The Greasy Pole

Abortion, taxes, deficits spur furious debate — baffling contradictions

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My. My. Allegations, fulminations, denegations.

All of a sudden, every elected official you ever heard of has been putting out press releases, standing on principle and lacerating the opposition.

Must be the full moon. Or maybe there’s an election near. Either way, all immensely entertaining.

Where to start?

Let’s see — how about the whole, police state versus the genocidal war on the unborn?

Both sides of the abortion/family planning/birth control debate went ballistic this week, with a result of court rulings and new state laws.

The big news came when a federal judge upheld the Arizona Legislature’s ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy — instead of the 24th week.

Other state laws taking effect include a law that ensures people like pharmacists and doctors won’t face actions against their state license if they act on their religious beliefs in doing things like refusing to fill a prescription for the morning-after pill. Another provision would allow employers with a religious objection to exclude things like birth control or abortion coverage from the company health plan.

The state Democratic Party put out a release blasting the “Tea Party Legislature,” which they called “rooted in extreme ideology pandering to special interests.”

On the other hand, Rim Country’s representative in Congress Rep. Paul Gosar labeled as “genocide” Congress’ failure this week to approve a bill to ban abortions after the 20th week in the District of Columbia. Gosar said, “I am deeply saddened and disgusted that this simple, humane and moral bill failed to pass the House. I find it deplorable that our nation’s capital allows the genocide of its unborn children.”

Please note: Gosar’s running in District 4, which includes Rim Country and remains a safe Republican seat. All he has to do is get past Lake Havasu City state House Rep. Ron Gould, who has the ferocious support of Glendale Rep. Trent Franks, who sponsored the District of Columbia bill.

Many states ban abortions after a fetus has a chance to survive outside the womb. Traditionally, that point comes sometime after the 24th week. A handful of states, including Arizona, have now acted to move that threshold to 20 weeks.

The issue certainly is playing out in the one state senate and two state house races here in Rim Country — with a sharp divide between the unopposed Republicans and the unopposed Democrats, all of them buffing up now for a general election matchup. State Legislative District 6 now includes northern Gila County, Prescott, the Verde Valley, Sedona and Flagstaff.

On the Republican side, state Rep. Chester Crandell hopes to move up to the Senate. Rep. Brenda Barton moved into the redrawn District 6 and Flagstaff Tea Party President Bob Thorpe is seeking his first elective office.

On the Democratic side, Flagstaff Rep. Tom Chabin wants to move up to the senate. Meanwhile, Sedona activist and child legal advocate Angela LeFevre and Doug Ballard, a retired Chandler economic development director, are running for the state house seats.

Rubik’s cube of jobs and taxes

Meanwhile, the week also produced a minifrenzy of contradictory claims about taxes, spending and deficits — with both sides decrying the deficit while simultaneously opposing any action to reduce it with which the other side might agree.

Republicans who have argued for the past two years that the deficit will destroy the economy and that government spending doesn’t create real jobs now seem unnerved by the prospect of deep cuts in both defense and social spending looming in January as a result of the failure of the bipartisan “super committee” to strike a deal.

Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl put out a release saying that the automatic cuts will cost Arizona 49,000 jobs and the nation some 2.1 million jobs while devastating national security.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats engineered a vote to extend the Bush tax cuts for people making less than $250,000. The Republicans immediately decried the increase in the 3 percent rise in marginal rates for the upper brackets as an economy-killing tax increase. House Republicans offered their own bill to extend all the tax cuts.

Ending the tax cuts will yield about $4 trillion over the next decade. Now, that might seem like a big chunk out of the $16 trillion deficit, which is growing at about $1 trillion annually. But Gosar said extending all the tax cuts will protect 700,000 jobs. Must be different ones from the 2.1 million jobs McCain and Kyl are worried about.

In the end, the two sides agreed to kick the can down the road in a time-honored legislative tradition. They agreed some minor tax cuts and extensions, but left all haggling until after the election.

Still, the flurry of claims and counterclaims left me confused. Perhaps if I’d taken calculus, I would understand how it’s possible that the deficit, collecting taxes and tax cuts will all destroy the economy. Maybe I just need to understand irrational numbers.

Anyhow, guess I’ll just wait for some clear, well-reasoned campaign ad to come along soon to explain it all.

In the meantime, just wanted to keep you posted on all the pungent fumes rising from latest fulminations.

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