“Dick Rowland Image”

”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”

– How Poorer Families Benefit Under the Bush Tax Plan

Contrary to assertions from the tax-the-rich crowd, the Bush tax plan
will actually make the tax code more progressive, say observers. Proof
is contained in income distribution data compiled by the Treasury
Department.

Looking at the impact for 2003:

The average reduction in income taxes is slightly more than 12 percent.
But for those earning less than $30,000, it is about 17 percent — while
for those earning more than $100,000 it is 11.4 or less.
The percent reduction for families with incomes under $50,000 is 14.5
percent — and those families would pay a smaller share of the total
income tax than they currently do.

Families with incomes over $100,000 would wind up paying a larger share
of the total income tax — 73 percent of all federal income taxes, in
fact.

The Bush plan would remove 3.8 million lower-income taxpayers from the
tax rolls altogether — mainly due to the acceleration of the increase
in the child tax credit from $600 to $1,000.

Due to widening exemptions, deductions and credits, fewer and fewer
low-wage earners are paying any taxes at all — which mean the tax
burden increasingly becomes the responsibility of earners in higher
brackets. According to IRS data from 2000, the top half of tax filers
were responsible for 96 percent of all revenues.

Source: Editorial, “Lucky Duckies Again,” Wall Street Journal, January
20, 2003.

For text (WSJ subscription required)
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB1043014678185458224,00.html

For more on Distribution of the Tax Burden http://www.ncpa.org/iss/tax/

Above article is quoted from National Center for Policy Analysis, Daily
Policy Digest Jan. 20, 2003 http://www.ncpa.org

– Contrasting Views

Author Unknown

Question:

You’re walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small
children. Suddenly, a large, violent-looking man comes around the
corner, starts running right at you swinging a machete and screaming
obscenities. In your hand is a .44 Magnum and you are an expert shot.
You have mere seconds before he reaches your family. What do you do?

Answer #1:

Well, that’s not enough information to answer the question. Does the man
look poor or oppressed? Have I ever done anything to him that is
inspiring him to attack? Could we run away? What does my wife think?
What about the kids? Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and
knock the knife out of his hand? What does the law say about this
situation? Is it possible he’d be happy with just killing me? Does he
definitely want to kill me or would he just be content to wound me? If I
were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he
was stabbing me? This is hard… I need to debate this with some friends
for a few days to try to come to a conclusion.

Answer #2:

Shoot him. Then take your family to a baseball game or a movie, eat some
popcorn, hot dogs and apple pie, sing the national anthem, then go to
church and thank the Lord for one more day of freedom.

Source: Unknown

– The Sierra Club: Crusading Against U.S. Energy Security

By John Carlisle

Organization Trends, Capital Research Center

The Sierra Club played a pivotal role in defeating the Bush
Administration’s efforts to open the Artic National Wildlife Refuge to
oil drilling. Now it wants Congress to require impractical and costly
renewable energy standards for use of wind and solar power.

CONTACT: Capital Research Center, 1513 16th St., NW, Washington, DC
20036, 202/483-6900, fax 202/483-6902, email crc@capitalresearch.org,
http://www.capitalresearch.org.

Above article is quoted from The Heritage Foundation, The Insider
Nov/Dec 2002 www.heritage.org

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

– It’s Up to Us

Author: Greg Scandlen

Published: The Heartland Institute 02/01/2003

Health care reform is going to be the biggest domestic issue in 2003.
The private sector keeps developing new financing options, while
financially strapped state governments are in a crisis over the rising
costs of Medicaid and state employee benefits.

At the same time, the scientific community keeps developing new drugs
and treatments that are full of promise, hospitals struggle to keep up
with changing workforce demands, physicians are reeling from additional
cuts in Medicare payments, and insurers are profoundly affected by
seemingly unrelated issues such as lawsuit abuse, the drying up of
reinsurance post 9/11, and depletion of their reserves by the weak stock
market.

Patients, consumers, and workers may not know the details of the issues,
but they are developing a growing insecurity about the whole system. It
isn’t just financing. They also feel confusion about what the experts
tell them about medical practice. Is hormone replacement therapy good or
bad? Just when we get comfortable tracking our LDL cholesterol, they
tell us C-reactive protein is more important. Do childhood vaccines
really cause autism? Or is it just those that contain mercury? Or is the
whole idea just paranoid bunk?

