Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

Get ready: 2018 will be even more political than previous year

Democrats face the hour of truth against Donald Trump Get ready: 2018 will be even more political than previous year
Bennie Garza | 12 January, 2018, 22:34

The naysayers, the people who called President Obama's puny growth rates "the new normal", insist that much higher economic growth is impossible.

Trump's tax legislation also attests to many Republicans' belief that dollars are more important than voters.

Though most Americans won't notice major changes until they file their 2018 taxes next year, some of the bill's effects will become clear in shorter order.

No matter how moderate or conservative GOP candidates are, the Democrats will seek to tie them to Trump, who received just a third of the vote in NY in 2016 and polls show continues to have extremely low popularity numbers. "It would be a tragedy if the report has a minority section that says, "look, we wanted to talk to these two dozen witnesses and weren't able to do so'". And some presidential hopefuls will begin racking up miles and building their cases, as Mayor Bill de Blasio and Vermont Sen.

$200-plus billion: Infrastructure.

Despite (or because of?) this acknowledgment, McConnell and other Republicans ended the year in a mood of undeserved triumph, congratulating themselves for passing a big - and fiscally unsafe - tax bill. On the individual side, about 80 percent of American households will get tax cuts next year, while about 5 percent will pay more, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Some of the president's strongest allies conceded that voters may not immediately warm to the new law. We'll know soon enough, so no point in leaning too far into this question, but here are things to watch for.

So far, the public is not sold. In December they fielded a candidate in a special state Senate race who lost by nine points in a district where the party didn't even run a candidate in 2010 or 2014 because it is considered so deeply Republican. This plan disturbs the contentment Americans were starting to feel.

The White House said Wednesday that Trump will actively promote the bill.

DEMS MUST HOLD THE LINE ON "DREAMERS": Trump recently tweeted that there will be no solution for the "dreamers" without money for his silly wall.

Unresolved issues set aside in 2017 to make way for a tax overhaul are poised to surface early in 2018, giving Trump the opportunity for the confrontation with Washington's establishment that he's promised since his election. Senator Chuck Schumer of NY, the Senate Democratic leader, suggested real cooperation would require a wholesale attitude adjustment on the part of Republicans and Mr. Trump. But Democrats have more leverage when Republicans aren't unified on what they want, pointed out Molly Reynolds, a congressional analyst with the Brookings Institution.

It would be remarkable if the government shut down under Republicans' watch, less than a month after their tax victory.

The Republicans' revoking of mandated coverage under the ACA is projected to drive up premiums for those Americans by 10 percent. That includes millions still covered by expanded Medicaid.

"We have essentially repealed Obamacare", the president declared. "When people see their paychecks getting bigger in February because withholding tables have adjusted to reflect their tax cuts", Ryan exulted, "that's going to change its popularity".

GOP incumbents in Congress will have ample support from wealthy donors whom the tax bill rewarded.

If a year of Trump has put voters in the mood for less confrontation, that poses a big challenge for Republicans. Steve Bell, a former GOP Senate budget aide now with the Bipartisan Policy Institute predicts there has to be some kind of immigration deal within or closely tied to the spending bill to get Democrats on board.

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens argued that regular folks will be happy to see higher stock prices reflected in their retirement accounts, but that's because he's conflated shareholdings with share values (it's the latter that matter most).

The 2016 election cycle will be remembered as one of the most controversial [VIDEO] in recent American history.

County party primary contests are in May, with the local general election in August on the same day as the state and federal party primaries.

The road to a Democratic House majority, if there is one, runs through these districts.

On balance, I think they tilt against the plan's reception. They're calling these bonuses a public relations gesture.

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