Regressive Politicking of Incumbent Senator Jim DeMint (R – SC) – Ryan Rhoades

Senator Jim DeMint receives Taxpayers' Friend ...

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Since 2005, Senator DeMint has received most of his campaign contributions from Club for Growth1, a conservative advocacy group and major campaign finance group that backs Republicans who support privatizing Social Security, eliminating or reducing corporate taxes and capital gains taxes, and increasing the number of charter schools.2

His Political Action Committee (PAC), Senate Conservatives Fund, has given $1.7 million worth of campaign contributions to nine extremely conservative Republicans, including the following:3,4

1.) $141,000 to help the campaign of Colorado Republican Ken Buck, as well as paying for radio ads ($85,000).  Ken Buck is the candidate who, when asked why people should vote for him and not his primary opponent (Jane Norton), quipped, “Because I don’t wear high heels.”  He also believes that Social Security is “a horrible policy” and that the Department of Education is unconstitutional.5

2.) $400,000 to Marco Rubio of Florida.  Rubio criticized Governor Crist for supporting the stimulus plan in an ABC interview, erroneously claiming, “I don’t think that government spending stimulates the economy.”6 Rubio also wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent despite the fact that the main beneficiaries of this, the wealthiest one percent of Americans, took home 23.5 percent of the total national income in 2007, the most since 1928 (23.8%).7

3.) $211,000 to Mike Lee of Utah.  Lee opposes efforts to increase oil companies’ liability cap for damages, from $75 million to $10 billion, and confirmed in an interview that his opinion meant placing the remaining costs of potential oil spills in the hands of taxpayers.8

4.) $115,000 to Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.  On his website, Toomey claims that spending taxpayer money to create jobs takes money away from the private sector and the ability of businesses to hire more workers.  What Toomey leaves out is that nonfinancial businesses are sitting on record levels of cash ($1.8 trillion) and are still not hiring.9

5.) $50,000 to Rand Paul of Kentucky.  Tea Party darling Rand Paul disagrees with parts of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, specifically banning businesses from discriminating against customers.  He also supports the controversial and environmentally-devastating practice of mountain top removal for extracting coal.10 In a recent interview, Paul has also condemned President Obama for being too harsh on BP, saying, “maybe sometimes accidents happen.”

6.) $14,000 to Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.  According to Johnson’s website, cutting taxes, decreasing government spending, and addressing the deficit should be priorities, despite the fact that these actions will only exacerbate the current recession, according to Nobel laureate economists Paul Krugman11 and Joseph Stiglitz12.

7.) Paid for Sharron Angle’s radio ads, the tea party candidate who supports privatizing Social Security.  Angle made the unsubstantiated claim that privatization worked for Chile when former Chilean dictator and murderer Augusto Pinochet ruled. She also made controversial statements about using “Second Amendment remedies” and followed that statement by saying that we need to, “take Harry Reid out.”13

8.) Endorses Tea Party candidate Dino Rossi (Washington).  Rossi wants to repeal healthcare reform and Wall Street reform at a time when millions of Americans are without healthcare and the financial crisis was caused by an unregulated Wall Street environment.14

There are many questions regarding DeMint’s substantial funding of other Republicans running for office.  One question is why DeMint is so focused on the races of other states.  It appears as if Senator DeMint has all ready taken the 2010 election for granted – he believes he ‘owns’ South Carolina votes.

His spending on fellow neoconservative Republicans tell another story altogether.  Not only does DeMint think he is guaranteed an election victory, but he is throwing money at neoconservative candidates who support regressive economic policies that history has proven do not work.  Supporting tax cuts for the wealthy at a time when income inequality is at its highest since the Depression, and giving the private industry even more power following the Wall Street bailout and BP Gulf spill catastrophe is extremely insulting to the millions of Americans who are now suffering from joblessness, foreclosures, and stagnant wages.

Senator DeMint’s legislative history (see below) reveals how his policies and perspectives favor the rich over struggling middle class Americans.  Last year, DeMint spent much of his time opposing the healthcare reform bill, despite the fact that polls show a majority of Americans supporting the new law.  DeMint wanted to give Obama his “Waterloo” moment by defeating this measure, a clear indication of his willingness to see his opponents defeated even if it is harmful to Americans.  Senator DeMint also blocked a bill that would provide more transparency to the actions of Congress even though a recent Gallup Poll shows that Americans’ trust in Congress is at an all-time low.

