Sunday, February 19, 2017

So Many Conflicting Messages, but the Trend is Good.

While we are hearing more positive things about the demise of the Border Adjustment Tax, we must remain on a "war footing" until the House Republicans wave the white flag.

The latest news is a barrage of articles criticizing the BAT proposal and disparaging its chance of becoming law.  This is quite a change in tune.  As previously noted in this space, this change follows some initial defections to the side of reason, thereby making it "safe" for politicians to oppose the noxious proposal.

A good example of this trend is Senator Lindsay Graham's somewhat gratuitous, but most welcome, assertion that the BAT wouldn't get "ten votes" in the Senate.  Be still my heart, that sounds good to me.  The significance of this announcement is quite profound.  As I have noted in the past, the institutional memory of the 1993 BTU tax haunts the House of Representatives. They have seen Senate betrayals before, and now Members of Congress know to consider the fate of (revenue-raising) laws in the Senate before casting their votes in the House. If the Senate intends to kill the law, a vote its favor in the House is just a future campaign tactic waiting for use in the next cycle. That's bad for job retention, hence the coercive power of Graham's announcement.  Thank you, Lindsay!

Perhaps even more interesting is that this may be the leading edge of an implosion that may be building inside the Republican party anyhow.  The foolhardy and callous approach of the House Republican leadership in proposing such a damaging tax proposal, and then proceeding to be deaf to critics, only set up the Party for implosion as President Trump works daily to destroy the Republican brand.  At this point, every Republican has to be looking ahead to his or her next election and asking where their loyalties should lie. In other words, will they be better off charting their own course, or following leadership, or following Trump?  Wow, glad I don't have to make that choice.  I believe following party leadership and following Trump look worse and worse by the hour.  Hence, disarray is on its way.  The BAT simply opened up the first wound to be infested with this disease.  A self-inflicted wound, too.  Watch the sad spectacle unfold.  If we are lucky, the BAT will go down the drain of party infighting.  Whatever it takes.

Other interesting gossip to be found in the so-called lying press is news that the Republicans may actually choose to either pay for tax cuts today from revenue tomorrow (Reagan approach) or cut spending or both.  Imagine - taking a reasonable approach where the issues are on the table for all to see, the solutions are clear and don't involve gambling or picking winners-and-losers and where some form of acting responsibly might be deployed.  Might.  It's a start.

On the worrisome side, the Trump Administration is considering altering reality to fit its policies.  I know this is shocking but when the truth is inconvenient, why not just shift how you measure and describe it?  The Trump Administration is now considering eliminating exports of imported products from the definition of "exports" in the calculation of our trade deficit.  Notably, this change would not eliminate those imports from the calculation of the term "imports", but why would symmetry matters in data analysis, right?  Hey, the trade deficit just rose!

Heh, heh, heh, not funny.  This kind of misinformation is genuinely disturbing and should be greeted by HOWLS of protest.  See above, Congress should be mindful of future elections, too. In effect, this change in "statistics" means that the export of the products of our company will no longer count as "exports" because we make our products overseas.  I see this is as a precursor to declaring that our jobs are not "good American jobs" and ultimately, that we are not good Americans, period.  Aside from the fact that this is BUNK, it is also dangerous and anti-community.

We cannot afford to deceive ourselves on trade.  The machinations and conspiracies of loopy and unqualified government bureaucrats in labeling good and productive activities as somehow "bad" and against the interest of our country, can only send us moving back toward the caves.  I encourage you to protest such recasting of data as illegitimate and make the politicians in charge of our nation answer to you, the voter.  I can't help what happened in November. This is about TODAY, however, and we cannot allow them shove our life's work into the abyss.

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