Thursday, July 02, 2009

Open Letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama;
I've sent comments to you on healthcare, but the box only takes 500 characters and I am much more long winded than that. Also, I haven't received any response. But, I'm not writing this to complain, but to help people take notice.
First and foremost, we shouldn't rush any of this. Theodore Roosevelt wanted national healthcare at the beginning of the last century and we've lived this long without it. Let's take our time. I know there's a feeling of urgency what with the economy trying to climb out of the toliet and the American public supporting you by 65%, but let's not make hasty decisions.
Second, any plan that adds yet another tax onto the backs of the middle class is not a plan worthy of mention. Those of us in the middle class pay enough taxes as it is. Right now, between Federal and State taxes, Social Security and Medicare, 1/3 of my paycheck is gone and I haven't even walked out of the building. Let's find the money some other way. (I'm for stopping farm substidies to large corporations and weekend farmers. The substidies weren't supposed to be paid out for more than five years when they started. It's just ridiculous that people like Sam Donaldson gets farm substidies, but I digress.) I'm pretty sure that at some point in the next few years, our taxes are going to have to go up, but let's not tax one of the few benefits we enjoy.
Now, having said # 2, let me mention #3: Let's give HUGE tax breaks to companies that cover at least 75% of an employee's healthcare and even bigger tax breaks to companies that cover 90%. Let's not make them pay taxes on any money spent on healthcare for employees' dependents. A lot of the uninsured are children and by giving employers the push to do the right thing, we might be able to knock more than half of the uninsured off the list.
Four, and this is big, let's not have national healthcare, but a national standard. And, here's why; we don't want to give companies a break on taxes and then have them use some shoddy fly by night insurance company that doesn't cover the basics. A pound of prevention is worth an ounce of cure, after all. We need wellness visits and mammograms, etc. to be covered. And, the standards set must be followed whether the company is self-insured or not. I spoke with a company representative where I work and she insisted that they didn't have to follow the minimums set by Illinois because they were self-insured. I couldn't find an answer on whether or not she was lying, so let's just get that part out of the way. If you follow at least the minimums, you get the tax break, if not, you don't. He who pays the band gets to pick the music, so companies shouldn't expect breaks, if they don't want to have the minimums.
Finally, whatever healthcare plan we pick or whatever minimums we set; Congress should be set at the same standard. If they had to live with our healthcare, the healthcare system wouldn't be broken.
I hope you see this, President Obama.
God Bless
A Concerned Citizen

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Taxing Healthcare Benefits

Okay, if you're a regular reader of my blog, you know that one of the three reasons I didn't vote for McCain was that he wanted to put a tax on my healthcare benefits. Yesterday, a co-worker of mine mentioned that he hoped I was happy now that Obama was going to start taxing healthcare benefits. I was more than a little stunned, especially since 1/3 of my reasons for voting for Obama was that he was against this idea. So, this morning, I have set out on a mission to see if I can find the justification for my co-worker's remark. I have found one article, but then my router went down and I discovered that my archives weren't working, so I haven't finished reading the article, but trust me, I will get to the bottom of this and I will be calling Feingold, Kohl and Ryan to let them know the taxing of healthcare benefits is wrong.
One quick thought before I'm off:
The
article I'm reading states "The wealthy enjoy the biggest boon from the policy, with their better jobs and richer perks. Still, Obama and many lawmakers are reluctant to embrace a tax." Well, I don't think I would be considered among the wealthy of the country, so there might be hope. I wouldn't be opposed to paying taxes on the healthcare if, say, they had to earn a certain amount, like $100,000 for a single person and $200,000 for a married person -- that, my dear friends, would leave most of us out of it.
Anyway, I would like to formulate a better thought on this, but I want to do my research -- just like I did when McCain first proposed this idea.
Oh, I almost forgot, according to my co-worker, this taxing of healthcare is Hillary's idea and it was part of the "deal" she made with Obama last year. Where is that coming from? Anyone know?
God Bless

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Corporate Taxes And Healthcare

