Update 30th November Edition

So, the tax plan has moved forward once more, North Korea has announced that it has completed it’s nuclear program and has fully operational nuclear capabilities, and Trump re-tweeted fake anti-Muslim videos. Well, shit.

First off, the Senate has voted on a party line basis to move the tax bill (one of them, I don’t know which, none of the reporting I’ve read has actually labeled the bills. I’m assuming it’s the Senate one) forward, meaning they will now debate it on the floor. Likely this means that the bill will be discussed for a bit, republicans stymieing any attempts to filibuster or amend the bill and try to move the bill as fast as they can onto a vote. I still don’t know where this is going or if it’ll pass, and part of why I feel that way is that this is just a really bad bill. It’s poorly designed, badly crafted and just really short sighted. Even if this does pass there’s every chance that if the democrats get far enough along by 2020, they’re just gonna try and repeal the damn thing. Assuming that’s possible of course.

Anyway, secondly, North Korea has proclaimed victory, or something. They’ve got nukes, and Trump an’t pleased. That’s kind of it. War has not been prevented, negotiations are not happening and nobody’s backing down. This is not going to end well.

And finally, Trump has re-tweeted some conspiracy shit about Muslims from a British far right group. This isn’t news, it’s just really fucking stupid. So yeah, not a great day.

 

Citation:
The Atlantic: North Korea Announces Nuclear Capability 

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Trump surrogates calling for firing Mueller

Yeah, okay, no.

Ann Coulter, Gingrich, shut it, and listen. If somehow you or any other conservative halfwit (do they even have less than half a wit combined? I seriously don’t know) somehow find this blog, let me give you a bit of advice.

Never, ever, fire a special prosecutor. Or did the consequences of Nixon’s and Clinton’s actions not happen in your world? Is impeachment not a thing there?

Regardless, the idea that removing Mueller from the investigation will end in anything other than a declaration of obstruction of justice is nonsense at best, political suicide (for Trump and you) at worst. At least the republican senators understand that.

Good god, you think one of them might just grow a brain-cell or two and then this shit happens. I will never understand why provocateurs think nothing bad will never happen to them, or why American conservatives are surprised the rest of the world mocks them.

Ah whatever, if Trumps stupid enough to do this then he’s just dug his own grave. Won’t see me complaining.

 

Citation:
Bloomberg: Trump Cheerleaders Call for Mueller’s Firing

Trumps Tax plan makes no sense

Trump has released his newest tax plan, and it has one singular issue that most people, even Republicans can’t truly look past. It doesn’t add up.

I mean that literally, the math doesn’t work. 

Firstly it bases much of its assumed debt losses on tax cuts, and cuts to Medicaid, medicare and Social Security, especially Disability Insurance. Secondly, it relies on the idea that due tot he sudden decrease in costs to the federal government, the GDP will grow upwards over the next four years, starting at 2.1% this year and rising to 3.0% by 2021. The tax plan does not explain why there would be a sudden increase in GDP, it does not allocate any resources into economic stimulus, simply cuts resources and taxes and seems to expect that to improve things according to Mulvaney.

This also contradicts the Congressional Budget Office, which claims that the GDP will only grow 1.8% this year. It’s middling, but more realistic, as there’s certainly no reason to believe this particular plan, even with the Trump bump in the Stock Exchange, will increase the GDP by any significant amount.

Oh, and they double counted the growth rate. The White House is predicting that the cuts they are presenting will not only lower the deficit they will raise revenue. Somehow.

This is the kinda stuff you fail maths class for.

 

Citation:
The Atlantic: The Unworkable Math of Trumps Budget

Trumps Tax (cut) Plan, is about what you’d expect

So, Trump released his tax plan. It’s, predictably, about as bad as everyone expected, even some conservatives. As one Derek Thompson from The Atlantic explained:

“Trump’s tax plan is, for now, only about 100 words long. But as law, it would dramatically change the way individuals and businesses pay taxes.

For individuals, the plan would:

  • reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three and cut the top marginal rate from 39.6 to 35 percent
  • double the standard deduction, while eliminating most tax breaks except for home ownership and charitable deductions
  • repeal several taxes, including the Alternative Minimum Tax, the estate tax, and the Obamacare tax on investment income

For businesses, the plan would:

  • reduce the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, paid for with unspecified cuts to “special interests” and a “one-time tax on trillions of dollars held overseas”
  • allow small-business owners to have their income taxed at 15 percent, as well (much more on this later)
  • move to a territorial tax system, in which businesses would only pay tax on income earned in the U.S. (so, Boeing wouldn’t pay taxes on planes sold to an Australian airline)”

 

So, functionally, it’s a big tax cut plan. It is most definitely not net neutral, and very net negative with the American Government standing to lose trillions over the course of ten years. The problem is certain aspects of the tax code in America do need to be rewritten or replaced, corporate tax needs to be done in such a way that encourages business while ensuring multinationals like Apple and Google actually, you know, pay taxes and small business owners shouldn’t be penalized for not being as large as their competitors so should receive a similar tax as well, and far more besides including things I am simply not aware of.

