Our good friend Dana Pearson responded to my recent article, The Power of Divine Redemption, with a lengthy comment that, with some additional meat, would have made for an excellent post, not so much because it reflects my mood and opinions but because it reflects just the opposite.
Nevertheless, Dana’s observations and opinions (marked by bold font) are sufficiently weighty to merit a post-length response.
Unless this Guardian article is totally incorrect, Gingrich was convicted of House ethics violations and fined $300,000.
Carolyn Gargaro did some excellent research on this very topic at the time it was on the front page in the late 1990s:
In brief, David Bonior brought 75 ethics charges against Newt, 74 which were found to have no merit whatsoever (and people say that Ken Starr is on a “witch hunt?”). The last charge, whether Newt funded his college class “Renewing American Civilization” properly, was too complicated a tax issue for the committee to investigate on its own, so they brought in an outside tax expert to investigate. Two charges arose out of this investigation.
The first ‘charge’ from the ethics committee is that he “may have” violated tax law by using tax-deductible contributions from nonprofit organizations to teach an allegedly partisan college course.
The second ‘charge’ from the committee is that, in the course of the investigation, Newt provided false information to the committee. And what was this “false information?” Newt testified that the above contributions were in fact made by those organizations to “Renewing American Civilization.” He filed papers that stated the very same thing. This is never a fact that anyone was trying to hide. But one paper filed with the committee stated that those groups did not make the contributions. For this, there was an uproar about Newt’s ethics, and he was fined.
Basically, Newt was fined $300,000 because he didn’t read his lawyers’ documents carefully. I could really get into the hypocrisy of this in light of the fact that people want to excuse Bill Clinton for lying under oath, (maybe if the course Newt had taught was about SEX the Democrats would feel differently) but that’s not the point of this article.
Well, after a 3.5 year probe, after Newt paid the $300,000 fine, the IRS announced on February 3, 1999, that it found NO IMPROPRIETIES IN THE TAX FILINGS of Gingrich and the sponsoring Progress and Freedom Foundation. The IRS said the principles taught in the course were not of use only in political campaigns. “The … course taught principles from American civilization that could be used by each American in everyday life whether the person is a welfare recipient, the head of a large corporation, or a politician.”
Well isn’t that nice – and isn’t that what Newt had been saying all along?
In other words, the ethics charges David Bonior filed against Newt were ALL bogus. Every single one of them. In the end, what was Newt’s “ethics problems”? One of the papers filed by his lawyers had an error and Newt didn’t catch it. That little oversight cost $300,000.
In other words, it was much political ado about nothing in order to exact political revenge.
FWIW my main beef with Ginrich is his plan to reduce capital gains taxes to 0%. I think that is far too low. Something in the high teens like 17% seeems fairer.
Fairer? By what standard? The one found in Das Capital? Good grief.
At the moment I consider myself in the upper middle class — but I am concerned about the youth of today. The middle class is disappearing. The ranks of the poor are growing and the rich are getting richer.
Good times or bad, the rich will always get richer – just as the poor will always be with us, regardless of Utopian hopes and egalitarian dreams. The so-called middle class is disappearing thanks largely to the predations of metastasizing government on all levels, from Washington, DC down to townships and municipalities.
In order to hold society together, a tax rate of 17% or so on capital gains makes sense. And so does by the way the estate tax.
It doesn’t so much make sense as it makes you feel good about yourself, Dana. High taxes are not what hold society together…rather, they destroy incentive and, ultimately, the economy.
I think the Gingrich tax plan is a recipe for social conflict. Frankly, a 0% across the board tax rate on all income would be preferably to a 0% tax rate on capital gains and a much higher tax rate on earned income.
This makes absolutely no sense. For one thing, social conflict already exists, thanks to the class warfare rhetoric of Obama and his fellow statists. As our economy continues to collapse under the weight of high taxes and profligate spending, the conflict will worsen.
For another, the only way to make up the revenue lost on a zero percent income tax would be a 23% national sales tax. Is this what you favor?
