Posts Tagged ‘tax cuts’

House Republicans Unveil Tax-Cut Bill Ahead of Election Push

September 11, 2018
  • House committee likely to consider legislation this week
  • Package of bills includes retirement and startup tax changes
House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady.  Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

House Republican lawmakers introduced legislation Monday that would make the 2017 tax cuts for individuals permanent in a bid to highlight their signature economic policy achievement ahead of the November elections.

The legislation — released as Republicans are at risk of losing their majority in the House — is seen as a last-ditch effort by GOP lawmakers to convince voters of the benefits of their new tax code. Polls consistently show less than half of Americans approve of the tax cut.

“It’s time to change the culture in Washington where we only do tax reform once a generation,” House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said in a statement. “This legislation is our commitment to the American worker to ensure our tax code remains the most competitive in the world.”

Still, with little chance of Senate Republicans taking up the measure, the effort is largely viewed as a way to promote political talking points. GOP leaders decided to proceed with the legislation even though it puts their members in high-tax states in the tricky spot of either supporting a new cap on state and local tax deductions, or voting against tax cuts backed by their party.

Last year’s tax overhaul set the individual changes to expire at the end of 2025 for budget reasons, since the bill was approved through a special process that allowed it to pass with a simple majority. The provisions include the so-called SALT deduction cap, which is unpopular in high-tax states such as New York and New Jersey.

Read more about how House GOP leaders decided to proceed with 2.0 vote

The inclusion of the SALT measure in the bill released Monday has been a source of contention for some Republican lawmakers in those high-tax states, who say the limit effectively raises taxes for many of their constituents.

Republicans had hoped the legislation would put Democrats, who criticized the legislation for helping the wealthy and corporations more than average families, in a political bind — either vote against tax cuts for individuals or support the GOP-backed law.

Instead, the legislation has caused disagreement within the Republican Party, with several lawmakers, such as Representatives Leonard Lance of New Jersey and Peter King of New York, saying they won’t vote for a bill that includes an extension of the SALT cap. However, there are unlikely to be enough lawmakers opposed to the legislation to vote it down.

The legislation would permanently lower the tax rates for individuals as well as preserve a larger child tax credit and the approximately $22 million estate tax exemption for couples, which was doubled in the 2017 law.

It expands the medical expense deduction for an additional two years. Under the tax law, taxpayers can deduct medical expenses exceeding 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income — down from 10 percent — for 2017 and 2018. Tax 2.0 would allow them to use the lower threshold through the end of 2020.

The bill includes several retirement-related provisions that would allow small businesses to more easily offer 401(k) plans, as well as new individual savings accounts for education and newborns. The legislation would also allow startups to write off more of their costs.

Brady’s statement on Monday didn’t say when his committee will review the legislation, although he has previously said the panel would begin work on it Thursday. Democrats will likely use the meeting as an opportunity to highlight what they see as the failings of the new law in an attempt to score political points with their base.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has said the legislation will get a vote on the House floor before the end of the month.

Additional Deficit

The amount the tax cut 2.0 legislation would add to the deficit would likely outweigh any economic growth stemming from the cuts, according to Alan Viard, a resident scholar at the right-leaning think tank American Enterprise Institute.

Much of the economic boost from the 2017 law was tied to the reduction in the corporate rate and other business-focused provisions, he said. The individual and pass-through tax cuts don’t “pack the same economic punch,” Viard said.

Brady has previously said that making the individual tax cuts permanent would cost about $600 billion. The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, which estimates the revenue effect of legislation, hasn’t yet released figures for phase two tax legislation, but is required to do so before the Ways and Means Committee takes up the bill.

“It’s important that Republicans stay on offense when it comes to taxes,” said Ryan Ellis, a Republican tax lobbyist. “That’s why a mix of making old stuff permanent and also pushing new good things is smart.”


Boris Johnson proposes Trump-style tax cuts to boost UK economy

September 10, 2018

The former foreign secretary outlines his vision for the UK economy at a time many feel he is weighing up a Tory leadership bid.

Boris Johnson is backing Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize
Image:Boris Johnson is a fan of Donald Trump’s tax cuts

Boris Johnson has suggested the UK employ Donald Trump-style tax cuts in a bid to catch up with the economic growth being enjoyed in the US.

The former foreign secretary believes income tax, stamp duty and capital gains tax should all be slashed – measures likely to appeal to Conservative voters at a time he is being tipped to launch a leadership challenge.

Speculation is rife that Mr Johnson is weighing up a move to displace Theresa May, despite his latest Brexit intervention prompting a furious backlash from senior Tories.

