The Republican government shutdown.

           I spent yesterday awestruck at how people would blame President Obama for this shutdown. As odd as it sounds these people are saying Republicans are doing the right thing. Shutting down the government to shutdown a law you don’t like is incredible. The ACA is law and that will not change. Why is helping people get affordable health care such a problem?

Republicans want to negotiate, at the last minute. The 18 times Democrats tried to negotiate and go to conference since April were apparently not good enough. Republicans shot it down everytime. Why negotiate at the last minute? To fool gullible Americans into thinking they care. They are not negotiating, they are trying to force an issue through hurting the American people and economy. That is not governing, I don’t know what it is. Sadly people buy into this.

Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and all these other right wing radio host spread hate. They dislike President Obama’s policies, so they spew vitriol in order to polarize the public that listens to them. They spread lies about the ACA, which host Chuck Todd said the main stream media does not need to correct. Isnt the media a vehicle for the public to learn the truth or is it just a vehicle to spread Republican rhetoric. Sadly it seems to be the latter. They, those who are closest to the mess that is Congress know the truth. But the truth doesn’t seem to matter.

The American public is being duped by a party of hate. This is a party that was against medicare, social security, food stamps, extending unemployment, the Veterans Jobs Bill and VAWA. Isn’t it obvious that these people do not care about the American public. These are the people who give rich farmers free money, $200 billion to corporate welfare and believe corporations are people that aren’t governed by the same laws as people. This is a party controlled by corporate interests. The Tea Party was created by the Koch brothers, who have ties to the NRA and ALEC. How is that grassroots?

Republicans were giddy about shutting the government down, their own words. Michelle Bachman came out and said how proud she was of the stand they are taking. Do they not realize they lost the election? The people spoke, overwhelmingly in favor of the ACA and President Obama. Get over yourselves and move on. Govern our country and stop holding the people hostage. America does not negotiate with terrorists. Especially ones in our own government.

Obamacare would be a better bill if Republicans helped instead of stood in the way.

               Obamacare or the ACA is a piece of legislation designed to insure all Americans and fight rising health care costs. The last three years marked the first time in our history that Medicare costs have decreased. The Republicans who stood in the way of the bill from day 1, have voted to repeal it 38 times, costing us over $50 million.

               Republicans sit on the sidelines and cheer any part of theist that fails. Just as they do with low job numbers, unemployment rates rise or any negative thing that might reflect on President Obama. They spread mass misinformation about the ACA and any other issue they do not agree with. If Obamacare was such a trainwreck and you truly care about the American people, fix it instead of trying, unsuccessfully, to repeal it.

              If the Republicans would have worked with Democrats to improve the bill it would have been better. The input from both sides could have made something better, but instead they picked up their ball and bat and stomped away. They didn’t get their way and are trying to hurt the President any way they can. It is sad to see grown men and women act this way. This is not leadership.

            Part of the misinformation comes from the Health Insurance industry. They will not able to rake people over the coals. A single payer system would very better but Republicans defend corporations instead of people. The ACA is a good piece of legislation that will help limit the bankruptcies caused because of people getting sick and insurance not paying. People with preexisting conditions can get insurance.  Maybe if Republicans acted like adults they could win an election.

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President Obama’s budget is a smart move.

                  Since President Obama gave his budget speech lawmakers, Republican and Democrats alike have been taking shots at him. Democrats, especially liberals, feel that he us throwing the baby away with the bath water. Republicans, Tea Party members and conservatives said they wouldn’t agree with it before he even presented it. What chance did this or any other budget actually have?

             Paul Ryan and the Republican budget only exacerbated the problem. Austerity is his plan, look how well that is working in Europe. He attacks the poor and elderly, while keeping tax cuts and loopholes in place for the wealthy and corporations. The CBI said this actually adds to the National Debt.

            Patty Murray and the Democrats took a more balanced approach. Cutting the National Debt at a slower rate while not cutting nearly as much from Social Security and Medicare. It looks to overhaul the tax code, getting rid of tax loopholes and tax havens, creating several hundred billions of dollars through that alone. House Republicans will not pass it because it effects their wealthy donors.

