John Kartch

BREAKING: Workers Reject UAW in Stunning Defeat of Obama Ally, 712-626


Posted by John Kartch, Matt Patterson on Friday, February 14th, 2014, 4:19 PM PERMALINK


ATR’s Center for Worker Freedom (CWF) is pleased to learn that employees at Chattanooga’s Volkswagen assembly plant have resoundingly rejected the United Auto Workers and sent the left-wing union packing back to Detroit.

Executive Director Matt Patterson said in a statement:

“The workers at Volkswagen looked at the history of this union and made the best decision for themselves, their jobs and their community. In spite of the UAW’s multi-million dollar propaganda machine, and with company and government officials Obama’s NLRB aiding the union in every possible way, workers learned the facts and were able to make an informed decision.”

Patterson has worked over the past year with a coalition of local community and business leaders to help educate the citizens of Chattanooga about the UAW’s sad history of bankrupting Detroit and General Motors, as well as the union's aggressive liberal agenda, which includes millions spent on Democratic candidates and causes vastly at odds with the values of Tennessee voters.

CWF efforts included a billboard campaign across Hamilton County: 13 total, including 11 digitals rotating a variety of anti-union messages, such as "Detroit:  Brought to you by the UAW,"  pictured below:

CWF outreach efforts also included widespread radio advertising. The 30 second spot aired in both morning and evening drive times throughout election week on stations WDEF-AM News Talk, WGOW -AM News Talk, WGOW-FM News Talk, WDEF-FM AC, WSKZ-FM Rock, WUSY-FM Country, and WUUQ-FM Country.  Listen to our ad, accompanied by a slideshow of our billboard, here.

CWF contributions to this debate have been featured by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Politico and Bloomberg, among many others

Patterson said:

“We were proud to have contributed to this effort and to have worked with so many of our great coalition partners on the ground in Chattanooga. We look forward to taking the fight against the UAW into Alabama, Mississippi and beyond.”

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Taxpayers Shell Out $14,000 per Obamacare "Enrollee"


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, December 11th, 2013, 4:46 PM PERMALINK


In her testimony before Congress today, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius provided an updated dollar amount for the cost of HealthCare.gov: $677 million. In addition to the $677 million spent on the federal Obamacare website, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has shoveled $4.5 billion of taxpayer money to promote Obamacare on the state level.

HHS also released updated “enrollment” figures for Obamacare. According to the agency 364,682 people have “selected a plan” – the equivalent of putting an item in your online shopping cart and leaving it there.

That means the taxpayer cost per “enrollee” is over $14,000.

($4.5 billion + $677 million = $5,177,000,000 ÷ 364,682 = $14,196)

 

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Obamacare's Top Five Worst Tax Hikes on Women and Families


Posted by John Kartch, Ryan Ellis on Wednesday, December 4th, 2013, 4:06 PM PERMALINK


As part of their newly-launched public relations offensive, the White House and congressional Democrats are tromboning the supposed benefits of Obamacare for women and families. Left unmentioned is the fact that Obamacare contains 20 new or higher taxes on the American people – the top five worst tax hikes on women and families are listed below:

1. Obamacare Flexible Spending Account Tax:  The 30 - 35 million Americans who use a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to pay for their family’s basic medical needs face a new Obamacare cap of $2,500. This will squeeze $13 billion of tax money from Americans over the next ten years. (Before Obamacare, the accounts were unlimited under federal law, though employers were allowed to set a cap.) Now, a parent looking to sock away extra money to pay for braces will find themselves quickly hitting this new cap, meaning they would have to pony up some or all of the cost with after-tax dollars. 

Needless to say, this tax will especially impact middle class families.

There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  Nationwide there are several million families with special needs children and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. This Obamacare tax provision will limit the options available to these families. 

2. Obamacare High Medical Bills Tax: Before Obamacare, Americans facing high medical expenses were allowed a deduction to the extent that those expenses exceeded 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI).  Obamacare now imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI.  Therefore, Obamacare not only makes it more difficult to claim this deduction, it widens the net of taxable income.

According to the IRS, 10 million families took advantage of this tax deduction in 2009, the latest year of available data. Almost all are middle class. The average taxpayer claiming this deduction earned just over $53,000 annually. ATR estimates that the average income tax increase for the average family claiming this tax benefit will be $200 - $400 per year. To learn more about this tax, click here. 

