Americans are scrambling to have their taxes prepared by the end of the day to satisfy Uncle Sam’s thirst for their hard-earned money. Their lack of enthusiasm could have something to do with the fact that over half of the population claims taxes are just too high.
According to Gallup, 42 percent of Americans still say that they are paying enough, or “about right,” while 52 percent say that the taxes they are paying are too high. About two years ago, 46 percent of Americans said taxes were too high, indicating that there has been an increase in the number of people feeling they are simply paying too much.
Gallop found that the view that taxes are fair is more popular among Democrats, whereas Republicans tend to see their tax burden as not fair. According to the latest poll, 54 percent of Americans still regard the income tax as fair. However, this view is becoming less popular over time. According to Gallup, it hasn’t been this low since 2001.
Among Republicans, 57 percent say taxes are too high and 49 percent say what they pay is not fair. Among Democrats, 55 percent say they pay about right, and 69 percent say that what they pay is fair.
Among Independents, the numbers indicate that the difference between those who think their taxes are fair and those who think taxes are not fair is of 7 percent. Slightly more Independents (51%) say the federal income tax they have to pay is fair against 44 percent that say the taxes they pay are not fair.
Over at the American Spectator, Reid Smith and Jamie Weinstein (so much for that “I before E” rule, right?), debate whether Rand Paul is the future of the Republican Party.
Smith takes the pro-Paul position in his part, “A New Age of Liberty,” in which he touts the libertarian scion’s innovative tactics and positions and success in just three years in the Senate. Weinstein takes the anti-Paul side, under the head “GOP Less Libertarian Thank You Think,” using more concrete examples, but making less sense doing it.
Weinstein’s main point against Rand Paul is ideological, and no surprise, focuses on the area where he differs most sharply with party leadership: foreign policy. He argues that while Paul turned heads with his drone filibuster and then helped defeat the authorization of force in Syria resolution, the Syria result was an exception, and the continued support for military action against Iranian nuclear capability is the rule. Paul didn’t tilt the party more isolationist, Weinstein claims, people just didn’t like the options in Syria. While a convincing argument, we have another data point now with which we can test this theory: Ukraine.
Followingly less than a year after the Syria debate, 56% of Americans say we should “not get too involved” in Russia’s annexation of Ukraine either. And while 67% of Republicans disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the situation so far, 50% say it’s important we don’t get involved.
The Republican Party seems poised for a successful mid-term election. There has even been talk of a building “Republican wave,” should voter dissatisfaction intensify and solidify, though its far too early to say for sure what will happen.
But if a “Republican wave” does indeed happen this fall and the party takes control of the Senate, a goal that has proved to be out of reach in the past two cycles, GOP leaders and talking heads should be cautious in overstating what it means.
Yes, President Barack Obama is plagued by low approval ratings and rejection of Obamacare, his signature domestic achievement. Voters aren’t too thrilled about the state of the economy or his handling of foreign policy.
But Republicans must realize that electoral success this doesn’t mean that voters have embraced the party, as polls almost universally show. In a two-party system at a time of malaise, the party not in control is the beneficiary of voter anger. This was true in 2006 when Democrats won control of Congress. It was true in 2010 when Republicans gained 63 seats on their way to winning the House of Representatives.
There is no denying that the Republican Party has a very real messaging problem, and party leaders realize it. That’s why the Republican National Committee released a report, The Growth and Opportunity Project, to try to figure out what went wrong in the 2012 election as well as try to find solutions to expand its reach.
Though that “autopsy,” so to speak, raised some excellent points, it alienated many of the grassroots activists that compromise part of the Republican base.
While we should be cautious to read too much into a special election, there’s no denying that the Republican victory last night in Florida’s Thirteenth Congressional District (FL-13) is bad news for Democrats in the 2014 mid-term election, regardless of how they try to deflect it.
The spin from Democrats is that FL-13 had long-been held by Republicans and the district has a Republican tilt, albeit very slight, at R+2. This is true. But talking points miss some very important points.
First, this is a district twice won by President Barack Obama, so it’s more friendly to Democrats than they want to admit. Secondly, Democrats had the money advantage. Alex Sink, who lost last night, overwhelmingly outraised and outspent her Republican opponent, former lobbyist David Jolly, and outside groups backing the Democrat slightly outspent those backing the Republican candidate.
Third, Jolly was a lobbyist, and that point was frequently brought up by Sink and outside groups backing her campaign. Despite being pegged in populist rhetoric as a Washington insider, Jolly managed to win.
The Republican Party has an image problem. Really, anyone who follows politics knows it. Years upon years of corporatist policies has lead to people who really believe things like this quote that was in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“I hadn’t paid attention to the race, but I’m voting the Democratic ticket,” said Bryan Dabruzzi, a 43-year-old from Atlanta who is finishing a degree in nuclear engineering. “I’m not rich, so I can’t vote Republican.”
Now, Dabruzzi is probably a pretty bright guy. After all, I’m not even close to finishing a degree in nuclear engineering. At 43 years old, he’s also not likely to be some kid who just doesn’t know any better. No, most likely, this is an opinion based on years of observation. For what it’s worth, this quote was made in reference to a governor’s race here in Georgia.
It’s easy to discount Dabruzzi’s quote as someone who, while maybe not unintelligent, just doesn’t understand politics. However, one would think that a member of Forbes staff might look at things a bit different. One would be wrong though, according to John Tamny:
Having lost an eminently winnable presidential election to a failed president in Obama, the Republicans are a Party desperately seeking a message, image, and probably both.
In a town known for power-hungry establishment politicians and lobbyists who are constantly trying to exert their influence, there is a burgeoning group of young liberty movement activists who are working behind-the-scenes to change the status quo in the nation’s capital.
Mostly in their 20’s and early 30’s, D.C.-area liberty-minded activists hold jobs in congressional offices on Capitol Hill or in some of the town’s most well-known grassroots organizations. These young people have made their presence felt in the Washington-area political scene, and they’re doing so in an unorthodox way.
Many from this crowd meet-up at O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub in Arlington, Virginia for what they call “Liberty Karaoke,” a weekly tradition started a few years ago by a group of like-minded friends. It’s not unusual to find 50 or more activists hanging out and singing some of their favorite tunes on any given Tuesday night.
“D.C.-area liberty movement young people have been attending weekly karaoke for over three years,” Matthew Hurtt, a 26-year old grassroots activist, told United Liberty. “It was really organic. It’s been a weekly place to unwind and hang out.”
But the group has found another purpose for Liberty Karaoke by using it as a fundraising opportunity for certain candidates whom they support.
In early December, for example, the group hosted a fundraiser for Rep. Justin Amash, a 33-year-old Michigan Republican who has become one of the most vocal critics of the Obama Administration, domestic surveillance programs, and, at times, his own party’s leadership.
The Wall Street Journal ran a story on Christmas which explained in detail how Republican leaders and the United States Chamber of Commerce are looking to diminish the influence of conservatives both in and outside of Congress. This gives us a glimpse at the latest battle, if you will, in the ongoing Republican civil war.
You may remember that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) lashed out at conservative groups that opposed the budget deal brokered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). It turns out, though unsurprisingly, that this public admonition of conservatives was just scratched the surface. It turns out, as the Journal explained, that Republican leaders were threatening members with loss of committee assignments if they voted against the budget deal:
Mr. Boehner’s deputies took steps behind the scenes to end internal dissent, including among GOP committee chairmen who had voted against the House leadership in prior fiscal battles. In the run-up to the budget vote, Mr. Boehner’s deputies warned chairmen who were tempted to oppose the deal that doing so could jeopardize their committee posts, said people familiar with the discussions.
The goal was to reverse a trend in which chairmen, who typically earn their post by hewing to the party line, voted against priority legislation. Six chairmen had voted against an initial version of a farm bill earlier in the year, causing the legislation to collapse on the House floor, and 11 voted against the pact this fall to reopen the federal government and extend the country’s borrowing authority into 2014.
TL;DR: Mitch McConnell feels threatened by principled conservatives and feels that they’re ruining the “Republican brand” by challenging him and other establishment Republicans. But really, the “Republican brand” is in shambles, and it’s time to re-define that brand to return to small-government principles.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) isn’t a happy camper these days. He’s locked in both a contentious primary and general election fight, losing rule battles against his Democratic counterpart, and has to contend with some members of his own party who are constantly willing to stand on principle, rather than the party line.
The rise of the Tea Party movement and conservative organizations have created havoc for McConnell and Republican leadership in the chamber, who enjoyed mostly distant rumblings from the political right in the past. But over the last few months, there has been a tiff between the Kentucky Republican and the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) that has now boiled over into the public.
Despite voting heavily for him in 2008 and 2012, Millennials — voters between the ages of 18 and 29 — have increasingly become disenfranchised with President Obama. This began early in the summer with the coverage of the NSA’s domestic surveillance and has worsened thanks to the disastrous Obamacare rollout.
But slide, it seems, is much worse than most standard surveys have shown. Ron Fournier of the National Journal broke down the results of a recent Harvard University poll which found that not only do Millennials disapprove of President Obama, but 52% would vote to recall him (emphasis added):
Obama’s approval rating among young Americans is just 41 percent, down 11 points from a year ago, and now tracking with all adults. While 55 percent said they voted for Obama in 2012, only 46 percent said they would do so again.
When asked if they could choose to recall various elected officials, 45 percent of all Millennials said they would oust their member of Congress, 52 percent replied “all members of Congress,” and 47 percent said they would recall Obama. The recall-Obama figure was even higher among the youngest Millennials, ages 18-24, at 52 percent.
While there is no provision for a public recall of U.S. presidents, the poll question revealed just how far Obama has fallen in the eyes of young Americans.
Uhhhh. President Obama, call your office because…wow.
The Quinnipiac University poll brought bad news virtually across the board for President Barack Obama. But three particular parts of the poll relating to young people between the ages of 18 and 29 deserves discussion.
The poll found that voters overwhelmingly disapprove of President Obama’s handling of healthcare by a 24-point margin, at 36/60. The age demographic breakdown shows a 16-point divide in his approval rating among young people, at 40/56:
It’s the lowest of the four age demographics, but still very important.
When Quinnipiac asked voters who they trust to do a better job on the healthcare issue, President Obama or Republicans in Congress, voters gave a very slight edge to the GOP. It’s the first the Republicans have had an advantage of any kind on healthcare, according to the firm.
Holding any edge over President Obama on the healthcare issue, no matter how small, is important because he has staked his legacy on the issue. But the most interesting part is, yet again, the demographics. young people gave a 5-point edge to Republicans: