The Budget and the Storm

Friday, September 1, 2017Screen Shot 2017-09-01 at 11.04.44 AM

Good Friday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
— The First Draft Team
Common Sense

For Tax Reform Lessons, Congress Needn’t Look Far

By JAMES B. STEWART
Businesses on U Street in Washington. When the District of Columbia broadened the tax base, rates came down but service businesses became subject to sales tax.

Businesses on U Street in Washington. When the District of Columbia broadened the tax base, rates came down but service businesses became subject to sales tax. Andrew Mangum for The New York Times

President Trump made his pitch for tax reform this week, but the odds are not favorable for legislation that would reduce individual and corporate rates and promote economic growth without driving up the national deficit.
For inspiration, maybe Mr. Trump and lawmakers in Congress should look in their own backyard.
The District of Columbia, a political entity whose city council lies ideologically somewhere to the left of Bernie Sanders, has done exactly that.
The capital’s financial affairs were in such disarray by the mid-1990s that they were taken over by a federal financial control board that operated until 2001. Yet in 2014 the council cut corporate and business taxes, reduced individual rates for everyone earning less than $1 million and broadened the tax base by eliminating many loopholes.
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John G. Stumpf, then Wells Fargo’s chief executive and chairman, testifying last September before the Senate Banking Committee.
FAIR GAME

Wells Fargo’s Testimony Left Some Feeling Shortchanged

By GRETCHEN MORGENSON

The bank told Congress last year that it had fully disclosed misconduct. But later reports indicate it knew more, prompting a call for new hearings.

A rendering of a concept for a border wall, which officials at Customs and Border Protection said would have to foil climbing aids and prevent tunneling.

U.S. Moves to Build Prototypes for Mexican Border Wall

By RON NIXON

The Department of Homeland Security awarded contracts to four companies for concrete wall prototypes to be built in the San Diego area.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he would begin to outline the rationale for the forces in more detail when he testifies to Congress on Wednesday.

Mattis Orders First Group of Reinforcements to Afghanistan

By MICHAEL R. GORDON

The deployment orders were the first tangible step the Pentagon has taken to carry out President Trump’s plan for more troops in Afghanistan.

Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, in April. Washington’s travel ban on visiting the country takes effect on Friday, throwing the work of American humanitarian groups into uncertainty.

U.S. Humanitarian Groups Say North Korea Travel Ban Hurts More Than Helps

By CHOE SANG-HUN

As the United States restricts Americans from traveling to North Korea, humanitarian groups are uncertain whether they’ll be able to continue work there.