Republicans’ Ticking Tax Clock(s)By
Authors of an emerging House-Senate tax compromise have been focusing on sweeteners — such as cutting the top individual rate for the highest earners to 37 percent — to nail down support from their fellow Republicans.
As they scramble to deliver legislation to President Donald Trump’s desk by the end of next week, they’re poised today to unveil the full details of their latest plan. Republican leaders have kept what they are offering largely under wraps, partly because they have a slim majority in the Senate and want to stymie last-minute demands — such as the boost in the child tax credit Florida Senator Marco Rubio said is needed to secure his vote.
Following this week’s loss in Alabama, Republicans are more desperate than ever to enact tax cuts to try to boost their chances in next year’s midterm elections.
Even if they succeed, their signature initiative runs the risk of exacerbating the lopsided economic recovery that has sent markets soaring as wage growth has been left in the dust. Elected on a promise of better jobs and pay, Trump and his fellow Republicans have a lot riding on voters actually feeling the largely trickle-down benefits of their efforts — and fast. A referendum on their leadership is just 11 months away.
The difficult bit | EU leaders in Brussels are set to endorse the U.K.’s initial commitments on Brexit at a summit in Brussels today, triggering the second phase of negotiations on Britain’s departure. After that, things get complicated. EU members have maintained a united front so far, but that will be put to the test as talks turn to the future trade relationship with the U.K.
Decision time in South Africa | This weekend the ruling African National Congress can break with years of scandal-ridden rule when it picks a leader to succeed President Jacob Zuma as head of the party and probably the nation in 2019. Supported by investors, labor and the ANC's communist allies, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa should win, but Zuma is backing his ex-wife. Mike Cohen and Sam Mkokeli look at why the race is wide open.
North Korea’s economy grows | The United Nations’ tougher sanctions regime hit North Korea just as its tiny economy was showing signs of expansion, according to a South Korean government assessment. Food and mineral production in the isolated country increased in 2016, while more people than ever are using mobile phones. Still, per capita income last year was about $1,340, or just 4.5 percent that of its southern neighbor.
Peru’s president digs in | The corruption scandal that upended Brazilian politics is spreading to Peru, where President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is under pressure to resign over allegations he received payments from a disgraced builder. “I’m not running, I'm not hiding, nor do I have any reason to,” Kuczynski said in an address to the nation last night. The drama is unlikely to end soon: Some in the opposition want Congress to toss him out.
“The hardest part is just beginning” | Emmanuel Macron has maintained a packed agenda since taking office, earning praise abroad and at home. Yet the risk is that voters will turn away unless the French president can show concrete results soon. The jobless rate, for example, remains stuck at levels roughly double that of the U.K. and Germany. Bloomberg’s Paris team takes stock of Macron’s performance and examines hurdles ahead.
And finally... The gaps in security rules involving recreational drones are at least wide enough — to fly a recreational drone through. That's the takeaway from details the National Transportation Safety Board released yesterday about a September incident when an unmanned device smashed into a U.S. Army helicopter, after flying undetected into a restricted zone over New York set up to protect Trump and the UN. A former Federal Aviation Administration official said the near miss highlights the need for drones to be treated more like traditional aircraft.