A Blog on Politics, Principles, and Uncovering the Narrative

The Corrupt Defense of Donald Trump

The thing that is most telling about the many reactions by Trump and other republicans: none of them are stating that Trump didn’t do what he is being charged with.

However, they are saying lots of other stuff.

Here is a blow-by-blow dismantling of the defenses used by Trump and other republicans against his indictment:

The first and foremost of the objections:

This is the weaponization of federal law enforcement and government.

If you are “weaponizing government,” it means that you are using government powers to attack your political enemies for things they did not do, or for things they would normally not be punished for.

An excellent example of the weaponization of federal law enforcement and government would be what happened to Hillary Clinton regarding both Benghazi and the email issue. There were six different republican House committee investigations (and four others in government as well) on Benghazi, one after another after another.

What’s more, Kevin McCarthy himself admitted that their goal was weaponization—that the purpose of the investigations were to erode public trust in Hillary Clinton so as to make her unelectable:

Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought.

That’s weaponization.

The same can be said of Hillary Clinton’s emails; several officials in the Bush 43 and Trump administrations did the exact same things with email accounts as Clinton did, but it was Clinton who was endlessly investigated, not just by republicans in Congress, but the FBI, culminating in republican FBI head James Comey violating the Hatch Act and making a completely unnecessary but completely damning-sounding announcement 11 days before the election in a manner that clearly changed the election’s outcome.

That’s weaponization.

Hillary committed no crimes and was cleared of all accusations of criminal activity. And it was not just the FBI which said that, it was the republican investigations as well. But they never cared about that, as their true goal was to make Hillary unelectable, and they succeeded.

On the other hand, what has happened with Trump is completely different. The investigations did not spring from spurious political claims without evidence; all come from direct evidence of Trump committing a number of crimes. The Biden Department of Justice showed great reluctance to move forth with any investigations, and it was not until nearly two years after Trump left office that a special prosecutor was named, and it took him eight months to bring charges.

That’s not weaponization. It’s an overcautious slow-walk in reaction to blatant illegal actions resulting in an indictment based on manifestly blatant crimes with an unmistakably powerful foundation of facts and evidence proving the indictment just.


Donald Trump is being prosecuted for the same crimes committed by Joe Biden

No, he’s not. Had Trump done what Biden did—immediately hand over all documents upon realizing he had them—then  Trump would not have been prosecuted. In fact, Trump knew he had the documents all along, oversaw which documents he would take, and knew it was wrong to take them, but even then, had Trump responded to the request by the National Archives to return the records, he would still not have been in trouble. Even as late as the subpoena by the FBI, if Trump had complied, he still would not have been prosecuted.

Trump is not being charged for taking the documents. All of the charges are based upon the initial crime of “failing to deliver” once requested by the archives and the FBI subpoena. Biden never did that, and Trump is not being charged for simply taking the documents with him.

He is being prosecuted because he participated in a conspiracy to obstruct justice by hiding the documents and lying about them to law enforcement, as well as having disseminated some of the documents.

There is zero evidence that either Biden nor Pence willfully took documents. Neither of them withheld any documents. Both immediately reported the documents upon finding them and returned them. Neither of them schemed to hide them, nor did they defy any subpoenas, nor did they lie about them.

Had either of them done any of that, they would be in the same trouble Trump is in.

Furthermore, the emphasis is on the knowing mishandling of secret documents; there is no evidence whatsoever of Pence, Biden, or Clinton doing this; with Trump, there is copious evidence.


The Biden administration indicted Trump, and so that’s a biased, political attack

First, Biden did not order the indictment. Merrick Garland did not order the indictment. Even Jack Smith, an independent special counsel, did not order them. A Florida grand jury ordered the indictment. Biden and Garland both studiously maintained a great distance from the matter.

Second, Trump clearly committed crimes. Are republicans saying that if a republican commits crime, then a Democrat can never, ever prosecute them for that? Because I don’t think that anyone doubts that republicans would indict a Democrat in a New York minute. They tried like hell to do that to Bill Clinton, then to Hillary Clinton, and to Obama (remember Durham?), and even now they’re screaming for Biden to be investigated. So if Democrats are OK as targets for republicans, why is the reverse somehow suddenly unthinkable?

Not to mention, republicans have made it crystal clear that they will never prosecute one of their own. they have stated this out loud for years, just as they have demonstrated with their votes for just as long.

So if a Democratic administration is not allowed to investigate a republican and republicans refuse to investigate their own, we are back to republicans being a special elite class above the law and beyond its reach.

No, this is not a political attack, and as has been pointed out on many occasions, if anyone else had done what Trump has done, they would be in jail already.


This is election tampering

No, election tampering is the head of the FBI recklessly announcing that new Hillary emails had been found, giving a distinct assumption of guilt, just 11 days before an election, sending Hillary, then the front running, into a steep and sudden dive—the classic definition of “October Surprise.”

That’s election tampering.

This indictment comes more than a year before the next election, and the timing was due to Trump’s own actions.


Joe Biden had 1,850 boxes of classified documents

No, that’s an outright fiction. The number may be the number of total documents given to the University of Delaware, which is perfectly legal for a Senator to do; Biden was a Senator when he gave the documents.

Why isn’t Biden under investigation?

He is. Special counsel Robert Hur (a Trump appointee) is handling the case. Keep in mind that Biden had maybe a few dozen classified documents at most, compared to Trump’s 300+ classified documents. Trump’s included vital information, including military plans and nuclear secrets. 

Aside from that, there is no requirement that Biden be prosecuted at the same time and in the same way as Trump.

Josh Hawley:

This is not about Donald Trump ultimately; this is about the United States of America. This is about whether the Constitution is still real in this country. This is about whether any American, any American can expect the due process of law.

Umm… what?

I guess that when you got nothing, then content-free babble might be an attractive alternative.

Mitch McConnell:



Trump had the power to declassify those documents. He declassified them.

No he didn’t. Declassification has a process, and there is no record at all of Trump going through that process. Nor is it an actual thing for a president to be able to declassify records just by taking them. Nor would it still be OK for Trump to have the kinds of records he had at Mar-A-Lago.

Nikki Haley:

The American people are exhausted by the prosecutorial overreach, double standards, and vendetta politics

Then republicans should stop doing it.

Trump again:

This is a witch hunt

No, a “witch hunt” is when any number of innocent people are falsely accused so as to intimidate them to accuse others, and then the process is repeated. This is what Joe McCarthy did in the 1950s.

It is not a “witch hunt” if a special prosecutor without political affiliations investigates mountains of evidence of a crime.

Trump is being prosecuted under the wrong law; instead of the Espionage Act, he should be prosecuted under the Presidential Records Act

That’s like prosecuting a bank robber for jaywalking; the Presidential Records Act is a red herring that republicans are using, pretending that everything Trump did falls under a civil crime, and not the far more powerful—and relevant—Espionage Act.

The charges are all lies.

Apparently, evidence is not a real thing. The facts speak for themselves, and often Trump is the one on record confessing out loud.

The standard reporting from right-wing outlets utilizes two techniques: outrage at anything and everything, and the firehose of lies. Mark Levin, in one small example, screamed in outrage that the indictment was made in Florida—as if that were an injustice instead of an advantage for Trump. And the talking heads’ litany of fury and disgust were packed full of false assumptions, gross exaggerations, and outright lies that not only were disgorged in vomitous volume, but each lie was itself based upon a mountain of other lies. Such rage-filled onslaughts are not a matter of fact or reason, they have the sole purpose of expressing an emotional wrath intended to create only the impression that there is anything to be outraged about.

