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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics
is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato
Saturday, November 24, 2012
APF: How To Cut Taxes In Arkansas
“Reduce the state's income tax…repeal the state's capital gains tax.” Arkansas Policy Foundation, Murphy Commission project, 1998
Greg Kaza, Arkansas Policy Foundation: (November 2012) The policy climate has shifted dramatically in Arkansas, with Republicans winning control of the state Senate, 21-14, and state House, 51-48-11, for the first time since Reconstruction. The stage is set for a serious policy debate around a question advanced by the Policy Foundation since its 1995 founding: “How to cut taxes in Arkansas?’ Fiscal policy in this new environment should focus on income, capital gains and grocery tax rates, and their potential effect on household budgets, job creation and state revenues.
Income Tax Cut: Response to Inflation
Arkansas fiscal policy punishes middle-class households.2 Middle-class households pay the top seven percent (7%) rate starting near $35,000,3 a threshold less than Arkansas median household income ($41,302) as reported by the federal government.4
This morally reprehensible5 policy should be a top priority of the new General Assembly when it meets in January 2013.
The inflation problem dates to the 1970s when a Democratic governor and General Assembly increased the top income tax rate from five (5%) to seven (7%) without indexing for inflation. Gov. Dale Bumpers and the legislature raised the state’s top income tax rate in 1971 but failed to adjust the measure for CPI.6 The U.S. economy in the 1970s recorded the highest average annual CPI rate (7.1%) of the 20th Century.7 Inflation,8 became such an issue that tax cuts negotiated by Republican President Ronald Reagan and a Democrat-controlled Congress in the early 1980s included a CPI adjustment. A modest adjustment occurred in Arkansas in the late 1990s, though the issue has largely been ignored.9 The magnitude of the problem is reflected in a 1996 chart from the Bureau of Legislative Research’s Office of Economic and Tax Research. It illustrates how the failure to adjust tax rates to CPI has punished Arkansas’ middle class:
RateIncome LevelLevel Adjusted for CPI
1.0%First $2,999First $10,828
7.0%Over $25,000 Over $90,269
A 2008 Foundation analysis found retroactive CPI indexing of the 1971 tax hike would create a $132,607 income threshold for the 7% rate.10
There are two ways to address the problem. First, the number of brackets could be reduced, with lower rates in all. Arkansas has six individual brackets ranging from one (1.0%) to seven percent (7%), according to the Federation of State Tax Administrators in Washington, D.C. Arkansas would have one flat rate, or two, three, four or five rates with lower income thresholds and rates. Second, the number of brackets could remain the same with lower rates in all. State Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, advanced this idea in the last General Assembly (2011), proposing a top six-and-eight-tenths (6.8%) percent rate.11 The proposal died in committee but support for an income tax cut has emerged in recent years. The state House passed an income tax cut in 2007.12
Capital Gains Tax Cut: Response to Arkansas’ Weak Jobs Market
Nonfarm payroll employment is the broadest economic indicator at the state level. Total Arkansas payroll employment has grown an anemic 0.5 percent three years into the current national expansion. U.S. payroll employment has expanded 2.3 percent.13 The problem is long-term measured across the business cycle. Arkansas also trailed the U.S. in the previous expansion.14The problem is greater when comparing Arkansas with states that do not tax capital gains. These states have increased employment 3.3 percent in the expansion. They also created jobs at higher percentage rates than the U.S. and Arkansas in the last two expansions.15 Two (Tennessee and Texas) border Arkansas, one reason that Gov. Huckabee and a Democrat-controlled General Assembly reduced the state capital gains rate 30 percent in 1999.16
The idea of tax reduction is dismissed by critics without due consideration.17 Yet state reports have raised the issue. The Fluor GLS18 report in 2002, commissioned by the General Assembly included a lengthy discussion of Arkansas’ competitive disadvantage with states in the region. The state Economic Development Commission’s 2006 annual report noted, “Arkansas continues to rank near the bottom in several economic indicators,” and included a proposal to reduce state capital gains rates:Expatriate incentive: “There have been discussions about an effort to bring back to the state thousands of Arkansans who were born here, went to school here or previously lived here, such as that implemented by El Dorado’s Come Home El Dorado program. Incentives such as capital gains tax or income tax exemptions are being explored as possible inducements to repatriation.” 19There are three ways to reduce capital gains taxes. The narrowest way is to cut the tax another 30 percent.20 Arkansas investments could be exempted. Or they could be phased out over a multi-year period.21
Some grocery tax cut proponents22 argue fiscal policy using “either-because” reasoning: either cut the grocery tax because income and capital gains taxes cannot be reduced. This negotiating position does not represent compromise, and ignores the policy shift that occurred this month and the damage to Arkansas’ economy caused by existing policies. The compromise must help Arkansas household budgets by cutting income and grocery tax rates while reducing taxes on capital in a responsible manner to encourage job creation. This policy is feasible given the business cycle’s current state.
