With so many of these green energy boondoggles it looks like this – Obama hands over tax-dollars to a fund raiser who is an owner in a junk “green energy company”. Said owners pay themselves in a big way, give big money to Democrats and go out of business.
As of last November (2012) there were 50 such companies. Obama Administration emails released show how green energy money was steered to Obama cronies with sham, junk bond companies.
Christine Lakatos at Green Corruption:
A jaw-dropping revelation came to light in December 2011 by the Trib Total Media, yet it was ignored by the media and even missed by those of us watching the solar world unfold.
|© SunTech via Treehugger.com|
China’s major solar panel companies — whose low-cost products led some American factories to close, helped create the Solyndra controversy and spawned talk of a trade war — were bankrolled in the United States by the world’s largest investment banks.
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, USB Investment Bank and others raised $6.5 billion for seven young Chinese solar panel makers in the mid-2000s by underwriting their securities on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, a Tribune-Review investigation has found.
The Trib goes on, “It’s not clear how the idea of using offshore tax havens to get listed on U.S. exchanges developed. But the Trib learned through SEC reports how Chinese solar companies grabbed onto the idea.” The first was Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd., now the world’s largest solar company. It began operating as a Chinese company in May 2002, and by 2004 reported sales of $85.3 million…”
However, Bloomberg News reported last week, “Suntech Power Holdings Co. (STP) [was] forced to put its Chinese solar unit into bankruptcy last month, “becoming the latest casualty of a painful slump in the global solar industry,” wrote Townhall.com. But Bloomberg noted that Suntech “began that slide into insolvency in 2009 when customers linked to the founder couldn’t pay their bills and the company booked the sales as revenue anyway, regulatory filings show.”
What most don’t know is that Suntech is a tiny fraction of “Obamanomics Outsourced,” whereas his administration is responsible for steering billions in stimulus funds (and other “green” money) to foreign companies and shipping green jobs overseas. This is clearly a broken 2008 energy campaign promise, but worse, a violation on how the 2009 trillion-dollar stimulus package was sold –– to create jobs and grow the economy here in America.
Read more HERE.
Most charities help the wounded, the ill and/or the poor. Obama constantly claims that Republicans want to balance the budget on the backs of the poor and the old, but Obamacare and his budget do exactly that. Democrats often blame Republicans for exactly what it is they are doing. Obamacare’s transfer of $714 Billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare bureaucrats has caused premiums for the elderly to rise.
President Obama’s long-awaited budget proposal, to be released today, does not come right out and say that it intends to reduce contributions to charity—but that is almost certainly what would happen were it to become law. Here’s why. The White House has effectively doubled down on a tax change it has been pushing for four years that would limit the value of the charitable tax deduction. The Administration has, since 2009, pushed unsuccessfully to allow only 28 cents on a dollar donated to charity to be deducted—even though the top tax rate for the wealthy donors who make most use of the deduction has been 35 percent. In the budget released today, the President again proposes to cap the charitable deduction at 28 percent—despite the fact that the top rate on the highest earners has increased to 39.6 percent. Think of it this way: the White House proposal would raise the cost of giving to charity from 60 cents per dollar to 72 cents per dollar. That’s a 20 percent increase in what can be called the “charity tax.”
When one taxes something more, of course, one gets less of it—and it’s likely that the current $168 billion in itemized charitable giving would decline. Indeed, Indiana University’s Center for Philanthropy has previously estimated that capping the charitable tax deduction’s value at 28 percent—even when the top income tax rate was 35 percent—would lower giving by 1.3 percent, or some $2.18 billion in 2010. The new proposal would likely take an even bigger bite from giving. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that the reduction in giving could be as high as $9 billion a year.
Of course “cuts” doesn’t tell the whole story. That money, $714 billion, was not returned to the taxpayer, nor was that money used to pay the debt, nor was it returned to those who have paid into medicare for decades. Instead, that money was robbed from those who paid medicare premiums. The Democratic Party leadership along with President Obama used that money to pay Obamacare bureaucrats and write the reams of regulations associated with it.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Retired as a city worker, Sheila Pugach lives in a modest home on a quiet street in Albuquerque, N.M., and drives an 18-year-old Subaru.
Pugach doesn’t see herself as upper-income by any stretch, but President Barack Obama’s budget would raise her Medicare premiums and those of other comfortably retired seniors, adding to a surcharge that already costs some 2 million beneficiaries hundreds of dollars a year each.
More importantly, due to the creeping effects of inflation, 20 million Medicare beneficiaries would end up paying higher “income related” premiums for their outpatient and prescription coverage over time.
Administration officials say Obama’s proposal will help improve the financial stability of Medicare by reducing taxpayer subsidies for retirees who can afford to pay a bigger share of costs. Congressional Republicans agree with the president on this one, making it highly likely the idea will become law if there’s a budget deal this year.
But the way Pugach sees it, she’s being penalized for prudence, dinged for saving diligently.
It was the government, she says, that pushed her into a higher income bracket where she’d have to pay additional Medicare premiums.
IRS rules require people age 70-and-a-half and older to make regular minimum withdrawals from tax-deferred retirement nest eggs like 401(k)s. That was enough to nudge her over Medicare’s line.
“We were good soldiers when we were young,” said Pugach, who worked as a computer systems analyst. “I was afraid of not having money for retirement and I put in as much as I could. The consequence is now I have to pay about $500 a year more in Medicare premiums.”
By Chuck Norton
The IRS estimates that the cheapest Obamacare approved health plan available in 2016 (to avoid the penalty) will cost $20,000.
In bold face below is the administration’s response to this study and what they say is just plain dishonest. Why?
The Obama Administration is trying to confuse people on cost vs price. A small percentage of Americans will have their skyrocketing health insurance premiums partially subsidized by the government, but while that may bring down the price of the premium, the actual cost of the premiums and the rising cost of the claims due to the taxes and regulations still skyrockets.
