By Amanda Peterson Beadle on Jul 2, 2012 at 11:24 am
Following the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are renewing their attacks against reform law by claiming that it will harm health care. On Sunday, Carly Fiorina — a Mitt Romney surrogate and a cancer surviver — fear mongered against the law, telling Candy Crowley on CNN’s State of the Union that Obamacare would have undermined her access to medical services:
FIORINA: As a cancer survivor, I will also say this. It terrifies me that the survival rates for breast cancer, which is what I had, are so much worse in the U.K. and Canada. Why? Because they don’t focus on prevention and aggressive detection in the same way we do.
CROWLEY: There’s prevention in the new bill, right?
FIORINA: The new protocols that have come down as a result of Obamacare would have been very deleterious to my personal health.
Watch the interview:
But Fiorina is wrong that the Affordable Care Act would have limited access to breast cancer screenings or hurt her cancer treatment. For one thing, Obamacare requires insurers to cover preventive services — like mammograms — at no additional cost and so far, more than 45 million women have taken advantage of the provision. Additionally, the health care reform law ensures that insurance companies cannot deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions, so cancer survivors — like Fiorina — cannot be denied coverage. The law also ensures that patients do not have to pay co-pays for cancer screenings.
Fiorina last used her own personal health status to misrepresent the measure in 2009, as a Senate candidate in California. She claimed that the U.S. Preventive Task Force’s recommendation would deny mammograms to women. “Do we really want government bureaucrats rather than doctors dictating how we treat things like breast cancer?” Fiorina asked. But her claims were incorrect: the panel’s recommendations were only guidelines and had no authority to “decide what preventive measures are paid for or not.”
Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman hit back against the GOP’s claim that American businesses pay the highest corporate taxes in the world during an appearance on ABC’s This Week Sunday morning, lashing out at Mitt Romney’s California campaign co-chair and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.
Fiorina — who unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) senate seat in 2010 — insisted that “we now have the single highest business tax rate in the world” and claimed that companies are moving jobs overseas to avoid this burden. Krugman snapped back against her assertion, noting, “nothing you said about business taxes is actually true”:
FIORINA: We now have the single highest business tax rate in the world. Guess what, with the highest tax rate in the world, we see the same thing around the world as we see in states. States with lower tax rates have more jobs, more people. People leave states with higher tax rates. The data is crystal clear.
KRUGMAN: Nothing you said about business taxes is actually true. …. If you look at the actual tax collections in the United States on business, they’re lower than other advanced countries. And if you look at the alleged finding that high business taxes cause job loses in states, it goes away. Kick the tires even slightly and the whole thing falls apart. It’s just not true.
Indeed, a recent study from the Center for Tax Justice (CTJ) found that “the U.S. is already one of the least taxed countries for corporations in the developed world.” As a share of GDP, the U.S. had the second lowest tax rate, behind only Iceland. In 2009, U.S. corporate taxes had fallen to only 1.3 percent of GDP, from 4 percent in 1965.
The Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts concluded that “the worst fears of the policy debates over raising additional revenue from high-income households to sustain spending on public services are unlikely to materialize.” Millionaires will attempt to avoid higher taxes by changing the composition of their incomes, but don’t, in fact, move to avoid the higher fees.
Carly Fiorina, the former HP CEO who ran for Senate in California in 2010 and now serves as Vice-Chairwoman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, became the first high profile Republican to come out against Rush Limbaugh’s sexistattacks against Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, condemning the radio host on CBS this morning.
“That language is insulting, in my opinion. It’s incendiary and most of all, it’s a distraction. It’s a distraction from what are very real and important issues,” Fiorina said. Watch it:
Red State editor Eric Erickson also called Limbaugh’s comments “insulting” this morning and said, “I understand people being offended,” but nonetheless defended Limbaugh for using “using insult and sarcasm to highlight the absurdity of Sandra Fluke and the left’s position.”
Seventy-five House Democrats have signed a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) calling on Republicans to condemn Limbaugh. Today, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said of conservatives:
“They don’t believe in a government role except when it comes to women exercising her conscience on an issue like that.” Pelosi said. “People who choose to marry and find comfort with each other — they decide that government should step in there. But clean air, clean water, food safety, public safety, public education, public health, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security — they want to end the government role.”
Boehner, through a spokesperson, called the comments “inappropriate.” “The speaker obviously believes the use of those words was inappropriate, as is trying to raise money off the situation,” his spokesperson said in a statement.
A couple of weeks ago, former Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman admitted that the GOP must change it’s tune on immigration if it wants to win elections in Latino-heavy states and districts. “We as a party are going to have to make some changes, how we think about immigration, and how we talk about immigration,” advised Whitman, whose campaign was marked by unprecedented outreach to the Latino community.
It turns out her staffers agree. Hector Barajas, who led Latino outreach for Whitman’s gubernatorial race, and Marty Wilson, a campaign manager for Carly Fiorina’s failed Republican Senate bid, are quoted in the Wall Street Journal today saying that Republicans who don’t incorporate Latino outreach into their campaigns risk “political suicide.” Yet, according to Wilson, the GOP has an even bigger problem: “[Latino] folks don’t like us [Republicans] very much” and that’s largely due to the party’s immigration platform.
Latinos had good reasons not to like the candidates who Barajas and Wilson worked for. Fiorina supported Arizona’s immigration law, SB-1070, and believed that “[i]t isn’t time to have that conversation” on legalizing immigrants through comprehensive immigration reform.
Whitman spent an unprecedented amount of money on Latino outreach. Yet she opted to say one thing in English, and something completely different in Spanish. Ultimately she couldn’t escape the “tough as nails” on immigration persona that served her well during the Republican primary or the undocumented housekeeper who claimed that Whitman hired and exploited her.
Yet, Barajas and Wilson “see an opening.” As Obama faces sharp criticism from some Latino and immigration advocates for ramping up deportations. Barajas has responded by advising the GOP “to train Spanish-speaking representatives to woo Latino voters by talking about Republican ideas for improving the economy through easing regulations and lowering taxes as well as promoting charter schools, areas where GOP views may be likelier to resonate with Latinos.”
Those who are pressuring Obama to use his authority to halt the deportations of undocumented youth and people with children who are U.S. citizens have warned the White House about how the Obama administration’s immigration policies might hurt the President’s prospects in 2012. Yet, others in the Latino community have questioned whether that tactic might ultimately hurt Latinos more than it helps.
Two weeks ago, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin came to California for a big rally with Republican National committee Chairman Michael Steele, but noticeably absent was the state’s Republican Senate nominee Carly Fiorina, whom Palin had endorsed. “Fiorina was just an hour down Interstate 5 earlier in the day with John McCain — yet neither showed,” presumably because of Palin’s polarizing nature. Appearing today on Good Morning America, Fiorina was asked whether Palin is “too extreme.” Twice, Fiorina dodged, saying only that she doesn’t “agree with Sarah Palin on everything”:
HOST: Why not Sarah Palin, is she too extreme for you?
FIORINA Well, I don’t know why you’re asking about her in particular, I mean there are many people who have endorsed me that I am agree with on some issues but not others.
HOST: I guess the reason that Sarah Palin’s name continued to come up is that she has been very powerful and that she has been very helpful to a lot of candidates across the country. Down in Florida, Charlie Crist had an ad campaign saying Sarah Palin is just too extreme for some Republicans.
FIORINA: Well, I don’t agree with Sarah Palin on everything. As I say, I don’t agree with many folks on absolutely everything.
Fiorina isn’t the only leading Republican who seemingly has doubts about Palin. In a recent interview with the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph, former Bush advisor Karl Rove questioned if the self-styled momma grizzly has the “gravitas” to be president. And the American people seem to agree; a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds 67 percent of registered voters think Palin is unqualified to be president, while just 27 percent say they view her as qualified.
In covering this year’s campaign season, Fox News pundit Sean Hannity has converted his news programs into an RNC fundraiser. Indeed, GOP candidates like Sharron Angle (R-NV), John Kasich (R-OH), and Christine O’Donnell (R-DE) keep Hannity in their “back pocket” as a lucrative fundraising tool.
Last Friday, another GOP candidate flocked to Hannity for a fundraising opportunity: California senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R). Appearing on Hannity’s tv show, Fiorina converted a softball question into an opportunity to mention her campaign website – twice:
HANNITY: What was interesting for the president of (INAUDIBLE), Nancy Keating, actually said that if you win it would be like having Sarah Palin representing California. So is that an attempt to demonize you or is that a compliment by comparing you to Sarah Palin?
FIORINA: Well, I guess it depends who you listen to. I’m quite complimented. But look, here’s the thing. Barbara Boxer, imagine this. Imagine being in Washington, D.C. for 28 years and having nothing to talk about in terms of your accomplishments on behalf of the people of California. She has nothing to say.
People can help us out by going to CarlyforCalifornia.com. We can win this race. It is ours to lose now. Think about what an incredible symbol and signal it would be to Washington, D.C. if we were to unseat one of the most bitterly partisan, liberal, career politicians in Washington, D.C.
HANNITY: Now you are fighting back…
In allowing candidates like Fiorina to openly advertise on his show, Hannity certainly “crosses the line as to what’s acceptable for any news organization.” But, in considering Hannity’s donation to frequent guest Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) campaign, his keynote address to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual fundraiser, and his single-handed creation of John Gomez’s (R-NY) candidacy for Congress, perhaps it is unfair to hold Hannity to the objective news standard. After all, his network has shrugged off the “fair and balanced” motto to tout the GOP this campaign season. And, after the RNC specifically asked donors to buy Hannity’s book, maybe he is just returning the favor.
On the campaign trail, California’s Republican Senate nominee Carly Fiorina has repeatedly defended the decision to outsource thousands of jobs that tech giant Hewlett-Packard made while she was its CEO. “During my time at Hewlett Packard, yes, I had to make some tough choices like families and businesses all across California are making tough choices. China is fighting for our jobs,” she said.
But at the same time that she was shipping positions overseas — and HP was raking in billions in profits — Fiorina also claimed California tax credits meant to encourage start-up companies to invest in manufacturing equipment (and presumably create jobs here in the U.S.):
While Fiorina was chief executive of the computer giant, the state was hospitable enough to grant the company a controversial $13-million tax refund even though, state officials said, it had already used credits to offset some income tax bills…HP was awarded $13 million in 2005, when the company posted net earnings of $2.5 billion. That year, California faced a $6-billion budget gap and slashed funding for public health programs, education and law enforcement. In asking for the rebates, the companies cited provisions of a law that state officials said were designed to encourage small start-ups to invest in manufacturing equipment.
Considering that it was founded in 1939, HP calling itself a start-up is obviously a bit of a stretch. According to the Los Angeles Times, “in years before the vote, Hewlett-Packard made $20,000 in political donations to the four members of the five-member Board of Equalization who approved the tax relief,” which may have greased the skids a bit.
This credit is California’s version of a problem plaguing the tax code at the federal level: the proliferation of credits and handouts to mature, profitable companies. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with trying to incentivize actual start-up industries, but there’s no reason to be giving companies that can clearly stand on their own two feet taxpayer money, particularly when states and the federal government are facing their own severe fiscal constraints.
Nowadays, Fiorina spends a healthy portion of her time bashing her state’s economic policies, telling CNBC’s Larry Kudlow, “the facts are we’re destroying jobs in this state through bad government policy.” But during her tenure as CEO, Fiorina clearly had no qualms about accepting tax credits meant to create and preserve jobs and then shipping positions overseas anyway. I guess we should expect nothing less from someone who refers to outsourcing as “right-shoring.”
Touting her outisde, business-executive saavy, GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R-CA) constantly chants the GOP mantra to cut government spending. She even released a budget plan last month intended to prove that she’d “rein in out-of-control government spending.” But, in telling her constituents that she will cut government spending, Fiorina seems undaunted by one minor fact: she has no idea how.
Today on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace gave Fiorina a chance to lay out her actual plan. Touting her “tough, bottom-line business executive” motto, Wallace pointed out that Fiorina also wants “to extend all, all the Bush tax cuts which would add $4 trillion dollars to the deficit…where are you going to find $4 trillion dollars to cut?” But when Fiorina retreated to recycled response of government waste and an earmarks ban, a frustrated Wallace begged Fiorina seven times to “name one single entitlement expenditure you’re willing to cut” because “that’s where the money is.” Fiorina’s only response? “You’re asking a typical political question”:
WALLACE: You’re campaigning and you just alluded to it, to your record as a tough, bottom line, former business executive. But you want to extend all the Bush tax cuts which would add 4 trillion to the deficit. You say balance the budget by cutting spending. Question, as a bottom line businesswoman, where are you going to find $4 trillion to cut?