DeMint’s opposition to stimulus spending, on the premise that governmental spending is ineffective, flies in the face of a recent Congressional testimony given by the Economic Policy Institute.  The assessment of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, given to Congress on July 14, 2010 (available to view online), shows that the stimulus was effective in reducing the severity of the recession at a relatively cheap cost, according to macroeconomist Josh Biven’s testimony.  The testimony, which parallels the opinions of both Krugman and Stiglitz, also recommends more stimulus spending to offset the continuing problem of structural unemployment.15

The Senator is neglecting his duties back home in South Carolina (where has he been?) while lobbying hard for Tea Party Republicans who are intent on privatizing Social Security, extending tax cuts for the superrich, destroying programs such as the Department of Education, and giving corporations – like big oil and coal companies – even more power while removing government regulations in the process.  Such policies are outdated, cruel, and dangerous for the economic recovery – but they do benefit the wealthiest two percent of Americans.

DeMint favors corporate welfare and entitlements for the rich, is against any bill that would support Americans hardest hit by the recession, and wants to keep citizens in the dark when it comes to Congressional transparency.  In short, Senator DeMint embodies everything wrong with the image of a public servant.  That is why he believes he does not have to campaign in South Carolina.  He knows he is running against a joke-of-a-Democrat in Alvin Greene and understands that valid third party candidates like Green Party’s Tom Clements are not given substantial media coverage.  It is up to the American people to hold corrupted politicians like DeMint accountable by voting against him.

Legislative History (some examples)16,17,18

March 2005 – Opposed repealing tax subsidies for companies moving US jobs offshore.

February 2007 – Opposed raising the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 over two years.

July 2007 – Blocked the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007, a modest bill that makes certain restrictions on the actions of lobbyists, the disclosure of earmarks and provides conference reports to the public at least 48 hours before they are approved.

March 2008 – Against increasing tax rate for people who make over $1 million a year.

December 2009 – Voted against the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

January 2009 – Voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  This law effectively opposes wage discrimination based on gender and race, allowing employees to file lawsuits against employers who engage in pay discrimination.

February 2009 – Voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, legislation designed to create jobs and help stimulate the economy following the worst recession since the Great Depression.

June 2009 – Taxpayer Choice Act of 2009 – DeMint proposed this bill, which includes banning taxes on dividends, capital gains, the estate tax, and corporate taxes.  It also proposes privatizing Social Security.  All of these measures would benefit wealthy Americans and hurt middle and lower class Americans.

July 2010 – Voted against the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act, which is designed to make credit more available for qualifying small businesses.





















2 Responses to Regressive Politicking of Incumbent Senator Jim DeMint (R – SC) – Ryan Rhoades

  1. Melissa says:

    Actually, Senator DeMint has been in SC for August recess speaking to groups like the Greenville Chamber which he spoke to yesterday. While you are right that the Club for Growth is ONE of his biggest contributors, I believe that people can make the data say what they want. The Club for Growth statistic you use is one that shows they have contributed $150k over 5 years – in which time he has raised over 6.5 million. Obviously, there are a lot more contributors than just the CFG. I don’t believe that Senator DeMint takes his race for granted or he wouldn’t be fundraising/speaking, etc. Finally, ahhh…the Bush tax cuts. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and when these tax cuts expire, small businesses are going to be hurt the most. You wouldn’t believe the increase in taxes that most will face. It’s not all about the individual taxpayer, and I am certainly not rich, but will be effected as well. Thanks for putting your opinions out there and the chance for me to do the same!

    • Ryan Rhoades says:

      Thanks for reading the post and commenting on it! It is especially difficult for those who may share other views to actually read different opinions – so it’s always nice to see that it can be done in a civil manner.
      You are correct in that DeMint has been traveling in SC lately, but when I originally wrote this he was not around.
      Although the Bush tax cuts that are set to expire helps individuals and businesses, I contend that they help the richest one percent more than anyone else. I also take issue with the fact that some politicians, mainly Republicans but also some Dems and Independents, are all of a sudden worried about the federal deficit yet want to make the tax cuts permanent. They want to have it both ways. It is the same mistake Bush made when he funded two wars while cutting taxes – an economic no-no.
      The Tax Policy Center shows that if the Bush tax cuts were made permanent, it would cost about $680 billion over the next ten years. Nearly all of this would benefit the richest 1%, or those who make over $500,000 a year, and most of these cuts would go to the richest 0.1%. I don’t know how many small business owners make this, but I bet the majority of small business owners make less.
      I am most bothered by the fact that Congress bickered about passing a bill that gave $26 billion to help local and state governments (teachers, police, etc…) – low wage workers compared to the beneficiaries of the Bush tax cut extension.
      To me, this is trouble and I think our priorities are not just. There is an advertisement on television right now, paid for by the American Petroleum Institute, that supports extending the tax cuts. Obviously the richest CEOs – Big Oil executives – know how much they would benefit from this.
      The question is: is it morally right? I don’t trust the Big Oil executives, especially after the BP fiasco.

      But it all boils down to the perspective one takes. I simply think that, given Depression-era economic similarities, we need to focus on the lower and middle class right now – not on the rich.

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