Trump released his budget proposal today. It’s a good thing the President’s budget doesn’t automatically become law, because this one is a turd. Here’s a partial list of what’s being cut: * Housing and Urban Development -- $6.2 billion cut, -13.2% * Transportation -- $2.4 billion cut, -12.7% * Health & Human Services -- $12.6 billion cut, -16.2% * Education -- $9 billion cut, -13.5% * Environmental Protection Agency -- $2.
Trump’s 2005 tax return was revealed on The Rachel Maddow Show last night, and all it did was make him look good. No one is sure where it came from or who released it, but given that it shows he paid an effective tax rate of 25% in that year, even with losses of $105 million, it’s hard to imagine this reflecting poorly on him. This leads one to suspect that Trump or someone close to him leaked it deliberately to improve his image, to help dispel rumors that he has routinely paid little or no federal income tax.
Yesterday, Trump issued a new executive order meant to improve the efficiency of the federal government. But it won’t work. What’s going on? As Politico indicates, Trump has identified the right problem (for once), but is incapable of implementing the necessary solutions. The federal government–and the executive branch in particular–have experienced literally centuries of scope creep, with growing missions and ballooning budgets. As someone who believes the government can be a force for good in the lives of the people it ostensibly represents and serves, I don’t favor a whole scale dismantlement or anything like that.
I’m here to bring you up to speed on the escalating Trump wiretapping fiasco. First, the administration has until the end of the day today to submit evidence to the House Intelligence Committee that President Obama tapped Trump’s phones in the runup to the 2016 election. Suffice it to say, this evidence is unlikely to be forthcoming, on account of the fact that it doesn’t exist. Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway suggested that Obama didn’t tap Trump’s phones, exactly,but used other methods employed by US intelligence agencies instead.
From today’s headlines, you’d think Congressional Republicans were pushing back against Trump’s outrageous claim that President Obama had him wiretapped. It’s not so. What’s going on? Republicans like Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham have spoken out about Trump’s charge that Obama wiretapped him during last year’s Presidential election. McCain is leading the headlines, trading on his “maverick” myth to look as if he’s bucking the President’s wishes, but nothing of the sort is happening.
Wiretaps, Russians, travels bans, Twitter rants, and the greatest healthcare bill of all time! It was another strange week. To recap: * Trump accused Obama of having wiretapped him. (This didn't happen.) * Trump claimed Democrats were holding up his Cabinet picks. (Not true: everyone appointed has been approved. Other officials are being held up by his own party, not Dems.) * Trump demanded an investigation in Democrats' associations with the Russian ambassador because yet another of his cronies (Attorney General Jeff Sessions) got busted for lying under oath about meeting with the Russians.
Let’s take a moment to talk about the economy’s performance since Trump took office. The New York Times and CNBC both have articles talking about Trump’s impact on the economy. First, the Times: The first monthly jobs report to reflect the state of the economy during the Trump presidency [is ](https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/business/economy/february-unemployment-jobs-report.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news)[quite good](https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/business/economy/february-unemployment-jobs-report.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news). There’s not much to dislike about the 235,000 jobs added in February, nor an unemployment rate that ticked down to 4.
Trump wants his giant wall built along the US-Mexico border, even though there is no rational reason for it. The question remains: if it happens, who is going to pay for it? What’s going on? Trump has claimed in the past that the wall will be paid for by Mexico through the assessment of import tariffs and by seizing remittances from Mexican nationals working in the US to their families in Mexico.
It’s International Women’s Day. Many women are on strike today. The rights and bodies of women everywhere remain under assault. It’s hard to have the impression that things have improved for women in recent memory when a self-proclaimed sexual assaulter is President of the United States. Donald Trump has been forced to profess his respect for women many times, almost always in response to doing or saying something that proves the exact opposite.
Republicans finally unveiled their “repeal and replace” of Obamacare. It’s a lousy package that won’t please anyone–not even Republicans. What’s going on? Yesterday afternoon and evening, it came out that the new GOP healthcare plan had arrived. Called the American Health Care Act, it keeps some of the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), while eliminating others. The highlights, such as they are: * Phasing out of the Medicaid expansion by 2020.