Republicans Set The Stage To Dismantle the Federal Government

It has taken decades, but it appears that anti-government crusader Grover Norquist’s dream of cutting the government down to a size he can drown in a bathtub is on the verge of becoming reality. No doubt 2018 will go down as a watershed year for Republicans who finally have the authority to at least begin achieving one of the conservative movement’s raison d’être.

It has been the Republican Party’s wet dream to “devolve government to the local level” since FDR and the 1930’s New Deal and they took a giant step towards that goal with a massive gift to corporations and the wealthy who own them. In case there is any confusion, “devolve government to the local level” means abolishing the federal government in its entirety – including all agencies, acts of Congress, departments and programs created for “the general welfare” of the people.

Many Americans are either too stupid or have not been paying attention to the ulterior motive behind the GOP’s “monumental tax scam;” it goes beyond forcing the majority of population to fund corporate and religious entitlements or transferring the U.S. treasury to the oligarchs funding the Republican movement. Although those are crucial to the Republicans’ and Trump’s plan to make America great for the wealthy, they are not the only goal.

The larger goal is what Trump’s chief advisor Steve Bannon described as “deconstructing the administrative state.” Since Trump, the Kochs, and congressional Republicans are prohibited from issuing an edict abolishing all federal agencies, acts, departments and established laws, they will “defund the administrative state” instead.

Republicans will still collect taxes from working class Americans, but instead of funding federal agencies that serve the people, they will give those tax dollars to corporations and religious groups in the form of entitlements. When tax revenue stops covering entitlements for the rich and the religious, Republicans will “defund the administrative state” with extreme prejudice; that will be a major Republican goal in 2018.

Bloomberg reported yesterday that former Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said that Trump and congressional Republicans’ decision to add significant debt in the form of tax cuts for the rich is leaving the country broke. Mr. Lew said in a Bloomberg Radio interview that:

It’s a ticking time bomb in terms of the debt. You cannot run a fiscal policy by spending trillions of dollars you don’t have at a time that the economy is doing well.”

Mr. Lew thinks that because Republicans created tax reform for the rich and corporations without Democrats’ input, it will be difficult for “the administration” to convince Republicans to fund any “basic functions of government.” For dog’s sake, Mr. Lew is smart enough to know “the administration” could not possibly care less about “a functioning government, deficit or debt, or whether children get thrown off healthcare;” Trump cares about Trump.

It isn’t clear which “administration” Mr. Lew was referring, but it was not Trump or any of his conservative cronies.  It is no secret that Republicans pledged to the Koch brothers two years ago that when they controlled Washington they would “go after the federal government, all of it,” and “the administration” has done its part to begin the purge. At least Lew has been paying attention to congressional Republicans’ own statements about where they intend to start deconstructing the government and who they intend to hurt in the process. He said:

The next shoe to drop is going to be an attack on the most vulnerable in our society. How are we going to pay for the deficit caused by the tax cut? We are going to see proposals to cut health insurance for poor people, to take basic food support away from poor people, to attack Medicare and Social Security. One could not have made up a more cynical strategy.”

The strategy was “made up” at least a couple of decades ago and of course, it is “cynical” by design. It is a conservative strategy that involves abolishing every last element of the New Deal and any federal program since leading up to today. The tax reform is vicious in enriching the already wealthy, but it is the permanent corporate tax cuts that will be the end of “basic government functions.” Remember, the corporate tax cuts are forever and they will allow a greater number of the biggest corporations in America to avoid paying taxes forever — by design.

John Cassady at the New Yorker fairly summed up what is going to happen. After noting the “tax reform” is already going to bring in much less revenue, he concurred with other experts that it is not only “unworkable,” it has already “launched an avalanche of new loopholes to exploit.” He explained:

What isn’t yet fully appreciated is how porous and potentially unstable the rest of the tax code will be. With a corporate rate of just 20 percent, and a big new break for proprietors of unincorporated businesses and certain types of partnerships, the new code will contain enormous incentives for tax-driven restructurings, creative accounting, and outright fraud.”

