Thursday, May 06, 2021
These charts are from the newest Politico / Morning Consult Poll -- done between April 30th and May 3rd of a national sample of 1,991 registered voters, with a 2 point margin of error.
They show that President Biden's American Families Plan is supported by a clear majority of registered voters.
Once again, the Republicans are shooting themselves in the foot with their opposition to the plan.
Social media interactions about former President Trump have fallen 91% since January, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.
When Trump lost his social media accounts, he lost his once-immense power to put himself at the center of Americans' attention.
Clicks to Trump stories fell 81% from January to February, another 56% from February to March and 40% from March to April, according to exclusive data from SocialFlow.
But while corporations enjoy those rights (like the ability to donate money for political causes), they don't pay the same tax rate as people. But they should.
The following article (by Timothy Noah in The New Republic) callas for a more equal taxation of corporations. If they enjoy the same rights as people do, then they should pay the same taxes. Here is part of that excellent article:
As if by magic, corporations were rendered human by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United and 2014 Hobby Lobby decisions. They may now exercise free speech rights through unlimited political spending and enjoy freedom of religion by denying employee health care coverage for birth control pills, diaphragms, and IUDs. As Mitt Romney famously chided a heckler at the 2011 Iowa State Fair, “Corporations are people, my friend.”
But not even today’s new, improved Romney would ever suggest that corporations are people when they pay their taxes. Suggest to a conservative that these notional human beings should pay the same income tax as actual human beings, and he or she will slam into reverse and tell you, “Corporations aren’t people at all. They’re really just an inanimate pile of stock certificates that gets taxed twice, first as corporate income and then as individual shareholders’ capital gains.” This double-taxation argument is disingenuous because the people who make it usually want to eliminate taxes on both the inanimate part (corporations) and the people part (capital gains); in reality, they don’t want capital to get taxed at all.
The Roberts court’s doctrine of corporate personhood is wrong. Corporations are not, in fact, people. If you prick them, they do not bleed, and if the high court were to resume barring them from pouring money into super PACs or denying contraception coverage, nobody’s rights would be infringed. It would be fun to impose sauce-for-the-goose consistency on conservatives by taxing corporations the same as we do people, but that doesn’t make much practical sense because it would put the United States out of sync with corporate tax rates in other countries. But we can certainly tax corporations more than the modest 28 percent that President Biden proposes. That’s an increase over President Donald Trump’s 21 percent, but it’s well short of the 35 percent rate that was in place before Trump slashed it in 2017. If we restored that 35 percent rate it would still be two percentage points below the top marginal income tax rate for Homo sapiens, and nearly five percentage points below the 39.6 percent top marginal income tax rate on actual (wealthy) human beings that Biden has proposed.
Capital gains are a different story. Corporations sort of do become human when they generate capital gains, in the sense that capital income flows to real people, not notional inanimate entities endowed with fanciful rights. Consequently, there’s no logical reason why capital income should be taxed at a lower rate than labor income, as it is today, with a top rate of only 20 percent. Income is income, and it should all be taxed at the same rate. Believe it or not, for a few years in the late 1980s and the early 1990s, the top capital gains rate and the top marginal income tax rate wereidentical. The president who made this happen was none other than that well-known Bolshevik, Ronald Reagan. The shadowy Marxist-Leninist figure who first advised Reagan to do so was Don Regan, who, prior to becoming treasury secretary, spent a decade as chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch.
Now Biden is readying an increase in the capital gains tax that would once again align the top rate with that proposed top income tax rate of 39.6 percent, and an outraged investor class is pretending Reagan and Regan never lived. “That preferential rate has persisted for decades,” thundered an April 25 editorial in The Wall Street Journal (“The Dumbest Tax Increase”), “through Democratic and Republican administrations.” Never mind that Regan’s Treasury Department said, in 1984, that “all income should be taxed equally,” or that for at least part of the economic expansion under Reagan—an expansion that former Journal editorial page editor Robert Bartley proudly anointed “the seven fat years”—the top capital gains rate matched the top marginal income tax rate.
Wednesday, May 05, 2021
This chart is from the latest University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll -- done between April 16th and 22nd of 1,200 registered voters in Texas, and has a 2.83 point margin of error.
It shows that Texas voters approve of the job President Biden is doing at least as much as they approve of the Republican officials elected in the state.
For those of you not familiar with Texas state politics -- Abbott is the governor, Patrick is the lt. governor, Paxton is the Attorney General, and Phelen is the speaker of the house. Cruz and Cornyn are the U.S. senators from Texas.
Normally, one would think that honesty and truthfulness is a good thing -- and that a person should be honored for truthfulness. But that is not the case in today's Republican Party. Truth is no longer a respected value in the Republican Party.
They have sold out to support Donald Trump's "big lie" (that he won the 2020 election and Biden was inaugurated only because of massive fraud). And because they no longer respect the truth, they are probably going to punish Cheney by removing her from her leadership post in the House.
It's a lie, but most Republicans will tell it anyway. They know it's a lie, but consider their own political primary chances to be more important than being honest with the American people. They should be ashamed of lying to protect their own cushy political jobs, but they're not. Shame is also not a value shared by Republicans these days.
The following is part of a column by Michael Gerson in The Washington Post:
For the activist base of the Republican Party, affirming that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential contest has become a qualification for membership in good standing. For the party’s elected leaders, accepting the clear result of a fair election is to be a rogue Republican like the indomitable Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) — a target for Trump’s anger, public censure and primary threats.
Nothing about this is normal. The GOP is increasingly defined not by its shared beliefs, but by its shared delusions. To be a loyal Republican, one must be either a sucker or a liar. And because this defining falsehood is so obviously and laughably false, we can safely assume that most Republican leaders who embrace it fall into the second category. Knowingly repeating a lie — an act of immorality — is now the evidence of Republican fidelity. . . .
Moral clarity against lying is sometimes made harder by our loose application of the term. When public figures disagree with you in their analyses of tax policy, or welfare spending or Social Security reform, they’re generally not lying. They’re disagreeing. When it’s revealed that someone was previously wrong about an issue — even on a grave matter of national security — it doesn’t mean he or she was lying all along. It means that person was wrong. . . .
It’s important to keep perspective about the stakes of any given lie. There is reason the English language has so many words to describe the shades of culpability in a deception. You can equivocate, or dissemble, or palter, or mislead, or prevaricate, or fib, or perjure. There are mortal lies and venial lies, cruel lies and merciful lies. Context matters. . . .
The context for Trump’s lies has been particularly damning. When Trump falsely asserted that Barack Obama was born in Africa and thus illegitimate as president, it was permission for racism. When he claimed he saw Muslims in New Jersey celebrating on Sept. 11, 2001, it was a vicious lie to feed a prejudice.
But the lie of a stolen election is the foundational falsehood of a political worldview. Believing it requires Trump’s followers to affirm the existence of a nationwide plot against him and his supporters — a plot led by ruthless Democrats and traitorous Republicans, and ignored or endorsed by useless courts and a complicit media. The claim’s plausibility is not the point. Does it really make sense that Attorney General William P. Barr, who found no evidence of election fraud that could have changed the result, was in on the plot? Were the conservative judges Trump appointed who dismissed his rubbish lawsuits really out to get him? . . .
Trump’s lie is not the moral equivalent of fascist propaganda. But it serves the same political function. A founding lie is intended to remove followers from the messy world of facts and evidence. It is designed to replace critical judgment with personal loyalty. It is supposed to encourage distrust of every source of social authority opposed to the leader’s shifting will.
The people who accepted this political mythology and stormed the Capitol were not lying about their views. They seemed quite sincere. And who knows what Trump really thinks? When a congenital liar surrounds himself with sycophantic liars, he can easily lose radio contact with reality.
No, it is the elected Republicans who are lying with open eyes, out of fear or cynicism, who have the most to atone for. With the health of U.S. democracy at stake, their excuses are disgraceful.
Tuesday, May 04, 2021
These charts are from the new Data For Progress Poll -- done between April 16th and 19th of a national sample of 1,138 likely voters, with a 3 point margin of error.
It shows that most voters like the provisions in the "For The People" voting rights bill that the House of Representatives passed and sent to the Senate. The bill has been held up in the Senate because of Republican opposition, and may well be killed by a GOP filibuster.
Once again, the Republicans have staked out a position in opposition to what the voters in this country want. They believe that blocking this bill (and passing voter suppression bills in some states) is the path to get them a majority in Congress. But if this (and other) poll is correct, that could well backfire on them.
The charts above reflect the results of the newest University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll -- done between April 16th and 22nd of 1,200 registered voters in Texas, with a 2.83 point margin of error.
The Texas legislature is solidly in the hands of right-wing Republicans. But while voters put them into office, they don't reflect the wishes of most Texas voters.
I hope this can change in future elections. But it won't if Republicans are allowed to gerrymander districts to keep themselves in power.
That is bad enough, but the Republicans in state legislatures around the country are going further. They are trying to turn their lies into laws -- especially laws that will restrict the right to vote, the right to demonstrate, and the right not to be discriminated against.
The following is part of a guest submission by Juan Williams in The Hill:
Monday, May 03, 2021
The charts above reflect the results of the new ABC News / Ipsos Poll -- done on April 30th and May 1st of a national sample of 513 adults, with a 4.7 point margin of error.
The public believes President Biden is doing what he can to compromise with congressional Republicans -- but don't believe those Republicans are doing enough to compromise with the president.
President Roosevelt brought this nation out of that previous crisis situation by spending big to invest in this country and especially its people. And he did it in spite of Republican opposition to his programs.
Now the Biden administration is taking that same course to guide this country to a recovery that is fair to all Americans -- and he will have to do it without any support from congressional Republicans. It will be harder this time, because Biden doesn't have the Democratic majority that Roosevelt had, but it must be done. Just returning to normal is not enough. He must make the country and its economy fairer to all its citizens.
Here is how New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof sees it:
The best argument for President Biden’s three-part proposal to invest heavily in America and its people is an echo of Franklin Roosevelt’s explanation for the New Deal.
“In 1932 there was an awfully sick patient called the United States of America,” Roosevelt said in 1943. “He was suffering from a grave internal disorder … and they sent for a doctor.”
Paging Dr. Joe Biden.
We should be cleareyed about both the enormous strengths of the United States — its technologies, its universities, its entrepreneurial spirit — and its central weakness: For half a century, compared with other countries, we have underinvested in our people.
In 1970, the United States was a world leader in high school and college attendance, enjoyed high life expectancy and had a solid middle class. This was achieved in part because of Roosevelt.
The New Deal was imperfect and left out too many African-Americans and Native Americans, but it was still transformative. . . .
In short, the New Deal invested in the potential and productivity of much of the nation. The returns were extraordinary.
These kinds of investments in physical infrastructure (interstate highways) and human capital (state universities and community colleges) continued under Democratic and Republican presidents alike. They made America a stronger nation and a better one.
Yet beginning in the 1970s, America took a wrong turn. We slowed new investments in health and education and embraced a harsh narrative that people just need to lift themselves up by their bootstraps. We gutted labor unions, embraced inequality and shrugged as working-class America disintegrated. Average weekly wages for America’s production workers were actually lower in December 2020 ($860) than they had been, after adjusting for inflation, in December 1972 ($902 in today’s money). . . .
Biden proposes something more humane and effective — investing in children, families and infrastructure in ways that echo Roosevelt’s initiatives.
The most important thread of Biden’s program is his plan to use child allowances to cut America’s child poverty in half. Biden’s main misstep is that he would end the program in 2025 instead of making it permanent; Congress should fix that.
The highest return on investment in America today isn’t in private equity but in early childhood initiatives for disadvantaged kids of all races. That includes home visitations, lead reduction, pre-K and child care.
Roosevelt started a day care program during World War II to make it easier for parents to participate in the war economy. It was a huge success, looking after perhaps half a million children, but it was allowed to lapse after the war ended.
Biden’s proposal for day care would be a lifeline for young children who might be neglected. Aside from the wartime model, we have another in the U.S.: The military operates a high-quality on-base day care system, because that supports service members in performing their jobs.
