WHAT ABOUT BIDEN 2020?

DAVID LEONHARDT

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The New York Times

Not good, Mr. Vice PresidentLast week, I urged Joe Biden to run for president, arguing that Democrats would benefit from a diverse field and that Biden’s experience made him unique among the potential candidates. If he ran a strong campaign and seemed right for the moment, he could be the best person to take on President Trump. If Biden didn’t run a strong campaign, he wouldn’t win the nomination anyway.Yesterday brought a reminder that Biden doesn’t have a good history of running presidential campaigns.Alexander Burns of The Times broke the news that during last year’s midterm campaign, Biden accepted $200,000 to a give a speech in Michigan during which he praised Fred Upton, a Republican House candidate locked in a rough re-election campaign. The $200,000 came from a local group with ties to Upton’s family. Biden’s comments ended up in advertisements that helped defeat the Democratic candidate.The episode seems accidental, not corrupt. Biden apparently made the comments off the cuff, motivated by Upton’s work on a bill to support cancer research. And it certainly shouldn’t be a political crime for people to praise members of the other party.But given the money Biden received, he should have been more thoughtful. Instead, he reminded a lot of Democratic voters about a problem with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign: her paid speeches. Biden also offered a reminder that his previous two presidential campaigns — in 1988 and 2008 — struggled from the very start. If he runs this time, he will need to become less careless.

MEDIA MAY BE EXAGGERATING ABOUT TRUMP’S LIES


Note to my Facebook friends: most of you are from the South: Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama leading; a few are from other states Donald Trump also won in 2016: Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania (all of these are embarrassed by this fact As Are a few from the Southern states); many are from foreign countries (e.g., Brazil, Estonia, Latvia, Norway, Japan). It is to this last group that I have to explain that people in this country who support Mr. Trump have reasons for doing so. They have trouble understanding this.

In any case this blog waited for two years before taking much of a vigorous Personal stand on the Trump presidency, preferring simply to post articles from various journals and newspapers that had some critical views on this “Individual- One.” Now before this more focused approach to the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, begins I want to say a word on his behalf: the Politifact checkers, Washington Post, New York Times, and many others who accuse Trump of from 4000 to 7000 lies since Jan 20, 2017 may be exaggerating.

Here’s how: if you lie, and repeat the same lie 50 times, I’m not sure you have told 50 lies. You have told one lie 50 times. So let’s be super-fair and say that Trump has probably told more than 100 lies, although some many times.

Here are documented examples of just 4 lies that many find offensive:

  1. Donald Trump criticized military veteran and Senator John McCain, saying, “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured(Video: Reuters, Photo: AFP/Getty)

~  ~  Mc Cain was in prison and being tortured (although less than some) while Trump was getting a deferral for painful “bone spurs” (a condition easily correctible and one that has not proved to be a problem on the golf course)

2. “Since 2001, 63,000 of us were murdered by illegal aliens.”  ​

— PolitiFact Facebook fact-checks on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019 @,

Says Sen. Chuck Schumer in 2014 “helped put together and signed a $25 billion deal to fund a border wall” and now opposes Trump’s $5 billion request for a border wall “just because he’s a Republican.” ​

~ ~No record of anything like this, although Schumer and Democrats have supported fencing, drones, enhanced Border Patrol personnel. This and the next two accounts are from NBC (“fake”) [sic] news.

3. RUSSIA INVESTIGATION IS ‘A MADE-UP STORY’

“You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won,” the president told NBC News’ Lester Holt on May 11.

“This Russia thing” is very real.

The U.S. intelligence community confirmed that Russia interfered in the 2016 election in a interagency report released in early January,and the FBI was investigating Russian efforts to aid the president before the outcome of the election was decided, The New York Times reported. A probe is being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller — in which four former Trump campaign officials have already been charged — while the House and Senate intelligence committees continue to investigate as well.

What’s more, Trump was warned by the FBI in the weeks after he secured the Republican nomination that Russians would try and infiltrate his campaign.

And despite the Trump team’s insistence that they had no ties to Russia, The Washington Post reported that at least nine people in his circle had contact with Russians during the campaign and transition.

Those include Flynn (who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI); a foreign policy adviser named George Papadopoulos (also charged as part of Mueller’s probe); former campaign chairman Paul Manafort (charged on multiple counts, including conspiracy against the U.S.); Trump’s oldest son, Donald Jr.; Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner; Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen; and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was an adviser and U.S. senator during the campaign.

4   Misstatements about Democrat support for border security

Trump’s Speech to the Nation: Fact Checks and Background

President Trump addressed the country on Tuesday, the 18th day of the government shutdown, about border security. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer delivered the Democratic response.0

Trump Pushes Border Wall, Democrats Respond

As the government shutdown grinds on, President Trump laid out his case for the border wall. Top Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were not convinced. Published On Jan. 8, 2019 NY TIMES

Here’s what the president said, and how it stacks up against the facts.

