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POLITCAL NOTEBOOK: Local leaders react to State of the Union speech

Local leaders react to president's State of the Union speech

In honor of Valentine's Day, we'll start our post-State of the Union reaction with the local leaders that showed some love for the president.

Fellow Democrat Hank Johnson, who represents a portion of Gwinnett in Congress, said he appreciated President Barack Obama's "positive" message Tuesday.

"What we saw tonight was a positive, bold plan to help create jobs by investing in education, infrastructure, clean energy and manufacturing -- offset by new savings or revenues," Johnson said. "I agree with President Obama -- only a thriving middle class can stimulate long-term growth and Americans must be given the tools to succeed. For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change by pursuing bipartisan, market-based solutions that can help drive strong economic growth."

Johnson said the country is moving in the right direction, but more should be done to improve the economy. He said he was looking forward to the new "Fix-It-First" program to get people back to work.

Mike Berlon, the Loganville lawyer who heads the Democratic Party of Georgia, said the president set a "clear path" for the future in his annual speech before Congress.

"Improving healthcare, eliminating tax loopholes, election reform, focusing on pre-school education, developing an energy security policy, reducing the deficit, common sense tax reform and a comprehensive plan for immigration reform are all a path to recapturing the American dream," Berlon said. "The president's tough line on debt and taxes, proposals for improving the economic situation of the middle class, increase to the minimum wage, plans to assure equal pay for women for equal work, support for equal rights for all, approach to climate change, support of our military and unwavering commitment to end the excessive and unnecessary gun violence in this country show that he is ready to make the hard and necessary decisions to move this country forward.

"The president made it clear that for far too long, Congress' inability to compromise has prevented measures that would make life better for all Americans," Berlon added. "Now, he has taken this fight directly to the American people and made the case for significant changes in his second term. Simply put, the message was clear: It is time to put partisan politics aside and work for the many and not the few."

But the populist message did not sit well with Paul Broun, the Athens congressman who represents eastern Gwinnett.

"Tonight the president stood before the American people to tell us there is nothing wrong with America that more taxes, spending, and government cannot fix," said Broun, who announced last week he is seeking the Georgia Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Saxby Chambliss. "As a constitutional conservative, I know that giving government more money and more power will have a devastating effect on job creation and our struggling economy. Georgians want a senator who will stand up to the President, his lapdog Harry Reid, and the big spenders in Congress."

Broun also chastised the president for the upcoming sequester, which was his idea, but he now wants to blame Republicans for failing to repeal it.

"Not only do (voters) want someone who will fight for lower taxes, less spending, and less government intrusion into their lives, they also want someone who will not back down from these challenges," Broun said. As Georgia's next U.S. senator, I will continue to ensure that Georgians get to keep more of their paychecks, that Congress stops burying our families and small businesses in debt, and that the size of the federal government shrinks -- so that American liberty can grow."

No word yet from U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville. We hope to have his response for Sunday's edition.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.

Comments

Jan 1 year, 2 months ago

Paul Broun obviously does not understand facts. History has proven him wrong. President Clinton raised taxes, increased minimum wage and balanced the budget while decreasing unemployment and businesses thrived. President Bush cut taxes, kept minimum wage low resulting in accelerated debt increase, even worse than under Reagan, and drastic increase in unemployment rates, bank failures and business decline. Hopefully the people will see through his absurd arguments and vote him out during the primary.

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jack 1 year, 2 months ago

It could be said of President Obama, "accelerated debt increase, even worse than under Bush, and drastic increase in unemployment rates, bank failures and business decline.". What worked during the Clinton years, will not work now; completely different scenario.

Broun will not be voted out during the primary for his absurd arguments, but for the reason that he is a lunatic.

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FordGalaxy 1 year, 2 months ago

Clinton also presided over a housing market that was bubbling towards bursting, as well a the tech bubble that also burst. Clinton also presided over the efforts of Jamie Goelick to build massive walls of separation within the intelligence community, thus potentially creating situations of faulty intelligence. Clinton also bombed Bosnia. And he also disgraced the office by lying under oath. Than again, all politicians lie to us, so we really shouldn't be surprised.


