Joe Biden’s Tax Plan Will Put The Middle Class In Peril (VIDEO)

Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone was on the FOX Business Network this week to discuss the election, specifically Joe Biden’s tax plan.

Biden keeps claiming he is only going to tax the rich, in an obvious effort to appeal to the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democrat party, but the truth is that his plan will impact the middle class negatively.

Langone explained how.

From FOX Business:

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Joe Biden’s tax plan will put middle class in ‘peril,’ Home Depot’s Langone says

Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone blasted Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s tax plan on Wednesday, saying that “the middle class will be in peril.”

Langone told “Mornings with Maria” on Wednesday that the middle class will feel the effects of Biden’s tax plan even though the former vice president has said the wealthy should pay more in taxes, and that the tax code should be more progressive and equitable. That includes eliminating loopholes that favor the rich and large corporations.

“I don’t know if there’s any of us that have done well that will have a problem with paying more taxes, but it’s a ruse to think that hitting us and us alone is going to get the job done,” Langone said.

“It won’t and the middle class will be in peril and when you take money out of the hands of the middle class, you do a dramatic impact negatively on the economy.”

“The middle class will not be exempt,” he added. “Tragically, it will punish them. It isn’t going to punish us.”

Watch the video below:

Langone makes some excellent points here but one really stands out.

Why would you raise any taxes when we’re still trying to recover from the hit the economy took under the pandemic?

We should be looking at tax cuts, not increases.


Cross posted from American Lookout.

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Dining News

‘Pen15’ Season Two Review: Middle School Snacks in the Spotlight

In the first episode of Pen15’s second season, there’s an Oreo cookie severed at the seams and rebonded with about 12 additional slabs of cream filling, creating a huge cookie tower. The super-stuffed snack is constructed and implicitly consumed off screen, but anyone who’s eaten a Oreo can picture a kid meticulously twisting the chocolate cookies apart and messily peeling away the loosened frosting with sticky fingers.

In junior high, I might have taken to stacking and smooshing together custom-stuffed Oreos privately at home, out of sight of judgmental peers. But this particular pile in Pen15 is sitting in front of Brendan, Anna Kone’s (Anna Konkle) first-season boyfriend; viewers know him as one of those kids who by some miracle seems to exude no shame or embarrassment, no matter his age. He’s peeling apart Oreos, but he’s surrounded by a pool party filled with seventh graders who are consumed by their own self-consciousness. He is who he is.

Pen15 is a show that thrives on discomfort, while at the same time capturing the satisfying, weird, and wonderful moments of being in seventh grade. At its heart it’s a show made by adults, for adults, about being a preteen and it features two adult women — creators Konkle and Maya Erskine — playing their preteen analogues in a cast filled with actual preteens. Each episode is a capsule of horny, embarrassing, tragic seventh grade life that’s built so effectively viewers sometimes forget they’re watching mature women act immature. But the great thing is that these are two adult women, who have the knowledge of hindsight to see that sometimes kids can be cruel and rude as well as occasionally gross with their food.

Ask any kid (as Eater did, recently), and they can tell you in intimate detail their favorite snacks and what they mean to them as a person. And in junior high, where everyone’s opinion seems to matter, snacks are a status symbol. What’s Brandt, the boy who fumbled in a closet with Anna and Maya Ishii-Peters (Erskine) eating at the pool party? An entire bag of Hot Cheetos — the snack for kids that want to show they can handle spice.

No episode captures the power behind kid snacks better than episode four, in which Maura, an image-obsessed girl who peppers her sentences with the word “fool,” literally buys people’s adoration by handing out Ring Pops at school. Later, she seals Maya and Anna’s friendship with a visit to her home pantry, which is neatly organized with packs of iconic millennial snacks like Pop-Tarts, Gushers, Squeezeits, Hi-C, and Pringles.

Maura’s mother wanders into the kitchen and offers the girls drinks, listing from a fridge filled with Yoplait and Capri Suns. Maya blurts, “Yes.” She and Anna each take three bottles of Powerade. The best friends are so mesmerized by the choices that they overlook the extremely rude interaction Maura has with her mother, and turn their gaze to the crystal jars on the counter filled with jawbreakers, a candy that I probably haven’t thought about since I was 13. Soon the three of them are strolling, arms locked, through the halls of school, their mouths plugged with jawbreakers and a ring of sugary film coating their lips. Drool trails out of their mouths.

