By Michael Bryan
Jesse Kelly is trying to run from his past radical statements regarding eliminating and privatizing Social Security and Medicare, eliminating the minimum wage, slashing taxes on the wealthiest, and eliminating vital oversight of the free market to ensure the public is protected.
Well, he's still a radical, and it comes out when he's not appearing in carefully crafted campaign ad. In the video after the fold, we see Kelly addressing his base at the Marana Chamber of Commerce, where he is more comfortable showing his true colors, even though he knows that he is being filmed by Democrats (as he acknowledges at the end of the video). He just can't help himself. He's a true believer, a simple (some might say simplistic) man, and a straight talker. Those can be admirable qualities, but in a Member of Congress, convictions as radical and unrealistic as Mr. Kelly's are just downright dangerous to the public welfare.
On minimum wage:
When asked for his position, he scoffs, and uses an absurd scenario to denigrate the minimum wage. He hypothesizes that we could set it at $150 a hour, and that would just result in increased prices. Apparently, he is unable to discriminate between a small measure of fairness, and an absurdity.
Clearly, he thinks the minimum wage should not exist, and that free market forces alone should set all wages. He does not understand that the purpose of the minimum wage is not a naive attempt to vote ourselves wealth, it is to ensure that a person who works for a living does not have to live in abject poverty, and that even unskilled workers have enough money to afford the neccessities of life and a measure of dignity.
We accept as a society a slight increase in labor price imputs in order to achieve that meagre measure of economic equity. Americans overwhelmingly support the minimum wage, and even want to see it higher. But Kelly just can't understand that at all.
"We are sitting on top of a mountain of money in this country."
Kelly continues to claim that the solution for our economic recovery is energy exploitation. He still ignores the fact that Arizona doesn't have any significant oil, natural gas, or coal resources and won't benefit from Kelly's dream of a Russian-style natural resource led boom. As in Russia, the primary beneficiaries of Kelly's dream are the oligarchs who have the wealth and political clout to exploit those resources, not the broad American public.
Kelly asserts he's a strong supporter of the Keystone XL Pipeline and he just can't imagine any reason to delay it. He says, "it's anti-the-American-people to stand against the pipeline..." He doesn't express any concern about the fact that we have no idea the environmental impact of a spill, nor any idea of how to clean up such a spill.
And, of course, his support for the pipline won't do a damned thing for Arizona: there are no direct economic benefits or jobs created in Arizona by this boondoggle. Kelly cites the price of gas as a reason to approve the pipeline, but TransCanada's own application, and indpendent analysis both indicate that the effect of the pipeline will be to strengthen price leverage for Canadian crude, increasing prices for refined products in the U.S. That result may seem counter-intuitive, but the pipeline moves gas production using tar sands oil to a deepwater port for world export, thus reducing local oversupply of gasoline products in the U.S and thus raising the local price. You know, supply and demand? That central idea of market economies seems beyond the intellectual scope of Mr. Kelly. Just who is Kelly really seeking to represent in supporting the pipeline: the people of Arizona, or the energy lobby and Canadian oil?
Oh, and the fact that his family business is a pipeline contractor wouldn't have anything to do with his position, would it? Surely, Mr. Kelly wouldn't be so crass as to support a dangerous environmental boondoggle that would raise gas prices just because it might profit his daddy's company in some way?
Kelly claims that Arizona is a number one location nationally for computer chip fabricators because of the dry air and geological stability. We do have those features. But Jesse then claims that the reason those jobs aren't in Tucson is "We told them they're not welcome. We told them we don't want them in Pima County, we don't want them in Cochise County. And that's just flat wrong." Yes, what you just said is just flat wrong, Jesse. Intel has long ties to Chandler, and Tucson was never seriously considered by Intel.
