However, ‘who pays’ is important, and increasingly that burden has been shift away from the rich (corporate tax shares, slashing the top rate) downwards. That’s WHY those poor blokes you mention making < $30,000 are paying more taxes, to make up for the income lost by not-taxing-the-rich and not-taxing-corporations. In 1960, by comparison, when the richest taxpayers paid over 70 % income taxes alone, the median rate was just 13 %.

    We have a progressive tax system where the top quintile pays about seven times the effective tax rate as the lowest quitile and twice the rate of someone earning $100K.

    No, we don’t have such a tax system. And moreover, you try to dodge the issue by talking about the top 20 %, when even half of that group has lost ground in the Reagan economy, under which we still suffer. You have to hit the 90-percentile to hit the break-even point in the Reagan economy.

    You pooh-pooh state/local taxation, yet the government that has grown most during the Reagan economy is that of states, despite conservatives being largely silent about this. Oh, but you see, these can’t run deficits (so they have to tax and balance their budgets!) and these tax the bottom 20 % the highest rates, so that’s all Ok and dandy, right?

    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Federal,_state,_and_local_tax_revenue_as_a_percent_of_GDP.pdf

  61. Hugh permalink
    December 3, 2017

    NR, I did not mention the filibuster. I do know this bill is under reconciliation, and unlike you I know how the Senate actually works. Every move on the Senate floor can be held up and contested, and none of it involves a filibuster. And there is a real deadline here, because the continuing resolution funding government expires on December 8. This is a club which Democrats could hold over the heads of Republicans, and which they are not going to use. The Democratic party depends on people like you. No matter how many times you are had by them, you still rush to their defense.

    This brings me to Mandos’ nutiness: “It’s obvious that Democratic party leaders don’t want to cater to the portion of the economic left that is present here.” The Democrats don’t represent their base. Nor do they represent independents. This is why he falls back on his lame defense of identity politics. So Democrats don’t represent the people who can them elected. But those people should vote for them anyway because identity politics. Vote for them, just because actually does resonate as witness NR. But note how condescending Mandos is that the very idea of representing your base and the largest segment of the electorate the independents becomes “catering”, used pejoratively here to a “minority” even though they are by far the majority.

    And while Republicans and Democrats, neoliberals all, debate over the best way to loot the rest of us, the only group Mandos singles out to attack is the only group trying to stop that looting. The Establishment loves people like Mandos and NR because they will do its bidding even without asking.

  62. December 3, 2017

    @Hugh:

    “Every move on the Senate floor can be held up and contested, and none of it involves a filibuster.”

    Again, not when the bill in question is being passed under reconciliation. Bills passed under reconciliation are not subject to normal Senate rules and cannot be held up using the usual delaying tactics.

    I’m sorry that you think that understanding how things actually work in the Senate makes someone an establishment tool. Maybe we could all just be proudly ignorant like you, with they way you go on at length about topics you have not the faintest clue about. Would that make you happy?

  63. Willy permalink
    December 3, 2017

    Maybe I haven’t gotten to that part in Herman’s “Make the Left Great Again” link…

    But there’s no mention of the oil embargos role in stagflation, and how in the USA, the neoliberal/neocon establishment took advantage and control, with the support of its citizens prone to nationalistic/tribal thinking (based on person experience, guessing at least half the general population). And now we have what philosphically, should be seen as the strange marriage of libertarian globalism and statist big military within one ‘tribe’.

  64. Hugh permalink
    December 3, 2017

    metamars, most of lower income tax cuts will more than get eaten up by raises in healthcare costs. That is if you aren’t on Medicaid. If you are on Medicaid, your Medicaid is likely to get cut a lot in the future to fund this bill. Medicare recipients could get hit by both: increases in their Medicare Plus plans and cuts in their Medicare.

    The cut in individual tax rates affects the rich less because most of their income comes from investments which already have lower rates.

    Cuts in the corporate tax rates and repatriation of “overseas” profits (most of which are sitting in banks in New York, but that’s another story) is a big part of the costs. But ask yourself who owns the corps. It’s the rich. The top 10% own almost all of the markets. These tax breaks should keep the bubble in stocks going even longer. (I figure the real value of the Dow which is at 24,000 is, unbubbled, around 6,000, but that too is another story.)

