08.31.15

Carter’s Comments on Social Security, Gas Tax Are Misguided

Posted in Around The Nation, Around The State, Commentary, District 31 at 9:58 am by wcnews

John-Carter

In a recent article Rep. John Carter (R-Round Rock) had this to say at a business event about Social Security and gas taxes.

Carter spoke at the Texas Association of Business Central Star Chapter luncheon Wednesday at the Wildflower Country Club. Carter answered questions posed by Bill Hammond, chief executive officer of the Texas Association of Business and members of the audience.

The first question was on the sustainability of Social Security and if it would be around when Carter’s grandchildren reached retirement age.

It won’t be without some changes, Carter said. “You have to have the courage to fix it.”

The majority of people in government don’t want to touch the subject. The most recent number indicates that Social Security disability payments will exceed retirement payments next year, Carter said.

One way to help the program remain solvent is to raise age eligibility, he said.

When the Social Security Bill was enacted in 1935, most people didn’t live to 65. Carter’s grandfathers died at age 60 and 54.

“Most of the people in this room will live into their 80s,” Carter said.

Short-term highway funding has been put in place and Hammond asked if a long-term highway bills is in the offing.

“We’re going to try,” Carter said.

One item that should be considered is the fuel tax, which is used to fund highway projects, he said. The mileage vehicles get continues to increase, resulting in less money for the highway trust fund.

Carter wants to stop taxing fuel and instead tax mileage.

“It’s not popular, but it could work,” he said.

First his comments on Social Security.  There’s a quick easy and painless (except for the wealthy) way to fix Social Security.  Currently Social Security has an earnings cap of $118,500/yr.  If that cap was raised significantly or taken off altogether Social Security would have no sustainability problems as far as the eye can see.

Keep in mind that raising the eligibility age is the same as a benefit cut.  Social Security is not going broke, if left unchanged, it will not be able to pay out 100% of benefits as it does today.  It will still be able to pay out a significant benefit though, and that’s if nothing is done.

Of course Carter talks about the “courage” it takes to fix the problem.  But the only one’s that are supposed to have courage are the future recipients.  No courage required from those who exceed the cap it would seem.

As far as the gas tax goes, it simply needs to be raised at the state and federal level.  It’s been over 20 years since the gas tax has been raised at the federal level and in Texas.  How would your family budget be if you hadn’t had a raise 20 years?  There’s no reason to try a new tax that “could” work, when we have a tax in place that can be raised that we know works.

Carter’s talk of courage falls flat when he veers off into this sort of misguided rhetoric.

Bernie has much better ideas for the middle class in America.

TPA Blog Round Up (August 31, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary, Uncategorized at 7:50 am by wcnews

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The Texas Progressive Alliance remembers the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and honors the spirit of its survivors as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff recaps Ken Paxton’s first day in court. It won’t be his last.

Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos scolds the Republican Party for its cruel war on immigrants. Earth to the GOP. Stop picking on immigrants and do your jobs.

Socratic Gadfly turns a skeptical eye to Constitutional-era pop historian Joseph Ellis, and rakes him over the coals for writing something barely historical, but that adds to Constitutional myth-making.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme watches the Republican war on Latinos continue with throwing attorneys out of detention centers and denying birth certificates to citizens.

Houston city council races dominated PDiddie’s Brains and Eggs this past week, with At Large 1, At Large 2, and At Large 3 all profiled and prognosticated.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s troubles are not going away anytime soon, Paxton’s Problems Pile Up.

Neil at All People Have Value expressed distress over how we drive in Harris County, Texas and asked that we be careful on our roads. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Chip Brown calls out Baylor President Ken Starr in the Art Briles/Sam Ukwuachu case.

Juanita gives the idiots protesting at the HISD Arabic language immersion school a piece of her mind.

Stephanie Stradley explains why the Deflategate case matters.

Ryan Holeywell and Stephen Klineberg debunk myths about Hurricane Katrina evacuees in Houston, while Ethan Raker shows how interacting with Katrina evacuees affected opinions about them.

The Makeshift Academic builds a model to estimate how many people would benefit from Medicaid expansion.

Paradise in Hell observes a rite of passage for George P. Bush.

Erica Ciszek explains her anxiety about bathrooms.

