In a completely shocking development, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy finds that, from 2008 to 2015, over half of Fortune 500 corporations paid, on average, a mere 21.2% in corporate taxes, despite the corporate tax rate being 35%. 18 of these corporations paid zero dollars in taxes during these years, with 100 more having at least one zero year and 24 having at least four, and no it can't possibly be because they hemorrhaged money over that time, since they're still around and still doing well (General Electric, Priceline, PG&E, ad nauseam). So that's what you say to your Trump-loving uncle when he complains about the corporate tax rate not being "competitive" enough.
President Trump reassures Republicans that if Obamacare repeal doesn't work out, he'll just keep blaming Democrats for Obamacare's failures, real and perceived. And this could work! Republicans take over government and deliberately run it badly precisely so people will think think government is naturally incompetent, and most folks don't fully understand that. Sure, one could reason that Trump votaries could stay home in 2018 because he didn't get rid of Obamacare, but reason can't compete with their bottomless, unquenchable, easily-stoked rage, and do you think Democrat smartypants weaklings will fight back?
Elizabeth Dexheimer at Bloomberg suggests that Congressional finance committees have been focusing on almost anything but gutting the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill. Though the President may have more success doing that by himself, I hope she's right. But I can't help but imagine how easy it would be to thwart such pro-bankster efforts if we turned out for them the way we're turning out for the Affordable Care Act! And people aren't anywhere near as ambivalent about banksters as they are about the ACA.
Chris Morran at The Consumerist describes how Republicans have actually defended their efforts to repeal a 10% tax on tanning salons as part of their effort to destroy Obamacare. Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) actually suggested it'd make as much sense to tax the sun. It should be grotesquely easy to run ads against Republicans when they say things like that -- (insert name of House Rep) caters to tanning salons instead of listening to your concerns, etc. -- but then you remember Democrats would have to run such ads, and that'll never happen, since it's hard to drop the words "innovative" and "entrepreneur" into them. (Please, don't anyone take that as a challenge.)
Marshall Allen at ProPublica finds one reason for skyrocketing health care expenses: "all the perfectly good stuff hospitals throw away." These include disposable instruments discarded unused because they entered a surgeon's sterile field; supplies dedicated to particular patients that get thrown out once patients leave; supplies that get thrown out when a hospital upgrades models or changes vendors; supplies that have outlasted their expiration dates but remain unopened and usable. It's not a large percentage of health care waste, but it's still pretty annoying -- and, sadly, it ain't just third-world hospitals that would be happy to have the stuff, but American rural hospitals, too.
Finally, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt says he doesn't think carbon dioxide is an "important" contributor to climate change. But the fact that he's dead wrong about that isn't as important as the fact that he said exactly the opposite to the Senate during his confirmation hearings -- meaning that he knew what Senators wanted to hear, said it, and then went back to saying whatever he wanted afterward. Folks who are capable of that should be nowhere near the levers of power in America.