February, 2017

Trump Is Creating a Field Day for the 1%

Edward Luce: “He was supposed to be leading a revolt against America’s elites. In practice Donald Trump is laying out a banquet for their delectation. The Trump White House is drawing up plans for across-the-board deregulation, tax cuts and a new generation of defence contracts. The only question is at what speed.”

“In contrast, Mr Trump’s middle-class economic plans, such as they were, are already receding. The chances of a big infrastructure bill are rapidly dimming. In marketing they call this bait and switch. The effect of Mr Trump’s economic agenda will be to deepen the conditions that gave rise to his candidacy.”

Puzder Says ‘Fake News’ Led to His Downfall

Andrew Puzder blamed “a tsunami of fake news” and a campaign by Democrats and the left for ending his nomination for Labor secretary, Politico reports.

Said Puzder: “The left is trying to sink as many of the president’s nominees as possible. So in that sense, it really wouldn’t have mattered what I believed or who I was or what the process was. They were going to campaign against me as a means of hurting the president.”

California Mulls Single Payer Health Care System

“With President Trump now vowing to put forward a replacement for the Affordable Care Act in March, some California politicians and healthcare advocates are once again promoting the idea of a state-run ‘single-payer’ system that operates like Medicare,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“Backers say the uncertainty surrounding Trump’s promise to repeal Obamacare presents California with a chance to rethink how healthcare is delivered to its 39 million residents.”

“In a single-payer system, residents would pay into a state agency that essentially functions as an insurance company. The agency would pay doctors and hospitals when people sought treatment.”

Trump Admits Health Care Is Complicated

President Trump said that he is nearly ready to unveil his plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Politico reports.

Said Trump: “We have come up with a solution that’s really, really, I think very good. It’s an unbelievably complex subject, nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”

He also had a theory for why Obamacare was getting more popular: “People hate it, but now they see that the end is coming, and they’re saying, ‘Oh, maybe we love it.’ There’s nothing to love. It’s a disaster, folks.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I’ve never, ever within a factor of 10 received as much affirmative response from people in my 25 years in public life. I would have loved for them to have been more involved in my campaigns, frankly, but they’re on that boat now. Because something has sparked. There’s some fuse that’s been lit here, that’s connected to something that’s very explosive. I’ve seen it most profoundly around the travel ban, but the fuse is definitely lit. The TNT is there.”

— Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), quoted by the Washington Post, on efforts to fight President Trump’s travel ban.

Trump’s Promised Stimulus Won’t Happen This Year

Stan Collender: “Donald Trump’s insistence that his tax and spending plans will provide an immediate kick to the U.S. economy and Wall Street’s belief that the new administration’s budget policies will lead to a quick boost in corporate profits now need to be tempered with a big dose of economic reality: The president’s promised fiscal stimulus isn’t going to be enacted or take effect any time soon. If it happens at all, the soonest the economy will begin to feel the impact of a Trump stimulus is in federal fiscal year 2018, that is, starting 7 months from now on October 1. And even October 1 is optimistic.”

“Part of the reason for this is how long it’s taking for Congress to do what the day after Election Day was considered to be a slam-dunk: repeal the Affordable Care Act. The controversy between and among congressional Republicans is now so multifaceted, heated and chaotic that the delay could soon make it far more difficult for the House and Senate to deal with both ACA and tax reform.”

Quote of the Day

“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. We needed the media to hold people like me to account. Power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive, and it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power.”

— Former President George W. Bush, in an interview on the Today Show.

Why the Trump-Russia Story Won’t Go Away

Rick Klein and Shushannah Walshe: “Of all the bubbling questions and potential scandals of the early Trump administration, the one that now appears likely to hold is about Trump campaign contacts with Russians. There are sufficient questions surrounding these communications to merit a serious investigation, many in Washington believe. There are also questions about whether such an investigation can be done independently inside the Justice Department considering White House attempts to influence reporting on the matter.”

“Now, with GOP Rep. Darrell Issa’s endorsement of appointing a special prosecutor, there’s enough political momentum to keep these questions swirling for a good long while. Issa’s opinion is big, since it opens the door for the question to be posed to any other Republican… Of course, he has a political motivation to show that leadership. But he is not likely to be alone in that realm.”

GOP Governors Urge Activists to Match Left’s Energy

“Republican governors warned conservatives on Thursday that they need to keep up with the resurgent activism from liberals, amid a wave of protests in Washington and at lawmakers’ home-state town halls,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Speaking to thousands of conservative activists who gathered here for the Conservative Political Action Conference, Republican leaders urged the audience to pressure their representatives to enact major policy changes—including repealing the Affordable Care Act, overhauling the tax code and overturning federal regulations—while the GOP holds the White House and both chambers of Congress.”

Democrats Demand More Leadership Changes

Politico: “Quietly — and pointedly refusing to attach their names to the musings — they talk about starting to look past the all over-70-years-old leadership team of Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Jim Clyburn in the House of Representatives. Some hope, wistfully, the three will step aside before the 2018 midterms to help send a message and generate new ideas. And as much as they like the idea of Chuck Schumer’s expanded Senate leadership team, they can’t help noticing how few of the body’s younger rising stars are included. They’re tired of Capitol Hill denizens staking their claim as the only leaders in the party, particularly as Trump’s political upheaval continues to echo throughout their ranks.”

GOP Obamacare Replacements Fall Way Short

David Nather: “The warning signs are becoming inescapable for Republicans: Their most likely Obamacare replacement plans are getting terrible estimates on how many people they’ll cover. Republicans have been pretty open that they’re not trying to compete with Democrats on enrollment numbers — they just want to make sure everyone has access to coverage if they want it. But now the consequences are becoming more real.”

“The danger isn’t just that Democrats will tear them apart if they don’t get better coverage numbers. Republican governors are also starting to sound the alarm… Not the best setup for Trump’s meetings with the governors this morning and health insurance executives later today.”

Spicer Personally Arranged Calls with Intelligence Officials

“White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer personally picked up the phone and connected outside officials with reporters to try to discredit a New York Times article about Trump campaign aides’ contact with Russia, then remained on the line for the brief conversations,” Mike Allen reports.

“The officials reached by Spicer were CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC), according to a senior administration official. The reporters were from The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, the official said. Spicer provided reporters’ phone numbers to House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who offered to make the calls himself.”

Kimmel Roasts Trump at Academy Awards

“Academy Awards host Jimmy Kimmel told a worldwide audience Sunday night he was awaiting President Donald Trump’s tweets in response to the Oscar ceremony — after calling the president racist in his opening monologue and implying that hundreds of countries ‘now hate us,'” Politico reports.

“Looking down to the front row, Kimmel also pointed out the ‘highly overrated’ Meryl Streep — a dig at Trump who tweeted insults about the actress following a Golden Globes speech where she highlighted the importance of journalism in a divisive political age.”