News from the Rim Democrats 12/14/13

BRAYINGS December 14 , 2013

A Newsletter for Democrats and friends in Northern Gila County, and for all who advocate for the common good by promoting economic, social and environmental justice.
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1. ACA/OBAMACARE SLOWS RATE OF HEALTH CARE COSTS.

According to a report in the 11-19-13 USA Today, health care inflation is the lowest it has been in 50 years, thanks to Obamacare. Jason Furman, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said “If just half the recent slowdown in spending can be sustained, health care spending a decade from now will be $1,400 per person lower” He also said that reduced health care costs for employers could lead to 200,000 to 400,000 new jobs per year by the second half of this decade.

2. JUST HOW IMPORTANT IS EDUCATION?

The well-being of our children and the economic welfare of the state rest partially in the hands of our State legislature. So far, they haven’t done a very good job, so we need to watch them very carefully in the coming months. The state has cut allocation to higher education so much that universities have had to increase in-state tuition and fees by 70% over the last 6 years, the highest cuts of any state in the country. They have also cut funds for elementary and secondary education to the point that Arizona ranks near the bottom nationwide when it comes to per pupil spending. In 2011 Republicans sank $1.5 million in dark money for a campaign to kill a state 1% sales tax for public education. We in Payson are quite familiar with the havoc this has played in our own school district. We’ve had hard economic times in recent years, but taking actions that lower the horizon for both our children and the state is not a good way to go. AZ Republic commented: “Arizona: where mediocrity is good enough….Ah, mediocrity. Isn’t that good enough for your kids?” We will keep tabs on our radical Tea Party legislators and report their actions to see if they truly care about our kids and the future of our state.

3. DESPERATE CONDITION OF ARIZONA EDUCATION

“Only 19% of all 2006 high-schoolers completed college within 6 years…. [ another 6%graduated from a two-year college or trade school.] The greatest indicator for academic failure is poverty. Arizona ranks only above Mississippi for the highest poverty rate….Thanks to our Legislature’s draconian defunding of public education, college tuition is out of reach for most Arizona parents….Without living-wage jobs and taxpayer investment in education, Arizona’s graduation rate will remain an embarrassment” Melanie Jacobson, Prescott, CEO of United Way of Yavapai County, 11-16-13

4. TEA PARTY RADICAL

PAUL GOSAR promotes Republican “Health Care Reform Act” H.R. 3121 by repealing President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. His bill permits purchasing health insurance across state lines and enables small businesses to create insurance pools; reforms malpractice calls to limit trial lawyer fees; allows tax deductions for health care costs up to $7,000 for individuals and $20,000 for families; expands Health Savings Accounts; allows persons with pre-existing conditions to buy into high risk pools; prevents federal funding for abortion. This “reform” would restore the entire system to pre-ACA days. How’s that for health care reform???? Incidentally, Gosar raised nearly $100,000 in the third quarter and as of September 30, 2013, has $153,000 in his war chest for the 2014 election. We need a strong organizational effort to displace such a radical person from office and replace him with someone who truly cares about human beings.

5. ECONOMIC UPDATE

According to the Social Security Administration the median income ( half of workers make more and half makes less) of American workers in 2002 was $28,272. In 2012 it was $27,514 in actual dollars, even before considering inflation. In 1990 15,557 people earned $1 million or more. By 2012, “the millionaire’s club” had grown by 767% to 119,400 people. The wealthy have continued to make more money while ordinary citizens have suffered a decline in actual dollar income. It’s a great country……for some. How you doing ?

6. WHY INSURANCE CANCELLATIONS

Before Obamacare a lot of insurance companies make great profits by selling low grade (cheaper) policies which were skewed to the benefit of the insurance company; e.g. the insurance company could cancel the policy anytime, the policy did not cover certain medical problems, or they capped benefits, etc. Obamacare requires that all insurance policies treat people fairly by setting the baseline for benefits (no cancellation, no maximum benefits, no prior conditions, no price differential between men and women, free annual check ups, maternal and child health care, covering children to age 26, requiring that 80% of premium go to patient care thus controlling corporate profits, etc.). As the companies now have to include these minimum benefits of Obamacare, they can no longer offer the lower quality policies which maximized their profits. So they are cancelling those policies. Instead of acknowledging the improvements required by Obamacare, the insurance companies are using the standard Republican tactic of blaming Obamacare for forcing them to do the right thing.

7. Radical GOSAR OPPOSES IMMIGRATION REFORM.

At his November meeting in Payson, radical Tea Party Republican Paul Gosar defiantly declared that his minority Tea Party caucus has made it clear that Speaker John Boehner will lose his job if he brings the Comprehensive Immigration Bill up for a vote. Boehner has been sufficiently threatened by the Tea Party that he has pledged not to bring the bill up for a vote. Arizona Republic editorial excoriated the action: “Boehner remains captive to the radical right….The Republicans in the House could have spent their time on sincere efforts to achieve immigration reform….Arizona has been deeply wounded because of the broken immigration system.”

8. CORPORATE TAX RATES ARE LOW

The Government Accountability Office released a study concluding that, instead of paying the 35% tax rate on profits, U S corporations actually end up paying 12.6% after deductions and credits. Would you like to have a 60% reduction on your federal taxes ?

9. IMMIGRATION REFORM STILL A TOP PRIORITY

The 11-21-13 editorial in the AZ Republic took a strong stand to get comprehensive immigration reform passed quickly to prevent further damage to Arizona’s economic competitiveness. Referring to a new report from the Pew Research Center, it cited the economy’s growing need for migrant labor, reform as essential for Arizona’s economy, keeping the humanity of immigrant workers in mind, and “recognizing [that]Latin America as part of a vibrant economic region with huge growth potential will be far more productive than erecting expensive barriers to wall ourselves off from our southern neighbors.” It cited the World Bank’s listing of Mexico as “one of the most important emerging economies” in the world.

10. REPUBLICANS INCREASE PAIN OF THE UNEMPLOYED:

“The GOP answer to the problem of long-term unemployment is to increase the pain of the long-term unemployed. Cut off their benefits and they’ll go out to find jobs. How exactly will they find jobs when there are three times as many job-seekers as job vacancies?” Paul Krugman, The New York Times.

Raymond Spatti, Compiler & Editor
Comments & Suggestions Welcome:

Posted in Letters to the Editor.