The Price of Incompetence

Popular Economics Weekly


Graph: Tax Policy Center

Bullying doesn’t win negotiations, or much else for that matter. Now we have President Trump’s on-again, off-again summit meeting with North Korea after attempting to bully the N. Koreans into giving up their nuclear capability even before the summit negotiations, which were to determine when and how N. Korea was to give up its nuclear capabilities.

Rather than being a sign that Trump really knows the Art of the Deal, it further highlights his incompetence, and that of those around him—particularly National Security Advisor and right wing ideologue John Bolton, who raised the threat of the fate of Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi if N. Korea didn’t comply with the demand for immediate surrender of their nuclear weapons; when Gaddafi was deposed precisely because he immediately surrendered his nuclear option without any guarantees of security.

This is after President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear treaty; again because of right wing ideologues like the very same John Bolton, which puts Americans in greater danger with the threat that Iran will decide they must develop nuclear weapons to protect themselves, along with long range ICBMs.

The bully mentality has been the path taken by Republicans and the Trump administration ever since they took over two branches of government—maybe all three if you count the five-person conservative majority of what will undoubtedly come to be known as the Gorsuch Supreme Court.

Why doesn’t bullying work? It is a Win-Lose strategy concocted by the Oligarchs that now run and fund the Republican Party. And that is because the few billionaires that support the current extremist wing of the Republican Party—the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and Mercer family—won’t be able to carry the day without the grass-roots support that every political party requires.

That is to say, not when Bernie Sanders almost took the Democratic candidacy from Hillary with donations that averaged $27 per person. That is real grass-roots support, and why registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in almost every voting district; the result being Demos will probably take back the US House and possibly Senate come November.

Another example of incompetence is the passage of Repubs most recent tax cuts, which benefit the top 10 percent of income earners, corporations and LLCs, but everyone else loses since their benefits are being cut and an additional $1.5T is being added to the national debt to finance the tax cuts.

This will drive up interest rates further as the federal government must now issue massive new debt to finance the increasing deficit, since tax revenues will decline. We know what happens next, because then Fed Chairman Greenspan had to raise interest rates 16 consecutive times to pay for the ballooning budget deficits caused by the GW Bush tax cuts in 2001-03, which resulted in the Great Recession.

This doesn’t even address repeal of Obamacare’s Individual Mandate—the requirement that everyone pay into the system, even if they don’t want health care coverage. Removing the mandate has insurers in some states forecasting premium increases of as much as 25 percent due to fewer participants, and which the CBO says could put 13 million out of reach of any health care insurance at all by 2027.

No, incompetence never pays, except momentarily for those that foster or tolerate it, which endangers the rest of US in so many ways.

Harlan Green © 2018

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About populareconomicsblog

Harlan Green is editor/publisher of, and content provider of 3 weekly columns to various blogs--Popular Economics Weekly and The Huffington Post
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