Blog Entry

While Obama picked his brackets the media slept

Posted on: June 8, 2009 5:44 pm
 
I have been quiet for too long....

Folks, I hate to be the one to say I told you so, but I told you so. Many people tried to tell you so, but you would not listen. Obama is going to raise your taxes. All of you are about to feel a tax increase that will hit us all hard. More to the point the folks in the less than $75K range will be crushed by the tax increase. Heck under $30 K will see a $2000 tax increase! All this to pay for ObamaCare, the national healthcare plan. These are the bread and butter folks that support Obama. Will they stand for being lied too?

People are going to flip out, folks. The Unions are going to flip out and turn on him. Average Americans are going to flip out and turn on him. 62% of Americans do not support this tax increase to pay for ObamaCare. This is the same proposal made by McCain during the campaign that was shredded by Obama as unAmerican, taxing your employer healthcare benefits, how dare you! Yet that is just what he and his Democrats in power are proposing.

And it appears the quality of our coverage, read that to mean the quality of your healthcare will reduce to a minimum standard as put forth by the GOVERNMENT, not your doctors. Read the attached article below and please tell me how you feel. If you voted for Obama, I want to hear you explain this. Please, I am all ears.

First he said he was going to undo Bush policies on torture, apply civil due process for detainees (can't call them terrorists) and war prosecution in the MidEast and Afganistan, yet Obama has continued or intensified the Bush policies in all cases! Anyone tired of being lied to?



The Article from MSNBC June 8

As part of a health insurance reform package now before Congress, some of the 164 million Americans who are covered by employer-provided health plans could be asked to give up at least part of the longstanding tax exemption granted to such compensation.

It’s an idea likely to be met with howls of opposition if it makes it into the final version of health insurance legislation that President Barack Obama is pushing.

The idea of limiting the tax break for employer-provided insurance gained momentum last week, when Obama told senators that he’d consider it as one ingredient of the  health insurance reform bill he wants Congress to pass by early August, when the Senate starts a one-month recess.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who conveyed Obama’s willingness to consider the idea after a White House meeting Tuesday, has said the tax treatment of employer-provided health insurance ought to be made "fairer and more equitable for everyone."

Will you end up with more taxable income?

While details of such an approach are still sketchy, it would likely involve employees paying tax on a percentage of their employer-provided health benefits. So if Congress decided that all such premiums in excess of $11,000 for family plans would be taxable income, and your company paid premiums worth $16,000 for your coverage, you’d have to pay taxes on $5,000. 

Obama’s new openness to the idea stands in contrast to what he said six months ago as a presidential candidate, when he harshly criticized his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain, for proposing that employer-provided benefits should be taxed.

Scolding McCain in their debate on Oct. 15, Obama said, "This is your plan, John. For the first time in history, you will be taxing people's health-care benefits." Obama also pledged last year not to raise taxes for families making less than $250,000, and a health benefits tax, depending on how it was structured, could run afoul of that promise.

The tax exemption on employer-provided health insurance, which dates to 1943, has already survived one attempt to limit it.

An echo of Ronald Reagan

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan floated the idea of requiring workers to pay taxes on employer contributions to their health insurance exceeding $2,100 a year. A Washington Post editorial the following year called the proposal "surprisingly lucrative yet eminently fair," and speculated that "(it) might have helped hold down health care costs in the bargain." But opposition, especially from labor unions, scuttled the proposal.

 

Folks with an adjusted gross income of less than $10 grand would pay an average of $635 more in taxes a year, generating $3.6B.

Folks with an adjusted gross income of $10-30k would pay an average of $1952 more in taxes a year, generating $34.4B.

$30-50K would pay $2,457 morea year and generate $42.7 Billion.

$50-75K would pay $3,095 more a year and generate $46B.

$75-100K would pay $3,900 more a year and generate $37B.

$100-199K would pay $4,481 more a year and generate $48B.

$200-500K would pay $4,728 more a year and generate $11.6B.

Folks making over $500K would pay $4,467 more a year and generate $2.7B for the Federal Healthcare program.

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Ouch!!!

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Obama’s new receptivity to the tax springs from the massive sums of money needed to pay for expanding health coverage to the uninsured.

Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors last week cited a figure of about $125 billion a year to insure the uninsured. But the president aims to do more than that. He also wants to subsidize the cost of coverage for lower-income people, subsidize COBRA coverage for those who lost their jobs and make other changes. MIT economist Jonathan Gruber told the Finance Committee last month that curbing the health insurance tax break was "both the most natural source of financing for health care reform" and "one of the few that is clearly large enough to finance the subsidies needed for reform."

According to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, the Treasury misses out on $226 billion a year because employer spending on health insurance isn’t counted as taxable income.

That figure dwarfs any other potential health-related revenue sources that have been identified as possibilities to help fund the health care expansion. Among them are a 3-cent-per-can tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates would raise about $50 billion over 10 years, or increasing taxes on beer, wine and distilled liquor which, under one CBO scenario, would raise $60 billion over 10 years.

According to an analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation, curbing the tax break for employer-provided health insurance would primarily affect the wealthy, who "receive the greatest tax benefit from the exclusion from income." According to Gruber, "about three-quarters of these dollars go to the top half of the income distribution."

But opposition to the proposal may be as big a problem for Obama as it was for Reagan.

A Kaiser Family Foundation survey in April that asked whether workers "with the most generous health care benefits" should be required to pay taxes on their coverage found 52 percent of respondents opposed to the idea. Of those who currently have employer-sponsored health insurance, 62 percent opposed it. (The poll of 1,203 adults had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.)

Will Americans bridle at loss of tax break?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce warned Baucus in a letter last month that workers view employer-provided insurance "as duly-earned income" that should be "protected from the tax collector. This perception perhaps explains why the president was so successful in campaigning against Senator McCain’s health reform proposal — Americans generally do not support tax increases."

The American Benefits Council, which represents principally Fortune 500 companies, is also opposed to the idea of limiting the tax break for employer-provided insurance.

"It is likely to lead to higher deductibles or co-pays, so there’s higher cost sharing" by workers, said the group’s health care spokesman, Paul Dennett. If Congress were to set the threshold for taxation of benefits at $13,000 for a family coverage plan, then employers "in order to help workers not face taxation, may offer coverage below that threshold. This is a course employers say they would likely take."

Reduction in health benefits?

Economist Elise Gould at the liberal think-tank the Economic Policy Institute gave a similar assessment. Employers would see the threshold for taxation as what the government deemed the target level for health benefits, she said. "Employers will respond by reducing the comprehensiveness of benefits. They’ll likely target premiums to fall below the (threshold) value or just at that value, so employees don’t have to pay those additional taxes." Corporate America also fears that a limit on the tax break for health insurance would create an administrative nightmare, especially for large firms with employees in different states who face widely varying health care costs. And opposition also remains strong among labor unions, which were big Obama backers in last year’s election.

Barbara Coufal, the assistant director of legislation at American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, said, "We don’t think we need to look inside the health care system to seek all the revenues we need for health care reform. Over the last 10 years, there have been a lot of tax breaks that have been given to the wealthy and to businesses. We maybe ought to look there and restore some equity." With momentum growing to enact some limit on the tax break for health benefits, increasing energy is being devoted to develop a workable taxation scheme.

Target upper-income Americans?

Gruber suggested the possibility of having a baseline so that only families with incomes above $125,000 per year would pay tax on their benefits. Gruber said this would still raise a lot of revenue: more than $40 billion a year if the cap were indexed to increases in the Consumer Price Index. But in its letter to Baucus, the Chamber of Commerce said that such a proposal might "foster class warfare by (repealing the exclusion) … for certain income earners and not affecting others." Baucus, a 30-year Senate veteran, knows the politics of this issue are delicate. Limiting the tax break for employer-provided health benefits has "got to be done in a very sensitive way, to make sure the limits are high enough," he was quoted as saying last Thursday by the Capitol Hill publication CQ Today. Yet if Congress changes the law so that the tax bite ends up hitting only the wealthy, it might not raise enough revenue to help pay for health insurance overhaul. "That’s the real dilemma," said Dennett, of the American Benefits Council. "The lower the threshold is set, then the lower the revenue gain — and the scramble would be on to find other revenue sources."


I feel better now.  Thanks.
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Comments

Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: June 11, 2009 10:34 am
 

While Obama picked his brackets the media slept

Anyone that has access to a medium without barriers is dangerous...if you start preaching religous values...then somone hears this stuff and shoots someone ..in a church...

There are plenty of crazies out there that only need a cause or someone to pushthem to go over the edge
So you suggest we censor Mr. Limbaugh, is that right Slaton?  I find the mere suggestion that Mr. Limbaugh can make a statement about anything and it would result it some blind obedience from his loyal, radical listeners morally repugnant.  This is ridiculous.  Wasn't it the Moral Majority (Right wing) that attacked the music industry back in the late 80's requiring that records come with warning labels?  And weren't they the same bunch that claimed the music filled with violence, foul language, and subliminal messages was responsible for reprehensable behavior by some of the listening population?  And wasn't it the Left Wing freedom of speechers that took on the Moral Majority?  Didn't the ACLU participate to defend the Constitutional right to free speech?  And didn't all rational folks see this as a bunch of political garbage led by Tipper Gore and some Washington wives?  And yet here you are demanding a similar treatment for Limbaugh.  Do you mean to tell me you, a self proclaimed moderate, is in support of the Fairness Doctrine?  Absurd.

