Victory lap (of sorts)

Blogging can get back to a semi-regular thing for a while now. I had two presentations taking most of my time these last couple of weeks. I will present some economic analysis ideas to a group of Veteran Entrepreneurs later this month so I had to get worksheets and such ready for them. Next week I will be presenting at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve bank so I had to get that done as well. That and department chair duties is enough to keep anybody busy.

So what is my victory lap. On the Jarrod Thomas Show last week I said that Republicans would have difficulty keeping their people in line on the issue of the state and local tax deduction from your federal taxes. Taxpayers from states with high state tax rates and local taxes use this a great deal and those states tend to be “blue” states. Think New York, New Jersey, California. You get the idea. However, not every member of Congress from those states is a Democrat. You put those Republicans in a very precarious position because to vote for the “party’s” tax plan they may in fact vote for increases in taxes for their constituents.

The voting math gets more complicated with Sen. Corker announcing his retirement and that he will not vote for anything that increases the deficit. If I was starting to count votes I would put him in the “NO” camp right now and hope to be pleasantly surprised when the voting is done. That means the Republicans can lose only two more of their members in a straight party-line vote. Now we hear that this is not necessarily a real line in the sand for the party (see NYTimes story here, and a Bloomberg on here).

I count 14 Republican Members of the House of Representatives from California, 9 from New York. My point is that these start to add up quickly and with anything as large and complicated as tax cuts, even through budget reconciliation, it will be difficult to count on complete party loyalty, for both sides.

The other part of my victory lap is that last week on the radio I told JT that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin looks like John Oliver’s stunt double. Apparently John Oliver listens to JT because he picked up with that in his show last week (here). My former students will find that in line with what they remember as my sense of humor.


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