The Stand

Trickle-down tax cuts, hotel workers UNITE, Hillary’s DNC takeover

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

 


TRICKLE-DOWN TAX CUTS

 

► Today from the NY Times — Republicans release tax plan, cutting corporate and middle-class taxes — Republican lawmakers are unveiling the most sweeping rewrite of the tax code in decades, outlining a plan to cut taxes for corporations, reduce them for middle-class families and tilt the United States closer, but not entirely, toward the kind of tax system long championed by businesses, according to talking points circulated on Thursday. The bill cuts the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, from 35 percent. The House plan, released after weeks of internal debate, conflict and delay, is far from final and will ignite a legislative and lobbying fight as Democrats, business groups and other special interests tear into the text ahead of a Republican sprint to get the legislation passed and to President Trump’s desk by Christmas.

► From Bloomberg — House tax bill has major changes for businesses, individuals — The bill would cap the mortgage-interest deduction on new home sales at $500,000 and would phase out the estate tax.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The estate tax affects only estates larger that $10.9 million for couples — $5.95 million for an individual — and affects only .002 percent of all estates, or 2 in every 1,000. Repealing it would cost the U.S. Treasury almost $700 billion over 20 years. That’s why some consider it the “Donald Trump, Jr. Relief Act” (the president’s heirs would save an estimated $1 billion).

► From Bloomberg — For Republicans, estate-tax repeal is inviolable (by Albert Hunt) — Republican support for this repeal has held fast despite political concerns that Republicans need a measure that looks more like relief for the middle class than a sop to the rich. But no provision is more lopsided for the wealthy, while doing nothing for the middle class, than eliminating the estate tax. There aren’t any congressional districts where its repeal helps a significant number of voters, but it’s important to another crucial political constituency: wealthy campaign contributors.

► From Politico — House GOP releases sweeping tax overhaul plan — Exactly who would lose in the proposal, and possibly have to pay higher taxes, has been a closely held secret, and many lawmakers will surely be surprised at the scope of changes required to make the numbers behind the plan work.

► From CBS News — Most back tax cut for middle class, tax increase on wealthy and corporations — Most Americans would like to see a tax cut for the middle class and small businesses, but a majority want to see tax increases for large corporations (56 percent) and for the wealthy (58 percent).

 


THIS WASHINGTON

 

► In today’s Olympian — Open enrollment starts amid confusion over health care law — Open enrollment for people buying their own health insurance started Wednesday in what experts say could be a confusing time for consumers. For people buying through Washington’s exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder, the deadline to enroll is Jan. 15. However, if you want coverage to start Jan. 1, you have to enroll by Dec. 15.

ALSO at The Stand — Health coverage signups begin Wednesday

► In today’s Olympian — Deadly force initiative may spur needed compromise (editorial) — What De-Escalate Washington proposes isn’t perfect, but if enough voters sign Initiative 940, it will send a clear message to police representatives to give up ground and meet in the middle. And that would be a good place for both sides to end up.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO has endorsed I-940 and has urged union members to sign it.

► From AP — 4 women accuse former state lawmaker of harassment, assault — Two of the allegations against former Democratic Rep. Brendan Williams came in Facebook posts written by the women following a story Tuesday by the Northwest News Network and The News Tribune/Olympian about sexual harassment at the Capitol. A third woman said she was a House intern when Williams made an unwelcome sexual advance. A fourth woman, Olympia City Councilwoman Jessica Bateman, said Wednesday that Williams kissed her against her wishes after a political meeting.

► From AP — 2011 House resignation sparked by ‘inappropriate behavior’ — Leaders at the Washington state House have acknowledged that former Democratic state Rep. Jim Jacks, who resigned in the middle of the 2011 legislative session, was forced out because of allegations of inappropriate behavior toward a female staffer at an off campus St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

 


LOCAL

 

► In today’s Seattle Times — Leaders of 3 advocacy groups say Urquhart bullied ex-deputies who accused him of sexual assault — Leaders of three political-advocacy groups blasted King County Sheriff John Urquhart Wednesday for what they described as his egregious mistreatment of two people who have accused him of sexual assault, and they called on public officials who have supported his re-election bid to rescind their endorsements.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Strange, white powder found at Hanford. Officials object to being fined for doing nothing about it yet — The Department of Energy and a Hanford contractor are appealing a fine and order issued by the Washington State Department of Ecology over a suspicious white powder found at Hanford’s PUREX processing plant.

► In the NW Labor Press — Union-bashing Willamette Week tramples the facts in airport story — “Organized labor wants to push out local restaurants and raise prices at Portland International Airport.” That’s word-for-word what Willamette Week reported in its Oct. 18 issue. Only problem? It’s not true, says the union organizer involved, Stefan Moritz, of UNITE HERE Local 8.

 


THAT WASHINGTON

 

► From The Hill — Democrats have an ambitious plan to help rebuild labor unions — These proposals — including banning states from enacting anti-union so-called “right-to-work” laws — won’t become a reality in the current political climate, but they show a party establishment embracing its progressive wing.

ALSO at The Stand — Dems announce ‘Better Deal’ for workers — Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.): “I’m proud to join my colleagues today to roll out our vision to strengthen workers’ bargaining power—and their right to join a union to advocate for safer working conditions, better pay, and a secure retirement.”

► From The Hill — Impeachment calls grow louder — A group of Democrats will file new articles of impeachment against the president this month, according to Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), who’s supporting the push. But the campaign is sure to prove a headache for Democratic leaders, who have ventured all year to tamp down rank-and-file attempts to oust the president amid concerns that they’ll undermine efforts to win back the House.

► From The Hill — Trump repeals consumer arbitration rule, wins banker praise — Donald Trump approved the resolution to repeal the CFPB rule, meant to block consumers from joining class-action lawsuits against banks and credit card companies that have defrauded them.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Here’s a MUST-SEE speech by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) explaining why this rule is was so important to protect everyday people from malfeasance by Wells Fargo, Equifax and other financial companies.

 


NATIONAL

 

► From In These Times — How Trump’s anti-immigrant hate is galvanizing hotel workers to fight back — No friend of labor or working-class immigrants, President Donald Trump is nevertheless providing a back-handed boost to the hotel workers’ union UNITE HERE by helping it sign up new members at its union locals around the country. Trump’s threats to punish immigrants has prompted more and more workers to look to the union as a way to protect themselves in an uncertain political climate, UNITE HERE leaders say. The boost is powerful enough that 2017 is proving to be a banner year for new organizing at the union. Spokesperson Rachel Gumpert says UNITE HERE is leading the field among big unions, with major recruiting efforts underway. Some 12,000 new members have been signed up since the beginning of the year, she tells In These Times, making 2017 the best year for new organizing in recent memory.

EDITOR’S NOTE — If you are a hotel or restaurant employee in Washington state, contact UNITE HERE Local 8 for more information. All others can click here to learn how to join together at your workplace!

► From AP — Russia hackers had targets worldwide, beyond U.S. election — including Boeing workers — The hackers who disrupted the U.S. presidential election had ambitions well beyond Hillary Clinton’s campaign, targeting the emails of Ukrainian officers, Russian opposition figures, U.S. defense contractors including Boeing and thousands of others of interest to the Kremlin, according to a previously unpublished digital hit list. The list skewed toward workers for defense contractors such as Boeing, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin or senior intelligence figures, prominent Russia watchers and — especially — Democrats.

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

► Today from Politico — Inside Hillary Clinton’s secret takeover of the DNC (by Donna Brazile) — Before I called Bernie Sanders, I lit a candle in my living room and put on some gospel music. I wanted to center myself for what I knew would be an emotional phone call. I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process, as a cache of emails stolen by Russian hackers and posted online had suggested. I’d had my suspicions from the moment I walked in the door of the DNC a month or so earlier, based on the leaked emails. But who knew if some of them might have been forged? I needed to have solid proof, and so did Bernie.

So I followed the money. My predecessor, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had not been the most active chair in fundraising at a time when President Barack Obama’s neglect had left the party in significant debt. As Hillary’s campaign gained momentum, she resolved the party’s debt and put it on a starvation diet. It had become dependent on her campaign for survival, for which she expected to wield control of its operations. Debbie was not a good manager. She hadn’t been very interested in controlling the party—she let Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn do as it desired so she didn’t have to inform the party officers how bad the situation was. How much control Brooklyn had and for how long was still something I had been trying to uncover for the last few weeks.

By September 7, the day I called Bernie, I had found my proof and it broke my heart.

 


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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