When Tax Reform Isn’t-What Congress Giveth It Taketh Away-Podcast 676

They call it Tax Reform. A Jobs Bill. That’s what it must be, right? Journalists and commentators are playing the same old game. Argue a proposed piece of legislation on its merits. Time to reset the boundaries in When Tax Reform Isn’t-What Congress Giveth It Taketh Away-Podcast 676.

Freedom Of Choice

While listeners to The Bob Davis Podcasts always have the freedom to choose what they think is right, I want to introduce the concept of marginal improvement. Legislators on both sides of the political spectrum talk big about ‘reform’. Usually though they make what really are marginal changes. This is especially relevant when we’re talking about the tax code.

The Real Football Game Is Congress

Team Red moves the ball back to the Blue thirty yard line. It’s hailed as a great victory. Team Blue moves the ball back to the Red twenty yard line a few years later. These are what both sides call marginal improvements. Meanwhile, as economist Milton Friedman famously suggested, they keep getting elected by making the tax code more complicated.

Budget Neutrality Isn’t A Thing

Enter a legislative concept called Budget Neutrality. The idea every expenditure must be ‘paid for’ with tax increases, or budget cuts. You think Tax Reform means lower taxes. What they’re really doing is taking away tax deductions and loop holes, and increasing our overall tax. The sad part is, it’s not their money, it’s our money. In When Tax Reform Isn’t-What Congress Giveth It Taketh Away-Podcast 676.

What Is Real Reform?

If you want real reform. The end to this kind of corruption? Then the power of the federal government to tax our incomes and our property must be permanently eliminated. Should corporations be taxed at all? Do you have property rights if you pay property taxes? How does government pay for the wonderful things both sides wants it to provide? We talk about it in When Tax Reform Isn’t-What Congress Giveth It Taketh Away-Podcast 676.

Already Socialists

So called conservatives like to argue the merits of capitalism versus socialism. It seems like I’d be on pretty safe ground if I suggested the United States has been collectivist for decades. Our economic system is not so much capitalist as it is a controlled market economy. Our elected Kings and their privy courts control our behavior and our futures with regulation and a tax code so complex, were it to be proposed as a single law in its present form, it would cause a revolution.

(Editor’s Note: While the first actual income tax in the United States was levied during the Civil War, it was later repealed as ‘unconstitutional’. Several attempts were made to establish an income tax through the late 1800’s which were unsuccessful, until the 16th amendment, ratified in 1913.)

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and Reliafund

When Tax Reform Isn’t-What Congress Giveth It Taketh Away-Podcast 676

Donald Trump’s Fantastic Incredible Awesome Rhetorical Presidency-Podcast 620

Foreign Policy Based On Cable News and Twitter

Wars. Rumors of wars. In Donald Trump’s Fantastic Incredible Awesome Rhetorical Presidency-Podcast 620 Trump breaks another promise. Remember 2013? That’s when Trump said Obama should forget about Syria. Save his powder for something more important. In the debates, then candidate Trump said the same thing. Leave Syria alone. We’ll get nothing out of attacking Assad.

Trump Fine With Assad Until…

At the end of March Senators McCain and Graham were pleading to attack Assad. However as late as last week Nikki Haley was telling her UN Counterparts and the world Assad could stay. Then came the chemical attack on Syrian civilians. Children. Pictures on cable news. President Trump saw the pictures and got mad.

Cable News Made President Mad

As Trump and his team met with the Chinese at his resort in Florida, he ordered a counterstrike. 59 missiles. 70 million dollars. The runway where the planes took off is still intact. Syrian military aviation continues to fly sorties from that runway. On a dime this president has changed US foreign policy. Changed one of the cornerstones of his campaign. Another major promise broken.

North Korea Too

Over the weekend the USS Carl Vinson Strike Force was detailed to the Western Pacific. Off the Korean Peninsula. Suddenly Donald Trump has become George W. Bush. If you voted for Trump is this what you voted for? We’re a long way from building the wall and getting China to send all those jobs back now, Toto.

Alt Right Deeply Misinformed

Then there are the rumors. The bad reporting. The discourse on social media. One hundred fifty thousand US troops to Syria? Says so right here. China deploying another one hundred fifty thousand of their troops to the Yalu river, China’s border with North Korea. Russia and Iran say they’ll respond if there are any more US attacks. Word is the Russian Navy is very busy in Europe. More activity than the cold war.

