Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Saturday, July 28, 2018


That money has to be somewhere

by Tom Sullivan

"Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere," laughed President George W. Bush. His presentation to the 2004 Radio and Television News Correspondents Association dinner included slides of him looking under furniture in the Oval Office. “Nope, no weapons over there ... maybe under here?” he laughed. Thousands of Americans died in his trumped-up invasion of Iraq, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. The tasteless joke evoked a brief firestorm of criticism. Halliburton, the firm once run by Bush vice-president Dick Cheney made at least $39.5 billion on the war. Americans and Iraqis paid. Contractors made.

The Bush administration story comes to mind again as Americans endure our sitting president's bragging about about economic growth and low unemployment. Where are their pay raises?

Will Bunch wondered this week. Workers have been duped again:

By and large, American workers haven’t been getting the kind of pay raises that history predicts for an economy with such a low unemployment rate. That’s even more astounding when you remember 2017’s $1.5 trillion tax cut that was heavily weighted toward large corporations, with the promise that — this time, we swear — a lot of those dollars would trickle down to the rank-and-file worker.

Now, the post-tax-cut numbers are coming in, and you’ll be shocked, shocked to learn that America didn’t get that pay raise after all. In a widely read column last week for Bloomberg, Noah Smith pointed to statistics from PayScale showing that so-called real wages — your paycheck, but adjusted for inflation — actually fell in the just-ended second quarter of 2018, by 1.8 percent. That’s adding insult to injury for America’s middle class. Real wages for the average worker have dropped since 2006, with an overall decline of 9.3 percent, including these ugly new numbers. The GOP/Trump tax cuts were supposed to fix that problem, not make it worse.
But like finding WMDs, it was a ruse. Workers' pay raises were never the point. Where did the money disappear to? Bunch asks. The money went to where it always goes: into the paychecks of Wall Street CEOs and into stock buybacks to boost investors' portfolios. It went where it did under Bush's deceptively named American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. The bill allowed corporations to repatriate offshore monies — at a steep tax discount — under the promise of creating jobs for struggling Americans. Instead, observed Allan Sloan, corporations bought stocks, pocketed the extra profit and cut more jobs:
American Enterprise Institute fellow Phillip L. Swagel, formerly chief of staff of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, told my Post colleague Jonathan Weisman last August that "you might as well have taken a helicopter over 90210 [a Beverly Hills Zip code] and pushed the money out the door." That's a memorable quote -- and a dead-accurate observation.
The Trump-GOP tax cut plan just ran the same repatriation scam again.

This time, we swear.

"It’s not that corporations don’t have more money — it’s that they have no particular reason to give that money to workers," reads a subhead from Vox. Meanwhile, America continues to decay around them.

Bridges across Mississippi are closed and crumbling, creating detours and raising production costs for small businesses and commuting costs for residents who cannot afford any more stretch in their budgets. "Across the state, residents now have to circumvent nearly 500 closed bridges that have been declared unsafe," reports NBC. Many were built during the Eisenhower administration:
“We ain’t got no money for these bridges. We ain’t got nothing but prayers here in Washington County,” Redmond said, cocking his head back and laughing in the county courthouse in Greenville. “That’s why we got a preacher on the board.”

According to Redmond and that preacher, county supervisor Jesse Amos, the county has used up almost all of its multi-million dollar road budget addressing the bridge closures. It now has just $37,000 for the rest of 2018.
In Nebraska, twenty bridges are closed in rural Lancaster County:
The Lincoln Journal Star reports that the engineer recently closed four bridges after storms dumped about 7 inches of rain in parts of Lancaster County in late June.

Several of the problem bridges were built in the 1950s and early 1960s, using timber for some parts. That was a popular bridge construction method at the time, but there is a tendency for water to get behind the timber, which rots and creates maintenance problems, Dingman said.

Other closed bridges were built in the 1920s and 1930s, Works Progress Administration-era bridges, with washed-out footings no longer on solid ground.

"Their little feet aren't in the dirt anymore," Dingman says.

These older bridges generally cannot be repaired and need to be replaced. Their life expectancy was 50 years and they are nearing 100 years old.
Aging infrastructure is an issue in the northeast. An aging steam pipe exploded last week in Manhattan. The system is 150 years old. Boston too has its issues.

From a union household, Marty Walsh in some ways fits the profile of the white working-class man that helped elect Donald Trump. But the college dropout and recovering alcoholic is also mayor of deep-blue Boston. "An intense defender of Obamacare, immigrants and unions and a vocal supporter of full equality for LGBTQ Americans," Walsh reminds Politico his city is twenty-eight percent foreign-born and forty-eight percent first-generation. "We’ve had 85,000 new people move in the last four years," he says of one of the safest cities in America. But he's worried the country has lost its way and wonders what the 2020 election will bring:
“This election has to be covered in the sense of not ‘Trump versus person X.’ It has to be covered in ‘where America is today,’” Walsh said. “We need more stories about where is our water system in America? I don’t think the people understand how fragile our water system is in America. I don’t think people understand how bad our infrastructure, roads and rails are in this country. I think they think they have a good road system—we really don’t. It’s crumbling. I think people need to understand what’s happening in the environment in our country that, in Boston, if we don’t really focus on building protections on the harbor, what could happen if a Superstorm Sandy comes, and then what’s happening in the Midwest with forest fires.”

“What’s at stake in this country is not necessarily undocumented immigrants; what’s at stake in this country isn’t some of the things that they’re talking about,” he said. “It’s exactly our own backyard, what’s happening.”
Incomes are flat. Standards of living have been stagnant for years. Promises of better times keep coming and go unfulfilled. It's not that there is no money. It's that it's not going where it's needed or to people who struggle the hardest to earn it. But the investor class is doing just fine.

Someone set Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos's $40 million yacht adrift this week on Lake Huron. The 164-foot Cayman Islands-registered yacht is one of ten in the family's fleet.

* * * * * * * * *

For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.