Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Tag: Government (page 2 of 4)

Affordable Care Act & Scott Walker

Fact:  By 2014, all 50 states have to have their health care exchanges up and running.  If they don’t, the Federal Government will step in and take control.

Fact: By 1/1/2013, all 50 states have to have a plan in place on just how they’re going to create these exchanges.

Fact: Scott Walker doesn’t like Federal Government Control and yet, he is putting off beginning the work on the exchanges until after the November election.  He’s probably thinking that Romney will win and he’ll never have to put it in place.

Opinion: Scott Walker is a dofus who doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground.  It’s too bad the man kept his throne in the Wisconsin State House, because he’s going to screw us like he is the Marquis De Sade.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek (August 13 – 26, 2012),  “only 18 states had even started putting in place the …health benefit exchanges.”  That’s one eight, people.  One of those states is Wisconsin.  The article states: “The Republican governors of six states are simply refusing to create the exchanges…”  And, our Governor is one of them.

Apparently, Scott Walker wants to wait until the outcome of the November election (see article here) to act on creating an exchange.  He also ” turned down $38 million in federal money that could have gone to implementing the federal health care law in Wisconsin.”

Does he even have a clue about what setting up a health exchange will entail?  First, you need an interface that end users (that’s us) can interact with to pick out the insurance, actually, that would be second.  First, you need the list of insurance companies, plans and rates that will be sold.  Then, an end user interface.  Then, you need for this software, database, etc. to interact with Medicare and Medicaid.  You need an interface for the insurance companies.  You need an interface for the government employees that will have to assist people signing up for insurance.  You need all of this to speak to the Federal Government’s computers.

And, you need money to create it, run it and maintain it.  So you really shouldn’t turn down $38 million from the Federal Government earmarked to help you do just that.

You need Business Analysts who can talk with all the parties to see how this can be put together – that can’t be done in a day.

And, Walker thinks he can wait until after November to do it.

The man is doesn’t understand the value of making it easier for people to purchase insurance.  And, he doesn’t understand the value of getting this project off the ground.  He doesn’t see the big picture.

Our state is still losing jobs and Scott Walker wants to put this off as long as he can.  Let me explain the big picture:

Setting up a healthcare exchange requires (at the very least) the following:

1. Business Analysts

2. Project Managers

3. Quality Assurance Testers

4. Database Administrators

5. Data Analysts

6.  Web Designers

7. Network Engineers

8. Web Services Programmers

9. Computer Programmers

10. Managers

11. Administrative Assistants

12. Technical Writers

When your state leads the nation in job losses, a project like this can put a lot of people to work, which in turn creates demand in the economy.  Think about it, when one person is working their money (i.e., wages) spreads through their community.  They pay their rent or mortgage – rent is better, as the money goes to a landlord, who then spreads it out.  But, a mortgage payment means a bank has money to lend (in a very simplistic view).  They purchase gas at their local station.  They buy groceries at their local market.  They take their family out to dinner.  They purchase new clothes and, this is personal, they purchase new programming books.  (I’ve never started a new project without purchasing a book.)  $10 here, $20 over there and pretty soon demand is up again.

But, Scott Walker is sitting on his hands, ignoring the Federal Government Mandate and hoping it just goes away.  He has to have the plan in place by January 1,2013.  Walker’s hoping that 1/20/2013 will bring in a new President and he won’t have to follow the law.  Romney’s not going to win, our country can’t be that full of stupid people.  But, even if he does win, the Affordable Care Act won’t disappear that face and Scott Walker will be breaking the law.  Oh – one more little item – Walker proclaims that he doesn’t want Federal Government interference, but the Feds will take this over if he doesn’t comply.  Why would you want to give up control of something so momentousness?  Could it be that Scott Walker is out of his realm?  That he cannot get this job done, because he is an uneducated man who doesn’t know how to run a project?

Thanks, Governor Walker.  I cannot tell you how much I hang my head in shame that my fellow Wisconsinites voted for you not once, but twice.  God help us all.

 

The Abortion Lie

Let me start this by telling you about my neighbor.  My neighbor is a Republican and she’s on disability (which I think shouldn’t happen, but there it is).  She’s a good Christian woman, who suffered through an intolerable childhood and never married.  She worked, before her illness, in the Health Care field.  She offers advice, even when you don’t need it or want it.  My neighbor knows every thing that goes on in our neighborhood and I mean every thing.  I’ll be she’ll know about this post before I finish writing it and before I even post it.  Even when she was working, she knew every thing.

In the old days, we would call her – unkindly – the neighborhood gossip or busy buddy.  And, perhaps, that’s what she is.  But, she’s always kind, very giving and the kind of neighbor you can call when you need help.  For example, when we were having our biggest trouble with Oliver, she would take him every single day.  She helped train him and I think he’s more well-adjusted now than he would’ve been without her daily care.  Only her illness stopped her from continuing to watch him, but she’s never stopped loving him.

Over the weekend, she stopped with her little dog for a visit.  We had a nice time, even though I have no manners and forgot to offer her a drink or something.  Anyway, she told me that she was going to vote for Romney in the  Presidential election.  When I asked her why, since it is clear she doesn’t like Romney, her answer was abortion.  Republicans are against abortion.  She’s against abortion, so she’s going to vote for Romney.

And, that is why I’m writing this.  The anti-abortion stance in the Republican Party is a lie.  Mark my words:  There will NEVER be a Federal Anti-abortion – I mean make it back like it was – law EVER.  It doesn’t matter if the Republicans hold Congress, Senate and the White House.  It didn’t happen during Bush’s eight years (where they had all three for more than 4 years) and it will never happen.

Why?

Because abortion is an issue that keeps voters voting Republican.  A Federal Ban would mean that the voters would have to look for something else.  There are plenty of voters, like my neighbor, who is a one issue voters.  She doesn’t want abortion to be legal.  She doesn’t realize that the Republicans don’t really want to outlaw it because maybe she might start looking at their other issues.

So, if you’re a single issue voter and abortion is your issue and that’s why you’re voting for Romney – you might want to think again.  And, you might want to see what else Romney has in his bag of issues.

Tax Receipts By Source 1934 – 2011

I saw the below image on Facebook.  It was posted by a group called the Other 98%.  I wanted to see, before I shared it, if it was true.  So, I went looking for the data.  I found a spreadsheet on The White House U.S. Office of Management and Budget. I didn’t find any data to support the picture, but I did find something else just as interesting.

$0.22 for every dollar paid by the American Worker.

Sad Tax Data

In 1934, the tax receipts totaled (not including Social Security)  $784 million dollars – 53.57% was Individual Income Taxes and 46.43% was Corporate Income Tax.  In 2011, the tax receipts totaled (not including Social Security) $1,272,558 million – 85.77% was made up from Individual Income Tax and only 14.23% came from Corporations.

I don’t believe they’re paying their fair share, do you?

 

A Week Of Sanity

I have decided that it is time to start spreading the sanity in our political debates.  It is time we all become educated in the economy to learn why we shouldn’t fall for more of tax breaks for the “job creators”.

I’m starting with Robert Reich.  Mr. Reich has served three presidents: Ford, Carter and Clinton.  The man knows his stuff.  Click on the video link on the right or click here to see him debunk 6 economic myths.

Scott Walker’s Job Problem

According to a new Scott Walker Ad, he has created 33,000 jobs.  Boy, wouldn’t that be nice?  The fact is – he hasn’t.  Wisconsin still leads the US in job losses.  In fact, according to the BLS report, the state of Wisconsin is the ONLY state to show job losses over the past year.

Now, Politifact (a group with whom I normally agree) has rated a statement of Tom Barrett’s regarding the blame for the job losses as half true.  Barrett’s statement:

“Governor Walker has caused Wisconsin to lose more jobs than any other state in the country.”

