Suicide By Trump

In a life filled with countless mistakes, voting for Donald Trump is easily the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. Such has been my horror at the God-Emperor’s actions since taking office, I almost forgot there was a Plan B when I stepped into the voting booth.

Plan B was this: Should Trump actually turn out to be the baboon’s ass with a bad hairpiece his detractors claimed him to be, he would almost assuredly destroy the Republican party. With the recent passage by the Republican-led House and Senate of the wildest reverse-Robin Hood tax “reform” since President Ronald Alzheimer’s Reagan trickled down all over America, Plan B is now in full effect.

My Plan B presupposes the Democratic Party went down in flames by foisting pre-ordained candidate Hillary “We came, we saw, he died” Clinton on a base that clearly preferred the openly socialist Jewish grandfather I never had, Bernie Sanders. After 10 months of the clearly lithium-addled President Trump’s tweets and speeches, it’s undisputed by most experts that my Jewish grandfather would have kicked his fucking ass in the general election.

And now the Republican Party has done gone and committed suicide by Trump.

How exactly the Republican Party has killed itself may not be immediately apparent here where I live in Hannityville. Here in Hannityville, the steadily eroding rural United States that hasn’t yet recovered from the Great Recession, we pride ourselves on self reliance, but rely on substantial government largess, state and federal, to compete in a political economy now pretty much based on game theory.

Everyone wants to be a winner, but we’re all losing out here, aren’t we? So we take it out on the losers less than us, the blacks, the illegal immigrants the poor white trash roaming the streets in search of the next fix—the one thing that will make the grotesque apparition that is their chaotic reality dissipate—patting ourselves on the back for giving the vagrants a bus ride out of town.

We pass laws banishing the weak and deny that it makes us weaker. We call ourselves Christians, but live in what existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre called “Bad Faith.” We forget that without that government largesse, we’re pretty much fucking doomed, as far as developing a vibrant rural economy in the United States is concerned.

The Republican House and Senate just cut off that largess, by eliminating the federal deduction for mortgages and state taxes in blue states such as I live in, California, and canceling Obamacare’s individual mandate, which amounts to a tax increase on all health insurance polices for the middle class. That means less dollars in middle class pockets to spend locally. Take that to your local mall, if it’s still open.

In addition, both the House and Senate bills add an estimated $1.5 trillion to the now $20 trillion national debt over the next 10 years, which tells you how desperate Trump and the Republican party were for a “win” after losing for 10 straight months.

The negative effects of these measures—and countless others hidden in a 500-page bill no member of the Senate read in its entirety before voting on—won’t be felt until after the 2018 elections. That’s why right-wing radio host and alleged Christian Glenn Beck, after roaring that, “This tax bill is an abomination!” on his program last week, said, “I’ll take it.”

This sort of cockamamie bullshit is beamed into every nook and cranny in Hannityville via public radio airwaves, starting at 6 a.m. and continuing until at least 9 p.m., 365 days per year. It’s all about winning. It’s infectious and I freely admit it has infected even me. Nothing sounds more convincing than a trained professional trying to sound convincing.

The thing is, winning is winning, and rural America is kaput. It’s not going down. It’s down. Sooner or later, more likely sooner, since this has been going on through the years of Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2, Obama and now Trump, rural America is going to wake up. The tax reform just passed by the Republican House and Senate will kill Hannityville, and you can’t help but feel it’s by design.

In the New World Order, who needs country folk anyway?

R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas.
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84 Responses

  1. Rev.Christopher Whedon says:

    Sort of like the story of the Frozen Snake! An old lady finds a frozen Rattler on her porch and thinks “Oh Dear” so she brings it into the house and puts it in a basket near the fire.It warms and is resting when the old woman said it was warmer outside, it could go.As she placed the snake on the sun-warmed walkway it turned and bit her. As she lay dying she asked the snake why, after she saved its life did it kill her. The snake replied “you knew I was a snake when you took me in.I just did what snakes do!”
    Trump has always been a snke and we all knew it but we stupidly made him out president anyway!

    • Nice analogy padre! I once cut the head off a rattler, put the body in the freezer cause I was going to eat it later, and the next day the thing was still squirming. Also, didn’t Trump have his own “The Snake” story on the campaign trail?

  2. cheyenne says:

    RV, like you I had high hopes that Trump would shake up the business as usual politics of Clinton. Like you I see #45 has destroyed the GOP but I think the DNC, like Steve Towers said, has their own circular firing squad going. But my one saving grace is I did not vote for Trump. When I stepped in that booth I already knew I wasn’t voting for HRC but I could not bring myself to vote for Trump. So I wrote in Mitt Romney.
    But while I see a lot of posting about what Trump will do on these pages I see nothing about confronting your own House Representative, up for reelection next year, about voting on the tax cuts, which have not been finalized yet. Even here in the safest House seat in the nation Wyoming representative Liz Cheney meets at public functions. The Republicans are running scared, as has been shown in recent elections, but are the Democrats going to field another Pelosi clone or get a real candidate?

    • Being that I’m in California, my Trump vote didn’t count for much. It was more anti-Clinton than pro-Trump, like you say.

      I purposely left the Democrats out of this because there is no sign that they have any clue when it comes to stopping Trump. There’s no youthful leaders ready to step forward and pick up Sanders’ mantle. I”m not sure they can take advantage of this moment.

      I have been urging the people in my networks, many of whom live in the big cities and have legislators with safe blue seats, to contact rural Representatives such as ours, Doug LaMalfa, and ask them why they’re destroying small town California.

  3. Chuck Prudhomme Chuck Prudhomme says:

    Great tell it like it is article! As a retired military officer and combat veteran I believe Trump is rapidly becoming a security risk to our nation!

    • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

      That’s my number one concern about Trump. The last thing we need is a shoot-from-the-hip guy who ignores his intelligence assets as commander-in-chief.

    • Chuck Prudhomme Chuck Prudhomme says:

      My primary security concerns about Trump revolve around North Korea and their fanatical government and leader. I spent a year there in the mid 70’s flying DMZ patrols and became quite familiar with the threat! Wheather they have a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the states or not, they are entirely capable of launching a nuclear strike against South Korea which could kill millions and threaten 30,000 US Troops stationed there! I am concerned about nuclear fallout from the prevailing winds which run down the entire West Coast! The childish rhetoric from both sides is a powder keg!

    • That he is commander-in-chief is very frightening, and could potentially involve us in new conflicts in Iran and North Korea. I do not trust Trump and his sycophantic generals to make sound decisions.

  4. Damon Miller says:

    Holy shit, R.V. Scheide got woke!

  5. Bob Higgins says:

    Trump hasn’t done anything to the Rep party. They’re their own worst enemy and have been long before he took over.
    I do find it entertaining, however, that any “anti-Trump” stuff ends up “above the fold”. lololol

    • Bob, Bob, Bob. All our lead stories appear “above the fold” — which is were you found R.V.’s previous pro-Trump columns. Remember?

      As I’ve said many, many times, we welcome you to submit your own opinion piece to A News Cafe.com.

      • Bob Higgins says:

        Doni, Doni, Doni: If you’ll go back and count the articles re conservative issues v. liberal…..here’s a bet: it’ll be overwhelming.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          Bob — Assuming the ratio you posit reflects reality*, it might exist in part because you refuse to take Doni up on her repeated offer. I’ll tell you what—if the issue is that you’re insecure about your writing, I’ll be your editor. I promise to do my best, and not alter your meaning. You get final say on the version that goes to Doni (who always gets final editorial say, I assume).

          You can’t blame Doni for your ongoing refusal to step up to the plate and take your hacks.

          *Does your “overwhelming” ratio reflect reality? R.V. sure wrote a lot of pro-Trump columns, and his columns attract a lot of attention. If the coins of the realm are views and comments……

    • I agree with you on one level Bob, the Republican Party has been its own worst enemy for a long time. What’s difference this time is the party’s worst elements have risen to the top and are now crafting policy. If Trump had openly run as a Tea Party candidate–he’s basically a Tea Party president now–he would have gotten creamed. He lied, he pretended to be moderate, especially on domestic policy.

  6. conservative says:

    What if pro growth tax reform is a success? Republicans will probably lose a few seats in 2018, but hold the House and Senate. Given his age, Trump may be a one term president. Trump is a businessman with an MBA and succession planning is an important consideration in management. The 2020 election will be about the economy, like usual. Demographics favor the Republicans in 2018 and 2020 as baby boomers usually vote 60% Republican and have high turnout.

    If pro growth tax reform does not deliver, Democrats could win the House, then the Senate, then the White House and Supreme court, repeating the process which started in 2009 when the economic policies of Obama-Reid-Pelosi, combined with demographics, made the Democratic party out of power.

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      Predictions:

      1. The Senate and House GOP tax bills will cruise through reconciliation and get signed by Trump.

      2. Since the economy is cooking at a pace that has prompted the Fed to raise interest rates twice this year, any stimulus caused by the tax cuts will result in additional interest rate hikes to curb inflation.

      3. Higher interest rates will result in real estate values in California dropping as it become less affordable.

      4. People in Shasta County—where home ownership represents a significant percentage of wealth—will see their net wealth decline as a result of housing values declining.

      5. Most locals who voted for Trump (and LaMalfa) won’t understand the connections between any of the above, and will believe their $0 to $300 tax cut are awesome.

      6. To pay for the huge tax cuts for the wealthy, the GOP will inflict fees and other costs to the middle and working classes that add up to tenfold the minimal tax cuts to the middle class. (They’re already doing this.)

      Chumps.

    • Here’s my one sure-fire prediction for 2020: The stock market will surely implode spectacularly by then, it’s already overdo for a major correction, and Trump will get the blame.

      There is no economic evidence that corporate tax cuts boost the economy, and plenty of evidence that shows they do the opposite. Here’s a good roundup of the most recent data at Naked Capitalism.

      https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/12/123318.html

  7. Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

    I’m about two-thirds of the way through this piece, and I had to pause to say and there’s so much insight and humor and great writing in this essay that I don’t know whether to laugh or weep. I’m positively envious.

    • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

      I had much the same reaction. In fact, I don’t think I like R.V. anymore. The damn gall.

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      R.V., I’ve finished the article, and the one place where we part company is where you conclude that rural America is going to wake up and smell the coffee. At this point in his first term, Trump has the worst poll numbers in history.

      But that 35% who still back Trump seem to be rock-solid supporters, out of meanness and dumbness and Fox/talk radio indoctrination, and they’re our neighbors. I don’t see rural America waking up to how badly they’re getting screwed. I don’t see urban working-class white guy waking up, either.

    • Thanks guys. This is one of those ones where the headline writes the story. I wish they happened more often cause they’re easier to write!

      Will we wake up and smell the coffee? I want a happy ending, so I sure hope so. That thing you said recently about being stuck with Trump’s supreme court picks for life really got to me. I may spend the rest of my life in Shasta County, but the idea of spending the rest of my life here knowing that it will never change is … daunting.

      I do think one solution is more media outlets, like, for example, ANewsCafe.com, to combat the proliferation of narrow-banded right wing commentary, on radio as well as TV (Sinclair’s acquisition of several major northern California stations is a gloomy prospect) soaked up by the citizenry on a daily basis.

      Good lord, the Record Searchlight actually called the RPD’s recent bum’s rush a “quality of life sweep” in the headline. Merry Christmas, losers!

  8. Jim Gore says:

    I just watched ‘Saving Capitalism’ on Netflix last night, which contained the best explanation I’ve encountered yet about how we got here. The heart of that explanation wasn’t that it’s Democrats vs Republicans, it’s corporations and the super rich vs the remainder. I didn’t realize how recently corporations have been set free to control the political process and the rule making, to their benefit.

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      A good share of the reasons why Hillary lost is that people sense that the Clintons are fully on board with “corporate America comes first.” Hillary was not going to kick corporate America’s shins, nor remove a glove from her hand and slap Wall Street’s face with it. She represented the status quo. For much of America, the status quo sucks, and like R.V., they took a chance and rolled the dice on Trump.

      They were right—Trump’s certainly not the status quo. Instead, he’s an unhinged, delusional, authoritarian snake-oil salesman whose only motivations seem to be self-benefit and self-aggrandizement.

    • The Republican’s proposed tax cuts will cause even more extreme income inequality according to virtually every respected economist who’s weighed in on it. This is not what Trump said he would do, which by now I’m used to, because he’s betrayed just about everything and everyone besides Alt-Right neo-nazis, evangelicals and oligarchs. Even if the stock market doesn’t crash before 2020, and it will, Trump cannot win re-election. The Republican base will be too small.

    • Tim says:

      Crony Capitalism is not a recent problem, it is our original sin. Only ~5% of Southerners (and virtually no Northerners) owned slaves, but our Constitution was tailored to the concerns of slave owners. Only ~20% of Northerners worked in manufacturing (and virtually no Southerners), but that minority benefited greatly from protective tariffs. From the outset, civil servants received jobs based on the Spoils System and the politically powerful got sweetheart deals to help the rich become wealthy (even Honest Abe partook in a little subsidized land speculation).

      History may not repeat, but it sure rhymes…

      And while Reich (reluctantly) criticizes Bill Clinton for his part in widening income equality, he skips over Obama entirely – despite the biggest class divergence in “wage growth” occurring during his presidency. Because of Obamacare, many employers cut hours to keep employees under the full time threshold. Others replaced wage-earning employees with non wage-earning 1099 contractors. And the rest of the wage earners? What they gave up in wage gains, they generally gained in healthcare benefits.

      A more intellectually honest graph would have compared gains in total compensation…

  9. conservative says:

    I am very happy I moved to Nevada. California’s numbers don’t look good. I run into many ex-Californians who are happy to leave the drugs and crime. The Bee has reported the number of 1099s from Calpers annuitants who live out of state and the destination states. The IRS reports the net loss of adjusted gross income dollars, exemptions and tax returns. Gary Cadd keeps warning that Redding faces municipal bankruptcy due to government employee pensions and the shift to online shopping. He would be more effective if he moved to another state.

    As a former poll worker, I study the statement of vote on the Shasta County website. At the precincts where I worked, more people dropped off their mail ballots than filling them out at the polling site. For democrats to win in Shasta county, a lot of taxpayers are going to have to move away, die or become too ill to vote.

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      Nevada’s prosperity relies in large part on sticking its straw in California’s milkshake. Last year, California’s economy surged to become the 6th largest in the world. I think you’re conflating prosperous blue California with drag-ass red Shasta County, where indeed, the numbers never look good compared with the more liberal counties.

    • Some people like Nevada. I lived there for a while. I thought it was a hell hole and left.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        I could probably live in the Carson City and be okay with it. Definitely the Nevada shore of Tahoe—Glenbrook (if I’d only been born into old San Francisco money!) or Incline Village. I’ll take a pass on the rest of Nevada. Nice to visit—wouldn’t wanna live there.

  10. Common Sense says:

    They say it Much Easier to Dupe People than it is to Convince them they have Been Duped! R.V….nice to have you back to Clarity of thought! This whole last year has been a Wake up Call for many…..If you are Christian and Support Ray Moore and voted for Trump Because he is a supposed Christian….you might want to do a self check.
    The sad fact is…the approx 30 something percent don’t….and won’t get it…..they don’t have the mental horsepower to get it….if trump told them to all go jump off the cliff because there was a million dollars waiting for each of them at the bottom…..well…..

    The Republican party has done this to themselves……Trump didn’t do all this Damage to them in one year……When you sell out children and millions on their health care and slash and burn Medicare/SS etc…..don’t tell me for one minute that you are making America Great Again….you are paying back the Rich that Got you elected and paying back favors….all to WIN!

    • It’s that 30 percent number we’ve got to work on. If we can get it down to 15 percent … It’s hard to get a feel for it sometimes. I was pleased to see the mean-spirited attempt to recall the two Redding city council members failed to gain enough signatures and took it as a sign that there may be more nice, reasonable people in Shasta County than we realize. This constant campaign against the homeless and criminal vagrants makes us look very, very bad to the outside world.

      • K. Beck says:

        Forget about that 30% R. V. When I first moved to Redding I attended a “Town Meeting” with Wally Herger…remember him? What a set up that was! Anyway, I was there with a room full of Tea Party members. The room was full of gray heads. When Herger started dumping on SS everyone was elated. Since I was there by myself (in all aspects!) I said to myself, loud enough for the people sitting around me to hear, “Gee, no one in this room wants their Social Security check?” Necks snaped! The people sitting in hearing distance were giving me dirty looks. I think they don’t even know the money they receive every month comes from the Social Security Dept. Forget about the 30% you will never get through to them. Work on registering voters and getting out the vote of those you know are on your side.

        • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

          I was getting my haircut the other day at an old school barber shop, and the older lady cutting my hair was a Roy Moore supporter, because Democrats are communist. I told her the Republicans were going to take her social security and medicare away, and she said, I’m not making this up, “They’d never do that, it would be suicide.”

          • K. Beck says:

            Thanks. I have had WAY TOO MANY of these conversations in Redding. Forget about them, you will never convince them. Look for the more rational from the other side, and then realize they will think you need to be converted. At least you can have a reasonably interesting conversation! : )

  11. Ken Magri says:

    A New York taxi driver’s quote that relates to R.V.’s mea culpa: “Democracy is so everybody can share the blame.” My shortcoming was failing to believe Bernie could win. Nice, honest writing, as usual.

    • Why thank you Ken! During the primaries, I could see that only two candidates were attempting to woo the white working class with a populist message: Sanders and Trump. HRC could have responded by appealing to those same voters, but deliberately chose not to. It was a crucial tactical error, and combined with the DNC’s manipulation of the primary process, the party ended up with a deeply flawed candidate who was not prepared to seize the moment, because she felt entitled to it in the first place.

  12. Frank Treadway says:

    The Right of Red Capitol of the North, that being Shasta County, is on the verge, be it 2 or 4 years, of changing voter pattern…the Blue tide is moving to Shasta County and other northern counties. The cost of living and hubbub lifestyle has kicked in for the city dwellers. The political pendulum is swinging to the middle, get ready Right of Trump-ites. BTW, if you want to have a nightly lift, watch Colbert at 11:30p.

  13. Gary D Ault says:

    We can only hope their is enough backlash from voters to steer 5 or so Repub’s to vote no on the bill!

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      It’s a lovely thought, but I’m pretty sure that ship has sailed. Even if senators Collins and McCain flip, V.P. Pence would cast the deciding vote. The only other senators who even hinted at opposing the Senate version were pseudo-deficit hawks, and I doubt that the final bill will be radically less tasteful to them following reconciliation with the House version.

  14. Grammy says:

    Nether party is doing a righties job for its’ people. Wonder if the true problem is that politics has become a rich old white guys game. If you are a decent person, you do not stand a chance in the swamp that is Washington D>C>.
    Sad to listen to the news yesterday that basically said that anything the President did is legal because he is the President.
    We as the public would love to have the same health care, hair care, housing paid for, security, and “get out of jail card” that Washington players have.

  15. The Old Pretender says:

    Best article yet, RV. I appreciate your efforts to cleanse yourself of the stink of gullibility and rise above, but it is pervasive and constant as the corporate media continues to steer the conversation.
    This effort of yours is admirable.

    That there are still 30% among us who support the rights of corporations over citizens indicates the road back from ruin will be hard-fought. Even then, the remnants will not be much to build on.
    Eventually, we will eat the rich.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Your last sentence reminds me of a song by Cracker called, “Hey Brett (You Know What Time It Is). It’s about working class Californians. The last verse: “I ain’t no wobblie, no pinko commie, let’s fight the end times right now!” The song is in the voice of Trump’s people, once they finally figure out how badly they’ve been shafted.

      The song’s title is also the chorus, repeated many times—it’s a bit of an inside joke. David Lowery, Cracker’s singer/guitarist, was talking to Built to Spill guitarist Brett Netson in Cracker’s dressing room. Netson was looking at his cell phone and asked, “How will we know when it’s time to drag the rich and powerful from their cars?” Lowery replied, “You’ll get a text from us.” Instead, he put it in a song.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Thanks Pretender. Every one seems to agree it’s the ornery 1/3 that’s causing the trouble. Maybe if we gave THEM a tax break!

  16. Robert Scheide Sr says:

    PREPARE TO SUCK YOUR THUMB HARDER!
    We are approaching the end of a 30 year program to screw the middle class and destroy the country. Less we forget, this all started with Ronnie Reagan and his trickle down economics.. It was a brilliant strategy to turn the South to solid republican by riding the bible to victory.

    But that is history , but that is where Trumps 30% lives , and they still pound the bible just as hard.. Best example ,Roy Moore will probably win the Senate in Alabama, saying they don’t want a stinking democrat as their senator.. Nothing short of a A bomb will change them.

    An excellent place to say “I TOLD YOU SON” but I won’t do that because all the years RV has been a journalist we have fought like cats and dogs over damn near any topic. We really had rows over Trump but was not successful.. Must be getting old..

    To his credit, I would ask ? When is the last time you have seen a journalist come out and say he was wrong. .?

    Now we face the horror of what 30 years of trickle down economics will bring us.. The last straw was this horror of a tax bill that will finish destroying the middle class. The hidden things is this bill will bring pain to anybody riding Medicare, Medical, or Social Security , hidden is a 25% cut in all of these programs.. You don’t care you say, better start building that parent apartment onto your house as they will destroy nursing home coverage by their Medicaid cuts.. Been their done that and I am here to tell you it was not easy.

    Can we blame Trump , or he simply going to be the victim of the 80 year cycle.. Since the beginning of the US , every 80 years we have sunk into a depression followed by a war.. and yes it has been caused every time by the greed of the rich.. to see where we are headed simply look at the economy from 1920 to the Great Depression.. same deal, the rich wanted it all and wanted you to have enough to barely survive with enough energy to clean their houses and wash their cars. Oh wait they are building robots to do that so perhaps this time they will not even need us..

    We are and have been not a democracy for a very long time. We are a run by corporations and the rich who buy our politicians. They say the answer is to get money out of politics and I have yet to here how we would pull that off..

    A life long progressive , I can’t believe that the democratic party is the answer. My favorite progressive talk show host says that we can take over the democratic party , perhaps, but what would get them off the corporate tit after elected.. Those that fund them know they get back a hundred fold for every buck they put in.. How do you bet them odds, I haven’t a clue.

    If we can take a clue of what brought us out of the last depression we have to go back to the work force turning to unions once again to force the powers to be to pay an honest wage.. We need a government less bent on war machines and to throw tons of money to rebuilding our infrastructure . A couple billion less for defense would fund all of this and create enough demand to move us forward with vigor..

    • Mr. Scheide, I can see where R.V. junior gets his natural writing chops.

      And you ask a great question: “When is the last time you have seen a journalist come out and say he was wrong?”

      It’s rare. But then, I also think R.V. is a rare, wonderful guy, and an awesome journalist.

      • Robert Scheide Sr says:

        How could I disagree. I am always amazed at the topics he will tackle.. He makes me proud. I would hardly compare my chops with RV I murder the kings english often and have long forgotten the proper language the nuns pounded into me.. I make the excuse it’s the idea not the proper usage of the language .. Enjoy your site..

    • It’s swell to be back on the same page with you again Dad.

  17. Common Sense says:

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    Make Your Transportation Great Again!!

    https://redding.craigslist.org/for/d/vw-project/6402014576.html

  18. cheyenne says:

    When I lived in Shasta County every election I, and others, would be at the CSEA office on Hilltop Drive manning phone banks to promote Democrat candidates on the state level. Talking to conservatives about liberal candidates is a tough sell even when the Republican candidate is threatening to take their job. Have the voters in Shasta County become so lazy that promoting political change has come down to emailing, which the politicians don’t read anyway, their latest 5 or 10 point plan to improve Shasta County?

  19. Tim says:

    Would someone please show me, objectively, how the middle class is worse off after 30 years of “trickle-on-me economics?”

    Copied from my comment to Steve’s Bullpucky column:

    It is tempting to look back with nostalgia, but the good ol’ days weren’t all that good – especially if you weren’t male, didn’t have fair skin, and/or had a last name ending in “berg” or “stein.” And even if you were lucky enough to be a young white Christian man, you still had nearly a 1 in 3 chance of going to Vietnam.

    But let’s look at the actual numbers — how long did you have to work to buy various goods:
    item……………………….1960……..today
    pork chops, lb………….32min….9min
    sirloin, lb…………………27min….17min
    Burger McDs……………6min……3min
    dozen eggs……………….17min…..4min
    loaf of bread……………..6min……5min
    Levi’s Jeans……………..160min…119min
    banana, lb…………………3min……1min
    peaches, can……………..9min…….3min
    6pk dom beer…………….32min…..20min
    movie ticket……………….32min…..19min
    Week’s elec for 1 light…14min…..21sec
    Frd Falcon/Fusion……..1050hrs….805hrs
    1 sqft of home……………….5hrs……….4hrs

    That Ford Fusion has antilock brakes, traction control, front rear & side airbags, a backup camera, Bluetooth enabled radio, cruise control, power steering, air conditioning, dimming mirrors, 6-way adjustable seat, rear AC ducts, 6-speed automatic transmission and gets an honest 32mpg on the highway. That 1960 Ford Falcon had a 3 speed manual transmission, no AC, drum brakes with asbestos brake linings, no power steering, no power brakes, roll-up windows, etc.

    And that 1960 house? Probably no AC, no microwave, no dishwasher, no garbage disposal, no laundry, maybe a 1-car garage, lead paint, asbestos insulation, and it was half the square footage despite families being larger (3.4 vs 2.5 today).

    1960: $4007 median annual income, 41 hour avg workweek
    2016: $48665 median annual income, 37 hour avg workweek

    In 1970, 1 in every 9,000 workers died on the job. 1 in 9 were injured.
    Today, 1 in 42,000 workers die on the job, and 1 in 30 are injured in a given year.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Tim — Technological advances (mostly computers and robotics) have made America’s workforce far more efficient. Globalization (cheap labor and free trade) have made a lot of products cheaper. We have more free time, and stuff costs less.

      Does the Reagan Revolution really get the credit? To me, the phenomena you describe are common to the developed world, and much of the developing world. Does Reagan get credit for everything?

      Here in the USA we have more poverty, inferior health care, worse schools, more crime, less vacation time, and higher income and wealth disparity than nearly all of the other developed countries that have also enjoyed all of those fruits of technological advances and globalization.

      Not surprisingly, we’re less happy, too. Less happy than Northern Europeans, Canadians, Icelanders, Australians, New Zealanders……hell, we’re less happy than Israelis and Costa Ricans.

      And of course, when Reagan took office the national debt was less than $1 trillion dollars. The Reagan Revolution is largely built on creating the illusion of prosperity by running up the nation’s credit cards. Screw you, kids and grandkids. We got ours.

      • Tim says:

        You’re correct that Reagan deserves almost no credit for the gradual rising tide in our standards of living (and he derves an equal portion of blame for the perceived plight of the middle class). It seems what we’re really arguing about is not whether our lives are better or worse, but whether we are as well off as our neighbors.

        “Comparison is the thief of joy.” — Theodore Roosevelt

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          I think that quote is originally from Mark Twain, but I can imagine Teddy borrowing it. Yeah, comparison can be the thief of joy, especially if all you’re going to do is wring your hands and rend your clothing.

          But comparison can also be useful. It can be enlightening and energizing. If we weren’t so allergic to the practice, we’d realize that our health care system is deeply flawed. Compared with others, we get a lousy bang for the buck. A rational nation would recognize that others are doing it better, for far less. A rational nation would adopt one of those better programs for its own. A rational nation would recognize that it’s not wise to spend such a high percentage of the nation’s treasury on its military, confusing “national defense” with “world police.”

        • Robert Scheide Sr says:

          While prices have fallen wages have fallen even faster.. Look at consumer debt highest ever.. a lot are not better off a closer look is required

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Everything is wonderful. Sorry I wrote the article.

  20. Joanne Lobeski Snyder says:

    Thank you R.V. for an excellent article. I learned a lot from both the article and the responses to it. I’ve started reading the Naked Capitalism article you linked to. I’m heartened that there are people doing the research go determine the validity of some of the economic claims we are hearing.

  21. Common Sense says:

    History has a way of repeating itself….for those that have not learned….they get to repeat!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/11/30/im-a-depression-historian-the-gop-tax-bill-is-straight-out-of-1929/

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      That link was worth the effort to click and read. A succinct and fascinating account of where we’ve been, the tax bill’s “benefits” (:::cough:::) to the middle class vs. the donor class, and where we’re likely going.

  22. Vi Lam says:

    Perhaps it’s time to stop voting major party – Democrat or Republican. Both parties have not been doing their jobs, and haven’t been for years! This country could use several voices and ideas from some of the other political parties. Other countries around the world do so. Let’s try it, America.

    • Tim says:

      With the main parties nominating two of the most reviled candidates in history and the Libertarians nominating a reasonably electable pair of former Governors, it seemed like the perfect year for a third party breakout. Unfortunately, their chances were dashed once the *bi*partisan Commission on Presidential Debates ruled that a third party polling at 10% was not viable and couldn’t participate (Clinton & Trump were only polling at ~30%, so there were plenty of undecideds up for grabs).

  23. cheyenne says:

    As one who worked myself up from sleeping in my car behind the bushes on the Bay Shore Freeway south of SF, partying on every drug, and eventually working my way up, without any government handouts(they didn’t have them then), to the middle class, one truth I have found to be prevalent. The Republicans want to take my money and give it to the rich and the Democrats want to take my money and give it to the poor. Either way I am screwed.
    I do not blame anyone for me not being more financially set, those were my choices and nobody twisted my arm. Though sometimes I look fondly back on a time when my life consisted on finding the next party, and SF had lots.
    I do get a satisfaction out of watching both political parties implode. As Gene Hackman said in Mississippi Burning, rattlesnakes don’t commit suicide, they eat each other.

  24. K. Beck says:

    Great idea, however, you are swimming up stream. The US is based on a 2 party system (big mistake from the very beginning). The key is to pick your own local candidates who affiliate with one of the two major parties and fight like H*** to get them elected in the Primary. THEN beat on your party of choice to get them to fund the campaign. You will have to make sure your chosen candidate can generate donations outside the party.

    Once you have picked your candidate of choice be aware that the Party will then pick their own candidate and you will most likely lose the primary because the DNC will throw money at their choice. I have seen this happen so many times I have lost count. The party wants complete control. ALWAYS.

    As it stands now candidate choices are made in DC by the head honchos in each party. THEY pick THEIR candidates of choice. It is extremely difficult to fight with that.

    I was a Delegate to the CA State Dem Party for 10 years. I know how these things work.

    My real choice would be a Parliamentary system, but to get that we would have to throw out huge hunks of the Constitution and that would be a disaster given our current elected officials. We are really stuck with the 2 party system so we have to figure out how to make it work for US (us as a the people, and US as the United States).

  25. P. Johnsaon says:

    I don’t think I could add anything to all those comments, but I am thinking we might have elected the wrong person for President; however, what was the choice? It has been a long, long time since we had a good President _-Teddy Roosevelt? Well, I won’t elaborate, on that one.

  26. P. Johnsaon says:

    My reply is already posted as above. The last good President we had might have been Teddy Roosevelt. Won’t elaborate on that one. We all make mistakes, but the last big one might have been the worst.

  27. Semi-Retired says:

    Gosh, there sure are a lot of grammatical mistakes, for example: there, their and they’re all sound the same but have entirely different meanings. Can anyone differentiate between then and than? What really annoys me is using the singular contraction there’s followed by a plural when the proper use should be they’re.
    I am a musically illiterate guitar player, I make the same mistakes musically, I just don’t recognize them. Kinda like the pot calling the kettle black. Ha ha.
    That’s not what I’m writing about, this was just a quick observation. The stories on the channel 7 web page are really bad, it is as if they don’t have an editor and the writers all failed 3rd grade grammar and spelling. It is just another example of the dumbing down of the culture. I must be getting old and cranky.
    I voted for Hillary, not because I agreed with her positions but because I saw her as the only viable option to Trump. I would much rather have Hillary today than Trump. What scares me is if Trump goes down, we’ll be left with Pence. I just can’t picture Hillary engaging in the slash and burn politics the way Trump has.
    I really like the sentiment of the bumper sticker
    F*CK TRUMP and F*CK YOU IF YOU VOTED FOR HIM
    I have distanced myself from people I know who voted for Trump. And, some Trump voters do not talk to me anymore. They just seem so foreign to me almost evil. How can a supposedly civilized man boast about his ability to “Grab Pussy” whenever he wants to?
    Shasta County is RED and I just find it sad that so many people feel this way. I perceive RED as Republican and everything that is wrong with the Republican philosophy. For example: favoring corporations over individuals, the entire oligarchy complex of lobbying politicians for corporate benefits, the top 1% getting wealthy on the backs of everyone else…
    By the way, R.V. and Donnie, I am pleasantly surprised by the use of profanity to make a point, I find it refreshing. Bill Mahr has been doing it for years.

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      Since I agree with all your political sentiments, I’ll comment on your observation of what passes for writing and grammar – and I won’t even touch on punctuation. Semicolon? What’s that? My sister-in-law is a retired English teacher. She once said that she’s tempted to purchase a gross of red pens, mark all the errors in her local newspaper, and send the pages back to the editors. I saw a t-shirt that said, “I’m silently correcting your English.” I didn’t buy it but should have. I can’t bring myself to purchase a Ford since for years their motto has been, “Go Further.” How about PIN number or ATM machine or VIN number? And the correct usage of “he” or “him” following a singular noun is considered sexist by some so “they” is substituted. We would never accept an incorrect math computation (2 + 2 = 5 for example), but since we can still understand, “He has drove,” it’s not only commonly used but accepted. Our marvelous native tongue is at death’s door. Rant over. Blame it on insufficient sleep.

  28. This link is for folks who believe the propaganda that everything’s economically wonderful:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-09/david-stockman-lashes-out-mainstream-medias-peak-fantasy-time

    • cheyenne says:

      RV, here in Cheyenne the city ended up with $1.8 million in surplus after last years budget. They are giving 10% of the surplus as bonuses to all city employees. No city manager needed. Sales tax collections are up. It is no secret why, which I have sent pictures documenting it, fracking. I went to a farm auction southeast of Cheyenne and passed a half a dozen new rigs. And it is not just in Cheyenne but the entire Colorado front range is going fracking crazy. The cities are posting bans but, like I documented here in Cheyenne, the oil/gas money is buying politicians and getting the bans overturned. You can say Shasta County, depending on your view, is ether lucky or unlucky you have nothing anyone wants.

    • Tim says:

      RV: Have you considered the possibility that the (formerly) long-term unemployed are, on average, not as competitive in the workforce and probably won’t command high wages right away (skewing “average wage” down as they finally find jobs)?

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