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Thread: 2017 American Political Scene

  1. #2461
    Senior Contributor surfgun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Yes, deranged is only one level. You have to figure out where disturbed, insane, psychotic, unstable, schizoid, paranoid and malevolent fit in the order.

    By the way Trump is in that list somewhere. Which door is he behind?
    I don’t recall the the numeric scale in the DSM matrix. Let me know when you get that published and I’ll give it a look see.

  2. #2462
    Senior Contributor GVChamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    By the CBO's measure, US federal government spending in 2010s (including projections to 2019) is nearly identical to that of the 1980s: 21% of GDP.

    The OECD table of general government expenditure as a percent of GDP, 1999-2018, shows five out of 32 economies reducing spending in 2009-18 vs. 1999-2008.
    Just over 15%.
    The budget cutters are Germany, Hungary, Israel, Poland and Sweden. Their average spend fell from 47.8% to 45.6%.

    The rest saw their spending rise from 41.9% to 45.4%, with a couple holding stable to within a tenth of a percentage point.

    The US went from 36.3% to 39.8%, and from 8th lowest to 7th lowest among the 32. So much for the fiction of the US being over-taxed.
    If you extend your range for OECD nations from to the 90s or 80s you can see other nations have substantially cut spending. Canada is one of them. So is Sweden. Pretty sure Ireland is on that list, too. The overall average has held about the same.

    The other nations also have different tax structures that allow them to raise more money. The US federal government does not have a sales tax and relies heavily on income taxes. The combined California income tax under the new GOP proposal will be something like 55% when you factor in the Medicare surtax. This will put California near the top of the list for marginal tax rates.

    The US can't handle a government significantly larger unless it raises more tax revenues in ways that go a lot beyond the top 1%. I personally don't want to pay for it, because these programs are pretty much all stupid.

    Also, given the US is going to move in a more left-wing direction, yeah, I would anticipate some unsavory tax burdens in your near future, and budget accordingly.
    "The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood"-Otto Von Bismarck

  3. #2463
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    GVChamp,

    The US can't handle a government significantly larger unless it raises more tax revenues in ways that go a lot beyond the top 1%. I personally don't want to pay for it, because these programs are pretty much all stupid.
    depends on your definition of "government significantly larger" and "in ways that go a lot beyond the top 1%".

    IIRC, the top 1% is still taxed lower, post-Obama, than they were pre-Reagan-- and that's not accounting for the enormous concentration of wealth they have amassed in the last thirty years, which continued unabated during the Obama era as well.

    moreover, in the current context i don't think we're talking huge expansion here. as i said, the biggest disruption/jump by far would be a move to singlepayer. the other stuff on the dreamlist-- universal pre-K, free college for all, $15-a-hr minimum wage, paid parental leave-- expensive, yes, but not much more than the tax cuts the Republicans are pushing for now.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  4. #2464
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Evidence of direct contact between Wikileaks (read Julian Assange) & the Trump camp during & after the election. Wikileaks making it clear it is trying to swing the election for Trump and is actively supporting him.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics...ileaks/545738/


    Back in the dark, distant past Wikileaks published a mountain of classified US government documents. Pretty sure a lot of proud Americans were calling for Assange to be jailed or worse. Guess that stuff doesn't matter any more.


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  5. #2465
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    kato,

    When Social Security is privatized, I'll agree to take it out of government services. Until then, tax payments that aren't related to benefits received make it a government service.

    - - - - -

    Add: GVChamp,

    No definition of "government" is perfect, but the OECD is one of the best at normalizing across national borders.

    Also, given the US is going to move in a more left-wing direction, yeah, I would anticipate some unsavory tax burdens in your near future, and budget accordingly.
    Run that by me again? Two parts don't seem to match the world I live in.

    First, calling The Trumpet left-wing defies all logic. Show me a lefty who wants the Trumps' kids to avoide all taxes on their inheritance.

