Irony At Its Best

The Trump tax cuts made life a little easier for most Americans. They made life a little more difficult for some middle class and wealthy people in states with high taxes. Oddly enough, many of these states with high taxes are blue states with large populations and huge state budgets. Some of the most affected states were California, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, all reliably blue states. Those states control 116 Electoral College votes and send 106 Representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives (out of 435 total Representatives). Now, after all the complaining that the Trump tax cuts were tax cuts for the rich (which they were not), Democrats want to give the wealthy in high-tax states their tax cuts.

Real Clear Politics posted an article today about the Democrats’ plan.

The article reports:

Democrats often complain that tax cuts primarily benefit “the rich,” but apparently they only think it’s a problem when rich conservatives get a tax break, because they’re outraged that President Trump’s tax cuts scaled back a generous subsidy enjoyed by well-off taxpayers in liberal states.

A key provision of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was a new cap on the so-called State and Local Tax (“SALT”) Deduction, which allows taxpayers to deduct state and local taxes on their federal tax return. This provision forces taxpayers in low-tax states such as Florida and Texas to effectively subsidize those in high-tax states such as New York and California.

For years, blue-state Democrats have been able to raise state income and property taxes far higher than voters might normally tolerate. That’s because the SALT deduction softened the impact for taxpayers in those states, particularly for the rich campaign-donor class. Since the SALT deduction only applies to taxpayers who itemize their returns, its benefits naturally accrue to those in the highest income bracket.

There was previously no limit to how much taxpayers could deduct through SALT, but even though the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act capped the deduction at $10,000, almost 93 percent of American taxpayers will be unaffected. It’s likely that fewer taxpayers will elect to take advantage of SALT, since the law also doubled the standard deduction, but about 11 million of the highest-earning Americans living in high-tax states are seeing their federal income tax liabilities increase.

It’s curious that liberals who criticized Trump so vociferously for “cutting taxes on the wealthy” are so upset by an element of the tax reform plan that merely takes away a tax break enjoyed disproportionately by the wealthy.

The problem here is simple. The Democrats believe that President Trump cut taxes for the rich (which he didn’t), but it was the wrong rich. However, just for the record, since most of the tax burden falls on Americans who are relatively successful, their tax cuts are going to seem larger than those who pay little or no taxes.

The following chart is from a Pew Research article. The figures are from 2015:

People who make over $100,000 (which in some areas of the country is not a lot of spending power) pay over 80% of all income taxes paid. I think we need to reopen the discussion of a flat tax. Everyone needs to have an equal stake in the game.

It’s All A Matter Of Perspective

Yesterday Newsbusters posted an article about a recent ABC News panel that was absolutely hilarious (not intentionally of course).

The article reports:

With nearly the entire Democratic 2020 field sprinting to be the closest to socialism without using the label, folks in the liberal media were busy trying to spin their radical policy positions as something palatable. A great example of this occurred during ABC’s This Week on Sunday, when two panelists tried to suggest that it was Republicans who were the radical ones with Democrats supposedly as the centrists.

During the “powerhouse roundtable” discussion late in the show, Republican strategist Alice Stewart noted that the candidates could “run away from the socialism label” all they wanted “but you can’t deny the fact that the Democratic Party is moving very, very far to the left.”

“We’re talking about a lot of policies that are extremely left. The Cortezs of Washington and the younger generation of Democrats are really causing a divide in the Democratic Party,” she added before triggered faux-Republican Matthew Dowd couldn’t hold back anymore.

Talking over Stewart, Dowd emphatically insisted it was the Republicans who were the ones who were out of touch with Americans: “The Democratic Party — if you look at all the issues and where the public stands, the Democratic Party is actually closer to the center than the Republican Party is. The Democratic Party is much closer to the center.”

Meanwhile ideas such as socialism, free education, free healthcare, and generally free money are gaining acceptance in the Democrat Party.

Wow. So let’s look at some of the other issues.

