Romney Has Proposed Weakening the Same Safety Net That He Says Is Why He Doesn’t Worry About the Very Poor – Coming off his big win in Florida, Republican front-runner Mitt Romney told CNN, “I’m not concerned with the very poor. We have a safety net there.” He later described the safety net as “very ample.”
Romney’s claim that the safety net is “very ample” suggests a lack of understanding . While safety net programs kept seven million Americans out of poverty in 2010, according to a study from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, government assistance fell far short of insulating all, or even most, poor Americans.
But his comment is especially tone deaf considering that Romney has proposed weakening many of these safety net programs. Under Romney’s proposed reductions in federal spending, it’s likely that Medicaid would be cut by $153 billion by 2016, the food stamp program would have to throw 10 million low-income people off the rolls, and a key program supporting poor children’s health would face cumulative cuts of $946 billion through 2021. As ThinkProgress’ Igor Volsky has said that Romney is living in a “dream world” when he claims his Medicaid cuts won’t hurt the poor.
And Romney’s tax plan suggests his focus is really on the wealthy, as it includes massive giveaways to upper-income earners and investors, while doing almost nothing for middle- and low-income Americans.
Government Cuts Are Holding Back Job Growth – The country added 243,000 non-farm payroll jobs in January. Private industry actually gained 257,000 jobs, but 14,000 police, firefighters, teachers, and other state workers were laid off by Republican cuts to government in order to give more to millionaires, billionaires, and corporate criminals.
U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Plunges To 40 Year Low – In recent decades, corporate tax revenue has plunged, falling from about 6 percent of gross domestic product in the 1950′s to less than 2 percent today, due to a proliferation of corporate tax breaks and the use of offshore tax havens. According to the Congressional Budget Office, in fact, corporate tax receipts as a share of corporate profits have hit their lowest point in 40 years.
Total corporate federal taxes paid fell to 12.1% of profits earned from activities within the U.S. in fiscal 2011, which ended Sept. 30, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That’s the lowest level since at least 1972. And well below the 25.6% companies paid on average from 1987 to 2008.
Even the 25.6 percent share of profits that went to corporate taxes over the last quarter century comes in below the top statutory corporate tax rate of 35 percent.
Meanwhile, corporate profits are currently at a 60 year high, rebounding back to above where they were before the Great Recession hit. At the same time that corporations are pulling in huge amounts of money, workers are seeing their wages shrink. Last year, real wages fell by 2 percent, and “many employees are also working longer hours and getting more done without raises or overtime pay.” “Part of the reason why business profits are so high is it is a zero-sum game, so labor is on the losing end of that,” said Aaron Smith, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics. “Businesses are getting more out of each worker they have.” (and not paying them for it-JLV)
The Komen Foundation’s Political Agenda – The Breast & Cervical Cancer Prevention & Treatment Act was crafted to provide Medicaid coverage for uninsured women diagnosed through the Breast & Cervical Cancer Prevention & Screening Act, which had been passed several years earlier. The Treatment Act was necessary because uninsured women were getting no-cost breast cancer diagnosis, but still had no means to pay for treatment. However, Komen opposed the bill because they felt that treatment for uninsured breast cancer patients should be funded through private donations, like the pink ribbon race. They spend a lot of money lobbying for a very different agenda. The bill passed anyway. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the end of Komen (and its founder, Nancy Brinker’s) political maneuvering to stall or kill legislation in Congress and in state legislatures that was supported by other breast cancer advocacy groups.
Komen fought behind the scenes to stall or kill the Breast Cancer & Environmental Research Act. In the end, they eviscerated it by removing new funding for environmental research and substituting a panel to review all research on breast cancer & environment. Using private funds, they recently collaborated with the Institute of Medicine to develop said report. Released last December, it sadly detailed the same old arguments that there’s no evidence of links between environmental toxins and that no further research should be done on the subject since everyone has those toxins in their bodies already. Instead they chose to blame breast cancer patients for getting the disease (more here).
In 2009, Komen lobbied behind the scenes to weaken the health care bill (ACA) as it was being debated in Congress. They hired Hadassah Lieberman, wife of Joe, in an effort to convince Joementum to vote against the Public Option. Komen spent over $1 million in 2008 & 2009, on behind the scenes lobbying related to the health care reform bill.
Oops: Florida Republican Forgets To Remove ALEC Mission Statement From Boilerplate Anti-Tax Bill – Progressives have long tried to expose the influence the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) wields in state house across the country, but one Florida lawmaker is making it too easy.
Funded almost entirely by large corporations, ALEC produces “model legislation” favorable to industry that state lawmakers can introduce as their own bills. Usually, the legislators tweak the language of the bills to make them state-specific or to obfuscate their origins. Usually, but apparently not always.
In November, Florida state Rep. Rachel Burgin (R) introduced a resolution (PDF here) that would officially call on the federal government to reduce corporate taxes, but she apparently forgot to remove ALEC’s mission statement from the top of the bill, which she seems to have copied word-for-word from ALEC’s model bill.
As the government transparency group Common Cause reports, “Burgin quickly withdrew the bill hoping that no one had noticed and then re-introduced it 24-hours later, with a new bill number (HM 717), but now without the problematic paragraph.”