In the end, it comes down to just a few things:

Did Trump commit crimes? The answer is clearly “Yes.” Trump has been committing crimes for years. The evidence is copious and indisputable.

Should Trump be prosecuted? Unless we want to establish a new legal standard wherein people who are in power are above the law and can commit crimes with impunity, then yes, Trump must be prosecuted.

Should we prosecute every last crime by politicians? No. If a crime is minor or irrelevant to national security or without harm to individuals, or can be excused as an accident or by lack of awareness, then such actions by presidents can and perhaps should be overlooked, for the reasons presented in the Nixon administration memo: if constantly pelted by prosecutions over minor things, a president would never be able to do their job.

The problem comes when these crimes are relevant, are a threat to national security, and are harmful to people. These cannot and must not be overlooked. And Trump has without question committed such crimes.

There Is Something You Can Do about It

I have heard some Christians say, “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

That always struck me as an interesting expression of the circular reasoning fallacy.

Aside from that, I would have to disagree: the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was to make people think that there is nothing they can do about it.

When I say that, I do not mean that I believe that the devil exists, but rather that the devil is a metaphor. A metaphor for what is a much more complex and extended conversation, but suffice it to say, I do not believe in Hell or the Devil per se. That is, I do not believe the whole classic God vs. Satan setup.

About that, I have a logical argument, and then an observation about the moral implications of the belief.

First, if Satan exists, then he is not the master of Hell and the purveyor of evil—he would simply be their custodian. If Hell exists, then God is the true devil, the true evil.

After all, God is supposedly omnipotent, therefore he controls what exists and does not exist. And even if he somehow cannot prevent hell from existing, he does control who goes there. He’s the one that casts souls into the pit. The Devil does not deserve the blame, God does. And so if Hell does exist, then God is evil—because if there is an existing punishment from which there is no release, then any deity who is not irrevocably evil would simply use oblivion.

But eternal torture? The very idea is sickeningly repulsive. By definition, God would be the Evil One if he sent a single soul to such a fate. (Not to mention, it also normalizes and justifies the concept of torture.)

That’s the logical argument. Beyond that, the observation I have has to do with people’s apparent need for Hell to exist.

The quote that I started with makes a rather sly assumption: that somehow not believing in the Devil is a bad thing.


The only purpose of believing in Hell, or even for Hell purportedly to exist, is as a threat of punishment for bad behavior.

As has been observed many times, if you behave only because of the threat of Hell, then you’re not a good person, you’re a bad person on a leash.

Because if you remove the idea of Hell and the Devil, then what remains is personal accountability.

The Devil is simply what we blame for our own failings of personal responsibility. You are effectively saying, “I lack the normal self-control to keep from making choices I know are wrong, and so I have to try to frighten myself with eternal punishment in a last-ditch attempt to keep myself in check.”

The problem with that approach is that it is doomed to fail. The reason why is that we hold the assumption that we are so flawed that we ultimately cannot control ourselves.

Thus my statement about lacking personal responsibility.

Thus also my previous sentiment that the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was to make people think that there was nothing they could do about it—when in fact there is something you can do about it. You are not a slave to your impulses, you are not a bystander in life, and you are not incapable of fighting evil. It is not inevitable.

Only those that want to control you want you to believe otherwise. They convince you that the Devil exists, that you are his for the taking—unless you submit to those among us who wish to control you. And they wish you to believe that there is nothing you can personally do to fight the evils and injustices in the world. They want you to accept them.

Don’t fall for it.

What Is Most Wrong with Tucker’s Text Message

Trump supporter
Trump supporter and white supremacist assaulting a liberal protester.

We all know it by now, and we have all been horrified by it. Horrified by his evident racism, and by the fact that Carlson, as a representative of modern conservatism, is as bloodthirsty as this. However, it is even more chilling if you think about a single word in his message that makes it even worse than you have likely imagined so far. Can you spot the word?

A couple of weeks ago, I was watching video of people fighting on the street in Washington. A group of Trump guys surrounded an Antifa kid and started pounding the living shit out of him. It was three against one, at least. Jumping a guy like that is dishonorable obviously. It’s not how white men fight. Yet suddenly I found myself rooting for the mob against the man, hoping they’d hit him harder, kill him. I really wanted them to hurt the kid. I could taste it. Then somewhere deep in my brain, an alarm went off: this isn’t good for me. I’m becoming something I don’t want to be. The Antifa creep is a human being. Much as I despise what he says and does, much as I’m sure I’d hate him personally if I knew him, I shouldn’t gloat over his suffering. I should be bothered by it. I should remember that somewhere somebody probably loves this kid, and would be crushed if he was killed. If I don’t care about those things, if I reduce people to their politics, how am I better than he is?

This things that disturbs me most is one word that I believe has been mostly overlooked:


That’s the key word, after all. That’s what made the kid in the video worthy of being beaten and even killed, as far as Carlson was concerned.

But what does it actually mean? In order to correctly judge what Carlson meant, it is necessary to step back and understand the term as Carlson himself defines it.

“Antifa” simply means “Anti-Fascist.” But Antifa is not an organization. There are no members’ lists, no meetings, no headquarters, no budget, no donors.

It can mean anyone who claims to be “Antifa,” anyone who makes flags or dresses in black and invokes the name. At the most concrete, it might refer to people who take typically non-violent action in protest of fascism. While there was a single homicide committed by a self-identified anti-fascist in 2020, that’s the only such case in 25 years (as opposed to a few dozen murders by right-wingers nearly every single year).

But that’s not what Tucker Carlson was referring to, because conservatives like Carlson reject that definition of “Antifa,” as it is too limited. That’s of no use when you are trying to instill fear in millions.

More generally, “Antifa,” as I noted earlier, simply means anyone who opposes fascism. However, that is also not what Carlson refers to, as this would include a large number of moderates and conservatives, not to mention pretty much every WWII veteran.

No, to Tucker Carlson, “Antifa” refers to nothing less than any particular liberal. Or, perhaps more accurately, any particular liberal who makes protest in public.

Remember, to conservatives, no such thing as a “peaceful liberal protester” exists. All liberal protesters, especially BLM, are terrorists thugs. Every single liberal protest is intended as an orgy of violence in which entire cities are burned to the ground.

It’s a handy way to vilify the opposition—if you’re a liberal and you protest, then you’re a terrorist.

Now, come back to Carlson’s writing:

A group of Trump guys surrounded an Antifa kid and started pounding the living shit out of him.

So, who were the “Trump guys” beating up?

Now that we have worked out what “Antifa” means to Carlson, the answer is a young liberal protester. That was his crime, that was his sin. He was a liberal, and he took to the streets in protest. That now warrants a beating, and possibly death.

Not that this is shocking. Right-wingers have been advocating violence against liberal protesters for some time. Remember when Trump told his angry crowd of supporters at a rally to “knock the crap out of” liberal protesters? He even promised to pay the legal fees of anyone who did his bidding.

After a liberal protester, Heather Heyer, was run over and killed by a white supremacist terrorist, republicans in Oklahoma and Iowa passed laws to legally protect people who run over protesters, with many other red states considering similar bills. This is unmistakably a direct threat to liberal protesters, an open encouragement to injure and kill liberals on the street. 

So to Tucker Carlson and like-minded republicans, the simple act of liberals protestering merits a death sentence.

Yet suddenly I found myself rooting for the mob against the man, hoping they’d hit him harder, kill him. I really wanted them to hurt the kid. I could taste it.

