Posts Tagged 'schumer'

Don’t Blink

This Saturday morning, July 23rd, the Senate was originally scheduled to vote on Cut, Cap and Balance, the Republican plan to cut $111 billion out of this year’s deficit, trim $4 trillion over ten years, and present a balanced budget amendment to the states.  Instead, Harry Reid moved the vote up to Friday morning, calling it a waste of time and the worst piece of legislation to ever come to the Senate floor.  It failed to pass on strict partisan lines.

Senator Schumer called the bill “Cut, Cap and Kill” because he insisted that the bill would kill Medicare.  Debbie Wasserman-Schultz declared in the House of Representatives that the bill would kill seniors and that it was the Paul Ryan plan on steroids.   The only problem is that in three different places Cut, Cap and Balance specifically exempted Medicare and Social Security from cuts and caps.  Had Republicans known, some of them might have been a little bit more up in arms about the bill.  It was actually a very good compromise.  It cut and cap wasteful spending on liberal social programs and government bureaucracy, not hot buttons like military, Social Security and Medicare.

Perhaps that is a more reasonable explanation of why Harry Reid went back on his promise to allow debate on Cut, Cap and Balance and instead moved the vote up.  Perhaps someone in the Senate actually read the bill and told Reid what was in it.  And then, as if scripted, suddenly news outlets started declaring a deal between Boehner and Obama that was so close Reid needed to get this bill off the floor and stop “wasting time” on it.  The only problem is there was no such deal.  Somebody was lying to provide the sense of urgency needed to cut off debate on Cut, Cap and Balance before it got out that Democrats were lying about it killing Medicare.

This has become the name of the game in budget talks.  Neither side is willing to give in because both sides know that 2012 elections hang in the balance.  The difference is that Republicans have actually gone so far as to write a good compromise bill.  Democrats can’t vote yes on it, not because it “kills Medicare” or kills seniors.  They can’t vote on it because passing Cut, Cap and Balance would destroy Democrat re-election hopes for 2012.  It would be a huge Republican victory because Republicans came up with it.

On the other hand, Democrats can’t write a plan of their own.  They haven’t submitted a budget in over 800 days, and they can’t submit one now or that will also destroy their chances of getting re-elected in 2012.  Democrats can’t write a bill that says “We want to raise taxes so that we don’t have to cut spending as much” and still win in 2012 because the vast majority of the country doesn’t want Democrats to raise taxes so that they can spend more.  They are spending enough already, and we are taxed enough already.  On the other hand, Democrats can’t write a plan saying “Ok, no higher taxes, just cuts” or they will lose their class warfare base.  The liberal base of the Democrat party does not want a bill that doesn’t raise taxes on the “rich”.  It’s not about raising revenue, it’s about punishing upper classes more.

Republicans submitted a plan and it was a good plan.  Obama has signaled that he is willing to let the country default on its debt rather than compromise with Republicans.  Democrats have proven that they are the party of no on a budget deal.  If Republicans end up caving in order to save our credit rating, I hope Americans get the right message.  It doesn’t mean Republicans are wimps and we need to get rid of them.  It means they can only do so much with just a majority in the House.  We need to give them the Senate and the Presidency in 2012 if we expect anything to get accomplished.


Righteous Taxes?

The key to understanding the true Democrat agenda is to replace the word “reform” with the word “tax”.  To make things worse, they are now seeking to tax your carry-on luggage.  And the best part is that this tax on Americans, no matter how much or how little they make, is being disguised as some sort of valiant effort to protect consumers from greedy corporations.

It is a sad thing when the Senators in charge of ensuring that corporations play by the rules and that interstate commerce is appropriately regulated have no idea about one of the simplest concepts in economics.  Corporations don’t pay taxes.  This idea that corporations pay taxes is about as ridiculous as if you were to tell the cop that it was your car that was speeding, not you.

