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Jon Tester vs. Conrad Burns--The Stealth Tax Man

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Jon Tester vs. Conrad Burns
--The Stealth Tax Man

Montanan US Senator Conrad Burns keeps trying to claim tax and spend credentials for his Democratic opponent, Jon Tester, who helped balance the Montana State Budget in 2005. Burns also claims that he's never voted for a tax increase. If true, those are important considerations, so let's look at who's really taxing America.

Fact One: A DEBT IS A TAX. A debt is a tax wearing a Halloween mask. The only difference is that when you take the Halloween mask off a debt, it looks a lot scarier instead of better. The fact is that the Republicans, with Conrad Burns's help, have raised your National Debt $3 Trillion Dollars in the past five years. That's $10,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States. And it's a tax, because you, and your children, and your grandchildren are going to have to pay it. So, when Conrad Burns says he doesn't raise taxes, ask him when he's going to take off his Halloween mask. [1] When he does, you'll see the face of a borrow and bankrupt Republican.

Fact Two: TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS IS JUST PILING THE TABLE HIGHER FOR THE RICH, AND HOPING A FEW SCRAPS WILL FALL OFF. It's like having a hungry dog and putting more food on the table for its owner: It's like Burns's strategy of cutting taxes even more for the multinational corporations and his rich, East Coast Republican contributors and having the rest of us hope that some scraps fall off to keep us from going broke. Montana's farmers and workers are hungry and are working like dogs, but how many of the Bush/Burns policies actually help us directly? Mostly, politicians like Conrad Burns just help their rich donors, while telling you that one of these days you're going to get some real good scraps

Fact Three: IT'S NOT THE DEATH TAX THAT'S THE PROBLEM, IT'S ALL THE LIFE TAXES. When the Republican Congress helps big pharmaceutical companies by making Americans pay far more for their medications than consumers in other western countries, it's a life tax that you and I are paying so politicians like Conrad Burns can keep getting their big political donations. When Conrad Burns and the Republican Senate pass a huge corporate welfare bill for Exxon/Mobil after it made $35 billion in profits for fiscal year 2005, that's a life tax that you have to pay at the gas pump. When Congress makes it easier for insurance companies to throw sick people off their insurance plans, or lets Wal-Mart use government health plans to meet its employees' health care costs, then your life tax goes up because your government has to pay for all those additional medical expenses. The point is that tax policy can either be used by a new Democratic majority for the common good to help Montana's and America's working families and farmers, or it'll be used by Conrad Burns and the Senate's other auctioneers to help their donors, and make your life even tougher than it already is.

BOTTOM LINE: THE REAL, INFLATION-ADJUSTED INCOME FOR HOUSEHOLDS HAS FALLEN FIVE YEARS IN A ROW. That's the Bush/Burns Revolution and it's coming out of your hide.

Fact Four: DEBITS FOR AMERICANS TO PAY, WHILE REPUBLICANS TAKE THE CREDIT. Republicans in Congress, with Conrad Burns's help, have spent their way to the highest debits in American history-or debts as most of us call them. Remember the old accounting wisdom? Debits on the left. Credits on the Right? Debits are what you owe. Credits are what you are making. Republicans build up huge debts and then they take credit for not raising taxes.

Unfortunately, building up massive debts/deficits while massively reducing income has produced a $3 Trillion Dollar shortfall in just five years. So people like Conrad Burns are not really conservatives, because they do not know how to conserve and preserve money, or agriculture, or health care: They only know how to borrow and bankrupt. When, far too late, they do look for tax cuts, it's out of your Social Security, out of farm support, out of the loans for your children to go to college, or, even worse, out of the veterans' health benefits and advanced body armor for our troops in Iraq (Burns got a grade of D+ from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America).