The Great Choice

Some people are attracted to the imagined simplicity and security of
just letting the government take care of it. They have enough to worry
about. Managed care has made them comfortable with ceding health care
decisions to someone else … does it really matter if that “someone
else” is a private insurer or the government?

Others recoil at the thought of concentrating more authority in
government hands. They look at how the government runs other programs
and see how interest groups and political patronage influence
government’s decisions. They see how politically difficult it is just to
add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare, and how all the generous
benefits of Medicaid aren’t worth much if you can’t find a doctor who
participates in the program. They don’t want Tom Delay and Nancy Pelosi
defining their insurance benefits package.

Faced with confusion and complexity, which path will most Americans
choose? Will we say, “This is just too much for me, somebody please take
it off my hands?” Or will we decide that given all this chaos, we need
to be the masters of our own fate? Will we impose our own order for the
good of our own families?

The decisions we make next year and the year after will set us on a
course that will have a profound effect on each one of us, our children,
and our grandchildren yet to be born. There is no more important public
policy issue than the future of our health care system. There is no
service more personal and more intimate.

Let Health Care Compete

There is also no service more expensive. But who can say if it is too
expensive? Who knows what the “right” amount is to spend on health
care–or shoes, or peanut butter, or lawyers, or entertainment, for that
matter? There is no right answer.

And there is no limit to how much money we could potentially spend on
health care services. Our consumption is limited only by our priorities.
Few of us would choose to spend every dollar we earn on health care
services. We have other needs as well–food, shelter, clothing,
education, even our desire to leave our children with an inheritance.

The way to determine the “right” amount of spending for health care is
to have it compete with all the other needs and desires we have. Then we
can make the judgments based on our own system of values and priorities.
This requires removing the veil of subsidies, entitlements, mandates,
and hidden taxes that currently hides the true cost of health care.

We who pay the taxes and insurance premiums, and we who earn our
benefits as surely as we earn our wages, should be deciding how that
money is spent–not some distant bureaucracy that doesn’t have a clue
about who we are or what is important to us. Once we regain control of
the dollars, the entire health care system will rearrange itself to suit
us. That is the real meaning of “patient power.”

It’s Up to Us

But just as the health care system affects all of us, so are we all
responsible for fixing it. This is not an issue that can be left in the
hands of politicians … or employers, or doctors, or insurance
companies. Reform is not a federal responsibility, nor a state, nor a
private-sector one. It is our responsibility.

The reforms need to be all-inclusive. The private sector can do only so
much before running into the restrictions of 50 years of ever-increasing
regulations. Similarly, while the states have a lot of control over
insurance regulation and the practice of medicine, they are also
constrained by ERISA, HIPAA, Stark One and Stark Two, COBRA, and a whole
bowl of alphabet soup. Even the Feds can’t do it by themselves. In 1996
they enacted a limited medical savings account program, only to discover
many states imposed requirements that prevented MSAs from being offered.

Meanwhile, employers and physicians are in pitched battle over the
Patient Bill of Rights, insurers and pharmaceutical companies are at war
over direct-to-consumer advertising, nurses and hospitals fight each
other over wages, working conditions, and staffing requirements. The
consumer gets lost in all these parochial battles, and reform becomes a
tug-of-war over which special interest will prevail.

Ultimately, we health care consumers will have to assert ourselves. The
big dogs and the fat cats have dropped the ball. They cannot be trusted
to do the job. We need to start calling the shots, and the best way for
us to do that is to retake control over our own money.

Greg Scandlen is director of the Galen Institute’s Center for Consumer
Driven Health Care and assistant editor of Health Care News.

Above article is quoted from The Heartland Institute, Health Care News
February 2003 www.heartland.org

”Evergreen (Today’s Quote)”

“Under democracy one party always devoted its chief energies to trying
to prove that the other party is unfit to rule — and both commonly
succeed, and are right.” — H.L. Mencken

”’Edited by Richard O. Rowland, president of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. He can be reached at (808) 487-4959 or by email at:”’ mailto:grassroot@hawaii.rr.com ”’For more information, see its Web site at:”’ http://www.grassrootinstitute.org/

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