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It's Time for Real Telecom Competition
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Press Release

It's Time for Real Telecom Competition

January 8, 2003 Senator John McCain SR-241 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510-0303 Dear Senator McCain:

01/08/2003
A Tale of Two Tax Plans
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Press Release

A Tale of Two Tax Plans

The gauntlet has been thrown—a battle to control domestic economic policy finds Republicans and Democrats squaring off with competing policy prescriptions. On Monday, Democrats unveiled a ten-year, $136 billion stimulus plan to pre-empt the administration’s more aggressive $674 billion plan to bolster economic growth. While both plans aim to improve economic performance, they take decidedly different approaches. Democrats continue to believe the government can spend its way out of recession, calling for more spending and temporary manipulations of the tax code. President Bush, on the other hand, has offered an aggressive package that, for the most part, focuses on strengthening incentives for economic growth.

01/08/2003
Tax cuts two years ago not effective in stimulating the economy
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Tax cuts two years ago not effective in stimulating the economy

BY KAI RYSSDAL; AMY SCOTT

KAI RYSSDAL, anchor: Is it tax cut deja vu all over again? Good morning. I'm Kai Ryssdal in Los Angeles. Announcer: The MARKETPLACE MORNING REPORT is produced by Minnesota Public Radio, in association with the University of Southern California. RYSSDAL: It's fair bet there will be some kind of tax cut coming this year, even though Congress does still have to approve the president's economic stimulus plan. Thing is, there were tax cuts two years ago that were supposed to get the economy going again. MARKETPLACE's Amy Scott looked into what happened. AMY SCOTT reporting: In 2001, American taxpayers got the largest tax rebate in history, about $28 billion. What'd you do with your share? Unidentified Man: I think I deposited it in my checking account, and then continued to write checks. SCOTT: But Joel Friedman at the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities points out 34 million Americans didn't get any rebates because they didn't earn enough to owe taxes, and those are the people, he says, mostly likely to put that money right back into the economy. Mr. JOEL FRIEDMAN (Center on Budget & Policy Priorities): The lower-income you are, the more cash-constrained you're going to be, and therefore, if you get an extra dollar, you're going to be more likely to spend it. SCOTT: Even proponents of tax cuts question the stimulating effect of rebates, like Wayne Brough at Citizens for a Sound Economy. Mr. WAYNE BROUGH (Citizens for a Sound Economy): If people are already strapped with debt and it's a small, one-time rebate, there's a lot of evidence that suggests that people use that to pay down debt. SCOTT: Seventy-five percent of those who got a rebate last time put it towards debt or savings; only a quarter actually spent the money. In Washington, I'm Amy Scott for MARKETPLACE.

01/08/2003
Bush plan offers dividends for us all
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Bush plan offers dividends for us all

BY Seiler

With a new majority of his fellow Republicans controlling Congress, President Bush on Tuesday called for an aggressive $670 billion in tax cuts over 10 years to encourage spending and investment and, by doing so, turn the wheel of the economic recovery. Speaking before the Chicago Economic Club, he called for eliminating taxation on dividends earned on stocks, increasing by $400 the tax credit for children, ending the ''marriage tax'' (the higher taxes paid by many couples than if they were single) and advancing and making permanent his 2001 tax cuts. ''Americans deserve to know their tax cuts will not be taken away,'' he said. ''We can preserve the hard won gains our economy has made and advance toward greater prosperity.'' These are good ideas. In particular, eliminating taxes on stock dividends would help individual investors and companies. The top tax rate on dividends now is 38.6 percent (the same as for income), compared to 20 percent for capital gains, the rate used for sale of stock. That disparity has encouraged companies to work more for short-term stock price increases to keep and attract investors rather than for steady increases in value paid out in dividends. And the current system encourages companies to take on debt to promote growth, because the debt can be deducted from taxes owed, according to a study by Jason Edwards, a staff economist at Citizens for a Sound Economy, a conservative think tank. Dividends also are taxed twice, first when the company pays its business taxes, then when the shareholder pays his personal tax on dividends. ''But of the share that is paid to taxable owners, as little as 36 cents of every dollar in profit goes into their pockets,'' notes the Washington Post. In other words, the double tax rate can be as high as 64 percent. ''It's immoral to tax dividends twice,'' Esmael Adibi, director of the Anderson Center for Economic Research at Chapman University, told us. ''This tax cut is long overdue.'' Democrats are portraying the Bush plan as one that only helps the wealthy and have devised a plan of their own amounting to $136 billion over 10 years. It would include a one-shot $300 tax credit to families and more unemployment benefits. ''Our proposal is targeted to consumers'' but the Bush plan ''is targeted to wealthy families,'' said Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic minority whip. Actually, Mr. Adibi said, ''more than 50 percent of American workers are exposed to the equity market'' through pensions, 401(k) plans and individual investing. ''If the dividend tax cut goes through, it would boost the stock market and increase consumer confidence, which would increase consumer spending.'' Now it's Congress' turn. We hope Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana, lives up to her ''blue dog'' Democrat label as a tax-cutter and goes along. And O.C. Republicans should make this good plan even better by proposing to eliminate capital gains taxes and cutting the top income tax rate immediately to the Reagan-era 28 percent from 38.6 percent. Citizens have first call on the product of their labor, not the government.

01/08/2003
It’s Love At First Sight
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Press Release

It’s Love At First Sight

Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) today cheered President Bush’s proposal for Economic Growth and Job Creation. The President called for complete repeal of the dividend tax, acceleration of the 2001 income tax rate cuts, and improvements in the child tax credit, the marriage deduction, and small business investment expensing. In total, the plan is a bold move to boost the economy by improving American tax policy.

01/07/2003
CSE “Not Pelosi” Campaign Convinces Four House Democrats
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Press Release

CSE “Not Pelosi” Campaign Convinces Four House Democrats

Today, the 108th Congress organized itself, and the House of Representatives conducted a roll call vote for Speaker. Related Website: www.NotPelosi.com Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) targeted 14 moderate Democrats with its grassroots “Not Pelosi” campaign to encourage them to vote “Present” today. The campaign was anchored by the activist website www.NotPelosi.com.

01/07/2003
State Viewed as Bellwether on Insurance Dilemma
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Press Release

State Viewed as Bellwether on Insurance Dilemma

From the Charleston Daily Mail January 6, 2003, Monday Copyright 2003 Charleston Newspapers The other 49 states consider West Virginia the poster child for medical malpractice insurance problems, said the former president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. So Dr. Richard Roberts, a family practitioner in Wisconsin, today said the nation would closely watch over the next few weeks how lawmakers resolve problems with doctors getting and affording the insurance. "Failure to act is the legislative equivalent of malpractice," Roberts said.

01/06/2003
Public Opinion and Private Accounts
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Press Release

Public Opinion and Private Accounts

Cato Executive Summary

01/06/2003
Pelosi brings pedigree to high post on Capitol Hill
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Pelosi brings pedigree to high post on Capitol Hill

