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Dear Socrateaser / Change of jurisdiction after parties stipulated
« on: Sep 21, 2005, 08:18:54 AM »
I am a noncustodial father, involved in a change of custody motion based on child abuse of my daughter by her custodial mother.  The judge ordered a custody evaluation in the state of MI on 9/7.  Mom and child live in NY.  I live in IL.  Mom has sole legal and physical custody of 8 year old daugther although I have the right to make routine and emergency decisions while the child is his care and the parties must consult on all major decisions.

The parties entered into an agreement in March 2004 to allow the mom and child to relocate from MI to NY (they temporarily moved in Nov 2003).  In exchange for the relocation, the parties agreed that the state of MI would retain jurisdiction regarding child custody until August 2007.  This was done primarily because the mom had a history of noncompliance with court orders when she lived in MI and tended to be litigious.  Retaining jurisdiction in a "neutral" state would make it equally inconvenient for all involved and in hopes that the parties would focus on coparenting rather than litigation to resolve their issues.

Mom again "allegedly" abused the child on 9/9 leaving her bruised.  I took my daughter to police, ER and DCFS to file reports.  I kept child until court ordered her returned to mom on 9/16 citing that because child recants child abuse allegations when she's in mom's care (imagine that) there's not enough proof that mom may in fact be abusing her (3rd instance of bruising child's back since May 2005) and that the child should remain in mom's "stable" environment until the custody evaluation is completed.

Further, the judge told the parties she would like to see legal arguments for moving the jurisdiction for this child custody trial to New York.

I feel the judge is trying to duck this trial altogether by kicking it to NY.  MI retaining the jurisdiction in this matter until August 2007 was a deal breaker in the mediation as far as allowing the mom and child to move to New York.  I don't think that this was judicially responsible of the judge.  Since our divorce was final in September 2002, we have consistantly been in front of this judge:

Active case, continually in front of this Michigan judge, who is still most familiar with it.  Although none of the parties live in Michigan, based on the court activity, the forum does not appear to be inconvenient for any of the parties based on the activity.

Sep 2002    Divorce final
Dec 2002    Father filed motion to see Alicia for Christmas holiday, I had not seen my daughter for Christmas since 1999
Jun 2003    Mother files motion to move to NY from MI
Aug 2003    Mother's motion to move to NY denied
Oct 2003    Mother allowed to move temporarily to NY
Jan 2004    Parties agree to move with conditions, including keeping the jurisdiction in MI until 8/2007
Mar 2004    Parties sign court order for move with conditions
Mar 2004    One of the above conditions of new agreement, to re-evaluate child support motion is filed
Sep 2004    FOC gives recommendation on support
Oct 2004    Mother disagrees with FOC recommendation, files motion
Feb 2005   Trial in front of judge on child support
Apr 2005    Judge gives opinion on child support reduction
Jul 2005    Judgesigns order for modification of child support
Aug 2005    Judgeorders Illinois court not to hear emergency motion for custody, that Michigan has jurisdiction
Sep 2005   Parties agree to custody evaluation, Judge signs order
Sep 2005   Judge denies motion for temporary custody with noncustodial father

It should also be mentioned on 8/19 that I attempted to retain the child in IL because of abuse on 8/5 by filing for emergency jurisdiction in Illinois because of child being in imminent danger by being returned to the mom.  The MI judge phoned the IL judge and told him that MI was the jurisdiction for all matters in this case and she would hear any motions so IL declined based on this.  I filed in MI on 9/7, temporary custody with me was denied but a custody evaluation in MI was ordered.

The language regarding the jursidiction is as follows on the original court order, allowing the mom to move from Michigan to New York:


It is further ordered and adjudged that this Honorable Court and the parties have agreed that at a minimum the Court shall retain jurisdiction in this matter until such time as the minor child attains the age of ten (10) years or until further order of the Court.  This provision shall apply even in the event that the State of New York becomes "the home state" under UCCJEA.  It is the parties' intent and the Order of this Court that Michigan shall retain exclusive jurisdiction regarding all issues regarding the minor child, including, but not limited to, custody, parenting time, and support issues.  The reason for this retention of jurisdiction provision is because this Judge, her family court worker and the parenting time coordinator are familiar with the parties, the minor child and the facts of this case.

Is it possible that this stipulation can be set aside so easily by the judge?  Is this proper?  How can we defend our motion?

