Trump Takes Aim at Last California Republicans (Bloomberg News link): It's hard to know exactly what shape Republican "tax reform" will take. Many details are missing from the "framework" that the administration presented this week. (Describing actions, or promises of action, by the Donald Trump administration often necessitates the use of quotation marks.) But it must have seemed a good idea to someone to complement Trump's culture war against liberals with a fiscal war.
The deduction for state and local taxes, which is targeted for extinction in the White House framework, is most valuable in states where income and property taxes are high, such as California and New York. That's why ending it has been called a "tax attack on blue states."
But it's amazing how many Republican donors and voters live in such states. Trump lost California to Hillary Clinton by more than 3.4 million votes, a greater margin than her national popular-vote win. Yet Trump received more votes in California than he got in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and West Virginia combined.
Americans Against Double Taxation -- yes, there is already an organized lobby against ending the so-called SALT deduction -- said that of the 20 districts nationwide with the highest percentage of returns claiming the deduction, nine have Republican representatives. New York alone sends nine Republicans to the House of Representatives, equaling the combined number of Republicans from Alabama and Mississippi. California sends 14.
Democrats need to win two dozen House districts currently held by Republicans to take over the House in 2018. One-third of the top targets are in California, where seven Republicans represent districts that were won in 2016 by Hillary Clinton, and two other seats are also on the Democratic Party hit list.
If you designed a policy to loosen the Republican grip on the party's last batch of California House seats, you could surely do worse than ending the tax deduction for state and local taxes. "They continue to try to figure out ways to alienate California from the Republican Party," said Democratic consultant Bill Carrick.
California, where every statewide office is held by a Democrat, is already hostile territory for Republicans. Carrick, a longtime adviser to California Senator Dianne Feinstein, thinks Democratic candidates challenging Republican incumbents have gained a ready message with the proposal to end the SALT deduction. "My gut," he said in a telephone interview, "is they can make a pretty good case: Send them a message. Quit punishing California."
Mod: In your guts you know he's nuts. And apparently so do a whole lot of other people.
A new survey from Public Policy Polling found that 52 percent of respondents wish Obama were in the midst of his third term. By comparison, only 41 percent prefer having President Donald Trump over Obama.
But it's not uncommon for a former president to see his popularity jump after he leaves office. A 2009 Gallup poll showed that only 35 percent of people liked former President George W. Bush, but after he'd left office and the news that he had taken up painting emerged, his approval rating has jumped up to 59 percent.
Unfortunately for the current president, the poll included many other negative ratings. The survey found 54 percent of people claim Trump is dishonest, 47 percent say he's mentally unstable and 48 percent call for his impeachment.
Former President Obama has made only a handful of forays into the political conversation, but has joined his fellow ex-presidents to call for relief after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria battered parts of the United States.
He's also continued to occasionally speak to the press on her personal life, recently admitting that he cried while dropping his daughter Malia Obama off at Harvard University this year.
Obama even found some time to hang out at The Presidents Cup golf tournament with former president’s Bush and Bill Clinton.