Sunday, July 21, 2019

Four genuine public servants and one big phony

            I know what many want at this moment: to denounce him, to impeach him, to send him back to where he came from -- a career of eluding debtors.

            Sorry, but this time I'm going to thank Donald Trump.

            Were it not for his unconscionable racist screed, I would not know U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley.

            Because of what Trump recently said about her and three other congresswomen of color, I got to meet her on the other side of our TV screen as they held a joint press conference.

            Pressley said Trump's comments are but a "disruption and a distraction from the callous, chaotic and corrupt culture of this administration." Tell it.

            I wouldn't know about Pressley at all were it not for this distraction. I'm glad I do.

            The Massachusetts Democrat couldn't be more eloquent and couldn't be more devoted to her job, which is to focus on matters that matter to her constituents.

            Health care. Gun Violence. College debt. Income inequality. The environment. Infrastructure: You know, issues which largely have been spit upon by the Party of Trump.

            Again, though, we should thank Donald Trump at this very moment and for that particular rant. Because of him, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar was greeted at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport last week like she has the Vince Lombardi Trophy in her hands for Vikings fans.

            Thanks to our president, I now know more about Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the firecracker whose utter devotion is to Michigan's 13th Congressional District and not to religious-right charlatans and foreign dictators.

            I didn't need an introduction to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. We've all been hearing about her.

           (If you want to get woozy quickly, turn to Fox News, haul out the schnapps, and take a belt every time AOC is brought up.)

            Yes, she's a communist out to destroy America. You'd think she had the entire 1,000-plus-person Russian Internet Research Agency backing her election effort. Oh, wait, that was Donald Trump.

             Ocasio-Cortez is a force of nature – human nature. She is as genuine as Donald Trump is phony.

            She works for the victims of unfettered greed in her borough in the Bronx and across America. You may disagree with her policies, but you can't call her a shape-shifter or wonder what she stands for.

            Trump says he's the most transparent president ever. Well, he's right on that. Every gesture he makes is a transparent bid to retain the love of the angry white voters.

            Coal? Beautiful coal? Talk about a see-through play for misbegotten loyalties in the Rust Belt. Sir, that train has left the station. Didn't they discuss market forces at Wharton? With its polluting properties, coal is as in-demand today as K-cars.

            A friend of American manufacturers? Trump talks that way while his family exploits overseas labor.

            A friend of the middle class? His tariffs (taxes) have wiped out the pittance that sector got from his tax cuts. (We know which sector benefited, by the way.)

            A foe of illegal immigration? He wasn't so fierce while undocumented workers staffed his New Jersey properties.

            Judeo-Christian values? He mouths a serviceable code for the benefit of Bible Belt voters. But my goodness: With his lying, his philandering, his coarseness, his gesticulating to voices of hate -- in his hands the stone tablets of Moses are rendered to pea gravel.

            Then you have a true American like Rep. Omar, who gained citizenship at the tender age of 17 – amazing for someone three years removed from a refugee camp. Then she had the resolve to run for Congress – and the eloquence and vision to win.

            It was heartening to see Minnesotans shouting to her, "We got your back."

            So again, thanks to Trump for helping shine a light on four courageous women who serve in the public sector, an excellent reminder of why we must return him to the private sector.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

That oath was Trump's first lie in office

            Did you hear why Peyton Manning chose not to be color commentator for ESPN's "Monday Night Football"?

            Because it wouldn't be right.

            He declined, reports Yahoo Sports, because his commentary would be compromised should his brother Eli be on the field. So, too, Peyton would feel torn in commenting on his former teams in Denver and Indianapolis.

            Few realizations could be sadder: A retired quarterback has a higher sense of honor regarding a broadcast stint than a man who stood on the Capitol steps swearing he'd do right by the law, then strode into the White House and did what he pleased.

            As of now, the man electorally assigned to execute our laws stands to be the only man in America who believes he can ignore them.

            On Jan. 20, 2017, he swore he would preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. It was his first official lie.

            Other countries have any number of dignitaries who do that with impunity – military dictators and their generals, cartel bosses and their corporals, mullahs, sheikhs.

            Here, we have Donald Trump, the one and only.