The problem is Trump doesn’t have any idea how to make a plan like that, seemingly no Republican does and above all none of them are willing to do the hard, long slogging work of actually sorting through the tax code to find out what needs to be done, not now and not during the transition period when they should have started.

 

Basically, no one knows what the hell they’re doing, and predictably this is the result.

 

Citation:
The Atlantic: A Comprehensive Guide to Trumps Tax Plan

Govt. Funding Update (cause I don’t want to talk about France today)

Currently, Democrats and the Trump Administration are in negotiations regarding the government funding bill. Democrats refuse to vote for any bill that would block the required subsidies for the ACA, and for any bill that provides initial funding for the Border Wall Trump bragged about, threatening a government shutdown. Meanwhile the Trump Administration is demanding an increase to the defense budget by over $54 billion which it so clearly needs, and the initial funding of the Border wall. For national security.

Cause Mexicans.

For the record, those scary guys Trumps so worried about, the cartel members and such?

They dig tunnels. Underground. To get into America. So, a wall wouldn’t even work. But whatever, it’s just logic right who cares about that?

Meanwhile a Federal Judge in California blocked the executive order trying to defund ‘sanctuary cities’ basing it on not following any of the actual laws related to federal funding. Basically it was a cheap shot at any city not backing his anti-immigration (illegal or otherwise) stance.

Most successful 100 days, eh?

 

Citation:
The Atlantic: Does Trump want a Government Shutdown? 
The Atlantic: Federal Judge Blocks Trumps ‘Sanctuary City’ Exec. Order

Healthcare’s Hard, Says Trump. No Really.

Trump has suddenly realized that being president is hard. Who knew?

Well everybody actually that’s rather the point

Still the point he was referring to was healthcare, and how the house and senate still haven’t come up with a replacement or can even agree on a basic idea. Some don’t want to spend a lot of money, some don’t want to interfere with the market, some are generally clueless, and it’s all basically a mess. And Trump is just realizing that yes, it is in fact a hard thing, a difficult thing, to be president and deal with healthcare. Kind of why Obamacare is actually a really good thing that people (suddenly, of course) have decided is actually pretty great.

So what’s the plan now? Repeal-and-delay, better known as ‘Republicans have no plan because they bitched for too long, and now they’re gonna avoid the question entirely’. For about three months.

The senate bill in question probably won’t pass, but if it does it’ll give some breathing room for the house and congress to come up with some sort of plan and not a [placeholder]. It’ll also piss of their base, 20 million people suddenly without healthcare, pretty much every liberal period, and galvanize the Democrats. So it also might not pass. Which will still piss of their base and leave Republicans back at square one.

Isn’t Politics fun?

Citation:
Mother Jones: Republicans Give Up, Admit Healthcare is Hard
Mother Jones: Oh Sh*t

Flynn made a mistake

Michael Flynn has something of a reputation for a provocateur. He likes conspiracy theories, he enjoyed rallying the crowd with yells of ‘LOCK HER UP’ and others, and is quite happy to attack people and their thoughts and opinions on his twitter account, much like his boss. And these things are annoying but they don’t amount to much.

When he was found to have been to Russia for dinners and events it was concerning. When he was found to have been seated next to officials and near Putin himself it was disconcerting. But that seemed to be the end of it. He denied any discussion of politically sensitive topics, the Vice-president Elect validated these claims. So yes concerning, but if nothing happened then it can simply be another show of Russian favoritism this administration has already shown.

And now we learn he did in fact discuss the sanctions and the impact Trumps election would have on them with the countries ambassador, the month before Trump became president.

Because of course he did.

The perspective head of the National Security Council meeting with the representative of a nation known to be challenging American influence at every turn it can (up to some manipulations during the election, which as best I can tell amounted to spamming emails and fake stories and hacking the DNC and RNC as best they could) is bad enough. But discussing national security details with said representative, before he has even been appointed officially? You cannot do that.

Seriously, you can’t. It’s illegal.

Any other administration I would say Flynn was done. But this is Trump, so who really knows.

This means of course that not only did Flynn lie, he made Pence lie (I would hope unknowingly) about it as well. This is legitimately dangerous, reckless and should result in termination of a man who flagrantly disregarded norms, laws and common sense to reveal information to a country that has proven itself open and willing to oppose American interests.

My guess? Ain’t nothing gonna happen.

Citation:
The Atlantic: Michael Flynn’s Debacle