So you can imagine my disbelief when Chuck Schumer, D-NY, announced that Spirit Airlines should be taxed if they decide to charge their customers for carry on bags.  Apparently this is supposed to punish Spirit?  The effect however, would actually be that Obama’s government would get it’s cut of the new carry on fee from consumers.  Nothing else.  After all, shouldn’t government get their fair share?  When it comes to racketeering, they are the experts.

When corporations are taxed, there are three potential groups of people who must pay those taxes: the owners, the employees, and the consumers.  Employees pay the tax because profits are scaled back and it affects their raises, benefits, or even perpetuity of employment.  Consumers pay the tax when corporations factor that tax into their costs and pass that cost on to you.  The owners pay the tax when the dividends hit your 401k and you suddenly realize you have to work an extra five years to retire.  By the way, the owners are the ones who get to decide which of those three groups pays the tax.  Do evil CEOs pay taxes on consumer products?  Sure, but not in any progressive manner.  Only if they choose to fly Spirit Airlines and take a carry on bag.

Actually, what is really happening in the case with Spirit is that they have found a way to reduce the taxes you pay, and the party in power doesn’t like it.  You already pay taxes every time you buy an airplane ticket.  Spirit charges a very low ticket price, but then lets you choose to add on other fees for checked bags, certain seating, peanuts and drinks.  By not including those in the ticket price, they save you taxes.   If they can’t tax you more through your ticket, Democrats will look for new ways to tax you.

But doesn’t Schumer have a point?  Isn’t it ridiculous for Spirit to charge you for your carry on bag?  Why do they hate your bags?  Here is another concept Democrats like Schumer just don’t understand: consumer choice.  Nobody is forced to fly on Spirit Airlines.  Who flies Spirit instead of say, Southwest?  The people who would rather pay less for their flight and don’t have overhead luggage.  As long as we have a free market with choice and competition, Spirit will learn quickly whether their idea of carry on fees was a good one or not.  Already some of the major full service airlines are learning that fees on checked baggage were not such a good idea.

On the other hand, let me tell you a personal story about Ryan Air.  Ryan Air is an airline that flies in Europe.  They have very low rates, but charge fees for everything.  Last I heard, they were planning on charging for restrooms.  But last year about this time, my wife and I left for three and a half weeks in Europe.  We had a very tight budget, but wanted to see as much as possible and spend as little time in trains or cars as possible.  We went bare bones with nothing but the backpacks on our backs, and I’m not talking about big hiking backpacks.  I’m talking about packs that we could carry on with an airline like Ryan Air whose carry on size limit is less than in the US.  But our packs were small enough, and we flew from Paris to Rome for less than it would have been to take a train.  I am very thankful for an airline that let us choose what we wanted to pay for.

We knew a Democrat administration meant taxes across the board.  Anyone who bought the line that only the rich would pay higher taxes under Obama probably voted for him too.  They only need to find ways to make the taxes sound good.  Don’t let this carry on tax fool you.  In the end, you will be the one who pays it.

Late to the Game

Since the healthcare debate began, Democrats have been praying for strong opposition from the big insurance companies.  They even imagined that all the TEA Party protesters were being paid under the table by the insurance lobby.  When a million TEA Partiers showed up in DC, someone must have done the math and realized some of them were actually there of their own free will.

When making your doctor the enemy didn’t work, Democrats knew they had to come up with someone they could get you mad about in order to get you to support their reform.  If only the insurance companies would make a stand.  Bush was gone, and Republicans don’t have the votes to stop them.  That is why it was so ridiculous when Rep. Alan Grayson stood up and told us all that the Republican healthcare plan was “don’t get sick.  And if you do get sick, die quickly”.  Grayson defended his comments by accusing Republicans of creating a holocaust where people get sick and die because Obama can’t heal them.  Considering Democrats are the ones holding up the health reform bill, it really would have been quite hilarious if it wasn’t so offensive.

