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GOP Tax Plan VII

Republicans seem determined to demonstrate that, no matter how bad their tax bill, they can always make it worse. In this case by tacking on a repeal of the individual mandate tax. Of course they love the symbolism of “repealing” Obamacare. But this really proves that, on policy, they party is really nothing more than a gang of pestilential plunder monkeys. Because repealing the individual mandate does nothing at...

GOP Tax Plan VI: The Estate Tax

 “Even among high-income Americans, the plan seems designed to reward those who don’t work for a living — or more precisely, the less you actually do to earn your income, the bigger your tax break. Business owners would owe less in taxes than high-earning professionals; passive investors, who just sit there and collect dividends, would owe less than those who at least run their businesses. And wealthy heirs, who did...

How Obama and Hillary Clinton destroyed the Democr...

First off, some definitions. What is the Democratic Party? The Democratic a voluntary association of people who share political priorities. Because it exists in the US constitutional system, it serves as one of the two major parties in the US. The US constitutional system has a “first past the post” voting method which inevitably results in a political system with only two parties; such has it been since about...

GOP Tax Plan V

Fully parsing the Republican tax plan is going to take some time, since they only released it yesterday (they want it fully passed in two weeks, even though a lot of the details aren’t even written out yet). But a few things are very clear. There is no doubt who overwhelmingly benefits, even if people are still trying to figure out by how much. The very rich make out like bandits, and people whose parents are...

GOP Tax Plan IV

The US corporate tax rate is currently 35% (on profits of more than $335,000). That is before deductions and loopholes. The after loophole rate is effectively about 18%. 18% is what corporations are actually paying, on average. Some pay zero, or even a negative rate (GE is famous for this). Some pay the full rate. And many very large corporations pay nothing, because they book all of their profit offshore in a jurisdiction...

Trump and the Foreign Agents Registration Act

Why is Manafort and the Trump campaign in trouble? Let’s go back to the basics. The law in question is the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1966. It bans foreign nationals from providing “anything of value… in connection with” an election. And it makes soliciting or accepting such contributions a crime. Below is the FEC page on the act. A lot of people are arguing that since we are just talking about...

Why Trump is still in office

Why is Trump still in office? Tax cuts. “The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that almost 80 percent of the Trump tax cut would go to people with incomes over $1 million; these people would get an average cut of around $230,000 a year.” And who has been buying politicians for decades with the express aim of winning majorities in order to cut taxes? People with incomes over $1 million. And why the hurry to...

The GOP and the Next Recession

So here’s an angle to policy that I’m not hearing discussed much. Pretty much everything Republicans are pushing as far as domestic policy will make the next recession a lot worse. How? While there are a lot of moving parts, the basic principle is simple. When the economy goes bad, a lot of people lose their jobs. What happens next either makes even more people lose their jobs, or not. If the jobless have access...

What has Trump worried

What appears to be freaking Trump out is not so much the election investigation (quite possibly the only thing he has at stake there is ego). The Republicans as a party have a lot more to lose there. It is the money laundering investigation that has Trump worried. All the available evidence seems to suggest that Trump really doesn’t want to have his personal finances scrutinized. And not just because it would show he...

The Papadopoulos indictment

“Manafort might be a bigger fish, but Papadopoulos is a bigger story,” said Steve Vladeck, a University of Texas law professor. “To me, this is the kind of plea deal that puts the c-word—collusion—back on the table.” He pointed to parts of the Papadopoulos indictment that indicated he knew about stolen Clinton campaign emails before Wikileaks began releasing them. Barrett said the indictment also sends a message to the...

The Clinton Uranium Deal

What’s up with the “Clinton Uranium Deal”? Well, the facts as we know them as of today… A Russian company bought a Canadian mining company with US assets that specializes in uranium. To do this required a permit. From the NY Times: “For starters, there seems to be a suspicion on the right that American uranium is going to Russia, while in fact there’s no export license—so the uranium stays in...

Ryan on Congress

Interesting observation of the week: “We basically run a coalition government without the efficiency of a parliamentary system.” Speaker Ryan on the US Congress.