The Trump administration’s dumbest idea yet

I don’t know about you, but when I wake up in the morning, after dressing modestly and saying my prayers, the first thing I do is shed a couple of hot tears for the rich. Think of poor Jeff Bezos, who has watched numbers go up on a screen for eight whole months and only made $40 billion. When is the last time we had a tax cut in this country? Too long, according to Steven Mnuchin, our Goldman Sachs alumnus-cum-hedgefund gazillionaire treasury secretary. Speaking offhandedly to a journalist at one of those Letter of the Alphabet Plus Natural Number summits — I think it might have been the G20… Read More

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Why Paul Manafort wants to go down with the ship

On Tuesday the investigation into supposed collusion between President Trump and Russia will come closer than it has before to vindication when Paul Manafort, the onetime chairman of the president’s election campaign, goes to trial to defend himself against charges that he was a low-rent crook and fixer many years before he met the former star of Celebrity Apprentice. If Manafort were convicted on all charge he would face more than three centuries in prison. And that is before his next trial in Washington, D.C., where he is scheduled to face entirely separate charges. The man himself naturally denies all of it. The case against Manafort — who is accused… Read More

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The Democrats’ milquetoast plan to rein in Facebook is actually pretty risky

Between data privacy problems and Russian bots, big tech platforms like Facebook are giving U.S. policymakers a serious headache. And that goes double for the Democratic Party. According to Axios, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has a new paper laying out multiple policy options for how to rein them in. Kudos to Warner at the outset: The paper is clearly intended as a conversation starter; it’s a conversation we need to have; and some of its ideas are genuinely worthwhile. But the paper also dances around the central problem presented by Facebook and its ilk. Probably because the central problem suggests solutions too radical for many Democrats to stomach. In their… Read More

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Ignore the president

The time has come to turn off The Trump Show. I know: We can’t simply ignore the president. He has enormous power at his disposal. Because of this, normally everything a president says has news value. Presidential words matter. They inspire actions and reactions across the federal government, and throughout the citizenry. They shape public opinion and drive policy changes. They can move markets at home and abroad. They send signals to foreign governments. Yet it’s also true that we’ve been dealing with Trump in the presidential arena long enough — since he launched his campaign three years ago — to have learned something important about how he uses his… Read More

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