Tag Archives: Working Class

The Progressive President and the American Middle Class…

march-on-washington

I have been accused of being hard on this President when it comes to privacy, chained CPI, Larry Summers and intervention in Syria. However I have been a tireless supporter of this President. I have never given up hope on his agenda. That does not mean that as an Independent Progressives I will not speak up when his agenda may hurt the freedom and liberty of Americans. I believe in this man and I know his accomplishments. This “BLACK” President has done more for the American Middle Class in four and a half years than the Republican Party has done in 30:

1. Passed the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare’s)
2. Passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
3. Earned Income Tax Credit. Under current law, working families with two or more children currently qualify for an Earned Income Tax Credit equal to 40 percent of the family’s first $12,570 in earned income. The stimulus set the rate at 45 percent for families with three or more children and made other adjustments. The fiscal cliff bill extends these provisions for five additional years, through 2017.
4. Child Tax Credit. The stimulus set a new threshold for refundability of the credit, and the fiscal cliff bill extends that for five years, though 2017
5. Marriage penalty. A “marriage penalty” describes what happens when a couple pays more income tax if they file jointly as a couple than they would if they had remained single and filed as individuals. The fiscal cliff bill permanently extended marriage penalty relief for the standard deduction, the 15 percent bracket, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
6. Dependent Care Credit. The dependent care credit benefits taxpayers who have child care expenses for children under 13 and disabled dependents. Under Bush, the amount of eligible expenses was increased. The fiscal cliff bill makes those changes permanent.
7. Adoption tax credits. Taxpayers who adopt children can receive a tax credit for adoption expenses and can exclude adoption expenses paid by an employer from the calculation of their income. Under Bush, the terms of this credit became more generous, and under Obama’s health care law, these benefits were extended and the credit was made refundable. The fiscal cliff bill extends these provisions permanently.
8. Increase minority access to capital
9. Implement “Women Owned Business” contracting program
10. Create a consumer-friendly credit card rating system
11. Establish a credit card bill of rights
12. Expand loan programs for small businesses
13. Close the “doughnut hole” in Medicare prescription drug plan
14. Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions
15. Provided tax credits to Americans who need help to pay health premiums
16. Require large employers to contribute to a national health plan
17. Require health plans to disclose how much of the premium goes to patient care
18. Reinstate executive order to hire an additional 100,000 federal employees with disabilities within five years
19. Increase the Veterans Administration budget to recruit and retain more mental health professionals
20. Expand Veterans Centers in rural areas
21. Fully fund the Veterans Administration
22. Expand housing vouchers program for homeless veterans
23. Fully fund the Violence Against Women Act
24. Increase funding for national parks and forests
25. Expand Pell grants for low-income students
26. President Obama signs hate crimes bill, Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 President Barack Obama has signed a bill to expand the federal hate crimes law. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, named after two men who were killed more than 10 years ago because of their sexual orientation, was included in a defense bill that Obama signed on Oct. 28, 2009.
27. Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy
28. Strengthen the levees in New Orleans
29. Toughen enforcement for Internet exploitation of children
30. Send first-time nonviolent drug offenders to rehab if appropriate
31. Create new criminal penalties for mortgage fraud
32. Reduce dependence on foreign oil
33. Reverse restrictions on stem cell research
34. He is bringing home “OUR” Sons and Daughters from Iraq and Afghanistan
35. He brought Osama Bin Ladin to justice for his attacks on 911

march_on_washington

Today is the anniversary of the “March on Washington”. As Americans we have been told throughout history that minorities were inferior, that they could not accomplish what White Americans could accomplish. It took over 230 years for a Black man to become the President. To prove that this Black man was not up to the task White Conservatives would not lift a finger to help this man make things better for the American Middle Class. They threw every obstacle at this President, they said “NO” to all of his ideas. They were intransigent and destructive to democracy. They mocked this man, they ridiculed him. They behaved less than Statesmanlike. But this Black President stood proud and he faced this Nation with incredible grace and dignity that no Republicans has exhibited since his election in 2008.


I have never been more proud of “MY” President and never more proud of the Progressives of all Races, Ethnicities, Religions, Sexual Orientation and social classes. On this day I salute the first African American President, Barack Obama. So many Americans have sacrificed throughout our history to make this possible and he has not disappointed that effort. I dare say that no White Males, Progressives or Conservative could have maintained such dignity in the face of the behavior and disrespect showed to him by the right wing of this Country.
But today I have a dream that this will not be the last African American President, that a Woman will be given her chance to lead, that “ALL” Americans will be given the chance to fulfill the “American Ideal”….ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL…

All_Men_are_Created_Equal

What are “Conservative Values” in the 21st Century?

What are “Conservative Values” in the 21st Century?

I became a Republican in 1978.  At 18 I was attracted to the message of “out of the boardroom, out of the bedroom and out of my pockets.” Smaller government seemed to make perfect sense, why do we need so much government?  Simple succinct and relevant.  After all I was only 18 years old, naïve and certainly not worldly.  I had no experience in business, life or love.  That simple message seemed to resonate it made common sense to a selfish and self-centered teenager.  I was about to embark on the rest of my life, I didn’t want to pay my hard-earned dollars on taxes; I certainly didn’t believe that the US Government should be in my bedroom at 18, I understood that literally; and it made sense to an 18-year-old that too much government intrusion in business was bad…what did I know at 18.

I changed my affiliation to Independent (in California that is declined to state) because at 52 I saw the world through a different prism.  I had been a manager for 30 years; I had seen human suffering; I had experienced love and loss; I had lent my support to friends and family though tough times; I experienced economic downturns and a great recession; I witnessed the devastation of 30 years of “trickle-down” economics had on the American Middle Class.  I no longer was a believer in the “Conservative Values” of the 1970’s.

Life Liberty

However the “Conservative Values” of the 21st Century make no sense, are divisive, destructive, immoral, selfish, anti-women, racist, xenophobic, homophobic and un-American. Yes I said it, I know Progressives have been on the other end of that label and are uncomfortable using it.  But I am an Independent, so I dare say that the “Conservative Values” of the 21st Century are un-American bears repeating.  I can’t even relate to these values at all. Corrupted by money the GOP simply manipulates its membership with hate to continue passing legislation that helps only those at the top…the infamous 1%. The “Conservative Values” of the 21st Century as I see them:

  1. Take back the Country for White Americans
  2. Union Busting
  3. Outsourcing of American Jobs to increase profits to shareholder
  4. Keep American Wages low to improve the bottom-lines for shareholders
  5. Deny “Climate Change” to improve the bottom-line for oil company shareholders
  6. Fight “gun safety” regulation to improve the bottom-line for gun manufactures
  7. Make Christianity the official Religion of the United States
  8. Prayer in schools
  9. Privatized education
  10. Privatize prisons
  11. Privatize roads and bridges
  12. Privatize Social Security
  13. Leave 40 million Americans without health insurance or affordable access to healthcare
  14. Cut taxes for the 1% while raising taxes on the American Middle Class and the poor
  15. Cut food assistance to Americans that would go hungry but increase subsidies to corporate agriculture to improve the bottom-line to shareholders
  16. Cut the social safety, but keep corporate welfare to help Wall Street make more profits for shareholders
  17. Ban abortion
  18. Ban Contraception
  19. Ban gay marriage
  20. Suppress the votes of Women, Minorities and the Millennials
  21. Cut Medicare funding
  22. Cut Medicare Benefits
  23. Cut benefits to Veterans
  24. Do not compromise with the Democratically elected President
  25. Do not pass any new legislation regardless if it is good for Americans
  26. Continue the failed War on Drugs
  27. Spend more on wars and the military instead of on the American people
  28. Do not fund disaster relief of hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires or earthquakes
  29. Cut funding to the Nation Institutes of Health
  30. Pushing for a Christian belief in “creationism” over the accepted science of “evolution”
  31. Refuse to fund new infrastructure projects to put Americans back to work
  32. Fight any regulations on Wall Street to keep profits high for shareholders and stick the taxpayer with the bill to bail them out
  33. Fight “Consumer” protections to keep profits high for corporate America
  34. Disregard the wishes of the American voter to pander to a narrow GOP base
  35. Game the voting system to stay in power instead of coming up with new ideas
  36. Fight comprehensive immigration reform to keep America White
  37. Cut government programs to the poor and middle class in the guise of making government smaller, then give the savings to the 1% via tax cuts

Honestly I don’t know why “ANYONE” would be a Republican in the 21st Century except the 1%…time to grow up America, I did!

2014 is Around the Corner…The American Middle Class Needs to Vote for Middle Class Interests!

Paul Ryan Spending Cuts Face Backlash From Moderate Republicans

By ANDREW TAYLOR 08/12/13 03:11 AM ET EDT

WASHINGTON — Midway between the 2012 and 2014 election campaigns, moderate Republican conservatives are beginning to foment a revolt of their own – a backlash to anti-spending tea party shrillness as budget cuts begin to significantly shrink defense and domestic programs.

Tea party forces may have dominated the House GOP’s approach to the budget so far, but pragmatists in the party have served notice they won’t stand idly by for indiscriminate spending cuts to politically popular community development grants, education programs and even Amtrak.

Voting in the spring for the tea party budget developed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who was Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate last year, was one thing. But as long as a Democrat occupies the White House, Ryan’s budget is little more than a nonbinding wish list – cutting Medicaid, Medicare and food stamps and slashing budgets for domestic agencies funded annually through appropriations bills.

Many tenured Republicans, particularly members of the House Appropriations Committee, have viewed Ryan’s sweeping cuts as unworkable all along. When more than $4 billion in entirely new cuts came to the House floor in the form of an actual bill for funding transportation and housing programs, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, confronted shaky support from less ardently conservative Republicans and decided to pull the $44 billion package on July 31.

That sparked a frustrated outburst from the committee chairman, Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky. He called for abandoning the Ryan budget and starting bipartisan negotiations that would provide appropriators with “a realistic spending level to fund the government in a responsible – and attainable – way.”

“Attainable” is code for something that can pass the Senate and get signed by President Barack Obama. That’s rarely a recipe for tea party fun.

It seems that the Presidential hopes of an Ayn Rand 1% utopia are being dashed for Paul Ryan.  As the Republican Party does that math, some of them have finally figured out that 1% of the votes is not a sustainable strategy?  Ryan Budget’s draconian cuts to programs that help keep the American Middle Class strong would spell doom as those in the Middle Class figure out that they are the ones being targeted and screwed by the GOP.

The self-serving 1% who continue to pour money into campaigns have not figured out that “Tivo” is their worst enemy.  Costly TV ads did not work in the Presidential Campaign of 2012 as technology allowed those tech savvy Americans to just cut out the ads.  The Primaries and Debates seem to have made a comeback and that is surely why Reince Priebus is trying to game the cable networks who will carry the Republican Primary Debates.

Paul Ryan’s budget aims to usher in an 18th Century America in a 21st Century world to undo the 20th Century gains that the Roosevelt Administration implemented to end the Great Depression.  Programs that worked to strengthen the American Middle Class.  As Pope Francis re-directs the Catholic Church to focus on social issues (world hunger, injustice, the poor, racism and tolerance) and lighten the Church’s tone on the divisive issue of homosexuality; Evangelicals push for immigration reform; the backlash of Reagan’s War on Drugs; the push back on Bush’s surveillance state; Women’s reaction nationwide on issues that affect their pay and health; acceptance of marriage equality; and the abject failure of free market and trickle down solutions to help bring prosperity to the middle class are only serving to brand Paul Ryan and his budget persona non grata.  The shiny youthful and creative image of Paul Ryan the young boy wonder is showing his age and beginning to tarnish.

If the Republican Party is to remain relevant, they need to start coming up with ideas that help a majority of Americans prosper instead of catering to those rich in wealth but poor in votes, 1% of the voting public to be exact.  The future of the Republican Party hangs in the balance, continued bleeding of support with women, minorities and Millennials is not sustainable for a national political party.  Even Senior citizens seem to be turning on the GOP. “Just 28 percent of voters 65 and older had a favorable view of the Republican Party in a national survey conducted last month by the Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, versus 40 percent who had a positive view of the Democrats. That’s a reversal from a poll Greenberg conducted in early 2011, when 43 percent of seniors saw Republicans favorably and 37 percent saw Democrats that way.” according to an article in the National Journal.

The 1% is spending billions of dollars to keep White Middle Class men from voting their interest, cynically creating strategies to keep the Middle Class White Males angry at everyone else but the 1% that has systematically extracted their wealth through Wall Street graft; busted Unions that provide pensions, healthcare benefits and job security; the outsourcing of good paying American jobs to third world countries to line the pockets of the investor class at the expense of the American Middle Class. Cutting governments programs designed to help keep the Middle Class strong and viable like student loans, Medicare, Social Security, Veterans Benefits and the Social Safety net to cut taxes further for the very rich.

spending cuts

The Republicans in Congress have waged war on the institutions that keep our Country strong and provide stability to the markets.  The short-term profit taking strategies of Wall Street create a continued stream of bubbles that burst, the system rigged so that the wealthy win even when the market crashes, as they support government guarantees for their reckless gambles at the expense of the middle class tax payers and their 401K retirement plans.

Worried Man At Desk And Computer Paying Bills Stock Image - Image: 14402711

It is time for the American Middle Class to fight back, enough is enough, “We the People” must unite regardless of race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious belief, age and focus on the economic interest of a “MAJORITY” of Americans.  Just remember Corporate American has lobbyist fighting for them in Washington, Wall Street fights for the Investors, CEO’s fight for the Executives and Marketing, the Board of Directors fight for the CEO’s….Stop and think who is fighting for me?

Racial Coalition

Regardless of your race or ethnicity, when you sit down at the kitchen table to pay your bills, ponder these questions.  How does stopping gay people from getting married help me provide for my family?  How does English only legislation help me pay for braces for my teenager?  How does overturning Roe vs. Wade provide me with job security?  How does voting 40 times to repeal Obamacare help me get affordable health insurance for my wife with cancer?  How do tax cuts for the 1% help me pay my mortgage or rent?  How does prayer in school help my children get a good ACADEMIC education so that they have a better life then I did?  How does busting Unions provide me with a living wage? How does reducing funding for food assistance help me feed my family? How does shutting down the government help me send my kids to college?   Ask yourself these questions America don’t let Republican talking points lead you down the path of destruction…Throw the TEA PARTY into the metaphoric Boston Harbor!

“Lunch Pail” Republicans…GOP betrayal of the Middle Class White Guy!

How the GOP betrayed the “Lunch Pail” Republicans…

From the Lunch Pail Republican Website:

“All across America, many life-long Republicans are feeling completely disconnected from their Party and their candidates in Washington. They want their Party to return to the issues that define what it means to be a Republican. We hear you loud and clear. It’s time to take back our party.

 Are you a Lunch Pail Republican?

Do you believe in…?

  • A strong economy?
  • Less government?
  • Good paying jobs?
  • Less government intrusion in the private sector?
  • Employee-sponsored health care?
  • Labor-Management cooperation?

If you answered “yes” to 3 or more of the above questions, then you are a Lunch Pail Republican. It’s time to take back our party. We invite you to join us.

Who Are We?

We are Republicans who are focused on providing for ourselves and our families, protecting our rights and our property from intrusion, and keeping our country on a path toward recovery and prosperity. We’re not taking the Party in a new direction. We’re simply returning it to the traditional core Republican values that used to define who we are.

About the Lunch Pail Republicans

Statement of Principles

  • We the Lunchpail Republicans believe in building and maintaining an America with a strong economy, unrivaled liberty, and a government that unobtrusively empowers the middle class.
  • We believe that the Republican Party has abandoned its traditional principles by advancing an agenda that negatively impacts workers’ wages, benefits and quality of life.
  • We believe that the current anti-worker agenda ultimately harms the Republican Party by discouraging middle-class Republicans from voting for Republican candidates whose policies would harm them, or worse, from participating in the election process at all.
  • We believe that the interests of workers and businesses are reliant upon each other, and without one, the other cannot stand.
  • We believe that elected officials have an obligation to protect workers’ interests as well as corporate interests, and that a growing disparity between the two is harmful to America’s long-term viability.
  • We believe that America’s economy is strongest with the presence of a robust middle class.
  • We believe that enemies of the middle class exist on both the left and the right, and the middle class must mobilize to remove them from office.

We are the Republicans who are focused on providing for ourselves and our families, protecting our rights and our property from intrusion, and keeping our country on a path toward recovery and prosperity.

We are not being represented.

Too many “Republicans” are far more focused on pushing someone else’s agenda and playing politics to get re-elected than looking out for us, the working people who they are sent there to protect.

Our beliefs are simple.

We believe in freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, and most of all, in limited government. Our parents’ and grandparents’ Republican Party would never stand for the type of attacks that are being leveled against working people. We are pro-business and pro-labor because neither one can survive without the other; we will stand with candidates who stand with us.

Hands off our unions.

If we work under a union contract, chances are we are paid better than we would be without it. That means something to us. If a union helps us earn more money to support our families, paying our union a little bit is only fair. We aren’t freeloaders, and we don’t want the government forcing our union to represent freeloaders, because it will just weaken our ability to bring home those better wages.

If you think you have the right to tell any union, business, or independent organization that it has to work for nothing, stop calling yourself a Republican. Stay out of it. It’s none of your business.

We are looking for a few good working men and women.

Too many of our leaders have forgotten what is important to working people, so it is time for them to go.”

The Republican Party has moved so far to the “WACKO-EXTREME” even those that call themselves “Lunch Pail” Republicans can see that the GOP has left them behind.  The Republicans wrongfully believe that “EVERYONE” that supports them is either a Corporate Executive, Investor or an Entrepreneur.   1% is 1%…and 1% is not a majority.  There are working class Republicans that are increasingly feeling alienated by the Party of Lincoln.

Two years ago, 100,000 Wisconsin residents, working class Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike surrounded and occupied the state capitol. Police, Fire, Teachers and Wisconsin Citizens mobilized in one of the largest labor protests in modern American history. Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to strip public sector workers of collective bargaining rights lifted the veil of the anti-worker agendas of the new Republican leadership.

All across this Nation there are “Blue Collar Working Class” Republicans who are paid through tax dollars.  Police and Fire are part of those constituencies.  As the Republican Governors focus on breaking their Unions, Police and Fire need to wake up and see the direction the Party is going.  The family of a firefighter killed with 18 colleagues while battling a summer wildfire is waging a campaign urging the city of Prescott, Ariz., to provide his survivors with full health and pension benefits. Firemen all across this Country need to ask themselves what are Republican Governors, Representatives and Senators doing to protect the rights of their families.  Fire and Police put their lives on the line every day and all they ask in return is that their families are taken care of.  Blindly trusting that the GOP has your interest at heart because you are a White Male is misplaced.  You need to ask the question, what are you doing for me and my family?

Prescott, which employed Firefighter, Andrew Ashcraft and other members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, says Ashcraft and 12 others who died were seasonal employees, leaving their survivors ineligible for benefits that would go to a full-time employee.  State, Local and Federal Representatives need to be pushed to act on “BEHALF” of Police and Fire.  What are GOP Representatives in Arizona doing to make this situation right?  Andrew Ashcraft gave his life for Arizona, what is Arizona a Red State doing to take care of its heroic firefighters and men in blue? What are the Democrats doing in that State for that matter?

“I want to be able to just be mourning my husband, be supporting my children, be figuring out what our new normal is,” Juliann Ashcraft, Andrew’s widow and mother of their four children, said at a news conference Wednesday outside the Yavapai County courthouse in Prescott. “As shocked as I was that my husband went to work and never came home, I’m equally shocked in how the city has treated our family since then,” she said.

For those Republican Firefighters and Republican Police, these are the words of widow left behind, she represents your wife and your children.  Will your wife have to fight this battle all alone, will your children be left to fend for themselves?  Is breaking Police and Fire Unions in your family’s best interest?

White “Lunch Pail” Republicans take too much for granted.  As the GOP leadership points the fingers at women and minorities, the 1% of “YOUR” tribe betrays “YOUR” interest.

In Detroit an epic battle ensues as workers and pensioners filed suit against Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and state Treasurer Andy Dillon, seeking to prevent them from filing a possible municipal bankruptcy petition for Detroit because, they argue, such a move would violate Michigan’s constitutional protections of public pension benefits. This should be a warning to Police and Fire in every major City, your State Constitutions will not help you and the Republican Governors seem to fighting against the interest of Police and Fire and not for you.

What have the Republicans in the House of Representatives done to “STOP” the outsourcing of good paying American jobs?  Nothing!  Absolutely nothing, but Corporate America has shipped “OUR” jobs overseas, reaped gargantuan profits and then hoarded those profits offshore. A state of denial exists among Republican policymakers and outsourcing’s corporate champions about the adverse effects on the US.  As they outsource our jobs leaving us unemployed, the GOP politicians then call us lazy takers.  They expect us to take 2 or 3 low paying service jobs and refuse to pass legislation that would provide a living wage.

In what might be an underestimate, a University of California study concludes that 14 million white-collar jobs are vulnerable to being outsourced offshore. These are not only call-center operators, customer service and back-office jobs, but also information technology, accounting, architecture, advanced engineering design, news reporting, stock analysis, and medical and legal services. The authors of the study note that these are the jobs of the American Dream, the jobs of upward mobility that generate the bulk of the tax revenues that fund our education, health, infrastructure, and social security systems. Ask yourself, what are the “REPUBLICANS” doing to stop this bleeding to strengthen the American Middle Class? Again NOTHING!  These are “WHITE COLLAR” jobs, so those of you with College Degrees are not immune from your tribe betraying you either.  The 1% are loyal to the 1%, they hoard money, they do not trickle it down to you…that trickle you feel is not money…

“The Department of Labor reports that more than one in three workers who are displaced remains unemployed, and many of those who are lucky enough to find jobs take major pay cuts. Many former manufacturing workers who were displaced a decade ago because of manufacturing that went offshore took training courses and found jobs in the information technology sector. They are now facing the unenviable situation of having their second career disappear overseas.”

What has the GOP proposed to fix this Middle Class concern?  Again nothing!  The misplaced loyalty that White Males have given to the GOP is being betrayed as they laugh at you behind your back and defraud you with divisive issues, like gay marriage, prayer in school, English only, banning abortion, demonizing minorities, gun rights, LGBT rights and women’s rights.  How does any one of those issues improve or strengthen the American Middle Class…the 1% is laughing at you as they pick your pockets clean…there is no loyalty from the 1% to the “TRIBE” their “TRIBE” is the 1% and you are only there to provide the spoils not too share them.

real-housewives-beverly-hills

Demand that the GOP acts in “YOUR” interest or tell them to take a hike “Lunch Pail” Republicans!

It’s the American Middle Class STUPID!

It’s the American Middle Class Stupid!!!

In an audio recording posted Monday by the organization Right Wing Watch, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) seemed to express an openness to investigating President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. If the conspiracy theory proved true, he said, Republicans could undo all of the administration’s policies.


Meanwhile in the world of “adult” behavior, President Barack Obama touted the work his administration has done to stem the housing crisis. The President also called for more action to improve the housing sector, including increased federal spending and new policies on access to credit for first-time homeowners, during a speech Tuesday in Phoenix.

Democratic LogoGOP no
The idea divide could not be wider and the choice could not be clearer. While Rep. Ted Yoho (Republican-Florida) diddles with himself and the far out base, the President and the Democrats continue to try and put forth “NEW” ideas to help strengthen the American Middle Class

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Lindsey Graham on Angry White men
The vitriol on the far right blinds them to the GOP’s incompetence; and the addiction to the far right base takes the GOP down the rabbit hole as surely as a heroin addict in a full blown dependency. The two are co-dependent and like the family of an addict the Blue Collar “Lunch Pale” Republicans are doomed to suffer in silent misery.


For the past 5 years I have posed this question on Yahoo News, Twitter, MSNBC, Newsvine and various other comment outlets, “Name one bill the Republicans have proposed in the last 10 years that would specifically help strengthen the American Middle Class?”. Believe it or not with all the big mouth right wing trolls online, not one could give me an answer. Crickets!!!!

The GOP took over the House of Representatives in 2010 with promises to bring back jobs to the American Middle Class, as a matter of fact it is the first action item in the Republican Platform.
In an interview with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo, Speaker Boehner said the Republican Plan for Economic Growth & Jobs is “our number one focus” in the House of Representatives. “We’re trying to stay focused on those things that would improve our economy – help the American people’s wages increase and have more jobs available,” said Boehner.

GOP priorities
What we got was abortion bills, homophobic bills, voter suppression, tax cuts for the 2%, proposals to cut corporate taxes, corporate subsidies, repealing Obamacare 40 times, defunding the defunct ACORN, cutting food assistance, the sequester, birther bills, naming post offices and complete incompetence and lack of civility. The Republican Party either is out of touch or they simply don’t care about the American Middle Class. Void of ideas they cling to power with desperate claws grasping for any paltry interest from the American public. When that futile attempt at trickery fails, they move on to another hollow and trivial attempt to defraud “We the People”


If the American Middle Class does not throw these bums out, they deserve to suffer the consequences of their inaction. 2014 is a little over a year away, progressives need to be prepared as if this were a Presidential election. We vote for the President of the United States, get him into office and then move on to other distractions and then complain that the President is not doing his job. That is bull shit!! Society is moving faster, technology is making life easier and more complex at the same time. Progressives no longer have the luxury of taking the off years off. The damage the GOP has done in the last 3 years to the American Middle Class, is because “We the People” failed to vote our interests in 2010. The election has consequences.
As the Republican Party plans their government shutdown, threatening to bring down the United States economy to defund a program that helps “YOU” and your family. Think about this. What has the Republican Party done in the last 30 years that has been good for the American Middle Class? What bill have the Republicans proposed that were drafted “SPECIFICALLY” to strengthen the Middle Class? This is no trick question the answer is a dismal and unambiguous NOTHING! The GOP is good for NOTHING, USELESS and INCOMPETENT…unable and unwilling to govern…so fire them!


BLANKNESS and DESOLATION now drive the GOP. Their desperation is evident in their continued efforts to suppress the vote. Without new ideas all they can do is game our system or try to destroy our democracy. Like a wounded animal they lash out and have become dangerous, unpredictable and irrational. Like a mate that has lost all hope they cling desperately and pathetically like a piece of gum left in the sun too long. The pong of desperation is all over them, the reek of failures is all over the Republicans in the House…The Nation looks on in amazement at the once proud Party of Lincoln implodes in on itself…who would associate themselves with desperate?

American Unions….Come Home America!

Thanks to the Labor Movement Image

American Unions….Come Home America!

What is Corporate Management’s dirty little secret? We are human beings! Management are not immune from disliking an employee; from getting angry with an employee; from wanting to get rid of an employee and retribution; from making decisions that are bad for employee’s; profits and productivity are first and foremost our objective.

I became a manager at 24 years old for Southern Pacific Communications, parent of Sprint Long Distance, starting my career with a staff of 30 customer service representatives. The communications industry was changing from year to year, as the divestiture of AT&T and the local phone companies were in full swing to open up the industry to free market competition.
In the 1980’s long distance companies like, Sprint, MCI, Alltel, Global Crossing, Argo Systems, were springing up overnight. GTE bought, SP Communications and became GTE Sprint Communications. Management was called into a meeting and told that GTE would be opening a regional customer service hub call-center in Dallas and that we would be laying off our staff in 6 months. In order to keep our call-center fully staffed until then, we were asked not to say a word to the staff until two weeks before the lay-off. We needed to keep productivity up and keep the staff from looking for a new jobs until then.

I had developed a relationship with my staff, I knew them as peers and as their manager. They would share their lives with me. I knew that some were buying cars and homes, increasing debt, but I could not warn them of the impending lay-offs. They trusted me, but I was management and my job was to make sure the company’s priorities and goals were being met. Did I think it was unfair? I did but I understood my role and did my job. On the day that I announced the lay-off, my staff looked stunned and betrayed, the first question out of their mouth, “How long did you know?”

