The Twit’s Tariffs — a bad idea, he should try thinking once

Let’s examine the twit’s justification for the tariff on steel and aluminum. There seem to be three threads. 1) we need to have this capability for national defense, 2) We need to keep jobs in America, and 3) we are being treated unfairly by other countries and taken advantage of by them.

By imposing a 25% tariff on steel, this means that the 180,000 or so steelworkers and the handful of corporations will indeed remain n business and perhaps even grow a bit. However, the imposition of the tariff will increase the steel components across every industry in American that uses steel by 25%, a cost that is passed on to the buyers of these goods and services. Let’s suppose this impacts 1,000,000 workers directly and indirectly. The employment in those industries will decrease by at least 180,000 jobs and the costs of products will go up with fewer people purchasing them so there will likely be even more unemployment in those steel and aluminum using industrious. So, to maintain the capacity for national defense, the twit has ensured that we will have lower overall production and employment and higher costs, not to mention the increased costs of all goods using steel. It would be cheaper for the country if we simply subsidized the steel industry and kept the production levels where they meet defense needs and stockpile their output until needed, if ever. By subsidizing steel and aluminum we would not incur the unemployment in industries using steel and aluminum as inputs and increase the cost of their goods which increases the cost of goods to the American Consumer. Subsidize is the more rational and economically sound approach to maintaining steel and aluminum production capabilities for national defense (armament) purposes.

Keeping job in America is a hot-button issue. Unfortunately, when tariffs are involved, fewer jobs remain in America as they are lost not to foreign competition but to increased prices of the output of those jobs remaining here that need the tariff to protect them. So, under the guise of keeping jobs in America, tariffs actually increase the decline of jobs. Reread the prior paragraph.

The twit alleges often and loudly that foreign countries are taking advantage of America and that there isn’t an even playing field. However, I have never heard him explain how foreign countries are taking advantage of American in trade. The closest the twit has come to illustrate this is to point at the trade deficit that results when we spend more in country x than country x spends here. What that means is that country x uses its resources and labor to produce things that we get from them in exchange for our currency (probably electronic bookkeeping entries). So we get real things and they get money. Remember there is nothing backing our money except faith that it is money. So we get something for an idea (money) of value. Unfortunately, if the countries with a positive trade balance of our dollars ever figure out they are giving us something for nothing in return our easy life will come to a sudden end. The twit is really not quite understanding that we win when we have a deficit, we win big. And he wants to put a stop to that by claiming unfair trade practices that he can’t explain or name.



The Twit’s Tariffs


Another day, another tariff as the twit in the White House tries to reduce the US trade deficit. Unfortunately, things are often not what they seem nor as bad as they sound. Specifically, trade deficits are not what they seem nor as bad as they sound. Unfortunately, the twit in the White House, who claims to be a rich guy, does not seem to understand money. He seems to think our dollars paid for China’s development to our detriment. Let’s look at the facts.



China sends good to America in exchange for US Dollars. The goods that China sells in America require raw material inputs and labor to fashion them. Since we run a trade deficit with China that means they sell us more goods than we sell to them so the extra goods they sell to us require we ship them US Dollars (a good percentage of which are electronic entries in financial accounts. the rest of pieces of paper with printing on them).



Take a look at a US Dollar. What backs it up, Gold? NO, nothing backs it up. You will find that the law, as printed on the front, mandates that ‘this note is legal tender for all debts public and private.’ It is fiat money. It is money because the US Government says it is and because almost all Americans think it is money. However, the law requiring one accept it as payment stops at our borders (and the borders of countries using the US Dollar as currency). Yet, the Chinese and almost all other nations accept our US Dollars in payment. If you think about it foreign nations and nationals accepting US Dollars in payment is very strange.



The US issues a lot of US Dollars on a virtually continuous basis. One would think that would create inflation. However, sufficient US Dollars go to foreign entities who sell us goods and services in exchange for those dollars. So, one break on inflation is the sheer volume of dollars flowing overseas. Then too, some exchanges (market) are traded in US Dollars, oil springs to mind. The international oil market is cleared with US Dollars. With a significant portion of the US Money Supply tied up in the international oil market, we have another break on inflation.



So let’s take the twit’s logic and stop the flow of money abroad. That means we will enter an inflationary cycle. America will be awash in money, as the twit calls it, coming home. The domestic value of the US Dollar will plummet (and so will the value of the dollar in financial markets).



At the same time the twit’s tariffs will kick in and the price of goods Americans, individuals and firms, will increase by at least the value of the tariffs (not to mention the inflationary impact of the flush of dollars driving all prices up, remember, inflation?). Americans will be able to afford less of the goods they have been purchasing. When prices go up, standards of living go down and Americans can not afford the domestic products the tariffs are supposed to generate.



Obviously there is more. But this is enough for today.


Deregulation Kills and Costs

Yesterday morning, I read an article in the newspaper about a new problem/danger to Flint, Michigan’s water supply. Waste contaminants from industrial pollution. However, it does not just apply to Flint.  It is a growing problem in America.  Earlier in the morning, I had heard an NPR report on the dismantling of offshore drilling and fracking regulations by the Trump administration. Oil industry lobbyists have explained to anyone who will or will not listen that these regulations on what chemicals they can put into the ground and must report for a variety of reasons are expensive—drive up their cost of obtaining oil and consequently our price for using them to fuel cars. What the lobbyists fail to tell people is that what they are providing us are more Love Canals. But then most people are not old enough or have long enough memories to remember the billions of dollars the government (you and I as taxpayers) paid to clean up toxic sits (and some are still toxic). So they fail to tell you that for every dollar you save at the pump now it will cost you hundreds or even thousands later to clean up, isolate or work around the toxins they use under relaxed regulations. Besides, the people who live near these sites and get sick and die don’t own stock in the companies. What the lobbyists don’t tell you is that you are making short-term profits for their bosses and keeping the Members of the House, Senate and 50 state legislatures in office with their donations. Relaxing regulations have consequences for you that are not good, for the corporations that are profitable, and keep the best Members of the House and Senate that corporate money can buy in office.

Basic Income 11/14/17

Eddy Wilco1, a friend, sent me a link to an article on the BBC website: .  The article is by Tim Harford and titled Do welfare states boost economic growth, or stunt it?  It is well worth the read.  Essentially it ties universal basic income into the pattern of social welfare started by Otto Bismarck in the 1880s as a defense against Marxism.  As you know, my approach to basic income is to Democratize Money: unlike the “universal;” no questions asked theme of universal basic income, I tied my plan for funding citizens with a basic income to citizenship and performing normal citizen duties such as voting and performing jury duty.  While Tim Harford ends by saying a universal basic income would cost a lot of money, my approach finesses that by changing how we create new money.  None-the-less the Harford article is well researched, well written and does not miss the point.  If only he had read my eBook.

One very important conclusion Tim Harford draws and one I want to emphasize isWelfare states don’t make the pie bigger or smaller. But they do change the size of each individual slice. And that helps to keep a lid on inequality.”

Respectfully, T. Edward Westen

1Eddy Winco is also my supplier of the soap his wife makes: have returned to daily saving with soap in a mug thanks to his wife’s soap making skills.



The Best Congress Corporations Can Buy, by T. Edward Westen

My fellow Americans. You have the best Congress large corporations can buy. Granted the Congress will act in your interests but if, and only if, your interests do not cost large corporations money. Then too, Congress might not act in your interests but will tell you it is.

At the time of this writing (October 27, 2017) the Republicans in control of Congress are working on a tax reform measure that will, according to their spokesperson, the pestilence*, result in higher wages for you because the corporations for which you work will raise your wages as a result of the tax cut corporations are to receive under the yet unwritten terms of the Republican tax reform measure. They want to call it a tax cut and they are correct in that terminology. However, I would call it a tax slash. But forget what it will do to the deficit for now.

It strikes me as interesting that people in business to make money when given a windfall would give enough of that windfall to others in such fashion that it would actually make a difference to others. My fellow Americans, the Republican Congressional logic sucks. It sounds good if you want a raise; but, it only sounds good and will not directly increase your wages. Indeed, it is unlikely to indirectly increase your wages either. Yes, the Republicans are talking about compressing the tax brackets and lowering the overall rates. These side issued are to distract you from looking at the package objectively–get you to focus on the few crumbs that are deemed necessary to keep you from examining the facts that are buried in their talking points. Oddly (OK my sarcasm is showing), their generosity will impact the rich the most. The Republicans argue that doubling the standard deduction and other components of their talking points, err, I mean tax proposal to be, will lower the tax burden on the middle class. Any competent analysis of what the inequities are in the system they are reforming (the law as it exists now) will point squarely at the wealthy and corporations, currently and in the past, for not paying their fair share. Under the talking points for the current revision proposed by the recipients (Members of Congress) of large campaign contributions from the rich and large corporations (via their officers and board members), the rich and corporations will continue their privileged position, safe from paying their fair share of taxes, in an America whose laws are enacted by the best Congress large corporations can buy.

Another of the Republican talking points is that the proposal they are thinking of writing down contains a side benefit of bringing money home from overseas. Large corporations with international interests make money abroad. They are taxed in the jurisdiction where they make the money rather than bringing the money back to the US where that money would be subject to US Taxes. It all gets rather convoluted in accounting issues and the wide variety of tax laws countries have. But, it boils down to a vast army of accounts and computer algorithms figuring out where the best place to be taxed is and thus the best place to retain the earnings. Then where is the best place (a complex combination of rate of returns, risk and the like) to invest the earnings. If you or I have a hundred bucks, we want it handy. If a large corporation has a hundred bucks it may not even notice, much less notice where it is. Regardless, the thought of a corporation bringing income they have earned overseas back to the US and then using it to pay higher wages boggles the mind.

The pestilence and the Republican Members of Congress will tell you that the money they bring back from overseas will be used to create jobs. Perhaps that money will create some jobs, but only if the rate of return on the jobs created is larger than all other potential investments for that money. Here is the thing about creating jobs in the USA. The pestilence advocates exiting most trade agreements and renegotiating them. So, he is exposing American manufactured products, as well as agricultural products, to tariffs by the countries to which he expects to sell our products. The only way that works is if wages here are low enough to compete in foreign markets with tariffs tacked on in addition. The combination of the pestilence renegotiating our trade deals and bringing the corporate tax rate down spells America becoming an economy in which we take in each other’s laundry.

See, the thing is all the parts of the economy relate to each other part. In the short term, what the pestilence and his Republican majority in both Houses of Congress are telling you (and none of what they are telling you is written down in a way that can be objectively analyzed) sounds good because they are trained to obfuscate (years of practice). If you are rich or an officer in a large corporation you will benefit from the pestilence and Republican tax plan as they present it. If you are not rich or an officer in a large corporation, what they say is more of a crapshoot for you and you are using fifty dice with a 10 sided diece and need to roll the equivalent of snake eyes, 50 aces!

*The current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC.

Respect for the National Anthem and Flag

I am somewhat amused at the current fervor for standing for the National Anthem that the pestilence and his core base are focusing their “we are better than you are because we don’t kneel for the National Anthem” attention.  The fact is that the pestilence himself has sat through the National Anthem countless times (probably 1009 times for every time he stood for its playing). And those of his core base supporters who watch ball games on television or their devices or listen on the radio routinely sit and feed their fat faces and sip their beers when it is played at the beginning of games as they relax in easy chairs to watch the game. If the player’s show of respect is so important why do the pestilence and his core base sit, lie, or even sit on the john when the National Anthem is played through their television, radio or device speaker?

As for professional ballplayers protests being disrespectful, I see them quietly kneeling, a sign of respect for an injured player. I see them saying our country is broken in the “all men are created equal” department. They kneel for that injury. That it is characterized as a protest by the pestilence and his core base supporters. I see it as a sign of respect for the country despite the injuries done to segments of the body politic who are not treated equally, indeed are still in this century systematically treated unequally. What is one protesting sitting on one’s rear end while the National Anthem is played on the television, device or radio?

I also heard the pestilence call into question the mothers of protesting players. To the extent that the crowd roared in approval and those in his core base who were not there signaled their approval does highlight the full meaning of the term “base” when it comes to pestilence and his supporters. It would seem they have mistaken politeness and common courtesy for political correctness that they so love to breach. I will not call the pestilence a name that reflects upon his mother in the off chance he can provide a birth certificate that says he is a human being. To be brutally clear, I am not asking to see his birth certificate, I am asking for proof of his species.

To his core base, I am looking forward to your learning to stand every time you hear the National Anthem played unless you go to your knee in respect for the injuries to your fellow Americans that occur every hour. Then I will cease to be amused at your ignorance; and, you can then point a finger without being a hypocrite.

Paying for A Universal Basic Income In the USA

Paying for A Universal Basic Income In the USA

by T. Edward Westen, 2017

The case for a Universal Basic Income has been made in countless places. It is not my purpose or intent to review those arguments. Rather, if you are not familiar with the ongoing discussion I recommend you Google, Universal Basic Income, and read for several hours to make sense of that for which I am proposing a way to pay.

My proposal is simple. Authorize the Federal Reserve Banks to deposit $20,020 a year in every citizen’s bank account in 26 equal installments of $770 every two weeks. At the same time authorize the Federal Reserve Banks to deposit $2,000/year in the US Treasury for each citizen in the US and $2,000/year in each State and territory’s Treasuries for each citizen residing therein.

Deviating from the basic definition of a Universal Basic Income, I would have citizens required to vote, serve on juries and perform basic citizen duties such as educate their children and obey the laws. I make this requirement as I justify the payments as an extension of the rights of sovereigns to the body politic—voters in particular.

The payments to the units of government are in lieu of taxes for payments to citizens for performing their civic duty by voting can not be taxed for such a tax would be a poll tax which is unconstitutional. Payments to the states and territories should be divided among the various units of government in the states and territories: cities, school districts, counties, and any districts the states have seen fit to establish. I do not specify how the states should distribute the funds, after all, we have to have some source of discourse in politics and government or we won’t know what to have on the news.

To implement this form of payment only requires the Federal Reserve System to acquire voter rolls from the states and territories along with voters’ preference of check (mailing address required) or direct deposit (bank routing information required) information. It would probably help to have a safeguard for preventing individuals from receiving multiple payments by using some form of identification such as Social Security Number (which if you read your card is not to be used for identification, ok we change that too).

I would add several minor qualifications to this, but basically, the preceding four paragraphs is the plan to pay for a Universal Basic Income. You can go to the beginning of this blog: and follow the ewntries forward and read the entries there to get the full picture. Or buy my Kindle book which gives you the same information in a little over 60 pages, after a bit of editing and the information is all in one book:

Notice the plan does not require tax money paid by some to provide a Universal Basic Income to all. Also, since most countries use a very similar way of creating money, this plan can be used anywhere.

Send this Book to Politicians — help your self to a Basic Income

Democratize Money Monetize Citizens: This short book spells out how the government can pay YOU $20,000/year, tax-free, without causing inflation. DO NOT READ THE BOOK. It will just make you mad. However, Send a Copy to every politician and elected official that you know (the price is low). Tell them there will be a test over the book the next time they run for office or reelection. Then ask them “Where is my $20,000?”

What I do not understand about the DACA debate.

What I do not understand about the DACA debate.

T. Edward Westen, Ph.D. and Professor Emeritus, Central Michigan University.

September 5, 2017

As I listen to the talking heads on television, voices on the radio and stories in the print media I hear about the undocumented alien, children who only know the US, and the rule of law, and a whole bunch of other “stuff” that the utter seems to think applies and makes sense. This is not to mention the assertion that if we can’t control our borders . . .

The people in the DACA program were brought here illegally as children by their parents. They were in fact kidnapped from their native countries, even it if was for a good reason. DACA participants are victims of a crime—they are kidnap victims. Unlike kidnap victims in domestic kidnapping cases, they have no family that we can return them to unless we want to give them back to their kidnappers.

Now, we do not punish rape, burglary, robbery, assault, domestic victims of kidnapping and other victims of crimes. We do not give those who committed the rape, burglary, robbery, assault or domestic victims of kidnapping back to the criminals who raped, burgled, robbed, assaulted, kidnapped or other wish harmed someone criminally so why do we insist on treating the DACA participants differently?

Now to what I don’t understand. How is it we completely fail to recognize that the DACA participants are victims of a crime? Are we going to rewrite our laws so victims of rape are punished for being a victim of a rapist? Are we going to rewrite our laws so victims of a burglary are punished? If you think my question is absurd I must have grown up in the wrong America.


I grant permission for anyone to reblog, post or publish this in any forum, unedited, of course.

Democratize Money – The Paperback

Not withstanding that Zachary Karabell debunked the very existence of the Laws of Economics in The Atlantic, ( ) economic laws like supply and demand, Gresham’s Law, the law of self-interest and the law of competition do exist and have an immutability to them. How money is created is not an economic law, but an institutional arrangement that has changed over time and is subject to future change.

The current monetary creation institution, fractional reserve banking, at least partially causes some empirically observable generalizations (a fancy way to say laws or consequences, without being quite so rigid): contractions (as far as recessions and depressions) and expansions (as far as booms)–the business cycle, money attracting money (wealth accumulations), poverty, and political inequality (as Boss Tweed said, he didn’t care who had the right to vote as long as he got to pick the candidates). Now, not all of these consequences of the way we currently create money are independent of one another, but they all can be ameliorated if we changed how we created money to monetizing citizens. I spell all of this out in my Kindle Book, Democratize Money Monetize Citizens A Proposal.

Perhaps of more interest to most, is that Democratizing Money provides a way to fund a tax-free, basic income. Available in e-book and now paperback versions.

This is a book your elected representatives should read.  Tell them you will be testing them over it in each November.