Month:

October 2020

Trump changes could derail census

first_imgLawmakers have underfunded the Census Bureau, the White House has mismanaged the agency, and now the Justice Department is pushing for a change that could skew the count in Republicans’ favor. Investigative reporting organization ProPublica disclosed last week that a Justice Department official formally asked the Census Bureau to add a question to the 2020 Census.Adding any question at this stage would be dicey, given that the bureau often runs extensive field tests before fiddling with its forms, ensuring that last-minute changes do not throw off its counting efforts.Worse, the Justice Department requested that the bureau inquire about people’s citizenship status.This threatens to sabotage the 2020 count. Asking about citizenship status would drive down response rates.Since its inception, the census has not only counted voters; it has taken a precise snapshot of everyone in the country. This helps government agencies to direct scarce dollars, and businesses to guide investment decisions.It is also crucial for doling out congressional representation.As the Supreme Court recently underscored, the Constitution requires that congressional seats be apportioned to states according to their total populations, not only their voting populations.Asking about citizenship status would deter undocumented people — or even legal immigrants who fear how far the Trump administration’s crackdown on foreigners will extend — from returning census forms. Many states — particularly blue states — could end up shortchanged.The bureau’s charge to count everyone does not change when fewer people fill out their census forms.In that circumstance, the federal government would have to send out census takers to knock on doors and talk to neighbors.Costs would rise substantially, even for a potentially less accurate count. Congress’ shortsighted underfunding of the bureau has, perversely, already resulted in cost overruns, as investments in new techniques and technology were not made. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appeared in The Washington Post:Perhaps no institution is more important to the functioning of American democracy than the census, the once-a-decade count of the U.S. population that determines congressional representation — and where billions in federal dollars will be spent.Yet both the GOP-led Congress and the Trump administration have hobbled the 2020 Census effort, which is entering its crucial final stages.center_img Adding another challenge for the bureau to overcome could require lawmakers to pony up even more last-minute cash to save the count. The Justice Department argues that it would be helpful in voting-rights cases to have reliable and accurate information on the voting-eligible population that extends far down into states and localities, collected simultaneously with other census statistics.Yet the department has relied on other, separately gathered census information about the voting-eligible population over the past decade.More exact data collected along with the rest of the decennial census would no doubt be helpful to Justice Department lawyers, but that interest is not as substantial as the threat that asking about citizenship status poses to the integrity of the count. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross should refuse to add a citizenship status question to the 2020 Census.If he does not, Congress should reject the change. More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

Don’t thank Trump for pay raises just yet

first_imgIf the prospect of higher post-tax profits encourages firms to invest, the economy will expand faster than it otherwise would have.The extra output will find its way, year after year, into higher wages and living standards.Critics of the reform are right to doubt this, not least because the tax reform will add to public borrowing, which will tend to raise interest rates and the cost of capital.Meanwhile the planned instability and insane complexity of the new rules will drag on the economy even more than before.Time, and the trend of investment spending this year and next, will tell.The second week of the new tax year is a little early to be declaring victory. More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Wal-Mart has just announced higher wages and one-time bonuses for most of its workers — linking the news to the corporate tax cuts signed last month by President Donald Trump  It joins a growing list of companies saying “Thank you” to the president by raising their employees’ pay.The White House is crowing (its celebration only slightly dimmed by Wal-Mart’s other announcement, that it’s about to close about one in 10 of its Sam’s Club stores).Trump said pay would rise, and see, it is; his critics said the windfall would all go to wealthy shareholders, and see, it isn’t.But what do these announcements really say about the costs and benefits of Trump’s new tax law?Precisely nothing.It’s true of course that the cut in corporate taxes gives firms extra cash, which they can use to raise wages, pay shareholders, invest in new capital, or cut prices for their customers.Signs of a tightening labor market make this a good moment for many firms to bump up pay, something they probably would have done in any case.center_img But whatever the short-term effect of the tax change, it will be overwhelmed by the longer-term implications.The difference between good and bad tax reform is measured not over days and weeks, but over years — and it’s all about growth.Intelligent advocates of the new tax law argued not that the corporate tax cut would give workers a nice bonus this year, but that it would spur investment across the economy, raising economic growth over the course of the next decade and beyond.Intelligent critics attacked that claim.They said that the growth benefits wouldn’t materialize, that the distributional consequences of the plan were bad, and that the reform made an absurdly complex tax code even more so.The recent flurry of wage announcements has no bearing on this debate.Over time, the test of who’s right will be the trend in investment. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appears on Bloomberg View:last_img read more