    Second, the GOPers have taken larger percentages of GDP out of the economy than the Democrats in the post-WWII world. They've also spent much more, leading to larger deficits.
    Trust me?
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  6. #2466
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    DOR,

    he means in the long-term, with the Millennial generation trending more left-wing. BTW, i'd note that part of the reason Trump won was because he suborned some traditionally lefty talking points-- things like tearing up free trade agreements and protecting Social Security, etc. (doesn't matter how much he actually means it, of course...)

    i do disagree with GVChamp that there's going to be massive tax increases that we'll feel, although being a member of the upper-middle, I think -some- tax increases are going to be inevitable. actually, if the money goes to some of the progressive wishlist I wrote on earlier, I wouldn't much mind. if it goes to lowering the taxes of the wealthy on the "rising tide lifts all boats" argument, well, yes, then I mind very much.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  7. #2467
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    When Social Security is privatized, I'll agree to take it out of government services. Until then, tax payments that aren't related to benefits received make it a government service.
    I have four mandatory insurances over here. Pension, Health, Care and Unemployment.

    Pension: I pay amount x into my state pension insurance. The monthly pension i later receive directly depends on amount x, and is tailored towards average life expectation. If I live past age 84 that's their loss. The private top-up pension insurance i have works the exact same way, although since they invest the money i'm going to come out on top on that one already about two years after i retire.
    Health: Pay-in not tied to pay-out/benefits - as long as you're below the cap, i.e. pay in less than about 12 Euro/day. Above that you can opt out of the standard plan and go for private plans in order to drop into the co-pay hellhole. If you earn less and want more than the standard plan you pay for it either yourself or through top-up insurances.
    Care: Somewhat iffy. Payout not tied to income, pay-in capped at a relatively low level. My lifetime pay-in gets me a profit if i later get pay-outs for longer than 12-24 months though depending on severity and how much i've paid in (less means more there), so i'd consider it a fair trade.
    Unemployment: Worth it for people who have bills to pay and no available liquid assets. Pay-out directly calculated based on pay-in (... over the last 12 months). Monthly premium is about 6.5% of full payout, which isn't that bad for the risk - the calculation sort of assumes you're statistically unemployed for one in sixteen years. It's not some open-ended deal either, once your payout hits the maximum you get dropped to welfare.

    I'd really call those insurances. Yeah, i'm tied to a single provider - except for health insurance. So what?
    Government services in social security? That's welfare for me, and not much beyond that.
    Last edited by kato; 14 Nov 17, at 21:10.

  8. #2468
    Senior Contributor GVChamp's Avatar
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    CBO estimates on government size show the government expanding quite a bit in the near future, just due to rising health costs. The current federal spend is 21% of GDP, already 7% higher than the 19.5% we peaked at in 2007. Total federal spend is expected to be between 23-24% by 2027. That's only with the ACA being added to the mix. I expect some more progressive wish-list items to get added to the mix, so you're talking about a 2030 US that spends in-line or slightly above the current OECD average.

    There is not enough money among the "Rich" for that kind of government. It's somewhere between $1 and $1.5 trillion of additional spending among all levels of government, using current GDP figures. That means a YUUUGGGGEEEE 40% increase in revenue required for the governments to function. The UMC already pays a substantial amount of tax (I'm expecting our household to pay out 1/3 of our income in taxes to State/Local/Fed), so it's silly to imagine they will not be hit by tax increases. The other advanced nations impose substantial regressive taxes to help fund their large governments.

    I don't expect any of this to benefit the nation much. Well-run nations make do with smaller governments than this.
    Personally I don't care if my tax dollars rise to give rich people a tax cut if it is less than the tax rise to fund a government bureaucracy that does less than nothing. Happy, no, but it's better than the alternative.
    Last edited by GVChamp; 15 Nov 17, at 16:14.
    "The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood"-Otto Von Bismarck

  9. #2469
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    GVChamp,

    CBO estimates on government size show the government expanding quite a bit in the near future, just due to rising health costs. The current federal spend is 21% of GDP, already 7% higher than the 19.5% we peaked at in 2007. Total federal spend is expected to be between 23-24% by 2027. That's only with the ACA being added to the mix. I expect some more progressive wish-list items to get added to the mix, so you're talking about a 2030 US that spends in-line or slightly above the current OECD average.
    more or less correct. on the other hand, US taxation is rather below OECD average, thus the deficit.

