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Member since: Tue Apr 5, 2005, 09:55 AM
Number of posts: 6,837

Journal Archives

Talking points: What to tell people who say "Obamacare forces us to buy health insurance"

The Affordable Care Act does not force anyone to buy anything. There are no criminal penalties for not having health insurance.

The act does, however, create a tax that people without health insurance would pay if their income is above a certain level. The idea is that, because we all agree that such people should not simply be denied care, they should compensate society for the risk they are unloading onto the rest of us. But, heck, the law does not even create criminal penalties for refusing to pay the tax.

One can argue the wisdom of the law and the way it was written. But never before has anyone questioned the Congress' ability to levy a tax. Only a supreme act of judicial activism would find that, in this case alone, the taxing power of Congress is null and void.

And, oh, btw.. do you know where the idea of the "individual mandate" came from? It's an old Republican idea hatched by the Heritage Foundation. So, if it's a "socialist idea," then those are the socialists who are to blame for it.

The most mean-spirited (and revealing) right-wing column you will read this week

This is from the very end:

While I believe the federal food stamp program to be unconstitutional, immoral and a state issue, the simple fact is that the program is not going away. There are more people on the dole now than at any other point in United States history, and with more Americans seemingly fine with the idea of taking government handouts, as Mr. EBT and Jesse Jackson have shown, the numbers will continue to grow. My reform measures might seem draconian to some (and the antithesis of the free market), but they would hopefully have the desired result of reducing food stamp rolls so we could eventually eliminate the program and let the states handle the issue. Before accepting food stamps, people would have to carefully consider whether they want to face the loss of voting privileges, the humiliation of shopping at government stores and using government food, the inability to smoke or do drugs and the added inconvenience of having to make two or three stops for their groceries should they choose to buy snacks with their own money. Plus, tax producers would no longer have to knowingly be face to face with people at the check-out who are on government assistance but have nicer cell phones and accessories than they do.

There should be humiliation and pain in government assistance. Every time someone accepts food stamps, they are spitting on the principles of independence, and they, not the taxpayers who fund the program, should be reminded of that fact.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/28/damn-i-just-want-some-jam/

NY Times: 'A Million Jobs'

The American economy was terrifyingly close to the brink in 2008 and 2009, and the impending collapse of General Motors and Chrysler threatened to be the final push. When the companies begged the federal government to save them from financial catastrophe, President George W. Bush and later President Obama ignored strong Republican objections, saving a signature American industry and the whole country from an even deeper crash.

Four years later, there are 1.45 million people who are working as a direct result of the $80 billion bailout, according to the nonpartisan Center for Automotive Research, both at the carmakers and associated businesses downstream in the economy. Michigan’s unemployment level is at its lowest level in three years. G.M. is again the world’s biggest automaker, and both companies are reporting substantial profits.

nd yet Mitt Romney, along with the other Republican presidential candidates, has spent the days before the Michigan primary denouncing the bailout that has rescued his native state. Mr. Romney has been especially vociferous in his insistence that he would have allowed the carmakers to go bankrupt, and said he believes they could somehow have clawed their way back to profitability without a dollar of federal assistance.

“The president tells us that without his intervention things in Detroit would be worse,” he wrote recently in The Detroit News. “I believe that without his intervention things there would be better.”

More: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/26/opinion/sunday/a-million-jobs.html?_r=1&src=tp&smid=fb-share

Video Press Release (17 Feb 12) - Autoworkers React To Romney Statements On Auto Loans


The stupidest, most racist ad for a Republican U.S. Senate candidate so far in 2012 (Pete Hoekstra)


One Key Sector That's Still Shedding Jobs (Government)

Maybe we've got ourselves a recovery after all.

The economy has now been adding jobs for 16 months in a row, with an acceleration in hiring that has surprised nearly every prognosticator. The latest jobs report shows that the economy added 243,000 jobs in January, with healthy gains in professional services, manufacturing, hospitality, and even construction. There's still a long way to go before the economy is truly healthy, but each small gain helps repair the damage caused by a crushing recession.

One sector, however, continues to shed jobs, a trend that could impact not just the economy but the November elections as well. Government, which accounts for about 17 percent of the nation's workforce, has lost about 60,000 jobs since 2009, with no sign that the gradual downdrift in employment will turn around any time soon.

A shrinking government sector can drag down overall economic activity, since government jobs tend to be stable, good-paying ones that generate a meaningful amount of consumer spending.

More: http://news.yahoo.com/one-key-sector-thats-still-shedding-jobs-181314915.html

My response to: "We do not have a tax problem in D.C. What we have is a SPENDING problem in D.C."

Whenever I hear or read that stale talking point I realize I am dealing with someone who is more interested in promoting an ideological agenda than getting at the truth. The facts are as follows: The deficits we have faced since late in Bush Jr.'s term were only in part due to an increase in spending -- and said increase was largely due to a doubling of the military budget since 2001 and the creation of new agencies in the wake of 9/11.

But, the main problem with the budget has been a steep fall-off in tax revenues thanks to the super-deep, Wall Street-induced recession that hit us in 2007/2008. While that recession has ended, the hole that was dug was so deep, that we are just now beginning to climb out.

Now, you could say" "Hey, when government revenue fell off a cliff, we should have just slashed spending down to size."

Well, that certainly SOUNDS simple (thus, its popularity among the simple-minded). But in reality, cutting more than $1 trillion from the federal budget all at once would have required basically shutting down the federal government except for Social Security and Medicare. And trust me, those soldiers in Iraq back in 2008 would have been in a bad way if they had run out of bullets.

Beyond that, a huge shock of austerity like that has been tried in other countries. In each case, it led to social unrest, vast increases in poverty and a huge drop-off in economic activity (think Russia after the fall of communism). We don't want to go there.

Think of the nation in 2008 as having been at the edge of a tall cliff. We needed to get to the valley floor so that we could cross the valley and then start climbing the other side. One way to get down would have been to just jump off. But our ability to move on after that would have been compromised even if we managed to survive.

In cases like that, it's far better to invest in mountaineering equipment (or a parachute), even if that's more expensive.
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