The Aftermath

by Jonah Goldberg

I’ll have more to say in the morning. But a few quick points.

1. I agree with Jim: It stinks to lose a Senate seat, but if ever there was a reason to do so, this was it.

2. Steve Bannon isn’t responsible for Roy Moore and neither is Mitch McConnell. The difference is that McConnell wanted nothing to do with Roy Moore for all the obvious reasons and Steve Bannon wanted to take credit for him! He wanted to take credit for Moore when it was clear Moore was a bigot, buffoon, and charlatan, and he wanted to take credit for Moore after Moore was credibly accused of being a child molester and jailbait fetishist. Bannon has an almost unblemished record of picking disastrous candidates on the theory that he knows what he’s doing. That theory is wrong.

3. Relatedly, one would hope that Republicans would now recognize how ridiculous it would be for them to continue acting like Mitch McConnell is the problem. McConnell is the single most important person for getting the “Trump agenda” passed, and declaring open war on him and backing fourth rate candidates is not just dumb, it actually hurts Trump more than it does McConnell.

4. One of the things I’m most interested in is to see who suddenly claims to have been troubled by Moore all along or thinks he may be guilty after all — without any new evidence coming in. Some people must feel shame having backed him, and others are no doubt eager to muddy the record by pretending they were scandalized from the get go.

5. I want to say one last thing, because for months I’ve been ridiculed by people for even suggesting Moore could lose and that nominating him was dumb:

I told you so.

Drawing the Wrong Lessons from Moore’s Defeat

by Michael Brendan Dougherty
Let's not get carried away

I know the first flush of victory is a little dizzying, but on social media I’m seeing some crazy suggestions about what Roy Moore’s loss means going forward: If this can happen in Alabama Democrats can win anywhere. And Republicans can lose everywhere! Doug Jones is a true progressive on abortion, immigration and a host of other issue. Therefore, Democrats can use their unity and be uncompromising. 

My own impressions are more modest. Alabama Republicans spared their party the shame of electing this creep to Congress. In backing Moore, Steve Bannon made a very reasonable bet–most of us expected Moore to win even after the revelations–but he lost this one.  

Everything else is over-reading the data. Are Dems more energized than a normal out-of-power party? I think that’s unproven. Jones may turn out to be their Scott Brown. Have Dems solved the issue of turning out black voters in the post-Obama era? Or was it that the Republican nominee was the sort of man who rhetorically denigrated the Constitutional Amendments that ended slavery? Will 2018 be a Democratic tsunami? I don’t know yet. I also think it would be a mistake for anyone to take Jones’ performance in Alabama today as any indicator of how Trump will perform in 2020. 

I’m not happy Jones won. But I’m happy the causes I hold dear won’t be disgraced further by Roy Moore’s presence in the Senate. For that, I thank the judgment of the many Alabama voters who did what I would have done in their place: abstained. 

 

Alabama Conservatives Made Their Stand

by David French

Let’s plainly state the reason why Roy Moore lost tonight. Alabama conservatives took a stand. By the tens of thousands they either stayed home, voted for other candidates, or — in some instances — voted for Doug Jones. To say that conservatives beat Roy Moore is not to take one thing away from Doug Jones. He ran a smart race, he mobilized Democrats, and his voters came to the polls in large numbers — large enough to win. But this is Alabama. He could have run the perfect race, and he still would have lost — if conservatives supported their party’s nominee.

Tonight, Alabama conservatives told Steve Bannon and, yes, Donald Trump that integrity matters. They told their party that some victories aren’t worth the cost. They declared that partisanship isn’t worth grotesque moral compromise. The deep South said no to Roy Moore’s bigotry. It said no to his ignorance and malice. 

To give you a sense of the magnitude of the conservative rebellion tonight, consider some numbers. Donald Trump won Alabama by 28 points. Jeff Sessions had such a hammerlock on this seat that he ran unopposed in 2014 — collecting more than 97 percent of the vote. The closest Senate election in a generation was a 19 point GOP victory in 2002. In other words, what happened tonight wasn’t the result of changed hearts and minds in a tiny few swing votes. It was a mass rebellion. 

Where do we go from here? The answers are obvious. Nominate conservatives with integrity. Retake the seat. Reject the vicious, malicious politics of men like Steve Bannon. Center the political fight around ideas and values that men and women are proud to vote for. In the meantime, Alabama conservatives have sent their message. May the GOP hear it loud and clear.

