Funniest Quote of the Week, Maybe the Year

This is truly hilarious, from our President via the WSJ:

From the outset, the White House's core claim was that reform would reduce health costs for individuals and businesses, and they're sticking to that story. "Anyone who says otherwise simply hasn't read the bills," Mr. Obama said over the weekend. This is so utterly disingenuous that we doubt the President really believes it.

This is hilarious.  Not only had few people been able to slog through the old 2000+ page bill, but Harry Reid threw the whole thing out and substituted a double secret replacement bill on Saturday the NO ONE has read, Obama included.  So this statement is technically true, but reverse statement is also equally true - "anyone who agrees with the President simply hasn't read the bill, either."

  • gn

    ObamaCare review sound bite, circa 2015: "We eliminated or prevented $XXXB in health care costs!"

    Welcome to the world of "created or saved" politics and "hockey-stick" science. Make it impossible to measure and you can say anything.

  • Methinks

    oh yeah. Like this has anything to do with health care. Didn't Obama say something about people "carping" about the cost in a speech this weekend. Very presidential. The guy is a credit to his office. Really.

  • http://mjb.biglaughs.org m

    Just curious...what does "double secret" mean?

    Also, where I can read about the new bill or the fact that it was substituted?

  • Not Sure

    "Just curious…what does “double secret” mean?"

    Just guessing, but an "Animal House" reference, maybe?

    [Dean Wormer's plotting to get rid of Delta House]
    Greg Marmalard: But Delta's already on probation.
    Dean Vernon Wormer: They are? Well, as of this moment, they're on DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION!

  • steep

    I'm starting to feel like Ralphie Parker out here with my new Christmas "gift" from Reid & Obama. Health care "reform" is about as good as a set of pink bunny pajamas. To Reid & company we're all not only perpetually 4 years old but also a girl!

    Thanks Aunt Clara, I mean Presidente Obama.

  • roger the shrubber

    makes one wonder: if hopeychange is this contemptuous towards his countrymen, this willing to lie blatantly and arrogantly deny he ever lied 10 second later, no matter what the video says; after only 11 months in office.....

    wonder how he'll be by 2012? standing there buck nekkid, insisting he's wearing the finest brioni suit, headed for re-election and a spot on mt. rushmore? have a running argument with some buddies about this - is he more a clone of *nero*, or *caligula*? (although his insistence at prostrating himself at the feet of foreign leaders *does* bring valerian to mind...)

  • Mark ii

    Only Democratic idiots truly believe, and they truly do believe, that you can increase insurance demand by 30 million, institute community rating, and force insurance companies to insure ALL pre-existing conditions, and that this will DECREASE the cost of medical insurance. That ANYONE believes this shows how far we have fallen.

    One of the provisions in the bill requires the the largest ratio of premiums is 2.0. In other words, the the oldest groups of individuals can only be charged twice as much as the youngest group of individuals. And that will DECREASE the cost for young people??? LOL....what a joke.

    ANother problem I have examined and am trying to figure out a solution for my small business is what do I do now? I offer health insurance to my employees but there isn't any way that this insurance will meet the requirements (whatever they are) of the law. It is not a high end plan that the government is enforcing. It is a high deductible plan. I also have a $7 million payroll. So, it is very clear that I am going to be taxed the 8% fine. If I am forced to pay the fine I am going to drop the health insurance that I have.

    But, none of the benefits are kicked in until 2014. What does this do to my employees? My most likely solution is that I am going to simply ignore it and work around the tax provisions by breaking up my company into smaller payroll units that are not subject to the 8% fine. All of the business units will interact with each other, invoicing each other and making payments back and forth. It will create extra paperwork and multiply by 20 some of the reporting I have to do, but it is well worth it.

    It is truly a mess and the Democrats have such little interest or knowledge about the problems facing business that they simply do not care.

  • Link

    Meanwhile Obama just said the following:

    "In the long run we can't continue to spend as if deficits don't have consequences, as if waste doesn't matter, as if the hard earned tax dollars of the American people can be treated like monopoly money, that's what we've seen time and time again, Washington has become more concerned about the next election than the next generation."

    In the long run we're all dead.

    There's a theme to Obama's outrageous statements. You can parse them to find them literally true. Or you can infer the corollary -- in this case that it's OK to spend like it's monopoly money ... in the short run.

    Keep this in mind when you listent to him. He's fucking with us.

    Obama video clip here: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2009/12/21/obama_we_cant_treat_tax_dollars_like_monopoly_money.html

  • Mesa Econoguy

    These people are so flagrantly out of control and completely disconnected from reality it is hilarious, except that they’re running things, which is tragic for us. I sincerely believe they’re trying to destroy this country thru a series of moves that will just be jawdropping. This was one of them.

    I wouldn’t let them get within yards of my family, much less make healthcare decisions for us…

  • morganovich

    call me a cynic, but i think this newfound interest in deficit reduction from the white house is just the early positioning for big tax increases.

    remember that the bush tax cuts expire next year. "deficit reduction" does not mean government reduction. taxes will go up to pre bush levels, the rich are going to find themselves 5%-ed to death to fund every new initiative, cap gains taxes are going back up, and the inheritance tax is too.

    a new IRS division is being formed specifically to go after the rich and anyone with offshore assets.

    note that as of earlier this year, even giving up your US citizenship is a taxable event. if you renounce your citizenship, every asset you own is market to market and treated as sold. you don't get to stop being under US tax jurisdiction until you pay. the timing of this going into effect just before huge tax increases on the rich is unlikely to be a coincidence.

    jefferson must be spinning in his grave.

  • Methinks

    Morganovich,

    the upshot is that if you don't have a lot of property or you don't have property that has appreciated in value (I'm thinking housing) since you bought it, you aren't going to pay a lot to extricate yourself from the U.S. government theft program. You get an exemption for cap gains of $600K, but any cap gains above $600K are taxed before you are allowed to renounce. BTW, leaving was always a taxable event. Until the HEART legislation in 2008 (or 2007), the U.S. taxed ex-citizens for ten years after their renouncement was accepted.

    It's worse than that, actually. If you are so much as upper middle class, the United States declares that you are leaving to avoid paying taxes (toiling for the state - because, as you point out, we're not far from that now). It can take as long as 10 years to decide whether or not your renunciation will be accepted at all. Then you are labeled a tax avoider (America's version of "enemy of the people") and banished. The U.S. government doesn't have to banish you from America forever, but it does because there's a politician who keeps a list of people who renounce and is very active in making renunciation as hellish as possible for them. Russia banished us when it finally decided to let us immigrate. Makes me want to renounce just because I'm beginning to feel more like I've jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. For the first time, other countries are beginning to look more free than the U.S.

    It didn't used to be that hard to leave the United States. While laws to discourage people for leaving for tax reasons have been on the books for decades, they were rarely enforced. This heavy handedness started in the '90's.

  • morganovich

    methinks-

    yes, i know about the old "10 years" issue. the key to this new one is front loading. they want it all up front to make budgets look good now. a 10 year fuse seems too long for these guys. the 10 year plan was also very difficult to enforce. once you get your assets offshore, there are lots of places to hide them. i think they just figured out that this was going to be much easier to administer and enforce and given that they actually plan to do it, that was the way to go.

    it's also targeted specifically at the better off. i think you get the first $3 million in assets free or some such, but that's not a whole lot of money. i'm not a big fan of this new view of the well off as milchcows to be taxed and herded.

    there are lots of countries that are freeer than the US these days, and certainly a great many with much more attractive tax policies. the irony that eastern europe is now the fiercest proponent of capitalism can get pretty thick.

    so, what exactly can the US government do to you if you give up citizenship? refuse visas? prevent you from owning interests here? what did you mean by making life hellish?

