By Zachary A. Goldfarb and Sandhya Somashekhar, Published: in the Washington Post

The White House on Tuesday delayed for one year a requirement under the Affordable Care Act that businesses provide health insurance to employees, a fresh setback for President Obama’s landmark health-care overhaul as it enters a critical phase.

The provision, commonly known as the employer mandate, calls for businesses with 50 or more workers to provide affordable quality insurance to workers or pay a $2,000 fine per employee. Business groups had objected to the provision, which now will take effect in January 2015.

The decision comes as Obama is working to secure his domestic legacy, urging Congress to pass an overhaul of immigration laws and using his executive powers to combat climate change. With the prospects for immigration reform uncertain in the House — and new environmental regulations still more than a year way — implementation of the 2010 health-care law has singular importance.

The White House portrayed the delay as a common-sense step that would reduce financial and regulatory burdens on small businesses. Republicans, who are planning to target “Obamacare” in the 2014 midterm campaigns, said the delay is an acknowledgment that the health-care overhaul is flawed.

The decision will spare Obama what might have been a major distraction as officials begin to implement the centerpiece of the health-care law, which remains in place: a requirement, starting in 2014, that most Americans obtain insurance through their employer or through federally backed and state-backed marketplaces, known as exchanges.

The decision by Obama, who was on Air Force One returning from Africa on Tuesday when the announcement was made, to delay a controversial part of the law underscores his willingness to use the power of the executive branch to help to protect the legislation’s image at a defining moment.

“We believe we need to give employers more time to comply with the new rules,” Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama, wrote in a blog post Tuesday evening. “This allows employers the time to . . . make any necessary adaptations to their health benefits while staying the course toward making health coverage more affordable and accessible for their workers.”

Republicans say they expect higher costs as a result of the law. House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) said the decision “means even the Obama administration knows the ‘train wreck’ will only get worse.” He added, “This is a clear acknowledgment that the law is unworkable.”

Bob Kocher, a former top health-care aide to Obama, said he was disappointed by the delay because it will create uncertainty about what parts of the law will take effect. “It confuses people,” he said, adding that it “will undermine all the other rules because people will expect delay.”

The health-care law, which had been a source of confusion for years, is expected to have a bumpy rollout. The employer mandate would have added complexity.

Small businesses, many of which would have had to install systems to track and report which employees are receiving coverage, had been complaining about the difficulty of complying with the requirements, giving way to fears that companies might reduce their workforces to fall below the 50-worker threshold.

The decision comes as a result of years of bumps and setbacks for the overhaul, including legal challenges and political opposition that have hampered its implementation. Last summer, the Supreme Court upheld the law but struck down a mandatory expansion of Medicaid. State officials and businesses held off changing their policies through the 2012 presidential campaign because Obama’s GOP opponent, Mitt Romney, had promised to repeal the law.

Some populous states, including Florida and Texas, have decided not to set up exchanges, putting a far bigger burden on federal health officials to serve Americans. The exchanges are being designed to offer a variety of insurance plans; the federal insurance exchange is set to begin in less than three months.

One year ago today the Supreme Court found the Affordable Care Act constitutional. The new health care exchanges begin enrollment in 3 months but Obamacare is still confusing for most of us. Wonkblog’s Sarah Kliff explains what we can expect.

Although the overhaul was passed in 2010, federal officials continue to issue clarifications to its language. Many of the rules critical to employers were issued this year, or remain in draft form. As a result, businesses have been scrambling to understand their obligations, said Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health think tank.

“When I talk to large companies, even though they already offer coverage they are still scrambling to understand the rules so they can comply,” he said. “Employers were feeling like they had to make these decisions under some amount of pressure, and this gives them a year to be more deliberative about it.”

A senior White House official said the administration’s decision goes beyond delaying the employer mandate. Officials also are working to simplify the depth of information that businesses will have to provide to the government about the coverage they offer.

The launch of the exchanges is a landmark moment in the overhaul, and White House officials have been warning that there will be rough spots. The White House hasn’t received the funding it requested to implement the law, and officials have expressed concern that Americans eligible for coverage won’t know how to get it.

Earlier this year, the administration said businesses that buy health plans for their workers through health exchanges would not have access to the full range of options in 2014, promising to have them in place a year later.

The decision to postpone the employer mandate is not expected to have a major impact on employees. Those workers who would have received coverage from their employers as a result of the law will now be expected to use the exchanges. Employees who cannot afford coverage on their own are eligible for federal subsidies.

The vast majority of businesses — 96 percent, according to the White House — have fewer than 50 employees and therefore are exempt from the mandate. And nearly all firms of 200 or more workers offer their employees some sort of coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively,” Mark J. Mazur, an assistant Treasury secretary, wrote in a blog post. “We recognize that the vast majority of businesses that will need to do this reporting already provide health insurance to their workers, and we want to make sure it is easy for others to do so.”