08.24.15

TPA Blog Round Up (August 24, 2015)

Posted in Around The Nation, Commentary at 7:06 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance liked it better when politicians wanted to kiss babies and not deport them as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff took a closer look at who votes in City of Houston elections.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos notes that when the GOP opened its house to dog whistles it ushered in the wolves. The GOP Deserves Its Monster.

Fresh off his vacation, and as it approaches its centennial, SocraticGadfly casts a critical eye at what he describes as the decline and fall of the National Park Service.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that Donald Trump is exposing the world to the racism consuming the GOP along with its authoritarian, 2nd amendment mindset.

It was all Houston mayoral elections all last week for PDiddie at Brains and Eggs, who attended a forum in his back yard, smelled some oligarchy in the HGLBT Caucus endorsement, covered the two adverse developments for the HERO, and witnessed Chris Bell’s smackdown of Adrian Garcia.

Sometimes it takes great distress to reveal greatness of leadership. As the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches on August 29th, Texas Leftist reflects on the extraordinary role Houston played in the storm’s aftermath and recovery.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. The Texas GOP’s latest cruel move, When They Show You Who They Are Believe Them.

With Bernie Sanders running strongly for 2016, Neil at All People Have Value wrote that polling data reports more and more Americans are open to Socialism. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Paradise in Hell previews the fried delicacies that await us at this year’s State Fair of Texas.

The Lunch Tray confirms that Americans do indeed want kids to eat healthier food at school.

Texas Watch tells you what’s really driving the cost of your car insurance bill.

Alexa Garcia-Ditta takes you on a tour of San Antonio’s new HB2-compliant abortion facility.

Tamara Tabo explains why you haven’t heard more about all those bikers who were arrested in Waco in May.

The Makeshift Academic reports that Arkansas has fully embraced Medicaid expansion.

Pamela Coloff awards the title of Worst Lawyer in Texas to disgraced and now disbarred former prosecutor Charles Sebesta.

08.17.15

TPA Blog Round Up (August 17, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 7:46 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes former President Carter all the best for a full and fast recovery as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff reports on another Voting Rights Act lawsuit, this one filed on behalf of low English proficiency voters who have been denied the ability to bring a translator of their choice to the ballot box with them.

For a time, many Houstonians considered it a point of pride that the city repealed the use of Red Light Cameras in 2010. But as Texas Leftist has recently discovered, a Houston without camera accountability has become much more dangerous for all transit users…Even deadly.

Not a trace of irony has been found to be present in the recent pronouncements of a certain Democratic so-called frontrunner for the 2016 presidential nomination. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs — with an assist from the biting cartoons of Ted Rall — illustrates some of the things making Clintonites so nervous of late, none of which have anything to do with e-mail servers or sagging poll numbers.

Socratic Gadfly runs Kinky Friedman’s old Five Mexican Generals border control plan through a Donald Trump filter, just for a bit of fun.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is sorry to say Nueces County thinks a husband can kill his wife’s lover with impunity. Stand your ground just the way a Republican likes it. Your wife is your property.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. There is so much Texas could do for those in need, but our GOP state leaders choose to do nothing. As a consequence Only Texas Remains above the 20% uninsured rate.

Neil at All People Have Value asserted that the nine bikers shot dead in Waco this past May may have been wrongly killed. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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The Makeshift Academic reviews the landscape in Texas on the Affordable Care Act.

Nancy Sims considers the value of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus’ Mayoral endorsement.

The Houston Justice Coalition calls for an investigation into the actions of three sheriff’s deputies who forcibly conducted an illegal body cavity search publicly on a woman in Harris County.

Scott Braddock knows the real reason why Ken Paxton is still in office.

The Texas Living Waters Project reminds us that the best time to plan for a drought is when you’re not in one.

08.12.15

Only Texas Remains

Posted in Around The State, Commentary, Health Care at 9:50 am by wcnews

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As the next Texas budget goes into effect let’s keep in mind who is going to pay for the tax cuts that our GOP state leaders just had to have.  Tax cuts which will do nothing to help the majority of Texans.  Via the Texas Tribune, Families of Disabled Children Sue Texas Over Medicaid Cuts.

Relatives of children with disabilities are joining therapy providers in a lawsuit against the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, weeks before the agency is scheduled to slash payments to a therapy program for the poor.

