Government – Intragovernmental Holdings and Debt Held by the Public

Government – Intragovernmental Holdings and Debt Held by the Public.

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Romney did more than accuse the 47% of Americans who didn’t pay federal income taxes last year—most of whom have or will eventually pay income taxes, and most who paid payroll taxes to reach a higher effective tax rate than Romney paid that year—of being moochers who will never take responsibility for themselves. He also, if you’ll recall, rolled up anyone who has ever received federal financial assistance of any kind into the group of that Paul Ryan likes to call “takers” who supposedly mooch off the “makers”. Well, Suzanne Mettler and John Sides, writing for the New York Times, revealed Monday that the “taker” category amounts to 96% of Americans. Most of the other 4% eventually will, but are too young yet to qualify. And let’s face it, most of them are Obama voters, so really, giving Romney 4% of the vote by his own measure may be too generous. For what it’s worth, these aren’t the kind of generalized programs, like federal highways, that everyone uses that we’re talking about either. These are programs that directly benefit your household’s bottom line, a direct federal subsidy to you.

Of course, as we all know,  the problem is that a lot of people who receive federal assistance do this little dance where they convince themselves that they’re special snowflakes and not at all like thoseother people who get it, who are lazy mooches. Part of the rationalization process is straight up racism, where white people imagine that they use federal assistance for a little boost, but imagine that non-white people sit around eating bon bons while cashing welfare checks. But the other part of it is a lot of federal benefits are disguised so they don’t match to the public’s image of what a federal benefit looks like, thus allowing them to convince themselves they don’t receive them:

On average, people reported that they had used five social policies at some point in their lives. An individual typically had received two direct social benefits in the form of checks, goods or services paid for by government, like Social Security or unemployment insurance. Most had also benefited from three policies in which government’s role was “submerged,” meaning that it was channeled through the tax code or private organizations, like the home mortgage-interest deduction and the tax-free status of the employer contribution to employees’ health insurance. The design of these policies camouflages the fact that they are social benefits, too, just like the direct benefits that help Americans pay for housing, health care, retirement and college.

 

The use of government social policies cuts across partisan divides. Some policies were used more often by members of one party or the other. Republicans were more likely to have used the G.I. Bill and Social Security retirement and survivors’ benefits, while more Democrats had taken advantage of Medicaid and unemployment insurance. Overall, 82 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans acknowledged receipt of at least one direct social benefit. More Republicans (92 percent) than Democrats (86 percent) had taken advantage of submerged policies. Once we take both types of policies into account, the seeming distinction between makers and takers vanishes: 97 percent of Republicans and 98 percent of Democrats report that they have used at least one government social policy.

In other words, a lot of Republicans get benefits and then live in denial. Not surprising, really. It’s the same reason that a lot of Republicans use contraception, but nonetheless think that it’s just fine and dandy to claim Sandra Fluke is the Biggest Ho Ever because she uses contraception. Part of being a Republican these days is being completely fine with hypocrisy.

This is the sort of study that can drive liberals a little mad. It should be simple. Publish the study, hold Republicans accountable to the facts, watch people who were previously ranting about “welfare queens” abashedly suck it up and vote for Obama upon learning that they, too, are a welfare queen. Instead, what we know is that every Republican has an excuse for what they’re different, and when you start to dig into their excuses, the disgusting stench of bigotry will immediately start to rise up and embarrass everyone, which often causes liberals to change the subject rather than continue to cringe at how mean-spirited and ugly some of our fellow Americans are. But really, we need to stick with it. For the sake of, well, apparently 96% of Americans.

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Just The Messenger

“A Day in the Life of Joe Republican (Conservative)”

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee.

The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.

With his first swallow of coffee, he takes his daily medication.

His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer’s medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance – now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs.

Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient…

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My Take: ‘I’m spiritual but not religious’ is a cop-out

CNN Belief Blog

By Alan Miller, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Alan Miller is Director of The New York Salon and Co-Founder of London’s Old Truman Brewery. He is speaking at The Battle of Ideas at London’s Barbican in October.

