Weekend News Shots

Now that your humble lil’ blogger is feeling better, back to news you can really use…

Obama kept his promise to save jobs this week as General Motors announced that hundreds of laid-off workers would be called back to work thanks to the government’s investment in the company. American taste for gas-guzzling SUV’s has not abated, and GM dealerships are complaining that they can’t keep the GM Equinoxes and Terrains in stock. In response, GM added new equipment and recalled 600 laid-off employees to work at the auto making factories in…Ingersoll and Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.

In related news, Al Gore threw a shoe at the news that US citizens still loved their trucks.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Washington, D.C. for a meeting with President Obama that did not go as expected. After a visit from VP Joe “This is a Big Effing Deal” Biden went sour on the announcement that Israel would expand a housing settlement in East Jerusalem, Netanyahu hopped a plane to the White House to attempt to soothe tensions. They only met briefly, however, before Barack – taking a page from Malia and Sasha – stormed out of the meeting after just an hour to dine by himself. They met again in the Oval Office for an hour after the man-date quarrel before Netanyahu and his entourage opted to fly back to Israel rather than be eavesdropped on through a White House phone line. Robert Gibbs later offered his ear-piercing rendition of “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To.”

Reality struck again for proponents of the Democrat health care reform bill. Telecommunication giant AT&T announced a $1B expense in the first quarter thanks to the new law, while other companies such as Caterpillar, Deere & Co. and Verizon also announced losses in the tens of millions thanks in part to the loss of federal subsidies for the provision of drug benefits for retirees. Changes to existing health care plans are also to blame (despite the desires of many citizens, health plans will now be required to cover everything from maternity to mental health to alcohol and drug addiction treatment). Robert Gibbs put his fingers in his ears and said, “not listening!”

Finally, the Hypocrite of the Week is Montana Senator Max Baucus, who has served in the US senate nearly as long as I’ve been alive. During celebrations for the passage of the massive health care bill, Baucus sang the praises of the moral fortitude of the legislation, claiming that it would “address the mal-distribution of income in America.” Baucus, who has pulled a six-figure income as a Senator since 1980, has consistently voted for tax cuts and voted to end the federal estate tax. He had no comment on the disparity between his own income and that of his constituents.

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9 thoughts on “Weekend News Shots

  1. “GM added new equipment and recalled 600 laid-off employees to work at the auto making factories in…Ingersoll and Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.”

    And why do auto manufacturers opt to set up shop in Canada (this isn’t the first auto company to do so)? Because health care costs are – survey says – covered by their universal care system, and therefore less costly to employers. Crazy how that works, isn’t it? You do something awful and socialist like ensuring the health of your citizens, and employers are falling over themselves to do business with you. It’s the darnedest thing…

    “Telecommunication giant AT&T announced a $1B expense in the first quarter thanks to the new law”

    Expense? Is that what we’re calling it now that they can no longer deduct government subsidies from their tax burden? Because that’s all this law is preventing. I would be willing to bet that that is a ploy crafted as an excuse to either lower wages or lay people off to increase profits. And why should they be allowed to deduct subsidies that they aren’t even handing out in the first place? That’s not their money. This is also interesting in that it directly contradicts the Business Roundtable, who released a report late last year that said that health care reform could reduce predicted health insurance costs for businesses by more than $3,000 per employee over the next 10 years. Why this company is now saying different is suspect, if for no other reason that the incentives for employers to offer insurance are huge, starting with the fact that employers get a 12% reduction in rates. Add to that the fact that the government is giving a 35% tax credit per employee that they sign up, and you have no reason not to offer your employees insurance. This all just seems bogus to me.

    “Verizon also announced losses in the tens of millions thanks in part to the loss of federal subsidies for the provision of drug benefits for retirees.”

    Again, these “charges” are the result of the government making these companies pay taxes on the FREE GOVERNMENT MONEY we give to them to keep their retirees on the private prescription insurance it promised to its employees. Yup, we gave these companies a bunch of money not to dump its retirees into Medicare Part D. So now that they have pay taxes on that free money, you object? Wow…

    “Finally, the Hypocrite of the Week is Montana Senator Max Baucus”

    My first inclination was to say good on you for pointing this out, but then I realized that we have completely opposite reasons for disliking him. You think he’s a hypocrite for NOT acting like a conservative in who knows how long, and I think it’s about time that the stopped acting like a conservative for once…

  2. Robert, you completely missed my point about the jobs news. Obama promised to provide jobs and he did – just not here in the US. Don’t even get snippy with me about how Canada is more likely to get jobs because the employers don’t have to pay for benefits. Hogwash. One of my two employers outsources to two countries that don’t offer universal healthcare and going to a doctor or a hospital is something you don’t do unless you’re already dying. Many companies do that.

