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The Daily Countable: What You're Saying About Puerto Rico, Tax Reform & Gov't Monitoring of Social Media

by Countable | 9.29.17

Good Thursday morning, from all of Team Countable, and from me, Managing Editor Andrea Seabrook.

You Don't Wanna Miss These:

What You're Saying

I am always impressed by you Countable folks. And right now, I'm even more amazed. The news and legislation of the last few days have been a swirling tornado of information — yet, as always, Countable users rise to the occasion with incredible depth of thought. Here's what you're saying.

About Tax Reform

Here are the details of President Trump's tax reform proposal, released yesterday. Our crack team of writers jumped on this even before Trump's speech, giving you as much info possible to speak your mind — both here on Countable, and to your representatives in Washington. And boy did you.

About Puerto Rico

There's no lack of empathy among you for Puerto Rico's post hurricane state. The tattered and torn island (actually, an archipelago, as our writer Josh Herman reminded us on Fact Tuesday) is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis that threatens tens of thousands of people. Our story about the century-old shipping law that threatens Puerto Rico's recovery brought incredible thoughts from you.

About Gov't Monitoring of Immigrants' Social Media

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has introduced a new regulation that would allow the agency to collect info from immigrants’ Tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram uploads, and search results. The government public comment period is now open (here!), but you didn't hesitate to make your voice heard on Countable as well.

Your Gov at a Glance 👀

The White House:

  • After receiving his daily intelligence briefing, the president will meet with Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke.
  • In the afternoon, the president will participate in the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the National Security Council.
  • The president will then greet Vice Premier Liu Yandong of the People’s Republic of China.

The House of Representatives: IN SESSION

  • Voting on a bill to provide tax relief for disaster victims, reauthorize the FAA and expiring healthcare programs.
  • Voting on a bill to deny Social Security benefits to fugitives with outstanding warrants for felonies or parole violations.
  • Voting on a bill to provide relief to schools & students affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

The Senate: IN SESSION

  • Confirmation vote on the nomination of Ralph Erickson to be a federal judge for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Have a lovely day, you fine Countable users, you. Keep those questions coming — about Congress, Washington, politics, me, anything! It is deeply satisfying to spend my days working for and talking with the incredibly thoughtful, engaged citizens you are. More tomorrow.

— Andrea Seabrook, Managing Editor

Talk to Andrea directly on Twitter, @RadioBabe. Hit the Take Action button to tell your Reps what you think.

Countable

Written by Countable

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(24)
  • Yours.Truly
    09/28/2017
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    Why is the Trump Administration making Americans sign promissory notes to be rescued from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands? This is some mob malarkey! They already pay taxes for disaster response, don't they?

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  • Doris
    09/28/2017
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    Tax plan=giveaway to the rich and big corporations. Not for the rest of us.

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  • Bluewitsend
    09/28/2017
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    We must have by partisan responses when putting together tax reform. Both parties must come together on issues that effect every American. Tax reform, healthcare Both parties need to meet in the middle and fix issues we can all live with. That's the only way to move forward with common sense.

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  • BeStrong
    09/28/2017
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    Until we figure out what's up with FB ... get your news from the 'news'. Right now contact your representatives and Mr Trump and insist that they start with vigorous logistics efforts for our fellow Americans in PR and the US Virgin Islands.

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  • Ollie32
    09/29/2017
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    If we can put 'boots on the ground ' in a minutes for a foreign government why the hell can we do it for our own people? There is no reason for Puerto Rico to be suffering like this. We need to get 10,000 troops there to clear roads and distribute supplies before close of business today. What the hell is the matter with Washington? Forget that trump person he is a lost cause!!!

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  • Edward
    09/28/2017
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    They have nothing more important than the covfefe act. Pitiful, bitter losers who do nothing for us or the US.

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  • Christine
    09/29/2017
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    1) Once again, trickle down economics does NOT work as we saw with Reagan and W. 2) BOYCOTT facebook AND twitter. 3) djt’s disconnect to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico is depraved indifference to AMERICAN CITIZENS.

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  • Justine
    09/29/2017
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    Please explain to me why very wealthy people with the highest asset ownership in human history need a tax break? At least be honest with me and recognize that those tax cuts DO NOT create jobs, they just increase net worth. I’m all for the American Dream, but what’s happening now is cutting millions of people out of even having a shot at it.

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  • Sharon
    09/30/2017
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    Dear Arizona Representatives. Puerto Rico, a part of the US is in serious trouble even a week after being hit by a Category 4 Hurricane. With supplies stuck in the ports unable to reach needed areas. With the Mayor of San Juan calling for help and Trump tweeting criticism my Question is: if the military was able to get food, ammunition and medical supplies into jungle environments in Viet Nam while under attach, why are we not sending helicopters into remote needed areas of Puerto Rico to drop needed supplies. Hey guys, many of those roads are impassable, where are the helicopters? I’m disappointed in this administration! I’m fast becoming annex Republican at 70+!

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  • Sarah
    09/29/2017
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    The Army commander leading the aid for Puerto Rico admitted preparations were started too late in the scramble for other emergencies. Efforts to clear the roads should have been top priority to allow distribution of goods waiting on ships and at ports and that is now their focus. A President who tweets "good luck" or Homeland security official stating "it's a good news story," are just another indicators of the shame of America.

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  • Sharon
    09/29/2017
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    Tax reform: Here is information from an analysis conducted by an independent, bipartisan think tank about the Trump tax plan published today - “Releasing a long-negotiated and long-awaited Republican tax plan this week, the Trump administration made three promises. First, the plan would not cut taxes for America’s richest households. “The wealthy are not getting a tax cut under our plan,” Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic advisor, said on Good Morning America. Second, the plan would slash taxes for America’s middle class. “Our framework includes our explicit commitment that tax reform will protect low-income and middle-income households, not the wealthy and well-connected,” President Trump said in a speech in Indiana. “They can call me all they want. It’s not going to help. I’m doing the right thing, and it’s not good for me. Believe me.” Third, the tax plan would not increase the deficit. “We think this tax plan will cut down the deficits by a trillion dollars,” Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said on Fox Business Network. “That’s a large number.” All three of those statements are false, according to an analysis of the Republican framework by the Tax Policy Center (TPC), a nonpartisan think tank. The plan would add about $2.4 trillion dollars to the deficit over a decade, discounting any effects on growth, the TPC found. Nearly 90 percent of earners would see their tax burden fall or remain unchanged in 2018. But the richest families would get the biggest tax cuts in both dollar and percentage-of-income terms, with upper middle-income families facing significant tax increases in time. The TPC noted that its analysis involved some guesswork, given that the Republican framework contained very little detail and was missing many crucial numbers—including where each tax bracket would start and end, and even how many brackets there would be. The think tank filled in the blanks with numbers from prior Republican proposals, with its projections then showing modestly wealthy and upper-middle-class families getting hit with tax hikes, lower-income and middle-class families provided with small tax cuts, and the very rich and big businesses benefiting far and away the most. Given the plan’s piddling cuts for middle-income families, as well as the intensity of tax-reform negotiations more generally, much of the plan is likely to change in the coming months. Some Republicans, for instance, are already pushing back on a provision that would eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes. Though Republicans have insisted that the tax plan is not a cut for the rich, the proposal includes large rate cuts, the creation of a significant tax loophole for so-called “pass-through” business filers, the elimination of the estate tax, and the repeal of the alternative minimum tax. It also maintains incentives for charitable giving, mortgage interest, retirement savings, and education—all of which are most beneficial to the rich. “It’s hard to see, if you continue to have those provisions in a tax proposal,” how it would not disproportionately aid top earners, Mark Mazur, the director of the TPC, said on a call with reporters. Even though the plan eliminates many other tax breaks, the richest of the rich would still come out far, far ahead, indeed the farthest ahead, the TPC found. Taxpayers in the top 1 percent, with incomes above $730,000 a year, would gain half of the overall benefits in 2018, with their average post-tax incomes jumping almost 9 percent. More than 97 percent of filers in the top 0.1 percent would see a tax cut due to the Trump plan—and a very large one, worth an average of $747,580—compared with about 70 percent of the poorest households. Despite his statement in Indiana, Trump himself would almost certainly see his own tax bill shrink, possibly by more than $1 billion over time, a New York Times analysis found. Repealing the alternative minimum tax would have saved him an estimated $31 million on his 2005 return, and the creation of the pass-through loophole $25 million. But the bulk of his tax savings would come from the elimination of the estate tax, which as currently constructed would put a 40-percent levy on his estimated $3 billion in assets upon his death. (Granted, that accounting is tenuous, given that Trump still refuses to release his tax returns, unlike all modern-day presidents before him.) Moreover, America’s richest would likely benefit disproportionately from the huge corporate tax cuts in the bill. Shareholders, rather than workers and consumers, end up footing the bill for or benefiting from changes in corporate taxes, most economists agree. (Kevin Hassett, the chairman of Trump’s Council of Economic Advisors, is a notable dissenter, arguing that workers bear the brunt of the corporate income-tax burden.) The Republican plan to slash the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent, exempt foreign profits from taxation, and grant a special one-time, low-rate “holiday” to encourage companies to repatriate money from overseas would likely be a huge boon to America’s shareholders—meaning, overwhelmingly, older and richer Americans.” By Annie Lowery, The Atlantic, September 29, 2017.

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  • NoHedges
    10/02/2017
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    I would like to nominate Mark Zuckerberg as the new head of the FCC. He has the experience, he shares a vision of the social media similar to that of the American voters, he is familiar with the landscape and key players. Moreover, he stands to lose the the confidence of the American people if he screws up. Perhaps more importantly, it will give the American people a chance to see Mr. Zuckerburg in a position of political influence before the 2020 presidential elections. 🚧 Unless of course, Trump is too afraid of Mr. Zuckerberg and worried his own intellect would be challenged by such a highly respected and qualified cabinet official?

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  • Carol
    09/29/2017
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    Removal of estate tax? Pants on fire and lying again. Protects top 1 percent again. Don't tell the public that it will help them or their businesses

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  • Jesse
    09/28/2017
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    the democratic party should do everything they can to stand up to President Trump

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  • Ann
    09/29/2017
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    Tax reform, the same as healthcare, should be done only with bipartisan discussion and ample time for review by the CBO. Anything else is unacceptable.

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  • Sherrie
    09/29/2017
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    From what I understand the tax relief for the most Americans will be less than the upper income Americans. Why not give all the reforms to the middle and lower tax payers. Reagan's policies did not end up helping the middle classes and below. That is one of the reasons why there such a difference between the classes today. How much money is needed for a comfortable living. Americans do not pay the highest taxes in the world. Why are all congressmen looking to make people richer and taking benefits away from everyone else. What would Jesus do?

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  • Ann
    09/29/2017
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    Re: Puerto Rico, I keep wondering why those hundreds of shipping containers full of needed supplies, which have been sitting around waiting for drivers, aren't being delivered by helicopter to remote areas. They can't be any heavier than giant bags of water used to put out forest fires.

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  • Freedomvine
    02/21/2018
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    Check out Freedom Vine it's a New Social Media Network based on Free Speech and does not allow Censorship. Join us to help combat censorship in the media and to give the people back freedom of speech! www.freedomvine.com

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  • Dave
    09/29/2017
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    Puerto Rico should become a state!

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  • Mkkd90
    09/30/2017
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    The President’s tweets today against Puerto Rico are un-American. Please stand up and say so, In the strongest terms, and do whatever you can to get logistics aid to PR. This is horrifying.

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