Thursday, October 21, 2010

Election Lies About Taxes…


….and this time we are going to look at a few of the lies that the Democratic Party has been airing over the past few weeks. We’ll pick on the Republicans later on.


A New Twist on an Old Tax Attack

Democrats continue misusing tax pledge, but this time against a gubernatorial candidate.

October 8, 2010



Democrats and their allies can’t get enough of the Americans for Tax Reform tax pledge — which, as we’ve reported, they’ve falsely equated in a number of ads with "protecting tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas." Still, Democrats continue to use the bogus charge against Republicans, including in West Virginia’s Senate race and House races in Connecticut, New York, Maryland and the state of Washington, to name a few.

And now, there’s a new twist on the false tax attack in the Massachusetts’ gubernatorial campaign. A labor-financed political committee accuses Republican Charlie Baker of "favoring tax loopholes that encourage corporations to ship our jobs overseas" and signing "a pledge to protect those loopholes." However, the pledge for gubernatorial candidates — a single sentence promising to oppose or veto any new state taxes — is different than the one for federal candidates, so the attack on Baker makes even less sense.


We first wrote about the misuse of ATR’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge in April, when the Democrats tried to hold on to Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District in a special election. We  correctly predicted it would be a "prototype of future attack ads."

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s ad falsely accused Republican candidate Charles Kong Djou of signing a pledge "that protects tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas." The Democratic spin: If you sign the pledge, then you oppose closing tax loopholes, an act that would raise taxes on U.S.-based corporations with foreign operations.

But, as we said at the time, the pledge a) says nothing about jobs, and b) does not rule out an overhaul of the tax code. So signers could vote to close tax loopholes and lower taxes elsewhere without violating the tax pledge. Here’s what the pledge says:

ATR’s Pledge for House and Senate Candidates

I will:

ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and

TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.

The Democrats’ attack on Djou failed, and he became the first Republican to represent President Obama’s home state in Congress in 20 years. But that didn’t deter the Democrats.

More Faulty Logic

The most curious misuse of the pledge comes from Bay State Future — a recently formed 527 political organization funded by Service Employees International Union, the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Democratic Governors Association.

Bay State’s ad — which first aired Sept. 28 — targets Charlie Baker, Republican candidate for governor in Massachusetts. It opens by asking the question, "Worried about jobs?" The ad then goes on to describe how Baker favors tax loopholes that encourage companies to ship jobs overseas and "even signed a pledge to protect those loopholes." The group cites the ATR pledge to support its claim.

⬐ Click to expand/collapse the full transcript ⬏

Bay State Future TV Ad: “Goodbye Jobs”

Announcer: Worried about jobs? Well, Charlie Baker favors tax loopholes that encourage corporations to ship our jobs overseas. He even signed a pledge to protect those loopholes. So if Charlie Baker gets his way, ‘goodbye jobs, auf wiedersehen, bon voyage.’

But the pledge for candidates for governor is even more straightforward than the one for congressional candidates:

ATR’s Pledge for Gubernatorial Candidates

"I, (name of candidate), pledge to the taxpayers of the state of (name of state) that I will oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes."

How can a simple no-new-taxes pledge encourage companies to ship jobs overseas?

In a memo defending the ad, Bay State Future cites an aviation bill passed by Congress this summer that included additional aid to states for education and Medicaid. "The bill was paid for partially by closing tax loopholes that encouraged corporations to ship American jobs overseas," the group says in its defense. "Charlie Baker, by signing the Americans for Tax Reform Taxpayer Protection Pledge has aligned himself with their platform and policies, which has [sic] opposed measures that would prevent outsourcing of American jobs overseas."

That logic is baffling to us on a number of levels:

  • Baker isn’t running for Congress.
  • Baker didn’t sign a pledge that "protects those loopholes," since they are in federal law. He took a pledge to oppose and veto any state taxes.
  • Bay State Future is holding Baker responsible for a pledge he didn’t sign.
  • The bill cited by Bay State Future makes no mention whatsoever of jobs overseas.

