Republican leaders have been successful in undermining the Affordable Care Act in the states they control, as fewer people have gotten connected with health care assistance the federal government is offering, a new study from Harvard University researchers suggests, Tara Culp-Ressler noted at ThinkProgress.org (6/9).

The study, published in June in the Health Affairs journal, examined three red states with historically high rates of uninsurance: Kentucky, Arkansas, and Texas. Lawmakers in those states have taken varying approaches to Obamacare implementation.

Kentucky is one of the only Southern states that wholeheartedly embraced the law. Lawmakers there agreed to expand Medicaid, created a successful state marketplace, and supported volunteer outreach efforts to teach people about how to enroll in coverage. Arkansas, meanwhile, agreed to compromise on a nontraditional Medicaid expansion and a joint federal-state marketplace, while enacting some limits on outreach efforts. Texas has taken the most obstructionist approach, refusing to expand Medicaid or set up a state marketplace while passing tough restrictions on Obamacare volunteers.

The study found that low-income Americans’ success in signing up for Obamacare had a lot to do with whether they had adequate help navigating the enrollment process, which was plagued with technological glitches when Obamacare’s marketplaces first launched. The participants who received enrollment assistance from so-called “navigators,” the volunteers tasked with helping uninsured people sign up for new plans, were nearly 10 percentage points more likely to successfully get connected with coverage under the law.

But not every state provided that assistance. Over the past several years, placing restrictions on navigators has emerged as one of the most popular state-level tactics to undermine Obamacare. In at least 17 states across the country, GOP lawmakers have enacted legislative barriers that make it harder for navigators to do their jobs. When these state laws first started emerging in 2013, consumer advocates warned they would translate into fewer people receiving the proper education about the brand-new health care reform law — ultimately suppressing enrollment among the population that could benefit from Obamacare the most.

Two years later, the new study provides some evidence that this situation is unfolding exactly as predicted.

“Navigators and application assistance programs appear to be a valuable approach to improving the effectiveness of the coverage expansion, and states enacting restrictions on these programs are likely harming their low-income residents’ ability to obtain coverage,” the Harvard researchers conclude.

“It’s definitely been an uphill battle,” Mimi Garcia, the Texas director for Enroll America, a group aligned with the White House that has focused on helping Americans sign up for Obamacare, told Kaiser Health News. She pointed out that, even if navigators are able to get around the state-imposed restrictions that stifle their volunteer efforts, they still have to contend with misconceptions about the law stemming from the state lawmakers who bash Obamacare.

Anti-Obamacare politicians have rarely been candid about the fact that, on a practical level, their opposition to the law translates into fewer people getting access to health care. But, when it comes to state-level restrictions on education and enrollment campaigns, there certainly appears to be a correlation. Previous studies have found that patients are less likely to get accurate information about Obamacare in states where the governor opposes the law.

“The prospect that millions of Americans will soon gain affordable health coverage is so threatening to Obamacare opponents that they are now persisting in unprecedented obstruction of the law,” Ron Pollack, president of Families USA, a group that supports the Affordable Care Act, told the Washington Post in 2013. And that effort has been pretty successful.

OVERTIME RULE CHANGE COULD HIKE WAGES FOR MILLIONS. President Obama’s Labor Department is poised to issue new rules that would raise the current overtime threshold and potentially add millions of workers into the overtime eligibility classification, Politico reported (6/8).

The Labor Department rule change would raise the current overtime threshold—$23,660—to as much as $52,000, extending time and a half overtime pay to millions of American workers. The rule has already come under fire from business and Republican opponents who say it will kill jobs and force employers to cut hours for salaried employees.

Since the president can’t raise the minimum wage on his own, Bill Samuel, director of legislative affairs for the AFL-CIO, told Politico. “This is probably the most significant step they can take to raise wages for millions of workers.”

By law, any salaried worker who earns below a threshold set by the Labor Department must receive overtime. The current threshold of $23,660 lies below the poverty line for a family of four.

The overtime threshold is not indexed to inflation and has been updated only once since 1975. It covers 12% of salaried workers. Boosting the threshold to $50,440 would bring it back in line with the 1975 threshold, after inflation. By one estimate that would give somewhere between five to ten million workers a raise.

The current rules have an exemption for the white collar employees, which excludes “executive, administrative and professional.” Many companies—including fast food retailers—have interpreted that definition to any employee with “supervisory” duties so store managers and regular employees with nominal supervisory roles will be excluded. The new regulations are expected to tighten up that definition as well. “It’s hard to believe that somebody making $30,000 is a supervisor,” Daniel Hamermesh, an economist at the University of Texas at Austin told Politico. At this point, I don’t think even our regulations are in line with the original intent of the law.”

The left-leaning Economic Policy Institute estimated in January that a threshold of $51,000 would cover 47% of salaried workers.

WALMART SEES BENEFITS FROM HIGHER WAGES. After it raised wages for employees in April, Walmart said (6/5) that it’s already seen lower turnover and an increase in job applicants, Bryce Covert noted at ThinkProgress.org (6/9).

“Our job applications are going up and we are seeing some relief in turnover,” CEO Doug McMillon said after its annual shareholders meeting. The company’s performance has been suffering recently thanks to understaffed stores, among other things.

The company announced that all workers would make at least $9 an hour this year, a minimum that would increase to $10 an hour in February 2016. The company’s rationale at the time was that it would reap the benefits of its $1 bln investment in higher wages through lower turnover, which is apparently already playing out.

Turnover can be quite costly: it eats up the equivalent of a fifth of a worker’s salary to replace him. Higher wages have been found to stem a tide of fleeing workers, however: two different reports found that increased wages lower turnover as well as increase recruitment and employee performance.

McMillon said Walmart might consider going even further than a base wage of $10 an hour in the future to keep attracting and retaining employees. “This won’t be the last jump,” he said. Workers have repeatedly gone on strike to demand that they make at least $15 an hour, be given more predictable schedules, and have the right to form a union.

Other employers have also decided to raise wages in recent months with many of the same justifications as Walmart’s. The Gap and TJX, owner of TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, increased their base wages to $10 and $9, respectively, in the hopes of attracting and retaining better talent. Target also increased wages, as did McDonald’s, but only for those who work at its company-owned stores, which are a small share of its overall locations.

SENATE MAP POSES CHALLENGE FOR GOP. In last year’s Senate elections, Democrats were forced to defend many vulnerable seats, ultimately losing their majority in a Republican wave. Next year, however, the script will flip, with Republicans defending swing-state seats during a high-turnout presidential year as they try to keep control of the upper chamber, James Arkin noted at RealClearPolitics.com (6/9).

Republicans defend 24 seats compared to just 10 for Democrats, and many of them are in blue states. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged that difficulty while back home in Kentucky last month, saying the chances are “pretty slim” that his party will increase its four-seat majority in the Senate next year.

Two of the seats Republicans are defending, in Illinois and Wisconsin, will be particularly tough to hang on to. In Illinois, first-termer Mark Kirk hopes to retain a seat he narrowly won in 2010 in a race that is rated a tossup. Wisconsin is even dimmer, given the state’s longtime Democratic lean and former three-term Sen. Russ Feingold (D)’s decision to seek a rematch with Sen. Ron Johnson (R) who ousted Feingold six years ago.

Republican incumbents in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire also have to defend seats in states Obama won in 2012, and there is an open race in Florida because Marco Rubio is abandoning his seat to run for president.

“Clearly, for the first time in a while, the Republicans are defending a lot more seats than we are and Democrats have an opportunity to play offense and turn up the score and take back the majority — there’s no doubt about that,” said Matt Canter, a former deputy executive director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, to Arkin.

The GOP hope to turn seats in Nevada and Colorado. In Nevada, five-term senator and current minority leader Harry Reid announced his retirement earlier this year, opening up the race. Reid was quick to anoint his successor, former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who announced her bid in April. It remains unclear who will run against her. The GOP’s likely top choice, popular Gov. Brian Sandoval, appears to have little interest in the race, but Rep. Joe Heck is publicly weighing a bid, according to CQ Roll Call. A Republican poll in May found that Heck would have an eight-point lead over Masto, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

In Colorado, Democrat Michael Bennet won in 2010 – an extremely difficult year nationwide for his party – by less than one point. Republican Cory Gardner unseated incumbent Sen. Mark Udall in 2014, and the GOP is hoping for a similar outcome this time too. But the GOP’s odds took a hit when Rep. Mike Coffman, considered their top potential candidate, decided against challenging Bennet.

