Thursday Open Thread [2.6.14]

Filed in Open Thread by on February 6, 2014

PPP does some interesting polling in Alaska, finding that Hillary Clinton leads Sarah Palin in a matchup for President (44-43), with Palin still having pretty awful approval ratings (39% approve). Alaskans overwhelmingly approve of legalizing pot for medical purposes (74-22) and by a smaller, but still majority margin for recreational use (55-39). I’m especially interested in the polling for a referendum measure that looks to repeal Senate Bill 21, the Oil and Gas Production Tax which provided a big tax cut to carbon energy companies. This was a controversial thing and right now Alaskans say they will vote to repeal 43-31%. People do know when they are being screwed over for special interests and maybe if more of these had to be voted upon by taxpayers, there’d be fewer efforts to pad the pockets of the people paying for elections. The caveat, of course, is who knows what will happen with the special interests ramp up their fear and loathing campaigns.

H.R. 20, sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes (MD), is the Government by the People Act — which would favor small donoations from individuals over special interest money:

The Government By the People Act would change the way our elections are financed through a combination of matching funds for small donations, and a “My Voice” tax credit. Instead of relying on Wall Street executives or lobbyists, participating candidates would rely on the ones the founding fathers intended them to represent: we the people. Here’s how it would work:

People would be encouraged to give small contributions through two parts of the proposal: first, contributions of under $150 would be amplified on a six-to-one basis by a newly-created “Freedom from Influence Fund.” No large contributions would be matched at all.

Second, the first $25 dollars people contribute would qualify for a “My Voice” refundable tax credit.

Would this work — in terms of rebalancing the power in elections?

Guess who also gets hurt in food stamp cutbacks? Walmart, because now their customers have less money to spend:

Charles M. Holley Jr., the company’s chief financial officer, said that despite a fairly decent holiday season, the impact from reductions to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food-stamps program, was “greater than we expected,” the Times reports.

This shouldn’t be news, of course, because most of us could immediately see that taking money out of the hands of people who would spend it would slow revenue growth for companies like Walmart and reduce overall economic activity.

What interests you today?

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  1. John Manifold says:

    As Chait points out, the liberal approach to charter schools is to allocate admission by lottery – which is the opposite of the approach in Delaware.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/02/public-educations-weird-ideological-divide.html

    The charter school issue will nag us forever unless something is done, and this sounds sensible. Otherwise, they’ll become de facto private schools, and once-great schools like McKean and Brandywine will become Superfund sites.

  2. mediawatch says:

    Couple of interesting items here in the run-up to the next chapter in the debt ceiling soap opera.

    You gotta love those self-destructing wingnuts, trying to gain seats in Congress yet willing to risk being held responsible for delays in mailing tax refund checks in an election year (http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/Congressional-Democrats-Warn-Boehner-Tax-Refund-Delay-Debt-Ceiling-Lifted-69482-1.html?goback=%2Egde_3400472_member_5836473117383368705)

    Meanwhile, the head House wingnut, tired of saying we have to spend less, decides to try the spend more approach in his never-ending effort to cut a deal as part of the debt ceiling hike.
    (http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/boehner-proposes-linking-debt-limit-hike-to-a-restoration-of-recent-cuts-to-military-benefits/2014/02/05/7ea8616a-8e99-11e3-b46a-5a3d0d2130da_story.html?wpisrc=nl_politics)
    Only a Republican could understand the logic behind either of these proposals.

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