Economics

Comprehensive List of Obama Tax Hikes

Posted on September 8, 2011. Filed under: Business, Economics, Government, Life, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , |

Thought you would find this interesting, it’s from the Americans for Tax Reform:

Which one of these tax hikes will destroy the most jobs?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has signed into law twenty-one new or higher taxes:

1. A 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco:  On February 4, 2009, just sixteen days into his Administration, Obama signed into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco, a hike of 61 cents per pack.  The median income of smokers is just over $36,000 per year.

2. Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax (takes effect in Jan 2014): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following

  1 Adult 2 Adults 3+ Adults
2014 1% AGI/$95 1% AGI/$190 1% AGI/$285
2015 2% AGI/$325 2% AGI/$650 2% AGI/$975
2016 + 2.5% AGI/$695 2.5% AGI/$1390 2.5% AGI/$2085
 

Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS). Bill: PPACA; Page: 317-337

3. Obamacare Employer Mandate Tax (takes effect Jan. 2014):  If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees.  Applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer). Bill: PPACA; Page: 345-346

Combined score of individual and employer mandate tax penalty: $65 billion/10 years

4. Obamacare Surtax on Investment Income (Tax hike of $123 billion/takes effect Jan. 2013):  Creation of a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single).  This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income: Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 87-93

  Capital Gains Dividends Other*
2011-2012 15% 15% 35%
2013+ (current law) 23.8% 43.4% 43.4%
2013+ (Obama budget) 23.8% 23.8% 43.4%
 

*Other unearned income includes (for surtax purposes) gross income from interest, annuities, royalties, net rents, and passive income in partnerships and Subchapter-S corporations.  It does not include municipal bond interest or life insurance proceeds, since those do not add to gross income.  It does not include active trade or business income, fair market value sales of ownership in pass-through entities, or distributions from retirement plans.  The 3.8% surtax does not apply to non-resident aliens.

5. Obamacare Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans (Tax hike of $32 bil/takes effect Jan. 2018): Starting in 2018, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family).  Higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family) for early retirees and high-risk professions.  CPI +1 percentage point indexed. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,941-1,956

6. Obamacare Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax (Tax hike of $86.8 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Current law and changes:

  First $200,000
($250,000 Married)
Employer/Employee
All Remaining Wages
Employer/Employee
Current Law 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
Obamacare Tax Hike 1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed
1.45%/2.35%
3.8% self-employed
 

Bill: PPACA, Reconciliation            Act; Page: 2000-2003; 87-93

7. Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax (Tax hike of $5 bil/took effect Jan. 2011): Americans no longer able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957-1,959

8. Obamacare HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike (Tax hike of $1.4 bil/took effect Jan. 2011): Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,959

9. Obamacare Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka “Special Needs Kids Tax” (Tax hike of $13 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Imposes cap on FSAs of $2500 (now unlimited).  Indexed to inflation after 2013. There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education.  Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs educationBill: PPACA; Page: 2,388-2,389

10. Obamacare Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers (Tax hike of $20 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Medical device manufacturers employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax.  Exempts items retailing for <$100. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,980-1,986

11. Obamacare “Haircut” for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI (Tax hike of $15.2 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI).  The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994-1,995

12. Obamacare Tax on Indoor Tanning Services (Tax hike of $2.7 billion/took effect July 2010): New 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,397-2,399

13. Obamacare elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D (Tax hike of $4.5 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013) Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994

14. Obamacare Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike (Tax hike of $0.4 bil/took effect Jan. 1 2010): The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues are spent on clinical services. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,004

15. Obamacare Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals (Min$/took effect immediately): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new “community health assessment needs,” “financial assistance,” and “billing and collection” rules set by HHS. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,961-1,971

16. Obamacare Tax on Innovator Drug Companies (Tax hike of $22.2 bil/took effect Jan. 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,971-1,980

17. Obamacare Tax on Health Insurers (Tax hike of $60.1 bil/takes effect Jan. 2014): Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year.  Phases in gradually until 2018.  Fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,986-1,993

18. Obamacare $500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives (Tax hike of $0.6 bil/takes effect Jan 2013). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,995-2,000

19. Obamacare Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2 ($min/takes effect Jan. 2012): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957

20. Obamacare “Black liquor” tax hike (Tax hike of $23.6 billion/took effect immediately).  This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 105

21. Obamacare Codification of the “economic substance doctrine” (Tax hike of $4.5 billion/took effect immediately).  This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely-legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 108

Read more: http://www.atr.org/comprehensive-list-obama-tax-hikes-a6433#ixzz1XP3MgyYP

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Stimulus Spending = Red Tape

Posted on July 17, 2009. Filed under: Economics, Economy, Government, Life, Politics, Resession | Tags: , , , , , , , |

From:  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31910717/ns/business-eye_on_the_economy/

Sometimes the “shovel-ready” roads from the government’s economic stimulus program lead straight to a pile of paperwork but not to the jobs they were supposed to create.

To find out how well increased federal spending is flowing through the economy, take a drive down Country Road 17 in Elkhart, Ind.

Traffic along this major thoroughfare heads south from the Interstate, bypasses downtown and then stops dead just outside of Goshen, the next town over. The plan to extend the road is approved and ready to go to bid within 60 days, according to county highway manager Jeff Taylor.

But instead of digging new bridge foundations, Taylor said his department is digging through a deluge of government forms.

“I’ve got an engineer full time and that’s just about all he’s doing is red tape every day — filling out forms, filling out forms,” he said. “You will not see stimulus used until next year because this year is going to be all red tape.”

An approval process that usually takes his department five steps has now stretched to 50, Taylor said. Rights of way that have already been acquired, for example, have to be reviewed and re-approved.

“They’ve made it so rigorous that when you say ‘shovel ready,’ the lay person sitting at the bar having his beer wishing he could get back to work is thinking ‘Why don’t we get busy?,’” Taylor said. “And I’m telling you we’re not going to get busy any time soon because it takes a long, long time to get through the paperwork.”

Taylor is among thousands of front-line managers overseeing the planning and design of billions of dollars worth of projects that were supposed to get a jump-start from the $787 billion stimulus package enacted in February. The boost in spending was, in turn, supposed to help reverse the collapse in the economy and create new jobs.

So far, it doesn’t seem to be working out that way. Though the rise in unemployment has slowed somewhat since the stimulus was enacted, the Obama administration concedes that job losses may not ease for some time, even with massive government spending designed to create new ones.

“How employment numbers are going to respond is not yet clear,” President Barack Obama said earlier this week before heading to Michigan, where the unemployment rate is among the highest in the country. “My expectation is that we will probably continue to see unemployment tick up for several months.”

Defenders of the stimulus package note that without the huge government response, the unemployment rate would be even higher. They also note that the loss of trillions of dollars in household wealth and the huge pile of bad debts choking the banking system have created an economic mess unlike any other economic downturn in memory. 

“We are in a balance sheet recession,” said Laura Tyson, a former head of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton Administration who is now one of President Obama’s economic advisors. “We haven’t gone through this kind of recession in most of the lifetimes of the forecasters. By the way, the models that forecasters use are the same models that missed the fact that we were going to have this recession. So let’s admit a lot of uncertainty here.”   

When Congress and the White House put together a plan to spend $787 billion to try to rescue the U.S. economy, they agreed to spread the flow of money over several years. According to the Congressional Budget Office, some $185 billion is targeted to be spent this year, roughly $400 billion next year, $135 billion in 2011 and the remainder in the following years.

Critics of the package say that it’s not surprising that the huge war chest seems to be having a limited impact.

“I think it’s doing exactly what everyone predicted it would do,” said Lawrence Lindsey, a private economist and senior economic advisor in the Bush administration. “Every major budget analyst in both parties, and the Congressional Budget Office, said that this stimulus, the way it was constructed, wasn’t timely, wasn’t targeted on jobs and, therefore, wasn’t going to stimulate the economy. And lo and behold, it didn’t.”

So far, the bulk of the funds have been spent to fill the huge — and widening — holes in state budgets. The two biggest spending categories are for Medicaid and education. But that money is largely offsetting the collapse of revenues as falling house prices have eroded property taxes and rising unemployment have cut into income taxes.

