Thursday, February 28, 2013

Why is Club for Growth Targeting Crawford but not Womack?

Blogger Jason Tolbert mentioned as an aside on a piece about the Club for Growth targeting Congressman Rick Crawford (R) for defeat that Congressman Steve Womack (R) had an even worse rating than Crawford.  The Club says that Crawford is in a "safe" district and ought to be more conservative.   While Crawford's district is rated "safe" because of Resident Obama's low support there, that metric alone is misleading- the region has a strong Democratic tradition despite their vote in Presidential races.  Besides, what seat is safer for a Republican than Womack's own 3rd district in NWA?

Hey, I think Crawford should be targeted for defeat too.  Along with Pryor, Boozeman, Griffin and Womack.   They should all be defeated because they have all become a part of a DC establishment that is hostile or indifferent to the interests of most Americans.   What I don't understand is why they target Crawford for defeat, but not Steve Womack who scored even lower on their own metric and is in an even safer district.

I can speculate what the difference might be.   Rick Crawford made the mistake of calling for tax increases for millionaires in exchange for a balanced budget amendment.   That was just a trial balloon.  Steve Womack is actively working to increase tax collections on the little guys.  That is through is "Tax Fairness" bill that will federalize collection of state sales taxes from sales over the internet.  While technically not a tax increase, effectively it will be.   So Steve Crawford just proposes a tax increase on millionaires as part of a deal to get a balanced budget amendment.  Womack makes increasing your effective tax burden his top priority.

Not only that, but the way he does it is terrible public policy.   Even if you want to increase internet sales tax collections, there are much better ways to do it.   Please read this policy paper for the details of why his proposal is a really, really, bad idea for almost all Americans (except for the control freaks who want to centralize power in D.C).  The paper details the lose of state control over their sales tax exemptions and variations (such as a lower rate on food or items produced in the state).   And since it will attempt to "simplify" it will wind up simplifying "up" in many instances.   There are also privacy issues involved, and the additional costs of keeping up with thousands of local tax rates.

Look, I like the Club for Growth.   I just don't understand their thinking on this one.  Crawford just floated a trial balloon about a tax increase.  He should not have done it, but it was in the context of getting a balanced budget amendment.  Womack is actually the lead sponsor of a bill that will increase the tax burden on not just millionaires, but almost all of us.   And he is not doing it as a bargaining chip to get spending cuts, he is just pushing for more tax collections.   If that were not enough, the way he proposes doing it is the most cumbersome way it can be done.   It is harder for the businesses to comply with and it takes power away from state legislatures to fine-tune their sales tax code.   It also presents the most privacy concerns for consumers.

What is the Club for Growth doing on this one?  If Crawford really ought to go, then why not Womack?


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