Mar 1, 2010

Bi-Partisan Checkers

I finally had my Eureka moment with the game of politics.

Why are Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Mr. Obama running around slapping each other like Larry, Curly and Moe trying to tar a roof? They have/had their super majority. They own everything they touch. They can/could do - just about anything they want. Even new amendments to the Constitution. But why are they stuck in the mud of this ridiculous idea of bi-partisanship for their efforts?

Then it finally hit me. They can't take the hit. They're the Three Stooges, but with no pain threshold.

Let me explain. IF they were to get even one Republican to stand with them, they're no longer responsible. They're no longer culpable to the train wreck that they caused. Let's say Cap n' Trade creates the sucking drain of the economy to fill options trader's coffers - just like the Republicans say it will - if there's even one Republican breaking ranks, they own it too. All of them.

Just like the War on Terror, the Patriot Act, Stimulus I, AIG Bailout Part I, and, well - heck - pretty much everything the Republican Congress passed, right? But guess what? The Republicans GOT the Democrats to vote along with it. It pretty much went like this...

"What? You're not going to vote for this? That's un-American of you."

And then folks like John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Barrack Obama ran to the voting button and voted for everything that was put in front of them. That's right Senator Obama voted to keep funding the wars. Those dirty sneaky Republicans tricked 'em good. But the Democrats are just as guilty as the Republicans. That's one of the main reasons Dick Cheney hasn't been hauled out of the critical care unit to be slapped with investigations into war crimes. Because with the slightest scratching of that itch, the Democrats would be under the microscope too.

The constant drum beat of it's got to be "'bi-partisan' or we're not doing it" has finally been decoded. They're not taking the hit without the Republican't-s getting their fair share.

The Republicans have been doing their job. Obstructionists folding their hands saying 'no.' They don't have to propose anything or say anything other than 'no'... it's been working for them so far, and it'll probably give them both houses back in November.

After all this - now they're talking about going for it. They're going to use Reconciliation. On their own. And now they own Healthcare. What's scary about it is, they are willing to lose elections to get this through now. The bill - whatever bill has been formally proposed - Let's look at the President's new one he tossed out before the big 'summit' - is STILL unpopular with the left and right, and doesn't control costs - as it's been sold. No one likes it. Why are they going through with this?

Look at what it DOES do, it increases the reach of the Federal Government. In size, scope and hunger. Hunger? Wha? Oh, yeah. New Taxes. A whole PILE of new taxes, fees and new non-exemptions. The following are from the newest proposal:

1. Individual Mandate Tax. For those who don’t purchase health insurance, this income tax surcharge continues to exist in this plan.

2. Employer Mandate Tax. On businesses with 50+ employees that do not offer health care, and at least one employee qualifies for a tax credit, $750/employee. This will cause many small businesses to stop growing once they reach 49 employees.

3. Excise Tax on Health Insurance Plans. Beginning in 2018, 40% tax (the percentage may be wrong) on plans costing $10,200/$27,500. Is indexed to CPI. It is unclear whether exemptions in the Senate version have been continued in this proposal.

4. Health Insurance would be reported on W-2s. Another mandate that increases costs for business. The White House release states that loopholes will be closed which implies this remains in the new proposal.

5. “Medicine Cabinet Tax.” Limitation on HSAs, FSAs, and MSAs to purchase non-prescription medication except insulin. Note that this is also in the House healthcare bill. This is definitely in the new proposal.

6. HSA Withdrawal Tax Increased. The tax would increase to 20% from 10%. This is also in the House legislation. This is definitely in the proposal.

7. FSAs uncapped.

8. 1099 Reporting for corporations. Requires businesses to send 1099-MISCs to corporations. This is another cost for businesses. This will begin in 2011.

9. Tax on Charitable Hospitals. This excise tax of $50,000 per hospital impacts hospitals that don’t meet new Department of Health and Human Services regulations. It’s unclear whether this is in the new proposal.

10. Tax on Drug Companies. The size and timing of the tax is unclear. Older versions had this at a percentage of earnings.

11. Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers. This tax is in the bill, but the size and timing of the tax is not clear. It is also based on earnings.

12. Tax on Health Insurers. This tax is definitely in the bill, but the new size and timing of the tax is unclear. It was a 6.7 - 10 billion dollar tax based on percentage of premiums collected - Ever wonder why the Insurance Industry was spending Millions on lobbyists? So they don't get clobbered for Billions.

13. Elimination of tax deduction for employer provided retirement prescription drug coverage. It is unclear whether this tax is in the measure.

14. Increase of percentage of AGI required to deduct medical expenses from 7.5% to 10%. Few can deduct medical expenses today; fewer will be able to deduct them tomorrow. It is unclear whether this tax is in the proposal.

15. Compensation Limitation for Health Insurance Executives. If you work in that industry, you will be limited to a salary of $500,000. There’s no mention of this in the measure. However, given the Obama Administration’s stance on various pay-related measures, it’s likely included.

16. New Hospital Insurance Tax. “The Act will include an additional 0.9 percentage point Hospital Insurance tax for households with incomes exceeding $200,000 for singles and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly.” I remember then-candidate Obama stating that if you made under $250,000, he wouldn’t increase your taxes?

17. New Unearned Income Tax. “[The Act] would add a 2.9 percent tax for households with incomes exceeding $200,000 for singles and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly to unearned income including interest, dividends, annuities, royalties and rents (excluding income from active participation in S corporations).” —it means if you go to Harry Reid's district and win your taxes will go up based on your winnings, not your gambling net income.

18. Blue Cross Tax. There is a tax deduction available today for Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies; this tax deduction will vanish if they don’t spend 85% (or more) of premiums on clinical services. There’s no mention of this in the proposal. However, it was in both the House and Senate Democratic proposals and I expect it’s in this one, too.

19. Tax on Indoor Tanning. A new 10% excise tax on indoor tanning salons. This made it in the new proposal.

20. Paper Production and Cellulosic Biofuels. “[Close] the loophole that allows certain byproducts of paper production to be eligible for the cellulosic biofuels producer credit.” This new tax provision is in the measure. This is a tax.

21. Strengthen Economic Substance Rules. “[Help] prevent tax shelters by clarifying the definition of when activities have true “economic substance” beyond evading taxes.” While the details aren’t listed, it’s clear that this provision will strengthen the economic substance rules. This will increase costs for complex transactions. One would assume that it will have a negative impact on already weakened economic activity.

51 Votes, and the Democrats are going to make you eat it. They'll all be long gone by then, probably all becoming lobbyists to try to get rid of this thing - that they created. Or I can imagine worse, as consultants for Insurance companies teaching them where they left the loopholes. You'll still be emptying your pockets. And with worse healthcare than you had when this all started.

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