Tag: The Trump Administration

Mapping Corruption: Donald Trump’s Executive Branch

THE DEFENSE GOT ONE THING RIGHT at Donald Trump’s Senate trial. The case against him was thin, his team kept saying; and so it was, compared to the enormity of this administration’s other offenses. Set aside the hate-mongering and the stream of conspiracy theories and demagogic bombast. Trump has sowed corruption of a breadth and brazenness unseen in the far-from-innocent annals of our nation’s history. In three years as president, he has transformed the executive branch into a giant favor factory, populated with the agents or willing partners of virtually every special interest. Add up all the routine, daily outrages—the quasi-bribery ... Read more

On the Perils of Ignoring Tara Reade’s Sexual Assault Claim

One of the more vexing developments in the recent news cycle has been the impact, or lack thereof, of the sexual assault charge levied against Joe Biden by his former staffer Tara Reade. In a podcast interview released on March 25, Reade catalogued a series of transgressions by her former boss, and claimed that he touched her in ways that made her feel “like an inanimate object.” She related numerous instances in which Biden sexually harassed or inappropriately touched her, including an encounter in which he allegedly held her against a wall and put his hands up her skirt. Two ... Read more

Donald Trump Has a Bridge to Sell You

President Trump has said he wants a big infrastructure program as part of the next federal rescue bill. So do Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. So here is another potential area of bipartisan collaboration, just like the expanded unemployment compensation small business payroll protection plan in the most recent CARES relief bill, right? Well, no. When the Trump administration and the Democrats propose major spending on public infrastructure, they actually mean drastically different things. The Democrats have in mind outlays to modernize items like electric grids, bridges, roads, rail systems, ports, public buildings and so on. The American Society of Civil ... Read more

Beware of Austerity Demands Once the Immediate Crisis Passes

This is part of our economists roundtable on the corona crisis. The coronavirus is, above all, a public-health crisis, and the economic impact could be devastating. But before any of us even heard of COVID-19, our society and economy suffered from deeply-ingrained problems, starting with economic inequality, which this crisis will undoubtedly exacerbate. The need for substantially increased public spending and investment will not diminish once the public-health crisis fades. What will diminish is the broad political consensus that made possible the recently approved $2.2 trillion burst of federal spending to support families and businesses during this economic shutdown. Indeed, if recent history ... Read more

How the Corona Crisis Liberated Massive Public Spending: A Prospect Roundtable

Robert Kuttner: Introduction  Joseph E. Stiglitz: Deficit Lessons for the Pandemic From the 2008 Crisis James K. Galbraith: Bad Economic Theory and Practice, Demolished Heather Boushey: Beware of Austerity Demands Once the Immediate Crisis Passes Josh Bivens: To Tame Public Debt Without Austerity, Reduce Inequality Gerald Epstein: Debts and Deficits: What Are the Limits, and Why? Introduction BY ROBERT KUTTNER Deficit phobia is mercifully dead for the duration of the corona pandemic. Along with its devastation of the economy and the public’s health, the crisis has upended the standard economic story about public spending, deficit, and debts. But austerity economics is one of those zombies that ... Read more

Premonitions of Disaster – The American Prospect

In a recent column in the Prospect, Robert Kuttner argued that the era of Trump and the coronavirus pandemic heralds the end of American exceptionalism, the belief that America is special with unique virtues and blessings freeing it from disaster and putting it at the forefront of nations. There were actually pioneers predicting this fall from grace decades ago, namely, science fiction writers. One of the remarkable things about speculative fiction is how it anticipates major historical shifts in a given era through the accumulation of genre-wide, culturally relevant tropes. Novels and other narratives are one of the principal ways ... Read more

It’s Steve Mnuchin’s Economy Now

Plenty of questions remain about the $2.2 trillion bailout package passed by Congress and signed by President Trump last Friday. Did it do enough to prevent mass layoffs? Will small businesses be able to access the loans earmarked for them quickly enough to provide relief? Is there really going to be an additional bill that centers the needs of workers over big corporations? But one question—who is the biggest winner of the record-setting stimulus package—we already know the answer to. It’s Steve Mnuchin. As The Washington Post explained, Mnuchin is “poised to emerge from this as one of the most ... Read more

Trump: Killing You Not Just Quickly but Slowly, Too

In what would be a very big story at any time other than pandemic season, the Trump administration today officially rolled back the fuel efficiency and emissions standards on cars that the Obama administration promulgated in 2012. Instead of requiring automakers to increase efficiency by 5 percent a year so that cars could get an average of 54 miles per gallon by 2025, Trump’s minions have decreed that efficiency should increase by just 1.5 percent a year so cars could get 40 miles per gallon in 2026. Worse still, the new rules, the administration contends, should apply to California and ... Read more

Kushner Squeezes Tenants While Lining Up for Bailout Money

No place in the United States has been harder hit by the coronavirus than New York City. It’s seen both more cases and more deaths than anywhere in the country, showing few signs of abating. The city stands as the global epicenter of the pandemic at this moment. New York has locked down, operating under a shelter-in-place order for over a week. Numerous businesses and restaurants have shuttered, resulting in scores of layoffs. The Jacob Javits Convention Center has been transformed into a massive makeshift hospital. With untold thousands of people out of work, and the first of the month ... Read more

Avoid Taxes, Receive Federal Bailouts

As the nearly $2 trillion congressional stimulus package comes into clearer focus, one of the most controversial components remains the corporate bailout package (which, as has been noted in the Prospect, is massive). In the days and weeks leading up to the bill’s final draft, a number of industries have been floated—by themselves or by the Trump administration—as worthy bailout recipients, due to the challenging economic conditions of coronavirus-induced shutdown. Among those listed: the airline industry, Boeing, the cruise lines, the fossil fuel companies, and more. What do these industries have in common? They operate in far-flung corners of the ... Read more