The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘tax reform

Remember the movie, UP? In it there was a particularly eloquent dog who could carry on conversations courtesy of his Up -- Squirrel“magic collar”. He could have the most lucid conversations until he saw a squirrel — at which time, after screeching “SQUIRREL!” his attention was completely lost.

This past week while the media and the opportunistic politicians were squealing “Squirrel!” over Ebola and who voted for whom in the 2012 Presidential election, there were plenty of attention-worthy issues slipping by totally unnoticed. So I thought I would devote today’s post to a couple of “desquirrelification” issues that have long-term consequences.

Medicare

Here’s an issue I bet you didn’t see this past week and you‘ll never see in a political ad because of the pornographic word that is “Obamacare”. There will be no increase in the Medicare Part B premium or deductible in 2015. A radical departure from 2000 through 2008 when the Medicare premium shot up 112 percent — jumping from $45.50 to $96.40.

The main reason, and yes, there are others, but the main reason premium growth has shown such a dramatic decline is the Affordable Care Act. Over the past four years, Medicare spending per capita has averaged only 0.8% a year — compared to an average growth rate of 6.3% a year from 2000 to 2008.

The ACA has also dramatically affected senior care with free preventative service such as mammograms and colonoscopies. In 2013 alone, Thirty-seven million seniors received free preventative services.

Add to that the 8.3 million seniors who have saved more than $12 Billion on their prescription drugs with an average savings of $1,443 per senior.

Here’s the real hidden acorn of truth that would propel the little tree rodents into onrushing traffic in a mad, suicidal squirrel rage: Since the enactment of the ACA, the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund has been extended by 13 years! The Medicare Trustees now project the Trust Fund will remain solvent through 2030.

A particularly Republican squirrel...

A particularly Republican squirrel…

In the alternative fact-free universe inhabited by Faux News and talk radio devotees, they will never hear about the Medicare premiums or the fact that the number of companies competing to offer policies under the ACA will increase by 25 percent in 2015. They will never hear about it because the narrative has been and continues to be, the ACA is killing competition, but the truth is — competition is increasing.

In this alternative universe devoid of enlightenment, few, if any conservatives realize the premiums under the ACA are lower-than-expected, and that the ACA’s costs are also lower-than-expected — $104 Billion lower to be exact.

Obamacare’s competitive insurance marketplaces are actually doing what they promised to do: Forcing insurers to compete for customers by cutting costs. The Congressional Budge Office explains the cheaper-than-expected premiums because of:

[L]ower payment rates for providers, narrower networks of providers, and tighter management of their subscribers’ use of health care than employment-based plans do.

That is an extraordinary sentence. Obamacare, a government program, is forcing insurers to run leaner and more cost-effective programs than the private sector, employer-based programs. Simply put: The government is more cost-effective than the private sector. Somewhere there is a squirrel that looks a lot like Paul Ryan whose little Ayn Randian head is exploding.

Tax Reform

Speaking of Paul Ryan and his innate squirrelliness, he has a new idea for the math associated with reviewing budgets. Here’s the idea: Ryan wants the CBO to always assume that tax cuts will pay for themselves. You read that sentence right — Paul Ryan wants to cook into the budget review process the overarching principle that tax cuts will pay for themselves.

That has NEVER happened — NEVER. It didn’t happen during Reagan’s term when he sold it to the country through Tax Cuts and Wars are one half public debt by 2019voodoo economics. It didn’t happen during Dubya’s term when the Heritage Foundation proclaimed that the Bush tax cuts would “pay off the national debt.” In fact, according to the CBO, the Bush tax cuts and his credit card wars of choice will account for one-half of all the public debt by 2019.

Now Paul Ryan is a smart guy — why on earth would he scurry into this squirrel’s nest? Simple, this type of dynamic scoring would only be able to look at how much a bill cost in total, and not provision-by-provision. This type of dynamic scoring is also very complicated especially when you start out with the loblolly, upside-down, backassed assumption that tax cuts pay for themselves.

So why is Ryan pursuing this change — it is a way to hide a multitude of corporate greed, tax loopholes, and corporate welfare while getting an unrealistic favorable political talking point. Better said: It is a way to hide from view the true impact of tax cuts and conversely force cuts in the social safety net while acquiring tongue splinters from performing fellatio on corporate boards. A remarkable feat even if the squirrelly fellow does P90X.

There are many other examples, but there just isn’t enough room or time and I’m having trouble keeping my attention focused. Squirrel!

So enjoy your Tuesday and feel free to take this conversation in any direction you may desire.

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Good afternoon Widdershins.  I hope you are pleasantly wiling away your Friday lost in the thoughts of a glorious weekend.

Before I impart the next paragraph, I want you to go outside and run a six-minute mile or something like that because the following words need to be read with a certain breathless abandon.  A breathlessness that comes with great anticipation and an endorphin inspired giddiness.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Welcome back.  Now that you have achieved the required breathlessness:

Tyranny!  Imperial Presidency!  Lawlessness!  Arrogance!  Conceit!  Magisterial power!  Effectively having a monarch!  Constitutional tipping point!  Trampling freedom!  President is not king!  Uber-presidency!  Alarming!

While still denying he's Reince Priebus in drag, Pee Wee has accepted the role as RNC spokesperson...

While still denying he’s Reince Priebus in drag, Pee Wee has accepted the role as RNC spokesperson…

The genesis of these accusations were the grievous executive orders of:  (1) The President delaying portions of Obamacare which Congress has voted almost fifty times to repeal; and (2) The President’s refusal to deport the American-born children of undocumented aliens.

This litany of indictments was leveled this week during a hearing before Darrel Issa’s Committee on Feces Throwing and Other Primate Practices.  The subject du jour was the advisability of House Republicans suing the President for his abusive issuance of the aforementioned executive orders.  (An amusing aside, it just so happened the primary witness encouraging the Republicans to sue unfortunately had just penned an article for the conservative rag Daily Caller concluding, “Congress can’t possibly sue the President.”)

For those thinking about the moral equivalency of what the Democrats were doing while Dubya was President, in all fairness, they too considered suing the President.  You see during Dubya’s presidency, the Democrats were worried about such things as torture, Guantanamo Bay, military tribunals, lack of military equipment, baseless intelligence claims, fighting two wars on the cheap, and warrantless wiretapping.  To counter those concerns, the Republicans proudly proclaimed, “Democrats were criminalizing differences of political opinion.”

The only logical connection I can draw from the two situations would be if the Obama undeported children were in the throes of the “terrible twos” and if so, maybe torture might indeed be appropriate.

Elephant on a StoolWhat is significant and illustrative about this situation:  When will Democrats ever learn they aren’t playing by some “Marcus of Queensbury-Miss Francis’ Playschool-Where’s Waldo” set of rules?  Time and again Democrats sit idly by while outrageous, often scurrilous, misrepresentations of both fact and impact are used against them with impunity.  I have a “not so prescient” bulletin for Democrats of whatever stripe or ilk:

It is going to happen again.

For instance, remember when Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers talked about “Bette in Spokane” and her insurance travails during the response to the State of the Union.  Reporters tracked down the real “Bette in Spokane” and came to find Obamacare not only saved Bette money, it provided her with far superior coverage.

Or if you are in Louisiana or any number of other Senate-contested states, you have probably seen ads being run by the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity.  These ads don’t even go to the trouble of trying to look for real Americans, they just use paid actors reading a script about the horrors of Obamacare.  Americans for Prosperity claim these fictitious testimonials are “emblematic” — not real mind you, but emblematic of their interpretation of what the law could possibly do.

To tie this Obamacare campaign package in a nice bundle, enter Eric Cantor touting an alternative to Obamacare.  In both 2010 and 2012, there was no replacement in “repeal and replace” — so in order to counter that argument Cantor is floating an alternative.  What Cantor doesn’t mention is that this alternative will cut about 1 million middle-class taxpayers from employer sponsored health plans, push upwards of a million people into Medicaid, increase the number of uninsured by 500,000, and increase the deficit by $83 Billion.  Who cares?  It is a political slogan to round out the campaign.

Or take the defense cuts proposed this week by Secretary Hagel now that the Bush Wars are coming to a close.  SequestrationThe Republicans sprang like a meth-addled cobra.  What they conveniently neglected to say was the administration was in fact rescuing the military from the Republican sequestration cuts with a proposed funding increase.

Or take the immigration proposal by the House Republicans.  It is a plan in name only with a grand total of nineteen supporters out of 232 Republican House members.

The list goes on and on.  The Democrats are once again bringing a slingshot to a thermonuclear fight.  They are again asleep at the electoral switch.

Let's talkRemember the “death tax”?  To date there has been not one example of a modern-day family farm being sold to meet taxes.  Remember the “death panels”?  They never existed.  But both concepts are now ear-worms of modern political legend — both suicidally toxic because they were left unanswered.

It’s going to happen again.  If congressional Democrats continue to play this “Where’s Waldo” game for the rest of 2014, I know one thing for sure — he won’t be in Congress.

This is an open thread.


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Kellyanne Conway’s new job

Take the kids to work? NO!

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
2.2 years to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

B-I-N-G-O!

Only the *best* politicans bought by the NRA

Marching for their lives

Perfect Picture

Rudy: oh shit the pee tape IS real!

Need Reminders?

Never too early to shop for Christmas

“Look this way”

Manafort’s Jail Photo

Indeed who?

Trump spam

IOW Dumb = Happy?

Simply Put

Ironic

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