            The law applies to his former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, in prison for illegal deeds. It appears not to apply to the man for whom those deeds were done. The law applies to buds and influence brokers Trump hired and Robert Mueller has indicted. Apparently, though, it doesn't apply to Mr. Big.

            Shortly we'll hear more from Mueller when Congress gets to ask him about what we all know to be true: Regardless of whether or not you are a Trump fan, you know he obstructed justice. He did it over and over, and in full sight. Trump fans: You rooted him on as he obstructed.

            He fired the man heading a probe pointed straight at him. He threatened witnesses. He pressured people in the know to not say what they knew. He lied and lied and lied again about Russian contacts as a candidate and in Russian business entanglements.

            But that offense is not our subject today. Today we discuss the impunity with which Trump has violated that founding document -- or more pertinently, Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8.

            It's known as the Emoluments Clause, and it says the most powerful man in our government will not place himself in the position of being compromised by foreign gifts.

            Trump refused to divest or blind-trust himself when he became president. Since then his brand has raked in foreign government dollars hand over fist.

            As just one example: In one six-month stretch starting in October of 2016, the government of Saudi Arabia spent $270,000 at Trump International Hotel.

            What might the Saudis have expected in return? Indeed, what did they get?

            Such conflicts are why House Democrats have subpoenaed Trump's financial records. Americans need to know to what extent foreign governments have played our White House like a slot machine.

            The other day Trump pronounced the emoluments matter just another witch hunt when a federal appeals court threw out a suit by attorneys general in Maryland and the District of Columbia on the matter.

            As Trump says almost every day (every other sentence?), "Total exoneration."

            Nope. The dismissal wasn't on the merits of the matter but the court's ruling that the two states didn't have standing to sue.

            Another emoluments suit, this filed by more than 200 members of Congress, is still alive, and so is the legal bid to acquire his financial documents.

            Trump is the most corrupt, and corrupted, American president – period.

            Even his biggest fans know this. As he said, he could "stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody" and he wouldn't lose them.

            So, go for the gold, Golden Boy. Get what you can while the gettin's good. Drop-kick those ethical questions right down the field. That's what winners do.

            That Peyton Manning. Integrity is for chumps.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

Monday, July 8, 2019

President with a pronoun problem (reposting)

           (Readers: Though our president is inerrant -- just ask him -- the rest of us make mistakes. This is a corrected, reposted version -- JPY)

            Hear the distant rumble. Ram the ramparts. Hustle the muskets to the nearest landing strip.

            The sound you hear is not a summer storm but the rolling plunder of Donald Trump seeking further employment by us.

            Flanked by tanks, escorted by bombers -- with his presidential bullhorn he commends "unity" to a nation grown disorderly and just plain tired of him.

            By certain accounts he put on a great show at the feet of Lincoln July 4. Apologists in the pundit set certainly thought so. They exhaled a great gust of relief to see Trump stick to (fractured) American history and freebie points about our great military.

            Pat Buchanan gushed that Trump displayed perfect pitch: "positive, patriotic, uplifting," oh, and "presidential."

            Imagine anyone needing to plead said case for Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Obama. Each of those presidents knew from Day One what the office demanded.

            Marc Thiessen raved that Trump had been "unifying," and scolded critics who expected something else.

            On behalf of those who expected a clown act from Trump, let me apologize for having paid attention over the last three years.

            Most Americans by now judge any "presidential" pretense to be a ruse from a man whose every other sentence is either a tall tale or a low blow aimed at any who eschew the hook-line-sinker fascination that is him.

            The headlines said a surprisingly stately Trump called on his audience to "stay true to our cause," but we all know (even his acolytes know) the only cause that truly motivates his movement is his pronoun: "me."

            Most Americans know that the "us" Trump mentions doesn't include them. They know that the "us" is really the folks with the VIP tickets to the big event – those conveniently fenced off from the rabble.

            Chain-link: the defining feature of the Trump presidency.

            People who visit the national parks should ask for a refund for their fees – raised under this administration – for the $2.5 million siphoned from the parks budget to pay for this campaign event.

            Those fees are not cheap anymore. And only one American can rely on the taxpayers to pay for all of his recreation, not to mention steal from the military budget when Congress won't fund his border fence.

            Actually, a judge just said he can't do that. As with a citizenship question on the census, Trump proceeds as if he doesn't hear.

            Trump, by review, wanted something much grander than what transpired July 4, something far more extensive and expensive, but got major blowback from the Pentagon.

            He wanted what they do in Moscow and what they do in Pyongyang. He wanted, with Lincoln and our flag as his backdrop, to do what dictators do.

            Tanks? Fighter jets? Civilian flights grounded? No big deal, said he. "We own those things," he said. All it costs is a little fuel.

            We all know what "we" Trump is using in that sentence, and it's not you and me.

            Regardless, we will continue to foot the bill for angry rallies of red-capped people who love it when Trump goes all against "them." Read the thought bubbles of those crowds: "Them" means Muslims, Mexicans, gays and lesbians, and of course liberals.

            Unity? Patriotism? Voters who have been watching this divisive presidency now know what pronoun Trump is all about -- it's not "us." And it's not at all what the first half of the initials "U.S." stand for: united.

            With polls showing most Americans disapproving of what he is and has done, Trump should brace for when voters will remind him that "we" get the final say.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

President with a pronoun problem

            Hear the distant rumble. Ram the ramparts. Hustle the muskets to the nearest landing strip.

            The sound you hear is not a summer storm but the rolling plunder of Donald Trump seeking further employment by us.

            Flanked by tanks, escorted by bomberooks -- with his presidential bullhorn he commends "unity" to a nation grown disorderly and just plain tired of him.

            By certain accounts he put on a great show at the feet of Lincoln July 4. Apologists in the pundit set certainly thought so. They exhaled a great gust of relief to see Trump stick to (fractured) American history and freebie points about our great military.

            Marc Thiessen raved that Trump had been "unifying" and scolded critics who expected something else.

            Pat Buchanan gushed that Trump displayed perfect pitch: "positive, patriotic, uplifting," oh, and "presidential."

            Imagine anyone needing to plead said case for Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Obama. Each of those presidents knew from Day One what the office demanded.

            Marc Thiessen raved that Trump had been "unifying," and scolded critics who expected something else.

            On behalf of those who expected a clown act from Trump, let me apologize for having paid attention over the last three years.

            Most Americans by now judge any "presidential" pretense to be a ruse from a man whose every other sentence is either a tall tale or a low blow aimed at any who eschew the hook-line-sinker fascination that is him.

            The headlines said a surprisingly stately Trump called on his audience to "stay true to our cause," but we all know (even his acolytes know) the only cause that truly motivates his movement is his pronoun: "me."

            Most Americans know that the "us" Trump mentions doesn't include them. They know that the "us" is really the folks with the VIP tickets to the big event – those conveniently fenced off from the rabble.

            Chain-link: the defining feature of the Trump presidency.

            People who visit the national parks should ask for a refund for their fees – raised under this administration – for the $2.5 million siphoned from the parks budget to pay for this campaign event.

            Those fees are not cheap anymore. And only one American can rely on the taxpayers to pay for all of his recreation, not to mention steal from the military budget when Congress won't fund his border fence.

            Actually, a judge just said he can't do that. As with a citizenship question on the census, Trump proceeds as if he doesn't hear.

            Trump, by review, wanted something much grander than what transpired July 4, something far more extensive and expensive, but got major blowback from the Pentagon.

            He wanted what they do in Moscow and what they do in Pyongyang. He wanted, with Lincoln and our flag as his backdrop, to do what dictators do.

            Tanks? Fighter jets? Civilian flights grounded? No big deal, said he. "We own those things," he said. All it costs is a little fuel.

            We all know what "we" Trump is using in that sentence, and it's not you and me.

            Regardless, we will continue to foot the bill for angry rallies of red-capped people who love it when Trump goes all against "them." Read the thought bubbles of those crowds: "Them" means Muslims, Mexicans, gays and lesbians, and of course liberals.

            Unity? Patriotism? Voters who have been watching this divisive presidency now know what pronoun Trump is all about -- it's not "us." And it's not at all what the first half of the initials "U.S." stand for: united.

            With polls showing most Americans disapproving of what he is and has done, Trump should brace for when voters will remind him that "we" get the final say.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Rs vs. the dreaded D -- demographics

            It's a race against time, and against diversity.

