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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Four Justices of The Apocalypse & Medicare Part "D"


The US Supreme Court doesn't want any part of the new Medicare Drug "Benefit" Plan. (The plan that only benefits the drug companies.) Many states are arguing that the plan forces them (the states) to take on too much of the financial responsibility and they want more federal help or they want to get out. "The Four Justices of the Apocalypse" plus one said they won't hear the case. They want the issue resolved by a lower court.

To refresh everyone's memory, this is the Medicare Plan "D" which will doesn't allow for Medicare, the largest purchaser of drugs on the planet earth, the ability to bargain for their subscribers, resulting in higher prices than other prescription drug plans pay for the same drug; This is the plan which will cost a retiree, one who might require $6,000 worth of prescription drugs per year, the "benefit" of paying for nearly $4,000 of that annual cost (about 65 percent); This is the plan that both pharmacists and patients alike are having a hard time figuring out.

And, as an "Oh, by the way," the Medicare Drug "Benefit" plan is the plan written by the pharmaceutical industry to squeeze every available dollar from any elderly person in the United States.

"The states cannot establish that the (law) ... will cause them any financial hardship at all. By contrast, an injunction barring implementation of (the law) would deprive the Medicare Part D program of an important source of the funding necessary to furnish prescription drugs to individuals over 65 or who have disabilities."
-Solicitor General Paul Clement

As it stands now, the federal government attaches our salaries at the rate of 2.9 percent (1.45 percent paid by us; 1.45 percent paid by our employer) from dollar one to dollar... whatever. This, of course, excludes any money "earned" from capital gains, which mostly benefits the top one percent of wage "earners" (if you can call sitting back and watching your stocks make you richer "earnings").

So, here's my plan. Scrap Medicare as we know it today. That will take it out of the hands of the corrupt and thieving Republican-led politicians in Washington, DC. Then allow the states themselves to set up their very own statewide Medicare plans. It occurs to me that the closer you get to the taxpayer, the more that is accomplished for the taxpayer. I trust my state government much more than I trust the federal government, as I think that most Americans do.

Imagine that 2.9 percent of everyone's salary going toward your own state's Medicare for all plan. It certainly would be a nice start, to say the least.

Anyway, here is my proposal, as seen before in an earlier Note from a Madman (http://www.nationalview.org/newsletter/newsletter_100405.htm)

A Medicare Idea

According to my rather remedial calculations, there are some 4.2 million working people in New Jersey (US census estimates). Medicare insurance collected by the federal government (as a part of payroll taxes) is taxed at 1.45 percent of your total income from the first dollar you ear to the last. Your employer's share is an additional 1.45 percent. That adds up to 2.9 percent. The average New Jersey income is about $45,000 per year (The median income is about $80,000 - I guess I'm not living up to my end of the bargain).

If the federal government were to transfer the Medicare funds it receives to their respective states, I wonder what New jersey could do with their share?

The following chart shows how much money would be raised by New Jersey if the working uninsured paid a little extra for their own health care, based on a small percentage of their income, for basic health care and New Jersey was allowed to keep the money its workers paid into the existing Medicare system.

People in the NJ workforce


US Census Bureau

Average income


US Department of Labor

Total earned by NJ residents


workforce times income

2.9 percent paid into Medicare


Medicare paid by NJ residents

uninsured in NJ


Associated Press by the US Census Bureau

Percentage of NJ Population in workforce


US Census Bureau

Estimated working uninsured in NJ


uninsured times percentage in workforce

additional charge to uninsured for state Medicare


Madman's idea

Additional money raised by State Funded NJ Medicare


income times working uninsured times additional charge times 

Total Medicare Fund in NJ


Original 2.9 percent plus uninsured's additional 2.9 percent

The question is, could New Jersey insure its uninsured for basic, minimum health care if it were to collect and keep over $7.1 billion this year?

Maybe it IS time for an ownership society. maybe those states with large populations, such as New Jersey, should take OWNership of its OWN Medicare dollars and help its OWN citizens.

