All in, Americans will pay $3.3 trillion in federal taxes this year. On top of that, they will pay $1.8 trillion in local and state taxes, for a total burden (local, state, and federal) of $5.2 trillion, roughly 30 percent of GDP ... Despite record tax revenue, the federal government will still run an $800 billion budget deficit this year. That's because it will spend roughly $4.1 trillion this year, while taking in the aforementioned $3.3 trillion. This is not rocket science: If you spend more than you take in, you have a problem. Progressives will blame low taxes generally, and the recent GOP tax reform in particular. But the Congressional Budget Office says that tax revenues as a percent of GDP will decline by just 0.7 percent this year. Spending, on the other hand, will increase by 3 percent of GDP, more than four times as much.
A new poll released Wednesday suggests the U.S. Senate race between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke is far more competitive than many political observers have initially thought. The poll from Quinnipiac University shows the two men in a dead heat: 47 percent of registered voters in Texas support Cruz, the Republican incumbent, while 43 percent back O'Rourke, an El Paso Democrat. That number falls within the poll's 3.6 percent margin of error. The poll had another ominous warning for the GOP: President Donald Trump was underwater in Texas, with 52 percent of respondents disapproving of him and 43 percent approving of his job performance.
Former Playboy model Karen McDougal has reportedly been let out of a contract with the parent company of The National Enquirer and can now freely discuss her alleged affair with President Trump. McDougal reached a settlement Wednesday with American Media Inc. (AMI), freeing her from the deal for the exclusive rights to her story, The New York Times reported. McDougal had sued to be released from the agreement, claiming she was misled about the terms. She also claimed that Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney, inappropriately intervened in the deal. The publisher, whose chairman, David J. Pecker, is a friend of Trump's, purchased the rights to her story for $150,000 ahead of the 2016 election but never ran any pieces on it, using a tabloid "catch and kill" maneuver. read more
A group of conservative Republicans sent a criminal referral to the Justice Department Wednesday asking prosecutors to consider bringing charges against former FBI Director James Comey, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others involved in the probe into Mrs. Clinton's emails. They also complained that the FBI and Justice Department mishandled the so-called "Steele dossier" with false and unverified claims about then-candidate Donald Trump.
On Sunday, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, announced that the Treasury Department would be rolling out tough new sanctions against Russia on Monday as punishment for its continued support of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. But not 24 hours later, the White House threw Haley under the bus with a clear, contradictory message: Not so fast.
Rep. James Bridenstine (R-Okla.) is a former Navy pilot with virtually no management experience in any large organization. But the Oklahoma Republican has been tapped by President Donald Trump to take over the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a federal agency with a budget of $18.5 billion, 18,000 federal workers, and over 60,000 contract employees. For this lack of technical experience -- along with a skepticism of climate change and opposition to LGBT rights -- Bridenstine has faced sharp criticism on the Hill. But another issue may soon end up complicating his nomination. read more
Pittsburgh Police are gearing up for possible protests in the event President Donald Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller. A memo went out to the police department from Victor Joseph, commander of the Pittsburgh Bureau of police. In the memo the department's detectives are instructed to begin wearing a full uniform and carrying riot gear with them in anticipation of massive protests. Police believe the protest would happen within 24 hours of Mueller's firing. "There is a belief that President Trump will soon move to fire Special Prosecutor Mueller. This would result in a large protest within 24 hours of the firing," the emails states.
Sweden may be known for its popular music, IKEA and a generous welfare state. It is also increasingly associated with a rising number of Islamic State recruits, bombings and hand grenade attacks. In a period of two weeks earlier this year, five explosions took place in the country. It's not unusual these days -- Swedes have grown accustomed to headlines of violent crime, witness intimidation and gangland executions. In a country long renowned for its safety, voters cite "law and order" as the most important issue ahead of the general election in September.
A new PDF memo purportedly from the Department of the Army concerning bad batches of the questionable Anthrax vaccine has been confirmed as originating from DOD despite claims from Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services secretary Francisco Urena that it was "fake" and a "scam."
President Donald Trump's tax cuts will be anything but for about 1 million California taxpayers who will owe Uncle Sam more money a year from now. They're the Californians who will lose a collective $12 billion because the new law caps a deduction they have been able to take for paying their state and local taxes, according to a new analysis by the Franchise Tax Board. Very wealthy Californians earning more than $1 million a year will pay the lion's share of that money, with 43,000 of them paying a combined $9 billion.
In a blog post, Facebook's product management director, David Baser, wrote that the company tracked users and non-users across websites and apps for three main reasons: providing services directly, securing the company's own site, and "improving our products and services" ... "Whether it's information from apps and websites, or information you share with other people on Facebook, we want to put you in control -- and be transparent about what information Facebook has and how it is used." But the company's transparency has still not extended to telling non-users what it knows about them -- an issue Zuckerberg also faced questions over from Congress.
Republican senator Thom Tillis has taken the risky step of endorsing a bill to safeguard Robert Mueller from being fired by President Trump. But the risk was for naught, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he would not allow any such bill to come to the Senate floor. read more
Buzzfeed: In closed-door meetings at the United Nations in March, Trump administration officials pushed socially conservative views on women's rights issues -- including abstinence-based policies over information about contraception -- that were further to the right than those expressed by most other countries present, including Russia and the representative for the Arab states, UN officials who attended the meetings told BuzzFeed News.
House lawmakers on Tuesday approved a last-minute amendment to remove $250,000 allocated to the city of Memphis as punishment for the removal of Confederate monuments. The amendment, which was approved with a 56-31 vote, was introduced as a result of Memphis officials' decision to remove two controversial statues on public property last year.
A federal judge has thrown out a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging the Extra Value Meals sold by McDonald's aren't such a good value. In a written opinion Friday, U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo rejected the contention that the fast-food restaurant chain is violating the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act by marketing combination meals that cost more than the aggregate cost of their individual items.