In this case price does not equal cost. For example: If your son goes to the store to buy a Hot Wheels car that costs $3.00 and your son only has $2.00, if you give him the extra dollar to pay for it, the cost of the toy car is still $3.00.
The idea of the subsidy making insurance affordable is also misleading because those who will be able to qualify to get help paying their premiums, will still not be able to afford their portion of the insurance premium because the cost of the insurance will be so high – subsidized or not.
This very writer’s employer subsidized health insurance premium went from about $30.00 a month to $267.00 and I make too much money to qualify for a subsidy. The poor simply cannot afford to pay it.
The other misleading statement from the Obama Administration is that some people can go on the state insurance exchange and get the state exchange to pay for part of their insurance premium. Setting aside the cost does not equal price fact we explained above, many states are not participating in the exchange. Why? Because after the first three years of Obamacare the states have to pay the subsidized portion of the rising premiums themselves which state after state has made very clear will bankrupt them (assuming that the poor would have the money to sign up and pay for their part of the estimated $20,000 per year premium).
Medical claims costs — the biggest driver of health insurance premiums — will jump an average 32 percent for Americans’ individual policies under President Obama’s overhaul, according to a study by the nation’s leading group of financial risk analysts.
The report could turn into a big headache for the Obama administration at a time when many parts of the country remain skeptical about the Affordable Care Act. The estimates were recently released by the Society of Actuaries to its members.
While some states will see medical claims costs per person decline, the report concluded the overwhelming majority will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets, where people purchase coverage directly from insurers.
The disparities are striking. By 2017, the estimated increase would be 62 percent for California, about 80 percent for Ohio, more than 20 percent for Florida and 67 percent for Maryland. Much of the reason for the higher claims costs is that sicker people are expected to join the pool, the report said.
The report did not make similar estimates for employer plans, the mainstay for workers and their families. That’s because the primary impact of Obama’s law is on people who don’t have coverage through their jobs.
The administration questions the design of the study, saying it focused only on one piece of the puzzle and ignored cost relief strategies in the law such as tax credits to help people afford premiums and special payments to insurers who attract an outsize share of the sick. The study also doesn’t take into account the potential price-cutting effect of competition in new state insurance markets that will go live on Oct. 1, administration officials said.
“It’s misleading to look at only some of the provisions of the law because, taken together, the law will reduce costs,” said Health and Human Services spokeswoman Erin Shields Britt.
But a prominent national expert, recently retired Medicare chief actuary Rick Foster, said the report does “a credible job” of estimating potential enrollment and costs under the law, “without trying to tilt the answers in any particular direction.”
Those who are regular readers of Political Arena are not surprised by this as this writer has penned over a dozen articles on this very subject.
The piece below is certainly written with a partisan attitude, but in this case the facts justify the arguments within the article. Multiple analysis from the New York Times, Dr. Thomas Sowell, The Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily and many others have come to this same conclusion as the evidence is simply overwhelming.
UPDATE – More from IBD:
A new study from the widely respected National Bureau of Economic Research released this week has confirmed beyond question that the left’s race-baiting attacks on the housing market (the Community Reinvestment Act–enacted under Carter, made shockingly more aggressive under Clinton) is directly responsible for imploding the housing market and destroying the economy.
The study painstakingly sorted through failed home loans that caused the housing market collapse and identified an overwhelming connection between them and CRA mortgages.
Again, let’s review:
-President Bush went to Congress repeatedly for years warning them that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were going to destroy the economy (17 times in 2008 alone). Democrats continuously ignored him, shut down his proposals along party lines and continued raiding the institutions for campaign contributions on their way down.
-John McCain also co-sponsored urgently critical reforms that would have prevented the housing market collapse, but Democrats shut that down as well, along party lines, and even openly ridiculed anyone who suggested reforms were necessary…to protect their taxpayer-funded campaign contributions as the economy raced uncontrollably toward the cliff.
-No one was making bad loans to unqualified people until Democrats came along and threatened to drag banks into court and have them fined and branded as racists if they didn’t go along with the left’s Affirmative Action lending policies…all while federally insuring their losses. Even the New York Times warned in the late 1990s that Democrats continuing to force banks into lowering their standards would lead to this exact catastrophe.
-Obama himself is even on the record personally helping sue one lender (Citibank) into lowering its lending standards to include people from extremely poor and unstable areas, which even one of the left’s favorite blatantly partisan “fact-checkers,” Snopes, admits (while pretending to ‘set the record straight’).
-Even The New York Times admitted that there is “little evidence” of any connection between the “Republican” deregulation measures Obama blames, like the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (signed into law by a Democrat), and the collapse of the housing market.
[Political Arena Editor’s Note: The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act passed almost unanimously]
If the official inflation rate is next to zero, how come prices are going up so much?
Sarah Palin was blasted by reporters and the Wall Street Journal in 2010 for pointing this out and explaining how food and fuel prices would soon skyrocket.
As this very writer explained in 2010. under Clinton the Consumer Price Index was changed so that government would never have to face the “misery index” and a proper measure of inflation again. They removed “Food & Fuel” from the index, you know, because nobody ever buys that stuff anyways, and they weighted the formula towards housing….. that’s right folks, housing.
When the economy turns south or hits a bump new housing starts talk and housing prices fall, thus showing negative inflation. So when the economy is in trouble and inflation is going up, the government reads it as zero inflation. If we still measured inflation like we used to it would be about 9.3% every year for three years. Of course, every shopper knows this as they see the prices for themselves.
A year later, investment guru Jim Rodgers weighed in, confirming the wisdom of Sarah Palin and this very writer:
U.S. government inflation data is “a sham” and is causing the Federal Reserve to vastly understate price pressures in the economy, influential U.S. investor Jim Rogers said on Tuesday.
The U.S. central bank uses inflation data that relies too heavily on housing prices, Rogers told the Reuters 2011 Investment Outlook Summit, and he criticized the Fed’s $600 billion bond-buying program.
“Everybody in this room knows prices are going up for everything,” Rogers told the Reuters Summit.
