Democrats Reveal Tax Proposals — Triggering Complaints that Some Rates Threatened to Go as High as 57 percent

thumb_bag_of_moneyMany of us have expressed concern about the pork-laden appropriation bills and stimulus package this year. Just as Republicans showed little restraint in spending in the war bills, Democrats have treated the economic recovery bills as a license for unlimited spending. Now, massive taxes and sur-taxes are being proposed. New York officials are complaining that, if passed, the rate for some of its citizens could reach almost 60 percent. Some Democrats are now seeking to reduce a proposed 5.4% sur-tax to 1 %.

The taxes are being proposed to reduce the towering deficit and pay for the national health care plan — which the Obama administration is pushing through as a breakneck speed — demanding passage by the August recess. This reminds many of us of the Patriot Act where precious little time was allowed to consider its implications and language.

However, the New York Times has an editorial detailing the fairness of the plan and questioning the criticism over tax increases. I happen to support the policy agenda of the Administration in this area, but I think that the administration can be faulted for pushing such an important piece of legislation through on an expedited schedule.

Biden reportedly entered the fray today with a classic statements: “Well, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’” Biden said. “The answer is yes, I’m telling you.”

Nevertheless, opposition to the sur-tax is growing among Democrats and Pelosi is indicating that she may try to reach a compromise, here.

For the New York objections, click here.

78 thoughts on “Democrats Reveal Tax Proposals — Triggering Complaints that Some Rates Threatened to Go as High as 57 percent

  1. Am I the only one who considers these actions of our “leaders” as an attempt to finally, purposefully destroy our Republic? I do not ask this tongue in cheek and have never been more serious.

    Foolishness, stupidity and bone-headedness does not explain a path they are directing that simply takes us to destruction. As FDR said, nothing in politics happens by accident. If it is happening, it is purposeful.

    I can only hope that Obama’s is the last term for Bush:

    http://buelahman.wordpress.com/2009/07/14/how-barack-obama-became-a-one-term-president/

  2. You know someone has to pay the debt incurred by the former administrations. If business does not have to pay for it the people will. If you give the business enough of a tax advantage then they can save the money and then move out of the country, thereby avoiding all taxes together.

  3. bdaman posted : Health Care Post
    http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=332548165656854

    This quote is all over the Internet:

    QUOTE It turns out we were right: The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage. Under the Orwellian header of “Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage,” the “Limitation On New Enrollment” section of the bill clearly states:

    “Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day” of the year the legislation becomes law. UNQUOTE

    It looks to me like they were wrong. The provision applies only to “grandfathered health insurance coverage” that is offered and in force and effect before the first day of year one of the proposed law. It does not appear to “outlaw individual private coverage.”

    But see for yourself: here is a link to the full text [scroll down to page 16, line 10:

    http://docs.house.gov/edlabor/AAHCA-BillText-071409.pdf

  4. The president doesn’t look like a modern day robin hood at all. Did you notice how much money Goldman Sachs made? The banks took all the available resources. Now they are waiting for some of the banking profits to “trickle down”.

  5. The only link in the opening of this thread is to an article in the tabloid New York Post. For an alternate view, see the New York Times lead editorial today:

    “The legislation would pay for half that cost by reducing spending on Medicare, a staple of all reform plans. It would pay for the other half by raising $544 billion over the next decade with a graduated income surtax on the wealthiest Americans: families with adjusted gross incomes exceeding $350,000 and individuals making more than $280,000.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/16/opinion/16thu1.html?ref=opinion

  6. Give me a break. Reminds you of the Patriot Act? Yes because I remember all the committee hearings and hundreds of hours of discussion and committees aired on cspan and cspan2 before the Patriot Act passed. Oh wait, no I don’t.

  7. By the way Quote: The only link in the opening of this thread is to an article in the tabloid New York Post. For an alternate view, see the New York Times lead editorial today: Unqoute

    Are you some how suggesting that because there is a link to a tabloid that Prof. Turley reads Enquirer, Star and the rest to get his info. Cause if you are I’m starting to believe you.

    I’ve recently been schooled by you and I promise that the only two links I will ever provide again are to the NY Times and Dr. Conspiracy. Keep up the good work, you are changing the minds of millions.

  8. Swarthmore mom

    Did you notice how much money Goldman Sachs made?

    And Goldman Sachs is in business to do what exactly?

  9. Speaking of Goldman Sachs and the travesty of the bailout accompanied by the very sleezy actions by the Fed Revserve, this report from NPR’s Here and Now is a must hear. It further links to an investigative article. The segment is about 10 mins. from July 15th program. Following this segment is an equally important one on the TARP money mismanagement with Elizabeth Warren:

    “Goldman Sachs, the “Bubble Machine”

    The financial powerhouse Goldman Sachs just posted its biggest quarterly profit ever in it 140-year history. How did they do this, just months after receiving federal bailout money? Our guest, Matt Taibbi, writes about Goldman Sachs in Rolling Stone. He says the firm has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression, and is about to do it again.”

    http://www.hereandnow.org/

  10. I am not against profit. I am against the preferential treatment given to the banking industry. I bought GS last week before the earnings. I knew they could make a profit, but why should they get so much help from the government when everyone is suffering?I don’t think Obama has proven to a “robin hood” as you said.

  11. Swarthmore mom Quote: I am against the preferential treatment given to the banking industry.Unquote

    And who allows this to happen?

  12. Oh Please OH Please Oh Please OH Please raise the tax rates!

    Let’s go back to the Eisenhower Tax Rates, a 91 percent top marginal tax rate on the very rich. In his time we had prosperity and no bubble-induced crashes caused by excess wealth in the hands of rapacious speculators.

    So yeah, RAISE TAXES! Do it NOW!

  13. As long as the tax burden is shifted to the maximum extent possible to the wealthy I think it’s just fine. They have gotten a virtual free ride the past 10 years and now they need to start paying. I would tax Goldman Sachs employees and those at similar firms at 99% to help offset the costs they have foisted upon the federal government via their chicanery and fraud.

  14. “What more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? Still one thing more … a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from labor the bread it has earned.” – Thomas Jefferson

  15. How quickly we all forget. The Bush/Cheney Crime Family’s tax cuts for the wealthy in 2001 cost the country one trillion$. Everyone else got pennies. This put us in deficit and then doubled with the Iraq war. Tax rates on the richest American have fallen precipitously since the days of the dumb, B Movie Actor, while those of everyone else have risen. It’s time to redress the imbalance that has brought our county to the verge of bankruptcy and the rich to a new Golden Age of Greed.

