On today's BradCast: If you're still clinging to the idea that elections don't really matter and the incredibly lazy assertion that "there's no difference between the two major parties", today's show may help you reassess those ill-considered, self-defeating, knee-jerk notions. [Audio link to show is posted below.]
First up, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, explains why he believes it would be better to have an accused child molester, Alabama's Republican U.S. Senate nominee, Roy Moore, in the U.S. Senate, than to see the Democratic candidate Doug Jones elected on December 12. His argument today that Moore "totally denies" the charges of sexual improprieties with teenagers as young as 14 (sourced to more than 30 people) is part of his Administration's desperate attempt to pass their massive tax cuts for the rich, at all costs, through a very slim GOP majority in the U.S. Senate. That majority would get slimmer still if Jones is elected. So bring on the pedophiles!
We're joined today by SETH HANLON, President Obama's former Special Assistant for Economic and Tax Policy, to explain how the GOP's proposed tax scheme is being rushed through the Senate during the holidays, in hopes that voters don't notice that it will actually raise taxes for some 82 million middle-income Americans, while keeping permanent tax cuts in place for the wealthy. And, as bad as that sounds, other provisions are even worse and will result in an increase of $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit, the loss of health care coverage for some 13 million Americans, and an immediate $25 billion cut to Medicare, among other nightmares.
"The number one thing" that people need to known about this bill, Hanlon tells me, "is that this thing is happening now. This bill could be law by the end of next week. It might take longer than that, but they are trying to jam it through the Senate, which is the key to all this, next week. There are reasons why they are doing that so fast. Sunlight's the best disinfectant and they do not want people to scrutinize this bill to find out what's in it, to understand the ramifications. So they are trying to get it through as fast as they possibly can."
"If you want to see what's really happening with this bill, you look at what's permanent in it. A lot of it is just temporary, but there's really only three parts that are permanent. Number 1 is a massive tax cut for corporations. Number 2 is a hidden tax increase on basically every single American household. Number 3 is an attack on the Affordable Care Act. They're repealing a key part of Obamacare, the ACA, and it's been estimated to result in 13 million without health insurance, and premiums increasing for people who buy them through marketplaces by 10 percent."
"This is a permanent tax cut for corporations, paid for with a permanent tax increase on individuals and by fewer people having health care," Hanlon, now a Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress, explains. He also speaks to whether the ACA provision is included only as a bargaining chip, whether the Obama Administration used similar tactics to get legislation through Congress, and whether there is any evidence that tax cuts of this sort "pay for themselves", as Trump's Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (pictured above with his new wife and new money) and his Economic Policy Adviser Gary Cohn, among others, have asserted in the desperate effort to pass what would be the only major legislation to be adopted under Trump during his first year of office.
But, if all of that doesn't underscore the difference between Republicans, who support the scheme, and Democrats who virulently oppose it, Trump's Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, announced today that the FCC's 3 to 2 Republican majority will vote next month to kill landmark Net Neutrality protections instituted during the Obama Administration. We explain what that means, and how it is likely to result in higher prices for customers and content providers (like BradBlog.com and The BradCast) and slower Internet speeds for sites and consumers who don't pay up tolls to Internet provider behemoths like AT&T and Comcast for access to the "fast lane" on the information super-highway. It will be, as one of the two Democratic commissioners on the FCC said in a statement today, a "green light to our nation's largest broadband providers to engage in anti-consumer practices, including blocking, slowing down traffic, and paid prioritization of online applications and services."
Also today, Trump's DHS announced their intention to deport tens of thousands of Haitians who came to the U.S. legally after the devastating 2010 earthquake (along with their U.S. born citizen children?), and an Obama appointed federal judge has permanently blocked the Trump DoJ's attempt to unlawfully withhold federal funding to so-called "sanctuary cities".
Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with very cool news for electric vehicle fans and some encouraging news for breathers and voters alike in Virginia (which, once again, underscores that, yes, elections matter and yes, there is a difference between the two major parties, whether you like it or not.) And we've also got some good news for endangered elephants, but some bad news for endangered lions in today's report...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)