(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
The president started his week with an attack on CNN that was almost an invitation to foreign governments to obstruct American journalists in doing their job, and coincided with Putin’s decision to have foreign journalists register as ‘foreign agents.’ Subsequently Trump produced an ethnic slur during a celebration of Navajo ‘code talkers,’ by once again referring to Senator Warren as ‘Pocahontas.’ Then he started the day on which there was supposed to be an urgent White House meeting between Republican and Democratic leadership about keeping the government funded with a tweet stating that ‘no deal’ could be made with ‘Chuck and Nancy,’ causing the Democrats to stay away and a government shutdown to become much more likely. Later in the week leaks from the White House revealed that Trump now believes that the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape, of which he had previously recognized the authenticity and for which he had apologized, was a forgery, and that he is also revisiting the idea that Obama was not born in the US. To cap it all off the president re-tweeted three anti-Muslim videos from a British fascist account.
When confronted with the origins of the videos Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that it didn’t matter if the content was true, but that the president had wanted to focus the attention on ‘the issues’ and tried to ‘elevate the debate.’ Those intentions escaped England’s prime minister, who publicly criticized Trump, and by that time some prominent journalists, based on contacts with White House staffers, started speculating that the president had entered a ‘pre-dementia’ stage. The cause of Trump’s mental confusion became clear when first it turned out that he had tried to derail the Senate investigation into Russian collusion and the next day it was announced that Michael Flynn had reached an agreement with Robert Mueller, and in exchange for a single indictment for lying to the FBI started cooperating with the Special Counsel. Considering that Flynn could have been indicted for far more serious crimes the information he will bring to the table must be of high value, and almost certainly pertains to instructions he received from either Trump or Jared Kushner to deal with the Russians on sanctions while Obama was still president.
And the week was supposed to end in such a glorious way. Republicans in the Senate were about to pass a tax bill that by 2027 will have families making between $40,000 and $50,000 annually pay $5.3 billion more in taxes, while those who make over $1 million will pay $5.8 billion less, and 13 million Americans will lose their healthcare. Trump called this a ‘beautiful Christmas gift’ for the middle class, denying that his family, which stands to make $1 billion, would benefit.
Because the bill was pushed through the Senate without due process it became only accidentally known that a ‘dynamic scoring’ analysis – the new term for ‘trickle down’ economics – which was supposed to show that the tax cuts would pay for themselves, was never made by the Treasury Department, in spite of promises by Secretary Mnuchin that go six months back.
Tax cuts have never paid for themselves, and as a result of the new legislation the national debt will increase with at least $1 trillion and probably more. When this becomes visible Republicans will start screaming that the debt is too high and demand cuts in Medicare and Social Security.