This is JohnRose's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following JohnRose's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
JohnRose
Recent Activity
If you offer coverage, then why would this affect you? Clint's problem was that, because he doesn't offer coverage, he will be subject to a fine. You won't have that problem.
1 reply
You're right that I don't know a lot about the restaurant business. But I do know that your employees have health care needs, and they're getting them from somewhere. Nearly all 1200-employee businesses provide health insurance, so you're really the exception to the rule. The employer-provided insurance tax deduction is a big (costly for American taxpayers) incentive for employers to provide insurance. Every dollar you use to compensate your employees through health insurance premiums goes 20-30% further than a dollar you give them through wages. But keep this in mind: if in 2014 when this goes into effect, you decide to pay the fine and direct your employees to the insurance exchange, your employees will then have access to subsidies and a competitive health insurance market that they didn't have before. Perhaps that new benefit would justify a wage decrease.
1 reply
Re Dave: "Why shouldn't companies with one employee pay for [health insurance]? What is the principle here?" The principle is that for the time being, small businesses are not as capable of providing insurance to their employees, and until we get the insurance exchanges up and running, it's much better for people to get insurance through their employers than to have to remain uninsured or to go into the high-risk pool. "To me, government's only role in health insurance and care should be to regulate against monopolies and abuse and to establish an open, competitive market" And that's precisely what this law will do. Eventually, the insurance exchanges that start up in 2014 will be available not just to the uninsured or people in small businesses, but to everyone. Your libertarian mindset should appreciate the idea of individuals deciding what plan is best for themselves instead of having that decision made by their employer. The end goal of this bill is a regulated, competitive private insurance marketplace complemented by a single-payer solution for the old and very poor. That will be a huge improvement over the unregulated, monopolized private market and inefficient, over-utilized government programs we have right now. The idea that we can just open up the borders and that that will fix all of our problems is nonsense. The only thing keeping insurance companies in line right now are state regulations, which would be effectively repealed if insurance companies could offer plans over state lines. The problem here is the perverse incentives insurance companies have right now- there is so little transparency and so much bureaucracy in the way health care is handled through hospitals/insurers/employers, that the patients don't have any power to change the system. Forcing insurers to come out into the sunshine and reveal their true costs and benefits in a standardized, easily-understood way will allow individual consumers to choose what is best for themselves and to reduce costs for themselves.
1 reply
Re Doc Al: "I don't see how this benefits small businesses" Surely you understand how tax credits for employee health insurance premiums would benefit your business, don't you? And even if you don't provide insurance, I'm sure at least some of your employees made less than $40k/year- meaning that they would be eligible for insurance subsidies. And doesn't more affordable health insurance make working for you more attractive vs. working for a bigger business that can afford to negotiate group insurance plans for their employees? Re Dave: "We'll be paying for this for four years before most of the benefits kick in." First of all, the benefits start in 6 months: 1) Lifetime caps will be eliminated (2010), 2) Dependent coverage will be extended to children 26 years old (2010), 3) Insurance companies can't dump kids for having a pre-existing condition (2010), 4) The Medicare prescription drugs donut hole will start shrinking (2010), 5) A high-risk insurance pool will be created for the uninsured (2010), 6) Tax credits will be available for small businesses that provide insurance (2010), 7) An independent appeals process will be created for insurance denials (2010), 8) Insurers with high administrative costs will have to give their customers a rebate (2011) 9) Eliminate "cost sharing" for preventive services in Medicare/Medicaid (2011) And what payments are you referring to? Here's a list of the taxes/fines that begin before 2014. Which ones apply to you? 1) Limit the executive compensation tax deduction to $500,000 per individual for health insurance companies (2010) 2) Impose a 10% tax on indoor tanning services (2010) 3) Over-the-counter drugs will not be tax deductible (2011) 4) Increased tax on non-medical health savings account distributions (2011) 5) Limit flexible medical spending account contributions to $2500/year (2013) 6) Increase the threshold for the un-reimbursed medical expense tax deduction from 7.5% of income to 10% of income (2013) 7) Increase Medicare payroll tax rate by 0.9% on earnings over $200,000 and impose a 3.8% tax on unearned income for higher-income taxpayers (2013) 8) Eliminate employer tax deduction for Medicare drug subsidy payments. (2013) 9) Impose an excise tax of 2.3% on the sale of any taxable medical device (2013) None of these are very large or affect a great number of people, and most of them come into effect in 2013- not 2010. If you look at the scheduled impact on revenues and costs to this bill, it's obvious that the meme about "saving up for the first few years, then spending a lot after that" is wrong.
1 reply
To me, it seems that this law will be a big help to all small businesses (including restaurants). The requirement that businesses provide insurance (and corresponding enforcement fine) only applies to businesses with more than 50 employees. How many Decatur restaurants do you know of with more than 50 employees? And businesses with fewer than 25 employees that do provide insurance will receive a tax credit worth 35% of all employer-paid premiums. Meanwhile, for all small businesses with fewer than 50 employees who do not offer insurance (remember, they are not required to do so), their employees will be eligible for participation in the individual insurance exchange and subsidies in 2014, which will make insurance a lot more affordable, and subsequently make working for them a lot more attractive, even at the same wages. For details of how much these subsidies are worth, click here: http://healthreform.kff.org/SubsidyCalculator.aspx I just don't see what the downside is to small businesses at all. Making insurance much better and cheaper for their employees will reduce their labor costs and therefore the prices they will have to charge. All details of the new law can be found here: http://www.kff.org/healthreform/upload/housesenatebill_final.pdf
1 reply
Crazy story. I don't imagine there's a lot of money in photography, but it sure would be interesting to hear her side of the story. Maybe you could call or write her?
1 reply
Latif has said "we have to accept that there are these natural fluctuations, and therefore, the temperature may not show additional warming temporarily". Temporary, 10-15 year fluctuations do not change the overall trend. Climate models are not designed to tell you precisely what the temperature will be on X date. That's weather forecasting. Climate models are built to tell you the broad outlines of what will happen. The disagreement in the scientific community now is over whether average global temperatures will increase by 13 degrees or "only" by 4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050, and whether humans account for 90 percent or "only" 85 percent of the global warming trend. They aren't even trying to tell you what it will be in 2012 or 2015, because such short-term forecasts are subject to far more natural variability.
Toggle Commented Dec 7, 2009 on More on the "ClimateGate" dustup at inDECATUR
1 reply
I can't believe you believe this stuff. Is there anything the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal could publish that you would be at all skeptical about? (note: this is not the news side of the Wall Street Journal- this is the politically-motivated "Opinion" side) There are so many levels of suspicion that make this story unbelievable and irrelevant: 1) The people who got this data are criminals, trying specifically to find anything that would cast these scientists in a negative light. 2) This is one of thousands of teams whose work on climate research is hugely redundant and self-correcting. 3) The e-mails are from sometimes 5 or 10 years ago, on work that has been completely superseded by subsequent work by other teams. 4) The main e-mail the conspiracy theorists are pointing at has the words "I've completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps", and has to do with the difference between "real data" (that comes from thermometers around the globe) and "simulated data" (that comes from second-hand sources like ice cores, tree rings, coral, etc.). It's not "trick" as in deceitful. It's "trick" as in "Oh you made that chart convey much more information! Nice trick!" (http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/11/i-read-through-160000000-bytes-of.html) (http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/11/22/806704/-Trickn) You still haven't come to realize that certain sources of information are trying to "persuade" and certain sources are trying to "inform". You have to treat websites like the Drudge Report, Fox News, the Washington Times, the WSJ editorial page, and right-wing blogs like freerepublic and redstate with more skepticism, just like you might treat sources like dailykos or thinkprogress with skepticism. The 2000's are the warmest decade on record. Every scientific organization on the planet endorses the three points that 1) The planet is warming 2) The warming is caused primarily by human greenhouse gas emissions and 3) If we don't slow down or stop our greenhouse gas emissions, the planet will get much warmer, causing very bad things to happen for people around the world. If you just learn a little more about the scientific facts out there, you will realize that there are well-established answers for all of the global warming skeptics' questions.
Toggle Commented Nov 25, 2009 on What happened to the scientifc method? at inDECATUR
1 reply
In answer to your question, I think that a lot of the anti-war protesters are satisfied by Obama finally withdrawing from Iraq. But as the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan escalates, the anti-war movement is re-awakening and planning large-scale protests. (http://www.kansascity.com/news/world/story/1412844.html) Personally, I think the war in Afghanistan is just part of our failed anti-drug policy. Al Qaeda is no longer in Afghanistan, and it's not our place to declare the Taliban's Sharia government to be unacceptable. We need to legalize, regulate, and tax drugs. And if we made it clear to the Taliban that all we wanted was Al Qaeda's head on a platter- they would stop standing in our way.
