September 29th Edition

Presidential candidate Donald Trump unveiled his tax plan yesterday. I will leave for another occasion a full evaluation of the plan, but one plank raises an important issue in tax policy. The plan includes the provision "If you are single and earn less than $25,000, or married and jointly earn less than $50,000, you will not owe any income tax. That removes nearly 75 million households – over 50% – from the income tax rolls. They get a new one page form to send the IRS saying, “I win,” those who would otherwise owe income taxes will save an average of nearly $1,000 each.”

September 23rd Edition

Newspapers reported, in some cases somewhat breathlessly, that Senate Democrats had introduced either a climate or an energy bill that would be an effective political tool, especially timing its introduction just prior to international climate talks in Paris. The centerpiece of the stories is the policy of reducing of greenhouse gas emissions by 2 percent each year through 2025 — a cut even larger than the target set by the Obama administration. In addition, the bill would set targets for overall energy usage. The sales brochure makes it appear to be a sleek, aggressive alternative to the Presidents Clean Power Plan and other climate-centric regulations.

September 22nd Edition

Chatter about a government shutdown is rising, despite the public avowals of House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that they have no interest in closing the government. Unfortunately, not everyone in DC is on the same page; among Republicans the Planned Parenthood issue has reared its ugly head, Senate Democrats have filibustered every appropriations bill, and the administration has threatened to veto six of the bills even though they are not yet in final form for presidential signature.

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