CANTOR: We also know that over 45 percent of the people in this country don’t pay income taxes at all, and we have to question whether that’s fair. And should we broaden the base in a way that we can lower the rates for everybody that pays taxes. [...]
KARL: Just wondering, what do you do about that? Are you saying we need to have a tax increase on the 45 percent who right now pay no federal income tax?
CANTOR: I’m saying that, just in a macro way of looking at it, you’ve got to discuss that issue. [...] I’ve never believed that you go raise taxes on those that have been successful that are paying in, taking away from them, so that you just hand out and give to someone else.
Let’s just do this again, debunk that zombie lie. The more than 45 percent of people who “don’t pay income taxes” don’t pay federal income tax because they’re too poor!They pay federal payroll taxes. They pay sales taxes in most states. They pay a larger share of their income in taxes than rich people do. And they are students, and disabled people, and the elderly who don’t have income.
And you know who doesn’t pay income tax? Two dozen Fortune 500 companies that avoided corporate income taxes altogether in 2011.
And Eric Cantor says that we need to take even more money away from poor Americans and give it directly to “those that have been successful.” That’s the Republican version of redistribution of wealth.
10:57 AM PT: The Cantor NASCAR/NFL owners tax break just passed, 235-173. Ten Republicans voted no, one voted present, and 10 Democrats voted for it.
By: Joan McCarter, Daily Kos, April 19, 2012
“What A Revolting Development This Is”: Romney’s Immigration Adviser Says Mitt Won’t Support GOP DREAM Act
During the GOP presidential primary, Mitt Romney staked out the most extreme position on immigration of any Republican candidate. Romney even campaigned with his immigration policy adviser Kris Kobach, the author of Alabama and Arizona’s harsh immigration laws, on Martin Luther King Day.
Now that Romney is the presumptive nominee, he’s trying to soften his immigration rhetoric to win over Hispanic voters. The Romney campaign even tried to publicly downgrade Kobach from “adviser” to mere “supporter” yesterday — an effort that failed after Kobach refused to play along.
Nor is this the only example of Kobach refusing to let Romney etch-a-sketch away his harsh positions on immigration. After Romney said over the weekend that Republicans need to embrace a Republican DREAM Act to win over Hispanic voters, Kobach told the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent that the former Massachusetts governor will not support any version of the DREAM Act that offers a path to legal status — like the GOP version Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) plans to introduce. And he added that no Republican should support such a proposal:
[Kobach] stated flatly that he didn’t think Republicans — or Romney — should, or would, support any version of the DREAM Act that provides undocumented immigrants with any kind of path to legal status.
If Romney sticks to this — and Kobach said he would — there’s very little room for him to moderate his approach to immigration. In addition to advising Romney on immigration, Kobach is a national GOP voice on the issue, suggesting the right would not permit any move of this kind.
“I’d absolutely reject any proposal that would give a path to legal status for illegal aliens en masse,” Kobach said. “That is what amnesty is. I do not expect [Romney] to propose or embrace amnesty.”
Details of Rubio’s proposed DREAM Act have not been announced, but the first-term senator has outlined a plan that would not offer a direct path to citizenship but would enable them to remain in the country legally. Despite his promise to veto the DREAM Act earlier in his campaign, Romney told a crowd at a private fundraiser that he wants a Republican DREAM Act to make the GOP the party of “opportunity.”
But if Rubio’s plan includes a path to legal status, or if Romney supports a plan that does, then Kobach said it would be an “unacceptable” proposal. “A path to legal status for someone who is here illegally is amnesty by definition,” he said. “It gives the alien what he has stolen.”
By: Amanda Peterson Beadle, Think Progress, April 18, 2012
After doing their best to dismantle the Women’s Health Program—and losing federal funding in the process—the state’s Republicans promise they’ll find the money somehow.
Texas health officials are telling low-income women not to worry. The Women’s Health Program, the Medicaid program serving 130,000 women, will still be there for them. Of course, how it will be paid for and whether enough clinics will be left providing services are still subjects up for debate.
The Republican-dominated Texas Legislature cut funding for the program—which offers poor women basic reproductive health services like birth control and cancer screenings—by two-thirds last year. The cuts came out of fear that the health-care providers were too linked with the so-called abortion industry. Just to be safe, conservative lawmakers barred Planned Parenthood from participating in the program. Of course, since the beginning of the program, no public dollars could go to abortions, and women could only participate if they were not pregnant.
The results were swift. The budget cuts resulted in clinic closings around the state, and the decision to exclude Planned Parenthood violated federal policy, meaning that the federal government, which paid for 90 percent of the $35 million program, would no longer pay for any of it. Protests have broken out around the state. Planned Parenthood has already filed a lawsuit.
But not to worry—Governor Rick Perry promised that the state would take over the Women’s Health Program. Yesterday, state health officials unveiled their plan. Step one: Stay on the federal tab a few months longer. Step two: They’re working on it.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission will ask the feds to keep funding them through November 1. (Texas was supposed to get cut off at the end of April.) By then, presumably, the state will find some way to free up dollars. That’s hardly a cakewalk. Texas has been in a fiscal crisis since 2011. For the last two-year budget, lawmakers had to deal with a $22 billion shortfall, resulting in unprecedented cuts to education and underfunding of Medicaid programs by almost $5 billion. The state has a structural deficit thanks to a dysfunctional tax structure. Yesterday, Perry announced his “Budget Compact,” which asks lawmakers to pledge no new or increased taxes as well as offering voters a constitutional amendment that would limit spending increases to the population growth.
