Blog - NJ7 Citizens for Change

NJ7C4C Fills important Need in 7th Congressional District

Who Are We? NJ7 Citizens for Change (NJ7C4C) is a federally-registered [ Super PAC (Political Action Committee)].  A Super PAC cannot contribute to or coordinate with a candidate or political party but may otherwise engage in unlimited political spending to advocate for or against a federal candidate.  Our mission is to promote Democratic representation for the 7th Congressional District of New Jersey.  Specifically, we seek to dispel the notion that Leonard Lance is the moderate that you see on MSNBC, CNN, and NPR.  In addition, you may be seeing ads that depict him as the protector of the middle class when we know that his voting record says otherwise.  These ads have been produced and paid for by GOP Super PACs. We want to produce quality video and print materials as well as radio ads to illustrate his voting record, which is consistent with the Trump agenda over 90% of the time. Virtually every dollar you donate to NJ7C4C will go towards fulfilling this goal.  We are all volunteers and have no paid staff and negligible overhead. Once we have produced issue-oriented videos, we will boost them, as well as other on-line content, to targeted audiences on social media.   There are over 20 grassroots activist groups active in New Jersey’s Seventh Congressional District.  We do not seek to duplicate their efforts but rather to work with them to produce materials that expose Lance for who he is and not who he pretends to be on TV. Most of these groups have no legal means to raise funds.  We all know that effective, far reaching messaging takes money.  We can provide paid messaging to compliment the on-the-ground work of the Grassroots groups.  It will take a great targeted effort to unseat Lance and to bring strong Democratic representation to New Jersey’s Seventh District. In terms of the current field of Democratic candidates, there are currently at least six individuals vying for the nomination.  We hope to see a fair and open primary process whereby a strong candidate will move forward into the General Election at which time we will wholeheartedly and enthusiastically support her or him. Please consider becoming part of our campaign for 2,500 donations of $25 in 25 days.  Give yourself the gift of a new Congressperson in 2018.  Donate Here  
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A Turkey Votes for Christmas?

  Congressman Leonard Lance is in a corner.  He voted “No” on the House tax reform measure, in accordance with the clear will of his constituents.  In a snap on-line poll he conducted, 85% of respondents agreed with his vote. So far, so good.  Clearly, the ability to deduct state and local taxes (SALT), and to retain the full mortgage interest deduction is critically important to voters in NJ7.  But that was the easy vote. The question is, how will Congressman Lance vote when a Senate version has passed, and a final yes/no vote is called on the Act of Congress that emerges from committee?  Our Congressman has declared himself confident that “there is room for compromise,” no doubt preparing the ground for a “Yes” vote after establishing his principled opposition.  It just won’t wash.  Whatever the final form the legislation takes, the “blue states” will be asked to give at the office again.  And should you hear talk that our “red state” colleagues are subsidizing those tax-and-spend “blue state” liberals by supporting the SALT deduction, remember this:  In 2015 , each NJ resident sent $2,659 more to Washington in taxes than she got back in federal spending--more than any other state.  
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2018 Election is Here!

  2018 is here! Wow!  Was it just a week ago we were celebrating some great election news from NJ?  Time to sit back, and smell the roses, right? Wrong!  We are already in the 2018 electoral cycle.  Have you received your first election flyer from Leonard Lance yet?  If not, you will find it in your mailbox shortly.  Congressman Lance knows he will be in the fight of his life.  His future will be in OUR hands.  Did you hear of Elizabeth Warren’s response to the question, “who is the leader of the Democratic Party?”  Her response was “the grassroots”.  You better believe it.  The only way we will be able to replace Congressman Lance with a Democrat will be through a massive, district wide, disciplined and highly coordinated Get Out The Vote campaign, no matter who our final candidate is.  It is going to be on US, the grassroots.  Why do I say to that?  Well, close inspection of the result of last week’s gubernatorial race returns showed that in NJ7, with a turnout of about 35% of voters, some 14 000 more people voted for Kim Guadagno than voted for Phil Murphy.  If that had been the Congressional race, Leonard Lance would be back in office.  There will be no Trump/Clinton race next year.  It is likely that our scandal-plagued senior senator will head the ticket.    At the grass roots level, I know that many people have absorbed that lesson, and are already thinking about how to increase voter turnout, how to get an edge.  For example, I came into contact with Kristin Sanborn, from Summit, NJ.  Kristin is compiling a comprehensive set of spreadsheets, documenting every vote recorded in each of the last few elections in every district, in every township in every county in NJ7.  I can testify that it is dusty, dry, unglamorous work, But that information can help to build outreach into all corners of the district, to build local organizations, town by town, ward by ward.  And if we can connect those communities, share our learnings, our talents, our enthusiasm, our commitment, then just maybe we can send one big collective message to Washington.    And the message will be, NJ7 Citizens voted for Change.  And WON!!  
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Who Are They Kidding?

