Government

Move over NSA, here comes the Obamacare Big Brother database

Posted on July 22, 2013. Filed under: Government, Health | Tags: , |

From Rare.US comes the following story:

Would you trust thousands of low-level Federal bureaucrats and contractors with one-touch access to your private financial and medical information? Under Obamacare you won’t have any choice.

As the Obamacare train-wreck begins to gather steam, there is increasing concern in Congress over something called the Federal Data Services Hub. The Data Hub is a comprehensive database of personal information being established by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to implement the federally facilitated health insurance exchanges. The purpose of the Data Hub, according to a June 2013 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, is to provide “electronic, near real-time access to federal data” and “access to state and third party data sources needed to verify consumer-eligibility information.” In these days of secret domestic surveillance by the intelligence community, rogue IRS officials and state tax agencies using private information for political purposes, and police electronically logging every license plate that passes by, the idea of the centralized Data Hub is making lawmakers and citizens nervous.

They certainly should be; the potential for abuse is enormous. The massive, centralized database will include comprehensive personal information such as income and financial data, family size, citizenship and immigration status, incarceration status, social security numbers, and private health information. It will compile dossiers based on information obtained from the IRS, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, the Office of Personnel Management, the Social Security Administration, state Medicaid databases, and for some reason the Peace Corps. The Data Hub will provide web-based, one-stop shopping for prying into people’s personal affairs.

Not to fear, HHS says, the Data Hub will be completely secure. Really? Secure like all the information that has been made public in the Wikileaks era? These days no government agency can realistically claim that private information will be kept private, especially when it is being made so accessible. Putting everyone’s personal information in once place only simplifies the challenge for those looking to hack into the system.

However, the hacker threat is the least of the Data Hub worries. The hub will be used on a daily basis by so-called Navigators, which according to the GAO are “community and consumer-focused nonprofit groups, to which exchanges award grants to provide fair and impartial public education” and “refer consumers as appropriate for further assistance.” Thousands of such people will have unfettered access to the Data Hub, but there are only sketchy guidelines on how they will be hired, trained and monitored. Given the slap-dash, incoherent way Obamacare is being implemented the prospect for quality control is low. And the Obama administration’s track record of sweetheart deals, no-bid, sole-source contracting and other means of rewarding people with insider access means the Data Hub will be firmly in the hands of trusted White House loyalists.

So if you think the IRS targeting Tea Party groups was bad, just wait for the Obamacare Navigators to be unleashed. “Trust us,” the administration says, no one will abuse the Data Hub. Sure, because that has worked out so well in the past.

James S. Robbins is Deputy Editor of Rare and author of Native Americans: Patriotism, Exceptionalism, and the New American Identity. Follow him on Twitter @James_Robbins

– See more at: http://rare.us/story/move-over-nsa-here-comes-the-obamacare-big-brother-database/#sthash.1K7bovmP.dpuf

And here is a related story from National Review Online:

July 22, 2013 4:00 AM

Obamacare’s Branch of the NSA 

Community organizers will use a Federal Data Hub to sign up people for subsidies — and even ballots.

By         John Fund

President Obama has had a poor record of job creation, but at least one small economic sector is doing well: community organizing.

The Department of Health and Human Services is about to hire an army of “patient navigators” to inform Americans about the subsidized insurance promised by Obamacare and assist them in enrolling. These organizers will be guided by the new Federal Data Hub, which will give them access to reams of personal information compiled by federal agencies ranging from the IRS to the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration. “The federal government is planning to quietly enact what could be the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic,” Paul Howard of the Manhattan Institute and Stephen T. Parente, a University of Minnesota finance professor, wrote in USA Today. No wonder that there are concerns about everything from identity theft to the ability of navigators to use the system to register Obamacare participants to vote.

HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius wasn’t satisfied with the $54 million in public funds allocated for navigators this year, so she tried to raise money from health-industry executives for Enroll America, the liberal nonprofit group leading the PR push for Obamacare. She had to retreat under withering criticism that she was shaking down companies that were dependent on government, a clear conflict of interest.

Because 34 states have declined to set up their own insurance “exchanges,” the job of guiding exchange enrollees in those states has been left to Washington. The identity of the groups who will get the Sebelius grants isn’t yet known, but Politico reports they are likely to include Planned Parenthood, senior-citizen advocacy organizations, and churches.

So far everything we’ve learned indicates the navigators will be flying blind, or could well be “unsafe at any speed.” In June, the Government Accountability Office reported that HHS is considering allowing navigators to assist with outreach and enrollment tasks even before completing their formal training. The reason? Like so much of Obamacare, the navigators program is behind schedule and drowning in its own complexity.

This spring, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee lawyers were also told by HHS that, despite the fact that navigators will have access to sensitive data such as Social Security numbers and tax returns, there will be no criminal background checks required for them. Indeed, they won’t even have to have high-school diplomas. Both U.S. Census Bureau and IRS employees must meet those minimum standards, if only because no one wants someone who has been convicted of identity theft getting near Americans’ personal records. But HHS is unconcerned. It points out that navigators will have to take a 20–30 hour online course about how the 1,200-page law works, which, given its demonstrated complexity, is like giving someone a first-aid course and then making him a med-school professor. “I want to assure you and all Americans that, when they fill out their [health-insurance] marketplace applications, they can trust the information they’re providing is protected,” said Marilyn Tavenner, head of HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, at a congressional hearing last week. In the age of Wikileaks and IRS abuses, somehow that isn’t very comforting.“The standards proposed by your department could result in a convicted felon receiving federal dollars and gaining access to confidential taxpayer information,” a group of nine Republican senators led by Utah’s Orrin Hatch wrote to Secretary Sebelius last month. “The same standards allow any individual who has registered with the exchange and completed two days of training to facilitate enrollment, as if the decision to purchase health insurance is similar to the decision of registering to vote.”

Indeed, voter registration is among the goals of the folks hawking Obamacare. The People’s World newspaper reports: “California’s Secretary of State Debra Bowen is designating the state’s new Health Benefit Exchange, Covered California, as a voter registration agency under the National Voter Registration Act. That means Covered California will be incorporating voter registration into every transaction — online, in-person and by phone — it has with consumers.” It seems as if some Obama supporters have found a new way to fill the void left by the bankruptcy of ACORN, the notorious left-wing voter-registration group that saw dozens of its employees in multiple states convicted of fraud.

At least the pay will be better. ACORN was infamous for stiffing its employees and even once sued the state of California to ask for an exemption from its minimum-wage law. But early reports are that the federal government will be offering navigators between $20 and $48 an hour. In many states, that’s far more than many private-sector workers with corresponding responsibilities earn.

If there is a silver lining in all of this, it is that the potential failure of the navigators program could further convince voters that Obamacare is simply unworkable. “The Obama administration wants something the federal government has never done: a computer system that connects HHS, the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, Homeland Security and perhaps other departments,” John Goodman, a health-care expert with the National Center for Policy Analysis, wrote in the Wall Street Journal in May. “For perspective, consider that the Veterans Administration converted to electronic medical records in 1998 and the VA and the Defense Department tried without success to share records until February [2013] when then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that the plan would be abandoned.”

But the consensus is that, if Obamacare isn’t repealed, the government can, with enough effort and money, get the Data Hub up and running. That concerns many members of Congress.

“Giving community organizers access to the Federal Data Hub is bad policy and potentially a danger to civil liberties,” House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan told me recently. “But it’s one of the most underreported stories I’ve seen. If people only knew about this Data Hub program, it would touch off a huge public outcry.”

— John Fund is national-affairs columnist for NRO

This article can be found at:  http://www.nationalreview.com/article/354031/obamacares-branch-nsa-john-fund

 

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Interesting

Posted on April 13, 2012. Filed under: Government, Legislation, Life | Tags: , , , , , |

This first link takes you to a youtube video of a black man discussing rally for Treyvon Martin, the youth recently killed in Florida by a white neighborhood watch captain.  It is powerful and compelling.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LONUecnsMb8&feature=player_embedded

The next two links concern a recently passed, (and signed into law), piece of legislation that removes an individuals right of free speech.  It doesn’t restrict the free speech, it completely removes it.

