The birth of our nation originated from the idea that citizens should not be taxed by governments in which they have no political voice.  “No taxation without representation” was the battle cry of colonists in 1773 when in Boston, whopping war chants, they marched two-by-two to the Boston wharf where they descended upon the three ships in the port and proceeded to throw the offending cargoes of tea into the waters.  The reason for the rebellion, known as the Boston Tea Party in response to the Townsend Acts imposed by Great Britain, has been etched over the years in the hearts and minds of school children as an event of critical and lasting importance in American History.

No-Taxation-Without-Representation

The Market Fairness Act of 2013, often referred to as the “Internet sales tax” bill, aims to change what had been a fundamental bedrock principle of our nation, even before she was able to throw off her shackles to Great Britain to become a stand alone, free and independent nation.

Although sales taxes are already collected for the vast majority of online sales, the Market Fairness Act, fashioned under pressure from retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, Macy’s and Best Buy, opens the way for states to collect sales taxes from each other.

During the weekend of March 23-24 — in what was dubbed a “Voterama” session — the Senate passed an amendment (75 to 24), assuring the bill’s survival as a stand alone bill empowering states to tax online sales (Procedurally, sixty votes are needed to schedule a full debate on a bill later on in the season.).

A favorable vote outcome could mean that states would have the blessing of the federal government to chase revenues outside their border.  Heretofore retailers were only required to collect sales taxes in states where they have a physical presence.  The Marketplace Fairness Act requires retailers to pay sales taxes to any state from which an Internet user placed an order, even if the company’s headquarter, warehouses and sales staff are located entirely in other states.

The process of subjecting online retailers (Internet entrepreneurs) to 10,000 local tax jurisdictions is by itself a terrible idea. It turns every out-of-state retailer into a sales tax collector in what amount to nationally mandated Internet sales tax on businesses.

Regarding individual states, it allows an extension of state power into other states by allowing states to impose taxes in a way that favors their local business over out-of-state firms having no representation in the taxing state.  This taxation without representation is also antithetical to our federalist system which promotes competition among states in creating the best economic policies.

It only makes sense that small businesses will be hurt more than larger firms when complying with individual state tax laws, which may be arcane and require costly accounting and technology teams to work through the laws.  An exemption for companies with less than $500,000 in annual sales represents but a low threshold to meet and will discourage businesses from growing.  The same might even encourage businesses to move overseas or be regulated out of business.

The Marketplace Fairness Act, like so many laws introduced in the Senate, are the product of tax-hungry politicians.  Why then do some Republican support the Act?  Might the dollar signs envisioned by legislators through an increased tax source for their financially-strapped state cloud the realities of what the bill purports?

Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois was one of twenty-six Republicans who supported the measure, as predictably did Illinois’s senior senator, Democrat Richard Durbin. The measure, if passed, will basically “grow government all over the country, hurt low-tax states, impose taxation without representation, saddle small businesses with collecting taxes for 10,000 distinct tax jurisdictions, and adulterate the freest most successful entity know to man.”

Although it is not known when the Marketplace Fairness Act will be scheduled for debate on the Senate floor, it is perceived that Republican opposition to the bill is soft.  Having Republicans on record for the bill — our own Mark Kirk here in Illinois — can provide accountability to them while showing ever watchful House members that they must have no part of the Internet sales tax, and that they shouldn’t even think about moving the bill in the House.

Granted, states do have the power to raise taxes which they do at their own risk, a notable example being Illinois, but these taxes should affect citizens and businesses within their own political jurisdictions.  States should be focusing on cutting spending, lowering taxes and creating good business environments to attract new companies and jobs.

Contact Senator Mark Kirk and let him know that voting for the Market Fairness Act bill when it reaches the Senate floor for debate would be unwise and foolish to do.  It would bring far more harm to Illinois than the monetary benefits realized from taxing the Internet.

Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

Pin It!

Advertisements

 

Peirce and Happer 010

Professor Happer (left)  and Steve Goreham, author of:  “The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism”

 

Professor William Happer, a distinguished professor of physics at Princeton University and a Global Warming Skeptic, was invited to speak at Argonne Lab on Friday, March 22, at a Physics Division Colloquium hosted by Dr. Richard Chasman, post retirement Research Participant at Argonne National Laboratory.  http://www.phy.anl.gov/theory/staff/rrc.html


Profession Happer created quite a stir back in 2011 when he published an essay strongly critical of global warming alarmism in a 2011 issue of First Things.  Professor Happer’s original First Things article can be found at http://www.firstthings.com/article/2011/05/the-truth-about-greenhouse-gases . This second link displays a slightly revised version published for an European audience:  http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2012/08/Happer-The_Truth_About_Greenhouse_Gases.pdf

It was during the prior week on Friday March 15, that President Obama had traveled to Argonne in a 747 with a message that spoke of weaning this nation from its dependence on oil to favored green energy sources.  Obama’s Argonne visit was in line with his politically-motivated green energy push, based on a belief that man-made Global Warming exists and is a threat to mankind.   http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2013/03/obamas-don-quixote-like-pursuit-of-green-energy.html 

As a prelude to Professor Happer’s Argonne visit, through introductory information, Happer offered the following heads up about the nature of the remarks he planned to make during his Argonne visit:  http://heartland.org/events/physics-prof-william-happer-global-warmth...

“I intend to review some of the facts about climate, the plateau of surface temperatures over the past decade or two, a bit of paleoclimate, some of the basic physics of the greenhouse effect, etc.  I think the observational record is crystal clear that models have greatly exaggerated the warming that increased CO2 will cause.  It is likely this is the result of many factors, all fudged to make the warming look more frightening.  the most obvious suspects are water vapor feedback, clouds, and direct radiative forcing.

Professor Happer’s selected topic, Why Has Global Warming Paused?, had two distinct sections defined by Happer as the “forest” and the “trees.”   Happer’s  “forest” comments made sense to the lay person, but when his comments gave way to discussing the “trees,” a back ground in physics was required, which was the situation with most of the attendees.

A slide displayed on a screen in front of the auditorium near the end of Professor Happer’s presentation, however, was helpful in summing up the reasons expressed in detail by Happer in his talk, expressly, why global warming has paused.  Reasons given:

  • Qualitatively, more CO2 almost certainly causes some warming.
  • Complicated physics makes it difficult to quantify the warming.
  • Essentially all of the warming and coolings before 1900 were were natural.
  • Much of the warming of the past century was probably natural.
  • The radiative forcing from more CO2 has probably been overestimated
  • One possible reason, poorly modeled far-wing lineshapes, has been discussed.
  • Feedback from water vapor and clouds may have been over-estimated, too.
  • Contributions from long term natural cycles have probably been underestimated.

               The Sun
Cosmic Rays
Pacific Decadal Oscillation
Atlantic Meridional Oscillation
etc, etc.

 

During Professor Happer’s “forest” talk segment, many of his short summation slide statements listed above were flushed out in detail, resulting in these salient thoughts, much like frosting on a cake:

 

1. Co2 Levels have been much higher than current levels, typically several thousand parts per million, during most of the last 550 million years, the geological time span when higher life forms developed.

 

2.  Increasing atmospheric CO2 has been demonized for years as supposedly leading to catastrophic Global Warming, yet there has been little Global Warming for 15 years.  Why?  Because there are many other factors which impact the earth’s temperature as much or more than CO2.

 

3. The earth warms and cools in cycles.  A warming period began 200 years ago.  When John Muir, the first president of the Sierra Club, traveled to Glacier Bay in 1879 he found that it had lost most of the ice that had filled the Bay around 1790, when Vancouver first mapped it.  By 1900 there was very little ice left.  This was clearly a natural event that had nothing to do with CO2.  http://www.isset.org/site_of_the_month/glacier_bay/glacierbay.script.html

 

4.  Following a cooling phase from about 1940 to 1980, there was a warming phase from about 1980 to 2000.   

 

5. Clouds are big drivers of climate.  Low clouds reflect sunlight and tend to cool the surface.  Thin, high Cirrus Clouds cause warming. 

 

6.  During the 80′s there was an increase in the Global Mean Temperature by a few tenths of a degree C, but since 1998 there has been little change in temperature, even though CO2 levels have continued to rise.

 

7.  Even the mass media is beginning to notice that things are not working out as predicted.  Der Spiegel on January 19 finally got around to conceding that global warming has ended, at least for the time being.  http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/der-spiegel-scientists-baffl...

 

8.  CO2 is only one of many gases in the atmosphere which include:  Nitrogen, Oxygen, Water vapor, CO2, Ozone, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide.

 

9.  The CO2 absorption bank is “saturated” in the sense that doubling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will not double the greenhouse warming from CO2, but will cause only a small additional warming.

 

10. Because its absorption bands cover a larger part of the thermal emission spectrum of the earth, water vapor is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.  Most water vapor condenses out to droplets or ice crystals in the lower atmosphere, so there is much more uncertainty on how changes of water vapor will increase or decrease the direct warming from CO2.  The amplified warming assumed by many models does not seem to agree with observations. 

 

11.The commonly used Voigt Profile for the resonance absorption lines of CO2 exaggerates the warming potential by a factor of about 1.4.  Modeling climate change discussed at http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-models.htm

 

This final statement made by Professor William Happer is one that all thinking individuals should abide by who are not about to succumb to those who allow emotions to rule, or to those individuals who insist on using bogus science, rather than scientific truth and evidence, to reach conclusions:

 

“I am in revolt against the age-old lie that the majority is always right.”  From Ibsen “An Enemy of the People.”

 

 

 

ThornerBy Nancy Thorner –

 

At one time it was the norm for House Conservative Republicans to employ “ammunition” they had at their disposal to confront and stifle GOP House leadership. This ammunition was tied to the procedure required in passing spending bills. Although talking about procedure might be so “inside the beltway talk,” it must be understood  to perceive how conservative Republicans are frittering away power they once held over House leadership.

Basically, U.S. House members must initially vote for a “rule” (sometimes called a procedural vote) before any bill can come up for a vote. “Rules” set the amount of time for debate and the type and number of amendments that can be offered, if any. Rules are often added that essentially cuts off debate and disallow amendments from being added. Accordingly, controlling the rules process becomes paramount to controlling the bill. In essence, it is during the rules process where the fate of a bill is often determined.

As Rep. John D. Dingell, Michigan Democrat, once said, “If you let me write the procedure, and I let you write the substance, I’ll [beat] you every time.” http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/11/its-time-to-break-some-rules-in-congress/?page=all

Since being sworn in Rep.Matt Salmon (R-5th, AZ), having represented Arizona twice in the U.S House, first elected in 1994 when he served three terms, Rep. Salmon has found Congress to be more dysfunctional than ever.  It is unable to deal with the mounting, unsustainable debt, a debt that equals more than the total of our national gross domestic product.  Not only do many politicians in Washington lack the courage to act in ways to fix problems, but too often Republicans are more concerned about the political implications of their decisions than what’s best for the country and those they serve.