3. Medicine Cabinet Tax. This tax increase is already in effect. Since January of 2011, Americans have not been able to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines from their Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts. Women often rely on over-the-counter medicines to get themselves and their families through the colds, fevers, and aches and pains of daily family life. To raise taxes on busy Moms makes absolutely no sense.

4. Obamacare Individual Mandate Non-Compliance Tax:  Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance – as defined by President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services -- must pay an income surtax to the IRS. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that six million American families will be liable for the tax, and as pointed out by the Associated Press:  “Most would be in the middle class.”

Americans liable for the surtax will pay according to the following schedule:

 

1 Adult

2 Adults

3+ Adults

2014

1% AGI/$95

1% AGI/$190

1% AGI/$285

2015

2% AGI/$325

2% AGI/$650

2% AGI/$975

2016 +

2.5% AGI/$695

2.5% AGI/$1390

2.5% AGI/$2085

 

5. Obamacare 10 Percent Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning: This Obamacare tax increase has the distinction of being the first to go into effect (July 2010). Slipped into the bill by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) behind closed doors in the middle of the night, this tax hike replaced the planned Obamacare “Botax” on cosmetic surgery.  This petty, burdensome, nanny-state tax affects both the business owner and the end user.  Industry estimates from the Indoor Tanning Association show that 30 million Americans visit an indoor tanning facility in a given year, and over 50 percent of salon owners are women.  There is no exception granted for those making less than $250,000 meaning it is yet another tax that violates Obama’s “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of tax on Americans making less than this amount.

Making matters worse: According to a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report, the Obama IRS didn’t bother to issue compliance guidelines until three quarterly filing deadlines had passed:  “By the time [IRS] notices were issued, tanning excise tax returns had been due for three quarters."  This is yet another sign that the Obama administration is ill-prepared for Obamacare implementation.

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Oregon's Obamacare Exchange Senselessly Kills 15 Pristine 60-foot Pine Trees


Posted by John Kartch on Friday, November 22nd, 2013, 1:16 PM PERMALINK


The failure of the Oregon Obamacare website has led to the taxpayer-funded senseless killing of 15 pristine, 60-foot pine trees.

Despite a federal taxpayer cash infusion of $305 million, Cover Oregon has yet to achieve a single online enrollment. Earlier this week, Executive Director Rocky King told members of the legislature that he was planning to do “a full manual system from here through March 31.”

Oregonians hoping to enroll in the state exchange before the deadline must complete and submit a 20-page paper application.

As reported by Portland CBS affiliate KOIN, the state exchange has received 30,000 paper applications:

“KOIN 6 News confirmed Cover Oregon has added dozens of extra fax lines to handle the paper applications being sent in by fax.

On Wednesday, King said they had received about 24,000 paper applications. That number now is closer to 30,000. But many people complained of busy signals when trying to send in their application by fax.”

30,000 applications, multiplied by 40 pages per application (20 pages on the sending end, 20 pages on the receiving end) adds up to 1,200,000 pieces of paper. According to HowStuffWorks.com, a 60-foot tall, one-foot diameter pine tree produces 80,500 pieces of paper.

1,200,000 divided by 80,500 = 14.9 trees.

Pictured below: Screen shot from “Cover Oregon” commercial. Until recently these trees were happily minding their own pristine business.

Please consider the environment before printing this document, you heathen.

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$305 Million for Zero Enrollees in Oregon


Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, November 21st, 2013, 5:00 PM PERMALINK


Despite receiving at least $305 million in federal taxpayer funding, and despite launching an aggressive advertising campaign featuring a psychedelic sun and a farmer aloft on a carrot, the Oregon Obamacare exchange has enrolled zero (0) people. The director of the state exchange says he has given up hope that the website will ever function and has told state residents to fill out hard copy paper applications.

As reported by the Portland Business Journal:

“I no longer use the word 'hope' that something is going to work,” Cover Oregon Executive Director Rocky King told the members of the legislature’s Joint Committee On Legislative Audits, Information Management and Technology. “I am planning to do a full manual system from here through March 31. If the IT comes up, that’s icing on the cake, but I’m not depending on that.”

The exchange is urging Oregonians to use the web site to compare plans and then file paper applications, King said.

Courtesy of taxpayers nationwide, the state has received numerous CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) grants totaling over $305 million:

Federal Taxpayer Grant Amount

Date Awarded

Ostensible Purpose

$1,000,000

Sept. 30, 2010

“State planning grant.”

$48,096,307

Feb. 2011

“Exchange Early Information Technology Innovation Grant”

$8,969,600

Aug. 12, 2011

“Grant Level One”

$6,682,701

May 16, 2012

“Grant Level One”

$2,195,000

Sept. 27, 2012

“Administrative Supplement Award”

$226,442,074

Jan. 17, 2013

“Establishment Grant Level Two”

$11,820,905

Jan. 17, 2013

“Administrative Supplement Award”

Total: $305,206,587

The state of Oregon and Covered Oregon would like to thank the American taxpayer for their contribution.

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Dropped Coverage Subjects More Americans to Obamacare's High Medical Bills Tax


Posted by John Kartch, Ryan Ellis on Wednesday, November 13th, 2013, 2:16 PM PERMALINK


As millions of families are facing cancellation of their health insurance plans due to Obamacare, many will be subject to higher-than-anticipated out of pocket medical costs. Unfortunately this coincides with an Obamacare income tax increase starting in tax year 2013 which makes these higher medical bills more difficult to bear.

The Obamacare law contains 20 new or higher taxes. Even before news of the widespread insurance plan cancellations, IRS data indicates ten million middle class families with high medical expenses would find themselves paying higher income taxes thanks to the so-called Obamacare High Medical Bills Tax, a provision that took effect on Jan. 1, 2013. According to IRS data, the average family subject to this new tax makes just over $53,000 and will face an income tax increase of between $200 - $400 per year.

Background:  Americans have long been allowed to deduct out of pocket medical expenses as an itemized deduction on their taxes. They cannot have already benefited from other tax provisions for health care like tax-free employer-provided care or tax-free accounts like flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts. (A full list of qualified expenses can be found in IRS Publication 502.)

Before this tax hike provision took effect, the taxpayer would total all unreimbursed, out-of-pocket medical expenses and then subtract from this figure an amount equal to 7.5 percent of the taxpayer's adjusted gross income (AGI). This subtraction amount is known commonly as a "haircut."

According to the IRS, 10 million families took advantage of this tax deduction in 2009, the latest year of available data. They deducted $80 billion in medical expenses after applying the “haircut.”  The Office of Management and Budget reports that this tax deduction saves these taxpayers upwards of $10 billion annually.

Obamacare's tax hike:  The Obamacare law made one change to this tax provision: it raised the "haircut" from 7.5 percent of AGI to 10 percent of AGI. Since virtually all taxpayers claiming this income tax deduction make less than $200,000 per year, the income tax hike falls almost exclusively on the middle class:

-Virtually every family taking this deduction made less than $200,000 in 2009. Over 90 percent earned less than $100,000.

-The average taxpayer claiming this deduction earns just over $53,000 annually.

-ATR estimates that the average income tax increase for the average family subject to the new tax will be $200 - $400 per year.

-This income tax increase is focused on families with the largest medical bills that weren't covered by insurance. So the target population is low-and-middle-income families with debilitating medical costs.

According to the Joint Tax Committee, this tax increase is scheduled to raise between $2 billion and $3 billion annually.

The tax is a clear violation of President Obama's "firm pledge" in 2008 to not enact "any form of tax increase" on these families.

The number of Americans subject to this tax will undoubtedly rise due to the crush of Obamacare-induced insurance cancellations. President Obama and his Democrat congressional allies have some explaining to do.

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$133 Million for Five Obamacare Enrollees in DC


Posted by John Kartch on Friday, November 8th, 2013, 2:53 PM PERMALINK


According to newly released data from Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a grand total of five people have enrolled in the Washington, D.C. Obamacare exchange:

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield: two enrollees from Oct. 1, 2013, through Oct. 30, 2013.
 
Kaiser Permanente: three enrollees from Oct. 1, 2013, through Oct. 31, 2013.
 
UnitedHealthcare: no enrollment data from the exchange as of Nov. 4, 2013.
 
Aetna:  no enrollment data as of Oct. 24, 2013.

How much money was taken from American taxpayers to pay for the D.C. exchange?

$133,573,928

That means American taxpayers shelled out $26.7 million for each DC Obamacare enrollee.

Using official federal grant data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the calculations are as follows:

Amount of Grant

Date Awarded

Purpose

$1,000,000

Sept. 30, 2010

“State planning grant”

$8,200,716

Aug. 12, 2011

“continue and complete current planning and implementation efforts”

$72,985,333

Sept. 27, 2012

“to provide assistance to hire staff and consultants to manage activities related to the creation and first year of operations for testing and enhancement of the Exchange.”

$16,969,089

June 13, 2013

“to develop an IT system that facilitates critical Exchange functions including eligibility, enrollment, and information exchange among individuals, employers, insurance carriers, and state and federal government agencies.”

$34,418,790

Oct. 23, 2013

“evaluate the implementation of the District’s consumer assistance programs, build a quality rating system, and support upgrades to the DC Health Link IT system.”

Total Taxpayer Cost: $133,573,928

Total Enrollees: 5

Taxpayer Cost Per Enrollee:  $26,714,785.60

 

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House Dem: Web Traffic is "lame excuse" for Obamacare Failure


Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, October 24th, 2013, 12:54 PM PERMALINK


Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, a prominent Democrat representing Silicon Valley, had some choice words during today's Energy & Commerce hearings on the failed Obamacare launch.  Addressing Cheryl Campbell of CGI Federal, Rep. Eshoo said:

"I represent Silicon Valley and I find this very hard to follow.  This is the 21st century. It's 2013.  There are thousands of websites that handle concurrent volumes far larger than what healthcare.gov was faced with.  You keep speaking about unexpected volumes,    Ms. Campbell, and that really sticks in my craw.  I have to tell you that. Because as I said, there are thousands of websites that carry far more traffic. So, I think that's really kind of a lame excuse. Amazon and eBay don't crash the week before Christmas, and   ProFlowers doesn't crash on Valentine's Day."

Click the image below to watch the video clip:

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Carney Ducks Obamacare Questions, Walks Out of Press Briefing


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013, 3:51 PM PERMALINK


White House spokesman Jay Carney today abruptly walked out of the briefing room after struggling to answer questions related to Obamacare.  As he walks out, frustrated reporters can be heard asking questions, including:

“Have White House officials watched anyone without insurance go through the website, trying to help the situation?”

“Couldn’t we have a [HHS] rep just come to the press briefing?”

Since the Oct. 1 launch of HealthCare.Gov, Carney has repeatedly ducked uncomfortable questions by referring reporters to HHS, where they are met with silence.

Click on the image below to view Carney’s walk-out:

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Timeline of the Obamacare Signup Cover-up


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, October 8th, 2013, 4:25 PM PERMALINK


Below is a continuously-updated timeline of Obama administration obfuscation on the question of Obamacare enrollment data:

October 1:

“I would refer you to HHS for details.  Again, this is day one." -White House spokesman Jay Carney, WH Press Briefing

We’re not releasing that information yet." -CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, media conference call

October 3:

“No, we don't have that data." -White House spokesman Jay Carney, WH Press Briefing

October 4:

“You should ask HHS.  I don't have a number.” -White House spokesman Jay Carney, WH Press Briefing

October 5:

“Well, I don’t have the numbers yet." -President Obama, interview with Associated Press

October 6:

"Well, it's obviously not my primary area of responsibility." -Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Fox News Sunday

October 7:

“We’re going to release those numbers monthly like we do with other medical data. The truth is we don’t have that information now." - White House economic adviser Gene Sperling, Politico Playbook Breakfast

“We will release monthly data when it is available. We have not given an exact date, but it will be after end of month and we will work with states to collect their data to have a good picture of what's happening across the country.” -An unnamed “senior administration official.” As reported by CNN Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper

“We’ll release enrollment data on regular, monthly intervals.”  -White House spokesman Jay Carney, WH Press Briefing

“I’d refer you to CMS and HHS. I’m not sure when that begins. But I’m sure we’ll let you know in plenty of time so you can plan and put it in your calendar.” -White House spokesman Jay Carney, WH Press Briefing, when asked for a specific date on which the data would be made available.

"Fully enrolled? I can't tell you. Because I don't know.” - HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show

Americans for Tax Reform has launched a petition drive for taxpayers to send a message to President Obama to immediately release the enrollment data. The petition can be found at http://obamacarecoverup.com/

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