The Trump administration was again rocked by a series of negative editorials from newspapers across the country this week, as they planned to raise taxes on the middle class to give wealthy people like Trump a tax cut, refused to act to prevent mass shootings like the tragedy in Texas, and wouldn’t demand Roy Moore drop out of the Alabama Senate race following revelations he’d made sexual advances on underage girls.
Here’s what Americans read this week in their local newspapers:
Asbury Park Press: GOP Tax Reform Plan Works — For The Rich
House Republicans revealed their tax “reform” plan on Thursday, the one President Trump has never tired of telling us will be really, really terrific — maybe the best idea in the history of American history. He is, of course, spectacularly wrong.
This is a colossal mess, a wildly ill-conceived handout to the wealthy that punishes the middle class and especially targets New Jerseyans and other residents of high-tax states. By eliminating deductions for state and local income taxes (SALT) –— even while preserving property tax deductions up to $10,000 — many New Jerseyans are looking down the barrel of a tax hike.
San Diego Union-Tribune: Republican Tax Plan A Boon For Trump, The Rich. You? Not So Much.
Given this history, it is stunning to see how much the wealthy gain from the tax code plan proposed this week by House Republicans and embraced by the Trump administration. So much for Trump’s campaign message. That’s the tax plan’s first strike.
In fact, presidential sabotage is the primary reason that ACA premiums for 2018 should be shooting up by an average of about a third, instead of the previously expected 5-10 percent. Should be, that is, except for the fact that it’s the government — a.k.a the taxpayer — who will be paying most of the higher costs. That’s because under the ACA, subsidies to individuals increase along with premiums. In fact, many of those eligible for subsidies — all but 15 percent of enrollees — will pay significantly less for coverage than they had before.
Charleston Gazette-Mail: The More Things Change, We Hope
For years, Charles Sykes of Wisconsin was one of America’s top conservative radio hosts, endlessly pushing the Republican agenda. But he grew disillusioned when Donald Trump led the GOP into racism, evangelical Puritanism, conspiracy theories, working-class resentment and defensive narcissism, turning the party against Hispanics, Muslims, blacks, liberated women, and the like.
Baltimore Sun: GOP Tax Plan Offers Costly Table Scraps For The Middle Class
To add insult to injury, the tax plan does not contain one of Donald Trump’s more notable tax promises from the presidential campaign — a so-called “hair cut” for hedge fund managers by closing the carried interest loophole that significantly lowers their income tax rate. It does, however, repeal the federal estate tax (raising the exemption from $5 million to $10 million and phasing it out entirely by 2024) which means the ultra-rich can meet their maker knowing their heirs can maintain their financial dynasties without having to pay taxes, not even capital gains on stocks held by their patriarchs for decades. Nice for trust fund kids, but bad for the principle of egalitarianism and unlikely to boost the economy in any substantial way.
The saddest thing, Mr. President, isn’t that Americans expect you to refrain from politicizing the enforcement of the criminal law. It’s that you continue to demonstrate that you don’t understand why.
Representatives of the nations that signed the Paris agreement meet this week at a United Nations climate conference in Bonn to take stock of where the world is right now, and of individual nations’ efforts to curtail emissions. The Trump administration is sending a career diplomat to the conference (which also will be attended by Gov. Jerry Brown, a key figure in organizing sub-national efforts to reduce emissions) even though President Trump has begun the process of withdrawing from the pact, possibly the single most dangerous step he has taken. While the U.S. government’s policy is to move backward — Trump wants to burn more fossil fuel, not less — state and local governments, other countries around the world and international corporations are all moving forward.
Albany Times-Union: A Tax Cut Mostly For The Rich
Contrast that with what the Republican plan does for the rich, who would make out far better now and in the long run. The threshold for higher brackets would rise, while the alternative minimum tax — designed to prevent upper income people from paying no tax at all — would disappear, as would the estate tax which, for all the hype, affects only the wealthiest families. No wonder Mr. Trump — a self-described billionaire who is the only president in modern history not to release his own taxes — calls this a “big beautiful Christmas present.” No doubt it would be, — for him, his heirs, much of his cabinet, and many of the members at his high-priced country clubs.
