On the Math

Charlie Sheen is getting a $100 million payout from Warner Brothers, in settlement of his lawsuit over his television show (that I've never seen), Two and a Half Men. $25 million will be paid in two weeks, the rest over time.

Apple stock prices closed at an all-time high today, $411 a share, with a new record-high market valuation of $381.62 billion, which even beats Exxon Mobile.

Let the mega-rich pay more in taxes. Leave Medicare alone. They may have more money, but there's millions more of us and we vote. Our votes can lead to electoral victory. Who cares if they pout?

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    $100M payout? (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by andgarden on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 08:35:26 PM EST
    Wow, he had a meltdown all the way to the bank!

    That's just staggering.

    my thoughts exactly (none / 0) (#3)
    by nycstray on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 09:22:45 PM EST
    100M? (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by lentinel on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:17:33 AM EST
    That's nothing.

    I just got a letter from a real good lawyer in Slovenia.

    It seems that a guy left $300,000,000.00 dollars and needs someone to accept the money.

    I sent him my personal information and should be receiving the money in a few days.


    me too (none / 0) (#23)
    by ruffian on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 10:21:13 AM EST
    I wonder how much money the network makes from those shows?

    You hit it on the head with "Mega-rich" (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Dadler on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 09:08:09 PM EST
    That is where we are really being thieved from and destroyed.  Financial corruption at the highest levels IS the problem facing the country, not debt, not spending, nothing but corruption from the riches of the rich.  It is truly astounding that those massive financial bets that ruined the economy, and still paid off obscenely for many inside players, are UNTAXED ENTIRELY.  Try to fathom that.  You make a hundred million dollar financial bet that pays off and you pay nothing in taxes to the nation that gave you the freedom.  The people that line their pockets and compensate for their tiny d*cks this way are the worst human beings America can produce.  Common criminals far outstrip their humanity.  

    So THEIR freedom is free! (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by observed on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 10:06:09 AM EST
    Obama may cut funds to the states (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by MO Blue on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 10:40:12 PM EST
    for Medicaid and more poor people may not be able to receive Medicaid benefits but Obama's new health insurance legislation unless fixed could be a windfall for some early retirees.

    The problem began after the health care law changed Medicaid rules so Social Security benefits would no longer count as income, as they do now.

    Because of the glitch, married early retirees making $64,000 a year could qualify for Medicaid. Medicare's top number cruncher, Richard Foster, said that situation didn't make sense but policymakers weren't interested in addressing it. link

    Before anyone gets to excited and starts to include free health care into a early retirement plan I guess I should mention that President Barack Obama's new deficit plan would fix this $14 billion glitch in his health care law.

    The pink slip. (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by lentinel on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 06:35:10 AM EST
    I know that you are eager to tear up the pink slip... but my reading of Obama's "plan" says that he would veto any plan that cut Medicare but did not raise revenue from the rich. (This according to the NYTimes.)

    That proposal has the familiar Obamian flavour about it.

    A trade.

    Raise more revenues from the wealthiest Americans, and I'll give you the medicare cuts from the poorest and neediest. Balance you can believe in.

    Maybe it won't pan out that way, but it seems to me that Obama is floating a grand plan with an enticing sound for the democratic faithful, but is way way short on specifics.

    I'm not tearing up my pink slip just yet.

    The plan he proposed yesterday (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 08:10:16 AM EST
    already takes chunks out of Medicare and Medicaid.

    On Medicare some of the goodies are: higher deductibles for doctor services and $100 co-pay for home health care visits. An extra 15% percent premium on people who purchase Medi-gap plans that actually provide coverage rather than require high up front deductibles and an additional 15% increase (means test) on high earners. Of course high earners for retirees means something much lower than it does when Obama talks about high earners for tax purposes.

    On Medicaid Obama would also modify the scheme for financing Medicaid, calling upon cash strapped states to kick in a bit more money.

    If this is Obama's starting position, which will cause enough pain for the poor and the elderly, god protect us from what we would wind up with if the Republicans ever decided they would be willing to tax millionaires an additional $.01 per year if Obama slashes safety net benefits completely and lowers the marginal tax rates and for corporations and the mega rich.  


    Reading (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by lentinel on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 08:19:54 AM EST
    what you wrote confirms my suspicions - as well as my predisposition to distrust the image of the newly refurbished Obama.

