Republicans in Washington State are planning to raise your taxes.
On Monday, March 2, the State Senate, under control of the Republicans, voted to raise gas taxes by 11.7 cents over three years.
Now, in fact, I support raising the gas tax, both because it generates revenue needed for transportation and because it discourages driving, which pollutes the air and contributes to congestion and global warming.
The problem is that the Republicans are hypocritical. The gas tax is regressive: it disproportionately affects the poor and the middle class. Poorer people often need to drive long distances to and from work, because they can’t afford homes close to work. For the poor and the middle class, gasoline purchases comprise a much more significant proportion of their income than for the rich.
True to form, the Republicans are willing to raise regressive taxes but not progressive taxes.
Specifically, Republicans want to raise the regressive tax to pay for transportation funding (with a big emphasis on roads), but they won’t raise the progressive capital gains tax to fund education — despite the State Supreme Court ruling demanding that the legislature come up with an additional $5 billion to pay for K-12 education. Gov. Inslee has proposed a capital gains tax which would help reverse the perverse regressivity of our state’s taxes. (For more about Gov. Inslee’s proposal, see images below from the Budget & Policy Center.)
Indeed, Washington State has the most regressive tax system in the nation, due to its reliance on the sales tax and due to the absence of an income tax.
Just last week Republicans tried to invoke a 2/3 super-majority rule for raising taxes in the state Senate. But the State Supreme Court has declared such a rule unconstitutional, and Lt. Gov. Brad Owen refused to enforce the rule.
In fact, the infamous no-taxes pledge that many Republicans nationwide have signed prohibits raising income taxes but makes no mention of sales taxes or gas taxes. See The Norquist anti-tax pledge allows signers to support raising the sales tax.
Will Republicans agree to tax the rich? Or are they only OK with taxing the poor and the middle class?
See here for sources.
Wasted trillions of dollars on corrupt, disastrous wars.
Slashed taxes for rich people.
Deregulated Wall Street and banking, causing the 2008 market crash.
Continue to oppose regulation of Wall Street.
Allow corporations to move profits and jobs overseas.
Oppose funding of the IRS to investigate tax evasion.
Gerrymander election districts and enact voter-id and other restrictions to suppress minority voting.
Deny science about global warming.
Cut funding for education and blame teachers for outcomes that are a result of poverty.
Oppose public transit, clean energy, and conservation.
They also want to hand the Social Security Trust Fund over to Wall Street even though it was financed from workers’ paychecks.
The outrages go on and on ….
From USA Today’s story Challenger concedes GOP primary to controversial rep
A transcript of DesJarlais’ 2001 divorce showed that he and his then-wife, Susan, made a mutual decision to have two abortions. Still another woman has charged that DesJarlais encouraged her to get an abortion as well.
DesJarlais, a doctor whose congressional seat was a Democratic stronghold before he won it using tea party themes four years ago, also acknowledged in the court case he had sex with at least two patients and said he had prescribed painkillers for at least one of them.
Alas, DesJarlais won the primary.
Conservative ideology is based on protecting rich people from having to pay for the benefits they reap from government: peace at home, stable markets, infrastructure, an educated work force, research, potable water, clean air, public health, etc. Conservatives wasted trillions on corrupt, disastrous wars and are happy to pay subsidies to corporate farmers and Big Oil, but they’re eager to cut food stamps for poor people, crush unions, blame teachers, dismantle public transit, deny science, and restrict the vote. The Norquist No-Tax-Pledge prohibits income taxes but allows regressive sales taxes.
An analysis of voting records of US Senators shows that moderate Republican Senators Collins and Murkowski voted more similarly to Democrats than to Republicans.
This continues the analysis of Congressional voting records begun in Visualized grouping of US Congress members by similarities in their voting record. The data is based on voting records collected at https://www.govtrack.us/. The analysis and images are by me.
Here’s the image for Senator Murkowski (R-AK). Notice how the circle of blue Democrats is inside the circle of red Republicons, except for Senator Murkowski and for Senator Ayotte (R-NH).
Click on the images to see detail.
The radical right here in America now boasts two fresh heroes: Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling. With their eager penchant for plainspoken hypocrisy and outright bigotry, they ought to be a swell choice for the Tea Party/Republican presidential nomination come 2016.
First, good old boy Cliven Bundy rode heroically onto the public scene, proudly waving the American flag and spouting anti-government propaganda—the kind of twisted nonsense that made the right-wing kings of talk radio sit up and take notice. In fact, Sean Hannity was so smitten by Cowboy Cliven that he vowed to stand with Bundy and his patriotic gun-wielding minions if the dastardly Feds should dare try to force those fine Americans to obey the law of the land.
And that’s one hallmark of right-wing ideology: law and order! Unless, of course, the law orders you to actually pay what you owe from grazing your cattle on land owned by the taxpaying citizens of the United States of America. So aw-shucks Cliven is really stealing from us. But he blames it on The Government, which is of course the ultimate evil in Tea Party extremist parlance.
