The Fundamental Difference

28 Sep

I had to step out for a while but have been thinking about what KMG said in the previous thread  – “Tax exemptions cost money.”, preceded by his definitions of subsidies:

– Salaries for employees of tax exempt organizations
– Health insurance employer contributions for tax exempt organization employees
– Salaries and benefits provided to religious institution employees

Now I don’t want to single him out, because I believe this mindset is shared by the vast majority of liberals and it is a 180 degree difference in the way I view these issues. I believe that the government has only the power and money that the people choose to give it. Therefore, a tax exemption is simply a business keeping more of it’s own money and not giving it to the government. It doesn’t cost the government money because it didn’t belong to the government in the first place. Which leads me to the salaries of tax exempt organizations, which are not subsidies. These salaries are paid from the donations or revenues generated by the specific organization. The government is not involved in anyway, and just because they are tax exempt, it doesn’t mean that that organization is keeping the “governments money”, therefore no subsidies. A subsidy is when the government uses tax payer money to offset costs of another entity or individual. Let’s take for example the health care benefits of John McCain, who recently voted for himself a tax payer subsidy to help pay his health insurance even though his salary is approximately $170K. Now one of you needs to tell my why you support that subsidy.

Have any of you ever wondered why we government spending increased by nearly 30% in January of 2009, has not dropped of at all, and still we are told it is not enough? Do any of you ever question that? Were people starving in the streets in 2008? Look, government can not lift people out of poverty – that has been proven over the last 50 years; government can not legislate fairness, government can not spend any money it first doesn’t take from someone else, and government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem (I have always loved that line). People like Harry Reid are the problem. People like John McCain are the problem. It boggles my mind that so many of you just accept what they say as fact, and follow willfully. I don’t understand it. I suspect all of you have been voting for Democrats for years – so my question is, how is that working out for you? Record number of people on food stamps, disability, welfare; lowest workforce participation rate in decades; highest black unemployment in decades, high out of wedlock birth rates, cities like Detroit and Chicago in ruins, etc.. Are you pleased with their progress so far? Don’t you think it’s time we might try something different?

In terms of the Congressional exemption, since many of you just don’t get it. I give you Bill Bennet, who details it nicely in this piece. Here’s an excerpt:

<b>Congress complains that without its special subsidies the Hill will suffer a “brain drain” as staffers leave their jobs because of increasing out-of-pocket insurance costs. Heaven forbid Congress suffer the same fate as private companies like UPS, which recently had to cut health-care benefits entirely for employees’ spouses; or labor unions, like the 40,000 International Longshore and Warehouse Union workers who recently left the AFL-CIO citing as one factor ObamaCare’s tax on their “Cadillac” health-care plans.</b>

In closing I just want to say that I like all of you guys – we have debated long enough, and I am familiar with a few of you now to know that you are all pretty good guys. Sometimes I scratch my head wondering how completely different we are politically, but that doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. I think it would help if most of you would dispense with the notion that conservatives are mean spirited, because ultimately, I think we all want the same things – we just have vastly different opinions on how to get there.


Posted by on September 28, 2013 in Open Thread


41 responses to “The Fundamental Difference

  1. kmgtwo

    September 28, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I think I stated the truth pretty well about the “Congressional subsidy” canard in the previous thread, so I’ll let someone else pick up that ball if they want to. You can keep using that word, as do the Republicans you cite, but all it does is remind me of The Princess Bride.

    My statement on those other items being subsidies is ONLY IF you accept the position that a government-provided employer contribution for health insurance premiums is some subsidy that no one else gets. Using that horseshit definition, a tax exempt organization that doesn’t pay property tax is getting something else no other property owner gets. It’s a subsidy paid for by the loss of government revenue in property taxes. The government has determined that the loss of revenue is in the public interest, but it is a loss of revenue nonetheless.

    • Cluster

      September 28, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      It is not a loss of revenue, because that revenue should have never been expected or accounted for. If it was expected, then that’s an entirely new discussion. Now you can debate whether or not an entity should be tax exempt all day long.

      In re: The Congressional exemption – I have posted numerous accounts of the “carve out” by a lot of different people, (I did find it interesting that you attacked John Fund and not his message), but you can ignore that if you choose. I will only say that if our Representatives want employer assisted health care, then they are more than capable of leaving their position and seeking employment in the private sector. But if they pass legislation that has resulted in many other people losing their employer contribution, which they have, then that doesn’t float with me.

      • kmgtwo

        September 28, 2013 at 4:09 pm

        You have posted a few opinion pieces and op-eds by Republicans with a vested interest in perpetuating the lie, but you have not posted a single link to a reputable, unbiased news source supporting it. That’s a big difference. Just because Limbaugh, Bennet, Fund, et. al. call it a subsidy, it doesn’t make it so. But enough about that, I’ll just refer you again to The Princess Bride.

      • watsonthethird

        September 28, 2013 at 4:21 pm

        cluster, I love ya, man :-), but kmg is spot on here. You simply post opinion piece after opinion piece and pretty much ignore anything that posted by others. No wonder rusty gets frustrated with you when it comes to global warming.

        You continue to bring up John McCain and his $170K salary, as though that is representative of the individuals affected. You well know that it is not. And if you don’t know that, then you truly are ignorant about this topic.

      • Cluster

        September 28, 2013 at 4:46 pm

        No he’s not. For Christ’s sake, they actually had to get the President involved to grant the exemption because it wasn’t written into the original bill, and why is that? Because it was passed in such a hurry that nobody caught it, so they make the fix at the 11th hour. That should make you real proud of the government you defend daily and real confident that this is good legislation.

        Secondly, many other people, not close to the power, are losing their health benefits and contributions and can’t just exempt themselves from that. But what you perceive is your reality, so

      • Cluster

        September 28, 2013 at 4:52 pm

        You continue to bring up John McCain and his $170K salary, as though that is representative of the individuals affected. You well know that it is not. And if you don’t know that, then you truly are ignorant about this topic.

        Well you tell me Watson.

        In a ruling issued on Wednesday, U.S. lawmakers AND their staffs will continue to receive a federal contribution toward the health insurance that they must purchase through soon-to-open exchanges created by President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.

      • kmgtwo

        September 28, 2013 at 5:09 pm

        Wow, OPM ruled that something not expressly prohibited by the ACA was, in fact, allowed. Shocking.

      • Cluster

        September 28, 2013 at 5:11 pm

        Are retired, private market seniors losing their pension benefits “expressly prohibited” or not? I always get this one confused.

      • watsonthethird

        September 28, 2013 at 5:09 pm

        cluster said, “Well you tell me Watson.”

        No, you tell me. You do some research for a change to back up your claims.

        But I’ll give you a hint. I posted a link in the previous thread that would be a good starting place for you.

  2. Cluster

    September 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Yon know what I find sad about the ACA is that instead of addressing the actual problem – the 20% of the population the needed coverage and pre existing needs patients – we created another huge, one size fits all government program, that is now rife with special interests, carve outs, exemptions, waivers, etc.

    We can do so much better.

    • kmgtwo

      September 28, 2013 at 4:11 pm

      We could have, if the Republicans had not just stamped their feet and held their breath until they turned blue. They voted against the very same provisions they had supported when they were in power. Things do work better when everyone works together to reach a solution. In this case, only one side was doing all the work.

      • watsonthethird

        September 28, 2013 at 4:26 pm

        Indeed. Tell us, cluster, what have the Republicans offered that would address the problem of 20% of the population needing coverage.

      • Cluster

        September 28, 2013 at 4:40 pm

        I posted there plan yesterday, but that’s not really the problem. The problem is that Democrats don’t listen to republicans, and republicans don’t listen to people like me. Had the GOP been a bigger part of this though, it would look different and probably be better executed. As it is, not one republican voted for this.

        How would you like it if the GOP passed a bill that not one democrat voted for, and then told you just to shut up and don’t challenge it?

      • watsonthethird

        September 28, 2013 at 5:03 pm

        I guess you’re referring to

        How much is that going to cost?

        How does it provide coverage to the 20% of the population that need coverage?

        It claims to address the problem of pre-existing conditions by “bolstering” state high risk pools. I took a quick look at the text and it appears to provide up to $5M for each state’s high risk pools. Do you think that will handle the problem? And if I’m wrong, please cite how.

        But as you said, the real problem in your mind is that Democrats and Republicans don’t listen to people like you. I think you put your finger on it. There are a small number of Republicans who have claim to support people like you and demand that all of the rest of us not only listen to you, but acquiesce to what you want.

        You know, there was a guy who ran for president in 2012 on the platform, “Day one, job one: Repeal Obamacare.” He lost. Do you remember that?

      • Cluster

        September 28, 2013 at 5:08 pm

        I also remember a lot of republicans running to repeal Obamacare and won in the House. Remember that? And now they are doing their job and you think that they don’t have a right to do that. Why is that?

        Here’s another thing I am not real happy about:

        While retiree health benefits have been shrinking for years, the newest cutbacks may quickly become the norm. About 44 percent of companies plan to stop administering health plans for their former workers over the next two years, a survey last month by consultant Towers Watson & Co. (TW) found. Retirees are concerned their costs may rise, while analysts predict benefits will decline in some cases. “Things are going to change dramatically,” said Ron Fontanetta, a partner at New York-based Towers Watson, which advises GE and other large companies. “Over the next two to three years, we see a much more aggressive rethinking of what employers are going to provide.”

        It sure is a good thing that Congress isn’t subject to this reality.

      • watsonthethird

        September 28, 2013 at 5:31 pm

        But they didn’t win the Senate. The didn’t win the White House. They don’t have the votes to overcome a veto. They can’t repeal the ACA, even though they’ve tried, what, 42 times?

        And the other thing is, what are they so afraid of? They seem deathly afraid to let the ACA take affect.

        I don’t think public opinion is going to be on your side, cluster, but we’ll see.

  3. watsonthethird

    September 28, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    And let’s just remember how we got here. The Republicans passed a budget that was such a disaster that even they themselves couldn’t agree with each other when it came to actually funding bills, like the transpiration bill that went down in flames. The disfunction on their side is just mind-boggling.

  4. watsonthethird

    September 28, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Republican Congressman now arguing on the house floor that we should delay the ACA for a year so that we can see what’s in the bill. I’m not kidding.

  5. watsonthethird

    September 28, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Rep. Jack Kingston (R) now complaining about a “failed” health care policy, which for the most part hasn’t even taken effect yet. lol

    • kmgtwo

      September 28, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      He must be getting his talking points from Fox News.

  6. kmgtwo

    September 28, 2013 at 9:29 pm


    How do you feel about your party’s “principled opposition” being <a href=""authored by their corporate overlords?

      • Cluster

        September 29, 2013 at 6:59 am

        Well let’s see – have the Democrats ever done anything at the request of lobbyists? Hmmmmm – that’s a tough one. Meanwhile, back in reality:

        Harry Reid is at odds with a majority of the Senate on this issue, which voted 79 to 20 earlier this year in a largely symbolic vote to repeal the tax. Thirty-three Democrats and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who caucuses with Democrats, voted to end the tax.

        Also, considering that the President unilaterally decided to delay the program by a year for big business, the question is – why wouldn’t you support delaying it for average people?

      • kmgtwo

        September 29, 2013 at 7:09 am

        Not that concerned :

        Mark Mazur, assistant secretary for tax policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, said the Obama administration’s decision to postpone the employer mandate was a direct response to business community concerns.
        “We have heard concerns about the requirements and the need for more time to implement them directly,” Mazur wrote in a note on U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website. “We recognize that the vast majority of businesses that will need to do this reporting already provide health insurance to their workers, and we want to make sure it is easy for others to do so.”
        Data collected by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that in 2012, 60% of employers offered health insurance. The larger the company, the more likely it offered health insurance, according to Kaiser researchers. “Virtually all employers with 1,000 or more employees offer coverage to at least some of their employees,” the foundation found.
        The Urban Institute report underscored the Bay Area Council’s argument that the one-year delay on the employer responsibility requirement will have little impact on the rollout or financing of the ACA.
        “The employer responsibility requirement is not central to expanding insurance coverage and does not have substantial effects on the public and private costs associated with the coverage expansion,” the report stated. “Under the ACA, the employer penalty is not what keeps employers offering coverage. It is the preferences of their workers, the same reason employers are very likely to offer coverage even before implementation of health care reform.”

        There is no reason to delay the individual requirement except for purely partisan political purposes.

      • Cluster

        September 29, 2013 at 7:30 am

        Well aside for the fact that the majority of Americans currently oppose the bill:

        Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin also supports delay. So, the delay idea actually has some strong support.

      • Cluster

        September 29, 2013 at 7:44 am

        I am currently listening to MSNBC trying to tell me that the ACA “law” is a success. Look the cold hard truth is that the “law” as it is written, is a complete mess. Maybe, just maybe, a completely revised version of the law maybe helpful. That’s about it.

      • Cluster

        September 29, 2013 at 8:04 am

        Is Sen. Harry Reid working today for the American people? That answer would be – NO

      • kmgtwo

        September 29, 2013 at 8:07 am

        I already showed that the majority supports the provisions in the law, even Republicans. The unpopularity of the ACA is due to the lies being told about it. Most Americans have no idea what is actually in the law.

        And Manchin does not exactly equal “strong support.”

      • Cluster

        September 29, 2013 at 8:32 am

        I will note that I won’t comment on your “opinion piece” from The partisan Mark Mazur.

        I will also note that Democrat Sen. Tim Kaine just said that he would like to work with Republicans to “reform” the ACA. WTF???? It’s not even law yet, and he wants to reform it.

        Great government we have.

      • kmgtwo

        September 29, 2013 at 9:11 am

        Mazur was a single quote in the article; he didn’t write it.

        And the ACA has been law for 3 1/2 years. What bills have Republicans passed in the House since then to improve the law rather than repeal it?

      • watsonthethird

        September 29, 2013 at 9:17 am

        I will note that I won’t comment on your “opinion piece” from The partisan Mark Mazur.

        Classic cluster. 🙂 We know you won’t comment because you won’t read it. You haven’t read any of the links anyone else has provided in either this thread or the previous one.

      • Cluster

        September 29, 2013 at 9:33 am

        I can only speak for myself, but I am not interested in “fixing” the ACA, otherwise known as the hyper partisan, poorly thought out Democrat approach to controlling to economy.

        I would be interested in finding common sense approaches to addressing the uninsured and the high risk needs patient.

      • watsonthethird

        September 29, 2013 at 9:50 am

        Excuse me for doubting your sincerity.

        Josh Barro had a good article about the cynicism of claims such as yours. I know you won’t read it, but maybe others will. It’s a good read.

      • Cluster

        September 29, 2013 at 10:27 am

        You doubt my sincerity? I am crushed.

        Interesting article, but I will note that Obamacare does not provide universal coverage either, something the author failed to mention.

        Aside from that, I think the take away from the article is how inadequate the ACA really is. Thanks Democrats.

  7. daruttan

    September 28, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Frankly I am a reformed republican. And if I hadn’t seen them light then, I would see it now. I must go, there is one of my favorite songs playing on the stereo.

  8. mitchethekid

    September 29, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Lets switch gears for a moment while I highlight the next eye-stabbing hair pulling lunacy from the right. How are they going to spin Syria’s compliance re chemical weapons? How are they going to spin Iran’s willingness to open their nuclear program open to inspections other than to say that they don’t give a shit, they want to bomb the country anyway. How are these flag waving honor the troops hypocrites going to justify a government shutdown which will prevent members of the military, including those at the Navy Shipyard, from being paid while they, in their righteous indignation demand that they continue to receive their checks. Courtesy of us.
    Because of what? It can’t be the fear of death they have for their party because they are doing everything imaginable to hasten it’s demise. Of all the groups that scream about being patriotic Americans, it is they who are the exception for they are willing to destroy the country…and their political party, for their self-serving holier than thou ideology. They hate the president personally and by extension America.
    I think all of them out to have their wildest hallucinations come true. Round all of them up and put them in a time out re-education camp. And give Palin a lobotomy. She just might end up being a nicer person.

    • Cluster

      September 29, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      A little fact I just became aware of – Democrat speaker of the House Tip O’Neil shut down the government 12 times during his speakership over disagreements with the President.

      Just FYI

      • mitchethekid

        September 29, 2013 at 1:25 pm

        Yes. That’s true. But continue the conversation Chris Mathews had on MTP wherein he talked about that. You’re not Faux News where you can omit certain facts that change the perception. We’re not that misinformed. Reagan walked around the WH in his underwear lauding the praises of Tip. This group is different. Radical, anti American, zealous, fanatical and most of all ultimately losers. Jesus came down and said shut down the government. Oh, and by the way, show a film of me to women who are getting BCP.
        And global warming is a fact. You’re fighting it. The planet is stronger no matter how many weights you lift.

      • watsonthethird

        September 29, 2013 at 1:48 pm

        Perhaps a more analogous situation was in 2007 and 2008, when the Democrats reclaimed the house during the Bush administration. By then, Bush was a very unpopular president, but did you see the Democrats resort to the kinds of tactics that a faction of Republicans are using now? Did the House Democrats, once they regained power, insist on the dismantling of one of Bush’s signature achievements in order to keep the government open? I don’t remember them doing so, but maybe my memory is faulty.

        Come to think of it, was there a significant achievement of the Bush administration? Getting us into a war in Iraq that he couldn’t end? The economic collapse of 2008? Anyone?

    • Cluster

      September 29, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      Also, re: Syria and Iran, if you actually believe either of those countries will live up to their word, then I have some carbon credits still available for purchase.

      As it is, those countries are just saying what they need to say to buy themselves more time.

  9. daruttan

    September 30, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Diplomacy and skepticism cannot sleep in the same bed.
    “trust but verify”

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