What the Tea Party Movement doesn’t get

I live in Tennessee so I suppose I should comment on my home state hosting the infamous Tea Party Nation “convention” at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. The intra-tea party kerfuffle is quite entertaining – a tea party activist from Dandridge, about 40 miles away from me, called the Nashville conclave a “bunch of snakes.” But the real problem is the very name. TEA Party stands for “taxed enough already”. It apparently stands on the vanguard against Obama’s reduction in taxes or some phantom tax increase out there. Or maybe it’s just an advocacy group for those making $250k whose taxes would go up (to Clinton era levels) if Obama gets his way. But the tea partiers insist they are a grassroots organization and not a front for a bunch of rich people.

Fair enough. But are taxes really the problem? Can you really bring down the deficit without raising taxes? Has that EVER happened over the long or medium term? And if it requires spending cuts, what SPECIFICALLY should we cut, given that these same tea partiers demand a “strong national defense” (which costs lots of money) and nearly rioted over proposals to cut Medicare Advantage. Do they honestly think there is enough “waste, fraud and abuse” to wring out that will bring the deficit down on its own? Or do they even care about deficits?

What angers me most about the tea partiers is that their priorities are so utterly distorted. Like all Tennesseans I pay no state income tax, and my property taxes are relatively low. I pay high sales tax – including on food – but overall cost of living is cheap here. My family makes a modest salary – less than $50k a year, we own a home with our two kids and, consequently, don’t pay that much in income tax. If the tea party activists really are a grassroots organization and not a front for the rich and powerful then most of the members here in Tennessee live in material circumstances similar to mine.

But there is one thing that makes getting by harder and harder. My first monthly paycheck arrived for 2010 and I got a pay cut. No, not an actual salary cut – we had to do that a year ago to weather the recession and we are reasonably confident that those cuts will be restored the next fiscal year. I’m talking about a huge new chunk that came out of my paycheck for health premiums. My local health insurer was bought out by Humana and now my premiums have gone up about $100 month over last year. Considering my salary, that’s no small potatoes. And considering that the quality of health care I receive certainly has not increased (it isn’t bad, it’s just not any better than when I paid less), I have essentially been hit with a massive tax increase by the health insurance industry. I pay more for nothing. With higher deductibles to boot we ration our use of health care, limiting doctor visits we would have made before. And there is no way any of us are going to the hospital unless a truly life-threatening situation arises. I’m still angry over a $1,400 bill we received for my son’s two-night stay in the hospital with the croup. But I suppose we all need to ration care in the end.

I have no idea if the health care plan in Congress – if and when it ever passes – will materially affect my premiums. My family is quite healthy and I don’t anticipate any of us going on any individual plan soon. But I sure as heck am angry over this situation. Nothing makes me feel like I am getting left behind – and we as a nation are falling backward – more than the increased “tax” we pay for health premiums. Frankly, I can’t imagine a government increasing taxes at the rate my insurer increases rates.

I’m trying to lay it out on a personal level. There are myriad policy implications at work here. I am certainly willing to pay more in taxes (I don’t pay much now anyway) to cover the nation’s expenses – including for the expansion of health coverage.

But I will not sit idly by while these tea party fools moan on and on about supposed attacks on their “liberty” when the real beast that threatens us is an out of control private health insurance market and not the Federal government.

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Author: AARON ASTOR

  • Schadenfreude_lives

    If, from the more wretched parts of the old world, we look at those which are in an advanced stage of improvement, we still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised, to furnish new pretenses for revenues and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without tribute. ~Thomas Paine

  • sonyasilvia07

    You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price from http://bit.ly/atGzeD

  • DLS

    Elrod, what is the point you're really trying to make? The Tea Party phenom is just people being tired of Big Government, a situation made worse by overreach this past year by the Dems in Washington. They're upset because the earth is round; it doesn't require much explanation. That's totally separate from health care reform or any other issue that might be sought, which is controversial if it involves any new substantial government intervention, especially from Washington, and more than ever after this past year.