Almost all 50 states are facing budget gaps for the upcoming fiscal year to the tune of about $166 billion, or 24 percent of all state spending, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The group projects that by 2011 state budget shortfalls will top $350 billion — nearly half the entire stimulus package. Filling those state budget shortfalls with federal stimulus funds will help blunt deeper cuts in state jobs and services, but that money won’t help create new jobs.

“The stimulus wasn’t going to turn this around overnight, but it’s hard to argue that it’s really in the pipeline and making a big difference right now,” said John Engler, the former governor of Michigan who is president of the National Association of Manufacturing.

When the stimulus plan was enacted the Obama administration predicted it would “save or create” 3.5 million jobs before 2011. Supporters of the plan argue that without it, the recession would have been deeper and job losses even greater. But the impact of the spending package is difficult to assess when the economy is still shedding jobs and the unemployment rate is rising.

“I don’t know how you measure job preservation,” said GOP Strategist Terry Holt. “The American people are going to judge this president and this economy based on whether or not they can create jobs. As long as this economy isn’t creating jobs, the political weight will get heavier on this administration with every passing month.”

Since the recession began in December 2007, the economy has shed more than 6 million jobs, including 467,000 in June. During the peak jobs market of this decade, in 2005, the economy was creating about 200,000 jobs a month; about 125,000 new jobs are needed every month just to keep up with the growth of the work force.

So even once the economy begins creating new jobs again, it could be several years before the millions of workers laid off during the recession re-enter the job market and the unemployment rate begins falling to more normal levels. 

Continued job losses also are weighing more heavily on the economy as lost wages cut deeper into consumer spending, which accounts for roughly two-thirds of the U.S. economy. If federal spending doesn’t flow quickly enough to offset the drop in personal income, sluggish consumer spending will remain a drag on growth for some time.

Consumer spending has also been depressed by the collapse of the housing market and huge losses in savings.  That’s forced many households to tighten their belts; massive federal spending by itself will do little to get them back in a spending mood.

“Baby boomers feel like they lost 35 percent of their net worth in one year, and they don’t feel like they’ve got as much time as they head into their retirement years,” said Fred Crawford, CEO of the business consulting firm Alix Partners. “So they are doubling down on savings. We are expecting the savings rate — which was just a year ago around zero percent and has now jumped to around seven percent — will probably approach 10 percent in the next couple of quarters. That’s is a big swing in spending.”

(end of article)

My Notes:  A couple of weeks ago the President said “… the stimulus is working exactly as it is supposed to.”  So it’s supposed to increase paperwork?  It’s supposed to increase production time, which ultimately increases costs?  And of course … It’s not supposed to create jobs quickly and get people back to work?

His idea of  “stimulus” and mine are very different.

However, the fact that people are increasing their savings is very good.  We are one of the worst nations when it comes to saving, so an increase in savings is great.  When we save more then banks and lending institutions have more money available to loan to businesses and individuals.  And that’s very good for the health of the economy.

And that’s my 2 cents.

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Urgent Cap and Trade Alert

Posted on July 6, 2009. Filed under: Business, Economics, Economy, Global Warming, Government, Legislation, Life | Tags: , , , , |

Presented below in its entirity is a message from HumanEvents.com, it is presented for your consideration and action regardless of which side of the aisle you are on.

The U.S. Senate is lurching onward with Cap-and-Trade legislation – a massive energy tax that will dramatically raise the cost of just about everything you produce or consume, (according to some figures by as much as 3,000 per year for the average household) all to reduce “global warming,” which Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) labels “a hoax.”

     The U.S. House – on a day that shall live in infamy – passed this so-called Cap-and-Trade legislation by the narrow margin of 219-212, with the help of eight Republican-in-Name-Only turncoats.

     And now, only the Senate can stop this massive tax increase that goes under the deceptive name of Cap-and-Trade.

     And here’s an “inconvenient truth.” The rationale behind so-called Cap-and-Trade is based solely on a myth called Global Warming. Cap-and-Trade is being sold as the solution to a problem that does not even exist.

Global temperatures have not risen for a decade, and have been falling since . . . late 2001. Perhaps real-world climate sensitivity [to human causes] is much below [U.N.] estimates. Perhaps, therefore, there is no ‘climate crisis’ at all.” (Climate expert Viscount Christopher Moncton]

     Senators need to wake up and consider Christopher Moncton’s common sense solution for the global warming fantasy that he identifies as a non-problem. It is, he says, “To have the courage to . . . do nothing.”

