Links June 9, 2017

For 70-year-old president who likes his own bed, this trip is exhausting

I’m sure how badly he takes care of himself has nothing to do with it.

Citizen Trump was right about the Saudis; President Trump, not so much

“It’s the world’s biggest funder of terrorism. Saudi Arabia funnels our petrodollars, our very own money, to fund the terrorists that seek to destroy our people.”

What changed Trump’s mind? Apparently, $110 billion. That’s how much the Saudis announced Saturday that they’ll spend to buy advanced American weaponry — one of the biggest arms deals in history.

Apparently it takes $110 billion in weapons to finish the job of reducing Yemen to rubble.

The Decisive Vote to Strike Down Racial Gerrymandering Came From … Clarence Thomas?

Of course it did, because the earlier decision was meant to give an advantage to minorities in redistricting. Thomas would never, ever rule in favor of that.

Although allowing gerrymandering to give minorities better representation being used by conservatives to deprive minorities equal representation is a really great example of liberals thinking their bad ideas can’t possible have any downsides.

The trillions in shocking cuts in Donald Trump’s budget, explained

On Tuesday, Donald Trump will unveil the first comprehensive budget proposal of his presidency, encompassing proposals affecting defense and non-defense funding for government agencies, tax changes, and funding for social insurance and assistance programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps.

The budget broadly resembles plans put forward by now-House Speaker Paul Ryan, who as the House Budget Committee chair released a series of extremely aggressive budgets including trillions in cuts to programs for the poor. While Trump largely leaves Medicare and old-age insurance from Social Security unscathed, and boosts funding for border security, veterans, and defense, he cuts just about everything else.

What’s more, his budget assumes an extremely unrealistic economic growth rate — 3 percent, above the currently projected 1.9 percent — due to the administration’s tax plan. It appears the administration is counting on that growth both to pay for its spending in this budget and to pay for its tax cuts, meaning the budget doesn’t really add up at all.

White House touts the ACA’s demise even as insurers seek help in stabilizing its marketplace

It’s fascinating how hostile Republicans are to a law that’s extremely pro-business. Any business involved in health care in some capacity benefits from the ACA. Businesses that offer health insurance desperately needed a program that would help decrease health care costs. I guess I assumed in the back of my mind that Republicans would treat the ACA much the same way they treat Roe v. Wade; they posture against it and chip away at it, but don’t repeal it completely because they know it would be politically unpopular. It didn’t help that so many Republicans, including those who know better such as Mitt Romney, kept making the laughable claim that they would repeal it on “day one” of taking office. Empty promises usually equal lies.

Seattle will tax sugary soda — but not diet

This tax is going to increase the price on some products by about 50 percent. What are the odds that this is going to turn into the same situation as with cigarette taxes? The taxes are imposed to change consumer behavior; consumer behavior changes (people are smoking way less than they were 20 years ago); but the government has come to rely on that tax revenue, making it necessary to keep raising those sin taxes.

If these taxes fund anything, it should be something directly related to public health that the government can do without since, over the long-term, the sugar tax revenue will decrease as consumers drink less sugar water. Since this tax funds a necessary government function unrelated to public health, we can look forward to the tax being increased and applied to more products as the government seeks to maintain revenue, not improve health outcomes.

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