    Health care is a separate issue. (It also is not “the” issue “in place of” the public objection in general to overreach by Washington this year, and going too far leftward, which is far from limited to health care, as has been explained all year).

  • DLS

    “I am certainly willing to pay more in taxes (I don’t pay much now anyway) to cover the nation’s expenses – including for the expansion of health coverage.”

    Are you expecting others, or Society in general (Other People), to pay much more?

    “I can’t imagine a government increasing taxes at the rate my insurer increases rates.”

    It's certainly possible. (Or do you not care so long as others face large increases, but you don't?)

    As far as going to from private to public, profit to non-profit, insurer-and-HMO-based to federal or combined federal-state “single-payer” Medicare-Medicaid-style health care, or the VA model in the long term to reduce costs even more — we'll be exchanging one set of problems for another. And if you are in the situation you're in, in Tennessee, it's better than elsewhere. Currently there are waiting lists for care where I am, and that's without even the complication of people on Medicare, who face an additional obstacle, because what limited access there is, is even additionally rationed, already, specifically, limited, i.e., rationed, as in “there are only N slots available for Medicare patients,” when I asked providers what the people on Medicare face around here. That's without any “reform” or the upcoming substantial planned reduction (20 per cent or more) of payments to providers. (Disappearing providers, i.e., vanishing supply, as well as cost controls may eventually move government and government health care advocates from Medicare to the VA model in the long term.)

  • DLS

    The following example is from California, which will make news — recall what I said elsewhere about health care being affected this year by not only Congress and ObamaCo but if the insurers cut their own throats insofar as public relations are concerned. It's already news on the far lefty “progressive” radio talk shows. It's actually no surprise to me, as just before I left Michigan, Blue Cross sought to raise individual policies last year by almost sixty per cent, originally. (They ended up raising my premium from $320 to $400 monthly. That's a bargain compared to a colleague's here, whose California individual policy is over $900 a month.) Note that Michigan's Blue Cross is non-profit. ($20M to execs last year in news)

    This isn't a surprise. In all fairness, though, Elrod, given the criticism above from me, it's a valid complaint, and I'm surprised there wasn't a separate thread with this as the subject header on this site already. (Again — this is in California, and it probably can make more news this coming week.)

    http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_143

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb/04/busines

    Example site — Michigan story

    http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/08/13/blue-cro

  • guess_who_hint_not_u

    all i can say is a im a proud tea party er and i do it because of how they are using my taxes i did not like how Bush did it and i sure as heck don't like obama they are doing the same things just obama is 10X worse it is a real shame it had to come to him getting elected for people to wake up but thats better than sleeping at the wheel while they take our money and freedoms away

    just hope and pray that we still have have freedom to vote him out in 2012…

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/blog/OQGAGQL7ZFHS2GTUXPRIA275QY nicrivera

    Elrod,

    What appropriate timing!

    I've just spent the last twenty reading a very long post written by Kevin Smith over at his blog, in media res, and he does not have kind things to say about Tea Party Nation founder and Tea Party Convention organizer, Judson Phillips.

    A self-described “libertarian conservative” and native of Tennessee, Kevin Smith was with Judson Phillips during the founding of Tea Party Nation (which I should point out, it one of MANY different Tea Party organizations, many of which do not see eye-to-eye with one another regarding what the underlying goals of the Tea Party movement should be). The two ended up going their separate ways after Judson Phillips made the Tea Party Nation became a for-profit organization (after apparently telling Smith and the rest of the steering committee that it was to be a non-profit organization).