Guest Column: Can a president be indicted under the Constitution?

first_imgThe House of Representatives has issued Articles of Impeachment – the first step in the process – at least 19 times, including against two U.S. Presidents: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Other instances include one U.S. Senator, a Cabinet member, and 15 federal judges.In at least three of those cases — the 1986 impeachment of U.S. District Judge Harry Claiborne of Nevada, the 1989 impeachment of U.S. District Judge Walter Nixon of Mississippi, and the 2009 impeachment of U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent of Texas — the judges remained on the bench following criminal convictions and were only impeached after refusing to leave office.   There are two recent prominent cases in which federal criminal charges – indictments – were brought against sitting federal officers without impeachment proceedings ever having occurred.In 2014, Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm was indicted on multiple felony counts, pleading guilty to one. He later resigned his office. In 2015, Sen. Bob Menendez was indicted. His trial ended in a mistrial. He remains in office.The most well known example, though, is Spiro Agnew, vice president under President Richard Nixon.Agnew went so far as to file a motion in court arguing that a sitting vice president could not be indicted.Ultimately, Agnew pleaded no contest to a felony charge of tax evasion and resigned his office the same day.  The text of the Constitution makes only one special accommodation for the president regarding impeachment: “[T]he Chief Justice shall preside” at his impeachment trial. More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes The actual words of the Constitution have barely been mentioned. Let’s go to the source, the actual words of the Constitution.  A constitutional discussion must begin with the Impeachment Clause: “Judgment in Cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office or honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.”The clause mentions both impeachment and indictment.It does not explicitly state that impeachment must come first, but the clause does discuss impeachment before it discusses indictment.By discussing impeachment first, did the constitutional framers intend to preclude indictment prior to the impeachment process? Or, having limited the penalties that can be imposed through the impeachment process, does the clause simply make clear that the official subject to impeachment also remains subject to the criminal process?Other provisions of the Constitution and past practice suggest the latter.The impeachment power extends beyond the president to include the vice president and “all civil Officers of the United States.” Categories: Editorial, OpinionFor The Sunday GazetteAs we enter the 13th month of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election, there has been a great deal of chatter in recent weeks about whether a sitting president can be indicted.That is, can criminal charges be brought against a sitting president? Donald Trump’s legal team, most prominently Rudy Giuliani, all say no.There may be strong public policy reasons not to indict a sitting president. The special counsel’s mandate may not permit it.But what of the Constitution? Does the Constitution allow it?  Political commentators have tended to focus on the nature of the president’s office and the structure of government. There is no other reference to the president regarding impeachment or indictment. This is all the more notable because the text of the Constitution does provide a limited immunity for members of Congress.“They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same.”In other words, the framers of the Constitution did not want members of Congress hauled off in cuffs while in session.The text of the Constitution does not include similar protection for a sitting president.If a president cannot face criminal charges, that conclusion must be based upon something other than the words of the Constitution.  Hermes Fernandez is senior partner, Bond at Schoeneck & King, PLLC, in Albany. He is a former assistant counsel to Gov. Mario Cuomo; former attorney, Civil Division, U.S. Justice Department, Washington, D.C. (Main Justice); and past vice president of the New York State Bar Association.last_img read more

Ring in the changes

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Are you undersold?

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Laing goes on market with £50m price tag

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Jones Lang LaSalle chiefs see bonuses cut by half

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L&G predicts Bracknell split

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Strap club

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Gateway to regeneration

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