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Pulitzer Prize winner James Steele came to the Elks lodge to discuss the election.

The Sedona Elks lodge held roughly 50 people on Thursday, Nov. 17, to hear Steele share his insight on the recent general election. The event was hosted by the Verde Valley Chapter of the League of Women Voters.

Steele covered how the election may impact the economy, through taxes and foreign policy.

Steele became an accomplished journalist through his work as an investigative reporter. He said the work is much more systematic and boring than the clandestine exchanges in dark parking garages that most think of. He recommended reading tax codes — something he researched — as a good way to get to bed.

Nevertheless, all that work ends up leading somewhere sometimes, as he recalled when a paragraph actually started him awake — an exemption for Delaware from the stated tax reform restriction in the paragraph above it. He would go on to find a slew of such exemptions and said that most would be surprised by what shady deals were put into writing.

As far as the election, he attributed President-elect Donald Trump’s victory, as well as the surge U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders enjoyed, to tapping into the working class.

Looking back on the work he had done and the analysis he had written, Steele was skeptical of Trump’s plans as stated so far. He said the possible exit from the North American Free Trade Agreement could be a large risk that may not go far enough in actually addressing the issue of manufacturing jobs and in the end, the president will not be able to bring those jobs back.
On taxes, Steele said that he was in favor of eliminating carried interest. He said that there has been a significant cut in the portion of total federal taxes the top earners pay, going back to 1950s numbers to show disparity. Later, he said that lowering taxes broadly adds to the deficit.

In terms of using taxation as a method to bring back jobs, Steele cautioned that an attempt had been made in 2003, which ended up eliminating jobs.

In the domestic economy, Steele showed some frustration as he covered infrastructre, and how one would think bipartisan efforts could succeed here. He said that building infrastructure is a proven investment, and that it provides a ripple effect in the expanding private sector. The problem, he said, was that there are legislators who simply refuse to spend on any project. These people, he said, would have turned down funding to the internet during its infancy.

Like many speaking on the recent election, Steele hoped that the respect shown by Trump and his supporters would improve, citing what he saw as a lack of it with signs such as “Jail Hillary.”

The League of Women Voters Verde Valley hosts  speakers on a variety of political topics. View its calendar at lwvverdevalley.com.

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