The families and therapy providers have asked a Travis County judge to stop the state from implementing the budget cuts on Sept. 1, alleging they will cause “immediate and irreparable injury” to thousands of kids in the state’s Medicaid program.

“Those rates will force Texas Medicaid providers to cease providing services critical to the health and development of Texas’ most vulnerable residents, its children,” the suit reads.

[…]

The state budget crafted by lawmakers directs Medicaid, the state’s insurance program for the poor and disabled, to cut roughly $260 million in payments to the therapy program over the next two years and to find another $130 million in savings from “medical policy reductions.” Combined, that’s a 28 percent reduction to the therapy program’s current two-year budget of about $1.4 billion.

Today we learn about more bad health care news for the people of Texas, Study: Only Texas still has more than 20 percent uninsured.

When the Affordable Care Act took effect in October 2013, there were 14 states in which more than 1 in 5 adults lacked health insurance; today only Texas remains, according to data from a Gallup survey.

At the other end of the scale, only five states’ populations were so well-insured in 2013 that fewer than 1 in 10 adult residents lacked insurance. Today, more than half the states have achieved that goal.

The state-by-state insurance levels, which detail how rapidly the insurance picture has changed since President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform started, come from a large-scale, twice-a-year survey by Gallup. The survey included more than 178,000 adults in 2013, before the law took effect, and 88,667 in the first half of 2015, allowing unusually precise estimates of the effect the law has had at the state level.

Texas, whose officials have strongly resisted cooperation with the new law, had the highest level of residents lacking insurance before the law took effect and has made among the least progress of any state. Its uninsured rate fell from 27 percent in 2013 to just under 21 percent in the first half of this year, making it the only state that has more than one-fifth of its residents uninsured.

By contrast, in Arkansas and Kentucky, both of which started above 20 percent uninsured, just 9 percent of adult residents lack insurance.  [Emphasis added]

When Arkansas and Kentucky are making you look bad that’s a very bad sign.  The key to remember is that this is what the very small percentage of Texans that reliably show up to vote want, Abbott at RedState: Texas “Ground Zero” for Tea Party.

The speech was among Abbott’s highest-profile appearances outside of Texas since the end of the most recent legislative session. He wasted no time bragging about what lawmakers accomplished under his watch, including increased spending on border security, millions of dollars in tax cuts and open carry of handguns.

The governor received two standing ovations accompanied by thunderous applause during his speech at the RedState Gathering, a conservative grassroots political conference being held over two days in Atlanta.

It’s hard to understand how a man who has received so much assistance since his tragic accident is so willing to cut other people off from assistance. But he, along with the Texas GOP, have one goal, Texas governor signs tax cuts worth $3.8 billion.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law tax cuts for homeowners and businesses Monday worth $3.8 billion over the next two years.

The Republican governor also approved a bill repealing $250 million worth of professional fees in 2016-17.

The $4 billion package for the next two-year budget will help Texas “be a more prosperous state,” Abbott said after signing the package at the sleek campus of tech company Advanced Micro Devices on the outskirts of Austin.

Abbott reiterated his plans to travel the country and globe to urge corporate executives to move to Texas. One of the targets, he acknowledged, is the corporate headquarters of General Electric in Connecticut.

“This happens at a time when other states around the country are raising taxes and increasing the cost of doing business — whereas here … we are focused on lowering taxes and making the state more affordable for everybody,” he said.

Business tax cuts for all, health care for the few.  It would be nice if we had a government in this state that cared half as much for the poor and disabled as they did for big business and corporations.

This can change if the people of Texas, who don’t show up and vote, want it to change.  Other then that we’ll continue to get more of the same.  Only Texas remains….

08.10.15

TPA Blog Round Up (August 10, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 10:50 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance thinks that big GOP candidate debate needed more balloon animals and seltzer bottles as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff gives his campaign strategy for defending Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance.

Harold Cook presents the GOP Presidential Debate Drinking Game, which will come in handy for the next debate, if you ever recover from the first one.

Socratic Gadfly looks at the hoo-hah over Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments and his eventual $70,000 salary for employees, and has a mix of cautious applause and skeptical concerns.

A blogger started a petition to have the NFL relocate the 2017 Super Bowl away from Houston if the HERO is defeated by the voters in November. And then a Houston television station picked up the story. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs is in wonderment at how things can snowball — or go viral, as the kids say these days — so quickly.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants everyone to know that Texas Republicans are denying birth certificates for Hispanic babies born in Texas.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. More GOP mug shots this week, That Ken Paxton Is Attorney General Proves Our Political System Has Failed and Wilco DA Jana Duty.

