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A few well-written words can convey a wealth of information, particularly when there is no lag time between when they are written and when they are read. The IPS blog gives you an opportunity to hear directly from IPS scholars and staff on ideas large and small and for us to hear back from you.

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Entries tagged "2012 Elections"

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2012 Won't Be the Same without Herman Cain

December 5, 2011 ·

Herman Cain. Photo by Gage Skidmore.Nein! Nein! Nein!
Say it ain't so.
Oh dear Herman,
Please don't go!

Your chutzpah,
Your halo,
Your unrivaled hubris,
Your lack of embarrassment about being clueless.

We didn't care that your tax plan was dumb,
We didn't care that 9-9-9 made us numb.
Your policy of nuclear war was quite grand,
dictated by the mountainous terrain of Iran.

We didn't care if you knew nothing of Libya,
Gaddafi, Egypt,  Mubarak, or Namibia.
You loudly denounced women claiming sexual harassment,
It was they, and not you, who were the embarrassment.

We ate it up when you swore you had never done wrong.
That it was your charisma to which women throng.
When we watched the endless Republican debates,
We knew the others, next to you, were lightweights.

So what will we do now that you have stepped down?
Who will be the next bumbling clown?
I guess the job now falls to Newt.
But we really will miss you because you were a hoot.

Karen Dolan is an Institute for Policy Studies fellow.

Republicans Find the Culprit

June 18, 2011 ·

Oh, so that's who the Republicans are complaining about, Mitt Romney! You know — the unemployed guy just goofin off, schleppin' around the mansion, flying around on his private jet, stubbornly pursuing only one job, when he's better suited to so many less-desirable jobs. That guy.

That's the lazy, too-good-for-your-minimum-wage-job unemployed guy the Republicans refer when trying to cut off unemployment benefits. I wondered who that guy was.

Turns out he showed up at an event for unemployed workers down at Buddy Brew Coffee in Tampa Florida, according to New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny. A bunch of folks were telling their hard-knock stories about trying to survive without a job. Tom Yarrenton, for one, told Romney his story of being unemployed. At age 55, after 31 years as an auditor in the manufacturing industry, Yarrenton lost his job a few months ago. "I should tell my story," Romney told Mr Yarrenton and the other unemployed folks in solidarity. "I am also unemployed." Must've made them feel better.

Mitt Romney 
Mitt Romney thinks his last five years of permanent campaigning are the same as being unemployed. Creative Commons photo by Dave Delay 

I wonder if he should reassure the folks whose stories the National Employment Law Project is collecting. It might help R.P., a father of three, from Pembroke, New Hampshire, who recently lost his job as an IT technician, to know he's in the same boat as multimillionaire Mitt Romney. "I have sent my resume to over 250 companies since June 2010 and have had 6 interviews all of which told me I was either overqualified or underqualified," R.P. reports. "At this point I have started applying at fast food chains and janitorial companies but still cannot get hired. I broke down crying during an interview yesterday because I cannot stop thinking about what will happen if I can't find a job that at least pays me $250 weekly."

It couldn't be R.P. and Tom Yarrenton that Republicans are trying to throw under the bus by yanking unemployment benefits, could it? And the other almost 14 million unemployed Americans struggling to find jobs that aren't there? A congressional panel recently approved a GOP bill along party-lines that would allow states to take $31 billion of federal money that benefits the long-term unemployed and use it instead to pay down state debt. I couldn't figure out why they would want to do this. I heard the complaints about the lazy, good-for-nuthins sucking off the guvmint's teat instead of looking for work. But I didn't actually know of someone like that until the other day when the former Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential candidate spoke out in Tampa. The only problem is that Mitt Romney doesn't collect unemployment insurance. His government subsidy comes in the form of the Bush tax cuts for multi-millionaires.

Now that that the Republicans have found their culprit, I am sure they will switch tacks and extend unemployment benefits for the millions of suffering out-of-work Americans and let the tax cuts for the lazy goofin' off unemployed rich guys expire.

Newt's Campaign Implosion

June 10, 2011 ·

The bulk of GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich's senior staff abandoned him this week. "The professional team came to the realization that the direction of the campaign they sought and Gingrich's vision for the campaign were incompatible," said senior strategist Dave Carney.

Along with campaign manager Rob Johnson, Carney, already seemed weary of – and hardly loyal to – the former House Speaker. The two were also advising Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican who is reportedly weighing a presidential bid of his own. Sonny Perdue, a former Georgia governor and Gingrich's national campaign co-chairman, has also checked out, and signed on to Tim Pawlenty's campaign.

This debacle highlights why OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower has called Gingrich "the political gift that keeps giving."

It also underscores Donald Kaul's characterization of Gingrich. "Not only does he have enemies, his friends hate him," Kaul said in his latest OtherWords column.

Pawlenty's Tax Proposal Caters to the Richest Americans

June 9, 2011 ·

GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty observed the 10th anniversary of the Bush tax cuts by proposing $2 trillion in additional tax cuts, primarily for millionaires and global corporations.

The former Minnesota governor wants to eliminate the federal estate tax, the nation's only levy on inherited wealth. He wants to lower top tax rates on the rich from 35 to 25 percent. He wants to only tax income from work, not wealth — by eliminating all capital gains taxes.

This makes Tim Pawlenty a billionaire's dream candidate.

He sure knows how to mark an anniversary. The 2001 Bush tax cuts were a $2.5 trillion mistake that put us on the road to fiscal instability. At the time, Congressional budget analysts projected a $5.6 trillion surplus that supposedly would mount up over this past decade.

But even after the rosy projections turned to red ink, the tax cut bonanza continued. Congress engaged in a "decade of magical tax cut thinking," responding to each economic challenge with a one-point program: cut taxes for the wealthy and expand tax loopholes for global corporations. Pawlenty's absurd proposal is the latest articulation of the Republican Party's math-defying magical thinking.

Bob McIntyre, the director of Citizens for Tax Justice argued in 2001 that the tax cut was a bad idea — that it was overly tilted to benefit the rich — and would eventually lead to deficits. Last week, His organization released a report projecting that another 10-year extension of the Bush tax cuts would cost $5.5 trillion. Add in Pawlenty's tax program and we can look forward to $7.5 trillion more in red ink.

An Economic Policy Institute report points out that the Bush tax cuts cost over $2.5 trillion over the last decade. An estimated 38 percent of those tax cuts — almost $1 trillion — went to households in the richest 1 percent, those Americans with annual incomes that exceed $645,000. Pawlenty's proposals are probably even more regressive in terms of who benefits.

Recent IRS data reveals that the richest 400 U.S. taxpayers have seen their effective tax rates fall to their lowest levels since prior to the 1930s Great Depression. Their effective tax rate has fallen from 51.2 percent in 1955 to 18.1 percent in 2008, the most recent year that we have data for. According to the Citizens for Tax Justice, Pawlenty's plan would cut taxes for this richest 400 by 73 percent.

 There is some good news, however. The 10th anniversary of the Bush tax cuts has focused new attention on the irresponsibility of cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans and corporations even more. Grassroots groups convened actions and press events around the country to dramatize the link between the tax cuts and local budget cuts that worsen unemployment.

 Their message is getting louder and clearer: No more budget cuts until millionaires and corporate tax dodgers pay their fair share. Raising taxes on the rich has to be on the table going forward.

 Activists are also coalescing around a number of revenue proposals that could raise trillions of dollars over the next decade. One initiative is the Fairness in Taxation Act, introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). Her legislation would add additional tax rates for millionaires and generate $74 billion a year. "Middle-class and low-income families didn't create these budget deficits or reap economic rewards over the last generation," Schakowsky wrote in a Chicago Tribune op-ed. "So our nation's plan to get our fiscal house in order should not sacrifice the vitality of our middle class and our commitments to address poverty."

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