Given the situation, $35 million isn’t going to be easy to find, unless the state comes up with a way to get more federal money. Which may be its best option. According to The Texas Tribune, officials “hinted the state could free up state dollars to fund the Women’s Health Program by seeking federal block grants for other programs.”
But even if they find the money, there’s still the problem of clinics. Planned Parenthood clinics served almost 50 percent of the women participating in the WHP. With those providers out of the picture, the remaining clinics have to shoulder the burden—and they have to do so with a major funding cut. As the Austin Chronicle notes, non-Planned Parenthood clinic Community Action Inc. has had to close 11 of its 13 clinics in Central Texas. The two remaining ones are in danger as well. In their plan for taking over the program, state officials say they will try to increase the number of providers.
The head of the state’s biggest health agency, Tom Suehs, has promised that things will be fine, dismissing the “scare tactics and misinformation campaigns.” The bigger challenge, he says, is “making sure women get accurate information about the program in the midst of organized attempts to confuse and frighten those who rely on it.”
Maybe it’s just me, but what’s confusing is a health-care policy that makes it hard to access health care.
BY: Abby Rapoport, The American Prospect, April 18, 2012
We always knew that Mormonism was going to be a touchy issue in this presidential campaign. After all, there are still many Americans who express discomfort with the idea of a Mormon president (up to 40 percent, depending on how you ask the question). But it’s one thing when you ask that question in the abstract, and quite another when we’re talking about a particular Mormon. In that case, I’m fairly sure that nearly everyone is going to decide their votes on how they feel about Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, not how they feel about Joseph Smith. Even Robert Jeffress, the Baptist minister and Rick Perry supporter who only a couple of months ago denounced Mormonism as a “cult,” just announced that he’ll be supporting a member of that cult for president, since Obama is so vile unto his sight. But all that doesn’t mean that the Romney campaign and its supporters aren’t going to be on the lookout for any anti-Mormon slights, so long as they come from Democrats.
You may remember that back in August, the Obama campaign called Romney “weird,” and conservatives immediately rushed to charge that this was a dog whistle to anti-Mormon voters, since “weird” is obviously code for “Mormon.” And now it’s starting up again. Alec MacGillis at TNR has a good roundup of some recent cries of anti-Mormonism from Romney supporters, including the idea that when the Obama campaign criticized Romney for a “penchant for secrecy,” they were plainly trying to get people to think “Mormon!” because the LDS church is secretive.
This is all pretty ridiculous, not least because you have a situation where the supporters of one candidate are accusing the supporters of another candidate of dog whistling on a topic both actual candidates have no desire at all to discuss. Furthermore, the voters most likely to feel a strong aversion to Mormonism are evangelical Christians, who vote overwhelmingly Republican anyway, and it isn’t like too many of them are going to be persuaded to vote for Barack Obama based on some winking and nodding about “weirdness.” There are so many other things that the Obama campaign wants to attack Romney on; they hardly need to invest energy in trying to get people to vote against him because of his religion, which would risk an enormous backlash.
So Romney’s supporters end up sounding a lot like the old Jewish man who sees anti-Semitism everywhere. Romney’s weird? Anti-Mormonism! Romney’s secretive? Anti-Mormonism! Romney’s stiff? Anti-Mormonism! It brings to mind this classic from Annie Hall, where Woody Allen is convinced that when someone said “Did you eat?” to him, what the guy was really saying was, “Jew eat?”
And though it can’t be embedded, here’s a link to Uncle Leo.
By: Paul Waldman, The American Prospect, April 18, 2012
Yeeesh, what does Mitt Romney have to do to drum up a bit of enthusiasm from his party? Sure, he’s got to be feeling pretty content as each day brings another Republican casting aside the somehow-still-going campaigns of Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul to accept the inevitable proposition that Romney will be the party’s nominee. Yet few can seem to offer an explanation for why they like Romney beyond the fact that they’re stuck with him. Shortly after I noted John Boehner’s lackluster endorsement yesterday, reporters asked Mitch McConnell for his take on Romney and were given the same nod-and-sigh routine:
“Yeah, I support Governor Romney for president of the United States,” Mr. McConnell said. “And he is going to be the nominee. And as you have noticed, the party is in the process of unifying behind him. And I think it’s going to be an incredibly close, hard-fought race. Everybody is banding — bandying polls around, but just look at the Gallup tracking poll yesterday actually had Governor Romney with a two-point lead. I think it’s going to be a very, very competitive election. We’re all behind him and looking forward to the fall campaign, which is actually already under way.”
It’s not like Romney’s win has come as any surprise to Republicans; it’s a reality they’ve had months to come to terms with. You’d think a few of them would have spent that time writing a rousing argument for why they look forward to campaigning for him over the next six months. It seems particularly odd that McConnell and Boehner are both so blasé. They are about as Republican establishment as it comes, and throughout the primaries, I assumed they were all secretly rooting for Romney and dreading the very thought of a Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich candidacy. But as much as they want to see Barack Obama exit the White House, they seem to share the same enthusiasm for Romney as much of the country.
By: Patrick Caldwell, The American Prospect, April 18, 2012