June approaches and House Republicans, perhaps like Representative Joe Heck (R-NV3) or Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2), will be out on the graduation speaker circuit? Whatever will they talk about? Maybe they’d like to tell us they “voted in favor of reducing the costs of student loans for college?” Cue the Boo Birds.
Back on March 29, 2012 both Republican Representatives from the state of Nevada voted in favor of the Romney/Ryan Budget H.Con.Res. 112 which included a permanent increase in the rate of student loans to 6.8% interest. [roll call 151]
Then on April 19, 2012 both Republican Representatives from the state of Nevada voted in favor of H.R. 9, the so-called “small business tax cut” act. [roll call 173] There were NO offsets, NO “payfors” in this $46 billion tax windfall for the 1%. What were those loopholes for the rich if not famous?
50% of the benefits of this bill go to millionaires, and NOT to the average small business owner. A “small business” was defined as a company employing fewer than 500 employees — including Paris Hilton Entertainment, Inc., the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Donald Trump Tower Sales and Leasing Inc. Some beneficiaries of Congressional Compassion would include highly profitable Washington, D. C. lobby shops that employ fewer than 500. Major law firms with 500 or less on the payroll … Hmmm, not exactly your local neighborhood Able Heating Contractors, or Baker’s Dozen Deli, or even Charlie’s Sports Bar and Grill.
There is no provision in the bill to induce companies to hire domestically. “Under the Cantor bill there is no requirement that a business owner use the extra cash from the tax cut to reinvest in his or her business, as opposed to spending it on personal consumption or simply putting it in the bank. Businesses that do not create jobs—and even those that lay off employees—are still eligible for the deduction,…” [CAP] (emphasis added)
Worse still, H.R. 9 was a “windfall” and not an incentive for domestic investment or hiring. Again, the CAP explains:
“For most business owners H.R. 9 would be a pure windfall with no effect on investment or job creation. Business owners make investments and hire people not because they have extra cash lying around but because those investments and hires will increase revenues by more than their cost. And because labor costs are deductible, a reduction in tax rates on business profits, which is essentially what H.R. 9 offers, does not change marginal incentives for hiring.”
And, how do we pay for these tax windfalls? We don’t. The entire tax cut/windfall is “paid for” with BORROWED MONEY. Well, thus much for the Deficit Hawks in the audience.
Now, on April 27, 2012 the House Republicans, Representatives Amodei and Heck included, voted in favor of H.R. 4648 to reduce the interest rates for Stafford Student Loans. [roll call 195] But wait! There’s a catch. This has to be “paid for” — we supposedly can’t afford to “borrow” money to pay for this — “think of our grandchildren….”
How did the House GOP membership propose to pay for the bill? By raiding the preventative health care funding from the Affordable Care Act. And, what were those funds supposed to be used for?
The preventative health care funds included money for federal, state, and local agencies to address smoking cessation programs, childhood obesity issues, nutrition education, and funding for federal, state, and local health care infrastructure improvements in information technology, workforce training, and improvements to state and local health departments so as to improve public detection and responses to epidemics. [HHS]
What does this have to do with Nevada? “Nevada is receiving $5,916,502 from the Prevention Fund this year to reduce disease rates in the state and help ensure today’s children are not the first generation in U.S. history to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parent.” [TFAH]
The message is reasonably clear — if we are speaking of giving more than half of $46 billion to “small businesses,” in H.R. 9 it’s perfectly OK to borrow the money to pay for that approximately $23 billion bill for the 1%’ers. However, if we are speaking of reducing the costs of Stafford Student Loans then, by the lights of Representatives Amodei and Heck, we have to raid the fund that would have allowed Nevada to pay for the use of non-lighted athletic fields by youth groups promoting sports and healthy lifestyles, or allowed Nevada to help support school district efforts to reduce trans-fats in school lunch menus, or to supporting the hiring and training of epidemiologists, health information specialists, and lab scientists for our public health system. (Remember that Hepatitis C thing in Clark County?)
Perhaps our commencement speaker would like to say, “The message is clear, the vision is certain, there are choices we must make in life, and if you are RICH we will reward you, even if we have to borrow the money to do it; but, if you are not then you must choose between better health care services in your state and community, or getting a reduction in your student loan interest rate.”
Some choice, some message…