Cornel West's dishonest response to questions of Trump's economic policies helping African Americans.

Has the whole world gone mad? Maybe. But certainly a large proportion of the American politically-interested populace seems to be breeding a growing number of lunatics. The brief film clip (11:49) included with this essay reveals the degree from reality many formerly respected left-progressive spokespeople have descended driven into the madness of rampant Trump Derangement Syndrome. Cornel West, ostensibly a reasonable man, was an important spokesperson for the Bernie Sanders wing of the Dim party before HRC cheated Bernie and us of his well-earned nomination. Since then, Bernie has fallen on hard times, difficult to comprehend from his fire-eating political independence, once espousing the benefit of the many in contrast to the few. Now Bernie has sold out, licking up to HRC and in other ways (e.g., refusing to back genuine progressives like Tim Canova and refusing to condemn D. Wasserman Schultz). Cornel West used to offer reasoned arguments as to why the Democratic Socialist approach espoused by Bernie and others was logical and made social as well as economic sense.

So, I caught him on this exchange, shown on the Ingraham Angle, with Candace Owens, a full-blooded conservative. This video contains no comments by Candace Owens, so we for purposes of this essay, may disregard her economic viewpoints. The question posed by Laura Ingraham is simple: "are Trump's economic policies helping African Americans?"

Admittedly Trump is using the same slight of hand that Obama and previous presidents have done, with the accompanying distortions of the real economy. But at least the baseline is consistent. The Trump tax cut, although admittedly benefitting the rich far more than the rest, nevertheless has passed along tax savings to those lower on the wage scale. Despite delusional Nancy Pelosi calling such extra spending money crumbs, the fallout resulted in and is still resulting in more money for average people to have and spend as they choose.

What rational argument does Dr. West advance to support or criticize such improvements of black unemployment and wage gains? None. He is in a virtue-signaling bubble which does not allow him to say that the economic figures, as distorted as they may be, have improved for blacks and the economy in general. These were the same yard sticks measuring previous administrations' economic prowess (or lack thereof).

Cornel West is as delusional in his own way about realities which elude Nadler, Schiff, Pelosi et. al. They are out of touch with the common people. Most people don't give a rip about politics. But they do care about paying rent, buying food and clothes, health care, etc. The average recipient of a higher hourly raise is not going to hold his or her nose when taking that "xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, nasty" monetary benefit which somehow made its way into their pockets. They are going to spend it; they are not going to give it back. The people getting this money don't care about political correctness nor about the ever-increasing leftist based delusions.

Face it: If the economy holds and Trump keeps out of new or escalating old wars, he wins. Except for Tulsi (who is getting the wall of silence from everyone, including fellow party members) none of the Dems running so far has a semblance of rationality. Even Tulsi, were she the party nominee, which she won't be, could not beat Trump....unless.

Listen to West's deflection and word salad. Money is money, bro.

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snoopydawg's picture

but I can speak about Trump's foreign policies.

Trump keeps out of new or escalating old wars

Trump has continued every war that he inherited from Obama including the heinous Yemen war which congress voted to stop and he then vetoed. He is threatening war with Iran and is sending more troops to the Middle East just in case Iran loses its mind and does something stupid towards our country. He is on pace to drop more bombs than Obama did and he has relaxed the rules of engagement which has resulted in more civilian casualties.

Have you seen Trumps latest budget that calls for massive cuts to the social programs including social security which he promised not to touch? This will affect millions of people's pockets and it doesn't matter how well the economy is doing for others. His budget is hideously cruel.

Here are some of biggest proposed budget cuts:

* $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaidover 10 years, implementing work requirements as well as eliminating the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The budget instead adds $1.2 trillion for a “Market Based Health Care Grant”— that is, a block grant to states, instead of paying by need. It’s not clear whether that would be part of Medicaid.

* An $845 billion cut to Medicareover 10 years. That is about a 10 percent cut.

* $25 billion in cuts to Social Securityover 10 years, including cuts to disability insurance.