Beyond those two states, however, the chances of Republicans picking up seats are slim, even though a pair of longtime Democrats – Barbara Mikulski in Maryland and Barbara Boxer in California – are retiring. Those states are seen as reliably Democratic, but 2016 will feature some high-profile candidates battling it out in primary season. In Maryland, Reps. Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen have both announced runs for the Senate, and others, including Rep. Elijah Cummings, are weighing possible bids. In California, both Attorney General Kamala Harris and Rep. Loretta Sanchez are running.

In Ohio, Public Policy Polling finds a very tight race, with Sen. Rob Portman (R) holding a 43-41 edge against ex-Gov. Ted Strickland (D). PPP found the race tied 45-45 in March.

Conventional wisdom suggests that down-ticket Democrats generally perform much better during presidential years, boosted by higher turnout for the top of the ticket. Because of the way the map looks in 2016, with most of the key Senate contests in swing states, the races might be tethered even more than usual to the presidential outcome.

Democrats are confident that with Hillary Clinton on the ticket, they will have a strong advantage in these states.

“I think there’s a lot of excitement for Hillary’s campaign. I think that she’s going to have a major turnout effort and she’ll be all over the country in many places where we’re waging competitive Senate races,” said one Democratic operative involved with Senate campaigns. “Every state is going to be different. That’s kind of the thing about a Senate map … an issue might matter in one state where it doesn’t matter in another state, based on local politics. But excitement for Hillary and her candidacy, assuming she’s the nominee, will absolutely filter down and help our candidates.”

TOP 50 PRICE-GOUGING HOSPITALS. Fifty hospitals in the US are charging uninsured consumers more than 10 times the actual cost of patient care, according to research published in Health Affairs (6/8).

All but one of the facilities are owned by for-profit entities and the largest number of hospitals — 20 — are in Florida. For the most part, researchers said, the hospitals with the highest markups are not in pricey neighborhoods or big cities, where the market might explain the higher prices, the Washington Post reported (6/8).

Topping the list is North Okaloosa Medical Center, a 110-bed facility in the Florida Panhandle about an hour outside of Pensacola. Uninsured patients are charged 12.6 times the actual cost of patient care.

Community Health Systems operates 25 of the hospitals on the list. Hospital Corporation of America operates 14 others.

“They are price-gouging because they can,” said Gerard Anderson, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, co-author of the study. “They are marking up the prices because no one is telling them they can’t.”

He added: “These are the hospitals that have the highest markup of all 5,000 hospitals in the United States. This means when it costs the hospital $100, they are going to charge you, on average, $1,000.”

The researchers said a typical US hospital charges 3.4 times the cost of patient care.

Most hospital patients covered by private or government insurance don’t pay full price because insurers and programs like Medicare negotiate lower rates for their patients. But the millions of Americans who don’t have insurance don’t have anyone to negotiate on their behalf. They are most likely to be charged the full hospital price. As a result, uninsured patients, who are often the most vulnerable, face skyrocketing medical bills that can lead to personal bankruptcy, damaged credit scores or avoidance of needed medical care, Lena Sun noted in the Post. See the list of gougers at <http://wapo.st/1B1S5bc>.

NEBRASKA GOV. WANTS TO KILL PRISONERS ANYWAY. The Nebraska Legislature may have voted to abolish the state’s death penalty, and overrode the governor’s veto of the abolition (see Tina Dupuy’s column on page 18), but that won’t stop right-wing Gov. Pete Ricketts. Garrett Epps noted at TheAtlantic.com (6/5) that Ricketts called for a voter referendum to overturn the repeal and said the state would execute the 10 prisoners currently under sentence of death anyway, using sodium thiopental imported from India after US pharmacies refused to supply executioners.

Ricketts argues that the legislature cannot reduce a criminal sentence imposed by a court. Under Article IV Section 13 of the state constitution, he’s probably right about the sentences, Epps noted. But by law, an execution also requires a death warrant, and in Nebraska only the state Supreme Court can issue one. The attorney general, Doug Peterson, can petition the court to set new execution dates, but it’s unlikely to do so before the law goes into effect in September.