This first link is to a television news story discussing the law.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=7SGWH3kirzg&vq=medium

This link is to a printed article about the law.

http://www.inquisitr.com/206017/president-obama-signs-anti-protest-bill-h-r-347/

The President has stated many times that we need a new Constitution, guess he’s going to change it any way he can.

And finally, for those of you who didn’t know, the President recently signed an Executive Order allowing him to declare martial law.  The powers granted under this Executive Order are broad and sweeping, allowing the government to walk all over our Constitutional rights.

Here are several links discussing this Executive Order.

National Defense Resources Preparednessexecutive order

 

 

hotair.com/…/nationaldefenseresourcespreparednessexecutiveordCached
You +1’d this publicly. Undo

Mar 18, 2012 – We’re getting a lot of e-mail this weekend about an executive order issued on Friday afternoon by President Obama titled “National Defense

 

Thought I better get all this information out there before the Government restricts any political discussion or dissent in blogs.
 
That’s my 2 cents.

 

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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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Obama Admits He Was Born in KENYA

Posted on March 8, 2011. Filed under: Government, Life | Tags: , , , , , |

Here is a YouTube video with Obama in a public forum stating that he was not born in the United States but in Kenya.  This admission comes in the first minute or two of the video; in addition his wife (again in a public speaking situation) also refers to Kenya as where Obama was born.

The longer the Supreme Court dodges a ruling on Obama’s place of birth the deeper our country will sink into the brown smelly stuff.

Here’s a link to the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwhKuunp8D8&feature=player_embedded

That’s my 2 cents.

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New and Increased Taxes Because of Obamacare

Posted on January 14, 2011. Filed under: Business, Economy, Government, Legislation, Politics | Tags: , , , , |

From the web site Americans for Tax Reform comes this information:

Next week, the U.S. House of Representatives will be voting on an historic repeal of the Obamacare law.  While there are many reasons to oppose this flawed government health insurance law, it is important to remember that Obamacare is also one of the largest tax increases in American history.  Below is a comprehensive list of the two dozen new or higher taxes that pay for Obamcare’s expansion of government spending and interference between doctors and patients.

Individual Mandate Excise Tax(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)

Employer Mandate Tax(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.  This provision 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).

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

Surtax on Investment Income ($123 billion/Jan. 2013):  This increase involves the 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

  Capital Gains Dividends Other*
2010 15% 15% 35%
2011-2012 (current law) 20% 39.6% 39.6%
2011-2012 (Obama budget) 20% 20% 39.6%
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.

Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans($32 bil/Jan 2018): Starting in 2018, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family). For early retirees and high-risk professions exists a higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family).  CPI +1 percentage point indexed.

Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax($86.8 bil/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

Medicine Cabinet Tax($5 bil/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)

HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike($1.4 bil/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.

Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka“Special Needs Kids Tax”($13 bil/Jan 2013): Imposes cap of $2500 (Indexed to inflation after 2013) on FSAs (now unlimited). . 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 education. 

Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers($20 bil/Jan 2013): Medical device manufacturers employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax.  Exemptions include items retailing for less than $100. 

Raise “Haircut” for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI($15.2 bil/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; it is waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only.

Tax on Indoor Tanning Services($2.7 billion/July 1, 2010): New 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons

Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D($4.5 bil/Jan 2013)

Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike($0.4 bil/Jan 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

Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals(Min$/immediate): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new “community health assessment needs,” “financial assistance,” and “billing and collection” rules set by HHS

Tax on Innovator Drug Companies($22.2 bil/Jan 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year.

Tax on Health Insurers($60.1 bil/Jan 2014): Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year. The stipulation phases in gradually until 2018, and is fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits.

$500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives($0.6 bil/Jan 2013)

Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2(Min$/Jan 2011): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns.

Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting($17.1 bil/Jan 2012): Requires businesses to send 1099-MISC information tax forms to corporations (currently limited to individuals), a huge compliance burden for small employers

“Black liquor” tax hike(Tax hike of $23.6 billion).  This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel.