Where other shows like Stranger Things use popular food brands and packaging as a visual timestamp, Pen15’s creators embrace the underlying signals of kid snacks in the middle school, as well as the frequently icky ways we interact with these foods. And it’s these layers of understanding of the true awkward, terrible, beauty of being an adolescent tween that make Pen15 such a worthwhile cringe watch not to mention one that’s made me nostalgic for Squeezeits. I suggest you make a night of it by binging all seven episodes with a can of Surge and some Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies. Don’t worry, no one’s judging your snack choices on your quarantine couch.

Pen15 Season 2 premieres on Friday, September 18 on Hulu.

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Dining News

The Best Middle School Status Snacks

There was a time in many of our lives when snacks did more than appease the usual afternoon hunger pangs — when a bag of chips, some prepackaged cookies, or other sugar-laden treat held real power. That time was middle school.

In those years when the food we ate was determined by some mix of personal preference, parental influence, and pocket change, the right snack could curry favor with peers, act as a bartering tool, or prove gastrointestinal bravery. The phenomenon, I’m told, continues, even as the snacks change. Takis and Toxic Waste are for this generation what Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Warheads were for millennials. And many years later, even if we forget the names of our algebra teachers, we remember the name of the kid whose popularity increased with each Otis Spunkmeyer cookie they shared. Below, Eater staffers reminisce about all the snacks that reigned supreme.

Cheestrings: When Dairylea Lunchables and Babybels were sitting prettily expensive on the cheese aisles, Cheestrings were the real status snack, with multipurpose ways to eat them (spray the cheese so it’s all stringy, eat string by string, or be a complete savage and chomp into it whole, etc.) and cool ads with cool kids doing cool things together. You knew if anyone pulled these out, they had a bigger house, their parents had a nicer car, and they probably went to the cinemas and actually bought popcorn from the concessions. — Pelin Keskin, associate producer

Hostess Choco-Bliss: Long before this commercial for the since-discontinued Hostess snack cake Choco-Bliss took over the airwaves, my small-town Indiana middle school was aware of its “chocolate-y” charms (was there any actual chocolate in Choco-Bliss? Unclear!). We were a test market for the snack, our reactions — or so we were told — used to determine its market penetration in the Hoosier state. It might be one of the only times my city was ahead of any curve, and 30-plus years later and thousands of miles away, I still think of our Choco-Bliss coup with mingled sensations of nausea (because the mass of devil’s food and frosting was very, very gross) and pride. — Eve Batey, Eater SF editor

Fruit Roll-Ups: Fruit Roll-Ups and Fruit by the Foot were status in middle school. I rarely had them (because $$$), but they were prime for trading and sharing, and I remember begging my mom to get them for us. Gushers were up there too, but more often than not, Gushers would all clump together in the packet, sparing you the agony of having to share them with anyone else. — Stefania Orrú, coordinating producer

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos: Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were the “it” snack of my middle and high school years. For suburban Midwestern teens in the mid to late aughts, there was no chip more mouthwateringly edgy-seeming, its already spicy image boosted by rumors that eating too many would burn a hole in your stomach. The flex move was to eat just a bagful of Hot Cheetos for lunch — either purchased in the cafeteria or pulled out from one’s backpack, party sized — as other kids looked on in envy. — Jenny G. Zhang, staff writer

Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chip cookies: My junior high had a pretty nice cafeteria setup as far as school meal programs go, but the crown jewel of lunch was midway through the hour, when the metal garage door would roll up at the Otis Spunkmeyer cookie counter. Students who were lucky enough to squirrel away $2 could pick up a pair of perfectly warm and gooey chocolate chip cookies in a paper sandwich bag. Friends would sometimes pool their money to split a bag amongst themselves or occasionally beg for spare change from other students to get their cookie fix. — Brenna Houck, Eater Detroit editor

Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies: In my middle school cafeteria, those who held the most power were the ones who received these in their lunchboxes, the packets that came packaged two-to-four cookies in their own plastic wrapper and sleeve. (I literally refuse to stop talking about this.) These were apparently way more expensive than the regular bagged cookies, so my mom would get the bagged cookies when they were on sale and put them in Ziplocs for me, and I remember being so mad that they were NOT THE SAME. In hindsight, I feel extreme shame that my mother has put up with my arguments as to why not. — Erin DeJesus, lead editor

