The Senate Finance Committee Is A Joke

With yesterday’s passage of the “Baucus Plan”, the Senate Finance Committee confirmed something we all (well most of us) have known all along.

The call for “Health care reform” in the United States amounts to nothing more than a massive middle-class tax hike. Take these inconvenient truths into account:

To avoid the fate of the House bill and achieve a veneer of fiscal sensibility, the Senate did three things: It omitted inconvenient truths, it promised that future Congresses will make tough choices to slow entitlement spending, and it dropped the hammer on the middle class.

The only way they could get this “plan” through committee was to leave out all of the details, promising that those details will be filled in, in the future. Since when do we create fill in the blank legislation? I know Mad-Libs are popular, but who knew that the U.S. Senate depended on them?

One inconvenient truth is the fact that Congress will not allow doctors to suffer a 24% cut in their Medicare reimbursements. Senate Democrats chose to ignore this reality and rely on the promise of a cut to make their bill add up. Taking note of this fact pushes the total cost of the bill well over $1 trillion and destroys any pretense of budget balance.

This one simple truth makes it impossible for President Obama to sign the final legislation. Remember, he said he would not sign any health care legislation that added to the federal deficit. They’re going to be pretty hard pressed to fund a $1 trillion health plan without touching the deficit.

Oh, and remember when President Obama promised there would be no new taxes for anyone making less than $200,000?

Most astounding of all is what this Congress is willing to do to struggling middle-class families. The bill would impose nearly $400 billion in new taxes and fees. Nearly 90% of that burden will be shouldered by those making $200,000 or less.

But the economics are clear. These costs will be passed on to consumers by either directly raising insurance premiums, or by fueling higher health-care costs that inevitably lead to higher premiums. Consumers will pay the excise tax on high-cost plans. The Joint Committee on Taxation indicates that 87% of the burden would fall on Americans making less than $200,000, and more than half on those earning under $100,000.

Whoops. That’s gotta hurt. It’s amazing to watch Congress go through all these motions when it’s clear they have no intention of actually reforming health care in the first place. Did you know the CBO has estimated that by 2019, the “Baucus Plan” would leave approximately 25 million people without health insurance?

Like I said, this is less about health care reform and more about authorizing higher taxes on those who can least afford it. If they really want to reform health care why not make medicare/medicaid available to everyone who needs it? Wouldn’t that guarantee coverage for everyone?

Unrefined Methods & Broken Promises

What a week this has been. Between the perfect storm that came in the form of 15 – 20 inches of rain and the perfect storm known as server mishaps, I am completely exhausted mentally and physically.

After sitting down and relaxing with a few games of chess and some trivia with the kids, I’m settled in enough to share some things I saw today.

Thought #1

It’s pretty clear that some parents don’t trust the new H1N1 vaccine.

In a poll of 1,678 U.S. parents conducted by the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, 40% said they would get their children immunized against the H1N1 virus — even as 54% indicated they would get their kids vaccinated against regular seasonal flu.

About half of the parents who said they’d pass on the H1N1 flu shot for their kids expressed concern about possible side effects of the vaccine.

I don’t trust it. Why would I? The last time the U.S. distributed a Swine Flu vaccine, more people died from the vaccine than died from swine flu itself.

More than 500 people are thought to have developed Guillain-Barre syndrome after receiving the vaccine and 25 died. No one completely understands what causes Guillain-Barre in certain people, but the condition can develop after a bout with infection or following surgery or vaccination. The federal government paid millions in damages to people who developed the condition or their families.

However, the pandemic, which some experts estimated at the time could infect 50 million to 60 million Americans, never unfolded. Only about 200 cases of swine flu and one death were ultimately reported in the U.S., the CDC said.

There might be good reason to be wary. The vaccine has been rushed to market using unrefined methods.

So how many people will suffer adverse effects from the vaccine this time around? Is it worth subjecting yourself, and your kids, to these increased risks?

Thought #2

Barack Obama isn’t going to be able to close Guantanamo Bay by January, like he promised he would. How many promises does this guy have to break before people wise up?

