Donald Trump ran for president on the premise that he is a great negotiator and the greatest dealmaker. Remember that?
Since he has been in office, Trump has been adept at cancelling deals made by his predecessors – any damn fool can do that – but he has been a complete failure at negotiating deals, even among his own Republican caucus to get legislation done.
His latest failure: Trump is leaving negotiation of an extension of CARES Act financial assistance to his Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Secretary of the Treasury and Bond villain Mark Mnuchin to negotiate with House and Senate leadership, as he skips out to go play yet another round of golf, and take some “executive time” to watch Fox News or OAN right-wing propaganda and Twitter troll about what he is watching on television.
The New York Times reports, With Jobless Aid Expired, Trump Sidelines Himself in Stimulus Talks:
On the first day of the first full week when tens of millions of Americans went without the federal jobless aid that has cushioned them during the pandemic, President Trump was not cajoling undecided lawmakers to embrace a critical stimulus bill to stabilize the foundering economy.
He was at the White House, hurling insults at the Democratic leaders whose support he needs to strike a deal.
Mr. Trump called Speaker Nancy Pelosi “Crazy Nancy,” charging that she had no interest in helping the unemployed. He said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, only wanted to help “radical left” governors in states run by Democrats. And he threatened to short-circuit a delicate series of negotiations to produce a compromise and instead unilaterally impose a federal moratorium on tenant evictions.
The comments came just as Mr. Trump’s own advisers were on Capitol Hill meeting with Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer in search of an elusive deal, and they underscored just how absent the president had been from the negotiations. They also highlighted how, three months before he is to face voters, the main role that Mr. Trump appears to have embraced in assembling an economic recovery package is that of sniping from the sidelines in ways that undercut any potential compromise.
[W]hile White House officials say that he is interested in the talks and is closely monitoring them, he has not sought to use the full powers of his office to prod a deal, and more often he has complicated the already sensitive negotiations.
The situation reflects the dysfunctional dynamic that Mr. Trump has developed with leaders of both parties in Congress.
In the stimulus talks, Mr. Trump’s ideas have often been out of sync with members of his own party. On Monday, he said he was considering acting on his own to eliminate payroll taxes, something a president does not have the power to do himself, and an idea that his advisers had dropped from the talks in the face of near-unanimous opposition by Republican lawmakers.
Trump got this damn fool idea from one of the “trickle down” twins of Republican economics, Stephen Moore, who co-authored an op-ed in Sunday’s Wall Street Journal calling for radical and apparently unilateral action to shore up the struggling U.S. economy. White House Economic Adviser: Trump Should Declare a “National Economic Emergency”:
“The president needs to pull an end run, and there’s a legal way to do that. He should declare a national economic emergency and announce that the Internal Revenue Service will immediately stop collecting the payroll tax,” Moore said.
“This is technically called a deferral of the tax payments.”
What makes this unilateral action by an imperial president idea something to keep a close eye on is that unindicted war criminal and Trump’s new best friend, torture memo author John Yoo visited the White House last Thursday. Nothing good can come of this unholy alliance. Trump, new legal guru meet at White House:
John Yoo told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Saturday that he met with Trump in the Oval Office for about an hour.
[B]ut he declined to say what they talked about. He said Trump was not “Nixonian in the bunker and paranoid and dark.”
The law professor told the Review-Journal that White House counsel Pat Cipollone also was present.
Their meeting comes after Yoo wrote a piece for National Review in June asserting that the Supreme Court ruling that blocked Trump’s plans to end the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) could help the president institute future policies without congressional approval.
In the piece, Yoo said Chief Justice John Roberts’s ruling “makes it easy for presidents to violate the law, but reversing such violations difficult,” adding that the Administrative Procedure Act would need to be used to undo presidential actions.
Yoo told the Review-Journal that he spoke to Trump over the phone about his article and commented that the president “was really on top of things.”
During his “Fox News Sunday” interview last month, Trump said he intended to write his own immigration and health care plans in the next few weeks because of the Supreme Court ruling.
“The Supreme Court gave the president of the United States powers that nobody thought the president had, by approving, by doing what they did — their decision on DACA,” Trump said.
My guess is that it is John Yoo who is stuffing this empty vessel’s empty head with notions of an imperial presidency and acting unilaterally without Congress.
This is where Trump gets the notion that he can use an executive order to impose an eviction moratorium. Trump says he’s examining executive orders on evictions, payroll taxes if he can’t reach deal with Democrats:
President Trump said Monday that he’s looking at unilaterally taking steps to stop tenant evictions and lower payroll taxes, adding that such moves might be necessary if a new coronavirus relief bill can’t be brokered with congressional Democrats.
“A lot of people are going to be evicted, but I’m going to stop it because I’ll do it myself if I have to,” Trump told reporters at an event at the White House. “I have a lot of powers with respect to executive orders, and we’re looking at that very seriously right now.”
He later said he could act to prevent people from having to go to homeless shelters, where he said they could be at higher risk of catching the coronavirus.
“I’ll do it myself if I have to,” Mr. Trump said.