* A $220 billion cut to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP) over 10 years, which is commonly referred to as food stamps, and includes mandatory work requirements. The program currently serves around 45 million people.

* A $21 billion cut to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, an already severely underfunded cash-assistance program for the nation’s poorest.

* $207 billion in cuts to the student loan program, eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and cutting subsidized student loans.

* Overall, there is a 9 percent cut to non-defense programs, which would hit Section 8 housing vouchers, public housing programs, Head Start, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program, and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, among others.
Source

I depend on many of these programs and I'll be damned if I stay silent that Trump wants to do that after he just gave rich people and corporations a massive tax cut that they didn't need. He and congress are saying that they need to cut the budget because we can't afford it anymore. Bullshit!

Prescription drugs are being placed out of reach for millions of Americans and he and Nancy are working on a deal to address it. Their plan is to only bring 25 drugs a year up for consideration to be negotiated.

I'm going to end this comment because there are many more issues that I can talk about, but I think I've made my point. It's great that some people have come out okay after that tax cut, but I'm betting that many more didn't.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

Alligator Ed's picture

@snoopydawg but I am writing about the here and now. America's empire is slowly sinking below the steadily rising waves of global change--not just climatological. The Repugs are running for 2020, not 2021, when the budgetary pain would begin to be felt. "It's the economy, stupid!" So far, so good--but don't look down.

Meanwhile the hapless Dems are almost completely divorced from a practical program to deal with the immediate needs of this country. They will NOT field a viable candidate. Don't tell me about Bernie. Once again the PTB will sweep him aside (and Tulsi) like a fly.

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@Alligator Ed so well under the Trump admin, according to you and Fox, that they should be eager to go out and vote in droves for their man Donald next year. Their economic lives have appreciably and palpably changed for the better under the progressive economic policies of Donald J. Trump, and racial prejudices are way down, and they don't need the media to remind them of what they are already experiencing.

With Donald's loyal white base plus the black vote, it looks like a landslide victory coming up for the Don.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it's highly unlikely we will see a groundswell of support from the black community in favor of Trump.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@wokkamile Both are relative terms. The status of black Americans economically, as a group is better than when they were under the Obama administration. Does that mean they are doing well? Certainly they have not achieved parity with whites. No where did I say, nor did Laura Ingraham say that. The percentage of blacks voting FOR Dems will be reduced more than any uptick voting for Trump--but Trump will get more black votes in 2020 than in 2016. Will he win in a landslide? That is determined by much more than alienation of black voters from the Dems. No recession + no war = Trump victory.

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@Alligator Ed the paltry, sun-setting, tax cuts passed by Republicans will create more gain to Black Americans than cuts in the safety net he's already made and allowed governors to make will cost them. They might not know it. Lots of white Americans might not know it either. But it's no less true.

You did a real hatchet job on Cornell West.

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Big Al's picture

are two different things. Surely as the fake economy goes go the chances of the incumbent, but I think the point is those tax cuts which will expire and seem to be the only thing anyone can point to that Trump actually did to support the bullshit statistics, are a pittance to the serfs compared to the blatant giveaway to the rich who rule us, i.e., all they did was advance wealth inequality and serf servitude to the rich, and really have nothing to do with the so called raise in wages and additional jobs as has been proven by many economic analysts. Meanwhile his power trip war against the world is setting the stage for economic collapse if not world war. Certainly Trump has done much more harm than good and should be transited to the moon asap. I have to say he's a worthless piece of shit.

I'm not a big fan of West because I think he's a democratic party reformer, but I thought he made a decent argument against two people who reminded me exactly of Obama supporters, only different. They think they're smart but they're too stupid to see the irony. The part near the end where Ingraham brought up that hilarious study that said Trump had reduced racism while Obama had increased it was when I had to reach for a beer. I mean really?

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janis b's picture

You’re advocating for a rational conversation between the phoney fox news presenter, black conservative Candace Owens, and Cornel West?

