Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Nancy Peloski loves the Jan Vermeer painting called THE GEOGRAPHER (see left). In a story on politico. com, she states, “I’m trying to save the planet; I’m trying to save the planet,” “I will not have this debate trivialized by their excuse for their failed policy.” See what the speaker is talking about at:
Nancy should listen to the late comedian George Carlin's SAVING THE PLANET rant on You Tube- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eScDfYzMEEw Warning- Mature content and language.
Weekly Opinion/Editorial
by Steve Fair

Tort deals with compensation for wrongs and harm done by one party to another's person, property or other protected interests. Tort reform refers to the idea of changing the law applicable to tort. The most contentious area of tort, and the area on which tort reform advocates focus is personal injury. The levels of compensation for accidents vary greatly between different states and jurisdictions, but there has been a general upward trend in the awards for compensation nationally, which has predicated the need for tort reform. The idea of lawsuit reform varies greatly between states, but currently Oklahoma has a competitive disadvanage vs. Texas.
In 2003, Texas Governor Rick Perry declared medical malpractice lawsuits a statewide crisis. Of the state's 254 counties, more than 150 had no obstetrician in 2003, and more than 120 had no pediatrician. Lawsuit reform became a driving force in the general elections of 2002. And when Texas voters gave Republicans majority of both chambers of the legislature, lawsuit reform was a top priority. House Bill #4 was adopted and The Wall Street Journal called the changes in HB 4 'Ten Gallon Tort Reform.' It has been referred to as a model bill by numerous commentators because it addressed so many changes needed to extinguish the litigation crisis.

According to Texas State Representative Joe Nixon, "Doctors were caught between rising medical malpractice insurance costs and lower compensation from insurance-provided benefit contracts and low Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement levels," "Combined with increasing hassles and demands to appear in court or in depositions, doctors were choosing to retire or leave Texas. In doctor-per-citizen ratio, Texas ranked 49th out of 50 states."
Since Texas passed the sweeping legislation, Doctors are flocking back to the Lone Star state. Seven thousand doctors have applied for licenses since the passage of lawsuit reform, and the state licensing board anticipates adding another 5,000 doctors in the next 15 months. And some of those doctors are coming from Oklahoma. According to Dr. William Oehlert, president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, there have been inquiries from Texas seeking OSMA's mailing list wanting to contact Oklahoma physicians about possibly moving south.

According to Oehlert, lawsuit reform is hurting health care in Oklahoma. He says it is becoming more and more difficult to get physicians to go into some fields, and some are either leaving practice or avoiding certain lawsuit-prone procedures. According to Oehlert, "I've been told that there are physicians leaving the state or - probably more appropriately - not coming into the state because of the reputation that Oklahoma has in being a lawsuit-friendly state."
Oehlert said that some doctors are leaving clinical practice, have stopped delivering babies and steer clear of ER room work because of the threat of being sued. Some rural areas report difficulty in attracting or retaining physicians, particularly in some specialties.

"The big thing is that our physician numbers haven't really increased significantly,"
Oehlert says. "And as our population ages, that's going to be a major area, in gyn, cardiology, internal medicine, family practice, general surgery, because those type of health problems that would be applicable to those physicians, you're not going to have the physicians."
Opponents of tort reform contend that supporters exaggerate the costs and ignore the benefits of the current tort system. For example, opponents of tort reform contend that lawsuits encourage corporations to produce safer products, discourage them from selling dangerous products such as some forms of asbestos, and encourage more safe and effective medical practices. But in reality the only benefit to the current tort system in Oklahoma is to the trial lawyers.
In 2007, the Oklahoma Senate passed an omnibus tort reform bill by a narrow vote of 25-23. The year before, a tort reform package passed the House of Representatives, but was killed in the Senate. During the 2006 election, the Democrats lost control of the Senate and were knotted up and tied, 24-24, with the Republicans. It was sent to the Governor, but he vetoed it on the last day he could legally do so- a Saturday. It went unnoticed by most Oklahomans. Henry’s veto was overturned in the House, but upheld in the Senate.
It was not a surprise that Henry vetoed the bill because his best buddies and biggest campaign contributors are trial lawyers. Henry during his first election bid, outlined twenty-one tenets necessary for tort reform. Seventeen of the provisions were included in the bill he vetoed. Henry said he concluded several provisions of the bill were unconstitutional and it unduly restricted Oklahoman’s ability to seek justice. He also thought the bill did not do enough to curb frivolous lawsuits. When Republicans take control of the State Senate in November, tort reform will not be far behind. Texas has put forth a reform model that has been sucessful. Sooners hate to lose to Texas in anything but on tort reform the Longhorns have beaten us badly.

Please check the Ethics reports for legislative candidates in your district. The Trial Lawyer lobby is not going gentle into that good night. They are contributing large amounts to candidates who if elected will work to stop tort reform! To check the candidates in your area, click on link: http://www.state.ok.us/~ethics/

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A reader sent this to me- it is a quick read and relates a conversation between Ralph and Jim (both retired) about federal taxes. Thanks to Tim Burns for sending it to me.- Steve

JIM....Ralph, there is a national election coming in November of this year, of which the outcome will greatly affect our tax liabilities. Did you know that?

RALPH....No Jim, I did not. In fact, I read an article recently in the U.S. News & World Report magazine by the Editor-in-Chief, Mortimer B. Zuckerman. In the article, he indicated that the middle-tier households earn between 45,000 and 90,000 dollars annually. This is the first time that I have heard a dollar figure for the middle income category for household earnings (husband and wife). Strangely, the political consultants on TV never say who the middle income earners are. They seem to only speak in generalities. My point is that I know that you and I both fall in that income bracket, and that the two political candidates running for President of the United States say that they will not raise taxes on the middle income earners if they are elected to office.

JIM....Well Ralph, I’ve got news for you. One of the candidates (the democrat) has said that he will let the Bush tax changes of 2001 and 2003 lapse on December 31, 2010, if he is elected to office. (This is called a sunset law in which a date is set for the law to be cancelled at the time that the law is written).

RALPH....But Jim, what has that got to do with us? We are just the little people (the low wage earners, and retired folks living on Social Security plus some investment income from savings over the years). The politicians all say that “we” are the ones they are looking after.

JIM....Now, listen carefully Ralph! I’m going to give you a run-down on the tax categories that affect the little people like us, not the upper income earners.
1. To arrive at your taxable income, you must first add up all your sources of income (social security, dividends from stock investments, interest from CDs, etc.) that make up your retirement income. This is called the Adjusted Gross Income or ( AGI ). Then, you must subtract the standard or itemized deductions and the personal exemptions for you and your wife. This will result in the bottom line, which is your Taxable Income. ( By the way, these deductions will be in the range of 16,000 to 18,000 dollars for a married-filling-jointly couple, who are over/under the age of 65.
2. Now this is where it gets interesting! Before 2001 and the Bush tax cuts, the starting tax rate was 15% on taxable income up to $45,200 ($27,050 for individuals), above which the tax rate leaped up to 28%.
But, the Bush tax changes introduced a 10% rate for the first time ever. In the first year, the first $12,000 ($6,000 for individuals) was taxed at 10%, and then taxed at 15% up to $46,700 ($27,950 for individuals). Now, over the past seven years, all tax categories have been adjusted and indexed each year for inflation, and for this year, 2008, the first $16,050 ($8,025 for individuals) will only be taxed at 10%, and at 15% from $16,050 up to $65,100 ($32,550 for individuals).
3. The other tax categories currently are 25%, 28%, 33%, and 35%, but I am only talking about the low income and low-middle income folks like us, in this conversation.
Also, there is one other tax break that we were given to assist our retirement income, and to encourage investments in our economy. The capital gains tax rate was reduced from 20% to 15%. But, even better, GET THIS, if you are in the 10% or 15% tax brackets and you own certain corporate stocks that pay dividends, you will be taxed only 5% on that dividend income. (Referred to as qualified dividends by the IRS).

RALPH....Wow! I have been turning my income records over to an AARP tax preparer, each year, and did not know that I was getting that much of a break on my taxes courtesy of Bush and the Republican Congress back in 2001 and 2003.

JIM....You know Ralph, if these tax laws are allowed to lapse on December 31, 2010, the tax laws now in effect will revert to the numbers prior to 2001, therefore, the 10% rate will return to 15% (a 50% increase); the 15% rate on the difference between $65,100 and $45,200 (using this years numbers compared to 2001) will return to 28% (an 86% increase); and the 5% rate will return to 15% or 28% depending upon whether or not you are still in the 15% bracket (a 300% or 560% increase because dividends will then be taxed as ordinary income).
And, what really chaffs me is that the talking heads on TV only talk about the big break that the “RICH” are getting (which is the difference between the previous 39.6% rate and the current 35% rate, which was a reduction of only 11.6%).

RALPH....This all sounds like a lot of extra money will be coming out of my pocket, and out of my grandson’s pocket if that democrat gets elected. My grandson is a low income wage earner, because he is working at any job he can get during the year part time to help pay for college expenses.

JIM....That’s right Ralph. Large amounts of money will be taken from us little people, and it will be used to support bigger and bigger government, filled with high payed bureaucrats, at our expense.
As an example, I made a calculation for a household with a taxable income of 58,000 dollars this year. That income would fall into the low end of the middle-tier household earnings that Mr. Zuckerman wrote about. I calculated that the tax would INCREASE by 3,366 dollars over and above what it would normally be for this year, if the tax code were to return to pre 2001. That income would include a mix of income sources, including some qualified dividends.

RALPH.... I’m going to take the last word in this conversation, and say WOW! again! It appears to me that a vote for the democrat candidate in November 2008 will be a vote against OUR own best interest, and against the best interest of ALL our friends and neighbors who have low income, or are middle-tier income households.

This conversation took place in July 2008.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
by Steve Fair
In just four months, America will choose a President. Other important races will be decided- from the local to the statewide level. Within the next ninety days you can expect most everyone you know to become a political expert and commentator on the elections. People who show little interest in politics for twenty-one out of twenty four months will somehow be completely qualified to perform a compenhensive SWOT analysis on every political race. Over coffee and donuts, they will argue their points with the fervor of a TV talking head. They will be convinced they know all the issues in a race, who is winning the race and the strategy necessary to get elected.

From the coffeshop to the bars, from family reunions to pulpits, politics will become the topic of conversation. But unfortunately most of the discussion will not be fact based. It will be based how the media has defined the issues and the “commentators” limited knowledge of politics.

Would you trust a surgeon to operate on you who only picked up a knife every four years? Would you allow a mechanic to work on your car who only worked on cars alternating years? Would you eat in a restaurant that only fired up their kitchen every twenty-four months? Yet, political candidates place their fate in the hands of novices and hobbyists- aka voters- every time they cast their hat in the ring.

Americans don’t stay engaged in the political process very long at a time. People start paying attention to politics from Labor Day to early November so candidates spend a huge amount of time and money in that short window getting their message out. Campaigns craft the message in the most positive simplistic form possible. And it works- political arm chair quarterbacks will debate the issues using the slogan laden messages and make their voting decision on shallow information that most often is not fact based.

The irony is those who will talk politics the loudest in the next ninety days are often not voters. When you vote, the local election board maintains a record of your showing up at the poll. That record is public record. Participation in an election by any individual can be verified by going to the local election board.

Amazingly it’s not just the political talkers who don’t vote, but there are candidates for office who are not regular voters. To be a candidate and not vote regularly is the height of hypocrisy. A principled candidate must have a record of voting in every election. To do otherwise is stating to those that do vote that none of this (politics/government) was important until “you got involved. Those who don’t vote at every opportunity show no respect for the process. Their walk doesn’t square with their talk. Candidates who do not show up to vote are political opportunists that should get their house in order before they start trying to rule ours.