Mr. Cassady said “these contortions” are designed to undercut federal revenues, which he acknowledges many Republicans welcome as an easy means of shrinking the federal government.

“The shortfall in tax revenues could be enormous. That is what Republicans want to happen. There are some in the Party who would like to see the tax base decimated, the I.R.S. crippled, and the federal government forced to slash spending on domestic programs, particularly entitlement programs. Nevertheless, for anybody who believes in a properly functioning government, a rational, clearly defined tax system is essential. The Republican reform doesn’t meet that standard.”

As one or two Americans might be aware, the concept of a “properly functioning government” is anathema to Republicans. Their idea of a functioning government is one that takes assets from the masses to fund “the security state,  the religious state, the military state, and  the corporate state.”

As this author has noted for a few years now, if any American wants a preview of how this “dismantling of the administrative state” plays out and the deleterious effects it will have on the people they can look at what happened in Kansas. Republicans gave massive tax gifts to the rich and corporations and raped the state government in the process by design.  In fact, one Kansas Republican appealed to congressional Republicans barely two months ago and warned them to avoid Kansas’ tax cut disaster. However, true to his word to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Mitch McConnell and Republicans are “doing the exact same thing to the federal government” that Brownback did to Kansas because they control Washington.

It is an unpleasant fact that most Americans have no awareness that their government is under assault from the people they elected to “govern” on their behalf.  It is a bigger travesty that many Americans are unaware exactly what their federal government does; Americans are inherently ignorant. But they will get a clue when their workplace protections, safe transportation, clean air and water standards, safe medicine, equal rights protections, education, healthcare, and national parks are abolished under the guise of reducing the deficit to pay for corporate tax cuts. It is what Republicans are celebrating will be a very Happy New Year.

Under Trump America Goes From World Leader to Banana Republic 

On Christmas eve conservative pundit William “Bill” Kristol made it clear that in its current iteration, the Republican Party he identifies with has become a cult of personality worthy of a banana republic. Kristol didn’t mention Trump by name, but he almost certainly was projecting his abhorrence of Trump on the entire GOP; a surprising development for a dyed-in-the-wool conservative but an apt projection all the same.

It is true the Republican Party is taking the country back to the 1920’s long before America became a global leader and was hardly a world super power, but even during the Great Depression when the filthy rich became incredibly wealthier, America was hardly considered a banana republic. All that changed less than a century later.

Whatever leadership role America enjoyed prior to Trump’s poorly attended inauguration is now just a memory despite what Trump claims. World leaders are well aware that although America has military might, and is a rapidly waning economic force, its influence globally is second-rate at best; in many areas it is nothing more than an irritating spectator.

Instead of leading on addressing climate change, America under Trump is watching China “assume the leadership mantle,” and subsequently the economic prosperity that will accompany it. And as the Los Angeles Times noted, “Russia has taken over Syrian peace negotiations that Moscow officials only allowed America to attend as observers.”

Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) look to Germany and France for leadership since Trump has isolated America from even its allies and trading partners. And speaking of international trade, America is now a global trade outlier and any number of American industries are living proof that Trump’s big mouth and isolationism kills American businesses.

This is an issue because Trump gave his assessment of America’s place on the global stage during a speech last week that is as far from reality as the Earth is from the edge of the observable universe. (Roughly 46.6 billion light years)

Trump claims that since January there has been a never-before-seen “broadening of U.S. influence throughout the world.” It is an odd assertion even for a buffoon like Trump; particularly since his executive actions since January are the sole force behind America ceding its global leadership role.

That is the consensus opinion of international leaders, diplomats, and foreign policy experts who contend that Trump is guilty of “reducing U.S. influence or altering it in ways that are less constructive on a broad range of policy issues.” In fact, what those leaders and critics actually say is that “Trump has taken positions that disqualify the United States from the debate or rendered it irrelevant on that ‘broad range of policy issues.’”

