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With Economic Plans, GOP Abandons Middle Class Entirely

I have watched with a truly curious sense of amazement as the Republicans, especially the presidential candidates, have stuck it to the middle class.

What have they been thinking with their tax plans and their  relentless pursuit of even greater tax-cut largess for the very  wealthiest of Americans? What do they have against the middle class,  those who have seen their incomes drop by 4.8 percent this past decade,  according to a report in the Wall Street Journal?

The latest Republican proposal made to the Senate’s Gang of 12  “supercommittee” is to lower the tax rate on the top wage earners from  35 percent to 28 percent; this on top of the temporary tax cut that Bush  provided. The Republicans propose various revenue increases to help  reduce the budget deficit but take them away with this giveaway to the  wealthy.

Once again, the middle class is left holding the bag, watching as  they get stuck with less take-home pay and more expenses for rent,  mortgage, college tuition, basic essentials.

Let’s look at the Republican presidential candidates‘ tax proposals.  Governor Perry has proposed a huge tax windfall for those whose income  averages over a million dollars. For those millionaires and  billionaires, he would give them a $512,733 average tax break! How can  that possibly be justified since these wage earners have seen a 385  percent increase in their wealth over the last 20 years?

Perry’s plan would actually see tax rates go up for those who make less that $50,000, according to the Tax Policy Center.

Herman Cain’s pie in the sky 9-9-9 plan would see the poor and middle  class lose with a 15.8 percent drop; those families who make the  average of $49,445 would see their effective tax rate go from 14.3  percent to 23.8 percent, according to the Tax Policy Center.

The Romney tax plan is more of the same. More tax cuts for the  wealthy: 67 percent of his lower capital gains taxes would go to  millionaires; 50 percent of the continuation of the Bush tax cuts go to  the top 5 percent of wage earners.

The policy prescriptions we are seeing from Republicans as we  approach 2012 are coupled with a complete lack of explanation of why it  is important to help middle-class families. All their rhetoric is  ideological—anti-Washington, anti-government, anti-taxes. They have  drunk the Grover Norquist Kool-Aid, even to the detriment of those  families struggling to make it in a tough economy.

The benefits go to Wall Street, not Main Street; the analyses of all  the tax plans clearly point to giveaways to those top 2 percent of  Americans, with the squeeze put on those in the middle.

As they campaign in the next 12 months, the Republicans will find it  increasingly difficult to make the case that they stand for  hard-working, middle-class families. This could well be their downfall  come next November.

By: Peter Fenn, U. S. News and World Report, November 9, 2011

November 10, 2011 Posted by | GOP, Taxes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Conservative Federal Appeals Judge: Case Against Health Reform Has No Basis In ‘The Text of the Constitution’

When the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit announced two of the three judges who would hear a challenge to the Affordable Care Act — conservative icons Laurence Silberman and Brett Kavanaugh— the law’s supporters turned white. Silberman is a close ally of Justice Clarence Thomas, a former official in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan Administrations and the author of the lower court decision overturning the District of Columbia’s handgun ban. Kavanaugh is a former Associate Counsel under Clinton inquisitor Ken Starr and a leading attorney in the George W. Bush White House. If anyone would be sympathetic to the case against health reform, these two men were first on the list.

And yet, both judges wrote opinions today rejecting an utterly meritless challenge to the Affordable Care Act — Judge Kavanaugh on the grounds that the court lacks jurisdiction to even hear the case, and Judge Silberman in a tour de force opinion that absolutely obliterates any suggestion that the ACA is not constitutional:

Since appellants cannot find real support for their proposed rule in either the text of the Constitution or Supreme Court precedent, they emphasize both the novelty of the mandate and the lack of a limiting principle. The novelty–assuming Wickarddoesn’t encroach into that claim–is not irrelevant. The Supreme Court occasionally has treated a particular legislative device’s lack of historical pedigree as evidence that the device may exceed Congress’s constitutional bounds. But appellants’ proposed constitutional limitation is equally novel–one that only the Eleventh Circuit has recently–and only partially–endorsed. […]

That a direct requirement for most Americans to purchase any product or service seems an intrusive exercise of legislative power surely explains why Congress has not used this authority before–but that seems to us a political judgment rather than a recognition of  constitutional limitations. It certainly is an encroachment on individual liberty, but it is no more so than a command that restaurants or hotels are obliged to serve all customers regardless of race, that gravely ill individuals cannot use a substance their doctors described as the only effective palliative for excruciating pain, or that a farmer cannot grow enough wheat to support his own family. The right to be free from federal regulation is not absolute, and yields to the imperative that Congress be free to forge national solutions to national problems, no matter how local–or seemingly passive–their individual origins.

