Friday, August 14, 2020

Literary Corner: Trillion, Billion

In an interview with Fox's Maria Bartiromo, Emperor Trump startled the world by explaining pretty clearly how he wanted to strangle the US Postal Service for funds to prevent it from transmitting all those universal mail-in ballots proposed by the House of Representatives in the HEROES Act passed in May, except, and I don't think this has gotten enough attention, Trump made that up, or got it from a possibly Russian-inspired Facebook post, because the HEROES Act does not in fact propose universal mail-in balloting, and indeed Congress is not even allowed to propose such a thing, which would intrude on the constitutionally enumerated powers of the states. 

Though it does include up to $3.6 billion to assist state governments in whatever they choose to do in the "planning, preparation, and resilience" of US elections, which will include extending absentee ballots in a number of states, not to mention the six states (Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Hawaii, Utah, and Nevada). And $25 billion to rescue the Postal Service from its current financial crisis (what USPS had asked for was $75 million), unrelated to the election.

Trillion, Billion, Do You Know How Much Money That Is?

By Donald J. Trump

Well they’re right, and it’s their fault.
They want $3.5 billion
for something that will turn out to be
fraudulent, that’s election money basically.
They want 3.5 trillion -- billion dollars
for the mail-in votes, OK,
universal mail-in ballots, 3.5 trillion.
They want $25 billion, billion,
for the Post Office.
Now they need that money in order
to have the post office work
so it can take all of these millions
and millions of ballots.
Now, in the meantime, they aren’t
getting there. By the way,
those are just two items.
But if they don’t get those two items,
that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting
because they’re not equipped to have it.

Maria, how would you like
to have $3.5 billion, billion,
for mail-in voting, billion?
So, if you didn’t have it --
do you know how much money that is?
Nobody has any idea, you know
people, oh, $3.5 billion.
They want $25 billion
for the Post Office because
the Post Office is going to
have to go to town to get these
great ridiculous ballots in. You know,
there's nothing wrong with getting out
and voting, you get out and vote.
They voted during World War I
and World War II, and they should
have voter ID, because the Democrats
scammed the system. But, two of the items
are the Post Office and the $3.5 billion
for mail-in voting. Now, if we don't make a deal,
that means they don't get the money.
That means they can't have universal
mail-in voting, they just can't have it.
So, you know, sort of a
crazy thing. Very interesting.

But I was thinking, what does he mean by that thing toward the end, "if we don't make a deal"? Is he saying there's some deal he wants to make and if he makes it then the states and USPS can have their money?

And the answer seems likely to be yes. That is, that's what he told reporters yesterday afternoon at a press briefing:

Yes, it's true he "believes" that "they’re going to be taking in tens of millions of ballots that just come out of the sky from nowhere," but that's OK, he'll sign it anyhow:

Sure. A separate thing I would do it. But one of the reasons the post office needs that much money is to have all these millions of ballots coming in from nowhere," Trump said at the press conference.
He's just trying to extract something out of them in return, maybe the payroll tax deferral he's so agitated about (I should say, I've been spreading the story that his passion for payroll tax cutting was about his own bottom line at Trump Organization and the employer's contribution to Social Security and Medicare taxes for his 20,000 employees, but this seems not to be the case, at least from the language of the executive order he signed the other day).

Which doesn't mean new minion Louis DeJoy won't also carry on with efforts to sabotage the USPS to handle what's expected to be an enormous surge of absentee ballots in November—he will, if his evident corruption doesn't stop him first—

Warren’s tweet linked to a CNN report on Wednesday, which said that DeJoy continues to hold at least at least $30 million in holdings in his former company XPO Logistics, which is a United States Postal Service contractor.

CNN reported that those holdings likely created “a major conflict of interest, according to newly obtained financial disclosures and ethics experts,” who the news site said “were shocked that ethics officials at the postal service approved this arrangement.”

—but is just further evidence that Trump doesn't particularly mean anything he says—not even the things he obviously means.

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