This Week on Between The Lines

Posted Nov. 22, 2017 for week ending Dec. 1, 2017

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"They've now passed through the House a tax cut bill that will, by itself, automatically trigger what CBO calls $400 billion of cuts in Medicare over the next decade. People are not really talking about it, but as soon as the tax bill gets passed, unless they waive another provision of an existing law, there will be $400 billion of cuts in Medicare. "

– Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, on the Republican stealth attack in the tax plan to end Medicare and Medicaid


Listen to the entire program using these links, or to individual interviews via the links appearing prior to each segment description below.

  MP3  64 kb/s   podcast  Podcast


Stealth GOP Tax Bill Provision Will Trigger Deep Cuts to Medicare

MP3 Interview with Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, conducted by Scott Harris

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According to the calculations of many economists, President Trump and the Republican’s proposed tax reform legislation, which passed in the House Nov. 16 and now moves to the Senate, will primarily benefit the top one percent of wealthiest Americans, not the middle class as advertised. In fact, by some estimates, 80 percent of the benefits from GOP tax reductions and tax code changes would go to people making more than $730,000 a year over the next decade. Other features of the Republican tax plan include elimination of the estate tax that only benefits couples with more than $11 million in assets; ending most tax deductions for college student; dropping deductions for state and local taxes – predominantly hurting blue state residents – and repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate. In the Senate version of the tax bill, that will result in 13 million Americans losing their health insurance coverage.  Story continues

Nebraska Regulators Approve Keystone XL Pipeline, But Activists Say the Fight is Far From Over

MP3 Interview with Art Tanderup, farmer and activist with the anti-Keystone XL pipeline group Bold Nebraska, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

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On Nov. 16, at least 210,000 gallons of tar sands oil spilled in South Dakota from the Keystone pipeline. The pipeline, owned by TransCanada, is the same company that is trying to build yet another pipeline -- the infamous Keystone XL – which, if built, would bring tar sands oil south from indigenous lands in Alberta, Canada to refineries in Texas for likely export. The spill occurred just days before Nebraska's Public Service Commission had to rule on TransCanada's application for the KXL through the state. The project, which was denied a permit by President Obama in 2015, was revived by an executive order signed by Donald Trump in one of his first official acts in office.  Story continues

FCC Removes Ownership Rules Allowing Right-Wing Network Sinclair to Reach 72 Percent of U.S. Households

MP3 Interview with Craig Aaron, president and CEO of the media democracy group Free Press, conducted by Scott Harris

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On a 3 to 2 party line vote on Nov. 16, the Federal Communications Commission voted to eliminate a series of decades-old regulations that will now allow broadcasters to merge with newspapers in the same market and could permit companies to own two of the top four stations in a city. If they survive an expected court challenge and opposition by consumers, the rules will usher in a new era of concentration of media ownership that critics charge will harm the diversity of views heard on the air and read in print.  Story continues

This week’s summary of under-reported news

MP3  MP3

Compiled by Bob Nixon

 

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