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Thoughts On The GOP's Tax "Reform"

by John Jazwiec

Polls show that about 70% of Americans don't support the House and Senate's plans for tax "reform". 

Economic impacts of the GOP's plans besides the obvious benefits to the wealthy - 

The housing market is going to get crushed. Just as the housing market is returning to 2008 levels, capping mortgage interest deductions by definition will deflate home prices. When contemplating a home purchase, or qualifying a for a home loan, the tax deduction is a net add to cash flow to offset the net cost of the mortgage. The cap will mostly effect suburban housing. Which is a key GOP battleground. 

Putting aside eliminating deductions for state taxes, caps on property taxes are going to negatively effect public education. Home ownership and home prices, are how public education is funded. Reducing the tax deduction of mortgage interest and property taxes means either less money to public schools and/or higher property taxes. The latter is an equation for economic contraction. Furthermore, consider people like myself, who have sent their children to private schools (Catholic). These tax changes means that private school consumers - who already are effectively subsidizing public schools - will not be able to afford to do so. That compounds the economic problem for public schools. New public schools will have to be built to support more students. That is a big local capital bad surprise. In turn, that will almost assuredly mean a big jump in property taxes. Another huge negative effect to the key battleground of the suburbs for the GOP. 

So why is the GOP doing this?

It's not about proving to voters they can get something done.

It is a calculated kamikaze dive for the benefit of their donors/emperors. 

Here are the political facts. GOP lawmakers face two problems. One is anti-Trump anger and the movement of Democrats to vote against Republicans in 2018 in greater forces than normal. The other is Bannon, who wants to replace GOP lawmakers with ... whatever crazy people want .. like Roy Moore. 

So, many already feel dead politically. By passing a draconian tax "reform" - which will be deeply unpopular - it nonetheless will stick for at least three more years. Even a Democratic majority can't reverse it, because Trump will still be president and will veto it. Even on the rare chance Trump is impeached, all succession planning means a GOP veto. 

So, unless the reader is a selfish zillionare, the risks of this tax plan (a) being enacted, (b) you being negatively effected, and (c) the economics of your community and the greater economy being upended, have unfortunately increased, due to political undercurrents brought on by Trump and Bannon.

The Upward Bend Of History, Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump

by John Jazwiec

On a tactical basis, this country often takes a step backwards, but strategically always takes two steps forward. In perfecting a more perfect union - while we will never be perfect - we do continue to make progress.

There has been a raging debate on why Trump won in 2016. More ink has been spent on why Trump won at the expense of why Hillary Clinton lost. 

Yesterday in Virginia - from the governor's race to the state assembly - Democrats won because Trump was on the ballot. A transgender won in Robert E. Lee's country. In Maine, voters voted for Medicare expansion. In Pennsylvania, the Delaware County Democrats out-polled Republicans in a County Council election for the first time in history.

Trump didn't win in 2016. Clinton lost. Yesterday Trump lost. He lost because of the anger of the "forgotten" 60%. He lost because he has infected the GOP by a 40% trap. 

Now the GOP is at a crossroads. Trying to end Obamacare is a political loser. Now pressured to "do something", tax "reform" - in which the wealthy get the benefit and the not-wealthy don't - would be the nail in the coffin. 

Look for more GOP retirements. Look for more tax reform foot dragging or dissension on aspects of the bill. Look for the Bannon/Trump movement colliding with the GOP establishment. Look for the Democratic party to recruit candidates than can win by appealing to the 60%. Look for women, minorities, LGBTs and the economically disenfranchised to turn the vote out.

Because while 2016 was a big misread of the appeal of Trump-ism, 2017 and 2018 is and will be a big repudiation of the guy that beat Clinton and the beginning of taking two steps forward.

A Country Divided By The Middle Of Mazlow

by John Jazwiec

Image result for maslow's hierarchy of needs

I am by nature not transactional. My profession requires me to look at the larger picture to explain human behavior.

I have been giving a lot of thought to the current divides within this country.

"Maslow's hierarchy of needs" is a theory in psychology proposed and published by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation”.

By and large, the West and the US, has evolved and takes for granted that our physiological needs are met. So too, are we safe and that allows us to find love and a sense of belonging to family and tribe. 

The same couldn't have been said during World War II through the Cold War. According to Maslow we were stuck on safety. Such large scale safety threats ironically bound us all together.

But by the end of the Cold War - some quarter of a decade ago - to the present day, we have become balkanized by the Maslow fault line of self-esteem. 

Too many of us lack self esteem, while too few of us focus on our cognitive needs, aesthetic needs and self-actualization. 

This is why both sides have difficulty understanding each other. 

The group that lacks self esteem - from economic and social disenfranchisement in a rapidly changing world, who increasingly turn to alcohol and opiates - cling to the what they do have: a sense of belonging. Affiliation and political tribalism isn't just a means to itself, but a strong bond that is required for survival.

Self actualized people simply have a hard time understanding this group. They wonder why they are not more mentally curious. They wonder why they only get their news from social media from their tribe. They wonder why others are not focused on the nuance of higher literature and art. They wonder why this other group doesn't seem to care about anyone but themselves. 

It seems to me that Maslow's theory rather nicely explains the divides within this country. It explains in some part why people are drawn to messianic figures like religion and Trump. It explains why we all don't share the same views from current events. And most importantly, it explains why we just don't understand each other. 

Finally, it explains what the right answer is to the problem. Our divides can't be eliminated until we address the self esteem fault line - not by generalities - but by real programs that allow all of us to gain self-esteem. And that means real programs to lift people economically, through eliminating their taxes which gives rise to wages and socially, through addressing their substance abuse. 

The US government is trying to come up with the right kind of budget and taxation system. I can say, with a great deal of certainty, that any new taxation system that doesn't address stagnant wages and doesn't address substance abuse - as if it were fighting a new "war" - simply will just make the problem larger.

Trump - Ego Vs. Guilt

by John Jazwiec

The US intelligence community had determined that Russia interfered in the 2016 election by January of this year and briefed Trump. 

Mueller is investigating - amongst other things - whether the Trump Campaign colluded with the Russian government. 

As to the former point, Trump has taken great pains to be less vigorous in damning and punishing Russia. As to the latter point, Trump has called any allegation of campaign collusion a hoax.

It is important to differentiate President Trump from the "Trump Campaign".

It is possible that the Trump Campaign colluded with Russia. I am not qualified to say whether it is probable.

But I can say, that Trump calling it a hoax, isn't necessarily an admission of guilt. It might just be his ego. It is consistent with Trump's personality to not admit (a) he got unwitting help from Russia when Trump himself believes he won because ... well he is great and he did it by himself and (b) the same would go for members of his campaign staff helping Russia.

I know some anti-Trump voters are drawing a direct line between Mueller's investigation and Trump. They may ending up being right. But right now, on this day, they are engaging in wishful thinking.

I am anti-Trump because of a difference in politics. Specifically, I loathe his actions that are contrary to his position as America's head of state, his profound use of hyper-identity politics and most of his policies.

As such, I believe the best course of action, is to vote in the next general election. I would advise other anti-Trumps to think the same way. If every anti/never-Trump voter would vote - they didn't before - Trump would be out of office in 3 and 1/2 years.

A democracy requires citizen action. Not simply hoping the DOJ will do the work for them.

Trump's Real Stock Market VI

by John Jazwiec

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 12.02.37 PM

I have been tracking the Gallup Trump Daily Approval/Disapproval this entire year. 

Why? While any poll can be flawed and biased in their approach, Gallup's daily poll uses the same approach every day, however flawed and biased it maybe. 

Hence, it serves a purpose like a flawed and biased stock market. Its trends and tops/bottoms are relevant within relation to each other. 

The poll is published every day and is a three day moving average. Clearly by Sunday - whatever was/is happening from Friday to Sunday - Trump's disapproval hit a new time high of 62% AND his approval hit a new time low of 33%.

From some recent polling by NBC/Wall Street - with different numbers but nonetheless the same trends - it looks to me like independent/"lets give someone new a try" voters are becoming fatigued by the Trump presidency. 

As always, minus something we don't know, all of this doesn't mean anything until 2020 and how a broken Democratic Party reacts. 

