California House Republicans must defend Californians by killing the tax bill. The GOP tax bill would slash deductions claimed by Californians. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield is trying to keep Republicans in line so the bill passes. But in his district, nearly 30 percent of households take the state and local tax deduction, an average of $14,370 each. McCarthy, a Republican who claims he wants to lower taxes, is pushing to raise taxes on many of his constituents. Republicans claim they’re looking out for the common man. They’re not.
Karin Klein: Schools too often have taken shortcuts to better numbers. They’ve taught to the test and, in some cases, have engaged in outright cheating. They’ve encouraged low-scoring students to drop out, and some charter schools have made it difficult for lower-achieving students to get in the door.
Erwin Chemerinsky: The final version of the Republican tax bill repeals the individual mandate that was the linchpin of the Affordable Care Act. So the GOP isn’t just giving the rich a tax cut for Christmas. It also is killing Obamacare.
Joe Mathews: As housing costs rise, the national job market heats up and Trump cracks down on the borders, worker shortages are worsening. Dear Santa, can you please send California some more immigrants?
Take a number: $29,200
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom released a pointed video about guns on Monday. It’s sure to help him build his brand as he runs for governor in the coming year, reminding voters that he pushed Proposition 63 to restrict firearms. We’re not sure we’ll be seeing a similar video about his other big venture, Proposition 64, legalizing marijuana, but it pays dividends in other ways. A company called MedMen gave Newsom’s campaign $29,200 earlier this month, the latest donation from entities that expect to score big from the commercial sale of pot. MedMen’s stated goal: “Mainstreaming Marijuana.” The company hedged its bet by donating $15,000 earlier this year to Newsom’s main rival, Antonio Villaraigosa. When he pushed Propositon 64 to legalize the commercial recreational sale of weed, Newsom claimed his goal was to regulate it and not turn commercial sales into the next California gold rush.
Chicago Tribune: Judge Alex Kozinski’s departure spares the House of Representatives the burden of deciding whether to undertake an investigation and consider action against him. But his case should serve notice to members of Congress that if – or, almost certainly, when – the next federal judge is found to have committed improprieties or crimes, it may be up to them to impose punishment.
Salt Lake City Tribune: Sen. Orrin Hatch’s impotence is once again on full display. Congress has yet to fund one of his hallmark accomplishments – the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP. Funding for the program ran out as of Sept. 30. In September, Utah health officials said they would need to end the CHIP program if Congress failed to fund it, as it would be insolvent by the end of the year.
Charlotte Observer: Should Carolina Panthers fans worry that owner Jerry Richardson might sell the team to someone who would move it out of Charlotte? Maybe, but first they should worry about something else – the employees whom Richardson allegedly mistreated to the point that the team had to pay them significant hush money. His behavior cannot be explained away as an old man with old notions navigating in a new, woke world. He made people choose between their comfort, their dignity and their job. It was wrong.
(Raleigh, N.C.) News & Observer: Congress is set this week to pass a horrendous tax bill that will give the rich and corporations hefty tax cuts, will increase the deficit by $1 trillion over 10 years, will leave 13 million people uninsured by eliminating the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and will force cuts in federal programs as revenues dry up. In terms of unfairness and reckless economic policy, it will rank among the worst legislation ever passed.
National Review: As we hoped, the Republican tax legislation improved as it moved through Congress. Harmful ideas such as eliminating the adoption tax credit were abandoned. Some tax relief for the working poor was added. The final bill should increase investment, reduce the distortionary effect of tax breaks, and lighten the especially excessive burden that the federal government puts on parents. While the bill is nobody’s idea of perfection, it is nonetheless a solid accomplishment and we are glad that Congress is moving quickly to pass it.
Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Whatever the true nature of Omarosa’s departure from the White House, it is important to understand why few will mourn it. Omarosa is odious, on purpose, as a strategic act of persona shaping and career building. It is part performance and part personal defect.
David Brooks, New York Times: I am appalled that Republicans didn’t seek to balance this tax bill with an equal effort to help the people who actually got them elected. The central problem of our time is the stagnation of middle-class wages, the disintegration of working-class communities and the ensuing fragmentation of American society.
Michael Gerson, Washington Post: The attack on Robert Mueller is the profoundly anti-conservative strategy of Trump supporters against any institution (the courts, the media, law enforcement) that exposes the administration’s deception and corruption.
Paul Krugman, New York Times: The tax bill isn’t just a policy crime; it also seems to be a political mistake. It will, however, be good, one way or another, for the bank accounts of quite a few Republican members of Congress. Is that why it will pass?
David Leonhardt, New York Times: During the last few decades, the rich have not only enjoyed the largest pretax raises, by far. They have also received big tax cuts. The middle class and poor, meanwhile, have suffered from slow-growing incomes.
Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: Venezuela has entered a new phase in its gradual economic decline since late President Hugo Chavez started his “Bolivarian revolution” in 1999. While the country had the world’s highest inflation rates in recent years, it had not technically reached the stage of hyperinflation.
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: While everyone watches his Twitter feed, President Donald Trump is using the White House like a marketing agency for his family brand. Last week, Ivanka Trump opened a retail store inside Trump Tower, her father’s New York skyscraper.
Alex Kozinski, a Ronald Reagan appointed judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, quit Monday, after The Washington Post detailed sexual harassment complaints, this after The LA Times in 2008 exposed that he kept a website that included pornography. Kozinski was right to step down. And we will miss his dissents, like one earlier this year involving William Kirkpatrick Jr., who is very much alive despite having been sentenced to death for 1983 murders of two workers at a Burbank Taco Bell:
“A phantom death penalty is a cruel and expensive hoax. Which is why it doesn’t matter what we hold today. One way or the other, Kirkpatrick will go on to live a long life “driv[ing] everybody else crazy,” while copious tax dollars are spent litigating his claims. And my colleagues and I will continue to waste countless hours disputing obscure points of law that have no relevance to the heinous crimes for which Kirkpatrick and his 746 housemates continue to evade their lawful punishment. It’s as if we’re all performers in a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. We make exaggerated gestures and generate much fanfare. But in the end it amounts to nothing.”
“There are 800,000 young people protected by DACA who are completing college or advanced degrees, or are contributing to the economy as essential taxpaying workers. Many graduated this week in Sacramento. Their future is uncertain and many fear permanent banishment from the only home they know. Congress must approve a budget bill by Dec. 22.” – Eric Guerra, Sacramento city councilman