    Given the very damning (whoops, can I say that word here?) things Smith says about Judson, it would be interesting to here Phillips' side of the story…

    …which, incidentally, Ed Morrissey of Hot Air attempted to do, as reported in his on-going coverage of the Tea Party convention controversey over a month ago. Unfortunately, Judson never got back to Morrissey. He did, however, release a statement with regard to the controversy. Unfortunately, his statement regarding the controversy ended up being a nonstatement. Given an opportunity to defend himself against rather damning allocations made of him by a fellow Tea Party member, he wrote:

    Between last February and the present, Tea Party Nation has seen members come and go. We have tried to deal fairly with our present and former relationships, however, not without some criticism. This criticism has been unfortunate and we believe, unwarranted. However, it is the policy of Tea Party Nation not to focus on past challenges, but to stay focused on the task of advancing the conservative cause and defeating liberalism.

    The more I hear about the Tea Party Nation's convention and its founder, the more shady it all seems.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/blog/OQGAGQL7ZFHS2GTUXPRIA275QY nicrivera

    all i can say is a im a proud tea party er and i do it because of how they are using my taxes i did not like how Bush did it and i sure as heck don't like obama they are doing the same things just obama is 10X worse it is a real shame it had to come to him getting elected for people to wake up but thats better than sleeping at the wheel while they take our money and freedoms away

    just hope and pray that we still have have freedom to vote him out in 2012…

    There's been a lot of debate hear recently regarding what the Tea Party movement stands for. As a Tea Party supporter, perhaps you can enlighten us.

    1) What is your underlying philosophy regarding economic policy, and do you believe this view is reflective of the views of the Tea Party movement?
    a) What are your positions on fiscal policy (i.e. taxation and spending)?
    b) What are your positions on monetary policy (i.e. the Federal Reserve, Keynesianism vs Monetarism vs the Austrian school)?
    c) What are your positions on regulatory policy (i.e. workplace safety laws, consumer protection laws, environmental regulations)?
    d) What are your positions on trade policy (i.e. protectionism vs. free trade)?

    2) What is your underlying philosophy regarding foreign policy, and do you believe this view is reflective of the views of the Tea Party movement?
    a) What are your positions on nondefensive war and pre-emptive war?
    b) What is your position on the size of the American military budget?
    c) What is your position on having more than 700 American military bases in more than 120 countries around the world?
    d) What is your position on the United States' involvement with the United Nations?

    3) What is your underlying philosophy regarding civil liberties, and do you believe this view is reflective of the views of the Tea Party movement?
    a) What is your position on censorship and anti-obscenity laws?
    b) What is your position regarding sexual activity between two or more consenting adults?
    c) What is your position on gun control?
    d) What is your position on the War on Drugs?
    e) What is your position on the Patriot Act?

    Please take your time in getting back to me.

  • http://geniusdeferred.wordpress.com/ Genius Deferred

    I have to be honest and say, I view the Tea Party-ers and just about ANYBODY cloaking themselves in a blanket of “Conservatism” these days to be a RACIST! NOTHING Obama would ever do or say will appeal to them, because he can't change the biggest issue they have a problem with! It's no surprise how “whitewashed” the Tea Party crowds are. These are people that are so anxious to get back to “the good ol' america”, because they realize it was all about being white and male! That time is OVER and Tea Party-ers and Conservatives are surely going to lose if they don't figure out a way to embrace the changing demographics of this country! Everybody doesn't want to be a Democrat, but VERY FEW PEOPLE want to be a undercover Klansman/Tea Party Patriot!

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/blog/OQGAGQL7ZFHS2GTUXPRIA275QY nicrivera

    I have to be honest and say, I view the Tea Party-ers and just about ANYBODY cloaking themselves in a blanket of “Conservatism” these days to be a RACIST.

    It's comments like this that truly coarsen our debates. Issuing a blanket condemnation of all Tea-Party-ers as “racists” is no better than than issuing a blanket condemnation of all Barack Obama supporters as “socialists.”

    For God's sake. If you're going to accuse people who being racist, at least have the good sense to offer an explanation as to why you believe them to be racist. Sadly, racism does exist in this country, and your quickness to label those whom you disagree as “racists” cheapens the term.

