Opinion: A Full View of the Economy Reveals Trump’s Betrayal of Americans

Polling indicates that Americans still give Donald Trump an edge over Joe Biden when it comes to their faith in either candidate to manage the economy.

While it’s true that, according to a late-August Reuters/Ipsos poll, Trump’s approval rating on the economy has dipped 14% since March, putting him in negative territory with 47% approving and 48% disapproving of his management of the economy, voters nonetheless see Trump as a better bet when it comes to serving their economic interests—despite the fact that the same poll revealed that 58% of respondents believed the economy was on the wrong track. read more

Barack Obama Subtly Criticizes Trump and Calls on Voters to ‘Demand Better’ in 2020 Elections

Former President Barack Obama appeared to criticize President Donald Trump’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak on Tuesday. Obama tweeted about the pandemic without mentioning Trump by name.

The former president shared a Los Angeles Times article about clean air rules. The Trump administration is rolling back environmental regulations that Obama introduced.

The rules required automakers to manufacture more fuel-efficient vehicles.

“We’ve seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic,” Obama wrote.

We've seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic. We can't afford any more consequences of climate denial. All of us, especially young people, have to demand better of our government at every level and vote this fall. https://t.co/K8Ucu7iVDK read more

Opinion: Fuller Picture Shows Trump’s Policies are Devastating to Americans’ Economic Well-Being

 

In response to news that the economy created 266,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate dipped to 50-year lows, CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza rehashed the tired but nonetheless damaging and deceptive narrative that “the economy” is indeed strong, providing Trump a clear path to re-election if only he were politically deft and disciplined enough to stay on it.  Cillizza suggests he isn’t and that it is precisely his inability to stay on point about the success of the economy that threatens his 2020 re-election bid.

We have heard this narrative again and again.

What is damaging and deceptive in this narrative is the premise. The assertion that the economy is strong is, if not entirely wrong or untruthful, problematic and distorted.  As I’ve written elsewhere in PoliticusUsa, democrats would be wise not to concede this premise and, in fact, to make Americans’ economic well-being a central issue in 2020.

“The economy” is not the same thing as people’s economic life and livelihood.

As Steven Horwitz, Distinguished Professor of Free Enterprise at Ball State University, reminds us, “The economy isn’t a thing.” He explains, “Things are not ‘good/bad for the economy.’ They are good or bad for the people . . . Trump’s policies may well enrich many firms, but they will impoverish the average American.”

When we paint a fuller, more detailed, and indubitably more accurate picture of the economy, we can see very clearly the way Trump’s policies on healthcare, education, the environment, taxes tariffs, food stamps, and more, have inflicted and promise to inflict more pain on Americans’ pocketbooks and lives.

One place to start in providing a more accurate view of Trump’s handling of the economy is with the deficit.

Reports indicated that in October the federal government’s budget deficit ballooned 34% from a year earlier to $134.5 billion, projecting that the annual deficit will top $1 trillion for the first time in eight years.

Hmmm. If the economy is booming, shouldn’t the federal government’s coffers be filling up and not depleting?

We can certainly understand how in a time of recession the government would need to provide economic stimulus and thus run a deficit, but when the economy is supposedly experiencing record performance?

When Trump slashed corporate tax rates from 35 to 21 percent, we were told, as usual, that these tax cuts would pay for themselves, create an economy that enriches us all.

But deficits actually take money from Americans. How? Well, first, more of our tax dollars are diverted from paying for services and infrastructure (education, healthcare, roads, etc.) we all use and need, to simply paying interest for which we receive nothing in return.

The American people, then, thus receive less for each tax dollar. Our tax dollars are going to enrich corporations and the wealthy rather than pay for the services and infrastructure we are used to receiving for those same dollars.  It’s like going to the grocery store and having the cashier take your milk and bread, which you can typically afford with your budget, when you check out.

