Freeman High School Shooting, St. Louis Riots, the Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Plan, and Tax Reform


Republicans have promised tax reform by the end of the year. We talk about tax policy, the Trump plan, and the goals of our tax code. We also discuss the tragic shooting at Freeman High School, the reactions to Jason Stockley's acquittal, and the healthcare plan proposed by Senators Graham and Cassidy. We end the show with thoughts on parenting and the Emmys. 

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Freeman High School. Sadly, Caleb Sharpe, a 15-year-old sophomore entered his school in Rockford, Washington, with an assault rifle and a pistol. He killed one classmate and injured three others before Joe Bowen, a janitor and military veteran, heroically intervened.  Sharpe, who had given indicators that he was a danger to himself, said he intended to teach a lesson on bullying. 

St. Louis. In 2011, Jason Stockley, a police officer at the time, killed Anthony Smith during a drug stop. Following a bench trial, a judge acquitted Stockley of first-degree murder. We discuss the facts and the fallout from this verdict in a city struggling with racial tension and economic angst

Graham-Cassidy. Republicans are scrambling to pass healthcare reform in advance of the September 30 fiscal year end in order to set the table for tax reform. Senators Lindsay Graham and Bill Cassidy have proposed a new version of "repeal and replace" that would turn over funding and control to states. This Washington Post article succinctly explains the differences between various healthcare reform efforts and the Affordable Care Act. We discuss the issues with this plan and urge listeners who oppose the plan to take it seriously. 

Compliment the Other Side. Beth compliments Senator Elizabeth Warren for working on legislation that would allow individuals to implement a credit freeze for free. Sarah compliments Congressman Will Hurd for comments on his recent Pod Save the World appearance

Tax Reform. We take a deeper dive into tax reform today given the administration's stated goal of passing comprehensive tax reform by the end of the year. As Ryan Lizza describes in an excellent New Yorker piece, approximately every 32 years, we take a swing at simplifying and modernizing the tax code--making 2018 ripe for the task. We reference T.R. Reid's book, A Fine Mess: A Global Quest for a Simpler, Fair, and More Efficient Tax Systemthroughout our discussion. 

Individual income and payroll taxes make up approximately 80% of federal revenue. Six Republicans (Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Gary Cohn, Steve Mnuchin, Orrin Hatch, and Kevin Brady) have been working on the broad principles that would underlie comprehensive tax reform. Paul Ryan's proposal for a border-adjusted tax has come off the table. Orrin Hatch has proposed paying for part of contemplated tax cuts by passing more taxes on to shareholders, but House Republicans aren't excited about that plan. The President has proposed cutting the corporate tax rate to 15%, eliminating most deductions/tax expenditures, and reducing individual income taxes as follows: 

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Source: The Balance: Trump's Tax Plan and How It Would Affect You

Tax reform is obviously complex. (For a somewhat snarky but informative look at various tax proposals, check out this Forbes piece.) We discuss the objectives of tax policy and how we would approach a comprehensive look at taxes, the budget, and the deficit.

Personal notes. We end the show by talking about Beth's adventures in parenting and Sarah's take on the Emmys.