Toggle Commented Aug 31, 2009 on DECATURadar, Monday, 8/31/2009 at inDECATUR
1 reply
Does Medicare tell senior citizens what they can eat?
Toggle Commented Aug 31, 2009 on The move toward healthier food at inDECATUR
1 reply
Food miles are extremely over-hyped. Transportation only accounts for 11% of the total carbon footprint of the food we eat. And only 4% of the footprint is the final farm-to-store delivery. The type of food you eat makes a much bigger difference. For example, for the average American, shifting only 21-24% of their diet from red meat/dairy to chicken/fish/vegetarian would make as big of a difference as total localization. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es702969f?cookieSet=1
Toggle Commented Aug 31, 2009 on The move toward healthier food at inDECATUR
1 reply
The only people worried about the end of capitalism are the paranoid ideologues on the far right. Free markets need rules to work. If companies are allowed to defraud and deceive their customers, capitalism wouldn't work. Republicans continue to harp on this same idea that they've been harping on for thirty years: that we should lower taxes on the rich, get rid of unnecessary regulations, and that we will all benefit from the increase in economic growth. It's called Reaganomics. Now let's look at the results: 1) Did the tax cuts pay for themselves? No. We've gone from having virtually no debt in 1980 to a $11.4+ trillion debt that is threatening the foundation of our economy, consuming about 8% of your tax dollars just in interest, and worrying our major trade partners. 2) Did deregulation improve our economy? No. In fact, deregulation is the chief reason for the recent financial crisis- the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, which was the reason we had regulated the financial markets in the first place. 3) Have we all benefited? No. Wages have been stagnant for 30 years (5% increase since 1981), even while productivity has expanded exponentially (75% increase since 1981). The benefits have gone to other countries, the very rich, increased corporate profits, and increased medical costs. (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/eop/2009) It is not a question of capitalism vs. big government. It is more complicated than that. In the health care debate, for example, there are competing economic incentives for patients, doctors, insurance companies, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies. Without the right rules in place, the "free market" could leave us a lot worse off as a country.
Toggle Commented Aug 25, 2009 on Capitalism vs. Big Government at inDECATUR
1 reply
Not $1.4 trillion/year, more like $1.7 trillion/year. So it would take 10-15 years to pay off the debt.
1 reply
I know I've told you about this before, but you never seem to have any answer when I bring it up: Health care reform is a fiscally conservative action. The reason that Medicare is predicted to cost more than it takes in by 2020 is because of our entire country's increasing health care costs, not because of government inefficiencies. In fact, the growth rate in costs in Medicare and Medicaid is LESS than the growth rate of the private system. Even though the entire point of insurance companies is to keep costs under control, they are failing at their jobs. Instead, they find it more profitable to push those costs onto other people. I don't hate profit- I think it's a great motivator. But it isn't motivating insurance companies to reduce system-wide costs- it's simply motivating them to find ever-more-creative ways of reducing their OWN costs, at the expense of emergency rooms, government programs, and the nation's health. The current system is unsustainable. Without reform, health care costs will continue to escalate, keeping wages down, taxes high, and our citizens unhealthy. Simply expanding coverage is a good step forward, because it will reduce expensive emergency room treatments, which we all end up paying for anyway, and it results in better health overall. But it is not enough, because even people who have access to coverage are having their coverage denied when they need it most and put out of reach because of escalating costs. We need to take back control of our health care system from insurance companies. We need the public option to provide a fair, unsubsidized competitor to private insurers. We need to provide commonsense consumer protections to people who have insurance, so that they can't be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, can't have their lifetime contributions arbitrarily capped, and can't have be fired when they get sick in order to keep company premiums down. And social security can be made solvent by very, very minor changes, such as raising the Social Security tax wage base amount limit from 100k to 150k. I care more about the national debt than anything else in politics. That's precisely why I think we need to get health costs under control, make our tax system much more progressive, and greatly reduce military costs. If you're interested in the numbers... we have a structural deficit of about $300-500 billion/year, and a debt of about $11.4 trillion, and long-term Medicare and Social Security liabilities of several times that amount. Changing our income tax to the following rates would increase revenues by about $240 billion: 0% (0 – $25,000) 15% ($25,000– $40,000) 25% ($40,000- $70,000) 35% ($70,000 – $150,000) 45% ($150,000 – $300,000) 55% ($300,000 - $1,000,000) 65% ($1,000,000 - $3,000,000) 75% ($3,000,000+) Changing the estate tax to 50% for inheritances above $150,000, and 100% for inheritances above $1,500,000 would increase revenues another $390 billion/year. Eliminating the mortgage interest tax deduction (-$85 billion), property tax deduction (-$30 billion), health care deduction (-$200 billion), tax havens (-$100 billion), corporate tax loopholes (-$20 billion), and treating realized capital gains as regular income (-$131 billion) Cutting the overall budget of the military by about 70% over the next 15 years (-$420 billion) Entirely removing pork(bankruptcy bailouts, local development projects, NASA manned spaceflight, negotiate with EU to end agricultural subsidies) from federal budget (-$35 billion) Put a 28 percent limit on the value of itemized charitable tax deductions (-$30 billion) Altogether, that would increase revenues of about $1.4 trillion/year. So that obviously that gives you a lot of room to fix the structural deficit and start paying off the debt. Let me know if you wonder about any of the numbers.
