This President’s Fit Cannot Be Allowed to Succeed, Whatever the Costs

Forget about the wall for a second. Let’s take stock of what’s really going on here.

Under the U.S. Constitution, power to enact laws and appropriate expenditures rests with Congress, not the president. Executive power rests with the president.

We now have a president who is trying to wrestle legislative power from Congress. In effect, he’s saying, “Appropriate monies for what I want, borrow funds to finance what I want, or I will shut down the government.”

In effect, he’s refusing to fulfill his executive responsibilities unless Congress caves to his wishes. In other words, he’s refusing to fulfill his constitutional duties.

If the Democrats acquiesce to this extortion, then there will be no checks on this president. For that reason and that reason alone, they cannot allow the extortion to succeed.

If the president were willing to sit down with Congress and negotiate an immigration and border-control bill, that would be another thing altogether. But he’s not.

Instead, he’s like a petulant child. Give him what he wants or he’ll throw a fit. Indeed, he’s thrown a fit.

If Congress gives in, it’s all over. No one knows what fit will come next. And what danger he’ll put the country in.

We elected a spoiled child to the nation’s highest office. But that doesn’t mean the child should have the run of the nation.

P.S. Not that it matters. Because the wall isn’t the issue. The issue is keeping the man with autocratic tendencies in check. And not giving in to the extortion attempts of a man who refuses to fulfill his constitutional duties. Nonetheless, here is a photo of the nonexistent wall — the wall that apparently doesn’t exist — taken by me in the desert of Arizona last week. It’s hard to see that there are actually two fences here. But I guess we need a third. Again, though, the fence, wall, or barrier (as the pres is now calling it) is besides the point at this point. Open the government and negotiate with Congress. It’s not that hard a concept to understand. For an adult. Oh, I momentarily forgot.

The Reign of the King of Debt

“I’m the king of debt,” Donald Trump once said. Apparently, he wasn’t lying.

The U.S. Treasury Department reported today that the national debt has increased by $2 trillion ($2,000,000,000,000) since President Trump took office on January 20, 2017. To be fair, the president didn’t do it all by himself: He had the full cooperation of the Republicans who controlled Congress.

I celebrated by buying some U.S. Treasury notes.

Are We Nuts?

“The price of insulin has skyrocketed over the last few decades, making it increasingly difficult for diabetics to afford.” WSJ¬†story titled¬†High Insulin Prices Drive Diabetics to Take Extreme Measures.

More specifically, the price of life-saving insulin has risen by 200% since 2002.

We have a cruel health care system. Public policy, politicians, insurance and pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare providers are failing Americans. And we allow it to happen.

It doesn’t have to be this way. But it will continue to be this way so long as we accept it. And allow greed and cruel crony capitalism to rule.

Meanwhile, let’s build a wall.


But At Least the Trump Family Is Getting Rich

Surely the president must be spazzing out over this, given how fond he is of telling everyone how much better he is than any of our prior presidents.

P.S. Normally, I don’t think a president has much of an impact on the stock market, given that no president controls economic forces or cycles. But this one most surely has had an impact, including a contribution to the current decline.

Taking Delight in Other People’s Misfortunte

A U.S. District Court judge in Texas ruled yesterday that the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare) is unconstitutional. President Trump is delighted.

Absent a stay, this means no one will have the right to secure medical insurance. If you have a preexisting condition, you can be denied coverage. In fact, you can be denied coverage for any reason. It’s entirely up to the insurance companies. This is what delights President Trump. You see, he really doesn’t give a damn about people. He’s obsessed with negating anything President Obama did or touched. Because it’s all about him. That’s Trump’s world: extreme narcissism.

That’s not to say the ACA is unconstitutional. One thing is certain: that decision won’t be made by a single trial judge in Texas. It will be made by an appellate court. And that will take time. So it’s likely (although not certain) the Texas judge’s order will be stayed.

In any case, what’s clear is we elected a man who has done absolutely nothing to ensure all Americans have access to affordable health care. He’s talked a lot about it. But it’s been all talk. The reality is, he’s not lifted a finger on his small hands to improve or change anything.

Medicines are still unaffordable for many. And insurance and pharmaceutical companies still are raking in huge profits off the backs of hard working Americans. Or, worse yet, withholding medicines and life-saving care in certain instances.

Why we put up with this situation is beyond me. And why we elect a president who doesn’t give a damn about anything but himself is also beyond me.

But at least Mr. Trump is happy. Happy that company profits can once again take precedence over people’s health and well-being.

What a perverted place the world can be.

The King of Debt Delivered

The federal government ran a deficit of $205 billion in November, a 48 percent increase from the $139 billion shortfall a year earlier, and the biggest November deficit on record. The self-proclaimed King of Debt, a/k/a President Trump, certainly delivered. And now our children and grandchildren can pay it back. With interest.

At least some of the voters are pleased. The ones who voted for him, that is. I guess they don’t have kids.

Raping the Nation’s Wealth? How Stupid Does He Think We Are? Oh, Yeah.

President Trump thinks allowing imports to be sold in the U.S. in amounts greater than our exports is tantamount to “raping the nation’s wealth.” Think for a minute. No, for a second. Just consider how stupid this is. And the level of thinking demonstrated by the man who makes such a claim.

Of course, imports sell here only if they’re cheaper or better than what we produce domestically. So banning imports would cause us Americans to pay more than we’d otherwise have to pay, thereby lowering our standard of living, or would compel us to accept inferior products (such as GM cars in the ’80s). There is nothing about this arrangement that could even remotely be characterized as an economic “rape.”

A legitimate issue, of course, is whether we should give a preference to domestically produced goods either by taxing imports (tariffs) or subsidizing domestic producers (in the way the U.S. subsidizes its farmers), or banning certain imports altogether or restricting the volume coming in (quotas). There could be legitimate reasons for doing so.

For instance, if one’s national security depended on it, then it may make sense to protect the domestic suppliers. For instance, it would not be prudent to become entirely dependent upon aircraft made in foreign countries. That would make the U.S. Air Force and Navy highly vulnerable to potentially hostile regimes.

Another legitimate reason could be the fairness doctrine. For instance, if the reason an import is cheaper is because of a subsidy the producer received from its home country’s government, then the U.S. could decide, as a matter of policy, to place a leveling tariff on the import to ensure the competition is fair. Or it might chose not to, instead being grateful for the subsidy that the foreign government is essentially providing to the U.S. consumer. Obviously, the U.S consumer stands to benefit from the lower price, even if it’s the result of a foreign subsidy, where the U.S. worker who might lose his job due to the subsidized import might be harmed. Which brings us to the policy decision: which jobs are worth protecting and which one’s aren’t? These aren’t always easy decisions. In any case, there are remedies in place to protect against competition from subsidized producers (indeed, I’ve been involved in several cases where tariffs were sought because of such unfair competition).

But to cut off or restrict imports simply because someone is selling more of their products to us than they are buying from us is sheer lunacy, especially if your country’s currency is the world’s reserve currency (as is ours). In short, mindless protectionism is a sure recipe, over the long term, for diminished competitiveness, economic stagnation, and lowering of a country’s standard of living. And based on history, there’s a good chance it will lead to recession, depression, or war. Yet that’s precisely the mindset of our president.

You wonder how someone like this could be elected president. Or maybe you don’t. But I do. And you should.

The broader lesson in all of this, Vera, is simple: think for yourself. And don’t accept as gospel anything someone says, even if they hold a lofty position. Just because someone is a president, CEO, or, for that matter, a grandfather, doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about.

Wouldn’t It Be Nice If Our Next President Did These Things?

Another week of observing the clown show we call the Trump presidency (culminating Monday in actions that would get anyone else indicted for obstruction of justice and in yesterday’s Tariff Man tweet that tanked the stock market) got me to thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if our next president: Continue reading