Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
- Well, she was talking about those ‘other’ women – Michelle Obama said that “any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice.” No word from the former First Lady on what she was doing during the 2008 Democrat nominating contest when she actively campaigned for a mean ol’ man against Mrs. Clinton and presumably voted for her husband rather than her “own voice” in the Illinois primary that year.
- Tired of winning yet? Part 1 – all the stock indexes closed at all-time record highs yet again on Friday, as the U.S. economy continues to hum along in response to the Trump Administration’s ongoing program to remove the shackles of unnecessary soviet-style regulations that were piled onto it during the Obama years. This has happened so often during the last 8 months that it has become passe’ to even mention it. But there, I mentioned it.
- Tired of winning yet? Part II – U.S. GDP for the 2nd quarter of 2017 was raised to a final estimate of 3.1% on Friday, the highest quarterly rate of economic growth in many years. If you want to know why, see the bit about removal of soviet-style regulations above. This is not exactly rocket science.
- Because that’s what happens when a Republican charges taxpayers $1 million in air travel in just 8 months – To literally nobody’s surprise, President Trump fired HHS Secretary Tom Price Friday afternoon, after it had been revealed that he felt his entire job was to fly in high style all over the damn world every week at exorbitant taxpayer expense. He apparently didn’t break any laws, and he didn’t do anything myriad Obama officials had not done the past 8 years, but unlike Democrat presidencies, Republican administrations must hold their people accountable for this kind of behavior. Mr. Price apparently didn’t understand that, which means he was too dumb to hold a secretarial position in the first place.
- I wrote on Thursday about my belief that the just-begun effort by the GOP establishment leadership in congress to move a tax reform bill is just a Kabuki dance, and that the outcome is already fore-ordained to be a McConnell/Ryan joint presser in December in which they tell us all they did their best but they just ran out of time. If you don’t believe that, read the piece linked here in The Hill, in which various House Republicans are already speculating how the bill will ultimately be killed in the Senate, maybe by the same group of RINOs who killed the Obamacare bill.
- Hell, you’ve even got the Chairman of Senate Finance, Utah Senator Orin Hatch – who is likely to retire next year, and thus never have to face the voters again – talking about ways to kill the effort in public. The probable truth is that Mitch McConnell already has 8 or 9 members of his GOP caucus who can be counted on to vote against any version of a tax reform bill if he needs them.
- They’ll couch their votes with objections like Hatch’s, i.e., “I feel very strongly we need to preserve that wonderful deduction for state and local taxes, oh my”. Maybe Susan Collins’ objection will be her strong feeling that we need to give a special tax credit to any woman who seeks an abortion at Planned Parenthood clinics; Lamar Alexander might want to preserve some special tax break for his state’s whiskey distillers; Lisa Murkowski might feel strongly about the need to preserve some tax program that benefits polar bears; John McCain might think he’s voting on the EPA appropriations bill rather than a tax bill; regardless, the three GOP ‘no’ votes needed to kill this thing are already out there in some combination of senators or another.
- I hate to be the bearer of this bad news because we really do need to reform our absurd tax system, but watching this all play out is like going to a movie whose previews have already revealed the final scene. You already know how it’s going to end, but you go anyway just to see the details of how it all plays out.
Just another day in GOP congressional Kabuki dance America.
That is all.
Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
- Well, you know it’s a slow news day in Donald Trump’s America when the biggest story is the introduction by Republicans congress of their long-awaited tax reform bill. The bill has been ready for at least six months, but true to their goal of not getting a damn thing done during this calendar year, the GOP congressional leadership waited until the end of September to introduce it.
- This late introduction date – for which there really is no justification at all – naturally produced grumbling among some members of the conservative Freedom Caucus about the “aggressive time frame” left in the year to get such a massive reform of the IRS tax code done. So, the stage is already set for the December press conference of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell telling everyone that they just ran out of time this year, but don’t worry, they’ll promise to come back in 2018 and really, truly get the thing done. Yeah, sure, just like Obamacare, right?
- Through a contraction of the various tax rates and a doubling of the standard deduction, everyone gets a bit of a tax break in this plan, except for those making more than $400,000 per year, who get stuck with an actual tax surcharge. Naturally, Democrats rushed to the microphones and Twitter and Facebook to squeal that the plan is…wait for it…wait for it…A TAX CUT FOR THE WEALTHY! I swear I don’t make this stuff up.
- Of course, in Democrat “logic”, such as it exists, this is true, since the Democrats consider anyone who makes more than about $100,000 per year to be “wealthy”. Given that the goal of the plan is to get more money into the hands of those in the lower and middle class, people making between $100,000 and $400,00 do get a tax cut under the plan. Thus, the whole “tax cut for the wealthy” rhetoric from the party of demagoguery.
- The plan would also lower the tax rate for – gasp! – evil corporations in the hope of stimulating the economy. Man, the Democrats haven’t even gotten started demonizing that aspect of the proposal. Nevermind that the U.S. has by far the highest corporate tax rate of any developed country, costing our country millions of potential jobs that now simply go overseas, lowering tax rates for evil corporations presents Fauxcahontas and Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders with prime demagoguery opportunities, and that is not something they will meekly pass up.
- So, it’s going to be a long fall and winter filled with hyper-partisan rancor. There is nothing progressives hate more than a healthy, growing economy. I’m not kidding. If you think otherwise, you don’t understand progressives.
- There can be no doubt the GOP proposal would indeed stimulate economic growth in a very big way. The key stimulus-producing provision is one that would allow businesses of all kinds to deduct most capital costs during the tax year in which they are incurred. Currently, such costs must be recovered by depreciating them over 5 to 30 years, depending on the asset that is being depreciated.
- President Trump has often talked about wanting to pass his own economic stimulus package. Well, there is really no need for a separate stimulus bill if congress were to pass this one. The ability to deduct capital costs would be a stimulus plan in and of itself, and unlike the Obama stimulus, which was basically wasted on expanding government employment and wasteful programs, it would stimulate real infrastructure expansion, and create millions of real, private sector jobs.
- So of course the Democrats hate it. They hate anything that would grow the private sector, especially at a time when the government sector is being systematically reduced by a Republican administration.
- But the dirty little secret is that the establishment Republicans really don’t want to pass this bill, either, which is why they’ve waited so late to introduce it. The positive side is that the President does want it, and he won’t be shy about publicly pounding on Democrats and Republicans who work to kill it.
- Just as we have seen President Trump reveal the Democrats and their progressive voters to be perfectly fine with NFL players disrespecting the national anthem and American flag this week, in the coming weeks we will see him speak very frankly about the real reasons why the Democrats and recalcitrant Republican swamp creatures don’t want to pass a meaningful tax bill.
- It will be a target-rich environment for verbal kill shots, and we all know how the President loves that.
Just another day in Donald Trump’s America.
That is all.