Dear Socrateaser / Emergency Motion for Temporary Custody of Child
« on: Jul 28, 2005, 10:28:43 PM »

   1.    Since the entry of the Judgment of Divorce dated Sept 2002, there has been a substantial change in circumstances that warrants a change in the custody of the minor child age 8.

      2.    The divorce Judgment granted the Mother sole legal and physical custody.

      3.    On or about August XX, 2005, the Mother was properly served with a motion by the Father for a change in physical and legal custody of minor child.

      4.    Among other issues, the motion for a change in physical and legal custody of minor child is based on physical and emotional abuse the minor child suffers at the hand of the Mother (2 EXHIBITS - Photos of multiple bruises on back).  The abuse occurs in the home of the maternal grandparents where the minor child resides with her Mother.

      5.    Additionally, the motion for a change in physical and legal custody of minor child was brought based on the minor child witnessing verbal and emotional of abuse of the maternal grandparents by the minor child’s own Mother.

      6.    The Father further warrants that the current residence of the minor child is not a safe harbor, given that the maternal grandparents have witnessed this abuse and not intervened to stop the verbal, emotional and physical abuse of the minor child.  

      7.    The current residence of the minor child is an unsafe, unsupervised atmosphere that not only promotes the domestic violence of the minor child and the maternal grandparents at the hand of the child’s own Mother.  

      8.    The court should appreciate that it took tremendous courage for the minor child to come forward and tell her Father of the abuse the minor child is suffering at the hands of her own Mother.

      9.   The Father believes it is his duty to protect the minor child from ongoing abuse.

      10.   The Father believes and fears that the abuse of the minor child will only escalate now that the Mother has become aware of the minor child has come forward with the truth of her abuse.  The Motion for a change in physical custody of the child was served on the Mother while the child was in the safe harbor of her Father.

   11.   The Father fears for the minor child’s health, well being, safety and life.

   12.   The Father believes that the maternal grandparents have created an environment in which the Mother freely and continually abuses her own child and the grandparents witness and allow this abuse.  The maternal Grandmother is the child’s babysitter and caregiver and has done nothing and not reported or stopped the abuse of the child.

   13.   The Father believes the only way he can protect the minor child is if the court immediately places the child in the Father’s physical custody.

   14.   Under the current summer visitation schedule, the child is due to be returned to the Mother on August XX, 2005.

      THEREFORE, Defendant requests this court grant him temporary physical custody of the minor child.  This placement should include the legal right for the Father to act as Custodial Parent and Guardian of the minor child and accordingly, allow the child to attend grammar school in the Father’s residence district.  Further, the Mother’s visitation should be temporarily suspended until arrangements can be made for supervised visitations to be put into place to protect the minor child.  The Father also asks for the court to suspend the payment of child support and childcare to the Mother until a final court decision is made.

Dear Socrateaser / What would you advise?
« on: Jun 23, 2005, 02:46:14 PM »


Dilemma involves my 7 y.o. SD. She's miserable with mom, wants to live with us. Visitation over Father's Day yielded bruises all over her back.   SD told DH after he asked her what was new, she blurted out she got bruises from climbing a rock wall. The next day I saw them, SD told me a friend pushed her against a wall. Gentle coaxing and it finally came out that BM regularly hits her.

Our story is typical. BM got sole custody after false allegations of DV and her taking the child away from DH under that guise and denying visitation for 18 mos. Divorce final, she won. Voila!!!! No further complaints against DH, total compliance with visitations.

That was 5 years ago. Since then, we negotiated a 'further' moveaway and got JC rights (routune decisions when child's in our care, parents must consult on major decisions) but not the title. Were able to get SD medical care at eye doctor and dentist she's never had. That was two years ago and we've provided that care. SD lives in NY, we're in IL, jurisdiction is MI. SD flies to us 2 weekends a month for visitation, rotate holidays, 6 weeks in summer.

BM fails at her custodial duties. Leaves SD constantly in care of drunk grandmother while BM runs around with her boyfriend/fiance of 3 months (2nd fiance in 9 mos), takes grad classes, works out, shops. SD is lonely and bored at mom's.

Now admittedly by child, she's abused. Child is TERRIFIED of mother's wrath. If I paint her nails her favorite neon green, child peels off the nails polish on Sunday before she goes home, fearful that her mother will get mad at the color. Stuff like that.

Initial conversations with atty says well...you have the right to make routine decisions while the child is in your care, is counseling a routine decision? I don't think so, my DH would be pissed if BM took her to counseling without his consultation.

