9 reasons Pelosi’s healthcare surtax is disastrous

July 15, 2009

So what explains the crazy, cockeyed optimism of House Democrats? Maybe they still believe Team Obama’s rosy-scenario forecast that shows the stimulus package a) keeping unemployment under 8 percent this year and b) launching an economic boom next year and beyond. For some reason, though, they think the battered U.S. economy is so strong that politicians can pile tax upon tax on it with no fear of further harm. Less than three weeks after passing a costly cap-and-trade carbon emission plan, Pelosi & Co. have giddily unveiled a $1.2 trillion healthcare plan partially funded by a $544 billion surtax on the work and investment income of wealthier Americans, including small business owners.

[See why Obama's economic gamble is failing.]

The ten-year proposal calls for a 1 percent surtax on adjusted gross income — including capital gains — between $350,000 and $500,000; a 1.5% surtax on income between $500,000 and $1 million; and a 5.4% surtax on income exceeding $1 million. (Interestingly, the House fact sheet on the surtax forgets to mention the highest tax rate. Hey, they were in a rush.) How bad an idea is this? Let me count the ways:

It’s not the first Obama tax hike. This tax would be in addition to the $1 trillion in new taxes that Obama called for in his budget released earlier this year. (And then there’s cap and trade, remember.) And if healthcare reform costs more than expected — what are the odds of that, you think? — the surtax would go up.

[See 5 economic stimulus plans better than the one we've got.]

It pushes income tax rates above a key threshhold. Once you take into account state income taxes, the top tax rate would sneak above 50 percent. Research by former White House economist Lawrence Lindsey has found that rates above 40 percent really start to hit economic growth especially hard.

It’s risky in a weak economy. Democrats love the “consensus view” when it comes to climate change, so how about the economy? The consensus view is for unemployment to hit double digits this year and stay high throughout 2010 and beyond as the economy staggers to its feet. Even Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said “it seems realistic to expect a gradual recovery, with more than the usual ups and downs and temporary reversals.” In a “long recession” environment, do we really want a policy that, according to research that current White House economic adviser Christina Romer conducted at Stanford University, is “highly contractionary.”

It actually makes America’s healthcare problem worse. Entitlements, including Medicare, will eventually bankrupt the economy unless action is taken. Agreed. But lowering the potential U.S. growth rate will only make those problems worse by generating lower tax revenue and making the overall pie smaller than it would be otherwise. Yet many economists think government interventions in finance, housing, autos, energy and now healthcare will do just that. And adding layers of additional new taxes helps how?

It makes the tax code more lopsided and inefficient. As it is, the top 1 percent of Americans in terms of income pay 40 percent of taxes. Not only would this plan exacerbate this imbalance, it adds further complexity to the tax code. Most tax reformers favor a simpler system with fewer brackets and deductions matched by a lower rate. Indeed, Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center points out the following:

Many of the uber-rich are unlikely to pay much more in taxes than they do now, despite the rate increase. Since we’d be returning to pre-1986 rates, we shouldn’t be surprised when the very wealthy reprise their pre-1986 sheltering behavior. The hoary financial alchemy of turning ordinary income into capital gains, morphing individuals into corporations, and deferring compensation will return. Remember, the targets of these tax hikes are the people who can most easily manipulate their income. The bad old days of bull semen partnerships may not return, but I suspect the financial Merlins are already cooking up new shelters for what promises to be a booming new market.

It hurts U.S. competitiveness. America already has the second highest corporate tax rate in the world. Under the House plan, the top U.S. income tax rate would be higher than the OECD (advanced economies) average of 42 percent. France and Germany, by contrast, are looking to keep rates stable or lower them. Pro-growth China doesn’t even tax investment income.

It ignores the lessons of Clinton. Democrats love to point out how the Clinton tax increases didn’t tank the economy back in the 1990s. Oh, you mean the economy that was expanding for more than two years before he signed his tax increases? The economy is far weaker today and may be anemic for some time given the history of economies that suffered a banking crisis.

It ignores the lessons of 1937. The slowly recovering 1930s economy weakened again in 1937 and 1938. Again, Christina Romer tells all:

In this fragile environment, fiscal policy turned sharply contractionary. The one-time veterans’ bonus ended, and Social Security taxes were collected for the first time in 1937. … GDP rose by only 5% in 1937 and then fell by 3% in 1938, and unemployment rose dramatically, reaching 19% in 1938. The 1937 episode is an important cautionary tale for modern policymakers. At some point, recovery will take on a life of its own, as rising output generates rising investment and inventory demand through accelerator effects, and confidence and optimism replace caution and pessimism. But, we will need to monitor the economy closely to be sure that the private sector is back in the saddle before government takes away its crucial lifeline.

Except in this the case, Uncle Sam is not taking away a lifeline but tightening the noose.

It pays for a wrong-headed healthcare reform plan. Health exchanges, a public option, subsidies, taxes … well, we could go on and on. Or we could try to create a simpler consumer-driven market. Harvard Business economist Regina Herzlinger recommends reforming the tax system by making the money spent by employers on health insurance available as cash, tax-free, to employees. “Insurers would then compete for customers with policies that offer better value for the money,” she wrote in an analysis for consultancy McKinsey. Not even on the Obamacrat radar screen, though.

All in all, it’s another sign from the Obama administration and the Obamacrats in Congress that their top priority is redistributing existing wealth — at least what’s left of it — rather than creating new wealth. That, I guess, explains those ear-to-ear smiles on Capitol Hill.

106 comments

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Obama doesnt care about the US economy. He only cares about pushing his liberal agenda. All else is secondary.

Posted by retired military | Report as abusive

Good points all. This is not about healthcare reform. No sir, not at all. Healthcare reform has been in effect in NY, NJ and MA since the early 90′s and is a costly bureaucratic failure. In NJ, the government designs the plans the market can sell, the government designs the mandates that say what services and procedures the carrier will cover unquestioningly, and the government approves the rate structures from the carriers as well as the renewal rate factors. All of this government meddling has driven rates from $89 for a single person now up to $487 a month for that same plan. That is almost 500% over 15 years. You can not blame private industry for this as government was the final word on these numbers.
No what this is about is control. Control of dollars and their allocation, control over people’s lives which in turn controls how they vote.
Reform is needed, yes but the reform should come from hte side of private industry. Government had their chance to reform and fumbled the ball. Let’s not let them make that same mistake twice.

Posted by RobbieRob | Report as abusive

Those of a certain age may recall the Thirties’ forecasts of disaster when FDR’s Democrats passed Social Security legislation By comparison, Mr. Pethokoukis’s article doesn’t qualify as jacks-for-openers.

Posted by Steve Stone | Report as abusive

Uh, Steve….Social Security is broke. There is no “lock box” and the ratio of takers to payers is growing exponentially. That being the case the dire predictions of economic collapse were correct it just took time to prove it out.
Healthcare will not have that luxury because it is too huge and being introduced in a horrible economy with a far greater number of people immediately dipping into that program which is something Social Security did not have to worry about at the time of it’s introduction through it’s early years. The pain of government healthcare will be felt almost immediately. When you combine it with Cap and Tax, our shaking economy will tank.

Posted by RobbieRob | Report as abusive

[...] James Pethokoukis: 9 reasons Pelosi’s healthcare surtax is disastrous. None have anything to do with health care delivery, mind you. It’s all about ‘taxes are b.a.d’. [...]

Growing “exponentially”, RobbieRob? Do you even know what the word means? If you did, you wouldn’t use it.

The downturn in 1937 happened because FDR was trying to balance the budget–something Republicans are urging now. When tax revenues are still sagging and government must run a deficit to provide any services at all, balancing the budget becomes a disastrous proposition. The time to pay down the debt was the first eight years of this millennium, but Bush decided deficits during a boom were better. If you want to find the end of the Great Depression, look at World War II, and the United States war effort was nothing if not a gigantic stimulus. The resulting, deficit-funded, investment in American industry and infrastructure fueled a boom which lasted through the 50′s and, ultimately carried us into the 21st century.

Conservatives who hate and fear the idea of a public health care option…I suppose you want to destroy public education too? That is one of the things which has made this country great, and I defy any of you fools to prove otherwise.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

No national healthcare. You tax and spend liberal/communist. Concerning sotomayer and the 2nd amendment in Maloney she held that numchucks are dangerous weapons and new york is allowed to outlaw them. So if numchucks are illegal a tool that martial arts experts swing to garner balance and stealth then anything that the states say is a weapon at their purview mind you can be outlawed. for example baseball bats are more dangerous than numchucks so it follows that sotomayer will outlaw them also. she is totally against the constitution. she sued her college law school because there wasn’t enough blacks on the faculty. she is a bean counter. she is a very dangerous person who is dangerous for america. But, recall the democrats will do anything for power:
1. 911 they caused by not allowing FBI and CIA to communicate. Gorrillic memo.
2. They caused sub prime mortgage debacle causing you to lose half your 401K value. Remember upchuck shumer and indy mac. The october 08 suprise that they foisted on the republicans when it was actually maxine walters, frank, and dodds plan to get elected.
3. global warming occurs when summer comes. Al gore failed science in college.
4. they wrecked the auto industry and gm and chrysler are dead and gone or on life support. basically, taking money from our families to support illiterate union workers who organize votes for commie barac.

Posted by Sarah | Report as abusive

Of course increasing taxes on the rich is foolish, but it was necessary to protect and keep the insurance industry in the loop. They gave $46 million in campaign contributions and obviously had more clout than the rich folks. That’s what you get when politicians are allowed to take private money to run for public office. It’s called corruption. Only public funding of campaigns would have made the decision come out in the best interest of the public.

Jack Lohman
http://MoneyedPoliticians.net

Michael,

Republicans hate being forced to pay for others from their success. Who are you to say that my success must pay for your needs? What happens when those that succeed in life say “No More!” This socialist mindset is dangerous to our country, and those that ascribe to that thought are like a cancer on our whole society.

Posted by Todd | Report as abusive

Michael said
I suppose you want to destroy public education too? That is one of the things which has made this country great, and I defy any of you fools to prove otherwise.

That is typical of progressive thinking, your mind is already made up. I can tell you I teach in public education and the quality of education is rapidly being destroyed because of liberal policies. Our urban (65% free lunch)district has a no retention policy, NO ONE gets held back, not even youngsters who would benefit from additional English language learning. The federal and state governments spends MILLIONS on teacher professional development. I have personally spent
( forced) time at the finest ( most expensive!) hotels to listen to “experts” blah, blah blah about diversity and learning styles and then my school doesn’t have money to buy paper and our library has books from the 60′s. Progressives whine about money yet we WASTE most of what we receive on non effective programs and NO accountability to teachers, students and most of all parents!

Obama is a twist on The Manchurian Candidate. Rather than being a brainwashed unwitting assassin, Obama, with the help of the Democratic leadership, is leading brainwashed liberals/progressives into unwittingly assassinating the US economy. Kill the US economy and democracy and freedom die. Obama/Pelosi/Reid’s policies may be more dangerous to our democracy and freedom, indeed democracy and freedom throughout the world, than all of its other enemies combined.

Posted by PMG | Report as abusive

I heard an interesting reply to “Yes we Can” at a recent Tea Party here in Atlanta. “Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should”. Which I feel applies to everything the liberal monolith is attempting to do. But when you feel normal global climate variation is caused by man made CO2 ( natural element that is one of the foundation reasons life exist)then any excuse is ok for them. Actually all the lies Obama is putting forth about ” no new taxes” for anyone making under 250K. He has already passed a huge tobacco tax which we all know is mostly on the backs of lower income people. Also, the tax on COBRA. Employers who lay off workers must now fund 65% of the COBRA insurance for those workers layed off. We all know all taxes are passed on to the end user… So now that the jobs promised are still fading into oblivion… who is going to stand up and shout NO MORE! ??? ME!

Posted by steve | Report as abusive

@Michael
Your statement is a mere regurgitation of the fallacy pushed by Krugman and his posse on what happened during the Great Depression. This lunacy had been debunked over and over again. Just today, there is a detailed account by Ohanian at Forbes on why this “theory” does not hold water.

Posted by catofan | Report as abusive

Is it just me or does it seem that O’Bama’s economic Czars are de-constructing the economy by design. When Christina Romers’ analysis of 1938 calls the implementation of policy “contradictory” and then she and her Keynesian acolytes embark on same trajectory, one has to wonder if their judgement is merely flawed or is something more sinister at work here. To encumber the very constituency that will drive a recovery with a tax and regulate agenda is to consign any hope of economic growth into the realm of “… Big Brother knows best”! It looks like the age of the “philosopher kings” has returned and believe me, O’Bama et al truly believe that this indeed is the nature of ‘Hope and Change”!

Posted by gregson | Report as abusive

[...] A couple of articles I’d like to highlight from RCP’s roundup include this one from Reuters (”9 reasons Pelosi’s healthcare surtax is disastrous”) and this one from [...]

I’ve never understood why so many people seem to feel that healthcare is a right.

To control health cost and save our country from taxes, do away with Medicare, Medicade and health insurance. The savings would be enormous, insurance company cost plus profits, all the current overhead that goes into billing, the money spent on lobbying, thousands of government employees could be fired, etc. People would shop for the best prices and would be forced to save for medical bills. This would not be perfect, but better than anything we have now or that has been proposed. I realize there is zip chance of closing those programs, but I truly believe it would be the best way to control cost.

Posted by will hall | Report as abusive

“Conservatives who hate and fear the idea of a public health care option…I suppose you want to destroy public education too? That is one of the things which has made this country great, and I defy any of you fools to prove otherwise.”

Duuuuuh. The public schools you tout are, on average, (in large cities) graduating less than 50% of their students. National healthcare anyone?

Posted by yikes | Report as abusive

[...] Democrats’ Healthcare Surtax is Disastrous – Reuters [...]

I’ve never understood why so many people seem to feel that being able to read and write is a right. Or having firemen and police. Who are you to tell me that I have to help pay their salaries? Just because I make $3 million/yr doesn’t mean that I should have to pay another $108 thousand/yr.

The poor are scum, and should die instead of me paying for them.

TYRANNY!!!

Posted by Donnie | Report as abusive

“Who are you to tell me that I have to help pay their salaries?”

I am the government, that’s who. Now be quiet and pay up sucker. ‘Cause I said so.

Posted by yikes | Report as abusive

State-run public schools are a disaster.

Social Security is a disaster.

Medicare is a disaster.

Medicaid is a disaster.

The national debt and deficits are disasters.

Now Obama wants to birth to us government-run health care. God save us!

Posted by Austrian School | Report as abusive

Steve Stone says: “Those of a certain age may recall the Thirties’ forecasts of disaster when FDR’s Democrats passed Social Security legislation By comparison.
You do realize that SS is a disater just on the horizon?
Its already broke funded on IOUs.

Posted by JamesJ | Report as abusive

This writer has it all wrong. Completely wrong. He’s forgetting that Obama and the top Dems actually want to destroy our way of life as we know it. So his points are meaningless to them.

Posted by Bill Carson | Report as abusive

In order to save on health care costs and to save other government programs, the Obama Administration has begun offering the public health care option via the following new health care delivery methods:

* All Primary Care Physicians will be offering care and treatment at every local US Post Office in order to better support Postal Reform. Postal delivery on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Medical care on Tuesdays and Thursdays; no Tuesday care if Monday is a Federal Holiday.

* All recently closed auto factories of Chrysler and GN will be converted into Health Care Surgerical Assembly operations for assembly line type healh services, with separate assembly departments for:

Waiting Line for Waiting Line, Triage, Intake/1040-type form, Waiting Line, Government Assessment, Waiting Line, Prioritization, Stamping, Waiting Line, Fluids Flush, Waiting Line, Body Work, Test Walk, Waiting Line, New Fluids Insertion, Collection of Large Co-pays

* All Medical transportation from one smaller medical assembly plant to a more specialized medical assembly plant will be offloaded to Amtrak. All non-ICU patients will be offered coach service without specialized medical assistance.

All ICU patients will be transported in Stimulus funded, newly refurnished Amtrack high speed Mail Cars, recently purchased on eBay from the former USSRs Trans-Siberian Socialist Medical Mail Car stock. (USSR-TRS-MMC)

* Consumer financing for the enormous co-pays, out of network payments, cost of all specialized tests, cost all overnight hospital stays, and Amtrack transportation will be available through a government-run Fannie/Freddie funding pool (FFFP), financed by consumer taxes, business taxes, soda taxes, haircut and nail taxes, internet taxes, breath taxes, personal co2 emissions taxes, public restroom stall taxes, hetero-sex taxes, Fox Channel viewing taxes, death taxes, life after death taxes ( pre-dated and payable before death).

* All new doctors will be government employees, that will be eligible for repayment of government education loans after at least 20 years of service in the Postal Medical Offices (PMO’s), and 10 years service in Soviet style Amtrack Postal Mail ICU Service cars.

* All Government Run Universal Wellness and Preventation Act programs will feature the more popular programs such as forced marches once a week, polar swim once a month, daily 10 mile walk to work, manditory cap and trade for personal co2 emissions, no sugar, no bacon, no smokes, no drink, no running, non-co2 breathing, no BO, no iceberg lettuce, no racing, no red meat, no fries, no potatoes, no milk shakes, no fun, no hetero sex, and no internet.

Posted by bammer | Report as abusive

The only saving grace in this whole catastrophe of socialized health care is that the liberals who think it’s great will have to suffer along with the rest of us. They, too, will be denied care after a certain age if it, as Obama has already said, is not “cost effective”. They will also watch their parents denied operations and procedures and instead of being able to do what it takes to keep them alive, they’ll have to watch their decisions taken for them by bureaucrats who “care” as much about them as the politicians who “care” about poor children stuck in awful schools care about them. And, of course, like the excuse offered by Joe Biden that they were “misinformed” about how bad the economy really was, they’ll simply say the same thing about the ruined health care system and blame it on someone else. Voters, you have no one to blame but yourselves. How’s that hopenchange workin out for you?

Posted by CaliforniaIsADream | Report as abusive

Will Hall is right. Here in Mexico (where many US folks come for medical treatment) has TOO MANY doctors, so the competitive rates are quite low. I went to a private clinic last year and paid $2..that’s not an error–two bucks. And it is NOT govt. sponsered. And as for lawyers, there are TOO FEW. Lawsuits are very rare here. You find a good doctor, meet his price and hope for the best, just like anything in life.

Posted by frankania | Report as abusive

[...] 9 reasons Pelosi’s healthcare surtax is disastrous – James Pethokoukis [...]

So, I have a hard time with anyone who thinks that since I live well within my means (live off 60% of my paycheck, invest/save the rest) so that I can have a comfortable retirement/afford nicer things later in life (been doing this the last 16 years); I should pay a larger percentage of my income/saving to pay for things for the idiots who spend more than they make because they think they have the right, or “deserve” to live like their neighbor who makes 10 x as much as them.

Since when did the American dream become “work really hard to make a better life for the idiots who don’t know how to manage their money”? How about this, you want cheap healthcare, join the military-then you get it for free for you and your family.

I only need one reason… It’s Pelosi herself. Nothing good can come from such a creature.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

Unfortunately Liberal idiots seem to consistently reward the worst behavior and punish the best. I\’ve stopped even attempting to believe it\’s really about helping the unfortunate. It is about power and creating a do nothing gimmee base to ensure their continued election to office.

When hard work, self sufficiency and success are rewarded rather than punished with higher taxes, less liberty and more responsibility for those who refuse to strive for any of the above we will see more folks who make life choices that will bring them success and prosperity.

Likewise, when we stop rewarding the lazy or irresponsible with freebies and bailouts we will see less of that.

Healthcare is not a right. I work hard and sacrifice to make sure my family has insurance. If I had to choose between a big-screen TV and health insurance I’d forgo the big screen TV. I don’t resent the idiots who choose the big screen TV. But I also don’t care to pay more taxes on what I earn so the govt pays for health insurance for those unwilling to be responsible enough to get insurance.

Now don’t start a dialog about the disabled or poor. We already pay for Medicaid for them.

Posted by Diane | Report as abusive

I guess there was a good reason you used to have to be a landowner in able to cast a vote…if you don’t actually contribute anything productive to society you didn’t get a say in how the fruits of that productivity were spent/distributed. You mean the founding fathers actually had it right??

There is a funny new item making the rounds called “The Congressional Spending Psalm.” It begins with these words; Big government is our shepherd; the bigger it gets the more we lack!!!!

Posted by Gary Marchinke | Report as abusive

[...] But let’s say that he does, and that in order to pay for some of it, we end up with that proposed surtax. [...]

[...] via James Pethokoukis » Blog Archive » 9 reasons Pelosi’s healthcare surtax is disastrous | Blogs | . [...]

Michael,
Since you are so proud of the public eduction system, here’s one for you…
Obama wants to “reward” (not pay) hospitals and physicians for their work based on positive outcomes. In other words, if the patient gets better, you get paid.
So, why doesn’t he propose the same for teachers? Sorry, you don’t get “rewarded” unless kids learn? Well, we know the answer. Because teachers are unionized, and the Dems love unions. But the issue is the same. Neither teachers or doctors have any genuine control over the outcomes of their “customers”. There is so much more involved. But Obama has no problems threatening hospitals and health care workers while making sure he protects his union buddies.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

[...] and smile and muscle through a voluminous, unread, undebated, economically unsound and nation-transforming legislation through without really telling the nation what it costs or even [...]

All economists know that unemployment continues to rise for several years AFTER a recession is declared over. The Republicans are grasping at this fact as a way out of the wilderness, hoping both they and their entire media machine consisting of Rupert Murdoch’s sock puppets, that belch from the gutter Rush Limbaugh and all the other supremely unpleasant talking heads they’ve got in their employ, are hoping to convince the American people that the Democrats are responsible for all the pain associated with cleaning up the Republican’s mess.

I can’t imagine the American people after eight years of George Bush are stupid enough to buy into this nonsense, but if they are they’ll deserve what they get. Because elections have consequences – and so does stupidity.

Posted by Matthew Bright | Report as abusive

All good points and well taken. Just one issue in my mind. If you have a 100% market (choice) healthcare system, where the consumer shops around for coverage, what happens when people opt to take the money and not buy coverage? The young and healthy (how help drive down costs of the average insured) will choose in large numbers not to be insured. People living from check to check who opt to “risk it.” Those people are still going to show up at the ER when they have a major accident or develop a major disease. What are we going to do with them?

Posted by KM | Report as abusive

Let’s face it. Republicans are basically SELFISH. Democrats understand the benefit and power of SHARING.

It’s so hard to deny that social welfare programs have raised the bar for society as a whole. Forget that money in the hands of poorer folks provides the purchasing power to make rich business producers richer.

But somehow, republicans find a way to justify selfishness as beneficial to the whole. It’s not. Except in the very short run. But I never really met a visionary republican who could look past the next 5 years.

It’s the same problem that quarterly earnings reports create for companies. Squeeze out short run profit at the expense of long-run growth.

It’s also the reason we’re in this financial mess today. Too much short-sighted republican thinking bankrupted our economy.

Posted by NoName | Report as abusive

Ever read “Atlas Shrugged”??? Try it.

Let’s face it. Republicans are basically SELFISH.

Excuse me? Borowing trillions of dollars to benefit yourself that will have to be repaid by our children & grandchildren isn’t selfish? Democrats are writing the book on ‘selfish’.

Dude, you need to stop toking on that pipe.

Posted by tim | Report as abusive

Lets face it Democrats are statist’s and do not understand the process of creating wealth. They only Know how to destroy it. I have never met a democrat who could look past the next day. Tax the economy to hell and watch what happens. I know, saw it before with carter.

Buy more ammo we will need it.

Posted by Stephan | Report as abusive

“As it is, the top 1 percent of Americans in terms of income pay 40 percent of taxes”

But they pay very little in transfer tax revenue-Social Security and Medicare and a questionable amount in state taxes.

I ask…what is the “total tax bill” percentage?

Posted by Dr | Report as abusive

Anything pelosi does is based on blind ignorance and low intelligence. we can’t afford national healthcare. barac doesn’t think that money grows on trees he thinks that it grows on the american peoples backs.

Posted by american | Report as abusive

You forget that the democrats are going to allow the tax cuts of the previous administration to expire next year. When that is taken into account, the marginal combined federal/state tax rats will approach more like 55% of AGI.

I cannot speak for anyone else, but my wife and I have already pretty much stopped participating in society. No new car purchases, jewelry purchases, vacations, or day trips. Likewise for dinners out, charitable donations beyond 10% of income, or monetary assistance to family members.

My sister called last month. Seems her husband got laid off and their having trouble making both the truck and house payments. I said; “Last November ya’ll told me you and your husband were both voting for change. Well write a letter to the President, maybe he’ll cut you a check.”

Posted by Bill W. | Report as abusive

Obama promised us if we passed the corrupt stimulous bill we wouldn’t see more than 8% unemployment. All he had to do was spend $800 billion dollars, and he couldn’t even do that! UNEMPLOYMENT is 9.5% and still shooting up, mostly likely on its way to 14 to 15%. If he got that so wrong how likely is it that he’s got something 20x more complicated right, and yet they are rushing ahead in record time. The only things we know for sure is if they are saying its going to cost $1 trillion, its really going to cost at least $3 trillion. If this doesn’t take us to 20 to 25% Unemployment it will be a miracle. Obama is going to destroy our economy!

Posted by valwayne | Report as abusive

“Conservatives who hate and fear the idea of a public health care option…I suppose you want to destroy public education too? That is one of the things which has made this country great, and I defy any of you fools to prove otherwise.

- Posted by Michael ”

I love how liberals always think conservatives are “afraid”…and concerning public education, it’s a disaster that has slowly been strangled by the teacher’s union. Prior to the 60′s the public education system in the US was considered the best in the world. Now we send students to college who have problems reading and writing. Our highschool students trail their peers around the world in math and science. Yes, our country was made great from earlier public education graduates, however, since the 60′s we’ve been in rapid decline due to churning out students who in no way have the educational skills of their parents and grandparents. Again, I fault the teachers unions who consider their teacher members to be labor and not professionals. Why is it that libs are so afraid of voucher programs which have a proven track record of success that far exceeds that of public, union controlled schools?

Posted by Laura | Report as abusive

Grandma spent 6 weeks in Cedar Sinai.

She went in feeling not good at 86.

They proceeded to put her though tests for cancer including a bone marrow sample from which she never fully woke up from the anesthesia.

6 weeks of billing of tests by Cedar Sinai.

Then California starts the process of issuing IOUs, and the next day the doctors (6 weeks remind you) say there is nothing more that they can do.

And they help grandma pass with morphine.

So, what needs reforming here?

When we spend close to $1million trying to extend the life of an 86 year old? And then when the money stops flowing it is suddenly obvious to the doctors that they will not be able to save her with chemo.

So seriously, what needs reforming? I mean Grandma has a few grandkids that are now going to have to pay off that bill in their lifetime.

Who did that 6 weeks help?

Not Grandma. Not the people picking up the bill.

Posted by LAObserver | Report as abusive

“It’s also the reason we’re in this financial mess today. Too much short-sighted republican thinking bankrupted our economy.

- Posted by NoName ”

Uh, NoName, the US was not on the bankrupt path until the government mismanagement of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac whose toxic assets infected our banking and investment industries. The fault can be laid at Barney Frank and Chris Dodds’ feet. As far back as 1992 Frank has been fighting any type of oversight update for Fannie and Freddie. It was the Republicans who tried to improve oversight. The Dems did a great job at shutting them down (remember, dems controlled both House & Senate from 2006-2008), and look what it’s done to our economy. And as far as your self-congratulatory feelings on “sharing”, I have no problem with you sharing YOUR things, but don’t assume to think that you have the right to demand that others also share THEIR things. We are not a communist nation, however we seem to be heading towards a socialist existence, which really isn’t much different. See, we who NEVER want the government to mandate what we share of our own property, income, etc…We tend to take it upon ourselves to share by creating businesses, giving to charities (which by the way Republicans give more to charity than Dems). People who don’t have their money taken from the government are then able to turn that money into business expansions and have better oversight on how that money is spent..

Posted by Laura | Report as abusive

the underground economy is going to thrive. we’ll never give these lazy ss liberal democrats anything. so your have to find a job you unemployeed union auto worker. but most democrats will continue to either suck money in the form of food stamps and welfare or government employees. because china is always willing to lend money to the US in return for pelosi granting china their best wishes. you know she has already promised to sell former GM hummer to china for 1 cent on the dollar in return they just have to continue to fund nancy’s government programs (Welfare, food stamps, carbon footprint, etc) Both in this context are useless molecules.

My friends when the deomcrats go down in 2010 and I’m not talking about frank. when they lose we will pay them back 1000 fold.

Posted by underground | Report as abusive

http://www.ustreas.gov/education/fact-sh eets/taxes/ustax.shtml

“By 1913,…Congress passed a new income tax law with rates beginning at 1 percent and rising to 7 percent for taxpayers with income in excess of $500,000. Less than 1 percent of the population paid income tax at the time.” …And less than 1% will pay this new universal healthcare surtax. Like the income tax, give it 10 years and we’ll all be paying it.

Posted by NHSkier | Report as abusive

“Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others.”

Posted by Uncle | Report as abusive

NoName, Republicans are just fine with the concept of sharing. They simply want to do it without government forcing them to do it.

Dr, it is true that the top incomes pay less of a percentage of Medicare tax due to untaxed unearned income, but this amounts to no more than a maximum 1.45% disparity. The OASDI 6.20% tax has far less application, but incomes in excess of the OASDI limit do not earn additional benefits either. This latter discrepancy hardly seems unjust unless we expect OASDI to redistribute income from richer to poorer people. This wasn’t the original intent of the program. I don’t think your observation invalidates the point that the vast majority of taxes are paid by a very small proportion of upper-income people. However, what would be more interesting to know is the actual income tax rate paid by various slices of the income strata.

Posted by Tim | Report as abusive

To Michael,

Public education is a disaster. Just look at Detroit where fewer than half the public education students graduate or Martin High School in Laredo, Texas where it is so bad that the state had to come in and take it over. Or in Cleveland, Ohio where the state had to come in and take the schools over. I won’t even talk about all the crime and discipline problems. Suffice to say, you never hear about private or Catholic school students going on a rampage or having the state to come in and fix them. And, since, the Democrats are keeping their own people in schools because they don’t believe in school choice, it has just worse year after year.

Posted by Greg | Report as abusive

To NHSkier

What’s going to happen when the rich say no mas and leave? Who is going to pay then? Are you? Are you going to pay my health care? See, bascially, you someone to pay for your problems. But, the problem is that it is your problem…not mine…I have my own to worry about.

Posted by Greg | Report as abusive

On the bright side actors wold be hit the hardest. Due to union requirements they have to be payed directly. No dummy corporations for them. I sure they wouldn’t mine paying an extra 2 million out of a 20 million payday.

Posted by robert | Report as abusive

To Michael,

Public education is a disaster. Just look at Detroit where fewer than half the public education students graduate or Martin High School in Laredo, Texas where it is so bad that the state had to come in and take it over. Or in Cleveland, Ohio where the state had to come in and take over the schools there. I won’t even talk about all the crime and discipline problems. Suffice to say, you never hear about private or Catholic school students going on a rampage or having the state to come in and fix them. In fact, you don’t even hear about child molesting teachers at private schools. And, since, it has gotten worse year after year especially since Democrats won’t help the people they want to help by denying them school choice.