Mazur wrote that Treasury, which oversees part of the law, will issue more details about the delay within a week.

Several business groups praised the administration, saying the delay will give businesses time to adjust to the new requirements.

“This one year delay will provide employers and businesses more time to update their health care coverage without threat of arbitrary punishment,” Neil Trautwein, a top official with the National Retail Federation, said in a statement. “We appreciate the Administration’s recognition of employer concerns and hope it will allow for greater flexibility in the future.”

But others maintained that the provision will never be workable.

“Temporary relief is small consolation,” said Amanda Austin, director of federal public policy with the National Federation of Independent Business, which last year lost the landmark Supreme Court case challenging the law’s constitutionality.

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A dramatic downgrade of U.S. economic growth in the first quarter revealed the economy’s lingering weakness, exposed the folly of Washington’s austerity obsession and slapped the Federal Reserve’s newfound optimism right in the face.

Gross domestic product grew at just a 1.8 percent annualized pace in the first quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said on Wednesday, revising down its earlier estimate of 2.4 percent growth. Economists had expected no change in the BEA’s third effort at estimating GDP, and such sharp revisions are rare in a third estimate.

The first quarter’s dismal growth was at least better than the 0.4 percent GDP growth of the fourth quarter of 2012. But it was still far from healthy, and economists don’t see it getting much stronger any time soon. Paul Edelstein, director of financial economics at the research firm IHS Global Insight, now estimates the U.S. economy will grow by just 1.6 percent this year, down from an earlier estimate of 1.8 percent. That is well below the economy’s long-term average growth rate of 3 percent or so. It means the economy is vulnerable to shocks and that it will be much more difficult to bring unemployment down quickly from 7.6 percent.

Nevertheless, the Fed recently announced plans to slow down the pace of its bond-buying program known as “quantitative easing,” in the belief that the economy and job market will bounce back by the end of the year.

That sunny view always seemed strange, and financial markets clearly didn’t buy it. Now it is even more questionable.

“This report is a reminder that the economy is not out of the woods,” independent economist Robert Brusca wrote in an email. “We will need a lot of magic to drop the unemployment rate as the Fed members see, given the sort of economic growth that seems to be percolating. Good luck with that.”

One big drag on growth in the first quarter was a sharp downward revision in the growth rate of consumer spending, to 2.6 percent annualized from an earlier estimate of 3.4 percent. Consumer spending makes up about two-thirds of total U.S. GDP and was likely hampered by an increase in payroll-tax withholding that took effect at the start of the year. Hourly pay for U.S. nonfarm workers suffered its biggest drop on record in the first quarter, the government announced earlier this month. That took an obvious toll on spending.

That payroll-tax hike was part of a deal to help the economy avoid falling entirely off what was known as the “fiscal cliff,” an assortment of tax hikes and spending cuts that Congress and the White House set up to punish themselves for failing to reach a Grand Bargain on budget deficits — a bizarre obsession anyway, in the middle of a stagnant economy.

Though the full fiscal cliff would probably have been even more damaging, the fiscal-cliff “solution” was not a whole lot better, involving several painful austerity measures, including the payroll-tax increase and the draconian budget cuts of the “sequester,” that will likely shave 1.5 percent from GDP growth this year, economists estimate.

Federal government spending shrank at an 8.7 percent annualized rate, on top of a 14.8 percent contraction in the fourth quarter, subtracting nearly 0.7 percentage points from total GDP growth. The U.S. government has been cutting spending for most of the past two years, at the fastest pace since the end of the Vietnam War, despite the shaky recovery from the Great Recession.

Weak demand has kept businesses anxious about hiring and expanding. Business investment grew at just a 0.4 percent rate in the first quarter, contributing nearly nothing to GDP growth.

One Step….Two Step

December 5, 2012

Does everyone know how to do….

 

 

 

The one step….. two step?

 

 

 

Tim Geithner presented the….

 

 

Democratic

 

Reach for the sky

 

Fiscal cliff solution

 

 

 

That landed like a lead balloon

 

 

 

It was the same offer from 2011

 

 

 

I guess it took them a long time

 

 

To come up with that?

 

 

 

The Republicans huddled and….

 

 

Went to their files

 

 

And pulled out their proposal

 

 

From…..

 

 

2011.

 

 

 

That is what I call progress

 

 

 

 

It has been 1 month since

 

 

 

The presidential election….

 

 

 

 

And these are my sins….

 

 

 

 

We are still back in 2011.

 

 

 

 

I have been reading a lot about this topic

 

 

Since Finance is my bag

 

 

 

 

Nobody wants to pay more taxes….

 

 

 

 

But the Government cannot

 

 

Continue to spend

 

 

 

33% more than they take in.

