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  • Originally posted by GVChamp View Post
    UBI pays out $X/month regardless of overall economic conditions, it isn't a counter-cyclical policy. If you wanted to make it counter-cyclical, you'd want 2X during recessions and .5X during business cycle peaks. However, this won't work: the preferred psychological justification is that this is a Freedom Dividend, and you don't pay out twice as many dividends when the government is running trillion dollar deficits.

    Better automatic stabilizers are things like unemployment benefits, which you can enhance if the economy is truly in the crapper. You can also do payroll tax cuts, boost EITC, juice food stamps, or just literally drop money from helicopters.
    Ah, the penny drops.
    The difference is between the universal basic income and this year's stimulus payout. That's where the confusion arises.
    The first would not change due to economic circumstances unless that was built into the law: COLA, for example, or an extra bump when unemployment hits a trigger point.
    The second, this year's version, is a one-off that no one expects to persist into the future, except in extraordinary, one-off type circumstances.
    I don't think the size of the budget deficit (trillions? percent of GDP? cost of servicing?) would matter in either case.

    Unemployment benefits are fine, and extendable, for those employed by companies that pay unemployment insurance for them.
    Payroll tax cuts, ditto, although it really is just stealing from the future.
    The Earned Income Tax Credit works a charm, for those employed to a pay level requiring taxes, and able to wait a year or more for some small relief.
    Food stamps are generally not considered part of economic stabilizers, but never mind: they provide part of the safety net come what may.
    Helicopters are a euphemism for the kinds of stimulus checks sent out this year: indiscriminate (no means testing delays), quick, and of a useful amount.
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

    Comment


    • Op-Ed: Amend the Constitution to Prevent Another Trump

      (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Much of the relief felt from President-elect Joe Biden’s victory is in the return to a presidency based on behavioral norms. President Donald Trump’s years in office reminded us how important those norms are, and also proved that many of them have little or no legal force.

      One of the Biden administration’s first steps should be to propose a constitutional amendment to establish the most important presidential standards in law — an amendment that would be in keeping with American constitutional history.

      Trump began to break traditions from the start of his candidacy. From refusing to release his tax returns to interfering with Justice Department investigations, he's exploited the extent to which we have relied on personal restraint to protect institutions. By gutting the government's watchdog functions, the Trump administration eliminated many of the checks against bad behavior. The ultimate enforcement mechanisms — impeachment and indictment — don’t work in a Senate willing to countenance the president’s behavior and with a Justice Department that is directed to facilitate it.

      A 28th constitutional amendment could keep this from happening again. First, an amendment should work against conflicts of interest by making the disclosure of tax returns well before Election Day an eligibility requirement for federal offices. And it should expand the Constitution's emoluments clause, which bars the president from accepting gifts or favors from foreign states, to explicitly include the president and his or her immediate family, and cover businesses held directly and indirectly.

      The amendment should replace the Office of Government Ethics with a new entity that's responsible jointly to the president and both houses of Congress, charged not only with establishing ethics regulations but also with suspending officials who violate them. It should institutionalize the independence of the Justice Department by making the attorney general an officer who serves at the pleasure of both the president and Congress, thereby ensuring that attorneys general would not be able to do active harm for very long.

      Finally, the amendment should prevent presidents from pardoning themselves, their families, their staffs and campaign officials, and perhaps even major donors to their campaigns. It should eliminate the ability to grant pardons between Election Day and the beginning of the next presidential term.

      The actions of presidents and candidates have led to constitutional amendments before. The 12th Amendment, ratified in 1804, fixed flaws in the Electoral College system that were revealed in the elections of 1796 and 1800. The 22nd Amendment, ratified in 1951, established presidential term limits after Franklin D. Roosevelt broke a tradition set by George Washington by seeking a third and fourth term. The 25th Amendment, ratified in 1967, clarified rules for presidential succession and incapacitation that had been highlighted by Dwight D. Eisenhower’s health issues and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

      In 2021, any proposed constitutional amendment would inevitably start off as a partisan effort: a Democratic repudiation of the Trump administration. But it need not remain so. Many Republicans in Congress demonstrated unease with many of Trump’s actions, even if most were unwilling to condemn them. At various points during the last three years, polls suggested two-thirds of Republican voters have disagreed with the president on issues such as tax disclosure or self-pardons. And the prospect of a future Democratic president following Trump's template should make Republicans willing to act.

