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LetMyPeopleVote's Journal
LetMyPeopleVote's Journal
February 16, 2023

The problem(s) with GOP demands to protect Trump-era tax breaks

There are good ways to balance the budget but the GOP will not consider doing away with TFG's tax cuts

Republicans have tried to justify their debt ceiling crisis by arguing that they’re desperate to reduce the deficit. “We must move towards a balanced budget and insist on genuine accountability for every dollar we spend,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said in prepared remarks last week.

The California Republican added that putting the nation “on a path towards a balanced budget is not only the right place to start, it’s the only place to start.” He went on to argue that the national debt is “the greatest threat to our future.”

The list of problems with his rhetoric — McCarthy has no actual plan; his party has no credibility; the already shrinking deficit isn’t an especially serious problem, etc. — isn’t short. But perhaps the most important detail in the larger conversation is that Republicans are pushing for smaller deficits while simultaneously pushing for larger deficits.

We saw some evidence of this last month, when the new House GOP majority, in their very first bill, voted to increase the deficit by $114 billion. This week, a prominent House Republican sent out this press release on a proposal that would increase the deficit by a far larger amount.

... Congressman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) announced he has joined Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) and 71 colleagues in reintroducing the TCJA Permanency Act (H.R.976), legislation to make permanent the tax cuts for individuals and small businesses originally enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017. Without Congressional action, 23 different provisions of the 2017 Republican tax law are set to expire after 2025.

As a substantive matter, these Republicans are right about the timeline. Donald Trump’s most notable legislative accomplishment — a massive package of tax breaks for the wealthy and large corporations — was structured in such a way as to obscure its true cost. To that end, many of the tax cuts are set to disappear in the coming years, leaving elected policymakers with a choice: Either extend the breaks or watch them evaporate automatically, reverting to the status quo that existed before the regressive policy was signed into law.
February 16, 2023

Moderna says its COVID vaccine will remain free for all consumers, even those uninsured

This the right thing to do

Moderna will keep its COVID vaccine on the market at no cost to consumers, even after the federal government stops paying for it, the company announced Wednesday.

"Everyone in the United States will have access to Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine regardless of their ability to pay," the company said in a statement.

Last month, the vaccine maker was slammed for reportedly considering a dramatic price increase for the shot, which it had developed with the help of the federal government.

The proposal was also bad timing: The Biden administration was moving toward ending its designation of a public health emergencyon May 11, which meant that federal funding for vaccines would soon dry up and uninsured Americans would have to pay out of pocket for their boosters.
February 16, 2023

Nikki Haley taps controversial pastor for campaign launch invocation

This preacher is a major league asshole

As a presidential candidate in 2000, then-Sen. John McCain told voters he had no use for the religious right movement, denouncing prominent evangelical leaders as “agents of intolerance.” The message did not resonate with most Republican voters and the Arizona Republican’s candidacy fell short.

Eight years later, McCain was determined to learn key lessons from his earlier failure and eagerly forged partnerships with far-right social conservatives. In fact, the GOP senator even welcomed the support of Pastor John Hagee — at least for a while.....

In 2018, for example, Donald Trump invited Hagee, the founder of Christians United for Israel, to deliver the official benediction at the opening of a new U.S. embassy in Israel.

This morning, Hagee made another notable political appearance, delivering the invocation at the kickoff event for Nikki Haley’s Republican presidential campaign.
After the pastor exited the stage, and the GOP candidate stood at the microphone, Haley said, “To Pastor Hagee, I still say I want to be you when I grow up.”
February 16, 2023

Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows subpoenaed by special counsel in Jan. 6 investigation

I keep hoping that Meadows will flip on TFG

Donald Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows has been subpoenaed by the special counsel investigating the former president and his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.

Special counsel Jack Smith’s office is seeking documents and testimony related to January 6, and Meadows received the subpoena sometime in January, the source said. An attorney for Meadows declined to comment.

The Justice Department did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on the subpoena.

The move to subpoena one of Trump’s most senior aides – in addition to the recent subpoena of former Vice President Mike Pence, as CNN reported last week – marks the latest significant step in the special counsel’s investigation into Trump’s role in seeking to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election.

Smith also is simultaneously investigating Trump’s handling of classified documents after leaving office. While the subpoena is related to January 6, Meadows also may be of interest in the documents investigation. He was one of Trump’s designees to the National Archives and played a role in discussions around returning government records in his possession.

The special counsel’s subpoena could set up a clash with the Justice Department and Meadows over executive privilege. The former White House chief of staff, citing executive privilege, previously fought a subpoena from a special grand jury in Georgia that was investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. A judge later ordered Meadows to testify, finding him “material and necessary to the investigation.”
February 15, 2023

Troubling data shows many Americans are pining to become a theocracy

This is scary. The concept of christian nationalism involves turning the USA into a theocratic state where Christianity is the approved religion.

Christian nationalism — the violent, theocratic belief that the United States is, and must remain, an inherently Christian nation — is all the rage on the political right. (Pun intended.)