  16. I know if the highest tax rate is 60%, I will not go to work for a law firm. Money is the only thing tipping the balance between (1) working 60-hour weeks and never seeing my family for $160k and (2) working 40-hour-plus-hour-lunch-plus-vacation weeks for the government for $60k.

  17. C.L.,
    Actually, I used to work a minimum 72 hour week for considerably less than $100,000 and my job was much harder and at times more dangerous than being a lawyer. I always worked through lunch. Grow up entitled person and realize that most people never sniff at $160,000 in their lives and work harder at their harder jobs than you do. Besides, maybe having you home for dinner would be better for your family? People making the most in this country have not been paying their fair share for years and reaping the benefits. However, I guess when you see the world strictly through the perspective of your own selfish interests, then you think you are doing us a favor making your $160,000. By the way I’ve known salesman for major corporations who make twice what you do and work 40 hour weeks if you count time on the Golf Course. Many of them had never finished college. Let’s continue to reward them also with tax breaks. They actually displayed more sensitivity and intelligence in their comments than you do.

  18. bdaman:

    “The President as advertised is/will be the modern day Robin Hood.”

    Robin Hood stole from the idle rich and gave back to the productive poor. This president is stealing from the productive rich, middle class and poor to give to the idle poor.

    He is a thug using the full force of the federal government to take our rightfully earned money. Since we earn money, typically by trading hours for dollars we are giving up a part of our life to the state. I believe in an earlier time they called it slavery.

    It will not work, the productive rich will find ways to keep their money and the productive middle class will quit being as productive and the productive poor will work for cash that is untraceable. All this will do is diminish the amount of money available for stealing and the government will be broke.

    And for what? Providing health care for maybe 15 million of our citizens.

    “The only problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of the other persons money” M. Thatcher former Prime Minister of Great Britain

  19. This president is stealing from the productive rich, middle class and poor to give to the idle poor.

    What an amazing display of unabashed idiocy.

  20. Buelahman:

    How so? Isnt that exactly what he is doing?

    Explain to me then what he is doing?

    Taxes are the taking of your productivity by force. That you dont understand this elemental concept is interesting.

  21. IS,

    What jill said.

    Did you JUST fall off the turnip truck after this election? Or are you nothing more than a Demublican who MUST protect his ultra rich friends who have propped him up for so long.

    My God, you are Max Baucus in disguise, aren’t you?

    You see, I don’t have that same benefit Obamaites and Bushies have. I can tell the difference between “productive” rich people and the same folks who got all the bailouts while I am left to die on the vine. You are oblivious to such a notion.

    As far as I am concerned, if you are one of those ultra rich assholes who have ravaged this country with the blessing of our “leaders”, then you are a traitor.

    BTW: If you think I am “idle” in any damned way, form or fashion, you are a plainly an idiot.

    I hope this clears it up for you.

  22. BuelahMan:

    I disagree with the bailouts and was against them from the beginning and knew they would not work. I think the companies that took government money should have been allowed to fail. I think Bush and Paulson were fools and did a great disservice to our country.

    You are “idle” because we have fools that run our country.

    I also don’t believe in crony capitalism, I think if you cannot make it on your own merits then go out of business and let the more effective companies use the resources that you are wasting.

    I hope that clears it up for you.

    I really don’t like being called an idiot, but then I suppose I should take it as a compliment since you haven’t had the decency to answer a fairly simple question. One may presume you have no answer other than venom and vituperation.

  23. One may presume you have no answer other than venom and vituperation.

    One might, but one might also believe you are a clueless idiot.

  24. BuelahMan:

    “One might, but one might also believe you are a clueless idiot.”

    I am interested in why you think so. If I am wrong about any of the above statements I would like to know why and how my thinking is incorrect. Please posit an alternative interpretation of these events.

  25. Taxing high earners, and eventually all earners, won’t be the end of wealth reallocation by the government.

    I see the United States eventually modeling France’s “L’impôt de solidarité sur la fortune”, or wealth tax.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solidarity_tax_on_wealth

    In other words, rather than taxing production, this tax simply taxes assets directly. Living large on $1M in muni-bond income with a house in the Hamptons? Currently not taxed. Just out of school and landed that big $250K job in Manhattan? Hand over 60%.

    There will be no end to the confiscation methods employed by the government in order to create programs that politicians use to convince people to re-elect them.

    “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money”
    -Alexis de Toqueveille

  26. This was a strange post all around. Obama campaigned on health care and won. It has been 9 months since the election, and 19 months since Iowa. I think most people are wondering what is taking so long, not that it is being “rammed” through.

    I find almost no Americans, even CPAs and CFPs I’ve talked with, understand how the marginal income tax bracket works. 99% of Americans believe if you move into the 28% tax bracket, from 25%, you will pay 28% on all your income. Never mind that with deductions, nobody pays their marginal rate. They don’t even understand the mechanics.

    The top 1% pay lower effective tax rates than the 20-30% of taxpayers directly below them (~30% to 32%). Their effective tax rate should be higher, or everyone else should be lower. But Republicans spent us into a huge debt and deficit and at this point it makes more sense to raise them.

    With a top rate of 35%, and a surtax of 3%, what is NY’s highest marginal rate, 20%? I find that really unlikely. Which makes this whole post a ramble on an easily verified false number. Of course, when you use the NY Post as your source, that is what you get.

  27. Patrik,

    The devil is in the details. The package being rammed through Congress is not helpful to the poor and middle class. People who voted for Obama did want affordable and decent health care for all and that was what he promised. Unfortunately, if you take a close look at this plan, you will see these are not what it is about.

    puzzling,

    You know we differ on taxes. I am happy to pay for the social well being of people in my society. I do not consider it a confiscation of my income. I consider it money well spent on a good society. I do however, really resent my taxes being spent on wars, financial cronyism and Eatrs!

  28. Jill,

    Let’s just say that I would gladly agree to pay taxes for a few selected entitlements … IF by doing so we could stop the astronomical military/industrial spending, shut down the global empire, end rampant corporatism, and somehow strip the government of the resources it needs to abuse its contract with the people with near impunity. Yes — that would be a great deal better than where we find ourselves today.