  • shannonlee

    I think you'll need to dumb down your questions a liitle bit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Axel-Kaspar-Edgren/635450085 Axel Kaspar Edgren

    Simply out, the fact that tea partiers only came out in spades under the Obama administration (which has spent money, but majorly not on incredibly dumb things) proves that they are bad for the country.

    Also, these are the people who could call Obama a “socialist” or a “communist” at the drop of a hat, yet I never saw them call Bush anything as stupid?

    Why? Probably because their laughably small amount of Weltanschauung left them without a proper word to put on their precious little plaques.

    The Tea Party movement cannot save America, or even help it. They will not make the GOP more fiscally responsible, and considering how they suck up to psychopaths like Palin they will not keep better track of authorities. They are the exact same people that gladly accepted Bush's or Nixon's authority to do whatever they wanted – they go by labels and narratives, not by content or past experiences. The Tea Party is the nadir of American political discourse.

  • superdestroyer

    There were many on the right who called Bush a socialist and criticized the Bush Administraiton for expanding government and increasing regulations. The DHS regulations alone killed many biological research programs, made huge demands on the whole gasoline and fuel industry, and increased demands for background checks.

    The progressives problem is that no matter how high taxes go, they are always demanding more money, more programs, and more government. Raising taxes will not solve the fiscal issues since the progressives will increase spending, run deficits, and be back demanding more money. See the blue states of NY, Mass, California, and Maryland. They were running huge deficits even though they have high state taxes.

    Raising taxes is not a solution. Limiting government and controlling spend is the only long term solution.

    Look at how progressives demonstrate their true beliefs about spending and the environment when they support open borders and unlimited immigration.

  • shannonlee

    So would you support legislation that both raises taxes and cuts spending? I sure would…after we dig ourselves out of this hole of course.

  • Don Quijote

    The Tea Party phenom is just people being tired of Big Government, a situation made worse by overreach this past year by the Dems in Washington.

    Bulls**t…

    These people had no problem accepting the growth of Government when Bush was president, Bush wiped his ass with constitution, The first amendment, the fourth amendment, the fifth amendment and the sixth amendment were treated as bad jokes by the Bush administration…

    And then we have this small expansion of Government power.

    In a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law (1). It does so by revising the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the President's ability to deploy troops within the United States. The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331 -335) has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385), helped to enforce strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement. With one cloaked swipe of his pen, Bush is seeking to undo those prohibitions.

    Public Law 109-364, or the “John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007″ (H.R.5122) (2), which was signed by the commander in chief on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the President to declare a “public emergency” and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to “suppress public disorder.”

    President Bush seized this unprecedented power on the very same day that he signed the equally odious Military Commissions Act of 2006. In a sense, the two laws complement one another. One allows for torture and detention abroad, while the other seeks to enforce acquiescence at home, preparing to order the military onto the streets of America. Remember, the term for putting an area under military law enforcement control is precise; the term is “martial law.”

    Section 1076 of the massive Authorization Act, which grants the Pentagon another $500-plus-billion for its ill-advised adventures, is entitled, “Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies.” Section 333, “Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law” states that “the President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of (“refuse” or “fail” in) maintaining public order, “in order to suppress, in any State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.”

    I won't mention the bad habit of starting wars without having the Senate declare it, Bush did that twice… Or his running of wars completely off budget Or of having people sent overseas to be tortured

    None of these assults on the Constitution and basic human decency bothered any of these people, but raising taxes to pay for their military industrial complex is an unacceptable expension of Government….
    The basic problem here is that these people with the encouragement of FOX News and it's Repug propagandists do not CONSIDER A DEMOCRATIC ADMINISTRATION LEGITIMATE and are unwilling to accept the fact that they lost two elections in a row fair and square, and that once you lose the winning side gets to run the show as they see fit until they lose their control of the Presidency or the Congress…