Consider that Trump’s proposed 2020 budget called for significant cuts to education and services, even though we know, for example, that investing in education promises to serve the health of the economy overall as well as helping individuals increase their earnings over the course of their lives, thus also creating more tax revenue. In short, these cuts are harmful to ordinary citizens as well as the overall health of the economy.

And the ballooning deficit resulting from the Trump tax-cuts, for example, cultivated a fertile context for Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to loudly renew their insistence that cuts to Medicare and Social Security are necessary to address the out-of-control deficit their own policies immediately exacerbated. Far from benefiting Americans, these tax cuts, which were supposedly to trickle down, just keep cutting Americans and increasing economic precarity, not prosperity. How about we measure that?

And while we need to support farmers for our national and individual well-being, the reason taxpayers are contributing $28 billion to bail them out is precisely because of Trump’s failing trade war with China and the tariffs he has levied.

Again, this is $28 billion dollars effectively taken out of Americans’ pockets for which they receive nothing in the return. In fact, they will lose more, as these payouts lead to cuts elsewhere as well as rising deficits.  Now that cashier just took your bag of apples as well.

And consider healthcare.   Last year a federal judge in Texas threatened millions of Americans’ healthcare, declaring the entirety of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. The Trump administration effectively supported the suit, doing nothing to support or defend the federal law.  As of yet, despite promises, Texas legislators have done nothing to develop a replacement should the Affordable Care Act disappear in Texas.

Healthcare is an economic issue for Americans.  Is Trump doing anything to improve their financial well-being through healthcare policy? No, he is only undermining people’s ability to secure affordable and quality healthcare, hugely impacting Americans’ lives.

And consider the costs of his hostility to addressing climate change in meaningful ways.

Trump’s own  scientists issued a report on climate change in November 2018, focusing on its environmental and economic impacts, highlighting the need for urgent short-term action to ensure our long-term survival. Among many alarm bells, the report warns,

“Extreme weather and climate-related impacts on one system can result in increased risks or failures in other critical systems, including water resources, food production and distribution, energy and transportation, public health, international trade, and national security.” read more

Trump’s Refusal to Dream Devastating to U.S. Economy, Environment

President Donald Trump, in comments made at the recent G-7 summit in France, positioned himself as the protector of United States’ wealth, justifying his refusal to address, much less believe in, climate change on grounds that investing in green energy production would damage the nation’s economic standing.

The U.S. has “tremendous wealth,” Trump told reporters. “I’m not going to lose that wealth. I’m not going to lose it on dreams and windmills, which, frankly, aren’t working that well.”

A reality check is necessary here on a couple of counts.

First, green energy production is not a dream, but a substantial reality in nations around the globe, including China, Denmark, and Germany, and, yes, the U.S.

Second, windmills, actually, seem to be working quite well in the U.S. and around the globe.

Just take Iowa as an example. Trump might think about Iowa as a “Field of Dreams,” but the state is actually a field of renewable energy production reality.  While states such as New York and California have passed aspirational legislation requiring their states to achieve 50 percent renewable energy use by 2030, and Hawaii has aggressively legislated that utilities must get 100 percent from their electricity from renewable sources by 2045, Iowa has been a trailblazer in creating this reality, generating 40 percent of its energy from renewable sources.

And, according to the United States Energy Information Administration, “One-third of Iowa’s net electricity generation comes from wind, the second-largest share of any state.”

From wind!

And Iowa’s continuing infrastructure investments in windmills promise to lift that level of energy production from wind to 40 percent by the end of 2019.  In 2008, only four percent of the state’s electricity generation was sourced by wind.

Additionally, farmers are eager to install wind turbines alongside their corn and garner additional income.

Denmark offers another example of the environmental and economic successes of windmills. The nation generates a whopping 42 percent of its electricity from wind, and the wind energy industry is a billion-dollar industry in Denmark and an export success, whether it be through wind farms, turbine production, or off-shore installation.

