Friday, April 16, 2010

Unemployment, War And Taxes


Although the Republican Party opposed extending unemployment benefits to the victims of the conservative economic and financial policies they espoused and Bush pushed through-- policies that caused the economy to fall off the cliff-- 49 House Republicans were too scared to do the little GOP lemming dance they always do. 49 Republicans abandoned Boehner (who was afraid to cast a recorded vote himself), Cantor, Pence (who was also afraid to vote) and McCotter (yes, also afraid to vote) last night and joined the Democrats in passing HR 4851. (I might add that there was one Democrat who crossed the aisle in the other direction and voted with the GOP, reprehensible Nashville Blue Dog Jim Cooper.) Earlier the Senate passed it 59-38, all Democrats voting "yes," and all Republicans voting "no" except Collins and Snowe of Maine, who both voted with the Democrats.

Although the 110 House "Party of No" stalwarts included almost all the regular lunkheads and crooks from Darrell Issa (R-CA), Paul Ryan (R-WI), Mean Jean Schmidt (R-OH) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN) to Paul Broun (R-GA), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Steve King (R-IA) and Virginia Foxx (R-VA)-- we'll come back to look into Ms Foxx in a moment-- when you examine which Republicans crossed the aisle to vote for working families with the Democrats (for a change), you notice something interesting.

What do Mark Kirk (R-IL), Mike Castle (R-DE) and Adam Putnam (R-FL) have in common? Each is attempting to use his perch in the House as a jumping-off point for a statewide race, and each knows that the kind of sociopathic right-wing behavior the Republican leadership is demanding will lead to the end of their careers. So yesterday they all voted with the Democrats and for working families, and against the Republican leadership they normally slavishly follow. So did Patrick McHenry, the far right little North Carolina closet queen who used to brag that he would never allow anyone to get a further-right voting record than he has... the good old days! And interesting because both Sue Myrick (R-NC) and the aforementioned Virginia Foxx (R-NC) voted against extending unemployment benefits. Normally McHenry votes in lockstep with them.

Interestingly, this morning Foxx was up bright and early tweeting her tiny brains out with Boehner's daily talking points, like she does-- good little auto-pilot zombie-- every morning. Look:

Foxx accidentally slipped into office replacing Richard Burr in 2004. She voted for every tax cut for multimillionaires and for every deficit-producing supplemental budget Bush brought before Congress. A look at her voting record would give any actual conservative a heart attack-- which probably explains why someone as right-wing as her has drawn at least two Tea Party opponents. She has spent on wars and on subsidies for corporations like a drunken sailor while making sure ordinary middle-class families would be penalized. If Virginia Foxx is whining about "Tax Day," it's because she's either too stupid to know it's her own fault or too pigheaded to look at the truth about taxes-- or, more likely, a combination.
[N]eutral economists insist that, under the Obama administration, the overwhelming likelihood is that your tax burden has gone down, not up. Even conservative economic analysts acknowledge that there really is no basis for middle- and working-class Americans to believe that they're suddenly paying more.

Yesterday, writing at Crooks and Liars, Jon Perr delineated the 10 Inconvenient Truths For Tax Day. Virginia Foxx's constituents should make her don a dunce cap and write each truth on a blackboard 100 times-- and then elect Billy Kennedy to her seat. Short version (click the link above to get to the fuller explanations):
1. Over 95% of Working Households Got Tax Cuts
2. Only 2% of Tea Baggers Know Obama Cut Their Taxes...
3. ...and 52% of Tea Partiers Think Their Taxes are Fair...
4. ...and Think the Federal Tax Level is Over Double What It Is
5. 1% of Families Earned 24% of All Income...
6. ...and 57% of All Capital Income
7. 400 Richest Taxpayers Saw Incomes Double, Tax Rates Halved
8. Only 1 in 500 Families Pay the Estate Tax
9. Corporate Taxes Have Plummeted as a Share of GDP
10. The U.S. Loses $345 Billion a Year to Tax Evasion and Fraud

Three of Congress' best progressives, Alan Grayson (D-FL), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), brought up another factor that Representative Foxx and her insincere colleagues on the right willfully refuse to take into account: The economics of the Afghanistan war are continuing to wreck the country. Grayson pointed out: “Millions of people are being taxed simply to pay for the war... We should not be spending hundreds of billions on the well-being of the Tajiks, the Pashtuns, and the Hazara in Afghanistan. The money should be used to create jobs at home."

Grayson wasn't in Congress when Bush first invaded and occupied Afghanistan. Barbara Lee was. In fact, she was the only member of Congress to vote against it; courageous lady! Yesterday she reminded us: "Roughly one third of every tax dollar paid by the American people in 2009 went to the Pentagon and military-related expenditures. We cannot begin to reduce the budget deficit without reducing our military spending. It is time we get our priorities in order and start investing in the American people.” Something tells me Virginia Foxx isn't listening to that kind of talk.

Neither is almost equally crazy Ken Calvert, from an Inland Empire district that sprawls from Orange to Riverside County. Late last night we spoke with the progressive Democrat running for that seat, Bill Hedrick, who was disappointed in Calvert's vote, though hardly surprised. "Calvert’s vote is another gut punch for the unemployed in the 44th district. We need jobs, and until the private or public sectors provide enough jobs for willing workers, we have to help families survive. The issue is pretty simple right now-- survival. It is in our national interest to make sure as many Americans as possible come through this crisis with the basics of life intact. Shame on Calvert for again turning his back on some of the most desperate in our communities."

This morning I reached Billy Kennedy, who has been campaigning throughout western North Carolina in an effort to make sure his neighbors are aware of what Virginia Foxx has been up to in Washington. Her vote against extending unemployment benefits to hard-hit working families in her own district is just another example he can use to help people understand what he's up against.

"Last night," Billy told us, "Virginia Foxx continued her assault on working families in the 5th District with a vote against the continuation of unemployment benefits. With unemployment now reaching as high as 15 percent in many counties of the 5th District, Foxx shows how callous and indifferent she is to her constituents. You see, Foxx doesn’t have to sit around the kitchen table trying to figure out whether to pay the electric bill or the mortgage because she is the richest North Carolina representative in the House. While the people of the 5th District try to figure a way to keep their homes out of foreclosure, Foxx continues to accumulate her extensive real estate holdings. Virginia Foxx, in other words, is making a killing off her incumbent political position while blaming her constituents for financial woes they are experiencing through no fault of their own. Foxx’s message to those in distress in the 5th District: 'Tough luck!'”

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At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) also voted with Collins, Snowe and Dems for the emergency extensions.

At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

Great post, thanks Howie and C&L...TGIF!


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