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No One Likes IT



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By IT I mean the Senates Health Care bill passed on Christmas Eve.

Left or Right

The left doesn’t like the public option is removed.

The right doesn’t like it that it is forcing ALL Americans to buy health care insurance or face financial penalties.

The left blogs are slamming it. The right blogs are slamming it.  Anyone out there like it? Do you?

“Forcing every American to purchase a product is absolutely inconsistent with our Constitution and the freedoms our Founding Fathers hoped to protect,” said Senator DeMint.

Americans who fail to buy health insurance, according to the Democrats’ bill, would be subject to financial penalties.  The insurance mandate is not authorized by any of the limited enumerated powers granted to the federal government.

The Congressional Budget Office once stated “A mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action. The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States.”

A legal study by scholars at the nonpartisan Heritage Foundation concluded: “An individual mandate to enter into a contract with or buy a particular product from a private party, with tax penalties to enforce it, is unprecedented– not just in scope but in kind–and unconstitutional as a matter of first principles and under any reasonable reading of judicial precedents.”

What could have or should have happened?

In my humble opinion T I M E and C O M P R O M I S E

The Wyden-Bennett bill proposed in 2007 and 2009 would have been a nice compromise. The Wyden-Bennett Bill would have required 15 Senate Co Sponsors with would have included five Republicans. Or even better Senator Tom Colburns Bill who is also a physician from Oklahoma Bill.

Senator Ron Wyden, from Blue State Oregon, is a long time Liberal, Bob Bennett, from Red State Utah, a Conservative. Under the Wyden-Bennett bill, health dollars would be controlled by the individual (conservative) and used within a restructured, heavily regulated, totally universal, insurance marketplace ( liberal goal).

Instead of achieving Bi-partisan support and a compromise for both sides, we are left with a Senate Bill that no one likes but was passed for political reasons on Christmas Eve. Now the House and Senate will fight it out, compromise? to get something on the table for President Obama to sign.

…and how about this?

Senator Jim DeMint pointed out some astonishing language on page 1020, subsection C of the Senate Bill concerning the Medicare Advisory Board that is can not be changed by future Congresses.

“it shall not be in order in the senate or the house of representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection.”

To my knowledge there has never been any legislation passed by any Congress that prohibits future Senates to change previously enacted laws.

Too bad, business is usual in Washington, not the nonpartisan, open debate, no earmarks legislation on one of the biggest issues facing us at this time. Yes, we all want Health Care Reform and that is a nonpartisan goal.

The fun continues into 2010… Happy New Year.

Flickr Photo Credit

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.

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  1. Real Estate Feeds

    December 27, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    No One Likes IT: By IT I mean the Senates Health Care bill passed on Christmas Eve.
    Left or Right
    The left doesn’…

  2. kristin terry

    December 27, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    No One Likes IT:
    By IT I mean the Senates Health Care bill passed on Christmas Eve.
    Left or Right The left doe..

  3. RealEstate Babble

    December 27, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    AgentGenius: No One Likes IT Full

  4. Real Estate Ninja

    December 27, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    No One Likes IT

  5. Gregory

    December 27, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    I was for it when the insurance companies were against it. Against when the insurance companies were backing it. And, now that they don’t like it again – I’m all for it.

    The right no longer stands for “fiscal responsibility” that they try to claim whenever it is convenient to them. They are share full responsiblity for the mess we are in. A complete over haul of the bandits is needed before we will ever succeed.

    Always remember the words of the rights modern day hero, ” I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself.” He was such a funny guy.

  6. Phil Polizzotti

    December 27, 2009 at 9:36 pm

  7. Jay Williams

    December 27, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    @agentgenius No One Likes IT

  8. Natasha Hall

    December 28, 2009 at 12:27 am

    No One Likes IT – By IT I mean the Senates Health Care bill passed on Christmas Eve. Left or Right The left doesn't…

  9. Tim Norris

    December 28, 2009 at 2:29 am

    No one likes it…Health Care Reform

  10. Portland Condo Auctions

    December 28, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    True reform is not in the cards. The insurance companies have too much money and they are throwing everything that they have into the special interests. They have many politicians on payroll (they call them “campaign contributions”) and so it is just not going to happen.