There’s a second level: After it takes effect, LB268 doesn’t suspend lethal injection, as a court decision might; it repeals every provision that allows executions of any kind. After September, those condemned prisoners may still be formally under sentence of death; but no court will have jurisdiction to issue a death warrant, and no official will have authority to carry one out. What will Ricketts do then?

Layer three is the bootleg sodium thiopental. Ricketts says the state has ordered and paid for (but not yet received) this drug, part of the standard three-drug “cocktail” used since the 1980s for lethal injection, from an Indian distributor named Harris Pharma, run by Chris Harris. The state bought some thiopental through Harris Pharma once before. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration seized that shipment because the company isn’t approved to sell it. (Harris had gotten it from a Swiss company by lying about what he was going to do with it.) Now the Food and Drug Administration is under a 2013 order from the DC Circuit to seize all sodium thiopental coming into the US from unregistered dealers like Harris Pharma.

REPUBLICANS ATTACK NET NEUTRALITY. Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.) introduced riders to an appropriations bill (6/10) that would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from using its budget to implement Open Internet rules and protect Net Neutrality.

The riders in the House financial services subcommittee’s appropriations bill, which funds the FCC and other agencies, would prevent those rules from going into effect until after the current court cases challenging them have been decided. The riders would also interfere with the FCC’s rule-making process and undercut the agency’s ability to enforce the rules.

The FCC adopted these rules in February when it voted to reclassify high-speed Internet access as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act. The rules will prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or throttling online content and ban paid-prioritization schemes that could create Internet slow lanes.

Free Press Action Fund Policy Director Matt Wood made the following statement: “This sneak attack on Net Neutrality would undermine the historic actions the FCC took in February and leave Internet users everywhere defenseless against the cable industry as its spurious legal challenges wind their way through the courts. Anyone who supports this measure is taking the side of the phone and cable lobby and hurting the rest of us. Trying to hide such an important measure hundreds of pages into an appropriations bill, on an issue the public overwhelmingly supports, shows why so many people distrust and are disgusted by business in Washington.” See freepress.net.

OBAMA READIES CLIMATE CHANGE PUSH. The Obama administration is planning a series of actions this summer to rein in greenhouse-gas emissions from wide swaths of the economy, including trucks, airplanes and power plants, kicking into high gear an ambitious climate agenda that the president sees as key to his legacy, Amy Harder reported at the Wall Street Journal (6/9).

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce plans to regulate carbon emissions from airlines, and soon after that, draft rules to cut carbon emissions from big trucks, according to people familiar with the proposals. In the coming weeks, the EPA is also expected to unveil rules aimed at reducing emissions of methane—a potent greenhouse gas—from oil and natural-gas operations.

In August, the agency will complete a suite of three regulations lowering carbon from the nation’s power plants—the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s climate-change agenda.

The proposals represent the biggest climate push by the administration since 2009, when the House passed a national cap-and-trade system proposed by the White House aimed at reducing carbon emissions. Senate Republicans blocked that bill.

Anticipating the rules, some of which have been telegraphed in advance, opponents of Obama’s regulatory efforts are moving to block them. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), is urging governors across the country to defy the EPA by not submitting plans to comply with its rule cutting power-plant emissions.

GOP SENS. VOTE TO BLOCK EPA CLEAN WATER RULE. Senate Republicans moved to block the Obama administration’s attempt to clarify the EPA’s regulatory powers under the Clean Water Act, Natasha Geiling noted at ThinkProgress.org (6/10).

On 6/10, the Senate Environment and Public Works committee voted 11-9 to pass a bill that would effectively repeal the administration’s recently announced regulations for water pollution. The vote was split cleanly among party lines, with only Republicans supporting it.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), would nullify the Waters of the United States Rule, released in late May, and set specific guidelines that the EPA must follow in re-writing the rule.

As it stands, the rule seeks to clarify the bodies of water that can be regulated under the Clean Water Act. In its current form, the Waters of the United States Rule, also known as the Clean Water Rule, restores protections for navigable waterways and their tributaries, and protects bodies of water that are located next to rivers and lakes.

The EPA argues that the Clean Water Rule only protects waters that have historically been protected under the Clean Water Act, and does not require a new permitting process for agriculture.

LIBERALS MORE POPULAR IN 2015. There are signs that liberals are making a comeback — and not just because a socialist is running for president, gay marriage is spreading like wildfire and pot legalization is gaining acceptance, Janet Hook noted in the Wall Street Journal (6/7).

