Jeff Flake may win in November, largely on the strength of being perceived as moderate by many people outside of Arizona’s conservative political circles. Flake is frequently reviled among righties as a RINO, yet he received the overwhelming majority of votes in the GOP primary against Wil Cardon. That was because Republican primary voters know that Flake really is wingnutty enough for them.
As I said in my post yesterday, Flake gets moderate cred and a libertarian pass from many liberals in AZ. Liberals tend to be big softies who want to be fair and give everyone a chance. Flake exploits this tendency brilliantly by putting on his concerned face over the virulent misogyny and anti-immigrant bigotry of his party and occasionally even throwing us a bone, as he did when he voted for repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in late 2010. Stuff like that causes a lot of liberals here to go squishy and forget that Flake is generally a very reliable vote for the forces of theocracy.
But no one swoons over Flake’s fake moderate schtick more than the Big Bidness and centrist pundit class here does. And Flake returns the love in spades:
Traveling around the state over the last two years, I hear the same thing over and over again from small-business owners: We can’t grow our business and create jobs when there’s uncertainty on federal taxes and certainty of federal regulation.
The U.S. currently has the highest corporate tax rate in the world. If we have any hope of retaining major manufacturers and convincing new businesses to form their companies in this country, we need to lower the rate. Additionally, it’s tough for businesses to make plans to expand when they are facing the so-called “Taxmageddon” at the end of this year when several tax cuts could expire, resulting in an effective tax increase of $310 billion.
I support comprehensive tax reform that will broaden the base and lower overall rates. It’s been decades since the tax code was reformed, and there are hundreds of credits, subsidies, expenditures, and other loopholes that need to be closed. By giving taxpayers and the private sector certainty on taxes, they can begin to make plans to grow their businesses and create jobs.
In addition to tax reform, in order to be able to grow the economy, the private sector needs relief from burdensome federal regulations. The U.S. Senate’s inability to pass a budget in three years has allowed mettlesome* federal regulators to run amok.
This is clearly a valentine to the ruling class. Smooches! Of course, non-1% people have nothing to gain from his taxation stances. “Broaden the base” coming from a right winger nearly always translates to “you middle class people and poors better brace yourselves!” But the next part of Flake’s op-ed is truly startling.
Federal regulators are threatening to shut down Arizona’s coal-fired power plants, which would have a devastating impact on the state’s economy. They are forcing Arizona to spend money and man hours proving to the federal government that dust storms are naturally occurring events that Arizona shouldn’t be penalized for. The federal government is even threatening to expose Arizona’s hotel industry to expensive lawsuits for not having permanent wheelchair lifts for every pool and spa on their premises. Whether it’s environmental, labor, or financial regulations, the federal government seems to be going out of its way to stifle economic growth.
First off, hi there, Democrats who still think Jeff Flake is “moderate”. He just engaged in some really incredible crackpot climate change denial there. You realize that, right? But then he claims that accommodations to disabled people “expose Arizona’s hotel industry to expensive lawsuits” and are part of a fiendish regulatory plot to “stifle economic growth”. Wow. What kind of person begrudges paraplegics the ability to use the pools and spas in hotels they pay to patronize? Not a nice one. Some intrepid reporter or debate moderator ought to ask Flake what he thinks of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
*Mettlesome? Spirited and plucky federal regulators?