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GOP August recess: A time for lies, damned lies, and tax reform

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Believe it or not, we are only one week away from the August recess for the GOP-controlled House of Representatives. Recess . . . Washington-speak for thirty days of taxpayer-funded campaigning ahead of the November election. Besides, it’s required by law.

To be fair, the Gang Of Phonies need this undeserved time off away from a job they failed to show up for in the first place. Being away from Washington will free them up to create a new batch of election-year lies designed to convince the people back home that the GOP will really keep their promises this time if given a chance to keep their majority.

No small task, considering the political trail of tears their constituents have been forced to walk after being on the receiving end of one broken promise after another, effectively depriving the governed their constitutionally protected power over the government.

One of the lies we can expect to hear will appear to have a ring of truth to it — tax reform. Trump and the GOP will be heralding the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) as they repeat the talking points used when the law was passed — almost like everything they promised really happened.

They will tell us how tax cuts have provided people with extra money to spend and how this new spending is causing explosive economic growth. And they will claim that tax cuts have for corporations have resulted in the creation of thousands of new jobs with higher wages.

Unfortunately, despite Trump’s “Promises Made, Promises Kept” 2020 campaign rhetoric, these talking points are just that — talk. Simply put, the TCJA has failed to deliver as promised.

While Trump has been touting a GDP of 4% or higher, it has only managed Obama-level performance and has fallen since the tax cuts to around 2%.

Corporations haven’t been using their tax cut windfall to create jobs. Instead, they’ve been using it to buy back their own stock at record levels. While that has kept Wall Street afloat, it hasn’t done much to create jobs.

Trump’s tax cuts are failing to deliver on the wage front as well. While Trump and the GOP promised higher wages, real hourly compensation has fallen dramatically since the TCJA became law and has done little to help workers.

As bad as this news is, it’s made worse thanks to Trump’s schizophrenic trade war. His nationalist approach to “fair trade” is creating inflationary pressure on the economy and forcing corporations to move operations outside the US — an outcome that the Federal Reserve warned in 2016 would happen under Trump’s economic policies.

The bottom line is that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has failed, leaving the GOP with no choice but to break out the election-year playbook and deploy the three-step strategy they have relied on for years: Make promises – Break promises – Repeat.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

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Economy

Keystone XL stopped by judiciary using bureaucracy to promote lunacy

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Keystone XL stopped by judiciary using bureaucracy to promote lunacy

Activist judge Brian Morris in Montana may have just put the final nail in the Keystone XL pipeline project. He suspended construction of the pipeline pending another environmental review. Apparently, he didn’t like the conclusions of the first one he ordered, so he’s asking for a second opinion.

Montana Judge Puts Brakes On Keystone XL

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Montana-Judge-Puts-Brakes-On-Keystone-XL.htmlThe court has asked the government to review its assessment and revise it, taking into account the changes in the oil markets since 2014, the latest in climate change, and the presence of “cultural resources” along the route of the pipeline that was planned to carry heavy oil from Alberta to U.S. refineries. The 830,000 bpd pipeline will run from the Albertan oil sands through Montana and South Dakota, ending in Nebraska, where it would connect to the existing pipeline network that goes on to the Gulf Coast.

The court’s ruling comes a little more than a month after TransCanada said that construction of the pipeline could begin as soon as next year. The announcement followed an environmental impact review from the U.S. State Department, which concluded the pipeline’s impact on the environment would be “negligible to moderate.”

My Take

Even if the project can exhaust this activist judge’s attempts to stop it, there is growing tension on the Canadian side that is likely to table the deal indefinitely. For all intents and purposes, the Keystone XL pipeline is dead.

This is lunacy. We’re talking about the most modern and safe method of transporting heavy oil from the place it can’t be used to the place it can be used. Instead, we will remain reliant on Middle Eastern oil that comes without the unnecessary baggage snowflakes like Judge Morris impose on North America.

But that’s the mood of the day for the judiciary that continues to side with former President Obama to oppose current President Trump. Their power to maintain demonstrably dangerous policies and subvert progress is one of the main reasons we need judicial reform. These maverick judges can harm the nation at will and in cases such as this, they do.