“The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security.”

False.

Democrats have offered $1.3 billion in funding for border security measures like enhanced surveillance and fortified fencing. They do not support Mr. Trump’s border wall.

5 things to know for January 9: Shutdown, Manafort, suspicious mail, R. Kelly, cancer


Updated 6:05 AM ET, Wed January 9, 2019

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(CNN)Ready for a break from the winter blahs? How about an all-expenses-paid trip to … Buffalo? Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Presidential address

President Trump made the case for a border wall last night during his first Oval Office address. He warned of a “crisis” on the border with Mexico but didn’t declare a “national emergency,” a controversial move that might have led to him bypassing Congress and trying to build the wall with Defense Department funds. The President backed up his crisis claims with lots of misleading statements and fuzzy facts that were almost immediately debunked by reporters and Democrats. You can watch Trump’s full speech here.

How Trump and his opposition talk about the border issue

Play VideoHow Trump and his opposition talk about the border issue 01:46None of what the President said seemed to change any minds or get the nation any closer to ending the 19-day-old partial government shutdown, now the second-longest in US history. And the pain’s about to get real for the 800,000 federal workers who won’t get a paycheck Friday. There don’t seem to be any serious negotiations going on between the White House and Democratic leaders. And now, even some Republicans appear to be losing patience for an extended shutdown battle, with GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joining a few other Republican senators in calling for the government to be reopened while the battle over the border wall continues.

Lisa Murkowski breaks with Trump government shutdown vpx_00002514

Play VideoGOP senator breaks with Trump on opening government 01:08

2. Russia investigation

Special counsel Robert Mueller believes Paul Manafort shared polling data with a Russian closely linked to that country’s military intelligence while he was running Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. This bombshell revelation came to light because Manafort’s lawyers screwed up redacting parts of a court filing that was publicly released yesterday. This is a big deal in Mueller’s long-running investigation because it’s the clearest public evidence yet of coordination between Trump’s campaign and Russians.

Does Manafort disclosure build collusion case?

Play VideoDoes Manafort disclosure build collusion case? 03:39

3. Australian suspicious packages

Suspicious packages were delivered to a dozen consulates and seven embassies in Melbourne and Canberra. The British, American, Croatian, New Zealand and Swiss consulates in Melbourne all got suspicious items in the mail. A Croatian official told CNN that a package containing three little packets arrived at the consulate through the mail. Australian police and fire officials aren’t providing many more details, but they don’t believe the packages “pose an actual threat.”

4. R. Kelly

R&B singer R. Kelly could be under investigation in Georgia. A lawyer for Joycelyn Savage, one of the women featured in the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” said an Atlanta-area district attorney is looking into sex abuse allegations against the singer, though the DA’s spokesman had no comment. The six-part docuseries — which aired last week to much buzz on social media — looked at longstanding claims of abuse and pedophilia against Kelly and featured accounts from his accusers. A lawyer for the singer said the allegations in the documentary are false.

R. Kelly has faced these allegations for over two decades

Play VideoR. Kelly has faced these allegations for over two decades 03:10

5. Cancer

Cancer deaths in the US have been falling steadily for a quarter century, a new study says. The US cancer rate dropped by 27% from 1991 to 2016, according to a study from the American Cancer Society. That means there were about 2.6 million fewer cancer death than there would have been had death rates stayed the same. That’s heartening for sure, but there was still some bad news mixed in. The disparities between rich and poor patients and black and white patients remain, although the racial gap appears to be closing somewhat.

michael buble son cancer carpool karaoke james corden orig llr_00000306

Play VideoMichael Bublé opens up about son’s cancer 01:03

THIS JUST IN …

Headed outDeputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will leave the Justice Department in the coming weeks once a new attorney general is confirmed, a source familiar with his thinking told CNN. Rosenstein has been overseeing the Russia investigation.

The man who oversees Mueller's investigation

Play VideoThe man who oversees Mueller’s investigation 01:02

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Helping handsFederal workers hit by the shutdown have some backup. Restaurants are offering free meals, and Jimmy Kimmel is giving them jobs on his show.

Late night takes on government shutdown

Play VideoLate night takes on government shutdown 01:37Size mattersBigger is never big enough, at least when it comes to TVs. Samsung is showing off a 219-inch (!!) television this week at the CES show in Las Vegas.

Musical mash-upChildish Gambino. Phish. Brandi Carlile. Looks like there’s a little something for everybody at Bonnaroo, which just announced this year’s lineup.Final frontierWell, that was fast. NASA’s new planet-hunting telescope has only been on the job for three months, and it’s already found three new exoplanets.Walk right in …Why create a car that simply rolls down the road when you can make one that “walks?” Hyundai did.

Hyundai's latest concept car can 'walk'

Play VideoHyundai’s latest concept car can ‘walk’ 00:54

Jimmy Carter dismisses Donald Trump’s wall lies with short and sweet statement

Walter Einenkel  Daily Kos StaffMonday January 07, 2019 · 4:12 PM EST Recommend 363  Share 5594 Tweet268 Comments 268 new

Carter_Trump_Two.jpg

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Donald Trump has cornered himself by insisting that the wall he promised his base—the one that Mexico was going to pay for—must be paid for… by his base. Because Trump is an insane liar person, he’s doing what he always does: spouting insanely dumb and easily verifiable lies. A couple of days ago he made the statement, “This should have been done by all of the presidents that preceded me, and they all know it Some of them have told me that we should have done it.” Really? Really. For real? Yes. That’s what he said. Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush quickly told people that no, no, they did not tell Trump anything regarding an expensive and pointless wall on our southern border. A short while ago, President Jimmy Carter made a statement going one further.

The Carter Center@CarterCenter

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President Carter has been an honest critic of Trump’s garbage fire corruption circus show, and probably still cannot believe he has to answer questions about possibly agreeing with him on anything. Traditional news outlets are considering whether or not to air Trump’s immigration windbag of lies Monday night. The rest of us have yet to hear a single truth come out of this dirtbag’s mouth.

A MILLENNIAL NEW CONGRESSWOMAN LOOKS AT TAXES

 

This is worth reading carefully. The ideas are not new but they are somewhat “In your face” in an era that equates more taxation for the rich as somehow controversial. As the article may make clear Rep. Octavio Cortes is really only proposing a return to something like the taxation levels of the 1950’s when their was considerably more income Equality (or less Inequality!) in the United States. It has more visibility because it is coming from one of the few “Millennial” members of Congress– So Far.~ F.L. Shiels

 

 
 
Wonkblog

Ocasio-Cortez wants higher taxes on very rich Americans. Here’s how much money that could raise.

 
 

With the help of tax experts, we produced some back-of-the-envelope estimates.

 
What is the ‘Green New Deal?’
 

An ambitious platform seeking to combat climate change is being championed by progressives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.). 

January 5 at 7:30 AM

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) floated a 60 to 70 percent tax rate on the richest Americans in an interview with CBS News’s “60 Minutes” that was released Friday, arguing higher taxes on multimillionaires could help pay for the “Green New Deal” she and other left-wing members of the Democratic Party have proposed.

Talking to Anderson Cooper, the new House member suggested the new tax rate apply to Americans earning more than $10 million a year, noting that similar rates existed in America a few decades ago. The top tax rate was above 90 percent during the 1950s, and while it has slowly descended, it remained as high as 50 percent for much of President Ronald Reagan’s tenure in the 1980s.

American households that earn more than $600,000 annually currently pay a 37 percent tax rate, down from the 39.6 percent rate they paid before the Republican tax law passed in 2017. Conservatives have pushed for lower taxes on the rich as a spur to economic growth, while liberals see potentially untapped revenue that could fund their key social spending priorities, such as Medicare for all and free college tuition.

“There’s an element where, yeah, people are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes,” Ocasio-Cortez told “60 Minutes.”

How much revenue could new taxes on the rich really raise? We looked at the numbers, enlisting the help of a number of tax experts, including Mark Mazur, a former Treasury Department official now at the Tax Policy Center, a centrist think tank; Joel Slemrod, a tax expert at the University of Michigan; and Ernie Tedeschi, an economist who served in President Obama’s Treasury Department.

1. $720 billion/decade: Ocasio-Cortez’s suggestion for nearly doubling taxes on people earning more than $10 million

In 2016, the latest year for which government data is available, approximately 16,000 Americans earned more than $10 million each. These are not in fact “the 1 percent” many on the left like to talk about — they are a much smaller slice, fewer than 0.05 percent of all U.S. households.

 
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It’s difficult to estimate precisely how much more in taxes the government could wring from this ultra-elite. Collectively, their total taxable income amounted to $405 billion in 2016, and they paid about $121 billion in federal income taxes. They also face state and local taxes, which raise their overall tax burdens.

As she noted to “60 Minutes,” Ocasio-Cortez’s idea for a 70 percent tax rate on those earning more than $10 million would only kick in beyond the first $10 million in income. So, this new tax rate would do nothing to add to the amount of federal revenue on the first $160 billion (16,000 people multiplied by $10 million) in taxes this group paid.

But that leaves about $244 billion in taxable income for those earning more than $10 million a year. If this entire pool was taxed at 70 percent instead of the 39.6 percent they paid in 2016, the federal government would bring in an additional $72 billion annually — or close to $720 billion over 10 years, according to Mazur. The real number is probably smaller than that, because wealthy Americans would probably find ways around paying this much-higher tax.