And other countries, including the U.S.’s top competitors, are keenly aware that the greening of a nation’s economy, represented in Trump’s phrase “dreams and windmills,” does not result in a loss of wealth but is in fact essential to nation’s ability to maintain and grow wealth and remain economically competitive in the global arena.

Germany, a nation that already generates 41% of its energy from renewable sources, recently announced a plan, expected to be adopted by the government, to shut down all 84 of its coal-fired power plants by 2038 in order to meets international commitments to address climate change. This plan came on the heels of a previous decision, made after Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster, to shut down all its nuclear power plants by 2022 (12 of 19 have already been shut down).

Germany also introduced the world’s first zero-emission passenger train to be powered by hydrogen.

Similarly, China has invested heavily in electric buses, and is positioned as a global leader.  They have deployed a fleet of

421,000 electric buses. read more

Opinion: Trump Screams at Shadows as the G7 Acts To Save the Rain Forest from Conspiratorial Ignorance

During the G7 summit, we saw Trump figuratively screaming at shadows while the responsible countries decided on a plan to save the Amazon rain forest.

The world laughs at America as the madman occupying the White House continues to spout insane conspiracy theories and obsesses over getting Putin readmitted to the G7.

It’s ironic that Trump of all people would criticize the G7 host, French President Macron, of focusing on “niche issues.”

The planet’s future rests in the power of a man who thinks hurricanes should be nuked.

As Axios recounts, Trump once ejaculated:

“I got it. I got it. Why don’t we nuke them?” according to one source who was there. “They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they’re moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane and it disrupts it. Why can’t we do that?” read more

Democrats Must Resist Recession Narrative and Critique Narrative of Trump’s Economic Success

This week’s stock market antics and the occurrence of an inverted yield curve have provided compelling evidence portending another economic recession.

These economic indicators, in addition to spurring stock sell-offs and turbulent market volatility, also sparked a firestorm of debate and commentary regarding how a potential recession would impact Trump’s 2020 re-election bid.

The word on the street, from such sources as The Washington Post and ABC News, is that Trump himself and his administration are fretting over the prospect of a recession and the threat it poses to his re-election, banking on a strong economy as their key platform.

And the media pundits, of course, are out in full force, prematurely anticipating a recession and signaling the doom of Trump’s 2020 bid.

The narrative born from this past week’s hubbub is not just that a recession will hurt Trump but also, implicitly, that if a recession is avoided, Trump will be in a position to base his re-election bid on the performance of the economy and his handling of it, as if this economy has in fact been a success in terms of making the majority of Americans’ lives better.

As I’ve written about repeatedly in the pages of PoliticusUsa (here and here and here, for example), Trump’s policies have inflicted severe damage on the economy and, by extension, the lives of many Americans.

That the media continues to buy into the narrative of a successful Trump economy thus far, even if it is threatened by recession, paints an erroneous picture that is politically dangerous for Democrats and which they must resist.

Instead of criticizing the Trump economy for the potential failures looming on the horizon, which may in fact never come to pass, Democrats would be better served to highlight and explain how this current economy, touted by Trump as a seeming success, has in fact failed masses of Americans.

Here are just a few talking points:

*Take his tax cuts, which we know benefited the wealthy and did not trickle down, despite Trump’s promises that companies would invest in workers and not cut jobs. Companies like AT&T, Wells Fargo, and General Motors lobbied for them, promising to re-invest their tax savings in their workers and companies to the benefit off the nation as a whole. And yet all of these companies have engaged in massive layoffs or plant closings. AT&T has eliminated over 23,000 jobs since the tax cuts went into effect, despite receiving a $21 billion windfall from the tax cuts with the prospect of cashing in an additional $3 billion annually in tax savings. In November 2018, GM announced it would be closing five plants, eliminating 14,000 jobs in communities across Ohio, Maryland, Michigan, and Ontario, Canada, while buying back $10 billion in stock and earning a net profit of $8 billion on which the company paid no federal tax. Wells Fargo did raise the minimum wage of its employees, though the tax savings for the company were 47 times larger than the cost of that pay raise to the company; and the company announced its plans in September 2018 to eliminate 26,000 jobs, at the same time that it has raised health insurance costs for its employees.

