Archive for August 16, 2010
Progressive Radio: This Week On The Fallon Forum
you want to help the poor by giving the rich a tax cut is like saying
you want to feed the sparrows by giving the horses an extra scoop of
oats.” – Senator Tom Harkin
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Often, partisan battles seem like so much posturing. Not so with the proposal by the White House and congressional leaders to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone except individuals earning over $200,000 and couples earning over $250,000. Tax rates would go back to the previous level only for the upper 2 percent of earners, remaining the same for the other 98 percent of us. That's estimated to save an average middle-class family $2,000 per year. Sounds good to us.
So, it's really hard to understand Republican opposition, both from a policy perspective and a political perspective. White House senior adviser David Axlerod summed it up succinctly yesterday in a McClatchy-Tribune News Service article: “If (Republicans) want to block a tax cut for 98 percent of the American people in order to preserve a $700 billion tax cut for the wealthiest 2 percent, I'd say 'Let's have that fight.'”
But wait! What about the trickle down theory? You know, the one Reagan talked about? The one the elder George Bush called “Voodoo Economics?” Well, Tom Harkin used to sum-up that theory with a vivid agrarian metaphor, along the lines of: “Saying you want to help the poor by giving the rich a tax cut is like saying you want to feed the sparrows by giving the horses an extra scoop of oats.”
Understand that back in the 1970s, the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans used to be 70 percent. Repealing the Bush tax cut would still leave the top rate at 39.6 percent for couples.
If Republicans defeat this legislation, someone earning more than $1 million would continue to see a tax break of potentially $100,000 a year! We just don't see why that's good politics or good policy, or how Republicans justify another $700 billion hit on the federal budget at a time of runaway debt, when the vast majority of us continue to cut back, tighten our belts, and struggle to get by on less.
Monday, we talk about this issue with Allyne Smith, an all-around smart guy who served as Ed's policy wizard during Ed's 2008 congressional campaign.
Tuesday, Steve Fugate with Iowa Renewable Energy Association (IRENEW) joins us to discuss climate change and the serious repercussions of not addressing it.
Wednesday, Sandra Sanchez of the American Friends Service Committee is our guest as we talk about immigration reform, and specifically how the issue is being discussed in the campaign for Governor.
Thursday, from 7:00 – 7:30, Ying Sa of Community CPA & Associates comes on the show to answer your tax and accounting questions. At 7:30, Ruth Ann Gaines is our guest, discussing her campaign for the state legislature.
Our Thursday give-away is either a free membership to the Iowa Food Coop (worth $50) or a $25 gift certificate toward purchasing Iowa Food Coop products.
We'd like to remind you that this show would not be possible without the support of our local business partners and non-profit sponsors, including Sierra Club, Des Moines Social Club, Iowa Farmers Union, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Iowa Renewable Energy Association (IRENEW).
Ed and Lynn Fallon
Labor Update: Iowa GOP Platform a Must-Read
by Tracy Kurowski
Labor Highlights of Iowa GOP Platform
Political party platforms are supposed to be the defining philosophy for the policies its politicians would enact should they get elected. In fact, the Iowa GOP platform requires its candidates to agree with at least 80% of the platform in order to be given any funding from the party. http://www.rcreader.com/commentary/political-party-platforms-dont-matter/
When released last month, the GOP platform garnered lots of attention for its focus on repealing the 13th Amendment (you know, the one that abolished slavery). Instead, Iowa Republicans would substitute it for an earlier version whose provision of stripping citizenship from Americans who accept foreign titles of nobility or honors would effectively remove President Obama’s citizenship for accepting the Nobel prize in 2008. Guardian Huffingtonpost
But the existence of this document should offer more than just an opportunity to giggle at “news of the weird” or “silly season” in terms of politics.
Don’t take mine or anyone else’s word for it. Read the platform for yourself. Try to untangle its nonsensical statements (for equal rights, not for equality?). Count how many times its policies are actually broken by the state's leading Republican elected officials and politicians. Decide - if its policies were enacted, would this be the state and country you’d live in?
- Repeal the minimum wage (Section 3.16).
- No more OSHA (3.25). Let businesses police their own workplace safety because Massey Mine and British Petroleum have showed us how effective they are.
- Enact stricter standards that would disqualify workers from unemployment benefits (3.01).
- Nix farm subsidies (3.03). For farm subsidy dependents like Senator Grassley or candidate Ross Paustian, that must be part of the 20% they’re permitted to disagree with.
- Only business and individuals can create jobs, not the government (3.02). Ignore the reality that, all told, state, local and federal government combined is the largest employer.
- No government competition with private enterprise. Goodbye post office (3.04). I guess also goodbye all government paid for research and development, since it competes with private enterprise. Say goodbye to such awful marketplace killing research like that which discovered the polio vaccine and most big pharm breakthroughs newledger.com
- No more of those annoying air standards laws (3.07). Individuals should have freedom to choose dirty, polluted, toxic air in their homes and establishments.
- While they want to get government out of the business of verifying employment “We oppose government verification guidelines that prevent employers from verifying prospective employees before hiring,” they still want government to prosecute businesses that employ “illegal aliens”– I wonder how this would work. Will employers voluntarily confess to their hiring illegal workers then? (3.09 and 3.10)
- Get rid of public pensions – move all to 401Ks (because they’re doing so well) (3.14)
- Strip police unions of bargaining rights (3.23).
- Let individuals with no training do their own wiring and electrical repairs (3.13).
- Don’t pay back-breaking construction jobs prevailing wage (3.15).
- Get rid of those United Nations taxes on the internet? Help me here, what is that about? (3.25)
And finally, repeal Davis Bacon (3.26) because there’s nothing more American than We the People underpaying our workers.
~Tracy Kurowski has been active in
the labor movement for ten years, first as a member of AFSCME 3506, when
she taught adult education classes at the City Colleges of Chicago. She
moved to the Quad Cities in 2007 where she worked as political
coordinator with the Quad City Federation of Labor, and as a caseworker
for Congressman Bruce Braley from 2007 – 2009.
Tracy Kurowski writes a labor update every Monday on Blog for