NEWSLETTER 17 DEC 2012: Heckled, Fact Checked, and Dismantled

TENNESSEE CITIZEN ACTION NEWSLETTER
Monday, December 17, 2012

 


TENNESSEANS TAKE ACTION, STAND UP FOR WORKING PEOPLE

Photo from Murfreesboro Rally There’s a lot of talk about the budget showdown in Washington, but in Tennessee, hardworking men and women are taking action by visiting their elected congressional representatives.

In Murfreesboro, they visited Rep. Diane Black’s office to ask her to stop blocking middle-class tax cuts:

About 20 people gathered just off West Main Street near the Gallatin Republican’s district office, chanting slogans such as “Middle class first!” 

“A group of Middle Tennesseans backing extension of middle-class tax cuts and an end to Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthy rallied in front of U.S. Rep. Diane Black’s office Wednesday. 

‘I really want her to stop putting millionaires over the middle class,’ said Rebekah Majors-Manley, a Bell Buckle resident and former StoneCrest Hospital nurse who traveled to Washington, D.C., last week with a group called Action to lobby Tennessee legislators. 

Murfreesboro resident David Colin carried a sign that said, “Business  creators like us need help too.’

‘A person can own a building, but it’s not a business until a consumer buys something, making them a business creator,’ Colin said.”

See more coverage from Fox 17 News here.

 


Screenshot of TV Coverage of Martin Rally
TENNESSEANS HECKLED FOR TAKING ACTION


In Martin, they rallied at Congressman Stephen Fincher’s office and according to one participant, they were met by “hecklers” who “ridiculed working men and women who don’t want their taxes to go up.” More from an eyewitness writing for The Rural Progress blog:

“Today, my husband and I joined a small group of concerned citizens and tried to hold a peaceful demonstration at the Martin field office of Congressman Stephen Fincher. We were greeted with threats of violence.
When my husband and  I arrived I was a little nervous – there were hecklers. Who would heckle an “Anti-Tax Hike” demonstration?

That’s kind of a weird. I really thought they must just be there to watch.

So off we went, marching down Lindell Street past the new fountain in the park…And I was right, there they were –  a group of about 5 big guys waiting for us. They ridiculed working men and women who don’t want their taxes to go up. It made no sense. I really couldn’t believe what I was watching. It was embarrassing. Five old white men booing and mocking and giving the thumbs down to a group of mostly middle aged women. The animosity was shocking and it felt genuine.”

The Action is not just today, but ongoing – until members of Congress get it together and decide that cutting vital service programs and earned benefits like Social Security and Medicare is not an option.


 

SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS FACT CHECK DIANE BLACK
Diane Black

Congressman Diane Black, in response to the visit to her office last week by constituents asking her to do the right thing, said:

“The President’s tax hike, which will hit a majority of all  small business income in America, would result in lower wages, a weaker economy, and 700,000 fewer jobs. The poor and middle class will be the ones hardest hit by the president’s political stunt.”

Well, she is right about one thing, small businesses have a stake in the tax cut debate. But she is wrong to claim that letting tax cuts for the rich expire at the end of the year could hurt small businesses. A poll conducted by the Small Business Majority confirms what we all know to be true: most small business owners don’t make above $250k taxable income. Some other findings from the poll include:

  • The majority of small businesses support raising taxes on high-income earners; nearly 9 in 10 oppose raising taxes on the middle class.
  • When probed about the tax cuts, the majority agrees no one likes to raise taxes, but because we have a budget crisis we should raise taxes on the wealthiest 2%
  • Some claim a large fraction of small businesses would be sensitive to high income tax cuts expiring because they file as individuals; the majority do file as individuals yet only a tiny fraction are in the top tax bracket
  • Nearly 6 in 10 see a productive role for government in helping small business thrive
  • Nine in 10 support eliminating tax breaks for moving production overseas and providing incentives to bring it home; the majority supports a lower corporate tax rate for manufacturing
  • Small businesses want to see tax loopholes favoring large corporations eliminated
  • Entrepreneurs favor ending oil and gas subsidies; support clean energy incentives

More from Fiscal Cliff’s Impact on Small Business:

“Virginia Donohue has run San Francisco’s Pet Camp for 15 years, the place ‘where pets do what pets love.’ Just don’t call it a kennel.

‘Kennel is a dirty word in our business,’ said Donohue, whose two locations offer overnight and day care for dogs and cats.

‘Tax cuts’ may not quite be dirty words in Donohue’s lexicon, but the idea that impending tax hikes would ‘devastate’ small business – a Republican mantra – comes close to the mark.

‘The notion that if you don’t give me a tax break, I won’t hire … that’s simply not true,’ Donohue said. ‘If the whole economy is doing well, I’m doing well. We’re looking for more customers. You can tax me more or you can tax me less, but if I don’t have demand, I’m not hiring.'”

Read more here.

 


BUDGET SHOWDOWN: STALE RHETORIC VS. REALITY

So as we know, the budget debate hinges, for the most part, on whether tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000 a year should be allowed to expire. Considering the historical context, it seems unbelievable that some still claim that by doing so small business hiring will suffer.

But we know that lower taxes does not equal more hiring. What does affect hiring decisions is consumer demand. Customers with less disposable income translates into less demand for goods and services and that’s what makes small businesses suffer and affects hiring decisions. It’s consumer spending that makes the difference.

The time is now…

  • …to stop allowing ideologues like Diane Black to hijack policy conversations with stale rhetoric that does nothing but reward large corporations and their campaign-contributing CEOs.
  • …for elected officials to start thinking about what is best for hardworking men and women and their families.
  • …because one of the most important things we can do for the economy is to lay the foundation for longterm middle class job growth.

 


 

TAKE ACTION
Remember, truth by loud and repetitive assertion is not really truth. It’s smoke and mirrors. But only by taking action TODAY can you help to cut through the stale rhetoric used by ideologues to get their way.

Call your member of Congress at 1-888-344-0683 and ask them to side with small businesses and middle class families, not corporate CEO’s making record breaking profits.


Urge them to:

  1. Support passing the middle-class tax cuts for 98 percent of American taxpayers and ending those tax cuts for the richest 2 percent
  2. Protect earned benefits like Medicare and Social Security from ANY cuts.

When you call 1-888-344-0683 you will be prompted to enter your zip code and then immediately connected to your member of Congress.
Or, call your Congressman directly:

  • Congressman Phil Roe (R – 01) – (202) 225-6356
  • Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. (R – 02) – (202) 225-5435
  • Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (R – 03) – (202) 225-327
  • Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R – 04) – (202) 225-6831
  • Congressman Jim Cooper (D – 05) – (202) 225-4311
  • Congressman Diane Black (R – 06) – (202) 225-4231
  • Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R – 07) – (202) 225-2811
  • Congressman Stephen Fincher (R – 08) – (202) 225-4714
  • Congressman Steve Cohen (D – 09) – (202) 225-3265

 

ON THE HORIZON IN TENNESSEE: DISMANTLING WORKER’S COMPENSATION

Last October, the consultant firm Workcomp Strategies released a report recommending a “structural” change to Tennessee’s Worker’s Compensation system. Included in the recommendations: streamline the system, improve accountability, and move it out of the courts.

Considering that Governor Haslam’s administration will undoubtedly use the same stale ideological rhetoric they used while removing the ability of the victims of corporate negligence to hold corporations accountable – and considering we’re still waiting for all those jobs that that “reform” package was supposed to generate – we can look forward to whatever worker’s compensation “reform” legislative package they present to protect corporate interests rather than the hardworking men and women of the state.

Read the report…


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