ChrisWeigant.com

Archive of Articles in the "Domestic Policy" Category

Friday Talking Points [462] -- Speaking Out Causes A Sea-Change In Attitudes

[ Posted Friday, November 17th, 2017 – 18:24 PST ]

America is in the midst of a gigantic sea-change on how accusations of sexual misconduct are viewed. That much seems certain. You could say it began with the Access Hollywood tape during Donald Trump's campaign, or you could argue it began with the end of Harvey Weinstein's Hollywood career. Notably, the "Me Too" movement has actually been around for a decade, but it really caught fire this year in a big way. But no matter the origins of the shift, America now views accusations of sexual misconduct in a much different light than before.

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What Happens If Roy Moore's Vote Is Necessary To Pass GOP Tax Bill?

[ Posted Wednesday, November 15th, 2017 – 18:11 PST ]

There is one emerging scenario (which currently is in no way certain) where the Republican Party might just have to decide to swallow its outrage -- at least temporarily -- and welcome Senator Roy Moore into their ranks on Capitol Hill, no matter what he did with underage women in the past. Because if Moore wins his special election in Alabama while at the same time two Republican senators have publicly announced they'll be voting "no" on the GOP tax bill, then Moore's vote becomes the deciding one. If this comes to pass, the GOP will be faced with the hard choice of ignoring all their previous denunciations of Moore in order to pull off their first legislative win since Donald Trump took office. Call it a striking moral/political dilemma.

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Interpreting GOP Moves On Tax Bill

[ Posted Tuesday, November 14th, 2017 – 17:58 PST ]

The most popular game in Washington right now is trying to figure out where the Republicans are on their tax-cutting plan, and what they're about to do next. This game exists because nobody is really sure what's going to happen, leaving lots of room for rampant speculation. But the moves the Senate is apparently making right now (or, reportedly, at least seriously considering) either show that Republicans are pretty confident of their ability to get the legislation passed or that they're essentially creating excuses for why it isn't going to pass at all this year. Since these positions are so contradictory, it's worth examining the developing GOP politics over the tax bills.

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Freelance Democratic Autopsy Document Released

[ Posted Monday, November 13th, 2017 – 18:12 PST ]

For a long time now, I've been calling on the Democratic Party to go through the same soul-searching exercise that Republicans did in 2013 after losing a presidential election. The GOP, back then, put out an "autopsy" or "post-mortem" document which examined why they lost and offered suggestions for improving the party's chances in the future. Democrats, I thought, would have been well-served by the same sort of self-examination after 2016, but it never actually appeared from the national party. Because it still hasn't appeared from the national party, a group of Democrats have been inspired to create such a document on their own. This new document can be viewed on the site democraticautopsy.org, and it is well worth a read by anyone who cares about the future of the Democratic Party.

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Friday Talking Points [461] -- "Berenstain Bear Democrats" Win The Day

[ Posted Friday, November 10th, 2017 – 18:29 PST ]

Democrats just had the first very good week they've had in an entire year. Tuesday night, they absolutely swept the board in the few elections that were held. Now, granted, this was an off-off-year election, so it's too soon to say whether this presages a Democratic wave (or even a Democratic tsunami) in next year's midterm elections, but that doesn't detract from the gains Democratic candidates made all over the map this week. Michael Murphy, a Republican political strategist, summed up the impact of Tuesday night thusly: "Donald Trump is an anchor for the GOP. We got that message in loud volume in Virginia. The canary in the coal mine didn't just pass out; its head exploded."

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It's A New Day For Democrats

[ Posted Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 – 18:13 PST ]

For the first time in an entire year, millions of Democrats woke up hopeful today. Rather than the continuing despair over the inescapable fact of "President Donald Trump," Democrats now have solid reason for political optimism. All of this cheerfulness stems from the election results of last night, where Democrats didn't just win and they didn't just win big, they absolutely swept the board. Which has many now predicting the swell of last night is the leading edge of a Democratic wave election, in next year's congressional midterms.

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Friday Talking Points [460] -- #BillionairesFirst? #NotOnePenny!

[ Posted Friday, November 3rd, 2017 – 17:56 PDT ]

To date, the two best hashtags we've seen to counter the just-released Republican tax plan are #BillionairesFirst and #NotOnePenny, so we decided to use them in our title. Because over the next few weeks, there will be a monstrous messaging battle between Republicans and Democrats over how their new tax cut plan should be framed. Democrats seem poised to win this battle, but then again there is no guarantee that's how it will play out. So today we thought we'd devote a large portion of the column to mustering up the arguments Democrats should immediately start making to any who will listen.

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Postcardizing Schedule A

[ Posted Thursday, November 2nd, 2017 – 17:42 PDT ]

With much fanfare, the Republican tax plan was unveiled today. This is an incredibly complex piece of legislation, so it's going to take more than one column to adequately examine what all their proposed changes will mean to American taxpayers. On many of these details, the GOP kept their cards pretty close to their vest until today, meaning this is the first chance everyone's got to figure out how each of these proposed changes will impact them personally. One idea which emerged a few days before the proposal was formally unveiled is to shrink Schedule A to "the size of a postcard." Schedule A is where taxpayers figure their itemized deductions, so it encompasses a lot of the other GOP proposals as well. But today, I'm going to focus on two in particular, because they provide some of the strongest arguments for Democrats and progressives to use in opposing this plan.

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A Wonky Look At GOP's Proposed Standard Deduction Change

[ Posted Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 – 18:06 PDT ]

Today we were all supposed to see the unveiling of the Republicans' tax plan, complete with facts and figures, drafted as a bill Congress could pass. This has not happened yet, because they can't agree among themselves over the details and are even now radically changing their own plan to assuage their own membership. We might see their tax plan tomorrow, but then again maybe we won't. There are many aspects of the GOP's tax plan that are broadly known so far, and others which are vague and ill-defined. The latter is what everyone's waiting to see, because drafting an actual bill means putting figures on paper rather than just creating political talking points -- which is so far all Republicans have done on many aspects of their plan. But they did put numbers to one radical change to the income tax law already, so their proposal to almost double the standard deduction while eliminating personal exemptions can already be subject to a deep and wonky dive into the numbers.

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Friday Talking Points [459] -- Deficits Don't Matter, Again (Neither Moral Nor Financial)

[ Posted Friday, October 27th, 2017 – 17:29 PDT ]

There's an easy test to see whether Republicans in Congress care about financial deficits: Is there a Democrat in the White House? If so, then deficits are so important that the situation requires threats of government shutdowns and defaulting on the national debt to fight deficit spending. However, if there's a Republican in the White House, then (as Dick Cheney so eloquently put it) "deficits don't matter." This was on full hypocritical display once again this week, as congressional Republicans voted to blow a $1.5 trillion hole in the national debt, so that the wealthy and big corporations can enjoy massive tax cuts.

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