Make America Great Again—Progressive Variant

So let’s take Trump at his word and make America great again. A good place to start would be by repealing the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts for the rich and investing that money in America. Like in a serious infrastructure program. That would provide tangible benefits that would help real people. It would create lots of good jobs, modernize public systems that have been under-funded for decades. And it would be a pretty good down payment on a [...]

By | 2018-04-23T21:14:38+00:00 April 23rd, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

How Impeachment Will Whipsaw the GOP

As noted in a previous post, some too-clever Democratic strategists don’t want to talk about impeachment for fear of animating the Trump base to turn out and vote this November. But there are not enough hard-core Trumpers to keep the House in Republican hands. Once Dems take back the House, impeachment inevitably becomes the first order of business. For several months—if Trump is still in the White House by next January—more of the lurid details of his corruption and [...]

By | 2018-04-20T16:51:27+00:00 April 20th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

President Pence, What’s Not to Like?

I’ve heard otherwise sensible people say that removing Donald Trump would not be a good idea because then we’d get President Pence and then Republicans could regroup. You gotta be kidding. For starters, Pence is one of the worst retail politicians in American politics. You have to be pretty lame to be on track to face defeat as an incumbent Republican governor in Indiana. Pence agreed to be Trump’s running mate only because he was in such trouble at [...]

By | 2018-04-18T16:40:09+00:00 April 18th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Depends on what you mean by “sell.”

Mark Zuckerberg’s repeated assurances to Congress last week that “We never sell your data” were in a class with Bill Clinton’s insistence in the Lewinsky affair that “I did not have sex with that woman.” (She had sex with him, but he did not have sex with her, get it?) Or maybe that kind of sex isn’t really sex. But I digress. Zuckerberg’s claim is the same sort of hogwash. Facebook may not literally “sell” a packet of data, [...]

By | 2018-04-16T14:24:11+00:00 April 16th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Let Us Praise Trump’s Incoherence

So now Trump, having bashed the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a wrongheaded product of the despised Barack Obama, wants to join it after all. Or maybe he doesn’t. The TPP was a lousy deal. It was mainly about helping big U.S. multinationals, and did little or nothing for labor and environmental rights. And despite the latter-day spin about the TPP containing China, it did nothing to restrain China’s predatory trade practices. Further, the United States already has trade deals with [...]

By | 2018-04-13T15:27:05+00:00 April 13th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Never Stiff Your Lawyer

As a developer and business mogul, Donald Trump famously stiffed contractors, college students, bankers, and partners. But he forgot the first rule of living outside the law: Never stiff your lawyer. Even the Mafia knows that. It’s not yet clear whether Trump deliberately failed to repay lawyer Michael Cohen for advancing hush money to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and porn actress Stormy Daniels, or whether Cohen and Trump just failed to figure out the choreography of laundering a reimbursement from [...]

By | 2018-04-11T16:05:00+00:00 April 11th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump Turns Against Putin

Here’s this week’s news quiz. Why did Donald Trump attack his chum Vladimir Putin after reports that Putin’s puppet, Bashar al-Assad, had again used nerve gas to kill children in a rebel-held area near Damascus? A) Is Trump, with Robert Mueller closing in, trying to signal distance from Putin? B) Is his new national security adviser, John Bolton, more of a Middle East hawk? C) Was Trump genuinely troubled by the appalling images of suffocating children? D) Is Trump [...]

By | 2018-04-09T16:01:29+00:00 April 9th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Why Scott Pruitt’s Corruption Is in a Class by Itself

There is such a blizzard of personal corruption in the Trump administration that it’s worth pausing to sort out why Scott Pruitt’s corruption is in a different category from the others. And it's quite a list: HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s $31,000 dining set, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s $139,000 doors, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s subsidized visit to Fort Knox to watch the solar eclipse, VA Secretary David Shulkin’s $122,000 travel junket to Europe, and for that matter, Pruitt’s own $107,000 [...]

By | 2018-04-04T15:14:45+00:00 April 4th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Enough to Make You Sick: Walmart & Humana

So let’s see: The nation's largest retailer is trying to buy one of the biggest and most predatory insurance and hospital conglomerates, Humana. That would give the combined entity a staggering amount of market power, and reduce competition among insurance companies. Supposedly, the proposed merger increases efficiency by providing more walk-in clinics, more cut-rate drugs, as well as pressure on hospitals to restrain costs and prices. But the efficiencies are bogus. Hospitals cross-subsidize expensive patients where they don’t fully [...]

By | 2018-04-02T15:07:54+00:00 April 2nd, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Even a Stopped Clock Is Right Twice a Day

President Trump gets almost everything wrong. But once in a while he does something approximately right. Exhibit A: Trump and his trade team have re-aligned U.S. trade policy, from pursuit of a wishful fantasy called universal “free trade” to a realistic recognition that other nations use protectionism to their advantage. The real task is to negotiate a fair balance of different national economic systems. Though Trump, with his usual bombast and theatricality, began stupidly with universal tariffs on steel [...]

By | 2018-03-30T16:34:37+00:00 March 30th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments