Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Clinton Legacy Continued?

We're all well aware that Bill Clinton lowered the capital gains tax rate from 28% to 20% for the super-rich, had signed horrible trade agreements that lost millions of American jobs, and had deregulated the banks that led to the Great Recession (for which we're still feeling the terrible aftermath 6 years later after the recession officially ended in June 2009.)

And regarding Bill's policy decisions: All during his 8 years in office, his wife had offered no opinions on those matters, had no clues, had no influence whatsoever, she offered no advise, and she never discussed any of these polices with her husband. Bill did all those things on his own without ever once consulting with his wife. There was never any "pillow talk". She's "her own person", and whatever her husband did while in office had nothing at all to do with how she felt about these issues — or how she'll perform as president (should she ever get herself elected).

For 8 years Hillary Clinton behaved like any other typical First Lady would — she hovered in the background, occasionally giving tours of the White House, tending to a garden, and managed the annual Easter egg hunt — that's all. She was seen, but not heard. She knew nothing at all about "Whitewater-gate", "File-gate", "Travel-gate", her husband's executive pardons of Wall Street bankers, or of the Clinton's multi-million-dollar blind trust. "I know nothing!"

And after being Secretary of the State, it was only her personal emails that were deleted — and they contained absolutely nothing at all about any foreign contributions to the Clinton foundation. Nothing was ever mentioned in any of those emails that would ever incriminate her of any wrong-doing. We know this for a fact, because she told us so — and all politicians can be trusted on their word. Government oversight and transparency for public officials isn't needed. To think that a U.S. government official could ever be dishonest, corrupt, or lying is un-American (Sarcasm). But to think that a Clinton could behave in this was is sacrosanct. (More sarcasm). And to especially accuse Hillary of something would make one a misogynist

The big banks paid have her and her husband hundreds of thousands of dollars per speech on topics including equal pay for women, raising the minimum wage, income and wealth inequality, tax dodgers, offshore bank accounts, mass unemployment, infrastructure spending, the poor (bla, bla, bla) — because the CEOs of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase deeply cared and agreed with the content of those speeches (An over-abundance of sarcasm).

Besides offshoring millions of jobs to foreigners on the other side of the world, Bill Clinton had also allowed for the insourcing of many more foreign workers — allowing them to "take jobs that Americans wanted to do".

In 1997 the H-1B cap of 65,000 was reached for the first time, and demand for more visas was rising with the dot-com boom. In 1998, Bill Clinton was under pressure from the tech industry to raise the cap for H-1B visas. But he (and his administration) wanted a cap increase coupled with reforms that would require companies to first try to hire U.S. workers if a job paid less than $75,000. ($108,000 in today's dollars). Clinton's intent was to call the industry's bluff that there was a shortage of highly skilled workers, but the administration caved on its previous position after consulting with members of Congress. The compromise bill, which increased the H-1B cap to 115,000, only required "recruitment attestation" from H-1B-dependent employers — leaving American workers high and dry, and leaving huge loopholes in the H-1B program.

Today Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is straightforward about high-skill immigration. He supports a big increase in H-1B visas, as well as easy access to green cards for foreigners who graduate from U.S. universities with advanced degrees in STEM disciplines. He is sponsoring a bill called "I-Squared" to do just that. The other two announced Republican candidates, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also support increasing the visa cap substantially. Hillary Clinton also supported increasing the H-1B visa cap.

Besides Bill Clinton's horrific trade agreements (NAFTA, etc), 13 Democrats have recently helped the Republicans go forward with fast track for Obama in another terrible trade agreement (TPP) that will also be disastrous for American workers (described as NAFTA on steroids).

TPP could easily result in a trade treaty (consisting of thousands of pages) with something on importing foreign labor buried deep inside — and Congress could either miss it (or pretend to do so, like they sometimes claim to.). At any rate, members of Congress would only be able to vote up or down, and there may be enough goodies in there for most people in Congress to vote "yes", even if they were aware of the foreign labor provision.

Some in Congress may view H-1B visas and green cards as a means to thwart China’s growing power — as a way to “steal” STEM workers from China. But as it was pointed out in one blog, one aspect of the GATS treaty is the portion of the document related to H-1B visas, as the language is basically identical to our H-1B statute... Yes, the anti-displacement, anti-layoff, American recruitment-required provisions of our H-1B dependent law actually apply to Google, Intel, Microsoft, (etc.) — and since treaties have the force of law, the U.S. has been in violation of the law all these years.

We have yet to have a clear idea of exactly how Hillary Clinton feels about the TPP trade agreement (or expanding H-1B visas), but we'll be listening very carefully. Which begs the question: After decades of experience in "politics", and after advocating for "Third Way" democratic polices while First Lady, New York Senator and Secretary of State, why is she only now courting "Progressives" for advice? Did the "Occupy Wall Street" movement move her? Or is she really just looking for new political "talking points"?

Come to think of it, we have no clear idea how she feels about anything regarding raising the capital gains tax on the ultra rich so that they pay the same tax rate as those who earn regular wages (and maybe even taxing capital gains for Social Security as well), eliminating the loopholes from the corporate tax code, strengthening Social Security by eliminating the $118,500 cap on income that is subjected to Social Security taxes, or protecting and enforcing all the provisions of Dodd-Frank. Not to mention Bill Clinton's welfare "reform" — or how Hillary Clinton had disappointed Elizabeth Warren by advocating "reform" of the bankruptcy laws.

In other words, un-doing all of her husband's past mistakes — mistakes that she had no part of, because she's "her own person", and who is very different than her husband (so different in fact, that she married him all those years ago, and has stayed by his side ever since). In this particular case (regarding her husband's politics and public policy), the Hillary acorn had fallen miles away from Bill's tree (Is sarcasm also needed here?)

So then, when will we finally start hearing Hillary Clinton addressing the American people on all these issues? The issues that Senator Bernie Sanders has been talking about for years? And guess what? He didn't have to consult with anyone for talking points, because he already knows the difference between right and wrong.

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