US Politics in Trump era
Treasury Department officials are considering rolling back a tax rule aimed at preventing American companies from moving money offshore to avoid U.S. taxes, according to several people familiar with discussions.
The Trump administration has begun inserting legal protections into recent trade agreements that shield online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube from lawsuits, a move that could help lock in America’s tech-friendly regulations around the world even as they are being newly questioned at home.
Heather Waldron and John Hawley are losing their four-bedroom house in the hills above Blacksburg, Va. A teenage daughter, one of their five children, sold her clothes for spending money. They worried about paying the electric bill. Financial disaster, they say, contributed to their divorce, finalized in April. Their money problems began when the University of Virginia Health System pursued the couple with a lawsuit and a lien on their home to recoup $164,000 in charges for Waldron’s emergency surgery in 2017
History will record last week as a moment when President Trump turned to raw racial appeals to attack a group of nonwhite lawmakers, but his attacks also underscored a remarkable fact of his first term: His rhetorical appeals to white working-class voters have not been matched by legislative accomplishments aimed at their economic interests.
Citing Fears of Americans Getting ‘Screwed,’ Progressive Democrats Call Out Pelosi for Crafting Pharma-Friendly Drug Pricing Bill in Secret
Amid concerns that the House Democratic leadership is crafting a drug pricing bill that is far too friendly to the pharmaceutical industry, progressives in Congress this week publicly called out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for writing the legislation in secret and ignoring those who favor a more aggressive approach to lowering out-of-control prescription drug costs.
Trump’s tax cut for corporations and the wealthy didn’t just reduce the top corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. It also retained a boatload of corporate tax credits and loopholes, making the actual tax rate just 7 percent – the lowest in 71 years.
AT&T in November 2017 pushed for the corporate tax cut by promising to invest an additional $1 billion in 2018, with CEO Randall Stephenson saying that "every billion dollars AT&T invests is 7,000 hard-hat jobs. These are not entry-level jobs. These are 7,000 jobs of people putting fiber in ground, hard-hat jobs that make $70,000 to $80,000 per year."
At a luxury resort just outside of the nation’s capital last month, around four dozen senior congressional staffers decamped for a weekend of relaxation and discussion at Salamander Resort & Spa. It was an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to come together and listen to live music from the Trailer Grass Orchestra, sip surprisingly impressive glasses of Virginia wine — and hear from health care lobbyists focused on defeating Medicare for All.
President Donald Trump complains that large corporations, such as Amazon.com Inc., are shirking their tax responsibilities. Yet for at least a decade, Trump paid none or very little in federal income taxes by exploiting some of the same generous tax breaks that the online retail giant and others have used to reduce IRS bills.
Despite all the concern trolling, reading the financial press highlights the fact that corporate media oppose Medicare for All not because of legitimate queries and concerns about its implementation, but because they are owned by investors with stakes in maintaining the for-profit status quo
In an effort to inform the public about the corporate forces working to crush Medicare for All, an employee at the insurance giant UnitedHealthcare leaked a video of his boss bragging about the company's campaign to preserve America's for-profit healthcare system.
If there’s anything Donald Trump hates more than globalist trade deals that restrict U.S. sovereignty, it’s the exorbitant cost of pharmaceuticals in this country. “The next major priority for me, and for all of us, should be to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs,” the president said in his most recent State of the Union Address. “It is unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same place.”
Corporate America brought $664.9 billion of offshore profits back to the U.S. last year, falling short of the $4 trillion President Donald Trump said would return as a result of the 2017 tax overhaul. Companies kept much of their overseas profit offshore because a 35 percent tax kicked in only if they brought the cash back to the U.S. But the Republican tax law set a one-time 15.5 percent tax rate on cash and 8 percent on non-cash or illiquid assets, regardless of the country where the profits sat.