    I think Jeralyn was a bit too hasty to tear up the pink slip.


    AARP statement on Obama's (none / 0) (#4)
    by MO Blue on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 09:49:00 PM EST
    proposed changes to Medicare:


    he plan got a cool reception from AARP, the influential lobby for older Americans, although the group praised the president for not trying to raise the eligibility age for Medicare.

    "AARP urges Congress to first cut waste and close tax loopholes instead of taking away the benefits Americans have earned after decades of working hard and paying into the system," AARP Vice President Nancy LeaMond wrote in a statement. "The president and Congress should be thinking of ways to restore middle class prosperity, not weaken it through cuts to benefits. It is neither balanced nor fair to ask seniors, whose incomes average less than $20,000, to contribute even more for their health care."

    And it isn't honest of AARP to imply that (none / 0) (#8)
    by Farmboy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 08:06:00 AM EST
    the proposed Medicare changes would affect seniors making $20k.

    To the extent they would force individual seniors to pay more, it'd be in the form of higher premiums from wealthy seniors or higher co-pays for treatments likely to be unnecessary or wasteful.

    Well yes, AARP is being honest (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 08:43:39 AM EST
    about the changes that Obama is recommending would would affect seniors making $20k. It is you who are are being dishonest by cherry picking the means testing part of Obama's recommended changes to Medicare. The TNR link that you provided does reference increases in cost-sharing. Obama recommendations that would affect all seniors including those making $20k:

    o Higher deductibles for doctor services
    o $100 co-pay for home health care visits
    o 15% percent premium on people who purchase Medi-gap plans that actually provide coverage rather than require high up front deductibles

    While Jonathon Cohn might think these changes are trivial, I guarantee that for people with limited incomes they are not trivial at all.


    I see. I should have said the AARP was wrong (none / 0) (#14)
    by Farmboy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 09:14:19 AM EST
    to imply that the changes would "negatively affect" seniors making $20k. The proposed changes will certainly affect that group of seniors over time, by providing them net annual savings due to the means testing, and by continued viability and improvements to the program.

    BTW, the quote in the Cohn article says the changes are non-trivial, not trivial as you state.


    This is so much B.S. (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 10:03:23 AM EST
    it is a wonder you can walk around with boots that high.

    by providing them net annual savings due to the means testing

    The fact that they are means testing (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 10:28:19 AM EST
    people whose income is over a certain limit does not save people anyone money when they are forced to pay much higher out of pocket expenses in order to get needed medical care.

    The fact that Joe Smoe pays 15% more for Medicare does not give me an additional $2,000 or $3,000 dollars to pay for a deductible before the Medi-gap insurance kicks in. That just takes reduces my income by $2,000 or $3,000 a year if I want to actually get the health care I need. The fact that good old Mr Smoe pays 15% more for Medicare does not give limited income people who need home health care $100 for their co pay. It just means that they won't get the home health care that they need if they cannot afford the $100. If they wind up in the hospital because they didn't get adequate care when they needed it, oh well, they will just have to come up with a few thousand more to meet their deductible.

    Nope, means testing does not provide people any net annual savings. Your statement does not make any sense what so ever. You just make things up as you go along and you don't even take the time to frame your statements so that they make any rational sense.


    Oh brother (none / 0) (#17)
    by sj on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 09:42:06 AM EST
    I hope the farming community takes care of you as you age, because the policies you support are going to hang you out to dry.  Of course you may be a major corporate farmer in which case I'm not sure how you'll be affected.

    The policies I support are things like (none / 0) (#29)
    by Farmboy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 01:10:28 PM EST
    reforming social programs such as Medicare and Medicaid in such a way as to help seniors get the care they need - without increasing the burden on them and their families, cutting out wasteful spending in the system, and by cutting into the hundreds of billions in profits that insurance companies pull out of the system.

    Having helped both my parents for years while they dealt with fixed incomes and rising medical bills, I get an acid stomach reading posts from folks who defend the status quo and businesses which only exist to profit from seniors. And when I read posts that oppose change to that system, any change, simply because it comes from Obama, well, what can you say.