  29. puzzling,

    What you wrote is really interesting to me. I know we come from very different perspectives about the role of govt. and yet we are in agreement. This govt. is an out of control Entity (I’m giving Entities a bad name here, sorry) which does not serve the public good. I feel this is the time for a third party. There are many of us, from all different philosophical stripes who believe this govt. is not acting on behalf of the common good, in fact it is completely antithetical to any kind of good at all. I don’t think many people feel at home in either the Republican or Democratic party any more. I think people who do want a common good are the real majority, we just don’t have a home in the major parties. Those parties need their asses kicked to the curb and their trunks thrown in the street!

  30. We all know that all taxation involves the redistribution of wealth. Assuming we all agree that taxes are required for certain purposes, the issues then are: 1. what purposes do we wish to support through taxation; 2. how much is required to support them; and, 3. who is going to bear the tax.

    My position is that we should establish health care as a right for all. If you agree with that position, you will recognize a need to produce revenue to fund it. If you disagree, you will oppose the imposition of any taxes for that purpose. I believe that a clear majority in this country support the idea of universal health care.

    It is also my opinion that the fairest tax for most purposes is a tax on income and that it is appropriate to tax higher incomes at higher rates. Therefore, I do not find anything problematic with a surcharge to fund health care. I do know that my own health insurance presently costs in excess of $12,000.00 per year for two people, with a deductible of $3,500.00. Therefore, assuming that I use most of that deductible in the ordinary course of the year, which I do, my health related expenses are approximately $15,000.00 per year. It doesn’t take a genius to calculate that I would realize significant savings through universal health care even were I hit with a surtax of five to six percent.

    That being said, I recognize that there is much to consider in the details of a well thought out bill, and I’m not in favor of an arbitrary deadline to complete the legislation. However, if no deadline is set, opposition forces will attempt to drag out debate forever. I cannot imagine any legitimate excuse for not being able to have a comprehensive statute in place by sometime this fall.

  31. Healthcare and fuel should be utilities, like water, gas, electricity, and garbage collection.

    The reason is that without it being a utility, the plunder barons get all jiggy wid it.

    Anything that is basic enough for survival should not be left to “profit” oriented individuals.

    Good capitalists can make a living in endeavours where they cannot use or resort to extortion to make a profit.

    That is my theory and I am sticking to it.

  32. Mike A.,

    That was well said. I will only add one thing that someone told me once. If you’re willing to be taxed call you Senator and Representative and let them know that. I think that’s a very good idea and doing it is worth the shock value on the other end of the line!

    Dredd,

    I agree.

  33. I have to agree with everyone here that agrees that taxing the upper income people to help fund health care for everyone is reasonable and proper. During the prior 8 years, the Bush tax cuts cost the country as much as the tax increase being proposed so what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

  34. Douglas Elmendorf, director of the CBO testified today that, Quote: Under current law, the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, because federal debt will continue to grow much faster than the economy over the long run. Unquote
    http://cboblog.cbo.gov/

    Folks common sense tells you if you don’t have enough money in your pocket you can’t buy everything in the store. It does not matter your view of how we got here, there’s enough blame to go around. We can’t spend our way out of this mess.

    With that said, the Vice president told a group at AARP that
    Quote: unless the Democrat-supported health care plan becomes law the nation will go bankrupt and that the only way to avoid that fate is for the government to spend more money.
    http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=51162

    Wow thats all I can say

  35. Mike Appleton:

    well said as usual, but while you may save money in the short term your quality of health care will not be equivalent to what you are currently receiving. National health necessarily must lead to rationing of resources. It has in every other country where implemented. The elderly and disabled will be denied care and the very ill will receive care based on some government formula. You will need to purchase an additional policy as you can in Canada and you will probably end up paying up to 60% of your income to support this plan. I would not bet on any deductions we now enjoy. So you may save some money in the short term but eventually you will pay the piper. If you are over 70 your children will pay the price. there are no free lunches.

    Hey old timers I hope you have good genes because you are going to need them. I would recommend copious amounts of veggies and fish with Omega 3’s.

  36. Indentured Servant,
    You have been watching too much Fox News. National Health care will not lead to rationing. This is a false talking point that the right has been throwing out there. I think it was the Republican spin master, Frank Lutz who suggested to the Republicans to use the “rationing” term and some others to scare Americans. The United States is way down the list on most health care comparisons with the rest of the Western world. Here is an interesting article that compares the US Health system with the rest of the world. I suggest that you take a look at it: http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/Publications/Fund-Reports/2007/May/Mirror–Mirror-on-the-Wall–An-International-Update-on-the-Comparative-Performance-of-American-Healt.aspx.

  37. Dr. John Fleming congressman from Louisiana proposed House Resolution 615, which requires those who vote for Obamacare to live under Obamacare.

    Obamacare exempts members of congress from having to join a government run healthcare system.

    He is quoted as saying, I have offered a resolution that would give members of congress an opportunity to finally be accountable for the decisions we make and how they affect the lives of ordinary Americans. Unquote

    I hope this passes and lets see who votes. No need to be exempt
    He who lives by the sword should also die by the sword.

  38. Rafflaw:

    I am not parroting Fox News or Frank Luntz. I am looking at various countries that have national health care plans and coming to some conclusions. While some countries do seem to make it work others do not.

    If I offered a plan to eat dinner for free every night of the week where would you go? Probably some very fine restaurants as this would be simple human nature. If everyone is only eating at the good restaurants how are they going to feed everyone? At some point they have to turn people away (rationing tables) and how do the people that get tables do it? Probably by tipping the Matrie’d or by social connections (political pull).

    I want a healthy America and I want everyone that needs it access to health care I just think rational self interest (capitalism) is the best way to efficiently allocate resources for the betterment of all.

  39. “I want a healthy America and I want everyone that needs it access to health care I just think rational self interest (capitalism) is the best way to efficiently allocate resources for the betterment of all.”

    IS,
    The system you think best is the system we have been working under and not only has it been an abysmal failure, but 47 million Americans are excluded and more than 50% of bankruptcies occur because of medical need. Our health care system is not at all close to being the world’s best and we rank 50th in the world in longevity. What ever happened to the US being a world leader in every field? That has been sacrificed on the alter of supposed “free market” capitalism, that in truth has been socialism for the rich and screw the rest of us.

  40. Mike Spindell:

    we have not had true capitalism in this country since the inception of the Federal Reserve and taxation in the early 1900’s.

    What we have now is a crony capitalism/socialism hodge podge that accommodates the very rich and the very poor. And the average Joe gets the bill. It is extremely messed up, FUBAR even.

  41. bdaman:

    are you a conspiracy theorist? All the stuff you post is interesting but I get the feeling that you think every thing is a conspiracy. Not that that is bad but aren’t there other possibilities besides conspiracy?

    Say stupidity, there is a saying that one shouldn’t attribute to evil what one can attribute to stupidity or something like that. Anyway your posts are certainly thought provoking.

  42. IS,
    While I agree with much you say on this, I think your knowledge of the poor in this country is faulty. Their lives are quite difficult and the benefits provided by government are quite sparse. I know this for a fact since I worked in the field for thirty eight years, at all levels. The poor in this country are screwed worse than the middle and working classes, who are also screwed. The myth of their “comfy” lives on welfare are spread for the same reasons that the average white southerner was told he was better than black people, it kept the southerner from realizing how bad he/she was being screwed by the wealthy.

  43. IS,

    bdaman left a message that he was heading out for the weekend, so I’ll field this.

    I don’t think conspiracy is the correct term. Telling the American people a convenient lie may not be an evil plot, but it is an effort inw hich people conspire to hide the truth.

  44. IS

    are you a conspiracy theorist?
    I have two quotes from Gandhi to answer you.
    Do not think something is not possible without first looking at the possibilities.

    Even if you are in a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.

    “Anyway your posts are certainly thought provoking”.
    And if I have provoked your mind into thinking then you are exploring the possibilities.

  45. bdaman/JB:

    I understand what you are saying.

    Mike Spindell:

    I have not worked with the very poor and have no real first hand knowledge of their plight. I have seen the projects though up close and personal and it was a horrid place. It would wilt my soul if I had to grow up in the world I glimpsed.

    I know some people need help and I dont begrudge the truely needy part of my income, I think as Americans we should adhere to the barn raising philosophy our forefathers had. But I think this needs to be done in freedom and not by the force and power of the federal government.

  46. IS writes: well said as usual, but while you may save money in the short term your quality of health care will not be equivalent to what you are currently receiving. National health necessarily must lead to rationing of resources. It has in every other country where implemented. The elderly and disabled will be denied care and the very ill will receive care based on some government formula. You will need to purchase an additional policy as you can in Canada and you will probably end up paying up to 60% of your income to support this plan. I would not bet on any deductions we now enjoy. So you may save some money in the short term but eventually you will pay the piper. If you are over 70 your children will pay the price. there are no free lunches.

    me: what I know about health care is this: all health care now is rationed. if you have an HMO your health care is rationed by the HMO. Your doctor gets to spend 15 minutes with you and in that 15 minutes must come up with a diagnosis and treatment plan that mostly takes care of your symptoms and generally does not permit allocation of resources to perform tests. this is called capitation.
    people who do not have health coverage cost their local ER’s something between $450-800 per hour depending on where you live.
    the elderly are denied health care all the time. doctors have been refusing to take medicare and medicaid patients for the last 12-15 years because they are reimbursed at a really low rate.
    my elderly parents do have supplemental insurance and its really good, but they have it because my 85 year old father works for the state and cannot retire or he and mom will lose these benefits and mom is pretty sick. this is in addition to medicare and the aarp supplemental insurance that they pay for.
    the health coverage I used to take for granted, even though it was pretty expensive, was paid for partly by my husband’s employer. they took the $300 every two weeks. now we have cobra. it costs $2700 a month.
    oh, and anyone who thinks that they have all these great choices now…. if your employer decides to stop subscribing to that great PPO and the only choice you have is a subpar HMO, well then, your choice was just taken from you and instead of being able to see any doctor you wanted, as long as you stay in the network, you now get to go see whichever clinic doctor is seeing patients for 15 minutes that day.

  47. GWLSM “doctors have been refusing to take medicare and medicaid patients for the last 12-15 years because they are reimbursed at a really low rate.”

    Will the doctors be reimbursed any better under the proposed plan? If not, why would anybody spend the time and money to become a doctor? If we end up with less doctors, due to lower pay, can we expect the same level of care?

    That’s my major concern with universal health care. Perhaps people will be crossing the border to get those jobs too. :>)

  48. “I know some people need help and I dont begrudge the truely needy part of my income, I think as Americans we should adhere to the barn raising philosophy our forefathers had. But I think this needs to be done in freedom and not by the force and power of the federal government.”

    IS,
    As I’ve suspected you have a conscience and the ability to find sympathy for those in harsh circumstance. That to me is what separates good people from bad people, despite their political beliefs.

    Given that you think aid should be given to the truly needy let me expand my thoughts a little bit and see if you agree. My overall premise is that there is a powerful faction in this country who like the idea that people are poor. Their reasons are twofold. The first is psychological and let’s leave that as some people need to feel they are “better” than others, so they feel better about themselves. The whys of this become too long a discussion so I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

    Reason Two is that by having an impoverished class lower wages can be paid to workers at all levels. This works because the middle and working classes have the fear of losing their jobs and falling down into the poverty class and are therefore less likely to demand fair compensation for their work. Also it sets up a situation where those in poverty are willing to take the really menial jobs, that really pay badly.

    Now some can and do say that well this is the way the ball bounces, some have the ability to succeed and some don’t, but this is not quite so. The Federal Reserve, through its’ history has time and again tightened the money supply when the level of people out of work has fallen below 5%. This slows the economy and with that economic slowdown wages, which given a true market would rise, begin to fall and people also are being laid off due to a slower economy. This has been a steady pattern since the Fed was implemented and the thing is they have even admitted time and again that they were doing it to depress wages.

    Another angle of this is that in the 1980’s the Reagan Administration played with the unemployment rate figures. They declared that anyone who hadn’t found a job within six months of their becoming unemployed, was no longer looking for work and were no longer figure in the unemployment rate. This almost halves the unemployment figures that we get so the unemployment and the consequent poverty rate is almost twice what the figures tell us.

    The only good thing I can say about Alan Greenspan is that he was very honest with what he was doing each time he slowed the economy and that occurred when unemployment dropped below 5% (Which was probably more like 8% or 9%). He would say that wages were rising too quickly. Now in a so-called “free market” society shouldn’t salaried people have the right to benefit from business success and the greater wages due to job scarcity? I think so. The fact that there is this extra governmental (The Fed is not really of the Government) intervention belies the whole “free market” concept. The consequence is that there are economists of the Greenspan ilk who believe that unemployment rates need to be from 5% to 9% in order to effectively run the economy. Given this people being in poverty is an artificial creation and rather than damn them, we have a duty to support them.

    Another interesting historical modality that has been used to create this “underclass” of the impoverished has been immigration. It may shock you that I am against free immigration, given other views I’ve expressed and the fact that my family history in the US goes back to the 1890’s, but let me explain. Immigration has been used as a policy to drive down wages since at least the 1840’s and the Irish Potato Famine, brought in Irish people in droves to our shores.

    Isn’t curious how many Chinese worked on building the Trans-
    Continental Railroad? Not really because they worked for much cheaper wages. After the Civil War with the further rise of the Industrial Revolution jobs were plentiful and black people could find work away from the cotton fields. However, with the full backing of racists and Southern Politicians the gates were open, immigrants began flooding in and most blacks had to settle for picking cotton, tobacco or working on the farms leased to them by their former masters. Those blacks that went North to seek their fortunes were then in conflict with the European immigrants and with laws that worked against them. The migrant farm worker game is an obvious one. This has occurred time and again and we’ve seen it happen again since the 1980’s. The dichotomy is that the mixture of cultures has in good times been wonderful for the country, I spent many years living in and working in the Borough of Queens in NYC. It is the most culturally diverse county in the US and it is a wonder of cultures, great ethnic foods and people living together.

    The thrust of my point though is that government has worked hand in glove with business interests and the banking industry to create and maintain poverty in the US and all of its’ resultant horrors. It is therefore Government’s responsibility to clear it up. The government is supposed to be us and we have a debt to pay. Especially because many, like myself, have benefited from these policies by dint of my ancestors immigration. I don’t express this as guilt, because frankly that is unneeded. I address it as basic equity and the fact that the more prosperous the people of this country are, the less poverty, the better off we will all be.

    Henry Ford, not one of my favorite people because he hated Jews, was nevertheless a man of vision. He insured that his workers were the highest paid in the industry. When questioned why he raised their pay he answered so obviously with:”So they can afford to buy my automobiles.” In our current society, where we have let ourselves be convinced that the bankers and stock speculators are the economy, we have lost sight of Ford’s simple, yet elegant concept. The economy is NOT the stock market, it is the ability of the people to have and spend money. It is not banking that this country was built on, but manufacturing. For our country to again return to its greatness we must reinvigorate our manufacturing capabilities via new technology (preferably green)and put people back to work. This is not a conservative, nor liberal viewpoint, this is the viewpoint of rationality and love of country.

  49. “Will the doctors be reimbursed any better under the proposed plan? If not, why would anybody spend the time and money to become a doctor?”

    Jim,
    As someone whose health requires me to have at least two Doctor visits a month I have some knowledge of the field in general. Also too when I was working in various positions I had doctors who worked for me. One would hope that people who were dedicated to working as healers would become doctors, there are a great many who do just that and the fact is by dint of becoming a doctor one is assured of a fairly high standard of living. See salaries of Resident’s compared to the average population. Beyond that it is in all of our interests to bring down the cost of becoming a Doctor, since outside of most urban areas there is a tremendous need for competent Doctors.

    However, there are two components of being a Doctor in practice that can raise their profit, even while lowering fees. The first is the major expense that has become medical billing under the current system. An industry of medical billing experts has had to arise just to deal with the vagaries and recalcitrance of the Health Insurance Industry, which has raised it rates arbitrarily three to four times higher than the cost of living. Same is true of Universities and Med Schools. Simplify the billing and you lower the cost of a Doctor’s medical practice considerably and thereby raise their profit margin.

    The second is that the Malpractice Insurance rates have risen, far above the actual expense of the Malpractice Insurance Company’s obligations, simply as a tool of these companies increasing profits and raising top executive salaries. There should be a governmental malpractice plan offered that by spreading the risk will lower costs, or barring that legislation to prevent these companies gouging the medical profession.

    These are only two aspects of a revision of medical care in this country, but if you build it the doctor’s will come. By the way I write this as someone who has been blessed with great health insurance and would have been dead or bankrupt without it. However, I saw the problem up close when my children could no longer be covered, were still in school and I had to go into debt to finance needed medical attention for them. Thank God they are now both insured, but I don’t know if I’ll bee called on again in the future because their coverage is poor. Incidentally, both are employed and doing well, so this issue has little to do with ones ability to work and much to do with the greed of those running the current system.

  50. In a way the medical profession has brought this on themselves. In my opinion this happened over a couple of decades and was started by private health insurance. Once people were paying less for health care, in their minds it was almost free because of a trivial co-pay, the sky was the limit and doctors were able to increase fees. Then you had Medicare and Medicaid and a further reduction in consumer cost. What all of this did was to reduce market based realities as to the actual cost of medical care and prices rose commensurately with additional money available for health care with government and private insurance being widely available.

    Additional restrictions on the market through government regulation of private insurers further disassociated health care costs from market forces and you end up with health care being a disproportionate segment of our national economy.

    As an example of a free market take a look at laser surgery for vision correction. This is within the reach of most people in terms of its cost. Insurance does not pay for it and neither do government programs. The cost has dropped to about $1,200 bucks per eye and you can negotiate with most offices about cost or financing and the quality has increased significantly. This has occurred without government and insurance company subsidization.

    Free markets do work and are the only real means to control health care costs and improve quality. Competition is not evil, quite the contrary it is necessary to efficiently allocate resources. Obama is sowing the seeds for the US to become a third world country and he has certainly set in motion a second great depression.

    And Bush and Paulson gave him the moral cover to do it through TARP, they both should be in prison.

  51. IS Bush is the one who sewed the seeds for the US to beome a third world country. He relaxed many regulations and promoted privitization so only the rich could afford many services. Also the income disparity grew under Bush. The middle class shrunk. The only problem was the Bush administration went too far and the whole system nearly collapsed and inadvertantly hurt the rich. I think Obama could be an advocate for poor and middle class people but the funds have already been mispent on wars and bank bailouts.

