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Александр Гамильтон
29 апреля, 16:00

President Trump, Embrace Hamilton's Kinder And Gentler Nationalism To Make America Great Again

Alexander Hamilton, who extolled “that temperate love of liberty, so essential to real republicanism,” offers us what one might term a “kinder, gentler nationalism.”

28 апреля, 12:43

The Jungle-Warfare Theory of Trump

The president’s assault on the media bears all the hallmarks of a comandante waging asymmetrical combat against a larger force. Except now he’s in charge.

27 апреля, 12:39

Stephen Vaughn, the Hamiltonian at USTR

Vaughn, the current acting U.S. Trade Representative, is a trade lawyer who shares Trump's distaste for recent U.S. trade policy,

25 апреля, 16:03

4 Top Dreyfus Mutual Funds to Add to Your Portfolio

Below we share with you four top-rated Dreyfus mutual funds. Each has earned a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #1 (Strong Buy)

21 апреля, 19:28

Press Briefing by Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin on Financial Services Executive Order and Memoranda

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room  11:03 A.M. EDT MR. SPICER:  I just want to go over -- first of all, happy Friday.  I want to go over the ground rules, which we adjusted some after a lot of feedback from you guys.  So I appreciate the feedback.   So, first, we're passing out some background material so you can reference them during the briefing, which is something that was suggested by several members in this room that it would be helpful when do background briefings.  So there you go.   Secretary Mnuchin is going to speak on the record, as several of you have requested.  And this part of the briefing is going to be embargoed until 12:30 p.m. to give you guys to write the stories, which was a request that some folks also made.  So I think you went three for three on the requests.  When Secretary Mnuchin is done speaking he'll take some questions.  He’s obviously here to talk about the executive order and memoranda that are being signed later today at Treasury.  When he’s done, he'll take some questions, and then I'll get up and kind of have some fun with you guys -- see who else stops by. So, with that, as long as everyone is clear on the ground rules -- the Secretary is going to come up, he is on the record, embargoed until 12:30 p.m.  He will take questions; they will also be embargoed until 12:30 p.m.  When the Secretary is done, we will clearly transition back to me.  That is then on the record and no embargo. With that, I am pleased to welcome the Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin. SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Thank you.  It's a pleasure to be here. So let me just say a couple of words and then I'm happy to answer questions and clarifications. So, first of all, this will be the President’s first trip to the Treasury, so we are enormously excited to welcome him at the Treasury.  I will say the importance of the Treasury and the location of it on the White House campus is very important and allows constant communication and ease for us to go back and forth.  I think it was not coincidental that it was built next door.   So we are thrilled to welcome him.  There will be a lot of people there outside to greet him, and he will then be coming up, seeing the line of portraits of past Treasury Secretaries, and then coming into my office and signing the executive order and the two memoranda -- with Alexander Hamilton looking over us. So with that, I think you know we have been busy since he signed the initial executive order on core principles, looking at financial reform.  It encompasses all the aspects of Dodd-Frank, but goes much further than Dodd-Frank.  We've already conducted a large number of meetings -- I think we've had over 16 group meetings, and in many of these meetings there’s 50 people in each meeting or more.  So we've been conducting a lot of feedback overall on regulatory reform. These three are specifically designed to focus on certain aspects that are enormously important to the Treasury and to the President, and that fill in with his campaign promise to make sure that Dodd-Frank is not harming our financial system.  But first let me just comment on the tax executive order. Under the previous administration, the tax code has become extremely expensive and burdensome.  Individuals and business spend over 6.1 billion hours; the cost is over $230 billion.  The basic 1040 has grown enormously.  And I think everybody would agree that the tax system is way too complicated and burdensome. So the purpose of this is that the President will be instructing us to review all significant tax regulations since the beginning of 2016, so all of 2016 and this year, and to look at where there are undue financial burdens, unnecessary complexity and requirements, and for us to issue a report that goes through what the issues are and comes up with solutions by repealing or modifying them.  That's the first part of this. The second part of it is two memoranda that review very specifically two important parts of Dodd-Frank.  The first is OLA -- orderly liquidation authority.  We will do an analysis to make sure that this doesn’t encourage excess risk-taking, moral hazard and exposure to taxpayers.  And while that period -- he will direct us not to use OLA unless required by law, in consultation with him.  So in the event that there is a significant emergency and we do need to use it, we have a way of doing it. The second one will be to put a 180-day review on FSOC designation, and I distinguish -- FSOC is a very important council that I chair.  I think the most important part of FSOC is that I can bring the regulators together, get everybody in a room, be able to address important part of regulation.  FSOC also has the responsibility to designate certain entities, and the President will be instructing me to put a hold on that for designations until we do a thorough review and make sure it’s a fair and transparent process. So with that little overview, I’m happy to answer any questions. Q    Mr. Secretary, do you feel that these policies will help to get rid of Too Big to Fail, or at least take a look at -- several conservatives have argued that Dodd-Frank has codified Too Big to Fail.  And second, Chairman Jeb Hensarling, in the House Financial Services Committee, this week introduced a Dodd-Frank bill.  Are you working with him, and do you support that piece of legislation? SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Well, let me just first comment -- we have been working closely with Chairman Hensarling.  We have been in discussions about all different aspects of regulatory reform. It’s obviously a complicated bill, so I won’t go through the entire bill, but I will say we are supportive of him bringing forward this legislation and look forward to working with him and Congress on the specifics of it. In regards to your other question, let me make it absolutely clear, President Trump is absolutely committed to make sure that taxpayers are not at risk for government bailouts of entities that are too big to fail. Q    It was clear to candidate Trump that the tax code was too complex long before he became President.  And he said on the campaign trail, repeatedly, tax reform would be a top priority.  He said it here as President.  Where are you on that?  You’ve made it pretty clear the August deadline is no longer realistic. How far away are you from putting together a tax reform package? And does this slow that process down -- this review? SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Well, let me first comment, President Trump, who was originally candidate Trump, he understood how complicated tax administration reform was even before he became a candidate.  Tax reform is way too complicated.  We said during the campaign, and we’ve said now, we will be working with Congress on a comprehensive tax reform package with the idea to simplify personal taxes, create middle-income tax cuts, and make business taxes more competitive. I want to first focus on the specifics of what we’re doing today.  I did comment yesterday -- I wanted to make sure there is no misunderstanding that we have been working extensively -- from the day I had been confirmed, I’ve been having meetings with the leadership in the House and the Senate on tax reform.  Our staff has been meeting every week.  I’ve been meeting with Chairman Brady every week for the last month or two.  And what I said yesterday is we are very close to coming with the administration’s plan.  So the President is very focused on this. It has been one of his biggest priorities to create economic growth, and we are very focused on that. But I will ask just to hold questions on tax reform for the moment so that we can finish specifics of these.   Yes. Q    Secretary, just reading through here, what are some specific actions available to you to ease these tax compliance burdens? SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Well, there’s -- I mean, just to be clear, what we’re going to do is we are going to go through and look at every single significant regulation that has been done in the last year-and-a-half.  We’re going to determine whether we think they’re needed in the tax code or whether they’re unnecessary, and the tax burden and complexity is too much.  And if we think it’s too much, we will make a recommendation to the President how to change that. Q    Mr. Secretary, in Congress it seems like in the Senate they want to do GSE reform before Dodd-Frank reform.  Is that order you would support?  And what do you think is the biggest holdup to getting a GSE deal? SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Okay, well, I’m not going to comment on the Senate’s priority.  I defer to them on that.  But I will say, and I’ve said this from the time period in the campaign and from the minute I was nominated for this position, that housing reform is very important to this administration; that this is not something we’re focused on in terms of legislation in the first half of this year, but again, we’ve been having significant discussions at Treasury with the FHFA, with congressional leadership on this.  And we are committed to working with the House and the Senate on having a reform package that makes sure that we promote necessary liquidity in the housing markets.  These are very important to the economy and we want to make sure in no way do we not have that, but also making sure that we don’t put taxpayers at risk and leave these entities as they are. Q    Mr. Secretary, thank you.  ExxonMobil has requested -- SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  I’m really -- I’m going to ask people first to focus on -- if I could just ask everybody for questions on this, and then at the end perhaps I can answer a few more questions. Q    Mr. Secretary, for those who have just a general understanding that the regulations are tied to underlying law, could you explain why the review is necessary if simultaneously you’re working on a tax reform law?  In other words, aren’t you expending a lot of effort to do something that would be overtaken if the President is proposing new law? SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Not necessarily.  I mean, first of all, these are regulations that exist today.  And just to be clear, although the report takes a period of time, that doesn’t mean that we can’t start on the more important things right away. So I think the issue here is this has to do with the complexity of tax regulations.  Some of those issues may be addressed in tax reform.  Some of those things have nothing to do with tax reform, and the President wants to make clear to the American people that we are going to fix the tax code. Q    Mr. Secretary, you’re not commenting on any specific regulations, but some of the most significant tax regulations adopted in this time period are the corporate inversions.  Is that what this is really targeted at?  SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Again, it’s not targeted at just those, it’s targeted at things that are significant and create complexity and undue burdensome situations. Q    It’s certainly one of the things this would be looking at. SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Again, it’s obviously one of the significant things and one of the things we would be looking at.  Q    Just on OLA, do you believe that bankruptcy judges are better equipped to deal with financial contagion risk than regulators? SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Let me say that obviously this is a complicated issue.  The bankruptcy code right now doesn’t work, so if entities were going to go through bankruptcy I think it’s important that we have necessary changes to the bankruptcy code. But on the other hand, there is a reason why we have the bankruptcy code.  So this is something we’ll be looking at very carefully as to what the right solution is. Q    And then just to follow up -- Q    Do you have any -- back to the tax inversions.  I mean, -- SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Wait a second, tax inversions aren’t on this.  