Howard Rich's Blog

August 11, 2009

Health Care “Compromise” A Poison Pill For Small Business

Much ado has been made of the tenuous “compromise” between President Barack Obama and “Blue Dog” Democrats in Washington on the issue of government-run health care. Sadly, the reality is that the latest version of “Obamacare” is still a poison pill for America’s small businesses and the millions of workers they employ.

Most small businesses spend between 60 and 80 cents of every dollar they earn on payroll, which is precisely where Obama’s plan would hit them. Not content with simply bleeding “the rich” to pay for the massive up-front costs of his $1.5 trillion socialized medicine proposal, Obama also wants to impose a massive new tax increase on American small businesses – one that will directly impede their ability to create jobs and stimulate economic activity.

In other words, Obama wants to choke off America’s number one job-creating engine in the depths of a recession that has already cost millions of jobs – all so he can create a government health care monopoly that will not only increase costs but also reduce the quality of care.


July 22, 2009

“Rangel Surtax Debate Exposes “Class Warfare” Myth

By Howard Rich

“Make the rich pay for it, they can afford it.”

For decades, this has been the /modus operandi/ of politicians and public officials who rely on unsustainable government growth and skyrocketing taxpayer debt to pad their patronage and expand their influence. It’s also the driving force behind House Ways & Means Chairman Charles Rangel’s new “health care surtax,” which the New York Democrat says will raise $540 billion over the next ten years to pay for part of “Obamacare.”

Who would end up paying Rangel’s surtax? All joint filers making over $350,000 – before deductions. Also, the surtax applies to all forms of income, including wages, dividends and capital gains.

This latest “bleed the (moderately) rich” scam comes from a tried-and-true big government playbook. In fact, it’s every bit as predictable as the blooming of the cherry blossoms, the naming of yet another government “czar,” or whichever Beltway sex scandal /du jour /is dominating the cocktail party chatter. And like countless other government schemes of its kind, it will no doubt be communicated to middle class mailboxes or televisions via slick advertisements that invoke how wealthy Americans are enjoying “faster jets or bigger swimming pools” while poor people lay “starving in the streets.”

Sounds familiar, right?…

July 21, 2009

Obama refuses to rule out surtax for health care


WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is declining to take a surtax off the table in the escalating debate over how to pay for a new health care system that would cover millions of uninsured people.

Obama noted in a nationally broadcast interview Tuesday that “the House has put forward a surtax,” but was noncommittal about whether it should actually be part of the reconstituted health care system he is pushing.

The president also said on NBC’s “Today” show that he is pushing hard for legislation before Congress’s August recess because “if you don’t set a deadline in this town, nothing happens. The default in Washington is inaction and inertia.”

He said people who are better off, “like myself,” should step up and help contribute to bankrolling the new system.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) — With his signature health care initiative buffeted from all sides, President Barack Obama is summoning key House Democrats to the White House as he increases pressure on Congress to get the job done.

Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee — the only one of three House panels weighing health overhaul legislation that has yet to pass it — were to meet with the president Tuesday afternoon, the White House announced.

That follows a committee drafting session that lasted past midnight Monday as panel members slogged through numerous amendments, with majority Democrats turning back Republican attempts to change the bill. But Committee Chairman Henry Waxman’s bigger difficulties were with his own party, particularly a bloc of fiscally conservative Democrats who oppose the legislation in its current form over costs and other issues.

Waxman and his aides have been deep in talks with these conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats, and as the panel wrapped up its work in the wee hours Waxman announced he was canceling a drafting session planned for Tuesday so negotiations could continue.

“We’re having conversations with different members to work out some of the issues so we can make this thing move forward,” Waxman, D-Calif., told reporters. He declined to elaborate.

Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., who chairs the Blue Dog health care task force, said earlier in the evening that there was still plenty of work to be done. “If you’re wondering if we’ve reached some agreement, the answer is no,” said Ross.

It remained to be seen whether the president’s involvement would change that.

The House bill would, for the first time, require all individuals to have health insurance and all employers to provide it. The poor would get subsidies to buy insurance and insurers would be barred from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

Prior to his meeting with the Energy and Commerce Democrats on Tuesday, Obama planned brief remarks on health care, something that’s become a near-daily occurrence as the president has moved swiftly from hands-off to deeply engaged on his top domestic priority.

Obama’s increased personal involvement comes with Republican criticism sharpening, outside groups growing more strident and sticker shock reverberating around Capitol Hill in the wake of a bleak prognosis from the Congressional Budget Office last week saying lawmakers’ health proposals wouldn’t hold down costs.

Obama has repeatedly cited lowering costs as a top goal of any health overhaul plan, alongside extending coverage to the 50 million uninsured.

Meanwhile the president’s own poll numbers are slipping. And while he’s continuing to say he wants health care legislation to pass this year, he’s grown less insistent about the House and Senate passing bills before leaving Washington for their August recess.

“I want this done now. Now, if there are no deadlines, nothing gets done in this town,” Obama told PBS’s “The NewsHour” on Monday. “If somebody comes to me and says, ‘It’s basically done, it’s going to spill over by a few days or a week,’ you know, that’s different.”

Obama planned a prime-time news conference Wednesday and a town hall in Ohio on Thursday.

On Capitol Hill, the legislation moved forward fitfully after concrete advances last week, when three committees — one in the Senate and two in the House — passed sweeping health overhaul bills. But the bills attracted no GOP support, and in each House committee several Democrats defected and opposed the legislation.

The toughest lift was in Energy and Commerce but there were indications Monday some concerns were being soothed. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., who with other anti-abortion Democrats had threatened to oppose the bill over concerns it would fund abortions, said a compromise was being worked out that would protect state laws on abortion. Stupak didn’t give details and aides said there was no final deal.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is floating an idea that could make proposed tax increases more palatable to the Blue Dogs. She would like to limit income tax increases to couples making more than $1 million a year and individuals making more than $500,000, Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said Monday. The bill passed by the House Ways and Means Committee last week would increase taxes on couples making as little as $350,000 a year and individuals annually making as little as $280,000.

In the Senate, negotiators seeking a bipartisan compromise reported progress Monday. Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said there’s tentative agreement on four big policy issues out of a list of about one dozen. He would not elaborate.

Associated Press writers David Espo, Stephen Ohlemacher, Alan Fram, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

June 12, 2009

There Is Nothing Good About Comrpomise On Nationalized Health Care

From The KX Network

The problem, from the conservative perspective, with compromising with liberals is that even in compromise liberals win and conservatives lose.  If you don’t want to grow the government, and you compromise with people who want to grow the government a great deal so that the resulting growth is less, the government still got bigger.

The big-government people win through incrementalism.  As an example of this, remember that our federal income tax started off as a simple, relatively simple tax on a small number of Americans.  Now our income tax code, when printed, consists of tens of thousands of pages and costs Americans hundreds of billions of dollars annually to comply with.
So when I hear, as an opponent to nationalized health care, that Democrats are “willing to compromise” on health care, I’m not at all relieved.  Because even a compromise on nationalized health care moves us further down to government control of our health care.  It’s like boiling the proverbial frog.  Toss a frog into boiling water and it’ll jump right out.  Put a frog in room temperature water and slowly raise the temperature and it’ll boil to death before it realizes what’s happening.

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats are offering to scrap a controversial government-sponsored health insurance provision in an effort to win more than a dozen moderate and conservative Republican votes to extend health care coverage to nearly 46 million uninsured Americans.

Sen. Max Baucus , D- Mont. , the chairman of the Finance Committee , signaled his willingness Thursday to compromise to attract enough GOP support to pass the legislation in the Senate this summer with as many as 70 votes.Baucus emerged from a morning session with key Republicans and Democrats saying he was “inclined toward” jettisoning the proposed government insurance program, which President Barack Obama endorsed last week, in favor of a new proposal to create national, state and regional health care insurance cooperatives.

Republicans oppose the public insurance option, saying it would undermine the private insurance industry and lead to a national health insurance system. Some conservative Democrats also are skeptical of the public plan option, even as they and Baucus support Obama’s goals.
Baucus said that the public insurance plan option is “so opposed at this point by Republicans” that “it’s basically the question of, well, gee, what do we have to do to compromise to get health care passed this year?”

While he expressed interest in the co-op idea, which was drafted by Sen. Kent Conrad , D- N.D. , the chairman of the Budget Committee, Baucus cautioned that it had to achieve many of the same goals the public option would, including being national in scope, having adequate capital, offering the public a wide choice of affordable insurance and making sure it isn’t eventually absorbed by the private insurance industry.

This is incrementalism.  The liberals know they can’t just jump right into a national government-run system of health car given all the horror stories Americans hear about such systems in places like Canada and Great Britain.  So instead they’re going to settle for creating the framework for a big, national health care plan now.  They’ll create these “co-op” health care providers around the countries, which will ostensibly be independent of the government.  These non-profit “co-ops” would lure in lots and lots of Americans.  Then, down the road, when everyone is used to the co-ops the liberals can push for nationalized health care again and simply nationalize the already existing health care “co-ops.”Republicans cannot compromise on this.  The only government policies for health care true conservatives should be supporting are those that move our health care system away from third-party payers (employers and/or the government) and toward empowering individuals to pay for their own health care.  Health savings accounts.  Self-insuring.  That sort of thing.We need to oppose any policy that makes Americans more dependent on government, and support policies that make us less dependent on government.  All of the “compromises” being talked about by the liberals are the former, not the later.

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