Price hikes for a particular item here or there don’t qualify as inflation. If one thing gets more expensive but something else gets cheaper, that’s what economists call a relative price change. Inflation is a simultaneous increase in prices across the board. Some measures of inflation, such as the GDP Deflator, track price changes that affect businesses as well as those that affect consumers. But the Consumer Price Index is supposed to focus on inflation at the consumer level. And the CPI has recorded minimal increases over the past four years. Since the recession ended, the 12-month change in consumer prices has averaged 2% and has never been as high as 4%.
There are lots of other ways to gauge inflation, however, that give very different signals. Gold was $930 an ounce when the recession ended, and today it’s $1,583. So if you believe in the gold standard, prices have increased 70% in four years – or an annualized rate of 14.2%. Of course, many economists dismiss the gold price as an archaic indicator. So it may be more meaningful to look at price increases over a broad range of commodities. The Reuters CRB Commodity Index, which tracks the prices of coffee, cocoa, copper, and cotton, as well as energy, is up 38% over four years, or 8.6% at a compound annual rate.
Perhaps the most telling indicator – albeit a slightly facetious one – is the Big Mac index, popularized by the Economist magazine. McDonalds hamburgers are available in many countries and their prices reflect the cost of food, fuel, commercial real estate, and basic labor. The price of a Big Mac, therefore, can be used to compare the economies of different countries – or serve as a bellwether of inflation in a single country. Since the recession ended, the cost of a Big Mac in the U.S. has risen from an average of $3.57 to $4.37, or 5.2% a year.
So why haven’t these more rapid increases shown up in the Consumer Price Index? One reason is that the index itself has been modified in a variety of ways over the past 35 years. Fluctuations in home prices have been smoothed out, for example. And the index has been adjusted periodically to reflect changes in what people buy, particularly if they shift from more expensive items to cheaper ones. Such revisions to the CPI have tended to reduce the official inflation rate, on balance. Various estimates of what the annual rate would have been over the past four years if earlier methods of calculation had been continued come up with numbers in the 5%-to-10% range.
Several conclusions can be drawn from all this. First, there is no absolute and objective gauge of inflation. Any particular measure is simply one way of making the calculation, based on a host of assumptions. Second, a number of the costs that middle-class households face are going up considerably faster than the CPI.
And this is a fact, as of March 13, 2013 these are just the Obamacare regulations, over 20,000 pages (photo below). The tax code is over 60,000 pages.
Apple founder Steve Jobs, according to his book, told Obama that government has rendered it almost impossible for him to build a factory here in the United States, which is why he builds them in China. This very writer has a dear friend who runs a small business with less than ten employees. He tells me of the constant efforts by state and federal bureaucrats to put him out of business.
Our Health Law Category – LINK
Via The Inquisitir:
The Universal Studios theme park resort in Florida will end health insurance for part-time employees as of December 31 as a direct result of Obamacare.
As The Inquistir has previously reported, other employers in retail or in the restaurant business and in other sectors are doing the same or offloading full-time employees into a part-time status (less than 30 hours a week) so they don’t qualify for existing coverage. Irrespective of the need to hire more employees, some firms are purposely keeping headcount below 50 workers to avoid the law’s provisions altogether. Despite supporting Obamacare, many politically connected unions have sought and received waivers from the law’s provisions.
Universal explained that its low-premium plan (commonly referred to as a “mini-med” plan) that places a cap on annual benefits is no longer permitted under Obamacare. Universal, one of the largest employers in central Florida, claims, however, that only three percent of its employees will be affected by the change according to the Orlando Sentinel. The paper also reported that Walt Disney World is “still assessing the health-care reform act and how it impacts our business.”
Similarly, according to the Financial Times, David Dillon, chief executive of the Kroger supermarket chain, commented “that some companies might opt to pay a government-mandated penalty for not providing insurance because it was cheaper than the cost of coverage.”
Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini claimed that health insurance premiums for some small businesses and individuals could double next year under Obamacare, according the Bloomberg news agency.
The Los Angeles Times had similar findings about the possibility of premium sticker shock:
“Exactly how high the premiums may go won’t be known until later this year. But already, officials in states that support the law have sounded warnings that some people — mostly those who are young and do not receive coverage through their work — may see considerably higher prices than expected.”
You’ll recall that in the long struggle to get Congress to narrowly approve Obamacare, the president repeatedly insisted that if you like your current insurance, you can keep it. He and his Democrat colleagues also maintained that the law would health insurance less expensive or more widely available.
NBC News has reported that about eight million people, however, will lose their employer-provided health insurance altogether as a result of the so-called fiscal cliff deal, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated.
Your employer might cover part of it, or the taxpayers may cover a part of it, but no matter who pays, the cost of insurance is going way up, while at the same time driving down the available resources for medical services.
Via CNS News:
In a final regulation issued Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assumed that under Obamacare the cheapest health insurance plan available in 2016 for a family will cost $20,000 for the year.
Under Obamacare, Americans will be required to buy health insurance or pay a penalty to the IRS.
The IRS’s assumption that the cheapest plan for a family will cost $20,000 per year is found in examples the IRS gives to help people understand how to calculate the penalty they will need to pay the government if they do not buy a mandated health plan.
The examples point to families of four and families of five, both of which the IRS expects in its assumptions to pay a minimum of $20,000 per year for a bronze plan.
“The annual national average bronze plan premium for a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 children) is $20,000,” the regulation says.
Bronze will be the lowest tier health-insurance plan available under Obamacare–after Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Under the law, the penalty for not buying health insurance is supposed to be capped at either the annual average Bronze premium, 2.5 percent of taxable income, or $2,085.00 per family in 2016.
In the new final rules published Wednesday, IRS set in law the rules for implementing the penalty Americans must pay if they fail to obey Obamacare’s mandate to buy insurance.
To help illustrate these rules, the IRS presented examples of different situations families might find themselves in.
In the examples, the IRS assumes that families of five who are uninsured would need to pay an average of $20,000 per year to purchase a Bronze plan in 2016.
Using the conditions laid out in the regulations, the IRS calculates that a family earning $120,000 per year that did not buy insurance would need to pay a “penalty” (a word the IRS still uses despite the Supreme Court ruling that it is in fact a “tax”) of $2,400 in 2016.
For those wondering how clear the IRS’s clarifications of this new “penalty” rule are, here is one of the actual examples the IRS gives:
“Example 3. Family without minimum essential coverage.
“(i) In 2016, Taxpayers H and J are married and file a joint return. H and J have three children: K, age 21, L, age 15, and M, age 10. No member of the family has minimum essential coverage for any month in 2016. H and J’s household income is $120,000. H and J’s applicable filing threshold is $24,000. The annual national average bronze plan premium for a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 children) is $20,000.
“(ii) For each month in 2016, under paragraphs (b)(2)(ii) and (b)(2)(iii) of this section, the applicable dollar amount is $2,780 (($695 x 3 adults) + (($695/2) x 2 children)). Under paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section, the flat dollar amount is $2,085 (the lesser of $2,780 and $2,085 ($695 x 3)). Under paragraph (b)(3) of this section, the excess income amount is $2,400 (($120,000 – $24,000) x 0.025). Therefore, under paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the monthly penalty amount is $200 (the greater of $173.75 ($2,085/12) or $200 ($2,400/12)).
“(iii) The sum of the monthly penalty amounts is $2,400 ($200 x 12). The sum of the monthly national average bronze plan premiums is $20,000 ($20,000/12 x 12). Therefore, under paragraph (a) of this section, the shared responsibility payment imposed on H and J for 2016 is $2,400 (the lesser of $2,400 or $20,000).”
THIS is the degree the elite media will go to spin for this president.
Remember when they said that the Bush recovery was a jobless recovery and his unemployment rate was 1% better than Clinton’s, which the press reported as “a booming economy”?
This is exactly the kind of press that Eastern Europeans used to make jokes about.
WASHINGTON – Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits ticked up slightly last week, the latest sign of stability in the job market.
The Labor Department said Thursday that applications rose 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 371,000, the most in five weeks. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 6,750 to 365,750, after falling to a four-year low the previous week.
While we are raising your taxes and borrowing money from China to study Klingons….
WASHINGTON (AP) — Foreign ownership of U.S. Treasury securities rose to a record level in October, a sign that overseas investors remain confident in U.S. debt despite a potential budget crisis.
Total foreign holdings of U.S. Treasurys rose to $5.48 trillion in October, the Treasury Department said Monday. That was up 0.1 percent from September. Still, the increase of $6 billion was the weakest since total holdings fell in December 2011.
China, the largest holder of U.S. government debt, increased its holdings slightly to $1.16 trillion. Japan, the second-largest holder, boosted its holdings by a smaller amount to $1.13 trillion. Brazil, the country with the third-largest holdings, increased its total to $255.2 billion.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
After 30 years, The New York Times has admitted that Reaganomics worked.
The inadvertent revelation comes in a November 29th article by Binyamin Appelbaum chronicling the steadily falling tax burden Americans have experienced since the 1980s.
AEI columnist James Pethokoukis notes that the heart of The Times’ article is that in 2010 Americans “paid far less in total taxes — federal, state and local — than they would have paid 30 years ago.”
Pethokoukis points out that some tax hike advocates think this means that America’s tax burden is too low and time has come for a hike. But Pethokoukis disagrees.
Maybe I’m crazy, but I think the reduction in the tax burden — staring with the Reagan tax cuts — has been a huge competitive advantage for the U.S. We should keep that edge. Check out these numbers. In 1981, France’s per capita GDP was 81% of U.S. per capita GDP, Germany’s 83%, Italy’s 81%, Britain’s 69%.
In 2010, France’s per capita GDP was 73% of U.S. per capita GDP (down 8 points), Germany’s 81% (down 2 points), Italy’s 68% (down 12 points), and Britain’s 76% (up 7 points).
Pethokoukis reminds readers that Europe was closing the gap with U.S. wealth by 1980, but after Reagan’s tax cuts that trend stagnated and in other cases even began to reverse.
There are many great points made in the Pethokoukis piece and you need to go read them, but his last one is the funniest—or saddest, depending on your point of view.
4. Another bit: “Economists agree that taxes on business are passed on to investors, reducing profits, and to workers, reducing wages. Upper-income households bear the brunt of these taxes, and corporate tax collections have fallen sharply.” That is right. Taxes matter.
Funny, the NYT never mentioned this widely known economic fact when Mitt Romney was attacked for saying “Corporations are people.”
John Nolte is on a roll lately with columns that are just home runs as far as content and quality of analysis. Read this one carefully.
While the media pants with exhilaration over a dip in the unemployment level that was created by over a half-million people giving up and dropping out of the workforce, a deep-dive into the employment numbers also reveals that it’s mainly government workers benefitting from what meager job growth we are seeing. Over the last five months, 73% of all jobs created were government jobs. Moreover, the unemployment rate for government workers plunged to 3.8% in November — which is considered full employment.
Even though deficits rule the day at every level of government, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 847,000 new jobs created since June, a full 621,000 were government jobs. In November alone, 35,000 new government jobs were created.
In other words, as the labor participation rate plummets to a thirty year low — which means we have fewer taxpayers — we’re not only increasing the number of taxpayer-funded jobs, but the government is using the creation of these jobs to juice the employment numbers in a way that makes it look as though the job situation is actually improving.
Naturally, none of this would be possible without a compliant media working overtime to bring out the pom-poms and cover up what’s really going on.
Let me tell you something, if Obama had an “R” after his name and creating the exact same economic results, the media would make damn sure the public was familiar with what “labor participation rate” means. [Emphasis ours – Political Arena]
Barack Obama has made quite a hubbub over the course of his presidency about education for young students, and jobs for young workers. Unfortunately, it seems he’s failed on both counts. According to a recent study produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Children Now, there are now 6.5 million “disconnected” young people in America – “disconnected” being defined as neither in school nor employed, and “young people” being defined as 16-24 years of age. Young people now have the lowest employment rate since World War II.
