White House tax reform may begin in late spring: Spicer | Reuters

President Donald Trump may begin his overhaul of the U.S. tax code as early as late spring, White House spokesman Sean Spicer has told Ireland’s Sunday Independent newspaper.

“We are going to have tax reform after we get healthcare completed… I think we are looking at late spring to summer,” Spicer told the newspaper in an interview during Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s visit to Washington late last week.

Trump has vowed to deliver major tax cuts to the middle-class and the business community this year but deepening Republican divisions over a House Republican healthcare bill which has spawned concern that action on tax reform may be delayed.

In a survey released last week, only 16 percent of about 1,000 business, tax and financial executives polled by accounting and advisory firm KPMG said they expected to see tax reform in 2017.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries; editing by Jason Neely)

Source: White House tax reform may begin in late spring: Spicer | Reuters

Why Danes Happily Pay High Rates of Taxes | Best Countries | US News

People in the European country see taxes as an investment in their quality of life.

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — As chief executive officer of the Happiness Research Institute, I talk to a handful of journalists every week from around the world. As Denmark consistently ranks among the happiest countries in the world, many of the journalists will look at me with disbelief and ask, “Danes pay some of the highest taxes in the world, so why are they so happy?”

Denmark has one of the highest tax rates in the world, which is often mentioned as one of the biggest objections against the Danish welfare model. The average annual income in Denmark is about 39,000 euros (nearly $43,000) and as such, the average Dane pays a total amount of 45 percent in income taxes. Danish income taxes are based on a progressive tax system, so if you make more than 61,500 euros (about $67,000) per year, an additional tax rate of 7 percent is added over this threshold.

Neverthless, a Gallup survey from 2014 showed that almost nine out of 10 Danish people happily pay their taxes to some or a high degree.

Investing in quality of life

The reason behind the high level of support for the welfare state in Denmark is the awareness of the fact that the welfare model turns our collective wealth into well-being. We are not paying taxes. We are investing in our society. We are purchasing quality of life.

The key to understanding the high levels of happiness in Denmark is the welfare model’s ability to reduce risks, uncertainties and anxieties among its citizens and prevent extreme unhappiness.

The Danish welfare model provides opportunities for its citizens to pursue their happiness from advanced starting positions disregarding economic, social, gendered or cultural backgrounds. Let me give you some examples.

Education is free and even at university level, there is no tuition fee. Meanwhile, every Danish student receives around $900 per month from the state. This means I won’t have to worry about how to finance my kid’s education. It will be their talents and dreams that shape the path of their careers, not the size of my wallet.

READ MORE OF THIS 2016 REPORT: Why Danes Happily Pay High Rates of Taxes | Best Countries | US News

WATCH: Olly The Jack Russell Terrier Face-Plants His Way To Glory At Crufts Dog Show : The Two-Way : NPR

The Jack Russell terrier wasn’t exactly the most skilled dog at the Crufts dog show’s skills competition Friday. But he was by far the most memorable.

Olly the rescued, 10-week-old Jack Russell terrier took a rough tumble in his run through the skills competition at Crufts — but instead of sulking and licking his wounds, he tore through the course with renewed enthusiasm (in pretty much whatever order and direction suited him).

Watch this furry lesson in failing.

Source: WATCH: Olly The Jack Russell Terrier Face-Plants His Way To Glory At Crufts Dog Show : The Two-Way : NPR

Author, ‘Modern Love’ Essayist Amy Krouse Rosenthal Dies At 51 : The Two-Way : NPR

Rosenthal won hearts with her children’s book and memoirs — and broke them with her essay announcing her terminal illness, a Modern Love piece called “You May Want To Marry My Husband.”

Amy Krouse Rosenthal knew she was dying, and she didn’t want her husband to stay a widower. So a month before cancer killed her this week at 51, she wrote a sort of dating profile for him, got it printed in The New York Times. Her biggest hope for him, she writes:

“The right person reads this … and another love story begins.”

Source: Author, ‘Modern Love’ Essayist Amy Krouse Rosenthal Dies At 51 : The Two-Way : NPR

Trump Embraces One Of Russia’s Favorite Propaganda Tactics — Whataboutism : NPR

What’s the easiest way to swing back at critics? For Trump (as well as Putin), it’s to cry “hypocrite.”

President Trump has developed a consistent tactic when he is criticized: say that someone else is worse. This particular brand of changing the subject is called “whataboutism” — a simple rhetorical tactic heavily used by the Soviet Union and, later, Russia. And its use in Russia helps illustrate how it could be such a useful tool now, in America.

It’s a schoolyard taunt on the global stage.: Trump Embraces One Of Russia’s Favorite Propaganda Tactics — Whataboutism : NPR

5 Charts That Explain The CBO Report On Republican Plan To Replace Obamacare : NPR

See how the new health care bill would affect the uninsured, the cost of coverage and the federal deficit, according to a budget analysis.

First those purchasing individual coverage drop out, then the Medicaid cuts kick in and by 2026, 24 million fewer Americans are insured. Premiums rise initially but then drop as the coverage pool gets younger, partly because it’s more expensive for older people. Deficits rise until 2019 then fall by nearly $100 billion a year.

See all the charts on replacement health care system.

Source: 5 Charts That Explain The CBO Report On Republican Plan To Replace Obamacare : NPR

5 Ways the Church can help the poor, according to the Acton Institute

5 Ways the Church can help the poor, according to the Acton Institute
by Jeff Smith (GRIID)
For more than two decades I have been writing about the Grand Rapids-based Acton Institute, an organization that essentially sees christianity and capitalism as compatible.

The DeVos family has been a major donor to the Acton Institute since its founding, along with other members of the Grand Rapids power structure. Several of the DeVos family members have also sat on the board of directors and Betsy DeVos’s mother, Elsa Prince Broekhuizen, is a current member of the board.

The Acton Institute’s founder, Rev. Robert Sirico, has debated against liberation theology on numerous occasions, sometime debated Bishop Thomas Gumbleton from Detroit. The Grand Rapids organization has even funded Exxon/Mobil to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars to deny climate change.

Their positions are often very reactionary and contrary to most justice-based principles, but I found myself particularly disgusted with a recent blog post from the Acton Institute, entitled, 5 Ways the church can help the poor…. read more here – https://griid.org/2017/03/19/5-ways-the-church-can-help-the-poor-according-to-the-acton-institute/

Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

For more than two decades I have been writing about the Grand Rapids-based Acton Institute, an organization that essentially sees christianity and capitalism as compatible.

The DeVos family has been a major donor to the Acton Institute since its founding, along with other members of the Grand Rapids power structure. Several of the DeVos family members have also sat on the board of directors and Betsy DeVos’s mother, Elsa Prince Broekhuizen, is a current member of the board. 

The Acton Institute’s founder, Rev. Robert Sirico, has debated against liberation theology on numerous occasions, sometime debated Bishop Thomas Gumbleton from Detroit. The Grand Rapids organization has even funded Exxon/Mobil to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars to deny climate change

Their positions are often very reactionary and contrary to most justice-based principles, but I found myself particularly disgusted with a recent blog post from the Acton Institute, entitled, 5…

View original post 635 more words

Friends, educators, parents: Make your voices heard!

Dear Educators and Friends,

We were overwhelmed at the response to our first Facebook Live event where we talked about the new education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), last month. (If you missed it, you can watch it here.)

It was so clear that educators and community members like you know what our schools need. The sad fact is that we have an education secretary, Betsy DeVos, who doesn’t.

That’s why we want to know how implementation is going in your community. Will you tell us now?

Betsy DeVos has never been a teacher, school administrator, or school board member. She’s never attended public schools, her children have never attended public schools, and she has no appreciation of their mission of providing opportunity to each and every student.

Well, thanks to ESSA’s requirement that educators be part of education decisions, she could have a lot less influence on your school — but only if educators like you take the opportunity to act.  

So we need to know: how is the implementation of the new education law going in your community?

Click here to share your story with us.

Thanks to ESSA, the real professionals — people like you who know the students and are actually qualified to make decisions in your school — could have more say over things like the number of tests students take, whether they have new text books and science labs, the number of AP and art classes available…and so much more.

But there’s a reason why we say “could.” You and your colleagues will finally get a seat at the table and have your professional voices heard, but only if you take this opportunity and get involved in shaping decisions in your local community. 

Will you share your story with us now, and we’ll help you raise your voice?

Thanks for sharing your school’s story and for being involved.

Donna Harris-Aikens
Director, Education Policy and Practice
National Education Association

Source: Is your voice helping students?