Tag: Charles Schumer

Newly Serious Budget Debate or Same Old Talking Points?

Budgets and deficits and debt dominated the Sunday TV news-chat shows, and the partisans brought us a mixture of principled arguments and same old talking points.

Unfortunately, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) favored the latter in his appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” From the transcript:

SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER: You need to share sacrifice. And we believe that, for instance, defense cuts should be greater than Ryan proposed. You can’t– there’s waste there like everywhere else. And even more importantly there have to be revenues. If you’re going to reduce the deficit, how do you allow the oil companies to get huge subsidies? Which was based on a time when oil was seventeen dollars a barrel not a hundred? How do you give tax breaks for multimillionaires and companies that send jobs overseas and yet decimate middle class programs? So it’s got to be–
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): You’re– you’re– you’re talking–
SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER (overlapping): –fair. It’s got to be fair and across the board.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But you say it’s got to include revenues so you’re talking about raising taxes?
SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER: Well, there are revenues in terms of oil company liabilities. There are revenues in terms of tax breaks to corporations that go all overseas. But I think many of us feel that tax breaks for millionaires is part of that shared sacrifice absolutely.

These were the same bogus arguments made against extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts last year, and Schumer’s attacks on “tax breaks for millionaires” are just a repeated bid for raising taxes on small business. Remember:

  • More than 70 percent of manufacturers file as pass-through entities and pay taxes at the individual rate. (See here and here.)

The accusations against oil companies are also old hat, as well as representing terrible tax, energy and economic policy. A study performed by Wood MacKenzie for the American Petroleum Institute last year reported, as per API: “Raising taxes on the industry with no increase in access could reduce domestic production by 700,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day (in 2020), sacrifice as many as 170,000 jobs (in 2014), and reduce revenue to the government by billions of dollars annually.”

Sen. Schumer’s policy prescriptions are not good, but what’s interesting is that they have also proved to be bad politics. Remember how the debate extending over the 2001 and 2003 turned out in last December’s lameduck session of Congress?

From The White House, Dec. 17, 2010, “The President Signs the Tax Cut & Unemployment Insurance Compromise: “Some Good News for the American People this Holiday Season.”

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DISCLOSE Act, Cloture Vote Today, Various and Sundry

The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. today and debates a motion to proceed to S. 3268, the DISCLOSE Act, with a cloture vote scheduled for 2:45 p.m.

Several developments:

President Obama made a statement in the Rose Garden Monday afternoon in support of the legislation. The President portrayed people he disagrees with as bad actors, who seek to subvert U.S. democracy and silence critics. The statement was shockingly hostile toward the companies that create jobs in the United States.

At a time of such challenge for America, we can’t afford these political games.  Millions of Americans are struggling to get by, and their voices shouldn’t be drowned out by millions of dollars in secret, special interest advertising.  The American people’s voices should be heard. 

A vote to oppose these reforms is nothing less than a vote to allow corporate and special interest takeovers of our elections.  It is damaging to our democracy. 

Accusing business leaders and corporations of malign intent reinforces the sense of uncertainty that afflicts the economy.  The message to business: Join us in Recovery Summer, invest in America, you corrupt merchants of greed.

The Washington Post this morning editorialized again in favor of the DISCLOSE Act.  “Vote for disclosure” is restatement of familiar arguments — and familiar omissions. It’s irritating to read an editorial from a major newspaper on disclosure that fails to report that the speech-chilling DISCLOSE Act would not apply to media outlets like the Post, which would be free to editorialize, publish opinion columns, and slant the news with its motivations and interests all kept under wraps. That’s the First Amendment at work, of course, but newspapers editorialists should acknowledge their self-interest: The DISCLOSE Act reinforces the power of mainstream media to shape public opinion.

The National Association of Manufacturers sent a Key Vote letter to the Senate yesterday reaffirming its members’ strong objection to the DISCLOSE Act. The letter is here.

Also Monday, 309 business groups and trade associations (including the NAM) joined in a letter stating their objections to the legislation. To those critics who claim big business and foreign corporations are out to scuttle the legislation, we offer these signators: The Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce, the IEC of the Texas Panhandle, Nebraska Agri-Business Association, Transportation Intermediaries Association. There are more than 300 more.

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Senate Wants to Move Quickly on Imposing New Speech Limits

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) introduced his legislation to address America’s campaign finance laws recently affected by the Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling. Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) will sponsor a companion bill in the House.

Shopfloor has already highlighted some of the problems with what is being called the DISCLOSE (Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections) Act.

Acronym aside, is democracy really strengthened by imposing limits on speech during elections?

Even with a busy Senate calendar that includes financial services reform and potentially climate change legislation, The Hill reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) plans to move the bill near the front of the Senate’s agenda.

Schumer said, “Leader Reid has pledged this bill will be on the floor before July 4.”

Proponents of the legislation are seeking swift passage in order for it to have maximum impact on this fall’s Congressional elections.

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Restricting Speech: Now the Legislation

From Politico, “Democrats move to blunt Citizens United ruling

In the coming week, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) plan to unveil legislation to close campaign-finance loopholes opened by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The legislation was written in consultation with the White House.

Loopholes? You mean the free speech protections affirmed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?

The Hill also covers the anticipated legislation, “Watchdogs urge swift passage of campaign finance revisions bill.”

Watchdogs? You mean the activists who guard against the expression of any speech they disagree with?

The report notes fierce opposition from business groups to one provision in particular.

They are particularly incensed about a provision aimed at curbing the appearance of corruption and possible misuse of taxpayer funds, by barring any entity with a government contract worth more than $50,000 from spending money in elections.

Thereby making the expression of opinion subject to a government veto.

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Tax Credit for Hiring: It’s Not Even That Good of Politics

From USA TODAY, “$5,000 tax credit for each new job a big part of Obama’s plan,” reporting on the President’s State of the Union reaffirmation of a campaign pledge, “I’m also proposing a new small business tax credit — one that will go to over one million small businesses who hire new workers or raise wages.”

There’s only one problem: Business groups say the credit won’t do much to boost hiring.

“I really don’t think it’s going to be much of an incentive,” says Bill Rys, tax counsel for the National Federation of Independent Business. “Mostly it is going to be used by businesses that would have been hiring anyway.”

The National Association of Manufacturers is promoting its own job-creation package, featuring a cut in corporate income tax rates and a more generous tax credit for research and development. The group considers those changes more important than the $5,000 tax credit.

“For those manufacturers who are looking to hire, this will help,” says spokeswoman Erin Streeter. “We don’t anticipate this tax credit being a reason for them to hire. Our members are going to hire if there is a long-term need.”

Erin is referring to the NAM’s new Milken Institute study, “Jobs for America.”

Very few people take the tax credit for hiring seriously as anything other than politics.

(continue reading…)

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