Memo to Sen. Bernie Sanders:
Americans by overwhelming numbers say they would vote for a qualified presidential candidate nominated by their party who is Catholic, a woman, black, Hispanic or Jewish.
They say they would be somewhat less inclined to support a Mormon, a gay or lesbian, an evangelical Christian or Muslim for president, according to a new Gallup Poll released Monday. Yet more than half of those Americans surveyed said they would be accepting of anyone from this group who managed to garner their party’s presidential nomination. Even a qualified atheist would be acceptable to 58 percent of those questioned.
But only 47 percent said they could vote for a socialist for president. Fifty percent said they would absolutely not.
Sanders, 73, an independent who is challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, is the only Jewish candidate in the race. And while many wrote him off early on as a fringe candidate with limited appeal, Sanders has subsequently generated considerable buzz among liberals and progressives, and has made respectable showings in some of the early polling, including in New Hampshire.
With his ringing anti-Wall Street populist message, Sanders is tapping into the Democratic Party’s progressive wing – including some who had hoped at one time that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) might change her mind and enter the race. However, the former University of Chicago student radical and self-described democratic socialist, supports proposals similar to those of mainstream social democratic governments in Europe, particularly those of Scandinavia.
Five of the declared candidates for president are Catholics – including Republicans Jeb Bush, George Pataki, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum, and Democrat Martin O'Malley. Two are women -- Clinton and Republican Carly Fiorina. Republican Ben Carson is the only black candidate in the race, while two candidates are Hispanic -- Republicans Rubio and Ted Cruz.
Here are Gallup’s findings:
The Wall Street Journal reports that the tax cuts and economic environment are prompting U.S. companies to go on a buying binge: “Mergers and acquisitions announced by U.S. acquirers so far in 2018 are running at the highest dollar volume since the first two months of 2000, according to Dealogic. Thomson Reuters, which publishes slightly different numbers, puts it at the highest since the start of 2007.”
Health care spending in the U.S. will grow at an average annual rate of 5.5 percent from 2017 through 2026, according to new estimates published in Health Affairs by the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The projections mean that health care spending would rise as a share of the economy from 17.9 percent in 2016 to 19.7 percent in 2026.
Margot Sanger-Katz and Jim Tankersley in The New York Times: “The deal struck by Democrats and Republicans on Monday to end a brief government shutdown contains $31 billion in tax cuts, including a temporary delay in implementing three health care-related taxes.”
“Those delays, which enjoy varying degrees of bipartisan support, are not offset by any spending cuts or tax increases, and thus will add to a federal budget deficit that is already projected to increase rapidly as last year’s mammoth new tax law takes effect.”
Congress passed a law in 2015 requiring the IRS to use private debt collection agencies to pursue “inactive tax receivables,” but the financial results are not encouraging so far, according to a new taxpayer advocate report out Wednesday.
In fiscal year 2017, the IRS received $6.7 million from taxpayers whose debts were assigned to private collection agencies, but the agencies were paid $20 million – “three times the amount collected,” the report helpfully points out.