FIORINA: …We don’t know how taxpayer money is spent in Washington, D.C, which is why I think we ought to put every agency budget up on the internet for everyone to see, ban earmarks, and we ought to give citizens the opportunity to desginate up to 10% of their federal income tax toward debt reduction. If we did, that we would reduce our debt by $95 billion a year.
WALLACE: Miss Fiorina, the traditional ways that people talk about non-discretionary – I mean discretionary, non-defense spending is only 16% of the budget. You could cut all of that out, all for education and energy, and for police support and government worker support around the country, it wouldn’t be anywhere close to $4 trillion. Where are you going to get that kind of money if you extend all of the bust era tax cuts. That only adds to the deficit. It doesn’t even deal with the deficit we already have.
FIORINA: Well, of course, first the thing we need to do, to deal with our debt and our deficit is to both cut spending and grow the economy. That’s fundamentally what we have to do. Those tax cuts are central to growing the economy. Indeed, I would argue there are some additional tax cuts we need to make.[...]
WALLACE: Miss Fiorina, let me ask you a specific question because I still haven’t gotten many specifics on how you will cut $4 trillion and more out of the budget. Back when there was talk about a non-partisan, or a bipartisan deficit, debt commission you blasted that idea in January and said we know all the solutions. We don’t need another commission to study it. Now…you tell me specifically what are you going to do to cut the billions, the trillions of dollars in entitlements?
FIORINA: First, I didn’t blast the commission saying we already had solutions. I blasted the commission because I believed it was a feint for tax increases.[...]
WALLACE: But forgive me, Miss Fiorina, where are you going to cut entitlements? What benefits are you going to cut? What eligibility are you doing..
FIORINA: Chris, I have to say, with all due respect, you’re asking a typical political question.[...]
WALLACE: It may be a typical political question but that’s where the money is. The money is in Medicare and Social Security. We have baby-boomers coming. There will be a huge explosion of entitlement explosion and you call it a political question when I ask you to name one single entitlement you are willing to cut.
FIORINA: Chris, I believe to deal with entitlement reform, which we must deal with, we ought to put every possible solution on the table, except we should be very clear we are not going to cut benefits to those nearing retirement or those nearing retirement or those in retirement.[...]
WALLACE: I’m going to try one last time, and if you don’t want to answer it, Miss Fiorina, you don’t have to.
FIORINA: It’s not a question of not wanting to answer it!
WALLACE: Let me ask the question, if I may, please. You’re not willing to put forward a single benefit – I’m not talking about the people 60 or let alone 65, or 70. I’m talking about people under 55. You’re not willing to say there is a single benefit eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security that you are willing to say “Yeah, I would cut that?”
FIORINA: What I think we need to do to engage the American people in a conversation about entitlement reform is to have a bipartisan group of people who come together and put every solution on the table, every alternative on the table. Then we ought to engage in a long conversation with the American people so they understand the choices.
Wallace’s exasperation is understandable. For all of Fiorina’s bluster about government spending, her solutions don’t add up to any serious impact. An earmark ban would only account for less than one percent of the federal budget and eliminating ineffective or duplicative programs would not come close to addressing the deficit. As the Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo points out, she’d have to eliminate the entire discretionary budget — which includes defense spending defense spending, all federal education funding, some veteran’s benefits, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Secret Service, federal highway funding, and Congress itself — to eliminate the deficit. In fact, the only “solution” Fiorina has offered is to defund the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — an agency that does not yet exist.
While frustrating, Fiorina’s lack of solutions should not be surprising. As a member of the GOP, Fiorina joins a slew of Republicans in their refusal to offer any deficit solutions no matter how many times a reporter may beg:
This week, the National Organization for Marriage is launching a 200,000 Spanish-language television ad campaign that aims to present senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina (R-CA) as the candidate who shares the values of Latino voters. One of the ads makes the point that Boxer “voted against immigration reform to permit our people to come here legally to work.” The narrator then concludes “We’ve had enough of her talk. Carly Fiorina for US Senate. Our values. Our senator.”