That -- Q    Well, it's part of the issue of tax review.  Does your staff have any kind of idea of what it would look like if it’s determined that that portion of the tax review was overreaching by the Obama administration or violated the law in some way? SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Again, let me just say we’ve got 100 people in the tax department at Treasury right across the street, and they are busy to work at everything.   So -- in the back. Q    Would you have done these reviews without executive presidential order?  What was the purpose specifically of the orders? SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Again, I think the purposes of the orders are to make clear what the President and the administration’s priorities are and to signify the importance of these issues to the American people. Q    Mr. Secretary, it seems to me that when you're looking at reviewing the rules regarding inversions, that if you were to roll those back and not get your corporate tax cuts, your tax reform, that you might just start the exodus of companies all over again by removing these rules.  I know that you’re just beginning the review here, but is that part of the calculation?  Is that part of the discussion here -- that these two things would really have to go hand in hand or we could be right back where we were? SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Well, let me just say a general comment -- as I like to say, there were a lot of things coming to this job that I knew a lot about and there are certain things that I had to learn a bit about.  So on my first day in office, Sean was kind enough to invite me over here and I had the pleasure of dealing with the Venezuelan vice president and the Kingpin Act. I can assure you on tax reform, this is an area that I’ve spent a lot of time on.  This is an area that the President and I have worked together during the campaign on.  This is not just something we’ve started thinking about. The priorities are making U.S. business more competitive.  And we’re not going to do anything under this administration that inadvertently makes U.S. business less competitive or encourages U.S. business to go abroad.  We are focused on making U.S. business the most competitive in the world, giving them the tools, and bringing back trillions of dollars. And I can tell you, between the President and I, we’ve literally met with hundreds and hundreds of businesspeople, listening to ideas -- small business leaders, big business leaders.  This administration is open to getting feedback, real-live feedback before we make decisions. Q    Mr. Secretary, a related subject -- on a related subject.  Exxon -- on the same subject -- SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  I’m going to finish these comments.  I have another few minutes. Q    Mr. Secretary, former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke has written that repealing Title 2 to eliminate the OLA would be a major mistake, in his view, and it would imprudently put the economy and the financial system at risk.  Do you envision ultimately repealing Title 2 and eliminating OLA?  Or is there some middle ground you see where you’re going to end up after this review is complete? SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Well, we’re going to do the review and conclude what we think makes sense.  And I would just say -- nothing against him, I have a lot of respect for him -- again, we’re listening to regulators’ views; we’re listening to people who were previously in the administration; we’re listening to people who were impacted by this and we’ll be taking that all into account. Q    Going into the review, can you give us a sense of what you think -- Q    Thank you very much, sir.  India’s financial minister here in the World Bank in meetings, and this will be your first meeting with him under this new Trump relationship.  So what is the future of U.S.-India trade and financial and economic relations, sir? SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Well, let me say, kind of -- I broke out from the IMF meetings to come here today.  I think I had a series of eight bilaterals yesterday.  I think I’ve done four this morning, have a full day tomorrow and the rest of this afternoon. And that’s one of them that I look forward -- we’ve had very constructive discussions with all our counterparts about trade and investment and opportunities for global growth, and I look forward to working with all my counterparts in the G20. So thank you all very much.  Appreciate it.  Thank you, Sean. Q    And then you were going to answer questions after -- Q    Sorry, sir --  Q    You said you were going to answer some tax questions when you were done. SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Well, I’ll take one more tax question from you, but then I have to go to IMF meetings.  So what was your tax question? Q    Anyone else -- Q    Sir, on Exxon -- SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Tax question. Q    The President has talked a lot about preventing U.S. companies from moving overseas.  That is different from moving profit overseas.  And I just want to know where do you think -- where do you land on that?  Is it okay for U.S. companies to move profit overseas?  Or are you more focused on the jobs side? SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Well, let me be clear, we’re focused on everything.  So we want trillions of dollars to come back onshore, to be re-invested.  And we expect that that will be a major part of tax reform.  And we are committed, through trade policies, tax policies, economic discussions, to make sure that we have free and fair bilateral trade that works in both directions. Q    Sir, on the Exxon, one thing -- request your permission to deal in the Black Sea region.  When can the decision be expected? SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  Can’t comment on that right now, but -- that’s not something I can comment specifically on at the moment. Q    -- on the difficulty of doing tax reform, if you’re not able to get this healthcare repeal through?  There’s a lot of savings that were expected from healthcare repeal. SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  I think, as you know, the President wants to get healthcare done and he wants to get tax done.  And hopefully we’ll get them both done, but we’re going to get tax done.   Thank you very much. Q    Is there a timeline for that now?  A new timeline? SECRETARY MNUCHIN:  As I said yesterday -- soon.  (Laughter.)   END    11: 25 A.M. EDT

20 апреля, 10:30

Facebook придёт за тобой

За что люблю поколение рок-н-ролла — за остроту мысли и нон-конформистскую жизненную позицию. Представителям этого поколения не запудрить мозги хипстерской лабудой. Потому что они помнят настоящих хипстеров — сороковых годов: они все умерли практически на руках настоящих рокеров. Не промыть им мозги айтишным собачьим языком и не очаровать новым app’ом для смартфончика. После того как проехал по всем Штатам с Бобом Диланом на гастролях, ваши спайсы — для маменькиных сынков. А вейпы вообще для домашних пёсиков. Что вы можете нового рассказать Джонатану Таплину, автору потрясающей книги, которая вышла вчера в Америке под названием "Пошевеливайся и круши. Как Google, Facebook и Amazon загнали культуру в угол и подорвали демократию" (Move Fast and Break Things — How Google, Facebook and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy). Этот человек, ныне профессор Аннандейлского универа, провёл юность с Бобом Диланом (фильм "Последний вальс" и книга Outlaw Blues) и прочими Grateful Dead. Помогал Джорджу Харрисону собирать концерт для Бангладеш. В молодости собирал номинации на "Оскар", "Золотую ветвь" и "Золотой глобус" в качестве продюсера таких картин Мартина Скорцезе, как "Грязные улицы" с Де Ниро, а во взрослом состоянии первым придумал и запустил интернет-формат Video on Demand, где его и доблестно схарчили монополисты типа Sony с Universal. Так что профессор видит всю эту фигню с высокой колокольни. Что там тебе видать, Джонатан? Ответ на этот вопрос — в книге. Смешно и страшно. Высокотехнологичные компании Америки корчат из себя крутых и дико контркультурных. И боссы, и сотрудники ходят в маечках и джинсах на работу, вещают высокопарным языком о том, как их "разрушительные инновации" изменят мир к лучшему. А на самом деле единственное, в чём они преуспели по-настоящему, так это в разрушении демократии в Америке и по всему миру, ускоряя становление олигархии в США и уничтожая культурные и экономические возможности для миллионов людей. "Пошевеливайся и круши" — была любимая поговорка в Кремниевой долине. Но мальчики в маечках забыли об одном, что "культура — это не совсем "раскладушка" от Motorola, которую можно выкинуть в помойку сразу, как только появилась Новая Крутая Вещь". Всё, что пишет Таплин в своей книге, уже знакомо не понаслышке: "В той же Америке прибыли от газетной рекламы упали на 40 миллиардов с 2000 по 2014 год, доходы от музыкальных записей — на 10 миллиардов. За двадцать лет закрылось 5000 независимых книжных и музыкальных магазинов. Facebook проводит скрытые эксперименты по манипуляции сотнями тысяч пользователей, Amazon известен отношением к своим сотрудникам в логистических центрах как к рабам, Google — лидирует по нарушениям авторских прав. Всё это хорошо задокументировано". Почему эти новые гиганты Интернета так опасны? "Потому что они эксплуатируют доминирующие позиции на рынке для того, чтобы нарушать законы стран, где они работают, извлекать сверхприбыли из рекламного рынка, пользуясь простым шантажом, а также постоянно живут на чужом контенте, о чём правообладатель часто просто не догадывается", — пишет Таплин. Директор инновационной лаборатории Аннанберга, который входит в Университет Южной Калифорнии, Джонатан Таплин давно исследует проблему, и она ему видится следующим образом. "Главные технологические компании в основе своей монополистичны. Но всё началось гораздо раньше — ещё Томас Джефферсон требовал ограничения для монополий и пытался добавить эту главу к "Биллю о правах", наряду со свободой слова и прессы, свободой совести и защитой против вражеских армий. Тогда, ещё в те времена, против него выступил Александр Гамильтон, основатель Bank of New York, и он с коллегами победил. Но, не попав в "Билль о правах", закон против монополий реализовался в антитрестовском законе Шермана 1890 года. Именно этот акт позволил в своё время президенту Рузвельту разделить на части трест Джона Д. Рокфеллера Standard Oil. Таплин цитирует Рузвельта: "Первая задача — изменить условия, при которых эти люди аккумулируют мощь, вовсе не направленную на общественное благо". И эти слова опять актуальны как никогда. Автор приводит куски дискуссий по этому поводу на примере сети Walmart (включает в себя гипермаркеты, универмаги-дискаунтеры и овощные магазины), когда эксперты говорили, что ничего страшного не случилось бы, если бы во всей Америке из ретейлеров остался один только Walmart. На что им ответили, что, может быть, для потребителя мало что изменилось бы, а вот для поставщиков настала бы катастрофа, потому что их продавили бы при закупках по максимуму. "Это как раз то, что сейчас происходит с Amazon, — говорит Таплин. — В отношении книгоиздателей. Так как Amazon может отказать издателям в своей огромной базе, то последним приходится соглашаться на бросовые цены. Google и Facebook делают то же самое, отказывая рекламодателю в доступе к миллиардам пользователей, если рекламодателю цены кажутся завышенными по сравнению с рыночными". Автор цитирует показатель индекса Херфиндаля — Хиршмана, который определяет степень монополизации. Значение 2500 определяет высокий уровень монополизации той или иной компании. И следовательно, её степень нарушения антимонопольных законов. Но на рынке интернет-поисковиков Google имеет 7402 пункта — практически в три раза больше критической цифры, и все делают вид, что всё нормально. В ответ на мой вопрос "как насчёт других стран, не только Америки?" Джонатан сказал: — Дело как раз в том, что у них мировое господство. Реальную конкуренцию им составляют только русские на своей территории. В Европе, например, никто не может сопротивляться. — Ты говоришь, что эти компании "закладывают бомбу под основы демократии"? Что ты имеешь в виду? — Прежде всего, всё это началось с проблемы фейковых новостей, благодаря "Гуглу" и "Фейсбуку". Так как ни FB, ни YouTube не волнует содержание их страниц, стало возможным распространение любой лжи на миллиардную аудиторию. При этом навариваясь на рекламе посредством Google Ad Sense. Кстати, теперь мы имеем вообще запредельные вещи: Facebook блокирует любой намёк на наготу, зато транслирует в прямом эфире убийство человека. Я только что выступил в NY Post по этому поводу со статьёй. — Это всё из-за тоталитарной природы монополий? — Хороший термин ты придумал the totalitarian nature of monopolies, я в книге использую несколько иной — regulatory capture — ловушка для регулятора, потому что тот же Google использует своё влияние, чтобы манипулировать регуляторами как в администрации Обамы, так и в администрации Трампа. Практически Big Tech сам выбирает себе регуляторов. — Какие инструменты существуют, чтобы ограничить власть новоявленных миллиардеров в высоких технологиях? — Это может быть антимонопольное законодательство — только если законодатели решат его реформировать в соответствии с задачами сегодняшнего дня, а не времён Рузвельта. Потому что сегодня происходит убийство культуры: скажем, группа, которая на iTunes продаёт миллионный тираж своих песен, может заработать 900 000 долларов, а когда у них на YouTube стрим на миллион, то музыканты в лучшем случае получат 900 долларов. Это надо менять. Таким образом, либертарианство свободного рынка, которое спокойно отправляет в помойку антимонопольные законы, коренится в самой природе Интернета. Но идея децентрализованной сети, которая должна пережить атомную войну, уже давно вошла в противоречие с практикой огромной концентрации власти и силы в руках всего нескольких компаний в мире. "При этом, если бы антигосударственные убеждения молодых интернет-олигархов существовали в такой форме в 1960-е годы, то самого Интернета, скорее всего, не случилось бы". На самом деле мощности этих компаний вполне бы хватило, чтобы защитить те законы, которые они благостно сегодня сами нарушают. Они продемонстрировали свои способности в деле священной борьбы с голым человеческим телом на FB или в деле блокировки незаконной торговли наркотиками — в поисковых запросах и выдачах. И для них не было бы слишком сложно охранять авторское право или делиться своими мегаприбылями с индустриями поставщиков контента, которых они сегодня просто режут без ножа. Не оставляет Таплин и тему президентских выборов 2016 года, когда, по его мнению, "состоялась демонстрация последствий того, как всё те же интернет-компании выпотрошили когда-то влиятельную сферу профессиональной журналистики". И опасность подстерегает не только людей творческой профессии. "Первыми на баррикадах оказались музыканты и писатели всех мастей, потому что именно эта сфера первой пошла в оцифровку. Но ничего, скоро придут и за вами, за вашей работой и за вашими личными данными". Главный вывод новой книги Джонатана Таплина в том, что без изменения законов, без принуждения гигантов соблюдать этические нормы и уважать нужды потребителя, эти охреневшие от вседозволенности и денег юные олигархи с моралью крысы и кругозором танка Т-34 изменят общество ещё больше, нежели они это сделали до сих пор. Правда, это вряд ли будут изменения к лучшему.