Why? Because the “kid” was a liberal and was exercising his freedom of speech. That was the totality of his crime. That drives conservatives to such heights of offense and outrage that they can literally taste their thirst for violence, to the extent of murder.

And that’s what really chills me about all of this. 

It is that Carlson and potentially tens of millions of others right-wingers are now at the point where they feel that liberals should be killed in the street for simply speaking their minds.

The Importance of Hearing Dog Whistles

Scott Adams
Scott Adams on his YouTube channel getting understatedly annoyed at imaginary black people.

You may have heard about Scott Adams getting dropped from hundreds of outlets today because of a racist rant on his YouTube channel, “Real Coffee with Scott Adams” in which he called black Americans a “hate group” and that white people should just “just get the fuck away” from them. An extended transcript is below, if you want full context.

What is this all about? Well, Adams was furious at a Rasmussen Reports poll which said that 53% of black people agreed with the statement, “It’s OK to be white,” from which he then inferred that 47% of black people didn’t, and therefore they are racists, a hate group, and he is so over them.

The source of his anger is very telling. First of all, Rasmussen Reports is a strongly conservative polling outfit, typically setting the stage for republican politicians and talking heads with these rather obviously slanted polls designed to create controversy. This particular poll had two questions:

1* Do you agree or disagree with this statement: “It’s OK to be white.”

2* Do you agree or disagree with this statement: “Black people can be racist, too.” You may or may not be able to see the screeching racist dog whistles in these two questions, but the whistle is there, loud and clear.

The first question asks if “It’s OK to be white.” You might think that this is a bit strange, as on its face, it sounds like any other response except “Yes” would be discriminatory.

Here’s the problem: it’s a racist dog whistle that many people are not aware of. It has been around for years in the alt-right community as a statement representing white-supremacist views, constructed specifically to impervious from attack because of how innocuously correct it seems—but nonetheless is used in a powerfully racist way. Like the slogan, “All Lives Matter,” it passive-aggressively attacks protests against racism by slyly suggesting that people of color who are being discriminated against are the real racists here.

So, if you know the history of the statement, then you know it is a racist slur, and you would react strongly against it.

However, in the poll, most respondents probably didn’t even know what it means. Without the historical context, you have to wonder, “Does this mean that being white is not OK? In what way? Is it OK for me to be white? For white people? For anyone, metaphorically? Culturally? What?”

When Adams concluded that 47% of black Americans are utter racists, he kind of glossed over—or did not pay attention to—the fact that only 26% said they disagree with it; he included in that group the 21% who said they were not sure, a reasonable response considering the lack of context. And, either not knowing or ignoring the context, he did not reflect on the fact that likely most, if not almost all of the 26% who said “no” did so because they did know the context, and were responding to a white supremacist slogan.

The heavily slanted nature of the poll becomes further clear with the only other question, about the statement that “Black people can be racist, too.”

This harkens back to a controversial quote, famously made by Spike Lee, that “black people can’t be racist.”

This statement was immediately attacked by, well, virtually every single conservative in the country, as an outrageous statement which, they accused, was racist in and of itself. “What, only white people can hate people of other races?” was the reaction. It seemed completely indefensible, utterly absurd, and was used to castigate anyone accusing white people of racism. It was used heavily in the campaign to cast white people as the real victims of an institution of hatred against abuse of every last single white person.

The thing is, that’s not what Spike Lee said. Here’s his actual full quote:

Black people can’t be racist. Racism is an institution. Black people don’t have the power to keep hundreds of people from getting jobs or the vote. Black people didn’t bring nobody over in boats. They had to add shit to the Constitution so we could get the vote. Affirmative action is about finished in this country now. It’s through. And black people had nothing to do with that, those kinds of decisions. So how can black people be racist when that’s the standard? Now, black people can be prejudiced. Shit, everybody’s prejudiced about something.

Read the last two sentences of that quote again, in case you missed it. “Now, black people can be prejudiced. Shit, everybody’s prejudiced about something.” In short, he is making painfully clear that black people can hate all white people, that they can be prejudiced.

His real message is that, as opposed to prejudice, which is personal, racism is institutional, meaning that it carries the force of the society with it. I live in Japan, so I can be prejudiced against Japanese people, but racism is institutional, so being racist here is the domain of the 98% Japanese population. It is simply a matter of definitions.

In that context, Lee’s statement is scathingly true, and uncomfortably accurate. It is only the intentional misreading of that statement which casts it as a racist slur in itself.

Black Lives Matter means that only black lives matter It’s OK to Be White means that black people hate all white people, not racism Black People Can’t Be Racist means that black people are super-racist

See how the meanings are turned around? Notice how, in context, the meanings cast an absolutely different light? This is profoundly intentional.

So again, when the poll asked respondents to agree or disagree with the statement, “Black people can be racist, too,” they were blowing another deafening dog whistle.

Knowing the context of these two statements, the purpose and intent behind the poll become rather clear. They were intended, with clear dishonest motives, to make black people look bad.

The question that remains is, did Scott Adams understand this, taking the opportunity to make his racist intent look like wounded sympathy? Or was he so unaware of the context that he let himself be fooled by the clear intent of the poll?

I am honestly not sure; it could have been either or even both. One thing that’s clear is Adams’ racist beliefs. Note these quotes from his rant, after stating that he intentionally moved to a predominantly white neighborhood because black neighborhoods are shit:

Everybody who focuses their priority on education does well. If anybody in the black community focuses on education, they’ll do well as well, because the the system allows that if they don’t, I can’t make that my problem anymore. It just can’t be my problem. It can’t be my problem if the solution is so clear, so available, and people don’t want to take it. It’s just not my problem anymore, so I resign.

In short, black people have only themselves to blame for their lot in life because they don’t focus on education. As if they don’t want to, or that a hundred significant truths about the black experience do not weigh more heavily on that topic than does simple choice. As if society does not make utterly clear to black kids that only through sports or entertainment or crime that they cannot be successful, in a world where people whose very names just sound black don’t get called back for job applications, where these kids are virtually hunted by cops and given a rap sheet that hobbles them for life before they can even have a chance to get that education, that racism does not hobble the families’ incomes and opportunities, that… well, you get the idea. The list would be a whole essay in and of itself.

No, no, none of that matters. It’s all just a choice they make. After all, we elected a black man president, and that means that any black person can make it in our society, and that race isn’t an issue. Right?

Sure looks pretty clear to be that Adams believes in this alt-right bullshit version of reality.

Here is the relevant excerpt from Adams’ rant:


Well, Rasmussen poll had a provocative little poll today. They said do you agree or disagree with the statement uh it’s okay to be white. That was an actual question Rasmussen asked you know white and black voters and and probably others uh do you disagree or agree with a statement, ‘It’s okay to be white,’ 26 percent of blacks said, no, it’s not okay to be white. 21 weren’t sure. Together that is 47 of black respondents were not willing to say it’s okay to be white.

That that actually that’s like a real poll, this just happened. Did you have any idea, would you have imagined that that could have happened. So I realized, as you know I’ve been identifying as black for a while, years now, because I like you know I like to be on the winning team, and I like to help and I always thought, well, if you help the black community, that’s sort of the biggest lever you know you could you can find the the biggest benefit. So I thought, well that’s the hardest thing and the biggest benefit, so I’d like to focus a lot of my life resources in helping black Americans so much, so that I started identifying as black to just be on the team I was helping.

But it turns out that nearly half of that team doesn’t think I’m okay to be white, which is of course why I identified as black because so I could be on the winning team for a while.

But I have to say, this is the first political poll that’s changed my activities. I don’t know that that’s ever happened before. Normally you see a poll, you just look at it, you go, ‘Ahh, whatever. Oh, this is interesting, what other people think.’

But, as of today, I am going to re-identify as white, cause I don’t want to be a member of a hate group. I’ve accidentally joined a hate group.

So if nearly half of all Blacks are not OK with white people – according to this poll, not according to me, according to this poll – that’s a hate group. That’s a hate group. And I don’t want to have anything to do with them.

And I would say, based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to White people is to get the hell away from Black people, just get the fuck away. Wherever you have to go, just get away. Cause there’s no fixing this. This can’t be fixed. Alright, this can’t be fixed. You just have to escape.

So that’s what I did, I went to a neighborhood where [I] have a very low black population, because unfortunately, there is a high correlation between the density—this is according to Don Lemon, by the way—so here I’m just quoting Don Lemon, when he notes, that he—when he lived in a mostly black neighborhood, there were a bunch of problems that he didn’t see in white neighborhoods. So even Don Lemon sees a big difference in your own quality of living based on where he live[d], and who was there.

So I don’t think it makes any sense as a white citizen of America to try to help Black citizens anymore. It doesn’t make sense. There’s no longer a rational impulse. And so I’m going to back off on being helpful to Black America because it doesn’t seem like it pays off.

Like I’ve been doing it all my life, and the only outcome is I get called a racist. That’s the only outcome. It makes no sense to help Black Americans if you’re white. It’s over. Don’t even think it’s worth trying. Totally not trying. Now, we should be friendly; like I’m not saying, start a war, do anything bad, nothing like that. I’m just saying get away, just get away.

And here’s my take on all of it: Everybody who focuses their priority on education does well. If anybody in the black community focuses on education, they’ll do well as well, because the the system allows that if they don’t, I can’t make that my problem anymore. It just can’t be my problem. It can’t be my problem if the solution is so clear, so available, and people don’t want to take it. It’s just not my problem anymore, so I resign.

I resigned from the hate group called Black Americans according to the Rasmussen poll, 46 percent of them don’t think white people are okay. Just being white… and there we go.

You didn’t expect that today, did you?

But the most helpful thing I can do is to say I’m not going to help. Do you understand that? Continuing to help in in that sort of you know classic ‘Oh, let me help you give you a you know a lift up, give you a hand, you know, Mentor you, hire you, prefer you…’ I’m going to stop all of that. I’m done with all of that. Yeah, no, it didn’t work. The only thing that will work is to say, you got to fix your own problem. You know how you know how to do, it everybody else figured it out.

I’m not going to speculate you know why you’re not doing it. I’m not going to speculate why there’s a difference. I’m just going to say it’s available to everybody, just pick it up. It’s free money. Focus on education and you could have a good life too.

But those who don’t want to focus on education you just need to get away from them just get as much distance as you can. That’s my recommendation.

And I’m also really sick of seeing video after video of black Americans beating up non-black citizens. I realize it’s anecdotal, and you know it doesn’t give me a a full picture of what’s happening but every damn day I look on social media and there’s some black person beating the out of some white person. I’m kind of over it. I’m over it right so I quit

And it feels good not to be in a racist hate group anymore so I’m now independent, not a member of any group I do not align with any group not the white supremacists, and not the black racists. All right.

Why Do Poor People Commit More Crimes than Rich People?

I have heard that question asked several times in my life, and for a long time I gave the wrong answer. Because they have a greater need for things is the most common answer. Other answers might include theories about resentment, having less to lose, or simple desperation. You might come up with more complex theories, like I did.

None of these are the correct answer.

As with any question or statement, you need to apply critical thinking, and one of the major elements of critical thinking is to question your assumptions. So, in the question, “Why do poor people commit more crimes than rich people,” what is the whopping huge assumption being made?

That poor people commit more crimes than rich people.

And, as it turns out, that assumption is patently false.

First, you have to ask, what is being measured? We have no numbers, no statistics on what crimes are actually committed. Many people commit crimes and are never found out. Can you use arrest records? No, for the simple reason that many people arrested are later found innocent, or charges are dropped against them. What we use to measure crime rates is convictions.

This is where the numbers fall to pieces: convictions are a horribly inaccurate way to judge what actual crimes have been committed, especially in terms of being rich or poor.

Here are the reasons for that:

Targeting and Arrests

First of all, police more easily assume that poor people commit more crimes, and target those people far more readily for search and arrest. Take New York City’s “Stop and Frisk” laws. You might expect that high-power Wall Street executives would be an obvious target, and would often be found to have drugs on their person. Unsurprisingly, there were the fewest stop-and-frisk searches in the financial district. Instead, the vast majority of searches were in Harlem.

Unsurprisingly, the areas with the highest incomes had the fewest searches, and the areas with the lowest income had to most searches.

Race also clearly plays a part. Between 49% and 61% of all stops were made on black people, who constituted 23% of the population. 8% to 12% of searches were of white people, who make up 40% of the population. Although the rate of marijuana use is roughly equal between black and white people, black people are arrest about four times more often than whites. Since race has a strong correlation to economic status, this has an impact on how things work out. 

The reason may go beyond simple economic bias. Rich people have far better legal representation, and police officers might have a bias towards searching or arresting people who will help their conviction rate. The wealthy are also often well-connected, and police may get blowback for stopping a frisking a rich person.

Nor is it just simple stops and searches. White collar crime is infamously under-prosecuted. Despite massive corruption and crime that led to the 2008 Great Recession, almost no convictions were made. Despite fraud, embezzlement, and tax evasion are rampant, few arrests are made and even fewer cases end in a conviction. Just look at how long Donald Trump got away with a plethora of crimes—and, despite all the evidence available, is still getting away with them. Usually only the most egregious, high-profile cases are even considered for prosecution.

As a result, most suspicion and targeting is placed on poorer people. If you target one group more than another, it is completely unsurprising that the group more targeted will be arrested and convicted more often. However, it does not mean that they commit more crimes.

Having a Good Lawyer

This is a huge factor. Wealthy people can get the best legal representation, which can, far more often, lead to all charges being dropped, or a deal being made that will require only rehab or community service, while no conviction ever goes on their record. One famous example is George W. Bush, who was well known to use drugs in his youth. At one point, he mysterious “volunteered” to do community service, for no stated reason, shortly after it was rumored that he was arrested for drug possession. When they do go to trial, expensive expert witnesses and a host of other legal protections are used.

People of lesser means, meanwhile, have only what legal representation as they can afford, which is little or none. Those with none have to resort to public defenders, who are notoriously under-qualified, overworked, and underfunded. Stories abound of poor people who are likely innocent of crimes being convicted, and of rich people likely guilty getting off scot free.

This contributes heavily to the large disparity in conviction rates between the rich and poor.

Plea Deals

Bail also plays a big part. If you are rich, bail is not a problem, and you can continue on with your life while your lawyers find ways to make your consequences as little as possible.

However, if you are poor, bail often makes it impossible for you to get out. Within days, you lose your job, and for most poor people that’s a harsh sentence in and of itself. Many poor people spend months or even years in jail waiting for a trial, some of them being incarcerated even longer than their sentence would be if they were found guilty.

It should therefore be no surprise that most poor people charged with crimes will plea to guilty convictions, even if they committed no crime at all.

