ZipDialog Roundup for Thursday, September 28

Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple

Republican Tax Plan: The Essential Features

The details still need to be worked out through negotiations.

It is a 9-page framework at this stage, more detailed than previous releases but still not a fleshed-out bill.

Key features:

  • Lower corporate tax rates: Nominal rates cut significantly–to 20%
    • Whether actual rates for Company X or Company Y are lowered depend on whether previous deductions are eliminated.
  • Fewer personal brackets
  • Much bigger standard deduction for each individual or family
    • Big benefit to lower-income earners
  • Many fewer deductions
  • Keeps big deductions for mortgages, charity, and medical
  • Repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax,
    • Initially meant for a few rich individuals but now affects millions of taxpayers
  • Eliminates the Estate Tax (“death tax”)
  • Repeals deduction for state and local taxes (very contentious)
  • Keeps a special carve-out for hedge fund called “carried interest” (very contentious)

◆ The Essential Politics 

First, the goal is growth, even if it raises projected budget deficits.

Second, everybody is making hypocritical arguments.

  • The Democrats doubled the country’s debt over the Obama Administration. Now, they are complaining about deficits.
  • The Republicans screamed about debt and deficits during the Obama Administration. Now, most of them say deficits are less important than growth

Third, the main political arguments are conventional and obvious for both sides.

  • Democrats: “This will only help the rich” (redistribution argument)”
  • Republicans: “Everybody wins when the economy grows faster” (growth argument)

The New York Times weights in reliably with this analysis headline: Trump Tax Plan Benefits Wealthy, Including Trump. Most analysts agree with this regressive-distribution effect, at least in the initial proposal.

Big Court Threat to Public Employee Unions (USA Today)

The Supreme Court agreed Thursday to hear a challenge to the so-called “fair share” fees public employee unions collect from non-members, posing a major threat to organized labor.

Unlike the past three times the court has considered similar cases, its five-member conservative majority appears poised to rule that workers opposed to union representation cannot be forced to pay for collective bargaining and other benefits. –USA Today

Comment: The Republicans really want to weaken the public unions, as Scott Walker’s campaign in Wisconsin showed.

The unions know it and uniformly support Democratic candidates.

The legal argument by conservative and moderate union members is that so much of what these unions do is inherently political that the members’ free-speech rights are trampled by forcing them to pay union dues as a compulsory aspect of working at, say, a public school or Department of Motor Vehicles.

My guess: Compulsory union fees will be ruled unconstitutional violations and national membership in public-employee unions will drop significantly, following the Wisconsin pattern.

The biggest impact will be on K-12 school policy in the states.

There will be a longer-term impact in other areas since weaker unions cannot stop the rise of autonomous busses or autonomous lawnmowers and floor cleaners, which will give cities and states more service for less money.

Megyn Kelly: No thanks, say critics and potential guests, after her terrible start (Washington Post)

Stars now shying away from interviews after Jane Fonda mess

Megyn Kelly said on the first episode of her new NBC morning show, which aired Monday, that for years she’d “dreamed of hosting an uplifting show.”

But just three episodes in, her celebrity guests seem to find the show anything but uplifting. Kelly’s penchant for speaking her mind, regardless of how her words might be perceived, caused two of her celebrity guests to speak out against the host after their respective appearances.

The most recent was Jane Fonda, whom Kelly pressed to discuss her plastic surgery. –Washington Post

Comment: One problem is that Fox viewers think she “betrayed” her network and thus her “side.”

A second is that she was always better at hard-news interviews than soft-focus ones. But her new time slot is tailored for morning uplift, not hard news.

Third, some media critics have said that she is the kind of woman who appeals more to male viewers than female viewers. But the morning audience is heavily female.

NBC gave her bucket loads of cash and removed a steady program to give her a slot. They must be slashing their wrists.