According to Bloomberg News, the bill at issue "clamps down on what Democrats call the abuse of tax credits for multinational corporations intended to ensure income earned abroad isn’t taxed twice, by both the U.S. Treasury and a foreign government." That is, if a company has headquarters in the U.S. and has operations in a foreign country, then the tax code allows that company to separate income earned abroad from income earned on U.S. soil. The bill would suspend these measures and tax overall income, regardless of where it was earned, in order to send additional aid to states. This, of course, results in a net increase in corporate taxes with no dollar-for-dollar reductions anywhere else, which is why ATR opposed the measure.

But forget all that. Even if the bill did close tax loopholes that "encourage corporations to ship our jobs overseas," it is irrelevant to Baker and the tax pledge he signed.

We expected, as we said in April, that we would see this line of attack "against nearly any Republican House candidate, all but a few of whom have signed the anti-tax pledge in question." But we didn’t expect to see it against a candidate for governor.

And, yes, we were right: House and Senate GOP candidates who signed the pledge continue to get hit with this line of attack. Here are some of the latest examples:

Chris Murphy for Congress TV Ad: "Hide," aired Sept. 30-Oct. 2

⬐ Click to expand/collapse the full transcript ⬏

Chris Murphy for Congress TV Ad: “Hide”

Announcer: Some politicians try to hide who they are. Sam Caligiuri says he’s a fiscal conservative, but ran Waterbury into financial ruin as a city leader. To cover the mess he passed a 10 million dollar tax increase, the largest in city history. Now Caligiuri is helping his corporate donors by pledging to protect tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas. Sam Caliguiri, a politician who can’t hide anymore.

DSCC TV Ad: "Opposes," aired Sept. 28

⬐ Click to expand/collapse the full transcript ⬏

DSCC TV Ad: “Opposes”

Announcer: John Raese, he wants to eliminate the minimum wage; failed to pay workers compensation for on-the-job injuries. One thing John Raese does support? A pledge that protected tax breaks for coporations who ship our jobs overseas. It’s true. Protecting tax breaks that reward corporations for sending our jobs overseas. West Virginia working families, we can do better. And we have to. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is responsible for this message.

Bill Owens for Congress TV Ad: "Moved Here," aired Sept. 28-Oct. 3

⬐ Click to expand/collapse the full transcript ⬏

Bill Owens for Congress TV Ad: “Moved Here”

Announcer: Matt Doheny moved here from New York City to run for Congress. So what don’t we know about Matt Doheny? As a Wall Street investment banker, Matt Doheny restructured Adelphia Communications. Top executives got thirty-five million in bonuses while he laid off five hundred American workers. No wonder Matt Doheny signed a pledge to protect tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas. That’s the way they do it on Wall Street.

Kratovil for Congress TV Ad: "Deregulation," aired Oct. 1-3

⬐ Click to expand/collapse the full transcript ⬏

Kratovil for Congress TV Ad: “Deregulation”

Announcer: The real Andy Harris. His past attacks have been called deceptive. His new attack, false. Harris voted for deregulation, increasing our electric bills by 72 percent. It’s not suprising, Harris always sides with the big guys. He opposes cracking down on Wall Street. And supports tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. Harris even opposed making big insurance cover cancer screenings. Andy Harris’ extreme ideas will cost us.

Denny Heck for Congress TV Ad: "Pledge," aired Sept. 28

⬐ Click to expand/collapse the full transcript ⬏

Denny Heck for Congress TV Ad: “Pledge”

Announcer: Some ideas are just crazy, like the false, out-of-state attacks against Denny Heck. News media call them misleading. The trusted AARP says the new health care plan would not cut Medicare benefits period. Meanwhile, politician Jaime Herrera pledged to support tax breaks that reward corporations for outsourcing our jobs overseas. Jaime Herra pledging tax breaks for shipping Washington state jobs to China and Mexico? That’s not just crazy, it’s dangerous to our economy.