In California alone, there are nearly a million young people who are “disconnected”: 850,000. Since 2000, that number has jumped a staggering 35 percent. Meanwhile, California’s overall employment rate for people aged 16-19 clocks in at just 18 percent; its high school graduation rate is a paltry 76 percent.
Of course Aetna is far from the first to say this. This very writer’s insurance premiums went up 12 times.
Famed economist and statistician Dr. John Lott:
So much for Obama’s promises. From Bloomberg News:
Health insurance premiums may as much as double for some small businesses and individual buyers in the U.S. when the Affordable Care Act’s major provisions start in 2014, Aetna Inc. (AET)’s chief executive officer said.
While subsidies in the law will shield some people, other consumers who make too much for assistance are in for “premium rate shock,” Mark Bertolini, who runs the third-biggest U.S. health-insurance company, told analysts yesterday at a conference in New York. The prospect has spurred discussion of having Congress delay or phase in parts of the law, he said.
“We’ve shared it all with the people in Washington and I think it’s a big concern,” the CEO said. “We’re going to see some markets go up as much as as 100 percent.”
Bertolini’s prediction is at odds with Congressional Budget Office estimates . . . .
You mean the reporters lied by omission to create a false narrative? Say it ain’t so….
The Daily Caller (excerpt):
The poll asked respondents, “President Obama has said he will not negotiate with Republicans on cuts to entitlement programs, including Medicare, until they agree to raise tax rates on the wealthy. Do you think he is right or wrong to insist on that as a precondition to broader negotiations?”
As Bloomberg reported in its story, 58 percent percent of respondents indicated that the president was “right” to insist on the precondition, while 37 percent said he was “wrong.”
But in the same poll, American adults were asked “whether it is better to raise the top tax rate the wealthy pay, or to limit the amount people can claim in tax breaks, such as mortgage interest and charitable contributions, so they end up paying tax on a bigger share of their income.”
Fifty-two percent responded that they preferred limited tax breaks to a tax-rate hike.
[Political Arena Editor’s Note – The tax reform to eliminate some deductions and loop holes that tend to favor the richest players with the most political influence is the Boehner (Republican) plan. Bloomberg News did not report that according to their own poll, more people favored the Republican tax plan.]
Only 39 percent said they would rather see tax rates on the wealthy increase. Nine percent indicated they weren’t sure.
The Bloomberg News story quoted the president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the survey, saying the results indicated that Republicans and Speaker of the House John Boehner should yield to the president.
At least it is starting to improve after years of socialized medicine bringing quality down to the gutter. Largely because of the efforts of Prime Minister Harper and his TEA Party brand of economic conservatism have been introducing reforms and partial privatization back into the Canadian Healthcare System.
CALGARY, AB—Patients face a median wait of 17.7 weeks for surgical and other therapeutic treatments in Canada, down from 19.0 weeks in 2011, according to the 22nd annual edition of Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, released today by the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank.
On a national basis, median wait times have hovered between 16 and 19 weeks since 2000, following a marked deterioration in wait times during the 1990s when surgical waits grew steadily from 9.3 weeks in 1993 to 14 weeks in 1999. This year’s median wait of 17.7 weeks is 91 per cent longer than in 1993.
“While wait times have improved since last year, Canadians are still forced to wait more than four months, on average, for medically necessary treatment. Physicians, not to mention patients, consider this unreasonable,” said Nadeem Esmail, Fraser Institute senior fellow and co-author of the report.
So the only way to get a break, is to get favors legislated for you into the tax code. Or have the means to use lawyers and tax accountants to game the system as most possible, which isn’t an option for smaller players. Once again Democrats rig the game to favor the super rich and mega-corps but harm domestic small and medium sized investors, retirement funds and businesses.
Democrats say this is about deficit reduction, but these kinds of taxes harm long term economic growth by making disincentives to invest and risk. Democrats also wish to add in new spending far more than anything they could bring in with new taxes.
The Internal Revenue Service has released new rules for investment income taxes on capital gains and dividends earned by high-income individuals that passed Congress as part of the 2010 healthcare reform law.
The 3.8 percent surtax on investment income, meant to help pay for healthcare, goes into effect in 2013. It is the first surtax to be applied to capital gains and dividend income.
The tax affects only individuals with more than $200,000 in modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), and married couples filing jointly with more than $250,000 of MAGI.
The tax applies to a broad range of investment securities ranging from stocks and bonds to commodity securities and specialized derivatives.
The 159 pages of rules spell out when the tax applies to trusts and annuities, as well as to individual securities traders.
Released late on Friday, the new regulations include a 0.9 percent healthcare tax on wages for high-income individuals.
Both sets of rules will be published on Wednesday in the Federal Register.
The proposed rules are effective starting January 1. Before making the rules final, the IRS will take public comments and hold hearings in April.
Together, the two taxes are estimated to raise $317.7 billion over 10 years, according to a Joint Committee on Taxation analysis released in June.
To illustrate when the tax applies, the IRS offered an example of a taxpayer filing as a single individual who makes $180,000 in wage income plus $90,000 from investment income. The individual’s modified adjusted gross income is $270,000.
The 3.8 percent tax applies to the $70,000, and the individual would pay $2,660 in surtaxes, the IRS said.
The IRS plans to release a new form for taxpayers to fill out for this tax when filing 2013 returns.
The new rules leave some questions unanswered, tax experts said. It was unclear how rental income will be treated under the new rules, said Michael Grace, managing director at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP law firm in Washington.
“The proposed regulations surely will increase tax compliance burdens for individuals,” said Grace, a former IRS official. “There’s clearly some drafting left to be done.”
But Obama says that he is transferring wealth to protect the middle class……
The only ones who get rich when government transfers wealth is government, because they transfer a LOT more to themselves per person than they do to the poor.
WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – The median net worth of American households has dropped to a 43-year low as the lower and middle classes appear poorer and less stable than they have been since 1969.
According to a recent study by New York University economics professor Edward N. Wolff, median net worth is at the decades-low figure of $57,000 (in 2010 dollars). And as the numbers in his study reflect, the situation only appears worse when all the statistics are taken as a whole.
According to Wolff, between 1983 and 2010, the percentage of households with less than $10,000 in assets (using constant 1995 dollars) rose from 29.7 percent to 37.1 percent. The “less than $10,000″ figure includes the numerous households that have no assets at all, or “negative assets,” which is otherwise known as “debt.”
Over that same period of time, the wealthiest 1 percent of American households increased their average wealth by 71 percent.
[Political Arena Editor’s Note – in that 1% are government bureaucrats many of whom make six figures:
Now you know who is getting rich….
The person who needs help to get out of poverty gets about what $11,000 a year if they are lucky while the Democrat appointee who runs welfare gets over $187,000 a year.
Government programs are not anti-poverty program, they are government appointee and government union enrichment programs. It is no different than “paying protection”.]
As noted by Daily Finance, from 1983 to 2010 the share of total wealth held by the richest 10 percent of American households increased from 68.2 percent to 76.7 percent. Meanwhile, all the rest of Americans lost financial ground.
An August Pew Research Center study found that many in the middle-class are divided on how they believe his gap widened.
Fully 85 percent of self-described middle-class adults say it is more difficult now than it was a decade ago for middle-class people to maintain their standard of living.
It is an undeniable truth of life that wealth, capital and labor go where they are treated well. It is this economic truth more than any other that prevents socialism, communism, fascism, and kleptocracy from yielding positive economic benefits in the long term.
When you raise the tax rate, people will modify their behavior to avoid paying the tax, even if that means halting economic activity. As Ronald Reagan said:
The Founding Fathers knew a government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.
UK Daily Telegraph:
Almost two-thirds of the country’s million-pound earners disappeared from Britain after the introduction of the 50% top rate of tax, figures have disclosed.
In the 2009-10 tax year, more than 16,000 people declared an annual income of more than £1 million to HM Revenue and Customs.
This number fell to just 6,000 after Gordon Brown introduced the new 50% top rate of income tax shortly before the last general election.
The figures have been seized upon by the Conservatives to claim that increasing the highest rate of tax actually led to a loss in revenues for the Government.
It is believed that rich Britons moved abroad or took steps to avoid paying the new levy by reducing their taxable incomes.
George Osborne, the Chancellor, announced in the Budget earlier this year that the 50% top rate will be reduced to 45% from next April.
Since the announcement, the number of people declaring annual incomes of more than £1 million has risen to 10,000.
However, the number of million-pound earners is still far below the level recorded even at the height of the recession and financial crisis.
Last night, Harriet Baldwin, the Conservative MP who uncovered the latest figures, said: “Labour’s ideological tax hike led to a tax cull of millionaires.
Far from raising funds, it actually cost the UK £7 billion in lost tax revenue.
“Labour now needs to admit that their policies resulted in millionaires paying less tax and come clean about whether they would reintroduce this failed policy if they were in power.”
Mr Osborne argued earlier this year that the 50% rate was deterring entrepreneurs from coming to Britain.
As we have said several times before and even when yours truly wrote for his old college blog, consolidation is a goal of the progressive secular left.
What is consolidation? It is when smaller players are driven out of the market by slanted government regulations, enforcement, and taxes in favor of the biggest players who tend to be campaign contributors. It also makes controlling the economy easier as a few players are easy to monitor and control. You cannot control the economy without first controlling people, so the less people to control the better. [Smaller companies tend to contribute to Republicans – Editor.]
Forbes: Obamacare Consolidation Continues: Aetna Buys Coventry For $7.3B
Consolidation in the healthcare sector was an obvious consequence of the latest Supreme Court ruling that upheld Obamacare. On Monday, Aetna announced it reached an agreement to buy Coventry Health for a transaction value of $7.3 billion including debt in over to increase its exposure to government business such as Medicare and Medicaid.
On the market side of that issue, major companies are already in consolidation stage. Aetna’s acquisition of Coventry, for which it will pay $5.7 billion in cash and stock, is a direct consequence of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the individual mandate. As I wrote in the aftermath of the ruling, “in the face of it, this should be negative for major health insurance companies, as it will drive more customers at lower margins, and positive for Medicaid companies.”
Aetna was very clear in the press release, the transaction will increase its “share of revenues from government business to over 30% from 23% currently.” Coventry will add over 5 million members to Aetna’s plans, including about 4 million medical members and 1.5 million Medicare part D members. The deal also “substantially increase[s] Aetna’s Medicaid footprint, creating more opportunity to participate in the expansion of Medicaid and to pursue high acuity positions as they move into managed care.”
The Supreme Court ruling already fueled WellPoint’s acquisition of Amerigroup for about $5 billion, while last year Cigna bought HealthSpring for $3.8 billion in a push to gain exposure to Medicare patients. Markets appear to approve of consolidation in the industry, as stock prices showed on Monday.
Are private sector workers are outnumbered by folks dependent on government in your state? If so don’t buy a house in that state, rent.
The list from the worst, New Mexico with a 1.53 ratio to Ohio with a 1.00 ratio:
New Mexico, Mississippi, California, Alabama, Maine, New York, South Carolina, Kentucky,Illinois, Hawaii, Ohio.
Thinking about buying a house? Or a municipal bond? Be careful where you put your capital. Don’t put it in a state at high risk of a fiscal tailspin.
Eleven states make our list of danger spots for investors. They can look forward to a rising tax burden, deteriorating state finances and an exodus of employers.
If your career takes you to Los Angeles or Chicago, don’t buy a house. Rent.
If you have money in municipal bonds, clean up the portfolio. Sell holdings from the sick states and reinvest where you’re less likely to get clipped. Nebraska and Virginia are unlikely to give their bondholders a Greek haircut. California and New York are comparatively risky.