Regarding his fellow conservative House Republicans, Rep. Salmon has observed how fiscally conservative House members who might otherwise oppose the underlying bill, still vote for the procedural moves during the rules process.  By doing so House Leadership has been able to bring up spending bills with no way to debate or amend then, thus mandating that House members vote either “yes” or “no.”  Had House conservative Republicans banded together and voted against certain rules, they could have defeated several big government bills that were passed by the Republican House.

As such Rep. Salmon is advancing the “Salmon Rule” in keeping with his held conviction of refusing to vote for any more “Rule” bills that precede any votes on bills that increase spending.

The Salmon Rule states: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/11/its-time-to-break-some-rules-in-congress/#ixzz2OOK3Bt2B

“From this point forward, I will vote against the rule for bills that increase spending without offsetting spending cuts and encourage my other conservative colleagues to do the same.  Similarly, if House leadership brings anymore bills to the floor without first securing the support from the majority of the GOP conference, I will take the same action.  If enough of my conservative colleagues in the House join me, we can unilaterally put an end to the growth of government that is moving us closer to Greece-like fiscal calamities.”

At a time when efforts have been made to jettison Tea Party members by House Speaker John Boehner, and the Republican Establishment is on a war-path-like-mission to redefine the image of the Republican Party to that of Democrat-lite, it is essential that more conservation members of Congress stand with Rep. Salmon and not vote on any rules connected with spending bills.

To bring about Rep. Salmon’s goal, a CALL TO ACTION is required.  If there is a good Salmon Caucus, spending bills would likely have to be debated fully.  Most importantly, it would require big-government Republicans to go on the record as to why they think more spending is a good thing.

Contact Republican representatives and let them know that you support the Salmon Rule and expect them to do the same.  As an added incentive, remind them that
RINOS should beware!

 Monday, March 25, 2013 at 07:00 AM | Permalink

 

 

Pin It!

 

 

As part of the Heartland Institute Author luncheon series, Hester Peirce reviewed her book, “Dodd-Frank What It Does and Why It’s Flawed,” to a captive audience this past Thursday.

 

Hester Peirce is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and was on the staff of the Senate Banking Committee during the drafting of Dodd-Frank (Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act), which was signed into federal law by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010.

Although Dodd Frank is heading toward its three-year anniversary the effects of the Act are still not know. It remains a work in progress, as many of the rules have not yet been finalized. To make matters worse, federal legislators, given broad discretion under the act, have missed deadlines for rules even through progress reports were ordered by law.

The Dodd-Frank Act was formulated as a solution to the devastating financial situation which rocked this nation in 2007 and 2008, a time when there was lots of pressure on Congress to do something as people were suffering.  Dodd-Frank was meant to promote the financial stability of this nation by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end “too big to fail”, to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, and to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices.

A Financial Inquiry Commission was appointed to work solo under the faulty assumption that regulators could determine what the problems were and come up with solutions, even before the existing financial problems had been ascertained.  It is not surprising that a massive undertaking crafted in haste (only six months) would have given rise to a whole new set of problems.  Many items were added at the last minute which would have received lots of scrutiny in other situations and during prior times.

Some of the provisions included in Dodd-Frank didn’t even relate to the crisis, such as the “Durbin amendment” that sets price controls on fees banks can charge merchants in connection with debit cards.

The Dodd-Frank Act that was signed into law in 2010.  Many of the provisions (rules) in Dodd-Frank are rooted in “behavioral economics”, which enjoys great popularity within the Obama administration and among Democratic legislators.  Government looks at the way people make decisions and doesn’t like what it sees.  This results in a government that thinks it can do better as it knows what is best for the American people.  Examples of  behavioral economics in the Obama administration include its push for green energy to fight Global Warming; passing Obamacare to which rules and regulations are still being added; and its promotion of the Common Core curriculum for schools which most states have adopted.  Illinois signed on without hesitation when first introduced in 2010, even before the Core programs were written to be evaluated.

Agencies set up to finalize, administer, and enforce Dodd-Frank include the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC); the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Office of Financial Research (OFR).  Instead of acting in the ways originally perceived, the agencies are shielded from accountability to Congress, the president, and the American people.  Decision-making is left to the regulators; agencies many times are working at cross purposes, each agency going its  own way, with no coordination between them in their rule-making; their is a lack of economic analysis being conducted in regard to writing rules with regulators deciding on their own the most effective way to proceed; and Congress is basically given a cold shoulder by regulators when information is requested.

The Dodd Frank Act assumes that the free market has not done a good job and that regulators must decide what people need and when firms should be shut down.  In regard to Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac, which were at the heart of the housing crisis, proponents of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac exclaimed at the time that both were too big to fail and needed to be bailed out to be kept afloat.

Despite Dodd-Frank, no attempt was made to reform either, instead, both were ignored.  Today both Fannie and Freddie are no better off than they were after their bailouts.  (Added by Thorner:  An article in the Washington Guardian on March 21, 2013 by Phillip Swarts relates how despite billions of dollars through a federal bailout, Freddie Mac continues to ignore its customers when they lodge serious complaints about fraud or rule-breaking. – http://www.washingtonguardian.com/cant-hear-you-now)

In Ms. Pierce’s opinion, AIG was not too big to fail.  It was a big insurance business, but other insurance companies would have picked up those insured by AIG, etc.  The author did express some reservations as to the government deciding exactly what constituted a business that was considered too big to fail, as this would amount to an invasion of the free market.

Regarding bank bailouts and those bailouts received by large firms, situations were created that allowed a handful of big, favored firms to stay on the good side of regulators because of the “life blood” they received.  This, in turn, fosters the possibility that more attention might be given to pleasing regulators than customers.

