Trump's touted $4,000 middle-class raise under the GOP tax plan is really $500 a year, highly speculative
President Trump flew to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday evening to promote the emerging Republican tax plan as a big tax cut for the middle class, telling the gathered "truckers for tax reform" that "you're going to make more money, you're going to do better than ever before." Specifically, he said that a proposal to encourage U.S. companies to bring their foreign profits home "would likely give the typical American household a $4,000 pay raise" or more, citing the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).
Trump was apparently referring to a "simple back-of-the-envelope calculation" from CEA chairman Kevin Hassett, who estimated in a speech last month that if U.S. firms didn't park their profits abroad, the jump in U.S. corporate profits would be passed on to workers, and over eight years, "the median U.S. household would get a $4,000 real income raise." If you make $50,000 a year, CNNMoney explains, Hassett's predicted 1 percent raise would be $500 a year, or $4,000 over eight years.
That's a big "if." Hassett "has a contrarian view from other economists and says that corporate tax cuts primarily help workers, not companies," The Washington Post notes. "I'd put myself down as a skeptic," Mark Mazur, a former tax policy chief at the U.S. Treasury and current head of the Tax Policy Center, tells CNNMoney, noting that corporate profits are already high and aren't broadly being shared with workers. Conservative economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin questioned how much money U.S. firms would repatriate.
The Senate has a big vote on a budget next week that will determine if they can move forward with a partisan tax plan at all. Without details, it's hard to predict the effect of the GOP tax plan, but independent analyses suggest it would greatly benefit Trump and other very rich people and raise taxes on up to 30 percent of middle-income families. Peter Weber
There were a lot of factors that went into Senator-elect Doug Jones' (D) upset victory in Alabama on Tuesday night — a divided Republican party, suburbanites who are fed up with President Trump, "and apparently, some people don't like accused kiddie-touchers," Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Show. "But there was one really huge factor that you can't ignore," he said: African Americans really turned out, giving Jones a higher percentage of the black vote than former President Barack Obama received.
Dulce Sloan came out and explained how it wasn't just black voters, but black women, who sank Republican Roy Moore. "You're welcome, white people, you're welcome," Sloan said, on behalf of all black women, and she had a suggestion: Maybe America could show its gratitude by "changing the laws to make it easier for us to vote, or sing our praises by giving us raises, or at the very least, cancel winter — you know only white people like snow."
On Late Night, Amber Ruffin also took a bow on behalf of black women. "Roy Moore was a well-known anti-gay, anti-Muslim, racist pedophile (allegedly)," she said. Most white women still voted for him, but 98 percent of black women voted for Jones. "P.S.: You know that's why Omarosa got fired today," Ruffin joked. "Trump was like, 'You promised me the black lady vote,' and she was probably like, 'I don't know any!'"
Ruffin invited white people to "appropriate" this example by black women, and noted that despite her initial fears about "black women" trending on Twitter, it turns out "everyone was writing 'Thank you, black women' — and that is cool, but when you're done thanking us, why don't you try voting for us and putting a few of us in office so we can run this s--t."
Daily Show regular Roy Wood Jr. just savored being publicly proud to be from Alabama. Watch below. Peter Weber
When he grows up, Caleb Green wants to be an astronaut and a Ninja Turtle, but for now, he's content spending his time reading, reading, reading.
The 4-year-old from Chicago set a huge goal for himself last Saturday — to read 100 books in one day. His father Sylus Green told ABC7 Chicago at first he tried to talk his son down to a lower, more manageable number, but Caleb was adamant: He wanted to read 100 books. His parents got out all of Caleb's books, and borrowed others from friends in order to reach 100. Caleb started to read out loud, and his parents decided to stream his readathon on Facebook Live, reaching people as far away as Florida; every time he finished reading 10 books, Caleb would celebrate by doing a dance.
Caleb said he loves books and wants to "read some more like my sister." His dad said Caleb has inspired him to dream big, but probably not as big as his son. "I want to be a basketball player," Caleb said. "When I am 22 I want to be an astronaut and when I'm 23 I want to be a Ninja Turtle." Catherine Garcia
Alabama Republican Roy Moore, who lost Tuesday's special Senate election to Democrat Doug Jones, released a video message Wednesday night in which he told supporters he's not conceding and warned that the United States is in the middle of a "struggle to preserve our republic, our civilization, and our religion."
With 100 percent of precincts reporting their results, Jones is nearly 21,000 votes ahead of Moore, but Moore said the race isn't over because military and provisional ballots have yet to be counted. It's important that he not give up because "the heart and soul of our country is at stake," he said. "Like most Americans, I'm concerned about the future of our country, both financially and morally."
That's where things got grim. Americans have "certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," Moore said. However, "many do not share the vision of those who built this country," he continued. "Today, we no longer recognize the universal truth that God is the author of our life and liberty. Abortion, sodomy, and materialism have taken the place of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Moore launched into a laundry list of ways Americans have "forgotten God," including ending prayer in school and recognizing "the right of a man to claim to be a woman, and vice versa." He ended his message of doom with a cheery "Merry Christmas!" Um, thanks? Catherine Garcia
A Republican Kentucky state lawmaker accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in 2012 died by probable suicide on Wednesday, authorities said.
Bullitt County Sheriff Donnie Tinnell said state Rep. Dan Johnson, 57, shot himself on a bridge in Mount Washington, Kentucky, his body discovered on the bank of the Salt River. Johnson, pastor of the Heart of Fire church in Louisville, was elected to the state legislature in 2016, despite his fellow Republicans calling on him to drop out of the race after racist posts he made on Facebook about the Obamas were unearthed. On Monday, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published the account of a woman who said on New Year's Eve 2012, when she was 17 years old, Johnson assaulted her in an apartment underneath his church's fellowship hall, kissing and groping her despite her pleas to stop.
The woman said she went to the police and an investigation was opened, but no charges were filed; in a press conference Tuesday, Johnson called the allegations "totally false." Johnson posted a message on Facebook Wednesday evening in which he stated that PTSD "is a sickness that will take my life, I cannot handle it any longer," The Associated Press reports, and asked his friends to look after his wife. Catherine Garcia
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was hospitalized on Wednesday for "normal side effects" of the treatments he's receiving for glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, his office announced in a statement.
McCain, 80, is at Walter Reed Hospital, and "as ever, he remains grateful to his physicians for their excellent care, and his friends and supporters for their encouragement and good wishes," his office said. "Sen. McCain looks forward to returning to work as soon as possible." He was diagnosed in July.
Earlier in the day, his daughter, Meghan McCain, spoke with former Vice President Joe Biden on The View about her father's condition. Biden's son Beau died in 2015 from the same cancer, and the former vice president told McCain "there is hope," and if "anybody can make it," it's her father. Catherine Garcia
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein praised Special Counsel Robert Mueller throughout his five-hour testimony Wednesday in front of the House Judiciary Committee, telling lawmakers that "based upon his reputation, his service, his patriotism, and his experience with the department and the FBI, I believe he was an ideal choice for this task."
Mueller is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and any possible collusion between President Trump's campaign and the Russians, and Rosenstein pushed back against Republicans complaining about an FBI agent working on the investigation who was found to have exchanged text messages with an FBI lawyer that called Trump "an idiot" and "loathsome human." That agent, Peter Strzok, was removed from the team, and Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said on Wednesday he thinks Strzok and his texting partner "clearly allowed their political opinions to cloud their judgment." Mueller did the right thing in removing Strzok, Rosenstein responded, and he "understands the importance of ensuring there is no bias reflected in the conduct of the investigation."
Rosenstein oversees Mueller's investigation, since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself after it was revealed that he met with Russians before the election despite saying otherwise during his confirmation hearing. Rosenstein said he knows what Mueller is doing, and "if I thought he was doing something inappropriate, I would take action." Catherine Garcia
PBS announced Wednesday it has "indefinitely suspended distribution" of the late-night talk show Tavis Smiley after the host was accused of sexual misconduct.
"PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after leaning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley," the public broadcaster said in a statement. "This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley. The inquiry uncovered multiple credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today's decision."
Variety reports PBS received several complaints of misconduct by Smiley, and its investigation found credible allegations that Smiley had sexual relationships with several subordinates, with many saying he also created a verbally abusive and threatening workplace environment. Catherine Garcia