Saturday, December 15, 2018

Trump Empire, Inc. AKA: "Crooks Я Us" Struck Gold During the Inaugural Planning

Whew boy - finally we can believe Trump
(If only this one time)

A huge story - another Trump con... here in part from ProPublica via MSN.

When it came out this year that Trump’s inaugural committee raised and spent unprecedented amounts, people wondered where all that money went. It turns out one beneficiary was Trump himself.

The inauguration paid the Trump Organization for rooms, meals and event space at the company’s Washington hotel, according to interviews as well as internal emails and receipts reviewed by WNYC and ProPublica.

During the planning, Ivanka eldest daughter and a senior executive with the Trump Organization, was involved in negotiating the price the hotel charged the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee for venue rentals. 

A top inaugural planner emailed Ivanka and others at the company to “express my concern” that the hotel was overcharging for its event spaces, worrying of what would happen “when this is audited.”

If they charged more than the going rate for the venues, it could violate tax law.

The inaugural committee’s payments to the Trump Organization and Ivanka Trump’s role have not been previously reported or disclosed in public filings.

“The fact that the inaugural committee did business with the Trump Organization raises huge ethical questions about the potential for undue enrichment,” (says Marcus Owens, the former head of the division of the IRS that oversees non-profits).

More background - FYI:

The Trump inauguration committee, which was chaired by his friend the businessman Tom Barrack, raised nearly $107 million from donors including the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and AT&T.

That January 2017 festivities cost almost twice President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, previously the most expensive.

The nonprofit that planned Trump’s inauguration booked many spaces in the Trump International Hotel, located in the Old Post Office building near the White House, including a ballroom, hotel rooms, and work spaces, as well as paying for meals there, according to several people who worked on the inauguration.

How the inaugural committee managed to spend all the money it raised remains a mystery, nearly two years after the event. While groups that support political candidates or issues must publicly detail their spending, an inaugural committee is required to list only its top five contractors. 

That leaves about $40 million unaccounted for.

My 2 cents: As I’ve said many times, the Trump’s operational name should be “Crooks Я Us.”

It’s in their DNA: a habit, a common natural practice, routine, or as many say it is “SOP” for them.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Trump Empire, Inc and Close-Knit Others: All Going Down Along with Trump Bigly

Some gone; some indicted; some in or going to jail; 
all are nasty, evil, mean people
(more forthcoming)

Introduction to truth and facts, which by now the entire world knows that Trump hates.

Trump thrives on his own spin regardless of the truth, reality, or facts to make what is real fit his own version, which he calls “Fake News, a Hoax, or Witch Hunt.” Even those closest to and around him sing that same tune with various versions:

Rudy Giuliani:Truth isn’t truth.”

Trump spins lies as truth and since he says so, his base laps it up as true just because he says so – to date he has documented over 4,200 false, misleading, or flat out lies.

Steele dossier has material that is proven to be true that Trump, and his loyalists still deny and brush aside as “fake dossier that Hillary Clinton and the DEMS funded” Whew boy – a few facts:

The fact is the dossier was first commissioned (def: Opposition research or oppo) as a Republican-funded project against then primary candidate Trump – when he won the GOP nomination, the DEMS picked it up – which makes perfect sense and the GOP would have done the same thing had the table been turned – now the CNN video report below sheds more daylight on Trump’s dark past:

As we all know by now Trump never misses a chance to deny the claims made in the document (the Steele dossier). However, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is proving that some of the details contained inside to be true.

CNN's Tom Foreman reports in this 2:45 video at the CNN link here via MSN.

My 2 cents: Trump can, has, and will continue any “wrong doings or anything remotely being illegal call constant labeling facts, reports, and evidence as “fake news, phony, a hoax, dishonest, or witch hunt.”

Now the walls are closing in on Trump despite his M.O. of lifetime conning and lying and cheating and just plain fooling people like a snake oil salesman – and don’t deny it, he’s mastered and is highly skilled in those techniques – I guess 50 years has allowed him to hone those skills. 