One good example of this was in New York in 2018, when cops illicitly stopped a car with black occupants, one of whom had just been released from the hospital. The cops falsely claimed they smelled pot and demanded to search the vehicle. They demanded the occupants exit the car, but the injured man told them of his condition, and that it would be hard for him to get out. Impatient, the police brutally dragged the injured man from the vehicle and, when he struggled in pain, they charged him with resisting arrest and obstructing an officer. The man had to go back to the hospital for five days to recuperate from the injuries police did to him—all the time handcuffed to his bed. After a two-hour search, the police did not find any marijuana; facing an embarrassing situation, they planted some in the vehicle and charged the occupants with drug crimes. Unable to defend themselves (body cam footage was withheld for two years), they had no choice but to plead guilty to resisting and obstructing in exchange for the drug charges to be dropped. A conviction without a crime—one that would not have happened, certainly not successfully, with a wealthy person.

Sleeping Under Bridges

Then we have the laws themselves. There is a famous adage: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges.” Many laws are heavily biased in terms of economic status. It is commonly noted that if the punishment for a crime is a cash penalty, then the crime applies to poor people only. For example, there are laws requiring drug testing for public assistance, but none for the beneficiaries of corporate welfare or massive tax breaks. Being homeless can lead to being convicted of a number of crimes; sleeping in the street or in parked vehicles are the most common. Not being able to pay fines, often very steep for poor people, for offenses such as traffic tickets, civil offenses, and misdemeanor crimes can end in a conviction and jail time.

Most crime by rich people is masked by corporations. If you poison one person and they die, you get convicted. But if you own a corporation and you poison a whole city, you might be fined, for a much smaller amount than you profited by not cleaning up your waste. Wealthy people can steal, injure, and even kill, sometimes on mass scales, and never be arrested, much less convicted.

One significant example of this is how we treat the crime of theft. If a poor person commits a theft, from shoplifting to burglary to grand theft auto, they are charged and convicted. And yet, the most common form of theft goes totally unpunished—and is even rewarded. Unsurprisingly, it is the primary form of theft committed by rich people: wage theft.

If you take all other forms of theft—larceny, burglaries, auto theft, and robbery—and add them together, they are dwarfed by wage theft, which can total tens of billions of dollars in theft every year. This includes minimum wage violations, overtime violations, rest break and off-the-clock violations, in addition to simple underpayment. I myself have been the victim of three of those at various jobs, and many—perhaps most—workers have similar stories to tell.

And yet wage theft, while technically a crime, results in no convictions. This is because it is treated as a civil crime, and not a criminal offense. If you steal $100 from your employer, you can be arrested, convicted, and jailed. If your employer steals $100 from you, they are not even arrested, and usually they get away with it. You can only find redress through filing for public prosecutors to get your money back, which is rare, and takes years even if they do so, or by taking the case to court, which results in legal fees often dwarfing the amount that was stolen from you. Because it is so hard and expensive to get redress, employers usually get away with it scot-free—which explains why it is so rampant.


The Scale of Crimes

Finally, we have the way that convictions are counted. Stealing ten dollars from one person and a million dollars from a thousand people may both end up with a single conviction each.

If ten thousand criminals steal $100 each from ten thousand victims, for a total of $1 million, and are caught and convicted, that is counted as ten thousand separate crimes.

However, if one white-collar criminal steals $1 billion from a hundred thousand people, and is caught and convicted, that may be counted as only one conviction—despite stealing a thousand times more money from ten times as many people.

There are a number of possible variations of this, where poor people are convicted on the basis of minor infractions, while rich people are shielded for significant crimes.

Conclusion, and How to Handle the Issue

Unfortunately little of this at all is documented, so there are no numbers which can prove that wealthy people, per capita, commit more crime than poor people.

However, a very strong case can be made that this is in fact the truth—but because we use convictions as the measure, people always assume the opposite.

If anyone asks you why poor people commit more crime, the very first response would be to demand they provide evidence for their claim.

THEM: Poor people commit more crime than rich people.

YOU: Cite a source for that.

THEM: It’s a well-known fact.

YOU: Great. Then citing a source will be no problem for you. I’ll wait.

THEM (Whether or not they cite a source, probably not): Statistics prove this.

YOU: Statistics showing what?

THEM: That poor people commit more crimes.

YOU: So, all crimes can be known? No one ever gets away with one?

THEM: OK, arrests then.

YOU: All arrested people are guilty?

THEM: OK, convictions.

YOU: If your wealthy employer steals money from you in wage theft, will that person be convicted? Are wealthy people ever convicted for sleeping in their cars? Are wealthy people convicted if the corporation they own kills people? None of these are counted as convictions. Or how about the difference in availability to expensive legal representation, which results in many indictments failing or being pled out? Or how about profiling of poor people by police? How about the scale of crimes?

THEM: [At this point, they will do one of three things: (1) deny that any of that has an effect without any evidence; (2) try to focus on one small detail they think they can argue and never return to the primary assertion; or (3) change the subject entirely.]

Simply put, there is no argument that can be made aside from appealing to faulty assumptions.

However, anyone with any reason or sense of fairness will have to conclude that it is as the very least highly likely that rich people commit as much or likely more crime than poor people.

Stacking the Deck

Union massacre
Police attack strikers outside Chicago’s Republic Steel plant, killing 10, on May 30, 1937. (AP / Carl Linde)

Employment is a negotiation between the employer and the employee.

Negotiations depend heavily upon your position.

Businesses have great negotiating power and thus a strong negotiating position. When they hire you, they control the interview. They are positioned as the ones making the decisions. You have to compete with dozens or sometimes hundreds of other candidates. They have all the information, you have practically none. They are portrayed as the ones doing you the favor. They have authority over you. Job interviews are designed to intimidate, to make you feel small and powerless, begging for the position. This is not a natural imbalance; it has been very carefully cultivated to give them all the power and you virtually none. 

The same goes for what happens to you when you are employed. After you get hired, you know that you could be fired at almost any time, if the employer so decides. Employees are forbidden to exchange contract details that could give them negotiating power. Anything you gain has to be begged for, and even with exemplary service, bonuses or raises are rarely guaranteed. And don’t even think of trying to unionize; you will be treated like crap until they find a way to fire you.

Even after you get fired, many employers don’t even give you a letter of recommendation, forcing you to list them as a reference, where you know nothing about what they will say about you, making you rely upon their good graces when you look for jobs in the future. It is as if they hold all the cards, and you have none.

All of that gives employers frighteningly unequal power over their employees.

For the worker, there are only two real negotiation tools that could possibly fight against all of that: unions and government regulations.

Is it any mystery that these are two things that businesses have worked for decades to degrade and destroy? Two things they have striven endlessly to vilify, denigrate, and smear?

“Unions are corrupt! They only take your money and give you nothing! They are run by organized crime!”

“Government regulations cost jobs, obstruct good and honest businesses, are useless bureaucratic power grabs, and only make things worse!”

“Minimum wage hikes will only raise prices, get people fired, and make businesses go bankrupt and close!”

And they get people like you and me, regular working people, to spread and perpetuate these lies.

And they are hypocrites. They claim that the “free market” will treat everyone fairly. That if they don’t pay workers enough, they won’t get people to work—something that only happens in rare cases like 2022, and even then, they fight like hell against paying higher wages, and complain about how “no one wants to work anymore.”

They claim that the “free market” will not only give fair wages, but that it will provide for workplace safety and other abuses—but we have seen all too painfully what a wretched lie that is as well.

Unions are the biggest “free market” mechanism to balance employer abuses… and so businesses go to any expense and the greatest efforts to crush any union from starting or practicing, vilify and attack any existing union, and pay off politicians and plant pro-corporate judges to make laws which undermine any chance of fair union representation.

