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The Long Hot Summer (of our discontent)

  1. A.Villarasa profile image78
    A.Villarasaposted 4 years ago

    Summer barely got underway a week ago, and already, this summer could become one of the hottest ever, not only literally, but politically as well.

    Obama is trying to lay low as long as he could, hoping that those pesky scandals would finally go away.  After he got the cold shoulder and the blank stare from his old friend Vladimir in Ireland during the G-8 summit  he went to Africa  for some  R&R... however abundantly expensive, somewhere to the tune of 60-100 million dollars. Presidential vacations have become so expensive, and in this day and age of  budgetary cuts, The White House and the IRS, (line dancing convention and all)  it seem are the only two places in the whole country who have not heard about those cuts.

    Congress has started to stew, what with Obamacare ( and its abominable taxing  powers) on the horizon, and the pending imigration bill threatening to divide the Republican party....permanently.

    The Supremes have thrown back to the lower court  several issues, pressing enough, for some folks, but apprently not that important for the judges to allow interruption  of their vacation plans.

  2. Zelkiiro profile image83
    Zelkiiroposted 4 years ago

    Don't remind me that it's summer. There's little in this world more abominable than 80+ degree weather coupled with 90+% humidity.

  3. Mighty Mom profile image91
    Mighty Momposted 4 years ago

    As usual, too many allegations to count on both hands and both feet. Thus way too many to attempt to refute. Although I suspect Mr. Quillographer will be along shortly with his usual flotilla of fact-based sources.

    So I will limit my comment to President Obama's trip to Africa.
    Took a little doing to find, but I did find the original story in the WashPo. Which (shocker!) offers a thorough analysis of the trip and its costs:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ … story.html

    There is a lot of detail in the article about why a trip like this is so logistically challenging (and thus expensive).

    Totally lost in the "Oh no! Those damned Obamas and their lavish vacations again!" accusations is that this is a BUSINESS trip for both POTUS and FLOTUS.
    Attention debt-reduction enthusiasts: Pay special attention to the bolded phrase (emphasis mine).

    "White House officials said the trip was long overdue, marking Obama’s first visit as president to sub-Saharan Africa aside from a 22-hour stopover in Ghana in 2009. The emerging democracies on the itinerary are crucial partners in regional security conflicts, Rhodes said.

    Obama will hold bilateral meetings with each country’s leader and seek to forge stronger economic ties at a time when China is investing heavily in Africa. He also will highlight global health programs, including HIV/AIDS prevention.

    The first lady, who toured South Africa and Botswana without the president in 2011, will headline some events on her own during the week. The stops will add to the logistical challenges, because she will require her own security detail and vehicles, the planning document shows.

    1. Quilligrapher profile image92
      Quilligrapherposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Ahoy, Mighty Mom. Alas, some folks will be discontent no matter what. 

      You surprised me. I thought you would jump all over the OP's “Obamacare (and its abominable taxing powers) on the horizon.”

      Guess what the Washington Post found when they reviewed the ACA to compare tax hikes versus tax breaks for the middle class? In an article titled “Obamacare tax hikes vs. tax breaks: Which is greater?” the paper reported, “The health law, if it works as the nonpartisan government analysts expect, will provide more tax relief than tax burden for middle-income Americans.” {1}

      “The Affordable Care Act promises tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies for individuals who earn between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level,” the paper noted. “The goal is to help people satisfy the individual mandate when they can’t afford insurance and don’t qualify for Medicaid.”

      “In addition, small businesses will qualify for tax credits if they have no more than 25 employees and average wages of $50,000 per year.”

      “A report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office shows that an estimated 4 million individuals will pay penalties to the IRS in 2016 because of the mandate — no information is available for other years. This represents about 1.2 percent of the total population, according to projections from the Census Bureau. So [White House Chief of Staff Jack] Lew is correct with his assertion that only ‘1 percent of the people would be paying this charge.’”

