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Friday, December 01, 2017


What you have a right to expect

by Tom Sullivan

The British burn Washington. Is it something about the color?

You have a right to expect that women and men elected to public office do so without burning the place to the ground. You have a right to expect your representatives to show up and vote their consciences whether or not they expect to win the day. Expect no less of yourself. Get on the phones, faxes and emails this morning and let Congress hear what you think of the tax bill before them.

Be better Americans than too many of them are.

Depression historian Robert S. McElvaine writes that Republicans who have sung from "the Market-is-God hymnal for well over a century" are again "sprinting toward an economic cliff."

The tax bill vote expected last night hit a couple of snags and has been postponed until today. The Senate convenes again at 10 a.m. EST.

One snag is this:

The Joint Committee on Taxation said Wednesday afternoon that the Senate tax bill would add $1 trillion to federal budget deficits over the next decade, even after accounting for additional economic growth, a major blow to Republicans’ contention that the $1.4 trillion tax overhaul would pay for itself through growth.
The committee found that the Miracle of the Marketplace would only boost growth by 0.8 percent over the next decade and not pay for the tax cuts as Republicans have promised for months.

This morning, Republicans may have some members wavering.

Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, an administration executive with no government experience, promised for months the tax plan would pay for itself, repeatedly saying he had over 100 people at Treasury “working around the clock on running scenarios for us” to prove it. Now, when his colleagues need it, nothing:
Those inside Treasury’s Office of Tax Policy, which Mr. Mnuchin has credited with running the models, say they have been largely shut out of the process and are not working on the type of detailed analysis that he has mentioned. An economist at the Office of Tax Analysis, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to jeopardize his job, said Treasury had not released a “dynamic” analysis showing that the tax plan would be paid for with economic growth because one did not exist.
You have a right to expect better.

Here's something else you have a right to expect. You have a right to expect the president and his team to obey the rule of law and to uphold the Constitution. Even after a Bush-Cheney administration that invaded Iraq under false pretenses and kidnapped and tortured prisoners in violation of international law.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, another administration executive with no government experience, has done so much damage to the diplomatic corps that he may be forced from office, not for that but over his strained relationship with the president. The New York Times reports that the president has plans to replace Tillerson at State with the more hawkish CIA director Mike Pompeo. Per reports, the president plans to fill the CIA vacancy with first-term Arkansas GOP senator, Tom Cotton, an advocate of torture and domestic surveillance who has suggested jailing reporters.

Finally, after you have contacted your senators and congressperson, read another explosive report by the New York Times on the president's repeated attempts to quash the Senate investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election:
Republicans played down Mr. Trump’s appeals, describing them as the actions of a political newcomer unfamiliar with what is appropriate presidential conduct.
No, they are the actions of actions of a president with no government experience, a man comfortable with doing both the inappropriate and the illegal with impunity.

We have a right to expect better. But don't expect to get it unless you demand it.


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