Category Archives: U.S. Congress

(My) Arkansans of the Year

Arkansans of the YearBy Steve Brawner

© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

This is the part of the calendar when I list my “Arkansans of the Year.” As always, take it with a grain of salt.

Any list of mine will be heavy into politics and policy, which interest me and provide my living. It would be more accurate to call it “Arkansans of the Year (whom I know about, am interested in, and are what journalists consider ‘newsmakers’).”

Besides, who’s to say what’s important? Journalists mostly focus on the earthly and the temporal rather than the eternal, which runs on a different set of deadlines. What creates headlines this year can be a historical footnote after 20. Important moments happen every day in this state with now 3 million people, but they go unreported. The teachers imparting knowledge in the classroom, the soldiers and firefighters in harm’s way, the cops on the beat – those people matter, a lot. They just don’t make the news very often.

Finally, like Time magazine’s Person of the Year, this list recognizes impact, for good or not so good, rather than achievement or nobility. It’s a newspaper column, not an honor.

So let’s get to it. Continue reading (My) Arkansans of the Year

Top 6 questions for 2018 – and a few predictions just for fun

By Steve Brawner

© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

What might happen in Arkansas and national politics in 2018? Asking questions is easier than making predictions. So let’s ask, in the order they’re likely to be answered.

– Will Sen. Tom Cotton become the next CIA director? There have been reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who did not deny calling President Trump a “moron,” will be leaving soon. CIA Director Mike Pompeo supposedly would move to State, while Cotton would go to CIA.

If that happens, it would lead to new questions. Continue reading Top 6 questions for 2018 – and a few predictions just for fun

What does Alabama’s election mean for Arkansas?

Alabama, Arkansas, electionHow big a deal is Democrat Doug Jones’ victory in the Alabama U.S. Senate race? Pretty big for the country. What does it say about next year’s elections in Arkansas? Probably not that much.

It’s a big deal because it decreases the Republicans’ Senate majority to 51-49. That means they have to keep all but one senator in line if they ever want to get anything done.

And after next November, it may be part of an even bigger deal – if Democrats could somehow take back the U.S. Senate. That’s a tall order because the Democratic caucus must defend 26 seats next year, 10 of them in states won by President Trump in 2016. Republicans are defending only eight seats. But the Democrats’ grabbing an unexpected win in the South changes the math and makes it easier for them to recruit candidates and raise money. Meanwhile, they must flip 24 seats to control the U.S. House. Continue reading What does Alabama’s election mean for Arkansas?

The return of $1 trillion deficits

tax, taxes, debt, deficits, spending, trillionBy Steve Brawner

© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

Let’s say you’re changing jobs, leaving one that was relatively secure for one with an uncertain future. You think it’s possible you’ll make more money, but it’s likely you’ll make less. What would you do beforehand?

You probably should carefully determine what your spending patterns are, and then adjust downward until they match your most likely income. You’d look for areas of waste first, followed by luxuries. But then you might also have to cut some of the more important stuff.

Once you’d done that, then, one last time, you’d carefully consider if changing jobs is really the wisest move. And then if it’s still a go, you would do all you could to find additional revenues.

And if you did all that, you would be doing the opposite of what Congress is doing. Continue reading The return of $1 trillion deficits