When you are a manager you see all kinds of characteristic among your management peers, mean, nice, unethical, self-serving, good, bad, productive, lazy, hardworking, truthful, dishonest, harassers and manager’s that are respectful and caring…every human trait is represented. But one thing they all share is their dislike for “UNIONS”. “UNIONS” make it hard to manage. We can’t just fire a Union member. We can’t just lay them off without notice. We can’t harass them with abandon. We can’t fire them because we simply dislike them. We can’t make them work overtime without paying them overtime wages. We can’t treat them unjustly. Because the Union is there to speak for them we need to be mindful of good labor relations.

My advice to non-management staff after 30 years of managing! Unionize! Trusting your job security to a non-union company manager is basically at will, and that is the way “WE” like it. We will tell you that unions protect bad employees and that is unfair to you. We will tell you that those lazy union members make $25 an hour to put seatbelts in cars and isn’t that “unfair” it makes it very expensive to buy cars. We will tell you that your union dues will be used to campaign for “Democrats” and you should be resentful. We will tell you that the unions don’t do anything for you they just collect your dues. I am here to tell you those are all lies that “WE” tell you so that you will not unionize, because selfishly it makes “OUR” jobs harder and it increases labor cost for the Corporation reducing profits to shareholders. Neither of those two objectives are something you should be concerned with because that screws you out of job security and a “LIVING WAGE”.

As union membership has declined; so has job security and with it so has the standard of living for the American Middle Class. Corporate America is there to sell products and services and create profits for shareholders. There are great companies out there that understand the value of their human resources and their affect to the bottom-line, there is no doubt about it. But all too often there are bad managers even at those companies that will not do right by the employee. What about the Human Resources Department you may ask don’t they speak for the employee’s? NO NO NO, we have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the company from suits and liability. Of course that sometime benefits the employee but all too often we protect management first. In a non-union company you are on your own.

When “WE” tell you the downside of “UNIONS” consider the source, we are not objective, we have an agenda and that agenda is profits and giving as much of those profits to shareholders. Unions have done much for the American Middle Class over the last 100 years and don’t let Corporate America or it self-serving CEO’s and management teams tell you different:

1. Founding of the Committee for Industrial Organization, later the Congress of Industrial Organizations or CIO (1938)
After the American Federation of Labor voted against organizing workers “across trades” in a factory, preferring to group workers by individual craft or trade, the CIO and its visionary leader, John L. Lewis, recognized the potential power of mobilizing workers across occupational lines in a given industry. The approach opened the union door to what would become labor’s core constituency — mass production workers.
2. Passage of the Social Security Act (1935)
This New Deal legislation provided workers with unemployment insurance, aid to dependent children and rehabilitation for the physically disabled. It also improved public health and provided pensions to workers in their old age. Today, AFSCME is leading the fight to strengthen and preserve Social Security — a benefit to some 44 million people.
3. National Labor Relations Act (1935)
Also known as the “Wagner Act,” this law served as the foundation for current U.S. labor law, granting unions the right to organize and obligating employers to bargain collectively on hours, wages and other terms and conditions of employment. AFSCME has used the NLRA to secure collective bargaining rights for workers across the country.
4. GM Sit-Down Strikes (1936-37)
Anti-union sentiments in the fledgling auto industry in the 1930s triggered a sit-down job action by 50 workers at a Fisher Body plant in Flint, Mich., an action that inspired similar strikes by 485,000 auto workers across the U.S. and Canada in an 8-month period. The Flint strike lasted 45 days, with strikers winning a five-cent-an-hour raise and an agreement by management to rehire the strikers and recognize the union.
5. Civil Rights Act/Title VII (1964)
This landmark legislation prohibited discrimination by employers or unions on the basis of race, national origin, color, religion or gender. AFSCME’s unprecedented growth in the 60s and 70s was due in large measure to the union’s reputation for fighting for fair treatment for all workers, but particularly minorities.
6. Public Sector Organizing (1962-1980)
In 1962, President Kennedy signed Executive Order 10988, which recognized the rights of federal employees to join unions. This order spearheaded the rapid expansion of all public sector organizing. A key event of this period was the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., killed while in Memphis on behalf of striking AFSCME sanitation workers.
7. Fair Labor Standards Act (1938)
The FLSA granted sweeping protections to workers — establishing a minimum wage (25 cents an hour) and the 8-hour work day, providing for overtime, and prohibiting the use of child labor in all businesses engaged in interstate commerce. Despite breaking important ground, the FLSA excluded large numbers of workers, not the least of whom were public service workers.
8. “Bread and Roses” Strike (1912)
This sometimes violent strike at a Lawrence, Mass., textile mill was named for the song sung by strikers determined to win more than a subsistence life. The strike became synonymous with the struggle of workers to better their working conditions.
9. World War II Support
The trade union movement that was beginning to flex its collective muscles at the end of the 30s put those same muscles to work on behalf of the war effort. And, like the patriots they were, American unions pledged not to strike and received no-layoff concessions for the duration of the war.
10. Occupational Safety & Health Act (1970)
Providing a safe workplace had been a primary goal of the labor movement since its inception. Many years later, President Nixon — a conservative Republican — was convinced to sign the first comprehensive federal legislation covering safety in the workplace. Unions work daily to enforce OSHA’s regulations, and also to expand and refine safe protections for all workers.

Practically ALL the benefits you have at work, whether you work in the public or private sector, all of the benefits and rights you value are there because unions fought hard for them against Corporate America who did everything they could to prevent giving you those rights. Many union leaders and members even lost their lives for things we take for granted today.

The demonization of Unions was a strategy to bust the Unions so that “WE” the Executive and Management Teams could reap the benefits of “AT WILL” working conditions, increasing productivity without impunity, taking your pensions, reducing your healthcare benefits, raiding 401k company stock and taking those profits for “Ourselves” in the form of outrageous bonuses, CEO salaries and “Shareholder” payouts. American Unions are not the enemy, 30 years of a right wing agenda focused on management priorities and bottom-lines profits have only served to hurt the American worker and your standard of living. It is time to come home America…Unions are good for American Labor… Look for the Union Label…

Does the Republican Platform Advocate for the American Middle Class?

Part of the American Middle Class? Why are you a Republican?

 “The 2012 Republican Platform is a statement of who we are and what we believe as a Party and our vision for a stronger and freer America.”—The 2012 Republican Platform

BengalsRepublican Sports logo

A political party is not a sports team.  The GOP are not the Cincinnati Bengals.  In 43 years of existence, the Bengals have enjoyed just 12 winning seasons, including two in the past 20 years. They’ve never won the Super Bowl, falling twice to the 49ers in the ’80s. The Bengals clawed their way to a playoff appearance last season but it’ll take a lot more than that to turn this franchise around for good.  Although I am sure Cincinnati fans will stick with their team regardless of the stats, loyalty to a sports team is as American as apple pie.  The Bengal losses don’t have much of an impact on the daily lives, health and well-being of its fans.

Republican LogoDemocratic Logo

A political party on the other hand is not a team.  It is an organization with a mission to forward a political agenda that does affect the “everyday” lives of the American People, “We the People”.  The Platform of the Party is that agenda.  Those that control the party, mold that agenda and when their candidates get into office, it is that very agenda that they are charged to implement. So when a Moderate Republican Commentator says this, “That’s the GOP platform, I don’t believe in that”, my answer to that is, you are pretty spineless and have no credibility, that answer is asinine.  Why would “anyone” belong to an organization whose tenets you don’t believe in; that’s like saying I belong to the Klux Klux Klan because my parents did and I like the white sheets, but I don’t believe in what they stand for.  Say what?! That is lemming craziness.  If you notice Republican pundits like to use the term “Democrat” instead of “Democratic” as if Americans choose the Republican Party because it is multisyllabic and sounds better…LOL  That would be stupid and shallow America!

Republican AgendaYou can't ignore the Elephant in the room

Americans, particularly those in the American Middle Class treat their parties as though they were a sports team.  The legacy handed down to them by their parents or grandparents.  Loyal to the end, the blue collar and white collar Middle Class Americans follow their “team” to their own demise.  I was the first in my family to become a Republican.  When I was in my early impressionable 20’s I heard Ronald Reagan speak of prosperity and the “shining city on the hill”.  I bought into “supply-side” economics, the theory sounded reasonably beneficial for the time.

Reaganomics

Said the spider to the flymiddle-class

30 years later I am no longer a Republican, I am older and wiser.  I actually have read the platform and have discovered that it does not meet the social or economic interests of my situation or that of my family.  I am a Middle Class American, I make less than $100,000 annually. 80% of American households make less than $100,000, so I am in the majority and in good company. I re-registered Independent in July of 2012 because I felt personally that the Republican Party no longer had “ANYTHING” to offer those making less than $100K.  30 years of supply-side economics has only benefitted those in upper income brackets, it has created gross income inequality and has actually reduced opportunities for upward mobility.

war-on-the-middle-classObama-Middle-Class-300x225

Since my parents were Democrats I have no legacy to follow or parental figure to disappoint. There is no “team” loyalty or disloyalty that I have to worry about.  My “team” is the American Middle Class.  I have been hard on the Republicans in my blog, because they no longer speak for the Middle Class or the interests of most Americans.  They seem disengaged and out-of-touch with the daily lives of a majority of working-class Americans.  I have been hard on the Democrats when they put forth ideas that will hurt the average American, I have spoken out loudly and vociferously about Chained CPI and NSA spying, that some leaders in the Democratic Party have decided acceptable collateral damage.  They are not acceptable to the American Middle Class. But I digress.

My plan is to go over the Republican Platform point by point until the 2014 elections.  I will make a commitment that I will consistently blog from a Middle Class perspective and for the benefit of those making from zero to $100,000.  I will fight for those institutions that help the average American Family.  The Corporate Media does a fine job of protecting the interest of the Upper Middle Class-$101,000-$550,000 and Washington DC does an excellent job fighting for Corporations and the 1%.  So my promise is to speak for “US” the Middle Class, the Working Class and those that have no voice.  I am a Catholic after all and social justice is in my blood. LOL

Jobs Wanted

Job Creation was priority number one in the Republican Platform.  So let’s start there.  I have copied and pasted the wording directly from the Platform.  I have broken it down and followed with an article that I believe speaks the interest of those making less than $100,000 a year.  Regardless of their political bent.  You will find articles from Republicans, so long as they are speaking for the interest of the Middle Class. Both political parties should be working for the majority of Americans, not just the 1%, Corporate America or the Investor Class…the needs of all Americans should be considered.

“Job Creation: Getting Americans Back to Work. The best jobs program is economic growth.  [1.] We do not offer yet another made-in-Washington package of subsidies and spending to create temporary or artificial jobs. We want much more than that. [2.] We want a roaring job market to match a roaring economy.   Instead, what this Administration has given us is 42 consecutive months of unemployment above 8 percent, the longest period of high unemployment since the Great Depression.  [3.] Republicans will pursue free market policies that are the surest way to boost employment and create job growth and economic prosperity for all. In all the sections that follow, as well as elsewhere in this platform, we explain what must be done to achieve that goal. [4.] The tax system must be simplified. Government spending and regulation must be reined in. [5.] American companies must be more competitive in the world market, and we must be aggressive in promoting U.S. products abroad and securing open markets for them.  A federal-State-private partnership must invest in the nation’s infrastructure: roads, bridges, airports, ports, and water systems, among others. [6] Federal training programs have to be overhauled and made relevant for the workplace of the twenty-first century. Potential employers need certainty and predictability for their hiring decisions, and the team of a Republican President and Congress will create the confidence that will get Americans back to work.”—The Republican Platform on Job Creation

Let us dissect the “Job Creation” goals of the Republican Platform and how this would benefit the 80% of Americans making less than $100,000 per household.

1.  We do not offer yet another made-in-Washington package of subsidies and spending to create temporary or artificial jobs.  In fact the GOP is all about subsidies, subsidies to big oil, agri-business, big pharma and Wall Street.

GOP to Taxpayers: We’re Against Subsidies, Except If They’re For Rich Farmers, by Veronique de Rugy : A few weeks ago, I suggested that splitting the farm bill into two pieces would have the benefits of breaking the alliance between the pro-farm and food-stamp spending lobbies … and … would finally put farm subsidies on the path to elimination where they belong. Boy, was I wrong. As it turns out, Republicans are as eager as ever to continue to support a “ag-only bill” that includes indefensible subsidies to farmers, such as sugar-producer programs, and creates new income-entitlement programs, such as the shallow-loss program:

Every Democrat and 12 brave Republicans voted no for a bill that spends more than the ag-only provisions in the Senate farm bill, saves less than half what Republicans agreed to in their House Budget, and falls short of the cuts called for in the President’s budget request.

To add insult to injury, this move just feeds into the portrait Democrats like to paint of Republican lawmakers: They will support any policies that favor the rich – even if they mean more government spending – and like to oppose policies that would benefit lower-income Americans. In this case, there is some truth to that. Republicans are showing that, while some of them weren’t willing to vote for the farm bill as long as it included food stamps, they will support the outrageous redistribution of income to higher-income Americans when it benefits wealthy farmers. …

When I was a kid, my mom used to get really mad when my uncle, a fairly well-off farmer and a Republican who took his share from these programs, would complain about welfare. He takes welfare too! She’d tell me on the car ride home … and he doesn’t even need it!

2. We want a roaring job market to match a roaring economy.

In 863 Days House GOP Has Offered 0 Jobs Plans While Voting to Repeal Obamacare 34 Times

By: Jason Easley May. 16th, 2013

 In the 863 days since taking control of the House Republicans have passed 0 jobs plans, but voted to repeal Obamacare 34 times. (The final count as of 7-22-2013 is 39 times)

This was an utterly pointless vote. Before the vote, Speaker John Boehner’s office was desperately trying to justify House Republicans using 15% of the time they have been in session to repeal Obamacare. Boehner is claiming that this was only the third House vote to repeal Obamacare. The other votes were to defund Obamacare. Defunding would have the same impact as repeal, so Boehner was playing a silly word game.

In the 863 days since Republicans have taken control of the House they have offered nothing in terms of a jobs agenda. What House Republicans labeled a “No Cost Jobs Plan” isn’t really a jobs plan at all. It is actually a series of proposals to eliminate regulations and lower taxes. (If this concept created jobs, George W. Bush would have presided over a boom economy instead of an economic collapse.)

House Republicans keep fooling themselves into believing that if they just keep passing bills to repeal Obamacare, someday it will happen.