Meanwhile, Fiorina says “now is not the time” to deal with the millions of immigrants who are already in the country illegally. Instead, she supports SB-1070 and instituting a temporary worker program.
The National Organization for Marriage doesn’t explain why Boxer voted against immigration reform in 2007. The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 would’ve provided millions of undocumented immigrants with a path to citizenship, but it was also plagued by several troubling provisions.
To begin with, just to regularize their immigration status, undocumented immigrants would’ve had to leave their jobs and families and return to their home countries for a period of time. Many agreed that the “touchback” requirement would likely lead to millions of undocumented immigrants staying underground. At the time, the Democratic Strategist wrote “Democrats are restless about the implications of voting for an increasingly bad bill ‘to keep the process going,’ counting on the House to pass something more acceptable.”
The touchback program wasn’t the only troubling part of the bill. The legislation also introduced a “point system” which would’ve sorted out lower-skilled immigrants from high-skilled ones and prioritized the latter in the allocation of visas with little to no regard for economic demand for workers or family reunification. The provision represented a “radical shift in the philosophy of the U.S. immigration system” and would’ve fundamentally changed the demographics of U.S. immigration in a way that probably would not have favored Latinos and their families. Then Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) called it a “radical experiment in social engineering.”
Finally, the bill included a controversial temporary worker program which Boxer herself claims would’ve amounted to “indentured servitude.” At the time, Boxer denounced the guest worker program, saying it would create a pool of “desperate low-wage workers” whom employers could easily exploit. Many of the nation’s unions agreed.
Boxer did vote in support of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 which did not include a point system and contained a scaled-back touchback requirement and temporary worker program. She continues to support comprehensive immigration reform that includes a practical path to legalization and a “humane” temporary worker program.
The National Organization for Marriage’s ad also hits Boxer for being pro-choice and supporting same sex marriage. However, the California Latino population is itself split in its views on abortion and gay marriage.
California’s Republican Senate nominee, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, has been promoting herself as the candidate most likely to boost job creation, particularly in California where unemployment is currently at 12.4 percent. “We have two and half million people out of work here in California, many hundreds of thousands for more than six months and many hundreds of thousands more have quit looking for work altogether. The facts are, we’re destroying jobs in this state through bad government policy,” Fiorina has said.
One of the key planks in Fiorina’s job creation plan is allowing corporations that are holding cash overseas to repatriate it (bring it back to the U.S.) at a lower tax rate. At the moment, multi-national corporations are allowed to defer taxation on profits held overseas, then pay the full statutory tax rate when they bring that money back. In an AOL News op-ed yesterday, Fiorina once again called for letting corporations repatriate money at a lower tax rate, writing, “I have also proposed lowering the tax rate on repatriated corporate profits for businesses that reinvest those profits in capital equipment and job creation here in the United States.”
But Fiorina is leaving out a key fact: we already tried this scheme under the Bush administration, with less-than-impressive results. In 2004, Congress passed the Homeland Investment Act, allowing companies to bring back offshore profits in 2005 and pay a tax rate of just 5.25 percent, far below the 35 percent corporate tax rate. As the New York Times Floyd Norris wrote, the bill “was sold to Congress as a way to spur investment in America, building plants, increasing research and development and creating jobs.”
However, according to work done by the National Bureau of Economic Research, 92 percent of the nearly $300 billion that companies brought back went to share buybacks and increased dividend payments, not investments or job creation.
“Dell was a great example,” she added, referring to Dell Computer. “They lobbied very hard for the tax holiday. They said part of the money would be brought back to build a new plant in Winston-Salem, N.C. They did bring back $4 billion, and spent $100 million on the plant, which they admitted would have been built anyway. About two months after that, they used $2 billion for a share buyback.”
Fiorina’s repatriation scheme, if history is any indication, will be nothing but a boondoggle, losing billions in federal revenue to line the pockets of corporate executives. It’s not a serious job creation proposal.