Uh-Oh–GOP Tax Bill Have Some Lower Income Earners Paying More In Taxes

Guess who wins and who loses in the GOP tax bill now being worked on in Congress?

The House Republicans’ tax bill would increase taxes for 12 percent of Americans next year, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. By 2027, at least 28 percent of Americans would see their taxes rise, the report says. Many of those taking a hit would be people who make less than $48,000 a year.

But do not fret as the report shows the rich would benefit the most. The finding comes amid intense debate over whether this bill does enough to help the middle and working classes.

The middle of the middle — those making $48,000 to $86,000 — would get an average tax cut of $700 next year, according to TPC. Meanwhile, taxpayers in the top 1 percent (those making more than $730,000) would receive an average cut of $37,000 next year, and the top 0.01 percent (those making more than $3.4 million) would see their after-tax incomes rise by an average of $179,000 in 2018.

Since the wealthy pay more in taxes, some Republicans have argued it makes sense for them to get a bigger tax cut. But TPC also looked at the percent change in after-tax income for the poor, middle class and rich. Using that metric makes it easier to compare across the income groups. According to TPC, the middle class would get a 1.2 percent boost to their after-tax income, while taxpayers in the top 1 percent would get a 2.5 percent boost. The bottom 40 percent would get almost no benefit, with taxes for that group actually increasing $10 to $20, on average, by 2027.

AR-15 And Mass Shootings

It’s true you don’t need an AR-15 to shoot at people.  The inner city streets of most cities makes that point very clear.  But the AR-15 is, for whatever reason, the mass murderer weapon of choice for many mass shootings in the United States.

The AR-15’s purpose is clear based on news reports alone about the sickening built-in efficiency in accomplishing the gunman’s mission of rapidly killing many people.    There is no reason under the sun as to why this weapon is allowed for sale to the general public.  The AR-15 should be outright banned.  Clearly what is happening now allows for anyone to have an AR-15 as the limited background check—if it is even employed–does not in any way heavily regulate its sale.  There are no required training classes and no compiling of names of those who own this weapon so the public is ware of the nutjobs who are stockpiling an army’s worth of them and the ammo to fire.

Intrigue Grips International Press Following Saudi Arabia Weekend Arrests

Simply fascinating.

One of the most intriguing news events over the past few days has taken place in Saudi Arabia.  Today I have been taken in by the coverage not only from national papers such as The New York Times--which devoted more than two full pages to the events–but also from the international press which has been consumed with the weekend arrests.  The fact is I love Saudi history and find the political stories from the Kingdom most enjoyable to sort through. Today was truly enjoyable!

Why the crown prince acted now — whether to eliminate future opposition or perhaps to crush some threat he saw brewing — was not immediately clear.

At 32 years old, he had little experience in government before his father, King Salman, 81, ascended to the throne in 2015, and the prince has demonstrated little patience for the previously staid pace of change in the kingdom.

Crown Prince Mohammed’s haste, however, may now come at a price, because the lack of transparency or due process surrounding the anticorruption crackdown is sure to unnerve the same private investors he hopes to attract — including through a planned stock offering of the huge state oil company, Aramco.

What took place this weekend will need time to sort out but the possible implications are clear.

Before the arrests on Saturday of his fellow royals and former ministers on corruption allegations, Prince Mohammed had stripped the religious police of their arrest powers and expanded the space for women in public life, including promising them the right to drive.

Dozens of hard-line clerics have been detained, while others were designated to speak publicly about respect for other religions, a topic once anathema to the kingdom’s religious apparatus.

If the changes take hold, they could mean a historic reordering of the Saudi state by diminishing the role of hard-line clerics in shaping policy. That shift could reverberate abroad by moderating the exportation of the kingdom’s uncompromising version of Islam, Wahhabism, which has been accused of fueling intolerance and terrorism.

Angry White Male Shooter In Texas Showed Reasons Why He Never Should Have Been Allowed To Buy Guns

At times like this after each mass shooting we start to discover why–in most cases a white man–should have never been allowed to buy a weapon.  Let alone a stockpile of them.

Such is the case with Devin Patrick Kelley.  At a time when even over 70% of NRA members want to have more thorough background checks the fact such procedures are not even allowed to be considered by congress is shocking, and telling.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reports that Kelley had three guns which were recovered.  A Glock 9mm and a Ruger .22-caliber in addition to the Ruger AR-556 rifle at the church.  In addition it needs noting Kelley was decked out in the same type of military outer wear that soldiers wear.

There were warnings signs all along that Kelley should not have been allowed to purchase weapons.  He had sent threatening text messages to his mother-in-law, who attended the church.  It seems that from the evidence thus far the mass shooting stemmed from a domestic situation and was not racially or religiously motivated.

The large red flag that I noticed this morning as to why he should have never been allowed to buy a gun–and a complete background check would have alerted gun dealers to this fact–has to do with Kelley being charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty in east-central Colorado.  Statistics clearly show a link between those who abuse animals, and loved ones, having a higher probability of being involved with gun violence.

And speaking of physical abuse The Denver Post reports court records indicate someone was granted a protection order against Kelley on Jan. 15, 2015, also in El Paso County.

All of these matters would have shown up on a complete background check when one wants to buy a deadly weapon—if only such complete background checks were mandated by congress.

Front Pages From Texas And Nation About Mass Shooting At Church

America wakes up with their morning papers framing the issue of the day.  Scanning the front pages from around the country today is most sobering as the sun lifts up over Lake Monona.