How to Cut Taxes in Arkansas
Arkansas state revenues are expanding because the business cycle’s current state is expansion, not contraction. The U.S. economy is expanding, albeit slowly in a weak recovery. State revenues have exceeded forecasts: modest cuts in the income, grocery tax and capital gains rates can occur in 2013.23 Further cuts depend on three scenarios: use of dynamic scoring,24 economic expansion at higher growth rates,25 and an ongoing review of state tax exemptions26 led by state Rep. Davy Carter, R-Cabot.27 Savings from the elimination of tax exemptions, in the third scenario could be applied to further reductions in tax rates. 1Fifty-one (51) Republicans, forty-eight (48) Democrats, and one (1) Green were elected to the state House. 2Roadmap for Arkansas Prosperity (November 2010) Arkansas Policy Foundation 3Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration 4U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/statemedian/index.html 5Tax rates unadjusted for inflation, like the grocery tax, punish households of modest means. “People Have To Eat” (2002-) Policy Foundation, http://www.arkansaspolicyfoundation.org/policy/repeal_of_ar_grocery_tax_articles.html 6Gov. Bumpers’ original proposal was to raise the top rate to nine (9%) percent.It failed, forcing a compromise that left Arkansas with a seven (7%) percent top rate. 7Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, http://www.minneapolisfed.org/community_education/teacher/calc/hist1913.cfm 8On monetary policy’s contribution to creating and solving 1970s-era inflation see Allan Meltzer, A History of the Federal Reserve, Vol. 2, Book 2, 1970-1986 (Chicago) Univ. of Chicago Press, 2010 9The Foundation recommended indexing the state income tax rate to CPI in 1998.A 1999 measure gives the power to index to the state Department of Finance and Administration. 10“The Biggest Middle Class Tax Cut in Arkansas History” (May 2008) Foundation research memo 11HB 1387 was sponsored by State Rep. Ed Garner, R-Maumelle.The measure died in the Senate. 12“Income Tax Rate Reduction Debated in Legislative Session” (April 2007) Foundation memo.The Foundation examined the income tax in two 1998 studies, Improving Productivity by Reducing Taxes (Drs. Ronald John Hy and R. Lawson Veasey)and Taxes and Savings in Arkansas (Dr. Keith Berry). 13The NBER determined the expansion started in June 2009.Arkansas payroll employment: 1,160,100 (June 2009) 1,165,500, (September 2012); U.S. payroll employment: 130,503,000 (June 2009), 133,500,000 (September 2012).Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 14The NBER found an expansion occurred from November 2001 to December 2007. Arkansas employment: 1,147,500 (November 2001), 1,207,600 (December 2007); U.S. employment: 130,898,000 (November 2001), 137,982,000 (December 2007).Source: BLS 15“States Without Capital Gains Taxes Outperform in Jobs Creation” (January 2011) Foundation research memo 16PA 1005 of 1999.The Foundation recommended phasing out the state capital gains tax in 1998. 17Critics ignore literature in peer-reviewed journals that find tax rates are one of many considered by entrepreneurs.“An Introductory Survey of Journal Articles on the Issue of Tax Rates” (2002) Foundation research memo 18“The Fluor GLS Study and Arkansas’ Hunt for a Manufacturing Super-project” (2002) Foundation research memo 19“Capital Gains and Income Tax Rate Reductions Among Economic Strategies in New State Report” (August 2007) Foundation research memo 20A proposal sponsored by Rep. Garner passed the House but died in the Senate. 21“Three Ways to Cut the Arkansas Capital Gains Tax” (October 2010) Foundation research memo 22The Foundation proposed grocery tax repeal in 2002 at a time when most policymakers opposed the idea.The grocery has been reduced from six (6) to one-point-five (1.5) percent since 2007. 23The top income tax rate could be cut three percent from 7.0 to 6.75 percent, and the grocery tax could be reduced from 1.5 to 1.25 percent. 24Dynamic scoring could allow the grocery tax to be reduced from 1.5 to 1.0 percent. 25Hy and Veasey (1998) found the “state budget surplus along with the normal rate of growth of general revenues” would account for about three-fourths (75%) of a 10 percent state income tax reduction. 26The Murphy Commission, a Foundation project, recommended reviewing exemptions in 1998. 27“Rep. Carter Outlines Fiscal Policy Review” (March 15, 2012) Foundation memo Tags:Arkansas, reducing taxes, taxes, Arkansas Policy FoundationTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Tags:Obama Clause, editorial cartoon, William Warren, Barack Obama, second term, expanded entitlementsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Please note that the ARRA News Service will not publish Thursday and Friday, and there are low expectations for Saturday and Sunday. We need some time for R and R and catching up with some outstanding computer changes over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless! Tags:Thanksgiving, 2012To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum: Dozens of explanations have been offered by people who think they are savvy about politics to explain why Mitt Romney lost and Barack Obama was reelected despite his many unlawful actions and the high unemployment figures. I toss into the mix my view that the two major political parties need rebranding.
Obama’s massive negative TV advertising rather successfully branded Romney and the Republican Party as rich guys who can’t empathize with ordinary hard-working Americans. In fact, Obama grew up enjoying a pampered lifestyle attending elite schools and colleges and now is rich, too, with his wealth and lifestyle coming from the taxpayers.
Nevertheless, when the pollsters asked the question, “Who is more in touch with people like you?” Romney lost to Obama by ten points. Why is it that Romney didn’t seem to relate to middle-class Americans?
We can’t blame only Romney’s country-club persona for the psychological barrier between him and the bloc of middle-class Americans whose votes he lost. We must also blame the Republican Party’s devotion to policies that allowed, even encouraged, several million well-paying manufacturing jobs to go overseas, leaving behind empty buildings in crucial swing states.
