In today’s Washington Post, the “Policy Director” for Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign o’ lies, Sandy Liddy Bourne (see the link, or at the end of this article, for more on her – she’s a real doozy!), desperately tries to defend the indefensible – “Ken Cuccinelli’s plan for Virginia economic future.” Here’s Bourne:
Mr. Cuccinelli’s plan was developed based on the impact of the sequester. The commonwealth no longer can depend on the same amount of federal spending as in the past. Our tax code has become more complicated, with billions in exemptions and an increasing burden on taxpayers. Government layoffs and furloughs mean job losses in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, critical regions for our economy.
Given these realities, Mr. Cuccinelli determined that the best course is to index the tax code to inflation, cap spending at inflation plus population growth and decrease the personal and business income tax rates. The Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy said the plan would generate approximately 58,000 jobs, increase investment by $650 million and increase real disposable income by $3.6 billion.
Big Lie #1: “Cuccinelli’s plan was developed based on the impact of the sequester.” We know that’s not true because sequestration started earlier this year, while Cuccinelli and his party have been calling for slashing tax rates for the wealthiest since…forever, pretty much – long before the “sequester,” regardless. Economy in the doldrums? Tax cuts for the wealthy and the corporations are the answer! Economy booming? Same answer! Budget deficit? Same answer! Budget surplus? Same answer! Feeling under the weather? Same answer! Termite infestation? Same answer! The point is, it’s always the same answer with these people – supply side, “trickle down,” screw the middle class while enriching the already rich. What else is new?
Anyway, let’s move on to Big Lie #2, which is actually a much bigger lie than Big Lie #1: citing the “Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy” as a legitimate source. Why do I say this? Because, as I wrote back in 2009 (yes, I’ve been doing this far too long!):
The Thomas Jefferson Institute is a libertarian/right-wing think tank committed to “free markets, limited government and individual responsibility.” It is funded heavily by the Roe Foundation, a South Carolina-based which provides “financial support to free-market policy groups across the country” and which gives out its annual Roe Award to the likes of Grover Norquist and to others from right-wing groups like the Independence Institute (proud global warming deniers), the Reason Foundation (for years, global warming deniers who received funding from ExxonMobil), and the big-time global warming deniers at the Heartland Institute. Sensing a pattern here?
Also, as I pointed out then, one of the Thomas Jefferson Institute’s “scholars” is David Schnare, who for years ran a blog (now deleted, but living on forever in the Internet Archive) where he has some interesting things to say. For instance:
*Environmental activists are “very sick people” who “quietly rejoice over the potential of millions (billions?) of starving people.”
*On global warming, he constantly belittles concerns over it and questions the science. For instance, in August 2007 he wrote, “In a paper soon to be published, Scott Barrett explains why we are not facing a global emergency, why we need not act precipitously and without sufficient regard to the economic consequences, and why we will never reach, nor need to reach an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases.” Schnare also claims that “the Scandinavian moose emits 2,100 kg of methane a year, equivalent to the green house gases emitted by an automobile trip of 13,000 km” and concludes, “Thank goodness hunters shoot 35,000 of them each year.”
Yeah, seriously, he wrote that insanity. In addition to Schnare, the Thomas Jefferson Institute also features its chairman and President Michael W. Thompson, “an active leader in the Virginia Republican Party” who has given $15,260 to Virginia Republicans over the years, including to Ken Cuccinelli and corrupt, raging homophobe Eugene Delgaudio; as well as $500 to Herman Cain, $1,200 to George Allen, etc.
There’s also Leonard Gilroy, “Senior Fellow on Government Reform, and Director of Government Reform at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.” Perhaps most interesting, “Since early 2009, Mr. Gilroy has led Reason’s partnership with the administration of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to research and develop a range of privatization opportunities within the Louisiana Division of Administration and develop a statewide privatization program.” In other words, Gilroy has worked on this debacle, which has contributed to Jindal becoming “the most unpopular Republican Governor of any state – and the second most unpopular Governor in the country overall.” Wonderful, eh?
Finally, it’s important to point out that the Thomas Jefferson Institute is a member of the far-far-far-right-wing State Policy Network:
The State Policy Network (SPN) has franchised, funded, and fostered a growing number of “mini Heritage Foundations” at the state level since the early 1990s. It describes itself as a network and service organization for the “state-based free market think tank movement,” and its stated mission is “to provide strategic assistance to independent research organizations devoted to discovering and developing market-oriented solutions to state and local public policy issues.”…The founding chairman of the board and a major funder was Thomas A. Roe (1927-2000), and the founding executive director was Byron S. Lamm. In the mid-1980s, Roe allegedly told fellow wealthy conservative donor and Heritage Foundation trustee Robert Krieble, “You capture the Soviet Union — I’m going to capture the states.”…Fueled by robust funding from right-wing funders including the Koch brothers, the Bradley Foundation, the anonymous wealthy donors to the donor-advised funds of DonorsTrust, and others
In sum, the Thomas Jefferson Institute, which Ken Cuccinelli’s Policy Director cites, is a far-far-far-right-wing, rabidly-anti-government group with diehard Republicans faux-“scholars” who have given generously to Ken Cuccinelli and other Virginia GOP politicians. THAT is the groups which the Cuccinelli campaign cites as backing for their “rob from the 99%, give to the top 1%” (while totally demolishing education, transportation, health care, and other vital services in Virginia) “economic plan.” And that, my friends, really tells you everything you need to know about the Cuccinelli campaign.
P.S. Oh yeah, who is the Cuccinelli campaign’s policy director, Sandy Liddy Bourne? Check this out…it’s a nightmare:
Alexandra “Sandy” Liddy Bourne is the Heartland Institute’s vice-president for policy strategy. She is the daughter of former Nixon aide and convicted Watergate criminal G. Gordon Liddy, who spent more than 52 months in prison for his part in the Watergate burglary…She serves as the conservative think tank’s Washington, D.C. media spokesperson and liaison to elected officials, donors, and allies. “She authors media statements and commissions and edits original research on the major issues of the day, particularly those concerning energy and environmental regulation,” according to Heartland…Bourne’s speech at the Heartland Institute’s 2008 International Conference on Climate Change was titled, “The Kyoto Legacy; The Progeny of a Carbon Cartel in the States.” …Bourne has been a Visiting Fellow at the anti-feminist Independent Women’s Forum (IWF)…Bourne worked for the American Legislative Exchange Council and was credited with increasing enactment of ALEC’s model legislation in states throughout the country.…She was named chair of ALEC’s Energy, Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Task Force in October 1999…In 2004, after five years in that role, she became ALEC’s Director of Legislation and Policy.