  • me

    I have to admit I read this blog partly because it raises my blood pressure to healthier levels on a regular basis. How are we even supposed to have a meaningful debate about issues if the bills themselves are too complex to understand without spending years combing through them, contain all sorts of pork and then are changed at the last minute before votes? Oh, right. After all, it's not like we're trying to be a democracy or something like that.

    On a sidenote: anyone with some actual experience of moving large amounts of money out of the country legally willing to share their experience?

  • roger the shrubber

    uh....me.....hate to break it to ya,. but if you move "large amounts of money out of the country" **legally**, you're kinda sorta defeating what i assume is the whole point of the exercise, no? time to get creative, dude. try watching old 'miami vice' episodes, and reverse engineer.

  • http://www.ilovebenefits.wordpress.com ilovebenefits

    You can read about the bill at http://www.ilovebenefits.wordpress.com

    There are many positives to the bill. These many revolve around improving outcome measurement, creating pilots to test value based benefit design, moving forward on determination of quality, eliminating some of the pre-existing condition issues.

    The single biggest issue is cost. No one has addressed this in a meaningful way. The Medicare deficit issue is still looming out there. The major expansion of coverage will cost significant dollars. The financing 'trick' used was to show 10 years of taxes and six years of benefits.

    So, as much as we'd like to put this behind us, we aren't through talking about health care. There will be massive numbers of regulations that need to be written to cover many of the elements of the bill.

    Oh, yes, they still need to reconcile the House and Senate versions and from what I have read, the abortion issue is going to be difficult, at best, to reconcile.

  • Link

    So taxes get raised on top earners right away, but expenses don't start getting paid until something like 2014. Does this mean that stand-alone budgets for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 look better with lesser deficits because of the tax raise.

    If so ... Holy double counting, Batman!

  • ADiff

    Mark ii:

    I suspect we'll see significant increases in plan costs next year. When Congress writes legislation there's always devils in the details, with substantial wording ambiguity that provide 'opportunities' for providers (as well as increased cost dealing with these!). My guess is that the practice will prove surprisingly different than what the authors intended (excepting highly focused provisions that tend to be carefully crafted to meet specific ends) and that it'll result in increased coverage costs and effective rationing at the point of service.

    I currently plan to 'cherry pick' across my workforce, deciding which employees I can 'afford' to cut loose from coverage, and who I really need. The latter I will continue to cover decently, even if I have to do so at the expense of the former, who I'll move into non-coverage groups, or even cut loose entirely, if needed to ensure I keep key people while controlling costs. There's not much choice as margins simply won't allow any increased cost to be passed along under current market conditions.

    I'm afraid it's likely some people will lose their jobs as a result of these changes. It's a shame, but I don't see a lot of alternatives. Increasing costs will force greater labor efficiency. I'll have to ask more (and pay more) to high performers, at the expense of less critical people.

    'Change' isn't always good.

  • tomw

    #
    Link:

    So taxes get raised on top earners right away, but expenses don’t start getting paid until something like 2014. Does this mean that stand-alone budgets for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 look better with lesser deficits because of the tax raise.

    If so … Holy double counting, Batman!
    December 22, 2009, 6:03 am

    ..................
    Link,
    No, they'll put the $$$ into the lock box next to the Social Security lock box. .. .. ... haha[Simpsons]

    This will be non-beneficial, even to those who were targeted as the beneficiaries.
    I want all who voted for this piece of merde run from office, any elected office.
    At least the drunken sailor is spending his own money, which cannot be said for the bribes proffered by Reid & Co.
    tom

