Thursday, September 25, 2008

MN-01 : Walz Should Teach a Class in Fiscal Responsibility

Before Congress could have an opportunity to weigh in adding $700 billion to our national debt, they had a vote to add $70 billion for the next year. So how did the self-identified fiscal conservatives - John Kline (R-MN-02) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN-06) – vote ? They voted for it. In opposition were Tim Walz (D-MN-01) and Collin Peterson (D-MN-07). The bill passed by a large majority with only 30 Democrats standing in opposition (or in support of fiscal responsibility.) It was the easy political choice … it wasn’t fiscally prudent but being fiscally prudent won’t get you as many votes if it means that voters might be told by their opponent that the vote would be classified as a tax increase.

Walz has been down this road before.
He knows the Ron Carey and the MN-GOP will recycle their press release from the last time this legislation was approved. “Tim Walz promised to stand up for the middle class during his campaign but it’s clear he didn’t really mean it. With his vote against bringing a clean Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) patch to floor of the House, Walz once more sides with national liberals and against the interests of the First District.”
Hopefully, the Mankato Free Press will once again remind the voters as they did then “Ultimately, the minority Republicans won, utilizing a shrewd political move. They could say Democrats voted against reforming AMT if Democrats did not capitulate to approve the reforms even though there is no money to pay for them. Many Democrats in the House eventually relented, figuring they’d better vote to prevent average Americans from getting hit by the AMT, even if the government can’t pay for it and the vote effectively raises the federal deficit. Some House members, including Rep. Tim Walz, D-1st District, and Rep. Collin Peterson, D-7th District, didn’t take the bait and voted for keeping the Paygo rules. Meanwhile, Rep. John Kline, R-2nd District, voted against Paygo, as did Republican Sen. Norm Coleman. The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, and the Concord Coalition, a budget watchdog group, resoundingly thrashed lawmakers unwilling to pay for things they approve. We are just as frustrated but expect to be even more exasperated when the campaigns heat up. As part of the cover, opponents of Paygo will say Walz and Peterson voted for tax increases. We hope voters, who normally have short memories, will have a clearer mind on just what happened last week.

The big difference between last December and now is that the amount just continues to grow … then it was $50 billion and now it is $70 billion.

Ironically, when given the facts, a survey indicate that even Republicans support Walz position.

Fiscal responsibility includes tax fairness. Paying for AMT reform is a key problem. Rolling back the high-income rate cuts and the lower tax rates on dividends and capital gains enacted since 2001 would offset more than half of the revenue loss. If the tax cuts sunset, repealing the deduction for state and local taxes, as proposed by President Bush's tax reform panel, would more than offset the cost of reforming or repealing the AMT. But those choices are not ones that certain fiscal conservative want to address … they would rather ignore the problems … which helped produce today’s financial predicament. They don't even offer their own plan or even find any tax increase acceptable. That's being fiscally irresponsible.

There are many factors that resulted in the current $700 billion bailout proposal, yet I have to wonder if this could have been averted if some reforms had been put in place earlier. One of the points of contention is executive compensation. While the legislation may address “golden parachutes” for top executives, that is a red herring ... the "walk-away pay" may address a few executives, but the problem is deeper. The legislation must also address taxes rates allowed for hedge fund managers and investors who currently pay a tax rate half that applied to ordinary income.

This November, don’t fall for the campaign fodder, look at their votes … Tim Walz has proven that he is willing to confront fiscal responsibilities seriously.

1 comment:

Ollie Ox said...

You are awesome.