This is a serious issue because no matter what horrors Republicans are in the process of unleashing on Americans, Trump represents an existential threat because besides the insanity of isolationism in a truly global era, America under Trump is dangerously unreliable and untrustworthy to the rest of the world.

In India, a nation Trump has not attacked yet, the leaders are like most sane human beings concerned about ‘Trump’s unpredictability” and doubt that he can be trusted “as a reliable partner;” especially with his rush towards isolationism. Manoj Joshi is a scholar at a New Delhi think tank, Observer Research Foundation, who fairly summed up what the rest of the planet knows about Trump.

The president Trump can and does turn things inside out. So the chances that the U.S. works along a coherent and credible national security strategy are not very high.

Nicholas Burns, a long-serving senior diplomat under both Republican and Democratic administrations said Trump’s strategy, or lack thereof, “has left the U.S. ineffective.” Mr. Burns continued by remarking on an issue many critics have warned about to no avail; a weak and aimless Department of State.

“Trump needs a strong State Department to implement its strategy. Instead, State and the Foreign Service are being weakened and often sidelined. Trump’s policy of the last 12 months is a radical departure from every president since WWII. Trump is weak on NATO, Russia, trade, climate, diplomacy. The U.S. is declining as a global leader.”

What seems to be the final straw for nearly the entire world of nations was Trump’s gift to Benjamin Netanyahu that eliminates any opportunity for a “two-state” solution. The only people Trump “delighted” by formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital were many Israelis.  Trump incited rage in the Muslim world, wiped out decades of “international consensus” on a peaceful Palestine-Israeli resolution, and incurred the wrath of “an overwhelming majority of the U.N. General Assembly.

As most of the world understands, Trump unilaterally eliminated America as “an honest broker in mediating peace by clearly siding with Israel.” As many world leaders have noted, “From now on it is out of the question for a biased United States to be a mediator between Israel and Palestine; that period is over.”

A former U.S. ambassador to both Israel and Egypt under Presidents Clinton and Bush, Daniel Kurtzer, said  that any peaceful resolution in the Middle East  “won’t be from American policy. Trump took America out of the peace process for the foreseeable future.”

There is probably a detailed list of the myriad ways Trump single-handedly diminished American influence globally, but the real horror is that he accomplished that feat in less than a year. America is going to be in trouble going forward just on the basis of Trump’s isolationism and withdrawal from trade agreements and never-ending threats against our allies and United Nations member nations for daring to disagree with Trump. Add to that prospect the Republican Congress’ well-laid plans to wipe out the government and create an impoverished population; it is no longer a question of “if” America is a banana republic, but when the entire world recognizes what it is and turns against it.

Image: Matt Rotman

Koch-Funded Conservative Says Schools Feeding Children is Disturbing

 

Every parent understands what a difficult task it is to raise a child to be decent human beings in an economy where low wages almost dictate that in a two-parent household, both parents have to work to survive. In single-parent households the task is even greater and more challenging economically. Whether one, or two-parent households, any assistance struggling parents receive is generally greatly appreciated whether it is school lunch programs or after school tutoring programs. Those programs, like public schools, are benefits of living in a society with a modicum of social conscience. But in America conservatives are portraying those benefits as a liberal scheme to “supplant parents” and indoctrinate children.

One woman has a solution to what she says is a “very disturbing problem” plaguing parents and young children – the nations’ public school system. The woman, Julie Gunlock, is senior fellow at the anti-feminist “Independent Women’s Forum” and she argued on Fox and Friends that public schools are a liberal abomination; because they have the audacity to feed children and offer before and after-school programs. It is typical evangelical rot paid for by the Koch brothers and yet another emotional ploy to keep Americans stupid by inciting opposition to public schools.

Gunlock was on Fox and Friends offering her appraisal of the public school system and portrayed it as a nasty government plot to push parents out of their children’s lives and indoctrinate them into liberalism. She said:

More and more now these schools, elementary schools are taking on and supplanting parents. They get dropped off at 6:30 in the morning, they get three meals a day. There is after-care. There is even health care services at some schools. So, really schools have tried more and more to take on the role of parenting.

