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They Simply Don’t Have a Plan
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Press Release

They Simply Don’t Have a Plan

Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) President Paul Beckner challenged Democratic Congressional Leaders to either offer a specific fiscal and economic plan to get the economy moving, or to stop criticizing the President’s plan. “The President submitted a specific budget. House Republicans passed it. The Democrats don’t even have a budget blueprint. They simply don’t have a plan.

10/10/2002
FCC Rejects EchoStar Hughes: Et tu, Powell?
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Press Release

FCC Rejects EchoStar Hughes: Et tu, Powell?

Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously, 4-0, to block the merger of satellite operators EchoStar and Hughes Electronics. The merger would have created the nation’s largest multichannel programming provider, pending the outcome of the AT&T Broadband-Comcast merger. CSE filed comments earlier this year to urge the FCC to approve the merger. The following statement can be attributed to CSE Staff Economist Jason M. Thomas:

10/10/2002
Graham Is the Taxpayer's Champion
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Graham Is the Taxpayer's Champion

BY Barbara Cole

Does anyone think he is undertaxed? While many Democrats think so, U.S. Rep. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., knows that most of us are severely overtaxed. Mr. Graham knows that the only way to limit government and cut wasteful spending is to reduce the flow of money flooding into Washington. Furthermore, he also knows a free people and a prosperous economy are only possible when taxes are low. Mr. Graham's outspoken support for tax cuts is no election-year ploy, and no cheap trick to fool the electorate. Ever since his election to Congress in 1994, Mr. Graham has been leading the charge for lower, simpler taxes. For his efforts, he's been called a "taxpayer hero" by the National Taxpayers Union and a "friend of the taxpayer" by Citizens for a Sound Economy. To Mr. Graham, no federal tax program should be exempt from the knife. He supports cutting marginal income-tax rates and the capital gains tax. He favors eliminating the estate tax and the marriage penalty. He backs increasing both the Individual Retirement Account contribution limit and per-child tax credit. Many Democrats think Americans need to fork over more of their incomes to the tax man. They should set an example by voluntarily paying more on their returns -- though this is as likely as Osama bin Laden surrendering himself to federal authorities. The rest of us will do the right thing and make Lindsey Graham, the taxpayers' champion, our next U.S. senator.

10/10/2002
Social, and Political, Security
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Social, and Political, Security

BY Juliet Eilperin

It seems that every week another political debate erupts over the future of Social Security. Yesterday, it was the partial privatization of the retirement system that prompted a war of words, as two dueling groups are pushing to put lawmakers on the record before the Nov. 5 election. While Democratic congressional leaders are pressuring candidates to oppose creation of individual savings accounts, several GOP interest groups want them to support it, even though, in the face of a plummeting stock market, GOP strategists have quietly urged candidates to play down privatization. A new nonprofit group, Social Security Choice.Org, is launching a $ 500,000 advertising campaign to promote the accounts. Funded by groups including Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens for a Sound Economy, National Taxpayers Union and 60 Plus, it has already signed up 20 congressional candidates who back such a plan. President Bob Costello said the group was gearing up for next year's legislative fight over Social Security. But Democrats are not standing idly by. Yesterday, House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) attacked Costello's group on the floor by name, saying "a coalition of right-wing organizations" is having GOP candidates sign their pledge "in order to give them cover on the issue of privatizing Social Security." Gephardt and Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) will offer a counterpledge at a news conference today with the Campaign for America's Future. It, unsurprisingly, would commit candidates to oppose individual accounts. Gephardt called for a vote on privatization before leaving for the year. "Let's conduct a free and fair debate in the open, in the sunshine, in the public about the consequences that will be caused by the privatization of Social Security."

10/09/2002
The Stranglehold on American Commerce
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Press Release

The Stranglehold on American Commerce

"We now have a new dock boss. His name is George W. Bush. Will the workers listen to Boy George? I don't know." Richard Mead President, Local 10 San FranciscoQuoted in the New York Times

10/09/2002
Staffer Masks Diamond Ring in Dinner Mints
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Staffer Masks Diamond Ring in Dinner Mints