President Trump supports strong borders (and a wall). In January a Rasmussen poll showed that 48 percent of Americans felt that the government was doing too little to stop illegal immigration. On March 13th, Rasmussen reported that 56% of Likely U.S. Voters say Democrats should allow Fox News, the most-watched cable news network, to host at least one of their intraparty debates. Just 28% disagree, while 15% are undecided. On January 18th, Real Clear Politics reported that more Americans may identify as pro-choice than pro-life, but more than six in 10 of those who say they are pro-choice (61 percent) join the three-quarters of all Americans in wanting abortion restricted to – again, at most – the first trimester. So do about six in 10 Democrats (59 percent), eight in 10 independents (78 percent) and nine in 10 Republicans (92 percent).

In January 2018, the Pew Research Center reported the following:

The latest national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Jan. 10-15 among 1,503 adults, finds that 42% say Donald Trump is “striking the right balance” in the situation in the Middle East, while 30% say he favors Israel too much (just 3% say Trump sides too much with the Palestinians; 25% do not offer an opinion).

At a similar point in Barack Obama’s presidency, 47% of Americans said he had struck a proper balance in dealing with the Middle East; 21% said he sided too much with the Palestinians, while 7% said he favored Israel too much.

I’m not sure it’s the Republicans who are out of touch with the American people. They are probably out of touch with the people in New York, California, and Washington, D.C., but I am not sure how out of touch they are with most Americans.

Unfortunately No One Wins In This Scenario

Lisa Page’s testimony stated that the Department of Justice prevented the FBI from charging Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information. That may or may not have something to do with a meeting on an airport tarmac, but that is the situation.  Let’s take a trip back in time to reexamine the entire picture.

If the FBI had indicted Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information during the political campaign, Bernie Sanders would have been the candidate and Donald Trump would probably have won. The Democrats would have been up in arms that Donald Trump won unfairly. They are claiming that anyway, but not too many people believe them! Since the Democrats expected Hillary Clinton would win, they assumed the story of the private server would disappear as soon as she took office. Well she lost, and the story is back. But let’s take a look at the consequences of the server.

On October 27, 2016, Real Clear Politics posted the following quote by Charles Krauthammer:

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: This brings us back full circle to the beginning. The question was originally: Why did she have the private server? She said convenience, obviously that was ridiculous…

It was obvious she was hiding something.

And think about it, she set it up in 2009, before becoming Secretary of State. So, she anticipated having exchanges that she would not want anyone to see. So, we’ve been asking ourselves on this set for a year almost, what exactly didn’t she want people to see?

Well, now we know.

And as we speculated, the most plausible explanation was the rank corruption of the Clinton Foundation, and its corrupt — I don’t know if it’s illegal, but corrupt relationship with the State Department.

And her only defense as we saw earlier– the Democrats are saying, well, there was nothing she did… that was corrupted by donations. You can believe that if you want, but there’s a reason that people give donations in large amounts, and that’s to influence the outcome of decisions. So, this — we are getting unfolding to us, exactly what she anticipated having to hide, and it is really dirty business.

I miss Charles Krauthammer.

But there is another aspect to this. On August 29, 2018, The Federalist Papers reported:

A new report shows that the Chinese hacked Hillary’s homebrew communication server and reports indicate the Chinese killed 12 CIA sources while the server was at her residence.

The article included quotes from the Daily Caller News Foundation:

…“The Chinese wrote code that was embedded in the server, which was kept in Clinton’s residence in upstate New York. The code generated an instant ‘courtesy copy’ for nearly all of her emails and forwarded them to the Chinese company, according to the sources.”

In other words, an American secretary of state who felt entitled to work on her own amateurish computer system had exposed all of her correspondence to one of the country’s most powerful and dangerous rivals in world affairs.

And it’s very possible that at least 12 operatives serving United States intelligence agencies paid for Clinton’s security breach with their lives.

According to a New York Times report from May 2017, a successful Chinese counterintelligence operation that started in 2010 “systematically dismantled C.I.A. spying operations in the country starting in 2010, killing or imprisoning more than a dozen sources over two years and crippling intelligence gathering there for years afterward.”

“From the final weeks of 2010 through the end of 2012, according to former American officials, the Chinese killed at least a dozen of the C.I.A.’s sources,” The Times reported. “According to three of the officials, one was shot in front of his colleagues in the courtyard of a government building — a message to others who might have been working for the C.I.A.”