Minimum wage did not rise or fall under Bush. Also, you have to remember that minimum wage affects two different things: 1. Raising the minimum wage will lead to a rise in the cost of goods and service so that the company can maintain profitability, and 2. Raising minimum wage actually leads to higher unemployment amonth lower-skilled and youth workers. Younger workers typically have less skills than their older counterparts, so it's harder for a company to justify paying them an increased minimum wage. San Francisco has the highest minimum wage in the nation, at over $10 per hour. I was in my late 20s before I ever made over $10 an hour. And I know a lot of people whose work is not worth $10/hr.


As an aside, history has proven a lot of politicians wrong. Unfortunately, we live in a society that seems to expect every statement ever made to hold up to eternal scrutiny, and the moment one little part is deemed false by the continuance of time or policy, then that statement-maker is castigated as a liar and a fraud. Social media is partly to blame, but the media in general is responsible as well.

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Sandykin 1 year, 2 months ago

I had forgotten about the dot com bust where people literally walked away from million dollar homes in Alpharetta because they could no longer afford them. That did happen under Clinton, didn't it?

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Jan 1 year, 2 months ago

You really need to do more research. While I did not say that Bush raised or lowered the minimum wage, he did raise the dollar amount it still fell short of the buying power of the minimum $5.15 per hour passed in 1997. Thus my statement that Bush kept the minimum wage low. Since only a small percentage of employees are making minimum wage, this will not have a significant effect on the cost of goods. It will increase demand for certain goods. Since pricing is based more on the supply/demand curve, the price of goods (or to be more technical, the consumer price index) will rise but only slightly. The increase demand will create more jobs, thus further increasing demand for even more economic improvement. This will not occur overnight. Just needs a little time for the money to get into the hands of the consumers. As an added bonus, this will increase the amount of FICA and Medicare tax collections, thus helping these be more solvent.

As for the housing market: Home ownership increased gradually during Clinton's administration from 64.1% to 67.4%, an average increase of 3.3% per year. Considering factors like the booming economy, The increase in condos and the fact that home ownership was pretty stagnant under the Reagan and the first Bush. this is a reasonable expectations. Then under Bush by 2004 it had increased to 69% while his economy was going off the rails. Add to that the deregulation under Bush and reduction of enforcement of the remaining regulations. It is really grasping at straws to blame this on Clinton.

It is obvious that many do want a slave class. A group that must accept abuse, poor working conditions and wages below the poverty line. Surely you believe that America should try to be better than that.

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FordGalaxy 1 year, 2 months ago

Who here said they wanted a slave class? I certainly did not. The most immediate effect of a mandatory raise in minimum wage would be the food service industry. Once you have to pay workers more, then you have to raise the costs of your good or service to remain profitable. Now, I know the liberals view profitability in the same light as they view spiders, snakes, and Satan (it's all evil).


Of course, I've also had liberals tell me that Obama is spending less than Bush, and that he's managing the economy better. First, Obama's seen more debt added in four years than Bush saw in eight. Second, forgive me if I don't trust the government to manage anything. Obama's economy (unless you're deadset on still putting the economy on Bush) is not doing that great. Yeah, the stock market is up, but that's not a true indicator of the economy as a whole. We're still hovering around 8% unemployment and, if memory serves me correctly, there are still fewer workers in the labor force than on the day before Obama's first inauguration. Is it all his fault? Absolutely not. But at some point Obama has to shoulder some of the blame instead of just pointing fingers at Bush and at Republicans.

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Jan 1 year, 2 months ago

What do you call a class of workers that earn below the poverty level? You also harp about "entitlements" such as food stamps and reduced school lunch prices for families below poverty level. Increase the minimum wage and we bring these out of slave like conditions and reduce our need for supplementing their income with tax payer money. Your statement about the immediate increase in food costs implies that you believe most people in the food industry are minimum wage employees that will get a required raise. The percentage of wages going to this group is actually extremely small. Raising their salary will have no direct effect on the price of goods. Even at Wall Mart, known for its poor salary structure, most of their employees start above minimum wage and do get raises, leaving very few that would get any immediate raise from this law.

