Needed 1215
Haley 18
Trump 62
Other 12
Remaining 2337
Political Wire logo Pelosi Slams Trump’s Comments on Alexei Navalny
Wife of Haiti’s Assassinated President Accused in His Killing
Top Biden Adviser to Visit Egypt and Israel
Trump Musical Debuts in New York
Biden Hammers Trump for Finishing Last in Survey
The Real Challenge of Trump 2.0

Trump and His Fans Are Not Happy with Judge Engoron's Decision

The decision by Judge Arthur Engoron to fine Donald Trump $355 million plus back interest for defrauding multiple banks in New York has not gone over well with Trump or his supporters. Trump called the decision a "total sham." He said the U.S. justice system "is under assault by partisan, biased judges and prosecutors." He called Engoron a "crooked judge" and said NY AG Letitia James is racist. Naturally, Trump started fundraising as a result of the decision. It's always about the grift.

The kids also chimed in. Donald Trump Jr. said the judicial system is politically motivated and the primary determinants of the outcome are "political beliefs" and the venue. Eric Trump called the ruling "a total joke" and "insane." Both of them were fined $4 million. Ivanka didn't have anything to say. She and young Jared have apparently decided to give up on politics and just spend their time getting rich off the Saudis' money.

On the other hand, Mary Trump took a different position. She said: "It has taken over half a century but Donald's ability to commit fraud with impunity has come to an end—at least in New York—and trust me, that matters to him."

Trump's lawyer, Alina Habba, who lost the case, didn't think the judgment would stick. She said: "I think the biggest message I can give the American people tonight is that [Engoron]'s not going to get away with it. Letitia James is not going to get away with it. The Biden administration is not going to get away with it." Maybe we missed something, but we thought this was a New York State case and the Biden administration had absolutely nothing to do with it. If this demonstrates her level of knowledge of the case, we can see why she lost it.

On the other hand, Habba is not just Trump's lawyer in the civil cases. She is also general counsel to Trump's Save America PAC and senior adviser to the MAGA Inc. super PAC. In these roles, part of her job is raising money. She knows that when she loses a case, that is great for fundraising. Talk about a conflict of interest.

Now Trump's supporters. Jonathan Turley wrote an op-ed piece for The Hill entitled: "Obscene award against Trump is testing the New York legal system's integrity." He complained that the award was greater than the gross national product of Micronesia, even though the banks didn't lose a single dollar. He also said that undervaluing and overvaluing property is a longstanding practice in New York real estate—in other words, all New York developers are criminals, so what's the big deal? Turley said the impact on New York businesses will be dire and they will all flee the state. He also noted: "The size of the damages is grotesque and should shock the conscience of any judge on appeal." We'll see about that within a couple of months.

And now, Whitewater lawyer Sol Wisenberg: "A $355 million disgorgement judgment when there is no victim and there is no loss, and there is no jury—here is the key here, you have an attorney general of the state of New York that ran on a Get Trump platform. She could not manufacture a criminal case, so she manufactured a civil fraud case, went to a jurisdiction where she got a Trump-hating judge who rendered this verdict... " There was indeed no jury—because there normally isn't in these sorts of cases, and Habba forgot to ask for special consideration. The jurisdiction was New York because that is where the crimes were committed and it was New York state law that Trump broke. The judge was selected at random, as usual.

Of course, talk is cheap and now Trump has to scrounge up half a billion dollars, give or take. So naturally, one of his supporters set up a GoFundMe account in an attempt to raise $355 million. If they reach that goal, Trump will still have to pay the back interest himself, but at least having his fans pay the $355 million will help. As of Monday morning, the account had $414,179 in it, so only $354,585,821 to go. Unlike fake Georgia elector Cathy Latham's account on GiveSendGo (which is stuck at $22,324 and 2,951 prayers), the page for Trump does not offer the possibility of online praying. It does allow people to offer words of support, though. Here is a small sample:

  • Mr. Trump, I will never abandon you. You have my lifelong support.
  • Abuse of the judicial system. I support President Trump.
  • Keep strong Mr. President we're with you thank you so much for your patriotism.
  • President Trump has been persecuted and harassed now since 2015 (9 Years) enough is enough.
  • God bless Trump's fight against a crooked government.
  • I want to do my part to help stop the political persecution of President Trump.
  • I am not a libtard and love America.
  • We love you President Trump. It's so unfair what they are doing. We are praying for you.
  • Thank you President Trump for all you do & the many sacrifices you & your family have made!
  • I want Trump to know we stand with him against tyranny.

