John Andrist: Getting Out of Dodge Doesn’t Solve Problems


Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 19, 2017. Flake, who tangled with President Donald Trump and was considered one of the most vulnerable senators in his party, will not run for re-election in 2018, he said on the Senate floor Oct. 24. (Al Drago/The New York Times)

“What do you think about Sen Jeff Flake?”, my left tilting daughter texted a couple days ago.

My answer is the same way I felt when Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker said he was quitting: very disappointed.

President Trump is probably the least civil president in U.S. history. I understand the frustration and disappointment of these senators. But nobody ever solved a problem by cutting, running, and slamming the door behind them.

The new president speaks ill of anyone who won’t bow in his presence. It turns my stomach. But his appointments are much more solid than those of his predecessor, and he has reversed some ridiculous executive orders by President Obama.

His lack of free market vision troubles me, yet so far he hasn’t gotten congressional buy-in to hurt us on that score.

But the Corker/Flake decision to quit spurns their ability to play some part in the solution to what concerns them.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]The new president speaks ill of anyone who won’t bow in his presence. It turns my stomach. But his appointments are much more solid than those of his predecessor, and he has reversed some ridiculous executive orders by President Obama.[/mks_pullquote]

Both have expressed some interest in running for president. But who wants a president who wants to quit when he gets upset and take his bat and ball home with him?

Both men ought also to leave their pensions behind. Fat chance!

None of those people deserve the pensions they have given themselves. Nobody in the legislating business should get a pension.

The job was never intended to be a career choice. It was Congress itself who made it so, making the salary and benefits lucrative

I suspect Trump is the only Republican that Senators Corker and Flake have pleased.

Now, you never asked what I think, but you get the whole load anyway. Truthfully, in the almost 70-years I’ve been writing this piece, I have never placed a high priority on what I think, nor what you think.

I’m satisfied if it makes anyone decide to read it again next week.

Tax reform games

Time will tell if, when, and what will get passed as tax reform in Congress, but I have some early  skepticism, particularly since they are working so hard to keep the specifics under wrap.

They say they are trying to find tax savings for the middle class. Translated that means increasing what some pay and decreasing what others pay.

One of the proposals apparently is repealing the death tax.

There is an estate tax exemption of $5.9 million right now, and people with more than that are a tad above what I would call middle class.

The president says it is also time to get rid of special interest tax breaks at the same time his wife is campaigning for child care tax credits.

I think that means trading some credits for other credits. The proper word for that is replacement, not elimination.

At the corporate level we have a mind boggling number of tax breaks: new home building, renaissance zones, ethanol, wind and solar energy, child care, rental housing, senior citizen housing, charitable gifting, federal tax deductions for state taxes paid, (income, sales, and property). This is only a starter list.

By the way, it is the estate tax that politicians like to call the death tax. There is no way to collect taxes from the dead.

What they actually mean is new tax cuts for heirs of the beneficiaries and heirs of those with more than $5.9 million.

None of them have tried to explain the logic of why you should be taxed on the money you earn, but not on the money your rich uncle gives to you through his will.

So if you really are middle class don’t run out and spend what you expect to save until you know it is still in the bank.

Land of the free?

There is a big fight in progress whether to permit large hog farms near Buffalo and Devils Lake.

They also are generating a great deal of debate over whether to allow a refinery to be built three miles from the eastern edge of Teddy Roosevelt National Park.

And protesters are lining up in northern Minnesota to stop construction of a new Enbridge replacement pipeline. Call it DAPL deja vu.

I’m not exercised one way or another, but it makes me smile to note there is one common denominator in all of these things: They all are efforts to tell some property owners what they can do with their investment by folks who have none of their own skin in the game.

So much for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — for the other guys.