    At the same time, repeal of the mortgage, state tax, and student loan credits will disparately hit homeowners (home building has been a major driver of the US economy), mean that Millennials with student loans will be unable to afford a house for that much longer, if ever, and disparately affect income earners in mainly blue states that send more to Washington than they get back from it.

    Finally, there is the repeal of the estate tax and that too will save the rich trillions over time.

    Overall, this is a tax bill written for the rich by the politicians they own.

  65. Hugh permalink
    December 3, 2017

    NR, you persist in not knowing what you are talking about. I am talking about stopping the Senate, freezing it in procedure so that a tax vote gets pushed against the wall of the continuing resolution funding government. Filibusters and reconciliation have nothing to do with this. As an aside, most of what happens in the Senate does not conform to Senate rules, but on endless workarounds of them.

  66. nihil obstet permalink
    December 3, 2017

    What does the bill mean for residential real estate? I thought the mortgage interest deduction primarily goosed house prices, so removing it simply means the house will have to sell for less. Bad for current homeowners, but a wash for first time buyers.

  67. Willy permalink
    December 3, 2017

    mortgage interest deduction primarily goosed house prices

    In Amarillo yes, Seattle no. In red hot local real estate markets the growing bubble is at least partly being inflated by speculators. And I’d assume with their tax breaks, this will get worse, since that’s their ‘job creator’ business. Locals not being able to afford housing in their own city even after they’ve got the new job, is yet another reason to (eventually, I’d hope) rescind this tax bill.

  68. December 3, 2017

    “I am talking about stopping the Senate, freezing it in procedure so that a tax vote gets pushed against the wall of the continuing resolution funding government.”

    And as I have said, reconciliation bills are a special case that cannot be frozen in procedure.

    Whatever. I’m done. Continue your ignorant ranting, all you’re doing is making a fool of yourself.

  69. Peter permalink
    December 3, 2017

    @Nihil

    The senate bill keeps the MID and reduces the cap so we need to wait and see what happens next. This is a hot issue so I doubt it will be out of the final bill.

    The cap reduction will affect wealthy homeowners, do you know anyone who pays $500K in mortgage interest a year?

  70. Bill Hicks permalink
    December 3, 2017

    I rarely disagree with you, Ian, but I fear I must this time. There will be no uprising by the young. It is more likely there will be a right wing uprising or a military coup de etat. Most Americans are unaware zombies and sheep–particularly the young who’ve been raised with attention destroying electronic devices.

  71. wendy davis permalink
    December 3, 2017

    @ Peter, it’s late, i’m exhausted, but my answer to one part of your question is: apparently donald trump and his ilk.

    “How Trump Personally Benefits

    The commercial real estate industry—i.e. where Trump made his billions and continues to do so—gets a particularly sweet deal. It is exempt from any cap the Trump plan places on its deduction of business expenses. Commercial real estate companies are also allowed to continue deferring taxes when they exchange properties. And the industry’s numerous tax loopholes remain unchanged in the Trump-Ryan bill. Yet Trump himself says he will not benefit personally from the tax proposals—even though the tax returns he released for one year back before 2005 show his company realized billions in tax relief from the special loopholes enjoyed by the commercial real estate industry. And Trump himself paid $35 million in the corporate AMT, which is now projected to go away as well.”

    Rasmus may have also included the $ gifts to the ‘pass throughs’, although yes, what happens as the house and senate bills are reconciled… but it will be ugly for the 90% at least. hideous in fact, and yes, this rape of the rabble is just the next step past reagan, bush, obomba, but far greater and nakedly exploitative for the 1%.

    ‘The Trump-US House $4.6 TrillionTax Cut–Who Pays?’, by Jack Rasmus, Nov. 13
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/13/the-trump-us-house-4-6-trilliontax-cut-who-pays/

  72. Billikin permalink
    December 3, 2017

    It is true that the tax burden has shifted to the lower income percentiles, but that is not to make up for the loss of taxes from the rich and corporations. That’s just the cover story. We in the US have known, since at least the Civil War, that the government does not need to borrow or tax to fund its expenditures. Even before the Revolution, colonies issued fiat money, until the British parliament passed legislation that said that colonial money was not legal tender. That legislation was one reason for the Revolution. Given the crash of the Continental Dollar, Congress was wary of issuing fiat currency to help fund the Civil War, but they did so, issuing Greenbacks, which eventually were worth par with the rest of the currency. Today, all of our dollars are Greenbacks. If the working classes are overtaxed, it is because Congress wants it that way.

