November 29 Morning Edition

— DISGUSTING, TRAGIC: Should Recreational Marijuana Be Legal? Travel Expert Rick Steves Pushes For Legalization


— Gutierrez federal pension estimated at $62,000 a year – Katherine Skiba
(FROM THE ARTICLE: When U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez moves on from Congress to whatever is next for him, he could qualify for a federal pension of about $62,000 per year, a Washington group estimates. Federal pension details aren’t made public as they are for state officials and teachers. The estimate comes from the National Taxpayers Union, which since the late 1970s has calculated congressional pensions based on available data. Pete Sepp, the organization’s president, said the estimate assumes Gutierrez elected for his wife to be paid an annuity upon his death. His annual payout would be higher if he didn’t. Members of Congress also may receive a 401(k)-style supplement to their pensions if they made contributions, Sepp said. The calculation takes into account how long a lawmaker was in office. When Gutierrez entered Congress in 1993, the annual pay was $133,600. He has been paid $174,000 a year since 2009, when members of Congress last had a raise, according to the Congressional Research Service. In announcing he won’t run for re-election, Gutierrez said his plans included traveling the country with his wife, Soraida. Since 2010, Gutierrez has paid her a total of nearly $400,000 from his campaign war chest for help on his re-election campaigns, Federal Election Commission records show. The figure does not include reimbursements for office supplies and other expenses. During the first nine months of this year, he paid her a total of $42,000 in seven increments of $6,000 each. Reports show she has been paid for acting as his treasurer or account manager and for management and fundraising.)
— Gutierrez tries to anoint Garcia successor in Chicago politics shake-up – Rick Pearson and Hal Dardick


— Tax reform: ‘Middle class’ is in eye of beholder – Lynn Sweet and Ashlee Rezin (DIERSEN: From what I see, outrageously, under proposed “tax reform,” the more that your itemized deductions have been, the more federal income tax that you will pay. My and my wife’s 2016 federal income tax return shows that we had $30,890 in itemized deductions. We paid $21,433 in medical and dental expenses and we were able to deduct $13,859 of that, we paid $12,835 in real estate taxes, we paid $1,468 in state income taxes, and we made $2,728 in 501(c)(3) contributions. From what I see, outrageously, the proposed “tax reform” is designed to a) punish those who have high medical and dental expenses, b) discourage homeownership, and c) discourage taking job-related graduate courses. Government should encourage homeownership. The deductibility of mortgage interest and real estate taxes a) encouraged me to buy a new town home in 1972 when I was 24 years old, a studio condo in 1974, and a one bedroom condo in 1976 and b) encouraged my wife and I to buy a home in 1978 and to have one built in 1984. Further, government should encourage getting job-related education. The deductibility of job-related education encouraged me to take job-related graduate courses 1972-1983 and 1992-1997.)
(FROM THE ARTICLE: Complicating matters: For all the talk about giving the middle class tax breaks, Democrats are skeptical that repealing a variety of popular deductions — such as for state taxes, a big one for Illinois — will yield the promised relief. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in CNN on Sunday, “the tax breaks for working families, half of them will see a tax increase, half a tax break. Those disappear, as Senator Graham just mentioned,” a Durbin reference to a provision that expires in 2027. “But the tax cuts for wealthiest people are permanent. That’s just unfair, and that’s why half of the American people are skeptical about this Trump tax plan,” Durbin said. . .Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., is on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee and in a recent Sun-Times interview was asked what he considered middle-class income. He had no specific number. Neither did Trump White House Council of Economic Advisers chair Kevin Hassett when asked several weeks ago. “This is so fascinating because when you talk about middle income, it’s a very broad description,” Roskam said. “When you talk about who is wealthy, it is generally people saying, well, ‘I’m not wealthy, it’s somebody else.’” “And, we’ve had a wide range of opinions,” with places in the country “where $80,000 of household income is a whole lot of money and you have other areas around the country where $80,000 is not a whole lot of money. So it really is in the eyes of the beholder.”)
— Gutierrez: From chopping up ‘pig innards’ to owning $1.1M second home – Dan Mihalopoulos
(FROM THE ARTICLE: Gutierrez, who turns 64 next month, reported investments worth a total of between $1,325,022 and $2,975,000 at the end of 2015. That amount — which did not include his home in his 4th Congressional District — ranked 147th among the 435 House members, the Center for Responsive Politics said. He cashed in more than $1 million of those assets in 2016, lowering his total investments to somewhere between about $662,000 and $1.56 million, according to his most recent disclosure statement, which was filed in August. Gutierrez said that money went toward the June 2016 purchase of the new house in Puerto Rico for $1.1 million. “It cost us another couple hundred thousand dollars to rehab,” he said. “I bought a house that was then under construction for all of 2016.” . . . Gutierrez — who is paid $174,000 a year as a congressman — said he’s been smart with his personal finances but always acted appropriately as an elected official. “I’ve been fighting for people, doing my job, and ain’t nobody ever questioned my integrity,” he said, predicting that this article would be a “negative story.” For years, Gutierrez invested heavily in Chicago’s residential real estate market, moving repeatedly as he made hundreds of thousands of dollars buying and selling homes in the city. Although he described himself as a “walking open book,” he added, “It’s not important to look at what somebody is doing and what they’re buying. Big deal.” Assuming Gutierrez completes this final term in Congress in January 2019, he would have served 25 years in Washington and be eligible for a full pension of about $67,860 per year. Gutierrez also is eligible for Social Security. His payment would depend on the age he decided to start drawing a Social Security check, with maximum benefits reached by waiting until the age of 70. Before becoming a congressman, Gutierrez was an alderman representing the 26th Ward, the heart of the city’s Puerto Rican community. Chicago pension fund officials wouldn’t immediately say if he’s getting retirement benefits from the city or what those payments would be. His Gutierrez for Congress political committee has paid his wife, Soraida, nearly $400,000 for fundraising and for serving as treasurer and manager for the campaign fund during the past eight years, according to Federal Election Commission records. She was paid $42,000 by the campaign between the start of this year and Sept. 30. From 2003 and 2009, Soraida Gutierrez lobbied state government. The couple’s 37-year-old daughter Omaira Figueroa worked as a staffer for the Chicago City Council and now is on the state of Illinois payroll, with a $68,208-a-year salary as a “consumer counselor” for the Illinois Commerce Commission. Gutierrez often has highlighted the long road between his humble origins and where he ended up as a political power player. “After all, I’m the Puerto Rican son of a cabdriver and a factory worker, a kid who chopped up pig innards and swept the floor of an unsuccessful restaurant, a guy who had to drive a cab on the night shift to make ends meet,” he wrote in his autobiography, “Still Dreaming: My Journey from the Barrio to Capitol Hill.”)


— FRONT PAGE TOP OF FOLD WITH BIG COLOR GRAPHIC: Suburban schools losing students but adding teachers – Jake Griffin (DIERSEN: As fewer and fewer and fewer students come from traditional families, it is harder and harder and harder to teach them.)
— Palatine Township wants expert to referee board meetings – Bob Susnjara


— Rauner finalizes $15 billion Medicaid overhaul – KRISTEN SCHORSCH


— Feds sue Springfield over group home ordinance – Crystal Thomas
— Candidates should release full tax returns – Editorial


— Big-bucks Dems bare some income sources, but not all – Jim Dey (DIERSEN: My critics/opponents, their operatives, and their dupes talk and act like they get lots of money from individuals, organizations, companies, governments, and countries that are anti-Trump, anti-Protestant, anti-conservative, anti-patriotic, anti-Republican, anti-American, anti-White, anti-male, anti-older people, anti-rich people, anti-gun owners, anti-German Americans, and/or anti-those whose ancestors have been in America longer than their ancestors and/or from those that a) reject planks in the Republican Party platform and/or the Illinois Republican Party platform and work against those like me who support those planks, b) reject the Milton Township Republican Central Committee resolution against video gambling and work against those like me who support that resolution, c) focus on destroying those like me who they cannot manipulate/dominate, d) were defendants in lawsuits that I have filed, and/or e) are operatives or dupes for the aforesaid.)


— Taxing bodies should follow McHenry County Board in cutting property tax levies by 10 percent – Editorial


— CEO’s Dislike Illinois – Cole Lauterbach


— New Campaign Ads, New Opponents for Illinois Governor Rauner in Gubernatorial Race Governor Rauner target of new Gubernatorial Campaign Ad – Jerrica Valtierra


— In search of honesty among public servants With the example of an honest retired city clerk and the perseverance of an ancient philosopher as inspiration, voters should accept the challenge of finding honest men and women to vote for in the March primary. – Editorial (DIERSEN: My critics/opponents do not want honest people. They want people who they can manipulate/dominate, and yes, who will do dishonest things for them. I am overjoyed when my critics/opponents say about me that “You cannot tell him what to do.”)


— People want alternative to Rauner, Ives says – Glenn Minnis


— Roy Moore scandal divides Illinois GOP Moore’s mega-donor revealed – Mark Maxwell




— Chuck & Nancy boycott WH meeting; Trump shames them with empty chairs


— CNN Boycotts The White House Christmas Party — Sarah Sanders’ Response Is FIRE – Benny Johnson (DIERSEN: Who has boycotted your events? Members of the following groups boycotted TAPROOT Republicans of Illinois events while I served as the organization’s chairman 2005-2012: anti-Protestant, anti-conservative, anti-patriotic, anti-Republican, anti-American, anti-White, anti-male, anti-older people, anti-rich people, anti-gun owners, anti-German Americans, and/or anti-those whose ancestors have been in America longer than their ancestors and those who a) reject planks in the Republican Party platform and/or the Illinois Republican Party platform and work against those like me who support those planks, b) reject the Milton Township Republican Central Committee resolution against video gambling and work against those like me who support that resolution, c) focus on destroying those like me who they cannot manipulate/dominate, d) were defendants in lawsuits that I have filed, and/or e) are operatives or dupes for the aforesaid. The aforesaid also boycotted Wheaton’s 2004 and 2005 Patriot Day events that I organized.)


— Schumer and Pelosi skipped a meeting with Trump because of this tweet – Aaron Colen (DIERSEN: I should write a book about those who punish me for including links in GOPUSA ILLINOIS emails to articles that they disapprove of. They punish me rather than punishing the authors of those articles. What do you think about that?)


— Luis Gutiérrez’s totally abnormal retirement ploy The abruptness and timing of the congressman’s announcement raises questions about his motives. – NATASHA KORECKI


— What the Tax Bill Would Look Like for 25,000 Middle-Class Families – QUOCTRUNG BUI and BEN CASSELMAN (FROM THE ARTICLE: The story is very different for the roughly one-quarter of middle-class families that itemize deductions. The Senate bill would eliminate some popular tax breaks, including deductions for state and local taxes. As a result, households that take those deductions now could lose out. In total, about 40 percent of households that itemize their deductions would pay more in 2018 under the Senate bill — in some cases a lot more.)
— Senate Considers Making a Terrible Tax Bill Even Worse Dragging its abysmal standards lower, it may throw more money at billionaires to win two crucial votes. – Editorial
— Millions Pay the Obamacare Penalty Instead of Buying Insurance. Who Are They? – K.K. REBECCA LAI and ALICIA PARLAPIANO (DIERSEN: During my lifetime, I have paid lots of money for insurance including life insurance, health, dental, and vision insurance, home insurance, and car insurance.)
— DIERSEN HEADLINE: Anti-Trumps say “Trump Shares Inflammatory Anti-Muslim Videos.”
— Retail Jobs Don’t Need to Be Bad. Here’s Proof. – Eduardo Porter (DIERSEN: What bad jobs have you had? According to my critics/opponents, their operatives, and their dupes, all the jobs that I had were bad. But nevertheless, my critics/opponents, their operatives, and their dupes have always hinted/implied/argued/shouted that instead of me, Democrats, minorities, women, younger people, and veterans should have had the jobs that I had. I did yard work and delivered newspapers 1962-1964; washed dishes 1964-1966; cleaned golf shoes, chipped slag, and pumped gasoline in 1966; delivered mail 1966-1969; worked on an automobile assembly line and as a security guard in 1970; sold tires, automotive services, and major appliances 1970-1971; pumped gasoline 1971-1972; collected delinquent taxes 1971-1980; and audited federal agencies 1980-1997.)
— FRONT PAGE WITH COLOR PICTURE: HARDCOPY ARTICLE TITLE: Pushed to Fringes, Needy New Yorkers Face a Long Slog to Work – Jim Dwyer (DIERSEN: Needless-to-say, my Democrat IRS superiors, supervisors, coworkers, and subordinates were beyond furious a) when I got promoted to a GS-12 (currently $79,563) job in the Loop in 1974, b) when I bought a studio condo in the Outer Drive East building in 1974 and walked to work and to graduate business classes at Loyola, and c) when I bought a one bedroom condo in that building in 1976 and walked to work and to graduate accounting classes at DePaul.)


— DIERSEN HEADLINE: “Trump retweets inflammatory and unverified anti-Muslim videos.” (DIERSEN: Needless-to-say, my critics/opponents want me to “verify” all articles before I include links to them in GOPUSA ILLINOIS emails, that is, they want me to only include links to articles that they like.)
— Republicans had a big idea to give tax relief to the poor. Then it disappeared. – Jeff Stein (DIERSEN: If you are “poor,” you do not pay federal income tax.)


— Where Chicago Isn’t the Second City Trains arrive on time, and the subway has 4G. This is the power of public investment. – William A. Galston
— Companies Foster Collaboration – Sue Shellenbarger (DIERSEN: The federal government fosters collaboration. It wants its employees to collaborate to get rid of their superiors, supervisors, coworkers, and subordinates who are Republican, and especially those who are White, male, non-veteran and who failed to make GS-13 (currently $94,610) by age 25, GS-14 (currently $111,801) by age 30, GS-15 (currently $131,508) by age 35, and Senior Executive Service (currently $161,900) by age 40.)


— Who Funds Conservative Campus Group Turning Point USA? Donors Revealed – ALEX KOTCH (DIERSEN: Who funds you? No one funds me. To discredit me and my GOPUSA ILLINOIS emails, my critics/opponent stress that Ed Bachrach, Henry Bradley, Richard DeVos, William Dixon, Stephen Einhorn, Vince Foglia, Foster Friess, Peter Huizenga, Vince Kolber, Mike Leven, Bernie Marcus, Virginia McCaskey, Mike Miller, Gary Rabine, Bruce Rauner, Richard Uihlein, Elizabeth Weiss, etc. HAVE NOT GIVEN ME ANY MONEY. They further stress that Bachrach, Kolber, McCaskey, and Rabine did not want to know about, to promote, to attend, or to report on their November 20 fundraiser for Ives.)


— Will Tax Reform Get Rid of the Marriage Penalty? Married couples with two working spouses often have to pay a higher tax rate than if they were single. – Matthew Frankel (DIERSEN: My wife and I have paid the marriage penalty big time ever since we got married in 1978.)


— Too late for training – Anamae Leon, Norfolk (DIERSEN: I was a federal employee for almost 30 years.)

(FROM THE LETTER: I am a retired federal employee. I attended annual required classes on the prevention of sexual harassment for many years. The last few years I worked, an additional course on the prevention of sexual assault was required. Apparently, our esteemed members of Congress were exempt from this training and now must pass a bill so that they will be required to get such training. People in such positions know how to behave in the workplace. These men know exactly what they are doing. Years ago, when I was a teenager, my mother told me that it’s a man’s world. I protested at the time, but now, sadly, I know what she meant. We must do better as a nation. Our girls deserve better.)

Author: David Diersen

The opinions that I express in GOPUSA ILLINOIS emails are based on experience that I have gained doing many things since 1948. I base my opinions on what I learned a) working for the federal government for almost 30 years -- Post Office 1966-1969, IRS 1971-1980, and GAO 1980-1997, serving on the Executive Committee of the Association of Government Accountants Chicago Chapter 1983-1996, and being a union member while I worked for the Post Office and IRS; b) earning an MBA from Loyola in 1976, a masters degree in accounting from DePaul in 1980, and a masters degree in financial markets and trading from IIT in 1997; c) passing the CPA examination on my first attempt in 1979 and passing the Certified Internal Auditor examination on my first attempt in 1981; c) serving as a Republican Precinct Committeeman since 1999, the GOPUSA Illinois Editor since 2000, the TAPROOT Republicans of Illinois Chairman 2005-2012, a member of the 2008 Illinois Republican Party (IRP) Platform and Resolutions Committee, a Wheaton Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee member 2003-2011, the Milton Township Republican Central Committee webmaster 2008-2010 and 2000-2004, an Illinois Center Right Coalition Steering Committee member 2003-2007, and an American Association of Political Consultants Midwest Chapter board member 2001-2004; d) attending the 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 IRP State Conventions as a delegate; e) being the subject of a nasty 4-page article in the February 1978 issue of Money Magazine; f) pursing litigation including Diersen v. GAO and Diersen v. Chicago Car Exchange; g) being married since 1978; h) living in Crete 1948-1972, in University Park 1972-1976, in Chicago 1976-1978, and in DuPage County, Milton Township, and Wheaton since 1978; and i) being baptized, raised, and confirmed as a Missouri Synod Lutheran.