A Trump tax division; Graham AHCA punt; Crean slips to bottom
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 9:50 AM
By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Muncie
1. A Trumpian tax diversion
Five talking points before your hump day power lunch. A tried and alternative fact modus operandi of the Trump administration and campaign is if the heat is turning up, divert. So you have to wonder if “John Miller” leaked two scant “client copy” pages President Trump’s 2005 federal tax returns in order to take the eyes off the growing RyanCare debacle that is cleaving that loose confederation we call the Republican Party. The White House blamed the “dishonest media,” but then said in a statement, presumably approved by “John Miller”, “You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago. Mr. Trump paid $38 million dollars even after taking into account large scale depreciation for construction, on an income of more than $150 million dollars, as well as paying tens of millions of dollars in other taxes such as sales and excise taxes and employment taxes and this illegally published return proves just that. Despite this substantial income figure and tax paid, it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns. The dishonest media can continue to make this part of their agenda, while the President will focus on his, which includes tax reform that will benefit all Americans."
Here’s NBC’s First Take’s take this morning: The Republicans’ health-care
overhaul efforts are unraveling. President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan
have a big problem on their hands. There’s a reason why the White House is now
falling back on the argument that if the House GOP plan doesn’t pass, repealing
and replacing Obamacare might never happen. "This is it,” White House
Press Secretary Sean Spicer said yesterday.
2. The Graham health care strategy
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, said that
President Trump is working “really working hard,” adding that “he was willing
to go bowling with the Freedom Caucus. That shows you how much he wants a bill.
I don't think I could have done that.” But the South Carolina Republican is skeptical
the GOP can prevail. His suggestion: Allow the Affordable Care Act to fall
apart and force Democrats to help pick up the pieces. “Here’s what I would tell
the president: If you can't get a better deal and if you can’t protect that
62-year-old worker in Greenville from having dramatic premium increases because
Democrats won't work with you and you can't get the Republican party on board,
stop, take a time-out, let it collapse,” Graham said. “Then turn to the
Democrats and say this was the system you created. It has collapsed, now help
me replace it. That’s what I would do."
What is absolutely stunning is that instead of spending the last seven years
evolving Obamacare, Republicans dug in, criticized, cast 50 votes for repeal,
and then when given the chance to replace/repeal, they are exposed as vapid and
divided. Graham may be on to something here. This type of social engineering
that impacts hundreds of millions of Americans and one-sixth of the economy
requires bipartisan work and the kind of deal making that President Reagan and
Speaker O’Neill were so good at.
3. The GOP governor firewall
The national media is picking up on a point we made yesterday, which is that
Republican governors are digging in against the $880 billion Medicaid cuts,
including Gov. Eric Holcomb. He’s being joined by Phil Scott of Vermont, Chris
Sununu of New Hampshire, Rick Snyder of Michigan, Charlie Baker of
Massachusetts, Bruce Rauner of Illinois and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas. Vice
President Pence has long said the states are innovators and these GOP governors
are sending a powerful message.
4. Senate ponders HB1002
At the Statehouse, all eyes are on the Indiana Senate to see how HB1002
evolves. NWI Times reporter Dan Carden reports that Senate Tax and Fiscal
Policy Chairman Brandt Hershman said he's not anticipating his committee will
make major changes next week to the core of what he described as a
"thoughtful" House road funding proposal. And Hershman joins Gov.
Holcomb in that he’s not a big fan of tolling, though tolling added lanes
"is a bit of a different story." Interesting.
5. The Crean slips to the bottom
IU’s men’s basketball
season ended with a discordant thud last night, losing an NIT game to Georgia
Tech on the road, perhaps fearing a scantly filled Assembly Hall. As an alum,
I’ve long said I hate paying coaches not to coach. For that reason, Coach Tom
Crean should probably get another year to get things back on track. His buyout
falls to $1 million in July. That is, of course, unless Crean takes a job
elsewhere (psssst, coach, good idea) or A.D. Fred Glass has a shot at landing a
top tier coach from Wichita State or Creighton or the Boston Celtics (which
ain’t gonna happen). It’s been 16 years since a Final Four appearance and 30
years since a national title.
Enjoy your hump day, folks. It’s the Atomic!