Sunday, December 30, 2012

Death of Tea Party appears exaggerated, members in House appear to hold key fiscal vote

Fox News ^ | December 29, 2012 | Staff

The Tea Party has had an up-and-down political ride since the movement helped Republicans take control of the House in 2010, but those elected in the midterm elections still appear to wield considerable power in the fiscal negotiations.

The roughly 50 members elected to the House two years ago have been a challenge for the more moderate House Speaker John Boehner since they took office. Perhaps most memorably, many of them refused last year to support a debt-ceiling bill because they said it didn’t reduce federal spending enough.

Just last week they squashed Boehner’s fiscal plan by refusing to compromise and vote on a tax increase for any American, despite the House speaker -- in his so-called “Plan B” -- having suggested extending tax cuts only for those making more than $1 million annually.

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Obama Likes Fiscal Cliff

The Virginian ^ | 12/30/2012 | Moneyrunner

For reasons that escape me, most people on Capitol Hill and members of the brain dead "Press Corpse uh Corps" seem to believe that Obama really wants a compromise to avoid going over the so-called “Fiscal Cliff.” The assumption is that Obama wants to raise taxes only on those making over $250,000 annually and would like to have something done about those sequestration laws.

Talk about living in a fantasy universe.

The “Fiscal Cliff” is tailor made for Obama. Keep in mind that the law which implements this tax hike and sequestration was recommended by a member of Obama’s administration.
So what will happen if the law is not changed? • Tax rates will go back to the rates we had in 2001. • Spending will be “cut” by $1 trillion over 10 years.
Let’s look at these results one at a time: raising taxes. First, I agree that raising taxes is not sound policy in an anemic economy and could bring on another recession in 2013. From Obama’s perspective higher tax rates will increase revenue to the treasury, allowing him to spend more. If it leads to a recession in 2013, so what? It isn't going to affect him.
Keep in mind that he's an incredibly lucky community organizer who ended up in his dream job. He’s got his job, his Air Force One, a large free house where he can host extravagant parties using his personal servants, taxpayer-paid vacations to luxury resorts for another 4 years, a very handsome pension and the ability to become ultra-wealthy the same way the Clintons did it after leaving the White House.
He's term-limited out so a bad economy doesn’t worry him from an electoral standpoint. In fact, a bad economy, higher unemployment and the economic ills that accompany it are is tailor made for a President who wants to increase government control over people. With millions more unemployed there are great opportunities for even longer unemployment benefits, more free cell phones, more food stamps, more people claiming social security disability benefits, even a broader version of ObamaCare. The press corps is not going to make him uncomfortable by asking pesky questions about his part in a stagnant economy; they’ll dutifully blame the Republicans.
Tell me again why he would not want to go with that.
Second, about that “spending cut.” Government is the only entity that argues with a straight face that spending more is spending less. If they planned to increase spending by a trillion dollars and they actually spend a trillion dollars minus a penny, that’s the government definition of a “drastic” spending cut. But if government spending is kept at roughly current levels, a “trillion dollar cut” over 10 years is actually a reduction of one hundred billion dollars a year. At one time that was a lot of money. Since the beginning of the Obama spending spree that’s a rounding error. If the Obama government saw one hundred billion dollars lying in the street, they would pass it by like you would pass a dirty penny.
But here’s the reason that Obama doesn’t mind the sequester: it falls largely on the military and Barack Obama wants to cut the military back. He believes that America is the cause of much of the world’s problems and most of that is attributed to America’s powerful military. So the sequester for him is a win-win. He gets to gut the military and blame the Republicans at the same time. How cool is that!
You can be confident that congress will not stand in the way of additional spending on social programs if the recession hits. They have to run for re-election. And if it doesn’t hit you can be sure that Obama will find any number of excuses to demand more for “his” people.
What I find incredibly frustrating is the picture of Republican congressional leaders trying to shift the blame for the fiscal cliff to Obama by complaining about his lack of leadership on the issue. First of all, it’s a stupid tactic because it elevates him to the position of the indispensable man. Why they would want to do that is beyond me. Second, they make it appear as if Obama actually wants a solution to the fiscal cliff when he’s perfectly fine with the solution he has now. They should have been accusing Obama of wanting to go over the fiscal cliff for months. That, at least, would have been the truth and would have gotten a different response from the Democrats and perhaps even Team Obama.

IRS Proposes Employer Mandate Rules for Health Coverage

AccountingToday ^ | December 30, 201 | Michael Cohn

The Internal Revenue Service has issued proposed regulations on the shared responsibility for large employers to provide health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The IRS noted that employers may rely on the proposed regulations for guidance until final regulations are issued. In addition, the IRS posted a questions and answers document on its Web site Friday to explain the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions under the Affordable Care Act and the new proposed regulations.

Under the provisions, if employers do not offer affordable health coverage that provides a minimum level of health insurance coverage to their full-time employees, they may be subject to an Employer Shared Responsibility payment if at least one of their full-time employees receives a premium tax credit for purchasing individual coverage on one of the new Affordable Insurance Exchanges.

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