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Daily Archives: November 12th, 2017


 

Manuel Madrid
November 9, 2017

Could the GOP tax plan erode Trump’s support among key parts of his base? Every tax plan has winners and losers, and the House Republican tax plan is no different. The wealthy continue to prosper and the middle class gets the scraps. Everyone else? “The losers are going to lose badly,” says the Center for American Progress’s tax expert Seth Hanlon.
But what happens if Trump’s strongest supporters are the losers losing badly? A Voter Study Group/Democracy Fund report published earlier this year identified five distinct groups of Trump voters. Trump and the GOP risk alienating two groups with their proposed tax plan, the “American Preservationists” and the “Free Marketeers,” who together make up 45 percent of the president’s base.
According to the study, the “American Preservationists” are mostly made up of white working-class Americans, Trump’s core constituency. This group is the poorest of his supporters: More than half of them earn less than $50,000 a year. Embracing a nativist and ethnocultural conception of American identity, they staunchly oppose all forms of immigration and helped carry Trump through the Republican primaries last year.
The second group is the “Free Marketeers.” These wealthy, college-educated voters went strongly for Mitt Romney in 2012. (The median income of a Trump supporter during the 2016 primaries was $72,000, according to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver; one-quarter of Free Marketeers earn more than $100,000 a year.)
Although most American Preservationists won’t get much from the tax bill, the people who do get hit will get hit hard. The Republican plan eliminates medical expense deductions, which allow taxpayers to deduct medical costs that exceed more than 10 percent of their adjusted gross income. Only 6 percent of taxpayers use this deduction, but it is a vital one for seniors and people with chronic or disabling medical conditions: Almost one-fifth of American Preservationists reported being unable to work because a disability, and over half are older than 55. According to a Joint Committee on Taxation analysis, nearly half of all taxpayers who claim the deduction have incomes below $75,000. The AARP and the Paralyzed Veterans of America (which sent a contingent to march in the president’s inaugural parade) oppose the bill.

The GOP tax plan cuts the deduction used by millions of American homeowners to deduct interest on mortgages up to $1 million. Under the GOP proposal, homeowners would only be able to write off interest on the first $500,000 of a new mortgage. Republicans would also eliminate most of the state-and-local-tax deductions (SALT). Trump has said that it’s “unfair” that states like New Jersey and California are “being subsidized by states like Indiana and Iowa.”
The benefits of SALT, like the mortgage interest deduction, mainly accrue to higher-income Americans. Of the more than $550 billion in state and local taxes deducted by taxpayers in 2015, Americans with incomes over $100,000 claimed 75 percent of those deductions, according to the Government Finance Officers Association. Yet likely SALT losers include affluent Free Marketeers in red states like Utah, Wisconsin, and Georgia (where the deduction is popular), as well as people in high-tax blue states.
Trump championed health-care proposals that would have hurt his low-income supporters, yet his approval ratings remained stable among Republicans. Will the Republican tax plan finally erode Trump’s support among the white middle and working classes? Not quite yet, it seems. “It’s typically hard for people to determine how economic policies affect their personal self-interest,” says George Washington University political scientist John Sides. “People are more likely to decide on Trump’s tax plan based on whether they like Trump, not on whether they themselves will pay less.”
But the author of the Voter Study Group/Democracy Fund report believes that Free Marketeers may not be so forgiving. For them, “pocketbook voting matters quite a bit,” says Emily Ekins of the Cato Institute. “This is a group that wasn’t that excited about Trump to begin with. … It’s a tall order to say they would abandon the GOP because of any tax plan, but it’s possible that they might stay home during the midterms.”
According to an analysis released Wednesday by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, about 25 percent of Americans would face a higher tax burden in 2027 under the legislation than under current law. The Joint Committee on Taxation had similar findings in its preliminary report, concluding that nearly 20 percent of people would pay more in 2027.
A Politico/Morning Consult poll released Thursday showed positive but declining support. In particular, eliminating SALT along with other itemized deductions ranked among the least popular of the plan’s proposals. The Washington Post reports that Senate Republicans at least seem to be taking the poll numbers on the mortgage deduction seriously—the Senate bill would largely preserve that deduction, but they would still get rid of SALT.
Like the Bush tax cuts of 2003, trickle-down plans typically come giftwrapped in a promise that they’ll benefit all middle- and working-class Americans. But Republicans didn’t even bother to do that this time around. The GOP bill hurts the very groups that Speaker Ryan and his colleagues say they intend to help and reveals the true priorities of House Republicans—making sure the super-rich get richer and letting everybody else muddle through.
Tax Cuts for the rich. Deregulation for the powerful. Wage suppression for everyone else. These are the tenets of trickle-down economics, the conservatives’ age-old strategy for advantaging the interests of the rich and powerful over those of the middle class and poor. The articles in Trickle-Downers are devoted, first, to exposing and refuting these lies, but equally, to reminding Americans that these claims aren’t made because they are true. Rather, they are made because they are the most effective way elites have found to bully, confuse and intimidate middle- and working-class voters. Trickle-down claims are not real economics. They are negotiating strategies. Here at the Prospect, we hope to help you win that negotiation.

