Let's Fix This Country

In Five Years, Medicare Runs Short of Money. Republicans to Nix Biden Fix.

President Biden made known his priorities with the release of his budget plan early this month. One feature is a modest increase in the Medicare payroll tax ("huge" and "giant" says the tax-averse Wall Street Journal editorial board) meant to extend the viability of Medicare for another 25 years beyond 2028 when the trust fund's reserves will otherwise run dry.

The president's offering will be negotiated over the coming months along with budgets from the House and Senate, and the tax increases are destined not to get past Republicans in the House. But the White House proposals do serve to remind that some action needs to be taken article illustration
about Medicare by a Congress that resolutely chooses to ignore what's coming at us in the future.

We pay 1.45% of income for Medicare, as do employers, for a 2.9% total. single individuals on income over $200,000 and marrieds filing jointly on income over $250,000 pay an extra .9% for a 3.8% total. For income over $400,000 Biden wants to increase the 3.8% to 5.0%. And he wants "business income" to be be swept into the equation. (Owners of professional service businesses have structured them to classify their earnings as profits which heretofore are not subject to the surcharges).

Dreams of avarice

Republican refusal to consider any tax increases stands out against a backdrop of stunning gains in the wealth of the nation's top earners and business owners. Pay to corporate CEOs has gone steadily upward for decades, skyrocketing 1,460% since 1978.

Even poor results are rewarded, such as $21 million paid to Boeing's David Calhoun in the year its 737 Max airliner was grounded and the company lost $12 billion. Such as Norwegian Cruise Lines' CEO Frank del Rio pocketing $36.4 million with its ships dead in the water from…


Trump Kept Secret a Study That Found No Fraud in 2020

Also, how not to steal an election

In the early morning hours after the 2020 election, Donald Trump told his supporters "Frankly, we did win this election. We did win it". Thus began "The Big Lie", his campaign that the election had been stolen. Only he said it. Millions believed it because he said it.

But Trump was desperate to come up with something that could make his myth seem true, so his campaign contracted with Berkeley Research Group, a California outfit that helps organizations in "disputes and investigations" to look for the fraud that supposedly cost Trump his presidency. This effort was entirely unknown until The Washington Post broke the story in early February, unknown because Berkeley came up with nothing, a result displeasing to Trump that he and those around him have kept secret for over two years.

In the two months between the election and the January 6th insurrection, about a dozen Berkeley researchers studied results in six "battleground" states where voting was close. The Post article illustration
Duped by The Big Lie

quotes one of four sources, "a person familiar with the work who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity":

“They looked at everything: change of addresses, illegal immigrants, ballot harvesting, people voting twice, machines being tampered with, ballots that were sent to vacant addresses that were returned and voted, literally anything you could think of. Voter turnout anomalies, date of birth anomalies, whether dead people voted. If there was anything under the sun that could be thought of, they looked at it.”

There were the usual anomalies, irregularities, mistakes common to all elections given the huge numbers involved but these "actually went…

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the media

Fallout from Lawsuit: Rupert Murdoch Could Lose Control of Fox

Update, March 5: The exposure of Fox News management and television luminaries expressing opinions among themselves that are the opposite of what they have been telling their viewers ever since the 2020 election has raised the question of whether Rupert Murdoch's control of Fox Corporation could be in jeopardy. Add to that the extremely strong case filed by Dominion Voting article illustration
Fox Corp.'s headquarters on New York's Sixth Avenue displays the network's notables (l. to r.) Dana Perino, Bret Baier (obscured by traffic light), Martha MacCallum, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity.

Systems and the possibility of a greater than $1 billion jury verdict or settlement against the company and possibly far beyond that in punitive beyond damages.

Murdoch has shown signs of worry. Asked in deposition, "What should the consequences be when Fox News executives knowingly allow lies to be broadcast?", Murdoch replied, "They should be reprimanded …maybe got rid of." It's thought that he is looking for a scapegoat and Suzanne Scott (see article) may be next. Some of Murdoch's answers seek to make him above the fray. He checklisted all on-air commentators as having "endorsed" the claim of a stolen election, but "Not Fox, no. Not Fox". In his deposition:

Q: Is it fair to say you seriously doubted any claim of massive election fraud?
A: Oh yes.
Q: And you seriously doubted it from the very beginning?
A; Yes, I mean, we thought everything was on the up and up. I think that was shown when we announced Arizona.

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, professor at Yale School of Management and influential well beyond the New Haven campus, points out that 61% of News Corp. is held by other than Murdoch - "some major institutional investors like Vanguard and others that… Read More »


Debt Ceiling Standoff Questions Will Social Security Be There for You?

…or Medicare, or Medicaid? A look at one at a time

The 20-or-so of the hard-right faction in the House of Representatives refuse to raise the debt ceiling without significant cutbacks to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The White House refuses to negotiate. They are "fiscally demented", said President Biden in a Martin Luther King Day speech. "They don’t quite get it".

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin says we just bumped up against the ceiling. Her department is looking for what she called "extraordinary measures" to enable the country to keep paying its bills for a few more months.

The squad in the House holding Speaker Kevin McCarthy hostage to its demands needs no individual profiling. They are of a piece. All but three were endorsed by Donald Trump, and 14 of the 15 who were members of Congress on Jan. 6 were among the 139 representatives in the House who voted not to certify states' electors in order to keep Trump in power. (And 118 of the 139 election deniers were re-elected). Added… Read More »

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