Many Bothans Died To Bring Us These Tax Cuts

The practical upshot from the chaos in the House GOP with Orange Julius now gone and Paul Ryan now Speaker of the House is that the Austerity Death Star will soon be fully operational.

The Wisconsin Republican who claimed the gavel last week is one of Congress’ preeminent tax experts, an ardent advocate of rewriting the code with lots of ideas on how to do it. Over the years, he’s gone further than most lawmakers in pushing politically fraught changes that have gone nowhere, such as wiping out a major tax break for employer-provided health plans and making it harder for the wealthy to claim the hugely popular mortgage-interest deduction.

But now Ryan has far more power to put the issue on Washington’s agenda — and the latest budget deal between congressional leaders and the White House should give him ample room to launch his speakership without being distracted by constant battles over funding the government and raising the debt limit. So some advocates are recalibrating the odds of a long-elusive tax overhaul that they say could spur new jobs and bring corporate money back from overseas.

Sweeping tax change won’t happen this year, supporters say, with lawmakers still staring at a stack of unfinished business — or next year, when the 2016 election will loom even larger. But they say it’s suddenly a lot more likely in the early years of the next presidency, especially if the Republicans win the White House.

It certainly comes as close to guaranteeing it as possible,” said a top Republican staffer. “It’s his No. 1 priority — it’s what he cares about most.”

The sort of ambitious reform Ryan has in mind, which would be the first since 1986, promises to cut both individual and corporate tax rates in exchange for junking scores of credits, deductions and other special provisions. Any rewrite would be hugely controversial, with an array of powerful interest groups sure to line up to defend their favorite provisions, not to mention many Democrats who’ve long complained that Ryan’s plans amount to a giveaway to the rich.

In a speech to the House just before his swearing-in Thursday, Ryan named tax reform as one of his top priorities.

It was bad enough when the Ryan Austerity Budget was a club used to get sequestration into play in 2013.  But as Speaker, Ryan now has significant power as far as bringing his austerity monster to life.  If you still had questions as to what’s at stake a year from now, better hope the GOP doesn’t have the keys to both Congress and the White House when Congress gets called into session in January 2017.

Otherwise, the Austerity Death Star is going to do a pretty good job of blowing America up.



Open Thread: Speaking of Design Changes…

The various GOP Kandidates have many, many problems with the RNC’s debate setup!

Per the Washington Post, company paper for the town where politics is the monopoly industry:

Several Republican presidential campaigns began mapping out new demands Sunday for greater control over the format and content of primary debates, which have attracted big audiences and become strategically critical for the 2016 cycle’s expansive field of contenders.

The effort was a response to long-simmering frustrations over the debates, the questions and in some cases the moderators, which boiled over this weekend when advisers from at least 11 campaigns met in the Washington suburbs to deliberate about how to regain sway over the process…

The meeting also exposed a leadership rift that has widened in recent days between the Republican National Committee, which negotiated the debate schedule and formats, and some of the candidates. RNC officials said they would not participate in Sunday’s meeting, but they have been reassuring campaign operatives that they are willing to recalibrate the events.

Shortly before the meeting began, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced a staff shake-up within the GOP that appeared intended to calm the unhappiness of the presidential campaigns…

As the meeting got underway, senior strategists from several presidential campaigns revealed in e-mails and text messages that Priebus’s staff shake-up was not enough. One campaign manager, who was granted anonymity to speak about the private meeting, wrote: “Major question is if the RNC should be involved at all.”

The campaigns reached an early consensus on one issue, according to several operatives in the room: the secure standing of Fox News Channel. Any changes would be applied to debates after next week’s Fox Business Network debate. Among the reasons, according to one operative in the room, was that “people are afraid to make Roger [Ailes] mad,” a reference to the network’s chief.

Bush campaign manager Danny Diaz recommended that Telemundo be reinstated after being dropped along with NBC. But the campaign of businessman Donald Trump, represented by manager Corey Lewandowski, threatened to boycott a debate if the Spanish-language network that Trump has clashed with was granted one…

“I told Priebus about a week ago that I didn’t like the structure of the debates and how the party was rationing them,” Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said in an interview. “I said, ‘Something has to change.’ I know they didn’t anticipate 15 candidates in the debates, but there are, and it blew up on them. These debates aren’t what they should be. You have the wrong people in charge of the subject matter and topics, setting candidates up for cheap shots.”…

Why is Steve “Pig Muck” King being interviewed on this issue, being as he’s neither a candidate nor a campaign manager? Because, I guess, he’s the champion of the new “Know Nothing/No Nothing” wing of the Republican Party?



So, What About the Media Villagers’ New Man-Crush, Rubio?

Greg Sargent, in the Washington Post, on “Why Marco Rubio is so effective and dangerous“:

Marco Rubio bashed the mainstream media with great gusto last night, eliciting roars of approval from GOP voters. Amusingly enough, the emerging media consensus appears to be that his attacks on them were brilliantly executed, never mind that they were pressed into service to evade just the sort of legitimate questions the media has been pressing him upon.

But it’s worth drilling down on one key reason why Rubio is so effective and dangerous — to his GOP opponents, and potentially in a general election as well. It’s this: Rubio knows how to feed the angry preoccupations of many GOP base voters while simultaneously coming across as hopeful and optimistic

This isn’t just because Rubio is young and Latino. His formula is a bit complicated. Last night, Rubio, in what appeared to be an appeal to the deep resentment of many of these voters, skillfully converted legitimate questions about his personal financial management into evidence of Democratic and elite media contempt for his relatively humble upbringing, which he proceeded to explain he had overcome through hard work. Rubio’s narrative is both laden with legitimate resentment and inspiring!…

Rubio certainly wowed the Grey Lady:

In a deft show of forcefulness and diplomacy, Mr. Rubio managed to seem both respectful of the older candidate and politically more imposing.

“My campaign is going to be about the future of America. It’s not going to be about attacking anyone else on this stage,” Mr. Rubio said.

And then he all but smothered Mr. Bush with esteem.

“I will continue to have tremendous admiration and respect for Governor Bush,” he said. “I am not running against Governor Bush.”

Mr. Rubio lifted his arms to his left and right. “I am not running against anyone on this stage,” he said.”

The crowd offered a thunderous round of applause…

Mr. Charles P. Pierce brings the reality:

If I had to guess, I’d say Rubio probably will be said to have had the best night. He really slapped around Jeb! Bush when the latter called him on Rubio’s confessed dislike of the job of United States Senator. He looked directly into the camera with his young man’s sincerity, and he parried questions about his personal profligacy in just the way guaranteed to appeal to the audience in the hall. He blamed the media for bringing it up.

Of course, when it comes to the actual things he would do as president, Rubio once again is a shoeless, blindfolded kid in a wilderness of rakes. John Harwood–for whom I am going to buy a beer the next time I see the guy–pinned Rubio on the fact that the Tax Foundation scored Rubio’s tax plan and found that it would send the deficit careering off into the Van Alen Belt, as well as shoving even more of the country’s wealth upward. In response, Rubio told Harwood he was wrong. (He wasn’t.) Then, Rubio started talking very fast, mentioned something about his dry cleaner and small business, and probably got more points for being tough with Harwood than he did for his tax plan, which is exactly as bad as the Tax Foundation said it was…

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Thursday Morning Open Thread: De-bacle

All together, now: THIS IS GOOD NEWS FOR JOHN MCCAIN ELLIS BUSH!



Late Night Open Thread: Your WTF? Peanut Gallery Comment of the Evening

Retweeted by Mother Jones’ Clara Jeffrey; only other reference I can find so far is a DKos diary. I’m assuming this has to be some of that famous Roger Stone Sense of Funny in action, but why now and why Kasich?