Robert Reich - Vilas County News-Review
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  • Editor’s note: Gary Franks is writing this week’s column for the vacationing Robert Reich.

    IRONICALLY, REPUBLICANS MAY be the reason for President Joe Biden’s announcement of the kind of person he would nominate for the Supreme Court. Former President Ronald Reagan, upon being elected, made it clear he
  • Editor’s note: Gary Franks is writing this week’s column for the vacationing Robert Reich.

    PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN has taken the Democrat Party to new lows. The Democrats have lost 14 points in 12 months in a recent Gallop poll on who the American people want to run the country. Biden’s and Vice President Kamala Harris’ polling numbers are
  • Editor’s note: Gary Franks is writing this week’s column for the vacationing Robert Reich.

    TO KICK OFF the new year, excuse the intended pun, I am not doing a political column this week. In fact, I am drawing upon the lives of two of the most apolitical people you could find: John Madden and Betty White; both are
  • Editor’s note: Gary Franks is writing this column for the vacationing Robert Reich. 

    MY CHILDREN OFTEN look at me as having lived the
  • Editor’s note: Gary Franks is writing this week’s column for the vacationing Robert Reich.

    DESPITE HAVING THREE vaccines ready and available, President Joe Biden has had more Covid-related deaths than his predecessor whose performance on Covid was deemed poor by the media. Today, we
  • Editor’s note: Gary Franks is writing this week’s column for the vacationing Robert Reich.

    AMERICAN LEADERSHIP HAS grown extremely old. It is unprecedented. It offers challenges and it gives a distinct advantage to the folks who have been doing the
  • Editor’s note: Gary Franks is writing this week’s column for the vacationing Robert Reich.

    TODAY, THE UNITED States of America is being asked to stop using one of our God-given treasures: our natural resources that produce energy, the driving force to our economic engine. Who is asking us to do this? Countries led by
  • Editor’s note: Gary Franks is writing this week’s column for the vacationing Robert Reich.

    WHENEVER WE HAD major social legislation pass and become law, we had both political parties involved in the process. The measures passed with a substantial number of Democrat and Republican support, regardless of party ideology or who occupied the Oval Office. This has

  • THE NEWS HAS been dominated by the Supreme Court, whose term began last week; the Federal Reserve and whether it will start responding to inflation by raising interest rates; and
  • Editor’s note: Gary Franks is writing this week’s column for the vacationing Robert Reich.

    MANY LIBERALS, PROGRESSIVES, socialists and far-left Democrats are disingenuous, but also serious-minded and focused. When pushed to defend their failed policies, they are quite clever. They
  • I’M OLD ENOUGH to remember when the Republican Party stood for limited government; when Ronald Reagan thundered “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”
    Today’s Republican Party, while still claiming to stand for limited government, is
  • My granddaughter will go to school next week. So may your child or grandchild. For many, it will be their first time back in classrooms in a year and a half.
    What do we want for these young people? At least three things.
    First and most obviously, to learn
  • AS THE HIGHLY contagious COVID-19 delta variant surges, public health officials are trying to keep the focus on the urgent need for more vaccinations.
    But with increasing vehemence, Donald Trump Republicans are falling back on their old game of 
  • DESPAIR IS WORSE after hope is briefly ignited. I don’t know about you, but I was elated earlier this spring, when it seemed as if Donald Trump and COVID-19 were gone, and Joe Biden appeared to be getting the nation rapidly back on track.
    Now, much is sliding backwards. It’s not Biden’s fault. It’s
  • LAST WEEK, 39 MILLION American parents began receiving a monthly child allowance of $300 per child younger than 6 years old, $250 per child ages 6-17. It’s the biggest helping hand to American families in more than 85 years.
  • CHINA’S INCREASINGLY AGGRESSIVE geopolitical and economic stance in the world is unleashing a fierce bipartisan backlash in America. That’s fine if it leads to more public investment in basic research, education and infrastructure, as did the Sputnik shock of the late 1950s, but
  • HOUSE REPUBLICANS ARE blaming Democrats for the rise in Chipotle burrito prices.
    You heard me right. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) issued a statement claiming that Chipotle’s recent decision to raise prices on its burritos and
  • WEST VIRGINIA SEN. Joe Manchin announced in an op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail that he opposes the For the People Act. He also opposes ending the filibuster.
    An op-ed in the most prominent state newspaper is
  • MAYBE IT’S WISHFUL thinking to declare the pandemic over in the United States and presumptuous to conclude what lessons we’ve learned from it. So consider this list a first draft.
    1. Workers are
  • AMERICA PREFERS TO look forward rather than back. We’re a land of second acts. We move on.
    This can be a strength. We don’t get bogged down in outmoded traditions, old grudges, obsolete ways of thinking. We constantly reinvent. We
  • BY ALMOST ANY measure, Joe Biden’s first 100 days as president have been hugely successful. Getting millions of Americans inoculated against COVID-19 and beginning to revive the economy are central to that success.
    Some two-thirds of Americans support
  • AMERICA IS ABOUT to revive an idea that was left for dead decades ago. It’s called industrial policy and it’s at the heart of Joe Biden’s plans to restructure the U.S. economy.
    When industrial policy was last debated in the 1980s, critics recoiled from
  • JOE BIDEN IS embarking on the biggest government initiative in more than a half-century “unlike anything we have seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades go,” he said.
    But when it comes to details, it
  • THE MOST DRAMATIC change in American capitalism over the last half-century has been the emergence of corporate behemoths like Amazon and the simultaneous shrinkage of organized labor. The resulting imbalance has spawned near-record inequalities of income and wealth, corruption of democracy by big money and
  • DONALD TRUMP FORMALLY anointed himself head of the Republican Party at Sunday’s Conservative Political Action Conference.
    The Grand Old Party (GOP), founded in 1854, in Ripon, is now dead. What’s left is a dwindling number of elected officials who have stood up to Trump, but are now being purged. Even
  • WHILE MOST OF official Washington has been consumed with the Senate impeachment trial, another part of Washington is preparing the most far-ranging changes in American social policy in a generation.
    Congress is
  • TEN SENATE REPUBLICANS have proposed a COVID-19 relief bill of about $600 billion. That’s less than a third of President Joe Biden’s plan. They promise “bipartisan support” if he agrees.
    Their proposal isn’t a compromise. It
  • I KEEP HEARING that Joe Biden will govern from the “center.” He has no choice, they say, because he’ll have razor-thin majorities in Congress and the Republican Party has moved to the right.
    Rubbish. I’ve
  • MOST OF THE 74.2 million Americans who voted to re-elect Donald Trump, 46.8% of the votes cast in the 2020 presidential election, don’t hold Trump accountable for what he’s done to America.
    Their acceptance of Trump’s behavior will
  • HOW SHOULD THE huge financial costs of the pandemic be paid for, as well as the other deferred needs of society after this “annus horribilis?”
    Politicians rarely want to raise taxes on the rich. President-elect Joe Biden promised to do so, but a closely divided Congress is already balking.
    That’s because they’ve bought into one of the most dangerous of all economic ideas: that
  • “IT’S TIME WE address the structural inequalities in our economy that the pandemic has laid bare,” said President-elect Joe Biden as he introduced his economic team.
    It’s a good team. They’re
  • FINANCIAL REGULATORS SUBJECT banks to stress tests to see if they have enough capital to withstand sharp downturns.
    Now, America is being subject to a stress test to see if
  • IN CASE YOU missed the news, Joe Biden was elected president of the United States. With almost all ballots counted, Biden has more than 75 million votes and Donald Trump some 71 million. The Electoral College isn’t even close.
    But Trump still has not conceded and
  • AMY CONEY BARRETT was confirmed last week as the ninth justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. This is a travesty of democracy.
    The vote on Barrett’s confirmation occurred just eight days before Election Day. By contrast, the Senate didn’t even hold a hearing on Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. Obama nominated Garland almost
  • “I COULD STAND in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose voters,” boasted Donald Trump in 2016.
    Trump’s Fifth Avenue principle is being severely tested. Some 40% of voters have stuck by him even though more than 214,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. It’s one of the world’s highest death rates, due in part to
  • WHAT IS AMERICA really fighting over in the upcoming election? Not any particular issue. It’s not even Democrats vs. Republicans.
    The central fight is over Donald Trump.
    Before Trump, most Americans weren’t especially passionate about politics. But
  • LESS THAN TWO months before one of the most consequential elections in American history, it’s useful to consider the economic reality that fueled Donald Trump’s victory four years ago.
    No other developed nation has nearly the inequalities of
  • TO BE RE-ELECTED, Donald Trump knows he has to distract the nation from the pandemic that he has flagrantly failed to control, leaving more than 180,000 Americans already dead, tens of millions jobless and at least 30 million reportedly hungry.
    So he’s counting on the reliable Republican dog whistle. “Your
  • AS AMERICA HEADS into its quadrennial circus of nominating conventions (this year’s even more surreal because of the pandemic), it’s important to understand the real difference between America’s two political parties at this point in history.
    Instead of
  • “THE RECOVERY HAS been very strong,” said Donald Trump. Then, the Department of Commerce reported that the U.S. economy contracted between April and June at the fastest pace in nearly three-quarters of a century, which is as long as economists have been keeping track. The drop wiped out five years of economic growth, but
  • DONALD TRUMP IS on the verge of accomplishing what no American president has ever achieved: a truly multiracial, multiclass, bipartisan political coalition so encompassing that it could realign U.S. politics for years to come.
    Unfortunately for Trump, that coalition has 
  • DONALD TRUMP SAID last week’s jobs report, which showed an uptick in June, proves the economy is roaring back.
    Rubbish. The Labor Department gathered the data during the week of June 12, when America was reporting 25,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day. By the time the report was issued last week, that figure was
  • SOME SOCIETIES CENTER on social control, others on social investment.
    Social-control societies put substantial resources into police, prisons, surveillance, immigration enforcement and the military. Their purpose is to utilize fear, punishment and violence to
  • HISTORY TEACHES THAT mass protests against oppression can lead either to liberation or brutal repression.
    This past week, Donald Trump bet his political future on repression. Much of the rest of America on the other hand wants to liberate black people from police brutality and
  • MOST OF EUROPE and all 50 of America’s states are in various stages of reopening, but why, exactly?
    The pandemic is still with us. After the first tentative steps to ease the lockdown in Germany, the most successful large European country in halting the spread of the virus thanks to
  • DONALD TRUMP IS getting nervous. Internal polls show him losing in November unless the economy comes roaring back.
    But much of the American economy remains closed because of the pandemic. The numbers of infections and deaths continue to climb.
    So what is
  • THE COVID-19 RELIEF enacted by Congress more than three weeks ago is barely reaching Americans in need.
    Checks of up to $1,200 are being delivered through direct-deposit filings with the IRS, but low-income people who have not directly deposited their taxes won’t get these checks for weeks or months. Worse yet, the Treasury is
  • AS MILLIONS OF jobless Americans line up for food or risk their lives delivering essential services, the nation’s billionaires are making conspicuous donations: $100 million from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos for food banks, billions from Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates for a COVID-19 vaccine, thousands of ventilators and N95 masks from
  • DICK KOVACEVICH, FORMER CEO of Wells Fargo, thinks most Americans should return to work in April, urging that we gradually bring those people back and see what happens.
    Lloyd Blankfein, former CEO of
  • DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and just about the only official in the Donald Trump administration trusted to tell the truth about the coronavirus, said last Thursday “The system does not, is not really geared to what we need right now. It is a failing, let’s
  • LAST WEEK, THE U.S. stock market suffered its largest weekly loss since 2008. A health crisis is rapidly morphing into an economic crisis.
    So far, America’s response has left much to be desired.
    Epidemiologists in other countries have used
  • IT’S BAD ENOUGH that a tyrant is testing American democracy. Now, an oligarch is trying to buy the presidency.
    Michael Bloomberg’s net worth is more than $60 billion. The yearly return on $60 billion is at least $2 billion, which is what Bloomberg said he’ll pour into buying
  • LAST TUESDAY, an impeached president who is up for re-election delivered a State of the Union address to the most divided union in living memory.
    But why are we so divided? Part of the answer is Donald Trump himself. The “Great Divider” knows how to pit native-born Americans against immigrants, the working class against 
  • DONALD TRUMP’S PHASE-ONE agreement with China, expected to be signed this week, is intended partly to slow China’s move into new technologies like electric cars by protecting the intellectual property of American corporations.
    Which lends a certain irony to
  • DONALD TRUMP’S KILLING OF Qasem Soleimani brings America to the brink of a war with Iran without any congressional approval; in direct violation of the war-making authority Congress has under the Constitution.
    Other presidents have started wars in reckless disregard of the Constitution, too, but
  • FOR A CENTURY, THE Republican Party has been bankrolled by big business and Wall Street. Donald Trump wants to keep the money rolling in. His signature tax cut, which was passed two years ago, has helped U.S. corporations score record profits and the stock market reach all-time highs.
    To spur even more corporate generosity for the 2020 election, Trump is
  • WE’RE COMING TO the end of what might be called the anti-democracy decade. It began Jan. 21, 2010, with the Supreme Court’s shameful decision in Citizen’s United v. Federal Election Commission, opening the floodgates to big money in politics with the absurd claim that the First Amendment protects corporate
  • AS A CANDIDATE IN 2015, Donald Trump said that he’d “surround myself only with the best and most serious people.”
    Not quite. Nov. 15, Trump’s longtime friend and personal confidante, Roger Stone, was found guilty of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing a congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Stone faces a maximum of
  • BILLIONAIRES ARE WAILING THAT Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders’ wealth tax proposals are attacks on free-market capitalism. “Warren vilifies successful people,” said Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase.
    Rubbish. There are
  • IN THE CONVENTIONAL VIEW of American politics, Joe Biden is a moderate, while Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are on the left, and Donald Trump is on the right.
    This conventional view is 
  • DONALD TRUMP WILL ALMOST certainly be impeached in the House, possibly as soon as Thanksgiving. The odds are rising that he’ll be convicted in the Senate.
    There are two important questions and the answers to both are
  • AMID THE IMPEACHMENT FUROR, don’t lose sight of the renewed importance of protecting the integrity of the 2020 election.
    The difference between Richard Nixon’s abuse of power (trying to get dirt on political opponents to help with his 1972 re-election and then, covering it up) and Donald Trump’s abuse of power (trying to get
  • IF STAGNANT WAGES, near-record inequality, climate change, nuclear buildups, assault weapons, mass killings, trade wars, opioid deaths, Russian intrusions into American elections, children locked in cages at our border and Donald Trump in the White House don’t, at least occasionally, cause you feelings of impending doom, you’re 
  • This column is a substitute for Robert Reich from Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune.

    IN THE GRAND NARRATIVE of the 2020 presidential race, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and former Sen. Al Franken have found themselves on a political seesaw. As her political fortunes have crashed in recent months, Franken’s — if he has any — appear to have
  • This column is a substitute for Robert Reich from Carl Hiaasen of the Miami Herald.

    THE LONG REPUBLICAN WAR on the Endangered Species Act heated up when the Donald Trump administration announced it was changing the rules about how far the government should go to save America’s
  • This column is a substitute for Robert Reich from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press. 

    PROMISING YOU THINGS is what politicians do. It’s how they get elected. “A chicken in every pot. A car in every garage.” That slogan helped send Herbert Hoover to

  • IT BEGAN WITH Donald Trump’s racist tweets demanding that the four Democratic congresswomen, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar, go back to the crime-infested places from which they came.
    All four women are
  • I KEEP HEARING that the Democratic Party has moved left and that some Democratic candidates may be too far left.
    But in this era of unprecedented concentration of wealth and political power at the top, I can’t help wondering what it means to be left.
    A half-century ago, when
  • CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING might possibly agree in the coming days on further steps to bring down China’s trade imbalance with the United States, giving Donald Trump a face-saving way of ending his trade war.
    But Jinping won’t agree to change
  • “Trumpian” economic nationalism is a zero-sum game in which the industries of the future are dominated either by China or the United States. We win or they win.
    The loudest opposition so far has come from
  • AMERICANS HAVE SHARPLY different views about what government should do whether on abortion, guns, immigration or any number of “hot button” issues. But we broadly agree about how government should go about resolving our differences.
    This distinction, between what we disagree about and how we settle those disagreements, is
  • I REMEMBER HAVING measles as a child. Believe me, it was no fun. Also measles could cause birth defects if a pregnant women were to be infected. If you were elderly, measles could be fatal.
    Eventually, after vaccinations became nearly universal in America, measles was declared eliminated from the United States in
  • SUNDAY, CHAIRMAN JERRY NADLER (D-New York) of the House Judiciary Committee threatened to subpoena Attorney General William Barr if he refuses to testify this week about the Robert Mueller report.
    But a subpoena is unlikely to elicit Barr’s cooperation. “We’re fighting all the subpoenas,” said
  • CONGRESS HAS RECESSED for two weeks without passing a desperately-needed disaster relief bill. Why not? Because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell didn’t want to anger Donald Trump by adding money for Puerto Rico that Democrats have sought, but Trump doesn’t want.
    America used to have a Senate. But under McConnell, what was once known as the world’s greatest deliberative body has become a
  • WHY DIDN’T BOEING do it right? Why isn’t Facebook protecting user passwords? Why is Phillip Morris allowed to promote vaping? Why hasn’t Wells Fargo reformed itself? Why hasn’t Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) recalled its Roundup weed killer?
    Answer: Corporate greed coupled with
  • SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, a presidential hopeful, announced she wants to bust up giants such as Facebook, Google and Amazon.
    America’s first Gilded Age began in the late 19th century with a raft of innovations — railroads, steel production, oil extraction — but culminated in mammoth trusts run by
  • SPECIAL COUNSEL ROBERT Mueller’s soon-to-be-delivered report will trigger months of congressional investigations, subpoenas, court challenges, partisan slugfests, media revelations and more desperate conspiracy claims by Donald Trump, all against the backdrop of the burning questions “Will he be impeached by the House?” “Will he be convicted by the Senate?” “Will he
  • AMERICA IS THE only place in the world where any citizen older than the age of 35 can run for president. No experience in government and no support from a political party is necessary. You don’t even have to have any ideas or policy proposals.
    Take Howard Schultz, the former CEO of
  • DONALD TRUMP PROMISED that his State of the Union address would focus on “unification.” But Trump advocating national unity is like a pyromaniac promoting lighter fluids. His goal is and has always been disunion.
    The man thrives on divisiveness. It’s how he keeps himself the center of attention, fuels his base and
  • ONE OF THE least-talked about consequences of the partial shutdown of the U.S. government — courtesy of Donald “I’m proud to shut down the government” Trump — is its negative effect on the U.S. economy.
    Federal spending accounts for
  • DEMOCRATS ARE NOW in control of the House of Representatives under Speaker Nancy Pelosi. After two years of Republican control over both chambers of Congress and the presidency, some balance has been restored to our democracy.
    I know and have worked with many members of the 116th Congress. They are
  • I WAS IN Bill Clinton’s Cabinet when Newt Gingrich pulled the plug on the federal government in the mid-’90s. It wasn’t a pretty picture. A long shutdown hurts millions of people who rely on government for services and paychecks.
    Donald Trump’s shutdown also adds to growing worries about the economy. The stock market is on track for
  • “I AM A Tariff Man,” Donald Trump tweeted last week. “When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so. We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs. Make America rich again.”
    I’m sorry, Mr. President, but
  • THE RULE OF law distinguishes democracies from dictatorships. It’s based on three fundamental principles. Donald Trump is violating every one of them.
    The first is that no person is above the law, not even a president, which means a president cannot 
  • DONALD TRUMP AND Republicans in Congress love to demonize government handouts. But their own red-state supporters depend on these handouts. And the handouts are increasingly financed by the inhabitants of blue states.
    The federal program Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, what we used to call
  • DONALD TRUMP SAID the midterm elections are a “referendum about me.” Of course they are, everything is about him.
    Anyone who still believes the political divide runs between Republicans and Democrats hasn’t been paying attention. There’s no longer a Republican Party. The Republican Party is now just
  • I KEEP HEARING that although Donald Trump is a scoundrel or worse, at least he’s presiding over a great economy.
    “The single biggest story this year is an economic boom that is durable and lasting,” said White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow recently.
    Really? Look closely at the living standards of most Americans and you
  • AS A CHILD, I was always a head shorter than other boys, which meant I was bullied: mocked, threatened, sometimes assaulted.
    Childhood bullying has been going on forever. But America has become a culture of bullying: the wealthier over the “poorer,” CEOs over workers, those with privilege and
  • TEN YEARS AGO, after making piles of money gambling with other people’s money, Wall Street nearly imploded, and the outgoing George W. Bush and incoming Barack Obama administrations bailed out the bankers.
    America should have learned three big lessons from the crisis. We didn’t, to
  • SEPT. 15 WILL mark the 10th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and near meltdown of Wall Street, followed by the Great Recession.
    Since hitting bottom in 2009, the economy has 
  • I’VE LONG ADMIRED Elon Musk as a technological visionary. But I worry about his sense of responsibility to the public.
    Earlier this month, Musk announced on Twitter that he intended to turn Tesla, the electric carmaker he founded, into a private company. He said the funding was secured, a claim that sent Tesla stock skyrocketing, yet he
  • WHAT’S THE MOST worrisome foreign intrusion into the United States, unauthorized immigrants, Chinese imports or interference in our democracy?
    For Donald Trump, it’s immigrants and imports. He
  • TO: SENATORS JEFF Flake, John McCain, Bob Corker and Susan Collins
    From: Robert Reich
    Senators, I write you not as a Democrat reaching out to Republicans or as a former Cabinet member making a request of sitting senators.
    I write you as a patriotic American concerned about the peril now facing our democracy, asking you to exercise your power to defend it.
    A foreign power has attacked our democratic institutions and, according to American intelligence, continues to do so.
    Yet the president of the United States is
  • Donald Trump promised to be America’s dealmaker in chief.
    “We need a leader that wrote ‘The Art of the Deal,’ ” he said in the speech announcing his candidacy. “I’m a negotiator. I’ve done very well over the years, through negotiation,” he said during a Republican debate. “That’s what I do, is deals,” he said in May. “I know deals, I think, better than anybody knows deals.”
    But so far, Trump has made no deals at all and the ones he thinks he’s made have unraveled.
    He has no deal with North Korea. Following his June 12 summit with Kim Jong-un, Trump declared on Twitter that
  • THIS COMING FOURTH of July it’s worth pondering the true meaning of American patriotism, as opposed to the malignant, distorted view of it propounded by Donald J. Trump.
    For Trump, the central challenge of American patriotism is to secure our borders. “A nation without borders is not a nation at all,” he said.