Former Foreign Office colleagues Sir Alan Duncan and Alistair Burt are among those to have criticised his comparison of the Chequers deal to a “suicide vest”, with the former saying that it should mark the end of his political career.

Mum Agnes Bergman reacts to the former foreign secretary’s latest controversial comments

But Mr Johnson – who has also made headlines in recent days over his divorce from Marina Wheeler – appears unlikely to allow such rebukes to put an end to his public questioning of government policy.

Writing in his regular Daily Telegraph column, he said: “Instead of canvassing tax rises, we should say that tax henceforward will not go up. That’s it. No new taxes and no increase in rates.

“We do need to spend more on the NHS. We must find the extra £20bn that the chancellor has rightly promised. We do need to step up our investments in the police and schools and other vital public services.

“But I am afraid I am not convinced that the answer is immediately to turn to the hard-pressed taxpayer, when Britain is now by no means a low-tax economy compared with several other jurisdictions in Europe.”

Nadine Dorries talking on Sky News about Boris Johnson,0:31

Video:Dorries: ‘End of the road’ for PM

:: 80 Tory MPs ‘set to vote against Brexit plan’

Mr Johnson again hit out at the ongoing Brexit negotiations with the EU as part of his pitch, suggesting that it was “very odd to be proposing tax hikes when we are about to hand over £39 billion to the EU for nothing in return”.

He said that public finances were improving and that the government needed “to show how a post-Brexit Britain will be a happy and dynamic economy”.

In a reference to the policies of President Trump, Mr Johnson said: “The US currently boasts economic growth rates far in excess of this country, at about 4.5%, and with record low unemployment.

Donald Trump’s corporate tax cuts make these good times to work for America’s biggest corporations.

“That growth is being driven not just by the US government’s decision to cut taxes and regulation, but perhaps even more by psychology: by the sense that the government wants to cut taxes, wants to liberate and energise people.

“Do we send out that signal, here in this country? I am not so sure.”

More from Boris Johnson

  • A warning to Tory elite who want to stop Boris Johnson being PM

  • The Manchester suicide bomber terrified my daughters – Boris Johnson isn’t fit for office

  • ‘Boris went too far’: Tories criticise Johnson for ‘suicide vest’ article

  • Johnson attacked for saying PM is wrapping ‘suicide vest’ around Britain

  • Boris Johnson booed by cricket fans at Oval as England face India

  • Theresa May ‘in fear’ of Boris Johnson as Chequers plan attacked

The US president signed his $1.5tn (£1.1tn) tax cut programme into law last December.

It was the first major overhaul of tax laws in the country in 21 years.

Includes videos:

China attempts to soothe small businesses’ social tax fears as trade war dims growth outlook

September 7, 2018

Premier Li Keqiang promises to maintain status quo amid fears small firms could be driven out of business

South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 September, 2018, 8:44pm
UPDATED : Friday, 07 September, 2018, 8:44pm

Beijing has taken the unusual step of assuring China’s small businesses that the government will not abruptly raise their social tax burdens after a planned regulatory change to tighten fee collection stirred fury and fear among small manufacturers.

At a regular State Council meeting on Thursday, Premier Li Keqiang promised the government would maintain for now the status quo on the collection of corporate contributions to social funds and would study lowering social welfare contribution rates to ensure “there is no increase in the corporate burden”.

The move is a clear attempt to assuage the concerns of many small, private factory owners who fear they will be driven out of business if they are forced to pay their social welfare fees in full.

Chinese employers are obliged to pay several social taxes every month based on their workers’ wages. These comprise contributions to the national social security fund (equivalent to 19 per cent of the total payroll), health care insurance fund (10 per cent), and unemployment, work injury and childbirth insurance (about 2 per cent).

Implementation of social payment rules, however, is often lax, especially among small, private sector manufacturers, and the authorities in charge of collection often tolerate underpayment. But from January the duty of collecting the fees will shift to local taxation bureaus, which will have the incentives and means to ensure businesses pay their dues in full.

This tightening of the collection process could deal another blow to China’s economy even as it struggles with slowing domestic demand and an escalating trade war with the United States. At the very least, the change could wipe out profits at many of China’s private businesses.

A report by brokerage Guotai Junan Securities estimated that the rule change would cost Chinese employers an extra 2 trillion yuan (US$292.16 billion) next year, or about the same as the combined profits of all of China’s privately owned businesses in 2017.

A tightening of the tax collection process could deal another blow to China’s economy. Photo: Bloomberg

Jason Zhang, who runs a factory in the southern city of Shenzhen making cables for smartphones and computers, said it would cost him about 1 million yuan a month if he was forced to pay social welfare fees strictly in line with state regulations.

