cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Many of us have heard of the ‘Cadillac tax’, as it is called, that is part of Obamacare (the inappropriately named Affordable Care Act). That tax is designed to hit those with ‘rich’ health care benefit plans. It assesses a significant penalty tax to discourage employers from retaining the health plans that cover most ‘everything’ from first dollar forward. Those typically have been thought of as being the plans negotiated and/or sponsored by unions for their members, although some non-union employers use very generous health plans, also.
Clarence Darrow, an attorney who was a leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union, is quoted as saying: “When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I’m beginning to believe it.”
We learned, after the fact, that local officials in Silverton, CO had met with EPA officials prior to their visit, and asked that they not visit the Gold King mine since they feared something like this could occur and there was no problem at that time to warrant such an inspection.
Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law 50 years ago today by President Lyndon Baines Johnson who praised former President Truman for getting that ball rolling. Here we are five decades later observing the two programs that are an integral part of life in our country, and that are huge federal budget items.
Governor Walker is feeling a bit of a squeeze play from the Legislature concerning the Budget. It seems that even the members of his own party see that they have an opportunity to wring concessions from him or at least cause him some angst in his not-yet-announced-but-already-assumed run for the Presidency.
Entrenched power is under assault by Republicans writing the new state budget in the Joint Finance Committee. Those two areas are organized education and labor unions. Organized education sees the relaxation of teacher licensing in Wisconsin as the beginning of the end of excellent education. Organized labor sees the prospective repeal of the prevailing wage rules as the ultimate loss possible for certain unions.
Boston Marathon participants from Germantown this year (according to the morning paper at press time):
The soon-to-become infamous Cadillac tax which is part of the Affordable Care Act is beginning to draw notice, especially from the labor leaders whose negotiated plans will likely come close to this penalty or enjoy the penalty from the outset.
We spend a lot of time, many of us anyway, on trying to promote the candidate(s) of our choosing. Many spend a lot of money on that effort, as well. For some, this is an exercise of personal power as we see with the billionaires who throw tens of millions upon tens of millions of dollars into the fray. For the majority, this is an exercise in the use of freedoms guaranteed us by our Constitution. For whatever our reasons, many of us are thoroughly engaged in the outcome we favor. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Some of those outcomes hang with us; I still remember the field of flowers suddenly being destroyed in the flash of an atomic bomb explosion that took Barry Goldwater to the loser’s position in the first election in which I became an active volunteer.
Those signed up for ObamaCare this year are averaging $268 per month in premium forgiveness. There are some 6.5 million people in that category. That totals nearly $21,000,000 annually in subsidies paid by the government to the health plans providing the coverage. It is easy to see why the major health insurance companies were so eager to jump onto the ObamaCare bandwagon. Their revenue streams have taken a significant jump and their profits have increased also.
Republicans reportedly will test the waters on changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by proposing to move the definition of full time from the current 30 hours per week back to the traditional 40 hours per week. They feel this is the slam dunk issue if one exists.
The following came to me this morning from a good friend and I thought it worthy of being shared. My comments are found at the very bottom of the piece.
With the defeat (a/k/a dumping) of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), there are some amazing numbers floating around:
Let’s hear it for OPEC…and especially for OPEC’s continued greed and perceived lack of alternatives. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has decided to avoid reducing the production of its member countries which almost assures a continued slide in the price of gasoline that you and I pay at the pumps. I paid $2.689 as a Costco member yesterday; I cannot remember paying this little for a long time (little, of course, being a lot more than I used to pay).
The Washington world is one of intrigue, broken promises and broken laws. That promises to be demonstrated more and more as we find ourselves watching the final two years of the Obama Presidency with a Republican-dominated Congress.
Charley Reese is a retired columnist for the Orlando Sentinel. This is lengthy but well worth time it takes to read it through.
Considering the hand that was dealt, the Republicans came out of this dust-up in better position than expected. The Bush tax rates were largely codified permanently and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) was made permanent without the need to have it annually updated for inflation. The AMT will now be automatically updated.
This video (click here) will show you, in a few short minutes, the predicament we've permitted ourselves to get into, and it is sobering at the very least.
Eric Hovde is officially in the race to replace Sen. Herb Kohl (D) who is not running for re-election. Hovde has a lot of competition and will take his lumps as the long-time politicians who are his opponents in the Republican primary work him over. Hovde has made a lot of money, so he is similar to our other Senator, Ron Johnson (R), in that he can provide a lot of funding from his own bank account if need be, and that is likely to be needed given the number of hands already reaching out for contributions.
As the saga of the MATC employee and her use of an MATC credit card for personal purposes continues to unfold, the revelation that no audits had been performed for a decade is astounding. John Williams, the new VP of Finance at MATC, who came on board in July, 2010, ordered a routine audit soon after making that discovery. That audit resulted in the discovery of the theft that had been routine for seven years. The audit found that the woman accused is suspected of running up more than $10,000 per MONTH in illegal charges.
President Obama has published his version of a 2013 budget, even though his Democrat-controlled Senate is unlikely to do the same since they haven't for well over 1,000 days in spite of the requirement they do so.
It is interesting to see the very open, and some would say blatant, attempt by major unions in Wisconsin to hand-pick their candidate to go against Scott Walker in the almost certain recall election to come. It is very simple really; either you pledge to veto any budget that doesn't restore full union rights or you run the state without a new budget. There is no inbetween; no 'ifs, ands or buts' as it were.
What if Newt Gingrich would not continue his slash and burn attacks on Mitt Romney? What if Newt would put the need to remove President Obama from office above his personal, and seemingly petty, needs (compared to the public's needs)? Would that make a difference in the polls that now seem to indicate Obama could beat Romney in the Fall elections?
I read of the Milwaukee School Board's refusal to permit the food service work to be outsourced in spite of the fact that these union employees were being favored with "fringe" benefits equal to an additional105.8% of their compensation. That is right; if they are earning $10 per hour (and I feel certain that is way too low but it is easy for comparison purposes), their benefits are costing another $10.58 per hour for a total of $20.58 per hour.
Rick Perry left the field of Republican candidates this morning. He asked his supporters to back Newt Gingrich. Given Perry's showing, his tossing his support to Gingrich will do very little to help Gingrich. One of Newt's former wives, Marianne, will speak tonight on national television, and that won't help Newt either.
The Washington County Board meeting held on November 3rd was a display of something less than a well-functioning Board in my estimation. The debate can be seen here and the less functional portion of that debate occurs from about minute 40 to the end of the meeting.
It seems we have discussions every so often about the possibility of toll roads in the Badger state. The time has come again, apparently.