“The Trump administration would double the standard deduction, essentially eliminating taxes on the first $24,000 of a couple’s earnings. It also called for the elimination of most itemized tax deductions but would leave in place the popular deductions for mortgage interest and charitable contributions.The estate tax and the alternative minimum tax, which Mr. Trump has railed against for years, would be repealed under his plan.
“As expected, the White House did not include in its plan the border adjustment tax on imports that was prized by House Republicans. However, it did express broad support for switching to a so-called territorial tax system that would exempt company earnings abroad from taxation but would encourage companies to maintain their headquarters in the United States.”
Nick Note: Did you hear about the world’s last male white rhino? It got a Tinder (a dating app) profile and is looking for love. Speaking of love, or the lack thereof, new poll numbers were released concerning President Trump. His numbers are historically low when compared to other presidents’, but the numbers do indicate more Americans (54 percent) think the country is going in the right direction. Ross Douthat, conservative columnist at the NY Times, notes this morning that things could be worse. If they do get worse, Caitlyn Jenner came out yesterday and said she would be willing to run for public office. But things are turning. For example, the House Freedom Caucus, the group of conservatives who were instrumental in blocking Mr. Trump’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act last month, gave its approval Wednesday to a new, more conservative version. House Republican leaders are considering holding a quick vote on their embattled health care bill after the group endorsed a revised version. The Republican vote-counting team is shooting for a vote Saturday. On top of this is news that broke late last night that Republicans will move forward with a short-term spending plan that will keep the government open through May 5, providing more time to negotiate a longer-term funding package. But perhaps the most interesting news is that the Trump administration is debating whether to issue a formal threat to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement. Some argue that such trade agreements take away jobs. Others argue that such agreements spur innovation, produce efficiencies, and in time create new jobs. Today, Mr. Trump will welcome the Argentine president to the White House to discuss trade issues, among other things. As you can tell, there are quite a few decisions and a number of issues facing the president. In the biblical narrative, what we want to do is not always want we need to do. Our desire is not always God’s calling (see David and the temple, 1 Chronicles 29). However, God’s wisdom, presence, and guidance is always available (James 1:5, Matthew 28:20, Psalm 23).
“Large numbers of foreign fighters and sympathisers are abandoning Islamic State and trying to enter Turkey, with at least two British nationals and a US citizen joining an exodus that is depleting the ranks of the terror group.
“Dozens more foreigners have fled in recent weeks, most caught as they tried to cross the frontier, as Isis’s capacity to hold ground in Syria and Iraq collapses. Some – it is not known how many – are thought to have evaded capture and made it across the border into Turkey.”
Nick Note: Here is a phenomenal report from the front lines in Mosul. However, it is important to note that the caliphate may be crumbling but the ideology remains strong. The caliphate requires land but the extremist mentality does not. For more on radical Islam, I highly recommend Dr. Denison’s white paper on the issue. (Hebrews 13:3)
“Coulter said, “Everyone who should be for free speech has turned tail and run.”
“The university sent a message to the campus community Wednesday in the midst of uncertainty over whether, or when, Coulter might come to campus. After the university originally canceled her speech for Thursday and instead invited her to speak there next week, Coulter had vowed to speak anyway.”
Nick Note: If we learned anything from the Middlebury College incident (I wrote about this here) it’s that college students can unfortunately be physical when presented with ideas that are contrary to their personal ideologies and narratives. You may not agree with Coulter. You may disagree with the way in which she presents her arguments (Proverbs 15:1). But her not being able to speak at UC Berkeley is a loss for the American experiment and the freedom of speech. In the biblical narrative, we read of a God that invites us to reason together and pray for the leaders so that we may live peaceably (1 Timothy 2:1-2, Isaiah 1:18). When the freedom of speech is squelched, the silence is deafening.
“ESPN, the self-proclaimed worldwide leader in sports, is in the process of laying off 100 staffers, most of whom are reported to be on-air talent.
“On track for $8 billion in programming costs in 2017, ESPN will rack up its 15 millionth lost subscriber since 2011. Every single day so far in 2017 over 10,000 people have left ESPN. The numbers are astonishing and the collapse is rapid. All those lost subscribers add up to big money — that’s over $1.3 billion a year in money that comes off ESPN’s books every year. And ESPN is on the hook for billions and billions a year for all the years ahead. That’s guaranteed payments to leagues that ESPN can’t escape no matter how many employees it fires.
“As I’ve written before, if the current subscriber loss trajectory keeps up ESPN will begin losing money by 2021. And if the subscriber losses accelerate it will happen even sooner than that.”
Nick Note: In the past six years, ESPN has lost 12 million subscribers. Consider this: each month, a subscriber would indirectly pay $7 to ESPN. That means ESPN is losing nearly $100 million in revenue each month. They are not just losing subscribers but also viewers. According to Broadcast & Cable, ESPN’s ratings are down 7 percent this year. ESPN2’s ratings are down 34 percent. No word on ESPN 8 – the Ocho. What is the reason for the massive layoffs? Did they become too political (see the National Review piece here (h/t: Kerby))? In Jim Collins’ book Good to Great, he coins the hedgehog concept for businesses. This concept requires organizations to base their strategy on three questions: 1. What you can be best in the world at, 2. What drives your economic engine, and 3. What you are deeply passionate about. In the Scriptures, we read that God has gifted each of us specifically, blessed us with his compelling love unconditionally, and fashioned us in such a way and placed us at such a time in order that we might thrive in his plans (Romans 12:6, 1 Peter 4:10, Jeremiah 31:3, Romans 8:38-39, 2 Corinthians 5:14, 2 Timothy 3:17, Acts 17:26-27, Jeremiah 29:11).