Finally, the night before the Senate Finance Committee vote, the Insurance industry decided to get in the game.  A new report commissioned by the insurance industry is showing that under Obama’s plan, your insurance rates could skyrocket.  And according to the CBO, 25 million people would still be left without insurance.  But this is nothing new.  I’ve been saying this for a long time now.  The Baucus bill is designed to increase insurance rates through higher taxes on healthcare providers and insurance companies.  The only reason the insurance companies haven’t spoken out until now is because until now Democrats supported severe fines and possible imprisonment for not buying insurance.

Until now, the Baucus plan has been a gift for insurance companies.  Everyone is forced to buy your product, high risk clients can be pushed off onto a taxpayer paid public option or co-op, and you share the tax burden to pay for it all with medical providers, patients, the wealthy, and people of all classes who don’t buy your product.  You can raise your rates as high as you want because people have to buy it.  You don’t have competition because there is too much regulation for new start up companies to get a foothold and people who can afford it aren’t going to settle for low quality government brand insurance.

At the beginning of this month Olympia Snowe and Chuck Schumer pled with the Senate Finance Committee to not force poor families to pay fines for not buying insurance.  The result is that as the bill stands the penalties have dropped from $1,900 to $200 starting in 2017 going up to $800 by 2019.  This means that when insurance rates double from the higher taxes and higher regulation it is going to be much easier for people to simply pay the fine than to shell out the cash for whatever the Obamacare healthcare credits don’t cover.  In addition, 2 million more people will be exempt from the mandate to buy insurance.

Without these penalties, the insurance lobbyists finally have an actual reason to oppose this bill.

Other Great Public Options

Have you noticed that talking about the failures of the USSR, China, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and other Socialist and Communist states with anti-Constitutionalists is a conversation killer?  There is a disconnect that occurs when you get into international politics.  Most anti-Constitutionalists see the grandeur of tyrants’ palaces but overlook the plight of the workers.  At the same time, they claim to own exclusive rights to the title of the working people’s party.  Just look at China.  In the People’s Republic of China the people’s dictator prints the people’s money in order to grow the power of the people’s government so that the people can be the people’s slaves.

Foreign failures aside, I thought it might be interesting to just look at other public options here in the free United States of America and see how impressed we are with the government’s track record when they delve into the unconstitutional.

Most acknowledge now that Obama put his foot in his mouth when he used the Post Office versus Fedex and UPS as an example of a public option not hurting competition.  Among several points made by the Heritage Foundation, the USPS is facing a $7 billion loss this year even though they are the only entity allowed to deliver first class mail, and there is no “free” postage option.

We have a public option when it comes to school.  Perhaps the greatest testimony to the failure of this public option is that people who can afford it rarely send their children to public schools.  In fact, in studies private school students consistently have higher scores than public school students.  Meanwhile, despite the demand for private schools among the wealthy, the cost of sending a kid to public school is often the same or higher than sending a kid to the best private schools.

Now, I know your 401k hasn’t been looking so hot lately.  But what do you think is more likely to be there in 30 years, your 401k or Social Security?  Right now the public option for retirement is facing complete bankruptcy in 2037.  According to Newsweek, Social Security will face a $45 trillion shortfall over the next 75 years.  That’s more than a trillion dollars a year on average.  That would be a third of last years entire federal budget.  Meanwhile, you are putting probably between 3 and 10% into your 401k every paycheck AND paying a mandatory 12.4% tax to Social Security no matter how much you make each year.  The high school student who pours your coffee in the morning is paying the same 12.4% tax you are.  Imagine if the retirement public option was a choice and you could put that 12.4% into a private account.  Yet at Bush’s state of the union address, Democrats cheered when he said they had failed to fix Social Security.  Apparently the status quo was still in fashion back then.

But healthcare is different, right?  Not so much.  Turns out we already have a public option for health care.  Medicare has been given 8 years to live.  Despite Medicare’s pending financial ruin, Schumer argued over the weekend that the failure of Medicare is the reason we need a public option to be part of Obamacare.  Interesting argument.  By the way, in addition to whatever you pay for your health insurance, you are also paying a mandatory 2.9% in Medicare taxes no matter how much you make.  Even still, in a plan where 140 million Americans pay for the healthcare of about 40 million through mandatory taxes, the system will be completely broke by the time Hillary finishes her third Presidential primary race.

How about Medicaid?  According to the Wall Street Journal, it’s no bargain if you have any interest in quality.  In fact, people who have coronary bypass surgeries under medicaid were found to be 50% more likely to die. This is blamed on poor followup by greedy doctors who don’t like working for free.  In fact, according to the same article only half of doctors will take on new Medicaid patients due to the required discounts in services and Government failures in making timely payments and reimbursements.

Democrats say that the problems with Medicare and Medicaid are proof that we need a public option for healthcare.  On second thought, maybe expensive private schools aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

There is No Bill: Another Talking Point Identified

When the majority in Congress were preparing to market Cap and Trade, Newt Gingrich intercepted a Democrat marketing memo with specific talking points on how to beat the Right when it comes to passing Cap and Trade.  These points included accusing Republicans of wanting the status quo, going with the phrase “energy reform” over “Cap and Trade” and saying Cap and Trade will be the same as the price of a postage stamp a day.  One of my favorite quotes from the memo was this:

“While we will need quantitative data to
determine with precision whether offering
an alternative figure actually works to
combat the $3,000 (a year per family) number, it would be
useful if the entire progressive community agreed
on a cost figure—a unified message here would make it more credible.”

Democrats have their talking points when it comes to “insurance reform” as well.  They have recycled the “status quo” point, in conjunction with this idea that Republicans are the “party of ‘No'”; and Republicans apparently are selfish and want poor people to die without healthcare.  We are number 37 in the ranking of developed nations according to the now debunked World Health Organization study, and Democrats have milked that for all it is worth no matter how misleading.  Republicans only oppose health reform because Obama is black and conservatives are all racists.  Nevermind the Kenneth Gladney incident, or that the man who showed up to an Obama rally with an AR15 slung over his shoulder was also black.

The Right is spreading misinformation.  Obama doesn’t want to put abortion funding in the bill.  Nevermind that every amendment that prohibits it has been voted down on party lines.  The Right is organized by Rush Limbaugh and paid by insurance companies.  Nevermind that the only people being paid to show up at rallies are Democrats.

Well, there is a new talking point to be aware of.  As Obamacare continues to fail on its merits when presented to the American people, today on Meet the Press New York Democrat Chuck Schumer said that there is no bill.  Newly converted Democrat Arlen Specter said the same thing on Foxnews Sunday while trying to defend the Democrat health plan.  There is no bill yet.  It is the new standard response to any criticism.

Nevermind HR3200.  That is just one of three potential House bills, according to Corrine Brown who came out of hiding to take phone calls at the WOKV studio in Jacksonville, FL last week.  She used the exact same line when defending HR3200.  It appears that in order to save healthcare, Democrats need to get it back out of the public eye and find a way to somehow invalidate the scrutiny.  Democrats plan to use “reconciliation”, a new rule designed to quickly pass measures that will fix the budget and reduce deficit spending, to sneak this bill through.  But even this slight of hand will be easily noticed without deflection.

So when they say there is no bill, does that mean we should calm down and wait for them to produce one?  Is it really true that we have jumped the gun in our protests?  The issue is not the one bill.  The issue is the policy.  Democrats have shown through their speeches, their votes, and their actions what they desire.  If it takes earmarks, piecemeal bills, 300 page additions to unrelated bills at midnight the day before a vote, or the reconciliation process, we know what they want our health system to look like.  They want a public option, they want near impossible regulation on private industry that will lead to single-payer, they want public funding for abortion, by necessity they need rationing, they need behavior modifying taxes such as the soda tax, and they need higher income taxes across the board.  They have also made it clear that they will pass Obamacare with our without Republicans, even if it means bending the rules to pass it with just 51 votes in the Senate.

Don’t be fooled by this new talking point.  They may not have a piece of paper with Pelosi, Reid and Obama’s signatures on it yet, but we have no doubts as to what will be on that paper when they do if we are not vigilant.

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