  73. Duder permalink
    December 4, 2017

    I have to agree with the pessimists here. While millennials certainly have leftist sentiments (much more so than their Baby Boomer parents who were always hyper individualists even in their “lefty” hippy days), there is nothing to guarantee those sentiments will translate into leftist political representation in the next decade. They are already moving to restrict popular suffrage, even beyond the usual backstage corruption. If things get really rough for the elites they can always opt for a military coup. The prerequisite for a coup are much more in place than in the 1930s when corporate interests contemplated one against FDR.

  74. Hugh permalink
    December 4, 2017

    NR, this is about exacting a price for what the Republicans are doing. And if Democrats used guerilla tactics in the Senate, Mitch and company would be so busy answering quorum calls they would have little time to negotiate with Ryan et al in the House over a reconciliation bill.

    It looks like the Republicans won’t be able to get such a bill ready anyhow before the continuing budget resolution which is a hard deadline. So it will be interesting to see what the Democrats do, or don’t do, at that time.

    I get you are a Democratic apologist and so reality compromised. But unless you are getting paid by them or are very rich, your interests and theirs do not align, and all you are doing is cheering on those who are screwing you over. Republican voters, of course, face the same reality disconnect, but as you engage in the same senseless tribalism, it destroys your credibility arguing that your tribalism is somehow better, and smarter, than theirs.

  75. cripes permalink
    December 4, 2017

    “By 2024 at the latest, there will be enough of a generational shift, and enough people hurt badly enough and unable to pretend that the status quo ante was every good, that the Left, if not prevented by internal party politics, will win.”

    What is this left of which you speak?
    What is this internal party politics of which you speak?

    The Clinton-Obama wing of the democrat party or the milquetoast sandernista wing (squashed by) the democrat party?

    If living conditions decline sufficiently (enough people hurt badly enough) to motivate millennials to vote a radical agenda (within the democrat party), why wouldn’t voters similarly situated, but not millennial, do likewise? Did not most think they were doing precisely that in voting Trump/Sanders last year?

    Reliance on twice-a-decade presidential beauty pageants to express our democratic aspirations, despite all evidence to the contrary, is a losing proposition. If voting changed anything, it would be illegal. Without the organizational, institutional infrastructure to support the popular will, elections really ain’t sh*t. In the absence of labor and civic organizations that served this function within living memory, what will serve to do that in the future?

    For reasons discussed here and in prior threads, I will not hold my breath for the millennial revolution.

  76. V. Arnold permalink
    December 4, 2017

    Party like it’s tomorow; celebrate the tax reform; embrace the social changes for justice; and never worry about tomorrow; it’s all covered by your loving, Trumpian, government.
    Be happy and don’t worry…

  77. Peter permalink
    December 4, 2017

    @WD

    The combination of TDS and tax-cut derangement syndrome produces some silly whining and lame projections such as Trump became POTUS to insure he got a 2.6% pass-through deduction increase.

    Legal tax reducing tax rules are not loopholes which are interpretations of the tax code or mistakes that can be used to subvert the intent of the code. Trump paid more PIT in one year than most of the commenters here will earn together in our lifetime.

    The lowest quintile won’t feel any effect from this tax bill because they pay little or no FIT and any dole they recieve will continue. One thing that might help them avoid skyrocketing utility prices they do pay is the next agenda item. Reducing or eliminating tax subsidies for expensive unreliable solar/wind power may slow the Green Blob and save ratepayers the doubling of electric rates seen in Green Germany and Australia.

  78. Willy permalink
    December 4, 2017

    The combination of TDS and tax-cut derangement syndrome produces some silly whining and lame projections such as Trump became POTUS to insure he got a 2.6% pass-through deduction increase.

    That’s because the top 10% owns at least 76% of all the wealth, fool. It only makes rational sense that they should also pay the most taxes. The theoretical flat tax punishes the poor for being poor, not to mention lessening per-capita discretionary income which directly affects the economy.

