Saturday, December 09, 2017

Paul Ryan Needs More Media Exposure


Republican thinkers seem to find it Ok to heap all kinds of deprecations on Trump's head without hesitation. Even when their dissatisfaction and criticism are actually aimed towards Paul Ryan, it appears to be more comfortable for them to just use Trump's name instead. This week Joe Scarborough had no problem at all using a Washington Post OpEd, Trump's Mental Meltdown, to point out that Trump is mentally unstable, suffering from dementia and that there is some kind of consensus among people dealing with Trump that he's off his rocker and dangerous to the country. "That is a verdict," wrote Scarborough, "that was reached long ago by many of the president’s own staff. More than a few politicians and reporters across Washington have shared similar fears... Any Fortune 500 company would have fired a chief executive exhibiting similarly erratic behavior long ago. Unfortunately, the Washington leaders most strategically positioned to limit the damage seem to be frozen by fear." That's a clear reference to Paul Ryan, without even using his initials. "If Republicans don’t find their bearings soon, it may be America’s safety and security that are next to go," concluded the former Republican congressman from Florida.

Yesterday, David Brooks was even more brutal-- both to Señor Trumpanzee and to the unnamed speaker of the house from Janesville, Wisconsin, in his NY Times column, The GOP Is Rotting. Instead of going after Ryan, he picks a much sillier target to pair up with Trumpanzee: Roy Moore. Trump, he wrote, makes it impossible for Republican officeholders to just keep their heads down "until this whole Trump thing" passes "because Donald Trump never stops asking. First, he asked the party to swallow the idea of a narcissistic sexual harasser and a routine liar as its party leader. Then he asked the party to accept his comprehensive ignorance and his politics of racial division. Now he asks the party to give up its reputation for fiscal conservatism. At the same time he asks the party to become the party of Roy Moore, the party of bigotry, alleged sexual harassment and child assault. There is no end to what Trump will ask of his party. He is defined by shamelessness, and so there is no bottom. And apparently there is no end to what regular Republicans are willing to give him. Trump may soon ask them to accept his firing of Robert Mueller, and yes, after some sighing, they will accept that, too."
The Republican Party is doing harm to every cause it purports to serve. If Republicans accept Roy Moore as a United States senator, they may, for a couple years, have one more vote for a justice or a tax cut, but they will have made their party loathsome for an entire generation. The pro-life cause will be forever associated with moral hypocrisy on an epic scale. The word “evangelical” is already being discredited for an entire generation. Young people and people of color look at the Trump-Moore G.O.P. and they are repulsed, maybe forever.

...It’s amazing that there haven’t been more Republicans like Mitt Romney who have said: “Enough is enough! I can go no further!”

The reason, I guess, is that the rot that has brought us to the brink of Senator Roy Moore began long ago. Starting with Sarah Palin and the spread of Fox News, the G.O.P. traded an ethos of excellence for an ethos of hucksterism... The rot afflicting the G.O.P. is comprehensive-- moral, intellectual, political and reputational. More and more former Republicans wake up every day and realize: “I’m homeless. I’m politically homeless.”
I counted a dozen places in his column just calling out for Paul Ryan. It amazes me that David Brooks didn't invoke it even once. I guess voters will just have to refer to PolitiFact to find out about Ryan. He's been repeating a lot of the same lies Trump does about the Tax Scam, for example. A few weeks ago PolitiFact found is claim that the Tax Scam was "aimed at giving breaks to the middle class, not high-income earners" was "mostly false."

The statement of Ryan's they were referencing was made on Sean Hannity's show, where only lies are permitted: "People who are low- and middle-income, they’re the ones who are literally living paycheck to paycheck, who are worried about losing their job or they haven’t gotten a raise in years. This is about them and not about people who are really high-income earners getting a break."
The Tax Policy Center analysis found:

The framework would collapse the seven individual income tax rates-- which range from 10 percent to 39.6 percent-- to three: 12, 25 and 35 percent. The higher percentages are applied to those who make more money. Ryan says the current 10 percent rate is reduced to 0 percent.

The framework would also, among other things, increase the standard deduction, eliminate personal exemptions, increase the child tax credit and eliminate most itemized deductions.

So, depending on the details, the provisions could all increase or decrease an individual’s federal income tax bill.

One bottom line, according to the analysis: The top 1 percent of earners would receive about 80 percent of the tax benefit. This income group would see its after-tax income increase 8.5 percent, whereas the bottom 95 percent of earners would see an average 1.2 percent increase in their after-tax income.

Other details from the analysis:
In 2018, all income groups would see their average taxes fall, but some taxpayers in each group would face tax increases. Those with the very highest incomes would  receive the biggest tax cuts. In 2027, taxpayers in the 80th to 95th income percentiles   would, on average, experience a tax increase.
Looking ahead, in 2027, some higher-income taxpayers would pay more in taxes, but the richest would still get breaks. Taxpayer groups in the bottom 80 percent of the income distribution-- those making less than about $150,000-- would receive average tax cuts of 0.5 percent or less of after-tax income. Taxpayers making between about $150,000 and $300,000 would on average pay about $800 more in taxes than under current law. About 80 percent of the total benefit would accrue to taxpayers in the top 1 percent, whose after-tax income would increase 8.7 percent.
The analysis also included this important caveat: The framework does not specify the income brackets to which the individual tax rates would apply, nor the maximum size and phase-out parameters of the increased child tax credit. So, to some extent, projections are hard to make.

But while some in the middle class are projected to see tax cuts, the better-off do even better, according to the Tax Policy Center analysis.

...[I]t’s worth noting that some provisions in the framework specifically benefit the well-to-do, as PolitiFact National found in rating False a claim by Trump that the plan has "very little benefit for people of wealth." The plan would:
Eliminate the alternative minimum tax. This is a calculation that guarantees that certain higher-income taxpayers with large deductions pay at least a minimum amount of tax.
Eliminate the estate tax. Currently, for estates worth more than $5.49 million, the estate is generally 40 percent.
Reduce from 39.6 percent to 25 percent the tax rate for "small and family-owned businesses conducted as sole proprietorships, partnerships and S corporations"-- collectively, these are referred to as "passthrough" income. (Ryan argues that most small-business owners in Wisconsin, after business expenses are considered, are middle-class.)
Our Rating

Ryan says the Republican tax reform proposal is focused on tax breaks for the middle class "and not about people who are really high-income earners getting a tax break."

Missing details in the framework for the tax reform make it difficult to tease out exactly how various taxpayers would fare, so it’s possible there will be more for middle-class taxpayers. But based on the framework, while there are some benefits for the middle class, what’s more clear is there are specific provisions benefiting the wealthy.

For a statement that contains only an element of truth, our rating is Mostly False.

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At 7:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brooks does occasionally write from pangs of guilt for blindly fellating the Rs.

"More and more former Republicans wake up every day and realize:... I’m politically homeless."

I seriously doubt that many Rs, notoriously without any conscience at all, are having this epiphany. The party was culled decades ago of all those types.

But that very same statement absolutely **IS** applicable to Democrat voters. As well, most Democrats with principles have been either culled (Wellstone) or corrupted (list of thousands). As voters who bother to pay attention are noticing, we are truly homeless, destitute and starving to death. A lot of us, literally.


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