The long campaign is starting

 

“Democrats  need to get a candidate soon!! I for one am ready to work.  I just wish we had a front runner so we could start working …. it’s an uphill trek we are embarking on and we may as well get busy!!!”  Alex Smith, a NY 23rd constituent,  recently on a New NY 23rd Facebook posting.

 

Alex’s quote expresses the feelings of many in the NY 23rd. We have gone through four sets of  Town Halls since the inauguration. (The 5th one will be June 3). Many participated in The Washington Women’s March, or local marches on the day after.  There has been countless demonstrations at Reed’s offices throughout the district and other venues. There have been county resolutions urging Rep. Reed to support different issues brought forth by upset constituents. There have been letters, phone calls, emails and tweets to Rep. Reed’s offices. We are ready to work for a candidate.
We have heard rumors of possible candidates, even some names have been floating around. The fact is that only two have officially filed with the Federal Election Commission: Eddie Sundquist and Rick Gallant. Ian Golden has not filed with the FEC, but had a newspaper article announcing his candidacy. I have included  links to their newspaper articles and political websites at the end of this article. Other possible candidates have made serious steps towards running, and I will publish information them when they file with the FEC, or have campaign newspaper articles or campaign websites. I expect they will announce within a month.

There is a good the possibility that there will be a Democratic Primary to determine who will be the party’s nominee. The 2012 campaign was the first after the 2010 census realignment of congressional elections. The realignment wasn’t official until March. The democrats had three candidates who wanted to run against Rep. Reed–Nate Shinagawa, Leslie Danks Burke, and Melissa Dobson.  They had three months to scurry around the district, connect with the Democratic Committees of eleven counties, and get their names known to the democratic voters. Shinagawa won the June primary. He then continued to criss-cross the district to get known well enough to get 48% of the vote against Reed!

This year the situation is a bit different, and it is to the challengers’ advantage. We have three (probably five) candidates who will have a year to make theirselves known around the district before the June 2018 Primary election. That’s 12 months of newspaper articles, parades, picnics, dinners,  television/radio interviews, door to door campaigning and raising funds. That is 12 months of local democrats trying to decide who would be their best candidate. There will also be 12 months to scrutinize and make known Reed’s voting record.

After the June Primary the four month plus real campaign will begin. What makes it different this time is that the Democratic candidate’s name will be more recognizable than in the past two election cycles. The issues will be clear and the difference between the candidates well defined.

As Alex Smith said, “It’s an uphill trek we are embarking on.”

Defeating Rep. Reed will never be easy.  He won his last election by 15%, and it takes a lot to convince those who have once voted for a candidate to change their minds. He will call his top donor industries–Securities & Investments, Insurance, and Gas & Oil and they will be happy to drop bundles at his feet. He will have his party base faithfuls. He will have his personal attacks planned and placed on traditional and social media. In the past he has used fake websites, fake Facebook pages, and fake Twitter accounts. He has had Team Reed organized at debates to ridicule his opponent. This will not be pretty.

The army of activists need to remain diligent throughout the campaign–feet on ground, knocks on the doors, and flood social media with facts and issues. Remember what Michelle said, “When they go low, we go high.”

Here is information about our current candidates. They all have Facebook pages. Check social media accounts.

Eddie Sundquist is an attorney in Jamestown. Follow this  link to his website.

 

 

Rick Gallant is a teacher in Corning.  Follow these links to see a newspaper article  and   website.

 

 

Ian Golden owns small businesses in Ithaca and other areas. Follow this link to a Newspaper article about his campaign.

 

Google periodically to see newer articles about these other candidates. You can set up Google Alerts for candidates you want to follow.

 

 

Posted in 2018 | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Rep. Capuano (D-MA) on Trump’s budget

politics

The answer to how Steve Mnuchin and Mick Mulvaney spent Thursday on Capitol Hill giving very opposed explanations of President Donald Trump’s tax plan is that there isn’t really much of a plan at all yet.–Politico

 

Budget

In March the Trump Administration released its budget blueprint for Fiscal Year 2018. This week, we got a lot more detail and most of it is just disastrous. This $4.1 trillion budget is so bad, it’s hard to know where to begin.

First, the whole budget is based on fuzzy math. There is a mistake in it to the tune of $2 TRILLION. Officials are using Trump’s proposed tax cuts as part of the equation, arguing they will produce some $2 trillion in economic growth. Since the tax cuts are supposed to be revenue neutral, that $2 trillion from projected (not guaranteed) economic growth covers the money lost by cutting taxes in the first place. It’s worth noting that the Trump budget projects $328 billion in revenue from the estate tax over ten years. But wait, his tax plan repeals the estate tax. So, if the Administration gets what it wants, the amount of revenue generated from that would actually be $0. If the Administration is going to use its tax plan in the budget, even though it hasn’t even been submitted to Congress let alone become law, they should at least be consistent.

The defense budget grows by $54 billion while non-defense spending is slashed by the same amount. As a reminder, the House-passed health care bill cuts $800 billion from Medicaid and uses it for corporate tax cuts and tax cuts for high income earners. The Administration cuts Medicaid in this budget another $610 billion. This is money that helps low-income families, our seniors and children. Taken together, these two proposals would cut Medicaid by $1.4 trillion!

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget is slashed by over $7 billion which represents almost 20% of its overall budget. Medical research, new treatments, initiatives to protect the public health and so much more would be severely underfunded.

Even though President Trump keeps promising an ambitious $1 trillion infrastructure plan, the Trump budget cuts $2.27 billion in transportation funds. The New Starts Program loses $928 million, or 43%. This money provides matching grants for state and local transit projects. The Green Line Extension is a New Start but it has been grandfathered in and will receive federal funding. However, it may well be the last project of its kind supported by the federal government if these numbers hold up. States and municipalities simply cannot fund transit expansion initiatives on their own.

Amtrak’s budget takes a big hit too, with a program supporting long distance lines losing 45% of its budget and the Northeast Corridor losing 28%. When these cuts are coupled with the elimination of Essential Air Service grants, many American communities would be without viable interstate transportation options.

So many programs and initiatives that help low income families are devastated in this budget. The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit are cut by more than $40 billion.  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would lose close to $200 billion.

Education programs aren’t spared either. Various student loan and financial aid programs lose $143 billion over ten years. A college education is already far too expensive and this budget makes it worse. Foreign language studies, Gifted and Talented programs and even Special Olympics grant funding are all eliminated in this budget.

Not everything gets cut in Trump’s budget. $4.5 billion is added to the $19 billion immigration enforcement budget. This money will help implement the Administration’s new Executive Orders, dramatically expanding the already sizeable deportation force and network of immigrant detention centers around the country. There is also $1.6 billion for the ineffective “border wall” that Trump promised Mexico would pay to build.

The Environmental Protection Agency loses $2.4 billion or 30% of its budget. This will result in the elimination of over 3,500 jobs and the termination of dozens of programs. EPA grants to states are reduced by 44%.

Here is just a small sampling of the dozens of programs or agencies that will be dismantled under the Trump budget:

  • Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, money communities can use for neighborhood improvement, affordable housing, Meals on Wheels and much more;
  • Low-Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which helps qualified families heat their homes in winter but also helps families cool their homes during dangerous heat waves;
  • TIGER grant program which helps states fund larger transportation projects;
  • National Endowment for the Arts;
  • National Endowment for the Humanities,
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting;
  • Minority Business and Development Agency;
  • Economic Development Administration;
  • Health Professions and Nursing Training Programs;
  • Transportation Security Agency Law Enforcement grants;
  • National Housing Trust Fund;
  • Essential Air Service grants which help rural airports offer limited commercial air service; without this program hundreds of small airports around the country will close and the related jobs will disappear too;
  • The Institute of Museum and Library Services which is the primary source of federal support for more than 120,000 libraries and 35,000 museums;
  • The Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools program, which supports on-campus child care for low-income parents attending college

There is so much to be concerned about in this budget I could go on for days. It won’t become law as currently written but it is the best signal yet of what a “great America” looks like to the Trump Administration and it is very troubling.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/26/problem-solvers-caucus-congress-trump-238845

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Another set of Rep. Reed’s Town Hall Meetings

Reed in Hinsdale1

Rep. Reed in Hinsdale photo by Christina Bruner Sonsire

 

Rep. Tom Reed has announced his Town Hall Meeting schedule for Saturday, June 3. They will be in the eastern/central part of the district–in Tompkins, Ontario, Steuben, and Chemung Counties.

  • 8:30 to 9:30 AM, Trumansburg Fire Department, 74 Main Street, Trumansburg, NY.
  • 11:00 to 12:00, White Springs Fire Association, 3770 County Road 6, Geneva NY.
  • 1:30 to 2:30, Bradford Fire Rep., 7603 County Route 20, Bradford, NY
  • 4:00 to 5:00, 1138 Breesport Road, Erin, NY

For those who may want to attend, Trumansburg is about 20 minutes west of Ithaca.  The Geneva event is actually 10 minutes south of Geneva, which is 20 minutes south of Exit 42 of the New York Thruway. Bradford is about a 20 minutes drive north-east of  Bath. Erin is about 20 minutes north-east of Elmira.

For those true-hearted Town Hall fans, the Geneva meeting is scheduled to end at 12:00 and the Bradford meeting is slated to start 90 minutes later. According to Google Maps, it is only a 50 minute drive. You can take in both events, and even pick up lunch at Penn Yan’s McDonald’s!

Rep. Reed usually tells us what he wants us to hear. He needs to be reminded of  his AHCA vote, which includes cutting $880 Billion from Medicaid and adding $600 Billion to cut taxes for those earning $200,000.

One thing that he didn’t bring up at the May Hinsdale meeting is the AHCA has a “lifetime limit” clause. This video/article tells that the ACA became law a few days before a young boy would have reached his “lifetime limit”. His parents are afraid of what would happen if the ACA is repealed.

The Trump Budget has appeared, and  Reed is now concerned about the “lower-income” side of the equation:

“As you deal with a lot of the lines in the federal budget, obviously, a lot of them are geared toward the lower-income, more poverty side of the equation, and rightly so,” Reed said. “Those are people that are dealing with life’s curveballs. They’re in a position to need assistance, and I will stand with those types of programs.” Buffalo News.

Has he really changed of heart, or is he reading the polls?

Last Saturday (May 20), Rep. Reed spoke on MSNBC on the Russian Investigations. He said:

“When you see things like the Intelligence Director Clapper says he saw no evidence of collusion, when you see the FBI Director Comey testify that no one asked him to do anything in regards to the investigations under oath. You know these are indications that the – let’s see where the investigations go, but let’s not come to a predetermined conclusion that the president is somehow engaged in this nefarious activity, I just don’t see it at this point in time.” MSNBC

 

 

Here is a little reminder of Rep. Reed’s May Town Hall events:

 

Posted in Congress, Reed's Views, Town Hall Meeting | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ways and Means Propaganda

Ways and Means.jpg

Pro-growth tax reform will establish the U.S. as a 21st century magnet for new business investment and job creation.

Tax reform will increase U.S. competitiveness and prevent American jobs from moving overseas.

Pro-growth tax reform will provide a healthier economy for the long run, strengthening our communities, encouraging Main Street job creation and investment, and improving the lives of all Americans.

Pro-growth tax reform will result in bigger paychecks to bring home to your family.

Pro-growth tax reform will bring more job opportunities to your community.

Tax reform will grow our economy and create jobs across America.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Reed's Views, Taxes | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Is there substance to tax reform?

bat

Read my lips: no new taxes–George H. W. Bush at the 1988 Republican National Convention

Tax policy is hard; details of proposed reforms are scarce. Players disagree on what reforms are needed. Many claims for benefits of tax reform are incredible. Here are some I find hard to believe:

  • High corporate tax rates hurt American business (effective rates are low; some profitable corporations (GE, Google) pay little or nothing).
  • Tax reform will increase American competitiveness (Ways and Means).
  • Tax reform will increase take-home pay for middle class Americans (Ways and Means).
  • Fewer income tax brackets simplify tax returns (Tom Reed).
  • Many Americans favor one proposed reform or another (they have little idea of what is proposed).
  • Tax reform will create jobs.
  • Tax reform will bring jobs back from overseas.
  • Tax reform will spur economic growth.
  • Tax reform which lowers taxes for all can be revenue neutral (voodoo).
  • Tax cuts can be offset with cuts in government spending.
  • Estate taxes known as “death taxes” are abominable.
  • A National Sales tax is preferable to income tax.
  • A flat rate income tax (Flat Tax, Fair Tax) is preferable to progressive income tax.
  • Tax rate cuts will pay for themselves (voodoo).
  • Corporations that retain profits overseas to avoid taxation must be bribed with tax cuts to stop doing that.
  • Mexico will pay for a wall (Trump).

Some of these might be true under specific circumstances, but not as generalities.

Here are some ideas I do believe:

  • Tax cuts for wealthy individuals benefit none other.
  • Income taxes should be progressive; marginal rates must be higher than today if we are to shrink the deficit.
  • One reform which would increase revenue is to adequately fund enforcement.
  • Uniform corporate income taxes don’t unreasonably burden businesses large or small.
  • To balance the budget more tax revenue is needed.

I don’t expect Congress to accept any of these; non-partisan tax reform in the public interest is unlikely. We might wish Congress would leave taxes well enough alone.

Players disagree:

  • Majority Leader McConnell says tax reform should be revenue neutral. Others disagree or agree only if revenue is predicated on unlikely economic growth.
  • Fiscal Conservatives favor a balanced budget. Others disagree or would count a budget as balanced if it might somehow happen bye and bye.
  • Paul Ryan is said to favor a  new “Destination-Based Cash Flow Tax” better known as a “Border Adjustment Tax” (BAT). The Trump Administration and Majority Leader McConnell reportedly disagree.

How these conflicts might be resolved is unclear.

Those with a taste for the arcane, might want to study the issue of repatriation tax proposals including “deemed repatriation.”

The Politico article cited explains the conflict over BAT in some detail. It is a new tax, which would raise new revenue. New revenue could be used to offset reductions in other taxes.

Paul Krugman’s article explains how BAT might affect the economy.  I note only his conclusion, that whatever else BAT might do, it wouldn’t help pay for a wall.

If Congress enacts Ryan’s BAT, President Trump might not sign the bill. But by then it may be a President Pence who would.

http://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/three-types-of-repatriation-tax-on-overseas-profits-understanding-the

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/22/paul-ryan-trump-tax-battle-238692

https://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/01/27/border-tax-two-step-wonkish/

Posted in Reed's Views, Taxes, Trump | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Trump & the Budget

On January 13, 2017 the House of Representatives  set the parameters for the 2018 fiscal year budget, which runs from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018. Paul Ryan’s House determined that the government’s revenue will be $2,787,834,000,000. They authorized the government to spend $3,329,394,000,000. Yes, we will be spending more than we receive. I seem to remember that the Rep. Reed was quick to raise a ruckus when President Obama’s budgets did not balance.

Now the House will decide how to raise $2.787 trillion and how to spend $3.329 trillion.

How we spend our money shows us what we value. President Trump has released his proposed budget. The chart below shows us what the President values. We should not be surprised. Defense and Veterans Affairs are receiving increased funding. He is cutting a trillion dollars from Food Stamps and Medicaid, this will drastically affect the NY 23rd, as well as other districts across the nation.

Trump is adding $1.6 billion to start building his promised Wall. That is a  smaller amount than what he has earlier suggested.

But don’t worry, the House members, who have heard from their constituents about their AHCA fiasco, will want to make their budget their budget. Also, one would think that reviving their Health Care proposal and getting their tax reform in order would be priorities . They are key components in reaching our $2.787 trillion revenue goal.

Oh, yes, this needs to be done, and approved by the Senate before October 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related articles:

Ex-OMB Director–Trump’s Budget is good for a 1.9 per cent growth, rather than 3 percent.

Trump’s first budget: Trillions in cuts

New York Times:

Posted in Congress, Economics, Legislation, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Trump in Saudi Arabia

iranBut let’s be clear about what the speech really was: A sop, soaked in platitudes, to the Saudi agenda in the Middle East.–Ishaan Tharoor

Trump’s performance in Saudi Arabia reflects a U-turn in U.S. Foreign policy. Does this reflect State Department views or Trump’s naivety and ignorance?

Saudi Arabia is governed by an oligarchy, a small group of people, the Saud family. It is a repressive government, conservative even for a Middle Eastern State. Yet Trump:

  • Focused on the rulers rather than the people of Saudi Arabia.
  • Chose to ignore Saudi domestic repression.
  • Chose to ignore Saudi military intervention in Yemen.
  • Chose to ignore widely reported Saudi financial support for ISIS and other Sunni extremists.
  • Embraced the idea that a country that buys our arms is our friend.
  • Agreed to add even more munitions to a region already devastated by war.

Where did these policy ideas originate? I wonder if Trump’s meeting with Henry Kissinger might explain them.

Did the Saud family take advantage of Trump’s naivety? Is there a conflict of interest in the offer to invest in U.S. infrastructure?  Will the Israeli’s insist on an equivalent arms deal or other concessions? How will the Russians and the Iranians react? What mischief will Trump’s words and actions cause?

Suppose North Korea offered to buy a large order American weapons. Would they become good guys then? If American foreign policy is now up for sale, many shady governments may be eager to buy.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/05/22/trump-embraces-the-saudi-vision-for-the-middle-east/?utm_term=.93118cea2fc4

 

 

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