IADB President Luis Moreno on misperceptions of Latin America
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On Wednesday, President Trump will deliver his closing argument on tax reform to an audience made up largely of young people and middle-class families whose personal stories will be laced into his remarks.
Trump's remarks at the Treasury Department, next door to the White House, are expected to lay out how the once-in-a-generation tax cut/reform bill will create economic opportunity and brighter futures.
At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, it's Ego Week — or, more precisely, a week about overcoming egos:
Be smart: Republicans expect to pull this off. Since both chambers have voted for a version of the tax bill, there's no incentive to tank it now. But with this much urgency and this little time, lots of players have leverage — meaning more drama before this is baked.
A key difference between the House and Senate tax bills that will have to be resolved this week is how they handle the estate tax, which is levied on a small number of multi-millionaires. The House repeals the tax after a few years, while the Senate raises the exemption.Data: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Note: Estimates unavailable for Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah and West Virginia; Chart: Axios Visuals
Sound smart: Many Republicans want to fully repeal the tax, but pushing for even more tax relief for the wealthiest people in America is a politically volatile position to take. Even if supporters try to push hard for full repeal behind the scenes, expect Democrats to be outraged.
The policy: Currently, estates worth more than $5.49 million (or $10.98 million when passed down from a deceased couple) are subject to a 40% tax. The House doubles the size of the estate tax exemption, then repeals the tax after 2024. The Senate doubles the exemption until the tax sunsets beginning in 2026.
Ascension and Providence St. Joseph Health are in discussions to merge, which would create the largest hospital system in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reports citing people familiar with the merger talks. The combined system would have 191 hospitals, numerous clinics and roughly $45 billion in annual revenue.
Why it matters: Although the Ascension-Providence deal is not guaranteed, it shows how health care has turned into the Wild West for mega-mergers. CVS Health is buying Aetna, Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health are merging, and Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care are combining, among other deals. Yet, research shows mergers don't lower health care costs or improve care for patients.
With President Trump's announcement on Jerusalem lighting up the Middle East, Vice President Mike Pence embarks Saturday on his first trip to Israel since taking national office.
The vice president will be gone for a week, with stops in Egypt and Germany:
The takeaway: A key theme for Pence's remarks and interviews will be U.S. efforts to stop persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the region.
Paul Winfree is leaving the White House, according to a senior administration official with knowledge of the decision. Winfree, who declined to comment, has resigned from his position as Deputy Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and Director of Budget Policy.
Winfree, a respected policy wonk with strong ties to the conservative movement, is the second senior official to announce a departure in three days. Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell told colleagues she's leaving to return to her family in New York.
What Winfree has been telling friends and colleagues:
Amid a flood of sexual misconduct allegations — some of which have turned into police investigations — the New York Police Department has taken a new approach to questioning victims, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The bottom line: "The focus that’s occurring on sexual criminal conduct coming out of the Hollywood celebrities and members of Congress may be a watershed moment,” NYPD Deputy Chief Michael Osgood told the Journal. He says more sensitive and open-ended questioning techniques may lead to breakthroughs in cold cases that have been abandoned for years.
The backdrop: Police tactics in dealing with victims of sexual assault have long been controversial, with critics saying harsh questioning puts undue scrutiny on victims and pushes them to silence. These critcisms were thrown into the spotlight when ProPublica, in conjunction with the Marshall Project, published "An Unbelievable Story of Rape" — an investigative project which showed how a police department in Washington state coerced a woman into retracting a rape allegation.
NYPD detectives in the Special Victims division received training in Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI) techniques this year. The methods include asking victims of sexual assault open-ended questions such as, "Tell me about your experience," instead of specifics about the perpetrators appearance and the time and place of the incident.
How it works: Such specific details are "stored in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which shuts down during traumatic events. In FETI training, the detectives are instructed to ask broad questions that tap into a victim’s primitive brain, which maintains sensory information of those events. Channeling this part of the brain can result in a more substantial narrative," per Osgood.
Vice President Pence's office has called the decision by Palestinian officials not to meet with Pence on his visit to the region "unfortunate. The Palestinians are refusing to meet with Pence over President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The statement:
One in five American young adults under the age of 25 lives with a mental illness or behavioral disorder, NBC reports, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The big picture: Per the CDC's research, the state of young adult mental health in the U.S. is only worsening, with the suicide rate among teenage girls reaching a 40-year high in 2015. Here's a look at the numbers that tell the story of this crisis.
The case against bitcoin, stated concisely by the Economist:
Bitcoin as bubble: "This blogger remains convinced it is a bubble. Indeed its exponential rise only reinforces the argument. The beauty of bitcoin is that its intrinsic value is impossible to determine and that makes any value plausible to true believers. This is not the same as saying there is no merit in electronic currencies or blockchain technology; of course there is. But the range of prices which can be found on cryptocompare shows this is a narrow, illiquid market."
A deep-dive into racial inequities from the Boston Globe's Spotlight team reveals the cities where gaps between white and black residents are closing and the cities where little has changed since the 1970s.
The big picture: A survey commissioned by the Globe found that 54% of African-Americans feel Boston isn't welcoming to people of color, the highest of the cities surveyed. That percentage is 34% for Chicago and 28% for New York. Atlanta fares best, at 16%.
Diverging from the White House line, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that the women accusing President Trump of sexual harassment and assault "should be heard."
"I know that he was elected, but, women should always feel comfortable coming forward and we should all be willing to listen to them," she said. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has denied all of the dozen-plus claims and said Thursday that "the people of this country addressed" the allegations when they elected Trump.
Richard Shelby, Alabama's senior senator, told Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that the Ethics Committee will have to investigate Roy Moore should he be elected on Tuesday, and the Senate will have to make a decision as to whether he's fit to serve.
Why it matters: As the NY Times' Jonathan Martin notes, "The most senior Ala R goes on nat’l TV to torpedo his would-be colleague!... Shelby has been in Cong for 40 years. He knew exactly what he was doing accepting this Sunday show invite."