Employers with fewer than 50 employees were promised a break by not having to provide group health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
But now the IRS has served notice that under the rule that has been in effect since July 1 such employers are subject to $100 per worker per day excise tax if they help their employees with their health-care costs.
That could amount to a staggering $36,500 per worker annual tax.
Presumably, employers can avoid that onerous tax by opting not to help their staff cover the costs of purchasing health insurance. In Mississippi, about one in seven small businesses provide such assistance to their employees, and Obama's IRS intends to hold them "accountable":
The Mississippi Insurance Department said: “The rule appears nowhere in the Affordable Care Act but was developed by the Obama administration’s regulation writers at the IRS.”
“The rule punishes small businesses for providing the only health insurance support many can afford – a contribution to help employees pay premiums for their individual or family policies or to help finance direct payments for medical services,” the department said.
In Mississippi, small businesses are the top job creators in the state. As noted, the rule doesn't appear in the legislation drafted by Democratics, passed by Democratics, and signed into law by a Democratic; it was added as an afterthought by IRS bureaucrats. In theory, it should not carry the force of law, but in reality, that's exactly what it does.
This is why every federal agency should be required to obtain Congressional approval of every regulation that they decide to make up. In the USA, government is supposed to be constrained to rule by consent of the governed. Anything else is tyranny.
Starting in 2017, we can expect to see a lot more "beach health advisories" being issued, but it's not because the waters have suddenly become unhealthy. No, our old fiends over at EPA are at it again:
The Environmental Protection Agency’s nationwide standard for fecal bacteria levels in ocean water that triggers advisories to avoid water contact will be changed. The number, known as the beach action value or BAV, is being reduced by more than half.
The current BAV is 156. Beginning in 2017 that drops to a nationwide EPA-mandated 70.
Of course, here in Oregon, it's well-known that thousands of visitors flock to our ocean beaches to swim and to drink our excellent Pacific Ocean seawater, and they do it year-round. So it's a good thing that EPA, back there in pristine Washington D.C., is looking out for us all.
Those unfunded liabilities are really starting to kick in; things are so bad in the state that the Illinois Lottery is giving "winners" IOUs.
After years of struggling financially, Susan Rick thought things were looking up when her boyfriend won $250,000 from the Illinois Lottery last month. She could stop working seven days a week, maybe fix up the house and take a trip to Minnesota to visit her daughter.
But because Illinois lawmakers have not passed a budget, she and her boyfriend, Danny Chasteen, got an IOU from the lottery instead.
"You know what's funny? If we owed the state money, they'd come take it and they don't care whether we have a roof over our head," Rick said. "Our budget wouldn't be a factor. You can't say (to the state), 'Can you wait until I get my budget under control?' "
And to a certain extent, she has a valid point. At the very least, they'd tack on penalties and interest; at worst, they might just take the house. If they're too broke to pay up, perhaps they should consider suspending their lottery.
Back in the day, public displays of affection were frowned upon, although tolerated. In Progressive Portland today, things have gone considerably further:
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Parents whose kids attend the Emerson School in North Park Blocks are joining in the chorus of concerned voices for all the crime happening there: People camping out, doing drugs, and having sex all in a school zone.
What's wrong with those parents? Do they not recognize the invaluable educational opportunities being presented on a daily basis there?
"This year is decidedly different than any other year," said Principal Tara O'Neil who had gloves on, and was carrying a sharps container as we talked with her. "I'm walking around making sure there's no needles on the playground or in the grass around the park."
"We've seen people shooting up, people having sex, we've seen people peeing, and the other thing in our doorways," said Jean Fleming, who lives near the park.
"This is a crime, nuisance, and quality of life issue. This is not a homeless issue," said Fleming's husband, Mic Fleming. "This is all new people, this is all new activity, this is a level we have never seen before."
Oddly, nobody at Portland City Haul seems to want to offer any comment on the subject, despite the fact that their policies in recent years have encouraged and enabled the development of these kinds of situations. The Park Blocks aren't exactly secluded, after all; they run through the middle of downtown in the southwest and northwest districts. There aren't shrubs nor bushes there, it's all grass and large trees.
Welcome to Portland! Wide open and anything goes, thanks to decades of benevolent Democrat rule!
We all knew that, and it's in violation of the state Constitution, but of course the Oregon Lottery doesn't enforce their own "rules" and the Legislature is disinclined to take any action, either:
Legislation that would have labeled lottery-dependent retailers as casinos,House Bill 3316, died in a committee this year largely because of revenue concerns. Tomei's successor in Salem, Rep. Kathleen Taylor, D-Portland, told The Oregonian/OregonLive the change could have cost the state $83 million.
So-called "limited menu" purveyors — which pair wall-to-wall video gambling with cigarettes and bare-bones food options such as microwave burritos — have been free to flout state rules meant to keep retailers from earning more than half their sales from gambling, the audit found.
The problems are multiple: when Oregon voters agreed to an Oregon Lottery, we were told that it would involve only scratch-off tickets and that any revenue would go to fund schools and economic development. Oregon Lottery still sells scratch-offs, but some years ago they switched gears and devoted most of their resources to highly addictive video poker machines; something the voters had not agreed to during the initial sales pitch prior to the vote.
As well, the state saw a big pot of money rolling in from those things, and so - as they always will - they began diverting those revenues to other things. Today, the state is so dependent upon the lottery income that even the Democratics, who are always out there fighting for the little guy (to hear them tell it) absolutely refuse to rein Oregon Lottery in.
The fact that virtually all of the cash comes from low-income addicts who desperately hope for a big "win" doesn't seem to matter. Not when the state stands to lose out on $83 million a year.
"It was never the intent of the public to have little casinos all over the state. It's immoral."
Former Democrat Representative Carolyn Tomei is absolutely correct in her assessment; it's just too bad that she couldn't rally her fellow Democratics to the cause of reining the lottery in.
Things are looking bad when even The New York Times runs a headline reading Hillary Clinton Takes "Responsibility" for Email Use.
Putting that word in quotation marks says a lot. For one thing, if she was at all serious about taking "responsibility", she'd quit trying to get elected to the presidency.
That's a huge problem among the political class today: when they get caught in something, they always say something like "I take responsibility for that". And what that always translates into is: "Whatever". No repercussions; no consequences. Wouldn't it be interesting if you could do the same?