Posts tagged ‘Cuts To Medicare’

Republican Officials Work ‘Under The Radar’ To Implement Obamacare In Their States


Republican Officials Work ‘Under The Radar’ To Implement Obamacare In Their States.

By Tara Culp-Ressler on Sep 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney
Republican lawmakers are continuing to delay setting up the state-run health insurance exchanges required under Obamacare as an act of resistance against President Obama’s health reform law. Even though the federal government will be forced to step in to implement exchanges for the states that don’t turn in their exchange plans for approval by November, some Republican governors are refusing to work on exchanges until after the election in case Mitt Romney wins and repeals Obamacare. However, despite the political battle over health care reform, not all Republican officials are convinced that refusing to set up health exchanges is the best course of action.

Reuters points out that some GOP officials like Mike Chaney, Mississippi’s insurance commissioner, have quietly worked against their party to take steps toward creating state-level insurance exchanges. Although his state’s lawmakers are deeply opposed to Obamacare — Mississippi was one of the 26 states that sued the administration over the health reform law — Chaney explained that resisting Obamacare’s health care exchange will force state officials to scramble after the November election:

Insurance officials like Chaney, however, want a better contingency plan in case the Republicans lose, as the 10-day window between the election and the exchange deadline will not give them enough time to prepare an exchange.

“They can’t just leave this to the will of the wind,” Chaney said in an interview.

“This isn’t about politics. It’s about following the law,” he added. “And I think I’m better equipped to operate an exchange in my state than the federal government.”

Chaney is not the only Republican to take this stance. Reuters interviewed half a dozen other Republican state health officials who agreed they would prefer to plan for state-run exchanges now rather than accept a federally-run exchange when the clock runs out, and some are working to do so. However, the contentious political climates in their states don’t always make this possible. Although Chaney said he worked “under the radar” to prepare for an exchange in Mississippi, mounting pressure from conservatives in the state curbed his work in mid-July, and he has since released a statement promising to hold off on any further work toward establishing an exchange until after the election.

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has already urged Republican governors to embrace health care reform and take the necessary steps to set up exchanges in their states. As Frist and Chaney both point out, state-run exchanges are actually consistent with conservative federalist ideals. If Republican legislators continue to block them, they could help prove Chaney’s assertion that “this isn’t about politics” very wrong.

FOCUS | With Deficit Hawks Circling Overhead


FOCUS | With Deficit Hawks Circling Overhead.

ith deficit hawks circling overhead, the responsibility for creating jobs has fallen by default to Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve. Last week the Fed said it expected to keep interest rates near zero through mid 2015 in order to stimulate employment.

Two cheers.

The problem is, low interest rates alone won’t do it. The Fed has held interest rates near zero for several years without that much to show for it. A smaller portion of American adults is now working than at any time in the last thirty years.
So far, the biggest beneficiaries of near-zero interest rates haven’t been average Americans. They’ve been too weighed down with debt to borrow more, and their wages keep dropping. And because they won’t and can’t borrow more, businesses haven’t had more customers. So there’s been no reason for businesses to borrow to expand and hire more people, even at low interest rates.

The biggest winners from the Fed’s near-zero rates have been the big banks, which are now assured of two or more years of almost free money. The big banks haven’t used the money to refinance mortgages – why should they when they can squeeze more money out of homeowners by keeping them at higher rates? Instead, they’ve used the almost free money to make big bets on derivatives. If the bets continue to go well, the bankers will continue to make a bundle. If the bets sour, well, you know what happens then. Watch your wallets.

The truth is, low interest rates won’t boost the economy without an expansive fiscal policy that makes up for the timid spending of consumers and businesses. Until more Americans have more money in their pockets, government spending has to fill the gap.

On this score, the big news isn’t the Fed’s renewed determination to keep interest rates low. The big news is global lender’s desperation to park their savings in Treasury bills. The euro is way too risky, the yen is still a basket case, China is slowing down and no one knows what will happen to its currency, and you’d have to be crazy to park your savings in Russia.

It’s a match made in heaven – or should be. Because foreigners are so willing to buy T-bills, America can borrow money more cheaply than ever. We could use it to put Americans back to work rebuilding our crumbling highways and bridges and schools, cleaning up our national parks and city parks and playgrounds, and doing everything else that needs doing that we’ve neglected for too long.

This would put money in people’s pockets and encourage them to take advantage of the Fed’s low interest rates to borrow even more. And their spending, in turn, would induce businesses to expand and create more jobs. A virtuous cycle.

Yet for purely ideological reasons we’re heading in the opposite direction. The federal government is cutting back spending. It’s not even helping state and local governments – which continue to lay off teachers, fire fighters, social workers, and police officers.

Worst of all, we’re facing a so-called “fiscal cliff” next year when $109 billion in federal spending cuts automatically go into effect. The Congressional Budget Office warns this may push us into recession – which will cause more joblessness and make the federal budget deficit even larger relative to the size of the economy. That’s the austerity trap Europe has fallen into.

Mitt Romney has been criticizing the Obama administration for not doing more to avoid the cliff, but he seems to forget that congressional Republicans brought it on when they refused to raise the debt ceiling. They then created the cliff as a fall-back mechanism. Romney’s vice-presidential pick Paul Ryan, chair of the House budget committee, voted for it.

It’s a mindless gimmick that presumes our biggest problem is the deficit, when even the Fed understands our biggest problem right now is unemployment. Yet even the nation’s credit-rating agencies have bought into the mindlessness. Last week Moody’s said it would likely downgrade U.S. government bonds if Congress and the White House don’t come up with a credible plan to reduce the federal budget deficit. (Standard & Poor’s has already downgraded U.S. debt.)

Hello? Can we please stop obsessing about the federal budget deficit? Repeat after me: America’s #1 economic problem is unemployment. Our #1 goal should be to restore job growth. Period.

The Federal Reserve Board understands this. And at least it’s trying. But it can’t succeed on its own. Global lenders are giving us a way out. Let’s take advantage of the opportunity.

Robert B. Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock” and “The Work of Nations.” His latest is an e-book, “Beyond Outrage.” He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.

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+24 # Barbara K 2012-09-16 09:38
Absolutely, Mr. Reich, I’ve been wondering why the Rs are sulking so about the deficit. It cannot be fixed until people are working and paying taxes. Can’t pay down the debt until more money is coming in. End the tax cuts, that would help to take care of the deficit. It is like a family sitting around the kitchen table trying to pay its bills when it just threw out half their income. Not possible. Of course the Rs are so irresponsible, after all most of the debt was incurred before Obama even got there. We have the Rs to thank for the deficit in the first place. They howl over it now to make it look like they are really worried about it. If they were really worried about it, they would stop so much military spending. Buying things we don’t need.

OBAMA/BIDEN 2012
The alternatives are liars, cheats, thieves and greed. Loss of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, just to name a few.

Shocker: Paul Ryan’s budget means more big tax cuts for the rich. – CSMonitor.com


The tax cuts in Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget plan would result in huge benefits for high-income people and very modest—or no— benefits for low income working households. No surprise here.

By Guest blogger / March 24, 2012

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., center, and others, leave a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, where he discussed his budget blueprint.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

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No surprise here, but the tax cuts in Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget plan would result in huge benefits for high-income people and very modest—or no— benefits for low income working households, according to a new analysis by the Tax Policy Center.

Howard Gleckman is a resident fellow at The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, the author of Caring for Our Parents, and former senior correspondent in the Washington bureau of Business Week. (http://taxvox.taxpolicycenter.org)

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TPC looked only at the tax reductions in Ryan’s plan, which also included offsetting–but unidentified–cuts in tax credits, exclusions, and deductions. TPC found that in 2015, relative to today’s tax system, those making $1 million or more would enjoy an average tax cut of $265,000 and see their after-tax income increase by 12.5 percent. By contrast, half of those making between $20,000 and $30,000 would get no tax cut at all. On average, people in that income group would get a tax reduction of $129. Ryan would raise their after-tax income by 0.5 percent.

Nearly all middle-income households (those making between $50,000 and $75,000) would see their taxes fall, by an average of roughly $1,000. Ryan would increase their after-tax income by about 2 percent.

Ryan would extend all of the 2001/2003 tax cuts, and then consolidate individual rates to just two—10 and 25 percent. In addition, he’d repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax, reduce the corporate rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, and kill the tax provisions of the 2010 health reform law.

Earlier this week, TPC projected the tax cuts in Ryan’s budget would add $4.6 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade, even after extending the 2001/2003 tax cuts, which would add another $5.4 trillion to the deficit.

Ryan argues that eliminating or scaling back deductions, credits, and exclusions ought to be part of the GOP fiscal plan. But he won’t say how.

Cuts in those tax preferences could make a big difference in determining who wins and who loses from the tax portion of his budget. But until House Republicans describe which they’d cut, there is no way to estimate what those base-broadeners would mean.

In truth, unless Republicans raise taxes on capital gains and dividends, it is hard to imagine the highest income households getting anything other than a windfall from this budget. Other tax preferences, such as the mortgage interest deduction, are just not that valuable to them.

And since no high-profile Republicans want to raise taxes on gains and dividends (and many would cut investment taxes even further) this budget would likely result in a huge tax cut for those who need it least.  That’s not a great way to start an exercise whose stated goal is to eliminate the budget deficit.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers’ own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger’s own site by clicking on taxvox.taxpolicycenter.org.

 

 

Shocker: Paul Ryan’s budget means more big tax cuts for the rich. – CSMonitor.com.