Romney didn’t have a message for those Americans, nor did Republican Senate candidates, nor did the Republican Party. So the people who were an essential part of Ronald Reagan’s spectacular victories returned to the Democratic Party, assuming that Republicans care more about their devotion to so-called “free trade” with cheating Communist countries than to protecting good American jobs and a strong American manufacturing base.
You would think that Romney and the Republican Party would have learned a lesson from the insensitive way John McCain brushed off the suffering of those whose good jobs were moving overseas. McCain went to Detroit and callously said in debate: Those jobs are gone forever; just go to a community college.
The basic Romney-Republican economic message was cutting taxes and regulations to enable people to prosper as entrepreneurs, innovators, and employers. That’s fine, but it doesn’t relate to the millions of men who lost $50,000 jobs and then had to take minimum-wage or part-time jobs that don’t pay enough to support a family.
Romney and Republicans also lost the votes of the Millennial generation, some of whom were turned off by our meddling nation-building in faraway lands. Other votes of Americans that should have gone to Republicans were lost because the RINO Establishment, rather than grassroots Republicans, selected the wrong candidate.
While Republicans were proclaiming that 2012 was the most important election of our lifetime, 11 million fewer Americans than in 2008 voted for either the Republican or Democratic presidential candidate. Maybe they decided there isn’t any difference between the two major parties, and on the crucial economic issue of loss of good middle-class jobs, there apparently isn’t.
The Republican Party doesn’t need only a change in marketing. It also needs a change in policies in order to respect the jobs of middle-class Americans and the choices of grassroots Republicans.
It’s time to change Republican economic policy so the Party can be rebranded as the party of family, good jobs, and superior weaponry that keeps America safe without war. Safe without war and Reagan-style peace through strength can help to win back the Millennial generation.
The leaks coming out of the RINO Establishment (which made so many 2012 mistakes) impudently try to instruct Republicans what to do now: (1) let the RINOs select Republican primary nominees instead of letting grassroots voters decide whom they want as representatives, and (2) blame the defeat on those who talk about social issues. Let’s remember that it was grassroots Republicans, not the Establishment, that chose winners Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
The Republican Establishment is also trying to make us believe that Republicans can win by offering amnesty to illegal aliens. That’s a dead end road that translates into more Democratic, not Republican, votes.
The Democratic Party should be rebranded as the Party of atheism, amnesty, abortion, and debt. For confirmation of those goals, just read the Democratic Party Platform adopted this year in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Voters should watch again that portion of the Democratic National Convention when a voice vote was taken three times on including a reference to God in the Democratic Party Platform, and three times at least half the Delegates loudly voted No.
There’s plenty of hope for the Republican Party because 30 of the 50 governors are Republican, and Republicans still have the majority of the House of Representatives. It’s time for grassroots Republicans, with the help of our Tea Party allies, to take control of their Party and set it on a winning path. Tags:Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum, political parties, rebranding, Republican PartyTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
AF "Tony" Branco: Military life in the trenches of Afghanistan. Wal-Mart shoppers thank the troops for being able to shop the three special Wal-Mart events on Thanksgiving. . Hang in their Wal-Mart employees!
Tags:AF Branco, military, troops, Afghanistan, Wal-Mart, shopping, Thanksgiving DayTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
China: The Mao Dynasty Moves Toward Democracy And Human Rights
China's Great Wall (5th Century BC to 221 BC
by Contributing Author Ralph Benko: A more important, historically speaking, presidential election than America’s concluded last week … where Xi Jinping was entrusted with the leadership of China. The selection followed a process viewed as hermetic by us western barbarians. Yet there is an organic logic to it if viewed as part of a slow-motion, dramatic, transformation. This transformation has important implications for the United States, for China, and for the world.
The USA, counting from the Declaration of Independence, is only 236 years old. China has 6,000 years of continuous, historical, political culture. It has seen the rise and fall of many civilizations, most of them nearly forgotten. China has endured and thinks on a very different timeline than our own. 236 years is a mere blip. Our durability, presumably, is seen by the nation that saw Rome rise and fall as somewhat speculative. Americans think in cycles of unfathomable brevity — quarterly earnings reports, two-year Congressional cycles, four-year administrations…
China thinks in epochs. To achieve even a rudimentary understanding of what is happening in China requires a longer perspective than most Americans are used to employing. We are in the early stages of the Mao Dynasty. It is visibly evolving toward liberal republican governance. Ten years, rather than life, tenure for its leaders is a major step.
A mark of progress is the immediate relinquishment of the role of commander-in-chief of the armed forces by outgoing leader Hu Jintao (in contrast to his predecessor, Jiang Zemin) and the investment of these powers in Xi. As A. Greer Meisels noted in “Power Transitions with Chinese Characteristics” in The National Interest, “…with this move, Hu Jintao has guaranteed that this was the first clean transfer of power the CCP has seen in two decades. This is no small feat.” This is an astute observation … and an understatement.
Hu’s act of remarkable humility bears a striking similarity to that of George Washington’s stepping down, after two terms, from a presidency he could have held for life. It may be seen, in retrospect, as one of the most important political moments in modern Chinese — and world — history. Voluntarily relinquishing power is a decisive move away from the Dynastic and toward humanitarian republican principles. This act distinguishes Hu as a great man.
Even in imperial days a ruling class that neglected the welfare of the people would, inevitably, fall, having “forfeited the Mandate of Heaven.” Many of my fellow conservatives have an animus toward the Chinese Communist Party — the apparatus of the Mao Dynasty. Yet the CCP persists. It has not forfeited the Mandate of Heaven. It retains legitimacy. It is valuable to understand why.
The enigma becomes less difficult to understand by taking the long view. This does not mean that human rights advocates should be any less passionate about advocating for continued transformation. It simply offers human rights advocates a thoughtful context better to be effective in such advocacy. To achieve their goal requires setting up structures to support systemic (rather than impulsive) evolution of better democratic principles, respect for human rights, and the honoring of the great historic spiritual values of China.
Here is the context. At the end of the 19th century, under the decadent and decaying Qing Dynasty, the European colonial powers invaded and brutalized China. The United States, to its credit, declined the big slice of the Chinese pie offered to it. Our refusal to exploit China earned America residual good will among the Chinese people — who have, as noted above, a long memory. Among the many atrocities visited upon the Chinese was the imposition of the opium trade as a means of exploiting its hard-working people.
It was not until the later Japanese invasion that China united in opposition to its exploiters. Two great leaders arose in opposition to the Japanese: Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, leader of the nationalists who enjoyed the support of the urban elites, and Mao Zedong, leader of the Chinese Communist Party, who enjoyed the support of the farmers.
Chiang was institutionally successor to (this columnist’s honorary great godfather) Sun Yat-sen, but did not share in Dr. Sun’s moral stature. Dr. Sun, revered by Chinese everywhere, was a great humanitarian populist, of at least as great moral stature as Mohandas Gandhi. Sun overthrew the decadent Qing Dynasty and went on to serve, briefly, as the first president of republican China. In the internecine struggle between Chiang and Mao, the more populist Mao prevailed. He restored sovereignty to China. Without in any way condoning Mao’s brutalities the restoration of sovereignty, and its attendant dignity, imbued Mao’s rule with popular legitimacy.
Deng Xiao Ping succeeded Mao. History records Deng as one of the greatest supply siders — perhaps the greatest — in modern history. With five words— “To get rich is glorious” — he unleashed the enterprising nature of the Chinese people. His thought has come to be called “socialism with Chinese characteristics” and is free enterprise by another name. Deng lifted the oppressive state economic controls. With the guidance of that great economist and humanitarian Robert Mundell China set a course for prosperity. With its unleashed economy growing at double-digit rates for 30 years a billion Chinese moved from subsistence to relative affluence.
Deng in turn was succeeded by Jiang Zemin, a leader vilified by the Falun Gong sect with accusations of almost unbelievable brutality. Jiang’s “Mandate of Heaven” can be traced to a factor unappreciated by many outside China. China is far more fragile, as a geopolitical entity, than many outsiders understand. It has a propensity for breaking up into feuding duchies such as the Period of Warring States.
Jiang inherited leadership on the eve of the breakup of the USSR. This is no trivial matter. Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China’s largest administrative district, has been part of the modern Chinese state only since 1949. China was very much at risk of breaking up, a very bad thing for China and the world, much as it would have been a bad thing had Lincoln failed to preserve the Union in the War Between the States. Jiang averted the threat of dissolution.
In the process, he may have engaged in reprehensible brutalities. And Jiang remained powerful long into his successor Hu’s tenure. There are unverified but deeply troubling allegations of human rights abuses occurring under his rule and persisting afterwards under his influence. If the allegations are well founded, and if they are permitted to persist any longer, they threaten to bring great shame upon China. It therefore must be considered an absolutely essential matter for Xi to investigate such claims in his avowed battle against CCP corruption. The most urgent accusation, as previously reported byForbes.com to wide notice is that of the widespread execution of political prisoners and the sale of their organs for transplant. If true, it is imperative that such practices be stopped immediately … before they utterly discredit the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party in the eyes of the Chinese people and the world.
In the transition just concluded Xi’s great rival for power was Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai, an atavistic Maoist now disgraced and purged. The purging of Bo is another indicator of China’s continued momentum toward democracy and human rights. The Chinese leadership understands that there is much to be done and many challenges ahead. In addition to ceasing brutal persecution of religious sects, more humane treatment of ethnic minorities — such as the Tibetans, who are protesting oppression and cultural liquidation by self-immolation, and the beautiful Uyghur people and culture concentrated in Xinjiang — is essential. This is an imperative if the CCP wishes to retain legitimacy. It is encouraging that the new administration highlights in its platform the duty of the party to “lead people of all ethnic groups.” Deeds must follow such words promptly.
The commitment of the Chinese leadership for the next decade, as reported by the Xinghua News Agency, is this (and these are principles to be taken with utmost seriousness): “… to unite and lead people of all ethnic groups in the new historic journey to make greater achievements and keep up with the times.
“The theme of the congress is based on … the new requirements of the nation’s development and new expectations of the people. It is closely interlinked with the overall plan for promoting economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress in the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, Xi said.
“To thoroughly understand the theme of the congress, one must understand the historical background and soberly realize that the Party is facing unprecedented opportunities and challenges, while the key lies in whether the Party can grasp the opportunities and tackle the challenges in a cool-headed way.”
“The Party shall continue to hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, maintain an ideological state to free up the mind, implement the policy of reform and opening up, pool the strength and overcome all difficulties, promote economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress and Party building in an all-around way.”As the canonical Unitarian Universalist divine Theodore Parker famously observed, “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.” China appears to be on the long arc of the moral universe, bending towards justice.