Maybe it’s a coincidence, but 2010 was Clinton’s first full year as secretary of state.

So what do we do with Hillary Clinton? If she were anyone but Hillary Clinton, she would be sitting in jail somewhere. However, if she is charged under a Republican administration, the Democrats will cry that the charges are political. But if she is not charged with the mishandling of classified information, it will be political. How in the world do you solve the accountability problem and the political problem?

The Power Of The Media Illustrated

This is the current polling from RealClearPolitics:

This is some recent economic news reported by The Washington Times on January 9:

Given the dazzling December economic data, it’s no wonder the press gave it short shrift. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy added a whopping 312,000 jobs, far more than the expected 176,000. After revisions, job gains have averaged an impressive 254,000 per month over the past three months. Job growth in 2018 (an average of 220,000 per month) passed that of both 2016 (195,000) and 2017 (182,000). Payrolls increased by 2.6 million in 2018, the highest since 2015.

The sunny jobs picture encouraged 419,000 new workers to enter the workforce and sent the labor force participation rate up to 63.1 percent. Unemployment rates among blacks, Latinos and women are at or near historic lows.

Job growth has also meant significant wage growth. Wages are up a stunning 3.2 percent from last year and .4 percent from November. December was the third straight month that the yearlong growth in nominal average hourly earnings was above 3 percent in nearly a decade; the last time we saw that trend was April 2009. Wages are also being given an assist by inflation being kept in check.

The article at The Washington Times concludes:

His (President Trump’s) astounding economic track record is their worst nightmare. It puts the lie to the nonsense Mr. Obama, the Democrats and the media have been shoveling for years: That anemic economic growth, high unemployment, the collapse of manufacturing and grotesque trade imbalances were the “new normal.”

It also pointedly demonstrates that the statist vision — radical wealth redistribution, socialized medicine, green energy chimeras, social justice enforcement, limits on free speech, private property and gun ownership, and the rule of the leftist mob — creates only tyranny, poverty, injustice and servitude. (Note the deflection: These are things the left claims to want to eradicate.)

Mr. Trump and his economic thunderbolt are exposing the left and its policies as irredeemably bankrupt, economically and morally. And that is perhaps the biggest reason why they must try to destroy him.

A lot of this economic news has not been reported. However, people do notice when there are more jobs available and there is more money in their paycheck. President Trump’s approval numbers are finally in positive numbers. The economy is booming. What would be the basis for most Americans believing America is headed in the wrong direction? Might it be the constant negative reporting from the media? Can you imaging what President Trump’s approval rating would be if the media were actually balanced? Just remember–the people vote. The media represents only a small percentage of votes.

Some Things To Consider As We Await The Inspector General’s Report

Real Clear Politics posted an article today by Victor Davis Hansen that reminds us of the recent history of Inspectors General. The article is titled, “The Silencing of the Inspectors General.”

The article reminds us:

For nearly eight years, the Obama administration sought to cover up serial wrongdoing by waging a veritable war against the watchdog inspectors general of various federal agencies.

In 2014, 47 of the nation’s 73 inspectors general signed a letter alleging that Obama had stonewalled their “ability to conduct our work thoroughly, independently, and in a timely manner.”

The frustrated nonpartisan auditors cited systematic Obama administration refusals to turn over incriminating documents that were central to their investigations.

The administration had purportedly tried to sidetrack an IG investigation into possible misconduct by then-Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. In addition, the Obama administration reportedly thwarted IG investigations of Amtrak, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the Office of Management and Budget.

Despite the campaign against these independent federal auditors, a number of inspectors general still managed to issue damning indictments of unethical behavior.

In 2012, Horowitz recommended that 14 Justice Department and ATF officials be disciplined for their conduct in the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking scandal.

A 2013 IG audit found that the IRS had targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny prior to the 2012 Obama re-election effort.

The article cites the 2014 audit that revealed that the CIA had hacked Senate Intelligence Committee’s computers. In 2016, it was revealed that Hillary Clinton had never sought approval for her private email server. Obviously the Inspectors General were not successful in holding people in government accountable for their actions in these various scandals. The Inspectors General do not have the power the criminally prosecute, but they can refer people for criminal prosecution. Obviously, there are a number of cases where this needs to be done.