“Free market” my ass.

The Name of God: Aside from That

“Thank you President Trump for letting us say ‘Merry Christmas’ again!”

A common refrain from the Religious Right: “You cannot dare utter the name of God in the public square.”

Well, they’re right, after all, aren’t they? You cannot say the word “God” in public. Well, not exactly—actually, anyone can do it, really, at almost any time. There are, after all, public churches, and all manner of religious ceremonies, and religious broadcasting all over TV and radio, as well as on the Internet. If you are in public and you say the word “God,” nothing happens to you at all. No, what they mean by the “public square” is just in official government business. No one in government is ever allowed to speak the name of God in official government business. Ever.

Well, except for when the president makes a speech. He pretty much always ends it with “God bless the United States of America.” And a whole bunch of other times the president mentions God and has religious leaders make speeches and stuff.

But aside from that, you can never say the name of God in any part of government.

Well, except for legislatures, where every day, in every legislative body, at every level of government, when they begin every session with a religious prayer led by a chaplain or other religious speaker.

But aside from that, you can never say the name of God in any part of government.

Well, except in every courthouse at every level of government whenever any witness is sworn in, they do it with their hand on a bible and are required to swear in the name of God before they give testimony.

But aside from that, you can never say the name of God in any part of government.

Well, except for every school, at the start of every school day, when the teacher leads every student in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, where every student says “Under God” to describe the nation.

But aside from that, you can never say the name of God in school.

Well, aside from the fact that the Supreme Court has ruled that any student or group of students, acting independently of school officials, may engage at prayer any time at school on the one condition that it not interrupt a class in session.

But aside from that, you can never say the name of God in any way related to the government.

Well, except for every single cash transaction in the country, where every single last piece of currency, every last coin and bill, is branded with the motto “In God We Trust” on it, the official currency of the nation, printed and controlled by the government.

But aside from that, you can never say the name of God in public where the government is concerned.

So, yes, in every speech made by every president, every session of every legislature at every level, every session of every court in every courtroom, in every pledge and every prayer by every student in every school, and in every cash transaction made by every person every day using federal currency… yes, then you can have the name of God in every single government transaction.

But aside from that, you can never say the name of God in any part of government.

Never. Or the cops will come for you and arrest you for saying that word.

Right-Wing Love for Putin and Russia Pre-Dated Trump


Why do republicans love Putin?

Even now, as the world and the rest of America gets behind Zelenskyy and Ukraine, republicans steadfastly admire and support Putin, though often more quietly so after Putin’s recent atrocities.

But how did they come to love Putin and Russian in the first place? The Republican Party’s identity for decades was practically defined by their searing hatred for Russia. Even in 2012, Mitt Romney identified Russia as being America’s “number one geopolitical foe.”

Most people assume that Donald Trump brought Putin Love to the right wing, but that’s not accurate. Trump’s association with Putin developed at about the same time as the republican admiration of Putin, but Trump was not openly pro-Russian until after Putin was already a right-wing hero. 

So, how did it happen? Why did republicans go Coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs over this aggressive dictator?

The answer is Obama. He was an effective, popular, charismatic president who was being a better Republican president than any of their own candidates could hope to be. This drove right-wingers crazy. They needed a foil for Obama, someone arguably better and more powerful than him, but no one in their own ranks measured up.

And then Syria happened. In August of 2012, Obama was asked what would provoke a U.S. military action in Syria, and Obama replied that Syria’s use of chemical weapons would constitute a “red line” that would bring America into the fray. However, a year later, Assad crossed that red line, using sarin gas to kill more than a thousand of his own people. Suddenly, Obama was boxed in: he had promised action, but almost any action he took would end badly, not to mention that the American people did not want to add a third land war in Asia to our plate.

Obama responded by passing the buck on to Congress, asking for their approval to use military force. Conservatives saw this as a sign of weakness and began to pile on.

It was then that Vladimir Putin came to the rescue, suggesting a plan to get Syria to surrender its chemical weapons stockpiles so as to avoid military action against them. Obama grabbed the opportunity as a best possible solution, and Damascus agreed to the terms.

That was when republicans suddenly took a liking to Putin: he had stolen Obama’s thunder, outplayed him in Syria, and took the limelight in center stage. The idea that Putin had shown up Obama and pulled the rug out from under him in the region became the story of the month. Matt Drudge, of the Drudge Report, hailed Putin’s involvement in Syria, tweeting that “Putin is leader of the free world.” He began to constantly run headlines praising Putin and trashing Obama, branding Putin as the strong, charismatic world leader, and Obama as a spineless coward who couldn’t begin to match his Russian counterpart. This was a drumbeat starting in 2013 onward, often echoed elsewhere in the conservative sphere. And then, in early 2014, just six months after the Syria deal, Putin just rolled into Crimea and annexed it, and Obama could not do much of anything about it. Putin again came out on top.

Republicans loved this. They discovered a newfound hero in Putin. He was rugged, masculine, in control. He was a right-wing, nationalistic, militaristic shirtless man riding a horse in the countryside. His policies were fiscally conservative, anti-tax, pro-Christian, and a near-perfect fit for the religious right. Most of all, Putin was aggressively, even virulently hostile to gay people. And he invaded and occupied nearby countries.

And Obama was more or less powerless to stop him.

That’s what truly made Putin a right-wing hero, besting Obama in the geopolitical arena, not just once, but twice. Showing power to Obama’s powerlessness. Comments like this started appearing in right-wing areas in 2014:

“Putin is a former KGB colonel. 0bama is a former community organizer. Of course Putin is going to have a far better grasp of international affairs. That is obvious to anyone outside of the liberal echo chamber.”

“Putin right? Why is anyone on earth surprised? President Putin is highly intelligent and by far the best leader in the world. The best leader I have seen in my life time. A man’s man who makes his own decisions and loves his country and its citizens.”

“He is a world leader. He sees the world, not the next party, photo op, selfie…. Putin=Leader Obama=Loser in every category for a leader as well as human being.”

“arguably, Putin would be a better Commander in Chief than our dear leader.”

“Putin at least isn’t a blind Marxism/Leninism fool, unlike Obama and his fellow New Bolshevik Criminals. Their pathetic attempts to focus solely on domestic control, while ignoring rest of world will end up destroying this country.”

All of this was more than a year before Trump showed any sign of being relevant at all. Trump did not bring Putin to the party, republicans were already very much on board. Right-wing talking heads started speaking reverently of Putin, gleeful to have someone who showed up their hated foremost enemy, their own president. More and more, they found elements of Russian culture and Putin’s political positions of which they approved, like Putin’s laws against “homosexual propaganda,” i.e. any favorable mention of LGBTQ people or issues.

While Trump spoke favorably of Putin once or twice after the Syria deal, even slightly before his fateful trip to Russia for the Miss Universe contest (the one where the “pee tape” was allegedly recorded), no possible argument could be made that Trump was in any way responsible for making Putin popular in right-wing circles. In fact, this early admiration for Putin likely helped republicans accept Trump better; he was already a Putin-lover, and fit right in with the crowd.

The problem for republicans is that Putin is, both to their discomfort and delight, a murderous power-crazed dictator willing to commit atrocities. The atrocities part may tamper down their enthusiasm temporarily, but they love the aggressive strongman part, and even as Russia becomes a pariah in most of the world, conservatives still prefer him to anything liberal. Thus we saw signs, t-shirts, and other conservative gear since maybe 2018 reading, “I’d rather be a Russian than a Democrat.”

But Trump didn’t bring that. It was there before he stopped being a joke.


The Blue Tsunami Arrived

I’ve heard many people saying that no “wave” materialized for either party. Some conservatives chide that maintaining the status quo should be a massive disappointment.

This could not be further from the truth. The Democrats had a massive blue wave, you could even call it a “tsunami.”

It just didn’t look like one because it cancelled out the red wave that seemed inevitable.


  1. In midterm elections, the party that won the White House in the previous general election almost always loses a large number of seats.
  2. Democrats generally do very poorly in midterms at any time because of low turnout.
  3. Biden’s popularity is very low and people are feeling a very strong economic sting from inflation.

Because of those three elements, Democrats, in any other midterm, would have suffered huge losses. By all rights, republicans should have not just taken control of both houses, they should have done so decisively.

In 2010, Obama lost 6 senate seats and 63 house seats.

In 1994, Clinton lost 8 senate seats and 52 house seats.

In neither case did Obama or Clinton have lower popularity than Biden. In neither case was there a recession or inflation to depress their votes.

For Biden to lose only a dozen or so house seats and to keep all his senate seats—maybe even gain one—is unprecedented at a time like this. Only one in the past 80 years has any Democrat done better in a first midterm, and that was Kennedy in 1962 (lost four in the house, gained three in the senate).

It is arguable that relative to what could be expected, Biden gained at lest 5-6 senate seats and maybe three or four dozen house seats.

Accounting for these realities, what we just witnessed was a blue tsunami.

The reasons are clear: republicans shot themselves in the foot, and Democrats, for once, took full advantage of it.

There were three major elements to the republican death spiral:

  1. They made it perfectly clear that their top goal was to dismantle democracy and fix future elections in their favor;
  2. The repeal of Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs decision; and
  3. Trump’s strategy of primarying out winning republican candidates and replacing them with election-denying sycophants and stooges who were poison to republicans on the ballot.

Democrats successfully campaigned against all three, and it worked wonders.

It didn’t hurt that Michiganders, against the will of the republicans who had rigged the state, ended gerrymandering, giving Democrats the victory that republicans had been stealing for a decade. Let’s hope that other states held in thrall by republicans vote in similar measures, if that is even possible.

Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Trickle-Down Lies

Trickle-down is a scam.

Trickle-down not only doesn’t work, it obviously couldn’t. The first hint is in the name: “Trickle-Down.” Not “Rain Down,” “Shower Down,” “Torrent Down,” or “Flood Down,” but just a trickle, at best. The idea that workers get almost nothing is right there in the name. You’d think that people would have caught on to this sooner. It would be like an employer offering their workers a raise and calling it “Crumbs off the Table.”

From there it gets worse. The idea of the theory is to jump-start the economy by giving money to rich people. There are several rather unmistakable reasons why this wouldn’t help the economy.

First, rich people are, not to put too fine a point on it, rich. They don’t need money to invest, they already have it. Thus the “rich” part of it. They already get generous tax breaks on successful investments in the form of capital gains taxes; that gives them more money already. And if all their wealth is tied up in other ventures, there is a long line of banks that are usually willing to issue them big loans in order to help them invest. If they come to a bank and say, “Here’s a great opportunity to create a business with a promising future,” loans are almost inevitable.

Next, giving rich people more money via tax breaks does not guarantee that they will invest it in a way that creates more jobs. When a rich person gets more money, their natural reaction is to say, “How can I make the most money with this money?”

This is where Trickle-Down is most clearly absurd as a solution to a depressed economy: if no one is buying anything, then the last thing a rich person will do is invest in building factories to sell things to people who aren’t buying anything. Instead, they will either hoard the cash if nothing is paying off, or else maybe invest in derivatives, which usually create few or no jobs at all.

For example, if a rich person invests money in stocks, that mostly just represents value moving from one person to another. It does not create wealth, nor does it spur jobs. At the very best, if enough rich people buy stock in a company, the stock price will go up—which may improve the image of the company, and could help it buy more acquisitions, but not really to create a large number of new jobs. By the time you get to any job increases, the percent of what was spent on the tax break for rich people is so diluted that the benefit in jobs is lost in the white noise of market fluctuations.

Next, we have the basic function of capitalism: the idea that people will create jobs and wealth in pursuit of wealth made by commerce. The critical point here is that rich people getting money is the inducement for creating jobs. You invest, build, hire, produce, sell, and profit. Profit is the end of the process. That’s the whole point

Giving rich people money should be the end reward for that process, not the start of it. If you start by giving rich people more money, there is, if anything, less incentive to work harder for it. It’s like giving the horse the carrot at the start of the ride, not the end. Or, more to the point, it’s like putting gasoline in your tailpipe. It creates a nice flash, but gets you nowhere.

So, What Creates Jobs?

It’s important to realize that companies, by their nature, do not create jobs. They avoid creating jobs. As Nick Hanauer put it, corporations are not job creators, they are job destroyers. Employing people is a cost. To maximize profits, businesses need to minimize costs. And since payroll is normally one of the biggest expenses any company has, they do everything they can do minimize it. That means paying less in salary and benefits (and destroying unions which would demand such things), making workers do more work for the same pay (businesses call this “productivity”), replacing workers with automated processes, and firing workers whenever possible.

Businesses don’t hire workers because they are charitable and like helping the working class. They only hire workers when it is impossible to profit without workers—and then fire the workers as soon as their jobs fail to make enough money for the company.

In short, businesses don’t want to create jobs; they only do it when absolutely necessary, and destroy the jobs as soon as it is profitable for them.

Capitalists will say that greed is good, as a motivator to make people invest. The problem is, greed has no limits. Corporations, by their nature, endlessly look for ways to increase the bottom line. Pay workers less, charge customers more, skimp on safety and corporate responsibility—exactly the opposite of what free-market capitalists claim will happen in an unregulated system.

There is a dire problem here. Businesses make money in the first place because the general population has enough wealth to buy the things offered for sale. If people don’t have enough money to buy things, then sales diminish. The more you underpay workers and lay them off, the less wealth there is to buy the things businesses are selling. Capitalism pushes wealth upwards, robbing the poor to pay the rich. If too much wealth accumulates at the top, the business cycle dies.

It is very much like a game of Monopoly: at the end, one person gets all the money, and then the game ends. We play that game, but we fail to project forward to think about what happens to the people who lose, and how the economy functions after that.

So we see that if money fails to cycle back to the workers, the system fails and collapses. It becomes clear, then, that the problem is not that there is too little wealth at the top, the problem is that there is too much

What you really want in the end is more commerce and more jobs, right? Supply-siders claim that the best place to stimulate that system is at the top. The problem is, that’s the furthest point from where the stimulus is needed. Instead, wealthy people will divert most of that wealth away from commerce and jobs, as explained above. That means that a small percent—just a trickle—goes from wealthy people to investment in commerce—where a percent of that wealth goes back up to the wealthy again—and thus a smaller percentage to jobs, and an even smaller percentage back into commerce.

Adding more money to the already large amount owned by the wealthy mostly just helps the wealthy, and by the time it gets to where it is needed, it’s too small an amount to do much good.

Instead, the stimulus needs to be plugged into the part of the cycle where it will have the biggest impact: people buying things. That is the true beginning of the cycle. Consumers have money and want to buy things, so businesses respond by creating jobs to produce the things people want.

Consumers with money drive economic growth the most directly and effectively.

