It Turns Out That I Am Not A Patriot

It turns out, according to Barack Obama, (who hales from the party that doesn't believe in questioning anyone's patriotism) that I am not a "Patriot Employer."  This is from the text of Senate Bill S. 1945 of which he is a co-sponsor  (My snark is interspersed in italics):  Patriot Employers are to be given tax breaks over unpatriotic employers (I presume this means that their tax rates will be raised less in an Obama presidency than those of other folks) with "patriot employers" defined as such:

(b) Patriot Employer- For purposes of subsection (a), the term
`Patriot employer' means, with respect to any taxable year, any
taxpayer which--

        `(1) maintains its headquarters in the United States if the taxpayer has ever been headquartered in the United States,

      OK, I guess I can comply with this.  Though I am not sure the best way to begin an Obama "kindler gentler foreign policy" is to tell the nations of the world that we will be taxing their company's income in the US at a higher rate than our own companies.

        `(2) pays at least 60 percent of each employee's health care premiums,

      So the #1 determinant of patriotism is not commitment to individual rights but paying 60% of employee health care costs.  I guess I am so unpatriotic

      And, just from a practical standpoint, 90% of my employees are seasonal, hired for about 4 months of the year.  To be patriotic, I have to pay their health care costs all year long?  Also, since most of my employees are retired, they are on Medicare or an employee retirement medical plan.  If they pay $0 in premiums and I pay $0 of that, do I get credit for 60%?  Maybe the government can mandate a solution for zero divided by zero, like they did for the value of pi years ago

        `(3) has in effect, and operates in accordance with, a policy requiring neutrality in employee organizing drives,

      I presume neutrality means that in a hypothetical union drive, I do not express my opinion (and likely opposition) to said unionization drive?   I am told that this also entails allowing card checks rather than hidden ballot voting.  In other words, patriotism is being defined here as 1) giving up your free speech rights and 2) opposing hidden ballot voting.  Uh, right.  Besides, if a union organized our company, as unlikely as that would be, I would probably have to do a Francisco d'Anconia on the place.

        `(4) if such taxpayer employs at least 50 employees on average during the taxable year--

        `(A) maintains or increases the number of full-time
        workers in the United States relative to the number of full-time
        workers outside of the United States,

        In other words, we don't want American companies growing overseas.  This could also be called the "give up international market share act."  This implies that it is unpatriotic for US-based Exxon to explore for oil in Asia and that it is more patriotic to let the Chinese national oil company do it.  This implies that it is more patriotic for Coke to lose market share in Germany than to gain it.  This means that it is more patriotic for Mattel to buy its toys in China from Chinese companies rather than run the factories themselves (and thereby be accountable themselves for product quality and working conditions).

        This is beyond stupid.  We LIKE to see US companies doing well overseas.  If we have to import our raw materials, we feel more comfortable if it is US companies doing the extraction.  Don't we?  In the name of patriotism, do we really want to root for our domestic companies to fail in international markets?

        `(B) compensates each employee of the taxpayer at
        an hourly rate (or equivalent thereof) not less than an amount equal to
        the Federal poverty level for a family of three for the calendar year
        in which the taxable year begins divided by 2,080,

        90% of my workers are retired.  They work for me to supplement their income, to live our in nature, and to stay busy.  They need me to pay them based on the poverty line for a family of three, why?  I will tell you right now that if I had to raise wages this much, most of my employees would quit.  Many of them force me to give them fewer hours so they can stay under the social security limits for income.  I discussed what rising minimum wages often force me to do here, but just as an illustration, a $1 an hour across the board wage increase would easily wipe out all the money I make in a year and put me into a loss position.  In which case the lowered tax rate would not do me much good anyway.

          `(C) provides either--

            `(i) a defined contribution plan which for any plan year--

            `(I) requires the employer to make
            nonelective contributions of at least 5 percent of compensation for
            each employee who is not a highly compensated employee, or

            `(II) requires the employer to make
            matching contributions of 100 percent of the elective contributions of
            each employee who is not a highly compensated employee to the extent
            such contributions do not exceed the percentage specified by the plan
            (not less than 5 percent) of the employee's compensation, or

          `(ii) a defined benefit plan which for any plan
          year requires the employer to make contributions on behalf of each
          employee who is not a highly compensated employee in an amount which
          will provide an accrued benefit under the plan for the plan year which
          is not less than 5 percent of the employee's compensation, and

          Uh, I am not sure why it is unpatriotic for an employee to save for themselves, but I think 401k plans are a nice benefit.  I would certainly offer one except for one tiny fact - ALL MY EMPLOYEES ARE ALREADY RETIRED!!  They are over 65.  They are drawing down on their retirement, not contributing to it.

          This is at the heart of the problem with all US labor law.  Folks up in Illinois write laws with a picture of a steel mill in mind, and forget that employment and employees have infinite variations in circumstances and goals. 

          So I am unpatriotic, huh.  But if forcing companies to contribute to emplee retirement plans is patriotic, why is hiring folks once they are retired to give them extra income in retirement unpatriotic?  In fact, maybe I could argue that 100% of the wages I pay go to retirement spending

        `(D) provides full differential salary and
        insurance benefits for all National Guard and Reserve employees who are
        called for active duty, and

          In other words, we of the government are not going to pay our employees (ie reservists on active duty) what they are worth and are not going to give them benefits, so to be patriotic you need to do it for us.  We in Congress are not really very patriotic and don't support the troops, so you need to do it for us.

          All kidding aside, I would do this in my company if it was applicable, but I really resent being piously told to do so by several Senators who don't really model this behavior themselves.

        `(5) if such taxpayer employs less than 50 employees on average during the taxable year, either--...

blah, blah.  Basically the same stuff repeated, though slightly less onerous.

Since when did patriotism equate to "rolling over to the latest AFL-CIO wish list?"

  • r

    I wonder if Obama will bring back the Blue Eagle? He, too, might rise to the heights of throwing people in jail for charging too little. A new FDR, indeed.

  • tribal elder

    Obama was no mover and shaker as an Illinois Senator.

    As I expect him as effective as President as he was as an Illinois and US Senator, I believe he is the least able to permanently damage the country of the current likely Presidential prospects.

    Obama was the Illinois Republican Party's gift to the Democrats. The former incumbent Republican US Senator, Peter Fitzgerald, was abandoned by the Illinois Republicans as a sanction for backing bringing an an aggressive US Attorney to Chicago. That US Attorney started a corruption investigation (license-for-bribes) that uncovered lower level state civil servants taking bribes, at least in part to meet political contribution DEMANDS from the then IL Secretary of State/now former governor/now current guest-of-the-United-States-at-the-prison-farm-at-Oxford, WI, George Ryan.

    As for steel mills in Illinois, they're most gone.

    Obama's Illinois Senate district is an interesting community. It is the University of Chicago area--part urban/urbane/affluent and part uban ghetto.

  • skh.pcola

    Democrats in general don't know diddly squat about patriotism. It's ironic to see "patriotic" efforts morph into pseudo-socialism from Obama.

  • Jim K

    So when Obama says he is for "change" we now know that change means: "even more social engineering via the tax code". Thank you for clarifying that for me Barak

  • http://lazyfare.blogspot.com Avatar300

    I wonder what everyone who called Obama a "left-libertarian" is saying now? I watched some of his speech in Madison the other night and thought maybe Hugo Chavez had ghost written it for him.

  • ridethewomble

    As expected, Obama blew the doors off the other candidate here in my home town of Arlington, VA. Curiously, I was one of two people I observed walking or riding a bike to my polling place all day. It seems strange that supporters of a guy who wants to reduce CO2 emissions to "80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050" (The Blueprint for Change, Barack Obama's Plan for America) would miss such a golden opportunity to demonstrate their convictions.

    The precinct is small enough that all voters are well within walking distance, yet most voters drove their six cylinder minivans. There's quite a bit of "do as I say, not as I do," here in the home of many of our nation's government employees and Capitol Hill staffers.

  • Frederick Davies

    skh.pcola,

    There is nothing pseudo- about Obama; that is Socialism. No buts, ifs or maybes.

  • skh.pcola

    True, Frederick. Bobama is presenting his socialism in a populist style that appeals to the teeming masses. This is how the "progressives" have been able to shift our society leftward over the past several generations. I'd bet ~50% of the population doesn't see any problem with this proposal. I'd make a side bet that Hillary is pissed that she didn't dream this up first.

  • SuperMike

    Why do you hate America so?

    You should get the AARP to lobby to have them throw in language so that all money earned by retired people goes straight to the numerator of those metrics, and that decreases the impact of earned income on social security.

    It'll either kill it dead or you and WalMart will never pay taxes again.

  • Louis Howe

    This site spews the short sighted, selfish crap that gives some small businessmen a name....I ran a small business for 20 years and always provided my employees with health insurance when most of my competitors didn't. I ended up with the best staff and twice the business of any local competitor.

    Why should American taxpayers provide tax breaks and investment credits to transnational corporations moving production jobs overseas? It only makes sense that companies selling goods into the domestic market pay the full tax burden when competing with domestic producers. It's not raising tariffs, but making sure foreign production companies pay the full price of sustaining the greatest consumer market in the world.