Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Obamacare Explained By Maxine!

Obamacare Explained By Maxine!
4/19/11 | ?????

Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 12:27:27 PM by Freepmanchew

Let me get this straight . . . .
We're going to be "gifted" with a health care
plan we are forced to purchase and
fined if we don't,
Which purportedly covers at least
thirty million more people,
without adding a single new doctor,
but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents,
written by a committee whose chairman
says he doesn't understand it,
passed by a Congress that didn't read it but
exempted themselves from it,
and signed by a President who smokes,
with funding administered by a treasury chief who
didn't pay his taxes,
for which we'll be taxed for four years before any
benefits take effect,
by a government which has
already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare,
all to be overseen by a surgeon general
who is obese,
and financed by a country that's broke!!!!!
'What could
possibly go wrong?'

The Incomparable Mark Steyn!

DOWNHILL ONLY ... Mark Steyn
Steyn Online ^ | 19 Apr 2011 | Mark Steyn

Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 7:00:26 AM by Rummyfan

Wandering round this great republic predicting the apocalypse, I’m often asked by audience members why it is I’m being quite so overwrought if not an hysterical old queen about the whole business. After all, President Obama’s now-forgotten “Deficit Commission” produced a report melodramatically emblazoned “The Moment of Truth” and proposing such convulsive course corrections as raising the age of Social Security eligibility to 69.

By the year 2075.

With wake-up calls like that, we can all roll over and sleep in for another half century, right?

But some of us have been here before. We know the smell of decay, and we recognize it in America today. Last year, Niall Ferguson, professor at Oxford, at Harvard, and on highbrow telly documentaries, joined Barbra Streisand, James Brolin, and other eminent thinkers at the Aspen Ideas Festival. “Having grown up in a declining empire, I do not recommend it,” he told them. “It’s just not a lot of fun actually, decline.”

Amen, brother. It’s the small things you remember. The public clocks that stop and are never restarted. “Stands the church clock at ten to three? / And is there honey still for tea?” wrote Rupert Brooke, aching from abroad for an eternal England. If the town-hall clock stopped at ten to three, it stands there still, and the one above the splendid Victorian railway station stands at twelve past four, and the one on the Gothic Revival opera house at 7:23: You are literally in a land that time forgot. Likewise, the escalators. In “developing nations,” they’re a symbol of progress. In decaying nations, they’re an emblem of decline. In pre-Thatcher Britain, the escalators seized up, and stayed unrepaired for months on end. Eventually, someone would start them up again, only for them to break down 48 hours later and be out of service for another 18 months. It was always the up escalators. You were in a country that could only go downhill: All chutes, no ladders.

If you live in certain of our more obviously insolvent states, you may already recognize the phenomenon. A waggish reader wrote to me from the nation’s capital a few weeks ago hailing what he called Union Station’s cutting-edge bidirectional escalator technology. The conventional escalator on the left had been out of order for a month and “requires two full-time maintenance workers to stare at it for hours at a time while discussing football and women.” But during the same period the equally non-moving escalator on the right had been used every rush hour to accommodate thousands of both upward and downward commuters simultaneously. All the advanced technology of a staircase — now in an escalator! The bright new future of mass transit: no-speed escalators to high-speed trains.

Incremental decline is easy to get used to. I’m sure a few of my correspondent’s fellow commuters are equally droll about it and a few more get angry, but untold thousands more just shuffle uncomplainingly up and down, scuffing shoes and bumping backpacks. That’s the trick with decline: persuading people to accept it. The Transportation Security Administration, which in a decade of existence has never caught a single terrorist, has managed to persuade freeborn citizens to accept that minor state bureaucrats have the right to fondle your scrotum without probable cause. The TSA is now unionizing, which means that this hideous embodiment of bureaucratized sclerosis will now have its fingers in your gusset until the end of time.

What was it they used to say? If we give up our freedoms, the terrorists will have won! Whether or not the terrorists have won, the bureaucrats have. And they’re a more profound existential threat to America than the terrorists will ever be. My accountant was trying to explain to me the new 1099 requirements of Obamacare, but who cares? In the Republic of Paperwork, there’ll be a new set of new requirements along any minute. I’m ashamed of myself for even knowing what a 1099 is. But that’s the issue: Once you accept the principle that one citizen cannot contract with another without filing paperwork with the state, imposing ever more onerous conditions is merely a difference of degree.

