Day: July 5, 2012

GOP Rep. Tells Constituent Who Asks About Raising The Minimum Wage To ‘Get A Job’

Did he even hear the question before denigrating the constituent?

Think Progress

House Democrats earlier this month proposed increasing the federal minimum wage to $10 an hour, which would catch the minimum wage up to the buying power it had in 1968. The proposal hasn’t gone anywhere, though, since Republicans who control the House of Representatives oppose any increase.

Asked by a constituent at a Fourth of July parade yesterday, Florida Rep. Bill Young (R) revealed that he is, predictably, opposed to the Democratic proposal. When a constituent asked him why he opposed boosting worker wages, Young replied simply, “Get a job“:

CONSTITUENT: Hi, I’m (inaudible) how are you? Happy Fourth of July. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is passing a bill around to increase the minimum wage to 10 bucks and hour. Do you support that?

YOUNG: Probably not.

CONSTITUENT: 10 bucks, that would give us a living wage.

YOUNG: How about getting a job?

CONSTITUENT: I do have one.

YOUNG: Well, then why do you want that benefit? Get a job.

Watch it, via FLDemocracy.com:

Young seems to miss the point that the millions of minimum wage workers in this country already have jobs. What they want is a job that will pay them enough to actually live on, and Congress could afford them that “benefit” by making the minimum wage as strong as it was  four decades ago.

UFO Sightings Are More Common Than Voter Fraud

This a very interesting and thorough analysis…

Mother Jones

Since 2001, nearly 1,000 bills that would tighten voting laws have been introduced in 46 states.

24 voting restrictions have passed in 17 states since 2011. This fall, new laws could affect more than 5 million voters in states representing 179 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

In the past two years, 5 battleground states (Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) have tightened their voting laws.

As of April, 74 restrictive voting laws were on the table in 24 states.

Sources: Brennan Center for Justice, NAACP

Since 2011, 34 states have introduced laws requiring voters to show photo ID, and 9 states have passed photo ID laws, affecting 3.8 million voters.

2.2 million registered voters did not vote in 2008 because they didn’t have proper ID.

*Does not include laws awaiting DOJ clearance, blocked by courts, or not in effect until after 2012. Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

Last year, 12 states introduced laws requiring birth certificates or other proof of citizenship to vote; 3 passed.

Only 48 percent of women have a birth certificate with their current legal name on it.

Texas’ new ID law permits voters to use concealed-handgun licenses as proof of identity, but not state university IDs.

Sources: Brennan Center for JusticeGabriel R. Sanchez, Stephen A. Nuño, and Matt A. Barreto

 80 percent of the 75 million eligible voters who did not take part in the 2008 election were not registered to vote.

In 2008, more than 1/3 of voters cast ballots before Election Day. In 2011, 5 states passed bills to restrict early voting.

States with Election Day registration have 7 to 12 percent greater turnout than states without. Last year, 5 states introduced bills that eliminate Election Day registration.

12 percent of minority voters report registering through voter drives, twice the rate of white voters. In 2011, Florida and Texas passed laws making registration drives much harder to organize.

Florida state Sen. Mike Bennett, a supporter of the tougher voter registration law, said, “I don’t have a problem making it harder. I want people in Florida to want to vote as bad as that person in Africa who walks 200 miles across the desert. This should not be easy.”

Source: Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project

4 million Americans who have completed prison sentences are ineligible to vote. 38 percent of disenfranchised voters are African American.

13 percent of African American men cannot vote due to criminal records, a rate 7 times the national average.

The United States and Belgium are the only democracies that disenfranchise citizens for lengthy or indefinite periods after completing prison sentences.

To regain their voting rights, released felons in Iowa must provide the address of the judge who convicted them and a credit report showing they have paid off their court costs. “They make the process just about impossible,” said a 40-year old ex-con who’d stolen a soda machine as a teen.

While defending its precedent-setting photo ID law before the Supreme Court, Indiana was unable to cite a single instance of voter impersonation in its entire history.

A 2005 report by the American Center for Voting Rights claimed there were more than 100 cases of voter fraud involving 300,000 votes in 2004. A review of the charges turned up only 185 votes that were even potentially fraudulent.

In support of a voter ID law, Kansas Secretary of State (and the legal brains behind a slew of anti-immigration laws) Kris Kobach cited 221 incidents of voter fraud in the state between 1997 and 2010. Yet those cases produced just 7 convictions—none related to impersonating other voters.

Last December, Republican National Committee ChairmanReince Priebus declared that Wisconsin is “absolutely riddled with voter fraud.” In fact, the state’s voter fraud rate in 2004 was 0.0002 percent—just 7 votes.

In 2008, John McCain said fraudulent registrations collected by ACORN were “one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” The Congressional Research Service found no proof that anyone improperly registered by ACORN tried to vote.

Federal convictions for election fraud, 2002-05

  • Voting while ineligible: 18
  • Voting multiple times: 5
  • Registration fraud: 3

Dog and UFOBetween 2000 and 2010, there were:

649 million votes cast in general elections

47,000 UFO sightings

441 Americans killed by lightning

13 credible cases of in-person voter impersonation

Special hat tip to craigconnects.org

Additional sources:

  • A 2005 report by the American Center for Voting Rights…: The Myth of Voter Fraud byLorraine C. Minnite
  • 13 credible cases…: Justin Levitt, Loyola Law School

Romney Directly Contradicts His Campaign, Now Insists Health Mandate Is ‘A Tax’

Romney is more confused than I originally thought…

Think Progress

Earlier this week, Mitt Romney’s top campaign adviser broke with the entire Republican party and insisted that the individual mandate at the center of the Affordable Care Act and Massachusetts’ 2006 health care law is “not a tax.” “The governor disagreed with the ruling of the Court. He agreed with the dissent, which was written by Justice Scalia, which very clearly stated that the mandate was not a tax,” Eric Fehrnstrom told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd.

But on Wednesday, in another sign that the Romney campaign doesn’t appear to speak for its candidate, Romney told CBS News that he agrees both with the Supreme Court’s dissent striking down the law and also its majority opinion upholding the mandate as a tax:

Q: Do you now believe that it is a tax at the federal level, that the Supreme Court has said it’s a tax, so it is a tax?

ROMNEY: Well, I said that I agreed with the dissent. And the dissent made it very clear that they felt it was unconstitutional. But the dissent lost — it’s in the minority. And so now the Supreme Court has spoken. And while I agreed with the dissent, that’s taken over by the fact that the majority of the Court said it is a tax, and therefore it is a tax. They have spoken. There is no way around that.

Watch:

Republicans have seized on the Supreme Court’s decision to claim that the mandate is a “massive tax hike” on the middle class, labeling it the “largest tax increase in history.” But Romney — who instituted a similar requirement in Massachusetts — insisted as governor that the penalty is a way to discourage free-riders, though he has previously referred to the penalty as a “tax” penalty.

Earlier this week, Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul claimed “Governor Romneythinks it is an unconstitutional penalty.” Today, it’s clear that Romney disagrees.

UPDATE

Romney shook hands as he marched in the Wolfeboro, N.H. Fourth of July parade and again agreed that the mandate is a tax:

UPDATE

Romney also tried to argue that while Obama’s mandate is a “tax” his own virtually identical provision is a penalty. “Actually the chief justice in his opinion made it very clear that at the state level, states have the power to put in place mandates,” Romney replied. “They don’t need to require them to be called taxes in order for them to be constitutional. And as a result, Massachusetts’ mandate was a mandate, was a penalty, was described that way by the legislature and by me, and so it stays as it was.” He has, however, previously described the Massachusetts mandate as a tax.