When a federal judge tells you that your argument has no basis in the text of the Constitution, it is a good sign you don’t belong in court. When he compares your argument to claims that the federal ban on whites-only lunch counters are unconstitutional, it’s an even better sign of how deeply radical your argument has become. When that judge is Judge Laurence Silberman, a man who has stood at the pinnacle of conservative judicial thinking for decades, it is about as good a sign as you can hope for that the Supreme Court is not going to like your argument either.

By: Ian Millhiser, Think Progress, November 8, 2011

November 10, 2011 Posted by | Health Reform | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mitt Romney And The Future Of Anti-Choice Politics

There are a couple of takeaways from Tuesday night’s rejection of the ‘personhood’ measure in Mississippi. One, Colorado is not alone in its repudiation of these extremist measures. Voters in Colorado and Mississippi, two very different states have said “No” by double-digit margins. And two, this vote scares the hell out of former Gov. Mitt Romney because it is a huge liability in the general election.

In a bid for the social conservative base he’s losing to Gov. Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and maybe former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Romney told talk show host and former candidate Mike Huckabee he ‘absolutely’ supports ‘life begins at conception’, the basis for the multi-state ‘personhood’ push. As governor in 2005, Romney vetoed a bill that would have expanded access to emergency contraception for rape survivors, a practice that would also be banned under the Mississippi proposal. Since emergency contraception can work by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg, it doesn’t square with ‘life begins at conception’, as Romney noted in his veto.

This despite Romney’s telling NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, during his 2002 run for governor, that he could soften Republican opposition to reproductive rights and would support increasing the availability of emergency contraception for Massachusetts women. Romney’s positions on choice and reproductive rights are his attempt at being a little bit pregnant.Huffington Post‘s Sam Stein noted on Twitter that he directly asked the Romney camp in the days leading up to the Mississippi vote if Romney endorsed the proposal. Romney refused to answer those questions, as well as inquiries from the New York Times. Now that ‘personhood’ has failed in Mississippi he is desperately backpedaling—or Buckpedaling, in Colorado parlance. Buckpedaling is named for Senate candidate Ken Buck, who embraced Colorado’s ‘personhood’ ballot measure in the Republican primary but then flip-flopped when it became a liability in the general. He lost.

‘Personhood’ proponents, undeterred by continued rejection—fanatics usually aren’t—say they plan to try again in a number of battleground states in 2012, including Colorado (third time’s the charm!), Ohio, Florida, Nevada, and Montana. And they have some allies in Congressional Republicans.

As noted by Nick Baumann in Mother Jones,

Nearly identical language appears in three bills that have been endorsed by scores of Republicans in Congress, including top House committee chairmen Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) and Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)…. Sixty-three House Republicans, or over a quarter of the GOP conference, are cosponsors of HR 212, Rep. Paul Broun’s (R-Ga.) “Sanctity of Human Life Act,” which includes language that directly parallels that of the Mississippi personhood amendment.

Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker has introduced S.91, a Senate version of the ‘personhood’ House bills, and it currently has sixteen Republican co-sponsors, including “moderate” Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Richard Burr of North Carolina.

The Republican Party, and the Republican presidential primary, remains captive to its right-wing base in its embrace of the anti-choice, anti-family, anti-privacy ‘personhood’ proposals. But when these proposals have been rejected by voters as diverse as those in Colorado and Mississippi, it tells you something about the mainstream electorate leading into 2012. That is why Mitt Romney wouldn’t answer questions before the vote, and why he is running away now that it’s over.

 

By: Laura Chapin, U. S. News and World Report, November 9, 2011

November 10, 2011 Posted by | Womens Rights | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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