Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Trump tax proposal is a huge give away to the rich - Test your pundit skills here

Bad News

So, Trumps tax proposal, which is a really a one page memo of bullet points, is a good test for any of us want-to-be progressive pundits. It is definitely not a tax plan. It contains no details, costs, analysis or review of effects on the debt.

All of us pundits in training should be able to explain and rip apart Trumps tax proposal in about 30 seconds. Please write your version of why Trumps tax plan is bad for the average US citizen and the country.

Then compare to our list

Here is ou list...

1. Gives huge amounts of money to rich people. Reduces tax rate to $15% for some pass through business like Trump's real estate companies. 
2. May cause an asset / stock market bubble driving up real estate prices.
3. Rewards investment income and rents at the expensive of wages.
4. Increases inequality. Does almost nothing for middle class and truly nothing for the poor.
5. Cuts government revenue for crucial programs including state and local programs. Eliminates state and local tax deductions. 
6. The tax proposal also drops the corporate tax rate to 15%. It is also a huge give away to corporations who have been holding tax money overseas and avoiding and minimizing taxes for years.
7. Eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax (which trump pays).
8. And scariest of all, it may eliminate the deduction for employer sponsored healthcare, financial wrecking our current healthcare system


It increases the national debt by giving money for consumption rather than investment (ie, yachts and shoes rather than research, colleges and roads). Note: The author believes that below a certain ratio of debt-to-GDP, debt incurred for investments can have an overall positive effect on the economy.

Currently, the tax plan would add $3 Trillion to $7 Trillion to the debt.  It also assumes a growth rate of 3%. The US GDP growth rate is 0.7% in first quarter of 2017.

Tax proposal was rushed to meet 100 days deadline

The tax plan is little more than an outline or an opening move in a negotiation. But, it was put together by two of the more competent members of the Presidents staff:  Gary D. Cohn and Steven Mnuchin.

While it initially looked like the administrations was getting it's act together, this grab bag taxes proposal, shows how disorganized they are.

Version 3

Monday, April 24, 2017

What we're reading today April 24th, 2017

We checked in with Dr. Boyce Watkins here on your tube. Dr. Watkins gives a lot of informative talks on YouTube.

Boyce Watkins web page

Dr. Watkins mission is to spread financial literacy among Black people.
His Black Wealth Boot Camp has a full personal finance curriculum.


Demos.Org has a interesting story on the Black-White wealth gap.  The look a some of the common proposals to close the wealth gap and explain why they won't work.

The asset value of Whiteness


Bloomberg has a piece on the large number of retail bankruptcies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that about 600,000 retail works have lost their jobs in the past year.

Retailers are going Bankrupt at a record pace.


The National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Broadcasters have put together a toolkit for "Reporting on Race"

Reporting on Race Toolkit

It is a little sad that in 2017 local news broadcasters have to be instructed on how to handle reporting stories when race is involved.  You know there a problem when they break out the "Toolkit." Yikes!

National Association of Black Journalist Statement


Peter Temin from MIT has a new book out called "The Vanishing Middle Class" which also discusses race as well as economics.

Read the intro here.

Corporations used racism to destroy the middle class and turn us into a developing nation.


More charts on the vanishing middle class from Bill Moyers. You can always use one more chart.


Black businesses in Philadelphia have launched Buy Black Campaign and card.

The card is called iBuyBlack.

On here.


The Congressional Black Caucus issued a report on things to improve in the US for Black Americans. The report is called "A lot to lose"


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What we're reading today April 4th, 2017

Today we are reading the blistering critique of Donald Trumps presidency in the LA Times: The Problem with Trump.

While the pain of the LA times editorial board maybe real, the opinions have the feel of a publicity stunt.


WAPO has a story on increasing mortality among whites. The story also covers the narrowing happiness gap between Whites and Blacks. 


New CH-53K helicopter will cost $26 billion over the life of the contract.

What we're reading April 3rd, 2017

Going to try something new today, what we are reading.

The New York Times has tough article on Uber using human psychology and behavioral economics to pressure drivers. Here.

The National Science Foundation publish statistics on science and engineering education and employment at the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics.

They also publish data on Women, Minorities and People with Disabilities in an annual report  called Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering.

Neel Kashkari dissented against the recent Federal Reserve interest rate hike.  Hear why at

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The "Cost of Segregation" in Chicago

The Metropolitan Planning Council of Chicago, a non-profit dedicated to improving the Chicago Metropolitan Area, and the Urban Institute released a report in March 2017, describing the "Cost of Segregation" in Chicagoland.

The summary news release is here.

Here are the links to the report and website.

Highlights from reducing segregation include...

  • Black incomes would rise about $3000 dollars or $4.4 Billion. The GDP of the Chicago region would rise by $8.0 Billion.

  • The homicide rate would drop by 30%.

  • An additional 83,000 people would graduate college adding an additional $90 Billion in lifetime income.

"Lower Ed": an expose' of For-Profit Education which preys on women, minorities and the poor

Author Dr. Tressie McMillian Cottom has written a new book called Lower Ed which details some of the failures of the for-profit education industry.  Ms. Cottom worked in the industry and now studies for-profit education at Virginia Common Wealth University.

For-profit colleges and universities are know for high costs, federal student loan and grant abuse and low graduation rates. Their marketing campaigns target Black, female and poor students through personal relationships and one-to-one marketing. Until they sign up. Then students are loaded down with debt and poor job prospects.

Dr. Cottom gave a detailed talk at the Economic Policy Institute that covers much of the content of her book.

Dr. Cottom was also featured on NPR.

And in The Atlantic, where her piece covers the conditions of economic inequality that led to the rise for-profit industry.


We have to acknowledge that for-profit schools are filling a gap in our education system and society. Stagnant wages are creating high demand for education just as most states cut back on education funding and private colleges and universities choose to serve the rich. The for-profit schools stepped into this space.

The real issue is that private and state universities have abandoned their role in providing opportunity to low-income students and intelligent students from bad schools. The for-profit industry is just filling a need.


The Obama administration was aware of these issues. It implemented the "Gainful Employment Rule" requiring reporting of student debt-to-income ratios.  It is expected that the Trump administration will rescind the rules.

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