On Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 38

On the October Opener
The first Monday marks the start of the Supreme Court. Those pointing to the addition of Justice Sotomayor as a swing in the court aren’t even close. No question – Justice Alito replacing Justice O’Conner is the most recent philosophical swing.

Meanwhile, USA Today had a few interesting articles on the first Monday.

On Bauchus Health Care Reform
Seems the Congressional Budget Office says the Baucus Plan, the one from the Senate Finance Committee, is the only one the CBO says won’t increase the deficit. So is it cuts or taxes? Here’s the CBO report.  The Washington Post has this interesting interactive.

Meanwhile, I’ll ask these questions: Does the plan leave anyone uninsured? If so, who? Does the plan work to maintain or lower costs? Will anyone with a salary below $250,000 face additional tax increases?

On the Rangel Ruckus and Rove
Although somewhat partisan, Congressman Rangel (D-NY) needs to be proven guilty. If so, then immediately resign. Since I can’t imagine that all the charges are face, he should resign and move on with his life. Of course what House members don’t get that the issue is about ethics, not political affiliation. Meanwhile, ALL 565 members of Congress should be audited!

So Karl Rove has written the people are abandoning Democrats. Moderates to Karl – Maybe so, but that doesn’t mean these people are embracing Republicans.

On the Noble Peace Prize
This morning’s announcement about President Obama winning the Noble Peace Prize. First of all, congratulations Mr. President. Secondly, the immediate partisan responses are pathetic.

On Dancing with the Stars
Now that several weeks are in, it’s time to look to the finals. Make no doubt about it, but (as a whole) this year’s female class has been much stronger since the opener.

  • Contenders: Aaron Carter, Natalie Coughlin, Jonna Krupa, Mya, Donny Osmond
  • Possible with Improvement: Mark Decascos, Kelly Osbourne, Louis Vito
  • Biding Time: Michael Irvin, Chuck Liddell, Melissa Joan Hart
  • Gone: Tom DeLay, Ashley Hamilton, Macy Gray, Kathy Ireland, Debi Mazar

Another interesting oddity this year is that 4 of the fan favorite professional dancers are gone: Edyta, Tony, Cheryl, and Maksim.

By the way, I enjoyed this Macy’s Stars of Dance clip with the USC Marching Band.

On Sports Shorts

  • Wow … The Detroit Tigers may have achieved one of the greatest chokes since the ’64 Phillies.
  • I continue to wonder about the bias and the rationale behind college football polls.

A Musical Sendoff into the Weekend
I’ve been fortunate enough to see Blue Man Group twice, a concert tour and a theater show. Awesome!

11 thoughts on “On Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 38

  1. Hi ‘Frank,

    Thanks for sharing such an interesting post, something worthwhile to read for anyone…

    Excellent point made about the clarification/meaning of Rove’s observations, just because you moderates are leaving the Democrats doesn’t necessarily mean you wise and common sense folks are embracing Republicans either. And that’s what’s fair about moderates, ‘Frank, you guys reward the individual who puts in the effort regardless of his/her party affliation.

    Saw your Cincinnati Bengals win a thriller last Sunday in overtime against your neighbors to the north, the Cleveland Browns. The Browns are looking much better though. Have a safe and wonderful weekend.


    • Al,
      The Bengals-Browns game used to be a big deal both in the state and within this house. Unfortunately, both teams have struggled for some time; besides, my wife (a Browns fan) hasn’t felt the same about football since the franchise moved to Baltimore. But back in the day, the battles were here in the house too! Here’s what I wrote about the rivalry last December. https://afrankangle.wordpress.com/2008/12/21/nfls-battle-of-ohio-is-now-a-skirmish/

      Nonetheless, the Browns played hard, and fortunately my guys came out on the winning end.

      I think moderates try to be not only fair, but also hope for success. Let’s face it … if the president is successful, so is the country. Of course many partisans don’t see it that way when “their party” is out of power. Of course much can (and will) happen between now and the 2012 campaign … which should be starting soon (oh, how sad is that?!!)

      I heard former Senator Bob Dole say something interesting recently (and I paraphrase) … there is a time and place to oppose the president, but health care is such an important issue that it not the place to just say no.

      Al … thanks for visiting and commenting … plus have a safe weekend!


  2. On Bauchus Health Care Reform:

    The CBO has stated often in the past that they cannot reliably rate a bill without the legislative language, which the Baucus Bill lacks. So, the CBO report is by their own definition unreliable and is really no more than a preliminary estimate.

    In making their estimate the CBO took as fact that there will be “sustainable growth rate cuts” in Medicare payments to healthcare providers. But Congress has traditionally blocked those cuts and there is no reason to believe that they will allow them to go into effect in the future. That will leave $200 billion on the budget.

    The estimate also doesn’t count unfunded mandates that will be applied to the states and the private sector. It only takes into account the costs to the federal budget.

    There are about a dozen taxes that will fund this bill. Many will hit the middle class both directly and indirectly. The one they are counting on to fund health insurance for all is the tax on “premium plan” health insurance coverage that costs more than $21K per year. When this tax hits, many holding such coverage will drop it and the revenue will vaporize. The shortfall will add to the deficit.

    By the CBO estimate, the bill will cover 29 million but will still leave 25 million uninsured (not counting illegals). Anyone who is not already covered by this or some other insurance plan will be automatically enrolled in this plan and forced to pay an excise tax retroactively to the point where they were last covered by insurance.

    Lastly, the proponents of this bill claim that illegal aliens will not be covered by it. While technically true, they know very well that this prohibition will not stand up in court. Court precedent in Plyler vs. Doe will be used to expand coverage to illegals. Saying that the bill does not cover them is deceitful. The CBO estimate does not take into account this coverage.


    • Thersites,
      Although the report is only regarding the Bauchus plan, we both know that it won’t pass as written … thus it will be abound with additional amendments that will impact the financial projections. As I read the CBO report, the excise tax on high-premium insurance plans is directly on the insurance company, not on the purchaser of the policy. Thanks for your insight.


  3. “As I read the CBO report, the excise tax on high-premium insurance plans is directly on the insurance company, not on the purchaser of the policy.”

    Not so. It also applies to employer provided plans. The bill’s definition of the cost of a “premium” plan includes the cost of coverage for health, dental, vision, supplemental coverage, and contributions to a health savings account. Faced with a 35% excise tax on “premium” plans most such employers will be forced to reduce benefits so that their cost falls below the threshold.

    Regardless of that, insurance companies will pass the excise tax on to the people covered under their plan.


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