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Slush Fund Charity

It looks like Donald Trump was using his Trump Foundation as a giant slush fund to pay off legal problems, buy gifts for himself or his businesses, and other non-charitable uses. So far, the Washington Post has found about a quarter of a million dollars of other people’s money (contributed by donors who thought they were giving to a charity) that was used illegally.

A common pattern is that in order to settle a lawsuit, Trump offers to donate money to a charity of the other side’s choosing. Trump then takes money donated to his charity to fulfill that obligation. So Trump is not out any of his money for what was supposed to be a penalty, and the donors still get a tax deduction for their charity.

For example, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club was fined $120,000 by the town of Palm Beach, FL, for violating city ordinances, but Trump settled by agreeing to donate $100,000 to a charity for veterans. Instead, the money came from the Trump Foundation.

Trump also used foundation money to buy advertisements promoting his chain of hotels.

Seth Meyers humorously presents the damning details:

A lawyer who advises large charities called the illegal expenditures of foundation money “really shocking” and said “I represent 700 nonprofits a year, and I’ve never encountered anything so brazen. If he’s using other people’s money — run through his foundation — to satisfy his personal obligations, then that’s about as blatant an example of self-dealing [as] I’ve seen in awhile.” Self-dealing is using charity money for personal enrichment, which is illegal.

Of course, we’ve already mention the money Trump had the foundation donate to a political group supporting the Florida Attorney General, who then dropped a fraud investigation against Trump University.

The list of illegal donations goes on and on.

I am finding it increasingly embarrassing that 40% of our country hasn’t figured out what a huckster and con man Trump is, and still plan to vote for him for president.

UPDATE: Of course, Trump attacked the Washington Post for their story, saying it was “peppered with inaccuracies”, but didn’t refute any of the story’s facts. He can’t, really, because all the facts came from the Trump Foundations tax returns, which (as a charity) are public. One has to wonder what illegal shenanigans we could find in Trump’s personal tax returns if he was this shoddy in his foundation returns.

But apparently, facts are completely not important to Trump supporters:

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The Irony of Skittles

It turns out that when Donald Trump Jr. posted a photo to Twitter comparing Syrian refugees to Skittles candy, he was posting a bowl of irony. Just to remind you, here is the original tweet:

Skittles tweet

It turns out that Trump Jr. (now widely nicknamed “Skittles”) stole the image he used, so it was he who was ironically committing a crime while accusing refugees of being murderers and criminals. But the real irony is that the stolen image he posted was actually taken by a former refugee.

In 1974, when I was six-years old, I was a refugee from the Turkish occupation of Cyprus so I would never approve the use of this image against refugees. … I have never put this image up for sale. This was not done with my permission, I don’t support Trump’s politics and I would never take his money to use it.

Yes, the image does say it all, but probably not in the way Trump intended.

The original tweet has been widely mocked. The Guardian points out that since Trump Sr. has advocated using racial profiling to vet incoming refugees, you could solve the problem just by removing the brown Skittles. Well, except that there are no brown Skittles. Being British, they also make fun of Trump’s grammar and spelling, saying Trump’s tweet “reads like Christopher Walken dictated it while rollerskating down a cobbled hill”.

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Ending the Birther Controversy

No, I’m not worried about the “controversy” whether Barack Obama was born in the US. That’s an established fact. I’m worried about whether everything that Trump has said about Obama and where he was born was a blatant lie.

I’m also worried whether Trump will ever make good on the $5 million he now owes Obama.

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Skittles?

If I had a bowl of Skittles and I told you one was Donald Trump, would you throw the whole bowl in the garbage to make sure he never got elected?

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Donald Trump Jr. compared Syrian refugees to Skittles, disingenuously implying that three out of a bowlful would kill you. But in order for this to be an accurate analogy, the bowl would have to contain over a billion skittles.

You are far far more likely to be killed by lightning than from terrorism. And foreigners on the Visa Waiver Program (which admits refugees) have killed exactly zero Americans. Your chance of being killed by a foreign visitor on a tourist visa (you know, the one used by Melania Trump to work illegally in the US) is 1 in 3.9 million per year. So if you are that paranoid about being killed by a foreigner, it would be far more important to stop letting foreign tourists visit the US than admitting Syrian refugees.

But that won’t stop Trump and other Republicans from trying trying to scare you into voting for them. And if they were actually concerned about your safety, why won’t they pass a law to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists?