*And what about healthcare, a huge economic issue for Americans? Has Trump created policies to secure affordable healthcare for Americans?

Since Trump took office, according to the Congressional Budget Office, over one million Americans have lost health insurance. Additionally, a recent study from the American Cancer Society reveals that 56% of American adults, about 137 million, have experienced serious financial struggle, even if insured, because of high deductibles and otherwise skyrocketing healthcare costs.

The Commonwealth Fund reports that 44 million people are under-insured, which means they often forego necessary care because of costs.

What is the Trump administration to address this major economic hurdle to health and well-being for millions of Americans?

Well, last May 1 while Congress held hearings exploring the possibilities of Medicare For All, the Department of Justice, under the direction of embattled Attorney General William Barr, was busy in court suing to abolish the Affordable Care Act in its totality. If Barr and Trump prevail in this suit, millions of Americans will lose the health insurance they currently have, including 52 million who have pre-existing conditions. Trump and Republicans have presented no alternative healthcare plan, despite promises.

*And what about those tariffs that are supposed to benefit the American economy and bring prosperity?

Trump’s tariffs are devastating American farmers. The trade wars Trump has instigated has not only led to the

lowest incomes American farmers read more

Cooked: Survival by Zip Code Re-Defines Poverty, Racism, and Climate Change as Disasters

Trump’s controversial tweet about sending the squad of four— Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar—back to where they came from has certainly captured the media’s attention the past week, recycling seemingly endless and pointless debate about whether or not Trump is a racist

Don’t we have bigger issues of racism to address other than adjudicating if Trump is racist?

In the midst of Trump’s latest intentionally self-inspired ruckus, I viewed the documentary Cooked: Survival by Zip Code, a co-production between Kartemquin Films and Judith Helfand Productions produced by Fennell Doremus,in its Chicago premiere as it makes it ways across the nation.

While it might be ironic to say the film offers a breath of fresh air in this political climate, given the film in part treats a deadly heat wave that struck Chicago in the summer of 1995, Cooked: Survival by Zip Code, directed by Judith Helfand, does in fact offer fresh and vital perspectives for understanding and addressing racism, poverty, and climate change, doing so by asking us to re-think how we define, respond to, and seek to prevent disasters in our nation.

Helfand’s brilliance in Cooked: Survival by Zip Code is precisely the way she shifts and re-orients our entire social mentality and approach to thinking about racism, poverty, and disaster. She asks us to think about and re-define racism and poverty as, indeed, disasters.

The film argues that if we devoted as much political will as well as social energy and resources to addressing poverty and racism as we do to preparing for so-called “natural” disasters, those disasters would inflict much less devastation on human lives and, more importantly, the quality of human life and the humanity of our culture overall would be exponentially increased for the better. Indeed, we could effectively eliminate poverty and racial disparities, if not racism itself, through more socially conscious, thoughtful, and intentional use of resources.

Opening with Helfand’s personal and family experiences preparing for Hurricane Sandy, underscoring the financial resources individuals require to prepare for a natural disaster, the film moves quickly into the heat wave that struck Chicago in the summer of 1995, accounting for deaths of 739 residents.

Her representation of the disaster and city’s response puts in stark relief the film’s perspective, provoking us to re-think conventional, yet deeply embedded, ways of thinking about death and disaster.

At one point, we see Mayor Richard Daley speaking at press briefing on the heat wave, and we hear him give an update on the number of “nonviolent” deaths resulting from the heat.

Helfand, of course, pressures this characterization of these deaths as “nonviolent,” as the film demonstrates that many of these deaths weren’t so much the result of heat but of poverty and racism; and Helfand moves us to understand poverty and the effects of racism as preventable forms of violence. (On leaving the theater, I was able to pick up a postcard to send to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, asking her to declare a racism a disaster; declaring an event or phenomenon a disaster can qualify a city to receive funding to address the damage done.)