Further, I'm afraid if we just do that, BM will say "see....DH is still controlling and abusive towards me" and this would blow up with us at a custody motion for not notifying her. Although, BM would never agree to it in the first place because she would be found out.  If counseling was in NY, BM would sabotage it.

So what's the strategy here? Do we just wait until the child is in our care and take her in for a psych eval to see if she exhibits signs of abuse or trauma?  In a perfect world, we would like physicial custody and for mom to get into parenting/anger management classes and for maternal grandmother to get into substance evaluation....not TOO big a wish list eh?

If you look at this child wrong, she bursts into tears.  She has no confidence, no self esteem.  There's no way the child would go to a teacher or social worker about the abuse at home.  She's too terrified of mom.  If DCFS showed up at the maternal grandparents home where mom and child live, it looks like the Cleavers live there.  Million dollar home, BMW's in the driveway, designer clothes on mom and grandma.  

Any thoughts or other ideas???

Dear Socrateaser / Going to court on Friday
« on: Feb 24, 2005, 10:08:40 AM »

Michigan is the jurisdiction.  We have a trial for a reduction in child support.  My husband's ex wife has been less that cooperative.  

- Since October, she's refused to name the college she attends.  
- Since October, she's only supplied half of her financial information.
- She claimed to work 9.25 hours a day, got her job subpoena'd info, she's only work 7 hours a day.
- She claims to work all year round, job subpoena'd info confirmed she's only working 10 months out of the year, as a teacher.

Based on the evidence that's she lying and further, she's refused to supply info for an interrogatory and from a court order, can we get a direct judgment in our favor from the judge, based on her lack of cooperation?

Dear Socrateaser / Obtaining a subpoena
« on: Oct 30, 2004, 07:38:55 AM »

Does there need to be an outstanding motion in order to issue a subpoena to obtain evidence?

Background - Challenging custody, one the factors, lack of religious training by CP.  Can we subpoena the church to prove child in not enrolled in catechism class in order to attach the response from the Church in our initial motion?

Dear Socrateaser / Input for custody motion....
« on: Dec 11, 2003, 09:31:43 AM »

Dear Soc,

We're in the midst of challenging custody/move away.  Long story. ANYWAY

Could you please give me some issues to incorporate into our motion to change custody from sole legal (BM of course) to joint legal?  We're not challenging physical custody....at this time....just trying to legally re-establish our parental rights.  Taking baby steps.

Typical story seen on this board a million time, BM at divorce settlement falsely accuses DH of domestic violence (no proof, no incidents during the 3 year separation).  BM claims she needs sole legal custody because she fears for her life and she cannot co-parent with BF because they never agree on anything in regards to the child (this was never a problem when they were married).  Of course, there was restricted access to child during separation by BM.

There are no major notables with child in regards to school or health.  It's difficult to come up with points for the motion that don't also address physical custody.

Would be eternally grateful for any ideas or thoughts.


Dear Socrateaser / How do we thank SOC?
« on: Dec 03, 2003, 11:49:57 AM »

Dear Soc,

You've saved my a$$ three times now.  You are the best and given the upcoming holidays, I'd like to send you a token of my appreciation.

I've been coming to SPARC for about a year now.  What's your background, what's your history, why are you involved in SPARC?

I hope that everyone else you've helped feels the same way that I do.

My regards, sincere thanks and undying gratitude,


Dear Socrateaser / Breaching attorney privilege??
« on: Dec 01, 2003, 10:07:22 PM »

Hello Soc,

I'm putting together a collaterol evidence file for upcoming psych evals.  I'm thinking about including some letters from our prior attorney which recapped conversations with my husband's Ex's attorney and the such.  

They are fairly broad letters but are of value because they show his Ex's attitude in court, frame of mind, judge's impatience with her.  They don't appear to compromise any privilege.

If I include 2/3 of these letters, would I open Pandora's box and have to produce all attorney correspondence?


Divorce Drops, Along With Marriage
By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY

(July 18) -- Divorce is on the decline in the USA, but a report to be released today suggests that may be due more to an increase in people living together than to more lasting marriages.
Couples who once might have wed and then divorced now are not marrying at all, according to The State of our Unions 2005. The annual report, which analyzes Census and other data, is issued by the National Marriage Project at New Jersey's Rutgers University.