All the sour candy: Some people spend countless hours and thousands of dollars learning how to win friends and influence people. I, on the other hand, took a slightly different approach when I chose to stroll into my middle school’s cafeteria with an array of mouth-puckering, near chemical burn-inducing sour sweets in fluorescent hues: Sour Punch Straws, Sour Patch Kids, and Warheads for the brave hearted. Sure, I may not have gotten an MBA from the exchange, but I did get the respect and admiration of my friends. And for the duration of that 30-minute lunch break, that was more than enough. — Jesse Sparks, cities editor

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No Federal Mandates For Masks On Planes Or Empty Middle Seats : NPR

Airlines tired of largely empty flights because of coronavirus fears want to fill planes — and the federal government isn’t stopping them — now that more travelers are venturing out.

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Airlines tired of largely empty flights because of coronavirus fears want to fill planes — and the federal government isn’t stopping them — now that more travelers are venturing out.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Trump administration is urging airlines to leave some airplane seats empty to help protect travelers and crew members from the coronavirus but it is stopping short of requiring airlines to keep seats open to create physical distancing on flights.

The federal COVID-19 guidelines also encourage all passengers to wear face coverings or masks but again, the administration will not mandate it.

And that’s a problem, according to some consumer groups, public health officials, airline employee unions and members of Congress, who say there needs to be enforceable federal rules that are consistent across the air travel industry to minimize the risk for transmission of the virus.

As air travel demand begins to slowly recover from the pandemic, the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, and Health and Human Services jointly issued guidelines for the air travel industry Thursday in a report called the Runway to Recovery.

It encourages airlines and airports to promote social distancing, enhance disinfection and cleaning procedures, create barriers such as plastic shields at counters, conduct health assessments of passengers and employees and collect passenger information for possible contact tracing; all are measures most airlines and airports have already implemented, as they follow recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention months ago.

A Transportation Department press release says, “The guidance will enhance public health risk reduction to support an increase in travel volume while ensuring that aviation safety and security are not compromised.”

“This document provides clear guidance to airlines and airports to protect the traveling public, and we encourage people to pay attention to it,” added Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in a statement.

But traveler and consumer advocacy groups say the guidelines are inadequate.

“Americans are rightfully concerned that they may be putting their health and safety at risk if they choose to fly during a global pandemic,” said William McGee, aviation advisor for Consumer Reports. “The DOT shouldn’t leave it up to the airlines and airports to decide which COVID-19 safety precautions they will follow to keep passengers safe.”

Consumer groups, airline employee unions and some members of Congress say the Trump administration needs to create mandatory public health standards to ensure passengers are protected when they travel during the pandemic.

“There’s very few, I think, worse environments to be in than trapped in a tube that’s crammed full of people who are rubbing shoulders with recirculated air for five or six hours while flying across the country,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chair of the House Transportation Committee, who says the administration “should require masks under the penalty of federal law on airplanes.”

While many airlines are requiring passengers masks or face coverings, enforcement has been inconsistent. United, Delta and a few others say they have removed some passengers from planes and prohibited others from boarding for not wearing masks, but such enforcement actions have only been taken recently after a rising number of complaints from other passengers.

And flight attendants are somewhat frustrated because they are the ones who often must police the mask wearing and social distancing requirements.

“Without a federal mandate and a coordinated effort to address these issues, we’re left to the airlines putting in place policies that are inconsistent, leave people confused and leave us to deal with the consequences on the front lines,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants.

The new federal guidance encouraging airlines to leave some seats open comes in a week in which American Airlines joined rival United and discount carrier Spirit in saying they’ll fill every seat on every plane if there is enough demand.

It’s a move that drew sharp criticism from two of the nation’s top public health officials in a Senate committee hearing on the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday.

“I think it sends the wrong message,” said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Obviously that is something that is of concern. I’m not sure what went into that decision making,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and a member of the White House coronavirus task force told senators. “I think in the confines of an airplane that (lack of physical distancing) becomes even more problematic.”