  • VeratheGun

    If you make less than $50,000 a year, (which the utter lack of punctuation, absence of form and complete idiocy of this post suggest), you probably pay little to no federal income tax at all. But I highly doubt your eighth grade education makes you employable at all.

    http://money.cnn.com/2009/09/30/pf/taxes/who_pa

    I hope and pray that in the future, the Teabaggers that post on this site learn to use punctuation, the proper use of the capital letter 'I' and internalize the meaning of “run on sentence”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Axel-Kaspar-Edgren/635450085 Axel Kaspar Edgren

    “There were many on the right who called Bush a socialist and criticized the Bush Administraiton for expanding government and increasing regulations.”

    You know, you people don't get any less pathetic just because you say that over and over. Bush never got anything close to this level of flak, and he spent more on dumber things. You are hypocrites and this is evident.

    “The progressives problem is that no matter how high taxes go, they are always demanding more money, more programs, and more government.”

    Except the HC reform is deficit neutral and centrist, leaving the private sector untouched. There is no way around a mandate – you know this.

    “See the blue states of NY, Mass, California, and Maryland. They were running huge deficits even though they have high state taxes. “

    California had red-state taxes with blue-state spending – and this fiscal insanity is forwarded by the tea party.

    “Raising taxes is not a solution.”

    Good thing Obama hasn't been talking about that then. In fact, one-third of the stimulus was tax cuts. SD, if you are insane you have to tell me now, so I don't waste anymore time on a maniac.

    “Look at how progressives demonstrate their true beliefs about spending and the environment when they support open borders and unlimited immigration.”

    Mmmm, because the right-wing ideas on immigration make much more sense amirite? Also, what in the blazing hell does immigration have to do with the environment.

    If you represent a street-level American, we can only thank our lucky stars that Obama is “out of touch” with you.

  • http://polimom.com Polimom

    “California had red-state taxes with blue-state spending “

    Eh? California has red-state taxes? Are you serious!? Which red states, specifically, are you referring to for comparative purposes?

  • Don Quijote

    2006 State & Local Revenue as a
    Percentage of Personal Income

    There are 17 states that collect more taxes than California…

  • http://polimom.com Polimom

    And in '05, they were ranked 10th (on a per capita basis).

    States Ranked by Total State Taxes and Per Capita Amount: 2005

    And none of this supports the statement that California has “red state taxes”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Axel-Kaspar-Edgren/635450085 Axel Kaspar Edgren

    What they had was a system where it was easier to increase spending than it was to follow up with increases in taxes. What the tea party is is a faction that wants to keep their spending and prevent anything from happening outside of their stunted perspective.

  • elrod

    The problem in California is structural. It requires a majority vote to increase government spending but a supermajority vote to raise taxes. It's literally impossible to govern that state no matter what your ideology may be.

    New York's problem is that the manufacturing economy in the Rust Belt areas Upstate completely collapsed over the last few decades. As a result, the primary income driver in New York State is Wall Street and the HQ profits flowing in downstate. Without NYC the state would be facing the same death spiral as Michigan. It used to be able to afford high social spending because the tax revenue BASE could sustain it. The tax rates were always high – especially property taxes – but it all balanced out when the state's economy balanced out between industry, agriculture, commerce and finance. That balance is gone and now Upstate NY is a ward of NYC (ironically because as recently as the mid 1990s Upstaters were convinced that THEIR hard-earned tax dollars were going to welfare recipients downstate and not vice versa).

  • http://geniusdeferred.wordpress.com/ Genius Deferred

    You obviously didn't read past the sentence you took issue with, if you did, then you'd have your answer. Don't just reply to stuff because you're bored and trying to increase your post count!

  • Don Quijote

    2008 State Tax Revenue

    California
    Total Taxes($ million): 117,362
    Per Capita: 3,193
    Rank: 12
    % of Pers. Income:7.7
    Rank: 14

    There are at least 11 States that tax more…

  • http://polimom.com Polimom

    DQ — that's all very nice, but how does that support the “red state taxes in California”? You seem to be doing your utmost to prove they're not sitting on the very pinnacle of the 50-state heap. Okay. And?