Anderson Herald-Bulletin: Under Trump And Pruitt, EPA Serves Big Business
When President Donald Trump tapped former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, he effectively threw the doors to the hen house wide open and rolled out a red carpet for the fox.
Under the “leadership” of Pruitt, the Trump administration has systematically rolled back environmental measures designed to promote human health and sustainability. Pruitt meets almost weekly with a group of concerned citizens — leaders and lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry.
While Hoosiers and folks elsewhere in the heartland form the core of Trump’s support, his policies really favor only big business, and at great cost. Nowhere is this more clear than in the environmental arena.
Raleigh News & Observer: Tax Reform A Tax Cut For The Wealthy
And while President Trump will sing the praises of the plan unveiled Thursday, the truth is he’s not much for details and probably doesn’t really know much about the plan, other than it’s something he can boast about as an accomplishment in his first year in office. And that’s something the president is woefully short of after nine months of bombastic promises.
Not that Trump shouldn’t be happy. After all, the estate tax that would likely hit him and others of wealth is going to be phased out. That’s ridiculous, as it hits very few people and only kicks in after estates pass the millions of dollars in assets. But it’s symbolic for the GOP and it pleases big donors.
Albany Times-Union: ACA Alive And Well In N.Y.
It’s no mystery why Mr. Trump is cutting the ACA promotional campaign. If more uninsured Americans learn about the benefits of regular, routine health care, they’ll see the value to themselves and their families, and the ACA will thrive. That’s a fact Mr. Trump doesn’t want getting out.
Asbury Park Press: Don’t Blame Terror Attack On ‘Diversity Lottery’
Politicizing Tuesday’s terror attack will not bring about needed immigration reform. At best it will result in the axing of a program that may need to go without looking at what should replace it. The president wants “merit-based” immigration, which sounds “nice” but “it’s not nice.” If that was the bar for entry to the United States, many of our forebearers would never have seen Lady Liberty and her torch in New York harbor.
Congress needs to get the job done when it comes to immigration reform. It needs to put the jingoistic slogans down, tamp down the xenophobia that helped elect Trump, and make America safer and a welcoming haven for people seeking freedom.
Some 330 million people visited our national parks last year. That’s an average of 11 visits for every 10 U.S. citizens – a strong signal that we Americans care about our national parks and want them properly cared for. It should be a national priority, not something you fund on the cheap after you’ve given all your buddies a tax break.
President Trump’s tax plan, unveiled Thursday, includes enormous tax cuts for the wealthy – folks who can afford a week at Mar-a-Lago or the Trump International in Waikiki.
Salt Lake Tribune: It Is About The Guns
It also remains distressing that Trump and others who routinely oppose any measures to take military-grade weapons off our streets — and out of our schools, churches, bars and recreation centers — are so quick to isolate the perpetrators of such violence as lone wolfs or lunatics when they are white nominal Christians. And just as quick to call for travel bans, border walls and quick removals to Guantanamo Bay when they are, well, anything else.
It all recalls the experience of Ronald Reagan who, as governor of California, signed bans on assault weapons and the carrying of loaded weapons in public in response to the rise of the heavily armed Black Panthers.
Newark Star-Ledger: The Republican Tax Plan: The Con Continues
That was then. Now he doesn’t care whether you believe him or not, because as the New York Times found recently, he’ll save at least $1 billion under this plan.
That the con men who authored this supply-side travesty can lie so brazenly is no great shock.
Palm Beach Post: Mass Shootings Are Both Gun, Mental Health Problems
President Donald Trump said he believes the shooting was a “mental health problem,” not a gun-law problem. “Based on preliminary reports,” the shooter was “a very deranged individual,” Trump said.
Yet earlier this year, Trump signed into a law a measure that repealed a regulation implemented under President Barack Obama that made it harder for those with histories of mental health problems to buy guns.
Springfield Republican: Trump’s Dictatorial Leanings On Full Display Again With Comments On Justice Department
“You know, the saddest thing is that because I’m the president of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department,” Trump told Larry O’Connor. “I’m not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I’m not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing. And I’m very frustrated by it.”
Really? The saddest thing? C’mon, man.
Though it isn’t particularly surprising to hear such a statement coming from a man who’s never given any indication that he’s taken even as much as a cursory look at our nation’s Constitution, that doesn’t make it any less disheartening.
Baltimore Sun: Yes, Texas Church Killings Are A Gun Issue
When confronted with the second horrific mass shooting in as many months, President Donald Trump wasted no time in diverting attention from the issue at hand. Asked about the massacre of at least 26 people at a church in a tiny community near San Antonio, Mr. Trump asserted without hesitation or evidence that the shooting wasn’t “a guns situation” but a “mental health problem at the highest level.” Mr. Trump is no doubt right that the killer, Devin Patrick Kelley, was “deranged” — by definition, anyone who opens fire on innocent churchgoers must be that — but denying the other half of the equation, Mr. Kelley’s ability to wield an assault rifle capable of inflicting such damage in so short a span, is its own form of derangement.
Santa Maria Times: Digging Deep In The Dirt
The Trump administration has responded to the special counsel’s unsealing of indictments in typical fashion, deflecting, pointing fingers at Hillary Clinton and Democrats, insisting there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian spies.
Deflection and finger-pointing, however, don’t seem to have much of an effect on Robert Mueller, who seems to be going about this business as methodically as someone preparing a legal argument before the U.S. Supreme Court. Mueller is under attack by the White House, and that is likely to continue as this case becomes fully exposed to public scrutiny. Mueller, his family and friends can expect all kinds of ugly blowback, because that’s what the Trump administration seems to do best.
Springfield Republican: White House-russia Links Raise Questions Of Allegiances
But Trump likely won’t care a whit.
What makes the Ross story so dispiriting is that it is just another one of so many connections between Russia and the Trump administration, and the campaign before it. It can be dizzyingly difficult to keep track of it all.
Yet for all that tendentious idiocy and hubris emitted from the White House and Trump underlings, climate negotiators in Germany may yet stay the course, not just sticking with the Paris framework but perhaps finding opportunities to reinforce and strengthen their resolve. That’s because the real and meaningful debate isn’t about whether climate change exists but how best to reduce greenhouse gas production. Other nations recognize that clean energy represents an economic opportunity, not a burden. Among wealthy nations (the U.S. included), greenhouse gas emissions are already on the decline, so the more pressing question is how best to help the developing world where countries lack the resources to invest in billions of dollars in wind, solar and other clean energy infrastructure needed to make the transition.
Philadelphia Inquirer: Bullet Points: Separating The Lies From The Truth About Guns
It’s not unusual for Donald Trump to distort the truth. Hypocrisy and outright falsehoods have been a hallmark of his administration. His response to the Texas massacre on Sunday — “This isn’t a guns situation” — rang familiar bells, but for once he was telling someone else’s lies: the National Rifle Association’s.
Miami Sun Sentinel: GOP Tax Plan Bad For Florida, Nation
Trump has embraced the House proposal, marking another betrayal of the working-class voters who backed him. His response to the opioid crisis decimating blue-collar areas has been weak. He favored a health care bill that would have hurt the working poor. He wanted to cut programs that help rural America.
House Republicans have offered a plan based on politics, not policy. Eliminating the deduction for local taxes would most penalize states that voted for Hillary Clinton. To please social conservatives, the GOP would recognize the rights of “unborn” children by allowing tax deductions for them in college savings plans. And Republicans may use the tax bill as a means to undercut the Affordable Care Act — their white whale.
GOP lawmakers and Trump claim to be looking for a win after a year of failures. Their tax proposal, though, would be a loser for most Americans.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Don’t Politicize Mass-killing Tragedies. Unless It Fits Trump’s Agenda.
