I was out driving in Chicago the other day, and as I stopped for a red light near the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Pulaski Road, I found myself idling in front of the Admiral Theater. It’s a strip club.
Conservative legal scholar Alan Dershowitz has written a bizarre op-ed warning Republicans not to cancel the November elections. The former Harvard professor says doing so could result in a Bernie Sanders presidency.
Dershowitz published the comment piece in The Hill newspaper on Thursday amid some speculation about the 2020 elections. He argues that cancelling the elections would be bad for the GOP and therefore won’t happen.
“What does the Constitution provide in the event that an emergency precludes an election before the end of a president’s term?” he asks.
“It has never happened before, and it probably won’t happen this year,” Dershowitz writes, before diving into the hypothetical.
Dershowitz imagines a scenario where the presidential and congressional elections don’t happen and one third of senate seats go unfilled.
“Unlike when a president is impeached or dies, there is no clear succession plan in place for a situation in which there has been no voting.”
“But there would be no House speaker if there were no election, because there would be no House, all of whose members would be up for election in November,” he writes.
“The terms of all members of the House would end, according to the Constitution, on January 3.”
Dershowitz, who has been a staunch defender of President Donald Trump, goes on to suggest that the remaining two thirds of senators would then be able to choose the president by appointing the president pro tem.
He warns that a Democratic senate majority could choose anyone to fulfill that role – “even Bernie Sanders.”
“This prospect undoubtedly is frightening enough to Republicans to assure that they will do everything in their power not to cancel the 2020 election.”
As experts have already pointed out,
there is no provision for cancelling constitutionally mandated federal elections
Celebrants of the recent tax bill have claimed, echoing Trump’s top economic advisors, that the massive corporate tax cut will indeed trickle down or, to mix metaphors, serve as the proverbial rising tide that will lift all boats.
CNBC’s Patti Domm was quick to validate this exuberant claim, pointing to announcements from Wells Fargo and Fifth Third bank that they will be raising their minimum wage to fifteen dollars per hour and from AT&T and Comcast that they will be showering their employees with bonuses. Other reporting on CNBC suggest it’s too early to tell, as many companies Fred Imbert and others reached out to hoping to forecast the impact of the corporate tax cut were more reticent about how this tax windfall will trickle down to employees, adopting a wait-and-see attitude.
Before we get too exuberant, let’s keep in mind not just recent history but also the longer arc of history in terms of the relationship between corporate profits and wages as well as the most basic dynamics of capitalism. The bottom line of capitalist dynamics is that higher corporate profits do not translate into higher wages. Indeed, higher profits have typically been achieved through lowering workers’ wages and benefits.
First, recent history: Remember when Trump lavishly offered up seven million dollars of taxpayer money to the Carrier corporation in order, supposedly, to persuade Carrier not to re-locate factories and jobs to Mexico? Trump generated a self-aggrandizing headline, but Carrier ended up still moving jobs to Mexico and eliminating over 600 jobs from the Indiana workforce.
That’s one reason not to get prematurely rapturous about corporate trickle down.
Another reason to be skeptical about corporate windfalls translating into rising wages is that since the 1950s we have seen corporations fare better and better while worker wages, including the minimum wage, have stagnated. Indeed, last March, well before the passage of this tax cut, The Economist reported, as part of its cover story, that corporate profits in the United States were in fact enjoying record performance.
So, given this record corporate performance in terms of profit generation, we should have already seen corporations raising wages, expending monies in capital and infrastructure investment, and showering generous bonuses on its employees.
If this scenario happened, I guess I missed it. Unfortunately, I didn’t miss it. It just didn’t happen.
And it likely won’t.
Indeed, at a meeting of the Wall Street Journal’s CEO council in early November, Gary Cohn asked CEO’s to raise their hands if the GOP tax cut proposed at the time would spur their companies to invest more and raise wages. In a moment Business Insider termed “awkward,” few CEO’s raised their hands, reinforcing the reporting of CNBC’s Fred Imbert.
These are not left-wing anti-capitalist ideologues doing this reporting. These are business journalists.
And these business journalists are just reporting the facts validated by the history of capitalism’s dynamics. The end game of corporate behavior is to increase profits, not to give money away charitably because they have it. In fact, corporations often push to lower wages and benefits to increase profits. They aren’t looking for any reason to raise wages.
Are we really supposed to be buying this bill of goods capitalist President Trump and the corporate bedfellows with which he has staffed his cabinet and advisors are trying to sell us?
They know full well how capitalism works. And corporations raising wages because profits and income increase ain’t how it works, and it never has been.
Take Trump himself. Recently Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort requested and was awarded 70 H-2B visas to hire foreign workers. According to Trump, John Bowden at The Hill reported, “It’s very, very hard to get people. Other hotels do the exact same thing.”
Really? Is that why Bowden also cited CareerSource spokesmen Tom Veenstra as highlighting, “We currently have 5,136 qualified candidates in Palm Beach County for various hospitality positions listed in the Employ Florida state jobs database.”
Free-market advocates typically oppose minimum-wage legislation, believing that the market should determine wages. Capitalists understand that corporate profits don’t determine wages but rather the dynamics of labor supply and demand do.
In the case of Mar-a-Lago’s hiring practices, Trump’s resort is deliberately trying to undermine the forces that raise worker wages by bringing in foreign workers—because that’s how capitalism works. Corporations, like Carrier and Trump’s businesses, seek to pay the lowest wages possible.
So, if history is any indicator, as it typically is, the dynamics of capitalism won’t change, such that we cannot expect increased corporate profits and income to translate to better treatment and higher pay for workers.
Such a scenario would defy the logic of capitalism, as Carrier and Mar-a-Lago demonstrate. And our capitalist President, his cronies, and the Republican Congress are simply lying about this reality of which they in their wealth are well-aware.
There are still many unanswered questions, but one thing is clear: Russia's attempt to turn Trump into their puppet has been a wild success.
"It violates the law to send fundraising emails to members of a foreign government on their official foreign government email accounts."
Illinois Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth plans to announce on Monday, that she will be running against Republican Senator Mark Kirk in 2016.
Conservatives are beside themselves at the idea of foreigners monitoring their voter suppression activities on Election Day