An Emergency Declaration would be an extraordinarily stupid precedent to set.

politi.co/2FdM1DT

Sure, this solves their short-term problem. Trump makes the declaration, attempts to comandeer the resources, and gets tied up in court while regular appropriations get passed. Ok.

But long term? Y’all aren’t paying attention if you don’t think the new generation of Democrats won’t use the same set of powers in the future for their own ends. It’s inevitable.

There’s a really simple rule to live by: never support the use of a set of powers by your pqrty that you arent willing to later recognize as legitimate when your opponents inevitably use them too.

Don’t built a surveillance state you don’t want your opponents running. Don’t start a war you don’t want your opponents managing. Don’t support the use of emergency powers you don’t want your opponents to use. Not now. Not ever. It will always end up a mistake. Always.

How marginal tax rates work

If I were given the opportunity to teach every American one thing in five minutes, I would teach them all how marginal tax rates work. Because if people understood that — and I’m as certain of the fact that the overwhelming majority of American do NOT understand it as I am of anything — it would transform all our debates about taxation and spending.

As explained by Investopedia, a marginal tax rate “is the tax rate incurred on each additional dollar of income. The marginal tax rate for an individual will increase as income rises. This method of taxation aims to fairly tax individuals based upon their earnings, with low-income earners being taxed at a lower rate than higher income earners.”

Under the current marginal tax rates, the first $9,525 earned by a single filer is taxed at 12 percent. Income from $9,525 to $38,700 is taxed at 12 percent. Income from $38,700 to $82,500 is taxed at 22 percent. The brackets go up to the top rate of 37 percent, which for a single filer kicks in at $500,000.

Marginal tax rates are progressive — they increase with income. So under Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal, a taxpayer on the lower end of the income scale wouldn’t pay the top rate of 70 percent. That rate would be reserved for the ultra-rich — as she described it, “tippy-top” earners who make $10 million or more.

Source: What conservatives have wrong about Ocasio-Cortez’s tax proposal, explained – Vox

You want to “cut taxes” for “all Americans,” for example? Under the system of taxation we currently have, the only way to do that is to focus the cuts on the rates at the bottom of the ladder, because those are the only rates that all Americans pay. You want to focus them on the middle class? Fine. Then you need to focus them on the rates at the bottom and in the middle. Focusing your cuts on the top, by contrast, only helps those at the top.

People don’t understand this, and so they fall for the bait-and-switch every time. The bottom and middle see tiny reductions, while the top sees the overwhelming majority of the action. That’s been the Republican playbook my entire adult life, and it works only because Americans don’t understand the most basic facts of how this system works.

That hasn’t always been true, and there are signs that may at very long last be about to change. And in that light, whatever happens to these specific proposals matters far, far less than the ways they are changing this debate.

The shutdown-in-the-name-of-border-security has shut down the e-verify system. Geniuses these guys are not

These people are genuine morons.

As Democrats and Republicans meet to broker a deal to restore government funding, one critical onboarding tool has found itself in the crossfire. E-Verify, the online service used by employers to confirm new hires’ authorization to work in the U.S., has been shut down until lawmakers and President Donald Trump can agree on a funding bill.

E-Verify cross-references individuals’ Form I-9 information with data from the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security to determine their authorization to work. Since the nineties, enrollment in the online service has ballooned from just 11,000 to nearly a million organizations. While use of E-Verify remains voluntary for most companies nationwide, a number of states have passed laws requiring or regulating its use.

The recent outage is complete, impacting every feature of the service. As of this writing, users were unable to submit cases, run reports, or even view pending or past submissions. Companies who don’t use E-Verify will also be unable to enroll in the service during the shutdown.

Source: E-Verify Shuts Down, Leaving Employers in Flux

How This All Happened 

If you’d asked me if this could be done in under 5,000 words while still remaining accurate, I would’ve quickly said NO WAY and then been very very wrong. Go read this. Set aside the few minutes it will take and go read this.

This is a short story about what happened to the U.S. economy since the end of World War II. That’s a lot to unpack in 5,000 words, but the short story of what happened over the last 73 years is simple: Things were very uncertain, then they were very good, then pretty bad, then really good, then really bad, and now here we are. And there is, I think, a narrative that links all those events together. Not a detailed account. But a story of how the details fit together….

The biggest difference between the economy of the 1945-1973 period and that of the 1982-2000 period was that the same amount of growth found its way into totally different pockets.

Source: How This All Happened · Collaborative Fund

The best way to reduce illegal immigration would be to focus on employers.

It doesn’t really matter how high a wall you build; so long as there’s no sanction on employers who hire undocumented workers, people will find a way to get here. That’s why immigration has always been a wedge issue for Republicans: business interests are on the opposite side of the issue from nativists and always will be.

And that’s what makes the eventual crackdown on the use of undocumented workers at Trump’s businesses so interesting. The nativists that should applaud it will have to come up with all kinds of silly arguments to explain why, well, you know, in this case we have to let it slide because liberal tears or some such.

But seriously: you want to really reduce the flow of workers across the southern border? Cracking down on this specific employer would send one hell of a signal. If Trump really were the strategic genius his fans think he is, he’d embrace this on the way to a real crackdown. It would be one of those “only Nixon can go to China” transformative moments.

He’s not, however, a genius, and he cares less about political success than he does about business. So….

talkingpointsmemo.com/news/fbi-new-jersey-attorney-general-immigration-crimes-undocumented-trump-golf-club-bedminster

They Don’t Care About Information Security

The behaviors that dominated the campaign continue deep into the administration. Because of course they do.

People who are genuinely concerned about these sorts of things will focus on the flaws in the underlying policies while also pursuing the misuse or misapplication of currently policy. They pursue a non-zero-sum both/and strategy rather than a zero-sum either/or one. I made this point over and over and over again during the campaign, and it appears now I’ll have to start making it over and over again here too:

The President and his TV lawyer continue to spin a contractor’s failure as an attempt on Mueller’s part to obstruct justice. Perhaps it’s time the focus shifted to the contractor who still continues to fail 10% of the time?

…The government contractor whose “bug” was responsible for the text messages that weren’t originally archived (but which were later recovered) still can’t ensure more than 90% of FBI’s texts are recovered

…If Trump really cared that FBI wasn’t archiving all its texts and continues to fail to do so, he should command Big Dick Toilet Salesman Matt Whitaker to ensure that FBI make purchasing decisions (perhaps starting by replacing the Samsungs with more secure iPhones) that will result in full archival records.

But he didn’t do that. Perhaps it’s time for journalists to start asking why he’s not demanding better of DOJ and FBI going forward?

Source: If Trump Is So Concerned that a DOJ Contractor Failed to Archive Texts, Why Not Hold the Contractor Accountable? | emptywheel

Imagine your boss lied to your face like this at a company meeting…

What would you think? How would you react? What would it make you think about him? And the company? And your role in it?

Speaking to members of the military during his surprise trip overseas this week, President Trump spoke about the raises they received.

“You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years — more than 10 years,” he said Wednesday. “And we got you a big one. I got you a big one. I got you a big one.”

He continued:

“They said: ‘You know, we could make it smaller. We could make it 3 percent. We could make it 2 percent. We could make it 4 percent.’ I said: ‘No. Make it 10 percent. Make it more than 10 percent.’ ”

The problem with those statements? They’re not true.

www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2018/12/27/trump-bragged-service-members-iraq-about-percent-raise-theyve-not-been-given/

Is it worse that he’s lying to the military? Sure. But set that aside and imagine it was your boss and your friends and the place where you work. How would it make you feel about your boss? And about the next set of things that he asked you to do?