Codification of the “economic substance doctrine”(Tax hike of $4.5 billion).  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.

Read more: http://www.atr.org/comprehensive-list-tax-hikes-obamacare-a5758##ixzz1B33u6QUa

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I Don’t Mean to be Depressing, but …

Posted on September 8, 2010. Filed under: Government, Legislation, Life | Tags: , , |

Yesterday I let you know about the proposed 50 Billion dollar stimulus package that will be paid for with increased taxes, but here is more tax information on a different matter.

The “Debt Free America Act” (H.R. 4646) proposes a 1% “transaction tax” of every financial transaction, except for the purchase or sale of stock.  (Source:  http://sweetness-light.com/archive/lanny-davis-calls-for-a-transaction-tax)

The Congressional Research Service, (part of the Library of Congress), has produced the following summary:

“Debt Free America Act – States as purposes of this Act the raising of sufficient revenue from a fee on transactions to eliminate the national debt within seven years and the phasing out of the individual income tax. Amends the Internal Revenue Code to impose a 1% fee, offset by a corresponding nonrefundable income tax credit, on transactions that use a payment instrument, including any check, cash, credit card, transfer of stock, bonds, or other financial instrument. Defines “transaction” to include retail and wholesale sales, purchases of intermediate goods, and financial and intangible transactions. Establishes in the legislative branch the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action to review the fiscal imbalance of the federal government and make recommendations to improve such imbalance. Provides for expedited consideration by Congress of Task Force recommendations. Repeals after 2017 the individual income tax, refundable and nonrefundable personal tax credits, and the alternative minimum tax (AMT) on individuals. Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to: (1) prioritize the repayment of the national debt to protect the fiscal stability of the United States; and (2) study and report to Congress on the implementation of this Act.”
So until the income tax is finally repealed, (and will Congress ever really eliminate a tax once it is established), you will be paying the annual income tax as well as this 1% tax.  (The current writing of the legislation does require that the income tax be phased out completely, but there is plenty of time to change that part of the law.  Also, you get a tax credit on your income tax equal to 1% of your Adjusted Gross Income (see below).  On the plus side, the legislation does eliminate the Alternate Minimum Tax (AMT)).
For that matter, once a tax is created does Congress ever leave it alone and not increase it every year?
In looking at the full text of the law:
So, when you deposit your pay check 1% will be withheld by the bank and sent to the Government.  Your car payment, mortgage, credit card payments, and any other loan you pay will have 1% taken out and sent to the Government.  It would seem to me that if the institution making you the loan is suddenly out 1%, they will simply raise your payment to include the 1% fee or tax or whatever you want to call it.
I always get terrified when Congress wants to “improve” something, it just seems like they never get it right.
That’s my 2 cents.

 

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50 Billion in New Taxes Headed Our Way

Posted on September 6, 2010. Filed under: Business, Government, Legislation, Life, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

A Fox News article  gives us the depressing news that the President is out to weigh us down with a new 50 Billion dollar “stimulus” plan that will be paid for by an increase in taxes on oil and gas companies, who will naturally pass those taxes on to us.  (Note, I do not fault the oil and gas companies for passing along this tax burden, it is common business practice to increase your prices when your expenses go up.)

But with gas near $3.00 per gallon, can the typical individual afford even higher gasoline prices?

And with most states drowning in red ink will they really take this stimulus money to build the roads and rail roads it is intended to build, or will they use it to pay existing debt and keep existing workers and projects going?

I’ve reprinted the entire FoxNews article below.

(http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/09/06/obama-campaigns-democrats-new-infrastructure-investment-plan/)

(begin article)

In a speech that was part Democratic campaign push, part policy prescription, President Obama on Monday proposed a $50 billion investment in long-term infrastructure projects that he claimed will stimulate the flailing economy, create jobs and refill the exhausted federal highway trust fund.

Speaking to a crowd of union employees at Laborfest in Milwaukee, the president offered a six-year, front-loaded plan to rebuild 150,000 miles of our roads, lay 4,000 miles of railways and restore 150 miles of airport runways.

The proposal also calls for a strategy to build a national high-speed rail network and create an “infrastructure bank” that uses competitive measures to determine which projects receive funding rather than earmarks and grants.

The president said the project will be paid for — assuming congressional support — with tax hikes on oil and gas companies and will cut waste and bureaucracy by consolidating more than 100 duplicative programs. 

“This will not only create jobs immediately, it’s also going to make our economy hum in the long-run,” the president said. “It’s a plan that history tells us can and should attract bipartisan support. It’s a plan that says even in the still-smoldering aftermath of the worst recession in our lifetimes, America can act to shape our own destiny, to move this country forward, to leave our children something better — something that lasts.”

But based on the rest of the president’s speech — and congressional Republicans’ early reactions — it is likely to be a tough sell.

“Americans are rightly skeptical about Washington Democrats asking for more of their money — and their patience,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “After all, they’re still looking for the ‘shovel-ready’ jobs they were promised more than a year ago. A last-minute, cobbled-together stimulus bill with more than $50 billion in new tax hikes will not reverse the complete lack of confidence Americans have in Washington Democrats’ ability to help this economy.”

A senior official acknowledged before the president’s speech that the administration can’t estimate how many jobs might be created. 

“It would obviously (be) a substantial number of jobs. But just as important is that this would be a sustained program with increased investment over six years so it would be a sustained increase in jobs as well as America’s productivity,” the official said.

The GOP response shouldn’t surprise Obama, who used much of his speech to accuse Republicans of rejecting plans to strengthen the middle class and rebuild the economy.

“Even on things we usually agree, they say no,” Obama said of the GOP. “They just think it’s better to score political points before an election than to solve problems.”

In a combative tone, the president pointed specifically to House Minority Leader John Boehner as he laid into Republicans for objecting to a package last month that sent $26 billion to the states to keep teachers on the payroll and pay for police officers by sending additional Medicaid money so states could redirect that cash for salaries. The bill was paid for with cuts to expanded food stamp payments and higher taxes on multinational corporations.

“You know how we paid for it? By closing one of these ridiculous tax loophole that actually rewarded corporations for shipping jobs and profits overseas,” Obama said. “Even a lot of America’s biggest corporations agreed that this loophole didn’t make sense, agreed that it should be closed, that agreed that it wasn’t fair — but the man who thinks he’s gonna be speaker, he wants to re-open this loophole.”

Obama said he doesn’t want to re-live the past when Republicans led Congress, arguing that not only does the GOP not have new ideas, but the party wants to return to past policies that put the country on a downward spiral. 

“These are the folks whose policies helped devastate our middle class. They drove our economy into a ditch. … And then they’ve got the nerve to ask for the keys back,” Obama said. 

But Republicans offered a few reminders for voters as well. Boehner issued a statement recalling that the Obama administration said if the $814 billion stimulus bill passed, unemployment would not rise above 8 percent. It now stands at 9.6 percent, its 19th consecutive month above 8 percent and 16th consecutive month above 9 percent.

“If we’ve learned anything from the past 18 months, it’s that we can’t spend our way to prosperity,” Boehner said in a statement. “We don’t need more government ‘stimulus’ spending — we need to end Washington Democrats’ out-of-control spending spree, stop their tax hikes and create jobs by eliminating the job-killing uncertainty that is hampering our small businesses.”

(end article)

And he is doing this new tax initiative as something for Democrats to run on this November.  “Vote for me, I want to increase your taxes by 50 Billion dollars” … I think he is losing touch with reality.

That’s my 2 cents.

 

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Dr. Seuss

Posted on August 19, 2010. Filed under: Government, Life, Political Science, Politics | Tags: , , , , , |

(I received this in an e-mail so I claim no credit, but my congratulations to whomever created this.)

