What Do We Get For Our Money?

I am unashamed antiwar supporter…..I have witnessed first hand the obscenities of war and the waste of money that could be used for good.

I keep writing about the barbarity of war and few seem to care……so maybe I should try a different tack……

I recently wrote a post about the fact that the US can no longer afford a war……

Source: The US Can No Longer Afford War! – In Saner Thought

The voter is always looking for a way to lessen the burden on themselves thru taxation policies……maybe a better way to bring attention to the war profit is to tell where the tax dollars go to support war……

You wouldn’t know it, based on the endless cries for more money coming from the military, politicians, and the president, but these are the best of times for the Pentagon.  Spending on the Department of Defense alone is already well in excess of half a trillion dollars a year and counting.  Adjusted for inflation, that means it’s higher than at the height of President Ronald Reagan’s massive buildup of the 1980s and is now nearing the post-World War II funding peak.  And yet that’s barely half the story.  There are hundreds of billions of dollars in “defense” spending that aren’t even counted in the Pentagon budget.

Under the circumstances, laying all this out in grisly detail — and believe me, when you dive into the figures, they couldn’t be grislier — is the only way to offer a better sense of the true costs of our wars past, present, and future, and of the funding that is the lifeblood of the national security state.  When you do that, you end up with no less than 10 categories of national security spending (only one of which is the Pentagon budget).  So steel yourself for a tour of our nation’s trillion-dollar-plus “national security” budget. Given the Pentagon’s penchant for wasting money and our government’s record of engaging in dangerously misguided wars without end, it’s clear that a large portion of this massive investment of taxpayer dollars isn’t making anyone any safer.

Source: Top Ten Ways your Taxes pay for Endless War | Informed Comment

It really is NOT rocket science……

There you have it…..you want your tax dollars to go further to improve the country then make war less profitable…..and then you can see your tax dollars at work….for good.

The US Can No Longer Afford War!

The War on Terror has costs the nation about $2 trillion (yes that is a “T” for trillion)……chasing terrorists around the world has lead to adventurism by the US on every continent of the globe.

It is getting out of hand….but that does not stop these war hawks for demanding more and more money to fight wars we do not need.  Time to think outside of the Conflict box…..

According to the CBO, fiscal reality is coming, and far faster than most Washington policymakers appear to realize.

Republican presidents and Congresses claim to support fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets. Yet the previous GOP president, George W. Bush, was a wild spender. The Republican-controlled Congress that served alongside him was no better.

So too it looks to be the case with President Donald Trump and the current GOP-dominated legislative branch. The former doesn’t want to touch entitlements. The latter doesn’t like the big cuts President Trump proposed in discretionary outlays in areas such as the State Department. And most of the Republicans are clamoring to fill the Pentagon’s coffers: the only question is how much, how quickly.

Source: America Literally Can’t Afford More Military Adventurism | RealClearWorld

It is your money they are spending on all these wars…is it not about time that you let your feelings be known?

I mean according to studies most Americans are in fear of a major war in the future…..

on-stop smaller wars, and officials always playing up the risk of bigger wars to get bigger military budgets have always had Americans worried about a new major war being on the horizon, but the latest NBC/SurveyMonkey poll shows that such fears have been growing dramatically in recent months.

This new poll showed an overwhelming majority, 76% of Americans, are now worried that the US will get drawn into a new “major war” in the next four years. This is an increase of 10% over the last time the question was asked, in mid-February.

As far as who the US might get into that major war with, the plurality went to North Korea, with 41% of Americans believing that the isolated nation is the “greatest immediate threat” to the US. ISIS was second at 28%, Russia at 18%, with China and Iran rounding out the top 5.

(antiwar.com)

I am for a more diplomatic approach over a military force one…..but that is a dream that will not be possible as long as we have an anti-diplomacy president…..diplomacy is much cheaper than force…..

Health Care: The Little Bill That Couldn’t!

Repeal And Replace!

Remember that chant from the election trail?

The House came up with a plan that is a typical GOP plan…it sucked!

Then the Senate took a shot at it……and since the Senate is controlled by the GOP….you guessed it….it sucked also!

Of course NO Dem was gonna support the plan and then a couple a Repub senators saw it for what it was….a suck ass plan and bolted……

And just like that, Mitch McConnell’s plan to repeal ObamaCare with a two-year delay appears to be doomed. McConnell announced the revised strategy Monday night, and he could afford only two GOP defections. Already, there’s three: Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said Tuesday they can’t support the idea of scrapping the Affordable Care Act unless the GOP has a replacement plan, not just the promise of one, reports USA Today.

So what now? McConnell was going to have to wait for John McCain to return before the vote anyway, which could be weeks away. But President Trump says the GOP strategy is clearer now: “I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll just let ObamaCare fail,” he told reporters, per Politico. “We’re not gonna own it. I’m not gonna own it. We’ll let ObamaCare fail and then Democrats are going to come to us.”

Sens. Mike Lee and Jerry Moran sealed the bill’s fate by declaring their opposition, joining Sens. Rand Paul and Susan Collins. Aides tell CNN that the two men, who opposed the legislation for different reasons, decided to announce their opposition together so that neither would be seen as the deciding third Republican vote against the plan.

While Lee and Moran were working on their statement, Trump was dining on steak, succotash, and “farm stand peach cobbler” at the White House with eight other senators while discussing health care reform. An insider tells Politico that Trump “made an impassioned pitch on why Republicans needed to do it now.” “He basically said, if we don’t do this, we’re in trouble,” the source says. “That we have the Senate, House, and White House and we have to do it or we’re going to look terrible.”

According to the New York Times, the bill failed because the GOP has failed to learn this lesson: “An American entitlement, once established, can almost never be retracted.” Conservative senators demanding full repeal of ObamaCare were unable to reach a deal with senators whose states accepted, and now rely on, ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid.

McConnell now plans to hold a fresh vote on repeal legislation passed by the House and Senate in 2015, which gives Congress two years to come up with a replacement for ObamaCare. But that strategy was abandoned by the GOP earlier this year because of concerns about chaos in the marketplace, and it may be a struggle to pass repeal-only legislation now, the AP reports. Trump tweeted in support of repeal after McConnell said it had become clear that the replacement bill wouldn’t succeed.

The Washington Post reports that in what appears to be a fifth nail in the legislation’s coffin, Sen. John McCain issued a statement late Monday urging fellow lawmakers to not “repeat the original mistakes that led to ObamaCare’s failure,” including crafting the legislation on a “strict party-line basis.” He called for Congress to “return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties, and heed the recommendations of our nation’s governors.”

When the bill crashed and burned….what would you think would be the reaction from our fearless leader?

If you said “Twitter” then congrats you are smarter than the average bear…..

The collapse of the GOP’s health care plan in the Senate quickly brought President Trump to Twitter on Tuesday to criticize the Republican defectors who torpedoed the bill. “We were let down by all of the Democrats and a few Republicans,” he tweeted, without naming names. “Most Republicans were loyal, terrific & worked really hard. We will return!” Trump also reiterated that’s he’s fully behind the new plan to repeal ObamaCare first and then replace it later. “As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!” he tweeted.

In an interview Trump put the blame where he always puts the blame…..on the Dems…..

President Donald Trump gave remarks to reporters on Tuesday on the second failure of a Senate GOP health care bill, blaming Democrats for not coming on board with the repeal of their signature Affordable Care Act.

Responding to a question about if he thought Republicans who declined to support the bill were disloyal, Trump noted “we had no Democrat support, which is really, you know, something that should be said.”

“It was a great plan for a lot of people,” the president continued. “We had no Democrats aboard.”

Yeah that is the reason it failed….had nothing to do with just how bad the bill was and how bad it would screw the American people….those damn Dems!

What now Bat Man? (That will be another post somewhere in the near future)…..

Closing Thought–17Jul17

Don’t Spend All That Money In One Place!

From time to time I try to be an FYI blog as well as an opinion blog with a little education thrown in for good measure……

Since so many of us bloggers are old farts that retired and depend on social security I thought I would pass on the news about the COLA for this year….

Millions of Americans who rely on Social Security can expect to see their biggest pay increase in years in January, per projections released Thursday by the program’s trustees, the AP reports. The increase is projected to be just 2.2%, or about $28 a month for the average recipient. For context, this year Social Security recipients saw an increase of 0.3%, after getting nothing in 2016. Some good news for seniors: The trustees project Medicare Part B premiums will stay unchanged next year. Most beneficiaries pay $134 a month, though retirees with higher incomes pay more. Both Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment and Medicare Part B premiums will be announced in the fall.

More than 61 million retirees, disabled workers, spouses, and surviving children receive Social Security benefits, with an average monthly payment of $1,253. Medicare provides health insurance to about 58 million people. Unless Congress acts, the trust funds that support Social Security are estimated to run dry in 2034, the same as last year’s projection. Medicare’s trust fund for inpatient care is projected to be depleted in 2029, a year later than last year’s forecast. Over the past decade, Social Security and Medicare made up about 40% of federal spending, excluding interest on the debt; 50 years ago, the figure was 16%. The programs are expanding in part because the US is growing older: In 1960, there were 5.1 workers for each person getting Social Security benefits; today, there are about 2.8 workers for each beneficiary.

Just thought you might like to know…..

TTFN….I will be back tomorrow with more stuff….chuq

Health Care: Will Another Bill Fail?

Yes health care has been in the news a lot….the old “repeal and replace” thing and that promise has not been going very well…..there was a disastrous House bill and then the Senate took a whack at it and theirs was even worse than the House offering…..

They all went back to the back rooms and hammered out yet another incarnation of a health bill…..and now it has been released to us mere mortals for our knowledge….

President Trump said he’d be “very angry” if senators fail to repeal ObamaCare as promised, and GOP leaders have just taken a step in their quest to quell that anger. The second draft of the Better Care Reconciliation Act was released on Thursday with revisions aimed at getting 50 of the Senate’s 52 GOP votes. The Congressional Budget Office should score the bill early next week, and next week should also see a vote. The Hill’s take: “Overall, [Mitch] McConnell appears to have shifted the revised bill toward the conservatives, without giving the moderates much of what they want.” The AP sees “only modest departures” from the original. Indeed, Medicaid cuts are mostly unchanged, to the likely displeasure of moderates. This means the funding that 31 states have used to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare ends in 2024, and further cuts follow the next year. Five things that were changed:

  1. Ted Cruz’s amendment appears, sort of. He, along with Sen. Mike Lee, proposed allowing insurers to offer bare-bones plans as long as those insurers also sell at least one policy that conforms to ObamaCare requirements. What’s included is based on their version, though the AP notes it appears in brackets, meaning the language hasn’t been finalized.
  2. The “stability fund” grows from $112 billion to $182 billion. This is the money states could dole out to help tamp down premiums and other costs.
  3. Opioids get more funding, to the tune of $45 billion, up from the $2 billion in version one.
  • Two ObamaCare taxes on the wealthy are back. Currently, families earning more than $250,000 a year see a 3.8% increase in their investment income tax and a 0.9% bump in their payroll tax. The taxes had been removed in version one.
  • Premiums could be paid for using money from pre-tax health savings accounts, an approach conservatives favor.

Sorry but that offering is as bad if not worse than their first effort….and sadly it is going to the same place as it predecessor….the trash can.

Medicaid still takes a deep hit…..but now people can buy “no frills” health insurance….someone with half a brain explain that to the country.

Unless Mitch can pull a vote out of his butt this will also fail….do not count him out just yet…..he will use party loyalty as a weapon to get the votes he needs…..and we will see where these GOPers loyalty really lies…..my guess is the people will lose out yet again under the GOP boot.

This is NOT as hard as they are making it….but when you have to make your masters with the money happy it becomes a disaster…..and so far that is exactly what we are getting from Congress…disaster after disaster…..

The country waits……

The Health Care Deliberation

This has been a debate in DC since MacArthur was a private…..Obama had some success (if you could call it that) and now the GOP is trying desperately trying to make good on their slogan of “repeal and replace” (and that is not going well at all)….

All this jockeying for position is just the game of political ownership……the best way to put an end to the BS is to adapt to a Medicare for all….and it looks like it is approaching……

Senators are back at work Monday, and their No. 1 priority remains trying to craft an alternative to ObamaCare. The problem is that Mitch McConnell’s task of getting the necessary 50 votes seems to have gotten only more difficult over the holiday break, and that’s raising a slew of stories about what happens if the GOP bill fails. Shoring up ObamaCare is one possibility, but another is the controversial idea of some kind of single-payer system. The long-shot concept, anathema to conservatives, is surfacing more and more in stories:

  • Definition: Under a single-payer system, “doctors and hospitals are mostly private entities, but are paid exclusively by the government,” explains a primer at Mother Jones. “Canada is single-payer, with each province acting as the sole source of payment to doctors and hospitals. In the US, Medicaid and traditional Medicare are single-payer.”
  • Tax hikes: Everybody would get core coverage regardless of income, job, or health status, explains Money, and people would no longer get insurance through their jobs. But paying for it would surely require new tax increases of some kind.
  • Sanders, and others: The concept is gaining traction among Democrats, reports the Hill. Bernie Sanders promises to introduce a bill when debate ends on the GOP ObamaCare alternative. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand back the concept, and in the House, a “Medicare for All” proposal by Rep. John Conyers has 113 co-sponsors. Warren, specifically, told the Wall Street Journal last month that “now it’s time for the next step, and the next step is single payer.”
  • Please, no: Putting bureaucrats in charge of health care isn’t the answer, writes Sally Pipes at Forbes. “Single-payer systems have endangered lives and reduced access to quality care everywhere they’ve been implemented,” she notes, citing “deplorable care” in Britain and Canada and arguing that if Republicans needed any incentive to make progress on their health bill, the prospect of a single-payer system should do it.
  • California: A bill to shift to a single-payer system stalled last month in the California Assembly, and the Los Angeles Times reports that a main reason is that it was “short on key policy specifics—most significantly, how to pay for it.”
  • Partisan divide: A Pew Research Center poll finds that 52% of Democrats support the single-payer idea, but the overall percentage in support drops to 33 when Republicans are added, reports CNN. For that reason, both sides seem to love talking about it, notes the story.
  • Senate GOP plan: It’s not dead yet, though the positions of conservatives and moderates within the GOP seem to have hardened in the last week, reports Politico. That makes McConnell’s quest for a compromise acceptable to enough senators exceedingly difficult.

Of course the biggest sticking point is just how will the program be funded?

The notion of a single government-run insurance plan — known as “single-payer health care” to wonks, and “Medicare-for-all” to advocates — has made an enormous comeback in progressive circles in the wake of the 2016 presidential election.

Bernie Sanders made this a core issue of his stronger-than-expected primary campaign, and longstanding legislation from Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) to create a single-payer system has garnered more co-sponsors than ever before. Democrats in the California State Senate mustered a two-thirds supermajority in favor of a single-payer health care system, and the New York State Assembly has done the same. Elizabeth Warren endorsed single-payer health care recently, and more senators are speaking warmly, if somewhat vaguely, about it. Sanders himself is expected to unveil legislation once the GOP’s plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act either succeed or fail.

Source: The real reason single-payer health care is hard to pay for – Vox

I have always thought that a single payer would be the best and most equitable way to health care…..nothing has changed on my thinking.

Free Markets! Just Stop It!

Thoughts From the VOMITORIUM

Free markets!  Free markets!  We hear this time and time again from our politicians especially those on the Right….we must have free markets for this country to move forward.

What poppycock! (I wanted to use a stronger word but some of my readers may have sensitivities that I may not know about)……

This term has been used so much that few know what the Hell it means….but they will vote for the loudest toad that uses it ad nauseum….

I recently had a sit down with a friend—-coffee and pastry was delightful—a conserv friend…..we started talking about trade. world trade and my friend being a good conserv started going on about the “free markets”….free markets this and free markets that……as usual I had to point out that the free markets that he so loves do not exist…..in the pure economic sense.

As usual these conservs know not of what the speak….once I started my friend immediately started in on the “socialism” thing….anything that does not meet with their approval is deemed “socialism”…that is a retreat of the ignorant.

First of all….what are the “Free markets”…..Where buyers and sellers can make the deals they wish to make without any interference, except by the forces of demand and supply.

The term “free market” is sometimes used as a synonym for laissez-faire capitalism. When most people discuss the “free market,” they mean an economy with unobstructed competition and only private transactions between buyers and sellers. However, a more inclusive definition should include any voluntary economic activity so long as it is not controlled by coercive central authorities.

In short there are few “free markets’ although the illegal drug trade comes closest to any….

Economic sanctions, quotas, tariffs all are regulations of sorts and go against the perceived benefits of a “Free Market”……

Our new president wants to punish countries like China for dumping steel none of that is part of a free market…..

Time to find a new term to name the economy/markets in the US…..time to stop using a term that does not define the market economy of the US…..