  11. Janie Coffey

    December 29, 2009 at 8:27 am

    no one likes it, but you are right, without compromise, we will never get “there”. The problem is, “there” is different to everyone. To those who have insurance, “there” is keeping costs down and quality of care good. To those who don’t have insurance “there” is just getting it to start with. To others, it is not being rejected for a pre-existing condition, booted out because you’ve reached your limit or having to sell or loose your home just to pay for care of a loved one. The fear mongering on all sides has shut down reasonable debate. But, no matter what, any move forward, for me, is a step in the right direction, regardless. I personally want, for all of our citizens, health care for everyone where the sick are the ones who benefit, not insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Until those are really put in check, a great system that really meets everyone’s needs won’t be achievable and I am worried that we have let them go to far for us to ever have a chance of putting them back into the bottle (no pun intended).

    Universal Health Care has and always will be my biggest issue because, to me, it shouldn’t be a political issue at all but one of basic equality of human rights.

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The House Judiciary antitrust investigation holds big techs’ feet to the fire

(POLITICS) CEOs of Alphabet, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon set to testify in House Judiciary Committee antitrust investigation hearing today.



house investigation

The House Judiciary Committee is closing in on the end of a year-long investigation into tech giants Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon, to evaluate possible antitrust abuses. CEOs from all four companies were set to testify on Monday, July 27, 2020. The hearing has been pushed back to Wednesday, July 29, to allow members of Congress to pay respects to civil rights leader Representative John Lewis (D-GA) who died of pancreatic cancer on July 17.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Tim Cook of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Sundar Pichai of Alphabet (Google’s parent company) have all agreed to testify. This will be Bezos’ first time in front of Congress, whereas all the others have testified before on different matters. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was invited to testify by Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), but is expected to not attend.

The Antitrust Subcommittee began the investigation in June 2019. Each business has been the subject of scrutiny for their roles in dominating their respective industries and playing an outsized role in market competition for smaller businesses. The Committee is interested in evaluating current antitrust laws and whether they apply to, or should be updated for, these mega corporations. They have already heard testimonies from smaller companies like Sonos and Tile about these companies’ alleged monopolistic practices.

The focus of the investigation for Apple is on the App Store, and whether it has implemented policies that are harmful for app developers. Google has a tight hold on the online advertising market. Amazon – which during a five-week period early in the pandemic saw an increase in value equivalent to the total value of Walmart, the world’s largest firm – has been criticized for its treatment of brands that sell on its e-commerce platform. Facebook is being investigated for its acquisition practices, cornering the social media market with purchases like Instagram.

Amazon is expected to face additional scrutiny for its treatment of warehouse workers during the pandemic. Facebook and YouTube (a subsidiary of Google) have been the subject of regular criticism about monitoring hate speech on their platforms, and their treatment of the workers responsible for doing so (Facebook in particular).

The hearing is set to occur virtually in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Watch the hearing live at 12:00 p.m. EST Wednesday, July 29 on the House Judiciary Committee’s YouTube channel. Please do note the hilarious irony of streaming a Congressional antitrust hearing on YouTube, which is owned by Google, which is owned by Alphabet, which is testifying at said hearing. God Bless America.

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Additional unemployment benefits outside of the CARES Act

(POLITICS) Unemployment is at an all time high in the United States and individuals need to be aware of reapplying for additional benefits.



unemployment broke

June saw some additional jobs in the US and unemployment fell as of early July, but CNBC advised pausing on any celebration just yet, saying that “The employment crisis is still worse than any time since the Great Depression, the country’s worst economic downturn in its industrial history.”

