Will the House GOP Really Walk the Plank for the Fair Tax?
Plus, Jim Jordan, Church Committee Pretender.
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New from Me: Will the House GOP Really Walk the Plank for the Fair Tax?
Not all of Kevin McCarthy’s concessions to the House Freedom Caucus have been made public, but one that has gone largely unremarked deserves more attention: The new speaker of the House has agreed to grant the “Fair Tax Act” a vote on the House floor, its first since its conception in 1999 by talk-radio host Neal Boortz and Georgia politician John Linder.
The Fair Tax Act would replace income, payroll, gift, corporate, and death taxes with a federal consumption (sales) tax. To ensure that the legislation actually replaces rather than adds to existing taxes, the bill includes a provision that the new tax would expire in seven years if the Sixteenth Amendment, which allows for federal income taxes, is not repealed. (Keen-eyed readers will notice that this creates the bizarre possibility of federal tax revenue going down to zero after seven years, if income taxes are not collected but the Sixteenth Amendment remains on the books.)
LOCH K. JOHNSON, FREDERICK BARON, AND DENNIS AFTERGUT: Jim Jordan, Church Committee Pretender.
Members of the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives are trying to stick a civil libertarian label on the subcommittee they’re creating to “investigate the investigators.” Its formal name will be the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. But when talking about it to the press, some Republicans have taken to calling it a reincarnated “Church committee.”
They are invoking the 1975-76 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities chaired by Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho). That committee was launched after a bombshell 1974 New York Times report about Nixon-era CIA domestic surveillance on anti-war activists and other dissident American citizens.
Two of us (Johnson and Baron) served in key staff positions on the Church committee. The comparison is preposterous. The new House subcommittee is not remotely up to the Church committee standard—in origin, composition, or purpose.
Watching from a distance, former Rep. Kinzinger tells Charlie Sykes that House moderates have a lot of power they’re not willing to use, while the Freedom Caucus —AKA “The Terror Club” — is willing to shoot hostages. Plus, McCarthy will say whatever he needs to say to stay in power.
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WILLIAM SALETAN: Don’t Call the Brazil Insurrection ‘Anti-Democratic’.
The upheaval that took place in Brazil on Sunday—an assault on government buildings by supporters of Jair Bolsonaro, the former president who lost the country’s Oct. 30 election—has generally been described as an “attack on democracy.” That’s what President Joe Biden and the leaders of Mexico and Canada called it in a joint statement on Monday. The European Union says it was an “anti-democratic storming of government quarters.” The American embassy in Brazil calls it an “anti-democratic protest.” The New York Times says it’s an “anti-democracy riot.” Other reports characterize it as an “anti-democratic riot” by “anti-democracy insurrectionists” or “anti-democratic demonstrators.”
Happy Thursday! Please take a moment to look at these remembrances of Blake Hounshell, the NYT writer who took his own life earlier this week.
The last days of George Santos… Max Burns takes on the wild child from New York as the walls close in. Plus, Patch has some news on more alleged victims.
“I was almost Elon Musk’s Twitter voice…” Alan Hanson on how the rich and famous approach #content people to help them seem cool online.
New subpoenas for Trump associates… Regarding January 6th.
Garland appoints special counsel… To oversee how classified documents ended up at his institute and… his garage in Delaware.
Chuck E. Cheese still uses floppy disks… But not for long.
Will chatbots write things we buy? They can already write news stories and short stories.
The Tucker/Alex Jones texts… Does it surprise you that they’re friendly?
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