Tulsa Today’s Dan Boren interview
Editor’s Note: Tulsa Today (www.TulsaToday.com) interviewed U.S. Rep. Dan Boren just hours before Congress adjourned last week. David Arnett, publisher of the online news operation, granted permission for the exchange to be reposted here on CapitolBeatOK.
With just a few minutes between votes in the U.S. House of Representatives, Oklahoma’s Dan Boren, a Muskogee Democrat representing the Second District, spoke with Tulsa Today on issues facing America.
“I am sitting here in the cloak room off the house floor between votes and had a moment to call,” Boren said.
Question: Before you come home from Washington, can you tell us what our tax rate will be January?
“No,” he said. After a pause, he continued, “I think that what will happen is that we will adjourn late tonight [last Friday]. After the election, we will come back November 15th and within a week to ten days we will have a vote on the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts. My belief, and some will disagree, but I think we will extend all of them probably for about two years. They won’t be permanent, but I think that will be the compromise.
The Bush Tax Cuts have been the operative level of taxation for about a decade in America so repeal of those would be a significant tax increase for many.
“The President has left a little wiggle room open for some movement there, but he only wants tax cuts for those making under $250,000 a year,” Boren said.
September 23, Dan and Andrea Boren were blessed with a new baby son and just last Saturday [Sept. 25] they brought him home from the hospital. Dad reports the baby is not sleeping though the night yet, but there is hope for the near future. The child is “healthy as a horse with a good appetite.” He was born in the afternoon at 1:07 pm weighing 7 lb 5 oz. This is the couple’s second child.
Question: Why is this Administration providing billions in American tax dollars to fund offshore drilling in Brazil and Mexico while forbidding off-shore drilling for America? That oil that will stay in those countries, build their economies, all while hurting our oil industry and American workers.
“The Obama Administration has been the most anti-oil and gas industry administration on record. We knew this going in. I asked then-Senator Obama in a meeting of super delegates just before the nomination about taxing oil and gas companies and taking away the tax deductions for intangible drilling costs and the depletion allowance. Obama said straight up, yes that was what he wanted to do. Luckily we have not had those taken away.
“I have introduced a natural gas bill to expand the use of natural gas. We were just getting to the point where more than the usual [congressional] players from Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas who are always pro natural gas were being joined by New York and Pennsylvania representatives when the oil spill happened. The Administration did a terrible thing by issuing a moratorium [to stop all off-shore drilling]. I understand British Petroleum and some other folks did a bad job here and that the spill could have been prevented, but there are a lot of jobs tied to this industry off-shore.
“You may have noticed that Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) has put a hold on one of the Obama Administration nominees for the Office of Management and Budget,” Boren said.
In a released statement, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) explained her hold on Jacob J. Lew’s nomination as OMB director because of the Obama administration’s “ill-conceived moratoria on offshore drilling that are having such a devastating impact on working people and small businesses through the Gulf Coast,” she said.
“The administration, for whatever reason, has stood in defiance of our federal courts and disregarded economists, experts and its own economic data in proceeding down a path that is putting thousands of people out of work and hurting the bottom line of hundreds of small businesses,” Landrieu said.
Boren said, “We are doing everything we can procedurally to get that moratorium lifted and people back to work. Beyond the jobs, this is also about energy security.”
Question: Given the Administration’s tax-provided funding for foreign oil and climate change and general foreign aid; can you tell us if President Obama’s goal of redistribution of wealth is intended just within the United States or does he plan to level the standard of incomes worldwide?
“I don’t know what President Obama’s worldwide plan is, but whatever it is doesn’t matter if you can’t get it through Congress,” Boren said. “That is the great equalizer. We have separate branches of government. The old saying is, the president proposes and the congress disposes and I think that after the election here you will see as Democrats are on tap to lose seats that government will come back into balance and hopefully much more bipartisan.
“Some of the economic issues you are questioning [the Administration] will not be able to do. They will have to negotiate with Congress – they will have to come to the middle at least,” Boren said.
Question: They haven’t had to do that yet?
“No,” Boren said.
Question: Are you the hope for a new Democrat Party, because this one doesn’t seem to like America very much?
“Well, there are so many factors involved here. It is not just the parties. They do play a role, but you have people on both sides of the isle that are extreme right and left. They don’t believe in any kind of problem solving or bipartisanship. They are looking to score political points. The far left people are not in danger of losing their elections this cycle. It is the people who are somewhat in the middle that ended up voting too far to the left and should have been more to the center. The sad part of that for the country is that we need more people who are for America not for their political party – Democrat or Republican.
“President Bush ran on being ‘I’m a unite-er not a divide-er’ and President Obama said ‘I’m going to be post-partisan and things are going to be different’ but they both went into office and governed as if only their party was going to be the one doing things and they did not listen to the other party. That is where you end up getting these really bad deals on both sides.
Question: The economic policy of trying to pump up the economy with government spending has cost us unbelievable trillions of dollars and accomplished nothing. What is your economic philosophy?
“There are a lot of parts to this. Starting with TARP people were bailed out that actually made the bad decisions. The problem was that if you didn’t bail out the bad guys, then the whole economic system was going to collapse. TARP and Stimulus sometimes gets mashed into one thing, but TARP is a loan to be paid back with interest and some of that money has come back. Stimulus is direct spending. Stimulus will add to the deficit.
“I am not a lawyer. I am an MBA. My background is in economics and I have worked in a bank and in an oil and gas company. I am not what you would call a traditional Democrat. What I have learned and what I have seen is that we were in a situation and still are where private companies are not spending money because they are very scared about the economic situation, government regulation and the uncertainty of taxes.
If you look at the timeline, TARP stabilized things. Then you have the stimulus. What I think has killed economic growth and frankly really hurt our economy is the Health Care Bill. A lot of these companies are saying they are just getting back on their feet, but all of a sudden there is this new health regulation coming down the pike and we don’t know how that will impact us so we are going to hold our cash and not hire more people. On top of that is the energy regulation bill known as Cap and Trade? Both of those bills have had more of a negative impact than the Stimulus Bills.
We have very low interest rates right now, but at some point what goes down is going to come up and this debt will dramatically increase the national debt and our interest payment on that debt will get larger and larger. What I would like to see happen is for the Debt Commission made up of people like Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Paul Ryan on the Republican side and Andy Stern on the Democrat side address the tough choices. There will be a lot of spending cuts. There will not be any sacred cows here.
“I think it is a good thing, especially right now that people are paying concerned attention to their country. Hopefully, we are going to fix some of these problems,” Boren added.