March 27, 2010

Most Easily Bought: Steve Driehaus?

Filed under: Activism,Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:29 am

Geez, if you’re going to abandon your so-called core values and betray the pro-life beliefs of the vast majority of the residents of your district, you should at least end up with some boodle to show for it.

Steve Driehaus apparently didn’t have as much of an appetite for pork as his fellow sellouts (HT Hot Air):

A day after Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., and ten other House members compromised on their pro-life position to deliver the necessary yes-votes to pass health care reform, the “Stupak 11″ released their fiscal year 2011 earmark requests, which total more than $4.7 billion–an average of $429 million worth of earmark requests for each lawmaker.

Of the eight lawmakers whose 2010 requests were available for comparison, five requested more money this week than they did a year ago: Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, D-Pa., Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Brad Ellsworth, D-Ind., Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, and Rep. Charles Wilson, D-Ohio.

Driehaus’s name is absent. Maybe it’s because his “requests” weren’t available, but he appears to be a cheap, uh, uh, “date.”

Maybe his vote isn’t so much a sellout as it is a giant, 18-month fake-out.

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘Should Grandma Get Divorced? ObamaCare Says So’) Is Up (Update: IRS As The Marriage Police)

IRSagentban-marriage-80x801It’s here.

Its subheadline better previews the column’s full content:

By additional taxes and fees, and by sliding subsidies, ObamaCare introduces powerful incentives against job creation, personal success — and marriage. Is this really good for America?

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Monday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires under the title “Earn More, End Up With Less, and Even Fork Over Your ‘Wealth.’”


Left on the Cutting Room Floor:

This table, which is a combination of two tables originally created at the Heritage Foundation by Senior Research Fellow Robert Rector, forms the major backing for the column:


The column concentrated on the incentive-killing effects of ObamaCare’s sliding subsidies, most obvious in the orange boxes (where the loss of subsidy is 80% of a $5,000 income gain achieved by a two-income, equal-earning couple) and the purple ones (where it’s over 100%). In both cases, other taxes such a couple would have to pay (Social Security, Medicare, and federal, state and local income taxes) would cause them have less disposable income after earning $5,000 more ($2,500 each).

All indications are that these “brackets” aren’t indexed, meaning that we would be back to the subsidy equivalent of the tax code’s pre-Reagan “bracket creep” — on steroids.

The marriage penalty, i.e., the subsidy lost by getting married or staying married, is so obvious and so punitive as displayed in the table that I didn’t directly discuss it in the column. The worst example on the table above is a 60 year-old couple earning a combined $60,000. Such a couple would get no annual subsidy if they got or stayed married and a $10,425 subsidy if they divorced and stayed together or cohabited indefinitely.

Ah, but the law in most states says that you can’t cohabit indefinitely and still claim not to be married, which gives rise to the following not-unrealistic scenario:

  • A government starved for money notices that the percentage of people reporting themselves as “married” has declined steeply and that the number of couples living together has grown in tandem.
  • Reminding itself of state laws that treat couples as “married” for legal purposes if they live together for typically seven years, the Internal Revenue Service is tasked with finding cohabiting couples and divorced couples still living together “illegally” claiming that they are not married for health care subsidy purposes.
  • Those caught and punished by the IRS carrying out its new role as the de facto “marriage police” could get socked with multi-year bills for “undeserved” subsidies running into tens of thousands of dollars (plus, of course, penalties and interest).

16,500 new IRS agents won’t be anywhere near the number needed to enforce the ObamaCare regime.

Positivity: More than 70,000 attend World Youth Day meeting with Pope in St. Peter’s Square

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 9:35 am

From Vatican City:

Mar 26, 2010 / 06:51 pm

Thursday evening’s celebration of World Youth Day (WYD) 2010 at the Vatican drew a staggering number of young people to the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica. For nearly an hour, the Holy Father held the attention of the crowd, teaching that love is the key to inheriting eternal life and that life is meant to be lived “all the way.”

Entering the square aboard the popemobile to the light of thousands of yellow and white prayer candles, the Holy Father took the stage just after 8:30 p.m. to orchestral music accompanied by a chorus and chants of “Ben-e-det-to,” which is “Benedict” in Italian as well as “blessed.”

This year the World Youth Day celebration is being held on the diocesan level, but it will be held on an international level in Madrid in 2011.

After addresses by the Cardinal Vicar of Rome and a young girl welcoming the Pope and thanking him for his presence, the Holy Father was asked some questions regarding the theme of this year’s 25th anniversary message for WYD2010, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Before responding, he told the multitude of 75,000, “Thank you from (the bottom of) my heart for your presence, for this marvelous witness of faith, to want to live in communion with Jesus, and your enthusiasm to follow Jesus and live well.”

The Holy Father went on to teach that the keys to living well and attaining eternal life are held in the Ten Commandments, the “rules of love” through which we are taught to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.

Go here for the rest of the story.