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Real Life vs. Politics

Real life intrudes again. I will be moving to a new state over the next few weeks (and possibly to a new country if the election goes wrong). During that time, posts will probably be sporadic.

Besides, I’m guessing that most people are burned out on this election. Consider this a vacation for you. Go donate to the candidates of your choice. Watch the debates.

I’ll try to check in as often as I can.

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Fool me twice

You know the old saying about “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”. Well, it has never been so true. Last week, Donald Trump revealed his economic plan, and could you guess that it was more trickle-down economics. He is going to lower taxes on the rich dramatically, cutting the highest tax rate to only 33%, and lowering the corporate rate from 35% to 15%. He is also going to institute a “moratorium on federal regulations”. What kind of regulations? Well, he suggested eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules for lowering carbon emissions from coal-fired plants. So more global warming and more pollution!

In other speeches Trump has promised to increase military spending. Where is this money going to come from? He doesn’t say, but he also promises that his plan will reduce the federal deficit. Independent analysis of his plans “estimated they will bloat the US deficit by trillions, even after economic growth is taken into account”. So even if trickle-down economics somehow magically works this time and stimulates the economy, we will still be passing on huge debts to our children. You know the huge debts that Republicans have been screaming about for years that will destroy our country.

The last person who sold us this putrid bill of goods was Dubya Bush, and anyone still supporting Trump obviously doesn’t remember how that turned out for us.

Trump also promises that the economy will grow at more than four percent. Ironically, the last time the economy grew that fast was when Hillary Clinton was in the White House as First Lady.

What should be the response to “fool me three times”?

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Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from Sept. 7, 2016]

“Donald Trump has just revealed that he’s not practicing for the upcoming debates in a ‘traditional’ way, and has not been using a stand-in for Hillary. Which explains why today I saw Trump at Ann Taylor Loft yelling at a mannequin. ‘That sweater set isn’t very presidential! Sad!'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Trump may have gotten a sign he will win in November because Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, tweeted out a picture of a cloud that kind of looks like Donald Trump, along with the caption, ‘In case anyone is unsure as to who will be our next #POTUS, the Lord has chosen the people’s messenger.’ Yes, God made a Trump-shaped cloud, though the cloud actually holds a position longer than the real Donald Trump.” – Stephen Colbert

“Today, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said he’s endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. Well, actually what he said was, ‘I have an endorsement for . . . Hilarity? Is there a Hilarity here? Hillberry? Hill-am-bee?'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Jessica Alba’s Honest Company is selling ‘bipartisan diapers’ featuring the Democratic donkey and Republican elephant holding hands. Because at the end of the day, both Republicans and Democrats are basically full of the same thing.” – Jimmy Fallon

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What do you have to lose? Plenty!

Donald Trump keeps asking “What do you have to lose?” — you know by voting for him? Well, this week we saw some answers.

First, a British economic forecasting firm estimates that if Trump gets elected and implements just his existing economic proposals, it would cost the US $1 trillion over the next five years. Trump’s proposals would also cost 4 million jobs in the US, slow down global growth, raise consumer prices and hurt US consumer spending, and (of course) probably spark trade wars with other countries.

Ironically, the people who would bear the brunt of this major hurt would be industrial workers, who are the suckers who are mainly voting for him.

The Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania (which happens to be Trump’s alma mater) says the same thing, as does Moody’s Investors Service.

The biggest problem with Trump’s economic plans is his promise to deport all illegal immigrants. Lucky for us, doing that would be impossible, but even if he is only able to deport 10% of undocumented workers, that would — in the words of another economist — “be devastatingly bad”.

And those are just the results of what he said he would do. An even bigger problem could be the things he won’t tell us about. Newsweek did a detailed study of Trump’s business dealings and found that if Trump becomes president, he would have massive conflicts of interest. Faced with a decision between two plans, where one of the plans would make Trump much more money than the other, which one do you think he would pick? Do you think he would put America first?

Trump says he would put his business interests in a “blind trust”, but that is not just a lie, it is complete bullshit. A blind trust is when a politician puts their investments under the control of an independent manager, who exchanges all previous holdings for new ones and — most importantly — doesn’t tell the politician what investments they own. That way there is no conflict of interest. But not only will Trump not do that, he couldn’t do it if he wanted to.

First of all, most of Trump’s business income is from licensing his name. Do you think he could divest himself from that, or would even if he could? For example, would all of the “Trump Towers” (and other things named Trump) around the world change their name and stop paying Trump? Of course they won’t — there wouldn’t be any money to reinvest so it would be a pure loss for Trump. Not to mention that there is no way Trump could just walk away from those contracts.

These conflicts of interest would do serious damage to the national security of the US. For example, as one of our few Muslim allies in the fight against the Islamic State, Turkey is one of our most strategic partners in the Middle East. But Trump’s business partner there was indicted for smuggling, and the Turkish president has also condemned Trump for his anti-Muslim rhetoric and ordered that Trump’s name be removed from buildings in Istanbul.

Second, Trump says he will put his business interests under the control of his children, but that means that the managers are not even vaguely independent. So Trump would still be tempted to make decisions that benefit his children (now, and himself later). And if you think that the person who has already used his campaign to sell Trump steaks and promote his golf courses won’t do that, you haven’t been paying attention.

Stuart Carlson
© Stuart Carlson

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Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from Sept. 6, 2016]

“President Obama flew to China for Labor Day because he wanted to see where American labor went.” – Stephen Colbert

“The president is there for his very last G20 Summit. So, the next time he talks international economics, it’ll be with a really bored person at a party.” – Stephen Colbert

“A lot of people were saying President Obama was snubbed by China when they didn’t have the stairs ready for him to get off the plane. In fact, Donald Trump said that if that ever happened to him, he’d just close the plane doors and leave the country. Every other country was like, ‘That’s all we have to do? Thank you. That’s perfect!'” – Jimmy Fallon

“There was a bit of a rough patch at the beginning of the meeting, when Chinese officials wouldn’t let President Obama get off Air Force One using the normal staircase, or ‘Stair Force One’ … I hope that’s what they call it.” – Stephen Colbert

“A photo of Obama greeting Putin is going viral, because people think they’re giving each other the death stare. I feel like both guys were just thinking, ‘Oof, he’s gotten old.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Yesterday, in China, President Obama had a meeting with Vladimir Putin. And before they started, Obama texted Michelle: ‘Going into a meeting, love you.’ While Putin texted the same thing to Donald Trump.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Did you see Donald Trump dancing at the gospel church? Donald Trump this weekend, as part of his new initiative to woo African-American voters, visited the Great Faith Ministries Church in Detroit. He said he was there to listen. I don’t know what he was listening to but based on his dancing, it clearly wasn’t music.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“A national Washington Post survey found that Donald Trump has historically low support among college-educated women. It’s from their new segment, ‘Stuff You Could Have Guessed.'” – Seth Meyers

“The latest CNN poll has Donald Trump beating Hillary Clinton 45 percent to 43 percent. But the good news is, the staffer who informed Hillary is expected to make a full recovery.” – Seth Meyers

“Have you heard about the latest FBI report on Hillary Clinton’s emails? Probably not, because they put it out the Friday before Labor Day. You couldn’t hide that news more if you welded it inside a lead capsule and fired it into the heart of the sun.” – Stephen Colbert

“One of the big revelations of this latest email dump is that Secretary Clinton didn’t use just one smartphone in office as she originally claimed, she used up to 13 different mobile devices in four years. Madam Secretary, tell the truth. Are you a crack dealer? Because I can’t figure out why else you would need 13 phones.” – Stephen Colbert

“Happy birthday to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. It was the first birthday party where someone jumped into the cake instead of out of it.” – Jimmy Fallon

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Dumbing Down the Electorate?

Huffington Post published a really great rant about (what else?) Donald Trump. The author is a lawyer who deals with health care issues, and he starts off by ripping the assurances that Trump has offered to prove he is healthy:

I first read Trump’s physician’s report of December 15, 2015, you know, the one by scraggly and longhaired Harold Bornstein, the duly licensed gastroenterologist. The letter lists the doctor’s credentials that are out of date. It was also one of the poorest, less than one-page letters filled with unheard of adjectives to describe the physical condition of a patient, misspellings and non-specific findings that only a careless physician, or a quack, would write that I have ever seen.

Then it gets better:

Trump then takes his medical condition to new heights by showboating it on the Dr. Oz TV show, as if following a well-scripted writing. Recall, Oz asks him about why he won’t show his medical records. Then, as if on cue, Trump looks to the audience and asks whether he should; they respond, and…drum roll please…he takes from his suit pocket a document that he then gives to Oz to look at. Hollywood at its best, huh? Trump no doubt believes that the American voter he wants are those that went gaga over his Apprentice reality shows, so they obviously will become “verclempt” about his revealing more of his health via Dr. Mehmet Oz. Trump is a showman, a carny, well, a con, thinking maybe his voters consider him the messiah that will provide them manna from heaven once he is in office. Not.

But he keeps going. You should go read it yourself, but I’ll at least give you his last line:

As an independent like myself, I would think others similarly positioned would consider vomiting a much preferable experience than hearing the words, President Trump.

There is one thing I want to disagree with in his otherwise wonderful rant. His title is “Trump Will Win By Dumbing Down The Electorate — Is Vomiting Preferable?”. Other than his apparent thing about vomiting, he is implicitly asserting that the electorate is being dumbed down.

I disagree. The electorate has been dumb for a long time. The main problem isn’t that they are dumb, but that most people really don’t care that much. They certainly don’t care enough to actually pay much attention to the election. And who can blame them when elections seem to go on forever.

No, I think the thing that has been dumbed down is the media. The media used to take on the job of paying attention for the American people. But no more. Now that TV news is judged by how profitable it can be, there is no need to provide its former responsibility of actually providing news. Why spend time and money doing in-depth investigative journalism when you can just repeat tweets?

If we had a real fourth estate in this country, they would have laughed Donald Trump out of the race a very long time ago. Instead, all they can do is talk about him, because the more they talk about him the more attention they get and the more money they make.

It is almost a form of bribery. The media is rewarded for saying the things that get the most attention — the truth be damned. So when the Republican noise machine cranks out the latest scandal, they follow it. The latest example is Trump still pretending to be a birther. In an interview, he refused to admit that Obama was born in the US. And of course it is all over the news.

When will the media fall out of love with Trump? When he stops making money for them. The media should be ashamed of themselves.

Chris Britt
© Chris Britt

Steve Benson
© Steve Benson

UPDATE: Matt Taibbi just wrote an article disagreeing strongly with my arguments in this post. His point seems to be that the media is dumbing down because that’s exactly what we (the news consuming public) want:

One of the main reasons the news media has been dumbed down over the years is because audiences have consistently rejected smart, responsible journalism in favor of clickbait stupidities like “Five Things You Didn’t Know About John McCain’s Penis” and “Woman Strips Naked in Front of Police Officers. You Won’t Believe What Happened Next.” The Bachelor and Toddlers and Tiaras crush Frontline. And people wonder why Donald Trump gets a lot of coverage?

Taibbi, (as always) make a good case, but I still disagree. He is implicitly arguing that money and eyeballs is what determines what is news. Is being this crass a requirement? I remember when journalists felt they had a mission that wasn’t just getting the most eyeballs.

He is also ignoring the fact that the media itself has a profound influence on what people want to hear and consume, especially in this age of the echo chamber. Something seems more interesting if everyone is talking about it.

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The Real Issue with Clinton’s Health?

Tom Toles
© Tom Toles

It is ironic that Trump can get so much milage out of questioning Hillary Clinton’s health. Not only is he older than Clinton, but Trump would be the oldest person ever to assume the presidency (heaven forbid), ever. Plus Donald Trump has been as secretive about his health as he has been about his tax returns. Not to mention the jokes that has passed off as letters from doctors attesting to his health (see the next post).

There is a long history of presidents hiding their health problems. FDR was in a wheelchair because he was paralyzed from the waist down, and hid it from the public! JFK was so sickly he ended up in the hospital when he was campaigning, and nobody knew it! When William Henry Harrison caught pneumonia nobody knew it, but he had the poor judgement to die from it, and then everybody found out. The truth is that presidents (and especially people on the campaign trail for president) get sick, just like everyone else does.

But in this age of the 24 hour news cycle, it is almost impossible to hide it.

But that doesn’t explain why the media seems to be so focused on it. People get pneumonia all the time. And they almost always recover from it quickly. Yes, pneumonia killed Harrison, but that was a long time ago. We’ve gotten better. Polio is also not the problem it was in FDR’s time.

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Where’s the Trump Bribery Scandal?

I guess the media got what they wanted — a horserace. They breathlessly report story after story about how the Clinton Foundation might have the “appearance” of impropriety (despite admitting that there was no actual impropriety), while at the same time pretty much ignoring two smoking guns of real illegal activity with the Trump Foundation. So the race between Clinton and Trump stops being a boring blowout and starts “tightening”.

Ok, that worked. But now that the race is tight, where is the investigation of the Trump Foundation?

In case you haven’t heard about it, here’s the synopsis: First, several state attorneys general receive enough complaints that Trump University is fraudulently calling itself a university, not to mention blatantly lying about the courses it offers and the “faculty” it hires.

Next, while her office is investigating fraud from Trump University, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi actually asks Donald Trump for a donation and gets one. She even admits she solicited the contribution. She then drops the case.

Not only that, but the money (cough, bribe) given to Bondi is not Trump’s money, it is money from the Trump Foundation (donated by other people — Trump has not put any of his own money into the Foundation since 2008, and little since 1988). It is illegal for charitable foundations to give money to political candidates. The IRS fines them … a paltry $2,500.

The Trump Foundation covers up the donation in their tax filings. Instead of listing the donation as going to Pam Bondi’s Florida political group “And Justice for All” they list it as going to a Kansas charity with the same name (even though they never donated to that charity).

Trump announces “Pam Bondi is a fabulous representative of the people — Florida is lucky to have her” and holds a fundraiser for her (even though he had never donated to her before). Eventually, she even speaks at the Republican National Convention. This is actual “pay to play”.

Similarly, in Texas the Republican attorney general (and now governor) overruled the investigator’s recommendation for legal action against Trump University. Shortly after that, Trump donated $35,000 to his campaign.

Trump has even bragged about bribing politicians:

I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them, and they are there for me.

And what about politicians that Trump can’t bribe? In New York, the attorney general proceeds with their lawsuit charging Trump University with fraud. Trump then donates $100,000 to Citizens United Foundation (yes, that Citizens United), which is supposedly a non-profit. Citizens United uses that money to fund a lawsuit against the New York Attorney General. It was the largest donation the Trump Foundation made that year, even though it was the first time that it had ever donated to Citizens United.

The ploy didn’t work — the judge dismissed the Citizens United case against the NY Attorney General. Eventually, the man who runs Citizens United becomes Trump’s deputy campaign manager.

So if Trump can’t bribe a politician, he threatens them with costly lawsuits.

These aren’t the only shady things done by the Trump Foundation.

In 2010, Trump solicited a donation to the Trump Foundation from the Charles Evans Foundation in New Jersey, and they gave him $150,000. It isn’t clear what the Charles Evens Foundations received in return, but Trump turned around and donated that money (without adding any of his own) to the Palm Beach Police Foundation. The Palm Beach Police Foundation then gave Trump an award for his “selfless support”. I guess it really was selfless, because it wasn’t any of Trump’s money. And here’s the kicker. The Police Foundation held an award ceremony for Trump, and of course it was held at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida and they paid Trump $276,263 to rent the space — almost twice as much as the amount of the donation!

If that isn’t bad enough, in 2007, Trump and his wife were attending a benefit for a children’s charity (of course, the benefit was held at Mar-a-Lago). The event auctioned off a 6-foot-tall portrait of The Donald. The winner? Melania Trump. But the bill was paid by the Trump Foundation, even though using charity money to buy stuff for yourself is illegal. The painting now resides at one of Trump’s golf courses.

This wasn’t the last time the Trumps bought stuff for themselves using charity money. In 2012, Trump bought a helmet and jersey signed by Tim Tebow, using money from his foundation.

I’m sure there is more, but we will never know unless Trump magically decides to release his tax returns (don’t hold your breath).

Besides, the media is much more preoccupied with the Clinton Foundation, which, you know, actually is a charity that supports good causes.

Drew Sheneman
© Drew Sheneman

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Late Night Political Humor

[Jokes from Sept. 1, 2016]

“Donald Trump gave a big speech on immigration last night. And during the speech, he said that Mexico is 100% going to pay for his, quote, ‘beautiful border wall’. Mexicans were like, ‘Wait, you never said it was going to be beautiful. Who do we write the check out to?'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump maintains that he will build a wall. A beautiful wall. He keeps saying the wall will be beautiful. You know, there are some people who think we need to build a wall; I don’t think anyone’s requiring that it be beautiful. It seems like a simple basic wall, maybe from IKEA, would do the trick.” – Jimmy Kimmel

“In his speech last night, Donald Trump proposed new screening to prevent violent extremists from entering the U.S. In response, Trump’s supporters said, ‘But we’re already here.'” – Conan O’Brien

“Last night, Donald Trump said if he’s elected, he will employ a ‘deportation task force’. It’s not really necessary, because if he’s elected most people will probably leave voluntarily.” – Conan O’Brien

“A prominent Latino Trump supporter announced today he is withdrawing his support for Donald Trump. He said, ‘I would have done it sooner but I just came out of a year-long coma.'” – Conan O’Brien

“Rudy Giuliani spoke at Donald Trump’s rally last night after he got back from Mexico and debuted a new campaign hat. This is real. We did not make this up. It reads, ‘Make Mexico great again also.’ They didn’t stop there. They also debuted another hat that says, ‘Oh, yeah, I guess we better make Canada great again, too, while we’re at it, in addition to the United States and Mexico.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“A new poll reveals that supporters of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are motivated by fear, not excitement. And third-party candidate Gary Johnson supporters are motivated by being related to Gary Johnson.” – Conan O’Brien

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Are You Better Off?

In general the economy has been growing since Obama took office, but Republican tax cuts and other regressive measures meant that virtually all of that gain has been going exclusively to the wealthiest people. Even though the average household income was going up, the vast majority of American households were not benefiting.

A more significant measure is the median incomethe income at which half of all Americans make less, and half make more. So it is very good news that the Census Bureau just reported that the incomes of typical Americans rose in 2015 by 5.2%, the first gain to middle-class pay since the Great Recession and the fastest increase ever recorded by the federal government.

This leaves the median income only 1.6% below where it was in 2007, the last year before the recession, and 2.4% below the all-time high reached in 1999 (all figures adjusted for inflation). Which means that if we only get half the growth this year that we did last year, we will exceed the record high by the time Obama leaves office. We don’t have the numbers yet, but we may already have.

The poor are doing better as well. The poverty rate fell 1.2% to 13.5%, the biggest drop since 1968 (in the aftermath of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, which introduced Medicare, Medicaid, Headstart, Community Action, and many other programs whose goal was the elimination of poverty and racial injustice).

Indeed, incomes rose for every age group and every race in every part of the country. And in a stunning reversal of recent trends, incomes rose fastest for the non-wealthy, so the gap between the rich and the poor actually got smaller in 2015!

In his debate against Carter in 1980, Reagan famously asked Americans “Are You Better Off Than You Were Four Years Ago?“. That rhetorical question is credited as cementing Reagan’s victory in the election. Today, the great majority of Americans are already better off than they were four years ago. They are also better off than they were eight years ago, and by the end of the year, they may well be better off than they have ever been.

The irony is that when Republicans are asked about the economy, their opinion sours when Obama’s name is mentioned. In a large poll of Republicans, half were asked to compare the current economy to what it was “when President Obama was first elected” and half were asked to compare it to “the year 2008”. Obviously, these dates are identical. Nevertheless, Republicans were 19 points more likely to say their personal financial situation had gotten worse, and 20 points more likely to say that the economy as a whole had declined, when asked the question that included Obama’s name.

Obviously, facts won’t matter to those people. But for those of us living in a place called reality, we really are better off.

Jim Morin
© Jim Morin

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Is Trump Bad for Marriage?

A poll done by The Guardian concludes that Donald Trump is fueling an especially deep split among married couples. In particular, men are pressuring their wives to vote for Trump, but in many cases the wives are not obeying. At least three door-to-door political canvassers have reported similar stories: after the canvasser leaves a house where the husband said he was planning on voting for Trump, the wife chases the canvasser down the street to say that under no circumstances would she do the same.

Estimates say that twice as many couples are voting for different candidates than did in 2012. Other polls point to a reason — among Republican women (married or not) Trump is running nearly 20 points behind Romney (in 2012), McCain (in 2008), and Dubya (in 2004).

In addition to the sexism and misogyny exhibited by Trump, women object to him on other grounds. One poll respondent said “I don’t even want my child to listen to his speeches, and yet he’s supposed to be my president?”

In some cases, men weren’t even aware of the split. A few years ago a poll showed that 72% of men said with confidence that their partner would vote the same way as they did, but only 49% of women said the same thing. And that math just doesn’t add up. They call this the “sure, honey” factor. Men assume who their wives will vote for, but women just respond “sure, honey” to avoid conflict.

But with this election, the split is more out in the open. Some women are threatening “Vote Trump, get dumped” to their husbands. Others are withholding sex until their spouse changes their vote.

The one thing that everybody can agree on is that Trump’s campaign is bad for marriage.

Matt Wuerker
© Matt Wuerker

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