     To state this “inconvenient truth” another way; Barack Hussein Obama, Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi, John Murtha, and Harry Reid are using the discredited, unscientific global warming myth to justify their mindless drive to wreck the American economy and eradicate our personal freedoms.

     We must stop them. We can do so by barraging the president and Senate leadership with blast faxes showing that we’re onto their global warming scam – their tax-and-spend power grab – and that the American people won’t tolerate legislatively induced economic suicide.



Use the hyperlink below to send your urgent Blast Fax messages to Barack Obama and each and every Republican Member of the United States Senate.

Tell them in plain English that you know Cap-and-Trade is nothing more than a rip-off by government to reward its political favorites . . . and that you don’t want higher utility bills, gasoline prices, and food prices, along with restricted personal freedoms, reduced job opportunities, and a diminished standard of living . . . all for the sake of rewarding petty politicians more concerned with handing out political favors than getting America’s economy moving again.

Demand that they reject any and all Cap-and-Trade schemes – now and forever.

Send My Faxes Now

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Is America Becoming A Socialist Nation?

Posted on June 1, 2009. Filed under: Business, Economics, Government, Life, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

You’ve heard that old saying “You can’t see the forest for the trees”; meaning someone is too close to a situation to be able to step back and see the entire situation.  Such is my tale today. 

Recently Pravda, (the Russian newspaper long known for being a propaganda machine for the Soviets), printed an article that I must completely agree with.  The Soviets see our Government quickly descending into Marxism, (aka Socialism), at “breath taking speed”.

When did this start happening?  According to Pravda “…the situation has been well prepared on and off for the past century, especially the past twenty years.”  And their prediction for the future is beyond catastrophic, it is death to the America we know.  “The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America’s short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more then another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Wiemar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe.”

America, long the leader in production and growth is predicted to become a poor, backward nation on the level of Zimbabwe.  And not in ten or twenty years, but only another year or two.

This cry of doom comes not from the conservative right, (though they do see terrible consequences for the current actions of Obama and the Democratic Congress), but from a former Marxist state . . . Russia.  I understand that people may not want to heed what the conservative opposition is saying, but we should listen when a former Marxist nation starts calling us Marxists.

We should take note when President Hugo Chavez gives our President Marxist books to read.

We should be afraid when members of Congress openly call for the Nationalization, (Socialization), of major industries such as Oil, Pharmaceuticals, Health Care, Transportation, and more.

As Americans we have little knowledge of what our Government is doing to us, and that is both tragically sad and scary.   Read the Pravda article; then read the article by Pamela Geller and reach your own conclusions. 

Buckle up America, we’re in for a very bumpy ride.

That’s my 2 cents.

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Good Grief!

Posted on May 12, 2009. Filed under: Advertising, Business, Economics, Economy, Government, Marketing | Tags: , , , , , |

My heart goes out to Chrysler and its Board of Directors.  It really does, I’m not being sarcastic at all.

How many times have I said, that the last thing you should do when times are tough, is cut your marketing budget.  Actually, that’s when you need to increaseyour marketing, to try and overcome any declining sales.

But the task force overseeing the auto industry slashed Chrysler’s marketing budget a whopping 50%!  Advertising Age is reporting that the Treasury’s auto-industry task force slashed Chrysler’s planned marketing budget from $134 million to roughly $67 million. 

With consumer confidence in Chrysler shrinking on a daily basis they need to be running ads to instill consumer confidence and keep them headed towards the dealerships.  But the Government bureaucrats think that since Chrysler is suspending all production for a few weeks while in bankruptcy court, that they don’t really need to advertise that much.  But I guess Chrysler should feel fortunate that they at least get some money for marketing.

Chrysler makes a good product, (at least  think so), but by cutting their marketing in half it will make it much more difficult for Chrysler to regain any sales momentum.  Which will make it more difficult for them to pull out of the downward spiral they are in.

I wish Chrysler well, but it doesn’t look to me like the government really wants them to succeed.  Rather, it looks to me like the Obama Government wants them to be run into the ground so that the government can step in and fully Nationalize them.  Then the Government can run Chrysler, and we all know how well the Government can run things. 

That’s my 2 cents

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Congress is at it Again

Posted on April 2, 2009. Filed under: Business, Economics, Economy, Government, Legislation, Politics | Tags: , , , , , |

Representative Barney Frank has come up with some troubling legislation that is hard for me to fathom.

His legislation, which has already passed out of committee, gives Treasury Secretary Geithner the right to set the wage of any employee in any of the firms that have or will have received bailout money from the Government.  This is not just the CEO’s, not just top executives, but every single employee in the company all the way down to the janitor and security guard.

Geithner, (or his appointed bureaucrat), will decide if you are entitled to a raise, not your supervisor.  Have a negotiated contract for your job, complete with built-in pay increases?  Gone.  Operating under a Labor Union contract with GM?  Guess what, your wage is no longer something the union and management negotiate, it will be determined by an arbitrary bureaucratic whose decision is final. This bill gives the Secretary of the Treasury sole power to determine your wage. 

True, this applies only to those few companies deemed “too big to fail” . . . at least for now.  But what about all the hundreds of companies that will receive government work as a result of the first stimulus package of 2009?  Why not extend the scope of this legislation to them as well, after all they are receiving (though indirectly) money from the Federal Government.

What about all the Government contractors and sub-contractors, they receive taxpayer dollars, shouldn’t the Federal Government have some say in what they pay their employees?

Let’s make it real simple.  The Government should publish a simple and easy to understand pay scale for every job description out there.  (OK, the Government isn’t capable of publishing anything simple and easy to understand.)  Commission salespeople will now be on a salary, so it won’t matter if they sell one widget or one million, they will still receive the same pay.

Incentive bonuses will be gone, so there’s no need to do a better job we’ll all just muddle through the day doing the minimum required.  Productivity will decrease, but that’s OK, Congress is talking about legislation that would prohibit an employer from laying people off.

Not to worry, Government will take care of you.  No need for you to exert any effort.  After all, look how well it has worked for Cuba, Russia, and Venezula.

 To learn more about Barney Frank’s legislation check out the article “Beyond AIG:  A bill to let Big Government set your salary“, by Byron York)

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Where Are We Headed?

Posted on March 25, 2009. Filed under: Business, Economics, Economy, Government, Politics | Tags: , , , |

Where are we headed?

Last night President Obama made an appeal to the people of the United States for powers that our founding fathers never dreamed of.

He laid out his reasons why the Government should have the ability to take over financial institutions.   In short, he wants the authority to take over all financial institutions, (such as Banks, Savings and Loans, Insurance companies, and Investment Brokerage firms), for the long-term economic stability of the nation.

That sounds almost reasonable, and it sounds like he is really interested in doing what is right for America.   What he is saying is that he wants to right to seize public and private businesses and have the Government run them. But there are two glaring … at least I think they are glaring … things wrong with this.

First glaring problem –

What is to stop the Government to one-day say, “For the stability of our country, and for the free flowing discourse to continue, it is in America’s national interest that we take control of our nation’s newspapers.”   (Members of Congress are already talking about doing this, so it wouldn’t be a hard sell to them.)

Then the President could announce, “For reasons of national security the Government will be taking control of all oil firms, both foreign and domestic, in the United States.   This will help insure that no foreign country or power will have control over our oil supplies, and help to insure our energy independence.”   (Members of Congress have already discussed this as well.)

Since there is already considerable movement to nationalize our health care, a press conference might include the statement, “To provide for quality health care for all citizens it is imperative that your Government take over the health care industry.   That would include all Doctors, medical insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies.   This way we can insure that Doctors are providing proper care to our citizens, especially the children and the elderly by monitoring the tests and treatments provided by Doctors.   By controlling the medical insurance companies we can provide for low-cost health insurance for each and every one of our citizens from the youngest to the oldest without regard for their personal financial wealth.   And by taking over the pharmaceutical companies we will be able to stop research on marginally effective drugs and put extra emphasis on curing the serious ills of our time such as cancer, AIDS, and heart disease.”   (Note – the first stimulus package of 2009 included a portion that said all medical procedures and prescriptions would be reviewed by a Government panel; so part of this is already in place.)