 

 

 

 

 

Raising the taxes from 35% to 39% for

 

 

The 2% highest earners

 

 

 

Is mostly symbolic

 

 

That does not mean they will actually

 

 

 

Be paying higher taxes

 

 

 

 

Without touching the deductions and loopholes

 

 

They will still be paying

 

 

14%

 

 

 

In order to increase revenue

 

 

 

You can’t just increase the rates

 

 

You have to close loopholes

 

 

 

 

That would bring in more revenue

 

 

 

 

Taxing the highest earning 2%

 

 

Will not solve the deficit issue

 

 

It only scratches at the surface

 

 

 

 

 

We are going to have to stick our heads

 

 

Into unchartered waters

 

 

 

 

When social security was started

 

 

The retirement age was 65 years old

 

 

 

 

The average life expectancy was

 

69 years old

 

 

 

The program was set up with the intention

 

 

 

That it had to provide benefits

 

On average for about 4 years

 

 

 

The average life expectancy today

 

 

Is 84 years old

 

 

 

 

That means that…..

 

 

Social Security is now expected

 

 

To cover

 

 

On average

 

 

 

A span of 19 years

 

 

 

 

Not…….4 years

 

 

 

 

Can you see why there

 

 

May be a problem

 

 

With this program

 

 

 

 

We all pay into it….

 

 

 

 

But as the boomers age

 

 

 

 

The support base diminishes

 

 

 

 

 

Where can we possibly look to

 

 

Save money in the budget

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s take a quick look at defense spending

 

 

 

 

1974

 

 

That was the last time we saw…

 

The defense budget under

 

 

$100 billion dollars

 

 

 

 

By the year 2000

 

 

The defense budget grew to

 

 

 

$372 billion dollars

 

 

 

 

That took 26 years

 

 

 

 

In a mere 12 years

 

 

 

 

2000 – 2012

 

 

 

The Defense Budget

 

 

Has more than doubled

 

 

 

And comes in at

 

 

 

$816 billion dollars

 

 

 

 

I think we can possibly find

 

 

 

Some savings there?

 

 

 

 

 

There has been a lot of talk about

 

 

Health Care

 

 

 

Currently the US spends

 

 

About 18% of GDP

 

 

On Healthcare

 

 

 

Other comparable nations spend

 

On average about 12%

 

 

 

A recent study by

 

 

Harvard Business Review states

 

 

 

 

“The proper goal for any health care delivery system

 

 

Is to improve the value delivered to patients.

 

 

 

Value in health care is measured

 

 

 

In terms of the patient outcomes

 

 

Achieved per dollar expended.

 

 

 

It is not the number of different services provided

 

 

Or the volume of services delivered that matters

 

 

But the value.

 

 

 

More care and more expensive care

 

 

Is not necessarily better care.”

 

 

 

 

Studies show that savings in Health Care cost

 

 

Can range from $700 billion to $1 Trillion dollars

 

 

 

Just by increasing the

 

 

Efficiencies of service.

 

 

 

 

These are just a couple examples

 

 

 

Every program should be reviewed

 

 

 

 

 

I believe there will be

 

 

A lot of finger pointing

 

 

While the Government works

 

 

Towards a solution

 

 

 

 

But it is in the best interest

 

 

Of all concerned

 

 

That a compromise

 

 

Is made

 

 

 

 

 

True saving can be found

 

 

In all programs

 

 

Without effecting

 

 

 

The integrity of any program

 

 

 

 

America is here for the long term

 

 

 

We just have to make smart decisions

 

 

 

To make sure we remain the

 

 

 

Beacon of light

 

 

 

That all other countries look

 

 

To emulate

As reported in The Hill 12/03/12 bt=y Russell Berman
House Republican leaders on Monday made a counteroffer to President Obama in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, proposing to cut $2.2 trillion with a combination of spending cuts, entitlement reforms and $800 billion in new tax revenue.

The leaders delivered the offer to the White House on Monday with a three-page letter signed by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and four other senior House Republicans, including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the party’s just-defeated vice presidential nominee.

The White House rejected the offer as insufficient in a statement released about two hours after Boehner made the offer public. White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer in a statement said the GOP proposal was unbalanced on the key issue of taxes on wealthier households, and that it also lacked detail.

Republican officials said the offer was based on a proposal outlined by Erskine Bowles, who served as chief of staff to former President Clinton, in testimony last year before the congressional “supercommittee” on deficit reduction. That offer is distinct from the widely cited Simpson-Bowles deficit plan released two years ago.

 

The GOP offer is a response to Obama’s opening bid, which called for $1.6 trillion in tax increases and reducing the power of Congress to block an increase in the debt ceiling.

“What we are putting forward is a credible plan that deserves serious consideration by the White House,” Boehner told reporters in a brief appearance at the Capitol. He said he hoped the administration would respond in a timely manner.

He characterized it as a response to what he called the “la-la land” offer that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner presented to congressional leaders last week.

The Speaker last spoke to Obama on Wednesday and indicated he did not plan to personally present his offer to the president. “I think the letter’s appropriate,” he said.

