Corker, Alexander Say Most Americans Won't See Tax Rise; Focus On Medicare Cure

Friday, December 28, 2012
Tennessee Republican Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker said Friday “all the talk is about taxes, but when the dust settles, federal income taxes will not increase for almost all Americans next year.”

They urged enactment of their plan “focused on helping Americans avoid falling off the fiscal cliff no one wants to talk about, the looming bankruptcy of Medicare.” The “Corker-Alexander Dollar-for-Dollar Plan” would reduce the growth of entitlement spending (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) by nearly $1 trillion in order to improve the programs’ solvency. In exchange, Congress would approve the president’s expected request for a $1 trillion increase in the debt ceiling. (Click HERE for the bill summary; click HERE for the bill text.)

“Millions of Americans are counting the days until they are eligible for Medicare. It would be tragic if Medicare were bankrupt when that day comes,” the senators said.

That day will come in 11 years, according to the latest Medicare trustees report, which says that in 2024, Medicare won’t be able to pay all its benefits. When the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund is exhausted, the trustees estimate that revenues into the program will only be sufficient to cover 87 percent of costs.

“Medicare can’t survive when the average working couple retiring at age 65 continues to receive $3 in benefits for every $1 they pay into the program during their lifetimes,” the senators said, citing statistics from the Urban Institute. On October 5, the Urban Institute reported that an average married working couple will contribute about $122,000 in payroll taxes to Medicare over their lifetimes and consume about $387,000 in Medicare benefits.

They said, “It is dishonest for Washington to cover up the true cost of the government services it delivers. No one wants to talk about this. But unless we act, at some point these programs will go bankrupt and services will disappear. The first victims of this Medicare fiscal cliff – the fiscal cliff no one in Washington wants to talk about– are older Americans, millions of whom have no other way to pay their medical bills. The second victims are younger Americans who expect us to solve our fiscal issues so they aren’t saddled with debt.

“It would be a colossal failure of leadership if the president does not now take advantage of proposals such as ours. There are 535 of us in Congress with ideas, but there is only one president. The president needs to do as good a job rescuing seniors in danger of falling off the Medicare fiscal cliff as he has persuading Americans that Congress should raise taxes on the rich.”

To "provide more certainty to help the economy grow," they said their proposal also anticipates the president’s expected request to raise the debt ceiling by $1 trillion – an amount equal to their proposed nearly $1 trillion reduction in the growth of entitlement spending. “Legislative language for our plan is public and is ready for Congress to act upon,” they said.

The “Dollar for Dollar Act,” S. 3673, introduced by Senator Corker on Dec. 12 and co-sponsored by Senator Alexander, contains provisions recommended by President Obama’s Debt Commission (Simpson-Bowles) as well as by former Republican Senator Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin, budget director for former President Clinton.

They said the plan, which would allow seniors to continue to choose traditional Medicare among several options, would:

*Structurally reform Medicare, keeping traditional Medicare in place and competing side-by-side with private options so that seniors can choose the health care plan that works best for them. Significantly reduce costs without capping spending while preserving for seniors the choice of participating in traditional Medicare;

*Give states more flexibility to manage their Medicaid programs and prevent states from using so-called “bed taxes” to get more money from the federal government;

*Reform Social Security and gradually raise the retirement age so that today's workers can count on the program being solvent and able to pay benefits when they retire;

*Enact a more accurate measure of inflation which both raises revenues and reduces entitlement spending;

*Raise the debt ceiling by $1 trillion which could last about one year at the new levels of spending."

See video of the briefing here.



Presidential Candidate Senator Ted Cruz To Visit Chattanooga Aug. 10

Senator Ted Cruz, a candidate for the Republican nomination for president, will be visiting Chattanooga on  Monday, Aug. 10 at 9 a.m . His stop in Chattanooga at the Hamilton County Republican Party Headquarters will be the first leg in a whirlwind bus tour across Tennessee and several other states.   His “Biscuits & Gravy” morning stop in Chattanooga will ... (click for more)

Man Shot On Walker Avenue Friday Night

The Chattanooga Police Department is investigating a shooting that happened at about 10:10 p.m. Friday at 1700 Walker Ave.  Officers were told the victim had been taken to a local hospital.  Mark Parker, 51, stated he was in the 1700 block of Walker Ave. when he was approached by a black male who pulled a firearm and shot him.  Mr. Parker sustained non-life ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Is A Blessed Community

I am an American by birth and a Chattanoogan by the Grace of God. (A phrase I borrowed from the late Lewis Grizzard and modified) I grew up in Chattanooga / East Ridge – Anna B. Lacey Elementary, Dalewood Junior High, Brainerd High, degree UTC.  My family lived in Chattanooga until March of this year but I’m still up every month visiting friends.   I have been following ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Fight For Lieutenant Commander White

The United States Navy has run a tight ship since it was founded in October of 1776. You’ll recall that was when Capt. John Paul Jones began to forge the steel with the words, “I have not yet begun to fight.” Some years later Adm. David Farragut etched himself into Navy lore when he cried, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” During the attack on Pearl Harbor, Lt. Howell Forgy ... (click for more)

CFC Hosts Indiana, Officials Hoping For 9,999+

 The Chattanooga Football Club is set to host the NPSL national semifinal match Saturday night at Finley Stadium.  CFC will take on the Indiana Fire who won the Midwest Region championship.   The game is set to kickoff at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.   Last year, Chattanooga hosted Sacramento in a national semifinal game and drew more almost 9,000 fans.  Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Orange Grove's Gonzales Takes Gold In World Special Olympics

Debra Gonzales, a resident at Orange Grove Center, is a world champion. The cute 21-year-old, who moved to Chattanooga two years ago, took first place in the shot put at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles after entering the event on a whim.  Debra’s winning throw of 4.49 meters bested a 4.30 heave by Darinka Pasapera of Peru while Grace Dindillo of Papua, ... (click for more)