Hoekstra’s Out-of-Touch Tea Party Agenda Helped Him Win Primary; Now He Has to Defend It — Along with His Job at a D.C. Lobbying Firm
LANSING – Pete Hoekstra’s aggressive effort to align himself with a rigid Tea Party ideology helped the ex-Congressman and current Washington lobbying firm employee beat Clark Durant — but he now enters the general election with the most anti-middle class agenda of any statewide candidate in Michigan history.
The Washington Post said yesterday: “Hoekstra hasn’t acquitted himself terribly well for the general election, including running a controversial Super Bowl ad and then stumbling into a bit of a birther pickle… this is very much a third-tier target for the GOP.”
And Michigan columnist Kyle Melinn recently wrote that Hoekstra’s primary campaign was far more focused on pandering to the GOP’s most extreme elements rather than mounting a credible challenge to Debbie Stabenow.
Statement from Mark Brewer, chair of the Michigan Democratic Party:
“Pete Hoekstra’s out-of-the-mainstream agenda helped him win over the Tea Party and win his primary. But he’s going to have a tough time explaining his anti-middle class positions and his job at a D.C. lobbying firm to general election voters.
“Hoekstra’s plan would increase taxes on the middle class, cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires, and privatize Medicare and Social Security while protecting tax breaks for big oil and corporations that ship Michigan jobs overseas.
“At his D.C. lobbying firm and in Congress, Hoekstra pushed policies that further rigged the rules for special interests, and that’s the last thing Michigan families need.”
Pete Hoekstra fully embraced the extreme elements of his party during the primary. Hoekstra proudly campaigned with Herman Cain and loudly touted the endorsements of Michele Bachmann, Sharron Angle and Steve King. As the co-founder of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress, Hoekstra actually framed the agenda that he and his opponents all ran on.
Pete Hoekstra was vocal during the primary campaign about his support for the privatization of Medicare and Social Security. He has embraced Herman Cain’s widely discredited 9-9-9 tax plan, even though it would increase taxes on the middle class while cutting taxes for the very rich, and he has refused to apologize to Michigan residents for voting time and again to protect loopholes for corporations that ship Michigan jobs overseas. During the primary, Hoekstra also said he supports drilling for oil in the Great Lakes, that equal pay protections for women are a “nuisance” and should be repealed and that he’s been trying to “kill federal student loans for 18 years.”
Meanwhile, Hoekstra proposed creating a new government agency in which CIA and FBI agents could investigate presidential birth certificates.
Below you will find background on the Hoekstra agenda and the devastating impact it would have on middle-class families:
#1: Privatize Medicare and Social Security
Pete Hoekstra has repeatedly supported plans that would:
- End Medicare as we know it and let private insurance companies make health care decisions for seniors. [Wall Street Journal, 4/04/11]
- Raise the costs of health care for seniors by thousands of dollars. [St. Petersburg Times, 4/22/11]
- Privatize Social Security. [Grand Rapids Press, 3/03/05; Letter To President’s Commission To Strengthen Social Security, 5/24/01]
#2: Cut Taxes for Michigan’s Very Rich; Raise Taxes on Michigan’s Middle Class
Hoekstra has pledged to raise taxes on Michigan’s middle-class families while cutting taxes for millionaires and billionaires.
- Pete Hoekstra supports Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan that would that would raise taxes for the average middle-class family by more than $4,000 a year while cutting taxes for millionaires by nearly $500,000. [The Hill, 2/16/12; Associated Press,10/18/11; Politifact, 10/18/11]
- Hoekstra also supports the so-called “Fair Tax” (i.e., eliminating the income tax altogether and creating a whopping 23 percent national sales tax) that would raise taxes on the bottom 80 percent of taxpayers by an average of $3,200 per year and give the richest 1 percent a $225,000 tax break each year. [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, 9/04]
#3: Protect Taxpayer Giveaways to Companies that Outsource Michigan Jobs
Hoekstra has also voted on numerous occasions to protect tax breaks for companies that outsource. [HR 4213, Vote #324, 5/28/10, HR 1586, Vote #518, 8/10/10; Vote #258, 6/17/04]
#4: Drive the Tea Party Social Agenda Against Mainstream Michigan Values
- Pete Hoekstra Against Equal Pay for Equal Work for Women: Pete Hoekstra told a Tea Party crowd in Royal Oak that the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act “shouldn’t be the law” and called equal pay for women a “nuisance.” The Lilly Ledbetter Act ensures that women have the ability to fight wage discrimination in the workplace. [Grand Rapids News, 4/13/12]
- Pete Hoekstra Would Make it Harder for Kids to Attend College: Hoekstra has called for the elimination of the Department of Education, a move that would eliminate Stafford Loans and Pell Grants. Pete Hoekstra even said he’s “tried to kill federalized student loans for eighteen years.”
- 303,000 students in Michigan make use of Stafford loans.
- 337,000 Michigan students rely on Pell grants.
- The Hoekstra plan to end these programs would be extremely destructive to Michigan’s middle-class families. [Huffington Post, 5/14/12; Detroit News, 6/30/12; National Women’s Law Center, accessed 8/02/12]
- Pete Hoekstra Fights to Ban Women’s Access to Birth Control: Pete Hoekstra sponsored “personhood” legislation seven times while in Congress. His legislation would outlaw many forms of birth control. [HR 881, co-sponsored on 2/04/09; HR 618, co-sponsored on 1/22/07; HR 552, co- sponsored on 2/02/05; HR 3069, co-sponsored on 5/05/04; HR 639, co-sponsored on 2/09/99; HR 641, co-sponsored on 2/06/97; HR 1625, co-sponsored on 1/03/96; Washington Post, 10/30/11]
- Hoekstra proposed creating an Office of the Birther in which FBI and CIA agents would investigate presidential birth certificates. [The Hill, 5/30/12]
- Hoekstra supports drilling for oil in the Great Lakes. [Detroit Free Press, 5/12/12]