            For Republicans that foe was illustrated last week on stage in Miami -- brimming with Democrats running for president.

            It featured candidates of varied colors, fiery non-submissive women, a gay mayor. It represented something for which today's Republican Party isn't programmed: a world of difference.

            The Rs will protest that they have blacks and browns and quite a few women and even a smattering of gay people among them.

            The fact that Republicans can claim these things doesn't mean that they haven't made that D-word – diversity – their everyday enemy. Just look at a MAGA crowd and listen to their leader talk about "the other."

            More importantly, look at what the Supreme Court did that same week. It ruled that Republicans in power could continue to marginalize and undermine communities of diversity to make seats in Congress and the statehouse invulnerable.

            The Supreme Court will not intervene as the GOP seeks every day and in every way to negate the one-man-one-vote protections of the Voting Rights Act.

            The court will look the other way as the choices of black and brown voters are neutralized and tokenized.

            This will happen through vengeful gerrymandering and through guileful vote- suppression tactics aimed squarely at the poor and people of color.

            These clear intentions were built into the quest to include a citizenship question on the census. Reduce census participation by Latinos – the better to minimize them and under represent them.

            Texas Republicans were so dead-set on the citizenship question that they appeared willing to lose a congressional district or more even though the question would mean a population under count.

            No worry. Because gerrymandering now looms as large and destructive as ever, the district lost would be one that served those very Latino citizens.

            Right now Republicans are furiously counting all the black and brown bodies in each state they control so as to make those bodies count for less than before. 

            It really is a race against time, for this nation is getting more black and brown each day, and the Party of Trump is not.

            Throw in increasingly exasperated women and an increasingly active LGBTQ community, both segments of all colors, seeing Trumpism as a remnant of ages-old oppression.

            And then, again, there is race.

            I have said a time or two that racism, or at least racial exclusivity, will be the demise of the GOP. Now it appears that race – or the racial opportunism of gerrymandering and vote suppression, and the representative abomination that is the Electoral College -- stands to be the GOP's only means of enduring.

            It may work for a while, because GOP-controlled legislatures, not constrained by federal courts will strengthen their hand with unfair districts.

            But as said, this nation every day is becoming less like the Republican Party.

            Yes, look at that stage in Miami with all the brilliance and promise inherent.

            By the way, last week a federal judge sentenced Alex Fields Jr., a neo-Nazi, to prison for life for killing Heather Heyer when he drove his car into a crowd protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, W.Va.

            President Trump showed his true colors after that vehicular horror. He spoke of "good people on both sides." The Republican hierarchy stood mute.

            Yes, this is what it has come to. We know good people on both partisan sides of the debate about the direction of this country, but so many on one side – the Trump side -- are so focused on maintaining their political advantages that they simply cannot change what they do and say about race.

            The political science aphorism is, "Demography is destiny." The Republican Party is going all-in on how to define who they are. There's no turning back now.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

As Pride flag rises, sun sets on this bigotry

           Denver was awash in rainbows. Thousands had gathered for the annual Pride Fest, celebrating LBGTQ lives and advocating liberties.

            Jared Polis, the nation's first openly gay governor, was grand marshal.

            Among the throng: several Democrats running to take Republican incumbent Cory Gardner's U.S. Senate seat. Not among the crowd: the senator.

            Gardner wouldn't dare be there to embrace these people, his constituents -- not when soft-sell bigotry remains one of the foundational planks of the Republican Party.

            OK, there's nothing soft about it.

            Not when the Trump administration orders embassies not to fly the multi-colors of the Pride flag.

            Not when Mike Pence's cold, cold aortic structure (same-sex marriage signals "societal collapse" said he) is one beat away from the presidency.

            Not when every gesture of the Trump administration is sculpted to suit the bigoted urges of Franklin Graham and the religious right.

            Democrats in Congress have again gone to the mat on protections against discrimination by employers based on sexual orientation. Republicans in the Senate won't be playing along.

            They can't stomach human rights for human beings who are homosexual or transgender. So much for being "pro-life."