Trump was quick to blame Democrats for the so-called Diversity Visa Lottery that put Saipov on an expedited track to enter this country. But he failed to note that Saipov still underwent the same vigorous vetting process as any other visa applicant. Saipov embraced militant Islamism long after taking up residence here.
Trump is impatient with Congress and the judiciary for blocking his proposed restrictions on Muslim immigration. Yet he is the picture of patience as Congress continues to dither on a simple bill to ban the sale of bump stocks.
Trump’s supporters want his critics to cut him some slack and take him seriously as our nation’s leader. His mercurial approach to crazed mass murderers helps explain why, a year after his election, the nation remains reluctant to get behind him. If Trump wants the nation to follow him, he must lead consistently.
Arizona Republic: Tell Congress To Stop Stalling On DACA, Pass The Dream Act
There is another bipartisan bill – S. 1615, the Dream Act of 2017 – which is a clean, simple fix. It is co-sponsored by Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake.
Trump is not supporting that bill. Instead, he wants to use dreamers for leverage.
He – and the Republicans who are going along – have forgotten the humanity of young people who see this as their home country.
San Francisco Chronicle: Trump’s Blue Tuesday
Tuesday’s off-year election results suggest President Trump and his politics are facing the midterm repudiation they deserve.
Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam’s defeat of Republican Ed Gillespie in Virginia’s hard-fought gubernatorial race topped a series of rejections of Trumpism. While Gillespie is an establishment Republican who once led the national party, he embodied the GOP’s troubled truce with Trump by embracing his divisive politics, stoking fears of immigration and crime and promoting pro-Confederacy revisionism. Northam, a centrist physician and Army veteran, beat him by nine percentage points, twice Hillary Clinton’s margin a year ago.
Newark Star-Ledger: Electoral Lesson Of 2017: Trump Rejection Has Begun, In Earnest
Either that, or Americans are clearly tired of all that winning.
It’s a small sample, indeed, but in a strident collective voice, the 2017 electorate rejected President Trump and marked his enablers as dangers to the republic.
Waynesboro News-Virginian: Trump Backlash? There’s More To It Than That
While many pundits are calling the results a resounding repudiation of the Republican Party and, in particular, President Trump, we feel that’s too simplistic an explanation. Sure, there’s no question that anti-Trump fervor and the galvanizing effect his surprising election had on Democrats last year played a big role in the party’s wins in Virginia and New Jersey. And many moderate Republicans and independents who supported Trump last year clearly have grown weary of his decidedly un-presidential treatment of the office, and his bombastic, thin-skinned, and very public, reactions to just about any criticism at all.
Charleston Gazette-Mail: Trump Should Re-Read His Election Night Speech
Since assuming the office of the presidency on Jan. 20, President Trump has rarely maintained the conciliatory tone of his Nov. 9, 2016, acceptance speech.
He’s notorious for childish, narcissistic and insulting tweets, particularly when it comes to his former Democratic opponent, whom he has resumed referring to as “Crooked Hillary.”
Hampshire Gazette: President Donald Trump’s Wreckage Of A Witch Hunt
If President Donald Trump leaves no other legacy, he will leave the wreckage of a witch hunt for people who came to America in search of a better life. Looking for the human face of that crackdown?
Gainesville Sun: Expand Coverage Instead Of Undermining ACA
But keeping up enrollment numbers will be a challenge. After the Republican-controlled Congress failed to repeal the ACA, the Trump administration has turned to underhanded tactics to undermine it. The administration has cut the open enrollment period in half, slashed funding for advertisements and outreach efforts, and cut off payments made to insurers to lower deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses.
Charleston Gazette-Mail: Hope Shines In Tuesday’s Elections
Could the recent elections in Virginia and New Jersey mark the beginning of the end for the ugliness that has pervaded Republican politics for the past several years?
Could the recklessness wrought by the Trump administration be the catalyst?
We have hope — hope that this nation will return to the structure of tolerance and equality that has taken so many generations to build. Hope that we will soon return to the status of world leader in things like diplomacy and the fight against climate change.
Baltimore Sun: Alternative Fact Of The Week: That Xi Jinping Is A Great Guy
In reality, what Mr. Trump has mostly proven is that you can’t operate something as complex and nuanced as foreign policy with a country as powerful as China by the seat of your pants, particularly when you are as ill-informed, under-staffed and susceptible to flattery as this president. If you do, you are destined to come off as a paper tiger, roaring for the audience back home but quiet and docile when confronted abroad by a canny leader who actually knows what he’s doing.
Philadelphia Inquirer: How Trump Uses Mental Health To Avoid Talking About Gun Control
If President Trump really believes the massacre of more than two dozen children and adults at a Texas church was the result of “a mental health problem at the highest level,” then why isn’t he doing something about it?
Instead, he’s riding shotgun for the NRA? He must have forgotten he’s the one who rescinded an Obama administration rule that prevented people with a mental health diagnosis from buying guns. But leaving that aside, he’s just wrong.
Loudon Times-Mirror: With A Loud Statement, Loudoun Rebukes The Ugly Rhetoric Of Politics
Northam’s decisive victory in Tuesday’s election is a stinging and welcome rebuke to President Trump. The outcome of this election brings renewed hope to the Virginia Way, an imperiled idea that stands as a better example of American democracy.
Chico News & Review: Always ‘Too Soon’
When questioned about the incident, the second mass shooting in as many months in which dozens perished, President Trump pointed to it being “a mental health problem.” That tactic to deflect calls for stricter federal gun laws is rich coming from the man who, as one of his first acts as president, gutted an Obama-era initiative aimed at preventing mentally ill people from purchasing guns. That measure, which hadn’t been fully implemented, was taken by the former president following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, an incident in which 20 children were among the 26 victims.
Trump’s nonresponse is what we can expect not only from this White House, but also from the GOP. Last month, after 58 people were slaughtered in Las Vegas, Republican leadership said it was too soon to consider gun legislation. That’s a refrain we can count on from Congress until that legislative body is no longer under the party’s control.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: In China, A Once-Harshly Critical Trump Sings A Different Tune
During Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, harsh promises about confronting China were a constant theme, rolling off the candidate’s tongue almost as frequently as “Crooked Hillary.” To court blue-collar voters, Trump pledged that, as president, he would make China pay for unfair trade practices that have undercut U.S. manufacturers and killed American jobs.
Fast forward to Beijing this week. Now-President Donald Trump displayed a completely different syndrome as the guest of Prime Minister Xi Jinping. Gone was the bluster and tough talk about fighting for American workers whose jobs, he charged, had been squandered by Obama administration pandering to China.
Burlington Times: Time For Vermont To Take A Knee
The president fed Americans the story line that the plea for justice and an end to deadly discrimination was actually an attack on the Stars and Stripe – as if a symbol matters more than the lives of actual people – and an act that casts scorn on veterans.
Trump has turned a protest on behalf of young black men’s lives into a litmus test for patriotism.
The president’s rhetoric gave permission to those who felt threatened by people of color to avoid the the issue of race entirely and vent their anger at anyone who dares show “disrespect” for the country.
Danbury News Times: The Message From Voters Was Clear
Voters’ response indicates a repudiation of Trumpism and what it pushes. People are fed up with the divisiveness, the lurch from crisis to crisis, the inhumane approach to refugees and issues such as immigration or ill-advised approach to others, such as climate control. The list goes on and on.
Passing just about any tax-cut bill to slash corporate, estate and top income-bracket taxes is really what this is all about. President Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress are desperate to pass a bill, ANY bill that they can claim as a legislative victory.
Who benefits from legislation that by 2026 will RAISE taxes on more than half of the country’s middle class families? Why is it GOOD policy to take money out of the pockets of the folks whose spending – on everything from groceries, appliances, vehicles, and homes – is really what drives our economy?