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Jeb Bush Enrages Granite Staters With Talk Of “Phasing Out” Medicare

Granite Staters Respond to Jeb Bush’s New Plan to “Phase Out” Medicare 

Speaking at an Americans for Prosperity event yesterday, Jeb Bush enraged people when he said “we need to figure out a way to phase out” Medicare for future enrollees.

If you did not see the video, here it is.

Jeb Bush has been outspoken trying to woo his party base with talks of “phasing out” Medicare and raising the retirement age on Social Security.  He also told the Union Leader that people should work more hours.  In Jeb’s world we are all going to work 70 hours a week until we die because seniors will not have access to Medicare and will be force to survive on the bread crumbs that Social Security will provide after Jeb forces through his cuts.

Granite Staters spoke out against Jeb Bush’s comments today saying he is “declaring war on seniors.”

Ray Buckley, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair had this to say about Jeb Bush’s plan to phase out Medicare: 

“In fact the numbers prove that the Affordable Care Act has strengthened medicare’s outlook for decades for come. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, out of pocket costs for preventative services have been eliminated for 183,000 granite state medicare beneficiaries and nearly 19,000 Medicare prescription drug beneficiaries have been phased out of the donut hole coverage gap.  

“This is just the latest chapter in a long book of Republicans trying to destroy Medicare or turn it over to corporations. Nearly the entire Republican field supported Paul Ryan’s efforts to end Medicare as we know it. And Jeb Bush just made it crystal clear. 

“For half a century, Medicare has remained a critical part of the safety net for our Senior citizens as a sacred promise that we must uphold for future generations. As of 2012, there were 231,000 granite staters that would rely on medicare for health coverage. New Hampshire can’t afford Jeb Bush’s ideas to phase out Medicare and neither can the rest of the country.

“Bush also said last night that he thinks phasing out Medicare will be a quote-unquote “winning argument.” I’m happy to take that bet. Not here in the Granite State.”

A true Granite Stater, Lenore Patton of Hampton, New Hampshire is clearly unhappy with Jeb Bush’s plan:

“I am frustrated that Jeb wants to phase out Medicare. I thought this fight was over when President Obama was elected and our country rejected the Romney-Ryan plan to privatize Medicare. 

Seniors like me have worked hard their whole lives, supported their families, given back to their communities. It’s clear Jeb Bush doesn’t get it. Calling for phasing out Medicare and repealing the Affordable Care Act, which has saved seniors money, is not what we need… 

“Throughout his career Jeb has only fought for the wealthiest – giving them tax breaks that shifted the burden to the middle class. This is no different. 

“Jeb Bush’s plan to phase out Medicare isn’t going to help the middle class, it’ll just put them farther and farther behind. Bush, once again, is looking out for himself and others like him – a way to put more in their pockets – instead of working to help people from falling into poverty. That is something we just can’t stand for.”

The New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans have been an outspoken advocate for protecting the social net for seniors and preserving Medicare and Social Security for future generations.

Jane Lange, Vice President of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans released the following statement:  

“Jeb Bush has declared war on seniors.”

“By going after their earned Medicare benefits, he is putting our health and economic well-being at risk.”

“Medicare was created 50 years ago this month to ensure that older Americans, who are most in need of health care services, would not have to choose between a hospital stay and keeping a roof over their head.”

“Since then, all Americans have contributed to Medicare with the assumption that it would be there for them when they reached retirement age.”

“We will fight against any attempt to take away our earned health care benefits and make sure that older Americans know who is on our side, and who is not.”

Considering that seniors are the highest demographic of active voters, I think it was unwise to tell them you would like to steal their Medicare.

Jeb Bush Essentially Says To Federal Workers, Screw You!

Jeb Bush (Gage Skidmore FLIKR)

Can we all stop pretending that Jeb Bush is a “moderate” rather than the far-right wing extremist he really is?

“He [Jeb Bush] championed tax cuts that chiefly benefited business and the wealthy, trimmed the state’s payroll, stripped job protection from thousands of mid-level civil servants, gained more power over the judiciary, exploited his Washington connections to prevent the closing of military bases and launched the nation’s first statewide private-school voucher program,” wrote Linda Kleindienst of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in 2007.

Jeb Bush has made it perfectly clear that he wants federal workers to give up more to pay for his brother’s tax cuts that should never have happened.

Yesterday the Hill published the article, Jeb Bush: Strip Feds of Automatic Pay Raises and Due Process, which is even worse than the title indicates.

He starts with yet another hiring freeze and reducing the number of dedicated public servants by eliminating positions as people retire. His plan is similar to Congressman Paul Ryan’s plan (replace one worker for every three who retire). So when Joe and Mary retire from OSHA that means will just have to make do with two fewer safety inspectors because the campaign contributors Bush caters to won’t care if OSHA is grossly understaffed and can’t fulfill its responsibilities.

In theory the Bush/Ryan plan would reduce the overall government workforce by 10% in five years. That’s 10% less Air Traffic Controllers, 10% less food safety inspectors in the Department of Agriculture, 10% less agents to help you in the Social Security Administration, 10% fewer scientists at NASA, 10% fewer prosecutors in the Department of Justice, 10% ….you get the idea.

That is only the beginning. Next he wants to go after workers’ paychecks!

Jeb argues that federal workers are overpaid and that the government rewards “longevity instead of performance.” He wants to eliminate annual increases and only give increases “based on performance.”

This is another classic union-busting tactic: pitting workers against each other for pay increases and rewarding those who oppose the union or suck up to their managers. What happens to workers who question their boss about safety violations in their workplace? What happens to workers who see something illegal going on? Do you think they will be getting pay raises next year?

How do you judge the performance of a food safety inspector? Is it the number of violations he caught and wrote up, which resulted in a lower number of facilities inspected, or is the employee who breezed through more facilities but missed more violations?

On top of pitting workers against each other, as Governor Jeb Bush incentivized managers who saved the government money or found ways for their departments to reduce spending. “Sorry no bonuses for you because I am showing Governor Bush that I am saving the government thousands of dollars.”

The political right loves to tell everyone that government workers are overpaid and are underserving of their paycheck. In fact the Washington Post reported the complete opposite.

White-collar federal employees on average earn 35.2 percent less than private-sector workers in comparable jobs.”

I actually agree with Jeb when he says: “Just like in the real world, compensation should depend on the type of work, and the quality of the work.” The Washington Post goes on to say that more educated federal workers are at a “disadvantage” to their private sector counterparts.

I think someone should inform Jeb that federal workers have already given more than their share from their paychecks. Over the last ten years alone federal workers have contributed over $159 billion dollars to debt reduction plans pushed by the Republicans who control Congress.

  • Federal workforce contribution_April 9 copy3-year pay freeze (2011, 2012, 2013) — $98 billion
  • 2012 UI extension which increased retirement contributions for 2013 hires to 3.1% — $15 billion
  • 2013 lost salaries of 750,000 employees furloughed because of sequestration — $1 billion
  • 2013 Murray-Ryan increased retirement contributions for post-2013 hires to 4.4% — $6 billion
  • 2014 pay raise of only 1%; lower than baseline of 1.8% — $18 billion
  • 2015 pay raise of only 1%; lower than baseline of 1.9% — $21 billion

Total Federal Employee Sacrifice Thus Far: $159 billion

In the 2016 budget they want to take even more!

Republicans are proposing another $238 billion in forced concessions by federal workers through higher retirement contributions and creating a voucher system for health benefits that are going to cost employees even more.

The 2016 budget will force federal workers to lose between $2,525 and $5,617 dollars. Each.

So far Jeb Bush wants slash the number of dedicated public servants, force workers to give back thousands of dollars from their own wallets to “reduce the debt,” give bonuses to managers who reduce spending in their departments, and then he wants to make it easier to fire employees for arbitrary reasons.

That’s right, Jeb Bush wants to strip away employees’ union rights, repealing the right to due process and turning federal workers into “at will employees” – all to make it easier to fire people.

Another classic union busting tactic is to “reduce spending” by firing higher-paid employees (before they can collect any retirement) and replacing them with lower-paid new employees.

As Governor, Jeb Bush used this same tactic to fire 16,000 workers from their jobs with the State of Florida. Jeb Bush gave agency heads to use their “sound discretion” to send people packing, and tied it to his “Service First” program that gave incentives to managers who found ways to reduce government spending.

This isn’t a “moderate” agenda.

Bush may not be insulting veterans or giving out people’s cell phone numbers – and he’s not trying to terrify the electorate with talk of apocalypse or an imagined invasion of Texas – but a lack of hard-core lunacy doesn’t make him a moderate candidate.

He’s part of the far-right wing.

His agenda would decimate federal services that we rely on.

And as this “clown car” primary season keeps getting weirder and weirder, we need to not lose sight of that.

Tonight in New Hampshire: Jeb! Bush’s Big Audition!

Jeb Bush Audition

CONCORD, N.H. – Jeb Bush is back in New Hampshire today, appearing at an event hosted by the Koch brother’s main political arm, Americans for Prosperity. Or rather, auditioning for Koch support. Jeb Bush himself has said that he considers the Koch network an “important part of any coalition to win.”

This certainly isn’t the first time the Kochs have auditioned Bush for the support of their expansive network of donors. And it’s not the first time they’ve worked together, either. In fact, AFP spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat Supreme Court justices that invalidated Jeb Bush’s voucher program in Florida.

Not only that, but Bush and the AFP agree on a number of issues that would put the wealthy and corporations over middle class families here in the Granite State.

“Whether it’s supporting a budget that would favor the wealthy over the middle class, eliminating the Export-Import Bank that would hurt New Hampshire businesses, or opposing the minimum wage increase that would help over 100,000 Granite Staters, Jeb Bush and the Kochs are in lock-step with each other, but out of touch with everyday Granite Staters,” said New Hampshire Democratic Chair Ray Buckley. “This latest audition just proves that Bush would do what he’s done his whole career – elevate the priorities of people like the Koch Brothers over those of middle class families.”

Leo W Gerard: Jeb! Cracks The Whip

Jeb! Bush, a boy born to wealth and privilege, whose family owns not a home but a compound of dwellings in Kennebunkport, Maine, and whose wife plunked down$25,600 for one pair of earrings, lectured last week that Americans should work longer hours.

If Americans would just work harder, every one of them could own a $600,000 getaway cottage, like the one Jeb! is building on a $1.4 million site in exclusive Kennebunkport.

And it’s not just longer hours. Jeb! believes Americans should work longer in life too. The rich boy wants to raise the retirement age to 70. But raising the federal minimum wage to help millions of struggling workers survive to age 70? No, Jeb! doesn’t see any need for that. His advice: Let working poor great-grandmas eat ramen!

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Art by DonkeyHotey on Flickr

As a result of Bush’s “work harder” scolding, Americans know exactly what that symbol is at the end of the name Jeb! on all of his presidential campaign literature. It’s a whip handle and blood splotch. As President, he’d crack Americans into shape!  Under a Jeb! administration, he’d demand they work more, get less and through it all gaze adoringly at another clueless, pampered Bush in the White House.

The wealthy like Jeb! made out like bandits over the past 40 years – Jeb! amassed $29 million in the eight years since he left the Florida governor’s mansion. But working Americans have not prospered. Their productivity rose, but not their wages. Part of the reason for that productivity increase is that Americans worked longer hours and corporations paid them nothing for it.

American workers put in more hours than those in any other large industrialized country, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In a Gallup poll late last year, full-time employees reported work weeks averaging 47 hours. That is nearly a full day beyond what is supposed to be a 40-hour work week. Forty percent said they work at least 50 hours.

Most of these workers don’t see an extra dime for all that extra work because the federal overtime regulation is so outdated, and many corporations won’t pay time and a half for hours worked beyond 40 unless forced. As it is now, the regulation requires corporations to pay time and a half only to workers earning salaries less than $23,660 a year. That is so low that only 8 percent of salaried workers qualify for overtime. It means corporations can take every cent of gain from 92 percent of salaried workers when they put in more than 40 hours a week.

Late last month, President Obama proposed increasing the overtime threshold to $50,440. Then 40 percent of salaried workers would qualify.

Jeb! opposes that. After he was ridiculed on Wednesday for saying, “people need to work longer hours,” he tried to backpedal by contending that what he really meant was that the proposed new overtime rule would push workers into part-time jobs when they needed to work longer hours.

Here’s what he said on Thursday: “I think people want to work harder, to be able to have more money in their own pockets – not to be dependent upon government. You can take it out of context all you want, but high, sustained growth means people work 40 hours rather than 30 hours, and that by our success they have money – disposable income for their families to decide how they want to spend it rather than getting in [a welfare] line.”

Silver-spoon Jeb! is just wrong. People don’t want to work harder. They’re working almost an extra day a week. What they want is to be paid fairly for the work they’re already doing. They want the minimum wage increased so that they can use their own paychecks for groceries instead of food stamps. They want the money that they’ve earned to be in their pockets – not in the pockets of 1 percenters like Jeb!

For decades after World War II, income rose in tandem with productivity. Then, in the mid 1970s, that stopped. Workers received less and less, and the top 1 percent took more and more. The result was wage stagnation for workers and income inflation for CEOs.

2015-07-12-1436714113-7772078-incometoproductivitychart.538

The comments Jeb! made last week illustrate his complete misunderstanding of that.He said: “My aspirations for the country, and I believe we can achieve it, is for 4 percent growth as far as the eye can see .  .  . Which means we have to be a lot more productive. Workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and through their productivity gain more income for their families. That’s the only way we are going to get out of this rut that we’re in.”

Jeb! suffers from the Republican blame-the-worker syndrome. He says, “Workforce participation has to rise,” as if unemployed workers chose to be laid off and languish in a life of insecurity without regular paychecks.

Jeb! and his GOP buddies should blame those actually at fault: the nation’s highly profitable corporations that cheat America’s highly productive workers. Corporations need to rise to the occasion and hire workers at decent wages. Corporations must reward workers for their increased productivity by paying them time and a half when they work longer hours.

It’s the GOP that’s in a rut. It’s a mental ditch from which they fling mud on workers endlessly while shielding corporations and the rich, like Jeb!, from responsibility. Jeb! can go ahead and crack his whip. But he should make sure wage-stealing corporations and the idle rich are at the other end.

NH Labor Leaders Speak Out Against Jeb Bush’s Outrageous Comments About Working Longer Hours

NH AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett on Jeb Bush’s economy:
“A disaster for anyone not named Bush”
 

On July 8th, Jeb Bush made national headlines and nearly blew up Facebook with his comments that “people should work longer hours.”

(Read the full NH Labor News coverage here.)

Today, Glenn Brackett the newly elected President of the NH AFL-CIO talked with reporters about how outrageous Jeb’s comments were to real working families.

Glenn Brackett, New Hampshire AFL-CIO President said:

“This comment makes it as clear as day – Jeb Bush won’t stand up and fight for the middle class as president. He would continue to do things the way he’s always done them – he would put himself and people like him over everyday Americans… Gov. Bush is trying to explain his policy ideas away, saying that we need to cut back on part-time workers and blaming the Obama administration’s policies. But he’s leaving out key points here. That surge in part-time work? Well, that was caused by his brother’s recession. Right now we are adding more full-time jobs than part-time jobs in this economy And we’ve had a record-setting 64 straight months of private sector job growth under President Obama.

Now that we have that straightened out, let’s talk about what Bush – and the rest of the Republican presidential candidates are NOT proposing. Raising the minimum wage. Giving assurances that women are paid as equally as men for the long hours they already works. Protecting workers’ rights and safeguarding the retirement age for future seniors who have put in their fair share of long hours…

If Jeb Bush keeps this up, it won’t be hard for hard-working Granite State families to see that trusting another Bush with the American economy would be a disaster for anyone not named Bush.”

Jeb Bush was born with the silver spoon in his mouth and obviously does not understand what life is like for real working families.  Karen Ladd, high school teacher and member of NEA-NH State Executive Board explained how even having a full time job working as an education professional is not always enough.  

“I wanted to speak today because the first time I heard Jeb Bush’s comments this week, I actually laughed out loud. I laughed out of disbelief that someone running to be the leader of our country could say something so unbelievable. Something so far removed from the average person… I love my job, but Bush’s comment that workers should work more hours is just out of touch with the reality of everyday people like me…I know many teachers that have part-time jobs in addition to their teaching jobs because they aren’t paid enough as teachers to support their families. And the data backs me up on this. Americans work more hours than anyone else in the industrialized world… 

But beyond what Bush said, it’s what he’s not saying that makes it even worse. Bush’s economic plan seems to demand that the middle and working class work longer hours, while refusing to do anything to help them get ahead. He’s not supporting a federal minimum wage or championing paycheck fairness for women.”

Jeb Bush’s comments were offensive to working families.  Jeb opposes raising the minimum wage at the same time he is pushing to raise the retirement age before receiving Social Security benefits.  It is policies like this that have hurt our economy over the last thirty years and definitely the wrong direction for working families.

