In signing the Tax Pledge, a candidate promises the voters of his or her district that he or she will “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”
And the reason for fiscal conservatives to oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes isn’t to oppose tax hikes for the sake of opposing tax hikes. It’s to deny government additional funding to grow bigger.
Indeed, if your political philosophy is that of a limited government fiscal conservative, the best strategy for achieving that objective is to “starve the beast.” It’s just that simple.
And the simple fact is those who sign the Pledge vote against tax and fee (taxes by another name) hikes FAR more often than those who don’t.
Rare is the case of an elected official — such as Republican Assembly Speaker-of-the-Weak John Hambrick — who completely disavows their promise to their voters and goes over to the “dark side.”
Citizen Outreach CEO Dan Burdish recently completed a study of the tax-hike votes by members of the Nevada State Assembly for the 2015 legislative session. He identified 32 recorded votes on bills that increased taxes or fees.
And Hambrick voted for every last one of them. As did Republican Assembly Majority Leader Paul Anderson and defrocked former Assembly Minority Leader Pat “RINO” Hickey. Forget the Three Amigos. These are the Three RINOs. At the opposite end of the spectrum, three Republican Pledge signers had perfect no-new-taxes voting records: Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, Assemblyman John Moore and Assemblywoman Shelly Shelton. The other six Pledge signers only rarely voted for a tax or fee hike, ranging from 2 transgressions to 9.
But not one of them voted for Gov. Brian Sandoval’s largest tax hike in Nevada history.
On the other hand, a number of self-described “conservative” Republicans who refused to sign the Tax Pledge literally voted like Democrats.
The best of the worst was Assemblyman David Gardner, who voted in favor of 22 of the 32 tax hikes, including the largest tax hike in history. Assemblyman Chris Edwards voted for 26 tax hikes. Assemblyman Erv Nelson voted for 27 of them. Taxation Committee Chairman Derek Armstrong-Anderson and Assemblyman James “The Big Selloutski” Oscarson voted for higher taxes 29 out of 32 times.
And Carson City Assemblyman P.K. O’Neill, who replaced Tax Pledge signer Pete Livermore this session, voted for 30 of the 32 tax hikes.
The numbers don’t lie and the lesson is clear: If you don’t want your taxes to go up so the government blob can grow bigger, only vote for candidates who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
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It’s not a free market if the market isn’t free of government intervention How in the world does a country “hampered by inadequate moisture and poor (sugar) cane quality, small farm size, lack of mechanization, and under-utilization of cane mills” nevertheless find itself the world’s second largest sugar exporter?
Through the world of government intervention, that’s how.
In a recent study conducted for the American Sugar Alliance (ASA), agricultural economist Antoine Meriot writes that the government of Thailand “has been closely involved with the Thai sugar industry for decades, and has taken major steps to expand Thai sugar production and exports, regardless of world market pricing and needs.”
That revelation alone refutes the “free market” argument put forward by the U.S. candy industry and some in Congress for the elimination of our own domestic sugar program.
It is simply NOT a free market when the Thai government mandates an artificially high price for sugar sold within its borders, thus enabling producers to export sugar for a price well below global market prices — a practice “declared illegal by the World Trade Organization in 2005.”
It is simply NOT a free market when the Thai government is providing direct payments through its government-owned bank to its sugar cane farmers.
It is simply NOT a free market when the Thai government provides loans to sugar producers “at a fraction of market interest rates.”
It is simply NOT a free market when the Thai government sets “quotas
for each (sugar) mill’s sales to the domestic market, with no limit on
sales to the world market.”
This government intervention in Thailand’s sugar market has allowed the country to cement its position as the second largest exporter of the commodity in the world despite, as ASA points out, “a collapse of global sugar prices” over the past four years.
Make no mistake; Thailand is not unique in this regard. Indeed, the Thai government’s sugar support policies are not unlike those being provided to the sugar industries of Brazil, India and Mexico. It’s an “arms race” of sorts for government agricultural subsidies.
To expect U.S. farmers to compete in such a “free market” that clearly is anything but free from government meddling is to throw sheep to wolves. And despite American sugar producers being “among the world’s most efficient,” Jack Roney of ASA rightly points out that “they cannot compete in a world sugar market badly distorted by foreign subsidies.”
Before the U.S. can eliminate its sugar programs, the rest of the world needs to eliminate theirs.
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Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy grassroots advocacy organization. He may be reached by email at email@example.com.