Sunday, March 15, 2009

Administration open to taxing health benefits

As reported here, [t]he Obama administration is signaling to Congress that the president could support taxing some employee health benefits, as several influential lawmakers and many economists favor, to help pay for overhauling the health care system.

The proposal is politically problematic for President Obama, however, since it is similar to one he denounced in the presidential campaign as "the largest middle-class tax increase in history." Most Americans with insurance get it from their employers, and taxing workers for the benefit is opposed by union leaders and some businesses.

What is not mentioned at all in the article is the fact that if this does go into effect, people will then be inclined to not have health insurance through their employer, to avoid the tax hit from having health insurance. That would then increase the burden on emergency rooms across the country from people who no longer would have employer provided insurance turning to emergency rooms for their health needs, which would in turn increase the drain on public money to fund services for those without health insurance. In effect, we already are being taxed on our health insurance, to provide coverage for those that do not have health insurance and make use of hospital emergency rooms, and by placing a tax on employer provided insurance means we would be, in effect, getting hit twice for the same thing.

The bad economic ideas just keep coming, folks.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Feds OK gray wolves' removal from endangered list

As reported here, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Friday he was upholding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to remove gray wolves from the federal endangered list in the Northern Rockies and the western Great Lakes.

Wolves would remain a federally protected species in Wyoming because the state's law and management plans were not strong enough, he said. But management of the predator will be turned over to state agencies in Montana and Idaho and parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah, in addition to the Great Lakes states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The Obama administration had ordered a review of the decision made by the Bush administration shortly before departing. Salazar said he had concluded that dropping the wolf from the list was justified by its strong comeback in the two regions, which together have a population of nearly 5,600 wolves.

On the one hand, I'm cautiously pleased with the findings that the gray wolf can safely be removed from the endangered species list, as that means that their population has reached a certain self sustainability level, which is wonderful news.

On the other hand, this does not bode well for individual animals, as they would then move to the list of animals that people are allowed to hunt. Don't get me wrong, although I'm not a hunter, I fully support the right of people to hunt, both for sport and for food. However, I personally do not see the attraction of hunting predators merely for sport, whether it be wolves, cougars, coyotes, bears, etc. The one caveat I have to that is when a particular individual predator animal goes "rogue" and rather than hunt wild game, turns instead to domestic live stock. The selective removal of that particular animal, imo, is justified.

Predators keep the populations of wild grazing animals at sustainable, and healthy levels, allowing hunters to be able to "harvest" robust animals, rather than sickly, weak animals. Also, by keeping the wild grazing animal populations in check, this allows ranchers to maintain their domestic grazing animal stock at an appropriate level for the environment.

Idaho Gov. C.L. Butch Otter on Friday repeated his desire to get the first available wolf hunting tag in the state so he can try to shoot one of the animals.

As for Idaho's Governor desiring to have the first wolf permit issued by his state, all I can say is, gray wolves are a lot smarter than you think they are, pal - one of them might just bag you! :p

H/T specialrpt, writing in quicknews

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Lawmaker out to outlaw Barbie

West Virginia state delegate says iconic toy overemphasizes beauty to girls

Barbie could get an unwelcome present for her 50th birthday: outlawed in West Virginia.

A state lawmaker proposed a bill Tuesday to ban sales of the iconic Mattel doll and others like her.
The Barbie Ban Bill, proposed by Democratic Delegate Jeff Eldridge (D) Lincoln County, says such toys influence girls to place too much importance on physical beauty, at the expense of their intellectual and emotional development.

With the economy in the tank, and getting worse, thanks mainly to others in this guy's party, he thinks that now is the time to try to push something this stupid through his state legislature? There must not be a whole lot going on in West Virginia if this guy can waste the time, and tax payer dollars, on something even he admits has a slim chance of passing.

I have some advice for you, Jeff, and for others of like mind - pay attention to what is REALLY important right now, like getting the economy turned around so people can have jobs, instead of tilting at inconsequential windmills like banning Barbie dolls. Besides, isn't it up to parents whether or not their little girl has a Barbie doll or not? Where do you get the idea that it's your job to remove parental responsibility in the uprearing of their children? Don't you think that's it's the job of parents to ensure that their children grow up with realistic attitudes about themselves, and not to get caught up in the "beauty is everything" trap? Oh, wait - you don't, otherwise you wouldn't have proposed such an idiotic bill.

Way to waste tax payer dollars, you moron.