Despite demanding immediate deficit reduction in a difficult economy, conservatives insist that any increase in tax rates for top income earners will kill jobs. Instead, they argue for lowering tax rates on the wealthiest Americans (while downplaying the deficit impact of such a tax cut) as way to increase hiring. There is no evidence for this argument, however intuitive it may seem. Lower tax rates on the rich are not associated with more hiring or stonger GDP growth, and while conservatives insist that top income tax rates hit small businesses heavily, their ludicrous definition of “small business” renders that statement meaningless. Along with the threat of higher taxes, conservatives insist that federal regulations are holding back job creation and have made loosening the rules a focus of their agenda. However, tax breaks for the wealthy and deregulation do almost nothing to increase consumer demand, which is the true driver of hiring and expansion decisions.Read more after the jump.
Crossroads GPS attacks President Obama’s economic record with a clip of a CBS News report stating that “this is the worst economic recovery America has ever had.” Blaming the president for high unemployment, the ad fails to acknowledge the severity of the Bush recession, which caused the economy to continue to shed hundreds of thousands of jobs in the first months of the Obama administration, and the GOP-favored public-sector downsizing that’s led to government layoffs. Far from ‘failing,’ the Recovery Act helped avert an even more severe economic collapse.Read more after the jump.
Those familiar with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) last budget proposal won’t be shocked at this year’s updated “Path to Prosperity,” a fiscal plan for 2013 and beyond that pledges policy prescriptions for “safeguarding America from the perils of debt, doubt and decline.” Like the old version of the “Path,” Ryan’s second attempt at engineering fiscal policy – including recommendations for overhauling the tax code, cutting spending, and reforming Medicare and Medicaid – takes an axe to federal spending that benefits those without political or economic power but showers tax breaks on the wealthy. With its absence of reasonable solutions for lowering debt and its far-fetched proposals to shift the country’s fiscal burdens onto the poor and middle class, the latest Ryan plan is at heart the same as the old one: A blueprint not for stabilizing the country’s fiscal situation but for forcing an ultra-conservative vision on the federal government.
Ryan Plan’s Cuts Are Enormous, Unrealistic, And Wouldn’t Balance The Budget Until 2040
The New Ryan Plan Proposes Even Larger Deficit Cuts Than Last Year’s GOP Budget. From the Associated Press: “This year’s GOP measure would produce deficit estimates that are significantly lower than a comparable measure passed by the House a year ago, claiming deficit cuts totaling $3.3 trillion – spending cuts of $5.3 trillion tempered by $2 trillion in lower taxes – below Obama over the coming decade. The deficit in 2015, for example, would drop to about $300 billion from $1.2 trillion for the current budget year. Last year’s GOP draft called for a 2015 deficit more than $100 billion higher.” [Associated Press via HuffingtonPost.com, 3/20/12]
The New Ryan Budget Cuts Spending By $100 Billion From This Year To Next. From the Associated Press: “The measure would cut spending from $3.6 trillion this year to the $3.5 trillion range in 2013 and freeze it at that level for two more years.” [Associated Press via HuffingtonPost.com, 3/20/12]
The New Ryan Budget Cuts Spending By $5 Trillion Over The Next Ten Years. From Bloomberg: “House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan today proposed reducing spending by $5 trillion over the next decade from the U.S. budget with Medicaid, food stamps, Pell college tuition grants and other programs facing reductions.” [Bloomberg, 3/20/12]Read more after the jump.
Amid a decades-long crusade against abortion rights and a more recent uproar over access to contraceptives, conservatives’ efforts to intrude upon women’s control over their own health care are well publicized. But the GOP of recent years has also demonstrated that women’s physical safety, economic security, and equal access to the workforce are increasingly low on the priority list. For the first time since its initial 1994 passage, the GOP has put up a fight against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. Republicans on both the state and national level have sneered at the need for laws that address the fact that women still earn only about 75 percent of what men do for performing the same jobs. Conservatives have rejected legislation to mandate paid parental leave – something every other economically advanced country in the world requires. They are skeptical about allowing women to serve in military combat roles despite an on-the-ground reality that already puts women in dangerous combat situations. And they are dismissive of an Equal Rights Amendment that would afford the same weight to sex-based discrimination that the 14th Amendment currently gives race-based discrimination.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
The Violence Against Women Act, First Passed In 1994, Is A Multifaceted Effort To Address Violence Against Women. From the Urban Institute: “In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) as Title IV of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (P.L. 103-322). This event marked a turning point in federal recognition of the extent and seriousness of violence against women, and a commitment to address the problem from the federal vantage point. […] The resulting Violence Against Women Act for the first time recognizes the common barriers to legal protection faced by women victims of violent crimes. The four subtitles within the Act—the Safe Streets Act, Safe Homes for Women, Civil Rights for Women and Equal Justice for Women in the Courts, and Protections for Battered Immigrant Women and Children—target domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and protection against gender-motivated violence. The Act undertakes reform in legislation, rules of evidence, and the policies and procedures of law enforcement agencies and the courts. It creates new offenses and tougher penalties, mandates victim restitution, and begins system reforms that will, for example, shield victims during prosecution and increase consistency in sentencing. Recognizing that attitudinal change and knowledge are essential to practical implementation of legal reforms, VAWA authorizes support for prevention, education, and training and the development of systems for maintaining records on violent incidents and perpetrators and improving communication within the justice system.” [Urban.org, 3/1/96]Read more after the jump.
