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The DC: Trump defies tax returns deadline, and.... 💊 Do we need to reform Social Security and Medicare?

by Countable | 4.24.19

Welcome to Wednesday, April 24, politicians and pundits...

“Is this person a citizen of the United States?"

That's the question the Trump administration wants to add to the 2020 census, and the Supreme Court appears likely to allow it.

During the 80-minute oral arguments Tuesday, Bloomberg explained how “Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh directed almost all their questions to the lawyers challenging the decision to ask about citizenship. Kavanaugh said Congress gave the Commerce secretary ‘huge discretion’ to decide what to ask on the census.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor seemed to concur with opponents, who argue that the question could result in a census undercount in areas with large non-citizen populations. Population counts from the 2020 census will determine the number of congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets for a decade.

Do you support a census citizenship question?

On the Radar

Tax (Return) Evasion

The Internal Revenue Service missed its Tuesday deadline to hand over six years of President Trump's personal and business tax returns.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley had told Fox News earlier in the day that the administration has no plans to release them.

"The president is pretty clear once he’s out of audit he’ll think about doing it but he is not inclined to do so at this time," Gidley said. "No one cares about ridiculous charges about tax returns and all types of other things that Democrats are doubling down on today."

Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, the Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, had informed IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig in a letter that failure to comply would be viewed as a denial.

"It is not the proper function of the IRS, Treasury or Justice to question or second guess the motivations of the committee or its reasonable determinations regarding its need for the requested tax returns and return information," Neal wrote to Rettig. "Please know that if you fail to comply, your failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request."

Do you support House Democrats requesting Trump’s tax returns?

CBO's Interest in Noninterest Spending

As the U.S. population continues to age, spending on Americans age 65 and up is expected to rise to 50% of federal noninterest spending in 2029 according to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) 2019 Budget and Economic Outlook.

That would represent a sharp increase from 2018 when 40% of federal noninterest spending (roughly $3.8 trillion) ― mostly on mandatory programs like Social Security and Medicare ― went to the elderly.

A presentation by CBO Director Keith Hall at the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business and Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics included this chart showing federal spending on people age 65 or older as a percentage of total noninterest spending over time:

How do you feel about efforts to reform Social Security and Medicare?

Under the Radar

Debt Deletion

Presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is rolling out a comprehensive higher-education plan that would cancel billions of dollars in student loan debt.

Warren’s plan would cancel $50,000 in student loan debt for anyone with annual household income under $100,000 (around 42 million Americans) and cancel some debt for those with household incomes between $100,000 and $250,000.

Americans currently owe $1.57 trillion in student debt.

Jason Delisle, a resident fellow at the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, told the Washington Post that most of the people who use student loans end up with “robust earnings and can afford to repay the debt.”

Should the U.S. cancel student-loan debt?

Your Gov at a Glance 👀

The White House: President Trump in D.C. & GA

  • At 1:15pm EDT, the president and first lady will deliver remarks at the Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Georgia.

The House of Representatives: Out

  • The House will return Monday, April 29th.

The Senate: Out

  • The Senate will return Monday, April 29th.

What You're Saying

Here's how you're answering Should the U.S. Punish Illegal and Malicious Economic Actions by China?

(Follow Jugbo's comment here.)

(Follow Caren's comment here.)

But wait, there's more!

And, in the End…

Happy anniversary to the Library of Congress: it was established on this date in 1800.

Here's a photo of some of the LOC's collection in 1897 as it awaits shelving in the newly-opened Thomas Jefferson Building:

—Josh Herman

Talk to us via email at contact [at] countable.us. And don’t forget to keep in touch @Countable.

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