Now we’re seeing it in political issues. They’re telling children, ‘This is how you should think about certain issues,’ ‘This is how you should believe’… this is the ‘correct’ way to think on these issues. It’s very disturbing and parental rights are absolutely left out of the picture.”

Gunlock is a liar. Public schools are not in the business of telling children “how they should think, what to believe, or the ‘correct’ way to think about issues.” They have no interest, authority, or time to do what conservative Christians do and indoctrinate people to succumb to their worldview. It is also verboten to “preach” to students, except in religious schools.

Gunlock is also “very disturbed” that what she called “liberal bias” was seeping into the public school curriculum. Liberal bias in Gunlock’s mind is teaching facts, not evangelical religious mythos and Bronze Age superstition. Gunlock grieved over the fact that some schools were teaching kids that the climate is really changing and that there are transgender issues; she offers no proof that the education system has adopted “transgender issues” into its curriculum, but she’s a conservative and she doesn’t need to provide proof. But even if it is true, parents can take heart because Gunlock has a solution that doesn’t include the poor “persecuted” parents paying for a private religious education out of their own incomes.

Gunlock told parents to read The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation. The book has been described as ‘a monastic vision  for the 21st Century,” and “the most important religious book of the decade.” The reader can decide for themselves what to make of truly bizarre worldview founded on the fallacy that America was at one time a devout “Christian nation.” Still, that historical revisionism is embraced by many evangelical fundamentalists. As an aside, this is not a broad indictment of all Christian adherents; just the idiot religious right and dangerously underestimated Christian Reconstructionists.

Fox & Friends host Pete Hegseth also suggested that parents run for their local school board, in order to “be a part of changing curriculum;” likely to comport with the evangelical fundamentalist worldview. Parents, particularly evangelical parents have no right, and concept of what it takes or means to “change curriculum.” Hegseth  added that “far too many parents … don’t understand that even our public schools today have an agenda.” As an educator for 25-plus years in private, public and religious education, this author can attest that only religious schools have “an agenda.” Public schools have a mandate, not an agenda, to teach every child that shows up factual information and skills to succeed in life.

Gunlock agreed with Hegseth that parents have to take charge and added: “it’s important at the beginning of the year that you meet with the officials at the school and say I don’t want this happening.”

These are the ravings of either an ignorant lunatic or a special interest player funded by the Koch brothers’ anti-public school cabal. Although Gunlock’s remarks are patently false and oft-repeated claims by the ignorant evangelical right, she is parroting language straight out of the Koch brothers’ libertarianpropaganda” as part of their campaign to abolish public education.

Public schools, administrators, caregivers, teachers, cafeteria workers and school nurses have no interest whatsoever in “supplanting parents” or “taking on parental roles.” The only interest they have in parenting and their students is that the child’s parents instill and reinforce the value of learning. Those public school officials all have their own families and are not interested in taking on another 30 to 120 kids to “parent.”

And as far as those “meal programs” and after and before school “care programs,” they are not “forced” on anyone; they are provided as a free service to aid parents who have to work long hours for low wages to provide for their children.

It is probably true that Gunlock knows she is guilty of using conservative media to “indoctrinate” low information and the faithful into believing they are in an existential battle with the government for their children’s lives. That indoctrination is precisely what the Koch brothers, ALEC, and all of their heavily funded belief tanks have spent a couple of decades promoting under the guise of promoting “school choice;” what informed people understand is “school privatization.”

This crusade to abolish the public education system and replace it with privatization and taxpayer-funded evangelical madrassas has never presented as big of a threat as it does today. Whether it is Trump letting the Heritage Foundation select raging evangelical Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary to “advance the kingdom of god,” or sycophants like Gunlock fearmongering about indoctrination and “free lunches,” there is a concerted effort to dismantle public education being funded by the Kochs and perpetrated by Trump’s evangelical underlings.