BY Crystal Bozek

Love must be in the air in the Cannon Building office of Rep. Bob Schaffer (R-Colo.). Three staffers have gotten engaged in the past year, one last month, making the subject of wedding plans a hot topic by the water cooler. Two years after meeting at a bar through mutual friends, Schaffer's legislative assistant, Aaron Johnson, 24, decided it was time to propose to Laura Hauck, 23. "I had told him I kind of wanted to get engaged before two years went by," said Hauck, a Wilmington, Del., native who works for Settlement Planning Associates in Rosslyn, Va. "There were two weeks left before the two years were up, and the last week my parents were visiting," Hauck said. "It was this past weekend or nothing." Even Johnson's co-workers teased him about proposing. "He was always talking about her and we were like, 'Will you just shut up and ask her to marry you already?'" said Brandi Graham, Schaffer's chief of staff. Johnson, a Colorado native, invited Hauck to dinner at his apartment, and she was surprised to see what he had in store for her. "He set up a tent and hung up glow-in-the-dark stars," Hauck said. After dinner of fondue, s'mores and wine, Johnson pulled out a tin of dinner mints and offered her one. "He told me the only thing that would top off the night would be a dinner mint. I was exhausted and I really didn't want one. I wanted to go home, but then he kept telling me how good they were and how much I would enjoy it," Hauck said, laughing. When she opened the tin, she saw the diamond ring. Then, he asked her to marry him. Chief of Staff Graham, 29, also has a romantic tale to tell about her engagement to Shawn Pensoneau, 33, who works for the International Air Transport Association. After five years of dating, Pensoneau took Graham to their favorite spot on North Carolina's Outer Banks for her birthday on Aug. 10. He wanted to propose to her where two currents, warm and cold, come together. Thanks to their pets, it just didn't work out that way. "A guy that looked like Tony Soprano got out of his car when we were standing there and started asking about our dogs. The guy just wouldn't leave him alone. Then all these fishermen pulled in and the dogs were going to get caught in their lines," Graham said. So, they left the perfect spot without a proposal. Pensoneau ended up proposing later that night on the beach, under the stars. Graham admits she doesn't quite remember how it happened because she was too shocked. They plan to marry next August in Colorado, when Congress is not in session. "We know we've been working too long on the Hill when we plan our wedding by the congressional calendar," Graham said. Erika Lestelle, 24, a legislative assistant for Schaffer, and Heath Heikkila, 24, who works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, met while in college in Washington state. She was the president of the college Republican club, and he was visiting to speak on behalf of Citizens for a Sound Economy. "Our first date was at a political convention," Lestelle said. He proposed to her at the Dumbarton Oaks gardens in Georgetown, surrounded by daffodils, her favorite flower. "I knew it was coming because he brought a gym bag with us," Lestelle said. "He pulled a bouquet of daffodils out of the bag and on one stem was a ring." They will also live by the congressional calendar, marrying after the November elections back in Washington state.

10/09/2002
It’s Raining Special Interest Politics
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Press Release

It’s Raining Special Interest Politics

This Week- The major action for this week in both the House and Senate will be the joint resolution as requested by President Bush to allow the use of force on Iraq. The House expects the resolution to take up to 20 hours of debate. In addition to this resolution the House will also be considering dozens of suspension bills. They also may consider a bill to help investors by allowing them to write off more of their stock market losses and giving them more flexibility to manage their retirement savings.

10/08/2002
Political Economy: Trial Lawyers and Terrorism Insurance
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Press Release

Political Economy: Trial Lawyers and Terrorism Insurance

As the preferred client of the Democratic Party, the plaintiff’s bar has vetoed any terrorism insurance legislation that does not allow for punitive damage awards. Its obstinacy has angered many Republicans and the business community writ large, which believe federally-backed terrorism reinsurance would be a tonic to the weak economy. Last week, President Bush demanded that Congress come together to reach a compromise and blamed trial lawyers for the impasse, quoting typical anti-plaintiff sloganeering, including a suggestion that trial lawyers “have never seen a disaster that didn’t justify a lawsuit.”

10/08/2002
Looking for Leaders
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Press Release

Looking for Leaders

With less than a month to go before the mid-term elections voters have told the pollsters they want our elected leaders, particularly President Bush, to pay more attention to the economy. They have a point. The stock market continues to fall – now having lost $7.5 trillion in paper wealth. Unemployment has risen, corporate profits have dropped and consumer confidence looks shaky. Only 40 percent of Americans now see the economy as “good,” down from 85 percent just two years ago. In fact, 56 percent now say the economy is in bad shape – the lowest rating since 1993. Less than 15 percent of Americans believe the economy is getting better and 39 percent believe the economy is getting worse.

10/08/2002
A Legacy of Spending
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Press Release

A Legacy of Spending

With the Bush administration’s sights trained on Iraq, problems on the home front remain to be addressed. Wall Street is hitting 15-year lows, corporate scandals have jarred investor confidence, and a weak market has Americans worried about job security. In Washington, Congress continues its spending spree as members race to finalize spending bills before the November election. Surpluses are a thing of the past, with the federal deficit pushing $160 billion and counting. A recent poll found a majority of Americans have serious concerns about the U.S. economy and believe that heightened foreign policy concerns have come at the expense of sound economic policies here at home.

10/08/2002

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