Monthly Archives: January 2018

Amnesty Man

What is Trump up to, with his take-it-or-leave-it immigration offer? For starters, he and his ultra-nationalist domestic policy adviser, Steve Miller, are continuing to play to Trump’s hard-core base. Second, Trump is trying to demonstrate that he’s the boss here. There are several problems, however. First, there is no such thing as a take-it-of-leave-it demand in politics. This may work as a ploy when you are negotiating a real-estate deal and you hold most of the cards. But in [...]

By |2018-02-12T16:03:45+00:00January 26th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Bad Trade

It is appalling how misleading is the mainstream press coverage of trade issues. Virtually all mainstream writers have imbibed the conventional wisdom that there is a simple divide between something called “free trade” and something disparaged as “protectionism.” Free trade, good; protectionism, bad. But how do you proceed when another country is clearly protecting its home markets and its exports—by subsidizing their manufacture and selling them below the cost of production—at the expense of competitors who really do practice [...]

By |2018-02-12T16:04:03+00:00January 24th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump: For the Dreamers Until He Was Against Them

The Senate is set for a noon vote today on whether to defer consideration of DACA and keep the government open for three weeks. Democrats would be fools to take this deal. In three weeks, nothing will have changed, and Congress will go through this all over again. Public opinion supports extending DACA by margins upwards of 80 percent, depending on the poll. Even a majority of Republican voters support it. The more this drags on, the clearer it becomes to voters [...]

By |2018-02-12T16:33:57+00:00January 22nd, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

The Shutdown Sweepstakes

About that impending government shutdown: Who will blink first? I’m guessing that Trump will. Why? Because he and the Republicans, as the governing party, have more to lose if the government actually shuts down. And because Trump, in the end game, is pretty good at making a deal, and likes to brag that he can get things done. And because the Democrats realize they have the cards this time, and are prepared to hang tough. And because, at different [...]

By |2018-02-12T16:40:47+00:00January 19th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Faithless Democrats

Want to know why Democrats are failing to optimize their role as the true economic populists against the purely symbolic faux-populism of Donald Trump? Consider the bill to weaken the Dodd-Frank Act, now working its way through the Senate. The bill would exempt financial institutions as large as $250 billion in assets from many of the safety and soundness regulations of Dodd-Frank. In a world of multitrillion-dollar banks like Goldman, that sounds like a medium-sized operation, but it includes [...]

By |2018-02-12T16:41:31+00:00January 17th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Still a Lousy Economy for Workers

Want to know why Democrats are failing to optimize their role as the true economic populists against the purely symbolic faux-populism of Donald Trump? Consider the bill to weaken the Dodd-Frank Act, now working its way through the Senate. The bill would exempt financial institutions as large as $250 billion in assets from many of the safety and soundness regulations of Dodd-Frank. In a world of multitrillion-dollar banks like Goldman, that sounds like a medium-sized operation, but it includes [...]

By |2018-02-12T16:42:04+00:00January 15th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

In Search of Common Ground

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! —Emma Lazarus, inscription on the base of the Statue of Liberty, 1903 Why do we want all these people from shithole countries coming here? —Donald Trump, 2018 We know that Trump is an oaf, a buffoon. But if you go into bars in places [...]

By |2018-02-12T16:42:52+00:00January 12th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Great Wall, Small Man

As Robert Frost famously wrote, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.” Does Donald Trump agree? Is Trump really about to make a deal with Democrats to preserve the right of undocumented Dreamer adults who were brought to this country as children to remain here under DACA? It sure seemed so at Tuesday’s White House bipartisan love fest. But other officials were quick to walk it back, giving Trump room to change his mind or demand a wall that hardly [...]

By |2018-02-12T16:43:32+00:00January 10th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Living with a Mad King

When the other memoirs come out—and they will—Michael Wolff’s book will feel tame. Just imagine how serious people around Donald Trump, like General H.R. McMaster, or General John Kelly, or former Goldman chief Gary Cohn, or even Jeff Sessions feel about the idiocy of Trump, and the stories they have to tell? The great disgrace of the Republican Party is to deny the appalling reality (or unreality) that is Donald Trump, and to indulge his lunatic behavior because he [...]

By |2018-02-12T16:44:17+00:00January 8th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Bannon: the Gift That Keeps on Giving

If a liberal strategist or screenwriter had scripted the Bannon-Trump crack-up, it would be hard to improve on events now unfolding. Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury, is only a more detailed version of what the world knows all too well. Donald Trump is an undisciplined mess, unfit to govern. His cabinet knows all too well what a total idiot he is, and says so. As for Bannon’s comments, don’t forget that he made these remarks to Wolff several months [...]

By |2018-02-12T16:48:50+00:00January 5th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments