Does Sue Malek Really Think Montana’s Budget Woes Are Trump’s Fault?

by William Skink

Donald Trump gets to play the role of President for a reason, and I think that reason is to be the fall guy for the coming economic crash.

This line of thinking resonated with me before the election so much that I predicted Trump winning on Halloween. That he actually won can be seen as confirmation.

This notion will never get purchase with the resistance to Trump because they are either too busy looking for Russians under every rock to grasp this crafty set-up, or preparing for the next impotent march for science, or truth, or whatever the current fashion of the moment is.

When the bubbles the Federal Reserve quantitatively eased back into existence burst, Trump and all the ignorant rednecks who voted for him will get the blame.

It’s already starting over at “The Montana Post” with a piece from Sue Malek, titled The Trump Effect–there goes our economy. Let’s take a look at this attempt to view the economic swindle through the partisan lens of a member of the resistance.

I’m not too interested in the opening framing of Trump’s fiscal irresponsibility because he wasn’t president then. What I am interested in is how Malek pulls of tricks like this:

The author of CHICKENSHIT CLUB was recently interviewed on Charlie Rose. He contends that our super-bright and well-educated US Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys are failing to file criminal charges against white collar criminals like those who led the 2008-2009 financial crisis. DOJ is fining banks and corporations but not filing criminal chargers against perpetrators. CEOs whose unethical behavior resulted in hundreds of thousands of Americans losing their jobs, their retirements, their homes, and their health insurance walk free with millions in their pockets.

I’m worried about that policy, but currently I’m more worried that Donald Trump is in charge of our economy. A recent Rockefeller Foundation study notes that 21 states, including Montana, are experiencing a budget shortfall in income taxes. Rich people are not paying the taxes they usually pay. They are delaying taking profits waiting for Trump’s proposed big tax cuts for the wealthy. Economists call it the “Trump Effect.”

Is Sue Malek too chickenshit to acknowledge that until 7 months ago the DOJ was being run by Obama administration appointees? It would appear so, since that awkward fact is not explicitly mentioned. Instead we get a quick pivot to Trump and some simplistic explanation of why Montana, along with 20 other states, are facing budget shortfalls.

Articles like this really piss me off because this duplicitous partisan scapegoating of one political wing actually reinforces the corrupt political duopoly the billionaires and hedge fund managers and extractive industries effectively control.

Sue Malek and the other authors of The Montana Post want to direct righteous anger away from their team’s complicity and toward their political opponents. That’s just politics, right?

I get it, Trump is too much of a visceral threat for the resistance to have the cognitive capacity to also acknowledge the role Democrats played in the bailing out of Wall Street, and the specific role the Clintons had in selling out the Democratic Party.

When I think of the Trump Effect, it’s not some vague theory cooked up by un-named economists about rich people not paying the taxes the usually would. How does that even work? Sue Malek doesn’t really explain this theory, or offer even a link to which economists are making this claim.

It is a handy theory if you want to blame Montana’s fiscal crisis on Trump and omit the pesky fact Governor Bullock signed SB 261 into law without a fight, allowing his political opponents to be long gone from Helena before this delayed legislative time-bomb started going off.

Here is how Logicosity put it in a post titled A Better Way Requires an Iota of Leadership:

Governor Bullock believes Montana has a story to share with the country.

He’s very proud of his four and one-half record as chief executive. He frequently reminds listeners about the number of bills he’s vetoed to hold the line against right-wing extremism and assaults on the state’s enviable fiscal picture.

Maybe he missed one.

According to Dan Villa, the Bullock staffer sent to brief the media on Tuesday about mandatory budget cuts on Tuesday, the Governor doesn’t like a new law that contains revenue thresholds, which if not met, triggers progressive spending reductions. The first installment announced on Tuesday requires state government to ax $74.0 million and lay off 20 or so employees.

The distinct inference of Villa’s comments about the cuts is that the Governor had a better plan than the one spelled out in Senate Bill 261.

So why did he sign the damned thing into law on May 22?

Had he vetoed it, his administration’s concerns would have a hint of credibility – – – he could have claimed the policy high ground, even if lawmakers had overridden it.

Without that act, the complaints ring hollow.

Well said. And it will probably need to be re-said as Bullock tests the political waters for his next job while pretending to be attentive to his current job leading a state in fiscal disarray and literally on fire.

Montana’s budget crisis did not happen because Trump got elected. And when the next economic crash hits, it also will not be the result of Trump’s occupation of the White House.

But that won’t stop the partisans from using Trump as the fall guy for the corporate scams being run on zero-interest liquidity injected into these zombie institutions for nearly a decade.

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About William Skink

I'm a poet and political cynic living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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