Category Archives: Politics

Governor Hutchinson already has a million advantages

Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has raised more than a million dollars and still has almost $900,000 on hand.

By Steve Brawner

Advantages don’t guarantee success, but they certainly help, and so far Gov. Asa Hutchinson has more than a million of them.

Hutchinson had raised $1.3 million as of July 18 for his re-election campaign, which will be against whomever the Democrats can convince to run against him and the Libertarian candidate. He still had almost $1.2 million on hand at the time.

And the Democrats will find someone. For a political party in Arkansas to remain on the ballot without having to gather signatures, it must win 3 percent in the presidential or governor’s race, depending on which year it is. Democrats can’t do that without a candidate. The longer it takes to find one, the bigger the fundraising gap will be, unless the candidate is independently wealthy and willing to spend his or her own money. It happens, but not very often.

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Immigrants needed to pay for Social Security, Medicare

Immigrant, immigration, immigrants
New Americans take the Oath of Allegiance in Little Rock.

By Steve Brawner

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton’s proposed RAISE Act he’s co-sponsoring would limit legal immigrants. But without many more young people coming to America, how are we going to pay for Social Security and Medicare?

Cotton’s argument – and President Trump’s – is that the current laws let in the wrong people and depress wages. His RAISE (Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy) Act would award points based on education, English proficiency, high-paying job offers, age, achievement and entrepreneurial initiative. The current system instead gives preference to extended family members. The RAISE Act also would limit  the number of refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000.

An immigrant nation

Focusing on the world’s best and brightest kind of flies in the face of Emma Lazarus’ poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty. (“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. … I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”) That poem’s “wretched refuse” traveled across the ocean with nothing and then built America. As the Washington Post’s Philip Bump pointed out, Trump’s immigrant grandfather, Friedrich Trumpf, likely would not have qualified for entry under the RAISE Act.

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Impeachment: Be careful what you wish for

President Trump, impeachmentBy Steve Brawner

Forty percent of Arkansas respondents recently told a Talk Business & Politics/Hendrix College poll that President Trump should be impeached. For them, here are two responses: “For what?” and “Be careful what you wish for.”

The Constitution defines the conditions for impeachment, and it’s not for excessive tweeting or even fitness to serve. It’s for “treason, bribery, and high crimes and misdemeanors.” Those are high bars.

Some Trump opponents point to the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bans officials from accepting a “present” from a foreign state without Congress’ consent. They argue that the Trump family’s business dealings are a violation. But is payment for services rendered a “present”? The clause has never been litigated in a major court case. Regardless, Congress clearly is consenting.

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Patching health care

By Steve Brawner

Let’s get real. We’re not going to fix the health care system with this Congress, or maybe any Congress. But this past week, there were at least signs of hope that maybe we can patch it up.

Those signs of hope came when, in both the Senate and the House, some Republicans and Democrats started trying to work together.

That last sentence may dismay you if you believe the other side is evil, and the only way to get anything accomplished is to gain power and then do what you want.

But this is America. That approach might be the norm in Venezuela, where the increasingly dictatorial leader recently held a sham election and then arrested two of his opponents. But here, we don’t imprison each other over politics. We’re a big, diverse, free country, and we’re stuck with each other, so we’d better work together.

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