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GOP House Members still fighting? Gonna be costly.

No, it’s not de ja vu. It’s just that… so much of it is still exactly on-point.  Wish it wasn’t, but it is. So, with very few updates, here’s a repeat of my post from February 6, 2013:

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Last person leaving, please dock the doorsHoping for bipartisan cooperation, now that the election is over? Think again.

The weekend before the inauguration, Republicans gathered in Williamsburg to discuss strategies for “fighting” the President. Just a week later, former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan was telling a gathering of conservatives that “Republicans control both the House and most of the statehouses. So we have to oppose the president and the Senate on some fronts—and engage them on others…”

Does that sound like cooperation to you?

Looks like it’s going to be an interesting next few months. Two dates to mark on your calendar:

On March 1st, the sequestration cuts are scheduled to go went into effect. Cutting government services through these automatic, across-the-board cuts is expected to send the economy back into recession. One example: according to a study commissioned by the airline industry, the FAA’s share of the sequestration cuts is about $1 billion a year. That cut would reduce the nation’s air traffic between 5% and 10%, and the country would lose between 66,000 and 132,000 jobs related to air transportation. The irony? The economic losses would cause tax revenues to drop by as much as $1 billion a year. (Hmmn… $1 billion in tax revenues lost because of a $1 billion spending cut. Not a whole lot of deficit-reduction going on, is there?)  After members of Congress were inconvenienced by airport delays, the FAA was granted special treatment under the sequestration act.  Recent estimates of the economic costs of sequestration include:  1.6 million jobs and 1.2% of GDP.

On March 27th  September 30th, the “continuing resolution” that funded federal government expired. That means a possible “government shutdown”. According to Politico, a majority of GOP House members “are prepared to shut down the government to make their point. House Speaker John Boehner ‘may need a shutdown just to get it out of their system,’ said a top GOP leadership adviser.”

What happens if the government shuts down? Federal employees who are deemed “essential” are still required to go to work – they just don’t get paid until after Congress approves a bill to pay them. The last time there was a significant government shutdown, almost a half-million federal employees were required to work without pay for three weeks.

The economic damage went far beyond the family finances of federal employees. The crisis also caused 11 states to suspend unemployment insurance, due to lack of federal funds. Veterans’ services were suddenly unavailable (including counseling, vocational rehabilitation, and pension and education payments). The crisis affected the oil industry, leaving more than 10,000 barrels a day untapped while companies waited for federal reviews. The tourism industry suffered millions of dollars in losses each day of the shutdown, because passports and visas were not processed. The housing industry suffered when $800 million worth of mortgage loans were delayed. The crisis halted cleanup of 609 toxic waste sites. It left hundreds of thousands of children in limbo, waiting for foster care or adoption.

And that was only a partial government shutdown. Most of the government still had funding, during that shutdown. (Just imagine what may happen on March 27th! now!)

There’s a moral here, folks. Government services are integral to our nation’s economy.

Is there any hope that Congress could learn that lesson, in the next month or so? Or is the GOP going to insist on doing economic damage, “just to get it out of their system”?

Meanwhile, down in DC, Simpson and Bowles Work To Wreck Social Security

It’s probably going to get lost in today’s news, now breaking out of Boston, but…

SocialSecurityposter1Down in DC today, Erskine Bowles and Alan K. Simpson are scheduled to announce yet another of their “debt reduction” plans. Yes, it includes chained-CPI; yes, it includes cuts to Medicare. What is doesn’t include is much in the way of new revenues. Here’s how the Washington Post describes today’s plan:

“seeks far less in new taxes than the original, and it seeks far more in savings from federal health programs for the elderly.”

Yeah, this public policy debate is going in the wrong direction.

Here’s a better suggestion: Let’s return to the good ol’ days when investment income was taxed at the same rate as wage income.

Why does US tax policy give preferential tax treatment to dividends, just because investors don’t have to get their hands dirty in order to receive the income? America is supposed to be the land of Horatio Alger (“pull yourself up by your bootstraps, work hard, and you’ll get ahead”). If our tax code is going to have different standards for earned versus unearned income, shouldn’t the “hard work” type of income be the one we prefer?

Instead, ever since the Bush tax cuts, dividends have been taxed at a much lower rate. And that economic distortion has led to all sorts of bad outcomes. (Read “What Mitt Romney Taught Us about America’s Economy” here.)

According to Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation, this backwards tax preference will cost $616 billion in revenue over the next five years. (It’s one of the largest “tax expenditures” in the tax code.)

So, let’s call that $1.2 trillion over the next decade… and we’re well on our way toward debt reduction – without any cuts to Social Security or Medicare. Toss in another $516 billion worth of estate taxes (I’m doubling the five-year cost of that tax preference, as calculated by the Joint Committee). Maybe throw in $315 billion from ending the special tax treatment for life insurance annuities. And we’re well over $2 trillion in deficit reduction—all without a single cut to a single government program.

Now let’s apply a little “dynamic scoring”. (Haven’t heard of it? It what the GOP used, back in 2001, to argue that the country could afford the Bush tax cuts. Just assume that the tax code changes will improve the economy, and that will generate even more tax revenues.) Ok, you’re right… “dynamic scoring” didn’t work so well with the Bush tax cuts. But remember the Clinton tax hikes? Remember how the economy improved and the budget went from deficit to surplus?

Add in a little “dynamic scoring” (of the tax-HIKE variety) and… Presto Change-o! Suddenly, we’re doing a whole lot better than Simpson-Bowles.

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Also in the message mix, today: a great, big “oops!” for the two Harvard economists whose research has bolstered the GOP’s austerity agenda. Turns out they made a mistake in their spreadsheet analysis. Yes, this is the very same analysis that Paul Ryan used, during last year’s presidential campaign, to argue that our slow economy was caused by national debt. [Hello? Most of us out here in the real world think the economy’s hurting because so many people are out of work.] Yes, these are the same two economists who testified before the Simpson-Bowles Commission.

Here’s the kicker: their mistake was discovered by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Yes, public-funded higher education still works!

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Watching the news this morning, we’re seeing incredible acts of dedication and bravery. Special thanks to everyone whose jobs take them into danger, all those who protect the rest of us. Thoughts and prayers are with the family of the MIT Police officer who was killed; with the MBTA officer who was injured; and with everyone else whose lives have been forever altered by the events of the past few days.

Writing this from the security of my own home, I salute you all.

Barry Goldwater explains: why Chained-CPI is such a big, hairy deal

Bactrian Camel by Just_Chaos via flikrBack in 1958, Barry Goldwater explained his opposition to a bill this way:   “If the camel once gets his nose in the tent, his body will soon follow.”

In other words: a tremendous – unwanted – change can be started by a little tiny encroachment… and then the rest of the change will come right along behind it.

Those of us in the union movement have seen this strategy in action, too many times to count.

Recognize this scenario?  Workers used to have fully-paid health insurance.  Then management insisted on a small “contribution” toward the cost.  Then premiums were “shared”.  Now, in too many workplaces, there is no health insurance at all.

How about this one?  Workers used to have employer-sponsored pension plans.  Then employers insisted on moving to 401(k) plans.  Now, very few jobs (other than at the CEO level) offer any type of retirement plan at all.

Or this one?  Union workers used to have job security.  Then employers insisted on contract amendments so they could hire part-timers or contractors “in emergencies”.  Now, some worksites are staffed entirely by part-timers or contract employees, and job security is very, very hard to find.

As Barry Goldwater described things: It’s the camel’s nose, creeping in… and the rest of the camel soon follows.

And that’s why union leaders are reacting so strongly to proposals that would change Social Security benefits by tying Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) to “chained CPI” (rather than the usual Consumer Price Index).

Union members have had enough experience with this strategy; by now, we recognize a camel’s nose when we see one.

The idea of “privatizing” Social Security has been rattling around the Republican Party since Barry Goldwater ran for President.

But it hasn’t happened yet – despite the recent best efforts of George W. Bush and Paul Ryan.

So during debt limit negotiations in the summer of 2011, the Republicans took a different tack.  Rather than trying to get the camel in through the tent door… they just asked for a little, tiny change to the way that Social Security COLAs are calculated.  Just one little, tiny change.

That debt limit crisis was resolved – with the camel’s nose still outside the tent – by the deal we all know as “sequestration”.  And since that time, the Fiscal Cliff has passed and a possible government shutdown has been avoided.  But that one little tiny change to Social Security has remained a Republican priority.

The White House held a press briefing the day before President Obama’s budget was filed.  One important point from that briefing was never covered by the mainstream press:

[S]enior administration officials characterized the official adoption of Chained CPI as both a recognition that rounding out a grand bargain will require making concessions to the GOP, and as a final gesture of good faith to Republicans in Congress… But the officials also stressed that Chained CPI will never become law unless Republicans respond (in unlikely fashion) by agreeing to limit tax expenditures benefiting high-income earners.  If they don’t, it will mark the end of Obama’s two-year quest to secure trillions of dollars in deficit reduction on a bipartisan basis.

In other words, don’t believe new National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden when he talks about chained CPI as “a shocking attack on seniors.”

How can it possibly be “shocking”, Rep. Walden?

Republicans have been trying to “reform” Social Security since Barry Goldwater ran for President, almost half a century ago.

And Barry Goldwater knew full well how to get a camel into the tent.

 

The NH Alliance For Retired Americans Pres. Ballban Blasts Congressman Ryans Budget Proposal!

SS-Medicare-sayno.orgManchester, NH – House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled a Republican budget on Tuesday that would once again prioritize millionaires over seniors by turning Medicare into a voucher system and repealing the Obama health care law.

“Last November, the American people voted on these principles and they voted No,” said Charles Balban, President of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans.

“This budget – Ryan’s 3rd edition – is not new and it’s not improved,” continued Charles Balban. “It again proposes privatizing Medicare and turning it into a coupon system while lowering tax rates on the wealthy and corporations.”

“Paul Ryan can produce all the charts he wants, but his values are diametrically opposed to those of the rest of us. New Hampshire seniors don’t see the need to balance the budget on our backs and those of the already-struggling middle class. We don’t think the wealthy and corporations need relief. The reason we’re in this mess to begin with is that they’ve been taking a bigger and bigger piece of the pie for too many years.”

“Paul Ryan and the GOP once again are proposing to end Medicare as we know it and double seniors’ out-of-pocket costs. This plan doesn’t reduce the cost of our health care system, but rather shifts it from the government’s books onto the backs of seniors.”

“This unfair plan proposes giving seniors vouchers rather than maintaining the guaranteed benefits of Medicare, and turning Medicaid into a block-grant program. Of course these vouchers would not keep up with costs and New Hampshire seniors would be out more and more money every year.”

 

For more information on the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans, please contact: Terry Lochhead, (603) 545-9989.

NH Congressional Reps Sternly Oppose Rep Ryan’s Budget Cuts To Medicare And Other Programs

Ryan Plan and Grandma

From 2012, and yet still relevent

Once again Rep Paul Ryan, playfully known by some as Rep Eddie Munster, released the GOP House budget.  As all of you have probably read the budget continues to favor the 1% over the rest of us.   This is nothing new (see also How many times can the Republicans count the same money toward the budget?).

Rep Ryan’s budget hit the floor like a ton of bricks.  New Hampshire Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter was the first to chastise the GOP plan in her statement.

“I’m disappointed that instead of taking this opportunity to work towards a balanced plan to reduce the deficit and create jobs, House Republicans chose more of the same: tax cuts for a wealthy few while asking for more sacrifice from the middle class.

“The Republican budget would turn Medicare into a voucher program – ending guaranteed coverage for future retirees. It would repeal Obamacare, an effort that amounts to little more than political grandstanding. And it would give Americans at the top a new round of tax cuts while asking students, seniors and the middle class to foot the bill. These ideas were debated over the course of the fall election, and they were rejected by Granite State voters.

“If the Republican House majority truly wants to compromise, they need to put forward a compromise budget.”

Congresswoman Shea-Porter is right.  Granite State voters overwhelmingly voted against the Romney/Ryan plan for America.  Even Speaker John Boehner (unknowingly) pushed a poll that supports raising taxes to balance the budget.  While Congressman Ryan is pushing for another completely partisan budget, Rep Annie Kuster is looking for balance.

“Chairman Ryan has once again proposed an uncompromising, sharply partisan budget that would hurt seniors, undermine critical investments in the middle class, and damage our economy. It’s a plan that relies on the same tired ideas voters rejected in November: ending Medicare as we know it, slashing investments in our future, and putting millionaires before middle class families.

“We need to reduce the deficit and cut government spending. But instead of offering proposals that have no chance of earning broad bipartisan support and becoming law, Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate need to come together and compromise on a balanced plan to reduce the deficit, grow the economy, and protect seniors and the middle class. That type of responsible compromise remains the best and only way to address our fiscal challenges and move our country forward.”

Now all eyes will shift to the US Senate where Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) will release the Senate budget. The rumors are that the Senate plan is a mix of specific budgetary cuts and revenue increases through closing tax loopholes.  The Senate plan would also eliminate the ‘Sequester’ cuts which would end the mandatory furloughs and closures.

How many times can the Republicans count the same money toward the budget?

  1. Back in 2001, the Bush Tax Cuts were supposed to be temporary. All the old tax laws were supposed to kick back in, starting in 2011. The fact that all those “old taxes” were going to come back into effect was what made the tax cuts “affordable”, back when Alan Greenspan was doing the math.
  2. Fast-forward to January 2013, as the federal government goes over the Fiscal Cliff. The Republicans finally agreed to some “new taxes” – even though the “new taxes” were less than one-third of the “old taxes” which had been “temporarily suspended” by the Bush tax cuts. (The 10-year cost of the Bush tax cuts was $2.2 trillion. The Fiscal Cliff deal was $617 billion over 10 years.)
  3. Now it’s March. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan just released his budget proposal. And gosh, there’s that money again — this time as “budgetary savings”. Here’s what The Hill had to say:

The Ryan budget counts the $600 billion in new tax revenue raised under the January “fiscal cliff” deal as budgetary savings. Ryan also counts hundreds of billions in additional revenue being raised due to rosier economic growth projections…

But wait. There’s more:

The budget would also cut the top individual tax rate from 39.6 to 25 percent as part of an overhaul of the tax code that would eliminate breaks within the system. Like last year’s budget, the overhaul would leave two remaining rates at 10 and 25 percent.

Are the Republicans still trying to increase tax revenues by cutting taxes on the rich?

Confused? Me too.

But here’s the most confusing thing. Ryan describes this as – direct quote, here – “A budget that addresses America’s needs.”

In order to address America’s needs, Ryan proposes to:

  • cut Medicare, Medicaid and other health care spending by $2.7 trillion over 10 years;
  • cut an additional $1 trillion from “other programs” including food stamps, student loans and federal employee pensions; and
  • add $500 billion to the Pentagon’s budget.

So… apparently, Paul Ryan thinks America needs a budget that increases spending on military contractors while cutting spending on actual citizens.

Meanwhile, around this great country of ours…

Sequestration cuts mean that 600,000 young children from low-income families are losing the free milk, fruits and vegetables they had been receiving through a U.S. government nutrition program.

It’s Lent, Rep. Ryan. Been to church lately?

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Military contractors? or hungry kids? Where’s your tax money going?

 

How do we get an economy that works for the 99%?

Day 20 Occupy Wall Street October 5 2011 Shankbone 3It’s official: Wall Street has recovered from the recession. Yesterday,

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to its highest level ever, erasing losses from the financial crisis after a four-year rally fueled by the fastest profit growth since the 1990s and monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve. About $10 trillion has been restored to U.S. equities as retailers, banks and manufacturers led the recovery from the worst bear market since the 1930s.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, America’s middle class is still losing ground.

In the wake of the Great Recession, millions of middle-class people are being pinched by stagnating incomes and the increased cost of living. America’s median household income has dropped by more than $4,000 since 2000…

The unemployment rate has been getting better – but for most American families, life is still getting worse.

One of the most disturbing trends of the recession is still very far from being reversed. America’s middle-class jobs have been decimated since 2007, replaced largely by low-wage jobs.

In other words, wages are still falling. From the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank:

Many middle-class workers have lost their jobs and, if they have been able to secure new employment at all, find themselves earning far lower wages post-recession… on average over the next 25 years, these workers will earn 11% less [than they would have, if they hadn’t lost their jobs during the recession].

Back in Washington, DC, what are the politicians doing?

  1. House Republicans believe they’re “on the side of the angels” on defense spending. They are coalescing around a budget deal that would allow the Pentagon more flexibility to move money around (for instance, using savings that resulted from troop withdrawals to restore funding to military contractors).
  2. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is working on next year’s budget. Should be interesting to read. The last time he proposed a budget, a whopping 62% of the budget cuts came from programs that help low-income people.
  3. And Ryan still plans to privatize Medicare. His only question: what should the cut-off age be? Should current Medicare benefits be guaranteed for people 55-and-older? 56-and-older? Even older than that? [The League of Women Voters analyzed Ryan’s proposal and calculated that the voucher system would pay only 32% of the cost of covered procedures, leaving patients to pay the other 68% of the cost. Read Time Magazine’s piece on medical costs here.]

Obviously, last November’s election didn’t change the dynamics in Washington.

What is it going to take, to do that?

GOP House members still in a “fighting” mood?
Could be very costly.

Last person leaving, please dock the doors
Hoping for bipartisan cooperation, now that the election is over?  Think again.

The weekend before the inauguration, Republicans gathered in Williamsburg to discuss strategies for “fighting” the President.  Just a week later, former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan was telling a gathering of conservatives that “Republicans control both the House and most of the statehouses.  So we have to oppose the president and the Senate on some fronts—and engage them on others…”

Does that sound like cooperation to you?

Looks like it’s going to be an interesting next few months.  Two dates to mark on your calendar:

  • On March 1st, the sequestration cuts are scheduled to go into effect.  Cutting government services through these automatic, across-the-board cuts is expected to send the economy back into recession.  One example:  according to a study commissioned by the airline industry, the FAA’s share of the sequestration cuts is about $1 billion a year.  That cut would reduce the nation’s air traffic between 5% and 10%, and the country would lose between 66,000 and 132,000 jobs related to air transportation.  The irony?  The economic losses would cause tax revenues to drop by as much as $1 billion a year.  (Hmmn… $1 billion in tax revenues lost because of a $1 billion spending cut.  Not a whole lot of deficit-reduction going on, is there?)
  • On March 27th, the “continuing resolution” that funds federal government will expire.   That means a possible “government shutdown”According to Politico, a majority of GOP House members “are prepared to shut down the government to make their point. House Speaker John Boehner ‘may need a shutdown just to get it out of their system,’ said a top GOP leadership adviser.”

What happens if the government shuts down?  Federal employees who are deemed “essential” are still required to go to work – they just don’t get paid until after Congress approves a bill to pay them.  The last time there was a significant government shutdown, almost a half-million federal employees were required to work without pay for three weeks.

The economic damage went far beyond the family finances of federal employees.  The crisis also caused 11 states to suspend unemployment insurance, due to lack of federal funds.  Veterans’ services were suddenly unavailable (including counseling, vocational rehabilitation, and pension and education payments).  The crisis affected the oil industry, leaving more than 10,000 barrels a day untapped while companies waited for federal reviews.  The tourism industry suffered millions of dollars in losses each day of the shutdown, because passports and visas were not processed.   The housing industry suffered when $800 million worth of mortgage loans were delayed.  The crisis halted cleanup of 609 toxic waste sites.  It left hundreds of thousands of children in limbo, waiting for foster care or adoption.

And that was only a partial government shutdown.  Most of the government still had funding, during that shutdown.  (Just imagine what may happen on March 27th!)

There’s a moral here, folks.  Government services are integral to our nation’s economy.

Is there any hope that Congress could learn that lesson, in the next month or so?  Or is the GOP going to insist on doing economic damage, “just to get it out of their system”?

 

Less than a month to go! Republicans are chasing wild geese while the federal government heads toward default

Canadian GeeseThere’s less than one month to go until the federal government can’t fudge its debt limit anymore. Last week, the US Treasury announced it could run out of artificially-created “headroom” as soon as mid-February.

Ever since then, Republicans have been trying to turn the debt-limit headlines to their advantage. But if you look closely enough at these “wild goose chases”, they just show the growing distance between GOP rhetoric and the reality the rest of us are living in.

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Their first idea? Wait things out. Then, once the Treasury runs out of headroom, just pick and choose which bills to pay. Or, in Republican-speak, “prioritize spending.” Their priorities, according to Reuters: pay the bondholders first; then pay Social Security and military salaries.

The first problem with this idea? The Treasury’s Inspector General has already told Congress that “prioritizing spending” is not – at this point in the crisis – actually possible.

Treasury noted that it makes more than 80 million payments per month, all of which have been authorized and appropriated by Congress… Treasury’s [accounting and computer] systems are designed to make each payment in the order it comes due.

In other words, the system simply isn’t set up to pay some bills and ignore others. How long would it take to completely restructure the federal government’s payment systems, in order to “prioritize” which bills get paid? Undoubtedly longer than the debt-limit “headroom” will last.

Second problem with this idea? How much money will it cost, to restructure the Treasury’s payment systems? Maybe some GOP campaign contributor would be the only IT vendor qualified to make those changes. But wouldn’t that money be better spent on other things?

Third problem with this idea? Stop and think about this, for a minute. Do we really want our country to stop paying its bills, even just some of its bills? Do we really want our country to fulfill its obligations to a select few, and ignore the rest? What would that say about America? (Maybe this is really the first problem with this idea. What are the Republicans thinking?)

