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HEADCOUNTS AND POLITICS

April 30, 2019

HEADCOUNTS AND POLITICS

Professor Kennedy’s blog today discusses the upcoming Supreme Court’s decision on the census issue and the likely reversal of three appeals which rejected the Trump administration’s brazen and racist attempt to add a qualifier to the census count which would punish Democratic cities both politically and financially. I responded to her blog, slightly edited, as follows.

Consider the tax impact on municipalities inherent in these three census cases, and consider the record of the ringmaster (Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce) who came up with this nakedly political and racist idea, one designed to punish mostly democratic cities. Ross, like many in the Trump administration, should be in jail for his co-management with a Russian friendly with Putin of the Bank of Cyprus, a notorious money laundering institution on the EU’s no-no list, and I have to wonder if he and his Russian co-manager did not launder a bunch from Putin and his cronies to Trump during his tenure there and if Trump brought him into the administration and gave him an elevated status from which to continue his fraudulent activities such as this census count – but that is a topic for another day.

Back to tax impact > When Trump finds an excuse (as he will if the court reverses the three cases under review), there go billions of dollars that would otherwise have been distributed to municipalities under existing law for municipal services including but not limited to money for police and other such costs, and in order to keep public services intact those who live in cities will either experience substantial increases in local taxes or suffer loss of public services across the board (police, chuckholes, sewers, traffic control, etc.), and guess what? Most of those affected are Democrats. Such a surprise!

So what to do? Elect Democrats at every level of government, but especially at the federal level, and if the court reverses these three appeals (as is widely expected), do a redo of the statutes fleshing out the constitutionally required census decennial to reflect a true headcount census, thus reversing the court’s reversal. Trouble is (and Wilbur’s timing is impeccable), we have the decennial count coming up very shortly and with Mitch in control of the Senate, there is no chance that such correcting legislation could become law (particularly since a Trump veto is a given).

So how to correct this upcoming municipal disaster? Assuming a Democratic sweep for president and Democratic control of both House and Senate, reinstate the federal subsidies to municipalities that were adversely affected by Wilbur’s court-approved punitive and racist census count, or even increase such former subsidies. How to pay for such an increase? Easy. Repeal the some two trillion Trump/Ryan giveaway tax cuts of December, 2017, to hugely profitable but non-taxpaying members of the rich and corporate class, resulting in an absurd reality in which I paid more taxes than Boeing, Verizon et al. Problem solved.    GERALD        E

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