1 reply
Just a few nits to pick, since you seem to want to continue to cover the national political stuff with a conservative slant: 1) In the article you linked, John Cornyn doesn't really "offer another approach"- he just says that the federal government shouldn't do anything, effectively endorsing the current policy. 2) I don't know why you always use Rasmussen. It always skews conservatively, versus several other independent polling firms. It weighs results with equal numbers of self-identified Republicans and Democrats, even though there are 5-10% more Democrats in the country. And they use an automated machine to make their calls, instead of relying on more-reliable human operators. There is a solid majority of the public who support "major reform" (56%+), who support a public option (76%), and who want government-run health insurance (59%). (http://www.gallup.com/poll/121664/majority-favors-healthcare-reform-this-year.aspx) (http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/090617_NBC-WSJ_poll_Full.pdf) (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/30/sunday/main4765027.shtml) I went ahead and read the Neal Boortz story you linked, no matter how cliched it was. Let me try to explain why these "If you raise my taxes you'll lose your jobs" stories are so misleading: 1) Very, very few small business owners are in the top income tax bracket. In fact, only 1.3% of people who have any small business income are in the top bracket (http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/UploadedPDF/1000651_taxfacts042604.pdf). So if you really care about small businesses, you should ask yourself about the other 98.7% of small business owners that need better health care, a better economy, and a responsible solution to our debt crisis. 2) Boortz says "When my taxes climb by 4.5 percent the Democrats will be on television saying that this really isn’t a tax increase. They’ll explain that the Bush tax cuts have expired .. nothing more. Here at Carrington we’ll know that almost 5% has been taken right off of our bottom line. And that means it will be coming off your bottom line." Ask yourself- how do employers make decisions about hiring/firing employees? Would they ever employee somebody if it isn't profitable for their company? And if not, why would a 5% tax hike ever cause them to fire someone? Wouldn't firing that person simply make their profits drop even further? These stories always rest on the same nonsensical argument that rich business owners employ people out of charity, with no regard to how it affects their bottom line.
Toggle Commented Aug 17, 2009 on DECATURadar, Monday, 8/17/2009 at inDECATUR
1 reply
There is no ban on private health care anywhere in the world! You can still pay out-of-pocket for anything that isn't covered by the government plan in France, Canada, and the U.K. Honestly, it's just paranoid to think that the government will actually restrict you from buying lifesaving treatment with your own money. The only thing a single-payer system would do is to provide a level of care that no person can drop below. If you are rich in a single-payer system, you still receive a much higher level of care than people who only have the government plan- as you should!
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2009 on DECATURadar, Friday, 8/7/2009 at inDECATUR
1 reply
What does rationing mean to you? This is not a rhetorical question. Why is it "rationing" when the government declines to cover a specific treatment, but not when your insurance company declines to cover a treatment? http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/magazine/19healthcare-t.html?_r=1&ref=magazine It's crucial to understand that we ration health care today, and we will always ration health care. It's just a question of who is doing the rationing. Right now the insurance companies are rationing and restricting health care FAR beyond what is necessary, so that they can achieve as large a profit margin as possible. 30% of health insurance costs are non-health-care costs (they go to pay corporate executives, lawyers, insurance agents, paperwork, and profits). That number for Medicare is 5%. France, with its "spiraling" health care costs, spends less than HALF of what we spend per person, and they are the top-ranked health care system by the World Health Organization (we are ranked 37th).
