Read our centrist recap for the week below. We shine a light on the spin and useless stories from the Left and Right and detail what you should focus on, before people can pull wool over your eyes.
What the partisans will focus on and you should avoid:
- Multiple reports have come out about a plan by Chief of Staff John Kelly to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Yes, President Trump and him have quite the strained relationship, and yes, the State Department, and Rex Tillerson, have been marginalized by the Trump Administration. But for now, Rex Tillerson is Secretary of State and that’s what matters. Although his ousting will be newsworthy and something to focus on if and when it happens, until it does so, it’s noise.
- The beans were spilled this weekend about a top FBI agent who was removed from Special Counsel Mueller’s team after it was discovered he had sent anti-Trump text messages. Partisans on the Right will claim this proves the investigation is a hoax, however, the actions of one individual shouldn’t discredit the entire investigation, especially since Special Counsel Robert Mueller took action and removed the agent from the case. While it doesn’t discredit the investigation, it’s definitely not a good look for it, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller will have to work even harder to ensure and prove the investigation remains unbiased and is in pursuit of justice, not political goals.
What you should focus on:
- We’re extremely disappointed we have to write on this topic again. This week, there’s been more high-profile personnel hit with allegations of sexual misconduct. The Today Show’s Matt Lauer and Representative Ruben Kihuen (Democrat-Nevada) were both accused, with Mr. Lauer being fired and apologizing, and Representative Kihuen being called on to resign by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
- Michael Flynn pleaded guilty on charges of making “materially false statements and omissions” during an interview with the FBI. You can read the statement of offense for yourself here. While this in no way proves collusion by the Trump Campaign, it does prove Flynn lied about discussing sanctions with Russia and provides Special Counsel Mueller with access to what could be a great deal of information about any illegal activity of the campaign/transition team.
- North Korea fired its most powerful Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) yet, proving it has the power necessary to hit the US mainland, although the missile did break apart upon reentry. Many assume the launch was a reaction to President Trump labeling North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism.
- The Senate passed their version of tax reform this week with an extremely close 51-49 vote. The bill is not a done-deal though, as the next step needed is a conference to reconcile differences between the House’s version and this one. Many polls show the Senate bill is highly unpopular, as discussed in this FiveThirtyEight piece. We warn readers though, we’re at one of the most polarized times in recent U.S. history, so some of the disapproval/approval may have more to do with political leaning than a true understanding and analysis of the tax bill’s pros and cons.
However, regardless of political affiliation, many disapprove of the bill because it benefits corporations and the wealthy and is banking on the “trickle down” effect and economic growth to help the middle and lower class, which is far from a certainty.
The bill also upsets fiscal conservatives because it greatly increases the deficit meaning future generations will pay for these tax cuts if the expected (very robust) economic growth doesn’t pan out.
And finally, the bill upsets even more people for sneakily entering the health care debate by repealing the individual mandate penalty. Here’s a good comparison (in easy to read table form) of current law, the House version, and the Senate version from the Tax Policy Center.
Despite all the disapproval, it’s clear tax reform is needed.
Currently, the tax code is far too complex, has too many loopholes, and is pushing corporations to hold cash overseas. We’ll see what the conference can come up with, but we here at Free Wheel Media are going to keep dreaming of a bipartisan bill, even though we know that’s a fantasy at this point in time.
After catching up on the events of the week, check out what Independent and Centrist political candidates and organizations did by visiting our Independent Action post located here.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore