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Republicans pass their massive tax overhaul; Chilean voters elect former President Sebastián Piñera back into the office, signifying a right-wing shift in Latin America.
You get a tax cut, and you get a tax cut, and you get a tax cut!
- The Republican tax bill is all but a done deal, and will likely become federal law just in time for the new year. [Vox / Dylan Scott]
- The Senate is expected to pass the bill on Tuesday night. [Vox / Dylan Scott]
- There has been a minor hiccup in the House: This afternoon, House Republicans accidentally didn't follow procedural Senate rules when they passed their bill, meaning they'll need a do-over tomorrow. But barring any shocking, unexpected changes, the result will be the same. [Politico / Brian Faler]
- The bill constitutes a major legislative win for congressional Republicans (really, their only one this year), but it's worth noting that the final product doesn't match up to President Trump's promises. [NYT / Jim Tankersley]
- For instance, Republicans promised they would simplify the tax code so Americans could fill out their taxes on a postcard, that massive tax cuts would pay for themselves, and that Trump and his family wouldn't personally benefit. Those things aren't happening, according to multiple independent analyses (and the obvious lack of postcards). [Vox / Tara Golshan]
- The big winners in this tax bill include America's wealthy, corporations and President Trump. The middle and working classes, while initially getting a tax cut, will eventually see individual tax cuts expire and could end up having to pay more. And future generations will be stuck with the tab of an increased deficit. [Vox / Dylan Matthews]
- There has been a concerted effort from activists groups to appeal to key senators like Susan Collins and Arizona Republican Jeff Flake to kill the bill, including activist Ady Barkan, a man diagnosed with ALS who has been personally lobbying senators to vote "no." [Vox / Ella Nilsen]
Chile just swung to the right
- Chile's voters just elected a new president, conservative billionaire Sebastián Piñera (who also served as the country's president between 2010 and 2014). [BBC]
- Piñera won with a comfortable lead, beating his center-left opponent, senator and television journalist Alejandro Guillier, 54.6 percent to 45.4 percent. Some election analysts had expected Guillier would do better and the race would be closer. [Al Jazeera]
- Piñera didn't leave his first term all that popular, due to rising inequality and lack of certain reforms. But he also presided over a time of economic growth for Chile, which voters wanted to bring back. [Associated Press / Eva Vergara]
- But Piñera's win is also a reflection of a larger right-wing political shift in Latin America. Other countries including Argentina, Paraguay, and Peru recently elected conservative leaders. And right-wing leaders in Latin America have increasingly been pointing to the economic turmoil in countries led by socialist governments, most notably Venezuela. [NYT / Ernesto Londono, Pascale Bonnefoy, and Daniel Politi]
- Remember Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein? Her campaign is now a focus of the Senate's Russia investigation. [BuzzFeed / Emma Loop]
- An old mill town in New Hampshire is aiming to manufacture organs by growing them from cells and 3D-printing them. The project has government backing and funding; in the process, they're hoping to revitalize a city that's struggling financially in the process. [Politico / Colin Woodward]
- The size of wine glasses have ballooned since the 1700s, and it could be a reason why people are drinking more wine. [Atlas Obscura / Anne Ewbank]
- Paleontologists are worried about the loss of federal protections to certain fossil-rich sites in Utah that were part of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments. Changes could potentially mean their access will be limited. [Smithsonian Magazine / Maya Wei-Haas]
“It just was way, way, way, way too much. Each time that I was taking it, again and again, it just felt like more of me diminishing, just getting smaller until it was just like a shell of a person.” [Ford factory worker Suzette Wright on her experiences with sexual harassment, to NYT / Susan Chira and Catrin Einhorn]
Watch this: How smart is today’s artificial intelligence?
Current AI is impressive, but it's not intelligent. [YouTube / Joss Fong and Dion Lee]