Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Health Care and the Thinly Veiled Agenda

Terry McKenna continues his series on healthcare and tax reform today. For the rest of the week, we'll be following him through the labyrinthe of the Bush administration's insidious efforts to perpetuate and worsen the robbery of the poor and middle class of this country in the matter of what should be considered one of the inalienable rights mentioned by Mr. Jefferson in his famous document. Unfortunately, the reality is that we are all, but for the very wealthy, in danger of entirely losing access to competent and complete health care. And if you think this is a low-priority issue compared with Iraq, domestic spying, or the environment, think again and imagine what it would be like to have to (for example) pull out your own rotting teeth with a pair of pliers.

And now, Mr. McKenna:

More on healthcare and tax reform.

Here is how they do it. First, they take an idea that has popular appeal – such as tax reform. Then they insert a provision into the mix that seems innocuous. Then – by the time we find out what happened, we have a radical re-ordering of the system that for almost 60 years has provided protection for the majority of American workers.

This is what “they” were charged with:

The Advisory Panel will submit to the Secretary of the Treasury a report containing revenue neutral policy options for reforming the Federal Internal Revenue Code as soon as practicable, but not later than November 1, 2005. These options should:

• simplify Federal tax laws to reduce the costs and administrative burdens of compliance with such laws;
• share the burdens and benefits of the Federal tax structure in an appropriately progressive manner while recognizing the importance of homeownership and charity in American society; and
• promote long-run economic growth and job creation, and better encourage work effort, saving, and investment, so as to strengthen the competitiveness of the United States in the global marketplace.

Nowhere was health care mentioned.

Who are they? They are the right wing cabal who manufactured the Bush presidency, and whose agenda is behind all that has gone wrong over the past few years, from the outsized Federal deficits, to the Iraq war, to bloated Medicare reform – to the mishandling of Hurricane Katrina.

Please go to this website to read the entire document.

The progressive nature is an illusion. I’ll review just one example – but trust me, the entire proposal is salted with tidbits that favor owners and investors over workers and the poor. Whereas under the current system, taxable income for low wage workers is reduced to almost nothing (via the $10,000 standard deduction and the additional deductions for dependents); the new system replaces the standard deduction with paltry credits and forces everyone to use the equivalent of itemization. The proposal is REGRESSIVE not progressive.

Then there is healthcare.

Why would you change the deductibility of employer paid benefits unless you had an agenda?

And what would the agenda be? Tomorrow, the answer to that question, along with a proposal for real reform.

—T. McKenna

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