Thursday, October 26, 2006

On Bush’s issues : Vote Walz

President Bush responded to a question at Wednesday’s (10/25/06) press conference about the upcoming election :
BUSH: “I think the coming election is a referendum on these two things: which party has got the plan that will enable our economy to continue to grow and which party has a plan to protect the American people.”
He said he also will push the unfinished business of his second term -- reforming Social Security, overhauling the tax code and pushing for a broad immigration bill -- and is "more likely to achieve those three objectives with a Republican-controlled Congress and a Republican-controlled Senate."

My thoughts.

SECURITY : We’ve heard it before … everything changed on 9/11.
I remember 9/11 not only for the attack, but also that the Bush Administration was, dispite warnings, oblivious to the threat.
On January 31, 2001 former Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman issued their report on the U. S. Commission on National Security/21st Century which included projecting a direct attack on the United States and concerns terrorism in general. Bush put Cheney in charge of this.
On September 10, John Ashcroft submitted his first budget which although he sought increases in funding for sixty-eight Department of Justice programs, none were related to counterterrorism. In fact, he rejected the FBI’s request for $58 million for 149 new counterterrorism field agents, 200 additional analysts and 54 extra translators. On the same day, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff informed Senator Dianne Feinstein that the draft legislation on counterterrorism and homeland defense would require another six months to study.

After the tragedy of 9/11, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States – more commonly known as the 9/11 Commission – was created. Although it was composed of 5 Republicans and 5 Democrats, it issued a unanimous report – with no additional views and no dissents – recommending changes that needed to be made to improve our security. These changes required Congressional action. The bill was entitled : Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 : A bill to reform the intelligence community and the intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government, and for other purposes.

Since this bill had President Bush’s support, one would have thought it should have the support of Republicans. In the Senate, it was overwhelming approved with only two dissenters ( Coleman and Dayton both voted to approve the legislation.) On December 7, 2004, the House took its vote … the Minnesota House Republicans had one dissenter … as Kennedy, Kline and Ramstad voted in favor of Security, but GUTKNECHT voted AGAINST it. Why would Gutknecht vote against this legislation? I can only surmise that it was because it did not include provisions regarding the issuance of driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants … America was attacked by terrorists who entered the country legally … Gutknecht would rather delay improving our National Security by attaching an issue that he cares about to critical legislation. Virtually, two years later, America does not have a compressive illegal immigration plan because of the extreme views of Gutknecht, Tancredo, Sensenbrenner and other alarmists who act in defiance of the majority of Republicans (Bush, Frist, Coleman, et al) and Democrats.

A GROWING ECONOMY :
Do you know the difference between a Recession and a Depression ?
A Recession is when your neighbor is out of work; a Depression is when you are out of work.

That’s what this economy is about. I’m doing okay … but at my neighbor’s house, both the husband and wife lost their jobs this year … and they had each worked in their individual field for over 20 years … he’s found a job, she hasn’t.

The economy may be growing but what is also growing is income inequality -- especially at the top -- the very rich are pulling away from the ordinary rich and the middle class. Case in point : the total pay for chief executive officers at 1,522 of the largest U.S. companies swelled by a median of 30 percent in 2004. That's double the rate of growth in 2003, according to a survey released in October by the Portland, Maine-based researcher Corporate Library. President Bush commented on CNBC on Monday: "I get astounded by the size of the pay packages. Consider me floored, when I see a guy making a billion dollars as the CEO of a company."
For ordinary folks, our biggest asset is our home and those values are dropping. Yesterday, the National Association of Realtors reported a sharp decrease in the price of homes. The price of existing homes fell 2.2 percent last month, while the median price of a single-family home fell 2.5 percent from September of last year. This marked the largest annual decrease since the NAR started tracking prices in 1969.
So the stock market is up and those that are rich are doing fine, but us, ordinary folks, we’re concerned about our jobs, families, retirement, health care, college-education for our kids, etc.

Gutknecht’s tax plan is maintain the status quo.

Congress continues to approve to deficit budgets which increase the national debt which increases the birth tax. After 9/11, there may have been acceptance of a temporary budget imbalance, but why is that so five years later ?

The economy has grown and tax receipts have risen over the past two years, but the Bush tax cuts played a small role in that process. An analysis of Treasury data prepared last month by the Congressional Research Service estimates that economic growth fueled by the cuts is likely to generate revenue worth about 7 percent of the total cost of the cuts, a broad package of rate reductions and tax credits that has returned an estimated $1.1 trillion to taxpayers since 2001. In short, the Treasury lost more in taxes than it gained from the resulting economic stimulus. Yes, the federal revenues increased but not as much as it could have.
Gutknecht embraces lower tax rates on passive income (dividend and capital gains) which help advance the fortunes of wealthy Americans versus working families wage income.
Gutknecht also favors tax breaks for corporations such as H.R. 4761 which would award tax incentives for oil companies that even the White House acknowledges would reduce federal receipts by several hundred billion dollars over 60 years.
Gutknecht idea of the status quo is to make the Bush tax cuts permanent.

If the issue is tax fairness, Gutknecht clearly favors the affluent and corporations.

SOCIAL SECURITY :
Bush has repeatedly made it clear that he plans to resolve the Social Security question in the last half of his term. Gutknecht favors privatization which will only add trillions to the national debt.

CONCLUSION
: Gutknecht is not running for another term … he’s running for a lifetime appointment. I, and the next generation, cannot afford a Congressman who so clearly uses taxes as a campaign slogan without consideration of our long term financial future. The question is not whether "you can spend your money smarter than the federal government"; the question is "why won't the Congress make others pay their FAIR share?"

I have read the Walz position paper (link below) and clearly he gets it.
Eliminate the Democrat or Republican candidate label and it is clear who is the most fiscally responsible candidate.

SOURCES :
Roll Call vote on Terrorism Prevention
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2004/roll544.xml

Walz’s position paper on Middle Tax Cuts
http://www.timwalz.org/vertical/Sites/%7BDD1DDF80-8E82-48D5-8648-607855AC529B%7D/uploads/%7B6FE57A5D-1413-4327-BF42-EA529683D1C7%7D.PDF

1 comment:

Brian Riedl said...

I have never said the Bush tax cuts would add $3 trillion to the deficit over the next decade.

In fact, no reputable economist would say that, as it completely overshoots all JCT/CBO tax cost estimates by a large magnitude.

Yes, Mily Ivins happened to quote an unrelated statement of mine in the same column where she also pulled that $3 trillion number from somehwere. I'm not sure why you assume I was her source for that figure.

Please do not attribute such nonsense to me.

Brian Riedl
The Heritage Foundation