Gruber Answers Liberal Letter
August 1, 2016
(My answers are in italics)
After our email exchange last week, I didn’t think I would write back. However, Trump’s latest round of weekend follies compel me to ask you what it is you find appealing about him and how he is worthy of becoming this country’s next President. If you would accept Trump because you just hate Hillary and despise everything Democrats are about, that makes it easy. I have voted for Democrats many times and it is interesting to note that you refer to Trumps weekend follies while ignoring that Clinton spent part of her time on Fox News Sunday lying about lying. In fact her comments on James Comey to Chris Wallace regarding her ongoing e‐mail scandal received 4 Pinocchio’s from the Washington Post. It seems you are caught in a typical pattern of double standards and selective prosecution. I believe Hillary Clinton is the most dangerous candidate for President this year but believe Bernie Sanders movement will become much more dangerous in the near future. Anyone other than a Democrat (any Democrat?) will do. If you actually support Trump, and I don’t get much opportunity to talk with Trump supporters, then I have a few questions about Trump’s “policies” and his manner. I would sincerely appreciate it if you would take the time to write back.
Tax policy Trump says he will cut taxes. Economists and tax policy experts from all sides of the political spectrum have claimed that his tax plan will explode the deficit. Not all economists and so called ‘tax policy experts’ make such claims. Economists Stephen Moore and Lawrence Kudlow along with Arthur Laffer of the famous ‘Laffer Curve” of the Ronald Reagan Presidency all agree that the newest tax policy proposals from Trump‐ Trump 2.0, will have great benefit to the middle class and increase taxes on the wealthiest among us. This is from the reliably left leaning Bloomberg Report. In addition Grover Norquist the most famous man in America regarding tax policy was stongly in favor of the Trump plan. He outlined his support on my program July 22, 2016. You can find the podcast on stevegruber.com.
In addition, they will favor those who already have the most wealth. Historically, tax cuts that are not selective have only reduced tax revenue and made the deficits worse. We never had a deficit larger than $100 billion until Reagan’s across the board cuts in the early 1980’s. He reversed course in his second term and raised taxes because the deficits had grown too large. Bush’s tax cuts in 2001 caused enormous deficits. It took until 2006, even through years of expansion, before tax revenues recovered to the level they were in 2001. What’s so brilliant about tax cuts? We had four years of surpluses after Clinton raised taxes in 1993 and the expansion of the economy continued. What’s bad about that?
Under the current administration and policies that are almost certain to continue if Hillary Clinton is President we have plummeted into uncharted territory of debt. We will soon cross $20T in debt and that is only a fraction of the actual total debt in America. It is quite simply unsustainable and has tripled since Barack Obama became President.
Entitlements Republicans rail about the size of government and the handouts that go to people. By this, they mean poor or lower middle income people. One never hears about corporate welfare (tax breaks, fast depreciation write‐offs for capital equipment, etc.). Even the Koch brothers want corporate welfare shut down. I must admit you do amuse me‐ “even the Koch Brothers...” as if when the ‘Koch brothers’ say something I should fall to my knees and worship. I am sorry to say but that kind of blind faith is reserved for others and adherents of perpetually failing policies like those that have led Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore and nearly every other major city in America into the depths of financial ruin. Yes those are all cities that have only one political party, Democrats in charge for the last five decades. Some have been the only ones at city hall even longer. Puerto Rico is a classic example of where Democratic fiscal policy leads. PR has gone from prosperity to ruin in little more than one generation. Do you think this is coincidence? Detroit was the wealthiest city in America in 1960 according to the US census bureau. The last Republican mayor of Detroit left office in 1962. Are you simply refusing to believe what is blatantly obvious and mathematically certain; socialist policies have bankrupted America and nearly every level of government and your solution it seems is ‘more taxes.’ Talk about insanity.
But why don’t we talk about the entitlement mindset of the “haves”? For example, I benefit from the home mortgage interest deduction. All told, that costs the Treasury more than the entire Earned Income Credit program, Let me jump in here‐ do you even understand the earned income tax credit? Did you know that people get thousands of dollars back, over what they paid in? How is that sustainable? I know a woman who has gotten about $10,000 more in her tax refund than she has paid for ten years in a row. Does this sound like a workable long term proposition? Democrats used to think just like Republicans when it came to the economy‐ solve big problems with growth. It was true of every President since WWII‐ until Obama. Now it’s tax the daylights out of everyone. Make no mistake the big Hillary Clinton tax increases will hit everyone‐ not just the so called ‘rich.’ a big entitlement program for families with little income. All of us have an entitlement mentality. When the government expands entitlements, which is what happened after the 2008‐2009 recession, they seem to never be ended. That idiocy is the fault of both parties. Agreed, both Democrats and Republicans are to blame on this one. As Americans, we are conditioned to think that we are somehow deprived, so should be entitled to a break. I have no idea what America you were born into‐ but I do not think I am entitled to my neighbors paycheck. You may think that way but me and the people I hang with do not think we are entitled to steal my neighbors profits under the guise of ‘taxes.’ No matter what you call it‐ after providing for the ‘common defense’ which also includes snow plows and some other things and yes public schools too‐ at some point it is nothing more than stealing. The other guy? He deserves nothing. No President can stand up to Congress when it comes to protecting the breaks their constituents get. Obama was the only person willing to test out a tweak to Social security by changing the way increases are indexed. It went nowhere. Republicans love handouts as much as anyone.
Because you are from Michigan, I would like to ask you your opinion about the auto company bailouts in 2009 or so? Bad idea? Good idea? Before railing about government being too big and stifling the individual, which is the standard Republican battle cry, maybe we need to be asking what the role of government should be. I don’t have to ask what governments role should be because I have a guide for that, it’s called the Constitution and there is no role for the Federal government beyond the 17 items clearly enumerated. We are a long way of course from that and I cannot un‐ring the bell but it is our collective departure from the Constitution that more than any other thing is propelling our downfall as a nation. The federal government should not have bailed out the auto industry. GM and Chrysler should have gone through Chapter 11, the same way I would if my company went into receivership. Many in the business world believe the companies would have come out stronger. And lets not forget to point out the tens of thousands of people who were sacrificed at the alter of Obamas plan to ‘save the auto industry.’ You’re right I am from Michigan and know people like my good friends mother who was forced to take ten cents on the dollar for her thousands of shares of GM stock‐ which represented her entire retirement savings. She like countless others were left almost penniless by Obama. Go ahead read about it on line‐ there are many such stories to find.
Affordable Care Act/Obamacare On cue, Trump says he will get rid of it. That individual mandate is so un‐American. In 2005, President Bush signed into law Medicare Part D, a massive expansion that gave seniors prescription drug benefits. And he had no way to pay for it‐ this was a huge mistake and a deal with Ted Kennedy that should have never been made. Part D was passed by a Republican‐controlled Congress. A core element of Part D is that it has both a mandate to participate and a penalty if you don’t. This rule was a way to expand the risk pool to capture people who didn’t need it and, that way, help cover costs. It affected about 50 million people on Medicare. The ACA individual mandate is hated by Republicans, but the mandate and penalty is exactly the same principle and rationale that Republicans used in 2005. What makes a brilliant idea when proposed by Republicans an un‐American travesty when implemented by a Democrat? Both were very bad ideas. I support the idea of universal healthcare, despite the fact that is totally unconstitutional. However Obamacare has nothing to do with healthcare and everything to do with money and the big insurance companies. Crony capitalism at its worst is what that mess is. Funny isn’t it, how the ACA did not one thing to address the high cost of healthcare in America? If somebody in politics actually had balls and vision‐ they’d target trial lawyers that run the cost of everything through the roof in this country but nothing more notable than healthcare.
Tax returns Of course, Trump is under no legal obligation to produce tax returns, most of which are no longer under audit. But if he were comfortable with what they show, have no doubt that he would flaunt them. There is a reason he refuses to allow them to see the light of day. Trust me, it’s not on principle about his privacy. I imagine they would show 1) that he is a cheapskate and gives very little to philanthropy and 2) that he works hard to avoid paying tax. What other conclusion is there? He brags about everything else he has and flaunts it, but tax returns are a closely guarded secret. Not too hard to reach a conclusion about what they would reveal. This is a fascinating point for you and your liberal brethren to make. Has it ever occurred to you that Bill and Hillary Clinton have been in public service their entire lives and yet have amassed a fortune of around $300 Million dollars? Does that seem odd to you? Did you know Al Gore was worth $1.7 Million when he left office in 2001 and is now worth $400 Million dollars? I don’t know about you but that is a hell of a lot more concerning that Trumps tax return. Remember how you and your friends in the Democratic Party harped on Mitt Romney over and over and over about how rich he was? Yeah well‐ both Hillary Clinton and Al Gore are worth more. By the way so is John Kerry‐ go figure. But of course the Clinton’s are doing such wonderful work at the Clinton Foundation. Pretty impressive, considering they spend less than 10% on philanthropic endeavors at the Clinton Foundation. My mother was in public service as a schoolteacher for 32 years and my grandmother taught school for 44 years. Neither of them amassed any fortune at all.
Foreign policy I cannot imagine Trump meeting with Angela Merkel on any topic‐NATO Neither can I considering Merkel is going to get run out on a rail before anyone gets to talk to her, trade, immigration, terrorism‐ another interesting point you make considering the Democrats didn’t discuss terrorism at all during the convention in Philadelphia. I understand that however. I wouldn’t talk about failed policies both home and abroad either. and understanding how to deal with the European center. His uncompromising stance on more‐or‐less anything and everything only means failure. He knows little about Europe and has such an irascible, provocative and easily provoked style because of his thin skin, that any meeting is bound to go badly. Imagine a meeting with the Premier of China. Trump with any foreign leader seems like a scenario that will lead to embarrassment and likely worse.
So, what do you like about Trump? Are promises to “make America great again” enough? What does that slogan mean? We are at full employment. Come to Michigan. I can assure you we are not at full employment and no rational thinking person believes that either. The truth is we don’t measure unemployment anymore. We use U‐3 numbers and not the much more accurate U‐6 numbers that were utilized until Bill Clinton was President. The real unemployment rate in Michigan and the United States is almost 10 percent and much higher in some areas; most notable the black and Hispanic communities. That is a pretty classic definition when unemployment is less than 5%. If making America great means middle class people will have better wages, that is not the province of government unless there is a mandated increase in the minimum wage. Good news for you then, Trump supports an increase in the Federal minimum wage to at least $10 an hour but says it should be up to the states. That’s about it. Does the slogan mean reducing terrorism? How will he “patrol Muslim neighborhoods”, which he did say during the primaries.
Anyway, after Trump’s rants and tirades this weekend, I hope most decent Republicans will shun him like the plague. What kind of person goes after “little Mike” Bloomberg because Bloomberg criticized Trump? Even worse, to attack the father of a Muslim soldier killed in the line of duty, then belittle the mother and make some flippant remark implying that her silence was because she is a Muslim and maybe forbidden to speak (“lots of people are saying”). Maybe he was just being sarcastic. When he unloads like that, he reminds me of a petulant, whiney adolescent, except this sociopath wants to be President. His tirades are the one consistent pattern of his campaign. Trump really is a thin‐skinned, vain fool. Sociopath is an apt description of Hillary Clinton. This is a woman who goes on TV yesterday to blatantly lie about lying. Lets go through the easy list: Travelgate, Filegate, Whitewater, Rose Law Firm, Benghazi, Email Scandal #1 or Email Scandal #2. This is a woman who trash talks big banks and Wall Street while speaking from the podium of the Wells Fargo Arena and collecting $250,000 speaking fees from Goldman Sachs.
The stakes are pretty high. Trump is not a leader, he is used to being a boss. There is a difference. His world is about him and his ego. A rich businessman? It is character that counts, not wealth. Mitt Romney, a rich businessman, is thoughtful and decent. Trump is neither. Even the Wall Street Journal wrote that they have never seen a track record like Trump’s in stiffing contractors, threatening to sue, and all‐round litigator. He is not fit to serve.
Well there you have it. I have gone through your letter and conclude that Trump is a better choice of the two poor choices presented. It is also interesting to note that The New York Times on January 20, 1969 said Richard Nixon would cause World War III. Instead he negotiated the largest reduction of nuclear arms in world history, got America out of Vietnam, opened the door to China, created the Environmental Protection Agency and ended the draft‐ among other things. People only remember a fairly minor scandal called Watergate. The New York Times also said Ronald Reagan was likely to take us into big wars and destroy America‐ he was able instead to end the Cold War without firing a shot and launch the largest peacetime economic expansion in American history. Both were re‐elected in massive landslides, Nixon by 18 million votes and Reagan by 15 million. It seems they did some things right. So excuse me if I don’t take all the doom and gloom predictions from leftists and the left wing media too seriously. All the histrionics actually seem to wear me out a bit.
There I responded to your letter. Have a nice day.