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Standard Deduction For Health Insurance
"So in my State of the Union Address next Tuesday, I will propose a tax reform designed to help make basic private health insurance more affordable – whether you get it through your job or on your own."
– President George W. Bush, Radio Address, 1/20/07
Additional Information About The President's Proposed Standard Deduction For Health Insurance
· The President's primary goal is to make health insurance more affordable, allowing more Americans to purchase insurance.
· In his State of the Union Address, the President will propose a "standard deduction for health insurance" – just like the standard deduction for dependents.
· Under the President's proposal, families with health insurance will not pay income or payroll taxes on the first $15,000 in compensation and singles will not pay income or payroll taxes on the first $7,500.
· At the same time, health insurance would be considered taxable income. This is a change for those who now have health insurance through their jobs. The President's proposal will result in lower taxes for about 80 percent of them. The 20 percent of them with more generous policies will have the option to adjust their compensation to have lower premiums and higher wages to offset the tax change.
· The President's proposal levels the playing field for Americans who purchase health insurance individually rather than through their employers, providing a substantial tax benefit for all those who currently have health insurance purchased on the individual market.
· This proposal lowers taxes for all currently uninsured Americans who decide to purchase health insurance – making insurance more affordable and providing a significant incentive to all working Americans to purchase insurance coverage, thereby reducing the number of uninsured Americans.
· As we reform the Federal tax code, we will also support the innovative measures that States are taking to address the problem of the uninsured. Governors across the Nation have put forward plans to make basic private health insurance more accessible for their citizens.
· In his State of the Union Address, the President will announce a new effort – led by Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt – to help governors reduce the number of people in their states without private health insurance.
Any smart guys with informed opinions here?
I'm trying to see how it will affect we military types who use the military system, TRICARE, in all it's forms.
The government *does* pay into it, but I don't think they do so in the same way that, say, General Motors or Sears does - those policies, procured from specific companies, will have price tags attached.
I do see the Pentagon seeing a way to set the cost at the high end (where it may, in fact, be) in order to force as many of us as possible into the "The 20 percent of them with more generous policies will have the option to adjust their compensation to have lower premiums and higher wages to offset the tax change." group so that those of us who can will jump to employer-provided coverage.
Heh. The devil will be in the details. On a first read, by unsophisticated me, it doesn't sound that bad - but... I sense a pay cut or benefit cut coming my way, at one end or the other, simply because I'm in a group that doesn't appear to be really covered here in the vision. We'll see. It's got to get past Congress, first.
Former Clinton Administration Defense Secretary William Perry is once again advocating starting a war with North Korea by bombing it’s nuclear reactor:
Former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry proposed Thursday that the United States should consider military action against North Korea if China and South Korea refuse to prod Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons program, according to a report by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Although the move is dangerous, there is no alternative left if China and South Korea, the two key economic lifelines to North Korea, do not join any U.S.-led “diplomatic coercive’’ action against Pyongyang, he told the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.
AFP quoted Perry, the Pentagon chief under former president Bill Clinton, as saying that the U.S. should consider destroying a large reactor under construction in North Korea capable of making about 10 nuclear bombs a year.
Remember Perry was the same guy who co-authored a Washington Post editorial before July’s North Korean missile test that advocated bombing North Korea’s missile program. I said then that it would be ridiculous to bomb the missile sites because the US had more to gain from the North Koreans firing the missiles compared to if the US attacked North Korea. By firing the missile the US was able to accurately gauge exactly how far along the North Korean missile program was, which ended up being no where near advanced as thought. The US would have never learned this by bombing North Korea. Plus the test continued the isolation of the Kim regime with additional sanctions put on the country and Kim becoming even more of an international pariah.
Compare that to a bombing campaign that would have put Kim Jong-il in a more sympathetic light. Remember their were people who were sympathetic with Saddam Hussein, don’t think Kim Jong-il won’t get the same treatment. Cindy Sheehan and her ilk would be toasting Kim Jong-il in no time. The media would show images of killed civilians from the bombing campaign over and over again while ignoring all the civilians dying right now in North Korea, as I type this, due to the Kim regime’s systematic starvation program. Even more dangerous than the political and diplomatic consequences would be the military consequences of a full scale war breaking out on the Korean peninsula. Any war on the Korean peninsula would cause casualties that would dwarf the Iraq War. Especially US casualties with the 2nd Infantry Division continuing to remain located near the DMZ.
The consequences of bombing Kim’s nuclear program today would be the same as what I listed above for bombing Kim’s missile program. However, fear not, there will not be a bombing campaign on North Korea and Perry knows it. Remember he was the guy in charge of the Pentagon during the 1994 nuclear crisis when the Clinton Administration decided not to bomb North Korea. He knows President Bush cannot attack North Korea for the very same reasons President Clinton didn’t, which makes it easy for him to come out looking like a hawk on this issue. The Democrats have long been viewed as weak on defense so in order to build their defense credentials, they are looking to take hawkish positions on issues that they know President Bush cannot act upon. North Korea is the best example. Notice you see no one from the Democratic Party advocating bombing Iran which is a much greater danger to the US than North Korea. What’s the difference between advocating bombing Iran compared to North Korea? The only difference is that there is a very real possibility that President Bush may bomb Iran in the future compared to North Korea.
Many Democrats are only hawkish when they know they don’t need to act on it. Another example of this was for the past two years the Democrats have been all over TV advocating for more troops in Iraq and made sure to keep bringing up General Shinseki’s name every time they did. They did this to bolster their defense credentials because they didn’t think President Bush would ever actually act upon it. However, Bush did act and sent more troops to Iraq and what did the Democrats do? Condemn Bush for sending more troops to Iraq and threaten to cut funding for the soldiers there. Perry’s latest article is just another example of a long line of Democratic demagoguery of national security issues.All done!
General Casey answers questions on "the surge":
Watch the video, then check the extended section for the resulting headline.
AP reporter Robert Burns, who actually asked the question, says:
General: Some Troops Heading To Iraq Could Be Home In MonthsAccurate reporting? I don't think so. One, it assigns an "optimism" I don't think the General exhibits. Two, while troop numbers will return to the current levels in the future, the troops deploying as part of the surge aren't deploying for weeks or months - they're deploying for at least a year. Any coming home this summer will be those who were extended by the surge - not those who deployed a bit earlier then planned.
TALLIL AIR BASE, Iraq - The U.S. commander in Iraq predicted yesterday that some of the extra troops President Bush is sending could make an impact and start returning home by late summer, an optimistic note in contrast to skepticism of the plan back home.
The question posed demonstrates a misunderstanding on the part of the reporter as to how "the surge" is being accomplished - a misunderstanding shared by a majority of Americans, and apparently by a large percentage of their congressional representatives. Clarifying that is not a difficult task, any reporter wanting to understand what's happening prior to filing their next story on the topic could discover this with about 15 minutes work - but I'm going to make it even easier and do it for them here.All done!
From the story HERE
Al-Sadr said that 400 of his men had been arrested and that he is also being targeted, prompting him to move his family to a secure location, the Italian daily La Repubblica reported.
The Shiite cleric said he is being targeted.
"For this reason, I have moved my family to a secure location. I even have had a will drawn up, and I move continuously in a way that only few can know where I am," he was quoted as saying by Repubblica.
I thought dying for your faith was what Muqty was all about... you know, killing infidels and those that do not toe the line and pay money... er, believe as he does... I'm betting on a spidey hole
There is probably no better way to get China's nationalists to demand a Great Leap Forward in military spending than to tell them they are two decades behind the United States.I think you are misunderestimating the Chinese and the helpful hint they just gave us. Think real hard about how much we rely on satellites. Real hard. Imagine that they go away. How long until we can use our technological advantage with back-up systems to the same level we need to? How much "fog" would their loss cause? Can we afford that? Have we exercised "off-line." Do you like the sound of crickets?
The American public may now be lulled into a false sense of security by the "been there, done that" attitude prevalent in some quarters; or it may be sent into a panic that a new communist rival is about to replace it as Top Nation. But China's leaders will not be taken in by either myth, and will instead keep a cool eye on what really matters.
Despite appearances, what really matters to China is not whether its military and its space programme can catch up with America's.
They looked up and saw America's single greatest strength — the extraordinary satellite technology that enabled it to know where its enemies were and bomb them. And they realized its greatest strength was also its weakness, because while a human can fight back, a satellite cannot.
This is a great opportunity to ponder: we shouldn't dismiss it.