House Introduces Tax Reform Plan With Big Breaks for Low Income Families

The House leadership released its tax reform package last week.   The odd thing, though these days maybe it’s to be expected, is that the immediate criticisms of the plan were the same old arguments and, in this case, didn’t really apply in most cases.

The tax plan had two major goals:  simplifying the tax code and trying to get US corporations to keep and move assets back to the US.  Along the way, it doubles the tax income threshold for low income individuals and increases the child tax credit.

Immediate attacks on the plan said it was a tax cut for the rich.  However, the only tax bracket unchanged in the plan was the highest bracket for those with the highest incomes.  And it also takes away deductions for people who own more than one home and whose home is worth more than half a million dollars. So you have to immediately also question the credibility of criticisms from those people and groups.  They are against something, but not sure why they are against it so they just say anything they have used before that comes to mind. Continue reading “House Introduces Tax Reform Plan With Big Breaks for Low Income Families”

ISIS–Beaten Down But Not Totally Out

Author's note:  At the time of publishing, we did not know of the terrorist truck attack in New York. It shows that terrorism is still a threat.  Our thoughts and prayers for those impacted by the attack.

Last week saw the final military defeat of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).   Iraqi military forces captured the self-proclaimed capital of the caliphate, Raqqa, and drove ISIS fighters into the desert.

At its peak, ISIS had proclaimed a capital in Raqqa, Iraq and had conquered significant territory in Iraq and Syria.   Significant to Muslim imagery, ISIS declared itself a modern caliphate and its leader a successor to Muhammed.   And early in its ascendancy, ISIS seemed to threaten the very existence of the Iraqi government as Iraqi forces often simply ran in early fighting against fanatical militants.

The war against ISIS, and al Qaeda before that was different in ways we haven’t fully grasped because of the nature of the terrorists themselves.  Continue reading “ISIS–Beaten Down But Not Totally Out”

Trump’s Biggest Political Enemy

President Trump has shown repeated frustration over not being able to get things done.  Since becoming President, other than things he has done through Executive Orders, his presidency has seen little in the way of legislative success.  The repeal and the replacement of Obamacare didn’t pass, tax reform originally was on the slate to be completed by August but has yet to even come to a vote, the building of a border wall remains undone and no infrastructure or immigration bill has been brought to a vote.   And this despite the President’s party controls both houses of Congress. Continue reading “Trump’s Biggest Political Enemy”

On Free Speech

The tragic events in Charlottesville last weekend have shown us the reality that there still exist people who hold to repugnant views and are driven to express them in outrageous and sometimes violent ways.

The whole thing was like some alternate universe.  From the…let’s say ‘confusing’, at the least, series of responses from President Trump who couldn’t give a clear cut response to what was an obvious problem, to the rally organizers who derided President Trump for his Jewish son-in-law and Slavic wife, to…. well, just fill in the blank.  One can’t help but wonder if others were looking around, too, wondering if they were in some dream from which we would wake up (nightmares are  dreams, right?)

Unfortunately, the events in Charlottesville itself were not the only troubling ones.  The whole incident has brought up an important issue, one that has been fundamental to the country and society, that being the issue of free speech. Continue reading “On Free Speech”

Political Assassination and Gun Control (again)

Last week’s attempted assassination of a senior Republican member of Congress has rekindled the gun control debate, as inevitably happens after mass shootings, maybe understandably so.  The difficulty in debating gun control is that it is an issue that is driven primarily by emotion and not by information and data.  And you can’t debate how someone is feeling or affect how a person reacts to something deeply emotional. Continue reading “Political Assassination and Gun Control (again)”