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October 2, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

A failed system, top to bottom

While we normal folk bicker over party alliances, corruption permeates our politics at the very top.

Justices deciding on a temporary moratorium on underwater drilling, after the explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, held stocks in big oil. Congressional members are allowed access to inside information on the stock market and can act on it. The same members of Congress hold stocks in health insurance, military contractors, weapons manufacturers, big oil and coal. Lobbyists line the halls of Capitol Hill handing out checks. Representatives can leave office and join those lobbyists while maintaining close contacts with legislatures.

Yet they suggest the legislative decisions they make are fair and do not involve profits. Many of them overlooked the pledge they made to uphold the Constitution of the United States to pledge an oath to Grover Norquist, promising never to raise taxes on the wealthy.

There are separate rules for the wealthy based on a corporate welfare system. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., recently released a 37-page report titled “Subsidies of the Rich and Famous.” In his report he acknowledges $114 billion in federal tax breaks was claimed by millionaires since 2006 while they received $9.5 billion in government grants and subsidies. According to his research, in 2009 nearly 1,500 millionaires paid no federal income tax.

Our entire system from top to bottom is skewed toward the wealthiest of us while the working class slowly vanishes.

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  1. In his letter, Vernos uses the term 'corruption' but 'legalized extortion and bribery' more closely describe what is happening in Congress.

    I wish that Vernos, the OWS people, the Tea Party and most other Americans would come to realize that the wealthy and the powerful, through lobbyists and other means are simply utilizing the system of 'legalized extortion and bribery' in Congress to gain advantage.

    We can whine and protest about millionaires, billionaires, Wallstreet, big business, etc until hell freezes over and it will accomplish nothing that matters.

    The people in Congress in both parties have created, fully participate in, and richly benefit from this system of 'legalized extortion and bribery'. Former Presidents and our present President know this system exists but don't lift a finger to expose it or change it and neither do members of Congress.

    If we want to stop what is happening, we must start to expose this system of 'legalized extortion and bribery' in Congress and make the people in Congress pay a price for creating, participating in and benefiting from this system.

    OWS needs to camp in front of Congress and protest; not Wallstreet and the banks. Americans must stop re-electing members of Congress over and over again. We must demand that Congress balance the budget and stop deficit spending.

    We're all mad and we've all had enough, but we must remember that our system and how it works is in our control, if we use the power we have to make it work for us. Demonizing the wealthy and powerful may feel good, but unless we change Congress, at the end of the day, the rich will still be rich, the powerful will still be powerful and the system of 'legalized extortion and bribery' that they use to gain advantage will still be in place.

    Michael

  2. wtplv - "In his letter, Vernos uses the term 'corruption' but 'legalized extortion and bribery' more closely describe what is happening in Congress."

    Michael,

    Of course it's corruption. These people are the legislatures. They and lobbyists write the laws that bypass and legalize what they do. They've jailed people such as Martha Stewart for doing exactly what they do.

    There are two systems of justice, one for them, and another for everyone else. Case in point. Why is Tom Delay not in jail? He was found guilty yet he awaits another trial? If that was you or I we'd be shipped out so fast our heads would spin.

    It's similar to Nixon saying because he's the president he can't break the law.

    In reference to the shrinking middle class:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/1...

    "The share of families living in middle-income neighborhoods has dropped to 44 percent in 2007 from 65 percent in 1970, the Stanford University study showed."

    "The study sponsored by the Sage Foundation and Brown University covered the country's major 117 metropolitan areas."

    "It supports views that the income inequality gap is widening and could put the distribution of public resources under the spotlight."

    "Given that in 2008 the top 10 percent of earners controlled approximately 48 percent of all income in the United States, the increasing isolation of the affluent from the low and moderate-income families means that a significant portion of society's resources are concentrated in a smaller and smaller portion of neighborhoods," the study said."

  3. Everything said in the rants published lead to one conclusion - Washington D.C.'s power must be curbed, not extended. There is too much money involved and it breeds the corruption you all say you despise. So, let's work to lessen the influence that the pigsty has on state & local affairs. Bring accountability back where it belongs, closer to home.

  4. Comment removed by moderator. - -

  5. Vernos wants to argue over whether we call it corruption or 'legalized extortion and bribery'.

    Dennis wants to talk about Buffet.

    Frank wants to talk about how OWS and 60 minutes are bringing the corruption out into the open.

    And NOBODY wants to address the MEAT in my letter. We all seem to know about the 'corruption' and 'legalized extortion and bribery' system in Congress, but all you end up doing is talking about the 'results' of the corruption. How does that help ANYTHING?

    WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT CONGRESS? Are we going to elect all D's? Will that fix things? Are we going to elect all R's? Will that fix things? Are we going to continue to re-elect over 80 % of those already in Congress? Will that fix things?

    Let's STOP talking about the 'results' of all the 'corruption' and system of 'legalized extortion and bribery' in Congress. Everyone can see and most are living the RESULTS!

    I will do my best to vote out every member of Congress I can from now and until the 'system' changes and I will tell everyone I can, not about the bad results (duh - we all see those!), but about the 'causes' of the bad results.

    Frank, Vernos, Dennis, etc..... WHAT WILL YOU DO?

    Michael

  6. Michael,

    I agree with you and understand to fix Washington we need to clean house, but the system is so corrupt it isn't possible. You may not be aware of recent news, but even those who were elected in Nov. of 2010 are getting on board the money train. So I ask, if those who went to Washington to clean up the system get caught up in the corruption, who else do we elect?

    http://www.iwatchnews.org/2011/11/18/744...

    "A joint analysis by iWatch News and the Center for Responsive Politics has found that the 15 freshmen members of the Tea Party Caucus have embraced many of the same special interests that have supported Republicans for years. The fifteen combined have received over $3,450,000 during the first three quarters of this year from almost 700 different PACs."

  7. Dennis,

    I commend you for not sitting on the sidelines and complaining about the system. Protesting is useful for bringing issues to light. However, if that's all you do and if you vote, you just vote those already in Congress back in, your protests cannot accomplish anything. That's my only point.

    I think that people that support either the R or D philosophy should vote for candidates of that party. I just think they should not vote to keep anyone in office for multiple terms, because doing so leads to being co-opted by the system in Congress.

    Michael

  8. Amen, Vernos.

    Term limits, election finance reform and new, strict, enforceable laws relating to LOBBYING...

    would be a GREAT start.

    "The rant REALLY concerns the frustration of the liberal sheep in getting their way and having the government taking more and more money from the "Rich" and giving it to THEM!"

    Again, what a load...
    If we simply ended the Bush era tax cuts for Joe's wealthy patrons, which we couldn't afford before and certainly can't afford now, we'd be well on our way to cutting the deficit.

    Hey, Joe...
    When WAS the last Repub admin that DIDN'T break the bank?
    Reagan & Bush policies have put America in the poor house.
    The tax cuts under W combined with his 2 occupations have cost America in the neighborhood of 7 TRILLION DOLLARS.
    OUCH!!!

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/infographics/u...

  9. RefNV,

    Let me start by admitting that there is no fool proof method to prevent corruption.

    My premise is pretty simple. Those in Congress have allowed themselves a different medical care system, a different retirement system and all manner of other perks that regular Americans don't have access to.

    They have also created rules that allow a party in the minority to have much more sway than their numbers should allow.

    They fight any limits on the number of terms they can serve and have put in place rules and procedures that make it next to impossible for someone without access to big money to challange an office holder in Congress.

    They have exempted themselves from insider trading and other rules that Americans have to live by.

    They have allowed lobbyists to actually go into committees and write legislation they desire and then provide money and support to members of Congress in exchange for support of that desired legislation.

    They have been unwilling to balance a budget and either cut spending or increase taxes accordingly.

    I ask you; how is what these people have done and are doing alot different than living under King George of England in the 1700's?

    We've tried campaign finance reform and that's not an answer because the lobbyists and members of Congress find ways around the reform.

    I think that if you agree with the R philosophy, you should vote R; just not the current R in office and you should support term limits. If you agree with the D philosophy, you should vote D; just not the current D in office and you should support term limits.

    Michael

  10. Vernos,

    I don't believe that there is ever a time in this country where there is so much corruption, we can't address it and just have to give up.

    Unlike many, I am not at all surprised that Tea Party members have been co-opted by the system. After all, they are human beings, just like every other member of Congress. This is why we need term limits and we need to vote long serving members of Congress (who have certainly been compromised by now) out of office.

    I know you don't like the Tea Party, which is fine by me. If they have become part of the corrupt system, they should be voted out. No problem, as long as that same yardstick is used on all members.

    Michael

  11. Obviously what I posted went over gogo's head. The point being newly recruited politicians who railed against the system, get sucked into the corruption. Even with the best of intentions they rely on campaign donations.

    Speaking of corruption, can you say Newt Gingrich? He got $1.6 million from Freddie Mac and his think tank received $37 million over the last eight years. It's no wonder how these people from both sides of the aisle become millionaires voting for their own best interest.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/283...

    A think tank founded by GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich collected at least $37 million over the past eight years from major health-care companies and industry groups, offering special access to the former House speaker and other perks, according to records and interviews.

    The Center for Health Transformation, which opened in 2003, brought in dues of as much as $200,000 per year from insurers and other health-care firms, offering some of them "access to Newt Gingrich" and "direct Newt interaction," according to promotional materials. The biggest funders, including firms such as AstraZeneca, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Novo Nordisk, were also eligible to receive discounts on "products and workshops" from other Gingrich groups.

  12. acejoker - "As Grover Norquist said today: "no one has made any pledge to me. I am just reminding them of the pledge they made to their constituents". "Vernos survives on misinforation. It is the only way he can rationalize his beliefs."

    You really don't read news, do you?

    GOP lawmakers want out of tax pledge

    http://thehill.com/homenews/house/192529...

    "Grover Norquist's grip on the House Republican Conference is loosening."

    "A growing number of GOP lawmakers have disavowed Norquist's pledge against supporting tax increases in recent days, telling The Hill they no longer feel bound to uphold a document that they signed, in some cases, more than a decade ago."

    "Norquist's advocacy group, Americans for Tax Reform, lists 238 House signers of its Taxpayer Protection Pledge, but several House Republicans, and at least one Democrat, now say the anti-tax group is being deceptive and want their names taken off the list."

  13. The reason politicians cater to special interests is because there's no money in politics. These guys get paid what a 25-year-old second year associate would make at a law firm and many of our politicians are middle-aged or older.

    If the people that ran this country were paid what top level executives earn there would be no need to constantly kowtow to special interests and they might act in the best interest of the country. Currently they use their political office as a stepping stone to a much higher paying profession when they leave office.

  14. Newt Gingrich was probably making 150K or less when he held political office. This was probably the lowest paying job the guy ever had. I'll bet he has made millions since leaving office.

  15. RefNV,

    I agree that much more should be left to the states. There would be inequalities between the states in that case but then people in those states could decide if they wanted to live there or in another state and that would be a good thing.

    Michael

  16. http://www.pimco.com/EN/insights/pages/k...
    the vast majority of future spending is going to cover the nations medical costs. If you want to bring spending down bring medical costs down. With $66 trillion in future liabilities over $40 trillion is directly attributable to medical spending.

    The reason that most of these liabilities have accrued to the federal government is because the states don't want the liabilities. Medicaid alone is killing the most populous states. The federal government covers a substantial chunk of states Medicaid costs and many states are still going bust..

  17. I for one am in favor of raising taxes on everyone. Currently half the people in the country are receiving some type of government handout. To expect half the country to pay for the other half is ridiculous. Eventually everyone collects so everyone should pay.

  18. "By the end of the 19th century, so many rich men had been elected to the Senate that critics dubbed it a "millionaires' club." Reformers charged that wealthy senators were neither representative of average citizens nor sensitive to their needs. The image of the "millionaires' club" was a contributing factor to the movement toward direct election of senators. Even after direct election, however, the great expense of running for national office continued to favor wealthy candidates."

  19. Vernos,

    We are 'supposed' to be the 'counter balance' to this issue of wealthy representatives, disconnected from everyday Americans. We are 'supposed' to carefully monitor what happens in Congress and act accordingly... at the ballot box.

    Not only do we not monitor what happens in Congress, we re-elect these people over and over again.

    That's why, except for displaying anger and frustration, the OWS movement is so misguided.

    We all should be extemely angry and frustrated, but our anger and our action should be directed at members of Congress, instead of WallStreet and Banks, who have no power to change the system, and no desire to change the system.

    Although we could hurt banks and Walstreet if we stopped utilizing them, you and I both know that won't happen and even if it did, it would hurt us as well as the banks and Wallstreet.

    We do have power over our representatives in Congress, if we will use it, and they can effect changes in the system.

    It seems like a complete 'no brainer' to me as to who we need to direct our anger, frustration and actions toward.

    Isn't that a 'no brainer' to you too?

    Michael

  20. Carmine,

    I agree with you but we do have a much bigger problem than insider trading.

    Our representatives trade legislation for money and support from powerful interests and their lobbyists.

    If we don't stop that, we are done.

    PS... At least you answered. Nobody else did, which just proves that it is easy to restate the problem....over and over again... but takes much more effort to actually say what you'd do to solve the problem.

    Michael

  21. I believe most Americans are sick and tired of Corporate America enjoying a tax payer socialist safety net. Most of us Americans who either have to work or run a business survive on the merit of our work and this ensures we work harder and smarter. But not Corporate America there lobbyists ensure that they are taken care of regardless of merit. The problem for the average American Corporate influence has divided and manipulated us into hating each other with wedge issues instead of focusing on our shared problems. I have visited tea party and O.W.S. protest and and What i came away with is these two groups generally have the same grievances and if we ever figure this out we can start to straighten this mess out.

  22. I am encourage by most of the comments today. Only a few hard liners still resorting to name calling and dumb remarks that only reflect their ignorance. I think we the people will all have to eventually get involved in this mess one way or another. Either by voting the current "R" and "D" out every two yrs, until they get the message. Also I believe the OWS movement will soon have unlimited "R" and "D" people walking side by side fighting the common enemy - corruption. We need to get the politicians, courts, big business>attention. Primarily the Politicians are the starting point. Vote them out and become a pest by Occupying their pleasant orderly world. LET THEM KNOW WE ARE THE REAL POWER IN AMERICA.

  23. Does anyone want some government cheese to go with this whine?

    This letter contains no suggestions, or even speculation, on what can be done to change the conditions that are being (legitimately) complained about.

    At the very least people need to get active in local political clubs and start selecting candidates who truly wish to serve the electorate and stand up to pressure from special interests.

    The power of the ballot box lies in the hands of the people who care enough to see what they want be put on the ballot.

  24. $150K politicians will never stand up to special interests. They need the lucrative careers the special interests provide when they leave congress.

    Have a minimum $100 million net worth requirement for people running for congress. This eliminates the need for legal bribery. For the high net worth guys and gals it's all about ego and not money.

  25. Boftx,

    I hope that the people that write in here are NOT representative of most Americans. If they are, we are in more trouble than I thought.

    Almost without exception, people that write in here to the Sun fit neatly into 3 categories.

    1) People who state what is wrong over and over again, yet NEVER offer any solutions.

    2) Those that do offer a solution (in their mind at least) of just voting in all R's.

    3) Those that do offer a solution (in their mind at least) of just voting in all D's.

    If that is representative of all Americans, we have NO CHANCE of righting what is wrong. It has come down to US. WE are going to have to force change at the ballot box if we want change.

