- The Washington Times
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

There’s a price for D.C. discord. The often abysmal political climate in the nation’s capital — along with its combative culture and do-nothing image — is troubling Americans right in their wallets.

“One issue remains the biggest economic concern among Americans, regardless of their age, income or education level. In a sign that the drama in Washington has fully captured the nation’s attention, consumers name the political environment in the city as the greatest threat to the economy over the next six months,” says a new Bankrate survey.


Over a third — 36 percent — cited the political situation in D.C. as the biggest culprit. A quarter of respondents said the North Korean threat as the biggest risk to the U.S. economy. Ten percent said rising interest rates were the culprit, followed by terrorism (10 percent) and a decline in the stock market (8 percent).

“Most demographic groups selected D.C. politics as the biggest risk. Democrats, college graduates and middle-income households have the strongest distaste for what’s happening in the nation’s capital. Three groups are more likely to fear North Korea than domestic politics: Republicans, Hispanics and Southerners,” the analysis said.

SEAGAL AND THE SHADOW GOVERNMENT

Steven Seagal has spoken. The action movie star condemned the practice of National Football League players who refuse to stand during the national anthem, calling the act outrageous, disgusting and “a joke” during an interview with “Good Morning Britain,” a morning show across the pond. Mr. Seagal, who became a Russian citizen last year, rejected the idea that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election — and broached the possibility of a shadow government undermining President Trump and his administration.

“We have these Democrats that have this whole other agenda. When I say Democrats it’s not just the Democrats. There are this whole group of leftover Obamaites and people that feel they should overthrow Trump, and any decisions he makes. Anything he tries to do, he gets blocked often from the enemies within, so it’s very difficult for him to do anything,” Mr. Seagal said.

“I think most of the people in the U.S. and most of the people in Russia want to like each other. We need each other. Russia and America should be great allies,” he added.

TAX REFORM: THE TRUMP CARD

President Trump’s tax reform proposal likely has a lot of hidden fans in pivotal states. A lot of them are Democrats.

“Tax reform has not historically been a partisan issue — and it does not have to be a partisan issue today. There is no reason that Democrats and Republicans in Congress should not come together to deliver this giant win for the American people and begin the middle class miracle once again,” Mr. Trump said during an appearance in Indiana on Wednesday.

“Support for tax relief crosses party lines. Tax relief is tremendously popular across the country, particularly in states where Senate Democrats face tough reelection battles,” notes the Republican National Committee in an analysis of the possibilities, which names Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Dakota, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin among receptive states where support for Mr. Trump’s tax reform ranges from 53 percent to 73 percent of the populations.

A new CNN poll finds that 68 percent of the public say the federal income tax system needs either a complete overhaul or major changes; that includes 77 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of independents and 62 percent of Democrats. There’s no guarantee, of course.

“Most of these red-state Democrats have spoken out in favor of the principles in President Trump’s tax reform framework in the past, but it remains to be seen whether they will support the proposal now, or continue to play politics,” the analysis said.

There’s advice coming in already.

“The Republican tax reform plan will turbocharge the economy, create millions of new jobs and make America the best place in the world to invest, build and create,” says Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “The first step toward passing this tax reform plan is for Congress to pass a budget resolution that unlocks reform.”

“While today’s announcement marks an important and encouraging first step, it is imperative the administration and congressional leaders work hand-in-hand with conservatives to push back against the radical left and the special interests that will pull out every stop to preserve the status quo,” says Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action.

CULTURAL MOMENT

This happened on the very day that work began on a prototype border wall between the U.S. and Mexico: People magazine reports that Spirit Halloween — the costume store which opens 1,200 instant pop-up locations nationwide at this time each year — is under fire for a “U.S. Border Patrol” ensemble. It’s crafted in green khaki with official looking patches, a nametag which reads “Agent Wall” and a snappy looking cap. A mini-skirted “Border Babe” version is available for women.

“The get-up has generated outrage on social media in the wake of President Trump’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and controversial comments he’s made regarding the border between the United States and Mexico,”says Thatiana Diaz, who reports for People Chica, a publication for American Latinas.

“Halloween, by its nature, takes on many issues and is often expressed in paradox. Costumes are inspired by a variety of sources, specifically trending topics,” the retailer told Ms. Diaz.

The costume is currently sold out.

POLL DU JOUR

79 percent of Americans are concerned about “full-scale war” with North Korea; 73 percent of Republicans, 77 percent of independents and 89 percent of Democrats agree.

49 percent of Americans overall support “military action” against North Korea to end its nuclear program; 73 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of independents and 37 percent of Democrats agree.

44 percent say removing North Korean nuclear weapons is “most important”; 65 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents and 29 percent of Democrats agree.

42 percent say avoiding war with North Korea is most important; 25 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of independents and 60 percent of Democrats agree.

33 percent overall oppose military action; 16 percent of Republicans, 29 percent of independents and 51 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 24-26.

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