Lateral Appeal in BKR to District Judge Often Overlooked

The PHH case underscores the statistics and the substance of actions brought in U.S> Bankruptcy Court. The fact is that BKR judges, once called magistrates, do not have the jurisdiction or power of ordinary District Court Judges.

In addition out of the three possible venues for appeal from BKR rulings and decisions, the one that gets the most traction the most often is directly to the sitting District Court judge in whose courthouse the BKR proceedings are pending. District judges are the most likely to find that the BKR “judge” lacked jurisdiction or power to even hear many matters.

Let us write the narrative for your appeal: 202-838-6345
Get a consult and TEAR (Title & Encumbrances Analysis and & Report) 202-838-6345. The TEAR replaces and greatly enhances the former COTA (Chain of Title Analysis, including a one page summary of Title History and Gaps).
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THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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Hat tip to Dan Edstrom

see PHH v Sensenich US Dist Lexis 207801

There are three possible routes for appeal. The one that gets the best results is rarely used for unknown reasons. So here are some pointers on bringing an appeal from a ruling or decision entered by a BKR judge:

  1. Lateral appeal to District Court Judge: Success rate around 50%
  2. Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP): Success rate around 15%
  3. Direct appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals: Success rate less than 15%.

This anomaly was first pointed out by a Bankruptcy Court Judge in Arizona who as presenting at a CLE Bar Seminar for Bankruptcy lawyers. The seminar was in 2009 and still we are waiting for BKR practitioners to pick up the ball.

An apparently little known fact is that BKR courts are courts of limited jurisdiction as to what they can hear and how they can hear the issues. Many practitioners avoid an appeal from BKR to the Federal District Court Judge because they think that the District judge is on the same level as the BKR judge. And they think that two judges on the same bench are not going to rule against each other.

This view is simply wrong. They are not on the same bench. District Judges have authority over everything that happens in BKR court. BKR court is itself broken up into two categories. One category is simple rulings on motions in the administrative court proceeding (which is why the BKR “Judges” were called magistrates).

Most of what happens in the administrative phase of a bankruptcy is ministerial. Rulings that cross the line of ruling from ministerial to substantive judgments on the law regarding consumer rights, foreclosures etc. are subject to challenge and are as likely to get overturned by the District Judge as not. This is the part most people have some familiarity.

The other category is Adversary actions. This means someone has filed a lawsuit in Bankruptcy Court that is separately served and subject to the same rules of procedure as an action filed in U.S. District Court. But the similarity ends there. Many adversary actions go far beyond the jurisdiction of the BKR judge.

Lack of jurisdiction means the judgment or ruling is void. Those void judgments are generally reversed by the District Court judge and not necessarily by the BAP or Circuit Court probably because nobody brings up the issue of whether the BKR action was in the correct court.

Generally speaking there are two categories of appeal: procedural and substantive. Appeals citing errors in procedure (including jurisdiction) generally get the most traction. Appeals citing substantive law or worse, citing errors in apprehending the evidence, have the lowest success rate.

In the case cited above, Federal District Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford reversed a bankruptcy judge’s ruling that had imposed sanctions against a creditor “based on Rule 3002.1(i) of the Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, the bankruptcy court’s inherent authority, and Bankruptcy Code section 105.”

The sanctions were awarded in three cases where debtors had to make mortgage payments pursuant to chapter 13 plans.  The mortgage servicer had billed the debtors for fees that the bankruptcy trustee asserted were improper. At a trustee’s request, the bankruptcy court imposed sanctions against the servicer of $375,000: $25,000 for each case under Rule 3002.(i) and $300,000 total for violations of court orders under its inherent powers and section 105.

Rule 3002.1 permits bankruptcy courts to provide relief to debtors when mortgage creditors fail to disclose certain fees and charges. Rule 3002.1(i) allows courts to remedy violations of certain provisions of Rule 3002.1 by (among other things) “award[ing] other appropriate relief, including reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees caused by the failure.” Whether Rule 3002.1 authorizes punitive sanctions was a matter of first impression. Neither the parties nor the court had found a case where a bankruptcy court had invoked the rule to support sanctions in this manner.

Judge Crawford reasoned that, because Rule 3002.1 is a procedural rule, it cannot enlarge the substantive authority of the bankruptcy courts. If bankruptcy courts do not have the substantive authority under statute and case law to issue punitive sanctions, then a mere procedural rule cannot alter the lack of substantive authority. The court thus concluded that the question under Rule 3002.1(i) was reducible to the question under a bankruptcy court’s inherent powers and section 105.

