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Economy

Paul Ryan says President Trump is warming to the idea of breaking a campaign promise: Addressing entitlements

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Paul Ryan says President Trump is warming to the idea of breaking a campaign promise Addressing enti

It looks like Republicans will be getting their tax cuts, and while they may not be the true tax “reform” many conservatives wanted, they’re generally being accepted as a step in the right direction. One of the biggest challenges to the cuts, the portion that made retiring Senator Bob Corker the lone GOP dissenter, is that it will balloon the debt and increase deficits. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan indicated they will be addressing the biggest contributor to deficits by going after entitlements next year.

This has been a topic the GOP has avoided since Trump won the election. He ran on promises to keep entitlements where they are, helping him win the Republican nomination and the presidency itself by appealing to recipients of Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. The Speaker says he’s making progress in private talks with the President to open him up to the potential to break that particular promise.

“I think the president is understanding choice and competition works everywhere, especially in Medicare,” Ryan said.

Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill are now starting to echo the narrative they’d been embracing before Trump won. Now that tax cuts are on the verge of becoming a reality, they’ll need to address ways to pay for those cuts. The easiest way to do it is to slash entitlements, but the hard part will be selling the idea to constituents ahead of the 2018 election. There are already fears of losing majorities in both the House and Senate following legislative failures and presidential gaffes. Going after entitlements now could doom them in the midterm elections if they’re unable to make a compelling case.

My Take

The biggest weakness of the GOP is selling their ideas. They are good at opposition to Democratic ideas and rode the backlash against Obamacare to win the House in 2010, Senate in 2014, and White House in 2016. To keep them, they’ll need to make people understand the benefits of cutting spending. Then, they’ll need to sell them on the reality that entitlements are the best (and perhaps only) way to make budget cuts happen.

The only good news for them is that the largest emerging voting block, millennials, may be the key to selling entitlement reform. If they can demonstrate two things: the need to embrace a federalist approach to welfare as they’re doing with food stamps and the fiscal risks they’ll put us all in if they don’t reform entitlements, they have an opportunity to get millennials on board. If they don’t do these two things, entitlement reform may be the election dagger if they pass it or the reason Democrats will give to vote for them if they don’t pass it. By putting it on the table, they have to win the messaging game or they’re toast whether they pass it or not.

Further Reading

Ryan pledges ‘entitlement reform’ in 2018

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/363642-ryan-pledges-entitlement-reform-in-2018Health-care entitlements such as Medicare and Medicaid “are the big drivers of debt,” Ryan said, “so we spend more time on the health-care entitlements, because that’s really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking.”

Ryan said he’s been speaking privately with President Trump, who is beginning to warm to the idea of slowing the spending growth in entitlements.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Steve

    December 7, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    It’s simple: if they reduce my Social Security I’ll become a voting Democrat.

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Economy

With McCain out, Republicans can only afford one ‘No’ vote on tax plan

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With McCain out, Republicans can only afford one 'No' vote on tax plan

Things were looking very good for the GOP going into the week. Both Senators Marco Rubio and Bob Corker had signaled they were voting for the tax bill, leaving three undecided Senators to contend with Monday. Now, Senator John McCain is likely to miss the vote as he travels to Arizona for brain cancer treatment.

That means for the Republican plan to pass in the Senate, no more than one Republican Senator can vote against it. If two vote against it and every Democrat does as well, the vote would be 50-49 against, rendering Vice President’s tie-breaking vote unnecessary.

Averting a government shutdown is also on the table this week, though McCain’s absence won’t be as important since there will likely be Democrats helping to keep the government running, if only for a short while.

Further Reading

Sen. John McCain back in Arizona, will miss vote on GOP tax bill

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/john-mccain-arizona-brain-cancer-treatment-miss-gop-tax-plan-vote/Republican Sen. John McCain returned home to Arizona after spending several days in a Maryland hospital recovering from side effects from chemotherapy treatment for brain cancer, CBS News has learned. He will spend the holidays with his family and will not be on hand for the final vote on the GOP tax passage expected this week. He’s expected to return to Washington in January.

Late Sunday, a dual statement from McCain’s doctor and his office described the senator’s current health situation.

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Economy

Socialism, ‘socio-economic rights’ and Net Neutrality

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Socialism socio-economic rights and Net Neutrality

Given the Socialist-Left’s proclivity for control and deception, it’s is not surprising that they tend to disguise these tendencies behind deceptive labels [e.g. Affordable Care Act]. The term ‘Net Neutrality’ is no exception, with it’s labeling making it sound like a wonderful idea, while in practice it has the opposite effect, as it with most of the Left’s socialist national agenda.

