A semi-quieter Trump this week after 100 days

Of 38 specific promises Donald Trump made in his 100-day “contract” with voters, he’s accomplished 10, mostly through executive orders that don’t require legislation. He hasn’t started on 15 of his 100-day promises, which include several immigration laws, college affordability, infrastructure incentives and punishment for companies that move jobs overseas.

While Trump claims he doesn’t seem to care about the 100-day mark of his administration, he plans a whirlwind of activities seeking to highlight accomplishments. What those are, few know. Bombing Syria twice. After that? He claims job creation but how many were already in place prior to his election? Pipeline? Debatable. Trade?

Exiting TPP may or may not be a positive thing. Regulation cuts? Again. Debatable as some will make things easy to be done with little approval. He claims ethics. He should look in his own backyard. He claims travel restrictions but other than the electronics ban, it’s been a dismal failure. He claims constructing the wall but not an inch has been built. He claims new hires for immigration enforcement but he can’t find people to hire for border security. He claims helping women but he is killing planned parenthood.

On the 100th day – same day as a possible government shutdown – he will be in Atlanta for a National Rifle Association event as well as sign more executive orders while aides fan out around the country to promote the administration. There he said the second amendment was under “assault” for 8 years.

Trump, not surprising, is fuming over the less than stellar reviews of his first 100 days. Add to his tarnishing of the office [claiming that Obama tapping phones, illegal voters voted for Hillary Clinton, insulting allies] and failure to pass some executive orders [travel ban twice ]or to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Many campaign initiatives have been changed, failed or just ignored. Others such as comments about NATO, China and Russia have changed. He also has lost quite a few people he hired after the election like Michael Flynn and a few others aren’t doing well either.

Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, did not disclose foreign payments, despite a warning from the Pentagon in 2014. Spicer blamed the Obama administration, saying Flynn got top security clearance last year [they vetted him]. Spicer said Trump’s White House didn’t review Flynn’s security clearance, but rather relied on previous clearance from the Obama administration. Yup. Put the blame on someone else.

Trump said that he will move forward with terminating NAFTA if negotiations don’t success. For now, however, he is focused on reworking the agreement with Mexico and Canada. This even though he spoke to the Mexican President and Canadian Prime Minister and said he wouldn’t. Sounds a bit like a spoiled brat.

Trump hosed Canada’s softwood lumber industry when Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the tariffs, or taxes, were being imposed after trade talks on dairy products fell through. The tariffs — also called duties — ranged from 3% to 24% on five specific Canadian lumber companies. For all other Canadian lumber companies, there’s a nearly 20% tariff on exports to the US. Of course why lumber when dairy products negotiations failed? It was in early February when trump met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that NAFTA would only be “tweaked” with Canada.

Canada is expected to file a complaint with the trade dispute court. They did in 2004 after a similar huge tariff imposed and the US lost. They also filed 4 other times and Canada won all of them.

The lumber tax is expected to hike the price of lumber used in home building by an average of 6% [$3,000], according to the National Association of Home Builders, the trade group for the U.S. industry. Builders argue that higher prices will translate into a slowdown of construction activity that could cost 8,000 U.S. jobs and $500 million in lost wages. With the possible lack of lumber, it will drive up prices across the US.

So the Trump administration is “helping” the lumber industry at the expense of new home owners and builders. An executive for the U.S. Lumber Association says that $3,000 is nothing if the average home is $225,000 [where?]. But that is about 1.5%, not 6%. 6% would be about $13,500. He’s dropping the increased cost so it doesn’t look as bad.

World Trade Organization ruled in Mexico’s favor, allowing it to impose trade sanctions worth $163 million a year against the US. The WTO says that’s how much money Mexico has lost from the US unfairly penalizing Mexican tuna. Mexican officials insisted for years that US laws discriminated against their tuna, and that other countries didn’t face the same level of enforcement.

In more fibbing from Trump, he claimed that after he threatened to do the preliminary work to kill NAFTA [even though he always said he would “tweak” it], he said that the Canadian Prime Minister and Mexican President called him to work on fixing NAFTA but at least the Canadian Prime Minister said Trump initiated the call. Who would you believe?

The killing of NAFTA would cause major havoc with the economies of the 3 countries that could affect other economies. It may not be as complicated as Brexit but it would be complicated and would need approval from Congress [which trump has issues right now]. At least 33 states trade heavily with Canada – many voted for Trump.

Trump plans on announcing tax reform which would drop the corporate tax rate from 35 per cent to 15 per cent and drop the personal tax as well. But some experts doubt that by dropping the tax rate can the current deficit [about $560 billion] not increase even if it helps the economy to improve as it would need a big jolt to do so. Also whether or not the Automatic Minimum Tax will be changed or removed . This tax is applied to the wealthy as the minimum they must pay, no matter what they deducted in charities, loopholes, etc. In one year Trump could of saved over $30 million if AMT wasn’t around.

With a higher deficit, the Trump plan could damage the credibility of Republican lawmakers who spent years railing against the rising national debt under former President Barack Obama. Could be harder to pass lasting tax reform, since any policy that increases the debt above its baseline either requires Democratic support or — if passed by a slim majority of Republicans in the Senate — would expire in a decade.

Republicans who slammed the growing national debt under President Barack Obama have said they are open to Trump’s tax plan, even though it could add trillions of dollars to the deficit over the next decade. Republicans argue the cuts would spur economic growth, reducing or even eliminating any drop in tax revenue. But some had a change of heart after they saw the changes. The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation said a big cut in corporate taxes, even if temporary, would add to long-term budget deficits.

In the brief outline for tax reform, it will slash the business tax rate on pass-through entities to 15% from 39.6%. [Pass-throughs’ profits flow through to the owners, partners and shareholders, who then report and pay tax on them through their individual tax returns.] All Trump family holdings are pass-throughs. So for every $1 million earned, Trump would pay $150,000 under his own plan instead of $396,000 today. From his leaked 2005 tax return, he would of saved $27 million.

Trump brought the complete Senate to his shack for a meeting to discuss North Korea. But “We learned nothing you couldn’t read in the newspaper,” Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley. Trump himself was only there for 14 minutes of the 60 minute briefing.

Trump claimed again that he was directly responsible for helping save $700 million on a February order of 90 F-35s — adding that costs will continue to shrink as more planes are delivered despite warnings from a non-partisan federal watchdog agency that testing delays could increase costs by more than a billion dollars. The program itself is worth $400 billion. So that’s a savings of 0.175%. He doesn’t explain what he did. Maybe he got had them remove the landing gear or something else less vital.

Trump tweeted “The Democrats don’t want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members” Not quite. More like the cost [estimated over $15 billion] is too much. As of this time, nothing yet built even though Trump had promised in his campaign. He also said that Mexico would pay but that won’t happen.

Bidders for the wall must have designs able to repel pickaxes and sledgehammers for at least an hour and be esthetically pleasing from the north side. One bidder suggested adding solar panels which would generate 2 megawatts of electricity an hour. Another bid suggests building a wall large enough for a deck that would offer tourists scenic views of the desert.

A federal judge blocked the Trump administration from enforcing a threat to take away funds from sanctuary cities — the latest blow from the federal judiciary to Trump’s immigration agenda.

“First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings. See you in the Supreme Court!” Trump tweeted. Of course he wants to send everything to the Supreme Court [especially since he has his new lackey appointed]. But the judge who handed the ruling is not on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit would hear the case next if appealed.

Democrats and Republicans voted overwhelmingly on a bill to keep the federal government open through next week, averting a shutdown while negotiators hammer out a broader deal to fund agencies through September. Trump’s wall building request wasn’t included.

After a gunman killed a police officer on the Champs-Elysees, an attack the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for, Trump tweeted: “Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election!” Some suggest he was referencing far-right Marine Le Pen and her party [known in the past to be anti-Semitic, anti-immigration, anti-EU].

So Ivanka was whining on the Today Show recently saying that it is a human crisis regarding the Syrian refugees. Meanwhile what has her father done? Banned them. Maybe they should do some coordinating.

The US economy only grew at an annual pace of 0.7% in the first three months of the year under Trump, according to the Commerce Department’s report on the GDP. It was the slowest quarter of growth since the first quarter of 2014.

“Our rights are under attack like never before,” the NRA says on its website. But from where? They have a supposedly conservative “president”. The gun industry grew from 166,000 employees in 2008, the year Obama was elected, to 301,000 last year. But since Trump has been in charge, gun sales have dropped.

In a recent poll, 32% still believe that Obama spied on Trump and it jumps to 52% when Republicans are asked. This considering that there is no evidence to support this.

A new CNN/ORC poll finds Trump reaches this milestone holding on to the lowest approval rating of any newly-elected president after 100 days. Overall, 44% say they approve of Trump’s handling of the presidency, 54% disapprove.

In an AP poll, eighty-six per cent of Democrats and 57 per cent of independents oppose new spending for a border wall with Mexico. Republicans break about 2-1 in favour of the wall, but that’s more narrow support than on other priorities. By a 64 per cent to 19 per cent margin, most oppose decreasing spending on scientific and medical research. Most Americans also oppose cuts to spending on the environment and on climate change, by a 52 per cent to 28 per cent margin. Finally, Americans are more likely to oppose than favour cutting spending for public television, radio and the arts, 44 per cent to 32 per cent.

Only 32 percent of millennials approve of his performance so far, according to a poll released by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics. About 40% said they would give Trump an “F” on his first 100 days, and only a third said they support his handling of ISIS and Obamacare. Nearly 70% of young people, regardless of political ideology, said Trump’s tweeting is “not appropriate” and expressed reservations about cracking down too hard on immigration and jettisoning Obamacare.

 

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