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Author: Subject: Sequester Follies

Sublime Peach



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  posted on 3/1/2013 at 01:50 PM
quote:
This all could be ended very simply. Just ged rid of the stupid and unfair tax breaks and loopholes that are on the books for the wealthy to use and jump through to avoid paying their full tax bill


This all could be ended very simply. Just ged rid of the stupid and unfair tax breaks and loopholes that are on the books for the corporations to use and jump through to avoid paying their full tax bill.

 

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True Peach



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  posted on 3/1/2013 at 01:56 PM
quote:
quote:
This all could be ended very simply. Just ged rid of the stupid and unfair tax breaks and loopholes that are on the books for the wealthy to use and jump through to avoid paying their full tax bill.


Correct me if I am wrong but isn't closing tax loop holes one of the main things republicans have been pushing in lieu of raising taxes to increase revenue for quiet some time now......And was dismissed by the WH and the great Harry Reid.

quote:
Very simple! Then they will get some smart and balanced spending cuts in return as they have been offered.


Why not just offer some smart and balance spending cuts for the good of the country? Why say only after you do so and so, that type of mentality is what has gotten us in the position we are in now. Its time to stop the bullsh#t......


1. The Republicans offered dumping the loopholes before the reduced tax increases they got the last round. They do not want to budge on the loopholes and deductions now saying that they already made their tax cuts and will do nothing more.

2. Because if he were to offer up balanced spending cuts without linking it to increasing revenue on the other side the Republicans will never agree to dump the loopholes and deductions. The Republicans if they had their way would make draconian spending cuts that would harm far too many people without any tax cuts or dumping of the unfair tax regulations for the wealthy. Hell, if they had it their way they wouldn't have raised taxes a dime and would completely dump Medicare which would hurt tons of people and also hurt the economy as well as doing something stupid with social security like W Bush's lame brain idea of linking SS to the stock market.

The President won the election and all of the polls showed that the American people were in favor of tax increases for those making over $400,000. Well, taxes only went up for those making $300,000 so that was a compromise on the Obama side. The Republicans have also gotten some spending cuts, not nearly what they want but Obama didn't get the level of taxation that he wanted from the wealthy either. That round is over and done with. This sequester thing is now a new and seperate deal. If they want spending cuts they need to offer equal in return and the loopholes and deductions are what is on the table if they want those spending cuts. The Republicans are gonna have to learn that if they want something they are gonna have to give something in return. That is how it works. They lost the election. When they win then they can call the shots.

 

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Sublime Peach



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  posted on 3/1/2013 at 02:07 PM
Sequester = Austerity

U.S. now on pace for European levels of austerity in 2013
Posted by Brad Plumer on January 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm

For years now, economists like Paul Krugman have been criticizing countries in Europe for engaging in too much austerity during the downturn — that is, enacting tax increases and spending cuts while their economies were still weak.

Coming to an American street near you. (AP)



But after this week’s fiscal cliff deal, the United States is now on pace to engage in about as much fiscal consolidation in 2013 as many European nations have been doing in recent years — and more than countries like Britain and Spain.

A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests Congress has enacted around $304 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts for the coming year, an austerity package that comes to about 1.9 percent of GDP. (That’s merely the size of the cuts and taxes; it’s not necessarily the effect on growth.)

This includes the expiration of the payroll tax cut, which will raise about $125 billion this year. It includes $50 billion in scheduled cuts to discretionary spending from the caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act, as well as $24 billion in new Obamacare taxes and $27 billion in new high-income taxes. It also includes about $78 billion from the now-delayed sequester cuts — assuming that these either take effect or are swapped with other cuts.*

Of course, the United States would be facing much, much more austerity if Congress had done nothing about the fiscal cliff this week and all the Bush tax cuts had expired. But even after the deal, we’ve still got the payroll tax increase and an array of spending cuts coming down the pike. Those aren’t minor. And economists expect them to exert some drag on the economy, even if it’s unclear exactly how much.

So how does the sheer scale of the U.S. austerity program for 2013 compare to what European countries have been doing over the past few years? We can get an approximate sense by looking at this paper from the European Trade Union Institute on the size of Europe’s various fiscal consolidation programs. A few comparisons:



Fair warning: These comparisons are far from perfect—finding a common baseline is tricky, and not all austerity measures have an equivalent effect on growth. But a few broad points stick out.

Britain has earned a lot of criticism for its austerity programs in the past two years. But at a total size of 1.5 and 1.6 percent of GDP, each of those two deficit-reduction years were smaller than what the United States is planning this year. The United States is also planning to cut and tax more heavily this year than Spain did in 2010 and 2011. Or France. That said, we’re nowhere near Greek or Portuguese or Irish levels of austerity.

Now, it’s possible to draw very different conclusions from this chart. One could argue that the U.S. is about to repeat Europe’s mistake of premature austerity. Alternatively, one could say that the United States is in a better position to begin trimming its deficits than Europe was, because our economy is healthier. (We also have a central bank that’s providing more aggressive monetary stimulus.)

Either way, Congress is starting to tighten fiscal policy this year. There’s not going to be a big cliff-induced recession, fortunately, but there will likely be a partial drag. JP Morgan’s Michael Feroli estimates that the tax hikes and spending cuts that have survived the cliff deal could shave at least 1 percentage point off U.S. economic growth in 2013. We’ll see how that prediction holds up.


[Edited on 3/1/2013 by jerryphilbob]

 

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Universal Peach



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  posted on 3/1/2013 at 03:51 PM
quote:


The President won the election and all of the polls showed that the American people were in favor of tax increases for those making over $400,000. Well, taxes only went up for those making $300,000 so that was a compromise on the Obama side. The Republicans have also gotten some spending cuts, not nearly what they want but Obama didn't get the level of taxation that he wanted from the wealthy either. That round is over and done with. This sequester thing is now a new and seperate deal. If they want spending cuts they need to offer equal in return and the loopholes and deductions are what is on the table if they want those spending cuts. The Republicans are gonna have to learn that if they want something they are gonna have to give something in return. That is how it works. They lost the election. When they win then they can call the shots.


1. Republicans have been touting closing tax loopholes for the past two years. And did so as an alternative to raising taxes. whether you (general term, not you specifically) agree or disagree with the proposal.

2. Sequester isn't a new and separate thing is a direct result of everyone in Washingtons refusal to do what needed to be done in the first place.

As I stated earlier, as long as this is the mentality in Washington we will continue to decline as a nation. Regardless of who is in charge ....

 

Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 3/1/2013 at 06:59 PM


And there you have it...

 

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Peach Master



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  posted on 3/1/2013 at 07:07 PM
WOW! This is exactly why this country is circling the drain,the US took in more money in 2012 than ever before,expected to take in even more this year, yet its still not enough?What percentage of people are all these loopholes going to affect,how much is that going to raise?It still wont be enough to satisfy the left. no wonder nothing gets done in Washington, and we have the debt ceiling in a month?
 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 3/1/2013 at 11:36 PM
Finally Washington does something I agree with, allowing these budget cuts to take place. You can't leave it in the hands of these people to cut the debt and deficit manually because they are incapable of doing it and only ever come up with imaginary and hocus pocus future cuts. Automatic across the board cuts are the way to go, take it completely out of the hands of the politicians who only know how to point fingers and play blame games rather than govern. The President calls it dumb, I call it brilliant because it appears to be the only real way to cut federal spending. Republicans would never agree to cut defense budget in this way and Democrats would never agree to cut domestic spending in this manner. Real spending cuts and neither side is exactly happy with them.

This whole episode reminded me of a spoiled child who had some of their candy taken away.

The other thing that comes to mind is if these cuts were met with so much doom and gloom, imagine if there were substantial cuts facing Washington?

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 3/2/2013 at 12:09 PM
They plan to leave troops in Afghanistan till 2018 or later. Why is it that the government that represents we the people never bother to ask us what we want them to spend money on?

 

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Sublime Peach



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  posted on 3/3/2013 at 08:23 AM
Sequester = Austerity

Isn't financial warfare fun !!! (sarcasm)

These are all pictures from this week in other countries where austerity is clearly not working, or, I should say, working for the people. The banksters are enslaving entire nations in debt and spending cuts, seems to be working for them.















 

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Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 3/3/2013 at 10:41 AM
quote:
Finally Washington does something I agree with, allowing these budget cuts to take place. You can't leave it in the hands of these people to cut the debt and deficit manually because they are incapable of doing it and only ever come up with imaginary and hocus pocus future cuts. Automatic across the board cuts are the way to go, take it completely out of the hands of the politicians who only know how to point fingers and play blame games rather than govern. The President calls it dumb, I call it brilliant because it appears to be the only real way to cut federal spending. Republicans would never agree to cut defense budget in this way and Democrats would never agree to cut domestic spending in this manner. Real spending cuts and neither side is exactly happy with them.

This whole episode reminded me of a spoiled child who had some of their candy taken away.

The other thing that comes to mind is if these cuts were met with so much doom and gloom, imagine if there were substantial cuts facing Washington?


This is the stupidest possible action that could be taken at this time. Taking capital out of an economy that is already struggling will do nothing but hasten another deep recession. Concentrate on job creation to turn it around. Grow your revenue with job creation like Eisenhower and Clinton did and the rest will take care of itself. Get the completely ignorant and worthless House republicans to pass some job bills.

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 3/3/2013 at 10:49 AM
quote:
Taking capital out of an economy that is already struggling will do nothing but hasten another deep recession.


True. The tax hikes will hurt an already feeble recovery.

 

True Peach



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  posted on 3/3/2013 at 01:21 PM
quote:
quote:
Taking capital out of an economy that is already struggling will do nothing but hasten another deep recession.


True. The tax hikes will hurt an already feeble recovery.


Tax hikes on the wealthiest will hurt the economy more than cuts that will take expendable income out of the pockets of the middle class and poor?????? Last time I looked the middle class and poor are the vast majority in the country so if they have less to spend I would think that would be more detrimental to the country than the wealthy ponying up more in taxes. They are thriving and doing fine. If they stop spending into the economy it is out of spite. If the middle class and poor now stop spending into the economy it is out of need and desperation. IMO taking money out of the middle class and poor's pockets in the form of spending cuts will do more damage to the economy than getting rid of ridiculous deductions and loopholes for the wealthy.

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 3/3/2013 at 01:48 PM
quote:
quote:
Finally Washington does something I agree with, allowing these budget cuts to take place. You can't leave it in the hands of these people to cut the debt and deficit manually because they are incapable of doing it and only ever come up with imaginary and hocus pocus future cuts. Automatic across the board cuts are the way to go, take it completely out of the hands of the politicians who only know how to point fingers and play blame games rather than govern. The President calls it dumb, I call it brilliant because it appears to be the only real way to cut federal spending. Republicans would never agree to cut defense budget in this way and Democrats would never agree to cut domestic spending in this manner. Real spending cuts and neither side is exactly happy with them.

This whole episode reminded me of a spoiled child who had some of their candy taken away.

The other thing that comes to mind is if these cuts were met with so much doom and gloom, imagine if there were substantial cuts facing Washington?

This is the stupidest possible action that could be taken at this time. Taking capital out of an economy that is already struggling will do nothing but hasten another deep recession. Concentrate on job creation to turn it around. Grow your revenue with job creation like Eisenhower and Clinton did and the rest will take care of itself. Get the completely ignorant and worthless House republicans to pass some job bills.

Clinton and Eisenhower were smart enough to recognize that a healthy private economy comes first, and is the reason everything else in the country - including govt spending - is possible.

The moron currently in office has no such understanding, has no remote idea how the economy works, doesn't care, and believes that govt is the source of all that is possible.

The poor and middle class will be left worse off by his policies, his economic stupidity, his jihad against the rich, and all his rhetoric about "fairness".

"Jobs bills"? What happened to all the "jobs" from that almost trillion spent a few years ago? How many times does something have to fail before the "Govt First, Always, and Only" crowd learns their lesson?

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 3/3/2013 at 01:58 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
Taking capital out of an economy that is already struggling will do nothing but hasten another deep recession.


True. The tax hikes will hurt an already feeble recovery.


Tax hikes on the wealthiest will hurt the economy more than cuts that will take expendable income out of the pockets of the middle class and poor?????? Last time I looked the middle class and poor are the vast majority in the country so if they have less to spend I would think that would be more detrimental to the country than the wealthy ponying up more in taxes.


Payroll taxes just went up on everybody, including the middle class and poor. Sure, it was a temporary measure but it's still a tax hike that leaves everybody with less to spend.

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 3/4/2013 at 12:14 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
Finally Washington does something I agree with, allowing these budget cuts to take place. You can't leave it in the hands of these people to cut the debt and deficit manually because they are incapable of doing it and only ever come up with imaginary and hocus pocus future cuts. Automatic across the board cuts are the way to go, take it completely out of the hands of the politicians who only know how to point fingers and play blame games rather than govern. The President calls it dumb, I call it brilliant because it appears to be the only real way to cut federal spending. Republicans would never agree to cut defense budget in this way and Democrats would never agree to cut domestic spending in this manner. Real spending cuts and neither side is exactly happy with them.

This whole episode reminded me of a spoiled child who had some of their candy taken away.

The other thing that comes to mind is if these cuts were met with so much doom and gloom, imagine if there were substantial cuts facing Washington?

This is the stupidest possible action that could be taken at this time. Taking capital out of an economy that is already struggling will do nothing but hasten another deep recession. Concentrate on job creation to turn it around. Grow your revenue with job creation like Eisenhower and Clinton did and the rest will take care of itself. Get the completely ignorant and worthless House republicans to pass some job bills.

Clinton and Eisenhower were smart enough to recognize that a healthy private economy comes first, and is the reason everything else in the country - including govt spending - is possible.

The moron currently in office has no such understanding, has no remote idea how the economy works, doesn't care, and believes that govt is the source of all that is possible.

The poor and middle class will be left worse off by his policies, his economic stupidity, his jihad against the rich, and all his rhetoric about "fairness".

"Jobs bills"? What happened to all the "jobs" from that almost trillion spent a few years ago? How many times does something have to fail before the "Govt First, Always, and Only" crowd learns their lesson?


"Capitalism is the unequal distribution of blessing. Socialism is the equal distribution of misery."
-Winston Churchill.

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 3/4/2013 at 01:50 PM
If the tiny cuts represented via sequestration are so damaging, then why hasn't Mr. Fairness considered the impacts of his own spending?

Yup, he's looking out for the middle class and poor alright....


quote:
Senator: Obama's Golf Weekend With Tiger Cost As Much As 341 Federal Workers Furloughed

"There is nothing just or virtuous about protecting a stale welfare state that is failing the people it is supposed to help."

In a sharply written statement, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama blasts President Obama for campaigning and not governing. He calls Obama's response to the sequestration "the most cynical behavior I have seen during my time in Washington."

Adds the senator, "Replacing the sequester would require the President to save $85 billion out of a $3,500 billion federal budget. One would think that any President would leap at the opportunity to make government more effective and responsive. But what does the President do instead? He says Republicans are ‘cutting vital services for children’ in order to ‘benefit the well-off and well-connected.’ This has been the strategy now for years: block any attempt to reform the government and then relentlessly attack the reformers. Does any lawmaker, reporter, or citizen believe that the only way to save taxpayer dollars is to hurt children, that every government program is effective and helpful and not one penny is wasted?"

Sessions is the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.

"While the White House operatives may think this attack is clever, it betrays an astonishing elitism: the federal government is perfect and requires no reform. That is why they have no plan to make our government leaner and more efficient. The President had 18 months to develop reforms to improve the government, but instead he announced furloughs of federal workers as a political cudgel. Yet, his golf weekend at the yacht club with Tiger Woods cost taxpayers over a million dollars—enough money to save 341 federal workers from furlough," Sessions writes.

"These workers know firsthand how much waste and inefficiency exists in the government. Our Budget Committee office will look for a way to solicit federal employees to send suggestions for how to save money in their departments, agencies, and divisions. What is better? To furlough someone or to empower them to make their office more efficient?

"Now, we learn that the President is going to submit his budget plan—which contains his recommendations to Congress, the reason the law requires it to be submitted early in February before our budget work begins—on March 25th. Yet he will be submitting it after the House and Senate have produced a budget proposal and adjourned for Easter. So while the President speaks of his deep concern for American workers and families, he fails to even submit to Congress his financial plan to help those workers and families. Why then doesn’t the President furlough his entire 500 person staff at the Office of Management and Budget instead of threatening teachers and law enforcement personnel? The budget deals with more than just deficits. It is the chief executive’s plan for American prosperity. What does it mean that he doesn’t want to lay that out? He is the CEO of the Executive Branch and every cabinet official and government employee answers to him. It is his duty to the American people to be the person advancing reform, not blocking it.

"Also at issue is the fact that our massive federal government is, right now, creating poverty and hurting families. Look at cities like Baltimore, Chicago, and Detroit. Raising taxes—instead of reforming government—denies struggling Americans the help they need. There is nothing just or virtuous about protecting a stale welfare state that is failing the people it is supposed to help. President Obama is defending the bureaucracy at the expense of the people.

"It is time for the President to end the permanent campaign and work with both parties to make this government work better."

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/senator-obamas-golf-weekend-tiger-cost- much-341-federal-workers-furloughed_704915.html


 

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Universal Peach



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  posted on 3/4/2013 at 04:37 PM
quote:
If the tiny cuts represented via sequestration are so damaging, then why hasn't Mr. Fairness considered the impacts of his own spending?

Yup, he's looking out for the middle class and poor alright....


quote:
Senator: Obama's Golf Weekend With Tiger Cost As Much As 341 Federal Workers Furloughed

"There is nothing just or virtuous about protecting a stale welfare state that is failing the people it is supposed to help."

In a sharply written statement, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama blasts President Obama for campaigning and not governing. He calls Obama's response to the sequestration "the most cynical behavior I have seen during my time in Washington."

Adds the senator, "Replacing the sequester would require the President to save $85 billion out of a $3,500 billion federal budget. One would think that any President would leap at the opportunity to make government more effective and responsive. But what does the President do instead? He says Republicans are ‘cutting vital services for children’ in order to ‘benefit the well-off and well-connected.’ This has been the strategy now for years: block any attempt to reform the government and then relentlessly attack the reformers. Does any lawmaker, reporter, or citizen believe that the only way to save taxpayer dollars is to hurt children, that every government program is effective and helpful and not one penny is wasted?"

Sessions is the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.

"While the White House operatives may think this attack is clever, it betrays an astonishing elitism: the federal government is perfect and requires no reform. That is why they have no plan to make our government leaner and more efficient. The President had 18 months to develop reforms to improve the government, but instead he announced furloughs of federal workers as a political cudgel. Yet, his golf weekend at the yacht club with Tiger Woods cost taxpayers over a million dollars—enough money to save 341 federal workers from furlough," Sessions writes.

"These workers know firsthand how much waste and inefficiency exists in the government. Our Budget Committee office will look for a way to solicit federal employees to send suggestions for how to save money in their departments, agencies, and divisions. What is better? To furlough someone or to empower them to make their office more efficient?

"Now, we learn that the President is going to submit his budget plan—which contains his recommendations to Congress, the reason the law requires it to be submitted early in February before our budget work begins—on March 25th. Yet he will be submitting it after the House and Senate have produced a budget proposal and adjourned for Easter. So while the President speaks of his deep concern for American workers and families, he fails to even submit to Congress his financial plan to help those workers and families. Why then doesn’t the President furlough his entire 500 person staff at the Office of Management and Budget instead of threatening teachers and law enforcement personnel? The budget deals with more than just deficits. It is the chief executive’s plan for American prosperity. What does it mean that he doesn’t want to lay that out? He is the CEO of the Executive Branch and every cabinet official and government employee answers to him. It is his duty to the American people to be the person advancing reform, not blocking it.

"Also at issue is the fact that our massive federal government is, right now, creating poverty and hurting families. Look at cities like Baltimore, Chicago, and Detroit. Raising taxes—instead of reforming government—denies struggling Americans the help they need. There is nothing just or virtuous about protecting a stale welfare state that is failing the people it is supposed to help. President Obama is defending the bureaucracy at the expense of the people.

"It is time for the President to end the permanent campaign and work with both parties to make this government work better."

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/senator-obamas-golf-weekend-tiger-cost- much-341-federal-workers-furloughed_704915.html





Oh you're just nit picking now......

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 3/4/2013 at 05:35 PM
Less health care choice for seniors seems fine with Obama. Apparently cuts are easy to find ($716 billion over 10 years) if you want to look for them - as long as the savings are funneled into your pet projects.

But leading and governing to ease the sequester cuts has no political advantage, so it's blame the others guys, as usual...


quote:
Squeezing Medicare Advantage

Obama slashes a private-sector approach while decrying cuts everywhere else.


The Obama administration is sparing no effort to scare people about the automatic spending cuts that are scheduled to hit this Friday.

But the Obama administration doesn’t want to talk about its own devastating cuts in Medicare. On Friday, February 15, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced $716 billion in cuts over the next ten years. Instead of being put toward the debt, most of the money will go toward a new entitlement: Obamacare’s vast expansion of coverage for the uninsured.

Where Obama is cutting is telling. At least half of the savings will come out of Medicare Advantage, under which a full 28 percent of seniors buy privately managed health insurance that often includes added benefits such as vision and dental care or chronic-illness management. In exchange, patients agree to stay within a medical network, which helps insurance companies manage their costs. The program is most popular with Hispanics and African Americans. A study by CMS found that 38 percent of Hispanics and 31 percent of African Americans on Medicare were enrolled in Medicare Advantage, compared with 27 percent of whites.

Despite the fact that the program reports high levels of consumer satisfaction, liberals are determined to cut it, even if it means driving millions of seniors back into traditional, one-size-fits-all Medicare. “The administration really has it in for Medicare Advantage plans,” says Tevi Troy, who was a deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services under George W. Bush. “Democrats won’t even consider relatively modest reforms of Medicare, such as raising the eligibility age from 65 to 67. But they do want to restrict seniors’ choices by curtailing private plans competing in Medicare.”

To add cynicism to injury, the Obama administration postponed the Medicare Advantage cuts until after the 2012 election, using a slush fund to tide the program over and conceal the true costs of Obamacare to seniors.

The cuts are so much larger than expected that health-care stocks tanked across the board after they were announced. Managed-care analyst Carl McDonald told clients in an e-mail that Obamacare’s reducing payments to private-plan providers “would turn almost every plan in the industry unprofitable.” The Congressional Budget Office projects that the payment cuts will result in an enrollment drop of 3 million for Medicare Advantage.

CMS will come under pressure to revise or reverse the cuts before they are made final on April 1. Some adjustments are possible, but the law will continue to mandate a squeeze on Medicare Advantage. President Obama promised Americans in 2009 that “if you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan.” The reality is that not only are millions of Americans likely to lose health-care coverage from their employers, but millions more will lose the Medicare Advantage plans they’ve grown used to.

Some Democratic politicians worry privately about the impact Medicare Advantage cuts will have on their senior constituents. In 2009, then-governor of Oregon Ted Kulongoski went public with his concerns, writing to the Obama administration to protest its plans to “scale back Medicare Advantage.” In Oregon, 42 percent of all seniors are enrolled in private Medicare plans, and Kulongoski noted that “they play an important role in providing affordable health coverage.” He emphasized that the plans have significantly reduced hospital-admission rates for patients with chronic diseases.

Seniors are now going to confront a new chronic condition — politics. Unless it is changed, Obamacare will relentlessly restrict the choices seniors have by forcing them into traditional Medicare with all of its attendant contradictions, restrictions, and waste. Medicare Advantage has its problems, but they could be surgically addressed. Instead, the bureaucrats running Obamacare are set on slowly starving the program. By focusing solely on the politics of the sequester, the media are ignoring the Obama administration’s bigger, more brazen threat to vulnerable American seniors.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/341528/squeezing-medicare-advantage- john-fund


 

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Universal Peach



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  posted on 3/4/2013 at 07:18 PM
quote:
Credit rating agencies shrug off sequester, say more cuts needed
By Peter Schroeder - 03/04/13 04:33 PM ET

Credit rating agencies are shrugging off sequestration, saying the U.S. government will need to do more to reduce the deficit if it wants to prevent a downgrade of the nation’s credit rating.

While the agencies say the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts represent at least a step towards deficit reduction, they argue much more is needed to prevent the United States from losing its “AAA” rating.

“It’s not the most ideal outcome,” said David Riley, Fitch Rating’s global managing director for sovereign ratings, on CNBC Europe. “You’d rather have intelligent cuts and some revenue measures as well ... but we don’t live in an ideal world, and it’s better to have some deficit reduction than none at all.”

The agencies view it as a positive sign that Congress did not simply scrap the unpopular sequester. Erasing the cuts without coming up with an alternative, something pushed by some liberal lawmakers, would have added to the deficit and debt and further pressured agencies to downgrade the nation’s credit rating.

At the same time, the agencies say they are worried that Washington’s inability to replace the sequester with targeted deficit reduction underlines concerns about the U.S. government’s dysfunction, a concern that led Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the U.S. in 2011.

The S&P downgrade came just days after Congress approved a hike in the nation’s debt limit in August 2011. The months-long debate caused stocks to dip and raised serious doubts about the ability of Republicans and Democrats to come together on fiscal issues.

It also led to the sequester, a series of cuts meant to be triggered only if Congress could not come up with a better deficit-reduction plan.

In downgrading the U.S. credit rating, S&P cited “political brinksmanship” and said Washington’s actions in the debate made the nation “less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed.”

Watching both parties continue to butt heads on fiscal issues, S&P is confident they made the right call.

"The political discord around this process was a factor in lowering the credit rating," said John Piecuch, a spokesman for the rater. "We believe that the events since then have validated our opinion."

Agencies are raising similar concerns with the sequester.

Just days before Friday’s deadline, Fitch said allowing sequestration to occur would “further erode confidence” in policymakers’ ability to strike the broader deficit deals needed to get the country’s debt under control.

In addition, while the sequester will reduce spending and the deficit in the short term, U.S. deficits are expected to rise toward $1 trillion again by 2023.

The sequester reduces defense and non-defense discretionary spending, but does nothing to curtail Medicare spending, a key driver of the deficit.

The Congressional Budget Office found the deficit will drop to $430 billion by 2015 partly because of the sequester, and will continue to fall if spending caps remain curtailed by the budget cuts. (The "fiscal cliff" deal in January also improved the nation’s outlook by bringing in an additional $600 billion in revenue.)

Yet the CBO finds deficits will rise again in later years as entitlement costs continue to skyrocket and the population ages.

Raters say Congress will need to make even tougher choices to rein in debt and deficits if the country is to keep its top-shelf ratings.

The overarching concern from credit raters is getting the nation’s debt-to-GDP ratio on a sustainable course.

According to Fitch, assuming Congress leaves the sequester fully in place, policymakers would still need to track down another $1.6 trillion in deficit reduction to get the nation’s debt on a sustainable course. Actually driving down that ratio would require another $3 trillion in deficit reduction.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke struck a similar note when he testified before Congress last week.

He warned that while the sequester cuts might improve the nation’s finances in the short term, they do nothing to address the actual drivers of long-term fiscal woes. He called on Congress to replace the sequester with longer-term fiscal reforms that actually address those issues.

“The difficult process of addressing longer-term fiscal imbalances has only begun,” Bernanke added.

Credit raters are not weighing in on whether Congress should raise taxes, reduce spending or lower entitlement benefits to improve the nation’s fiscal trajectory.

Both Fitch and Moody’s Investors Service still give the U.S. their top rating, but both have placed it on a negative outlook, effectively warning that Washington will need to address the nation’s long-term debt issues in 2013 or face a downgrade.


http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/286057-credit-rating-agencies- shrug-off-sequester-say-more-cuts-needed#ixzz2McSw1kZc






 

Sublime Peach



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  posted on 3/4/2013 at 11:01 PM
I am pretty sure the gubmint took in more in revenue last year than in any previous year.

When will enough be enough? There will never be enough.

More taxes, more austerity, more debt, more printing. Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

I really don't understand why the economy isn't doing better? At least the stock market is up.

I am pretty sure this is a spending problem, not a tax or revenue problem.

They are doing nothing right in DC, don't expect that to change anytime soon.

Taking from the producers and giving it to the non-producers will not work.

 

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A Peach Supreme



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  posted on 4/18/2013 at 12:27 PM

What happened to all the mayhem that the President predicted would occur? Things seem to be no better or worse.

 

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