Political scientists say there are two groups of factors that influence a voter’s decision. The first group of factors is sociological and includes the income, sex, religion, geography and education of a voter. The second group is psychological factors. They include party affiliation, electability and last, but not least, issues in the race. Finding out which of those factors influences the voter is a multi-billion dollar industry. Because few races are run on the issues, the real winners are the consumer (voter) behavior experts. Marketing a candidate like a jar of jelly, the marketers “brand” the candidate to fit the market. They are trained to "sell the sizzle, not the bacon," so they sell not just the candidate, but the image and idea of the candidate. It sounds professional and is effective, but using that logic a candidate doesn’t have to have substance- they only have o be marketable.

Every American has a responsibility to be an informed, intelligent voter that bases their voting decision on the issues. Every candidate, regardless of party affiliation, should be willing to provide upon request a detailed portfolio of the issues in their race and their position. If more voters would ask candidates for that information, perhaps we would weed out the opportunitist and truly change government for the better. There would be less money in politics, because voters would be doing due diligence and making informed decisions by interacting with the candidates. Issues have taken a back seat to image. Substance has been sacrificed for shallowness. From the Court House to the White House, Americans have become apathetic toward politics. Until that changes, the zeal to discuss politics will be there, but without knowledge.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Click on the link to go to the Oklahomans for Life website: http://www.okforlife.org/
Blogfather sees Netroots' growing clout
By Mike Allen 7/18/08 2:39 PM EST

AUSTIN, Texas — Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the Daily Kos political blog, told a huge annual gathering of online activists that they have shown their power and must continue pushing Democratic politicians to remain progressive. "We’re not still at capacity — we’re not at our peak,” Moulitsas said to applause from the crowd of just over 2,000 at the Austin Convention Center. “We’re the mainstream. … What we really don’t like are Democrats who are afraid to be Democrats.”
Q: You said once that Republicans reach out to black voters only “60 days before an election.” Is this channel an attempt to remedy that?
A: I think that’s the problem with the Republican Party: They don’t take advantage of these venues enough. I would hope that both parties and people of all stripes would say, “Hey, here’s a resource and an asset.” I don’t think we want [to be] a venue for Republicans. Republicans have venues today, and they don’t use them.

By Helena Andrews- 7/17/08

“There’s a whole lot more to the African-American community than entertainment and sports,” said J.C. Watts, the former Republican congressman from Oklahoma, who is switching gears from a newsmaker to a newsman. With the help of Comcast and DishNet, Watts plans to launch the first cable channel dedicated to the African-American perspective. (The only channels dedicated to African-American audiences today are BET and TV One, both of which have an entertainment focus.) The Black Television News Channel is scheduled to launch in early 2009. Just in time to inaugurate the first black president?

“Political news is just one facet of American life,” said Watts, who added that the channel will not have a partisan bent. So don’t worry — he has no plans to become the black Rupert Murdoch.
Barack Obama is selling access for contributions in his latest fundraising scheme. Like a rock star, Obama is auctioning himself off for $25 a chance. This may at first seem innocent, but if Obama is willing to sell access now, what happens when Barrick gets to the White House? Like his fellow Democrats- the Clintons- Obama may become famous for rewarding political donors with access. This scheme is likely illegal, but at the very best it's unethical. Someone from the McCain camp should be all over this.
~ Steve Fair
Going ‘Backstage with Barack
By Betsy Rothstein of THE HILL
Posted: 07/16/08 06:36 PM [ET]

He’s not boy-band extraordinaire Justin Timberlake, but Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, has backstage passes, too.

In a missive sent to Obama supporters Wednesday morning, fresh from the “mountain air” of Denver, the campaign offers voters the chance to contribute $25. In return, the supporter becomes eligible for an all-expense-paid trip to Denver for the last two days of the convention.
The campaign will select 10 lucky supporters from around the country; each can bring one guest.

The Obama campaign will provide airfare, accommodations and two days of convention activities — including a “private meeting with Barack before his historic speech.”

Donate $25 today, the note says, and you could go “Backstage with Barack.” The statement was sent from Steve Hildebrand, deputy campaign manager for Obama for America.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
by Steve Fair

Republicans and particularly conservative Republicans are generally defined by liberals as being rich, selfish, uncaring people. But the truth is conservative Republicans are the most generous and compassionate people in America.

Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks, an admitted life long liberal, has written a book entitled Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism. Brooks found that conservative Republicans who practice religion, live in traditional nuclear families and reject that notion the government should engage in income redistribution are the most generous Americans. Brooks says, "people who attend a house of worship give four times more money per year than people who don't." "For people who are deeply religious, there is the notion that religion or religious behavior and charity come from the same God-given impulse. In other words, God makes you charitable."

Kristi Hamrick, a spokeswoman for American Values, said Brooks' research is a breath of fresh air for conservatives tired of being lambasted by liberals as selfish. "Despite all the bad press that the liberals and elitists like to give people of faith," she said, "the truth is, that those Christian values of tithing, of helping the poor, of seeing the needy -- these things motivate the community of faith to give and to give generously and to give above and beyond the call."

Brooks was shocked himself at his findings. In the foreword of his book, he says, “These are not the sort of conclusions I ever thought I would reach when I started looking at charitable giving. I have to admit I probably would have hated what I have to say in this book.” And its not just money that conservatives give more of. They give more of their time and donate more blood than liberals.

Syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell said of Brooks findings, “While both sides argue that their opponents are mistaken, those on the left have declared their opponents to be not merely in error but morally flawed as well. So the idea that liberals are more caring and compassionate goes with the territory, whether or not it fits the facts. Those on the left proclaimed their moral superiority in the 18th century and they continue to proclaim it in the 21st century. What is remarkable is how long it took for anyone to put that belief to the test — and how completely it failed that test.”

Harvey Mansfield, professor of government at Harvard says about Brooks’ findings, “His main finding is quite startling, that the people who talk the most about caring actually fork over the least.” In effect liberals like to talk about compassion, but as former 4th district Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts says, “Republicans don’t measure compassion by how many people are on welfare, but by how few are on welfare.”

Liberals believe they are charitable because they advocate government redistribution of money in the name of social justice. They maintain conservatives are uncharitable because they oppose these policies. The key is understanding that liberals believe government spending is a form of charity. But its not really charity when its someone else’s money- the taxpayers money.
Government spending is not charity. It is not a voluntary sacrifice by individuals. No matter how beneficial or humane it might be, no matter how important the social program is government spending is still the redistribution of wealth- the robbing of Peter to pay Paul.

Liberals like to think and act globally. It’s often hard to lay out a general solution to a problem when that problem is affected by local conditions. The large organizations necessary to keep track of these endeavors require many layers of management, which does nothing for those whom the organization is trying to help. This actually becomes counter-productive since these time consuming positions become paying jobs, which tap resources that could have gone to help someone.

Conservatives would rather help their fellow man than ask someone else to do it for them. You'll find conservatives giving at church to support local shelters and food banks. They'll be helping out at the soup kitchen or visiting inmates in jail. While at the prison, they will work towards making the inmates aware of their duties in society so that they can truly be useful and responsible citizens when they are released.

Conservatives think and act locally. They look for and try to solve problems in their own communities and let other communities look out for themselves. It’s a lot easier to see the extent of the problem when it’s in your own community. Its also easier to find a way to solve it when you know what local resources are at your disposal- many times right in your hip pocket.

Bob Cleveland has an interesting contest going on. You can win dinner for two if you are the first to correctly ID the person in the photograph. Access his blog at: http://thatsjustbob.blogspot.com/
Ananias and Sapphira Must Have Been Liberals
Topic: The Good of Affluence
This blog entry from Doug Wilson is excellent- well worth the read! Thanks to Rev. Jeremy Fair for sending me the link:


Back in November of 2006, Steve Verdon wrote a column entitled Charitable Giving: Liberals vs. Conservatives. It is also worth a read. You can access it at: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/2006/11/charitable_giving_liberals_vs_conservatives/

And one more- Frank Brieaddy of the Religion News Service wrote an article a couple of years ago on this same subject. You can access it at: http://www.beliefnet.com/story/204/story_20419_1.html

Thursday, July 10, 2008

"The bottom line is he wants to find the best person for the job and not rush into
what is going to be a very critical appointment." Gov. Henry spokesperson Paul Sund
By Steve Fair
Governor Brad Henry has appointed a southeast Oklahoma banker, Steve Burrage, as State Auditor. Blackjack made the announcement at a news conference this morning. Evidently Burrage had been sworn in before the Guv introduced him to the public.

Henry said, “Steve Burrage has impeccable credentials and a reputation above reproach. He is without question the best person to serve as auditor and restore public trust in that important position.”

Burrage said he did not expect to make any changes in the auditor's staff. Burrage said “My top priority is to restore public confidence in the auditor’s position and ensure that Oklahoma tax dollars are being used as efficiently and effectively as possible.” Burrage,56, contributed $4,000 to Henry's 2006 election campaign. This revives memories of former Governor David Walters' donations for jobs scheme. Who says campaign contributions don't pay dividends?

At the news conference announcing his appointment, Burrage said if he thought he was doing a good job, he would run for a full term for Auditor in 2010. Burrage is a long time banker and is a CPA. His resume qualifies him for the job, but several questions arise from this appointment?
(1) Did Henry really seek the most qualified person for the job as State Auditor? The job of state auditor is not just to perform accounting functions, but to root out corruption and fraud in government. NO ONE in Oklahoma has done that better than Gary Jones- period. A green-billed accountant may find some fraud if the books are cooked, but Jones has a knack for seeing something beyond the balance sheet. The State Auditor should be someone that has a nose for that type of thing. It doesn't appear Burrage has that skill. If he did, then why didn't he "blow the whistle" on what was happening in SE Oklahoma long before the feds got involved? One interesting note- Burrage's brother is one of the two attorneys representing former State Senator Gene Stipe in his competency hearing.
(2) Why did Steve Burrage take a job making substantially less than he currently earns? I know the classic answer is his unselfish willingness to serve the public, but that doesn't make sense and is usually all spin. Burrage is on the board of SE Oklahoma University, the Federal Reserve, and the Bankers Association. Why would he unselfishly give those influencial positions up to take the State Auditors job? The answer is- he wouldn't- Burrage is either ambitious and plans to seek a higher office or he has been appointed to make sure another skeleton doesn't fall out of the closet for the Democrats. Since Blackjack Henry's name was mentioned during the McMahon trial as having received "STRAW DONOR" contributions, perhaps the Governor wants someone in the SA&I job that is undeniably loyal.
(3) Why would Burrage say he will not make changes in the Auditor's office? I realize that is the classic line anytime there is change in an organization at the top, but if Burrage is truly going to "restore public confidence" in the Auditor's office, why would he make this statement knowing the turmoil and confusion that has surrounded the office. At the very least, the statement was one of poor judgement. We need change in the auditors office that may necessitate personnel change. Burrage should have simply kept his mouth shut about staff and possible organizational changes at the SA&I office.
(4) Does this leave any doubts about Brad Henry's true values? Repeatedly during this "search" process, Henry's spokesman has said that Henry was considering EVERYONE regardless of party affiliation. That statement was not true and with this appointment, it's clear Henry is nothing less than a party hack. Henry had a unique opportunity to right a wrong and show a non-partisan side by appointing the guy who was cheated out of the election- not once, but twice. Appointing Jones would have been a brilliant move politically. But Blackjack is a partisan and with this appointment, he showed his true partisan colors. His ambition to be US Senator from Oklahoma may have melted away with his unwillingness to be bi-partisian. Oklahomans vote Republican when it comes to our Congressional delegation. Henry had a "defining moment" and he proved proved he was nothing less than a party hack with this appointment.
Filling the State Auditor's position was a "CRITICAL APPOINTMENT" and by appointing Burrage Henry did the predictable, safe thing and appointed a fellow Democrat- a contributor- a supporter. It's not a surprising move, but it is a disappointing one because the Governor had an opportunity to take the road less traveled- one that could have made ALL THE DIFFERENCE in Oklahoma's future.
Robert Frost published a poem in 1916 entitled The Road not Taken (below). The poem illustrates how when we take the path of least resistance we miss out on MAKING A TRUE DIFFERENCE.
by Robert Frost

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
by Steve Fair
Supply-side economics is better known to some as Reaganomics, or the "trickle-down" policy espoused by former U.S. president Ronald Reagan. He popularized the idea that greater tax cuts for investors and entrepreneurs provides incentives to save and invest and produce economic benefits that trickle down into the overall economy.
Reagan didn’t formulate the theory. Jean Baptiste Say, a French businessman and economist came up with the principle in the late 1700s. A central element of Say's Law was that prosperity was increased by stimulating production, not consumption. In Say's view, creation of more money simply resulted in inflation. More money demanding the same quantity of goods did not represent an increase in real demand. The only reason to have money, in Say's view, was to buy products. Say believed an economy should be viewed as a barter system.

In 1981, when Reagan, using Say’s principles, proposed cutting the personal income tax rate, critics said it would decrease the amount of revenue to operate government. In fact the opposite occurred. Receipts from individual income taxes rose to $446 billion in 1989 from just $286 billion in 1981 when Reagan was elected. Reagan wasn’t the first President to advocate supply side economics. President Kennedy cut taxes and the economy grew. Cutting taxes to stimulate the economy is a proven theory that has worked repeatedly in our country’s history.
In 2001 and 2003, President George W. Bush proposed and Congress passed a series of tax cuts to reinvigorate the economy and reduce the government’s burden on workers’ paychecks. Because of opposition to these measures from some in Congress, they were implemented as temporary tax cuts, all of which will expire by January 1, 2011. The uncertainty of their future has an effect on present-day spending by businesses and individuals, who know that they may have to pay higher taxes in the future.

Senator John McCain has proposed making the tax cuts permanent. McCain says, “I think it’s very important that we make the Bush tax cuts permanent. I voted to make them permanent twice already.… And if we don’t make the tax cuts permanent, then they will experience what amounts to a tax increase.” McCain has flip flopped on this issue and says he was wrong to vote against the Bush tax cuts initially.

Senator Barrack Obama is opposed to making the tax cuts permanent. On his web site, he states that he will reverse the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and protect tax cuts for poor and middle class families. Under Obama’s and the Democrat’s plan, tax rates would increase by 3 percentage points for each of the 25 percent, 28 percent and 33 percent brackets. At present, the 25 percent bracket begins at $31,850 for individuals and $63,700 for married couples. That’s not exactly the super rich, so Obama’s tax increases will impact the average family dramatically.

Predictably, the articulate Senator doesn’t hesitate to state he’s against paying taxes. During an appearance on “The View”, Obama stated, “first of all, I don't want higher taxes, I have to pay taxes, and it's no fun. You know I think sometimes there's this presumption that Democrats, we just love taxing people. No, I would prefer to keep taxes as low as possible."

Obama’s track record on voting against tax increases is non-existent. During his brief stint in the US Senate, Obama has voted at least ninety-four times for higher taxes. Obama has voted for a tax increase approximately once every five days since he was elected. Simply stated- Obama is an old fashioned tax and spend liberal. Cutting taxes is half of the equation- the other half is getting spending under control.

Senator McCain is a fiscal conservative. He has never taken an earmark for his state during his long tenure in the Senate. Earmarks, commonly referred to as pork, are corrosive in two ways. First, they detract attention and resources from truly national concerns. Second, once a member of Congress has his local bridge, bus stop, or museum included in the bill, he is expected to vote for the overall appropriations bill, regardless of how bloated it becomes.

The Arizona Republic said in a July 7th editorial, McCain has been a ceaseless and useful public scold on pork, corporate welfare and spending not related to truly national priorities.” McCain has said, "Give me the pen, and I'll veto every single pork barrel bill Congress sends me."
Spending discipline can only be imposed through the executive branch. It’s clear that Obama lacks the discipline or the willpower to allow us to keep our own money or to stop pork barrel spending. Straight talking John McCain has the iron rail up the shirttail to cut taxes and get our spending under control.

Perhaps in no area are the two candidates for President so differing in their message and track record than in fiscal issues. The fiscal implications in this election loom large. We can ill afford a tax and spend liberal as President with an undisciplined, clueless, spend thrift Democratic Congress in the majority.