A new analysis of Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll data finds a marked increase in the share of registered voters identifying themselves as liberals, and an even bigger drop in the share saying they are conservatives.

In three national polls conducted so far in 2015, the analysis found that 26% of registered voters identified themselves as liberals — up from 23% in 2014. At the same time, the share of voters identifying as conservatives dropped to 33% from 37% in 2014.

The analysis by GOP pollster Bill McInturff, who looked at survey data from 2010 to 2015, found that the biggest ideological shifts came among women, young people, Latinos and well-educated voters, as well as people in the West and in cities.

From 2010 through 2014, there was little overall variation in the share of people identifying themselves as conservative, moderate and liberal, with conservatives either a plurality or tied with moderates. But that stability seems to be ending this year. For the first time since 2010, conservatives are no longer a plurality: 38% identify as moderates, compared with the 33% who identify as conservative and 26% as liberal.

G.W. BUSH ALSO MAKES BIG BUCKS FROM SPEECHES. Bill Clinton isn’t the only ex-president who makes a lot of money making speeches. Since 2009, Politico reported (6/7), George W. Bush has given at least 200 paid speeches and probably many more, typically pocketing $100,000 to $175,000 per appearance. The part-time work, which rarely requires more than an hour on stage, has earned him tens of millions of dollars. Relative to the Clintons, though, he’s attracted considerably less attention, almost always doing his paid public speaking in private, in convention centers and hotel ballrooms, resorts and casinos, from Canada to Asia, from New York to Miami, from all over Texas to Las Vegas a bunch, playing his part in what has become a lucrative staple of the modern post-presidency.

He has talked to the National Grocers Association and the National Association for Home Care and Hospice and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. He’s talked to global wealth management firms and multinational energy companies. He has talked to motivational seminars and boat builders and something called the Work Truck Show. He has talked to the chambers of commerce in San Diego and Wichita. “Evil is real,” he said at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. “Bowling is fun,” he said at a get-together for the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America in Orlando. “History will ultimately judge whether I made the right decisions or not,” he said at a gathering put on by the Advertising Specialty Institute in Dallas.

In February 2015, Bush was at the gala for a Texas homeless shelter, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Addison, outside Dallas. “We paid his regular fee, which is $100,000,” Lynne Sipiora told Politico. She’s the executive director of the Samaritan Inn, a homeless shelter in McKinney, Texas. The fundraiser netted $1 mln, she said.

Michael Kruse of Politico noted that Gerald Ford was the first president to make being an ex-president into a fat gig, starting out at $10,000 per talk and working up to $40,000. “I’m a private citizen now; it’s nobody’s business,” he told the New York Times. Ronald Reagan in 1989 got $2 mln to give a few talks in Japan. George H.W. Bush, asked about the paid speaking circuit in 1989, said, “Everybody’s got to make a living.”

SANDERS STRONG IN WIS. STRAW POLL. Hillary Clinton won a straw poll with 49% of the vote at the Wisconsin Democratic Party convention (6/6), but Bernie Sanders scored a stronger-than-expected 41%, an encouraging sign for the democratic socialist senator from Vermont who announced his presidential campaign in late April.

Sanders, who is running for president as a Democrat, got 208 of 511 votes from delegates, alternates, and registered guests at the Milwaukee convention, while Clinton—still the frontrunner to receive the Democratic nomination—got 252 votes, leaving her short of a majority, Politico reported. Vice President Joe Biden and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley each received 16 votes in a tie for a distant third.

As Sanders continues to pull in big crowds in states like New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Iowa, the results of the straw poll are encouraging, Politico noted.:

John Nichols, associate editor at the Madison Capital Times and correspondent for The Nation, noted at TheNation.com (6/7) that Sanders has been a regular visitor to Wisconsin over the years, as a frequent speaker at the annual “Fighting Bob Fest” gatherings, which draw thousands of Wisconsin activists to outdoor events each September. He has lauded the legacy of former Wisconsin US senator Robert M. La Follette, who mounted an independent progressive campaign for the presidency in 1924, and of the democratic socialists who led Milwaukee for much of the 20th century, and he has worked with Ed Garvey, a former gubernatorial candidate, on a host of issues.

