SENATE PASSES TAX BILL
The U.S. senate has passed major tax cut legislation by a
51-49 margin, All Republicans, except for one, voted for the
bill. Every Democrat voted against it. Tennessee GOP
Senator Bob Corker, who is not running for re-election next
year, voted “no,” but criticized the bill for not being
conservative enough. Earlier, the U.S. house passed a similar
bill, so the legislation will now go to a conference
committee to “iron out” the relatively small differences.
The two bodies will then vote on a final bill, which if it
passes, will go to President Trump for his signing into law.
The senate action ends a long stalemate over major
legislation that goes back to the years of the Obama
administration. Passage of the tax cut bill represents the
fulfillment of a major GOP election promise made in 2016.
Proponents of the bill, which required much negotiation and
tinkering at the last hour, assert it will significantly boost the
economy almost immediately. Opponents claim it will
increase the deficit. It was ironically an iconic Democratic
president, John F. Kennedy, who advocated a similar tax cut
in 1962, saying, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” That tax cut,
and subsequent tax cuts by Presidents Reagan and George W.
Bush did succeed in improving the nation’s economy.
FLYNN MAKES A PLEA BARGAIN
Former General Michael Flynn, also a former Donald Trump
campaign aide, has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, as part
of the Mueller special prosecution inquiry. He has also
promised to cooperate with the current investigation. Much
“fake news” and speculation arose at Flynn's action, but its
impact on the Mueller inquiry is, in reality, unknown to the
public and the media this time. The stock market took a brief
dive on some of the initial “fake news” --- which a major
network (ABC News) had to retract later in the day.
MORE SENATE CONFIRMATIONS
The U.S. senate, at the direction of Republican Majority
Leader Mitch McConnell, has continued to speed up delayed
confirmations of President Trump’s nominations for the
federal judiciary and for major positions in his
administration which require senate approval. Mr.
McConnell has decided, after some delay, to ignore
individual senator’s “blue slip” vetoes and other stalling
tactics by the Democratic opposition.
RECOGNIZING AN ALLY’S
After promising in the 2016 campaign to move the U.S.
embassy in Tel Aviv to the Israeli capital of Jerusalem,
if he were elected president, Donald Trump delayed the
action after taking office. It was believed he meant it to be a
“bargaining chip” in his also stated intention to bring about
a Middle East settlement. Recent reports, however, indicate
that the administration now intends to make the move soon,
including the possibility that he would keep the embassy in
Tel Aviv for the time being, but formally recognize the
capital is in Jerusalem.
A FUTURIST POLITICIAN?
Breaking the usual political rules of discussing imminent
innovation details in technology, former Minnesota Governor
and 2012 presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty is making
the speaking tour rounds, especially in Minnesota, with
some eye-opening talks about dramatic and significant
changes taking place in science, medicine, and the general
economy --- all of which are already altering the American
workplace and way of life. Although some of this impact is
shocking and controversial, Mr. Pawlenty’s speeches have
Copyright (c) 2017 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.