    It isn’t right. This is why I’m a proponent of providing tax breaks for all companies, major corporations included, that keep jobs right here on US soil. And, really, your arguments about healthcare are getting old and tired.

    The current wait time to see a GP in Massachusetts, which has had very similar legislation in place since 2006, is over a month. If I had to wait that long, my current cold might have developed into pneumonia and I’d be in the hospital for faster treatment.

    That’s not to mention all of the LEGAL immigrants, folks who have a right to be here because they’ve obeyed the law, being dropped from the public option because the state can’t afford it.

  3. Wow Robert you really seem to love this idea of shipping jobs to Canada but if they go to China you freak out. Hmm. I guess it fine for U.S. jobs to leave America as long as they end up in a first world country with living wages.

  4. “Wow Robert you really seem to love this idea of shipping jobs to Canada but if they go to China you freak out.”

    John, would it kill you to know what the hell you’re talking about before you post something? When did I say, imply, or intimate that I love the idea of jobs going to Canada? Pointing out that Canada’s universal health care attracts businesses to go there is quite clearly an allusion to the opinion that we should do the same. Just imagine all the American jobs we could have.

  5. ” Pointing out that Canada’s universal health care attracts businesses to go there is quite clearly an allusion to the opinion that we should do the same.”

    So we should have a government that orders us to do things vs. one that tells us to not do things? You want a government that orders you around?

    I can only think of one law that makes every person do something whether they want to or not. That law is you must get educated.

    Whether you want to or not, the law says you have to attend some kind of school. It can be public school, private school or home school. You don’t get a choice about being educated.

    Now we have the Socialists ordering us to get Health Insurance. You have to do somthing because your Federal government told you so. Sure there is an exception for a very small minority of religious people. But their numbers are insignificant.

    I don’t want to live under a Federal government that tells us we have to take on an action. It’s bad enough when state and local governments order people around. A person has an option to move to another town or state.

    But, when you Federal government starts playing Nanny to you then what? Leave America?

  6. “You want a government that orders you around?”

    Do you honestly believe that Canada orders its citizens around?

    “I don’t want to live under a Federal government that tells us we have to take on an action.”

    Then you should probably find someplace else to live. The government does that on a daily basis, in a variety of ways. You have to pay into Social Security and Medicare. If you want to sell anything in this country, the government has strict rules on what you can and can’t do. If you manufacture any consumable good, the government tells you what ingredients you can and cannot use, AND forces you to either label them or have them readily available via the internet, for example. Think of the thousands upon thousands of things that the government forces you to do if you operate a nuclear power plant. With a little thought, you can add a ton more things to this list. So, in all fairness, don’t give me that drivel that this is unconstitutional (if that is indeed where you were going), or that it’s unprecedented, because this is nothing new. And as much as you’d like to pretend it’s a bad thing, the truth is, we’d all be up shit creek if people were allowed to do whatever the fuck they wanted with no government regulation.

    “But, when you Federal government starts playing Nanny to you then what? Leave America?”

    If you feel that strongly about it, you always have that option. Good luck getting anyone to take you though. Canada and the UK routinely turn down requests for citizenship from would be ex pats…

  7. There is just as much difference between anarchy and limited government as there is between limited government and what John is describing – a socialist state. Infrastructure and some regulation for the purpose of public safety is one thing, but this is taking it too far.

    And yes, Canada does order it’s citizens around. It’s completely illegal to have any private medical practice in Canada, even if you have the money to start, maintain or buy it. You also can’t own guns in that country except on an extremely limited basis (mostly just for hunting).

    My government is allowed to regulate what is sold to me in the store to ensure I’m not being defrauded. They don’t have a right to tell me what my decisions should be about my life and well-being unless I’m outright suicidal and have made direct statements about being a danger to myself or a danger to others.

  8. Robert:

    Every example you pointed out invovles an individual making a choice before the laws of that choice attach.

    If I work a job,then I pay Social Security taxes. But I can choose to not work.

    If I sell or manufacture things, then those laws apply if I make the choice to do either or both activities.

    If I choose to operate a nuclear power plant, then I have to comply with the laws and regulations of such things. But I can choose to not operate a nuclear power plant.

    Now this Obama tells me I have to get health insurance. I don’t get a choice unless I convert to some very odd religion that gives me an exemption. Sorry but that is not a viable out for me.

    Being told to do something without a choice is tyranny even when it for the perceived good. This is not what America is about. America is about having choices and one choice has been taken away. What choice gets taken away next?

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