Donald Trump

Sick of Trump and Hillary? Tune In Scott and Booker

A Senate duo that bears watching.

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Instead of paying attention to Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton today, take a moment to listen to Senators Tim Scott and Cory Booker.

Scott is a black Republican from South Carolina. Booker is a black Democrat from New Jersey. Together, they've done something relatively unusual in Washington these days—teamed up across partisan lines to introduce two pieces of legislation aimed at increasing upward mobility and fighting poverty.

The bills hadn't been on my radar screen until last week, when Sen. Scott took to the Senate floor to offer some disturbing firsthand accounts of how he'd been treated by law enforcement officers and to offer some ideas on how to move forward. These two pieces of legislation were among them.

The first is the Leveraging and Energizing America's Apprenticeship Programs or "LEAP" Act. It would create a new $1,500 per apprentice tax credit for businesses that hire employees younger than 25 to participate in apprenticeship programs registered with the federal or state governments. The cost of the tax credits would be offset by having the government publish more documents on the Internet instead of printing them.

The LEAP Act already has support from two other Republicans, Deb Fischer and Kelly Ayotte, and from two other Democrats, Chris Coons and Amy Klobuchar.

The second bill is the Investing in Opportunity Act. It would give governors the power to create "opportunity zones" and provide a break on the capital gains tax for taxpayers who invest their gains in a qualified opportunity zone. This law, too, has bipartisan backing. Its supporters include Democrats Michael Bennet, Chris Coons, and Gary Peters, and Republicans Roy Blunt, Cory Gardner, and Lindsey Graham.

Both these laws, unfortunately, would add complexity to a tax code that needs simplification. The senators get credit for good intentions, but federal antipoverty needs to be judged on results, not intentions, as decades of counterproductive spending have testified.

Even so, perhaps they are onto something. Certainly, the problem of how people younger than 25 can gain valuable and employable skills is one worth tackling. Not all of them will go to college, and the combination of high state and local minimum wages, health insurance mandates, and payroll taxes means that, without a subsidy of some sort, entry-level employees in many cases aren't worth the cost for businesses to hire and train. My preferred solution would be to reduce the payroll tax, the minimum wage, or the healthcare mandate, or to let someone in the private sector find a way to make money by hiring and training these people better than competitors.

As for the opportunity zones, again, the problem of entire neighborhoods or even cities or regions that have been left behind from the coastal urban booms that have affected places like Silicon Valley, New York City, and Washington, D.C. is one worth thinking about. The idea of dealing with it by offering a capital gains deferral may be a little too cute, though. The concept is to get people who made lots of money on, say, Facebook stock, to reinvest the money in some rundown city or rural backwater and avoid some of the tax hit on their gains. But as Mark Zuckerberg's unsuccessful $100 million gift to the Newark, N.J. public schools shows, the problems in some of these neighborhoods go well beyond the issue of lack of financial capital willing to invest.

"It's a dark hour in race relations for America, but I bring you hope, real hope," Sen. Scott said in his remarks, speaking about how a heavily white congressional district in South Carolina elected him—the grandson of a cotton-picker—over Senator Strom Thurmond's son and over the son of the late Gov. Carroll Campbell. "Please remain optimistic."

It's not necessarily easy these days to do that. But the fact that Senators Booker and Scott can at least agree on common goals—increasing opportunity and upward mobility in demographic and geographic areas where they are lacking—may well be cause for hope. It's a Senate duo that bears watching.

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  1. reduce the payroll tax AND the minimum wage AND the healthcare mandate

    They’re under 25 they can live in mommy’s basement for a few years while they acquire job skills. Throwing more money at them will not solve the problem – only make people feel more entitled to benefits and make them repeat the cycle with a new generation. That helps no one.

    1. Agreed. Can’t believe I just said that. Entitlements breeds enslavement.

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  2. I really hope Hillary Clinton picks Cory Booker for VP. He’s got tons of flaws, obviously, but he seems like a reasonable fellow and I love his stances on stuff like criminal justice reform. And since he’s probably the least awful candidate for Prez the Dems could come up with, it would be nice to have him set up for that job. But if it’s Elizabeth Warren, I’ll just have to start preparing my Seppuku shrine.

    1. Pocahantas will scalp you before Seppuku. *performs green tea ceremony with foil cups

    2. He is not reasonable. And I am entirely convinced he believes a word he says about criminal justice reform.

      1. I bet he believes more than just one.

    3. My money remains on Julian Castro, though I can see Booker getting the nod. He’s spoken out against Dems bashing private equity before, though, and Clinton already has enough problems appearing too cozy with Wall Street.

    4. I like Booker too, despite his flaws. I think Hillary needs to go centrist after Trump’s somewhat more centrist pick (at least compared to Gingrich or Christie). Will help her with the #NeverTrumpkins like me. Even though I’m voting Johnson/Weld of course.

      1. I don’t really see how Pence is more centrist than Gingrich or Christie (particularly the latter).

        1. Maybe he means nearer the center of the Republican Party nationally.

    5. I hope Heil Hitlary picks Johnny Fuckerfaster.
      He knows what he’s doing.
      He does his work as fast as he can.
      He brags about it to his mom.

  3. I don’t know anything about Scott. But Corey Booker is a phony and a crook. He never did a damn thing as mayor of Newark beyond get himself and his cronies rich. Fuck Booker.

    1. So, the perfect VP for Hillary!

  4. Is Ira a crypto Clinton supporter because Trump’s name was used first to create the string “Sick of Trump” or a crypto Trump supporter (and patriarchal sexist) for using her first name instead of last name?

  5. The first is the Leveraging and Energizing America’s Apprenticeship Programs or “LEAP” Act. It would create a new $1,500 per apprentice tax credit for businesses that hire employees younger than 25 to participate in apprenticeship programs registered with the federal or state governments. The cost of the tax credits would be offset by having the government publish more documents on the Internet instead of printing them.

    Better idea: Don’t skew the market with special prizes for preferred constituencies and publish more documents online anyway. You should already be doing that.

    1. Shhhh! You weren’t supposed to figure that out!

  6. I guess it comes down to whether you think taxes should be used for social engineering or whether they should be purely a revenue tool (or, I suppose, whether they shouldn’t exist at all).

    I have nothing in particular against the stated goals, in a general sense; subsidizing hiring is better than subsidizing unemployment.

    That said, I don’t see how this is philosophically different than throwing tax money at Citibank or Solyndra; once you’re on the “structuring the tax code for the greater good” train you still can fight about what’s good, but the genie’s out of the bottle.

    1. Social engineering through the tax code, whether its corporate welfare or individual welfare, is an inefficient use of resources, increases tax complexity and compliance costs, and skews the market.

      It’s bad, m’kay?

  7. Or send Gary Johnson a donation.

  8. RE: Sick of Trump and Hillary?

    Sick of Trump the Grump and Heil Hitlary?
    Never.
    Who could get tired of their comedy routines?

  9. What’s the first thing people think of when they hear the names Cory Booker and Tim Scott? Yep, you’re seeing it – a picture of Donald Trump.

  10. Just another goddammed statists attempt to invent micromanaging replacements for the free markets they have done so much to destroy. Christ they are stupid fucks.

    1. No, no, you’ve got it all wrong, guy. It’ll work this time.

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    Go to the web——-> http://www.Aspire-Jobs.com

  12. The cost of tax credits? The cost of letting people keep more of their $?

  13. the combination of high state and local minimum wages, health insurance mandates, and payroll taxes means that, without a subsidy of some sort, entry-level employees in many cases aren’t worth the cost for businesses to hire and train.

    Are we really headed for a country, or world, like that? Where in effect on-the-job training is supported much like public schooling? With many businesses beholden to the taxpayer to make possible their low-level hires?

    1. Julie.

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