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Erik Paulsen: He Makes It Worse

Category: Erik Paulsen
Posted: 08/26/15 21:22

by Dave Mindeman

When Republicans talk about tax relief and debt, there are usually two types of approaches. And although I don't particularly like either one, there is one approach I can respect, the other I can't. One approach just cuts taxes with a subsequent increase in debt....while the other offsets a tax cut with spending cuts. I respect the latter...the former is just hypocritical.

That's why this puffy piece about Rep. Erik Paulsen in Minnpost leaves me disappointed with the lack of depth.

I have talked about Paulsen's determination to satisfy his donor base with a repeal of the Medical Device Tax in the ACA. But the Minnpost article seems to be impressed with Paulsen's wonky approach to his job and mentions 4 particular bills --

A) Family Healthcare Flexibility Act. This repeals the cap on on FSA accounts for medical purposes....as well as the prohibition of purchasing OTC drugs with the account. More fudging with ACA.

B)Private Foundation Excise Tax Simplification Act. Amends the Internal Revenue Code to: reduce from 2% to 1% the excise tax rate on the net investment income of tax-exempt private foundations. Real wonky stuff.

C) Don't Tax Our Public Safety Heroes Act. Exempts taxation of public survivor benefits for public safety officers killed in the line of duty. Hard to oppose that.

D) Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. This lowers excise taxes on craft alcoholic beverages and streamlines regulations and tax filing rules with other benefits for small craft producers. Minnesota nice.

So what two things do these items have in common (including the Medical Device Tax repeal)? Well, #1, they all reduce taxes. And #2, they all add to the national debt.

Erik Paulsen is good at finding taxes to cut or phase out or move around, but he is just awful at helping to balance the budget. Outside of a mention of the lack of offset in the Medical Device bill (a reason he does not get more Democratic support), the Minnpost article does not delve into the very real problem of repealing taxes without correcting for the revenue.

Paulsen has made a career for himself by characterizing himself as a tax cutter....but when it comes to cutting spending (the real wonky and often unpopular thing to do), Paulsen is terrible. He avoids that discussion altogether.

So praising Paulsen for getting all this support for his tax cut proposals seem very disingenuous to me. He does the easy part, but is very risk averse when it comes to doing the real work of government...balancing a budget.

So, if you feel that the national debt is your big issue....if you feel that the job of Congress is to get rid of that debt, then Rep. Erik Paulsen is not your go to person.

He makes our country's debt worse. Much worse.
comments (3) permalink
08/28/15 15:56
Hypocritical? I'm shocked! A synonym for "hypocritical" should include a list of all who run for an elected office. OMG! Your charges are laughable!

Nobody seems to care. Craft beer? Private foundations? Unconstitutional tax relief for a selected class of citizens? Over the counter drugs? Go ahead and add Medical Device Tax to the list. Oh look...still nobody cares!

Who cares! Nobody cares! These are so obscure and obtuse you need an afternoon to just explain what they are about.

The real "meat" in political rhetoric lies with discussions about hair, emails, wealth, side-ways comments misquoted out of context. What are you thinking? The public doesn't care about the "wonky" details. They care about which sports team the candidate supports! And the stupid stuff people did back in college--40 years ago!

It's real basic. Tax cuts go to those who pay tax. The leftist strategy is to expand the list of non-payers from 47% to a more rock-solid majority. What better way than to give away free stuff?

Until this country gets the money out of politics and the public dialog can be focused on running the place smart, instead of giving away the free stuff, there really is no hope for this aging democracy.

Sad but true enough...

08/28/15 07:47

For the record, check out "Representative" Paulsen's 2015 tax cut votes :

$77.1 Billion for H.R. 636 : America's Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2015

$42.4 Billion for H.R. 622 : State and Local Sales Tax Deduction Fairness Act of 2015

$181.6 Billion for H.R. 880 : American Research and Competitiveness Act of 2015

$268.9 Billion for H.R. 1105 : Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015

$24.4 Billion for H.R. 160 : Medical Device Tax Repeal

Yeah, it is a "puff" piece when no one asks the "MathGuy" who will pay for the additional Billions in lost revenues for his pending legislation ... unless he felt that was an unnecessary question since he knows that "Representative" Paulsen refused to provide any offsets for the $594.4 Billion he has already voted for.

08/27/15 23:24
So how much will this cost us ?

H.R.1547 : Family Health Care Flexibility Act has not been reviewed by CBO ... but it was introduced in the previous session of Congress (HR 1248 on March 19, 2013 ... so for over two years the Republican-controlled House has failed to hold a hearing on it. ) This is the type of tweak to the ACA that I bet a lot of Democrats would support ... especially since it would help parents with children ... so why not find a way to pay for it and pass it ?

The staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates that enacting H.R. 640 Private Foundation Excise Tax Simplification Act of 2015 would reduce revenues, thus increasing federal budget deficits, by about $2.0 Billion over the 2015-2025 period. The Ways and Means Committee approved the bill on a partyline vote on Feb 4 2015 ... but the House hasn't taken any action yet.
Thus the question ... why not ? MinnPost suggests that Paulsen can work with Dems, but where are the Dem co-sponsors ?

H.R.606 - Don't Tax Our Fallen Public Safety Heroes Act was approved by the House 413-0 and signed by the President ... CBO said it would have to cost.

The craft beer excise tax has been around for a couple years ... the latest version, HR 2903 Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of 2015 has not has been sent to the CBO for scoring but his previous proposal would have added over $78 million to the deficit.

Paulsen is a sly one ... and I love the way that he tweets about the National Parks and his "Friends" award ... but fails to mention how he voted to cut funding in the current appropriation.


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