There were a few thousand more like this, but also a smattering of comments from people who gave $5 just to put in an anti-Trump comment.

Trump is not one to leave his fortunes in the hands of well wishers, so he is trying to raise some money himself by... selling sneakers at $399 per pair. He said: "This is something I've been talking about for 12 years, 13 years, and I think it's going to be a big success." Right, Trump's desire has always been to become a shoe salesman. Got it.

Trump's anger at the courts could have real consequences if he wins another term. In his first term, he got lists of potential judicial nominees from the Federalist Society. All of them were very conservative, but for the most part, they had the intellectual heft to be judges and justices. For example, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett went to law school at Harvard, Yale, and Notre Dame, respectively. Most of his lower-court appointments also had strong résumés as well. Now that Trump is furious with the judicial system (and also the Federalist Society for giving him a bunch of judges and justices who are far too independent for his taste), in a second term he has said that next time around, he will pick loyalists, without regard to their academic or other qualifications. His former lawyer, Ty Cobb, said of Trump's first-term picks: "They were intellectually qualified for the most part to become judges. I don't think there's a chance that will be the case in a second term." In other words, knowledge of the law and faithfulness to the Constitution will take second place to willingness to rule as Trump wishes. (V)

Willis' Hearing Continued into a Second Day

Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis made some very bad decisions a while back and is now dealing with the consequences. Hiring her boyfriend, Nathan Wade, as the lead prosecutor on the RICO case was bad enough, but allowing him to pay for their vacations together made it even worse. On Thursday and again on Friday, multiple witnesses testified before Judge Scott McAfee, who will decide whether she, Wade, or both have to be removed from the case. If either of them is removed, it would be a godsend to Donald Trump by potentially delaying the trial until after the election, or maybe even eliminating it altogether if the new prosecutor decided it was too weak a case.

On Friday, we discussed what happened in McAfee's courtroom on Thursday. More happened on Friday. A key witness was Wade's former business partner and also the attorney he used in his divorce, Terrence Bradley. The issue here, which Bradley might know the answer to, is when Wade acquired Boyfriend Status. If it was before Willis hired him, she is in deep doodoo. If, as she maintains, it was after she hired him and they began working together, it is much more defensible. Bradley took the stand but said that due to attorney-client privilege he wasn't allowed to answer any questions about his client, and didn't. This frustrated attorney Ashleigh Merchant, who is the lawyer trying to get Willis and Wade removed. Unfortunately for her, McAfee ruled that Bradley was right and he was forbidden from repeating anything his client had told him. However, when Merchant showed Bradley documents before the hearing containing information about Wade and he [Wade] broadly agreed with them, Bradley may have already violated attorney-client privilege, so McAfee could yet change his mind and tell Bradley to fully testify next week.

Willis' father was also called to the stand. He testified under oath that he didn't know about his daughter's relationship until recently. That doesn't prove anything, but tends to support her case that her relationship is recent. Willis claims that although Wade charged their vacation tickets to his credit card, she reimbursed him in cash. Merchant has demanded to know: Who uses cash these days? Willis' father said all Black families have a stash of cash for emergencies and that he taught his daughter to have enough money to live on for 6 months in cash at home.

The hearing has been suspended for a week, but in the court of public opinion, the case is still proceeding. A lot of commentary is about why Willis would hire an inexperienced prosecutor. She tried to parry that in the courtroom by having former governor Roy Barnes testify that she tried to hire him and he refused. It is true that outside prosecutors are not unusual and if Wade was her third choice, as has been reported elsewhere, that greatly strengthens her case that she didn't hire him so he could pay for her vacations but because she was having trouble finding someone who was willing to handle this hot a case. Still, for many people in Fulton County, some of whom will be on the jury, the whole thing stinks. If Willis and Wade stay on the case, Trump's attorneys are later going to say the indictment was a political hatchet job, and all it takes is one jury member who believes that to produce a hung jury. All in all, Willis flubbed the biggest case of her life and may well lose her bid for reelection this year. Willis was divorced from her ex, Fred Willis, in 2005. Maybe she is lonely. That is an argument for acquiring Wade as a boyfriend, not one for hiring him as an employee. We all know that love is blind. Now we also know that love is stupid, too. (V)

Could This Merger Give Trump the $500 Million He Needs?

