Monthly Archives: August 2018

Let’s Make a Deal

Trade policy is an emblematic case of how the bipartisan establishment paved the way for Donald Trump. By behaving as a bully and threatening high tariffs if he doesn’t get his way, Trump has intimidated the Mexicans, Canadians, and Europeans into offering concessions (if only they can figure out what he wants this week). He has even intimidated the Chinese. None of this is a tribute to Trump’s negotiating genius. It simply reflects the fact that the U.S., as [...]

By |2018-08-31T14:04:51-04:00August 31st, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

NAFTA: More Fake News from Trump

The White House threw together a rushed announcement of a “preliminary” agreement with Mexico on auto industry tariffs and perhaps wages. This was conjured up on short notice to divert attention from Trump’s rising legal woes and the appalled reaction from legislators of both parties to his refusal to keep the White House flag at half-staff to honor Senator John McCain, who passed away on August 25. What makes the NAFTA announcement fake? First, an agreement to raise slightly [...]

By |2018-08-28T09:44:58-04:00August 28th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Heading Off a Democratic Demolition Derby

Trump’s latest woes and outbursts, combined with the ambivalence of Republican leaders in defending him, further serves to brighten Democratic prospects both in November and in 2020. But will Democrats fall into their too frequent habit of screwing up a sure thing? The Dems’ problem might be described as an embarrassment of riches—too many aspiring presidential candidates. And too many progressive ones. What’s wrong with a bumper crop of progressive candidates? They could splinter the progressive field, allowing a [...]

By |2018-08-24T21:22:04-04:00August 24th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump’s Fall: The Endgame

It’s now clear that President Donald Trump cannot survive. Personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen’s blunt admission before a federal judge that candidate Trump directed him to commit an illegal act—paying and then covering up hush money—is just the beginning. Cohen and former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who both face long prison terms, are likely to cooperate with the special counsel and provide further damaging information in exchange for recommendations of leniency that will come at their sentencing. The [...]

By |2018-08-22T12:53:00-04:00August 22nd, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Warren as Progressive Leader and Teacher

Once again, Elizabeth Warren has demonstrated her special qualities. Her proposed Accountable Capitalism Act dusts off and updates an idea from the Progressive Era: Large corporations should be required to get their charters from the federal government and should be held to higher standards of conduct. Specifically, corporations with revenues of $1 billion and up would have to serve all their stakeholders, not just their shareholders. Workers would elect 40 percent of board members, and board members would be [...]

By |2018-08-20T18:56:58-04:00August 20th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Labor’s Astonishing Missouri Win—and the Opening It Portends

Ohio’s razor-thin vote for an open House seat got most of the headlines, but the bigger story was the defeat of a right-to-work ballot proposition in supposedly right-wing Missouri. The bill to make Missouri America’s 28th state with a “right to work” law was passed by the legislature in 2017 and signed by then–Republican Governor Eric Greitens. But the labor movement qualified a ballot initiative overturning the measure, and it passed by a margin of 2 to 1, including [...]

By |2018-08-08T13:23:54-04:00August 8th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

How Right-Wing Ideology Connects to Trump’s Corruption

My dear friend E.J. Dionne has a smart column in Sunday’s Washington Post that is also wrong in one key respect. The column is titled “Forget Left and Right. This is What Will Determine the Midterms.” Dionne’s point, echoing and crediting Jonathan Chait, is that Trump’s flagrant corruption, rather than an ideological challenge, is what makes him and his party most vulnerable this year. Dionne and Chait are surely right about the corruption. Trump has become the personification of the swamp [...]

By |2018-08-06T21:42:26-04:00August 6th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

About that Capital Gains Scam

The Trump administration has come up with a shameless and probably illegal way to deliver hundreds of billions in further tax cuts to the richest Americans. Allow taxpayers to adjust capital gains for inflation, and thereby pay a far lower tax. They plan to do this by administrative fiat if they can’t get Congress to bite. The move was discussed by the Bush administration, and was rejected as probably illegal. Only Congress can revise the tax code. But with [...]

By |2018-08-01T21:30:39-04:00August 1st, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments