Ridiculous title? Not really when you look at what is unfolding in our government these days. Many of the situations that are in the backdrop of the political melodrama of health care reform range from pathetic to sheer insanity. Meanwhile, as all of this uselessness is transpiring while people are living through real world problems, like finding a job.
The house is on fire!
October’s jobless report was released on Friday and the news still isn’t good. One hundred and ninety thousand more jobs bled off and unemployment now sits at an overall 10.2%, a .4% rise from last month.
While the payroll data shows 190,000 jobs lost, the household survey reflects a larger statistical anomaly or 558,000 jobs lost. That is to say the total number of unemployed has risen from approximately 15.2 million to 15.7 million. While statistical divergence between payroll and household data is not uncommon due to differences in sampling methodology, this month’s household data triples the tally of the payroll report.
On a darker front, when you look at the overall picture of the Labor report the unemployment situation is far worse than being reported. This occurs when you take into account extraneous factors such as marginal and part-time workers.
WSJ-The economy shed another 190,000 jobs in October, taking the total job losses to 3.5 million since January. The larger measure of joblessness that includes marginal and part-time workers jumped 0.5% to 17.5%. And the average hours worked in a week stayed the same at 33.0, which means that millions of Americans working part-time will have to become full-time before employers start hiring new workers
While Rome burns, Nero tries to remodel the bedroom and play a fiddle.
This evening the House of Representatives, rather than calling an emergency session to deal with unemployment, is forcing Pelosi’s H.R. 3962 down the collective pie-holes of every American.
When the bill was unveiled it was touted as costing a “meager” $894 billion, just below the $900 billion cap set by President Obama. However, upon more rigorous analysis the total cost of the bill is much higher than Democratic officials would have you believe due to some innovative budgetary gimmicks.
According to Donald Marron, former acting Director of the Congressional Budgetary Office, the price tag sits somewhere around $1.3 trillion.
Donald Marron| The House Health Bill Costs Almost $1.3 Trillion
The Heritage Foundation has taken it a step further by including the “Doc Fix.” What this does is adjusts medical payments made to physicians by taking into consideration medical inflationary costs. This would add about $245 billion to the total cost.
The Doc Fix–Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR)–was covered in a separate bill–H.R. 3961–by Rep John Dingell (D.-MI) on October 29th. The Heritage Foundation’s conclusion, as to the cost, is somewhat confirmed by a recent CBO estimate. Although as you can see there is a $35 billion variance.
A procedural vote on including H.R. 3961–Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act–with H.R.3962 will be part of today’s debate. Hence, by conjoining these two bills the House can avoid a stand alone vote on the Doc Fix in the Senate. This will avoid the Senate’s original mistake, made just a few weeks ago, of offering the same bill as separate legislation. It was summarily defeated when 13 Democrats sided with their GOP counterparts and voted it down.
To a point none of this really matters since this health care leviathan will inevitably pass the House and be in route to the Senate where it will debated. Even though there will more than likely be some changes this is irrelevant also, Pelosi has bid high. By that I mean the bill, as noted, will be changed but its legislative structure will remain intact. Some bones will be thrown to lawmakers in order to guarantee their votes but it will essentially be the same in cost and application.
Don’t count on a Senate filibuster either. Most of the its members lack the political fortitude to risk all and protect the American people from this legislative abortion.
Hey, the house burned down while we were remodeling the bedroom. Arrest the carpenter!
The final insult in this debacle is if a person does not comply with Pelosi’s mandate to purchase health insurance they could not only face a stiff penalty but also end up in jail.
Republican Ways and Means-H.R. 3962 provides that an individual (or a husband and wife in the case of a joint return) who does not, at any time during the taxable year, maintain acceptable health insurance coverage for himself or herself and each of his or her qualifying children is subject to an additional tax.
Now, failure to pay your “tax” can result in civil, as well as criminal prosecution, by the Internal Revenue Service since you will have been relegated to the status of tax cheat.
Prosecution is authorized under the Code for a variety of offenses. Depending on the level of the noncompliance, the following penalties could apply to an individual:
• Section 7203 – misdemeanor willful failure to pay is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.
• Section 7201 – felony willful evasion is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.”
For your reading pleasure here is the complete letter, sent to Rep. Camp from the JCT.
In conclusion, we have a nation facing a lucid and anemic jobless recovery in which almost 16 million, and growing, of our fellow countrymen and women are facing an abysmal economic future. While this is happening our esteemed majority in Congress is more concerned with opening a door that will force these people, and eventually the rest of us, into a world of government dependency and “entitlement.” You can forget tackling a non-agenda driven problem like unemployment, there is no power consolidation on that path.
Well if it gets any worse we can always blame George Bush! :)
Update: The house just burned down.
AP-In a victory for President Barack Obama, the Democratic-controlled House narrowly passed landmark health care legislation Saturday night to expand coverage to tens of millions who lack it and place tough new restrictions on the insurance industry. Republican opposition was nearly unanimous.
The 220-215 vote cleared the way for the Senate to begin debate on the issue that has come to overshadow all others in Congress.
The lone Republican vote, embarrassingly for Jason and myself, was Joseph Cao (R P-La.). Cao’s future has just been consigned to politically non-existent, along with the Democrats Progressives.
Update II: I couldn’t resist putting this up. Now that the bill has passed the House, the New York Times is interestingly reporting that health care reform now costs $1.1 trillion. Talk about convenient editorial honesty. More from the WaPo, also.