Friday Quick Takes–It’s Taxing

End of the week quick takes focus on comments about the recently passed tax plan.  Some different perspectives and…interesting opinions in this edition…

Do What I Say, Not What I Do

Former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who served during the Obama Administration, said that the recent tax bill was a ‘ticking time bomb’ because of the large increase in the national debt that will result.

That is a very legitimate concern and the largest drawback to law Over 10 years, even if optimistic estimates of increased economic growth play out, the debt will increase by hundreds of billions of dollars (the initial estimate by the CBO is $1.5 trillion). At some point, that will have to be addressed.

However, it’s ironic and strangely odd that this concern would come from the Treasury Secretary who helped form economic policy during an Administration where the national debt doubled, rising roughly $10 trillion, in 8 years.

But That’s My Money!

New York governor Andrew Cuomo said earlier this week that the recently passed tax reform bill was bad, in part, because it unfairly penalized high tax states by limiting the deduction for state taxes to $10,000. Well, yes, yes it does.

Or said another way, others will no longer be subsidizing people from high tax states by allowing them to pay less in federal taxes.

There is, of course, one obvious solution: stop having such high taxes.


That is just too much to consider for Cuomo.  So he has announced that he is having the state of New York sue the federal government in an attempt to invalidate the law, saying its unconstitutional.   Unconstitutional?  How is that, you may ask.  Good question, but that has sort of become ‘the thing’ to do when you disagree with a law may threaten to not give you as much money as you have started to feel entitled to getting.

So, we have one government suing another government, taking up a courts time and resources because…well, because it’s so important to settle the question of who gets more of the taxpayer’s money.

Battle for the Soul of Conservatism

There is a battle for the soul of conservatism.  Conservatives are being drawn separate ways in today’s political world and the division risks changing one of the fundamentals of a movement grown by early torchbearers such as William F. Buckley, Ronald Reagan and others who made modern conservatism the political force it is today.

Much has been made of the difference between President Trump and so-called ‘establishment’ Republicans—President Trump representing the nationalist, somewhat isolationist wing compared to the more traditional and expansive US policy.

Donald Trump was elected as a reaction to an out of control politically correct rampage by an Administration where the Secretary of State said that global warming was the greatest threat to national security while ISIS terrorist attacks struck worldwide.   Where making sure there were ‘gender neutral’ bathrooms was more important than fighting readiness on Navy ships.

But the fight for the soul of the conservative movement isn’t about whether we should follow a “US first’ policy or should be more internationalist, or whether to take a more hard line on immigration or some other policy point.  The real battle for the soul of conservatism boils down to one thing:  whether conservatives have decided that power is worth any cost? Continue reading “Battle for the Soul of Conservatism”

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”

Russia and the Clinton Campaign

On Aug. 17, the lobbied firm run by former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and his brother, filed amended, belated disclosures with the Justice Department about its work on behalf of a foreign government-backed think tank.   The Podesta Group lobbying firm did work for the pro-Russian European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, which was backed by the government of Russia.  (Anyone lobbying or doing public relations on behalf of foreign governments is required to register as a foreign agent in compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act).

In its work on behalf of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta and Trump campaign official Paul Manafort worked together, according to the most recent disclosures.  Manafort is currently being questioned and had his home raided by the FBI to obtain evidence of Russian tampering.   And this is as it should be if the special prosecutor thinks the evidence leads there.

I wonder if John Podesta will be investigated similarly?  After all, Podesta was on the Board of Directors of an energy company who received tens of millions of dollars in funding from an agency affiliated with the Russian government, during the same time while he was an advisor to the State Dept. for then Sec. of State Hillary Clinton.  Let’s hold our breath as CNN reports the details of the investigation.

Media Quicktakes

There are lots of items recently in the news…about the news media.  Thinking Man’s take on some of the crazier ones…

ESPN, Reuters and the Media

Earlier this week, the geniuses who make up the management at sports giant ESPN decided to reassign a reporter who was part of the team that was going to cover the Univ. of Virginia football game.  Why?  Because his name was Robert Lee, the same first and last name as the Confederate general.

