GOP’s regressive tax bill worse than you imagined

You may have missed this over your Thanksgiving holiday, but Greg Sargent of the Washington Post has an important analysis about the GOP’s regressive tax bill. The Trump tax plan is much worse than you thought. A new analysis confirms it.:

The fate of the Senate GOP tax plan now rests in the hands of a few undecided Republican senators, and next week, they will make up their minds. But a new nonpartisan analysis of the plan will make it much, much harder for them to embrace it — or at least it should, if their stated principles mean anything at all.

Here is the key takeaway from the new analysis, which is the work of the Tax Policy Center: By 2027, around 50 percent of taxpayers will see a tax hike. The whole purpose of this tax increase is to make it possible for Senate Republicans to pass a tax cut that overwhelmingly benefits the very wealthiest taxpayers — on party lines, without any Democrats.

Using the data from the TPC’s analysis, I’ve created two charts that boil down the story of the Senate tax bill. The first chart details the average tax change for each major income group, by year, if the Senate plan becomes law, in dollars:

TaxPolicyCenter

This shows that in certain respects, the plan actually gets more regressive over time. The tax cuts for the four lower-income quintiles basically shrivel up and disappear by 2027, with the two lowest quintiles ultimately seeing either a tax hike or no change, while the middle and fourth see the tax cut dwindle away to almost nothing. By contrast, in 2027, the top one percent sees an average tax cut of more than $30,000, and the top 0.1 percent sees an average tax cut of more than $200,000 — more than double what it was in 2019, and a good deal more than it was in 2025.

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Suffer the Children: Congress jeopardizes CHIP funding

It has been almost two months now since Congress allowed the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to expire at the end of September.

As Joan McCarter at Daily Kos recently noted:

This is unprecedented. It’s obscene and unconscionable. Never before has Congress allowed funding for children’s health and community health center expire—even when they were playing games with debt ceilings and government shutdowns, Republicans funded health care for kids and for the underserved. Not this year, not when they have tax cuts for rich people and corporations to focus on.

When last we visited this controversy, Tea-Publicans in Congress were holding CHIP funding hostage as leverage in their never-ending sabotage of “Obamacare.”

Earlier this month, House Passes Children’s Health Insurance Bill, But Kids Are No Closer To Health Insurance:

The House passed a bill Friday reauthorizing the lapsed Children’s Health Insurance Program. But instead of a bipartisan affair that Democrats and Republicans could pat themselves on the back for, the bill became a partisan fight over offsets that ultimately moves Congress further away from renewing CHIP.

The bill that passed Friday 242-174 ― with 227 Republicans and 15 Democrats voting yes, and 171 Democrats and 3 Republicans voting no ― almost certainly won’t become law. Instead, Congress will likely wait for an end-of-the-year spending bill to reauthorize the program, which covers roughly 9 million low-income children and pregnant women.

According to Democrats, the problem with the bill, which would extend CHIP for five years and reauthorize community health centers and other public health programs for two years, is that it would pay for children’s health insurance by taking money from a preventive care fund. The GOP bill would also use new Medicare means-testing to partially pay for CHIP.

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Be thankful for good health on Thanksgiving 2017

It’s Thanksgiving 2017. This year it’s time to reflect a little about the importance of good health. Recently I’ve been in bed coughing and coughing with bronchitis.  After days of that suffering, boredom, and having to relearn patience, I am again so very thankful for good health in my female human body.  Just being healthy today, to be able to eat a delicious Thanksgiving dinner is joyful. For 2 days last week food tasted badly with a bitter, metallic tinge in my mouth. It was unnerving to say a least, but normal for some colds apparently.

I would like to ask for prayers today for two friends — one who is undergoing cancer treatment for his colon, and another whose attorney wife just died from lung complications.  Health is/was the key for both.

So please enjoy today with family and/or friends wherever you are, and just sit back and think with gratitude about how important and necessary wellness and vibrant health are.  Celebrate life.

Happy Thanksgiving 2017.

Politicizing the Census Bureau for GOP authoritarianism

Steve Benen warns of an ominous development at the U.S. Census Bureau. Trump eyes radical choice for the Census Bureau:

The Census, conducted every 10 years by constitutional mandate, is one of those incredible important tasks that most people probably find rather dull. That’s a shame because getting this right has an enormous impact on everything from federal spending to representation in Congress.

