Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Richard Tisei as Young Gun

This is an interesting website....

The Young Guns Program, formed by Co-Founders: Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), helps Republican candidates to build strong and winning campaigns through goals, benchmarks, and accountability. In 2010, 62 of more than 90 Young Guns candidates were elected to the US House of Representatives helping Republicans win the majority. Every Young Guns candidate plays a vital role in keeping our Republican team on offense and helps build a lasting and productive Republican Majority for the American people.
During this cycle, NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Co-Founders Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), look to build upon the successes of 2010. Every operation aims to fulfill Chairman Sessions’ vision statement for 2012: “Make the Republican half of the House floor standing room only with the need for the Sergeant of Arms to bring in folding chairs in the aisles to accommodate our new membership.”

And this page from that website is even more interesting....


Young Gun is the top tier of the ‘Young Gun’ recruitment program. These candidates have met a series of rigorous goals and established a clear path to victory through their ability to build a formidable campaign structure and achieve important goals and benchmarks. These candidates are the GOP’s best opportunities.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Misconceptions and Realities About Who Pays Taxes — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Executive Summary
Close to half of U.S. households currently do not owe federal income tax.  The Urban Institute-Brookings Tax Policy Center estimates that 46 percent of households will owe no federal income tax for 2011. [1]   A widely cited figure is a Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that 51 percent of households paid no federal income tax in 2009.[2]   (The TPC figure for 2009 also is 51 percent.) [3]
These figures are sometimes cited as evidence that low- and moderate-income families do not pay sufficient taxes.  Yet these figures, their significance, and their policy implications are widely misunderstood.
  • The 51 percent and 46 percent figures are anomalies that reflect the unique circumstances of the past few years, when the economic downturn greatly swelled the number of Americans with low incomes.   The figures for 2009 are particularly anomalous; in that year, temporary tax cuts that the 2009 Recovery Act created — including the “Making Work Pay” tax credit and an exclusion from tax of the first $2,400 in unemployment benefits — were in effect and removed millions of Americans from the federal income tax rolls.  Both of these temporary tax measures have since expired.

    In 2007, before the economy turned down, 40 percent of households did not owe federal income tax.  This figure more closely reflects the percentage that do not owe income tax in normal economic times.[4]
  • These figures cover only the federal income tax and ignore the substantial amounts of other federal taxes — especially the payroll tax — that many of these households pay.  As a result, these figures greatly overstate the share of households that do not pay federal taxes.  Tax Policy Center data show that only about 17 percent of households did not pay any federal income tax or payroll tax in 2009, despite the high unemployment and temporary tax cuts that marked that year.[5]  In 2007, a more typical year, the figure was 14 percent.  This percentage would be even lower if it reflected other federal taxes that households pay, including excise taxes on gasoline and other items.
  • Most of the people who pay neither federal income tax nor payroll taxes are low-income people who are elderly, unable to work due to a serious disability, or students, most of whom subsequently become taxpayers.  (In years like the last few, this group also includes a significant number of people who have been unemployed the entire year and cannot find work.)
  • Moreover, low-income households as a group do, in fact, pay federal taxes.  Congressional Budget Office data show that the poorest fifth of households paid an average of 4.0 percent of their incomes in federal taxes in 2007, the latest year for which these data are available — not an insignificant amount given how modest these households’ incomes are; the poorest fifth of households had average income of $18,400 in 2007.[6]   The next-to-the bottom fifth — those with incomes between $20,500 and $34,300 in 2007 — paid an average of 10.6 percent of their incomes in federal taxes. 
  • Moreover, even these figures greatly understatelow-income households’ totaltax burden because these households also pay substantial state and local taxes.  Data from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy show that the poorest fifth of households paid a stunning 12.3 percent of their incomes in state and local taxes in 2011.[7]

Read the whole thing here:
Misconceptions and Realities About Who Pays Taxes — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Yes, Mr. Ryan, I’m from Iowa

Yes, Mr. Ryan, I’m from Iowa

Attention, Congressman Ryan: I am one of the women you said must not be from Iowa or Wisconsin because we did not sit back quietly, respectfully, and smile and say nothing while you lied to us during your first solo stump speech as a vice-presidential candidate at the Iowa State Fair earlier this week. Actually, I am from Iowa. I grew up here.  My parents are from here. I have taught school here, in Des Moines, for 40 years.
I asked you if you were going to cut Medicare.  You didn’t answer. The truth is, Congressman, I already know the answer. I know what’s in the budget you wrote, that your fellow Republicans in Congress voted for, and that your running mate, Gov. Romney, supports. I know it ends Medicare as we know it today and turns it into a voucher program that raises seniors’ costs by thousands of dollars a year and throws us on the mercy of private insurers.

