Obamacare: trick, treat or tax?

Posted on November 13, 2013. Filed under: Business, Congress, Economics, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Law, Liberty, Macroeconomis, Microeconomics, People, Philosophy, Politics, Taxes, U.S. Constitution | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Obamacare: trick, treat or tax?

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

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Credit: http://www.wallcg.com

If you think Halloween is scary, you should see the HealthCare.gov website. It is frightening.

When Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, he made a firm pledge to the American people.

“If you who make less than a quarter of a million dollars per year which includes 98 percent of small business owners, you will not see your taxes increase one single dime under my plan — not your payroll taxes, not your income taxes, not your capital gains taxes, nothing. It is time to give the middle class a break. That is what I will do as president of the United States,” Obama said. This was captured in a YouTube video titled “Not a Dime in Tax Increase for Those Earning Less than $250,000.”

Once he was elected, Obama made another promise to the American people.

Obama said, “No matter how we reform healthcare, we will make this promise to the American people; if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your healthcare plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what. My view is that healthcare reform should be guided by a simple principle, fix what is broken and build on what works.” This statement was captured in a YouTube video titled “Obama to AMA keep your doctor and insurance we will build economy.”

On March 23, 2010, Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. Before Obamacare was enacted into law, Obama was interviewed by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. He asked the president, “You were against the individual mandate during the campaign. Under this mandate the government is forcing people to spend money and fining you if you don’t. How is that not a tax?”

Obama said, “…For us to say that you have to take responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it is saying is that we are not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you.”

Stephanopoulos responded, “I do not think I am making it up. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, tax, a charge usually of money imposed on persons or property for public purposes.”

Obama replied, “George, the fact you looked it up Merriam’s dictionary, that a definition of tax increase,   indicates to me that you are stretching it right now.” The entire exchange was captured in the YouTube video titled “Obamacare : FLASHBACK President Obama said Individual Mandate Is Not a Tax (Sept 20, 2009).”

When Obamacare was enacted, 26 states, along with several individuals and others challenged the constitutionality of Obamacare in the courts. They argued that the law was a violation of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which gives the federal government the power to regulate commerce between the states. The Supreme Court ruled that the law could not be upheld under the Commerce Clause. This was the primary argument of the government in arguing for the constitutionality of the law. Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the majority said, “The federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance.”

However, the Supreme Court did accept the government’s tax argument that the individual mandate represented a tax on individuals who choose not the buy health insurance. The Court said, “going without insurance” is “just another thing the government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income.”

Americans are not required to buy health insurance under the individual mandate, according to the Supreme Court in its ruling. However, if you elect not to buy one of Obamacare’s individual metal (bronze, silver, gold or platinum) plans through a state or federal health insurance exchange, you may be subject to a tax penalty or fine by the Internal Revenue Service.

For 2014, the fine is the greater of 1 percent of income or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child up to $285 per family. For 2015 the fine is the greater of 2 percent of income or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child up to $975 per family. For 2016 the fine is the greater of 2.5 percent of income or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child up to $2,085.

Millions of Americans are now finding out from their insurance companies that as a direct result of the passage of Obamacare, they can no longer keep their existing individual plans or doctors. Instead, they have the choice of either purchasing one of the Obamacare metal health insurance plans with much higher premiums and deductibles or pay the IRS fine.

Thanks to Obama the American people believed their taxes would not rise and they could keep their existing health insurance plans and doctors. Obamacare is not a treat, but a trick or tax.

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

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The Missiles of September

Posted on November 13, 2013. Filed under: Economics, Government, Government Spending, Law, Liberty, People, Philosophy, Politics, War, Weapons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Missiles of September

By Raymond Thomas Pronk

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Did Russian President Vladimir Putin abort President Barack Obama’s plan to launch the missiles of September?

In a surprise move on Sept. 9, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, “We are calling on the Syrian leadership to not only agree on placing chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also on its subsequent destruction and fully joining the treaty on prohibition of chemical weapons.”

Lavrov added, “If the establishment of international control over chemical weapons in that country would allow avoiding strikes, we will immediately start working with Damascus.”

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Syria was ready for, “full cooperation with Russia to remove any pretext for aggression.”

Also on Sept. 9 in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Obama said, “It is potentially a positive development. I have to say that it is unlikely that we would have arrived at that point where there are even public statements like that without a credible military threat to deal with the chemical weapons used inside of Syria.”

Diane Sawyer of ABC News asked Obama, “If Bashar Assad yields control of his chemical weapons to an international authority, are we back from the brink? Is the military strike on pause? Obama answered, “Absolutely, if in fact that happened.”

In his televised speech of Sept. 10 on Syria, Obama said, “This initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies. I have, therefore, asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue the diplomatic path.”

In response to Obama’s speech, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said, “Twelve years after we were attacked by al-Qaida, 12 years after 3,000 Americans were killed by al-Qaida, President Obama now asks us to be allies with al-Qaida. Al Qaeda. Americans by a large majority want nothing to do with the Syrian civil war. We fail to see a national security interest in a war between a leader who gasses his own citizens and Islamic rebels who are killing Christians.”

Paul added, “Some argue that American credibility is on the line, that because President Obama drew a red line with chemical weapons, America must act or lose credibility. I would argue that America’s credibility does not reside in one man. If our enemies wish to know if America will defend herself, let them look no farther than our response to 9/11. When attacked, we responded with overwhelming force and with the military objective of complete victory over our attackers.”

On Sept. 9 Charlie Rose on “CBS This Morning” interviewed Bashar al-Assad. Assad denied ordering the use of chemical weapons and said his own troops were attacked by Syrian rebels that used chemical weapons.

Rose asked what repercussions the United States could expect in the event of a strike. Assad replied “You should expect everything. Not necessarily through the government. The government is not necessarily the only player in the region . . .  Expect every action.”

Rose asked, “Including chemical warfare?” Assad replied, “If the rebels or the terrorists in this region have it, it could happen. I don’t know . . .  Nobody expected the 11th of September.”

Ryan Crocker, former ambassador to Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Kuwait, wrote in an article titled “Containing the Fire in Syria” in YaleGlobal Online, “So what are the options? First, to recognize that as bad as the situation is, it could be made much worse. A major western military intervention would do that. And lesser steps, such as a no-fly zone, could force the West to greater involvement if they proved unsuccessful in reducing violence. The hard truth is that the fires in Syria will blaze for some time to come. Like a major forest fire, the most we can hope to do is contain it. And it’s already spreading. Al-Qaida in Iraq and Syria have merged, and car bombs in Iraq are virtually a daily occurrence as these groups seek to reignite a sectarian civil war.”

On Sept. 8, in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on “ABC This Week,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said “I think a military attack is a mistake. One, because I think the administration is proceeding with the wrong objective, and two, because they have no viable plan for success.” Cruz added, “They are beginning from the wrong objective because this attack is not based on defending U.S. national security… I don’t think that’s the job of our military to be defending amorphous international norms.

“Just because Assad is a murderous tyrant doesn’t mean his opponents are any better. … Either the strike is really significant, it weakens Assad and the result is the rebels are able to succeed, and if that happened there is al-Qaida taking over, or Al Nusra taking over, and extremist terrorists getting access to those chemical weapons. That hurts U.S. national security,” Cruz added.

In 2007 then Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) said, “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” Biden’s view was that if President George W. Bush ordered an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities without Congressional authorization, it would be unconstitutional and an impeachable offense.

In poll after poll the American people oppose military intervention in and war with Syria.

In a CNN/ORC international poll of 1,022 adult Americans conducted Sept. 6-8 and released Sept. 9, eight in 10 Americans believe the Assad regime gassed the Syrian people. However, 39 percent favor and 59 percent oppose Congress passing a resolution authorizing military action in Syria for 60 days. Should Congress fail to pass a resolution authorizing the president to use U.S. air strikes against military targets in Syria, 27 percent favor and 71 percent oppose the use of air strikes unilaterally by the president.

The reality is the American people, their representatives in Congress and the United State Constitution aborted the president’s plan to launch the missiles of September.

Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.

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