Well, you knew it was coming and coming it is. The Biden tax increases that are necessary to pay for all the programs the president is proposing are here. Philosophically, I am not really opposed to having the well-to-do pay more taxes. What I don’t like is the raises in certain taxes like that on capital gains and estate taxes. Why? Because in my mind, this money has been taxed already.
In the give and take of political battles on Capitol Hill, it is sometimes hard to recall that the existence of political parties is no more a part of the Constitution than are political action committees.
The most enjoyable part of writing and posting this blog is the Comments I get back on the site or via email. My favorites are the ones that dramatically disagree with me. Today (April 16), I got an earful.
In a recent newsletter, Frank Bruni of The New York Times tells about former Speaker of the House John Boehner. The Speaker has a new book out that is climbing the best seller lists mostly because he dishes all kinds of political dirt, mostly on fellow Republicans like Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell. You would think such a book and such a literary event as its publication would be a cause of joy among the opinion writers of The Times, but Bruni is a harsh critic of Boehner’s latest play for redemption. If he saw all of this misbehavior when he was Speaker, why didn’t he speak up then?
Lately, we Americans have been given ringside seats to a series of police actions that led to the assault on or deaths of a number of young people. Most of these people were young, Black males. Where there might have been a time when white America could dismiss such occurrences, that time is long gone because we now have documentation of what happened and we are all aware of the racial aspect of these acts of violence.
Frank Bruni’s column in The New York Times on April 11 discusses the issue of the new laws being initiated all over the country in mostly Republican state legislatures to outlaw trans-females participating in women’s sports and forcing transgender people to use the bathroom consistent with their sex at birth. More importantly, these state legislatures are outlawing the use of puberty-delaying medical treatments for transgender teenagers. What these puberty blockers do is allow young people confused as to their actual gender preference to delay the onset of secondary sexual characteristics until they have had the time to sort out this difficult decision with their parents and their physicians. Such therapy was lobbied for by the parents of these young people and by their physicians.
As usual, Tom Friedman has it exactly right in The New York Times on April 7.
Israel and America are two nations “that gave birth to themselves in the name of self-proclaimed ideas,” according to author Dov Seidman. The countries are based on their peoples embracing shared systems of values. Right now, neither of these prominent democracies is driven by a shared ethos despite the leadership of both nations claiming that there are common principles underpinning the nations.
President Biden is right. Politics is the art of the possible.
What was evident to me during my year on Capitol Hill was that compromise, consensus and common ground are no longer possible between Republicans and Democrats. Even as my boss Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) extolled the virtues of the “80% on which Dems and the GOP agree,” nothing got done without legislative tricks.
I was no fan of Donald Trump. I thought he set an awful example for the nation, but he did have some interesting policy ideas particularly in the international arena. He called out the Chinese Communists for the thugs that they are and actually made progress in the Middle East where none had been made for fifty years. He also initiated Operation Warp Speed and that got us vaccines way before anyone expected. He was not a complete failure and for the conservatives out there he certainly packed the courts.
If you don’t get your way when it comes to a political decision, the recourse on the part of major league athletics and large businesses is extortion.
The Republican Georgia legislature and state Governor have enacted a new voting law in the state that they claim is aimed at assuring fairer elections and ending fraud. This took place after Donald Trump lost the state and the two newly-elected U.S. senators are Democrats despite the fact that there was no fraud. Hmmm—I wonder why the GOP legislature and Governor felt it necessary to advance a new law. If there was no fraud, why the new law?