    In my former technical field, every time somebody resorted to some form of childish emotional shaming when asked reasonable questions, they always turned out to be self-delusional incompetents. Every. Single. Time.

  79. wendy davis permalink
    December 4, 2017

    @ Peter: just a quickie, busy day for me. but while ignoring some of your odd-bodkins contentions, i’ll note that wsws.org had called attention to:

    “Both the New York Times and the Washington Post published analyses Friday of the impact of the tax cuts on Trump, based on his 2005 tax return, the only one available, showing that under the Trump-backed bill the billionaire president would save $31 million of the $38 million he paid in taxes that year, as well as (in the House version) escaping an estimated $1.1 billion in estate taxes.”

    yeah, i know:Dem mouthpieces, so i won’t take it as quite gospel.

    in her ‘Tax Cuts for the Super Rich, Financial Assault on the Working People’ at CP, reza fiyouzat writes in part:

    “1) Let’s take a quick look at the historical record of the percentages of taxes paid by the corporations v. individual earners.

    The graph below from the Forbes magazine paints a few telling stories:
    To sum up the data in this graph, since about 1944, we the individual taxpayers have steadily paid between 45% and 50% of all income taxes, while the corporations have seen a steady decrease in their tax contributions, from about 40% to 10%. The trend is clear. Corporations are winning the tax battles, and we the workers have been losing consistently, one tax ‘reform’ after another, for the last seven decades.

    Another revealing set of figures comes from a chart prepared for a Tax Policy Center analysis, in which we find that the income taxes paid by corporations in 2016, for example, amounted to about 18% of the amount paid by individuals; in other words, for every $100 we chipped in, they put in $18. With Trump’s tax plan, they’ll get to contribute even less, while we’ll have to contribute more (and increasingly more so by 2027).”

    now, in my dotage i’m such a math idiot that you gaslight me into actually believing that 2=2= 4, so….there is that. but you may want to read it, although i think some of the financial sites got a few things wrong, as did reza. not all the offhore money is actually…offshore, but are in corporate shell subsidiaries created exactly to be hidden.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/01/tax-cuts-for-the-super-rich-financial-assault-on-the-working-people/

    yep, i do see plenty of TDS afoot, especially at the confluence of Putin/Trump derangement syndrome, and of course stir in WikiLeaks to the mix. not only is pompeo after his ass “we’ll find your sources, my pretty! they’re not secure!”, but so are his former supporters for DMing with trump, jr. a few times. the intercept’s written at least two screeds against him, and had even pointed to this hilarity at mother jones magazine. ‘putin trump (dot org)

    “WHY: American values are on the line. Did you know that Putin was a KGB foreign intelligence officer for 16 years before he went into politics? Or that Putin likes Trump because Trump is “sensible enough to stay out of the way?” Or even how Trump was totally unaware that Russia had already invaded the Ukraine?” the ‘russian expansion’ can only be seen as farcical… well, yeah, herr T made noises about ‘US out of nato’, but in the end he changed his mind, just wanted all the member nations, would be members, to pony up their 2% of gdp.

  80. December 4, 2017

    tax-cut derangement syndrome

    You crack me me up, boy, lol.

    Didn’t the New York Times spend the week normalizing neo-nazies? That’s about as liberal mouthpiece as the boy.

  81. December 4, 2017

    This tax cut Bill is a donors’ charter. The GOP does not care, nor does Trump, if it hurts their base for they are sheep and will vote as they are told. All they care about is that their donors keep giving, which they will sure do now. The same reasoning suggests to me that the Dems will offer rhetorical opposition only, for they know their donors too will gain and that means more loot in the DNC coffers. So they will say they oppose the cuts but really they won’t. Meanwhile Bernie et al will stay in the fold. Plus ca change…….

  82. Peter permalink
    December 5, 2017

    @WD

    These snowflake media clowns don’t even bother to try and make their fake news believeable anymore. Print anything useful to the cause and the rubes will parrot it again and again.

    The corporations seem to have a sweet deal on taxes only paying $350 billion but they also pay $350 billion in environmental costs now so that may be a good trade of tax for compliance.

    I think Putin was much worse than an intelligence officer he was a KGB lawyer.