The film expands its scope to provide detailed analyses of the city’s poorer neighborhoods, particularly those inhabited by people of color, to highlight the racial disparities at work in the city. We see neighborhoods that have little access to healthy food (sometimes called “food deserts”) or healthcare, or that don’t receive the same upkeep and services from the city such that they become havens for crime and unsafe. We learn about the racist effects of redlining that prevented African Americans from owning and keeping up homes to create stable neighborhoods.  The lack of safety in neighborhoods prevented people from opening windows and going outside during the heat wave, and the lack of an overall healthy environment weakens a body’s ability to withstand the impact of intense heat.

In contrast to these representations of poverty and racial disparities, Helfand documents how resources are used to respond to and prepare for disasters. For example, in one scene she depicts how Chicago had to rent several enormous refrigerated trucks to store all the corpses during the heat wave, while the living received little help from the city to cope with the heat, highlighting the ridiculously inhumane and racist devaluation of life, particularly Black lives, evident in the way social resources are allocated. This point is compounded in a later moment when Helfand attends an event celebrating a nearby city’s receipt of a grant to prepare for such future disaster.  She provides images of enormous vehicles that cost millions of dollars, including vehicles to refrigerate corpses (that one person interviewed calls “victim containment units”), underscoring the illogical use of resources to deal with the effects of a disaster rather than address the present disaster of poverty and racism.

Indeed, in one scene, we learn that Chicago received a $250,000 grant to deal with tornado relief, even though over the past six decades the Chicago area averages one death per year due to tornadoes (30 years ago a tornado hit a southwest suburb causing 60 deaths). The film compares this number to the 3200 African America women who die of breast cancer in this region annually, highlighting the horror of our priorities and, again, the inefficient and inhumane allocation of resources.

She also highlights the millions of dollars the government spends to prepare for a Midwestern earthquake along the New Madrid fault line extending from Illinois, though Kentucky and southward.

Throughout, Helfand attends conventions for the burgeoning disaster-preparedness industry. As she asks people if they’ve ever thought about poverty as a disaster, we see that people just haven’t thought about it, largely because our cultural narratives condition us to blame individuals for poverty, not larger structural or systemic processes.

Cooked: Survival by Zip Code urges us to rethink poverty, to re-define disaster, and to explore—and insist on—allocating resources to support all lives, to challenge racism and its effects, and really deal with these everyday disasters we have not had the mentality to yet define and address as disasters.

 

 

Trump’s Economic and Environmental Policy: In the short term, we’re all dead

British economist John Maynard Keynes famously wrote in 1923, in a tract on monetary policy, “In the long run, we’re all dead.”

Economists have debated the significance of this wry theoretical phrase. Some have critiqued him, along with other economists who sought to moderate the austerity policies of governments during times of intense economic retraction, as not caring about the future or future generations. They accuse Keynes of being willing for short term benefit to enact policies that would damage the economy in the longer term, leaving ruinously burdensome debt, for example, that would debilitate the future economy for following generations. One critic even went so far as to suggest that because Keynes was gay and didn’t have children, he simply didn’t care about the future and could afford to adopt a recklessly short-termist approach to the economy.

Putting aside the fact that it’s laughable for capitalist economists to accuse anyone else of dangerously short-term thinking, as I’ll discuss below, I take Keynes to mean by this historically lightning-rod statement that, simply put, an economy is successful only if it serves the needs of those living within it.

In other words, we might understand his position as propounding that people don’t exist for the economy but rather the economy exists for people. If now and then, as has been an historical inevitability with capitalism, the economy experiences a sharp downturn, a whole generation can actually be sacrificed, subject to a life of austerity, waiting for the indifferent market to correct and revitalize. Keynes didn’t cotton to such thinking.

What is the point of sustaining an economic system that doesn’t meet people’s needs but offers, indeed ensures, them suffering?