PolitiFact says that, while Barrett’s numbers are correct – we have lost more jobs than any other state in the country – “there is no proof that the measures caused the job losses”.

That’s where I have a problem.  You see, 17,800 of the jobs lost were government jobs.  Walker’s policies and budget shredding caused the loss of more than half the jobs that were lost over the past year.  How can you say he isn’t to blame?

And, a political point I would like to add:  You can’t take the credit, if you’re going to sideswipe the blame.  In other words, while the rest of the country has seen an economic improvement, our state has not.  I don’t blame Walker for the economic downturn.  That would be like blaming President Obama for the economic downturn that happened before he came on board.  It is foolish.  However; while 49 states have seen their job numbers go up, our state has seen job losses – in the year that Walker has been in charge.  Sorry, dude, you have to shoulder the blame.

Scott Walker has spent more time making his rich backers happy. He’s been kissing the Koch brothers’ collective rears and he hasn’t been supporting the people of the great state of Wisconsin.  He took away collective bargaining rights for public employees and he has caused job losses of government employees.  We lost 6,100 private sector jobs.

Scott Walker and his policies are bad for Wisconsin.  Slashing budgets during a recession just makes the recession worst.  On June 5, we need to vote the boy out and put in a man who can get the job done.

U.S. Constitution and the Individual Mandate…

Oh, come on, the Republicans are getting a bit ridiculous!

I’m reading this story on Huffington Post about the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the Individual Mandate in the Health care law.  The article supports the notion that there are a lot of things the government mandates that everyone must do.  The example used is Medicare.  If you work, you pay into Medicare – you have no choice.

But, here’s what really got to me:  Mark Hayes – “former chief health counsel for the Republican staff of the Senate Finance Committee” states:

“Congress used more clearly defined constitutional powers when it created Medicare. “The power to tax and the power to spend…” “‘Here, with the individual mandate, it’s a different question – regulating interstate commerce. This is a novel question from a legal standpoint.'”

How is that novel?  Article I Section 8 Clause 3 states:

“To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;”

Novel question? Um, I don’t think so. The word Novel, when used as an adjective and not as a noun means:

  1. new and not resembling something formerly known or used
  2. original or striking especially in conception or style

Um, if the Commerce Clause has existed in the Constitution since the beginning, how is Congress being able to use it now a “Novel” question?

I’m just wondering.

Gay Marriage Rights…

‎”Marriage is a tax shelter and a smart way for a couple to combine assets. Love is the thing that’s sacrosanct. The sooner we understand the difference, the sooner we’ll understand why Kim Kardashian’s wedding was never holy, and why countless gay couples around the United States who love each other despite marriage bans are truly righteous.” – Cord Jefferson

Republican Jobs Plan

Is it me?  Because I just don’t get it.  I don’t understand how the Republicans can keep coming back to the same old / same old and think that it will work.  Yes, Ronald Reagan cut taxes in 1981, but he raised government spending (and I’m really simplifying because monetary policy had a lot to do with the recovery).  The idea that the country can get our citizens back to work via lower tax rates and the reduction of government regulations is a one that is not based on any facts.

Here’s what drives companies to hire people – it’s simple, but true:  DEMAND.  That’s it, demand for a company’s good has to be high enough for the company to hire more people.  PERIOD.  If we’re not out purchasing Ding Dongs, the Ding Dong factory up the road is not going to hire more people.  It doesn’t matter how low a company’s taxes go, they’re NOT going to hire anyone they don’t actually need.

I don’t understand why it is that the Republicans in the Senate (led by John McCain) and the majority of the Republican Candidates for President do not understand the basics of economics.  And, actually, I do understand why Michele Bachmann doesn’t – the woman doesn’t know that Abraham Lincoln wasn’t a founding father and that Elvis is dead.  I understand why Rick Perry doesn’t get it – he’s a politician. But, Mitt Romney and Herman Cain are businessmen – Romney hasn’t been one for quite a while, but Cain did an impressive job turning around the Godfather’s Pizza business.

