Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple
◆ Bowe Bergdahl, Army deserter held by Taliban, avoids prison sentence (Washington Post)
Comment: This outcome is shocking. US soldiers died looking for this creep. Others were injured. Lots of resources devoted to finding a soldier who voluntarily abandoned his post and planned for weeks to do so.
Pres. Trump immediately weighed in, via Twitter. My guess is that Trump’s position will be very popular on this issue. He’s implicitly daring the Democrats to come out on the other side, as many of them did (to their cost) on the NFL kneeling.
◆ More good economic news: Unemployment down to 4.1%, the lowest rate since 2000.
Less good: Wage growth slow (Wall Street Journal, subscription)
Best news of all: Strong Productivity Growth. (CNBC)
Comments: Productivity growth is crucial. It is the underlying source of real wage growth.
The biggest problem for the economy now is the misfit between the skilled jobs available and the unskilled workers who are unemployed.
◆ Tax Bill, next phase: We will find new details (none good, otherwise they wouldn’t be hidden), and gored oxen will come out to save themselves
Example of hidden details:
House Republicans claim the tax plan they introduced Thursday keeps the top individual rate unchanged at 39.6 percent—the level at which it’s been capped for much of the past quarter-century. But a little-noticed provision effectively creates a new band in which income is taxed at over 45 percent.
Thanks to a quirky proposed surcharge, Americans who earn more than $1 million in taxable income would trigger an extra 6 percent tax on the next $200,000 they earn—a complicated change that effectively creates a new, unannounced tax bracket of 45.6 percent. –Politico
Example of gored oxen: Republican Tax Proposal Gets Failing Grade From Higher-Ed Groups (Chronicle of Higher Education)
The House tax-reform proposal released today would discourage participation in postsecondary education, make college more expensive for those who do enroll, and undermine the financial stability of public and private two-year and four-year colleges and universities,” said Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education and under secretary of education in the Obama administration, in a written statement.
In broad terms, the bill would eliminate or consolidate a number of tax deductions meant to offset the costs of higher education for individuals and companies, including the Lifetime Learning Credit, which provides a tax deduction of up to $2,000 for tuition, a credit for student-loan interest, and a $5,250 corporate deduction for education-assistance plans. –Chronicle of Higher Education
Comment: There is also tremendous pushback on the limitations on deducting state and local taxes, led by Republicans in high-tax states.
These issues will be fought out over the next month, first in House committee, then on the floor in both chambers, then in reconciliation.
◆ Spain issues arrest warrant for Catalonia’s leader, who has fled the country (BBC)
◆ Mainstream media ignore bombshell, documented revelation that Hillary and DNC rigged primaries
All three major TV news networks completely skip the story (Fox News)
Comment: It’s not surprising that most Democratic politicians are silent. But the story is a significant one, and it’s omission by mainstream outlets is bias, pure and simple.
◆ Pressure builds on AG Jeff Sessions, accused of false or misleading statements to Congress. The issue: what he knew Trump campaign officials’ contacts with Russia
The Atlantic magazine calls it: “Jeff Sessions’ Selective Memory”
Hat Tip to
◆ Robert Pahre for the Chronicle of Higher Education story