Sessions Uses DOJ To Defend Ohio’s Massive Voter Purge

So, it turns out there was a reason the current evangelical attorney general committed felony perjury before the United States Senate and risked being sent to a federal penitentiary for five years. Jeff Sessions desperately wanted to advance his deeply-held religious convictions and use the Justice Department to punish the LGBTQ community nearly as much as he wanted to thwart democracy by restricting voting rights to white Republicans.

This week, the lying evangelical attorney general directed the DOJ to intervene in a “controversial” federal court case and protect a red state’s effort to revoke voters’ registration; an effort that has already purged well over 2 million voters from mostly Democratic-leaning neighborhoods. The case Sessions’ butted in to involves Ohio’s fascist Republican policy that has revoked voting rights for citizens Republicans claim are ineligible to participate in democracy if they haven’t voted for six years.

The DOJ filed an amicus brief on behalf of Ohio Republicans claiming that purging mostly Democratic voters is perfectly legal; the DOJ solicitor general stopped short of claiming the Republican voter purge campaign was inspired by god almighty. This fascist idea that all states are supposed to attack voting rights began in earnest in late June on the same day Trump, Pence, and Kris Kobach demanded personal and confidential voter data from every state in the Union. On that day the Sessions-led DOJ sent a letter to 44 states warning them it was reviewing their “voter list maintenance procedures” and demanded to know exactly how they intended to purge the names of voters the alt-right Trump administration claims were ineligible.

Most Americans are aware that Republicans, their legislative arm ALEC, and the fascist in the White House despise the idea that all citizens have voting rights, but it is stunning that the Justice Department has embraced voter suppression tactics. It is a major departure from what the Department has done in the past according to the DOJ’s mission statement; ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.”

According to Vanita Gupta, an Obama Administration voting rights advocate:

Monday’s filing was further confirmation of some of our worst fears about the Trump administration’s crackdown on voting rights. Yesterday, the Justice Department abandoned a longstanding view through numerous court filings across Democratic and Republican administrations that the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 prohibits voter purge practices like the one under litigation in Ohio.”

Ms. Gupta is right, of course, but she stopped short or condemning Sessions’ for abandoning the DOJ’s mandate to protect the people’s rights and enforce the law; including the federal National Voter Registration Act of 1993. Instead, this fascist administration’s Justice Department is violating its longstanding mission to “enforce the laws of the United States … and ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.”

This is the second time the Sessions-led Department of Justice has butted in to a court case it has no business being involved in. Less than two weeks ago Sessions’ issued an evangelical “amicus brief” saying that members of the LGBTQ community do not deserve or enjoy anti-discrimination or civil rights’ protections laid out in the 14th Amendment, Civil Rights Act of 1965, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Under the Trump-Sessions fascist administration, the Department of Justice is as opposed to those federal laws as they are the National Voter Registration Act. It is not in the DOJ’s mission statement to defend violations of the federal laws and in fact according to the DOJ motto, its job is prosecuting violations of those laws.

The DOJ’s official motto, “Qui Pro Domina Justitia Sequitur,” is loosely translated from the Latin and means: “Who prosecutes on behalf of justice (or the Lady Justice).” Perhaps Sessions doesn’t speak or read Latin, but that is no excuse for defending a violation of federal law when he should be “prosecuting on behalf of justice.” If Sessions can read English, he can acquaint himself with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and start doing his job by prosecuting Ohio Republicans “on behalf of justice.”

Whether one does a quick perusal, or a comprehensive investigation, of the Department Of Justice’s mission they will never find any “offices, departments, or divisions” devoted to fighting against democracy, opposing longstanding federal laws, or joining evangelical fundamentalists’ efforts to restrict the constitutionally-guaranteed equal and civil rights of all Americans.  However, that is precisely what Trump’s religious alt-right sycophant running the DOJ has made his raison d’être and it was so important a goal to achieve for Jeff Sessions that he risked federal prison by committing felony perjury under oath during his Senate confirmation hearing.

