Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Too many American universities are facing some pretty basic financial issues. Survival issues for some. Except for the mega-endowed schools at the top of the food chain, and particularly a concern in the cherished halls of the highest-ranked public universities, the question is how to maintain higher standards amidst budget cuts and a decreasing ability for students to access affordable student aid. With the conflicting struggle between growing of strident anti-intellectualism reflected in the new American populism and the fact that a college degree has become the job-equivalent of high school two decades ago, the bigger question is how our own universities can continue to service our own students.
With college tuition continuing to increase way above the annual, overall cost of living, with the contraction of scholarships and work-study programs while student loan interest rates skyrocket without bankruptcy protection generally available to non-student-loan debtors, public institutions struggle against a decreasingly tenable position. While universities are supposed to be need-blind in their admissions process, the harsh reality is most can no longer afford to hold to this line. And since the greatest numbers of students able to pay full-freight tuition come from Asia, we are watching the reconfiguration of student bodies in prestigious American public colleges towards this ethnic group.
At first, we were watching the scions of the mega-rich Asian families – draped in Channel driving an M4 BMW (Ferrari?) – sucking down the best American (and U.K.) university educations money could buy. Money was obviously no object. These students still remain in the system, but they are frequently joined by vastly more Asian compatriots from much less affluent families who have scraped and saved for years to send their children to the best.
In many Asian regions, educational standards hover far above American counterparts. See, for example, by May 23rd blog, How China Really Laughs at America, on how Shanghai now has the highest science and math test scores in the world. The students easily score high on standardized college admission test scores, avoid the killer local tests (like the dreaded Gaokao exam in China), and have parents able to afford the full freight of out-of-state tuition charges (much higher than what is charged to in-state residents).
Nowhere is this more evident than on the Asian-ethnicity-friendly West Coast, particularly California. “[The] tide of out-of-state and international students has … raised questions about whether or not they are crowding out in-state applicants from California's state university system, particularly its prestigious UC-Berkeley campus.
“In March, an audit requested by a California congressman accused the University of California of hurting local students by admitting too many out-of-state applicants and recommended a cap on enrollment and stricter entrance requirements for nonresidents, among other steps. UC President Janet Napolitano called the findings ‘unfair and unwarranted,’ the Los Angeles Times reported. She said that the $728 million brought in by higher-paying out of state and international students allowed the 10 campuses to accept more Californians in the face of state budget cuts since the recession.
“Between fall 2008 and fall 2015, enrollment of out-of-state students grew from 9,000 to 30,907, according to UC figures. At the same time, California undergraduate enrollment increased from 163,773 from 167,959.” Christian Science Monitor, May 6th. UC Berkeley’s undergraduate student body is 39% ethnically Asian, although many of those are native Californians.
Despite the reality that not as many American in-state residents are getting access to the UC system, there are some secondary benefits to having so many foreign students. Some of these “best and brightest” stay here and create new technology and new jobs. Others return to their native countries with strong links to the United States, its traditions and values. A few carry back negative feelings, but these are a tiny minority.
We are also witnessing American universities with overseas campuses with several located in Asia. A few examples: Cornell, NYU, UNLV, MIT, University of Chicago (Business School) and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore. Johns Hopkins in Nanjing. Georgetown (international studies) and Carnegie Mellon in Doha. Ohio University in Hong Kong. Virginia Tech in Mumbai. Yale in Beijing. University of Maryland (Business) in Shanghai and Beijing. University of Dayton and Towson State (education) in Shanghai. Benedictine in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Temple in Tokyo. Missouri State in Dalian. American University in Dubai. Baruch College in Taipei. Webster in Bangkok. George Mason in the U.A.E.
For the students who still travel to the U.S. for school, far from home and family, there are also the inherent difficulties of a young person living away from home for the first time. Dealing with a foreign language and an often bizarre culture and expected misunderstandings, sometimes facing the risks of criminal acts they’ve never seen before… street crime (assault, robbery and even murder)… can be exceptionally difficult, but the rewards of the “new” can also be great.
For American kids, we are doing a terrible job in offering them the kind of access to education once enjoyed by their parents. It has become a balancing act for too many American universities and colleges, but it shouldn’t be. As long as state legislatures and Congress prioritize austerity over education of our own, the situation is very likely to move even more towards addressing the needs of foreign students, attracting them to pay full-freight tuition at the expense of local potential admittees.
I’m Peter Dekom, and bottom line: we are reaping exactly what we have sown.
Monday, May 30, 2016
Major cities, back at the beginning of the last decade, watched a serious decline in murder rates. While gang homicides continued, there almost seemed to be a peace treaty descending on the biggest urban areas in the United States. But while New York and Los Angeles continued that lower murder rate, in 2004, Chicago seemed to return to the escalating homicides often associated with the gangland days of Prohibition back in the 1920s and 30s. Guns. Between Friday and Monday morning over Memorial weekend, there were over 40 shootings in the Windy City.
But why Chicago? It’s liberal city with pretty strict gun controls. “Already embroiled in a crisis over race and police conduct, Chicago now faces a 62 percent increase in homicides. Through mid-May, 216 people have been killed. Shootings also are up 60 percent.” New York Times, May 27th. Gang-violence accounts for most of the deaths, but it really is about guns, guns, guns.
“The homicide rate in Chicago is just a little higher than in New York when guns aren’t involved. But when it comes to shootings, both fatal and not, Chicago stands out, suggesting a level of armed interaction that isn’t happening in New York.
“Chicago has a reputation for strict gun laws, and gun rights advocates often point to it as proof that gun regulation doesn’t reduce violence. But its laws aren’t what they used to be: Federal courts struck down its ban on handgun ownership in 2010, and its ban on gun sales in 2014. And a New York Times analysis showed guns were easily available from nearby jurisdictions, especially Indiana.
“And Chicago is more lenient about illegal handguns than New York, prescribing a one-year minimum for possession versus three and a half years in New York. An attempt to match the New York law in 2013 was rejected by the Illinois legislature out of concern for skyrocketing incarceration rates for young black men.
“New York also hired a lot more police officers in response to the crime of the 1990s, and, during its stop-and-frisk era of the 2000s, steeply increased gun enforcement. Recent studies, including one that looked at increased police presence in London after a terrorist attack, have suggested more police might mean less crime, said Jens Ludwig, the director of Crime Lab at the University of Chicago, which studies crime in both Chicago and New York.”
“Chicago’s Police Department, overwhelmed, can respond only to the most serious problems, leaving citizens to feel responsible for their own security, he said.
“‘Everyone has to establish deterrence on a retail basis,’ he said. ‘People carry guns in public because other people are carrying guns. It’s literally an arms race, a vicious cycle. There are lots of indications that New York City, by taking guns more seriously and hiring more officers, has gotten a lot of guns off the streets, creating a virtuous cycle.’” NY Times. Chicago faces a huge budget crisis to rub even more salt in its wounds.
Likewise, Chicago has been unable to deploy its less-than-adequate social and police forces to stem significant changes in the local gang configuration. “Many of Chicago’s gangs have fractured, leading to more violence, said Arthur Lurigio, a criminology professor at Loyola University Chicago. While Latino gangs have remained more hierarchical, black gangs have splintered into small, disparate factions, whose disputes are less over territory and profits, and more over personal insults or shames, often fueled by social media, he said.” NY Times. Segregation and poverty add gasoline to this weapons-frenzy-fire.
There are some lessons in all this, from a curriculum that the gun lobby, led by the National Rifle Association, chooses to ignore. The Chicago murder rate is all about the proliferation of guns, by perps andby those who feel the necessity to be that “good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun.” Surrounded by Red States where misinterpreting the plain words of the Second Amendment appears to be a God-given right, Illinois is unable to stop the flood of illicit guns from their neighbors. These unfriendly neighbors seem to miss the first part of this constitutional right: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
There isn’t the slightest doubt that more guns leads to more homicides, and most of those are murder not self-defense (30 to 1!). A perp with a gun, with multiple victims on his mind, can slaughter a whole lot more people in a short time than an angry knife-bearing killer. For those living on farms or open rural areas, why do they remotely believe that their gun beliefs are appropriate for close-quarters, crowded cities where poverty meets ethnic and racial prejudice without an easy escape valve?
I’m Peter Dekom, and hard facts require hard examination, but in the end truth doesn’t care about contrary opinions; it just is.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
Wikipedia: “A trade war refers to two or more states raising or creating tariffs or other trade barriers on each other in retaliation for other trade barriers.” Sometimes, it can provoke a real war. For example, back in the 18th and 19th centuries, Britain felt that their balance of payments (in gold and silver) – mostly due to the Brits’ addiction to Chinese tea – to China was grossly unfair. When the Chinese declared that there was nothing that England manufactured or grew that they wished to import in exchange, the Brits decided that their massive surplus of opium was going to fill that void.
The Qing Emperor was aghast, telling the British authorities that he would never accept escalating addiction rates, the lost productivity, the rising mortality rates and the families that would be decimated from dealing with an addict in their mix. Britain demanded “free trade,” joined by her allies (including the United States) and literally fought two Opium Wars (1839-42 and 1856-1860) to force the Chinese to their knees, ultimately resulting in territorial concessions (including England’s taking Hong Kong), opening areas and ports to Western traders.
Perhaps less known is what some call the world’s greatest case of industrial espionage in history, a really nasty (sneaky?) side of trade wars. The British East India Company deployed (between 1848 and 1851) a Scottish botanist, appropriately named Robert Fortune, to steal both tea plants and tea brewing secrets. While the penalty in China for such efforts was death, Fortune managed to smuggle enough plants to begin massive replantings in northeast India, with a comparable climate. Before that time, the tea that was already being grown in Indian regions like Assam and Darjeeling were considered terribly inferior and unacceptable to English palates.
As the transportation systems improved – particularly with the introduction of railways and steamships and as the British Royal Navy dominated (and stabilized) the seas – the world marched steadily towards the globalized economy we see today. “For the first time in history, steamships and railroads made it possible to transport bulky commodities across oceans and continents, linking together regions of the world with very different endowments of land, labour and capital. Faced with an invasion of cheap grain from Russia and the New World, governments in France, Germany and other Continental countries caved in to the protectionist demands of their agrarian constituencies, raising agricultural tariffs significantly.” VoxEU.org. Trade barriers! Indeed, the power of the Royal Navy rapidly overcame these trade restrictions with a show of raw military power.
Two World Wars disrupted this stability, even as transportation technology improved dramatically, but following WWII the big powers embraced a new globalization that favored them at the expense of under-developed nations and colonial subjects. “And while in the rich countries of Western Europe and North America the post-1945 period saw a gradual reconstruction of open trading conditions, deglobalisation characterised much of the rest of the world until the 1980s thanks to the spread of communism and decolonisation, which themselves had their roots in the century's two world wars, and the intervening economic debacle.” VoxEU.org.
Reducing tariffs and eliminating trade barriers always negatively impact someone, usually incumbents within the nation opening trade who have benefited from either subsidies or trade barriers that kept cheaper foreign equivalents out. But likewise, tearing down trade walls will always benefit a different constituency, notably consumers (who enjoy the cheaper prices of imported goods) and the traders/retailers who service the new imports. And since dropping trade barriers in one country generally requires reciprocity in the markets of the foreign trading nations, in our case, American exporters/service providers and manufacturers benefit from the greater accessibility to foreign markets.
The reverse is also true. When one nation resurrects or adds trade barriers to another country, that “other” nation will retaliate with reciprocal barriers and perhaps more. Free trade agreements have become seminal campaign points in the current presidential race. Not a lot of support for the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement among any of the candidates, and of course, there would be winners and losers should it be adopted by the U.S. Big American winners: manufacturers of passenger cars, the apparel sector, the dairy industry, retailers and wholesalers, and providers of business services. Big American losers: auto parts manufacturers, the textile industry, soybean farmers and the transportation, chemical and drug companies, and tourism industry.
But GOP candidate Trump also wants to tear down existing trade agreements, from NAFTA on down, and “level” what he believes is a distorted playing field, particularly between our neighbor to the south, Mexico, and the nation with the greatest trade imbalance with the United States (roughly half a billion dollars a year), China. The Washington Post wondered exactly what a likely economic scenario might look like if Mr. Trump were in fact to implement his stated trade policies. So they engaged Moody Analytics to run some hard numbers.
“Trade has been one of Donald Trump's great selling points on the campaign trail. China and Mexico are killing us, he has told crowds on his way to the lead position for the Republican presidential nomination, and if Trump wins the White House, he will fight back. The implication is that getting tough with our trading partners -- by taxing their exports as they cross America's borders -- will bring jobs and prosperity to the United States.
