Okay, friends, I am having a case of snark overload tonight so hold on to your hats.
He can’t do that … except he did it anyway
“Our Constitution doesn’t authorize the president to act as king whenever Congress doesn’t legislate.” – U.S. Representative Justin Amash
When Congress was unable to resolve their trillion-dollar differences over a pandemic relief bill before the weekend break, Donald Trump decided to take matters into his own hands, bypass Congress, and dictate law via executive order and “presidential” memorandums. For the record, he does not have the constitutional right to do this. Period. And what he has done will no doubt be challenged in the courts first thing Monday morning. However, lest you think he was attempting to do something good for the people of this nation, think again. Let’s look at just one of the four elements of his dictums.
He would cut payroll taxes through the end of the year. And he proclaimed that if he is re-elected, he will make the payroll tax cut permanent. This move fails … fails miserably … to help any but the wealthy. Payroll taxes are paid by the employee and matched by the employer. HOW, then, does this help the unemployed??? Hint: it cannot and does not. Now, if you’re the average worker, this might actually save you $5-$6 per week, but it will save your employer hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a year. But more importantly … understand what those payroll taxes fund … they fund Social Security and Medicare! So, you save a few bucks a week, and when you retire in a few years, perhaps you’ll get enough in Social Security to buy a loaf of bread and a bag of dried beans each month!
Trump has long wanted to cut Social Security and Medicare but was stymied in his efforts. So, he obviously sees the deadlock in Congress as his opening to do the dirty deed and make it appear that he is helping people in this time of crisis. For the record, when Trump demanded this payroll tax cut be included in the relief bill, both democrats and republicans rejected the notion. Finally, something both parties could agree on!
The real tragedy here is that so many have failed to educate themselves or to listen to the experts, to pay attention to the facts, that they are likely to fall hook, line, and sinker for Trump’s spin on this. Once again, his ‘policies’, if they can be called such, will hurt the average person, help only the wealthy, and yet his base will praise him for helping them.
None of the dictums he signed are likely to fly, however his base will give him kudos for trying, and his wealthy donors will cheer in hopes of seeing their own fortunes grow even more. That was all he really wanted anyway … something to bring his sagging poll numbers up. If he cared one whit about the people of this country, he would not have run for president in the first place.
Friday night massacre …
“America is in a dead sprint to authoritarianism. The man is pulling out all the stops to prevent the citizens of this country from holding a legitimate election in which he might face removal from office.” – Walter Shaub, former head of the Office of Government Ethics
I recently wrote about Louis DeJoy, Trump’s recent appointee to the position of Postmaster General, who has begun the destruction from within of the United States Postal Service. On Friday night, DeJoy took another step, firing or ‘reassigning’ some 23 postal executives and a number of other staffers within the USPS in what has been dubbed a ‘Friday night massacre’.
Earlier on Friday, more than 80 members of Congress sent a letter to DeJoy expressing “deep concerns” about operational changes he has made for mail carriers that have delayed deliveries and lowered standards. And now, he has effectively expelled the very people who had experience within the USPS, centralizing power around himself … a man with zero experience within the postal service and whose only qualification for the position was the major donations he has contributed to both Donald Trump and the GOP. The letter reads, in part …
“It is vital that the US Postal Service not reduce mail delivery times, which could harm rural communities, seniors, small businesses, and millions of Americans who rely on the mail for critical letters and packages. Eliminating overtime and directing postal workers to leave mail on the floor of postal facilities will erode confidence in the Postal Service and drive customers away, resulting in even worse financial conditions in the future.”
The United States postal service has never been more critical than it is today, for a number of reasons. In this time of a major pandemic where more than a thousand people are dying every single day, many of us rely on the USPS for timely delivery of life-saving medications. Twice in the past month I have experienced serious delays in receiving such medications. And of equal importance, due to the pandemic, a large portion of the people in this nation plan to rely on voting by mail in November’s election, which means we must be able to trust the USPS to do its job in an efficient and timely manner. The way things are right now, it wouldn’t surprise me if Mr. DeJoy announced on October 25th that the USPS would be taking a ten-day break, shutting down completely until after the election. “Not possible,” you say? Really? Think about that one for a bit … how many things were unthinkable 4 years ago that have since come to pass?
I have still more, but I will save it for this afternoon’s post. Until then …