Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Striking a Blow....

Greetings good citizen,

My attention isn’t attracted to the same things that rivet ‘normal people’ to their preferred news source. I can only begin to guess how many of you are ‘genuinely interested’ in the behind closed doors Kabuki Dance that produced ‘mandated Health Care’ without the advantages of a ‘single payer’ system.

As residents of my State will tell you, this isn’t Obama Care, it’s Romney Care! Yup, Mitt did it first…and being a Republican, he really did it all right! If you should find yourself on the ‘free’ version of Romney Care, good luck finding a care provider! (Cue ‘Mission Impossible’ theme.)

Naturally, this is not what the media is telling us. Um, nope, for some bizarre reason the MSM thinks that the largest economy in the world being dead last (and basically failing again) to implement ‘universal healthcare’ is something worthy of a page in the History Books.

We can only wonder if ‘NOT universal healthcare’ will ultimately be blamed for the collapse of our civilization?

But enough quibbling, let us proceed with our examination of the great Democratic attack on Wealth Inequality!

In Health Care Bill, Obama Attacks Wealth Inequality
Published: March 23, 2010

For all the political and economic uncertainties about health reform, at least one thing seems clear: The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago. [Yes, Mr. Leonhardt is not the first to equate the passage of this decidedly capitalist solution to the Reagan ‘privatization’ scheme as the ‘first step’ towards the unwinding of the Reagan Revolution, better known as ‘Morning in America’.]

Over most of that period, government policy and market forces have been moving in the same direction, both increasing inequality. The pretax incomes of the wealthy have soared since the late 1970s, while their tax rates have fallen more than rates for the middle class and poor.

Nearly every major aspect of the health bill pushes in the other direction. This fact helps explain why Mr. Obama was willing to spend so much political capital on the issue, even though it did not appear to be his top priority as a presidential candidate. Beyond the health reform’s effect on the medical system, it is the centerpiece of his deliberate effort to end what historians have called the age of Reagan. [Um, this is rich! There isn’t a need to bring about an ‘end’ to the ‘age of Reagan’ as it is collapsing all by itself! If this is the ‘bone’ Barack’s ‘benefactors’ have provided him to throw to us it’s a mighty meager offering.]

Speaking to an ebullient audience of Democratic legislators and White House aides at the bill-signing ceremony on Tuesday, Mr. Obama claimed that health reform would “mark a new season in America.” He added, “We have now just enshrined, as soon as I sign this bill, the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care.” [Sadly good citizen, under capitalism, if your paycheck (or your health care coverage) doesn’t ‘cover’ you, it’s not their problem, its yours! This is going to turn into a HUGE ‘fuck you’ from our corporate overlords!]

The bill is the most sweeping piece of federal legislation since Medicare was passed in 1965. It aims to smooth out one of the roughest edges in American society — the inability of many people to afford medical care after they lose a job or get sick. And it would do so in large measure by taxing the rich. [We can only wonder what this means considering most of the ‘truly wealthy’ have their money squirreled away in off-shore ‘tax havens’. Will the ‘merely well-off’ have to pick up the slack?]

A big chunk of the money to pay for the bill comes from lifting payroll taxes on households making more than $250,000. On average, the annual tax bill for households making more than $1 million a year will rise by $46,000 in 2013, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research group. Another major piece of financing would cut Medicare subsidies for private insurers, ultimately affecting their executives and shareholders. [I’d like to digress for a moment on a topic that really frosts my backside and that is the disturbing shift from using the word ‘holder’ in place of the word ‘owner’. When we’re standing in the smoking ruins of our civilization, will these retards really try to claim they were just ‘holding’ the wealth of the nation?]

The benefits, meanwhile, flow mostly to households making less than four times the poverty level — $88,200 for a family of four people. Those without insurance in this group will become eligible to receive subsidies or to join Medicaid. (Many of the poor are already covered by Medicaid.) Insurance costs are also likely to drop for higher-income workers at small companies. [Left to our imaginations is whether or not any of those ‘savings’ find their way into the employee’s pocket, because none of the savings realized by higher deductibles and co-pays were ‘shared’ with the people paying half of the cost.]

Finally, the bill will also reduce a different kind of inequality. In the broadest sense, insurance is meant to spread the costs of an individual’s misfortune — illness, death, fire, flood — across society. Since the late 1970s, though, the share of Americans with health insurance has shrunk. [Um, the number of working American’s has also remained ‘static’.] As a result, the gap between the economic well-being of the sick and the healthy has been growing, at virtually every level of the income distribution.

The health reform bill will reverse that trend. By 2019, 95 percent of people are projected to be covered, up from 85 percent today (and about 90 percent in the late 1970s). Even affluent families ineligible for subsidies will benefit if they lose their insurance, by being able to buy a plan that can no longer charge more for pre-existing conditions. In effect, healthy families will be picking up most of the bill — and their insurance will be somewhat more expensive than it otherwise would have been. [Um, 2019! That’s nine years from now, WTF! And that 85% figure looks highly suspect as well, like there’s a ‘qualifier’ in there somewhere. Something along the lines of 40% of the workforce DOESN’T work full time…making that 135 plus million figure ‘highly suspect’. Um, most part time employers don’t offer health insurance and there’s no mention as to whether or not that ‘loophole’ has been closed. This also makes the cited current figure of 85% ‘highly suspect’.]

Much about health reform remains unknown. [How frightening is THAT?] Maybe it will deliver Congress to the Republicans this fall, or maybe it will help the Democrats keep power. Maybe the bill’s attempts to hold down the recent growth of medical costs will prove a big success, or maybe the results will be modest and inadequate. But the ways in which the bill attacks the inequality of the Reagan era — whether you love them or hate them — will probably be around for a long time. [Um, I’m still think it will result in a big FU for the average person…I was tempted to say worker but they’re getting mighty rare; and while your attention is on this ‘bullshit’, they ain’t doing nothing about that! (And they’re hoping you won’t notice.)]

“Legislative majorities come and go,” David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, lamented on Sunday. “This health care bill is forever.” [Makes it sound that much more ominous, doesn’t it?]

Since Mr. Obama began his presidential campaign in 2007, he has had a complicated relationship with the Reagan legacy. He has been more willing than many other Democrats to praise President Reagan. “Reagan’s central insight — that the liberal welfare state had grown complacent and overly bureaucratic,” Mr. Obama wrote in his second book, “contained a good deal of truth.” Most notably, he praised Mr. Reagan as a president who “changed the trajectory of America.” [Can’t argue with that, Reagan grabbed the yoke of national aircraft and pushed forward for all he was worth, pointing us straight towards the ground! Is anyone else disturbed to see Barry ‘praising’ this Republican PR construct? I lived through the Reagan years and all I can remember of those times were endless carnage, there’s nothing to praise!]

But Mr. Obama also argued that the Reagan administration had gone too far, and that if elected, he would try to put the country on a new trajectory. “The project of the next president,” he said in an interview during the campaign, “is figuring out how you create bottom-up economic growth, as opposed to the trickle-down economic growth.” [Sadly, this is impossible while the status quo remains intact. Ironically, Barry has ‘the mandate’ to destroy the status quo but he lacks the will to do the job as he tries to navigate a mythical ‘middle ground’.]

Since 1980, median real household income has risen less than 15 percent. The only period of strong middle-class income growth during this time came in the mid- and late 1990s, which by coincidence was also the one time when taxes on the affluent were rising. [Hard to say if that feat can be duplicated considering our legislators slept while our nation became a hollowed out shell. Too late to claw back what never should have been let go in the first place.]

For most of the last three decades, tax rates for the wealthy have been falling, while their pretax pay has been rising rapidly. Real incomes at the 99.99th percentile have jumped more than 300 percent since 1980. At the 99th percentile — about $300,000 today — real pay has roughly doubled.

The laissez-faire revolution that Mr. Reagan started did not cause these trends. But its policies — tax cuts, light regulation, a patchwork safety net — have contributed to them.

Health reform hardly solves all of the American economy’s problems. Economic growth over the last decade was slower than in any decade since World War II. The tax cuts of the last 30 years, the two current wars, the Great Recession, the stimulus program and the looming retirement of the baby boomers have created huge deficits. Educational gains have slowed, and the planet is getting hotter. [So go ahead and ‘jump’ if you want to!]

Above all, the central question that both the Reagan and Obama administrations have tried to answer — what is the proper balance between the market and the government? — remains unresolved. But the bill signed on Tuesday certainly shifts our place on that spectrum.

Before he became Mr. Obama’s top economic adviser, Lawrence Summers told me a story about helping his daughter study for her Advanced Placement exam in American history. While doing so, Mr. Summers realized that the federal government had not passed major social legislation in decades. There was the frenzy of the New Deal, followed by the G.I. Bill, the Interstate Highway System, civil rights and Medicare — and then nothing worth its own section in the history books.

Now there is. [?]

I suspect that if there are history books in our future that this ‘event’ will become an important, even ‘pivotal’ chapter…just not in a good way.

This is NOT health care reform, not by any stretch of the imagination. As it has been stated clearly in other parts of the media, this legislation really represents a major boon to the Health Insurance industry by requiring all adults to ‘pay in’ with no guarantee of coverage.

As I stated earlier, we have had Romneycare here in Massachusetts for three years now and the horror stories would curl your hair!

There’s a big difference between ‘looks good’ and is good. But I belabor the obvious as we have all been the ‘victims’ of empty capitalist promises our entire lives.

You know like I know that all is not as it appears and certain ‘exclusions’ apply.

So was history made?

Time will tell.

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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