If you give that tax cut to the working poor and middle class, they will inject almost all of it directly into the economy, buying goods and services. They will be far less likely to hoard it or direct it into derivatives. Instead, it will be spent in a way that directly and most effectively spurs job growth, tax revenue growth, and yes—even the growth of profits for rich people, who will have to actually work to get that money, as capitalism supposedly intended. Where tax breaks for rich people will result in only a tiny percentage creating jobs and commerce, tax breaks for workers results in most of that amount creating commerce and jobs. Far, far more effective.

The cycle always works best when more money is in the hands of working people. We saw this In the 40s and 50s when the top marginal tax rate for wealthy people was 90%, and the working class, strongly supported by powerful unions, had a great deal of disposable income. But now? Now, we have already run out of wealth for consumers to spend, and the cycle is mostly supported by what is left: debt spending. Not a sustainable solution.

What is needed is what we did from 1936 onward: tax wealthy people more, and, with the help of unions, put as much money as possible into the hands of workers. That’s the equation that will work.

Stimulus spendingDirect spending that puts more money in the hands of people at the lower end of the scale has been found to be far more effective at stimulating the economy. Food stamps, unemployment benefits, spending on infrastructure, and other programs to help the working poor have great stimulative value.

On the other hand, tax cuts for rich people and corporations are among the least stimulative actions you could take, and actually drain the economy.

It has been demonstrated again and again that the economy works by “profits-up,” not “trickle-down.”

If you want to create jobs, flood the lower and middle class with spending money. That’s where they money has the greatest positive impact. Trickle-down is like trying to eat well by giving a ravenous friend your dinner money and hoping that he brings you leftovers.

Arguments to the Contrary

Conservatives typically avoid arguing about how working class spending affects the economy because the answer is so obvious. Instead, they focus on the poor, starving rich people.

A popular argument is straight out of Ayn Rand: rich people are creators, they are the productive class. If you don’t give them tax cuts, and especially, if you dare to raise their taxes, they will decide that it just isn’t worth it, close up their businesses, putting workers out of a job, and the economy will fail.

This is presented as a serious idea, but once you consider it, it is so laughably absurd that it is amazing that anyone is actually trying to argue it.

One excellent example is Bill O’Reilly, who, on his show (in 2011, when it was still on), made this exact point. He used himself as an example. O’Reilly said that if Obama, who was president at the time, were to raise the marginal tax rate to 50%, O’Reilly would have seen that as too onerous, and would have quit his cushy, estimated $20 million-a-year job, laying off “scores” of workers. Why? Because O’Reilly having a take-home of $10 million instead of $12 million (if the top marginal rate were the real rate, which it is not) is just too little for him to sit on his ass all day and pontificate to crowds of adoring fans. What a hard life to lead. No, he would have rather fired dozens of people who depend on him rather than suffer with only $10 million a year, with a personal net worth of at least $50 million. Poor little rich man.

Not to mention the fact that business is a cutthroat environment absolutely brimming with people waiting in very long lines to compete. The moment one businessman closes up shop, a hundred more jump out to compete for the business left behind.

The conceit also assumes that the people controlling these companies are so uniquely talented that the next hundred would not be able to do nearly as good a job. Like, I suppose, Donald Trump, perhaps? No. While some have talents in marketing and management, these are not unique talents limited to the special few. There is more than enough talent out there.

In addition, the very idea that a businessman would close up shop with only fair profits instead of excessive profits is preposterous. People in business have to be able to weather the most severe storms, including intense competition, market downturns, and all the way up to bankruptcy and rebuilding. And yet the Randian theory suggests that all of these people are so weak and frail that a 10% tax hike would send them packing.

Any real business owner who shut down their business because of a tax hike would be mocked viciously as they were trampled by the stampede of other businesses clamoring to take their business under the higher tax rate. Profits are profits, you never turn one down.

Then there are the bogus statistics. Conservatives have two basic arguments why tax hikes on rich people won’t work. First, rich people don’t have enough money, and second, they pay too much in taxes already.

The first argument says that even if you taxed rich people at 100%, it would only produce enough revenue for running the government for a few months; there just isn’t enough money there to do the job.

The second argument is that rich people already have too high a burden. In this argument, they claim that the top 1% of income earners pay about 40 percent of all taxes into the federal government. So unfair! And let’s not mention that the top 1% own about 40% of the wealth, so a 40% rate is more than fair. No, let’s totally ignore that.

But wait. Those two claims by conservatives don’t add up. The average real tax rates (the actual percentage of earnings paid as taxes after all adjustments are made) for the top 1% is given as 25%. And if 25% of their income pays for 40% of all taxes collected, then 100% of their income should pay for 160% of all taxes. That would absolutely be more than enough to do the job for the whole year and then some.

The discrepancy between the two arguments proves that these people are playing fast and loose with the numbers; both arguments are full of lies.

Usually, individual conservatives don’t make both arguments; some make one, and some make the other. But few make both. Few, but not none. In 2011, Michele Bachmann shamelessly made both arguments in one three-week period. No one in the media called her out on it.

In fact, you should consider why rich people still work at all. I mean, if I had ten million dollars free and clear, I would fucking retire. I would buy a nice house and live well off my savings.

So, why do rich people keep working? I can see six reasons:

  1. They like money. there are variations on this, but it boils down to greed. No amount of money is enough. Give me more, more, more. It’s an obsession.
  2. They want to win. They want to be the best, or at least amongst the best. They want to have the biggest pile of toys, the most corporations, the biggest mansions, the greatest private jets and yachts. It’s a competition.
  3. They have a monetary goal. Once they hit certain figure or status, they consider their goals achieved, and then stop working—but will continue working until that happens.
  4. They have a non-monetary goal. Maybe they believe in the work they are doing, and money is just a means to that end. Maybe they hit their monetary goal way back when, but keep at it because they believe they can accomplish something that they consider important.
  5. They love their work. They love doing what they are doing, they are artists or professionals who believe in what they do, and love doing it more than anything else.
  6. Their identity is based upon working. They need to work, they have to do what they do; they would not know what to do with themselves if they ever stopped.

So, how would these people respond to higher tax rates?

  1. People who like money would still like money. They would actually work harder for it.
  2. People who want to win would still want to win, even if the prize were smaller.
  3. People who have a monetary goal would have to work longer and/or harder to achieve that goal. Yes, they would then quit, but they would have quit sooner if their taxes had been lower.
  4. People with non-monetary goals wouldn’t particularly notice, unless somehow the increased taxes made it impossible to reach their goals—and considering how exceptions are always made to encourage more business, it is safe to assume they’d be covered.
  5. People who love their work regardless of the money would still love their work and keep doing it.
  6. People whose identity is based on working would still work.

As you can see, with all of these groups, raising taxes would not stop any of them—and with some, it would actually spur them to work harder and longer.

And then there is one more reason that we knowing high taxes on rich people would work: because we did it and it worked.

At Davos in 2019, Michael Dell scoffed at the idea of a top marginal tax rate of 70%, retorting, “Name a country where that’s worked!”

Well, The United States of America, Mike. For 45 years, from 1936 to 1981. The fact is, the higher we taxed rich people, the better the economy was. High tax rates helped us win WWII, and helped create a supercharged middle class that created an economy that even conservatives refer to as a “golden era.” Clearly, we did not tax rich people out of existence.

As a result, we know for a fact that a top marginal rate of 70% will, in fact, work extremely well.

Oh, you know what else we had before the top tax rate was lowered below 70%?

We had unions. That is, a mechanism to fight for better pay and benefits for the working class, thus enabling more wealth in the hands of people who actually power the economy.

The point, I hope, has by now been made abundantly clear. Our economy is better off when we tax the rich more and the working class less.

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