Issue 481, November 3, 2006
Raising taxes without a single vote
Top Congressional Democrats are saying that they would likely allow the Bush tax cuts to expire if they were to win control of Congress. That's a bold statement, when you consider exactly what it would mean to the taxpayer: Marginal tax rates would increase, resulting in a massive tax hike on working Americans across the income spectrum. The marriage-penalty would return and the child tax credit would be cut in half. The alternative minimum tax would apply to millions more Americans. Small business expensing caps would be cut from $100,000 to just $25,000, capital gains taxes would go up, and the double-taxation on dividends would return. Contribution limits to education IRAs would go from $2,000 to $500 per year, and the top estate tax rate would snap back to 55 percent. And it's important to understand that these tax hikes would happen without a single vote having to take place in Congress - Democrats could simply allow the current tax cuts to expire, and these increases would automatically take effect.
Foiled airline terror plot was worse than first known
The Washington Post reported this week that the foiled terrorist plot to blow up as many as ten U.S.-bound passenger jets was worse than first known. FBI officials say that they now believe the terrorists intended to blow the planes up over U.S. cities, not over the Atlantic Ocean, as first thought. The idea, officials say, was to maximize the loss of life and psychological impact. The more we learn of the terrorists' goals and motivations, the clearer the need to defeat them becomes. It also shows the importance of tools like the PATRIOT Act, the terrorist surveillance program, and other programs designed to thwart these plots before they can be carried out.
Kerry comment sparks outrage
On Monday, Massachusetts Senator and 2004 Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry told a group of college students in Pasadena, California, "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq." The remark sparked outrage from both Republicans and Democrats, and rightfully so. At best, the comment was a botched joke intended to criticize the President, as Kerry later claimed. At worst, it was a condescending, outrageous, and unacceptable insult to our brave soldiers serving in Iraq. On Tuesday, I co-signed a letter to Senator Kerry with 23 other House Members, expressing my disgust and demanding he apologize to our men and women in uniform.
HHS announces cord blood stem cell grants
On Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the first in a series of grants resulting from the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005, which authorized the creation of a national bank of umbilical cord blood rich in adult stem cells. The grants provide more than $12 million for the development of this cord blood bank. Stem cells found in cord blood are unique because, unlike embryonic stem cells, they are already being used to treat human patients, and treatments derived from them don't require the destruction of human embryos. A host of diseases, including leukemia, sickle cell anemia, cerebral palsy, and Hodgkin's disease have all been treated using these non-controversial cord blood stem cells.
Quote of the Week
"Make no mistake, the fact that we have not experienced an attack on American soil is not due to the lack of effort from the terrorists."
-Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), commenting on efforts to secure America since September 11, 2001.