May 1, 2007

From the ‘It’s Never Enough’ Department: Edwards Wants Tax Increases BEYOND ‘Repeal of Bush Tax Cuts’

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:07 am

In 1995, Bill Clinton said this to a Houston fund-raising audience about the 1993 tax increase his administration is infamous for:

Probably there are people in this room who are still mad at me at that budget because you think I raised your taxes too much. It might surprise you to know that I think I raised them too much too.

John Edwards, on the other hand, must think that the Clinton Administration and the congress at the time raised taxes too little, because he said on Sunday that he wants to go beyond what was done in 1993 (link requires registration; HT Colorado Right):

Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards said yesterday raising taxes for higher-income families back to their levels under the Clinton administration is a floor, not a ceiling, and he would consider even higher tax increases.

“What I believe is the starting place is to go back to the Clinton levels,” Mr. Edwards told reporters after addressing the 2,000 delegates to California’s state Democratic Party convention.

In an unbylined report from the Associated Press at MSNBC, the AP writer seemed to sense how unpopular the idea of tax increases beyond 1993-2001 levels would be, and attempted to downplay what Edwards really said (bold is mine):

Democratic presidential contender John Edwards said Sunday he would consider raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy to fund programs such as universal health care.

Edwards has long said he wants to repeal the tax cuts on upper-income earners enacted during the Bush presidency, but Sunday he seemed to go further, by saying he was open to raising them higher than they were before George W. Bush took office. He also said he would consider taxes on “excess profits,” including those made by oil companies.

Edwards said it was more important to level with voters than to worry about the political consequences of advocating higher taxes.

“Seemed”?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Minnesota Madness

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:17 am

Well, there’s some hope for the economies of Ohio and Michigan, if other Midwestern states travel down the foolish path of Minnesota (Wall Street Journal link requires subscription) described by Jason Lewis:

(The state legislature has) Plans that include a dizzying array of new taxes totaling $4 billion. This, in a state of five million people with a biennial state budget of $31.5 billion.

And this, too, in a state whose general fund is running a $2.2 billion surplus — even after an automatic, built-in increase of $1 billion.

Nevertheless, Democrats have introduced bills raising all income tax rates, including one for the highest top rate in the nation at 9.7%. In the name of transportation, i.e., mass transit, they’ve proposed increasing the gas tax 50%, to 30 cents per gallon at the pump, as well as raising the state sales tax by a half-cent. Add to that levies on everything from beer to mortgages to paint. House Republican leaders say the hikes will cost Minnesota families well over $1,000 per year.

Minnesotans are hardly under-taxed. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the state tax burden in the home state of Walter Mondale and Al Franken already ranks sixth-highest per capita in the nation. The state has decoupled its estate tax from federal relief; it still taxes capital gains as ordinary income. Though it’s hard to shed tears for the subsidy-seeking big business community here, a corporate tax rate of 9.8% is one reason for the anemic job growth of late.

Minnesotans are a hard-working lot and that’s providing some cover for the tax-and-spend crowd. Household income is relatively high, so the liberal intelligentsia argue with a straight face that the tax burden as a percentage of income isn’t going up so fast. But if the state already has a surplus why raise taxes?

Well, it’s simple. Here in the Land of 10,000 taxes it’s called “ability to pay.”

Translation: “We know that the government doesn’t really need the money, but since you have some, we’re taking it.”

Zheesh. Not even Ted Strickland is saying that.

Gopher Staters — those who DON’T like their state’s proposed tax schemes — are welcome to migrate to Ohio (party-line DFLers can stay put, thank you very much). Our weather isn’t as cold, and our Big 10 football and basketball teams are better than yours.

Area Congressional Scorecard Update: US Chamber of Commerce (with Overall Rankings Updated)

Filed under: Economy,OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:12 am

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently came out with its congressional rankings for 2006. Every congressperson’s score can be found here; Senators are here.

I’m not convinced that the Chamber’s choices of 15 bills in the House and 12 in the Senate that served as the bases for the ratings were broad enough. Also, given the pork-driven tendencies of so many Members, it seems a little hard to handle that about 110 House members and 18 Senators could get perfect 100% scores, incredibly including “Waste Ted” Stevens.

Nevertheless, here are the Chamber’s rankings for locals and selected others:

Senate (OH-KY-IN) –
– DeWine (R-OH) — 100%
- McConnell (R-KY) — 100%
- Lugar (R-IN) — 100%
- Bunning (R-KY) — 91%
- Voinovich (R-OH) — 75%
- Bayh (D-IN) — 45%

Senate (selected others) –
– Hagel (R-NE) — 100%
- Specter (R-PA) — 100%
- Clinton (D-NY) — 67%
- Obama (D-IL) — 55%
- Reid (D-NV) — 50%
- Biden (D-DE) — 45%
- Lieberman (D at the time, CT) — 44%
- Dodd (D-CT) — 42%

House (local OH-KY-IN) –
– Boehner (R-OH) — 100%
- Gillmor (R-OH) — 100%
- Ney — (R-OH) — 100%
- Oxley (R-OH) — 100%
- Pence (R-IN) — 100%
- Pryce (R-OH) — 100%
- Schmidt (R-OH) — 100%

- Tiberi (R-OH) — 100%
- Chabot (R-OH) — 93%
- Davis (R-KY) — 93%
- Hobson (R-OH) — 93%
- LaTourette (R-OH) — 93%
- Sodrel (R-IN) — 93%
- Turner (R-OH) — 93%

- Regula (R-OH) — 80%
- Ryan (D-OH) — 47%
- Brown (D-OH) — 40%
- Jones (D-OH) — 40%
- Strickland (D-OH) — 40%
- Kaptur (D-OH) — 33%
- Kucinich (D-OH) — 20%

House (selected others):
– Hastert (R-IL) — 100%
- Jindal (R-LA) — 100%
- Tancredo (R-CO) — 100%
- Hunter (R-CA) — 93%
- Jefferson (D-LA) — 86%

- Paul (R-TX) — 60%
- Emanuel (D-IL) — 47%
- Conyers (D-MI) — 20%
- McKinney (D-GA) — 9%

Here are updated consolidated rankings for the locals:

CongRatings0507

See this previous post for the prior chart, how it was compiled, and references to the other scorecards.

In the Senate, the Chamber rankings caused McConnell and Bunning to reverse 1-2 positions. Meanwhile, in the House, Boehner and Schmidt to inch ahead of Chabot. When missing one item on a scorecard moves you from 1st to 3rd, as it did to Chabot, you know that the differences between the three in last year’s voting were pretty narrow.

That was last year. This year, on the three most visible votes thus far (minimum wage increase, student loan subsidy expansion, and pork for the Banks), some differences have emerged. Boehner is 3-for-3 — against min-wage, against further student loan subsidies, and against the Banks pork). Chabot is 2-for-3, having whiffed on the student loan subsidies. Schmidt is 1-for-3, missing on min-wage and, painful to report, the Banks pork (HT NixGuy and Weapons of Mass Discussion). One hopes that this is not the start of a longer-term trend for the congresswoman.

PETA’s ‘A-gender’

Filed under: General — Tom @ 6:02 am

I heard about this one on the radio Saturday, and dug up this article about it:

PETA to AP: Don’t Refer to Animals as ‘It’

The animal activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has written a letter to Norm Goldstein, the editor of the AP stylebook, asking that the book be changed so that pronouns referring to animals always be “he,” “she,” and “who.” AP responded by noting that the stylebook only uses “it” and “which” if the animal’s sex has not been established and the animal’s name is unknown.

I don’t think Goldstein gets it. PETA is insisting that AP know the gender of any animals involved in a story before it reports on them.

That means you can’t report on what that Doberman or German Shepherd did or didn’t do until you see it up close and personal. Tigers, cheetahs, mountain lions, panthers, and bears too. Oh my — PETA says it should be part of a reporters job to know these things, consequences be damned.

If AP buckles, expect frequent applications for hazard pay and very high-powered binoculars.

Positivity: Boy Saves Two Swimmers

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Australia:

23.04.2007

A KAWANA boy is being hailed a hero after saving the lives of two swimmers on a deserted Coast beach.

Thirteen-year-old Scott Williams was surfing alone on Friday afternoon when he saw the pair hanging on to a boogie board and obviously in trouble, 150 metres from shore.

The Year 9 student realised the beach’s lifeguard patrol had packed up for the day and, with darkness falling, decided he “just had to do what it took”.

He paddled over to the pair but after unsuccessful attempts to load them onto his surfboard, he paddled to shore for a rescue board.

As his nipper training kicked in, Scott loaded one of the men onto the board and took him back into shore before heading out to rescue the second man.
Hampering the rescue was the fact the men were both Asian and spoke little English, so Scott couldn’t tell them what he needed them to do.
“I put one on the board – he was the smaller one – and took him in,” he said.

“Then I went back out to get the other one and he was big. I struggled a bit with him.”

By the time he went back out to rescue the second man, a crowd had begun to gather on the beach.

Another swimmer went out to try and calm the panicked tourist while Scott attempted to load him onto the board.

“I managed to get him on but he was quite big and it was hard to hold him on,” he recalled.

“The waves rolled us and we came off, but I got him back on again.

“Then another wave came and we fell off again and I lost the board.”

Kawana Waters Surf Life Saving Club manager Bob Lane saw the drama and swam out with a rescue tube.

Together, they recovered the board and managed to bring the second man back safely to shore – just 20 minutes after Scott had first noticed the trouble.

“My heart was just beating like a million miles an hour when we got back in. I was heaps tired from trying to paddle them in,” he said.

“I couldn’t have done it without Bob Lane, but he just congratulated me and called me the light weight champion of the surf.”

Mr Lane played down his role in the rescue, instead heaping praise on the pint-sized hero.

“I can’t speak highly enough about the way he acted. He did everything exactly right,” he said.

“He is exactly what we are trying to produce in surf lifesaving.”

Scott’s father Jim, a nipper swim coach, said he was “amazed” by his son’s actions.