Friday, September 23, 2016

Hillary News & Views 9.23.16: Between Two Ferns, Estate Tax, Poverty Plan and Debate Trolling

Orlando overflow, Sept 21st (photo courtesy HFA)

Okay, there's no way I'm not gonna start with this amazing piece of comedy that has just about everyone (Hillary fan or not) in stitches. If you haven't seen it, watch it now. If you've watched it once or twice or seven times, here it is again:

It doesn't surprise me when Hillary is funny and doesn't take herself too seriously, but maybe that's because I've been paying far more attention to her career than most people have. But it's a side of her that more people should see, and this clip is a slam-dunk in that regard. By the way, she filmed it on the day she was diagnosed with pneumonia. What a trooper!

There was some big news on the policy front Thursday:
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton proposed on Thursday to tax the estates of ultra-rich Americans at a rate as high as 65 percent — a plan that would apply to only a handful of billionaire families, and which comes straight from the campaign playbook of Clinton's former rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Clinton had already proposed to raise estate tax rates on some millionaires to 45 percent. Her new plan goes further. It would add three new brackets: a 50 percent rate for couples with estates valued above $10 million, a 55 percent rate for couples with estates above $50 million and a 65 percent rate for those with estates above $1 billion. Republican nominee Donald Trump has called for the elimination of the estate tax entirely.

Internal Revenue Service data suggest Clinton's highest rates would apply to very few Americans. In 2014, there were only 223 estate-tax payers with reported estates valued at $50 million or more. Still, the plan drew immediate protests from conservatives, including the Trump campaign, which labeled it an "even more dramatic hike in the death tax."

Politically, the proposal could serve a dual purpose for Clinton. It would raise more revenue for the federal government and helps her make the case that she has proposed sufficient tax increases to offset all her proposed spending programs. It also could help her court former backers of Sanders, particularly young liberals who have been slower to embrace her candidacy after she defeated him for the nomination.
Hillary also addressed poverty in the pages of the NYT this week:
The true measure of any society is how we take care of our children. With all of our country’s resources, no child should ever have to grow up in poverty. Yet every single night, all across America, kids go to sleep hungry or without a place to call home.

We have to do better. Advocating for children and families has been the cause of my life, starting with my first job as a young attorney at the Children’s Defense Fund, and if I have the honor of serving as president, it will be the driving mission of my administration. 
If we want to get serious about poverty, we also need a national commitment to create more affordable housing. This issue doesn’t get much election-year coverage, but it’s a big deal to the 11.4 million American households that spend more than half their incomes on rent. Too many people are putting off saving for their children or retirement just to keep a roof over their families’ heads.

My plan would expand Low Income Housing Tax Credits in high-cost areas to increase our affordable housing supply, and fuel broader community development. So if you are a family living in an expensive city, you would be able to find an affordable place to call home and have access to the transportation you need to get to good jobs and quality schools.

We also need to ensure that our investments are reaching the communities suffering the most from decades of neglect. We have got to acknowledge that even though poverty overall has fallen, extreme poverty has increased. Tim Kaine and I will model our anti-poverty strategy on Congressman Jim Clyburn’s 10-20-30 plan, directing 10 percent of federal investments to communities where 20 percent of the population has been living below the poverty line for 30 years. And we’ll put special emphasis on minority communities that have been held back for too long by barriers of systemic racism.

As president, I will continue my life’s work focused on creating opportunities for children and fairness for families.
Obviously, this is a massive issue that gets far too little attention in election years. And this year it's been especially difficult for detailed policy to break into the headlines because of the hot air and offensiveness emanating from her current opponent. Jonathan Cohn has a lengthy piece in the Huffington Post on these frustrations and how these policies could become legislation and laws during the next Clinton administration.

Here is a short excerpt:
On the economy, her initiatives would pour $275 billion dollars into public works, more than the Recovery Act did. She has endorsed various measures to help unions recover at least some of their lost bargaining power. She has also called for changes to regulations governing both corporations and banks, on the theory that there are too many incentives throughout the system that encourage short-term thinking and risky behavior.

The second area may be the most innovative. Clinton has developed a slate of policies to address the fact that as women have moved into the workforce, society has failed to keep pace with the resulting changes in family life. These include guaranteed paid leave, so that workers can take time off to care for a new child or sick relative. She’s also offered measures to improve the quality of childcare and make it a lot more affordable.

The third area focuses on the protection of marginalized groups, from African-Americans and Latinos to the LGBT community. Clinton plans to make a major push for comprehensive immigration reform, in a plan that essentially picks up where Obama left off. On criminal justice, she wants to cut mandatory minimum sentences in half, and limit the types of offenses that trigger them.
The whole thing is interesting and well worth a read for policy wonks.

The Clinton campaign is getting ready to fight back against an avalanche of lies from Trump on Monday night and is pressing the press to do the same. Greg Sargent at WaPo writes:
It is a time honored tradition for campaigns to “game expectations” in advance of debates, in hopes of getting the political press corps to judge the opposition harshly on matters ranging from verbal fluency to general knowledge. But this election has brought a twist on this tradition. One of the campaigns is asking the media in unusually pointed terms to hold the opposition accountable against a simple, minimal baseline standard: the truth.

This turn of events both embodies and reflects one of the things that makes this election so unique: Donald Trump has conquered exciting and truly unprecedented new frontiers when it comes to the frequency, effortlessness, audacity, and recidivism of his lying.

In an interview with me, Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon put a new spin on the oft-expressed idea that Trump’s debate performance should not be “graded on a curve,” arguing that if Trump unleashes his familiar barrage of lies on Monday night, he should be called out for it in assessments of his performance — and that such lies should be seen as “disqualifying.”

“Any assessment of Trump’s performance should rise or fall on whether he continues to resort back to his long-debunked lies,” Fallon said. “These types of lies should be treated as disqualifying. It would be unfathomable to anoint him successful in the debates if he’s persisting in those types of lies. That can’t be ignored in the grading of his performance.”
In an apparent attempt to throw Trump off his game during the debate, an interesting invite has been sent out and accepted:
When Donald Trump takes the stage on Monday night's prime-time presidential debate, one of the few faces he will see will be that of a fellow billionaire that has tried to savage him in public.

Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, was invited by the Clinton campaign to sit in the front row at Monday night's debate.

"Just got a front row seat to watch @HillaryClinton overwhelm @realDonaldTrump at the "Humbling at Hofstra" on Monday," Cuban tweeted. "It Is On!"

A Clinton aide later confirmed that Cuban was, in fact, invited by the Clinton campaign.

"He has the best seat we have access to," the aide said.

Cuban has tried to publicly shame Trump throughout the 2016 campaign, regularly slamming the Republican nominee for not releasing his taxes. The attacks have been particularly effective, given Cuban's status as a fellow billionaire and his public persona as a similarly brash businessman.

"He has proven to be singularly effective in making the case against Trump and for Clinton," the aide adds. "That is why we invited him."
Is the plan to unnerve The Donald and throw him off his game in any way possible...perhaps causing a disastrous meltdown in the process? If so, that's not a bad idea and this bit of trolling doesn't hurt.

BTW, how's that whole "deplorables" thing working out for ya, Don?
It was supposed to be her "47 percent" moment.

When Hillary Clinton said that half of Donald Trump's supporters belonged in a "basket of deplorables," Republicans thought they just might have found her campaign-crushing-blunder.

The gaffe, they hoped, was a way to cement an image as an out-of-touch snob, just as Democrats did four years ago to Mitt Romney after he said "47 percent" of voters backed President Barack Obama because they were "dependent on government."

But a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that Clinton's stumble didn't have quite the impact that Trump and his supporters wanted. Instead, it's Trump who's viewed as most disconnected and disrespectful.

Sixty percent of registered voters say he does not respect "ordinary Americans," according to the poll. That's far more than the 48 percent who say the same about Clinton.
Looking at the bulk of polls this week, I'm thinking that Hillary has indeed triumphed in the "battle of the deplorables". As she rightly should have, though I'm sure we haven't heard the last of it.

Retired top military officers have made a testimonial video in support of Clinton:
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would be a “dangerous” and unfit commander in chief because he has never paid attention to national security issues, a group of retired generals and admirals said Wednesday at an event to publicize a video they made in support of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“Donald Trump is not trustworthy,” retired Navy Rear Adm. Jamie Barnett said at the news conference. Barnett last served as deputy commander of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command. “Because he’s not trustworthy, he’s dangerous. We trust Hillary Clinton to be our commander in chief.”

The 15 retired top military officials funded the video that supports the former secretary of state, saying her experience on the world stage and measured approach to sensitive issues are in the best interest of national security.

Finally, here are a few bonus stories and tweets:
Have a great day and weekend, everyone! The greatest and most must-see debate in modern history is just three days away! I think this is what waiting for Christmas felt like when I was a kid.

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  1. The other thing about raising the estate tax is it will encourage the ulta rich to spend it while they live, not just hoard it.

    There should be some logical connection between affordable housing and tax policy. Effective social engineering requires economic diversity, as well as the legally mandated cultural/racial diversity that can be subverted through the pricing out method.

    It's now science that low income housing has to be included within high-income housing to make the low-income housing work.

    It's totally interesting, when she's elected she'll get more wonky about it.

    I think more people want to do the right thing than we know, and if they're given an opportunity, they'll come through and be better for the experience.

    1. I think she released the estate tax plan to piss Donald off right before the debate. It WILL come up, and she'll have excellent answers.