Boehner is scheduled to attend the White House holiday party on Monday evening. Asked if he might speak to Obama there, the Speaker smiled and replied: “I might run into him.”

The Republican counteroffer does not include an increase in the debt ceiling, but a GOP aide said the party remained open to negotiating additional borrowing authority for the Treasury before the end of the year. The nation is expected to reach its borrowing limit by mid-February at the latest.

Republican officials said their offer amounted to $4.6 trillion in deficit reduction when compared directly to the White House offer, which they emphasized was more than what the White House had put on the table.

In its own deficit plan, the White House counts legislation that has already been enacted, savings from future interest on the debt and savings from the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Republicans do not count those as new savings, so their offer amounts to $2.2 trillion in future deficit reduction.

The $800 billion in new tax revenue matches what Boehner offered Obama during their 2011 negotiations for a grand bargain. Republicans are keeping to their opposition to tax rate increases, and aides said Monday they believe that $800 billion can be raised from the wealthy through other means, which their offer does not specify.

Senior Republican aides argued that their offer represented a “fair middle ground” because, unlike the White House, they did not use their budget proposal as their opening bid. The House budget contains no revenue increases and included far-reaching changes to Medicare and Medicaid that Democrats consider non-starters.

“We’re not doing that today, because we don’t have time,” one top GOP aide said, speaking during a background briefing on the condition of anonymity.

Republicans have complained that the White House waited three weeks to present its offer to avoid the fiscal cliff at year’s end, which they panned as “not serious.”

In addition to the $800 billion in revenue, the Republicans are proposing $600 billion in health savings, $300 billion in savings from other mandatory spending and $300 billion in further cuts to discretionary spending.

The GOP is also proposing to raise $200 billion through changes to the way inflation is calculated for the purpose of determining benefits and tax policy across a range of programs, including $200 billion. The offer is consistent with a framework that leaders in both parties have agreed to: averting the looming tax hikes and spending cuts with a “down payment” of deficit reduction while settling on targets for tax and entitlement reform in 2013.

The Republican proposal does not specify what would be immediately enacted as a down payment, and aides said it could replace the $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts that are set to begin taking effect next year, although it does not explicitly eliminate them.

While the offer only specifies targets for entitlement reform, aides said they would likely include means testing of Medicare and raising the age of eligibility, which they noted have been at the center of deficit reduction talks for years.

“It’s not as if we have had no conversations over the past few years,” an aide said.

Pfeiffer faulted the GOP for raising rates on the wealthy and sticking the middle class with the bill.

“Their plan includes nothing new and provides no details on which deductions they would eliminate, which loopholes they will close or which Medicare savings they would achieve,” Pfeiffer said.” While the President is willing to compromise to get a significant, balanced deal and believes that compromise is readily available to Congress, he is not willing to compromise on the principles of fairness and balance that include asking the wealthiest to pay higher rates.”

The House counteroffer drew immediate praise from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who issued a statement calling it a “good-faith effort to find common ground.”

“While the president hasn’t moved an inch away from his efforts to please his radical left-wing base, the Speaker has consistently shown a good-faith effort to find common ground and a realistic approach to solving the very real economic problems facing our country,” McConnell said. “If the president is serious about joining us in an effort to reduce the deficit and protect the economy, he’ll get off the campaign trail, drop the left-wing talking points, and instruct his staff to negotiate a solution in good faith based on actual written proposals. In short, he’ll begin doing what leaders do: Lead.”

The letter, sent by the full House leadership, along with Ryan, indicates Boehner has the full support of key players in his conference.

“This is by no means an adequate long-term solution, as resolving our long-term fiscal crisis will require fundamental entitlement reform,” the leaders wrote in their letter to Obama. “Indeed, the Bowles plan is exactly the kind of imperfect, but fair middle ground that allows us to avert the fiscal cliff without hurting our economy and destroying jobs. We believe it warrants immediate consideration.

“If you are agreeable to this framework,” they continue, “we are ready and eager to begin discussions about how to structure these reforms so that the American people can be confident that these targets will be reached.”

—This story was posted at 3 p.m. and last updated at 5:01 p.m.

 

Here is the full text of the GOP letter to Obama:

December 3, 2012 The President The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

After a status quo election in which both you and the Republican majority in the House were re-elected, the American people rightly expect both parties to come together on a fair middle ground and address the nation’s most pressing challenges.

To that end, shortly after the election, we presented you with a balanced framework for averting the fiscal cliff by coupling spending cuts and reforms with new tax revenue.  We then welcomed Secretary Geithner to the Capitol on November 29 with every expectation that he would lay out a similarly reasonable path.

