October 17, 2010
Note: In a letter to the Midland Daily News
On September 23, House Republicans issued a document called
A Pledge to
Many are citing the fragile economy as a reason to extend the tax cuts of the Bush era. The Pledge claims we need to keep the tax cuts for jobs. We have had these cuts in effect since 2003. As of April 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we have lost 8.42 million jobs since January 2008. Additionally the BLS reported that there are another 8.3 million people who would like to work full time but are working part time. (2)
In 2009 the Fortune 500 shed 821,000 jobs, enabling them to increase their earnings to $301 billion, an increase of 335% over 2008. (3) The gap in earnings between top executives and lowest employees continues to grow. The top 2% of income grew in 2009 while everyone else’s declined. (4)
Those tax cuts are creating a wealthy few, destroying jobs and putting people in poverty.
The Republicans wrote in their pledge, “We pledge to honor the Constitution as constructed by its framers and honor the original intent of those precepts that have been consistently ignored – particularly the Tenth Amendment.” Do these Republicans support governing by only white male landowners – the original meaning of “We the people”? Do they support the return to slavery and elimination of women’s right to vote? Do they support the election of US Senators by state legislatures rather than the people? All these are enshrined in the original Constitution (2a)
The pledge continues with, “We will end the attack on free enterprise by repealing jobkilling policies….” Do these include minimum wage, 40 hour work week, unemployment insurance, and workmen’s compensation? They do include the repeal of a new requirement that business report all purchases on Form 1099. (6) Billions of dollars in tax revenue are lost because businesses understate their income or overstate their expenses. This requirement will help to end those practices.
For at least fifty years legislators and the public have talked about reforming our health care system, especially how we pay for health care. Finally significant health care reform legislation was passed in March.
The pledge says that “The American people wanted one thing out of health care reform: lower costs.” This American wants coverage for all people as well as lower costs. Since it has not been fully implemented we don’t yet know if it will lower costs.
The Pledge promises to repeal the health care reform law and replace it with “common sense solutions” that would prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and allow people to buy insurance across state lines. These proposals are in clear violation of their own stated support for a strict interpretation of the Constitution. Without mandating universal coverage people will wait to purchase insurance until they have a medical condition.
for fifty years economists, environmentalists and others have warned us about our dependence on
oil as our primary source of energy. Some of the stimulus money was used to
encourage alternative energy production. While the results are not significant
in the short term they will have great impact on our future. Wind farms and,
solar energy production must be encouraged. We have already seen both in
various places. A solar shingle company is coming to
Obama has favorably changed the attitude around the world toward the
The main reason for taking a census evry ten years is that the data is used for apportioning US representatives and forming their districts. The next state legislature will draw the boundaries for the new districts.
I will use the above to decide for whom to vote at all levels of government.
(1) A Pledge to
(2) TheBasisPoint, February 5th, 2010
October 11, 2010
(2a) Interpreting “We the people” as only “white male landowners” is an interpretation based on historical conditions. Women were clearly not part of the equation as they still are excluded from full participation in public life. I’m sure there were some non-white male landowners who did have same rights as whites, but these were the exception and not the norm for the writers of the Constitution. Even in my lifetime renters were barred from voting in millage elections.
The Constitution can be read at
Amendment 13 abolished slavery
Amendment 17 Senators elected by popular vote
Amendment 19 Women suffrage
(3) “US Poverty Data Tells Only Half the Story...”
by Ananya Mukherjee-Reed Published on Thursday, September 23, 2010 by Common Dreams
Link to magazine article mentioned in above:
Fortune 500 “Profits bounce back”
(4) “Superrich get richer”
Published on Friday, September 24, 2010 by RobertReich.org
(5) “Intolerable Poverty In A Rich Nation” Think Progress
by Faiz Shakir, Benjamin Armbruster, George Zornick, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, and Tanya Somanader
September 20, 2010
(6) Form 1099 expanded and explained:
the following is quoted from that site:
Healthcare reform bill expands business tax reporting
For many years I have been hearing about the “federal tax gap”. The tax gap is what the federal government believes should be paid in taxes versus what is actually paid in taxes. The tax gap is estimated to be approximately $350 billion annually. The tax gap comes primarily from three areas of noncompliance with the tax law: under reporting of taxable income (by under reporting revenue or over reporting expenses), underpayment of taxes, or non-filing of returns. A significant majority of the tax gap is created by those that under report their taxable income.
The federal government is running a $1.6 trillion deficit in the current fiscal year. Additionally, the new healthcare entitlement program will create huge cash drains on the federal budget in future years. To help close the tax gap and fund this deficit spending, the federal government has expanded informational reporting requirements of businesses. Under current tax law, if a business makes payments in excess of $600 to a person or a business over the course of a year, it must file Form 1099 to report those payments. One copy of the form is sent to the IRS, and another copy is sent to the person to whom you made the payments. Payments made to a corporation and payments made in exchange for merchandise are not required to be reported on a 1099.
Tucked away in just 23 lines of Section 9006 of the Healthcare reform bill be a dramatic change in the 1099 reporting requirements. No longer will corporations or payments for merchandise be exempt 1099 reporting. This new law is effective January 1, 2012. A large majority of payments made by a business will now be reported on a 1099. This reporting requirement will have a two pronged effect on those that under report their taxable income. First, most of a business’ revenue will now be reported to the IRS, so understating large amounts of revenue will be more difficult. Secondly, a business will be less likely to overstate its expenses as it will need to report where those expenses were paid.
There is no doubt
this will be an administrative nightmare for many businesses in the first year
or two. Taxpayer identification numbers
need to be collected for all vendors. Have
a large business related meal at a restaurant, this will need to be reported on
a 1099. Spend a week in a hotel in
I do not believe the IRS will not be able to match these payments dollar for dollar to a tax return as there are too many variables involved. However, it will prevent wholesale abuse by taxpayers and force more people into compliance knowing the IRS will have more information at their disposal.
Todd Gambrell, chairman of the Midland County Republican Party responded to my column with a Forum article on Octobe4 24.
Joe Weir, the Chairman of the Midland County Democratic Party responded to Gambrell on October 31.
following are from the
“Bufka's attacks on pledge are baseless “
Sun Oct 24, 2010.
Bufka's recent attack on the House Republican Pledge
The American people have been speaking out about their federal government. While Washington Democrats have pushed an agenda of borrowing, spending, taxes, and bailouts, the people of mid-Michigan have joined a nationwide chorus of voices that want less spending, lower taxes and a smaller, smarter government.
like Dave Camp have been listening and are ready to lead American with a fresh
start with a fresh new approach. Our agenda, A Pledge to
single greatest issue the American people want us to address is getting
and small businesses have been making hard choices to balance their budgets,
and they've told me that they want
you go people say they want health care reform that lowers costs, not the
massive job-killing government takeover that Democrats imposed. Dave Camp was
the only member of Congress who introduced a bill that actually lowered
premiums - for families, small businesses and large corporations alike. That is
the kind of leadership we need in
the American people are frustrated with more than
is what the Pledge to
Todd M. Gambrell is an attorney with Lambert, Leser, Isackson, Cook & Giunta, P.C. He is chairman of the Midland County Republican party.
ideas are needed as
Posted: Sunday, October 31, 2010 6:00 am | Updated: 3:04 am, Sun Oct 31, 2010.
Mr. Gambrell turns his attention defending Dave Camp and the Republican agenda
of the same old policies that we've heard from them for 30 years - tax cuts and
vague references to balancing the budget. This is the exact same set of
promises Camp and the Republican majority broke back in 2001 when they turned
the country really needs from Dave Camp and the Republican Party are some new
ideas. For example, we all know that the most powerful economic force in the
Republican universe is tax cuts. Indeed, listening to Republicans, one would
conclude that tax-cuts are the only force, the solution to every problem. So
how can it be that
Could it possibly be more complicated than simply cutting taxes? Maybe we also need a high quality educational system? Or a well maintained infrastructure? Or appropriate regulation on Wall Street? How about a strong manufacturing sector? That would probably be good.
The problem is that there is nothing new in the Republican Pledge. It's just a continuation of George W. Bush's ruinous economics in a glossy package. If you want proof, just look at Dave Camp's article (see it below) on the front page of yesterday's paper. A great American president once said "It is only common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another" Well, it failed. It's time for us to admit it and try another.
Posted: Saturday, October 30, 2010 12:30 pm
By Ralph E. Wirtz for the Daily News
just about any weekend, and sometimes during the week, one can find Dave Camp
might run into him at a coffee shop or a football game, or perhaps in the lawn
and garden section of a department store. He still makes the trek just about
every week, despite taking on more and more responsibility in
Still, he has made nearly every vote since he was first elected to Congress in 1990 when the 4th District was still the 10th District. In fact, in this session he has missed only 2.4 percent of all the votes taken.
He has seen the ups and downs of the Republican Party since his first campaign in 1990, when he pledged “no new taxes.”
His rhetoric, however, hasn’t changed.
wants to permanently extend the Bush-era tax cuts that are to expire at the end
of the year, something he thought would be voted upon before Congress left
was a dereliction of duty to leave
Camp, who could become chairman of the Ways and Means Committee if Republicans capture the House of Representatives, said because no action was taken Americans now are looking at a “$3.8 trillion tax increase” at the beginning of the year and continued uncertainty over tax and regulatory issues.
“They didn’t want to make the difficult decisions,” he said.
re-elected Camp said he will work to reduce government spending and to repeal
the health care reform that was passed earlier this year, parts of which
already are in place. He is a big supporter of the Pledge to
The 21-page document is a blueprint for the next congressional session, calling for stopping job-killing tax hikes, rolling back discretionary spending, establishing caps to limit federal spending and require a minimum of three days for members to read legislation between draft and vote, among other items.
reminded that the Pledge is similar to the “Contract with
“Yeah, that did happen,” he acknowledged. “And we were fired because of that.”
Camp has long been critical of the health care legislation, insisting that it doesn’t reduce costs, it does increase taxes and that it “cooks the books” on income and expenditures.
“You can’t have an entitlement expansion without increasing taxes, without increasing the debt,” he said.
“We actually did decrease costs,” Camp said about legislation he wrote that would have been an alternative to the Obama legislation. In fact the legislation did many of the same things the Obama legislation does — covering people with pre-existing conditions, not allowing insurance companies to drop people if they become sick and doing away with caps on medical care. The Congressional Budget Office said the legislation would save Americans about 4 percent a year in costs.
It was ignored by the Democrats in the House.
Camp said he believes that the debate over which type of alternative energy should be getting the bulk of federal dollars is far from over, which is why he has proposed a “alternative fuel tax credit.”
“We don’t know what will emerge,” he said.
Camp said this year’s campaign has been interesting.
“Clearly, the intensity is on the Republican side,” he said. “I’m encouraged by what I see.”
Camp said the media spotlight on his work on Ways and Means this past year has boosted his visibility in the community.
“I’m visible all the time. They’ve seen me fighting on their behalf because of the position I’m in,” he said.
I can only conclude from his non-response that the Pledge supports the egregious policies I described andi repeat them here:
- repeal of women’s right to vote
- the election of US Senators by state legislatures
- repeal of minimum wage laws, unemployment compensation, and workmen’s compensation
We have already heard Republicans talking about the minimum wage law, social security, and other social programs, so be prepared for the onslaught against progressive accomplishments over the last century. We need to stand up for progressive policies.
I was furious after I read the blatantly partisan “news” article about Dave Camp reproduced above. Why didn’t Wirtz just say “vote for Dave!”? that’s what the article was about, not news.