Steve Bannon Loses Alabama

by Theodore Kupfer

Steve Bannon didn’t draft Roy Moore as a candidate, nor was he the proximate cause of Moore’s win in the Republican primary. But Moore’s defeat tonight is nonetheless a signature loss for Bannon’s political project, the goal of which is to replace incumbent Republicans with insurgents just like Moore.

It is important not to overstate Bannon’s involvement in the Moore campaign. Moore has been a figure in Alabama politics for years, and Bannon arrived late in the Republican primary when Moore was already ahead. His most visible contribution to the Moore campaign was to order his writers to cheerlead from the sidelines as the molestation allegations piled up, a pathetic endeavor that accomplished little. Moore’s elevation as a candidate owes to several factors.

But one of those is the corrosive influence that Bannon exerts on a portion of the Right. His mission is to find ridiculous candidates and convince voters they are legitimate; for years he has used his highly-trafficked site in an effort to do just that. Yet tonight, his ideal candidate lost a statewide election in Alabama. We already knew that a party made in Bannon’s image would be repulsive. Tonight we learned it is not even politically viable.

Good Riddance

by Kevin D. Williamson

So what have Steve Bannon and the rest of the half-bright moneyed dilettantes — and their talk-radio and cable-news cheerleaders — accomplished? With Roy Moore, Republicans gave up any plausible claim to being “constitutional conservatives” and to being the party of the rule of law, to say nothing of any claim to principle or meaningful moral standards . . . and they still lost. To borrow from A Man for All Seasons: It profits a man nothing if he lose his soul even if he gains the whole world — but Alabama?

And they didn’t even get Alabama.

(I like Alabama.)

Republicans have some time to get their act together and find a decent candidate to challenge Jones when he finishes up Sessions’s term. And Roy Moore, with his little hat and his little gun, can ride his little pony off into well-deserved obscurity — or worse.

It’s Never Fun to Lose a Senate Seat, But the GOP Dodged a Bullet

by Jim Geraghty

The populists are indeed miracle workers, they’ve managed to elect a Democrat in Alabama.

Roy Moore may very well have been the worst Senate nominee for any major party in American history. Even if you dismissed the allegations of him sexually pursuing teenagers in his 30s – and there was no compelling reason to believe Moore’s shifting denials –he managed to create appalling new controversies in almost every appearance.

He completely avoided the campaign trail in the final days, because he could not be trusted to speak to the public.

Despite the frustration of a 52-seat majority becoming a 51-seat majority, tonight’s result is in fact, a long-term victory for the Republican Party. Had Moore gone to the Senate, he would have faced a Senate Ethics Committee investigation. Had that investigation brought back anything less than a full exoneration, GOP senators would have faced the decision of whether to expel him. As is, Moore could be counted on to create new controversies every time he faced the cameras; every Republican would constantly be asked if they agreed with their fellow senator’s controversial contentions about “reds and yellows,” unnecessary Constitutional Amendments, the wisdom of Vladimir Putin, or whether America was the focus of evil in the modern world.

There is no reason for any Republican to listen to Steve Bannon on any candidate selection ever again.

You know who looks pretty smart tonight? Cory Gardner and the National Republican Senatorial Committee who understood that Roy Moore was politically toxic, even in Alabama.

“Tonight’s results are clear – the people of Alabama deemed Roy Moore unfit to serve in the U.S. Senate,” said NRSC Chairman Cory Gardner. “I hope Senator-elect Doug Jones will do the right thing and truly represent Alabama by choosing to vote with the Senate Republican Majority.”

Finally, I guess this means Al Franken has to go ahead with his resignation, huh?

Republican Options If Moore Wins

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Response To...

What Happens If Alabama Voters ...

Rich Lowry notes that a lot of people will say that “the voters have spoken” if Roy Moore wins, thus making it unnecessary to look into the allegations against him. I agree with the prediction–which tracks what Senator Collins has already said–but the sentiment is worth pushing against. The voters will have said that they prefer Moore to Doug Jones. If Moore wins the election, no decision by the Senate is going to make Jones the senator. Moreover, the voters will have said that they prefer Moore to Jones given the information they have. There are charges and counter-charges. If there is an Ethics Committee investigation, presumably its point will be to get to the bottom of it.