The unemployment statistics in our country right now are really scary – especially for individuals and families that see a looming deadline of July 31 for the supplemental $600/week provided by the Federal Government through the CARES Act put in place in March. There are discussions on extending these benefits as many families have not been able to replace their incomes or find new employment opportunities, but it doesn’t seem like anything has been finalized there yet. Congress is in the middle of a variety of options:

  • Discontinue the additional $600/week but allow those on unemployment to continue to file and receive their state benefits (usually up to 26 weeks or possibly extended up to 39 weeks by The CARES act)
  • Send out additional stimulus checks (Congress is currently exploring a $X Trillion stimulus package)
  • Extend the additional funding (on top of the weekly amount allotted by state) but cut it from $600 to $200
  • It’s also been put on the table in the House of Representatives “The Heroes Act” to extend the additional $600/week until January 2021 ($3 trillion).

There are some additional benefits that are available (different than the funds by the CARES Act), but you may have to reapply for them. So, make sure to check your state’s unemployment pages and your filing status. Some states do not require you to reapply and you can continue on with extended benefits.

According to CNBC, “The additional aid expires after the end of the year. (This is a different program than the one paying an extra $600 a week through July 31.) For some reason, the [Department of Labor] has taken the position that people have to file for the additional PEUC benefits,” said Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project.”

No doubt that this can cause additional stress and uncertainty especially when you have questions about your filing and are unable to get through to someone on the phone. With the way that the unemployment cycle is setup, technically July 25 is considered the last date for that cycle (and July 26 for New York), so be sure to check and see what the next steps are for you if you are currently filing.

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How will pausing the reopening of states impact the recovery of the economy?

(POLITICS) The resurgence of COVID-19 has left Americans with a lot of questions about our nation’s economic future. That ambiguity is seemingly a feature, not a bug.



COVID-19 reopening economy

The rest of the world watched as the United States dramatically reopened “the economy” last month. Now, it seems we’ve changed our minds about that.

The White House has repeatedly said that it will be up to individual states to form their own pandemic response plans moving forward. But letting local governments devise their own solutions has produced large gaps in their preparedness, as well as profound confusion around the best practices for balancing the country’s public and economic health.

California, which represents the largest economy in the US and the fifth largest in the world, was one of the first states to put serious quarantine restrictions in place. The decision to relax those orders only came after anti-lockdown protestors demanded that Governor Gavin Newsom reopen the state’s beaches, businesses and churches. Newsom may now regret this capitulation as California just called for a second round of statewide lockdowns.

Other state legislators are slowly following their lead, as the threat is becoming very dire in some places. Florida, for instance, is now a global hotspot for COVID-19 and Miami is being called “the new Wuhan”. The state is also currently struggling against another wave of unemployment, partly because their economy is heavily dependent on summer tourism (which has persisted despite the spike in cases, but not nearly at pre-pandemic levels).

Florida, California and Texas are altogether responsible for 20 percent of all new COVID-19 cases globally.

Every state is fighting two battles here. Coronavirus relief efforts in the US are still seriously underfunded, and most health organizations here lack the resources to effectively test and treat their communities. But the problems that have emerged for workers and small business owners, like evictions and layoffs, have also been devastating in their own right.

In essence, the United States reopened in an effort to curb the nation’s financial freefall and ballooning unemployment. Economists predicted at the beginning of July that reopening would allow the US to avoid a recession, and all would go smoothly. These projections likely did not account for a spike in cases that would halt this economic rebound.

That’s not to say the circumstances here haven’t improved at all over the past months; currently there is no acute shortage of ventilators, and doctors have had some time to refine their strategies for treating the virus. Overall, the national unemployment rate is slightly declining, while working from home is going so well for companies like Twitter and Facebook that they will be permanently switching much of their staff to remote work.

By comparison, though, New Zealand took the pandemic much more seriously than the US did, and they are objectively in a better position now in all respects. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern cracked down hard and early, closing the country’s borders completely, and instituting rent freezes nationwide. As a result they have virtually eradicated COVID-19 within their borders. A report from S&P Global also expects New Zealand’s economy to recover quickly compared to the rest of the world.

While this tradeoff seems like a zero sum game – as if we have to pick either our health, or our wealth – it is not. In fact, we could very well end up with neither if our lawmakers don’t proceed with caution.

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