In such a world it becomes more difficult to innovate, and frankly not a priority. When I deposit a New Zealand check at my bank in Montreal, the funds are available to me within two seconds. The last time I deposited a New Zealand check at my bank in the U.S., they sent it for “collection” (an entirely artificial concept in the computer age) to Australia, and by the time it came back it had expired. They couldn’t understand why I was annoyed — c’mon, man, we were in the ballpark! To resolve the issue, I had to go to the bank president, who, on being informed of my Canadian comparison, said, “Well, you must understand smaller countries by their nature have to get used to dealing with the rest of the world. It’s different for America.”

This might have been reasonable enough in 1950, when America was last man standing on a Western world otherwise reduced to rubble. But it seems an odd attitude for a country whose households are entirely filled by products made elsewhere and whose future is mortgaged to foreigners. And it made me wonder if perhaps Ferguson and I are being insufficiently apocalyptic. A gargantuan bureaucratized parochialism leavened by litigiousness and political correctness is a scale of decline no developed nation has yet attempted.

It doesn’t have to go like that. Abolish the 1099. Get the feds out of your underwear. Restart the escalator. But the clock is running down, fast.

from National Review

Friday, April 15, 2011

Political Thoughts For A Friday (Karl Denninger)

Posted 2011-04-15 09:54
by Karl Denninger
in Politics

Political Thoughts For A Friday

Reflecting some more on the speech that Obama gave on the 13th, I'd like to focus in on a couple of specific sections:

We believe, in the words of our first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, that through government, we should do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves.  And so we’ve built a strong military to keep us secure, and public schools and universities to educate our citizens.

The former is an enumerated power of the Federal Government in the Constitution.  The latter is not.  The latter, such as it exists, is in State Constitutions.

This is rather important, because there is no broad agreement on what the public's "burden" is for such a thing.  Bearing children is an individual choice.  Some people choose to have many, some few, some none. 

The common defense of the nation is a benefit that falls on all.  But the education of children is a duty occasioned by individual and consensual adult acts of intercourse.  The two are entirely-disjoint.

Thus the State (not Federal) focus on education.  This provides choice.  Those who believe that the proper allocation of cost should go to the person can choose a state to live in where that is respected.  Those who believe that the proper allocation of cost should be common can choose a state where that is required.  The Federal Government lacks the authority, as a matter of Constitutional Law, to force this issue.  (Not that The Federal Government has given a damn about Constitutional anything for the last hundred years or so.)

Part of this American belief that we are all connected also expresses itself in a conviction that each one of us deserves some basic measure of security.  We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, hard times or bad luck, a crippling illness or a layoff, may strike any one of us.  “There but for the grace of God go I,” we say to ourselves, and so we contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee us health care and a measure of basic income after a lifetime of hard work; unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss; and Medicaid, which provides care for millions of seniors in nursing homes, poor children, and those with disabilities.  We are a better country because of these commitments.  I’ll go further – we would not be a great country without those commitments.


I couldn't disagree more.

Let's make this personal, because in fact it is.  See, Obama would argue that there is this nebulous "whole" that covers such expense.  But he knows this is a lie, because there is nothing "paid in" and "retained" for either Social Security or Medicare.

So let's look at the facts and make it personal, Barack.

Do you, Barack Obama, have the right to demand that your daughters pay for your triple bypass when you are an old man should you be such a pig that you have not provided for such a possibility yourself via personally stashing either money or purchasing insurance against said risk?

I'll ask question personally as well:  Do I, having a daughter, have the right to force her to pay for my triple bypass (or two new hips) should I be so much of a pig that I have failed, for whatever reason, to put aside the necessary provisions to be able to pay for such myself in my old age?

We must make this question personal and turn the debate toward the personal form of this question because in each and every case it is.

