In the latest installment of “When Donnie Met Vladdie,” Russian President Vladimir “Rootin’ Tootin’” Putin thanked American President Donald J. Trumpet for a CIA tip that prevented a terrorist attack in St. Petersburg.
No one is suggesting that the nations of the world shouldn’t cooperate on terrorism and other matters – would that they did so regularly – but it seems that some countries like special American friend Great Britain are rethinking the relationship and the sharing of secrets thanks to President Blabbermouth’s indiscretions in other situations.
How do these frayed friendships and new alliances with those who have no love of the United States “Make America Great Again”?
How does the tax cut – which would add to the deficit – help those struggling to make ends meet, to say nothing of supporting badly needed infrastructure upgrades and educational reforms?
How does walking away from the Paris Climate Accord cement our place as leader of the free world for the 21st century?
All of this seems designed to shore up industries that are undergoing difficult transformations (manufacturing, mining) and stimulate the overall economy – which is fine, in theory. But where are the incentives to create actual jobs? Many economists – who’ve been through trickle-down economics in the Reagan years – note that rich people and corporations tend to invest money, in themselves. Poor and middle-class people tend to buy things. (And don’t tell me virtuously that if the poor and middle-class only saved more, they’d be rich. You can’t save your way to wealth unless your savings are invested, and many people struggling to make ends meet don’t have extra cash for investments.)
Yes, of course, you can’t treat yourself to latte every day. But how many lattes would you have to forgo in order to save $1 million for retirement at age 65? At $5 (roughly) for a venti decaf skim latte at Starbucks, you’d have to have bypassed 200,000 lattes. But hey, if you make $10,000 a year, you can buy, or save, two with the $10 you’re going to get back from the federal government under the new tax law. Whereas if you make a million a year, you’ll get roughly $70,000 back – a little more than the average yearly salary in this country. A Glamour magazine article once noted that happiness peaks at between $60,000 and $75,000 a year in income, so there is that. It’s all relative to Trumpet.
Including our position in the world, which is slipping daily. As the year closes, America is at a crossroads. To use a sports metaphor, we have to ask ourselves: Are we Novak Djokovic 2015 or are we Djokovic 2017?
In 2015, he was the No. 1 male tennis player and virtually untouchable. This year, he’s been mainly MIA after flaming out early and becoming a father for the second time. It’s hard to stay on top.
I think like Nole, America is on the comeback trail.
And the jury’s still out as to the outcome.