Keynes’ enduring quotation has been in my mind lately because Trump has stubbornly persisted in his strategy of imposing tariffs on China, despite the damage his actions have inflicted on American lives, insisting in the long term this trade war will reap benefits for the American economy.

The short term negative impacts on the lives of those living in the United States has been devastating. Farmers’ incomes are the lowest in generations, and bankruptcies among farmers are hitting record highs. In economic terms, they are dying.

And, frankly, for the soybean farmers dying in the short term, even if they survive for the long term—a survival that is severely in doubt—the long term promises no relief. Indeed, what these farmers anxiously presage is that the relationships they have carefully cultivated in Chinese markets are permanently ruined beyond repair.

But it’s not only in this area of the economy that we see Trump inflicting death in the short term such that the long term does not even matter. Trump’s version of Keynes’ precept might aptly be written thusly: “In the short term, I’m doing all I can to kill you so you don’t have to worry about the long term.” Not pithy, I know, but I think it captures Trump’s character and practice.

Take one of his recent actions with regard to environmental policy. Last February Trump signed a resolution to repeal an Obama-era regulation known as the “stream protection rule,” which mandated strict guidelines for coal mines dumping their waste to ensure that in fact they were not polluting water sources and poisoning streams. Study after study highlights the deleterious and even deadly impact on people’s health coal companies’ dumping practices had caused in destroying 2,000 miles of streams.

Nonetheless, even in the wake of former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s authoritarian policies that led to the poisoning of Flint’s water supplies, Trump and the Republicans had no problem reversing policy put in place to protect and preserve human life in a most basic way, by ensuring clean and safe water. They had no problem creating conditions that threaten and undermine human life to serve coal companies and, supposedly, to save jobs and help the economy. Again, in the short term, people will die or have their health severely compromised before the long term arrives, and the very conditions that make human life possible are allowed to be severely compromised.

Of course, Trump’s own government scientists issued a report on climate change last November, focusing on both its environmental and economic impacts, highlighting the need for urgent short-term action to ensure our long-term survival. Among many alarm bells sounded, the report warns,

“Extreme weather and climate-related impacts on one system can result in increased risks or failures in other critical systems, including water resources, food production and distribution, energy and transportation, public health, international trade, and national security.” read more

Inslee Enters 2020 Race, Will Focus on Climate Change

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday he’s running for president, saying he will emphasize attempts to combat climate change during his bid for the Democratic nomination.

“I’m Jay Inslee and I’m running for president because I’m the only candidate who will make defeating climate change our nation’s Number 1 priority, ” the 68-year-old governor said in a video announcing his candidacy.

“We’re the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we’re the last that can do something about it. Our country’s next mission must be to rise up to the most urgent challenge of our time: defeating climate change.”

A book Inslee wrote on the topic some 10 years ago, “Apollo’s Fire, ” argued for a clean energy program on the scale of President John F. Kennedy’s moon shot. He’s still pushing that message.

In the video released Friday, Inslee said combating climate change would create job growth.

“We have an opportunity to transform our economy, run on 100 percent clean energy,” he said. “That will bring millions of jobs to every community across America, and create a more just future for everyone.”

VIDEO: This is our moment, our climate, our mission — together, we can defeat climate change. That’s why I’m running for president. Join #OurClimateMoment today https://jayinslee.com/join

VIDEO: This is our moment, our climate, our mission — together, we can defeat climate change. That's why I'm running for president. Join #OurClimateMoment today https://t.co/zg8ILGyk0Z pic.twitter.com/pUZVxyzfc5 read more

Lack of Action on Climate Change Will Lead to a Massive Financial Crash

The world’s largest investors, who manage over $32 trillion in financial assets, joined together to issue a strong warning to governments at the U.N. climate summit on Monday.

Without huge reductions in carbon emissions, and the phasing out of all coal burning, the world faces a financial crash several times worse than the 2008 crisis, they said.

The joint statement from investors representing the world’s biggest investment funds was noteworthy. It is the first time so many major investors had joined together to express their fears — and their demands — to governments of the world.

Their solution is simple —  they say fossil fuel subsidies must end and substantial taxes on carbon be introduced. But getting agreement to implement their solution will be difficult.

And their role is important, because the most important aspect of fighting global warming is providing the investment capital needed to finance alternative energy sources.

The U.N. climate summit is being held in Katowice, Poland. This week will center on negotiations to make real the vision of the Paris climate agreement. And financing the fight for global warming is a key area of dispute.

“The long-term nature of the challenge has, in our view, met a zombie-like response by many,” said Chris Newton, of IFM Investors, one of the 415 groups that signed the Global Investor Statement. “This is a recipe for disaster as the impacts of climate change can be sudden, severe and catastrophic.”

The group of investment firms said there could be $23 trillion of global economic losses a year in the long term without rapid action. The impact of this would be four times the size of the 2008 global financial crisis.

The group also said that taking action immediately is critical. “Climate change has already started to alter the functioning of our world,” they said.

Thomas DiNapoli, of the New York State Retirement Fund, said taking action on global warming would boost jobs and economic growth. “The low-carbon economy presents numerous opportunities and investors who ignore the changing world do so at their own peril,” he said.

Nicholas Stern, of the London School of Economics added:

“The low-carbon economy is the growth story of the 21st century and it is inclusive growth. Trump’s suggestion that action on climate change is a jobs killer is dead wrong. You don’t create jobs for the 21st century by trying to whistle up jobs from the 19th century.” read more

Schumer: Any Infrastructure Deal Must Address Climate Change

If there is going to be an infrastructure “new deal” in the U.S. Congress it is going to have to be a green one. Already newly-elected Democrats are proposing the idea of a “Green New Deal” as one of the top priorities for the new Congress after it convenes in January.

And now, in an opinion piece in the Washington Post, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, has sent a message to the White House: there will be no infrastructure deal in Congress that does not address climate change.

And addressing climate change is a very popular idea, both among the American people and within the scientific community. The new leading spokeswoman for progressives is Alexendria Ocasio-Cortez from New York. She has started a “Green New Deal” caucus in the House even though she won’t be seated until January.

To support her position she tweeted:

“A Green New Deal will actually help the economy by stimulating productivity, job growth and consumer spending.” Former Chief Economist for the Senate, @StephanieKelton

“A Green New Deal will actually help the economy by stimulating productivity, job growth and consumer spending.”

– Former Chief Economist for the Senate, @StephanieKelton https://t.co/ovV82AxnoL read more

Poll Finds Over Two Thirds of American Voters Fear Climate Change

Two weeks ago a government report was published saying that climate change will cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century. The report said that new weather patterns “will damage everything from human health to infrastructure and agricultural production.”

Donald Trump, of course, ignored the report, and former vice president Al Gore called out the president for trying to bury the report by releasing it the day after Thanksgiving.

Finally last week Trump did comment on the report, saying “I don’t believe it.”

But most Americans do believe the dire government report, predicting a major crisis if we don’t take steps right now to combat climate change. A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll published today found that nearly 70 percent of American voters are either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about the findings of the report.

In addition, another 58 percent of American voters believe that that climate change is caused by human activity, which was also the conclusion of the government report.

Increasingly it appears that “climate change deniers” are in the minority in America, although they are in the majority within the Republican Party.

This year the raging

wildfires in California read more

Trump on Climate Change Report: ‘I don’t believe it’

President Trump yesterday said that he doesn’t believe the findings of a major climate report released by his administration last week. The report predicted dire consequences for the United States if it doesn’t take drastic steps very soon to deal with the negative impacts of climate change.

“Yeah, I don’t believe it,” Trump responded when asked about the climate report by members of the press. As he was leaving the White House to go to Mississippi to campaign for Sen. Cindy Hyde Smith he said that he is not concerned about the predictions of economic devastation from climate change..

