Ken's Project Blog

February 9, 2011

Kick the Can

Filed under: Politics,Taxation — Ken @ 12:02 pm

It seems that in Washington D.C. they have a new favorite game (well, maybe it has been their favorite for a while, and I just wasn’t paying attention), what they are doing is playing “Kick the Can” with legislation. For example, why is it that the so-called “ObamaCare” health reform package doesn’t really kick-in until 2014? Why doesn’t it kick-in sooner, helping to protect the here-to-for unprotected millions of Americans? Why didn’t it kick-in in 2012? Why are we paying ten years of taxes for six years of benefits? That would have given everyone almost two years to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic current healthcare system, but it runs the risk of costing the politicians that implemented it their positions if the plan proves unpopular (guess what – it already IS unpopular, and we’ve got two more years to figure out how much we don’t like it). They’ve “Kicked the Can” out to 2014, safely beyond the current President’s re-election, so the Democrats and the President can talk about “promise” and “potential” without having to deal with the pesky reality of what they implemented…

Their latest game of “Kick the Can” is with the unemployment funds – 31 states need to do something to replenish their state unemployment trust funds (they’ve already borrowed money from the federal government to pay current benefits), which have been depleted by our sustained near-record high unemployment numbers for the past couple years. Enter President Obama and his Fiscal Budget Plan – he proposes allowing states to stop paying interest and penalties on the $42.4 billion they’ve already borrowed (and are struggling to pay back) and then in 2014 they can start collecting unemployment insurance on the first $15,000 of wages earned (from the employer), instead of the current limit of $7,000, as well as allowing them to lower the unemployment insurance rate collected on that increased income level, all with an eye towards saying they are cutting the rates while collecting more money per employee. And when does this magic kick-in? Right before President Obama’s lame duck session (the last two years of his presidency) OR right in the middle of President Obama’s successor if he is a one-term president.

What President Obama is proposing is that the Federal Government not collect interest and penalties on loans made to states to meet their “first 26 weeks of unemployment” obligation (the federal government picks up the tab for the next 73 weeks before an unemployed person falls off the unemployment rolls as a “99er”) – I can only assume the federal government was planning on collecting that money, what cuts will be made to offset that “gift” to our needy states? I won’t hold my breath waiting for the answer…

Sources:

Kaiser Health News: Recession Fuels Record Number Of Uninsured Americans

Christian Science Monitor: Health care reform bill 101: How long will reform take?

Real Clear Politics: Obama and Democrats’ Health Care Plan

Politifact Virginia: Cantor says health care reform collects 10 years of taxes for six years of benefits

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Helping Americans Keep the Coverage They Have and Promoting Transparency

Wall Street Journal: Job Tax Plan Lands With a Thud

Wikipedia.com: 99ers entry

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