This nebulous "society" argument is one that those on both the left and right continually use as a means of intentional deception and fraud upon the public.  There is no such thing.  All taxes are paid by people, and when it comes to social insurance costs, most of them are ladled upon those without the ability to vote.

When my daughter was a young child, barely in grade school, Medicare Part "D" was under debate.  I had a monstrous blow-up with my family over this very issue.  While she was blithely playing in their living room, my father proceeded to tell me that he believed he was entitled to that drug benefit.

This, despite the fact that the cost of such a benefit would fall most-directly on a young girl who had no right to protest or vote for or against it herself.

Medicare Part D, like all such social insurance programs, is an intentional fraud upon our children and grandchildren.  This is particularly true for medical "insurance" for the elderly, as our medical capacity has risen in both ability and cost at several times the direct inflation and thus "contribution" rate.  As a result of this fact all such arguments are in fact a claim that you have the right to hold up, at gunpoint, your children and grandchildren to pay for that which you are unable to personally whether as a result of your decision to spend those funds earlier in your life or through misfortune.

That's the essence of the debate about "social insurance" as it applies to the elderly.  It is not about a nebulous "societal" obligation, it is about your arrogation to yourself as you age of a right to literally steal, using the force of government, from your own children and grandchildren.

The argument is one for pigheadedness of epic proportion.  Through 5,000 years of recorded history intergenerational care has been provided as a matter of honor and choice by both the older and younger generations.  This bond was formed through the love of both groups for one another from the point of birth and largely constrained what could otherwise be unconscionable acts.  As parents we have the ability to be monsters, just as children do as well.  Historically the act of either party being a monster came with a sanction of not only being cast out, but the punishment later in life of being unable to access the love and care of your progeny and parents.  Both consequences were quite serious.

We have made a serious social mistake in our failure to deal with this problem honestly.  Steve Southerland and other so-called "Conservatives" have often bleated about how the degeneration of family lies at the root of many of the problems we have as a nation.  This may well be true, but the provision of these social programs, which provide a substitute that amounts to the forcible financial rape of one's progeny, means that parents no longer have an affirmative obligation to raise their children well and transition from an absolute power relationship at birth to one of mutual respect before adulthood, lest they die alone, hungry and wanting for care.

You want to know what has been largely responsible for the destruction of the American family?  The provision of a viable alternative, enforced at gunpoint against the next generation by government, for the support functions that family used to provide.

I declare as a matter of principle, morals, ethics and fact that I have no right to demand that my daughter provide one dime of funds of any sort for my care as I age, whether my failure to be able to do so myself is a consequence of my hubris, pigheadedness, profligacy and consumerism or simply bad luck.

Any such care, direct or indirect, that she chooses to provide is only mine to enjoy through a fully-free election of choice made by her, without the compulsion of government.

It is also my considered position that if you believe otherwise in any form, under any set of circumstances, you're an inhuman monster.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The President's Budget Address and the Reality of Taxing the 'Rich' (American Thinker)


By Steve McCann

The President is going to address the nation yet again.  He apparently intends to unveil another revised plan to fool the American people into believing he is sincere about reducing the deficit and reign in spending after the unserious budget he presented in February was soundly rejected by the country.  While his hand has been forced by the twin factors of the Republicans in the House (buoyed the effectiveness of the Tea Party movement) and the upcoming Presidential election, he will nonetheless bring up increasing taxes on the so-called wealthy and corporations as one of the primary means of solving the debt and deficit problem.

Unfortunately this approach plays well among the less enlightened and Obama's left-wing base who are in the thrall of class warfare and the capability of that argument to enflame passions and potential violence.  This argument is solely being utilized to keep the Democrats and their allies in power.  The reality is raising taxes and demonizing the wealthy will not solve but will instead exacerbate the current economic woes the country is experiencing.

There are stubborn things called facts that refuse to go away.  Normally the left and the media dismiss any argument coming from those on the conservative side of the spectrum as being unreliable and subject to right-wing bias.  One of the favored agencies of the liberals is the IRS (except when they are being audited), so let us focus entirely on the statistics they have published.