I remember a recent interview by Bahbwah Walters where she asked Limbaugh if he deserved his 8 figure salary.  His response was very matter of fact and telling.  He stated his advertising for this year and next year was sold out at higher $$ rates.  And this is at the same time when all other forms of media are scrounging for advertising dollars.  He is an extremely popular entertainer. 

And you want to shut him up because you do not like his message?  Change the station.

Acute Marxism is running rampant.

God help us!





Since: Feb 18, 2008
Posted on: June 10, 2009 10:10 am
 

While Obama picked his brackets the media slept

As far as our "broken" healthcare system, it isn't the best in the word, but by far isn't the worst.  But when you have ER rooms closing, and whole hospitals closing, and the expenses going up by such large incremental amounts annually, we shouldn't simply look the other way. 

O.K., whose is better?  Where else can a person get the quality of care as rapidly as here? 



Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: June 9, 2009 5:59 pm
 

While Obama picked his brackets the media slept

I'm a hard right winger?  Crap, when did that happen.Oh, I don't know.  Probably from the womb...

As far as our "broken" healthcare system, it isn't the best in the word, but by far isn't the worst.  But when you have ER rooms closing, and whole hospitals closing, and the expenses going up by such large incremental amounts annually, we shouldn't simply look the other way. 

My wife is a chemist and used to work in pharmaceuticals formulating oncology drugs.  She hated when discussion came up about how people think drugs are over priced.  It costs so much to create, develop, and test the drugs.  I do think there is a possible conflict of interest though when you have healthcare industries trying to increase profit by "X" amount per year.  Doctors, dentists, et all upselling, unnecessary tests, creating billables.  And the beat goes on.  Everyone wants to make money.  And the more people make, the more they will spend.  Basic economics, but for healthcare, it just seems wrong.

Oh, and for anyone who dares lay claim that our systems is broken because you can buy drugs in Canada for $5.00.  Go live there and give 50% of your income to the government.  Then tell me how good it is.



Since: Feb 18, 2008
Posted on: June 9, 2009 5:32 pm
 

While Obama picked his brackets the media slept

Right Winger that Gastrapod is.  I think we all agree that  health care is a mess right now and does require change.

I'm a hard right winger?  Crap, when did that happen.
But for the record, i don't think Healthcare is as much of a mess as you.  In fact, if Government would stay out, I think it would be just fine.



Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: June 9, 2009 5:25 pm
 

While Obama picked his brackets the media slept

It has been a while since I have joined the fray, but it seems there is quite the debate.  Now, as I usually lay down a disclaimer, I am not the linguist Smorgie is, nor the hard Right Winger that Gastrapod is.  I think we all agree that  health care is a mess right now and does require change.

Now, If Obama pursues this, it means that he did lie to all of the people that voted for him, including me.  Did I actually believe him?  Nope.  Not one bit.  There has to be some type of balance.  You just can't keep cutting back taxes year after year and expect that to turn around the economy.  Do I like the trillions that Obama has pledged to "get us out of this mess"?  Nope.  But spending must continue.  We as constituents sure aren't spending.  I also work in the auto industry, and am working on three different and large deals with customers who will be receiving federal funding.  Now that helps the auto manufacturers, keeps jobs, helps my paycheck, and helps protect the people who report to me and saves their jobs.  Money well spent.

But I digress.  Healthcare needs reform.  I find it interesting that people are calling him out as a liar, only slightly noting that his agenda mirrors that of two Republicans, McCain and the great Reagan.  How can this be?  A democrat?  He is caught between a rock and a hard place and more than likely, he sees that this might be the only way to get this deal done and move on to the next issue.  Now, it isn't good that he lied.  But I think it is good that he reflects and can make decisions that he might not have supported before.  Why isn't he allowed to do that?  And why is it a liberal or socialistic agenda if he supports it, but okay when McCain or Reagan support it?

One final disclaimer:  I am in one of the upper tax brackets that will be taking a large hit.  I don't want to pay for illegals getting healthcare.  I don't want to pay for companies who stiff their employees by not offering healthcare.  I do want healthcare to not increase by 20-30%% a year.  I do want Social Security when I retire, I've earned it (and paid for it!).  I am willing to pay for those items.  I believe the governments at all levels, city, state, and federal can help lower taxes and expenses by only spending what revenue that have coming in.  All of this deficit spending, pay increases, and larger employee pools when times are tough is bunk.  And both Democrats and Republicans are guilty. 

Sorry for the long diatribe.



Since: Oct 14, 2006
Posted on: June 9, 2009 5:24 pm
 

While Obama picked his brackets the media slept

Well you certainly sound pretty left wing to me. 
Really?...hmm..I always percieved myself a moderate.//



Though not a fan, I fail to see how Rush is Dangerous?  He has a radio show, where he preaches far right wing idiology and spinAnyone that has access to a medium without barriers is dangerous...if you start preaching religous values...then somone hears this stuff and shoots someone ..in a church...

There are plenty of crazies out there that only need a cause or someone to pushthem to go over the edge



.  I don;t really see it as being any different from what Air America spun during the Bush Administration.  In fact I find Rush rather tame compared to some of what was aired there.
You maybe right....I haven't listened to it...I couldn't comment...but I will take your word for it....



Since: Feb 18, 2008
Posted on: June 9, 2009 4:38 pm
 

While Obama picked his brackets the media slept

Who said I was a Democrat...I was just anti Bush......I will tell you someone else who is dangerous...I turn on Rush Limbaugh from time to time....that guy....scary....I am convinced he leads the neo - nazi movement in this country...

Well you certainly sound pretty left wing to me.  Though not a fan, I fail to see how Rush is Dangerous?  He has a radio show, where he preaches far right wing idiology and spin.  I don;t really see it as being any different from what Air America spun during the Bush Administration.  In fact I find Rush rather tame compared to some of what was aired there.



Since: Oct 14, 2006
Posted on: June 9, 2009 4:12 pm
 

While Obama picked his brackets the media slept

 
What would I do?  For me it is simple.  North Korea is China's mess.  China has backed them and created this problem on their doorstep which threatens to destroy their lifeblood, trade with the West.  Under absolutely clear terms it is time to demand China reign in their unruly dog or face the facts that the United States will take out the DPRK's ability to wage war in the theater or beyond.  To make my point clear I would park a large flotilla of our Pacific fleet off their shores and bring down any missile that is fired over Japan or toward the United States.  Failure to act by China would be met with economic sanctions against China.  The US cannot simply sit and wait until the DPRK can lift a payload into the western US. 

Or

We could just ask them to talk to us again or maybe we can give them triple secret probation.
China has a dilemma...Tehy put pressure on teh North Koreans...and they will have a flood of refugees streaming across the border...


Second...we put ships inthe South Pacific....chaos would ensue...China getsi nvloved..the Russia gets involved...Japan...not pretty...why do you htink this country takes o many liberty's...besides...we are fighting 2 wars now....we deploy a enough military to get into a
3rd??..not a very good game plan...but it is a plan...

Halliburton??...LOL!!You democrats love to throw Halliburton around like it is the only one and insinuate the Republicans are the only ones knee deep.  Get a new tag line.  I encourage you to search Murtha and Drug Dealers in the same search.  You will get an eye full.  And you will understand my comment.  Laugh out loud?  No.  I am too sick to my stomach.
Who said I was a Democrat...I was just anti Bush......I will tell you someone else who is dangerous...I turn on Rush Limbaugh from time to time....that guy....scary....I am convinced he leads the neo - nazi movement in this country...



Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: June 9, 2009 2:52 pm
 

While Obama picked his brackets the media slept

For Slaton:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090527

/ap_on_bi_ge/us_gm_bondholders

is one of many....do a Google search.  And I suppose Ginsberg seems to think there is enough in question to stay the Chrysler/Fiat deal.

Did not say they had been completely cut out as you stated.  I said the bond holders got destroyed.  Awarding the United Auto Workers 20% of the company and the bond (debt) holders 10% sounds fair to you?  If so you may be suffering from an acute case of Marxism.



Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: June 9, 2009 2:29 pm
 

While Obama picked his brackets the media slept

Just curious..you throw a lot of mud ...but I never here any solutions...other than put Republicans back in office...tell me what would you do if you where in his shoes with Korea right now?Firstly Slaton, I am always putting forth ideas and I have a ton of blogs containing suggestions of all sorts.

What would I do?  For me it is simple.  North Korea is China's mess.  China has backed them and created this problem on their doorstep which threatens to destroy their lifeblood, trade with the West.  Under absolutely clear terms it is time to demand China reign in their unruly dog or face the facts that the United States will take out the DPRK's ability to wage war in the theater or beyond.  To make my point clear I would park a large flotilla of our Pacific fleet off their shores and bring down any missile that is fired over Japan or toward the United States.  Failure to act by China would be met with economic sanctions against China.  The US cannot simply sit and wait until the DPRK can lift a payload into the western US. 

Or

We could just ask them to talk to us again or maybe we can give them triple secret probation.


Halliburton??...LOL!!You democrats love to throw Halliburton around like it is the only one and insinuate the Republicans are the only ones knee deep.  Get a new tag line.  I encourage you to search Murtha and Drug Dealers in the same search.  You will get an eye full.  And you will understand my comment.  Laugh out loud?  No.  I am too sick to my stomach.


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