The Atlantic Daily: Show Me the Money

What could be revealed in the president’s tax returns? Plus: Laws against fertility doctors using their own sperm, ‘Game of Thrones’ explores electability, and more


What We’re Following

The U.S.-China Trade Talks Have Already Changed the World


China and the U.S. are on the brink of (yet another) trade war. The Trump administration is raising tariffs as a negotiation tactic in the latest trade talks between the two countries. Robert Lighthizer, the trade representative, has pushed for such brinkmanship to put an end to a Chinese campaign to steal American know-how, and to reverse the country’s decades-long buildup of global supply chains. Extracting concessions from China is a tough endeavor, and escalating tariffs into the billions may not be enough to tip the cost-benefit analysis of the Chinese Communist Party.

Congress and the Trump administration are careening toward a showdown over Trump’s tax returns. (The New York Times obtained a decade of revealing figures from Donald Trump’s federal income-tax returns, though not the actual returns.) Democrats in the House had demanded last month that the IRS release six years’ worth of tax returns, but this week, Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, defied the request. Congress claims that it has the oversight muscle to request the documents from the president, paving the way for a court battle that could make its way to the Supreme Court. Trump has done just about everything to hide his returns, resistance that could backfire spectacularly, David Frum argues.

Indiana passed the country’s first law explicitly banning fertility doctors from misusing their own sperm in patients they treat. It comes five years after 23andMe tests revealed that Donald Cline, an Indianapolis-based fertility doctor, had secretly used his own sperm to impregnate more than 50 of his patients in the 1980s. But until Sunday, no law specifically outlawed what Cline had done—when the misdeeds came to light, Cline was stripped of his medical license and fined just $500. Though California already has a general fertility-fraud law on the books, Indiana’s is the first to single out the doctors who use their own reproductive material.


Why Met Gala Attendees Always Screw Up the Theme

(Neilson Barnard / Getty)

Did any of the celebrities strutting through the Met Gala, that exclusive, costumed New York extravaganza, understand the meaning of “camp,” this year’s chosen theme? Did the event’s organizers? Amanda Mull with some real talk about the fashion industry: “What the Met Gala’s shortcomings often make uncomfortably clear is that the boldest, most exhilarating ideas are rarely generated from within the fashion industry itself, or by those traditionally allowed to walk red carpets.”

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Evening Reads

Sorry, Dany: Jon Snow, it turns out, is just the kind of guy you’d want to have a beer—or at least a glass of Dornish wine—with.

(Helen Sloan / HBO)

The field of iron-throne candidates is narrowing. Jon Snow 2020? Or Danaerys?

Game of Thrones’ eighth season airs into a fraught moment in America. The show might not have been intending, with its latest twist, to wade into the choppy waters of the electability debate, but here it is, nonetheless, navigating the currents. The show, now, is asking questions about what people finally want in their leaders—and how those desires might be constrained by tradition, and assumption, and failures of imagination. Jon may not be a particularly astute military leader. He may not be a terribly astute leader in general. He may be alive at the moment only because he has been saved from certain death multiple times, often by women. And he may have already bent the knee to Daenerys. Those are all things, the show is now suggesting, that will be weighed against another, perhaps overarching fact: He’s so charismatic! He’s so inspiring! He is precisely the kind of guy you’d want to have a beer with! (Or at the very least, some Dornish wine!)

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Don’t Be Grateful That Dad Does His Share

(FPG via Getty)

Why should responsible dads be getting so much credit for picking up some—any—of the domestic work in a household? Darcy Lockman, the author of All the Rage: Mothers, Fathers, and the Myth of Equal Partnership, wonders whether such easy gratitude stands in the way of equality in home life:

“We had it out the other night, and then what did he say this morning? ‘I’m so sorry I can’t help you more. I feel so guilty about that.’ He’s helping me, instead of, like, ‘We’ve got to set up the conditions for both of us to be successful.’ But still, I have so many friends whose husbands have never put their child to bed, because it’s her job because she’s the mom. When I hear things like that, I feel really grateful.”

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Urban Developments

(Texas Central)

Our partner site CityLab explores the cities of the future and investigates the biggest ideas and issues facing urban dwellers around the world. Claire Tran shares today’s top stories:

Once a Gold Rush boomtown, Bodie, California, is now an isolated ghost town. Meet one of the five people who still live there in the winter.

Across the United States, according to a new report, fewer states are gaining educated and skilled workers than are losing them to “brain drain.” Richard Florida examines the economic and political consequences of talent migration.

Low-income people, who are often renters, have been spending more and more of their income on housing since 1980. Meanwhile, homeowners are spending a smaller share of their paycheck on housing.

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