Monday, September 27, 2010

MN-02 : Why Did Republicans Pledge NO to No Earmarks

On John Kline’s (R-MN-02) House website (which should deal with official government business – not campaign pledges), the Pledge to America is “unveiled” (what a weird word choice that Mr. Kline chose … is it some mystery, cloaked in secrecy, that after time is now safe to reveal).
The Pledge runs almost 8,000 words, complete with charts and graphs and inspiring quotations and photographs of “old” patriots and today’s patriots … beginning with a lengthy preamble modeled on the Declaration of Independence.

Sadly, the “new governing agenda for America” is pretty much standard fare; such as :
We pledge to advance policies that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity, a robust defense, and national economic prosperity.

We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values.

We pledge to make government more transparent in its actions, careful in its stewardship, and honest in its dealings.

Hmmm … no mention of “earmarks” which Mr. Kline has pledged to not restrict ? And no mention of “rescissions
which could be an effective tool in reducing spending ?

The Pledge is broken into sections; such as :
A Plan to Create Jobs, End Economic Uncertainty and Make America More Competitive
It’s a good goal to create jobs however it should be noted that on the website that the Republicans used to collect job creation ideas , The Pledge does not address the prime suggestion :
Stop the outsourcing of jobs from America to other countries that do not pay taxes into the U.S. and stop the tax breaks that are given to these companies that are outsourcing. If there company is in the United States, hire people in the United States. That would create more revenue for the government as the American workers would pay taxes and the companies would be paying taxes to America as well.

No, The Pledge is actually to prevent “massive” tax increases by making all current tax rates permanent … okay, will that truly provide the funds to have a “robust defense” ?
Well, in reality whose income tax rates are being threatened … after all, President Obama wants to extend the tax cuts for virtually everyone except for families making over $250,000 per year … so what if they did revert back to the tax rates that existed prior to President Bush’s tax cuts … the top rate would go from 35% to 39%.
Which leads to the obvious question : did the Bush tax cuts help or hurt the country ? David Stockman, President Reagan’s Office of Management and Budget director said “(America’s) debt explosion has resulted not from big spending by the Democrats, but instead the Republican Party’s embrace, about three decades ago, of the insidious doctrine that deficits don’t matter if they result from tax cuts.” Further, Alan Greenspan stated : “I’m very much in favor of tax cuts but not with borrowed money and the problem that we have gotten into in recent years is spending programs with borrowed money, tax cuts with borrowed money. And at the end of the day that proves disastrous.”
Extending the tax cuts for the wealthiest families has not helped our economy, nor will it in the future.

The second topic is : A Plan to End Out-of-Control Spending and Reduce the Size of Government
This is where the Republicans could have embrace Mr. Kline’s personal issue … the end of earmarks … but they did not. This is the charade that the Republicans have used for years.
As Shelley Madore, Mr. Kline’s challenger, has highlighted incumbent John Kline has refused to fund local transportation and other important community projects and recently voted against the Small Business Jobs Act. Incumbent John Kline voted for the Bank Bailout and the Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska.
Earmarks” are Mr. Kline’s personal crusade … a Don Quixote-ist fight against windmills that his fellow Republicans did not “Pledge” to end. Shelley Madore’s Thirty-Five Cents Tour points out how communities in the Second District have watched their tax dollars be spent in other states while their project requests are unheard by Mr. Kline.
If Mr. Kline cannot get his signature issue included inThe Pledge , why should constituents continue to endure his crusade ?

The last topic is : A Plan to Keep Our Nation Secure at Broad and at Home.

This is purely playing politics. Does any American not want a secure county … but at what cost ? For discussion sake, let’s ignore Iraq and Afghanistan and ask who is the enemy and how will they attack us ? No doubt your answer was a stateless terrorist group such as al Qaeda. The obvious question is : Are we investing wisely or are we spending to fight yesterday’s war ? Why does America need eleven Navy carrier fleets when no other country has more than one ? The simple answer is the one that Mr. Kline has given to explain his support for the F-22 planes that the Pentagon does not want … “it’s a good jobs program”. In terms of global world spending, Russia is under 5%, China is under 7%, NATO is just over 18% while America is over 48% … why are American taxpayers “Securing" the world ?
America can be safe, but still fiscally sound … but not with Mr. Kline’s unquestioning support for the military industrial complex.

My reaction to The Pledge is not alone. Erick Erikson on Redstate writes : This document proves the GOP is more focused on the acquisition of power than the advocacy of long term sound public policy.

I suggest voters take a Pledge to review Mr. Kline’s record and ask what he has done to help families in the Second District.

Monday, September 13, 2010

MN-02 : Madore Has an Ally in George Voinovich

Query : Did Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) read Minnesota Second District candidate Shelley Madore’s press release ?
As the rest of the country struggles to find ways to finance job creation, our district is already in a position to create those opportunities without a tax increase,” Madore continued. “If we had a Representative who would ask for our money back, we could bring back to this district millions of dollars and thousands of jobs. Mr. Kline has a grip that won't loosen, despite the loss of more than 10,000 manufacturing jobs in our district. While we were losing those local jobs, John Kline was bailing out Wall Street banks and leaving Main Street behind.”

“I support small business growth. John Kline’s continued lack of support for small businesses is evident, most recently in his vote against the Small Business Lending Fund Act. I look forward to working with local leaders to address our long term economic strategy and put hard-working Minnesotans back to work.”

And just days later, Jonathan Riskind reported in The Columbus Dispatch :
Sen. George V. Voinovich decided to step up and play grown-up last week amid the seemingly intractable and petulant partisanship that grips Washington.
"What I want to do is help our manufacturers and small businesses in the state of Ohio who are unable to find money from traditional sources," Voinovich said in an interview with The Dispatch. "There are some Republicans who, quite frankly, would rather deny the president any kind of victory."

The news was greeted appreciatively in Ohio …
WASHINGTON-- The Ohio-based National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) and Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) applauded Senator George Voinovich’s (R-OH) announcement that he would vote to support the Senate moving forward to consider the Small Business Jobs Act, a bill that would help small and medium sized manufacturers access credit needed to help finance their day-to-day operations, invest in expansion of domestic operations …

Senator Voinovich has long been a supporter of fiscally responsible legislation …
-- National Federation of Independent Business names Senator Voinovich "Guardian of Small Business" for his voting record on behalf of small-business owners.
-- Watchdogs of the Treasury presented the "Golden Bulldog Award" for his activities supporting realistic federal spending and controlling runaway debt.
-- Senator Voinovich has long believed that America’s infrastructure is collapsing due to insufficient oversight and funding, introducing the bipartisan National Infrastructure Improvement Act in 2006 and re-introducing it in the 110th Congress. His calls for action fell on deaf ears in Congress until the tragic collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minnesota in August 2007, which spurred the full Senate to unanimously pass Senator Voinovich’s bill just two days after the bridge collapsed. The passage was an incredibly important, and long-overdue, first step toward restoring our nation’s highways, waterways and infrastructure systems as well as protecting Americans and the economy.
-- In 2003, he had the courage to oppose President Bush's $750 million tax cut proposal.

Despite Mr. Kline’s NO vote, the legislation was approved and moves to the Senate …. where Senator Voinovich’s support will help.

And what has been the reaction from small business …
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 22, 2010 — Susan Eckerly, senior vice president of the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s leading small business association, issued the following statement on H.R. 5297 the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010:
NFIB commends the U.S. Senate for focusing on small businesses, our nation’s job creators. The Small Business Jobs Act will help some small businesses during these difficult economic times. The tax provisions will make it easier for entrepreneurs to start a new business and invest in their business property.

“We are also pleased that this bill includes the self-employed healthcare deduction which will provide significant savings and tax equity for self-employed individuals who are paying for their own healthcare expenses. Additionally, the lending fund has the potential to help credit-worthy small businesses that have had difficulties obtaining credit, which is a good thing.

Additionally, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) – which reported in a survey earlier this year that 45 percent of small businesses found that their borrowing needs were not being satisfied … there are as bleak as at any time since the surveys were started in 1986. And in a July survey by the National Small Business Association which says it represents 150,000 small firms, 41 percent of companies said they couldn’t raise as much money as they needed – the highest share in 17 years-- has said the new lending fund could greatly ease the credit crunch for many of its members.

So other than “denying the President”, what reasons would someone vote against it?
Earmarks --- there are none.
Cost -- The independent Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the Small Business Lending Fund would provide taxpayers with $1.1 billion in savings over 10 years. While CBO also found that this program would not cost the taxpayer a penny as banks repay the loans to the Treasury with interest.

OK, so the regular complaints that we hear from Mr. Kline are not viable, what will the legislation do ?

Supporters say the $30 billion fund, which would invest in small community banks, would allow the banks to leverage the money and make almost $300 billion in additional loans. Banks that step up their lending pace will be allowed to repay the government at much lower interest rates than banks that stay on the sidelines. Thus small community banks will prosper and not the big Wall Street banks. The program has been very explicit in addressing this goal – the program is directed only at small banks, which do the overwhelming amount of their commercial lending to small businesses, and the benefits banks receive are linked directly to their lending to small businesses. Loans over $10 million or to businesses with revenues over $50 million would not be counted.
At the same time, the Small Business Jobs Act is designed specifically to address the range of problems facing small businesses – which is why it includes a series of targeted tax incentives for new investments, enhancements to SBA programs, and a new State Small Business Credit Initiative in addition to the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF).

Yesterday, on CBS’s Face The Nation program, Bob Schieffer discussed the Bush tax cuts with Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH). Schieffer pointedly asked if Republicans were willing to hold the tax breaks for most Americans “hostage” to insist on continuing the lower rates for the highest earners, and Mr. Boehner responded :
If the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax reductions, I’ll vote for them.”

That’s the way Mr. Kline should have looked at the legislation --- vote to help small business, vote to encourage job growth, vote to help small community banks, vote for the self-employed healthcare deduction, vote for progress … but Mr. Kline voted NO.

This example illustrates to Second District voters who John Kline is really working for … Wall Street special interests and the Republican Party.

Voters need to take a hard look at Shelley Madore … she will look out for the Second District … not the special interests.