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So, what happened to all the political opposition in this forum? There used to be a pretty healthy group of conservatives and even one or two Libertarians (of a sort) lurking here. Now it's just us 3 or 4.

I'm thinking that they've run out of gas in the face of the stupidity of their choice of leaders. They used to fight tooth and nail with us. Now....what? They just sit at the screen and play YouTubes? (Twink, though, may be off on a super secret mission for the Army in his now not-so-new Ram truck with all the fixin's, that he paid cash for.)

Is this just the natural evolution of these forums? They die like last year's daffodils?
 

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They got what they wanted, now they are stuck with it. Be careful what you wish for. I work with a die-hard Republican, and he still hasn't come around to the fact that he voted for a loser. I knew Hillary was a loser but voted for her anyway, because Trump was a b***** loser. When you aren't an ideologue who can't bend, recognizing when your own side has a problem is far easier than it is when you are a devout hack. The apologists are hiding because even they can't bring themselves to apologize for what is going on now. That's my take.

And twink probably got tired of being called out after yet another display of utter ignorance, stupidity, and dishonesty.
 

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I've generally been walking around stunned since the primaries wondering what the hell happened to the country that those 2 turds were plucked from their respective manure buckets.

SBN itself peaked in the early 2000s and had really declined by '05ish, give or take a year. The P&R forum propped some things up a bit, but more and more people have moved from surfing forums on their computers to using FB with their phones. Even with tapatalk and its clones, forums are not terribly mobile friendly.

An evolution of this is that many people surround themselves (on social media) with "like-minded friends" for the most part. I myself have friends who are strongly opinionated left and right. I've "unfriended" very few people (mostly the ones who repeatedly "invite" me to FB games or similar action). I've unfollowed a few of the loudest/most opinionated on both sides simply because I think they're absurd. This has caused me to ramp up my own self-filter as I don't feel like defending myself from both sides against accusations of being their favorite extremist term of hatred for the other side.
 

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And the US, apparently.
Doggone it, don't go making me agree with you. It spoils the righteous huffing and puffing. But, I have to agree with both of your posts.

As a pathological optimist, I think we will survive this. We survived the Gilded Age. We survived Jim Crow. We survived all kinds of things. One thing that will never change is that the fringes are loud and obnoxious. They are just louder now because they have the internet and we, for whatever reason, give the fringes and the least reasoned more credibility than they deserve.

As a person who has been reading Toynbee, I'm far less optimistic than I would have been if I hadn't been reading. We have the most ignorant and least reasonable president in my lifetime, bar none. The person he beat would probably have been better, but only marginally due to the foaming nature of the idiots we have elected to Congress. We get what we vote for, and that's what we deserve to get.

We, as a nation, seem to like having our intelligence insulted, and we seem to like being fed a steady diet of cold baloney. We seem hell-bent on turning ourselves into a nation of deregulated serfs with a class of overlords who are well protected from their own folly and our wrath by a carefully grown thicket of havens, privileges, regulations, and rulings. We are doing it to ourselves. It's up to us to undo it at the ballot box or just live with it.

As far as social media, I come in here to vent a little, but I haven't been on FB for a very long time. Same with some other social media places. There's no point in it. Being alive in reality is better.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I won't do FB, Google, Twitter, or any of the social media things, mostly because they are so intrusive to one's privacy. They're in the business of knowing as much about you that they can glean off of your posts and comments and then advertising an endless stream of products to you. I have so many filters on my desktop, which is all I use, actually, since my cell phone is "dumb." that I just hope that if not completely, and least I'm partially unexplained.

To Gaolee, Teej and BD: I've come to the conclusion that we are all in this mess together, regardless of political party affiliation. The differences between 2old and myself are matters of degree but we both agree than Washington doesn't work for the people. Our remedies are also quite different. But the fact is that Trump and the Republicans in control right now are taking this country down a terribly destructive path.

