| May 19, 2016
Meghan McCain Calls Hillary Clinton "Truly Evil." Her Father Says He's "Proud to Call Her My Friend"
Fox News regular and famous-for-being-famous person Meghan McCain offered conservatives a new argument for supporting Donald Trump. Likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, she told Neil Cavuto, is "truly evil."
"But you still prefer him over Hillary Clinton?" Cavuto wondered.
"I told you, a tuna sandwich over Hillary Clinton," McCain quipped. "Because I think Hillary Clinton is truly evil, and she's truly a liar and she's been responsible in my opinion for getting people killed."
"Come on," Cavuto replied.
"She's Darth Vader," McCain insisted. "I can't trust her in any way."
Ms. McCain would have done well to check in first with her father before trashing Secretary Clinton. Leave aside for the moment that daddy was catastrophically wrong at almost every point about the invasion of Iraq and the bloodbath that followed. As it turns out, Senator John McCain has said of the former First Lady, "I'm proud to call her my friend" and "I have no doubt that Senator Clinton would make a good president."
As the New York Times (2006) and the Los Angeles Times (2008) documented, the almost presidential rivals had a close relationship during their days in the Senate. That's all the more surprising given John McCain's grotesque joke at the expense of a young Chelsea Clinton in 1998:
"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno."
(The self-proclaimed "bad boy" did apologize to President and Mrs. Clinton, but not to Janet Reno.)
Nevertheless, as the New York Times reported in July 2006, the Senators from New York and Arizona developed a bond after the former First Lady's Election:
Two summers ago, on a Congressional trip to Estonia, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton astonished her traveling companions by suggesting that the group do what one does in the Baltics: hold a vodka-drinking contest.
Delighted, the leader of the delegation, Senator John McCain, quickly agreed. The after-dinner drinks went so well -- memories are a bit hazy on who drank how much -- that Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican, later told people how unexpectedly engaging he found Mrs. Clinton to be. "One of the guys" was the way he described Mrs. Clinton, a New York Democrat, to some Republican colleagues.
Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McCain went on to develop an amiable if professionally calculated relationship. They took more official trips together, including to Iraq. They worked together on the Senate Armed Services Committee and on the issue of global warming. They made a joint appearance last year on "Meet the Press," interacting so congenially that the moderator, Tim Russert, joked about their forming a "fusion ticket."
In June 2008, Republican water carrier Andrew Malcolm described the "the secret friendship of Hillary Clinton and John McCain." While his campaign (which said Senator Clinton "ran an impressive campaign" and was "an impressive candidate" that "inspired a generation of women") was motivated to peel off voters frustrated by her primary loss to Barack Obama, Senator McCain nevertheless gave Hillary a ringing endorsement:
"Sen. Clinton has earned great respect for her tenacity and courage. The media often overlooked how compassionately she spoke to the concerns and dreams of millions of Americans, and she deserves a lot more appreciation than she sometimes received.
"As the father of three daughters, I owe her a debt for inspiring millions of women to believe there is no opportunity in this great country beyond their reach. I am proud to call her my friend."
This not-so-distant history seems to have eluded Senator McCain's daughter. It's certainly not the first time. In June 2009, Meghan McCain appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher to protest that President Obama blamed his predecessor George W. Bush too much for the nation's woes. When fellow panelist and Clinton ally Paul Begala pointed out the Ronald Reagan savaged Jimmy Carter throughout his 8-year tenure, Ms. McCain quipped. "you know I wasn't born yet so I wouldn't know." That's when Begala brought the hammer down:
"I wasn't born during the French Revolution but I know about it."
But Meghan McCain was alive in November 2011 when she urged an Obama/Clinton ticket because Hillary "is a woman who kicks ass in politics" and in May 2014 when she said Karl Rove's comments about the Secretary were "disgusting." So what's her excuse now?
| May 16, 2016
What's the Difference Between Paul Ryan and Donald Trump?
For the last several days, the Beltway media have been gripped by the impasse between the GOP's presumptive 2016 presidential nominee and the Republican speaker of the House. "Paul Ryan," Politico announced, "is stuck in a Trump trap." Endorsing the uncouth vulgarian overwhelmingly supported by GOP primary voters, Tiger Beat on the Potomac argued, "is a major risk to Ryan's brand." Josh Barro agreed, declaring "Ryan's real priority is policy, not power." He's just "not ready" to give his backing to Donald Trump "because he's genuinely despondent and sees no good options available to himself." Writing in the Washington Post, Ruth Marcus went so far as to pen a speech a pained Speaker Ryan could deliver to explain "my reservations about what a Trump nomination would mean for our party--and, more important, what a Trump presidency would mean for our nation."
Yet for all of this manufactured drama, there has been little discussion about the real difference between Donald Trump and Paul Ryan. To be sure, the purportedly "serious" and "thoughtful" idea man Paul Ryan would not use expletives in campaign rallies or boast about the size of his phallus. And while Ryan at least sticks to his core convictions, Trump's gymnastic flip-flops show he has none at all.
But one of these two Republicans is a charlatan, a polished con man of the people who uses elegant spreadsheets, impressive policy jargon, and soaring rhetorical flourishes to create an elaborate façade for massive tax cuts for the rich, oceans of red ink for the U.S. Treasury, and devastating spending cuts to programs designed to help the most vulnerable Americans. The other man is Donald Trump. To put it another way, Paul Ryan is a dumb person's idea of a smart person; Donald Trump is a smart person's idea of a dumb person.
Consider, for starters, their respective tax plans.
Continue reading at Daily Kos.
| May 15, 2016
Donald Trump Proposes YUGE Tax Cut for Hillary Clinton--and Donald Trump
Hillary Clinton 38, Donald Trump 0. If you haven't been keeping score, that's how many years of tax returns Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump respectively have made available to the American public.
But Trump's declaration that "it's none of your business" what tax rate he pays isn't the only sign that the Donald is only posing as a populist. While Hillary Clinton has proposed raising her own taxes, Donald Trump would save millions of dollars under his own plan.
Unveiling his on-again, off-again tax plan in September, Trump bragged:
"It reduces or eliminates most of the deductions and loopholes available to special interests and to the very rich. In other words, it's going to cost me a fortune -- which is actually true -- while preserving charitable giving and mortgage interest deductions, very importantly." [Emphasis mine.]
Unsurprisingly, Trump is almost surely lying. His last financial disclosure placed his annual income at $250 million. On October 4, he told ABC News that he made $605 million over the previous year. As Len Burman, director of the Tax Policy Center put it in December:
Donald Trump hasn't released his tax returns, but people in his income group would get huge tax cuts.
That's exactly right. Ending the carried interest exemption, as Trump, Clinton and Sanders have all proposed, will hit hedge fund managers and private equity titans like Mitt Romney, but not real estate tycoons. But the Donald's call to reduce the top marginal income tax rate from 39.6 to 25 percent could mean millions more for his coffers each year. His new 15 percent tax rate for business owners and corporations, down from the current percent corporate statutory rate of 35 percent, could benefit Trump as well. (A similar business owners' pass-through tax in Kansas cost the state hundreds of millions in lost revenue.) On top of that, the elimination of the estate tax paid by less than a quarter of one percent of all fortunes, would redirect billions of Trump's supposed $10 billion wealth from the United States Treasury to his heirs. As Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler explained in his Four Pinocchio review of Trump's claim that his tax plan "is going to cost me a fortune":
No matter how we slice it, we do not see how Trump can justify his claim that his tax plan would cost him "a fortune." On the contrary, it appears it would significantly reduce his taxes -- and the taxes of his heirs.
If Trump is to be believed, his annual income puts him among the top 400 taxpayers in the country. And as the Tax Policy Center found, The Donald's plan on average hands the top 0.1 percent of earners a $1.3 million annual tax cut.
Of course, that won't happen if Hillary Clinton wins the White House and gets her way with the nation's tax code. The Clintons and the Trumps would face much bigger tax bills.
For starters, Hillary has proposed a 4 percent surcharge on incomes (including investment income) over $5 million a year. She backs the Buffett Rule, which requires those earning above $1 million a year to pay at least 30 percent to Uncle Sam. Like Bernie Sanders, Clinton has long supported ending the "carried interest exemption" that allows hedge fund managers and private equity investors (like Mitt Romney) to pay the much lower capitals gains rate (20 percent) rather than the income tax rate (as high as 39.6 percent) on their annual earnings. Just as important for those on Wall Street, Hillary would change the treatment of capital gains, where still-low tax rates are one of the biggest factors behind America's record-high levels of income inequality. For individuals earning over $411,500 a year ($464,850 for families), capital gains on investment income would be taxed at the same rate as earned income (39.6 percent). For this top 0.5 percent of taxpayers, rates would decline each year, until reaching 20 percent for investments held six years or longer.
To be sure, Secretary Clinton's speaking fees have been an issue throughout the Democratic primaries. As CNN documented the windfall in February:
Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, combined to earn more than $153 million in paid speeches from 2001 until Hillary Clinton launched her presidential campaign last spring, a CNN analysis shows.
In total, the two gave 729 speeches from February 2001 until May, receiving an average payday of $210,795 for each address. The two also reported at least $7.7 million for at least 39 speeches to big banks, including Goldman Sachs and UBS, with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic 2016 front-runner, collecting at least $1.8 million for at least eight speeches to big banks.
No doubt, those audiences and those dollar figures don't present the greatest optics for Hillary Clinton. But more context, which CNN itself reported last year, tells a somewhat different story. Unlike most wealthy Americans (and wealthy presidential candidates, "she and her husband paid an effective federal tax rate of 35.7 percent and a combined federal, state, and local effective rate of 45.8 percent last year."
In a lengthy statement and on her campaign website, Clinton detailed that she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, paid more than $43 million in federal taxes from 2007 to 2014, over $13 million in state taxes and donated nearly $15 million to charity over the same period.
All of which means Hillary and Bill--and The Donald--would be paying a lot more to Uncle Sam under a Clinton administration.
As for President Trump, his future winnings will be YUGE, no matter what candidate Trump says now. As Kessler summed it up in September:
If more information becomes available--such as the release of Trump's tax returns or more details on his tax plan--we will of course update, and if necessary adjust this ruling. But for now it's a Four Pinocchio statement.
As things look now, Trump's will remain a Four Pinocchio statement because the Donald is too chicken to put his money where his mouth is.