Other airlines, including Delta, Southwest and JetBlue say they will continue to temporarily block out middle seats or keep planes no more than two-thirds full in order to create more space between passengers.

But officials at United and American defend their decisions to fully book flights saying social distancing is impossible on a plane. Even if the middle seats are empty, passengers are less than three feet apart, and there is even less distance between rows in economy seating.

“You can’t employ distancing on an airplane like you can in a grocery store line,” said Nick Calio, president of the industry group Airlines for America in a conference call with reporters this week. He contends other safety measures, such as enhanced cleaning of airplane cabins, physical distancing when boarding and deplaning, and wearing face coverings will minimize the risk of transmitting the coronavirus.

“We don’t fly people if we feel it’s not safe to fly them,” Calio said.

Nonetheless, many people are still reluctant to return to flying.

In regard to where to travel safely and how to get there this summer, “things are still incredibly uncertain and confusing,” says Melanie Lieberman, senior travel editor at The Points Guy website, who adds, “Air travel is definitely one of the more complicated ways of traveling.”

To minimize potential risk, she suggests travelers consider short haul flights rather than long haul flights, airlines that have more stringent airplane cleaning regimens, and airlines that are still blocking out middle seats or restricting capacity in other ways.

Some airline pilots would like to see more government help in that regard. The Allied Pilots Association, which represents pilots at American Airlines, wants the next federal coronavirus relief package to include funding to “purchase enough seats on each flight to eliminate the need for any passenger to sit next to a stranger.”

APA President Capt. Eric Ferguson says under that sort of “uniform social distancing, passengers would be encouraged to fly more, airlines would be encouraged to operate more flights, and the government would ensure the preservation of critical transportation infrastructure and associated jobs.”

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Celebrity Entertaiment

Denise Richards Left in Middle of Filming ‘RHOBH’

The drama is coming — and it sounds like Denise Richards is at the center of it. Erika Jayne teased the upcoming season 10 of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and what really goes down between the cast and the 49-year-old actress.

“We all had Denise’s back. It’s not, like, bash Denise. It’s not that anyone dislikes Denise,” Erika, 48, explained exclusively to Us Weekly in a recent video interview. “It was this series of events in which we asked Denise certain questions, and Denise would repeatedly either leave or not answer those questions. So when that happens in this group, the next time we see you, we’re going to ask the same question. It just never was resolved. At the end, you had the coup de grâce.”

Erika Jayne Denise Richards Repeatedly Left in Middle of Filming
Erika Jayne and Denise Richards MJ Photos/Shutterstock; Gregory Pace/Shutterstock

The singer also noted that the women weren’t asking the Starship Troopers star to “put everything out there,” but were just frustrated by the entire filming situation.

“We’d be there for five minutes, and then leave,” Erika said. “And then when we’re all there for hours and trying to make the show … all we needed to have was a simple conversation.”

Denise, who joined the series during season 9, has a feud during season 10 with Brandi Glanville, who is set to recur. The Drinking and Dating author claims that she and Richards had a sexual relationship in the past, but the Real Girl Next Door author denies the claims, insisting she has been faithful to husband Aaron Phypers.

However, the “Pretty Mess” singer says that the issues between Brandi and Denise isn’t the biggest drama to watch for with Denise. “The alleged Brandi thing came after our … I don’t want to say conflict, but our discovering things,” Erika said. “Denise was, it was just different. You’ll see.”

Dorit Kemsley also teased the tension to come.

“In situations like this, the cast is always divided,” the designer, 43, shared with Us exclusively. “I don’t think it created too many ripples within the cast, but I think that there were those that sort of sided with this person and those that sided with the other. That always happens.”

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills debuts on Bravo Wednesday, April 15, at 8 p.m. ET.

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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Breaking New

US military families caught off guard as thousands of troops are deployed to the Middle East

That means thousands of families were separated from their loved ones — some without notice. Many of them are from the Immediate Response Force of the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, was killed Friday by a US airstrike ordered by President Donald Trump.

It’s not clear what that means for the future of US military involvement in the region. But “the 82nd Airborne is America’s guard of honor,” said Lt. Col. Mike Burns, a spokesman for the division.

“We have traditionally held the responsibility of maintaining the Immediate Response Force, able to deploy anywhere in the world in 18 hours. And that’s something we take pride in doing.”