By Alan Miller, Special to CNN

The increasingly common refrain that “I’m spiritual, but not religious,” represents some of the most retrogressive aspects of contemporary society. The spiritual but not religious “movement” — an inappropriate term as that would suggest some collective, organizational aspect — highlights the implosion of belief that has struck at the heart of Western society.

Spiritual but not religious people are especially prevalent in the younger population in the United States, although a recent study has argued that it is not so much that people have stopped believing in God, but rather have drifted from formal institutions.

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Lean and Mean Government

the Common Constitutionalist

from: RedState

In the Army we have an expression for an operation that is so big and unwieldy that it has no purpose other than perpetuating itself: “a self-licking ice cream cone.”

By way of Amanda Carpenter in Senator Jim DeMint’s office we discover that after some half century of hard work, federal housing programs have finally reached that state.

According to the GAO, the federal government runs 160 separate housing programs.

Where are they all?

Well, HUD runs the majority of the programs, 91. The United States Department of Agriculture, which also administers farming aid and the nation’s food stamp program, offers 18 different types of housing assistance as well. The Internal Revenue Service has 14 programs. The Department of Treasury offers 8 programs; the Department of Veterans Affairs 7; the Department of Labor 2; Federal Home Loan Banks 3.

Each of these programs has its own bureaucracy…

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One Billion Rising: Ending the Pandemic of Violence Against Women

Just The Messenger

 

by rhrealitycheck
September 28, 2012

Written by Soraya Chemaly for  RH Reality Check . This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the  original post .

Every day, girls and women the world over face a broad range of assaults which, in the aggregate, inhibit equality everywhere. In the United States we are dealing with a legislative assault on women’s rights, well documented  here, that few people understand as a real and violent assault on women’s physical integrity and right to bodily autonomy. More often than not, people think of the “war on women” in the United States as a politically expeditious metaphor when it is not. There is nothing abstract or metaphorical about it. That’s too squeam-inducing for many people to consider. However, in direct and more obvious, “forcible” and “legitimately” recognized ways, women in the United States  experience directly…

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LEAVING THE OBAMACARE FANTASYLAND

LANHEE CHEN | SEPTEMBER 27, 2012

It has become impossible to take seriously the claims that President Obama and his campaign make about what Obamacare will deliver down the road. As Nancy Pelosi famously told America, “we have to pass the health care bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Well they passed it, we are finding out what is in it, and the evidence is clear: Obamacare is failing and will only continue to break the promises and confound the rosy predictions made about it.

Nearly every major promise that the President made about his $2 trillion program has been broken. Key components are failing as quickly as they can reach implementation. And as the Obama Administration careens ahead with its plans, problems are only getting worse.

It turns out that the skeptics who questioned the wisdom of a 2,700 page federal takeover of the national health care system were right after all.

President Obama Has Already Broken Most Major Promises He Made

Keeping Your Insurance. President Obama promised that Americans who like their insurance can keep it. But millions will lose it.

Tax Increases. President Obama promised that middle class families would see no tax increases. But millions will get them anyway.

Cost Control. President Obama promised that Obamacare would help control cost. But no such savings are expected to materialize.

Premium Savings. President Obama promised that premiums would decline by $2,500. But they have increased by $3,000, and even he is no longer claiming such savings for the future.

Medicare. President Obama promised, “not to mess with Medicare”. But seniors will see hundreds of billions in cuts, and millions of them will lose the coverage they rely on.

Key Components Of Obamacare Are Already Failing

CLASS. A new long-term, federally administered insurance program called CLASS was set to begin just this year. The trillions in new spending called for under the health law were to be partially offset from the revenues that this new program would collect. Democrats included this provision despite warnings from both Medicare’s Chief Actuary and the American Academy of Actuaries. Even Democrat Senator Kent Conrad declared that CLASS was a “Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing that Bernie Madoff would be proud of.” So it came as a surprise to literally no one that Secretary Sibelius announced plans to end the program within 19 months of President Obama signing Obamacare into law, admitting “it was unsustainable as the legislation was crafted.”

