Herman Cain might be known best as the former CEO of Godfathers Pizza, but he served an equally substantial role as a lobbyist for the restaurant and fast food industry. As reporter Mike Elk notes at In These Times magazine, Cain, as head of the National Restaurant Association (NRA) in the ’90s, led an aggressive campaign to stop a hike in the minimum wage; and was successful in exempting servers from being included in the 1996 minimum wage law. Although Cain avoids explicitly calling attention to his role as a lobbyist on the campaign trail, he does cite his work as a restaurant association representative in fighting against President Clinton’s health reform plan as his most formative political experience.
As a lobbyist for the NRA, Cain represented a trade association for McDonalds, Burger King, and other fast food establishments. But a little known history, uncovered by ThinkProgress using the University of San Francisco archives, shows that Cain also lobbied on behalf of tobacco industry giants like R.J. Reynolds and Phillip Morris.
Cain met frequently with representatives of R.J. Reynolds and other cigarette companies to find areas of mutual concern. In 1993, when President Clinton proposed a health care overhaul, the expansion of coverage included a cigarette tax and a requirement for many businesses to cover their employees. The tobacco industry reached out to form an alliance against the Clinton plan, and Cain obliged given the fast food industry’s opposition to the so-called “employer mandate.” A fax, sent from the tobacco industry’s public relations firm Burson-Marsteller on July 13, 1994, proposes a positive article about Cain’s “BITE BACK” campaign against health reform and smoking bans.
As Cain rose through the ranks of the National Restaurant Association to become its CEO, his bond with tobacco giants continued. In 1997, R.J. Reynolds executive David Fishel filed a memo a meeting between Cain and tobacco lobbyists shortly after Cain became the NRA CEO. “Cain gave every indication that the NRA and RJR have the same views with regard to excessive government regulations and the importance of letting restaurateurs determine their own smoking policies,” Fishel wrote. R.J. Reynolds and other tobacco giants were at the time engaged in a massive lobbying effort to crush local, state, and federal efforts to regulate smoking in restaurants and other places of public concern.
The relationship blossomed. At one point, Cain even signed up to help out with an international pro-tobacco publicity tour.
Blurring the lines between restaurant industry caretaker and tobacco company representative, Cain accepted hefty donations from tobacco corporations. Cain worked to snuff out a Senate bill that would have reigned in smoking at restaurants and other facilities around the country. The lobbying drive, which defeated the bill in 1998, occured just after the NRA started to see money coming in from tobacco firms.
As Cain gained political connections in the lobbying world, he let some of his associates in on his dream of becoming president. “What IS a little interesting,” remarked tobacco lobbyist John Singleton in a January 22, 1999 e-mail to his colleagues, “is that Cain has informed key NRA leaders … that he is, in fact, going to run for President.” Singleton mused that Cain probably couldn’t win, but could make some type of impact. Cain would be a positive addition to the Republican field because he is “good on our issues,” added Singleton.
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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced last week that he wasn't running for the Republican nomination, but he could still end up in the White House in 2012 if Mitt Romney is the nominee.
In an interview aired Wednesday, Romney told NBC's Jamie Gangel that Christie would be on his short list for vice presidential running mate.
"Of course he would be on anyone's short list," Romney said. "He could take himself off the list and say no way, he'd have no interest. But the truth is that Gov. Christie is one of the leading figures in the Republican Party and of course, anyone who becomes our nominee is going to look at Gov. Christie and say, 'That would be a terrific person to have on the ticket.'"
"Do you think you would be a good match," Gangel asked Christie.
"I don't know that I would be anybody's good match in that regard," Christie admitted. "But ultimately, that kind of thing is up to the person who is the presidential nominee to decide who they think is the best person for them."
At a news conference last week, Christie joked that the president might want a food taster if he were vice president.
Joyce L. Arnold: Liberal, lesbian, Independent, equality activist, writer. At TaylorMarsh: Liberally Independent, including the Two Parties series, and Queer Talk As I?ve said a few times now, and no doubt will say again: OWS has created spaces for[...]