Zhang said he currently pays social welfare fees for about half of his 800 workers and that his profit would be wiped out if he paid the full amount. Even without the higher costs, Zhang said his factory’s 10 million yuan profit in 2017 would drop by 30 per cent due to falling demand if the US imposed tariffs on Chinese electronic components, as it had threatened to do.

The new social welfare collection rule could be the straw that broke the camel’s back for his business and many similar factories, he said.

“A lot of entrepreneurs like me cannot afford such a drastic change,” Zhang said.

Concern about social welfare fees is part of a bigger debate on whether the government is taxing Chinese businesses and individuals too heavily, especially after the US and other countries cut their tax rates. Appeals for Beijing to cut business taxes to improve competitiveness have increased since US President Donald Trump signed into law in December a reduction in the corporate income tax rate from 35 per cent to about 21 per cent.

The Chinese government has already promised to reduce the burden of tax and fees on businesses. In its annual work report in March, Li said he would cut the corporate tax burden by 800 billion yuan and administrative fees by a further 300 billion yuan this year.

However, many small firms may not feel any easing of their burden as a result of stricter collection methods by tax authorities.

For example, some Chinese venture capital funds were abruptly told by the tax authorities last month that they should pay the full 35 per cent tax rate on their income instead of a preferential 20 per cent rate they had been allowed to pay for years.

The planned change prompted the China Merger and Acquisition Association, an industry group, to appeal to the government to avoid raising taxes on venture capital firms at a time when the country is trying to finance a series of new hi-tech initiatives.

Li touched the issue on Thursday, ordering tax authorities not to increase the “overall tax burden” on venture capitalists.

Wu Qi, a senior fellow at the Beijing-based Pangoal Institute, said China needed to enact meaningful tax cuts for small, private sector businesses amid the nation’s broad economic slowdown and the external headwinds caused by the trade war.

Such cuts would “be the most effective tool” to help stabilise growth, as the government had vowed to do and had the capacity to do, Wu said.

China’s tax revenue in the first seven months of the year rose 14 per cent from the same period of 2017 to 10.8 trillion yuan. The rate was more than twice the 6.8 per cent by which the nation’s gross domestic product rose in the first half of the year.

Tang Dajie, secretary general of the China Enterprise Institute, said a rapid rise in the cost of raw materials, rents, taxes and social security payments this year had created a major threat to the viability of private firms.

Despite Beijing’s promise to cut social security contribution rates, Tang said only a few rich provinces would be able to do so given the government’s initiative to rein in local government debt. When the social contribution rate was reduced several years ago, only a few provinces cut it by 1 percentage point to 19 per cent.

Tang said China should also slash its value-added tax rates as they were are among the highest in the world. In May, Beijing trimmed the highest VAT band by 1 percentage point to 16 per cent.

Analysts react as China moves to bolster finance system

July 24, 2018

Image may contain: 15 people, people smiling

© Bloomberg

By Edward White in Taipei 

“Using a chisel instead of a sledgehammer”.

China on Monday unveiled a suite of measures, including infrastructure spending, tax cuts and an injection of $74bn into the banking system as it stepped up action to bolster its slowing economy.

The moves buoyed China-linked stocks on Tuesday with the Hang Seng China Enterprises index up 2.4 per cent, at its highest since late June, ahead of the close in Hong Kong. The CSI 300 index of major companies listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen closed up 1.6 per cent, its best close this month.

The Chinese currency weakened, however, with both the managed onshore renminbi and its offshore counterpart touching their lowest points against the dollar in more than a year.

Here’s a quick round up of what analysts are saying about Beijing’s latest expansionary policy decisions.

ANZ economists Raymond Yeung and Betty Wang said: 


The government is sending a clear signal that it is preparing to defend growth. While most of the policy measures announced are regarded as micro level structural reforms (such as cost cutting), the [State Council said] fiscal policy should be ‘more proactive’ [and] fiscal and monetary policies should be synergetic, suggesting that Premier Li may be concerned about the negative impact of deleveraging on growth. 


HSBC economist Julia Wang said: 


The policy adjustment and increasing policy co-ordination is definitely very helpful. It will help to put the domestic economy on a sounder footing by correcting some of the excessive tightening. But it shouldn’t be seen as a stimulus program to support a certain level growth at all cost, or at the expensive of medium-term reforms.

China continues to rebalance domestic growth drivers, such as household consumption, and these will continue to be more important in driving growth in the coming years.


Moody’s analysts said:


Combined, these measures are significant as they signal a more proactive approach by the authorities to supporting the economy, which is facing headwinds to growth from a domestic clampdown on financing and trade-restrictive measures externally.