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2009 on DECATURadar, Friday, 8/7/2009 at inDECATUR
1 reply
I totally agree with you Dave- if you can, you should go there and ask tough questions. One question I would ask if I could go is "Why does this reform only kick-in in 2013? Why couldn't it start next year?" But nobody should follow the immature, childish example of these people who have been shouting and screaming over everyone else, preventing any kind of constructive dialog. In democracies, people have to talk to each other and listen to each other in order to resolve differences. Shouting over someone so that they can't even respond is like a little child plugging his ears and saying "NaNaNaNaNa! I can't HEAR YOOOOOU!" These are people who just can't accept that they've lost some of their political power, and they want to try to just strong-arm people into agreeing with them instead of convincing them with better ideas.
Toggle Commented Aug 6, 2009 on Health care town hall meeting at inDECATUR
1 reply
For someone so full of skepticism about Democratic and government information, you seem to have very little skepticism about other sources of information. This study was done by the Lewin Group, a subsidiary of the UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest insurance companies in the United States, insuring over 70 million people. They are one of the companies that have the most to lose in this reform- because they are screwing over individuals and raking it billions of dollars of profit in the process. We need to take back control of our health care from the insurance companies!
Toggle Commented Jul 29, 2009 on DECATURadar, Wednesday, 7/29/2009 at inDECATUR
1 reply
The problem is not entirely with the 15% who are left out in the cold. The entire idea of insurance is that it helps you prepare for unforeseen illnesses. That 91% of people who are happy may feel secure right up until the moment they get sick and find that their insurance won't cover their treatment. The answer is not simply expanding Medicaid, because Medicare and Medicaid are being driven into bankruptcy by our out-of-control health care system. It's ridiculous to think that uninsured people are not turned away by hospitals. Hospitals are only required to help people in emergencies. As soon as that emergency is over, they are kicked out the door. Nearly all of health care is non-emergency, especially if we want to use health care more efficiently. (prevention is much cheaper than emergency care) Re: "We do (indirectly) for those who can't rub two nickels together, but we will under this plan as well." Yes- but the whole point of this reform is to reduce costs. Wouldn't you rather be paying much less in taxes for Medicare and Medicaid? The estimates you've been hearing from the CBO- about this reform costing $1 trillion or not reducing costs- those are for the next 10 years. As Peter Orszag, Obama's budget chief, has repeatedly said, this reform would be an investment aimed at reducing "long term" health care costs. That means more than 10 years from now. And that's where the biggest debt problems are. It's important to grasp the magnitude of our long-term Medicare-related debt problem. As big as our $10 trillion of debt is now, that's about one tenth the size of our long-term Medicare liabilities. That's why we need to look at the reasons for our high costs and address them. The reason that this plan would reduce long-term health care costs is because it would address the primary problems: 1) low levels of competition, 2) lack of coverage, and 3) poor incentives for doctors to choose options that provide the best quality-life-year benefit per dollar. 1) 94 percent of the country's insurance markets are defined as "highly concentrated," according to Justice Department guidelines. Predictably, that's led to skyrocketing costs for patients, and monster profits for the big health insurers. Premiums have gone up over the past six years by more than 87 percent, on average, while profits at ten of the largest publicly traded health insurance companies rose 428 percent from 2000 to 2007. It's ECON 101- when there is a monopoly, or close to it, price and profits increase. A public option would automatically introduce competition around the country. It wouldn't receive any more government subsidy than private insurers already receive, so it would really be a fair competition. 2) Besides the direct impact it has on the health, productivity, and stability of the uninsured themselves, the cost of having 45 million uninsured people results in increased insurance premiums, costs to charities, and taxes for everyone else. When a hospital is forced to treat the uninsured, they shift the cost to their insured patients and the government. The care they provide is inevitably more expensive than it would be if they were covered, because their patients cannot properly treat chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. This reform would require employees to provide insurance, and would provide assistance to individuals below 500% of the poverty line and to small businesses that may have trouble providing the insurance. According to CBO estimates, the current bill under consideration in the House would cover 37 million (97% of citizens) of the uninsured, and it would cost only $1 trillion (a small fraction of the next decade's expected $30+ trillion in health care costs) And this would be REAL coverage, not the kind that disappears when you actually get sick. 3) Right now, doctors are being paid per procedure, they are expected to always "do something" to fix their patients even when the best option is to wait and see, and the level of care they give is highly inequitable depending on location and type of illness. Insurance companies influence the decisions that doctors can make regarding care in a very non-transparent, and ethically questionable way. A lot of this can be fixed by creating a central health care committee (called the Health Choices Administration in the current plan). That committee would provide independent, highly-scientific, ethical advice, which would in turn shape our health care system through tax credits and public option reimbursement rates. Their decisions would be based on high-level judgments about what treatments improve patient quality of life and lifespan at the lowest cost. These decisions, based on state-of-the-art research rather than profit or liability calculations, would be a vast improvement over the current system. So, just because 91% of people say they're happy with their current quality of care doesn't mean they're happy with their tax bill, with the feeling of insecurity that comes with not knowing what would happen if they got seriously ill, and with how much they and their employers are paying for that health care.
1 reply
How can it possibly "limit our health care options" to add a new public insurance option, and to allow everyone to keep their current insurance plan if they want it? And what is the alternative that people are suggesting? We can't keep on denying the fact that we have ~$100 trillion in unfunded entitlement liabilities (~$80 trillion of which is in Medicare). The problem is with our health care system. There is too much inefficiency, too little competition, and we are still left with poor treatment compared to other countries that pay far less. From the right I keep on hearing buzz words like "ACORN" "rationing" "socialized medicine", but no serious contemplation about the long-term fiscal problems we face or any recognition of the disastrous performance of the current health care system.
1 reply
I'm not talking about "White House projections". I'm referring to the CBO- an independent budgeting agency. "Rationing" seems to be what all conservatives are afraid of, presumably because they have never gotten seriously ill in our current health care system, which rations health care already, restricting access to certain drugs, procedures, and providers, and enforcing delays, all to increase profits. Rationing is not the scary word you think it is- it is entirely inevitable. This is a great article on what "rationing" means: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/magazine/19healthcare-t.html
1 reply
On a more technical note- the F-22 spending is not spread out over several years. We spent about $4 billion on the F-22 in 2007, $4 billion in 2008, we're spending about $3.6 billion in 2009, and if we hadn't cut this, we'd be spending about $2 billion in 2010. That's not pocket change. The bigger issue is that our President and Secretary of Defense should be the ones making the decisions about what tools they need in the future. Right now, the defense industry controls all of those decisions through lobbyists in Congress, and it's hurting our long-term military preparedness. The F-22 was just one of many wasteful programs, the rest of which will continue on without pause(F-35 alternative engine, missile defense, "Future Combat Systems", V-22, the presidential helicopter). And your dismissal of entitlement programs as unsustainable misses the "why": Medicare and Medicaid are only unsustainable because our entire health care system is unsustainable. For decades now, health care costs have increased faster than wages and inflation. That's a problem with the market, not the government program. Social Security's unsustainability has one simple cause: people are living longer. You can't reasonably expect more years of payment with the same amount of contribution. We just need to increase the retirement age, decrease benefits, or (my preferred solution) decrease the amount of income that is exempted from the social security tax. The shortfall is not all that large. For some perspective: the long-term deficits caused by Bush's tax cuts are three times larger, and the deficits caused by Bush's Medicare Part D (a huge taxpayer giveaway to the health care industry) are two times larger. If we just reversed one of those, we'd have a fix for social security and a lot leftover.
1 reply
What it boils down to is this: we have two groups of people in congress right now. One group is trying its best to improve our health care system, decrease inefficiencies, increase coverage, and reduce our long-term deficit problems, which are in the 40-50 trillion dollar range. The other group is saying "wait", "there are problems, we shouldn't rush!", and "things aren't so bad right now!". They don't want to fix the system, because they are going to be the ones GETTING that 40-50 trillion dollars. Some of the worst-affected people under the current system are small businesses, for whom health insurance premiums can skyrocket if one of their employees gets seriously ill, and for whom there are seldom any choices in who to get health insurance from. The current house tax proposal only affects those making $1 million+ per year. If you think that those making $1 million+ a year in profits are "often" small businesses, I don't think you know very many small businesses. And if you still think that increasing the tax rate on income over $1 million will cause business owners to cut jobs, I don't think you understand how businesses make employment decisions: If hiring an employee won't increase profits, companies don't hire them. And if firing an employee won't increase profits, companies don't fire them. That's the same whether those profits are taxed at 30% 31%, or even 33%! By the way, in case you've forgotten, this change still wouldn't put the effective federal tax rate anywhere close to where it was under the highly-prosperous 1990's. (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/07/daily-chart-tax-the-rich-to-pay-for-health-care.html)
1 reply
Here's an alternate version of the same chart: http://www.flickr.com/photos/robertpalmer/3743826461/ Guess what? Providing health care to everyone is complicated! Who would have thought?
Toggle Commented Jul 24, 2009 on The impending healthcare bureaucracy at inDECATUR
1 reply