In response to a questioner who asked Heather Peirce what she thought about scraping Dodd-Frank, which has resulted in higher costs and fewer options for the consumer, and reinstating Glass-Steagall (Banking Act of 1933), Peirce’s answer was a definite “No.”

Instead, Ms. Peirce suggested the following remedies to bring stability to the financial markets and to improve accountability:

1.  Remove government from decision making and standing there with a safety net.

2.  Get government out of housing.

3.  Strive for easier and simpler rules.

4.  Embrace failure.  Firms come and go.  The Free Market will determine those that succeed or fail.

5.  Make regulators accountable to Congress and the people.

6.  Choice is necessary.  Need to decide just what the role of government is.

The next Heartland Author Series presentation will take place on Tuesday, April 9, when Dr. Parth Shan, president of the Centre for Civil Society in New Delhi, India, will discuss the work of CCS and its devotion to improving the quality of life for all citizens of India by reviving and reinvigorating civil society.  Check out Heartland.com for further information.

 

Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

Technorati Tags: ,


Obama’s quixotic pursuit of ‘green’ energy

Th-2

Our nation’s credit has been downgraded, we’ve gone over the fiscal cliff, the sequester cuts are taking place, the government could potentially soon shut down, the debt ceiling issue surfaces again in May, yet  President Obama continues to be on the campaign trail in his second administration promoting “green” energy.

So it was on Friday, March 15, that President Obama flew to Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, IL — one of the Energy Department’s largest national laboratories for scientific and engineering research with a tradition of research into vehicle technologies — in a push to urge Congress to authorize a $2 billion trust over ten years to fund research on “breakthrough” technologies (such as batteries for electric cars and biofuels made from switch grass or other materials) in his bid to wean vehicles off oil and other biocarbons.  It’s rather ironic that Obama flew as he did in a 747 to Argonne to tout his fuel saving plan to wean vehicles off oil.

According to President Obama the $2 billion trust would not add to the nation’s deficit.  It would be paid for with revenues from federal oil and gas leases on offshore drilling.  This is somewhat risky because the plan is counting on increased production from existing sites.  Any expansion of drilling to federal lands or water is prohibited.

What has President Obama’s record been so far in promoting green energy?  The Heritage Foundation has identified 19 bankrupt green energy companies that were unable to make it even with the $2.6 billion in financial assistance and incentives the government promised.  Under the heading, “Green Graveyard: 19 Taxpayer-Funded Failures,” number one on the Heritage list was Abound Solar, a bad bet at $790.3 million, while the much publicized Solyndra claimed the number two spot with a bad debt of of $570 million.

Each of the nineteen now-bankrupt companies were part of Obama’s attempt to stimulate the economy by developing and expanding the “green” energy industry.

Each of the nineteen companies could have been purchased by another company and brought back to life during bankruptcy  proceeding  Now all that remains of the nineteen are tombstones to mark their passing.

Should the federal government be risking taxpayer dollars to bet on private sector companies in the first place (picking winners an losers)?   Despite generous infusions of taxpayer monies, attempts by Obama to expand the green energy industry failed.  If there were an aura of profitability, wouldn’t private industry see fit to invest?

Going green appeared both smart and virtuous during Obama’s first administration.  It was also during Obama’s first term when the U.S. shale oil and gas revolution was unfolding.  With it came a real game changer, but not one that reached into the Obama administration.  There was zero Washington backing and zero U.S. Government appreciation of the enormous consequences of the fracking process.  Department of Energy head, Steven Chu, continued his mandate to push forward the development and the adoption of the best renewable energy solutions by providing credits and grants to renewables.

As Paolo von Schirach related in a Global Society Monitor report, “Electric Cars Do Not Sell — Just Like Renewable Energy . . . “:  It is  “unwise for public policy to try and time the level and pace of innovation deployments.”

Schirach also had these choice words for departing Secretary Chu to reflect upon: “Forced adoption off renewables via subsidies and mandates to utilities often result in sub optimal choices and waste of money.”

Irregardless of the shale revolution and what it portends, an irrational perception based on a political agenda remains in tact with Obama and company. They  are not about to waver from a political agenda that calls for urgent action in controlling atmospheric green house gases under the guise that man-made Global Warming is happening and must be stopped to save Mother Earth, thus the Argonne jaunt.

Based on reports by the Congressional Research Service and the Government Accountability Of…, TWTW estimated that the total funding of global warming from1993 to FY 2012 amounted to about $150 billion.  $72 billion was spent to combat climate change since 2008 (based on a May 22, 2012 report).

This is all the more embarrassing and wasteful of billions of dollars, because, despite worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide being higher, there hasn’t been any global warming for a decade. Maybe this is why talk of Global Warming has reverted to talk about Climate Change!

For all practical purposes, there is very little to show for the $150 billion dollars money spent in the unreasonable Don Quiote-like pursuit of Global Warming.  Scientific papers exist that do not withstand analysis; computer models predicting the future are now meaningless because the models on which they were based had not  been validated; subsidies given to second-rate methods of generating electricity didn’t prevent them from going bankrupt; and a growing bureaucracy in the Obama administration is intent on crippling energy which is a viable and a critical component of this nation’s economy.

 

Published initially at Illinois Review, March 20, 2013.

 

Rare and deadly diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, typhoid and polio once thought to be eradicated from this country, are now becoming prevalent again. Also being seen are diseases common to Third World countries such as West Nile Virus and Dengue Fever.