Especially after a statement like this from the presenter questioning West - “Prejudice is on the downswing, not the upswing, at least in these first few years of Trump”, I am unable to understand where you are coming from?

Admittedly, I quit listening after the first 7 minutes.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@janis b Too little rational discussion. Ad hominem attacks (of which I am frequently guilty of) are no substitute. Laura Ingraham, a staunch conservative, with whom you have right to disagree, asked a simple question. West failed miserably. My concern was not with the the other propaganda, such as rising/falling racism under Trump. Warren was too cowardly to appear on Fox but Tulsi wasn't. Regardless of the venue, reasoned ideas are worth hearing.

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mimi's picture

she is talking too much and that I doubt she is a 'dear sister', so I didn't think it's worth to listen to for too long. At least I couldn't.

(revised wording to be more proper) ... hopefully.

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The statistics are (at least apparently, never dismiss the possibility of outright lying) legitimately good, and that (probably) biased study is agreeing. But this is calculated and short term and (imo) certainly a short term deception. The Trump tax benefits that go to the working classes expire in 2025, those to the rich are permanent. (This is a trick he learned from Obama. It is also a trick that goes back to Reagan - allow a short term economic boost to make a right wing President look good in his first term.)
Dr West is a philosopher and not a statistician or an economist. He is not trained or prepared to combat such (deceptive) evidence. The number of blacks is higher - is it high enough in light of population growth? Is the growth of black employment skewed by an increase in the number of black men in prison? (that would be Bill Clinton and Joe Biden, not Trump, so he can't go there) Is the increase in black wages due to liberal run cities raising the minimum wage? Is that limited to black women? Is that because blacks are disproportionately being forced into the gig economy, with it's hidden costs of "employment"? Hell, I'll go there - are qualified blacks taking the jobs of whites because though $2x is greater than the qualified blacks' fathers made, it is less than the $3x the whites they replaced were being paid?
Instead Dr. West had to resort to tone. He was right, but his observations were limited and looked ephemeral. Here his trap was Obama and before Obama a 55 year history of "liberal" hypocrisy. If he admitted this ultimate truth he would be instantly anathematized. He was not exactly blindsided, but his position was hopeless.

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A PROUD Hillary hater since 1993

Alligator Ed's picture

@doh1304 and not thrown around all the virtue-signaling, politically divisive name-calling, I wouldn't have posted this essay. Boy howdy; if you're gonna get on the battlefield, you better have the right weapons. West had none.

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@Alligator Ed the show's producers notified West that Ingraham would be discussing that new prejudice study or the black UE numbers so he would be able to study them. True, we might have hoped West might have already been prepared to rebut the latter, but (as I note in another post below) he has never displayed a fondness for numbers and statistics and deep-weeds discussion. West is usually about clever political rhetoric and not much more.

Have your friend Ingraham bring on a Chomsky or liberal economists like Steve Keen who could do much better in these discussions. But I don't think that's likely, as the Fox people normally don't want the liberal guest to be too successful at rebutting conservative talking points. Most of their liberal guests (I would assume, not being a Fox watcher) are likely brought on because the producers are confident they will get weak tea from the left. To his credit, Tucker Carlson, on several issues lately, has invited worthy liberals on his show who bring more than just colorful rhetoric.

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Centaurea's picture

Which specific economic figures and yardsticks are you referring to? And how do they pertain to ordinary Americans' lives?

Without knowing that, I can't write a meaningful comment to your post.

He is in a virtue-signaling bubble which does not allow him to say that the economic figures, as distorted as they may be, have improved for blacks and the economy in general. These were the same yard sticks measuring previous administrations' economic prowess (or lack thereof).

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

@Centaurea on black UE -- according to this study, there has been a downward trend in black UE since the Obama admin. Partly to do with improved educational levels being achieved by this group.

Ingraham of course, and Trump, trumpet only the latest snapshot of this picture and conveniently fail to acknowledge the years-long prior trend line starting under Obama. She also fails to note that black UE remains twice as high as for whites, about the same disparity as it's been for many years.

On racial prejudice attitudes, the study's authors note there is a well-known factor in political science of the public often showing opposite attitudes to those displayed by the president. I would imagine such a reaction would be noticeable in the populace with the type of overtly racist president currently in office. In any case, it's unlikely in the extreme that the meager tax crumbs for a brief period for a few people has been the factor which might have caused improved overall racial attitudes in the land. What has likely been the result of Trump's racism is he has emboldened the relatively small numbers of truly extreme racists out there.

West was clearly unprepared for questions about a study he probably wasn't aware of that had just been released, and it's not untypical for a conservative host on Fox to sandbag a liberal guest to put them at a disadvantage and make them look bad in debate. But then West has never struck me as a detail guy or deep intellectual in the Noam Chomsky mold, but more of a rhetorically clever fellow with an interest in politics.

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mimi's picture

That's how I remember him. And I watched him back then and tried to make up my mind about him. But I didn't understand enough to do that. But I was always positively thinking about him. And won't change that just so like nilly willy. This is my own video. And that's how I rembmer him. I have more videos from that. Too much to go through.

I guess I understand neither Alligator Ed nor Dr. West. Who knows what kind of pressure he is in.

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Not Henry Kissinger's picture

Face it: If the economy holds and Trump keeps out of new or escalating old wars, he wins.

I keep seeing this bullshit corporatist meme that the economy is doing great popping up around here and it pisses me off.

We're living through a fucking depression and have been since 2009. Just because the Fed has managed to paper over the numbers CNBC cares about with trillions in borrowed money doesn't mean that people aren't hurting more than ever.

So great, the Dow is breaking records. How does that help the 90% of people who don't own stocks or the 40 million people on foodstamps? Housing prices at an all time high simply means nobody can afford one. The unemployment rate is at an all time low because the jobs are so shitty nobody wants one. Inflation is low? Tell that to my health insurance carrier.

If Donny thinks his piddling tax holiday is going to make that all go away in voter's minds, he hasn't been paying attention.

And besides, this phony economy is one Black Swan event away from crashing harder than Hunter Biden after a coke binge in a Ukrainian brothel. Trade War? No problem! Recession? That's only for losers! S&P companies leveraged to the hilt to prop up their stock prices? Capitalism!

18 months is a long time in the future for an economy that has already seen the longest continual expansion in its history, and the odds of a big correction rise daily. Once that happens, all the tax cuts in the world won't make a bit of difference.

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ggersh's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger as it's all a house of cards....

"Trickle Down" only occurs when the elites.....shit their pants.

https://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=29295651&srchtxt=tric...

This from back in 13

PBS promised a “debate” this past Friday night on the “benefits and dangers” of the Federal Reserve as the Fed marks its 100 years of existence tomorrow. Instead of a debate, two famous stock market historians made the same stunning announcement – that the Fed has decided its job is to push up the stock market

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." William Casey, CIA Director 1st staff meeting, 1981

the small orange one governs for his wallet and his base

@Not Henry Kissinger You couldn't have made it any clearer. The fact that 40% of people cant come up with $400 and 60% cant come up with $1000 for an emergency just blows my mind.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger Thanks first of all for the Black Swan reference. I learn something everyday on this site. Your economic analysis is spot on.

My political quasi-economic thesis is based upon optics--not reality. Far less than 50% of the electorate knows damn little about what's really going on. Thus the same percentage of people who are convinced the Obama was a great president are roughly equal to those who think Trump is an economic miracle worker. What is the evidence? For the many, it is greater take home pay, even if that doesn't amount to keeping even with inflation. Low level inflation is insidious, a Christmas bonus is immediate. Which event will most people discuss? We on this and similar sites are not
most people. We know that the amount of corporate as well as private debt can never be repaid. Do you think Mr. or Ms. Average American knows that?

If people voted based on facts, not propaganda and illusion, would we ever have anybody take Joe Biden seriously as a presidential candidate? The fact is, in political reality, as opposed to economic reality, most people see only what TPTB want them to see.

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