Thursday, April 15, 2010

My View

Random thoughts from a warped and fevered mind...

The tax day has now come and gone, and most of us feel the pain of the growing tax bite that the Federal government extracts from our income. Realize this, no matter how much the government collects in taxes, it will not be enough to cover the rapidly growing federal expenditures. And because of this, Congress will be looking for additional sources of revenue from the 53% of the citizens that earn income. Listen to this quote from Michael Linden, Director of tax policy for the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank, "It's equity... but it's also about responsibility. We have a big problem we are facing in this country in terms of a large budget gap (read: deficit) going forward. And I believe that the wealthy in this country have the responsibility to solve this problem." Oh, really? Who created this problem? To address this "problem" the President is going to propose raising tax rates for singles making more than $200,000 per year and for couples making more than $250,000. Your income taxes are going up, because it will not just be these top brackets that are increased, but all brackets. Also, look for capital gains taxes to go up from 15% to at least 20%, perhaps higher. And look for a Value Added Tax (VAT) to be proposed later this year. A VAT is nothing more than a national sales tax. Want to solve this "problem"? The first place to start is to control government spending.

I can't afford to go on a vacation this year. I just paid my taxes. I will just stay home and let my mind wander.

Within the next ten years, there will be a shortage of primary care physicians in this country. It is estimated that there will be a shortage of approximately 45,000 primary care doctors by the year 2020. Why is this? There are two reasons. First, primary care physicians are being squeezed by insurance and Medicare cuts, meaning that, in many cases, they will lose money by seeing a patient. This is simple economics: if a doctor loses money by seeing a Medicare patient, or an insured patient with insurance that does not cover costs, why continue to see those patients. Many medical school students are opting into specialties rather than general medicine for the simple reason that they make more money as a specialist than a general physician. The recently passed socialized medical bill boosts Medicare payments to primary care physicians by 10%, but this is not enough to cover the rising costs of a medical practice. The second reason is there is a shortage of resident positions at teaching hospitals. Medicare funding pays a large portion of the costs of a residency position at these hospitals, but Congress imposed a funding cap on medical residencies in 1997. Consequently, teaching hospitals have not expanded the number of residency positions. This means that an aging population will face a shortage in primary care doctors, and this will translate into longer wait times and more limited access to health care. And this will hurt the quality of healthcare that you and I receive.

I asked God for a bike, but really, I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

Pushed to the back burner, but lurking in the halls of Congress is the Cap and Trade bill. Simply put, this bill will impose much higher fees and taxes on utilities and business that are deemed to be polluters. Those businesses are those that use coal (most utilities) and energy companies such as oil producers and refiners. Ostensibly, this is designed to get businesses to reduce their greenhouse emissions. Realistically, this bill, if it passes, will result in a massive tax increase on you and me. It is estimated that if this bill passes, the price of gas at the pump will go up by .27 per gallon immediately due to a tax on motor fuels, according to Point Carbon, an energy consulting company. It is also estimated that the average U.S. household will see a $3-6,000 annual increase in total utility costs. You read that correctly. Also affected will be thousands of jobs in the energy and transportation industries. It is apparent that our  Congressional leaders and the White House are divorced from economic reality.

Is IHOP where all the one legged waitresses work?

And that, my friends, is my view.

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