Reason: Opinion: Jacob Sullum: “Ted Cruz is Right About Taxes”: Really?

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, R, Texas

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, R, Texas

Reason: Opinion: Jacob Sullum: Ted Cruz Is Right About Taxes

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Just once I would like to hear someone and its generally Republicans who support some type of flat tax, say, “I’m in favor of a middle class tax hike! Because middle class Americans are under taxed when it comes to the needs of the country and the Federal Government. And its time for middle class hard-working Americans who struggle to just pay their current taxes, to pay more in federal income taxes.” I don’t want to hear them say that because I believe middle class Americans are under taxed. Because the opposite is true, but for them to say that, because that is exactly what a flat tax is. At least as every plan that has been introduced inside or outside of Congress.

Why I say that? Because a flat tax depending on how you do it would be around 15-20% of people’s income. If you’re in the bottom tax rate right now, you’re paying ten-percent in federal income taxes. So now replace the current Progressive Income Tax with a regressive flat tax of anywhere between 15-20% and that would be anywhere between a 50-100% tax increase on someone making 40-50 thousand-dollars a year. Who are those people? Law enforcement, military personal, emergency management officers, teachers, truck drivers, construction workers, autoworkers and millions of other working-class Americans who struggle just to pay their current bills and that includes taxes. You really think they’re looking for a 50-100% tax increase right now to help them out?

I like the idea of tax reform and support it myself, including business tax reform. It is something that we must do as a country to get the type of economic growth that we need to not only get our economy back to pre-Great Recession levels, but to expand it further. But there are right ways to do things and there are wrong ways. I to personally would like to see us scrap the income tax and stop taxing production and creativity. And instead go with what Senator Ben Cardin, one of Senator Ted Cruz’s colleagues calls the Progressive Consumption Tax. A sales tax that would tax basic necessities of life at fairly low rates. But tax luxury items which would have to be defined at higher rates.

We could leave in the corporate tax, but have it much lower than thirty-five-percent, but make it progressive as well. Somewhere between 10-20 percent depending on the size of business and their profits. And scrap a lot of the, well garbage in the tax code. But individual and business to help pay for the lower tax rates. As well as to encourage more economic development in America both domestically and foreign. We could do all of these things without passing a single tax hike on middle class Americans. People that both Democrats and Republicans claim to support. But have different ways of showing it.

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Reason: Hit & Run: Ed Krayewski: Are You Ready For President Joe Biden?

Way to go Joe!

Way to go Joe!

Reason: Hit & Run: Ed Krayewski: Are You Ready For President Joe Biden?

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

There’s a reason that even though Joe Biden isn’t mentioned as a strong contender to Hillary Clinton in 2016 for president. Even though he’s Vice President of the United States and an influential and powerful one at that as far as influence that he has on his boss President Obama. And has probably somewhere around hundred-percent name id certainly in the Democratic Party or country as well. Vice President Biden doesn’t have a national constituency and even a Democratic one. Some public servants are simply just good at that and serving their bosses and their people. Just like some assistant head coaches are good at serving their head coach. But that alone doesn’t make you a good candidate for president or head coach.

And then throw in the fact that Joe Biden is serving a president whose very controversial. A lot of people like or love Barack Obama, including myself. A lot of people have serious disagreements with the President and wish his policies were dramatically different in some key areas. Take the War on Drugs and civil liberties to use as examples. And I’m one of them as well. And then are also a lot of people who simply hate the man. And lot that has to do with generation, culture, how Barack was educated and yes race as well as ignorance. And questioning the man’s religion and loyalty to the country and calling him a Socialist as if they were calling him a bastard.

Plus the Obama Administration has had a rocky up and down run on really every issue they’ve had to face. They’re up for maybe a few weeks or months and then something like Healthcare.GOV not rolling out properly, even though they had three years to prepare for it, happens. Or the southern border crisis of last summer happens. Biden is the Vice President second ranking officer in an administration that will look better in the future, even though it doesn’t look great now. Because they’ve been involved in things that take time and where you don’t see great results right away. Like with the economy where the economy is just starting to rebound strongly. Or health care reform where the Affordable Care Act is finally starting to pay off for them. Or with their war against ISIS in the Middle East, that may go on for decades.

None of these factors and situations that Joe Biden has been involved in as Vice President whose in on everything and has responsibility for carrying out a lot of these possibilities and selling them to the country, add up to someone saying, “look how great things are now. Lets keep them going and nominate Joe Biden for president to keep America on the same course.” Unless President Obama has a great 2015 and is very popular going into 2016 and essentially has the power to pick his successor and says to his loyal Vice President, “you know what Joe, things are finally going our way and America is moving again. And you were part of all of it and you’re the guy to keep it going.” And puts his support behind his Vice President succeeding him, I can’t see Joe Biden even running for president. Because what would be the reason other than wanting to be president.

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Jeff Walsh: Video: Politically Incorrect With Camille Paglia

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

I use to see Camille Paglia as the right-wing nut who put down feminism because Feminists wanted equal treatment for women. I use to put her in the same category as Ann Coulter. And saw Camille as Ann’s roommate at nut house. But thank God for education, because without that I wouldn’t of learned more about her and learn that it is not feminism, equal rights, equal treatment that she was putting down. She was putting down militant feminism and political correctness. Bill Maher had the best line in this video that he called his show Politically Incorrect, because he wanted to give liberalism a good name. That is sort of what Camille Paglia is about as well.

Maher and Paglia are two of the most anti-politically correct people you’ll ever meet. They aren’t fans of political correctness from either the Left or Right and most of it probably does come from Left. Political correctness are about as illiberal and anti-liberal as anything can get. Because it violates the most important aspect of liberalism and personal freedom. Which is the right to speech and the ability for people to express themselves and speak openly. Because someone in the political correctness, the Far-Left really will be offended by it. “Making jokes about Caucasian men and right-wing women is okay, but everyone else is unacceptable.” For political correctness supporters.

And what Camille Paglia and perhaps Bill Maher are saying is that the problem with feminism is not feminism. But militant feminism, this idea that women shouldn’t be treated equally, but better. And there other issue has to do with political correctness. That again people should feel free to express themselves especially if they are correct, even if that means it might offend someone. Like racial or ethnic minorities, women of all ethnicities and races. Or the political correctness Left. That people should be able to be themselves and express themselves, but then they also make themselves open to criticism as well.
Camille Paglia

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Reason: Video: Everything’s Awesome and Camille Paglia is Unhappy!

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Give Camille Paglia five minutes to talk and two days later she might still be speaking and about the same subject. She seems very pissed off and energized in this interview. But I actually agree with a lot of the points that she’s making here about feminism. That she’s a feminist in the sense that she believes in equal rights and equal opportunity. That women or men shouldn’t be denied access simply for being female or male. I believe in the same things accept that as a man and a straight one at that, (ha ha) I’m not sure that I can qualify as a feminist. But maybe that is a subject or debate for a different time.

But perhaps Camille Paglia’s larger point or the one these stresses more is that women or men shouldn’t be judged better simply for being a women or man. Her critique about Feminists is not about mainstream Feminists who believe in equal rights and equal opportunity. But against people who are called militant Feminists. People, women especially who believe that women are superior to men and therefore should be treated better and should be running the world. And those are the Feminists that I break away from not as a man, but simply as a Liberal who believes in equal rights and opportunity.
Camille Paglia

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Reason: Hit & Run: Why Medicare Will Always Need Fixing: How to Reform Medicare

Reason: Hit & Run: Why Medicare Will Always Need Fixing

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

This is really about adding onto the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Which I supported then and I support now, but even great legislation which the ACA even with its best supporters doesn’t qualify as, at least yet need to be improve and reformed from time to time. But to talk about the so-called doc fix that is part of Medicare first and the I’ll get into expanding Medicare. But the doc fix is what is known as the physician payments from Medicare to doctors who take Medicare patients. It is very expensive because Medicare only takes senior citizens. Not exactly the most healthy members of our society. And as a result their health care can be very expensive. Which is one of the problems with Medicare.

The doc fix I believe is fairly simple to fix in practice, but harder to get passed into law, because it would mean that Congress wold have to take on people they aren’t comfortable taking on. The special interests that made it possible for them to be in the House of Representatives or Senate. Instead of paying doctors based on how much health care they give their patients, we could pay them based on their outcomes. Pay for quality care instead of quantity care. Subsidize doctors based on how healthy their patients are and encourage them to take steps to prevent their patients from having to have expensive health care in the future by taking care of themselves upfront. Instead of paying doctors based on how unhealthy their patients are and how much health care they have to give as a result. Similar to education, we should pay for performance, not pay for simply showing up to work.

Now another way to cut the costs of Medicare is to have more people on it. Young healthy people meaning and doing what we should’ve done in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act and putting in the public option. Making Medicare available to everyone and giving non-senior adults the option of taking Medicare as their health insurer for themselves and their kids. Which could be paid for simply by the people who use it. You wouldn’t have to expand the payroll tax because the new customers would pay for their own Medicare out-of-pocket and through their employer. Which would expand health insurance coverage, but also cut the overall costs of Medicare, because we would have younger healthier Americans on it including children.

We wouldn’t have to expand the Federal Government to cover the Medicare public option. We could allow for the states to set up their own Medicare systems under basic national standards. Not designed to run the states programs for themselves, but to see that Medicare dollars are used simply for that and nothing else. That their Medicare program remains non-profit and public and that it is treated no worse or better than private non-profit health insurers. This is something that we would’ve done 5-6 years ago. It passed in a Democratic House of Representatives and could’ve passed in a Democratic Senate under what is known as budget reconciliation. Where it only take fifty-one votes for final passage and not sixty. And something we should do now.

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Democracy Journal: Opinion: Robin Marie Averbeck: The History of American Liberalism

Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat

Democracy Journal: Opinion: Robin Marie Averbeck: Heal Thyself

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

The history of American Liberalism really goes back to the founding of the Federal Republic and even before that to the American Revolution. Where we broke away from a dictatorial British Monarchy in the United Kingdom to build the first ever liberal democratic Federal Republic. You want to know about and understand American Liberalism, read the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. The U.S. Constitution at least being something that today’s so-called Modern Liberals would throw out and replace. And perhaps not just replace at all so they can build their socialist collectivist centralized state. With a big centralized government big enough to take care of everyone.

American Liberalism is about basic fundamental American liberal values. Of freedom, individual rights, opportunity, liberation, empowerment, education and responsibility. Liberalism is not libertarian or socialist or even social democratic, but its liberal. Built around again common American liberal values of opportunity and freedom. That everyone should have the opportunity to obtain freedom in life. And not have to be dependent on government or others to take care of them. And this starts with things like infrastructure and education, which leads to the opportunity that everyone needs to live in freedom in life.

The old American political stereotypes use to be that the Liberal believes in personal freedom. And the Conservative believes in economic freedom. And they would compromise to see that the state especially the federal state doesn’t become so big that it threatens either personal or economic freedom. But in the last fifteen years or so at least when it comes to Liberals, we are stereotyped as people who not only don’t believe in economic freedom and perhaps not even private enterprise, if you read a lot of the so-called liberal publications today, but that we aren’t fans of personal freedom either. And that we need a government big enough to manage our economic and personal affairs. A welfare state plus a nanny state.

The facts are that if you’re truly a Liberal, you believe in both economic and personal freedom. The ability for the individual to manage their own economic and personal affairs. With the education and knowledge to have the freedom to make those decisions for themselves. We don’t want big government interference in our economic and personal lives. We want government to come in to see that everyone can get themselves the tools that they need to live in freedom. Again infrastructure and education, plus good parenting is where freedom comes from. And then after that it is up to the individual to make the most out of the good opportunities that they get in life.

Liberals wrote the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights and we created the American safety net. A public social insurance system for people in need to help them get by in the short-term while they are getting themselves on their feet and able to take care of themselves. We didn’t create superstate, a welfare state big enough to take care of everyone. Which is something that the so-called New-Left, Far-Left really, at least by American political standards wanted to create in America in the late 1960s. That Democratic Socialist presidential candidates Henry Wallace and Norman Thomas wanted to create in the 1940s and 50s.

The Liberal believes in opportunity and freedom. That the job of government is to protect everyone’s freedom until they give that up by taking an innocent person’s freedom. Protect freedom for those who already have it and deserve it. Expand freedom for those who don’t have it yet and need it. The so-called Modern Liberal, whose really a Socialist or Social Democrat at least everywhere else in the developed world, believes in equality. That everyone should be equal and not have so much or so little compared with everyone else. And that it’s the job of government especially the central government through wealth redistribution to see that everyone is equal. But that is not liberalism, but a form of democratic socialism that is much further left than American Liberalism.

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The Atlantic: Opinion: Russell Berman: U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen Ditches The House For a Shot at The Senate

U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen, D, Maryland

U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen, D, Maryland

The Atlantic: Opinion: Russell Berman: U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen Ditches The House For a Shot at The Senate

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Just to start off, I’m a big fan of Representative Chris Van Hollen. I’ve hoped that he would at least look to run statewide in Maryland at least since 2011 when Democrats lost the House of Representatives. Had he run for Governor of Maryland last year, he’s probably Governor right now, instead of Conservative Republican Larry Hogan. Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown ran a bad campaign in a very Democratic state and lost to someone who ran a very good campaign. I consider Representative Van Hollen to be the star of the Democratic Caucus in the House and believe the House is simply too small of a stage for him. Especially serving in the minority where Democrats are now thirty seats away from the majority.

But lets look at some of the differences between being a U.S. Representative and a U.S. Senator and especially in Chris Van Hollen’s case. And how running for Senate will change his political landscape. Representative Van Hollen is currently the Ranking Member of the Budget Committee. If it were to snow in hell in 2016 and Democrats were to win back the House, Van Hollen becomes Chairman of that committee. As well as having a real opportunity to be the next Democratic Speaker of the House. Which might not be until 2020 at the earliest, especially if the next President is also a Democrat. But Senate Democrats have a real shot, perhaps 50-50 or better of winning back the Senate in 2016.

Which means that Van Hollen as Senator Chris Van Hollen could go from being in the minority even the ranking committee member, top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, to a freshman Senator with experience in the House Democratic Leadership, whose also a real policy wonk. Who could start of his first Senate term in the Democratic Leadership. As Harry Reid’s chief political adviser or something, perhaps caucus chairman. Unless you’re in leadership in the House or a leader on one of the full committees, Chairman or Ranking Member, it is very easy to get lost in the House. Especially if you’re in the minority, because you have 435 Representatives who don’t represent a state, but a section of a state. Where the majority rules on everything and where the minority isn’t even allowed to offer amendments and substitutes to bills that the majority writes them self, most of the time.

But as a Senator, you’re not just one vote, but a real decider. Where not just your leader needs to listen to you and take you seriously, but the leader of the other party may need to consult you as well. Especially if you’re trusted and respected by at least your caucus. Because the Senate Leader and Minority Leader both need votes. The Leader needs sixty on almost everything and generally doesn’t have it with just their caucus The Minority Leader generally needs forty-one to stop whatever the majority wants to do by them self and generally has that with just their members. But to pass a final bill the Minority Leader needs to get sixty as well. A lot of their members and work out an agreement with the Majority Leader to get the other votes.

And because of how the Senate works which many times looks like two competing lawyers working out settlements with each other, each member is very important. Each member can say to their leader or the leader of the other party, “look, I know you need my vote on this. I can help you if you agree to do this for me.” Like supporting an amendment or putting new language in the bill. But if you’re in the House, all you really have is the ability to vote yes or no for the most part. And if you’re in the minority, you’re voting no on a lot of bills that are going to pass anyway. Which becomes the ultimate losing cause.

Chris Van Hollen is someone who could potentially be the next Secretary of Treasury, Secretary of Housing or Commerce, U.S. Trade Representative, Attorney General of the United States, Vice President and even President at some point. There’s so much potential for him as a public servant because of his background and knowledge. And being a member of the minority in the House of Representatives, even a senior member is simply too small of a stage for him. If not the Senate in 2016, then maybe the cabinet under a Democratic President in 2017. He’s more than ready to take the next step in his public service career. And its time that he makes this move.

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