But, now his days are numbered but the worst part: He is wrecking the country and he doesn’t care what damage he leaves in his wake to save his own raggedy ass. Sorry to sound harsh, but that is true and ¾ of world knows it. Only his 25% or loyalists deny the truth – but wait until it impacts head on – then what? Punt… might be too late.

This is truly a dark time for us as the world’s leader in democracy – but we have backbone to recover once we rid ourselves of Trump Empire, Inc. in total and protective fools around him that have propped him up and shamed the Presidential office. We will recover.

Thanks for stopping by.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

S/C Mueller Ponders “Endgame Move”: Memo for Trump Empire, Inc. — Duck!!!

Okay guys, let's wrap this thing up — who's next

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team has indicted or gotten guilty pleas from 33 people and three companies that we know of — the latest being former Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen

Note: My previous post seen here (posted below on this page) – same subject:

I note:  Trump has bashed and smashed Cohen the so-called “Fixer” like an empty MacDonald’s French fries container – calling him weak, practically a non-person, and worse behind closed doors. To Mueller, I suspect, Cohen is the “Golden Goose” with the goods on Trump.

Overall, the group is composed of five former Trump advisers (Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, and Rick Gates).  

There are 26 Russian nationals (including 12 GRU (military intelligence offices), three Russian companies, one California man (Richard Pinedo for identity theft), and one London-based lawyer (Alex van der Zwaan)

If you also count investigations that Mueller originated but then referred elsewhere in the Justice Department, you can add a plea deal from one more person to the list (Sam Patten), a Republican operative and lobbyist who pleaded guilty to not registering as a foreign agent

It’s a sprawling set of allegations, encompassing both election interference charges against overseas Russians, and various other crimes by American Trump advisers. 

However, Mueller hasn’t yet alleged any crimes directly connecting the two — that is, alleging that Trump advisers conspired with Russian officials to impact the election. He is continuing to investigate that.

Potential Trump administration charges of obstruction of justice also have not resulted in any indictments yet.

The full list in Mueller’s probe is here at the page with more details on each person/category. Mueller has given the courts “sealed indictments” but not known publicly yet with speculation of some Trump family members included (Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka-Trump Kushner, and possibly Jared Kushner).

More on this same topic as noted follows this post next below.

Thanks for stopping by

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Walls Closing in on Trump: Jello Floor Ready to Collapse Like Line of Dominoes

Domino game participants gone or those waiting for doomsday 

Trump Empire, Inc. and Trump Administration 

Synopsis of this story from the AP here via MSN – highlighted to fit the blog format.

It is also tied to this other post also.

The introduction from the article follows – with my title:

“With the Trump team anything he or they touch amounts to or is SOP for deception, fraud, corruption, lies, and another con 24/7”

WASHINGTON (The AP) — One lied about his knowledge of Russian-hacked emails, another about a Russian real estate deal, a third about dialogue over sanctions with a Russian ambassador.

A pattern of deception by advisers to Trump, aimed at covering up Russia-related contacts during the 2016 campaign and transition period, has unraveled bit by bit in criminal cases brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The lies to the FBI and to Congress, including by Trump's former fixer and his national security adviser, have raised new questions about Trump's connections to Russia, revealed key details about the special counsel's findings and painted a portrait of aides eager to protect the president and the administration by concealing communications they presumably recognized as problematic.

The false statements cut to the heart of Mueller's mission to untangle ties between the Trump campaign and Russia and to establish whether they colluded to sway the election. 

They concern some of the central questions of the investigation, including why the incoming Trump administration discouraged Russia from retaliating over sanctions imposed for election hacking; who knew what when about illegally obtained Democratic emails; and how plans for a Trump Tower in Moscow came together and fell apart.

Says Daniel Petalas, defense lawyer and former Justice Department prosecutor:I think you can draw a conclusion that these false statements generally relate to an effort to protect the president of the United States in connection with his dealings with Russia. That’s what makes them material to the investigation that Mueller is pursuing, which is a necessary element of a false statement claim — that it has to be material.”