The additional fiscal burden posed by the announced measures is very small relative to GDP and fiscal outlay budgeted for 2018. The government has also reiterated its commitment to stabilising leverage.

However, if more proactive support for the economy were to lead to a further build-up of government debt and/or contingent liabilities over the longer term, we would regard that outcome as credit negative for the sovereign. 


JPMorgan Asset Management chief market strategist Tai Hui said: 


Versus the day in 2008-09, when it unleashed the Rmb4 trillion spending package, Beijing is looking to address growth concerns with a chisel instead of a sledgehammer.

In recent years, the authorities have been focusing its monetary easing and fiscal boost on small and medium enterprises considering their positive impact on growth and employment.

And the latest announcement is consistent with that effort.

If the central bank is tasked with addressing corporate over-leveraging and potential systemic risk in the financial system, its policy tool, monetary policy, should be tuned toward this goal.

This implies the government will need to turn to fiscal policy to address uncertainties to economic growth, arising from trade tension with the US and side effects from the deleveraging effort. 


Société Générale economist Wei Yao said: 


The financial deleveraging campaign since early 2017 has resulted in a massive negative shock to aggregate credit supply. The real economy has begun to feel the pain.

Now that the risk of trade tensions affecting the real economy is also rising, we think that policymakers will have no choice but to opt for more policy easing. The deleveraging process needs to be softened and slowed, and the latest development suggests that such adjustments have begun.

But we do not think that the top leadership should or will give up the deleveraging project all together. If we are right, the magnitude of policy easing will be constrained and short-term growth is unlikely to rebound as quickly or sharply as in previous easing cycles.


And, HSBC head of global emerging markets FX research Paul Mackel said: 


The PBoC has been injecting liquidity, suggesting an easing bias for monetary policy. This should continue to reduce the Rmb’s yield backdrop and keep the currency relatively weak in the near term.

We believe China will continue to let the market decide the direction for the Rmb. This is the most efficient way to handle trade tensions and also, importantly, serves its own domestic agenda of getting the financial system ready for further opening up. The market should not fear the Rmb’s new ‘clean floating’ FX regime.

Dems mull whether Warren is the one to take on Trump

July 10, 2018

Can Elizabeth Warren win back blue-collar Democrats from President Trump in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania?

It’s a question many Democrats are pondering as Warren — one of the leading contenders for her party’s presidential nomination, if she chooses to run in 2020 — goes back and forth with the president over immigration and other issues.

Image result for Elizabeth Warren, photos

Warren (D-Mass.) has shown an ability to rally and excite progressives, she’s a proven fundraiser and she has policy bona fides from her work in the Senate.Yet there are creeping doubts among some Democrats that she’s the best candidate to take on Trump.

Some worry the former Harvard professor will have a tough time winning back the Rust Belt centrists and independents who abandoned Hillary Clinton and Democrats for Trump.

“I just can’t see a blue-collar, Rust Belt guy voting for her,” said one Democratic strategist who has worked on presidential campaigns. “I think the party needs to be realistic about that.”

Some Democrats almost certainly remain shellshocked from the last election after Trump’s surprise win. He became the first Republican to win the states of Pennsylvania and Michigan in a presidential election since 1988 and the first Republican to win Wisconsin since President Reagan in 1984.

If Democrats don’t retake those states in 2020, their chances of winning the Electoral College will fall.

Teeth-gnashing over who is best-positioned to take on Trump, as a result, is already taking place ahead of the midterm elections.

Warren’s gender and her political identity as a voice on the left are both likely to be issues for primary voters sizing up Democratic candidates in potential head-to-head matchups with Trump. Would she be stronger than former Vice President Joe Biden? What about Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)? Does the party need the face of a new political generation, such as Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Cory Booker (N.J.) or Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.)?

Warren has her advocates, who say the senator’s anti-corporate economic message will resonate with the types of voters who left the party for Trump.

Jesse Ferguson, who served as a spokesman for Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, said Warren “has a powerful economic message that resonates everywhere.”

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said Warren is the perfect candidate to oppose Trump because she “has the ability to go straight at him on his economic policies.”

She also argued that Trump’s repeated attacks on Warren suggest the White House sees her as a threat.

“I think this man understands his brand very well and understands his populist appeal very, very well, and he realizes how threatening to him she is on his brand,” Lake said.

Warren’s office declined to comment for this story.

Trump mocked Warren over her Native American heritage twice last week, once on Twitter but also at a campaign-style rally.

“Let’s say I’m debating Pocahontas. You know those little [DNA] kits they sell on television for two dollars? … I’m going to get one of those little kits and in the middle of the debate when she proclaims that she’s of Indian heritage, because her mother says she has high cheekbones,” Trump said to the cheering crowd in Montana.

“We will take that little kit … but we have to do it gently because we are in the ‘Me Too’ generation,” Trump said, adding that he would donate $1 million to Warren’s favorite charity if she took the DNA test. “I have a feeling she will say no.”

Warren immediately hit Trump back on Twitter.

“Hey, @realDonaldTrump: While you obsess over my genes, your Admin is conducting DNA tests on little kids because you ripped them from their mamas & you are too incompetent to reunite them in time to meet a court order. Maybe you should focus on fixing the lives you’re destroying,” she wrote.

Warren called Trump a bully during an event outside Boston over the weekend.

“He tries to bully me in order to shut me up,” Warren said, according to the Boston Herald. “I seem to be in his head.”

Warren is a favorite of liberals and could be well-positioned to win her party’s nomination given the ascent of the liberal wing.

“She has a very strong base of support and is one of the few figures on the left who has a chance at winning over a broader range of the party,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University.

He said her focus on consumers and the middle class is the kind of rhetoric that resonated with Sanders supporters in 2016.

Zelizer said the question, if she wins the nomination, is whether she “can withstand what will certainly be a brutal general election campaign against the master attacker.”

Warren’s counterattacks on Trump could be read as sending the message to prospective Democratic primary voters that she’s more than up to that task.

Another factor for Warren is whether some segments of the Democratic electorate see her as too liberal to defeat Trump.

Basil Smikle, a Democratic strategist who served as the executive director of the New York state Democratic Party, said he’s not sure Warren could woo independents.

“Democrats are certainly motivated on issues like [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] separating children and the potential for the Supreme Court to reverse Roe v. Wade, but are independents that upset?” said Smikle, who worked for Clinton. “They may not like Trump’s tactics, but they may, to some extent, like the ultimate outcome if it helps to stem the tide on undocumented workers.”

But Lake argues that Warren would strike directly at independents because of her populist approach.

“In some ways, she’s Trump’s worst nightmare for independents,” she said. “She can run rings around him.”


Donald Trump Tops Obama in Approval Numbers at Same Point in His Presidency

July 5, 2018

“It’s the economy, stupid.”

— James Carville

President Trump’s approval rating on his second Independence Day is at 48% with likely voters.

And that is with 90% negative coverage from the far left mainstream media.

And after a month of anti-ICE protests by Democrats President Trump jumped 10 points with Hispanics in the recent Harris-Harvard poll.

On Barack Obama’s second Independence Day — despite a fawning media — his approval rating was only at 45%.

It comes down to results.
President Trump is delivering on his promises.

Since President Trump’s election the DOW daily closing stock market average has risen as much as 44%. (On November 9th, 2016, the DOW closed at 18,332 – in January of this year the DOW reached heights of over 26,500.).

On February 28th, 2017, President Trump matched President Reagan’s 1987 record for the most continuous closing high trading days when the DOW reached a new high for its 12th day in a row!

Under President Trump the DOW set the record for the fastest 500 point increase between major milestones when it reached 26,000 on January 17th. It only took 6 days to increase 500 points from 25,500.  As a matter of fact, since President Trump’s election the DOW has set records for the fastest 500, 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000 and 7000 point increases in the DOW’s history!

2017 was the best year ever for the DOW. It increased more points than ever in its history (4,956) and it reached more all-time highs (71) than any year in history!

Every US stock index has reached all-time highs during the Trump Presidency. 

And President Trump’s foreign policy is also seeing results.
History is being made.

President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, shake hands as they meet for the first time, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, at the Capella Hotel in Singapore. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The Left needs to face reality: Trump is winning

July 1, 2018

To understand the madness gripping American leftists, try to see the world through their eyes. Presto, you’re now part of the raging resistance.

Like the Palestinians who mark Israel’s birth as their nakba, or tragedy, you regard Donald Trump’s 2016 victory as a catastrophe. It’s the last thing you think of most nights, and the first thing most mornings.

You can’t shake it or escape it. Whatever you watch, listen to or read, there are reminders — Donald Trump really is president.

You actually believe The New York Times is too nice to him, so you understand why a Manhattan woman urged a reporter there to stop covering Trump to protest his presidency.

By Michael Goodwin
New York Post

And where the hell is Robert Mueller? He was supposed to save us from this nightmare — that’s what Chuck Schumer banked on. Well?

You spend your tax cut even as you rail against the man who made it happen. And you are pleased that cousin Jimmy finally got a job, though you repeat the daily devotional that Barack Obama deserves credit for the roaring economy.

And now this — Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring, and Trump gets another Supreme Court pick. The court might tilt right for the rest of your life. He’s winning.


In a nutshell, our visit to the tortured mind of a Trump hater explains everything from Saturday’s mass marches to why a Virginia restaurant owner declared No Soup for Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Their loathing for Trump is bone-deep and all consuming. This is war and they take no prisoners.

For most marchers, border policies offer a chance to vent. They didn’t make a peep when Obama did the same thing.

If children are their main concern, they could help the 23,000 New York City kids living in shelters. Or they could have attended the funeral of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, the innocent Bronx teen hacked to death by a Dominican gang.

Instead, they give in to Trump Derangement Syndrome, which causes them to immediately and absolutely adopt the opposite position of the president’s — facts and common sense be damned.

Alas, they may look back on the last few months as the good old days. For Trump, despite his stumbles and the Mueller shadow, is finding a political sweet spot.

He is reaching a high-water mark in his presidency, with his support growing and expanding. Events, including big Supreme Court rulings and Kennedy’s retirement, give him chances to pad his advantage.

It’s a swift reversal from just 11 days ago, when Trump was sucking wind. The media was — again — treating him like a piñata over the separation of families on the border, and the White House was ready to fight a war it couldn’t win.

Then the president suddenly called off the dogs to sign an executive order ending family separations. Much of the hot air instantly came out of the resistance balloon, though protests continue because the left is embracing little or no border control as its passion of the moment.

Whether it’s because of Trump’s quick reversal and/or the left’s overreaction, polls are capturing the president’s rising fortunes. One survey showed most Americans were not nearly as sympathetic to the illegal border crossers as the media.

“I think it’s terrible about the kids getting split up from their parents. But the parents shouldn’t have been here,” a Minnesota woman told the Times.

Another poll shows Trump with 90 percent support among Republicans, matching the backing of President George W. Bush after 9/11.

And his support is broadening. A Harvard CAPS/Harris poll showed his approval rating hitting 47 percent, a two-point gain in one month driven by a 10-point swing among Hispanic voters and a four-point gain among Democrats.

Pollsters attributed the rise to the strong economy and that a whopping 75 percent approved of the president’s decision to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

Finally, a Pew finding about Trump supporters upends stereotypes: Just 31 percent are white men without college degrees, while 66 percent are college graduates, women or nonwhites.

These signs of the Big Mo switching sides came before two Supreme Court rulings that favored Trump. The first upheld his revised travel ban for a handful of Muslim-majority nations, saying it was within his ­executive authority.

It rebuked lower-court judges who bought the partisan canard that it was a “Muslim ban.” Their invalid rulings stood in stark contrast to plain readings of the law and show them to be hacks blowing with the political wind.

The second ruling, which blocks municipal unions from forcing workers to pay dues, is a tax cut for workers who opt out and a blow to Dems in New York, New Jersey and other blue states. The nexus between unions and Democrats turned those states into one-party fiefdoms — and resulted in union contracts taxpayers can’t afford.

Both rulings were 5-4, with Kennedy supplying the swing votes in an otherwise evenly divided court. That Trump will soon nominate his successor and likely have that person confirmed before the midterm elections improves GOP chances to hold Congress and the president’s chance to cement his legacy as an agent of dramatic change.

Because Democrats set the agenda for most media, the immediate talking point was that abortion rights are threatened with another GOP pick. While that is unlikely, given the Supremes’ traditional respect for precedent, the larger fact is that there is much more at stake than any single issue.

Consider that the travel-ban case upheld broad presidential authority on national security, and the union ruling was among several supporting First Amendment rights of individuals against government infringement.

Rulings like these have long-term cultural and political impacts and explain why Supreme Court appointments can have an outsized influence on a president’s legacy.

Already Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first pick, is enormously popular with those who believe a justice’s job is to make sure laws pass constitutional muster, not legislate from the bench. A second pick in the Gorsuch mold would secure a majority on the court for curbing government’s appetite for more domestic power, perhaps for decades.

And that could do something extraordinary for Trump’s legacy. All else being stable, putting the Supreme Court on an enduring constitutional footing would make his presidency one of the most consequential of any age.

Cue the wailing.

Trump Beating Washington at Its Own Game, Expects To Get a Deal With China

June 26, 2018

“It’s the economy, stupid,” Bill Clinton advisor James Carville  once said….

Image result for James Carville, photos

The more President Donald Trump antagonizes his critics, the more Republicans seem to support him, Axios co-founder Jim VandeHei told CNBC on Monday morning.

The president “feels like he’s got his mojo,” VandeHei said on “Squawk Box.” “For all the hyperventilation … you would think the president is going to get run out of town, yet he’s at 45 percent in Gallup, the highest favorable rating he’s had since the early days of his presidency,”

Trump’s overall approval rating hit 45 percent last week, matching the highest level of his presidency, which happened in the first week after his inauguration, according to Gallup’s weekly presidential approval poll.

President Donald Trump and South Carolina governor
Donald Trump in South Carolina, June 25, 2018 — with Governor Henry McMaster.

However, on Monday afternoon, Gallup said Trump’s approval rating slipped back to 41 percent. GOP support remained high at 87 percent, according to Gallup.

In a separate poll, Trump’s economic approval rating surged 6 points to 51 percent in the latest CNBC All-America Economic Survey. It was his first above 50 percent in the poll, which had a margin of error of 3.5 points.

Referring to last week’s Gallup survey, VandeHei said: “The reason it’s 45 percent is 90 percent of Republicans are super-enthusiastic about what the president is doing. … I would say the tribal dimension of politics is getting more intense. And the president understands that. He sees in the polls that it may be working.”

“There’s this weird dynamic taking place: The more the president says things that outrage his critics, his critics go even more bananas, which then have the effect of making Republicans want to support Trump even more,” even if they don’t like what he’s doing on trade or at the border on immigration, VandeHei said.

VandeHei said the president is the most isolated he’s been since taking office. “He is definitely on his own more than any point in his presidency. He’s doing the communication. He’s doing the policy.”

“It’s creating mass amounts of chaos internally,” but voters seem to be focusing on the strengthening economy and jobs picture and a possible nuclear deal with North Korea instead of all the noise, said VandeHei, who helped launch Axios in January 2017 after leaving Politico, which he also co-founded and turned into a political powerhouse. Axios has gained a reputation as a place for Washington-related scoops.


Jim VandeHei added that Donald Trump expects to get a trade deal with China


Jim Vandehei, Axios co-founder and CEO, discusses the state of U.S.-China trade tensions and what actions the Trump administration is taking.

Trump Tests His Appeal in Nevada, a State Clinton Won

June 24, 2018

President headlines fundraiser for Sen. Dean Heller, who is seeking re-election

Sen. Dean Heller (R., Nev.), left, shakes hands with President Donald Trump during a discussion on tax reform in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Sen. Dean Heller (R., Nev.), left, shakes hands with President Donald Trump during a discussion on tax reform in Las Vegas on Saturday.PHOTO: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS

LAS VEGAS— Donald Trump took his economic nationalism and insult-driven politics to Nevada on Saturday, testing whether his campaign style can help Republicans in a state carried by his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Mr. Trump made the trek to Las Vegas to headline a fundraiser for Sen. Dean Heller, the only Republican senator in the state seeking re-election this year.

“He was with me all the way—once we got elected,” Mr. Trump said, repeatedly recalling Mr. Heller’s delay in backing his bid for the White House. “A little bit shaky in the beginning.”

Mr. Heller “cut your taxes and nobody fought harder to cut your taxes than Dean Heller, let me tell you,” Mr. Trump said. The Democrats, he said, “want tax increases. They want open borders.”

Mr. Heller’s race is one of the most consequential Senate contests of the year, as Republicans seek to hold on to their 51-49 majority in November’s elections. Nevada, a swing state, will be critical come November, with a Senate seat, the governor’s office and two competitive House races on the ballot.

It’s an open question whether Mr. Trump’s trademark bare-knuckled campaigning will help or hurt Mr. Heller and the rest of the GOP Nevada ticket this fall. More registered voters in the state disapproved of the president than approved of him—49% to 47%—in a May poll conducted by Morning Consult.

In addition to trying to paint state Democrats as weak on border security and favoring higher taxes, Mr. Trump hurled personal insults at the opponents of the Republican candidate.

He called Mr. Heller’s challenger, Rep. Jacky Rosen, as “Wacky Jacky” at Saturday’s Nevada Republican Party Convention. Democrats were holding their own state convention in Reno, featuring Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

“Wacky Jacky is campaigning with Pocahontas, can you believe it?” Mr. Trump said, reviving his derogatory nickname for Ms. Warren, a reference to the senator’s claims to have Native-American heritage. “A vote for her is a vote for increased taxes, weak, weak borders, it’s really a vote for crime, it’s a vote to get rid of police officers.”

Shortly after the president concluded his remarks, Ms. Rosen tweeted, “Is that the best you’ve got, @realDonaldTrump? Let’s fight back.” She used Mr. Trump’s appearance in the state to raise funds on her website, where she cites opposition to his presidency and policies as a driving force for her campaign.

“President Trump is trying to pull up the ladder behind him, leaving the middle class stranded while his super-wealthy buddies turn the federal government into a source of enrichment for themselves,” Ms. Rosen’s site says. “Trump ridicules women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, immigrant families, and anyone who challenges him.”

