Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) in Blue Springs, Missouri on April 28, 2011.
“…And, uh, one way to increase jobs is to reduce the corporate tax rate to twenty-five percent. Right now we have the highest corporate tax rate of any industrialized nation in the, in the world…”
“…Oh, this corporate welfare thing did, were you as upset as I was when I heard that GE didn’t pay any taxes last year?…”
Well, these two thoughts appear to be incompatible. You think it might have something to do with loopholes and effective tax rates? Just asking.
“…So, that’s why the Heritage Foundation, which is independent, uh, agency, analyzed the Path to Prosperity budget that we passed and said that is expected to create a million dollars, million dollars [laugh], a million jobs next year and it would bring down our unemployment back to four percent over the next decade…”
Really? Independent? Are we thinking about the same Heritage Foundation?:
Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a New Right think tank. Its stated mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies….
….In calendar year 2006 the Heritage Foundation spent over $40.5 million on its operations. That year the foundation raised over $25 million from individual contributors and $13.1 million from foundations…..
….Between 1985 and 2003, Media Transparency reports that the following funders provided $57,497,537 (unadjusted for inflation) to the Heritage Foundation:
…Scaife Foundations: Sarah Mellon Scaife, Scaife Family, Carthage…
…Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation…
“…Um, those of you who are on Medicaid [sic] right now or participating in it, it stops the raid on the Medicare trust fund that was gonna be used for implementation of last year’s [health care reform] bill. You realize there’s five hundred billion dollars they took out of Medicare to spend on implementation of it. That’s, that’s awful. I mean, they shouldn’t be touching that….”
….there are several ways that the new health law will trim the Medicare program over the next 10 years. One of the biggest – and most widely publicized – is a reduction in payments to the Medicare Advantage plans that about a quarter of Medicare beneficiaries belong to. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that bringing the private plan payments into line with those of traditional Medicare will mean a savings of $136 billion over 10 years….
….Roughly $200 billion will be cut by reducing payment increases to hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies and other providers, said David Certner, legislative policy director for AARP. Payment increases will be tied to productivity and quality improvements. “We think these cuts won’t harm the program,” he said….
….Although there are cuts to the program, there are investments, too, said Mr. Certner. These include closing the Medicare prescription drug doughnut hole, adding free preventive care for Medicare beneficiaries and improving pay for primary care doctors.
The Medicare changes will also strengthen the program by extending the life of the Medicare trust fund by at least 10 years, said Mr. Certner. “The status of the trust fund is not something that most people think about personally,” he said. “But that’s pretty significant….”
“…and by twenty forty is expected to produce surpluses…”
And when was the last time we ran a budget surplus? And who gave it all up for windfall tax breaks for the top two percent? Just asking.
“…And I got there, some people said, [exaggerated] members of Congress have special plan, whatever. And I, I checked last year and they said, no, that’s not true. And I just want to let you know it’s not true…”
Where on earth did teabaggers get that idea?
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): town hall in Blue Springs, part 1 (April 29, 2011)
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): town hall in Blue Springs, part 2 (April 30, 2011)
This is the continuation of the transcript of Representative Vicky Hartzler’s (r) town hall in Blue Springs, Missouri on Thursday, April 28, 2011:
Representative Vicky Hartzler (r): ….So, uh, I had an hour, I was supposed to preside. And so I went the day before and said, how do I do this, is this real tough? They said, well, don’t worry, we’ll just tell you what to say and [inaudible]. It was, it was no problem. But, a couple of people got up and gave speeches. I could not believe it. Decrying this plan and one of them actually said, this plan will kill my grandmother. And just crazy stuff. And I, I, just a small thought, but I [inaudible] having that gavel and gaveling ’em down with a new point of order. Point of order, sit down, you’re lying to the American public [laugh], sit. But, I just thought maybe my first time out I shouldn’t be quite so [inaudible]. I was good. But, you know, it, you can hear anything and that’s why I want you to have the phone numbers here and our e-mail so if you hear something, and I want you, us to get to know each other, that you will take the time to call [….] in Harrisonville or, or somebody and say, is this true? I heard this is gonna kill grandma. Is, is Vicky really supporting killing my grandma? You know, anyway, let, let us at least give you, uh, some facts and then you can just, you know, make the decision. So, I want to invite you to do that…
…But, anyway, we’re not making any changes. Uh, but yet, if fifty-four and younger we would reform the system and make it so it’s still cost, uh, beneficial for the future, fulfills the mission of health and retirement security, but also lifts the crushing burden of debt. This passed the House. Uh, it, deals with far more than just those issues. We dealt with other parts of the pie as well. But, if, uh, if it passes you can see the difference between, uh, what ours would do to spending compared to the President’s budget. The President’s budget does not address Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. He’s, let’s kick the can down the road, uh, a little bit further, so. [inaudible] Six point two trillion dollar difference will be saved over time.
Uh, here’s another comparison. Current path, the [exaggerated] Path to Prosperity, erity, erity. I’m sorry [laugh]. Anyway. You can see it not only reverses course, but actually balances the budget down the road and that’s, I think, what everybody wants us to do. You know, I used to teach home economics and I’d teach personal finance and there was two ways, I’d tell the kids, you know, you can make things equal. If you’re spending too much money, more money than you have, you only have a job at McDonald’s and you over spend it, well, you either, son, or, you know, you guys quit spending so much money, or, and or, you need to work a second job. You need to make more income, right? And they understood that. They also understood how to balance a budget. That you have your expenses and your income. And your expenses shouldn’t be more than your income. So, I just scratch my head sometimes and I’ve been there three months now in Washington, D.C. , I’m thinking about
my former students, I’m like, how come they could get it, but yet these guys can’t get it? [laugh] You know. It’s crazy.
The Chamber of Peoples Deputies wants us all to clap louder for their new ten year plan.
Um, so this Path to Prosperity, erity, erity, anyway, it does that. It does some things that are projected to, uh, get more jobs. And that’ll increase our income, but also quit spending money we don’t have. And, uh, one way to increase jobs is to reduce the corporate tax rate to twenty-five percent. Right now we have the highest corporate tax rate of any industrialized nation in the, in the world. It was two and now it will be one. We were before two and now we’re one. Um, we’re at thirty-five percent. I talk to some companies and got to tour some manufacturing plants in the fourth district this week. I am just so thankful for them. We still have some manufacturing. And we have some good plants in Missouri, too. But they’ve told me it’s tough when you’re competing against China. When our country is taxing thirty-five percent of their profits they could go in another country and they could not have to pay near as many taxes. Plus, they don’t have EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] and these other, uh, regulations that are killing them, increasing their costs. Every time they turn around there’s some government agency saying, oh no, you have to do this, you have to add this, you have to do this and that increased their costs. So they have to do that instead of hiring somebody, they have to take that money and com, for compliance with the, uh, government agencies. So, we, we, uh, we addressed that. We lowered the corporate tax rate, try to bring those companies back to America. And so we have jobs here. We repealed the government takeover of health care. That, that’s my version, yes, it’s biased, but I can’t remember the name. It’s fancy name name, the path, uh, the patient protection, well, anyway, you remember, you know what bill I’m talking about. The Pre, the one which passed last year. Anyway, that is very, very costly and very onerous for job creation. Because it, health care costs for business are huge and now they cost have go, gone up even higher. So, the Path to Prosperity, uh, repeals that. In doing that it reduces the national debt which helps reduce that uncertainty, that dark cloud over businesses’ heads, consolidates programs, spends, brings spending down, targets wasteful programs, and repeals [inaudible]. So, that’s why the Heritage Foundation, which is independent, uh, agency, analyzed the Path to Prosperity budget that we passed and said that is expected to create a million dollars, million dollars [laugh], a million jobs next year and it would bring down our unemployment back to four percent over the next decade. That’s very encouraging, that’s an independent group that said that, we didn’t say that. So, um, they looked at it, and said, hey, this is gonna create jobs. Okay?
It lowers taxes. Not only for businesses, but for individuals, making a simpler tax code, uh, so the highest individual tax would be twenty-five percent, letting Americans keep more of their money and go spend it in their local community and create jobs. So, it’s gonna keep the taxes low, uh, it, it prevents the one point five trillion tax increase called for in the President’s budget. So, it saves one point five trillion there compared to his, so.
Uh, I said it repeals and defunds it. Um, those of you who are on Medicaid [sic] right now or participating in it, it stops the raid on the Medicare trust fund that was gonna be used for implementation of last year’s bill. You realize there’s five hundred billion dollars they took out of Medicare to spend on implementation of it. That’s, that’s awful. I mean, they shouldn’t be touching that.
It cuts six point two trillion. We know that. Uh, bans earmarks, corporate welfare. Oh, this corporate welfare thing did, were you as upset as I was when I heard that GE didn’t pay any taxes last year? [voice: “I thought we had a corporate tax rate of twenty-five percent?”] [voice: “That correct?”] But here’s what I, the deal was, I looked into that, I actually had [….] look into that ’cause I, that’s what I, I said, how do you do that? How do you do that? Well, part of what they did, [….] found out. Is that they bought fifty thousand of the Chevy Volt cars and for each car they got a seventy-five hundred dollar tax credit. When you have a tax credit you even get money back if you do it. Isn’t that? That’s shocking. Where nationally the Chevy Volt, was it electronic, electric car, right, is only selling like a hundred a hundred and fifty, a hundred and fifty cars through the, a, um, a, a month now across the country [laugh] and they go out and buy them, so. That was part of the shenanigans and anyway we’re getting rid of that ’cause that’s not right. Everybody needs to pay their fair share and not participate in this loophole type of thing, so.
Uh, there’s showing the difference. And, um, it’s deficits, it cuts, uh, four point four trillion in deficit spending compared to the President’s budget over the next ten years and by twenty forty is expected to produce surpluses according to the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] . Um, and this is more specifics, uh, on the portion that dealt with the Medicare and the Social Security. Yes.
Question: Can you clarify the statement that you just made?
Representative Hartzler: Yes.
Question: Go back…
Representative Hartzler: Yes.
Question: …you say surpluses produced, that means take in more money than they’re spending. But, that’s not talking about the debt. ‘Cause that will still be there, is that correct?
Representative Hartzler: All right. This is, [….] has been reading this to…
Representative Hartzler: You know [….]?
Staffer: Just real quickly, um, yeah that’s right, it would be running the surpluses which would then be directed towards paying off the debt. [crosstalk][inaudible]
Question: But that involves [inaudible] where we would be paying interest all the time.
Staffer: I’m sorry.
Question: The four, the fourteen trillion would still be sitting there where we’re paying interest.
Staffer: Until we get to a, a point where [crosstalk] we’re running a surplus.
Question: [inaudible] Twenty forty, and that’s when we start paying on the debt.
Staffer: Yes, and then under the Path to Prosperity plan the debt actually would be entirely paid off about ten years after that with [crosstalk]…
Question: Ten years [inaudible]. [voice: “That’s twenty-nine years.”]
Representative Hartzler: Yeah. And, and the thing is it could be done faster if people want to and this is what we need to discuss if you’re willing to cut Medicare people, uh, at, right now. You know, uh, who are, these changes are for fif, age fifty-four on down. But, most people feel like that that’s probably not gonna be, uh, acceptable by the American public, you know. And, and another way would be to raise taxes. And so we are not, haven’t been supportive of raising taxes. So, if you, you could do it faster if you, maybe [laugh], if you raise taxes. So, yeah, it’s just a interesting, uh, mix.
Okay, uh, finish up here, we’re almost done. Um, just some more details. What we propose, of course, just to reemphasize, it grandfathers in the grandparents this time, they don’t see any change to their Medicare. But, what it does is gives, it secures it for future beneficiaries, makes sure it’s still there, it doesn’t go bankrupt. By giving them access to the same health options members of Congress enjoy. So, it would be a way of having, uh, different, a new type of Medicare for people fifty-four and old, younger, when they get to be sixty-five. And basically, they can participate in the federal employee health care insurance program. Just like memb
ers of Congress and people who work in federal office do right now. Uh, you know, I didn’t know how that worked, either. And I got there, some people said, [exaggerated] members of Congress have special plan, whatever. And I, I checked last year and they said, no, that’s not true. And I just want to let you know it’s not true, it’s just we got a book, uh, you’re new employee like I was in January, and it says Federal, uh, Employee Health Care Options. And it just showed, you looked up your state and the different, uh, health plans there just like some of you, a lot of you have worked on jobs. You would, you pick which plan you want, it was some Cadillac plans, if you personally wanted to pay more premium, you know, you could get a nicer one, or if you wanted to bare bones one, you know, it wouldn’t, you wouldn’t have to pay as much. And so, it’s just similar. So you picked one and, and then, uh, your employer would help pay part of it and you’d pay a little bit and, anyway, [voice: “Rep, Rep.”] it’s the same. So, we would, we would talk about that, uh, [voice: “Representative Hartzler.”] anyways. No, we’ll talk [crosstalk] about that in just a minute. [voice: “No, no, just a question about what you just said.”] Anyway. [voice: ” Does that affect age?”] [crosstalk] That’s… [voice: “Does age have a difference in how much you had to pay? When you said.”] No, uh, uh, I don’t think so. No, it, no, I don’t think so. I can go back and look at that. I don’t remember that. So, anyway, uh, they would just allow them to be rolled into the federal health care, uh, program.
Uh, as far as Medicaid, the, the health insurance program for lower income, that will be just sent back to the states in a block grant. And if you talk to your state reps, state senators they like that. They get so frustrated with all these federal programs that get sent to the states and then say, here’s how you can do it, you gotta do it this way and you can’t do it that way. And they’ve all told me, the ones I’ve talked to, said, leave us, uh, quit dictating from Washington how we should do things. We know people in Missouri better than the bureaucrats in Washington does. Let us come up with our own program, just give us the money and we’ll come up with our own program. So, that’s what that does with Medicaid and it cuts costs by doing that. Because Missouri is different than California or Massachusetts, so let Missouri people come with their own version of Medicaid.
And then Social Security, it doesn’t, this Path to Prosperity doesn’t give any specific, uh, suggestions on what to do to Social Security. So, I wanted to clarify that because if you hear that [exaggerated] the [inaudible] people in the House of Representatives are trying to privatize Social Security or dismantle Social Security or any of these crazy claims, if you watch C-SPAN, you know. Tens of Americans watch it, so, anyway, that’s a [inaudible] joke. But, anyway. Anyway, if you watch C-SPAN [laugh] and you see one of these people in the House floor give these speeches you don’t know, uh. But, what it does is it forces the Social Security trustees to come up with a plan. It forces them to do a study to see if Social Security’s gonna be solvent or not in the future. And if it’s not they have to, in so many days, come up with a plan to keep it solvent. And so that’s all that we’re doing in our plan. It’s not coming forth with a specific proposal, but forcing them to come up with a specific plan. So, um, I think it’s, uh, you know, it would accomplish the same thing.
Okay, well, what can we do today? Help share the facts with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers because there is so much, uh, hyp, hyperbole, is that the word, anyway, out there. And do we have copies of this? Oh, good. I, I, you guys, I, now that I think about it, yeah, I saw several of you had this. We came up with this, it’s kind of a summation of some of these slides and we would appreciate it if you would even consider taking five of these when you leave or ten and sharing ’em with your friends and family and things because I think a lot of people aren’t aware of really how serious the situation is. And when we’re talking about, excuse me, reining in spending or in D.C. people need to understand what’s going on. So help share the facts. Uh, let them know just ignoring the problem is only gonna make it worse. And, if you like the Path to Prosperity plan that we passed in the House a couple of weeks ago that addresses cutting programs, cutting spending, uh, reining in and, and reforming these, uh, entitled programs then call the Senate and the White House and say, hey, I like the House plan, please support it. Uh, so, for it to pass we need them, it needs to go through the Senate and the White House.
And, uh, give your, give your ideas. Um, this shows that, um, there’s, uh, three little quick survey things, so, that the majority of voters incorrectly believe the federal government spends more on defense foreign aid, than it does on Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. You know, people just don’t know that pie chart where the money goes and, uh. Also, a similar majority, sixty percent incorrectly believes problems with the federal budget can be fixed just by eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse. So, it’s bigger than that, you, you, we all know that. Less than half believe Medicare and Social Security costs are a major source of problems for the federal budget. And this is, this is an issue. Because as we’re trying to reform and save these programs if people don’t understand that than you can see the, the concern there, so.
Anyway, help spread the word, I wanted to close on that there’s hope, though. Like, like [laugh] you said earlier, we don’t want you to leave depressed. It’s a beautiful day, we don’t want you to go home like this. Please leave here encouraged to know there is a plan out there and there’s a bunch of people that have been elected, that you sent me there, that are willing and want to try to address this, uh, issue for our future generations so that, one, we can get jobs back. They can come back. We can make some changes and encourage people to hire again. We can do that. And, two, to save our Social Security, uh, national security, and Social Security while we’re at it. But, we can do things to save our national security and we can do things to preserve our future for our children and our grandchildren so they will have just as much opportunity and freedom and standard of living as we have.
But, I’d add a but, I think we have a window of opportunity here though that we need to act now. And we can’t keep waiting, so that’s why, at least, we’re moving forward. But, I want to hear your ideas, your suggestions, your thoughts, and as we do this, we’ll have some discussion, just a few thoughts, uh, we all respect everybody’s opinions and ideas and, uh, be respectful, of course. And, uh, you know, let’s just take turns. And do we have one, uh, we have two microphones. Oh, is that one? [voice: “This one is corded.”] It’s got a cord in it. [voice: “I can bring it up.”] Maybe. [voice: “I can bring it up to you.”] I’m gonna use that one and this one can go around. Although, the room is small enough we probably could hear. Okay. Very good….
So, if the changes to Medicare for people fifty-four and younger are so fabulous, why aren’t the republicans promoting the same for folks fifty-five and over? Yeah, I thought so.
Transcripts of the remainder of the town hall (question and answer portion) which followed will follow in subsequent posts.