The Government Shutdown, Explained

The Government Shutdown, Explained


 Your news channel of choice has told you there is a government shutdown.

You have no idea what that means, but a lot of jerks,
(mainly on FOX news and wingnut radio shows)
are telling you who to blame. They’re probably lying to you.


Here’s what is really happening:

Months ago, the Senate passed a “clean” CR (continuing resolution) Discretionary Budget to keep the government running.

It was a GIGANTIC gift (a huge compromise) to the Republicans
(as you will see from the graph below),
as it keeps the sequester in place and goes even lower than that,
both of which will continue to drag the economic recovery.

This CR bill was a bi-partisan effort in the Senate.
Additionally, the Senate invited the House months ago to come and participate in the budget negotiations, but Boehner said no EIGHTEEN times.
Now, after 40+ times trying to repeal the ACA, the House refuses to pass the Senate’s ‘clean’ CR unless they get the NON-discretionary ACA law de-funded.
It doesn’t belong in a bill for Discretionary funding,
but since the Tea Party is a bunch of cry-babies about Obamacare,
they won’t let any other government business happen unless they get their way.

If the Senate caves to this behavior, it will set a dangerous precedent that will allow a small faction of 1/3 of the government to hold the entire country hostage just so that Eric Cartman can get his new iPad or whatever the hell it is that they want (they don’t even know anymore).

All of the posturing that Republicans are doing right now in front of the cameras and the piece by piece funding bills they’re passing in the House are just a sad attempt of Republicans to seem reasonable while anyone who’s been paying attention knows they’re completely disingenuous (AKA – full of crap).

So the Tea Party Republicans continue to throw a tantrum until they get their way.
Every day or two, Ted Cruz does his best impression of Bizarro Superman (sans super-powers) with a blatant attempt to project his own faults onto the Democrats.
You can’t let bullies get away with that crap. Sometimes you have to hit back.

FundingLevelCharticle-1Image via ThinkProgress
who has a really great article
you should read about
the Republicans’ fake “willingness to compromise”


Posted by vcb in All, Bacon, Money, Politics, Rant, 0 comments

It’s Not Just About You.

I'm C.P. Bacon and I approve this message. -

Hello, concerned wealthy relative (and VCB readers).

I’d just like you to know that I found your enlightening email in my spam folder.

You might want to check your email settings.

I’d like to think that your message being in my junk-mail folder was a coincidence and not because of the misleading content of the email.

Telling people in a ‘kinder gentler way’ that people should vote and that you’d like to get the debt and spending under control is all well and good (despite the questionable graphs you included),

but trying to convince people that rich people like yourself shouldn’t pay a little more in taxes just because it won’t instantly zero out the debt…

seems wrong-headed and dishonest.

Now, I hope you don’t take this personally,

as I assume you’re just passing all this information on from some

“conservative” rich-dude-tax-dodging-think-tank like the American Enterprise Institute or Grover Norquist,

but I think I should set some things straight:

The truth is, and you probably know this, that the wealthy have been gaming the system for decades for lower taxes on their vast amounts of wealth and capital gains.

Somehow, they don’t think they need to support the nation that supported them.

Somewhere along the way, they forgot (or never learned) that IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THEM.

And somewhere along they way, they forgot that this nation works best when it works together,

and they forgot that it’s not some evil communist plot to have a social safety net.

Some people think that because it’s been four whole years and the economy still isn’t that great,

that somehow changing presidents in the middle of a slow, but productive recovery,

will somehow give the new guy a magic button to push that will make the debt disappear

and give everyone a pile of cash, a bacon-of-the-month subscription and a free puppy.

They’re deluding themselves. They’ve been deluding themselves for a while.

That debt didn’t create itself overnight, and behaving like it did isn’t helping anyone.

It’s a little silly to yell at the cleaning crew for not cleaning up in 4 years the giant mess that took 8+ years to make. How long did it take to clean up Ground Zero after 9-11 ?