Kelly exclaims, "We should be booming down here. We should be Scottdale. We could be Scottsdale." I don't know about you, but I don't want to live in Scottdale, Jesse. If you like Scottsdale so much, move up there and run for office there. BTW, Jesse, Intel's plants are in Chandler, not Scottsdale. Disturbing that he doesn't even know that.
"I will be attempting to defund the EPA and to strip them of their regulatory power."
Enough said. It's clear that Kelly has no concern whatever about protecting the health of citizens and the quality of our environment. Kelly is stuck in the mode of framing every protection of our environment as anti-business.
Kelly blames the EPA's regulation of coal plants' carbon emissions for there being no new coal energy plants being built in the U.S. He does not seem to grasp that plummeting natural gas prices due to domestic fracking has made them largely price non-competitive, in any case.
It goes without saying, perhaps, that Kelly is an anthropogenic climate change denier. So, to him, the idea of regulating carbon emssions to avoid catastrophic costs of climate change just doesn't make any sense.
It's very telling of Kelly's view of economic development that he would like us to be more like China, where the environment is not protected from pollution, and the people are suffering terribly as a result.
"Everthing is made in China because we chased all that industry out. Sadly, in many ways, right now... communist China is more elightened in business than the free United States of America."
We chased business out of America and into China? If you mean incentivized companies to move labor costs to low-wage Chinese factories with our tax code, your party did that thing and is blocking President Obama from undoing it, Mr. Kelly.
Multi-national companies have no loyalty; they go where they can maximize profit and externalize as many costs as possible. Part of that process of externalizing costs is not having to pay to prevent or remedy environmental pollution. Kelly's comments seem to indicate that he wants to kill the EPA to make it easier for companies to pollute America's environment like they do China's. That is insane and radical.
Mr. Kelly also claimed:
"We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world."
Problem is, that's just not true. The marginal combined effective corporate income tax rate (what a company actually pays doing business in a country, combining all taxes at the national and sub-national levels and taking into consideration deductions and credits) in America is about average for OECD countries, and significantly lower than many other advanced industrial nations.
Of course, such nuance is really beyond an ideologue like Kelly. He thinks the proper corporate income tax rate is zero, so, of course, he thinks it's too high, regardless of what it actually might be.
Of course, Mr. Kelly thinks that real people should pay taxes, even if corporations should not. He thinks that every person should pay the same rate, regardless of income. He says with almost unseemly enthusiasm:
"I love the flat tax... Every American should pay same small percentage of income to the federal government."
Really, even if they make very little? Yep. Even if they make billions? Yep. Kelly has completely abandoned the idea of progressivity in taxes: from those who benefit the most from our societies' services, more is required. He considers that "demonizing wealth".
Kelly's philosophy is "Keep what you earned, you earned it, and pass it on to the next generation." Never mind that nobody earns a fortune alone; the society around a capitalist allows and enables that accumulation of wealth through services to the individual and creation of the business environment.
Kelly's comment about passing it to the next generation would indicate that he doesn't favor an estate tax, either. No surprise that Kelly is in favor of such unearned wealth, that's how he makes his living after all.
Kelly reminds me of a teenage boy who is frantically trying to deny his dependence on his parents while worshipping at an altar dedicated to Ayn Rand, even as he lives in his parents' basement. Kelly works for his dad's constuction company, which gets up to 90% of it's business from government contracts. I'm sure that his position at the company was earned solely on merit, and has nothing to do with his position as scion of the family...
Let's get real: Kelly has never been exposed to the "free market" he worships so assiduously. His whole poltical persona is a smirking, swaggering, cock-sure denial of any collective responsibility or accountablity. He's all about getting the "nanny state" out of our lives, even as he nurses at that nanny's tit like an overgrown man-child. A recent article by Sara Robinson, "How the Ayn Rand-Loving Right Is Like a Bunch of Teen Boys Gone Crazy", perfectly embodies the childish political phenomenon that is the modern GOP right wing and, especially, the person of Jesse Kelly.
Watch the video after the click (Hat tip to AZ08RawFootage)...