How About Those Twins?

Voters who didn’t want to talk about foreign policy because it was too complicated might want to bone up. TV producers and Radio Program directors and talk show hosts may want to drop the banter about sports and the weather. Republicans should take a look at the bargain they made with this president and ask themselves just what they bought and must now defend.

Trust Me. It’s Gonna Be Great

Welcome to Donald Trump’s Fantastic Incredible Awesome Rhetorical Presidency-Podcast 620. Tax Reform, a trillion dollar stimulus program and another run at repealing ObamaCare loom. The US is twenty trillion dollars in debt. On top of that, perhaps a war in Syria he campaigned against and a crisis in North Korea. Don’t worry though. The president will tweet about it. Foreign Affairs crisis? Bah. More tweets. In Donald Trump’s Fantastic Incredible Awesome Rhetorical Presidency-Podcast 620.

(Editor’s Note: Late Tuesday the President told the New York Post, “We are not going into Syria”, and blamed the confusion on his ‘aides’. Which would be his ambassador to the UN among other fairly senior administration personnel. Oddly enough regime change remains a new goal. He also said, “We’re sending an armada” to North Korea. Rhetorical Presidency indeed.)

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.

 

Draining The Swamp Harder Than Originally Thought-Podcast 617

When You’re Up To Your Ass In Alligators It’s Hard To Remember Your Original Objective Was To Drain The Swamp. The president has turned Freedom Caucus supporters into enemies. Republicans learn governing without principle is tough. In Draining The Swamp Harder Than Originally Thought-Podcast 617.

Republican Division Caused By The Left?

If you want to know the truth, so the saying goes, don’t have an opinion. Some republicans believe their division is caused by the political left.  What’s dividing republicans is a lack of adherence to principle.

Drinking From A Poisoned Well

One of the lines from the “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” is, “Water Water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink”. The republican ship sits in a becalmed salt water sea, unable to drink, dying of thirst. Surrounded by a sea of information. Dying from a lack of wisdom. Talk about it in Draining The Swamp Harder Than Originally Thought-Podcast 617.

Details Details

North Korea? Budgets? Policy? Subsides? Federal Agencies and what they do? Foreign Relations? Whatever. Drain the swamp and call me when it’s over.

Goals and Principles

What is the goal of the modern republican party? Populism? I’ll tell you why the media’s term for republicans these says is more poison. What are the principles of the GOP these days? Why did you vote? Was there a reason behind why you got involved in politics in the first place?

House Divided

A political party that follows too many threads and calls them ‘principles’ is a party that can easily be divided. Churchill saved the west with one idea in mind. Never Give Up.

Controlling Means of Production

It seems like America is living in a socialist construct. Republicans and Democrats have consistently voted for community control through direct ownership or regulation of the means of production. Yes, Republicans and Democrats have built and empowered the surveillance state, conducted the wars, added regulations, let out the contracts.

Dependency

These days, dependence on the state isn’t just for the urban poor. Corporations and individuals are widely dependent on the government for all kinds of payments, contracts, subsidies and opportunities.

Freedom Isn’t Free

Freedom is a radical idea. We have less and less of it these days. If you want a party that promotes freedom more is required of you than repeating slogans and wearing hats. Freedom asks more than supporting a personality. Join me in Draining The Swamp Harder Than Originally Thought-Podcast 617.

Sponsored by X Government Cars [powepress]

 

 

