Sunday, November 28, 2010

All Americans Have to Participate

The Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Reconciliation Act of 2003 are the Bush tax cuts we hear about everywhere.

The tax reductions in EGTRRA were designed to be phased in over a period of up to 9 years. Many of these slow phase-ins were accelerated by the JGTRRA, which removed the waiting periods for many of EGTRRA's changes.

EGTRRA was designed to sunset, or revert to the provisions that were in effect before it was passed. EGTRRA will sunset on January 1, 2011 unless further legislation is enacted to make its changes permanent.

According to Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, "The biggest argument for extending the tax cuts right now is our economy is very weak, and raising taxes during a recession, or the recent weak recovery from the recession, could reverse our economic growth,"

If the tax cuts are extended, however, taxpayers won't really notice any change in their bottom line. So it's unlikely to create any new stimulus for the economy.

Treasury estimates the costs of making the tax cuts permanent for everyone is $3.7 trillion over 10 years.

Republicans’ refusal to participate in any real way with any legislation that would benefit Americans is explained with “Obama refuses to work with us.”

This has been extremely frustrating for us on the left who feel he’s given away the store. His compromises have weakened every policy from health care to corporate regulation and credit card usury rules to the point of uselessness. They’ve done nothing but allow the right to say, “See, it doesn’t work!”

A third of Obama’s stimulus has been tax cut Republicans have asked for. This is one of the reasons the stimulus was so weak.

Recovery will never happen until banks decide to lend to small businesses again.

Most Americans don’t even notice the small tax reduction on their paychecks but it’s definitely adding to the deficit.

8 years of Bush’s tax cuts not only didn’t make our economy grow but it helped create this deficit. None of the tax cuts worked! Why is there even an argument?

We were already at a historical low for taxes before the cuts. Let these stupid cuts expire for everyone. All Americans are going to have to take part in our recovery.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What Country Does John Boehner Live In?

Last week I didn’t post because sometimes I just hate politics. The childish posturing, bickering and lies leave me totally disheartened.

A few days ago John Boehner said, "I believe that the healthcare bill that was enacted by the current Congress will kill jobs in America, ruin the best healthcare system in the world, and bankrupt our country,"

What country is he living in?

Among the richest nations, the U.S. is 19th of 19. America is awful at treating asthma, diabetes and kidney disease. The U.S. does do well with breast and prostate cancer, but these are represented by strong lobbies.
It has improved. I wrote an article for Associated Content on July 15, 2008 called Our Health Care is a National Disgrace. At that time we were 37th! Nothing really has changed since then. Check it out.......

The Republicans have been in bed with big money in health care from the beginning. It will be interesting to see how things turn out now that the health interests have tooled up for the new health care bill. They do not want it repealed. Can the Republicans stand up to one of their biggest sources of income?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Where's The Press?

Why are all the stands taken by politicians based on lies and why doesn’t the press hold their feet to the fire?

Republicans claim the Health Care bill contains a $500 billion Medicare cut. The law calls for reducing future growth of Medicare spending over the next ten years by seven percent. The law guarantees benefits won’t be reduced and even improves coverage for pharmaceuticals.

The conservative 60 Plus Association spent more than $5 million on ads against 16 Democrats in House races saying they “betrayed their constituents by voting for the health care overhaul. Thanks to the recent Supreme Court decision their identities don’t have to be disclosed.

The ads say the law threatens seniors’ ability to keep their own doctor. The new law has nothing to do with it. Some doctors have said they may stop accepting Medicare patients because of scheduled payment cuts set in motion by the 1997 Balanced Budget Act.

In fact if you look at what lawmakers have done to scheduled cuts to doctors’ pay that were mandated by the 1997 law: "Congress has overridden all of the scheduled reductions for physicians from 2003 to November 2010. And for the hospitals and other providers covered by the new law: "Congress would presumably act to adjust Medicare payment rates as necessary" before the providers withdrew from the program.

The ads feature seniors saying the law will "hurt the quality of our care." But the law specifically forbids cuts in the basic package of Medicare benefits, and even adds some new features, such as wellness checkups. It also closes the "doughnut hole" gap in the prescription drug benefit.

Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, "voted to use taxpayer dollars to pay for Viagra for convicted child molesters and sex offenders. Reid voted to table an amendment that would have barred convicted sex offenders from getting coverage for drugs like Viagra from health plans sold through state-based exchanges. That measure was one of a series of amendments that Republicans proposed in an effort to delay passage of the health care legislation.

There’s nothing in the legislation that even mentions such prescriptions. The Congressional Research Service said that nothing in the health care law would mandate that health plans "limit the type of benefits that can be offered based on the plan beneficiary’s prior criminal convictions." The new law will be just like the old one, convicts who are not in prison, including those convicted of sex offenses, will be able to buy any health plan they choose, some of which may cover drugs that treat erectile dysfunction.

Republicans continue to insist the economic stimulus has failed to create jobs. House Minority Leader John Boehner even said in an address that the stimulus had harmed the job situation, since "America’s employers are afraid to invest in an economy stalled by stimulus spending and hamstrung by uncertainty."

In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the stimulus increased employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million people, compared with what employment would have been otherwise.

Spineless Democrats, who should be united against an onslaught of disinformation are bowing to public fears. Democratic House incumbents in nine states claimed that they voted against the Troubled Asset Relief Program when in fact they weren’t yet in office when it was enacted. They voted against a later bill to allow release of the second half of TARP funds, a purely symbolic and futile vote. The Senate had already approved release and only disapproval by both houses could freeze the funds under terms set by the original bailout legislation.

You could fill a large book with the lies the American voting public take for granted. Where’s the outrage? Where’s the press?