  52. Mike Spindell:

    I think we disagree only on the mechanism for achieving this. I truly believe that true free market capitalism without any governmental or Federal Reserve intervention can produce these results.

    I further believe that production and not consumption is the only way out of economic down turns. Henry Ford was right.

    Although I do believe that banks and the stock market are necessary to allocate capital to new enterprises. However average people are definitely excluded from some of the better investments because of lack of capital.

    Immigration does drive down wages, but I recently had an experience that might not jibe with that hypothesis. I was trying to hire a tech worker, he had a masters degree and was from India, and we had agreed on a salary. But I could not hire him because he had that H1B immigration status and I would have had to pay prevailing wages which was more than I could afford. I could not hire an American for the same salary (although I probably could now but now I don’t have the work to support an additional person) and so I lost and he lost. I guess I am saying what you are saying that wages should be whatever 2 parties agree to without artificial influences (read government).

    I think our disagreement is on the concept of a benign and beneficent government which I don’t believe and I am pretty sure you don’t think free markets are benign and beneficent. I think free markets are morally neutral and that governments are comprised of men with preconceived notions of morality. While some may be angles, most are not and so I trust in the neutrality of market forces unencumbered by human intervention.

  53. Swarthmore Mom:

    I think Bush was a stain on our nation and I voted for the jackass twice. I will not make that mistake again. I don’t disagree with you but I think the federal reserve and congress and Freddie Mac and Fannie May also had something to do with this. And the bankers and real estate agents and the consumer who knew he/she could not afford a $500,000 home on a $35,000 income.

    In my business I hear stories about people making $50,000 a year being given no interest loans for huge amounts of money. They were banking on a never ending increase in property values. Basically a bunch of stupid people caused this problem and there is enough blame to go around.

    I would make a suggestion for the 2010 elections, find decent 3rd party candidates that are fiscally conservative and who have run businesses of their own and have made a payroll and have successful enterprises and vote for them. I think this might send a message to the Dimwitocrats and Redumblicans that we are tired of the BS.

  54. “The cost has dropped to about $1,200 bucks per eye and you can negotiate with most offices about cost or financing and the quality has increased significantly.”

    IS,
    There’s something here you are missing. I was forced to retire by health, in what would have been my most productive years financially. While my fixed income for a family of two is higher than the median income of a family of four, it does not make for a luxurious lifestyle. I have unmeasurable astigmatism and am nearsighted. My wife’s vision is worse then mine. both are correctable by laser surgery. We couldn’t afford $4,800 for this surgery. most American’s couldn’t except those who want to finance it by programs like GE’s CareCredit, which then charge up to 29% interest. So we use eyeglasses, that are poor substitutes. It would seem you are more comfortably fixed and I wish well with that and truly hope it continues. However, part of your inability to grasp the extent of this problem is that you don’t realize the dire straights that most fully employed Americans face when it comes to health care. $1,200 is a lot for me and for those without my resources it is enormous.

    Incidentally, when my youngest Daughter, still in school, became 23 she was dropped off my health plan. Since I was supporting her in school, although she worked 25 hours per week at two jobs, I had to investigate health insurance for her a healthy, single woman. The best deal I could find, through the school mind you, was $2,800 a year, with the first $3,000 not covered. As luck would have it I now am paying off about $5,000 because of some of her health needs and you wouldn’t believe the interest rates. Now I own my own home in a lovely area, it’s now worth a third less than I paid for it so there is no equity, but I live well compared to most American’s so I’m not complaining.

    The fact is though I know the other side of the issue and I understand the hole that people have been put into by phony mortgages, the fraud of credit card companies, the greed of health insurers, the fraud of banks and the fact that the Stock Market is a rigged game with worse odds than Blackjack at a Casino. Add to that a culture that has convinced people that consumption is a measure of one’s worth, a food industry that sickens and fattens the public, a predatory credit industry that convinces gullible people to taste their poison
    and business practices that focus on a present bottom line, rather than a stable future and your picture of a “free market” becomes a false one.

    Now I believe strongly in Capitalism as an economic system, providing there is sufficient regulation of the system and the market to ensure that it is not run by greedy bastards, who measure their self worth in that dumb saying on bumper stickers “Whoever dies with the most toys wins.” However, there are some things that a government should do because they can do it better and it serves the public interest. One is health care. Throw in Police, the courts, the Military,
    Public Transportation, Roads and infrastructure, to name a few. For the government to fulfill these very public needs is far from socialism, it is sensible, humane capitalism.

  55. Mike Spindell:

    I personally use glasses because they are about 100 bucks at Costco. I was merely using that as an example.

    $233 a month for health insurance seems like a pretty good deal although I will admit the $3,000 deductible is high, but your daughter is young and hopefully she wont have any significant health issues that effect her long term.

    I freely admit there are problems with the current system. We have 3 or 4 friends that have children with severe chronic illness that will not end well and these children will be left dangling by our system once they are out of school or reach 21 I think. There should be some sort of pool that is spread between various companies and those companies ought to get some tax breaks for insuring these people once they leave their parents plan. I just think there has got to be a private sector solution to this issue.

    Should we pay taxes for protective services such as fire, police and military-yes absolutely but not 40-60% of our income. I think about 20% for all taxes would be a good number. And I don’t think people making less than $35000 per year should pay any taxes but they also should not get a refund.

  56. Jim Byrne writes: Will the doctors be reimbursed any better under the proposed plan? If not, why would anybody spend the time and money to become a doctor? If we end up with less doctors, due to lower pay, can we expect the same level of care?

    That’s my major concern with universal health care. Perhaps people will be crossing the border to get those jobs too. :>)

    me: you know what? I don’t know if the medicare reimbursement will improve or not. Its hard to imagine it getting worse.

    I don’t know how old you are. I’m 57. I remember a time before health insurance when you went to the doctor and s/he charged you for the exam/treatment and if you could pay it all right then, you did. If you could not, you paid it out over several months. When I had my tonsils out (age 5) my mother went to the billing office,paid the $300 and then I was discharged. Blue Cross came along and after you paid your $25o deductible every year you were reimbursed at 80-20 for everything. Kaiser Permanente was the first doctor owned HMO and lots of people we knew had that but it was clinic medicine and you didn’t have your own doctor. in the early 70’s the first doctor owned HMO groups began in earnest and by the late 80’s employers offered HMO’s like they were the new panacea.
    we now know what that was really about.
    and basically, in the last 20 years the insurance companies are the ones who own and direct medical care in this country.

    People still want to become physicians — but the demographic has changed substantially along with the role doctors actually play in the lives of their patients. I don’t know any young people, who graduated high school with my kids who plan to go to medical school. not one. and these are the brightest kids in the school. we already have a doctor shortage and a worse nursing shortage.

    a good friend, an internist, just took a teaching job because he as become so exhausted fighting the company that owns his medical clinic. He got tired of having every chart reviewed to see if he could spend less time, order fewer tests, prescribe less medication and tie his salary to how little he could do for his patients.
    another doctor friend decided to leave her clinic and go it alone. she does not take insurance of any kind and charges $175/hr. if she needs to spend an hour with a patient, she does. if she needs to spend 15 minutes, she does. if her patients with decent insurance want to, they can pay their out of network deductible, get reimbursed whatever percentage that they can and get some coverage.
    more and more docs I know are doing things like this.

    The question is: how much worse can things get before we stop sucking up to the insurance industry and allow doctors and patients the right to decide treatment and prices.

  57. This is an op-ed from the Orange County Register.

    “The debate on health care reform is starting to turn ugly. Those who want to increase government power to rule American medicine are adding physicians to their list of “enemies of the people.” We hear frequently that insurers and drug companies are inefficient and greedy businesses that must be replaced by efficient, enlightened and compassionate government bureaucracies. Now doctors are coming under attack for daring to resist government attempts to tell them how to practice medicine.

    In an editorial last month in the New York Times, readers were told, “Doctors have been complicit in driving up health care costs.”
    “Complicit” is an ominous term, often used in a legal or criminal context. Such language is obviously intended to intimidate physicians into submission.

    How are doctors “complicit” in rising costs? The Times tells us they are to blame because “doctors largely decide what medical or surgical treatments are needed,” which makes many of them “unabashed profiteers.”

    Such a statement provides two keys to understanding the debate on health care reform.

    The first and most obvious is that reform advocates in government want the legal power to prevent doctors from deciding “what medical or surgical treatments are needed.” They think that role must be reserved for politicians and government officials.
    Physicians must not be allowed to prescribe a drug if the government decides it helps only some but not all patients and is thus not “comparatively effective.”

    Physicians must conform to new government “protocols” in providing treatment, not their own judgment. If they do not, the government will make them more liable to malpractice suits for not doing it the government way. They are now forced to computerize their patients’ medical records and turn them over to the government – without the patients’ permission – to better help the government supervise their practice.

    Also revealed by the Times’ editorial is the attempt to disarm doctors morally and politically so they will do what they are told.
    Any attempt to protect their ability to practice medicine as they think best will just prove that they are greedy profiteers, like businessmen. Anyone who makes a living or runs a profitable business that does not need to be bailed out by the government may be condemned.

    Conversely, greed for power is a saintly virtue for those who want to instruct physicians how to run their practices.

    From other quarters we hear arguments that doctors should just do what they are told and accept what the government pays them, even if it does not cover their costs, because they owe us all for their medical education. Never mind the huge debts with which most MD’s graduate from medical school. Never mind the long years and long hours of medical education and internship. If they went to a public school, never mind the taxes their parents paid to support it.
    If the government gives you an education, these politicians say that you owe that government your life. Are we now discovering the true purpose of government-controlled education?

    Doctors are probably coming under attack now because even the American Medical Association – not known in recent years for its resistance to government incursion in medicine – is showing a bit of backbone in opposing proposals such as a new “public option” for medical insurance. The AMA is to be encouraged. If physicians do not take a stand to defend their rights to their own lives, their careers and their freedom to practice medicine, and, yes, to decide with their patients “what medical or surgical treatments are needed,” who will?

    We will not preserve our freedoms or our health if we as physicians and patients surrender our rights to politicians in return for their promises to take care of us.

    Richard Ralston

    Americans for Free Choice in Medicine”

  58. IS,
    Really? The Orange county Register, is this the best you’ve got?

    Richard A. Ralston: He is the Publishing Manager of the Ayn Rand Institute. Americans for Free Choice in Medicine is a right wing think tank. Although they are rather bland in their
    descriptions, read between the lines at their base of support:

    “Members include patients, Medicare recipients, physicians, nurses and health care professionals, insurance industry professionals, including agents, pharmacists and pharmaceutical industry professionals, financial services professionals, businessmen, employee benefits professionals and hospital staff. AFCM was founded in 1993.”

    A whole bunch of people who would benefit from a health care status quo and who you can be sure represent major Health Insurance and Pharmaceutical players. In what way would The Publishing Manager of the Ayn Rand Institute support anything having to do with government involvement in health care?

    “We hear frequently that insurers and drug companies are inefficient and greedy businesses that must be replaced by efficient, enlightened and compassionate government bureaucracies.”

    I would think that the insurers and drug companies who support this man’s group would want him to make such a defense. The fact is that they are greedy businesses, with overly high profit margins swelled by raised costs that represent about 5 times the increase in the cost of living. They are inefficient businesses because their admin costs run up to about 30%. could you stay in business IS with an admin
    cost of 30%, without pricing yourself out of your market? I doubt it. Remember I’m talking strictly admin as defined by normal accounting principles and not the normal costs of doing business.

    “Now doctors are coming under attack for daring to resist government attempts to tell them how to practice medicine.”

    Rather than doctors being told how to practice medicine by private insurers, who if you talk to doctors have become intrusively proactive in telling doctor’s what to do.

    “In an editorial last month in the New York Times.”

    Read the editorial itself and see how he takes things out of context and also changes meanings of what is being written.
    The NY Times by the way has been for the last 30 years a right of center newspaper and that is a shift from their being a centrist newspaper, not the organ of the left wing Bill Buckley declared it to be.

    “Doctors are probably coming under attack now because even the American Medical Association – not known in recent years for its resistance to government incursion in medicine – is showing a bit of backbone in opposing proposals such as a new “public option” for medical insurance.”

