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Potential Goodlatte Challenger Would Have Voted “No” On Budget Act

Tall task: Andy Schmookler wants to unseat Bob Goodlatte next year.

by Gene Marrano

Would-be candidate Andy Schmookler is looking to unseat Congressman Bob Goodlatte –  a tall task if there ever was one. He wants to earn the Democrat nomination to run against Goodlatte in the 2012 election. Harvard and Cal-Berkley educated – and once selected by Esquire magazine as one of the people who are changing the nation – Schmookler isn’t all that crazy about the debt ceiling compromise, which saw many votes from both sides of the aisle cast against it before being passed and signed into law. Sixty-six Republican members opposed the legislation along with 95 Democrats.

“Bad behavior is being rewarded,” said Schmookler, noting that the debt ceiling had been raised dozens of times in the past without having other issues attached to it. “You don’t play politics with it,” added Schmookler, a long time fixture on the radio in the Shenandoah Valley as a political commentator, who has also been heard on NPR also.

Schmookler called the debt ceiling/deficit reduction debate “a violation of our political norms,” and sees a pattern of bad political conduct that has been “scandalous” over the past decade; behavior he says is rewarded because no one confronts them on it. He also says President Obama did not insist forcefully enough that the debt ceiling issue be handled on its own, without being attached to a deficit reduction bill. Democrats in particular said Schmookler have done a poor job of confronting bad behavior from the opposing party, and have not used the bully pulpit to their advantage.

In any case it’s the “crash of the economy” and the worst economic times since the Great Depression that have set the country back, according to Schmookler, and the new debt ceiling bill will not address that. He claims that the majority of citizens polled and most politicians – even Republicans – were okay with tax increases for the wealthiest Americans, or just letting the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthiest expire. This in spite of data that shows the top 25% of wage earners now pay over 86% of income taxes and that the bottom 50% pay only 2.7%.

Schmookler is also critical that the Tea Party has been able to “extort really destructive demands” from the rest of the Republican Party, while “holding a gun to the American economy.” Meanwhile the Democrats have demurred to those demands, something he is very critical of. He also said the party should have run stronger campaigns in 2010, since he believes most of the nation was okay with tax increases on the wealthiest at the time. He claims that most Dems ran away from that issue, and from their support of the health care legislation many had voted for.

That didn’t help in many cases anyway and numerous Democrat incumbents wound up being voted out of office. “The Democrats were out messaged on every issue… People went to the polls believing falsehoods,” said Schmookler, who saw a repeat of that pattern in the debt ceiling vote.

Andy Schmookler may have a very uphill battle in his quest to unseat Bob Goodlatte next year, but said he will run – if nominated – as “the candidate who speaks the truth.” His criticism of the debt ceiling compromise may only be the beginning.

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  1. ” the top 25% of wage earners now pay over 86% of income taxes and that the bottom 50% pay only 2.7%.” Reduced income inequality would ease your tax-burden complaint.

    Telling the truth is a low bar in a lie-saturated political environment. Mr. Schmookler refuses to address the agendas now materializing for the informed. Is he really telling the truth?

  2. Interesting that in order to get to who pays 86% of the personal income taxes in this country, they had to go all the way to the top 25%. There are a couple of ways to look at this.

    1) I guess that means the other 75% of personal income tax payers ain’t sharing in the “prosperity.”
    2) How much does that percentage drop when you only look at the top 2%? I’ll wager a guess that it’s a whole lot less than 86%.

    This part of the article is very misleading. The top 2% of personal income tax filers have seen their marginal rates plummet by more than 80% over the last 30 to 35 years. Meaning, the personal income tax burden has shifted more to the middle class over that time.

    Also, the top 2% have large amounts of money invested in stocks and other financial products that are taxed at much lower rates. The top capital gains tax rate for someone that holds on to their investment for one year or more is between 15 to 20%. That’s far below the top marginal rate for personal income taxes, which is around 36%.

    So basically we have two income tax rates in this nation: one of the wealth and one for everyone else. So, tell me, how is this fair? I’m being penalized for not being uber wealth. The rich need to pay their fair share. Raise all the tax rates for the top 2%!

  3. Actually, these numbers match the IRS reported data on page 65 of this document: ‘Individual Income Tax Rates and Shares, 2008’ – However, it is not the top 25% of wage earners paying 86%, it is the top 25% of tax payers! So, those top wage earners whose “wages” are untaxed or exempt, etc… could very well be in the bottom 10% of tax payers. The top 1% of tax payers contributed 38% and the top 5%, 59%. Your 2%’ers are probably near 50%.

    So #1 … is correct. And #2 … this data doesn’t reveal what you want. But over at least the past 20 years, the top rates have declined and yet the top payers have paid a greater percentage. So

    1) The top payers are making relatively more than ever (which was the plan)
    2) Income inequality is socially destructive

    Ok! The latter is a non-sequitur. Still, a rock-solid truth.

    Mr. Marrano probably has that 25%’er factoid posted over top his picture of Limbaugh, for handy reference. This counter to Mr. Schmookler’s well supported polling claim, is a non-sequitur FALSEHOOD.

    Keep the wingnut editorial out of your articles please, Mr. Marrano.

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