The wealth of Americans is an obsession with the left.  The last time the IRS published any statistics on that matter was in 2004, when the economy was doing far better than it is today.  At that time there were 2.7 million adults in the United States with a net worth (total value of all assets less debts and liabilities) in excess of $1.5 million for a total of $10.2 Trillion.  The IRS reference can be found here; Data Table: All top wealth holders by size of net worth.

If the government were to decide that no one should have a net worth above $1.5 million and would confiscate all wealth above that level, then there would be a one-time windfall of $6.1 Trillion to the Treasury.  As the total national debt is nearly $14.5 Trillion, this action would result in the reduction of the debt to $8.4Trillion.

However this tactic presents a major problem; how is the government going to realize the value of the seized assets?  For example within the net worth of the now confiscated assets are upwards of $2+ Trillion in real estate, but who is going to buy that at market value as no one will have the leverage or cash to do so?  Or who will buy the stocks, both publicly traded and closely held, where there are nearly $3 Trillion in present value, without collapsing the markets entirely?  The same is true of state and local bond issues or corporate bonds, US Treasury Bonds, mutual funds etc. etc.  The government, if it could at all, might realize a quarter of the value of the seized assets (if China were really interested) which had been previously used to underwrite the national economy.

The long term devastation to the economy would be unfathomable, as who would create jobs and wealth if they knew their assets would be seized above a certain point? 

If the left were to be convinced that this tactic would be counterproductive, then their argument turns to having the wealthy pay more income taxes every year as a major means of reducing the annual deficit and minimizing the amount of spending cuts necessary to balance the budget.

As a starting point lets us stipulate that the projected budget deficit for the current fiscal year is $1,665.0 Billion.  Per the Obama Budget it will be $1,100.0 Billion next year.  The IRS data for the following exercise is found as follows:  Section: Tax Generated; subsection, Tax and size of Adjusted Gross Income (2008): Table 3.5

The tax year of 2008 was the last to date that the IRS has done this kind of analysis.  In 2008 the highest marginal tax rate of 35% was applied to all AGI above $357,700.00.  In that year the total amount of AGI subject to the highest rate was $662.8 Billion.  The government collected in taxes $218.0 Billion (35%).

Assuming no change in behavior and a general eagerness to pay more, and if Obama and the left convince the Congress to raise taxes on the so-called rich, then the potential increase in revenue would be as follows.  If the highest rate of 35% were raised by a factor of 29% to 42%, the additional revenue would be $43.5 Billion, not much of a dent in the $1,665 Billion deficit.  If the rate was raised by a factor of 50% to 52.5%, the additional revenue would be $108.9 Billion.  Still nowhere near enough, so let's just tax it at a rate of 100% thus bringing in an additional $404.8 Billion.  Unfortunately the country is still $1,260.0 Billion in the hole for the year.

The top 1% of all income earners now pay nearly 40% of all income taxes collected by the Government.  There is a point at which the so-called rich would cease to have any incentive to earn above the highest tax threshold, particularly as the above exercise does not take into account state and local income taxes, Medicare, as well as a myriad of other "revenue enhancers."

From 1958 to 2008 the total tax revenue to the Federal Government has averaged between 16% and 20% of GDP.  (The highest level in history was in 1944 when it hit 20.9 %.) This despite the fact that the top marginal rate has varied between 90 and 35% over that period.  The historical lesson: there is simply no way the Government will change the way the people, particularly the wealthy, pay their taxes short of outright confiscation and permanent damage to the economy.

The left will argue that the wealthy should pay more even if it only makes a slight impact on the deficit.  Why, other than out of spite?  The only way to increase revenues to the Treasury, as has been proven by history, is to grow the economy, and to do that, the government cannot destroy the incentive of the producer class to do so.  That requires dramatically reducing spending, regulations and the size of government at all levels.

When Obama and the Democrats, in league with the Unions and the radical left, continue their mantra of the need to tax the rich and berating the so-called wealthy, it is not because their diatribes offer a viable solution to the country's fiscal woes or that they genuinely care about the citizenry, but because it serves their purpose to divide the people against each other and maintain their power base, as does their refusal to cut spending in order to buy votes.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/04/the_presidents_budget_address.html at April 13, 2011 - 07:19:15 AM CDT