What: Have you ever wondered what Black Conservatives think about the political issues of today? Well wonder no more, “He Said, She Said” with Demetrius and Stacy. brings you an inner peek into the mind of the conservative, bold, full strength, and unfiltered.
Tonight: Special guests: Rep. Tom Price (@RepTomPrice), chairman of House GOP Policy Committee and Bethany Bowra (@BethanyBowra), Founder of NextGenerationVoters, and blogger at Smart Girl Politics and RedState.com
I’ll say it again, Democrats want to go off the fiscal cliff. They’ll get their tax increases – $600 billion dollars worth– their revenue increases, and cuts to defense, which has been a goal of theirs for the past ten years. Goodbye Bush tax cuts, Hello Obama tax hikes. With the fledgling coalition of ‘cliff jumpers’ led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), let’s see how the impact will affect us who aren’t on Capitol Hill.
According to Paul Katzeff at Investors Business Daily, he wrote on November 16 that ending the Bush tax cuts will also be detrimental to the middle class. Contrary to popular belief, the Bush tax cuts has beneficial mechanisms, like credits for lower income households and reductions to the marriage penalty, all of which help the middle class. While conservatives know this, it’s hard to break the deafening noise of the liberal media.
The typical American family will be hit with an extra $3,222 in taxes, the [Tax] Foundation says. That’s based on a two-child family with median income of $74,563. The tax increase will amount to 4.32% of that family’s income. The Foundation’s analysis compares that family’s tax bill in 2011 — the latest year that an AMT patch existed — to what it would be in 2013, assuming all Bush and Obama tax cuts expire, the AMT remains unfixed and the 2% payroll tax cut also expires. The AMT keeps hitting more middle-income taxpayers because the standard deduction and certain itemized deductions such as state and local taxes do not reduce its bite. Also, its exemption does not grow automatically with inflation.
Families in high-individual-income states such as New Jersey would be hit hard by currently slated AMT changes. The AMT exemption level would revert to what it was 12 years ago: $45,000 for married joint filers vs. $74,450 in 2011. And credits such as the child tax credit would no longer be allowed to offset AMT liability.
But, contrary to political conventional wisdom, families in lower-income states, like Arkansas, would also take an outsized hit. That’s because three tax cuts that everyone will lose — the cut in the child tax credit, end of the 10% bracket and reduced standard deduction for married filers — are fixed increases that do not hinge on income. As a percentage of income, those increases will be biggest for lower-income families.
New Jersey is set to take the largest blow, with a looming tax increase on the typical family totaling $6,933.
As more Republicans flee Grover Norquist, Founder of Americans for Tax Reform, and his anti-tax pledge – it’s a forgone conclusion that revenue increases will occur IF there is a deal. However, Republicans should ask themselves why swallow such a demand when it’s been over 1300 days since the Democratic Congress has passed a budget. It’s not logical or moral for Republicans to cave to the soulless, rotten liberal cadre of robbers this easily during the negotiations.
The only acceptable outcome, which I would still be unhappy with, is a deal that calls for at least eight dollars in spending cuts for every new dollar in revenues. The ten-to-one deal is even more “palatable.” I hate tax increases – but the outcome of the election will make it hard for conservatives to hold their ground. Yes, the Tea Party Caucus was re-elected, with the exception of a couple of members, and Obama was re-elected by the 47% who don’t pay taxes, so there isn’t a mandate – but the clock is ticking.
Concerning revenue, Republicans should push to raise the rates on those making $500,000 or more. I’m not a fan of Warren Buffett at all – but his plan to increase the rates on the incomes of those people is reasonable for now.
First, he only calls for raising taxes on Americans earning more than $500,000 a year, not the $250,000 that President Obama is focused on. Families who earn $250,000 and live in major cities justifiably point out that this salary does not leave them feeling “rich.” So, raising the definition of rich would go a long way toward making these tax hikes more palatable.
Next, he calls for a minimum 30% tax on Americans making $1 million to $10 million or more, regardless of how this income is generated. One of the most egregious elements of the tax code is that some of America’s highest earners pay much lower tax rates than average earners, because they generate their income from capital gains or dividends or have figured out how to shelter it by taking advantage of various loopholes. This tax would ensure that most income is treated the same way.
Americans living in urban areas, with rent and other utilities, see their $250,000 income dwindle rapidly, and don’t feel rich. They’re right. As George Will aptly noted, a Chicago school superintendent with twenty years experience, who is married to a police captain with twenty years experience is almost rich within the tax increase parameters of the Obama administration.
As I’ve said, I hate raising taxes, but we cannot be the party that is blamed for going off the cliff. Democrats have planted their flag on the side of willingly going off. That’s perverse, and wrong. Let’s be the party that said NO! We’re the part of no. We don’t want to cut defense by the hundreds of billions. We don’t want $600 billion in tax increases for the American taxpayer. We have an opportunity to blunt the trauma of falling off the cliff.
However, I also understand the political ramifications if we do have a deal – and history hasn’t been to kind to us. John Fund wrote today in National Review that:
many old Washington hands recall that Republicans agreed on tax-increase-for-spending-cuts deals in 1982 under Ronald Reagan and in 1990 under George H. W. Bush. These deals politically damaged the party in the short run, and they also proved to be bad policy. The 1982 budget deal, which promised seven dollars in spending cuts for every three dollars in tax increases, was never honored. Congress agreed to less than 27 cents in spending cuts for every dollar of tax increases, and President Reagan came to bitterly regret his decision to approve the deal. Ed Meese, Reagan’s senior counselor at the time and later his attorney general, recalls that the 1982 deal ‘was the worst domestic-policy mistake of the Reagan administration.’
So, this time Republicans must insist the cuts be enacted immediately. Furthermore, I like the idea Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has concerning transparency if a deal is reached. A week-long debate on any aspect of the bill, including amendments, edits, and revisions. All will be televised on C-SPAN for the public to see – if they don’t fall asleep first.
Yet, we cannot forget back when “Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner admitted [last February] in congressional testimony that the administration lacks a long-term plan to deal with the nation’s soaring $16 trillion debt. “We’re not coming before you today to say we have a definitive solution to that long-term problem,” he told House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan. ‘What we do know is, we don’t like yours.” I’ll try to temper my cynicism, but being optimistic about government is difficult.
I hope for a deal, but, at the same time, will start cashing out my investments in the stock market in preparation for the day of reckoning.
Another week has passed and still no budget out of the Senate. With the House out of session this week ,the Senate has still managed to put some legislation on the table.
Never mind, nothing happened this week, so we’ll just cap what happened last week.
Activity in the Senate
In Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Democrat Senate, despite being in session… well, nothing happened. No budget, no trivial bills… pretty much nothing. What kind of organization is Sen. Reid running? How much do we pay them?
Activity in the House
On October 26th two bills were introduced:
H.R.6580 sponsored by Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) seeks to give those veterans with VA benefits access to the same vision and dental benefits that our other federal employees enjoy
H.R.6579 sponsored by Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL) seeks to prevent any person or business from claiming a tax deduction for any payments given to them due to the April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident
On October 23rd three more bills were introduced into the House:
H.R.3973 sponsored by Rep. Donald Young (R-AK) seeks to “facilitate the development of energy on Indian lands by reducing Federal regulations that impede tribal development of Indian lands, and for other purposes”
H.R.6578 – Here’s a major concern for most Americans – I mean, this has to be just under the fiscal cliff in importance: To exempt decorative hearth products from energy efficiency regulation under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. Sponsored by Rep. C. Rodgers (R-WA)
H.R.6494 – seeks to award the Congressional Gold Medal (not the Medal of Honor) to Stewart Lee Udall.
That’s what Congress has achieved over the last two weeks. Impressed?
Well, we lost. Mitt Romney didn’t win comfortably. BUT, Republicans maintained control of the House of Representatives. In one of the most ignominious highlights of the night, the GOP lost two senate seats – increasing the Democratic majority by two. The current makeup is 55 Democrats to 45 Republicans. In a milestone for the ladies, 20% of the U.S. Senate will be represented by women. However, the night ended a bit like 2004 in reverse.
While the notions of GOP turnout seemed assured, it was rarely monitored, and turnout for the youth (and voter turnout in general) was unexpectedly high. To no one’s surprise, young voters broke for the president (60-36), but represented a larger share of the electorate than four years ago. Romney’s lead amongst independents wasn’t enough to overcome the Latino vote, which he lost to Obama miserably 72%-23%. Lastly, Romney wasn’t able to cut into the gender gap quite as effectively as he wanted to, with the president winning women, overall, by eleven points. However, it’s with unmarried women that Romney had a fatal disadvantage with, as they broke for Obama 67% to 31%.
On states, betting on Pennsylvania proved to another catastrophic play. We haven’t won the Keystone State in almost a quarter century, and it may be time to part company completely. Concerning Wisconsin, the state may have swung right on recent elections, but perhaps the ‘fairness voters’ – voters who may not agree with Walker’s policies, but are appalled that unions would want to revoke an election result – turned out to vote for the president this time. In Ohio and Virginia, Romney’s failure to execute the war on coal narrative sooner, and formulating a response to the Bain ads, contributed to his defeat.
Without a doubt, the Bain ads – the Obama campaign’s first official salvo in their ‘Kill Romney’ strategy – released right after Mitt unofficially clinched the Republican nomination resonated with Buckeye residents, and shame on the Governor’s communications team, who were on the defensive for most of the election cycle. In short, like with Goldwater in ’64, the Obama campaign was able to define Romney – before Romney could define himself. It’s another costly misfire.
However, I truly feel that Mitt Romney ran a good campaign, and did the best he could’ve with what he had regarding resources. It’s hard to be successful when you don’t have a Karl Rove, James Carville, or David Plouffe on your side. It also hurt that he couldn’t run on health care, since Romneycare served as the blue print for one of the most egregious affronts to the constitution since the Alien and Sedition Acts of the Adams administration.
Yet, if you looked at the field from the beginning, It was either going to be Mitt Romney or Rick Perry fighting for the nomination. Newt and Cain treated this serious event in American politics with the maturity of eight year olds at a lemonade stand – with the lemonade being books. For many Americans, Michele Bachmann failed the threshold question of any presidential candidate, which is do I trust this person with nuclear weapons? Disgraced former Pennsylvanian Senator Rick Santorum failed the conservative test, in my opinion, by voting for Medicare Part D, which added $ 7 trillion to the unfunded liability of the program. That’s 20% of the entire unfunded liability, which we now have to deal with before the fiscal cliff. He voted for Sonia Sotomayor for circuit judge. Santo voted against National Right to Work, Food Stamp reform, a flat tax, and Medicaid reform. He voted for internet taxes, the unionization of FedEx (twice), and No Child Left Behind. He took that one for the team.
Rick Perry, my choice for president, flamed out in one of the most epic derailments we’ve probably seen in a long time. Jon Huntsman was too moderate. Ron Paul was well, Ron Paul. So, we were left with Mitt Romney. Sometimes the pickings of the field aren’t too stellar, and we have to deal with that.
Again, I don’t blame Romney for the loss. Yes, Obama’s record of economic pain, which he has inflicted without mercy on the American people, is long, but his political team, along with the media, were able to spin it just enough to trivialize the fallout. As Ralph Reed, Founder and former Executive Director for the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said at CPAC 2012 last February – we’re about to face “the meanest, toughest, most vicious political team we’ve ever faced.” He was right, and we paid dearly for it.
Given Obama’s record, and Republicans’ inability to defeat him, it begs the question if the GOP should have any business being in American politics. Yes, they still do, but renovations need to be made. We need to do better with women – cough nix the rape talk cough cough – hispanics, and younger voters. The hispanic vote ruined the California GOP back in 1994 when Prop. 187 established a citizenship screening process and barred illegals from using state services was construed as ‘anti-immigrant.’ It was really protecting the territorial integrity of the United States, a core function of a nation in the international system, but that’s a different debate. Regardless, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and California Republicans have been in the bunker ever since.
We need to find ways to protect our sovereign soil, but in a way that doesn’t come off as nativist. Hispanics are hard-workers, religious, and pro-traditional marriage. Or, at least, that’s what was the conventional wisdom at the time. Heather MacDonald posted on National Review yesterday that:
a March 2011 poll by Moore Information found that Republican economic policies were a stronger turn-off for Hispanic voters in California than Republican positions on illegal immigration. Twenty-nine percent of Hispanic voters were suspicious of the Republican party on class-warfare grounds — “it favors only the rich”; “Republicans are selfish and out for themselves”; “Republicans don’t represent the average person”– compared with 7 percent who objected to Republican immigration stances.
I spoke last year with John Echeveste, founder of the oldest Latino marketing firm in southern California, about Hispanic politics. “What Republicans mean by ‘family values’ and what Hispanics mean are two completely different things,” he said. “We are a very compassionate people, we care about other people and understand that government has a role to play in helping people.”
So, despite Mitt’s shaky conservative credentials, without a doubt, he’s the most hard-lined presidential candidate on immigration we’ve had in the past ten years – and that didn’t hurt him with these voters. Bain, on the other hand, probably didn’t help.
Nevertheless, I’m not saying we should be for amnesty. We shouldn’t be. Amnesty is unfair and unethical – as is the president’s Dream Act light, which requires illegals to bribe the government $465 from doing it’s job enforcing federal law. However, what 2012 should show all conservatives is that our coalition, which to Paul Krugman’s chagrin truly represents the ‘Real America,’ is static. It’s more rural, blue collar, and white. That’s not enough to win elections. We need to improve outreach with minorities and venture back into the cities, or places where the people are, to make these contests competitive again. George W. Bush won 44% of the Latino vote in 2004, with increased majorities in the House and Senate. It’s not impossible. But it’ll be very difficult trying to chip away at the government’s “role in helping people,” which in Democrat speak for getting these people so dependent on us as possible, so they’re a lock when Election Day arrives.
Concerning the ladies, we need to exert a little more discretion when we talk about rape. While the Democratic National Convention could’ve been Abortion Fest 2012,the senate races in this cycle should have been more appropriately called Rape Fest. It’s odd that we even have to mention this, and some blame the Tea Party for these mishaps. I don’t. The Tea Party is the heart and soul of the Republican Party. As George Will once noted, they’re the best thing to happen in American politics since the Goldwater insurgency. Republicans would not be where they are now without the Tea Party, but that does not mean we should accept every one of their primary victors as serious candidates.
As Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel wrote in The Daily Caller yesterday:
The tea party believes the GOP establishment is ideologically corrupt. They’re right. But replacing the current leadership with obviously unqualified buffoons is no remedy. Republicans have lost at least five winnable Senate races in the last two cycles because they fielded candidates whose only real qualification was being anti-establishment. Many will argue the GOP can only win going forward with more liberal candidates. That’s not true. But the genuine conservatives they find will have to come with political skills, policy smarts and impressive resumes in order to get elected.
The sad truth is that even if the Republican Party did all this — sent its current leaders home and stopped nominating losers — it still wouldn’t be enough. The country is changing too fast. Most people have the sense that America is different demographically from what it was 20 years ago. But unless they’ve been reading the latest census data, they have no real idea. The changes are that profound. They’re also permanent and likely to accelerate. In order to remain competitive outside Utah, the GOP will have to win new voters, and soon.
That’s the Republican reformation plan, Stage B. They may get there. First they’ll have to tackle the basics, like finding fresh leadership and candidates who aren’t embarrassing.
That will take some serious vetting. Furthermore, we’re Republicans. We’re pro-life, and the American people know that about our movement. In elections centered on the economy, you can easily pivot away from such issues. Sadly, some of our fellow party members couldn’t help themselves, they shot their mouths off, and got trounced. There is much intra-party work to do – and it starts now.
Meanwhile, a divided America exists and the government we elected is representative of that partisanship. Michael Barone wrote also wrote in National Review that Americans on the right, and the others of the left, are no longer becoming culturally cohesive.
Ronald Reagan, speaking the language of the old, universal popular culture, could appeal to both Americas. His successors, not so much. Barack Obama, after an auspicious start, has failed to do so.
As a result, there are going to be many Americans profoundly unhappy with the result of this election, whichever way it goes. Those on the losing side will be especially angry with those whose candidate won.
Americans have faced this before. This has been a culturally diverse land from its colonial beginnings. The mid-20th-century cultural cohesiveness was the exception, not the rule.
We used to get along by leaving each other alone. The Founders established a limited government, neutral on religion, allowing states, localities, and voluntary associations to do much of society’s work. Even that didn’t always work: We had a Civil War.
An enlarged federal government didn’t divide mid-20th-century Americans, except on civil-rights issues. Otherwise, there was general agreement about the values government should foster.
Now the two Americas disagree, sharply. Government decisions enthuse one and enrage the other. The election may be over, but the two Americas are still not on speaking terms.
It’s sort of like this exchange between President Bartlet and Governor Ritchie.
Right now, Obama is in a good position to increases taxes, which will happen when Obamacare’s fully implemented in 2014, nominate SCOTUS appointments, which threaten to curtail our constitutional rights, and to continue this destructive surge in government spending that only shackles people to the will of the state through dependency. It’s up to House Republicans to obstruct Democratic plans, and put forward a deluge of alternatives of their own. Granted, we won’t be able to filibuster Supreme Court appointments, but this president’s agenda, and that of the Democrats, is inherently dangerous to the socioeconomic fabric of the country and we must fight them all the way. Concerning the fiscal cliff, maybe compromise can be reached. Yet, we should also remember that compromise is how we got Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, and the first round of federal stimulus under the Bush administration. Policies that attributed to the near collapse of the conservative movement in this country.
I’m pessimistic that a deal will be reached. This president’s ego would bust the marble in the Capitol dome – and he exuded poor presidential leadership as described in Bob Woodward’s new book The Price of Politics. Yet, Mr. Will again reminds us that throughout the course of American history there is not a single thing that the American people wanted intensely and protractedly that they did not eventually get from the federal government.
For whatever reason, Washington DC has a bizarre culture of failing to get the entire story out. There’s a belief in popular culture that the federal government attempts to conceal as much of the truth as possible and only puts out what the public wants to hear.
This needs to be avoided with Benghazi. The whole truth has to come out. There is too much conflicting information. The Pentagon appears to be blaming the State Department. The State Department blames the CIA and the White House. The CIA appears to blame the Defense Department, the White House and State Department. The White House has been noticeably silent. A special investigation team needs to look into which information is true and which isn’t.
Capitol Hill doesn’t always appear interested in doing this. It seems more interested in keeping the status quo and avoiding accountability as much as possible.
This probably started with the Warren Commission looking into the assassination of President Kennedy, but the best example is the Watergate investigation. That was shut down after President Ford pardoned President Nixon to get the case over with as quickly as possible. Ford was hoping to keep Nixon’s name from being dragged any further through the mud. It may have been noble reasoning, but was ultimately irresponsible.
It also set a dangerous precedent the presidency has been willing to go along with time and time again. In the Iran Contra scandal, President George H.W. Bush pardoned Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger before he could go up to trial. In the end, only Oliver North and John Poindexter were tried and convicted. Both convictions were thrown out on appeal and independent counsel Lawrence Walsh declined to continue the investigation.
During the Whitewater scandal, both Bill and Hillary Clinton were able to avoid charges. President Clinton was later impeached for lying under oath, but that related to the Monica Lewinsky affair. A part of the failure of the Whitewater investigation could be because ex-Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker, Webster Hubbell and Susan McDougal refused to cooperate with Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr. Clinton later pardoned McDougal. Another part is the decision by the Clintons to fight the Whitewater investigation tooth and nail, instead of cooperating with it. Starr’s successor, Robert Ray, admitted he was pressured to come up with a deal with President Clinton so he wouldn’t be indicted further.
These examples make it seem like there’s no accountability in the White House. Instead, it shows presidents are willing to use their political positions to either protect themselves, their friends or their previous bosses from accepting responsibility.
Congress is no better.
During the investigation into Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson, Congress criticized the Justice Department for their “aggressive raid” on Jefferson’s office. Wisconsin Congressman James Sensenbrenner wanted to hold hearings on whether the FBI had trampled on the Constitution for their actions. Jefferson was later convicted of bribery and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
After Peter Schweizer’s fantastic 2011 book on insider trading in Washington DC called “Throw Them All Out,” Congress was criticized for not passing strong enough insider trading prevention laws. Schweizer himself criticized the SEC for not indicting any members of Congress during the hearing on the law. Congresswoman Maxine Waters was able to avoid ethics charges for helping OneUnited Bank get money from TARP. These are examples of members of Congress deciding not to police themselves and hold each other to the highest standard possible.
These types of situations do nothing to end the notion that Washington politicians are more interested in protecting their own, instead of working for the people who elected them.
The good news is there are people in Congress who want the truth to get out. California Congressman Darrell Issa, South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy, Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul have all been at the forefront of the Benghazi situation demanding answers. This is a good thing. Their calls for an investigation even have House Speaker John Boehner demanding answers. There need to be more people like Issa, Gowdy, Chaffetz and Paul willing to do this.
Congress has to investigate the situation involving Benghazi, regardless of who wins the presidency. Ignoring it would deny the truth not only to the families of the four killed but also the American people, who have been lied to.
James O’Keefe releases incredible bombshell video today exposing a sitting congressman’s son and campaign field director advising an undercover citizen journalist how to commit voter fraud via forged utility bills.
Warning: Foul language
This is the third Project Veritas video to expose how easy it is to commit voter fraud and also the campaign staffers, including President Obama’s campaign and DNC, encouraging voter fraud.
By now we’ve all heard the popular #FireDebbie meme, and conservatives and Libertarians alike long for the day when Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) no longer sits before us as a spokesperson for the Obama administration…but what do you know about the woman who just might make that happen?
Karen Harrington, businesswoman with a 30-year record of private industry success, is overcoming the DNC machine with her own innovative messaging and is now within striking distance of the Democratic darling. She is getting tremendous support nationwide (including through social media), is raking in the campaign cash, and is very likely to unseat Wasserman Schultz in this year’s election.
The most recent polling data, taken in early October, shows Harrington trailing by just 4.5% (MOE is 5%). This upward trend is happening throughout the GOP, with Connie Mack IV (also running to unseat Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson in FL), Romney-Ryan, and even Todd Akin (R-MO) beginning to see a shift in the tides. Harrington is faring well among Independents, as well (35%), which will work to her advantage since the combination of Republicans and Independents in the district outnumbers Democrats. The most promising piece of data to be extracted from this poll is that 16.1% of voters are still undecided.
Harrington’s first foray into politics was to run against Wasserman Shultz in 2010, but she was defeated by a double digit margin. A few short months ago, with Wasserman Schultz owning a seemingly insurmountable lead, it appeared she might be headed for a similar upset this year. But after a tremendous amount of hard work – and some major public missteps by her opponent – the campaign has begun to see the fruits of its labor.
Much like Mitt Romney, Karen, who identifies as a “conservative by nature,” cites her business acumen as her primary qualification for Congress. She believes that her years in the private sector have made her “fiscally responsible,” one who understands that “you have to rely on yourself to be successful.” Her ideology is as far removed from the “You didn’t build that” mantra as one could imagine.
She says there are three primary issues on which she clearly delineates herself from her opponent:
“1) [Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz] definitely supports bigger government. She supported the failed stimulus plan and has stood by that position. She has tried to convince us that it has saved us from falling off that cliff, which we’re all barely hanging on to.
2) [Wasserman Schultz] believes government-run healthcare will help all Americans have good healthcare. I’m opposed to that for all kinds of reasons: it takes away our choice, our access to good healthcare, and it is not affordable. As a business owner, it adds an enormous tax burden onto all of us. Ultimately, I believe [the Democrats’] goal is to destroy private insurance as a whole and force everyone into a single-payer system.
3) [Wasserman Schultz] believes we should punish success and raise taxes on higher income levels; I want to keep taxes at a flat level for all Americans and get this economy going. She believes jobs will be created through more government interference, and I believe it’s in the hands of the private sector.”
Beyond these issues, Harrington supports the standard GOP platform. She also supports school choice (a state-run vouchers program) in Florida, arguing that “if the public school system continues to fail our children, parents have a right to make another choice.” She advocates for a major overhaul of the 60,000-page tax code. Though she seems to favor the Flat Tax conceptually, she believes that real reform is a must for our economy, so she doesn’t rule out other options, even the FairTax. She explains, “Here we are in October and we still don’t know what our taxes will look like in January, and they expect us to grow our economy, to invest, to expand? There’s so much uncertainty. Nothing should be off the table.”
On the significance of being the “anti-candidate,” Karen acknowledges a great deal of the support she’s experienced comes from citizens who have been willing to speak with her primarily because of whom she’s running against.
“It was absolutely pivotal when we started over seventeen months ago,” she explained, “to build this campaign and make it a national race. Twitter and Facebook were tremendously important in engaging voters, even outside of the district.” While this certainly might have been what caught the attention of Americans to begin with, Candidate Karen Harrington has come into her own. She is a confident, personable, nonsensical woman who articulates her vision for America clearly.
She has been endorsed many sitting Congressmen and women, including former Presidential candidate, Michele Bachmann, and by several key players late in the game, including former Governor Jeb Bush and popular Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
She doubled Wasserman Schultz’s fundraising in the last FEC reporting period ($712K to $369K) and is hoping this trend will continue in the final weeks; the goal is to pull in those last undecided voters, as well as motivate existing Republican supporters to come out and help her unseat Wasserman Schultz.
Harrington summarized her thoughts on why she’s running for office this way: “I’m just very excited for my country. I think it’s been a long four years for all of us as Americans, so much uncertainty, and it would be an honor to serve the will of the people of my district.”
There are many ways supporters can help make this happen: Follow her on Twitter @Karen4Congress or using the hashtag #FireDebbie; check out the Obama-Wasserman Schultz debt clock at firedebbie.com; and Like her Facebook page. Learn more about her at karenforcongress.com, and of course, political messaging costs money, so she invites donations of any size to help her bring home the win in South Florida’s 23rd Congressional disctrict.
On October 11, The Federalist Society held a panel discussion at The National Press Club on Lilly Ledbetter (who lost her pay discrimination case in the Supreme Court because she failed to comply with a statutory deadline) and the media’s oversimplification of gender issues. It featured Jennifer Braceras, a columnist and former Commissioner for the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights, Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment at the National Women’s Law Center, Marcia Greenberger, co-President of the National Women’s Law Center, and Sabrina Schaeffer, who serves as the Executive Director for the Independent Women’s Forum.
The discussion, moderated by Curt Levey, President of the Committee for Justice, was more policy based and how it influences our political discourse. Levey asked all four panelists how they felt about Lilly Ledbetter and the Paycheck Fairness Act. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act expanded the statute of limitations concerning lawsuits related to discriminatory pay. The Paycheck Fairness Act mandated that employers must detail why they have a discriminatory pay scale.
According to Fatima Graves, a liberal on the panel, it’s a question of fairness. If employers were able to hide documentation of discriminatory pay, then no new remedies could be enacted to combat this issue. She feels that this is what resonated with the American people. After all, Ledbetter was passed on a bipartisan basis in Congress and is supported across party lines publicly. Sabrina Schaeffer had a different assessment.
While she acknowledges that the Obama administration and liberals feel this is a victory for women, it’s merely a political strategy aimed at attracting voters for coalitions. However, given that 51% of the U.S. population is female, it’s wise, especially for Republicans, not to make any comments or construct policies that are viewed as “anti-women.” Sadly, some folks, like Todd Akin, don’t seem to comprehend this concept.
Regardless, Schaeffer was adamant that Ledbetter’s expansion of the statute of limitation isn’t a preventative measure to stop pay discrimination. She also reiterated other pieces of legislation, such as the Equal Pay Act, which has a three year statute of limitations for pay and two year statute for sexual discrimination, that deal more directly with discriminatory pay.
However, she noted how Ledbetter will make costs to employ women, especially to working mothers, making this another episode in the annals of how government regulation makes it more expensive for American enterprise to operate. Additionally, Schaeffer is skeptical of the law’s impact since only forty lawsuits have been filed under Ledbetter proper.
Jennifer Braceras was more forceful in her analysis, and declared that there is no “war on women.” It’s a “silly” and “absurd” narrative since women are outperforming men in many areas of the economy. She claimed that Ledbetter is a case about a technicality and when the clock on the statute of limitations starts running. As for the socioeconomic health of women, she reiterated the notion that the “world is their oyster.”
The “war on women,” according to Ms. Braceras, is a political catchphrase meant to scare young and single women. Lastly, alluding to the Sandra Fluke apologists within American liberalism, she noted that no one is trying to restrict access to birth control. It’s a question about who should pay for it.
Marcia Greenberger, who also represented the liberal view, prevaricated in her analysis and said that there is ” a war on policies critically important to women.” She recollected Ledbetter’s story on how she would have never have know about the pay disparity if it weren’t for an anonymous note. It was forbidden to discuss salaries and compensation at Goodyear. Now, under The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the statute of limitations begins 180 days after the last discriminatory paycheck.
Greenberger mentions the Family Medical Leave Act, which she says is popular, but limited in its application. It’s only good for companies with 50 or more employees. She implored that a discussion was desperately needed to analyze the policies and how they effect the day to day lives of these women in question.
Ms. Braceras retorted by saying that it’s how the media frames the issue. And in this case, it’s a deliberate messaging strategy that is pushed by the liberal media and disseminated by their allies within the feminist movement and other left-wing affiliates.
She also noted liberals’ penchant to ignore facts. She recalled the past Democratic National Convention where Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick praised President Obama for his work in accomplishing equal pay for equal work. However, such a law has been in place since 1963. Obama didn’t make that happen.
Concerning the pay gap, which Ms. Schaeffer countered by saying that when you factor in single, urban women – they make 8% more than their male counterparts. When you include all college educated women, the pay gap shrinks from 77 cents to a man’s dollar earned to 97 cents for women. Yet, Ms. Graves pointed out that any one of these statistics could be fudged to convey any particular point of view. In the end, you can “slice and dice” the data all you want – women still experience a pay disparity when compared to their male counterparts.
As the discussion moved from pay disparity to contraception and health care, Mr. Levey asked do we want judges making the distinctions and becoming the ultimate deciders in these areas? Ms.Graves stated that it’s not from thin air that judges make determinations. It’s not a judge determining what are appropriate practices for business, but reasons why a business has a pay disparity. At this point, Ms. Greenberger interjected and noted the disparity within women in the workplace regarding their health care coverage from their employers.
Greenberger noted that married men and single women could get health coverage, with employer paid contraception, but such a policy is denied to married working women since it’s assumed their husbands would provide for them. She noted the religious connotations in this decision process that centers on the male being the head of the household.
While Greenberger noted the inherent unfairness, Braceras mentioned the HHS mandate, which Greenberger supported, by saying it forced religious institutions to pay for something that went against their doctrinal beliefs. It’s shameless. If a particular policy bothers you at the workplace, you are within your right to leave that employer.
Schaeffer returned to false narrative of the war on women to show how this wouldn’t have been an issue if the Republican Party didn’t win the women’s vote in 2010. After all, women aren’t a homogeneous voting bloc. The largest bloc of voters in the female demographic are married women, which McCain won by 4 points in 2008. However, Obama won singles by a margin of 72% to 27% – which prompted the political left to pour resources into political messaging to solidify that constituency.
Braceras reiterated what pollsters have been saying and that is women will decide the upcoming presidential election. But noted that the war on women messaging strategy would still have been executed by liberals.
Greenberger noted that polls depend on how the questions are asked and noted that a majority of the public feel that contraception should be included in all health care plans. She then recollected Sandra Fluke’s denial to speak at the House Oversight Committee hearing of contraception. The reason she was denied is because she’s a law student, not an expert. Second, she’s a left-wing hack. For Sandra Fluke, this isn’t her first time to the dance. Although, Greenberger felt otherwise.
She later testified at the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee about the hardships women face obtaining birth control, including it’s prohibitive costs, which Braceras noted could be easily ascertained at Walmart for $10 a week.
Graves then stated that while women’s issues are important – they often become general economic issues.
However, one question that I aim at the liberal wing of this panel is how do they reconcile their beliefs with the politicians on their side of this issue who betray the principles they advocate daily in the public sphere.
Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute noted that:
Ms. Ledbetter knew about the pay disparity she later sued over for 5 years before filing an EEOC complaint over it, contrary to her later false claim, parroted by the Obama Administration and some in the media, that she only discovered the pay disparity right before suing. Thus, it was her own delay, not unreasonableness by the Supreme Court, that resulted in her losing her pay discrimination case. The Supreme Court’s decision did not say that the statutory deadline must be applied rigidly in all cases, but in fact, left open the possibility that the deadline could be extended in appropriate circumstances, in footnote 10 of its ruling. It also noted that Ledbetter could have pressed her claim instead under another law, the Equal Pay Act, which has a longer deadline for suing.
Ledbetter learned of the pay disparity by 1992, as excerpts from her deposition, filed with the Supreme Court as part of the Joint Appendix, illustrate. In response to the question: “So you knew in 1992 that you were being paid less than your peers?” she answered simply “yes, sir.” (See Joint Appendix at pg. 233; page 123 of Ledbetter’s deposition). But she only filed a legal complaint over it in July 1998, shortly before her retirement later that year.
Furthermore, relating back to Bracera’s point about the war on women, Bader stated that during last week’s Vice Presidential debate “Joel Gerhke of the Washington Examiner…noted that the ACLU was asking supporters to get Joe Biden to raise the war on women theme — but it didn’t focus on pay discrimination, but rather abortion/contraception, although it shares the Obama Administration’s position on both sets of issues.”
Furthermore, concerning the female members of the Democratic Senate Caucus, they pay their female staffers significantly less. Andrew Stiles at The Washington Free Beacon wrote back in May that:
Of the five senators who participated in Wednesday’s press conference—Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.), Patty Murray (D., Wash.), Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.)—three pay their female staff members significantly less than male staffers.
Murray, who has repeatedly accused Republicans of waging a “war a women,” is one of the worst offenders. Female members of Murray’s staff made about $21,000 less per year than male staffers in 2011, a difference of 33.8 percent.
That is well above the 23 percent gap that Democrats claim exists between male and female workers nationwide. The figure is based on a 2010 U.S. Census Bureau report, and is technically accurate. However, as CNN’s Lisa Sylvester has reported, when factors such as area of employment, hours of work, and time in the workplace are taken into account, the gap shrinks to about 5 percent.
A significant “gender gap” exists in Feinstein’s office, where women also made about $21,000 less than men in 2011, but the percentage difference—41 percent—was even higher than Murray’s.
Boxer’s female staffers made about $5,000 less, a difference of 7.3 percent.
Senate Republicans let down the women of America – and their families – by refusing to stand up for the basic principle of equal pay for equal work. But just as we didn’t quit when Republicans tried to defeat the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, we are not going to stop fighting until the Paycheck Fairness Act becomes the law of the land.
Yes, Sen. Boxer leading the charge for equal pay, while paying her female staffers $5,000 less than their male counterparts.
other notable Senators whose ‘gender pay gap’ was larger than 23 percent [include]:
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.)—47.6 percent
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D., N.M.)—40 percent
Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.)—34.2 percent
Sen. Ben Cardin (D., Md.)—31.5 percent
Sen. Tom Carper (D., Del.)—30.4 percent
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.)–29.7 percent
Sen. Kent Conrad (D., N.D.)–29.2 percent
Sen. Bill Nelson (D., Fla.)—26.5 percent
Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore)—26.4 percent
Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa)—23.2 percent
Sen. Sanders, who is an avowed socialist who caucuses with the Democrats, has the worst gender gap by far. He employed more men (14) than women (10), and his chief of staff is male. Like many of his fellow partisans, he has previously accused Republicans of ‘trying to roll back the clock on women’s rights.’
Last night’s Vice Presidential debate did put more pressure on Vice President Biden, who was tasked with delivering the same old progressive talking points about taxes, foreign policy, abortion, and health care – albeit with a little more spiritedness. However, the pervasive grinning, smiling, and interrupting came off as egregiously arrogant and condescending. Biden conveyed a “I’m gonna kill that kid” demeanor with his impatience and exuded the same entitled disposition that plagued President Obama in his first debate with Gov. Romney. You don’t get bonus points for being the incumbent – or at least you shouldn’t.
…Biden’s aggressive performance is a sure winner for him (and the president) within the Democratic base. But, it felt to us like he went a little bit overboard and, at times, bordered on bullying Ryan. Biden’s derisive smiles and laughs while Ryan tried to answer questions weren’t great optics for the vice president and his repeated interruptions won’t make those who think politics should be more civil happy. Biden’s agenda was clear during the debate: he was set on erasing the passive performance of Obama last week. That he did, but in so doing it felt like he went a bit overboard.
However, while Cillizza admitted that the Vice President acted like a ‘tool,’ that commentary was tempered since he also rated Biden’s last fifteen minutes in the debate as a win. Guy Benson cited The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan in his post on Townhall this morning reiterating Biden’s obstreperous demeanor.
Another way to say it is the old man tried to patronize the kid and the kid stood his ground. The old man pushed, and the kid pushed back. Last week Mr. Obama was weirdly passive. Last night Mr. Biden was weirdly aggressive, if that is the right word for someone who grimaces, laughs derisively, interrupts, hectors, rolls his eyes, browbeats and attempts to bully. He meant to dominate, to seem strong and no-nonsense. Sometimes he did—he had his moments. But he was also disrespectful and full of bluster. “Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy!” he snapped at one point. It was an echo of Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle, in 1988. But Mr. Quayle, who had compared himself to Kennedy, had invited the insult. Mr. Ryan had not. It came from nowhere.Did Mr. Biden look good? No, he looked mean and second-rate. He meant to undercut Mr. Ryan, but he undercut himself. His grimaces and laughter were reminiscent of Al Gore’s sighs in 2000—theatrical, off-putting and in the end self-indicting. Mr. Ryan was generally earnest, fluid, somewhat wonky, confident. He occasionally teetered on the edge of glibness and sometimes fell off.