The article concludes:

Soon, various inspector general reports may appear concerning FISA court abuse and improper behavior at the Department of Justice, FBI, CIA and National Security Council during the 2016 campaign cycle. The investigators are, for the most part, Obama appointees, not Trump appointees.

At some point, the idea of toothless inspectors general needs to be revisited. Something is terribly wrong when dozens of IGs found wrongdoing, only to object that their efforts were being thwarted by an Obama administration that had appointed most of them — and claimed to be scandal-free.

Finding government abuse and doing nothing about it is worse than not finding any at all.

With Friends Like These…

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about an amazing statement by President Obama. President Obama’s current approval rating according to Real Clear Politics is averaging about 41.4 percent this month (somehow the mainstream media is not reporting this fact). Keeping that in mind, consider this quote from a recent speech:

“Well, look, here’s the bottom line,” said Obama, “We’ve got a tough map. A lot of the states that are contested this time are states that I didn’t win. And so some of the candidates there, you know, it is difficult for them to have me in the state because the Republicans will use that to try to fan Republican turn-out. The bottom line is, though, these are all folks who vote with me. They have supported my agenda in Congress. They are on the right side of minimum wage. They are on the right side of fair pay. They are on the right side of rebuilding our infrastructure. They’re on the right side of early childhood education.

“So, this isn’t about my feelings being hurt. These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me. And I tell them, I said, you know what, you do what you need to win. I will be responsible for making sure that our voters turn up.”

If you were a Democrat candidate running for Congress, how would you feel about that statement?

Only One Person Has Been Fired In The Healthcare Rollout

The roll-out of ObamaCare has been a disaster. So far more people have lost their insurance plans under ObamaCare than have signed up. The website is not secure, is not always available, and is a nightmare to navigate. So who got fired? The navigator who talked to Sean Hannity on the telephone this week.

Yesterday Real Clear Politics reported that Earline Davis, the person who received the phone call from Sean Hannity on his radio show and answered his questions, was fired. Sean Hannity has offered to pay her a year’s salary and help her find a new job.

Ms. Davis explained that her training had not included instructions not to talk to the media and that she was just trying to do her job–answering questions honestly and helping Sean Hannity understand ObamaCare.

It is very interesting to me that the only person who has been fired in the ObamaCare debacle is Earline Davis.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Why It Is Difficult To Get Anything Done In Washington

It’s not just that President Obama seems to be spending all of his time away from the White House–either on the road or the golf course–it is what he is saying when he addresses crowds on the road.

Yesterday RealClearPolitics posted the following:

“My plan says we’re going to put teachers back in the classrooms, construction workers back to work,” President Obama said at a campaign event today. “Tax cuts for small businesses, tax cuts for hiring veterans, tax cuts if you give your workers a raise –- that’s my plan.”

“The Republicans plan, Obama says, boils down to this: ‘Dirtier air, dirtier water, less people with health insurance.'”

First of all, based on his past performance, does anyone really believe President Obama wants to lower anyone’s taxes? Second of all, Republicans have families too. Does anyone believe they support dirty air, dirty air, and no health insurance? These are the kind of statements that make bipartisanship almost impossible.

The Hill posted the following yesterday:

President Obama mocked the intelligence of Republicans on Monday while making the first stop of his three-day bus tour, implying GOP lawmakers didn’t pass his $447 billion jobs bill because they weren’t smart enough to understand it. 

“Maybe they just couldn’t understand the whole thing all at once,” Obama said during an address in Asheville, N.C., that had all the trappings of a 2012 campaign event, including a crowd chanting, “Four more years.”

 “So we’re going to break it up into bite-size pieces so they can take a thoughtful approach to this legislation,” Obama said one week after the Senate rejected moving forward on the jobs bill.  

The fact that the taxpayers are paying for this campaign tour is annoying enough, but the attitude of the President makes it very hard to move forward together. The election is more than a year away, and the President is in campaign mode being totally obnoxious.

Enhanced by Zemanta