Trump Imperils a Third of the Population’s Clean Drinking Water

By now only someone in a coma is unaware that Republicans will go to great lengths to sate the greed of the fossil fuel industry no matter how detrimental their actions are to human life. As most Americans learned by the sixth grade, the primary component in a human body is water; anywhere from 60 to 75 percent depending on a person’s age. That being the case, it is safe to assume most people comprehend that access to clean drinking water is more than a basic human right, it is fundamental to life. Obviously, not everyone agrees with fundamental biology or has any regard for human life; that is particularly true of America’s “pro-life” Republicans.

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly “Explicitly recognized the fundamental human right to safe water and sanitation, and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realization of all human rights.”

Republicans, led by the Koch brothers and Donald Trump, completely disagree with the U.N. General Assembly and are continuing the fossil fuel attack on Americans’ “fundamental human right” to clean water; an attack they began early in the new legislative year with a new heartless White House occupant. However, that “first strike” attack only affected areas in and around coal mining regions, so the Trump is expanding the attack on clean drinking water to affect a greater number of Americans; a little over one-in-three Americans.

In early February, Trump signed a law allowing the fossil fuel (primarily coal) industry to dump toxic waste and chemicals into Americans’ clean water supplies. This is in spite of Trump’s campaign pledge to his supporters that “Americans need crystal clear and clean drinking water.” As Jenifer Collins of Earthjustice said at the time:

It is shameful that one of the first bills President Trump signs into law is an attack on clean water protections for communities facing the harmful health and environmental impacts of coal mining operations like mountaintop removal mining. The President said Americans need ‘crystal clear and clean water.’ If he really meant that, he would have vetoed this legislation.”

Of course Trump didn’t mean it – he is a pathological liar. And he will say “I never promised to protect Americans’ crystal clear and clean drinking water, I just said they need it.” Apparently the Koch brothers’ fossil fuel industry needs the authority to pour toxic waste into “crystal clear and clean drinking water” without legal repercussions or punitive damages that Trump and Republicans were happy to provide.

Another advocate for Americans’ access to clean drinking water, Natalie Thompson, representing the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition said:

Voting to overturn the Stream Protection Rule in its entirety with no consideration for the health of our citizens and our ecosystems is completely irresponsible. The people in these coal communities will pay the price by being forced to purchase potable water that they cannot afford or by combating cancer, birth defects, and other invasions of human health by way of toxic water.”

As an aside for Ms. Thompson to ponder; If those people in those coal communities are unable to afford purchasing potable water, they aren’t going to be able to purchase healthcare insurance to battle cancer, birth defects or other human health issues. And, if they are that economically disadvantaged they will just have to die along with any Medicaid or Medicare coverage Trump and Republicans are eliminating to “sate the greed of the rich.”

Now, Trump and his fossil fuel industry EPA director, Scott Pruitt, are readying a vicious attack on the rest of the nation’s “crystal clear and clean water” that will affect a little over a third of the population’s “fundamental human right” to clean water.

Trump’s barbaric administration officially began repealing the “Clean Water Rule” late last week with a solemn pledge to completely “rescind and rewrite the regulation.” Trump’s fossil fuel employee Scott Pruitt will task industry lobbyists to “rewrite the regulation” to conform to the February law allowing the fossil fuel producers, manufacturers, and agribusiness  to legally dump toxic waste into about two million miles of rivers and streams and 20 million acres of wetlands.

To get an idea of how dastardly this Trump cabal really is, the “official repeal proposal” appeared on the same day EPA Administrator and ardent “pro-life” evangelical Scott Pruitt testified in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee that with a fossil fuel advocate like him at the helm, “the EPA would focus on its core mission of ‘protecting clean air and water’ for the American people.”

Pruitt said in a press statement:

We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses. This is the first step in the two-step process to redefine ‘waters of the U.S.’ and we are committed to moving through this re-evaluation to quickly provide regulatory certainty, in a way that is thoughtful, transparent and collaborative with other agencies and the public.”

