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Day 382 – The Numbers are a Joke, Mr. President.

Day 382 – The Numbers are a Joke, Mr. President.

Image from NYAppraisalSource

Mr. President,

Q: What’s the difference between your wife and a golf ball?

A: You know where to find a golf ball.

Sorry for the cheap shot, but the lack of time Melania spends with you is getting a lot of coverage lately. Perhaps too much coverage, given a very serious issue no one is talking about. No, it’s not about the sideshow of you releasing the FBI memo.

It’s about your tax plan, giving the richest of the rich unnecessary tax breaks, that you signed on December 22 and the effect it is already having on the dollar. It ain’t good.

Forget politics. Let’s talk economics. And forget about the stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a poor metric to gauge the future of American prosperity, just as the Titanic’s speed before it plowed into an iceberg was a poor indicator of the probability of it arriving safely on the other side of the ocean. (And yet, after writing the first draft of this article on Thursday, the Dow dropped an unholy 666 points on Friday. I’d like to hear your fundamentalist supporters explain that one.)

Let’s take a look at how far the value of the dollar has fallen against three major currencies since the tax plan was passed. The following exchange rate graphs are a snapshot of the last 60 days and come from Don’t get distracted by the name of the site – you won’t find any images of Stormy Daniels in there.

Each red line in the graph marks December 22, 2017 – the day you signed the tax plan.

Here’s how the dollar has fallen against the euro since then:

Value on December 22, 2017: $1 = 0.84308958 euros

Value on February 3, 2018: $1 = 0.80269231 euros

Decline in the dollar: 4.79%

Here’s how it has fared against the British pound:

Value on December 22, 2017: $1 = 0.74847181 pounds

Value on February 3, 2018:  $1 = 0.70832369 pounds

Decline in the dollar: 5.36%

And here it is against the Chinese Yuan Renminbi:

Value on December 22, 2017: $1 = 6.5749084

Value on February 3, 2018:  $1 = 6.2979677

Decline in the dollar: 4.21%

Feel free to play around with the date ranges and any other world currency in the exchange app of your choice if you don’t trust these images. Notice how the value of the dollar follows the same trembling pattern in all of them – a decline that began the day you gave yourself a billion dollar tax cut. They are all marking the same decline for the same reasons: fear and unpredictability of American leadership.

Sure, a four or five percent drop in each currency doesn’t seem like much, but note:

  1. The decline started immediately following the tax cut, and the dollar was rather stable before it.
  2. It has only been six weeks, and we can expect the decline to continue.

With you touting how great the economy is, why don’t you tell us why the dollar is weakening when it should be strengthening?

Forget about the claim that a weaker dollar helps the economy by making exports cheaper. That’s the kind of sophomoric proclamation one would expect from a guy who finances movies about Legos. The reality is that over the long term, a weak dollar means fewer investors seek it as a haven. Investors have begun moving their money elsewhere.

Now let’s take a look at the price of gold during the same time period. The data is taken from

As you are a gold lover, you know its price always skyrockets when people fear volatility and want to put their money in something “safe.” Since you signed the tax bill – and not before – gold has skyrocketed $120 an ounce, from $1,240 to $1,360. That’s a 10% increase in six weeks! It is an indicator of fear of deeply flawed economic policies. And it doesn’t help that every time Fox News is on in our office break room, I witness a barrage of commercials – starting with the one featuring the assertive senior citizen standing on the deck of a battleship – exhorting us to buy more gold.

And now, just the numbers. The following graph courtesy of the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation shows your tax plan will add one TRILLION dollars to the deficit, and that the Government will be unable to pay its debts sooner than expected.

So much for republicans being deficit hawks.  Well, maybe with such a huge increase in the deficit, no one will notice your puny $50 million golfing tab tacked onto it.

All of this was predictable, and you were duly warned. No one listened – especially your party. That’s the saddest joke. Which brings me to this:

Q: What’s the difference between your presidency and the value of the dollar?

A: The value of the dollar will be missed.

No, that awful joke won’t give anyone a chuckle. But by the time the poisonous effect of your tax plan runs its course through our economy, no one will be in the mood to laugh.



Day 373 – Letter to America: America, May I Have A Word About Taxes?

Day 373 – Letter to America: America, May I Have A Word About Taxes?

Image from Pinterest

America, May I Have a Word About Taxes?

I’m taxed by the topic of taxes and folks

acting like it’s the axis on which all talk

must spin, but spin is the key word because

rhetoric rules the day and I rue the rhetoric

used to sway every Tom, Dick, and Harry’s hot

take on taxes because even the “leftist” media uses

words like “tax relief” and “tax cuts” that

leave the masses spun into thinking that

taxes are evil, that we as a nation need saving

from our national savings but that doesn’t

make any sense because without cents we

can’t fix the infrastructure that’s stricken

and ruptured, broken by decades of disinvestment

and resentment directed toward some

imaginary citizens of otherness when our

grandpas said they were all brothers in

arms back when we agreed that Nazis

were punching bags with simpletons’

xenophobias. (Live & let live, leave me alone, yes?)

What we need is relief from

the cuts, squeezing blood from a stone is nuts

in the wealthiest country in the entire

history of the human species—America

leaves me speechless, more worried

about its tax returns than practicing

what it preaches—we are a country with

separation of church and state,

but so often we insist its Christian

while also soliciting to get ours, asserting that

Christ rules everything around me while

we & Wu know what the C in CREAM really stands

for, and people, Christ was poor—he kicked over

the money changers’ tables not because the

money itself was evil but because

greed only sees its navel—the sea that

Jesus walked on was raising all boats

not just the captain’s yacht, it’s rotten

to think one boat is superior when

they all float, how you get across the river is up to you,

I mean, congratulations on your kingly golden

dinghy but the janitor’s raft is full of singing

and you can take only one of those with you

after crossing the River Styx.

Taxes are not your burden to bear. With only

a modicum of awareness you have to admit

that taxes are fair. You couldn’t “get yours” without

me and the masses—we’re in this together, you flatulent

asses. There’s no way for you to exist as an island. John

Donne nailed that 394 years ago. No man can do

any of it alone. Our taxes can help both

you & me. We’re in this together, persisting & free.





Day 343 – Reflections on Christmas, Snow, Love and Taxes, Mr. President.

Day 343 – Reflections on Christmas, Snow, Love and Taxes, Mr. President.

Photograph by Paul L. Dineen

Mr. President,

We got a majestic snowfall on Christmas Eve. Gorgeous flakes a foot apart filled the entire sky for hours. We ate and laughed and opened gifts all while watching the marvelous skies.

When that party ended, we loaded our little boys and our luck back in the car and headed toward the next grandparents’ house. That snow, so postcard-perfect in the sky, became a threat on the ground. We rolled slowly on the highway and passed cars in the ditch and more cars in the ditch. We pulled off the highway to quadruple-check the weather report that only said snow and more snow. We did the math and no matter how we added or subtracted or multiplied or divided, the answer was the same: Keep our children safe.

We called Grandma and Grandpa to let them know we couldn’t make it that night. The boys wailed deep tears of love and of longing. We parents let one or two slip too. But we made it home safely, and we woke to love on Christmas morning. We even got up to Grandma and Grandpa’s the day after Christmas. The entire time, from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day to the 26th, not once were we concerned about our money or our taxes. We worried about our children. We worried about our families. We worried about the people in the ditches. We worried about first responders getting to accident scenes on a dark and cold Christmas Eve. We worried about people celebrating the love spread to millions by a refugee whose birth we celebrate every December. We worried about love. We worried with love.

We did not worry about taxes, but if you think about it, everything and everyone we did worry about would be helped by services provided through taxes. The roads had not been cleared—the state and municipal budgets have tight constraints on the amount of salt they can afford. There was only a skeleton crew of first responders out that night—the state and municipal budgets have tight constraints on overtime pay.

My family was safe, and I am eternally grateful for that. We celebrated the birth of a man whose final act before being put to death for spreading love was to denounce the greed of the money changers. If we do the math, we can keep our children safe. What is money but a resource? What good is a resource if it is merely hoarded? We are the wealthiest nation in the history of humankind. We can use our resources to keep people safe.

There may be tears, but making the right decision isn’t always popular. The right decision is not to portray taxes as evil. The right decision is to be a grown up and to explain to the emotional what needs to be done to keep us safe. A good leader could explain how taxes keep our children safe, how taxes keep us all safe.

When we pause to celebrate in December, we are celebrating love, not money. When we do the math, the numbers either add up to love or to nothing.





Day 336 – You Got Your “I Win, I Win, I Win!!!” Tax Plan, Mr. President, But We The People Have A Lot of Fight Left In Us.

Day 336 – You Got Your “I Win, I Win, I Win!!!” Tax Plan, Mr. President, But We The People Have A Lot of Fight Left In Us.

Photograph from Pinterest

Mr. President,

It just happened. I sat down to write this and the alerts started pouring in on my phone. The tax reform you wanted has officially passed. Congratulations, you win. As a leader of the GOP, you win. As president, you win. As a rich man, you win.

In every possible way, you win.

