How bad is the GOP tax plan for California? Republicans don’t even like it. Republicans say the bill is meant for the middle class, but many would see higher taxes. Even the almond industry is at risk.
We Californians faced disaster in 2017. What’s in store could be worse. We who make our homes in the Golden State know that the Big One can hit at any time, and we build structures to withstand earthquakes. As the fire and rain of 2017 made clear, we will have no choice but to adjust to the reality of changing climate, now and in years to come.
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Kate Steinle has been a marytr. It’s time to let her be a daughter. Blaming the system rarely feels as satisfying as blaming a person. So, in the weeks to come politicians probably will continue to use Kate Steinle’s name in vain. Let’s hope others can find the empathy to give the Steinle family what they want: the space to make Kate’s death about her, about them and not about the rest of us.
Jack Ohman hears the women speak at the state Capitol building. Listen to what they say here.
Anders Gyllenhaal, McClatchy: At a time when an avalanche of information is available with a swipe or click, editors, publishers and tech companies need to work together to deliver what readers have made it clear you want: An easy way to decide if you can trust what you read. You’ll get to decide if we deliver on this with a simple but powerful message, whether you keep reading or go elsewhere.
Dan Walters, CalMatters: How far, one might wonder, can Democrats go to help their union friends? Pretty far, the state Supreme Court seemed to say last week in validating a special law passed 15 years ago to boost the struggling United Farm Workers Union. The next test of limits, if any, on pro-union legislation may involve electric car maker Tesla.
John Kim and Robert K. Ross: California isn’t golden for everyone. Race Counts looked at ways racial disparities play out in all 58 counties across seven crucial issues. What we found is that our idealistic vision is a far cry from the often grim reality in California today.
Take a number: 116,600
Once again in November, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom vastly outraised his competitors in the 2018 race for governor, pulling in no less than $802,163, more that double what his three Democratic competitors raised. Former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa raised $171,000 in November, followed by Treasurer John Chiang’s $124,400. Former Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin kept her campaign afloat with $100,000 of her own money. Republican John Cox got one donation of $5,000 and Assemblyman Travis Allen received $20,000. But it will mean little if billionaires wage independent campaigns. Speaking of billionaires, Broadcom co-founder Henry Samueli and his wife, Susan, maxed out to Villaragosa, giving him a total of $116,600.
Takes on taxes
Raleigh News & Observer: GOP leaders in Congress who don’t even like Trump very much are prepared to let him lead them – or perhaps that should be, push them along – to tax reform that by virtually all accounts of economists both partisan and nonpartisan will be a gift for the rich, one that the middle class eventually will pay for once their own tax breaks expire. Some historians and economists even see echoes of the run-up to the Great Depression, when the wealthy sat back and enjoyed a boom, not listening for the rumbles of the quake that hit the economy in 1929.
Lexington Herald Leader: If President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress had set out to caricature their own worst instincts, they could not have outdone their proposed tax overhaul. It’s a bonanza for their political donors and — how tacky is this? — for Trump and his family. It will balloon the federal deficit, widen economic inequality, and give Republicans an excuse to take an ax to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
San Diego Union: Eager for a legislative victory, President Donald Trump will sign anything sent to him that can be called a big tax cut. But this would be far from a victory for America, for the GOP plans amount to a multilevel disaster.
L.A. Times: The biggest beneficiaries will be businesses with the highest profits and individuals with the highest incomes, and some of the biggest losers could be those who can scarcely afford the higher tab – graduate students, for example. More broadly, the measure will cause either much larger deficits or large cuts to Medicare and other federal programs, quite possibly accompanied by higher interest rates for borrowers.
St. Louis Post Dispatch: An unfortunately high number of Americans will allow party loyalty to guide their support or rejection of the GOP tax bill awaiting congressional approval. The 440-page House tax bill, approved Nov. 16, merits skepticism regardless of which party you support.
Newsday: Why is the Republican Party trying to pass a dramatic overhaul of our tax system at breakneck speed, blocking hearings, analysis, debate and public awareness of what the plan would do?
Miami Herald: Michael Flynn’s stunning plea sent stocks plunging, caught the White House off guard, and should shake Americans of all political leanings to the very core. Not a year into Trump’s tenure, his minions, very possibly with his go-ahead, were willing to lay waste to American democracy, consorting with a foreign state to undercut American interests in favor of their own.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: The politicization of the Kate Steinle killing is among the reasons this case has been a tragedy and a travesty from the beginning. The system failed Steinle and her family on multiple levels, concluding with a shocking jury verdict Thursday in which Garcia Zarate, a Mexican national who had been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth, was acquitted of all but the least serious charge against him – being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Mercury News: The infamous Ghost Ship inferno that a year ago this weekend killed 36 people was a wake-up call for all Bay Area officials. But Oakland was in such dysfunctional deep sleep that even experiencing the deadliest single-structure fire in modern California history could only begin to rouse the city’s bureaucracy from its slumber.
Fort Worth Star Telegram: We are at a unique place in what has been business as usual. There is an opportunity right now to educate perpetrators who seem dumbstruck by public outrage, and to put the fear of God in those who know it’s wrong but continue to harm and humiliate women. Joe Barton has acknowledged the two incidents we know about. He’s said he’s sorry he sent the nude photo. Now he needs to say goodbye.
Frank Bruni: Yes, Palm Springs has an all-LGBT City Council. What if they eradicate homelessness? What they want to be is the post-gay government, in which LGBT people are prominent not because they mirror their constituents, which definitely matters, but because they have valuable skills.
E.J. Dionne: Government by the reckless, for the few: How the GOP tax plan could wreck blue states. By tearing away the deductibility of state income and sales taxes, this legislative concoction could either plunge some of our largest states – California, New York and New Jersey among them – into fiscal crises, or force them to slash the help they give their lower income citizens. Does anyone of right mind believe this will be good for our economy, let alone for social justice? Ah, but these states are Democratic, so Republicans are happy to abuse their power to take a shot at their partisan opponents.
Dana Milbank: Donald Trump is a master of diversion. We need to keep our focus on the real damage he does. We can expect Trump to get ever more dangerous and desperate in his distractions as he hears Robert Mueller’s footsteps. Trump’s erraticism is damaging in its own right, to alliances and civility, but the greatest danger is that while we chase Trump’s distractions, we lose sight of real calamity.
Timothy Egan: What to do when the boss shows signs of dementia? Do what Sarah Huckabee Sanders does: We may soon learn that Trump won a gold medal in synchronized swimming. This is likely to come from a public servant being paid tax dollars to defend a dog’s breakfast of fantasy. That would be Sanders, the White House spokeswoman, who crossed a big Rubicon this week.
Kathleen Parker: At least three people must have celebrated the news that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversation with a Russian ambassador. First to pop a champagne cork was surely Matt Lauer.
Ross Douthat: The dangers of #MeToo. Are we becoming Japan?
Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg: How to protect Social Security in the long term.
“The DMV has taken my money but not delivered a usable service.” – Peter Nicoll, Manteca
McConnell: We have the votes to win.
Mueller: We have the goods on Flynn.