    Michael

  26. boftx: if I am not mistaken the essences of what you said (after your initial dumb remark),and my remarks are almost identical in their meaning.. This seems as if your mouth is moving before your brain is engaged. I don't mean to insult, just suggesting you think before you speak.

  27. The reality is there are no simple solutions to highly complex problems. Countries around the world have different forms of government but are all mystified as to how to pay for aging populations. Pensions, medical care and defense cost trillions. People around the world hate paying taxes. Governments are stuck with the dilemma that they are facing enormous liabilities going forward that people don't wish to pay for.

    If you look at my earlier post there are currently $66 trillion worth of unfunded pension and medical liabilities going forward in the United States alone. The only way to pay for this is through taxation and economic growth. People don't want to pay the taxes and there is no way to get the 6% GDP growth going forward needed to pay for most of it. Deficit spending is the only solution that countries have implemented over the last several decades to cover liabilities and keep taxes low. Now people want to eliminate the deficits but keep the same entitlement programs and have even lower tax rates.

    Anyone who thinks that can be done is a fool. Who we vote for is totally irrelevant. The liabilities are the same irrespective of who sitting in the big house.

  28. Zippert1,

    Are you another in the long line of commenters that states the problem (duh!) but has no solutions to offer?

    Many of us know the problem and don't need it told to us once more. Do you have anything to suggest as a solution or the road to a solution?

    Michael

  29. Michael,

    Zippert1 believes that if Congress were paid more money (or had sufficient wealth to begin with) they would be less inclined to give in to pressure from special interests. So he is making a proposal.

    I think he is mistaken though in that belief. If being a member of Congress paid even more, then how much more would members want to remain there? And if members had no need for the income from Congress (and there are several long-term members today who fit that criteria) then they would still wish to remain for the sake of power.

    No, as long as money from special interests (both profit and non-profit) can influence votes in Congress and at the ballot box we will need to continue replacing members of Congress until we get a group who will do what is best for the people who elected them.

    I still do not like term limits on a philosophical level, but can see where you have a strong argument in their favor. But I will also counter that if members of Congress have little or no experience because of the constant turnover, then the lobbyists might well wind up with even more influence.

  30. Actually the solution is in our hands. pay attention to our congressmans actions through there term and make your vote based on there performance not on there party affiliation or who has the best commercials on television. And as citizens we should at least recognize that we are being manipulated by special interest with wedge issues that are intended to divide us. And a nation divided against itself does not have a future.

  31. Boftx,

    I guess that is a proposal, although not one I would agree with.

    I don't like term limits either because I think we should be able to control Congress without them, at the ballot box.... but the fact is that we ARE NOT controlling them.

    I look at people like John McCain, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell and I see people laughing at us, which makes me angry.

    Michael

  32. Roger,

    Though some might think my opening statement was more caustic than usual for me, I felt it fit the tone of the letter, all things considered.

    What you said is similar in some respects, but seems more in line with Michael when he advocates replacing any incumbent with the opponent on general principles. I am advocating that every voter get involved in the political process itself at the most basic level, the local political clubs of whatever party they choose, and work to select delegates and candidates who truly represent what they believe.

    Again, if you control what is on the ballot you control the ballot box.

  33. RefNV - "And he was right, Vernos presents talking points however, he lacks solutions."

    Not true at all if you paid attention to my posts. I've said many times we need to dump them all but it won't happen for two reasons, not many people are willing to vote them out, and corporate donations rule the day.

  34. The system hasn't failed, the elected officials have.

    Let's get one thing clear, first: "Throw them all out" is an ideology rooted in fantasy. Just voting for the "other guy" while ignoring that person's policy positions, history, ethics and morals? That's not how any informed voter should behave at the polls.

    Don't like elected officials who trade based on insider information? Lobby to have ethics regulations which force elected officials to keep their holdings in blind trusts. Why not be the "Grover Norquist" of the blind trust pledge?

    Will randomly voting out incumbents magically stop insider trading? No. Laws, regulations and ethics policies can, though.