Yet even with that sense of pride, “the families may be experiencing some angst because the soldiers can’t tell them exactly where they are … naturally, that’s tough,” Burns said.

“But what we can reassure the families is the paratroopers are trained, they’re fit, and they’ve got their battle buddies to their left and right to help them through the situation.”

Here are the stories of some families dealing with sudden separation:

Reality hits as twin sister prepares for deployment

Melissa Morales, 18, said her twin sister, Cristina, was visiting back home in Victorville, California, when she was told Friday she would be deploying Wednesday.

“She kind of took it as a joke the night before because of the memes on Twitter,” Morales said.

The hashtag #WWIII was one of the top trends on Twitter heading into the weekend.

While the memes are funny, she said, reality hit when her sister received the deployment notification.

“She wasn’t expecting to be deployed so soon.”

Morales said her sister joined the Army last summer and has been stationed at Fort Benning in Georgia. This will be her first deployment.

Exclusive: Khamenei's adviser says Iran's response to US will be military action

“As her twin sister, it kind of hurts. It stings,” Morales said on her sister’s deployment. “Yeah, I’m obviously sad, but she made me and the rest of family realize it’s what she signed up for.”

Morales tweeted photos of her sister on her personal account Friday.

“Pray for my sister and every other soldier that has deployed,” she wrote.

Morales did not want to publicize her tweet on CNN. She said she tweeted it because of the #WWIII memes to show “there’s real people risking their lives for this war.”

Deployment right before a child’s birth

At the Sunday evening service at Berean Baptist Church, Taylor Smith asked for prayers.

Opinion: Trump's decision to kill Soleimani is starting to look like a reckless gamble

He’s worried about the deployment of a friend who’s expecting a baby soon.

“The 82nd is trying to push back his deployment date as much as possible, but his wife is a high-risk pregnancy,” Smith said.

“We believe he’s leaving somewhere around Tuesday, and his wife is due Wednesday.”

But Smith said the military community near Fayetteville is accustomed to taking care of one another.

“Fayetteville’s unique in that situation. Neighbors take out for neighbors,” Smith said. “And that’s one of the things we learn here: love thy neighbor.”

New military families get guidance from veterans’ families

Spouses who are more experienced with last-minute deployments are reaching out to those who need help.

Iraq has voted to expel US troops. Whether they'll actually be kicked out is far from clear
Sabrina Johannes is an Army wife whose husband served in Afghanistan. She’s the executive director of Deployed Love, a group of volunteers at Fort Bragg that supports spouses and children left behind.

Johannes said spouses, especially those new to the deployment experience, have reached out saying they’re scared.

“In the last few days we’ve definitely been hearing from some of the family members probably not even here at Fort Bragg,” Johannes said.

“They’re parents that are needing information and looking out to us.”

Johannes said she’s hoping to set up a social event in coming weeks to connect with anyone who needs support.

A wife wasn’t able to say goodbye

Selective Service System website crashes amid questions and fears of another US military draft
April Shumard was in San Diego with her daughter for a medical procedure when she learned her husband in North Carolina suddenly got called up, CNN affiliate WNCN-TV reported.

She didn’t have time to say goodbye in person.

“To have your partner be gone and not be able to prepare for it, it’s just really hard,” she told WNCN. “I think the worst part of that is when you don’t get to say goodbye.”

She relied on friends in Fayetteville to care for her other children because her husband had to leave immediately.

Natasha Chen and Maria Cartaya reported from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Amir Vera and Holly Yan reported and wrote from Atlanta.

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Celebrity Entertaiment

‘Malcolm in the Middle,’ ‘Survivor’ and More TV Shows Turning 20 in 2020

2000 was a pivotal year for pop culture. The world survived Y2K, the Beverly Hills, 90210 gang left the airwaves (for the first time), Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston got hitched, and oops! Britney Spears did it again.

Throughout it all, several noteworthy TV shows premiered, becoming big hits on the small screen and launching many a Hollywood career. Scroll down to see the shows celebrating their 20th anniversaries in 2020.

‘Malcolm in the Middle’

Frankie Muniz played the titular teen in this Fox sitcom, but Jane Kaczmarek was the breakout star, earning seven consecutive Primetime Emmy Award nominations.

