Scary Stuff On The Way

I’m taking a small break today before I begin my review of HR 3962 tomorrow. I plan on doing my review of the “Affordable Health Care for America Act” in two, or possibly three, parts, and I hope to be done with my review by Tuesday.

Happy Halloween!

Steroids, Shame, & Secrets

I’ll be posting more about HR3962 soon, it’s taking a while to get through it all and digest so much information.

Thought #1

The other day I told you about the President’s plan to erode capitalism in the United States. It seems even some Democrats think the idea is outrageous.

Lawmakers from both parties are attacking a White House proposal that would grant the federal government sweeping powers to wind down financial firms – an authority one Democrat derided as “TARP on steroids.”

“Let’s not adopt ‘TARP on steroids,’” Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) said in a release before the hearing started.

TARP on sterioids? TARP was a bust anyway. Imagine the roid rage.

Thought #2

President Obama should be ashamed of himself for making a trip to Dover Delaware Air Force Base for a public relations stunt.

Eighteen of our bravest citizens, who paid the ultimate sacrifice, were flown back to the United States this past week, following the same procedure as all of those who have preceeded them. So what was different this time? The President of the United States asked 18 families if he could use their family members as a prop for his photo shoot. 17 of those 18 families refused.

Barack Obama was nearly denied the photo-op he traveled to Dover Air Force Base for early this morning as all but one of the military and civilian families of the fallen refused permission for the media to report on the return of their loved ones.

The sole family to allow media coverage was the family of Sgt. Dale R. Griffin.

According to media reports, Griffin’s casket was the last to be brought off the C-17 cargo plane that carried the bodies of 15 soldiers and 3 DEA agents killed this week in Afghanistan.

It’s one thing to show solemn respect to those who have died, it’s quite another to pack up the White House Press Corps along with their cameras and take them on a field trip over to Delaware at midnight. It’s shameful actually.

Thought #3

Some things never change.

The Justice Department invoked the state secrets privilege Friday to try to stop a lawsuit over Bush-era wiretapping — the first time the Obama administration has done so under its new policy on such cases.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced the decision in a California lawsuit challenging the warrantless wiretapping program begun after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Under the state secrets privilege, the government can have a lawsuit dismissed if hearing the case would jeopardize national security.

Isn’t it amazing? No matter what a candidate says when they are running for office, they really don’t know the reality of the situation until they sit in that chair.

HR 3962: My First Glance

Just when you thought the health care debate couldn’t get any more confusing…

Earlier today, Speaker of the House, Nanny State Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) introduced the “Affordable Health Care for America Act“, or House Resolution 3962.

HR3962 is a whopping 1,990 pages and with the estimated cost of nearly $900 billion, it amounts to roughly $2.4 million per word.

I read on Politico that the word ‘doctor’ does not appear in the bill, so I checked myself, and they are correct. The only two reference to ‘doctoral degrees’ are in reference to marriage family therapists and mental health counselors. Interesting yes?

When Nancy Pelosi and the gang introduced the new public health care bill including the “public” option in a public place, the announcement was closed to the public.

 
So much for Nancy Pelosi’s promise, huh?

This leadership team will create the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history.

Not including the two times it appears in the table of contents, the word ‘abortion’ appears in the bill 23 times, and yes, the bill explicitly allows federal funding of abortions through the public option as well as private insurance plans.

The term “death panel” did not make it into this version of health care reform but the section relating to end-of-life care remains in the bill.

HR3962 imposes 13, yes thirteen, new taxes. From the American’s For Tax Reform website:

Employer Mandate Excise Tax (Page 275): If an employer does not pay 72.5 percent of a single employee’s health premium (65 percent of a family employee), the employer must pay an excise tax equal to 8 percent of average wages. Small employers (measured by payroll size) have smaller payroll tax rates of 0 percent (<$500,000), 2 percent ($500,000-$585,000), 4 percent ($585,000-$670,000), and 6 percent ($670,000-$750,000). Individual Mandate Surtax (Page 296): If an individual fails to obtain qualifying coverage, he must pay an income surtax equal to the lesser of 2.5 percent of modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) or the average premium. MAGI adds back in the foreign earned income exclusion and municipal bond interest.

Medicine Cabinet Tax (Page 324): Non-prescription medications would no longer be able to be purchased from health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs), or health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). Insulin excepted.

Cap on FSAs (Page 325): FSAs would face an annual cap of $2500 (currently uncapped).

Increased Additional Tax on Non-Qualified HSA Distributions (Page 326): Non-qualified distributions from HSAs would face an additional tax of 20 percent (current law is 10 percent). This disadvantages HSAs relative to other tax-free accounts (e.g. IRAs, 401(k)s, 529 plans, etc.)

Denial of Tax Deduction for Employer Health Plans Coordinating with Medicare Part D (Page 327): This would further erode private sector participation in delivery of Medicare services.

Surtax on Individuals and Small Businesses (Page 336): Imposes an income surtax of 5.4 percent on MAGI over $500,000 ($1 million married filing jointly). MAGI adds back in the itemized deduction for margin loan interest. This would raise the top marginal tax rate in 2011 from 39.6 percent under current law to 45 percent—a new effective top rate.

Excise Tax on Medical Devices (Page 339): Imposes a new excise tax on medical device manufacturers equal to 2.5 percent of the wholesale price. It excludes retail sales and unspecified medical devices sold to the general public.

Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting (Page 344): Requires that 1099-MISC forms be issued to corporations as well as persons for trade or business payments. Current law limits to just persons for small business compliance complexity reasons. Also expands reporting to exchanges of property.

Delay in Worldwide Allocation of Interest (Page 345): Delays for nine years the worldwide allocation of interest, a corporate tax relief provision from the American Jobs Creation Act

Limitation on Tax Treaty Benefits for Certain Payments (Page 346): Increases taxes on U.S. employers with overseas operations looking to avoid double taxation of earnings.

Codification of the “Economic Substance Doctrine” (Page 349): Empowers the IRS to disallow a perfectly legal tax deduction or other tax relief merely because the IRS deems that the motive of the taxpayer was not primarily business-related.

Application of “More Likely Than Not” Rule (Page 357): Publicly-traded partnerships and corporations with annual gross receipts in excess of $100 million have raised standards on penalties. If there is a tax underpayment by these taxpayers, they must be able to prove that the estimated tax paid would have more likely than not been sufficient to cover final tax liability.

In addition to imposing all those nice luxurious new taxes, HR3962 will also require federal regulation of vending machines. Yes, vending machines. In Section 2572, on pages 151-1516, the bill states,

(viii) VENDING MACHINES.—In the case of an article of food sold from a vending machine that —

(I) does not permit a prospective purchaser to examine the Nutrition Facts Panel before purchasing the article or does not other wise provide visible nutrition information at the point of purchase; and

(II) is operated by a person who is engaged in the business of owning or operating 20 or more vending machines, the vending machine operator shall provide a sign in close proximity to each article of food or the selection button that includes a clear and conspicuous statement disclosing the number of calories contained in the article.

There is no word if cameras will be installed, or if social security numbers will be required in order to make a purchase. With the level of federal government intrustion into our lives, it only makes sense to think this is what they have in mind, eventually. The government has to receive some kind of record about the people who are eating the unhealthy food from those machines, because they need to know when to start rationing your health care if you do.

Oh shut up, you know it’s coming.

The Congressional Budget Office puts the initial cost of this version of health care reform at $1.055 trillion. Of course, this is above and beyond the self-imposed limit put in place by President Obama, but we all know he hasn’t been to stringent about rules and keeping his word anyway, so I’m sure that’s just a rhetorical number.

This past summer millions of Americans raised their voices in opposition to government run health care. Apparently, Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats did not get the message. An overwhelming number of Americans want health care reform but they want reform that lowers the cost of health care and makes it more available. They don’t want health care reform that will raise taxes, raise health care costs, add to our national debt, place additional financial burdens on their family, parents, children, and their own small businesses.

I’ll be posting more about this bill over the next couple days. It’s a given that they want to begin debate on this bill next week, and there is no way I can cover all 1,990 pages over the weekend, but I will do my best to cover as much as possible before the debate begins.

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Four Videos For Thought

Doing something a bit different tonight. I’m watching a documentary with the wife and the oldest son, so while I am learning about some archealogical finds, why don’t you watch these videos? Make sure you watch that last one, we’ll have a quiz in the morning.

Video #1

Michelle Malkin talks about Scary Harry Reid’s backroom health care bill.

Video #2

President Obama is still blaming President Bush for the way things are going in Afghanistan. Charles Krauthammer says enough is enough.

Video #3

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) admits that Democrats are trying on every front to increase the role of government.

Video #4

Chef John makes an Apple Swan.

Public, Pots, Pelosi, & PussyFooting

Everyone’s feeling better around here, with the exception of the middle child. He’s always the last to get the crud as it makes its way through the house, but he’s also the quickest to recover too, so he should be back up to speed about the same time as everyone else.

I’ve got a lot on my plate again this week, but it’s nothing I can’t handle or I am going to complain about. Here are my thoughts for tonight.

Thought #1

Not even votes for the “government option”?

The House Dem leadership has conducted its preliminary whip count and has tallied up less than 200 likely Yes votes in support of a health care reform bill with a robust public option, well short of the 218 needed for passage, according to an internal whip count document I’ve obtained.

We’ll see. I still think they are going to attempt to ram it through, regardless of the government option or other amendments.

Thought #2

President Obama has unveiled yet another “plan” which further erodes capitalism in the United States.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp would have authority to unwind large firms whose failure could threaten the overall economy, said the TV business news channel.

“Resolution authority,” or empowering the government to deal with large troubled firms that are not banks, is crucial to reforming financial regulation, lawmakers and Obama have said for months since last year’s severe financial crisis.

Since when should any “authority” in the United States posess the power to “unwind” large firms? The free market does that when the company dies. Each time he puts his fingers in the pot he adds ingredients that are sure to spoil the whole thing.

Thought #3

Nancy Pelosi doesn’t like to be asked questions about the Constitution, unless they are serious.

When CNSNews.com asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday where the Constitution authorized Congress to order Americans to buy health insurance–a mandate included in both the House and Senate versions of the health care bill–Pelosi dismissed the question by saying: “Are you serious? Are you serious?”

Yes, she’s serious. In other words she had no idea. She doesn’t want you to have any idea either.

Thought #4

Speaking of Nanny State Nancy, it seems someone from the House of Representatives was researching some information yesterday.

Someone using the Internet from within the walls of the House of Representatives did a Google search for “nobel peace prize” and “consent of congress”.

I don’t know if I should be proud that a House member is using my site as reference for information on a very important piece of the U.S. Constitution, or scared that a House member had to resort to Google and my site to find otu what the U.S. Consitution says.

Either way, I am glad they stopped by because at least I know someone is doing something up there on the Hill. If they’re researching information I’m glad I could help.

Thought #5

It seems President Obama wasn’t talking about any health care bill when he spoke to the joint session of Congress.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D.-Mich.) told CNSNews.com that President Barack Obama told him in a telephone conversation that when he said in his Sept. 9 speech to a joint session of Congress that “under our plan no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions” he was not talking about the actual bill drafted in the House but about the president’s own health care plan—which has never been written.

“I don’t know if it is a game of semantics or what,” Stupak said of Obama’s nationally televised declaration to Congress that the health-care plan will not allow federal funding of abortion.

Ooooh. The health care plan which has never been written. Wait. Doesn’t that apply to many different pieces of non-legislation which the Senate and House will be voting on soon?

Thought #6

The war in Afghanistan is President Obama’s war now. Because he has pussy footed around and hesitated in following General McChrystal’s recommendation for more troops, more of our service members have died.

While Obama continues to dither, American lives continue to be lost. As 8 more American troops were killed in two separate bomb attacks today in southern Afghanistan, this officially makes October 2009 the deadliest month of the war for U.S. forces since the start of the Afghan war in 2001.

Thanks Mr. President, it’s all on you now.

Five Thoughts Until Midnight

We were all feeling a bit better today, which is a relief after the week we’ve had around here. No piggy tails though, which is even better.

Thought #1

As I stated a couple nights ago, if President Bush was responsible for the shortage of seasonal flu vaccine a couple years ago, then why isn’t mainstream media asking the same questions or making the same accusations against Barack Obama?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week that production of the vaccine is slower than expected. While the CDC had hoped for 40 million doses by the end of October, the real numbers will be about 30 million doses because of manufacturing delays, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC’s director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

Could the CDC have been guessing the actual number of swine flu cases rather than reporting the true numbers? It sure sounds like it to me.

Thought #2

For the past several month, while following the health care debate, I have heard many accusations about “profiteering” at health insurance companies. We are told, almost continuously, by the mainstream media that the insurance companies are evil, that they are raking in tons of money while “bodies pile up”.

Well, someone in the media (at the Associated Press no less), did some homework, and it seems those corrupt insurance companies aren’t quite as corrupt as Democrats and their allies would like us to believe.

Health insurance profit margins typically run about 6 percent, give or take a point or two. That’s anemic compared with other forms of insurance and a broad array of industries, even some beleaguered ones.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she was pleased they will be talking about the “immoral” profits made by the insurance industry.

She actually called insurance companies immoral for making a 6% profit margin while railroads brought in 12.6 percent, network and communications equipment makers raked in 20.4 percent, and Tupperware brought in 7.5%. Clorox, Molson Coors Brewing, and Yum Brands (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell) all brought in more than 8 percent profits.

Shame on those insurance companies for attempting to stay in business. Nanny State Nancy will have none of that!!!

On a quick sidenote, isn’t it ironic? Railroads brought in 12.6% yet Amtrak loses money every year. The same people who run Amtrak, the Post Office, Social Security, and the IRS want to control your health care. Does this make sense, morally or economically?

When has the government made anything more cost efficient, competitive, or affordable? Which brings me to my next thought.

Thought #3

It looks like Nanny State Nancy and her gang of thugs are going to try and re-brand the term “public option” by calling it the “consumer option” or the “competitive option”, both of which are oxymorons much like Nanny State Nancy herself.

We already have a consumer option, it’s called the free market, and there is no competitive option when it comes to government controlling anything. Think Amtrak, the Postal Service, Social Security, and the IRS.

Thought #3

Why is the presidential pooch eating veal? Who’s paying for that?

Bo, a Portuguese water dog, feasted on a cake shaped like a dog house that was made out of veal.

I wonder if the millions of people out work, who have exhausted all of their unemployment benefits would like to feast on veal? I bet they could care less about the presidential pooch. I bet they would just like to be working again. Maybe we could focus on actually creating jobs for a while?

Thought #4

There is speculation that the health care bill being negotiated behind closed doors in the Senate could quadruple the payroll tax, and Harry Reid announced today that the Senate version of the bill will indeed contain a “public option”.

Wonderful.

Thought #5

And finally… There is a war raging in New York’s 23rd House District. I am not going to link to any of the hoopla directly because, frankly, I’m sick of it all.

For those of you who don’t follow politics too closely, there is a Republican candidate running who seems to be farther left than many Democrats. An independent who just happens to be conservative is also running for the seat. Many prominent politicians are supporting the independent candidate, while some more “stalwart” Republicans, like Newt Gingrich, are supporting the local party (which backs the RINO).

As an independent conservative, you know who I would be backing, that is, if I lived in NY 23. But I don’t, and neither do any of those prominent politicians backing the candidates and trying to throw their weight around up there in New York.

I live in the 11th District of Georgia, and when it comes to voting in my local elections, I vote for the candidate I think will do the best job, regardless of party, regardless of what other politicians on the national stage might think.

I vote for the best candidate, I vote my concious, I don’t care about party affiliation. I care about what’s best for my family, my community, and my country. Therein lies the reason why I am not a registered member of either party. If I had a letter after my name it would be (I).

(I) vote for the people who will best represent my family in Congress.

(I) vote my concious when it comes to the important questions facing me.

(I) vote for the people who will put our country first, rather than their interests, their wallets, or their egos.

Anyone who votes a straight ticket just to vote for all the (R) or (D) candidates on the ballet is doing more harm than good. Believe it or not, not all Democrats are liberal, and not all Republicans are conservative. It’s time to put country above party, and anyone who thinks otherwise needs an (M), for moron, after their name.