    This guy is so full of crap. For years the AMA has been a conservative organization fighting any government reforms of health care. Guess what though, last Wednesday they reversed themselves:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/01/ama-reverses-position-say_n_224458.html

    do you know why because Doctors (see link below) are quitting in droves because the Doctors are fed up with the current health care system.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-chris-mccoy/dear-ama-i-quit_b_214318.html

    This is directly opposite of what Mr. Ralston is saying.

    “We will not preserve our freedoms or our health if we as physicians and patients surrender our rights to politicians in return for their promises to take care of us.”

    47 Million Americans adults and children don’t have freedom of their health choices because they either can’t afford health insurance, or can’t get it because of preexisting conditions. While some say that they can get it at ER’s in public hospitals, you know very well that Objectivists like Mr. Raltson oppose public hospitals and oppose the government ensuring that people can be treated in ER’s. While he hasn’t the courage to admit it, industry lobbyist that he is, from his political perspective these people can go die because they are of no worth to society if they can’t afford good health care. This is happening every day and while this turkey
    does allude to morality:

    “Also revealed by the Times’ editorial is the attempt to disarm doctors morally and politically so they will do what they are told.”

    Morality has nothing to do with this guys beliefs, which are closest to “survival of the fittest” and well if that’s the kind of society you want, then we’d better start buying automatic weapons, guns, knives and surplus hand grenades. You know of course as a Jew my machine gun of choice would be an Uzi, but as for handguns I’d run into a problem since Sig Steyr’s, Glocks and and Walther’s are made in Germany. Oh well, I guess it will have to be a 9mm Beretta. Wait until people see the plans I have for barricading my house and making my cars armor plated. Mr. Raltson will have us all leading exciting, if very dangerous, lives.

  59. Mike S writes: 47 Million Americans adults and children don’t have freedom of their health choices because they either can’t afford health insurance, or can’t get it because of preexisting conditions. While some say that they can get it at ER’s in public hospitals, you know very well that Objectivists like Mr. Raltson oppose public hospitals and oppose the government ensuring that people can be treated in ER’s. While he hasn’t the courage to admit it, industry lobbyist that he is, from his political perspective these people can go die because they are of no worth to society if they can’t afford good health care. This is happening every day and while this turkey
    does allude to morality:

    me again, you are making to much sense and while I did promise to lay off your pursuit of happy times, maybe you could add this tidbit to your argument…. millions of Americans who have insurance through their workplace also have little or no choice in making health care decisions. employer funded insurance is only partially paid for by the company yet they choose which health care plans their employees can enroll in. if all they offer is a crappy HMO then that’s all the employee gets. if they put lifetime limits on health care, because its cheaper for them (even though the employee pays larger shares every year) then chances are an employee with benefits may not be able to get cancer care or a transplant.

    anyway, I think I am on the verge of a rant here.
    someone throw cold water on me….quick

  60. As long as someone else is paying for it; they, not you, and not your doctor are going to decide how you get treated.

    Insurance company -for profit, wants your business as long as they can make a profit. -cost goes up…premiums go up.

    Government paid -not for profit, could care less about your business. must try to cut spending. -cost goes up, taxes go up.

    –and we’re not even discussing pharmaceutical companies. Profit drives research. Less profit, less research.

    We can’t have our cake and eat it too. Change will require sacrifices. Is everyone prepared to accept those sacrifices?

    Government run health care will not be as good as the health care WE have today, but more people will be covered.

  61. “millions of Americans who have insurance through their workplace also have little or no choice in making health care decisions. employer funded insurance is only partially paid for by the company yet they choose which health care plans their employees can enroll in”

    GWLSM,
    An excellent point as usual and one that I haven’t, but should have, been thinking about.

    Jim Byrne,

    “Insurance company -for profit, wants your business as long as they can make a profit. -cost goes up…premiums go up.”

    Not true, the rise in their rates has far exceeded the cost of providing benefits. They have been maximizing profits, not responding to the market, because they don’t have to.

    “–and we’re not even discussing pharmaceutical companies. Profit drives research. Less profit, less research.”

    Also not true. most research is still paid for by government.
    Their costs have risen more because of their excessive marketing expenses: TV Ads, Print Ads and “Detail People” and with bonus payments to Doctor’s who prescribe lots of their medicines. Also they sponsor many “symposiums” at luxury resorts, underwrite attending Physician’s expenses and the Physician can write off all other costs tax wise as education
    for continuing their skills. These conferences are used to propagandize the effectiveness of their drugs. You never see one of these conferences held in Milwaukee, for instance, with no intent of defaming the great state of Wisconsin.

    The other part of this is that other countries in the world negotiate more reasonable rates for medicines, while Bush and the then Republican Congress specifically forbade Medicare and Medicaid from negotiating. That is why drugs in Canada cost half of wht they do in the US for instance and even there the drug companies make good profits.

  62. Jim,
    Also in my last post I neglected to mention the huge amounts spent on lobbying congress. Max Baucus received more than 3.3 million dollars last year and Joe Lieberman, about 2.3 million.
    This doesn’t even mention the millions contributed to Diane Feinstein, Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh, Mary Landrieux and even John Kerry. Notice all these are Democrats. Add in the Republicans and the Health Insurers and Drug company’s are spending about 1.6 million dollars a day on lobbying. There are not many heroes
    in Congress in this debate and that is why American Health care is a disgrace to the honor of our nation.

  63. Mike Spindell:

    I posted it as another opinion in our ongoing discussion. I generally think that people should be free to pursue their own idea of happiness unencumbered by government control of their life, liberty and property.

    When you are taxed you are forced to give up life and property. I think a small amount is necessary for the things you mentioned above but our government is out of control, and yes I blame both parties and the sleazy politicians on both sides.

  64. IS writes: When you are taxed you are forced to give up life and property. I think a small amount is necessary for the things you mentioned above but our government is out of control, and yes I blame both parties and the sleazy politicians on both sides.

    you know, I never minded paying taxes all that much. when you think about it you get an awful lot for this investment in how things run. you get police and fire protection, libraries, schools, parks and beaches, roads and highways and bridges, clean air and water, the NIH including medical research, NEA including Sesame Street, medicare and social security and war.
    the only thing I minded paying for was war.
    that’s a pretty good package of stuff.

    compared to other advanced societies our taxes are relatively low.

  65. bdaman:

    well when you subsidize something you get more of it. If I pay you to engage in a negative activity you and everyone else is going to sign on.

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