Fact Five: IT'S THE DEMOCRATS WHO BALANCE THE BUDGET AND PAY OFF THE DEBT, and it's the Democrats like Jon Tester who make sure that when tax money is spent, it goes to improve the common good and the lives of everyday workers and farmers. Remember the late 90s when we paid down the debt three years in a row? [3] That's a good thing. That's when a farmer knows that he's on the right track and he'll probably be able to stay in business. Any farmer knows you can't operate on credit for very long. You have to balance your budget, decide where to make the best expenditures for your economic future and, after all that, hope you have enough to pay yourself. Conrad Burns votes to make the bank richer, and to keep workers poorer. Jon Tester and the new Democratic majority in Congress will help us create good jobs at a fair wage so all America's working families and working farmers can pay off our debts.

And, just like Max Baucus, Jon Tester, will fight to bring more funding for Montana's farmers and workers than Conrad Burns ever thought of doing [4]--and he's already been promised a seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, so he'll be in prime position to make sure that Montana gets its fair share of Federal funding. He'll also protect your Social Security and your right to a decent retirement. And, he's going there to make sure that Republicans stop robbing the Social Security Trust Fund to overpay Halliburton contractors.

So, if you think we need someone to fight for the needs of Montana's working families and Montana's family farms, then Jon Tester's your man. Jon Tester believes that it's your country, it's your government, it's your tax money, and Jon believes that your tax money should be spent to make your life better. Conrad Burns's voting record proves he's out to keep you working longer hours for a pitiful minimum wage. To top it off, Bush's National Labor Relations Board just told eight million US workers and 8800 Montanans that they're suddenly supervisors and that they have to work overtime with no extra pay, and that they have no right to negotiate, because they have to talk to another worker 10 per cent of the time. [5]

Take off your Halloween mask, Conrad, and look in the mirror. CONRAD BURNS, YOU'VE BEEN RAISING TAXES EVERY YEAR SINCE 2001: $3 Trillion worth of debt. $3 trillion that will turn into taxes that will come out of our Social Security Trust Fund or else $3 trillion that our children will have to pay. Conrad, just because it's the soaring National Deficit, doesn't make it less of a tax. So when Conrad Burns says he doesn't raise taxes, he just means-yet. It's just that Conrad Burns and the other Republicans in Congress are trying to bamboozle their fellow Americans about their real agenda, which is to overspend, and hide the taxes, and then to leave average Americans starving at the table with the check.

But the fact is that it's our table, Conrad. Remember We the People? It's not we the multinational corporations. It's not we the fat-cat political donors. It's We the People, Conrad--of, by and for. And, that's who Jon Tester is fighting for, We the People, because the Republicans, and Conrad Burns, are not.


ABOUT JON TESTER: Jon Tester is a life-long, third generation, Montana farmer and rancher. He served as the President of the Montana Senate during its 2005 term and served as an educator and on numerous local school and agricultural boards in his native city of Big Sandy. He led the charge in the 2005 Montana Legislative session for vastly expanded renewable energy for Montana, for reduced health insurance costs for Montana small businesses, for a return of the Made in Montana program for locally manufactured items, and supported numerous programs to help the educational and medical needs of Montana's children and senior citizens.

His opponent, CONRAD BURNS, is an incumbent Republican who has voted against increasing the minimum wage ten different times. Conrad Burns has recently has been forced to donate to charity the over $150,000 in campaign funds he received from convicted Republican political lobbyist Jack Abramoff and from Abramoff's clients and is under suspicion for reportedly requiring workers at a federally-funded space program in Missoula to donate to his reelection campaign.

Locked in a tight election battle, Jon Tester has held a lead over Conrad Burns since early June and the latest Rasmussen Reports poll on Thursday, November 2 showed Jon Tester's lead had grown back to four points, 50 to 46.

[4] "Democratic Sen. Max Baucus says he has brought billions of dollars more in federal money to Montana in the past 10 years than Republican Sen. Conrad Burns."
[5] and

Revised and modified with permission of the authors.
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Steve Corrick is an investor/developer of real estate, biomass-based renewable energy and soil technologies, and a long-time fighter for paper-ballot-based elections and for sustainable use and renewal of the world's bioresources.

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