Republicans are also going to have decisions to make besides whether to investigate or expel Moore if he wins. Will they give him some of the majority’s committee slots? I gather that Democrats would be able to filibuster any resolution that gives him committee assignments (so I don’t think the process is quite as automatic as Lowry’s point 2 suggests).

 

Live Results: Alabama Special Election

by NR Staff

Courtesy of our friends at Decision Desk, here are the live results from Alabama’s special Senate election:

Compare/Contrast

by Ramesh Ponnuru

At Huffington Post, Jennifer Bendery laments the Senate’s confirmation of Leonard Steven Grasz to a federal appeals court. Among Grasz’s alleged sins is that ”in a 1999 article [he] argued that lower courts should be able to overrule Supreme Court decisions on abortion rights because ‘abortion jurisprudence is, to a significant extent, a word game.’” That characterization of Grasz’s article is a garbled version of a claim made by the American Bar Association in its attack on the nominee.

Here are the most relevant passages from the actual article, written before the Supreme Court had pronounced on the constitutionality of partial-birth abortion:

Lower federal courts are obliged to follow clear legal precedent regardless of whether it may seem unwise or even morally repugnant to do so. However, a court need not extend questionable jurisprudence into new areas or apply it in areas outside of where there is clear precedent. . . .

Abortion jurisprudence is, to a significant extent, a word game. In a legal context where a child is a non-person one minute and a person the next, terminology and definitions are of critical importance. In this light, it is clear that the killing of partially-born children is inherently different from a true abortion. Abortion is typically defined as the termination of a pregnancy, which occurs “within the uterus.” However, pregnancy differs from parturition or childbirth. ”Childbirth is defined as ‘parturition,’ ‘[t]he act of giving birth.’” Thus, recognition of a heightened legal status for a partially-born child is not inconsistent with either Roe or Casey because the right to choose abortion, recognized in Roe and Casey, applies only with respect to “the unborn” (footnotes omitted).

Grasz’s actual argument, in other words, was that Roe and Casey do not apply the abortion right to a partially-born human being and that lower courts have no obligation to apply it against them. There was no suggestion that lower courts should overrule higher ones, and an explicit denial of it. Bendery is misinforming her readers.

‘Do Anything’

by Jonah Goldberg

As the old saying goes, the middle of the road is where you get run over. But what the heck, I have a take on the “Do Anything” controversy.

The mainstream media and the Democrats overwhelmingly believe that Donald Trump was trafficking in a cheap sexual innuendo when he tweeted that Senator Gillibrand would “do anything” for a donation. Senator Elizabeth Warren called it “slut-shaming” – the wisdom and implications of that usage we’ll just leave for others to masticate. Nancy Pelosi called it “disgusting.” Mika Brzezinski nearly had an aneurysm over it.

Meanwhile, Trump’s most ardent defenders are outraged by the mere thought that the President of the United States would say anything of the sort. The White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, was either disgusted or feigned disgust at the suggestion that the president had claimed Gillibrand wanted sexual favors for a donation. Only people who have “their mind in the gutter” would think that.

So here’s my middle of the road position: I think it’s entirely possible that Trump had a cheap sexual innuendo in mind, and I think it’s entirely possible he didn’t. He has used somewhat similar language about men in the past.

This is one of the problems with the way many liberals always want to make Trump’s rudeness and crudeness about racism or sexism. I’m not saying such a case can never be made. But the truth is the president is fairly “equal opportunity” in his rudeness and crudeness. He attacks critics and inconvenient people, regardless of their race, creed, sex, and religion. Some attacks may cross certain lines and be particularly offensive (Judge Curiel, Megyn Kelly, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, et al), but the animus pretty much always derives primarily from his ego and not his bigotry, as far as I can tell.

To pick one small example, when he attacked yours truly on Twitter it never occurred to me that he was being anti-Semitic. Indeed, his attacks on me are mildly instructive, because the president who loves to brag about how he’s not politically correct used political correctness to try to get me fired (or something). For example:

In other words, Trump usually goes for the nearest weapon to hand.

Which brings me to Sanders’s outrage. It’s ludicrous for her to claim it’s ludicrous that a reasonable person might read Trump’s tweet that way. Trump loves innuendo and has said all manner of terrible things.

The only thing that is obvious to me is that the president is wildly promiscuous and irresponsible with his Twitter feed. This is not a newsflash (nor is it a reason to normalize or condone it). A reasonable person would have stopped and rethought that tweet, or at least the phrasing, particularly given the “Me Too” climate, for the simple reason that its meaning and intent were ambiguous. More to the point, there are literally millions of people who will not give the president the benefit of the doubt in cases like this — because he has not earned it.

The DNC Finally Offers Paid Internships. The GOP Has Paid Interns for 20 Years.

by Philip H. DeVoe

Starting in January 2018, the Democratic National Committee will begin paying some interns, in the form of stipends valued at up to $3,000. A spokesman for the DNC told the Huffington Post that chair Tom Perez’s mission for the intern program is to “give the young voices in our party the opportunity to grow,” and that the new paid internships will help the DNC “select the most qualified and diverse individuals regardless of financial background.”

The DNC is a little late to the party. The Republican National Committee has been offering stipends to its full-time interns for at least 20 years. Plus, according to a June study from Pay Our Internships, more congressional Republicans pay their interns than do congressional Democrats.

In the U.S. Senate, 51% of Republicans offer paid internships and 31% of Democrats pay their interns. In the House, 8% (19/238) of Republican Representatives pay interns and 3.6% (7/193) of Democrat Representatives pay.

It’s not clear why the DNC hasn’t paid its interns in the past, nor why it’s starting now. As it turns out, the Democrats simply can’t afford this. The DNC has been raking in less and less money during fundraising — it posted its worst October since 2003 this year– and is sitting on $3.2 million in debt. Adding such a cost will certainly make matters worse for the party; is it even paying attention to its drastic financial situation?

What Happens If Alabama Voters Decide in Favor of Roy Moore?

by Rich Lowry

If Roy Moore wins tonight, will he get expelled? Probably not:

1. Republican senators, even ones hostile to Moore, have said for weeks now that it’s up to the voters of Alabama to decide. If Moore wins, he will immediately turn this argument around, “Hey, fellas, the voters of Alabama decided and here I am.” Like it or not, winning the election will lend legitimacy to a Senator Moore.

2. So will getting seated by the Senate and getting committee assignments, which will happen automatically.

3. The Ethics Committee will certainly look at Moore, but there is no guarantee that it will decide to delve into 40-year allegations. 

4. Even if it does, it would be unprecedented for the Senate to expel someone based on conduct prior to his time as a senator. If Moore provably lied under oath in such a probe, that would be a current offense. But I would expect Moore to refuse to cooperate with an investigation, denounce it as a witch-hunt and say the voters of Alabama have already litigated the question. 

5. No matter what happens, Trump is likely to strongly back Moore and oppose his expulsion. Such is his power in the party at the moment that he has a pretty decisive say in such matters.

6. The Republican base is likely to be skeptical of a Moore expulsion, not just because it would be over-turning the fresh verdict of Alabama voters, but because they would probably smell a preview of an attempt to impeach President Trump or to get him to resign over the allegations against him.

All of this makes it likelier than not — absent some explosive new revelation — that if Roy Moore makes it to Washington, he’s going to stay in Washington.

Corporate Tax Rates at 21 Percent?

by Ramesh Ponnuru

The House and Senate versions of the tax bills lower the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent. Two weeks ago, most Senate Republicans opposed an amendment to change the rate to 20.94 percent in order to provide payroll-tax relief to parents. Moving away from 20 percent was supposedly an attack on economic growth, a betrayal of a solemn commitment by the party, a step on a slippery slope toward confiscatory corporate taxes.

Now congressional Republicans, according to multiple reports, are coming around to a 21 percent corporate tax rate. The extra money won’t be used to provide tax relief to the lower middle class, or even to soften the blow of losing the state-and-local tax deduction for households making between $100,000 and $500,000 a year. Instead it will go to reduce tax rates for singles making more than $500,000 and couples making more than $1 million.

In other news, Republicans remain baffled by why their bill is unpopular.

‘More Debonair’

by Jay Nordlinger

Years ago, I interviewed Leon Fleisher, the great American pianist, and I asked him about George Szell: the legendary, and sometimes oppressive, Hungarian-born conductor. Once, they were recording Beethoven’s Piano Concerto in B flat. The orchestra was not getting the opening to Szell’s satisfaction. Fleisher had a suggestion for Szell — which took some temerity, believe me. He said, “Perhaps a bit more debonair?” Szell loved the idea. “Gentlemen,” he said to the orchestra, “more debonair.” And so it was.

