View Full Version : Taxes, service cuts and spending

12-24-2009, 02:04 PM
We're getting protection. Just like the "protection" the neighborhood merchants get from the mafia thugs.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704254604574614043538946528.html?m od=rss_opinion_main

The Real Price of the Senate Health Bill
Pushing health-care reform through the Senate will hurt Democrats.


By now Majority Leader Harry Reid's explanation for how he is getting his health-care bill through the Senate has pinged its way across the country. "I don't know if there is a senator that doesn't have something in this bill that was important to them," he said this week. "And if they don't have something in it important to them, then it doesn't speak well of them." But take these comments two steps further and it becomes clear that how Mr. Reid reached unanimity in his caucus could hurt Democrats more than they realize.

First, taking Mr. Reid at his word means every Democratic senator got something. That implies there are even more howlers to discover that will dog Democrats next year.
After all, we now know Florida Sen. Bill Nelson got $3.5 billion to pay for seniors in his state to keep their Medicare Advantage policies when seniors in other states will be forced out of theirs. This wasn't a late add. It was just missed in the opaque language of the original Senate bill.

Second, any Democrat who assumes that it's OK to pass a bad bill because it includes a good deal for them is missing a larger dynamic of the Senate. When costs balloon, as they will, Congress will have to revisit health care. When it does, it will have little incentive to cut deals with individual senators when the public is clamoring about costs and there is no need to scramble for every vote.

Ah, a beam of light! And one that reveals the problem with getting short-term benefits for a state in exchange for long-term costs for the nation.

Consider that, thanks to senators from each state, Vermont gets $600 million for its Medicaid program and Massachusetts $500 million. But for the former the money runs out in six years and for the latter in just three.

Ben Nelson also won an exemption from the tax being levied on other Medigap insurance providers for Mutual of Omaha. There's also the "Nebraska-Michigan Compromise" in which Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies in both states get a carve-out on the insurance tax while the rest of the country's Blues get socked with it. How long that lasts may depend on how honest Democrats were in estimating costs. The pricier their bill is, the more likely this deal is upended.

There are two deals that won't be going away any time soon. One comes from Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester and extends Medicare to anyone exposed to a health hazard subject to a federal emergency declaration as of June 17, 2009. That would be people who live near the Libby, Mont., superfund site. Even a revenue-hungry Congress will find repealing that unpalatable. This provision involves a small number of people, but giving out special Medicare coverage is a dangerous precedent.

The other deal exempts insurance policies provided to longshoremen from the 40% excise tax slapped on "Cadillac" health-care plans. Unless the influence of the longshoremen's union wanes, this perk is about as permanent as you'll find in politics.

This is a partial list, but what we'll get for it all is rationed care and exploding deficits. Taxes start going up now, Medicare cuts begin after next fall's election, and spending for subsidies commences in five years. The price tag is not the first decade's announced $871 billion cost: It is $2.4 trillion. That's the cost of the tax credits in insurance exchanges, and the additional Medicaid costs the reform generates, over the first 10 years it's fully up and running, according to Congressional Budget Office numbers compiled by Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee.

Mr. Reid greased a Christmas Eve Senate passage of his bill, but he did so in a way that taints the product. It will hinder the Obama administration's efforts to fashion a House-Senate conference bill, as well as that 40-year majority Democrats once thought was within their grasp.

12-24-2009, 02:18 PM

Yep...This sure is going to help the economy and save or create millions of jobs.

12-24-2009, 07:53 PM
The go our cap gains tax cuts. Everybody is going to shelter into munis.

12-25-2009, 06:19 AM
Add in the Climate stuff, and Will fits nicely here...


Two vacuous victories for President Obama

By George F. Will
Washington Post

Published on Thursday, Dec 24, 2009

WASHINGTON: It was serendipitous to have almost simultaneous climaxes in Copenhagen and Congress. The former's accomplishment was indiscernible, the latter's was unsightly.

It would have been unprecedented had the president not described the outcome of the Copenhagen climate change summit as ''unprecedented,'' that being the most overworked word in his hardworking vocabulary of self-celebration. Actually, the mountain beneath the summit — a mountain of manufactured hysteria, predictable cupidity, antic demagoguery and dubious science — labored mightily and gave birth to a mouselet, a 12-paragraph document committing the signatories to . . . make a list.

A list of the goals they have no serious intention of trying to meet. The document even dropped the words ''as soon as possible'' from its call for a binding agreement on emissions.