In the unfortunate event that Gingrich wins the nomination, I will likely vote for Obama. I never thought that would be possible. I voted for Reagan twice, the Bushes twice, Buchanan twice and so on — but the current obsession of candidates like Gingrich with ridiculously low tax rates, probably won’t go over well with most of America.
Actually, it will go over very well, insofar as most Americans are weary of nearly four years of Obamanomics. Even then, assuming that Gingrich is elected President, it is ultimately up to Congress to determine the shape and form of the U.S. tax code. Assuming a compromise is reached that approximates or even exceeds the cuts established by Ronald Reagan, we can have confidence that the economy will roar back to life like it did during Reagan’s second term in office.
Thing is, it just won’t go over well with you, Dana. For some reason, you appear to be consumed with guilt – so much so that you are willing to commit political suicide (if your threat to vote for Obama is a serious one): you know perfectly well that if the Alinskyite radical is re-elected, this republic is finished.
Romney seems less radical on the tax front. Santorum also seems relatively OK on that front. Paul at least balances out his tax radicalism with calls for super reductions in government spending.
Romney’s economic plan seems less radical because it essentially maintains the status quo with little in the way of a call for substantive change. Der Mittmeister IS Mr. Status Quo…the quintessential RINO Squish. No wonder Governor Zeppelin enthusiastically endorses him.
Besides the tax issue, I rather deal with Michelle Obama than Callista Gingrich who major league creeps me out.
“Major league creeps me out.” Yet another rigidly objective yardstick of political measurement, eh Dana? I hadn’t expected your standards to be this shallow.
If her Wiki bio is accurate, Callista is a woman of exceptional accomplishment:
Gingrich and her husband host and produce historical and public policy documentaries, editorials and advocacy films. Recent films include A City Upon a Hill, America at Risk, Nine Days that Changed the World, Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny, Rediscovering God in America, Rediscovering God in America II: Our Heritage, and We Have the Power.
Gingrich is the voice for several audio books, including To Save America; Valley Forge; 5 Principles for a Successful Life; Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less; The Art of Transformation; Real Change; Contract with the Earth; and Rediscovering God in America.
Gingrich’s photography has been published in The New York Times and Washington Post and is featured in a photobook, Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny, which she co-authored with Newt Gingrich and Dave Bossie. Her photography is also featured in Rediscovering God in America and is regularly displayed on Newt.org and Gingrich Productions.com.
Gingrich wrote Sweet Land of Liberty, a children’s book about American exceptionalism featuring Ellis the Elephant. It was on the The New York Times Best Seller list.
Michelle Obama, on the other hand, held a series of no-show patronage jobs before becoming Busybody-in-Chief who has taken upon herself the mission of dictating to hoi polloi what they and their children should be eating – even as she stuffs her hypocritical face with all sorts of fattening (and often very expensive) foods.
And Callista is the one who creeps you out? Seriously?
The other thing that creeps me out is Gingrich’s video on global warming with Nancy Pelosi.
It was a rather bizarre excursion into bipartisan wading pool, was it not? But then, Gingrich wasn’t in office when he sat down with San Fran Nan to film the notorious piece. And later on, he did penance for this sin by testifying against the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Bill. Perhaps you missed that bit of committee room drama.
Romney, on the other hand, inflicted the direct predecessor of Obamacare on the Bay State – and refuses to admit the error, much less do any penance for it.
Romney may change positions on issues but at least he sticks to one wife, like Ron Paul, Santorum, and even Obama.
Right on, right on, right on…because monogamy has always been the gold standard for excellence in leadership. Just ask Vladimir Lenin or Joseph Stalin. Honestly, Dana…this line of attack is laughably puerile and ultimately beneath you.
So much for the power of Divine Redemption and the grace of God.
I’m sorry to say that at least to me, Gingrich comes off as more of a hypocrite than most politicians.
Better a presumptively monogamous, radical Alinskyite than a thrice-married conservative maverick? I dare say, Dana, you give all the outward signs of having lost your mind. Say it ain’t so, my friend…say it ain’t so.