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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Health"care" reform? I think not.

To say that I'm disturbed by the new healthcare bill that has passed would be an understatement.  First it should be made clear that this is NOT bill for healthCARE reform.  This is a bill for affordable healthcare.  To dumb it down even further, it is health INSURANCE reform. 

Sec. 1501 "Requirement to maintain minimum essential coverage"

The United States government is FORCING American citizens to buy something whether you want to or not.  Does that not raise a red flag???  Let's compare health insurance to car insurance, shall we?  I am required by law to have insurance on my car.  However, driving is a privilege.  That means that I don't HAVE to drive.  If I choose to drive, then I HAVE to have car insurance.  See the difference?  The federal government is telling me that I have to have health insurance whether I want to or not.  They are taking away my choice. 

Sec. 9002 "Inclusion of cost of employer-sponsored health coverage on W-2"

For those Americans that CHOOSE to get health insurance through their employers, you will now see an additional box on your W-2.  This will include the cost of your insurance to your employer and be added to your gross income liability.  By Jan. 1, 2014 when this bill goes fully in effect, I have no doubt that the cafeteria plan will be obsolete.  So not only will we not be able to reduce our taxable gross income, we will be paying taxes on monies that we are paying for health insurance.  This particular section is going to do nothing but hurt people like me that already CHOOSE to have health insurance and are lucky enough to get it through our employers. 

Sec. 9005 "Limitation on health flexible spending arrangements under cafeteria plans"

Yet another way that my taxable gross income will go up.  This section will limit the amount of money you can put in your FSA plan.  It cuts it by HALF.  Last year I put $2k in my FSA plan and the money was spent by June.  I should have put the full $5k you can put in, but I didn't think I needed that much.  This year, I've put $3k in.  I've already used $1k of it.

The tax cuts from 2000 are expiring.  Add in Sec. 9002 and Sec. 9005 and I'm going to be put in a higher tax bracket.  It's a snowball effect.  I will pay more taxes so I will have less disposable income.  Therefore I will spend less.  What I personally put in the economy is minute, but when you take millions of people like me, it will take a noticeable effect.  That's not even taking into account the fact that businesses will be forced to raise their prices to meet the requirements of this bill.

My opinions are based on facts.  The government should not have the right to tell American citizens what they must buy.  For the life of me, I can't imagine why an American would support this.  It truly boggles my mind.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bullying controversy: Where are the parents?

This bullying story is really tragic.  Several people (minors and adults) have been charged with various crimes.  That's all well and good, but my question is where are the parents?

Not the parents of the bullies, but the parents of this girl that got bullied.  Whatever the media reports, there is no way that the bullying alone was what drove her to commit suicide.  It's a horrible thing that happened, but sometimes you need to take a step back and ask yourself why.  Why would bullying drive this teenage girl to end her own life?  What was going on in her own life when it happened?  Where in the hell were her parents?  There had to be mental issues prior to the bullying.

Which brings me to bullying in general.  I'm not sure that bullying has gotten worse in the last twenty years.  It's the reaction to the bullying that has changed.  Parents have taken the responsibility of protecting their children from themselves and put it on the school who in turn put it on law enforcement.  When I was a kid, short of getting physically abused, the school would not step in.  Why should they?  From 3rd grade all the way to high school there was a boy that bullied me constantly.  And he was MEAN.  Not physically, but verbally.  I would go home in tears and wonder what I ever did.  I've been prone to depression my entire life, but never did I think about committing suicide.  What I did was go home and talk to my mom.  Or rather I would go home and cry on her shoulder and she would do what a parent should do: she counseled me.  She talked to me and gave me tools to cope.  She gave me ideas on how to stay or get out of situations where this boy (who I hope is working the counter at McDonalds) would verbally attack me.

I'm now in a place where I'm the mom.  I've already had to give my nine year old advice on bullying.  Even if I don't give him the exact right advice, you better believe that I would know if he depressed way before he even (God forbid) contemplated suicide.  I want to know where Phoebe Prince's parents were during the whole thing.  You aren't bullied for months without your parents knowing.  If your parents know you're being bullied, they know how it's affecting you.  They would see changes in behavior.  Phoebe's suicide was avoidable.  If her parents had been more aware of their daughter or helped her cope and deal with the bullies, she might still be here today.  If the bullies' parents didn't have their heads up their asses, their kids wouldn't be such assholes. 

Step up parents.  Take responsibility.