A Harvard study found that executives donate more heavily to Republicans. For the study, to be released Tuesday, they tracked personal political contributions for more than 3,500 chief executives that occupied the corner office anytime from 2000 to 2017. Just 18.4 percent of the executives studied were designated as Democrats. The clear majority — 57.7 percent — demonstrated their affiliation through donations to the Republican Party. Indeed, 75 percent of donations from the median chief executive were directed to Republicans.
Republicans on the House antitrust panel laughed off Democrats’ questions over T-Mobile’s spending at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. immediately after the company announced a mega-merger with Sprint. One day after the merger announcement, nine T-Mobile executives checked in to Trump’s D.C. hotel, The Washington Post reported in January. The company ultimately spent $195,000 on 38 nights at the hotel as T-Mobile executives descended on Washington to meet with regulators about the proposed merger.
The Big Cheat of 2018: Corporations Make Billions in Profits, Demand Tax Refunds from the American Public
The corporate tax rate nosedived from 35% to 21% in 2017, but the thirty companies listed here paid only 8.7% of their reported U.S. income in current federal taxes (even worse, an estimated 7.4% if U.S. income were based on a true percentage of sales). That's $30 to $35 billion—from just 30 companies—that is owed to the American public.
The White House is openly plotting to bring down the government of Nicolas Maduro in Caracas. It is being openly promoted as a campaign to steal Venezuelan oil for the benefit of U.S. corporations, and some powerful Democrats are cheering Trump on and joining the conspiracy.
Investigation Finds at Least $800M in Taxpayer Money Went to Funding For-Profit Immigrant Prisons in 2018
While President Donald Trump's anti-immigrant agenda has been disastrous and deadly for asylum-seekers fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries, a Daily Beast investigation published on Thursday found that the White House's xenophobic policies have been a major boon for the private prison industry—at the expense of American taxpayers.
Family detention centers run by the country’s two largest for-profit prison operators are set to become some of Texas’s biggest child-care providers, following a recent state appeals court decision. Under the ruling, the centers—which have been accused of enabling sexual abuse and allowing children to die in their care—will receive the same type of licenses granted to the state’s daycares, potentially enabling them to detain children indefinitely.
Schumer has sided with the GOP on Wall Street, Israel, Iraq, Iran, and Facebook. Almost any other Democrat should be Senate minority leader instead. As I argued earlier this week, the next two years in U.S. politics will be a 24/7 battle for the future of American democracy; a relentless fight against fascism, racism, and white nationalism. Are we really expected to believe that Schumer will be the leader of the #Resistance in the Senate ? Don’t make me laugh.
The $1.5 trillion tax overhaul that President Trump signed into law late last year has already given the American economy a jolt, at least temporarily. It has fattened the paychecks of most American workers, padded the profits of large corporations and sped economic growth.
State Department Team Led by Former Raytheon Lobbyist Pushed Mike Pompeo to Support Yemen War Because of Arms Sales
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo faced internal opposition to U.S. support for the war in Yemen from State Department staff, according to a recent report. The staffers had become concerned by the rising civilian death toll in the war being carried out by Persian Gulf monarchies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — not only owing to bombings of densely populated areas, but also a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by the fighting, with up to 8.4 million people at risk of starvation.
Potential perils are in plain sight: An intense and unpredictable tariff battle is alarming businesses across the country. The annual federal deficit is heading toward $1 trillion. Credit card debt is soaring. And the synchronous wave that lifted every world economy at the year’s start has dissipated. So what? Such risks have done little to puncture the exuberant optimism that is encouraging American businesses to ramp up hiring and consider new investment.
Global debt has hit another high, climbing to $247 trillion in the first quarter of 2018, according to a report published Wednesday. Of that figure, the non-financial sector accounted for $186 trillion.. “Firms have used artificially low rates to borrow in the capital markets and only buy back stock in the equity market,” LaVorgna said. “The inherent instability of debt over equity financing suggests that the next downturn could hit investment spending unusually hard.”
Starting over Fourth of July weekend, the political network funded by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch is planning to release attack ads targeting seven senators who voted against President Donald Trump's $15.4 billion spending cuts package
One of the country’s largest operators of private immigration detention facilities has made significant contributions to several Texas members of Congress. The GEO Group’s PAC and executives have given $32,900 to Houston Republican Rep. John Culberson’s campaign this election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission documents and OpenSecrets.org. GEO is Culberson's largest donor.
Vice President Pence has transformed his office into a new entry point for lobbyists seeking to influence the Trump administration across federal agencies, according to federal records and interviews.
Mr. Cohen did not land a hoped-for job in President Trump’s administration — he imagined himself as chief of staff — and in January last year he left the Trump Organization, where he had long served as the in-house fixer without a clear portfolio. But he managed to turn what looked like an exile into a lucrative opportunity.
Georgia lawmakers approved a bill on Thursday that stripped out a tax break proposal highly coveted by Delta Air Lines — the most stinging punishment that America’s pro-gun forces have leveled so far on one of the many corporations recalibrating their positions on firearms after the Florida high school massacre.
American companies have lavished Wall Street with $171 billion of stock buyback announcements so far this year, according to research firm Birinyi Associates. That's a record-high for this point of the year and more than double the $76 billion that Corporate America disclosed at the same point of 2017.
The problem with Donald Trump is not that he is imbecilic and inept—it is that he has surrendered total power to the oligarchic and military elites. They get what they want. They do what they want. Although the president is a one-man wrecking crew aimed at democratic norms and institutions, although he has turned the United States into a laughingstock around the globe, our national crisis is embodied not in Trump but the corporate state’s now unfettered pillage.
In a statement to the media after the vote, Booker’s office said he supports the importation of prescription drugs but that “any plan to allow the importation of prescription medications should also include consumer protections that ensure foreign drugs meet American safety standards. I opposed an amendment put forward last night that didn’t meet this test.” This argument is the same one offered by the pharmaceutical industry.The measure introduced by Bernie Sanders would have passed without Democratic defections.
On Wednesday afternoon, Apple posted a press release. The primary purpose of this statement, it seems, was to tell investors exactly how much money the company would have to pay in taxes on the profits it’s now repatriating from overseas. Instead of simply reporting this information, conservative media decided to drop it in the middle of a long missive titled “Apple Accelerates U.S. Investment and Job Creation.”
After bonus announcement, Walmart fires thousands of co-managers, replaces them with cheaper workers
After Walmart’s flashy announcement of bonuses of up to $1,000 for some of its workers, the real story played out quietly.On Wednesday, as news of the bonus announcement was lauded by Trump and Fox News, Walmart abruptly closed down 63 Sam’s Clubs stores. More than 9,000 people lost their jobs. Some only learned about the decision when they showed up to work and found the doors locked.
At least two major companies that publicly announced large bonuses for their employees after the passage of a massive GOP-led tax overhaul — which represented a windfall for wealthy Americans and big corporations — quietly laid off hundreds of workers at the same time. Comcast laid off more than 500 sales employees right before Christmas, AT&T is also in the process of laying off thousands of employees,
Now Democrats have clips of the president talking about how this tax bill was really more about the corporate tax cuts all along and saying he just undid Obamacare — both of which weren't part of the argument for the bill. They also happen to be pretty good talking points, with the latter being something Democrats can credibly use to force Republicans into ownership of whatever happens with the American health-care system from now on.
U.S. corporations are already beginning the process of pocketing the winnings from the tax bill jackpot they expect to hit any day now, undercutting, in a remarkably public fashion, the pretense that the corporate tax cut will lead to greater investment in job creation. Since the Senate passed its version of the tax bill on December 2, 29 companies have announced $70.2 billion in stock buybacks, a maneuver that uses company cash to buy its own shares, which then drives up the price of those shares, rewarding major investors and executives whose compensation is directly tied to the company’s stock price.
Even hours after the Senate vote, tax experts were scratching their heads over precisely what had made it into the final version of the bill and the impact of some significant provisions. Still, it was clear that many changes expanded tax benefits for the wealthiest taxpayers, while other attempts to close loopholes fell by the wayside. The bill would add $1 trillion to deficits over the coming decade.
“Contrary to their assertions, the Republicans are picking winners and losers,” Jerry Howard, chief executive of the National Association of Homebuilders, said in an interview. “They are picking rich Americans and corporations over small businesses and the middle class.”
The RT and Twitter teams held a number of direct negotiations, during which we brainstormed potential media strategy ahead of American elections in 2016. The first meeting dates back to as early as April 2016, and involved senior marketing and news partnerships managers from Twitter.
In recent weeks, the Trump administration has sparred with American businesses that support Nafta and pushed for significant changes that negotiators from Mexico and Canada say are nonstarters. All the while, the president has continued threatening to withdraw the United States from the trade agreement, which he has maligned as the worst in history.
The acknowledgment by Facebook follows months of criticism that the social media company served as a platform for the spread of false information before the November election. In a statement posted days after the election, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg promised to explore the issue but said that 99 percent of information found on Facebook is authentic and only "a very small amount" is fake or hoaxes.
President Trump’s main council of top corporate leaders disbanded on Wednesday following the president’s controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them. Soon after, the president announced on Twitter that he would end his executive councils, “rather than put pressure” on executives.
The Sinclair Broadcast Group (Smith) and the Trump administration’s F.C.C. chief (Pai) see eye-to-eye on the need to unleash television. An examination of the F.C.C. records shows that the Smith-Pai alliance does not follow the familiar script of a lobbyist with deep pockets influencing policy. Instead, it is a case of a powerful regulator and an industry giant sharing a political ideology, and suddenly, with the election of Mr. Trump, having free rein to pursue it — with both Mr. Smith, 66, and Mr. Pai, 44, reaping rewards.
The nation’s consumer watchdog is adopting a rule on Monday that would pry open the courtroom doors for millions of Americans, restoring their right to bring class-action lawsuits against financial firms. Under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule, banks and credit card companies could no longer force customers into arbitration and block them from banding together to file a class-action suit. The change would deal a serious blow to Wall Street and could wind up costing financial firms billions of dollars.
President Trump has given at least 16 White House staff members dispensation to work on policy matters they handled while employed as lobbyists or to interact with their former colleagues in private-sector jobs, according to records released late Wednesday. Among those receiving waivers were former lobbyists for the insurance and fossil fuel industries, the White House counsel and key advisers including Reince Priebus.
Chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion are a group of pesticides that are a big money-maker for Dow Chemical, with the company selling approximately 5 million pounds of chlorpyrifos in the U.S. each year. Studies by federal scientists have found that chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion are harmful to almost 1,800 “critically threatened or endangered species.” Luckily for Dow, the E.P.A. is now run by climate-change skeptic and general enemy of living things Scott Pruitt, who last month said he would reverse “an Obama-era effort to bar the use of Dow's chlorpyrifos pesticide on food after recent peer-reviewed studies found that even tiny levels of exposure could hinder the development of children's brains.” Plus, Dow Chemical C.E.O. Andrew Liveris is good buddies with President Donald Trump.
Just over two months into the Trump administration, Republicans in Congress have undone numerous regulations put in place by former President Barack Obama. On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed a bill — along party lines — that would allow Americans’ internet histories to be bought and sold by large telecom companies like Comcast (Xfinity), Verizon and AT&T, without their knowledge or consent. The U.S. Senate did the same thing a week ago.
Mr. Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court pick, represented the mogul Philip F. Anschutz as an outside counsel and has links to other executives at his companies. In 2006, Mr. Anschutz successfully lobbied Colorado’s lone Republican senator and the Bush administration to nominate Judge Gorsuch to the federal appeals court. And since joining the court, Judge Gorsuch has been a semiregular speaker at the mogul’s annual dove-hunting retreats for the wealthy and politically prominent at his 60-square-mile Eagles Nest Ranch.
A lawsuit against one of the largest private prison operators in the country reached class-action status this week. Tens of thousands of immigrants detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were forced to work for $1 day, or for nothing at all - a violation of federal anti-slavery laws - a lawsuit claims.The lawsuit, filed in 2014 against one of the largest private prison companies in the country, reached class-action status this week after a federal judge’s ruling. That means the case could involve as many as 60,000 immigrants who have been detained.
The Senate voted strictly along party lines Friday morning to repeal a regulation requiring disclosures for the payments that energy companies make to foreign governments. The measure now heads to the White House, and President Trump is expected to sign it.
Uber Technologies Inc Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick, facing criticism from immigration advocates for serving on President Donald Trump's business advisory group, quit the group on Thursday, the company said.
A lot happened in the 2016 campaign, but one of the things Donald Trump did to win the election was shift to the left on a number of key issues — promising to avoid cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits and adopting a longstanding Democratic pledge to let Medicare negotiate bulk discounts in the price it pays for prescription drugs.
Bernie Sanders explains why this deal with carrier is the opposite of what Trump promised during his campaign. He promised to tax the corporations if they shipped jobs overseas not giving them tax breaks. He said Carrier took Trump hostage and won!
Joshua Wright has been put in charge of transition efforts at the influential Federal Trade Commission after pulling off the rare revolving-door quadruple-play, moving from Google-supported academic work to government – as an FTC commissioner – back to the Google gravy train and now back to the government.
The pharmaceutical and health products industry -- it includes not only drug manufacturers but also dealers of medical products and nutritional and dietary supplements -- is consistently near the top when it comes to federal campaign contributions.
Even as Democratic voters are concentrating on beating Donald Trump, the Very Serious People of D.C. are quietly plotting a highly unpleasant surprise for them. Article talks about where the money for proposed programs will come from and how to pay for them. Progressives want taxes from corporate profits and articles discusses the politics of this process.
As soon as Congress scrapped the public funding for conventions in 2014, both the Democratic and Republican parties asked the FEC to dramatically increase the contribution limits for people who wanted to help fund conventions. The FEC granted their request, and instead of an annual limit of $33,000, individuals can now give up to $133,600 each year to fund the conventions.
Taxes, fees, tarrifs, tolls, levies, bribes, tithes, tributes. Whatever we called them, taxes have been an unfortunate reality of life ever since the biggest monkey decided he wanted a piece of the smaller monkeys’ lunch. From that earliest protection racket, taxes have only gotten more codified and
Want to see how giant corporations try to rig the system in their favor? Look at what ExxonMobil is doing to try to intimidate Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. The Massachusetts Attorney General's Office is one of several AGs who are investigating whether ExxonMobil broke state consumer and investor protection laws by knowingly misleading people about climate change since the 1970s.
As we've reflected on the events of the past week, one of my colleagues came across this speech made by Robert F. Kennedy at the Cleveland City Club on April 5, 1968. She encountered it on a recently published blog post and, at first, didn't realize that it was nearly 40 years old. Many of us have been remembering the events of 1968 and feeling an uncomfortable familiarity over the course of the past few days. Continue reading
A new set of documents leaked by hacker Guccifer 2.0 allegedly shows the Democratic National Committee has no qualms about asking for donations from some of the most evil corporations in America — even the corporations whose values are directly in opposition to the Democratic Party’s stated goals. The spreadsheet, which can be viewed in its entirety [...]
A new investigation exposes how one of the top scientists involved in denying climate change has failed to disclose his extensive funding from the fossil fuel industry. Dr. Wei-Hock Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has downplayed global warming and rejected human activity as its cause, arguing the sun is more responsible than greenhouse gases from pollution. Climate denialists — including Republican Senator James Inhofe, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee — frequently cite Soon’s work to reject concrete action.