“Perhaps most importantly, Sanders is an enthusiastic backer of organized labor—a stance that resonates with Wisconsin activists who, over the past four years, have battled the anti-union initiatives of the administration of Governor Scott Walker, Nichols noted.

Clinton has also worked the state over the years, Nichols noted. In 2008, she and her backers battled with Barack Obama and his backers in a closely watched February primary. Obama won the primary with a 58-41 margin. But Clinton ran well in many regions of the state and took 32 of the state’s 74 delegates.

SENATE LEADER SAYS OBAMA GETS NO MORE APPEALS JUDGES. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) indicated in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt (6/4) that no federal appeals court judges — or, for that matter, Supreme Court justices — will be confirmed in the coming year. In response to a question about judicial confirmations, McConnell told Hewitt that “so far, the only judges we’ve confirmed have been federal district judges that have been signed off on by Republican senators” When Hewitt followed up by asking if McConnell believes this pattern will continue for “the balance of the session,” which lasts the rest of the year, the majority leader replied “I think that’s highly likely, yeah.”

Ian Milhiser noted at ThinkProgress.org (6/8) that if McConnell carries out his threat to confirm no appellate judges in the next year, that would be an extraordinary departure from prior practice. According to the Federal Judicial Center, the Senate confirmed six appeals court judges in President George W. Bush’s seventh year in office, despite the fact that the Senate was controlled by Democrats. Presidents Clinton and Reagan also spent their seventh year in office in a period of divided government when the opposite party controlled the Senate, and yet the Senate confirmed 7 appeals court judges during that part of the Clinton presidency and it confirmed 10 appeals court judges during the same period in the Reagan presidency.

A McConnell spokesman, Don Stewart, walked back McConnell’s statement slightly on 6/6. “There’s not a shutdown,” Stewart told The Hill. “We probably will have a circuit court nominee.”

One nominee who apparently is headed for confirmation is Kara Stoll, whom Obama tapped to serve on the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which mainly hears patent case appeals, veterans’ appeals and agency decisions. She was approved by the Judiciary Committee unanimously in April, and her nomination is set to be considered on the Senate floor.

Another likely prospect, The Hill reported, is Luis Felipe Restrepo, Obama’s choice to serve on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Philadelphia. He has the support of Republican Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.), who faces a tough re-election next year and has come under criticism from liberal groups annoyed that Restrepo has yet to be confirmed.

LA. REPUBS WISH THEY’D NEVER HEARD OF GROVER NORQUIST. It’s hardly surprising when Democrats criticize Grover Norquist, the godfather of the anti-tax movement. But Kevin Drum noted at MotherJones.com (6/9) that “following like sheep behind Norquist’s demands to lower taxes always and everywhere has gotten states in so much trouble that even some Republicans are now begging him to be a little less obstinate. Sadly for Louisiana, Norquist is having none of it.”

A group of self-described “conservative” Republican state representatives in Louisiana took their complaints to Norquist himself, asking him to give them some wiggle room on raising taxes and to shoot down some Jindal-backed legislation that they say would set a “dangerous precedent” in how government could mask revenue hikes.

The letter — sent on 6/7 and signed by Louisiana House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Joel Robideaux (R) and 10 other state Republican representatives — asked Norquist to take into account the previous tax cuts Louisiana has passed in recent years and the effect they will have in the future when assessing whether the state is in compliance with the no tax pledge. It also asked Norquist to weigh in on the so-called SAVE proposal, which they said would allow governments in the future to raise billions of dollars in revenue in the guise of a revenue-neutral budget.

However, Norquist refused to take the bait. While declining to come out for or against the tax credit proposal, he said it qualified as an offset and asked the lawmakers, “If you don’t like the SAVE Act, why not find other offsetting tax cuts that are more to your liking? “Norquist also scoffed at the Republicans’ plea that their past tax cuts be taken into account, writing “[u]nder that logic, President Obama could argue he didn’t raise taxes.”

“In other words,” Drum wrote, “go pound sand. But then, what did they expect? Norquist has one and only one thing going for him—thou shalt never raise taxes, no how, no way—and Bobby Jindal is still delusional enough to think he’s running for president. So no taxes are going to be raised in the Pelican State. And if that causes massive pain and dislocation? Well, that’s just tough, isn’t it?”

From The Progressive Populist, July 1-15, 2015


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