Have you read this week's Business Week? On page 20, the Mandel on Economics article is about slashing Corporate taxes from 35% to 25%. That's a pretty big slash and it would mean that Corporations would pay a smaller percent than the highest taxed individual. On top of that, Corporations all ready only account for 10% of the Federal Government's revenue. Slashing their taxes would only bring that figure down AND it wouldn't guarantee that they would create jobs here at home.
In an article just a couple of pages along, Catherine Arnst writes that some CEOs are behind the "new, federally funded insurer" plan "that would expand coverage by competing with private health insurers." For once, I agree with the Republicans that this is a bad idea, but not for the same reasons.
I realize that we have to get the healthcare costs in hand and that premiums have risen faster than anything else, but if we let our corporations pay less in taxes and not have to be responsible for the people they hire, we're not helping anyone. We're moving more costs to the government and less on the backs of the companies who helped incur them.
Why can't we throw out the tax code all together and create a new one that gives companies incentives to create American jobs and cover benefits by paying lower taxes? Why should we just lower the taxes across the board and give them government benefits that allow them to put out even less for their employees? Won't this just tax the American worker that much more?

God Bless

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Chrysler's Plant Closing

Let me get this straight -- my tax dollars went to bailout Chrysler and the thanks I get for this is unemployed neighbors in Kenosha? And, to top it off, this car company is going to leave a plant opened in Mexico. Well, isn't that just special?
Now, I loved the Dodge Dakota truck I used to have and drove for 150,000 miles. And, I realize that my Suzuki I have driven for the past 8 years and 202,000 miles was made in a foreign country. Consider this full disclosure.
But, I don't think my tax dollars should be allowed to be given over to a company who is going to put Americans out of work and let a Mexican plant remain open.
And, I don't think I'll ever buy another Chrysler again.
God Bless

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pay Your Damn Taxes!!!!

What the hell, man?!?
It's coming out that more and more elected officials apparently can't figure out how to pay their damn taxes. I wasn't going to say anything, but now Palin is in trouble, too. It's becoming apparent that no one in politics can figure out how to pay their damn taxes.
Get it together, people!
No wonder our country is in such a mess!

God Bless

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Come and Get Me Rush Dittoheads...

According to the Dignity Index in this week's Newsweek, Georgia Representative Phil Gingrey told Rush Limbaugh to pipe down. Then, the poor man had to "grovel for forgiveness" becasue of the heat he took for it.

So, our great country has truly, truly lost its collective mind. We're going to give someone crap because he had the nerve, honor, brains and courage to stand up to this country's biggest no knowing blowhard?

Did I wake up in the USSR?

Let's face it, "folks", Rush's days are numbered. Anyone who has been listening to him for the last twenty years has to realize that he's just running scared. His "I hope he fails" and his creepy and unAmerican idea that any Republican who works with Obama isn't a real Republican is proving more and more that he's out of touch with reality and what America needs.

In case you're wondering what Representative Gingrey said, I'm posting it below:

"It's easy if you're Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks. You don't have to try to do what's best for your people and your party. You know you're just on these talk shows and you're living well and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of that thing. But when it comes to true leadership, not that these people couldn't be or wouldn't be good leaders." -- source Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The man has a point. Right now, the "right" is in trouble. Their old ways of "small" government and tax cuts isn't going to get us out of the mess we've gotten ourselves into over the last eight years. We're going to have to join together and work on fixing the country the best we can. Over the last sixteen years, we've neglected our infrastructure and over the last eight years, we've wasted the surplus we once had. Our issues won't be solved over night, but if we don't work together -- they won't be solved at all.

Jerks like Limbaugh really don't want the nation's issues to be fixed. They live for the divisions morons like him have worked to create. On top of that, they would rather sacrifice America's future than be proven wrong or even admit there might be a better way.

Remember that the next time the windbag appears on your radio -- he doesn't give a rat's ass about you or me or this country. He cares about ratings.

God Bless

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

What the REPUBLICANS Want...

According to CNN, the GOP has decided they don't want the following provisions in the stimulus bill.  I've added my own remarks.

• $2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Department of Energy defunded last year because it said the project was inefficient.

This one, I'll give them. I'm not convinced that "clean" coal is good for the environment. Now, I'd be willing to change my mind on this if two things: 1) This will create much needed jobs in Illinois and 2) Someone can prove to me that "clean" coal is good for the environment.

• A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film.

Well, I'm not too concern with the Hollywood community going out of business when a great number of producers, actors and directors make more for one movie than I will ever see in a lifetime of work. However; movies are probably one of our greatest exports. A movie that bombs here in America is sure to make a fortune in China or Japan or any number of other countries. Keeping Hollywood making money should be something good for all. I would, also, think that since this is a tax cut and Republicans believe that tax cuts are good for the economy they should support this one.

• $650 million for the digital television converter box coupon program.

Why is this a bad idea? If everyone has access to free TV, would it mean we might start paying attention to what goes on in Washington? Seriously, we are 14 days away from the changeover and millions of Americans couldn't get the coupons because not enough money was put into the program at the start.

• $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship).

New ships = people working.

• $448 million for constructing the Department of Homeland Security headquarters.

Construction? Hmmm, my brother "works" in construction -- when he's not laid off because the economy is tanking. If this would put his fellow carpenters to work -- provided we only use union carpenters, I'm all for it.

• $248 million for furniture at the new Homeland Security headquarters.

That doesn't seem excessive, but I think it deserves it's own bill. This won't really create jobs.

• $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees.

So, the Republicans want to give the car companies billions in free money (free to them), but not encourage the development of hybrid vehicles by jump starting the car economy?

• $400 million for the Centers for Disease Control to screen and prevent STD's.

This ensures that the workers at these centers keep their jobs -- can't imagine why the Republicans don't like that. Oh, wait, they don't believe in the prevention of STD's by anything but abstinence. You know what you call a woman who teaches her daughter abstinence only? GRANDMA!

• $1.4 billion for rural waste disposal programs.

Doesn't somebody need to be hired to do this? Isn't this a change, fix to infastructure?

• $125 million for the Washington sewer system.

Ditto for this one.

• $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities.

I'm all for supporting the Smithsonian, but not in the stimulus package.

• $1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion.

Now? Do we need to earmark the money now?

• $75 million for "smoking cessation activities."

Not a stimulus project

• $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges.

While this won't create jobs outright, it will help community colleges deal with the new influx of students that need job training.

• $75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI.

Well, is this so they can have raises? I'd like more information, wouldn't you?

• $25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction.

Sorry -- good plan, but shouldn't be part of the stimulus.

• $500 million for flood reduction projects on the Mississippi River.

This SHOULD create jobs and it should stay.

• $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas.

Like I said above, doesn't somebody need to be hired to do this? Isn't this a change, fix to infastructure?

• $6 billion to turn federal buildings into "green" buildings.

Ditto.

• $500 million for state and local fire stations.

This will free up a lot of money cities don't have right now to keep the fire stations manned.

• $650 million for wildland fire management on forest service lands.

Considering the amount of money spent on putting out these fires, a little prevention could go a long way.

• $1.2 billion for "youth activities," including youth summer job programs.

Hello -- youths, jobs. What part of that don't the Repubs get? Some kids count on summer jobs to help save for college or don't Republican children need to save for college?

• $88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service.

Could this wait? Will this create a job?

• $412 million for CDC buildings and property.

 To do what?

• $500 million for building and repairing National Institutes of Health facilities in Bethesda, Maryland.

 Someone will need to be hired to do this.

• $160 million for "paid volunteers" at the Corporation for National and Community Service.

 We "pay" volunteers?

• $5.5 million for "energy efficiency initiatives" at the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.

 And, this is bad for why?

• $850 million for Amtrak.

 We gave billions to the car companies and banks, why not give some to Amtrak?

• $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint.

 Depends on where.

• $75 million to construct a "security training" facility for State Department Security officers when they can be trained at existing facilities of other agencies.

 Please this will create jobs and maybe the other facilities are too crowded.

• $110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems.

 Creating jobs. Spending money in the economy. Someone has to fix these computers and/or set up new ones.

• $200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.

 And this is a bad thing because why?

Now, that I've added my two cents, let me say this, SHUT UP, REPUBLICANS, SHUT UP!!!!

For eight long years, the Republicans have been in charge.  They lowered taxes, raised the deficit and started not one but two wars.  And, now, they're not happy and they're whining about $19 Billion dollars in a $900 Billion package.  Granted, there are some points on which I agree with them.  This might not be the place for these programs.  However; since the last administration gave away $350 Billion dollars of my, my daughter's, my grandsons' and my grandson's grandsons' money and can't tell me where it went, I'm not going to quibble over 19 billion.

If this stimulus package works -- no one else will quibble either and the Republicans who voted against it will probably be out of a job -- like a great many of the rest of us.

God Bless

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Layoffs...

To clarify this blog entry, I'm only referring to American companies with American citizens...

I was reading an article about a company that is about to layoff 15% of their workforce because they only posted an $0.08 profit per share. The company spokesman said that they owe it to their investors to turn a higher profit. Really, because what about those people who believed in that company and contributed to that $0.08 share profit -- don't they owe something to them?

In this broken economy, I propose that any company that shows any profit or even just breaks even that lays off employees simply to push their profit margin higher is unAmerican. Every employee that is laidoff is a hardworking American citizen and that hardworking American citizen puts their paycheck into our American economy. And, when that American citizen loses his or her job, they don't spend as much money in the American economy, which means another company's profit margin goes down and another company lays off employees and the cycle begins again.

I have to say I'm a little disappointed at the idea that companies would be given tax cuts. These are the same companies that seem to think they don't have any obligation to anyone besides investors. Eventually, as long as employees are considered to be nothing more than a drain on money rather than the valuable resources they are -- companies won't have to worry about their investors, because the companies will eventually not exist. Any company that has laid off any employees in the last year doesn't deserve a tax cut.

There's a story I heard years ago about Johnson Wax. Apparently, during the depression Johnson Wax NEVER LAID OFF ONE EMPLOYEE. They cut their hours, but Mr. Johnson believed that he owed his employees something to keep the company and the employees going. I'm sure that Johnson Wax must've lost money during the depression, but the Almighty Dollar wasn't more important than helping their employees put food on the table. It's really too bad that men like that don't exist anymore.

Years ago I started telling friends that as long as companies see employees as liabilities instead of assets things were going to get bad and unfortunately, I was right.

Right now, I'm lucky, I still have my job, but I have to wonder when the axe will fall and my company decides I'm a liability and not an asset.

God Bless

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rush Makes A Fuss

I cannot stand Rush Limbaugh.  I have never been able to tolerate listening to his radio program and watching his I believe now cancelled television show.  I cannot believe that there are 20 million Americans who are so mis-guided and uninformed to listen to this man on a daily basis.  Buy a paper, look at the Internet!  Read a book, folks.  (I really hate it when he calls his listeners folks.)

I heard today that nothing would make Limbaugh happier than if President Obama fails.  He cites that Obama is "talking about the absorption of as much as the private sector by the U.S. government as possible."  Well, personally, I believe he's offbase.  These bailouts do not meant he government will be taking over these industries for the long term.  However; if you want government money to bailout your company, than the government has the right -- no, the duty -- to oversee your business.  My mama told me that he who pays the band, picks the music.  

He listed the banking industry and the car industry, but really what bothered me is that he said "I hope he fails."

See, I believe that you all of us have the right to say and believe what we want -- this is America afterall, but shut up, Rush.  You old windbag do not offer a better plan and right now, America needs action.  We need to step up to the plate and join together to set what is wrong right, to keep what is right and to move forward instep with each other.  People who can only critize without offering a better idea are just baffoons who should be ignored.

I happen to disagree with the bailout.  I have a better idea and if you come back tomorrow, I'll have it all laid out for you.

God Bless

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Stimulus Package

Economists are calling on Washington to create yet another stimulus package. Bush previously said, "No" to the idea, but something has changed his mind and now he wants one.

Well, I can't imagine this being a good idea. Let's just put our deficit even higher. Our government all ready owes everyone and their brother money. The bailout has cost every American citizen $3,100 and now, they want to pass a $150 billion bill. How is this going to help? Maybe, we just need the economy to suck for a while. It'll come back, let's just sit, wait and see what happens.

If anything should pass, it should be to give states enough money to cover unemployment. I heard that Wisconsin is running out of money. Also, it should be to help the 7.5% of Americans who are or will be unemployed find training in other fields.

Side note: My mother keeps insisting the economy is chugging along and everything is fine. One of the things she says proves this is our unemployment rate. Right now, it's lower than 7.5% and it is lower than it was in the seventies, so things are okay. Well, I don't know a lot about the seventies, but I know now if you're unemployed and not on the unemployment roll, you're not being counted. If you are still employed, but looking for a full time job, you're counted as unemployed. If you took a job way below where you were before, you're not being counted, but you're not making your full pre-firing, pre-laid off wage. None of these are good for the economy. Another thing that isn't good was the high gas prices.

Now, if they are going to send sums home to people, let's send more than a lousy $600.00 per individual. Cheryl and I normally spend more than $1800 on Christmas between gifts, wrapping paper, Christmas Eve dinner and charitable donations, but not this year. We're cutting way back this year. We haven't been able to put money into our savings accounts like previous years due to various reasons -- the least of which included the high gas prices -- and we're going to need to use the Christmas fund to pay our home taxes. Now, I'm not complaining, we both have jobs, things are just tighter than normal. We'll get through it, just as many of Americans will.

But, the only way for the economy to bounce back is we need to put money into it. So, here's my suggestion -- partially stolen from Lewis Black -- let's build something, anything. Let's put money into our intrastucture. Let's improve our roads, let's update our railroads. If we're going to spend $150 billion dollars, let's use it to create jobs. How about create an energy company, solely owned by the government, that will research fossil fuel alternatives? What about a company that will invent a better running car? Something, anything that will create jobs. And, let's take a look at the hardest hit areas of the nations and put in training centers. Let's train our unemployed and underemployed for different jobs. Not only would we employ people as trainers, but we'll make our un and under employed citizens ready for the next jobs in their lives.

How can we pay for this?

Well, let's stop substizing oil companies and large farms (not family farms, the big guys) and I'm sure there's other things as well. Let's rollback the tax breaks on the upper 1%. We all know taxes have to be raised, so let's just get it over with. Hell, I'd chip in a little more in taxes to pay for something that benefits all.

But, it'll never happen.

So, if they do pass the stimulus, I hope it's enough money so we can buy some really nice Christmas presents.

God Bless

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Again with the Economy

Perhaps, I'm missing something. I'm reading this week's Time magazine and they've included a voter's guide to Obama and McCain's plans for the economy. Under Obama's plan, he would end Bush's tax cuts for families making more than $250,000 (with which I agree), raise the capital gains tax and give tax credits to singles and families. McCain wants to make Bush's tax cuts permanent (which I oppose), reduce the corporate tax (as I mentioned last week) and here's a new one -- "He may be open to the possibility of a higher Social Security payroll tax." What does that mean?
8% of my salary goes to Social Security. Is he going to raise that? And, with that raise, is he going to guarntee that Social Security will be there when I retire? Or, is he going to lift the cap, so that those earning more than $92,000 a year pay on their whole salary? I would support lifting the cap.
Think about it. If you make $50,000 per year, you pay Social Security on that whole amount. That comes to $4,000 or 8%. If you make $100,000 a year, you pay only on $92,000, which comes to $7,360 or 7.36% of your salary. So, percentage wise, the person who earns less pays more than the person who earns the most. Does that seem fair to you?

God Bless

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's Still the Economy

John McCain wants to cut corporate taxes by 10% -- taking the corporate tax rate down from 35% to 25%. He believes this will convince companies not to go off shore for workers. It'll keep them here. Too bad he's wrong.
Publicly traded companies care about one thing -- their stock prices. Giving them a tax cut won't guarantee any company will keep jobs here, especially if it'll make their stock price go up to locate jobs overseas.
McCain, also, wants to take the burden of insurance off the backs of our corporations and have individuals pay for it themselves. He's really working the business side of things, isn't he? He believes that we'll keep prices down if we have to pay for the insurance ourselves. He wants to give a tax credit to us, so we'll buy our own insurance. ($2500 for singles, $5000 for families)
That'll work.
You know what will happen? People will buy the insurance and those with a lot of money will buy the good insurance. The insurance that'll cover everything and they'll stay off the public rolls when a serious illness comes along -- most likely. People with middle incomes will buy middle cost insurance. They'll risk losing their homes if a serious illness comes along. And, the people at the bottom of the income levels will buy exactly the amount the credit covers and when it isn't enough to cover their needs, we'll all be supporting them.
McCain, also, wants to make the Bush Tax Cuts permament. Well, that'll help those on top and leave nothing for the others on the bottom.
Here's an idea:
Instead of just granting businesses a huge tax cut, give them the credits. For each single employee, give the employer a $2500 credit to help offset the cost of insuring them. Give a $5000 tax credit to ensure an employee and their dependents. That would ease company's burdens -- limit the tax credit to only Americans working in America. Place a cap on how many overseas employees a company can have to keep the credit.
Don't make the Bush cuts permament -- restructure the income tax tables. Right now, it's 10%,15%,25% and 33%. Let's keep the top spot and rearrange the others. We need 20% and 30% brackets. If I had more time this morning, I'd tell you why.
Well, it's off to work for me. I'm still reading on Barack Obama's ideas for the economy and I'm sure I'll have something to say about them, too.

God Bless

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