Jeb Bush Shows He Is Complete Out Of Touch With Real Working Families

Image by Gage Skidmore

Image by Gage Skidmore

I am sure you have already seen this but I feel that I cannot let Jeb Bush’s comments go by without taking a few minutes to talk about them.

In a recent interview with the Union Leader, Jeb said, “people should work longer hours.”

Are you kidding me? This is a asinine statement from an out of touch wealthy 1%-er, who does not understand what us little people have to do just to pay our bills. When you are a wealthy career politician who won the genetic lottery to be born into an ultra-wealthy family it is easy to see why it is so easy for Jeb to say people need to work more hours.

ABC US News | World News

Jeb Bush is currently worth an estimated $12,000,000 dollars, which is up over $10 million since he left office as Governor of Florida in 2007.   During the past few years Jeb enjoyed a very lucrative speaking career earning over $50,000 per speech.

It must be hard to make ends meet when you earn more in one speech than 50% of American’s earn in a year.

His full statement only adds to the fact that he has no idea what American workers are going through.

“…we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families. That’s the only way we’re going to get out of this rut that we’re in,” said Bush.

Let me break this down for you Jeb, because it is clear to me you need some serious help.

People are already working more and more hours per week. A Gallop poll released in 2014 show that the average weekly hours worked is 47, and nearly 40% report working in excess of 50 hours per week.

Hours Worked GalluP

 

For those who are paid a flat salary work even more with at whopping 25% reporting working over 60 hours a week.

Have you met Dawn? She was a full time salaried employee from Dollar General. She enjoys a reasonable $34,000 a year salary and for working over 70 hours a week.

Dawn’s story in nothing new and show exactly why we have to fix our broken overtime policies. Under the new overtime directive from President Obama, workers who makes a salary less than $50,000 a year would be paid overtime for every hour worked over 40.

The biggest problem I have with Jeb Bush’s statement is that we as Americans need to work more hours and be more productive which will result in higher wages.

It has been proven over and over that American’s are working more hours and are more productive than we have ever been. Between 1973 and 2013 workers pay rose a meager 9% while productive rose a whopping 73%.

Our collective rise in productive has lead to massive gains by those at the top. The average CEO pay is now over 290 times higher than the average worker. That is an increase of 937% since 1978.

The idea that we need to work longer hours and we will see continued growth in our incomes is a great idea, however facts prove otherwise.

The idea that Americans need to work longer is truly frightening when you add to the fact that Jeb Bush is advocating for “entitlement reforms” that would force people to work until they are 70.

“I think we need to raise the retirement age, not for people that are already nearing, receiving Social Security, or already on it, but raise it gradually, over a long period of time for people that are just entering the system,” Bush said. “And I think we need to do that in relatively short order.”

Imagine being 69 years old, working 5 days a week for 10 hours a day or more. Is the kind of future we really want?

This entire statement by Jeb Bush just shows how out of touch with regular American’s he really is. People do not need to work longer hours and be more productive, we need our employers to actually raise the wages to compensate us for the productivity gains we have made in the past.

#FITN: Jeb Bush’s Record Of Attacking Public Workers

Image by Gage Skidmore

Image by Gage Skidmore

Today, Government Executive posted a blistering article about the newest candidate in the GOP Primary, Jeb Bush.

The article highlights Jeb Bush’s attack on public workers in Florida and how he slashed the number government employees by over 25% and sold those services of to for profit industries.

Privatization became the “signature of his administration,” Crew wrote of Bush. The governor expanded contracted services to include previous government operations such as criminal defense, certain welfare benefits, child protection and the staffing of nursing homes for veterans.

As Governor, Jeb Bush stripped workers of their right to due process and gave managers overwhelming discretion to fire workers.

Bush successfully stripped Florida’s 16,000 career managers and supervisors of due process protections by turning them into at-will employees. Also during his governorship, Bush changed the policy for “cause” from a specific list of fireable items to the much broader “sound discretion of an agency head.”

…“I look forward to the time when these buildings of government are empty,” Bush said in his second inaugural address. “There would be no greater tribute to our maturity as a society than if we make these buildings around us empty of workers, monuments to a time when government played a larger role than it deserved or could adequately fill.”

What would Jeb Bush do as President? Would he eliminate entire agencies like other candidates have proposed? Would he sell off those agency services to his Wall Street buddies under the guise of privatization?

Federal workers should be aware that if Jeb Bush somehow becomes President, their jobs would be on the chopping block.  Jeb wants to take more from the dedicated hard working men and women of the federal government, just like his brother and his father did when they were President.

Excerpt from Government Executive below

Why a Jeb Bush Presidency Could Mean
Far Less Job Security for Feds

Throughout his governorship, Bush called for government to be stripped to its essential core, and followed up the rhetoric with the downsizing of Florida’s bureaucracy.

“My hope is that we’ll have a smaller government in terms of workforce,” Bush said at the outset of this tenure, “but a better government.” He has, at other times, referred to government as a “dinosaur.”

…Bush successfully stripped Florida’s 16,000 career managers and supervisors of due process protections by turning them into at-will employees. Also during his governorship, Bush changed the policy for “cause” from a specific list of fireable items to the much broader “sound discretion of an agency head.” He coupled those policies with a directive to all state agencies requiring them to issue blueprints for reducing their workforces by 25 percent.

…Bush offered a reminder of his penchant for firing government workers last month, when he criticized the Obama administration for not firing more employees at the Veterans Affairs Department in the wake of the waitlist manipulation scandal.

…“I look forward to the time when these buildings of government are empty,” Bush said in his second inaugural address. “There would be no greater tribute to our maturity as a society than if we make these buildings around us empty of workers, monuments to a time when government played a larger role than it deserved or could adequately fill.”

…Privatization became the “signature of his administration,” Crew wrote of Bush. The governor expanded contracted services to include previous government operations such as criminal defense, certain welfare benefits, child protection and the staffing of nursing homes for veterans.

Bush also significantly increased the temporary workforce, employees with no access to health care, retirement or other benefits afforded to career workers.  Even for those in permanent positions, the average salary dropped during the Bush administration while the probationary period for new employees jumped from six months to one year.

…The newest entrant into the ever-growing race for the Republican nomination has faced some controversy in dealing with government workers’ pensions. Bush has been accused of pushing pension administrators to invest with his donors. He created an incentive program for municipalities to give their employees larger pensions, but the expiration of the temporary state-level funding has led tomassive unfunded liabilities in some areas.

Every Child Matters Grills #FITN Candidates On Working Family Issues

“I think minimum wage is a classic example of a policy that is best carried out in the states,” Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina recently told MacKenzie Flessas at WMUR-ABC TV’s “Conversation with the Candidate” in New Hampshire.

cwtc-Fiorina-034-jpg

“To me, a national minimum wage does not make a lot of sense,” the former corporate CEO said in response to a question that began with the observation that, “In New Hampshire, someone who earns minimum wage earns less than $300 per week.”

MacKenzie is ECM’s New Hampshire field director. She and other ECM staff have also elicited replies during sessions of the TV campaign series from South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Some highlights are provided here, and the full questions and remarks can be found at WMUR’s website.

ECM was able to ask former Florida Governor Jeb Bush a question today during taping of a program that will be broadcast Friday evening, May 29.

Senator Graham told ECM state director Mary Lou Beaver during one WMUR studio conversation that he has been a leading Republican champion in Congress for early childhood programs because, “by the time you are five years old, 90 percent of your mental development is there.” Graham promised that if he runs for president and wins, he will partner with states to assure adequate nutritional support for kids. But he warned that more ambitious plans to help children– “to give them a chance to compete in the twenty-first century” –will require entitlement reform.

Former Governor Perry told Beaver that he would “repeal Obamacare” and allow states to be laboratories of innovation for health care, suggesting health savings accounts, allowing insurance to be sold across state lines and tort reform as hopeful ideas. That was in response to a question from ECM about how to ensure that low-income children and their parents in New Hampshire would not lose health care access if the Affordable Care Act had to be replaced.

Governor Kasich said that he supports keeping the Earned Income Tax Credit to help low-wage working families, but he declined to endorse expanding or strengthening the program when asked. Kasich pointed instead toward education, including online programs, to help people get jobs that would pay more.

ECM will continue to ask candidates questions about policies that affect kids as part of our 2-year effort to put children at the center of campaign discussion during the presidential election process. In New Hampshire, Save the Children Action Network, a sponsor of the “Conversation with the Candidate” series, is a key partner in the effort to highlight early childhood issues.

We’ll continue to let you know what the candidates say!

Same question, different problem: WHERE did the money come from?

truth-257159_640It’s not just the questions about the Federal Elections Commission investigation and where the money came from.  It’s actually worse than that.  It’s what happened afterward – because like so much else in government these days, it involves political fundraising.

At the end of last year, Rep. Frank Guinta’s campaign reported less than $19,000 cash-on-hand.

Yet the FEC enforcement agreement signed by Guinta’s lawyer last month obligated the campaign to pay a $15,000 administrative fine and repay $355,000 in loans dating back to 2010. (Hat-tip to the Union Leader for posting the agreement online, where we can all read it.)

Like most Congressmen, Rep. Guinta is a practiced fundraiser.  According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Guinta raised about $4.5 million dollars during his last three campaigns.

And just in the first quarter of this year – presumably while his lawyer was negotiating the FEC settlementGuinta’s campaign raised more than $300,000.  

Koch Industries PAC gave $5,000.  The Chicago Board Options Exchange PAC gave $5,000.  Independent Insurance Agents PAC gave $5,000.  New York Life Insurance PAC gave $5,000.  National Beer Wholesalers PAC gave $5,000.  The Boeing Company PAC gave $1,000.  The Turkish Coalition PAC gave $1,000.

Jeb Bush’s brand-new “Right to Rise” SuperPAC gave $5,200 — before the PAC was even two months old.

The Leadership PAC affiliated with House Speaker John Boehner gave $5,000, and Boehner’s campaign committee gave another $4,000.  The Leadership PAC of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy gave $5,000; his campaign gave another $4,000.  Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s Leadership PAC gave $5,000.  The Leadership PAC of Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise gave $5,000.  The Leadership PAC of Oregon Rep. Greg Walden gave $5,000.  The Leadership PAC of Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling gave $5,000.  Ribble for Congress gave $1,000.  Latta for Congress gave $1,000.  Jeff Miller for Congress gave $1,000.  Andy Harris for Congress gave $1,000.  Rick Allen for Congress gave $1,000.  Friends of Sam Johnson gave $1,000.  Rep. John Kline’s Leadership PAC gave $1,000.  Rep. Steve Stivers’ Leadership PAC gave $1,000.  The Leadership PAC of Rep. John Shimkus gave $1,000.

And the list goes on, for almost 75 pages.

Sort of like “Go Fund Me” – except that the money is coming from special interests and Guinta’s fellow congressmen, who also have an interest in how he votes.

Given that list of donors, would Rep. Guinta consider fighting House Leadership over the latest raid on Medicare?  Or is he going to vote exactly how the Speaker wants him to?

What does Jeb Bush expect, in return for the SuperPAC contribution?

What does Koch Industries expect?  The Chicago options traders?  Boeing?  The Turkish Coalition?

And what can Guinta’s constituents expect, after the campaign solicited almost enough money to pay the cost of the FEC agreement?  

How many of these donors knew that the FEC agreement was coming?  

Solicit more campaign contributions, to meet the conditions of a campaign finance enforcement agreement.  It’s so ironic, it should be funny – except, it’s not.  It’s totally screwed up.

When politicians go begging to big money donors, everybody else loses.

That’s why two-thirds of New Hampshire voters want a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

It’s why hundreds of people have been walking across the state with the New Hampshire Rebellion, drawing attention to the need for campaign finance reform.

It’s why tens of thousands of people across the country are legally stamping US currency with messages like “Not to Be Used for Bribing Politicians.” Every stamped dollar bill is seen by about 875 people.  Get a stamp at StampStampede.org.  Stamp four bills each day for a year, and you’ll help convince a million people that it is possible to take our government back – if enough of us work together to do that.

It’s why small businesses are hosting Stamp Stampede stamping stations – more than 100 of them across New Hampshire – so their customers can stamp money and learn more about money in politics.

It’s why grandmothers and middle school students and people from every political persuasion are working together to reclaim our government from Big Money campaign donors.

Because when you read about a FEC enforcement action, you shouldn’t have to wonder whose money will be used to pay the fine, and what they’re going to expect in return.

And you really shouldn’t have to worry whether all the fundraising that happened, just before the agreement was signed, is going to do more damage to our democracy than the original violation.

 

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