Saturday, October 16, 2010

“Let's You And Him Fight” - A Game People Play In Dist. 17

Tax Reform 501(c)4 attacks Chet Edwards In Dispute About Corporate Tax Loopholes

The 8.5 by 11-inch glossy ads hit mailboxes from Burleson to Bryan bright and early Saturday morning.

Their alarming message – that Republican Congressional candidate Bill Flores wants to ship American jobs to places like China – is a unified Democratic Party message replicated all across the nation.

Is it true?

Any voter wearing a thinking cap has to take a long and dim view of Congressional performance since the Reagan Administration's tax reform putsch of the early 80's to make a decision on that account.

Here are the facts.

According to the collateral mailing from U.S. Representative Chet Edwards' campaign committee office in Waco,“During these tough economic times, we should do all we can to create and protect jobs here in Texas.

“But Bill Flores signed a pledge to protect special tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas.

“With our jobs at risk and our economy struggling, it's hard to understand why Bill Flores believes we should help companies ship jobs overseas.”

What kind of pledge did Bill Flores sign?

According to Americans For Tax Reform, the pledge consists of this – and nothing more.

“I _________, pledge to the taxpayers of the ____district of the State of _______, and to the American people that I will:

“ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses, and;

“TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates...”

The “pledge” is something that's been around for about 25 years. Its semantics call for the candidate to remain true to the constituents who elected him to public office, not the lobbying group known as Americans for Tax Reform.
Americans for Tax Reform is a 501(c)4 not-for-profit group that fronts for such corporate interests as Philip Morris, Microsoft, Time-Warner, Pfizer and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. This “civic organization” was founded inside the West Wing of the Reagan White House by Heritage Foundation veteran, the seasoned Capitol Hill lobbyist, Grover Norquist.

In fact, in 1999, tobacco manufacturing giant Philip Morris contributed $685,000 and the Choctaw Indians, $360,000.

A famous quote of Mr. Norquist's goes like this. “I want to reduce the size of government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”

He is also on record to the effect that "Barack Obama is John Kerry with a tan," in a statement he gave "The Los Angeles Times" in support of Senator John McCain, a man he once called "the nut job from Arizona."

The old boy is definitely from the garlic sandwich department.


Critics from both the left and right have referred to him as a "trash mouth."

He was a campaign staffer on the 1988, 1992, and 1996 Republican Platform Committees and executive director of both the National Taxpayers' Union and the College Republicans. He was a key grassroots proponent of House Speaker Newt Gingrich's Contract With America and made an early bid for alliance with Texas Governor George W. Bush long before he announced plans to seek the Presidency.

“Americans for Tax Reform is a wonderful-sounding name. As far as I'm concerned, it's a front organization for Grover Norquist's lobbying activities,” said former Senator Warren Rudman, (R-NH), a co-sponsor with Senator Phil Gramm, (R-TX), of the Gramm-Rudman Act, which slashed military spending in certain areas to the bone and opened the way for contractors such as Halliburton and Kellog, Brown & Root to get no-bid, non-competitive contracts to perform essential services during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the ongoing “War On Terror.”

Both multinational corporations, which are headquartered in Dallas and Houston, respectively, are heavily allied with the petroleum production, refinement and marketing industries.

In an article that appeared in “The Hill,” a publication dedicated to Congressional happenings in Washington, “Signing it has become de rigeur for Republican candidates for federal or statewide office.”

It occurs to The Legendary that the first mention of what turned out to be NAFTA I ever heard came from President Richard M. Nixon's Secretary of Commerce, Maurice H. Stans. During that time, National Security Advisor and later Secretary of State Henry M. Kissinger was laying the foundation for most-favored nation trade status for the People's Republic of China, and I am typing this on a MacBook Pro laptop that was manufactured by Apple in Shanghai.

I drive a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, a half-ton pickup, the parts of which were almost totally manufactured in Canada and Mexico. These parts were transshipped across the United States under a “transit and excise bond” and a single through-rate bill of lading, which allowed the exporter and importer to pay no import duties, then completely assembled by foreign workers in a plant near Monterrey, Mexico.

To reprise President Ronald W. Reagan's famous rhetorical question, “Are you better off now?”

Here is what I mean.

Is the percentage of your income you pay in taxes - state, federal and local - really and truly any smaller than it was back then?

Is it easier or harder to find employment that pays family-sustaining wages now, or was it easier to get employment that paid a living wage and offered health and retirement benefits then?

I put it to you, for it is not my place to tell you what to think.

Just take a quick armchair tour of the American “rust belt,” the now-idle “foundry” that extends from East Chicago to Detroit and its suburbs, the shores of Lake Erie at Cleveland, thence onward along the path of the old Erie Canal to Erie and Buffalo, and make up your own mind.

So mote it be.

I have spoken.

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