We continue to be told that the Republican tax cuts will benefit the middle class.  What kind of a people do they think we are??  According to calculations by the Joint Committee on Taxation, the House bill would deliver about $1 trillion in tax cuts to business.  And, writing in the WSJ, Richard Rubin said “Early estimates show that about $1 trillion worth of the tax cuts in the plan go to businesses, including pass-through ones, while about $228 billion goes to individuals and $172 billion goes to estates.”   Most of the “tax breaks” for individuals expire after a few years whereas the changes for businesses are permanent.  Further, it is individuals who are at risk from the cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, and now, we learn, from the repeal of the individual mandate, which will add 15 million people to the ranks of the uninsured.  What is more, the Senate version totally eliminates the deduction for State and Local taxes.  For Blue states like New Jersey, that will amount to a substantial rise in taxation. In NJ7, that deduction is taken by 53.3% of taxpayers, per Forbes Magazine.    Our Congressman, Leonard Lance, while declaring loss of the SALT deduction “unacceptable.” also talks of his confidence that a compromise can be reached.  No doubt his mind is being concentrated wonderfully by the SuperPACS running TV ads, thanking him for supporting the GOP tax plan that "gives all middle income folks a tax savings of $1200+ per year!”  These Super PACS-- 45 Committee, American Action Network, and Campaign for Liberty - are “dark money” organizations designed to protect the anonymity of the wealthy donors supporting them, who will be the big winners under this tax cut plan.  You can be sure they are not amongst the more than 400 American millionaire and billionaire members of Responsible Wealth, who are sending a letter to Congress this week urging Republican lawmakers NOT to cut their taxes.  Responsible Wealth knows that this is a tax cut for the wealthy 1% at the expense of the poor, the sick, and the elderly, and they reject it. So should your Congressman.  
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Old Chinese Proverb - “Eat bitter, taste sweet”

    Doesn’t it feels as though we have endured a year of eating bitter fruit? At last we tasted some sweetness in the elections this week.    I was a spear-carrier in the municipal elections in Westfield, where the Republicans held all 8 council seats and the mayor’s office. Shelley Brindle campaigned to become the town’s first female mayor, and lead a ticket including four Democrat candidates for the council seats up for re-election.  The campaign fed off the energy of the local “resist” movement, making liberal use of both traditional campaign tools and social media to mobilize a motivated base of all ages.  Shelley and her team certainly motivated me to get out of my armchair!  And the result?  A clean sweep! On a day on which the rain set in at around 4:00pm, the election generated a 45% voter turnout, compared with a statewide average of 35%.  Other local townships have similar tales to tell, I know  There are lessons to be learned here for our next task in the 2018 mid-term elections.  It will not be easy.  In the four elections in which Congressman Lance has run, his margin of victory has never been less than 9% and it has been as high as 20%, feeding off a solid base of support in the west of the state.  But in the gubernatorial election, in the counties that fall in whole or in part in NJ7, Murphy outpolled Guadagno. Murphy ran away with Union county; and came close in Somerset.  As in Virginia, the more suburban counties went heavily for the progressive message.  Of course, the counties don’t match completely with the Congressional map, but it is encouraging.  A strong candidate with a compelling vision; multi-generational and coordinated “resistance”; robust local organization; a high voter turnout.  Together, our citizens can indeed force change!  In the words of Winston Churchill, “this is not the end; it is not even the beginning of the end.  But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”  Sweet!  
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Why Today's Elections Are A BIG Test For The Activists Fighting Trump

  Click here to learn about Westfield NJ activist Group 20/20. Their resistance WILL bring change to 7th Congressional District! Will you join them? 
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Rep. Suzan DelBene (WA) Shines a Light on the Fundamental Unfairness of the GOP Tax Plan

Thank you Congresswoman Suzan DelBene for this incisive line of questioning. In less than three minutes you show who is going to be hurt by this plan: Join us as we put pressure on our elected officials to oppose this tax plan. Your voice matters.  
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Who is Being Left Out? GOP Tax Plan