The Parallel Universe Of John McCain And Joe Biden Yesterday

by John Jazwiec


The same day that Trump lambasted his predecessors, Joe Biden gave a moving speech full of bipartitism and love for John McCain when receiving a well-deserved Liberty Medal.

John McCain's speech was one for the ages. Reminding us how special the US is. Reminding us how much good the US has done abroad. And reminding us why reactionary nationalism is contrary to what the US has historically done - which is to defeat nationalism abroad and reduce it to the ash heaps of history. 

John McCain is an American hero. Our wishes go out to him as he fights his current medical battle. John McCain is an inspiration to us all, during these troubled times. And a hope that we may again see Profiles In Courage again.

The Narcissist Bully Who Says His Dog Ate His Homework

by John Jazwiec

Yesterday, Trump encapsulated his entire presidency, when talking about the fallen heroes of Niger.

He was asked why he hadn't talked about the green beret casualties for two weeks. Trump said he "wrote" letters to the families that will go out this week. He clearly hadn't done the homework his high office requires. He was caught off guard. So he deflected like a child who says his dog ate his homework. 

Then he deflected - like a narcissist bully - claiming that President Obama and his predecessors didn't write and call gold star families. That was a lie. Bush and Obama did. They just didn't publicize such a sacred duty. 

Trump also said that it was a hard job to do that. Well it isn't as hard as the families that lost their children.

Just another example, of the presidency defining the character of the man. This man - Trump - has repeatedly proved that he only cares about himself. Yesterday was a sad day for the country. There have been so many over the last 9 months. And unfortunately more to come. 

Trump's Obsession With Obama Is Lethal

by John Jazwiec

Arguably Obama's two signature achievement, are under assault, due to an unhealthy obsession Trump has with Obama that goes back to the birther days. 

Tearing up/modifying the Iran Nuclear Deal. A few facts are in order. First the Iranian nuclear deal - with it being financially front-loaded (a legitimate criticism of the deal) - has been paid for already and Iran is in full compliance. That's not only political naivete, but bad business from a president who claims to be a great businessman. Second, Obama said Iran was a bad actor on the world stage, but parking their nuclear weapons program for a decade, was not only good for Middle East/Israeli peace, but it also let the US focus on one rogue nuclear actor at a time: North Korea. Third, Iran's regime is crumbling. Their people are not going to mosques. Their president - who best represents young/secular aspirations - is buttressed by the benefits of the nuclear deal in maintaining his legitimacy as a change agent. Trump is undercutting the liberalization of Iran and chances of regime change. Finally, fourth and most important, this deal is an international deal. By not honoring international deals, the chance of diplomacy with North Korea will be dealt a death blow. How can an American agreement be trusted in the long-term? Trump's petulant actions with Iran, make a Korean war and a world-wide depression now much more likely. 

Dismantling Obamacare. Why does Trump care about killing Obamacare? Because of the first five letters of the nickname of the landmark legislation. Millions of people are now going to be affected by higher premiums and more people are going to die. Who are these people? A lot of Trump voters. 

Two decisions made from an obsession with tearing down an ex-president with a 57% approval rating. And two decisions that will backfire on Trump. Trump only has himself to blame. 

Making America Great ... In Soccer/Futbol

by John Jazwiec

The US being eliminated in the World Cup maybe a huge disappointment. But I believe it should be a much needed wake up call. And a call to totally change how the US will field a team into the next decade and beyond. 

First, the US doesn't develop players like the rest of the world. In the US, soccer-parents fund the bill for their children to be on traveling teams which play other traveling teams. While the rest of the world, uses its professional franchises as academies - gratis - for children usually beginning at 14. Their coaching is first rate. They pick out the best players, when they decide if they are going to pay them to play professionally. They do so by playing other professional academy teams around the world. 

Second, the US - which arguably, due to the size of the country, has the best athletes - has a major disconnect between athletic talent and soccer players. American athletes are more prone to play football than futbol. Even though most millennials, are totally immersed, in watching their favorite foreign club teams. But millennials also don't want their children playing football, due to potential brain damage. So, they are a ready-to-go market for their children to try to become the next great soccer players. 

Third, the US needs to merge the MLS with the EPL. A lot of the major EPL teams - Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool - are already owned by Americans. They have a major voice at the table. They can convince the other EPL owners to merge with the MLS by giving them stock in MLS franchises. The EPL teams would all become richer by the increase in television rights. The MLS franchises would also. That is why the EPL teams need to take minority shares in the MLS franchises for it to work. Scheduling would start with something like inter-league baseball, where each team plays in the US and the UK for four consecutive weeks. Players - from the US, the UK and the rest of the world - would be recruited/traded/signed. It would end in a some kind of new championship. 

Fourth, the now richer MLS franchises, would be able to build their own academies. Quality coaching. Quality culling by playing other academies. High paying careers with their brains intact. 

So, when will the US be able to compete to win a World Cup? As soon as the MLS is merged with the EPL. If that doesn't happen, nothing is going to change. When it does, 14-year olds will begin a 10+ year process of making America great. 

There are no quick fixes. No great coach to recruit. Only by accepting reality - which is the great opportunity after national humiliation - is the answer.

Democrats Moving To The Middle, May Be The Only Thing That Will Save Us Sans North Korea

by John Jazwiec

There are two movements in both parties that endanger this democracy, assuming there is no outbreak of a war on the Korean Peninsula (more on that in a moment).

The first is the takeover of the GOP by Trump and Bannon. I just wrote about the dark aspects of American Exceptional-ism. Trump and Bannon knew these dark aspects were there and capitalized on them. They own these 30 to 40% of Americans. Trump and Bannon are destroying the last vestiges of the Reagan GOP. They have open contempt for any Republican that isn't a Trump/Bannon-ite. They also know GOP lawmakers are now so hollowed out - due to a party that for too long has made faustian bargains contrary to traditional Reagan conservative values - that they are either resigning or too afraid to stand up against Trump for fear of being primary-ed. They see a new authoritative GOP, within their grasp, by supporting more Ray Moore's and betting the Democrats continue to alienate the middle, so the Ray Moore's will win general elections.

The second, is the Democratic Party seems to be reacting to a "Nixon" with a "McGovern". The liberal wing of the Democratic Party seems ascendent as a counterweight to woo the working class. Such a move - wild reactionary swings - is an historical reflex. There are going to be many center to center-right ex-Republicans left out in the cold. If the DNC continues on its current path, these voters will just sit out the mid-terms. Instead the Democratic Party needs to revolutionize itself into a "big tent" party. Dividing the voters into two plausible homes. The Trump/Bannon home and the anti-Trump/Bannon home. The dark side of American Exceptional-ism and the best aspects of American Exceptional-ism. The best aspects of American Exceptional-ism are shared by both Democrats and soon-to-be ex-Republicans: The greatest high learning in the world. A desire to maintain the longest serving democratic republic in history. The US continuing to be the greatest immigrant assimilator in the world. And maintaining the creative source of popular culture and innovation exportation for the rest of the world.

Forget any notions that Bob Mueller is going to fix this problem. Forget all notions of impeachment. The only way to save this country is by the Democratic Party uniting the 60 to 70%.

Korean Peninsula War Ramifications. Despite saying we have viable military options - we do in name - an attack on North Korea wouldn't just kill millions of people. It would also cause a global depression due to supply chains being interrupted/eliminated and countries that buy our debt not being able to continue to do so. Korea and Japan would be most assuredly crippled by a North Korea counterattack. China would also be deeply affected as well as the rest of the Pacific Rim. China might also feel free to take back Taiwan. And that is the best-case scenario. Bob Corker says Trump doesn't have a plan. Reporting tells us - beyond Corker - that Trump must be managed like a petulant child. 30 to 40% of Americans might not understand nor care about Trump taking preemptive strikes against North Korea. But they sure will, when they begin to suffer the affects from a global depression. 

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From athletic scholar and satirist to computer programmer to CEO success, John Jazwiec brings a unique and often eccentric perspective to business and supply chain challenges. Exploring how they can be solved through the leadership and communication insights found in untraditional sources. This CEO blog demonstrates how business insights from books on history to the music of Linkin Park can help challenge and redefine “successful leadership.” Read Jazwiec’s Profile >>

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