That’s OK, you don’t have to answer that. I think you get my point.

It takes money and time to restore an economy.

Stop pretending that you can fix it without either.

By all means, please keep encouraging people to VOTE,

but stop spreading this paranoia about the debt and spending.

It’s a red herring.

For those unfamiliar with that term, I encourage you to google it.

For you lazy non-googling bastards out there:

a red herring is a distraction, a diversion, a misleading statement, a misdirection.

In other words… Bull$#!&


Now, let me be clear. Calling the debt talk a ‘red herring’ does not mean it isn’t a serious problem.

The debt IS a serious problem…

but it’s just not the most immediate problem that this country is facing.

You still want to talk spending cuts? OK, let’s talk about spending cuts:

Making irresponsible spending cuts to try to bring down the debt quickly is flawed and dangerous.

The worst thing you can do is cut spending during a recession or slow recovery.

Austerity doesn’t work. It makes things worse (Ask Greece, Great Britain, well… most of Europe).

In a healthy economy, responsible adjustments to the budget can be made that don’t hurt the working class,

and the debt will come down gradually over time.

You cut spending where it makes sense, but

this nation’s priority should be restoring the economic engine.

Millionaires aren’t creating enough jobs to help that engine, so I don’t see why they keep calling themselves ‘job creators’. If wealthy people aren’t going to participate in this society as anything other than metaphorical vacuum cleaners sucking the money out of the system, then the first ‘spending cut’ we need to make is cutting out their enormous tax cuts. They don’t need them.

From your email, it looks like you like graphs. Here’s one:

Personally, I think ALL of the Bush tax cuts should expire, although keeping the middle-class cuts temporarily would be better for the overall recovery. Also, millionaires should pay back the tax cuts they took during the last 12 years. They sure as heck didn’t use them to create jobs. And while we’re at it, increase the capital gains tax. It’s not double-taxation. It’s a tax on NEW INCOME.


Also, defense spending needs to come down. It’s out of control.

Here’s another graph:

As you can see, one of the candidates running for president wants to SPEND MONEY WE DON’T HAVE on

more military spending THEY DO NOT NEED AND DID NOT ASK FOR.

So unless you are willing to talk about cutting Defense and loopholes, ending tax breaks to companies outsourcing jobs, ending tax breaks to the oil industry, properly taxing capital gains, and putting a leash on the healthcare, drug, and chemical (Monsanto) industries, and YES, increasing taxes on people making $250,000 or more, when you lose your $#!& and email-blast us all about the debt…

unless you are willing to talk about all of those things too, I cannot take you seriously.

Now that we can agree that debt is bad and spending should probably come down in a responsible way, and that your panic-ridden concerns about the debt are deceptive loads of horse $#!& to disguise the fact that you don’t want to pay taxes on your wealth, let’s talk about what really matters:


The deficit is not just a spending problem. Deny it all you want, but there IS also a revenue problem.

The main problem is all the revenue seems to be going to the top, and if trickle-down ever worked (it doesn’t),

someone patched up the leak on the spigot so none of it would ever come back down.

The other part of the revenue problem is that people who aren’t working or are underemployed, are paying less taxes into the system because of the lack of work and low wages. Raising taxes on these people is not the solution.

You need to create better and more good paying jobs. Better paying jobs means more taxes into the system, but it also means that these people can start putting more $$ back into the economy by paying for goods and services.

You didn’t know this? Did you not take an Economics class in High School?

For some reason people still think supply works without demand.

Greed often clouds people’s judgment about what is the right thing to do for their businesses,

for the economy, and for our country.

Here’s a delightful example using a fruit business

(I don’t really know the ins and outs of apples; just go with it, OK? I just thought it would be better than talking about widgets):

Imagine, if you will, a successful apple business in the United States (the fruit, not the computer).

You began as a mid-level manager at EatMyApple Inc.,

eventually working your way up to becoming the CEO.

