Working in a G.O.P. Government Can Be a Devil’s Bargin

by admin on September 13, 2018

Climate change is the primary issue confronting the world today

Anonymous’ Is Hiding in Plain Sight — The G.O.P. crowd who accepted the devil’s bargain is huge

From the Opinion Column of Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, Sept. 11, 2018

What if Trump’s tax cuts, deregulation, scrapping of Obamacare without any alternative and military spending surge were actually ill-thought-through, short-term-focused initiatives that all ignored expert opinion — because they mostly emerged from off-the-cuff remarks at Trump pep rallies — and collectively amount to a sugar high that not only will be unsustainable but will leave our economy far more vulnerable in the long term?

Let’s take that view for a spin: I favor corporate tax cuts — big ones. But I would have offset them with a carbon tax, a tax on sugar and a small financial transaction tax. That way, we’d unleash the energy of our corporations while mitigating climate change, spurring the next great global industry — clean power — curbing childhood asthma and diabetes and not adding to our national debt, thereby making ourselves more resilient as a country.

When Trump simultaneously cuts corporate taxes and withdraws America from the Paris climate accord, tries to revive the coal industry by lowering pollution standards and weakens fuel economy standards for U.S.-made cars and trucks, he is vastly adding to the financial debts and carbon debts that will burden our children.

And he is doing this despite many economists warning that increasing thedeficit when your economy is already growing nicely is really, really reckless — because you may need that money to stimulate your way out of the next recession.

And he is doing this at a time when virtually every climate scientist has warned that global-warming-driven extreme weather events — droughts, floods and wildfires — are sharply on the rise and we are staring through the last window of time to mitigate climate change so that we can manage the impacts that are already unavoidable and avoid the impacts that will be terrifyingly unmanageable.

In June, The Associated Press reported on the latest International Monetary Fund survey of the U.S. economy, which concluded that as a result of Trump’s “tax cuts and expected increases in defense and domestic programs, the federal budget deficit as a percentage of the total economy will exceed 4.5 percent of G.D.P. by next year — nearly double what it was just three years ago.” Such a “big boost … has not been seen in the United States since President Lyndon Johnson in the late 1960s boosted spending on the Vietnam War at the same time it was adopting Johnson’s Great Society programs.”

The National Debt Clock topped $21 trillion in July. (Associated Press)

Faced with so much debt, which the country will not be able to grow out of, The A.P. story continued, paraphrasing the I.M.F. report, the U.S. “may need to take politically painful steps,” such as cutting Social Security benefits and imposing higher taxes on consumers. (We’ll probably also have to limit spending on new roads, bridges and research.)

You might want to let your kids know that. You might also want to share with your kids the recent study from a group of Australian climate scientists who modeled the damage to different economies if we don’t work together to achieve the Paris climate accord’s goal of limiting the increase in global average temperature by 2100 to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The rise in sea level will require massive movements of people and cities, and the soaring heat levels will cause losses in agricultural productivity and declines in human health across the globe. As a result, the study found, the economic impacts of ignoring the Paris limits will be “comparable to the Great Depression of the 1930s, with its global fall in G.D.P. of 15 percent, except these will occur year after year, with no way for effective redress. … Many governments around the globe won’t be able to cope and will, to put it simply, fail.”

Note: President Trump promised to support the coal industry (again) at a rally in Charleston, W.Va., in August.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mary Wildfire September 14, 2018 at 11:02 am

This makes me grind my teeth, and I’m not commenting on the NYX website, which gets hundreds of comments likely no one reads.

Lovely, Mr Friedman–since Trump et al are chopping corporate taxes (which you approve) and increasing already gargantuan military spending without adding the taxes Friedman wants to see, the debt is skyrocketing…and therefore we will soon need “politically painful measures” like cutting Social Security and Medicare.

What a reeking pile of recycled oats! No, we need the measures that are ACTUALLY politically painful, as well as glaringly obvious: cut the military budget and corporate welfare, increase taxes on corporations and the rich– but that can’t be done because Congress would face the anger of the constituencies they actually answer to–corporations and the super-rich.

The voters are of no concern, have no power in this system.

Mary Wildfire, Roane County, WV


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