      “The CBO estimates that 16 million people will receive credits or subsidies to help pay for insurance coverage through the new exchanges in 2016. That’s 5 percent of the overall population. To review, we’re talking about 1.2 percent of the population paying penalties, compared to 5 percent receiving tax credits or subsidies. ”

      “The CBO estimated that the government will provide $630 billion in tax credits and subsidies for insurance within the next 11 years, compared to just $54 billion in penalties [from] uninsured individuals over the same period… As you can see, credits and subsidies represent nearly 12 times the amount of “tax” through the penalties.”

      The bottom line is a big plus for middle class Americans. “Total middle-class tax hikes, as the Joint Committee on Taxation has listed them, would amount to just $64.6 billion, compared to $343 billion in subsidies and credits. The tax increases in this case would affect individuals making less than $200,000. They include the [mandate] penalty, plus a higher threshold for itemized deductions of medical expenses and additional taxes related to health spending accounts and flexible spending arrangements.”

      If Mr. Villarasa is one of the “middle class” like me, perhaps his discontent will be short lived.
      http://s2.hubimg.com/u/6919429.jpg
      {1} http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fac … _blog.html

      1. A.Villarasa profile image78
        A.Villarasaposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        @Quill:

        We will soon find out if the numbers you listed in your post will jibe with reality once  Obamacare is in full implementation mode.

        As we speak, a lot of folks (businesses and individuals alike)  are really getting nervous about the full impact on their financial stability, once Obamacare is fully implemented...or would it be fully implemented, when congress have passed several motions to have most if not all of its provisions  repealed. The mid-term election would have a lot of impact on this issue, especially if the Republicans get to control both the House and the Senate.

        1. Mighty Mom profile image91
          Mighty Momposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          At the rate the Republican party is cannibalizing itself, they will be lucky not to lose the House along with the Senate in the midterms.
          Note:
          Obamacare takes full effect January 2014.
          Midterm elections, if I'm not mistaken, are November 2014, not November 2013.

          1. A.Villarasa profile image78
            A.Villarasaposted 4 years ago in reply to this

            @MM: So what you are implying is that if ObamaCare do get implemented fully before the mid-term election, then Obama and the Democratic party will lose, in the same way that they lost the mid-term election in 2010. How stunning an implication is that coming as it does from someone who is so enamored of Obamacare.

            1. Mighty Mom profile image91
              Mighty Momposted 4 years ago in reply to this

              I'm baffled by your interpretation of my post.
              The Obamacare bus has left the station.
              Based on the obvious identity crisis occurring in the GOP, plus the 10% approval rating of the current crop in Congress, particularly the House, I predicted the Republicans will lose seats, not Democrats.
              There are -- and will continue to be -- so many other more pressing issues that Americans want Congress to address. The clock's ticking...

          2. A.Villarasa profile image78
            A.Villarasaposted 4 years ago in reply to this

            @MM: Full and complete implementation is scheduled for Jan 2018, not Jan 2014. But at the rate Obamacare is missing all its deadlines, it may not be fully enforceable until the next century.... LOL

            1. Mighty Mom profile image91
              Mighty Momposted 4 years ago in reply to this

              For all intents and purposes, Obamacare insurance coverage kicks in January 2014.
              But hey, if you want to wait around until 2018, that's your business.
              Me, I'm going with the October enrollment.
              smile

              1. A.Villarasa profile image78
                A.Villarasaposted 4 years ago in reply to this

                @MM: Good luck with that. You need it.

                1. Mighty Mom profile image91
                  Mighty Momposted 4 years ago in reply to this

                  Actually, this takes luck out of the equation.
                  smile

        2. Quilligrapher profile image92
          Quilligrapherposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          Howdy Villarasa.

          What is most interesting about discussions like this one is the potential to learn how others have arrived at their conclusions. However, it is impossible to evaluate someone’s opinions without having a solid understanding of the underlying foundation of facts and logic that support the entire opinion structure.

          Take for example your comments above. It is long on disapproval of Obamacare and very, very short on any form of justification. Often, it turns out, there is no justification beyond an overwhelming dislike for a man, his administration, and his programs. There never seems to be an intellectual component, a factual argument, or a logical construct. Tell us what lies behind your negativism if you can.

          Not that anyone cares, but my personal feelings about Obamacare flourish, not from emotional roots, but from the continuous flow of positive analysis and reassuring data. Indisputable facts support the conclusion that Obamacare stands to be the best program yet conceived to improve this country’s sorry healthcare system for the poor and the needy. The CBO and JCT estimate that, on balance, the direct spending and revenue effects of the ACA will cause a decrease in federal budget deficits of $109 billion over the 2013–2022 period. {1} HealthInsurance.org wrote, “While critics of Obamacare predicted premiums would skyrocket, that isn’t happening in California. Health plans submitted rates that were 29 percent below to just 2 percent above what equivalent policies cost in 2013.” {2}

          In addition, this monumental program is Red and Blue all over. It utilizes the private sector’s already regulated Insurance industry with the least amount of baggage and pain for the middle class. Score a huge plus for the political right’s pro-business, small government agenda. It is also built on the GOP conceived mechanism of “mandated” participation of all Americans both young and old. In addition, Gov. Romney’s successful prototype program in Massachusetts proves the potential for success. All indicators point to success while nearly all opposition to the ACA is highly political and factually barren. As for the name “Obamacare,” well, we have the political right to thank for that too!

          Please, please try to understand that I am not trying to put down your opinions. Rather, I am trying to urge you to sell your conclusions; hit us with the facts that we need to know so we can see Obamacare the way you do. I am trying to point out that saying “we will soon find out if the numbers you listed in your post will jibe with reality once Obamacare is in full implementation mode” is not a comprehensible argument. It is merely a highly negative and very personal conclusion totally devoid of any supporting basis. Do not tell us, show us! Demonstrate, Mr. Villarasa, what you think is going to happen to cause the numbers not to “jibe.” Point out to us, Mr. Villarasa, the flaws in arithmetic uncovered after 4 years of heavy-duty bipartisan analysis that justify your pessimism. Give us data, Mr. Villarasa, we can investigate together to see if your apprehension, your perpetual gloom and doom, is both valid and sincere.

          There is a ton of irony in your declaration “a lot of folks (businesses and individuals alike) are really getting nervous about the full impact on their financial stability, once Obamacare is fully implemented, when congress have passed several motions to have most if not all of its provisions repealed.” I underlined two words in your statement that need to be changed. “Congress” needs to be changed to “House Republicans” and “several” needs to be changed to “37.” That is correct, 37! Read “37 Failed GOP Attempts to Repeal Obamacare and Counting.” {3}

          “When Republicans failed to block its passage in Congress, their next step was to attempt to repeal it in every way possible. And if it couldn't be repealed, they vowed to make its implementation as difficult as possible.” {3}

          It does not take a Ph.D. in Political Science to understand why “a lot of folks (businesses and individuals alike) are really getting nervous about the full impact on their financial stability.” The nervousness is the immediate result of ever-looming uncertainty created by the unjustified and inexplicable Republican obsession to repeal the best program yet conceived to improve this country’s sorry healthcare system for the poor and the needy.

          Bruce Broussard, CEO of Humana, the fourth-largest health insurance group in America sees troubled times implementing Obamacare. However, BusinessInsider.com says, “in the long run, Broussard expects that the law and technology will work to reduce cost long term. {4}

          Be well, Mr. Villarasa, and bring on the reasons behind your rhetoric.
          http://s2.hubimg.com/u/6919429.jpg
          {1} http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/ … hr6079.pdf
          {2} http://www.healthinsurance.org/californ … e-exchange
          {3} http://www.policymic.com/articles/44543 … d-counting
          {4} http://www.businessinsider.com/business … are-2013-4

          1. Mighty Mom profile image91
            Mighty Momposted 4 years ago in reply to this

            It's pretty obvious that those who rail the loudest against "Obamacare" will likely
            not even be touched by it in any direct sense.
            To these people, I say:
            If you've always had health insurance coverage through an employer, what's your beef? You can continue to keep your coverage. Large group plans are not involved. Period.

            So why is it so threatening to think of other Americans being able to get -- meaning pay for -- what you so obviously take for granted? Are you somehow more worthy than we are?

            Quill, you mention the "poor and the needy."
            There seems to be more than a little bit of classism (and xenophobia) at work in the rabid anti-Obamacare rhetoric.
            The fear-and-anger-mongers are whipping up idea of the "takers" again, getting "free stuff"  from the government(I bet they're even handing out those infamous Obama cell phones with every enrollment in Obamacare, ya think?)

            Oh, and don't forget all the illegals will now be covered, too.  That's unAmerican!

            I cannot think of any rational reason why anyone would take offense at us "needy" citizens being able to finally PURCHASE insurance coverage that previously was withheld from us. People with preexisting conditions. Self-employed people.

            If there is a basis for wishing to deny me or my family the opportunity to buy something that you enjoy as a benefit of being employed by a company or organization, I would sincerely like to hear it.

            Any takers??

      2. Mighty Mom profile image91
        Mighty Momposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        Thanks for bailing me out on that one, Quill!
        I have to say, however, that it's really, really getting to be time to stop with the wonky talk on Obamacare.
        Who on an individual basis thinks in terms of "tax relief" vs. "tax burden?"
        I do realize this is an article and not a marketing piece.

        Bottom line is the tax penalty in year one is something like $95.
        Ok. You don't want health insurance under Obamacare?
        Fine.
        Don't buy in.
        Pay your $95 fine.
        And shut the $#&k up about it.

        (and I would soooo love to be able to add ... but be prepared to pay the "non-Obamacare" super high rack rate for any healthcare services you end up needing in the future).

        So, as you see, I'm still quite passionate on the topic. lol

        BTW, I heard that Nelson Mandela's daughter told him "Obama is coming" and he opened his eyes and smiled. smile

        1. A.Villarasa profile image78
          A.Villarasaposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          @MM:
          The smile of one prophet to another... I suppose. So heavenly isn't it?

          1. Mighty Mom profile image91
            Mighty Momposted 4 years ago in reply to this

            How about the Dalai Lama? Got any slams for him?

            1. A.Villarasa profile image78
              A.Villarasaposted 4 years ago in reply to this

              @Mm: There is no other prophet in the Dalai Lama's world except him... so he could smile perpetually and no one would infer or confer  any meaning to  his smiling except  the fact that he loves to smile.... not that another prophet is coming for a visit.

        2. A.Villarasa profile image78
          A.Villarasaposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          @MM:

          The Supreme Court in its ruling on ObamaCare indicated that it is a Tax, not a fine...otherwise it is is a fine ObamaCare would be considered unconstitutional.

    2. A.Villarasa profile image78
      A.Villarasaposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      @MM:
      As I have said before, presidential vacations are typically/usually working vacations. So I suppose the American people, have gotten used to the idea that maybe, just maybe, the expenses incurred on those working vacations are well worth the taxes that they are paying for it.

  4. Cody Hodge5 profile image60
    Cody Hodge5posted 4 years ago

    Ah yes, Benghazi is the scandal.....

    Not the Supreme Court pretty much invalidating the Voter Rights Act

    Not Texas passing a new law practically banning abortion

    I love how teachers in our country get paid nothing, kids learn nothing, college costs way too much and you can't pay back your loans because there are no jobs because business owners have to see their stock prices soar.

    Oh, and if you get sick......you're on your own.

    But you're right, the real problems in this country are gay marriage, abortion and the scandal of everyone having affordable health care

 
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