Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

 

In Hawaii, “aloha” also means “goodbye.” President Trump could not have missed the less-than-enthusiastic greeting during his brief touchdown in the U.S. state where — facts are facts — Barack Obama was born. Demonstrators there seemed to be following a new pattern among Trump foes, replacing raw anger with mockery. His fans, meanwhile, were greatly outnumbered.

Daughter Ivanka, once a media star in Japan, just gave a speech in Tokyo to a half-empty hall. Ushers pushed attendees toward the front to give the appearance of a crowd.

Something has changed for the real estate developer turned president. Interest in his presidency and, even worse for him, fear of his wrath are clearly draining. Trump can still do grave damage to the country, but he seems less of an unremovable force.

In any case, there’s always the real estate. That explains a few things. It explains why the presidential tweeting fingers went limp after 13 federal agencies presented a report totally dismissing his position that global warming — if it exists and if it is a problem — has little to do with human activity. Some lower-downs were left with the job of casting aspersions on the scientific consensus, but there was no frontal assault by the ringmaster.

Was it growing public concern that the administration is not addressing a cause of increasingly violent hurricanes and fires? Perhaps. More plausible is that Trump and his Wall Street comrades want no distractions from proposals to slash their taxes. Pushing more of the nation’s tax burden onto other shoulders requires concerted effort.

Those shoulders, it appears, would belong to many in the middle and upper-middle classes. Eliminating the deduction for property taxes is one means to this end. Another would be killing the deduction for big medical expenses.

Even so, the tax reform package on the table would raise the deficit by an estimated $1.5 trillion this decade and possibly more in the years to follow. And though some in the middle class would see modest declines in their tax bills, the soaring national debt would come at a price many don’t realize. For starters, someone would have to pay it off.

In addition, the national debt is the club with which many conservatives try to whack such middle-class programs as Medicare and Social Security. Their strategy is simple: Slash the revenues that sustain these programs and then announce that the programs are unsustainable.

Especially hard hit would be middle- and upper-middle-class residents in expensive states. But for at least one rich developer in Manhattan, the tax proposals, if enacted, would constitute nothing less than a Champagne bath in a golden tub.

During the campaign, Trump vowed to end the “carried interest” outrage — a loophole that lets developers and hedge funders pay taxes on their fees at the lower capital gains rate. As a result, their tax rates are often below those paid by the police guarding their estates. In the current debate, House Republicans would leave the carried interest deal almost unchanged.

The House tax bill would limit the interest expenses companies may deduct on their commercial loans, the exception being — guess who — companies engaged in commercial real estate.

It would also end the tax deferral for personal property exchanges for most every group except for one: commercial real estate developers.

Ronald Reagan’s 1986 tax plan, praised by conservatives (and now Trump) as the gold standard for tax reform, did not favor real estate interests. People forget that in 1991, Trump stormed to Washington denouncing the Reagan reforms as “an absolute catastrophe for the country.”

That oversight has been fixed. Trump and the Wall Street bigs now have tax “reforms” finely tailored to their specifications. All hail the real estate mogul in chief.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com.To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

 

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27 responses to “A Real Estate Mogul, Not A President”

  1. Dominick Vila says:

    Trump, and his Wall Street friends, will do a U-turn the moment they realize there is a lot of money to be made off preparedness for the effects of global warming. The fact that countries like China and India are well on their way to transition to electric cars within a decade, that China is shutting down coal power plants, and that many European town now depend on solar and wind energy for many of their needs, will not persuade The Donald that global warming is real, and that its eventual effects will be devastating to humanity. What will change his mind is the probability of making lots of $$$$. Could that be the reason he did not enforce the sanctions passed by Congress against Russia for their meddling in the 2016 election?

    • Independent1 says:

      When do you suppose those 1% idiots supporting Trump and the Republicans are going to wake up and realize they’ve either already been missing out on the profits to be made from climate change or their businesses are already seeing declines in profits because of it? (Declines in profits due to maybe to destroyed stores and lost sales because of disastrous weather events?)

      19 fairly big names in business are already working to see what profits they can make by trying to mitigate the damage climate change will make to our nation, planet and lives:

      How 19 Big-Name Corporations Plan to Make Money Off the Climate Crisis

      An excerpt:

      Republicans have recently mocked President Barack Obama and Sen. Bernie Sanders for saying climate change poses a national security threat. But Democratic politicians aren’t the only ones making this connection. In 2014, the CNA Military Advisory Board, a group of retired US generals and admirals, warned that the impacts of global warming “will serve as catalysts for instability and conflict.” Saab, a Swedish defense firm (and former parent company of the struggling automaker), agrees. In its CDP submission, the company cites the CNA report and adds that climate change could “induce changes in natural resources e.g. water, oil etc., which may result in conflicts within already unstable countries” as well as illegal deforestation, fishing, and drug smuggling. Saab sees these dangers as a business opportunity that will result in an “increased market for civil and military security solutions.” As an example, the company points to its Erieye Radar System, which “works in a dense hostile electronic warfare environment” and is “capable of identifying friends or foes.”

      http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/12/climate-change-business-opportunities/

      • dbtheonly says:

        Well for one, the coal producers will assert that President Obama declared “war of coal” and plaster billboards with that message all over. They’re showing no sign of acknowledging any problem at all.

        One would expect every Naval Base to be at severe risk of sea level rise. Norfolk’s position is compromised by the sinking of the land as well.

        • Independent1 says:

          Yes, and not surprising from the industry that has done the most to put the world into the global warming situation it’s in today; and not only has burning coal heightened the long term viability of mankind, coal fired power plants are estimated to be causing over 30,000 Americans to die.every year from lung related illnesses.

          And by now, more and more Americans are learning that even without Obama declaring ‘war on coal’, coal’s demise was a given, given that the costs of producing electricity via wind and solar are already cheaper than burning coal; and neither of these sources of energy create illnesses that kill people. These are facts being published more and more each day and which Democrats should be doing a better job of spreading around the nation.

          See this:

          Even With Trump as Cheerleader, the Coal Industry Can Only Decline

          Despite the administration’s avowed support of coal jobs, energy industry analysts and economists who study the sector say that even Donald Trump’s executive order scuttling the EPA’s Obama-era Clean Power Plan and a pullout from the Paris accord won’t bring back coal’s boom times.

          “Economics, not regulation, is the prime driver of near-term coal sector distress,” wrote Swami Venkataraman, an analyst with Moody’s Investors Service. Cheaper natural gas and renewable energy will be the primary culprit behind coal power plant closures for the next three to five years, he said. “The trend of low gas prices and declining renewable costs are independent of expectations created by the CPP and will continue to affect coal-fired generation even in its absence.”

          https://www.nbcnews.com/business/energy/even-trump-cheerleader-coal-industry-can-only-decline-n767216

          • dbtheonly says:

            Yes, but never underestimate the resistance to seeing jobs, which have been in the family for generations, disappear.

            Economics and economies are changing rapidly. Thomas Friedman’s books make this abundantly clear. What is less clear, and what Friedman only hints at, is what, if anything, can be done. There’s an article in Mother Jones, I think, stating that by 2050 90% of the jobs will be done by robots. What this leaves humans to do is the focus of the article.

          • Independent1 says:

            Some of this is such a farce – if robots are doing 90% of the work, how will the masses be earning money to purchase the products or services that these robots are supposedly making or providing? The idea that companies will migrate so much to robots in order to save money in producing their products, is all great and wonderful, provided the people who are supposed to buy all these products have something to do to earn money to buy these companies products. To me, robots doing everything fantasy is like trickle down economics – it’s pipe dream of greedy entrepreneurs who aren’t thinking into the future. (Or is it that the government is just going to be handing out money to people as they sit around on their butts just so the government can keep companies in business using robots?)

          • dpaano says:

            I agree with you totally…..I’ve always wondered what will happen to the workers if robots take over all the jobs….how will we make money to support our families or ourselves? How will we make money to purchase products produced by these robots? As you said….will the government just hand us a bundle of money each month to survive and purchase things? I seriously doubt it (we’ll be stuck paying off the bloated deficit that the Republicans are looking to add to with the new tax plan)! It’s a scary thing to think of intelligent robots taking over jobs…..no one seems to consider the consequences of this technology. They’ll even train them to handle the computers to RUN the robots in the factories, etc. Human beings won’t be needed anymore….wonder what they’ll do with us?

          • Independent1 says:

            What these robotics freaks are ignoring, is that America is the only truly industrialized nation on the planet whose population isn’t already declining. And with Trump deporting the immigrants that have been the source of America’s increasing population, not only deporting them but putting severe caps on how many can come to America now, America’s population may well start declining soon too.

            Why do people think Putin was so bold in annexing part of Ukraine? One big reason is because Russia’s population is plummeting and Russian businesses need more people to buy their products. And why do people think the countries in Europe were so quick to accept all those refugees from Syria? Primarily because the populations of every European country are also on the decline. Virtually every nation where women are able to use contraceptives has a declining population because not enough modern women want more than a 2 child family which results in couples not replacing themselves; the average per couple has to be 2.1 or more; but in the U.S. native born Americans have less than 1.8 kids per couple.

            So if companies around the globe are already struggling with getting their economies going because of declining populations, how do these robotics nuts think these are going to continue accepting them throwing thousands of workers out of jobs by replacing them with robots??

            Just like China put a one child/couple policy into affect when it’s population was exploding (the reverse is now happening), countries will start putting restrictions on companies being able to replace workers with robots; I don’t see that being too far down the line. People who project that by 2050 robots will be doing everything are living in a pipe dream.

          • dbtheonly says:

            Strongly recommend you read the article. Thomas Friedman’s books are also on point, though Friedman doesn’t get to your level of acknowledging that every Worker is also a Consumer.

            It’s why I won’t use the self-checkout lanes in stores. It’s why I stand in line for a bank teller. I know I could make my deposit at the ATM. But the teller is a human being with a job.

            Star Trek always had a problem defining their economics. In a universe without “want”; how do people function?

          • dpaano says:

            And, I read that training has been offered to these individuals, but many of those out-of-work individuals have declined to take the offered training and move into more lucrative jobs. These are the same people who voted for the orange wonder! The coal industry is not coming back as vigorously as it was…..even the owners of the coal mines realize there’s no economic uptick to their re-opening mines or rehiring miners! Coal is on its way out!

          • dbtheonly says:

            Economics is working against coal. But I feel sympathy for those seeing their way of life disappear. I personally can’t imagine refusing job training, but who am I to judge others making a different choice?

          • ivory69690@yahoo.com says:

            the coal miner’s owners should use the mine’s today and make big storages out of them and make money that way

        • ivory69690@yahoo.com says:

          the coal THE DUMP 45 reversed the gun law bill what ever it was that Pres. Obama put into place on mental ill people cant buy guns DUMP 45 billed it that its ok that the mentally ill can have guns he says its the mentally ill’s right to have guns WOW THE DONNY DUMP CLOWN SHOW AT ITS WORSE

      • Dominick Vila says:

        In addition to the rapidly melting polar caps, glaciers, rising sea levels, and an unprecedented number of devastating storms, severe droughts throughout Africa, and parts of the USA, augur loss of fertile grounds, a dramatic reduction in food supplies, famine, and turmoil as desperate people try to survive. It may take 20 or 30 years before this is evident to everyone, even to the Trump family. By then, our children and grandchildren will have to spend trillions of dollars trying to mitigate the effects of the greatest threat to humanity. I wonder what they are going to think of our myopia, greed, and indifference?

        • dpaano says:

          And, apparently, Trump doesn’t realize he ALSO has children and grandchildren who will suffer from his actions!! I don’t think he cares because it’s all about him!

          • ivory69690@yahoo.com says:

            And, apparently, Trump doesn’t realize he ALSO has children and grandchildren who will suffer from his actions!! I don’t think he cares because it’s all about him!
            what dose he care he cares about nothing but himself the kids . grandchildren will all be thrown under the bus in a heart beat by DUMP 45 . as it is now his B/S EGO could end the world with a WW3 and he could care less . ive said this many times and more so needed now THE JFK -CIA come save the USA& the world now and fast before its too late !!

  2. One thing that deflates any blowhard is to expose the shortcomings inherent with being egotistical and to repeatedly remind a narcissist how far he/she has deviated from the norms as set out, albeit not all that clear for the average reader, in the Religious Texts in their unadulterated unaltered original form.

    The propensity for being an ass to satisfy that ego can be easily dealt with by exposing the fallacies put forth by the narcissist. Just as the theme “The Emperor has no Clothes” exposes the shallowness of the emperor who likes to pretend being important, Trump’s garish behavior and foolishness can be greatly attenuated by exposing his “nakedness” of humanity, for all to see and judge for themselves.

    Satire, ridiculing a boorish buffoon in the press, and presenting the truth when the egotist insists on telling a lie, are some of the ways to directly expose a charlatan, and will deflate such a person in quick order. And then anyone left to support such a knave will have to share that shame and the ridicule of said simpleton. Only a fool and a person with no sense of shame would remain comfortable in that sort of lighting.

    • FireBaron says:

      Aaron, my friend, your last sentence defines Teflon Donnie perfectly.

      • Thanks. We are confronted with a unique spectacle who has a bewildering array of dysfunctional behavior, not known to have ever resided in just one human being.

        • dpaano says:

          His current trip to Asia has totally embarrassed this nation. His speeches are ridiculous, especially when he goes off script! I don’t know how we can deal with such an embarrassment when he deals with foreign governments….he just doesn’t know when to shut his big mouth!! He offends Japan and China and doesn’t have a clue! They are playing him like a Strad violin and he doesn’t even know it!! It’s downright embarrassing that our leader is such an idiot….too stupid to see he’s being played. They cater to his narcissistic self and he doesn’t realize it’s a joke to them!

          • ivory69690@yahoo.com says:

            above all else China knows that DUMP 45 is a pathological liar and thy will use that knowledge to heck even play the DUMP 45 CLOWN all the times the clown called China all those names thy know all about it . and in sure the know thy cant trust a word that comes out of that DUMP 45 POS’s mouth

  3. FireBaron says:

    Let’s be real here, folks. Most of the real estate bearing Teflon Donnie’s family name (well, the Americanized version anyway) isn’t even owned by him! He has licensed his name to the actual property owners, and many of them are scrambling to find ways to get that name off, based on the losses in revenue they are seeing because of it.
    Teflon Donnie not only likes playing with Other Peoples’ Money. He also likes playing with Other Peoples’ Properties.

    • Emily says:

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  4. dpaano says:

    This whole tax thing is depressing as hell! The middle class that will be affected (or is it “effected”….my one foible…not knowing the difference) big time while the rich will reap the benefits! No wonder the orange wonder wouldn’t show his tax returns….it would probably show that he paid little, if any, taxes at all! As for the deficit…the Republicans had a hissy fit when President Obama was in charge….now, all of a sudden, they are mute! President Obama raised the deficit to pay for the recession left by Bush….but, as the article mentioned, this will only help the rich and the poor middle class will be left paying for it for the next 10-20 years!! This is BS!!

  5. ivory69690@yahoo.com says:

    DUMP 45 is such a pathological liar that every know this and seems too many people like it and him that way . so what’s he to do change ? why should he made it to the white house that way so why should he stop . just the rest of the world is learning more and more about the lying DUMP 45 that thy will and cant believe a world the clown says .

  6. ivory69690@yahoo.com says:

    WHATS WRONG WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE yes these things are very bad that the ones running for office do making it in even . and made it in those places but the voters of the people seems mentally ill American’s . but bottom line is its the wacked out stupid people of the country vote for them . and then its a pathological liar in the house did and is doing nothing coming up on a year now . when he promised on the first day and the first 100 days he was going to do these things he promised . never mind all that the gang of pinheads = GOP want to do is just for the few the 1 & 2 percent rich greedy bastards . taking away from the rest of the people of the country to feed the greedy rich . thy want to take every thing away from the people . the money the health care every thing to make the money to give to the GREEDY RICH

  7. ivory69690@yahoo.com says:

    the main thing these days is stopping this DUMP 45 clown before he sets off a NUKE bomb and a WW3 . he will do it is the government going to wait till its to late ? the JFK CIA is needed now and fast save the country and the world with just one 9 mm to put a path in the DUMP45 pee for brains head . what ever reason it was done to JFK todays worse for its not the point of like back then not many country had never mind knew how to make a NUKE bomb . but for today every one knows how to make them and too many country’s already have them . and who’s to say when it all starts (more likely by DUMP 45 ) country’s that might not be in the middle of the NUKE war but still has the NUKES might just fire theirs for a protection mode or just go in a defense and fire theirs because every one else will soon be firing theirs and feel thy may need to show thy have them also . who’s to say how or what happens once its started . I can say one thing at that point one can trust the earth will pretty much be at an end AT THE END !

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