Posts Tagged ‘conservative’

Poor hurt the most by expiration of Bush tax cuts

October 7, 2010

On Jan 1st, the Bush tax cuts are set to expire. The child tax credit will be cut in half, the standard deductions and income credits decrease and the 10 percent tax bracket – aimed at non-wealthy taxpayers – goes away.

While wealthier taxpayers pay more in taxes and stand to lose more in total dollars, the impact on low-income taxpayers will be far greater since they live on much slimmer margins.

In a new report from the Tax Foundation, author Nick Kasprak points out that in spite of repeated promises that the cuts will be extended, “the current Congress has shown itself to be unusually susceptible to gridlock so the threat of automatic, full expiration of all these cuts is quite real.” In fact, even though we heard last year that the death tax would go away completely, ten months later, Democratic leaders have yet to follow through on that promise.

If predictions for Republican wins in the Senate races in Illinois and West Virginia hold true, those new members will be sworn in immediately. That will give the GOP 43 seats in the upper chamber and the Democrats will have a very difficult time getting the 60 votes they need to pass the legislation to extend the tax cuts for the middle class, but let them expire for the “wealthy.” They will then be faced with the choice to extend the cuts for ALL, or do nothing and let them expire, hurting those at the lower end of the income scale.

“When comparing changes in after-tax income, low-income workers benefited substantially from the Bush-era tax cuts, and so they would pay much higher taxes if political gridlock allows the imminent expirations to occur on schedule,” Kasprak said.

Additionally, low-income taxpayers have benefited from many temporary stimulus measures enacted in 2009 that are also set to expire at the end of this year: a further expansion of the earned income credit for couples, greater refundability of the child tax credit, and bigger credits for college education.

The Making Work Pay credit that appears in paychecks and boosts take-home pay up to $400 for individuals and $800 for couples is also slated to expire next year.

The report shows that inaction on these tax measures will cost a married couple with two dependents earning $40,000 about $2,643. Their after-tax income would drop from $41,513 (if the cuts are extended) to $38,870.

Those cuts could have been extended if the Blue Dog coalition, led by Jim Matheson, had not hidden behind Pelosi’s skirts.

Becky Lockhart running for Speaker

September 17, 2010

Tonight Representative Becky Lockhart (R-Provo) confirmed that she is running for Speaker of the Utah House. First elected in 1998, she is currently serving as the Assistant Majority Whip.

“If we want different results,” she said, “we must do things differently and that means a different leadership team.”

Asked if she had the votes, she replied that she would not be running if she did not believe she could win. She would neither confirm nor deny other potential members of her leadership team. Paul Rolly of the Salt Lake Tribune reports other members of the slate as Wayne Harper for majority leader and Craig Frank as majority whip.

She is prepared for a tough fight over the next two months as she takes on the sitting Speaker, Dave Clark (R-Santa Clara). If elected, she would be Utah’s first woman Speaker and join a tiny minority of female Speakers. There are only 5 nationwide, all of whom are Democrats. At 41, she believes she would also be the youngest Speaker ever elected in Utah.

Former Utah GOP chair, Stan Lockhart, said he believed she would be an excellent speaker.  Of course he happens to be married to her….

David Walker and financial boondoggles

September 16, 2010

David Walker, former Comptroller General of the United states, was in town recently to talk at Senator Orrin Hatch’s “Economic Summit”.

Walker served as Comptroller General and head of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) from 1998 to 2008. Appointed by President Bill Clinton, his tenure as the federal government’s chief auditor spanned both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Normally a 15-year position, Walker stepped down after ten years when he was personally recruited by Peter G. Peterson, co-founder of the Blackstone Group, and former Secretary of Commerce to lead his new foundation. The foundation distributed the film I.O.U.S.A. that looks at the alarming financial situation we find ourselves in.

Walker has compared the present-day United States with the Roman Empire in its decline, saying the U.S. government is on a “burning platform” of “unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, expensive overcommitments to government provided health care, swelling Medicare and Social Security costs, the enormous expense of a prospective universal health care system, immigration, and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon.”
In 2007, Walker called the Medicare Part D program “probably the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s. I would argue that the most serious threat to the United States is not someone hiding in a cave in Afghanistan or Pakistan,” he continued “but our own fiscal irresponsibility.”

“I’m going to show you some numbers…they’re all big and they’re all bad,” he told CBS. “You know the American people, I tell you, they are absolutely starved for two things: the truth, and leadership. What’s going on right now is we’re spending more money than we make…we’re charging it to a credit card…and expecting our grandchildren to pay for it. And that’s absolutely outrageous.” He was clearly able to read the writing on the wall when he continued: “The fact is, is that we don’t face an immediate crisis. And, so people say, ‘What’s the problem?’ The answer is, we suffer from a fiscal cancer. It is growing within us. And if we do not treat it, it could have catastrophic consequences for our country.” The cancer, Walker says, are massive entitlement programs we can no longer afford.

“It’s the number one fiscal challenge for the federal government, it’s the number one fiscal challenge for state governments and it’s the number one competitive challenge for American business.”

In an ironic twist, Senator Hatch voted for Medicare Part D.

BlogCon

September 16, 2010

FreedomWorks, a national organization known for their stance on lower taxes and less government, sponsored a conservative political bloggers conference in Washington DC this past weekend.

Tabitha Hale, their “Interactive Media Coordinator” brought together 175 bloggers and activists from 35 states to network, to learn and to work on taking over the political world one blog at a time. (OK, I made that last one up, but I think we’re working on it anyway…)

I have to say, I’m a bit of a hard sell when it comes to conferences these days. So often the content is either dumbed-down or so little time is allotted that you can barely skim the surface. That was not the case with BlogCon. The classes were awesome and the networking fantastic.

We are a bit of a unique breed however. One activist who hadn’t really been around a lot of bloggers said it was the first conference she had ever been to where no one made eye contact with the speakers. As soon as they started, all eyes went to the iPads and cell phones – live blogging, live tweeting – even live-streaming in some cases.

Here’s a perfect example of a class that was not dumbed down: Twitter for people who are already using it Presenters Dr Melissa Clouthier and Stephen Kruiser started right off saying that Twitter is mandatory for bloggers – it’s all about the speed of information dissemination and if you’re not using it, you’re missing out on a powerful tool. It’s a great way to influence the influencers.

The next session was on podcasting. One of the key points for bloggers is that we must “platform agnostic” – yes we blog. And we use Facebook, Twitter, we podcast, we “vlog” and more (or we should be – Holly on the Hill needs to catch up with podcasting and vlogging….)

One of my top two favorite classes was Investigative Blogging: Making News. Will Lutz, who runs “The Lone Star Report” and Philip Klein, who writes for the American Spectator really dug into how to get to the stories, especially the ones no one else is covering. Once again, they emphasized all politics is local – and so is the blogging.

My other very favorite class was “Vlogging, YouTube, & interviews: How to be effective on camera” Fantastic information by people who are out there doing it – Lee Doren, Steven Crowder and Jason Mattera. Great stuff – even insiders tips on getting your YouTube videos to go viral.

We learned about Austrian economics, what to expect from the lame-duck session, the all-important “Pimp your blog” session on getting the most out of WordPress and ended the day with a righty-lefty debate on Internet influence on the political process. Awesome.

The networking and press access to the weekend’s events were also a definite perk.

Does all of that make you want to become a blogger? Great! Do it! You don’t even have to have your own blog – become a guest blogger on someone else’s site. I would love to see more of us out there. We need bloggers covering state and local school board meetings, city council meetings, county central committee meetings, county commission meetings, where they seem to love to raise taxes and we need more bloggers on Utah’s Capitol Hill. Come on in – the water’s fine and there is plenty of room in the pond.

Tea Party Power

September 15, 2010

The last big primary day is finally behind us and with just seven weeks to the general election, the power of the Tea Party movement has been felt far and wide. Yesterday’s elections were no exception.

In Delaware, a decidedly blue state, conservative Christine O’Donnell won the GOP nomination for US Senate. Like Joe Miller in Alaska, she was thought to have little to no chance against the “establishment” candidate. In fact, like in Alaska, the powers-that-be fought against her. The NRSC ran telephone ads against her the last week of the primary and now that she won has indicated they will not be supporting her financially or otherwise. The GOP chairman from Delaware said she “couldn’t be elected dogcatcher.” Karl Rove was distinctly ungracious in his comments about her to Sean Hannity, saying “This is not a race we’re going to be able to win.” Congressman Mike Castle, her primary opponent, had won 16 elections before last night. In fact, he had never lost a race. He was heavily favored to defeat the Democrat, Chris Coons running for Joe Biden’s former seat. Coons is now predicted to win.

But here’s the deal. None of the so-called experts thought Scott Brown could win in Massachusetts. They didn’t think Lisa Murkowski was at risk and they did not think Bob Bennett would come in third at the state GOP convention. They were wrong.

The Tea Party movement has flexed its muscle and delivered some knock-out punches. The old guard had better take notice. We won’t win every election, but we will win enough to make a big difference this cycle. It will continue through the next cycle and beyond. We can’t “change the culture” of DC without changing the culture of America and that is what this political movement is doing. Those who insist on doing the same old things the same old way are being shown the door all over this country, from city councils to state legislatures to the US Senate.

Welcome to the brave new world.

Phantom Jim is also do-nothing Jim

September 14, 2010

Utah’s token Democrat, Jim Matheson, votes with Nancy Pelosi over 93% of the time. He has a “Big Spender” rating by NTU, voted twice in the last year to extend the debt ceiling, voted for cash for clunkers and yes, he voted for the stimulus, so let’s just put the “blue dog” label to rest, shall we? He could more aptly be called a Pelosi lap-dog, voting “no” only when she allows him to.

In addition to voting yes on spending the taxpayers’ money over and over again, he is remarkably timid when it comes to sponsoring bills. In 10 years (10. As in a decade.) he has sponsored only 59 bills. The first two years he was in office, he barely managed to sponsor 5 bills, none of which passed. According to the “Govtrack” website, he has only passed two bills during that decade.

So, he won’t hold town halls, he spends like a drunken sailor, he votes FOR and WITH Nancy Pelosi, won’t sponsor bills and his own party keeps him in the dark, even on things like the nominee for Utah’s US attorney. Oh, and he’ll be in the minority party once again come November.

Republican opponent Morgan Philpot points out Matheson’s remarkable lack of effectiveness in his latest campaign ad. Time for this “blue dog” to come on home.

Philpot swings at Matheson’s land use policies

August 31, 2010

Utah’s delegation is almost universally united in standing up to Ken Salazar, his cronies and their control of 2/3 of the land in Utah. The lone hold-out is, of course, Democrat Jim Matheson.  Matheson – aka Phantom Jim – didn’t have the, um, …. courage…. to stand up to Salazar when 77 leases were yanked in Uintah county. (He did ask Salazar in a letter to pretty please restore them. Nothing happened, of course.) Matheson stayed in the background when Rep Rob Bishop and others spoke out on the administration’s backdoor plan to claim millions of acres. Matheson DID, however, announce a plan earlier this year to set aside 26,000 additional acres of wilderness in the Wasatch Mountains, prompting Alta mayor Tom Ballard to remark “It’s been kind of jammed down our throats.”

Yesterday, Matheson’s Republican opponent, Morgan Philpot took him to task as he unveiled his short, medium and long-term goals for land use.. He claimed that with 67% of the state owned by the federal government, we are no longer a sovereign state, but a “geographic area administrator” for the feds. He announced that he is endorsed by all three Washington county commissioners and said that his campaign is on track to wrap up the endorsements of 75% of the county commissioners in the second district.  He pointed to Matheson’s absenteeism and said the district – and especially the rural counties – needed someone who would go to bat for them.  The current Congressman simply will not.

Congressman Rob Bishop appeared with Philpot at his press conference. He said unequivocally that Philpot’s ideas “hit the core” of what needs to be done. “They are the kind of proactive, positive ideas that need to go back there to Congress,” he said. “He will fit in brilliantly with the entire delegation, as well as within Congress.”

In the short term, Philpot proposes that the Utah delegation work to restore the recently canceled energy leases, to increase access, specifically to school trust lands, and to open them for development.

In the medium term, he says that we must establish “once and for all” the validity of county RS2477 road rights of way and to pursue permanent, full funding of PILT – Payments in Lieu of Taxes.

In the long-term, Philpot said we must pursue a “legal and legislative strategy designed to achieve parity (as required by the Constitution) between public lands states and the rest of the Union.”

Matheson told KSL he has nothing to be ashamed of and that he has worked well with county commissioners in the past. His spokeswoman said it was not surprising Philpot got the endorsement of the Washington county commissioners –  they were Republican, after all. Wonder if she’ll be surprised if Philpot also gets the majority of the votes in this R+15 district?

Earthquake in Alaska

August 25, 2010

Last week, almost no one knew the name of Senator Lisa Murkowski’s challenger for the GOP nomination in Alaska – and no one really cared.  This morning they all do – it’s Joe Miller. – and it looks like he will be the next Senator from Alaska. Less than a week ago, national pundits were saying that a Murkowski loss was “extremely unlikely”.

Miller – with little notice – announced his candidacy in April.  Todd Palin held a fundraiser for him in May and Sarah Palin endorsed him the beginning of June.  The Tea Party Express jumped on board, but polling did not show much of a chance for Joe – 62% Murkowski, 30% Miller in July.

Results this morning show how quickly politics can change.  Miller leads Murkowski 51% to 49%, with 2000 votes separating the two and 98% of the precincts counted.  Absentee ballots are still outstanding.  It looks like the relentless efforts by Miller, the Palin’s and the Tea Party Express will pay off in a big way for the conservative movement – at least in Alaska.

Colorado’s primary results

August 11, 2010

Incumbent Senator Michael Bennet survived a strong intra-party challenge from former Colorado House Speaker, Andrew Romanoff.  (Yes, the one that was offered a job by the White House if he would drop out of the race.).  Bennet won with 54.2% of the vote, while Romanoff received 45.7%.
Bennet had establishment backing from Obama, the DSCC and Organizing for America while Romanoff countered with endorsements from former President Clinton and big labor.  Most facinating, this was the first major race in Colorado where Democrats did not unite behind a single candidate – at least since the 2004 “Colorado Miracle”.  In fact, Romanoff became Colorado’s Speaker because of the focused, effective battle the “Gang of Four” waged against Colorado Republicans. He then went on to use that very same battle strategy against Senator Bennet, including some very negative campaigning.  This time, however, it was unsuccessful.  National media called the Colorado race the nastiest of the year.  In fact, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine will travel to Colorado this week to speak at a unity event and work to heal the deep rift within the party and help Sen Bennet hold on to his seat in November.

The Republicans did not fare much better.  Tea party candidate Ken Buck, another so-called political outsider (who actually wasn’t that much of an outsider), defeated former Lt Governor Jane Norton with 51.5% of the vote.  Buck has a few faux-pas’ himself.  He was caught on tape wondering when the “dumba…s” tea partiers would stop asking him about Obama’s birth certificate.  Oops.  He does not believe that stumbles in the primary will follow him into the general.  He was endorsed by Jim DeMint and has publicly stated the political person he most admires is the SC Senator.  Still, he will have his work cut out for him to defeat Bennet in November.

Bloodied and battered, the two primary winners must now struggle to unite their respective parties and win over unaffiliated voters to win the election in November.  Expect more fireworks.  And mud.  Lots and lots of mud.

In Colorado’s gubernatorial GOP primary, Dan Maes defeated former Rep. Scott McInnis.  Maes faces Democrat John Hickenlooper, the Denver mayor, and American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo, a former GOP congressman, in the general election.  Tancredo got in the race because he did not believe either Maes or McInnis represented a good option for governor.  McInnis was embroiled in a plagarism scandal, while Maes has his own ethical issues and fundraising troubles.

Colorado state Rep. Scott Tipton defeated Sarah Palin-endorsed veteran Bob McConnell in Democratic Rep. John Salazar’s district.  (John is the older brother to Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar.)  Tipton had the endorsement of Utah’s Jason Chaffetz and has gotten campaign advice from Chaffetz’ campaign manager, Deidre Henderson.

Meanwhile Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier won out over Lang Sias, (who was endorsed by John McCain, Sarah Palin and Tom Tancredo) for the GOP nomination. He will face Rep. Ed Perlmutter in November in a race that favors the incumbent.

You(can)Cut government programs

August 4, 2010

Back in May, U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Minority Whip, launched “You Cut” – a program where “we the people” can go to a website and select programs that should no longer be funded by the federal government.

Each week, the “House Economic Recovery Solutions Group” posts new proposals and asks site visitors to vote on which one they think is the worst waste of money. Participants can also text their votes via cell phone.

So far, $1.3 million votes have been cast to eliminate such things as the mohair subsidy program, collecting back taxes from gov’t employees, ending funding for whaling programs in Mississippi and prohibiting taxpayer funding for campaigns in foreign countries.

Here is Rep Cantor explaining this innovative idea:

While presented as a bipartisan effort, it’s been heavily supported by the Republicans and not nearly as much by the Democrats. Finally, last week’s top YouCut item was presented by 4 Democrats – but when their proposal was presented on the House floor, 3 of the 4 voted against it!

So do your part and every week, head on over to Rep Cantor’s site to cast your vote. Maybe, just maybe, one of them will actually be implemented.


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