This item is very inside baseball and very hard to understand, but it's also very important, so here we go. As you undoubtedly know, Donald Trump needs to raise something in excess of half a billion dollars very fast to post a bond so he can appeal his losses in both of the E. Jean Carroll defamation cases and the Letitia James case. Getting a bank to loan him the money might be tricky, especially since he has just been found guilty of defrauding banks.

Nevertheless, the bond fairy seems to have appeared out of nowhere to help. Trump's boutique Twitter clone is owned by the Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG). The company's owners, mostly Trump himself, want to merge it with the Digital World Acquisition Corp. (DWAC). The latter is a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Its prospectus basically said: "Invest in our company and when we get enough money, we will buy or merge with something valuable. Just trust us." The DWAC stock is traded on the NASDAQ and closed Friday at $48.54.

Late last week, the SEC signed off on the merger. The stockholders of the two companies will vote on the merger this week. If you want to watch the shareholders meeting, here is the link. If it is approved, the companies will merge and Trump will own 69% of the new entity based on his 79 million shares of the merged company. His share will be worth about $3.8 billion, based on the closing price Friday.

We are not experts on SPACs, but our gut feeling is that a company whose only actual asset (other than a bank account) is Trump's boutique social media platform might not be worth $5½ billion. Remember, this is a publicly traded company and is expected to make a profit. The Truth Social app has been downloaded about 1 million times, but the company has never turned a profit and has not explained how it will suddenly make one. In fact, it has made a cumulative loss of about $31.5 million since it was started. It is possible that it will use some of the cash it has to actually buy a valuable company and run it profitably, but that is just speculation now.

However, we do know that owning stock is not like owning cash. To convert stock to cash, you have to sell it. If Trump were to start selling a serious amount of it, word would get out and Reddit would be full of comments about rodents, their travel plans, and ships. There could be a mass selloff and the price could drop. After all, if the only asset other than cash consists of Trump's posts and he is trying to get out, what's the future of the company? The lawsuits will grow like mushrooms after a good rain in the fall. Nevertheless, Trump might be able to dump a small quantity of stock fast enough to raise bond money before anyone caught on. Remember, all of the money in the company is OPM (Other People's Money). It's not Trump's.

In effect, the whole thing is essentially a scam Trump thought up. Getting people to invest in an opaque shell company and then merging it with Trump's company under terms that give Trump 69% of OPM sounds positively Trumpian. SPACs are legal, but the lawsuits would focus on false information in the prospectus and the foolish decision made by DWAC's management to merge with TMTG, mostly leaving the DWAC shareholders holding the bag. The suckers here are the people who invested in the SPAC. They might have been expecting DWAC to merge with something with a bit more growth potential. If you want to get into the weeds on the deal, use this link or this one. (V)

Rashida Tlaib Tells Democrats to Vote against Biden in the Primary

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is not exactly what you call a team player. She is urging Michigan Democrats to vote against Joe Biden in next week's primary. She is unhappy with Biden's support for Israel. While a protest vote in the primary doesn't mean much, telling voters to oppose Biden may stick in their minds and they could sit out the general election in protest. This could result in the election of Donald Trump, whose Middle East policies she will like a whole bunch less than Biden's.

Tlaib is the only Palestinian American in Congress. In November, she was censured by the House for using the slogan: "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," which essentially calls for the elimination of Israel. A group founded by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Our Revolution, has encouraged Michigan voters to choose "Uncommitted" next week, but has explicitly told supporters to vote for Biden in November. Sanders himself does not support the group he founded and says he supports Biden's reelection bid.

Over on the Republican side, there will be a state-run primary on Feb. 27 and two party-run conventions on March 2. How come two? Because the Trumpy faction of the party and the non-Trumpy faction of the party are at war with one another. There was a fight over who the state party chair was. Eventually, the RNC appointed Pete Hoekstra as chair, but the old chair, Kristina Karamo, refused to concede that she had been fired. So each of them will be running their own convention on March 2. The convention will decide which 39 people will be sent to the national convention as delegates (the primary will select 16 more delegates). In any event, it is a mess. (V)

New Ranking of Presidents: Biden is #14, Trump is #45

The Presidents and Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Association surveyed its members about presidential greatness. The 525 members were asked to score each president from 0 (failure) to 100 (great). Here are the results:

Rank President 2024 Rating
1 Abraham Lincoln 93.87
2 Franklin D. Roosevelt 90.83
3 George Washington 90.32
4 Theodore Roosevelt 78.58
5 Thomas Jefferson 77.53
6 Harry S. Truman 75.34
7 Barack Obama 73.80
8 Dwight D. Eisenhower 73.73
9 Lyndon B. Johnson 72.86
10 John F. Kennedy 68.37
11 James Madison 67.16
12 Bill Clinton 66.42
13 John Adams 62.66
14 Joe Biden 62.66
15 Woodrow Wilson 61.80
16 Ronald Reagan 61.62
17 Ulysses S. Grant 60.93
18 James Monroe 60.15
19 George H.W. Bush 58.54
20 John Quincy Adams 55.41
21 Andrew Jackson 54.70
22 Jimmy Carter 54.26
23 William Howard Taft 51.67
24 William McKinley 51.23
25 James K. Polk 49.83
26 Grover Cleveland 48.31
27 Gerald Ford 46.09
28 Martin Van Buren 45.46
29 Rutherford Hayes 41.15
30 James Garfield 40.98
31 Benjamin Harrison 40.64
32 George W. Bush 40.43
33 Chester Arthur 39.61
34 Calvin Coolidge 39.38
35 Richard Nixon 36.41
36 Herbert Hoover 34.08
37 John Tyler 32.99
38 Zachary Taylor 32.97
39 Millard Fillmore 30.33
40 Warren Harding 27.76
41 William Henry Harrison 26.01
42 Franklin Pierce 24.60
43 Andrew Johnson 21.56
44 James Buchanan 16.71
45 Donald Trump 10.92

The members of the APSA clearly skew very Democratic. In the top 15, every president in the past 100 years but one (Eisenhower) is a Democrat. Nevertheless, the ratings have some useful information. For example, Barack Obama ranks above Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Joe Biden, despite Obama having signed only one bill of consequence (the ACA) and Johnson having signed many. A lot of this is probably because, except for the all-time greats, newer presidents tend to outrank older ones because everyone has forgotten a lot of what the older ones did.

The page linked to above also breaks down the ratings and numerical scores by partisanship of the member doing the rating. So it is interesting that among Republican members of the APSA, Joe Biden ranks 30th and Trump ranks 41st, higher only than W.H. Harrison, Pierce, A. Johnson and Buchanan. The Republican members' top five are: Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Teddy Roosevelt and Reagan, in that order. The only post-World War II Democratic president not in the top third is Jimmy Carter at 27. Among members who call themselves conservatives, Biden ranks 30th and Trump ranks 43rd, beating only Pierce and Buchanan. The conservatives' top five are: Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Jefferson, and Reagan. Interestingly enough, they ranked Clinton, Kennedy, LBJ, and Obama as 10, 11, 12, and 13, respectively, all in the top third.

Among self-identified Democrats, Biden is 13 and Trump is 45. Their top five are: Lincoln, FDR, Washington, Teddy Roosevelt and Jefferson. Among liberals, Biden is also 13 and Trump is 45. Their top five are: Lincoln, FDR, Washington, Teddy Roosevelt and Jefferson.

The conclusions here are that the APSA skews heavily Democratic, but even among Republican and conservative members, Biden is viewed as a far better president than Trump and every post-WWII Democratic president is rated much higher than Trump. If you want to download the table to see all the ratings by the partisanship of the person doing the rating, here it is in .csv format. (V)

Bipartisan House Group Releases $66 Billion Foreign Aid Bill

After Donald Trump ordered the Republican senators not to support a bill that provided aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan and also beefed up border security, 22 Republican senators banded together with 48 Democratic senators to pass a bill that contained only the foreign aid, but not money for the border. When the bill arrived in the House, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) said he wouldn't bring it up for a vote because there was no money in it for the border. This was entirely in bad faith because if he had really supported the original Senate bill he would have told the representatives to pass it.