Wouldn’t it have been nice if House Republicans would have taken the time they wasted and used it to deal with the issues that the American people really care about?

Republicans want to blame Obama for the dysfunction in Washington, when votes like this one make it clear where the real problem is. Americans want access to healthcare, so Republicans try to repeal the legislation that would help more than 30 million of our citizens. House Republicans hear the people wanting action on jobs, immigration, and background checks. They respond by giving them another useless vote on repealing Obamacare.

House Republicans have moved beyond do nothing and into do less than nothing territory. They have gotten to the point where they are voting again on things that they already voted on. Even worse, they are voting on legislation that has already been rejected dozens of times by the Senate.

The House hasn’t turned voters against Obamacare. They’ve turned voters against Republicans.

3. Republicans will pursue free market policies that are the surest way to boost employment and create job growth and economic prosperity for all.

“Free-Market” Outcomes Are Not Fair—and Not Free

by Marty Wolfson , January 22, 2013 by Dollars and Sense

“Since 1980, the U.S. government has reduced its intervention in the U.S. economy, which has become much more of a free market. Conservatives applaud this development because they think that free-market outcomes reward talent and hard work; progressives object to the income inequality of free-market outcomes and want to use government tax and transfer policy to reduce inequality.”

Most people, whether conservative or progressive, would probably agree with this statement. This framing of the issue, however, plays into a right-wing story in which conservatives are the defenders of (free) market outcomes, including the success of the rich who have made it “on their own”; meanwhile, the “dependent poor” look to the government for handouts. This has been a basic element of the right-wing playbook for a long time. Then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney was drawing on this narrative when he complained about the 47% of the U.S. population “who are dependent upon government … who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them.”

This view has two main themes: 1) Because the U.S. free-market economy rewards talent and hard work, the middle class should emulate the wealthy for their success, not vilify them; and 2) those who have been failures in the market want the government to take care of them by redistributing income from those who have been successful. We can see these themes play out on all sorts of political issues. They form, for example, the basis for the attacks on the Affordable Health Care Act (or “Obamacare”). Middle-class Americans, in the conservative view, are being taxed—forced to pay—to provide health insurance for those “unsuccessful” elements of the population who have not earned it themselves.

The conservative argument assumes that the outcomes we observe are the result of a free-market economy. However, the right-wing objective has not been to create a free market; it has been to rig government policy and the market so as to redistribute income towards large corporations and the wealthy.

For example, conservatives themselves want to use government policy to effect a different distribution of income from what we have now—a distribution that is more favorable to corporations and the very rich. A central policy objective for conservatives, ever since the Reagan Administration, has been to cut taxes on the wealthy. And by cutting government revenue, they have been able to make the argument that government programs for the poor and the middle class need to be cut in order to balance the budget.

Also, conservatives have eliminated restrictions on corporations and protections for workers, consumers, and the environment. They have attacked barriers to international capital mobility, deregulated industries, and reduced government regulations to ensure a safe workplace and a healthy environment.

Because conservative policies have often taken the form of reducing government programs and regulations, the ideology of a free market has been useful in rationalizing them. Other conservative interventions, however, have been less able to fit into the free-market mold, and therefore are especially revealing of conservatives’ genuine aims. When the financial crisis of 2008 threatened the survival of the large banks, they were quick to ask for the government to intervene with a large bailout. The “right-to-work” law recently passed in Indiana, designed to deprive unions of financial resources, is an explicit rejection of a market outcome—the private agreement between management and union to require all workers to pay their “fair share” of the costs of union representation. “Free-trade” agreements, ostensibly designed to eliminate restrictions on the movement of goods and capital, have nonetheless continued to restrict the free movement of people. Even the repeal of financial regulations in the 1980s and 1990s, ostensibly a free-market endeavor, created the anti-competitive giant financial firms that demanded to be bailed out in 2008.

The realization that the economy is rigged to benefit the rich and large corporations takes away the force of the right-wing argument that progressives want to use government to “vilify” the “successful” and reward the “slothful and incompetent.” When the game has been rigged, it is wrong to say that the market simply rewards talent and hard work, and the outcomes that result can hardly be called fair. When the market outcomes that we observe are unfair, we need to both change the rules for how the economy works and use the government to restore fairness.

© 2012 Dollars and Sense

Marty Wolfson is a professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame.

 

4. The tax system must be simplified. Government spending and regulation must be reined in.

Zero-Based Tax Reform

Bruce Bartlett | July 2, 2013 | The New York Times

Bruce Bartlett held senior policy roles in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations and served on the staffs of Representatives Jack Kemp and Ron Paul. He is the author of “The Benefit and the Burden: Tax Reform – Why We Need It and What It Will Take.”

In the 1970s, there was a management fad called “zero-based budgeting” that Jimmy Carter used as governor of Georgia and tried to put in place as president. The theory was that every government program needed to justify itself annually, rather than being automatically renewed.

The idea never caught on because the payoff turned out to be small and it required a great deal of paperwork and data collection that complicated the budget process, according to a recent review by the Government Finance Officers Association.

Now, the chairman and ranking member of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, Senators Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, and Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, have proposed zero-based tax reform. Their idea is to wipe out every tax expenditure – deductions, exclusions and credits that reduce tax liability – and start from scratch, requiring tax-expenditure supporters to justify each one as if it were being proposed for the first time. Presumably, tax rates would be reduced, but the proposal does not say how much.

Critically, the senators say they will maintain the existing progressivity of the tax code. This puts a severe constraint on their efforts, because tax expenditures are not evenly distributed across income classes, nor is the burden of taxation. What appears fair at first glance may be grossly unfair when thinking the issue through.

The senators provide the table below to show the impact on average federal income tax rates in 2017 of restoring $2 trillion of individual income tax expenditures and $200 billion of corporate tax expenditures over 10 years.

Chart One*Senate Finance Committee

The point seems to be that every income class will be hit approximately the same if Congress retains tax expenditures rather than eliminating them. But that is not at all what it shows, because the baseline on which the tax changes would be applied is not indicated. Also, the brackets are oddly chosen because five of the seven brackets apply to a tiny number of households with incomes far above those of most Americans. To have a clearer idea of what might happen, the following table from the Tax Policy Center shows the distribution of federal taxes in 2017 under current law.

Chart 2*Tax Policy Center Federal taxes include individual and corporate income taxes, payroll and estate taxes.

It’s hard to compare the two tables because we don’t know what impact tax expenditures have on each income bracket. But clearly, those at the bottom are not going to benefit much, if at all, from rate reductions because they pay little if any federal income taxes. As Republicans keep reminding us, 47 percent of tax filers pay no federal income taxes. It’s disingenuous to imply that a family making $20,000 and one making more than $450,000 will be affected equally by the retention of tax expenditures, as the first table shows.

Kitty Richards of the Center for American Progress points to another way of looking at the zero-based proposal. She notes that the budget proposal put forward by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles in 2010 would also have wiped the slate clean of all tax expenditures and reduced tax rates to three statutory brackets of 9 percent, 15 percent and 24 percent.

In 2010, the Tax Policy Center estimated the distributional effect of this proposal for 2015, retaining only the child credit, earned income tax credit and employer contributions for health and retirement plans. The following table compares that proposal to the center’s current estimate of federal tax rates in 2015 for each 20 percent of households and the ultra-wealthy.

Chart 3*Tax Policy Center

As one can see, those with lower and middle incomes would see a tax increase, while the wealthy would get a tax cut. That is because those with high incomes control such a large percentage of total income that they benefit disproportionately from any cut in tax rates. It is hard to see how any reduction in tax rates financed by base-broadening won’t have a similar effect given the current distribution of taxes.

Of course, another problem with the Baucus-Hatch approach is that certain tax expenditures are so popular it is inconceivable that they would ever be abolished. As I have previously noted, just the top 10 largest tax expenditures on the individual side account for more than 70 percent of the estimated $1.1 trillion in total tax expenditures. These include such “sacred cows” as the exclusion for health insurance, the deduction for interest on owner-occupied homes, the deduction for charitable contributions and others that Congress will never abolish.

Even special tax breaks that members of both parties denounce and that are clearly perverse have proven impossible to repeal.

The idea that we can wipe the slate clean and start from scratch is ridiculous pie-in-the-sky thinking and an abrogation of responsibility by the Senate’s two principal leaders on tax issues. They ought to be willing to exercise some judgment and put forward a specific proposal of tax expenditures they think are worthy of abolition in order to clean up the tax code and lower rates. That’s what Ronald Reagan did in 1985, which led to enactment of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

Until a specific proposal on the table can be discussed, analyzed and amended, tax reform isn’t going anywhere. Senators Baucus and Hatch are not helping; they are just wasting time.

5.  American companies must be more competitive in the world market, and we must be aggressive in promoting U.S. products abroad and securing open markets for them. .  A federal-State-private partnership must invest in the nation’s infrastructure: roads, bridges, airports, ports, and water systems, among others.

 

U.S. Infrastructure Down In World Rankings Since 2008

By Lucia Graves Posted: 05/24/2013 2:04 pm EDT  |  Updated: 05/24/2013 4:41 pm EDT

The United States’ global rank in infrastructure has dropped off considerably from where it was four years ago, both in absolute and relative terms, according to a recent report.

U.S. infrastructure ranked 14th in the world this year, a full seven slots lower than it was in 2008, according to the Global Competitiveness Report for 2012-2013, which was released earlier this month by the World Economic Forum. The country’s overall score had dropped from 6.10 in 2008 to 5.81 this year, where 1 is extremely underdeveloped and 7 is a top score.

The news comes as word spreads about the collapse of the Interstate 5 bridge in Washington State, which fell into the Skagit River on Thursday night, sending at least two cars into the river and at least three people to the hospital. Another 700 bridges in the state have even worse sufficiency scores than the bridge that collapsed, according to the AP. Investigators speculate a truck with an over-sized load caused the structure to buckle.

The news is likely to revive debate around the country’s aging infrastructure and the need to invest in upgrading outdated roads and bridges.

A chart created by Joe Wiesenthal shows public construction spending as a percentage of GDP is lower than it’s been in over 20 years, after a big uptick before the recession.

Infrastructure Chart

One of the reasons for the drop off is that states and local governments have historically provided most of the spending for roads, highways and bridges, and given the economic downturn in 2008, they’ve been forced to pull back on infrastructure spending to balance their budgets. Congress hasn’t made up the difference, despite the 2009 stimulus, which filled a small portion of the gap. The most recent highway bill failed to substantively increase spending on transportation despite a clear need for upgrades.

The U.S. bridges earned a score of C+ in the American Society of Civil Engineers 2013 report card, and just this week the society’s Seattle section gave the state’s bridges a C-minus “due to a lack of planned funding and inadequate maintenance,” as Seattle Weekly noted.

Wonkblog’s Brad Plumer suggests now would be a wise time to invest in repairs, as borrowing rates for Congress are remarkably low and fixing crumbling infrastructure only gets more expensive with time.

6.  Federal training programs have to be overhauled and made relevant for the workplace of the twenty-first century.

GOP blocks veterans jobs bill with budget vote

By Ramsey Cox – 09/19/12 12:35 PM ET

Senate Republicans stopped the Veterans Jobs bill Wednesday by forcing a budget point of order vote.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (R-Ill.) requested a motion to waive the budget point of order, which was raised by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). Democrats needed 60 votes, but got only 58.

“This violates the Budget Control Act, there is no dispute about it,” Sessions said in a floor speech Wednesday. “The bill will not even go through the House and it violates the Constitution because it says revenue bills must be started in the House … [and] this is a revenue bill.”

The Veterans Jobs Corp Act would have created new job-training programs to help veterans find work in targeted fields such as national park conservation, historic preservation projects, police work and firefighting, among others.

Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.), Susan Collins (Maine), Dean Heller (Nev.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Olympia Snowe (Maine) were the only Republicans who voted for the waiver, in a 58-40 vote.

“It’s clear that common-sense bipartisan legislation is being thwarted in this chamber over politics,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who sponsored the bill.

The $1 billion bill was to have paid for itself with new revenue over 10 years. Republican senators say the bill allows for more spending at the Veterans Administration than what was agreed to in the Budget Control Act, which is why they raised a point of order.

“This point of order puts a price on what we are willing to provide our veterans and it says ‘not a penny more,’ ” Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said before the vote. “It’s a point of order that will not only kill our ability to pass this bill, but that could also affect nearly every effort we make to improve the lives of veterans going forward.”

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said these types of pay-go bills are part of the problem of the growing national debt.

“The question in my mind is, will we at some point in the future recognize the hole we’re in,” Coburn said on the floor Wednesday. “When we find ourselves in $16 trillion of debt and we pay for a five-year bill over 10 years, we make the problem worse.”

S. 3457 has been returned to the calendar, leaving H.J.Res. 117, the six-month spending resolution passed by the House last week, as the only business left in the Senate before election recess. That vote on the motion to proceed to the resolution is expected shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday.

If the waiver had gotten enough votes, the Senate would have proceeded to a vote on the motion to end debate on an amendment by Murray. Her substitute included provisions by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.).

“At every turn, we have sought compromise. But instead of meeting us halfway, we have been met with resistance,” Murray said. “Instead of saying yes to the nearly one million unemployed veterans, it seems some on the other side have spent the last week and a half seeking out any way to say no.”

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/250391-gop-kills-veterans-jobs-bill-with-budget-vote#ixzz2ZoKvknZd
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The flaw in Republican thinking is that we all want to be in the 1%.  We don’t.  Some of us have loftier goals.  I spent 25 years in the Not-For-Profit healthcare sector.  Working for a blood bank, community health center and transplant medicine.  Some of us want to be teachers, firemen, police, all noble professions.  Some join the Clergy, other become nurses and ancillary hospital staff, again humanitarian centered.  The Republican Party seems to care “ONLY” about the “entrepreneur” or “business mogul” they have no use for the active duty military, Veteran or those that have chosen public service.  Post Workers and Union members are chided as losers and takers as if the subsidies given to Corporate America are somehow not taking?  The Republican Party has lost touch with the average American and no longer fight for us.  They are “NOT” a sports team “We the People” owe them nothing no loyalty at all.  If they stop working for us, we need to stop voting for them!!!!