Sunday, February 8, 2015

Collin Peterson, radical Republican

Representative Collin Peterson, who voted to enable Republicans to shut down the Federal government in 2013, continues to polish his radical conservative credentials.

On the first day of the new Congressional session, the House of Representatives adopted rules to govern the session. Included in those rules was a provision to prevent a clean reallocation of Social Security, thus endangering Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. The routine rebalancing between Disability Insurance and Retirement Insurance can no longer be done unless the House also passes a Social Security "reform" bill. A failure to rebalance will result in an unnecessary and completely avoidable cut in benefits paid to workers who have serious and permanent disabilities and to their families. This is an effort by the GOP to make people believe that reallocation helps the disabled at the expense of the old, and is part of GOP efforts to dismantle Social Security brick by brick. Collin Peterson was one of a few Democrats to join with Republicans to pass this rules bill.

On February 4th, The House GOP passed the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2015. This bill undermines consumer protections and places new financial burdens on independent regulatory agencies. The majority of additional costs of the bill to agencies and businesses, the Congressional Budget Office found, would be shouldered by the cash-strapped Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This bill, like most bills passed out of the Republican Congress, is designed to hobble federal regulators and increase industry power over the regulatory process. Regulators would have to follow stringent guidelines, submit additional reviews of proposed regulations, give industries a heads up and solicit feedback, and adopt a new definition of “direct costs”. The bill would also open up every aspect of cost analyses to judicial review, leading to an inevitable barrage of lawsuits from those affected by the pending rules. Collin Peterson joined the GOP in their continuing efforts to undermine the CFPB, which is the keystone of Dodd-Frank financial reform.

On Feb 5, the House voted on another bill to do the same thing, calling this bill the "Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2015". It expands the use of advocacy review panels, creates needless grounds for judicial review and judicial remedies, and imposes unrealistic analytic requirements on federal agencies. Collin Peterson again joined the GOP in this attempt at de facto deregulation. Peterson also voted against an amendment exempting the FDA's consumer safety regulations.

This session, Collin Peterson has also voted for the Keystone XL pipeline (Canadian tar sands to southern refineries, with the final product being exported off-shore). He voted with Republicans for the Save American Workers Act of 2015, which would change the ACA’s definition of full-time work from 30 to 40 hours per week. Peterson also voted for the Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act. This act, aimed at weakening Dodd-Frank, combines 11 different bills into one big package, including provisions to weaken the Volcker Rule, weaken derivatives provisions, and undermine investor protections.

In summary, Collin Peterson's votes are against the interests of the people of his district as well as 99 percent of the American public. The only reason he retains a Democratic seat is because of his position on the House Agricultural committee. It is long past time for the Minnesota DFL to recognize Peterson for what he is: a radical Republican.

References:

Brown: Republican Leaders Must Abandon Dangerous New Rule That Undermines Social Security

Brown Condemns Dangerous Move by the House That Would Undermine Social Security by Attacking Disability Insurance

Which 19 House Democrats Just Voted to Hobble Federal Regulators?

GOP Readies Poison Pill for Federal Regulators

This is why we can't have nice things

The New Republican Attack on Social Security Starts Now!

Friday, May 9, 2014

The FCC and Net Neutrality

On May 15th, the FCC will issue new proposed regulations concerning "Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet", proceeding #14-28. Comments from the public have been solicited prior to the publication of these proposed regulations. The following is a comment I submitted to the FCC about this proceeding.

The only way to insure that new pay-to-play schemes do not drive up prices for consumers is to re-classify broadband as telecommunications infrastructure. Net neutrality was promised to us by President Barack Obama, the person who nominated the current FCC Chair.

The reclassification would allow the FCC to issue regulations as needed to insure net neutrality. Retaining the current classification of broadband as an information service means that any new regulation efforts would just result in more lawsuits, and more court decisions saying that the FCC exceeded its regulatory authority.

Senator Al Franken calls net neutrality, “the free speech issue of our time. We cannot allow the FCC to implement a pay-to-play system that silences our voices and amplifies that of big corporate interests.”

"In 2012, [Comcast] imposed data caps that stifled all online video streaming -- except from Comcast-owned content provider Xfinity..." While this apparently changed because of promises that Comcast made in order to secure approval for its merger with NBC-Universal, that promise has an expiration date. There is no reason to assume that after that expiration date, Comcast will not resume its corporate favoritism in an effort to increase its profits (though we might get a short stay if Comcast needs to grease the wheels for yet another merger, this time with Time Warner Cable).

Comcast also just implemented steep rate hikes that hit independent cable companies hard, and for many consumers (myself included) that meant the loss of some popular cable channels.

Now Comcast is on track to control nearly 40 percent of the broadband market in the U.S., and its past history clearly shows that without real net neutrality, consumers will be the losers. And the same is true for other broadband providers such as Verizon.

It is time for the FCC to act in the public interest. It is time for the FCC to reclassify broadband services, and issue net neutrality regulations that will not be thrown out in court.

Monday, February 10, 2014

What's important to me in 2014

  • Expand SS & Medicare. 
  • Goods sold in US should have same standards as goods made in US (including companies costs for labor as well as environmental standards). 
  • Close some overseas military bases & pay soldiers same as contractors. 
  • Fix vets' healthcare. 
  • Single payer healthcare. 
  • Eliminate capital gains (& dividend) tax advantages (take the rich man's hand out of the poor man's pocket). 
  • Eliminate salary cap on payroll taxes. 
  • Implement transaction tax on stock trades. 
  • Establish minimum tax level for companies doing business in US. 
  • Document all changes to proposed congression bills (no more AGI bonus surprises). 
  • Prohibit congressmen (& women) from profiting from their time in congress (corruption). 
  • Extend unemployment. Raise minimum wage (or pay congresspeople minimum wage). 
  • Eliminate unpaid internships both governmental and commercial. 
  • Establish guest worker visas for foreign labor (at least in agriculture and construction). 
  • Eliminate exemptions on congresspeople to wage, labor and other laws. 
  • Impeach Scolia or have him committed for insanity (not even the appearance of corruption?!). 

Posted in response to Debbie Wasserman's survey.