Readers: some of the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Entries addressing events in the The future assume there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.
Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US. Most recent sense check, ENTRY #387.
Some of the entries are part of a series. Several series are available as easy-to-read booklets for download:
- Working with Lee Iacocca after he left Chrysler, 2019Q3 Iacocca Personal Observations.
- GM EV1 — behind-the-scenes events affecting development and introduction of the GM EV1, the first modern electric vehicle. 2020Q1 GM EV-1 Story Behind the Story Booklet
- Coming technology tsunami and the implications for the US, Tech Tsunami Booklet with Supplement
- Trump Supporters Brainwashed? A series discussing why Republics have abandoned basic principals, Are Trump Republicans Brainwashed 2020Q1
- Who took out the Donald? Who/what groups are most likely to “take out” Trump? Who Took Out the Donald Entries with Update
- Revenge Revolution — description of what form the revolution might take, 20 01 07 Start of Revolution
Prelude to the current series of entries: I’ve concluded Trump is a lunatic and the administration filled with lapdogs save a couple of people at CDC. Instead of wasting time commenting on actions by Trump, I thought it more productive to begin discussing what happens in the US once the coronavirus is more under control. #378 began the series. At this point not sure how many entries. Comments and suggestions welcome.
ENTRY #390: One of the more positive events the last couple of weeks was Snoopy’s birthday. Yes, that Snoopy. You know the great philosopher whose many friends and admirers include Lucy, Woodstock and Linus.
More seriously, the past weeks have been mind-wrecking. Coronavirus aside, Congressional Senate Republicans have all but disappeared from the landscape. Based on different credible news sources, no Republicans in the Senate, especially Mitch McConnell, were involved in the now stalled negotiations to extend government support for those whose economic well-being has been hit hard by Covid-19.
Trump became the de facto Republican negotiator. The outcome was no surprise. Trump has proved repeatedly – in private and public life – to be one of the world’s worst negotiators. He maintained that pattern during these negotiations.
Always wanting someone to blame rather than working with someone to solve a problem, Trump and his brain-dead band of Munchkins refused to cut a deal with house Democrats. Trump claimed the Democrats were at fault even though the House passed phase two of an economic recovery package in May.
McConnell, who may star in the sequel to “Dr. No,” refused to have any hearings on the House-passed bill or participate in negotiations. Ah, isn’t it wonderful to play the fiddle while Rome burns? Dilbert recently coined a new Covid-19 phrase that could be applied to McConnell’s behavior, “What a maskhole!”
So as McConnell fiddled instead of negotiating, Trump again declared himself king. This time the self-declared king signed several half-baked Executive Orders that will do nothing to help those in need but seemingly will reinforce Trump’s image with his base as “solving the economic recovery problem.” If his base only understood as much about economics as most 4th graders understand.
One half-baked Executive Order of his was to suspend Social Security withholding tax. First, people who are working are not the bulk of the problem. People who aren’t working or working very little need economic assistance. At least those working have an income. Second, the withholding tax was to be “suspended” not eliminated.
As president, Trump has no power to change the tax law, especially with an Executive Order. So what does a “suspended withholding tax” mean? The money that should have been withheld from paychecks needs to be repaid. Thus, Trump’s Executive Order gave workers an opportunity to loan themselves money that they must repay. Let me repeat, if his base only understood as much about economics as most 4th graders understand…
Suspending withholding tax seems fair, right? Mmm, maybe not. Let’s see, workers get a loan they must repay while business owners get a loan from the federal government to pay workers and use for other expenses, but that loan doesn’t have to be repaid. No such gift for the workers.
If you completed a survey of how many Trump supporters understood how Trump’s Executive Order really affected them, I’ll bet the total would be less than 5%. Why they continue to support actions by Trump that are not in their economic best interest is beyond me.
Trump’s nonsensical behavior and the abdication by Republican Senators of any responsibility to help the public does not bode well for the US post- 2020 election. A Trump re-election would likely result in ever more dictatorial tirades. Some of his claims of late, as one reporter noted wryly, would make North Korea’s Kim Jung-un blush with embarrassment. Attorney General Bill Barr seems equally bent on promoting an authoritarian-led Trump regime.
If Trump is re-elected and Republicans hold the Senate, another US civil war seems certain. Yes, civil war with armed conflicts and attacks on segments of society deemed to be “Never Trumpers.”
If Biden wins, he and Kamala Harris will have an incredibly tough road ahead, even if the Democrats win back the Senate. The damage done by Trump, Barr, Pompeo and their cronies can be repaired, but…
Think of how long it takes to repair something – house, car, relationship – compared to the time it takes to cause the damage. What’s the time difference between time to break and time to repair? To repair takes probably ten times as long, or longer.
So, if Trump is re-elected and the US experiences a severe Revenge Revolution, or if Biden is elected and the US experiences a mild Revenge Revolution, the country is going to face a decade or possibly two decades before the damage from Trump can be repaired. Repairing damage to some international relationships could take even longer.
Compounding the repair efforts will be demands to address societal issues caused by racism. Effectively addressing issues caused by racism may be more complex than repairing Trump-related damage.
People who think some government actions or more laws will make racism disappear are being foolhardy. Racism, and not just racism directed at blacks, has been around for thousands of years. For centuries, people outside one’s circle – immediate family, local community, ethnic background, religion, etc. – have viewed others with suspicion and often discriminated against them. No law is going to change such attitudes.
The demands that something be done right now to address issues caused by racism are understandable but very likely those demands will divert time and valuable financial resources from the effort to repair the economy, educational system, political system, infrastructure and other critical items which need to be repaired now. In fact, one could argue rationally that without significant progress in repairing the Trump-caused damage, efforts to address racism will be for naught, and could even backfire.
The best solution for minorities to address the effects of racism, seems to be as it has always been for minorities – education, Education when supported by one’s community begets economic opportunity. Consider the recommended approach racist if you want.
My view is members of the black community need to take the initiative to help one another. The Black Lives Matter and other movements would do well to study the pattern of how every other ethnic group that migrated out of poverty.
There are many wealthy blacks who can support such an effort, from athletes to entertainers to business people. We need fair and equal enforcement of the law for sure. But, it is also time for blacks to look in the mirror and begin to take charge of their destiny.
Significant progress might take two or even three generations. A journey of a 1,000 miles begins with one step.
As far as demands for reparations, my view is be careful what you ask for and especially be careful of what you demand. Reparations might make some people feel better in the short terms. Keep in mind reparations are a superficial solution that does not solve the underlying problem. A good sense check for reparation would be to research the lives of lottery winners for say 5-6 years following their so-called lucky day.
Real change takes time. Real change takes commitment to change. Real change takes hard work. Respect must be earned. Respect cannot be legislated.
Next time: discussion of actions to address climate change post-Revenge Revolution.