Saturday, February 23, 2013

Last Call

That's funny, wingers.  I thought sequestration cuts were "miniscule".  Mary Katherine Ham:

If we lived in a perfect world, it would be Job No. 1 of every single news report on the sequester to give context to the cuts, so Americans know just how huge minuscule they are. Unfortunately, instead of illuminating the numbers, too many reports just regurgitate President Obama’s or Jay Carney’s or Sec. Ray LaHood’s fearmongering. 

I guess then that GOP governors are fearmongering too this week in DC, huh?

Governors of both parties said on Saturday that they knew federal budget cuts were coming, and they pleaded with President Obama and Congress to give them more discretion over the use of federal money so they could minimize the pain for their citizens. 

The governors, arriving here for the winter meeting of the National Governors Association, said that the automatic across-the-board cuts in federal spending that are scheduled to begin at the end of the week were creating havoc, threatening jobs and sapping economic growth in their states

They urged the president and Congress to strike a deal that would allow state officials to set priorities and prune spending in a more selective way. They said the cuts would be easier to cope with if they had more freedom to decide how to allocate the savings in education, health care and public safety programs. 

We are just saying — as you identify the federal cuts and savings — give us flexibility to make the cuts where they will do the least harm to our citizens,” said Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, a Republican and the vice chairwoman of the association. “Don’t balance the federal budget on the backs of state governments.” 

Hmm, and let's remember these are the same states  and governors like Oklahoma's Mary Fallin who are warning of dire consequences of sequestration cuts as part of revenues from the federal government...and at the same time are calling for massive state tax cuts for the rich, and raising them on the poor.

In Oklahoma, Governor Fallin has significantly scaled back her tax cut ambitions from last year.  Rather than aiming for a fundamental restructuring of the income tax, the Governor has proposed simply repealing the state’s top personal income tax bracket, thereby cutting the state’s top rate from 5.25 to 5.0 percent.  The Oklahoma Policy Institute explains that this proposal “would take $106 million from Oklahoma schools, public safety, and other core state services without offering any way to pay for it.”  And ITEP’s new Who Pays? report shows that last time Oklahoma cut its top income tax rate, in 2012, the vast majority of the benefits (PDF) went to the highest-income taxpayers in the state.  Meanwhile, State Senator Anderson has once again proposed a dramatic flattening of the income tax that would actually raise taxes on most of the state’s lower- and moderate income residents.

To recap, Gov. Fallin is upset that cuts will do harm to citizens when the federal taxpayers in other states are funding Oklahoma...but apparently she has no problem when those citizens are the poor, the elderly, or schoolchildren and the taxpayers are poor Oklahomans.  Go figure.

And no wonder she's frightened by sequestration's cuts to discretionary federal spending:  the state's taken federal taxpayers to the cleaners for nearly $50 billion over the last 20 years.  And they just cut taxes on the rich again.

Who are the makers and takers now, folks?

Constant Vigiliance, He Shouted

Don't look now, but swing state Republicans are trying to rig the 2016 electoral college again, this time in Pennsylvania, and this time there may not be anything Democrats can do to stop it.

Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA) was one of the earliest supporters of rigging the Electoral College, backing a plan to do so as early as 2011. Republican state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi was one of the leading supporters of election-rigging the and late this week, he — along with a dozen other co-sponsors — introduced a new plan to rig the Electoral College votes in his blue state of Pennsylvania. Under this legislation, a large chunk of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes would be awarded to the Republican candidate even though Pennsylvania is a solid blue state that has supported the Democratic candidate for president in every election since 1992.

Oh, it gets worse.

The 13 co-sponsors on Pileggi’s bill amount to exactly half of the 26 votes he needs to pass the bill through the state senate. According to state Rep. Mike Sturla (D-PA), now that Pileggi has introduced his election-rigging plan, Republicans could conceivably ram it through both houses of the state legislature and have it on Corbett’s desk in just four days.

In other words, this could end up law within a week:

 The nominee for the Office of President of the United States who wins the plurality of the Statewide popular vote shall be awarded two presidential electors.

The remaining presidential electors shall be divided among nominees for President of the United States by multiplying the number of remaining presidential electors by the percentage of the Statewide popular vote received by a nominee for President of the United States and rounding up to the nearest whole number, subject to the following:

If the total number of presidential electors allocated to all candidates is greater than the number of available electors, the number of presidential electors allocated to the nominee with the smallest percentage of the Statewide popular vote shall be reduced by one.

In other words, the PA plan is to split the state by popular vote percentage, with the winner getting two additional electoral votes, rather than the state being winner take all.  It neatly rigs the state for Republicans, and turns PA into a permanent battleground state.

Now, if every single state did this, that would be one thing, but it's only purple states where Obama won in 2012 that are thinking about this.  Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan Florida, and Wisconsin could do this without any interference from Dems, too, all but assuring Republicans win in 2016.

Here we go again.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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