ChrisWeigant.com

Archive of Articles for September, 2017

Friday Talking Points [455] -- Price Break!

[ Posted Friday, September 29th, 2017 – 17:49 PDT ]

As we sat down to write this, the news broke that Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price has resigned. So, of course, we immediately had to come up with a snappy "price" pun for our title. We could have gone with the Rolls Royce slogan ("If You Have To Ask The Price, You Can't Afford It"), or maybe "The High Price Of Airfare These Days," but both are kind of wordy. So we had to settle for "Price Break!" (we did consider "Price Cut," but that would have been more appropriate if he had actually been fired). The news of Price's resignation came immediately following the news that President Donald Trump was going to decide -- tonight -- whether to fire him or not. So, one way or another, the Price would have been lowered, so to speak.

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How About Some "Regular Order" On Taxes, GOP?

[ Posted Thursday, September 28th, 2017 – 17:07 PDT ]

There's an old saying that when all you have is a hammer, pretty soon every problem starts to resemble a nail. Which brings us to the subject of Republicans and tax cuts, of course. For approximately the past 35 years or so, there has been no problem the GOP doesn't think can be fixed with a good old fashioned gigantic tax cut, mostly for the wealthiest Americans. Even their recent failed efforts on "repeal and replace Obamacare" were mostly just an excuse to slash taxes on the wealthy. Now that that's over with (for now, at least), Republicans no longer have to even pretend to have any other goal than slashing taxes on the well-off. But perhaps the process will improve. And then again, perhaps that is overly optimistic.

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Trump Tries To Cut His Own Taxes 81%!

[ Posted Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 – 17:05 PDT ]

The Alternative Minimum Tax (as Rodney Dangerfield might have put it) don't get no respect. Few who don't pay it have ever even heard of it. Those who do pay it hate it. The A.M.T. has no real champions among the political class, because there are so many other facets of tax policy to get worked up about. Take the estate tax, for instance -- a tax only paid at death, but one with a rousing political chorus on both sides (Republicans scornfully refer to it as the "death tax"). The estate tax gets some respect in Washington, both pro and anti. The A.M.T., not so much. But it should get a whole lot more attention now that the GOP has released their new tax-cutting outline. Because Donald Trump is effectively trying to cut his own taxes by a whopping 81 percent -- and, really, that's just the minimum tax break Trump would receive.

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Third And Long For GOP

[ Posted Tuesday, September 26th, 2017 – 16:51 PDT ]

Since football and politics collided on the gridiron last weekend, it now must officially be considered "football metaphor season." So, to get in the spirit: Republicans in Congress are facing third down with a long way to go, right before the end of the first half.

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The Kurds' Historic Vote In Iraq

[ Posted Monday, September 25th, 2017 – 18:03 PDT ]

Most Americans alive today have no memory of our country ever changing its borders. And the last time it happened, many Americans alive at the time had no memory of the country adding previous states, either. The 47th state (Arizona) was admitted to the Union in 1912. Hawai'i and Alaska joined in 1959. Since then, we've now gone 57 years without the United States of America changing its outline on the world map. "This sort of history happens to other people in the world, not us," we tell ourselves. I was thinking of this while watching the muted attention given to Puerto Rico after it got hammered by Hurricane Maria this weekend. But that's a really subject for another column. What made me think about our historic cartological stability again today was the vote for independence being conducted in the parts of Iraq under Kurdish control.

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Friday Talking Points [454] -- Senator Cassidy Fails Jimmy Kimmel Test

[ Posted Friday, September 22nd, 2017 – 17:28 PDT ]

The zombie legislation attacks (again)! While much else was going on in the political world this week, the most important event was the reanimation of the Republican "repeal and replace Obamacare" effort: It's not dead! It's alive! And it's lurching around threatening millions!

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GOP's Sisyphean Efforts

[ Posted Thursday, September 21st, 2017 – 17:24 PDT ]

Sisyphus, according to Wikipedia, was "punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness" by Zeus. Sisyphus was subjected to the eternal torture of pushing a heavy bolder up a steep hill, only to watch it roll back down again -- "an eternity of useless efforts and unending frustration." Sounds pretty familiar to anyone who has paid attention to the Republican "repeal and replace Obamacare" efforts all year long, doesn't it?

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Trump's North Korea Bluster Is Not Believable

[ Posted Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 – 16:59 PDT ]

President Donald Trump gave his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, which was notable for the amount of bluster it contained. Now, blustering is a time-honored tradition at the U.N., but it is usually reserved for heads of state from countries that are insecure in their standing in the world and led by charismatic totalitarians. Think: Hugo Chávez, or Fidel Castro in his prime. So it was pretty unusual to hear such a speech from an American president, who at one point threatened to obliterate another country from the map. Bluster has long been a cornerstone of Trump's foreign policy (such as it is) -- a deep-seated belief that talking tough with lots of swagger will cause all foreign countries to see the error of their ways and thus do exactly what the United States (or Trump) wishes them to do. It hasn't been working in any noticeable way yet, but that didn't stop Trump from giving it another try yesterday on the world stage.

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Rocket Man?

[ Posted Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 – 17:18 PDT ]

The problem with Trump's use of Rocket Man is that it isn't particularly insulting. It actually sounds pretty cool, in a retro 1950s-sci-fi kind of way. Elton John and Bernie Taupin didn't write the song until 1972, and Taupin admitted being influenced by a 1970 song of the same name by the band Pearls Before Swine. But both songs were inspired by a short story by Ray Bradbury ("The Rocket Man," from the book The Illustrated Man), which is about as retro 1950s-sci-fi as you can get.

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Focus On One Particular Loophole In GOP's New Tax-Cut Plan

[ Posted Monday, September 18th, 2017 – 17:26 PDT ]

The Republicans are getting ready to unveil their tax-cutting plan. Reportedly, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has been meeting with congressional GOP leaders to come up with a plan both the White House and congressional Republicans can get behind. So far, they've been fairly secretive about this effort, because no matter what they decide they're bound to annoy at least one faction of their own party. To say nothing of Democrats, or the public at large.

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