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Thursday, October 26, 2017
SURVEILLANCE & Trump plays Whack-a-Tax - email@example.com - Gmail
Whatever your metaphor, the Trump administration and Congress create a new political problem for themselves each time they try to solve an existing problem with their tax plan. It happened again yesterday, when President Trump promised not to reduce the tax benefits of 401(k) plans.
That promise makes the plan less vulnerable to charges that it’s bad for the middle class — but more vulnerable to charges of fiscal recklessness.
The underlying problem is that Trump and Congress are pushing for enormous tax cuts for the wealthy, by reducing both individual taxes (like the estate tax) and corporate taxes (which disproportionately fall on affluent stock owners). These tax cuts will likely cost the federal government more than $2 trillion over the next decade.
There are only three things that can happen with this $2 trillion hole: The tax plan can try to fill it by by raising taxes on middle-class and low-income families; the plan can try to fill the hole by cutting government spending, which tends to benefit those same families; or, Trump and Congress can allow the deficit to soar.
All three of those options are politically problematic, which explains days like yesterday. Of course, Trump and Congress could make many of their political troubles go away — if only they didn’t care so much about cutting taxes on the wealthy.
‘It is cruelty.’ Some of the most impressive teenagers I’ve ever met came from a program called Leda, which identifies academic superstars from low-income families. One of Leda’s superstars is named Viviana Andazola Marquez, whose college essay was featured in The Times in 2014 and who’s now a senior at Yale.
On Oct. 12, her father, Melecio Andazola Morales, had an appointment at a federal immigration office in Denver. He believed it was the last step in the process to earn his green card. Instead, agents detained him, and he now faces deportation.
“We filed the correct paperwork, paid the fees and lined up all his references, only for my dad to be dragged out of a little office and locked up,” Viviana writes in today’s Times. “What happened to him is not an appropriate application of the law — it is cruelty.”
Our driverless future. Many responses to my column on driverless cars focused on their potential benefits for the elderly and disabled. It’s an excellent point, and one I did not make in the column.
“They could be a godsend for disabled and elderly drivers who, lacking decent public transportation options, sometimes continue to drive even if they are not really able to control a heavy, complex, potentially life-threatening piece of machinery,” wrote Lawyermom, in the column’s comments section.
Another commenter wrote: “I love to drive, but doggone it, at 66 I worry that my reactions aren’t sharp and I know my eyes, even with glasses, aren’t as good as they used to be. And the headlights at night cause me no end of concern. I’m an aging boomer, and there’s a lot of us, and I know darned well I’m not the only boomer having these problems.”
Finally, Dan Frazier, of New Mexico, predicted: “In the beginning, driverless vehicles that cause crashes will make headlines. But in the end, when most cars are driverless, it will be the human-piloted vehicles that will make headlines when they crash.”
The full Opinion report from The Times follows, including Matthew Feeney of the Cato Institute on police surveillance.