Several Republicans have openly embraced Christian nationalism, including Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado; failed Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano; and Ginni Thomas, whose husband, Clarence, sits on the Supreme Court. Even others — such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia — have been unique in their giddy celebration of the exclusionary set of beliefs.

Last week, the Public Religion Research Institute released new findings that show how successful these people have been in spreading their oppressive message.

“The rising influence of Christian nationalism in some segments of American politics poses a major threat to the health of our democracy,” the report says. “Increasingly, the major battle lines of the culture war are being drawn between a right animated by a Christian nationalist worldview and Americans who embrace the country’s growing racial and religious diversity.”....

PRRI also provided a racial breakdown to show groups’ varying levels of support. For example, 64% of white evangelical Protestants — the largest percentage of any group — identify as either adherents or sympathizers of Christian nationalism. In this data, we see that Christian nationalism isn’t confined to white people, as 38% of Black Protestants, 43% of Hispanic Protestants and 52% of other nonwhite Protestants say they sympathize or adhere to Christian nationalism.

Needless to say, it’s not a good sign when significant portions of the American population say they'd support or understand converting the United States into a Christian theocracy.
February 15, 2023

Second Trump attorney met with Mar-A-Lago probe grand jury in recent weeks

MAGA = Make attorneys get attorneys. Jack Smith hauled in Christina Bobb before the grand jury.

Trump attorney Christina Bobb appeared before a federal grand jury in Washington, DC, in recent weeks in connection with the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents, two sources have told CNN.

Bobb’s appearance marks the second Trump lawyer involved with Trump’s handling of government documents to meet with the grand jury recently. CNN reported that Trump attorney Evan Corcoran appeared before the grand jury last month.....

The move by special counsel Jack Smith to compel both Bobb and Corcoran to testify is an aggressive one, given that they both are lawyers to the former president. But it also marks how the investigation continues to push for answers on the lead-up to the August 2022 FBI search of Mar-a-Lago in the document-mishandling and obstruction of justice investigation.

The two attorneys were involved in responding to the Justice Department on behalf of Trump, at a time when all classified records in his possession had been subpoenaed yet hundreds were not turned over.

Corcoran and Bobb each had a role in telling prosecutors in writing that the Trump team had searched for documents and turned over all classified material in his possession last June.

February 15, 2023

Opinion Biden is succeeding in building the economy from 'bottom up, middle out'

This makes me smile

You’ve probably heard President Biden say that he wants to build the economy “from the bottom up and the middle out.” Since he’s been elected, he used that phrase more than 150 times in public appearances. In the past week alone, he repeated it not only in his State of the Union address, but also in speeches in DeForest, Wis., and in Tampa.

There’s ample evidence that it’s happening. Last August, the Dallas Federal Reserve found that over calendar year 2021, “nominal earnings grew 7.7 percent [for low-earners], compared with 4.8 percent for mid-earning workers and 3.6 percent for high-earning workers.” While lower-wage workers were disproportionately affected when covid-19 shut down the economy, when it started to reopen, the job market was tight, so employers had to pay more to attract workers. Lower-income workers benefited the most.

As Jared Bernstein, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, tells me, “When the economy sniffles, folks at the bottom catch pneumonia.” Now, he says, the opposite is happening: Those at the bottom are getting an extra boost.

It didn’t happen by accident. Biden’s American Rescue Plan kept businesses from going under and prevented families from being evicted or going hungry. That meant employers were ready to hire when, thanks to the coronavirus vaccination program, people felt safe returning to work.

Disproportionate gains for lower-income workers continued throughout 2022. And at the end of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported, the median weekly earnings for all workers were 7.4 percent higher than they were compared to a year before. Wage growth outpaced the year-to-year inflation rate by the end of 2022.
February 15, 2023

GOP's 'weaponization' committee celebrates Festivus far too early

McCarthy and Jordan are both idiots. This committee is not going to help the Congressional republicans

In 1997, millions of Americans were introduced to an amazing holiday called Festivus by way of a Seinfeld episode called “The Strike.” As the fictional story went, the secular holiday was created by an annoyed Frank Costanza as an alternative to Christmas, and he came up with a series of odd Festivus traditions to help supplement the holiday.

The most memorable was a fairly straightforward exercise: Loved ones celebrating Festivus are supposed to gather for a dinner featuring the “airing of grievances.”

Yesterday on Capitol Hill, Republicans seemed a little too eager to celebrate Festivus in February, instead of December. NBC News reported:

The House’s new subcommittee dedicated to probing the so-called weaponization of the federal government held its first hearing Thursday. The hearing featured a litany of Republican criticisms of Democrats, government and Big Tech that have featured prominently in conservative media over the last several years, from alleged censorship of the right to cancel culture, and from a Department of Justice memo on threats against school boards to re-litigating which party fell prey to Russian disinformation in 2016.

It was, in other words, a multi-hour airing of grievances. The Costanza family would’ve been proud.

For the rest of us, however, it was a mind-numbing and ultimately pointless display, featuring baseless whimpering from far-right officials who apparently assume mainstream Americans are familiar with their weird claims.

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