Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Sunday, August 13, 2006


A group of Congressional Republicans, led by House Majority Leader (*and sent to do this by J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), John Boehner (Ohio), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (Calif), and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn), orchestrated a shameless taxpayers ripoff at 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning, July 29, giving the America's wealthiest 7-8,000 families what could amount to a $1 trillion tax cut over the next decades. Through the worst kind of parliamentary chicanery, this group of GOP zealots bundled the first hike in minimum wages in a decade, and a package of needed small business, middle class, and R&D tax benefits, into a bill that vastly and permanently cuts the estate tax for America's super-rich, thereby extorting Congress to choose between vitally needed measures or a defeat of the $1 trillion taxpayer ripoff on behalf of the super-rich.

By a vote of 230-180, the House ultimately passed the marathon bill, and departed Washington for a five-week recess until after Labor Day, leaving the Senate to take up the measure the week of July 31. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) vowed that the entire measure would be defeated, to avert the trillion-dollar tax ripoff, however, this wipes out the vital package of tax relief and an urgently needed, long overdue hike in the minimum wage.

One senior Congressional staffer, contemplating the arrogance of the Republican cabal that pushed through the estate tax cut scam, complained bitterly: "These people are out to shut down the Federal government altogether. They do not want the government to function on behalf of the needs of the American people. This is beyond the pale."

Rep. Charles Nagel (D-NY), the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, had issued a press release 2 days before the final vote, preemptively denouncing the GOP ploy in the most blunt terms. "The reputation of Congress is at stake, as the House Republican Leadership holds the pension bill and the tax extenders hostage for the benefit of a wealthy few. Millions of hardworking Americans are looking to Congress for some assurance that their life savings and pensions will be secure, yet we find House Republicans catering to the whim of less than 1% of the American people who are eligible for estate tax relief." The press release noted that the estate tax bill component would benefit "roughly 7,500 of the wealthiest families in America, at a cost of nearly $300 billion." Rangel asked: "How in the devil is this small group of people so powerful that they can hold hostage legislation that affects millions of working families?"

The release noted that "among the many popular provisions that have expired, or will expire by the end of 2006, are the extension of the credit for research and development, deduction of State and local sales taxes, deduction for qualified tuition, work opportunity tax credit, and extension of qualified zone academy bonds." These legitimate tax benefits must be renewed every two years.

Rep. George Miller (Calif), the ranking Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, issued a seperate press release following the 1:30 a.m. vote, also denouncing the GOP action.: "In a cynical effort to provide political cover to vulnerable members of their party, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives this morning passed a minimum wage increase that stands little chance of approval in the U.S. Senate because it is coupled with massive tax breaks for the wealthiest estates in the country. Democrats had offered alternative legislation, raising the minimum wage without including the controversial tax provisions, but Republicans defeated it."

Miller, who had been working for months on the minimum wage hike and a viable bill to salvage the nation's private employer fixed-payment pension system, was quoted: "Republicans have killed this chance to give a raise to the millions of American workers who need it most, but Democrats will not stop fighting for a minimum wage increase. What American workers deserved was a straightforward vote in Congress on whether or not to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour. What they got instead was one of the most shameful and cynical acts of political deception that I have ever seen. It's no wonder that the American people are so fed up with the ways things work in Washington, D.C."

In addition to the fact that the estate tax "poison Pill" was attached to the minimum wage bill, to ensure that it would be either killed, or trumped by the massive tax give-away to those who need it least, the bill that was finally attached to the legislation at the last moment, was significantly watered down from the minimum wage plan put forward by the Democrats. The GOP bill excluded more than 1.8 million workers from the minimum wage gain , and imposed an actual minimum wage "cut" on restaurant workers and others who receive gratuities. It also "eliminated" the extension of the minimum wage boost to the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. territory that houses slave labor sweatshops, boosted by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) and his former K Street lobbyist crony, Jack Abramoff.

"Republican leaders are holding a minimum wage increase for 6.6 million workers hostage to tax breaks for just 8,200 families," Miller continued. "It's hard to decide what's worse: that Republicans still won't allow a vote to increase the minimum wage with no political strings attached, or that Republicans believe the American public would be fooled by their sham minimum wage bill."

This act of politicl treachery by Boehner, Thomas, and Frist has also infuriated some more honest Republicans, including Charles Grassley (Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Grassley along with Mike Enzi (R-WYO), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, had been pressing for the tax extenders to be added to the pension bill, which had finally come out of House-Senate conference, and which also passed the House the week of July 24, and will likely be approvd by the Senate. Grassley called a leadership meeting on July 27, to confront Thomas and other House Republicans on their efforts to sabotage these vital small business, R&D, and middle class education tax breaks, by attaching them to the estate tax. House Republicans flat-out boycotted the meeting and refused to confer with the GOP Senators, before pulling their late-night stunt. Only July 29, Grassley told the Washington Post, "When my credibility is abused and used, I resent it." He said that he had been "stabbed in the back."

Loss of Revenue: Do the Math

Under the best possible estimates, the cost to the taxpayers of the permanent reduction in estate taxes over the next ten years, will be $268B. However, as the full cut in estate tax rate kicks in several years from now, if passed, the costs will balloon. According to a fact sheet prepared by the Democratic Staff of the Committee on Ways and Means, between 2011-21, an estimated $800B in tax revenue will be lost, and when interest on these revenues is factored in, the loss in Federal government tax revenues soars toward $1 trillion! According to the fact sheet, an average of 7,500 estates per year will get all the benefits from the tax cut, and an estate worth $20M (approx. 800-900 of America's ultra-rich families) will each get $5.6M in tax relief.

Senate Democratic Leader Reid, who has voted to defeat the measure---with a filibuster if necessary---told the Washington Post, "Republicans have made perfectly clear who they stand with and who they are willing to fight for: the privileged few."

***Need I say more? If you are not one of the very privileged few, then the Republicans aren't going to work for you, no matter what they tell you on the campaign trail. To do this when the House Republicans are in so much trouble this election season, is beyond arrogant. They don't care what you or I have to say or think about anything! They have only proven that they could care less about the "real" American people! Anyone who votes for them is crazy! They could care less about you. Show them that you could care less about what happens to them this election season. Just let them fade into history. Think about it. What have these Republicans and this Republican administration done for you since they came into power? If you have to think, then they are not the ones for you. If you can name off a lot that has been taken from you since they took over, then get rid of them. It is your individual choice!

By: Jeffrey Steinberg
August 2006


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