Two factors determine whether a state makes this elite list of fiscal hellholes. The first is whether it has more takers than makers. A taker is someone who draws money from the government, as an employee, pensioner or welfare recipient. A maker is someone gainfully employed in the private sector.
Let us give those takers the benefit of our sympathy and assume that every single one of them is a deserving soul. This person is either genuinely needy or a dedicated public servant or the recipient of a well-earned pension.
But what happens when these needy types outnumber the providers? Taxes get too high. Prosperous citizens decamp. Employers decamp. That just makes matters worse for the taxpayers left behind.
Let’s say you are a software entrepreneur with 100 on your payroll. If you stay in San Francisco, your crew will support 139 takers. In Texas, they would support only 82. Austin looks very attractive.
Ranked on the taker/maker ratio, our 11 death spiral states range from New Mexico, with 1.53 takers for every maker, down to Ohio, with a 1-to-1 ratio.
The taker count is the number of state and local government workers plus the number of people on Medicaid plus 1 for each $100,000 of unfunded pension liabilities. Sources: the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and a study of state worker pensions done in 2009 by two academics, Joshua Rauh and Rovert Novy-Marx. Professor Rauh estimates that the shortage in pension funding is on average a third higher today.
The second element in the death spiral list is a scorecard of state credit-worthiness done by Conning & Co., a money manager known for its measures of risk in insurance company portfolios. Conning’s analysis focuses more on dollars than body counts. Its formula downgrades states for large debts, an uncompetitive business climate, weak home prices and bad trends in employment.
Conning rates North Dakota the safest state to lend money to, Connecticut the most hazardous. A state qualifies for the Forbes death spiral list if its taker/maker ratio exceeds 1.0 and it resides in the bottom half of Conning’s ranking.
Jay Heine is one that has always “gotten it”.
Political Strategist Jay Heine:
You want to know why we lost ground in 2006, 2008 and 2012? We elect/select candidates that tell us what we want to hear, who are “electable”, but not trustworthy. They get into office and they follow the crowd. The most successful office holders are those that stand on principle and are unwavering. It doesn’t matter whether they are conservative or liberal, it matters whether they do what they say they are going to do. If they don’t they alienate the electorate. And all the Republicans who are about to sell us out on the fiscal cliff are making the same error.
There is some very wrongheaded thinking in part of the establishment GOP. They believe that in order to get in power Republicans should pander, and move to the left.
Those who hold such a view actually seem to believe that the Democrats will then stop calling Republicans racist and every dirty word in the book.
Look at what the Democrats do to black and Hispanic Republicans, they release their credit history to the public illegally like they did to Michael Steele, they release their social security number publicly like they did to Allen West, and they use every racial attack they can think of.
Democrats sent agitators to Michael Steele events to literally throw Oreo’s at him. They accused Allen West of being a part of a motorcycle drug gang, they trashed his military service, they trashed his family and even went after his children. They they engaged on what is now well reported outrageous vote fraud to unseat him, and replace him with a rich white guy.
Then the Democrats said it was Republican’s fault that Congress is richer and whiter.
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee trashed Miquel Estrada when he was nominated to the DC Court of Appeals saying in their own committee memo’s that they must stop him “because he is Latino”.
Democrats trotted out campaign ringers to call South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who is Indian-American, a slut.
I’ll start with the General Social Survey (GSS), the most widely used database for monitoring social trends. All the results that follow are based on the biennial GSS surveys conducted from 2000 to 2010.
Latinos aren’t married more than everyone else. Among Latinos ages 30–49, 52 percent are married. Everyone else: 54 percent.
Latinos aren’t more religious than everyone else. Among Latinos, 29 percent attend worship services regularly (nearly once a week or more). Everyone else: 31 percent. Among Latinos, 18 percent not only attend regularly but also say they have a strong affiliation with their religion. Everyone else: 24 percent.
Latinos aren’t more opposed to gay marriage than everyone else. Among Latinos, 44 percent disagree or strongly disagree with the statement that “homosexuals should have the right do marry.” Everyone else: 50 percent.
Latinos are a little more opposed to abortion than everyone else, but not by a landslide. Among Latinos, 12 percent are opposed to abortion under all circumstances. Everyone else: 9 percent. Among Latinos, 21 percent are opposed to all abortion unless the mother’s health is seriously endangered. Everyone else: 14 percent.
Latinos aren’t more conservative than everyone else. Among Latinos, 14 percent describe themselves as “conservative” or “extremely conservative.” Everyone else: 20 percent.
What about the Latino work ethic? For indicators on that, I turn from the GSS to the Current Population Survey (CPS). I restrict the results to the surveys from 2000–2008, before the financial meltdown—that is, we’re looking at work behavior in years in the normal range of unemployment.
Latino men are only fractionally more likely to be in the labor force than everyone else, and those with jobs work slightly fewer hours. Among Latino men ages 30–49, 92 percent were in the labor force. All other men ages 30–49: 91 percent. Among men ages 30–49 who had jobs, Latinos worked an average of 42 hours in the preceding week. All other men ages 30–49: 44 hours.
Latino women are substantially less likely to be in the labor force than everyone else. Among Latino women ages 30–49, 68 percent were in the labor force. All other women ages 30–49: 78 percent. Among those with jobs, hours-worked in the preceding week were virtually identical: 37.3 for Latino women, 37.5 for everyone else.
I can understand why people think Latinos are natural conservatives. Just about every Latino with whom I come in contact is hard-working and competent. I don’t get into discussions with them about their families and religion, but they sure look like go-getting, family-values Americans to me. But note the caveat: “with whom I come in contact.” There’s a huge selection artifact embedded in that caveat—I always come in contact with Latinos because they are on a work crew that’s doing something at my house or office, or at my neighbors’ houses. That’s the way that almost all Anglos in the political chattering class come in contact with Latinos. Of course they look like model Americans.
The data I used for the numbers above come from the most trustworthy, carefully conducted surveys available. They paint a portrait that gives no reason to think that Republicans have an untapped pool of social conservatives to help them win elections.