High-Risk Pools. Acknowledging that promised benefits to America’s most vulnerable wouldn’t actually begin for several years, Obamacare established high-risk pools that were intended to provide temporary access to care. Almost immediately, the program failed to deliver on its promise. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that not enough funding had been allocated and that enrollment would have to be limited to 200,000 people, a far cry from the 375,000 originally estimated. Even with these revised projections, the poorly designed program was destined for failure. As of June, only 77,877 actually enrolled. Worse, the program was already running way over budget. Indeed, despite being significantly under-enrolled, more than a quarter of the high-risk pools are already “running short of cash.”

Accountable Care Organizations. Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) promised to be “organizations formed by groups of doctors and other health care providers that have agreed to work together to coordinate care for people with Medicare.” But the Obama Administration’s regulations were described as “difficult, if not impossible to implement” by 10 medical provider groups who participated in earlier test cases of this heath delivery model. The American Medical Group Association reported then 90 percent of its members “would not participate” in the program as it was originally proposed. It turns out the President doesn’t quite have this health care system figured out, but the regulations keep pouring out.

Medical Loss Ratio. Obamacare contains a provision mandating that insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of premiums paid by beneficiaries on health care services. Instead of providing patients with increased access to care, this new federal mandate has had the exact opposite effect. Five health insurers – including two of the nation’s largest – have stopped selling health coverage in Indiana. The American Enterprise Group has stopped offering some plans in more than 20 states. Meanwhile, rebates for this year have amounted to as little as 0.1% of insurance costs and lead to rebates as low as $1. The ensuing administrative costs and confusion have done little for consumers while imposing significant burdens on small businesses.

Medical Device Tax. Obamacare places a 2.3 percent tax on the sale of medical devices. While that may seem small, the tax is on revenue — not profit – and will impose an extraordinary burden on exactly the type of innovative and growing companies our health care system – and economy – desperately need. New therapies and treatments that patients rely on will be delayed while companies pull back on investment and research and jobs are shipped overseas.

Unconstitutional Medicaid Expansion. Initially, Obamacare held Medicaid funding hostage unless states agreed to dramatically expand their already unsustainable programs. The Supreme Court struck down this mandate, undermining one of the law’s main purported benefits.

The Problems Will Only Get Worse

Rampant Confusion. The Obama Administration has issued already issued 12,000 pages of new regulations, but as implementation dates loom it is consistently missing its own deadlines and states have now been waiting for months for the Administration to provide guidance on how they are expected to proceed.

Disastrous Design. The law’s poorly crafted definition of “affordable” insurance threatens to exclude millions of low- and middle-income Americans from Obamacare’s programs entirely, and its inconsistent treatment of state and federal programs may prevent many of those who do participate from ever receiving the benefits promised.

Broken Medicare. The Medicare Trustees have warned that Obamacare’s $716 billion in cuts “will not be viable.” Medicare’s chief actuary has called them “unrealistic.” At the same time, 15 percent of hospitals and nursing homes would become unprofitable. These are real cuts to real benefits, and they will ultimately jeopardize seniors’ access to care. Meanwhile, the Independent Payment Advisory Board that would supposedly rein in the growth in Medicare costs, is struggling to get off the ground as President Obama refuses to even nominate initial members.

Moving Beyond The Empty Promises

President Obama may want the American people to simply trust his predictions, and the studies put forward by his “experts,” about the exciting future that Obamacare holds. But given his track record, the only reasonable assumption is that everything that can go wrong will go wrong, and that Obamacare will prove to be exactly the big-government disaster its critics have warned.

The choice in this election is not about which candidate will make more grandiose promises about his plans. The choice is about which candidate’s plans will help the American people. By all indications, Obamacare has failed, is failing, and will fail. All at a cost of $2 trillion. Mitt Romney will repeal Obamacare, and replace it with common-sense, patient-centered reforms that actually improve the health care system by promoting competition and innovation, expanding access to care, and controlling cost.

Lanhee Chen, Ph.D., is the Policy Director for Romney For President, Inc.

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