    And don't call me a corporate farmer - I work for a living. ;-)


    Well your heart (none / 0) (#30)
    by sj on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 01:30:37 PM EST
    is in the right place.  Your head is a little too influenced by ... something.  TV, maybe?  Because this is not only flawed but absolutely tortured logic:

    The proposed changes will certainly affect that group of seniors over time, by providing them net annual savings due to the means testing

    Those changes will "negatively affect" (none / 0) (#18)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 09:43:22 AM EST
    seniors making $20k beginning in 2017 when they would go into effect. The means testing does not provide low income seniors with any net annual savings as you imply but does by design make actual health care less affordable to the point where they are forced to chose between getting the care they need or doing without other things that they need to survive. Since we are discussing dishonest statements, here is one for you:

    "Either we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes, or we're going to have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare," Obama said. "We can't afford to do both."

    Obama in his proposal does not set up a either/or scenario. He is in fact asking wealthiest Americans to pay more taxes and for seniors to more more for Medicare.  


    Should read (none / 0) (#19)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 09:49:49 AM EST
    He is in fact asking wealthiest Americans to pay more taxes and for seniors to pay more for Medicare.  

    Using past history (none / 0) (#25)
    by sj on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 10:36:10 AM EST
    I expect that he will bargain away increased taxes for wealthiest Americans while still expecting seniors to pay more for Medicare.

    BTW, Cohn (surprise, surprise) (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 09:01:48 AM EST
    takes the same position as the administration that since these changes do not take place until 2017*, they are no big deal.

    Senior administration officials emphasized that those policies wouldn't take effect until 2017 and therefore wouldn't affect current beneficiaries. But AARP said shifting costs to seniors is fundamentally the wrong approach to curbing healthcare costs.

    "These people are not going to be any richer three years from now," AARP Director of Legislative Policy David Certner said. "It's really about trying to protect their economic security and retirement."

    *2017 is conveniently when Obama under all circumstances will not be in the Oval Office when these changes would take place.

    Let's go on to Medicaid. You know health care for people in real poverty.

    Obama's proposal includes the two policies state Medicaid directors feared most: a "blended" rate of federal payments and limits on states' ability to use taxes to increase federal payments. The blended rate would streamline various percentages of federal funding into a single rate of federal healthcare support for each state.
    ...If a blended rate is established, he said, the supercommittee and future deficit-cutting groups can use it to make much deeper cuts.

    "Once people focused solely on reducing federal spending accept that this is a good policy, or an acceptable policy, at that point it really doesn't matter what the dollar amount is," Salo said.




    BTW, the AARP is not a disinterested party here (none / 0) (#15)
    by Farmboy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 09:24:52 AM EST
    They are a multi billion dollar insurance company. They spend tens of millions each year in lobbying to fight against any health care program changes that takes money out of their pockets.

    The AARP doesn't like these proposed changes because the changes hurt their bottom line. As for seniors - they're concerned about seniors in the same way that foxes are concerned about the denizens of a chicken coop.


    Once again you are being inaccurate (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 09:40:20 AM EST
    AARP is not an insurance company. It does receive revenue from promoting insurance sold by UnitedHealthcare Ins Co.

    And while I agree, that AARP is often more concerned with their bottom line that does not mean that they are not being accurate in their assessment of the changes that Obama proposes to Medicare. The changes that Obama proposes will mean that seniors will be forced to buy Medi-gap polices with high deductibles which must be paid prior to the health insurance paying the first dollar. Something they had refused to do in the past when congress tried to get them to assume more out of pocket expense for their health care voluntarily.


    And Ford is not a car company (none / 0) (#27)
    by Farmboy on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:57:16 PM EST
    They just happen to receive revenue from selling cars.



    CBS, NBC and ABC ... (none / 0) (#36)
    by Yman on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 02:46:55 PM EST
    ... "make revenue" from selling everything from Budweiser to clothing to cars, and everything in between.

    Doesn't make them "car companies".


    The networks you mention don't claim to be (none / 0) (#37)
    by Farmboy on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 04:30:54 PM EST
    anything other than what they are. They are in the business of selling. AARP claims to be "a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people age 50 and over." In reality they also are in the business of selling - selling billions of dollars a year in insurance to seniors.