The debt added is directly related to the Bush tax cuts, additional tax cuts by Obama and the shrinking tax revenue due to unemployment and people that lost one job, taking another at significantly lower salary - thus paying less tax. You are wrong about a shrinking labor force. One more indication that you fail to do the research. When President Obama took office, 142,153,000 were employed, now it is 143,322,000. http://www.dlt.ri.gov/lmi/laus/us/usadj.htm

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FordGalaxy 1 year, 2 months ago

So, by your statement, you believe that it is counted as a cost by government to let people keep more of the money they earned. I have to believe, then, that you think all wealth belongs to government and it only given to the people at the benevolence of government. Otherwise, letting me keep my money wouldn't be counted as an addition to the debt. You still seem to refuse to want government to live within its means, as any normal person or family must do. But wait, you'll say that government cannot be run like a family household. It has its own special set of rules and it can just keep piling on to the debt. As Steny Hoyer recently said, we have no problem spending...we just have a problem paying for it. If only we could take more money from the people...


And there are several economic studies availbe for easy research that will back up my point that th emost immediate impact of a rise in minimum wage would be in the food service industry, where wages are typically lower because many members of the staff are tipped-workers.


Also, please note that you're the one using inflammatory language like "slave class." I love these discussion that we have, Jan, but sometimes you buy in to the liberal ideal that you can read other people's intentions in their own words. Then again, I suppose you could say I buy in to the conservative ideal that pretty much everything our current federal government is doing is bad, inefficient, inept, and wasteful of resources. At the end of the day, I suppose we're struggling to move the conversation forward.

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Jan 1 year, 2 months ago

I do believe that the government should "live within its means". I believe we can cut costs through better efficiency and controls. We have a bureaucracy that puts up purchasing restrictions that result in the government paying several times the cost at retail stores, but they are not allowed to purchase at the retailer because they did not submit a bid. Too often, these bids are all or nothing. The most waste is in the military and they will continue to waste until congress cuts their budget. Of course congressmen are afraid of being labeled weak on defense so they push to give the pentagon more than requested. This can be the greatest government savings since the military is the greatest government expense. Until we are able to trim these excesses, the only other alternative is to raise taxes or cut out deductions that help the wealthy horde larger fortunes. It is unfortunate that most politicians are not qualified to determine the monetary needs of any department and operate on preconceived ideals instead of facts. Tipped employees in restaurants typically make much more than minimum wage. In establishments that deal primarily in cash, a lot of these tips go unreported so any report that you saw about increased wages for tipped employees was a reason for food costs to go up has some problems with their study. Give me a reference to one and I will read it and explain how it is flawed. Prices at restaurants rise on a regular basis, most having an annual increase. Some menu items may vary by the week depending on availability of certain items (the old supply and demand curve). These fluctuations are not the result of increased minimum wage. Fast food restaurants where tips are not in the mix do have many near minimum wage workers. Fast food restaurants depend on high volume of customers. If they raise prices too fast, they will loose business, thus bring in less money. Hence, once again, supply and demand will determine the pricing, not the wages paid the workers. As minimum wage workers get more income and more people become employed, fast food and other restaurants get more business and prices will rise some as a result.

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JV 1 year, 2 months ago

He won't add a single dime to the deficit.

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BuzzG 1 year, 2 months ago

A seventeen trillion dollar debt is not enough for Democrats. They need to buy votes. Who the hell would vote for a doofus like Obama unless they thought he would give them more "free" stuff like Obamaphones and food stamps.

Democrats like to say "it is for the children" to justify just about any of their crazy spending. But what is really "for the children" is the gynormous debt which they will be carrying for their lifetimes.

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DavidBrown 1 year, 2 months ago

It's interesting Congressman Broun calls himself a "constitutional conservative", instead of a family values conservative. His four marriages demonstrate to me that family values are not important to him.

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jack 1 year, 2 months ago

Probably should run as a Democrat, then.

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news2me 1 year, 2 months ago

DavidBrown, this is the second time you have brought up Broun's multiple marriages. I agree with jack, Republicans are living in a liberal values society. This is a sign of the times. Why such a hypocrit? Why are you obsessed with what goes on in this man's bedroom / home?

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Dubbin 1 year, 2 months ago

More hard core reporting from Camie Young. Wow. I really had to read this to know that Democrats love Obama and Republicans don't. Again, wow! Seems like all the political reporting I read in this paper are quotes - in other words the politicians email in what they want and Ms Young reprints it. This is not reporting - it is cut, copy and paste.

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