Here are a few things I just don’t understand.



Debt

So now the U.S. is $22 trillion in debt.

Let that sink in for a minute.

If you could run up $1 million a minute on your credit card, it would take you about 42 years to spend $22 trillion.

That’s a lot of money.

The debt just this year is teetering around $1 trillion.

I just don’t get it.

And this happened when Republicans held a significant amount of control over the purse strings.

For the first two years of President Donald Trump’s first term, Republicans controlled the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The result? Deficits. Big deficits. And nobody seems to care.

Republicans used to whine about deficits during the Barack Obama administration. (Not so much, however, during the end of the George W. Bush administration, which is when the $1 trillion-a-year annual deficit streak started.)

At least during those years the U.S. was in a recession. You expect bad budget years in a recession because not as many people are working and the people who are working are making less money. That means less tax revenue.

But these days, the economy is booming. We’re above 3 percent growth quarter over quarter. The government is raking in record amounts of revenue year over year.

The result? Deficits. Big deficits.

Record revenue to the U.S. Treasury and record deficits at the same time during a booming economy are unprecedented in the history of this great land. This has never happened before.

And don’t let anybody tell you it was tax cuts that caused the deficits. That’s bogus. Remember, revenue to the Treasury is at record levels. Just last year there was a $15 billion increase in payroll taxes alone. That is a direct result of jobs created by the tax cuts.

Make no mistake: This deficit problem is all about spending. According to the latest statistics from the Treasury, revenues rose by 0.2 percent overall in the first three months of fiscal 2019.

Spending during the same period was up 9.6 percent.

It’s laughable when I hear any politician say, “How are you going to pay for that?” They all know how they’re going to pay for it. More debt.

We are witnesses to an unrestrained, bipartisan spending spree and I see no end in sight.



AOC

Twenty-nine-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the darling of the Democrats right now.

The new U.S. representative for New York’s 14th District, she unseated a 10-term incumbent Democrat, Joe Crowley. It was a huge upset because Crowley was the Democrat Caucus Chair in the House.

She holds all kinds of sway in Washington.

I heard her talking about Amazon pulling out of its deal to build a distribution center on Long Island the other day.

(It’s not unusual to hear her talking because every time she opens her mouth the media put a camera on her.)

But what she was saying really struck me. It was really misinformed. Now, this wasn’t the run-of-the-mill pie-in-the-sky liberal claptrap she’s normally spouting – refitting every building in America, no cars, no airplanes, free college, free health care, guaranteed income for people unwilling to work, and on and on and on.

No, this time she was just exposing plain old jarring ignorance of how public policy works.

The state of New York offered up $3 billion in tax incentives to Amazon. Amazon, in turn, was to build the distribution center, which over time would have generated $27 billion in tax revenue, not to mention at least 25,000 high-paying jobs.

A few folks like Ocasio-Cortez were against the development, calling it corporate welfare,

Here’s what she said:

“If we were willing to give away $3 billion for this deal, we could invest those $3 billion in our district ourselves, if we wanted to. We could hire out more teachers. We can fix our subways. We can put a lot of people to work for that money, if we wanted to.”

See, you can’t spend a tax incentive.

She apparently doesn’t understand that the state wasn’t spending any money. It was forgoing about $3 billion in taxes up front so it could reap $27 billion in tax revenue later. Plus 25,000 high-paying jobs. Did I mention the 25,000 high-paying jobs?

I mean, you would think she would at least understand how tax incentives work.

But I guess that’s too much to ask of a U.S. representative.

Ocasio-Cortez claims to have been elected because Crowley was out of touch with his constituents.

Well, her constituents were overwhelmingly in favor of the Amazon development and those 25,000 high-paying jobs, so ...

And another thing. She hasn’t even opened a district office yet. Too busy mugging for the cameras, I suppose.



Jussie Smollett

“Empire” star Jussie Smollett claims he was assaulted by two white guys shouting “this is MAGA country!” He said they used racial and gay slurs, threw bleach on him and put a rope around his neck.

A week before that, a letter was delivered to him at the “Empire” studios in Chicago. It showed a lynching, had racist slurs cut from letters in a magazine and contained a white powder that turned out to be ground-up aspirin. It had “MAGA” as a return address.

Smollett did a tearful interview with Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America.”

Chicago cops investigating the report caught a couple of guys on a ride share video camera before they were dropped off near the location of the attack.

They brought them in for questioning and searched their apartment, where they found bleach, magazines and stamps.

The guys were Nigerian brothers – not white – and were acquaintances of Smollett’s. The brothers told the cops Smollett was behind creating the racist letter.

They said when the letter didn’t get much of a reaction, Smollett orchestrated the attack.

Smollett was indicted Wednesday on a “felony disorderly conduct/filing a false police report” charge. He turned himself in on Thursday.

The FBI is looking into the whole letter mess. At this writing, I don’t know if any federal laws were violated.

Now, I’m sure that being black and gay was tough for Smollett growing up. But he survived. He thrived. He earned a prominent role on a popular Fox show. He was  killin’ it!

Now, Empire is cutting his scenes.

Smollett’s Twitter feed is full of vulgar, hateful rants against President Trump.

But why in the world would somebody like Smollett risk his livelihood – and prison time – just to make Trump and his supporters look bad?

I always thought “Trump Derangement Syndrome” was hyperbole cooked up by Trump supporters. Now I’m not so sure.

Seems in Smollett’s case, it was very real.