I do not like this Uncle Sam,
I do not like his health care scam. I do not like these dirty crooks,
or how they lie and cook the books.
I do not like when Congress steals,
I do not like their secret deals.
I do not like this speaker Nan ,
I do not like this ‘YES, WE CAN’.
I do not like this spending spree—
I’m smart, I know that nothing’s free.
I do not like their smug replies,
when I complain about their lies.
I do not like this kind of hope.
I do not like it. Nope, nope, nope!
 
Go green…

recycle Congress in 2010!

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Arizona – MSNBC survey

Posted on June 30, 2010. Filed under: Government, Legislation, Life, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , |

President Obama, his administration, and many in the media have been very critical of Arizona’s new law on immigration, even though they never even read the legislation.

This MSNBC survey is only one question long, and simply asks:

“In July, Arizona will begin enforcing a new law that requires law enforcement officers to check someone’s immigration status if they have reason to suspect that he or she is in the country illegally. Do you think this is a good idea?”

So far the results are:  95.8% Yes, 4.2% No.

Today is June 30, 2010; I don’t know how long the survey will be open for voting, but you can go to the link below and cast your vote.

http://world-news.newsvine.com/_question/2010/05/12/4274124-do-you-support-arizonas-tough-new-law-on-illegal-immigrationhttp://world-news.newsvine.com/_question/2010/05/12/4274124-do-you-support-arizonas-tough-new-law-on-illegal-immigration>

That’s my 2 cents.

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Freedoms Lost Under ObamaCare

Posted on March 23, 2010. Filed under: Government, Health, Life, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , |

In a March 21st blog post David  Hogberg wrote an interesting piece, which is reproduced below.  Under ObamaCare the Government knows what is best for you, and you will comply.  Reminds me of one of the Star Trek series where the evil Borg would say “resistance is futile”.  Well, buckle up kiddies, the Democrat run Congress is just getting started.

(Begin Hogberg’s post)

Of course, the overhaul is supposed to provide us with security. But it will result in skyrocketing insurance costs and physicians leaving the field in droves, making it harder to afford and find medical care. We may be about to live Benjamin Franklin’s adage, “People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.”

The sections described below are taken from HR 3590 as agreed to by the Senate and from the reconciliation bill as displayed by the Rules Committee.

1. You are young and don’t want health insurance? You are starting up a small business and need to minimize expenses, and one way to do that is to forego health insurance? Tough. You have to pay $750 annually for the “privilege.” (Section 1501)

2. You are young and healthy and want to pay for insurance that reflects that status? Tough. You’ll have to pay for premiums that cover not only you, but also the guy who smokes three packs a day, drink a gallon of whiskey and eats chicken fat off the floor. That’s because insurance companies will no longer be able to underwrite on the basis of a person’s health status. (Section 2701).

3. You would like to pay less in premiums by buying insurance with lifetime or annual limits on coverage? Tough. Health insurers will no longer be able to offer such policies, even if that is what customers prefer. (Section 2711).

4. Think you’d like a policy that is cheaper because it doesn’t cover preventive care or requires cost-sharing for such care? Tough. Health insurers will no longer be able to offer policies that do not cover preventive services or offer them with cost-sharing, even if that’s what the customer wants. (Section 2712).

5. You are an employer and you would like to offer coverage that doesn’t allow your employees’ slacker children to stay on the policy until age 26? Tough. (Section 2714).

6. You must buy a policy that covers ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive and wellness services; chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

You’re a single guy without children? Tough, your policy must cover pediatric services. You’re a woman who can’t have children? Tough, your policy must cover maternity services. You’re a teetotaler? Tough, your policy must cover substance abuse treatment. (Add your own violation of personal freedom here.) (Section 1302).

7. Do you want a plan with lots of cost-sharing and low premiums? Well, the best you can do is a “Bronze plan,” which has benefits that provide benefits that are actuarially equivalent to 60% of the full actuarial value of the benefits provided under the plan. Anything lower than that, tough. (Section 1302 (d) (1) (A))

8. You are an employer in the small-group insurance market and you’d like to offer policies with deductibles higher than $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families? Tough. (Section 1302 (c) (2) (A).