-Noah Greenberg

How to Divide and Conquer Using The Minimum Wage

Here we go again folks, the Senate is scheduled to take up a vote on raising the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour from $5.15 per hour. Last year when this was done, Tricky Ricky Santorum (R-PA) came up with a substitute amendment that would have eliminated minimum wage protection and overtime for millions of workers. Watch out for Rethuglican tricks this week! Meanwhile, the House has refused to schedule a similar bill.

The minimum has not been increased since 1997 while Congress has taken for itself nine pay increases. All economic evidence is that states which increased the minimum wage have seen higher economic growth than those that didn't. There simply is no excuse not to increase the federal minimum wage.

-Robert Scardapane

Media Madman
"Luffa-Boy" Speaks

Now to me, they're not fighting it hard enough. See, if I'm president, I got probably another 50-60 thousand with orders to shoot on sight anybody violating curfews. Shoot them on sight. That's me... President O'Reilly... Curfew in Ramadi, seven o'clock at night. You're on the street? You're dead. I shoot you right between the eyes. Ok? That's how I run that country. Just like Saddam ran it. Saddam didn't have explosions - he didn't have bombers. Did he? because if you got out of line, your dead.
-Bill "Luffa-Boy" O'Reilly

Well, that sums up the Rethuglican philosophy - the United States should act just like Saddam Hussein.


That won't be hard for Bush!

-Robert Scardapane

More Media Madman
Shaken (Not Stirred) Republicans

"You use your programs to get people to vote for your tax cuts on your $5 million a year, and against their own self-interest. You are making a fool out of your listeners."
A caller into Fox' Hannity and Colmes show to Hannity, as reported in The Daily Kos


Hannity was shaken!

Isn't it amazing that when you call the Rethuglicans out they melt down! The reason is that their policies are lies. They wrap policies that hurt the majority of people in deceptive packages. They tell the unexpecting public that they will cut taxes but never explain who really is benefitting. It's class warfare wrapped in Orweillian names such as the "death tax" - a tax cut that only effects estates valued over 4 million dollars.

"But if the real source of today's bitter partisanship is a Republican move to the right on economic issues, why have the last three elections been dominated by talk of terrorism, with a bit of religion on the side? Because a party whose economic policies favor a narrow elite needs to focus the public's attention elsewhere. And there's no better way to do that than accusing the other party of being unpatriotic and godless."
Paul Krugman commenting on the other tactic, which is to divert the public from the real issues with fear

The problem is that the Rethuglicans keep getting away with this. We simply have to hold their feet to the fire as this caller did to Hannity.

-Robert Scardapane

In response to "The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll had Bush 'surging' 1 point -- all the way from 36% to 37%. This morning, Matt Lauer was incredulous that the numbers for Bush haven't spiked. The media is waiting for -- and pushing the narrative that there will be -- a Bush surge," Robert Chapman writes:

Matt Lauer's incredulity notwithstanding, Mr. Scardapane has reported on a major phenomenon here.

Throughout his campaigns for Governor in Texas, during his tenure there, in both his Presidential campaigns and previously through his Administration, Bush and his team have been able to push the poll numbers. This has had important political ramifications: In assuring Bush unprecedented success as a fundraiser and in disciplining dissenters and rivals within the GOP and the Democratic party.

Bush's ability to push the poll numbers has been used by his minions as a sure sign that the public is aware of and supportive of Bush's policies and has been a decisive source of strength in dealing with Congress and other rival power centers in the government and the political sphere.

If Mr. Scardapane is correct, and Bush has lost his ability to push the poll numbers up when he needs to, he will be seriously weakened as President.

Hark, do I hear ducks quacking IRRELEVANT, POWERLESS, OUT-OF- TOUCH ?

A Scary Quote From the Past (and How it Applies to the Present)

"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
- Hermann Goering, April 18, 1946, while awaiting the Nuremberg trials

-Forwarded by David W.

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-Noah Greenberg