Posted by Greg | Report as abusive

To NHSkier

What’s going to happen when the rich say no mas and leave? Who is going to pay then? Are you? Are you going to pay for my health care? See, bascially, you are someone who is not strong enough to take care of your own problems. So, you want someone else to pay for your problems. But, here’s the problem–it’s not my problem–it’s your problem. I have own problems to deal with.

Posted by Greg | Report as abusive

Just a few thoughts from ol’ Raul here. First, housing has been inflated for many years. In order to fix this, no loans may be guaranteed that are not fixed rate at 15, 20, 25, 0r 30 years. Any other loans are gambles and should not be owned by the Federal Mortgage agencies.

Also, as a staunch conservative, I cringed each year when Bush continued to rack up deficits. The administration spent wrecklessly and was not a responsible caretaker of the nations finances.

Furthermore, as a California resident and the husband of a school teacher, I have some experience with the local schools. Broken homes are the cause of poor education. My wife has observed that students that do well and meet state standards consistently come from homes with two parents that care about each other and the child.

For the future, I think that we are really saddling ourselves with too much debt. Social Security is a ponzi scheme. Fewer and fewer people are contributing while more and more are taking. The scheme will eventually collapse under its own weight, as it is doing now.

Healthcare will not as good as advertised if the govt runs it. Everything else that the govt runs is saddled with regulation and layers of management.

It is frustrating to see these things happen to my country. Neither Republicans or Democrats represent regular Americans anymore. I wake up everyday and am more convinced that I live in backwards land. The achievers are punished for achieving and the slackers are rewarded for slacking. All for a few votes and some power. Sad.

If I have a farm, and I grow crops on the farm, why should the govt have the right to take more and more of my crops that I grew through my hard work when they themselves grow nothing. Stop taking my harvest to give to those who will not harvest their own crops. Welfare is modern slavery.

Raul

Posted by Raul | Report as abusive

Don’t be mad at the Obama for his socialist ways but it is congress who is allowing his socialist ways to be cast on us Americans.

2010 we need to unite and vote out of office any democrat in the house and senate to send a message we Americans will not accept this crap any longer.

Posted by sailorsammd | Report as abusive

Weds. evening links…

Photo above from Gateway’s Dems want to pass socialized medical care in weeks
After 20 years in jail, lying kids offer Dad a hug. During those years, real witch hunts were going on. h/t, Overlawyered
Did you know they have tiger farms?
This John …

Last November seemed that everyone around and their mother in law was voting for change. And change they’ve got. Let’s see what has changed since 01/20/09.
Gas price – about a buck up. Unemployment – a couple of points up and rising rapidly. Housing prices falling, but there are not many buyers taking advantage of it. The only thing growing is the list of foreclosed properties up for Sheriff’s auction.
Like it or not, it’s BHO economy. By the time of next Congressional elections anyone with half brain will understand it. And make conclusions.
Seems like the history is repeating itself. In 1992 they also celebrated the end of Bush Administration, and had a young, smooth-talking, wildly popular President, and majority in both Houses. Health care, gay rights, and other liberal pet causes were at the top of agenda. And then came the sobering of 1994 elections – and that during the upswing of the economy! Looks like we are up for a repeat.

P.S. Don’t blame me – I voted for McCain.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Everyone who is concerned about where our new government is taking our economy, our future and that of our children just let me say that ‘concern’ is not near enough. First, you should be scared to within an inch of your life because you are witnessing what will become known as the “Great Disaster”. Second, you should be on the phone to your congress creatures right now – and every single day that goes by. Don’t give them a minutes rest. Be passionate, resolute, clear and above all don’t be abusive – they ignore abusive calls. Tell them what you expect them to do and what you expect them not to do. Exert your power.

Posted by Dr_Dean | Report as abusive

wow, could you have recycled talking points any better?

We could a: work towards healthcare like Canada has (which is really good), or b: act ignorant and fight this tooth and nail (which is really bad).

it’s been covered everywhere. I can’t believe how blatantly you recycled the healthcare industry points. good job.

Posted by Matt | Report as abusive

Internet connnection:$39.99
2008 Election: Landslide
Republican approval: Lowest in history
Knowing youre still bitter: Priceless

Posted by Absolute Truth | Report as abusive

I’m a conservative writing from a church office in inner city Detroit. Around me is a 3 square block area in which 80+ abandoned or burnt out homes stand, there are another 40 vacant lots where homes once stood. Public education, we have a HS graduation rate on about 30% and an effective unemployment rate of 30-40%. Detroiters placed their hopes in Obama but I don’t see a single thing the Obama administration is doing or planning that will make a difference down here. What seems to be coming down the path is a leveling of the rest of our nation will begin to look more and more like Detroit. Got to go now – feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, comforting the sick – just another selfish conservative.

Posted by James Hill | Report as abusive

Yes. I believe big insurance companies with their big buildings and billion dollar bailouts have my best interests at heart. Just like how the efficiencies created by the latest merger where longs drugs was absorbed has resulted in cheaper drug fees…
I also believe that Insurance company’s litigation against doctors forming their own health provider collectives is in my best interests too.
Wait, I have an idea, lets let the insurance companies feed directly at the trough and call it “public healthcare”, that’ll fix everything.

As long as we allow it, business will continue to take over goverment. You just don’t get it. It’s not evil liberals and proud free economy conservatives.
It’s business sponsored control of government for the benefit of a few at the expense of all of us.

Posted by bart | Report as abusive

OOOOO so many people seem afraid of the scary liberal black man. Or should my sentence be broken into smaller “Dick and Jane” style phrases? (I ask this because more than one commenter strung together barely coherent phrases with out punctuation. Go incoherent conservatives!)

Posted by Don | Report as abusive

“OOOOO so many people seem afraid of the scary liberal black man. Or should my sentence be broken into smaller “Dick and Jane” style phrases? (I ask this because more than one commenter strung together barely coherent phrases with out punctuation. Go incoherent conservatives!)

- Posted by Don”

Oh please, be original. Calling out conservatives as being racist is just another sad, pathetic distraction (and lie) you libs have for not admitting that your guy is a disaster.

Posted by Laura | Report as abusive

I guess it was OK to spend like it came from a Monopoly game when conservatives were in power. Bush, Cheney, et al pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into Iraq. Sure Saddam was a bastard, but couldn’t we have waited to get him? Osama bin Laden masterminded 9/11, not Saddam. Instead of going after the main villain in that tragedy, we’ve poured cash into the leaky sieve otherwise known as Iraq. Are the Iraqi people appreciative of what our military has done? It doesn’t seem so, with all the celebrations and parades held in honor of the US military getting out of the cities.

Now that conservatives are out of power, they piss and moan about liberal spending by, ahem, liberals. It all seems like two sides of the same coin to me. Outrageous spending has screwed our economy from both sides of the aisle. No wonder Ron Paul has so many supporters…

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

You are a sucker if you think the rich are going to pay for NHC.
Canada doesn’t come close to paying for theirs with 17% tax on all purchases you make! Can you imagine what our’s will be? I’ve heard as much as 55% ON ALL PURCHASES YOU MAKE!

Posted by Grandma | Report as abusive

“Oh please, be original. Calling out conservatives as being racist is just another sad, pathetic distraction (and lie) you libs have for not admitting that your guy is a disaster.”

And I supposed Bush was a genius and unprecedented success? Maybe conservatives are the sad, pathetic ones who got their assess kicked in November and refuse to admit that the Republican party is on its way to insignificance.

I never said “racist.” Maybe it’s just your guilty conscience.

Posted by Don | Report as abusive

MAYBE I SHOULD SHOUT EVERYTHING! IT SEEMS LIKE SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT MAKES THEIR WEAK POINT MORE IMPORTANT!

Posted by Don | Report as abusive

I feel for all the rich people. It’s so hard to live on 8,000 a week take home. God forbid that they might have to pay a little more of that.

I don’t want the government to repeal the Bush tax cuts, I want them to repeal the Regan tax cuts. 70% on anything over 3.5 million, including investment income. If you can’t live on 3.5 million a year, you have problems.

Taxes are what we pay for a civil society.

Posted by Tim | Report as abusive

Canada has a top rate of 48 percent right now, we have national healthcare, our banks didn’t go bust and our economy is doing very well. So what else is wrong with your conclusions?
Tax is lopsided for a reason. More money more tax, less money less tax. In the end, we get the same good healthcare. People are treated in order of need and severity, not in order of chequebook, which is called civilized behaviour.
It amazes me that you guys debate this. Apparently socialism is OK for schools, fire departments, libraries, defense, police departments—OK, just about everything….but you insist on letting big business tell you yes or no for 30 percent of the revenue.
I choose my doc, and my hospital and no one ever calls he government to “clear” something. You guys let a profit making company decide on your treatment, run the risk of being axed or charged higher premiums, and you complain that a national healthcare system would be bad? You need your head checked. A national healthcare system means the government pays the bills using our taxes. It doesn’t mean they get a say in whether I get an operation.

Posted by Carl | Report as abusive

“Internet connnection:$39.99
2008 Election: Landslide
Republican approval: Lowest in history
Knowing youre still bitter: Priceless

- Posted by Absolute Truth”

Under Obama:

Internet connection: $0 (you can’t afford internet because your energy prices necessarily skyrocketed..just like the Prez warned it would)

2008 Election: Obama states will have complete transparency and all bills will be online before being voted on (lie, lie)

Republican approval rating: Per Rasmussen Report “Republican candidates continue to lead on the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot as Democrats fall to their lowest level of support among voters in recent years.”

Knowing Republicans are going to kick Dem Donkey butt in 2010 elections: Thankful because it will help stop the socialist train wreck this administration is devoted to.

Posted by Laura | Report as abusive

The government option is just plain crazy. Just look at Medicare. Payments to doctors are going down and doctors are opting out of the system. All this means that if one wants prompt service from the better doctors, you will have to pay for it yourself. This idea of increasing taxes on the “rich” will definitely expand to the middle class. Why doesn’t the government do some real research into what is causing medical costs to rise?

Posted by M | Report as abusive

Boo freakin hoo. I make hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, and it’s gonna kill me to have to pay en extra thousand so that my poverty stricken fellow citizens can have health care that doesn’t require a trip to the ER!!!
SHUT UP YOU RICH F#*$ERS!!!
You think it’s so bad to pay a little extra for health care for all, and you don’t realize that when those poor folks who can’t afford it go to the ER that we all have to pay for that anyways?!?
Nobody really cares if your feelings are hurt that you had to pay an extra 1% of your $750,000 profit from capital gains, except you fellow rich d!@k-heads.
SCREW YOU ALL!!

And PS- if you want to keep all your money then why don’t you move to the caymen islands or something.

Posted by Josh | Report as abusive

Sorry, Jimmy, you didn’t convince me.

The surtax doesn’t go far enough.

Above one million dollars, the marginal tax rate should be 90%. Above ten million, 99%

Gross disparity in wealth is anathema to democracy.

Posted by Sleeps With Cats | Report as abusive

“I never said “racist.” Maybe it’s just your guilty conscience.

- Posted by Don ”

Then why write “scary, liberal, BLACK, man”? What are You referring to? And to imply that I have guilt is to try and go down the so-called white guilt because blacks were slaves crap. Please. Grow-up. Your insinuations are pretty blatant. And as I mentioned in an earlier post, it’s the Dems who are now polling the lowest in numbers. Rasmussen has us so-called insignificant Republicans leading in the latest generic Congressional polling.

Posted by Laura | Report as abusive

“And PS- if you want to keep all your money then why don’t you move to the caymen islands or something.

- Posted by Josh”

Hey Josh, quit the rich bashing and get back to your minimum wage job. Your entitlement mentality is showing through your uninspired ranting. Maybe if you actually worked hard for a good living you’d appreciate the belief that whatever money YOU make is yours to decide what to do with along with the basic taxes needed as allowed per our constitution.

Posted by Laura | Report as abusive

James Pethokoukis has forgotten the tax hike that Hoover signed just before he left office that ended the four year contraction and started the strong employment growth. And he’s forgotten the 1934 tax hikes that kept that strong job growth going.

And while the economy was growing when Clinton signed his tax hike, that was because Bush had signed a tax hike that went into effect two years earlier, ending the contraction.

And if tax cuts were good for the economy, then the economy over the past eight years should be the best since FDR for taxes have never been lower. Instead, the economy has been more like the Hoover economy

Posted by mulp | Report as abusive

Any idiot who thinks companies putting health care money into the hands of employees will cause helath insurance companies to “compete” for the business of the employees is exactly that, an idiot.

I get sick of listening to the Obama bashers who make ridiculous claims like that one. The major problem with the health care system is obviously outrageous rates.

Insurance companies charge outrageous premiums because it costs them outrageous amounts of money to cover people plain and simple. Obviously there is profit involved in that equation as well but I guarantee you, if doctors, drug companies, and other medical related corporations operated more efficiently and did not chareg ridiculous prices the health care system would not be as insanely expensive as it is.

It is funny how it is the “haves” who bitch about us “have nots”. Well let me tell you something, I grew up in a heavily republican household. we were very well to do. Unfortunately, the oil crunch in the late 70′s and early 80′s wiped out our entire fortune. Having grown up as a “have” and becoming a “have not” in terms of medical insurance let me tell you this. One single visit to the hospital for a medium serious illness can easily destroy the rest of your financial life. Until you have lived through this as I have STFU.

I am sitting in Ch 7 right now because of close to a half million dollars in medical debt because I cannot afford the insurance my employer offers (premiums are 40% of my income more than my house payment).

Let’s take away the complainer’s insurance and force them to live medically as I and my disabled wife have and see what your opinion is then about government assisted or compulsory health care provisioning.

Posted by Brian | Report as abusive

One more thing, who do the rich think make them rich? US that’s who, if we weren’t around to buy your products do business with the companies you invest in and live in the society you feel is screwing you, you would not be rich so YES I think you have a responsibility to your fellow man as my family did when we were able to help others.

Posted by Brian | Report as abusive

All this talk of income tax? That tax created during WWII right? To fund it?

You know, that war that must still be going on since they never pulled it the way it should have? It’s not Constitutional because it is no longer being used for its original purpose.

The truth of the matter is… not one of you is any better than any Democrat. Both your parties wreak to high heaven and are here to remove our civil liberties and more. Bush took our privacy, Obama will take our guns and who knows what the next person in line has in store. Quite frankly when the pot boils over and all Hell breaks loose…. I hope you all freakin’ EAT each other.

Remember, when you get into a pissing contest…. everyone gets wet. You’ll learn… some day.

“I never said “racist.” Maybe it’s just your guilty conscience.

- Posted by Don

Then why write “scary, liberal, BLACK, man”? What are You referring to? And to imply that I have guilt is to try and go down the so-called white guilt because blacks were slaves crap. Please. Grow-up. Your insinuations are pretty blatant. And as I mentioned in an earlier post, it’s the Dems who are now polling the lowest in numbers. Rasmussen has us so-called insignificant Republicans leading in the latest generic Congressional polling.
- Posted by Laura”

Laura, you are so easily angered! I hadn’t even thought about “white guilt” until you mentioned it.

As far as polls go: I’ll see your Rasmussen poll in which Democrat approval vs. Republican approval is 37%:40% and raise you a Gallup poll from 5 days ago (Dem:Rep=49%:40%). Do you really trust polls to reveal anything of substance? Poll numbers can be skewed.

“Rasmussen has us so-called insignificant Republicans leading in the latest generic Congressional polling.’
- Posted by Laura

It really hurts when you are in the party that’s seemingly going down the tubes, doesn’t it? Think back to what you used to say about Democrats when Republicans controlled both the Executive and Legislative branches LOL…now YOU grow up and take your medicine like a good conservative out of power.

Posted by Don | Report as abusive

All this talk of income tax? That tax created during WWII right? To fund it?

You know, that war that must still be going on since they never pulled it the way it should have? It’s not Constitutional because it is no longer being used for its original purpose.

The truth of the matter is… not one of you is any better than any Democrat. Both your parties wreak to high heaven and are here to remove our civil liberties and more. Bush took our privacy, Obama will take our guns and who knows what the next person in line has in store. Quite frankly when the pot boils over and all Hell breaks loose…. I hope you all f*!$ing EAT each other.

Remember, when you get into a pissing contest…. everyone gets wet. You will learn… some day.

“As far back as 1992 Frank has been fighting any type of oversight update for Fannie and Freddie. It was the Republicans who tried to improve oversight. The Dems did a great job at shutting them down (remember, dems controlled both House & Senate from 2006-2008)” — Posted By Laura

This has to be my favorite nonsensical comment of the thread. According to this republicans have been trying to get oversight for 16 years (92 – 08) and because democrats controlled congress for 2 years they are the reason it didn’t happen. Even if we assume you meant republicans tried to get oversight during the Bush II years.. that was 8 years, 2 of which where democratic so they had 6 years out of 8 to do it and it didn’t happen, but it’s the democrats fault. Stop drinking the koolaid. If the republicans actually wanted to regulate anything they had 6 years of absolute power to do it during Bush II.

To the point of the other posts.. Y’all are quite entertaining and I honestly believe that you honestly believe this is death to civilization as we know it and that all democrats are evil freeloaders bent on a socialist state. I just hope that when there isn’t an audience you are at least honest enough with yourself to know that isn’t actually true. Just like you aren’t a bunch of selfish rednecks bent on world domination. Can we move on now?

Posted by Jaime | Report as abusive

I fear for our future.
What I see is a population of people who have no stake in the future pushing off their expenses on future generations. I don’t know how anyone who has children can agree with this. I know plenty of DINK’s who chose to forego insurance, savings or the trappings of typical Americana in order to travel and indulge. Now as they approach retirement they are looking to other people’s children to pay for their follies. This is what is happening with social security, it is what is happening with medicare, and it is what will happen with a nationalize healthcare.

The dirty truth they don’t ever tell you is the cost. Canada and the UK are not top of the line when it comes to healthcare, but their tax rates are around 60% of income. That effectively doubles the amount of taxes taken from my paycheck. And since with this economy, my sales rep husband is trying to get blood from stones to get sales, that means a true hardship on our family. It also means that we will have to default on our very modest home, we won’t be able to afford even a late model used car and without transportation, I will lose my job. So Obamites-just who will you tax when those of us in the middle class that are still treading water go under?

Reading suggestions: “The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg” and “The Ant and the Grasshopper.” Also, you do realize that Cap and Trade was passed UNFINISHED with glaring holes. Like a blank check written to a stranger. I am not fool enough to do that, are you?

Even in a booming economy, Clinton’s attempt at healthcare reform was a failure. why would raising taxes to fund this reform even be an option at this point?

Posted by Daniel | Report as abusive

What I don’t understand is that Repubicans are still against universal healthcare. The major problem confronting american employers is that they have to pay healthcare costs. There is no other 1st world economy where is cost of goods includes the costs of health care. By not having health care, we have made ourselves un-competitive.

Health care is a universal necesity like water and roads. Those universal necesities are usually better handled by government where profit taking does not increase the costs of the services. We have government handle things like police and fire-fighters because if we were to attempt to pay for them indiviually it would be cost prohibitive. The same thing has happened with the introduction of health information technologies. The costs for any one person to be maintained has become prohibitive. That is why we have entered into health insurance collectives, so that we can spread the costs among many people. The problem is that health insurance is no insurance at all!
Insurance is when a bunch of people get together and pool their money because they know something bad will happen to ONE of them. Health care cannot use that model because everyone eventually gets sick! Therefore the pool will need to be used for everyone and for the most part each person will pay their own way.
The problem now is that medical equipment and training is so expensive. If someone gets a business loan, then they have to pay it off in ~5 yrs. So, for a doctor to buy say an MRI, the number of MRI’s given in this 5 year period is calculated and the cost of the loan is then divided by the number procedures and the cost of the treatment is set. Up until recently the cost of an x-ray machine was cheap, and they were the height of technology. Now, a standard x-ray is considered quaint, but the equipment to make an x-ray image is still going up in price.
As we gain more and more medical breakthroughs, the costs of healthcare will rise, and more importantly, we will all need healthcare. For the USA to be competive in the modern world economy, we have to have government healthcare. Until then the cost to hire a USA worker will be higher than the costs for non-USA workers and that is a recipie that will bring us down faster than any other economic problems.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

“Stop drinking the koolaid. If the republicans actually wanted to regulate anything they had 6 years of absolute power to do it during Bush II.

Jamie”

You obviously know nothing about how our government works. “The clear gravity of the situation pushed the legislation forward. Some might say the current mess couldn’t be foreseen, yet in 2005 Alan Greenspan told Congress how urgent it was for it to act in the clearest possible terms: If Fannie and Freddie “continue to grow, continue to have the low capital that they have, continue to engage in the dynamic hedging of their portfolios, which they need to do for interest rate risk aversion, they potentially create ever-growing potential systemic risk down the road,” he said. “We are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk.”

What happened next was extraordinary. For the first time in history, a serious Fannie and Freddie reform bill was passed by the Senate Banking Committee. The bill gave a regulator power to crack down, and would have required the companies to eliminate their investments in risky assets.

Different World

If that bill had become law, then the world today would be different. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, a blizzard of terrible mortgage paper fluttered out of the Fannie and Freddie clouds, burying many of our oldest and most venerable institutions. Without their checkbooks keeping the market liquid and buying up excess supply, the market would likely have not existed.
But the bill didn’t become law, for a simple reason: Democrats opposed it on a party-line vote in the committee, signaling that this would be a partisan issue. Republicans, tied in knots by the tight Democratic opposition, couldn’t even get the Senate to vote on the matter.
That such a reckless political stand could have been taken by the Democrats was obscene even then”…You Dems could smell a fish, see that fish in front of your face, yet turn to a bowl of grapes and blame the grapes for the fishy smell. Typical.

Posted by L | Report as abusive

Food is also a necessity. I doubt even the Democrats want the government to nationalize the food industry. Perhaps that is next.

Posted by Douglas Cooper | Report as abusive

Okay folks, you might as well all admit it the whole country is swirling the bowl. The democrats might be royally screwing things up but the republicans were and are not helping either. There has been no fiscal responsibility by either party and to not hold both parties accountable is either deluding yourselves or just downright being dishonest.

Posted by Devon | Report as abusive

Woo-hoo! Change you can BELIEVE in! What a bunch of idiotic crap! A curse on EVERY AMERICAN who voted “Anybody but a Republican”! This is your punishment for the next 3 1/2 years. Thanks alot morons!

Posted by Steve in Fla | Report as abusive

Laura: you are my hero

John: there are very few things usually better handled by government. eliminating profits does not mean healthcare managed by government will not be subject to waste, fraud, abuse, corruption, mismangement, and the general incompetence demonstrated by Amtrak, USPS, public schools, and every other enterprise run by union-led administrators. the cost doesn’t bother me as much as losing my freedom to choose which will inevitably come to pass thru government intervention.

Posted by wally | Report as abusive

Hey, I am comment 100 ..do I win a No-Prize!

Posted by James Pethokoukis | Report as abusive

[...] cave in. On RealClearPolitics we counted 7 articles at mid-day including this one from the WP, this one from Reuters and even this one in support?! of the idea. The argument that the latter posting by Mr. Reich makes [...]

I love the “facts” thrown out to moan how the rich pay most of the income taxes. Yes, the top 1% pay 40% of the income taxes. BUT, what you are never told is the top 5% of receive 95% of all income. The top 1% receive 90% of the income. But they pay only 40% of the taxes. It helps to have the full story, doesn’t it?

Posted by frank | Report as abusive

Yes, this is the end of the world. Because those making

350k/yr = 29K/month 500k/yr = 41k/mo 1mil./yr = 83k/mo

certainly cannot afford to spare any money to help strengthen the nation and ensure healthcare to fellow citizens in need.

GREED= 1 of 7 deadly sins – but all you good christian/religious right wingers are holier than thou, and as such do not have to worry about what the good lord would do.

God & John Wayne are rolling in their graves with the news of your selfishness.

THIS IS AMERICA!!! If you want be a part of it, then do your part. If not, pack your bags and book yourself a first-class one-way ticket OUT today. GOOD RIDDANCE!!

Posted by what would john wayne do ? | Report as abusive

Must be an interesting feeling to be a right wing loser and wake up every morning praying that the country will collapse so you can blame it on Obama.
Never mind the fact that history would certainly deem it a failure of the preceding administration.
You guy lost because you policies sucked and nearly ruined us.

typical conservative logic: Take all of the money for yourself and then complain that you are the only one paying taxes. The writer points out the the top 1 percent pay 40 percent of the taxes, but fails to point out what percentage of the wealth that 1 percent has ( a lot more than 40 percent.)Health care reform is also a national security issue. When we get hit with a biological weapon it isn’t going to matter how good your health insurance is. Having 15 percent of our population without access to a doctor will bite us all in the ass. By the time we know what is happening the hospitals will be so packed with sick people that there won’t be enough doctors to go around and the poor top 1 percent will just as dead as everyone else. Getting quality health coverage for all is a moral, economic and strategic necessity for the entire country.

Posted by Erik | Report as abusive

fuck ya’ll taxpayers, we need tanks, boats, soldiers, sub-contractors and inexplicable desk jobs…oh ya and health care

Posted by count chocula | Report as abusive

I believe the GOP and the Dems are filled with idiots. However, there are more idiots in the GOP than in the Democratic Party.
Maybe now isn’t the right time for public health care, maybe it is. Regardless, we’re a poor excuse of a country without it and it needs to happen at some point.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

There is one more reason — it will reduce the rate of new start-up ventures, which will slow job creation for years to come.

Let’s start with who creates jobs in our economy. For the past twenty years it has been overwhelmingly entrepreneurs — over 75% of all new jobs came from small businesses during this time period.

One of the incentives to take the risk to create a new business is to build wealth. Most entrepreneurs take a significant hit on their short-term income potential, but are willing to do this with the hope that at the back end their will come a big payday as a reward for their hard work and personal risk-taking.

When an entrepreneur sells his business, we must remember that much if not all of the proceeds from the sale are treated like ordinary income, which like all profits from the business pass directly to the owner.

With all of the “soak the rich” plans in place to pay for our new found fascination with socialism in the US, I would not be shocked to see marginal rates soon top 50% or more. Maybe not immediately, but as the true costs of all of these new programs become real the answer to soaring deficits will undoubtedly be to tax the wealthy even more.

Remember, capturing the wealth out of a private business is usually a one time event at the time of the sale of the business. These are almost always asset purchases that result in a huge one-time bump in income.

With higher marginal rates, we will see fewer entrepreneurs willing to take the risks and put in the effort to launch new ventures. In fact one study I have used often in class suggests that for every one percent increase in marginal tax rates we see a 1.4% decrease in start-up activity in the economy.

So in the frenzy to pass program after program that will be paid with higher taxes on “the rich”, you can bet that we will see fewer entrepreneurs starting businesses that would create the jobs we need to revitalize the economy. On top of that, there will be fewer of these one-time “rich” people who get a one year bump in income when selling a business. This will create tax short-falls that will only further escalate the deficit.

Why do you neo-cons hate america? Don’t you know that if you don’t support our plans you are a terrorist? Either with us or against us.

/sucks coming from the other side, huh?

Posted by xgnu | Report as abusive

I guess my question to liberals is this: How much is enough? How much of my money, earned through productive enterprise, is enough of a payment to the unproductive elements who “need” it? How much can you tax us, before it no longer pays to be productive? How will the American dependent class survive without producers? How will government survive if they destroy the producers of wealth? Do you want 60%, 70%? Why not tax at 100% and let the government decide who gets paid what? Be honest. You would not be in favor of these things if others were not paying for it, or if you were not benefiting from it yourself.

Posted by Don | Report as abusive

“Less than three weeks after passing a costly cap-and-trade carbon emission plan…”

Can you define what you mean by costly. All the reports I have seen say the cap-and-trade plan is not very costly and is even a benefit for some and long term is better than the alternative of doing nothing. If you have other data please share.

Posted by HonestCitizen | Report as abusive

HonestCitizen (misnomer obviousl)

http://blog.heritage.org/2009/06/22/cbo- grossly-underestimates-costs-of-cap-and- trade/

Trillions. The Brits are already paying around $1200 per household per year and it’s not fully implement. This is a realworld example. Do you believe that or our government (the same one that promised the stimulus bill would keep unemployment to 8%)? Get you head out of your behind.

Posted by Don | Report as abusive

How about rolling healthcare companies back to non-profit status? Reading David Cay Johnston pretty much tells you how much money is suctioned from the many and given to the ownership/execs of these now for-profit companies…

Posted by econobiker | Report as abusive

[...] James Pethokoukis hits it on the head with this one. Can you imagine income tax rates jumping over 50%? Not to mention the damage done to small businesses everywhere. It pushes income tax rates above a key threshhold. Once you take into account state income taxes, the top tax rate would sneak above 50 percent. Research by former White House economist Lawrence Lindsey has found that rates above 40 percent really start to hit economic growth especially hard. [...]

There are so many things wrong with this article, that I don’t know where to begin. Each part sounds plausible by itself, but the quotes and citations fail to account for the larger economic context, which makes some (not all) of the evidence appear to support the author’s larger points when the larger context invalidates it.

I’m sure the author was mainly focused on completing his article before deadline, as that’s his job and there’s no shame in that. But before anyone accepts his conclusions as valid, they should read more about the larger situation including historical context– and really read about it too, rather than picking up a few shallow talking points as too many right- AND left-wingers on both sides of the argument tend to do.

Posted by Ken | Report as abusive

[...] Reuters’ Nine Reasons Democrats’ Healthcare Surtax Is Dangerous By Michael Eden Our republic is in the worst kind of danger.  No enemy could do to us from without what Obama and liberal Democrats are doing to us from within. 9 reasons Pelosi’s healthcare surtax is disastrous [...]

What a bunch of angry, victimized, cynical comments. You people generally don’t look on the bright side of life, do you?

Posted by Wow | Report as abusive

The only thing that no one has mentioned here is how much more optimism there is now than when the Republicans ran things. I’m not saying that we’re being steered in the right direction by the Dems but now everyone seems to have hope while before we had none. I’m willing to wait and see. It’s better than the daily gloom that existed before.

Posted by Ed | Report as abusive

[...] off the wall remarks about spending money while going bankrupt , and clear-eyed critiques from a number of places,  and our poor leader really had no choice but to try to be the last health reform voice [...]

[...] the Democrats big tax increase will not work. (Hat Tip: [...]

One difference between publicly and privately run enterprises is that public ones are publicly accountable. They not only have to account for costs, but also account for the way they’re serving their function in the community. It’s not always as simple as calculating shareholder equity. That’s what is at the heart of the injustices in the current insurance system. It’s also the reason people support fire departments as a public enterprise. Even the volunteer ones are supported by the community, in order that they be accountable to the people they serve. It would seem the enterprises protecting the health of people might benefit from the same oversight we give enterprises that protect the buildings they live in.

Posted by jt | Report as abusive

[...] the Democrats big tax increase will not work. (Hat Tip: [...]