Then there are Biden’s proposed investments in broadband; that’s today’s version of rural electrification. Likewise, free community college would enable young people to gain technical skills and earn more money, strengthening working-class families.
Some Americans worry about the cost of Biden’s program. That’s a fair concern. Yet this is not an but an : Our ability to compete with China will depend less on our military budget, our spy satellites or our intellectual property protections than on our high school and college graduation rates. A country cannot succeed when so many of its people are failing.
As many Americans have criminal records as college degrees. A baby born in Washington, D.C., has a shorter life expectancy (78 years) than a baby born in Beijing (82 years). Newborns in 10 counties in Mississippi have a shorter life expectancy than newborns in Bangladesh. Rather than continue with Herbert Hoover-style complacency, let’s acknowledge our “grave internal disorder” and summon a doctor.
The question today, as in the 1930s, is not whether we can afford to make ambitious investments in our people. It’s whether we can afford not to.
Sunday, May 02, 2021
The chart above reflects the results of the newest CNN / SSRS Poll -- done between April 21st and 26th of a national sample of 1,004 respondents, and has a 3.6 point margin of error.
About 70% of Republicans continue to say Joe Biden did not legitimately win the presidential election, and 50% of them believe solid evidence exists to prove that.
Michael Steele is the former chairman of the Republican National Committee. He's been a Republican all his life. But he's not a Trumpista, and he appreciates having Joe Biden as president. Here is what he had to say in an op-ed for MSNBC:
The responsibility of those we elect to lead, whether during a depression or a pandemiccoupled with tectonic social unrest, is to be an honest broker on our behalf. They must be fearless in enacting policies that encourage greater economic growth and social reforms; and visionary in fostering a climate that promotes job creation while remaining responsive to the welfare of those all too often left behind as growth takes hold.
Much of what has been written and said about President Joseph R. Biden overlooks this essential quality to his success. His time as both a senator and vice president positioned him well to understand that passing a big agenda — be it social or economic — requires the discipline of leadership. His immediate predecessor failed to pass much of anything — perhaps because he lacked both discipline and leadership.
People are acutely aware of what is happening right now across the country. From Covid-19 recovery to racial inequality and policing, Americans are closely monitoring how well Biden is managing these rather difficult and highly charged issues. As he has crafted his policy on the pandemic and now infrastructure, Biden has shrewdly sat down with us at the proverbial kitchen table to explain what he wants to do and why. Even more importantly, he has asked us to help by doing our part.
Biden’s approach is quite different from what we have seen from other presidents in recent years. He seems less concerned with the obvious Democrat vs. Republican rancor. Perhaps, it is because he is familiar with the ways of Washington and knows the political divides that block progress are mostly designed for partisan showboating. It should surprise no one that he has so far steered around such resistance and engaged more directly and personally with voters.
And it’s working. Not only does a recent Pew Research Center pollhave his job approval at 59 percent, but also the latest NBC News poll has 69 percent of Americans approving of the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and 52 percent approving of how he’s managing the economy. And even though his approval is upside down with voters on China (35 percent), the gun issue (34 percent) and border security/immigration (33 percent), the American public does not seem generally to be holding those issues against him.
The difference is leadership; and people are warming to Biden’s brand. As one NBC News poll respondent noted, “The best thing about Joe Biden is I don't have to think about Joe Biden.” In other words, they trust him. . . .
Republicans and even some progressives may want to see Biden’s first 100 days through a strictly partisan/ideological lens in which the administration is spending too much and getting it all wrong. But voters, at least for now, think the president is getting it right — or at least making it better.
The American people want safety and they want normalcy. Parents want their kids back in school; small-business owners want to welcome back their customers; and everyone wants hugs and handshakes to replace sanitizers and masks. Biden thinks he can make that happen, and folks so far believe him.
The president has demonstrated his concern and his compassion for everyday people. He is helping them look forward, not backward. He is raising their spirits rather than stoking their fears. He accepts the bottom line of leadership — the buck stops here — rather than blaming others. For countless Americans, that’s enough for them to “examine and assimilate in a mental picture” what leadership looks like. And so far, they like what they see.