  • tomw

    This is not HC reform of any sort. This is a D power grab, whereby they now have 1/6 of the economy under their control, right there in DC. At the stroke of a pen. This is their first grab, and they will just add more as time goes on.
    This bill will cost more money, provide less care, provide fewer services, and eventually put every private HC provider under Congress' thumb, or out of business.
    This bill will cause some to lose their employment, and certainly, some to lose their HC benefits, some to be taxed on their HC benefits.
    This bill will slow any advance in medical research and all new treatments. They will not be paid for, so they won't be advocated.
    This bill will convince more MDs to retire, and more to refuse to take Medicare and Medicaid patients.
    This bill will convince more pre-Med students to take up another career. With poor remuneration after a minimum of 11 years of upper level schooling and residency, who wants to get put under some bureaucrats thumb?
    This is not a HC reform of any sort. It is a destruction of the HC system of the USA.
    There is no saving grace to this piece of sh*t.

  • O Bloody Hell

    .

    Folks, the underlying purpose behind this bill is to create another giant slush fund from which the Dems can spend, spend spend!!

    And, just like SS and Medicare, as the bills come due and outweigh the taxed income, the solution is going to be to increase taxes to cover the shortfall as well as to lower services, deny services, and otherwise obfuscate and interfere with payouts.

    THAT is the underlying purpose of this: Yet another Ponzi scheme.

    Remember this, when it comes time for the revolution -- one thing that The Next Government MUST have as a part of its inherent rule base is that it MUST adhere to GAAP -- Generally Accepted Accounting Practices -- when it does its business, and this should be demanded of all the underlying state and local governments, as well.

    ===============================================================================
    That lack of true accountability -- in every sense of "accounting" -- is one of the chief matters at the heart of this problem in the long run. The government has pulled trick after scam after swindle after con after hustle, over and over again, via their various bookkeeping BS.
    ===============================================================================

    I think it's far, far too late to fix it. We're just going to have to let it fall then pick up the pieces after the fact -- but remember it, remember it well -- for the next time around, so it can't happen again.

    You can't trust politicians, period.

    There's a "Septic Tank Rule of Politics" that is every bit as true as the Septic Tank Rule of Management.

    .

  • O Bloody Hell

    > it’s also targeted specifically at the better off. i think you get the first $3 million in assets free or some such, but that’s not a whole lot of money. i’m not a big fan of this new view of the well off as milchcows to be taxed and herded.

    You know, I cannot quite grasp how it is that people constantly forget that the Really Rich Bastards already have hiding places for their money in plain sight. They call them "Foundations". The provisions for these occurred -- gasp!! Surprise, surprise, surprise!! around the same time there was a significant chance of an income tax being passed. Said income tax being sold on a "soak the rich" scheme, even as the rich were moving their assets into these tax-free foundations.

    Go look into them -- The Rockefeller Foundation, Carnegie, DuPont -- all the old Rich Bastards have one where they hid most of their wealth all the while maintaining control over it via being on the board of directors. And that same bunch has been joined by the New Guard -- Bill and Linda Gates, Jobs, Hewlett, Packard, and so forth.

    That's not a polemic against The Rich Bastards, though it sounds like it. It's just calling attention to the fact that it's not the Top Tier paying out, it's the second tier -- the ones with 5, 10, 15 million in assets -- not enough to form a tax-free "charitable organization".

    From an SF book by James P Hogan:
    ================================================================================
    [The Federal Reserve Act] was created to launch the national debt into
    orbit -- obviously you want big debts, because it means big interest
    payments. But what good is being able to run up the debt unless you have a
    mechanism for collecting the dues? ... Two months before the act was passed,
    the amendment was enacted to impose a progressive income tax on the
    population. It was sold on a soak-the-rich hook, but in fact some of the
    wealthiest supported it. Probably some of them were being genuinely
    altruistic, but the main reason was that the escape hatch for superwealth
    had been provided by legislation that enabled the creation of tax-free
    foundations. Thus, the big monopolies, such as in oil and steel, that the
    anti-trust acts were supposedly passed to break up, could continue to
    consolidate their holdings without hindrance, while the competition took the
    brunt of the tax system. Neat, eh? So that gave us the instrument for
    raising the debt, and the means to collect. All we needed then was a reason
    to escalate it. And the fastest way to get a country [in debt] up to its
    ears, of course, is war. [i.e., World War I]."

    - James P. Hogan, 'Mirror Maze' -

  • O Bloody Hell

    > I want all who voted for this piece of merde run from office, any elected office.

    Along with every $%&$&#&*#%*#& POS who voted for the House version, regardless of party.

    >:-(

  • me

    @roger the shrubber

    Actually, no. I have money, it's my property legally, free and clear, I worked and paid taxes on it. I'd like it to be situated in accounts not in the US in a denomination other than dollars (I don't trust ETFs that much). Turns out, the liquidity of money is vastly overrated (unless, as you point out, I take the speedboat route).

    The funny bit here is, of course, that that was the same problem we had in China, a country that has a monetary policy purposefully designed to allow you to bring in the foreign reserves, grow a business but never legally move the money out again. (Hint: Hong Kong is the way out in this case - the US sadly lacks a similar port AFAIK)

  • Methinks

    Morganovich,

    I think the reason they got rid of the 10 year rule is that it's too difficult to administer. It requires the U.S. government to hunt people down all over the world.

    It's not the first $3MM that's exempt. The first $600,000 of capital gains is exempt when they mark your assets to market.

    What I mean by "hellish" is that the U.S. can take as long as a decade to decide whether it will release you from citizenship. The decision is not yours, even if you meet all the requirements (renounce outside of U.S. borders, have another citizenship in another country and are willing and able to pay the steep fee), the U.S. government can still refuse to release you. If you are so much as upper middle class, the government automatically labels your renunciation as a tactic to avoid paying taxes. The actual reason doesn't matter. As punishment the U.S. regularly banishes former citizens. They can't get a Visa to visit the country. That makes visiting family and owning property here impossible.

    For people who leave for ideological reasons (and that happens), this is probably not a big problem. However, for people who are simply married to foreigners and living and raising children in other countries it is a huge punishment.

    I think it's telling that the United States must got to such lengths to prevent people from leaving. Only totalitarian countries maintain such a grip on their population.

  • Methinks

    BTW, the IRS is as good as the KGB in hunting people down around the world. They have at their disposal bribes to sniff out anyone who escapes their tentacles. Here is an excerpt from 1999 article about Americans giving up citizenship.

    "A month after passing this tax law, Congress came down on illegal immigrants -and slipped into that bill a four-line clause meant to penalize supposedly odious emigrants. It makes Americans who give up citizenship to escape taxes"'excludable. "

    That means banishment: Like terrorists and people with communicable diseases, renouncers can be barred from setting foot in the U.S. ever again. Even if they chip in all the taxes the IRS says they owe, the law allows the INS to banish them anyway. Regardless of what either agency does to them, their names will still appear on Rep. Gibbons's list.

    'No one in my family, no matter how much money they made, would have ever renounced their American citizenship.' Rep. Martin Frost, a Texas Democrat, said at the time. "We're talking about basic patriotism and basic fairness." And perhaps some national pique.

    With the military draft long past, the thinking seems to go, what cost can a U.S. passport entail apart from a tax bill? A lawyer who used to work at a U.S. consulate in Africa remembers an American woman who would come in every few months asking to turn her passport in. She was sent away.

    The law's presumptions may seem presumptuous, though, in a mobile age when some Ameicans de-camp from Brazil to Korea the way others pull up stakes in Vermont and head for Arizona. Some who move in tow of multinational companies become true multinationalists. In a more romantic day, they would be called citizens of the world. Now, exposed in the Federal Register and faced with permanent exile, none are eager to tell their stories. But if tax avoidance really is their motive, it must rank with love and war as a driving force in unusual lives."

    The whole article is here: http://www.debito.org/naturalization2.html