I have recorded a new Jaywalking, here. (You can also subscribe in a number of ways.) Toward the beginning, I play Walking the Dog, the Gershwin number.

The most debonair music ever written? Quite possibly. See if you agree.

P.S. Someone should write a piece for our own time: Wagging the Dog.

P.P.S. I once met Kitty Carlisle Hart at a party at the Buckleys’. Someone said to me, “You just met a woman to whom George Gershwin proposed marriage.” That was a dizzying fact. Took some math. Remarkable.

‘Too Anti-Trump to Check’

by Rich Lowry

I wrote about the media’s Russia mistakes today:

It’s a wonder that President Donald Trump devotes so much time to discrediting the press, when the press does so much to discredit itself. 

The media’s errors over the past week haven’t been marginal or coincidental, but involved blockbuster reports on one of the most dominating stories of the past year, Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. They all slanted one way — namely, toward lurid conclusions about the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with the Russians.

Every media outlet makes mistakes. It’s easier than ever to run with fragmentary or dubious information in a frenzied news cycle that never stops. But underlying the media blunders was an assumption — not based on any evidence we’ve yet seen — of Trump guilt in the Russia matter. This was news, in other words, too anti-Trump to check.

No, Apple Isn’t Getting a ‘$47 Billion Windfall’ from the Tax Bill

by Veronique de Rugy

Over at Vox, Matt Yglesias has an article that is supposed to outrage all of those who already believe that the Senate and House tax-reform plans are just a big handout to the rich and American corporations. He makes the claim that the GOP will reduce Apple’s tax bill by “a staggering $47 billion.”

Unfortunately, this article is completely misleading. Apple isn’t going to benefit from a tax windfall of $47 billion. Instead, the IRS is going to get a $31 billion windfall from Apple.

How can we have such different numbers, you may ask? Because Yglesias is operating in a make-believe world. He arbitrarily and unrealistically assumes that Apple will bring its overseas profits to America in the absence of tax reform.

In the real world, however, one of the reasons for tax reform is that the current system of “worldwide taxation” harshly penalizes firms that bring money back to America.

Here’s what you need to know. When American companies earn money in other countries, they pay taxes to the governments of those jurisdictions. That’s the reasonable part. And it works both ways: Foreign companies that earn money in America pay taxes to the IRS.

The screwy part is that current tax law tells American companies that if they bring their already taxed foreign profits back to the U.S., the IRS gets to impose another layer of tax. Very few other nations practice this self-destructive form of double taxation. To make matters worse, the United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world.

So it makes perfect sense that U.S. multinationals indefinitely defer this tax by holding their profits abroad (or they “invert” and permanently protect their foreign-source income from the IRS).

That’s what Apple, like many other companies, is doing. Indeed, American multinationals are holding about $2.5 trillion overseas. It’s not terribly efficient for them to lock up their funds, but it’s better than needlessly paying an additional layer of tax to the IRS.

So how do we encourage companies to bring this cash home? Many of us have been clamoring for a shift to a lower rate and a system of “territorial taxation.”

And that’s what the Senate or the House plans would do, hence the change in Apple’s tax situation. The new law would tax domestic corporate income at 20 percent but no longer would impose U.S. tax on profits earned (and subject to tax) in other nations. For our friends on the left who always want America to copy the rest of the world, they should be happy. Almost all other countries already have territorial taxation.

And our leftist friends should be doubly happy because Republicans are engaging in a big revenue grab as part of reform. There would be a one-time repatriation tax of roughly 14 percent on that foreign income whether the company brings the money back or not. In Apple’s case that tax would collect roughly $31.4 billion.

In other words, Apple would go from paying zero dollars on its foreign profits kept abroad to paying a one-time $31.4 billion tax bill. But Yglesias claims that the company is getting a windfall of $47 billion, which is the difference between a $78.6 billion tax payment that exists solely in his mind and the $31.4 billion that actually will be collected if tax reform gets enacted.