Paul Ryan, like Romney, had command of the facts that demonstrated how the Obama/Biden ticket had policies that are anathema to American business. He showed that the Obama administration have no plans to deal with the looming fiscal crisis we face. For all the left-wing agitation over the Ryan budget, it received more votes in Congress than Obama’s alternative and is empirical evidence that Republicans have a plan. Obama’s secret weapon to pay down our debt and deficit still centers on raising taxes on the job creating and investing class. As Congressman Ryan said, if these individuals were taxed at 100%, it would only fund government for 98 days. We would still have a $300 billion dollar deficit. As many in the conservative movement have noted, increasing taxes on an incrementally shrinking base of taxable recipients, while not reforming our welfare state, is the flawed logic of leaping a chasm in two bounds.
On taxes, Biden hurled ‘malarkey of his own. As Human Events’ David Harsanyi wrote on October 12, Biden “continually swatted away claims that small business would be hit by President Obama’s tax hikes, even though an Internal Revenue Service recently found that Bush-era tax rates would mean around 1 million companies would be hit with new taxes.There aren’t enough rich people and small businesses to tax to pay for all their spending,’ Mr. Ryan said, attacking the central promise of a second term – tax hikes. ‘Watch out middle class, the tax bill is coming to you.”
However, Biden pivoted by invoking the middle class and defended the 47% of Americans ,who don’t pay any federal income taxes, who have been labeled as freeloaders. Everyone knew this jab was coming, but when Biden said “it shouldn’t be surprising for a guy [Mitt Romney] who says 47% of the American people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives,” he forgets that there is some truth to Romney’s remarks. American liberalism is centered on destroying responsibility and filling that void with the government. You saw this when the Obama administration called unemployment benefits and food stamps a form of economic stimulus, instead of viewing it as a temporary solution to keep economically hard hit Americans from becoming destitute.
Concerning health care reform, Harsanyi wrote that “Biden also claimed falsely asserted that the Obama Administration had not raised taxes on the middle class, when in fact there are over a dozen middle class hike in Obamacare alone. Relying on a single left-wing study, Biden continued to make the Obama campaign’s case that Romney’s tax reform plan was mathematically impossible, despite the fact that other studies find that it’s feasible. And Ryan laid out the job numbers in proper perspective – as stagnant.”
On the 15% of Americans living in poverty and the 23 million struggling to find employment, the vice president asserts that the Obama administration will focus on “leveling the playing field.” Again, showing that American liberalism has radically shifted away from emphasizing equality of opportunity and towards equality of outcome. In doing so, we must sacrifice more freedom to achieve that goal. This is an aspect progressives omit when they, for example, push for the expansion of social programs, which they feel enhances the public good. By the way, the Dependency Index has increased 23% under President Obama – which is a whopping 67 million Americans who are sustained by at least one federal program.
On foreign policy, the vice president was again mistaken. Regarding Syria, the vice president feels that Assad will fall. However, with Iran flying over Iraqi airspace with impunity with supplies to keep Assad in power – that’s a presumptuous statement. Assad’s army is still strong and there is a chance he can survive this insurrection, which we should stay out of at all costs. Although, if the Obama administration wanted to ensure such an outcome, they shouldn’t have pulled out of Iraq. Iraq doesn’t have the capability to protect its skies since we provided for their air defense. Yet, we shouldn’t be surprised by Biden’s foreign policy inaccuracies. He, after all, advocated to partition Iraq into three semi-autonomous countries along racial lines that would be “held together by a central government.” It was an Iraqi version of the Articles of Confederation and we know how that turned out.
On Benghazi, some are saying Biden has damaged the administration irrevocably. Instead of saying it was a terrorist attack, Biden decided to throw the State Department and the intelligence community under the bus. Oh – and did I mention that he lied about the need for security. He said last night “We weren’t told they wanted more security. We did not know they wanted more security there.”
In fact, two security officials who worked for the State Department in Libya at the time testified Thursday that they repeatedly requested more security and two State Department officials admitted they had denied those requests.
“All of us at post were in sync that we wanted these resources,” the top regional security officer in Libya over the summer, Eric Nordstrom, testified. “In those conversations, I was specifically told [by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb] ‘You cannot request an SST extension.’ I determined I was told that because there would be too much political cost. We went ahead and requested it anyway.”
Nordstrom was so critical of the State Department’s reluctance to respond to his calls for more security that he said, “For me, the Taliban is on the inside of the building.”
Concerning the intelligence community, Bryan Preston at PJ Media’s Tatler posted early this morning that Biden’s insinuation that:
…the Benghazi assault resulted from a protest because that’s what the intelligence community told them. It’s possible that the presidentially-appointed head of the CIA, Gen David Petraeus, blamed the assault on a video. Petraeus was quoted on Sept 13 doing just that in a briefing to Congress. But by that point it was already evident that the assault was a pre-planned terrorist attack and the administration had begun its pushback against that view. The question is, did the larger intelligence community agree with Petraeus?
By calling out both State (on the security) and intelligence (on the video) during the debate, Biden did two things. He expanded the cover-up to now include himself, in front of the entire nation.
Concerning Iran, nixing a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu in New York – or with any other world leader for that matter – speaks volumes on how seriously this administration thinks about America’s image abroad. It’s a second tier concern. It’s not like Obama skipped out to be on The View – oh wait. I’ll just leave it at that.
I think were Paul Ryan made his strongest points dealt with the social issues. Concerning contraception and the HHS mandate, the vice president was fact checked today by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in this statement.
Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:
“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.” [Vice President Joe Biden]
This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.
HHS has proposed an additional “accommodation” for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as “non-exempt.” That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation “to pay for contraception” and “to be a vehicle to get contraception.” They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.
USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.
The bishops are right. Furthermore, some colleges, like Franciscan University have dropped their coverage rather than submit to the unconstitutional assault on religious freedom led by the Obama administration. However, it may be a cost saving move in the long run as Ben Domenech, Transom editor and research fellow for the Heartland Institute, wrote back in May – “the mandate is currently slated to be an annual tax penalty of $2,000 for every full-time employee (or equivalent) beyond the first 30 workers. For some organizations, this will be a high price to pay. But they may find it worth it to retain their right to exercise their religious beliefs. And given the rising premium costs under Obama’s law–according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey, premiums for a family policy exceeded $15,000 a year in 2011, increasing an average of $1,300 from 2010–this might actually make fiscal sense, too.”
On abortion, the debate took a more ordered and somber tone. Ryan told a poignant story concerning his daughter Liza and where he and his wife, Janna, first saw her heartbeat when she was seven weeks old. He reiterated his belief that life begins at conception and how a Romney/Ryan administration would oppose abortion, except when in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk. Ryan also detailed the Obama administration’s war on religious liberty.
The vice president, on the other hand, walked a waffled line on abortion. He accepted the church’s notion that life begins at conception, but stated that he does not wish to impose that view on others in this country. He made the silly claim about the HHS mandate, as mentioned above, and basically said he was a pro-choice, pro-lifer on the subject.
In total, last night the vice president, as a man who ran for the highest political office twice before, came off as cantankerous and grossly unpresidential. His schoolyard bullying persona was immensely off putting and immature. Did he miss the early bird special at the Old Country Buffet or a nap? His incessant need to interrupt Ryan, since he probably knows that Obama record is atrocious, may have delighted the left since it made up for Obama’s flaccid debate performance, but the impatience showed that he too didn’t want to be there. Although, once you get Joe’s mouth running, one must begin praying that nothing ridiculous slips out. In the end, grandpa and his facial expressions throughout the night read ‘how dare this kid challenge me.’ It’s an election, Joe.
As for Ryan, he had some faults minor faults as well. While I felt his composure and knowledge of the facts were positives that added to the narrative that, not only is the Republican ticket more serious about the economy, they have a better understanding of it. However, Ryan should have pushed against Joe much more aggressively due to Biden being afflicted with diarrhea of the mouth.
In all, it was a slight victory for Ryan. I only say that because all Joe Biden had to do was not come off as soporific, lazy, or disengaged like Obama. Surely, the threshold for Biden was at shoe level. For Ryan, all he had to do was not look out of his league on the national stage. If some sort of event were to make a Mitt Romney unable to execute executive function, I would feel comfortable having the poised and presidential Paul Ryan to fill that role, instead of grumpy uncle Joe. When George Will slammed some of the more opportunistic Republican candidates at the start of the 2012 race, he stated that their involvement in this election would produce a nominee”much diminished by involvement in a process cluttered with careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing candidates to whom the sensible American majority would never entrust a lemonade stand, much less nuclear weapons.”
I think “careless, delusional, egomaniacal, and spotlight-chasing” are rather appropriate terms to characterize Joe Biden, who shouldn’t be anywhere near the nuclear football.
We all know about the Obama administration’s ‘War on Coal.’ It’s an egregious regulatory onslaught against American enterprise. However, it’s a story that’s often buried by some in the media. Last month, I wrote about how The Washington Post pushed another event in Obama’s war on coal to page 16 of their September 19 edition. It was when “Alpha Natural Resources [planned to] lay off 160 mineworkers and abandon eight mines in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia this week. Alpha is ‘the largest coal producer by revenue and third-largest in production.’ Talk about President Obama being on the side of workers.” Furthermore, Investors Business Daily had quoted “Steven Miller, CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, [who] warn[ed] of job losses totaling 1.4 million over the next eight years and a 23% jump in electricity rates in states dependent on coal-fired plants.”
The Obama administration has imposed regulations on the coal industry ‘that have huge economic costs, but questionable and minimal environmental benefits,’ says Nicolas Loris, an energy-policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.’The administration has made the construction of new coal-powered utility plants exceedingly difficult, if not almost impossible, and it has shut down mines or made it much more difficult to keep them open.’
‘The Obama administration has done everything it possibly can to destroy the American coal industry,’ says Mike Carey, chairman of the Ohio Coal Association and vice president of government affairs at the Murray Energy Corporation. ‘Under Obama’s leadership, we have gone from producing 1.2 billion tons to somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 million tons. It’s disingenuous at best for Obama to say that he supports the coal industry when we have lost one-third of our production.’
Although, there was that frivolous “clean coal” ad in 2008 where he supposedly supported burning coal in the U.S., but also said to the San Francisco Chronicle that he would advocate new regulations that would make running new coal plants immensely expensive and bring them to the point of bankruptcy. Saying one thing and doing another – which will be one of the enduring characteristics of this administration. I would say incompetence, but that’s axiomatic.
Trinko wrote that Republicans have eyed using coal to undercut Obama this year. For example, she noted how felon Keith Judd won 42% of the vote in West Virginia’s Democratic primary. It’s not like coal isn’t part of that state’s life’s blood or anything. (sarcasm) These economically damaging policies, coupled with an anemic economic recovery, surely influenced West Virginia Democrats last spring, however, WaPo’s Chris Cillizza had another reason: racism.
Robert Stacy McCain at The American Spectator wrote on October 8 that Romney is ‘counting on coal country.’ At a campaign rally for Romney/Ryan in Abingdon, VA, Romney said, ”the head of the EPA has… said that the regulations on burning coal are now so stringent it’s virtually impossible to build a new coal-fired [electrical power] plant…well, I don’t believe in putting our coal under the ground forever. I believe we should take advantage of it, put American workers back to work and use a resource that’s abundant and cheap and can be burned in a clean way.” A message that surely resonated with McCain noticing all of the pro-coal paraphernalia in the crowd that day.
McCain noted that:
Cap-and-trade legislation passed the House of Representatives during Nancy Pelosi’s speakership before stalling in the Senate, but the failure to pass that law hasn’t prevented Obama from pursuing his anti-coal agenda by other means, namely the regulatory authority of the EPA. Under the leadership of administrator Lisa Jackson, new rules have forced the closure of several existing coal-fired power plants while making it practically impossible to build new coal plants. This radical environmentalist policy enraged Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers, who said that the regulations represent a “decision by the EPA that we’re never going to have another coal-fired facility in the United States that’s constructed.” For a Democratic president so closely allied with the labor movement, Obama’s abandonment of the mine workers is stunning, considering that the head of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, began his career with the UMW.
However, United Mine Workers don’t have to be overly aggressive in their opposition to Obama’s coal policy for the time being since the job cuts to Alpha – which McCain also mentions – doesn’t affect union membership.
McCain reported that “a strong turnout for Romney in southwest Virginia’s coal country could help put the Old Dominion’s 13 Electoral College votes out of reach for Obama, and GOP margins in the coal-mining regions of southeast Ohio may prove pivotal in the all-out fight for the Buckeye State’s 18 Electoral College votes. But the issue has potential political reach beyond the coal fields, as nearly half of the electrical power supply in the United States (and 90 percent in Ohio) comes from coal-fired plants, making Obama’s war on coal a “pocketbook” issue for the many millions of voters who would pay higher electric bills because of the EPA’s squeeze.”
Although, if you live in Texas, not only are you feeling higher electric bills, but the danger of rolling blackouts since the EPA ordered the state to cut down on their carbon dioxide emissions by 47% from 2010 levels. These regulations put a strain on “the Lone Star State[‘s] power grid… [and] its Public Utility Commission asked the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the grid, about the impact of the new EPA rules. ‘We expect to see 1,200 to 1,400 megawatts of generation capacity unavailable that was available this year,’ responded ERCOT representative Warren Lasher.” This comes after the state struggled to meet energy demands under the brutal heat of last summer.
Yet, are these regulations necessary? Trinko quoted “Jason Hayes, communications director for the American Coal Council…[saying] ‘the industry over the past few decades has invested over $100 billion in cleaning up emissions, and it’s already been effective… ‘all of the important noxious pollutants have decreased markedly over the last 30 to 40 years, at the same time that we’ve been using more and more coal, and the expectation is that we’re going to continue investing.” Furthermore, Hayes noted that “in the next ten years, the industry anticipates spending ‘another $100 billion cleaning up and building newer, more efficient power plants, and we’re doing all of this on top of dealing with all the other things.” The environmental benefits that we’re hearing about are questionable, Hayes adds. ‘The job losses are real. They’re happening right now.”
Just like how Obama put the kibosh on the Keystone pipeline, which would have increased consumer spending and created thousands of jobs, he decides to engage in a needless war against the American worker to placate the insufferable environmental wing of his party.
Lately, the phrase “Chose your neighbors wisely.” has become increasingly important. For years, the significance as to what the government was doing, or how the government was growing, was a distant thought in my mind because my life itself was so busy and all consuming. Like many people I guess I had the mindset that our government was meant to protect us, and deal with all the cumbersome issues pertaining to our country. I mean, honestly, how many of us sit there and read the bills and amendments and so on? How many of us even truly understand the Constitution and the Republic we live in dispite the fact we take it for granite daily?
I realize now, that most of us unknowingly sat idle, unaware, or preoccupied with our daily lives while the movement toward big government, economic downfall, and total government control grew out of proportion. Its members blind-sighted us as they began to dismantle our Constitution from right underneath our feet. Most recently, with the issue of gun control I have heard many people say, “I don’t like guns and I don’t own one anyway, so who cares?” Clearly, the lack of knowledge pertaining to our Constitution would lead to that mindset. It make sense to me why the liberal government controlled media, here in the U.S., chooses to portray people like Ron Paul as to far to the right, when in fact, he is one of a limited few who have a clear understanding of what is actually happening today in this United States of America. Now realize this is not an endorsement for any one person or party, but rather an a wake-up call which will hopefully spark something in all American’s so they do some research, question, and find answers, as opposed to being “told” what they want to hear from either side. It is truly a time in America to take the blinders off, and see for yourself what is going on with this government and our government in general for decades. Go out on a limb and see the movie 2016: Obama’s America. Learn about the author, read the Constitution, find out what all the talk is truly about, get involved in some way, most importantly teach your children.
I think for most American’s everything is black and white. Rarely to they visit the shades of gray that make the mind ponder and question, for if they did, it would lead them to research, learn about the issues, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as set forth by our forefathers. Rather, living in the black and white allows people to be led, misinformed, and it keeps them from visiting the elusive areas where the grays would eventually take them. That is precisely how we got where we are today, and why so many people are preoccupied with a sanctity they don’t even realize is disappearing before their very eyes.
The idea behind, “chose your neighbor wisely” was in an article I read recently. While reading and doing further research I suddenly felt the sense of urgency behind that statement, and I knew precisely what it meant. As our country proceeds in a direction of lost ideals and shattered fundamental beliefs, I have come to realized my own importance not just as a writer or journalist, but as Oath Keeper sworn to protect the country and our Constitution and all it stands for. We are all Watchmen in our right, but how many of you are seeing and truly understanding what the truth is, and are able to visulize the direction this Republic is moving? How many even realize we, the United States of America, is not a Democracy it is a REPUBLIC ? How many people believe the fears that exist are just Republican’s using scare tactics? How many Americans’ truly understand and see that the freedom they love, cherish, and take for granite is gradually disappearing while government grows and its power becomes all inclusive? The intrusiveness of our government, in our daily lives, represents the complete opposite of the Constitution of the United States of American as well as the freedoms you think you have.
Don’t you feel as though you owe it it your kids and your grand-kids to seek out and find the facts on your own? Isn’t it time to stop dismissing everything as some right wing radical ranting and raving, for lack of anything better to do? Ask yourself if you sincerely believe government should control what you think, what you eat, learn, and speak? Should they really be taking away rights set forth in the Constitution, but more importantly why are so actively pursuing these things in the first place? Keep in mind these people running our country were put there by us, they are the same as us, so why are they getting richer, more controlling, and invading the lives of American’s? Why is so important to them to create division in this country? Why? What would motivate them to do this? Why is government in education, banking, auto industry, or business anyway? What is the motivation of this administration to destroy our economy, but more importantly what happens when they succeed? Just trying to find answers to these questions, independent from the media, right, left, whom-ever will be an eye-opening experience — I guarantee it.
At a Labor Day weekend barbecue in Minneapolis, Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) hosted some big talent to speak to a crowd of about 50-75 that consisted mostly of union members, public employees and campaign staffers and volunteers. The keynote speaker was self-described communist revolutionary, former Green Jobs Czar for President Obama and “9/11 truther” Anthony “Van” Jones.
Jones was well-accepted by the crowd and spent time before the scheduled program to answer questions and take photos. Though Jones was clearly being measured in his talking points, he was mostly polite and friendly, that is, when he wasn’t calling republicans “assholes,” which he did more than a couple of times.
Various speakers preceded Jones including several candidates for state offices and Senator Amy Klobuchar who is being challenged by Republican Kurt Bills. Klobuchar seemed to blush when praising Jones in her prepared remarks. She told the story of a conference in Chicago at which the two spoke and women lined up just to give him their phone numbers. Almost smitten, she was obviously proud to know and work with him for several years.
Ellison shared in Klobuchar’s fawning and began his introduction of Jones by saying that when he looks for progressive policy advice, he turns to Jones’ books, Green Collar Economy which extolls the idea that wealth should be redistributed via green initiatives, and Rebuild the Dream which focuses 4 chapters on the Occupy movement. Ellison said he turns to Jones’ work in magazines and other publications because in Ellison’s opinion, Jones is the “leading intellectual force in this country when it comes to progressive politics.”
Ellison is the Co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus which lists among its many socialist goals a commitment to the UN Millennium prjoect and redistributing wealth via legislation, to nudge companies and individuals into a green economy.
Jones, who has in the past said, “white polluters and the white environmentalists are essentially steering poison in to the people of color communities because they have a racial justice frame,” spent about 20 minutes delivering typical democrat talking points, claimed republicans want dirty air and water, and highlighted his speech with accusing republicans of allowing people to drown.
Comparing republicans to life guards without a job and the president as the currently employed life guard, Jones said this election is like a tsunami on the beach.
“We were watchin’ the flooding; … and I’m still praying for our friends in the Gulf… It would be like you had a big tsunami coming through, and people were drowning. And you sit back and say, ‘the more bodies on the beach, the more likely they gonna fire the lifeguard. And I’m getting the life guard’s job.
… Rather than coming together during the emergency, and helping my country… Imma going to try to hurt. Imma cut the lifeline. Imma stand on the oxygen tube… Because the more bodies on the beach, the more likely they are to fire the life guard.”
On the heels of disgraced and recently fired Yahoo News chief David Chalian’s comments about republicans being “happy to have a party while black people drown,” one has to wonder if Jones prepared his remarks to keep that narrative alive.
Following Jones’ address, the crowd was treated to some live music. In honor of Labor Day, the crowd was handed laminated lyrics sheets and joined in singing labor songs including “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody,” a song about racial divide and Jim Crow.
Minnesota is no stranger to communists and radical leftists. Even the governor has ties to the likes of Van Jones. Do the people of Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District know the company their representative is keeping?
When Mitt Romney chose Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate nine days ago, he forced Democrats to engage in serious intellectual debate in the coming weeks and months, rather than demagoguing which has been the main practice of the Obama/Biden campaign as of yet.
Paul Ryan holds his Plan, The Path to American Prosperity
Well, that’s what one would have thought, because, well, conventional wisdom says so. However, in the latter, Democrats and the left have tried to demonize Paul Ryan in every way absolutely imaginable. The day after the announcement of Paul Ryan to be the running-mate of Mitt Romney, the attacks started. From Ryan’s budget, to a ‘war on women’, to Ryan ‘pushing grandma off of the cliff’, let’s debunk five myths about Paul Ryan.
1. The Ryan Plan Destroys Medicare.
The Liberal New York Congressman, Rep. Steve Israel has recently claimed that the Romney/Ryan ticket is a “nightmare for seniors who’ve earned their Medicare benefits. For the last 18 months, we’ve said Republicans will have to defend the indefensible—their vote to end Medicare.” The Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been running around spewing lies claiming that the Ryan Plan would end Medicare as we know it. This wouldn’t be the first time that Schultz has lied, or probably the last. Look at what she said regarding presidential tax returns and Mitt Romney.
The Wyden-Ryan Medicare Plan – yes that is Democratic Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon – says that the plan will not affect anyone over 55. Anyone over 55 wouldn’t see a change in their plans or their benefits. Anyone under 55 wouldn’t either, unless they voluntarily chose to take part in the Plan. Washington would still be paying the premiums for the healthcare choices you made, and if you believed in the basic principles of free-market capitalism, this would improve the services while driving down the cost.
Furthermore, the liberal leaning Urban Institute recently found that the average citizen will pay $149,000 in Medicare taxes, while only taking out $351,000 in medical services during retirement. In reality, the party that doesn’t want to reform Medicare, and who doesn’t want to ‘change Medicare as we know it’, is single-handedly destroying the system from the inside out.
2. Paul Ryan is a Constitutional Obstructionist
According to a recent Gallup Poll, the 112th Congress’ approval rating has hit an all-time low. Of course, Obama, his administration, and his campaign blame the GOP for the gridlock in Congress, which may we not forget; Paul Ryan is a part of. It’s not necessarily fair, considering the House has passed massive amount of bills that focus on economic recovery that have been killed by Harry Reid in the Senate. May we also not forget that, a) Obama’s ‘serious’ budget was rejected by everyone in both the House and the Senate, and b) Ryan’s Budget passed the House by a vote of 228-191.
Contrary to what the President said yesterday during his surprise visit to the press room of the White House, he is stepping across the preverbal line ‘in the sand’. “So, if you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities. It’s time to put politics aside and pass it right away,” the President said last week in Iowa. But in fact, the House has already passed a measure that helps farmers that have been struck financially by the drought.
3. The Ryan Budget is Extreme
President Obama’s Campaign Manager, Jim Messina, someone who probably actually hasn’t sat down and read the Ryan Plan, is calling the plan ‘radical’.
New York Times Columnist, Paul Krugman, is spewing the common lies about the Ryan Plan. He said the plan, “would kill people, no question,” while the Plan would “cut discretionary spending to levels not seen since Calvin Coolidge.” In defense of Coolidge, life wasn’t that bad under his leadership – low taxation, high economic growth and relative peace. But, to anyone’s surprise, this isn’t true. The Ryan Plan only brings back non-military discretionary spending to the 2008 levels. The plan also cuts the federal bureaucracy and it’s subsidies by 10% and it reforms the compensation plans of federal employees.
But when we talk about discretionary spending as a percentage of the entire budget, you don’t have to be an economic genius to know that Krugman does have a point, but a very misleading one at that. Because mandatory spending has grown at about six times that of discretionary spending over the past 20 years, it’s really easy to argue that President Obama will keep discretionary spending at levels not seen since Calvin Coolidge – anyone could.
However, there are a lot of Conservatives that aren’t exactly in love with the Ryan Budget. For one, it balances the budget over ten years versus the Connie-Mac Penny Plan which balances the budget over eight years. Don’t we know that anything a president implements that expands past his time in office, usually never completely comes to fruition? Meaning, I seriously doubt that the Ryan Budget would make it all ten years.
Moreover, the Ryan Plan only reduces spending from current levels of 24% down to 19.8% of the GDP. Several leading economists have pointed out that this would only bring down federal expenditures to post-WWII levels. Furthermore, in the Ryan Budget federal spending increases over the next ten years, and revenue each year after. The budget would expand from $3.6 trillion in 2013 to $4.9 trillion in 2022.
4. Ryan is at ‘War with Women’
Didn’t we all see this one coming? It’s a classic ‘hail mary’ out of the playbook of the left against anyone on the right. Democratic Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy said that Ryan “believes we should ban all birth control as well. He voted for that.” The President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Nancy Keenan, said that Ryan “supported the ‘Let Women Die Bill,’ which would allow hospitals to refuse to provide a woman emergency, lifesaving abortion care, even if she could die without it.”
Gosh, Ryan really does hate woman, right? Wrong. Ryan has never voted or said any of these things that he is being accused of. However, he did vote for the “Protect Life Act,” which would have, if it passed, rewritten provisions in Obamacare that allowed for federal subsidies to be provided for abortions. Ironic, because liberals and the left already claim that the government doesn’t fund abortions. “Protect Life Act,” also had a provision that exempted Catholic hospitals from having to pay for contraception or abortions. He also supported a bill that would have dulled the HHS Mandate that Catholic hospitals provide free condoms.
5. Ryan’s Plan Favors the Rich
Another classic play from the playbook of those on the left – class warfare. A day on the campaign trail just wouldn’t be right with a little class warfare. Many on the left have claimed that Romney “chose a leader of the House Republicans who shares his commitment” of a “new budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy…”
Regardless of what you will hear from Chris Matthews, Al Sharpton or an Obama SuperPAC add, there are absolutely zero special tax cuts in the Ryan Budget ‘for the wealthy’. Common sense tells you that when Washington enacts across-the-board tax reform, the rich (who already pay the vast majority of the taxes) are likely to benefit. Ryan’s Plan however, only supports keeping the current tax rates that we’ve had for the last decade – one’s that a lot on the left have also supported.
What the Ryan plan does do is simplify our tax system. We currently have a six-bracket tax system. Under the Ryan Plan, this would be simplified to two tax brackets – the lower bracket being a 10% bracket, and the upper bracket being a 25% bracket. This plan fixes the Alternative Minimum Tax, and cuts corporate tax rates to reflect those of other competitive nations to the U.S. Ryan and Romney both also support closing loopholes that wealthy Americans disproportionally use.
August 11, 2012: GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney made the announcement that Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan is his Vice Presidential running mate for the 2012 Election.
Paul Davis Ryan, Jr. was born January 29, 1970, the youngest of four children of Betty and Paul Murray Ryan. His father (now deceased) was a lawyer, and his mother is an outdoorsy lady who kept her family busy on hiking and skiing trips.
Congressman Ryan is a fifth-generation Wisconsin and native of Janesville, where he was born and raised. He is the great-grandson of Patrick W. Ryan, who founded the Ryan Incorporated Central Construction Business in 1884.
Family Congressman Paul Ryan and his wife Janna (Little) Ryan married in December of 2000, and they now have three children- a daughter and two sons.
Education Joseph A. Craig High School
1992- Graduated Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a B.A. in economics and political science
A member of St. John Vianney’s Parish.
The Ryan Family Heart Congressman Ryan was just sixteen-years-old when he found his father in bed, deceased at the age of 55, from a heart attack. Congressman Ryan’s grandfather also died of a heart attack at the age of 57, and his great-grandfather also died of a heart attack at the age of 59.
Organizations Delta Tau Delta- Social Fraternity (was a member in college)
Ducks Unlimited- Member
Janesville Bowmen, Incorporated- Member
Rock County Junior Achievement- Board Member
Political Affiliations Republican
Member of the House Republican Young Guns
Private Sector Career Oscar Mayer- In college, he was a Wienermobile driver
Marketing Consultant for an earth moving company
Economic Policy Analyst
Ryan Incorporated- Former President
Political Career 1999 to Present- Congressman from the 1st Congressional District of Wisconsin- Currently serving his 7th term
Jack Kemp Vice Presidential Campaign- Former Speechwriter
Office of the Director of National Drug Control Policy- Former Speechwriter
Senator Bob Kasten, United States Senate- Former Staff
In 1999, new to the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan sought advise from other members of the House on how to be an effective Congressman. It was none other than the very liberal Democrat Barney Frank of Massachusetts that gave him the advise that has defined him.
Be a specialist, not a generalist. Pick two or three issues and really focus on them rather than being a yard wide.
His Motto “Inquire, inquire, inquire, read, read, read.”
Committees Chairman of the House Budget Committee
House Ways and Means Committee- Senior Member
Subcommittee on Health- Ways and Means Committee- Member
Non-Legislative Committees Community Solutions and Initiatives Coalition- Member
Congressional Sportsmens Caucus- Co-Chair
The Ryan Plan “The Path to Prosperity- Restoring America’s Promise”
The Plan- a 2012 budget resolution would:
End “uncontrolled government spending” and “crushing levels of taxes
“to tackle our looming fiscal crisis, driven by the explosion of entitlement spending. ‘The Path to Prosperity’ helps spur job creation today, stops spending money the government doesn’t have, and lifts the crushing burden of debt. This plan puts the budget on the path to balance and the economy on the path to prosperity.”
Political Accomplishments An expert on the budget, taxes, and health care.
He “knows more about the federal budget than anyone else on Capitol Hill and talks about it more fluently”
Political Positions Pro-Life voting record
Pro-Family voting record
Pro-Business voting record
Pro-Free Trade voting record Pro-Military voting record Pro-gun rights voting record Pro-Israel- committed to unbreakable U.S.-Israel bond.
Supports the requiring all laws to cite Constitutional authorization
Supports the elimination of the federal estate tax
Supports The United States military action in Afghanistan
Supports privatizing elements of Social Security
Supports domestic oil drilling
Supports drilling in ANWR
Supports Sealed Border
Supports Immigration Reform, DOES NOT support amnesty
Believes marriage should only be between one man and one woman
Tough On Crime- Believes in Consequences for actions (Voting record reflect anti-rehabilitation crime votes)
“Hard On Drugs” Stance
Anti-public health voting record
Anti-union voting record
OPPOSES progressive taxation
DOES NOT support using government funds in an effort to stimulate and improve the economy
DOES NOT support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns
DOES NOT support a publicly-administered health insurance option
DOES NOT support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants
DOES NOT support National Education Association, earning him an “anti-public education” from the NEA
** To see Congressman Paul Ryan’s voting record on the issues, visit Project Vote Smart and On The Issues. Direct links to Congressman Ryan’s voting record are found at the bottom of this page. **
Throwing Grandma Off the Cliff The infamous “Paul Ryan Throwing Grandma Off the Cliff” commercial, sponsored by the liberal group “The Agenda Project”.
“The majority of Americans believe the LIE that Democrats have put out. The fact of the matter is that NO ONE 55 or older will have ANY changes and the rest of us will get a choice from what ever plan WE want – EXACTLY like congress has. This is to be paid for out of block grants INDEXED for inflation so people are guaranteed their benefits.
The Democrats? They have offered NOTHING, and by doing so they are GUARANTEEING that NO ONE will have those benefits before long.”
ARA (Alliance for Retired Americans- who’s mission statement is “to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that they may enjoy lives of dignity, personal and family fulfillment and security”) indicates an “anti-senior” voting record. If you read Mr. Ryan’s plan, you will see he has a plan to save Medicare, proving he is NOT “anti-senior”. **
Obamacare Drudge Report ran this video, with the headline: “Paul Ryan took apart Obama and Obamacare — in 6 minutes!”
The July 2012 jobs report was released on August 3rd 2012, and major news outlets have been reporting that the US economy added 163,000 jobs. While the debate rages on about the accuracy of the real number of jobs created or lost, the economic impact on young Americans has been lost in the fervor.
Paul Conway -former US Labor Department chief of staff & current president of Generation Opportunity
The jobs report revealed some startling and terrifying numbers about how the 18-29 demographic is struggling in the American economy. To get a firm grasp on exactly how dismal the economy is for young Americans – and what can be done to reverse this trend – Conservative Daily News spoke with Paul Conway, the former US Labor Department chief of staff and current president of Generation Opportunity.
Generation Opportunity – or simply, “GO” – is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that is “committed to addressing and working toward solutions on immediate challenges, such as the lack of job opportunities, as well as the broader underlying issues, such as debt and federal spending, that impact our economic future and sustainability.”
Q – First of all, I wan to thank you for talking with us today, Mr. Conway. Why do you believe that the media is not including the figures from the household survey in their reporting?
A – “Well, you hope the ideal would be accurate reporting, but let me put my hat on as a former Labor Department chief of staff. Here’s the thing about the household survey, I don’t think it is inaccurate. I do think that some of the media want whatever the best picture is.”
Q -I have reviewed the full jobs report, and it is rather comprehensive. Are there other pertinent aspects about the report that the media, and other outlets, are ignoring, or simply not reporting?
A -“I think sometimes the media will look at that monthly number, and that is the one thing that they will fixate on. What they miss is the story behind the number and the people involved. And on the larger terrain, what are the other significant factors that policymakers usually pay attention to before coming to conclusions and making decisions?
“There are some things out there that you can not ignore. One of them is the household survey. Also, another one is, out of the number of jobs created last month, how many of those were not full-time jobs?
“Yet another thing that can not be ignored is, of the jobs being created, how many of those jobs are going to older workers versus younger workers – which the majority of them were last month [June], and again this month [July].
“Also, the rate of new job creation. In order to significantly take down high unemployment numbers, it takes between 250,000 and 400,000 jobs per month; depending on who you talk to, and there’s a great economic research team at the University of Maryland.”
Paul Conway at CPAC
Q – Do you think the media and policymakers fixate on that positive monthly number in order to further their own agenda, or to keep the public calm and prevent panic?
A – “That’s a very interesting question. I think there are some that will look at the number and see if it fits a particular narrative, and I don’t think that is a good thing. Whether there is a sincere effort by some to do that, I would say absolutely. People will look at that [jobs report] and say ‘wow, look at that, let’s celebrate 160,ooo jobs!’.
“I saw one report where the uptick in job creaton number basically turns in to 35 new jobs per major city across the U.S. last month. So if you created 35 jobs in Manhattan, is that a success? No, it’s not. What you need is a sustained period of job creation at the multi-hundred thousand level, just to start moving the unemployment number down.”
Q - Since it will take a significant number of jobs to begin a recovery, of sorts, what sector of the workforce in the July jobs report is the most affected, or which demographic will require the most jobs?
A - “If you look at the unemployment number for young adults – we had 8.3% come out [overall] – let’s take a look at the hardest hit demographic. No one really wants to talk about it, and those are young Americans. That [unemployment] number is 12.7%.”
What people don’t like to talk about is that there are an additional 1.7 million young adults who are no longer counted by the federal government. If you take those 1.7 million young adults, and add it to the 12.7% that were counted, and we have 16.7% unemployment among young Americans. What do you think the public would do if they knew that among adults aged 18-29, almost 17% of them were unemployed?
“This is a national issue, but people only want to talk about 8.3 percent, and somehow that’s normal.”
Q – Being in the 18-29 demographic myself, do you believe that having more than one-sixth of us out of work will be a hindrance to young Americans becoming entrepreneurs?
A – “Absolutely. When you look at some of the best innovation that has come out of our country, they actually come from the folks who are young and took a risk. This question is great because of how you are looking at it, and that is long-term.
“With almost 20% of young adults sitting on the sidelines of the American economy, all of that creativity, drive, and initiative; what does it do for American competitiveness in the face of China and India in 2 years, 5 years, and 10 years from now? It’s a much different story when you look at it in the context of the bigger picture of the world stage and the U.S.”
Q -As president of Generation Opportunity, your organization focuses on helping my age bracket. With Generation Opportunity’s “Call The White House Initiative”, do you think that making our voices heard in the White House would be more effective than calling the policy-makers who can draft and pass legislation that benefits established businesses and would-be entrepreneurs? Or would calling both be best?
A - “What you are looking at is actually a series of tactics and initiatives that we are rolling out, and you are in the midst of watching it come out in full force. What you will be seeing more of in the next several weeks is an aggressive campaign for young adults to make their voice heard in Congress, as well. You can sign up on our website and it will allow you to find out who your legislators are, what the current issues and bills are, can also contact their representative and senator, as well as various committee chairs.
“So you are actually watching the emergence of several different tactics and initiatives, and ‘Call The White House’ is just one of those. This is just the opening round.”
Q -I ran for US Congress in 2010 – starting my campaign at age 25. Does Generation Opportunity have any plans on supporting actions to get young adults into public office in order to get that creativity, energy, and personal initiative – which you mentioned previously – into policy-making positions?
A - “When we put together our plan, we looked at what our long-term objective was, and what we wanted to do. The long term objective for us is to serve as an education platform for young Americans, and to provide a tremendous about of resources for them.
“As far as candidate endorsement, we decided that we would not do that because it is better for us to serve as a vehicle for long-term education. As an organization, we feel that in the long term is is better to identify with principle rather than a personality.”
Q -What principles does Generation Opportunity identify with, or espouse, as an organization?
A - “We organized on three principles. Those three principles are, number one: Greater economic opportunity for all Americans. The second is, advancement and defense – and I emphasize defense – of individual freedom: especially in the face of the federal government whose policy tries to dictate what the size and scale of liberty is. The third is the size and scope of government
“Those principles have given us access to a very broad spectrum of people who are frustrated and want to make changes. Our principles have attracted conservatives, libertarians, disaffected Obama supporters, and many more. We have provided a large number of materials and resources on our website already, such as training guides and links to policy, so that people can become more engaged in the process.”
Q -Mr. Conway, unfortunately, it seems that we are out of time for today. I want to again thank you for joining us, and I hope to speak with you again in the future.