The poorly-described "millionaires' tax" would have raised $637 million for rebate checks of up to $1,295 for some 600,000 senior citizens who would otherwise face steep increases in their property taxes during fiscal 2011.
And this in a state where there is a budget shortfall of over 37% in relation to revenues.
All over the news: oil industry's darling Representative Joe Barton's comparison of the BP compensation fund with a "shakedown," comparing it to the worst in Chicago's checkered political payoff past. It is bad enough that Barton, the ranking minority member on the House Committee on Energy & Commerce, would say such a thing. But other Republicans have chimed in, particularly candidates in swing seats running for election against Democrats this fall. Two candidates to run against Russ Feingold in the Wisconsin Senate race have this to say.
It is very troubling when we circumvent the rule of law. I think they would have been held liable, and that would be the way to do this.Dave Westlake:
Shaking BP down for $20 billion doesn't do anything to further that end [stopping the leak] or to get the oil cleaned up faster.In Colorado, an aide to former front-runner Jane Norton (Ken Buck now leads in some polls for the GOP's U.S. Senate nomination) called the rescue cash a "slush fund."
They have all taken their lead from a Republican Party memo and from the unofficial head of the party, Rush Limbaugh, who has termed the extraction of the promise to compensate financial losses for the working class and small business entrepreneurial class in the Gulf region, "thuggery."
No mention of the negligent thuggery that created the explosion that essentially murdered 11 people and is creating environmental chaos throughout one of the world's most beautiful bodies of water.
If this weren't enough, conservative J.D. Hayworth who is challenging John McCain in the Senate primary in the Nut Bin State, Arizona, served as an infomercial shill for "National Grants Conference," one of those scam companies that promises people - desperate people - a chance to get "free money" from the government through grant money that happens to be lying around doing nothing. The cost of the seminars for information that is available free from many traditional sources - $1000.
So, J.D., what's this about the government being too big and wasting taxpayer money?
The Wall Street Journal reports today:
"Now the Florida-based firm that produced the infomercial, National Grants Conferences, is facing bankruptcy. The company racked up hundreds of consumer complaints that led many Better Business Bureau chapters around the country to give it an "F" rating."
Meanwhile, right wing Republicans are blocking an extender bill for unemployment benefits. The bill would extend benefits for 12 million people who have been out of work for over a year.
At the same time, Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, the most backward state in the Union, has been mentioned as a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2012.
He has been a skeptic about the effects of the oil catastrophe in the Gulf states, except for Louisiana to which his heart goes out, and now blames the national press for economic hardships the fisheries and tourist industry are suffering. What's IN that gumbo in Mississippi? He also has blasted the President's moratorium on deep water drilling, claiming that the economic impact of that will be more devastating than the slump other business in the Gulf will experience.
Tim Scott, invariably described as a "charismatic black man," is poised to win the GOP nomination to run for a Congressional seat in South Carolina. Scott, however, is somewhere right of Clarence Thomas, and is "black" in skin tone only. He's more the kind of guy who would have been serving mint juleps at a lynching of his fellow African-Americans in the 1870s. Right wing is right wing, dangerous is dangerous, no matter what your skin color, gender, or religion.
Back up north, Scott Brown is lobbying furiously behind the scenes to give big banks a bye on trading of derivatives. Keep in mind that Brown received $450,000 from banks in the last 6 days of his successful Senate run. He who pays the piper calls the tune.
Welcome to the Republican future.