    Don't like how money influences politics? Vote for representatives who have a clear position on transparency and go above and beyond the call on reporting. You can band together with like-minded individuals to persuade Congress to pass federal funding for elections. You can pledge some of your own money to candidates who represent your values.

    Will randomly voting out incumbents magically increase campaign funding transparency? No. Laws, regulations and ethics policies can, though.

    Angry that Wall Street bundled risky mortgages, sold them with knowledge they would likely fail, and were then bailed out after they derailed our economy? Vote for a candidate who pledges to reinstall Glass-Steagall and who will work to shore up regulations on the financial services industry.

    Voting out the incumbent for any random challenger is not a solution. It may make some feel better inside because they're frustrated with "Washington," but it's no way to lead, nor how to choose the representatives who will decide these issues. The fact that it isn't a solution makes the argument against those who don't propose solutions all the more ignorant.

    Finally, to touch on the rabidly lazy accusation that ANYONE has proposed electing solely Democrats or republicans? It's not true... on either side.

  35. Ksand99 needs to read the letters posted here more carefully. Several people have suggested we either elect all R's or all D's. Fosimmons comes to mind quickly and suggests the all D option often. And there are others.

    I don't disagree that blind trusts and rules and regulations are needed, but just as with campaign finance reform, Congress must pass all the rules and regulations. Experience has shown that they pass weak rules and regulations and then work with lobbyists to find ways around them.

    If your Senator and House member are not performing their duties properly and next to none of them are, why do they deeserve to be re-elected?

    I have stopped caring that due to a system THOSE IN CONGRESS created, they must pass legislation wanted by lobbyists for then rich and powerful in order to get money and support for re-election. I EXPECT them to change that system ot not participate in it. If they don't do that and really none of them do, I ask again: Why do they deserve to be re-elected?

    Michael

  36. Ignoramus, thy name is Joseph...

    "Get some perspective, Vernos, the Tea Party members are going to save this nation..."

    You don't even believe half the crap you write, do ya?

    Your incessant attempts to appear smart & clever are a fruitless endeavor.

    RefNv...
    We are going to have to end the Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans...parse that however you want, you're very adept at that.
    WEALTHY AMERICANS MUST PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE.
    The 'poor & middle-class' have run out of gas.

  37. @ ksand99...

    "Let's get one thing clear, first: "Throw them all out" is an ideology rooted in fantasy. Just voting for the "other guy" while ignoring that person's policy positions, history, ethics and morals? That's not how any informed voter should behave at the polls."

    True, dat...
    Like Casler's contention that voting for Sharron Angle was 'the lesser of 2 evils, REGARDLESS of her politics'...
    How abjectly foolish, and contrary to his notion that 'we, the people' can 'fix' our sick political system, if we just vote smart!
    Yeah, voting for someone you allegedly don't like because you don't not like them as much as you don't not like another guy is SO WISE, Michael!
    But, thanks for telling us all how stupid WE are.
    That's very helpful too!

  38. Ref...

    You have a way with numbers.
    So too, does Warren Buffet.

    "I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.

    But for those making more than $1 million -- there were 236,883 such households in 2009 -- I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more -- there were 8,274 in 2009 -- I would suggest an additional increase in rate.
    My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It's time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/15/opinio...

  39. The corruption is contagious. If you compare Senator Scott Brown's voting record with contributions to him, you will see that even a Tea Party stalwart can acquire the stench of pay-for-play after only two years in D.C.

    Whatever your political stripe, Vernos is right on this point. Our choice is to change things so that we can actually have a functional government responsive to the needs of the many or live with governments temporarily rented out to the highest bidder.

  40. A small tax increase on everyone and a dramatic restriction on what medical inputs can charge. With $150 trillion in med bills coming due over the next 40 years and the govt getting stuck with a bigger share every year you can't come close to controlling deficits without medical cost containment.
    Of the 88 countries that have medical only Mexico and the US operate on the for profit free market model. Way too costly in both countries.
    It's great to talk about the poor job politicians are doing. We elected them. What does this say about the American people. Half the voting public can't name one person running for president. How many debates and political ads have there been?

  41. "According to his research, in 2009 nearly 1,500 millionaires paid no federal income tax."

    It's just that simple. This is a fact but why? Corrupt Lobbyists, corrupt laws, corrupt Judges. It's just that simple.

  42. Vernos branco made some valid statements regarding Corporate America not paying there fair share in taxes and I did not see any post that proved him wrong.

    Corporate America paid $858 billion in taxes for the F.Y.2010 now divide that by roughly $5 trillion in profits is a 17.1% effective tax rate. I believe most workers and small business owners would love to only pay 17.1% of there income in taxes. What is wrong with bumping up Corporate America's effective tax rate to 20% and while were at bring the capital gains tax to 20%. And by the way that $858 billion in taxes for Corporate America is before the deductions take place.

  43. http://www.pimco.com/EN/insights/pages/k...
    whether corporations pay their fair share or not is completely irrelevant. You can't close a $66 trillion budget shortfall without dramatically lowering medical costs or dramatically increasing taxes on everyone.

    You could completely eliminate the Department of Defense as well as fire all of the 2 1/2 million government workers and you would only close about half the gap. When you talk about fiscal issues in terms of states or the federal government medical is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Without getting medical under control you got nothing. Deal with the million dollar hospital bill first and everything else falls into place.

  44. Over the next few years there are going to be some dramatic tax changes. Loopholes will be closed. Corporations will pay more. High net worth individuals will probably pay a few points more and when all is said and done you will have closed a $66 trillion entitlement Shortfall by a few trillion dollars.

    Don't get me wrong this is better than doing nothing but in no way solves the problem. Medical is an enormous burden on business in that a big part of the medical that people receive is employer-based. It is one of the main causes of bankruptcy in United States. It's a major driver of poverty and poor health. Most importantly healthcare spending can be looked at as an opportunity concept. Every dollar that someone spends on medicine is a dollar they can't spend on something else. The $150 trillion worth of medical bills this country is going to get stuck with over the next 40 years is going to suck the juice out of the country. A lot of butchers, bakers and candlestick makers are going to go under because so much of the country's wealth is going to be going to Dr. Welby, hospitals and drug companies.

  45. Mr hageman

    I would like to hear how you believe we could deal with the 800 pound monkey?

  46. Immediately put restrictions on what medical inputs can charge. Our 1 million doctors and dentists make more money than all the doctors and dentists in the world combined. Of the five biggest drug companies only two are domiciled in the United States. These drug companies sell drugs to their own people at a fraction of the price that we pay here. We should pay for drugs what people in other countries pay for the same drugs.

    We immediately have to do something about uncompensated care. Last year hospitals provided $78 billion worth of uncompensated care. Many hospitals in this country are nearly bust. Everyone has to pay something into the system either through a national sales tax or mandatory insurance purchase as is done in Switzerland.

    In Texas hospital groups told Perry that they wouldn't build another hospital in Texas unless something was done about uncompensated care. Perry signed a law into effect in which people are evaluated when they walk into the emergency room. If it is a life-threatening emergency they are immediately treated. If it's not they have to pay. We need that law Nevada. Half of the states hospitals are going broke. At UMC 70% of the people showing up at the emergency room refuse to pay.

    Costs for medical procedures have to be somewhat standardized. A heart valve replacement in Las Vegas can cost $233,000. At the Mayo Clinic in Arizona it's less than $30,000. The outcomes at the Mayo Clinic are substantially better than our local hospitals. People in Nevada and other states are limited by insurance restrictions. I can't go to the Mayo Clinic because it's outside my network. These restrictions need to go bye-bye. The restrictions keep lousy hospitals in business and there is a very little incentive for them to improve.

    We have over 5000 different private health insurance plans, Medicare, Medicaid, Worker's Comp. and the veterans healthcare system. The cost to administer all of this nonsense is in the many billions of dollars. We need to eliminate all of it and have one system either administered by the government or by private health insurance companies. It doesn't matter which.

    There are 88 countries that have healthcare. Only the United States and Mexico have the for-profit free-market model. Healthcare and Mexico is too expensive for Mexicans and healthcare in this country is going to be a 150 trillion Dollar nightmare going forward. For-profit health care doesn't work. It never has and it never will.

  47. Tort reforms would also help. These ridiculous judgments that juries are coming down with doesn't help. The problem with tort reform is that the savings don't go into the pockets of consumers. I believe 36 or 37 states have passed stringent medical tort reforms over the last couple decades. What has happened is that malpractice insurance for doctors has dropped precipitously. Doctors have taken this savings and put it into their pockets. I haven't seen a single study that shows tort reforms benefit the consumer only doctors. If major tort reforms are passed on the federal level some of the savings have to be passed on to consumers. It doesn't do the consumer any good if his doctor sees a major savings in his malpractice costs but his bill stays the same.

    If only a few of these things were implemented it would go a long way towards improving the health of Americans and bending the cost curve down.

    Maybe this along with some of the suggestions others have made regarding how government should be run would be a step in the right direction in terms of getting our fiscal house in order

  48. Mr. Hageman

    Sounds like a start you have my vote.

  49. "Several people have suggested we either elect all R's or all D's. Fosimmons comes to mind quickly and suggests the all D option often. And there are others."

    You've proven my point, Mike. A single example, yet you generalize it and smear all commenters? Thanks!

    Secondly, I've read through Fosimmons previous 30 comments, and none of them advocate electing only Democrats. That you think a single commenter is representative of all is truly sad.

    Likewise, I can't find an example of anyone on the right advocating electing only republicans, either. Seems you have no actual evidence to support your generalization.

    I think the problem here is when someone argues against a position favored by one political party, you interpret that to mean that commenter only supports one party. That's just not the case. You have people of varying ideologies, but I've yet to see a single example of a commenter advocating single-party rule.

    I have no problem with elected officials who work together to solve problems, regardless of their political party. But I also have several issues with the ideology of neocons and Norquist Zombies who can't admit the deficit/debt problem can only be tackled by a combination of cuts and revenue enhancement. Does that mean I advocate for single-party rule? No, and the same can be said of the grand majority of commenters on the Sun's site.

    To smear the great majority with an elitist generalization that you can't even defend is sad, indeed. If you were honest, you would admit you were wrong.

  50. ksan99, you didn't look very hard. teamster says that almost every day, here is one from just today: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/nov...

    "NEVER FORGET THAT GREEDY REPUBLICANS ARE THE
    ONES WHO DESTROYED OUR ECONOMY.

    NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN!"

    As for fosimmons, you can find this: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/nov...

    "Solution. Vote all Democrats period.

    ::::::::::::

    Do not vote for one single Republicon, period"

    Even ColinFromLasVegas has said it, though he usually doesn't put it quite so bluntly as the other two do: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/oct...

    "Bring on the elections in 2012! It's butt kicking time. Get rid of all them bums in the Republican Party. To Heck with Heller and to Heller with Heck. They all need to go and make way for a new, more productive Congress than the one we got now, as well as President Obama getting a well deserved four more years."

    But you are right about one thing. I could not find a clear cut example from a conservative, but then again I didn't feel like wading through all of gogo's posts. I could probably find an example there.

    In any event, there are a handful of those who post here who advocate voting for only a single party.

  51. Once again, our country is being held in economic hostage with the indecision of the Super Committee. Congress could't get it together last summer, and it appears nothing has changed.

    We need term limits and to get out there and VOTE(informed and intelligently).

    The insider trading and "exceptional" treatment lawmakers abuse must end. If citizens did such things, they would be in prison. Time to enact a retroactive law and hunt out these elected officials who abuse the public trust, engage in insider trading and for-trade politics/favoritism with lobbyists. For the good of our country their abuses must end and they must be separated from the rest of the world (of which they exploit for their personal benefit).

    Time to hit the phones and emails and put some pressure onto our elected representatives, even create petitions or something to put an end to political insider abuse and to have term limits.