Why read me when you can read Newsweek‘s Fareed Zakaria? In very small part:
The highway bill of 1982 had 10 “earmarked” projects-the code word for pork. The 2005 one has 6,371.
Today’s Republicans believe in pork, but they don’t believe in government. So we have the largest government in history but one that is weak and dysfunctional.
Hurricane Katrina is a wake-up call. It is time to get serious. We need to secure the homeland, fight terrorism and have an effective foreign policy to advance our interests and our ideals. We also need a world-class education system, a great infrastructure and advancement in science and technology.
For all its virtues, the private sector cannot accomplish all this. Wal-Mart and Federal Express cannot devise a national energy policy for the United States. For that and for much else, we need government. We already pay for it. Can somebody help us get our money’s worth?
☞ It helps to have a Party that believes in government and takes its responsibilities seriously.
WHY MIKE VOTES REPUBLICAN
Mike Wallin: ‘You say gays pay a lot of taxes. True, they do. However under GOP tax policies they (and everyone else) pay a lot less. That’s a big reason I am a Republican.’
☞ GOP tax policies greatly favor the rich over everyone else and have added literally trillions of dollars to our National Debt. The interest on that debt is now hundreds of billions of dollars a year – and will become even more onerous if interest rates rise, as at some point they almost surely will. In your and your children’s names, we are borrowing the savings of poorer countries, like China. To finance tax cuts for the wealthy, the Republican Party is mortgaging our future and weakening our country.
Michelle Daniel: ‘You wrote: GLBT citizens pay a lot of taxes just like everybody else. Actually, we pay more. Recently, the company I work for here in Missouri extended its health insurance policy to include domestic partners (after I wrote a kick-a*s memo, citing statistics from the Human Rights Campaign’s very helpful Web site). This made an enormous change in the quality of health care my self-employed partner and I are able to afford. My partner can now get an annual wellness exam, see a dentist for preventive dental care, and have an annual eye exam – all procedures that she would forgo in the past because of the unreasonably high deductibles she was stuck with as an individual paying for her own health insurance. I am very thankful to work for such an inclusive, progressive company that values all of its employees equally.
‘However, shortly after signing up for the new policy, I was dismayed to learn that domestic partner benefits, unlike benefits provided to married heterosexual couples, are considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service. My employer must report and withhold taxes on the ‘fair market value’ of the domestic partner coverage. This means that I have to pay taxes on the portion my employer contributes to the health plan to cover my partner – over $3,000 a year – something my married coworkers do not have to do for coverage of their partners. This has had a real impact on my paycheck. In addition, because my employer must pay payroll taxes on my taxable income, the company is taxed at a higher rate as well. They are effectively being punished for doing what is only fair – providing equal benefits to all of their employees.
‘I wrote my congressman and senators, asking them to support tax equity for domestic partner benefits, but since my senators are Republicans, James Talent and Kit Bond, I don’t hold out much hope.’
GAY MARRIAGE – ARE YOU CRAZY?
Ken Ahonen: ‘The American Psychiatric Association has joined the American Psychoanalytic Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Association of Social Workers in endorsing marriage equality. They understand the benefits of forming the cohesive family units that civil marriage provides.’
Kathi Derevan: ‘I almost never distribute anything to my whole e-mail list, but I did pass out the number to call Arnold about gay marriage. It resulted in lots of calls to the Gov, including one from my grumpy Republican friend Steve, who said, ‘The gays might as well be as miserable as the rest of us.”