Canada will be hesitant to cooperate on big projects like Pipeline XL because of our judiciary, and who can blame them? One man swimming in power can harm two nations with the stroke of his gavel. Sadly, he’ll sleep well believing he just saved an oil or two.

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Economy

As China opens up, Trump’s tariffs kick in

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As China opens up Trumps tariffs kick in

China’s imports and exports grew faster than anticipated in October despite harsh tariffs imposed by President Trump. It’s still too early to say the tariffs have not done much to harm China’s economy, but these early indicators do not bode well for the President’s plan.

For full disclosure, I’m against the tariffs. President Trump’s adoration for tariffs has shifted a majority in the GOP to favor “fair trade” over “free trade.” But in the modern world economic structure, the effects of tariffs do more damage to consumers and manufacturers reliant on imports. If this truly is just hardball negotiating tactics by the President that result in a swift agreement with China and others facing his tariffs, I’ll stand corrected. But if they continue for an extended period of time, they are a mistake that will harm American consumers and businesses much more than they help.

The original purpose for tariffs in previous eras was twofold. It was a source of revenue for the federal government, so significant that the founders felt it would be the primary source of revenue before income taxes were imposed. They were also intended to help domestic manufacturers and resource producers to be more competitive against a growing international economy.

China has been attempting to change their image as a closed economy for over a decade. They’ve been sending messages around the world that it’s safe and prudent to not only import from China but to open up export markets to China as well. They are modernizing their economy, but in doing so have made some critical mistakes that keep foreign investors skittish, most notably currency manipulation.

Will China start feeling the heat from the tariffs soon? If they do, it’s likely we’ll see a deal as they cannot afford instability in their huge but fragile economy. If they can suffer through the heat and refuse to make a deal, it’s a sign the tariffs aren’t working.

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Economy

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is getting better at doublespeak

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is getting better at doublespeak

Medicare-for-All is the highest form of socialism. Its premise is based around the idea that there’s enough money in the coffers of middle-class and above to make healthcare free for everyone else. The costs associated with such a plan are nearly equal to the current United States federal government revenue, which is why even leftists in the media are forced to ask how its proponents plan to pay for it.

Soon-to-be Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been asked this question many times and her responses have ranged from comical to dangerously ignorant. Now, it seems that she’s found her groove. Her new tactic is to act confused by the question since the answer should be so obvious to everyone.

Ocasio-Cortez calls question about how to pay for Medicare for all ‘puzzling’

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ocasio-cortez-calls-question-about-how-to-pay-for-medicare-for-all-puzzling“People often say, like, how are you going to pay for it and I find the question so puzzling because ‘How do you pay for something that’s more affordable? How do you pay for cheaper rent?’ You just pay for it,” she said. “We’re paying more now.”

According to recent studies, the program, first introduced by Sanders over the summer, would increase government health spending by $32.6 trillion over 10 years.

If you’re thinking this response must have come from some hidden camera footage by Project Veritas, you’ll be surprised to learn Ocasio-Cortez released it. Yes, she’s actually proud of her answer.

After thinking about it, I realized this really is the best answer she can give. She’s using doublespeak, drastic oversimplification, and improved confidence to say thing that are clearly untenable. But that’s okay because she says it with a smile and seems sincerely confused that anyone would be so naive as to question the numbers.

The problem is a large percentage of Americans won’t question the numbers at all because they won’t understand them. That’s the problem with socialism at this scale. The numbers are so unfathomable that most have a hard time realizing the scope of what’s being proposed.

Let’s break it down in simpler terms. In 2017, the United States brought in $3.32 trillion in federal revenue. It’s projected to go up a little every year. For simple numbers, let’s assume around $35 trillion in total federal revenue over the next decade (which still, for some reason, puts us at a major budget deficit). Compare that to the $32 trillion price tag projected for Medicare-for-All and (hopefully) it becomes easier to see how this plan is completely ludicrous.

Her pitch is essentially, “Don’t worry about it. Rich people and the infinite coffers of the government will pay for it.” Somehow graduating cum laude from BU with a degree in economics and international relations didn’t translate in the real world.

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