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Soak The “Rich” To Pay For Healthcare

From Bloomberg.com

July 7 (Bloomberg) — House Ways and Means Committee members are likely to propose a surtax on high-income Americans to help pay for an overhaul of the health-care system, according to people familiar with the plan.

The tax would be similar to, yet much smaller than, a surtax proposed in 2007 by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, a person familiar with the committee’s talks said. That plan would have added at least a 4 percent levy on incomes exceeding $200,000, and was projected to reap as much as $832 billion over 10 years.

Two people familiar with closed-door talks by committee Democrats said a House bill probably will include a surtax on incomes exceeding $250,000, as Congress seeks ways to pay for changes to a health-care system that accounts for almost 18 percent of the U.S. economy. By targeting wealthier Americans, a surtax may hold more appeal for House Democrats than a Senate proposal to tax some employer-provided health benefits.

Bolded for emphasis. With unemployment climbing, one wonders just who will be able to be taxed? And this is accounting for 18% of the US Economy?

© 2009, Kharmin's Small Piece of the 'Net. All rights reserved.

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RTFM

First, Vice-President Biden says, “We misread how bad the economy was,” which President Obama later follows-up with, “what Vice President Biden was referring to was simply the fact that when we passed the stimulus, we hadn’t gotten the full report of the first quarter contractions in the economy that turned out to be way worse than anybody had anticipated.”

Don’t you think that you should have waited to ensure that you had enough information before ramming a multi-trillion dollar stimulus down the public’s throat? Also, why has only a small portion of the stimulus been enacted? Could it be that the mid-term elections are holding the bulk of the stimulus package back so that those who voted for it can show their constituents what a great job that they are doing in Washington?

And now, there is talk of a second stimulus? With whose money? Is the government just going to print new cash?

Before we implement another knee-jerk reaction stimulus, how about we use up the first one first? Better yet, let’s actually read the economy and make an informed decision. We might just find that we don’t need a stimulus package at all.

© 2009, Kharmin's Small Piece of the 'Net. All rights reserved.

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When Next Day Air Isn’t

I returned my Garmin, you remember the one that became a brick without warning? I talked about it here. Well, I had hoped that I would have either a replacement or my repaired unit back in time for my July 4th travels. My email conversations with the CSRs (that’s Customer Service Representatives for those who don’t know) were quite encouraging. They showed empathy for my need and appeared to do everything that they could to resolve this issue to my satisfaction.

Shakespeare said, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.”

On July 26th, I was told that my return order had been “expedited … to next day-air using UPS”. My return was finalized and shipped on July 1 which would have it at my door on July 2, the day before I was planning to leave on my holiday weekend trip. You can probably figure out what’s coming next. Yep, you got it– and I didn’t.

I frantically emailed the CSR looking for a tracking number. A second CSR chimed in the email chain and the tracking number I was given was not valid at either UPS’s or FedEx’s web site. Where was my Garmin?

I hope it didn't go to London!Well, come to find out, it didn’t ship via UPS. It shipped via DHL. Apparently, not Next Day Air. DHL then tendered the order to USPS — the United States Postal Service. Not to harp on the USPS too much, but have you ever had anything go through there with any urgency?

So, my continued communications with Garmin encountered a third CSR who explained that they could not guarantee Next Day Air shipments especially during a holiday weekend which may delay shipments. Um, what? When did my return change from Next Day Air to standard ground shipping through the DHL/USPS tandem? My return shipped on 7/1 which would have arrived well before the weekend had it gone Next Day Air as I was led to believe it had.

I purchased this unit mainly because of the Garmin name. I have really enjoyed using my nuvi — I even gave it a name — and have made travel plans that the use of this GPS would make easier. The defect of the unit was not my fault; rather it was an issue automatically sent over the air from Garmin. I returned the unit on my own dime and used UPS so that I would have a dependable tracking number as well as the assurance of a high probability of delivery based on the UPS name. In my opinion, the least Garmin could do for my inconvenience would be to return my unit (or replace it) by Next Day Air especially since I had expressed my need to have it for the weekend. Where the breakdown occurred, I can’t say.

I can say that based on this particular incident, I will be more hesitant in the future to recommend this product to my friends. I had thought that a company with such a large stake in their market would be more appreciative of their customers, especially in this current economic situation.

Sadly, this doesn’t appear to be the case.

© 2009, Kharmin's Small Piece of the 'Net. All rights reserved.

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