Regrettably, the proposal he outlined on behalf of your Administration contains very little in the way of common ground.   The proposal calls for $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue, twice the amount you supported during the campaign.  The proposal also includes four times as much tax revenue as spending cuts, in stark contrast to the “balanced approach” on which you campaigned.  While administration officials are claiming that this proposal contains 2.5 dollars of spending cuts for each dollar in new revenue, counting as part of this ratio previously enacted savings – as if these were new spending reductions – only confuses the public debate.  What’s worse, the modest spending cuts in this offer are cancelled out by the additional ‘stimulus’ measures the Administration is requesting.  And, this proposal would remove any and all limits on federal borrowing.

We cannot in good conscience agree to this approach, which is neither balanced nor realistic.  If we were to take your Administration’s proposal at face value, then we would counter with the House-passed Budget Resolution.  It assumes an overhaul of our tax code with revenue remaining at historically normal levels and proposes structural reforms to preserve and protect the Nation’s entitlement programs, ensuring they are sustainable for the long-term rather than continuing to grow out of control.  Some of its key reforms include:

The House-passed Budget Resolution assumes enactment of structural Medicare reform that offers future beneficiaries guaranteed coverage options, including a traditional fee-for-service Medicare plan.  This proposal is based on recent bipartisan efforts and would provide greater support for the poor and the sick and less support for the wealthy.  We achieve these reforms in Medicare without affecting current seniors or those nearing retirement.  This would slow the projected explosive spending growth in this program and eventually maintain Medicare spending as a share of the economy at 4.75 percent, thus saving the program for future generations.

The House-passed Budget Resolution reforms Medicaid and provides states with greater flexibility to better deliver health security to beneficiaries, saving the federal government nearly $800 billion over 10 years.

Separate from savings in our proposal for the 2010 health care law, the House-passed Budget Resolution envisions hundreds of billions in savings in other mandatory spending, including reforms to Federal employee compensation and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. These reforms are, in our view, absolutely essential to addressing the true drivers of our debt, and we will continue to support and advance them.  At the same time, mindful of the status quo election and past exchanges on these questions, we recognize it would be counterproductive to publicly or privately propose entitlement reforms that you and the leaders of your party appear unwilling to support in the near-term.

With the fiscal cliff nearing, our priority remains finding a reasonable solution that can pass both the House and the Senate, and be signed into law in the next couple of weeks.  The best way to do this is by learning from and building on the bipartisan discussions that have occurred during this Congress, including the Biden Group, the Joint Select Committee, and our negotiations leading up to the Budget Control Act.

For instance, on November 1 of last year, Erskine Bowles, the co-chair of your debt commission, presented the Joint Select Committee with a middle ground approach that garnered praise from many fiscal watchdogs and nonpartisan experts.  He recommended that both parties agree to a balanced package that includes significant spending cuts as well as $800 billion in new revenue.

Notably, the new revenue in the Bowles plan would not be achieved through higher tax rates, which we continue to oppose and will not agree to in order to protect small businesses and our economy.  Instead, new revenue would be generated through pro-growth tax reform that closes special-interest loopholes and deductions while lowering rates.  On the spending side, the Bowles recommendation would cut more than $900 billion in mandatory spending and another $300 billion in discretionary spending.  These cuts would be over and above the spending reductions enacted in the Budget Control Act.

This is by no means an adequate long-term solution, as resolving our long-term fiscal crisis will require fundamental entitlement reform.  Indeed, the Bowles plan is exactly the kind of imperfect, but fair middle ground that allows us to avert the fiscal cliff without hurting our economy and destroying jobs.  We believe it warrants immediate consideration.

If you are agreeable to this framework, we are ready and eager to begin discussions about how to structure these reforms so that the American people can be confident that these targets will be reached.

Again, the American people expect their leaders to find fair middle ground to address the nation’s most pressing challenges.  To achieve that outcome, we respectfully request that you respond to this letter in a timely fashion and hope that you will refrain from any further action that would undermine good-faith efforts to reach a reasonable and equitable agreement in this critical matter.

Sincerely,

John Boehner, Speaker Eric Cantor, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Republican Conference Chairman Dave Camp, Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means Paul Ryan, Committee on the Budget Fred Upton, Committee on Energy & Commerce

Seinfeld

November 28, 2012

Did you ever watch Seinfeld?

 

 

 

                                                        

It was a show about….

 

 

 

Nothing

 

 

 

Just in case you did miss it….

 

 

 

 

All you have to do

 

 

Is tune into

 

 

The Washington fiasco

 

That is currently going on

 

 

 

In a little over 30 days

 

We are faced with

 

Real economic issues

 

That can throw our economy

 

Into a tailspin

 

 

 

 

What are all the elected leaders doing?

 

 

 

 

Posturing themselves

 

 

 

 

We will not allow any

 

 

Tax Increases

 

 

 

Well then………

 

 

 

You cannot touch any

 

 

Entitlements….

 

 

 

 

 

We signed a pledge 18 years ago

 

 

 

 

 

 

We must maintain a strong….

