Tony Nitti at Forbes reminds us that repealing the Affordable Care Act will also amount to "Tax Cuts for the Rich" and "Tax Increases and Lost Insurance for the Rest." Small tax hikes on income above $250,000 fund the ACA, and tax breaks help lower-income consumers pay their premiums through the exchanges. If Republicans get rid of these things, as they're aching to do, the top 1% of income earners will see, on average, a $33,000 windfall -- while taxpayers making up to $89,000 will see a tax increase. If that isn't a middle-class tax hike, I don't know what is.
So, about that Donald Trump "mandate": Pew Research finds that less than four in 10 Americans think building that great big wall across our border with Mexico is a top priority. People constantly talk about how stupid Americans supposedly are, but I see this as an indication that we're not stupid -- why, it's almost like we know that 20-foot walls only mean 22-foot ladders! (Note well that it's not necessarily "inconsistent" that 62% want "most" undocumented immigrants be able to stay here legally and 58% of folks want to increase deportations -- it's not going to be the same 58% saying both, though there'll be some overlap, and folks don't necessarily know exactly how many undocumented immigrants are here or how many we're deporting.)
Robert Faturichi at ProPublica reports -- in an admirably restrained manner that more resembles unbiased journalism than anything the "liberal" media puts out -- on how right-wing lobbying groups like ALEC plan to keep state legislatures red. These ALEC people sure do have message discipline -- ALEC's vice president of policy tells us that state legislators aren't "the trailblazers of developing policies," but are rather "the retail consumers" of policy. How many times must I tell these pimps! Everything is not a business! And if legislators must be "consumers" of bills, they should go to their constituents, not special interest groups, to get their fix.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) got a lot of notoriety for pushing that whole Office of Congressional Ethics rollback that American citizens stopped last week, and Sue Sturgis at Facing South suggests Mr. Goodlatte might have had a personal reason to push ethics changes: his wife owns stock in a corporation that's trying to build a pipeline through West Virginia and Virginia, and Mr. Goodlatte has gone to bat for it. No use Mr. Goodlatte saying the pipeline doesn't run through his district, when he's tried to get the FERC to act on the pipeline. (He's also suggested it's important that his wife owns the stock, not him, which shouldn't fly with anyone who's ever planned finances with their spouse.)
Finally, the Wall Street Journal finds that businesses in which Donald Trump has at least a 30 percent ownership stake owe at least $1.8 billion to various creditors. Which is more evidence of what I keep saying: that the major drag on our democracy isn't taxes, but debt. I fear we're about to see that played out in a very, very big way for the next four or eight years, as Mr. Trump makes decision after decision that's completely inexplicable until you follow the debt trail.