Friday, March 26, 2010

AT&T Joins Catapillar, Valero, Verizon to Reconsider Health Care Coverage

Oh what a surprise. So much for "If you like your health care coverage, you can keep it!"

(Liar, Liar, pants on fire...)

AT&T will take $1B non-cash charge for health care (3/26/2010 AP via Yahoo Finance)

"NEW YORK (AP) -- AT&T Inc. said Friday it will take a $1 billion non-cash charge in the first quarter related to the health care overhaul.

"AT&T's charge is the largest announced so far. Earlier this week, AK Steel Corp., Caterpillar Inc., Deere & Co. and Valero Energy announced similar accounting charges, saying the health care law that President Barack Obama signed Tuesday will raise their expenses.

"AT&T said the charge is to reflect the change of the tax treatment of Medicare subsidies. Companies say the health care overhaul will make a subsidy that companies receive for retiree drug coverage taxable in 2011.

"AT&T also said it is looking into changing the health care benefits it offers to active and retired workers because of the legislation. Analysts say retirees could lose the prescription drug coverage provided by their former employers." [Emphasis is mine. The article continues.]

Thursday, March 25, 2010

OT: Like A Rolling Stone

[Seems very appropriate for the times we have now...]

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you ?
People'd call, say, "Beware doll, you're bound to fall"
You thought they were all kiddin' you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin' out
Now you don't talk so loud
Now you don't seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?

You've gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street
And now you find out you're gonna have to get used to it
You said you'd never compromise
With the mystery tramp, but now you realize
He's not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And say do you want to make a deal?

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?
You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns
When they all come down and did tricks for you
You never understood that it ain't no good
You shouldn't let other people get your kicks for you
You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain't it hard when you discover that
He really wasn't where it's at
After he took from you everything he could steal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
They're drinkin', thinkin' that they got it made
Exchanging all precious gifts
But you'd better take your diamond ring, you'd better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse
When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What's in Store for the Rest of Us after Health Care "Reform"

It just makes me sick to the stomach to see the stock market keeps going up after the passage of the health care insurance "reform" bill whose various programs will be paid for by reduced Medicare benefits, a whole bunch of new taxes for individuals and businesses on anything from tanning to prescription drugs to medical devices, and insurance premiums which are set to drastically increase (I've already seen the numbers like 40 to 50% increase). National ID cards, vastly expanded IRS power, national computerized database for everything about you including financial information (part of that was passed in the stimulus bill of February 2009, by the way), and who knows what else. They may have revived the "Q-tip tax".

All for covering, supposedly, uninsured Americans, though the number I've heard varies from 40-plus million to mere 8 million. In other words, no one knows for sure. But the government wants to extract $1 trillion from the economy anyway - that's over $3000 for every single American.

This particular government appears hell-bent to extinguish any feeble attempt by what remains of a free market economy to recover. Now that they dump this health care "reform" on the back of the productive segment of the economy, they are eyeing to cause further damage by passing the climate bill to fight the so-called "global warming" which may or may not be happening and which may not be anthropogenic at all.

As this blog reported in the past, the additional tax burden on an average family with the climate bill alone would amount to $1761, by the administration's own admission. (GOP puts the number much higher at $3000.)

CNN's latest poll shows Obama's approval rate hit the lowest. 46% approve his job performance, while 51% disapprove. But that's not all. On health care policy, 58% disapprove, and on federal deficit, 62% disapprove, according to the same CNN poll.

Alas, poll numbers mean nothing to the administration or Congress. They just keep on doing what they've been doing - to inflict pain and suffering.

After the climate bill, it will be immigration, then financial so-called "reform" which would put the Federal Reserve in charge of "protecting" the consumers (fox in a hen house is an understatement). Ducks are lining up.

Nullification, anyone?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Health Care Deform Bill Passes House

What a hard-working Congress we have. Sunday night, no less. It must be triple-overtime with extra donuts.

As always, Drudge Report has a caustic headline. The link goes to an article by AP about the so-called historic vote on health care "reform" which is really an insurance "reform" which is not really a reform but what the heck that's what this administration and its supporters want to call it but in reality it is a huge burden on Americans who will be taxed to death (literally, maybe) to feed the new federal and state bureaucracy with a threat of penalty and jail time and IRS breathing down their neck. (OK let me take a breath.)

Medicare benefits will be reduced (new taxes and benefit reduction are the two sources of "money" to pay for this monstrosity of a reform). People with investment income will be forced to pay Medicare tax on their passive income. Private businesses, big and small, will have hardly any incentive to hire a new employee in the US.

Oh I get it. This is not the health care bill. It is another job bill, albeit a huge (almost $1 trillion) one, except the jobs it will create will be located outside the US, just as the cash for clunkers program boosted foreign auto sales and the so-called stimulus package stimulated employment in China. Domestic job creation resulting from this bill will likely be confined to government jobs, and private sector jobs that deal with the government. What a productive economy we will have.

By the way, the above-linked AP article says "Obama's young presidency received a badly needed boost as a deeply divided Congress passed legislation touching the lives of nearly every American." Why does the writer of the article think it is a boost? Much of the country is still in severe economic recession, and the tone-deaf Congress and the administration pass a legislation that will force people and private businesses to cough up more hard-earned money for the government, the money that could be deployed for more productive use.

Maybe we should start printing our own fiat money, backed by absolutely nothing, just like the Federal Reserve does. And pay to the federal and state governments with that fiat money

The U.S. stock market futures are negative, as you would expect. We'll see if some mysterious buyer(s) appear early in the morning tomorrow. They (Obama and his Plunge Protection Team) had better be propping up the stock market, for it is about the only cheerful thing that has been happening ever since March last year.