Tag Archives: democrats

Kansas panel delays ballot decision on Obama

Kansas panel delays ballot decision on Obama
Kobach seeks Democrat’s birth records from Hawaii
By Tim Carpenter

Three of the state’s top elected Republicans on Thursday determined they lacked sufficient evidence of President Barack Obama’s birth records to decide whether to remove the Democratic nominee from the November ballot in Kansas.

The State Objections Board comprised of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer postponed until Monday action on a complaint filed by a Manhattan resident pending review of a copy of Obama’s birth certificate from Hawaii.

“I don’t think it’s a frivolous objection,” Kobach said. “I do think the factual record could be supplemented.”

Requests were to be sent to officials in Hawaii, Arizona and Mississippi in an attempt to secure copies of the president’s birth records. Obama released a copy of his birth certificate last year, but detractors persist in advancing “birther” arguments that the Democrat lacked standing.

Removal of Obama’s name in Kansas — a state certain to side with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney — would be strange given the president’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and maternal grandparents, Stanley and Madelyn Dunham, were Kansas natives.

“My Kansas roots run deep,” Obama said during a trip to Osawatomie in December.

Joe Montgomery, who filed the ballot challenge with the all-Republican panel, said the president’s father held British and Kenyan citizenship, making Obama ineligible to run for the nation’s highest office.

Montgomery pointed to a handful of U.S. Supreme Court cases to support his claim a presidential candidate must be a “natural born citizen” from two American citizens.

“As for Mr. Obama’s citizenship, there are many doubts,” he said. “Doing the right thing can be hard and unpopular.”

A legal representative of Obama submitted a letter arguing the complaint had no merit.

No representative of the Kansas Democratic Party attended the hearing in a Topeka auditorium.

Dakota Loomis, spokesman for the state Democratic Party, declined to answer directly whether the complaint was justified. Instead, he criticized Gov. Sam Brownback’s approval of a bill reducing state income taxes.

“We’re focusing on Kansas candidates and letting people know about Brownback’s tax plan,” Loomis said.

Montgomery, who works at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, said Obama hadn’t provided valid documentary evidence to establish his birth in the United States.

In Montgomery’s written complaint, he declared “there is substantial evidence showing that much of Mr. Obama’s alleged birth certificates have been forged or doctored, and have not been confirmed as legally valid, true and accurate.”

Meanwhile, the state board decided Democrat Tom Sawyer could remain on ballots in Wichita as a candidate for the Kansas House. Craig Gabel, president of Kansans for Liberty and an advocate of Sawyer’s opponent in the November election, said Sawyer misrepresented on state documents his actual address.

Gabel referred to the residence listed on Sawyer’s candidate filing records as having been “abandoned.”

Sawyer said the home in question had been his address since 1993, and he was standing in the residence while participating on a conference call with the state board. He had spent considerable time the past few years caring for his elderly mother after she suffered a stroke.

“This is the only house I’ve ever owned,” Sawyer said.

Kobach said the board interpreted state law on candidate residency to require clear evidence with the burden of proof on the person filing a complaint. He said candidates were required to reside at the listed residence or demonstrate intent to return there in the future.

“I’ve been to Yellowstone once,” Gabel said in response, “but I’m not sure I’m going to return.”

The panel also declared the Reform Party of Kansas had authority to place on the state’s ballot Chuck Baldwin for president instead of the national organization’s choice. In addition, the board approved a request to remove presidential candidate Roseanne Barr from Kansas ballots.

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House Dems trained to make race the issue

House Dems trained to make race the issue
byJoel Gehrke

House Democrats received training this week on how to address the issue of race to defend government programs, according to training materials obtained by The Washington Examiner.

The prepared content of a Tuesday presentation to the House Democratic Caucus and staff indicates that Democrats will seek to portray apparently neutral free-market rhetoric as being charged with racial bias, conscious or unconscious.

Related: Training reveals that House Democrats fear minority vote is slipping away

In her distributed remarks, Maya Wiley of the Center for Social Inclusion criticized “conservative messages [that are] racially ‘coded’ and had images of people of color that we commonly see used” and proposed tactics for countering the Republicans’ (presumably) racially-coded rhetoric.

According to Wiley’s group’s website, “right-wing rhetoric has dominated debates of racial justice – undermining efforts to create a more equal society, and tearing apart the social safety net in the process” for over 25 years. Wiley had been invited to run the Democrats “through their strategy and how they message and talk about stuff” pertaining to race and fiscal policy, a staffer for Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., explained.

As samples of race-coded rhetoric, Wiley reminded the Democrats of statements by Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Of Gingrich’s famous comment about President Obama, her distributed remarks note, “Calling a Black man ‘the food stamp president’ is not a race-neutral statement, even if Newt Gingrich did not intend racism.”

But the threshold for what constitutes racially charged messaging is not always so high. One of Santorum’s cited comments was: “Give them more food stamps, give them more Medicaid is the administration’s approach, rather than creating jobs.” She also cited this comment from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., about raising taxes to fund government programs: “I’ve never believed that you go raise taxes on those that are paying in, taking from them, so that you just hand out and give them to someone else.”

Wiley, who did not respond to the Examiner’s inquiries yesterday, offered this warning to Democrats about talking to “someone [who] opposes racial justice” but could support Democratic policies: “Don’t make the mistake of telling them they’re in the problem. It’s emotional connection, not rational connection that we need.”

To that end, Wiley proposed the use of “race explicit” anecdotes to illustrate problems like the economic crisis. “Explain how each racial group is affected (recognize the unique pain of each group), but start with people who are White,” she wrote in her distributed remarks. “Then raise racial disparities.” For example, she offered the line: “Homeownership is the American Dream. It hurts the same to lose your home if you’re White, Asian, Latino or Black.”

Wiley urged Democrats to appeal to “white swing voters while building support among voters of color.” She explained that Democratic outreach to white voters needs to communicate that “people of color are in pain and it’s the same pain I, as a White person, would or do feel. It’s [about] humanizing people of color.”

SOURCE

A 62% Top Tax Rate?

A 62% Top Tax Rate?
Democrats have said they only intend to restore the tax rates that existed during the Clinton years. In reality they’re proposing rates like those under President Carter.

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By STEPHEN MOORE

Media reports in recent weeks say that Senate Democrats are considering a 3% surtax on income over $1 million to raise federal revenues. This would come on top of the higher income tax rates that President Obama has already proposed through the cancellation of the Bush era tax-rate reductions.

If the Democrats’ millionaire surtax were to happen—and were added to other tax increases already enacted last year and other leading tax hike ideas on the table this year—this could leave the U.S. with a combined federal and state top tax rate on earnings of 62%. That’s more than double the highest federal marginal rate of 28% when President Reagan left office in 1989. Welcome back to the 1970s.

Here’s the math behind that depressing calculation. Today’s top federal income tax rate is 35%. Almost all Democrats in Washington want to repeal the Bush tax cuts on those who make more than $250,000 and phase out certain deductions, so the effective income tax rate would rise to about 41.5%. The 3% millionaire surtax raises that rate to 44.5%.

But payroll taxes, which are income taxes on wages and salaries, must also be included in the equation. So we have to add about 2.5 percentage points for the payroll tax for Medicare (employee and employer share after business deductions), which was applied to all income without a ceiling in 1993 as part of the Clinton tax hike. I am including in this analysis the employer share of all payroll taxes because it is a direct tax on a worker’s salary and most economists agree that though employers are responsible for collecting this tax, it is ultimately borne by the employee. That brings the tax rate to 47%.

Then last year, as part of the down payment for ObamaCare, Congress snuck in an extra 0.9% Medicare surtax on “high-income earners,” meaning any individual earning more than $200,000 or couples earning more than $250,000. This brings the total tax rate to 47.9%.

But that’s not all. Several weeks ago, Mr. Obama raised the possibility of eliminating the income ceiling on the Social Security tax, now capped at $106,800 of earnings a year. (Never mind that the program was designed to operate as an insurance system, with each individual’s payment tied to the benefits paid out at retirement.) Subjecting all wage and salary income to Social Security taxes would add roughly 10.1 percentage points to the top tax rate. This takes the grand total tax rate on each additional dollar earned in America to about 58%.

Then we have to factor in state income taxes, which on average add after the deductions from the federal income tax roughly another four percentage points to the tax burden. So now on average we are at a tax rate of close to 62%.

Democrats have repeatedly stated they only intend to restore the tax rates that existed during the Clinton years. But after all these taxes on the “rich,” we’re headed back to the taxes that prevailed under Jimmy Carter, when the highest tax rate was 70%.

Steve Moore of the editorial board on the prospects for tax reform in Washington.

Taxes on investment income are also headed way up. Suspending the Bush tax cuts, which is favored by nearly every congressional Democrat, plus a 3.8% investment tax in the ObamaCare bill (which starts in 2014) brings the capital gains tax rate to 23.8% from 15%. The dividend tax would potentially climb to 45% from the current rate of 15%.

Now let’s consider how our tax system today compares with the system that was in place in the late 1980s—when the deficit was only about one-quarter as large as a share of GDP as it is now. After the landmark Tax Reform Act of 1986, which closed special-interest loopholes in exchange for top marginal rates of 28%, the highest combined federal-state marginal tax rate was about 33%. Now we may be headed to 62%. You don’t have to be Jack Kemp or Arthur Laffer to understand that a 29 percentage point rise in top marginal rates would make America a highly uncompetitive place.

What is particularly worrisome about this trend is the deterioration of the U.S. tax position relative to the rest of our economic rivals. In 1990, the highest individual income tax rate of our major economic trading partners was 51%, while the U.S. was much lower at 33%. It’s no wonder that during the 1980s and ’90s the U.S. created more than twice as many new jobs as Japan and Western Europe combined.

It’s true that the economy was able to absorb the Bush 41 and Clinton tax hikes and still grow at a very rapid pace. But what the soak-the-rich lobby ignores is how different the world is today versus the early 1990s. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, over the past two decades the average highest tax rate among the 20 major industrial nations has fallen to about 45%. Yet the highest U.S. tax rate would rise to more than 48% under the Obama/Democratic tax hikes. To make matters worse, if we include the average personal income tax rates of developing countries like India and China, the average tax rate around the world is closer to 30%, according to a new study by KPMG.

What all this means is that in the late 1980s, the U.S. was nearly the lowest taxed nation in the world, and a quarter century later we’re nearly the highest.

Despite all of this, the refrain from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and most of the Democrats in Congress is our fiscal mess is a result of “tax cuts for the rich.” When? Where? Who? The Tax Foundation recently noted that in 2009 the U.S. collected a higher share of income and payroll taxes (45%) from the richest 10% of tax filers than any other nation, including such socialist welfare states as Sweden (27%), France (28%) and Germany (31%). And this was before the rate hikes that Democrats are now endorsing.

Perhaps there can still be a happy ending to this sad tale of U.S. decline. If there were ever a right time to trade in the junk heap of our federal tax code for a pro-growth Steve Forbes-style flat tax, now’s the time.

Mr. Moore is a member of the The Journal’s editorial board.

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