The Socialist-Left also tends to overly complicate issues to muddy the waters, such as when an MSNBC host became angry as a ‘Net Neutrality’ opponent obliterated his Leftist narratives. [Courtesy of The Right Scoop]. There have been many an article explaining the issue here, here, here and here.  As well as FCC chairman Ajit Pai detailed the issue on Fox and Friends the other day:

FCC chairman Ajit Pai provided a perfect rebuttal to the net neutrality hysteria running rampant from the nation’s Left. He detailed the restoration of the ‘Light-Touch’ approach to the internet that has seen it flourish for 20 years. He also explained that the free-market approach is the best way to ensure innovation and cheaper prices for all.

Rather than trying to delve into the technical nuances of ‘Net Neutrality’ let us take a look at another case of government interference in the marketplace. This hails from the socialist ‘paradise’ of Venezuela as detailed in The Caracas Chronicles where the “Bureau for the Defense of Socio-Economic Rights (Sundde)” escorted by rifle toting Guardia, force business owners to sell their goods at prices determined by the Socialist government of Nicolás Maduro.

As in the case of ‘Net Neutrality’ there are those who applaud such efforts without any consideration of property rights of others or the long-term implications to their Liberty and society in general. They gain the short-term advantage of free or cheap goods and services without considering that this heavy-handed government interference will suppress the free market. The businesses affected will either cut back on investment in their businesses or close altogether. This is all part of the pernicious nature of socialism, where there will always be those who somehow think they can get something for nothing based on the flawed logic that the world owes them a living just because they exist. Those who salivate at the prospect of free stuff have a tendency to forget about the long-term consequences of their actions.

In the case of ‘Net Neutrality’ regulation of private business discourages innovation and advantages the bigger players in the field causing higher prices and fewer choices.

The Bane of Shopkeepers | Caracas Chronicles

https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2017/12/15/the-bane-of-shopkeepers/On Saturday, December 2, for the fourth year in a row, the Bureau for the Defense of Socio Economic Rights (Sundde) went on an “inspection” of private businesses. They began in Plaza Venezuela, the Sabana Grande boulevard and, by Monday, they were close to Chacaíto. Escorted by the National Guard (GNB) and the National Police (PNB), they forced shopkeepers to sell their entire merchandise at a 50% discount.

People made lines almost immediately outside stores selling shoes, underwear, trousers, shirts, purses and even food. In less than seven hours, shops were emptied out.

It’s a lethal stab to many shopkeepers, since sales already dropped by 40% right in December, a period that usually has an important cash flow. The reason: exorbitant prices. A pair of sports shoes costs Bs. 800,000 ($7.7, at the current black market rate), far more than the average employee can pay, with the current minimum wage plus food stamps at Bs. 456,507 ($4.42).

The GNB officers stood guard in the shops as if products were food for refugees fleeing a war. With rifles close to their chest, they controlled the crowds and diffused the constant clashes among customers.

Shopkeepers in el Centro are expecting Sundde to drop by at any minute on their nearly empty shops, while employees face an ominous prospect for 2018. The operation in Sabana Grande is common practice for the regime now: they regulate prices, destroying production and restricting free market.

Photo: José Díaz, Caracas chronicles

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Economy

Chuck Grassley attempts to defend killing the estate tax

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Chuck Grassley attempts to defend killing the estate tax

Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa has his heart in the right place, but his delivery often falls short. The estate tax definitely needs to be abolished, but trying to sell the idea by invoking booze, women, and movies is probably the wrong approach.

Here’s what he said earlier this month:

“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

Just because people aren’t investing doesn’t mean we’re spending every darn penny we have on booze, women, or movies. It’s time for the Senator to get his messaging fixed.

Source: The Hill

Grassley: Ending estate tax ‘recognizes people that are investing,’ not ‘spending every darn penny’

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/363039-grassley-ending-estate-tax-recognizes-people-that-are-investing-not-spendingSen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration Thanks to the farm lobby, the US is stuck with a broken ethanol policy MORE (R-Iowa) said he favors repealing the estate tax, which the Senate tax-reform bill does not do, saying it “recognizes the people that are investing,” The Des Moines Register reported Saturday.

“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies,” Grassley told the newspaper.

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