Do we have a so-called safety net that facilitates able bodied Americans sitting on the sidelines and collecting government benefits?
By this time we are all aware of the delays and difficulties that the Senate Republicans have been having to get a health care reform bill. But in addition, there has been concern that there has been no apparent work on tax reform, infrastructure and the budget for next year.
A couple weeks ago, President Trump released an outline to suggest approaches to both corporate and individual tax reform. Individual rates would be reduced to 3 brackets from 7 and the standard deduction doubled while reducing itemized deductions to only mortgage interest and charitable contributions. Corporate rates would also be reduced to 15%, foreign profits currently in accounts in other countries taxed at 10% or less if brought back to the US and some deductions eliminated. Congress supposedly is working on a bill, but seems stuck with how to do one massive bill covering both individual and corporate reform. Why are they considering one bill, when they could do one bill for each? There is already opposition from the Democrats and others, some suggesting tax reform is not really necessary. Do we need tax reform? What can we learn from Apple? Should the Republicans introduce a corporate tax bill first? What is the “Right Thing to do?”
A number of states and municipalities have passed minimum wage laws and advocates have pushed with their protests and marches for $15 an hour. Minimum wage hikes are seen as some sort of panacea for low wage workers. In a recent speech on workforce development by Federal Reserve Chairwoman Yellen, she stated that it is crucial for younger workers to establish a solid connection to employment early in their work lives. Yet, studies have shown that higher minimum wages have reduced entry level jobs, especially for younger workers. Some cities and states that passed higher minimum wage laws are now considering the consequences. Should minimum wages be increased to $15 an hour?
President Trump received a lot of criticism for what some call a disappointing first 100 days in office. However, what many pundits seem to have overlooked is the steady stream of executive and other actions he put in place to deregulate the economy. Were his moves to deregulate good for the economy? Will these moves improve the business environment? Should the deregulation continue? There are currently 6 bills passed by the House to further ease regulations. Should they be passed by the Senate? What is the “Right Thing to do?”
President Trump emerged from his first 100 days in office with a mixed bag of results. He got his Supreme Court nominee confirmed, but was unable to get an agreement to repeal and replace Obamacare to meet his self imposed deadline last month. Several of his key appointments have not been confirmed and many more nominees have yet to be named. There are questions as to the status of several other campaign promises and whether or not he can deliver. There are 5 key upcoming deadlines that will determine whether or not he will gain the momentum to pass the legislation to fulfill many of those promises. Let’s take a look at those 5 deadlines and determine “What is the “Right Thing to do.”
Legislation that would severely limit the ability of citizens to join class action lawsuits has sparked debate, with supporters saying it would reduce lawyer driven litigation and opponents saying it would minimize consumer rights. Another legislative initiative in California would limit cookie cutter lawsuits regarding the American Disabilities Act. The regulations are seen as guaranteeing lifetime employment for building consultants and have spawned an industry of attorneys who jam federal courts with suits that require defendants to pay attorney fees while plaintiffs aren’t entitled to damages under federal law. Should class action and ADA lawsuits be limited? Are there abuses to the system with payouts to attorneys with little or no compensation for plaintiffs? Does this type of legislation limit consumers’ rights? Who benefits the most for these suits, the attorneys or the plaintiffs? What is the “Right Thing to do?”
Middle skill jobs, those requiring education and training beyond high school, but less than a 4 year degree are in high demand by employers. Democrats in the Michigan House want to amend the state constitution to include a right to literacy for all children. The State Superintendent of Public Schools has proposed another life line for the 38 failing schools in Michigan. The state passed a rescue for Detroit Public Schools with $617 million authorization to pay off its debt and to fund improvements.
Now that the attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare has been withdrawn, it appears that tax reform is the next issue for Congress to consider. However, by the end of April, Congress must pass a budget for the current year. The budget has been delayed at least twice because Congress could not agree and instead passed continuing resolutions. Whether or not Congress can agree for this year a bigger battle appears on the horizon for 2018. President Trump has unveiled his initial budget for 2018. What are the key provisions of his proposal? What is the likelihood that his budget will be passed? Should the bulk of his budget be passed? What is the “Right Thing to do?
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