The GOP’s High-Risk Move to Whack Obamacare in Its Tax Bill

Republicans are taking another run at the Affordable Care Act as part of their overhaul of the tax code.

Bowing to pressure from President Trump, Senate leaders announced on Tuesday afternoon that they would add the repeal of Obamacare’s individual insurance mandate to the far-reaching tax bill they unveiled last week. It’s a high-risk, high-reward maneuver for the GOP, which has struck out in its previous attempts to dismantle the health law. If successful, the move could be a two-for-the-price-of-one policy victory for a party desperate to energize its voters heading into a difficult campaign year. But GOP leaders have previously warned that it could backfire, jeopardizing complicated negotiations over a tax bill and compounding what is already a heavy political lift.

Even as he confirmed the effort on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seemed less than assured it would succeed. “We’re optimistic that inserting the individual mandate repeal would be helpful,” he told reporters after Republicans senators discussed the issue over lunch.

The main argument for scrapping the insurance requirement as part of the tax bill is to solve a math problem. As currently written, the Senate bill costs the government too much money and couldn’t pass under the budget reconciliation rules Republicans are using to skirt a Democratic filibuster. While repealing the mandate technically reduces taxes on Americans who choose to pay a penalty rather than buy health insurance, the Congressional Budget Office has projected that zeroing out the penalty would actually boost federal revenues by $338 billion over a decade. That would help Republicans pay for their tax cuts—a point made by Trump in a tweet touting the move on Monday.

But the political risk to the GOP lies in the reason why repealing the mandate would save money: According to the CBO, 13 million fewer people would have …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Business

The GOP’s High-Risk Move to Whack Obamacare in Its Tax Bill

Republicans are taking another run at the Affordable Care Act as part of their overhaul of the tax code.

Bowing to pressure from President Trump, Senate leaders announced on Tuesday afternoon that they would add the repeal of Obamacare’s individual insurance mandate to the far-reaching tax bill they unveiled last week. It’s a high-risk, high-reward maneuver for the GOP, which has struck out in its previous attempts to dismantle the health law. If successful, the move could be a two-for-the-price-of-one policy victory for a party desperate to energize its voters heading into a difficult campaign year. But GOP leaders have previously warned that it could backfire, jeopardizing complicated negotiations over a tax bill and compounding what is already a heavy political lift.

Even as he confirmed the effort on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seemed less than assured it would succeed. “We’re optimistic that inserting the individual mandate repeal would be helpful,” he told reporters after Republicans senators discussed the issue over lunch.

The main argument for scrapping the insurance requirement as part of the tax bill is to solve a math problem. As currently written, the Senate bill costs the government too much money and couldn’t pass under the budget reconciliation rules Republicans are using to skirt a Democratic filibuster. While repealing the mandate technically reduces taxes on Americans who choose to pay a penalty rather than buy health insurance, the Congressional Budget Office has projected that zeroing out the penalty would actually boost federal revenues by $338 billion over a decade. That would help Republicans pay for their tax cuts—a point made by Trump in a tweet touting the move on Monday.

But the political risk to the GOP lies in the reason why repealing the mandate would save money: According to the CBO, 13 million fewer people would have …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Business

Marjorie Cortez: It’s a coat and a sleeping bag: Miller Foundation to donate 700

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s a coat and it’s a sleeping bag.

And on Wednesday, 700 of them will be given away during Valley Behavioral Health’s annual luncheon for people experiencing homelessness.

Thanks to a $70,000 grant from the Larry H. Miller and Gail Miller Foundation, people experiencing homelessness will receive a catered lunch and the gift of a water-resistant jacket that doubles as a sleeping bag.

The event will be conducted from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Valley Safe Haven Center, 550 W. 700 South.

The center serves people 18 and older who are experiencing homelessness and have a severe mental illness. The center provides day services such as a kitchen, showers, bathrooms, computer access, lockers, laundry and an array of behavioral health services and referrals.

Valley Storefront is a non-traditional outpatient facility providing services to homeless individuals with serious mental illness who may also have a co-occurring diagnosis, such as substance abuse. Storefront acts as an entry point into treatment for those who are hesitant to try traditional behavioral health options.

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and Pamela Atkinson, a long-time advocate for people experiencing homelessness and adviser to Gov. Gary Herbert, will attend the third-annual luncheon.

Gary Larcenaire, CEO and president of Valley Behavioral Health, expressed gratitude to the Miller foundation for its generosity to people in the community who are experiencing homelessness.

“As we enter the winter season, it is important to keep in mind that many within our community are without a warm place to sleep or regular meals,” Larcenaire said. “We hope these coats help them stay warm this winter.”

The coats were obtained from the Empowerment Plan, a nonprofit organization based in Detroit that is “focused on permanently elevating families from the generational cycle of homelessness.”

The nonprofit …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News

Why Amazon Just Spent a Fortune to Turn ‘Lord of the Rings’ Into TV

Amazon has acquired the television rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy series The Lord of the Rings. With this deal, which industry publications estimate at being worth $250 million, Amazon can use the classic Middle-earth mythology as a canvas for several different TV shows, including backstories of beloved characters like Aragorn.

The gargantuan deal is perhaps the most important event in the history of Amazon’s television business. It carries major implications for the streaming wars with Netflix, Hulu, and (soon) Disney, as well as critical lessons for business strategy in an age of content abundance.

First, the deal signals an abrupt turn for Amazon. Five years ago, the company announced that it was getting into the movie and TV business. But rather than transform the entertainment industry the way it has ransacked e-commerce, Amazon has remained a sideline player, despite spending more than $4 billion a year on content. Rather than home runs, like Game of Thrones and Stranger Things, the company’s slate is full of minor hits, like Transparent, and a lot of outs. Complicating matters, in October, the company’s head of film and television, Roy Price, quit amid several allegations of sexual harassment.

In recent months, the Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has insisted that the company focus on securing a hit show on par with HBO’s Game of Thrones. With this Lord of the Rings deal, he secures the rights to an even more popular epic fantasy—just as HBO’s juggernaut is set to end its run.

The upfront costs of $200 million to $250 million, however, might seem staggering, consider that the figure doesn’t include a production budget, which could be more than $150 million per season, or tens of millions in potential marketing costs. All told, Amazon could wind up paying half a billion dollars before anybody …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Business