Monday, August 13, 2007

Health care proposal, Iraq and Vietnam, a Florida tax revelation, and campaign tech coverage

Here's a link to a proposal that first came out in 1989 and has been reprinted by Physicians for a National Health Program: A National Health Program for the United States: A Physicians' Proposal. From the summary:
As physicians, we constantly confront the irrationality of the present health care system. In private practice, we waste countless hours on billing and bureaucracy. For uninsured patients, we avoid procedures, consultations, and costly medications.
...We envisage a program that would be federally mandated and ultimately funded by the federal government but administered largely at the state and local level. The proposed system would eliminate financial barriers to care; minimize economic incentives for both excessive and insufficient care, discourage administrative interference and expense, improve the distribution of health facilities, and control costs by curtailing bureaucracy and fostering health planning.
Says the poster who linked to this on Knox Views: "I think anyone could get behind a candidate who endorsed this plan."

From McClatchy correspondent Nancy Youssef, a fascinating interview: Iraq and Vietnam: Two wars, same mistakes, about retired Gen. Volney Warner, who says the death of his West Point-graduate granddaughter in Iraq has help shaped his views:

...The flawed assumptions of Vietnam and Iraq are nearly mirror images of each other.
In Vietnam, Kennedy and other policymakers believed in the ''domino theory'': If South Vietnam fell, other U.S. allies in the region -- Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia -- also would fall to the communists.
In Iraq, Bush and the neoconservative policymakers in the Pentagon and in Vice President Dick Cheney's office had a democracy theory: Implanting democracy in Iraq would be easy, and from there it would spread to Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and beyond.
The fact that the most democratic nation in the region, by most standards, is Iran and that Islamists dominate some of the region's most popular political parties, including Hamas in the Palestinian territories and Hezbollah in Lebanon, seems not to have made an impression.

Via Stuck on the Palmetto, a link to a report in the Palm Beach Post about another way corporations get out of paying taxes: Critics push to plug drain in tax loophole. This package represents the best in newspaper public service. Says the story, by Jeff Ostrowski, corporations in Florida can bypass paying documententary stamp tax on property sales by simply declaring a sales price of $10. So three properties that recently sold for a total of $600 million gained the state less than $2 in taxes, rather than the $4.2 million they would have garnered.
No one knows how much the loophole costs the state. Neither the Florida Department of Revenue nor county property appraisers calculate taxes lost in this manner because the numbers are difficult to track. In some cases, no deed is filed when a property changes hands. In others, buyers and sellers refuse to divulge sale prices.
Yet even as the stakes for this practice rise, there's little interest in Tallahassee in closing the loophole, Nikolits and other property appraisers said. They hope the big savings enjoyed on high-profile sales will spur lawmakers to action.

(Added later: On a related topic, from Will Bunch: Bush discovers why Americans are unhappy: Corporate taxes aren't low enough.)

And finally, from the list of Knight-Batten award finalists, a link to TechPresident, where Micah Sifry and others collect news and links on campaign coverage with an emphasis on blog, social networking, and technology. Great links and info here, too, including stats on Facebook supporters, MySpace Friends, and You Tube views by candidate.

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