You’ve made a good salary for yourself, and are living very well.

The company is very profitable, and running efficiently.

But that’s not enough money for you, so you decided to reduce your workforce,

making people do twice the amount of work for the same pay.

Now, you’re making a little more profit, but some of your apples are getting sent out damaged,

many are returned. You’re wasting more apples.

You’re still making money, but your profits are starting to drop,

so instead of hiring more people to restore the quality and integrity of your apple business,

you let more people go, start growing apples in China, and eventually move your entire operation there.

Maybe you make a profit for a little while because labor costs are much cheaper,

so you see a slight jump in your profits in the first quarter. It’s not enough profit for you.

You increase prices, believing there is increased demand,

but then that demand drops in the second quarter because people can no longer afford to buy your apples at the higher price.

On top of that, there are less people in the US to buy your apples,

because those people who used to buy your apples no longer have jobs,

because the people you used to pay to process your apples in the US are no longer able to spend money at the shops the former apple-buyers used to work at,

because you no longer hire anyone in the US to grow, clean, package and ship those apples,

and since those people don’t have those jobs where you’d pay them to do those things, they can’t afford to buy your apples either – at any price.

To make things worse, some of your apple shipments are contaminated and unsafe to sell in the US because of substandard food safety laws in China.

If the low demand weren’t bad enough, now bad press about the contaminated shipments makes your business take a nosedive.

Then your apples sit in your warehouse in China and rot, and eventually you can’t even afford to pay the lease on the warehouse or pennies-on-the-dollar Chinese workers, so you go out of business.

Now you are also unemployed. But IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT YOU.

It was never just about you.

It’s about US. It’s about US in the United States. The United States should be united, don’t you think?

So do US a favor, put the debt aside for a moment and deal with what matters right now.

What really matters right now is JOBS.

We need to make more of them… in America.

We need to stop farming out our jobs to China and other countries with cheap labor and poor labor practices.

Want to help America?


Loan some capital to a startup business.

Give money to education: grants, scholarships and training programs so people can learn new skills to get jobs in this new economy.

Spend some damn money somewhere (or everywhere!) so those businesses you visit can continue to operate.

Open a business or factory in America. Hell, open TWO!

Pressure your congressmen to pass jobs legislation and infrastructure repair bills, and to stop blocking progress and purposely tanking the economy just to make the President look bad (borderline treasonous, btw).

It’s not just one of these things. It’s ALL OF THE ABOVE.

In summary: (If you read my rant on Obamacare, you’ll start to see a pattern to my summarizations)

1) Pay your taxes. If you’re rich, pay MORE taxes.

2) Not everything is a damn emergency, but you should really think about hiring more people.

3) Stop being such a selfish greedy prick.

And the next time you want to mass-email something important that voters should REALLY be aware of before they vote on election day…

Pass around THIS LINK showing just how much obstruction Republicans in Congress have done over the last 4 years to intentionally block economic recovery.

Posted by vcb in Bacon, Humor, Money, Politics, Rant, 0 comments
ObamaCare is Not Evil – A Rant

ObamaCare is Not Evil – A Rant


ObamaCare Is Not Evil – A Rant

Stop it. Just stop it. You’re upset about what you perceive to be an attack on your personal freedom and you’re taking it out on ObamaCare because you decided that our President is an evil tyrant planning to steal all of the gold from the federal bank, haul it away in a few dozen dump trucks and blow it all up while taking revenge on the NY cop who dropped his (nonexistent) brother off the top of the Nakatomi building for trying to kill Harry Potter AND have a wine tasting contest while stealing millions in bearer bonds on Xmas eve.
1) Stop watching so many Alan Rickman movies.
2) Take a breath and listen:

I’m trying to dumb it down a bit, but there’s a lot of information here, and many of you have already made up your mind (or allowed newscorp to make up your mind for you) and won’t bother to read this anyway, so to those who choose to live in the dark and think ObamaCare will destroy your precious ‘Merica … go hide in your nuclear fallout shelter until the world ends and GFY with an MRE.

Look, I was one of the first to scream like a mofo when I heard the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare)
wasn’t going to be a single-payer system that covered everyone. Without a public-option of any kind, an individual mandate sounded like it wouldn’t make any sense. I know you all have your own opinions on the subject.

The health industry (insurance companies and the drug industry) wasn’t going to let Single-Payer happen.
They have way too much invested in our current healthcare system in the USA, which is a profit-driven one, (Yay, Capitalism). Private insurance companies may love it, but it’s not even close to optimal for people who need healthcare. 

B..b..but America has the best healthcare in the world!

THIRTY SEVEN. 37 is not 1. It’s 36 more than 1.
Guess who’s #1?
That’s right. Those “cheese-eatin’ surrender monkeys”, France, has the best healthcare system, which is a Multi-Payer system, combining government and private insurance.
Even if you don’t agree with all of the variables that the World Health Organization used to make these determinations, you can’t possibly conclude that the U.S. healthcare system is the best. If it was the best, why do so many people have no healthcare? How can you have the best system if everyone isn’t covered?
By the way, Groundskeeper Willie quotes notwithstanding, I think it’s time we laid off the France bashing a bit. After all, they DID help us gain our Independence from England (and possibly saved us from vampires during the Civil War, if we are to believe Abraham Lincoln’s unauthorized journals).

But don’t you worry, Freedom-Fries lovers. It’s doubtful we’d be able to convert to anything close to what France has, even though it would be better than what we have now, and better than the single-payer system in Canada that covers EVERY-FRICKING-BODY (and they’re ranked at #30). Even if the government were on-board, changing to either system would require a TOTAL OVERHAUL of our healthcare system.

The health industry makes it quite clear that they like America’s healthcare system to be rooted in the profit-driven private sector, and it doesn’t help that hordes of uninformed, misinformed, or just plain ignorant masses think “socialism” is a dirty word.
Because of this, all the corrupt politicians and healthcare lobbyists go out of their way to tell you that ObamaCare is the “crown jewel of socialism”. Never mind that the analogy makes ZERO SENSE, it’s just a stupid thing to say. If socialism had a crown jewel (it doesn’t), it would be SOCIALISM. But forget all that crown jewel stuff. ObamaCare isn’t socialism, and socialism isn’t the problem with the American healthcare system. Like some have already said before, capitalism is the problem.

Now before you all get in a huff, I didn’t say capitalism was the problem with America as a whole. Capitalism can work well if properly regulated (like it used to). I won’t get into the problems with our current version of capitalism (aka socialism for the wealthy). That’s for another post. I’ll just say this:
Some things in a society should not be left to the profit-driven whims of the free-market. Healthcare is one of those.
So yes, unless the health insurance industry can be properly regulated, capitalism will be a problem for the American healthcare system, and a drag on our economy.
Is Obamacare (ACA) a socialist healthcare system? Hardly. At the moment, the Affordable Care Act is the best our government could do under the current political climate, which sadly, has become even more dysfunctional.
The ACA is mostly a set of long overdue regulations to the American PRIVATE Healthcare System. If they had kept a public-option as part of the bill, you could have argued that it was part-capitalist/part-socialist, but even with the healthcare exchanges that they are establishing, it’s pretty much still a capitalist healthcare system. It shouldn’t matter to you if it has socialist components anyway, because…

America is already a hybrid social/capitalist society. It has been for many decades. We already do things in our country to help everyone. Our American republic has set up certain “social safety nets” to help those in need.
We have this thing called SOCIAL SECURITY and this other thing called MEDICARE (and Medicaid) that many of the aforementioned “masses” would threaten you with their 2nd amendment rights if you took them away.

Also, not to rub it in or anything but…
the Supreme Court said it’s constitutional for the government to pass a law requiring it’s citizens to have healthcare.

So what are you mad about now? Oh, they called it a tax, and now the anti-tax people are all mad about that?
Hate to break it to you but… TAXES are part of America, and we ARE represented by people that WE ALL ELECTED.
There are many social welfare programs that we all contribute to with this thing called TAXES.

I know, I know, the dreaded “T” word. Some of you out there think they should never pay taxes ever.
I can sympathize (who is this FICA person and why does he keep taking all my money?), but you need to get past your selfish ways and grow up. What? You’re all about personal responsibility, but then you refuse to be responsible for your role in this society? Seriously, grow the *!@% up.

BUT IT’S A MANDATE! But… the constitution… I thought this country was about FREEDOM! (see the paragraph above)
Nobody likes the government telling them what to do, but it’s hardly an attack on your freedom. Clearly your freedom of speech rights are intact (don’t get me started on “time & place” restrictions). You don’t have the constitutional right to choose which taxes you pay. Besides, you already pay into Medicare and Social Security; both are taxes.

Taxes exist to support a society. If you’d rather not have roads and bridges and social security and services that we all as a community rely on for the betterment of everyone, then by all means, stop
paying your taxes and move to a private island somewhere where you have to do all that stuff for yourself.
This is not “evil socialism”.
It’s the way America works (or at least was set up to work) –
We elect a representative government to pass laws to benefit the people as a whole. That government (that WE ALL ELECTED) decided that we have to pay taxes to support our Military and National Defense (jobs program?), Infrastructure expenses, Agriculture programs, and other things that support a healthy American republic, AND…
they decided to pass a healthcare bill that made everyone responsible in some way for their healthcare.
Without it, all those people without health coverage who end up in the emergency room… WE WOULD ALL END UP HAVING TO PAY FOR ANYWAY, and WAY MORE $$$ than we needed to because many of those emergencies could have been prevented if those people had healthcare in the first place.

Is it the best law they could have come up with? Not by a long shot. I’m not thrilled with the idea of being required to pay into a private “for-profit” healthcare system, but since there ARE a few safeguards in place to keep the health industry honest, and we don’t (yet) have the option to pay into a public system (aka Medicare-For-All), I’ll take what I can get, considering it’s better than what we have now. If you think you’re better off with things the way they were before they passed the Affordable Care Act, you’re probably wrong.

B..b..but it’s a TAX!
Really? You’re still going on about the tax penalty? That’s right… it’s a penalty.
You don’t pay it unless you don’t have health insurance, and it doesn’t take effect until 2014.
And even on the rare chance that you find you do need to pay a tax penalty for not having health insurance, do you really think the IRS is going to hunt you down looking for the money?  They’ll have a heck of a time trying to enforce it.

OK, so maybe now you’re not completely opposed to paying your fair share of taxes,
but you still don’t think you can afford healthcare,
so why are they making you pay for something you can’t afford?

  • “Some people can be exempted from the insurance requirement, called an individual mandate, because of financial hardship or religious beliefs or if they are American Indians, for example.”
  •  “Depending on your income, you might be eligible for Medicaid, the state-federal program for the poor and disabled, which will be expanded sharply beginning in 2014.”
  • You might be eligible for government subsidies to help you pay for private insurance that would be sold in the new state-based insurance marketplaces, called exchanges, slated to begin operation in 2014.”

B..b..but it’s going to hurt small businesses!
More than the private insurance industry is hurting them already? Doubtful. Also…

  • Companies can get tax credits to help buy insurance if they have 25 or fewer employees and a workforce with an average wage of up to $50,000.”

(quotes above from KaiserHealthNews: Consumers Guide To Health Reform)

B..b..but why should I have pay so someone else can have healthcare?

YOU AREN’T, REALLY. You are covering your own incidental health care and increasing the insurance pool to lower costs for everyone.
If that argument is not enough for you, try this one:

I’m not a religious person or a bible scholar, but I’m pretty darn sure none of those books had Jesus telling you “EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF” and “SCREW EVERYONE ELSE; I’VE GOT MINE”, so if you make any claim to be a moral person and still don’t think you should look out for the welfare of others, then you might have some soul searching to do. When you come back from your mystical journey, check back in and let us know how it went.