Republicans, and particularly the Koch brothers’ fossil fuel cohort, complained bitterly in 2015 when President Obama tasked the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers with following an order from the United States Supreme Court to designate “waters of the U.S” that required protection from toxic dumping; solely because they provide “crystal clear and clean drinking water” to over a third of the population.

In February, at about the same time he signed a law authorizing the fossil fuel industry to dump toxic waste into rivers and streams that provide clean water, Trump issued an executive order directing the EPA to “review and reconsider” the Clean Water Rule it previously devised in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers. Trump specifically ordered the EPA to give “special attention and consideration” to how the agency defined “navigable waters.” One can only imagine that “navigable waters” will be reserved for the oceans in and around the United States so the fossil fuel, manufacturing, chemical, and agricultural industry can dump toxic waste into the clean waters anywhere within the continental United States.

There really isn’t much to say about the party in power, or its corrupt leader, that is printable for polite company, but that it takes a special kind of evil to pass laws, issue executive orders and rescind protections just to “sate the greed of the fossil fuel industry.” It was beyond comprehension that Congress and Trump would enact a law allowing the fossil fuel industry to dump toxic waste in and around mining and oil operations, but endangering a third of the population’s “crystal clear and clean water” is beyond comprehension. Sadly, there is nothing whatsoever anyone can do to stop this vicious attack on a “fundamental human right,” but there are environmental groups pledging to continue the fight for “human rights.” The executive director of the Sierra Club, Michael Brune said in a statement:

“It goes without saying that the Trump administration doesn’t care about the environment, public health, or its duty to protect our most precious natural resources — and that is why it’s up to us, the American people, to hold them accountable. We will fight this and every other attempt by polluters and the Trump administration to destroy our water resources.”

The Trump administration is out to destroy, or steal, all of America’s resources for his and Republicans’ masters the Koch brothers, and the people can attempt to fight, and resist, their efforts, but they are impotent. That’s what happens when stupid Americans install a government committed to the general welfare of the rich, corporations and fossil fuel industry instead of the American people. First they came for your healthcare, then your schools, then your freedoms and now they’re coming for your most fundamental human right; “crystal clear and clean water.”

Liberal Economists Say Sanders’ Economic Numbers “Don’t Add Up”

 

 

One of the redeeming features of liberal politics, and policies, is standing firm on reality and not fantasy or what one wishes were true; particularly reality in numbers. Some Americans may remember that Democrats typically have an easy time debunking Republican economic proposals like those of so-called “economic policy wonk” Paul Ryan. Liberal economists get to the truth of Republican economic scams by using good old-fashioned arithmetic; something Republicans, conservative belief tanks, and Paul Ryan never take into consideration in creating what real economists call “fantasy economics.”

Now, a group of liberal economists have assessed another economic policy proposal of a real liberal politician, and using math concluded that Senator Bernie Sanders’ “rosy economic projections do not add up.” The economists warned, like they did with Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity,” that “there is no credible economic research to support its (Sanders’) conclusions.”

The group of “leading liberal economists,” Alan Krueger, Austan Goolsbee, Christina Romer, and Laura D’Andrea Tyson sent a letter to Senator Sanders’ campaign and cautioned that;

Making such promises runs against our party’s best traditions of evidence-based policy making and undermines our reputation as the party of responsible arithmetic.”

In fact, the highly respected economists, who are all universally regarded as luminaries in the field, say the Sanders’ economic projections “are as irresponsible as those promoted by Republicans who claim that deep tax cuts will jump start the economy.”

They tell the Sanders’ campaign;

These claims undermine the credibility of the progressive economic agenda and make it that much more difficult to challenge the unrealistic claims made by Republican candidates.” These liberal economists are just the latest to question not only the Senator’s numbers, but his “grasp on political realism.” It is a recurring concern.