China’s renaissance began with the restoration of sovereignty by Mao; continued with the generation of prosperity by Deng; was maintained by Jiang’s gamely defending China as a precariously intact nation; was furthered by the implementation by the great Hu of democratic reforms culminating with “the first clean transfer of power.” Xi Jinping now is charged with helping China fulfill her destiny of regaining full dignity and stature, as a benevolent presence, in the councils of world leadership with cool-headed implementation of more democracy and priority embrace of human rights.
The arc of the moral universe is, indeed, long. “And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.” Xi and his colleagues have pledged to move the Middle Kingdom toward something resembling the Great Unity so often referenced in the writings of Sun Yat-sen. The recently concluded presidential election of China portends truly historic importance.
------------------ Ralph Benko, senior adviser for economics to American Principles in Action, served on detail as deputy general counsel to an Executive Office of the President agency under President Reagan and to a Reagan presidential commission. This article which first appeared in Forbes was submitted to the ARRA News Service editor for reprint by contributing author Ralph Benko. Tags:China, change leadership change, presidential election, Xi Jin[ing, 2012, Ralph BenkoTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
by A.F. "Tony" Bronco (Contributing Author): Besides greatly appreciating your viewing and sharing with others my editorial / political cartoons, I wish all readers / viewers a blessed Happy Thanksgiving! Today's cartoon makes it is clear that the actions of the current administration and his supporters, like unions, have consequences.
Well the turkey named "Cobbler" has been officially pardoned in the traditional White House ceremony.
Bill Smith, ARRA News Service editor, on Monday (Nov 19th), commented about today's scheduled event, "President Obama will ceremonially pardoned one or both turkeys on Wednesday in the White House Rose Garden. This ceremony has been going on for 65 years.
President Obama what about pardoning the rest of us? It is indeed discouraging that as the United States races towards the fiscal cliff, Congress and the President and the members of his Executive Branch are more reflectively concerned about their celebration of Thanksgiving and the pardoning of turkeys. What about the fiscal cliff that Americans are facing?" Tags:Turkey Twinkie, turkey, twinkie, cartoon, AF Branco, White House, tradition, pardoning of the Turkey, cobbler, President Obama, Bill Smith, fiscal cliff, lost jobsTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Another View: Conservatives Fractured Response to Romney Defeat
Bill Smith, Editor: While I normally do not share article from the Washington Post. In the following article by Paul Kane and Rosalind Helderman, they have flushed out the battle shaping up in the GOP. Indeed, there will be major conflict between those seeking to win at any cost and those desiring to stand on conservative principles and values. Mitt Romney did not lose because of conservative values and positions offered by other Republicans. He lost because he was himself and not the person that encompassed and connected even with everyone under the GOP tent. Many wished for more from Romney while others feared or cold not commit to Romney for varied reasons. This situation does not mean that Republicans and conservatives attracted to Republicans principles, voted instead for Mr. Obama or another candidate. But this does address why some conservatives did not vote in the Presidential race.
While the old political GOP political guard attacks what they call "bad nominees," as identified in the below article, they also evidence a failure to fully accept that it is the people who select their nominees and not them. If "we the people" wanted centralized control, we would be in the democrat party and not addressing the issues holding back the republican party.
It is also becoming clear to the grassroots that political operatives, be they Republican or Democrat, measure winning as a victory even if that victory compromises values and principles and or leads our country further into socialism or off a fiscal cliff. When glass replaces a diamond in a ring, the value is diminished. When the GOP operatives compromise principles and a conservative platform, their efforts become of little or no value. It is time to "run" towards principles and values verses running towards destructive values and beliefs. By Paul Kane and Rosalind S. Helderman, WP Politics: Evangelical leaders and conservative activists have a simple message for establishment Republicans about Mitt Romney’s failed presidential bid: We told you so.
After nearly two weeks of listening to GOP officials pledge to assert greater control over the party and its most strident voices in the wake of Romney’s loss, grass-roots activists have begun to fight back, saying that they are not to blame for the party’s losses in November.
“The moderates have had their candidate in 2008 and they had their candidate in 2012. And they got crushed in both elections. Now they tell us we have to keep moderating. If we do that, will we win?” said Bob Vander Plaats, president of the Family Leader. Vander Plaats is an influential Christian conservative who opposed Romney in the Iowa caucuses 10 months ago and opposed Sen. John McCain’s candidacy four years ago.
The conservative backlash sets up an internal fight for the direction of the Republican Party, as many top leaders in Washington have proposed moderating their views on citizenship for illegal immigrants, to appeal to Latino voters. In addition, many top GOP officials have called for softening the party’s rhetoric on social issues, following the embarrassing showing by Senate candidates who were routed after publicly musing about denying abortion services to women who had been raped.
Ted Cruz, a tea party favorite, trounced Texas’s establishment candidate in a primary on his way to becoming the second Hispanic Republican in the Senate, and the battle he waged in the Lone Star State epitomizes the fight between the two sides. Although he is considered a rising star with a personal biography that GOP leaders wish to promote, Cruz falls squarely in the camp that thinks Romney was not conservative enough and did not fully articulate a conservative contrast to President Obama, except during the first presidential debate.
“It was the one time we actually contested ideas, presented two viewpoints and directions for the country,” he said at the Federalist Society’s annual dinner in Washington. “And then, inevitably, there are these mandarins of politics, who give the voice: ‘Don’t show any contrasts. Don’t rock the boat.’ So by the third debate, I’m pretty certain Mitt Romney actually French-kissed Barack Obama.”
Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania who finished second to Romney in the GOP primary, lampooned Romney’s assertion that Obama’s victory was fueled by “gifts” to core liberal constituencies in the form of legislative favors.
“The American people do not want ‘gifts’ from their leaders, particularly when these gifts leave a steep bill for our children to pay, but they do want us to be on their side,” Santorum wrote in a USA Today op-ed published Monday. He placed the blame on the national party, saying it lacked an appealing agenda: “We as a party, the party of Ronald Reagan and ‘Morning in America,’ failed to provide an agenda that shows we care.”
The dispute began to take shape soon after Obama was declared the winner and Republicans, who had hoped to claim the Senate majority, lost two seats. Two days after the election, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told ABC News that the Republicans’ mission was to appeal to nonwhite voters: “How do we speak to all Americans? You know, not just to people who look like us and act like us, but how do we speak to all Americans?”
The fight ahead will come in two phases, the first being legislative debates on taxes, entitlements and immigration, and the second in the GOP primary battles in the 2014 midterm elections.
Congressional Republican leaders have rejected Obama’s call for higher tax rates on the wealthiest Americans, but they have opened the door to more revenue streaming into the Treasury by limiting exemptions and closing loopholes as part of a broad tax-code overhaul. The president says those measures would not produce enough revenue.
“Hispanics are an ever-important part of the electorate that can’t be ignored. The scope of the challenge is broad, but there is opportunity ahead for conservatives to engage,” Jennifer S. Korn of the Hispanic Leadership Network, a Republican-funded group designed to do outreach, wrote in a memo circulated over the weekend.
Korn warned that two reliably Republican states worth 49 electoral votes combined could become swing states if demographic trendlines continue. In 2004, George W. Bush tied in the Hispanic vote in Texas and lost in Arizona by 13 percentage points. Romney lost the Hispanic vote by more than 40 points in both states.
After several years of focusing on border security as the centerpiece of their immigration proposals, many senior party officials have reversed course and suggested that they should at least support the DREAM Act, which would allow the children of illegal immigrants to avoid deportation.
Such a move would spark a huge internal fight with some conservatives. Dan Stein, president of the hard-line Federation for American Immigration Reform, insisted that the 2012 election was decided on issues other than immigration and that the push for the party to change its position represents opportunism by those who have always favored a more accommodating approach. He said the party’s elite is captive to business interests who favor increased immigration to reduce labor costs.
“There’s no evidence, none, that amnesty will bond Hispanics to the Republican Party,” he said. “This post-election chatter is coming from people who, for the most part, have generally disagreed with the need for stronger border control or less immigration. . . . This is going to be a long, protracted debate.”
The 2014 Senate races will serve as a test for establishment control of the political process. For the third consecutive cycle, Republicans will begin as heavy favorites to gain a large bloc of seats, and some party leaders want a bigger role in choosing those nominees. In 2010 and 2012, Republicans say, bad nominees in Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Missouri and Nevada cost them what should have been easy victories. If those seats were in GOP hands today, the Senate would be deadlocked at 50-50.
Some outside groups, however, stand ready to fight for the most conservative nominee, pointing to Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) as examples of rising stars who won Senate races without establishment support.
“The party is rarely in a position to determine the best candidate,” said Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth. “When you have someone who can articulate a clear, convincing, conservative message, they win.” Tags:conservatives, republicans, fighting, re-analysis, post election, 2012 election, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
By Thomas A. Schatz: The lame-duck session is underway, and among the many legislative proposals that Congress may consider is the Dairy Market Stabilization Program (DMSP), a misguided “supply management” scheme for milk buried in the $1 trillion Farm Bill. If DMSP passes, it will raise the price you pay for milk and all dairy products. I urge you to watch CCAGW’s new video about the damaging economic impact of DMSP and then tell Congress that you refuse to pay through the nose for milk!
DMSP will limit the supply of milk by penalizing farmers for exceeding government milk production “quotas.” The limits on supply will cause prices to rise, and as a result, we will all pay more at the grocery counter for milk and dairy products, like cheese, yogurt, and ice cream.
The American dairy industry has grown 66 percent in the last 40 years and creates 8,400 jobs for every $1 billion in dairy exports. However, DMSP will also impose a new layer of costly regulations on American companies that manufacture dairy products that will keep them from hiring new workers and expanding their operations.
As our video explains, a system similar to DMSP is in operation in Canada, where the dairy industry has been stagnant for decades and consumers pay significantly higher prices for dairy products than in the United States – so much so that Canadians actually smuggle cheese from the U.S. into Canada!
What’s more, the higher dairy prices will hit those Americans who can least afford them the hardest, and since the federal government buys 20 percent of milk for school lunch and other nutrition assistance programs, taxpayers will end up paying more as well.
That was more than the $124.712 billion the Department of Defense paid in fiscal 2012 for procurement of goods and services, according to the federal government's Monthly Treasury Statement [pdf] for September.
The number of workers taking disability also climbed to yet a new record of 8,805,353 in November, rising from the previous record of 8,803,335 in October.
According to official data published by the Social Security Administration, the record $135.097 billion in disability payments that the federal government distributed in fiscal 2012 was an increase of $7.117 billion from the $127.980 billion in disability payments the federal government distributed in fiscal 2011.
