Archive for April, 2010

health care for the masses

April 2, 2010

This health-care reform bill has had many detractors, but the primary right-wing complaint is that this is a ‘tax the rich so the poor can have better care’ bill. It has been labeled wealth redistribution by the high-priest of right-wing punditry, Glenn Beck.

The main reason for this is that people who make more than 250K in a family or individuals who make more than 200K will pay more taxes. But, that is missing the point. The country already has a progressive tax structure, where the higher your income is, the more taxes you pay. When we bought our Prius 4 years ago, one critical consideration was the potential for a $3000 tax credit. When we filed our taxes that year, we found out that the IRS thought that our income was too high and we had to pay AMT, which is bad in itself, but it also meant that we didnt qualify for the tax credit on the car.

Does the Prius emit any more CO2 if the person driving it is in AMT? No. But, we live in a society with a progressive tax structure. It is also well known that the greater your income, the greater the potential for you to increase your income. I am willing to bet that the incomes of the people who have to pay this extra tax will increase much faster than the incremental tax rate that bill envisages.

The bi-partisan CBO estimates that this will cost about 940 billion over the first 10 years. The same bi-partisan CBO estimates that the eventual cost of the iraq war will be $2.4 trillion. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_cost_of_the_Iraq_War

The irony is right there in front of us. The right-wing will have us believe that a wasteful 2.4 trillion war that has cost thousands of american lives was ‘worthwhile’ because of ‘patriotic’ reasons even when there was no evidence of Iraq having any connection to 9/11.

Whereas, a health-care reform bill that supposedly will cost $940 billion is bad because it is socialism because it is funded by taxing the folks with incomes much higher than the average per-capita income in the country. This in spite of the fact that the reform may have an outside chance of actually changing the lives of millions of people in this country.

To net it out, it is ok to spend 2.4 trillion on a completely flaky endeavor that kills 1000s of American soldiers, but it is not ok to spend 940 billion to give a larger number of people a chance to lead a healthier life.

That is Glenn Beck’s America for you..

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