The Wall Street Journal has a good article on this, this time about the same claim made by the Financial Times (so much for financial literacy on the part of the newspaper). The editorial board concludes:

This is the latest of many false claims that corporations are the sole beneficiaries of the Republican tax plan, even though the GOP agenda includes “base erosion” rules and many other clamps designed to address current tax loopholes and prevent future corporate tax trickery. Whether the media attacks on the Republican tax bill represent economic illiteracy or ideological tendentiousness is a judgment we’ll leave to readers.

No kidding.

The Officer Shouting Instructions at Daniel Shaver Was Not the Officer Who Killed Him

by Robert VerBruggen

I agree with David French: What happened to Daniel Shaver was nauseating. The police employed horrendous tactics and gave confusing instructions that made it difficult for Shaver to comply — and needlessly required him to make a series of movements that could lead to his hands’ ending up in the wrong place.

I’m seeing a mistake all over, though, that needs correcting. The officer who shouted instructions at Shaver was not Philip Brailsford, the officer who fired five rounds and was later tried for murder. There is an important legal question about whether bad tactics can make an officer culpable for a subsequent use of force, but in this case the bad tactics were not executed by the officer who used force.

David didn’t make this error, to be clear. But CNN is in the process of revising a piece largely premised on it, and it was my initial impression, too, upon viewing the video.

This doesn’t excuse the officer’s decision to shoot, but it makes the jury’s decision more understandable. After being called to a report of someone waving a rifle out of a hotel window, Brailsford was faced with a shoot/don’t-shoot decision where the suspect unambiguously reached toward his waistband. As I’ve written several times, officers are trained to react quickly to such movements when suspects have been instructed not to make them, because if a suspect is in fact armed, the cop will be dead if he waits to find out what the suspect is reaching for.

In this case, the broader circumstances — a drunk, crying man crawling on the floor, trying his hardest to comply with confusing instructions and begging the officers not to shoot him, outnumbered by the police many times over — still make the decision to shoot wrong. I hope the family’s lawsuits succeed spectacularly. But in the context of Brailsford’s trial, the video does look somewhat different when you realize the voice and the gunshots don’t come from the same person.

The Loopholes and Glitches of the Tax Bills

by Robert VerBruggen

Some tax scholars have put together an important report detailing loopholes in the current tax bills that Congress should close, as well as numerous other issues. In general these problems will tend to cost the government more revenue than expected as people shield their money from taxes in unanticipated ways, but there are some unintended tax increases as well.

A handful of the biggies:

Our tax system is “poorly equipped to address a scenario in which corporations are taxed at a much lower rate than individuals,” and the new corporate rate is significantly below the top individual rate. In theory, corporate income is supposed to be double-taxed — once at the corporate rate and again when it goes to shareholders as a capital gain or dividend — but that second layer of tax is avoidable or mitigable in various ways. As a result, a taxpayer could gain from investing “through a corporation so her investment income accrues at the lower corporate rate,”  from “simply setting up a corporation (or checking the box so that a partnership or other entity is treated as a corporation for tax purposes), and having their income accrue in the form of corporate profits,” or (for shareholder-employees) from “reducing their wages paid out by the corporation, thereby increasing the corporation’s retained profits.”

The Senate’s new tax advantages for “pass-through” businesses (whose profits are “passed through” to their owners and taxed through the individual income tax) might also be gamed. Law-firm associates might be able to become “partners in Associates, LLC — a separate partnership paid to provide services to the original firm.” The self-employed might “either mischaracterize or rearrange relationships to be independent contractors rather than employees.” The House’s provision, meanwhile, encourages owners to reduce their involvement in their businesses (as it’s targeted toward “passive” owners), and to acquire capital in the firm they don’t really need (such as when lawyers or doctors buy the buildings they work out of).

Both bills limit the deductibility of state and local taxes, which is supposed to raise a ton of money. But in response, states could shift their revenue efforts to other sources that will still be deductible. The bills allow a $10,000 deduction for property taxes, so states could set up “circuit breaker” policies allowing taxpayers to pay less in income taxes but more in property taxes. They could also tax income through payroll taxes on employers, which will still be deductible. Since the charitable deduction will stay, states could even allow residents to “donate” to the public coffers and count it against their state income tax.

Technical aspects of the corporate reforms could encourage companies to “locate real assets and investment offshore,” and could violate our treaty commitments.