 

It is inaccurate to think that only border states with Mexico are experiencing any cases of the rare or exotic diseases that illegals can carry with them into this country. Unlike initial health screenings required of permanent residents who are entering the country legally, many illegal immigrants simply walk across the border carrying the deadly diseases and spreading to all with whom they come in contact.

 

Illinois was mentioned in “Liberty News Online” as one of ten states with an unusual outbreak. A disease found in Illinois not before mentioned, Chagas, is carried by certain insects typically found in South and Central America. It is spread when a “kissing bug” bites a human and defecates while it feeds. The feces contain the parasite, which can enter the human when the bitten person rubs or scratches the bug bite. Chagas can also be contracted by eating uncooked food contaminated with the infective feces of “kissing bugs.” There is no effective cure. Up to 40% die when their hearts or intestines explode.

 

Chagas

The Triatomine bug carries the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease.

 

Endangering the U.S. medical system are highy infectious cases of drug-resistant and lethal tuberculosis. Tuberculosis, a bacterial infection that generally attacks the lungs, can attack any part of the body and spreads easily when an infected individual coughs, sneezes or even talks in the presence of another person.  Once the leading cause of death in America, with the 20th century came the development of antibiotics and the virtual eradication of TB.  The new strains of TB finding their way across the border by illegals are resistant to most antibiotics.

 

A shock was received recently when a national news report told of an illegal alien from Nepal who carried TB across our southern border after traveling through 13 countries most likely infecting people all along the way, proving there are many OTMs (Other Than Mexicans) crossing our borders illegally.

 

If the diseased alien should be detected after crossing the border, years of medication and isolation are required of the affected illegal while they put in danger the lives of those caring for them. Typical TB treatment costs, according to a recent CDC study, average out at $140,000.  Some cases can run as high as $700,000.

 

A report by Phyllis Schafly of Eagle Forum, “Alien Diseases threaten Us All,” tells how 7,000 cases of leprosy have been diagnosed,especially in the northeastern states, and how a  restaurant worker in Pennsylvania exposed 3,000 people to Hepatitis A, resulting in two dying.

 

Prospective immigrants entering through Ellis Island were medically screened and sent  back to their home country if there was evidence of a communicable disease.  Today, instead of screening undesirable people at the border, we are asked to pay our health workers to treat them.

 

Is it any wonder why the doors of dozens of hospitals are closing upon finding themselves unable to cover the costs of non-paying illegal patients?

 

Through our property and income taxes taxpayers are forced to pay because of Congress’s unfunded mandate (EMTALA, Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act) in 1986 that all hospitals treat all illegal aliens who show up at the Emergency Room.

 

There are rumblings that the US Senate’s “Gang of 8” would like to have their bill ready to pass and to have signed by late spring or early summer. Call your senators and demand answers to these two important questions:

 

1. What about the fence that was never built according to a law signed by President George W. Bush in 2006 requiring the building of a fence on our southern border?

 

2. What about protecting American citizens from the diseases of illegal aliens.  Minus a fence a new flood of illegals will take advantage of the opportunity to stream across our lax southern border.

Part 1:  Cost not the only factor inn amnesty debate  –  Monday, March 18
Related articles

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 08:10 AM | Permalink

 

Pin It!

When will Governor Quinn and state legislators deal with pension reform which is sapping critical financial wherewith-all away from state programs that remain unfunded and/or unpaid because Illinois lacks funds?  Illinois has $96 billion in unfunded pension debt, more than $54 billion in retiree health care debt, and $9.7 billion in unpaid bills.

A typical state spends 3% to 4% on pension costs.  In Illinois the unfunded liability of the Teacher Retirement Fund (TRS) equals 7% (+/-) of Illinois’s general fund.  At $52 billion, it is bigger than Illinois’ general fund budget of $34 billion. If paying the $52 billion liability off like a home mortgage, it would require more than $4 billion a year just to pay off the unfunded liability. When the TRS is lumped together with Illinois’ four other pension benefit obligations (SERS, SURS, GARS, JRS), total pensions equal 14% (+/-) of Illinois’s General Funds budget..

Teachers are often heard voicing fear and anger in radio and TV ads over the possibility that pensions earned through a lifetime of teaching could be reduced.  The average teacher pension in Illinois is $46,252.  This reflects the formula under which teacher pensions are determined.  The maximum pension a teacher can receive is an average of 75% of their top four years of earnings while teaching.

Granted, most teachers don’t qualify for Social Security upon retirement, but even so the generosity of their teacher pensions, with yearly automatic 3% COLA raises, seems noteworthy when compared to what recipients of SS collect after a lifetime of work in the private sector where COLA increases when granted, if at all, are established on a yearly basis.

In 2012 about 55 million Social Security recipients received their first increase in benefits — a 3.6% raise — since 2009, but higher Medicare premiums most likely erased part of the raise.  Announced on Oct. 16, 2012, is that in 2013 monthly Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will increase 1.7% for 62 million Americans.   http://www.ssa.gov/cola

Not to be forgotten is that here in Illinois teachers can retire at age fifty with full pensions after thirty years of teaching.  It is not unheard of for teachers to double dip after retirement, as many retire in their 50’s.

Suburban school boards are taking advantage of the fact that local taxpayers aren’t solely responsible for pension obligations created by educators’ salaries.  Since the state pays pension benefits and not the districts, taxpayers in poorer districts, where teacher salaries are much less, end up subsidizing millionaire pensions.

Throughout the state of Illinois less than 4% of TRS beneficiaries receive pensions of more than $100,000.  That percentage is greatly bolstered, however, by the 3,022 six-figure pensions received by retired teachers in  suburban school districts in the counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will.  In stark contrast, during 2012 less than 1% of the retired educators in Illinois’ other 96 counties received pensions of more than $100,000.   https://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130306/news/703069930/

The “Lake County Daily Herald” didn’t include pension information about my own town’s school districts, Lake Forest 115 and 67.  A request to  Bill Zettler made the information available to me.  Bill Zettler is Director of Research for the Family Taxpayers Foundation and has researched and written over 150 articles on Illinois public salaries and pensions since 2005.  He is the author of “Illinois Pension Scam.”

What I found was not dissimilar to the pensions being accrued by teachers in other school districts here in Lake County where teacher salaries are high and they increase with each new teacher contract.  It is a rarity that salaries are ever frozen.

Zettler’s spreadsheet for Lake Forest School Districts 115 and 67 included the Date of Retirement, Age at Retirement, Current Pension Amount, and To-Date Pension Amount for all retired teachers in both Lake Forest School Districts.  Listed were ninety-one retirees in District #115 and one hundred twenty-four in District #67.

In 2012 thirty-three of the retired District 115 and 67 teachers received $100,000 plus pensions, with the highest among them collecting $154,299.24; twenty-eight received between the $90,000 – $100,000 range; twenty-six collected between $80,000 – $90,000; for twenty-four retirees the range was $70,000 – $80,000; nineteen fell between $60,000 – $70,000; and twelve were in the range of $50,000 and $60,000.  This was a far cry from the average yearly statewide teacher pensions of $46,252.

Retired Lake Forest teachers whose pensions were more in line ($40,000 – $50,000 or below) with the state’s average pension, either retired years ago when salaries were much lower or their years of teaching were limited in numberInteresting to note is that forty-six Lake Forest retired teacher have already received in excess of one million dollars in pension payments.  One teacher who retired at age 51, whose current pension is $140,054.76, has collected to date $1,972,599.03.

The next wave of retiring Lake Forest high school teachers (District 115) will likely receive pensions in the range of $100,000 per year, or will reach that figure within a few years, given that LFHS salaries averaged $106,000 during the 2012 – 2013 school year.  Because of a new three-year contract, the average LFHS salary during the 2013 -2014 school year will top the $106,000 average of 2012 – 2013.

The same also holds true for other Lake County high schools where competition for teachers has precipitated the escalation of teacher salaries.

A proposal floating around for some time, but found highly objectionable by school districts state-wide, recommends that individual school districts take over more costs of funding their retiree’s pensions that the state now pays in full.  It is unlikely that such a proposal would ever pass in Springfield. If such a proposal were approved, it would adversely affect Lake Forest  and other wealthy communities, hugely decreasing property values.  On the plus side, however, it would alert boards and taxpayers that teacher pension

A  good pension reform has been proposed by Rep. Tom Morrison (R – Palatine).  Morrison’s proposal (House Bill 3303) takes retirement out of the hands of politicians and gives control back to government workers by moving the state towards a defined contribution pension plan.  The bill would lock in the defined pension benefits that public employees have earned to date.  For any future service, employees and their employers would contribute to a self-managed 401k accounts just as private sector workers do. http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2013/03/state-rep-tom-morrison-on-fox-business-varney-co.html?asset_id=6a00d834515c5469e2017d41c68335970c

With the worst funded pensions in the nation it is no longer possible for legislators to avoid pension reform.  Every day lawmakers fail to enact reform pension, state liability increases by $21 million.

Fiscal order must be restored to the state.  Unsustainable pensions and unfunded liabilities are vice-like in their hold on Illinois by preventing a flourishing economy so an environment is created where businesses can thrive and create jobs.

It is important to vote in the upcoming April elections.  Candidate for school boards must be considered who are willing to hold the line on teacher salaries.


Amnesty is a hot ticket item for the Obama administration. Failure to follow through with his promise to Hispanics during his first term in office, President Obama is determined to make amnesty happen sooner rather than later in his second term.

Democrats are eager to grant citizenship to the estimated eleven million undocumented immigrants that now reside in this nation. The Republican fervor that exists among some leading legislators is questionable and borders on willful suicide in a belief that amnesty will be the key to Republicans winning a greater share of the Hispanic vote.

 

Images-1

 

History tells us that the Reagan amnesty of 1986 was riddled with fraud and cheating.  It further produced the impetus for the gigantic stream of illegal aliens who to this day walk, swim or bribe their way across the southern border into the U.S.

President George H.W. Bush followed Reagan’s amnesty, but received only 30% of the Hispanic vote in 1988 and 25% when he ran for re-election in 1992.  His son, George W. Bush, although well-liked by the Hispanics, only received 35% of the Hispanic vote in his first-term 2000 election bid.

President Obama just might get his way as bipartisanship seems to be the call-to-action word these days with many American, mistakenly believing that bipartisanship is better than gridlock in finding workable solutions.  Here is where they are incorrect.

To Democrats a bipartisan approach to solving problems means that they will get most of what they want, while Republicans end up receiving very little, compromising their principles in the process, with a good possibility that they will be blamed if things go south.

It does not bode well that negotiations are presently taking place by a “Gang of 8” claiming bipartisan in the U.S. Senate, after a similar plan in 2007 offering amnesty before border security went down in defeat due to outrage among the grassroots.  Numbers USA has given the four Republican Gang members — Jeff Flake, Lindsay Graham, and John McCain — F grades for their support of amnesty.  While Rubio has not yet had a chance to vote for amnesty, he has been vocally promoting it ever since being elected to the Senate in November of 2012.