Last time I checked, your job does not revolve around you. It is not about you becoming richer. It is not about you becoming more powerful. It is not about your personal gains.  However, you have ignored those facts and turned the presidency into a polarizing position, determined to do one thing: win.

Your slogan states “Make America Great Again,” yet you have no interest in helping America. You simply want to make Trump great. The sole pledge you have truly taken is to promote yourself.

I am sure you will celebrate this win, but sadly, there are very few others who will celebrate with you. With this win, America has lost; yet I have faith in my fellow citizens. I have been watching the country change.

I have cheered the election of Danica Roem in Virginia. I have celebrated the election of Ravi Bhalla in New Jersey. I have applauded the election of Laura Curran in New York. I have praised the election of Andrea Jenkins in Minneapolis. I have rejoiced at the election of Doug Jones in Alabama.

They are the ones working to make America great, and as this continues, the people will win. And with that, Mr. President, one thing is certain for your future: you will lose.



Day 335 – The Rich Keep Getting Richer. Didn’t Anyone Tell You Trickle Down Economics Failed?

Day 335 – The Rich Keep Getting Richer. Didn’t Anyone Tell You Trickle Down Economics Failed?

Photograph by Daniel Lobo

Mr. President,

Well Mr. President, you know that adage, “the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer.” You seem to use that as a personal mantra for “making America great again.”  The 1.5 trillion dollar tax bill that now sits on your desk will aid in lowering the taxes of the richest of Americans, while the poor see no benefit.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, Mr. President, our children’s health is on the line. The proposed tax cuts will dry up the funding for the Children’s Healthcare Insurance Plan (CHIP) and the children who depend on the plan for basic healthcare will suffer.

You call it a victory and celebrate the death of Obamacare. Unfortunately and not surprisingly, you’re wrong on both counts. You’re delusions are hurting the most precious of Americans and America’s future.  Your agenda has nothing to do with helping the people of this country and more so with keeping your ego as inflated as the heads on Mt. Rushmore.   Mr. President, we beg you, have compassion and consider those you’re hurting with your reckless legislation that consider a gift to the American people. We beg of you, Mr. President, don’t forget about the 99 percent; they’re what really makes this country great.



Day 318 – Letter to Rep. Faso: Thanks For Your “No” Vote on the Tax Bill. Next Time, Put Some Conviction Behind It, Mr. Faso.

Day 318 – Letter to Rep. Faso: Thanks For Your “No” Vote on the Tax Bill. Next Time, Put Some Conviction Behind It, Mr. Faso.

Image from

Dear Mr. Faso (NY 19),

Thank you for your vote against the House Republican tax plan. Your reasons for not voting for the bill, however, appear rather incomplete.  Yes, since last January you already betrayed thousands of your constituents by having voted for a health care bill (that was defeated) which would have made their prior-condition status a financial disaster. Yes, you already showed your contempt for the health care provided to women by voting to pull funds from Planned Parenthood. Yes, you showed complete disdain for innocent lives by sponsoring a national concealed carry bill.

But still, I would have thought that your strong sense of political self-preservation would have caused you to say that you could not support this bill because this bill has not received sufficient exposure to committee, public input, and close examination, yet it was rushed through in order to save the face of a man who pursues policy based on admittedly false news, a man who has no sense of the responsibilities of the office he holds, and a man who demeans women.

You could have said that you would not support this bill because those making less than a yearly income of $100,000 dollars will ultimately lose money while corporations will keep a generous tax break in perpetuity. Thirty-five percent of the stock holders in these corporations are foreign nationals. U.S.  citizens will assume an obscene indebtedness while foreign interests will profit.

The corporations, which it appears you believe deserve more of a break than American tax payers, these corporations, sir, do not have a sterling record. Enron actually stranded people in elevators in summer heat in an effort to increase its profits. Enron also destroyed pension funds and the stock market while its executives attempted to hide millions they had managed to remove before the public became aware of the crisis. Then there were the banking fraud practices of Wells Fargo, creatively forging customers identities on dummy accounts. And the lead scandals of the toothpaste tubes and children’s toys and jewelry. The Volkswagen deceptive environmental practices debacle, the black water that the fracking of gas leaves in its wake, the opioid pushing by pharmaceutical companies, and the financial near-collapse of the country thanks to the greedy mismanagement of the banks and the financial ratings houses.

So, couldn’t have said that you could not vote for this obscene bill because of these reasons too?

Your tenure is half over. Over is the operative word here for your political career. No matter what happens to this ugly, mean spirited tax bill, you need to find a new job. You can always go back to lobbying.


An Unwilling Constituent and Letters2Trump


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