Happy New Year

By Mark Shields

September 9, 2017 4 min read

Labor Day has already come, and summer is all but over. Autumn — with shorter days, cooler nights and a new school year — is upon us. Now — in beautiful September and not in the dead of winter, overshadowed by Christmas — ought logically to be New Year's Day, which means resolutions and predictions.

I personally resolve to break my bad habit of stupidly assuming that every other driver on the road who is driving faster than I am must be a certifiable lunatic and of stupidly assuming that a driver who is driving more slowly than I am driving has to be a moron.

For any future presidential candidate to earn my vote, she or he must be able to make a straightforward, convincing two-minute statement regarding her/his candidacy without once mentioning her/his opponent's name. No more evil of two lessers or lesser of two evils, which, as we all know, is still evil.

I will not forget that "close" only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and slow dancing and, after watching this year's intramural blood spilling among the Republican congressional majority, will remember that the difference between cannibals and conservatives is that cannibals do not eat their own.

As the curtain is lifted on our long-promised Great Tax Reform Debate of 2017, I predict that some smart person will finally solve the mystery of why tax cuts for the very wealthiest among us do not, as promised, miraculously create jobs for everybody else. This person could begin by explaining why the eight years of the administration of Bill Clinton, who heretically and successfully pushed Congress to raise the tax burden to 39.6 percent on the top earners, saw the number of private-sector jobs grow by an astounding 21.84 million yet the sad result during the eight years of the administration of George W. Bush, who urged that the rate for the highest earners be cut to 35 percent, was 673,000 fewer Americans employed in the private sector.

During last fall's campaign, Republican candidate Donald Trump accused both a Republican rival and his Democratic opponent of being under the sway of Wall Street bankers: "I know the guys at Goldman Sachs. They have total, total control over (Ted Cruz), just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton." Trump's closing campaign TV ad charged that the banking house belonged to the elite that had "robbed the working class, stripped our country of its wealth."

Yet President Donald Trump's selections to be treasury secretary, director of the National Economic Council, chief White House strategist, White House communications director, deputy national security director, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and deputy treasury secretary were all Goldman alumni. I resolve to give credit for the best political one-liner of the year to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who observed that Trump "has appointed so many people from Goldman Sachs to high positions that there's nobody left there to listen to Hillary's speeches."

After all that Texas has endured in loss of property and life, I, a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan, resolve to show my sympathy and support by rooting for the Houston Astros in the baseball playoffs.

Happy new year.

To find out more about Mark Shields and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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