A bunch of Republican representatives are now calling Johnson's bluff. The group, led by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), one of the Biden 17, has written a new bill that has $66 billion for aid to the three countries and also money for the border, just as Johnson requested. They are essentially daring Johnson to kill it after saying he would have held a vote on the Senate bill if it only had money for the border. Now he's got one that has. It is not as much as Joe Biden wanted, but Ukraine is desperate for ammo now and $48 billion will buy a fair number of bullets.

The new bill would also reinstate the Trump era policy of requiring asylum seekers to remain in Mexico until a judge could hear their case, something that often takes years due to the backlog. It would also empower immigration officers to detain or expel migrants deemed "inadmissible" without a hearing. These are provisions that may cause Trumpy Republicans to think twice about voting "No." The ads that primary opponents could make out of a "No" vote could be brutal. It is not a sure thing that this bill could pass either chamber. Republicans want tougher measures on the border and Democrats don't like the "remain in Mexico" part. But there are also some items in there that both parties like.

Trump hasn't taken a stand on it yet, but if he orders Johnson to kill the bill, Johnson would probably comply. Then what? A motion to vacate the chair introduced by a Democrat as a result of Johnson being a total hypocrite? Anything is possible. (V)

Report: Trump Favors a National Ban on Abortions after 16 Weeks

So far, Donald Trump has managed to avoid talking about abortion. That's not going to work in the general election as Democrats are going to talk about it from sunup until sundown and then some. Reporters are constantly going to ask him: "If Congress passes a bill to ban abortion nationally, will you sign it?" Trying to avoid answering will make him look weak. Eventually he is going to have to deal with the question. On Friday, The New York Times published an article saying that Trump likes the idea of an abortion ban after 16 weeks of pregnancy. The first two authors of the article are Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Swan. They don't make stuff up.

This undoubtedly represents Trump's current thinking about abortion. It would allow women to get abortions in the first 4 months of a pregnancy, which would allow many abortions, but it does create a national ban. Trump apparently thinks this would keep most Republicans on his side (where else do they have to go?) and might even win over some Democrats. Once the law was in place, Republicans could later change 16 weeks to 15 weeks. That wouldn't get much attention. Rinse and repeat another dozen times. This is how you boil a frog.

Trump didn't like the report since he doesn't want to appear "weak on abortion" until he has the nomination in hand, ideally not until July. Consequently, he denounced the article as fake news, even if he personally gave Haberman or Swan the story. He can keep denouncing it to keep the base happy, then after formally getting the nomination, campaign on "I want a national abortion ban."

The trouble is that Democrats will campaign on Trump saying: "I want a national abortion ban." They won't mention the 16 weeks part, just the "national" and "ban" parts. Voters in blue and purple states will get the message. It is an impossible topic for Trump as the position Republican voters demand is toxic to Democrats. Nevertheless, at some point he may be forced to put his cards on the table. And we don't mean NFT trading cards. (V)

Almost Half of Voters Think Joe Biden Will Not Be the Democratic Nominee

H.L. Mencken once said: "No one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American public." It's not considered polite to say that in public anymore. But if you decide to say it anyway and get challenged on it, you can now cite a Monmouth University poll conducted last week in which 48% of voters think it is at least somewhat likely that Joe Biden will be replaced on the Democratic ticket. The question was not: "Would you like Biden to be replaced?" No, it was "Do you think he will be replaced?" As nearly all of our readers undoubtedly realize, barring a serious health incident, Biden will be the Democratic nominee for president. Period. He will probably have enough delegates by March 6, especially now that his only remaining opponent, Rep. Dean Phillips (DFL-MN), just laid off most of his campaign staff because he ran out of money.

Yet almost half the voters think Biden will be replaced. That tells you something about their level of understanding of how politics works. Sure, there are several potential replacements who would spring into action if Biden suddenly had a stroke and died; they include Kamala Harris and Govs. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) and Gavin Newsom (D-CA). But none of them are going to make the slightest move at deposing Biden if he remains healthy. It just doesn't work like that. But the voters simply don't understand how these things work.

We're not the only ones who think this. Amy Walter, over at the Cook Political Report, recently wrote a column about her being approached by friends and political junkies who are hoping or praying for a candidate swap at the convention. She tries to tell them that it ain't gonna happen, again, unless Biden is dead or seriously ill. For starters, there would be a battle royal at the convention over the new nominee. That would tear the party apart and probably guarantee that the new candidate lost. And even if a candidate could be chosen by consensus (of which none exists now) the candidate would have only 11 weeks to introduce himself or herself to the voters. If the convention passed over Harris, who is certainly the weakest of these three, Black women would be beyond furious and that alone could sink the candidate. Unless there is some kind of health emergency, this is not going to happen. But what is in equal parts amazing and disappointing, half the voters don't have a clue. It's sad. (V)

How Old Is Too Old?

As the economy picks up steam and Republicans are the ones blocking a border deal, the only issue left for Donald Trump to campaign on is Joe Biden's age, even though at 77 Trump is no spring chicken himself. Lawrence Altman is a physician who has been reporting in The New York Times on the health of American and foreign leaders for 52 years. He has interviewed both candidates and their doctors. It is a bit of a niche, but is of considerable interest this time around.

A question he has long pondered is: "How old is too old to be president of the United States?" Now he has written an article addressing this issue. If reelected, Biden would be 86 at the end of his term—Altman's current age (and he is still at work writing about age); Trump would be 82.

The too old question is not addressed in the Constitution, which sets a minimum age for being president at 35, but no maximum age. James Madison was only 36 and Alexander Hamilton was about 31 when they worked on the Constitution, so old age probably wasn't much on their mind. It is definitely on Altman's mind. In his studies of sitting presidents, Altman has learned that they have suffered from gout, heart disease, cancer, phlebitis, pneumonia, Covid-19, abscesses, and many other diseases. He also believes that 10 of them exhibited signs of mental illness. Being president is not a cushy job and doesn't make you immune, in a biological sense.

His conclusion is that there is no correlation between age, health, and performance. Many historians give Jimmy Carter (now 99) low marks for performance, yet Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had polio, used a wheelchair, and died of a stroke at 63, is generally considered one of the best presidents. He believes that there is so much variation between individuals that chronological age doesn't really indicate much about job performance. He also notes that both Biden and Trump have made factual errors when speaking off the cuff, but that really doesn't mean much. He is very dismissive of Robert Hur's comment that Biden is an elderly man with a poor memory as Hur is a lawyer, not a doctor, and is not qualified to make such statements. What is needed to make such a call is a full medical report written by a qualified physician, something neither Biden nor Trump has released.

An interesting case in point is Ronald Reagan. After he left office his wife reported that he had Alzheimer's disease. But during his term in office, none of his doctors reported any symptoms of it. When Bob Dole ran for president in 1996, he would have been the oldest president, had he won. He suffered enormous injuries during World War II, was a quadriplegic for over a year, and never recovered the use of his right arm. He also lost a kidney and had prostate cancer. Yet he was majority leader of the Senate and a vigorous candidate with an extremely sharp wit.

Finally, studies have shown that 17% of Americans aged 75 to 84 have some form of dementia, which means that 83% do not. Also, 32% of Americans 85 to 100 and up have it, which means over two-thirds do not. Old does not mean demented and there are health issues to consider other than dementia. These are things to keep in mind. (V)

The Low-Tax States Are Actually High-Tax States for Some People

One of the most important things governments do is levy taxes to pay for services. Tax policy is frequently an election issue, with some politicians, generally Republicans, promising to lower taxes. But it is not generally recognized that politicians who fight for low taxes aren't really fighting for low taxes. Don't understand? OK, answer this question: Which is the lower tax state, Florida or California?

The answer is tricky. It depends on how much you make. If you are making $5 million/year, Florida is the low-tax state, but if you are making $50,000/year, California is the low-tax state. Here's the rub: So-called "low-tax states" have a low top marginal income tax rate, or no state income tax at all, so people with high incomes are not taxed on their income. But running a state still costs a lot of money. Low-tax states get their money from regressive taxes, like sales taxes and excise taxes. These are taxes that hit poor and middle-income people hard. In one study, as a percentage of their income, poor families paid seven times as much as wealthy families in "low-tax states."

The states with the highest sales tax rates are Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. These states also have low or no state income tax. For these five states, the top rate for state income taxes are 5.0%, 4.7%, 4.25%, 4.75%, and 0%, respectively. By way of contrast, in California the top rate is 12% and in New York it is 10.9%. So the way the "low-tax" states get their money is by taxing lower-income people who spend a large fraction of their income on goods and services. Someone making $5 million most likely spends a tiny fraction of his or her income on items subject to sales tax. Seven states have no state income tax at all. These are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming. New Hampshire has a flat 4% tax on interest and dividends, and Washington has a 7% tax on long-term capital gains over $250,000. So when politicians say that they are for lower taxes, it is wise to check the footnote about which taxes they want to lower. It is almost always the income tax, not sales and excise taxes. (V)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Feb17 Trump Legal News: Sixteen Tons
Feb17 Manchin Will Go Gentle into That Good Night
Feb17 Navalny Is Dead
Feb17 Saturday Q&A
Feb16 Trump Legal News: Desperado
Feb16 Trump Presidency v2.0: Kushner Will Be Too Busy Working for His Arabian Mate
Feb16 RNC News: So That's Why McDaniel Is Going to Resign
Feb16 GOP Conference News: Rosendale Won't Seek a Promotion, After All
Feb16 Foreign Affairs, Part I: Putin's Gambit(s)
Feb16 Foreign Affairs, Part II: Labour Voters Seize the Initiative
Feb16 I Read the News Today, Oh Boy: Move It on Over
Feb16 This Week in Schadenfreude: Moms For Liberty Is Getting Crushed
Feb16 This Week in Freudenfreude: A $32.43 Check, a 30,835% Tip
Feb15 Could Johnson Refuse to Hold a Vote on a Bill as Popular as the Foreign Aid Bill?
Feb15 John Bolton: Trump Genuinely Wants to Pull Out of NATO
Feb15 Stefanik Really, Really, Really Wants to Be on Trump's Ticket
Feb15 Does 2016 Hold Clues to 2024?
Feb15 Engoron Is Expected to Issue His Ruling Tomorrow
Feb15 Michigan Senate Race Gets Simpler
Feb15 This Year's Senate Elections Could Determine Control of the Senate for Years to Come
Feb15 North Carolina Gubernatorial Candidate Wants Trans Women Arrested
Feb15 Mark Green Is Retiring
Feb14 Democrats Go 3-for-3
Feb14 Second Time's the Charm for Mayorkas Impeachment
Feb14 Wisconsin Legislature Surrenders... Sort Of
Feb14 Trump Legal News: Here, There and Everywhere
Feb14 News from the Other Side of the Pond
Feb13 Senate Passes $95 Billion Foreign Aid Bill This Morning
Feb13 Trump Appeals to Supreme Court
Feb13 We Are Family, Part I: Nepo Lady
Feb13 We Are Family, Part II: Dead Kennedys
Feb13 We Are Family, Part III: What Would Ronnie Do?
Feb13 Poll: Biden Is Too Old to Run Again
Feb13 Will He Move the Needle? Will She?
Feb13 Suozzi Has Slight Lead over Pilip in the Special Election to Replace "George Santos"
Feb13 Incumbents Are at an Advantage... but Probably Not These Two
Feb12 Trump to Putin: Attack Our Allies
Feb12 Senate Votes to Move the Aid Bill Forward
Feb12 What Should Biden Do?
Feb12 Democrats Get Bad News and Good News on the Senate
Feb12 There Are Several Types of Primaries
Feb12 Stefanik Will Say or Do Anything to Become Trump's Running Mate
Feb12 S&P 500 Closes above 5,000 for the First Time Ever
Feb12 Five Key Elections in February
Feb12 Robert Kennedy Jr. Is Flirting with the Libertarian Party
Feb12 Likely RNC Chairman Is a Full-Bore Election Denier
Feb12 Two More House Republicans Are Retiring
Feb11 Sunday Mailbag
Feb10 Saturday Q&A
Feb09 A Great Day for Donald Trump, Part I: Let It Roll