That said, the Democrats, when they had power were somewhat milder versions of the same thing. Takedowns of FCC rules, the Telecommunications Act, Glass-Steagal, the abandonment of the Sherman Anti-trust Act, and dozens of other protections occurred when the Democrats were in control of Congress, the presidency, or both.


Both high ranking Republicans and virtually every Democrat knows that this president is a mistake of the highest order. The wrong person achieved the oval office. He is mentally, morally, and experientially unfit for this incredibly powerful office. People in Washington are scared to death that he may start a nuclear war over North Korea.(Kelly, and the other generals have a pact that one of them stays in DC at all times to protect against Trump pushing the button.)

It was, is, and will always be about money and the power it commands. Party is not the consideration. It is money. Their money has given a small majority of very wealthy people control of the federal government. We are about to see it in action as the Congress votes on this abominable tax bill.

A single Supreme Court decision has changed everything about who gets and who holds power in this country.

Read this. Read it slowly and you will see what the plutocrats have been up to. You will see how Lewis Powell, former chair of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and whom Richard Nixon put on the Supreme Court, virtually drew up the battle plan for Big Business to take and hold power. And today, it seems the goal has been achieved. We—all of us—have lost our government. Trump has changed everything. And everything is up for the highest bidder.

Will we survive this assault on our democracy. That's yet to be determined. I am not as optimistic as some here.

History does not repeat itself exactly.

Robert Reich has a film out called "Saving Capitalism" It's on Netflix. I can't recommend it highly enough. Everyone should see it. It is NOT a doctrinaire political screed but a wise man's understanding of what we're going through.
 

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Looks like McCain is now backing the tax fraud, er reform, plan. The GOP plans to legalize tax evasion by the rich at the expense of the rest of us. More evidence of what 'Looper just said.
 

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Looks like McCain is now backing the tax fraud, er reform, plan. The GOP plans to legalize tax evasion by the rich at the expense of the rest of us. More evidence of what 'Looper just said.
It's the Donor Relief Act. (DRA). THIS IS STEP 1. STEP 2 begins when the deficit balloons and the GOP then comes after Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to plug the gap. This WILL happen.


The Fun facts:


Both tax plans (House and Senate) eliminate most itemized deductions. The exceptions are charitable contributions, mortgage interest, property taxes, and retirement savings. Current mortgage-holders aren't affected by either plan. The House plan limits the deduction up to $500,000 for new mortgages. That would affect just 6 percent of mortgages, mostly in large cities. The Senate plan allows the deduction to remain up to $1 million but eliminates it for home equity loans.

The House plan eliminates the deduction for medical expenses. Currently, people can deduct medical expenses that are 10 percent or more of income. At least 8.8 million people used the deduction in 2015. The Senate plan keeps it.

On November 14, 2017, the Senate added a repeal of the Obamacare tax on those without health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office estimates 13 million people would drop health insurance. The federal government would save $338 billion by not having to pay their health insurance subsidies. But health care costs will rise because fewer people will get preventive care. As a result, premiums for everyone else would rise. Trump promised to reinstate subsidies as outlined in the Murray-Alexander health reform bill.

The subsidies reimburse insurers for lowering costs for low-income Americans.

Both plans eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes. That would hurt 44 million people, primarily residents in high-tax states like California and New York. It would add $1.3 trillion to federal revenues. The House plan allows taxpayers to deduct state property tax deductions up to $10,000. Trump supported Senator Susan Collins, R-ME, desire for the Senate plan to include this. The Senate plan allows corporations, but not small businesses, to deduct state and local taxes.

Both eliminate deductions for interest payments on school loans, moving expenses, theft or loss of valuables, and electric vehicles. The New York Times further details every tax cut and increase in the House bill.

Both plans double the standard deduction for everyone.

A single filer's deduction increases from $6,350 to $12,000. The deduction for Married and Joint Filers increases from $12,700 to $24,000. The National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors oppose increasing tthis. As more taxpayers take a standard deduction, fewer would take advantage of the mortgage interest deduction. That would lower housing prices. But this could be a good time to do that. Many people are concerned that the real estate market is forming a bubble that could lead to another collapse.

Both plans eliminate personal exemptions. Taxpayers can currently subtract $4,050 from income for each person claimed on the tax return. Under the Trump tax plan, families with many children would pay higher taxes despite the increased standard deductions. For example, a married couple with two children making $56,000 a year would pay $68 more a year.

Both plans double the estate tax exemption. Current tax law for 2018 exempts the first $5.6 million for singles and $11.2 million for couples. The House plan repeals the estate tax and the generation-skipping transfer tax as of January 1, 2024. That would help the top 1 percent of the population who pay it. These top 4,918 tax returns contribute $17 billion in taxes.

Both plans eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax. That helps those who make enough to be subject to it. In 2017, the AMT could affect those with incomes above $54,300 (single) or $84,500 (married filing jointly).

Child and Elder Care Deductions
The Senate plan increases the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000. But more than a third of low-income families would qualify for less than the increase. It also increases the income level from $110,000 to $1 million. That helps high-income families, at a cost of $13 billion a year. The House plan raises the Credit to $1,600. Both plans preserve the adoption tax credit. The Senate plan allows parents to set aside money for an unborn child in a tax-advantaged account.

The House plan eliminates the marriage penalty as it relates to the Child Tax Credit. Under the current tax system, two single parents receive the full credit up to a combined income of $150,000. The credit shrinks for a married couple if they earn more than $110,000. Research shows that subsidizing child care encourages people to work, boosting income and economic growth.

The House plan allows a $300 credit for each non-child dependent. The tax credit helps pay families for caring for elderly parents. But the provision ends in five years. Trump's 2016 plan gave a permanent $5,000 deduction for elder care.

Business Taxes
Both plans lower the maximum corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. The Senate plan delays the change until 2019 to save $100 billion in revenue loss. The United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. But most corporations don't pay more than 15 percent. [Several pay nothing] They can afford tax attorneys who help them avoid paying more.

Both plans lower the maximum small business tax rate to 25 percent. The House plan reduces the rate to 9 percent on the first $75,000 in income on businesses that make $150,000 or less. The cut applies to sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S corporations. Many of those are real estate companies, hedge funds, and private equity funds.

The Senate plan's reduced rate doesn't apply to labor-intensive firms like lawyers and financial services that make more than $75,000 a year. It also eliminates the deductions for supplies, home office costs, and legal fees. But it adds a 17.4 percent standard deduction for businesses. Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wis., wants to raise that deduction to 20 percent.

Both plans allow businesses to deduct the cost of depreciable assets in one year instead of amortizing them over several years. It does not apply to structures. This feature expires in five years. The write-off would encourage more investment.

Under the House plan, C-corporations lose the ability to deduct interest expense. That makes it more expensive for financial firms to borrow money. Companies would be less likely to issue bonds and buy back their stock. Stock prices could fall. But the repeal would generate $1.5 trillion in revenue to pay for other tax breaks.

On November 6, 2017, the House increased taxes on carried interest profits. Carried interest is currently taxed at 23.8 percent instead of the top income tax rate of 39.6 percent. Firms must hold assets for a year to qualify for the lower rate. The House plan extends that requirement to three years. That might hurt hedge funds that tend to trade frequently. It would not affect private equity funds that hold on to assets for around five years. Trump campaigned on making hedge fund managers pay their fair share. The change would raise $1.2 billion in revenue.

Both plans advocate a "territorial" tax system. It doesn't tax income that businesses earn in other countries. But it does impose a 10 percent tax on high-profit foreign subsidiaries. Businesses can repatriate cash stockpiles for a one-time low tax rate. That may encourage companies to put that cash to work. The Senate plan's tax rate is 10 percent on cash and 5 percent on illiquid assets. The House plan charges 7 percent and 14 percent, respectively. Trump's 2016 tax proposal charged 10 percent.

The goal is to encourage companies to repatriate $2.6 trillion in foreign cash. They've hoarded it to avoid paying taxes. But it's unlikely this will have the desired effect. The Congressional Research Service found that a 2004 tax holiday provided little boost to the economy. Companies distributed repatriated cash to shareholders, not employees.

On November 15, 2017, the Senate added a measure to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It would add $1.1 billion in revenues over 10 years. But drilling doesn't pay for itself unless oil prices are $70 a barrel.

The Senate plan also proposes tax cuts on beer, wine, and liquor. The Brookings Institute estimates that will lead to 1,550 more alcohol-related deaths each year. The study found that lower alcohol prices are directly correlated to more purchases and a higher death toll.

Trump's Promises No Longer in the Plan

Trump's 2016 proposal allowed up to $2,000 to be deposited tax-free into a Dependent Care Savings Account. The account would grow tax-free to pay for a child's education. Taxpayers could also receive a rebate for the Earned Income Tax Credit rand deposit it in the DCSA. Neither the House nor Senate plans include these features.

The plans also don't include Trump's promise to end the Affordable Care Act tax on investment income.


How It Affects You

The Senate plan would help businesses more than individuals. Through 2027, business taxes would be lower overall. But individual taxes at every income level would increase by 2027.

Among individuals, it would help higher income families the most. Everyone gets a tax cut in 2019. But in 2021, taxes will increase on those making $30,000 or less. By 2023, costs will rise on everyone who makes less than $40,000 a year. The tax cuts expire in 2025. As a result, all income levels will pay higher taxes in 2027. The tax increases are due to the elimination of so many deductions. That's according to the most recent analysis of the Senate plan by the Joint Committee on Taxation.

The Tax Policy Center found that taxpayers earning in the top 1 percent would receive a larger percent tax cut than those in lower income levels. By 2027, those in the lowest 20 percent would pay higher taxes.

The Tax Policy Center estimated the House bill would impose higher taxes on 31 percent of middle-class households in 2027.

Both plans increase in the standard deduction will benefit 6 million taxpayers. That's 47.5 percent of all tax filers, according to Evercore ISI. But that's not enough to offset lost deductions for many income brackets.

Neither plan helps the lowest-income families. That's because more than 70 million Americans don't make enough to pay taxes. The plans also don't help the third of taxpayers who have incomes that fall below current standard deduction and personal exemptions, according to New York University law professor Lily Batchelder.

Both plans increase the deficit by almost $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Budget-conscious Republicans have done an about-face. The party fought hard to pass sequestration. In 2011, some members even threatened to default on the debt rather than keep adding to it. Now they say that the tax cuts would boost the economy so much that the additional revenues would offset the tax cuts. They ignore the reasons why Reaganomics would not work today.

Furthermore, some tax breaks, like those for non-child dependents, end in five years. But House leaders admit that a future Congress will probably extend it, thus adding more to the national debt. If it isn't extended, then some middle-income taxpayers will see their taxes rise after 2023.

The Penn Wharton School of Business said the House plan would increase the $20 trillion debt by $2 trillion over its first 10 years. The Wharton estimate includes $500 billion in additional interest on the debt. It said the House plan would boost growth by 0.4 percent and 0.9 percent in its first 10 years. But it might not improve growth at all in the subsequent 10 years.

Increase in sovereign debt dampens economic growth in the long run. When a country's debt-to-GDP-ratio is more than 100 percent, investors get concerned. They demand higher yields on the nation's bonds, increasing interest rates. Those higher rates slow growth.

The administration believes in supply-side economics. It says companies will use tax cuts to create jobs. It worked during the Reagan administration because the highest tax rate was 70 percent. According to the Laffer Curve, that's in the prohibitive range. The range occurs at tax levels so high that cuts boost growth enough to offset revenue loss. But trickle-down economics no longer works because the 2017 tax rates are half what they were in the 1980s.

