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You're all familiar with Robin Hood - the guy with the Merry Men who banded together to fight injustice and tyranny? The guy who stole from the rich to provide relief to the poor? The hero of the story? Contrast Robin Hood with Sheriff of Nottingham, the villain of the story. If you had to cast yourself as a character, who would you prefer to be?

I would personally choose Robin Hood. Yes, stealing is wrong, but if we're talking about levying heavy taxes on a group, I'd prefer the system we have now, a progressive tax, where the wealthier few pay more than the poor and help subsidize their costs. Chuck Grassley would prefer to cast himself as Sheriff of Nottingham. You can read the entire letter here: Robin Hood Rx Robs Small Business.

I wanted to highlight some of Chuck's lies:

Regrettably, it seems the big spenders in Washington want to abandon the first goal entirely. They are focusing on sweeping changes to the U.S. health care system that substantially grows the federal role in the delivery of medicine in America. A partisan band of lawmakers in Congress seems comparable to the medieval looters of Sherwood Forrest. Health bills being pushed by the majority party in the House of Representatives would enact a stiff surtax on small businesses and other higher-income taxpayers, and would also impose a penalty on small businesses that do not provide health insurance coverage to their employees.

So many Iowans have expressed their anxiety about losing their jobs and getting the economy back on the right track. If Congress steamrolls a partisan Robin Hood plan that finances a government take-over of the U.S. health care system on the backs of small business, I’m afraid the economy may never fully recover. Small businesses are the job-creating engine in America, accounting for 70 percent of new private sector jobs. Slapping a surtax of up to 5.4 percent on those earning $280,000 or more a year will not encourage small business owners to create jobs, retain their current employees, and invest in their businesses.

The White House and Congressional Democrats already have crowed their intent to raise marginal tax rates to 36 and 39.6 percent on the top two brackets. They also proposed raising the tax rates on capital gains and dividends to 20 percent and jack up the estate tax as high as 45 percent. The merry band of big spenders would add the Robin Hood surtax on top of those tax hikes to finance the government’s gradual control of U.S. medicine. The marginal federal tax rate proposed by House Democrats goes up as high as 48 percent, and that doesn’t even include state income taxes. In Iowa, the highest state tax rate is nine percent. Therefore, under the House Democrats proposal, Iowans would face a marginal tax rate as high as 57 percent.

Are we really going back to the days of "tax and spend" liberals? Why not just say that? When you try to use the cute Robin Hood story and you align yourself with the villain, that's what we here on the intertubes call an epic fail. The fact is, small businesses are begging for relief from high health care costs that they can't afford. A public option will help small businesses save money and enable them to hire even more employees - boosting job creation.

It's always entertaining to hear Grassley talk about how he's so concerned about the Federal budget when it comes to the Recovery Act, or health care reform, or cap and trade, but when it comes to his farm subsidies (yes, the subsidies Grassley himself collects), he's not concerned at all! He's so not concerned about farm subsidy spending that his family farm operation collected $946,549 in farm subsidies between 1995-2006. Here he is at a town hall meeting explaining that he accepts the subsidies because he wants to be reminded of what it's like to be a real farmer:

And let's not forget Grassley's solution to the health care problem, Grassley: If you want good Health Care "Just go work for the Federal government". The Federal Health Employee Benefits are paid out of the Federal Budget...that same budget Grassley wants to cut.

Oh, check out what Chuck does here...nice quotes out of context and fancy quotation work:

The director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office splashed cold water on the proposals being advanced, saying “the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs” and does not make fundamental changes to curb medical spending in the future.

Did the CBO actually say that the cost doesn't make fundamental changes to curb spending? Or was this Chuck's interpretation of what the CBO said? What was the actual question being asked? Chuck expects most of his readers won't actually ask any questions, but we're not like most of Chuck's readers, we're an educated bunch who like to get to the bottom of things.

Let's look at exactly what the CBO Chairman said. Here's a link.

Conrad: ...From what you have seen from the products of the committees that have reported, do you see a successful effort being mounted to bend the long-term cost curve?

Elmendorf:  No, Mr. Chairman.  In the legislation that has been reported we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount.  And on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs.


Elmendorf: Bending the cost curve is difficult.  As we said in our letter to you, there is a widespread consensus, and you quoted some of this, that a significant share of health spending is not contributing to health.  But rooting out that spending without taking away spending that is beneficial to health is not straightforward.  

Again, the way I think experts would put it – the money is out there, but it is not going to walk in the government’s door by itself.  And devising the legislative strategies and the regulatory changes that would generate these changes is not straight forward.  But the directions that have widespread support among health analysts include changing the preferential tax treatment of health insurance.  We have a subsidy for larger health insurance policies in our tax code, and that like other subsidies encourages more of that activity.  Reducing that subsidy would reduce that.  And on the other side, changing the way that Medicare pays providers in an effort to encourage a focus on cost effectiveness in health care and not encourage, as a fee for service system tends to, for the delivery of additional services because bills for that will be paid.

Of course the legislation "expands the federal responsibility for health care costs" - that's the whole point! This becomes a question of priorities. Is our 1st priority to cut Federal spending on health care, or is our first priority to insure every American? When we donated to the election campaigns of these Democrats and knocked on doors and made phone calls for them, we did this believing that they would go to Congress and fight for us. They promised that they were going to Washington to reform health care so that the 47 million uninsured would GET insured. The whole point of health care reform is to insure every American. Of course there's a cost to that. We all know there's a cost to it. We all want it anyway!

Here's some much-needed perspective for Conrad, Grassley, and other idiots with the wrong priorities who love to ask the wrong questions:

The last time a president tried to overhaul U.S. health care, Americans were spending $912 billion on the system and 40 million were uninsured. Today they’re spending $2.5 trillion and almost 50 million lack coverage.


Congress refused to touch the issue for a decade after the collapse of Clinton’s 1994 bid. A similar outcome this year would likely add millions to the ranks of the uninsured, boost costs for businesses and workers, and do nothing about what may be the top threat to the government’s long-term fiscal health, proponents of the plan argue.

“The budgetary implications of doing nothing are continued exponential growth in health-care costs, a steadily increasing health-care share of GNP, an eventual bankruptcy of the Medicare trust fund, and health-care costs becoming a prohibitive share of the federal budget,” Lawrence Summers, head of the National Economic Council, said in an interview.

The costs are going up. They've been going up for decades. They're not going to stop going up without serious reform and serious regulation of the health insurance industry. So I'd like to highlight the quote above from Summers and juxtapose that with the one from the CBO Chairman. The costs are going to go up either way, but with health care reform that will insure EVERY single American, we at least get something in return for those rising costs.

Sheriff of Nottingham has more:

But the White House and Democrat-led Congress would have us believe a Robin Hood Rx would remedy the situation. It’s more like a prescription for economic disaster.

Robin Hood has been known through the ages for “stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.” Folklore is good fiction. But fiction can’t disguise the facts. And the facts show the Democratic proposals would send health care spending sky-high and saddle small business with excessive tax increases. Not even Robin Hood can hoodwink those facts.

Chuck Grassley (and apparently a handful of idiotic Democrats) believe that it's okay to rob from the poor in order to protect the rich. These are the policies of the last 8 years. These are the policies that created the financial crisis Grassley is whining about. These are the policies that will cause millions more Americans to go without health insurance, file bankruptcy, lose their homes, or die from illnesses that could have been easily prevented and/or cured.

Senator Grassley might want to familiarize himself with what Iowans actually want. The Iowa Poll found that 56 percent of Iowans support creation of a public plan. That's a clear majority. Even better, Nearly 70 percent of Iowa’s small business owners want a public option for health insurance, according to a survey by advocacy group Small Business Majority. And it's not like this was some hugely partisan survey either:

Of those who responded, 36 percent identified themselves as Republican, 23 percent as Democrat and 35 percent as independent.

Grassley chooses to align himself with the villain in the Robin Hood story. Grassley lies about how the Democratic health care reform bills will impact small businesses. Grassley is supposed to be representing Iowans in the Senate and instead of doing that job, he is willfully opposing what the majority of Iowans want. I don't know about you, but I'm rooting for Robin Hood.

Here are tonight's Top Comments:

From luckylizard:

This comment, by raboof, on a diary about European (especially UK)  military build-up made me laugh out loud.

From socratic:

I've never done this before but Pesto's response to Arnie's comment in one of today's GBCW diaries made me laugh out loud

From ScottyUrb:

An Affirming Flame has some good questions regarding Fox renaming Iraq 'Egypt.'

From virgomusic:

In kos's diary, lineatus modifies the graphic so that it more accurately illustrates the diary's title.

From Samer:

malharden reports on one of the unfortunate compromises in Henry Waxman's bill.

On the banning of p**:

iampunha's rescued diary City councils nationwide ban p** provided this dramatic account from Liberal Panzer. Sounds like the panzer was needed!

The reply from iampunha contained some sage advice ;-)

From Casual Wednesday

I have a nomination for you and this is a strange one since I am nominating my own comment. I was hoping TC would recognize the exactly 11 Kossacks who recommended This Comment Goes to 11. They are: vawolf, casperr, TiaRachel, PerfectStormer, Redbug, blueyedace2, ek hornbeck, txlosthorn, Texas Revolutionary, ericlewis0, and m00finsan. By way of explanation, this comment was from last night's Daily Show/Colbert Report Chat Thread, hosted by TiaRachel. Last night's guests were Spinal Tap. Anyone who has seen the movie This is Spinal Tap thinks that is mildly amusing. Everyone else needs an explanation, so here it is. And please do not rec that comment. You will ruin the joke.

Editor's note: Great nomination!

From Texas Revolutionary:

On TiaRachel's Daily Show/Colbert Report diary, dougymi had the perfect rebuttal for birther Orly Taitz's claim that Obama is using a false Social security number that was supposedly issued 196 years ago.

From cany:

Trix and others give us a little political anatomy lesson. Enjoy the view.

From Plumbobb:

Click to read the parent to understand blueyedace2's great response. Plumbobb can't help thinking one of  Snarky the Dwarf's signature endearing mannerisms (like Sneezy's handkerchief use) would have to be a frequent use of air quotes.

Originally posted to Elise on Wed Jul 29, 2009 at 07:02 PM PDT.

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