 

 

 

Defense

 

 

 

 

The debt ceiling must be included

 

 

With any final resolution

 

 

 

 

How did Susan Rice end up

 

 

In the budget discussions?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does any of this have to do……

 

 

 

About anything

 

 

 

 

We are being Seinfelded

 

 

 

 

As I stated before….

 

 

 

America has survived

 

Because of our ability

 

To work together

 

And reach compromises

 

 

 

 

How prideful

 

Have our politicians become?

 

 

 

 

In plain English

 

They must say

 

 

 

We screwed up

 

 

We spent too much money

 

 

We do not collect enough money

 

 

 

Programs were established…

 

 

Based on information that was

 

Relevant at the time

 

 

 

The demographics have changed

 

 

We have to review these programs

 

So they tie in more closely

 

To the needs of today

 

 

 

Don’t Hold your breath

 

 

 

If you are waiting to hear these words

 

 

 

For politicians are constantly running for….

 

 

Re-Election

 

 

 

 

 

But maybe Washington….

 

 

Should understand….

 

 

 

We are all grown ups

 

 

 

 

We realize these issues exist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We would probably….

 

 

 

Welcome the truth

Where Do We Begin

November 16, 2012

I don’t believe anyone thought

 

That the fiscal cliff

 

Would include a complete review

 

Of our Military and Intelligence command

 

 

 

It seems that while the country

 

Was wallowing in debt

 

The good ole boy network

 

Were all out there

 

Enjoying themselves

 

 

We speak of the integrity and sacrifices

 

Made by our forefathers

 

To help establish

 

This great nation

 

 

Yet we soon forget

 

The sacrifices they made

 

 

There are 3 major issues

 

That must be addressed by the

 

End of this year…..

 

 

The Bush Tax Cuts

 

 

The Payroll Tax Holiday

 

 

The $16 Trillion Debt Ceiling

 

 

 

I hear people saying

 

 

Go over the cliff….

 

 

 

Then go back and fix it

 

 

In 2013

 

 

 

This has been bantered around

 

For the last 2 years….

 

 

 

What makes people think that…..

 

 

 

2013 will be the cure all

 

 

 

This is not a…..

 

 

Democratic

 

Or

 

Republican Issue

 

 

 

This has to be settled in a

 

Bipartisan effort

 

 

 

We need a strong

 

Federal Government

 

 

But it is bloated and

 

 

 

Waste too much money

 

 

 

The Bush tax cuts

 

Were put into place

 

12 years ago

 

 

 

In the meantime

 

We engaged ourselves

 

In 2 wars

 

 

 

Which we did not have

 

The money to pay for

 

 

 

A bipartisan resolution should focus on

 

 

 

Creating Jobs for the future

 

 

Cutting Cost

 

 

 

Raising Revenue

 

 

 

Balancing the Budget

 

 

And

 

 

 

Long Term Deficit Reduction

 

 

 

 

The finger pointing must stop….

 

 

 

It was the abuses of both parties

 

That put us in this position

 

 

 

A Vision must be set

 

To both inspire

 

And lift up

 

The citizens of

 

The United States

 

 

 

The whole world looks to us

 

 

As the land of opportunity

 

 

 

Let’s quit bickering

 

 

And work together

 

 

To restore the integrity

 

 

That the world aspires

 

 

To see in us

 

Find us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

Caught Up

October 4, 2012

Everyone has been caught up

 

With the idle chatter

 

 

Each minute……

 

 

Hour…..

 

 

Day….

 

 

 

The press is shooting out more ……

 

 

 

Gotchyas……..

 

 

 

 

Do you believe what Romney said?

 

 

No, but did you hear what Obama said?

 

 

 

All this,

 

 

To what end

 

 

I still do not hear anyone

 

Addressing the real issues

 

 

 

I want to give a 20% tax cut to….

 

 

Everyone

 

 

 

More trickle down

 

It did not work

 

 

 

 

By the way we have a $16 trillion deficit

 

 

 

What are your plans to deal with that!

 

 

 

Obama want to only raise taxes

 

On those making over $250k

 

 

 

How much will that actually impact

 

 

 

Our $16 trillion deficit?

 

 

 

 

 

I saw a great presentation recently

 

 

 

The US Government collected in 2012

 

 

$2.470 trillion in revenue

 

 

 

The Government spent

 

 

 

$3.8 trillion on expenses

 

 

 

Hence the $1.3 trillion deficit for 2012

 

 

 

Here is how the Government spending is broken down

 

 

Expenses are broken into 3 categories:

 

 

  • Interest -$225 billion

 

  • Mandatory programs / Entitlements – $2.250 trillion

 

    •  Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

 

  • Appropriated Discretionary Spending – Federal Government Expenses –     

$1.3 trillion

    • Security – which include       military etc. – $868 billion
    • Non Security – which       includes education, energy etc. – $450 billion

 

 

 

 

Cross out the Discretionary spending of $1.3 Trillion

 

 

And you have $2.5 trillion in expenses between

 

Interest

 

And

 

Mandatory programs

 

 

 

 

The Government did not even collect

 

$2.5 trillion dollars in revenue

 

In 2012

 

 

 

 

That means they did not have

 

$1 available to run the government

 

 

 

 

Remember the discretionary spending?

 

 

We had to borrow that

 

 

 

 

 

My math mind starts saying

 

 

 

 

Let’s try a 5% cut across the board

 

 

 

On all expenses

 

 

 

5% of $3.8 trillion is $190 billion

 

 

 

That is not gonna do much

 

 

 

10%

 

 

Although better

 

 

 

Is only $380 billion

 

 

 

 

We want to cut taxes

 

 

 

 

We want to cut expenses

 

 

 

I have not heard any clear cut answers

 

 

 

What expenses are going to be cut?

 

 

 

 

 

We will have an open discussion about that

 

 

 

Once we get elected…..

 

 

 

 

Or

 

 

 

Once I get re-elected

 

 

 

Take your pick

 

 

 

 

What is being done to

 

 

Correct this issue

 

 

 

 

Do you remember playing

 

 

Kick the can…..

 

 

 

 

When you were growing up

 

 

 

 

That is what is being done in Washington

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Presidential debates start next week

 

 

 

Be sure to listen

 

 

 

 

This election offers 2 distinct choices

 

 

 

On our future

 

 

 

But……

 

 

 

So far

 

 

 

No one is offering any

 

 

 

Real answers

 

 

 

 

The wait and see

 

 

 

And trust me

 

 

Have brought us to where

 

 

We currently are

 

 

 

For more insight contact george@hbsadvantage.com

The Huffington Post |                                                                                                

By

Bill Clinton Jobs

Bill Clinton said at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday that Democratic presidents have overseen the creation of nearly twice as many jobs as Republican presidents. This is true.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton highlighted a stunning fact during his speech at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday: Democratic presidents have overseen the creation of nearly twice as many jobs as Republican presidents since 1961.

“What’s the job score? Republicans, 24 million; Democrats, 42 [million],” Clinton said to cheers and applause.

Bloomberg Government first reported these figures in May, after analyzing growth in private-sector jobs since 1961.

On Wednesday, Clinton used the figure to justify Democratic policies.

“It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics,” Clinton said. “Why? Because poverty, discrimination and ignorance restrict growth. When you stifle human potential, when you don’t invest in new ideas, it doesn’t just cut off the people who are affected; it hurts us all.”

That said, Democratic presidents may not be able to take all the credit for the private-sector jobs created during their tenure. After all, the economy saw a big boost under Clinton in part because of the technology boom and stock market bubble that resulted — Clinton arguably was just in the right place at the right time.

Presidents’ economic policies clearly play some role in the job growth that results while they’re in power, however. And on that measure, both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama have performed very poorly. An average of 63,500 jobs were created per month during Bush’s tenure, according to Labor Department data. Under Obama, an average 62,500 jobs have been created per month when taking into account job losses at the beginning of his tenure.

Presidents of both parties have implemented policies that may have stifled job growth for future presidents. For example, it was Clinton who repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, which had separated investment banking from consumer banking. Some say the repeal of Glass-Steagall played a major role in the financial crisis, since it helped allow banks to become too big to fail.

The subsequent financial crisis also happened on Bush’s watch, and Obama has been saddled with much of the job wreckage that resulted.

As reported in Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — In March, the commissioner of Georgia’s Department of Labor, Mark Butler, explained how the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund had gone broke.

“In an attempt to curry favor with Georgia businesses, Gov. Roy Barnes declared a ‘tax holiday’ before Barnes’ failed 2002 re-election campaign,” Butler wrote. “Businesses stopped paying into the trust fund. By the time we hit the Great Recession –- and many, many Georgians became unemployed through no fault of their own — the $2 billion Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund had been reduced by $1.3 billion.”

“Plainly speaking,” Butler added, “Georgia had not saved for that rainy day.”

Georgia lawmakers agreed to much of Butler’s plan to restore the trust fund to solvency — cutting the duration of benefits in an effort to save money. The legislature also modestly increased the amount of wages subject to the state payroll taxes that fund the unemployment system.

While the cuts to unemployment benefits were relatively drastic, the tax cutting that preceded them was typical. Most states failed to make prudent decisions about funding their unemployment trust funds over the years, according to a comprehensive report from the National Employment Law Project, a worker advocacy group.

States now owe $43 billion to the federal government, according to NELP policy analyst Mike Evangelist, and it’s likely lawmakers will rely more heavily on benefit cuts than tax hikes in order to get out of debt.

“Over the past 30 years, support for accepted norms in the UI program has been systematically eroded, with state lawmakers now more willing to go after long‐standing features of the program, such as the duration of state benefits or suitable work protections that were previously seen as untouchable,”  Evangelist wrote in the report.