Ms. Warren has called the Pocahontas nickname a “racial slur.”

Despite the GOP’s majority in Congress, Mr. Trump has struggled to secure support for some of his top-priority campaign pledges, like his efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act, to fund a wall along the Mexican border and to pass legislation curbing immigration.

“The fact is we need more Republicans because the Democrats are obstructionists,” the president said Saturday. He drew boos from the crowd when he mentioned Senate and House minority leaders Chuck Schumer of New York and Nancy Pelosi of California.

Facing mounting political pressure, Mr. Trump signed an executive order last week to end the separation of families crossing the U.S. border illegally. Images of unaccompanied children at shelters near the border sparked outrage from members of his own party.

Still, he insisted he would pursue a policy of zero tolerance of illegal immigration and continued to hammer at the Democrats for failing to take a tougher stance. “We’re the only country that says ‘Please, would you like to register?’—other countries say ‘Get the hell out’,” Mr. Trump said. “I think I got elected largely because we are strong on the border.”

That line may be a tough sell in Nevada, where more than a quarter of Nevada’s population is Latino. The percentage is higher in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas. Mr. Trump touted his administration’s economic record, highlighting record-low levels of Hispanic unemployment.

Mr. Trump also noted his own property in Las Vegas, joking, “I don’t think about that anymore.”

As he concluded his speech, he said that he is committed to making sure Republican voters turn out come November. “It’s an incredible state,” he said. “I will be back a lot…”

Corrections & Amplifications 
Sen. Dean Heller is a Republican. An earlier version of the caption on this article incorrectly stated he was a Democrat. (June 23, 2018)

Write to Vivian Salama at

The U.S. economy is back in the fast lane — But Democrats want to undo it all

June 22, 2018

Six Months After Tax Reform, Something Big Is Happening

A Honda production line in Marysville, Ohio, Dec. 21, 2017.
A Honda production line in Marysville, Ohio, Dec. 21, 2017. PHOTO: TY WRIGHT/BLOOMBERG NEWS


Six months ago, Republicans in Congress joined with President Trump to redesign America’s tax code and enact sweeping tax cuts. We were determined to let families and local businesses keep more of what they earn. The new tax code was built to help American companies and workers compete and win anywhere in the world.

Now something big is happening to America’s economy. Since January, more than one million jobs have been created. This has brought claims for unemployment benefits to their lowest level since 1969, and there are now actually more job openings than people looking for work. The U.S. has gone from a nation asking “Where are the jobs?” to one that asks “Where are more workers?”

While this economic turnaround has come as a shock to most Democrats in Washington, it’s no surprise to millions of working families across America. They were overtaxed and overregulated for far too long, and the result was a decade of slow growth.

In only six months, the economy has been reinvigorated—and the best is yet to come. That’s because the new tax code leapfrogs America’s competitors abroad. The U.S. is now at the head of the pack—one of the best places on the planet to find that next job, to build that new manufacturing plant, or to set up company headquarters.

As a result, businesses of all sizes are now investing in American workers and communities. They are bringing back their dollars from overseas and investing at home again. It’s no coincidence that small-business optimism has hit its highest reported level in 35 years.

There is a new hope and a new optimism that wasn’t here before. To call it a sudden change from the sluggish Obama-era economy would be an understatement. For a decade, it was like America’s economy was going through a 25 mph zone. Now that the high taxes and uncompetitive regulations are gone, we’re on the open highway again.

In my home state of Texas, families and business owners tell me that they’re hopeful about their economic outlook for the first time since the Great Recession. A growing economy means real change for millions, and it’s uplifting to hear from so many people who are excited about their futures again. A Gallup poll out this week found that satisfaction with the direction the U.S. is heading has reached a 12-year high. This simply wouldn’t have happened without meaningful tax reform.

The scary thing is that Democrats want to take all of this progress away. They think Washington should keep more of families’ hard-earned money. Critics like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi continue to deny that tax reform has had any positive effects, and they have actually pledged to raise taxes. Clearly, Democrats are interested in seeing only doom and gloom.

Meantime, Republicans are finding innovative ways to keep improving the tax code to ensure it will remain competitive and pro-growth for Main Street businesses. We’re going to change the culture of Washington so the U.S. doesn’t find itself in the same situation we faced last year, with a tax code that was an anchor dragging down the economy.

Given the choice between keeping taxes high and allowing families to keep more of their money, Republicans chose—and continue to choose—the American people. Empowering families to run their own lives is at the heart of the American Dream. It’s the key to our nation’s economic success, and it’s the reason that, six months into tax reform, Americans are more hopeful about their future.

Mr. Brady, a Texas Republican, is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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