Tax Day, Part Deux!

Trump Plans Huge Increase in Standard Tax Deductions

Late last night, the Washington Post reported President Trump is planning to call for a very large increase in the standard deduction people can take on their taxes. Right now, the standard rate for individuals is $6,300 and $12,600 for married couples filing jointly. Sources told the Post that Trump’s proposal would raise these numbers “significantly higher.”

These rates don’t apply for taxpayers who itemize and can claim higher deductions. But a big increase would likely increase the number of people who wouldn’t itemize to lower their tax bill. While such a change could make doing your taxes easier, it’s hard to see how such a move wouldn’t blow up the federal deficit, something Trump seems to not really care about lately.

And If You Act Now!

Also apparently on offer today will be what amounts to a humongous tax cut for individuals, but only if you own a business. Many types of business owners, large and small, currently pay ordinary income tax on their earnings. The new rules would apply the proposed 15% business tax rate to a wide range of entities from small companies, to hedge funds, law firms, private investment firms and real estate businesses like Trump’s own. In percentage terms, it’s an even bigger cut than he’s proposing for massive corporations.

So what’s the problem?: again, no explanation of how the President will pay for it. And the danger that if they’re greedy (Who? Businesspeople?!) they could exploit the rules to show very little taxable personal income, and place the economy in peril.

GOP Wants to Keep Obamacare For Congress and Staff But Not The Public

Some great reporting by Vox last night. They discovered House Republicans appear to have snuck a provision into a health care amendment that exempts members of congress and their staff from their own new health care plan. They want to keep current provisions of Obamacare intact for themselves, rather than possibly risk losing out if their state drops the ban on pre-existing conditions and charges sick people higher rates. Vox includes the complicated language of the amendment, which is nearly impossible to decipher, which is exactly the point.

Lock HIM Up?

Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser who led the “Lock Her (Hillary) Up” chant at the GOP convention, may be in jeopardy of getting locked up himself.

Both Democratic AND Republican leaders of the House Oversight Committee told reporters Flynn likely broke the law when he did not disclose payments from Moscow when renewing his U.S. security clearance. Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said “It appears as if he did take that money… And there are repercussions for the violation of law.” Concealing information on this security clearance form is a felony, where you can get locked up for up to five years in prison.  [Politico]

Earlier, the White House refused to provide documents related to Flynn to the congressional committee. They gave several excuses including they didn’t have custody of the documents, and also claimed “we are unable to accommodate” the request without any further explanation. [CNN]

Judge Blocks Trump From Withholding Funds From Sanctuary Cities

Federal judges are proving to be very effective in blocking Trump’s executive orders. San Francisco U.S. District Judge William Orrick blocked Trump’s attempt to withhold funds from San Francisco and nearby Santa Clara Country because they are sanctuary cities. The judge’s preliminary injunction applies nationwide. (So-called sanctuary cities limit their cooperation with federal authorities in deporting illegal immigrants.) The judge agreed with the cities’ claim that Trump’s order might violate the Tenth (states’ rights) and Fifth (due process) amendments to the Constitution, as Trump attempted to use powers “exclusive to Congress.” The White House plans to appeal. [Bloomberg]

When Is A Delay Not A Delay? When The President Says So, Silly!

The White House kinda did the right thing, and backed down from demanding immediate funding of “the wall.” That clears the way for passage of a spending bill needed to avoid a government shutdown next week. But the President ran quickly to Twitter to explain he is backing down from nothing!

Have you noticed how every time there’s a story about building “the wall”, there always seems to be a photo or video of a wall that’s already there?

These are not artist renderings! As we’ve pointed out before, there is about a 600 mile barrier between Mexico and the US right now. That’s about 1/3 of the Southern Border. Since many people obviously don’t know about it, and media seldom mentions it (despite showing it all the time), why doesn’t President Trump just take credit for it and be done with it?

“This Is My Pledge: We Will Confront Anti-semitism”

President Trump stuck to the script and generally got high marks on his Holocaust Remembrance speech, particularly for a long-awaited public condemnation of anti-semitism. Yesterday, we told you to also look for any reference to his campaign promise to 100% move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Although Trump was joined by Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., he failed to mention anything about that. Curiously, several major media outlets kept reporting the event took place at the DC Holocaust Museum when actually it was at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.