Businesses pay both state and federal unemployment taxes for each worker on payroll — state taxes fund the first 26 weeks of benefits for laid off workers, and federal taxes pay for extra benefits that Congress puts in place during recessions. When a state unemployment trust fund runs dry, the state can borrow from the federal government to pay benefits. If a state borrows for too long, federal payroll taxes go up.

When under pressure to refill trust funds, it used to be that state lawmakers would seek savings by tightening eligibility rules. But this year Georgia joined six other states states that had cut the standard 26 weeks duration of benefits for the first time ever. While each state differed in how they cut benefits, Georgia put benefits on a sliding scale that goes up and down with the state’s unemployment rate. When the rate goes down, the duration of benefits could be as low as 14 weeks. The upper limit is 20 weeks.

The states were strapped for cash because tens-of-millions of additional people filed claims, but also because of tax cuts.

According to Evangelist, 31 states cut unemployment taxes 20 percent or more between 1995 and 2005. And from 2000 to 2009, the overall percentage of wages subject to state unemployment taxes fell to the lowest level in the history of the federal-state unemployment system. In 2007, states were collectively $38 billion shy of recommended trust fund reserves.

Doug Holmes, an unemployment insurance expert who advocates for businesses, suggested states would be unwise to try and meet funding thresholds “because to do so would require dramatic increases in state unemployment taxes that would place these states in an uncompetitive position to attract and keep businesses in their states.”

It’s unlikely states will want to hike taxes to pay for unemployment, Evangelist wrote in his report. “Realistically, it is unreasonable to believe that states will close this gap without doing further harm to the UI program’s ability to sustain unemployed workers and their families through periods of temporary job loss.”

Bankrate.comBy Chris Persaud | Bankrate.com – Fri, Mar 23, 2012 3:01 AM EDT

 

$4 gas prices got your attention? If the cost of gasoline is already back at that lofty level where you are, or is simply headed in that direction, you’re probably asking where all the gas money you’re shelling out at the pump is going.

There are a couple of ways of answering that.
Industry shows how gas price breaks down

The American Petroleum Institute, or API, has a general breakdown for you. According to the trade group’s February estimates, most of what you pay for gasoline — 71 percent — goes to refineries, to buy oil.

API says it takes one gallon of oil to make a gallon of gasoline. The price of oil is determined in commodities markets, where companies and traders buy and sell the petroleum for purposes that can include refining it into gasoline or holding it as an investment. The markets, and the prices they set, are influenced by supply-and-demand factors, such as trouble in the Middle East that could result in less oil coming from that region of the world.

After oil prices, the rest of the price of a gallon of gas comes from taxes (14 percent) and costs associated with refining, moving and selling the gasoline (15 percent), according to API.

At the time of API’s most recent study, in late February, the national average price of regular-grade gasoline was $3.58 per gallon. By the group’s estimates and percentages, about $2.54 of that price covered crude oil costs, 50 cents went to taxes, and about 54 cents went into refining, moving and retailing.
Get geeky for more exact gas cost analysis

If you want to get geekier about where your gas money is going, you can do a more exact and up-to-date calculation on your own.

Here’s how:

  • Find the price of a gallon of gas. Go online to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. For example, as of March 22, the auto club showed that a gallon of regular gasoline sold for about $3.88.
  • Find the price of a gallon of oil. Head to Bloomberg.com’s Energy & Oil Prices page. As of March 22, it showed a barrel of oil selling for about $105.46. There are 42 gallons in a barrel of oil, so divide $105.46 by 42 to get $2.51 as the price of one gallon of oil. Again, a gallon of oil can be refined into one gallon of gasoline, according to API. So, about $2.51 of the March 22 price for a gallon of gas went toward the cost of the underlying oil. That works out to about 65 percent of what you paid at the pump.
  • Find the cost of taxes. The federal tax on gasoline is 18.4 cents per gallon. On top of that, there are state taxes and, depending on where you live, local gasoline and/or sales taxes, too. If taxes are typical where you are, the API estimates you’re paying 49 cents per gallon in federal, state and local gas taxes, making up 12.5 percent of the average $3.88 gas price.
  • Determine the cost of refining, transportation and retailing. The rest of the cost of gasoline goes to turning crude oil into fuel, moving it to gas stations and retail markup. Get this number by subtracting the amounts in steps 2 and 3 from the average price in step 1. In this case, that’s $3.88 minus $2.51 and minus 49 cents, which comes out to 88 cents for refining, transportation and retailing — or about 22.5 percent.

And that’s how you do the math. Keep in mind that taxes and other factors making up gas prices can differ by region, state, metro area and city. Check out our map on gasoline taxes by state to see how much of your gas money is going to federal and state taxes.

If you want more detail about your own local taxes, contact your city, county, and/or state department of revenue, department of finances, or the equivalent.