Opinion & Analysis

Gleeful Democrats pulled off the perfect tax scam
Trafficking in disinformation, the party managed to poison Trump’s tax cuts

California Sen. Kamala Harris complained in a tweet Monday that “the average tax refund is down about $170 compared to last year.” What she doesn’t acknowledge is that paychecks increased, Winston writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — “Nobody likes to give themselves credit for this kind of messaging success, but progressive groups did a really good job of convincing people that Trump raised their taxes when the facts say a clear majority got a tax cut,” Vox senior correspondent Matthew Yglesias tweeted April 8.

Let me get this straight. Yglesias admits that Democrats misled the American people about the Republican tax cut legislation, and that’s OK with him?

For serious primary voters, the parade of Democratic candidates is no joke
The contender clown car may be overflowing, but voters definitely aren’t laughing

There are too many Democratic presidential contenders to count, but primary voters aren’t throwing in the towel just yet, Curtis writes. When Beto O’Rourke made his Southern swing last weekend, supporters took the time to explain why he stands out from the field. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The number of Democratic hopefuls declaring, thinking about declaring or being pushed to declare their interest in the 2020 race is increasing so rapidly, it has already become a reliable punchline. But for voters looking to discover the person who offers sensible policies on the issues they care about while exuding the intangible “it” quality that could beat Donald Trump, it is serious business.

Forget about what magic the letter “B” might hold — think Bernie, Biden, Beto, Booker, Buttigieg and I know I’m forgetting someone, oh yes, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet — these voters are digging deeper on the candidates who will crowd a debate stage in Miami two nights in a row in June.

Trump’s warning you: The socialists are coming!
Expect to see the ‘S’ word a lot in the 2020 campaign

New lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., insist they’re not for capital “S” socialism, but for a living wage, health care for all, and affordable or free education, Patricia Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Meet “socialist,” the hardest-working word in politics in 2019. The single word has helped upstart Democrats attract young and social-curious potential voters, given the paddles of life to desperate-for-a-cause conservatives, and led President Donald Trump to an early and effective way to frame the re-election battle he wants to have with Democrats.

“Socialist” even made a usually ho-hum op-ed from a member of Congress, in this case Rep. Tom Emmer, one of Roll Call’s most read articles this week. “In their first 100 days, socialist Democrats have shown they are unable to lead.” You would read that, wouldn’t you? 

Capitol Ink | A Visit from the Easter Barr-ney

In their first 100 days, socialist Democrats have shown they are unable to lead
Nancy Pelosi’s optimism over 2020 is misplaced, NRCC chairman writes

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Emmer says the past three months have been “disastrous” for House Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — After 100 days of accomplishing nothing but tax increases and bad headlines, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives boldly proclaimed her socialist Democratic caucus have the 2020 elections in the bag. Her faux confidence is misplaced; the past three months for her band of socialists were disastrous.

In the first 100 days, the socialist Democrats managed to call for over $100 trillion in new spending, but are so dysfunctional, they refuse to propose a budget outlining the payment plan for their radical agenda. Ridiculously, these socialists have spent weeks continuing to attack President Donald Trump’s budget proposal. Talk about hypocrisy.

The next 100 days: the sky’s the limit
Our plan to give America’s middle class — and those working to get there — a boost

Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., addresses the media at the House Democrats' 2019 Issues Conference at the Lansdowne Resort and Spa in Leesburg, Va. on Thursday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — One hundred days ago, I stood with my fellow House Democrats and swore the oath of office. We raised our right hands and promised to uphold the Constitution in the midst of a needless 35 day government shutdown.

Throughout that tumultuous six-week period and the months following, House Democrats remained intensely focused on delivering a better life for all Americans — urban, suburban and rural — through our For The People populist agenda.

In his White House drama, Trump’s favorite word is ‘acting’
Any random anti-immigration zealot who sets foot in the DHS cafeteria may be drafted for a top position

Who stands to lose the most now that almost all the Senate-confirmed officials at DHS are gone, including Kirstjen Nielsen? The Senate itself, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Henry Ford, famous for both revolutionizing the auto industry and his anti-Semitism, declared more than a century ago, “History is more or less bunk.”

Donald Trump doesn’t even think history is that important. He remains a bit shaky about whether anything of significance ever occurred before the world was graced by his presence on June 14, 1946.

Capitol Ink | Redaction Advisory System

When a hate crimes hearing goes very wrong, something’s not right in America
Casting a shadow on the hearing, as he does on everything, was the president

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, left, and ranking member Doug Collins both condemned white nationalism Tuesday. But the hearing quickly devolved into a shameful spectacle, Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — When people are being threatened, intimidated and murdered, you would think that partisan bickering would take a back seat. But this is the U.S. Congress we’re talking about. Instead, what was supposed to be an examination of white nationalism and the rise of hate crimes on Tuesday devolved into what Americans have wearily begun to expect from their elected representatives. The House Judiciary Committee members inhabited different parties and different planets.

When what’s at stake is this serious, that’s pretty frightening.

Democrats may win their base with Trump — but lose independents
Partisan positions aren’t playing well beyond core supporters

As they ramp up their anti-Trump bona fides to win over base voters, Democrats have taken on extreme positions that won’t win over moderates and independents, Winston writes. Above, Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks during Sen. Bernie Sanders’ event to introduce “Medicare for All” legislation in September 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — The Democratic presidential field hit a new watermark this week, reaching a record-setting 18 officially declared candidates. That’s enough for two baseball teams or three hockey teams. And there’s probably more candidates to come.

But why so many? Because, like Republican candidates in 2012, Democrats think that whoever wins their party’s nomination has a lock on the presidency in 2020. That’s what Mitt Romney’s team thought up to the moment he lost, not unlike the Clinton campaign’s overconfidence in the inevitability of her victory in 2016.

Capitol Ink | Political Black Hole

She miscarried 8 times. Today she’s telling Lindsey Graham why abortion should remain legal
‘Yes, I am talking about stuff I don’t want to talk about,’ Jen Jordan said in a viral speech last month

People for and against abortion gather outside the Supreme Court in 2018. When Jen Jordan testifies before the Judiciary panel on Tuesday, the state senator from Georgia won’t shy away from her own grief and pain, Murphy writes. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Jen Jordan went to the well of the Georgia Senate two weeks ago to tell Republican lawmakers that she wasn’t looking for a fight on abortion rights, but that she and other women in the state were willing to have it as the legislature prepared to pass one of the strictest abortion laws in the country. The “heartbeat bill,” which the governor is expected to sign, bans abortions after a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat, typically around the sixth week of pregnancy.

In her dissent, the Democrat from Atlanta detailed for her fellow senators all kinds of impolite facts that most men in the chamber had probably never discussed publicly — a woman’s uterus, transvaginal ultrasounds, fertilized eggs, and why some women might not even know they are pregnant at six weeks, just one or two weeks past their menstrual period.

Capitol Ink | Justice Barred

If your taxes are a complicated mess, you’re not alone
Americans spend too much time, money and energy each year trying to understand and follow the tax code

By Fichtner’s estimate, the total economic loss (the costs of complying, lobbying and changed behavior) from the tax code may be up to a trillion dollars per year. And that was before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 caused new confusion for many filers. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Washington, D.C., frequently gets wrapped up in debates over the tax code. Proposals for new wealth taxes, changes to marginal tax rates, or adjusting the estate tax capture the imagination of policy wonks. But such discussions often overlook the most important aspect of these policies — how the tax code is administered.

In practice, these administrative issues could make or break any attempt at reform, as well as the tax code as a whole. In a new paper for the Bipartisan Policy Center released today, Bill Gale, Jeff Trinca and I point to three fundamental issues with our tax system.

Why Fannie and Freddie need newer credit scoring models
Competition for FICO would foster a more sustainable housing system

The Las Vegas area was hit especially hard by the housing crisis a decade ago. Innovation and competition in mortgage credit scoring can foster a more sustainable housing system, Lockhart writes. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Housing policy is suddenly back in the news. The Senate Banking Committee held hearings on housing finance reform recently and the Trump administration wants federal agencies to draft reform plans for mortgage securitization giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But after 10 years in conservatorship, winding down these government-sponsored enterprises and restructuring the mortgage market will be herculean tasks.

We can start by revisiting a proposed regulatory rule on credit scoring.