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Archive for March 27th, 2010

I actually think this it is unfair to highlight Fidel Castro’s endorsement of Obamacare, but I’m in a grumpy mood because I’ve started a diet, so I’ll simply twist the knife a bit by noting that we probably could improve American healthcare by imposing Cuban-style rationing. I imagine many of our obesity-related health problems would disappear if we were limited to one pound of beef and 12 eggs per month. Ah, the joy of socialism! Solidarity in malnutrition. But I better stop lest I give Obama some new ideas. Here’s an excerpt from the AP report about Castro’s endorsement:

Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro on Thursday declared passage of American health care reform “a miracle” and a major victory for Obama’s presidency, but couldn’t help chide the United States for taking so long to enact what communist Cuba achieved decades ago. “We consider health reform to have been an important battle and a success of his (Obama’s) government,” Castro wrote in an essay published in state media… “It is really incredible that 234 years after the Declaration of Independence … the government of that country has approved medical attention for the majority of its citizens, something that Cuba was able to do half a century ago,” Castro wrote.

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Everyone’s favorite bureaucracy really stepped in it recently, when they harassed a car wash owner for an upaid tax bill of (drumroll please) four cents. But since we’re talking about the Internal Revenue Service, the bureaucrats also tacked on an extra $200 to the bill – even though the owner had never been notified of any unpaid balance and even had a letter from the IRS stating that he was completely up to date with his obligations. The Sacramento Bee reports:

It was every businessperson’s nightmare. Arriving at Harv’s Metro Car Wash in midtown Wednesday afternoon were two dark-suited IRS agents demanding payment of delinquent taxes. “They were deadly serious, very aggressive, very condescending,” says Harv’s owner, Aaron Zeff. The really odd part of this: The letter that was hand-delivered to Zeff’s on-site manager showed the amount of money owed to the feds was … 4 cents. Inexplicably, penalties and taxes accruing on the debt – stemming from the 2006 tax year – were listed as $202.31, leaving Harv’s with an obligation of $202.35. Zeff…finds the situation a bit comical. “It’s hilarious,” he says, “that two people hopped in a car and came down here for just 4 cents. I think (the IRS) may have a problem with priorities.” Now he’s trying to figure out how penalties and interest could climb so high on such a small debt. He says he’s never been told he owes any taxes or that he’s ever incurred any late-payment penalties in the four years he’s owned Harv’s. In fact, he provided us with an Oct. 22, 2009, letter from the IRS that states Harv’s “has filed all required returns and addressed any balances due.”

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Here’s a story to warm the hearts of struggling taxpayers around the nation. Washington, DC, is one of the few spots in the nation where income is climbing. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Personal income in 42 states fell in 2009, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Nevada’s 4.8% plunge was the steepest, as construction and tourism industries took a beating. Also hit hard: Wyoming, where incomes fell 3.9%. Incomes stayed flat in two states and rose in six and the District of Columbia.” Serfs in flyover country will also be delighted to learn that a new survey finds that a majority of America’s 10-richest communities are now suburbs of Washington, DC. To be fair, not all of the wealth in places such as Loudoun County is because of a bloated and overpaid bureaucracy. Some of it is because of the fat-cat lobbyists who work with the bureaucrats to funnel your tax dollars to special interest groups. I’m not sure if that will make you feel better, but here are the details from the Forbes survey:

…most Americans still aren’t ready to brag about their paychecks. Except, perhaps, in Loudoun County, Va., where median household incomes are higher than anywhere else in the country. This affluent suburb of Washington, D.C., where families take home a median $110,643 annually, tops our list of America’s 25 richest counties. …It’s not surprising that workers in Loudoun do well. The federal government generates a wealth of jobs, keeping unemployment in the D.C. metro area at a low 6.2% (the national average is still near 10%). The best-paid workers from D.C. take their money home to Loudoun, where jobs have grown 4% between the second quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2009… Like Loudoun, a number of the country’s wealthiest households are tightly concentrated in counties around the nation’s capital. Six of the richest counties lie on the outskirts of Washington: Fairfax County, Va., Arlington County, Va., Stafford County, Va., Prince William County, Va., Charles County, Md., and Alexandria City, Va.

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