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So then, the Republicans went off to a retreat at the Kingsmill Resort in Virginia. (I’m guessing the GOP missed the irony in starting Martin Luther King Day weekend at a former slave plantation. Whatever happened to the Party of Abraham Lincoln?)

There, among three championship-caliber golf courses, GOP members announced their newest idea to deal with the debt limit crisis. The House GOP will concede to a three-month increase in the debt limit, but only if Congress passes a budget within those three months.

Peter PanOk, it’s starting to sound like Peter Pan’s “Neverland” here. Congress created the debt-limit crisis by approving spending but refusing to authorize the debt limit increase. Now the GOP wants to postpone that crisis by creating another crisis.

If nothing else, this really ought to draw attention to just how dysfunctional Congress has become in recent years. They’re answering one failure of Congress with another failure of Congress.

Yes, passing a budget is one of the Legislature’s most fundamental responsibilities. And yes, it has been years since Congress actually passed a federal budget. But isn’t it time to ask, why?

Think about the usual budget process (which is very similar to the way New Hampshire’s Legislature passes the state budget). Usually, the House passes a version of the budget. Then the Senate passes a version of the budget. Then a conference committee figures out a compromise between the two versions. Then the conference version goes back to the House and the Senate for an up-or-down vote.

Do you really think the House and Senate are going to be able to agree on a version of the budget in the next three months?  Congress has been at a stalemate for years.  The last Congress was the most unproductive Congress since they started keeping records.  [Want to know what they did manage to agree on? 17% of the bills that were actually passed involved naming post offices or other public buildings].

But now, after a few days’ “retreat” at a plantation-turned-resort, House GOP members think they’re going to be able to turn this situation to their advantage.

No word yet on whether this latest Republican goose-chase is going to amount to anything more than just weekend headlines.

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Wondering what’s the latest on that “headroom”?

If you remember, our federal government hit the debt limit on December 31st, and the US Treasury started taking “extraordinary measures” to keep the country from defaulting on its obligations.

Smashed Piggy Bank RetirementLast week, the Treasury started starting paying government bills by using federal employee retirement funds to create “headroom” under the debt limit. The “G Fund” is a 401(k)-style retirement program with more than 3 million enrollees, including members of the military.

The law allowing retirement monies to be used to create “headroom” also promises to make members’ accounts “whole” after the crisis has passed. That’s what happened the last time there was a debt limit crisis, back in August 2011; and what happened after the debt-limit crises in 2006, 2004, 2003, and 2002. [Wait… am I just imagining there’s a correlation between debt-limit crises and the Bush-era tax cuts?]

But there’s no word on what happens if this particular debt-limit crisis isn’t solved.

And, no word on what happens if House Republicans decide they want to “reform” federal employees’ retirement benefits again.

———-

And yes, those unaffordable-but-Congressionally-mandated US Postal Service payments are part of the “extraordinary measures” the Treasury is now taking to keep our government from defaulting on our debt.

“The Postal Service would still have positive net revenue today except for … a requirement that Congress imposed on it in 2006. No other public or private business in America faces this onerous requirement.” Read the letter signed by 82 Members of Congress here.

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One last word about Paul Ryan: he must truly be a special guy. Ordinarily, he would have been replaced as House Budget Committee Chairman this year because of GOP “term limits”. It looks like at least three other GOP Committee Chairs will lose their positions, but Speaker Boehner has already decided to give Chairman Ryan a waiver and allow him to stay on. Read more here.

In Granite State Debate, Hassan the Clear Choice to Keep New Hampshire Moving Forward

 

Lamontagne Makes Desperate Last-Ditch Effort

to Hide His Radical Agenda

Maggie Hassan offered a clear vision for growing New Hampshire’s economy and creating jobs during tonight’s Granite State Debate, while Ovide Lamontagne made a last-ditch effort to mislead voters about his radical agenda, including not telling the truth about his opposition to statewide kindergarten, his support for teaching creationism in public schools, and his ideas for restricting a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.[Opposes kindergarten; supporting creationism; radical on women’s health]

Hassan’s innovation plan will provide technical assistance, tax credits and workforce training to help businesses grow and create jobs. As Governor, Hassan – who has been endorsed by Governor John Lynch – will balance the budget without a sales or an income tax.

“Maggie Hassan offered a clear and forward-looking vision for New Hampshire in tonight’s debate. She has a plan that moves New Hampshire forward by helping our businesses grow  and helping our families succeed,” said Matt Burgess, campaign manager for Hassan for Governor.

“The choice was as clear tonight as it has been in every debate: as governor, Maggie Hassan will keep New Hampshire moving forward, while Ovide Lamontagne’s radical agenda will take our state backwards,” Burgess said. “Ovide Lamontagne was clearly desperate tonight in his attempts to mislead voters about his radical agenda, but he can’t hide the fact that he truly believes in extreme ideas that will hurt middle-class families and New Hampshire’s economy.”

Hassan outlined her “Innovate NH” jobs plan, which focuses on building the best workforce in the country, providing tax credits to businesses, and giving businesses technical assistance to help them create jobs.  Hassan worked closely with Governor Lynch to balance the state budget, without an income or a sales tax, by making the tough decisions necessary to cut state spending during the height of the recession, leading to a surplus. As Governor, Hassan will veto an income or a sales tax.

Hassan’s forward-looking vision stood in stark contrast to Ovide Lamontagne, who desperately tried to mislead voters again and again about his radical ideas to eliminate the guarantee of statewide kindergarten, reject federal funding for public schools, pull the state out of Medicare, and restrict a women’s right to make her own health care decisions. And Lamontagne continued to repeat untrue attacks against Maggie’s fiscally responsible record of balancing the state’s budget. Ovide’s claim about the state deficit has been deemed “false” by PolitiFact NH[i] and his statements about spending increases under Maggie Hassan’s leadership have also been debunked by fact checkers.[ii]

During her time in the State Senate, Maggie Hassan worked with Governor Lynch to keep the unemployment rate low, maintain one of the lowest tax burdens in the nation, and cut the high school drop rate in half while making the hard choices to cut spending, balancing the budget and leaving a surplus without an income or sales tax.

Hassan will continue moving New Hampshire forward on the path that Governor Lynch has set, and she has been endorsed by numerous organizations including the New Hampshire Police Association, New Hampshire Troopers’ Association, National Education Association New Hampshire, American Federation of Teachers New Hampshire, and many more.  She has also been endorsed by newspapers across the state, including the Concord Monitor, Keene Sentinel, Portsmouth Herald, and Nashua Telegraph, which also endorsed Republicans Mitt Romney and Charlie Bass.  The Telegraph praised Hassan’s “well-reasoned and bipartisan leadership” and expressed concern about Lamontagne’s “worrisome statements” on education, noting that his radical idea to end statewide kindergarten would mean “local school districts would be on the hook to pick up [the] costs, and that means higher property taxes.”[iii]

Ovide Lamontagne has said he would be a “radically different” governor than Gov. Lynch[iv], with extreme ideas that would eliminate statewide kindergarten[v], reject federal funds for local schools[vi] and ignore rising tuition costs caused by cuts to higher education.[vii] He supports plans to dismantle Medicare[viii], criminalize abortion and limit insurance coverage for birth control[ix], and defund Planned Parenthood, increasing costs for critical health care services for New Hampshire women and families.[x]


[i] http://www.politifact.com/new-hampshire/statements/2012/jul/29/new-boston-republican-committee/new-boston-gop-says-dems-left-deficit/
[ii] http://www.politifact.com/new-hampshire/statements/2012/oct/12/ovide-lamontagne/republican-lamontagne-paints-opponent-hassan-tax-a/
[iii] Maggie Hassan for Governor, Nashua Telegraph, 10/29/12
[iv] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkr_WSOovsk&feature=relmfu
[v] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxH9OfqFO2s&feature=player_embedded#
[vi] Ovide rejected federal money to help K-12 NH public schools raise educational standards [Concord Monitor, 8/9/2010] and has said he would do it again [WGIR, 7/24/2012]
[vii] Ovide has said tuition increases were not of “utmost concern” [WMUR, 9/6/2012]
[viii] Ovide supports Paul Ryan’s voucher program to end Medicare as we know it [NH Farm Bureau, 8/2012]; believes state legislature should opt-out of Medicare and run program itself [Union Leader, 2/10/2012]
[ix] Supports a “Human Life Amendment” that outlaws all abortion, and even some forms of birth control and fertility treatments [Cornerstone debate, 6/5/2010]
[x] Ovide supports Bill O’Brien’s decision to completely eliminate Planned Parenthood

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