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Pencil-Neck: Case Against President Trump, “The Ballot box is impossible to decide”

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Pencil-Neck: Case Against President Trump, "The ballot box is impossible to decide"

Prosecution chief Adam Schiff warned President Trump’s alleged misconduct not only by the impeachment led by the Democrats but by the vote box.

The Chairman of the House of Justice made the remarks at its opening statement on Wednesday.

“If President Trump’s misuse of his office and resistance by Congress is not remedied by his indictment in the Senate and expulsion, the balance of power in the branches of government will constantly change,” the Congressman said.

The democrat from California baselessly accused POTUS of trying “to use the presidency powers in an election to cheat.” “For this very reason, misconduct of the president can not be decided by the ballot box, because we can’t be sure of a fair victory in the election,” Schiff said.

“The president showed that he believed he was above the law and that he disregarded constraint,” he added.

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Editorial: Tay Anderson should be censured and must earn back trust

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Editorial: Tay Anderson should be censured and must earn back trust

After a month of inquiry, investigators hired by Denver Public Schools could not substantiate rape allegations against school board member Tay Anderson. In the end, not a single victim came forward.

However, the 96-page investigation released Wednesday by the Denver Public School Board found Anderson had recently had private conversations via social media and text messages with two high school seniors. In one case, Anderson aggressively pursued dates with a 17-year-old from a high school in Douglas County. She described her discomfort with the advances to investigators. In the other, the messages show he flirted with a 16-year-old who refused to be interviewed.

Anderson, who cooperated fully with investigators, admitted to both conversations and said he stopped talking to the 16-year-old after he learned her age via social media.

This is unacceptable behavior from any 23-year-old, and it’s egregious for a person in a trusted position of power and authority over approximately 92,000 students in Denver Public Schools.

Additionally, the investigation found Anderson more likely than not made “two social media posts during the investigation that were coercive and intimidating toward witnesses.”

We feel strongly that the school board should vote to censure Anderson on Friday.

Until trust is regained, the board should demand that Anderson not contact or communicate with students — from any school district — unless another adult in a position of authority is present.

The school district’s number one job is to protect students from harm.

Anderson has maintained his innocence from the very beginning and investigators questioned the credibility of a woman who made public an allegation that she knew of more than 60 women who had accused Anderson of inappropriate sexual behavior. The investigation also noted, however, that if any other victims existed they may have been afraid to cooperate, including a woman who detailed allegations to others about Anderson raping her in the parking garage area at the downtown doughnut shop where they worked together.

Anderson’s position on a school board makes any accusation of impropriety especially damning. He’s not a politician in the state Capitol operating almost exclusively in a world full of adults. Students are particularly vulnerable, and we’ve seen too many times as a society how young victims are unable to speak out about their trauma for years. The risk is too large for the board not to take action based on what they know.

The exchanges between Anderson and the student were clearly flirtatious. Anderson asked the 16-year-old if she had her own place and where she worked. He asked her to teach him to make pizza. The most direct flirtations were eye emojis at a photo and writing “Let’s be friends lol.” She was a student in the district Anderson is charged with overseeing.

With the other young woman, who was 17 at the time and attended school in Douglas County, Anderson was far more aggressive in pursuit of a romantic relationship.

“I would say I live in my parents [house] in high school. He would try to make me feel bad that I wouldn’t go out with him, a 20-something-year-old,” she told investigators. Most of the messages between the two occurred in Snapchat where they are deleted shortly after being sent and investigators were unable to substantiate the exact content of the messages.

Anderson confirmed talking with the woman and “acknowledged that he was flirtatious with her” and had asked her to go stargazing.

Anderson’s behavior with these two women and his inappropriate, possibly threatening, social media posts illustrate a blatant disregard for the responsibilities he assumed when he became a school board member. The voters who put him there, the people he represents, and the students whose best interest he should have at heart deserve better.

To send a letter to the editor about this article, submit online or check out our guidelines for how to submit by email or mail.

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Chinese real estate company — whose ex-chairman is worth an estimated $11.2 billion — is accused of swindling investors

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Evergrande investors angry at the company

The second-largest real estate developer in China, China Evergrande Group, is facing a massive liquidity crisis that has sparked anger among investors and homebuyers. 