How can either one of them say, in all honesty, that they would hire someone they don’t need in a company just because taxes are low?

Why would anyone?

The truth is that consumers are tapped out.  I’m tapped out, you’re tapped out.  We’ve pretty much purchased everything we wanted in the last, say, twenty years.  I have a house.  I purchased two cars – one new, one used – within the past two years.  Other than buying some Christmas presents and a new cell phone, quite honestly, I’m done.  Finished.  There’s no more spending coming from my house.  It is time – and this is probably anti-Patriotic of me – to do some saving.

There’s a lot of people out there who are just like me.

So, how does the economy improve?

By the government spending, spending and spending some more.  I don’t like the concept, I don’t like the idea, but that’s what has to happen.  We can’t lay off 15,000 government workers in one state and expect that state’s economy to make any improvements.

We have been neglecting our infrastructure in this country for years.  Now is the time to fix the bridges, the roadways, the levees, our schools and whatever else needs fixing.  Now is the time for the government to spend.

There’s a balance that has to be met.  We can’t have too much government money pumped into the economy or it will push out private investment.  We need to find that balance.

But, we are not going to improve the economy by cutting more taxes and reducing even more regulations.  The Republicans need to start singing a new tune, because the economy can’t march to the one they’ve been singing.

Warren Buffet’s Tax Rate…

Warren Buffet released his 2010 taxes for Congress’s review.  He wanted to prove his point that the rich do not pay their fair share in taxes and that they can afford to pay more.  After comparing his tax return to my tax return, I so agree with him.  I earned .10% of what Mr. Buffet earned last year.  That means, for those of you who are math challenged, he earned 1,000 times as much as I did.

Now, if all is fair, then he should’ve paid 1,000 times more than I did in taxes.

Except, he didn’t.  Everything being equal, he should’ve paid $8 million in taxes.  He didn’t, he paid just under $7 million.  I can hear the argument now, that’s more than you paid.  If you don’t like it, why don’t you go get rich.  (Usually, these arguments come from people who make half as much as I do.)

How can a man who make 1,000 times more than me pay a tax rate that is only 2% higher than mine?  How is that fair?

Well, I have to go to work, where 1/3 of my paycheck goes to taxes and insurance before I even come home.

373 – 1

373 – 1 => that’s the difference between your salary and the salary of the guy on top.  For every dollar you earn, a CEO is earning 373 dollars.  And, what do you get for that huge difference?

You get a boss who thinks you’re paid too much.

You get a boss who wants to raise profit margins and he does this by laying off your co-workers or even you.

You get a boss who is more than willing to move a factory overseas to save money, so he can make even more.

You get bad health insurance – if you have any health insurance at all.

You get to save for your own retirement out of the little bit of money that you have – and you get politicians that want to take away your safety net.

You get the feeling that you are expendable.

We could blame the government for our nation’s economic woes.  However; it isn’t entirely the government’s fault.  Greed is good, so the saying goes.  Except, greed is only good for those on top and it harms those of us on the bottom rung (and, even those of us a couple of rungs higher).

Perhaps, the government should take some, but not all, the blame.  It was the government that removed the financial regulations that had prevented a financial collapse for sixty years.  The free market system would work if only greed and the ever desire for higher and higher profit margins wasn’t part of the deal.  When men (and women) only concern themselves with profit and not sound business decisions, economic collapse ensues.

I’m not entirely sure what can completely fix our economy, but I can tell you what won’t and what hasn’t.  Lowering taxes even farther and ending financial (and other business) regulations are not going to put this great nation back on solid financial footing.  We need to put the Glass-Seagull act back into place to protect our financial markets.  And, we need to raise taxes on the upper classes.  The top limit needs to be moved back to 39%.

Ronald Reagan was correct to lower taxes in the eighties.  It was a good thing and it started economy recovery.  However; too much of a good thing can do us harm.  Our current economic status is proving just that.

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