A March 2011 poll by Moore Information found that Republican economic policies were a stronger turn-off for Hispanic voters in California than Republican positions on illegal immigration. Twenty-nine percent of Hispanic voters were suspicious of the Republican party on class-warfare grounds — “it favors only the rich”; “Republicans are selfish and out for themselves”; “Republicans don’t represent the average person”– compared with 7 percent who objected to Republican immigration stances.
[In other words Republicans have allowed themselves to be maldefined, have been timid in the battle of the narratives, and not aggressive enough to show why capitalism and freedom work when given the chance. Conservatives have also not been active in pop-culture and public education. – Political Arena Editor]
And a strong reason for that support for big government is that so many Hispanics use government programs. U.S.-born Hispanic households in California use welfare programs at twice the rate of native-born non-Hispanic households. And that is because nearly one-quarter of all Hispanics are poor in California, compared to a little over one-tenth of non-Hispanics. Nearly seven in ten poor children in the state are Hispanic, and one in three Hispanic children is poor, compared to less than one in six non-Hispanic children. One can see that disparity in classrooms across the state, which are chock full of social workers and teachers’ aides trying to boost Hispanic educational performance.
The way the Obamacare health insurance mandate is structured is unsustainable. It creates what is called an “adverse selection spiral” (death spiral); meaning that if people act for their own best interests within the Obamacare structure, the more it weakens the system. Insurance companies are already getting out of health insurance because of this and countless employers are already dropping health insurance coverage for employees. Health insurance premiums have already gone up by $2,500 dollars a year, I was just notified that my premium went up to $267.00 a month.
This system will crash and it won’t take long. What will people who need insurance do then? What will those with preexisting conditions do then?
We need a new solution to the preexisting condition problem. Obamacare makes the problem worse, not better.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recoups $702 in taxes for every hour it spends auditing small businesses, versus $9,173 an hour for auditing large corporations. But under Barack Obama, audits of small and medium-sized businesses have skyrocketed.
So says Peter Schweizer, President of the Government Accountability Institute:
According to IRS statistics, from 2009 to 2011, the coverage rate (number of audits as a percentage of total returns filed) for corporations with assets between $10 million and $50 million has increased 32 percent. The coverage rate for corporations with assets between $50 million and $100 million has increased at the same rate. Some businesspeople file individual returns, and those with incomes higher than $1 million have experience a 94 percent increase in their coverage rate, and a 29 percent increase in the actual number of exams since 2009. Those with incomes $200,000 and higher have seen a 36 percent increase in their coverage rate.
We are not surprised. As we have reported many times before the leadership of the Democratic Party has no interest in taxing the mega-corporations and super rich, rather they are targeting small to medium sized domestic businesses and upper middle class wage earners.
Democrats want to tax the rich?
This is perhaps the biggest false narrative of all. The Democratic Party leadership has never been interested in taxing the very rich. They have been “taxing the rich” for 50 years. Is it just a coincidence that they just happened to keep missing the target? President Obama gave the speech at Google, which paid 2.4% federal tax on 3.1 billion in income. In that speech he trashed the Chamber of Commerce for fighting against raising the tax on most small businesses which actually employ people from 35.5% to 39.9% . In the 2008 elections President Obama railed against Wall Street, but not only did he take more money from Wall Street and “the big banks” and such, but as if to add insult, their executives became the who’s who of those running his administration (LINK – LINK). Keep in mind that CNN once said Obama attacks private equity at 6am and is fundraising with private equity at 6pm. Wall Street and the big banks made more under three years of Obama than they did under eight years of Bush. His Treasury Secretary says that taxes on small businesses must rise so that government doesn’t shrink, and Obama’s new health care taxes target you, not just the rich. All of the stimulus and spending and so forth all in the name of the poor sounded nice, but look who got rich. Odds are that people who buy into the false narrative know none of this.
A looming increase in the capital-gains tax rate next year is fueling sales of some privately-held businesses.
Many business owners—mostly founders who could gain a lot from a sale—are looking to close deals before next year, when the maximum tax on investment income is scheduled to rise from 15% currently to at least 23.8% on most capital gains, at least for higher-income households. Many sellers intend to convert their equity into retirement funds or just start anew.
“It just made more sense for me to take my chips off the table and go do something else,” said Bert Wolf, 60 years old, who has an agreement to sell his compressed-gas business, Acetylene Oxygen Co. of Harlingen, Tex., before year-end.
Mr. Wolf added that if he waited until after the tax increase to sell, he would have to expand the business at the current rate “for at least 3 or 4 more years to achieve the same after-tax sales dollar.” He is profiting on the sale of his business to PraxairInc., a public company.
“There’s a kind of a panic on to get things done,” said Beatrice Mitchell, co-founder of Sperry, Mitchell & Co. Inc., a New York investment bank that is advising Mr. Wolf on the sale.
The top tax rate will go up at year-end by at least 3.8 percentage points because of a provision in President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul law. But that will be added onto a top rate that will depend on negotiations between Mr. Obama and Congress after the November election, when they are expected to seek a deal on numerous tax and spending measures.
Mr. Obama and Congress agreed in late 2010 to extend the current 15% capital-gains tax rate through this year. Absent further action, the top capital gains tax rate will rise to 20% on Jan. 1. After adding the extra charge from the health-care law for higher-income households, the maximum tax on investment income would be 23.8%. When combined with the scheduled expiration of some other tax breaks for high earners, the maximum tax on investment income would be as high as 25%.
Many Republican lawmakers want to extend the 15% rate. If they prevail, the maximum tax likely would rise to at least 18.8% because of the health-care charge.
Mr. Obama proposes to let the top capital gains tax rate rise to 20% on income above $250,000 for couples, but hold it to 15% on income below that threshold.
But here is the rub, most “couples” that make 250k aren’t the one’s who pay these taxes, small businesses and investors do. It directly chases jobs and investment out of the country.