  Recently, I wrote about the tax misconceptions that are being used to sell a tax proposal that will only widen the economic gap between the top and the bottom earners of our society.  By one estimate, in 2012, 50% of all income went to the top 10% of our earners.  These are the people who will be the beneficiary of the tax reform.  It is worth noting that when you earn at that level, you tend to accumulate wealth.  Thus, in 2010 the top 1% of the US population owned 42.1% of personal property wealth; the next 4% owned 30% of personal property wealth; the next 15% owned 23.5% of such wealth (totaling 95.6% for the top 20% combined); the bottom 80% of the population owned 4.7% of personal property wealth.  Let’s spend a little time looking at the other end of the spectrum.  The National Employment Law Project, an organization that supports raising the minimum wage and the unionization of workers, released a study showing that over 40% of American workers make less than $15/hour, or $31,000 annually for full time work. Women, Black and Latinos are disproportionately represented, but the total includes 38% of whites. It is families with wage earners in this category that are buried in the IRS statistic that 62% of families filing returns have a total household income of less than $50,000.   Depending where you live, maybe you can get by on $50,000 per annum, but it is a struggle.  Harder, of course, as the number drops. You may pay little or no Federal Income Tax, but as discussed previously, you pay about $3800 in payroll taxes to support Social Security and Medicare. You should qualify for healthcare insurance subsidies, whether or not you have a preexisting condition, to buy health insurance, including the 10 essential benefits, under the Affordable Care Act.  Your children will likely be covered by CHIP, which costs $10 a month.  Well, the Republican Congress would still like to end “Obamacare”, and provide the option for low cost, high deductible insurance policies.  That is great if you have no pre-existing condition.  Good luck if you get sick.  And CHIP will run out of money in March.  Congress has so far stalled on renewing funding . . . .  Included in the 62% with household incomes below $50,000 are all those reliant on Medicaid. Medicaid is the nation’s public health insurance program for low-income children, adults, seniors, and people with disabilities.  According to Kaiser Permanente, in 2014, there were 80 million enrollees. The disabled received most of the $462.8 billion expenditure - 40%; followed by the elderly (21%), children (19%) and adults (19%).  And those adults? About 60 percent of non-disabled Medicaid adult enrollees have a job. As for kids, 45% of all births are covered by Medicaid, and 39% of children depend on Medicaid for their healthcare.  A staggering 62% of nursing home residents are covered by Medicaid.  And yet, when last we heard, Medicaid is to be the subject of a $1 trillion cut over the next ten years to fund the Republican tax reforms.    So when your Congressman tells you the tax cuts will benefit the middle class, ask him exactly who he means by the middle.  And we, as Democrats, have to be much more assertive in explaining what we will do to spread the wealth and the opportunity of our country more evenly.  Even if that means the Koch brothers will have to get by with a little less . . . .
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We’re Being Buffaloed