Neil at All People Have Value spent the past week in Chicago and the Chicago area. Neil’s blog has interesting pictures of that great American city.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Texas Clean Air Matters urges state leaders to meet the Clean Power Plan with innovation and not resistance.

The TSTA Blog reminds us that long before he was indicted on felony charges, Ken Paxton was bad news for public education.

Media Matters captures video of Houston LGBT activist Noel Freeman shooting down lies about the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

Lone Star Ma celebrates World Breastfeeding Week 2015.

Kevin Walker says Dallas needs a 21st century blueprint for building a better city.

Rafael McDonnell reports on a training program he attended for LGBTQ people running for political office.

The Houston Justice Coalition lays out its goals for addressing police brutality at the root.

Honorary Texan The Slactivist advises Texas politicians on the best way to pose for their future mug shot.

08.05.15

TPA Blog Round Up (August 5, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 4:25 pm by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance prefers Attorneys General who aren’t themselves lawbreakers as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff is dismayed but not surprised by the business community’s apathy about the coming effects of climate change in Texas.

Ken Paxton’s indictments broke news on Saturday afternoon, about 24 hours later than PDiddie at Brains and Eggs predicted. The one remaining question is: how long does our lazy-eyed attorney general twist in the wind before Gov. Greg Abbott cuts down his stinking carcass?

Nonsequiteuse is concerned we may never get back through the looking glass. She realizes that facts are a quaint vestige of simpler times, but cannot resist offering not one but five of them, plus a conclusion, an opinion, and even a bonus prediction about Ken Paxton’s pending felony indictment, words that give her great delight to type over and over and over again.

Socratic Gadfly talks about the initial rollout of Congress’ “new” energy plan and how so little of it is new.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme say you can thank Ronald Reagan and his greedy friends for all of the mentally ill people out on the streets. An Edinburg woman is a widow thanks to Ronnie and the new, militarized police.

Neil at All People Have Value made note of former President Carter referring to the U.S. as an oligarchy. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Scott Braddock analyzes the Donald Trump-inspired proxy war between Rick Perry and Ted Cruz.

Lone Star Ma prays for peace and justice.

David Ortez explains what the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance is and why it matters.

Street Smart shows how sacrificing the local street grid for highways can be devastating to the surrounding area.

The Texas Election Law Blog has some hope for restoring regulatory balance to the voting rights process.

07.27.15

TPA Blog Round Up (July 27, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 9:46 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance is always on the side of equality as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff decries the Supreme Court ruling that will force a vote on whether or not to repeal Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance.

Harold Cook explains why the Republicans won’t nominate Donald Trump, but won’t be able to escape him, either.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos never ceases to be amazed by Rick Perry’s serial hypocrisy. Have YOU No Decency, Rick Perry?

Socratic Gadfly talks about the Dunning-Kruger effect and why many people think their local race relations are much better than national race relations.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that many people in South Texas do not have clean drinking water. This should be a scandal, but, as Donald Trump has amply explained, Texas Latinos are nothing but piñatas to republicans.

Ben Hall and Steven Hotze, Ben Hall and Dave Wilson… a lot of prayers got answered for the Houston bigots and homophobes when the Texas Supreme Court ordered the City of Houston to either repeal its equal rights ordinance or put it on the November ballot. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs knows that we don’t need another HERO referendum, but we’re going to get one anyway.

With football season fast approaching in Texas, Neil at All People Have Value posted about the NFL’s refusal to allow Junior Seau’s family to speak at his Hall of Fame induction as Seau’s family sues the NFL over his terrible head injuries. Football is unsafe to play at any level. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

The Texas Election Law Blog tries to clear up some confusion about resignations and vacancies.

Ex-pat Texan Elise Hu-Stiles documents what it’s like to live and have children in Seoul, South Korea.

The TSTA Blog wishes our state leadership cared as much about schools as teachers, parents, and charities do.

Scott Vogel, editor of Houstonia, has some choice words for a couple of readers who objected to an ad showing a multi-racial family.

Tamara Tabo examines the problems of jail surveillance cameras.

Paradise in Hell knows that Texas is great in spite of Rick Perry, not because of him.

Eric Berger geeks out over the pictures from Pluto.

Grits for Breakfast tries to distill some lessons from the Sandra Bland tragedy.

07.20.15

TPA Blog Round Up (July 20, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 8:14 am by wcnews

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The Texas Progressive Alliance asks #WhatHappenedToSandraBland as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff looks at the lawsuit filed against the state for refusing to issue birth certificates to children of undocumented immigrant mothers.

Lightseeker at Texas Kaos makes a compelling argument as to why the Democratic Party needs to sharpen its message in a way in which it resonates with and motivates the majority of D voters. Why we need a better Democratic story and how Sanders’ candidacy underscores this point.

Socratic Gadfly says that if Obama is going to visit a federal prison and talk about commuting sentences, he ought to throw the long bomb by going to Florida and freeing Leonard Peltier.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants you to know Greg Abbott screwed up child support payment upgrade. Republicans don’t really care about kids. You can tell by action after action.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. The rotting fruit of one-party rule in Williamson County, County GOP Elected Officials Using Courts For Petty Political Battles.

The disruption at Netroots Nation’s presidential town hall forum by activists associated with Black Lives Matter was a clash between the politics of the old-school Social Democrats and that of the New Democrats’ identity politics. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs thinks there will a coming-together of the two movements or a cleaving of the Democratic Party as the dynamic unfolds.

Neil at All People Have Value discussed Obama’s role in taking away our freedoms through the New Horizons mission to Pluto. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

The Texas Election Law Blog celebrates its second anniversary, and reviews the case that led to its beginning.

Ken Janda asks how can Texas continue to ask for billions of dollars in uncompensated care payments to hospitals for uninsured patients coming to emergency rooms, when more than one million of those people could be put into Medicaid Managed Care?

The TSTA Blog warns of “dangerous anti-educator” Scott Walker.

Texas Vox cheers the forthcoming end of coal.

Grits for Breakfast is pleased to see that funding has been allotted for research into the underlying scientific bases for the forensic tools and methods currently used in the criminal justice system.

David Ortez gives a graphical representation of the Houston Mayoral fundraising race.

Rachel Pearson explains why that video hit job on Planned Parenthood is “pure applesauce”.

Texas Clean Air Matters documents the trend towards clean, affordable power.

07.13.15

TPA Blog Round Up (July 13, 2015)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 7:35 am by wcnews

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The Texas Progressive Alliance does not put peas in guacamole as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff notes the first appearance of lawyers bound and determined to help a few recalcitrant County Clerks deny marriage licenses to same sex couples in Texas.

Horwitz at Texpatriate says farewell as he enters the next chapter of his life.

Lightseeker at Texas Kaos exposes Rick Perry and Greg Abbott’s myth that tort reform ensures more public access to affordable healthcare. In GOP Texas tort reform means insurance companies and corporations are the winners while real people pay the price. Abbott and Perry: Tort Reform as a Trojan Horse.

SocraticGadfly discusses the decline and fall of Walmart, especially in small towns and rural areas.

Should Sen. Bernie Sanders ultimately be eliminated from contention for the Democratic nomination, what’s the best choice for progressives moving forward, PDiddie at Brains and Eggs asks.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants everyone to know that Jeb Bush’s son is following the GOP anti-environment playbook in ploy to kill songbirds. The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree.

Neil at All People Have Value posted a number of interesting pictures from his trip this past week to beautiful Cincinnati, Ohio. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

2012 saw the Republican Party lose the Presidency once again, mostly because of their complete refusal to learn from their mistakes, and evolve. As we inch ever closer to 2016, Texas Leftist is left to wonder if the GOP learned anything from the last cycle. Given the dominance of Media Harlot Donald Trump, the answer is a likely “no”.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Mike Tolson hears the echoes of Loving v. Virginia in the arguments made by same-sex marriage opponents.

Paradise in Hell counts down the last days of freedom in Bastrop until the inevitable Obama/UN takeover of Texas.

Charlotte Coyle confesses her reluctant patriotism.

Texas Clean Air Matters envisions Houston as a leader in zero-emission cargo transport technologies.

Better Texas Blog celebrates beautiful, messy democracy.

Grits for Breakfast analyzes Rick Perry’s speech on race relations and criminal justice reform in the context of his time as Governor.

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