“An economic model of Trump's proposals, prepared by Moody's Analytics at the request of The Washington Post, suggests Trump is half-right about his plans. They would, in fact, sock it to China and Mexico. Both would fall into recession, the model suggests, if Trump levied his proposed tariffs and those countries retaliated with tariffs of their own.
“Unfortunately, the United States would fall into recession, too. Up to 4 million American workers would lose their jobs. Another 3 million jobs would not be created that otherwise would have been, had the country not fallen into a trade-induced downturn. [See chart above]… The job losses would be halved if China and Mexico chose not to retaliate to the tariffs of 45 percent and 35 percent, respectively. In which case U.S. growth would flatline, but the country would not fall into recession.
“The amount of predicted economic damage surprised Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics, who prepared the model. He said it is magnified by the precarious -- and historically unusual -- state of the U.S. and global economies right now: Under the Moody's model, the Federal Reserve has little power to slow the recession, because interest rates remain near zero. Congress refuses to enact any stimulus measures, such as spending increases or tax cuts, that might increase the federal budget deficit further.
“What results, in the model, is a downward spiral of reduced economic activity. Prices rise on imported goods from China and Mexico, which has the effect of reducing spending power for American consumers. If China and Mexico retaliate, U.S. exports fall, forcing layoffs at American companies that sell to those foreign customers. The ensuing growth slowdowns spread to other trading partners, particularly in Europe, and cause stock markets to plunge, which in turn slows growth even more…
“The Moody's analysis projects the U.S. economy would be 4.6 percent smaller by the end of 2019 if America levies tariffs on China and Mexico and those countries respond, compared to where it would be with no tariffs. It forecasts U.S. employment would be 7 million jobs lower than it would have been, and that the unemployment rate would hit 9.5 percent in the middle of 2019. The federal budget deficit would grow to be 60 percent larger than it would have been.” The Washington Post, March 25th.
This also assumes that China doesn’t elect to amplify its retaliation by also tanking the value of the dollar by dumping their roughly $3.23 trillion of currency reserves into the global market, which would in fact hurt China… but decimate the United States by radically reducing the real exchange value of the dollar in global markets, which would in turn increase consumer prices a whole lot more.
Let’s see, Mr. Trump, fewer jobs, lower real wages, less growth, higher consumer prices, recession and broader federal deficits. How appealing! But don’t worry, Mr. Trump, most voters won’t drill down into these numbers… and would only get depressed after the fact… if you are elected.
I’m Peter Dekom, and as the old slogan goes, “be careful what you ask for, because you might just get it”… and a bit more.
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Citizens United effectively gave U.S. corporate and similar entities, including simply the mega-rich with equal “buying power,” the unbridled right to deploy unlimited dollars in support of any political issue or candidate they wished… as long as the candidates (wink, wink, the Federal Election Commission is deadlocked in pursuing violators) don’t direct the money. That decision has forced many candidates to adhere to the biggest contributor’s platforms or risk have their messages ignored absent comparable funding.
What’s worse, Citizens United has escalated the pressure on our elected representatives, particularly Congressional House delegates who face election every two years, to raise more money. The race for cash now consumes more time out of our Representatives’ workday than working for the people who elected them. Nora O’Donnell’s 60 Minutes (CBS, April 24th) piece on Congressional fund-raising was an eye-opening shocker:
Rep. David Jolly [R-Florida]: ‘We sat behind closed doors at one of the party headquarter back rooms in front of a white board where the equation was drawn out. You have six months until the election. Break that down to having to raise $2 million in the next six months. And your job, new member of Congress, is to raise $18,000 a day. Your first responsibility is to make sure you hit $18,000 a day.’…
Rep. Rick Nolan [D-Minnesota]: ‘Well, both parties have told newly elected members of the Congress that they should spend 30 hours a week in the Republican and Democratic call centers across the street from the Congress, dialing for dollars.’” Nolan and Jolly have introduced the “Stop Act” to limit such fund-raising activities, but insiders don’t believe that legislation has a chance of passage any time soon. Still, the off-campus party call-centers (fund-raising efforts from official offices is a no-no) are fully booked.