Podcast 507

End Of Primary Season. As June begins, the presidential preference primary season for 2016 draws to a close. What are the takeaways from the End Of Primary Season? Maybe some surprises. These days it can be difficult to do political media, since media types are expected to turn their microphones on and flap their lips, endorsing candidates and causes, and joining the partisanship parade on talk radio, cable television, and in the Op-Ed world. Even some reporters can barely conceal their biases. With no one to observe and present facts to the voters to help with decision making, people have either lost their ability to discern fact from conjecture and bloviating (a sort of alchemy in itself) or they just don’t care anymore. Maybe people have already made up their minds to be disappointed with the choices delegates eventually will make at the mainline conventions this summer, or to be excited. Lots of ‘analysts’ trying to explain the ‘Trump phenomenon’. Some of these explanations have become both absurd and comedic, if not outright ridiculous. A ‘resurgence’ of interest in Hitler in Europe (thinly based on sales of books and some ‘polls’ there) suggests the reason Trump is gaining so much support. This serves as underpinning for the ongoing anti-trump tripe that he is a fascist, or his supporters are fascists. Everyone forgets fascism itself was a center left movement in Italy and Germany as a third way between socialism and communism, and that the conditions that predicate fascism as a political movement require the failure of socialism, which looks like Venezuela, not the United States in 2016. Then of course there is the ongoing figurative suicide of talk radio, bloggers and television personalities. In the End Of Primary Season Glenn Beck is pulled off the air as one of his guests suggests armed revolution is the only path left for #nevertrumpers. The Red State Blog has become The Black and Blue Blog as Eric Erickson continues to trip on his shoestrings as he falls down the back steps. And Sean Hannity makes a fool of himself telling the world he is voting for Trump and can say that because he runs an ‘opinion’ show. MSNBC gets attention advertising that with Hugh Hewitt they might get tagged for being to right wing. Then there’s William Kristol – the establishment moderate – laying the groundwork for a challenge to Trump at the Cleveland Convention, up to and including the suggestion of David French as a potential third party presidential candidate. It’s only the beginning; next comes the remonstrations of Trump’s inability to win an electoral victory, which remains to be seen, and of course the suggestions the New York developer is tied into the Mafia. Moderates are trying to secure a disaffected evangelist/moderate/establishment GOP coalition to derail the Trump Train which is described as ‘inevitable’. Meanwhile in the democratic party the fight is only just beginning. Bernie Sanders won’t quit – one wonders why Ted Cruz did, watching the Vermont Senator wreak havoc with the Clinton campaign and the democratic establishment. By the way, there is a third party candidate and his name is Gary Johnson. Think he’ll be in the debates between the mainline party candidates? Despite all of this there is a nagging feeling our politicians are headed in exactly the wrong direction, regardless of party. Sponsored by Hydrus Performance and by Brush Studio in the West End.(Editor’s Note: This podcast suggests Speaker Paul Ryan remains on the sidelines, in terms of endorsing Donald Trump as the republican candidate. This was true at the time this podcast was posted, early in the morning on June 2nd. Ryan endorsed Trump and the story broke later the same day, June 2nd, 2016.)

Podcast 491

Raising The Stakes. Screenwriters have a tool they employ to make movies thrilling. It’s called Raising The Stakes. This is where the hero seems to be winning. The detective is close to solving the case, but suddenly he’ll find his office has been broken into and all the evidence stolen. Or, the guy is about the get the girl, but he sees her with another guy. Raising The Stakes is how viewers are kept engaged up to the last moment when the plot comes to a climax. This is exactly how political junkies should view the latest results from Tuesday Night April 26th’s presidential primary preference polls. Donald Trump’s sweep of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island, the Hillary Clinton’s commanding victories in four of those states over Bernie Sanders raise the stakes. They haven’t won their respective party’s nominations for president yet, but they’re about to. Or are they? Get ready because the mainstream media is about the raise the stakes on you again with the next group of primaries all the way up to the final primaries in June. In this podcast, along with results from all the states for both republicans and democrats, a restatement of my bias in this election cycle; I really can’t stand any of the candidates on either side of the political spectrum, and I am not campaigning for any of them overtly or covertly. I am also not part of the so called ‘objective’ #nevertrump crowd. In fact, I wouldn’t cross the street to meet with any of them. Watch the delegate selection process very closely because the final delegate count is going to be different – maybe very different – from what is advertised on all the 24 hour cable news shows. Watch the Senate races where incumbent republicans are vulnerable (I’ll provide a list in this podcast), because for republicans this is going to have a lot more to do with who the nominee will ultimately be than delegates. If the RNC sees the possibility of losing the senate, there may be some plays called in from the sidelines. Hint; A Trump or Cruz candidacy do nothing for vulnerable republican senators, one of whom happens to be Florida’s Marco Rubio. Remember him? Watch the story lines for the next couple of weeks, because suddenly it’s all about how Trump is inevitable. Again, Raising The Stakes. Chances are this race will go down to the conventions, and there’s still a very good possibility it will be a contested convention on the republican side. On the democrat side, all is not well either. Hillary Clinton may have the lion’s share of delegates and super delegates, but many progressives view Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as sell-outs. There is tepid support for Mrs. Clinton, which might cause her some problems at her convention and in a subsequent general election if she is the nominee. Stay tuned. It’s just getting interesting. Sponsored by X Government Cars and Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.

Podcast 489

New York Primary Results. The results of the New York Presidential Primary are in. Now sit back and watch the story lines change. Surprise! After a day of voter confusion and typical New York statements from election officials about investigations, the New York Primary Results are in. Donald Trump won roughly 60 percent of the Republican votes, and Hillary Clinton managed about 57 percent of the Democratic votes in a slightly closer race. The most interesting outcome of this presidential preference poll is which republican candidate came in second. While Trump celebrates a win large enough for him to control a lion’s share of the delegates from the Empire State, Ohio Governor John Kasich ran a good second, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz came in a distant third, which should be enough to change the media story lines from ‘Ted Cruz is posing a strong challenge to Trump’, to whether or not John Kasich could be the nominee for the republicans in a contested republican convention this summer. The next primaries favor Trump and especially Kasich. Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island will hold primaries on April 26th. While most analysts expect Trump to win most of the delegates, many will be keeping a close eye on Kasich. Is the republican establishment working for Trump opponents in states that favor them? Recent polls from Wisconsin suggest that might be true. More establishment figures as well as candidates seem to be pointing toward a contested convention. With the establishment concerned about the so called ‘down-ticket’; the US Senate and House, chances are Trump and Cruz — who don’t poll well against Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in a head to head match ups — may not be able to get the nomination if they can’t get the required 1237 majority of delegates on the first ballot. This is the main thing to pay attention to in the next few weeks. Ignore the pundits and the exit poll nonsense and focus on the next spate of primaries. Finally, the New York Times reports voters ‘disillusioned’ by primary races that depend on delegate elections, not the popular vote. Are they being sidelined or were voters always sidelined in these state primaries and caucuses? Sponsored by Brush Studio and X Government Cars.

Podcast 452

Jeb’s Baack! With less than a month to go before people actually start voting for candidates to lead their party’s presidential bids in 2016, get ready for the story lines to change. In this first of the year podcast, we get back on the political horse to both warn and speculate on the potential changes in media story lines, which have come to constitute ‘political’ coverage in our time. Our media may think of itself as an informal ‘fourth estate’; an additional fourth branch of government. Fortunately the founders vested sovereign power in the people as represented in three estates of our republic; The legislative, executive and judicial branches. Our media is more like The Borg, or a mob. A faceless, brainless maw that seizes on reactionary story lines, based only on the personality of various politicians, the things they say and outrage generated from it. These form story lines that run until they wear out, or some new outrage is manufactured, or some actual event called ‘news’ happens. The lack of actual journalism and reporting on issues is palpable. The dominant story line that started this political season was that flash in the pan known as Donald Trump. Now that Trump is the dominant candidate on the Republican side, a new story line is being manufactured that says, ‘Hang on, Jeb Bush is going to reemerge’. Given the power and money behind the Republican establishment, don’t be so quick to discount that one. When people start voting, look for candidates to get out. Those who stay in will reap the benefits. On the democrat side, the story line was Hillary Clinton was the inevitable candidate, then Bernie Sanders was going to upset the apple cart, now the story line is what kind of presidency Mrs Clinton will have. Fasten your seat belts; the one constant in politics is change. Sponsored by Pride of Homes and Luke Team Real Estate, and Hydrus Performance

Podcast 307

Mitt Quits. Updates for the first week of February. While neighbors enjoy the Superbowl – enjoy their muffled screams through the wall – The Bob Davis Podcasts goes to work. Mitt Romney has decided not to run for President in 2016, provoking the Washington Post to name Jeb Bush as the front runner. Meanwhile a new poll of voters in Iowa, where the nation’s first presidential primary will be held, have picked Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as the front runner, closely followed by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. If you are an observer of politics, and you have a decidedly anti-government bent, it sure seems like the mainstream moderate wing of the Republican Party is selling policy and tactics from the 1990’s, while voters seem to engage with politicians with newer ideas. While the actual political season for the 2016 cycle is a long way off in political terms, the media seems to want to pick a moderate as the front runner, and the people might have different ideas. Stay Tuned. The new Economic numbers are out, and they aren’t as good as expected. Surprise! After 5 percent GDP ‘growth’ in the third quarter just about everyone ‘figured’ and predicted that we would have at least 3.6 percent ‘growth’ in the fourth quarter, what with gas being cheap and acting ‘like a tax cut’. Even President Obama declared victory over stagnation for weeks, culminating in his over the top State Of The Union Speech which would make the initiated think he was presiding over the most dynamic economy in US History. In reality, President Obama’s recovery doesn’t just lag Bush and Clinton and Reagan, the Obama ‘recovery’ is the worst economic performance of all Presidents in US History. The new growth number? 2.6 percent. What does the media blame it on? Those evil frackers who created all those jobs, and now they’re laying people off ’cause oil is so cheap. In fact the media that couldn’t bring itself to write a positive story about energy growth in the US in the last six years now can’t find enough down-on-their-luck in Williston, North Dakota, stories. Fact is, most of the manufacturing jobs the President likes to tout are energy related. Yeah, cheap gas is great. It acts like a tax cut. Just keep that in mind as the European Zone disaster starts to take hold, and China’s economic slow down begins to bite, realities which the US economy won’t escape. And what are US policies? Not clear away the gordian knot of taxes and regulation that chokes business formation, and the supply side, but continued efforts to stimulate consumption and ballyhooing ‘consumer confidence’. In Silicon Valley they are mixing morning shake cocktails of supplements and additives that are supposedly able to increase your IQ. Body hacks are all the rage, so Podcast 307 ends with an effort to play catch up, with the Broadcast Bunker Juicer. Sponsored by Xgovernment Cars and Depotstar

Podcast 306

Political Polarization. This Podcast is live from the backyard, on a warm summer night. This is made possible by the magic of on demand audio. How did politics get so personal? How did Political Polarization become something written and talked about all the time. These days it seems like the media tries to divide Americans by slicing and dicing poll data. What’s the real divider in America today? The Government. What’s the solution? Maybe getting the government out of the people’s lives. Is the solution a third political party? Former Minnesota Governor Jessie Ventura is saddened by the news that the Independence Party has lost major party status in his home state. What about Ventura’s one term as Minnesota’s Governor? How did that work out? Meanwhile, how does one explain the fact that ‘divided’ Americans keep putting up moderate candidates like Mitt Romney, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton and Jim Webb? If American Politics is so polarized, why do moderate candidates consistently end up as favorites? Mitt Romney continues toying with a presidential run, trash talking Clinton and Obama, but offering no solutions or plans of his own. (Editor’s Note: And you wonder why I say Republican arguments so far are nothing by rhetoric.) Is it possible we Americans run a little deeper on the issues than polling data can show? Is it possible people are divided on different issues, yet not necessarily ‘polarized’ when it comes to the leaders they choose? Has the growth of government in our personal lives made everything political? Is it possible the divisions, and frustration and anger might be mitigated if Washington and Saint Paul would just get out of the way? Sponsored by Depotstar

Podcast 297

Tea Party as Third Party? Word is some people in the Tea Party think it should become a Third Political Party. What’s involved in creating a so called Third Party, how successful have they been, how successful might an actual ‘Tea Party’ be? Some tea party groups have been criticized lately for making a lot of noise, but not controlling much money, or votes; Things that matter to politicians. It has been suggested what is needed is political organization at the grass roots: Podcast 287. Some people think that means starting a so called Third Party, or constituting the Tea Party as a Third Political Party. Judging from history, if Tea Party groups aren’t able to organize their neighborhoods and precincts, what’s necessary to build a viable third political party, is beyond them. There are many so called ‘third parties’. The largest among them is the Libertarian Party which is present in about 45 states and the District of Columbia, the Green Party is present in 37 states and the District, and the Constitution Party is present in 37 states. There are many other so called ‘Third Parties’. So far, they have not been able to elect representatives or senators, although there has been some success here and there in local races. Most recently in US History, Ross Perot created the Reform Party to support his independent presidential candidacy in 1992 and 1996, garnering something like 18 percent of the vote in 1992, and no electoral votes. In essence, third parties don’t have a very good track record. So, is this the right way to organize votes and have influence in Saint Paul or Washington. It might be fair to suggest that this is yet another effort at denying what needs to be done in order to gain so called ‘street cred’ with Saint Paul and Washington Politicians; Generate a lot of money and votes and scare the daylights out of them. Making a lot of noise, so far, hasn’t seemed to accomplish this. (Editor’s Note: I spoke with a couple of Tea Party leaders this week, and they don’t seem too thrilled with this idea.) Back to work! (Join Bob Davis at the SD61 Chili Dinner January 25th to talk this out, and eat chili.) Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.