Friday, January 19, 2018

Trump Benefits From Apple (a day) Windfall

An Apple a day, or a week, or a month, could keep Trump in the White House through 2024. 

Apple’s announcement Wednesday that because of the new tax law it would repatriate $252 billion in cash that it held overseas while investing heavily in new infrastructure and employees over the next five years has the Trump administration and Republicans crowing that their fiscal strategy is working to, what’s that phrase?, “make America great again.” 

Apple isn’t alone in feeding the Trump broadcast of vigorous economic resiliency unleashed by the new tax bill ( The stock market is at record highs. Unemployment is at or near record lows. Consumer confidence is way up. Oh what a triumphant Trump we will see Saturday on the first year anniversary of his inauguration.

Is it all Trump magic? No doubt he deserves some credit, but to use a sports analogy, ex-New York Yankees manager Joe Torre could not have led his team to four championships in five years without the building blocks (Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettite, Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams) his predecessor Buck Showalter and former general manager Gene Michaels left him. Similarly, Trump inherited an already vibrant economy from Barack Obama. Indeed, Obama’s task was much harder as he had to rebuild a devastated economy left by George W. Bush. Too many Trumpsters fail to remember this and fail to give Obama credit for turning the economy around.

If the “economy, stupid” is the key to winning the next presidential election and the 2018 mid-term congressional contests, Republicans would seem to be sitting quite comfortably in the driver’s seat. 

Yet, there are signs that all is not hunky-dory in Trumpland. The president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing criticized Trump for not following through on his promise to restore the competitiveness of American steelworks ( Factory workers in Indianapolis are reportedly angry their jobs weren’t saved ( How effectively laid off workers return to their jobs in the coal and steel industries, in Rust Belt manufacturing, may tip the balance at election time.

No need to rehash Trump’s boorish behavior. If you aren’t aware of it you qualify for the Rip Van Winkle dummy award. But seriously, are 2018/2020 shaping up as referenda on economic self- and national interest vs. personal- and national values? It appears so.

As a dyed-in-the-wool anti-Trumpster, I am wary of this election choice, wary because too many lack compassion, what has been called Christian charity, for their less well-off neighbor. I worry that with the increase in standard deductions to $24,000 for married couples and the resulting fewer itemized deduction tax returns, less charity will be donated to the hungry, to the barely clothed, to the poor who live in squalor, to the infirm, to research to cure the sick. When the choice becomes personal vs. public standing, too many may seek cover under a private, secret ballot.

I fret that selfishness will triumph over generosity, that accessible borders will yield to restricted entry, that democratic values will be toppled by autocratic whims, that intolerance of the strange and different will supersede tolerance, that history and science will be dismissed as irrelevant. 

I am troubled that Trump exacerbates, even encourages, this meanness of the American spirit. 

Perhaps most troubling is the separation of our citizenry from the ideal of E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one) into a multi-fractured hash of special interests, denying the legitimacy of others and not willing to dialogue earnestly with them. 

Without doubt Trump is not the person who can unite us, not that anyone else jumps to mind at this time. It’s a sobering realization that for the foreseeable future we will remain a much divided country. 

A Video Presidency: In case you didn’t see this analysis on Politico, here’s an interesting perspective on Trump’s attention to his physical presentation:

Goodbye HuffPost: My gig and that of 100,000 other writers as non paid contributors to HuffPost is over. The Web site announced Thursday it no longer will accept unsolicited independent articles. 

Since April 2016 I have had 99 submissions published on HuffPost.