– by Joshua Goldman and Eugene Kiely


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Health Care Lies Spread By Republicans Running For Office…


…are not few and far between. Of course, you already knew that if you have been watching the latest barrage of commercials on television over the past week. We have some downright ridicules ones down here in the state of Florida, but let’s go elsewhere, shall we?

  The 2 gentlemen running for the Senate ( Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin,GOP businessman  John Raese)   in West Virginia had a debate on October 18 and of course, they sparred over “Obamacare” as was expected.   Mr.Raese was certainly spitting out the half-truths and outright lies about the Obama health care bill, but THIS  answer to a questioner took the cake.

A questioner asked Raese: "You have said you want to repeal the health care legislation Congress passed earlier this year. What is it about this new law specifically that you do not like?"
Raese jumped right in. "Well, I don't like socialism, to tell you the truth, and when you have a doctor-patient relationship -- that's the way it's supposed to be, and that's the way we have the greatest health care system in the world, and that's the way it is right now," Raese said. "That's all going to change because from here on out under Obamacare, something Gov. Manchin has always supported, you're going to have a patient-bureaucrat relationship, because the first person that patient has to go to is a bureaucrat. That is called a panel. I disagree with it. ... I'd like to repeal every part of it, because it is pure, unadulterated socialism. It is the worst bill ever to come out of the U.S. Senate and House."

    So is there any truth to this jackoff’s claim?


Here's how the Kaiser Family Foundation -- an independent health-care research group -- summarized the 15-member Independent Payment Advisory Board.
The board would "submit legislative proposals containing recommendations to reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending if spending exceeds a target growth rate." If Medicare spending is found to exceed certain inflation benchmarks, the board, beginning in January 2014, "will submit recommendations to achieve reductions in Medicare spending." Then, beginning January 2018, if the appropriate inflation targets are not met, the board will submit proposals to the president and Congress for immediate consideration."
However, Kaiser Family Foundation adds that the board "is prohibited from submitting proposals that would ration care, increase revenues or change benefits, eligibility or Medicare beneficiary cost sharing (including Parts A and B premiums), or would result in a change in the beneficiary premium percentage or low-income subsidies under Part D. Hospitals and hospices (through 2019) and clinical labs (for one year) will not be subject to cost reductions proposed by the board. The board must also submit recommendations every other year to slow the growth in national health expenditures while preserving quality of care by January 1, 2015."
So the board is real. And Cornyn and his allies may have a case to make that the IPAB is a bad idea or poorly designed. Still, we don't see how its existence justifies Raese's statement.
-- The board's purview is limited to Medicare. Patients who have employer-provided health care, Medicaid or insurance through the health care exchange would not be affected at all by the board.
-- The board's powers are advisory. The board can only make recommendations, and it is expressly prohibited from anything that would "ration care, increase revenues or change benefits, eligibility or Medicare beneficiary cost sharing ... or (change) the beneficiary premium percentage or low-income subsidies" in the Medicare drug benefit.
-- The board doesn't interact with patients. The board is supposed to do big thinking about cost-containment, not judge individual patients to determine whether they qualify for care. The changes that it suggests to the president and Congress could eventually, many years hence, shape how care is provided. But it's a major stretch to say that under the new law "the first person (a) patient has to go to is a bureaucrat."
-- Patients didn't live in a bureacracy-fee paradise before the health care law passed. Today, patients may need to check with an insurance company before undergoing a procedure or making a visit to the specialist. If an employer's HR department decides to change health care plans, a worker may have to drop a doctor or give up benefits. And employers can eliminate health insurance entirely, or drive up the cost of premiums, either of which could intefere with a patient's health care.
Though the Raese camp didn't mention it, we'll also pre-emptively dismiss any notion that the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute -- another entity created by the bill -- could wedge "bureaucrats" between a doctor and a patient. This institute, which would conduct research that compares the clinical effectiveness of medical treatments, is at least as controversial, if not more so, since it fed critics' fears that the bill could result in the rationing of health care services. However, the law prevents the institute's findings from being considered mandates.
When we sent Raese's comment around to health care experts, they universally said he overreached.
"This is purely ridiculous," said Linda Blumberg, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Urban Institute. "Nothing changes in that respect relative to today’s system."
"Choices, if anything, will be enhanced through the exchanges, with a much clearer description of what plans cover and their cost-sharing requirements," said Sara Collins, vice president of the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund's Program on Affordable Health Insurance. "In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services has to certify that qualified plans offered through the exchanges have adequate provider networks."
Henry Aaron, a senior fellow with the centrist-to-liberal Brookings Institution, called the statement a "rant, appalling if based on ignorance, and mendacious if uttered knowingly."
Even a major critic of the health care bill said he thought Raese went too far. "As bad as I think this bill is, I don’t see that anywhere in it," said Michael Tanner, a health care specialist at the libertarian Cato Institute.
We usually accept a bit of overstatement if it's in the vein of artistic license. But Raese's statement is a gross distortion, along the lines of his subsequent claim that the law is "pure, unadulterated socialism." (The law preserves the private-sector health care insurance for most Americans who already have it, and lawmakers rejected a single-payer model early on.) We see Raese's claim as yet another attempt to demonize the health care law by twisting the facts beyond recognition. We rate it Pants on Fire.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Panhandlers In Tampa Bay…


…are most certainly a dime a dozen in this area. Everywhere that one walks or drives will run into panhandlers at almost every major intersection in this town. You cannot get away from these people!

    I bring this topic up because a few days ago the Tampa City Council decided that it was just fine and dandy for this group to come up to drivers in order to get cash from them. Now, they cannot ask the drivers for the cash so they stand in the intersections middle island while holding up signs that read “will work for food” or “hungry,thanks for the help” with the usual “God bless you” at the bottom.

    This would usually not bother me,but the local clowns here in government are using the excuse that the economy is bad and that many folks here in the area have some cash to spare. I’m fine with that also as those of us who can should be trying to help others less fortunate.

    Many of these panhandlers are out in the intersections on Sunday selling newspapers for a little extra change in their pockets. I have no problem with that either as I’ve done that a few times myself. The extra $30 to $70 comes in handy on weeks when the bills are coming due.

    It is the other 6 days of the week that I have a problem with especially since most of those out doing this are panhandling for their beer and/or crack habits, not for food or rent money. Many of the same just happen to be getting checks from the government for either S.S.I. or S.S.D. from Social Security. I know of more than one who get their checks on the 3rd of the month and who are flat broke by the 6th or 7th of the month because they have smoked their checks up in crack and have drank the money up. Then they go out and harass the drivers for cash to help them support their habits. This is bullshit.

    Tampa Bay Online

"There are enough distractions on the roads," said Frank Ehnle of Brandon. "Having to deal with panhandlers or vendors standing in the middle of intersection or at off ramps is yet another ridiculous distraction that impairs driving and affects traffic."

Staff photo by KATY KUEHNER

City officials have blamed St. Petersburg's solicitation ban, as well as the impact of the economic recession, for the recent increase in panhandling on the city's roadways.

City officials have blamed St. Petersburg's solicitation ban, as well as the impact of the economic recession, for the recent increase in panhandling on the city's roadways.

     More Here

Dozens of newspaper "hawkers" packed council chambers, urging the council not to ban median solicitation, saying such a move would put hundreds of people out of work.

"You don't realize how many people you'll be putting on the unemployment line," said Sonia Long, a hawker for both The Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times.

    Bullshit! they only do this one day a week. That does very little for those folks trying to actually buy food or pay a bill.