Many large corporations confirmed they won't use the tax cuts to create jobs. CEOs of Cisco, Pfizer, and Coca-Cola would instead use the extra cash to pay dividends to shareholders. The CEO of Amgen will use the proceeds to buy back shares of stock. In effect, the business tax cut will boost stock prices, but won't create jobs.

The most significant tax cuts should go to the middle class who are more likely to spend every dollar they get. The wealthy use tax cuts to save or invest. It helps the stock market but doesn't drive demand. Once demand is there, then businesses create jobs to meet it. Middle-class tax cuts create more jobs. But the best unemployment solution is government spending to build infrastructure and directly create jobs.

Next Steps
The Senate plan must fulfill two requirements to pass the Senate with a 51-vote majority. First, it must comply with the FY 2018 budget. That requires it to add less than $1.5 trillion to the debt in the first 10 years. Second, the Byrd rule prohibits it from adding anything to the debt after the first 10 years. If the Senate bill doesn't pass those two rules, it requires a 60-vote majority to pass. Then the plan is dead. Democrats won't support a bill that benefits the rich more than the poor.

Even though the bill passed the Budget Committee, it still faces opposition from key Republican senators. Senator Johnson wants the bill to do more for small businesses.

Senators Jeff Flake, R-AZ, and Bob Corker are concerned about the deficit impact. On November 30, 2017, the Joint Committee on Taxation reported that the bill would add $1 trillion to the deficit over 10 years. The Committee's analysis included the tax cut's impact of economic growth. It wouldn't spur growth enough to offset the cuts' loss in revenue.

Senate leaders are negotiating limited tax increases to limit the deficit. Corker first suggested a "tr***** tax." Rates would rise if growth didn't occur as planned. Businesses oppose this plan because they can't plan for tax levels that aren't set in stone. On November 30, 2017, the Senate parliamentarian ruled against the tr*****. Instead, the Senate may include an Alternative Minimum Tax on wealthy individuals and large corporations. The tax wouldn't occur for six or seven years. It would generate $350 billion in revenue.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill on December 1, 2017. Once the Senate approves its plan, House and Senate leaders have a month to reconcile the two plans in a conference committee. The Senate cannot approve the House bill as it currently stands because it violates the Byrd Rule. The House doesn't want to approve the Senate's elimination of the deduction for state and local taxes.

If the conference committee reconciles the two versions, Congress votes on the final bill. Leaders want to send it to the president before Christmas. That's a very ambitious deadline. Typically that process would last until January 2018.

AARP opposes the elimination of the medical expense deduction. That hurts seniors the most, since they are more likely to have chronic illnesses or be in nursing homes.
 

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AARP opposes the elimination of the medical expense deduction. That hurts seniors the most, since they are more likely to have chronic illnesses or be in nursing homes.
This is how the GOP runs aground. The whole GOP economic ideology is based on self-centeredness and cutting off the other while benefiting one's self. Old people hear that message. They vote. The GOP has an elderly base. They are about to piss off the AARP who are turning into the NRA for old people instead of guns. It could end poorly. Then again, who knows. There's a lot of non-analysis that goes into people's opinions and behavior.
 

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This is how the GOP runs aground. The whole GOP economic ideology is based on self-centeredness and cutting off the other while benefiting one's self. Old people hear that message. They vote. The GOP has an elderly base. They are about to piss off the AARP who are turning into the NRA for old people instead of guns. It could end poorly. Then again, who knows. There's a lot of non-analysis that goes into people's opinions and behavior.
EXCEPT: These guys are spewing propaganda at a rate in which it is virtually covering the truth.

* No one reads newpapers anymore, and regardless of who owns a paper, they have the advantage of thought and analysis before publishing, even conservative owned papers.

*The US is awash in right wing propaganda, starting with the POTUS. (e.g., "No President has accomplished what I have in his first 10 months.") and going right on down to Breitbart, InfoWars, Limbuagh, Faux News, Kochs, Mercers, Hannity, etc.
 
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