Jan. 10th, 2017

I have to admit, this is the sort of thing that confuses me.

One of the big quotes:
He went with the candidate he thinks will make America stronger.
"I did what I thought was correct for the overall good of the country," he said. "Economic strength cures a lot of things."
A better economy, he hopes, will free him from needing subsidies.


First, this is a person who found that Obamacare was helpful and good for him. And he voted for the party that fought it tooth and nail, and has sworn to repeal it. Let's assume he simply can't vote for a Democrat - why isn't he pushing his local representative and lobbying his friends to make sure that the Republicans know that they're on the spot?

But more importantly: why do people like this think that the economy is going to be "stronger" when we put a blowhard in charge of it?

Look, I might have an advantage here: I've seen a lot of BS artists in my time. I've seen lots of braggarts who swore they were better than everyone, who never have any actual ideas, just applause lines. And you might ask me, fairly, how I know Trump is one of them: he's a billionaire, right? Well, when you start with a big stack of money, and have big piles of old money backing you, it's not that hard to amass a fair chunk of money. A brilliant businessman won't have large quantities of people who never got paid for work they did.

You see, anyone can get caught with a dispute over whether the work performed measured up to the standards demanded... once. But only a fool gets caught over and over again, without having set up a better process to prevent those dispute - contracts with specific goals for payments and an objective standard for when those goals are met. For completeness, I should mention that only a cheat would keep using the old process with the intention of deliberately failing to pay their bills.

A good businessman doesn't make promises he can't keep, as he did in Trump University - a fake business school with no credentials, that did not deliver on its promises to its paying students. Note the interesting turn-around - he doesn't pay contractors saying that their work was terrible, but doesn't mind taking money from students while knowing that he can't provide what he promised. This is really not the mark of a good businessman! He'll take money from you when he know he can't provide what was promised, but he may refuse to pay you, even if you have provided what you promised!

And finally, Trump even turned a private disaster into a a public company to make sure he got paid and someone else took the losses. This is also not the work of a brilliant businessman. Other adjectives may be used instead, and "cunning" is one of the most complimentary ones.

So I know Trump doesn't know how to be a good businessman. And he's leading a party that I know isn't composed of good businessmen. Why?

Because when unemployment was high (and labor was cheap), they refused to borrow money at 0% interest to do work on vital infrastructure that has to be fixed sooner or later. To any good businessman, being able to borrow for free, now, so that you can do stuff you'll have to pay for anyway, and do it more cheaply than if you wait, well, that's a no brainer. If your "business" is the welfare of a nation suffering because of too few jobs, and you could put a bunch of those people back to work, it takes a bit of stupidity to skip the chance.

That, and their repeated, and continued, insistence that there's no reason to add regulations to the industry that nearly destroyed the US economy, shows that they simply aren't good businessmen.

It's often said that liberals like me accuse people like Mr. Ruscoe of voting against their own self interest. That's not quite what I say, though. I'm sure he wants a good business environment, and I'm sure he voted thinking that he was supporting that. But it's much like the George W Bush administration in 2004... I could see someone supporting the war in Iraq - but why support the commander who'd blown it so thoroughly, and more importantly, so predictably?

Well, it's similar to now. The Republicans claim that we need "lower taxes," and that doesn't even make sense under the Laffer Curve model.

The Laffer Curve shows the obvious: at 0% taxes, the government is broke. At 100% taxes - or *higher* and, yes, people have tried a marginal tax greater than 100%! - no one wants to earn any money to just hand over to the government, so, again, the government is broke. So if taxes are too high, reducing them might increase revenue. Except, remember: the Laffer Curve tends to 0 both when taxes are too high, and too low. So no one can sensibly be for "cutting taxes" for 30 years or more, and multiple rounds of tax cuts, including the huge cuts introduced in the Reagan era! Eventually, you know that it's got nothing to do with economic models! No, the model that fits best is promising the wealthy tax cuts so they win the support of the big money boys.

Continuing: the Republicans claim we need "fewer regulations" but can't quite manage to cite any that are holding back business. And that's because they aren't really trying to unleash the power of the free market. They're trying to shower favors on their wealthy buddies, getting rid of irksome requirements to keep their employees and the general public safe. Why not? A fertilizer plant blows up in Texas, kills several people, and discussion about regulating dangerous business doesn't even last for a day. But robust regulatory agencies, even the most business friendly of them, could have found and highlighted the risks. Let's be clear: no one thinks that Republicans, or business owners, want to gut the regulations needed to keep us safe. But as I'll repeat often, the cause of much evil in this world isn't malice, but indifference.

Rather than put hypothetical lives in front of real dollars, too many people picked the dollars until those lives were no longer hypothetical. This is why Jesus said that one can't worship both God and Mammon - sometimes, the right decision, the one God wants, is the more costly one. Worship Mammon, you'll put the dollars first and, sooner or later, you'll be "unlucky" and people get hurt, or killed.

Not out of malice. Not even directly out of greed. Just out of indifference - a lack of concern for the risks, before (and now, even after) those risks are shown to be real, and horrifying.

That's what confuses me. Why don't more people see this, and reject the failed policies that don't unleash economic growth, and instead cause harm, sometimes even killing people?
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