“You’d certainly see some people under that system change their behavior to avoid the higher rate, which could significantly impact how much revenue it generates,” Mazur said, adding that the effect would be hard to estimate. (The exercise also assumes capital gains would be taxed at this much higher rate.)

This $720 billion in a decade is not nearly enough to fund Medicare for all, which has been estimated to increase government outlays by about $30 trillion over a decade (while also zeroing out premiums and deductibles paid by Americans).

Still, it could fund a number of other measures. It could come close to funding the entirety of Sanders’s free college tuition plan ($800 billion), fund President Barack Obama’s plan to get close to universal prekindergarten ($75 billion over a decade), forgive more than half the student debt in America ($1.4 trillion), cover Democratic leaders’ plan for boosting teacher pay and school funding ($100 billion), or come close to funding a $1 trillion infrastructure plan.

And of course, higher income tax rates on the top 16,000 households is not the only way to raise taxes on rich Americans.

2. $3 trillion/decade: A wealth tax on the top 1 percent similar to those in Europe

The American government currently raises tax revenue primarily through payroll taxes and income taxes, and gets a smaller chunk from estate taxes and corporate taxes. It has not adopted a kind of tax that exists in some European countries: a wealth tax, wherein the federal government takes a chunk based on household wealth rather than income.

Norway, for instance, in 2016 taxed at a rate up to 0.70 percent for all wealth over 1.4 million kroner ($162,568). France’s wealth tax in 2017 hit assets above 1.3 million euros ($1.4 million).

Slemrod, of the University of Michigan, said in an email that the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans own roughly one-third of the $107 trillion in wealth in America. This group collectively holds about $20 trillion in wealth above $10 million per household.

From there the calculation of wealth tax is simple: a 1 percent wealth tax on the wealthiest 1 percent of households above $10 million could raise about $200 billion a year, or $2 trillion over 10 years. Tedeschi, the former Obama official, found a 0.5 percent wealth tax on the top 1 percent could raise at most $3 trillion over 10 years.

But this, too, would probably change Americans’ behavior and perhaps lead them to try shifting their wealth overseas, and the economists say the actual amount of revenue is likely lower than their estimates suggest. And this is assuming there are no exemptions to what is considered wealth, such as housing assets.

Plus, this approach would require Americans to give the Internal Revenue Service a full accounting of all the assets they own under law — something that could be required under law but may prove difficult to evaluate. In 1990, the federal government did try something similar by placing excise taxes on sales of yachts, expensive automobiles, jewelry and other things consumed by rich people. But that effort came right before a minor recession, leading to the repeal of the taxes.

“The difficulties of monitoring and compliance are huge,” Mazur said of the wealth tax. “But it could be done and raise a lot of money.”

3. $3 trillion/decade: Doubling income taxes on the top 1 percent

In 2012, the economists Peter Diamond of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley published a paper arguing the optimal top tax rate is 73 percent. In 2018, that would raise the tax rate on income above $600,000 from 37 percent to 73 percent, but back then it meant increasing the top rate from 39.6 percent to 73 percent.

The IRS says that Americans earning more than $600,000 annually compose the richest 0.9 percent of families, so we’ll use that for shorthand for the 1 percent.

In 2016, this richest 0.9 percent earned about $1.7 trillion in taxable income and paid about $530 billion in taxes. These Americans would have to pay an additional $320 billion every year in taxes if the top tax rate went up to 70 percent, according to calculations based on IRS data. Mazur, the former Treasury official, noted this estimate was probably high because the wealthy would probably find ways to try to shelter themselves from higher taxation, such as by buying tax-exempt bonds.

Other economists found similar results. Tedeschi, the former Obama economist, put the number at about $300 billion annually. Meanwhile, raising tax rates for the top 1 percent to 57 percent would raise about $1.7 trillion over a decade, while raising it to 83 percent would raise $3.8 trillion over that period, Tedeschi found.

“You can get a hell of a lot of a money from taxing the 1 percent,” said Edward Wolff, a tax expert at New York University.

The Congressional Budget Office also recently estimated that raising taxes on the two highest income brackets by 1 percentage point would net $123 billion over 10 years. That would be for everybody who earns more than $200,000 annually.

The CBO also found that a 0.1 percent financial transactions tax on Wall Street would raise an additional $780 billion over 10 years, while returning the corporate tax rate to 35 percent would raise an additional $1 trillion over a decade. (The Republican tax law of 2017 lowered that rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.)

But Americans outside the top 1 percent would probably pay at least part of both these taxes, Tedeshi said. Overall, just including a new wealth tax and significantly higher income taxes, the federal government could probably raise an additional $2 trillion to $3 trillion a decade by taxing the 1 percent alone, according to Tedeschi.

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