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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good

Russell Decker: Russell stood up against wasteful corporate welfare even when Hollywood was involved. Now, that is putting principles before politics.

Bernie Sanders: Ole Bernie took the Dems at their word. He thought it was common sense to have some transparency with drug and trade organization donations.

Sen. John Lehman: Lehman had the radical notion that businesses filing bankruptcy should pay their employees back wages before other debts.

Cory Mason: Mason is pushing an idea whose time has come, indexing the minimum wage to inflation.

Bernie Sanders: Yes, I know your local liberal media didn’t even mention it. Bernie sponsored a bill which would have decreased Wisconsin’s property tax by $200,000,000. All that was required was getting rid of the Bush tax cut. Thanks to 11 Democrats and every damn Republican this common sense measure did not make it through the Senate.

While we are certainly lucky to have so many good proletariats this month our winner is good ole Bernie. He is quickly becoming the voice of common sense in the U.S. Senate.

The Bad Seth of In Effect left any competition in the dust. Maybe it should not surprise me that Seth pushed a plan that solves little health care related, but does allow Doyle to divert Medicare costs to taxpayers. It is also worth noting the primary motive of the plan is to hand out more corporate tax breaks.

The Ugly

Will of Method and Machine is our Neo Crybaby of the Month. Will’s Orwellian mind set is that the Employee Free Choice Act is the end of Democracy as we never knew it Oh, yes the American workforce experiences such an abundance of democracy this will certainly put them over the top.




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18 responses to “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  1. Oh, Nate. I know there’s little point in engaging you on this since, just like those on the far right who comment on my blog, you’ve made clear that your mind is made up and that’s that.

    But it does trouble me to see falsehoods spread on a topic as important and pressing as health care reform.

    For starters, I imagine you mean Medicaid costs, not Medicare costs. And, second, how exactly does the WHP shift costs onto taxpayers? What the plan proposes is using the employer/employee assessment to fund the state’s share of Medicaid coverage, thereby replacing the use of GPR dollars for that purpose. GPR money mostly comes from income taxes. The employer/employee assessment essentially will be a payroll tax. How exactly does this change hurt the taxpayer?

    As for what to do with the GPR money, the proposal recommends cutting taxes for businesses and doubling the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income workers. Since that’s who the employer/employee assessment would hit the hardest, it makes sense to provide some relief in those areas using the revenue that the assessment is replacing. What’s so underhanded about that? The relief is an effect of the policy, not the purpose of it.

  2. Its like this you pay x% of taxes. Of that 10 million or so is spent on Medicaid and Badger Care. You further increase payroll taxes for a health care program which in turn funds the 10 million in the general fund. You use that surplus for business tax breaks and a very minor EIC.

    To me it seems like typical Doyle, like the money in the PSC fund.

    If you read the bill you’d have found out its major purpose is taking care of the state Medicaid deficit.

    Personally, I think its real sad and why the Dems are incapable of leading on this issue.

  3. What state Medicaid deficit?

    A minor EITC increase? The proposal is to double it.

    Employers are getting payroll taxes of between 3 and 12 percent under the WHP. Employees are getting a payroll tax of 2 percent. Clearly the bulk of the assessment is going to hit employers and low-income employees, which is why those groups would be getting the benefits of the GPR money that’s being replaced.

    Like I said above, Nate, it’s clear that no matter what I say or what you read, you just don’t like this plan.

  4. You’re right I don’t. Here’s why.

    proposes to use this funding to cut the following taxes on Wisconsin businesses and individuals:
    • eliminate the personal property tax paid by businesses,
    • phase out the corporate income tax.

  5. Although I imagine it’s easier to just ignore those points that don’t fit your argument, I think you meant to cut-and-paste this from the WHP concept paper…

    proposes to use this funding to cut the following taxes on Wisconsin businesses and individuals:
    • eliminate the personal property tax paid by businesses,
    • double the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income workers,
    • phase out the corporate income tax.

    If the assessment funding is mostly coming from employers, it makes sense that a good portion of the GPR savings should go back to them, along with a significant porition for low-income workers who will be affected the most by the 2 percent employee assessment. I don’t know how it could make any more sense.

  6. Seth to you it makes sense , to me its not common sense. That’s the argument here. To put it frankly you think like a Republican. You would see a system that taxed everyone $5000 fair, I would see it grossly unfair.

    1. One of the reason we pay these grossly high property taxes is because business got taken off the roles. By excluding personal property taxes cities and counties will take an even larger hit.

    2. Right now we should be increasing the corporate tax and alleviating the crunch on low income and middle income families.

    You call this fairness. You’re a number cruncher. I deal with them all the time, its the numbers not the human lives that are important.

  7. Wow, Nate. That’s a broad brush you’re using there.

    I wouldn’t like a system that taxes everyone $5000. I’m very much in favor of our progressive tax system, and I think the Bush tax cuts should most definitely be rolled back to make it more progressive.

    If we weren’t asking employers to be the primary funders of universal health care — in other words, health care for both working and non-working people — I would agree the corporate tax and personal property tax for businesses should be maintained. But what the WHP is proposing is essentially swapping the corporate tax and the personal property tax for businesses (not to be confused with all property taxes on businesses) for the 3-12 percent employer assessment. All businesses would be getting is the replaced GPR money; in other words, it would be revenue-neutral for other taxpayers.

    If you’re looking for a difference between us, Nate, it’s that I don’t make broad strokes with my ideology or values. If it makes sense to reduce or eliminate certain taxes on businesses — such as when you’re creating a new kind of business tax as a replacement, particularly when the new revenue stream is dedicated to a social service program like universal health care — then I’ll back it. You, somehow, read that to mean I always support reduced business taxes, which is just as ridiculous to me as those on the far right who show up on my blog claiming that I’m pushing socialist medicine because I back more government regulation of the health care market.

    Another difference between us is that I see the importance of trying to influence public policy proposals rather than just criticize them if they have one or two points — and, in this case, peripheral points — that I don’t like. If you think the proposal to use the replaced GPR money to eliminate personal property taxes for businesses will increase property taxes for individuals, then why not raise that point in a constructive way with the WHP authors? There’s a contact section on the WHP website for this. I suggested a far right commenter on my blog to do that and he received a response from WHP associate director Lisa Ellinger with a couple of days that addressed his concerns.

    You could tell your readers your concern and explain that you’re going to check with the WHP authors for a response. Based on the response you get, you could do a follow-up post on whether you feel you points of concern were adequately addressed (along with following up with the WHP authors if you think they weren’t). This would be a far more productive discussion than ranting about Medicaid deficits that don’t exist and the shifting Medicaid costs onto taxpayers that just wouldn’t happen.

  8. Seth,

    1. Where in the plan does it state anything about a neutral swap. Are you making stuff up again. Businesses have varying degrees of personal property tax, where is that taken into account. Even from a straight business perspective it is not fair.

    2. Every time I turn around you are pushing some fee or regressive taxation measure. What progressive taxation are you in favor of that you would not negotiate away.

    3. Repealing all corporate taxes is grossly unfair. Currently the corporate tax rate drastically raises taxes on small business and citizens.

    4. I am well aware that anything economic you would negotiate away. Seth you are being grossly dishonest in that this is somehow about willingness to work in the system or be an independent voice. I have enormous respect for Bernie Sanders and he continually works in the system.

    As always you make a false dichotomy. It has nothing to be with you being in bed with politicians but about the essence of your values. Look through your posts, on social issues you have strong opinions that you have no desire to waffle away, but when you discuss economic issues you are a different political creature. In other words Seth, on economic issues you show your class or lack of it.

  9. Making up the neutral swap? Did you bother to read the sentence that preceded the one you cut-and-paste from the WHP concept paper above?

    Here it is in full:

    “As explained above, under the Wisconsin Health Plan proposal the state government no longer pays the $500 million GPR spent each year for family Medicaid and BadgerCare. The Wisconsin Health Plan proposes to use THIS FUNDING to cut the following taxes on Wisconsin businesses and individuals:
    • eliminate the personal property tax paid by businesses,
    • double the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income workers,
    • phase out the corporate income tax.”

    I put the pertinent part in italics and all caps for you.

    And I’d like you to point out one thing that I have made up, Nate, during any of our discussions. Any of them. Your use of the word “again” suggests I have a history of making things up. Tell me when. All of our discussions are online, it shouldn’t be tough to find one, so have at it.

    It’s absolutely amazing to me that you’d say I make things up when in the comments just above you discussed a state Medicaid deficit that doesn’t exist. Just unbelievable.

    I knew engaging you on this was just going to result in you making this discussion about my supposed conservativism rather than the actual topic at hand. You can’t defend the points you made in your post with solid evidence, so you turn to claiming that it’s all about my ideology and values, or supposed lack thereof. Well done.

  10. Thanks. And its a good reminder never to do a swap with you. A plan that raises taxes on individuals and businesses and in turn you want to give a tax break to corporations which will in turn raise taxes paid by individuals and businesses.

  11. One of these days, Nate, you’re going to have to explain to me how a plan that discriminates against the unemployed and the disabled fits in with your pillar of social justice.

  12. It doesn’t. When did I ever say it did? It Seth not me pushing this plan. From the concept paper,

    Participation: Who is Covered?
    The Wisconsin Health Plan covers all Wisconsin residents less than 65 years of age, with a few
    exceptions. The plan does not cover any person who:
    • has resided in Wisconsin less than six months (newborns with parents who have lived in
    Wisconsin for six months are covered);
    • claims residency in another state or jurisdiction for Wisconsin income tax purposes;
    • is institutionalized;
    • is an employee of the federal government; or
    • is eligible for Medicaid or BadgerCare (see more on this in the “Merging Programs”
    section below).

  13. I was talking about the AFL-CIO plan, which only covers you if you’re employed.

  14. I’m not positive, but I think Dave was referring to the Wisconsin Health Care Partnership Plan, not the WHP.

  15. Wow. How’s that for timing.

  16. Yes that is certainly a defect in both plans. I think its a given that everyone should be covered. Personally I think the WHCPP has a better governing structure in place. It acknowledges the waste of having a multitude of plans. WHP in contrast goes in the opposite direction, believing having more insurance plans will somehow reduce costs.

  17. Actually, it doesn’t, but…

    Eh, it’s pointless arguing with you. It’s hard to respond to someone who doesn’t actually argue the facts, but rather his mental caricature of a thing.

  18. What facts are you talking about? Are you saying WHCPP doesn’t have a better governing structure or WHP doesn’t rely on competition in the hope of keeping costs down.

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