      In fact, the 22nd Amendment followed precisely this trajectory. Republicans tried unsuccessfully to make FDR's break with term-limit traditions a campaign issue in the 1940 and 1944 elections. Many Democrats were also uneasy with FDR’s decision but chose to overlook it thanks to FDR’s strong support among voters. When Republicans regained Congress after the 1946 elections, they immediately endorsed a constitutional amendment to limit presidents to two terms. Despite its partisan flavor, the amendment reached the necessary two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate because many Democrats supported it.

      Ratification by the states also started as a sharply partisan effort. Eighteen Republican-controlled legislatures approved the amendment within two months, but that was nowhere near the three-quarters of states (36 in 1947) needed to make it law. Over the next three years, the amendment began to be seen less as a protest against FDR and more as endorsing a long-standing tradition. It was eventually ratified by 18 more states — eight controlled by Republicans, nine by Democrats and one with split control — to become law in March 1951.

      The 22nd Amendment shows a path by which an amendment to restore presidential integrity could have a strong chance of success even though Democrats can't get it done alone. If congressional Republicans oppose it, the proposal would become a powerful weapon in the 2022 elections — one that would allow Democratic candidates to run on a position that could appeal to independents and Republicans. Any opposition by an ex-President Trump would help remind voters of aspects of his administration that Republicans would prefer them to forget.

      Above all else, integrity is precisely the kind of issue that a President Biden, with his emphasis on “the soul of America,” could make a hallmark, and which could attract the kind of Republican support that would help him demonstrate that collaboration can work. As such, it would not only improve the Constitution but also become a national, bipartisan issue in a nation that desperately needs one.
      __________

      Interesting proposals, absolutely needed in the face of an amoral career criminal like Donald Trump. And utterly DOA for as long as scumbags like Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are in command of the Republican Party. Blatant and unchecked corruption will become the norm. Trump's banana republic administration has pointed the way forward for the Republican Party: Do whatever you want, as long as you and your party hold the reins of power, because that's exactly what your constituents want.

      And it's only a matter of time before some Democrat does exactly the same thing.
      Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

      Comment


      • TH,
        Why did you have to spoil an interesting op-ed with that last sentence of yours?

        Just because one party is criminally inclined doesn’t mean the other must be, too.
        Trust me?
        I'm an economist!

        Comment


        • Originally posted by DOR View Post
          TH,
          Why did you have to spoil an interesting op-ed with that last sentence of yours?

          Just because one party is criminally inclined doesn’t mean the other must be, too.
          Because Democrats are politicians and human beings too. And when the opportunity is there, they'll take it.

          Also you'll notice that the interesting op-ed said the exact same thing. Even bolded it.
          Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

          Comment


          • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

            Because Democrats are politicians and human beings too. And when the opportunity is there, they'll take it.

            Also you'll notice that the interesting op-ed said the exact same thing. Even bolded it.

            I'm inclinde to agree with this in the broad. While Trump is a uniquely corrupt individual among more recent US Presidents (the C19th might have thrown up some competition) that doesn't mean that others from both sides aren't capable of doing the wrong thing. I'm not from the 'they're all the same' camp. I think most elected officials try to do what they see as the right thing, but there is consistently a minority - sometimes a substantial one - that will take opportunities for corruption. Further, if it is easy enough and becomes sufficiently widespread it becomes even more tempting for people who might not have been initally so inclined.

            Make it harder to do for everyone and everyone good across the spectrum is a winner.
            sigpic

            Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C

            Comment


            • The last time we had a big burst of ethics legislation, it led to the creation of a special counsel that in directly led to Ken Starr and Monica Lewinsky. This is a knee-jerk reaction that with 99% certainty will blow up in your face in spectacular fashion. Not worth it because Trump granted Roger Stone clemency and had people stay at his hotels. The GOP absolutely won't support it when they think Russia-gate is a biased investigation built on top of partisan witch-hunting.

              I can absolutely say that I will not under any circumstance support any curtailing of the pardon power. It's an absolutely essential arrow we need in the quiver and it needs to go to the President, and he needs to be able to exercise it in the lame duck period so he can pardon people even when it is politically toxic. It's a critical component of how we can move past particularly divisive periods. Trying to restrain it for political use is exactly the opposite of what we want.

              "But it's so restricted!" Yeah, bullshit. The Supreme Court has defined subsistence farming as interstate commerce. You do not want to open even the tiniest crack, because lawyers and judges will drill into it and make an expressway for their political benefit.
              "The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood"-Otto Von Bismarck

              Comment


              • Interesting proposals, absolutely needed in the face of an amoral career criminal like Donald Trump. And utterly DOA for as long as scumbags like Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are in command of the Republican Party. Blatant and unchecked corruption will become the norm. Trump's banana republic administration has pointed the way forward for the Republican Party: Do whatever you want, as long as you and your party hold the reins of power, because that's exactly what your constituents want.

                And it's only a matter of time before some Democrat does exactly the same thing.
                regardless of the merit, amending the Constitution is nigh impossible these days-- another sign of the sclerosis of our political system.
                There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

                Comment


                • Do not be surprised if it happens...

                  Trump TV and online streaming service

                  ...all of the whackjobs and their whacky conspiracy theories, 24/7

                  ...all while asking for donations to "Save America", DJT's new leadership PAC slush fund

                  Originally posted by Slate

                  Trump Allies Reportedly Consider Buying Newsmax as Anger at Fox News Grows

                  by Daniel Politi
                  15 November 2020

                  Allies to President Donald Trump want Fox News to feel the heat. Increasingly angry at what they see as a turn away from Trump by the news network that was once seen as a staunch supporter of the president, some of the president’s wealthy backers want to build an alternative. And they’re focusing on the pro-Trump cable channel Newsmax TV as a possibility, according to the Wall Street Journal. Hicks Equity Partners, an investment firm that has ties to the Republican National Committee, has been in discussions in recent months to acquire and invest in Newsmax as part of a deal that could also include a streaming-video service.

                  Although it’s unclear whether the talks between Hicks Equity and Newsmax will move forward, the fact that they’re even happening shows how Trump’s allies believe there is room to compete against Fox News. Newsmax has seen a surge in viewership lately as Trump’s most ardent supporters are angry at Fox News for having declared Joe Biden as the president-elect. Many are still angry that Fox confirmed Arizona for Biden before other networks. In contrast, Newsmax regularly parrots the president’s baseless claims of voter fraud and has refused to declare a winner in the election.

                  Trump himself has made his anger at Fox clear and has repeatedly criticized the network on Twitter while encouraging his supporters to turn to other news sources, including Newsmax and One America News Network. “.@FoxNews daytime ratings have completely collapsed,” Trump tweeted on Nov. 12. “Weekend daytime even WORSE. Very sad to watch this happen, but they forgot what made them successful, what got them there. They forgot the Golden Goose. The biggest difference between the 2016 Election, and 2020, was @FoxNews!” Trump took aim at Fox News again on Sunday, and directly called on supporters to seek out other news sources: “Many great alternatives are forming & exist. Try @OANN & @newsmax, among others!”

                  .

                  ...
                  .
                  .
                  .

                  Comment


                  • Trump’s Pentagon: No Place for Good Men

                    On Monday of this week, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows—fresh from testing positive for COVID-19—called Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to let him know that President Trump was removing him from his cabinet position.

                    The call had no sooner ended when Trump informed the world via tweet that Christopher Miller, the former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, was the acting Defense secretary, effectively immediately. The tweet ended bluntly: “Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service.”

                    With that, Esper’s 16-month tenure was over. Another public servant, ejected unceremoniously, reputation tainted by the president for the crime of attempting to serve as his character and conscience dictated.

                    Esper’s firing was abrupt but not a complete surprise. He’d fallen out of favor after pushing back on Trump’s desire to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 in order to deploy active duty troops to quell unrest associated with the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Esper, still stinging from how he’d been co-opted to participate in Trump’s Bible stunt across Lafayette Square, told the Pentagon press corps, “I say this not only as secretary of Defense, but also as a former soldier, and a former member of the National Guard: The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now.”

                    I suspect that what pushed Trump to the breaking point was Esper saying “as a former soldier.” It was a reminder that Esper is West Point grad who earned the Bronze Star for valorous conduct during Desert Storm while Donald Trump is . . . Donald Trump. But even before the Lafayette Square incident, Esper had found himself cross-threaded with the White House on issues ranging from Trump’s summary transgender “ban” and the pardoning of war criminals, to the military’s COVID response and the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. In each case, Esper was made to see that his commander-in-chief had no appetite for precedent or the assessment of fact. The only thing the president valued was unconditional loyalty. Intellect was only to be reverse engineered and weaponized in service of the president’s will.

                    Esper’s pedigree was never going to allow him to be a loyalist and Trump punishes those who aren’t loyal in myriad ways: pushing hot buttons, creating loyalty tests, watching how subordinates respond, in extreme cases even tacitly daring them to quit and doubling down on the abuse when they don’t. That abuse can take the form of issuing nicknames (Trump dubbed Esper “Yesper” in an attempt to brand him as a sycophant even when he wasn’t) or petty gestures, like the way he left the Pentagon without a spokesperson by taking DoD’s Alyssa Farrah and making her Kayleigh McEnany’s right hand at the White House.

                    Perhaps it’s not surprising that President Trump has focused his toxic management on the Pentagon. As much as anything else, he seems to see the presidency as a platform for settling scores and establishing himself as America’s Alpha Dog. And nothing in his profile is as challenging to that status as the fact everyone in the country knows that Trump ducked serving during Vietnam on bogus medical grounds. Cadet Bone Spurs has seen the last four years as a way of trying to subjugate the men and women who actually answered their nation’s call.

                    So, he came into office and surrounded himself with what he called “all the best generals” and slowly, methodically, set about an effort to soil their lives of accomplishment. One-by-one respected military figures such as Jim Mattis (“overrated”), John Kelly (“out of his league”), and H.R. McMaster (“a beer salesman”) were chewed up and spit out from the podiums of the White House Press Room or at rallies or, most prolifically, in tweets. Trump has shown his disdain for the military by ignoring the chain of command and, in several extreme cases, giving enlisted men—both active duty and veteran—direct access to his office as he formulated his approaches to national defense. In four years, he has had five secretaries of Defense—three of them acting—and none of them has left gracefully.


                    Trump’s election loss has accelerated his settling of scores, which is why Esper is gone. Don’t look for any meaning beyond that. Trump doesn’t play chess. He doesn’t even play checkers. He plays the binary game of “I win, you lose” that changes moment to moment. And at this moment he’s satisfied that he showed Yesper who the real big man is.

                    There is some concern as to what acting Secretary Christopher Miller, he of Green Beret street cred but lacking executive experience, and the band of FOX News regulars and conspiracy theorists with whom Trump has surrounded him, will do in the next two months. The worries include a force-fed initiative to get American forces out of Afghanistan by Inauguration Day.

                    The reality is that a conflict that has lasted over 19 years can’t end for good in a couple of months. We fought this war in a uniquely American way, which is to say, when faced with an asymmetric threat that largely consisted of bands of insurgents armed with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, we countered with platoons of highly trained infantry and special operators supported by drones, helicopters, and attack jets directed by fully staffed mission control centers. Even if we pull all of the warfighters out tomorrow, somebody has to stay behind to guard the stuff we don’t want to fall into Taliban, Russian, or Chinese hands until we can dismantle everything and load it on a few hundred sorties worth of C-17s.

                    That can’t happen between now and January 20, 2021.

                    No, most likely what’s going to happen at the Pentagon during the next few weeks is that Trump loyalists will make meetings unpleasant for the uniformed folks around the E-Ring.

                    Yes, this is small comfort. But in the meantime we can hope that actual stewards of democracy in those rooms will take good notes. Because this interregnum should make for interesting reading in the early days of the Biden administration.
                    ________

                    Remember when conservatives actually revered the military, had nothing but contempt for draft-dodgers and would've utterly destroyed anybody who disparaged POW's?

                    Now look at them.

                    Pathetic.
                    Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                    Comment


                    • They Are What They Say They Hate
                      Trump is a triggered loser who embodies every trait conservatives spent decades decrying.

                      Donald Trump is a snowflake who cares only about his feelings not the facts.

                      He’s a pampered millennial child who can’t handle losing and wants a participation trophy.

                      He’s a coddled, out-of-touch elite who cares more about what his media friends say about him than the struggles of forgotten Americans.

                      He’s a fool who leads a selfish ruling class that is bringing America to the brink of revolution.

                      He is an Ivy Leaguer who requires a safe space to protect himself from painful speech.

