Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Healthcare -- My Paradigm Shift

As most paradigm shifts occur, mine comes due to very difficult personal issues.

Out of school my first job (the one which I am still employed) is in a very small firm that hasn't provided health care coverage for its employees. I don't curse my employer -- small employer health care plans are about as affordable as the individual employees providing their own insurance. It was soon after this that my doctor noted that my second child didn't gain sufficient weight in her first year, the doctor noted concerns that she may be susceptible to host of different conditions. In this case my wife and I were left with prayer and faith as the strongest source of comfort -- it worked our daughter is robust and healthy. Now my one year old son has been diagnosed with a possibly debilitating disorder known as leukodystrophy (there are several classes of this disorder and the doctors are still uncertain as to the exact type) Fortunately, CHIP enrollment opened again and the income requirements have raised to a level that my children finally qualify.

However, it has been a heart-aching experience over the past year being unable provide my son with all of the health care that his caring physicians have suggested. Not to mention lacking health insurance on my wife and myself has been frightening at times, lets just say I exercise religiously and I drive extremely cautiously. There are many benevolent organizations that have provided my son with therapeutic services virtually cost free, for all of which I am extremely grateful. These events have led me to question my long-held stance that health care needs to remain a fully privatized venture.

Although, I am well acquainted with inefficiencies of a few despised Federal agencies I'm growing (in small steps) to believe that nationalized health care my not be as bad as I have sometimes lamented. I'm not suggesting that the idea of Walter Reed Medical Center's nationwide doesn't repulse me, but a system in which anyone can get (grantedly sub par) health care as opposed to no health care is gaining some appeal to me.

I still have some strong points in opposition. The horror stories of VA medical centers are one example, and the needed increases in tax revenue to pull off such a policy shift are colossal. I heard somewhere the absurd suggestion of a "fat" tax, an idea in tax policy that may create a whole host of new eating disorders.

Something needs to be done to provide affordable health care to all Americans, I'm afraid we all know the answer and for some of the reasons cited above we are loathing to admit it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Strong Evidence of the Need for the Death Penalty

Do you own a gun?

Utah State Tax Commission Motor Vehicle Division -- DEFENDERS OF PUBLIC MORALITY

I've gone through a bit of an apathetic spell in regards to my blog. I've said all that can be said, and more, about vouchers and haven't really had anything else that I've cared to write about. I'm trying to come back.

This story was a bit over the top. The Utah State Tax Commission has taken up a fight against a merlot Mercedes owner on account of his personalized license plate "MERLOT". The state's arguement in this matter, "merlot is an alcoholic beverage, and the state refuses to have alcohol promoted on its licenses." Nevermind the fact that the car's color is in fact called merlot, the state somehow finds that any reference to a (fairly mild as I understand) alcoholic beverage harmful to the general public. Initially I thought this was just a complete bizzare occurance, "the guy must have pissed off someone during a tax audit, or something".

However, this morning the subject came up during an appointment with one of my tax clients and this client actually had a similar experience with the Utah State Tax Commission. In another state they had a friend with the license "WHO TOOTED" on the family car (in reference to tdigestive function) when they moved here the attempted to get the same tags and were denied. The reason they were denied is (according to the DMV worker) there is a list of words and phrases that cannot be used in connection with personalized tags "tooted" apparently (according to the State of Utah) is a slang term for snorting cocaine. I'm curious if anyone has tried to get the phrase "ASSMAN". This is absurd. I was pretty opposed to Mayor Andersen's rhetoric about Utah being a Taliban-esque theocracy, however when it comes to the Utah State Tax Commission Motor Vehicle Division I have to concede the point to the Mayor.

PS I recommended the client try again, and when denied I have gldly offered to fight the case. Anyone else have this experience?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Vouchers -- Jeremy's Arguments

I have appreciated that Jeremy has stuck with the voucher debate here. In my last voucher post Jeremy commented and eloquantly laid out a notable and powerful argument against vouchers. The argument isn't one that I can truly refute. Although I disagree with him (depending on his definition of "wealthy types") on who will be the majority beneficiaries of vouchers and his assumption that vouchers for wealthy students will grow much beyond levels currently prescribed; I cannot refute his concerns about what happens if the plan flops.

"I'd love to be able to buy the idea you guys have proposed that there is a possibility that the voucher program could be made to disappear if it is a flop. The problem is that I can't think of another example of an entitlement program that was easily revoked after government started handing the money out...even when the vast majority of beneficiaries were wealthy types who didn't need the entitlement in the first place.

This plan is a great example of a possible perfect storm of government waste that can't be undone. If things go poorly and only 2-3% of public school students use the vouchers do you really think Republicans will agree the experiment they've invested so much political capital in is a failure? They'll let it go another 10 years. By then all the rich kids who never would have been in public schools in the first place will be receiving vouchers (and they likely won't be the small $500 subsidies the program currently hands out to wealthy people...some legislators are already apologizing for how small those vouchers are). Will the Republican legislature be able to count on many of its rich donors to go along with revoking the state entitlement that helps pay for their kids private schools?"

Monday, July 02, 2007

Transformers Rock!!!!

I am a ten year old boy at heart. My wife and I caught the sneek preview of Transformers, and it was sweet. Might I suggest playing hooky to catch a matinee.