Trust Democrats on Fiscal Matters

There is a strong and pervasive myth that Republicans will lower taxes on the working class, and cut government spending.  Let’s examine the true history.

Ronald Reagan ran on a platform that included lowering your taxes.  However the way that taxes were “lowered” ended up costing the middle class more money.   In the end, most Americans were paying more in federal taxes in 1988 than they were in 1980.  The wealthy were definitely paying a lot less.

Reagan could never be called a “Tax and Spend” liberal.  Reagan was a “Don’t Tax the Rich but Spend Anyway” conservative. Reagan increased spending so much that by the end of his Presidency he had tripled the national debt.

George H W Bush was a different breed from Ronald Reagan.  The first President Bush actually believed that the national debt was a problem.  Even though he had promised no new taxes the top marginal rate was raised from 28% to 31% largely because he was concerned about the debt.   In my view, this was a fiscally responsible act, but Republicans slammed him for it.

Somewhere in the Reagan-Bush era I began to realize that Republicans were carrying water for the super wealthy and the big corporations.  This realization has been borne out for me by all of their actions ever since.  Sometimes they put a mask over it, but it is still there.  The Republicans’ raison d’etre is to carry water for the super wealthy and the big corporations.

The Clinton era brought a change to our fiscal woes.  Clinton raised taxes on the wealthy.  The top marginal rate was raised from 31% to 39.6%.  This did not sit well with the vast majority of the super wealthy, and the Republicans were more than willing to be their voice.  Republicans said this would cause a recession or a depression.  People would lose jobs and all sorts of bad things would come about with a tax increase on the top rate.

But, under Clinton, the top rate was raised without one Republican vote.  The recession never happened nor any of the other dire consequences predicted by Republicans.   President, Clinton reduced federal spending.  He also made a reduction in the debt.   The deficit was eliminated and replaced with a surplus.

Things were looking good in 2001 when George W Bush took office, but Bush took the mantle of “Don’t Tax the Rich but Spend Anyway” to a whole new level.  Bush decided that the surpluses were a problem and decided to get rid of them in short order.  He reduced taxes predominantly on the wealthy.  He conducted two wars which were not budgeted for.  He proposed Medicare Part D, but neglected to pay for it.

By the end of his Presidency, Bush #2 made sure that the super rich had tax reductions and the American  people had 3.7 trillion dollars added to their debt.

Then, what a mess was inherited by President Obama.   We were in two wars which demanded a lot of spending.  We had Medicare Part D which demanded spending. People lost jobs and sought unemployment benefits, more spending. We had a deep Recession which drastically reduced revenues which came into the government.  We also needed a stimulus to pull us out of the Recession.  (By the way, the stimulus worked we are a much stronger economy now than the countries that chose austerity)   We should not be surprised then that in Obama’s first year in office the deficit peaked at 1.4 trillion

Obama found himself in a big hole.  He stopped digging and began to fill it in.  Every year since 2009, Obama reduced the deficit.  The deficit fell from 1,413 billion in 2009 to 483 billion in 2014.  Yes, Republicans, I know you will say that Obama added more to the debt than anyone.  If you make this argument then you fail to see that when you inherit massive deficits and you are working tremendously hard to reduce them, you still add to the debt.

In fact, since 1974, the only years that the national debt has gone down have been in the administrations of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

What this teaches us is that in recent times the Democratic Party has been more fiscally responsible than the Republican Party.

In 2016, we need to look for a President and Congress who are willing to make our tax structure more fair and progressive.   Is it fair that a policeman pays a higher percentage of his income in taxes than a person who earns his money from investments, like Warren Buffet and Mitt Romney.  The Republicans don’t want to make the tax structure more progressive, because they are carrying water for the super wealthy and the corporations.

We need to look for a President who is willing to cut government spending.  The Presidents who cut spending have been the Democrats.  The Republicans talk about it but they don’t do it.

So when you go to vote, remember which party is carrying water for the super wealthy and the corporations, and which party is carrying water for you.

What Happened to the Middle Class?

I recently read the Labor Day message which President Eisenhower gave to the nation in 1959.  Here is some of what he said.

“One cannot look back over past Labor Days without a compelling awareness of the broad and constant improvement in the condition of our people, in the real wages they receive, and in the benefits they enjoy. American labor has advanced continuously to new heights of accomplishment.”

Later he adds “We recognize and protect the rights of employees to organize together and to bargain with their employers for an equitable share of the wealth they produce.”

I ask myself all the time “What happened to the middle class in America which was thriving in the 50’s and 60’s?”  Many people believe that their children will not do as well as they did.  The nation is not broke, but the money is mostly at the top.  How did things get this way?

In 1980, the nation fell in love with Ronald Reagan.  Reagan said that he had no time for the blame America first crowd.  He spirited in a renewed sense of patriotism which had taken a big hit after the debacles of Vietnam and Watergate.

Along with the renewed sense of patriotism, Reagan also ushered in other ideas.  Reagan began to oppose the unions, and the people followed his lead.  In the 1980’s union membership declined.  People believed that unions were part of the problem and not part of the solution.

Also, the people followed Reagan’s lead when he began reducing taxes.  The Reagan team told us that by lowering the taxes on the top earners, we all would benefit because they would create jobs.  As it turned out, however, this was the beginning of a great transfer of wealth from the middle class to the rich.  This trickle down approach has been the one uniting principle for the Republicans since the time of Reagan.

In addition to the Reagan tax cuts there were the capital gains tax cuts under Bill Clinton, and then the disastrous Bush tax cuts which were skewed heavily to the already rich.  All of these decisions benefited the super wealthy.  Bill Clinton did raise the top rate in his first year, and the Republicans predicted a recession which never happened, because trickle down does not work.

There is another factor which decimated the middle class.  The trade deals called NAFTA and CAFTA actually did create that giant sucking sound of job losses so presciently predicted by Ross Perot.

So I guess that is the Trifecta of middle class ruin.  Demonize unions.  Reduce taxes predominantly on the wealthy.  Engage in trade deals which results in the loss of good paying middle class jobs.

But you know what?  We are still America.  We have the vote.  I am sharing these ideas with you because I want America to be the best it can be.  I want our children to get college educations without going into debt.  I want every baby who comes home from the hospital to be covered by medical care.  I want people who work a forty hour week to be paid enough by their employers that they will not need to rely on food stamp assistance from the taxpayer.

I say raise the minimum wage.  Respect unions again.  Give tax incentives to companies who return jobs to the USA.  And speak up for the middle class.  The middle class is due for a raise.

 

Nancy Lorback

West Goshen Democrats

 

 

 

A Letter to the Unions

The unions sent people to help at our polls.  This is the thank you letter.

Bill Adams

Business Agent, IBEW Local 654

3729 Chichester Ave.
Boothwyn, Pa 19061-3135

November 9, 2014

Dear Mr. Adams,

I am writing to thank you for your support in the last election.  Even though we did not win this time, the Democrats in West Goshen will continue to stand with the unions, just as you stood with us in the last election.

I am specifically thanking your members who came out to Christ Community Church and to the Government Services Building .  These members don’t just talk the talk, but they walk the walk.

It is my belief that the most pressing problem in this country is the decline in the middle class.  It is also my belief that when the unions are strong, the middle class is strong, and when the middle class is strong the nation is strong.

Through working together we can strengthen the unions, the middle class, and the nation.

Thank you again for your help.

Sincerely,

Nancy Lorback

Zone Leader of the West Goshen Democrats

A Tribute to Dr. White

It is with great sadness that we learned of the tragic death of Dr. Robert White.  He contributed to the community unselfishly.  He helped to make our township such a wonderful place to live.  Dr White was a man who could embrace good ideas no matter who they came from.  He was not a partisan, he was a man dedicated to the service of our community.

Our sincere condolences go out to his family and many friends.

A Special Thank You

To Michele Vaughn and Bob Graham and Adam Thomas

Although the party has chosen new leadership, the West Goshen Democrats wish to extend our sincere thanks to all of you for the tireless work you have done over the years.  Also, we wish to thank you for all of the advancement which you have fostered in our progress here in Chester County.

If our party goes far it will be because we can stand on the shoulders of giants.

An important letter to Senator Toomey

I’m really disappointed in Sen. Toomey.  He (again!) filibustered the bill that would allow equal pay for women and he voted against a bill that would help people who depend on Medicare for their health care coverage.

Why is Toomey so repulsed by equal pay for hard-working American women that he will obstruct this bill at any cost?  Equal pay for equal work should not even be debated.  Toomey’s misogynistic behavior is unacceptable and should anger everyone, not just women.

Toomey also voted against the bill which delayed a quarter cut in pay doctors receive for treating Medicare beneficiaries, including the 2.3 million here in Pennsylvania.  If this bill didn’t pass, doctors would undoubtedly have turned senior citizens and even people with mental health challenges away due to skyrocketing costs for care.  I don’t know about you, but my elderly father would have been extremely upset if he had to give up a doctor that he has been seeing for years and that he trusts just because Toomey was too selfish.

The same thing is true for people with mental health challenges.  They often find comfort in consistency and a familiar face at the doctor’s office – not a stranger.   This bill also assists mothers and children by extending maternal, infant and early childhood home visiting programs.  It’s important that we help our mothers get the assistance they need to care for their children.

Yes, it’s true that the Medicare physician payment system needs to be fixed but voting against the bill was not the solution.  Thank goodness the bill that would help people who depend on Medicare for their health care coverage passed in the Senate with bipartisan support.

I think it’s sad and disappointing that Toomey would rather follow his own ideologies instead of helping Americans.  We will benefit as a country if women gain equal pay for equal work, and if we help senior citizens, mothers and children.  Shame on you Toomey for being short-sighted, selfish and irresponsible by not supporting women, senior citizens and children!!!