    To be clear, AARP only sells insurance, they don't provide it. They want seniors to file claims for any and everything. This is why they lobbied for Part D in 2003 - they make money from it - and why they lobbied against single payer in 2009 - it would remove their middleman status and shut off the money pipe. And this is why they're against the recent proposed changes. Examining claims too closely would cut into their profits.

    And they're proud of how they get seniors to pay membership dues for the right to be fleeced.


    Irrelevant (none / 0) (#38)
    by Yman on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 05:05:18 PM EST
    When you make crazy claims like calling the AARP an "insurance company", don't be surprised when you get called on it.  Almost every non-profit sells products to raise money.  The Boy Scouts of America sells popcorn - they're not a "popcorn company".  The Girl Scouts aren't a "cookie company".  The Museum of Modern Art isn't a "poster company".  The NRA isn't a magazine or hat company.

    If you have a gripe with the AARP (as you obviously do), call your Congressman.  If you think they shouldn't be entitled to non-profit status simply because they license their name to insurance companies, call the IRS.  Tell 'em the AARP is an "insurance company".  I'm sure they could use a few laughs.

    BTW - You should call them about the NRA, too, since they also "sell insurance".


    Obama is a candidate (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 10:01:09 AM EST
    who hopes to raise $1 billion for his reelection campaign by implementing the policies that his savvy business friends want. Making the safety net programs less popular and easier to privatize is pretty high on their agenda.

    Speaking of Taxes (none / 0) (#11)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 08:35:26 AM EST
    Sheen won't be paying one cent in taxes on the $100M if it is indeed the proceeds of a lawsuit.

    That is 100% false. (none / 0) (#28)
    by coast on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 01:05:18 PM EST
    Good Thing I Don't Work in Tax (none / 0) (#34)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 04:12:36 PM EST
    Joke, I do, just not income.

    I just did some research, I was wrong.  I had always thought lawsuits were exempt, never realized they chopped them up.  The physical injury, emotional distress, and normal expenses are exempt.  Almost everything else, taxable.


    Looks like the 100MM he sued for (none / 0) (#35)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 21, 2011 at 01:22:59 PM EST
    seems to be comprised of 1) salary for work completed, 2) his cut of future syndication profits, 3) future  contractual salary lost due to being fired.

    All of these are fully taxed.


    Now now... (none / 0) (#26)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 12:52:34 PM EST
    how is Charlie Sheen gonna create jobs if the IRS drops the hammer on his 100 mill?  That's like taking money right out of the friendly neighborhood drug dealers pocket, which he spreads around at the mall and other local businesses.  

    I wouldn't have as much of a problem with the capital gains thing if gambling winnings were taxed at 15%...I'll never get how one is "investing" and one is "gambling".  Gamblers could create more jobs in the gaming sector, and spend more at local businesses, if when he hit a nice score Uncle Sam only took 15%.

    I see no logic behind giving the Wall St. gambler preferential treatment...jobs are jobs, be they blackjack dealers, clerks at the lotto commission or OTB,  or working for a company getting money from Wall St. gamblers.  And I think traditional gamblers are less likely to hoard cash than Wall St. gamblers...."easy come easy go" "chicken today feathers tomorrow" are our mottos.  

    If anything we should switch it, gambling winnings at 15%, "investing" winnings at the gambling rate.

    He will stimulate the economy all by himself. So I guess the net effect will be positive after all.

    Exactly my point hombre... (none / 0) (#32)
    by kdog on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:04:50 PM EST
    leaving the ethical and moral issues of taxation aside for a moment, talking strictly about what has a stimulating effect on the economy in regards to taxation...the trick is to let those with no respect for money, or those who value goods and services more than money, keep as much of their money as possible, so they can spend it.  And tax the living sh*t out of those who value hoarding money over goods and services.

    Rub is we can not and should not ignore the ethical and moral aspect of taxtation...those whose version of happiness is 100,000,000 dollars sitting in various bank accounts have the inalienable right to pursue that, right or wrong.

    Like I always say the tax debate is so frustrating because we're doing it backwards.  First we need a rough budget number to run the joint every year, then and only then can you figure out the fairest way to raise that nut from the citizenry.  We tax first, budget and spend later, err overspend later...which makes no sense, no sense at all.


    Speaking of gambling (none / 0) (#33)
    by republicratitarian on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 03:09:38 PM EST