The most recent example again comes from Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen: He pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about negotiations he had on Trump's behalf for a real estate deal in Moscow. Though he told lawmakers the talks were done by January 2016, he admitted they actually lasted as late as June — after Trump had already secured the Republican nomination and after Russians had penetrated Democratic email accounts for communications later released through WikiLeaks.

He also said he had briefed Trump about the project's progress as well as members of his family. Cohen said he lied out of loyalty to Trump, who insisted throughout the campaign that he had no business dealings in Russia, and to be consistent with his political messaging.

Though the Cohen plea didn't directly connect to Trump's campaign, other cases have:

1. George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser, pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about April 2016 conversations with a Maltese professor who told him “Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails.” Papadopoulos told the FBI he was not part of the campaign when he encountered the professor, Joseph Mifsud, even though the truth was that he had joined weeks earlier. His lawyers said Papadopoulos, now serving a 14-day prison sentence, “lied to save his professional aspirations and preserve a perhaps misguided loyalty to his master.”

2. Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, is being sentenced soon after he admitted lying to the FBI by saying he didn't discuss sanctions against Russia during the transition with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. That deception was flagged for the White House in January 2017 by Obama administration holdover Sally Yates, who as acting AG told White House counsel Don McGahn that officials were misleading the American public by falsely declaring Flynn hadn't talked sanctions.

Flynn's guilty plea was especially significant in that it made clear other transition officials were aware of his Kislyak conversations and discussed with him what he would say. And while Flynn was fired in February 2017, his importance to Trump became evident when ex-FBI director James Comey said Trump had encouraged him during an Oval Office meeting that same month to end an investigation into Flynn.

3. Paul Manafort – more has followed from him as prosecutors accused him of lying even after his guilty plea, though they have not said about what.

4. Jerome Corsi, Trump supporter and conspiracy theorist, has a draft plea agreement accusing him of misrepresenting a conversation with Trump confidant Roger Stone about WikiLeaks, which released thousands of stolen emails in the run-up to the election to harm the Clinton campaign. A false statement charge can be a powerful cudgel for prosecutors, especially in investigations like this one where witnesses are recalcitrant and openly adversarial. In the Mueller investigation witnesses have increasingly lashed out against the government. Trump and Stone have publicly attacked Mueller's investigation. Corsi rejected the plea offer and accused prosecutors of trying to bully him into saying what they want to hear.

Though Trump regularly complains about Mueller's style, there's nothing unusual about prosecutors pursuing false statement charges to send a message and using their testimony to make cases against higher-level targets.

Duke University law professor Sam Buell says:You've got a system where you're trying to take evidence from people, get their testimony under penalty of prosecution if you lie. And that's what you do when you have uncooperative people when trying to conceal something that you're trying to get to the bottom of. This is what happened to the mob, this is what happened to the drug cartels.”

Not to mention, he also noted, past Washington investigations like Watergate.

Meanwhile, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said his panel has made referrals to prosecutors and cited Cohen as an example about more false statement charges could be coming saying: “It's a loud message to everybody that is interviewed by our committee, regardless of where that prosecution comes from, if you lie to us, we're going to go after you.”

My cents: Not much to add the above fine article except to conclude that the bottom is about fall out for Trump Empire, Inc. wait and see.
Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Look of a Very Worried Man: Trump Always in the News on his Terms But No More

Truth, facts, reality: Only my definition; otherwise, shoo,  
get away, scat — don't want hear it...

Excellent article here from Dana Milbank (Washington Post via MSN):

In the beginning, they proffered “alternative facts.”

(My insert: Recall this exchange on “Meet the Press” – a keeper):

Kellyanne Conway confronts Chuck Todd

Later, they told us that “truth isn’t truth” (Cite: Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer).

All along, Trump and his lieutenants were betting that Jonathan Swift was correct when he wrote more than three centuries ago that “Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it.”

But after two long years, the truth is finally catching up with Trump and his winged whoppers.