 So here we are with seemingly sincere and honest reasons to take over Banks, S&L’s, Investment Banks, Stock Brokers, Insurance Companies, Newspapers, Oil companies, Medical Insurance companies, Pharmaceutical companies, and every Medical Doctor and Surgeon in America.   All of it done in our national interest.

But why stop there? Wouldn’t it be nice if all the television and movie entertainment was reviewed by the government to insure the emotional health and stability of our children.   So that no program planted seeds of racial hate, and we were all properly educated (indoctrinated) in tolerance and social harmony.

The auto industry is certainly having a hard time these days, perhaps the government should take them over as well.   Not just GM and Chrysler, but Ford as well; why should Ford be allowed to be successful if their competitors are having problems?   To create a fair playing field we need to nationalize (seize) all the auto manufacturing facilities, both domestic as well as foreign operating plants on our soil.

And certainly for reasons of national security the Government should take over the production of all military supplies and weapon systems.

To provide for a healthy America, it would be essential that the Government take over all restaurants to insure that our citizens are eating healthy and nutritional meals.

Well, you see where this is headed. It wouldn’t be long and the Government would own just about every business in America.  

This brings us to our second glaring problem –

When a government nationalizes a business that means they now own the business.   Not the individual investors who put money into the company, but the government that seizes the business or industry.   So all the money you have put into buying shares of that company, (GM for example), is gone.   All the money your retirement fund put into that company is gone. Your investment, your retirement, your nest egg, has vanished because “for the national interest” the Government has taken over.   You have nothing, no share of the profits because now all the profits go to the Government.

And once the Government has seized GM, (or whomever), they don’t have to “negotiate” wage rates, they get to dictate wage rates. Not just of top management, but of every worker from the CEO to the janitor pushing a broom.   Your wage will not be determined by how good a worker you are, or how productive, or how innovative, or anything else that might make you be a better employee … but by some Government bureaucrat who’s job is to decide what you should make.   Your incentive to do a good job and get a raise would be gone.   Do a good job or a bad job and your wage remains the same.

Nationalization of an industry will quickly erode the economic fabric of individuals who believe in working hard and getting ahead.

Nationalization of an industry takes economic power away from the individual and places it forever in the Government.

Nationalization of one or more industries is Socialism.

So to answer my question “Where are we going?”, we are running straight into the arms of Socialism and away from the principles of independence and self-reliance that our country was founded on.  

We are running towards mediocrity, complacency, and helplessness.

We are running towards our emotional and economic death.

And that’s my 2 cents.

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U.S. to Ration Healthcare

Posted on February 13, 2009. Filed under: Economics, Economy, Government, Legislation, Political Science, Politics, Resession | Tags: , , , , , |

Commentary by Betsy McCaughey Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) —

Republican Senators are questioning whether President Barack Obama’s stimulus bill contains the right mix of tax breaks and cash infusions to jump-start the economy.

Tragically, no one from either party is objecting to the health provisions slipped in without discussion. These provisions reflect the handiwork of Tom Daschle, until recently the nominee to head the Health and Human Services Department.

Senators should read these provisions and vote against them because they are dangerous to your health. (Page numbers refer to H.R. 1 EH, pdf version).

The bill’s health rules will affect “every individual in the United States” (445, 454, 479). Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.

But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446). These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.”  According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.”

Keeping doctors informed of the newest medical findings is important, but enforcing uniformity goes too far.

New Penalties

Hospitals and doctors that are not “meaningful users” of the new system will face penalties. “Meaningful user” isn’t defined in the bill. That will be left to the HHSsecretary, who will be empowered to impose “more stringent measures of meaningful use over time” (511, 518, 540-541)

What penalties will deter your doctor from going beyond the electronically delivered protocols when your condition is atypical or you need an experimental treatment? The vagueness is intentional. In his book, Daschle proposed an appointed body with vast powers to make the “tough” decisions elected politicians won’t make.

The stimulus bill does that, and calls it the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (190-192). The goal, Daschle’s book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments,” and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.

Elderly Hardest Hit

Daschle says health-care reform “will not be pain free.” Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.

Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost- effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council (464).

The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschle’s book. This board approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit. Treatments for younger patients are more often approved than treatments for diseases that affect the elderly, such as osteoporosis.

In 2006, a U.K. health board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took almost three years of public protests before the board reversed its decision.

Hidden Provisions

If the Obama administration’s economic stimulus bill passes the Senate in its current form, seniors in the U.S. will face similar rationing. Defenders of the system say that individuals benefit in younger years and sacrifice later.

The stimulus bill will affect every part of health care, from medical and nursing education, to how patients are treated and how much hospitals get paid. The bill allocates more funding for this bureaucracy than for the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force combined (90-92, 174-177, 181).

Hiding health legislation in a stimulus bill is intentional. Daschle supported the Clinton administration’s health-care overhaul in 1994, and attributed its failure to debate and delay. A year ago, Daschle wrote that the next president should act quickly before critics mount an opposition. “If that means attaching a health-care plan to the federal budget, so be it,” he said. “The issue is too important to be stalled by Senate protocol.”

More Scrutiny Needed

On Friday, President Obama called it “inexcusable and irresponsible” for senators to delay passing the stimulus bill. In truth, this bill needs more scrutiny.

The health-care industry is the largest employer in the U.S. It produces almost 17 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Yet the bill treats health care the way European governments do: as a cost problem instead of a growth industry. Imagine limiting growth and innovation in the electronics or auto industry during this downturn. This stimulus is dangerous to your health and the economy.

 (Betsy McCaughey is former lieutenant governor of New York and is an adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

The opinions expressed are her own.) To contact the writer of this column: Betsy McCaughey at Betsymross@aol.com

Update: Earlier this week the Democrats promised to post the etire bill on the web for 48 hours so the public could see what all it contained.  They have broken that promise and are bringing it to the floor today, Friday the 13th.

Call your Senators and tell them not to vote for this garbage they call a stimulus.

That’s my 2 cents.

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And The Bailouts Keep Coming

Posted on November 9, 2008. Filed under: Business, Economics, Economy, Government, Political Science, Politics, Resession | Tags: , , , , , |

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Paulson, Speaker Palosi and Senate Majority Leader Reed asked the Secretary to consider adding the auto industry in the bailout.  Specifically to, “review the feasibility . . . of providing temporary assistance to the automobile industry during the current financial crisis.”

I don’t argue that the auto industry isn’t in dire straights, but the Democrats always want to throw money, (specifically our money, at whatever problem exists.  That I don’t agree with that.  Providing money without any change in their behavior won’t do any good.  If the government is going to loan money it should be under tightly controlled cercumstances, with a detailed plan of action by the companies indicating how they are going to change, and what they are going to do with the money.  If we don’t do this, then they will do like the insurance industry did … pay executives large bonuses and have expensive executive retreats paid for by the taxpayer.

It won’t be too long before the various States get in line for the money too.  California and Michigan will probably be among the first, and possibly even New York City will have its hand out as well.  When, (if ever), will it end?  Will our country be bankrupt with all this bailout nonsense?  Possibly.

How will our government get the money to bail out all these industries and states?  There is only one way … through increased taxes.  The President-Elect may say he is going to cut taxes, but the leaders in Congress have already called for tax increases, and not just on the wealthy but on the vast majority of Americans.  And it is Congress, not the President, that establishes the tax rate.  If Congress passes a tax hike that the President doesn’t like and vetos, the Senate would only need a hand-full of Republicans to over-ride a Presidential Veto.

Fasten your seat-belts Americans, we are in for a VERY bumpy ride.

UPDATE:   FED refuses to disclose recepients of almost 2 Trillian in loans. 

“The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would comply with congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system. Two months later, as the Fed lends far more than that in separate rescue programs that didn’t require approval by Congress, Americans have no idea where their money is going or what securities the banks are pledging in return. “

Read the entire article here:  http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aatlky_cH.tY&refer=worldwide

UPDATE:  Where do you stop?  Some Economists voice their position:  http://www.cnbc.com/id/27662540/

And that’s my 2 cents.

