E-News 1/27/12

The Week Just Past: The State of the Union

For the Record:   Rhetoric vs. Reality on Taxes

1,000 Days Later, Still No Budget Resolution From Senate Democrats

“Double-talk on Democracy in Egypt.” 

New Sanctions on Iran

The Week Just Past: The State of the Union

“By now, you’ve no doubt heard all manner of reactions to the President’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.  And the news media has largely ‘moved on’ to other stories.   But I think it’s important that my constituents know my views on the President vision for the nation.

“The President focused on proposals he says will accelerate our economic recovery and help Americans get back to work. There no doubt that the task of revitalizing the American economy has been difficult. After three years in office, the President unfortunately has little to show for his efforts.

“I was hopeful, then, that he would offer a new strategy with fresh ideas and embrace common-sense proposals he previously opposed, rather than ‘rebrand’ the failed policies of the past.

“I wanted to hear the President outline a bi-partisan strategy in which

Americans who work hard and play by the rules can get ahead - an approach that ensures a stable and secure future for hardworking taxpayers. 

“Unfortunately, we heard more of the same: more spending, more taxes, more government control over our economy and health care.  What’s missing is a bold approach to creating jobs and opportunities in the real economy, not the government!”

“I invite you to visit my website,, and learn the details of my action planthat recognizes that we don’t need more government or more government control of our lives. We need accountability and common sense, solutions to restore economic security and create jobs in a strong, healthy economy.

“I agree with the President on one thing: what’s at stake is our country, our way of life and restoring confidence in the American Dream.”

                                              Rodney Frelinghuysen

Recommended Reading: Thursday editorial in the Wall Street Journal, The Buffett Ruse. Obama's ploy means the highest capital gains tax rate since 1978.

For the Record:   Rhetoric vs. Reality on Taxes

Despite ongoing claims that high-income Americans pay taxes at a lower rate than middle- or low-income Americans, recent statements in the press and actual data from nonpartisan sources show that that is not the case:

·        The Joint Committee on Taxation reports that 51% Pay No Income Taxes: (Joint Committee on Taxation, April 29, 2011)

·        Investment Taxes Are Often Taxed Twice: “There is a case to be made that capital gains and dividend taxes are a second tax on earnings that have been subject to the 35 percent corporate income tax; the [non-partisan Congressional Research Service] report acknowledges that this argument has merit.” (Washington Pos tEditorial Board, January 16, 2012)

·        Most Americans Pay Less Than 15%: The effective tax rate is always going to be lower than one's top income tax rate.  And the top rate for roughly four-fifths of Americans is 15% or less, said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center.  In other words, 80% of Americans have an effective rate below 15%.” (CNN Money, January 19, 2012)

1,000 Days Later, Still No Budget Resolution From Senate Democrats

Here’s why this is important: could you imagine not doing a family budget for 1,000 days, or businesses going that long without one?

As irresponsible as that might seem, this week marked 1,000 days since the U.S. Senate has passed a budget blueprint.

Recommended Reading: David Pollock writing in the Friday Washington Post, “Double-talk on Democracy in Egypt.” 

Rodney stopped in Cairo on his way back home from Afghanistan with other members of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in November.  “Having been briefed at the highest levels, I still of the opinion that our government was unprepared for the "Arab Spring" all across North Africa.  Egypt, with 80 million people, being one of the centerpieces of our foreign policy for over forty years, is now in the hands of many groups that dislike us."

Read the article here.

New Sanctions on Iran

The European Union this week approved a ban on oil imports from Iran, its strongest measures yet to press Tehran into concessions on its nuclear weapons program.

The ban is set to take effect on July 1.  The EU also agreed to freeze the assets of the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the conduit for the country's oil revenue, and ban trade with its petrochemical industry.

The Obama administration applauded the EU decision on Monday and backed it up by blacklisting Iran's third-largest bank, Bank Tejarat, one of Tehran's few remaining conduits for trade with the West.

The move followed President Obama's approval last month of U.S. sanctions, included in a major defense bill, also on Iran's central bank that are due to take effect later this year.

“The challenge now is to ensure that the Obama Administration actually uses the tools Congress put in his hands late last year,” Rodney said.  “Since the passage of those sanctions, we have seen a rash of increasingly hostile actions coming from Iran. They’ve conducted naval exercises in the Sea of Oman, announced that they will block the vital Strait of Hormuz, threaten U.S. Navy ships in the region and sentenced an American civilian to death.  And still, the President equivocates on using every economic and diplomatic sanction that has been given to him.”

The President recently issued a “signing statement” that he will treat the sanctions provisions as “non-binding” which means that he thinks he can ignore legislation passed by both House of Congress.

"We have no quarrel with the Iranian people," he said. "But their regime’s leadership fails to understand that we cannot accept Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon."

Recommended Reading:  Jenna Johnson writes in the Washington Post that New Jersey leads the nation in high school students “fleeing” to attend college in other states:  Read “Brain drain: States that lose the most college students: here.