    There is not enough money among the "Rich" for that kind of government. It's somewhere between $1 and $1.5 trillion of additional spending among all levels of government, using current GDP figures. That means a YUUUGGGGEEEE 40% increase in revenue required for the governments to function.
    percentage-wise, probably slightly lower than that-- around 25-35%, and neither would it hit all at once-- doubt we'll see the entire wishlist suddenly fulfilled over one administration. each Presidency seems to have one big initiative in them before countervailing pressure forces them back to smallball items. Obama had enormous political power in 2009 and traded it for two big items, stimulus and ACA, whereupon the rest were relatively smallball.

    also, there is the question of spending "substitute", IE if the government is putting up the costs for healthcare, then you're not spending additional money on co-pays, insurance, emergency medical costs, etc. this is even more obvious in terms of things like school tuition, etc.

    this is not an argument that nationalizing everything is good, but just to point out that those tax increases would be paying for -something-.

    Well-run nations make do with smaller governments than this.
    not sure which countries those would be. as you note, if the progressive wish-list were enacted, the US would go from government spending/GDP of roughly 37% to about 45-50%.

    for context, 45% of GDP is OECD median, occupied by countries like Iceland/Spain/Germany. 50% is Sweden level, and 55% would be France/Finland/Denmark.

    not that US domestic spending would be close to these countries, because we spend enormously more on our military than any of these examples.

    checking the list, I guess Switzerland at 33% is really your only example of well-run governments spending less than we do. of course Switzerland has a population the size of New York City and spends 1% of GDP on defense, so I dunno how good that example may be in this context...

    Personally I don't care if my tax dollars rise to give rich people a tax cut if it is less than the tax rise to fund a government bureaucracy that does less than nothing.
    yup, that's our primary point of disagreement. i happen to think that things such as increased spending on S&T, healthcare, etc will be more beneficial for the economy than that blinged-out yacht that shows up on Rich Kids of Instagram.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  10. #2470
    Senior Contributor GVChamp's Avatar
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    If the US rises to the OECD median, then half of OECD nations will be spending less than the US. That includes all the Anglo-phone nations (NZ, Australia, Canada, UK) along with the Swiss, the South Koreans, and the Japanese. We don't really need to spend that much money to avoid being a Third World hellhole....the US isn't even a third world hellhole now, and it wasn't one 10 years ago, either.

    I don't think the rich kids of Instagram are really job-creators or whatever, but that doesn't mean the progressive wishlist is going to work any better at boosting GDP than suppler-sider tax cuts. But their logic at least makes sense. The idea that expanding Medicaid is somehow going to expand GDP because all those Medicaid recipients are just going to jump-start innovation is just insane. At least "tax cuts to spur job creation" has SOME sort of logic behind it. There's a logic behind universal college, but it's not convincing, because our system already ensures most of the smart kids go to college. There's also no clear correlation between measured educational achievement and actual economic outcomes. Like, modern Uzebkistan has the same education level as 1980 Netherlands. 1980 Netherlands had a GDP per capita of $12,000 and modern Uzbekistan has a GDP per capita of, like, $2,000. There are also cases like Japan and Hungary, which have the same educational achievement, and Japan is 3x richer than Hungary.

    To me all it's all Cargo Cult, all the way down. I'll vote for whichever Cargo Cult costs me less money.
    "The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood"-Otto Von Bismarck

  11. #2471
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    CBO data.

    __ _ _ _ Lows_ _ _ _ _ _ _Highs
    Revenue
    2009 _ 14.6%_ _ _1969_ _ 19.0%
    2010_ 14.6%_ _ _ 1981_ _ 19.1%
    2011_ 15.0% _ _ _1998_ _ 19.2%
    2012_ 15.3% _ _ _ 1999_ _ 19.2%
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 2000 _ _ 20.0%

    Spending (Highs)
    1982 _ _ 22.5%
    1983 _ _ 22.8%
    1984 _ _ 22.2%
    2009 _ _ 24.4%
    2010 _ _ 23.4%
    2011 _ _ 23.4%
    2012 _ _ 22.1%

    Observations
    Low revenues in 2009-12 were at least as much of the cause of the recent large deficits as high spending, especially considering the free-fall in economic activity and prices.

    There are at least two more points of GDP worth of revenue that may be tapped without a significant break with the historic precedent.

    There are at least two more points of GDP worth of spending that may be tapped without a significant break with the historic precedent
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

  12. #2472
    Senior Contributor surfgun's Avatar
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    Senator Al Franken, under fire for 2006 tongue kiss incident and groping photo.
    http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/16/politi...ent/index.html

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    Very interesting series of interviews by some lot calling themselves Frontline PBS on Muscovite interference called "The Putin Files". Lots of interviews but you can find ex Ambassador McFaul here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiKZPRoqOpg&t=24s and the others should then be findable.

  14. #2474
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    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-polit...-plan-gop-mess

    The Republican tax bill is far, far, far worse than it had to be
    There's a better way to do basically everything the Republican tax bill is trying to do.

    Republicans had a decade at least to come up with a comprehensive tax reform plan that achieves their goals without raising taxes on the middle class. They failed.

    The Senate plan causes about 13 million fewer people to have health insurance by repealing the individual mandate and hurting enrollment in both Medicaid and Obamacare exchanges. That will, according to the best evidence we have, lead to an increase in preventable deaths on the order of 15,600 people per year. It will also increase individual health insurance premiums even for people who still do purchase insurance.

    By 2027, poor and middle-class people will see their taxes go up across the board. People making between $10,000 and $20,000 a year, the working poor, will see their income go down by 1.5 percent. Millionaires will see their income go up by 0.4 percent.

    Even before major individual tax provisions expire at the end of 2025, the bill raises taxes on a significant share of people. In 2018, economist Ernie Tedeschi estimates that 11 percent of taxpayers will be paying more. The bill’s tweaks to tax brackets, doubling of the standard deduction, elimination of personal exemptions, and expansion of the child tax credit interact in sometimes unpredictable ways. Some families win, but others lose. Even in the early years, it’s not an across-the-board tax cut.

    The bill cuts alcohol taxes on wine, beer, and liquor. We know that alcohol taxes are effective at reducing drunk driving, violent crime, and liver cirrhosis, and that increasing them saves thousands of lives a year. Raising the cost of a six-pack of Bud Light by 50 cents could save 2,000 to 6,000 lives every year. So cutting alcohol taxes, as the tax bill does, will likely increase preventable deaths in the US significantly.

    Here’s the thing, though: Whatever the goal Republicans have, it didn’t have to be achieved this way. There is for each and every purpose a better bill that could be written.

    Suppose Republicans wanted an across-the-board tax cut that helped both middle-class and rich people. They could’ve simply cut the 10 percent tax bracket to 8 percent, or that plus cut the 15 percent bracket to 12 percent. That helps middle- and upper-class people (though not the poor) and creates no losers. If they wanted to conform to Senate rules, they could have it all expire after eight or 10 years, just as the current legislation does. If they wanted to make it permanent, and cared deeply enough, they could’ve gone nuclear on the filibuster and passed a permanent cut with 51 votes.

    But Republicans also want a lower, permanent corporate tax rate. Also doable: You can finance substantial rate cuts by removing tax breaks from the corporate code. Robert Pozen at Harvard Business School has estimated that eliminating the deductibility of interest payments on corporate debt would enable a cut in the corporate rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. If you wanted to, at the same time, allow 100 percent deductibility of all investments at the time they’re made, the rate would have to go up somewhat. But you could definitely cut the corporate rate, and pay for it permanently, by eliminating certain deductions and broadening the base. You don’t have to raise taxes or take away health care from middle-class people.

    Republicans have grander aspirations than that, however. If you read the “Better Way” tax framework released by House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady in 2016, you’ll see page after page of arguments for transitioning away from taxing income to taxing consumption. A lot of economists agree with that goal, even progressive ones (though others insist taxing consumption is inherently regressive).

    Luckily there’s a plan in Congress that achieves that goal, is revenue-neutral, and doesn’t raise taxes on the poor or middle class. It’s Sen. Ben Cardin’s (D-MD) Progressive Consumption Tax Act. Cardin would exempt the first $100,000 of income for couples from income tax ($50,000 for singles, $75,000 for single parents), meaning that the vast majority of people would no longer pay income taxes. He'd consolidate rates to three — 15, 25, and 28 percent — and cut the corporate tax to 17 percent. That's a lower top individual rate, and a lower corporate rate, than the Senate is proposing. To pay for it, he'd introduce a value-added tax, the kind of consumption tax used in most other rich countries, and add a rebate so that poor people don’t see their taxes go up.

    The plan, based on a proposal by Columbia tax law professor Michael Graetz, accomplishes basically all of Republicans’ substantive tax reform goals. It lowers income tax rates, and dramatically lowers the corporate tax. By exempting the majority of Americans from income taxes, it reduces the importance of deductions and credits. And it shifts the tax burden to consumption by adding a VAT.

    But unlike the Senate or House tax bills, it doesn’t increase the deficit, and it’s not regressive. The Tax Policy Center modeled the Graetz plan back in 2013 with a VAT rate of 12.9 percent, and slightly tweaked individual tax brackets (14, 27, and 31). TPC found that it would cost $0. It’s completely revenue-neutral. And it's progressive. The top 0.1 percent would see their income fall by 0.9 percent, and the poorest fifth would see their income grow by 1.2 percent.

    If Republicans really want to give needy people a tax cut while shifting the tax code to consumption and lowering individual and corporate tax rates, there’s your plan. You can work with Cardin on putting together a passable version right now.

    Perhaps a VAT is too dramatic a step. I have a plan for then, too! Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden has for years put out bipartisan tax reform plans, first with Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) and then with Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN), who have both since left the body. The plan sets a top rate of 35 percent, lowers the corporate tax rate to 24 percent, and, according to a 2010 analysis from the Tax Policy Center, would have made the tax code slightly more progressive. That analysis came before some of the high-income Bush tax cuts were revived, so the effect relative to today's laws would be different. But it’s a model for a way to cut corporate rates and simplify the code while not making the tax code more regressive.
    Republicans have to ask themselves what they’re in this for

    I don’t know what’s in the hearts of Orrin Hatch or Kevin Brady or Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell. I don’t like to assume malign motives of politicians, even ones I vehemently disagree with. But the details of this tax bill are less consistent with an honest desire to achieve certain principled changes to the tax code — to make it simpler, or more pro-investment, or more tilted at taxing consumption rather than income — than with a desire to get the tax deal done fast, a desire to help important constituencies, and a desire to thumb the eyes of perceived ideological enemies.

    That explains why, rather than paying for corporate cuts by offsetting an appropriate number of corporate tax breaks, the Senate wants to cut Medicaid and Obamacare. It sticks it to programs that are important to Democrats, furthers the GOP’s long-running interest in undermining Obamacare, and avoids making hard decisions about corporate benefits that might delay passage.

    It explains a variety of anti-university provisions inserted into the bill. If you care about lowering tax rates on savings and investment, you do not insert a random excise tax on the earnings of big university endowments. But if you care about sticking it to coastal elite universities that are full of liberals, that provision makes sense. So does treating tuition waivers for PhD students as taxable income. This will hurt the economy dramatically in the long run by undermining human capital developments and creating a less educated workforce. It might even cost lives by impeding biomedical research. But it’s a good way to own the libs.

    Republicans had years to put together this tax bill. They had the whole Obama administration, even the last two years of the Bush administration when they were in the minority. They could’ve done better. They had the tools and resources to do better. Other politicians and policy analysts had come up with ideas to help them do better.

    That they didn’t do better is a massive failure.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    on a far more serious, yet similar issue to this discussion of tax cuts-- the denigration/erosion of institutions and precedent, supposedly hallowed by conservatives.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...74d_story.html

    Forget alternative facts. We’re now in an alternate reality.

    Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) mediates a contentious markup of the Senate tax bill on Capitol Hill on Nov. 15. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
    By Dana Milbank Opinion writer November 17 at 2:48 PM

    In the beginning, there were alternative facts. Now we are being governed in an alternate reality.

    Heading toward approval of their tax bill this week, House Republicans had a teensy problem: Their vaunted tax “cut” actually was a tax hike for millions of Americans. It lowered taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars on the wealthiest, but it raised the lowest tax rate and, official congressional arbiters determined, raised taxes on a good chunk of the middle class as well.

    Awkward! Particularly because a long-standing House rule, put in place by Republicans after Newt Gingrich’s 1994 takeover, requires that any “income tax rate increase may not be considered as passed . . . unless so determined by a vote of not less than three-fifths of the members voting.”

    So Republicans did the honorable thing: They snuck in a provision that allowed them, with a simple majority vote, to declare that the three-fifths requirement “shall not apply.” Problem solved.

    This is but one example of an unnerving trend in the Trump era: Ignore the rules and disqualify the referees who were put in place to enforce standards of integrity.

    Just two months ago, President Trump promised that “the rich will not be gaining at all” under the tax bill, and “it’ll be the largest tax decrease in the history of our country for the middle class.”

    It is exactly the opposite. The bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) found that the rich would get a handsome tax break under the House bill, but those earning $20,000 to $40,000 and $200,000 to $500,0000 would get an increase. On Thursday, the JCT, the official congressional arbiter of tax legislation, determined that the Senate version of the bill would give large tax cuts to millionaires but raise taxes on families earning between $10,000 and $75,000.

    And so Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), author of the Senate tax bill, attempted to discredit the bicameral, bipartisan JCT. “Anyone who says we’re hiking taxes on low-income families is misstating the facts,” he said.

    And Hatch is the vice chairman of the JCT! The chairman is also Republican, as are a majority of the members.

    Leaving aside Hatch’s particular dispute (about whether to count a loss of Obamacare subsidies as a tax increase for those who opt out), there is no denying the larger point in the JCT’s calculation: Whether you technically classify certain things as taxes or not, this “tax cut” would have the effect of making the rich richer and a large swath of the middle class poorer. Instead of acknowledging that, Republicans are attempting to disqualify the umpire they put in place.

    Something similar is happening now with the nominations of judges. In all administrations since Dwight Eisenhower’s (except George W. Bush’s) the American Bar Association (ABA) has been vetting prospective judicial nominees’ legal qualifications before they are nominated. Now the Trump administration is ignoring the ABA pre-screening, and the Senate Judiciary Committee is no longer waiting to have their professional qualifications vetted before confirmation hearings. The New York Times reports that the White House is “weighing” telling future nominees not to cooperate with ABA evaluators. And this week, the White House issued a news release highlighting an editorial saying “the Senate continues to give the lawyers’ guild too much sway.”

    When the Trump administration and congressional allies aren’t attacking the JCT and the ABA, they’re attacking the CBO — the Congressional Budget Office, the bipartisan arbiter of how much legislation costs, now led by a Republican appointee. When White House budget director Mick Mulvaney earlier this year didn’t like the CBO’s “score” of health-care legislation, he asked: “Has the day of the CBO come and gone?” Trump ally Newt Gingrich wanted to “abolish” the “totally dishonest” umpire.

    The White House did its utmost, as well, to undermine the Office of Government Ethics, blocking its access to ethics waivers granted to former lobbyists in the administration. The director of the office ultimately resigned.

    Now, some Republicans are attempting to do the same to the special counsel. After Robert S. Mueller III’s recent indictments of Trump campaign advisers, three House members introduced a resolution calling for Mueller’s resignation.

    And of course, there is Roy Moore, who has responded to voluminous accusations of impropriety with children by attempting to discredit the press — dovetailing with Trump’s “fake-news” attacks.

    Should Moore make it to the Senate, we can expect worse. He openly defied the U.S. Supreme Court when he was a state judge, and he has made clear he believes the Constitution is subordinate to his interpretation of God’s law.

    As Trump and his allies lay waste to their own rules, the media, the CBO, the ABA, the JTC and the courts, let’s ask ourselves: After they’ve disqualified all arbiters of truth, what will we have left?
    Last edited by astralis; 17 Nov 17, at 21:50.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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