Even Republicans Say Trump’s Budget Is Too Severe
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Even Republicans Say Trump’s Budget Is Too Severe

The Military Gets a Big Raise, the Rich Get Big Tax Cuts and the Rest of Us Get Shafted

Image posted on Twitter by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

Budget blues. Trump’s $4.1 trillion budget for 2018 cuts deeply into programs for the poor, from health care and food stamps to student loans and disability payments, laying out an austere vision for reordering the nation’s priorities. The budget, which even many Republican lawmakers are rejecting as too harsh, encapsulates much of the “America first” message that powered Trump’s campaign. It calls for a 10% increase in military spending and more than $2.6 billion for border security—including $1.6 billion to begin work on a wall on the border with Mexico—as well as huge tax reductions and an improbable promise of 3% economic growth. Go here for a full rundown on Trump’s budget cuts.

Public selloff. The Trump administration is drafting plans to privatize airports, bridges, highway rest stops and other public facilities, The Washington Post reported. In his proposed budget released Tuesday, Trump called for spending $200 billion over 10 years to “incentivize” private, state and local spending on infrastructure. The plan is to entice state and local governments to sell some of their assets and use the proceeds to build other infrastructure projects. Australia has pursued a similar policy, which it calls “asset recycling,” prompting the 99-year lease of a state-owned electrical grid to pay for improvements to the Sydney Metro, among other projects.

Kushner’s Fontana Village in Rosedale, Md. (Google Streetview image)

Kushnerville. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is the slumlord behind more than a dozen shoddy Baltimore-area rental complexes, according to an investigation by ProPublica. Tenants are often sued when they try to move out. Those sued included a tenant’s mother who was dying of pancreatic cancer.

Better call Marc. Trump has retained attorney Marc E. Kasowitz to represent him in the investigations into his campaign and suspected Russian interference in last year’s election. Kasowitz has represented Trump for many years, including the fraud suits against Trump University. He is a law partner of former Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who is under consideration to head the FBI.

Rounding error. Ride-hailing taxi company Uber mistakenly calculated its commissions, costing New York drivers more than $200 million, The New York Times reported. The company said Tuesday it had been taking its cut from a figure including state taxes, rather than a pre-tax fare. If a passenger handed over $20, and $2 of that represented taxes, Uber’s commission was a percentage of the full $20, not of $18, as it should have been. A lawsuit filed by a drivers’ advocacy group last year said Uber was making its drivers swallow the tax burden—a practice the group said amounted to wage theft.

Trump-Kremlin connection. Former CIA director John Brennan  told his Russian intelligence counterpart last summer to stop meddling in U.S. politics. The Senate Intelligence Committee issued two new subpoenas for Michael Flynn’s business records. Flynn has previously invoked the Fifth Amendment to refuse to hand over documents. The former national security adviser could be held in contempt of Congress if he continues to resist turning over documents.

Net neutrality. The Federal Communication Commission’s proposal to kill net neutrality is out. People have until July 17 to comment which they can do here. A second round of commenting will be held after this. People will pay more for Internet or could see their service slow down or blocked if net neutrality is undone. Republican talking points for undoing our open internet come straight from the cable industry.

May 24, 2017