This is no victory

Dear News Media,
This is not a ‘victory’ for the Republicans. They passed a bill and they have majorities in both the House and Senate. This should be routine.
To get this passed, they had to vote before reading the bill, rush it through, avoid hearings, add a bunch of special-interest provisions and systemically vote down any amendment proposed by the democrats [while claiming the act of rejecting everyone without discussion and without hearings was including them] is not ‘normal order’ for passing major legislation. So are you celebrating the victory because they abolished all best practices of governing?
Or a victory would have been to do what they promised to do – produce a bill that would cut taxes for the middle class. But this bill does anything but that – hurting many and helping only those who do not need more help.
Or a victory would have been to finally tackle the debt that they care so much about and was why you can’t let democrats be involved in governing at all [preferring accused child molesters]. But it adds $1.4 trillion to the debt – $600 million of that from one provision that helps hedgefund managers who live in the Virgin Islands avoid even more taxes.
Or they could have tackled the growing income inequality – but this bill makes it worse.
Or they could have provided more breaks to those that are in retirement and facing challenging economic times living off retirement, social security and medicare. But this bill will trigger reductions in Medicare [with some cancer doctors coming forward and indicating that this bill will trigger cuts that will remove care from current patients.
Or they could have restored funding for children’s health – cut previously – but they left that out and declared how they just ‘can’t afford that’.
No this is a victory for the rich donors and for the wealthy – and the incumbents who hope to avoid a primary challenge.
It is a defeat for decency, ethics, and democracy.
So, Dear New Media, do not reward them by calling this a ‘victory’.  Successful thieves are not ‘victorious’ – they only managed to complete another theft.  They hurt their victims and eventually – hopefully – will be held accountable.
And did you forget all your reporting on how bad this will be for most people?  And you call this a victory?  Please!  Resist the BS.  You know better.
We know better.
Go back and do your job and read the details of this bill and explain just how many people will have their lives hurt right away and how many will be hurt by the cuts this bill requires and how many will be hurt in a few years.
And then do your job and start tallying the PERSONAL gain of these elected / appointed officials …. and make it clear that the president LIED when he said this would hurt HIM.  It won’t hurt most republican leaders either.

Why take a pay cut?

Ever been in debt?
Ever want something you cannot afford?
Ever worry about how to cover your current bills – like mortgages – from your paycheck?
Is the first thing you think of to reduce how much money you make?
Do you go out and get a job that pays less?
Do you cut back on the number of hours you work and make less money?
Well, our country does not need to take in less money because it is currently in debt, has trouble meeting its current obligations and has many things it would like to spend money on.
And yet there is always talk about reducing taxes….
Which will reduce the amount of money our country has to do what it needs to do, to do what it wants to do, to do what it must do and to pay off its already existing debt.
Making the way it takes in revenue fairer? Especially in a way that might drive demand for goods and services made in the USA.
Now when people hear ‘tax reform’ or ‘tax cut’, they THINK ‘More for me – YEA. I think I can do better things with it than the government.’
But each of us can’t build a road, or fix a bridge, or fund the military, or run elections or keep our National Parks open, or a million things we rly on the government to do. The things it should be doing according to the Constitution.
And the powerful corporations already keep extra money [that is why they have overseas accounts] ore return profits to investors and they haven’t felt like increasing pay and benefits for workers [in fact they keep looking for ways to reduce expense related to workers] or producing jobs.
And the top 1% already have had their wealth increased at a faster rate than any other part of our economy and they haven’t been creating jobs.  And most haven’t used their money to help others or to make the world a better place.  They have used their money to get richer.
So why cut taxes at all?  Fundamentally it makes our country even less able to function for most of us.
Simplify the process of filing taxes?  Good idea – but that isn’t what they are doing.
Close loopholes that allow powerful people and corporations and have them pay into funding our country at the same % of their income or profits that average people do?  Good idea.
Put incentives that reduce taxes when wages are increased or good-paying jobs are created?  Good idea.
But the country does not need to reduce its income and hope good things will happen.
You KNOW it doesn’t work for your home economy.  It won’t work for our country.

Thank you for proving why ‘trickle down’ doesn’t work!

The news is full of reports on the abuse of taxpayer trust as administration officials follow the example of the president and opt for extravagant travel options at the expense of the taxpayers and/or to personally benefit their own interests for comfort, luxury and, in the case of the president, personal business gain.

Why now?  Because the checks and balances that were in place in previous administrations where such requests would have been challenged before the expenses were incurred are no longer in place.  The people in this administration, starting with the president, simply have no issue with making taxpayers foot the bill for their luxurious habits.  They don’t seen any issues with this behavior.

What better example could be produced for the consequences of the proposed tax cuts for powerful corporations and the already well off?

The proposed tax cuts promise to help the overall economy and benefit those with less.

But there are no regulations / obligations in the law that require the behaviors that will benefit the country or will produce economic benefits for those who need it most.

We are relying on individual choices to do the right thing.

And we just saw what happens when rich, powerful men are given the option of unregulated access to money – they use it for personal comfort and benefit with no thought for the impact on others.

Remove the estate tax and the wealthy can take care of their own without being ‘troubled’ with paying taxes into the country that enabled their good fortune.  No jobs created, nothing given back, no sense of doing what is best for the country – only what would be best for the family.  This benefits no one but the family that avoids taxes and feels entitled to benefit from  the country has to offer without paying anything close to their fair share.

The same is true of any tax cuts on their income – or the removal of that pesky ACA  Additional Medicare Tax that required the wealthy to pay into Medicare at a rate close to that paid by the least of us.

And corporations, led by the wealthy and powerful, will be allowed to keep more of their revenue.  There is a possibility that jobs could be created – but why when they could opt to keep the profits for themselves?   Corporations already have much wealth and are not creating jobs because they don’t have to – most people can’t purchase enough to drive demand.  The tax breaks have no requirement to produce jobs – so they won’t.

And that small business tax relief includes reducing tax rates for the ‘small businesses’ that will never create jobs because they are merely legal entities to protect individuals from risk.  No matter what the level of income – no jobs will be created.  These companies are identified separately so they could be exempted from the breaks but are not – because the wealthy use this status to minimize their tax rates.  The tax reductions have no requirement to produce jobs and no regulations to avoid letting the wealthy pay a lower rate of taxes overall without giving anything back to help others.

Unless we force the already well off to do ‘the right thing’ and contribute back to the country and the people that enable their wealth, we have seen proof that they will take every advantage they are given to enrichen themselves.

And the president who claims that his tax changes will not help him personally is willing to lie to get the benefits that help only himself and his family.

This is what trickle down looks like – and it has produced the income inequality and wage stagnation that the current economy is threatened by.

We have the proof in real visible examples of what happens when you give the wealthy and powerful the option to take advantage of others while enriching themselves.

And too many choose to help themselves.

So the tax cuts that will be used to then reduce public services that help all of us are a double whammy.  They help the rich AND create a situation that will be used to take services AWAY from the majority of people who need the help.

We don’t need to be economists – we can see this play out right before our eyes.

So Thank you for demonstrating the case against your policies better than we could.

And now excuse us as we fight like hell to stop you from doing this harm to our country and our fellow Americans – you know, that ‘We, the People’ you are SUPPOSED to be representing?



Tax Reform – what to watch for

#1 – Does it remove / reduce the Estate Tax?

If it does, it is a bad deal.  The purpose of the Estate Tax is to prevent the wealthy from sheltering their wealth, passing it on from generation to generation free from taxes.  Free market best practices approve of this type of tax because the ability of the powerful to produce generations of family wealth thwarts competition.

#2 – Does it reduce taxes on ‘small businesses’ that either have only 1 employee or that by their nature will never create more jobs?

The vast majority of small businesses are set up for professionals to avoid taxes.  If their taxes are reduced, no jobs will ever be created.  If this deal reduces the taxes on this type of business, that break largely goes to the wealthy and won’t create one single new job.

#3 – Does it remove the additional Medicare tax that was part of the ACA?

If it does, passing the bill will cripple Medicare.  Part of the ACA had those that earned income outside of payroll or self-employed income pay into Medicare often for the 1st time.  This loophole being closed not only strengthened Medicare it removed the entitlement that the top 1% received by getting Medicare benefits without paying a % of their income as the rest of us do.

#4 – Does it mess with the deductions for Health Care Insurance, claiming this is a major ‘loophole’?

If it does, it will dramatically increase the cost of employer-supplied health care insurance – impacting the bottom 99% the most.  It increases the cost of providing health care because it subjects the money used to pay health premiums to social security and
Medicare taxes.  This means you will have to spend more to get the SAME health insurance you have now.

#5 – Does it lower / reduce the tax rate on the top income level?

If it does, it will reduce the ability of our government to fund government services and pay its bills – including any current debt.  It also will NOT create jobs or increase consumer demand in any way that will produce jobs.  Once you earn a certain level of income, you are already buying each year what you need.  If you get more money, you are not likely to spend it.

#6 – Does it leave the lowest tax rate unchanged?

IF it does, it misses the largest opportunity to stimulate economic growth. Any tax applied to people who make below the poverty level reduces their capacity to fund their survival.  If there is no tax relief for those at the bottom of the tax rates, then the opportunity to really impact economic growth is lost.  So is the opportunity to reduce demand for government programs.

If the USA is up for sale, maybe ‘We, the People’ need to buy it….

We heard a lot about ‘pay to play’ during the campaign.

Only then it was a bad thing and it was clearly what you would get if you voted for Hillary.  This claim was pumped up by the leaks and fake news that we now know was fueled by Russia.  And by her opponent – who is now president.

Personally profiting from your office – that used to be a bad thing.

But now?  If you watch from afar, access and influence are for sale.

Read more

What is your question?

You get a chance to ask your representative  questions – what would you ask?

Here are my top two –

#1      People fund Medicare by paying a % of their wages while working.  Income that is not subject to payroll tax – investments, dividend and trust fund income, was not subject to paying into Medicare until the ACA.  The repeal removes this new tax, hurts Medicare funding and restores the inequality of having the top 1% get Medicare without having to pay in throughout their working career.

Why should the top 1% be exempt from paying into Medicare – why is this fair?

Why should there be a cap on Medicare premiums as a % of income?

How much will you PERSONALLY benefit from the removal of this Medicare tax when the ACA is repealed?

If you are concerned about reducing the deficit, why wouldn’t you support retention of this tax?

#2   Running for office is applying for a job.  We, the people, are supposed to be ‘your bosses’ – the ones you work for and represent.  Would you be willing to adopt the type of screening and reviews we use for those who apply for Medicaid, welfare or even normal corporate jobs as a requisite for running for office?  If you agree , what actions will you take to put this into law?

If not, why not?  Do you think the requirements for reporting this level of detail for seeking Medicaid or being required to take a drug test for a new job or for receiving welfare are unfair and should be removed?


What are yours?


Profit and Health Care don’t mix

“For-profit” – means you maximize profits and stakeholder value.  It means it is about the money.

You charge the most you can.  And you keep profits high.

Less regulation – you don’t lower costs, you make more profits.

More customers – you don’t lower costs, you make more profits.

Competition – well, what or who are you really competing with?

Doctors – supply is limited.  Why should the good ones reduce their costs?  They don’t have to.  You would only lower your prices if you had excess capacity.  But you don’t.   So you won’t.

Hospitals – A lot of fixed overhead required.  So it costs a certain amount to run a hospital.  If fewer people can afford to pay, and you have to write off bad debt, you need to make it up somewhere – so you might raise prices.  But there is no reason to lower prices.

Insurance companies – you would only lower costs if you can keep a decent profit margin and gain more profitable business.  CBO said the premiums would be lower BECAUSE MORE SICK PEOPLE WILL HAVE TO GO WITHOUT COVERAGE.  Since people who buy coverage will use less of it, you could charge less.  But with the ACA repealed,  you don’t have to.  There is no motivation for insurance companies to lower prices when the risk mix if healthier.  Why should they?  If people are paying the rates they charge now, and profit margins are thin, why not keep the profits if the costs of those that you insure go down?  That is what insurance companies did BEFORE ACA.

A plausible example – A drug company makes good profits on a patented drug that, once prescribed, is taken for the rest of the person’s life.  They can charge whatever the market will tolerate – and if the alternative is death or suffering, people will pay.  The company is working on an enhancement and will get it nearly ready for approval.  They will delay release until the patent on their current drug is ready to expire.  That way, they can keep a monopoly on the drug and closeout competition.  They notice a medical device start up has a device that would cure the condition and eliminate the need for their drug.  While the device is being approved, the drug company buys the start-up.  They continue until the patent is in place.  Then the drug company puts release on hold.  The ‘forever’ drugs are remain profitable.  The device never makes it to market.

The Opioid challenge is fueled by routine prescribing of Opioid’s for pain despite the risk of addiction.  Alternatives are available.  But drug companies have created a protocol of Opoids being routinely provided for possible pain – not just real pain.  What motivation is there to stop this practice in a for-profit model?   Opioid addiction is bad for people – but not for the companies that profit from it.

THAT is for-profit health care.

What if the focus was on caring for everyone?  What if the incentives shifted from profit to quality of care and quality of life?

You could run research centers that focus on finding cures.

You could run rural health centers focused on providing care.

You could build out mobile health care models for handling the homeless.

You could ensure that the focus was on prevention and invest in public school health education on lifestyle choices that impact health.

You could develop support systems for people who require care assistance on a prolonged basis.

And the profit margins can be used to expand the capacity to care for people.

This could all be possible…..

If you believed in providing health care for all.

If you understand that no one wants the cheapest care if it isn’t the best care.

If you cared about people instead of profits or corporations.