Monthly Archives: October 2018

Trump in Pittsburgh

I am imagining Donald Trump’s visit to grieving Pittsburgh—the carefully scripted words of consolation and unity—during a quick break from his rabid campaigning. And then Trump goes off-script and can’t resist blaming the media, and repeating his line that the massacre is the victims’ fault for failing to post guards at Shabbat services, and that assault weapons are not the problem. And I wonder, given the soft anti-Semitism prevalent in America, whether Trump’s latest examples of apparent tin ear [...]

By |2018-10-29T16:14:27-04:00October 29th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump’s Feral Genius

You have to hand it to Trump. Mostly he is totally in bed with big business, but he knows when to throw an industry under the bus. Big Pharma is monumentally unpopular, and for good reason. Trump’s first gambit was to require companies to mention the price of a drug in their ads. That fell flat; drugs have multiple prices—another defect of our lunatic, hyper-commercialized system. So now Trump has moved to benchmarking drug prices charged to Americans against [...]

By |2018-10-26T16:26:10-04:00October 26th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

China Keeps Displacing U.S. Jobs. Where’s Trump?

Here is today’s must read: the definitive piece on just how much Chinese abuses of the trading system are costing U.S. workers. Economists Robert E. Scott and Zane Mokhiber, in the most exhaustive study yet of the costs of the lopsided U.S.-China trade, report in an Economic Policy Institute study that since China was admitted to the World Trade Organization in 2001, U.S. trade with China has been responsible for a $100 billion increase in the annual trade deficit—and [...]

By |2018-10-24T15:54:17-04:00October 24th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Some Good News, From Munich of All Places

Bavaria has been one of the hotbeds of neo-fascist resurgence in Germany, mainly as a backlash against the Merkel government’s relatively tolerant policy toward refugees. Merkel’s coalition partner, the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), has moved sharply to the right in the hope of heading off gains by the far-right AfD. So who do you think was the biggest gainer in Sunday’s Bavarian election? The pro-immigrant Green Party, that’s who. And in Hitler's former stomping grounds, Bavaria's capital of [...]

By |2018-10-15T14:08:10-04:00October 15th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Depart, I Say, and Let Us Have Done with You

That’s what Oliver Cromwell said to the Long Parliament in 1653. In May 1940, the British Conservative M.P. Leo Amery flung the same words at Neville Chamberlain, demanding that Hitler’s appeaser step down as British prime minister. The words came back to me as I read about the paid speaking tour just announced by Bill and Hillary Clinton. The 13-city tour, billed as "An Evening with the Clintons," begins two weeks after the midterm elections. And billed is right. [...]

By |2018-10-12T19:01:29-04:00October 12th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Why Dems Should Push Antitrust

The Trump Justice Department has just approved a $69 billion merger between the CVS drug chain and the insurance giant Aetna. The advertised benefit of this and other mergers in the health, hospital, and insurance sectors is that it will cut costs and increase efficiencies. Keep your hand on your wallet, gentle consumer. No business pursues a merger to control costs. Behemoth corporations merge in order to increase market power. Insurance companies have merged to increase pricing power. Likewise [...]

By |2018-10-10T23:35:37-04:00October 10th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump’s Trade Deal: A Mixed Bag. Will It Help Him Politically?

You probably haven’t paid close attention to the details of the new trade deal with Mexico and Canada, and who can blame you? It is blindingly technical and complex. (And if you are reading this post, you are far more of a policy junkie than most voters.) That’s Trump’s gamble. He wins on the headlines—he was tough with both the Mexicans and the Canadians, and few people pay attention to the fine print. What’s in the fine print? Some good stuff [...]

By |2018-10-09T18:26:44-04:00October 9th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Which Party Will Kavanaugh Help in November?

The first thing to keep in mind is that turnout invariably drops between a presidential election and the next midterms. So 2018 is mainly a battle over two questions: Which party will do a better job of mobilizing its 2016 voter base? And what will happen in swing districts? On a net basis, the Kavanaugh affair could bring out hardcore Trump voters outraged that the judge is being accused of a sexual episode dating back to high school. Or [...]

By |2018-10-05T22:37:10-04:00October 5th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Civility Won’t Save Us

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, a reliable tribune of the conventional wisdom, bemoans the rise of Republican tribalist obstruction in a column titled "The American Civil War, Part II." "What stops it?" Friedman asks. "When a majority of Americans, who are still center-left or center-right, come together and vote only for lawmakers who have the courage to demand to stop it." This is not only naïve, but wildly implausible. In theory, one could imagine, say, a Jeff Flake [...]

By |2018-10-03T22:08:30-04:00October 3rd, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

How the Trolls Stole the 2016 Election

Russian meddling did in fact throw the 2016 election to Donald Trump. That’s the finding of an exhaustive study by the respected scholar Kathleen Hall Jamieson. This mostly occurred, neither by rigging ballots nor by leaking damaging material, but by creating fake groups and fake news. Just one item, among dozens of carefully researched examples, should persuade you. At one point, a fake online group, “Blacktivist,” created by Russian intelligence specifically to drive black support away from Hillary Clinton, [...]

By |2018-10-01T17:51:50-04:00October 1st, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments