This week the White House saw a game of tax return telephone that would rival any drug use rumors being spread on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. And to unpack all of the drama, backstabbing, and poor hairstyle choices, we’re going to cover it no differently.
Tax And The City
If Donald Trump’s 2005 was anything like mine, he spent a lot of money on boxes of chablis and his first pair of skinny jeans, and earned about $300 for the semester “working” (being high) at the campus library. Turns out his 2005 was different from mine. Trump’s 1040 claims he earned $150 million that year and paid $38 million in taxes.
When you connect what he paid to what he’s trying to do with his tax plan, you can see why Maddow was so excited to tell this story. Trump wants to eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax. If this provision had been passed back in 2005, Trump would have gone from paying roughly 25% of his reported income to a mere 4%, or roughly $5 million. Come on. That's barely the bejeweled tube top budget of one season of Real Housewives of Orange County.
We’ve been waiting for Trump’s tremendous, excellent, terrific, great! 2018 budget proposal and we finally got it. It’s a really great plan if you hate urban housing, the arts and humanities, functioning forms of public transportation, basic health services, disaster management, book learnin’, art crap, clean water, the earth, and making sure children and the elderly get to eat. If you love expensive guns and tanks, you’ll be thrilled.
Trump’s $54 billion budget cuts eliminate funding for important programs like Meals on Wheels and PBS. Budget director Mick Mulvaney (which like the name of a vaudeville villain) claimed that Meals on Wheels doesn’t work, and neither do school lunch programs. This sounds like he has a Super Sweet 16-er’s understanding of the word “work.” These programs provide food for people who need to eat, so that’s pretty clearly working.
And aren't there other places the administration could tighten its belt? One very large expenditure is Melania Trump’s security at Trump Tower in New York City. Considering she is not a cast member of the Real Housewives of New York (though she’d be a better addition than Tinsley Mortimer) this is an unnecessary expense, and one that might outpace the annual budget of the National Endowment for the Arts all together. And she is just one woman in a golden skyscraper. That doesn’t even factor in the $10 million that Trump's golf trips/busboy security briefings in Mar-a-Lago have cost taxpayers.
So Travel Ban 1.0 got a lot of attention, mostly was hated by everyone, and was voted off the island. Now we’ve got Ban 2.0. It’s like Bethenny Frankel: loud and getting a lot of attention, then disappears for a bit only to return the same brassy broad it was when we first met. This inhumane policy is way worse than a white-pants wearing frequent-cryer, of course, but I just want to point out that some things never change, like this administration’s commitment to pushing through racist, xenophobic regulations.
Unfortunately for Trump’s travel ban, Hawaii, stepped in and is trying to once again stop this nightmare. Two federal judges (one in Hawaii, one in Maryland) have ruled against the ban and issued court orders forbidding its core provisions. Trump plans to appeal these rulings despite this being the second time he's lost in court. He just can’t get enough. Even Lisa Rinna takes a breather from confronting people about things she said that were wrong every once in awhile.
It’s gotta burn Trump extra hard that the judicial order is coming from Hawaii, birthplace of one President Barack Obama. Guess he’ll see us all in court!
Without A Care
With every other policy, regulation, and proposal being about as successful as a contestant on The Bachelor without perfect eyebrows, let’s check in on resident catastrophe the American Health Care Act. Also, if the AHCA were a contestant on The Bachelor, it would be a 98-year-old who hates adult prom dresses and has a job that’s listed on the chyron as “Puppy Harmer.” It just doesn’t have a chance.
Earlier in the week, the CBO report came out and stated that under this proposed bill, 24 million fewer Americans would be insured by 2026. Now, Trump and the White House have tried to discredit the CBO despite it being non-partisan. To him, it may as well be Danielle Staub on Real Housewives of New Jersey: not to be trusted. But 24 million is a huge and disconcerting number. That’s the entire population of Australia; 24 million is the number of times someone says, “Wait, seriously?” on an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
With politicians, hospitals, medical professionals, and most Americans strongly against the bill, it seems to have a long way to go before taking away everyone’s health insurance and making the only affordable healthcare be bandaids from the bottom of a pool and DIY appendectomies. At this point, a group of Republican Senators are even hoping that the bill makes like an uninsured American with a treatable infection and dies.
Where My Pence At?
With all of the tax leaks and ban orders and double-agent microwaves, we’ve completely lost track of America’s embodiment of the town from Footloose, Vice President Mike Pence. What’s he been up to besides drinking a glass of tepid milk before hitting the hay around 6:30 p.m.? Well, for one, he is getting an award for “Working for Women.” It’s from a conservative group, but still. Mike Pence getting an award for supporting women is like Kourtney Kardashian getting an award for showing emotion.