Tax, Trade, Social Security, and Welfare Reform: An Economic Framework To Make America Great
The US economy needs to be recalibrated to better serve the economic interests of the American People. US President Donald Trump has attempted to do this by adopting tariffs and pressuring US trade partners to renegotiate trade deals. He has also facilitated the passage of massive tax cuts, which included an embrace of a territorial tax system. Although key changes to the personal tax code, such as the doubling of the standard deduction, were overdue and should have been permanent, tax relief mainly benefited wealthier individuals and corporations. Not only did Trump’s territorial tax code create a perverse incentive for US companies to shift profits overseas, his incendiary negotiation tactics have resulted in politically-charged retaliatory tariffs that are unnecessarily hurting consumers and manufactures.
Problem avoidance by the US government when it comes to neglecting the economic interests of the United States is twofold. On the one hand, Congress continually fails to balance the National Budget. The result is an exploding National Deficit and a National Debt of more than $21 trillion, which actually fails to reflect the true fiscal crisis. The problem is the failure of Congress to either tax and tariff enough to cover current and past Federal spending or stop spending enough to make the current tax and tariff levels viable. That said, the US government has failed to cultivate an economic environment that provides for the needs of the American People. To simply blunt the measure of inequality, lower-income Americans must rely on social welfare programs and tax off-sets, but inequality only hints at the reality faced by low-income Americans and those consumed by debt. When the median income for the bottom 90% of Americans is around $34,000 and wages have flat-lined for the majority, it is very difficult to even meet ever-growing living expenses.
The US government has continually avoided the need to address the economic security and freedom of the American People. America’s leaders have continually ignored the need to address the consequences of growing income, wealth, and opportunity inequality alongside rising living expenses. The US avoids growing levels of poverty, because it is far more rewarding to simply focus on other issues. During the Labor Movement, American leaders faced political pressure for their failures to address the financial wellbeing of average workers. Back then, it was also far less costly to advocate for things like social welfare, which was seen as a way to alleviate the burden of the poor. Today, it is too costly in political terms to confront a ballooning National Debt while it is far too rewarding to embrace unresponsive government, an increasingly regressive individual tax code, an increasingly regressive business tax code, and an illiberal global trade regime that favors international corporations and state-sponsored firms over domestic workers and businesses.
Trump Administration Does Not Want to Talk About US Poverty, Which Is Precisely Why We Should
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has written a rather scathing retort to a UN report on US poverty. In a letter to US Senator Bernie Sanders, she stated, “It is patently ridiculous for the United Nations to examine poverty in America.” Her remarks were in response to UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston’s examination of poverty within the US. The likes of Nikki Haley do not seem to want to talk about poverty in the United States, which is precisely why everyone else should. Haley did not outright dismiss the need to address poverty in the US, instead claiming US officials work tirelessly to address poverty on a daily basis, but she did attempt to dismiss the UN effort as politically motivated. Clearly, an exchange between a Republican member of the Trump Administration and self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders is going to be politically motivated. To boot, the Trump Administration has been particularly critical of the UN, specifically the Human Rights Council, for an alleged biased against Israel, so geopolitics most likely plays some role in the origin of the report.
Trump Succumbs to Political Pressure On Separation of Illegal Immigrant Families, But Not On North Korea? Why?
Donald Trump’s decision to end the separation of illegal immigrant parents and children when they are detained at the border represents a rare moment where the President has apparently succumbed to constructive political pressure from outside of his radical Right-wing base. The Trump Administration has, of course, chosen to adopt a policy of detaining both parents and children instead of just parents, which likely runs afoul of the 1997 Flores consent decree and will assuredly invite legal challenges, but Trump has demonstrated his willingness to yield to criticism from across the political spectrum. Given the seemingly countless examples of controversies where the President has refused to bow to political pressure, it is easy to assume President Trump and his Administration have an immunity to political pressure. This development in immigration enforcement may well demonstrate the limits of that immunity.
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