Notwithstanding the growing populism across our land, railing against the power elite and the influence of big money on both political parties, it is clear that not only are the power elite garnering more influence than ever – using the heavily and unprecedented polarized income inequality to their severe and direct advantage – but now applying yet another, less visible strategy to force their vision on the rest of us.
We’ve long been aware of patent-trolls – wealthy individuals and their controlled entities – buying up patents for the sole purpose of litigating against business that may or may not have stepped on aspects of the patents they have acquired. They aren’t buying those patents to make stuff, which would create jobs, but simply to buy the right to sue and settle or win, which actually kills jobs.
And we’ve long-since been aware of civil rights groups – like the ACLU – backing those who cannot afford to litigate to protect their rights in their legal quests toward justice. But combining all the concepts above, there is a new kind of “I’ve got money to have my way” troll surfacing in America’s seeming lock-step march from democracy to plutocracy. Perhaps with a notion of revenge and destruction, one of the billionaire co-founders of Pay-Pal, Peter Thiel, apparently has found an interesting way to wreak havoc against those who may have crossed him.
While this effort is not illegal, it does illustrate the power of money when the mega-rich decide to take down a perceived foe. The May 25th New York Times (DealB%k) explored the action: “Hulk Hogan had a secret financial backer in his legal fight against Gawker Media for invasion of privacy… [Thiel] helped fund the case brought by the wrestler, Terry Gene Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan, against Gawker, said a person briefed on the arrangement who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Mr. Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and one of the earliest investors in Facebook, privately agreed to help pay the expenses of Mr. Bollea’s legal team, this person said… A self-described libertarian, Mr. Thiel has a long history with Gawker, which published an article in 2007 outing him as gay. Mr. Thiel, who is now open about his sexual orientation, once described the Gawker-owned site Valleywag as "the Silicon Valley equivalent of Al Qaeda."…
A Florida jury awarded Mr. Bollea $140 million in March over a sex tape Gawker published in 2012.
The revelation of Mr. Thiel’s involvement in Mr. Bollea’s case, which has captured headlines this year for its salacious disclosures, came a day after Nick Denton, Gawker’s founder, was quoted in The New York Times as saying that he believed that Mr. Bollea’s case was being supported by a mysterious third party…
Questions about the independence of Mr. Bollea, who never mentioned a third-party backer, first emerged when his lawyer removed a claim from his complaint that had the effect of eliminating Gawker’s insurance company from the case. That struck many legal observers as odd, given that most lawyers seeking large payouts want to include claims that are insured against because doing so increases the chances of a settlement.” Rumors now suggest that, under financial pressure from litigation costs and losses, Gawker just might be on the auction block.
But there is a bigger picture to all of this. Add tax loopholes favoring the wealthy (carried interest, capital gains, off-shore sheltering of income, etc.) and regulations regarding the raising of capital that only the rich can afford to implement to the above, the bottom line reflects how our entire political system has become skewed to afford control to the top socio-economic tier, an ever-shrinking number of privileged individuals with ever-growing bank accounts whom we lovingly refer to as the “one-percenters”… often at the expense of the rest of us.
I’m Peter Dekom, and there is a rising voice, perhaps a populist scream, that will no longer accept this transition to plutocracy, even if the paths to ending this reality are as divergent as Bernie and Donald.
Friday, May 27, 2016
Thank you Donald and Bernie. We are facing an obvious populist revolt, particularly salient among those in the working class displaced by global outsourcing and local automation. With 70% of our labor force having faced year-to-year real buying power declines for well over two decades, that the economic performance “averages” look better (because those at the top are making so much more) is no consolation.
I’ve blogged about the contraction of our middle class and how upward economic mobility in the United States is primarily a relic of history. The once-stereotypical “man-as-breadwinner” notion is also dying in a sea of seminal socio-economic change. “As America’s wages have stagnated in recent years, men’s income has dipped. Young men, meanwhile, for the first recordable time, are more likely to live with their parents than a romantic partner, according to new data from the Pew Research Center. (Women, however, are more likely to live with a partner.).” Washington Post, May 29th.
There is also another symptomatic mobility change that has apparently further reduced the bargaining power of average workers, men and women. It goes beyond the changing gender earning roles or the demise of union power; only 6.7% of private-sector workers were unionized in 2015 according the BLS. For industries facing obvious obsolescence, I noted the stubbornness of some workers, coal miners by way of example, facing job declines for a very long time, unwilling to move to find sustainable work in other areas. There’s a trend here. Folks simply are not moving to “where the jobs are” much anymore. Why?
