Friday, April 23, 2010

2014 Uninsureds fined under Obama Health Plan estimated at 4 Million – The Fleecing of America

Fleecing the American Middle Class through Mandated Health Care Reform: image:

The Los Angeles Times article on the penalty process for not complying with federally mandated health insurance reform, suggests that approximately 4 million individuals with incomes below $59,000 and up to $120,000 will be assessed fees by the IRS. These fees will range in price from $695 and upward and will be collected by the IRS through annual returns. The “fees” are being compared to the Massachusetts Health Care program, where the State run, Commonwealth Care, has premiums that are unaffordable to many. These individuals and families pay the fee, which goes back to the Commonwealth. The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) expects to net a cool 4 billion in fines between 2017 and 2019, most of which is off the backs of low to middle income families.

A side note in the article, which bears further scrutiny reveals that 21 million will be uninsured by 2016, these include those who are exempt from purchasing health insurance due to religious beliefs, are low income and/or are American Indian.
Therefore, according to this article, the plan is a failure from the get go – if 21 million are uninsured, and will still be running to the emergency room on the hospitals dime, which is then passed onto the insurance carriers (as the hospitals costs are increased)which in turn will be passed onto the consumers, who will be unable to afford the higher premiums and increases, in all probability making insurance even more unaffordable for those making less than $59,000 and under $120,000 - and that 4 Billion in expect revenue made off the backs of those who need the insurance most – will allow the government to collect more fees.

Under the Massachusetts model, mandated health care has forced families to go uninsured, rather than face high premiums, they find paying the fees at the end of the tax year easier – but still are subject to all the pitfalls of an unexpected hospital stay and or accident or illness that will, financially, wipe them out. There is no place for those who are uninsured in Massachusetts to purchase low cost insurance, as the Commonwealth limits the number of available insurance carriers in the state and Commonwealth Care competes actively with those few available carriers. As the state legislature continues to add mandated benefits, which are to be applied across the board, the remaining insurers increase costs. The 2010 increase amount to approximately 11%.

Apparently, the Federal model follows the same principle – which, in essence, will cover some individuals, but will still leave millions uninsured, and the victims, those in the middle who will be paying yet another “fee” – sic: tax.
If the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would treat health insurance similar to auto insurance, one can guarantee more families would be covered, and fewer fines would be paid. Massachusetts recently enacted legislation that opened its borders to more insurance carriers – the result – rates decreased substantially – competition allowed savings up to 50% in some instances, and reduced the financial burden, and allowed for choice.

If the same principal were applied to Health Insurance, the result would be similar; however, it would deplete the coffers of the Commonwealths treasury due to a lack of fees – as more individuals and families would be insured.

Apparently this was not lost on the Federal government. One understands, through poll after poll, that the American People do not want this particular brand of Health Care Reform, for a variety of reasons, but the taxation (fees) applied due to the lack of affordable coverage, is a biggie. It should be repealed, and post haste – by 2012. American’s want health care reform, but reform that allows them to purchase affordable coverage, coverage that is offered by multiple carriers, with a variety of plans available to suit the individual and families – just like the plans being offered to the members of Congress and those who work for the Federal Government. Apparently, to allow the “masses” (otherwise known as constituents) the same benefits as the Congress and its unions would be impossible, as it would widen the risk pool and then reduce the costs while increasing benefits.

They already had “government health insurance” in place, but for some reason, preferred not to share it with the people, who remain restricted by individual state laws, (excuse) which is perhaps why those seventeen state attorney generals are bringing suit against the Federal government for this ridiculous encroachment and revenue scheme hailed as Reform. It is incomprehensible how the obviously simple choices which would bring about real reform, without penalties, and without further degrading Medicaid and Social Security (the back up for this behemoth – seriously), escape those who purport to be so stunningly brilliant and above the “rest of us”. Apparently, we’ve hired a bunch of dimwits, who cannot see the forest through the trees, or, alternately a group of thieves who would take the last slice of bread from the family of four living down the street (If they can afford the slice, as food costs have risen to the point where they are at the highest level in 26 years (or approximately the time Carter got the boot)

That’s the saving grace, so to speak, the ability for the American people to go to the polls and vote these idiots out of office, first in 2010 and then again in 2012. The candidate of choice, regardless of party (recall Blue Dog Democrats voted in droves with Speaker Pelosi – but some did hold fast, so research is in order) Republican, Tea Party, Libertarian, Green Party that promises to be fiscally conservative (and that can be proven by the way that candidate runs their campaign and personal finances), should be supported and sent to Washington. It matters not that they are businessmen, or farmers, or landscapers, or mothers; it would break the stranglehold that the entrenched politician has on the public. Regular people with common sense are what are needed now. The “elite” or those “progressives” who would sit and pontificate on how to improve the lives of the “masses” while lining their pockets off the back of the middle class, including the members of Congress, the Senate and the current occupant of the White House should be retired, if not impeached in some cases. So many times, the phrase, “I cannot wait until November” is heard on the street, in the market, and on the airwaves, by those who had never given a second thought to the political process. One can expect a great change coming in the next four years; one that will reverse the damage caused during this administration and lead America forward, but only if one avails themselves of the privilege of voting in each election.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dems Use Creative Accounting and Denial with Federal Budget – Meanwhile, Obama suggests the VAT - How to Get our House in Order for Dummies

National Debt 2010 - from The US National Debt graphic:

A recent article fromPolitico: entitled “Dem Budget Plan Postpones Pain”, suggests that in order for Democrats to attempt to appear fiscally sound prior to the November elections, they are busy finagling the budget. In this case, drawing the budget out over a five year period in a move that portends to trim the deficit by 2015 – however, Politico notes there will be 3.9 trillion dollars in new debt accrued during the same period.

The President’s answer, a VAT (Value Added Tax) should be on the table. The President made the VAT an option during an interview this past week on CNBC. The VAT, which is in force in Europe, has appeared to have driven the economies of those participating into oblivion – the rich get richer, the poor, very poor, as a VAT is an across the board tax affecting every single citizen. The problem with instituting a VAT in the U.S. is that it is not a replacement tax for the current tax programs, including the income tax, federal gasoline tax, ad naseum. It would be an additional tax – and with the current crew in charge, any additional monies are immediately put towards the every growing government and its entitlement programs.

Were the current administration and congress in concert serious about trimming the fat and getting the budget under control quickly, there are several simple steps that could be taken in order to accomplish this seemingly overwhelming feat. The problem lays in complacency – with entrenched politicians used to a specific “lifestyle” and government agencies, for years, taking advantage of the taxpayers largesse. The concept is simple (which is why it eludes those inside the beltway)

1. Overhaul the budget process. The current budget process is a sham – each federal department receives an annual budget, should they not spend the entire budget and the fiscal year is ending, instead of returning the balance (and being rewarded for being fiscally conservative), each department must spend whatever the balance is, or they will not receive sufficient funds the following year. In other words, each department is penalized if they do not spend their entire budget. For example, if there is a surplus of $1 million dollars and two months until the budget ends, that department must use every means possible to spend that money. There is a lot of redecorating going on – at the taxpayers’ expense. Would it not be more sensible to offer each person within each department who found ways to save money and come in under budget an incentive in the form of a bonus? With a growing Federal Government, (the list of government agencies here , if each agency were able to save 10%, per year (and that is a conservative estimate), it would have an immediate impact on the deficit. It would also have the added benefit of allowing those government employees to become part of the savings process and would encourage these employees to find ways to streamline departments, ultimately creating a more efficient government.

2.In the case of a financial emergency (which we have found ourselves in), there should be an immediate end to pork. The stimulus was designed to create jobs, however, the Congers created a spending spree – on pet projects that were, in almost every instance, unnecessary given the circumstance. One can view the 2010 projects here at Citizens Against Government Waste. One will find an increase in the 2010 budget in every single Congressional District, each Congressional Representative bringing home the bacon. Including appropriates for projects involving blueberries – three Congressional reps appropriated a combined $919,000 to research blueberries – in an era where government needs to cut spending.

3. Keep the Bush Tax cuts in force and go further by increasing the individual and business tax cuts by a percentage point, allowing more money to flow back into the hands of the citizens and giving business the incentive to stick around and create some jobs. At the same time, eliminate the earned income credit that allows those earning under $48,000 to pay no tax at all, rather receive monies above any taxes they may have been liable for in the first place.

To recap: 1) Restructure the budget process whereby saving the Federal government money is rewarded, and departments are not penalized for the following budget year, 2) no pork that is not specifically geared towards a project that is obviously necessary (as in a bridge about to collapse), 3) tax cuts across the board coupled wit the elimination of tax rebates to those who pay no taxes.

If Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid can push through a Health Care Reform bill in record time (which is rife with problems, and the majority of Americans are in favor of repealing), then certainly the steps above could be implemented in the same span of time and one could bet the house that it would have bi-partisan support (or at the very least, the support of the citizenry.)

Playing fast and loose with the budget, adding tax after tax and creating more programs at a time when we need to tighten our fiscal belt, is a recipe for disaster.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Charles Baker – GOP Nominates the Strongest Candidate for Mass Govenor in Decades – Mihos States the Better Man Won

Charlie Baker, Candidate for Governor of Massachusetts - image Masslive

The Massachusetts State GOP held its convention this past Saturday in Worcester, MA - a convention that was palpably enthusiastic from a standpoint of both the candidates as well as the attendees, many of which were first time convention goers. With 4,000 plus in attendance, it was difficult to believe one was in Massachusetts – the State commonly referred to as “The Blues State”, or by most pundits writing about the states politics and specific races “Safe Democrat”. The concept that Massachusetts is "Safe Democrat" “think” may need to be revised and quickly.

Enthusiasm at State GOP Convention with Bakers Nomination - photo blog

The new blood flowing into the party sees over 170 Republicans’ running for state and national offices in 2010, with many districts seeing Republican primaries for both the State Senate and Legislature as well U.S. Congressional districts for the first time in decades. This decries the common misconception that, although Scott Brown won in Massachusetts, there are few if any Republican’s running for statewide office.

The Top GOP Ticket sees Charles Baker for Governor and Richard Tisei, (the Minority GOP State Senate Leader) for lieutenant governor. State Representative Karyn Polito received the nomination for treasurer; and accountant, Mary Z. Connaughton, for auditor. According to Jennifer Nassour, State Party Chair, there are two potential candidates to take on embattled Attorney General, Martha Coakley, yet signatures must be collected by May 4th, which the Boston Globe dubs a “Herculean task” That said, one can see Jennifer Nassour take on the challenge and get the job done.

Baker, who will run a three way race against incumbent Deval Patrick, and Democrat turned Independent, Timothy Cahill, offers voters a fresh face and common sense ideas to get the Commonwealth back on track. Although currently polling behind Cahill in one poll by 2 points (Western New England College Poll), the poll, taken prior to the convention also notes that 10% of respondents are currently undecided, and Bakers name recognition, at the time of the poll showed that 40% of the respondents chose “never heard of him” as an option. That will undoubtedly change as Baker strengthens his brand throughout the state.

Baker is at once charismatic and has that “boy next door” appeal, without seeming in the least elitists. One might say he is similar to Scott Brown, but only in the way in which the two men both worked to get through college, and their ability to relate to the “the rest of us."

Baker won the nomination in delegate balloting between himself and Christy Mihos. Mihos has since given his nod of approval to Baker, stating that the “Better man won” Kudos to Christy for being a “class act”.

What makes Baker the man for the job? He has the experience in running a business, the former embattled Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, and turned it into a profitable enterprise. He also brings State government experience to the table having served as Undersecretary for Health in the Executive Office of Health and Human Services in the Weld administration. However, it is the personal side of Baker that seals the deal – in his remarks during the convention, he spoke about the lack of opportunity in the Commonwealth, and as a parent, he wondered if his children would move elsewhere to find opportunity (as many have, and many continue to do), and how, should the State Continue on its current path, many parents would have to either get on a plane or travel a distance in order to see their children and grandchildren. It was a moment of speak from the heart, and it resonated with those who see children leaving the state, or preparing to leave, to seek homes where the taxes are not as high and the opportunities do not include a life in the service industry.

Therefore, Baker is, indeed the better Candidate for the Governor’s office, based on background, experience and empathy for those citizens who are struggling to make ends meet under the never ending request for new taxes coming out of Beacon Hill. The argument will be made - how will Baker get anything done with a legislature and Senate that is completely made up of Democrats? That will remain to be seen, as November approaches and the dust settles, odds favor that the 170 plus candidates vying for state offices as well as congressional offices, will even the field and make the path for reform under Baker a bit easier than it has been for past Republican Governors.

Although early in the game, one can predict, based on past Massachusetts gubernatorial races, where a third party is involved and the incumbent has numbers that are less than favorable (34% approval for Deval Patrick according to the Western New England poll), the more Baker is among the populace, personally and through advertising, his stock will rise, and Cahill will fall into the usual independent category of 6% come November. Of interest a recent online poll (which one cannot give too much credence, however, it did come from the Springfield Republican website – (which Western Massachusetts is not normally a stronghold for Republicans (with exceptions of Chicopee, Westfield and other communities who voted overwhelmingly for Brown, while Springfield voted for Coakley) – the poll results thus far: Baker: 45%, Cahill 26% and Patrick 21%. Although the actual statewide numbers may be closer to Patrick 34% (based on current approval and WNEC poll, Cahill 12% (giving him the benefit of the doubt) and Baker 54%. polls shows Baker with Strong Lead

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Barack Obama as the Candidate 2008 – Top Donor: Goldman Sachs

Barack Obama with Goldman Sachs Execs - from article: "Obama doesn't 'begrudge' big bonuses given to Goldman Sachs' Blankfein, JPMorgan Chase's Dimon Feb 10th 2010 NY Daily News

From: Open The candidate, Barack Obama, had some interesting donors to his 2008 presidential campaign. In order:
  • University of California $1,591,395

  • Goldman Sachs $994,795

  • Harvard University $854,747

  • Microsoft Corp $833,617

  • Google Inc $803,436

  • Citigroup Inc $701,290

  • JPMorgan Chase & Co $695,132

  • Time Warner $590,084

  • Sidley Austin LLP $588,598

  • Stanford University $586,557

  • National Amusements Inc $551,683

  • UBS AG $543,219

  • Wilmerhale Llp $542,618

  • Skadden, Arps et al $530,839

  • IBM Corp $528,822

  • Columbia University $528,302

  • Morgan Stanley $514,881

  • General Electric $499,130

  • US Government $494,820

  • Latham & Watkins $493,835

  • From Open Secrets: Disclosure:

    *This table lists the top donors to this candidate in the 2008 election cycle. The organizations themselves did not donate , rather the money came from the organization's PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.
    Because of contribution limits, organizations that bundle together many individual contributions are often among the top donors to presidential candidates. These contributions can come from the organization's members or employees (and their families). The organization may support one candidate, or hedge its bets by supporting multiple candidates. Groups with national networks of donors - like EMILY's List and Club for Growth - make for particularly big bundlers.

    That aside, several of the top donors to the, then candidate, Barack Obama, made or have made headlines during and after the campaign, most notably Goldman Sachs. However, what of Citigroup and Morgan Stanley? – This is of interest mainly due to the “pickle” Goldman Sachs finds themselves in at the moment – the Drudge Report asks if Obama will return the campaign donations from Goldman, however, in reviewing the list of contributors to John McCain’s Presidential campaign, many of the same names appear, granted, in much smaller amounts: From Open Secrets

  • Citigroup Inc $322,051

  • Morgan Stanley $273,452

  • Goldman Sachs $230,095

  • It is the disparity in amount of contributions between the two candidates that is startling – one can understand say, Harvard, or the University of California (why is the tuition so very high at certain universities? – therein lays the answer) If both candidates were to return donations from Goldman Sachs and or any of the firms that used American Tax Payers dollars to “survive” it should be returned to the government coffers and put towards the deficit (granted drop in the bucket), but speculating upon the disparity in amounts donated to the two campaigns, one can understand where these Banking and Mortgage Giants may have thought they’d get the best deal.

    Massachusetts Update: Additional Candidates Running for Congressional Office in 2010

    Addendum to: Massachusetts Democrats Should take Nothing for Granted in 2010 Races - April 20, 2010: Although not all of the District candidates are listed below, this blog has received requests to list any candidates running that may have either not yet filed with the FEC, and/or were missed by human error in reviewing the 2010 FEC list here.

    The Hampden First, Running against John Olver Bill Gunn for Congress.
    The Massachusetts 3rd: from Massachusetts election (Full Article:

    The race for Jim McGovern’s 3rd Congressional District is heating up. The current challengers are:
    • Marty Lamb (R)
    • Brian Herr (R)Brian Herr for Congress
    • Robert Delle (R) Robert Delle for Congress
    • Robert Chipman (R)Robert Chipman for Congress
    • Michael Stopa (R) Michael Stopa for Congress
    • Patrick Barron (I)Patrick Barron for Congress

    Should anyone wish to contact the blog regarding additional Massachusetts GOP or Independent candidates (Congressional and or State Office,) they will be added to this list.

    Monday, April 19, 2010

    Mass. Democrats Should Take Nothing for Granted in 2010 Races.

    Massachusetts ready to party like its 1984

    Richard Neal,Massachusetts Hampden 2nd Congressional Representative is busy fundraising, for both his own Congressional race as well as the DCCC, in a twofold effort to keep his seat in Congress and garner support for his bid as Chair of the Ways and Means Committee. An article in Politico dubs Neal

    “a Massachusetts Democrat viewed as the favorite of K Street lobbyists” and goes on to note: “As he does every two years, Congressman Neal is actively raising money for his reelection campaign. With two candidates seeking the Republican nomination in his district, he is not taking the general election for granted,”.

    Neal, as well as other State and Congressional Representatives in the Bay State, may have cause for concern. At the Massachusetts GOP State Convention, this past Saturday, the energy was palpable. There are more Republicans running for both State and Congressional offices in Massachusetts than in any year in recent memory. Over 170 candidates are running for office, many against incumbents who have gone unchallenged for decades.

    Neal, who faces two challengers in the 2nd Hampden, has cause for concern. Dr. Jay Fleitman a Republican who has been elected to serve on the School Committee as well as the Board of health in the heavily Democrat City Northampton. Jay Flietman entered the race prior to Scott Brown’s election, and has traveled the 2nd Hampden extensively. Tom Wesley, has a background in business, both with Fortune 500 companies as well as an entrepreneur.

    Over in the 4th Congressional District, Barney Frank faces multiple challengers, Rachel Brown, a Democrat, with three Republican’s Earl Sholley, Sean Bielat and Keith Messina vying for the seat held by Frank. Bielat and Sholley, according to the FEC filing for the past quarter are the frontrunners; Beliat has a total of $81,135 reported, $30,000 of which is personal loans, with $50,135 in individual contributions. Sholley, has receipts of $49,994, $7,740 of which is personal loans, with $42,204 in individual contributions. Sholley has managed to invest early in advertising as well as a campaign kickoff in New Bedford, and has stated that he wants to run a virtually debt-free campaign. Both Beilat and Sholley were in attendance at the Mass GOP Convention in Worcester.

    The 5th district sees incumbent Niki Tsongas, with a slew of contenders for her seat with Republican Jon Golnick leading the fundraising efforts against Tsongas’s Democrat Rival, Martin Meehan. The Massachusetts 6th district, not unlike the 5th, has multiple challengers to Incumbent John Tierney, with William Hudak, leading the pack with $348,331 in the 1st quarter, closing in on Tierney’s who has reported $368,000 plus.

    The 10th District, where Delahunt has announced he will not run for reelection, has three challengers, one Democrat, William Keating, reporting $122,000 while the Republican frontrunner, Jeffry David Perry is outpacing Keating with $156,000 reported.

    Although early filings give an indication of who is raising funds (with the obvious advantage in most cases to the entrenched incumbent), it is the test of the candidate to continue to bring in revenue in this tough economic climate, while meeting filing deadlines for signatures. The filing deadline for Signatures is May 28th, accoridng to the Massachusetts Secretary of States’ office. In 2008, Jim Ogonowski and Jeff Beatty ran against incumbent, Senator, John Kerry, Ogonowski was considered the frontrunner, but failed to collect the signatures necessary to place his name on the ballot, although he had raised over over $550,000.

    In any event, if Republicans in any given district do face off it a primary, it will give the people of the district an opportunity to get to know the candidates a bit better. Some candidates have chosen the door to door approach, especially in the 4th district, where the Sholley Campaign has boots on the ground and in the Hampden 2nd, where Dr. Jay Fleitman has been touring the district non-stop. It is the candidates that, regardless of cash on hand, who ultimately connect with the voters, which will be the biggest challengers to incumbents this year. As to the many state races, word on the street is that it is enough to get one’s name on the ballot this year – (that may be taking it a bit too far), but the common misconception that Scott Brown’s election was some type of a “fluke” will be dispelled in November. One must remember that Brown’s fundraising did not take off until those outside the Commonwealth understood that the Bay State had had enough – when and if a pollster (other than internal, which are keeping many in the race who would otherwise be counted out, especially based on FEC filings and the local media) begins to look at the district races, the Hamden 2nd, the Massachusetts 4th, the Massachusetts 5th, the Massachusetts 6th and for now the Massachusetts 10th, and finds that the incumbent, or in the case of Delahunt’s district, the Democrat running, are not besting opponents by more than 20 points (at this early juncture), then those outside of the state will understand that Massachusetts is, indeed, the Miracle State for 2010.

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