Monday, April 12, 2010

You oppose health care reform?

I keep getting into... I don't know what to call them, they aren't discussions because normally the other people wind up trying to insult me or screaming at me, they aren't arguments because the other people speaking can't find a way to defend their ideas, so I am not quite sure how to refer to the silly little verbal jousting matches I have found myself in lately over health care reform. I think I know how to avoid getting into any more of these confrontations though.

To those of you who oppose health care, I have found that the vast majority of you already have insurance through either a private health insurer or through a program like Medicare. The few of you who don't have health insurance are such a small minority that you are statistically unimportant, so to the uninsured opponents of health care, ignore the rest of this blog. All of you are free to continue yelling at me. You still won't make any sense, but feel free.

To those of you who have health coverage through a plan like Medicare and who oppose health care reform and I can say is, what the hell are you thinking? You are being served by a program that is guilty of anything you could accuse the new health care reform plan of being, actually it is guilty of much more, and yet you are complaining about the new plan? OK, there is no reason to take you seriously so shut up, put your Obama is a socialist signs away and go home. You have nothing to add to this debate.

To the rest of you. Those of you who have insurance might have an actual argument to make against health care reform and so I beg of you, please make it.

Please tell me how the new law impacts your health care in any way, shape, form or fashion. Don't tell me what you heard so fat guy on the radio say or what you heard some blubbering guy on TV say as he wiped the tears away from his eyes, no, tell me what the final version of the law says. Tell me how the actual law effects your health care. Show me exactly in the law where it says you won't be able to keep your doctor or current insurance plan. Show me where in the law it sets up the death panels you talked about so much a few months ago. Show me just how it effects you negatively.

Don't try and say you dislike this law because it takes away some amorphous freedom you think you used to have because none of you were carrying signs and spitting on congressmen when President Obama renewed the Patriot Act, a law that actually does take away rights and freedoms from the citizens of this country and involves the government in our lives in ways that should concern all of us. No, none of you said a word about that. But for some reason you think that health care reform is going to turn us into a North American version of the Soviet Union. Well here is your chance, show us unbelievers exactly where in the law it does this. Show us where it says that if you don't have health insurance the government will lock you away. Show us where the law has the government taking over anything. Show us. There is a convenient comment section below. Use it to show us where the actual law proves us wrong. I dare you.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

It is time to pay up

Ever since Ronald Reagan became President of the United States the word "tax" has become almost obscene. No politician wants to raise taxes, none wants to propose a new tax. If they do have the guts to say that we need to increase taxes they always claim that the increase will only effect the "wealthy" whatever "wealthy" means.

This has to change, we have decided as a country that we don't want our government to spend more than it takes in. We also don't want our government to increase taxes. Of course we also don't want to give up any of the things that our government provides. Well this is complete and total idiocy and if you think a country can operate this way then you are a moron.

We can not balance the budget of the US with spending cuts. Let me rephrase that, we can not balance the budget of the US without eliminating Social Security and Medicare while at the same time not reducing the amount of money the government takes in. So you will still be paying for Social Security and Medicare but you, and your kids and your parents and everyone else won't actually be able to take advantage of the Medicare and Social Security systems because they will no longer exist. Happy balanced budget!

So what do we do? Simple, we raise taxes. In 1952 and 1953, considered by many to be a period of time when the US was at its best, the top federal income tax bracket was 92%. Yep, you read right, 92%. But don't apply that to your salary, apply it to a wealthy bank CEO's taxable income. Lets say he made $50,000,000.00 last year. At a 92% tax rate he would still make $4,000,000.00 and if you can't live on four million dollars then you have much bigger problems than your tax rate. Of course today the top tax rate is only 35% or slightly over 1/3rd of what the top tax rate was in 1953. Starting to see why "wasteful spending" alone isn't responsible for our budget problems?

Personally I think we should all pay more in taxes but I also understand that it would be political suicide in this day and age. So let's start off with something we have seen some politicians get away with. Let's call for an increase on the tax rates applied to the wealthy. I think the top tax brackets (by the way, in recent years because of where his income is derived, Bill Gates, the wealthiest person in the US has only paid a 15% tax rate. In 2007 Warren Buffet discovered that he was paying a tax rate lower than the rate paid by his receptionist and called for wealthy Americans to pay more) should be raised so that the top bracket is at least 50% and so that every household earning $500k or more a year will see an increase in their taxes. Starting off with the wealthy with make this tax increase much more palatable to the electorate over all and allow candidates who support the common sense measure of raising taxes to stand a chance of getting elected or re-elected. Later on work can begin on raising taxes across the board, after all, if you love this country you should be willing to use your wallet to show how much you love it.

To make this happen though we must be willing to stand up and make it known that we support raising taxes. This November we should refuse to support any candidate for federal office that will not publicly call for a tax increase on households making $500k or more a year. Of course we will probably fail this year, but we should repeat the same call in 2012, and 2014, and every year afterwards until we break the hold that the conservatives who have turned any and all taxes into the greatest evil we face. We need a backbone in this country and the conservative movement seems to be suffering from intellectual osteoporosis.

Time and time again we hear calls for our federal government to be run like a business. Well businesses raise their prices all the time, it is time the US government does as well. It is our children and grandchildren who will be paying our bills. How will you answer them when they ask why we didn't have to pay our fair share.