            Elizabeth Warren, the small presidential candidate with the big ideas, is promoting a law that will allow same-sex couples to amend their tax returns to get refunds for which they weren't eligible when federal law didn't recognize same-sex marriage.

            That would be a non-starter in Mitch McConnell's Senate, naturally. That just shows how tone-deaf Republican leaders are to the sea-swell of support of LGBTQ rights, particularly among young voters.

            It's why when people like McConnell are gone they will be gone for good.

            Ask around. Ask young Americans. They are so very accepting of LGBTQ rights, and of institutions like same-sex marriage and gay and lesbian adoption. It's not even an issue.

            Ultimately non-bigots will govern this country, and the religious right will stew in its corner.

            Massive Pride Month events across the country aren't the only indicator pointing to new days ahead.

            Local and national newscasts recounted the horrors that led to the Stonewall Riot 50 years ago. The protests that emerged had the feeling of Selma, Birmingham, and other heroic quests.

            PBS's stunning documentary "The Lavender Scare," recounted the Red Scare-era effort to purge the government of gays and lesbians fueled by whisper campaigns.

            Though it all seems so "back then," I well remember a few years ago in my Texas newspaper days when Republicans staged a not-so-whispery campaign that longtime bachelor, longtime Congressman Chet Edwards was gay.

            Ah, fake news. Today Edwards is happily married with two sons.

            It's sad to have to qualify a person's sexual status with facts. It's sort of like the lie that Barack Obama is a Muslim. Of course, neither claim should be considered a slur.

            Consider the mindset and how it might apply to you. If you don't think in an "approved" manner, your religion, sexual orientation or lack of children may be next up for discussion and dissection.

            Republicans once advertised themselves as having a "big tent." Actually, the first time I heard it was the 1992 GOP national convention, notorious for Pat Buchanan's horrible "family values" screed, packed with mostly anti-gay code in the early days of AIDS. It seems long ago, but the party has yet to change its stripes.

            I'm so proud that Pride Month is becoming an institution. The college at which I teach features it all over campus as I write this, pointing to activities to "fight prejudice and honor diversity." Amen.

            Ultimately those who tout discrimination against homosexuals and the transgender will face the unkind narrative that now accompanies long-ago segregationists and slave owners.

            On this count, Trump, Pence and enabling Republicans, firmly on the wrong side of history, are destined to reside in the dust with George Wallace, Lester Maddox and the Dixiecrats who made the denial of basic human rights a cause worthy of a last stand.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Trump's credibility chasm

           Ever since Donald Trump winged into Colorado to speak to the 2019 class of the Air Force Academy, I've tried to put myself in the well-shone shoes of those cadets.

            The man who spoke at their commissioning literally has their lives in his hands.

            I wonder about those cadets because in the scant weeks since they became officers, "tensions" and murkily framed events have developed that could led us to war with Iran.

            Any moment those pilots could be sent into battle based on the word of the least credible individual ever to hold his office.

            Indeed, credibility is as alien to Trump as job-shadowing a Guatemalan refugee.

            Lyndon Johnson had a "credibility gap." Trump's? A chasm? A canyon? Whatever the term, it's so wide we'd need Carl Sagan to parse it. What is a light year in rhetorical terms?

            Looking down at those Air Force cadets that May day was a face that has sailed a thousand lies – 10,796 as of June 7 according to Washington Post fact-checkers.

            He's not just a practiced prevaricator; he is the black hole of truth: a force of deceit so immense that the MAGA-netic pull swallows all light and sound.

            He asserts that Iran is being provocative in a war-like way. It may be. But can we trust the narrative of events from the source on which so many Americans have come to understand is completely untrustworthy?

            Back when Republicans tried to shoot holes in the testimony of former Trump fixer Michael Cohen – "a convicted liar" – a Quinnipiac Poll found that while 35 percent of respondents didn't believe Cohen when he called his former boss a "racist," "con man" and "cheat," 50 percent said Cohen was more trustworthy than the guy he was fingering.

            Yes, the guy with his finger on the button.

            Like a host of conservatives – from John McCain and Mitt Romney to George Will and Michael Gerson – Jennifer Rubin, author of the "Right Turn" column for the Washington Post long ago turned on Trump.

            Don't expect Rubin to buy any claim Trump makes about the situation in the Middle East.

            We have left behind, she writes, an era "in which the president and his administration generally tried to get things right, would not deliberately mislead and would voluntarily correct errors."

            Not from this president.

            With the aid of Fox News, she writes, Republican leaders "continue to enable and echo lies for fear of being at odds with Trump and his cult followers." That means you, Lindsey Graham.

            Trump's followers believed that an extenuated threat of tariffs caused Mexico to make 11th-hour concessions about how to handle the border. Reporting by the New York Times found that the arrangement had been in place for weeks while Trump milked the image of a strongman applying a vise to Mexico.

            Now we have a situation in the Gulf of Oman made out to sound like Iran is aching for a battle. Remember, however, what happened in 1964 when what was actually U.S provocation in the Gulf of Tonkin resulted in a morass that took 58,220 American lives in Vietnam.

            Speaking of a gulf: That was the width between what was real and what was advertised as pretext for invading Iraq under Bush-Cheney. How many times, and by how many players, will this nation be fooled into war?

            A fool is in charge today. We find ourselves at a place where, should the situation truly merit a military response, he who would order it is less trustworthy than someone headed to prison for lying.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

 

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Tariffs on the table (and everything else in the store)

            It's dark wood and cost $500, a figure that made my wife and I me wince.

            Then we smiled. The young couple's new dining room table showed they had graduated past second-hand stores -- and that their relationship is in its own stages of matriculation.

            For a purchase of a lifetime – it was for my wife and me -- one might say that a dining room table's price is secondary.

            It stinks, though, that President Trump stuck this young couple with something like $50 more on the purchase courtesy of his trade war with China.

            To Trump, having grown up in the gold trim of Daddy's millions, $50 is nothing.

            To most young Americans, it's real money.

            It's also a gaping chunk of what little in tax benefits they got when Republicans messed with the tax system in ways that mostly benefited paunchy billionaires and mega-corporations.

            Trump's tariffs have exacted an enormous price on society with more to come, and generally in ways few realize – higher prices for clothing, toys, household goods and just about everything one sees in the average home.

            Investment bank Cowen & Co. told the Associated Press that the cumulative cost of tariffs on Chinese goods alone could reach $100 billion.

            These sacrifices might go down easier if Trump had any FDR in him. You know: We're at war with China. Our economic survival is at stake. Collect scrap rubber and tin. Ration graham crackers. Can you rivet, Rosie?

            A truthful president might evoke citizen buy-in. Not gonna happen with this con man.

            Trump consistently has lied about the costs of his trade war. And it's his alone, as free-trade Republicans duck and scurry for their bunkers.

            One of the more embarrassing moments for this embarrassment of an administration was when Commerce Secretary Lawrence Kudlow, who has a job on Team Trump because of his show on Fox News, was forced by Chris Wallace to admit that American consumers will pay for the tariffs.

            Tariffs aren't penalties on foreigners. They are taxes on consumers -- you and me.

            Trump apologists will say that tariffs on Chinese goods simply mean that consumers and retailers will turn away from things made in China.

            (Would that Ivanka Trump did the same in the making of her footwear line. Yes: "Made in China." Her other go-to locales: Bangladesh, India, Vietnam and Indonesia.)

            One furniture retailer told Reuters he was raising prices on all of his furniture to cover the costs of the Chinese tariffs because, as he explains, "I don't have any other option. It's too hard to go through the 5,000 products I have and figure out what's from China."

            In the industry, Chinese-made goods make up 30 percent to 40 percent of furniture inventory, with the end result of Trump's tariffs with mark-ups ranging from 10 percent to 20 percent.

            Now let's go small-ticket -- as if there's any such thing for families living from paycheck to paycheck.

            Recently as Trump ordered his trade representative to begin plans for a more exhaustive set of tariffs on Chinese goods, 200 shoe retailers wrote Trump urging against them on Chinese footwear (indeed, what about Ivanka's bottom line?)

            The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of American estimates that Trump's threatened tariffs on Chinese footwear would add $7 billion in additional costs for consumers every year.

            What a fascinating dynamic it was for Trump to enact tariffs that crippled soybean growers and then offer to make it up to them with billions in assistance.

            What about the rest of us?

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.