Thought #3

If you don’t buy health insurance under the proposed health care plan, you will be subject to a $1,900 fine. If you fail to pay that fine, you will be charged with a misdemeanor, face up to a year in jail, and an additional $25,000 fine. Yes, this means if you don’t buy health insurance the government can through you in jail.

Thought #4

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) isn’t happy with those measely fines. She wants to make sure that every successful person in America pays an additional tax to cover the health care needs of those who haven’t been quite as succesful.

The House Democratic plan calls for raising income taxes on upper-income people to pay for covering the uninsured. Baucus has instead proposed a tax on high-cost insurance plans worth more than $8,000 for an individual policy and $21,000 for family coverage.

Proponents of the insurance tax, which Obama has endorsed, say it would help to lower health care costs by encouraging people to become more cost-conscious health care consumers.

Isn’t it a given that President Obama has endorsed this additional tax? However that isn’t the funniest part of that article. This is.

If House Democrats adopt the insurance tax, it may help them to reduce the income tax increase that they’ve proposed.

If House Democrats adopt the insurance tax which raises taxes it may help them reduce the income tax increase they’ve proposed. Sorry, an increase is an increase no matter what you call it or where you apply it. The American people will still see tha same (additional) amount come out of their checks and they’ll still remember that it was the House Democrats that screwed them over.

A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have.

Barry Goldwater

Indoctrination, Taxation, Representation And Annihilation

With all the rain we’ve had around here lately, I haven’t had much time to focus on some of the news from the past two days. My mind is swimming with thoughts about some things I have read tonight and I need to get them off my chest.

Thought #1

What the hell is this about?

We’re teaching kids to praise President Obama? Since when do we indoctrinate children by teaching them to honor the President in an organized chant? Pathetic, really.

Thought #2

Joe Biden is right. While discussing the upcoming 2010 elections and the 35 House seats that are currently held by Democrats in traditionally Republican districts, he said,

If they take them back, this the end of the road for what Barack and I are trying to do

Like I said, he’s right.

Thought #3

Jimmy Carter says that former President Bush and his administration may have been involved in a 2002 coup attempt against Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.

I think there is no doubt that in 2002, the United States had at the very least full knowledge about the coup, and could even have been directly involved

Personally, I think that’s better than President Obama and his administration’s attempts to stifle democracy in Honduras. I’m not going to go into it all in this post, but a simple search on Google will give you plenty of information to learn that President Obama has personally condemned the rise of democracy in Honduras.

I don’t think we need to be messing around in either country, but interfering in the name of democracy rather than stifling it sounds better to me any day.

Thought #4

Fining people for not carrying health insurance is wrong. Such fines collected by the IRS are nothing more than taxes. So much about the health care bills in the House and the Senate are wrong. When things are this wrong, they cannot be “negotiated” they must be re-written.

Thought #5

Former President Jimmy Carter sure thinks he’s an expert on the Middle East, doesn’t he? It’s hard to imagine that someone who was apparently so instrumental in brokering peace between Egypt and Israel can be so wrong about peace between Israel and the rest of their neighbors.

I’m no expert, but I do know a few things. Hamas wants nothing less than the complete annihilation of Israel. Hezbollah wants nothing less than the complete annihilation of Israel. Nothing Israel has done in the past, is doing now, or shall do in the future will change either of those facts. So, it’s quite a surprise to read the following:

Former President Jimmy Carter says Israel must stop building settlements in Palestine for there to be peace in the Middle East.

In order for there to peace in the Middle East, Hamas and Hezbollah need to stop sending homicide bombers into Israel, they need to stop threatening Israel, and Hamas as well as Hezbollah need to be annihilated. Only then, will there be a chance for peace in the Middle East.

Thought #6

The voters of Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District may have thought they had sane representation when Hank Johnson won the seat, but it’s clear that Georgia #4 has some sort of Cynthia McKinney syndrome that could take years to purge.

Rep. Hank Johnson is standing by his comments that Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” outburst at President Obama “instigated more racist sentiment” and could lead to a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan.

Johnson, a Georgia Democrat, wrote in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Monday that he doesn’t think that most of Obama’s opponents are motivated by racism, but that he believes Wilson’s comments “winked at a racist element” and that there is a small but “racially motivated fringe” among those who disapprove of the president and his policies.