Dear Senator McConnell:
I am as surprised as anyone to see your name enter the carefully moderated pages of my Honest Politician Group. With so little chance you would ever accidentally utter a truth or purposely break your only perfect record, and no way in hell anyone could sneak a dishonest post about your non-existent virtues past me, I thought the group was safe.
And then came this deliciously ironic twist of events.
Hell didn’t exactly freeze over but temperatures here in McConnell hell did drop into tolerable ranges during Kentucky State Fair week, closely resembling the same phenomenon. And pigs, both of the two and four leg varieties, were involved. The country ham went for $1.6 million; no word yet on what you or Rand Paul sold yourselves for in that room full of corporate money.
From what I hear, the Annual Country Ham Breakfast, an event where politicians and pork come together to impress power ($) and people, went pretty much as usual. Pigs did not fly nor did my hero, Congressman John Yarmuth, earn the recognition he deserved - until later, when a listener emailed a radio talk show host to ask why he didn’t stand to applaud you at the pork fest. And a hero was born.
I’ll let Joseph Gerth of the Courier Journal tell the rest of the story:
U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth sharply criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Friday, saying the most powerful Republican in Washington “has this wonderful habit of being meticulously accurate with what he says and rarely honest.”
Yarmuth, D-3rd District, acknowledged that he didn’t stand for McConnell and said the Republican leader was misleading the crowd when he talked about the impact of a Democratic proposal to allow some of the Bush-era tax cuts to expire at the end of the year.
Specifically, he took issue with McConnell’s claim that increasing the income tax rate on the top earners would affect 50 percent of all small business income.
“I didn’t have a Joe Wilson moment, although I was close,” said Yarmuth, a reference to the South Carolina Republican who shouted “you lie” as President Barack Obama spoke to a joint session of Congress last September.
McConnell, in a statement, responded by saying, “I appreciate John pointing out that my arguments against the Democrats’ efforts to raise taxes on small businesses in Kentucky were ‘meticulously accurate.’ ”
McConnell told the breakfast that Republicans and Democrats would be fighting over a tax increase when they return to Washington next month.
“You’ve heard those in charge in Washington argue that this is only going to be a tax increase on people making over a quarter of a million dollars a year and you’ve gotten out your tax return and breathed a sigh of relief and said, ‘Gee, it won’t affect me,’ ” McConnell said.
“The problem with that is, if you raise taxes on the top two (tax brackets) you will impact 50 percent of small business income and 24 percent of the workforce in the middle of a recession, because a huge percentage of our businesses don’t pay taxes as corporations, they pay taxes as individuals,” McConnell said.
On the WHAS program, Yarmuth argued that, while McConnell was technically accurate, only a small percentage of small business owners would be affected by a tax increase.
“The 50 percent of small business income is basically being earned by billionaires,” Yarmuth said. “It’s just so disingenuous to try to create the impression that the vast number of small business owners are going to be affected.”
Republicans and Democrats agree that more than 90 percent of small businesses pay taxes at individual rates. But the Joint Committee on Taxation, a nonpartisan congressional group, says that in 2011 only about 3 percent of all taxpayers reporting net positive business income — about 750,000 — would earn enough to qualify to pay higher rates if taxes are raised on individuals earning more than $200,000 or couples earning more than $250,000.
Yarmuth said he has known McConnell for about 40 years and was a political ally before becoming a Democrat in 1985. Throughout that time, he said, McConnell has used facts in such a way as to mislead voters.
And, calling McConnell “devious,” Yarmuth said the Senate minority leader knew he was mischaracterizing the statistics he cited.
I thank Congressman Yarmuth for his honesty, and for being courageous enough to say that he thinks we deserve the same from you. I hope other honest politicians will take his lead and stand up to those who are purposely misleading the public.