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“Another coffin Nail”.MA

Sonam Sheth

11/11/2017

President Donald Trump called former FBI director James Comey a “political hack,” a liar, and a “leaker” on Saturday morning.
Shortly after, Comey tweeted out two quotes about truth, lies, and justice.
Trump fired Comey in May, while Comey was spearheading the FBI’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to tilt the 2016 election in his favor.

Former FBI director James Comey tweeted out two quotes about truth and justice after President Donald Trump attacked him Saturday morning and again cast doubt on the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
Trump said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin when he said he did not order Russia’s election meddling. Trump also lashed out at Comey, along with former CIA director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, calling them “political hacks.” All the men have consistently emphasized that Russia mounted an elaborate campaign to undermine the election and to propel Trump to victory.
“I mean, give me a break, they are political hacks,” Trump said of the three former intelligence officials. “So you look at it, I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper, and you have Comey. Comey is proven now to be a liar and he is proven now to be a leaker. So you look at that and you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with them.”
Comey took to Twitter shortly after Trump’s remarks.
“‘If you want truth to go round the world you must hire an express train to pull it; but if you want a lie to go round the world, it will fly; it is light as a feather and a breath will carry it,'” Comey tweeted after the president criticized him, quoting an 1855 sermon from the Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

The tweet included a photo of the Great Falls of the Potomac, and Comey said in a follow-up tweet that he liked it because it reminded him of his favorite scripture verse, from Amos. “‘But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream,'” Comey quoted in his tweet.
Trump has  long  expressed doubt about the intelligence community’s findings on Russia’s election interference, particularly as it relates to the Kremlin’s effort to help his campaign and hurt that of his opponent and the former Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.
Though he praised Comey after he revealed eleven days before the election that the FBI was reopening its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server, Trump later soured on the FBI director, particularly after he confirmed in March that the FBI was investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow in 2016.
Trump ultimately fired Comey in May. The White House initially said Comey was fired because of the way he handled the bureau’s investigation of Clinton’s emails, Trump later told NBC’s Lester Holt that “this Russia thing” had been a factor in his decision.
Trump also reportedly called Comey a “nut job” whose firing had taken “great pressure” off of him during an Oval Office meeting with two senior Russian officials that took place one day after Comey’s dismissal.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel in charge of the bureau’s Russia investigation shortly after Trump fired Comey. As part of his investigation, Mueller is said to be building an obstruction-of-justice case against Trump relating to his decision to fire Comey.

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Samantha Pell
Ball Don’t Lie

Nov 11, 2017 4:18 PM

In an article for The Players’ Tribune, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry opened up about various topics, including President Donald Trump, athlete protests and respecting veterans. (AP)
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Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry’s plea on Veterans Day is simple: respect and celebrate our veterans.
In an article for The Players’ Tribune published on Saturday, Curry penned a heartfelt message not only calling for more support for veterans, but also addressing the perception of himself and other athletes who have engaged in peaceful protests being seen as “disrespecting the military, our flag and our country.”
He said he takes the accusations of disrespecting the military “very, very seriously.”
“One of the beliefs that I hold most dear is how proud I am to be an American — and how incredibly thankful I am for our troops,” Curry wrote. “I know how fortunate I am to live in this country, and to do what I do for a living, and to raise my daughters in peace and prosperity. But I also hear from plenty of people who don’t have it nearly as good as I do. Plenty of people who are genuinely struggling in this country. Especially our veterans.”
Curry went on to discuss the conversations he’s had with veterans, all of whom have said athletes’ recent protests aren’t disrespectful to them:

“And every single veteran I’ve spoken to, they’ve all said pretty much the exact same thing: That this conversation we’ve started to have in the world of sports … whether it’s been Colin kneeling, or entire NFL teams finding their own ways to show unity, or me saying that I didn’t want to go to the White House — it’s the opposite of disrespectful to them.”

“A lot of them have said, that even if they don’t totally agree with every position of every person, this is exactly the thing that they fought to preserve: the freedom of every American to express our struggles, our fears, our frustrations, and our dreams for a more equal society.”

Curry said he recently met a veteran named Michael who told him about his life and the recent struggles he is going through after serving in Afghanistan and transitioning back into society. He offered Curry advice on how he could help raise awareness for some of the issues the veterans just like him were going through, in addition to boiling it down to one thing:
“Michael told me that our veterans need real action,” Curry wrote. “They need real help with medical services, and access to jobs, and readjusting to society.”
Curry’s plea on Veteran’s Day concluded with this simple message:
“Let’s respect — let’s celebrate — our veterans, by having a conversation about the actual ways that we as civilians, as their fellow Americans they’ve fought to protect, can hold up our end of the bargain. Let’s talk about the broken VA medical system, and traumatic brain injuries, and PTSD. But let’s also talk about homelessness, and unemployment, and mental health, and, yes, racial inequality.”
Within The Players’ Tribune piece, Curry also addressed the tweet from President Donald Trump, officially rescinding his – and the Warriors – invitation to visit the White House.

“You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but, man, it was … surreal. It was the morning before our first day of practice, so I was getting in a good sleep. And when I woke up — I mean before I even saw the tweet, or knew what was going on — I had about 30 text messages, all at once. Just blowing up my phone. They were all these friends of mine, just, like, defending me, and telling me that I was right, and, you know, not to worry about it. But I had no idea what they were even talking about.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr took to Twitter shortly after Curry’s article was published, tweeting, “Please read this. So proud to coach @StephenCurry30.”

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