BY Justin Pritchard, Associated Press

Nancy Pelosi loves old maps -- graphic testimony to the spirit of exploration, faded images of what was known and unknown. "Maps are about the places and the geography and the Earth, but they're also about how people saw the world and the courage it took for them to go places," she says. "What we want to do in politics is blaze trails and not just follow paths." Today, the 62-year-old Pelosi will become the Democrats' leader in the House of Representatives, the first woman to lead either party on Capitol Hill. She is a liberal in a conservative time; her party is still in the shadow of a humbling defeat last November. Once again, Nancy Pelosi is plotting her own course. "She's overcome being a woman in largely a man's world," says Charles Pottruck, a friend and campaign donor who is president of the San Francisco-based brokerage firm Charles Schwab. I think you have to recognize that this didn't happen by accident. How it happened -- how this Roman Catholic girl from Baltimore ended up the most powerful woman in the history of Congress -- is a story that no map could set out. 'You must run' Rep. Sala Burton was dying of cancer in January 1987 when she summoned Pelosi. "You must -- MUST -- run for my seat in Congress," Burton insisted. Pelosi says she resisted, but finally agreed. "What people see in Nancy Pelosi now, Sala saw in her then," says John Burton, Sala's brother-in-law and president of the state Senate. "Sala," he says, "was down to skin and bones and I think she really hung on to do that." For years, Pelosi had put off politics while she raised her five kids [one of them, Alexandra, put together a recent HBO documentary on the George W. Bush presidential campaign]. She had resisted overtures to run even as she charmed San Francisco's political powerbrokers, even as she showed a knack for raising campaign cash, helping Democrats wrest control of the U.S. Senate in 1986. There was always a latent talent for politics. She was, after all, Thomas D'Alesandro Jr.'s daughter -- and he represented Baltimore in Congress during and after World War II, and served as its mayor for three terms. In the family home, the seven D'Alesandro kids staffed the living room desk that was the first stop for all comers. "Constituents came in for jobs, for favors, for wood, whatever," says Pelosi's older brother Thomas D'Alesandro III, himself a former mayor of Baltimore. "She saw human nature in the raw. People come in ranting and raving, they're down and out. You can't just holler back at them." She learned to keep the friendship in her voice -- and the rest came naturally. "She has one trait that she inherited from my father, and that is the ability to read people," her brother says. "When some people say yes' to you, they mean no' -- when they say no' they mean 'yes.' The emphasis is when they say the word, their body language." Nancy D'Alesandro married Paul Pelosi, a native of San Francisco, and they moved there to raise their family. She edged into politics -- first doing some volunteer work for the Democrats, then informally advising Jerry Brown when he entered the Maryland primary in 1976. From there she joined the Democratic National Committee, became state party chair, vied unsuccessfully to become national chair -- and made her mark as finance chairman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Then came Sala Burton's deathbed summons. That June, the reluctant candidate won 62 percent of the vote; she has never lost an election. "I didn't realize I was going to like it so much, she would later say." 'Don't underestimate her' "You're not very smart if you underestimate Nancy Pelosi," says Rep. Tom DeLay, the conservative Texas Republican, incoming House majority leader and ruthless partisan who has tussled with Pelosi as chief House GOP vote counter. What makes her a worthy opponent is her work ethic. She works 24-7. In other words, Pelosi's life has been a dress rehearsal for the big time, and never confuse her civility with softness or naivetDe. "Her style is one that benefits her a lot," says DeLay. "She's not one of those that gets into your face, and some are pretty obnoxious when they're working on an issue they believe strongly in. She's one that you can trust. She comes to you very forthrightly." Still, perhaps no one in Congress, save DeLay himself, is an easier target for political caricature. To some opponents, she's the marauding fanatic threatening to sweep into the heartland from the Left Coast's political hinterland. Help stop the San Francisco liberal announces the Web site notpelosi.com, run by the conservative Citizens for a Sound Economy. Arthur Bruzzone, former chairman of the San Francisco Republicans, says Pelosi represents the arrogance, hypocrisy, and illusions of her supporters -- elitists and 'progressives.' A snappier take on the same theme -- latte liberal -- is beginning to circulate outside Washington. Pelosi has been stung by such jabs, but deflects them with humor. "I don't drink coffee. Never in my life had a latte," Pelosi says, deadpan. "In the absence of chocolate ice cream I had a couple of, what do you call them, chocolate brownie frappacinos." Chocolate is a passion. A collection of candies -- congratulatory gold-foiled gifts -- occupies the coffee table in her corner office high above San Francisco. She plucks one as she explains that, if she must be labeled, progressive will do. Still, if Democrats are generally labeled as either centrist or liberal, her signature issues have been the latter: She's outspoken on funding for HIV/AIDS research, human rights in China and abortion. Strains of social justice -- unemployment insurance, workers' rights, job creation -- are among her themes in recent weeks. But while Pelosi hits familiar liberal notes, she isn't her father's New Deal Democrat. She has voted against organized labor on international trade and alienated some environmentalists who lambast her pet idea to prop up the Presidio, San Francisco's old Army base and now a national park, with private investment. She came west to San Francisco in 1969 -- the year of the Summer of Love -- but remained a stay-at-home mom and devoted Catholic. Last fall she voted against war on Iraq, but she also voted for President Bush's Department of Homeland Security. "Again and again," she says "Democratic policies must be credible. It's the axiom of a politician looking beyond her own back yard." There is a difference between advocating for your district and being the leader of the party, Pelosi says. You make a transition, but you don't leave your values behind and people respect you because you believe in something. Already, San Francisco's old-school leftist establishment judges Pelosi a centrist apostate who should take her palette of pant suits to the burbs. "There's a lot to be critical of," says Tim Redmond, executive editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian and a longtime observer of local politics. "They plucked Nancy Pelosi out of the fundraising world, basically to be a loyal machine member." Pelosi is still a major figure in the fundraising world. She draws comparable amounts from business and labor interests. Her husband is a wildly successful investor and the couple mingles with the West Coast's entrepreneurial elite -- schooled in the world of ward bosses, Pelosi speaks the language of the venture capitalist and the Silicon Valley innovator. Pelosi says she'd rather do anything than solicit contributions. Still, she zig-zagged the country during the 2002 campaign, by her staff's estimate raising more than $7 million for candidates in nearly 100 congressional districts. When she first began angling for a leadership position, Pelosi established political action committees to redistribute donations to fellow Democrats. In October, she dropped one of her two PACs in the face of suggestions that the setup was a way of getting around limits on campaign donations. Since 1999, no one in Congress has lavished more money on fellow lawmakers than Pelosi's $2.1 million, according to the watchdog Center for Responsive Politics. "In a sense you are buying your leadership position," says Larry Noble, the group's executive director. She has many admirers Talk to those who know her personally -- even some Republican adversaries -- and the compliments flow: Diplomatic, but not disingenuous. Sweet, but not sickly so. Sharp, but blunt when need be. Gracious. Organized. Polished. Energetic. Radiant. Admirers extol the personal touch of a society sophisticate. Peppy notes encourage colleagues and flatter supporters, important weddings or baptisms don't go unnoticed. "As a politician, she doesn't have a mask on her face," says Harry Wu, the human rights activist who was released from a Chinese jail with Pelosi's support. "You can look into her eyes, you can trust her. You can relate to her." "She is probably the most perfect political partner," gushes Rep. Anna Eshoo, a fellow Bay Area Democrat Pelosi helped get elected in 1992. "I don't know anyone who can say no' to her." Republicans can -- they control both houses of Congress and the White House. And they will. But, at least for now, most of her colleagues take pains to appear positive. Part of it is that no politic politician would be caught attacking before the battle really begins on Capitol Hill. Some may be building Pelosi up to tear her down. But some of the regard seems genuine. "Even on the most complex issues, she can pull the threads together quickly," says Rep. Porter Goss, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee on which Pelosi has been the top Democrat. "There's not a lot of explaining you need to do." Goss recalls the time, five years ago, when he and Pelosi had returned from a trip to North Korea and were addressing the Tokyo press corps. Pelosi had not yet launched her quiet campaign to become Democratic whip, which succeeded in 2001. After the briefing, Pelosi pulled Goss aside. "Nancy chewed me out very thoroughly because, as it turned out, the seating arrangements had myself and some equally old men at the center of the optic and women and minorities off to the side. She's very attentive to detail and image," Goss says. She's a much better politician than I will ever be.

01/06/2003
Gaston Source
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Gaston Source

BY Alice Gregory

Lincoln's Lawing is regional activist of year POLITICS The N.C. Citizens for a Sound Economy recognized a Lincoln County woman as Activist of the Year for the Charlotte region at its annual Day at the Capital earlier this month. Betty Lawing of the organization's Lincoln County chapter received the award. Lawing is a former school board member, and she joined CSE in 2000. Citizens for a Sound Economy is a nonpartisan grassroots group that says it's dedicated to lower taxes, less government and more freedom. Panel examining board's setup resets meeting GOVERNMENT The task force to study changes to the structure of the Gaston Board of County Commissioners has postponed tonight's meeting. The group instead will meet at 7 p.m. next Wednesday in the Department of Social Services auditorium, 330 N. Marietta St., Gastonia. The group is studying whether to recommend changing township boundary lines and scrapping countywide votes for township seats. Gaston College to launch construction May 12 EDUCATION Gaston College will break ground for its $1.6 million public safety building May 12. The 15,000-square-foot building will replace four mobile units used as classrooms and administrative offices for the college's firefighter, police and paramedic training program. The new building is being paid for by state bond money. The facility will be located on the Regional Emergency Services Training Center area of the Dallas campus on U.S. 321 South. About 12,000 firefighters, police officers and emergency medical workers train at Gaston College each year.

01/05/2003

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