Lowering the tax rate from the current 35% to the planned 20% will be a dramatic change for corporations. The GOP controlled congress contends that their planned corporate income tax cuts will result in more investment in new business and higher wages for American workers. Will it actually happen? We will have to wait until next year.

Read this report from CNBC.
A meeting of CEOs might seem to be a friendly gathering place for President Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, former president of Goldman Sachs. But at a gathering of chief executives hosted by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday November 14, business leaders called into question one of Cohn’s top arguments for slashing the corporate tax rate to 20 percent.

When one of the Journal’s editors asked the crowd if they planned to up their capital expenditure if the GOP’s tax plan went through, only a smattering raised their hands.

There’s little evidence to support the claim that tax breaks boost employment numbers.

A National Bureau of Economic Research study published in 2014 found “little evidence that corporate tax cuts boost economic activity” unless implemented in a recession.

Far from being short on cash, corporations are sitting on record amounts.

The informal poll was not the only disappointment for Cohn on Tuesday. Another non-scientific poll conducted at the gathering found that more than half of the CEOs present didn’t believe that Congress would pass a major tax bill by the end of the year.

Cohn had previously told reporters that tax legislation would be advanced by the end of the year, calling it a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Is this an opportunity to improve America’s middle class or an opportunity for higher dividend payments to shareholders?

We will know after the tax cut is put into effect. If the result of this tax cut does not provide higher incomes for the middle class the Republicans will lose in the next election.

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Posted by: coastcontact | November 16, 2017

Men and Sex

American men have a behavior problem. It seems to be endemic. Most of us seem to believe that it is our right to feel, fondle, grope, and kiss every attractive woman whether she likes it or not. Some of us even believe we have the right to sex acts with those attractive women. We just can’t help ourselves.

Finally after years of remaining quiet about this issue, women are speaking out and making some very powerful men very uncomfortable.

From Bill Cosby to Harvey Weinstein to Judge Roy Moore to Senator Al Franken to President Donald Trump the male behavior is consistently horrifying.

Those listed above are the famous. That same behavior is committed by many others who are not in the lime light.

What is really disturbing is the way those in positions of authority try to push the actions under the rug. They even try to blame the women for their abusive behavior.

Just look at the process congressional aids must go through if they file a complaint of sexual harassment. If a congressional aide wants to file a formal complaint with the Office of Compliance (OOC) they must first engage in 30 days of counseling. After 30 days, they can choose to go into mediation with a representative of the congressional office that they are lodging a complaint against, which can last at least another 30 days. Then, the accuser must wait an additional 30 days before they can officially file a complaint and pursue a hearing either with the OOC or the Federal District Court.

Even if all of us men swear we will change, it seems unlikely that our behavior will actually change.  I admit it.  I see a pretty girl and I want to kiss her. 

Posted by: coastcontact | November 14, 2017

America’s Car Sales

I continue to be a fan of midsized sedan automobiles. They offer enough space to provide comfortable accommodations for four people and with a little squeezing accommodate three people in the back seat along with a trunk that will hold two large suitcases for travel.

I don’t have to climb into sedans as I must if I drive an SUV or crossover vehicle. I can slide into a car with ease. So it is surprising to me that those SUVs or crossovers are now more popular than cars.

The other thing I find surprising is that American brands are not the big sellers. Could it be that Americans prefer quality over brand? Obviously the answer is yes.

Sales of midsized cars for the first 8 months of 2017.

 

Toyota Camry          247,775        Market share 20%

Honda Accord         221,013         Market share 18%

Nissan Altima          183,292         Market share 15%

Ford Fusion            138,489          Market share 11%

Chevrolet Malibu     117,173         Market share 10%

Hyundai Sonata        97,929         Market share   8%

Kia Optima                74,722         Market share   6%

Volkswagen Passat   45,994        Market share   4%

Subaru Legacy          33,559        Market share   3%

Mazda 6                   24,814        Market share   2%

Chrysler 200             16,562        Market share   1%

Buick Regal                 8,288        Market share >1%

All Others                   1,122        Market share >1%


Toyota’s U.S. sales chief, Bill Fay, said consumers’ shift from cars to SUVs is one of the most dramatic the industry has ever seen. Three years ago, trucks and SUVs represented 50% of the U.S. market. They closed 2016 at 63% of total sales, and analysts don’t see that changing anytime soon. Boomers and millennials both like the space and the higher ride that SUVs offer, and improvements in fuel economy make them competitive with cars. The Honda CR-V was the bestselling SUV in the U.S. last year, with sales up 3% to 357,335.

Obviously I am in the minority.                        

Posted by: coastcontact | November 11, 2017

Make America great again, but don’t expect us to pay for it

Headlined letter to Los Angeles Times published on November 11, 2017.

Boy, am I getting tired of hearing about people “tired of being written off by those in power.” This supposedly forgotten nation that the pundits cooked up to explain Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election are simply people who demand a great America at a discount price. (“A year after the election and Trump’s opponents still haven’t figured out why they lost,” editorial, Nov. 7)

They want massive tax cuts, a massive military and a massive social safety net all at once. They want closed borders, but they don’t want to pay Americans enough to pick their fruit and pluck their chickens for them. They want good, affordable healthcare to emerge from a system designed to produce rank profiteering. They want cheap consumer goods but elected a president willing to impose crushing tariffs to save a few hundred coal-mining jobs. They want a first-world nation at a third-world price.

They are an endless chronicle of contradictions, and the government is dysfunctional not because it doesn’t listen to them but because it listens to them too much and ties itself in knots trying to deliver the impossible to the ignorant.

Aaron Robinson, Torrance

Posted by: coastcontact | November 10, 2017

Pacific Rim Tran-Pacific Partnership Agreement is not Dead!

Talks on the Pacific Rim trade pact (TPP) have stalled. And some international media are blaming Canada: Justin Trudeau did not show up to meet other leaders.

Regardless of who is to blame, it does appear that a TPP agreement might still be completed. It will be the United States that will be the loser because the other nations will have a valuable free trade zone while the United States will be denied access to the many business opportunities that free trade provides.

The following article appeared in the Toronto Star newspaper.

DANANG, VIETNAM—Trade ministers from 11 Pacific Rim countries said they reached an agreement Saturday to proceed with the free-trade Trans-Pacific Partnership deal that President Donald Trump abandoned it. However, an immediate formal endorsement by the countries’ leaders meeting in Vietnam appeared unlikely.

A statement issued in the early hours Saturday said an accord was reached on “core elements” of the 11-member pact. The compromise was delayed by last-minute disagreements that prevented the TPP leaders from meeting to endorse a plan on Friday.

“Ministers are pleased to announce that they have agreed on the core elements of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership,” the 11 nations said in a statement.

Japan’s delegate to the talks, Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, told reporters that disagreements that cropped up Friday had been resolved in five hours of talks that stretched late into the night.

“We have confirmed there was no mistake about us having reached a basic agreement,” Motegi said.

Despite enthusiasm for sticking with the plan following the U.S. withdrawal under Trump in January, criticism over various issues persists. Detractors of the TPP say it favours corporate interests over labour and other rights.

Aspects of the trade pact have raised hackles also over a requirement that companies be allowed to sue governments for lack of enforcement of related laws.

The proposed basic agreement reached in Danang said that the ministers maintained “the high standards, overall balance and integrity of the TPP while ensuring the commercial and other interests of all participants and preserving our inherent right to regulate, including the flexibility of the parties to set legislative and regulatory priorities.”

The TPP member countries are trying to find a way forward without the U.S., the biggest economy and, before Trump took office, one of its most assertive supporters. Trump has said he prefers country-to-country deals and is seeking to renegotiate several major trade agreements to, as he says, “put America first.”

Trump reiterated his markedly different stance on trade before the 21-member APEC summit convened late Friday with a gala banquet.
The U.S. president told an APEC business conference that “we are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore.” He lambasted the World Trade Organization and other trade forums as unfair to the United States and reiterated his preference for bilateral trade deals, saying “I am always going to put America first.”

Trump said he would not enter into large trade agreements, alluding to U.S. involvement in the North American Free Trade Agreement and the TPP.

In contrast, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the same group that nations need to stay committed to economic openness or risk being left behind.

The Chinese president drew loud applause when he urged support for the “multilateral trading regime” and progress toward a free-trade zone in the Asia-Pacific. China is not part of the TPP.

APEC operates by consensus and customarily issues nonbinding statements. TPP commitments would eventually be ratified and enforced by its members.

But even talks this week on a declaration to cap the APEC summit had to be extended for an extra half day as ministers haggled over wording. It’s unclear what the exact sticking points were, but officials have alluded to differences over the unequal impact more open trade has had on workers and concerns over automation in manufacturing that could leave many millions in a wide array of industries with no work to do.

As a developing country with a fast-growing export sector, this year’s host country, Vietnam, has a strong interest in open trade and access for its exports to consumers in the West. The summit is an occasion for its leaders to showcase the progress its economy has made thanks largely to foreign investment and trade. Danang, Vietnam’s third largest city, is in the midst of a construction boom as dozens of resorts and smaller hotels pop up along its scenic coastline.

APEC’s members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.S. and Vietnam.

Posted by: coastcontact | November 7, 2017

Donald Trump Confronts North Korea

Overall I consider Donald Trump a threat to American democracy and America’s historic leadership in the world. His executive actions against minorities and immigrants are a disgrace. His view of America first is a nationalist isolationist philosophy that will impact the United States in a negative way that is yet to unfold. His efforts to destroy the Affordable Care Act without a workable alternative shows his lack of concern for the majority of Americans.

Despite the above summary I believe that Trump’s speech to South Korea’s National Assembly was neither bombastic nor threatening and I believe set the right tone in America’s effort to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Kim Jong Un’s goal of having nuclear weapons that can reach the United States mainland is not likely to be deterred by the Trump speech.  Short of war I cannot see a path that will result in America’s objective of bringing about a denuclearized Korean peninsula.

Posted by: coastcontact | November 5, 2017

U.S. Mass Shootings in 2017

A mass shooting is defined as the killing of four or more people at any venue. Here is a graph of the killings this year.

Click on graph to enlarge it.

The total to date is 532 people.

This graph includes today’s shooting a Sutherland Springs, Texas.

As a nation we appear to be willing to accept the killings as the price of the right to own a gun. In fact we can own as many guns as we want.

Of course there will be a vigil where candles will be light.  Everyone will say a prayer but it is unlikely anyone will call for new gun controls.

Other nations have free democracies without the widespread ownership of weapons. It appears that this fact has not sunk into the heads of most Americans.

When Americans finally wake up to this fact perhaps we will see the passage of laws that limit gun ownership. Then again gun lovers seem to believe that their weapons are more important than life itself.

Posted by: coastcontact | November 2, 2017

Antifa Coming November 4, 2017

Antifa is a contraction for “Anti-fascism.” The movements object is to resist Donald Trump and the people who support him in the belief that he stands for those who would create a fascist government.

There are reports that the Antifa movement wants November 4 to be the start of a civil war in the United States. Police are reportedly preparing for the events in these cities listed below.

As someone who is appalled in the direction Trump is leading this country I do support peaceful demonstrations even though they most likely won’t have any real impact.

I am happy to learn that there are others who are determined to stand up to Trumpism.  Where will you be on Saturday?

Atlanta, November 4
6:00 pm
Euclid & Moreland Ave NE
Little 5 Points/Findley Plaza, Atlanta
Bring pots and pans, flashlights, glow sticks, lanterns, signs, banners, and everyone you know.  The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!
Facebook Event

Austin, November 4
1:00 pm
City Hall 301 West 2nd Street, Austin
Facebook event page

Boston, November 4
4:00 pm
Due to permit negotiations, the November 4th demonstration “This Nightmare Must End” The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” has been moved from Shoppers’ Plaza to the Parkman Bandstand in the Boston Commons.
Facebook event page

Chicago, November 4
1:00 pm
Federal Plaza, 219 S. Dearborn
Facebook event page

Cincinnati, November 4
1:00 pm
Piatt Park 100 Garfield Place

Cleveland, November 4
1:00 pm
Public Square
Facebook event page

Falmouth, MA, November 4
10:30 am
Move to Remove
Falmouth Town Green, Falmouth, MA

Honolulu, November 4
9:30 am
9:30am: Gather at Ala Moana Park (across from Pi`ikoi St.)
11:00 am: Rally at Thomas Square
Facebook event page

Indianapolis, November 4
11 am & 1 pm
11:00 am at the CVS parking lot, 46th & Keystone
1:00 pm at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, 38th Street entrance

Los Angeles, November 4
1:00 pm
Pershing Square
5th St. and Hill St ~ Downtown LA
Facebook event page

Minneapolis, November 4
12:00 PM
Berger Fountain at Loring Park
1382 Willow Street
Facebook Event

New York City, November 4
2:00 pm
42nd Street & Broadway NYC
Facebook event page

Omak, WA, November 4
9:00 am
Civic League Park
Facebook Event

Philadelphia, November 4
2:00 pm
Thomas Paine Plaza
1401 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia
Facebook event page

Pittsfield, MA, November 4
1:00 pm
Park Square 1 West Street
Pittsfield MA
Facebook event page

Portland, Oregon November 4
2:00 pm
Jameson Square Fountain, Portland Oregon
PDX Refuse Fascism! The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!
RSVP and spread Facebook page

Salem, OR, November 4
3:00 pm

Salem Capitol
Facebook Event

San Francisco, November 4
3:00 PM
Union Square, San Francisco
Facebook Event

Seattle, November 4
12:00 pm

Gather at Seattle City Hall Plaza, 4th Avenue & James Street
Facebook Event

Tucson, November 4
2:00 PM
March begins at Tucson Comic Con / TCC
260 S.  Church Avenue
Meet @ NO! Banner near front entrance

Posted by: coastcontact | October 26, 2017

Fats Domino

When Fats Domino sat at a piano and let loose, he did so with a flair that turned those 88 keys into 88 drums.

We love listening to him on SiriusXM Radio.

Obviously going down in history as a great entertainer.

Posted by: coastcontact | October 25, 2017

“Enough!” the Senator Jeff Flake Speech

While I understand Senator Jeff Flake’s disgust with the president, his decision to not seek re-election means there is one less person in the congress willing to stand up to Trump the demagogue.  Why doesn’t Flake have the backbone to stand up to Trump and his divisive rhetoric? Even if Flake lost a re-election bid he would be fighting for the survival of the American democracy.

America needs fighters not quitters!

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