Politics, Moderate



A feast for regulatory parasites

The GOP tax plan's top beneficiaries aren't actually rich people, or even corporations, though both groups will indeed benefit mightily. The biggest winners are the nation's tax planners, thanks to the tax-sheltering bonanza this bill is about to unleash.

As my own CPA father likes to say: Congress has once again taken pity upon the nation's ...Read more

The Trump administration's tax 'report' reads like fan fiction

WASHINGTON -- Unable to produce an actual analysis of its tax plan, the Trump administration has resorted to cooking the books.


White House officials and Republican lawmakers have repeatedly claimed that their tax plan will unleash such tremendous growth that the bill will pay for itself.

Of course, no one remotely credible backs this ...Read more

China isn't America's rival -- pinkie swear

BEIJING -- The Chinese government would like Americans to know that China has no ambitions to replace the United States as the world's biggest superpower.

Really! They pinkie-swear!

Sure, maybe the United States has turned its back on globalization. Maybe the U.S. government has said it will withdraw from a 195-country pact on climate change. ...Read more

Populism died on Saturday

Populism, RIP.

It croaked on a birthday of sorts. This month marks 10 years since the Great Recession -- and thereby the social movement it unleashed -- was born.

This obituary begins in December 2007, when the spark of the financial crisis grew into a fire. The conflagration would go on to blaze through more than 8 million jobs, trillions of ...Read more

Apparently Republicans want to kick the middle class in the face

It's not enough to give money to rich people. Apparently, Republicans want to kick the poor and middle class in the face, too.

I used to think the Republican Party's obsession with top-heavy tax cuts was about pleasing wealthy donors and maybe also fulfilling some misguided Randian fantasy. If the poor and middle class happened to be collateral...Read more

Why are Republicans in such a rush to pass tax reform? To outrun the truth.

There are lots of pressing issues Congress could be focusing on right now.

Lawmakers could work on reauthorizing the Children's Health Insurance Program, which expired Sept. 30, leaving the 9 million kids who depend on it in limbo.

Or maybe they could find a solution for so-called "dreamers," the undocumented immigrants brought here as ...Read more

A bungled contract is still devastating National Guard employees

For two years, Frank Ourada has been "supporting our troops" -- more literally than most.

He has connected soldiers and veterans with food pantries, temporary housing and legal advice. He haggled with an insurance company when a soldier's home flooded. He helped a suicidal veteran find treatment.

Ourada basically ran triage for military ...Read more

The GOP readies itself to welcome Roy Moore

Fun fact: Under U.S. law, sexual assault allegations are now adjudicated by political election.

Don't believe me?

Just ask White House officials, Republican lawmakers and right-wing pundits, who lately argue that an electoral win provides absolution for any past sexual misconduct.

This troubling claim is being applied to (who else?) our ...Read more

And the biggest loser in the GOP's tax plan is ... humans

Corporations are people, my friend. Both Mitt Romney and the Supreme Court told us so years ago.

Still, they left out one key fact: It's way better to be a corporate-person than a person-person. At least when Republicans are reshaping the tax code.

Republicans love cutting taxes. They'd cut all the taxes in the world if they could. But the ...Read more

If the tax bill is so great, why does the GOP keep lying about it?

Nearly every claim Republicans are using to market their tax plan is at best a distortion, at worst a deliberate falsehood.

Which raises the question: If their plan is really so great, why not sell it on the merits?

Consider just a few of the Republicans' key talking points and their tenuous relationship to reality.

1. The tax cuts will ...Read more

Dear GOP: Stop investing in so much stuff

WASHINGTON -- Invest more in people, not stuff.

That's not a tip for achieving personal happiness. It's a statement about economic growth.

Right now, much of the Republican tax agenda is geared toward incentivizing investments in physical capital. But that's not where the country's real deficit lies. What's sorely lacking is human ...Read more

Who wins biggest in the GOP tax plan? The lazy rich.

The Republican tax bill is often described as being weighted toward "the rich." But that's not the full story.

It's actually weighted toward the loafer, the freeloader, the heir, the passive investor who spends his time yachting and charity-balling.

In short: the idle rich.

Republicans claim the opposite, of course. For years the GOP ...Read more

Republicans have a plan to hurt blue states. It could backfire.

Many blue states are in big, big trouble. Perhaps Republicans should be wary of causing them more, if they really think it through.

The new Republican tax plan is, on the whole, a bunch of tax cuts weighted toward the rich. To partly offset the cost of those cuts, the bill also closes some deductions and loopholes.

Among the biggest and most ...Read more

This tax reform thing won't be as easy as Republicans think

Paul Ryan's white whale is almost in sight.

On Wednesday, after years of wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' and prayin' (and lately, nose-holdin'), the Republican House speaker and his party will finally drop the text of their long-sought tax bill.

Then, thanks to clever manipulation of Senate rules, the bill will secure swift passage, requiring ...Read more

Republicans are propping up scammers and cheaters

WASHINGTON -- Republicans claim to believe no company is too big to fail. The almighty market must be allowed to work its magic, and firms with defective business models should face the consequences.

Yet over the course of this year, President Trump and Congress have worked to prop up lots of defective firms. By which I mean: Companies whose ...Read more

Donald Trump, our first millennial president

WASHINGTON -- Everybody -- but especially the olds -- loves to hate on millennials. We're lazy, entitled, emotionally stunted, spendthrift, narcissistic, promiscuous snowflakes.

And yet my fellow Americans: You recently made one of us leader of the free world.

Oh sure, President Trump was not technically born between 1982 and 2000, the ...Read more

How Republicans can get everyone to stop blaming them

Obamacare repeal? Dead.

Tax reform? Dead and demoted to tax cuts, now also on life support.

Republicans may have unified control of government, but they seem curiously incapable of getting major agenda items through.

Maybe it's because Republicans have insisted on cutting out Democrats and doing things unilaterally. Or at least they had been ...Read more

Trump's tax proposal won't actually help the middle class. Here's what would.

President Trump campaigned on helping the little guy. His latest tax proposal, he says, is about helping the middle guy.

"It's a middle-class bill," Trump promised an audience of truckers last week.

Other administration officials and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., have also claimed that their primary objective in reconfiguring the tax code ...Read more

Trump's Obamacare order could destroy the health-care system

WASHINGTON -- President Trump has made a lot of promises on health care.

Somehow, though, I don't remember him promising stadiums of cheering fans that he'd take away protections for pre-existing conditions, increase deductibles, spike premiums, eliminate basic coverage requirements and, more generally, destabilize the individual health-...Read more

How Roman emperors dealt with government officials abusing travel budgets

WASHINGTON -- At least seven Cabinet-level officials, and a smattering of aides, appear to have abused their access to publicly funded travel. Collectively, these bureaucrats billed taxpayers for millions of dollars worth of private jets, military flights, spousal travel and other questionable expenses.

Yet so far just one of them, former ...Read more


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