Yes, Democrats can demand Trump's tax returns, but they should do more

Yes, now that the Democrats have taken control of the House of Representatives, they get to serve as committ...

Posted: Nov 7, 2018 6:22 PM
Updated: Nov 7, 2018 6:22 PM

Yes, now that the Democrats have taken control of the House of Representatives, they get to serve as committee chairs and that gives them the power of issuing subpoenas all by themselves. And, yes, Democrats can subpoena President Trump's tax returns, as they almost certainly will, and should -- there is much of potential interest in those returns, materially connected to Trump's possible conflicts of interest, foreign entanglements, and more.

And, yes, Trump can oppose the subpoenas, and fight them in court, and it will be up to non-elected judges to decide the issue in the end. Meanwhile, our reality-TV-world of politics will breathlessly cover the twists and turns of the tale, as they already have begun to do.

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Income tax

Legislation

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Political platforms and issues

Politics

Public finance

Tax policy

Tax reform

Taxes and taxation

US Democratic Party

US federal government

US political parties

White House

But the Democrats got a much more important power on Election Day, one directly connected to the present and future well-being of all Americans. The US Constitution, in its so-called Origination Clause, provides that any law for raising revenue -- taxes -- must begin in the House. House Democrats, who won their majority largely by hewing to pocketbook issues such as healthcare and taxes, can do some real governance by using their power to tax to propose actual tax legislation.

What might this look like? Without getting into the weeds, there are two broad approaches to take. One, Democrats can propose a real, and fiscally responsible, middle class tax cut -- one that gives real benefits to working Americans and is paid for by asking for some payments from the wealthiest, who can now, like Jared Kushner, avoid all taxes.

Two, the Democrats can propose legislation that actually shuts down loopholes that the rich, like Kushner and his father-in-law, use to dodge paying taxes.

Sure, any such tax bill would be unlikely to get 50 votes in the Senate, or to get signed by President Trump, or to have a two-thirds majority in either chamber to override a presidential veto. So what? Both types of legislation would be good for the people right now, and Democrats would simply be doing their job, as they were elected to do, with either approach.

Republican opposition to either type of bill would only give the lie to the idea that Republicans care about average Americans when it comes to their tax policies or to protecting entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare. Entitlement programs are relevant because when tax policy creates deficits, as the Trump tax cut did, it puts all government spending programs at risk.

Proposing good tax policies to help average Americans and to rein in the excesses of the wealthiest might not be as sexy and headline-grabbing as a relentless quest for the holy grail of Trump's tax returns. But good tax proposals would reflect Democrats exercising their Constitutional role to help the people who elected them with real issues, affecting real money. That would make for a better reality for all Americans, not just better reality television.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 250869

Reported Deaths: 5481
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17010171
Hinds16091318
Harrison13250193
Rankin10629208
Jackson10216182
Lee8759141
Madison8186161
Jones6222109
Forrest5917118
Lauderdale5808180
Lowndes5309111
Lafayette491192
Lamar480465
Washington4770123
Bolivar3955106
Oktibbeha390380
Panola365076
Pontotoc361152
Monroe3521104
Warren344597
Union341458
Marshall339165
Neshoba3357152
Pearl River323295
Leflore2992105
Lincoln295685
Sunflower280469
Tate269560
Alcorn262653
Itawamba261159
Hancock260458
Pike259977
Scott244745
Prentiss244052
Yazoo242654
Tippah239749
Copiah239149
Simpson233967
Leake229564
Coahoma228554
Grenada217070
Covington210471
Marion208371
Adams203270
Winston199464
Wayne198730
George197938
Attala193158
Newton189142
Chickasaw182944
Tishomingo182159
Holmes168167
Jasper167735
Clay158233
Stone141520
Tallahatchie139234
Clarke137460
Calhoun135121
Smith119423
Yalobusha116134
Walthall111736
Noxubee110222
Greene109129
Montgomery109134
Carroll104121
Lawrence102117
Perry100531
Amite96825
Webster91924
Tunica86021
Claiborne85525
Jefferson Davis84025
Humphreys82624
Benton81023
Kemper76620
Quitman6838
Franklin65815
Choctaw60013
Wilkinson58325
Jefferson53419
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 420681

Reported Deaths: 6119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61755921
Mobile30058548
Madison26852186
Tuscaloosa20652266
Montgomery18876305
Shelby18421114
Baldwin16176182
Lee12393101
Morgan12175113
Etowah11687168
Calhoun11078200
Marshall10158107
Houston8556148
Cullman7999105
Limestone796274
Elmore7783101
DeKalb767197
Lauderdale752883
St. Clair7502120
Talladega6145108
Walker5880174
Jackson578841
Colbert529873
Blount529283
Autauga515455
Coffee438156
Dale394381
Franklin365248
Chilton335365
Covington326968
Russell326810
Escambia316142
Dallas302896
Chambers281869
Clarke279633
Tallapoosa2607107
Pike247629
Marion244650
Lawrence242547
Winston225535
Bibb214447
Geneva199535
Marengo197829
Pickens196231
Hale175442
Barbour172336
Butler168458
Fayette167126
Cherokee160030
Henry152721
Monroe145017
Randolph138835
Washington137026
Clay126145
Crenshaw118644
Lamar117519
Cleburne117223
Macon114335
Lowndes109535
Wilcox102621
Bullock98728
Perry96919
Conecuh94220
Sumter88826
Greene75723
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 49°
Columbus
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 45°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 37°
Starkville
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 43°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather