Friends an important Bill was just passed by Congress. Resolution 5-54 HR 3630 the Payroll Tax Cut. This Bill had three parts.
- It extended the payroll tax which denotes to a decrease on the withholding of Social Security tax in your paycheck.
- The next piece was what Congress members dubbed the Doc Fix. This relates to Medicare payments made to doctors on a retired elderly patient’s behalf. Without this extension the monies Doctors would receive per patient would have decreased by 27%.
- The last piece was an extension to the unemployment benefit. From what I understand it pushes the total payments out to 99 weeks in total when all extensions are considered.
I do not want to come off as critical of the legislation, but I do not feel that the Bill which President Obama stated he will sign into law will help many Americans to any great degree. First as an average American the significance the administration has put on the average 40 dollars extra we all see in our paychecks is over dramatized. Yes it helps buy a few extra items, but it isn’t a game changer and will not substantially increase our quality of life. Further given so many folks are unemployed and that Social Security tax isn’t collected on unemployment Insurance payments, it isn’t as far-reaching as current politicians make it out to be. I’ll speak to the doc fix but given the mention of unemployment insurance I believe moving onto that subject bares merit. In the State of the Union address the President mentioned making the unemployment program into a re-employment program. My issue with the extension is exactly that, in its current form it contains no language to include training or education. An amendment was made at one point to mandate that folks on unemployment who do not have a High School diploma be put into training programs to get a GED. However, that was later stripped out partially because it had an anti drug clause as well.
For folks in the Fall River, New Bedford area reading this, many may recall the training offered to tens of thousands of people displaced from the garment industry with the passing of NAFTA. Funds for retraining were offered by the Federal Government for those who were displaced specifically by the NAFTA legislation. My own parents Co-Owners of one such factory, Jensen Mfg here in Fall River that employed over 300 at its peak found themselves in a class room in their 50’s, my mother studying to be a CNA and my father a HVAC technician. The training served my parents well, although they made nowhere near as much as they did as owners of a successful garment manufacturer, with adjustments to spending and consumption they held on to the life they worked so hard to build.
With that this extension will merely stall the inevitable. Without the skills needed to compete in today’s global economy the current unemployment insurance beneficiary has been done a disservice and can expect little change to what is a brutal job market. As an aside my friends know that I too was laid off in February of 2011. I speak from experience when I with a degree in Finance and Economics took over 4 months to find a new Job. I made looking for work my full-time Job; I attended seminars and classes put on by the Division of Unemployment here in Massachusetts to dust of my job seeking skills. I was fortunate; many in the financial service industry have not been so successful.
The Doc Fix is a necessary evil, my apologies but I have no other means of describing this piece of the legislation. Many have stated that this yearly exercise needs a permanent solution. I lump the solution for these entitlement programs in with that of coming up with a viable national health care solution. The Kaiser Insurance Group president made a suggestion on the subject in a generalization of how we currently buy health care services. We purchase health care as we do most other products piece by piece. We pay for health care in much the same way we do our grocery shopping. Each item in our cart is priced individually and the purchase of one item for the most part is not contingent to the purchase of another. Similarly we go to the doctor and we pay per visit, usually each visit is for a specific alignment. Imagine for a moment if we where to try to build a car piece by piece instead of going to a dealership and buying the whole car. We all know the cost associated with a repair, brakes , radiator, tires excreta, buy all those items individually and a car you could go to the dealership and buy for$15,000 would quickly cost you over $20,000. So the suggestion was we buy a basket of service from our Doctors rather than the traditional single visit & pay. I would error on the side of caution on this and seek input from our medical community; only with their involvement would we ever truly create a system that could come close to becoming efficient.
Friends I feel this piece of legislation was based solely to garner votes in an election year. Nancy Pelosi came out to the house floor stating “this unfunded Bill has Economists Support”. Believe me anytime a politician can attach a supporters name to a piece of legislation they do. The generalization leads me to conclude these economists told her as I would, short-term it is like applying pressure to a bleeding laceration it will slow the bleeding, but the patient could and will still die if proper medical attention is not administered.
Join me in administering the proper legislative attention, Vote Daniel Botelho for United States House of Representatives Massachusetts District 9.