tv DW News PBS December 20, 2017 6:00pm-6:31pm PST
♪ brent: this is "dw news," live from berlin. tonight, a major win for u.s. president donald trump. both houses of congress have given their final approval to a sweeping tax reform bill that will bring the biggest tax cuts in decades. republicans hailing it as a victory for the american people. democrats say only the wealthy will benefit. we will get analysis from washington. also coming up, the european commission follows through on its threat to punish poland over judicial reforms that it says are undemocratic.
but poland's president is defiant, signing two bills into law, giving the government more control over the country's courts. and europe deals a big blow to the ride-hailing company uber. its top court says uber is a taxi service, not just an app, and that difference is huge. we will tell you why. plus, an exclusive report from the frontline of ukraine's civil war, as fighting there escalates once more. we meet residents cut off from the outside world. ♪ brent: i'm brent goff. it's good to have you with us. tonight in the united states, the house of representatives has given its final approval to a sweeping overhaul of the u.s. tax code. it had already been approved by both chambers of congress, but an embarrassing procedural error forced the senate to send it back to the house for a re-vote.
now that bill, which includes permanent tax breaks for corporations and temporary tax cuts for individuals, is the biggest shakeup to the tax system in the country in more than 30 years, and it is the first major legislative victory for the trump administration. all right. we are expecting the u.s. president donald trump to sign that legislation into law at any moment now. you are looking at live pictures right now. the u.s. president there with the vice president, as well as the speaker of the house. you see right there members of congress -- and we want to make sure we clarify here, republican members of congress. this was a very partisan vote. they are at the white house cheering on the president, his first legislative victory since taking office last january.
and i say this was a partisan vote, proving how polarized washington is. not a single democrat in the house of representatives or the u.s. senate gave their voice to this tax reform. it is the first reform that the u.s. has seen in a generation. and it calls for corporate tax cuts to become permanent and it calls for the individual tax cuts, which will take effect immediately, to be phased out by the year 2025, effectively raising taxes. here is the president. >> thank you everybody, very much. these are the people right behind me, they have worked so long, so hard. it's been an amazing experience, i have to tell you. hasn't been done in 34 years, but actually really hasn't been done because we broke every record. it is the largest -- i always
say the most massive, but it's the largest tax cut in the history of our country. and reform, but tax-cut. really something special. and i notice -- this just came out two minutes ago, they handed it to me. at&t plans to increase u.s. capitol spending $1 billion and provide $1000 special bonus to more than 200,000 u.s. employees. and that's because of what we did. so that's pretty good. that's pretty good. and i have a whole list of accomplishments that the group behind me have done in terms of this administration and this congress, but you have heard it before -- records all over the place. and that will continue and then some because of what we did. but $3.2 trillion, just think of it, in tax cuts for american families, including doubling the
standard deduction and doubling the child tax credit. the typical family of four earning $75,000 will see an income tax cut of more than $2000 -- they're going to have $2000. and that's, in my opinion, going to be less than the average. you're going to have a lot more than that. one thing very important for the farmers, the great farmers and a the great small business owners that were forced to sell their businesses at bargain basement numbers -- we have provided, for the most part, estate tax is wiped out, so they can keep their farms in the family, and that to me is a very big factor, very big. this is going to mean companies are going to be coming back. you know, i campaigned on the fact that we are not going to lose our companies anymore, they're going to stay in our country, and they are going to stay in our country. and you have been seeing what is happening. even at this prospect. they have tremendous enthusiasm right now in this country and we have companies pouring back into our country and that means jobs
and it means really the formation of new, young, beautiful, strong companies. so that's going to be very , very important. the pass-throughs, you know all about and the small businesses will be big beneficiaries. we are going to bring at least $4 trillion back into this country, money that was frozen overseas and in parts of the world, and some of them don't even like us and they had the money. well, they're not going to have the money long. brent: all right, that's the u.s. president there, donald trump. we could argue that is the happiest we have seen him since he took office. he is about to sign into law this historic tax reform bill that was passed today by the u.s. house of representatives. i'm joined now by my colleague from the business desk fanny facsar at my right, and from washington, our correspondent carsten von nahmen. carsten, let me start with you. we saw this coming. and this is the biggest win for
donald trump since becoming president, isn't it carsten: yes, absolutely. it's his first major legislative achievement, that is quite clear. it is also something that republicans have been wanting to do for many years. and it is -- like it or not, it is one of the biggest tax overhauls in recent history, the biggest one in the last 30 years at least. so yes, this is a victory, if you like. the question is if it will be a pyrrhic victory for him because the democrats will try to use the many provisions in that bill that they can paint as unfair to lower and middle income families and to stick that to the republicans in next year's midterm election. so we will see if this will turn out to be a victory for trump in the long run. brent: that's a very good point to make there, because the
democrats, he did not give a single vote for this. it's a very polarized situation in the u.s. we see it with taxes. what does this mean beyond the u.s. borders? fanny: it really depends on where you produce. the bill includes a tax of 20% for countries that produce subsidies abroad. so what does it mean, for example, for german automakers who have factories in the u.s. but they import element components for those cars for a broad -- abroad? other companies are saying, let's maybe move our headquarters or parts of our offices to the united states because we will pay less taxes. it may even spiral down to something like a global competition to lower taxes. some companies here in germany have called to go the same way and lower corporate taxes. the average in the european union is around 22%, 30% in germany. so, much higher. brent: yeah, there is the fear
that we are about to start a tax war that can then mutate to a trade war across the atlantic. the u.s. president saying $4 trillion is about to come back into the u.s. foreign direct investment is probably what he's talking about there. carsten, he knows how polarized congress is and how polarized the country is. he knows he got this victory on the backs of the republicans, not with the democrat's support. what about what americans out there think? do they want these tax cuts? carsten: well, so far at least, this tax reform has a very bad name, at least among the general public. all polls that we have seen indicate that a clear majority of americans reject this bill, or at least are distrustful of this bill. that might be because people do not like change generally, but also the coverage about this reform has been mostly negative, saying this is a handout
basically to corporations and very wealthy americans. now of course, the republicans have a chance to present their point of view, now back home in their districts. and the president also has to do his part. but it's going to be very tough. what is interesting is how divided the country is again here. a majority of republican voters believe the president that this will trickle down and create more jobs and benefit them in the long run. democratic voters, 95% of them according to one poll do not believe that. brent: it's almost like deja vu when you look at what is happening here. what we are looking at here, as carsten is describing, is trickle down economics. right? you lower taxes on the rich, on corporate america. that will translate into new jobs for the lower and middle class. fanny: spending more money, create more jobs. that was pretty much also the argument of ronald reagan talking reaganomics in 1981.
but what you have seen is a state deficit, astronomical state deficit that other , future presidents after ronald reagan were trying to fight in the 1990's. we all remember u.s. president bill clinton was trying to reduce the deficit. now, there have been other recent experiments in the u.s. state of kansas. the government there has attempted a very similar experiment to that that they are seeing right now of u.s. president donald trump. but did that work? let's have a look. reporter: the midwestern state of kansas was hit hard after financial crisis. after years of sluggish growth, the governor was hoping to kickstart the economy with drastic tax cuts. his administration reduced the income tax and then got rid of it. the state eliminated taxes for farmers, the self-employed, as well as small and medium-sized businesses. gary mason, the owner of an
gladly accepted the massive tax cuts. >> probably got about $20,000 worth of equipment. with the state of kansas tax credit for the lowering of taxes for small businesses, it allowed us an opportunity to buy equipment like this. reporter: but the dream of an economic boon never materialized. the wichita job center is not as busy as it was a few years ago, but that is not due to the tax reform. >> no, there was not a drastic change. the economy is recovering, so we know that that is part of it, just the natural recovery from the recession. reporter: instead of a strong recovery, kansas saw an unimpressive growth and massive budget deficits as its tax base disappeared. funding for this public school in kansas city dropped by 15%, much to the chagrin of principal david smith. >> the tax cuts basically spent all the money the state had and they are out of money. so what they are arguing is that
schools do not need more money. i think these things show you that we do, and we would be able to use that money to do more for kids. reporter: could kansas be a blueprint for the entire country? if donald trump's optimistic plans do not succeed, the u.s. could see a spiraling deficit and stagnation instead of many new jobs. brent: but that is exactly what trump is promising. carsten, before we run out of time, let me ask you, what about all these new jobs the president is promising? has he told us exactly how they are going to be created? carsten: no, he hasn't. he basically relies on businesses to do what he wants them to do, and that is use that money not on bonuses for managers or not for shareholders, but actually for investment and creating jobs. if they will do it, remains to be seen. what is interesting, as we talked about deficits there, is that the republicans have already announced that they want to cut entitlement programs and
welfare programs next year to tackle that massive hole in the federal budget that this tax reform will create. democrats of course are saying they are giving to the rich and they will take the money from the poor to plug the hole. this is the situation we are in right now. brent: carsten von nahmen in washington on the story for us. fanny facsar, here, thank you very much. we will be talking with you a little bit later. here in europe, the european union launched an unprecedented process that could strip poland of its voting rights. the move follows months of tension from warsaw and brussels over judicial reform in poland. polish president andrzej duda appeared defiant today. he said he is signing two laws to put the country's courts under control of the legislative branch. he said the walls make the judiciary more accountable to regular citizens. brussels says the reforms are a threat to the rule of law.
reporter: a landmark decision. european commission gathered in brussels. at stake -- one of the values enshrined at the core of the european identity -- the rule of law, which the commission says is under threat in poland. at the center of the row is a series of reforms, effectively giving parliament the power to appoint judges. >> within a period of two years, a significant number of laws have been adopted, 13 in total, which put at serious risk the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers in poland. reporter: the commission has taken the unprecedented step of invoking article seven of the eu treaty. theoretically, that could lead to sanctions like the suspension of poland's voting rights. but it's unlikely to come to that. hungary has already promised to veto such steps.
nevertheless, it's a highly symbolic move, one which will probably only increase tensions between brussels and warsaw. the polish government says it is being singled out for unfair treatment. >> in fact, the point is to punish poland for having an independent policy and for the fact that it has stopped being the meek, obedient country it was when the previous government was in power. reporter: the ruling law and justice party has made judicial reform one of its key priorities. it says the current system has too many vestiges of the communist era, mired by inefficiency and corruption. but critics say the legislation is a bid by the leader of the right-wing law and justice party, jaroslaw kaczynski, to enhance his power. over recent months, tens of thousands of poles have taken to the streets to voice their concerns at the legislation.
their government remained firm. now the eu has given warsaw three months to consider changes to its plans. it seems unlikely that it will stand down. brent: you're watching "dw news." still to come, stuck in an eastern ukraine war zone. what will happen to the people in this village on the front line if outside help can't reach them? all right, well, let's do some business news now. i can guarantee you they will not be calling an uber. fanny: not in bucharest. not in romania. indeed. there had been several protests across europe against uber. now around 5000 taxi drivers took to the streets against uber in bucharest. they blocked traffic in front of the government building and they called uber an illegal transport company and protested against unfair competition. europe's top court has ruled
uber is not just a digital app connecting drivers with passengers, but constitutes a transportation company and needs to follow their rules. reporter: a few clicks with an app is enough to find a quick ride at a reasonable price. that's the hallmark of ride-hailing giant uber. the company's drivers own their cars and riders can choose their service provider. but uber will have to give up this business model in europe if authorities get their way. europe's top court has ruled that uber should be regulated as a transportation company. that means the ride-hailing service will be treated like a traditional taxi company. professional taxi drivers across europe say the ruling was long overdue. uber has been a thorn in their side because it has not had to comply with taxi regulations. that has led to repeated protests throughout europe. the ruling could put an end to what the taxi drivers believe is unfair competition.
>> it cannot be the case that the industry, the professional industry has to abide by the rules, and there is another part which is offering the exact same service to have different or no rules at all. reporter: but representatives of the computer and communications sectors say the ruling is a step in the wrong direction. they fear it could weigh heavily on cross-border innovation. >> right now after this judgment, what might happen is that we'll have more legal uncertainty -- online innovators might face more legal uncertainty with respect to their business model. reporter: as transportation services, the ruling means uber and many other private firms are likely to face higher costs. fanny: staying in the european union, there is talk today about a brexit delay and that a detailed trade deal will take a lot longer than thought.
but brussels has signaled the uk's transition period must end by december, 2020. the timetable is tight. reporter: independence from brussels. that was one of the core demands of britains when they voted to divorce their country from the european union. but according to the eu's chief negotiator, the united kingdom will still have to play by brussels' rules during any transition period. >> britain will keep all the advantages, all the benefits, but also all the beneficiaries -- been efficiency -- benefits of the single markets. reporter: british prime minister theresa may had backed plans to hammer out a trade deal by october of this year, something brussels has signaled will likely take much longer. she also said the british government may be willing to delay brexit under certain circumstances. >> i can assure my honorable friend and the house we would
only use this power in exceptional circumstances for the shortest possible time and an affirmative motion will be brought to the house. reporter: though may failed to define what those circumstances but time may be running out if u.k. wants to prevent long-term damage to its economy. the international monetary fund warned today the british economy will continue to lag behind the greater eurozone as long as the brexit uncertainty continues. fanny: from your business update to the world news update in the ukraine. brent: that's exactly right. that's where we're going to go now. fighting between ukrainian troops and russian-backed separatists escalated to the worst level we have seen in months. let's show you exactly what we're talking about. the past week alone has seen three ukrainians killed, eight civilians wounded. just days before this latest flareup, our correspondent nick connolly visited the region and that people living on the frontline of the conflict. here is his exclusive report that takes it to the small
village of zhovanka. reporter: a single potholed road is all that connects the village of zhovanka to the outside world. the ridge that overshadows the village is deep in separatist-held territory. here, the frontline begins where people's gardens end. zhovanka's 140 mostly elderly residents are reliant on mostly outside help. since public transport broke down, the nearest supermarket is several hours walk away. it is only thanks to this volunteer-led ngo that international aid can reach those who need it most. >> the village is cut off. people here have no way of getting out. people here are just about surviving, mostly thanks to what they can grow in their gardens.
reporter: this 27-year-old takes us to her house on the far edge of the village. hers are the only three children left in zhovanka. all the other families have long since left. a single mother, she relies on help from her parents and ngo's. her youngest son is just 18 months old. >> for the last two weeks there's been shooting every single day without a break. i used to be scared, but now you just get used to it after a while. reporter: when the conflict broke out, the family used to take cover in an outside cellar. since that was hit, they hide inside. >> this is the best protective room, the one least likely to get hit. on that side we are protected from the house i was born in. from that side we barely get anything coming at us. and if there is, then there are trees. this house has never had a direct hit so far. the separatists are only 70 meters away. they are on the next street.
reporter: the ridge in the distance serves as a vantage point for separatist snipers. she shows us where a direct hit brought down the roof of a cellar she used to hide in. >> if i had somewhere to go that was really mine, i would leave. but just to be tolerated, i don't want that. i have tried that twice already. reporter: beyond her house, only ruins remain. and the front-line trenches. most of them barely deep enough to stand up in safely. we meet two ukrainian soldiers on guard duty. they are also father and son. >> here where we are, there is plenty of shooting. mostly at night. it's a bit quiet during the day, but it happens. reporter: it's december and darkness falls early. and with it, the shooting starts. it's time to leave zhovanka. just a few kilometers down the road is a checkpoint. one of only a handful of places where civilians can cross between government and separatist-held territory.
up to 10,000 people make this journey every day. >> my father died. i have just been to his funeral. >> i went for my pension. >> it is really badly organized. , particularly on the separatist side. reporter: but even the checkpoints are not particularly safe. in recent months this crossing alone has come under attack at least three times. it is a three hour wait in the cold for these people here. queing to cross. it is now been almost three years since the front moved into this region. cutting them off from its suburbs on the ukrainian-held side. these checkpoints were set up as a temporary stopgap. but with political efforts to resolve the conflict going nowhere in a hurry, they are to -- they have long since become a
permanent fixture of life here in eastern ukraine. brent: the last 16 knockout round of the german cup continues wednesday. with two games already concluded. 1-0 the final score. bremen came out on top with a high-scoring clash with freiburg. that ended 3-2. cologne have decided to keep their interim coach until the end of the season as they try to avoid a probable relegation. ruthenbeck was put into temporary command until the midseason break after a sacking this month. but after cologne won for the first time this season at the weekend, the coache had his deal extended until june. here is a reminder of the top stories we're following for you. u.s. president donald trump celebrating his first major legislative victory since taking office. that, after lawmakers gave their final approval to a sweeping tax reform bill set to usher in the
biggest tax cuts in decades. and the european commission has launched disciplinary proceedings against poland over judicial reforms the eu says are undemocratic. the move could lead to unprecedented sanctions against warsaw. after a short break i'll be back to take you through the day. stick around for that. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
st. patrick baptized king aengus here in about 450 a.d. in around 1100, an irish king gave cashel to the church, and it grew to become the ecclesiastical capital of all ireland. 800 years ago, this monastic community was just a chapel and a round tower standing high on this bluff. it looked out then, as it does today, over the plain of tipperary, called the golden vale because its rich soil makes it ireland's best farmland. on this historic rock, you stroll among these ruins in the footsteps of st. patrick, and wandering through my favorite celtic cross graveyard, i feel the soul of ireland.
(whimsical music) - [narrator] it's been more than 70 years since the us dropped two atomic bombs on japan, ushering in the nuclear age. for decades, global politics were dominated by talk of mutually assured destruction between russia and the us. now the nuclear status quo is changing. nine nations are nuclear powers, and non-state actors are upending cold war era strategy. weapons, keep nuclear materials out of the hands of non-state actors, and protect nuclear facilities from potential terrorist attacks? nuclear security, next on great decisions.