Numerous provisions create opportunities for tax arbitrage, where deductions are taken against high tax rates and income is generated at low rates. I’ve written before about how delaying the corporate rate until 2019, but allowing businesses to fully deduct equipment purchases immediately, should encourage a lot of investment in 2018. The authors point out it could also encourage companies to buy equipment in 2018, deduct it against a 35 percent tax rate, and then just turn around and sell it again in 2019, when the tax rate will be 20 percent.

As Jibran Khan has noted, Congress’s tax pros made a serious last-minute screw-up regarding the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax that will hit corporations far harder than intended, though this is already a known issue.

Please, congressional Republicans — let’s find out what’s in this thing, and fix it, before we pass it.

The Fruit of Chain Migration

by Mark Krikorian

Sen. Tom Cotton asked on the floor of the Senate last week, “Shouldn’t we have an immigration system that focuses on the needs of America’s workers and economy, not one that gives out green cards by random chance?”

Yesterday’s bombing in New York highlights the importance of this question. Sure, without any immigration at all we’d still have frustrated losers to deal with, but they’d be our frustrated losers. We chose to add Bangladeshi jihadist Akayed Ullah to our stock of dirtbags through the ridiculous provisions of the federal immigration program.

Ullah came here on what amounts to a nephew visa – as the under-21 nephew of a naturalized citizen who sponsored his sibling (one of Ullah’s parents) for a green card. And Ullah’s uncle (or maybe aunt – we don’t know) only got here in the first place because he or she won the visa lottery.

So, we admitted a random person from Bangladesh without any meaningful consideration of his or her suitability or likelihood to contribute to the national good. And then, once a citizen, that person sponsored a sibling and that sibling’s spouse and children (including a then-20-year-old Akayed), again without any consideration of suitability or likelihood to benefit Americans. As my colleague Andrew Arthur wrote, “No investment in the United States, its systems of beliefs, or its institutions is necessary. Not even support for its economic success is a prerequisite for admission. The only tie and admission requirement is one of blood.” In other words, we leave it to yesterday’s immigrants to determine tomorrow’s immigration flow.

There was nothing in Ullah’s immigration backstory that we know of so far that was illegal. Nor is this necessarily a failure of vetting; Ullah and his family were no doubt checked against the usual terrorist databases. As another colleague, Jessica Vaughan, has written, “No matter how much we improve our vetting, the sheer momentum of chain migration-driven immigration from terror-afflicted parts of the world is itself a national security risk.”

Neither higher walls, nor more officers, nor better databases would have made any difference in this case. The problem is too much immigration, selected using flawed criteria.

Luckily, there are several measures before Congress to remedy this situation. The RAISE Act of senators Cotton and Perdue, Rep. Lamar Smith’s House companion Immigration in the National Interest Act, and Rep. Dave Brat’s American LAWs Act all would abolish the visa lottery and eliminate chain migration by limiting special family immigration rights only to spouses and minor (under age 18) children. The first two bills would also change the skills-based portion of our immigration program to better identify top talents.

The debate over a legitimate amnesty for the beneficiaries of Obama’s illegal DACA program should serve as an opening to finally end the visa lottery and chain migration. Let’s hope our representatives don’t squander the opportunity.

Did Monday Mark a Turning Point for #MeToo?

by Jim Geraghty

Happy Hannukah to all who celebrate the Festival of Lights, and happy Alabama-Ragnarok to everyone following today’s Senate election. Today’s Morning Jolt looks at the problems for pollsters in that special election, an odd, newly-revealed connection between Fusion GPS and the Department of Justice, and then one of yesterday’s scandals…

Did Monday Mark a Turning Point for #MeToo?

My interactions with Ryan Lizza, formerly a prominent political correspondent for The New Yorker, are limited to some cordial exchanges in cable news green rooms, so I don’t know if he’s guilty as sin or innocent as a lamb. But late Monday afternoon, the magazine announced, “The New Yorker recently learned that Ryan Lizza engaged in what we believe was improper sexual conduct. We have reviewed the matter and, as a result, have severed ties with Lizza. Due to a request for privacy, we are not commenting further.”

(What does that “what we believe was” qualifier there mean?)

Within a few minutes of the New Yorker’s announcement, a chunk of the Twitter crowd was mocking and denouncing Lizza as a creep… without knowing what, exactly, his alleged misdeeds were. Did he say something? Do something? Was this a digital form of inappropriate behavior? Was it a particular event or interaction, or was it a pattern of behavior?

Apparently due to the not-named victim (or victims?) request for privacy, the magazine felt we in the public shouldn’t know. But they felt we should certainly know that he’s a bad guy.

Lizza responded quite differently from the other prominent men accused in the recent spate of scandals. He insisted he had done nothing wrong, and that the magazine was railroading him on baseless charges – and from his statement, this appears to stem from a single complainant.

“I am dismayed that The New Yorker has decided to characterize a respectful relationship with a woman I dated as somehow inappropriate. The New Yorker was unable to cite any company policy that was violated. I am sorry to my friends, workplace colleagues, and loved ones for any embarrassment this episode may cause. I love The New Yorker, my home for the last decade, and I have the highest regard for the people who work there. But this decision, which was made hastily and without a full investigation of the relevant facts, was a terrible mistake.”

Douglas Wigdor, who heads up one of the country’s top employment litigation law firms issued a statement countering Lizza: “Wigdor LLP represents the victim of Mr. Lizza’s misconduct. Although she desires to remain confidential and requests that her privacy be respected, in no way did Mr. Lizza’s misconduct constitute a ‘respectful relationship’ as he has now tried to characterize it. Our client reported Mr. Lizza’s actions to ensure that he would be held accountable and in the hope that by coming forward she would help other potential victims.”

Lizza’s insistence that he did nothing wrong, and that all of the complaints stem from a consensual relationship, ought to set off alarm bells. “Improper sexual conduct” covers a really wide range, from awkward unwanted flirting to being the villain from The Silence of the Lambs. If we’re all supposed to think worse of Lizza because of his actions, it seems fair to ask for at least some sense of why. And if he’s going to have his career and reputation destroyed, doesn’t he have a right to have his side of the story heard?

Just how thoroughly did the magazine investigate the accusations? Just how much evidence was there? Were there particularly strong reasons to believe or disbelieve his accuser? For now, the magazine is effectively saying, “trust us.” The irony is this is the magazine that obliterated the reputation of Harvey Weinstein with a mountain of evidence and testimony collected by Ronan Farrow. The reporters at The New Yorker would not just take it on faith from any other institution.

I don’t know if this is the case that will cause the backlash against #MeToo, but it’s coming. So far, most of the famous men named have more or less admitted the behavior, and the alleged acts are beyond the pale: Harvey Weinstein’s monstrous assaults, threats and blackmail; the bizarre secret button in Matt Lauer’s office, Charlie Rose just getting on top of a woman during a private plane ride. Very few of the allegations have been in anything resembling a “gray area.” Everybody knows you’re not supposed to pinch or grab a woman’s backside when posing for a photo… apparently except for one of Minnesota’s senators.

But after the Weinstein revelations, BuzzFeed and a few other publications reported about a “[Expletive] Men in Media List” spreadsheet that various women had put together, listing allegations against a slew of men, mostly in the New York media and publishing world. This list can now be found on the Internet if you’re clever, but I’m not linking to it, as the whole thing is unverified allegations. There’s a huge range of allegations, from sexual assault to “idea theft” “emotional manipulation” and “those weird lunch dates that aren’t about work.”

The list includes names that are famous and not-so-famous, those that have already faced public accusations and those that haven’t. (The list does not, at least as far as I can tell, include any men who work for conservative publications. I continue to wonder if our cultural elites include a disproportionate share of men who believe that because they’re self-proclaimed feminists and progressives, they’ve earned some free passes for bad behavior.)

You’re already hearing some progressives grumbling that they’ve sacrificed too much with Al Franken’s resignation. More than a few men who haven’t committed these acts wonder how they will be able to defend themselves if they’re falsely accused. And there are probably still some powerful creeps around, nervously chatting with their lawyers and wondering how to mount a defense.

At some point, some #MeToo accusation will turn out to be false, or a well-regarded man will be accused of behavior that doesn’t really sound all that inappropriate. A complaint of “weird lunch dates that aren’t about work” doesn’t really belong on the same list as sexual assault, and doesn’t sound like a firing offense.

The day a #MeToo complaint is discredited, all of these factions who are wary of this movement will push back, aiming to discredit as many women as possible. I suspect few figures in public life are really ready for that moment.