    But excluding foreigners has never been a dominant part of American patriotism. For most of its existence America has been relatively open to people from the rest of the world, especially those fleeing tyranny and violence.
    America’s core struggle has been one of
  • I KEEP HEARING that if Donald Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller, we’ll face a constitutional crisis, or if Mueller subpoenas Trump to testify and Trump defies the subpoena, it’s a constitutional crisis, or if Mueller comes up with substantial evidence that Trump is guilty of colluding with Russia or of obstructing justice, but the House doesn’t move to impeach him, we’ll have a constitutional crisis.
    I have news for you. We’re already in a constitutional crisis. For a year and a half, the president of the United States has been carrying out a systemic attack on the institutions of our democracy.
    A constitutional crisis does not occur suddenly like a coup that causes a system of government to collapse. It
  • DONALD TRUMP’S STRATEGY for keeping power is to build up his coalition of America’s white, working class and the nation’s ownership class.
    It’s a curious coalition, to say the least. But if Democrats don’t respond to it, it could protect Trump from impeachment and even re-elect him. It just might create a permanent Republican majority around an axis of white resentment and great wealth.
    Two decades ago, Democrats and Republicans competed over the middle class. They battled over soccer moms and suburban swing voters.
    Since then, the middle class has shrunk while the working class has grown and vast wealth has been accumulated by a comparative few who now own a large portion of America. Some of their wealth has
  • DONALD TRUMP PROMISED to rein in drug prices. It was his only sensible campaign promise.
    But the plan he announced Friday does little but add another battering ram to his ongoing economic war against America’s allies.
    He calls it “American patients first” and takes aim at what he calls foreign freeloading. The plan will pressure foreign countries to relax their drug price controls.
    America’s trading partners “need to pay more because they’re using socialist price controls, market access controls, to get unfair pricing,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar who, perhaps not incidentally, was a former top executive at
  • WHY DID WORKING-class voters choose a selfish, thin-skinned, petulant, lying, narcissistic, boastful megalomaniac for president?
    With the 2018 midterms around the corner and prospective Democratic candidates already eyeing the 2020 presidential race, the answer is important because it will influence how Democrats campaign.
    One explanation focuses on economic hardship. The working class fell for Donald Trump’s economic populism.
    A competing explanation, which got a boost this week from a study published by the National Academy of Sciences, dismisses economic hardship and blames it on whites’ fear of losing status to
  • “IT’S NONSENSE THAT there’s a beautiful free market in the power industry,” said Energy Secretary Rick Perry recently, as he pushed for a government bailout of coal-fired power plants.
    Republicans, who for years have voted against subsidies for solar and wind power arguing that the free market should decide our energy future, are now eager to have the government subsidize coal.
    Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also is scrapping rules for disposing coal ash waste, giving coal producers another helping hand. As if this weren’t enough, a former coal lobbyist, Andrew Wheeler, has
  • Tuesday, April 10, 2018 9:07 AM
    WHAT’S WORRYING ISN’T that Donald Trump is now getting advice about public policy from fanatics such as John Bolton and Lawrence Kudlow. Trump has never cared about public policy.
    The real worry is that with special counsel Robert Mueller breathing down Trump’s neck and with several special elections suggesting a giant “blue wave” in November, Trump is getting ready to do whatever it takes to win, even if that requires fanatical policy.
    Trump’s presidency has been, first and foremost, about marketing Trump. It’s what Trump has done his entire adult life. He doesn’t know how to do anything else, nor is he
  • Tuesday, March 27, 2018 10:49 AM
    DONALD TRUMP IS moving into a new and more dangerous phase.
    Before, he was constrained by a few “adults” — Rex Tillerson, Gary Cohn, Herbert Raymond McMaster and John Kelly — whom he appointed because he thought they had some expertise he lacked.
    Now, Trump has either fired or is in the process of removing the adults. He’s replacing them with a “Star Wars” cantina of toadies and sycophants who will reflect back at him his own glorious view of himself and help sell it on TV.
    Narcissists are dangerous because 
  • Tuesday, March 13, 2018 10:32 AM
    BEFORE I TURN to Jared Kushner, let me ask “Do you believe the U.S. government does the right thing all or most of the time?”
    The Gallup organization started asking this question in 1963, when more than 70% of Americans said they did. Since then, the percentage has steadily declined. By 2016, before Donald Trump became president, only 16% of Americans said they did.
    Why the decline? Surely various disappointments and scandals played a part: Vietnam, Watergate, Iran-Contra, weapons of mass destruction, the Wall Street bailout.
    But the largest factor by far has been
  • Tuesday, February 27, 2018 10:58 AM
    WHEN DONALD TRUMP and his followers refer to America, what do they mean?
    Some see a country of white, English-speaking Christians.