In recent days, Trump’s bogus claims about the economy, the Russia inquiry, the judiciary, climate change, the midterms, race and national security have been crumbling, publicly, for all to see.

The schoolmarms of the press and the lonely fact-checkers talked themselves hoarse and typed their fingers sore pointing out that Trump seldom spoke the truth — which only prompted Trump to declare any contradiction of him to be “fake news.”

But Americans no longer need trust the media’s word against Trump’s. 

They can see with their own eyes, if they choose to, that facts are closing in on him from all directions.

My 2 cents: When will this national nightmare end?

The full story continues here for your enjoyment… Milbank as always does an excellent job of reporting and writing.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Trump's New Asylum Seeker Plan: Could Be Good News (or Not) for Those at Border

Asylum seekers piled up at our Southern border 
(their fate uncertain)

Updated here from Bloomberg (November 26): Mexico’s incoming new president/government said no deal has been reached with the U.S. on the treatment of migrants attempting to cross in from Mexico, pushing back on [Trump] reports that such an agreement has been made – even as a busy border crossing was already closed.

Original post follows from here with this headline:

“Report: Trump makes tentative deal, asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for U. S. entry”

FOX NEWS.COM – The Trump administration has reportedly made a deal with Mexico’s incoming government to require all asylum-seekers coming from the south of the border to wait in Mexico while their asylum claims goes through court.

The Washington Post, citing Mexican officials and senior members of president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s transition team, reports that the so-called “Remain in Mexico Plan” would:

Require asylum applicants to stay in Mexico.
End the so-called “Catch-and-Release” practice of the past.
Allow asylum seekers already in the U.S. to stay while their application is being reviewed.

Should the policy be implemented, it would mark a significant victory for President Trump, whose tough immigration stance – including his promises to end catch-and-release and build a wall – was the central part of his political platform before and since his election.

The White House did not comment on the reported deal but Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gridley told FOX News:President Trump has developed a strong relationship with the incoming Obrador Administration, and we look forward to working with them on a wide range of issues.”

My 2 cents: This is potentially good news for those with a valid, verified reason for seeking asylum in the U.S. It could help solve this old continuing policy that Trump has blasted (e.g., the previous so-called “Catch and Release” policy – which IS NOT as Trump professes. 

– to wit:  Facts from here in part (Washington Post):

Catch and release” entered the political lexicon during the George W. Bush administration.

Immigration rose sharply from 2000 to 2010, as 14 million new legal and undocumented immigrants settled in the United States, according to census data. 

At the same time, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not have enough space to house all the undocumented immigrants being apprehended. So the Bush administration would release many of these immigrants under their own recognizance — and many of them would then fail to report for their immigration hearings. 

So, time will tell about how this “policy” might unfold or collapse if Trump changes his mind – which is his normal routine character move to get what he wants no matter the result or final cost to anyone. We shall see so stay tuned.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Public Education: Takes Another Big Horrible Hit From Ed Sec Betsy DeVos

Worst Ed Sec in American history hands down — 
no exceptions

DeVos strikes again: And, this latest from her underscores my long-held contention that she is the worst Ed. Sec. ever in education history … her latest shenanigans here from the Washington Post:

Details follow:  The rejection letter was harsh:

Page after page, an accrediting agency ticked off all the problems at Virginia College, a large chain of for-profit schools with dwindling enrollment.

There would be no seal of approval, the accreditor declared, no imprimatur necessary to participate in the federal student loan program that is the lifeblood of most colleges and universities.

But it turned out that Virginia College — and other for-profit schools — had a friend in high places: That turns out to be Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has led a rescue squad for the nation’s for-profit colleges. 

Step by step, she has dismantled an Obama-era crackdown on the industry, and she plans to deliver a set of regulations next year that many expect to again boost that industry.

Critics say these schools, which enroll 2.3 million students and range from small trade schools to large multi state enterprises such as the University of Phoenix, prey on vulnerable students, leaving them with huge debts, and questionable credentials. 

Defenders say they offer critical options, especially for students not in traditional four-year programs, and were unfairly singled out for scrutiny by the Obama administration.

“If it’s the right fit for the student, then it’s the right education,” DeVos said in a speech this summer. 

Her systematic rollback of regulations on these schools reflects the broader Trump administration agenda. At rallies this fall, Trump regularly bragged about regulatory retrenchment.

My 2 cents: As professionally trained educator, after my Marine Corps and DOD service, I have contended that DeVos is a hazard to our entire education system.

BTW: DeVos has no formal public education and neither does her own children. But, she is a billionaire and she gave several million to Trump and many more millions to the GOP.

It is apparent that she bought this cabinet job.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Chief Justice Roberts Criticizes Trump: For his “Obama judge” Ruling Comment

USSC Chief Justice John Roberts takes Trump to task 
for anti-judge comments

Historical moment in Supreme Court history for sure: Chief Justice John Roberts takes Trump to task over his “Obama’s judge” label on Federal judge that ruled against him as noted here from The AP:

WASHINGTON — Chief Justice John Roberts is pushing back against President Trump's description of a Federal judge who ruled against Trump's new migrant asylum policy as an “Obama judge.”

It's the first time that the leader of the federal judiciary has offered even a hint of criticism of Trump, who has previously blasted federal judges who ruled against him.

Roberts said on Wednesday (Thanksgiving eve) that the U.S. doesn't have “Obama judges, or Trump judges, or Bush judges, or Clinton judges.” 

Roberts said that an “independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

Also, last year, Trump also used the term “the so-called judge” after the first Federal ruled against Trump’s travel ban.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Ivanka "Not an official just a daughter" Trump-Kushner: Violates Gov Email Rules

Looking for a way out of this mess not to harm Daddy 
(Simple: Leave the White House)

Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails last year to White House aides (from Washington Post that follows, and from The Guardian below).

Trump-Kushner also sent them to cabinet officials and her assistants using a personal account, many of them in violation of federal records rules (effective following Watergate) according to people familiar with a White House examination of her email correspondence.

White House ethics officials learned of her repeated use of personal email when reviewing emails gathered last fall by five Cabinet agencies to respond to a public records lawsuit.

That review revealed that throughout much of 2017, she often discussed or relayed official White House business using a private email account with a domain that she also shares with her husband, Jared Kushner.

The discovery alarmed some advisers to President Trump, who feared that his daughter’s prac­tices bore similarities to the personal email use of Hillary Clinton, an issue he made a focus of his 2016 campaign. He attacked his Democratic challenger as untrustworthy and dubbed her “Crooked Hillary” for using a personal email account as secretary of state.

Some aides were startled by the volume of Ivanka Trump’s personal emails — and taken aback by her response when questioned about the practice. She claims she was not familiar with some details of the rules.

My insert: From The Guardian from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Democrat member of the Senate judiciary committee, is calling for an investigation of Ivanka Trump’s email use, either by the Office of Government Ethics or Congress, saying in part: “There’s no way that she had no knowledge of the rules.”

The White House referred requests for comment to Ivanka Trump’s attorney and ethics counsel, Abbe Lowell.

In a statement, Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Lowell, acknowledged that the president’s daughter occasionally used her private email before she was briefed on the rules, but he said none of her messages contained classified information, adding in part:

While transitioning into government, after she was given an official account but until the White House provided her the same guidance they had given others who started before she did, Ms. Trump sometimes used her personal account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family.”

Mirijanian further said that Trump-Kushner turned over all her government-related emails months ago so they could be stored permanently with other White House records and he stressed that her email use was different from that of Clinton, who had a private email server in the basement of her home in  Chappaqua, NY home. An archive of thousands of Clinton’s emails was deleted by a computer specialist amid a congressional investigation.

Mirijanian then said:Ms. Trump did not create a private server in her house or office, no classified information was ever included, the account was never transferred at Trump Organization, and no emails were ever deleted.”

Like Trump, Clinton also said she was unaware of or misunderstood the rules. However, Clinton relied solely on a private email system as secretary of state, bypassing government servers entirely. Both Trump and Clinton relied on their personal attorneys to review their private emails and determine which messages should be retained as government records.

Key note: Clinton originally said none of the messages she sent or received were “marked classified.” The FBI later determined that 110 emails contained classified information at the time they were sent or received and then they were retroactively marked classified.

Austin Evers, executive director of the liberal watchdog group American Oversight, whose record requests sparked the White House discovery, said it strained credulity that Trump’s daughter did not know that government officials should not use private emails for official business and he said: 

There’s the obvious hypocrisy that her father ran on the misuse of personal email as a central tenet of his campaign. There is no reasonable suggestion that she didn’t know better. Clearly everyone joining the Trump administration should have been on high alert about personal email use.”

The following is from The Guardian in part: A senior Democrat has called for an investigation of Ivanka Trump’s use of a personal email account for government business, an act that has been criticized as hypocritical by allies and foes of her father’s administration.

A White House review of Trump’s emails showed that she used her personal email to correspond with federal government staff, cabinet officials and her assistants throughout much of 2017. Ethics officials uncovered hundreds of emails sent by a domain Trump shares with her husband Jared Kushner, as the Washington Post reported.

As noted above: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Democrat member of the Senate judiciary committee, is calling for an investigation of Ivanka Trump’s email use, either by the Office of Government Ethics or Congress, saying in part: “There’s no way that she had no knowledge of the rules.”

Story continues at the links above and below.

My 2 cents: Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz weighs in here from The Hill.

Laurence Tribe and social media rips Trump here from the NY POST.

This article from – same subject.

Simple yet SOP for the GOP in these cases, and after attacking DEMS savagely, I see once again their gross hypocrisy.

We shall see what else develops – but, don’t expect much positive from President Trump on this issue.

Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Trump FOX Interview With Chris Wallace: Watch the "Reel" Trump Up Close & Pitiful

Screenshot of another Trump nasty Tweet blasting 
S/C Robert Mueller 

Trump’s strategy is simple: Nasty name calling to many people as seen in his tweet screenshot above re: “Mueller and his gang of Democratic thugs…”  

Trump always plants his “quasi-instructions to others” then says:Any decision they make is theirs, not mine,” e.g., Whitaker firing Mueller that Chris Wallace asks him about in the video seen at the 5-7 minute mark (the hole video is about 15 minutes – worth watching, but bring a barf bag).

The FOX Chris Wallace 15-minute interview is at this link (provided by the Washington Post via MSN). 

Trump in the line of fire with FOX's Chris Wallace
(Very good and concise interview)

There a lot of topics in the interview and very revealing about Trump’s leadership style or lack thereof I should say. It is worth watching nevertheless.

My 2 cents: This shows the real Donald J. Trump – he wants his way and then when others do not abide by his “hints for actions,” he shit cans them and ducks responsibility himself by again repeating: “Well the decision was theirs, not mine.” 

Trump seldom if ever accepts blame or fault himself. That is a serious character flaw. In short: he is a pitiful, disgusting man and in way over his head.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Trump's #1 Desire: Tax Cut 2.0 Different Target, But Same Scam, Con, and Outcome

Memo for Mr. Trump: Proof meet pudding

Prior post herethe same subject: GOP tax cut policy, national debt, deficit spending, jobs, and “the Market” all rolled up into this short summary which follows the 2018 midterm which gives us a more divided government analysis (but decisive DEM-controlled House.

Related story here from Market Watch that leads to one goal: Trump wants GOP to push for another tax cut, easily called: “Tax cut 2.0” 

Markets normally like tax cuts, because they give businesses and consumers more disposable income and typically boost spending and corporate profits.

The basic article for the above is here from Yahoo financial.

Today’s article is another fine report from Paul Krugman (NY TIMES via MSN) – and he says it better than me or anyone else.

From Krugman: Last week’s blue wave means that Donald Trump will go into the 2020 election with only one major legislative achievement: a big tax cut for corporations and the wealthy. Still, that tax cut was supposed to accomplish big things. Republicans thought it would give them a big electoral boost, and they predicted dramatic economic gains. What they got instead, however, was a big fizzle.

The political payoff, of course, never arrived. And the economic results have been disappointing. True, we’ve had two quarters of fairly fast economic growth, but such growth spurts are fairly common – there was a substantially bigger spurt in 2014, and hardly anyone noticed. And this growth was driven largely by consumer spending and, surprise, government spending, which wasn’t what the tax cutters promised.

Meanwhile, there’s no sign of the vast investment boom the law’s backers promised. Corporations have used the tax cut’s proceeds largely to buy back their own stock rather than to add jobs and expand capacity.

But why have the tax cut’s impacts been so minimal? Leave aside the glitch-filled changes in individual taxes, which will keep accountants busy for years; the core of the bill was a huge cut in corporate taxes. Why hasn’t this done more to increase investment?

The answer, I’d argue, is that business decisions are a lot less sensitive to financial incentives – including tax rates – than conservatives claim. And appreciating that reality doesn’t just undermine the case for the Trump tax cut. It undermines Republican economic doctrine as a whole.

About business decisions: It’s a dirty little secret of monetary analysis that changes in interest rates affect the economy mainly through their effect on the housing market and the international value of the dollar (which in turn affects the competitiveness of U.S. goods on world markets). Any direct effect on business investment is so small that it’s hard even to see it in the data. What drives such investment is, instead, perceptions about market demand.

Why is this the case? One main reason is that business investments have relatively short working lives.

If you’re considering whether to take out a mortgage to buy a house that will stand for many decades, the interest rate matters a lot. But if you’re thinking about taking out a loan to buy, say, a work computer that will either break down or become obsolescent in a few years, the interest rate on the loan will be a minor consideration in deciding whether to make the purchase.

And the same logic applies to tax rates: There aren’t many potential business investments that will be worth doing with a 21 percent profits tax, the current rate, but weren’t worth doing at 35 percent, the rate before the Trump tax cut.

Also, a substantial fraction of corporate profits really represents rewards to monopoly power, not returns on investment – and cutting taxes on monopoly profits is a pure giveaway, offering no reason to invest or hire.

Now, proponents of the tax cut, including Trump’s own economists, made a big deal about how we now have a global capital market, in which money flows to wherever it gets the highest after-tax return. And they pointed to countries with low corporate taxes, like Ireland, which appear to attract lots of foreign investment.

The key word here is, however, “appear.” Corporations do have a strong incentive to cook their books – I’m sorry, manage their internal pricing – in such a way that reported profits pop up in low-tax jurisdictions, and this in turn leads on paper to large overseas investments.

But there’s much less to these investments than meets the eye. For example, the vast sums corporations have supposedly invested in Ireland have yielded remarkably few jobs and remarkably little income for the Irish themselves – because most of that huge investment in Ireland is nothing more than an accounting fiction.

Now you know why the money U.S. companies reported moving home after taxes were cut hasn’t shown up in jobs, wages and investment: nothing really moved. Overseas subsidiaries transferred some assets back to their parent companies, but this was just an accounting maneuver, with almost no impact on anything real.

So the basic result of lower taxes on corporations is that corporations pay less in taxes – full stop. Which brings me to the problem with conservative economic doctrine.

That doctrine is all about the supposed need to give the already privileged incentives to do nice things for the rest of us. We must, the right says, cut taxes on the wealthy to induce them to work hard, and cut taxes on corporations to induce them to invest in America.

But this doctrine keeps failing in practice. President George W. Bush’s tax cuts didn’t produce a boom; President Barack Obama’s tax hike didn’t cause a depression.

Tax cuts in Kansas didn’t jump-start the state’s economy; tax hikes in California didn’t slow growth.

And with the Trump tax cut, the doctrine has failed again. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get politicians to understand something when their campaign contributions depend on their not understanding it.

End of Krugman's piece....

My 2 cents: Not much to add Krugman but his article is a great read.

Thanks for stopping by.