Kuttner on TAP

Trump’s Trade Policy: Bluster and Cave

Trump has just walked back his threatened new tariffs on China again, this time supposedly to spare customers for Christmas toys and electronic products made in China. Retailers will be ordering these products over the next few months. The 10 percent tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese products were set to take effect September 1. That has now been moved back to December 15. The Dow promptly soared by several hundred points. Merry Christmas, Beijing. The action came [...]

By |2019-08-14T11:29:10-04:00August 14th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Here Come Several Primary Challenges to Corporate Democratic Incumbents

I spent some time last week with Alex Morse, the 30-year-old mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, who has just announced his primary challenge to Ways and Means Chair Richie Neal, 70, the most corporate of congressional Democrats. Neal’s constituents in western Massachusetts are rather more liberal than he is. Morse has gained national attention for running his own home-grown Green New Deal in the depressed factory town that he has governed since first winning the election at age 22. This [...]

By |2019-08-09T23:25:56-04:00August 9th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Breaking China

Trump’s latest impulsive moves against China, which reflect no coherent trade strategy other than his own petulance, could well derail the strongest thing he has going into the 2020 election: a relatively strong economy. The New York Times’ Paul Krugman has calculated that the costs of a trade war with China could equal or exceed the fiscal benefits of the tax cuts and lower interest rates combined. The stock market has been oscillating widely in anticipation of a weakened [...]

By |2019-08-08T10:49:00-04:00August 8th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Will Hate Strangle Its Author?

As you sow, so shall you reap. The manifesto posted online in advance of the El Paso Walmart slaughter leaves little doubt that the killer, who lifted language from Trump tweets, was energized by the climate of white supremacist and anti-immigrant hatred stoked by the rantings of the Hater-in-Chief. As were so many other haters. Trump was way off his game in his effort to say something comforting or remotely plausible about the latest shootings. In his initial pair of [...]

By |2019-08-05T13:27:02-04:00August 5th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

The Inevitability of Impeachment

More than half of the House Democratic Caucus has now come out for impeachment—118 of 235. Mueller’s testimony, though lackluster in performance, was devastating in detail. As I wrote at the time, the pundits who thought that it had killed impeachment had it backwards. Several members of the House leadership have newly called for impeachment. These include Foreign Affairs Chair Eliot Engel of New York and Nita Lowey of Appropriations, both of whom will face progressive primary challengers (thank [...]

By |2019-08-03T12:45:45-04:00August 3rd, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Harris’s Fake Medicare-for-All Plan

In the extensive jousting over Medicare for All, Kamala Harris has evaded scrutiny for the most insidious aspect of her plan: It significantly expands for-profit insurance at the expense of true Medicare by promoting more use of commercial products spuriously known as “Medicare Advantage” and calling that a version of Medicare for All. One of the successes of Republicans and the insurance industry in recent decades has been to take private, for-profit insurance plans whose business model is based [...]

By |2019-08-01T18:51:10-04:00August 1st, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

About That Medicare-for-All Food Fight

It is indeed possible to get to universal coverage under the auspices of Medicare, without bankrupting the public treasury or increasing net costs to the middle class. And the coverage would be better, more reliable, and more cost-effective than even the best insurance that people now get from their employers. Today’s employer-provided insurance is riddled with deductibles, co-pays, denials of reimbursement, limits on which doctor or hospital you can use, and losses of insurance when you change jobs. Sanders [...]

By |2019-07-31T22:26:29-04:00July 31st, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

The Idiocy of Campaign Coverage

Please excuse this rant. Today’s offender is, once again, the best of the mainstream media, The New York Times. Exhibit A: Front page, Sunday piece on Kamala Harris. Print Headline: “Pragmatism, not Ideology, Defines Harris.” OK, for starters, this is a completely false framing. There is no such thing as a politician without an ideology, though there are plenty of politicians who try to duck or fudge where they stand. The Harris piece takes up more than a page in [...]

By |2019-07-29T12:30:08-04:00July 29th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Mueller, Impeachment, the Media, and the Democrats

The takeaway from Mueller’s testimony keeps changing by the hour. After the huge build-up, the initial reaction was gloating in the Trump/Fox camp, deep disappointment among many Democrats, and a pile-on by the press. Mueller looked like a tired old man with his best years behind him, inclined to temporize when asked merely to confirm the multiple crimes laid out in his report. “Much as I hate to say it, this morning’s hearing was a disaster,” tweeted Harvard Law [...]

By |2019-07-26T19:27:43-04:00July 26th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Al Franken in Perspective

The New Yorker’s indefatigable Jane Mayer has written the definitive piece on the Franken affair. In it, she conclusively establishes that Franken’s main accuser, Leeann Tweeden, of the 2006 USO tour incident, was acting as a right-wing operative - a birther, no less. Tweeden, Mayer documents, had participated in identical Franken skits involving fended off kisses several times before and had registered no objection. The photo of Franken with his hands hovering over the breasts of a sleeping Tweeden [...]

By |2019-07-22T14:07:12-04:00July 22nd, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments