How the G.O.P. Built Donald Trump’s Cages

Republicans who spoke up this time should be asking themselves why a president of their party felt he was enforcing its principles by breaking apart families and caging children.

.. But many, many other party leaders have been venturing ever deeper into the dank jungles of nativist populism for quite some time, exploiting the politics of fear and resentment. Mr. Trump did not invent Republican demonization of “the other” — it came about in two ways: gradually, and then all at once.

.. From the early 1990s to 2000, the conservative firebrand Pat Buchanan kept the Republican Party on its toes, running for president three times with an explicitly isolationist message.

.. But it was during the George W. Bush years that anti-immigrant sentiment started to become more central to the party’s identity.

.. Mr. Bush made comprehensive immigration reform a priority of his second term.

.. Conservative talk radio took up the cause, smacking Mr. Bush as squishy on immigration. The very concept of comprehensive reform became anathema to many on the right.

.. The Great Recession that Mr. Obama inherited did nothing to quell nativist resentment among working-class whites, and the rise of the Tea Party pulled the Republican Party further to the right

.. Just ask Senator Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican, who saw his fledgling political career almost snuffed out by his flirtation with comprehensive reform

.. in the wake of Mitt Romney’s presidential loss in 2012, after which the Republican Party briefly decided that one of its principal goals was to improve its image with Hispanic voters.

.. The resulting plan would have done everything from beefing up border security to overhauling visa categories to promoting a merit-based immigration system.

It also provided for the legalization of undocumented immigrants, which meant conservatives hated it.

..  the bill cleared the Senate by an impressive 68-to-32 vote. But John Boehner, then the House speaker, refused to bring it up for a vote in the Republican-controlled lower chamber.

.. Mr. Rubio became a pariah to the Tea Party voters who had propelled him to office three years earlier. Soon, he was denying that he had ever really supported the bill.

.. Party leaders fanned those flames, accusing Mr. Obama of being imperious and “lawless.” In one bit of twisted logic, Mr. Boehner argued that the House couldn’t possibly take up reform legislation because it couldn’t trust Mr. Obama to carry out said legislation.

.. Along the way, Republican candidates continued to play to their base’s darker impulses. On the whole, the rhetoric was subtler than that of the current president

.. Steve King, Republican of Iowa, painting Dreamers as drug mules with “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

.. Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama: “I’ll do anything short of shooting them”

.. Nor was Mr. Trump the first Republican to promote the idea that within every immigrant lurks a murderer or terrorist.

.. Louie Gohmert, Republican of Texas, ran around warning of what came to be mocked as the great “terror baby” plot. As Mr. Gohmert told it, radical Islamists were plotting to impregnate droves of young women, who would infiltrate the United States to give birth here. The babies would be shipped back home for terrorist training, then return as adults to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting America.

.. Time and again, given the choice between soothing and stoking nativist animus, Republican lawmakers chose the low road.

.. And he has even less interest in addressing the root causes of migrant families flocking to the border.

.. In 2016, the Department of Homeland Security reported, “More individuals sought affirmative asylum from the Northern Triangle Countries (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) in the last three years than in the prior 15 years combined.”

.. Helping these nations stabilize themselves is key to reducing the flow of asylum seekers. But Mr.

Trump does not like complexity or long-term strategizing.

He prefers casting blame and making threats. 

.. In the administration’s budget proposals, it has sought deep cuts in aid to these countries — something Congress has wisely ignored. Removing a financial lifeline from nations already in chaos is hardly a recipe for progress.

.. Mr. Trump’s move to kick out as many people who are from these countries as possible threatens to overwhelm nations ill equipped for such an influx. And without the money that many of the immigrants living here regularly send back to their families, the economies of these countries would further crumble.

.. In 2016, 17 percent of El Salvador’s gross domestic product came from remittances from abroad.

.. America’s immigration mess is not going to be cleaned up anytime soon.

.. conservatives are terrified that the base will punish them if they concede even an inch. Speaker Paul Ryan, with one foot out the door, has no juice. And pretty much everyone assumes that nothing will move through the Senate anyway.

.. Trump is planning fresh crackdowns in the run-up to the midterms, to reassure his base that he has not lost his resolve. If anything, given the fragility of his ego, last week’s flip-flop will make him all the more desperate to prove his strength.

.. Mr. Trump is more a breaker than a fixer.

.. The question now is whether the conference will learn anything useful from this episode.

.. There is also his

  • politicization of law enforcement, his
  • attempts to undermine public faith in the democratic process, his
  • attacks on the press, his
  • family’s suspect business dealings and his
  • habitual lying

.. this is unlikely to be the last time the president puts members of his party in an uncomfortable, and perhaps untenable, position.

.. The weight of this moment should be recognized. Mr. Trump’s capitulation was not a given. With a little less media scrutiny, fewer heartbreaking photos and fewer calls from angry voters, tent cities could have kept on filling with traumatized children.

.. Having done so much to pave the way for Mr. Trump and his immigration policies, they now owe it to the American people to help keep him in check.

Mitch McConnell is winning the long game

McConnell says:

The largest tax reduction in 31 years has contributed to the best economy in 18 years. Defense spending is up, many Dodd-Frank banking rules and the Obamacare individual mandate have been repealed. Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, blocked for 38 years, has been approved, as has a reconfigured National Labor Relations Board, a source of much Obama administration mischief. The Congressional Review Act, under which Congress can disapprove many regulations issued by federal agencies, has been used 19 times since it was enacted in 1996 — 18 of them during this Congress.

.. This, says McConnell, constitutes the best 18 months of center-right governance in his Senate career, which began when Ronald Reagan’s second term did. There also are the judges.

.. By preventing a vote on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland

.. McConnell ended the requirement of a supermajority to stop filibusters of Supreme Court nominees

.. To prevent Republicans from reciprocating with filibusters against Obama’s packing-by-enlargement of the nation’s second-most-important court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Democrats changed Senate rules to bar filibusters of judicial nominees other than those for the Supreme Court. McConnell removed that pointless exemption to make possible the confirmation of Neil M. Gorsuch.

.. But without filibusters of legislation, he says, the nation might have socialized medicine, guaranteed government jobs, card-check workplace unionization, a ban on right-to-work laws, and other afflictions.

.. since popular election of senators began in 1914, Republicans have never had more than 60 senators.

.. Almost 30 years after the end of his presidency, Reagan still shapes events because of his nomination of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who often has been 20 percent of a court majority. Three decades from now, McConnell will be shaping the nation through judges who today are in their 40s, some of whom might be destined to be Gorsuch’s colleagues. This is the long game.

A Ford Exec Who Took the Long View

Populism could intensify if corporate tax cuts don’t yield benefits for workers.

Miller made Ford take automobile safety seriously while General Motors lagged behind. The choice cost Ford sales because some customers balked at paying for innovative equipment such as seat belts. Miller defended his policy as the right thing to do and said corporate leaders should always ask themselves whether they were willing to have their decisions publicly reported. Volkswagen executives have paid dearly for ignoring this advice, and they are not alone.

.. I wonder how many of today’s executives would be prepared to sacrifice sales and profits to do the right thing. Most of them have been taught that maximizing shareholder value is their sole responsibility—and if this means ignoring the needs of workers and the well-being of local communities, so be it.

.. The bills’ drafters are assuming that executives will use these funds to invest in their businesses.

But that’s not what happened the last time this was done, in 2004, when corporations were allowed to bring back overseas assets if they paid a tax of only 5%. During the next three years, the 15 companies that repatriated the most raised salaries for senior executives, cut more than 20,000 jobs, decreased investment in research, and expanded dividends and stock buybacks. All this happened despite the letter of the law, which specified that the funds be used for investing in research and the workforce and prohibited their use for compensating executives and repurchasing stock.

.. If these bills pass, average Americans will expect something in return—higher wages, better working conditions, and more opportunities for their children. If corporations take the money and run, public retribution will be severe.

.. America needs a new era of broad-minded, socially aware corporate leaders who understand the long-term relationship between the well-being of their companies and the well-being of their country.

.. An environment in which profits soar while wages stagnate may make for satisfied shareholders. But the revolt against the arrangements that sustain this imbalance is already under way. Today the targets are immigration and trade treaties. Tomorrow the demands could include restrictions on the ability of corporations to shutter plants and fire workers at will. The day after tomorrow, if massive corporate tax cuts yield no benefits for workers, we could see an intensified revolt against elites, not only cultural elites, but the captains of industry and finance as well.

Taking the long view is self-interest rightly understood. It means refraining from squeezing the last bit of profit out of your business right now in order to secure a flow of profit over time. The economy rests on a set of political arrangements that the people can revise and—if things get bad enough—upend.

Tillerson Balances Trump’s Goals With His Own

In interview, secretary of state reflects on his role in administration, warns China on trade and territory

 “Most of the things he would do would be done on very short time frames. Everything I spent my life doing was done on 10- to 20-year time frames, so I am quite comfortable thinking in those terms.”

His solution: “Delivering the incremental wins,” he said. “Incremental progress is taking you toward the ultimate objective, which is, as I say is eight, 10 years down the road.”’

.. Mr. Tillerson said one of his top long-term priorities is shifting the balance of the trade and national-security relationship with China

.. Mr. Tillerson warned China that the U.S. has an arsenal of economic weapons to force Beijing to address trade imbalances and a continuing territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

 .. “We can do this one of two ways,” Mr. Tillerson said during the interview, seeming at times to speak directly to his Chinese counterparts. “We can do it cooperatively and collaboratively, or we can do it by taking actions and letting you react to that.”

Tools he might apply include tariffs, World Trade Organization actions, quotas and other mechanisms, he said.

.. If I were a world leader—doesn’t matter who—I wouldn’t talk to Tillerson,” said Larry Wilkerson, who was chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, citing the public divide between the two men. “The president must feel that this person can do the work for him…this is not the case here. It’s becoming antagonistic.”

.. Mr. Trump has also disparaged his top diplomat, complaining that Mr. Tillerson doesn’t understand his “Make America Great” philosophy and has few original thoughts. “Totally establishment in his thinking,” he has told aides.

.. “I believe you solve a problem in Afghanistan not by just dealing with Afghanistan,” he said. “You solve it by solving a regional problem, and that’s the way we’re looking at the Middle East.”

.. said he spends the bulk of his time concentrating on North Korea, Iran, counterterrorism, China and Russia.

 

Silicon Valley Vs. Wall Street: Can the New Long-Term Stock Exchange Disrupt Capitalism?

Tech luminaries back new exchange that rewards shares with more voting power the longer investors own them

..  the voting power of shares increases the longer investors own them. Firms listed on the exchange would need to use such a structure, often called “tenure voting,” while abiding by numerous other rules, such as a ban on tying executive pay to the company’s short-term financial performance.
.. skeptics wonder whether the LTSE is just another way for tech founders and elite Silicon Valley investors to maintain control at the expense of other shareholders. One leading New York hedge-fund manager who asked not to be named called tenure voting “disgusting” and said it would enable managers to duck accountability.
.. The LTSE is funded by a range of venture-capital firms, led by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, SV Angel and Greylock Partners, and individual investors including former Twitter Inc. CEO Dick Costolo, AOL co-founder Steve Case and Groupon Inc. founder Andrew Mason. The firm says it has raised $19 million from around 70 investors in all.
.. SEC Chairman Jay Clayton .. has voiced concerns about the nearly 50% drop in the number of U.S. public companies over the past two decades—a trend that is partly due to companies choosing to stay private for longer.
.. executives’ bonuses couldn’t be tied to financial-performance targets over periods of less than one year. If the executives are paid in company stock, the shares couldn’t fully vest for at least five years.
.. they would be barred from releasing quarterly earnings guidance
.. the voting power of his or her shares would grow over time, capped at 10 times the power of ordinary common stock after a decade.
.. The voting structure will depress the share price of any company listed on the LTSE, said Neal Wolkoff, former CEO of the American Stock Exchange. “Fewer people will want to buy into a company where there’s entrenched management,” he said.
..  In his view, tenure voting is better than the solution favored by some Silicon Valley firms: severely limiting the voting power of ordinary shareholders through two or more share classes.

Snap Inc., for instance, has a controversial multiple-class share structure in which shareholders who buy the company’s common stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange don’t get voting rights at all.

Shields and Brooks on Trump dismantling Obama’s achievements, Puerto Rico in need

Trump is more aggressive than just about anyone in the administration.  They are trying to restrain him.

 

Bannon is thinking on another time frame.  .. He’s thinking 50 years ahead.

Bannon is thinking a long game, picking off a few Republicans.

Congress is fearful of the Trump base in the primary.  The more Roy Moores the are the more fear, and more party discipline.

Why Most Economists Are So Worried About Trump

at the annual conference of economists last weekend in Chicago, the major theme was a sense of anxiety about the incoming Trump administration. This foreboding was evident in roughly equal measure among conservative and liberal economists. But it is in direct contrast with the feelings of small-business owners and Wall Street traders.

.. And partly this reflects Mr. Trump’s appointments. Few of his key economic advisers have any economics training, and the only official who identifies as an economist — Peter Navarro, who earned a Harvard Ph.D. in economics and will head up the newly formed National Trade Council — stands so far outside the mainstream that he endorses few of the key tenets of the profession.

.. Over three days of intense discussions, I didn’t encounter a single economist who expressed optimism that Mr. Trump’s administration would be good for the economy. The optimists were those who thought Mr. Trump would not have the energy to actually implement his agenda; the pessimists’ thoughts veered toward disaster.

.. It also puts economists at odds with the judgments of small-business owners.

.. One possibility is that Mr. Trump remains something of an unknown, and each group is filling in the blanks differently. Small businesses, pleased to see a businessman in the White House, might be tempted to believe the best.

.. Mr. Trump’s anti-regulatory zeal may help businesses but hurt workers; his anti-trade agenda could help sellers but hurt buyers; and his instincts to protect existing jobs may advantage existing businesses at the expense of the next generation of entrepreneurs.

.. Or perhaps the optimism of small-business owners is about what they think is most likely to happen, particularly in the short run. My conversations with economists revealed them to be more focused on the long run, particularly on the risk of really bad outcomes. By this view, the short-term optimism may be well placed, but should be juxtaposed with the possibility of a trade war, a catastrophic economic decision like defaulting on the national debt or a foreign policy disaster.

.. Mr. Trump’s populist pose assigns less value to economic expertise, while also creating the conditions under which it’s most likely to be needed.