Suderman:"Joe Biden Wants Tax Hikes Twice as Big as Hillary Clinton Proposed in 2016"

One of the recurring questions of the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries is whether the party has lurched too far to the left. 

This topic has manifested itself most prominently in the divide between the more progressive candidates, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass) and Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), and the relative moderates, former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. It has largely taken the form of a debate over the merits of Medicare for All, a single-payer health care system that Warren and Sanders support and that Biden and Buttigieg do not. 

Warren’s rise over the summer, and the persistent strong support for Sanders, have given ammunition to Democrats favoring a sharper turn to the left. But Warren’s campaign has faltered following the release of her Medicare for All financing and transition plans. That and the contemporaneous rise of Buttigieg to the primary’s top tier have provided grist for the moderates. 

Yet the best way to answer the question may require another comparison—not simply between the candidates in today’s race, but between the current field and the 2016 nominee, Hillary Clinton, particularly on the issue of taxes. 

Earlier this week, Biden released a proposal to raise a slew of new taxes, mostly on corporations and high earners. He would increase tax rates on capital gains, increase the tax rate for households earning more than $510,000 annually, double the minimum tax rate for multinational corporations, impose a minimum tax on large companies whose tax filings don’t show them paying a certain percentage of their earnings, and undo many of the tax cuts included in the 2017 tax law. 

Biden’s tax hikes would raise about $3.4 trillion over a decade, slightly less than half of the $7 trillion in total tax hikes proposed by Buttigieg. Warren, meanwhile, would raise taxes by at least $26 trillion. Some reports put the figure as high as $30 trillion. Sanders estimates his health care plan alone could cost as much as $40 trillion

Full Commentary by Peter Suderman @ Reason https://reason.com/2019/12/05/moderate-joe-biden-wants-tax-hikes-twice-as-big-as-hillary-clinton-proposed-in-2016/

Williamson:"We Are Not Winning the Trade War"

The problem with winning a race to the bottom is that you end up at the bottom.

President Donald Trump’s idiotically conceived and incompetently executed trade war with China shows no signs of abating — the president himself said this week that he’d be happy to see negotiations drag on throughout the coming year — and now Trump has decided to expand the theater to Brazil and Argentina.

Trump says he is imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum from Brazil and Argentina because those two countries have engaged in a policy of competitive currency devaluation, i.e., they have artificially driven down the value of the real and the peso, respectively, in order to gain an unfair advantage for their exports. Trump charges that this has hurt U.S. farmers and says he is imposing these sanctions on their behalf. The Commerce Department, Treasury, the U.S. Trade Representative, and the governments of Brazil and Argentina learned about this on Twitter in the wee hours, because that is how the Trump administration makes policy.

Like a great deal of what comes out of this White House, the new tariffs and the rationale undergirding them exhibit a very fine blend of dishonesty and stupidity.

It is true that the real and the peso have declined in value of late. But this is not programmatic devaluation; rather, both Brazil and Argentina are in the midst of severe self-imposed crises in their national economies (when are these South American giants not in the midst or on the verge of economic crises?) caused by excessive public debt and misgovernment, afflictions with which the United States is increasingly familiar but as yet resistant to, owing to the sheer size and dynamism of our economy. When a nation’s finances tank, its currency tends to fall in value as investors scurry off rodentially from the keeling schooner that is the ailing nation’s economy. 

Full Commentary by Kevin Williamson @ National Review https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/12/trump-trade-war-hurting-americans/?utm_campaign=FEE%20Daily&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=80315687&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9MJJvtm47ORFHa4pfUhsooaF8D0Zf24LnCw3BTHatYxLD7dLxg5JkC-I0B0klu5Xr_NpqDao2-4-JrSoadOcfPW880pA&_hsmi=80315687

“Americans Must Learn To Reject Unjust And Unnecessary Wars” – Larison

Danny Sjursen calls for remembering the original meaning of Armistice Day:

My fellow veterans don’t necessarily need more thanks. We need, instead, your attention, your support, your careful deployment of our energies and sacrifices only in defense of the most vital national interests and the homeland itself. Most of all we need the reinvigorated dream of Armistice Day—-a holiday imbued with hopes and dreams for a better world. At the very least, for a nation that chooses not to wage forever war.

The standard for sending Americans to war should be a very high one, and even a cursory glance at the many military interventions of the last three decades shows that almost none of them has even come close to meeting it. From the invasion to Panama to the unending war in Afghanistan, the U.S. has been hyperactive in using force in other parts of the world for the last 30 years and very little of it has had anything to do with vital interests or the defense of the United States. Instead of “careful deployment,” we have tended to see reckless and irresponsible deployments of U.S. troops who are tasked with carrying out vague, impossible, and sometimes illegal missions.

Virtually every intervention in that time has been a war of choice, and most of the time it has been the wrong choice.

The U.S. has frequently engaged in hostilities against other states in this period because our government could and not because it had to. There are very few instances in which the U.S. used force as a last resort. In several cases, U.S. intervention has been flagrantly illegal under international and/or U.S. law. The U.S. resorts to force too quickly and too easily and with far too little consideration for the consequences it will have for the people serving the military and the people living in the affected countries. Unlike people from a century ago, many of us have lost our disgust with war, whose human costs are obscured from view or simply ignored. Despite our extraordinary security, many Americans readily accept their leaders’ threat inflation. Preventing more unnecessary wars and bringing the current ones to an end will require a constant effort to counter the alarmist and fear-mongering claims about foreign threats.

Steven Katz makes a similar case for how Americans can best honor veterans:

This year, as one of thousands of veterans who suffered moral injury in the Iraq War, I ask that in addition to the annual “thank you for your service” that you also “thank” veterans by helping us avoid waging unjust wars.

To that end, Americans have to learn an abhorrence for starting wars. Preventive war is inherently unjust, and it needs to be rejected on principle. We need to understand that the Iraq war wasn’t simply a “mistake,” but a terrible crime that should never be repeated. Preventive war is not just another “option” that our government can choose, but rather something illegitimate and wrong by its very nature. When politicians and pundits entertain the idea of launching aggressive attacks on Iran or North Korea or any other country, they need to be shamed and ridiculed as the warmongers they are. The U.S. should never engage in aggressive warfare again. Until Americans and our leaders learn that lesson from the Iraq debacle, we will not have learned the most important lesson.

Source:Daniel Larison @ American Conservative https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/americans-must-learn-to-reject-unjust-and-unnecessary-wars/


Larison:”Trump Puts the Saudis First, As Usual”

While U.S. troops remain in Syria, the Trump administration is sending thousands more to Saudi Arabia:

The United States announced the deployment of additional American military forces to Saudi Arabia on Friday to bolster the kingdom’s defenses after the Sept. 14 attack on its oil facilities, which Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran.

Trump’s decision to send even more U.S. forces to Saudi Arabia makes no sense in terms of U.S. interests. It does not serve American interests to put more American troops in potential danger from an attack from Saudi Arabia’s enemies, and the U.S. gains nothing from coming to the aid of the Saudis. Basing American troops in Saudi Arabia was a major reason for terrorist attacks against our country in the past, and it is extremely foolish to keep sending more troops to defend a client that ought to be able to defend itself. The fact that Saudi Arabia apparently can’t defend itself proves that the hundreds of billions of dollars in arms sales to their government have been worse than useless. The U.S. has managed to arm the Saudis well enough that they can terrorize and murder civilians in Yemen, but not so that it can provide for its own defense. The Saudis are a useless client and a liability to the U.S., and the sooner that Washington cuts them loose the better it will be for the U.S. and the region.

In selling this terrible decision, Trump repeated the lie that Saudi Arabia is a “great ally.” He also boasted that the kingdom would pay for the costs of the deployment, as if that somehow made the decision to put more Americans at risk on behalf of a despotic client state all right. I very much doubt that is true. The Saudi government is still stiffing the administration for the payments it owes for refueling charges from the war on Yemen, and our government will probably never see a dime from them for the costs associated with these deployments. Even if the Saudis did foot the bill, this amounts to making part of the U.S. military into the Saudi government’s mercenary force, and that ought to be unacceptable to Americans of all political stripes.

This is hardly the first time that Trump has put the Saudis first, but in light of his attempts to justify his craven Syria decision by talking about ending endless wars it is especially offensive. If Trump wanted to put American interests first and extricate the U.S. from a foreign war, he could agree to cut off all military assistance and arms sales to the Saudi coalition tomorrow. Instead, he goes out of his way to shower them with weapons and sends more troops to defend a war criminal regime.

Source: Daniel Larison @ The American Conservative https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/trump-puts-the-saudis-first-as-usual/

Reason Report:”Trump Commits 1,800 More Troops to the Middle East”

It was just four days ago that President Donald Trump explained his decision to move American troops out of one part of Syria by saying that it was “time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars…and bring our soldiers home.”

On Friday, the Trump administration announced it would be sending about 1,800 additional troops to the Middle East.

In a statement, Pentagon spokesman Jonathon Hoffman said the new deployments were part of an overall strategy “to assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia.”At a press conference, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the new deployments were made in consultation with the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense.

NBC News@NBCNews

BREAKING: Amid Pres. Trump’s decision to remove US troops from northern Syria and his vocal criticisms of US military presence in Middle East, the Pentagon announces the deployment of more US troops and weapons to Saudi Arabia “to assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia.”

Including the newly announced deployment, the U.S. will have increased the number of troops deployed to the Middle East by 14,000 since May, CNN reports.

Getting out? Bringing them home? Hardly. As Reason contributor Bonnie Kristian pointed out earlier this week, Trump’s “haphazard half-measure” in Syria was not a meaningful step toward ending the endless wars. “If Trump is serious about liquidating unnecessary, failed, costly overseas missions,” she wrote,” he must actually end them.”

Full Story by Eric Boehm @ Reason https://reason.com/2019/10/11/bringing-them-home-trump-commits-1800-more-troops-to-the-middle-east/

Yost:”Hawks and Noninterventionists Are Both Getting China Wrong”

he rise of China as a world power and potential peer of the United States is set to define geopolitics in the 21st century. This seismic change led the Obama administration to initiate its so-called pivot to Asia. It led Donald Trump to make American competition with China one of his main campaign themes and later caused him to launch a trade war.

American primacists fear the rise of China, worrying that the U.S. will find it more difficult to impose its will (or at least attempt to) across the globe and to meddle and interfere with a myriad of issues that have no real bearing on America’s national security. On the other side of the divide, there are non-interventionists who seem to believe that the only threat China poses to the U.S. is the possibility that Beijing’s actions might trigger American warmongering.

Primacists certainly shouldn’t fear a hard military threat from China. Thanks to our superior geostrategic positioning, the odds of Beijing ever projecting as much power as Washington is almost nil. At the same time, the non-interventionists are wrong to underestimate the threat that Chinese power poses to the American way of life. One needn’t be a hawk or a card-carrying member of “the blob” to see this threat.

A rose-colored view of Chinese economic power is dismissive of what this power is actually capable of. John Tamny, director of the Center for Economic Freedom at FreedomWorks, argues that the Chinese love America and that our economic relationship is beneficial to both parties. According to Tamny, any American fear of China is merely the result of demonization by politicians. Similarly, economist Barry Brownstein has argued at the Foundation for Economic Education, one of America’s oldest classically liberal think tanks, that concerns about China can be overcome by both “love” and economic interdependence. To his credit, he acknowledges that economic interdependence failed to stop Imperial Germany and the UK from entering the First World War on opposite sides. But he brushes that aside by suggesting that we “make the economic interdependence between the U.S. and China so thick that war between the U.S. and China is no more imaginable than war between Ohio and Iowa.”

But contrary to Tamny’s effusive praise for China and his claims that it’s not a communist state, the regime in Beijing is still highly authoritarian and not in any way friendly to human freedom. The same government that ran thousands of protesters over with tanks, burned their corpses, then hosed them into the sewer system is now interning millions of Uighurs and creating a social credit system that would make Big Brother envious. No, it’s not America’s job to save the world, but as China’s economic power increases, so too will its ability to influence affairs in the United States towards nefarious ends. And it’s that very economic interdependence that non-interventionists such as Brownstein tout as the solution that will make this terrifying future possible.

Full post by Zachary Yost @ The American Conservative https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/hawks-and-noninterventionists-are-both-getting-china-wrong/

CTA’s Shapiro: Trump Tariffs Worst Economic Mistake In Almost 100 Years

reposted from Multichannel News

John Eggerton· Sep 2, 2019 The President’s latest volley in the trade war with China–the 15% tariff that kicked in Sept. 1–drew a harsh rebuke from the Consumer Technology Association, which likened it to the disastrous economic policy that led to the Great Depression.

CTA says the new tariff affect major tech consumer categories including TV’s, digital cameras and smart watches.

“The president absolutely should address China’s forced technology transfers and IP theft,” said CTA President Gary Shapiro Monday (Sept. 2). “But this unpredictable tariff policy is forcing us down the wrong economic path. Continuous threats of more tariffs and occasional promises that trade talks are progressing mean whiplash for global stock markets. That uncertainty hurts every American with a pension, retirement fund or college savings plan.” The President says the tariffs are hurting Chinese companies while incentivizing U.S. companies to repatriate. Shapiro calls the tariffs “the worst economic mistake since the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, a policy that launched America into the Great Depression. This is not how you reach a meaningful trade agreement.”

Shapiro called for Congress to pass the Reclaiming Congressional Trade Authority Act of 2019 so it can protect the economy from “unending trade wars and retaliatory tariffs.”

reposted from Multichannel News https://www.multichannel.com/news/ctas-shapiro-trump-tariffs-worst-economic-mistake-in-almost-100-years