  83. someofparts permalink
    December 5, 2017

    Racism, based on what I’ve seen and lived in my lifetime, is a control mechanism imposed on labor by the people who occupy the commanding heights of commerce and politics.

  84. jonst permalink
    December 5, 2017

    @someofparts, you know, you don’t necessarily have to be limited to sources you’ve “…seen and lived..” in your “..lifetime”. You could study the broad strokes of history as well. It might offer you a rather different perspective re economic/class determinism.

  85. Hugh permalink
    December 5, 2017

    BTW Chuck and Nancy have accepted an invitation to talk with Trump and senior Republicans about the continuing resolution on the budget. Last week Trump blew up a similar meeting on the tax bill when he and McConnell decided they didn’t need Democrats to pass it. They do need Democrats this time. So the question is why are Chuck and Nancy going. And the answer is as usual because the Democratic party doesn’t stand for anything. And yes, Trump and the Republicans will dump them the instant they have what they want. The budget resolution provides the Democrats with the leverage they need on the tax bill, but I don’t see them seriously using it. This is because I think Chuck and Nancy want the Republican tax bill to pass over their pro forma objections. It will reward their donor class just as it does the Republican one, and they can use it to run against Republicans for its anti-middle class bias in the 2018 midterms.

  86. Tom permalink
    December 5, 2017

    Former President of Yemen, Saleh, is now dead after Houthis turned on him and killed him. His loyalists are also either dead or flipped into the Houthi Camp.

    Looks like the Saudi Ploy to flip Saleh flopped and hard.

  87. December 5, 2017

    The leftist sentiments will not occur until the Democrat party embraces this – but this is not something new.

    Sorry, I have not been posting here, right now I am putting up some of my novellas – https://symbalitics.blogspot.com/2017/12/stone-south-wind-prologue.html https://symbalitics.blogspot.com/2017/12/stone-south-wind-1.html – which is less important than taxes, but it is an urge that I need to scratch.

  88. Peter permalink
    December 5, 2017

    @Tom

    It looks like the Saudis were following this split betweem Saleh and Ansar Allah not leading it. The fighting started over the large mosque in Sana’a but the alliance never made much sense except as a opportunistic move by Saleh to regain power.

    I don’t know the size of the Saleh forces but they were Yemeni military and the Saudis are backing them now with air power. Ansar Allah has given them a good reason to fight for their country and sect against an Iranian backed new Hezbollah.

  89. Hugh permalink
    December 5, 2017

    You can draw lines on a map but that doesn’t make the result a country. Yemen is another in a growing series of failed/failing states. The Saudi intervention was a disaster from the start because their aim was not to create a stable neighbor but to make Yemen part of an anti-Shia crusade. It is just more instability in an already unstable region.

  90. December 5, 2017

    Hugh (from way upthread): I only see delusions of grandeur. The perspective represented here — not the policy wishlist, which I *mostly* agree with — but the way of looking at politics is what I was referring to. That perspective is a vanishingly tiny and ineffective minority, regardless of what its intentions are. One of the reasons why it is vanishingly small and ineffective is that it is incapable of self-analysis and self-reflection and self-criticism, interpreting such as compliance with the enemy.

  91. Tom W Harris permalink
    December 5, 2017

    And that’s why we can’t have nice things. Because some uncouth lefty raised his voice at a city council meeting, our living standards are goin’ down .

    Actually, Mandos, we can’t have nice things because both parties are in on the con, and everybody goddamn well knows it. Anyone who professes otherwise is lying in his teeth, and everybody goddamn well knows that, too.

  92. December 5, 2017

    StewartM: Saying is doing. Indeed, even simply being is doing. Saying is doing, because it constrains or expands what is possible. Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue. You do not want to live in the alternate reality where Obama did not pay lip service to particular ideas while doing the opposite. That is the nearest counterfactual.

    The expansions in civil rights that are associated with better economic conditions aren’t, it turns out, an achievement of equality — they are largesse. That is made evident by the extent to which they can be clawed back de facto if not de jure when things turn bad for the “white working class”. Feminists and anti-racists even back then noted that the economic left could not be relied upon. The thing you are calling “identity politics” is at least in part a response to this: that the status of marginalized groups be normalized first and on their own terms, that “white working class” demands that result in far-right resurgences mean first combatting the far right as such and not as an mere economic epiphenomenon, that symbolic politics that portend such normalization (including breaking the “glass ceiling” etc) not be put on the back burner while “more important” issues are resolved.

