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Archive of Articles in the "Taxes" Category

From The Archives -- Demand Full Media Disclosure: What's Your Tax Bracket?

[ Posted Tuesday, April 17th, 2018 – 20:42 PDT ]

Apologies for the lack of an original column today, and also happy Tax Day to everyone. Yes, those two are connected.

Snark aside, I thought the following article would be worth running again, what with the current debate over Sean Hannity and his lack of full disclosure on the Michael Cohen story. Since it's also tax day, I remembered the one time I devoted an entire article to the concept of journalistic full disclosure. It's from quite a few years ago, and (sadly) nothing has changed. Enjoy, and rest assured, new columns will resume tomorrow.

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Friday Talking Points [480] -- Unnecessary Immature Potshots

[ Posted Friday, April 13th, 2018 – 18:09 PDT ]

James Comey's long-awaited tell-all book is out (to reviewers) and Republicans from the Oval Office on down are already freaking out. So far, the winner of the "most hilariously ironic attempt at spin" award is unquestionably Kellyanne Conway. Conway, of course, absolutely personifies one of the lyrics from Trump's favorite Rolling Stones song ("You Can't Always Get What You Want"), as she easily could have been the inspiration for the line: "She was practiced at the art of deception." In an article about the White House's reaction to the book, Conway was quoted dismissing the book as "a revisionist view of history" and (even more hilariously) accused Comey of taking "unnecessary immature potshots." The ironic part? The very same article begins with: "President Trump lashed out Friday at former F.B.I. director James B. Comey on Twitter, calling him a 'weak and untruthful slime ball' who deserved to be fired 'for the terrible job he did.' " So Comey's book was full of "unnecessary immature potshots," but calling a former F.B.I. director a "weak and untruthful slime ball" is downright presidential. Got it, Kellyanne. Oh, and there's a bridge in New York City we'd like to sell you, too.

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Après Ryan, Le Déluge

[ Posted Wednesday, April 11th, 2018 – 16:22 PDT ]

It's been a good week for quoting French kings, it seems -- and it's only mercredi! First there was Donald Trump's petulant response to his private lawyer (and reputed "fixer") getting raided by the feds: "It's an attack on our country, in a true sense." Many compared Trump's equation of his own personal legal troubles with an attack on the country at large to King Louis XIV's famous statement: "L'état, c'est moi." For Louis, this statement (essentially: "I am the state") was in large part true -- but not so much for Donald Trump. Trump (thankfully) is not an absolute monarch, so for him to say a federal investigation of his lawyer is "an attack on our country" is laughable, at best.

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Friday Talking Points [479] -- Welcome To The Trump Trade War

[ Posted Friday, April 6th, 2018 – 18:33 PDT ]

First, Donald Trump announced new tariffs on steel and aluminum. Then China reacted with $3 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods (mostly farm goods -- fruit, nuts, and pork). Trump hit back with the threat of tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods. The Chinese, not to be outdone, announced that if this happens they'll be slapping their own tariffs on $50 billion in American goods -- most notably, soybeans. Trump then tripled down, announcing further tariffs on $100 billion of Chinese goods. So begins the great Sino-American trade war of 2018. Or, as we like to call it, the Trump trade war. Why not give proper credit where it is due, after all?

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Red State Unrest

[ Posted Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018 – 17:26 PDT ]

Red-state teachers are currently in open revolt against the failure of conservatives to deliver on their economic promises. Republicans in these states embraced tax cuts because (as they told everyone) this would unleash the economy and prosperity for all would soon follow. What happened instead is the same thing that always happens when supply-side economics is attempted -- falling tax revenues which force massive cuts to what were formerly untouchable parts of the budget. Like education. But the teachers are tired of taking it on the chin and are now fighting back. They're sick of being paid a pittance (compared to teachers in other states), they're sick of the lack of resources for their students (books and classrooms that are falling apart), and they're sick of dodges like four-day weeks which desperately try to paper over the hard, cold fact that if you cut taxes on a massive scale, you will have less money to spend to educate your children.

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Friday Talking Points [478] -- Seeking Lead Lawyer For Difficult Client

[ Posted Friday, March 30th, 2018 – 17:22 PDT ]

By Trumpian standards, this has been a relatively quiet week. After all, the president only fired a single cabinet secretary, and zero high-ranking aides! Plus, Trump hasn't attacked Stormy Daniels on Twitter even once, after her bombshell interview on 60 Minutes last Sunday. For Trump, this shows some newfound restraint.

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Paul Ryan On The Way Out?

[ Posted Tuesday, March 27th, 2018 – 16:54 PDT ]

Rumors are swirling inside the Beltway that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan may not be around for very much longer. If this seems too good to be true for Democrats, well, it's because it likely is -- at least for the time being. But there's more than one way to skin this particular cat. So let's take a look at all the various ways Paul Ryan could exit both his current leadership position and his House seat, just for fun.

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Friday Talking Points [477] -- Read The Bill!

[ Posted Friday, March 23rd, 2018 – 18:00 PDT ]

Add this week in Congress to the enormous mountain of steaming Republican hypocrisy, we suppose. Remember back when Republicans got their knickers in such a big twist over Democrats passing lengthy bills without adequate time for congressmen to understand? When the Affordable Care Act passed, some Republicans even chanted "Read the bill!" in protest during the vote. Those were the days, eh? When Republicans retook Congress, they did so in part on a promise that every bill would have a 72-hour period between when it was released publicly and when the vote would happen, in both chambers of Congress. That statement, as they say in Washington, is no longer operative. The Republican-led Congress just passed a 2,200-plus page omnibus budget bill mere hours after the text was released (the House voted 17 hours after the bill was filed, which fell 55 hours short of their promise). Neither the House nor the Senate got anywhere near three days to read the bill. Which is one more big dump on top of the rest of "GOP Hypocrisy Mountain," raising it to new malodorous heights.

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A New Tariff In Town

[ Posted Thursday, March 22nd, 2018 – 17:22 PDT ]

President Trump's White House made two announcements on tariffs today, which was likely not a coincidence. The big announcement was that Trump will be levying new tariffs on $60 billion of Chinese goods. Specifics will follow, within a few weeks. The timing of this may have been intentional, because the Trump administration also revealed today that the steel and aluminum tariffs aren't going to be anywhere near as tough as Trump initially stated. If the idea was for one bit of tariff news to hide the other, this largely seems to have worked. However, the big tariff news caused the Dow Jones Industrial Average to react by plummeting 700 points.

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Democrats Should Run Against Ryan And McConnell

[ Posted Wednesday, March 21st, 2018 – 17:19 PDT ]

Although it hasn't gotten a whole lot of media attention yet, this is another one of those weeks when Congress actually does something, because they are forced to. A handful of times each year, Congress runs up against a calendar deadline (usually one of their own making), and is thus forced to pass a bill or else (choose one): the federal government will shut down, the country will default on the national debt, some large group of people will be royally screwed by congressional inaction, or (the worst of them all, to congresscritters) one of the enormous number of congressional vacation weeks will be in peril of being delayed or cancelled.

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