Guests: Kent Mesplay, Green Party Presidential nomination candidate; John Marcotte, Michigan Postal Workers Union President; Jesus Gonzales, from the Central Michigan Area Local; John Greathouse, Postal Worker; Mike Reed, Legislative & Political Director for the American Postal Workers Union

Summary: Pete Hoekstra’s Xenophobic Campaign Ad and his record on deficit spending (see video & details below); Kent Mesplay on his candidacy and the nature of partisan politics; Noam Chomsky’s take on what’s next for OWS; USPS update on the Pension Pre-funding Mandate; Could the ‘birthers’ try to hoodwink Obama into contempt of court charges?; Cheap Labor Conservatives; Swedes and Norwegians taking on the 1%; PaleoMeme Contest


A TV ad, airing during the Super Bowl, for U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra features an Asian woman speaking broken English to accuse Michigan incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow of helping the Chinese economy at the expense of American jobs.

“Thank you Michigan Senator Debbie Spenditnow,” the Asian woman mispronounces, while riding her bike in a rice paddy field: “Debbie spends so much American money, you borrow more and more, from us. You’re economy get very weak, ours get very good. We take your jobs. Thank you Debbie Spenditnow.”

Hoekstra then appears in the ad stating: “I think this race for Michigan Senate is between Debbie ‘spend-it-now’ and Pete ‘spend-it-not.’”

Here’s Pete Hoekstra’s Record on ‘Spend-it-Not’
Supported Wall Street Bailout
Hoekstra Voted for the $700 Billion Wall Street Bailout. In 2008, Hoekstra voted for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout. [House Vote #681, 10/3/2008]

Supported Raising Debt Limit And Trillions of Dollars in Budget Deficit Increases
Hoekstra Supported Bush Deficit-Spending Budgets. [House Vote #158, 5/18/2006; House Vote #149, 4/28/2005; House Vote #198, 5/19/2004; House Vote #141, 4/11/2003; House Vote #79, 3/20/2002]

Hoekstra Votes Increased the Debt by 46 Percent to $8.6 Trillion From 2002 to 2006. In 2002 the total national debt was $5.9 trillion. The result of increased spending Hoekstra supported, the federal debt increased 46 percent, from approximately $5.6 trillion at the beginning of 2002 to an estimated $8.6 trillion at the end of 2006. [U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Public Debt]

Hoekstra Voted to Increase Debt Limit at Least 4 Times. [House Vote #158, 5/18/2006; House Vote #536, 11/18/2004; House Vote #280, 6/22/2004; House Vote #198, 5/19/2004; House Vote #279, 6/27/2002]

Hoekstra Defended Votes For Increasing Debt Ceiling.
Hoekstra “defended his own votes to increase the debt ceiling when he was in Congress, saying the country was ‘on a trajectory’ toward a balanced federal budget.” [Daily Tribune, 7/27/2011]

Hoekstra Voted Against Pay-Go Budget Rules.
In July 2009, Hoekstra voted against a pay-go act that would require all budget bills be paid for and not add to the deficit for fiscal year 2010. [House Vote #612, 7/22/2009]

Hoekstra Voted Against Pay-Go Five Times In Just One Year.
In 2004, Hoekstra voted against establishing fiscally responsible pay-go measures five times. [House Vote #535, 11/18/2004; House Vote #317, 6/25/2004; House Vote #314, 6/24/2004; House Vote #145, 5/5/04; House Vote #97, 3/30/2004]

Budget Busting Bush Tax Cuts for Millionaires and Billionaires
Hoekstra Supported $70 Billion “Deficit-Financed” Tax Cut Bill that Benefits Millionaires and Billionaires. In 2006, Rep. Pete Hoekstra voted in favor of a $70 billion tax cut bill. The Washington Post called the bill a “windfall for the rich, and a hole in the federal budget.” According to a study by the Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, Middle-income households would receive an average tax cut of $20, while the 0.2 percent of households with incomes over $1 million would get average tax cuts of $42,000. The Washington Post wrote that, “This Congress and administration are putting the nation deeper and deeper in debt to benefit a sliver of the population that doesn’t need the help. Someone’s going to have to pay for these deficit-financed tax cuts eventually, and it’s likely to be your grandchildren.” [Washington Post, 5/11/06; HR4297, Vote 135, 5/10/06]