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ZipDialog Roundup for Thursday, April 20

Topics and articles chosen with care. Linked articles in bold purple

 Tillerson, Mattis turn up the heat on Iran. Says it is still sponsoring terrorism throughout the Middle East  (Washington Post)

But they do not want to overturn the nuclear agreement. They see cheating at the margins but not full-frontal violations

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis slammed Iran as a destabilizing influence, particularly in Yemen, during a visit to Saudi Arabia. “Everywhere you look, if there’s trouble in the region, you find Iran,” Mattis told reporters.

This week, the Trump administration said it will undertake a comprehensive, 90-day review to judge whether lifting sanctions on Iran serves U.S. interests. So expect to hear more about this topic in the coming months.

In the meantime, amid all the criticism, here’s a development worth noting: Iran has met all of its commitments under the nuclear deal so far, the administration officially told Congress this week. –Washington Post

 The sheer fun of reading a slash-and-burn column. Not good as a steady diet, but, like cheese cake, great fun as an occasional treat.

Here’s Howie Carr’s take-down of Elizabeth Warren and her new book. The succession of nicknames alone is worth the read, and so is his parody of what she claims is her favorite curse word: poop. Really. That, she claims, is a f*^king curse word. (My own is “drat.”)  Howie’s column is here. (Boston Herald)

This is a rough week for Chief Spreading Bull to be starting her tour of the trustafarian gated communities and alt-left fake-news media that are her main, make that only, constituencies. The authors of the Hillary campaign post-mortem, “Shattered,” are also making the green-room rounds. Ditto Bernie Sanders and the DNC’s Dumb and Dumber — Tom Perez and Keith Ellison.

That’s a lot of poop for the non-working classes to be wading through, but nevertheless, she will persist. . . .

“Trump slammed back at me repeatedly,” she says on page 226, “hitting me over and over with his lame nicknames.”

Like, what, Liewatha? What kind of poop did he hit you with? Was it something about your, ahem, Native American heritage? Why no mention of that anymore? She’s still demanding that the president release his taxes. Maybe he should agree to — right about the time she puts out her employment applications to the two Ivy League law schools that hired her as a
“woman of color.” –Howie Carr

Comment: Cowabonga.

 Scott Walker continues policies opposing mandatory unions, this time on state construction projects (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Contractors won’t have to work with unions on taxpayer-funded building projects and parents will have an easier time getting an anti-seizure drug derived from marijuana, under legislation Gov. Scott Walker signed Monday.

The measure on labor agreements, which passed the Legislature on party-line votes, is the latest in a series of moves to roll back union power by Republican lawmakers in recent years. –Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Comment: Wisconsin rises, Indiana Rises, Illinois sinks, California Sinks. Notice a pattern? Local voters do.

◆ Terror and the Fresno Murders: A comment 

Kori Ali Muhammad has admitted killing three people–he was caught in the act–and said he wanted to kill more “white people.”

Police has said that, although he yelled “Allahu Akbar,” his crime was based solely on race, not Islamic terror.

What he did IS terrorism, in the sense that he meant to cause terror and did.

The question is whether it is connected to the broader movement of Islamic terror, included “inspired” lone-wolf actions.

Right now, it is hard to know whether he yelled the Arabic phrase as

  • A signal of black nationalism (National of Islam style),
  • Pure hatred of America,
  • Support for global terrorism, or
  • Some other motive.

Since he has already begun talking, he might say more about his motivations. We’ll gain other information, too, as police uncover his internet search history, personal and political affiliations, and more.

As Fresno police and the FBI release their findings, we will gain a sense of how these murders are is connected to the larger Islamic terrorism issue, as well as Muhammad’s hatred of white people.

 Hillary campaign working to discover who leaked embarrassing info for new book, Shattered (NY Post’s Page Six)

We’re told the details in the book, which depicts the campaign as inept, “could only have come from someone in the inner circle.” Dennis Cheng, the finance director of Clinton’s presidential campaign, has been sending out messages to determine where the leaks come from.

One source said, “The knives are out to find the people who spoke about the campaign to the authors of this book. –NY Post

Comment: In other news, the Adlai Stevenson campaign is doing a “top-to-bottom look at why we lost and what to do next.”

 

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zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ Bryan Caisse 
for the Howie Carr piece on Elizabeth Warren