The U.S. divorce rate is 17.7 per 1,000 married women, down from 22.6 in 1980. The marriage rate is also on a steady decline: a 50% drop since 1970 from 76.5 per 1,000 unmarried women to 39.9, says the report, whose calculations are based on an internationally used measurement.

"Cohabitation is here to stay," says David Popenoe, a Rutgers sociology professor and report co-author. "I don't think it's good news, especially for children," he says. "As society shifts from marriage to cohabitation - which is what's happening - you have an increase in family instability."

Cohabiting couples have twice the breakup rate of married couples, the report's authors say. And in the USA, 40% bring kids into these often-shaky live-in relationships.

"It is important now to think beyond the divorce rate to other kinds of couple unions and look at how stable they are," says Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, a social historian and report co-author.

"It's a pretty short period of time for that change (cohabitation) to have occurred and to have taken hold in the way it has," she says.

In the USA, 8.1% of coupled households are made up of unmarried, heterosexual partners. Although many European countries have higher cohabitation rates, divorce rates in those countries are lower, and more children grow up with both biological parents, even though the parents may not be married, Popenoe says.

The USA has the lowest percentage among Western nations of children who grow up with both biological parents, 63%, the report says.

"The United States has the weakest families in the Western world because we have the highest divorce rate and the highest rate of solo parenting," Popenoe says.



One Hand in Your Pocket: How Kerry's Campaign Pledges Stand to Cost Taxpayers Billions
NTUF Policy Paper 153

How much of your hard-earned money will you get to keep? That issue, fundamental to many Americans this campaign season, has become the focus of the Presidential race. The Bush campaign accuses John Kerry of hitting America's families where it hurts the most: squarely in the pocketbook. Drawing heavily from the publicly-released National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) study, "The Return of Fuzzy Math and Risky Schemes: How Presidential Hopefuls Would Deepen Deficits," the Bush campaign claimed John Kerry's new spending proposals would exceed $195 billion per year.[1]

Independent estimates included in this policy paper indicate that the Bush analysis of Kerry's agenda costs may actually be understated. Even after over $30 billion in proposed savings, John Kerry plans to introduce over $226 billion in new spending -- in his first year alone.

Unfortunately, Kerry's spending blueprint may not be the only thing the Bush campaign is understating. Lost among Bush's attack on Kerry's plans for costly programs is the President's own disturbing record on spending, which includes a 29 percent increase in the size of the federal budget during his first term.[2]

For his part, Kerry retaliated with an April 7th speech portraying himself as a fiscal conservative, announcing plans to cut the deficit in half in four years while "paying for" every program proposed without increasing the debt. This seemingly laudable goal is actually quite unexceptional -- slashing the deficit by half would allow the federal government to spend $260.37 billion more than it takes in by FY 2009 (and seemingly as much as it wants until then). Yet, Kerry's proposals increase spending by a cumulative $621.76 billion over a four-year Presidential term. That translates to an average increased tax burden of $6,066 for every person paying federal taxes in America over Kerry's first term.[3]

Voters faced with a constant stream of rhetoric, crosstalk, and campaign promises remain frustrated in their attempts to find answers to questions concerning how the Democratic nominee in this year's race for the White House plans to spend American tax dollars. This policy paper addresses those questions by systematically examining John Kerry's agenda, using neutral techniques to assign a running cost or savings tally to each cost-related proposal publicly offered by Sen. Kerry.

Highlights of this NTUF study include:

A projected $226.125 billion increase in spending -- in the first year of a Kerry Presidency alone.
A projected $734.62 billion increase in the national debt over five years.
Nearly $115 billion in social welfare, foreign aid, energy, and environmental handouts over a first Kerry term.[4]
Kerry the Fiscal Conservative?

In his April 7th speech at Georgetown University, John Kerry set forth the promise to "impose spending restraints so that no one can propose or pass a new program without a way to pay for it."[5] In addition to this "pay-as-you-go" approach, the Senator calls for a spending cap to ensure that federal spending does not exceed inflation. Unfortunately, Kerry exempts a series of major discretionary categories -- including military and homeland defense, education, and health care -- from his so-called "strong" spending cap, not to mention mandatory programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Since beginning his Presidential bid, Kerry has announced a total of five cost-saving policy ideas. These are:

Ending subsidies to high-income corporate farmers.
Reducing federal government administrative costs by five percent.
Terminating 100,000 federal contracting jobs.
Trimming federal energy use by 20 percent.
Eliminating the sale of public mineral rights at $5 per acre.
Additionally, Kerry supports the creation of a Corporate Subsidy Reform Commission to recommend cuts to corporate welfare and submit them to Congress. The establishment of this Commission requires $4 million in initial operating outlays; however, the ultimate aim of the Commission would be to reduce corporate subsidies by billions of dollars.

