The Winner: Mike Bloomberg

He wasn’t even in Iowa, but with the predictable collapse of Joe Biden, Mayor Mike had a better night than Mayor Pete. Bloomberg is doubling his paid staff to 2,000, and doubling his anticipated campaign spending to unheard-of sums approaching a billion dollars. Bloomberg’s hunch that Biden would crater paid off. So the center lane will now be a contest between him and Buttigieg, with Sanders and Warren contending for the left. Even in Iowa, with its leftish Democratic [...]

By |2020-02-13T12:18:04-05:00February 13th, 2020|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Bread, Circuses, The Super Bowl, and Fascism

One of the many depressing things about Trumpism is how little daily life has changed, except in ways that are invisible and menacing. For the professional class, the food is better than ever. Art, literature, film, and theater are more compelling. Cities are vibrant and safe. There are new medical miracles. And you probably got a tax cut. Global warming hasn’t hit home yet, so eat, drink, and be merry. The policy travesties affect someone else. For the masses, [...]

By |2020-02-13T12:14:41-05:00February 13th, 2020|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

I Spend Therefore I Am

NEWS ITEM: Michael Bloomberg pledges to help fund Democratic nominee even if it isn’t him. Bloomberg: Congratulations, Bernie. You did it. And Stacey Abrams is a very shrewd pick as running mate. Sanders: Thank you, Mike. Your anti-Trump ads have been just terrific. Bloomberg: Well, that’s what I wanted to discuss. Sanders: Yes? Bloomberg: Some of us billionaires aren’t all that evil. I mean, I’m as good as it gets on gun control, tobacco, gay rights, abortion—not to mention defense of [...]

By |2020-02-13T12:13:45-05:00February 13th, 2020|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Full-On Fascism

It’s a word I avoid because it is used too loosely by the far left. But the behavior of both Trump and the Senate Republicans truly does suggest a deeper drift toward fascism. One hallmark is absolute loyalty to a delusional leader and Big Lies. The Democrats and the media (except for Fox) dwell in a factual universe; Trump and his defenders are off in an alternative realm of their own imagination. Fascism is also an alliance between a [...]

By |2020-02-13T12:07:42-05:00February 13th, 2020|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Fair Isaac Strikes Again

Back when father was a lad, there was no such thing as a credit score. If you applied for a mortgage loan, you filled out the application showing income, assets, employer, the value of the house, and that was pretty much it. Mortgages, like applications, were simple. Somehow, loan officers did their jobs, there were very few foreclosures, and very few banks went bust. Then the wise guys started inventing really complicated mortgages, and something called FICO scores got [...]

By |2020-01-26T13:26:59-05:00January 26th, 2020|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

When It Makes Sense to Challenge Incumbents

House Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and Pramila Jayapal of Washington have made their peace with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. They will resume paying dues to the House Democrats’ fundraising arm, even though DCCC Chair Cheri Bustos of Illinois has refused to alter her edict that campaign professionals who work for challengers to incumbents will be blacklisted and boycotted by the DCCC. Pocan and Jayapal said they were relenting for the sake of party unity. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of [...]

By |2020-01-26T13:26:29-05:00January 26th, 2020|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Biden’s Fake Obama Endorsement

President Barack Obama, right, honors Vice President Joe Biden during a ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, January 12, 2017. Obama surprised Biden and presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Joe Biden is out with a TV ad that looks exactly like an endorsement by Barack Obama. Except that … Obama has scrupulously stayed neutral in the Democratic presidential primaries. The ad is cobbled together from parts of a speech Obama gave, with [...]

By |2020-01-26T13:25:45-05:00January 26th, 2020|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

The Cruel Vagaries of Random Primaries

This is the moment when we once again reflect on the utter randomness—and fatefulness—of the primary schedule and system. This year is even crueler than usual because of the interaction of the Senate impeachment trial with the early primary and precinct states. Consider: Any of four candidates could plausibly win Iowa and New Hampshire, and Nevada could also be up for grabs. Depending on whether a single candidate sweeps all three or the results splinter, the momentum of the [...]

By |2020-01-26T13:25:10-05:00January 26th, 2020|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Fake News: Trump’s Trade Deals

As last night’s Democratic candidates’ debate underscored, the gains of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade deal are at best modest. But it was a political win for Trump. First, it split the Democratic field. Second, the deal enlisted the support of the AFL-CIO, signaling Trump was delivering for American workers, even though the gains were pitifully small and did nothing to prevent the continuing loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs. Same story with Trump’s much promoted “Phase 1” China deal. Basically, [...]

By |2020-01-26T13:24:25-05:00January 26th, 2020|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Financial Beanbag and Financial Hardball

The Trump administration, pressuring Iraq to keep American troops, has issued this warning: If U.S. troops are booted out, as the Iraqi parliament voted last week, the U.S. will block Iraqi access to its central bank’s account at the New York Federal Reserve. This in turn, would wreak havoc with the Iraqi currency and financial system. That’s hardball. The U.S., still the center of the global financial system, has many such weapons. But it uses them very selectively. Consider the new [...]

By |2020-01-26T13:23:27-05:00January 26th, 2020|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments