September, 2017

‘Ammunition for My Discussions’

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Dispelling the GOP Tax Myth

Bruce Bartlett: “Four decades ago, while working for Rep. Jack Kemp (R-NY), I had a hand in creating the Republican tax myth. Of course, it didn’t seem like a myth at that time — taxes were rising rapidly because of inflation and bracket creep, the top tax rate was 70 percent and the economy seemed trapped in stagflation with no way out. Tax cuts, at that time, were an appropriate remedy for the economy’s ills.”

“Tax cuts became the GOP’s go-to solution for nearly every economic problem. Extravagant claims are made for any proposed tax cut…”

“That’s wishful thinking. So is most Republican rhetoric around tax cutting. In reality, there’s no evidence that a tax cut now would spur growth.

Elizabeth Warren Is Getting Hillary-ed

New York Magazine: “Warren is the candidate who many cited in 2016 as the anti-Clinton: the outspoken, uncompromisingly progressive woman they would have supported unreservedly had she only run. Yet now, as many hope and speculate that she might run in 2020, the right is investing in a story line about Warren that is practically indistinguishable from the one they peddled for years about Clinton.”

Quote of the Day

“We made sure we’re on the same page… we made sure we did the hard lifting and the tough work ahead of rollout. We are all in on this… this is it. This is the game changer for our economy.”

— Speaker Paul Ryan, in an interview with CNBC, on the Republican tax plan.

Bannon’s Back and Targeting China

Joshua Green: “Bannon, who’s been consulting with Henry Kissinger and other foreign policy veterans, is preparing a project to sound an alarm about what he views as the primary economic threat to America: China.”

Said Bannon: “If we don’t get our situation sorted with China, we’ll be destroyed economically. The forced technology transfer of American innovation to China is the single biggest economic and business issue of our time. Until we sort that out, they will continue to appropriate our innovation to their own system and leave us as a colony—our Jamestown to their Great Britain, a tributary state.”

In case you missed it: We recently spoke with Green on Political Wire Conversations about his excellent book about Bannon.

How Hurricane Maria Could Tip Florida to Democrats

James Hohmann: “More than 50 million ballots were cast by Floridians in the seven presidential elections from 1992 through 2016. If you add them all up, only 18,000 votes separate the Republicans from the Democrats. That is 0.04 percent.”

“Florida is rightfully considered the swingiest of swing states. Control of the White House in 2000 came down to a few hundred hanging chads – and one vote on the Supreme Court. The past four statewide elections – two governor’s races and two presidentials – were all decided by a single percentage point.”

“So it could be quite politically significant that tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans, maybe more, are expected to permanently move into Florida as the result of Hurricane Maria.”

How Trump Would Benefit from His Own Tax Plan

NBC News: “The clearest windfall comes from ending the estate tax, which only affects individual estates larger than $5.49 million and $11 million for couples. The estate tax is currently 40 percent. Trump has claimed in the past he is worth $10 billion. If his children inherit that amount, they’d save $4 billion in taxes.”

“In addition to a lower top rate on income tax, the proposal ends the Alternative Minimum Tax, which is designed to prevent wealthy filers from using deductions to wipe out their tax bill entirely. Trump has not released his taxes, but a leaked return from 2005 showed he paid $38 million in taxes on $150 million in income, $31 million of which was due to the AMT.”

Silence from the GOP Deficit Hawks

New York Times: “For years, Republican lawmakers lamented the soaring national debt, pressing for spending cuts and clinging to the mantle of fiscal responsibility. But last week, Senate Republicans hammered out a deal to allow for as much as $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, betting that supercharged growth will make up for lost revenue, a potentially dubious prospect.”

“This month, the majority of Republicans in the House and the Senate voted to raise the debt limit without doing anything to rein in spending.”

“Republican lawmakers are pushing to increase military spending by tens of billions of dollars, topping even Mr. Trump’s request for a beefed-up military… And as Congress mulls large tax cuts, the tabs for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria keep rising.”

Associated Press: How do you pay for an estimated $5.8 trillion tax cut?

Why Trump Took on NFL Players

Time: “It was a remarkable thing for a President to devote so much energy to attacking athletes for peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights. But the spat over sports was… a move straight from Trump’s political playbook.”

“He spotted a wedge issue that pits his rural, conservative white base against both wealthy black athletes and liberal elites who scold the NFL for everything from racist team logos to soft-pedaling the risks of head trauma.”

The GOP’s Nightmare Scenario

Mike Allen: “Some conservative Republicans worry about a ‘nightmare scenario’ for the party: no health care repeal, no tax reform — and the party’s top two accomplishments of this Congress are a ‘bailout’ for insurance companies (fixes to the Affordable Care Act), and ‘amnesty’ (Dreamer legislation).”

“That would depress Republicans and excite Democrats — the surest formula for the GOP to blow its majorities.”

Ryan Blames the Senate for Stalled Agenda

Speaker Paul Ryan “said it was ‘extremely frustrating’ that the Republican majority in the Senate had been unable to push through pieces of the GOP agenda that have passed in the House,” Politico reports.

“Equipped with graphs highlighting the disparity between the number of bills passed by the House and the number that have stalled in the Senate, Ryan (R-WI) aired his grievances during an interview on Fox News. He cited the upper chamber’s inability to convert on the Republican Party’s major goals thus far during the Trump administration.”