Posted tagged ‘government spending’

Updated Unemployment Rate

September 5, 2009

The latest report on the unemployment rate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was released yesterday. If you’re into the “less bad” thing, then this report has some good news for you. Only 216,000 jobs were lost in August. The bad news all around, though, is that the official unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent – the highest rate in 26 years.

Calculated Risk puts it in perspective saying, “The economy has lost almost 5.83 million jobs over the last year, and 6.93 million jobs during the 20 consecutive months of job losses.”

 But worse than that, the Associated Press reported last week that more than 1.3 million people will exhaust their unemployment benefits by the end of the year. The same report puts the number of unemployed at 14.5 million.

And all of the above is based on the official BLS numbers which we all know are only a fraction of the true unemployment numbers. In the real world, where most of us live, the actual rate of unemployment is now around 21 percent.

Visit ShadowStats.com

Courtesy of ShadowStats.com

Not surprisingly, then, government tax collection isn’t going so well.

withholding

And government spending? Like there’s no tomorrow…

spending

None of it bodes well for the immediate future.

“By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes.”
William Shakespeare, Macbeth Act 4, scene1

Health Care Reform Is Not About Health, Care, or Reform

August 22, 2009

lego_ambulanceI have come to the conclusion that health care reform is not about health, care, or reform. And this is why.

We already have a government run health care plan in this country – it is called Medicaid. If Medicaid doesn’t cover enough of the people who can’t afford private health insurance or those who can’t get private health insurance at any price, why aren’t we talking about Medicaid reform?

If the reason is because Medicaid is a broken system that is almost out of funds and is rife with fraud at all levels, then why should we believe that a new public health plan would fare any better?

Any real reform of the health care system in America would need to focus on four key issues:

  • Medicaid reform
    Fix what is broken and expand it to cover more of those who need it.
  • Tort reform
    I find the idea of health courts which would be similar to workers’ compensation courts very intriguing.
  • Tax reform
    Employers are allowed to deduct 100% of the health insurance premiums they pay for their employees. Individuals who purchase their own private health insurance should also be allowed to deduct 100% of their premiums on their income tax returns.
  • Regulation reform
    Allow insurance companies to do business across state lines. At the very least, allow them to offer high-deductible, HSA-qualifying plans nationwide.

By giving little, if any, attention to these key points, the federal government is telling us that health care reform is not really the purpose of the various bills currently floating around Congress. The true purpose is to increase tax revenues because government spending is at historic highs while income (in the form of tax revenues) is at historic lows.

This is why the plans, the House bill in particular, have far more sticks than carrots. Revenue will increase through several measures including:

  • New penalty taxes on individuals who do not have health insurance.
  • New penalty taxes on small businesses that do not offer health insurance to employees.
  • Implied increase in corporate taxes on insurance companies will benefit from the plan by picking up millions of new customers who don’t want to get stuck paying the above penalty taxes.
  • New income taxes on the wealthiest citizens.

Will all that money be spent on health care? Does the Social Security Trust Fund contain any actual money? No. Do seriously wounded veterans get their disabilty checks in a timely manner? No.

Again, why should we believe that an enormous new federal social program and its attendant bureaucracy function any better?

Don’t be fooled by all the rhetoric on either side of the ongoing, heated debate. It’s never been about anything but the money.

Car Dealers Survey: Cash for Clunkers a Failure

August 20, 2009

Car Dealers Survey: Cash for Clunkers a Failure

In a survey of nearly 800 dealers,

  • 97% of dealers who responded, say the government is not reimbursing fast enough
  • 13% of dealers have dropped out the program because the government is not reimbursing fast enough
  • 87% percent of dealers are concerned the money will be exhausted
  • 3% of CARS program deals have been reimbursed
  • 66% of dealers have not received one payment from the government
  • 25% of dealers are experiencing severe cash flow problems that require short-term loans to alleviate
  • 11% of submitted applications have been approved (though dealers still are waiting for the money)
  • 16% of submitted applications have been rejected
  • 55% of dealers are not confident they will get reimbursed for every deal
  • 40% do not want the program to continue, even if changes are made to the CARS program

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You Have Now Worked One Week For Yourself

August 18, 2009

pile-o-moneyFrom January 1, 2009 through August 12, 2009 you’ve been working just to cover the cost of government.

August 12th is the latest date Americans have ever had to work to pay for government spending. The previous record latest date was July20, 1982.

Having just worked over eight out of twelve months for the government, I can’t wait to see how much longer it will take to pay for the addition of government-run health care, should that come to pass.