Friday, January 05, 2007
New Congress News Roundup
A few news articles for your reading pleasure as we begin the 110th.
From the Jackson Citizen-Patriot, a few items of note:
"One of the hottest in the country"! And no, I don't mind that they didn't mention another blog that's interested in the race...
Schauer's out (though, expect to see him pop up elsewhere after his term ends... he's a rising star in Michigan's Democratic Party), but there are plenty of strong candidates out there. Most interesting for me, I think, is the possibility of Brad Smith launching a primary challenge. Smith (son of former Congressman Nick Smith), though losing to Schwarz, got more votes in the 2004 primary than Walberg, and knows all the right people to run a campaign.
There are other things worth reading in the article, including a mention of a speech by Joe Schwarz and a Jackson Party fundraiser for the Democratic Party.
But, you know what? Congressman Walberg is right, he ought to be focusing on his job now, not the next election.
Once again, we turn to the Citizen-Patriot. What does Walberg hope to push in the new, Democratic Congress?
Michigan's only first-term congressman confirmed he plans to co-author legislation in line with his support of a flat tax and elimination of the Internal Revenue Service.Ah, tax reform. I'm sure we'll be writing an awful lot about that over the next few weeks. Walberg has previously advocated the "FairTax" national sales tax, which would be about 23 percent on all goods and services. Never mind that lower-income families would pay proportionally more than upper-income families, or that, without the IRS (or similar agency), the burden of collecting the tax falls upon the state governments. And we all know that the state of Michigan has plenty of free time on its hands.
UPDATE: Cordelia at Michigan Liberal picked up on this as well, and offered this explanation of why the national sales tax is a bad idea. Once Congressman Walberg introduces a bill, I'm sure I'll have plenty of posts on the subject, but the short version is that taxes shouldn't be viewed as a punishment, but rather an investment in America. The amount you pay in ought to be based on ability to pay, and that's what the graduated income tax does.
For a different view, see Chad Sargent in the comments, and, out of fairness, www.FairTax.org. (Just one minor complaint: cute names like "FairTax" really bother me. Give it a simple, unbiased and descriptive name, like "National Sales Tax." This goes for both sides of the aisle.)
What do some of Walberg's supporters hope for?
That's the conviction supporter Kathy Potts is counting on. As vice president of Jackson Right to Life, Potts said she's confident Walberg will champion anti-abortion bills.Will his anti-abortion proposals simply seek to outlaw abortion, or will he support the 95-10 initiative of Democrats for Life-- a plan of reforms to reduce abortion by 95 percent over the next ten years? We shall see.
Of course, since 45 percent of Americans want action on Iraq (according to a CBS poll), more than any other issue, it will certainly come up. What are Congressman Walberg's thoughts?
Saddam Hussein... Richard Nixon? Well, not the connection I expected, but it's nice that Walberg has our 38th president on his mind.
Still, as the article observes:
However, most of his work will probably be voting on the Democrats' first 100-hours agenda, which includes hiking the minimum wage and cutting student loan rates.... which brings us to:
The Democratic Agenda
Here's what the new Democratic leadership has planned:
It'll be interesting to see how Congressman Walberg votes on all of these, considering how he voted in the Michigan House.
Ethics: The First Complaint
Jay in the comments shares this:
FORMER SCHWARZ STAFFER FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST WALBERGFor other coverage, here's the Lansing State Journal's article.
It's not the right foot to get started on, but I'm sure Congressman Walberg and his staff will be careful as they go forward.
I assume Walberg will brush off "Seal Gate" as just another stone cast from "Sour Grapes Schwarz."
When one enters Congress there are certain rules, mores and things you just don't do. Using the seal is one of them. It is an ehtical minefield. While it looks like a simple act, it's part of Walberg's MO. He just doesn't care about silly rules and regulations, he thinks he's above such things. He's a preacher afterall and can do no wrong.
Misusing the seal may be a simple thing, but it's pretty basic. If he can't and won't pay attention to the "little things" how will he respect the "bigger" ethical challenges when the come up?
He needs to step up, do the right things and take responsibility.
That is what big people do, but I guess he wouldn't know that.
Schauer will be a candidate I'm willing to bet.
He's a lot like a duck. On the polical surface, quiet and serene; but under the water he is paddling like hell.
A few comments on the FairTax in response to the ones here:
Never mind that lower-income families would pay proportionally more than upper-income families…
I see this point of view (wealth envy) often. It is a fact that some people have more money than others, therefore they spend a greater percentage of their income on expenses (including taxes). I don’t see this is as a problem to be solved, only a reality to accept.
There are two things we can do with tax reform: one is to punish the people who work hard and produce by taking part of their earnings away in the name of “equal distribution of income”(before they even get a chance to spend, invest or donate). This is what we do now.
The other is to get government’s hands out of our bank accounts by letting us get our money first, buy what we need to live and at the same time pay taxes to give the government revenue so it can serve us, the people, the way the founders intended. If we do that, the lower income citizens have a shot at becoming wealthier themselves.
This is the way of the FairTax: With this plan, every household pays zero taxes up to poverty line, then we buy what we need and pay taxes as we go. The government gets its revenue, but we get ours first.
…or that, without the IRS (or similar agency), the burden of collecting the tax falls upon the state governments.
It’s not that much of a burden because the existing state sales tax authorities will assume the FairTax collection and audit duties, which will involve retailers, not individuals. This means compliance will be well over 90%, a feat that our current system can’t even come close to.
All these facts and more are on the FairTax website.
Would the FairTax be applied to food? What about gas? (I don't know if there are federal gas taxes, but I know MI takes several pennies per gallon.) What about services like college or insurance?
The FairTax will be part of the prices of all consumer retail goods and services. Used goods will not include FairTax in their prices, since the tax was paid by the buyer when the product was new.
Education, training, tuition and investment spending have no tax in their prices.
The price of insurance premiums will include tax, but not the cost of the services themselves.
To offset costs, the prebate provision makes all spending up to every household poverty line tax free.
The free market will continue to determine prices and wages.
The FairTax basics and FAQ sections at FairTax.org provide more information.
The Fiar tax link does not work. So, I need some help. Would a college education be taxed? What about something like an ACT prep course or a pottery class? And, you explained insurance premiums and it sounds like only part of it will be taxed, but can you explain that better?
And, while you are at it, gas will have a 23% tax on top of the state taxes?
I fixed the link. Between my posts here and the link you will find answers to all your questions.
The TRUTH about the FairTax
You can read the specific details about how the FairTax is the biggest tax ripoff in US history. Read how it shifts the tax burden from billionaires to the middle class. Read how the FairTax taxes food, clothes, housing, healthcare, and medical services while at the same time making inheritances for billionaires tax free. The FairTax is the ultimate oxymoron - it is TOTALLY unfair. See FairTaxFraud.com for the truth.
"Read how the FairTax taxes food, clothes, housing, healthcare, and medical services while at the same time making inheritances for billionaires tax free."Post a Comment
It makes inheritances of a $500 tax free, too. Why should we pay taxes on an inheritance, anyway? Whatever Dad has left when he goes is from his after-taxes money: the inheritance tax taxes the same money twice.
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