9. If you are a large employer (defined as at least 50 employees) and you do not want to provide health insurance to your employee, then you will pay a $750 fine per employee (It could be $2,000 to $3,000 under the reconciliation changes). Think you know how to better spend that money? Tough. (Section 1513).

10. You are an employer who offers health flexible spending arrangements and your employees want to deduct more than $2,500 from their salaries for it? Sorry, can’t do that. (Section 9005 (i)).

11. If you are a physician and you don’t want the government looking over your shoulder? Tough. The Secretary of Health and Human Services is authorized to use your claims data to issue you reports that measure the resources you use, provide information on the quality of care you provide, and compare the resources you use to those used by other physicians. Of course, this will all be just for informational purposes. It’s not like the government will ever use it to intervene in your practice and patients’ care. Of course not. (Section 3003 (i))

12. If you are a physician and you want to own your own hospital, you must be an owner and have a “Medicare provider agreement” by Feb. 1, 2010. (Dec. 31, 2010 in the reconciliation changes.) If you didn’t have those by then, you are out of luck. (Section 6001 (i) (1) (A))

13. If you are a physician owner and you want to expand your hospital? Well, you can’t (Section 6001 (i) (1) (B). Unless, it is located in a country where, over the last five years, population growth has been 150% of what it has been in the state (Section 6601 (i) (3) ( E)). And then you cannot increase your capacity by more than 200% (Section 6001 (i) (3) (C)).

14. You are a health insurer and you want to raise premiums to meet costs? Well, if that increase is deemed “unreasonable” by the Secretary of Health and Human Services it will be subject to review and can be denied. (Section 1003)

15. The government will extract a fee of $2.3 billion annually from the pharmaceutical industry. If you are a pharmaceutical company what you will pay depends on the ratio of the number of brand-name drugs you sell to the total number of brand-name drugs sold in the U.S. So, if you sell 10% of the brand-name drugs in the U.S., what you pay will be 10% multiplied by $2.3 billion, or $230,000,000. (Under reconciliation, it starts at $2.55 billion, jumps to $3 billion in 2012, then to $3.5 billion in 2017 and $4.2 billion in 2018, before settling at $2.8 billion in 2019 (Section 1404)). Think you, as a pharmaceutical executive, know how to better use that money, say for research and development? Tough. (Section 9008 (b)).

16. The government will extract a fee of $2 billion annually from medical device makers. If you are a medical device maker what you will pay depends on your share of medical device sales in the U.S. So, if you sell 10% of the medical devices in the U.S., what you pay will be 10% multiplied by $2 billion, or $200,000,000. Think you, as a medical device maker, know how to better use that money, say for R&D? Tough. (Section 9009 (b)).

The reconciliation package turns that into a 2.9% excise tax for medical device makers. Think you, as a medical device maker, know how to better use that money, say for research and development? Tough. (Section 1405).

17. The government will extract a fee of $6.7 billion annually from insurance companies. If you are an insurer, what you will pay depends on your share of net premiums plus 200% of your administrative costs. So, if your net premiums and administrative costs are equal to 10% of the total, you will pay 10% of $6.7 billion, or $670,000,000. In the reconciliation bill, the fee will start at $8 billion in 2014, $11.3 billion in 2015, $1.9 billion in 2017, and $14.3 billion in 2018 (Section 1406).Think you, as an insurance executive, know how to better spend that money? Tough.(Section 9010 (b) (1) (A and B).)

18. If an insurance company board or its stockholders think the CEO is worth more than $500,000 in deferred compensation? Tough.(Section 9014).

19. You will have to pay an additional 0.5% payroll tax on any dollar you make over $250,000 if you file a joint return and $200,000 if you file an individual return. What? You think you know how to spend the money you earned better than the government? Tough. (Section 9015).

That amount will rise to a 3.8% tax if reconciliation passes. It will also apply to investment income, estates, and trusts. You think you know how to spend the money you earned better than the government? Like you need to ask. (Section 1402).

20. If you go for cosmetic surgery, you will pay an additional 5% tax on the cost of the procedure. Think you know how to spend that money you earned better than the government? Tough. (Section 9017).

(End Hogberg’s post)

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