The relative speed differential between the Trump White House and the Republican Congress is already starting to cause problems, it seems. Because the Trump administration is moving so quickly and Congress historically moves at a pretty glacial pace, the unspoken bargain between congressional Republicans and President Trump is already showing cracks. The basic deal was going to be that GOP leaders in Congress would back Trump up on some of his (shall we say) more esoteric campaign promises, while Trump's end of the bargain would be to sign pretty much anything Republicans could manage to get past Congress, even if it contradicted some of what Trump promised his supporters (like gutting Medicare and Medicaid, to cite the most obvious candidate). GOP leaders would allow Trump to build his wall in exchange for Trump allowing them to shred the safety net and bestow generous tax breaks to the ultra-wealthy. That was the plan, at any rate.
Archive of Articles in the "Taxes" Category
We're going to start today with a story that sounds like an urban myth, but actually happened. The state government of Indiana, 120 years ago, was almost taken in by a crank mathematician. He got them to introduce a bill he had written that would have changed state law to state that the value of pi was what he said it was. The language of the bill is inexact at best -- it might better be described as "completely incoherent" -- and actually suggests multiple ways of calculating pi, none of which are correct. The easiest to understand was to calculate it as a ratio of 5/4 to 4, which would give 3.2. The other methods are pretty indecipherable, to be polite.
President Donald Trump's administration may have just fired the first shot in what could become a worldwide trade war. In response to criticisms about his announcing that the border wall with Mexico will be paid for by American taxpayers (and not, as promised, Mexico), Trump has been trying to come up with an answer for how we will be "reimbursed" by Mexico. Today, apparently, he has decided on the preferred method. The White House just announced a 20 percent tax on all imports from Mexico.
We know there's that pesky clause in the Constitution and all, but doesn't it seem like today would have been more appropriate for Donald Trump's inauguration? That's our way of saying "Happy Friday the 13th" to everyone, we should point out. Ahem.
Welcome back everyone to our regular weekly roundup! We've been on our usual year-end hiatus for the past few weeks, pre-empted by our year-end awards columns (Part 1 and Part 2). But now that Congress is slinking back to the swamps of Washington, it's time to start looking forward once again. And we promise, we are going to explain that rather cryptic title, after we dispense with an initial bit of idiocy.
Now that Republicans control all branches of the federal government, their base is going to expect them to make good on their promises. However, what we're already seeing is that political rhetoric that helps get you elected isn't the same thing as actual reality. It's going to be interesting to see GOP rhetoric collide with the hard, cold facts of reality in the next few months, and nowhere is this more true than on the issue of healthcare reform.
Welcome back to our annual year-end awards column!
Normally we open our annual awards column with an explanation of why John McLaughlin shouldn't sue us. It's become traditional, in fact, to skate the thin ice of "homage" and "satire" versus straight-up theft of intellectual property (which, of course, we'd never ever do... or, at least, admit).
The Democratic Party is in pretty dire straights at the moment. Republicans not only control the United States Senate, the House of Representatives, and the White House, but when you take a look down at the state level, things are even more depressing. Republicans have full control (both statehouses and the governor's office) in 25 states. Democrats only have complete control in five. Two-thirds of all the individual statehouses (state senates and state assemblies or houses) are Republican-controlled. Democrats have lost over 900 of the total seats in the statehouses since Barack Obama took office. By some levels, the Democrats are worse off than they've been since the 1920s.
Will Donald Trump be the second-best "bully" president we've had? I realize that that question can be read two ways, but I'm using "bully" in the older political sense of the word rather than in the "already ripped into 289 people on Twitter" sense. So while a strong case could be made for Trump-as-bully, what I'm referring to instead is the Teddy Roosevelt "Bully for you!" sense of the word. And, more importantly, the "bully pulpit." Because, much as Democrats might hate to admit it, Trump may be the most adroit user of the bully pulpit to change American politics in a very long time.