Yeah, no he can’t. “Trump still doesn’t understand that executive orders aren’t laws. Trump can’t sign an executive order and prohibit landlords from evicting tenants. Executive orders only apply to the Executive Branch, and the implementation of laws passed by Congress.” Trump Melts Down And Claims He Can Stop All Evictions With An Executive Order (He Can’t). Trump is promising things he can’t deliver while trying to divide the country, as he tries to blame Democrats for the expiration of extended unemployment benefits that he caused.
The stakes of the negotiations could not be higher. Business leaders pleaded with lawmakers to draft a sweeping recovery package to help the hardest-hit industries survive the crisis. And economists warned that the expiration of the $600-per-week enhanced unemployment payments could already be dragging down consumer spending.
But Republicans are not treating this financial crisis with any sense of urgency. They wasted months after the passage of the CARES Act, and rejected the Heroes Act passed by the House in mid-May. Mitch McConnell’s last minute HEALS Act has not even come up for a vote in the Senate. The American economy is about to fall off a cliff.
“[S]ome 23 million people nationwide at risk of being evicted, according to The Aspen Institute, as moratoriums enacted because of the coronavirus expire and courts reopen. Around 30 state moratoriums have expired since May, according to The Eviction Lab at Princeton University. On top of that, some tenants were already encountering illegal evictions even with the moratoriums.” Wave of evictions expected as moratoriums end in many states.
“Experts predict the problem will only get worse in the coming weeks, with 30 million unemployed and uncertainty whether Congress will extend the extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits that expired Friday. The federal eviction moratorium that protects more than 12 million renters living in federally subsidized apartments or units with federally backed mortgages expired July 25. If it’s not extended, landlords can initiate eviction proceedings in 30 days.”
We are already well into the The ‘restaurant apocalypse’: “Welcome to the restaurant apocalypse,” Jim Cramer, the “Mad Money” host, himself a restaurant owner, said. “If you’re in the business of serving people food in a brick-and-mortar setting, all I can say is stick a fork in it, because that business is done.”
The AP reports, With loan money gone, restaurants are at mercy of virus:
Paycheck Protection Program money has now been spent at many restaurants, leaving them in the same precarious position they were in during outbreak’s early days: Thousands of restaurants are being forced to close down again on mandates from state and local officials combating the virus’s resurgence, particularly in the South and West.
And even in parts of the country where the outbreak appears contained, restaurants’ revenue is far below normal because social distancing requirements — and wary diners — mean fewer tables, fewer customers and limited hours.
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Congress is debating another relief bill that potentially will have more help for small businesses, but even with more loan or grant money, restaurants will remain at the mercy of the virus that has decimated their business.
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Restaurants were among the small businesses the Paycheck Protection Program was intended to help, but some owners say it was of limited use.
The program so far has given about $42 billion in loans to restaurants, bars and lodging companies. But many restaurants burned through loans quickly because the original terms of the program required them to use the money within eight weeks in order to get loan forgiveness. Many establishments couldn’t reopen but paid staffers not to work anyway. Then when they reopened with revenue limited by social distancing, they couldn’t afford their full payrolls. Congress changed the spending requirement to 24 weeks in early June, but that was too late for many restaurants.
It’s not just restaurants, but other small businesses as well on the brink of permanent closures. Axios reports a Scoop: Top CEOs urge Congress to help small businesses:
With a new coronavirus relief measure stalled in Congress, CEOs of some of the world’s biggest companies have banded together to send a message to Washington: Get money to small businesses now!
“By Labor Day, we foresee a wave of permanent closures if the right steps are not taken soon,” warns the letter, organized by Howard Schultz and signed by more than 100 CEOs.
Signatories include the heads of Salesforce, Alphabet, Facebook, Microsoft, Walmart, McDonald’s, Disney, Quibi, IBM, Merck, Marriott, the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and more.
The open letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top lawmakers obtained first by Axios lays out a recipe for a sizable small-business aid package.
What they’re saying: The project, Schultz’s first big public push since he suspended his run for president, calls for “federally guaranteed loans, at favorable terms, that will enable small businesses to transform and sustain themselves.”
- “Businesses should have flexibility in how loan funds are used.”
- “The hardest-hit businesses should be eligible for at least partial loan forgiveness.”
- “Relief needs to be delivered expeditiously. Building on the existing PPP infrastructure would be one way to quickly stand up a new loan program.”
- “These funds must flow to all small businesses in need, particularly those run by people of color, who have traditionally had less access to capital.”
Between the lines: Neither the House’s HEROES Act nor the latest version of Senate Republicans’ HEALS Act include significant funding for small businesses besides the PPP extension.
“Tens of millions of Americans have already lost their jobs in this pandemic. … By year end, the domino effect of lost jobs — as well as the lost services and lost products that small businesses provide — could be catastrophic.”
And what has Donald Trump done about the disaster he created?
Mr. Trump, who spent Saturday and Sunday on his golf course in Virginia, berated Democrats from the White House on Monday, accusing them of being blinded by a focus on “bailout money” for states controlled by Democrats, as opposed to extending unemployment benefits.
“All they’re really interested in is bailout money to bail out radical left governors and radical left mayors like in Portland and places that are so badly run — Chicago, New York City,” Mr. Trump said.
Golfing and Twitter trolling. Is this the “great negotiator” you voted for, Republicans?
After you have lost your job, your health insurance, your home, and you are sick with COVID-19, remember that you did this to us all.