Evergrande’s financial troubles: The company’s years of borrowing have resulted in a colossal debt, amounting to over more than $300 billion, and a struggle to pay overdue bills and multiple wealth management products, reported the Washington Post.

  • Riding on China’s real estate boom, Evergrande made numerous acquisitions in the past decade. Evergrande is a real estate developer but also dabbled in other businesses such as bottled water and electric cars. 
  • When China introduced measures that would monitor and manage the total debt level of major developers last year, Evergrande was forced to suspend housing projects and offload completed properties at discounted prices, according to the New York Times
  • Evergrande was previously able to stay afloat by relying on presales. According to Bloomberg, investors have made down payments on around 1.5 million properties.
  • Suppliers and creditors have hounded the company for hundreds of billions of dollars in outstanding bills, while homebuyers who paid for apartments that have yet to be completed have filed lawsuits. Eight hundred projects under Evergrande are unfinished, resulting in 1.2 million people still waiting for homes that they have already partially bought. 
  • The Shanghai Stock Exchange also halted trading on Evergrande’s May 2023 bond following a drop of over 30%. Evergrande’s Hong Kong-listed shares have so far dropped by over 80% this year.

The pitchforks have come: On Monday, a crowd of around 100 angry investors flocked to the headquarters of the failing Chinese company in Shenzhen amid rising concerns of its collapse, Reuters reported.

  • The protesting crowd gathered in the establishment’s lobby demanding repayment of loans and products.
  • Over 60 uniformed security officers blocked the building’s main entrances by midday as protesters shouted at company representatives addressing the crowd.
  • The company’s legal representative Du Liang read a proposal to the crowd which laid out plans for repayments for wealth management products holders. 
  • Based on Evergrande’s proposal, investors may “choose to accept 10% of the principle and interest of the matured product now and the rest via 10% installments quarterly, payment by property assets, or by using the outstanding product value to offset home purchase payments.”
  • The protesters jeered the proposal, with one woman responding, “A company as big as yours, how much money has been swindled from ordinary people?”
  • A protester, surnamed Wang, expressed concern that the proposed repayment would take two years, noting that “the company will be bankrupt by the end of the year.”
  • Wang said he had invested 100,000 yuan ($15,500) with Evergrande. His relatives have also invested about 1 million yuan ($155,005) in total.
  • On Thursday, security personnel took away protesters who remained gathered outside the company’s headquarters.

Evergrande founder Hui Ka Yan, whose current net worth remains at $11.2 billion, resigned from his position as chairman of the company’s main real estate arm last month. 

Featured Image via AFP News Agency

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Comic/actor Jay Pharoah ready to reign on Wilbur stage

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Comic/actor Jay Pharoah ready to reign on Wilbur stage

Kanye West wanted to talk to Jay Pharoah. It was the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards and West was arguably the biggest pop star on the planet. Pharoah was a star too — he had developed into a key cast member on “Saturday Night Live” — but he wasn’t in the same universe as West.

“Kanye West is Kanye West,” Pharoah told the Herald with a laugh ahead of his stand-up set at the Wilbur on Friday.

The comedian had always wondered if it would be awkward if he bumped into one of the subjects of his impressions (he can do Barack Obama, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy and dozens more with shocking accuracy).

“It was just tense,” Pharoah said. “He talked to me for 10 minutes about where he came from and said some real stuff. He said, ‘People are starting to listen to you, so you got a responsibility when you are putting your craft out there to be truthful.’”

Pharoah agreed with West and has always made sure to mix reverence and humor into his impressions. Of course humor often gets the lion’s share of the space.

The comedian left “SNL” in 2016, but he’s never stopped working. One of his mottos is, “If you can do it, do it.” He lived that in 2021: He toured relentlessly, just finished hosting the second season of Nickelodeon game show “Unfiltered,” starred in the Netflix romcom “Resort to Love,” and dropped his debut EP “Spitting Image.”

Best known for channeling Denzel Washington with eerie, wonderful perfection, Pharoah says he’s been working on broadening his skill set since he was in grade school.

“I have been doing drama since I was 8 years old,” he said of showing off his acting chops in “Resort to Love.” “I was a theater kid and have been acting for a long time, in community theater, in school plays. Now I’m just tapping back into that.”

“I started rapping when I was 13,” added of releasing his first EP. “It’s been almost two decades I’ve been rocking. But comedy is something that picked up first so that’s the lane that I went into, but I’ve always had a passion for music.”

With so much going on, Pharoah has an outlet for every artistic urge. His true love remains stand-up, which is good because what he can say on the Wilbur stage can’t be repeated on a Nickelodeon show.

“With stand-up, you have an outlet to speak your mind, and the charm of a good comedian is being able to tell the truth on stage about not only the world but about yourself,” he said. “There are certain things I would never say on stage at the Kid’s Choice Awards that I could say on Netflix or in a theater.”

“The stuff I say on stage I can’t say that mess on Nickelodeon,” he continued with a big laugh. “They’d hire Nick Cannon to do the show I’m doing. They’d get Jerrod Carmichael to do it.”


For tickets and details, go to jaypharoahworld.com.

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Minnesota Supreme Court defers ruling on Minneapolis police

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Minnesota Supreme Court defers ruling on Minneapolis police

By STEVE KARNOWSKI

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling Thursday in the fight over a ballot question about the future of policing in Minneapolis, but it didn’t settle the bigger question of whether the public will get to vote on the issue.

Chief Justice Lorie Gildea’s ruling lifted a small part of a lower court’s order that rejected the ballot language approved by the City Council, saying that elections officials don’t have to include notes with ballots instructing people not to vote on the question and that any votes won’t be counted.

The order didn’t address the main issue in dispute — whether voters will get to decide on a proposed charter amendment that would replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety that “could include” police officers “if necessary.”

The proposal has its roots in the “defund the police” movement that gained steam after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody last summer, but it leaves critical details about the new agency to be determined later.

The Supreme Court was under pressure to rule quickly because early and absentee voting opens Friday in the Minneapolis municipal elections, and ballots have already been printed.

Terrance Moore, an attorney for the Yes 4 Minneapolis campaign, which spearheaded the proposal, said he expects a ruling on the bigger question to come at some point later. The city attorney’s office agreed that the high court has yet to rule on the main issues.

Joe Anthony, an attorney for former City Council member Don Samuels and two other people who challenged the ballot language as misleading, called the order “a little mysterious.” He noted the lower court injunction barring counting and reporting votes was left in place, at least for the moment. There are a few possibilities for what could happen next, he said, including the Supreme Court taking time for fuller arguments, then deciding by Nov. 2 whether the votes cast would count.

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Biden and UK, Australia leaders announce partnership to blunt China’s influence

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Biden and UK, Australia leaders announce partnership to blunt China's influence

(NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden has announced a new partnership with the United Kingdom and Australia that some believe is aimed at standing up to China.

The first goal of the alliance, dubbed “AUUKUS,” is to get Australia a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines. The fleet would not have nuclear weapons.

Biden, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom pledged to uphold their obligations under nuclear proliferation treaties.

“We all recognize the imperative of ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific over the long term,” said Biden, who added that the new alliance reflects a broader trend of key European partners playing a role in the Indo-Pacific. “We need to be able to address both the current strategic environment in the region and how it may evolve.”

The new security alliance is likely to be seen as a provocative move by China, which has repeatedly lashed out at Biden as he’s sought to refocus U.S. foreign policy on the Pacific in the early going of his presidency.

“This is a very good development,” Gordon G. Chang, the author of “The Coming Collapse of China” and “The Great U.S.-China Tech War,” said on “On Balance” Wednesday. “If you’re in Beijing right now, you’re going to be a little bit worried about what happened today because it was not just the submarines, but it was also the announcement of the security pact among the United States, Australia and the UK.”

The three countries have agreed to share information in areas including artificial intelligence, cyber and underwater defense capabilities.

To date, the only country that the United States has shared nuclear propulsion technology with is Britain. Morrison said Australia is not seeking to develop a nuclear weapons program and information sharing would be limited to helping it develop a submarine fleet.

The Australian prime minister said plans for the nuclear-powered submarines would be developed over the next 18 months and the vessels would be built in Adelaide, Australia.

“I do think it’s a little bit late, but nonetheless, we should be doing this now because we know that the timeline of China has been accelerated recently,” Chang said.

The announcement of the new security alliance comes as the U.S.-China relationship has deteriorated. Beijing has taken exception to Biden administration officials repeatedly calling out China over human rights abuses in Xianjing province, the crackdown on democracy activists in Hong Kong, and cybersecurity breaches originating from China, as well as Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and what the White House has labeled as “coercive and unfair” trade practices.

Even as White House officials have repeatedly spoken out about China, administration officials say they want to work with Beijing on areas of common interest, including curbing the pandemic and climate change.

None of the leaders mentioned China in their remarks Wednesday.

“I think that he’s (Biden) got this old mentality that you shouldn’t anger the Chinese,” Chang said. “But what this does is, it makes Beijing more bold because it realizes that Biden is afraid of talking about the real issue. We should be saying this out loud. China, China, China.”

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Veteran from same unit as fallen Wentzville Marine speaks out

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Veteran from same unit as fallen Wentzville Marine speaks out

ST. PETERS, Mo. – Fort Zumwalt South High School honored the life of 20-year-old Marine Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz before Friday night’s football game with a moment of silence and holding a Marine Corps flag during the national anthem. 

Schmitz graduated from Fort Zumwalt South High School in 2019. He was one of 13 U.S. service members killed in an attack at the airport in Kabul from ISIS-K.

Schmitz was supposed to turn 21 in February, he was just seven months old when 9/11 happened and the war he fought in, started.

Afghanistan veteran James Wright said he served in the same unit as Schmitz, but 10 years prior.

“I didn’t know who he was, but what I do know is that he’s a brother of mine, it hits close to home,” he said through his tears.

“It’s just gut-wrenching to know that even though we don’t know each other now, one way or another the things that we do and the way that we carry ourselves through the Marine Corps, it passes down to the next generation.”

But Wright said that is not the only connection. Wright has been helping his interpreter from his 2010-2011 deployment in Afghanistan get his Special Immigrant VISA and get out of Afghanistan and become a US citizen.

Wright said his interpreter, his wife, and three daughters were able to get safely to the airport in Kabul all because of the Marines in a specific unit, which happened to be the one Schmitz served in. 

Wright said the gate that was attacked at the airport, was the same gate his interpreter and family went through just five days before, because of the help of Schmitz and fellow Marines.

“His actions actually benefitted a family coming to America, where their lives and this family lives and this history for years to come is because of the selfless act and the job that he did over there,” he said.

The interpreter and family landed in America Thursday, the same day Schmitz was killed.

“This is an opportunity to show a family that his loss, did have an outcome that was beneficial for him being there,” he said. “I know that my linguist is very grateful for him.”

Wright said he wants Schmitz family to know he is there for them. “I want to thank them for raising a fine young man,” he said. “I want to let them know that they aren’t forgotten, we do care and we know what they are going through and know that his death was not in vain.”

Wright lives about an hour and a half south of Wentzville, where Schmitz is from and said he believes he is the closest Marine to the family that served in the same unit as Schmitz. 

“If they have any questions, just from experience and being over there, I would be more than happy to go to them and sit down and talk to them if that’s what they wish.”

“They might not feel it, but like I said before, our community is very small and we’re all feeling it. They have a support group behind them in the thousands, and I don’t know a single person that wouldn’t drop everything and be at their beck and call. If they need me, I’m there.”

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Can kids be harmed wearing masks to protect against COVID?

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Can kids be harmed wearing masks to protect against COVID?

Can kids be harmed wearing masks to protect against COVID?

No, there is no scientific evidence showing masks cause harm to kids’ health despite baseless claims suggesting otherwise.

The claims are circulating on social media and elsewhere just as virus outbreaks are hitting many reopened U.S. schools — particularly those without mask mandates.

Among the unfounded arguments: Masks can foster germs if they become moist or cause unhealthy levels of carbon dioxide. But experts say washing masks routinely keeps them safe and clean.

Some argue that young children miss important visual and social cues that enhance learning and development when their classmates and teachers are wearing masks. But others note that children with vision or hearing impairment learn to adapt and that other kids can, too.

“We don’t know for sure that masks have no developmental effects but we do know that there are adverse effects from not trying to stop transmission,’ said Dr. Emily Levy, a critical care and infection control expert at Mayo Clinic Children’s Center.

There’s strong evidence masking children in schools can reduce COVID-19 transmission to other children and adults.

Across 166 schools in Maricopa County, Arizona, COVID-19 outbreaks are two times more common at those without mask mandates, said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director of the county’s public health department.

Studies from school districts in other states including North Carolina have also found that masking can greatly reduce COVID-19 transmission rates, especially when it’s combined with physical distancing and other prevention measures.

“One thing that we know about prevention, about infection control is that there isn’t a single intervention that will win the day,’ said Dr. Joshua Schaffzin, director of infection prevention and control at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

But he noted there’s plenty of evidence that masking is a key component in making schools safer.

To avoid skin irritation, doctors suggest washing masks regularly, making sure they fit properly and picking masks made with soft, breathable fabric.

___

The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: [email protected]P.org

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An Italian Masterpiece from the 17th Century Found in a Random New York Church

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An Italian Masterpiece from the 17th Century Found in a Random New York Church
The 17th century masterpiece had been hanging in the church since the 1960s. WABC

In a stroke of good fortune, an Italian Baroque painting by the artist Cesare Dandini was discovered in New Rochelle, New York early last year by an unsuspecting Iona College art history professor. The academic, Tom Ruggio, recently recounted his story, saying that as soon as he laid eyes on the canvas, he was certain that “a quest had begun.” While visiting the Church of the Holy Family, a place of worship located close to Iona College, Ruggio was stunned to lay eyes on a painting that was very much like similar ones in churches he’d seen when visiting Italy. Upon closer investigation, Ruggio became certain that the painting was authentic.

“I realized immediately it was an Italian Baroque painting,” Ruggio told ABC7. “And I sort of did a double take, why is it here? I immediately got up and started to take some bad pictures with my cellphone.” Using his art history connections, Ruggio sent the images to colleagues in Italy and Manhattan, who determined that the canvas was one in a series of paintings completed by Dandini in the 1630s. The painting, entitled Holy Family with the Infant St. John, features beautifully rendered Biblical figures.

The “central figures are the Virgin Mary and the Christ child,” Ruggio explained. “We’ve got Joseph and we have the infant St. John. Saint John the Baptist.” For years, experts and art enthusiasts believed that the painting had been missing, but it was in the Church of the Holy Family for more than six decades. For the next three months, the painting will be on display at Iona College.

How did the painting get to the church? “The former pastor Monsignor Fitzgerald went over to I believe London and was going through different galleries because he wanted to get paintings for over the door here and on the other side of the church,” Dennis Keane, a Monsignor with the Church of the Holy Family, explained. “He purchased two of these paintings in a gallery, but we don’t know the name of the gallery.”

An Italian Masterpiece from the 17th Century Found in a Random New York Church

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Trailblazing Chinese American WWII hero and Philly police commander dies at 93

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Philadelphia PD Anthony Wong

Anthony Wong, a trailblazing retired Philadelphia Police Department commander, died last week at 93 years old.

The details: Wong, a World War II and Korean War hero who was the son of Chinese immigrants, passed peacefully surrounded by family on Sept. 8, according to his obituary on Stretch Funeral Home.

  • He was the highest-ranking Chinese American in the history of the Philadelphia Police Department,” Jim Trainor, Wong’s son-in-law who is also a member of the department, told CBS Philadelphia. “I would say he broke all barriers when it came to Asians coming into the police department.”
  • Wong joined the Philadelphia PD in 1953 after serving in the United States Army in two wars. He was the only Chinese American officer in the department at the time.
  • He mentored thousands of cadets in the department and attained the rank of Chief Inspector before his retirement 18 years ago.
  • What a terrific father figure for me, friend, mentor,” Trainor said. “My 33rd year in the police department, he’s guided me the whole way. He’s been with me the whole way.”

His services: Wong had served in various areas of policing, including Narcotics and Vice Enforcement. He was a two-time commanding officer of the Training Bureau and also commanded the Patrol Bureau, Emergency Planning and Community Relations Division during his service. 

  • He endured so much to be able to kick the door open for so many and keep it open,” Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a statement. “What an amazing accomplishment and we thank him for his service.”
  • Wong joined the police department to serve as a bridge between the authorities and the Asian community in order to help Asians gain access to government and agency services.
  • “[Being a police officer] provides the opportunity to prevent suffering,” Wong said in his speech at the Students for Asian Affairs in 1993, Daily Pennsylvania reported. “I also wanted to [reach out] to the Asian community. They don’t always have the access they need to government agencies and services.”
  • Wong had also served on the board of directors of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC), which he was also a co-founder of, and On Lok House, a senior citizen center in Philadelphia.

Featured Image via Stretch Funeral Home

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Lowry: Why Democrats won’t be able to pay for ambitions

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Lowry: Why Democrats won’t be able to pay for ambitions

Benjamin Franklin was right about death and taxes, but new taxes only become inevitable when a Democrat is elected president.

The House Ways and Means Committee released an outline of tax proposals to offset President Biden’s jaw-dropping spending plans, and it’s the expected assortment of tax increases on business and the affluent that Democrats like to pretend can fund a social welfare state of the sort that Bernie Sanders has long pined and advocated for.

The individual tax rate would increase from 37% to 39.6%, the capital gains rate from 20% to 25%, and the corporate tax rate from 21% to 26.5 %, among sundry other provisions befitting the hideously complex U.S. tax regime.

It’s a sign of the scope of Biden plans that the committee version represents a step back from his tax proposals, yet still clocks in at an enormous $2.2 trillion in estimated new revenue over ten years.

The corporate taxes are particularly noxious. Democrats love the politics of taxing corporations, based on the lazy and wrongheaded idea that the corporate tax is the way to stick it to executives and shareholders. To the contrary, if businesses are taxed at a higher rate, they have less resources available for the capital investments that improve worker productivity over time. This ultimately means lower wages for workers.

According to the Tax Foundation, a top corporate rate of 28% would once again give the U.S. the highest rate in the OECD at 32.3% once state level corporate taxes are factored in as well.

What’s the sense in instantly making the business environment in the United States less favorable and giving a competitive advantage to foreign countries?

While the Way and Means draft rejects Biden proposals such as taking the capital gains rate all the way up to 39%(!), it does everything it can to try to hold anyone making less than $400,000 harmless. As The Washington Post puts it, “The efforts are designed to avoid even the appearance of affecting middle- and lower-income households.”

This is where the Democrats are willing to talk the talk about a cradle-to-grave welfare state, but not walk the walk. There can be no European-style welfare state, at least not sustainably so, without European-style taxes.
The dirty secret about the Scandinavian countries that the left constantly holds up as a model is that they aren’t afraid to tax the middle class. These alleged models of social justice tax more than we do and tax much more broadly, realizing that taxing the rich and corporations isn’t enough to fund extensive and generous social programs.

The Tax Foundation calculates that if the U.S. had a tax system comparable to Denmark, we would be taxing all income over $70,000 at 55.9%, Denmark’s top rate.

The Ways and Means tax hikes would, sure enough, create Denmark-like rates. But the rates wouldn’t reach down into the middle class. In fact, Democrats from high tax states are determined to raise the cap on federal tax deductions for state and local taxes to reduce the tax bite on their relatively affluent constituents.

Maybe don’t increase taxes in the first place?

Indeed, rather than trying to spend historic amounts of money while their slender majorities last, it’d be better for the country if Democrats sought to fund their priorities by reallocating dollars within the already vast federal budget. But standing the aforementioned Benjamin Franklin on his head, they believe that a trillion saved is a trillion wasted.


Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review.

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