“[According to research by] economists at the Federal Reserve Board to be published soon by the Brookings Institution used a combination of factors — job shifts, movement in and out of the labor force, interstate migration, job creation and destruction, among others — to measure what they called fluidity or dynamism in the labor market.
“What they found was a drop of 10 to 15 percent between 1980 and 2013. Some individual measures showed starker declines: The proportion of workers who jumped from one job to another plunged by nearly a quarter.
“Mobility normally drops during downturns, and that was the case during the Great Recession. Millions of jobs vanished, and those fortunate enough to be working were less inclined to give up the one they had…
“The declining churn in the labor market may surprise those who assumed that the era of lifelong employment capped by a gold watch had given way to serial job-hopping. But the reality is more complicated, said Abigail Wozniak, an economist at the University of Notre Dame and one of the authors of [the above-referenced] report on the subject. While it is true that fewer people have very long tenures at a single company, she said, that trend has been swamped by a countervailing one: People are not moving as much out of what used to be entry-level and temporary jobs.
“Such road-testing of jobs was once very common, particularly for young workers. But now, ‘quick turnover jobs are declining across the board,’ Ms. Wozniak said. ‘It’s not as easy to try things out.’…
“But as fewer and fewer Americans are loading up the moving van in search of opportunity, that advantage may be slipping away. In recent years, economists have become increasingly worried that a slide in job turnover and relocation rates is undermining the economy’s dynamism, damping productivity and wages while making it more difficult for sidelined workers to find their way back into the labor force.
“‘It’s possible that one reason people aren’t changing jobs is because they’ve all found jobs that are great for them and they’re happy,’ Betsey Stevenson, an economist at the University of Michigan and a former member of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, said. ‘But the other possibility is that people stay in jobs that aren’t as good for them because they’re terrified of changing, and that’s bad for the overall economy.’
“Staying put can mean that workers are not moving to jobs where they would be more productive. At the same time, many are forgoing the raises and ascents on the career ladder that often come with a job switch. Fewer openings can also have a ripple effect, shrinking the bargaining power of workers in general, making it tougher to ask for a bump up in pay… ‘It also stinks if you lose your job,’ Ms. Stevenson said of reduced turnover. ‘It’s like a game of musical chairs where only half the people get up.’” New York Times, May 24th.
Bottom line: too many of us in the labor force are simply scared of the future. We don’t trust that future but we don’t exactly know what to do. We hate where we are, but if we have a job, we often cling to that as if there were no other alternatives.
“One of the more intriguing findings [of the above report] was the role of declining social trust and what is known as social capital — the web of family, friends and professional contacts. For example, the proportion of people who agree with the statement, ‘Most people can be trusted,’ has been shrinking for more than three decades. Researchers found that states with larger declines in social trust also had larger declines in labor market fluidity. The lack of trust may increase the cost of job-hunting and make both employees and employers more risk-averse.
“Ms. Wozniak added that the benefits of LinkedIn and Facebook friends may not replace the personal connections that still remain the best way to find a job… For some, the information revolution has a decided downside. Employers can use easily accessible information about criminal records and credit histories, not to mention embarrassing tweets, photos, social media postings and more to screen out a wider range of candidates.” NY Times.
We are even watching as Millennials have stopped ‘”moving” remotely as much as past generations. According to the May 24th Business Insider (citing a new Pew study), “more millennials (ages 18 to 34 as defined by Pew) are living at home than in any other living arrangement. This is the first time a plurality of young adults in that age bracket have lived with their parents, rather than on their own or with a partner or roommates, in American history, according to the Pew analysis. A grand total of 32.1% of millennials are living at home.”
We are killing the real job creators, which most definitely does not include what GOP President George H.W. Bush once called the “voodoo economics” of trickledown policies including tax cuts for the rich. The real job creators? We are still cutting government funding for education, infrastructure and basic research. Failing to address this populist rebellion with more than stupidly-catchy slogans that can never work, seeking scapegoats and placing blame where it really cannot be applied will only hasten the “great unraveling” of what we currently call the United States of America.
I’m Peter Dekom, and denial and deflection never solve the problems that must be solved to sustain the country as we know it.