The Tax Bill

The tax bill has been passed by Congress? What does this mean? For most Americans, it’s a time to party. This is because we are getting one of the largest tax cuts in decades. Although it sounds big, the actual effects might not be as big, at least at first.

Americans will begin seeing the effects of the tax cut in February. At the end of the year, it will feel like a 1-2% pay increased. That’s better than nothing! The bigger deal is that companies will pay less in taxes. That means a lot. Companies will do many things with this extra money.

Not every company will do the same thing. Some companies will invest in their own interests, such as research and development. Some will buy back their stock, raising the stock price for shareholders, like me. Anyone who invests in a 401k or an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) will benefit from this tax bill. Everyone, every American, should be investing for their retirement. That is unless they plan on working at age 100.

Some companies will give their employees bonuses and raises. What happened to the bonus? Bonuses, not only for executives, used to be more widespread. That might be coming back. AT&T, Comcast, and other companies announced a $1,000 special bonus for all of their employees. That’s huge! And good for them. I’m sure they deserve it. Along with that bonus, companies may begin to grant higher wage increases. This tax bill might, therefore, create better competition between companies. If Company A offers $50,000 a year for a position, and Company B offers $55,000 a year for the same position, which company will the prospective employee want to work at?

The main goal of the tax bill is to grow the economy. All signs are pointing to an energized economy. We’ll have to wait a few years to judge the effects of this tax bill. But I hope it’s good!

The Politics of Abuse

In the news today we see the dark side of politics. Sexual abuse has made headlines for weeks. It seems that it all started with Hollywood, however. Harvey Weinstein was one of the most famous movie producers in Hollywood. I saw “was” because he’s probably not going to be producing movies anymore. No, many women have come out saying that he abused them. Some of the stories are so bad, the police have opened an investigation into Harvey. There is a good chance that, at the end of the investigation, he will go to jail. But, at the same time, rich and powerful people like him tend to skip out and get bail.

After Harvey, it seemed like the floodgates opened up. Women who had been abused many years earlier finally felt that they could speak up. If they were going to, now is the time. Their voices will carry more weight, I believe. And it’s not over. More and more women, and some men are coming forward to detail what kinds of abuse they have to endure by powerful people. After Hollywood, the scandal spread to politics.

There are a number of Congressmen who have resigned due to inappropriate behavior. Most notable of these is the Senator Al Franken. He’s the most notable because he’s popular, or at least used to be popular. He’s a former comedian and was well-liked. He even had a show on television. On Monday, there is an election in Alabama. The politician is being accused of abuse. However, he is denying this. He’s ahead in the polls! We’ll see what happens.

This isn’t over yet. News stories are starting to trickle out that this kind of abuse is also happening on Wall Street. Some high-paid professionals are being accused of abuse while on the job, even. I think that over the next few weeks, we’ll find out more. Stay tuned!

Front and Center

The news stations on television have always covered politics as a topic. Newspapers and current events magazines have always printed political opinions. Why, then, does it seem like politics is so widespread today? The answer is not because more people are watching TV or reading the newspaper. Actually, most people don’t read newspapers anymore due to the Internet. The answer is because of who is the current president of the U.S. Political commentary seems to be so widespread because of Donald Trump.

This is not a positive or negative reading of the situation. It is only an observation about current events. Whether one leans liberal or conservative, the name Donald Trump elicits more emotions than talking about the 115th United States Congress. Many people probably don’t even know what I’m referring to when I write “115th”. That is simply the number of Congressional sessions there have been since 1789.

Trump in politics has been a wild ride. During the presidential primary, large crowds of supporters were met with large crowds of protesters. Many people were injured on both sides.

In March 2016, Trump, then a candidate for the presidency, was scheduled to hold a rally in Chicago. Surely, because Chicago has such a large police force, they could keep the peace. But that’s not what happened. Fearing some type of riot, Trump canceled his planned rally. Looking back, this was probably a good choice since it may have averted many injuries or something worse.

While Trump is still president, I see politics continuing to be front and center in the news cycle. This will be especially true if he runs for reelection. Sure, people might get tired of seeing politics all of the time. But it sure does give people something to talk about. After all, politics has always been around and it will always be around in the future.