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we have more evidence today of how crippling austerity measures can be for an economy trying to come out of a deep recession. Unemployment in Great Britain is now the highest in 17 years.[...]
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Is Herman Cain a on a stealth campaign to raise taxes? (Pool/Reuters)
They're afraid Herman Cain will raise taxes:
Conservative groups from the tea party-aligned FreedomWorks to the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute to Grover Norquist?s Americans for Tax Reform have already begun raising questions about the plan, as has the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board. And one of Cain?s consultants said today that the plan is more of a grand idea than a practicable economic policy. [...]
An ATR official told The Fix that his group doesn?t outright oppose the idea but has ?strong reservations? ? particularly about a Value Added Tax that they think is too easy to raise.
?We are very, very opposed to that, so we would be very uncomfortable with transitioning business taxes over to a VAT,? said ATR tax policy director Ryan Ellis. ?It?s pretty easy to raise that rate of the VAT when you?re in a budget crunch.?
Likewise, FreedomWorks legislative counsel Dean Clancy wrote a blog post last week hitting the plan for its practicality ? or lack thereof. Clancy noted that Cain wants to eliminate the income tax too, which Clancy argues would require a 25 percent sales tax to maintain current revenue levels.
Of course, this little mini-freakout shouldn't be too surprising. Fear of higher taxes is pretty much the central animating force of modern conservatism. I mean, I'd bet my bottom dollar that if Herman Cain came out tomorrow and proposed completely doing away with all federal taxes except for a flat income tax of 4 percent, he'd still get pushback from these very same groups ... because they'd be worried that he'd eventually raise taxes.
1:38 PM PT: David Weigel has more from Grover Norquist on his objections to 9-9-9.
"Because there is a transition period of some length with any tax phase-in, the fear that people have about the sales tax is that, at some point, Democrats win the House or the Presidency, and you get stuck with both the income tax and the new sales tax. Under 9-9-9 they deliberately set up a time period where you have three taxes. They say they are doing what some of us have feared could happen. Even if you say the income tax is going away, there's a chance of getting both."
Second problem: The sales tax has proven to be a "political loser" when torn apart in the heat of a campaign. Third problem: "Let's say you're 20 years old. You don't care what tax you pay -- you haven't paid any yet. But if I'm 65, I've spent my whole life paying income taxes. I'm about to stop paying them. What's the benefit to me if you bring on a sales tax? Thanks -- you've just made ever retired person's pension 33 percent less valuable."
Our regular featured content-On This Day In History October 12 by TheMomCatPunting the Pundits by TheMomCatThese featured articles-The Endless Recession For Most Americans by TheMomCatAnd these special features-Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 26 by[...]
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Fox News turned to Douglas Holtz-Eakin to push for a tax holiday on multinational corporations to allow them to repatriate their overseas profits and furthered the discredited claim that it "could spur job growth." Fox did not disclose that Holtz-Eakin is helping the U.S. Chamber of Commerce push for just such a tax holiday; but studies show that a similar effort in 2004 did not create jobs, and many corporations that benefitted from that repatriation actually cut jobs.
Fox News:"Repatriated Corporate Cash Could Spur Job Growth." During the October 11 edition of FoxNews' Happening Now, the following graphic appeared on screen:
[Fox News, Happening Now,10/11/11]
Fox Turned To DouglasHoltz-Eakin To Address Studies Showing That Tax Holidays Don't Create Jobs. During the segment, co-host Gregg Jarrett discussedthe merits of a "tax holiday" as a possible stimulus, with former CongressionalBudget Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin. Jarrett noted that Holtz-Eakin "endorsed"the proposal and asked him to respond to criticism that a 2004 tax holiday"didn't really work so well." [Fox News, Happening Now, 10/11/11]
Holtz-Eakin Wrote A Report On Corporate Repatriation For The U.S.Chamber Of Commerce.Holtz-Eakin was commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to write a reportclaiming that "[t]he short-run stimulus provided by repatriated dollars wouldspeed the pace of economic recovery, increasing GDP by roughly $360 billion andcreating approximately 2.9 million new jobs." [U.S. Chamber of Commerce, August2011]
Heritage Foundation Economists: Repatriated Profits "Did NotIncrease Domestice Investment, Job Creation, Or Research And Development" WhenIt WasTried In 2004.Discussing a 2004 initiative to use a so-called "tax holiday" to repatriatecorporate profits, Heritage Foundation economists JD Foster and Curtis Dubaywrote: "The evidence clearly shows thatthese repatriated earnings did not increase domestic investment, job creation,or research and development." [Heritage Foundation, 10/4/11]
CRS: Evidence Does Not Show That Corporate RepatriationIncreased Employment. In a report analyzing the stimulative impact of tax cuts onrepatriated corporate profits, the Congressional Research Service stated of the2004 repatriation policy: "While empirical evidence is clear thatthis provision resulted in a significant increase in repatriated earnings,empirical evidence is unable to show a corresponding increase in domesticinvestment or employment." [CongressionalResearch Service, 5/27/11]
NBEREconomists: 2004 Corporate Repatriation "Did Not Lead To An Increase InDomestic Investment, Employment Or R&D." In a June 2009 working paper for the National Bureau ofEconomic Research, economists Dhammika Dharmapala, C. Fritz Foley, and KristinForbes analyzed the impact of a tax holiday in 2004 and wrote:
Repatriations did not lead to an increase in domestic investment,employment or R&D -- even for the firms that lobbied for the tax holiday statingthese intentions and for firms that appeared to be financially constrained. [National Bureau of Economic Research, accessed 10/12/11]
CBPP: Many AnalystsReported "No Evidence" 2004 Tax Holiday Increased JobCreation.Explaining that proponents for a tax holiday for corporate repatriation in 2004also promised "a large number of new jobs" and a boost to economic growth, theCenter on Budget and Policy Priorities noted:
These promises were notborne out. As researchers at the National Bureau for Economic Research, theCongressional Research Service, the Treasury Department , and outside analystshave reported, there is no evidence the holiday had any of these positiveeffects. To the contrary, there is strong evidence that the repatriatedearnings were used primarily to benefit corporate owners and shareholders, andthat the restrictions Congress imposed on the use of the repatriated earningsto ensure they were invested in the United States were ineffective. [Centeron Budget and Policy Priorities, 6/23/11]
IPS: 58 CorporationsBenefitting From 2004 Tax Holiday Cut Nearly 600,000Jobs. Economicresearchers at the Institute for Policy Studies studied the effects of the 2004tax holiday and found:
Followinga tax holiday on repatriated foreign earnings in 2004, 58 corporations thatbenefitted from the holiday slashed a total of nearly 600,000 jobs. These 58giant corporations accounted for nearly 70 percent of the total repatriatedfunds and collectively saved an estimated $64 billion from what they otherwisewould have owed in taxes. [Institute forPolicy Studies, 10/4/11]
CBPP: "Many Of The Largest Beneficiaries Of The Tax Holiday CutJobs." The Center onBudget and Policy Priorities also noted that "many of the largest beneficiaries of thetax holiday cut jobs in 2006 despite overall economy-wide job growth -- and usedthe repatriated funds instead to repurchase stock and pay dividends." [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 6/23/11]
Senate Governmental Affairs Committee: "The Top 15 RepatriatingCorporations" Cut Jobs.Demos' Policy Shop blog noted that a Senate committee report on the 2004corporate tax holiday found:
After repatriating over $150 billion underthe 2004 American Jobs Creation Act (AJCA), the top 15 repatriatingcorporations reduced their overall U.S. workforce by 20,931 jobs, whilebroad-based studies of all 840 repatriating corporations found no evidence thatrepatriated funds increased overall U.S. employment. [Demos, Policy Shop, 10/12/11]
It's no secret that we've been waging a long uphill battle against corporate/right-wing control of media. Some outlets like cable news and talk radio may be hopelessly out of whack, but we've long had the edge online. Here's a cool new way to expand[...]
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A political scientist urges voters to be skeptical of claims that certain kinds of political advertisements, whether positive or negative, "work."
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Team Obama chief David Axelrod unloads on Mitt in campaign conference call. [...]
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