Cabela’s cash register ‘glitch’ shines spotlight on new Obamacare medical device excise tax

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Remember how we were all assured that we’d love Obamacare once we found out what was in it? People are already noticing shrinking paychecks, and with 2013 only three days old, people are already turning to Snopes.com — a site dedicated to debunking urban legends — to make sense of the country’s new Medical Excise Tax. Which most of us know Snopes is not dependable for the truth.

The Medical Excise Tax is real, and it kicked in Jan. 1. In short, it’s a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices. There is a retail exemption that covers “devices that are of a type that are generally purchased by the general public at retail for individual use,” as well as exemptions for eyeglasses, contact lenses and hearing aids.

The tax is supposed to be “hidden” from the consumer, but it was brought to the public’s attention when receipts from hunting and fishing store Cabela’s Sporting Goods showing the tax as a separate line item went viral.

America’s Rating as a Free Country Continues to Plummet

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This is a sad article for me to post….we are losing our freedoms folks.

Freedom can be defined in many ways. However, one of the greatest indicators of freedom and liberty is economic freedom. True free-market capitalism is the basis of individual liberty. However, America is no longer a top 5 contender, and we haven’t been for a years. Actually, America is barely even in the top 10. The 2012 Index of Economic Freedom study reports that America continues to fail. Who took first place in economic freedom in 2012? The

Source:http://www.gfmag.com/tools/global-database/economic-data/12067-economic-freedom-by-country.html#axzz2JI3AV7Pz

Source: http://www.gfmag.com/tools/global-database/economic-data/12067-economic-freedom-by-country.html#axzz2JI3AV7Pz

answer may surprise you. It was Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s score was an 89.9%, which was a 0.2% increase from 2011. Following Hong Kong in order: Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Chile, Mauritius, Ireland, and finally America at number 10. America’s economic freedom score was a 76.3%, which is down 1.5% from 2011. In fact, America is no longer even rated as a “Free” nation, which is a title granted only to countries with a score above 80%, but a “Mostly Free” nation. Right behind America rated at number 11 is Denmark. Denmark places the highest total tax pressure on its citizens in the world.

This study takes the following 10 benchmarks into account when rating countries: Freedom from corruption, property rights, individual fiscal freedom, restrained government spending, monetary freedom, business freedom, labor freedom, trade freedom, investment freedom, and financial freedom. As mentioned earlier, economic freedom is more vast than it may sound on the surface. It includes all of the above benchmarks, which affect our everyday lives. Money is not the root of all evil; however it is at the root of our lives and if we are not economically free one must ask themselves if our freedom simply a fallacy. There are 9 other countries more economically free than America and our rating is dropping drastically. In 2010, America was rated number 8.  With the numbers trending down and all of the benchmarks trending towards negative values America’s rating should not be expected to improve when the 2013 ratings are released.

There can be no liberty unless there is economic liberty. -Margaret Thatcher

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White House tells Paul Ryan it won’t meet budget deadline

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What was that Obama was saying today in his Press conference about “his budget” having $1.2 trillion cut from it. What budget?

The White House has informed House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that it will miss the legal deadline for sending a budget to Congress.

Acting Budget Director Jeff Zients told Ryan (R-Wis.) late Friday that the budget will not be delivered by Feb. 4, as required by law, a House aide said.

“Late Friday evening, Deputy Director Zients confirmed that for the fourth time in five years, the president’s budget will not be submitted in compliance with the law,” the aide said.

“Zients did not indicate how late the administration will delay its submission, simply noting ‘We will submit it to Congress as soon as possible,’ ” the aide said.

Ryan last Wednesday had asked the White House in a letter if it would miss the deadline.

Under the law, Obama must submit a budget by the first Monday in February, but he has met the deadline only once. The annual budget submission is supposed to start a congressional budgeting process, but that has also broken down. The Senate last passed a budget resolution in 2009.

Congress and the White House struck a budget deal on New Year’s Eve that avoided tax hikes on middle-class families and delayed a 2013 budget sequester until March.

That last-minute “fiscal cliff” deal has thrown a wrench into the annual budget process, sources say, because it did not finalize 2013 appropriations or replace nearly $1 trillion in automatic discretionary cuts imposed by the August 2011 debt-ceiling deal.

“They have no baseline,” one expert said. The expert said it may also be the case that the administration does not want the budget to be taken as an opening offer in the coming fight over raising the nation’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling.

The Congressional Budget Office also faces fiscal cliff-related challenges in writing its annual budget outlook. That outlook, which normally comes out in January, is coming out Feb. 4, CBO announced Monday.

Republicans are demanding Obama propose sharp spending cuts to offset any increase in the ceiling.

Obama in a press conference Monday though reiterated his stance, pressing lawmakers to raise the debt limit without tying it to cuts or entitlement reform.

Failure to raise the ceiling will cause a default on payments ranging from Social Security benefits to tax refunds to bond interest, depending on how long it takes Washington to raise the limit and what bills Treasury decides to pay.

The Bipartisan Policy Center estimates default could come as early as Feb. 15.

Millions noticing paychecks lighter today, due to payroll tax hike

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What was that Obama said about not raising taxes on middle income people?

Gabriella Hoffman’s paycheck is a little lighter today, thanks to a payroll tax increase that is forcing millions of Americans to make the kind of tough budget cuts their representatives in Washington lawmakers seem unwilling to tackle.

Hoffman, a 21-year-old Virginian who works at a nonprofit, estimates her paycheck will be roughly $30 less this biweekly pay period, or about $780 annually, thanks to the end of a two-year cut on payroll taxes, which fund Social Security. The tax has risen back up to 6.2 percent from 4.2 percent, costing someone making $50,000 annually about $1,000 per year and a household with two high-paid workers up to $4,500.

“As a newly-graduated person, someone coming straight out of college, I don’t like the idea of having less money coming to me due to the selfish interests of people in Congress who don’t have any interest in reducing our financial problems,” Hoffman told FoxNews.com. “This is an impediment for future economic growth. It’s going to make it harder for young people like myself to get married, find a better job, you name it.”

Hoffman admits the hike won’t completely alter her spending, but the University of California-San Diego graduate said she will definitely have it in mind when it comes to leisure activities and entertainment.

“Although it’s a small quantity on a monthly basis, just having less money going into my paycheck will prevent me from doing things and force me to be more frugal,” she said. “I’ll be more cautious with my spending.”

The looming hit to Americans’ paychecks has been a hot topic around water coolers nationwide, as well as online, where several forums have been created for taxpayers to commiserate with their lighter wallets. On Twitter, #WhyIsMyPaycheckLessThisWeek has been a trending topic as most U.S. workers have either already seen less green or are preparing to do so.

“Well, looks like we’re starting to pay back all of the money we’ve spent, without cutting back spending,” one posting read.

Another user cited the need for the U.S. government to “refill the Social Security ‘lockbox’” before stealing from it again as the reason paychecks are smaller.

Here come the Obamacare tax increases

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WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 27:  A anti Obama healt...

As part of the negotiations over the fiscal cliff, Congress and President Obama are battling over whether to raise marginal tax rates at the very top of the income ladder.

Regardless of how these talks turn out, millions of Americans are already facing tax hikes thanks to Obamacare.

Obamacare’s authors chose to offset about half of the trillion-dollar cost of the law through higher taxes. Since the Supreme Court upheld the law’s individual mandate and allowed states to opt out of its Medicaid expansion, though, the cost estimate has swelled to $1.76 trillion between 2012 and 2021.

In 2013, a number of Obamacare’s taxes will go into effect. Each will increase the cost of health care, yield job losses, and deprive our struggling economy of investment. These are the true costs of Obamacare.

Let’s look at some of these taxes individually.

On January 1, 2013, a 2.3-percent excise tax on the total revenues of medical-device companies — regardless of whether they turn a profit or suffer a loss — will take effect. The tax will hit everything they sell, from x-ray machines and pacemakers to surgical tools and artificial hips. The levy could extract as much as $29 billion over the next 10 years.

That money will have to come from somewhere; device firms won’t simply swallow the tab. So they’ll likely raise prices for patients and slash their workforces. In fact, economists at the Manhattan Institute project that the tax could eliminate as many as 43,000 jobs — and over $3.5 billion in employee compensation.

The industry currently employs about 400,000 people and supports roughly 2 million manufacturing jobs. With unemployment — particularly in the manufacturing sector — still a national concern, it makes little sense to penalize device firms.

Because of the tax, medical-device firms will also have less money to invest in research and development. My colleague Benjamin Zycher estimates that the industry will scale back investment in new products by 10 percent through 2020. That translates to a $2-billion decrease per year.

House Republicans have been trying to repeal the tax for some time. In recent weeks, they’ve gotten some unlikely company — from Senate Democrats.

Read more @ Forbes

Here come the massive array of new Obama regulations

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Agencies under U.S. President Barack Obama will add thousands of new regulations to U.S. business in 2013, with many of them extremely costly.

According to Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations, an arm of the nonprofit, nonpartisan National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), more than 4,100 new Obama regulations are in the pipeline.

The group estimates that the 13 most expensive regulations will cost the U.S. economy $515 billion.

Held back during the heat of the presidential campaign, a backlog of these Obama regulations is about to hit the economy full force.

“The Obama administration has been quietly postponing several multibillion-dollar regulations until after the November election,” wrote Sen. Rob Portman, R-OH, in an August Wall Street Journal guest column. “Those delayed rules, together with more than 130 unfinished mandates under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law, could significantly increase the regulatory drag on our economy in 2013.”

Portman dubbed the situation “the regulatory cliff,” a reference to the widely discussed fiscal cliff.

“Economically Significant’ 2013 Obama Regulations

While the sheer number of regulations can cause compliance problems, one category – dubbed by the government as “economically significant” – impose the greatest costs on the U.S. economy.

Economically significant regulations are those that cost $100 million or more, by the government’s definition.

In his first three years, the Obama administration created 953 such regulations, compared to 30 in the comparable period for President George W. Bush, according to CEI.

Of the 4,128 Obama regulations in the pipeline, 212 fall into the economically significant category. That’s 32.5% more than the 160 issued in 2006 under President Bush.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has tried in vain to curb the wave of Obama regulations by passing three dozen bills, none of which has made it to the floor of the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Now the re-election of President Obama, and the addition of two seats to the Democratic majority in the Senate, virtually guarantees a mountain of new regulations over the next several years.

Many of these heavyweight Obama regulations will hit these three industries particularly hard in 2013:

Money Morning

18 Democratic senators revolt against Harry Reid on Obamacare tax

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Eighteen Democratic U.S. Senators and senators-elect sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last week calling for a “delay in the implementation” of the medical device tax in Obamacare, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The provision was an integral part of the version of the Obamacare law, which was passed in the Senate under Reid’s stewardship in 2009. It is set to take effect on January 1, 2013.

An effort to repeal the provision failed in Congress in June. At the time, Reid characterized the proposed repeal as a Republican attack on Obamacare.

“The medical technology industry directly employs over 400,000 people in the United States and is responsible for a total of two million high-skilled manufacturing jobs. … With this year quickly drawing to a close, the medical device industry has received little guidance about how to comply with the tax — causing significant uncertainty and confusion for businesses,” according to the letter. “We urge you to support delaying enactment of this provision in a fiscally responsible manner.”

The provision’s 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers has sparked panic within the medical devices industry. Indiana-based Zimmer Holdings, which manufactures hip replacement implants, laid off 450 workers in anticipation of $60 million in taxes in 2013. Michigan-based Stryker Corp., which also produces hip implants, laid off 5 percent of its workers in a bid to compensate for the $100 million it will pay in taxes next year.

The provision has proved to be problematic for Democratic senators from states with large numbers of medical device companies. Indiana Senator-elect Joe Donnelly and Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow signed the letter alongside the next Massachusetts Senate delegation, Elizabeth Warren and John Kerry, whose state is home to more than 400 medical device companies.

Democrats sent their letter to Reid less than three weeks after dozens of medical device industry executives “swarmed” Capitol Hill in a lobbying push that resulted in more than 60 different meetings with legislators. The trade groups Advanced Medical Technology Association, Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance, and Medical Device Manufacturers Association led the lobbying effort to delay the provision.

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