Sunday, August 21, 2016

Florida Didn't Take Part In The Original American Revolution, But Florida Democrats Can Revive It August 30


9 days from today, Tuesday, August 30, Florida will be holding it's primary. There are crucial races up and down the state, including the contest between progressive icon Alan Grayson and worthless puppet Patrick Murphy for the Senate nomination to face Rubio in November. On the congressional level, there is no race that has garnered as much national attention as the one in southern Broward County and Miami Beach-- FL-23, Tim Canova's challenge to the odious and deceitful Debbie Wasserman Schultz. A brand new poll by the fanatically and embarrassingly pro-Wasserman Schultz Sun Sentinel shows Canova rapidly closing in on one of Congress' most corrupt members. Buoyed by voters between the ages 18 and 34-- 69% of whom favor Canova-- he is now within 10 points of south Florida's most contemptible politician. (Democrats between35 and 54 years old support the two candidates equally, but it is the very old who are sticking with Wasserman Schultz, petrified of change. Among voters 75 and older, 69% want to keep Wasserman Schultz in Congress. The internal poll Wasserman Schultz's campaign leaked to selected members of the press last month showed her beating Canova by an astronomical-- and not really believable-- 33 points.

One of the strongest premises of Canova's campaign has been that Wasserman Schultz is a self-serving careerist who mouths what her constituents want to hear while going about her own business and doing nothing for anyone except her big donors in Big Sugar, on Wall Street, among private prison developers, among predatory payday lenders, etc. Canova writes passionately about how he would work very specifically to reverse the dangerous wealth inequality that haunts American democracy and threatens the country in ways Wasserman Schultz is utterly unconcerned with. "For the past three decades," he wrote, "I have been speaking out against the growing inequality in income and wealth in the United States-- while serving as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill in the 1980s, while practicing law in the 1990s, and as a legal scholar ever since. In fact, the distribution of wealth and income is now more top-heavy than anytime since the Gilded Age of the 1890s and the Roaring 1920s. Incredibly, the top one-tenth of one percent now owns as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. And almost 60 percent of all new income since the 2008 financial crash has gone to the top 1 percent. We are now in a New Gilded Age. What are some of the main causes of all this inequality?"

He offers his plans for tax policies that are fairer to working people and the middle class an less encouraging to the very wealthy who have bought tax policies from crooked politicians like Wasserman Schultz. "Presently," he points out, "the top bracket has a marginal income tax rate of 39.6 percent, far below the marginal tax rates that prevailed from the 1940s to 1980s, a period when the U.S. enjoyed not just a much more equitable distribution of income and wealth, but also far higher economic growth rates, rising real wages, and stronger labor markets. More troubling is that the top tax bracket begins at an income of $413,200, which means that a family with such an income is in the same tax bracket as those with annual incomes that are 10 or 100 times higher or even more. A hedge fund manager can make a billion dollars and actually pay a lower effective marginal tax rate thanks to the 'carried interest' exemption. For more than the past 100 years, since the start of the modern tax code in 1913, our country has implemented what is known as a progressive federal income tax, meaning that tax rates get progressively higher as taxable income increases, with a larger percentage of income being paid by high-income groups, a lower percentage of income paid by middle-income groups, and an even lower percentage of income being paid by low-income groups. Cutting top tax rates for the wealthiest families reduces the progressive nature of our federal tax code, and undermines the concept of 'ability to pay' and the goal of inherent fairness upon which our system of taxation is supposed to be based."

While Wasserman Schultz voted to extend the unfair Bush era tax cuts for the very rich, Tim strenuously opposes that whole approach and insists "there should be more tax brackets at the high end of the income distribution scale, with higher marginal tax rates imposed on those making millions and billions of dollars a year. Otherwise, the tax burden falls too harshly on working families, the middle class, and small- and medium-sized business owners, even those trying to make their first million. We should also put an end to 'corporate inversions' and other loopholes that allow corporations and wealthy individuals move their money into offshore tax havens, while taking advantage of federal subsidies and access to the largest consumer market in the world."

Tim is a major proponent of the kinds of financial regulations that Elizabeth Warren has come to symbolize in Congress. "Big Wall Street banks have been allowed to impose all sorts of fees on low-income customers. They charge high interest rates on predatory and subprime loans. They pay near zero interest to bank customers on their deposits. My opponent, after taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street banks, has co-sponsored a bill to prevent the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFTP) from regulating payday loans and addressing racial discrimination in car loans. This reverses the progress made by President Obama and Senator Elizabeth Warren in significant parts of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010-- the Obama administration’s main legislative response to the 2008 financial collapse. In contrast, I have spent my entire career opposing financial deregulation for the big banks, and calling for regulation of lending standards. I warned against watering down and then abolishing the Glass-Steagall Act firewalls that had separated commercial banking from investment banking and risky securities markets for decades. And I support breaking up these huge financial institutions that have become too big to fail, too big to jail, and too big to manage."

One of the biggest and most glaring differences between Tim and Wasserman Schultz has been over the unfair trade deals that ship American jobs overseas. She was one of just 28 Democrats to join the GOP in June 2015 to push through Fast Track authorization for the TPP. "As the U.S. has entered into trade agreements with far less developed countries," Tim reminded south Florida residents, "this has also undermined U.S. wage rates and American jobs, further aggravating the economic inequality in our country. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of 1994 was the first free trade agreement between 1st World and 3rd World countries. American workers quickly saw their jobs outsourced to Mexico. Then a decade later, the U.S. entered into permanent normal trade relations with the People’s Republic of China, a communist dictatorship with no independent trade union movement, no political freedoms, and far lower wage rates, labor standards, and environmental protections. As a law professor, scholar and activist, I opposed these types of trade policies, including NAFTA, permanent normal trade relations with China, and China’s membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO). My opponent, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has been complicit in these bad trade deals. She supported the Korean Trade Agreement that resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs in Florida. She voted to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that will destroy hundreds of thousands of American jobs in the future. And she did this after taking more than $300,000 in campaign contributions in 2012-2014, and no doubt much more since, from corporate interests lobbying for the TPP. I do not take corporate money, period. And I opposed fast-tracking the TPP and I oppose the TPP."

A 10 point polling difference can be dealt with effectively with a strong Get Out the Vote effort, which is what Canova has been building towards all along. Will voters under 34 be easier to get to the polls than voters over 75? That's what it will come down to August 30. Please consider contributing what you can to Tim's campaign here on Blue America's Florida thermometer:
Goal Thermometer

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