  • Don Quijote

    There is no real correlation between Low Taxes and being a Red State as can be seen from this list…

  • lillytaylor

    The bottom line is this Tea Party a bunch of RACIST individuals who will do anything to go against the President. Bush for 8 years took all of our money to support a war that was not even necessary for oil and where were the tea parties then!

    Here we have a President who is sincerely trying to help us ALL as individuals and you want to form a rally, this Presidents spending is to better everyone in the future to come. Bush spent 8 years in office truly making everyone's life worst.

    People are SO STUPID and don't have a clue!!!! WAKE UP PEOPLE! Republicans are nothing but a group of RACIST individuals who do care NOTHING about the middle class, they would rather continue to see thousands of people die each year from not having proper healthcare over working together to come to a solution, than to come to a solution and to help the American people.

    REPUBLICANS don't have a plan, the can care less about the common American people! There only plan is to ensure President Obama is not successful in his agenda.

  • gademakorboiquoquoi

    Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent, If we do not Used this Healthcare Reform Process, to BUILD Smart Infrastructure Services for: Healthcare IT, Smart Transportation Systems, Smart Grids, and broadband, this Nation may be Brankrupt in few years, by our SkyRocketing Healthcare Spending.

    We must Used some of the Stimulus Funds, that will Enabled us to Used HIT Solutions and Training, to CONTAINED our Annual National Healthcare Costs. This Investment will Enabled New Jobs Creation and Economic Recovery.

    Healthcare IT, we need to Coordinate our EHR/EMR/PHR Efforts with Organizations such as HL-7, HIMSS, IHE, e-Health Initiative, and to have a Harmonized Inter-State Privacy, Confidentiality, and Security Laws, to Protect Individual's Electronic Health Records/Electronic Medical Records/Personal Health Records.

    Proper Deployment of HIT Solutions and Training will Increased Productivity, Efficiency, and provide us with a Cost Savings of around 20-30% of our Annual National Healthcare Expenditures (2008, $2.3 Trillions).

    The ENGINE of Economic Growth in this 21st Century is “Broadband.” We can start by, Deploying a pure Packet-based, All Optical/IP, Multi-Service National TRANSPORT Network Infrastructure, using All Optical Ethernet throughout this National “Network of Networks.” This will Connect All Optical Islands, Nationwide.

    The Investment in this National “Network of Networks”, in addition to New Jobs Creation and Economic Recovery,can also Serve as a Business Driver for: e-Commerce, e-Education, e-Healthcare, Social Networking, Entertainment, etc.

    This Investment is like the Investments made in the past, in ERA, TVA, and the National Transportation Inter-State Highways,which Increased Productivity and our GDP.

    Please See: http://www.gkquoquoi.blogspot.com for Summary Deployment Plan, for the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN).

    Gadema Korboi Quoquoi
    President & CEO
    COMPULINE INTERNATIONAL, INC.

  • JSpencer

    Health care is a separate issue. – DLS

    No so. Healthcare is part of the greater economic problem and can't be separated.

    weltanschauung

    Great word! Of course I had to look it up, being one of those sadly monolingual folks…

  • DLS

    “These people had no problem accepting the growth of Government when Bush was president [...]“

    You must not have been here during the 2006 elections.

  • Don Quijote

    You must not have been here during the 2006 elections.

    It took 6 years of lies, wars, budget deficits, torture, wiretapping, signing statements and a shitty economy to get those independents to get their heads out of their asses and realize what a disaster Bush was… And while I have not seen any polls, I am pretty sure that those independents are probably not Teabaggers today…

  • DLS

    * * *

    “No so. Healthcare is part and parcel of the greater economic problem and can't be separated.”

    I was assuming too much — sorry.

    “Health care reform is a separate issue from the Sarah Palin phenomenon,” which is what this thread was about (which subject? they are separate).

    Health care reform certainly is distinct but is not separate from the real protest, which is Big Government in general.

  • DLS

    “The problem in California is structural.”

    It is political. Anyone who has lived there (I grew up there and lived several years afterward there), or has visited it with their mind open, or studies what is happening there understands this.

  • Rudi

    If you make less than $50,000 a year, (which the utter lack of punctuation, absence of form and complete idiocy of this post suggest), you probably pay little to no federal income tax at all.
    BS Maybe under $15,000, but the under $50K crowd does pay tax, and FICA is a bigger bite on this crowd than FICA bites from the $250K crowd.

  • DLS

    “FICA is a bigger bite on this crowd”

    There's no way this group of clown Dems can currently manage to fold FICA into the federal income tax, as well as make it more progressive, fortunately. (Imagine them “running away” with such a tax strategy.) These are the kinds of clowns who would “solve” our entitlement problems merely by laws making appropriations for 100% of the program expenditures mandatory by federal law. Poof! Wave that magic wand. We're actually lucky they didn't attempt federal health care takeover incrementalist strategies that were more ambitious, like absorbing Medicaid into Medicare. They'll probably not be satisfied with just letting the Bush income tax reductions expire, but will try adding progressivity as well as a host of new “fees,” “charges,” and other taxes. I doubt they'll be so crazy as to try a wealth tax, at least. That won't come probably for another 10-20 years.

    Expect entitlement reform to consist merely of lifting the FICA cap on incomes. If Social Security benefits aren't lifted, it's ugly outright theft (a tax grab). Whether or not benefits are adjusted, the start of Social Security deficits will only be delayed a few years — should be less than ten. Lifting or ending the FICA cap is no budget or entitlement solution, I hope you realize. It helps, but merely forestalls the inevitable for a few years; it is almost insignificant.

  • VeratheGun

    Why don't you take a look at the link I so conveniently provided.

    Here, I'll give you one statistic: 47% of people making less than $50,000 pay no federal income tax at all.

    FICA is not federal income tax. It is not what I was referring to.

    FICA is what we commonly refer to as the Social Security tax.

    Are you saying you don't want to pay FICA? Why do you hate old people so much?

  • superdestroyer

    As long as the left supports open borders and unlimited immigration along with the support for easy identify theft and unlimited government benefits to illegal immigrants, then the left shows that it does not care about improving healthcare, helping the environment, or helping everyone.

    If the U.S. wants to expand the welfare state, then it is going to have to seal the borders and severely limit immigration.

    Of course, if you close down immigraiton, then where will the elites find anyone to work in poorly paid, inner city hospitals. No one who is an elite progressive would ever work there.

  • Rudi

    Old people are fine, but people who misuse statistics aren't…

  • dduck12

    Is it fair to ask so many questions. I am neither for, nor against TPers, but hey seem to be a diverse collection, and if they have a central command, then that should be where our questions should go. All I see are a lot of people unhappy with a dysfunctional congress, big gov, big bus, and big taxes. I can sympathize to a certain extent, can't you?

  • dduck12

    Not nice.

  • dduck12

    psychopaths like Palin”

    That would be better (perhaps a diagnoses would evolve) than a crafty opportunist with good gag writers in tow.

  • CharlieGosh

    If you Google “medical loss ratio” you'll learn that health insurance companies collect

    35% of all personal health care premiums, and
    25% of all group health care premiums

    and just keep that money for themselves. What's left over (their medical loss ratio) pays for actual health care — doctors, hospitals, drugs, etc. That's right; they consider the money they pay for care as a loss.

    If you ran a business, and your accountant kept 1/3 of the total gross revenue as his salary, you'd find a new accountant.

    Face it — they're just accountants, cashing and writing checks.

    Now you know why the insurance companies like the status quo.

    By the way, Medicare does the same job while using around 5% of the gross. Still think the private companies do a better job than the government?