                      He believes in a hierarchy of victimhood with himself at the top and his aggrieved white supporters next.

                      He’s a wokescold who wants to silence those who reject his magical thinking.

                      A wanna-be monarch having a “temper tantrum.”

                      He’s callow and acting in bad faith.

                      Those who are not standing up to him have “no conception of the national interest larger than his immediate political interests.”

                      He is a censorious enemy of free speech and freedom of religion.

                      He is trying to bring about an “End Of Discussion” by leading an “outrage industry that shuts down debate and manipulates voters.”

                      He is “Triggered”, “driven by hate, and trying to silence the voters.”

                      He is stealing America.

                      He’s a whiner who specializes in phony outrage. A beta-soy-boy cuck who won’t take his setbacks like a grown man.

                      He wants to infuse political culture wars into every crevice of American life, bullying those who don’t accept his hegemony.

                      He sees democracy as a filthy process that can be cured only by centralized power.

                      He’s unvirtuous, ignorant, anti-American, and anti-Christian.

                      He’s a loser who is up to his eyeballs in bullshit.

                      He is everything that they ever said their “evil” opponents were. And worse.

                      But they don’t care.

                      Even in the face of Trump’s humiliating defeat at the hands of an opponent they believe to be weak and suffering from dementia, Republicans and conservative commentators continue to enable the human embodiment of what they once decried.

                      They do it because their crusade stopped being about anything other than causing their opponents pain a long time ago. They came to the crossroads and struck a deal to make a human troll the president of the United States, because he put Obama in his (birth) place and made all the right people mad. He was their vehicle to give the finger to half of the country.


                      Their end of that deal paid off in spades the past four years. And as he petulantly refuses to concede defeat they continue to get the liberal schadenfreude they crave.

                      The only thing they had to do in order to get it, was become everything that they had claimed hate.

                      They should never be allowed to forget it.
                      ____________

                      Welcome to the new face of "conservatism" and the Republican Party.
                      Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                      Comment


                      • Exclusive: Counterterrorism agency increasingly eyes right-wing threats as Trump era winds down

                        Even as President Trump and his allies have tried to downplay the threat of right-wing extremism and blame violence on the political left, one intelligence agency has been quietly ramping up its warnings about the threat of domestic threats, such as white supremacists, according to interviews and internal government documents.

                        The National Counterterrorism Center, an agency formed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to combat international terrorism, has been increasingly focused on domestic extremists, including those who have no known connection to a foreign group. One example of that new focus is its weekly internal digest for the week of the presidential election, when four of the top ten extremist threats highlighted by the agency were purely domestic, including the “boogaloo” movement, white supremacists, and militia members.
                        ...
                        ___________

                        Large article, click on the title to read the whole thing
                        Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                        Comment


                        • Trump reverses, the Cancellation of Wreaths Across America.
                          https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2...gton-cemetery/

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by surfgun View Post
                            Trump reverses, the Cancellation of Wreaths Across America.
                            https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2...gton-cemetery/
                            “The Arlington National Cemetery announced Monday it has canceled its annual Wreaths Across America event out of safety concerns as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise throughout the region. Cemetery officials said there was not a way to mitigate the risks of such an event.”

                            Click image for larger version

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                            Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

                              “The Arlington National Cemetery announced Monday it has canceled its annual Wreaths Across America event out of safety concerns as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise throughout the region. Cemetery officials said there was not a way to mitigate the risks of such an event.”

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                              yes, Covid is running rampant in the open air of the cemetery. F’n ridiculous!
                              The immune systems of Boy Scouts may be up to it, you Karen!

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by surfgun View Post

                                yes, Covid is running rampant in the open air of the cemetery. F’n ridiculous!
                                The immune systems of Boy Scouts may be up to it, you Karen!
                                Apparently the cemetery officials are idiots. Thankfully we have the orange doctor in the White House.

                                Of course, in reality Donald Trump is a fucking idiot that thinks that exercise robs your body of its limited supply of energy and was stupid enough to suggest injecting disinfectant into COVID patients.

                                I can only imagine what kind of person would still think that Trump is smart....
                                Supporting or defending Donald Trump is such an unforgivable moral failing that it calls every bit of your judgement and character into question. Nothing about you should be trusted if you can look at this man and find redeemable value

                                Comment

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