For homeowners this ruling helps. Citing it puts the banks in the position of opposing a ruling that went in their favor, i.e., this PHH case.  This also puts the homeowner on notice to check carefully before filing an adversary action instead of a collateral action that is directly before the District Judge or even State Court.

The problem is that most BKR attorneys who mostly do Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, have little or no litigation experience. Thus it may be necessary to NOT  charge your BKR lawyer with there responsibility of filing an adversary or collateral action and to bring in separate trial counsel even if the decision is made to file an adversary complaint.

 

 

 

Clinton’s Healthcare Sell-Out: Watch Out for this Lady — She wants to be President more than she wants to be a great president

THE PROBLEM WITH AMERICAN HEALTHCARE

AN UNAVOIDABLE TRUTH — IT DOESN’T WORK

When Marianne Falacienski’s husband started a new job, the family could not afford the health plan. Ms. Falacienski, 32, found individual coverage only for him and their daughter, Gabrielle.

WHY OBAMA HAS THE RIGHT APPROACH:

INCREMENTAL STEPS TO ELIMINATING MIDDLEMEN WHO ADD COST BUT NO VALUE

THE REASON WHY HEALTHCARE COSTS ARE SO HIGH: We let it get that way because we thought we were not paying for it. We were lulled into this fraudulent situation by the presence of “insurance” which was just a hidden tax which we call “PRIVATE TAXATION.” This opened the door for the profit motive to dominate healthcare.  The inevitable result was cutting costs by delivering less care, increasing revenues by increasing premiums, and avoiding delivery by small print. 

THE EFFECT ON AMERICAN HEALTH: Americans are dying younger, with higher infant mortality than 40 other countries, and living lives of quiet desperation and stress locked in by a system that requires us to choose between life and death, between quality of life or suffering, and between being overmedicated into virtual stupor or becoming our own physicians and deciding what medications we need.

WHO CONTROLS OUR OPTIONS: The presence of insurance along with government complicity has interfered with the normal market forces found in every other country on the planet. Examples abound where the cost of a medication is $120 per month here whereas it could be as little as 5 cents elsewhere. 

The pharmaceutical industry dictates medical protocol: the profit motive requires them to present protocols that require long-term constant daily medications which now average 8-10 pills per day for many people. 

The pharmaceutical industry controls the FDA (virtually all FDA employees have worked for Pharma, are working for Pharma or will work for Pharma and Pharma literally pays most of the budget of the FDA). 

Any protocol that is preventative is opposed by Pharma and opposed by the insurance companies because revenues would decline, costs would decline and thus the need for expensive insurance premiums would also decline. 

Any intervention protocol is likewise not covered by insurance and declared “placebo” or “experimental” unless it is accompanied by a protocol of 53 pills per day for life as in the case of a lung transplant. 

The inescapable conclusion is that the insertion of insurance into our lives has increased our effective rate of taxation without us realizing it was a tax, it has reduced the level, quantity, availability and quality of care, and is responsible for half of all bankruptcies filed.

Obama’s plan, while it continues to include the insurance infrastructure, loosens the death grip of the insurance-Pharma cartel. It can lead to continued enhancements of the system and eventually to a single payer system which is what everyone else in the world has. 

Mandatory insurance is a sell-out for continuation of the current system regardless of what sound bites are attached to it. Obama is once again taking the courageous position of recognizing the nuance and complexity oft he situation and taking hits for not “mandating” insurance for everyone. The Clinton-Edwards “mandatory” plan is good politics, bad economics and unworkable.

Mandatory health insurance is a tax pure and simple. Except by inserting private insurance companies into the mix it adds between 100% to 500% to the costs of healthcare. Mandatory insurance is a wealth transfer system and anyone who promotes it is either purposefully or inadvertently playing into the hands of the few people who benefit financially from this corrupt system while the rest of us continue our lives of quiet desperation and stress.

 

May 4, 2008

Even the Insured Feel the Strain of Health Costs

By REED ABELSON and MILT FREUDENHEIM

The economic slowdown has swelled the ranks of people without health insurance. But now it is also threatening millions of people who have insurance but find that the coverage is too limited or that they cannot afford their own share of medical costs.

Many of the 158 million people covered by employer health insurance are struggling to meet medical expenses that are much higher than they used to be — often because of some combination of higher premiums, less extensive coverage, and bigger out-of-pocket deductibles and co-payments.

With medical costs soaring, the coverage many people have may not adequately protect them from the financial shock of an emergency room visit or a major surgery. For some, even routine doctor visits might now take a back seat to basic expenses like food and gasoline.

“It just keeps eating into people’s income,” said James Corbin, a former union official who works for the local utility in Tucson.

Mr. Corbin said that under their employer’s health plan, he and his co-workers are now obliged to pay up to $4,000 of their families’ annual medical bills, on top of about $1,600 a year in premiums. Five years ago, they paid no premiums and were responsible for only about $2,000 of their families’ medical bills.

“That’s a big jump,” Mr. Corbin said. “You’ve just lost a month’s pay.”

Already, many doctors say, the soft economy is making some insured people hesitant to get care they need, reluctant to spend a $50 co-payment for an office visit. Parents “are waiting longer to bring in their children,” said Dr. Richard Lander, a pediatrician in Livingston, N.J. “They say, ‘The kid isn’t that sick; her temperature is only 102.’ ”

The problem of affording health care is most acute for people with no insurance, a group expected to soon exceed 48 million, but those with insurance say they too are feeling the pain.

Since the recession of 2001, the employee’s average cost of an annual health care premium for family coverage has nearly doubled — to $3,300, up from $1,800 — while incomes have come nowhere close to keeping up. Factor in other out-of-pocket medical costs, and the portion of the average American household’s income that goes toward health care has risen about 12 percent, according to the consulting and accounting firm Deloitte, and is now approaching one-fifth of the average household’s spending.

In a recent survey by Deloitte’s health research center, only 7 percent of people said they felt financially prepared for their future health care needs.

Shirley Giarde of Walla Walla, Wash., was not prepared when her husband, Raymond, suddenly developed congestive heart failure last year and needed a pacemaker and defibrillator. Because his job did not provide health benefits, she has covered them both through a policy for the self-employed, which she obtained as the proprietor of a bridal and formal-wear store, the Purple Parasol.

But when Raymond had his medical problems, Ms. Giarde discovered that her insurance would cover only $22,000, leaving them with about $100,000 in unpaid hospital bills.

Even though the hospital agreed to reduce that debt to about $50,000, Ms. Giarde is still struggling to pay it — in part because the poor economy has meant slumping sales at the Purple Parasol. Her husband, now disabled and unable to work, will not qualify for Medicare for another year, and she cannot afford the $758 a month it would cost to enroll him in a state-run insurance plan for individuals who cannot find private insurance.

She recently refinanced her car, a 2002 Toyota Highlander, to help pay for her husband’s heart medicines, which cost some $400 a month.

Experts say that too often for the underinsured, coverage can seem like health insurance in name only — adequate only as long as they have no medical problems.

“There’s a real shift in the burden of health care to people who happen to be sick,” said Paul B. Ginsburg, the president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, a research group in Washington.

Companies and policy makers have yet to focus on what the faltering economy means for employees’ medical care, said Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health, a Washington association of about 200 large employers.

“It’s a bad-news situation when an individual or household has to pay out-of-pocket three, four or five times as much for their health plan as they would have at the time of the last recession,” she said. “Americans have been giving their pay raise to the health care system.”

Sage Holben, a 62-year-old library technician with diabetes who is active in her local union in St. Paul, says that in 2003 union members agreed to a two-year freeze on wages to protect their health care coverage. But for the union, which will begin talks on the next contract this fall, it may be difficult to continue that trade-off, Ms. Holben said. “It’s at the point where we’re losing, anyway,” she said.

“I live paycheck to paycheck,” said Ms. Holben, who makes close to $40,000 a year at Metropolitan State University.

When she took the job in 1999, she says, the health benefits required no co-payments for doctor visits. Now, her out-of-pocket cost per visit is $25, and she pays $38 a month for her diabetes medicine. She has not been to the eye doctor in two years, even though eye exams are crucial for people with diabetes and she knows she needs new glasses. Nor does she monitor her blood sugar as regularly as she should because of the cost of the supplies.

“It’s not an extravagant expense,” she said. “It just adds up.” And it comes atop the increasing cost of utilities, gasoline and food — and the few hundred dollars of repairs her 1994 Chevrolet Cavalier needs.

Many employers do recognize that their workers are struggling financially even as they are asking them to pick up more of their health-care bills.

“It makes the work we have to do even more challenging,” said Anne Silverman, the vice president in charge of benefits in North America for the publishing company Reed Elsevier. “Employees are being stretched in terms of their disposable income.”

Even so, more companies may see themselves as having little choice but to require employees to pay even more of their health expenses, said Ted Nussbaum, a benefits consultant at the firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide. And when a weak economy undermines job security, he said, workers may simply have to accept reduced benefits.

While Mr. Nussbaum and other consultants say it is unlikely that significant numbers of employers will simply drop coverage for their workers, the weak economy could prompt more of them to push for so-called consumer-driven plans. Such plans tend to offset lower premiums with higher annual deductibles.

And while these plans often allow employees to put pre-tax savings into special health care accounts, they typically end up forcing the worker to assume a bigger share of overall medical costs. About six million people are now enrolled in these medical plans.

Among employers, the hardest pressed may be small businesses. Their insurance premiums tend to be proportionately higher than ones paid by large employers, because small companies have little bargaining clout with insurers.

Health costs are “burying small business,” said Mike Roach, who owns a small clothing store in Portland, Ore. He recently testified on health coverage at a Senate hearing led by Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon.

Last year, Mr. Roach paid about $27,000 in health premiums for his eight employees. “It’s a huge chunk of change,” he said, noting that he was forced to raise his employees’ yearly deductible by 50 percent, to $750.

Around the nation, some workers are simply priced out of their employee health plans.

After Brian Falacienski of Milton, Fla., was laid off last year from his job as a surveyor for a construction company, he found another position. But the cost of his new health plan — $800 a month for coverage with a $1,000 annual deductible — was beyond the means of Mr. Falacienski, 38, who is married and has a 2-year-old daughter.

His wife, Marianne, started researching individual insurance policies and was able to find policies for her husband and daughter offering basic, if minimal, coverage, costing $161 a month for father and daughter. But Ms. Falacienski, 32, who has arthritis and the severe digestive disorder Crohn’s disease, is now uninsured. Because of her conditions, she said, four major insurers rejected her.

“I even applied for Medicaid,” she said, “but I wasn’t low-income enough.”

Reverse the Federal Deficit without Taxation— PRIVATE TAXATION MUST GO !!!

Every one of the facts stated here are verifiable from multiple sources and are NOT disputed. The only policy question that is relevant is WHETHER WE PUT PEOPLE OR BIG BUSINESS FIRST in our priorities. The rest is obvious. HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES:

1. HEALTHCARE: (AT LEAST $1 TRILLION IN DIRECT AND HIDDEN FAT IN THE SYSTEM). The U.S. health care system is a wealth transfer scheme, which takes money from the pockets of ordinary citizens and puts it in the hands of a few people who do nothing to earn it. This is a PRIVATE TAX that only exists because the government has interfered on behalf of big business starting with Keiser Permanente.

          a. We spend, on average anywhere from 5 to 40 times what other countries spend on drugs for two reasons (1) we are prescribed too many drugs and (2) we pay much higher prices from the same companies that sell the same drugs in other countries.

Instead of the money going through the government to the insurers, pharmaceutical companies and medical service providers, the government mandates the money go directly to these cartels.

These companies have applied a substantial portion of their excess profits towards placement of “news stories”, advertisements and other propaganda that have convinced most Americans that the U.S. health care system, while faulty, is still better than other countries. THIS IS A LIE. Check it out using any statistic you like.

  • THE U.S. SPENDS 15.4% OF ITS GDP on heath care plus capital expenditures for equipment and buildings which brings it to around 18.5%. The amount of money spent is therefore $2,400,000,000 ($2.4 trillion dollars).
  • U.S. patients take 65% more medication than any other country on earth because only our system allows access and payment for INTERVENTION and allows nothing for for PREVENTION and MAINTENANCE. Most of these medications eventually increase the risk of death and/or other diseases. The Food and Drug Administration is staffed by and funded by Pharmaceutical company employees (either past, present or future). Access to PREVENTATIVE protocols is denied by the FDA, insurance company and the propaganda disseminated by the medical industrial cartel.
  • Not only is there sufficient funding already in the system to provide health care to every man, woman and child, along with social services that would reduce living stress and increase productivity, hope and innovation in the U.S. economy, there is actually about $400 billion dollars left over to contribute to other social programs (education, police, fire) that would make it possible for every man, woman and child at any age to be educated and trained to be competitive in the global economy. 
  • NO OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD SPENDS MORE THAN 11% OF ITS GDP ON HEALTHCARE. 
  • ALMOST EVERY OTHER WESTERN COUNTRY (INCLUDING THOSE WITH NATIONAL UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE) HAS MORE PHYSICIANS AND MORE HOSPITAL BEDS PER PATIENT THAN THE U.S.
  • THE DEATH RATE, INFANT MORTALITY RATE, “UNNECESSARY” DEATH RATE, AND EVEN HEIGHT IS WORSE IN THE U.S. THAN, ON AVERAGE, 40 OTHER MODERN WESTERN COUNTRIES. (we have lost three years of longevity in the last 50 years and we have lost one inch of height).
  • NO OTHER COUNTRY ALLOWS PRIVATE INSURANCE AS THE MIDDLE MAN BECAUSE INSURANCE AND MANAGED HEALTHCARE PLANS ADD NO VALUE.
  • EVERY OTHER COUNTRY EMPHASIZES PREVENTATIVE HEALTHCARE AND GIVES BONUSES TO HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS WHO IMPROVE THE HEALTH OF THEIR PATIENTS.
  • The only rational conclusion is that by deleting private insurance as the middle man in providing access to a public need (like education, police, public libraries and fire) and enabling a single payer to negotiate reasonable prices, the problem, and the deficit caused by healthcare spending would be eliminated. 

2. CREDIT AND DEBT: The U.S. credit and monetary system is a wealth transfer scheme, which takes money from the pockets of ordinary citizens and puts it in the hands of a few people who do nothing to earn it. This is a PRIVATE TAX that only exists because the government has interfered on behalf of big business starting with the credit card associations and companies that provide network access to credit imposing interest rates that have been known and understood for centuries to result in permanent debt.

It was once called USURY. Now it is called liquidity. The laws that made it illegal to charge rates of 35% on credit cards and 400% on payday advances were changed. So now it is still a crime under natural law but not under our legislative system. It’s government backed and therefore it is a PRIVATE TAX.

  • Government spending, government subsidies to big business, and government laws allowing big business, large unregulated, to charge exorbitant interest rates has resulted in unprecedented consumer and government debt — Federal, State, local and individual — requiring SOMEBODY (either us or our children, grandchildren and great children) to pay interest amounting currently to more than $3 trillion dollars per year plus the loss of social services and safety nets that have existed for more than 50 years. 
  • All of this debt has been funded by issuing U.S. currency equivalents that are now held in foreign investment vehicles, foreign exchange reserve accounts in central banks concentrated in the hands of China, South Korea and other countries whose commitment to the sovereignty and nationals security of the United States is best questionable.
  • At least $1 trillion of interest, fees and costs associated with excess interest and/or excess debt could be eliminated from the expenditures of U.S. spenders, producing substantial capital for improvements to infrastructure, jobs, increased revenues from income taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes,etc., without raising the rate of taxation on any of these sources of revenue.
  • The Mortgage Meltdown could be stopped by a commitment to keep people in their homes, preventing abandonment of homes that are not maintained. This would stop an ever-decreasing spiral of housing prices caused by REO homes coming onto the market at rates that demand could not possibly meet, reinstate the balance sheet of lenders and thus improve their capital position, and reinstate the balance sheet of investors who were tricked into buying junk securities which, with a little help and cooperation from business, government and people could be converted into ratable securities. 
  • Devaluation of the dollar and inflation caused by devaluation would be slowed, stopped or even reversed if the U..> showed its resolve to responsible economic policies and responsible monetary management and responsible regulation of “securitization” which is merely a unregulated method of increasing monetary supply despite declining demand for the U.S. dollar.
  • Reducing the debt service BY LAW to sustainable levels that would enable debtors to eliminate their debt. Banning advertisements that encourage consumers to buy goods and services they don’t need, or could wait to buy through savings, would convert a debt economy to a solid foundation of  savings economy. like many other countries in the world.
3. OIL, COAL and GAS: The average American family spends more than $800 per month in direct costs on fuel related services and probably another $600 per month in indirect costs associated with delivery and production. This is apart from Federal, State and local spending related to various social services and maintaining government facilities. In other words, we can safely say that at $15,000 per year comes out of the pocket of each taxpayer. This means we are spending $1.5 trillion in fuel costs plus the cost of vacation and business travel and sundry other matters.   OF THIS AMOUNT,WINDFALL PROFITS TO OIL COMPANIES AND OTHER MIDDLE MEN AMOUNTED LAST YEAR TO APPROXIMATELY $700 BILLION.
  • THAT OF COURSE IS JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG. BECAUSE WE HAVE HAD THE TECHNOLOGY FOR 40 YEARS TO CONVERT TO ALTERNATIVE SOURCES OF ENERGY THAT ARE RENEWABLE AND LESS EXPENSIVE, AND WOULD NOT REQUIRE US TO MAINTAIN A FOREIGN MOLICY THAT MEDDLES IN THE AFFAIRS OF OTEHR COUNTRIES AND THUS LEADS TO PERIODIC WARS.
  • THE REAL SHAME ON US IS THAT MORE THAN 2 MILLION JOBS COULD HAVE BEEN CREATED IN PRODUCING AN MODERN INFRASTRUCTURE FOR THE POWER GRID AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS. TESE HIGH PAYING JOBS WOULD AND COULD INCREASE THE WEALTH OF THE MIDDLE CALSS, INCREASE TAX REVENUES WITHOUT RAISING RATES, AND RESTORE U.S. LEADERSHIP IN INNOVATION AND RESEARCH. 
  1. If the Clinton years showed us anything, it was that by encouraging entrepreneurship, which produces 80% of our jobs the entire country is lifted. 
  2. Another thing Clinton proved is that by increasing the number of people in social services (police, fire etc) we increase employment, tax revenues and economic activity.
  3. The other thing Clinton proved unwittingly is that treaties like NAFTA are inherently unworkable because they are used by big business to side-step the advances in product safety, worker safety and benefits that America spent the better part of 100 years inventing and maintaining. 
  4. Thus we end up subsidizing slavery in other countries, and reducing the quality of products and services to American citizens. 
The money is already there in the “budget” when you include the PRIVATE TAXATION items. There are many more examples. If we can stop tripping over our ideological divides, the graft paid by big business and elect people who start with the premise “first do no harm”, the country could be thriving again. 

 

 

The New York Times

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April 27, 2008

3 Candidates With 3 Financial Plans, but One Deficit

The Republican and Democratic presidential candidates differ strikingly in their approaches to taxes and spending, but their fiscal plans have at least one thing in common: each could significantly swell the budget deficit and increase the national debt by trillions of dollars, according to tax and budget experts.

The reasons reflect the ideological leanings of the candidates, with Senator John McCain proposing tax cuts that go beyond President Bush’s and the Democrats advocating programs costing hundreds of billions of dollars. But for fiscal experts concerned with the deficit, both approaches are worrisome.

With the national debt soaring to $9.1 trillion from $5.6 trillion at the start of 2001, in part because of the Iraq war and Mr. Bush’s tax cuts, a crucial question about the candidates to succeed him is “whether they are helping to fill the hole or make it deeper,” said Robert L. Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan organization that advocates deficit reduction. “With the proposals they have on the table, it looks to me like all three would make it deeper.”

Representatives of all three campaigns disputed such assessments, questioning the accounting methods analysts used to calculate the growing debt and saying they could enact their plans without making matters worse.

Mr. McCain’s plan would appear to result in the biggest jump in the deficit, independent analyses based on Congressional Budget Office figures suggest. A calculation done by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington found that his tax and budget plans, if enacted as proposed, would add at least $5.7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade.

Fiscal monitors say it is harder to compute the effect of the Democratic candidates’ measures because they are more intricate. They estimate that, even taking into account that there are some differences between the proposals by Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, the impact of either on the deficit would be less than one-third that of the McCain plan.

The centerpiece of Mr. McCain’s economic plan is a series of tax cuts that would largely benefit corporations and the wealthy. He is calling for cutting corporate taxes by $100 billion a year. Eliminating the alternative minimum tax, which was created to apply to wealthy taxpayers but now also affects some in the middle class, would reduce revenues by $60 billion annually. He also would double the exemption that can be claimed for dependents, which would cost the government $65 billion.

“High tax rates are driving many businesses and jobs overseas — and, of course, our foreign competitors wouldn’t mind if we kept it that way,” Mr. McCain said, laying out his economic plan this month in Pittsburgh. “We’re going to get rid of that drag on growth and job creation.”

On the expenditure side, Mr. McCain has called not only for continuing an open-ended deployment of troops in Iraq, but also for spending $15 billion annually to expand the Army and the Marine Corps and to improve health care for veterans, among other programs.

Mr. McCain’s advisers have said the new tax cuts would be paid for by eliminating earmarks and making large spending cuts, but they have not identified specifics. And they have spoken vaguely about making entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare less costly for the government. Mr. McCain’s chief economic adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, said the campaign had simply presented its vision of what the tax code should look like and noted that some of the proposals would be phased in.

“I think what they ought to do is remember that the proposals are going to engender economic growth, which is the best thing you can do for near-term budget improvement,” Mr. Holtz-Eakin said, adding that Mr. McCain believed spending restraint was possible.

That vision for the tax code includes making permanent the Bush tax cuts, set to expire in 2010, which Mr. McCain once opposed in part because they were not accompanied by sufficient spending cuts.

“I voted against the tax cuts because of the disproportionate amount that went to the wealthiest Americans,” Mr. McCain said in 2004. “I would clearly support not extending these tax cuts in order to help address the deficit.”

In 2001 and 2003, Mr. Bush pushed through Congress tax cuts totaling nearly $2 trillion. The first set lowered income and estate taxes, and the second focused mostly on capital gains and dividends.

The McCain campaign does not figure the costs of extending the tax cuts into its deficit projections, although the Congressional Budget Office estimates that it would cost an extra $2.2 trillion over the next decade.

When Mr. McCain outlined his tax cut plan, he backed away from his pledge to balance the budget during his first term, but said that he would do so by the end of his second term. And in an interview last Sunday on “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” on ABC, Mr. McCain said he would push ahead with his tax cuts even if Congress did not approve his spending cuts.

Some conservative economists say that increased deficits in the short run are an acceptable tradeoff for tax cuts that they say will promote economic growth in the long run. And many liberal economists say that some of the Democratic spending proposals, like addressing the affordability of health care or improving education, are long-overdue investments that pay off handsomely even if they entail more red ink.

Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton have acknowledged that their various new programs would be costly but have outlined how to pay for them. But some fiscal monitors say they may be relying on overly rosy projections of how much savings their proposals would actually yield.

Mrs. Clinton has calculated that her universal health care plan would cost about $110 billion a year, while Mr. Obama’s somewhat more modest proposal would cost up to $65 billion annually, his advisers say. Both candidates have also talked of new government incentives and investment to encourage the development of alternative sources of energy, which would cost about $15 billion a year.

The Democratic candidates have suggested that they could finance these and other programs by allowing parts of the Bush tax cuts to expire. That, however, ignores projections of the Congressional Budget Office, which has already assigned those savings to deficit reduction.

In other words, unlike Mr. McCain, both Democrats say they would revoke the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. “At a time of war and economic hardship, the last thing we need is a permanent tax cut for Americans who don’t need them and weren’t even asking for them,” Mr. Obama said.

But they would retain those reductions meant to benefit poor and “middle-class” families, which they defined as the 97 percent or so of the population that lives on less than $250,000 a year, and they would count the estimated $50 billion generated by higher taxes on the wealthy as new revenue.

“Remember, you can only use this money once,” said Mr. Bixby of the Concord Coalition, “and with all the Bush tax cuts scheduled to expire, that money is already scheduled to come into the Treasury. But on the campaign trail, this has become a source of new spending.”

Mrs. Clinton’s aides have been perhaps the most specific in explaining how they would offset the costs of their proposals, and her campaign speaks of moving toward balanced budgets. “We’re not going into debt for the war in Iraq and tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans,” Mrs. Clinton has said, “but instead we are taking care of the needs of our people at home.”

Regarding gas taxes, Mr. McCain has proposed a one-time “tax holiday” for the summer. Mrs. Clinton also calls for suspending it in a new advertisement in Indiana, while Mr. Obama says that is a “bad idea” but opposes any increase in the tax.

On the spending side, Mr. Obama has argued that ending the Iraq war is one way to pay for some of the new programs, including creating a national infrastructure investment bank and increasing the foreign aid budget. But such savings, which Mrs. Clinton does not count on, would not immediately make their way into the Treasury, and some experts say it is not clear whether they would be sufficient to finance all the programs Mr. Obama has enumerated.

Mr. Obama has talked of spending that money on a variety of initiatives whose costs amount to about one-third of the war’s estimated annual cost of $150 billion. “It is clear that there ought to be some distinction between a candidate who says a withdrawal should start immediately and a candidate who says let’s maintain the war at the highest level,” said Austan Goolsbee, Mr. Obama’s senior economic adviser.

The fiscal outlook has been made even murkier by the explicit “no new taxes for the middle class” pledge that both Democratic candidates made at their debate in Philadelphia this month, exempting taxpayers making $250,000 a year or less from new levies.

Hearing such a promise “makes you very sad,” said Len Burman, director of the Tax Policy Center. “First of all, we don’t have enough revenue coming in to pay our bills.” In addition, he said, the notion that all the revenue that would be lost in a middle-class tax freeze can be made up by higher taxes on the wealthy “is not tenable.”

Private Taxation — American Healthcare

The answer to our unique American set of issues is not a single issue proposed solution, but a sea change in our premise: either we are a nation of people and laws to protect, defend and promote the health, safety and welfare of all our citizens or we are a vehicle for corporate interests that will do anything to maintain their positions of power and profit. Getting rid of the influence of lobbyists and the effect of campaign contributions on candidates is not some lofty ambition or ideal; it is an imperative that is the ONLY answer to having food on the table, gas in the tank and a roof over our heads.

A candidate for public office must (a) spend the time to learn about economics (b)  demonstrate their independence from special interests, (c) demonstrate their proficiency in understanding how economic trends impact the average voter and (d) educate the voter as to how economic policies are being used against them and what they can do about it. 

BEWARE OF PLATITUDES AND QUICK FIX PROPOSALS THAT WILL NOT WORK AND CANNOT DELIVER RELIEF TO THE HOME OR DINNER TABLE. 

Prospective voters who are considering support for candidates for public office or propositions and petitions having economic consequences are stuck between a rock and a hard place. The growing realization is that, in particularly in a global economy, some complex events are somehow having an effect on their daily lives. 

