The Wall Street Journal Review and Outlook “More Medicare Cuts” of Thursday 4 August does as fine a job as can be expected explaining “the debt deal's health-care bookkeeping,” concluding “The only durable way to control long-run costs without hurting patients is a reform agenda akin to Paul Ryan's 'premium support' plan", and “reformers need to continue their effort to persuade voters that it is a better option than all the others.” Voters are obviously the last word in this discussion, but because of the Current tax Payment act of 1943, are all but completely removed from the situation at the most crucial point, their personal bank accounts.
Medicare is paid out of the US general fund, which got its biggest boost in history from the ratification of the 16th amendment, requiring every citizen to send a check to the Treasury every March 15 to pay a tax on their annual income. This link was broken by the 1943 act moving the check writing responsibility from the 90% of individual voters who are wage earners to employers. If the check doesn't get to the feds, the employer goes to jail, never the wage earner.
Since every employer is required to send in this tax, they have no competitive incentive to do anything other than add it to the price of their product, resulting in the 2011 Statistical Abstract of the United States showing 37% of all personal income taxes came from employer bank accounts, not voters'. So we end up with 1/3 of all federal income ($2.345 trillion in 2009) coming from a silent, painless national sales tax.
Fixing this scam would not need a Constitutional Amendment, only a House majority, 60 Senators, and a President with backbone enough to change the US Tax code from "every employer making payment of wages shall deduct and withhold upon such wages a tax..." to "every employer making payment of wages shall pay all of those wages to the employee...." The employer would still calculate the tax, including a note: "Here is how much the feds are expecting you personally to send in within 30 days."
Requiring individual wage earner/voters to write checks to the feds for 20% of their take home every month would go a long way to convincing them that sensible legislation like Paul Ryan's would be a vast improvement over the unsustainable mess we have now.
The Financial Times' Tuesday 2 August article “Obama’s image takes a beating” opens “As Barack Obama celebrates his 50th birthday on Thursday, there are no shortage of things he could wish for.”
With the debt-ceiling resolution of Tuesday 2 August Barack Obama could care less if anyone thinks he 'took a beating'. He got exactly what he wished for: removal of all possibility of getting involved in any silly 'debt-ceiling' game the legislature likes to play with itself, so he can spend all dollars necessary to buy a 2012 reelection victory.
The article closes with: “Still, it is little comfort to a man who ... [still has] Friday’s looming unemployment data to look forward to.”
Except for a few months with a New York law firm (where he felt he was “behind enemy lines”) Barack Obama's entire career has been in the most leftward part of the public sector.
Since becoming President Barrack Obama has increased George W Bush's 2008 5.8% unemployment rate to 9.2%. The President has replaced Bush's unprecedented average monthly $20 billion deficit his own $125 billion average monthly deficit. The first black president was supposed to 'bring us together' in race relations, and they have only gotten worse.
Everything he does as President brings the country closer to failure, closer to his lifetime goal of reading from his teleprompter on national TV: “The country is failing... but it's too big to fail. To keep the country from failing I am issuing an executive order nationalizing every activity in the country. Everyone will responsible only to the Federal government. Every need, housing, food, healthcare will be furnished free by the federal government. Your local commissar will be in touch with each of you in the morning. Thank you and good nite.”
The Wall Street Journal article “A Debt Deal The Founders Could Love” of Tuesday 2 August says “Many people … think that Washington has been spending like a drunken sailor since President Obama took office....”
In its the first 6 years the George W. Bush administration ran an unheard of $20 billion average monthly deficit. With the Democrats running the House for its last two years, that figure was raised to $25 billion. Now the Obama administration, in just 29 months has an average monthly deficit of $125 billion, five times the evil George W Bush. Is there a more formidable metaphor than drunken sailor?
The article continues describing the Founders' intentions for the Senate “to represent the interests of the states and to serve as a check on 'the impulse of sudden and violent passions...' or the danger of 'factious leaders' offering 'intemperate and pernicious resolutions' that might in time characterize the lower house.”
The Senate was just that until the arrival of its first party leader in 1920, 3 complete Senate elections after passage of the 17th Amendment, making the Senate elected directly by the people just like the House. About the only thing keeping it from 'the impulse of sudden and violent passions' of the house is it is only ¼ the size of the House. And if you can imagine a more 'factious leader' offering 'intemperate and pernicious resolutions' than Harry Reid, you need psychiatric help.
The article concludes “Rarely in our system do the participants, ... achieve all or even most of their goals in a single political battle.” Sunday night, a debt-ceiling deal was reached that will raise the federal debt ceiling and permit continued borrowing to fund federal government operations through 2012 rather than just for another six months.
That is exactly what the White House wanted: remove all possibility of getting involved in any silly 'debt-ceiling' game the legislature likes to play with itself, so they can spend whatever dollars necessary to buy a 2012 victory.
The Founders are rolling in their graves seeing us reduced to two parties, one who will do anything to win, and the other avoiding doing anything that might offend someone.
I've lived in Detroit, St Louis, Kansas City, Pittsburgh PA, Marblehead MA. Worked as tech rep in Southern CA, Bay area, NYC, I've been to Europe a dozen times (Ireland, UK, Scotland, Sweden, Finland, Belgium.
Favorite restaurants are Gene & Georgetti's in Chicago, Roma Cafe in Detroit, Frankie and Johnie's in NYC, Rigazzi's on the hill in St. Louis (Also Charlie Gitto's, was Angelo's when I went there.)
For about a year I had small offices in Clayton MO, in the Country Club Plaza in KC. I rode a ten-speed bike around Lake Michigan (The bottom half in one week in June 1978, another week for the top half in 1980, used the Badger both times.
Don't get to travel much anymore, but still try to rent a car and go around the Lake in March every year. Sure, there's still snow, and it's not warm, OTOH there are no bugs and no toursts. Greatest little tavern in the world is Sherry's Port Bar in Garden UP MI