- George Zimmerman will not be charged in domestic dispute
- Russian officials press bilateral U.S. trade deal
- Selfies at Funerals blog creator retires after Obama flub: ‘Our work here is done’
- New Obama adviser Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- 40 Australian adults, children found in ‘one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public’
- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bow before Valkyrie, NASA’s ‘superhero robot’ entry in DARPA challenge
- 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy suspended for pretend bow-and-arrow shooting
- Budget deal exposes GOP divisions; conservatives slam tax hikes, vague cuts
GREENSTEIN: Health care reform: Tough task ahead
Question of the Day
• Taxing products that undermine good health and raise health care costs. The average American consumes nearly three times as many high-sugar soft drinks as a few decades ago. This helps raise the nation’s obesity rate and health care costs. A tax on soda, heavily sweetened “sport drinks” and similar products would help both finance health reform and fight obesity.
Congress also can address the erosion in alcohol taxes, which have fallen 37 percent in inflation-adjusted terms since Congress last raised them in 1991. Alcohol abuse costs the country hundreds of billions of dollars a year in direct medical costs, lost productivity and earnings, and increased crime. Restoring the tax to its inflation-adjusted 1991 level would barely affect people who drink in moderation.
Supplementing these measures, Congress can close tax shelters, curb wasteful and inefficient tax subsidies, and consider a variant of the president’s proposal to cap itemized deductions at a 28 percent rate. If, for instance, the top income-tax rate returns to 39.6 percent in 2011, Congress could cap deductions at the current top deduction rate of 35 percent. That would generate savings without changing the current tax incentives to give to charity.
These proposals won’t please many. Many liberals won’t like measures like capping tax-exempt health benefits and raising regressive taxes on soda and alcohol. Many conservatives won’t like scaling back Medicare Advantage and limiting itemized deductions.
But unless both parties make these sorts of tough choices, either Congress will not enact health reform or it will do so without offsetting the costs, thus imposing even larger deficits and debt on future generations.
• Robert Greenstein is executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- KIBBE: Another Republican budget surrender
- Study IDs reasons for late-term abortions
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Obama administration blasts GOP for criticism of Castro handshake
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Obama's antics at Nelson Mandela tribute: Jovial conversation, handshake with Raul Castro
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
Buzz on Bees is a column promoting the love and life of God’s greatest pollinators on earth: The Honeybee
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow