Donors to GOP: No cash until action on health care, taxes

By Associated Press, June 26, 2017

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — At least one influential donor has informed congressional Republicans that the “Dallas piggy bank” is closed until he sees major action on health care and taxes.

Texas-based donor Doug Deason has already refused to host a fundraiser for two members of Congress and informed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., his checkbook is closed as well.

“Get Obamacare repealed and replaced, get tax reform passed,” Deason said in a pointed message to GOP leaders. “You control the Senate. You control the House. You have the presidency. There’s no reason you can’t get this done. Get it done and we’ll open it back up.”

Indeed, there was a sense of frustration and urgency inside the private receptions and closed-door briefings at the Koch brothers’ donor retreat this weekend in Colorado Springs, where the billionaire conservatives and their chief lieutenants warned of a rapidly shrinking window to push their agenda through Congress and get legislation to President Donald Trump to sign into law.

No agenda items mattered more to the conservative Koch network than the GOP’s promise to overhaul the nation’s tax code and repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health care law. At the moment, however, both are bogged down by GOP infighting that jeopardizes their fate.

At least one Koch official warned that the Republican Party’s House majority could be in jeopardy if the GOP-led Congress doesn’t follow through.

“If they don’t make good on these promises … there are going to be consequences, and quite frankly there should be,” said Sean Lansing, chief operating officer for the Koch network’s political arm, Americans For Prosperity.

Deason, who is keeping the “Dallas piggy bank” closed for now, said he was recently approached by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, about hosting a fundraiser.

“I said, ‘No I’m not going to because we’re closing the checkbook until you get some things done,’” Deason said, noting he’s encouraged nearly two dozen major Texas donors to follow his lead.

“There is urgency,” said AFP president Tim Phillips. “We believe we have a window of about 12 months to get as much of it accomplished as possible before the 2018 elections grind policy to a halt.”

The window for action may be even smaller, some Koch allies warned at the three-day donor retreat that drew roughly 400 participants to the base of the Rocky Mountains. The price for admission for most was a pledge to give at least $100,000 this year to the Kochs’ broad policy and political network. There were also at least 18 elected officials on hand.

Some hosted private policy discussions with donors while others simply mingled.

In between meetings, Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., predicted dire consequences in next year’s midterm elections should his party fail to deliver on its repeated promises.

“If we don’t get health care, none of us are coming back,” he said in a brief interview. “We said for seven years you’re gonna repeal Obamacare. It’s nowhere near repealed.”

It’s the same for an overhaul of the tax code, Brat said: “We don’t get taxes through, we’re all going home. Pack the bags.”

While some donors threatened to withhold campaign cash, Koch’s team outlined a broader strategy to help shape the debate.

Already, Americans For Prosperity claims a paid staff of more than 400 full-time activists in 36 states. Koch officials said that the network’s midterm budget for policy and politics is between $300 million and $400 million.

The group is actively lobbying Senate Republicans to change their current health care proposal, which it views as insufficiently conservative.

“We are not committed to the Senate bill in its current form, but there is still time to make changes and we’re actively working to improve it,” Phillips said.

At the same time, Koch’s allies are aggressively pushing forward on taxes.

 

Five Ugly Extremes of Inequality in America– The Contrasts Will Drop Your Chin to the Floor

AlterNet [1] / By Paul Buchheit [2] March 24, 2013  |

The first step is to learn the facts, and then to get angry and to ask ourselves, as progressives and caring human beings, what we can do about the relentless transfer of wealth to a small group of well-positioned Americans.

1. $2.13 per hour vs. $3,000,000.00 per hour

Each of the Koch brothers saw his investments grow by $6 billion [3] in one [4] year, which is three million dollars per hour based on a 40-hour ‘work’ week. They used some of the money to try to kill renewable energy [5]standards around the country.

Their income portrays them, in a society measured by economic status, as a million times more valuable than the restaurant server [6] who cheers up our lunch hours while hoping to make enough in tips to pay the bills.

A comparison of top and bottom salaries within large corporations is much less severe, but a lot more common. For CEOs and minimum-wage workers, the difference [7] is $5,000.00 per hour vs. $7.25 per hour.

2. A single top income could buy housing for every homeless person in the U.S.

On a winter day in 2012 over 633,000 people were homeless [8] in the United States. Based on an annual single room occupancy (SRO) cost [9] of $558 per month, any ONE of the ten richest Americans [3] would have enough with his 2012 income to pay for a room for every homeless person in the U.S. for the entire year [4]. These ten rich men together made more than our entire housing budget [10].

For anyone still believing “they earned it,” it should be noted that most [11] of the Forbes 400 earnings came from minimally-taxed [12], non-job-creating capital gains.

3. The poorest 47% of Americans have no wealth

In 1983 the poorest 47% [13] of America had $15,000 per family, 2.5 percent [14] of the nation’s wealth.

In 2009 the poorest 47% [13] of America owned ZERO PERCENT [14] of the nation’s wealth (their debt exceeded their assets).

At the other extreme, the 400 wealthiest Americans [15] own as much wealth as 80 million families – 62% of America [14]. The reason, once again, is the stock market. Since 1980 the American GDP has approximatelydoubled [16]. Inflation-adjusted wages have gone down [17]. But the stock market has increased by over ten times [18], and the richest quintile of Americans owns 93% [19] of it.

4. The U.S. is nearly the most wealth-unequal country in the entire world

Out of 141 countries, the U.S. has the 4th-highest degree of wealth inequality [20] in the world, trailing only Russia, Ukraine, and Lebanon.

Yet the financial industry keeps creating new wealth for its millionaires. According to the authors of theGlobal Wealth Report [21], the world’s wealth has doubled in ten years, from $113 trillion to $223 trillion, and is expected to reach $330 trillion by 2017.

5. A can of soup for a black or Hispanic woman, a mansion and yacht for the businessman

That’s literally true. For every one dollar of assets owned by a single black or Hispanic woman [22], a member of the Forbes 400 has over forty million dollars [23].

Minority families once had substantial equity in their homes, but after Wall Street caused the housing crash, median wealth [24] fell 66% for Hispanic households and 53% for black households. Now the average single black or Hispanic woman has about $100 in net worth [22].

What to do?

End the capital gains giveaway [25], which benefits the wealthy almost exclusively.

Institute a Financial Speculation Tax [26], both to raise needed funds from a currently untaxed subsidy on stock purchases, and to reduce the risk of the irresponsible trading that nearly brought down the economy.

Perhaps above all, we progressives have to choose one strategy and pursue it in a cohesive, unrelenting attack on greed. Only this will heal the ugly gash of inequality that has split our country in two.

 

See more stories tagged with:

wealth [27]


Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/economy/five-ugly-extremes-inequality-america-contrasts-will-drop-your-chin-floor

Links:
[1] http://www.alternet.org
[2] http://www.alternet.org/authors/paul-buchheit
[3] http://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/
[4] http://finance.yahoo.com/news/pf_article_113540.html
[5] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elliott-negin/koch-brothers-fund-bogus-_b_2253472.html
[6] http://www.thenation.com/blog/166328/week-poverty-obamas-budget-your-servers-budget
[7] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/25/average-ceo-pay-2011_n_1545225.html
[8] http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2012/HUDNo.12-191
[9] http://www.cookcountyassessor.com/forms/cls2srob.pdf
[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_United_States_federal_budget
[11] http://faireconomy.org/sites/default/files/BornOnThirdBase2012.pdf
[12] http://www.alternet.org/economy/5-obscene-reasons-why-richest-americans-grow-richer-middle-class-declines?paging=off
[13] http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/12/13/mitt-romneys-47-percent-gaffe-tops-yales-quotes-of-the-year/
[14] http://epi.3cdn.net/2a7ccb3e9e618f0bbc_3nm6idnax.pdf
[15] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/26/opinion/buffett-a-minimum-tax-for-the-wealthy.html?_r=0
[16] http://www.multpl.com/us-gdp-inflation-adjusted/table
[17] http://www.un.org/en/ga/second/64/pollin.pdf
[18] http://stockcharts.com/freecharts/historical/djia1900.html
[19] http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp_589.pdf
[20] http://www.usagainstgreed.org/GiniWealthIncomeAll.xls
[21] https://infocus.credit-suisse.com/data/_product_documents/_shop/368327/2012_global_wealth_report.pdf
[22] http://www.insightcced.org/uploads/CRWG/LiftingAsWeClimb-WomenWealth-Report-InsightCenter-Spring2010.pdf
[23] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/19/richest-people-america-forbes-400_n_1896828.html
[24] http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43887485/ns/business-eye_on_the_economy/t/wealth-america-whites-leave-minorities-behind/
[25] http://money.msn.com/tax-tips/post.aspx?post=61f838e6-9d67-477d-983f-9f5a7e52691f
[26] http://democracyforamerica.com/pages/738?t=kos2
[27] http://www.alternet.org/tags/wealth
[28] http://www.alternet.org/%2Bnew_src%2B

 

Grover Norquist – Romney Will Do As He’s Told

By Fay Paxton, cross-posted at The Pragmatic Pundit, posted on winningprogressive.org, October 10, 2012

Excerpt

At the conservative “Defending the American Dream Summit” in Washington, Grover Norquist, the Republican tax-cut Svengali said about Mitt Romney:

“All we have to do is replace Obama. … We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go…. We just need a president to sign this stuff….Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United   States…. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.”

The summit was sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a front group started by oil billionaire David Koch of Koch Industries. The AFP funds the “Tea Party” and special interest groups that work against Democratic initiatives, opposing protections for workers, the environment, labor unions, health care reform, stimulus spending, and cap-and-trade legislation.

Regarding the “legislation that has already been prepared”, perhaps you also remember ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council). The corporate funded organization that rewrites the laws that govern our lives. Through ALEC and the model legislation written by the organization, corporations have a voice and a vote in our daily lives. You didn’t really believe Citizens United was an accident did you?…

Full text

At the conservative “Defending the American Dream Summit” in Washington, Grover Norquist, the Republican tax-cut Svengali said about Mitt Romney:

“All we have to do is replace Obama. … We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go…. We just need a president to sign this stuff….Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United   States…. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.”

The summit was sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a front group started by oil billionaire David Koch of Koch Industries. The AFP funds the “Tea Party” and special interest groups that work against Democratic initiatives, opposing protections for workers, the environment, labor unions, health care reform, stimulus spending, and cap-and-trade legislation.

Regarding the “legislation that has already been prepared”, perhaps you also remember ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council). The corporate funded organization that rewrites the laws that govern our lives. Through ALEC and the model legislation written by the organization, corporations have a voice and a vote in our daily lives. You didn’t really believe Citizens United was an accident did you?

The Ugly Duckling

How and why do you suppose a candidate who was so poorly thought of became the celebrated nominee? Here’s what leading Republicans have said about Romney:

Rick Santorum: “”We need someone who’s bold and courageous, someone who’s willing to go out and say, ‘I’m for these things because they are my convictions,’ not because I put a finger in the air and that’s where the public is today…..Why would we pick someone who’s had a record that is as a liberal governor of Massachusetts to lead our country at a time we need fundamental change?”

Gingrich:This is a campaign of people power versus money power…. He understands a lot about finance, but finance is not the free market, and Wall Street is not Main Street, and giant businesses are not small businesses.”

Michele Bachmann: “If you look at Mitt Romney, he…has been very inconsistent on his positions. He has been on both sides of the abortion issue, on both sides of the issue of same-sex marriage.”“They (voters) want to know what’s the truth. They’re not interested in a chameleon.”

Rick Perry: “I happen to think that companies like Bain Capital could have come in and helped these companies, if they truly were venture capitalists, but they’re not…..They’re vulture capitalists.”

Rush Limbaugh: “ Mitt Romney is not a Conservative….Romney is a flip-flopper like John Kerry was; he’s gonna be saying one thing here when he gets to the White House is gonna turn into a moderate. I can think of things, like 2006 or 2007, Romney inMassachusetts says, “I’m not a conservative Republican, I’m a moderate.”

“TheMassachusettshealthcare law that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed in 2006 includes a program known as the Health Safety Net, which allows undocumented immigrants to get needed medical care along with others who lack insurance. Uninsured, poor immigrants can walk into a health clinic or hospital in the state and get publicly subsidized care at virtually no cost to them, regardless of their immigration status.”

Mike Huckabee: “I think a lot of people are deceived, and you have to ask do people want to elect a president who has been dishonest in order to get the job and said things about his opponents that simply aren’t true?”

Sarah Palin: Romney should both release his tax returns and substantiate his claim that Bain Capital created 100,000 jobs.

Senator Marco Rubio: “There are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish had run for President, but they didn’t.”

Sheldon Adelson: “He’s not a bold decision maker…”

Former GOP Virginia Rep. Tom Davis: “He may not be Mr. Personality, uh, you know, this is a guy who gives a fireside chat and the fire goes out.”

Rudy Giuliani: “I’ve never seen a guy change his position so many times, so fast, on a dime.”

Former Reagan OMB Director David Stockman: “I don’t think that Mitt Romney can legitimately say that he learned anything about how to create jobs in the LBO (leveraged buyout) business. The LBO business is about how to strip cash out of old, long-in-the-tooth companies and how to make short-term profits. All the jobs that he talks about came from Staples. That was a very early venture stage deal. That, you know they got out of long before it got to its current size.”

David Frum: “…..the problem is that Romney hasn’t shown backbone to stick with his positions.”

George Will: “Romney, supposedly the Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable; he might damage GOP chances of capturing the Senate… Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis…”

And last but not least:

John McCain: compiled a 200 page Romney opposition research book which is available online thanks to BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski.

Now they all support Romney for President? Flip-flopping must be contagious. But then again, like Grover Norquist said, “….We just need a president to sign this stuff….a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen…. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.”

http://www.winningprogressive.org/grover-norquist-romney-will-do-as-hes-told