19 апреля, 12:46

Can American Democracy Survive The Era Of Inequality?

Only in our obsessively data-driven era could an issue as socially profound as economic inequality be almost exclusively presented as a mathematical abstraction. Over the past 30 years, an equation has malfunctioned in America, and the numbers do not add up. Occupy Wall Street declares solidarity with the 99 percent, and French economist Thomas Piketty has centuries of figures to prove it. The fact that these bloodless metaphors serve as effective political slogans demonstrates the severity of the problem. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) statistically dense stump speeches attacking the 1 percent transformed him from an obscure hippie into the most popular politician in the country. But inequality is not the breakdown of an awesome machine. It is a political crisis ― one that threatens the very foundations of American government, according to a startling new book by Vanderbilt University Law School professor Ganesh Sitaraman. In The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution, Sitaraman argues persuasively that the American Constitution requires a robust middle class to operate, and will break down in the face of prolonged, severe economic inequality. In a narrative that reaches all the way back to ancient Athens, Sitaraman presents the American Constitution as a radical document that broke with all prior Western legal systems by rejecting the idea that significant economic inequality is both natural and inevitable. Where Athens, Rome and subsequent European empires constructed their institutions to prevent class antagonism from devolving into class war, the United States built a legal system that required broad economic equality to function. Other constitutions, Sitaraman told HuffPost, “built economic class right into the structure of government. In England, for example, you’ve got a House of Lords for the rich and you’ve got a House of Commons for the poor. We don’t have anything like that. … And the reason we don’t have that is that the founders looked around and they thought that America was uniquely equal economically in the history of the world.” By not baking class division into the cake, the American system avoided granting explicit privileges and protections to the rich. But the lack of constitutional checks on the power of either the rich or the poor also makes the American republic uniquely unstable during periods of deep inequality. “If the middle class collapses and the gap between the rich and everyone else expands, economic inequality will soon lead to political inequality,” Sitaraman writes. “Eventually, the political system itself will be deformed to stack the deck in favor of the economic elites. Either the republic will transform into an oligarchy, or the people will be seduced by an authoritarian demagogue.” Listen to HuffPost’s interview with Sitaraman in the HuffPost politics podcast, So That Happened, embedded below. The discussion begins at the 19:25 mark.    Sitaraman’s account may surprise many liberals. For decades, the early years of the American government have been the intellectual property of the political right, with tri-cornered hats, fifes and snare drums serving as the iconography of conservatism. To the left, the American Revolution is widely seen as a war waged by wealthy white colonists infuriated by high taxes who somehow never got around to abolishing slavery while they were reshaping their political system (although Alexander Hamilton, an authoritarian who personally profited from the slave trade, is enjoying an odd resurgence of liberal popularity). Sitaraman doesn’t deny the dark side of the founding generation. He bluntly denounces its shortcomings and bemoans the injustices committed against women, African Americans, Native Americans and other minorities throughout U.S. history. But he also teases out a uniquely American egalitarian economic tradition that includes not only the liberal-friendly upheavals of the Civil War and the Great Depression, but the writings of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. “The idea is that everyone within the political community should be relatively equal,” Sitaraman said. “It leaves open a really big question ― who’s in the political community? And that’s the fight that we’ve had over generations.” Jefferson, in particular, comes in as a defender of such internal equality. In a letter to Madison, he claims to have “laid the axe to the root of Pseudoaristocracy” by banning primogeniture in Virginia and abolishing “entail” laws forbidding the division of agricultural estates. Elsewhere, he suggests “laying burthens on the richer classes, & encouraging the poorer ones,” develops a scheme for progressive land taxes, and calls for the government to give property to every man who does not already own at least 50 acres. The founders also acknowledged that laws would need to change over time to preserve the egalitarian nature of the Republic, Sitaraman argues. He quotes an 1829 letter from Madison, in which the co-author of the Federalist Papers predicts that by 1930, an intolerable number of citizens will be “reduced by a competition for employment to wages which afford them the bare necessities of life.” At that point, “the institutions and laws of the Country must be adapted, and it will require for the task all the wisdom of the wisest patriots.” The crisis Madison predicted came to pass in the form of the Great Depression, and American government survived by adopting Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, which lifted millions out of poverty and subjected much of the economy to federal regulation. Sitaraman’s prescriptions for the current crisis are more modest. Taxes should be raised on the rich and redistributed to the poor, either as direct payments, or in the form of more robust social services. Tougher enforcement of antitrust laws would break up heavy concentrations of economic power. Campaign finance reform would reduce the threat of legalized bribery. Unfortunately, none of these reforms will be possible for at least four years,  and they may already be too late. Donald Trump’s rapid rise to the presidency made plain America’s vulnerability to demagoguery. The symptoms of oligarchy have long been obvious in the workings of Congress, where intra-elite squabbles routinely sideline middle-class concerns. One particularly egregious example occurred in 2011. With the economy in the doldrums, the Senate spent more than six months battling over debit-card swipe fees, a fringe conflict between retailers and banks that had little to do with economic recovery. More recently, the Obama administration and Republican leaders expended tremendous effort trying to push through a trade pact that even its supporters believed would have only a minor effect on the flow of imports and exports ― a deal that also would have helped corporate insiders challenge profit-crimping laws and regulations before an international tribunal.  But the depressing state of our politics should not detract from Sitaraman’s outstanding work. It is only April, and The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution may well prove to be the most important political book of the year.   “So That Happened” is hosted by Jason Linkins, Zach Carter and Arthur Delaney and produced by Zach Young. Send us an email at [email protected] To listen to this podcast later, download our show on iTunes. While you’re there, please subscribe to, rate and review our show. Check out other HuffPost podcasts on iTunes here. You can also find us on Google Play Music, RadioPublic, or Acast. Want more witty and informative political banter in your life? Sign up for our Politics email and find out how Trump and his new administration will impact you. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

19 апреля, 12:46

Can American Democracy Survive The Era Of Inequality?

Only in our obsessively data-driven era could an issue as socially profound as economic inequality be almost exclusively presented as a mathematical abstraction. Over the past 30 years, an equation has malfunctioned in America, and the numbers do not add up. Occupy Wall Street declares solidarity with the 99 percent, and French economist Thomas Piketty has centuries of figures to prove it. The fact that these bloodless metaphors serve as effective political slogans demonstrates the severity of the problem. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) statistically dense stump speeches attacking the 1 percent transformed him from an obscure hippie into the most popular politician in the country. But inequality is not the breakdown of an awesome machine. It is a political crisis ― one that threatens the very foundations of American government, according to a startling new book by Vanderbilt University Law School professor Ganesh Sitaraman. In The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution, Sitaraman argues persuasively that the American Constitution requires a robust middle class to operate, and will break down in the face of prolonged, severe economic inequality. In a narrative that reaches all the way back to ancient Athens, Sitaraman presents the American Constitution as a radical document that broke with all prior Western legal systems by rejecting the idea that significant economic inequality is both natural and inevitable. Where Athens, Rome and subsequent European empires constructed their institutions to prevent class antagonism from devolving into class war, the United States built a legal system that required broad economic equality to function. Other constitutions, Sitaraman told HuffPost, “built economic class right into the structure of government. In England, for example, you’ve got a House of Lords for the rich and you’ve got a House of Commons for the poor. We don’t have anything like that. … And the reason we don’t have that is that the founders looked around and they thought that America was uniquely equal economically in the history of the world.” By not baking class division into the cake, the American system avoided granting explicit privileges and protections to the rich. But the lack of constitutional checks on the power of either the rich or the poor also makes the American republic uniquely unstable during periods of deep inequality. “If the middle class collapses and the gap between the rich and everyone else expands, economic inequality will soon lead to political inequality,” Sitaraman writes. “Eventually, the political system itself will be deformed to stack the deck in favor of the economic elites. Either the republic will transform into an oligarchy, or the people will be seduced by an authoritarian demagogue.” Listen to HuffPost’s interview with Sitaraman in the HuffPost politics podcast, So That Happened, embedded below. The discussion begins at the 19:25 mark.    Sitaraman’s account may surprise many liberals. For decades, the early years of the American government have been the intellectual property of the political right, with tri-cornered hats, fifes and snare drums serving as the iconography of conservatism. To the left, the American Revolution is widely seen as a war waged by wealthy white colonists infuriated by high taxes who somehow never got around to abolishing slavery while they were reshaping their political system (although Alexander Hamilton, an authoritarian who personally profited from the slave trade, is enjoying an odd resurgence of liberal popularity). Sitaraman doesn’t deny the dark side of the founding generation. He bluntly denounces its shortcomings and bemoans the injustices committed against women, African Americans, Native Americans and other minorities throughout U.S. history. But he also teases out a uniquely American egalitarian economic tradition that includes not only the liberal-friendly upheavals of the Civil War and the Great Depression, but the writings of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. “The idea is that everyone within the political community should be relatively equal,” Sitaraman said. “It leaves open a really big question ― who’s in the political community? And that’s the fight that we’ve had over generations.” Jefferson, in particular, comes in as a defender of such internal equality. In a letter to Madison, he claims to have “laid the axe to the root of Pseudoaristocracy” by banning primogeniture in Virginia and abolishing “entail” laws forbidding the division of agricultural estates. Elsewhere, he suggests “laying burthens on the richer classes, & encouraging the poorer ones,” develops a scheme for progressive land taxes, and calls for the government to give property to every man who does not already own at least 50 acres. The founders also acknowledged that laws would need to change over time to preserve the egalitarian nature of the Republic, Sitaraman argues. He quotes an 1829 letter from Madison, in which the co-author of the Federalist Papers predicts that by 1930, an intolerable number of citizens will be “reduced by a competition for employment to wages which afford them the bare necessities of life.” At that point, “the institutions and laws of the Country must be adapted, and it will require for the task all the wisdom of the wisest patriots.” The crisis Madison predicted came to pass in the form of the Great Depression, and American government survived by adopting Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, which lifted millions out of poverty and subjected much of the economy to federal regulation. Sitaraman’s prescriptions for the current crisis are more modest. Taxes should be raised on the rich and redistributed to the poor, either as direct payments, or in the form of more robust social services. Tougher enforcement of antitrust laws would break up heavy concentrations of economic power. Campaign finance reform would reduce the threat of legalized bribery. Unfortunately, none of these reforms will be possible for at least four years,  and they may already be too late. Donald Trump’s rapid rise to the presidency made plain America’s vulnerability to demagoguery. The symptoms of oligarchy have long been obvious in the workings of Congress, where intra-elite squabbles routinely sideline middle-class concerns. One particularly egregious example occurred in 2011. With the economy in the doldrums, the Senate spent more than six months battling over debit-card swipe fees, a fringe conflict between retailers and banks that had little to do with economic recovery. More recently, the Obama administration and Republican leaders expended tremendous effort trying to push through a trade pact that even its supporters believed would have only a minor effect on the flow of imports and exports ― a deal that also would have helped corporate insiders challenge profit-crimping laws and regulations before an international tribunal.  But the depressing state of our politics should not detract from Sitaraman’s outstanding work. It is only April, and The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution may well prove to be the most important political book of the year.   “So That Happened” is hosted by Jason Linkins, Zach Carter and Arthur Delaney and produced by Zach Young. Send us an email at [email protected] To listen to this podcast later, download our show on iTunes. While you’re there, please subscribe to, rate and review our show. Check out other HuffPost podcasts on iTunes here. You can also find us on Google Play Music, RadioPublic, or Acast. Want more witty and informative political banter in your life? Sign up for our Politics email and find out how Trump and his new administration will impact you. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

17 апреля, 11:00

The Easter Egg Roll and the Bygone Era of White House Openness

For much of its history, the front door of the White House was open to hundreds of daily visitors, a tradition that has almost entirely ended.

15 апреля, 12:00

Trump Isn't the Apotheosis of Conservatism

Writers like Rick Perlstein who find in 2016 evidence to validate their darkest views of Republicans miss the ways in which Trump’s rise is a story of discontinuity.

06 апреля, 17:07

Good Riddance to the Filibuster

If the Democrats use the filibuster to protest Neil Gorsuch’s nomination, it might be the only constructive purpose the practice has ever served.

30 марта, 18:45

Mike Pence and the 'Billy Graham Rule'

Their method of protecting their marriage may be misguided, but it shows the Pences have an admirable awareness of their own human weaknesses.

24 марта, 17:20

3 Top-Ranked Dreyfus Mutual Funds for Better Returns

Below we share with you three top-rated Dreyfus mutual funds. Each has earned a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #1 (Strong Buy)

21 марта, 22:25

Trump Is Defining the Presidency Down

The president may not realize it, but his conduct is making his office less powerful, less relevant and less influential.

21 марта, 19:37

Can the Country Survive Without a Strong Middle Class?

In a powerful new book, the legal scholar Ganesh Sitaraman argues that America’s government will fall apart as inequality deepens.

21 марта, 19:37

Can the Country Survive Without a Strong Middle Class?

In a powerful new book, the legal scholar Ganesh Sitaraman argues that America’s government will fall apart as inequality deepens.

16 марта, 16:11

What The Founding Fathers Taught Me About Democracy -- And Why It Matters More Than Ever In The Age Of Trump

A federal judge in Hawaii issued a restraining order against President Donald Trump’s travel ban Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ruled that Trump’s order intentionally targeted Muslims and thus violates the U.S. Constitution. Trump had argued that the travel ban was necessary for the security of the country. But those who would give up liberty for security, Benjamin Franklin warned, “deserve neither.” The Trump presidency has me thinking a lot about the founding fathers and their remarkable wisdom and prescience. The Founding Fathers warned us about demagogues like Trump. Alexander Hamilton, one of the authors of the Constitution, said this: When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits — despotic in his ordinary demeanour — known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty, when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty — to take every opportunity of embarrassing the general government and bringing it under suspicion — to flatter and fall in with all the nonsense of the zealots of the day — It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.’ The founders taught us that democracies are at their best when their citizens are the most informed. This requires that citizens remain engaged and informed – and this requires us to be skeptical of our leaders and to investigate their claims. They knew that the “enemy of the people” was not the press, as Trump says it is, but anyone who would try to delegitimize the press. They knew that only a tyrant feared a free press. An informed citizenry depends on vigilant and critical journalism. The founders told us that a free press is indispensable to the democracy. So, too, is protest. When someone “rides the storm and directs the whirlwind” of tyranny, it is our duty as Americans to take to the streets and protest. Trump has criticized those who protest. He calls protesters “thugs.” He says, “We are not a democracy.” His supporters question the patriotism of protesters. Anyone who says this knows nothing about America or what it means to be an American. This country was founded on protest. Protest is as American as the Declaration of Independence. Criticism of the government is as American as Thomas Paine and Common Sense; irreverence is as American as the Boston Tea Party; and free speech is as American as The Constitution. The Constitution is America’s greatest contribution to civilization – and we do a great disservice to it and America when we neglect it. We must stand up to Trump. America’s future is at stake ― and so is its past. Democracy must defeat Trump before Trump destroys democracy. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

13 марта, 21:49

Twitter Hilariously Burns Kellyanne Conway For Microwave Comment

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); Twitter is boiling over with hilarity after Kellyanne Conway made a comment about “microwaves that turn into cameras.” During an interview with the Bergen County Record on Sunday, Conway talked about President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that his predecessor, Barack Obama, ordered wiretapping of his communications during the campaign. “Do you know if Trump Tower was wiretapped?” the interviewer asks Conway in the video above. In response, Trump’s counselor says, without evidence: “What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other now, unfortunately. There was an article this week that talked about how you can surveil someone through their phones, through their — certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways, and microwaves that turn into cameras, etc., so we know that that is just a fact of modern life.” Though Conway clarified Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that she wasn’t saying Trump and his campaign were being surveilled by microwaves, the damage was already done. Twitter users posted some pretty sweet burns about microwaves, Conway and surveillance. Here is what they cooked up:   #KellyanneConway might be onto something. pic.twitter.com/K77hwozxMK— Comedy Central (@ComedyCentral) March 13, 2017 The clock on my microwave hasn't been set to a time in years. I assume it's cause the FBI always knows the time. #KellyanneConway pic.twitter.com/7wyOiPEtjb— O General My General (@rideatdawn) March 13, 2017 Me to Microwave: Hey, you've been my cook for a long time so I hate to ask, but #KellyanneConway said you are a government spy?Microwave: pic.twitter.com/w6B0ftQHQB— Alt Fed Employee (@Alt_FedEmployee) March 13, 2017 Obama sending me a message about the fate of our country #KellyanneConway pic.twitter.com/u18oYYg6kh— Elaine Morado (@elaine_morado) March 13, 2017 #KellyanneConway the microwave is the leader but these guys are pretty clever too. Be vigilant. pic.twitter.com/eKwfWZOglH— Mrs. Brown (@MrsBrow60210191) March 13, 2017 How do you stop your Microwave from taking selfies and posting them on Snap Chat? #KellyanneConway— John Hergt (@natureofthings7) March 13, 2017 Because "Cook on High for 2-3 Minutes" is Pop Secret Information #KellyanneConway— Robert Quinn (@trumanquinn) March 13, 2017 The #BowlingGreenMassacre could of been prevented if the perpetrators had a microwave. #KellyAnneConway— Dave Barabas (@Dave_Barabas) March 13, 2017 #KellyanneConwayI thought the whole microwaves spying on us was bunk till I caught my stove & microwave battling it out this morning... pic.twitter.com/NzzdsVBW3X— The Anti-Trump (@IMPL0RABLE) March 13, 2017 I'm ready for my microwave, Mr. DeMille. #KellyanneConway— Randi Mayem Singer (@rmayemsinger) March 13, 2017 Welcome to #KellyanneConway neurotic nightmares... pic.twitter.com/DZaZrf07u4— MudNHoney (@Mud_N_Honey) March 13, 2017 You knew this had to happen. #resist @KellyannePolls #KellyanneConway @microwavegate pic.twitter.com/Fss7oTxzGM— Susan Pesznecker (@SuePesznecker) March 13, 2017 A new CIA director has been floating around, word on the street is he has the best spies around #StanfromSears #SPYpliences #KellyanneConway pic.twitter.com/TVmUuZ0nlo— Alexander Hamilton (@SecretaryAHam) March 13, 2017 Hey #KellyanneConway, I've got something to help you with those treacherous microwaves: pic.twitter.com/yQTq28SObd— tay (@SensiblySecular) March 13, 2017 #KellyanneConway Orville knows what you did last Summer. pic.twitter.com/KiQNNU70ei— Warren Sorich (@WarrenSorich) March 13, 2017 #KellyanneConwayI just walked in on my microwave and refrigerator watching Con Air together, I am so screwed on so many levels.— Seth (@sethshaffer) March 13, 2017 Thanks for the heads up @KellyannePolls !Wouldn't want my students to use my microwave to cheat on tests. #KellyanneConway pic.twitter.com/B4vO0JiveY— Mike Collins (@TheMikeC23) March 13, 2017 Proof that Obama has been secretly taping Trump... #KellyanneConway pic.twitter.com/FCeR8UJ6x7— CK (@charley_ck14) March 13, 2017 In the microwave, Barack...the MICROWAVE. #KellyanneConway pic.twitter.com/OYftIkYKan— Girls Really Rule. (@girlsreallyrule) March 13, 2017 -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

10 марта, 09:00

Чьи портреты поместят на новые доллары

Ни для кого не  секрет, что Америкой правит Федеральная резервная система США. Главные акционеры Федерального резерва –  хозяева денег, они же – хозяева Америки. Для укрепления и сохранения власти хозяевам денег нужна «своя» история. Поэтому историю переписывают  – не только в учебниках и голливудских фильма, но также и на денежных купюрах. За последнее столетие американская […]

05 марта, 09:27

Fox News: демократам нужен «русский след», чтобы связать Трампу руки

Я уверен, что вы видели этот список демократов. Последней в нём оказалась Клэр Маккэскилл. Вчера, когда из-за этого разгорелась шумиха, она заявила: «Ещё раз: как старший член комитета по вооружённым силам я ни разу не получала ни письменного, ни устного приглашения от российского посла. Я ни разу не встречалась с ним наедине». Правда, позже она исправилась и добавила: «4 года назад была на встрече, посвящённой международным усыновлениям, где присутствовало много сенаторов. Российский посол тоже там был». Я видел фотографию: за столом сидело много людей. Суть в том, что такое всё равно происходит. И утверждать, что одна партия гораздо больше контактирует (с российскими чиновниками. — RT), чем другая — это как минимум вводить в заблуждение.