    Others want a land inhabited by self-seeking individuals free to accumulate as much money and power as possible, who pay taxes only to protect their assets from criminals and foreign aggressors.
    Others think mainly about flags, national anthems, pledges of allegiance, military parades and secure borders.
    Trump encourages a
  • Tuesday, February 13, 2018 11:05 AM
    IF SPECIAL COUNSEL Robert Mueller finds that Donald Trump colluded with Russia to fix the 2016 election or even if Trump fires Mueller before he makes such a finding, Trump’s supporters will protect him from any political fallout.
    Trump’s base will stand by him not because they believe Trump is on their side, but because they define themselves as being on his side.
    Trump has intentionally cleaved America into two warring camps: pro-Trump and anti-Trump. And he has convinced the pro-Trumps that his enemy is their enemy.
    Most Americans are
  • Tuesday, January 30, 2018 11:35 AM
    NOW THAT DONALD Trump has been president for almost a year, it’s time the media calls his behavior what it is rather than try to normalize it. Here are the six most misleading media euphemisms for conduct unbecoming a president.
    1. Calling Trump’s tweets presidential statements or press releases.
    Wrong, Trump’s tweets are mostly rants off the top of his head. Many of them are wild, inconsistent, rude, crude and bizarre.
    Normal presidential statements are products of careful thought. Advisers weigh in, consequences are considered and alternatives are deliberated. Which is why such statements are
  • Tuesday, January 16, 2018 10:58 AM
    ALMOST ONE YEAR in, it’s time for another update for Donald Trump voters on his election promises.
    1. He told you he’d cut your taxes and that the super-rich like him would pay more. You bought it. But his new tax law does the opposite. By 2027, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the richest 1% will have gotten 83% of the tax cut. But more than half of all Americans will pay more in taxes. As Trump told his wealthy friends at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., just days after the tax bill became law “You all just got a lot richer.”
    2. He promised to close special interest loopholes that have been so good for Wall Street investors, but unfair to American workers, especially the notorious carried interest loophole for private-equity, hedge fund and
  • Tuesday, January 2, 2018 11:42 AM
    LAST WEEK, UTAH Sen. Orrin Hatch stood on the White House lawn, opining that Donald Trump’s presidency could be “the greatest presidency that we’ve seen, not only in generations, but maybe ever.”
    I beg to differ.
    America has had its share of crooks such as Warren Harding and Richard Nixon, bigots such as Andrew Jackson and James Buchanan, and incompetents such as Andrew Johnson and George W. Bush. But never before Trump have we had a president who
  • Tuesday, December 19, 2017 11:14 AM
    DONALD TRUMP AND congressional Republicans are engineering the largest corporate tax cut in history in order to restore our competitive edge, as Trump says.
    Our competitive edge? Who’s us?
    Most American corporations, especially big ones that would get most of the planned corporate tax cuts, have no particular allegiance to America. Their only allegiance is to their shareholders. So restoring their competitive edge has little or nothing to do with helping American workers.
    For years, they’ve
  • Tuesday, December 5, 2017 11:19 AM
    Why are so many women now speaking out about the sexual abuses they’ve experienced for years? Is there anything unique about the time we’re now living through that has encouraged them to end their silence?
    I can’t help but think that their decisions are part of something that’s happening throughout much of American society right now: a backlash against what has been the growing domination of America by powerful and wealthy men and a few women, who came to believe they can do whatever they want to do, to whomever they choose.
    “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the . . . ” said
  • Tuesday, November 21, 2017 11:08 AM
    SELLING THE DONALD Trump/Republican tax plan should be awkward for an administration that has made patriotism its central theme. That’s because patriotism isn’t mostly about saluting the flag and standing during the national anthem.
    It’s about taking a fair share of the burden of keeping America going.
    But the tax plan gives American corporations a $2 trillion tax break at a time when they’re enjoying record profits and stashing unprecedented amounts of cash in offshore tax shelters. And it gives America’s wealthiest citizens trillions more, when the richest 1% now hold a record 38.6% of the nation’s total wealth, up from
  • Tuesday, November 7, 2017 12:26 PM
    YOU KNOW THE plot: The bank robbers set off a bomb down the street from the bank and while everyone’s distracted, they get away with the loot.
    In the reality TV show we’re now suffering through, Donald Trump is the bomb.
    The robbers are the American oligarchs who bankroll the Republican Party and who are plotting the biggest heist in American history: a massive tax cut estimated to be worth up to $5.8 trillion.
    Around 80% of it will benefit the richest 1%, according to the Tax Policy Center.
    Trump is
  • Tuesday, October 24, 2017 11:17 AM
    LAST WEEK, SEN. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview with the New York Times that Donald Trump was treating his office like a reality show, with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation on the path to World War III.