In the absence of any real information for each voter to make their own decision they are forced to rely on “mainstream” news, which is more fact based entertainment than informative, candidates who will say anything to get elected, and special interest advertising that mischaracterizes the choices.

Voters understand that food, fuel and medical costs are taking away more and more of their income with the same effect as if a new tax was enacted requiring them to fund the largest corporations in the world, whose losses are covered by taxpayers and whose windfall profits are closely guarded from consumers who don’t get the benefit of cost reductions, stockholders who don’t get the benefit of dividends, and merchants who don’t get the benefit of sales revenue from people who don’t have anymore money to spend. 

These “ private taxes” are reflective of the growing pattern of privatizing public finance. In short they are private taxes sanctioned by federal, state and local governments who themselves are victims of the pattern. In my opinion this represents “PRIVATE TAXATION” sanctioned by government.

Let’s look at some of the “proposals” for healthcare that are offered and watch how they work.

 

  1. American citizens spend more (35%-250%) on drugs, medical protocols,, tests and treatment than any other country in the world. The same drugs that cost $20 per pill in the U.S. can be purchased for $2.00 elsewhere. Protocols that would prevent disease or would cure them are virtually banned or are allowed to be “not covered” by insurance — resulting in the average person my age (61) taking thousands of pills per year that people in other countries are not taking because they don’t need them and because the pills themselves present risks of side effects that include everything up to and including death. 
  2. The financial excesses of the medical-pharmaceutical-insurance industry is supported by “laws” that protect the industry and which little or nothing to do with the health of any person. These excesses are present ONLY in the United States. 
  3. At the same time that we are spending more, we are suffering more medical disasters in more families every day. Longevity (life-span) in the United States is declining. Infant mortality is rising. Even average adult height has decreased in the Untied States and is now lower than many other countries.
  4. Protocols like chelation IV therapy, food supplements and vitamins, gene therapy, human stem cell therapy, and primitive cell therapy are being used all over the world, growing back diseased or missing organs, improving overall health, and improving vitality while at the same time vastly reducing the demands for medical treatment. Those other countries are spending less and delivering more. Several third world countries have now become centers for medical care of those Americans who have the money, time and physical ability to reach them. 
  5. National programs for health and fitness are not only improving physical health, but the all important index of happiness and contentment.
  6. Ideological arguments against these other systems are bogus arguments designed to distract American voters from the truth: the system is working here for those looking to earn a profit, whereas the system is working elsewhere in the world for those seeking to maintain a healthy population.
  7. The ideological argument against a single payer that negotiates prices, seeks preventative national programs and pursues the best possible treatments and cures is merely a hammer to threaten and frighten people with the prospect of “socialism” which most people translate as a loss of freedom, constant fear of government, loss of privacy, and a lack of disposable income at the end of the month.
  8. The truth is that all societies practice socialism as to those services that the government elects to provide. In the United States, taxes are used to pay for military, police, fire, education etc. In an ultimate irony, the heavy reliance on ideological argument over common sense has resulted in the the outcome most feared by those who are cajoled into voting against their interests: loss of freedom, constant fear of government, loss of privacy, and a lack of disposable income at the end of the month.
  9. The surrender of our healthcare to profit motivated private interests, like the surrender of prison management to private interests, like the surrender of regulation of sales of securities, creation of credit, expansion of monetary supply to private interests has led to a corporatocracy that threatens to consume the last dollar of every “average” American leaving them not only with no disposable income at the end of the month, but rather in debt up to their ears.
  10. Meanwhile the countries with “high” tax rates (which can simply be translated as honest transparency, as opposed to hiding the taxes in your utility bills, and covering up the private power of taxation given to corporate America) have satisfied, happy, free, contented populations who get along just fine and their citizens are not in debt and who are able to save up money and pay for things in cash.

American citizens have the exclusive right to vote in what should be a free society, but instead they are confronted with a corporate-government set of rules where the opportunities and choices are closing in on the the average guy or girl who is just trying to get through the month. 

Our incomes are being used to fund corporate losses, corporate abandonment of our own population for employment and training, military adventures that are funded by borrowing (which is future taxation), and huge windfall profits of oil companies, agricultural companies receiving “subsidies”, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies.

The answer to our problems is not a single issue proposed solution, but a sea change in our premise: either we are a nation of people and laws to protect, defend and promote the health, safety and welfare of our citizens or we are a vehicle for corporate interests that will do anything to maintain their positions of power and profit. Getting rid of the influence of lobbyists and the effect of campaign contributions on candidates is not some lofty ambition or ideal; it is an imperative that is the ONLY answer to having food on the table, gas in the tank and a roof over our heads. 

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