Kuttner on TAP

Trump’s Full-Blown Trade War

It’s one thing for Trump to demonize Mexicans. Disgracefully, that’s popular with his base, and it also confuses some of the progressive community, because NAFTA really does need to be renegotiated. It’s quite something else to invite retaliation from China with a tit-for-tat tariff war that could be devastating for American farm exports (in mostly Republican states). The EU, likewise, has now decided to strike back with retaliatory tariffs, which will harm American exporters and of course workers, as [...]

By | 2018-06-23T00:17:29+00:00 June 23rd, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump’s Tax Fraud

For months, we’ve been warning that you would pay the cost of Trump’s $1.9 trillion tax cuts. Well, here it is, the six-month anniversary of passage of the Tax Act, and the Republicans on the House Budget Committee just unveiled their plan: finance their increased deficit and balance the budget by cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid! Here’s the good news. The Tax Act, which was going to be a big political winner for Republicans, is turning out to be [...]

By | 2018-06-20T22:39:57+00:00 June 20th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Feeling Optimistic … or Pessimistic?

Let’s try pessimistic first. Mueller is dragging out his investigation while Trump’s allies tighten the noose around him. And his report will only be a report. The impeachment process is hopelessly political, in any case. Meanwhile, Trump succeeded in making his Korea talks look like a kind of breakthrough. Even his tariffs are rallying his base. His approval ratings are up slightly. And his immigration policy may be deeply inhumane, but it plays well in parts of the country [...]

By | 2018-06-20T19:15:03+00:00 June 20th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Inscrutable China Policy

Trump’s decision to move ahead with tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese exports prompted an immediate retaliation by Beijing. It’s a classic case of Trump using the wrong strategy to pursue a long-overdue revision of U.S. coddling of Beijing’s predatory state capitalism. As an unnamed senior administration official, almost surely chief trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer or White House trade strategist Peter Navarro, told The New York Times: China has a history of using state subsidies to build up [...]

By | 2018-06-15T19:28:15+00:00 June 15th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

The Moment of Truth for Republicans

For more than a decade, Republicans have decided that destroying the Democrats and the competence of government is more important than defending American democracy. We saw that under President Obama, when Republicans pursued a strategy of blocking whatever Obama attempted, sight unseen, and refused to compromise on anything other than keeping the government open. The roots of that policy date back to then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s efforts to destroy Bill Clinton. We also saw Republicans and their allies in [...]

By | 2018-06-14T21:02:42+00:00 June 14th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Race, Class, and Loyalty

Ayanna Pressley, 44, is a respected African American member of the Boston City Council. A one-time political director for John Kerry, she was the first black woman ever to be elected to the council, in 2010. And she won citywide, in an at-large district. In January, Pressley, calling for new leadership, surprised many observers by challenging incumbent progressive U.S. Representative Mike Capuano, a 66-year-old white guy, in the upcoming Democratic primary for Massachusetts’s Seventh District. Capuano is popular and [...]

By | 2018-06-08T22:16:25+00:00 June 8th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

What Would Cause Republicans to Break With Trump?

For the most part, Republicans have been far too willing to enable Trump’s personal corruption, his sellouts of the national interest for personal gain, and a broad array of impulsive and incoherent policies. But even Republicans have their limits. The big red line is still firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller. It would provoke an open break. Even Trump, in his stupor of Fox News fawning and genuflecting aides, knows that. Lately, there have been other encouraging signs. A bipartisan [...]

By | 2018-06-06T22:54:59+00:00 June 6th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

L’État, C’est Moi

It is almost reassuring to learn that Trump truly believes he is above the law. Arguing that the law does not apply to the president is the essence of dictatorship. It’s good to have that claim in black and white—reaffirmed by the even more bizarre claim by Rudy Giuliani that Trump could not merely fire James Comey but murder him and not be legally to called to account. When Trump said that he could “stand in the middle of [...]

By | 2018-06-04T22:12:08+00:00 June 4th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

In Search of Principled Conservatives

In the era of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell, there seems to be no such thing as principled conservatism. Long-hallowed conservative tenets such as budget balance, states' rights, and free markets, to name just three, have given way to enlarged deficits driven by tax cuts, opportunistic federal pre-emption of liberal state and city policies, and Russian-style klepto-capitalism. There was also a time when at least some conservatives were skeptical of costly foreign adventures and massive military buildups. That’s gone, [...]

By | 2018-06-01T22:08:23+00:00 June 1st, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

America as the Hope of the World

I’m traveling in Europe. And despite the fact that neoliberal governments caused the financial collapse and the economic fallout and political backlash, one looks in vain for a left-wing government. Mostly, the protest goes far-right. The reason is that the “center-left” governments of the 1990s bought into the hyper-globalism of that era. So when it crashed, their fingerprints were all over the collapse. Angry citizens looking for a global opposition party to the Party of Davos could not find [...]

By | 2018-05-31T13:56:52+00:00 May 31st, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|1 Comment