Friday, August 28, 2009

A Republican Response to the Rich Hiding from Taxes

I posted a link to an article about UBS handing the IRS a list of tax evaders with Swiss bank accounts on Facebook. I suggested that the IRS throw the book at these unpatriotic tax evaders and got this e-mail from a conservative whose anonymity I will preserve here. I'll post my response shortly:


Theoretically you are right, I really agree that those big tax evaders
should be made to pay up. However I have a few issues:

$20 billion divided over 19,000 accounts (from the article cited by you) breaks down for about $1 million per person (not hundreds of millions). It is still true that the avoided tax is a few times larger then the tax “mistakes” Geithner and Daschle made, but consider that they are not “ingenue”s but financial experts in the highest financial positions of the country. They did get away by claiming “honest mistakes” that is totally ridiculous. And not just simply they got away, but were nominated/appointed to high offices). Everyday Jack and Joe are audited for minor mistakes and prosecuted. It is like putting the wolf to guard the sheep. There should be 1 law for everyone (that unfortunately includes those weasels with the USB accounts.) The IRS lost the right to go after tax evaders when they accepted the “honest mistake” claim from leading political figures.

Also, due to space restriction on facebook I did not even mention Charles Rangel, the Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, and a Deputy Whip (look it up on Google: Mr. Rangel, who has a net worth of $566,000 to $1.2 million, according to Congressional disclosure records occupies 4 rent-stabilized apartments in New York city -the very few rent-controlled and rent-stabilized apartments are for small income families.

Rangel has admitted to a no-interest loan along with $75,000 in income from a rental villa in the Dominican Republic and said that he plans on repaying the owed money for his federal tax evasion.

According to the House Ethics Committee Rangel’s use of nearly $80,000 worth of campaign funds to pay his son for a sub-par website is against House Rules

According to the House Ethics Committee Rangel failed to report 28 instances of acquiring, owning, or disposing of assets between $239,026 and $831,000. These assets appeared and disappeared from his disclosures without notice,as House rules, at the time, demanded.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Arguing with Republicans over a public health insurance OPTION

I've been arguing with Republicans about including a public option in the current health-care reform proposals. Here's how the argument seems to go:

Republican: We can't have a public option, the government is going to ration health care. They'll decide your life isn't valuable enough, refuse to pay, and you die. I read that if Steven Hawking had lived in England the Government would have pulled the plug on him and let him die.(1)

Me: Your care is rationed now, by an insurance company that profits if you die. Walk in front of a bus and they can decide to cancel your coverage because you forgot to tell them about the doctor you visited for a wart ten years ago. If you don't like the way government rations health care, you can stick with the insurance company that rations your care now. By the way, Hawking is British and has lived there his whole life.

Republican: But it'll be the government running it. They can't do anything right.

Me: They won two world wars, the cold war, put a man on the moon, funded DARPANET (which turned into the Internet), educated a generation with the GI bill, and built the Interstate highways.

Republican: Yeah, but they will be inefficient because the government is running it.

Me: Why is that?

Republican: Because the free market always does things more efficiently.

Me: Leaving aside the recent debacle in the financial sector, the government is better at collecting debt (2) and more cost effective at delivering medical services, look at the (3)Medicare Advantage Program.

Republican: Everyone will love the Government program so much, that private insurance will be destroyed.

Me: You mean the inefficient, bureaucratic, rationing system will be so loved that by everyone the free market system won't be able to compete?

Republican: This plan doesn't address the real root of the problem.

Me: No, it get the 46 million uninsured into the insurance system, stops you from losing healthcare if you lose your job, stops you from being unable to buy insurance if you have a pre-existing condition, and makes an attempt (which I'll admit is weak) to begin to control costs.

Republican: No, the problem is run away malpractice suits make Medicine too expensive.

Me: Malpractice costs are less than 2% of total healthcare spending(4).

Republican: There aren't really 46 million uninsured. That includes illegal immigrants.

Me: Of the 46 million uninsured, only a fifth are immigrants (5). I think that we'd all agree that legal immigrants deserve the right to health insurance, but assuming that we want legal immigrants to be left out of our insurance system, that leave 37 million citizens with no health insurance. A number that is growing. We've got to do something about it.

Republican: Yeah, but whatever we do we can't have a public option, the government is going to ration health care. They'll decide your life isn't valuable enough, refuse to pay, and you die.

(1) "Hawking is British and has lived there his whole life. He’s a professor at Cambridge for crying out loud."

(2) "The study – supported by an independent review -- showed that it is reasonable to conclude that when working similar inventory, IRS collection is more cost effective than the contractors."

(3) "The plans now cost the government about 14% more per person than does regular Medicare, according to a recent analysis by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, which recommends reimbursement rates to Congress."

(4) "represents less than 2 percent of overall health care spending."

(5) "Mr. Rove claims that one-fifth of the uninsured are illegal aliens. I can’t find the basis for this claim (which, if the numbers in the latest Census report are correct, implies that all noncitizens are illegal immigrants)."