And I assure you, Congressman, what I did, what those other Iowans did that day, wasn’t easy for those of us raised to be “Iowa nice.” From a young age I learned to behave in the way you alluded to, to be extremely friendly and to always assume the best of people.  Over the years I’ve sat very patiently, listening to politicians, watching them dodge questions or distort answers or really just abuse the facts and I never said anything because it wouldn’t be nice, it’s not Iowa nice.

But I’m 63 years old now, I’m retired, and I’ve seen the impact of that silence.  I’ve seen who really pays the price for silence and it is the poor and the middle class.  I have seen the big picture – how corporate greed erodes democracy and factories take over farms. I’ve seen it all up-close and personal too, every day, for 24 years, teaching middle school in a district that serves low-income families. I have seen kids come to school in the dead of winter with no socks and kept my classroom stocked with food to make sure these kids had a fighting chance to learn when they made it, by themselves, with no one to set the alarm and no one to drive them through the snow, to school against the odds. I’ve seen their parents struggle to get off drugs and wait months, years even, for a spot in a treatment program that would give them a fighting chance to be the parents they truly want to be.

So you understand, Congressman Ryan, and Governor Romney, that when I hear you tell a crowd that you want to “help the middle class to prosper,” by cutting off the lifelines these young people need to survive – food stamps, Medicaid, public education and, yes, drug treatment, it makes my blood boil. It sends that Iowa nice thing right out the window.

I get just as angry when you talk about broadly shared prosperity, as if that’s something you believe in, when you have written and voted for plans that slash taxes on millionaires and corporations and do nothing at all for my 86-year-old aunt, whose groceries I buy half the time, because she lives on $1,400 a month, mostly from Social Security, and pays $785 a month for a one-bedroom apartment.

There’s so much more, Congressman Ryan, and Governor Romney, that makes me forget my upbringing – at least the part of my upbringing that tells me to sit back, grin and bear it, and let you lie to me and destroy people’s lives and then maybe, at most, grouse about it quietly in private.  Or maybe I’m not forgetting my upbringing at all, come to think of it. Maybe I’m remembering well the lessons of generations of hardworking Iowans who value community, fairness, opportunity and kindness in the face of a mean-spirited policy of greed.   A little of that Iowa nice has turned from Iowa nice, to Iowa sad, to Iowa angry and finally, to Iowa strong.

Cherie Mortice is a retired schoolteacher and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) Action Fund member from Des Moines, Iowa.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Liberal Learns To Compete

From the NY Times, full interview at link above, excerpt below:

Your book “The Righteous Mind” addresses the psychological reasons that politics are so divided right now. I wonder what your take would be on conservatives’ fury over John Roberts’s health care decision.
My colleague Pete Ditto studied people’s attitudes about mavericks and demonstrated that everybody likes to think that they value mavericks; but actually we like mavericks only if they’re on the other side. If they’re on our side, we call them traitors.

We keep hearing that the partisan divide is at an all-time high, but isn’t this ignoring the sweep of history? Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton. Preston Brooks nearly killed Charles Sumner on the floor of the Senate over slavery.
The 1930s through the 1970s was the aberration, a time of extraordinarily low partisanship. In the ’80s, it began to shoot up. The good news is that it can’t get much worse. It’s about as bad as it can possibly get, mathematically, in the House of Representatives.

I have relatives who are Southern conservative Republicans, who say that the fact that almost the entire black population voted for Barack Obama is as inherently racist as the idea that all whites would vote for a white candidate. Do they have a point?
Had a Jew run at any point in the 20th century, just about every Jew would have voted for him, so I can’t criticize blacks for voting for a black president. There’s an enormous difference between voting for a candidate because you hate another ethnic group and voting for a candidate because he’s a member of your ethnic group.

Honestly, most conservatives I know, if they even heard the words “moral psychologist,” they would immediately shut down.
Well, it is true that on the left there’s greater interest in new ideas, and it’s overwhelmingly liberals who buy social-science trade books like mine. The main reaction from people on the left seems to be, “Hey, liberals, you’ve all got to read this book because this will help us win elections.” The reviews on the right say: “Hey, conservatives, you should all read this book because it shows that we have more moral foundations than they do. Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah.”