As stated by Tom Tancredo:

“The Gang of 8 proposal will give amnesty to virtually every single illegal immigrant living here.  Like the failed 2007 amnesty, they say citizenship is contingent upon our success in securing our borders.’ The illegal aliens will be able to live and work in the US immediately, but they will not be given citizenship until a commission declares that the border is secure.  However, the Democrats have already admitted that the commission will be powerless, as it will be constructed in such a way that won’t hold the process up long by giving it a real vote.”

Just the hint of granting amnesty will provide reason for yet another wave of illegals who believe they too over time will be privy to the same consideration and treatment.  Any why not?   Seemingly forgotten is the once-and-only amnesty the American people were promised in 1986 during the Regan administration, likewise contingent on a wall which was never built!

This time around, however, the cost of the Gang of 8 proposed bipartisan amnesty plan to U.S. taxpayers is known. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation has estimated that it will cost $2.5 Trillion above any taxes paid in because the majority of illegal aliens who would eventually be legalized by the proposal are uneducated and poor.  At least 60% are high school dropouts so they live below the poverty level and will be eligible to receive many of our 79 varieties of welfare handouts.

While the cost factor to this nation and taxpayers in future years from the eventual granting of amnesty is daunting, most legislators remain ignorant or unconcerned that third world diseases are making a come back in the U.S. via illegal immigrants.  It is definitely a factor that must enter into the immigration debate!

Monday, March 18, 2013 at 08:45 AM | Permalink

 

6a00d834515c5469e2017c371b25bb970b-75wiBy Nancy Thorner – 

Governor Quinn was quick to blame the state’s serious financial problem on the Illinois General Assembly during his annual budget address on Wednesday, March 6, but at least Quinn was honest enough to concede that Illinois has a serious problem. Quinn even offered a proposed budget as a step toward restoring Illinois’ finances which was neither a credible or a practical fix.

Consider education. Quinn’s proposed a 3% budget cut of $400 million for education spending. This is the third year in the row that state spending per student has been cut. This would result in per-pupil funding (general state aid) that could dip to $5,4542 next school year, affecting poorer school district which receive most of the aid. Wealthy school districts receive little or no state aid. 

Nibbling around the edges is a meaningless and useless exercise in a state that is drowning in debt.  When will Governor Quinn and state legislators deal with pension reform, which is sapping critical financial wherewith-all away from state programs that remain unfunded and/or unpaid because Illinois lacks funds?  Illinois has $96 billion in unfunded pension debt, more than $54 billion in retiree health care debt, and $9.7 billion in unpaid bills.

The present unfunded liability in the Teacher Retirement Service (TRS) stands at $52 billion, bigger than the Illinois general fund budget of $34 billion.  If paying the $52 billion liability off like a home mortgage, it would require more than $4 billion a year just to pay off the unfunded liability.  $46,452. A typical state spends 3% to 4% on pension costs.  Here in Illinois the TRS alone is 7% (+/-) of Illinois’s general fund. There were  105,000 retired teachers in 2012.  When the TRS is lumped together with Illinois’ four other pension benefit obligations (SERS, SURS, GARS, JRS), total pensions equal 14% (+/-) of Illinois’s General Funds budget.

Legislators in Springfield have approved a plan that was already endorsed by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee, but no action has yet been taken. 

Tenets of the plan known as the Nekritz-Biss plan (HB 6258) include:  1) A six-year suspension of the annual 3% cost of living increase (COLA) currently given to retirees, 2) employees would have to chip in an additional 2% of their salary toward their retirement, 3) Illinois would be legally compelled to pay its full share of its annual pension payments every year and 4) age for retirement would be raised.  It’s highly doubtful that it can pass as proposed.

John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, standing in opposition to Nekritz-Biss, believes the proposal preserves too much of the current broken pension system.  Also, lawmakers must address the true size of the pension problem or “politicians are merely tinkering at the margins, leaving in place a system that has failed before and will fail again.” 

Teachers are often heard voicing fear and anger in radio and TV ads over the possibility that pensions earned through a lifetime of teaching could be reduced.  The average teacher pension in Illinois is $46,252.  This reflects the formula under which teacher pensions are determined.  The maximum pension a teacher can receive is an average of 75% of their top four years of earnings while teaching.

Granted, most teachers don’t qualify for Social Security upon retirement, but even so the generosity of their teacher pensions, with yearly automatic 3% COLA raises, seems noteworthy when compared to what recipients of  SS collect after a lifetime of work in the private sector.  Here in Illinois teachers can retire at age fifty with full pension after thirty years of teaching.  It is not unheard of for teachers to double dip after retirement, as many retire in their 50’s. 

Suburban school boards are taking advantage of the fact that local taxpayers aren’t solely responsible for pension obligations created by educators’ salaries.  Since the state pays pension benefits and not the districts, taxpayers in poorer districts, where teacher salaries are much less, end up subsidizing millionaire pensions. 

Throughout the state of Illinois less than 4% of TRS beneficiaries receive pensions of more than $100,000.  That percentage is greatly bolstered, however, by the 3,022 six-figure pensions received by retired teachers in  suburban school districts in the counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane,McHenry and Will.  In stark contrast, during 2012 less than 1% of the retired educators in Illinois’ other 96 counties received pensions of more than $100,000.  

The “Lake County Daily Herald” didn’t include pension information about my own town’s school districts, Lake Forest 115 and 67.  A request to  Bill Zettler made the information available to me.  Bill Zettler is Director of Research for the Family Taxpayers Foundation and has researched and written over 150 articles on Illinois public salaries and pensions since 2005. He is the author of “Illinois Pension Scam”.  What I found was not dissimilar to the pensions being accrued by teachers in other suburban counties in northern Illinois. 

Zettler’s spreadsheet included the Date of RetirementAge at RetirementCurrent Pension Amount, and To-Date Pension Amount for all retired teachers in both Lake Forest School Districts.  There were ninety-one retirees in #115 and one hundred twenty-four in #67.

In 2012 thirty-three of the retired teachers received $100,000 plus pensions, with the highest among them collecting $154,299.24; twenty-eight received between the $90,000 – $100,000 range; twenty-six collected between $80,000 – $90,000; for twenty-four retirees the range was $70,000 – $80,000; nineteen fell between $60,000 – $70,000; and twelve were in the range of $50,000 and $60,000, while during the same time statewide teacher pensions were averaging $46,252.

Retired Lake Forest teachers whose pensions were more in line ($40,000 – $50,000 or below) with the state’s average pension, either retired years ago when salaries were much lower or their years of teaching were limited in number.  Interesting to note is that forty-six Lake Forest retired teacher have already received in excess of one million dollars in pension payments.  One teacher who retired at age 51, whose current pension is $140,054.76, has collected to date $1,972,599.03.

The next wave of retiring Lake Forest high school teachers will likely receive pensions in the range of $100,000 per year, or will reach that figure within a few years, given that LFHS salaries averaged $106,000 during the 2012 – 2013 school year.  The samealso holds true at other northern Illinois suburban high schools where competition for teachers has precipitated the escalation of teacher salaries.

A proposal floating around for some time, but found highly objectionable by school districts state-wide, recommends that individual school districts take over more costs of funding their retiree’s pensions that the state now pays in full.  If anything, it would force school boards to recognize that teacher pension liabilities flow from teacher salaries.

A good pension reform has been proposed by Rep. Tom Morrison (R – Palatine).  It’s  supported by the Illinois Policy Institute.  Unlike the Cross-Nekritz pension bill noted earlier, which puts pension payments ahead of other state spending and also prevents further reforms down the road, Morrison’s proposal (House Bill 3303) takes retirement out of the hands of politicians and gives control back to government workers by moving the state towards a defined contribution pension plan.  The bill would lock in the defined pension benefits that public employees have earned to date.  For any future service, employees and their employers would contribute to a self-managed 401k accounts just as private sector workers do.

With the worst funded pensions in the nation it is no longer possible for legislators to avoid pension reform.  Every day lawmakers fail to enact reform pension, state liability increases by $21 million.    

Fiscal order must be restored to the state.  Unsustainable pensions and unfunded liabilities are vice-like in their hold on Illinois by preventing a flourishing economy so an environment is created where businesses can thrive and create jobs.  

Morrison’s bill paves the way.  Contact Republican Leader Tom Cross and other state legislators, including your own, asking them to support HB3303 and to oppose Cross-Nekritz (HB 6258).

 

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

 

 

 

 

Obamacare will affect senior and young people disproportionally when it hits with full force next year.  Knowledgeable seniors already know to expect less than in the past because of the cuts to future Medicare funding payment for more than half of the Obamacare health law. They also know that better care will not be forthcoming even though Insurance rates will increase.

Consider Hospitals: They will have $247 billion less to care for the same number of seniors than if Medicare had not been passed, resulting in a greater workload of patients for available nurses. Reducing nursing care will likewise result in elderly patients having a lower chance of survival during their hospital stay.

Regarding the term “death panels”, which has been bandied about, and denied by the Obama administration, Obamacare calls for the establishment of a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute for the government to determine which treatment works best so money is not spent on less effective treatment.  Although Obamacare makes clear that the secretary of heath and human  services may not use research data from the new institute in a manner that treats the life of elderly, disable, or terminally ill individual as lower in value than that of an individual who is younger, non-disable or not terminally ill, that dictate comes with a qualifier that leaves the health secretary with the power to use government-provided research data to determine whether “alternative treatments” are effective in extending the life of the elderly, disabled, or terminally ill.   http://www.wnd.com/2013/01/more-evidence-of-death-panels-in-obamacare/

The young are in for an even bigger surprise.   A report released on March 6th by the House Committed on Energy and Commerce indicated that “while the majority of Americans will likely see their healthcare premiums increase, no one will swallow the cost burden more than young Americans.”  Concluded by the House Committee Report is that young Americans could see an increase as much as 203%.

Such an increase could break the bank for young adults just starting out on their own.  Take the city of Chicago, the average current health care premiums of young Americans is $756.  Under Obamacare it will go up to $2,268, an increase of 202%.

Three reasons are given as to why young Americans will be disproportionately affected by Obamacare:

1.  Obamacare mandates that all Americans pay healthcare premiums regardless of anticipated medical expense.  Young Americans must subsidize retirees who use healthcare far more often to level the insurance price disparity between younger and older Americans.

2.  Obama mandates certain health services be covered by health insurance.  These include coverage for preventive and wellness services, chronic disease management, rehabilitative and habilitative services, and many more.  In short,m the more categories you are forced to cover, the more expensive your premium will be.  No more affordable catastrophic plans.

3.  The total cost of new taxes and fees on drug manufacturers, devise manufacturers, and health care plans is $165 billion.  This will ultimately be passed on to the consumer in higher premiums.

The same report also brings bad news for families and indicates that the cost of family premiums could rise to $7,186 in the next decade.  http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/03/06/NEW-REPORT-Youth…

Many Americans still believe President Obama’s initial claims that healthcare plans could be kept if liked and that premiums would go down while the level and quality of care would improve.

When the price hikes do occur, might it be disingenuous to continue to call Obamacare the “Affordable Care Act”?

Monday, March 11, 2013 at 01:29 PM | Permalink