Monday, May 28, 2018

On Memorial Day

A very famous politician in Washington, D.C. has tweeted

Today we honor the Americans who sacrificed everything to secure the blessings of liberty. Family and friends to some, heroes to all - who lived, fought and died for the safety and future of a great and good nation. God bless them and grant them perpetual peace.

Unfortunately, that was not President Trump but rather Senator John McCain, who became a hero and lived to hear Donald Trump denigrate his sacrifice, and whose presidential ambitions were torpedoed by Hurricane Palin.  Instead, for Memorial Day we hear from the 45th President

Wishing a "happy" day may not be appropriate for an occasion in which we collectively honor individuals who have been killed. Chris Cillizza goes deeper, explaining Trump is the "me" President, not the "we" President, with a" tweet (which) seems reflective of a broader belief that has animated every moment of Trump's campaign and presidency: This is about him. Period."

But Trump's economic message may also hit a bad note because

As Americans head out for traditional Memorial Day weekend road trips, they’ll confront gas prices of nearly $3 a gallon, the highest since 2014 and a 25 percent spike since last year.

The increased cost of fuel is already wiping out a big chunk of the benefit Americans received from the GOP tax cuts. And things could get worse as summer approaches following the administration’s standoff with Iran and a move by oil-producing nations to tighten supplies.

The result: The economic and political benefits Trump and the GOP hoped to reap from cutting tax rates could be swamped by higher pump prices that Americans face every time they hit the road.

Oil prices and rise and fall, though the recent increase can be attributed to the President because of his decision to end the nuclear deal with Iran.  However, there are long-term fundamentals which spell trouble for the middle- and working classes instrumental in Trump's election victory. Axios reports that at a recent conference at the Dallas Fed

Troy Taylor, CEO of the Coke franchise for Florida, said he is currently adding employees with the idea of later reducing the staff over time "as we invest in automation." Those being hired: technically-skilled people. "It's highly technical just being a driver," he said.

The moderator asked the panel whether there would be broad-based wage gains again. "It's just not going to happen," Taylor said. The gains would go mostly to technically-skilled employees, he said. As for a general raise? "Absolutely not in my business," he said.
John Stephens, chief financial officer at AT&T, said 20% of the company's employees are call-center workers. He said he doesn't need that many. In addition, he added, "I don't need that many guys to install coaxial cables. In the past year, the response of many Republicans, asked about Trump's boorish and dangerous statements and actions, has been "but the economy..." 

In the past year, the response of many Republicans, asked about Trump's repulsive and dangerous statements and actions, has been "but the economy..."

Democrats running for office need an answer to that, an answer that goes beyond collusion, cronyism, and corruption.  If Democrats look carefully, it should become clear that Donald Trump's Memorial Day message may turn out to be more than narcissistic and unpatriotic.

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