Protectionism Ramps Up in Senate

Mr. Andrew Roth - July 26th, 2007

Senate Finance Committee Fires Opening Salvo for Protectionism

Washington &mdash As the Senate Finance Committee marks up protectionist legislation against China today, the Club for Growth denounced the rising protectionist sentiment in Congress and urged lawmakers to embrace the free trade policies that are so integral to the country’s continued prosperity.

Spearheaded by Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the “Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2007” can only lead to protectionist barriers that will stifle trade between the U.S. and China. “While the protectionists present themselves as protectors of American interests, the people who stand to lose the most from their legislation are American consumers, businesses, and workers who will suffer from the higher prices, fewer jobs, and general decline in the country’s economic growth that will inevitably occur if we abandon free trade,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. “The only person who will be happy is Lou Dobbs, and that ought to tell you something about the legislation.”

Free trade has long played a crucial role in our country’s economic prosperity. It is no coincidence that the Great Depression coincided with high tariffs, while the period of greatest economic growth has coincided with a period of freest trade. “Economists on both the left and the right agree on the economic benefits of free trade and the dangers of protectionism,” Mr. Toomey added. “The Senate would be wise not to revisit the failed policies of the Smoot-Hawley era.”

John Edwards' War Against Prosperity

Mr. Andrew Roth - July 26th, 2007

John Edwards Changes Campaign Theme from “Two Americas” to “War on Prosperity”

Washington &mdash If there is any lingering doubt about John Edwards’ bristling hostility towards economic growth in this country, all doubts should be laid to rest with John Edwards’ announcement of yet another tax hike today. In a desperate attempt to drive home his lefty bona-fides and revive his faltering campaign, John Edwards is promising to raise the capital gains tax from 15% to 28% if elected president.

As John Edwards continues to wage a political war against prosperity, his campaign platform is looking more and more like Karl Marx’s wish list:

  • Terminate the Bush tax cuts
  • Raise taxes at least to Clinton-era levels
  • Impose socialized medicine in America, to the tune of $120 billion
  • Punish the private equity industry with new taxes
  • Support anti-trade protectionist policies, including opposition to the pending trade treaty with South Korea
  • Choke off entry-level job growth by raising the federal minimum wage
  • Diminish the prospect for worker productivity gains by raising capital gains taxes to 28%

“Perhaps John Edwards was too busy learning how hedge funds work to recognize the economic prosperity caused by the 2003 tax cuts over the past four years,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. “Since 2003, unemployment in this country has tumbled from a high of 6.1% to a low of 4.5%, while the economy has gained 8 million jobs since its low point in August 2003. At the same time, revenue from capital gains taxes has shot up over the past three years and continues to flow into the federal coffers at an astonishing rate, bringing us to the threshold of a balanced budget today. One would think Edwards would be interested in keeping the economy strong, unemployment down, and balancing the budget, but maybe he cares more about pandering to his far-left base.”


Broad Opposition to the Farm Bill

Mr. Andrew Roth - July 25th, 2007

Club for Growth Endorses Farm Bill Reform Amendment

Washington &mdash Today, the Club for Growth and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers and nonpartisan non-profit groups urged lawmakers to vote for the Fairness in Farm and Food Policy Amendment.

On Thursday, the House of Representatives will be voting on the five-year extension of a massive farm bill that dispenses billions of taxpayer dollars to special interests groups and select farms like party favors at a birthday bash. The best hope for any reform is a bipartisan amendment offered by Representatives Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Paul Ryan (R-WI), Ron Kind (D-WI), and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

While not perfect, the Fairness in Farm and Food Policy Amendment is a sorely-needed improvement over the monstrosity coming out of the Agriculture Committee which spends more taxpayer dollars, encourages dependency on the government, and includes protectionist policies. Some of the amendment’s much-needed reforms include:

  • Gradually reduces direct payments created in the 1996 Farm Bill that were intended to be phased out but were turned into a government entitlement program for farmers
  • Denies subsidies for farmers with an annual adjusted gross income greater than $500,000
  • Limits annual subsidies to $250,00 per person

“This is the strongest left-right coalition ever assembled to reform the nation’s outdated and misguided farm policies,” said Club for Growth Executive Director David Keating. “Hitting lawmakers from the left and the right, we plan to score a knockout punch over the special interests who want to continue the status quo.”

“While greater reforms are necessary, the Fairness in Farm and Food Policy Amendment is an important step in the right direction and demonstrably better than the special-interest bonanza known as the Farm Bill. We urge all lawmakers to reject the sham reform bill passed by the Agriculture Committee and support what will hopefully be the first of many genuine reforms.”

The Club for Growth has informed representatives it will include the vote on the amendment as a “key vote” in the Club for Growth’s annual congressional scorecard for the 110th Congress.

Beware of the Flying Pigs!

Mr. Andrew Roth - July 23rd, 2007

Pigs Fly in South Carolina Tonight; Hillary Clinton Says She is not a Big-Government Liberal

Washington – Pigs were flying in South Carolina tonight during the Democratic presidential debate as Hillary Clinton announced that she is not a big-government liberal but a “modern progressive” that “believes strongly in individual rights and freedoms.”

Perhaps Hillary Clinton hasn’t been reading her own press releases and campaign speeches because her entire presidential campaign has been a series of proposals for new government programs. In fact, Senator Clinton’s entire political career reeks of big-government liberalism, from her disastrous attempt at Hillary Care to her recent proposal for universal kindergarten. At every turn, Hillary Clinton has embraced the far-left, liberal agenda, including her support for tax hikes, increased government spending, and restrictions on political free speech and her opposition to school choice and free trade.

“I am hard-pressed to imagine something more absurd than Hillary Clinton defending individual rights and eschewing the big-government label on national television,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. “Kudos to CNN host Anderson Cooper for keeping a straight face.”

“If Hillary Clinton truly believes in individual rights, she would allow American taxpayers to decide how they want to spend their own money; she would allow parents to decided which schools best suits their children’s needs; she would allow citizens to make their own healthcare choices; she would allow voters and candidates to engage in political speech, unfettered by government restrictions. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what Hillary Clinton calls herself. What matter is what she believes in, and Hillary Clinton believes in a liberal, big-government behemoth that dictates to the American people how to live their own lives.”


Alaskan Republicans Are Fed Up With Pork

Mr. Andrew Roth - July 19th, 2007

Club Poll Shows Alaska Republican Primary Voters Fed Up with Pork

Washington &mdash By an overwhelming margin, Alaska Republican primary voters want their elected officials to go on a sorely-needed diet, according to a poll released today by the Club for Growth PAC.

Alaska’s senior senator, Ted Stevens, and its only representative, Don Young, are two of Congress’ most notorious porkers, often threatening other lawmakers while they waste taxpayer dollars. Just yesterday, Representative Young declared, “Those who bite me will be bitten back” when Representative Scott Garrett (R-NJ) attempted to strip an $11.8 million giveaway to the “Strengthening Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions” from the Labor-HHS appropriations bill. According to the poll, Alaska Republican primary voters clearly agree with Scott Garrett more they do with their own representative.

In a survey of 300 likely Republican primary voters in Alaska, a stunning supermajority disapproved of the notorious “Bridge to Nowhere” pork project and wanted their elected officials to cut government spending even if it means less pork projects for Alaska. Perhaps these numbers explain why a plurality of surveyed voters thinks it’s time for a change in their Senate representation. The following poll was conducted by Basswood Research July 14-15 and has a margin of error of +/-5.66% .

Do you approve or disapprove of spending $223 million in federal tax money to build a bridge from Ketchikan to Gravina Island, which is sometimes referred to as the “Bridge to Nowhere”?

Approve — 24.7%
Disapprove — 66%
DK/Refused — 9.3%

All things being equal, for whom would you be more likely to vote for Congress? A candidate who wants to cut overall federal spending, even if that includes cutting some money that would come to Alaska or a candidate who is willing to increase overall spending on federal programs, as long as more federal spending and projects come to Alaska?

Cut spending — 71%
Bring projects — 17.3%
DK/Refused — 11.7%

Would you say each of the following statements is true or untrue? “Ted Stevens has done some good things for Alaska, but after forty years in Washington, it’s time for a change.”

True — 47%
Untrue — 44.7%
DK/Refused — 8.3%

“Like the rest of the country, Alaska taxpayers are fed up with runaway spending, wasteful projects, and the corruption that they can breed,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. “Defending his pork career in 2001, Ted Stevens told National Public Radio, ”I am guilty of asking the Senate for pork and proud of the Senate for giving it to me.’ Clearly, the sentiment isn’t shared by Republican primary voters back home.”