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What the Demorats have Promised

Posted on November 5, 2008. Filed under: Business, Economics, Economy, Government, Political Science, Politics | Tags: , , , , , |

Here is what the Democrats in Congress and the President Elect have promised or called for.  Since both houses of Congress have a Democrat majority it can reasonably be expected that these (and more) will come to pass.

 

Elimination of all of our nuclear weapons

 

Reduction of our military, perhaps by as much as 25%.  (This will increase the demand for Reservists being called up to meet whatever military needs we might have.  Unfortunately current Reservist call-ups are hurting businesses to the point that some businesses now refuse to hire anyone in the active Reserves.)

 

Reinstatement of The Fairness Doctrine.  This is aimed at conservative talk radio since liberal talk radio went bankrupt.  In addition, I fully expect the new Fairness Doctrine to include blogs, Congress has already attempted to restrict blogs and writing in general, but it failed.

 

The Capital Gains Tax to double.

 

A 100% tax on plants that use coal or gas to produce energy.  Obama has stated that he wants to end the use of coal and natural gas in America, and this would certainly do it.  He has acknowledged that his tax would bankrupt any company using coal to produce energy. 

 

Obama has acknowledged that his taxes on energy will result in higher utility bills for individuals and business.

 

401K’s, IRA’s, and Roth IRA’s will be eliminated, they would be replaced by a Government run program where individuals are required to contribute 5% of their income for a guaranteed return of 3%

 

Obama has promised that everyone making under $250,000 will receive a tax cut; then Obama promised that everyone making under $200,000 will receive a tax cut; then Biden promised that everyone making under $150,000 would receive a tax cut.  With all Obama wants to give away there is simply no way the middle class is going to be able to see a tax cut.

 

While Obama has promised that our taxes would go down, the Democratic leadership in Congress has called for tax increases for everyone.

 

The tax cuts initiated under President Bush will expire and every taxpayers taxes will increase.  Obama has stated that he will only allow the tax cuts for the rich to expire, but since they are all bundled together in one piece of legislation all the tax cuts will expire.

 

Obama said he wanted to create a Civilian Security Force.  I have no idea exactly what he means, nor do I understand why current law enforcement couldn’t be tasked with this, but the opportunity for abuse of seemingly uncontrolled power has me worried.

 

$50,000,000,000 (that’s 50 Billion dollars), will be given to third world countries to erase world poverty.  It isn’t clear if that is a one-time gift or an annual gift, nor is there any way to guarantee that the third world governments will actually pass the money along to their poor.

 

Universal Health Care, (AKA Socialized Medicine), will finally come to America so that we can have unresponsive medical attention just like they do in Canada, Australia, and other countries where this concept has been tried but failed.

 

Welfare payments will go up as government “spreads the wealth around” by increasing taxes on those who make over $250,000 or is it $200,000 or is it $150,000, (or will it be even lower), and giving it to those who aren’t working.

 

Obama has said that some people are living in very expensive homes, “and we’ll have to take a look at that”.  Does that mean the Government will decide what size home is appropriate for a family?  Does that mean that some individuals living in fine homes will have to move to something smaller?  Since he never explained what he meant we will just have to wait and see what he means.

 

Since Obama has voted for legislation that would legalize infanticide, it is probably realistic to think that legislation of this type would be reintroduced at some point.

 

Democratic leaders in Congress have repeatedly said that the big oil companies need to be punished.  There are a variety of options open to Congress which include:

·        increasing the corporate tax rate:

·        increasing the tax on fuel that we purchase at the pump (though that hurts us and not the oil company);

·        Nationalizing the oil companies, like Mexico, Venezuela, and others have done, which means that the profits go to the Government and not those who invested in the oil company.  This would also mean that every retirement plan and investor who has stock in an oil company would lose their investment.

 

Congress has talked about Nationalizing other industries as well, which will put more profits into the pockets of Government and less into the pockets of investors, union retirement funds, and pension plans.

 

Obama has promised small businesses would get loans to improve and develop their operations, he has not indicated where the money for these loans would come from.

 

I remind you, everything I’ve said has been either promised by Obama or stated by Congressional leadership as something that needs to occur during the next four years.  The potential consequences on business, individuals, and our free market system are horrific, and I pray that the logical conclusion of such policies doesn’t happen.

 

 

 And that’s my 2 cents.

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