by Rick Comfort.
The President’s State of the Union address last Tuesday was a window into the future, while at the same time a look back in history with his reference to “all the good news” and his emphasis on the economy and how “your pension, 401 or whatever” is healthy with big earnings.
Let’s look at this one item at time.
First, “all the good news.” It is true that we have a record run-up of the financial markets, some folks are getting raises and bonuses due to the new tax law and there is the “lowest unemployment…” ever, for certain segments.
The sharp increases in the financial markets are great for that 5 percent of the population who have significant investments. The other 95 percent have their savings in banks or bonds, and their return is still below 2%! And don’t forget, the stock market began this record rise when President Obama was in office – after he guided the nation through the Great Recession brought on by the policies of President George W. Bush.
Trump mentioned pensions. What pensions? Almost ALL of the major companies have killed their defined pensions and have gone to some sort of contribution to a personal account with a degree of matching funds. Think about this. Wages are down, interest rates are down, so contributions are down, and so matching funds are down. That’s a great scenario for a whole bunch of people, many with meager assets, retiring in 2030 and beyond.
Oh yes and the tax reform act. That was really a raise for every major company or corporation in the nation. Yet only 255 of them (the largest and most profitable) announced some sort of bonus or raise for their employees. What happened with the other 20,000 or so? Let’s remember that those employees, most likely, have been working without a raise or minuscule raises and now they are paying for their own healthcare, so they were behind the cost-of-living increases over the last 4-6 years. Nothing like going backwards in a growing economy!
Of course, there was no mention of the Carrier plant in Indiana, now that those 650 employees were laid off and the plant closed. So, what did that $7 million in tax breaks for Carrier get? A photo op for Trump!! That’s just an example of Trump’s deception.
Trump also had a great photo op when Harley-Davidson executives rode into the White House compound last year to meet with Trump, who promised great things from his tax cut. This week, the company announced its Kansas City plant is closing and moving the assembly jobs to Thailand. One contributing factor: a $53.1 million income tax charge related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
So where are all these profits going? How about to the top 1-2% of the company managers first, and then some dividends to the stockholders. That’s where. CEO incomes are at ridiculously high levels, while the average U.S. income is still below 2008 levels!
So that’s the current situation. Booming financial, low inflation, companies making extraordinary profits, and Republicans controlling the federal government. Does that scenario sound familiar?
Oh yes it does…almost 90 years ago, the Republicans had controlled the government for almost 10 years with their no regulations lassaiz-faire attitude and BAM, 1929, the Great Depression! Same scenario in 1987 and again in 2007-8 when it took Obama and the Democrats to come to the rescue.
The Republicans have proven over and over again that, above all, they know how to take care of their own, while telling everyone that they know what’s best for the country. When their policies fail, and Humpty Dumpty falls off the wall, the Democrats come in and put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Remember the New Deal, New Frontier and of course all of the trade unions that took those companies to task for fair wages and benefits and dignity for the workers?
This time let’s not wait for Humpty to fall. Let’s elect a new Congress in 2018 that will really work for all the people, not just that top 5 percent.
Let’s start right here in South Carolina. Support your local Democrats and turn SC Blue again.