Hoekstra Supported Bush’s 2004 Multitrillion-Dollar Tax Breaks for Wealthy. In March 2004, Rep. Pete Hoekstra supported Bush’s budget that permanently locked in multitrillion-dollar tax breaks that mostly benefit the nation’s wealthiest. According to the AFL-CIO, “To finance these taxes cuts for millionaires and billionaires, the Republican budget resolution—which mirrored Bush’s proposal—inflated the record-high $477 billion U.S. deficit and by $120 billion shortchanged or cut funds for the domestic programs working families need most—from job creation to health care, transportation and education. It also accelerated the repeal of the estate tax and made permanent tax cuts—such as the estate tax repeal, the capital gains and dividend rate cuts and the reduction in marginal rates—that provide huge benefits to families with the highest incomes.” [H Con Res 393, Vote #92, 3/25/04; 2004 AFL-CIO Scorecard]

Hoekstra Voted For $350 Billion Tax Cut For The Rich While Giving 50 Million Households Nothing.
In 2003, Rep. Pete Hoekstra voted for an irresponsible tax cut package that deepened the nation’s fiscal crisis and left middle-income households out in the cold. Some 53 percent of all U.S. households — or 74 million — will receive a tax cut of $100 or less in 2003 from the bill. Additionally, 36 percent of households — or 50 million — will receive no tax cut whatsoever in 2003, while tax filers who make $1 million or more per year will receive an average tax cut in 2003 of $93,500. The bill passed 231-200. [HR 2, Vote 225, 5/23/03; Center for Budget & Policy Priorities, 5/28/03]

Hoekstra Supported Budget Busting Tax Cut for the Wealthy.
In 2001, Rep. Pete Hoekstra voted in favor of the Bush tax cut package that reduced taxes by $1.35 trillion through 2010 through income tax cuts, relief of the marriage penalty, a phase-out of the federal estate tax, doubling the child tax credit, and providing incentives for retirement savings. Critics of the bill warned that the tax cut was too large and would jeopardize future Social Security benefits. [Congressional Budget Office; Campaign for America’s Future; HR 1836, Vote 149, 5/26/01]

Hoekstra Supported Bush’s Drug Benefit–Giving Medicare Dollars to Big Drug Companies
Hoekstra Supported Unfunded Prescription Drug Benefit. In 2003, Hoekstra supported the Republican Medicare Part D benefit plan, ” with unfunded future costs exceeding $7 trillion.” [Vote 669, 11/21/03; Washington Times, 9/18/2011]

Supported Earmarks
Detroit Free Press: Hoekstra Got Michigan’s Worst Ranking For Pork In 2007. In May 2010 the Detroit Free Press reported: “[Hoekstra] also has supported spending that, at least in hindsight, was controversial — like the $400-million Alaskan bridge that would have connected the mainland to an island with 50 residents. In RePork Cards, issued by the anti-spending Club for Growth, Hoekstra scored a 97% for his voting record in 2009, voting against pork projects almost every time. But in 2007, on 50 pork-project votes rated by the group, Hoekstra’s 20% mark was easily the lowest among Michigan’s Republican congressional delegation that year.” [Detroit Free Press, 5/12/10]

Tea Party Criticism
Primary Opponent Durant Criticized Hoekstra’s Votes for Increasing the Debt Ceiling. Durant said, “We don’t need an increase in the debt limit… I’ve never voted for an increase in the debt limit and without real spending cuts, I never would.” The Grand Rapids Press noted Durant “said in a back-handed reference to Hoekstra’s votes in favor of raising the debt ceiling during his 18 years in Congress.” [Grand Rapids Press, 8/12/2011]

Conservative Opponent Criticized Hoekstra’s Fiscal Record.
In announcing his run for Senate, conservative Gary Glenn, “Noting Hoekstra’s votes for the $850 billion Wall Street bailout, earmarks such as the $223 million “Bridge to Nowhere,” and budgets and debt ceiling increases that added trillions of dollars to the national debt, Glenn cited Einstein’s definition of insanity: ‘Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.’” Glenn said that Hoekstra “voted for red-ink budgets and debt ceiling increases that resulted in trillions in crushing new debt on our economy and our children’s future…. If we want to end the fiscal insanity in Washington, is it rational to expect we’ll get a different result if we keep sending the same people back there over and over again?” [Midland Daily News, 8/5/11]

Michigan Conservative Criticized Hoekstra’s Support for Wall Street Bailout.
According to MIRS, “Another potential candidate, Gary Glenn from Campaign for Michigan Families, came out firing against Hoekstra on Monday, inviting him to a five-day ‘Economics for Leaders’ seminar at Hillsdale College since he ‘voted to spend $850 billion of our tax dollars at TARP to bail out Wall Street bankers. I’ll save him a seat.’” [MIRS, 7/20/2011]

Hoekstra Criticized During GOP Primary For Bank Bailout Vote
During the Republican gubernatorial primary Hoekstra was criticized in ads “because of votes for the bank bailout.” [Kalamazoo Gazette, 3/17/2010]