Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Taxes In Fear

Among the tales of West Wing backbiting and foreign policy bunglings in Bob Woodward’s Fear is one chapter (35) on the “only major legislation passed [in] his first year”: tax reform. Another round is coming that, as it relates to retirement plans, seems sensible but the backstory of those 2017 reforms reflects the chaos of Trump’s first year.

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Christie In Fear

The first five chapters of Bob Woodward’s Fear take us from Trump’s presidential aspirations to his election with Steve Bannon seemingly dictating most of the journey. This is the only section of the book where Chris Christie is mentioned, usually in conjunction with an expletive. Excerpts follow:

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Everything Trump Touches Dies & A Bronx Tale Message

Offering scores of variations on the ‘Trump Is An Idiot” theme Rick Wilson in his book (from which I excerpted the Governor Shinebox bit) tries to be an amalgam of humorist, provocateur, and sage. Sometimes he hits*.

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Faux Populist Christie

With practically every new political book out there being on Trump  our Governor Shinebox, as one of the books I am reading dubbed him, keeps getting more minutes on the public stage, with another book even mentioning pensions.

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Standing on Principle

James J. Florio’s autobiography touches upon what is important to the 49th governor of New Jersey making it easy to read (and skip) chapters. Here are the parts of interest to me:

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Labor’s Last Best Weapon: Lying

From the front flap of The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor’s Last Best Weapon:

David Webber uses cases such as Safeway’s to shine a light on labor’s most potent remaining weapon: its multitrillion-dollar pension funds. Outmaneuvered at the bargaining table and under constant assault in Washington, state houses, and the courts, worker organizations are beginning to exercise muscle through markets. Shareholder activism has been used to divest from anti-labor companies, gun makers, and tobacco; diversify corporate boards; support Occupy Wall Street; force global warming onto the corporate agenda; create jobs; and challenge outlandish CEO pay. Webber argues that workers have found in labor’s capital a potent strategy against their exploiters. He explains the tactic’s surmountable difficulties even as he cautions that corporate interests are already working to deny labor’s access to this powerful and underused tool.

I can’t speak to the first seven chapters of the book but that last chapter (The Retirement “Crises” and the Future of Labor’s Capital) makes the case that the pension crisis is a fraud perpetrated on the public by “billionaire conservative activists Charles and David Koch and their organization Americans for Prosperity, as well as Enron billionaire John Arnold and his Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) and other allies [who] are determined to reform public pension funds in ways that would destroy labor’s shareholder activism.” (page 213).

To that claptrap of a chapter I can speak.

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How Do I Tax Thee

Subtitled “A field guide to the Great American Rip-Off” by Kristin Tate the book serves as a primer on various ways governments raise money for their own benefit with several examples hitting home.

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