“I’ve seen it, I’ve read some of it, and it’s fine,” Trump said of the shocking report which came out on Friday.

What was released was the fourth National Climate Assessment from the multi-agency Global Change Research Program of the federal government. The program was set up by Congress several years ago and requires an annual climate assessment.

Critics charged that Trump was trying to bury the findings by releasing the report on “Black Friday” when most Americans are not paying attention to the news.

In fact former Vice President Al Gore harshly criticized Trump for trying to bury the report by releasing it the day after Thanksgiving. He tweeted a statement with his reaction:

Hundreds of highly respected scientists involved in the research concluded that climate change would likely cost the United States billions of dollars annually in the near future if greenhouse gases aren’t dramatically reduced.

“Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century,” the report found.

The report’s conclusions agree with the scientific community’s consensus on climate change. They are nearly unanimous in their assessment that human activity, via greenhouse gas emissions, is the chief cause of global warming and its impacts.

Trump has always been a climate change “denier” and has always cast doubt on the scientists’ conclusions on climate change.

In one particularly stupid tweet in 2012 he wrote:

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive. read more

Gov. Brown Says Fires Will Make the Worst Climate Skeptics Into Believers

Jerry Brown says the deadly California wildfires will convert all climate change skeptics into climate change believers within five years.

Brown is the Democratic California Governor and he said Sunday morning that he believes the science surrounding the deadly wildfires will become so evident that skeptics will no longer be able to avoid the truth of the devastating impacts of climate change.

“The last five years, the fires have never been this bad. This fire in Malibu is the worst they’ve ever seen. This fire in- in Paradise and Northern California was the worst in the history of California,” Brown said on “Face the Nation” on CBS.

“So yeah, you can mull the science, but I’ll tell you every year it’s going to get clearer and clearer so that I think in less than five years, even the worst skeptics are going to be believers,” he added.

Brown said he talked about the scientific evidence during his visit with President Trump on Saturday. He said there is plenty of documentation that climate change has worsened wildfires in California over the last 15 years. He also said that he didn’t discuss the issue in great detail because he wants and need cooperation from the federal government in several different areas.

“We need the money, we need federal help and we need a collaborative and cooperative spirit and we’re getting that,” Brown said. “But I did say that we’re going to look at all the elements that are causing these fires over time and we’re going to work in a way to let science be our guide and the president in no way negated that.”

“So I decided to go for an opening and I think over the next months and years you’ll see the science becoming crystal clear and even the folks in Washington that are now more in the denialist camp are going to come around,” Brown added.

The Los Angeles Times reported that 76 people have died from the Camp Fire raging in Northern California, making it the deadliest in the state‘s history. An additional 1,276 people are missing.

In recent weeks there have been several fires in different parts of the state have burned thousands of buildings and devastated hundreds of thousands of acres of land.

President Trump visited California on Saturday, touring fire-ravaged areas and meeting with victims of the fires. It was the president’s second trip to California since he took office.

Trump received widespread criticism last week when he blamed poor forest management for making the fire worse, an opinion which he has repeated several times since then. He initially threatened to cut off federal funding to the state because of poor fire “management.”

Since then he has backtracked somewhat and is being more cooperative. He signed an emergency declaration and appeared in public with Brown and governor-elect Gavin Newsom.

In a “Fox News Sunday” interview Trump acknowledged that climate change may contribute “a little bit” to the fires, but still insisted that forest management plays a larger role. He also said that in Finland they don’t have forest fires because the people their rake their forests, and suggested people in California do the same thing.

“Trump: Not raking weeds contributing to fires In an interview with Fox News, President Donald Trump suggests poor land management is more to blame for raging wildfires in California than climate change.”

Trump: Not raking weeds contributing to fires In an interview with Fox News, President Donald Trump suggests poor land management is more to blame for raging wildfires in California than climate change. https://t.co/wQwIYoKRYn #Video #USRC pic.twitter.com/wjKNNb0Pdp read more