Taxes Come And Taxes Go

This is one of the few posts I will ever do on the ACA (Obamacare) because there is way too much BS flowing around the subject……but there is a firestorm going on on the web because of something a restaurant did to its patrons……

An otherwise nondescript restaurant chain in Florida is suddenly national news thanks to a new policy: Gator’s Dockside has added a 1% surcharge to cover the costs of the Affordable Care Act, reports CNN Money. Participating restaurants aren’t trying to hide it, either. “The costs associated with ACA compliance could ultimately close our doors,” reads a sign to patrons. “Instead of raising prices on our products to generate the additional revenue needed to cover the costs of ACA compliance, certain Gator’s Dockside locations have implemented a 1% surcharge on all food and beverage purchases only.” An executive with the chain estimates that it will cost $500,000 a year to provide all its workers with insurance when the employer mandate kicks in next year, and she figures the surcharge will bring in about $160,000 annually.

As one would expect there is a wealth of opinions…….

  • Dumb move: “Obviously, the restaurateur is thinking about this from the perspective of an angry talk-radio-listening Republican rather than that of a hard-headed capitalist,” writes Jonathan Chait at the Daily Intelligencer. “There are costs associated with all kinds of government regulations and spending, but he’s not creating a line item on his tab to highlight his share of, say, financing the Department of Defense.”
  • Smart move: “As the surcharge shows, Obamacare is no free lunch,” writes Katrina Trinko at the Heritage Foundation. “Most businesses probably won’t opt to add a specific surcharge in order to cover their new health care costs, but some will certainly raise prices—or reduce quality of their products. Obamacare hasn’t driven down the costs of health insurance, or found a magical new source to cover those costs.”
  • Similar move: Eater notes that a popular Los Angeles restaurant, Republique, asks diners to pay a 3% surcharge for employee health care costs. The restaurant makes it optional, however, and says it is not specifically tied to the new law’s mandates.

Now my take……you may call it whatever you like surcharge or tax….it is the same thing……my problem is with the 16th amendment…….

Article I, Section 2, Clause 3:

Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Number

Article I, Section 8, Clause 1:

The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.

If it is a tax then why is only one individual doing it?  The name is irrelevant……..it is like the visit to the auto repair shop….take a look at you bill…….there will be a ‘surcharge’ for shop supplies……I do not like that either….but if these people can get away with it why not Gator’s Dockside?

If one opposes taxes then one should be in opposition to this ‘surcharge’.  I was unaware that an individual could level taxes I thought that was the duty of the state…….call it what you like a tax is a tax…….I will admit that it is creative….but is it legal?

Enough said?

What Is In The Mandate?

Oh God!  The ballet has begun again…….the debate on the law called Obamacare.  Silliness and absurdity are the chorus…….we are hearing all the crap over and over….kinda like the House votes on repealing the Law, 39 times I believe and yet it is still the LAW!  GOP has its head firmly placed in their anus…….before we go on let me say something clever to the Right wing….Obamacare is LAW!  Get over it you twats!

The taxes and the fines and lastly that damn pesky MANDATE.  But wait what is the mandate?  Can you describe it without dashing to the Google machine?  (pause here for the clicking of keys in search of mandate on Google).

Ezra Klein has attempted to explain the mandate……..

The individual mandate is a requirement that all individuals who can afford health-care insurance purchase some minimally comprehensive policy. For the purposes of the law, “individuals who can afford health-care insurance” is defined as people for whom the minimum policy will not cost more than 8 percent of their monthly income, and who make more than the poverty line. So if coverage would cost more than 8 percent of your monthly income, or you’re making very little, you’re not on the hook to buy insurance (and, because of other provisions in the law, you’re getting subsidies that make insurance virtually costless anyway).

The theory behind the mandate is simple: It’s there to protect against an insurance death spiral. Now that insurers can’t discriminate based on preexisting conditions, it would be entirely possible for people to forgo insurance until, well, they develop a medical condition. In that world, the bulk of the people buying insurance on the exchanges are sick, and that makes the average premiums terrifically expensive. The mandate is there to bring healthy people into the pool, which keeps average costs down and also ensures that people aren’t riding free on the system by letting society pay when they get hit by a bus.

The irony of the mandate is that it’s been presented as a terribly onerous tax on decent, hardworking people who don’t want to purchase insurance. In reality, it’s the best deal in the bill: A cynical consumer would be smart to pay the modest penalty rather than pay thousands of dollars a year for insurance. In the current system, that’s a bad idea because insurers won’t let them buy insurance if they get sick later. In the reformed system, there’s no consequence for that behavior. You could pay the penalty for five years and then buy insurance the day you felt a lump.

The Right is fighting the law and in particular the mandate as a TAX….and we know how Americans have been brainwashed into a “no taxation” mode……now we can debate the legitimacy of the argument that it is a tax but it will always depend on your political ideology……..I want to believe that the consumer is smarter than the GOP gives them credit………(I say that and I live in a state where I question the mental capacity of 75% of the voters….so I could be mistaken)……..

Actually the law is too weak….more so than too punitive to the taxpayer……personally, it does not go far enough…..but I can live with it….for now….

Now you have an idea what the mandate is……there is so much more to the law but the mandate seems to be what most are focusing on….at least for this week……

Is This NOT Important?

I realize that Wisconsin situation and the horrible quake and tsunami are breaking stories and the world needs to hear them….but on the same hand there are things happening in news that are just as important….if not more so…..in a couple of months the two mentioned above will be replaced by other issues and most likely other disasters…..

There are things that the media will cull out of  the story board….why?  Most media outlets are owned and operated by corporate interests and some stories are not at all flattering and in as such will be either not reported or glazed over quickly and then move on…….Newser has reported on such a story……

A trove of leaked documents apparently reveals that Bank of America may have been involved in a scheme to bilk homeowners—a claim the bank rigorously denies. Hacker group Anonymous, which leaked the documents, says that more damning information is on the way, reports Business Insider. The emails, which allegedly come from an ex-employee of BoA subsidiary Balboa Insurance, apparently show the bank, insurance providers, and mortgage brokers all knew of a scheme to cancel people’s insurance agreements, forcing homeowners to buy much more expensive mortgage insurance far above normal requirements. Often, this would also lead to home foreclosures. Anonymous put BoA in its crosshairs last December after the bank cut off contributor payments to WikiLeaks. The hacker group has created bankofamericasucks.com,and promises to post more damning leaks. Bank of America, however, called the leaked materials non-foreclosure related clerical and administrative documents, telling Reuters: “We are confident that his extravagant assertions are untrue.”

And yet, this is somehow NOT important enough to be covered in its entirety…..WHY?

The best answer is……the media, the government and the country are ruled by special interests and the people are there only to service them….for the people NOTHING!

A Sad Day For Vets

Daily Agitator

This is one of the most disgusting stories this year!

Lots have been said about the care of vets and their treatment…..remember the sad condition of the vet hospital in Washington?  Remember the high number of suicides?  Remember the church that protests at the funerals of fallen soldiers?  The list goes on and on….all this is shabby and should be a crime but there is one that I could hardly believe when I first read it………this piece was posted on the Newser website:

It turns out that insurers handling death benefits for American soldiers have got a sweet scam going that enables them to keep profiting from the money even after it is supposedly paid out to families. They tell bereaved relatives that they’ve opened a convenient, interest-bearing account for their money that’s a nice, safe place to keep it and they give them a “checkbook.” But it’s not a normal checkbook, they don’t open individual accounts for each soldier, and they skim off most of the interest the money is making—giving beneficiaries 1% while it’s earning 4%.The military families are getting less than half the interest they would in a normal account, Bloomberg reports. Not only that, the money held in these general corporate accounts at Prudential or MetLife, isn’t insured by the FDIC. Prudential says they make it clear to military families that they can take their money out anytime they want, but an insurance law professor isn’t impressed. “It’s institutionalized bad faith,” he says. “It’s turning death claims into a profit center.”

Read more: http://www.newser.com/story/96760/insurers-rip-off-families-of-fallen-us-soldiers.html#ixzz0v6QzD2fA

Remember the names of the insurance companies….write them and let them know how you feel about their tactics toward the families of fallen soldiers…..this is what capitalism is all about?!  This is just a horrible thing to do to families after their loss.  This is CRIMINAL and these a/holes should be prosecuted and prosecuted hard……As a veteran who lost 9 of my closest friends in war…I find this offensive and unacceptable in all ways….there is a special place in Hell for pricks like these companies!

Health Reform–Revisited

After a year of health reform back and forth….after a year of lies and misinformation…after a year of name calling and insults……after a year of political jockeying…….after a year of total Hell in Washington…..we have a health reform law…..that is NOT good enough states are trying to sue the government to stop the law….but all the while are preparing to implement the law….

The Dems have gone on the air and taunted the benefits of the law…..have talked about the victory for the people….but is it everything good that the Dems have echoed?  Is it all that and a bag of chips?

According to the Politico’s Jennifer Haberkorn:

Part of the health care overhaul due to kick in this September could strip more than 1 million people of their insurance coverage, violating a key goal of President Barack Obama’s reforms.

Under the provision, insurance companies will no longer be able to apply broad annual caps on the amount of money they pay out on health policies. Employer groups say the ban could essentially wipe out a niche insurance market that many part-time workers and retail and restaurant employees have come to rely on.

This market’s limited-benefit plans, also called mini-med plans, are priced low because they can, among other things, restrict the number of covered doctor visits or impose a maximum on insurance payouts in a year. The plans are commonly offered by retail or restaurant companies to low-wage workers who cannot afford more expensive, comprehensive coverage.

Obama and his cronies have told us all about the millions that will now have health care…..they left out the part where some people could lose their plan altogether..

Dems: Try This!

With the election of Brown from Mass the super majority is dead and with that so is health reform…..may I suggest a direction for the Dems to try….one the whole “Big Bang” approach just plain sucked!

You guys are making this whole health thing more complicated than it has to be…just keep in mind K.I.S.S.!

That bazillion page health reform bill…scrape it!….absolutely NO one knows what is in the damn thing…..it is so large that it only aids the opposition in their track down the misinformation highway….throw the damn thing in the trash and try again…..

I have an idea….put together a bill that contains a reversal of the anti-trust exemption for the insurance companies, insert a provision for a national exchange so that insurance can be bought like car insurance and finally, eliminate the pre-existing condition thing……send this to the Congress and wait…..

Let the opposition take shots at it all they want and then go before the people and say that the Repubs are fighting against people having choice, want insurance companies to keep their antitrust exemption and that people are not important…..

Then go back to the Hill and dare Repubs to vote against it……..their political future would be bleak if they do…..it would be hard for them to justify why they are against the bill to the voter….now you have them by the short hairs!

All bills are a political chess game….it helps if the players know the moves……unfortunately, just being in opposition is not a good move……maybe then the Repubs would offer alternatives other than tort reform….

Simplest answers are usually the best answers…..what could it hurt?