November 2017 Newsletter


A stark juxtaposition from Washington DC.

First, I recently had the chance to visit the new National Museum of African-American History and Culture, when I accompanied Dawn to DC for her service on the board of the Guttmacher Institute.

Three hours wasn’t enough time to appreciate all that is offered by this spectacular addition to the Smithsonian Museum. It was time enough to be staggered, inspired, moved, devastated, uplifted, angered, informed, awed, and more.

Words can’t summarize the experience here. I can only affirm the museum’s message as so central to our American story, so powerfully portraying the depth of that story: the pervasive brutality that flowed alongside miraculous kindnesses, the cowardice and racial prejudice that paralleled bravery and dignity, the monstrous abuses of power that were met with unquenchable persistence and hope. I cried and I marveled and I worried and I wondered, about our American past and our future.

When you finish 600 years of history and then greet the image of President Obama . . . well it’s momentous. This visit gave me the most powerful museum experience I’ve ever had. I hope you get the chance to experience it. And soon.

Second, also in DC, come plans for a new federal tax code. The juxtaposition is chilling. Obscene.

Ponder the long generational arc of how wealth and power in America were created – robbed, in no small measure – and acknowledge the demographic inequalities that are so stark and worsening today. And then consider the proposed tax cut.

In the outline the administration proposed, 80% of tax-cut dollars go to people making more than $1 million dollars a year. (See analysis here)

Put another way:  The 99% of households that earn less than $500,000 per year will see their after-tax income increase less than 1% on average. Those earning more than $1 million will see after-tax income increase 9% on average. This is so REGRESSIVE!

Or put another way:  households earning less than $500,000 will see less than a $500 average reduction in their annual tax bill. Households earning more than $1 million will see an average reduction of $230,000 every year.

Serious work lies ahead, to improve our country and communities, for all. Dawn and I cherish the chance to work with all of you in that cause. Thanks for all you do.

Democratically Yours,

ps  Consider joining us for a New Year’s Eve a little different this year – an ushering in of Bloomington’s 200th year! Bicentennial details to come, but hold the late afternoon/early evening of Sunday, December 31st.