We’re being buffaloed over “tax reform.”  From what we know so far about the mysterious workings of the Washington Republican cabal, we will be presented with a proposal that massively rewards the professional political donor classes.  Joe Six-Pack? Forget it!  To help us swallow our bad medicine, we are being dealt a steady diet of tax mythologies.  Here are some of them, and responses you can try on your favorite Congressman.  “America is the highest taxed nation in the world.” We often hear the CinC assert this.  By any number of measures, it is a flat out falsehood.  Of the 35 major developed economies that are part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), looking at total tax revenue as a fraction of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the US has the fourth-LOWEST tax burden of any OECD country, with only South Korea, Chile, and Mexico ranking lower.  Perhaps he means we have the highest marginal tax rate?  Nope, we are in the middle of the pack (18th) on that score.  Well how about Joe Six-pack? If you are a single person earning the US median wage of $56 000, your tax burden would rank as #16 in the OECD list; if you are married with two kids, your tax burden drops to #25.  “American Corporate taxes are crippling US competitiveness.”  The American corporate tax rate of 35% is the highest in the world, it is true.  In fact, because the tax structure is riddled with loopholes, when the dust settles, and we ask what the effective tax rate is, then we pay the 4th highest level of corporate taxes.  If we drop to 15% as Mr. Trump originally proposed, we would drop to the 4th lowest.  But even so, this misses the point on two levels.  First, corporate taxes are not crippling US competitiveness. Let’s ask Warren Buffett.  He knows a thing or two about American corporations and their earnings.  “When American business talks about strangling our competitiveness, or that sort of thing, they’re talking about something [corporate taxation] that as a percentage of G.D.P. has gone down,” Mr. Buffett says.   And indeed, in 1960, corporate taxes in the United States were about 4% of GDP. Today, they are 1.9 percent.  If you express that as a percentage of all tax revenue collected in the US, corporations pay about 9%, a fraction that has been declining steadily (in the 1950’s it was 33%).   Mr Buffett says there IS something that is crippling American competitiveness - medical costs. “Medical costs are the tapeworm of American economic competitiveness,”  he says.  According to the Tax Policy Center, in 2015, corporations paid $343,797 million in federal taxes, out of a total of $3.2 trillion collected. Interestingly, that number, $3.2 trillion, is what the entire US spent on health care in 2015, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  The CMS says that private companies paid 20% of that total, or $640,000 million.  Mr.  Buffett is right; if we want to do something for American corporations, we should get them out of the healthcare business.  There are plenty of ways to do that, as most OECD nations have discovered to the universal benefit of the health of their citizenry. . . .  “35% of the population pay no taxes.” We’re getting to Mitt Romney and the “takers” here.  It is true that 35% of filers pay no federal income tax, either because they had no taxable income, or they didn't end up owing any income tax due to credits, deductions, and other adjustments.  But if you are employed, pretty much everyone pays payroll taxes-- those line items on your pay stub that go to pay for Social Security and Medicare. Indeed,  according to the Treasury Department, all but the top-earning 20% of American families pay more in payroll taxes than in federal income taxes.  And those payroll taxes make up a big chunk of federal revenue-- about a third, compared to just under a half for income tax.  And of course, sales and property taxes mean that many people in lower tax brackets are in fact paying significantly higher effective tax rates.   “The top 20% pay 80% of all taxes.” That’s pretty much true for federal income tax; actually, it is the top 16%, those with adjusted gross incomes over $100,000.  What the statement does not capture is the huge rise in the wealth of the super rich, the top 1% of the population, and the rate at which their wealth is increasing. The top 1% are taking home more than 20 percent of all income; and the gap between the wealthiest Americans and the rest of us gets larger every year.  Since much income at that level derives from capital gains, which are taxed at a lower rate than regular earnings, the effective tax rate at this level is much lower than the current top marginal rate of 39.6%. Warren Buffett, who famously pointed out that his tax rate was lower than his secretary’s, has long advocated for a minimum tax on top wage earners -- the so-called Buffett Rule, which is fiercely opposed by Republicans.  Mr. Trump would have us believe that the super rich need more help, to be paid for by the rest of us.  “The President’s tax plan will benefit the middle classes.” We await with bated breath the appearance of the final plan, but estimates from the outline suggest that more than two-thirds (67 percent) of the tax cuts contained in the framework would go to the richest one percent of Americans in 2018. These taxpayers are projected to have incomes of at least $615,800 next year.  “Repealing the Death Tax will save the family farm.” This claim, or versions of it, has been around for years, as a battle cry to eliminate the Estate Tax.  In fact, fewer than the wealthiest two of every 1,000 estates nationwide owed any estate tax in 2016.  So, if you are not in the 99.9% percentile, don’t lose any sleep over this.  The Koch brothers, on the other hand, lose a lot of sleep over it.  They and their friends are behind the repeal of this tax.    “Increased growth will make up for the loss of revenue.” It has never happened in the past; it will not happen now.  Someone once said that “the art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing.”  Right now, the Koch brothers and their friends are hissing the loudest!  So when your Congressman feeds you some of this misinformation to sell you on the plan — HISS!!!  
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Have You Had Enough Yet?

  Have you had enough yet?Have you had it with assaults on healthcare?Does a $1 trillion cut in Medicaid and $480 million cut in Medicare sound immoral to you?Are you sick of hearing about tax cuts for the wealthy funded by our state and local tax deduction?Are you tired of the Koch brothers and their unholy influence?When your contributory pension scheme is gone, does an assault on your 401K feel like the last straw?Do you feel we have a misogynistic, sexist man-child in the White House?Are you outraged at the rape and pillage of the EPA and all that protects our environment?Are you appalled by the moral equivalence given to white supremacy and those who protest it?Are you revolted by the failure of most Republicans to call “enough”?Are you still waiting for that infrastructure spend we were promised?Do you think we will EVER have a new tunnel under the Hudson?Well, all politics is local. It starts with YOU. With YOUR vote for YOUR local representatives. For YOUR State representatives. If we want to change the House in 2018, then we need to start NOW in 2017.Send a message. Enough IS enough!Vote early if you can. Vote on November 7 if you can’t. And bring a friend or a neighbor.But above all else ....... VOTE!!!!!
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