    Corker said he was concerned about Trump “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.” Corker added that “The vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here . . . the
  • Tuesday, October 10, 2017 12:21 PM
    ANNOUNCEMENT: DONALD TRUMP is no longer the president of the United States.
    Oh sure, he has the title and he has the bully pulpit, from which he’s bullying everyone from NBA players to people protesting white supremacists to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals children.
    But he’s not actively governing the United States. That work is happening elsewhere: in Congress, the courts, the Federal Reserve System, the states. Or it’s not happening at all.
    It’s not just that Trump
  • Tuesday, September 26, 2017 11:20 AM
    NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL Director Gary Cohn, former president of Goldman Sachs, said recently that only morons pay the estate tax.
    I’m reminded of Donald Trump’s comment that he didn’t pay federal income taxes because he was smart. And billionaire Leona Helmsley’s comment that only the little people pay taxes.
    What Cohn was getting at is how easy it is nowadays for the wealthy to pass their fortunes to their children tax-free. And therefore why no one should worry about getting rid of the estate tax, as Trump and Cohn plan to do.
    Actually, there’s good reason to
  • Tuesday, September 12, 2017 11:00 AM
    GOOGLE’S SEARCH ENGINE runs about two-thirds of all searches in the United States and 90% in Europe. “Platform monopolies” like this can squelch innovation. Google could favor its own services, such as Google Maps and Google Shopping, for example.
    This is one reason that the European Commission hit Google with a fine of 2.42 billion euros in June.
    Why hasn’t Google run into similar problems with antitrust authorities in the United States?
    It almost did in 2012. The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Bureau of Competition recommended that the FTC sue Google for conduct that “has resulted — and will result — in real harm to 
  • Tuesday, August 29, 2017 2:17 PM
    WE HAVE ENDURED Donald Trump for seven months. In that brief time, he has almost single-handedly destroyed the moral authority of the presidency of the United States at home and abroad, brought us to the brink of a nuclear war without consulting anyone, and sown division and hatred across the land.
    How can 
  • Tuesday, August 15, 2017 10:48 AM
    THE DEMISE OF the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is hardly the end of the story. Donald Trump will not let this loss stand.
    Since its inception in 2010, Republicans have made the Affordable Care Act (ACA) a symbol of Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton overreach, part of a supposed plot by liberal elites to expand government, burden the white working class, and transfer benefits to poor blacks and Latinos.
    Ever the political opportunist, Trump 
  • Tuesday, August 1, 2017 10:49 AM
    YOU HAD YOUR reasons for voting for Donald Trump. For some of you, he seemed the lesser of two evils, because you hated Hillary Clinton. Some of you just wanted to shake up the Washington establishment and end politics as usual.
    But many of you
  • Tuesday, July 18, 2017 11:08 AM
    MITCH MCCONNELL IS stymied. He can’t round up enough votes for a Senate Republican version of Trumpcare.
    Some Senate Republicans want to get rid of the Affordable Care Act entirely. Others don’t want to cause 22 million Americans to lose their coverage, as the Congressional Budget Office predicts will happen if the Senate version goes into effect.
    What should be the Democrats’ response? Over the coming weeks or months, Democrats must continue to 
  • Monday, July 3, 2017 11:09 AM
    THE SENATE’S BILL to repeal the Affordable Care Act is not a health-care bill. It’s a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, paid for by a dramatic reduction in health-care funding for approximately 23 million poor, disabled and working middle-class Americans.
    America’s wealthiest taxpayers (earning more than $200,000 a year, $250,000 for couples) would get a tax cut totaling $346 billion over 10 years, representing what they save from no longer financing health care for lower-income Americans.
    That’s not all. The bill would save an additional 
  • Tuesday, June 20, 2017 11:04 AM
    AT A ROUND-TABLE discussion with state transportation officials last Friday, Donald Trump said America’s aging roads, bridges, railways and water systems were being scoffed at and laughed at. He vowed that they will once again be the envy of the world.
    This seems to be a core theme for Trump: America’s greatness depends on others envying us rather than scoffing and laughing at us.
    He said much the same thing when he
  • Tuesday, June 6, 2017 11:50 AM
    ON THE EVE of his recent election to the House of Representatives, Montana Republican Greg Gianforte beat up Ben Jacobs, a reporter for the British newspaper “The Guardian.”
    What prompted the violence? Jacobs had asked Gianforte for his reaction to the Congressional Budget Office report showing that the House Republican substitute for the Affordable Care Act would result in 23 million Americans losing their health insurance.
    Then, according to a Fox News team who witnessed the brutal attack “Gianforte grabbed