The Government You Paid For

Number 51 of a Series

This series is aimed not at the people who are playing dick-dick with the law and with the national economy. It’s aimed at the people who bought into their shit, voted for them, and still carry water for them. This is the government you paid for, and it’s the thing that separates you from decent people in this country. I am not going to belabor a swarm of well-know facts. I will, instead, post a few screen shots form ABC news yesterday and let readers come to their own conclusions:

The president you voted for had the expected reaction.

Treasury Steve Mnuchin, picked by President Trump over a host of more qualified choices, reacted in a manner that continues to puzzle. He phoned up six major banks and inquired whether they had enough liquidity to stand them through.

That was, of course, precisely what the markets wanted to hear, and they reacted as would be expected. By the end of the day before Christmas the situation was clear. For every $1000 I had in my retirement portfolio in January, I now have $800.

Mr. President. Thank you very very very much. I now have the government I paid for.

This is your President speaking.

Number 175 in a series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

I am extremely happy and proud of the job being done by Secretary . The FAKE NEWS likes to write stories to the contrary, quoting phony sources or jealous people, but they aren’t true. They never like to ask me for a quote b/c it would kill their story.

What? Fake news? Can’t be! Some analysis is in order. Start with an item from MSNBC:

Trump is reportedly dissatisfied with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, blaming him for appointment of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell

President Donald Trump has expressed dissatisfaction with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, blaming him for the appointment of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Trump, who nominated Powell a year ago to succeed Janet Yellen, has repeatedly criticized the Fed chairman for increasing interest rates. Trump fears rising rates could trigger an economic downturn that would jeopardize his 2020 re-election campaign, the Journal reported. The Federal Reserve, led by Powell, has raised interest rates repeatedly and is expected to do so again in December.

This is fake news? President Trump says it is. But The Wall Street Journal assures us this is not fake news. It would appear that somebody is lying. But who? There is one way to look at this. How about we exercise a short credibility test.

Trump and McDougal

Yes, I’m thinking I will go with The Wall Street Journal on this one.

Buyer’s Remorse

Number 33 in a series

Whatever happened to buyer’s remorse? You know about buyer’s remorse. It’s when you purchase something because it looks good in the store, but when you get it home you realize you got a bad deal. Some of that’s going around. Finally.

From ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, 26 July 2018, currently streaming on Hulu: Two years ago people voted for candidate Donald Trump in surprising numbers, despite his obvious lack of integrity and workable plans. We recall the towering promises he made, promises no living man could possibly fulfill. Actually, what no living woman could fulfill either, but that’s a story from a another day.

We see now-President Trump coming against some hard reality. In his campaign he reminded American workers, American  manufacturers, and American farmers they were getting a bad deal from other countries. Unfair trade deals were siphoning us dry, and President Trump, he told us, was going to fix all that. How is that working out?

Easy to say. Here’s the reality.

What do I know, but I had the notion that Congress was supposed to approve appropriations of $12 billion and up.

Here is the President in the American heartland urging farmers to wait, the promised land is just around the bend. He offers a new hat, as well.

Not to worry. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin reassures us this is not a bailout. I guess the question is, “Then how do you spell bailout?”

Farmers in the heartland, who largely voted for candidate Trump, are telling ABC News they don’t want handouts. They just want access to markets.

That might not be forthcoming. The President’s unwise moves on trade have taken these farmers and also many manufacturers, out of some world markets, and other countries have moved in.

I’m hoping I’m beginning to see some signs of remorse, but then remorse does not pay the loan at the  bank.

The Government You Paid For

Number 23

I know I have asked, and I am sure others have. I pay all these taxes to support the government, so how come I’m not getting a good return? Where is the government I paid for? Worry no longer. At last we are getting the government we paid for. And paid for. And paid for. Did I mention we are paying for it?

Rather than do all the research on my own, I have pulled from Hulu streaming video, in this case from ABC World News Tonight with David Muir to get the high-level view and also these screen shots. And the story is one to warm my heart. Here is the gist.

Candidate Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to voters that once in office he would “drain the swamp.” He would kick out the long-time hangers on, career government workers who have sucked at the government tit for decades and have become entrenched. He would bring in a fresh crew, people accustomed to turning a profit. And he has. From all appearances President Trump has recruited a cadre from big business accustomed to doing big things. Apparently also accustomed to living big. As the story running on ABC yesterday tells it, these high fliers from business are now flying high on the government payroll. To illustrate:

Scott Pruitt, now heading up the Environmental Protection Agency, celebrates the exuberance of government employment by accumulating a history of lavish travel. Last June travel expenses for him and his entourage recorded $90,000 in expenses, and that included first class travel from Washington to New York. Yesterday he was observed flying first class from Washington to Boston, apparently on the government nickel.

Who would have thought it? Prior to entering politics in Oklahoma, Pruitt was in private law practice, where he collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees from gas companies, still leaving him with a worth estimated at no more than $3 million, which sets him apart from some of the billionaires in the Trump administration. Where he acquired his taste for high living is anybody’s guess. Apparently free money can be enticing, as evidenced by more.

Needing to get to Rome (the EPA needs to check out the horrible air pollution in that burg), he reportedly commandeered a military aircraft to get to New York to catch his overseas flight.

New York to Rome, where he dropped in to see the Pope, was a boon to taxpayers, as he spent only $7000 to fly, albeit considerably more than I am accustomed to pay.

Mr. Pruitt is also recorded as flying first class to Morocco, hopefully on EPA business.

At first sight this may give the appearance that Director Pruitt, having entering the sacred halls of government, has run amok, making a spectacle of his lavish travel style. Prepare to be disabused, because Pruitt is in good company. ABC News lists a number of top government staffers vying for spending champion of the year. Those would also include:

Putting those others aside, it is interesting to wonder at Mr. Pruitt’s trajectory as the new EPA chief. His history is one of opposition to the purpose and goals of the EPA, and his term as head of the organization leaves little indication that the environment holds his highest esteem. We can wonder whether his bold plan includes spending the agency’s budget dry to ensure it’s not wasted on water quality and all that other stuff. I’m feeling my pocket getting lighter already.