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Nicole Gelinas
Radicalizing Romney-Ryan « Back to Story

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"Only when the majority of working Americans see how much health insurance actually costs for the little that they get, and stop thinking of it as a perk of working for the Man, will we finally see real health-care reform."

A consideration: why is it that Veterans Administration provides good quality health care at one-third the cost of the median of managed care systems on a per patient-illness basis?

That's from reading the OpenVistA regional summaries. Mayo Clinic has been getting similar results, converging on efficient treatment plans with operations such as the VA clinic system.

Chronic care patients are unique "consumers." That's where the money is. VA's CC patients think they get one helluva lot for the single-payer cost of these services. They are right.

I'm not even sure there's an identifiable market transaction in the Adam Smith model. Not for CC transactions. Managed care loads up these customers with multiple appointments, multiple prescriptions. You know the drill.

Want capitalism? Use capitalism for what it's good for -- not everything.

Btw: we've got a nasty mess over here in Jersey with schools for disability kids. Christie is privatizing the schools out from under the parents and school boards. Privatized-cost = $90,000/year. Public cost = $43,000/year. The money comes out of school boards.
I am an employee of the NYC Transit who at this time wish not to reveal my name by fear of more retaliation and more disciplinary action already underway aginst me by the NYC Transit managers and NYC Transit Upper management for complaining to the DOL and filing a PERB Charge. I hope that you understand my job is on the line however, I am willing to blow whistle and tell who I am and provide all requested and necessary documents from the DOL complaint to the Citation issued to TA by the DOL because of my complaint, the TA President reaction, the TA Senior Vice President reaction, The TA OHS reaction, the TWU reaction and part of the PERB charge brought against TWU Local 100/TA (this proceecing is still in process) and more ... upon request a later time to justify my history. But, To be able to do so, I want to be sure that I am in contact with "Nicole Gilenas" (columnist NY Post). Keep in mind that I am not interested in politics, this is in regart to my employer the NYC Transit and the Transport Workers Union. A portion of that history was reported before by "Tom Topusis" NY Post on Saturday September 9 2000. If Your are Nicole and is interested in helping me by publishing what I am willing not only to tell but to also justify for the public to know, contact me at Thank you
Nicole's ideas have merit on the fairness front: People elected to Government should not have the ability to reward or punish their electors based upon the political class' view of the merits of the electorate's actions.

Eliminate the mortgage and healthcare insurance subsidies. And yes, I have a mortgage and I buy my own healthcare insurance. And no, healthcare is not a "human right."
While watching the McLaughlin Group this morning and their spirited arguments about the choice of Paul Ryan as Romney's running mate, I took your book, After the Fall off of my bookshelf.

Your lucid, even-handed treatment of the financial crisis shows that your ideas should be presented at the forefront of the national debate on regulation and deficit reduction.

I am pessimistic that the voting public will have the self-honesty to recognize what needs to be done and that any effective changes will be implemented.

It is refreshing to read your insights which are free from the shrill, dishonest partisan arguments from both sides of the political spectrum. I wish you the best in your efforts
@lxxxvc: if "healthcare is a human right," how do you, in your infinite, Marxist, utopian vision, expect that healthcare to be delivered? Are you of the opinion that doctors, nurses, internists, lab workers, and such are nothing more than chattel, to be used as necessary and to the extent that allows every freeloading, progressive, lazy Democrat to consume as much health care as 20 people that actually work for a living and take care of themselves? You are a filthy, evil socialist, sir or ma'am. You wish to enslave an entire class of people just for vanity and ego. Across ideological lines, people should ridicule your brand of philosophy and point and laugh at you. Your type is nothing more, nothing less, than a seeker of power and control over your fellow citizens. "Human right?" Indeed. You are evil.
Well Nicole: You take away the deduction for home mortgage interest and you could have chaos. Why would you want to penalize home owners and the incentive to purchase a home and deduct the interest paid just because Barney Frank wanted to give Welfare people an opportunity to go on television and say "Obama is going to make my house payment!" Because that is exactly what happened when the banks were told to loan everyone money whether they had a job to pay the loan or not, why can't you liberals understand, you need to help the ones who help themselves, (WORK) not the ones who have their hands out in every direction to receive free everything from an expanded government....?????
If you eliminate the deduction for mortgage interest there will be some serious complications. Businesses and landlords deduct interest payments because they are real costs of doing business. If you eliminate the ability of landlords and other businesses to deduct interest expenses you are going to cause a great depression. If, on the other hand, a landlord can deduct interest, but a resident home-owner cannot, then the government is subsidizing landlord/rental housing relative to owner-occupied housing. People will get around this problem by swapping houses with a neighbor, each charging the other rent and deducting their mortgage interest.
"The result would be a system in which people used their own money to buy health care on an open market, just as they buy almost everything else."

This is a stupid goal. Health care is a human right, not a consumer product like flat-screen TVs or dishwashers. Further, everyone in society is negatively affected if adequate health care is not assured for ALL. Its importance is such that it should be guaranteed independently of a profit motive.
"out of money that they would otherwise pay in salary"

Don't be absurd. If you think eliminating that deduction would result in higher wages rather than higher profits, you're fooling yourself.
Has anyone studied what would happen to the (already battered) housing market if the mortgage interest deduction was eliminated? Seems to me that it could be disastrous. Wouldn't it be more prudent to do it incrementally over a considerable period of time.
To ThinkAgain:

While I agree that rewarding more children with more free cash is not exactly expressed in the constitution, I recently looked up the amount claimed as EIC and (although it was not for the most recent year) is amounted to less than $50 Bilion...peanuts to the largess that is our federal spending.
In principle abolishing the mortgage interest deduction is fine, but here is the practical effect: millions of us made long-term commitments based on longstanding, stable rules. Abolition of the interest deduction will cause many who are marginally making their nut right now to see their taxes go up by 3-5 thousand per year. Doesn't sound like much except for those riding the red line right now, and there are millions of them who will lose their homes, which will further depress the housing market.

Add to that numer the similar number who could buy a home currently but are forced out of the market by a $4k per year tax hike. It doesn't matter to them if the tax is jacked up now or over ten years, they must account for the full amount when they run the numbers.

I favor a five-year gradual rollout for future home purchases, and a much, much more gradual phaseout for current homeowners who signed their lives away based on an understanding that should be difficult to change quickly.
How about eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit, a tax rebate to people who pay no taxes, another transfer of funds to people who have not earned them?
I have one question: Does Nicole have a mortgage? Or does she live in an apartment in NYC?
Cut spending. Cut government departments and agencies. Eliminate them. Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut. Then you can start selling the public on eliminating tax breaks for individuals and businesses.
Yes, Nicole, wellsaid - particularly your desire to take healthcare out of the sphere of employment. I've found it surprising that this idea hasn't been championed by some political party or political group. Thanks for bringing it to light. -Val
QUOTE: pledge to free Americans from these Washington-devised traps.

Nice idea. Only problem is, Americans do not see the traps, only the bait... like any effective trap
Mr. Devany, I'll answer your question here.

1) A 2% tax on net worth would reduce a retiree's net worth by as much as 40% over a typical 20-year retirement, which is completely absurd -- and ridiculously unfair. How many people would want to have 40% of their lifetime's work going to the government during their retirement?

2) I can assure you I would have never worked harder than, took more risks than, and made more sacrifices than the vast majority of people have if I knew I would ultimately be rewarded for this effort by having the government take 40%+ of my net worth in retirement -- on top of the income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, etc. paid along the way. And I doubt many other entrepreneurs who are the net creators of jobs and wealth in this country would either. Who would be around to pay for all of the entitlements then? You sound like someone who's never had a "real" job in your life... and by that I mean a job that creates "real" value.
It wouldn't be playing safe, that's for sure. The true middle class gets no benefit from the mortgage deduction, because it comes in under the standard deduction. It's a good deal for that portion of the upper class that is politely termed middle class, even though it's handily in the top five percent.

The other deduction, health insurance, is something that benefits everyone who works. And thus, in a sense, no one. A benefit that's universal is self cancelling as the government must raise rates to cover it.

But try explaining that to anyone, much less everyone.
"Between 2010 and 2014, according to Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation, the federal government will spend $659.4 billion on allowing employers to pay for their employees’ health insurance with pretax income and $484.1 billion on allowing..."

Re: health insurance you mean UNTAXED income, not pretax income. This makes it even more outrageous.
This is hysterical, worthy of an SNL skit and even better than The Onion. LMAO!
Eugene Patrick Devany August 13, 2012 at 5:09 PM
Mitt Romney Knows All About
Paul Ryan’s Value Added Tax and
Donald Trump’s Net Wealth Tax

Donald Trump wrote “The Art of the Deal”, helped Mr. Romney lock up the conservative base in the primary, and proposed a national net wealth tax back in 2000. The selection of Paul Ryan shows a brave willingness on the part of Mr. Romney to upset the applecart of government tax and spending reform. Ryan’s boldest tax idea was to replace the corporate income tax with an 8 ½% value added tax.

In truth, the details of Ryan’s plan were not well thought out because although the VAT would have worked for C corporations, it would have been a disaster for pass-through businesses that pay income taxes at the individual rates of the business owners. The House Republican’s latest proposal is for two income brackets of 10% (for those who also subject to the 15% payroll taxes) and a 25% bracket for high earners. Anyone who can add 10 and 15 is able to see the striking similarity with the proposed flat tax of Steve Forbes. Of course, the Republican bill retains enough tax expenditures for high earners that it could make Mr. Forbes blush. These are presumably intended for later compromise with the Democratic opposition because Mr. Ryan knows how to “Deal”.

Mr. Romney’s tax reform outline, with its 20% across the board tax cut, contains some of the same features as the Republican plan. Unfortunately, Mr. Romney’s desire to include the middle class in the 20% cut was shown by the Tax Policy Center to be mathematically suspect as a result of an analysis of likely tax expenditures that would be eliminated to make the package revenue neutral.

The best part of Mr. Romney’s tax reform outline may be its lack of finality and his selection of Mr. Ryan only adds to the conclusion that all options may still be on the table. Mr. Romney may be destined to join bold ideas like a VAT (Ryan) and net wealth tax (Trump) together. Innovation is what Romney does best. Just think “Bain-RomneyCare-Olympics” and it becomes easy to imagine a new American approach to tax reform:

For Business – an 8% income tax and 4% VAT
For Individuals – an 8% income tax and 2% net wealth tax (excluding $15,000 cash, and retirement funds)

The 2-4-8 tax blend resolves the five major problems in today’s economy generally overlooked by other tax reforms:
• Payroll taxes of 15% discourage new job creation [new jobs without government spending!]
• Social Security and Medicare consume too much of the income tax base [new base low rates!]
• The wealth gap is the result of the tax code which left half the country with only 3.6% of the net wealth in 1995 and by 2010 it was only 1.1% ($584 billion) [wealth redistribution corrected!]
• Tax expenditures are secret transfers (computed only on private tax returns) which each year redistribute $1.3 trillion - twice the wealth owned by half the country [loopholes eliminated!]
• Capital gains and estate taxes inhibit business reinvestment [both taxes unnecessary!]

Let us know at if you can identify a logical, legal or economic reason why this 2-4-8 Tax Blend would not produce a sustainable economic recovery as promised. Otherwise, let your representatives in Washington know that you expect them to support bold tax reform or die trying by simply forwarding a copy of this comment.

Eugene Patrick Devany, JD, MPA