Deborah Feingold/20th Century Fox Tv/Kobal/Shutterstock

‘Making the Band’

The groups O-Town and Danity Kane got their start on this ABC-turned-MTV docuseries, which Sean “Diddy” Combs is bringing back to MTV in 2020.

Gary He/AP/Shutterstock


The CBS castaway reality competition — the 39th season of which, Island of the Idols, premiered in September 2019 — is credited with heralding the reality TV era in the United States.

Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment

‘Even Stevens’

Shia LaBeouf, who starred on this Disney Channel comedy, revisited his turbulent years as a child actor with the autobiographical 2019 film Honey Boy.

Buena Vista Tv/Kobal/Shutterstock


Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Brooks, Persia White and Jill Marie Jones, four stars of this UPN-turned-CW sitcom, reunited in an October 2019 episode of Black-ish, Ross’ current comedy.

ABC/Kelsey McNeal


The big-screen movies based on this slapstick MTV reality show have grossed nearly $500 million at the worldwide box office.


‘Gilmore Girls’

The WB-turned-CW dramedy, starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, inspired a revival miniseries on Netflix and a (fictitious) Broadway musical on the Apple TV+ drama The Morning Show.

Warner Bros Tv/Kobal/Shutterstock

‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’

CBS’ long-running procedural lasted 15 seasons and spawned three spinoff shows — CSI: Miami, CSI: NY and CSI: Cyber — as well as a series of comic books, novels, video games, board games and toys.


‘Trading Spaces’

Many of the designers and carpenters of this home renovation series returned for its 2018 revival, the premiere of which earned TLC’s best Saturday night ratings in eight years.


‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

The HBO comedy, which stars Seinfeld co-creator Larry David as an embarrassment-prone version of himself, returned for a ninth season in 2017 after six years off the air, and season 10 premieres in 2020.


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Breaking New

Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare for All plan won’t raise taxes on the middle class (opinion)

The most important source of revenue for Warren’s Medicare for All plan is simply to have businesses pay their employees’ health insurance premiums to Medicare instead of private insurance companies. Over time, businesses would be required to pay slightly less to Medicare for health insurance than they would otherwise have paid to private insurers. New small businesses with fewer than 50 employees would not be required to make these payments.

There has been some handwringing that this would be regressive. That is, lower-paid workers would suffer, since businesses would pay more for lower-paid workers’ health insurance as a percent of their pay than for higher-paid workers. But companies’ current premiums generally vary by the type of insurance plan and family size, and not by employee income. Warren’s Medicare for All plan effectively preserves this. And by replacing trillions of dollars in individual spending on health care with new taxes on large corporations and the rich, her plan overall is clearly progressive.
Warren’s Medicare for All plan is also paid for in part by the taxes generated from the increase in take-home pay that workers will enjoy as they no longer pay toward private health insurance. The typical worker shells out several thousand dollars a year, untaxed, to insure their family. Under Medicare for All, that worker would receive that money as wages, which would be subject under existing law to income and payroll taxes.
Large too-big-to-fail banks, financial firms and large multinational corporations would also pay more to fund Warren’s M4A. While the merits of these tax increases are debatable, there is little debate regarding the revenues they will generate. This is based on past work done by the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation, the non-partisan government organizations that assess the budgetary costs of government spending and tax policies.
Perhaps the most controversial of Warren’s proposed methods to finance Medicare for All is to increase taxes on the super-rich. This includes significantly upping her wealth tax on the nation’s 600-plus billionaires. Some critics believe Warren’s taxes on the wealthy would be unfairly confiscatory, substantially cutting into their wealth. Perhaps. But over the past two generations, the top 0.1% of Americans has seen its share of the nation’s wealth more than double to 20%. This trend is not consistent with a well-functioning market economy and democracy like ours’.
Criticism that Warren is overestimating the revenue she can hope to generate from the wealth tax is overblown. She addresses these concerns by saying she will empower and appropriately fund the Internal Revenue Service to go after those who willfully avoid paying their taxes. Enforcing our tax laws and best practices on tax compliance can generate significant revenue. Closing America’s tax gap — the difference between taxes owed and taxes paid —would help Warren get the revenue she needs.
To be sure, these aren’t the only taxes on the wealthy that Warren has proposed. In addition to the wealth tax, which she also uses to pay for her child care, college affordability and K-12 education plans, she wants a larger estate tax to pay for her housing plan, higher payroll and net investment income taxes would go toward her Social Security reforms, and she supports repealing Trump’s tax cuts for high-income households to generate even more revenue for her plans. With this combination of tax changes, there is a reasonable concern that the wealthy will work overtime to avoid paying.
But once we start to consider the broader consequences of the totality of Warren’s plans, it’s incumbent we do so with regard to both her tax proposals but also the investments those taxes will fund. Based on my own analyses, Warren’s plans for child care, housing and green manufacturing would spur economic growth and produce more tax revenue. Considering the economic impact of all her proposals (an analysis no one has done yet), it is very possible that total government revenues generated by her plans will exceed the total amount of new investments she proposes. Criticism that Senator Warren’s Medicare for All plan can’t be paid for, at least not without putting a greater financial burden on lower- and middle-income Americans, is wrong.

Of course, Warren’s Medicare for All plan isn’t the only way to provide health insurance to all Americans, rein in growing health care costs and improve health care outcomes. A more tractable approach in my view is to allow those who like their private health insurance to keep it and to build on Obamacare by giving everyone else an option to get Medicare.

I don’t agree with Warren’s vision for our health care system, but I admire that she has clearly and credibly laid out that vision and that she sought out the opinions of those who may disagree with her to provide independent validation of her numbers. That’s the kind of rigor we should expect from all of our presidential candidates.

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Breaking New

Three New York middle schoolers charged in connection to a foiled attack on their school

The students were removed from Albion Middle School, northwest of Rochester, pending an investigation into “inappropriate and threatening messages” disseminated on a gaming app and social media platforms, according to the Albion Central School District superintendent.

The messages were originally shared on an online gaming app, Discord, and then spread on other social media platforms, Superintendent Michael Bonnewell said in a letter to the community Wednesday.

The school district formed a threat assessment team including local authorities and the FBI to investigate the threat, the letter says. The children are accused of conspiracy in the second-degree.

Orleans County District Attorney Joseph V. Cardone called the messages “very credible threats,” and commended the FBI’s role in assisting in the investigation. Cardone, however, tells CNN he does not expect charges against the minor-age students to rise to a federal level.

In a statement issued on Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo credited school officials and local law enforcement officers for their role in foiling the plot which “was determined to be credible and the agencies worked quickly to investigate and identify the suspects.”

“And I want to be crystal clear: any person posing a threat to our schools will face the harshest possible penalty under the law — whether or not they intend to actually execute that threat,” Cuomo said in the statement.”

Discord, the online gaming app, is a voice and text chat app designed specifically for gamers, according to its app description.

In a statement to CNN, Director of Trust and Safety for Discord Sean Li said, “We’re committed to ensuring that Discord is a positive and safe place for all our users. We have a zero tolerance approach to harassment and illegal activity on our platform and take immediate action when we become aware of it.”

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Breaking New

WWE rocked after Middle East TV deal concerns

WWE (WWE) stock has been a major loser on Wall Street this year, tumbling about 25% despite splashy new TV deals in the US with Fox (FOXA) and Comcast (CMCSA).

That’s mainly because of lingering worries about the company’s international TV contracts. Several are due for renewal, including ones in the Middle East and India.

Investors are also waiting for WWE to provide guidance about two other recently signed international TV deals — a new partnership in the United Kingdom with BT Sport that begins in January 2020, and the extension of an existing deal with Fox Sports in Latin America. Terms have not yet been disclosed.

The company’s inability to strike a deal in the Middle East is particularly troublesome, because WWE has made a concerted effort to boost its presence in that market.

In fact, several of its top wrestlers are currently in Riyadh for an event that includes a contest between Natalya and Lacey Evans. That’s the first ever match between two women WWE wrestlers in Saudi Arabia.

Two female WWE stars, Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss, appeared in the ring together nearly two years ago for a live event in the United Arab Emirates — wearing outfits that were far more modest than the ones they usually sport.

WWE is clearly willing to tailor its content to make it more acceptable to Middle East audiences. The question now is when WWE will find a TV partner to air more of the company’s programming.

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