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Federal Government

The Cost of Trump’s Tariffs

Heather Long reports Trump’s steel tariffs cost U.S. consumers $900,000 for every job created, experts say: President Trump has shown little interest in removing the steel and aluminum tariffs he imposed more than a year ago despite growing evidence Americans are paying a hefty price for these tariffs and increasing pressure from Republicans in Congress…

Undermining His Own Case for a National Emergency

Elizabeth Goitein observes Trump Is Destroying His Own Case for a National Emergency (“By waiting for Congress to act, the president is undermining the legal basis for any declaration”): Here’s how the legal process for emergency powers works: Under the National Emergencies Act, passed by Congress in 1976, the president has broad discretion to declare a…

Commerce Slows

Update, Friday afternoon: Trump folds under pressure agrees to a three-week re-opening of the federal gov’t.  Of his Rose Garden address this afternoon (one that I watched in full), Jennifer Rubin observes “[m]aybe this is part of an insanity defense for the Russia probe.” One reads that under the shutdown, interstate commerce now slows: Significant…

The Shutdown Brings…a shutdown

Troy Newmyer reports Economists worry ‘zero growth’ may be reality as shutdown drags on: Kevin Hassett, the Trump administration’s top economist, acknowledged yesterday the economy may not grow at all in the first quarter if the shutdown lasts that long. And White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is eyeing an even longer impasse. He…

Food Banks Struggle to Replenish Supplies as Demand Increases

Tom Philpott reports Food Banks Usually Replenish Their Resources in January. This Year, They Got the Shutdown Instead (“Food banks—from Chicago to Washington, DC, from California to Florida to New York City—are reporting jumps in demand for their services from furloughed federal workers, whose numbers hover around 800,000 nationwide”). Meanwhile, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross doesn’t understand…

Trump-Russia Roundup

While the proper focus against Trumpism involves a zealous lawful effort against Trump and his leading operatives, there is also a problem of Trumpism down to the local level. In both cases, officials advancing Trumpism ignore the overwhelming evidence of his betrayal of our own people to the benefit of a hostile foreign power. As…

‘Our Guy’ Isn’t Our Guy

Some months ago, in a radio interview to tout part of the Trump tax bill, the Whitewater Community Development Authority’s executive director Dave Carlson referred to Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner as ‘our guy.’ Sensenbrenner, a pro-Trump septuagenarian multimillionaire from a gerrymandered district, is – literally – Whitewater’s federal representative. Sensenbrenner has never been – and…

The Broad Outlines of 2019

For many years, I would begin the year with predictions for the twelve months ahead.  Events since 2016 have made predictions harder,  but one can still discern some short-term developments for the city.  These prospects, of course, form an online of topics to ponder, and about which to write (often requiring that one return to the…

Trump’s Attorney General Nominee Wrong on Obstruction of Justice

Daniel J. Hemel and Eric A. Posner conclude Yes, [Trump Attorney General Nominee] Bill Barr’s Memo Really is Wrong About Obstruction of Justice. They respond with 6 arguments concerning federal bribery law,  “facially lawful” acts,  obstruction and collusion, the Starr investigation, the theory of a unitary executive, and the context of appointee Barr’s memo.  I’ve…

The Assault on Asylum Seekers

This federal administration, despite a leader who receives support from some conservative religious groups, acts against generations of legal, philosophical, and religious principles when it uses force against unarmed asylum seekers. Father James Martin writes Stop the assault on asylum seekers: Yesterday the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency fired tear gas at migrants trying to seek…

Gains in a Long Conflict

Stanley Greenberg observes Trump Is Beginning to Lose His Grip.  There’s much work yet to go, and sure to be painful setbacks ahead, but those of us who are Never Trump (mostly libertarians & conservatives) and so many others (Democrats, independents, former Republicans) have taken back a branch of the government with investigatory authority from a…