             Here is the brilliance of President Obama’s plan. He is giving Republicans almost everything they want, while not getting much if anything in return. It is 2 to 1 spending to tax increases. Here is where the brilliance truly lies, if the Republicans refuse this it us outright proof that they refuse to work with him even when he gives them what they want.

               It is a calculated risk, but his team did their homework. The Republican party will not meet President Obama and the Democrats halfway or even if they get everything they want. He is proving that they say no just to say no. He is letting the party of no show their true face to the American public. It takes a strong willed president to take the risk he did. It is paying off.

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Chain CPI is essentially a spending cut.

           Chained CPI or Consumer Price Index is a time series measure of price levels of consumer goods and services created by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This index is not currently used by any U.S. programs, but is often discussed as a possible reform because many economist believe it better measures inflation and reduces the federal defecit through a combination if spending cuts and increased revenues. The Chained CPI is used to measure Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA), overestimating inflation leads to a higher than actual living adjustment.

            The shift to a Chained CPI would harm low income children and the elderly the most. A long list of means tested benefits currently use non-Chained CPI, to adjust eligibility standards or benefit amounts. According to the Congressional Research Service in addition to Social Security these other programs rely on non-Chained CPI; Medicaid, SSI, the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, SNAP or food stps and child nutrition programs including school meals. According to the CRS more than 50 other programs tied to the federal income poverty guidelines use unChained CPIs.

                    The government currently calculates Social Security COLA each year based on how inflation effects urban wage earners and clerical workers. Known as CPI-w. This index measures changes in the prices of a fixed basket of goods that are deemed to be representative of regular purchases by wage earners. The Chained CPI assumes that as prices increase consumers make substitutions in what they purchase.

            It would hurt people her arent in a position to switch to other goods and services when prices rise. Medicare premiums and out of pocket expenses eat up much of the elderlys budgets, this would force them to go without medical care that they dont have money for. It is food or medical care. Simpson-Bowles recomendations on Social Security attempted to soften the impact on elderly by proposing a minimum Social Security income . If it fell below the minimum because of the Chained CPI you would be paid this minimum income. Thus is not being proposed for other programs.

              The fact that Democrats and Republicans fight over this shows the different political philosophies. One, Democrats, is to protect the poor and elderly and the other, Republicans, hurt the poor and elderly to protect wealthy from paying higher taxes. The sad truth is that the wealthy can buy better protection than the poor, which lets you know why nothing gets done in Congress. With so many other places we can make cuts and get revenue this should be left alone.

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Paul Ryans budget, more of the same.

              The Republican budget proposal for fiscal year 2014 purports to balance the budget  in 10 years. With a stronger economy and new revenues from the fiscal cliff deal, the task of balancing the budget is somewhat easier. This budget is eerily similar to other budgets proposed by Paul Ryan. It of course attacks the poor and seniors, while giving more to the wealthy and corporations.

              In February the CBO released a baseline projection for the next decade. The fiscal cliff agreement allowed tax rates on the highest incomes to revert to Clinton era levels. In the process this helped reduced future deficits. Paul Ryan voted against that deal.

              The new budget proposal hits all GOP talking points, less spending, lower taxes and a rejection if most of President Obamas health reforms (ACA). Balancing the budget, Ryans proposal doesnt detail all of the assumptions about economic growth or when some of his proposals go into effect. Ryans plan leaves the countrys accrued debt at just under 55% of GDP by the end of the decade. The CBO estimates it as 77%. The CBO wont analyze Ryans or Patty Murrays budget proposals since each simply propose actions and does not detail legislative changed for hitting those targets. Ryan estimates his proposal will grow spending at 3.4% per year, not the projected 5% His plan would put spending at $985 billion below CBO estimates by 2023.

               He wants to reform Medicare. Starting after 2024 it would become a,premium support system. Future seniors could choose between traditional fee-for-service Medicare and the premium support system. This would offer seniors a fixed amount of money to buy private insurance. Ryan proposes converting federal Medicaid funding for states into block grants and repeals health reform laws expansion of the program to low income , non elderly adults. Block grants could increase the burden on states, but gives the states more autonomy about how to set up Medicaid programs. Ryan would also convert food stamps to block grants to states and change eligibilty by imposing time limits on participation and work requirements.

           Ryan would raise the sane amount of tax revenue as the CBO, it would total $40.241 trillion. Ryan would simplify the tax code , reducing the individual income tax brackets to 2 ( 10% & 25%), repeal the Alternate minimum tax, lower the top corporate tax rate to 25% and change roles for international taxation. The 25% upoer tax bracket is about 13% less than they are paying now. This equals to another tax cut for the wealthy.

                   Like Ryans other budget it relies on spurrious budget trickery. His past budgets have also included lofty rhetoric on spending cuts, but little details. He assumes the repeal of Obamacare, but uses the savings from it to balance the budget. This typical Republucan tomfoolery, there us nothing serious about this proposal, they know it cant pass. They set tge numbers so far right that even meeting them in the middle gives the party that lost the ekection the power. The Democrats, mainstream media and the Democrat party have to stop this crazy train in its tracks.

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The budgets presented this week will be nonsense.

                   Both political parties, Democrat and Republican, are going to present budget proposals that are D.O.A. What is the point of proposing something that offers no compromise? The Democrats have yet to present theirs, so I am jumping the gun a bit. I dont understand why our two party system cannot compromise. It is ridiculus already.

               Paul Ryan presented his budget today, which is basically a carbon copy of his last budget. He gives the wealthiest Americans another tax break, lowering it from 37% to 25%, puts corporate taxes at 35% and of course attacks entitlements. He says he is looking for a balanced proposal, but please remeber we have gotten $2.50 in spending cuts compared to $1.00 in higher taxes under President Obama. Ryans budget ,which I will write a more involved post on later, works under assumption that the ACA is repealed. Yet he uses the savings from the repealed ACA to pay down budget.

                  Looking into my crystal budget ball I will make a few assumptions about the Democrats budget proposal. Of course they are going to call for more revenue from closing tax loopholes. Probably raise the corporate tax rates and try to reform entire tax code in order to close overseas tax loopholes. I do not think they are going to offer any more cuts to “entitlement” programs. I am not sure if this is right but income inequality is at one of the highest levels in our history.

              All the same good points and bad points aside, there seems as if there is no chance of either bill passing.  Now please remember these are proposals, so their is not any information on what legislations would be changed. I support President Obama, but if he keeps giving in to cuts to programs that help people he will be deemed a failure. On the other hand why do Paul Ryan and the Republican party insist on creating manufactured issues.

             These are the reason people distrust Congress, Republican party and voted overwhelmingly Democrat. Republicans continue to get boxed in by the Tea Party. Just the other day Ted Cruz (R-Tx) and Mike Lee (R-Ut) said they would hold up vote to stop government shutdown unless the ACA was repealed. Again the extremist in Congress are trying to hold Americans hostage. But keep putting out unpassable budgets.

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America voted for what Democrats were offering, right?

                     I find it odd that a party who ran on a platform and got beat badly still thinks the American people want what they are selling. After you lose an election that bad you would think ideas would change. They are being repackaged and sold to us at a higher price. Please understand, the Deocratic party was offering a better vision of America than the Republicans.

                  A large problem is the ignorance of the party. Somewhere in this self diluted party they forgot that Americans are allowed to make their choice. We wanted higher taxes on tge,wealthy, we wanted to keep Social Security and Medicare. We want our kids to graduate college and not be in debt for the rest of their lifes. We wanted a party that looked out for all the people not a small portion. We want the gridlock in Congress stopped. The Republicans offered none of this.

              They want to privatize medicare, make it into a voucher type system that shifts more of the cost onto seniors. They want to continue cutting entitlements yet do not wantvto budge on taxes. Closing tax loopholes would save us alot of money. This is off the table although Americans voted for it. President Obama offers a better vision of America than Republicans, according to the vote. But none of this matters.

            I do not understand why they would not adjust to at least partially accomadate more tgan 1% of population. The elitism of the Republican party is going to eventually grind them into dust. They have to adjust to a new America, an America where their ideas no longer apply. Democrats did win, the people got what they wanted, now look for compromise and move us forward.

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Tax code, yet another break for the wealthy.

                 President Obama was swept into office for his second term partly on the promise of raising taxes on the wealthy. He accomplished some of that in the fiscal cliff deal. But the,dollar for dollar cuts to spending Republicans clamor for doesnt work the way they want. We have gotten $2.50 in spending cuts to every $1.00 of extra revenue, so Republicans are right. Cuts and revenue should match dollar for dollar. Closing loopholes would be a goid start.

             If Congress can fix the tax code by getting rid of decades of deductions, exemptions and other give aways, they could actually lower taxes and balance the federal budget. From tax free saving accounts to deductiond fir gifts to charities, these uncollected taxes amount to a giant pile of stealth government spending. Some deductions come by accident, unintended consequences of adjustments to the tax code. Lobbyist fought for many others and many wealthy industries benefit from it.

            In 2012 tax breaks totaled more than $800 billion or about 1/3 of the federal revenues. Thats more than the government spends on Social Security, Medicare or National Defense according to the CBO. Cutting these on full would go a long way to closing the federal deficit, $1.1 trillion.

                 Most federal revenues come from personal and corporate income tax. Payroll taxes fund Social Security and Medicare. Most originally came from taxes on luxury items such as tabacco, spirits, sugar and throughout the 19th century they came from tarriffs on manufactured goods that were imported. The income tax was introduced during the Civil War and did not become permanent until the 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913. During WWII income tax became what it is today, a mass tax on the moddle class.

                The payroll tax is 15.3%  and all earners pay it. The 12.9% Social Security tax only applies to wages below $87,900 – meaning that a $25,000 a year earner pays a higher effective tax rate than somepn making $250,000, because most of the $250,000 is exempt. Investment income and employer benefits, which accrue disproportionately to high income eaeners go completely untaxed. People who live off of inhereted wealth pay no pay roll taxes at all.

           At one point John Boehner agreed with President Obama that tax reform and a limted rate increase could generate almost $1 trillion and reduce the debt. He and the Republican party pulled the offer from the table when the President and the Democrat party won $600 billion in the fiscal cliff deal. Republicans are standing behind the mantra of no more tax increases. So I guess the fiscal watchdog Republicans dont want to lower the National debt.

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The next big Government problem is right around the corner.

              Right now we are focused on the Sequester, with good reason, & gun reform, with good reason as well. The Sequester is going to have a substantial effect on jobs & economy. Despite all the rhetoric coming from the Republucan party. We also do need stronger Gun Control laws, which of course the Republicans are also fighting Democrats on.

             On March 27 our government will run out of money. Yes, in 31 days our polarized, gridlocked & unrepenting government will be flat broke. We the people are hearing nothing about it. Why arent our representatives talking about it. Right now the Republicans are grandstanding & the Democrats cant get any bills to pass. The Sequester is going to do alot of damage but if they cannot get through the next thing, its over.

            Government will shut down. There will be no services, no social security, no medicare, no food stamps & no military. There will be nothing. The fact that this is even a possibilty is disconcerting. It is scary that our representatives are so willing to take us to the cliff, move around then back off. You will eventually fall. When we fall there will not be any talking points, we will be lucky if we are not in total anarchy.

             If I did my job this badly I would be fired like many others. Each of these people should be fired, I am talking about the HOUSE. They will not do anything to help the American people. We deserve better, but what do we have to do to get better. This bipartisanship needs to stop, we need government to come together, we are becoming a laughing stock on the world stage. These people should be fired.

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