  • dduck12

    Actually, the loss ratio is 80-85% among the large carriers. http://www.scribd.com/doc/24599363/Health-Insur

    Of course, I realize it is pin the tail on the donkey (health insurance companies)in this HCR climate, but some criticism is overdone.

  • CharlieGosh

    dduck12, I'm sorry to be the one to inform you that you've been deliberately misled by a health care insurance industry shill.

    Surveys of actual state regulatory commissions (rather than code-named bloggers) find the 84% figure to be an industry-wide public relations figment, and a less-than-75% figure to be accurate. The industry refuses to cooperate, calling this information “proprietary.”

    http://www.newamerica.net/blog/new-health-dialo

    http://www.familiesusa.org/assets/pdfs/medical-

    Or, you can listen to some blogger named carneades2009 regurgitating talking points from “United Healthcare, Humana, Aetna, Coventry and Wellpoint” (Wellpoint posted a $2.7 billion profit last year, BTW — few other companies did quite that well. You might recall we had a worldwide recession . . . ).
    See the original at http://www.scribd.com/doc/24599363/Health-Insur… and scroll to the bottom and read the author's own 'About' statement.

    These numbers are academic, anyway. The bottom-line reality is that Americans spend far more for health care than any other nation and we get much poorer results (for mortality and wellness) than any modern country.

    Do some actual research from trusted authorities, don't just hear what you want to hear.

    This makes it ridiculously difficult for America to compete in any marketplace because so much of our money is wasted on the absurd profits posted by health insurance companies, and the self-serving policies they enforce with total impunity.

    Anthem Blue Cross just raised their rates by 39%. Do you really think medical costs went up 39% last year, while inflation was flat? Or do you think they merely want to lock in an obscene profit margin?
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/

    This industry has used their money and power over a period of decades to splinter regulations among 50 states. Do you have any idea how unnecessarily complicated it is to have 50 distinctly separate forms, regulations, laws, employee training and education, processes and procedures? Have you priced the rarefied, customized, extremely low-volume software they need to simply do their job because they have 50 different procedures?

    Why would anyone make their own business so complicated? Because they can run roughshod over any single state legislature and buy their way (we call it “re-election campaign contributions”) to nearly anything they want. There is zero federal regulation, and they like it that way, because it's much harder to buy a US Congressman than to buy one at the state level (though they've clearly managed to do so).

    Today, over $1 out of every $6 Americans spend goes for health care (nearly triple what the British pay). How can we possibly ever compete in this environment?

    Do the math; $1 out of every $24 we spend on anything goes to line the pockets of health insurance companies. That's a LOT of money, and it's why they're willing to do ANYTHING to maintain the status quo. We pay, they collect scandalous profits, and we support them with all our might. Wake up!

    This isn't capitalism; it's capitalism run amok.

  • dduck12

    dduck12, I'm sorry to be the one to inform you that you've been deliberately misled.”

    I'm sorry you were sorry.
    I think your figure of 25-33% of “collection” in your original post is exaggerated. But, I think you are correct that the Ins. co. do possibly try to show better LRs. Taking NY, my home state as an example, showing 75/80% LRs and as shown in your link (thanks again) they did force Oxford (a company I have had trouble with) refunding premiums and possibly rejecting premium increases. (By all means companies like Oxford should be nailed, but not all companies are equal.) My point is there are bad insurance companies and bad state insurance departments.
    I have been an advocate for a national insurance regulator as the costs that filing policies and regulating licensees, and all the other costs just get passed on to consumers. Although I worry that an agency like the SEC would be created.
    So, I agree in general with you.
    This is too big a problem (HCR) to be playing the blame game and calling everyone crooks or not interested in other people's welfare. Too much hype just delays constructive study and action on the biggest problem that I know of. Would you agree that we should try to do the job right for the initial law (fixes of course will be needed) and taking our precarious fiscal condition into consideration?