It’s a bit convoluted, as blatant hypocrisy always is. You see, right-wingers “believe in” the Constitution. Or at least their version of it; the one that says government is bad. Not sure where the founding fathers wrote that, but it must be in that doggone Constitution somewhere, right? Right-wingers adore those “We the People” signs planted on their lawns. “We the People” being angry white folks who yearn for frontier justice, the days of the old west, or any other place and time where they weren’t forced to be part of civil society or look out for other folks. God forbid!
It’s all part of the cult of rugged individualism. Seems these flag-wavers have conveniently forgotten that communities built America. And that without the cooperation of honest, hard-working folks helping each other out, raising barns, building towns, caring for the less fortunate, the frontier would have been littered with the starved, lifeless bodies of countless rugged individualists. Without community and representative government there would be no United States of America. Which would probably suit this continent’s aboriginal population just fine.
But logic aside (which is where the Tea Party prefers it), Cliven Bundy’s racist ravings endeared him all the more to the right wing. Just a hard-workin’ rancher a-speakin’ his mind, right? Make that a deadbeat hypocrite who despises diversity and wraps himself in the flag of a country he doesn’t even believe in.
So Cliven Bundy would make a perfect presidential candidate for the reconstituted Republican Party. And who better to complete the ticket than a bigoted billionaire? Enter Donald Sterling.
A fellow hater of folks who don’t look or talk like he does, Don Sterling would bring an extra dimension to this right-wing hypocrisy fest. After all, who better to champion the Republican cause of “Family Values” than a brash billionaire bold enough to boast a mistress fifty years his junior in addition to a loving wife? Well, maybe not so loving. But picture this: a powerful leader with little sense of shame, a wife and a concubine? Why, it’s positively biblical!
A couple of old white guys ready and willing to espouse the thinly-veiled conservative gospel of hatred, anger, fear, and division? What’s not to like? Bring on Hilary, the Republicans are ready!
Funny: Germany is one of those European-Style Socialist countries that the Republicans are always warning us about.
Germany’s population is one quarter the US, yet they have a more productive economy, they export more goods, their citizens don’t work as hard, they get free college and health care, they have lower poverty rate and they have less crime.
1. EXPORT SALES:
2. BALANCE OF TRADE RANK.
3. BALANCE OF TRADE IN DOLLARS:
Germany: +$162.3-billion per year
US: -$561-billion per year (That’s Minus!)
4. AVERAGE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DURING RECESSION:
5. AVERAGE HOURS WORKED PER YEAR
Germany: 1,436 hours
US: 1,804 hours
6. COST OF EDUCATION, AVERAGE DEBT ON GRADUATION
Germany: $0 (College is free.)
7 CRIME RATE, MURDERS PER MILLION PEOPLE
8.People Living In Poverty
9. INCOME INEQUALITY (Smaller numbers are better.)
10. UNION MEMBERSHIP
11. SAVINGS RATE
Washington State Congresswoman Cathy Mcmorris Rodgers claimed that her constituent Bette faced a $700-a-month premium hike after her policy was canceled. But Paul Krugman points out:
Bette’s tale had policy wonks scratching their heads; it was hard to see, given what we know about premiums and how the health law works, how anyone could face that large a rate increase. Sure enough, when a local newspaper, The Spokesman-Review, contacted Bette Grenier, it discovered that the real story was very different from the image Ms. McMorris Rodgers conveyed. First of all, she was comparing her previous policy with one of the pricier alternatives her insurance company was offering — and she refused to look for cheaper alternatives on the Washington insurance exchange, declaring, “I wouldn’t go on that Obama website.”
Even more important, all Ms. Grenier and her husband had before was a minimalist insurance plan, with a $10,000 deductible, offering very little financial protection. So yes, the new law requires that they spend more, but they would get far better coverage in return.
TruthOut is reporting on a bill introduced to the Washington State House:
HB2272 was introduced by a bipartisan team of legislators, Rep. David Taylor, a Republican from Moxee, and Rep. Luis Moscoso, a former three-term secretary of the state Democratic Party from Mountlake Terrace.
If passed, the bill would make it the policy of the state “to refuse material support, participation, or assistance to any federal agency which claims the power, or with any federal law, rule, regulation, or order which purports to authorize, the collection of electronic data or metadata of any person pursuant to any action not based on a warrant.”
The other day I was listening to right wing AM talk radio — in the car, I confess — and I heard the talk show host criticizing our government’s massive spying operations.
Obama’s sellouts to the military-industrial complex, his prosecution of whistle-blowers, and pandering to Wall Street and insurance companies have given an opening to conservatives to attack the Democrats and have caused lots of people to think the Democrats are as bad as the Republicans. The Dems should be the populists.
That’s what the Dems get for not holding their own accountable.