Email letters, March 21, 2014

Look at tobacco tax history to grasp impact of pot taxes

Concerning Rick Wagner’s editorial on Colorado’s pot taxes last week, he didn’t mention tobacco taxes. So, I did some searching and found tobacco taxes (including the Master Settlement Agreement) brought in $319 million.

If retail and medial marijuana sales follow the same track, taxes will be about $42 million. Alcohol taxes will bring in around $32 million.

A portion of tobacco taxes goes to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and a large part goes to different groups for educational cessation programs. Millions of dollars will forever go to these same groups, because that’s how Initiative 35 was written and passed in 2004.

I’m sure TV stations are happy with their cut of the pie. Big Pharma is happy selling nicotine replacement aids and developing new medications, ensuring a new generation of addicts.

When you include the entire U.S., for 2009 both federal and state tobacco taxes brought an astounding $24 billion. It’s a big shame that this money does not go for cancer or any other myriad of diseases.

It should have been the parents’ responsibility to teach their children in the first place. The past 30 years, more money has been spent on awareness campaigns than research.

SANDRA ALDERSEA
Parachute


Tea party Republicans sabotage national economic recovery and local job creation

Will Eidson’s letter (“Grant’s venomous opinion of Tipton is mind-boggling”) should prompt Sentinel subscribers to reread Bill Grant’s column (“ACA could be Tipton’s Achilles’ heel”) in search of anything remotely resembling “venomous . . . name–calling.”

 
Grant’s column was more about the growing and under-reported success (both locally and nationally) of the Affordable Care Act than about Tipton, who has voted some 51 times to repeal, replace, and/or defund the ACA – even as it benefits 5+ million previously uninsured Americans nationwide and hundreds locally.

 
Tipton has repeatedly proved himself to be an habitually dishonest extremist more willing to pander to his uninformed local supporters and cynical campaign contributors, rather than responsibly lead his constituency to rationally comprehend the real issues we face.

 
For example, as Gary Harmon chronicled last year (“Rep. Tipton takes hits right and left over shutdown, Obamacare”), at a “town meeting” in Grand Junction on Oct. 25, 2013, Tipton lied to attendees about having not voted to “shut down” the government – costing our economy some $28 billion – while admitting that his chosen tactic never had any chance of success anyway (albeit “planned” and orchestrated over six months)!

 
Moreover, at that meeting, Tipton distributed a “handout” which deceptively combined CBO 10-year budget projections with Republicans’ exaggerrated and unsubstantiated out-year projections to scare gullible locals into believing that the Reagan-Bush national debt remains so out-of-control that “spending is the problem” – when every objective analysis concludes that Republican-imposed austerity and “Teapublicans’” ignorant anti-government and anti-tax ideological constraints on federal revenues have created the real problem.

 
Meanwhile, Tipton’s weekly “update” disseminates partisan talking-points at taxpayers’ expense.

 
Sentinel readers should understand that un-American Republicans like Tipton have been deliberately sabotaging national economic recovery and local job creation for five years now – solely to gain electoral advantage in 2014 and 2016.

 
BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction


Let’s worry less about Crimea, more about domestic problems

If Texas had a referendum and the majority of the voters chose to secede from the United States and rejoin Mexico, would the European Union, Russia, China or any other country get involved?

The only country that might and probably would object would be Mexico. Let’s mind our own business and tend to our own troubles.
 
DAVID FOSTER 
Grand Junction

Wealthy class also buys votes

Regarding the March 21 letter about corrupt government and overspending, I can’t disagree that a lot of corruption is in government (even at our local governments). Yet Angie Many only lists things that help the poor and people having a difficult time as examples of overspending to buy votes.

She failed to list the spending or other ways the rich try to buy votes. Look at the farm bill, the corporate tax breaks for companies sending jobs overseas, the huge tax breaks to oil companies and the stimulus funds to give Wall Street executives outrageous bonus. This is another example of people only looking at this through one viewpoint.

JEFFREY PHILLIPS
Whitewater


COMMENTS

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Legal Marijuana taxes funding awareness education, insurance and treatment programs is a dog chasing it’s tail. It’s like the computer hacker who develops a virus, infects your computer and then wants to sell you the virus removal tool. The state is having to fight the problem they created in the first place.

If Marijuana taxes could go where they’re really needed, then it might be worth it

Mr.Hugenberg needs to read the following sections of HB 3200(Obamacare)if he thinks it’s so great…


** Page 50/section 152: The bill will provide insurance to
all non-U.S. residents, even if they are here illegally.
 
** Page 58 and
59: The government will have real-time access to an individual’s bank account
and will have the authority to make electronic fund transfers from those
accounts.

** Page 65/section 164: The plan will be subsidized (by the
government) for all union members, union retirees and for community
organizations (such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
- ACORN)
 
** Page 203/line 14-15: The tax imposed under this section will
not be treated as a tax. (How could anybody in their right mind come up with
that?)
 
** Page 241 and 253: Doctors will all be paid the same regardless
of specialty, and the government will set all doctors’ fees.
 
** Page 272.
section 1145: Cancer hospital will ration care according to the patient’s
age.
 
** Page 317 and 321: The government will impose a prohibition on
hospital expansion; however, communities may petition for an
exception.
 
** Page 425, line 4-12: The government mandates advance-care
planning consultations. Those on Social Security will be required to attend an
“end-of-life planning” seminar every five years. (Death counseling..)
 
**
Page 429, line 13-25: The government will specify which doctors can write an
end-of-life order.

Still think it’s so great?

M. Todd Miskin’s on-line response to my on-line critique of Will Eidson’s gross distortion (“Grant’s venomous opinion of Tipton is mind-boggling”) of Bill Grant’s column (“ACA could be Tipton’s Achilles heel”) merely regurgitates an on-line chain letter that widely circulated in 2009, abjectly misrepresented the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (HB 3200), and was likewise thoroughly debunked and discredited by “FactCheck.Org” on August 29, 2009, in its full-length article “Twenty-six Lies About H.R. 3200”.
 
As that article reported, “the chain e-mail purports to give ‘a few highlights’ from the first half of the bill, but the list of 48 assertions is filled with falsehoods, exaggerations and misinterpretations. We examined each of the e-mail’s claims, finding 26 of them to be false and 18 to be misleading, only partly true or half true. Only four are accurate”.

Thus, as the article opined, rather than provide a reliable analysis of the ACA, Miskin’s source “shows evidence of a reading comprehension problem on the part of the author”.

For example, “Section 152” does not “provide insurance to all non-US residents even if they are here illegally”.  Rather, it expressly prohibits “discrimination in health care”.  Page 143 states: “Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States”.

Likewise, the provisions on “pages 58 and 59” facilitate electronic payments for health care services between providers and insurers and authorizes standardization of electronic funds transfer protocols, but neither mentions nor extends government authority over “an individual’s bank accounts”.

Thus, the real question is why Miskin would continue to promulgate proven falsehoods about the Affordable Care Act over four years after they were proven false.  Is Miskin being malevolently dishonest, or does he willfully remain so uninformed and blinded by ignorance that he failed to fact-check his own sources before foisting his hogwash opinions on others?

The wording in HB3200 as in all legalese is subject to interpretation by those in power. I can see how the wording in HB3200 can be misinterpreted to seem benign, but have grave potential for misuse. One side sees HB3200 as a lamb, and others see it as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Mr. Hugenberg, there is very little (if anything) in your communistic liberal point of view that I agree with (or ever have agreed with) However I have the right (as do you) to exercise the constitutional first amendment right to free speech.

My final comment to Mr Hugenberg:

What is your answer to the myriad of people who are having their policies cancelled and now have to pay 3-4 times more for medical coverage to their private insurers? This is a blatant attack on the middle and upper classes by insurance providers.

Any new health insurance laws that do not revise and cap insurance premium and deductible costs is a complete waste of time.

Bill Hugenburg the voice of “reason?” in grand junction? obviously you know nothing of business and job creation, tax laws, lying politicians, and common sense. Every other day it’s a letter of skewed purpose and divisive vitriol about how some Republican is sticking it to us. who has been in power for 5 years and circumvents the law of land by using the “Pen” at every impasse where disagreement occurs? Taxes up, jobs down, businesses leaving due to government policy, Standing in the world waaaayyy down, lies to the American Public, way up. Associate with Nancy Pelosi and the like says a lot about your powers for making a decision rationally. Good Day.

As is undoubtedly obvious to even the most casual readers, both M. Todd Miskel and Virginia Brit remain prisoners of the fact-free bubble manufactured by virulent opponents of affordable health care.

Having relied on a substantially discredited source to disseminate abject falsehoods, Miskel takes refuge behind the “red herring” of purported “legalese” to excuse his reading comprehension problem.

Similarly laughable is his reference to my purported “communistic liberal point of view”—the last refuge of ignorant scoundrels.
My even more “liberal” friends often ask whether I’m really a Republican—because I advocate policies once embraced by Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon (neither of whom could survive a “Tea Party” challenge in a Republican primary today)!

Miskel totally misapprehends the purpose of the “conservative” inspired Affordable Care Act—which harnesses market forces to reforms the health insurance industry while opening up that market to millions previously excluded therefrom.

Thus, there is no “blatant attack” by health insurance providers against the “middle and upper classes”.  Rather, the upper classes are waging class warfare against the foundations of this country - women, veterans, the elderly, immigrants, and minorities.

Miskle also seems unaware that the ACA effectively “caps” both premiums (for those entitled to subsidies) and deductibles (by allowing consumer choice between different plans), but does not directly interfere with insurers’ actuarially-based pricing (thus, allowing the market to operate, rather than impose more “mandates”).

Contrary to Bright’s ill-informed critique, as a former corporate executive (who helped “run a business” and participated in “job creation”), a retired attorney (with ample knowledge of the tax code), and as failed “politician” (perhaps because I didn’t lie), I would hope to bring more “common sense” to any debate that she and/or Miskel would give me credit for.

Thus, anyone who still uses Nancy Pelosi as a general pejorative and/or who relies on “facts” debunked in 2009 has obviously both stopped thinking and ceased paying attention to objective facts.

However, the issues are less about personalities than about what has been happening since Miskel and Bright entered their bubble.

Indeed, virtually every “ill” that Bright would ascribe to Pelosi or President Obama is the direct result of deliberate Republican obstructionism.

Republicans have indeed been “sticking it to” the rest of the country (and undermining our national security) by pursuing the “skewed and divisive purpose” of subordinating the common good to partisan advantage.
   

Miskel is also apparently unaware that objective journalists have proven that virtually every anecdotal “horror story” of “people who are having their policies cancelled and now have to pay 3-4 times more for medical coverage to their private insurers” is false.

MY OH MY Hugenburg is the epitome of bloviation and listening the otherwise din of his own voice!!! Nancy Pelosi said it best, “we have to pass it to know what’s in it”, my Doctor calls that a stool sample, same as the Hugenburg letters, are you on staff yet?

MY OH MY.  Every time Ms. Bright writes, we get further away from anything resembling reasoned discourse—which just proves my point.  She’s trapped in a fact-free bubble and can only resort to Pelosi-bashing and kindergarten crap.  I hope she doesn’t get ill.

Hugenburg sounds like a typical Liberal. oh and BTW lawyer boy, this is her husband on her subscription so don’t feel like just because you are gutsy enough to attack a woman with your liberal bias and big mouth. This is why Congress is so split because Liberals like yourself, no matter what you profess to be, sit at a computer all day and don’t see the number of businesses struggling, jobs lost, and then reveal on how you have created so much in your life. No debate, just ram it down people’s throats and then wonder why they stiffen and argue with you, which you seem to enjoy. All you do it tell people they are full of erroneous information, you wouldn’t know the truth if it bit you and left you with rabies. SEMPER FI dipstick, you chose to be a liberal, nobody forced it on you, live with the outcome

Ever notice how Social Security, the fund Liberals ripped off and still do is running out of money but Welfare isn’t? Explain that to me Mr.H

It’s good to know that Ms. Bright is not alone in the bubble—but has her husband to reinforce their fact-free domain.  For the record, Democratic economic policies have created more jobs than have Republican policies, and today’s economic ills are the direct result of continuing Republican efforts to obstruct recovery.

Similarly, I do more than just accuse people of spouting erroneous information, I prove it.  If they—like you—prefer to remain ignorant, that’s their (and your) choice.

Finally, Social Security is not running out of money—that’s just more “Tea Party” scare tactics to distract folks like you from appreciating what’s really going on.

I was a soldier too—and “Semper Fi” is not substitute for facts.

Not Freida Cook, am a relative (Ltpar) - I only have one question for BILL HUGENBERG, supporter of Obamacare.  How is the change to Obamacare working out for you Bill?  Oh, you’re not covered by it, well surprise, surprise?

In contrast to Todd Miskel and the Brights, Frieda Cook asks an entirely relevant question.

As a Viet Nam-era army officer, I earned entitlement to health care through the VA. Thus, I am not eligible for “ObamaCare”.

What I support is giving every American who wants it the same opportunity to access quality health care (through affordable health insurance)that I and (presumably) former Marine Mr. Bright now enjoy for free—based on our military service.

Because the U.S. was the only “advanced” industrialized country in the world that did not offer its citizens some form of universal health coverage, because we spent twice as much as anyone else on health care and got worse medical outcomes in most areas, there was a time when both Republicans and Democrats acknowledged that “the system was broken” and needed to be fixed.

Democrats wanted a “single payer system” (“Medicare for all”)and Republicans touted the policies incorporated in the Affordable Care Act as a “conservative”, market-based approach.

That approach was endorsed by our own Club 20 and Republican Governor Bill Owens’ Blue Ribbon Commission, and was actually adopted and successfully implimented in Republican Governor Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts.

Only when President Obama embraced the Republican proposal did it somehow become an anathema.  Meanwhile, more than 6+ million are now benefitting from that Republican approach—even if they are not thanking Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and President Obama.

Meanwhile, “TeaPublicans” have voted over 50 times to repeal, replace, and/or defund the Affordable Care Act—without being able to cogently articulate why they oppose it and how they would solve the problems it is addressing.

Rather, like Miskel, they keep regurgitating the same falsehoods that were debunked in 2009.

Bill you are truly a liberal and make my point for me every time you open your mouth here, on Living the grand Life, or Zoom where ever you try to spread your Socialist rhetoric. thank you for sparking conversation and showing people stupid enough to vote for a Liberal agenda just how their Liberties will be taken away from them. Should you continue to think your Liberal policies have created jobs a look at history and European failures just prove your points, yup, good job. Being the social parasite that you are I sincerely hope your fascination with the Tea Party group continues, you may learn about the Constitution and the Bill or Rights, all of them, past number one. Maybe living in Mazatlan or something and seeing real people suffer and what they crave to solve their problems, like oh, I don’t know, Freedom and a Free Market system would change you, though I doubt it. Lawyers legislate, something we all need a lot less of because we are responsible, unlike a current Administration that works for that age old legal firm of “Duck, Dodge, and Hyde”.
Not Mrs. Bright

Ditto, Sarge.

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