    That is why the politics around here are mistrusted in large swaths of the Democratic base, more than you know, and why protestations that you materially support equality measures don’t ring as strongly as you may think they should.

  93. December 5, 2017

    Tom W Harris: Who said that both parties aren’t in on the “con”? Who denied that there was a con? Unfortunately, the “con” is endemic, even definitional in hierarchically-organized representative governmental systems. The question is not that there is a “con”, the question is what are you going to do about it? As far as I can tell, it is to demand that people behave and act according to your theories.

  94. Peter permalink
    December 5, 2017

    @H

    You might understand the conflict between the KSA and the Iranian Revolutionary Supreme Leader better if you looked at worldatlas of the ME. There you would see the Iranian battle flag flies over Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The KSA has no proxies on Iran’s borders but they do have Iranian proxies shooting Iranian ballistic missiles at their capital.

    The KSA has never had an empire but were subjects of a few empires including the Persian empire. I may not approve of the KSA but they certainly have as much or more right to influence their near abroad as the theocracy in Iran does.

  95. someofparts permalink
    December 6, 2017

    “You could study the broad strokes of history as well. It might offer you a rather different perspective re economic/class determinism.”

    Sure, who doesn’t. But when what I see and hear run contrary to official history or received opinion, that’s when I mention those direct experiences. When we cling to views despite evidence from our own experiences, that’s when we start to lose our way. And if it makes you feel any better this opinion I am sharing with you comes straight from Hannah Arendt’s work on totalitarianism.

  96. Hugh permalink
    December 6, 2017

    Mandos gives the elite view which is really funny because here we have a group that whether we are talking about its conservative or liberal wings has totally betrayed the rest of us and in doing so, lost its claim to its wealth, privilege, and power. There is no class on the planet so devoid of the “self-analysis and self-reflection and self-criticism” of which Mandos speaks.

    Progressives at least some of us offer a way out of our current crises with straightforward, sensible solutions. Of course, the rich and elites are going to ignore us, and if they can’t do that, ridicule us, because part of what we propose would eliminate their power to loot us. Progressives are like people who say 2 + 2 = 4. In Mandosworld, we should be more respectively toward our betters and accept their guidance that it is really somewhere between 36 and 52. Progressives are like passengers in steerage on the Titanic. We say it is nuts to sail through ice-filled waters, and our opinion is duly ignored by the captain and those in first class, because we are nobodies. What do we know? And this attitude continues even when we report an iceberg dead ahead, even after the ship hits it. In Mandosland, we should listen/obey our betters even when they aren’t because they know more and better than the rest of us even when they clearly don’t. Mandos’ basic position is that we live in a class stratified society and rather than rebel we all should just kowtow to it.

    It is always a mistake to read Peter’s comments. My reaction is always where even to begin with all that he gets wrong, distorts, or just blathers on about. Suffice it to say that Saudi Arabia would not have anything like the virulent anti-Iran foreign policy it has today if Iran were a Sunni country. The Saudi obsession with the Houthis predates any Iranian involvement in Yemen, by decades.

  97. realitychecker permalink
    December 6, 2017

    Boy, that Mandos guy sure can type some shit, can’t he?

    I regret that I never tried any of that there LSD. I sure do wish my realities could be so fuzzy . . .

  98. Willy permalink
    December 6, 2017

    After working for far too many machiavallian and nepotistic managers, I decided that proven and deserving authority is better than sanctioned (fake) authority. But lately it seems you have to be a progressive to know the difference.

    Peter is like Timothy Leary after he tuned out of LSD and turned onto computers. It’s binary psychedelia!

    He’ll fly his astral plane. He’ll take you trips around the bay…

  99. December 6, 2017

    @Mandos,

    Your patience with the same ole wash, rinse, repeat arguments offered up by most of the regulars is amazing. Their self regard and condescending is off putting here so I can’t imagine what it would be like in real life though that would explain their, as you said, vanishingly tiny and ineffective minority status in real life. Delusions of grandeur is putting it kindly. It’s more pathological at this point. If the Trump fiasco isn’t going to cure it, nothing will.

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS