Monday, November 22, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: Hunting Is Now Apparently More Dangerous for Hunters than Animals.

Screw You, Taxpayer The liberal media is at it again. The headline of this story ("Bush Plans Tax Code Overhaul; Changes Would Favor Investment, Growth") makes the president's new tax plan seem like a relatively benign affair, but when you read the story you realize that Bush is actually proposing at least two very radical things. First, Bush plans to shift the tax burden even further away from people who earn money on investments and interest (i.e. the very rich). No surprise there. But: in order to fund these cuts, the Bush administration is proposing (1)eliminating the ability to deduct state and local taxes on your federal income tax and (2)eliminating the tax credit for businesses that provide healthcare for their employees. In effect, the first provision punishes "blue states," which have higher state and local tax rates (and already pay more than "red states" in federal taxes), while the second provision encourages businesses to dump insurance programs, thus allowing health insurance companies to sign up more people under vastly expensive, individual health plans. The net effect, for many people, would be higher taxes and a loss of their healthcare. Some economists have said the two proposals are red herrings, designed to force moderates in Congress to concede the administration's real agenda (tax cuts for the wealthy), but you have to wonder.

Screw You, College Student In the omnibus spending bill approved over the weekend, Congress has given the Department of Education the go-ahead to make radical changes in the way that federal financial aid for college students is calculated. The net result could be that as many as 84,000 families who are currently eligible for federal financial aid will lose that eligibility. Additionally, the budget that was approved by Congress keeps the maximum Pell grant pegged at just over $4,000 for the third year in the row, despite Bush's constant claims during the election campaign that he had raised Pell grants. At what point do Americans realize that "class war" is not something that nasty liberals want to wage, but rather is currently the policy of the governing majority?

The Bug Man Goeth? Tom DeLay, the House majority leader who once said that he couldn't enlist in the army during Vietnam because all the slots were filled by Blacks and Mexicans, gets to keep his job, thanks to a hasty Republican move to change a congressional rule that doesn't allow people who have been indicted to keep their seats. The Republicans originally did this 10 years ago to embarass a Chicago politician, but are now reversing their votes to keep DeLay, whose indictment in Texas is pending, in his job, at least until he goes to the slammer. Somehow, as the author of this Houston Chronicle column points out, I don't think this is what Republican voters had in mind when they made "moral values" their top issue of 2004.

Ever Get the Feeling You've Been Cheated? So far, all of Bush's Cabinet appointees have been dogged loyalists rather than bomb-tossing Christian ideologues. Now, he announces that he's going to push legislation next year to allow illegal aliens to work legally in the United States. This, you'll recall, was a plan he hatched earlier this year, but quickly shelved it when it became apparent that tons of Republicans hated the idea. Additionally, majorities of Latinos in the US oppose it, as it's basically a way to legalize the exploitation of immigrant labor. But so far, Bush has been fucking over the conservatives left and right; when are they going to wake up and realize it?

Have You Forgotten? Because It Kind of Seems Like You Have When Sen. John McCain came to Monster Limo Weblog Land in October to stump for our Republican congressman, the key selling point was that our congressman and McCain would be part of a Republican majority that would pass the recommendations on intelligence reform made by the 9-11 commission, and then President Bush would sign them into law, making us safe from terrorism forever. Well, during the lame duck session that ended this weekend, the Republicans in Congress got together, rubbed their hands together, and...killed the intelligence reform bill. Although Bush says he wants it passed before Dec. 31, a Republican leader says the chances of the reforms getting passed at all are "slim and none, and slim just left town."

-Consider Arms