The Asian-American reporter was reassigned for no other reason other than he had the same name as someone else.

Apparently in an effort to show that incompetence in the media is not limited any particular company or network, Reuters reported on the incident on its social media accounts, saying that the reporter was reassigned because he was named after the Confederate general.  Then when they found out that was wrong, they said it was because he looked like the historical Robert E. Lee.   Finally, after a couple of tries at guessing, someone must have actually checked the facts—bizarre and crazy as they were—and found the real reason.


Meet the Press

On last week’s edition of the NBC’s Sunday news show Meet The Press, one of the guests was from ANTIFA, and advocated on that show, using violence against political opponents that he disagreed with, in this case the rally organizers in Charlottesville.

So this guest said that the violence there was wrong, but that his violence would be not only be ok but is needed to stop the other violence.   Huh?

And NBC gave this person a free voice, airing his call to violence against other US citizens.  Imagine if the guest had been from the other end of the political spectrum.

Violence against your political opponents is wrong, Period.  And NBC is disgustingly shameful for airing a call to violence from anyone.


PBS, NPR and the Media

In a recent on-air fundraising appeal, Public Broadcast stations took the normal break between its shows to appeal for funds.  Part of the appeal from the on-air personality went, “We are trying to build bridges, not build walls.”

Forget what you think about the issue of immigration and the President.  Here is a station that survives only because the government (meaning, we the taxpayers) pay to keep it afloat every year.   As such, it should not be political and using taxpayer funds for political purposes.   Period.

And they wonder why there are attempts to cut their funding every year.  Look in the mirror.

Mid-Week Quick Takes

Items in the news this week:

Sanctuary Cities

Mayor of Chicago and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel says that his city will sue the federal government for cutting off federal tax dollars because it is a sanctuary city and refuses to cooperate with federal law enforcement.

As is typical of those who run sanctuary cities, Emanuel thinks that he and his city are entitled to money from taxpayers, no matter what those taxpayers think and no matter what the law.  Because he knows better and you should give him money….well, just because he says you should.

Obamacare News

Anthem, the second largest insurer in the country has announced it’s pulling out of another Obamacare exchange.  Anthem announced this week that it will be pulling out of Nevada, in addition to a number of other markets where it has already stopped offering insurance.

There is no doubt left to anyone that Obamacare is dying.  As predicted when it passed, sky-rocketing costs, along with huge increases in premiums and other key failings have doomed it to either a massive infusion of money-in the trillions of dollars-to save it or a slow death that will have cost hundreds of billions of dollars with no effect on healthcare costs.

While that dies, the Republicans offer no alternative after seven years of saying that will give us something better.

More Hypocrisy from Liberals in Hollywood

Actress Lena Dunham shared that she had complained to American Airlines after she had heard two employees, in a private conversation in the terminal, say things that offended her and she felt were transgender-phobic (is that even a word?)

So, she feels that people cannot express their personal opinion and their jobs should be in danger if they do.  Interesting.  What would be more interesting would be her opinion on a person expressing his personal opinion while at work and in uniform if, say, that person were an NFL quarterback named Colin Kaepernick?

A Crazy Two Weeks in the Trump Administration

Opinions on Donald Trump incite passion on both sides of the spectrum.  Never before have I seen a figure so polarizing and so much at the root of blind emotion.  If you hate him, he can do nothing right and things that are ‘normal’ take on sinister overtones when it involves Trump.  Conversely, Trump said during the campaign that he could shoot someone in broad daylight and not lose certain voters.  Little could we imagine that he was right.

If you dislike Trump (and ‘dislike’ is too mild a word for many), the comments below will do nothing to change your opinion.   If you like Trump (and ‘like’ may also be too mild a word for his fans), then I would ask for a few moments that you think of Trump, the man and the policies, as two different things.  For a few moments, let’s realize that they are two different things.  What a man says he wants to do, and who a man is, are not always the same. Continue reading “A Crazy Two Weeks in the Trump Administration”