In the last four fiscal years, federal disability payments have increased from $104.517 billion to $135.097 billion, a jump of $30.58 billion or 29 percent. Over the past decade, annual federal disability payments have more than doubled from the $64.156 billion the government paid out in fiscal 2002.
Given that the Bureau of Labor Statistics said there were 115,459,000 Americans working full-time in October, the 8,805,353 workers now collecting disability equal about 1 for each 13 full-time workers.
Forty-four years ago, in November 1968, there were 65,506,000 full-time workers in the United States and 1,291,339 workers collecting disability—or approximately 1 worker on disability for each 51 full-time workers.
In addition to the record 8,805,353 workers collecting disability in November, according to the Social Security Administration, there were also 163,393 spouses of disabled workers who collected benefits and 1,886,456 children of disabled workers who collected benefits.
The total of 10,855,202 beneficiaries collecting disability as workers, spouses or children in November was also a record—up from the previous record of 10,844,253 set in October.
The record total of 10,855,202 workers, spouses and children collecting disability in November equaled about one for each 10.6 people working full time.
In addition to the $124.712 billion DOD spent on procurement in fiscal 2012, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement, it also spent $70.397 billion on research, development, testing and evaluation, and $14.551 billion on military construction. Tags:Fiscal year, FY, 2012, Federal, disability insurance, payments, Social Security Administration, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Will Red State U.S. Senate Dems Ignore A Majority Of Their Constituents?
"President Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will argue that raising taxes is the only way to lower the budget deficit, all the while having no intention of enacting real budget cuts that would impact the 30 percent increase in government spending since the end of Fiscal Year 2007. This represents an increase of approximately $810 billion a year in spending." ~ Richard Manning
Congress is still out for Turkey Day!
While many on the far left are digging in and telling Democrats not to even consider entitlement reform in talks over averting the fiscal cliff, reports today suggest there may be some Democrats who aren’t wedded to massive tax hikes and could be open to entitlement reforms.
The Hill reports today, “President Obama’s allies in the labor movement are targeting centrists in both parties in an attempt to pull the ‘fiscal cliff’ talks to the left. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the National Education Association (NEA) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) will launch a series of radio and television ads on Tuesday that urges lawmakers to let the Bush tax rates for the wealthy expire while preserving entitlement benefits. Mary Kusler, NEA’s director of government relations, said the ads will target House Republicans who appear open to raising tax revenue and Senate Democrats who have appeared willing to slash programs like Medicare and Social Security.”
But the AP noted recently that “Obama allies worry that liberal demands will make it harder for the president to seal a bargain with the GOP.” And “Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., said Obama has the same problem with his party's liberal base… ‘and the president has equally the same sort of problems with people who are horribly unreasonable.’”
Are there any Democrats who are willing to set aside “horribly unreasonable” demands from big unions and others on the Left? According to Politico, “Democrats have their own internal issues heading into the high-stakes [fiscal cliff] talks — and they’re not insignificant. . . . [G]etting a deal that raises tax rates for the wealthy may not be so easy for the party, and not just because of inevitable GOP resistance. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will have to find 60 votes to extend just the middle-income tax rates — far from a given when a swath of the Senate’s moderate Democrats are up for reelection in 2014. Reid and the White House will also need to navigate a hardening Democratic divide on entitlements. Progressives don’t want any deep cuts that Republicans will insist on for a deal. But a Third Way poll of 800 Obama voters set for release Tuesday found that efforts to fix Medicare and Social Security enjoy broader support than liberals suggest.”
And Bloomberg News writes, “Senate Democrats, optimistic about prospects for a deficit-reduction deal, may have to contend with wariness from seven members who face 2014 re-election campaigns in states Mitt Romney won Nov. 6. Some of those seven Democrats, including North Carolina’s Kay Hagan and Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, say they aren’t ready to commit to President Barack Obama’s proposals for boosting tax revenue. Instead, Hagan isn’t ruling out support for extending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for top earners. Landrieu said she opposes eliminating tax breaks for oil companies. . . . Pressed on whether she could be persuaded to support the Republican position of extending the Bush-era tax cuts for all income levels, Hagan said, ‘I want to look at the whole package, but I definitely want to protect the middle-class taxpayer, first and foremost.’ . . . Besides Hagan and Landrieu, the Democrats up for re- election in 2014 in states Romney won are Alaska’s Mark Begich, Arkansas’s Mark Pryor, South Dakota’s Tim Johnson, West Virginia’s Jay Rockefeller and Montana’s Max Baucus.”
Richard Manning (Americans for Limited Government) noted that Democrats are acting like Mr J. Wellington Wimpy in the old Popeye cartoons. Wimpy would declare, “I will have a hamburger, for which I will gladly pay you next Tuesday.” But in the viewers minds they strongly suspected that next Tuesday never came for Wimpy. The same will hold true for any promised budget cuts that are not both immediate and sharp. Tags:Washington, D.C., Democrats, unions, Wimpy, fiscal cliff, cutting spendingTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
HOWARD DEAN:“Maybe 700,000 people would lose their jobs. That is a tough price to pay. But what you'd get out of it is the deficit problem is significantly altered. … I think let's just go over the fiscal cliff. Let's -- everybody's going to bite the bullet.” (CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” 7/23/12)
Q:“You believe that's a viable option, going over the cliff?” … SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): “Yes.”(MSNBC, 11/14/12)
Retiring Chairman Calls For Entitlement Reform
SEN. KENT CONRAD (D-ND):“…fundamental reform, we absolutely need it in our entitlement programs, Medicare, Social Security. …we do need to address Social Security because it's headed for insolvency as well.”(Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday,” 11/11/12)
Americans Are Pro-Israel: Obama's Party? Not So Much!
Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison, Contributing Authors: It seems every time the Republicans lose a presidential election, white board-toting architects and backroom strategists descend on the Sunday talk shows. Republicans must dump the social issues. Defending the right to life of unborn children and upholding the civil right of marriage is just costing too much support with the voters. We have to moderate our positions, they say.
It’s as if the Second Officer on the Titanic were to run down six flights of stairs and yell at the grimy, coal dust covered sweating stokers shoveling coal in the engine rooms: This is all your fault!
What we saw on Election Day was a strong turnout among Evangelicals and Catholics for Mitt Romney. Evangelicals backed the former governor even more strongly than his fellow Mormons did. Catholics who attend Mass regularly were also strong backers of the GOP nominee.
What the so-called strategists—those architects of defeat-- are proposing is an abandonment of a 36-year commitment of the Republican Party. Since 1976, the Republican Platforms have rejected the infamous Roe v. Wade ruling. They have applauded those in Congress and the states who are trying to restore the protections for mothers and their unborn children. This is what the Supreme Court stripped away when it unconscionably overturned the abortion laws of all fifty states. Those laws were all a part of state homicide codes. And this long-term commitment is what the consultant class wants Republicans to throw overboard.
Compare this reaction with that of the Democrats over Israel. A recent CNN-ORC poll shows that 59% of Americans support Israel’s position in today’s crisis in Gaza. Israel is responding with deadly force to the almost daily rocket attacks by the terrorist group, Hamas on Israeli towns and schools. Only 13% of Americans back Hamas in this clash. This is a 4-1 commanding majority of Americans at the grassroots level.
Would anyone like to guess where Democratic Party activists are on this clash? You have only to consider the behavior of credentialed delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte last summer. The Democratic Party Platform—as reported out by its Platform Committee—dropped all reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This was no oversight. When pro-Israel Democrats pointed this out and urged the delegates on the convention floor to restore the Jerusalem-is-Israel’s-capital plank to the party’s platform, there were shouted Nos that clearly outnumbered the Yeses. Realizing they could not mount a national election campaign as an avowedly anti-Israel party, the powers-that-be quickly gaveled the Jerusalem plank back into the platform. Then we heard loud boos.
Regardless of what the Democratic Party Platform now says, with the Jerusalem post-it note plastered over it, the stance of this administration is quite clear. State Department weasel-worder Victoria Nuland has repeatedly refused to state that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. And the Obama administration has gone into court to evade congressional requirements for “ Jerusalem , Israel” to be stamped on passports and birth certificates for Americans abroad.
The public opinion is four-to-one against the administration and the Democratic Party’s sentiment on a vitally important foreign policy issue.
Did the GOP ticket press this point during the televised debates? Not at all. Did the nominees raise this issue on the campaign trail? If they did, it was not in big way.
Did the Republican Party take out ads to drive home the point that the Democrats’ liberal activists are hostile to Israel. No.
But their opponents did take out ads to press for more abortions. Fifty-five million unborn children killed since Roe are not enough. Now, we must have abortion-on-demand and you must pay.
It was a small pro-life group that produced this powerful ad for the Internet. Eduardo Verástegui in this video says President Obama wants your thirteen year old to have access to a free abortion—with you paying and without your ever knowing. No Republican strategist has dared to say something that strong, that true in forty years.
Instead of abandoning convictions and a party’s commitment to tens of millions of voters, perhaps it would be better for the Republicans to throw their strategists overboard. Then, they just might start winning again.
------------------------- Ken Blackwell is an advisor to the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and a conservative family values advocate. He is a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. Bob Morrison is a Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council. He has served at the U.S. Department of Education with Gary Bauer under then-Secretary William Bennett. Both are contributing authors to the ARRA News Service. Tags:Ken Blackwell, Bob Morrison, America, Pro-Israel, Israel, Obama, Democrats, not pro IsraelTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
ARRA News Service: ObamaCare Exchanges Are NOT A Done Deal! Our Partners at Americans For Limited Government are tracking updates as they occur. Changes being posted to NetRight Daily linked below.
The following is the most current information as of 3:16 PM Eastern on November 19.
By John Vinci — Governors and other state officials, across the states, are deciding whether their state will establish a Health Insurance Exchange. The Department of Health and Human Services has given States until Friday, December 14, 2012 to decide. We have been following this issue closely and here’s the status of the states as best as we can tell.
States NOT establishing a State Exchange (20):
Undecided States (11):
States establishing a federal “partnership” Exchange(3):
States plan to establish a State Exchange (16):
WV: West Virginia is expected to announce 11/15/2012 that it will NOT establish a state exchange, “‘The governor continues to evaluate all options available to him,’ said Amy Goodwin, a Tomblin spokeswoman.” Tomblin’s office mum on insurance exchange, The Charleston Gazette (11/14/2012)
WY: See Feds To Control Wyoming Health Care, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (11/14/2012). John Vinci is a staff attorney with Americans for Limited Government and is the editor in chief for the obamacarewatcher.org website. Tags:Obamacare, states, status, health insurance exchangesTo share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
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