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Letters to the Editor for May 3

Thursday, May 3, 2012
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Writer used unsound facts to stack deck against ‘Obamacare’

An April 17 letter [“How can Tonko still be talking up Obamacare?”] expressed dissatisfaction with the Affordable Health Care for America Act, or so-called “Obamacare,” and with Rep. Paul Tonko’s support of it.

While the act is less than perfect, it is hard for me to understand why anyone wouldn’t want guaranteed health insurance for all. The writer’s complaint is that we (or he) will have to pay for it. He neglects to say that we are already paying for the uninsured. The current system often allows the uninsured to get health care they can’t afford through social services or hospitals, who pass the cost on to all of us.

The writer uses false and misleading statistics to make his points, writing that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects an 800,000 job loss due to health care reform.

According to PolitiFact, this statement is “mostly false.” PolitiFact states that the CBO conjectures that as many as 800,000 workers (half of 1 percent of the total workforce) might leave their jobs because they no longer need to work just for health care benefits.

It seems to me that a worker deciding to leave a job is very different from losing a job, and from the job itself disappearing. Someone else might take that job.

The writer also states that in 2010, President Obama and the Democratic Congress projected the cost of the Affordable Health Care Act at $900 billion (no time frame given). The writer neglects to say this was also the CBO’s projection. The writer goes on to say that the CBO more recently came out with an estimate of nearly double that cost — $1.7 plus trillion (again no dates given). PolitiFact rates this statement as “false.”

The writer is comparing apples and oranges. According to PolitiFact, the later, higher figure looks at costs over 11 years — 2012-2022 — whereas the earlier report’s figure was for 10 years. It’s important to note that the time span of 2012 through 2022 covers nine years when the law is fully implemented (and thus its costs are greater). So when we compare the years encompassed in both reports (2012 through 2019), here’s how that apples-to-apples comparison shakes out: In the CBO’s first estimate, the gross figure is $931 billion. In the new estimate, the figure is $1.01 trillion. That’s an increase of 8.6 percent — not double.

I often get e-mails from well-meaning acquaintances and family containing false or half-true assertions about health, the environment or politics. In this time when information flies at us from so many sources, it behooves us to check the facts, even the ones that fit our political leaning, using reputable fact checkers such as PolitiFact.com, FactCheck.org or Snoops.com.

Peter Watrous

Schenectady

What do this region’s people want from GE?

Re L.D. Davidson’s April 29 Viewpoint concerning GE’s “chutzpah” in giving a gift of $25,000 to the Schoharie Little League: This well-written article was so convincing that I praised it as being 100 percent on the money.

Why should a large company like GE get away without paying their fair share of taxes? Why should they move jobs from this country to support people in other countries? Why should they cut benefits of their workers to increase their bottom line? Companies not paying taxes have led groups to boycott GE stockholders’ meetings, carrying signs saying, “Pay your fair share.” These statements have a powerful effect on the taxpaying public.

But on other side of the argument, how does GE look at Mr. Davidson’s criticism? It is their job to make as much money as they can by cutting spending and producing profitable products at the cheapest cost. During the financial meltdown of 2008, GE Capital lost tens of billions of dollars on bad loans; their stock tumbled to $6 per share and they were on the verge of bankruptcy.

I cannot imagine, what life would have been like in this area if GE had gone into bankruptcy. Yes, they hired lawyers and accountants to get all they could out of the complicated tax code. Some call this wheeling and dealing the tax code, as did I, but would you not want a company to make all it could for its shareholders? If I owned GE stock, like so many Schenectadians, my answer would be a resounding yes.

Look at the success of Apple computer, which makes all its iPads, iPhones and iPods in China. Their stock went to an unbelievable $600 per share during the same period. Should we insist that Apple make all their products at home, or do we pick on GE because they have their beginnings in Schenectady?

The dilemma taxpayers are faced with is, do we want companies to be a worker- and community-centered operation, or do we want them to be a profit-centered operation?

Mr. Davidson called GE’s $25,000 gift to flood-ravaged Schoharie County “chutzpah.” However, his suggestion — to have the Little League return the money to GE — now, that’s chutzpah!

Vince Alescio

Clifton Park

How can USPS charge so much, China so little?

An April 29 opinion cartoon showed a U.S. Postal Service worker biting the rump of U.S. taxpayers. On the same pages, a Viewpoint by James Gattuso (McClatchy News Service) also opined in favor of slashing postal service.

The postal service has always provided necessary and affordable service to everyone. If deliveries were only by UPS and Federal Express [FedEx], mailing a birthday card would cost dollars, not cents. The public will never know the real details of the problems the USPS faces. We only hear partisan sound bites.

Recently, I experienced a situation that sheds light on one possible problem. I have been receiving small packages from China. These items typically cost $2.68 delivered. After several deliveries, I wondered how they could be so inexpensive. Taking several parcels to my local post office, I inquired about the price to send them to my next-door neighbor — $2.62 each.

Something is gravely amiss. Chinese firms can manufacture, package and ship it across the Pacific; it can be unloaded in California, trucked to a postal center, and shipped 3,000 miles to me [all] for only $2.68. And the manufacturers can still make a profit?! How does that work? My postmaster was puzzled also.

Is Congress forcing the USPS to subsidize Chinese commerce?

Edward Michaels

Ballston Spa

U.S. should help Arab Christians in Jerusalem

With all of the reports on both sides of the crisis in the Holy Land, it seems like the third side — the Arab Christians — are completely forgotten.

According to the April 23 “60 Minutes Report,” Arab Christians in Jerusalem are quietly turning the other cheek and are destined to the fate that Christians in Lebanon suffered a relatively short time ago.

It is strange how America, a supposedly Christian nation, can come to the aid of nearly every foreign injustice and disaster and completely ignore the plight of fellow Christians.

Stranger still is our form of assistance in conflicts, the issuance of weapons to kill the opposition in the name of peace. It only makes sense when you have faith, and faith does not seem to make sense.

Gene Whitney

Niskayuna

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comments

May 3, 2012
11:02 a.m.
JLibertarian says...

Peter Watrous, Maybe you should really check the facts before you accuse others of using false and misleading information. The sources you list as reputable for fact checking at best lean toward the Democrat point of view. Instead of relying on third party "fact" sources, try the first source. In this case the CBO itself.

On the CBO's own website, its revised cost for the Affordable Care Act is $1.1 trillion not $1.01 trillion. The time period is the same as its original estimate 2012 - 2021. The writer of the letter who stated that the new cost will be $1.762 trillion was correct but the CBO claims that will be partially offset by revenues of about $510 billion from penalties on employers and people for not having the proper health insurance coverage.

Another problem Mr. Watrous, the cost estimate includes two to three more years of revenue and only seven or eight years of costs. In the next ten year period the cost of this Act with sky-rocket. Furthermore, as we are all ready seeing, many large companies are going to be dropping their health insurance coverage for their employees because it will be cheaper for them to pay the fine. Granted they may offer the employees raises with the money saved but a lot of employees and their families will without employer provided coverage.

And sir if this Act is so great, why have so many friends of the Democrats and the President been given exemptions? The fact of the matter is any government intrusion into the market always leads to higher costs for everyone. Why do you think health care costs so much now? First, because of Medicare and Medicaid. And second because of the advent of HMO's which was a Teddy Kennedy initiative. The reason is these types of health insurances allow more people to use the health care system which causes the cost to rise. That is simple economics.

Finally, to this point we have only been talking about the cost to the federal government. There has been no mention anywhere of the increased costs to state and local governments. Or for that matter to personally to the American people in the form of higher premiums, prices for goods and services, taxes and fees. Examples of higher taxes are the increase in the Medicare tax of .09%, imposition of Medicare taxes on sales of homes and capital assets, and a 1% tax on all financial transactions.

So, Mr. Watrous, you see the costs of the Affordable Care Act will far exceed the benefits that only about 15 million people who now don't have health insurance might gain. Check you facts before you make absolute statements as fact to make your point.

May 3, 2012
1:07 p.m.
wmarincic says...

Peter Watrous

Since Obamacare my healthcare rose fro $6048. per year to $7642. per year plus I now pay 30% of all costs up to $10500. So I'm now paying three times as much as I was two years ago and it is expected to increase again next year. That does not include co-pays that went from $20 to $35 per visit. My wife was diagnosed with cancer six weeks ago and I now pay over $200 per week in co-pay alone.

May 3, 2012
4:45 p.m.
MMRMIKE68 says...

OMG...........(OBAMA MUST GO).............M

May 3, 2012
7:12 p.m.
Fritzdawg says...

Wmarincic: Sorry to hear about your wife, but you can thank your lucky stars for Romney(lets call it what it is)care.
Since it was passed, insurance companies can no longer turn you down due to a pre-existing condition, or throw you off for an existing condition that has become chronic.
So, now you at least have the option of shopping around for a better deal than you are now getting.
A few years ago, you didn't have that option.
If your insurance company is doing that to you with current insurance laws, then they are doing it illegally.

From what you've said in your statements in the past, your current insurance company sucks anyway.

You claimed repeatedly, that you pay over $20k per year for insurance because of "Obamacare".

You claimed that nonsense long before "Obamacare" was even passed, no less enacted, so there's really no reason to believe you now.

May 4, 2012
7:36 a.m.
wmarincic says...

fritzdawg

I will gladly show you paystubs and prove it to you. Once Obamacare was on the table and looked like it was going to pass, the insurance companies started changing plans and raising rates. I would imagine that people like you that don't have to pay for their insurance would not notice.

I started claiming that my insurance went up like this around November or December of 2010 which is when we had the company meeting to tell us about the change. Get your facts straight and don't make them up as you go along.

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