With that in mind, it was disappointing when Census Bureau Director John Thompson, in the midst of a funding fight, decided to resign unexpectedly in May. Making matters worse, we’re just now getting a look at the replacement Donald Trump apparently has in mind. Politico reports:

The Trump administration is leaning toward naming Thomas Brunell, a Texas professor with no government experience, to the top operational job at the U.S. Census Bureau, according to two people who have been briefed on the bureau’s plans.

Brunell, a political science professor, has testified more than half a dozen times on behalf of Republican efforts to redraw congressional districts, and is the author of a 2008 book titled “Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America.”

Some Trump personal choices are alarming, some are disheartening, and some belong in the you-have-got-to-be-kidding me category.

As Slate explained earlier this year, “The decennial census is critical to ensuring that Americans are fairly represented in Washington, since it’s used as the basis for congressional redistricting. A mishandled census could undercount poor and minority populations, putting some states and many cities at a demographic disadvantage.”

It’s against this backdrop that Trump is eyeing someone who has not only played a direct role in helping Republican gerrymandering efforts, but who quite literally wrote a book criticizing competitive elections.

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Government shutdown looms in December over DACA

Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner and turkey leftovers, because we may be two weeks away from a government shutdown. Politico reports, Congress speeds toward shutdown over Dreamers:

Concern is growing in both parties that a clash over the fate of Dreamers will trigger a government shutdown this December.

House conservatives have warned Speaker Paul Ryan against lumping a fix for undocumented immigrants who came to the country as minors into a year-end spending deal. They want him to keep the two issues separate and delay immigration negotiations into 2018 to increase their leverage — which both Ryan and the White House consider reasonable.

But many liberal Democrats have already vowed to withhold votes from the spending bill should it not address Dreamers, putting Democratic leaders Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York in an awkward spot if they don’t go along.

Democrats know Republicans need their votes to fund the government past the current Dec. 8 deadline, and many want Pelosi and Schumer to stand firm against the must-pass bill until leaders save the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“We want a clean DREAM Act,” said Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), referring to legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship for the young adults. “That is what it’s going to take for me and others to sign on.”

Ryan (R-Wis.), Pelosi, Schumerand Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are already discussing a short-term government-funding extension to buy themselves more time to negotiate, likely culminating in a Christmastime collision.

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Free rides on Sun Link streetcar this weekend


“Take the Sun Link to the Rink for FREE on Friday, Nov. 24th courtesy of theTucson Roadrunners!! Starting at 6 p.m. to close.

The Roadrunners will play at the Tucson Arena at 7:05 p.m. Board any of the Sun Link stops and exit at Cushing/Granada St. to the arena entrance.”

See route information at sunlinkstreetcar.com

“Free Sun Link rides sponsored by Main Gate Square, Fourth Avenue Merchants Association, Downtown Tucson Partnership, Local First Arizona, and Rio Nuevo.

Holiday shoppers can take part in Small Business Saturday, to support local businesses, and ride the Sun Link streetcar for FREE all day Saturday, November 25th, starting at 8 a.m.

Sun Link connects riders to five of Tucson’s most popular and unique districts along its 3.9-mile route: the University of Arizona, Main Gate Square, 4th Avenue, Downtown and Mercado San Agustin. Twenty-three convenient stops allow riders to visit more than 150 shops and 100 restaurants, and 30 plus bars and clubs for entertainment.

Motorists can park once and not worry about finding parking again while Sun Link takes them where they want to go. Free parking is available at all University of Arizona garages during the Thanksgiving weekend, November 23rd – 26th.

Streetcar service begins at 8 a.m. on Saturdays and ends at 2 a.m.

For additional Sun Link information and for trip planning assistance, call the Customer Service Center at (520) 792-9222 (for persons with hearing and speech impairments, call TDD: 520-628-1565).”

https://www.facebook.com/events/193018534579128/

Sun Link runs every 30 minutes on Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., then every 15 minutes the rest of the day till midnight.  So there’s plenty of time to do a lot of pre-holiday shopping all over town. Sun Link schedule here: http://www.sunlinkstreetcar.com/schedule/schedule