The 1992 Rio climate summit begat Kyoto. It, like Copenhagen, which Kyoto begat, was ''saved,'' as Copenhagen was, by a last-minute American intervention (Vice President Al Gore's) that midwifed an agreement that most signatories evaded for 12 years. The Clinton-Gore administration never submitted Kyoto's accomplishment for ratification, the Senate having denounced its terms 95-0.

Copenhagen will beget Mexico City next November. Before then, Congress will give ''the international community'' other reasons to pout. Congress will refuse to burden the economy with cap-and-trade carbon-reduction requirements, and will spurn calls for sending billions in ''climate reparations'' to China and other countries.

Representatives of those nations, when they did not have their hands out in Copenhagen grasping for America's wealth, clapped their hands in ovations for Hugo Chavez and other kleptocrats who denounced capitalism while clamoring for its fruits.

The New York Times reported from Copenhagen that Barack Obama ''burst into a meeting of the Chinese, Indian and Brazilian leaders, according to senior administration officials. Mr. Obama said he did not want them negotiating in secret.'' Naughty them. Those three nations will be even less pliable in Mexico City.

At least the president got a health-care bill through the Senate. But what problem does it ''solve'' (Obama's word)? Not that of the uninsured, 23 million of whom will remain in 2019. Not that of rising health care spending. This will rise faster over the next decade.

The legislation does solve the Democrats' ''problem'' of figuring out how to worsen the dependency culture and the entitlement mentality that grows with it. By 2016, families with annual incomes of $96,000 will get subsidized health insurance premiums.

Nebraska's Ben Nelson voted for the Senate bill after opposing both the Medicare cuts and taxes on high-value insurance plans — the heart of the bill's financing. Arkansas' Blanche Lincoln, Indiana's Evan Bayh and Virginia's Jim Webb voted against one or the other. Yet they support the bill. They will need mental health care to cure their intellectual whiplash.

Before equating Harry Reid to Henry Clay, understand that buying 60 Senate votes is a process more protracted than difficult. Reid was buying the votes of senators whose understanding of the duties of representation does not rise above looting the nation for local benefits.

And Reid had two advantages — the spending, taxing and borrowing powers of the federal leviathan, and an almost gorgeous absence of scruples or principles. Principles are general rules, such as: Nebraska should not be exempt from burdens imposed on the other 49 states.

Principles have not, however, been entirely absent: Nebraska's Republican governor, Dave Heineman, and Republican senator, Mike Johanns, have honorably denounced Nebraska's exemption from expanded Medicaid costs. The exemption was one payment for Nelson's vote to impose the legislation on Nebraskans, 67 percent of whom oppose it.

Considering all the money and debasement of the rule of law required to purchase 60 votes, the bill the Senate passed might be the only bill that can get 60. The House, however, voted for Rep. Bart Stupak's provision preserving the ban on public funding of abortions. Nelson, an untalented negotiator, unnecessarily settled for much less.

The House also supports a surtax on affluent Americans, and opposes the steep tax on some high-value health insurance. So to get the bill to the president's desk, the House, in conference with the Senate, may have to shrug and say: Oh, never mind.

During this long debate, the left has almost always yielded ground. Still, to swallow the Senate bill, the House will have to swallow its pride, if it has any. The conference report reconciling the House and Senate bills will reveal whether the House is reconciled to being second fiddle in a one-fiddle orchestra.

Will is a Washington Post columnist. He can be e-mailed at georgewill@washpost.com.

12-25-2009, 03:23 PM
Before equating Harry Reid to Henry Clay, understand that buying 60 Senate votes is a process more protracted than difficult. Reid was buying the votes of senators whose understanding of the duties of representation does not rise above looting the nation for local benefits.

.....nothing like a little legalized plundering under the guise of "caring, benevolence and altruism".

Nothing to see here folks, we care and we will save you from the greed, corruption and exploitation of freedom & capitalism if it's the last thing we do because we're not greedy, sleazy, corrupt, deceptive and lying pieces of shit......we're liberals and WE CARE!!!!!!

4 more years! 4 more years! 4 more years!

C'mon Big Willie, C'mon Tony...Let's celebrate! :banana:

Yipppeee! Everything's free! :chuckle:

12-25-2009, 05:51 PM
Obama, Pelosi & Reed's 2012 Campaign song?

Just a thought......:chuckle:

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