Sunday, February 17, 2008

Garrett smacks families in the face on stimulus package. Twice.

If it wasn’t enough that Scott Garrett wanted to screw over American taxpayers and families by being one of only 34 Reps. to vote against the Economic Stimulus Package that Bush signed last week, you can look at the stimulus package that he introduced himself as an alternative to see exactly where the fifth district’s Congressman’s priorities really lie.

Granted, the economic stimulus package that overwhelmingly passed both Houses of Congress and was signed into law by Bush was far from perfect. I made no bones about my feelings regarding the tax rebates being a farce as they didn’t help families in the long or medium term, barely helped them in the short term, don’t address the needs of families or the root of this country’s economic woes (hint and note to Mr. Garrett - it isn’t that corporations need more tax cuts) and will likely go right back to the credit card companies, the oil companies, the banks, or the utility companies, therefore mainly helping those who are creating the economic problems in the first place.

And actually, on a part of that point, I agree with what Garrett said:

"An increased one-time payment does not bring about real economic growth or security to American families,”

The problem here is that real economic growth - real meaningful economic growth that would help American families, and families of this district who struggle with the higher gas prices (especially in counties other than Bergen), higher heating bills, and higher prices for other basic necessities would focus on helping those families in this time of need, as well as help them in the longer term. Things like extending unemployment benefits. Things like giving rebates to all people who are below a certain income level, recognizing that the lowest income earners need the most help. Things like addressing the AMT in a responsible manner - something that increasingly is hitting middle class and upper middle class in the district.

But no. Garrett can’t even have a thought or a plan that looks out for his constituents. Unless, his constituents are corporations.

One of the main reasons that he voted against the stimulus bill is that it would help the lowest of income earners. The ones who need all of the help they can get to help pay for rising gas costs. For higher food prices. For medication that is necessary. For heat. I guess because these individuals’ primary source of income is social security benefits (meaning the elderly and lowest income earners), which allows them to not have any income tax liability, they shouldn’t receive a rebate.

And to Garrett, if these people would get a rebate, that is not fair, so then he feels that nobody should get a rebate. Garrett didn’t vote against the stimulus package because it didn’t go far enough. He voted against it because he felt it would help TOO MANY people - and damn those lowest of income earners who clearly don’t need the measly rebate that they will be getting in the first place.

So what does Garrett think would be a good way to stimulate the economy and help American families - families in his district? Well, we know exactly what he thinks, as he sponsored his own economic stimulus package. A stimulus package, that if Garrett got to design it himself, would be precisely the kind that would help those who Garrett personally thought would (1) need it the most and (2) be able to help his constituents the most.

Or at least you would think so.

Garrett’s idea of a “real” stimulus package would not include rebates to American families. And on that, I may actually agree to an extent. But that is the only thing that I can say I even remotely agree with Garrett on.

While I would think that some stimulus package that would help American families would include an extension of unemployment benefits, possibly tax credits or a rate reduction for many families, extension of food stamps in certain instances, reduced costs for heat for certain income levels, possibly incentives for certain businesses to increase wages or hiring - you know, things that help families now and also help them in the future, as well as helping certain business grow and keep people employed.

Garrett’s ideas? ALL CORPORATE TAX BREAKS. For American families and families in his district? Zero. For low income earners? Nothing. For those out of work? Zip.

What Garrett thinks is good for the families in his district are none of the above. His “hand picked” selections on how to help families includes the following:

  • Reducing corporate tax rates from 35% to 15% on CORPORATE capital gains;

  • Capping the amount of AMT that corporations can pay;

  • Reducing overall corporate tax rates from 35% to 25%

  • Repealing certain limits on taking bigger immediate deductions on most business equipment, thereby allowing corporations bigger and quicker deductions and reductions to their income; and

  • Changing the rules on certain corporate assets for calculating gains and losses (no doubt this will substantially help corporations reduce their income tax burden.

Actually, that’s the extent of Garrett’s proposal. More corporate giveaways. More tax breaks for corporate entities. Nothing to do with hiring, increasing wages. Nothing for low income families. Nothing for families at all.

If you didn’t know how little Garrett cared about the people of his district and their needs, you can look at his vote on the economic stimulus package. Or you can look at why he voted against giving thousands of families in his district a little extra cash, even though the bill has some major flaws. Or, if you still aren’t convinced, you can look at how Garrett REALLY thinks his district and this country can be helped in these tough economic times.

You’ll be stunned. But not because this is out of character for Garrett. More so because even for an extremist like Garrett, it shows utter contempt for the people he was elected to represent.

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