Sincerely,

Chris Fernandes

Susan Rzucidlo Takes a Stand Against Discrimination

Susan Rzucidlo is the endorsed Democratic Candidate for the 158th district of the PA State House.  She recently posted the following.

Susan Frezzo Rzucidlo
Susan Frezzo Rzucidlo 7:26am Feb 28
Please post

Rep. Gordon Denlinger, a Republican State Representative from Lancaster County, wants to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to allow people to discriminate based on “sincerely held beliefs.” A bill similar to the one in Arizona that attracted national news attention.

I have publicly stated my opposition to that bill in Arizona on my Facebook page and website because it affected my decision regarding if I should participate in an event being held in Arizona.

People around the nation were shocked when the Arizona Legislature sent a bill to “legalize discrimination” to their Governor. While I was pleased that she decided to veto the bill, I was shocked to find that the same kind of bill is being drafted right now in Pennsylvania!

It is time for a powerful voice to stand up and say “STOP” when legislators take away basic civil and human rights.

As reported on January 20th at Philly.com, under Denlinger’s proposed Freedom of Conscience Amendment, “employers, store owners, realtors, motel managers, etc., could deny jobs, groceries, homes or rooms to anyone offending their beliefs. Just as long as those beliefs are ‘sincerely held.'” While the language for that amendment has not yet been made public, the fact that it was even considered and is being written is beyond disturbing.

Help me deliver the message on November 4th that the people of Pennsylvania will not allow legalized discrimination.

PA Legislature Seeks to Weaken Unions

vs. Union Dues bill in H’burg

from John Hellmann, 2/1/14

First, here is a memo sent out to all the Pennsylvania House Representatives:

Posted:January 25, 2013 04:35 PM

From:Representative Bryan Cutler and Rep. Joe Emrick

To:All House members

Subject:Union Dues

Please find attached a copy of legislation we plan to introduce in the near future to eliminate the ability of unions to negotiate provisions in collective bargaining agreements that require the Commonwealth or municipalities to collect any form of union dues for representative unions.

Our legislation amends the Public Employee Relations Act (Act 195 of 1970) to eliminate the ability of public employers and representative unions to negotiate clauses in collective bargaining agreements which requires the deduction of union dues or political contributions from paychecks. It is important to note that several groups such as prison guards, firemen and policemen will not be affected by this proposal.

Since some of this money is used for political purposes we do not believe that the public employers funded by tax dollars should be in the business of collecting these fees for representative unions. Our legislation takes the public employer out of the “loop” when collecting such fees against non-members, and requires that the representative union collect these fees directly for their members.

We hope you will join us in supporting this initiative.

To be introduced as HB 1507

This is a flagrant attempt to divide public service workers and to weaken and destroy unions. Employees already have the option to opt out of union membership and pay only their “fair share”, i.e., a reduced payroll deduction to their union for representing them to negotiate pay, benefits and in grievance matters.

THIS BILL WOULD ELIMINATE COMPLETELY THE ABILITY OF UNIONS TO HAVE DUES AS A PAYROLL DEDUCTION.

The purpose of this bill is to undermine the ability of unions to exist.  This is one of the Tea Party’s favorite issues. Could you take a moment to call your state rep to oppose this legislation?

In Chester County, Representatives John Lawrence (PA-13th) and Dan Truitt (PA-156th) support it and in fact are cosponsors.  They need to hear that this is unacceptable.

Thanks.

Respectfully,

John Hellmann

Further comment, from Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

What’s happening right now in Harrisburg would make even the worst anti-worker villains—like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker—proud. The same corporate-funded groups and wealthy, right-wing billionaires who assaulted workers’ rights in Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan have set up shop in Pennsylvania.

They’re pushing for a paycheck deception bill that would silence the voices of firefighters, teachers and other public service workers who keep our communities safe. This bill would take away their rights to negotiate on issues that affect public safety, students, schools and public health and weaken their ability to fight for job security and better wages and benefits.

Call your state representative now and tell him or her to oppose attacks on working families by voting no on HB 1507.

We’re fighting back. On Tuesday, Jan. 28th, thousands of working people flooded the state capitol in Harrisburg to speak out against this dangerous bill. There were so many people that came out and filled the capitol rotunda that some people couldn’t get in, so they rallied outside in near sub-zero temperatures.

Legislators definitely heard us on Tuesday. But I can guarantee you that anti-worker, corporate-funded groups like the Commonwealth Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity will do everything they can to get this bill passed.

They want to tilt the balance of power even more in the favor of their corporate donors and they know there is no better way to do that than to take away the ability of workers to keep them in check.

We can’t let that happen. Call your state representative nowand tell him or her to oppose the paycheck deception bill, HB 1507:

In Solidarity,

Rick Bloomingdale
President, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO

Frank Snyder
Secretary-Treasurer, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO