Health care. Mine is taken care of, why should I care about you?

My uncle forwarded me an e-mail claiming that the Obama health care reform legislation will secretly bring about a 3.8% tax on sale of all houses, starting next year, in 2013. The thing that this misses is that the 3.8% tax only applies to home sales profits that are in excess of $250,000 or 500,000 in the case of married filers.  I’ve never made $250,000 profit on reselling a house, but I suppose you might have.  Still, the base price of the house plus $250,000 is not taxable under this law, nor are expenses that would directly impact the profit line.  Here is a link to an explanation that seems fairly complete.

In other words, it’s a long term capital gains tax, and doesn’t have any impact at all on somebody like me, whose house is only worth $300,000 and has only appreciated by 50% since I bought it. Even if it had doubled in cost, and I had to pay tax on the profits in excess of $250,000, then I’d be paying 3.8% of $50,000 minus my expenses in owning the home and depreciated value over the last ten years.  If I wanted to ignore total expenses on the home over the last ten years, and pretend there was no depreciation, and paid the full amount of the tax, it would come out to $1750.00 on my house if sold at $400K, which is about $100k more than it is worth.

http://www.kcmblog.com/2011/01/26/7074/

Yes, I am willing to see my taxes go up some in order to bring about universal health care. I honestly believe that if we don’t bite the bullet and make health care available to all citizens now, the costs will continue to skyrocket until the 44 million of us with no health care insurance, and the 38 million of us with inadequate health care insurance, which brings us to almost a third of all US citizens who are financially unable to weather the storm of a major medical emergency, will be joined by basically everybody who isn’t actively employed by a major corporation, the government, or a land-grant university. This info below is ©2000.

http://www.pbs.org/healthcarecrisis/uninsured.html

Numbers continue to get worse.  In 2011, the uninsured went up to 49.9 Million.

http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/13/news/economy/census_bureau_health_insurance/index.htm

Universal health care isn’t pie in the sky, it exists in many first world countries, and has been tested thoroughly in the last 50 years.  Switzerland may have the best plan, and it’s privately funded by each person.  But that required, and requires, complex regulatory control and cost controls.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/aroy/2011/02/15/to-see-the-health-costs-in-front-of-ones-nose-is-a-constant-struggle

The Swiss method is impossible in the U.S. because it would be implacably fought, regardless of proven success, by both sides of our very skinny political spectrum. Liberals would hate it because it isn’t friendly to the uneducated or the addicted spend-thrift, conservatives would hate it because it should somehow magically self regulate, and still cover everybody. Well, conservatives generally seem to feel that it just won’t be available to everybody, and that it shouldn’t be.  From a certain conservative perspective, if you can’t afford a health care plan and you get sick, you should accept your mortal fate, and get the dying over with.

I have friends now who are paying $1800.00 per month for their family of four to have health insurance, since the wife has a minor, non-life threatening, preexisting condition.  I know a good, multiply published, writer who is only alive today because she had major surgery on charity, about a month ago.  We aren’t taking care of the poorest 30% of us, and we’re putting that group into the reality that if they do get sick, they lose their homes, jobs, and generally whatever health insurance they do have.  Americans die in the tens of thousands every year because they can’t afford health care, and can’t find somebody charitable enough to front the bill.

http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/26/deaths-rising-due-to-lack-of-insurance-study-finds

An average waitress in the U.S. makes $20,380 per year.  She can’t afford to have a family or a health care plan.  She almost certainly works two or more jobs, or her boss would be forced to pay her a benefits package, and restaurants just can’t do that for most of their people.

http://www.myplan.com/careers/waiters-and-waitresses/summary-35-3031.00.html

What I’m saying is that regardless of political convictions, millions of Americans cannot get health care packages because Obamacare was castrated before it began, and that most of those millions, if they do suffer catastrophic illness, will die.  26,000 people in that category die early every year, and the vast majority of them are productive, employed citizens until they have the bad taste to contract a major illness.  We could do something, we can afford it, but a lot of Americans have been hoodwinked into believing that it would be the end of America if we actually fixed the clearly broken and getting worse health care system. Obamacare is a start, which the Republicans flatly refused to make. But Obamacare will never actually accomplish the goal if it isn’t improved.  Dropping Obamacare is going back to square one for 16.8% of us.  Fixing Obamacare, even if it requires a complete overhaul, is the best way to go.  Don’t back down.

Bill

Lies hidden within truths?

We sometimes read that the best lies contain as much truth as possible. That’s true enough, I guess. This article may be an outstanding example of that. Harry Reid most likely was engaging in some thoughtless hyperbole – both sides of the political divide seem content with that, and both have enough ardent believers who’ll accept their lines uncritically to make this sort of hyperbole well worthwhile. I’ve been caught up in it a time or two.

Still, this article tries to disenfranchise Warren Buffet from the Billionaire’s Club. “Either Warren Buffet’s secretary has an incompetent tax accountant or Buffet has some pretty juicy tax breaks. I think the latter is more likely.” Which causes me to wonder. Should I trust Paul Roderick Gregory‘s math, which seems reasonable on the surface, but is in pursuit of a narrative, or Warren Buffet, who was talking about a very specific situation. I mean, if Gregory is such an economic guru, couldn’t he have discovered what Buffet’s “tax breaks” were, and figured out how many of them applied to other millionaires (and billionaires)?

Love the Service anthems.

Aside

Although I have to admit, I couldn’t figure out what the USCG emblem was supposed to be…  my daughter finally had to tell me it was a cutter, upside down to the screen.The West Virginia University Marching Band put on a show to be proud of here.

Fox News – The Fascist Fake News

Aside

With this charming piece, I finally realized that Fox News, in its network entirety, has taken on the anti-Jon Stewart mantle, and become entirely self-promotional, generating fantastical perspectives with absolutely no value except to get their audience up in arms. They’re so good at it that I find myself wondering if they even realize what a joke their “news reports” have become.

They have to know, don’t they? I mean, it’s like The Colbert Report, and O’Reilly was in on the joke, right?

Bought and Paid for

Gotta hand it to the Republicans on the supercommittee. Even the millionaires are coming out of the woodwork to tell us that they’re willing to pay more taxes in order to get the country moving, but the Republicans are going to hard line that one until they get thrown out for refusing to join the big-boys table.

Too bad, really. Before they started the lock-step dance, I used to vote for some of them. Now? Doesn’t matter what they look like, their going to vote as they’re told by the RNC. Who owns the RNC? Somebody does. It certainly isn’t making the Republican Reich vote for the public good. They’re voting directly against the public good when they screw the poor to protect the rich.

Whigs.

Taking a step back

Aside

I’ve decided to give up teaching in order to see my kids more, and work on my book more. I hate giving up the adjunct paycheck, but I have to keep some sort of balance. If Zook Country has a fan,she’ll probably be relieved to hear this, since it might mean that I’ll get the second volume out before the decade ends.

Scrapping the national safety net

I’m proud to announce that seeing this picture brought tears to my eyes. I was so touched that I went back online to see if I could track down the story. Apparently, it’s true.

The gentleman whose grave is so righteously decorated was a part of the Greatest Generation. That generation brought in and supported social security, national welfare programs, and the first federal intervention through business subsidies to ameliorate the catastrophic economic collapse that was in progress during the 1930s.

Right now, there is a big political fracas brewing about cutting welfare, social security, and any other obvious government programs. Those programs were used to set our nation back on its feet after an entirely laissez faire economic meltdown led to mass starvation in this country.

A lot of people want to deny that Americans were dying of malnutrition during the great depression. When I went to high school in the 1970s, I had teachers that remembered classmates in their U.S. elementary schools who had quit coming to class because they STARVED TO DEATH. Yes, Americans starved to death in the 1930s because their local charities and local governments and local social organizations fell down — because the local folks were all poor. It’s just that some of them were a little poorer than others. We want to deny that today, but my teachers in the 1970s still remembered their dead friends. American friends. If we follow down this line of “reducing government” far enough, and if this stupid economic meltdown continues to stretch the difference between the richest and the poorest of us, we’ll start to see starvation deaths again.

I’m agin it.

Pay attention!

Congress does not have a policy permitting retirement at full pay after one term. Congress critters are on FERS, which is the same federal retirement program as the rest of the Federal government. In 1984, congressmen were on another program, CSRS, and did not pay into Social Security. They also were not eligible for social security, so that is a wash. You can google congressional retirement plans any time you like. It’s publicly available information available here.

Congress critters do not exempt themselves from the health care reform legislation – check here. They have a valid health care plan, and that is all that is required. I’m on the same health care plan I was on when the legislation went into affect. The only impact it has had on me is actually on my children, since they will be covered by my plan for five additional years, thanks to that legislation. I’m not exempt from health care reform, I was already involved in a health care plan, so the new legislation had little impact on my life.

Hey! most of the federal deficit was paid to American Corporations.The money is still in the U.S, or at least held by U.S. citizens – most of it went to the U.S. military industrial complex. The bombs and bullets went away, but the cash is either here or in off-shore accounts. When are those trillions going to trickle down to us, the hoi polloi? Methinks they won’t. Never. Trickle down doesn’t work when the corporations are handing out record-breaking bonuses during years when their companies claim losses. I’m guessing that a lot of that money is going into off-shore accounts.

I’m not in the life-boat yet, so I’m kind of pissed that they’re pulling in the ropes.

Bill