Want more information?
If you’re not averse to learning things outside of what you heard from some random guy on the bus or from fox news,
Take a moment to learn what the Affordable Care Act ACTUALLY does.
There is posting on Reddit about the ACA that is pretty thorough and easy to understand:
Reddit: What exactly is Obamacare and what did it change? (Explained by Reddit user CaspianX2)

Here’s some highlights from that Reddit post for you lazy bastards:
(the “WHAT IT MEANS” parts were written by me)

Parts of the ACA Already in effect:

Drugs will be cheaper (most of them, anyway).

  • It makes chain restaurants like McDonalds display how many calories are in all of their foods, so people can have an easier time making choices to eat healthy. ( Citation: Page 518, sec. 4205 )

FREEDOM to make informed choices at restaurants.
If you don’t care about calories, you also have the freedom to ignore the label & STFU about it.

  • It forbids insurance companies from discriminating based on a disability, or because they were the victim of domestic abuse in the past (yes, insurers really did deny coverage for that) ( Citation: Page 66, sec. 2705 )
  • It says that health insurance companies can no longer tell customers that they won’t get any more coverage because they have hit a “lifetime limit”. Basically, if someone has paid for health insurance, that company can’t tell that person that he’s used that insurance too much throughout his life so they won’t cover him any more. They can’t do this for lifetime spending, and they’re limited in how much they can do this for yearly spending. ( Citation: Page 33, sec. 2711 )
  • Insurers have to tell customers what they’re spending money on. (Instead of just “administrative fee”, they have to be more specific).

MORE protection for YOU so you don’t lose health coverage.

MORE protection for YOUR KIDS so they don’t lose health coverage.

and all of you “invincible”, “I DON’T NEED HEALTH INSURANCE” twenty-something FREELOADERS can stay on your parents’ plan.

  • A limit is placed on just how much of a percentage of the money an insurer makes can be profit, to make sure they’re not price-gouging customers. ( Citation: Page 41, sec. 1101 )

The insurance industry hates this because it make them spend $ on ACTUAL HEALTHCARE, which cuts into their enormous profits.

  • Any new health plans must provide preventive care (mammograms, colonoscopies, etc.) without requiring any sort of co-pay or charge. ( Citation: Page 33, sec. 2713 )

YOU CAN GET A CHECKUP or other preventive care without having to pre-pay.

In 2014


  • Medicaid can now be used by everyone up to 133% of the poverty line (basically, a lot more poor people can get insurance) ( Citation: Page 198, sec. 2001 )
  • Small businesses get some tax credits for two years. (It looks like this is specifically for businesses with 25 or fewer employees) ( Citation: Page 157, sec. 1421 )
  • Insurers now can’t do annual spending caps. Their customers can get as much health care in a given year as they need. ( Citation: Page 33, sec. 2711 )
  • Limits how high of an annual deductible insurers can charge customers. ( Citation: Page 81, sec. 1302 )

MORE REFORMS to help more people get more care and pay less for health insurance.

  • Congress and Congressional staff will only be offered the same insurance offered to people in the insurance exchanges, rather than Federal Insurance. Basically, we won’t be footing their health care bills any more than any other American citizen. ( Citation: Page 100, sec. 1312 )

Those greedy SOBs in Congress have to use the same health insurance as the rest of us. No wonder they had such a hard time passing this.

  • The amount you can deduct from your taxes for medical expenses increases.

MORE MONEY in your tax refund.

ObamaCare is not evil.

Do you want to know what is evil?


In summary:
1) Pay your taxes.
2) Not everything you hate is unconstitutional.
3) Stop being such a selfish prick.

Posted by vcb in All, Politics, Rant, 0 comments