Melinda Henneberger, founder and editor-in-chief of Politics Daily, rounds up the week's national news.
Senator gets $25000 if a Bill Passes : Is this a potential ETHICS Violation ? (Re: Bush Tax Cut Extn)
A Senator knows he will get $25000 if a Bill Passes. He won't get the money if the bill doesn't pass.He supports and votes for the Bill. Is this a potential ETHICS Violation ?
According to the NY Times, the average ANNUAL benefit to people earning over 250,000 for extending the Bush tax cuts to the wealthyis $25,000.
Most Americans do not benefit.
Is supporting this bill a potential Ethics Violation for a wealthy Senator or Congressperson ?
Should they recuse themselves ?Should they give back any personalgains if it passes ?
Major Conflict of Interest ? : Large $$$ to Wealthy Congress Members from Extending Bush Cuts
Is there a significant Direct Financial Conflict of Interest in Congress ? Should wealthy members of Congress recuse themselves when voting to extend tax cuts for the wealthy ?
The vast majority of Americans do not gain from tax cuts for the wealthy.
Many members of Congress ARE WEALTHY however, and stand to PERSONALLYGAIN Tens of thousands of dollars or more PER YEAR by extending thecuts.
Extending Bush's tax cuts to those with incomes over $250,000, (or theestate tax cuts) could be a MAJOR DIRECT FINANCIAL CONFLICT OF INTERESTfor any members of Congress who would personally gain from these changes.
Should wealthy senators and congresspersons recuse themselves from the vote ?
If they wish to vote for something that would personally reward them and doesn'treward most other Americans, perhaps they should agree to RETURN ANY FUTUREBENEFITS that they would obtain from their vote if the bill passed.
At a minimum, ALL members of Congress should FULLY DISCLOSEhow much they and their families personally stand to gain from theirvotes on these bills. The public has a right to know.
How large is this back-handed increase in Congressional pay ?Does the U.S. public approve of major increases in Congressional Pay during these hard times ?
Rep. Rangel was recently censured for violations which involvedmuch lower amounts of money than these conflicted wealthyrepresentatives stand to personally gain by extending tax cutsto the wealthy. At a minimum, shouldn't it be fully disclosed ?
WHICH of the Republican Senators(NAMES PLEASE!!!) have incomes over$250,000 or even over $1 million and willPERSONALLY benefit financially for their positions on tax cuts and estate taxes ?
MY GUESS : ALMOST ALL OF THEM!
BRIAN! PLEASE LOOK INTO THIS!
The Reconcilliation Process is the Democrat's LAST HOPE!(51% is easier than 60 %)
The Democrats lost in 2010 because they were SPINELESS.
The Republicans showed that they could BULLY them into abandoning their values in the name \of compromise.NOW, the Democrats are planning to CAVE IN to the Republicans' new-speak demands for HUGE tax cuts for the Rich in order to "cut the deficit".The Republicans have proven that they are willing to be RUTHLESS, dirty and intransigent to GET their way (which is syphoning money from America's future to benefit their rich cronies).The Republicans are holding 911 heros ransom to their demands - they wont fund healthcare for people who lost their health to help after 911.The Republicans are holding the unemployed and their families ransom to their demands- they wont fund an extention to unemployment unless the country spend 10 TIMES as much to syphon harmful and unjust tax cuts to their Rich cronies.Democrats : 1) WAKE UP ! This is a war. Pandering to extremists and bullies makes them worse. They will be stronger next time and demand more. You can NOT reason or negotiate until you prove that you CAN FIGHT if you need to, and that they won't like it when your gloves come off.2) USE WHAT YOU CAN - WHILE YOU STILL CAN - YOUR LAST CARD IS RECONCILLIATION. Stuff it FULL of things that will hurt the Republicans goals and plans. MAKE IT EXTREME! THESE ARE THE ITEMS YOU WILL NEED TO TRADE WITH THE Republicans in 2011 to keep sane government functioning. You don't start a negotiation or a fight by giving in!
It's sad what has happened to Rangel and I respect his career and service. He should have retired in dignity. However, if any of us had evaded taxes in that fashion, we would be treated VERY differently. The law is the law and he should be a better role model.
And, anyone who lives in NYC KNOWS that it was inappropriate and illegal for him to inhabit several rent control apartments and use it for his campaign. NYC has a serious affordable housing problem -- I don't know how he can justify this.
Brian, I love the show and it's an integral part of my day, but with regard to the income tax issue and the framing of the Rangel issue, you are not being objective. I rely on WNYC for professional journalism/talk -- please do not go the way of cable news. (AND it's getting harder for me to defend public radio to my right leaning friends because there are times when I do hear a clear liberal bias.)
Re: Charlie Rangle:What worse offense could there be than using a rent stabilized apartment, on the sly, for your work
I am outraged at the caller who tried to say that the danger in not reversing Don't Ask is that servicemen will be subjugated by these evil "gay" servicemen.
WOMEN SUFFER MORE!!!!
My father was in the service for 20 years. One of the jobs he held in the Air Force was as a First Sargent. A First Sargent is like a counselor/mentor for young service people who may be living away from home for the first time, often in a foreign country. He had to respond to any incident the people in his squadron experienced. One of the top reasons my dad would be called into work was rape incidents in the women's dorm.
Charles Rangel states he didn't gain personally from his discretions. He didn't pay taxes and had multiple rent controlled apartments. Didn't that keep more money in his pocket? He passed a tax loophole for a company that provided a million dollar pledge to a center to be named for him. No personal gain? Please.
On raising the cutoff on tax cuts for higher-income earners, I'd been thinking that rather than $1 million, it should be linked to the president's salary--make it $350,000 or $300,000, so the president would have to take the hit on the last $50,000 or $100,000 along w/everyone else making more than the cutoff (& have it go up w/any presidential salary increase).
Peter King -- one of the most vile, bigoted members of Congress -- defending Charlie Rangel? Doesn't that say it all?
YES, you can declare ethical standards on everyone in the military, a point made Sec. of Defense Gates. If service people get out of line, then they are penalized.
So the caller is simply wrong on the facts and showing his true colors.
I keep hearing Both Brian and the guest making the same mistake that Pres. Obama is making. He is making the assumption that the Independents that went for the republicans in the midterms are the Center. That is FALSE! Independents are conservative by and large, if they vote. THEY ARE NOT THE CENTER!!!!!
Obama won because he brought out a Base of dems that had not previously been voting, including Moderates who already mostly vote for dems but have the problem of not always voting. (similar to african americans, one of the base groups that came out to vote in unprecedented numbers but did not do so for the midterms). Obama lost the midterms because of the enthusiasm gap. This gap existed among the democratic base and the moderates (not with independents). Obama wins a second term in the same way that the congressional dems win BY GOING LEFT and bringing out that Base that won him the election in 2008!!!
If he caves on this issue, he keeps moving dangerously close to losing his base. Without his base he will absolutely lose. You cannot win from the center if you do not keep your base.
The center outside of the center of Wahington does NOT want tax cuts for the wealthiest, yet even a supposedly "liberal" commentator continues to push this discredited meme.
Look at the polls! Even those who DID NOT vote for Dems DO NOT want those tax cuts when asked!
What am I missing? Please will David Gregory, or someone call Mike Pense or John Boehner, or someone, on the fact that taxing the "income" of a small business owner who earns 1 million dollars will not affect that business owner's ability to hire/maintain employees. The business is able to pay this owner 1 Million a year.
If the Bush tax cuts expire for everyone, rates will go up slightly to the rates of the Clinton era when we had a great economic boom. Let's do it!
Pulling the plug on Grandma a day early - Repuplican death panels. Only a Republican...Why do Repub. talking points always "land"? -- A segment in a future program? Please.Obama might get the independent vote but he's going to lose his base - My cousin is scraping the bumper sticker off her car and she's a "true believer."
The previous caller make a great point hat shows how thr Republican position is absurd. They want NO estate tax when they also say that the country is dying under the weight of the deficits?
The GOP managed for years through culture wars and now subtle racism (58% of republicans think Obama is not a citizen; anti immigration stances etc) to get the middle and lower class of middle America to vote against their wallets for years. Everyone thinks the republicans are a bunch of rich guys, but there aren't enough rich guys to vote for these people so they get middle class people to vote for them through this culture war messaging. It is amazing that te average John Q Public voter would go along with fiscal policies like estate taxes, tax cuts for rich, deregulation of things like food safety (how can you be against makig sure your egg doesn't kill you!?!?).
I can't believe the Republicans want to deny benefits to the jobless and give a windfall tax break to millionaires. Why don't the Democrats point out the ever growing income disparity? The way things work now, there will be NO middle class in a few years. If a real recovery is dependent upon consumers and consumers cannot afford to pay their mortgage or rent or for food and clothing, this fledgling recovering is going to sink like a stone. Will that be the new reality for Americans?
It goes back to the fact that people believe that raising taxes on the wealthiest in the U.S. is unfair to ALL Americans because of the aspirational "American Dream."
The American Dream is a sham at this point when there is such an upward trend towards the higher income wealth accumulation over the past 30+ years. It is a basic misunderstanding of the many complex interactions that have bamboozled the people to think that_ in the future_ they will be affected.
People DO NOT pay close attention to policy. Period.
It's the media stupid. Of course they can't use the shame tactic, because the media frame the debate and that just ain't gonna happen. Break up the media conglomorates, otherwise nothing else can happen.
The Republicans will get what they want. Thank you Democrats for being the most lush and comfy CARPET!
Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm
your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the
right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the
Comment Guidelines before
By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's
It's your neighborhood, your city, your country, your world, and now your website. Brian Lehrer delves into the issues and links them to real life.