It is noteworthy that these are the same liberal economists who, at different times over seven years, have served in the Obama Administration and were instrumental in “using responsible arithmetic” to debunk every single Republican economic proposal over the past seven years.  They have also advised the President on his economic policies and agenda that lifted the economy out of the Great Recession, created millions of jobs, and all while reducing the deficit; not heaping trillions of dollars on it.

In fact, a prominent health policy economist at Emory University, Kenneth E. Thorpe, contradicted Mr. Sanders’ Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton and said her claims about how much the Sanders’ healthcare agenda would increase the size of the federal government was completely wrong because it is way too conservative.

Mr. Thorpe, whose field of expertise is “economic health policy,” says Mr. Sanders’ health plan will cost $27 trillion over the next ten years. It is not $14 trillion as advertised and will bring the total of all his initiatives well above $30 trillion through 2026. Mrs. Clinton had said the Sanders’ plan will increase the size of the federal government by 40 percent and the liberal economists all say that too, is all wrong; it will increase it by 50 percent. Now there is a fact Republicans would love to ram down Democrats throats in a general election because that increase is in addition to regular government operating expenses.

That increase is a level that “will surpass any American federal government expansion since the buildup in World War II.” It leads one to wonder exactly how any Democrat will convince Koch Republicans who own the nation’s purse to increase the size of federal government by one percent, much less 40 or 50 percent; particularly when the GOP’s only goal is cutting government to a size they can easily “drown in a bathtub.”

The Sanders’ campaign responded to the liberal economists’ facts and arithmetic-based letter and assessment by dismissing their economic expertise as Clinton sympathizers and corrupt industry insiders. The liberal economic experts join a group that is increasing in size every day based on utterances void of praise for Mr. Sanders.

Look, it is not a popular reality for some Americans, but the fact-based reckoning of the left-of-center economists, none of whom work for Hillary Clinton, are as valid assessments of a real liberal politician’s economic plan as they are for a real Republican politicians’. According to President Obama’s former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, now a University of Chicago professor, “the Sanders’ proposal numbers don’t remotely add up;” it is the same conclusion liberal economists reached about Republican Paul Ryan’s economic proposals.

Austan Goolsbee alluded to another progressive economic analysts’ assessment of the Sanders’ single-payer plan as “puppies and rainbows” he said was nonsense.  He asserted that after his liberal economic teams’ assessment,  “the puppies and rainbows evolved into magic flying puppies with winning Lotto tickets tied to their collars.”

It is worth mentioning yet again, that these real liberal economists, like Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, think the concept of a single-payer plan is worthy of consideration. However, like Mr. Krugman, they also note the major difficulty Democrats and President Obama had in winning support for and implementing a less-ambitious healthcare reform law; one Republicans still want abolished as much as they want to wipe out Medicare.

The liberal economists regard putting everything into a “fairy tale a fool’s errand; particularly at the expense of other necessities such as education, infrastructure, climate change, worker benefits and preserving the Affordable Care Act itself.”

A longtime health economist at the Brookings Institute, Henry J. Aaron, said,

The single-payer idea has enormous appeal: coverage for everyone, hopefully use government power to hold down overall costs, and clean out the godawful mess that the U.S. private health care system is and save money there.”

But Mr. Aaron said that, like nearly all liberal economists, in this political climate such a proposal is a “fairy tale.”

The proposal is a fairy tale in this political climate and it is why it is more important to present realistic numbers. The good news is that real liberal economists are honest enough to use the same standards to assess a liberal’s economic proposals as they are a Republicans’. As the economists said in the letter to the Sanders’ campaign, “these claims undermine the credibility of the progressive economic agenda and make it that much more difficult to challenge the unrealistic claims made by Republican candidates.”

Democrats, no matter who their candidate of choice is, can be assured that Republicans will take great joy in challenging the unrealistic claims made by the Sanders’ campaign. Armed with some honest assessments, hopefully Senator Sanders will revisit his economic proposals and use “responsible arithmetic” to come up with a plan that no liberal or conservative economist can possibly call a fairy tale.