Most of these cost-savings plans, while commendable in theory, are questionable in fact. For example, in the same speech that he professed "a strategy to create 10 million new jobs," John Kerry proposed firing 100,000 federal contractors. While doing so would trim nearly $6 billion from the federal budget, Kerry makes no promises that the contractors would not simply be replaced by federal workers (at a greater cost to taxpayers, given the comparatively lavish benefits federal employees enjoy).

The plan to "streamline government agencies and reduce out-of-control administrative costs by five percent" is a respectable goal, to be sure. Kerry remains vague, however, as to exactly what he includes in the definition of administrative costs. Theoretically, "administrative costs" could range from trucks to tape dispensers, and include the salaries of thousands upon thousands of employees. Further complicating the proposal is the lack of a reliable cost estimate for annual federal administrative expenses.

Sen. Kerry also remains ambiguous on his plans to reduce federal energy usage by 20 percent. Undoubtedly, reaching this goal would require significant initial expenditures in everything from hybrid vehicles to energy efficient long-life light bulbs, not to mention the costly prospect of re-insulating federal buildings and outfitting them with more efficient heating and cooling systems. Even with extensive concentration paid to the 20 percent reduction goal, it would likely take years to recoup the expenditures for the necessary energy saving devices and procedures.

In addition to these questionable "cuts," Kerry also supports delaying the 2005 round of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program. BRAC calls for an orderly and measured elimination of excess physical military capacity, "which diverts scarce resources from defense capability," by Congress and the military.[6] Recurring annual reductions created by earlier rounds of BRAC already save taxpayers $7 billion yearly.[7] Anticipated savings created by the 2005 BRAC would amount to an additional $6 billion annually.[8] Since this round of BRAC is set to occur in 2005, the loss of savings is not included among estimates calculated for this policy paper. However, BRAC represents a previously successful and potentially critical area of savings for the federal government that Kerry appears to shun.

During the same speech at Georgetown, Sen. Kerry claimed that "Americans can trust" his vow of fiscal responsibility because, he has "a voting record that, on the most critical budget votes of the last 20 years, helped balance our budget and pay down our debt." But NTUF's VoteTally and BillTally historical data present a different picture. For example, no other Senator proposed more new federal spending during the 106th Congress than John Kerry. And from 1997-2002, Sen. Kerry voted to increase federal spending by a cumulative total of $731 billion. During the current 108th Congress, Kerry's spending has reached new heights. In 2003, Kerry has already sponsored or co-sponsored $182 billion worth of new federal legislation.[9]

As Appendix A of this policy paper indicates, since announcing his candidacy John Kerry has offered 70 policy proposals affecting federal outlays, only five of which would decrease government spending. Overall, Sen. Kerry proposes spending $770.6 billion over five years to fund his projects, while suggesting just $35.99 billion in budget cuts. This leaves $734.62 billion unaccounted for and presumably passed on to American taxpayers in the form of increased taxes or a suffocating debt. The following table illustrates Kerry's questionable commitment to cutting spending using first-year numbers found in Appendix A.

Table 1. First Year Spending and Savings Policies Proposed by John Kerry

Impact on Federal Budgetary Outlays
 Number of Policies Proposed
 Cost of Policies Proposed
(in billions)
Spending      Savings       Total
 65                   5              70
 $256.28          $30.16      $226.12

If John Kerry were indeed to "pay for" every program he has proposed as a Presidential candidate, as he promised in the April 7th speech at Georgetown, taxpayers in the U.S. would face an average additional $2,206 apiece in taxes in the first year of a Kerry presidency alone.[10] That astounding number is sure to grow as nearly six months (and likely dozens of campaign promises) remain before Election Day.

The Kerry Platform

John Kerry's policy platform includes 70 proposals addressing issues from renewable energy to AIDS research, from Head Start to hate crimes. The Appendix of this study includes an item-by-item inventory of each budget-altering policy proposed by John Kerry.

The cost or savings of each item in the Appendix is estimated using a variety of sources, most notably the Kerry campaign's own budgetary projections and the National Taxpayers Union Foundation's BillTally analysis. BillTally is a computerized accounting system that annually tabulates the cost of every piece of legislation introduced in Congress with a net annual budgetary impact of $1 million or more.[11] In order to offer Sen. Kerry the most favorable interpretation possible, NTUF applied the lowest cost estimate for spending proposals and the highest estimate for savings proposals whenever several estimates existed.

Each of John Kerry's proposals fits in one of 15 categories. The categories range in numbers of proposals from one (Agriculture/Rural and International Aid) to 19 (Education) and range in budgetary effect from a $165 million savings to a cost of nearly $74 billion. The following chart has a complete breakdown of those 15 categories and the cost and savings proposed by Sen. Kerry for each category.

Table 2. Kerry Spending and Savings Estimates by Category, in millions

Category                  Spending             Savings          Total

Agriculture/Rural           $0                    -$165         -$165
Civil Rights                   $115                    $0            $115
Economy                   $25,050            -$22,660       $2,390
Education                  $74,883                   $0        $74,883
Employment               $17,912              -$5,980     $11,932
Energy                     $4,000                 -$1,250      $2,750
Environment                  $893                 -$104        $789
Health Care               $71,120                   $0        $71,120
Homeland Security      $7,004                    $0         $7,004
Housing                       $63                        $0          $63
Infrastructure             $31,177                  $0         $31,177
International Aid          $7,250                   $0         $7,250
Justice                         $7                         $0             $7
Military/Veterans        $16,810                   $0           $16,810
Science/Technology   Unknown                  $0         Unknown
Overall Total:            $256,284           -$30,159      $226,125[12]

In order to examine John Kerry's policy proposals in greater depth, the following section clusters the Appendix's 15 policy categories into five headings (health care, education, military/homeland security, social/economic/environmental programs, infrastructure) to expose some of the more interesting and most costly of Sen. Kerry's policy proposals. The following graph compares those five headings and the overall cost of Sen. Kerry's proposals for each category.


John Kerry's most expensive policy area by nearly $4 billion, education tops out at over $74.88 billion in first-year costs and nearly $184 billion over five years. Thirty-three percent of the Senator's one-year proposed spending goes to satisfy Kerry's 19 separate education policy proposals. Higher education incentive programs such as refundable tuition credits and increases in the Pell Grant program cost upwards of $12 billion. The bill for John Kerry's child care proposals, including higher funding of the Head Start program and the Child Care and Development Block Grant, totals $22.32 billion. School renovation and modernization proposals (even excluding schools in the Bureau of Indian Affairs System) tack another $24.8 billion onto the education tab.

Health Care

The most often-questioned and hotly-debated aspect of the Kerry platform is also its most expensive single agenda item within a policy category: the Kerry health care plan. For the sake of consistency, this study utilizes the updated cost estimates proposed by former Clinton Administration economist Ken Thorpe, the source of the original estimate employed in the NTUF Democratic Presidential candidate cost analysis study from January 2004. Thorpe initially pegged the cost of Kerry's health care plan at $895 billion over 10 years. That estimate has since been lowered to reflect potential savings resulting in early prevention programs and disease management efforts. Thorpe's new estimate stands at $653 billion over a decade.

Several observers, including Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA), Joseph Antos of the American Enterprise Institute, and John Goodman, President of the National Center for Policy Analysis, claim the new Thorpe numbers substantially overestimate the savings in the Kerry health care proposal. In fact, Thomas, the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, alleges Kerry's plan would top $1 trillion over a 10-year span.[13] If the Kerry health care proposal actually proved to be as costly as Thomas projects, the $347 billion difference between Ken Thorpe's reduced estimate and Rep. Thomas's estimate will cost the average American taxpayer over $3,385.

In addition to his health care plan, Sen. Kerry offers $5.82 billion in other first-year health-related spending. Included in the price tag are $645 million in AIDS-related funding, $3.4 billion in health care services to the Native American community, and $1.27 billion to restore health care benefits to legal immigrants. Rounding out the costs are two drug treatment programs that tally a combined $505 million per year.


Over 99.4 percent of the $31.18 billion cost of John Kerry's infrastructure plan results from a pledge to restore highway cuts made by the Bush Administration last year.

Besides the $31 billion in restored highway funding, Kerry also calls for the creation of high-speed rail services as well as for increased funding to enhance transportation services for the disabled and disadvantaged.

Military/Homeland Security

John Kerry plans to introduce $23.81 billion in new spending for anti-terrorism and other military efforts. Of that total, over half -- $12.01 billion -- goes toward veterans health care and other military benefits. Just over 20 percent of the category total goes to address homeland security issues. This includes a $5 billion port security plan to screen all containers that enter the United States. The remaining funds provide more policing and firefighting efforts and add 40,000 active-duty Army troops to the American forces. If the troop increase stands through the remainder of the decade, as Kerry suggests, it will be at a cost of $24 billion.

Social, Economic, and Environmental Programs[14]

In an apparent attempt to appeal to numerous constituencies, Kerry offers cost-incurring policy plans that benefit, among others, felons, gays and lesbians, Native Americans, women, small business owners, the unemployed, carmakers, coal producers, and endangered species. Kerry's plan for employment, for example, offers $12 million to close the gender gap in pay, $800 million to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act, and over $17 billion in new unemployment benefits.

Environmentalists have reason to be happy with $893 million in new spending on environmental conservation and protection. A plan to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, at a $586 million increase over the current baseline, is responsible for the majority of environment-related costs. Funding inner city parks, increasing the Conservation Reserve Program's annual budget, boosting funding for endangered species conservation, and cleaning up Superfund sites all consume the remainder.

Environmental overtones run throughout John Kerry's energy programs as well. These programs include a combined $20 billion sum over five years for clean coal technology, energy efficient vehicles, and renewable energy. On the civil rights front, Sen. Kerry aims to provide equal justice for victims of hate crimes -- at a $110 million cost to taxpayers -- and a $2 million plan to restore voting rights to felons. Other Kerry plans include $63 million earmarked for housing programs for Native Americans and AIDS patients, $7 million for Native American law enforcement and tribal courts, and a $7.25 billion yearly contribution to international AIDS treatment and prevention.


For overtaxed and deficit-weary Americans, the future prospects for federal spending are, at a minimum, uncertain. In his first term, George W. Bush repeatedly failed to adequately trim the pork from an ever-fattening federal budget. Bush's opponent John Kerry proposes to submerge America even deeper into a sea of spending. Despite his recent attempt to outflank Bush on the deficit issue and portray himself as the more "fiscally responsible" candidate, the data behind Kerry's rhetoric tell a different story. Enactment of Kerry's "revised" spending agenda in its entirety would still mean higher taxes, a larger national debt, or likely both. Kerry's proposed spending caps, meant to convince Americans that he would usher in a new era of austerity, are actually so porous as to be no more effective than the restraints George W. Bush has sought.

In the final analysis, the "winner" of the 2004 election is likely to be the federal deficit -- leaving taxpayers with a landslide loss of their economic freedom.

About the Author

Drew Johnson is a Policy Analyst with National Taxpayers Union Foundation. He is also the author of NTUF Policy Paper 148, The Return of Fuzzy Math and Risky Schemes: How Presidential Hopefuls Would Deepen Deficits, published in January 2004.


[1] http://www.ntu.org/main/press_papers.php? PressID=548&org_name=NTUF

[2] http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2005/pdf/ hist.pdf

[3] Based on 102.5 million federal tax filers whose income tax returns showed a positive tax liability as reported by the IRS Statistics Of Income (SOI) division, 2001.

[4] $114.719 billion (includes proposed new spending amounts in Civil Rights, Economy, Employment, Energy, Environment, Housing, International Aid, and Justice and Law Enforcement categories in Appendix A).

[5] http://www.johnkerry.com/pressroom/speeches/ spc_2004_0407.html

[6] http://www.defenselink.mil/brac/

[7] http://www.defenselink.mil/brac/02faqs.htm#15

[8] http://www.nationalreview.com/nrof_comment/ gessing200405270809.asp

[9] http://www.ntu.org/main/page.php?PageID=30

[10] Based on 102.5 million federal tax filers whose income tax returns showed a positive tax liability.

[11] The most recent BillTally report, "The First Session of the 108th Congress: Operation Enduring Deficits -- Marshalling Taxpayer Dollars Into New Programs," is available at: http://www.ntu.org/main/press_papers.php? PressID=581&org_name=NTUF

[12] Number varies between $226.12 billion and $226.125 billion due to rounding.

[13] http://www.hillnews.com/news/051904/cbo.aspx

[14] Includes all proposals listed under the Agriculture/Rural, Civil Rights, Economy, Employment, Energy, Environment, Housing, International Aid, Justice and Law Enforcement, and Science and Technology headings in Appendix A.

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