From a podcast interview with Jason Pye on July 29, 2012:
Read more after the jump.
PYE (HOST): The use of executive privilege for a situation like this, where the president says he’s not involved, but he’s using this privilege to cover up — I mean, that indicates — he may not be involved, but it certainly indicates some involvement, or it kind of poitns to that at least.
REP. PAUL BROUN (R-GA): You’re absolutely right. This whole thing stinks. Terribly. And the American people need to know that when they go to the polls in November, they need to remember these types of things. We see this president acting in a very dictatorial manner. And if Congress lets him continue it, he is a dictator, and it’s our fault.
Attempts to restrict women’s access to legal and safe abortion is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the conservative assault on women’s health care. Conservatives, particularly the increasingly right-wing House Republicans who rode into the majority on a Tea Party wave, have also sought to undermine and defund a variety of what ought to be non-divisive women’s health care services. Over the last year or so, conservatives have ramped up the war on women’s health care, including access to contraceptives, preventive services like cancer screenings, and programs that promote maternal and childhood health.
Title X: Birth Control And Cancer Screenings
House GOP Repeatedly Tried To Zero Out Title X Funding
In The 2011 Spending Bill, House Republicans Tried To Completely Eliminate A Program That Provides Family Planning And Cancer Screenings For Low-Income Women. From the National Women’s Law Center: “The bill to fund – and de-fund – the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, H.R. 1, passed the House on February 19, 2011, on a party-line vote (all but three Republicans voting voted for the bill; all Democrats voting voted against it). […] H.R. 1 eliminates funding for the Title X program, which for more than 40 years has provided family planning services, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and other preventive health care to low-income women in need. Title X-funded health centers serve more than five million low-income women and men each year, and six in 10 women who obtain health care from a family planning center consider it to be their primary source of health care.” [National Women’s Law Center, 2/23/11]Read more after the jump.
The arguments in favor of the new Health and Human Services (HHS) rule requiring employers to provide health plans that cover contraceptives with no cost-sharing are overwhelming. Yet, as is often the case in matters concerning women’s health and reproductive rights, what ought to be an issue of effective and practical modern public health policy has been reframed by the right as a threat to religious liberty. Despite an exception to the HHS rule allowing religiously affiliated employers to avoid paying premiums that support contraceptives by shifting the responsibility onto insurers, conservatives remain outraged. But the outside groups and politicians who persist in protesting over the issue are at odds with the American public.
The Origins Of The Uproar Over Contraceptive Coverage
The Affordable Care Act Requires New Insurance Plans To Cover Preventive Services For Free. From The New York Times: “Starting this year, insurers will be required under the Affordable Care Act to completely cover such services as annual physicals, childhood vaccinations and dozens of screening tests for everything from high blood pressure to abdominal aortic aneurysms.” [The New York Times, 9/19/11]Read more after the jump.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce accuses Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin of ‘making it worse’ for Wisconsin families by voting for the Dodd-Frank wall street reform bill and for health care reform, making false accusations about the legislation in the process. For instance, Dodd-Frank regulations target large firms in order to help prevent another financial sector meltdown — not, as the ad claims, small businesses. And the claim that Affordable Care Act — which won’t raise taxes for most Americans – is a job-killer has been debunked.Read more after the jump.
When an improving economy and recent instability in the Middle East pushed gasoline prices up from artificial lows caused by the recession, conservatives conveniently attributed higher costs to President Obama’s policies. In reality, the president has little control over the price of oil, which is traded on a world market, and neither increased drilling nor the Keystone XL pipeline would have much of an impact on gas prices. Despite conservative rhetoric about the president’s supposed hostility to the oil and gas industries, domestic oil production is at its highest in nearly a decade; there are more rigs in operation than any time since 1985; and American crude oil exports are the highest they’ve ever been.Read more after the jump.