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Archive for December 16th, 2009

We had someone impact our life, like this guy in the article below, once. The really fun part came when we, as clients, had to repay taxes with penalties for the bogus tax credits our preparer had filed, cuz doncha know, the creep’s (our) money was long squirreled away. We were lucky since we had invested relatively little. Others had invested up to $100,000 and more.

The taxpayer is responsible for their own tax filing, since they are the ones that sign on the dotted line. One exception might be when an attorney signs for you.

December 16, 2009

Feds to arrest tax preparer

From Denny Walsh:

[A federal magistrate judge issued a no-bail arrest warrant this morning for a Sacramento tax preparer and investment counselor accused by the Internal Revenue Service of stealing more than $8.5 million from his clients over the past five years….]

http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/crime/archives/2009/12/feds-to-arrest.html

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If you are  on something faster than dial-up, the 15th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark  has a live feed HERE, as presented by the US State Dept. Even if you are on dial up, the link is worth visiting, because it contains the agenda of the conference, running between December 7th and 18th. The list of issues is impressive, there is a summary of each below, and there are many .pdf documents available for download at this site.  Today’s agenda in Copenhagen time is:

Wednesday, December 16
9:00-10:00 AM Climate Federalism: U.S. States in Partnership with U.S. EPA
10:15-11:15 AM The U.S. Transportation Sector: A Part of the Climate Solution
11:30-12:30 PM The Science of Climate Change
4:45-5:45 PM Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Bioenergy: a New Tool for Reporting and Comparing Lifecycle Analyses
6:00-7:00 PM National Security Implications of Climate Change
Copenhagen is 9 hours ahead of San Francisco.

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Part Five in the continuing saga of H.R.3950

Today, the 15th of December, the Senate conducted four record actions regarding H.R.3950. One amendment was agreed to, one amendment to an amendment was rejected, an amendment was rejected and a motion was rejected. (Again remember, as you read below, that H.R. 3950 was changed from the homeowner’s bill to the Health bill.)

S.AMDT.3183, submitted by Senator Bacus, on 12/11/09 was agreed to. It amends HR. 3950 as follows below:

[At the appropriate place, insert the following:

SEC. __. PROTECTING MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES FROM TAX INCREASES.

It is the sense of the Senate that the Senate should reject any procedural maneuver that would raise taxes on middle class families, such as a motion to commit the pending legislation to the Committee on Finance, which is designed to kill legislation that provides tax cuts for American workers and families, including the affordability tax credit and the small business tax credit.

TEXT OF AMENDMENT AS SUBMITTED: CR S13047]

The Motion by Senator Crapo, presented on Dec. 13th, to commit HR. 3950 to the Committee on Finance was rejected by a vote of 45 yeas, 54 nays and one not voting.

S.AMDT.2793, submitted by Senator Dorgan on 12/1/09, was to amend, agreed to amendment S.AMDT.2786, which in turn amended H.R.3950. (It is listed on the pages as S.AMDT.2792. I’m not sure why.) After consideration over four days, it was rejected. Although the vote was 51 yeas and 48 nays, with one not voting, it failed because it did not meet the minimum 60 votes needed, as agreed to at the beginning of this health care battle.

The text is 16 pages long, running from S12072-S12087.

It begins by it’s proposed insertion on page 1738, between lines 3 and 4 of S.AMDT.2786 wherein the proposed amendment runs almost the page amending slightly, conditions, definitions and penalties for various Federal health care offences. It then adds this beginning Section that continues for the next fifteen pages:

[…TITLE X–IMPORTATION OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

SEC. 10001. SHORT TITLE.

This title may be cited as the “Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2009”.

SEC. 10002. FINDINGS.

Congress finds that–

(1) Americans unjustly pay up to 5 times more to fill their prescriptions than consumers in other countries;

(2) the United States is the largest market for pharmaceuticals in the world, yet American consumers pay the highest prices for brand pharmaceuticals in the world;

(3) a prescription drug is neither safe nor effective to an individual who cannot afford it;

(4) allowing and structuring the importation of prescription drugs to ensure access to safe and affordable drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration will provide a level of safety to American consumers that they do not currently enjoy;

(5) American spend more than $200,000,000,000 on prescription drugs every year;

(6) the Congressional Budget Office has found that the cost of prescription drugs are between 35 to 55 percent less in other highly-developed countries than in the United States; and

(7) promoting competitive market pricing would both contribute to health care savings and allow greater access to therapy, improving health and saving lives…..]

As interesting as this section was, the line up of who voted for and against it was just as interesting- paring liberal Democrats with Republicans and centrists. A look at the cosponsors will give you an idea. Those voting against it deserve some scrutiny to see why.

Sen Snowe, Olympia J. [ME] – 12/1/2009

Sen Grassley, Chuck [IA] – 12/1/2009

Sen McCain, John [AZ] – 12/1/2009

Sen Stabenow, Debbie [MI] – 12/1/2009

Sen Klobuchar, Amy [MN] – 12/1/2009

Sen Brown, Sherrod [OH] – 12/1/2009

Sen Shaheen, Jeanne [NH] – 12/1/2009

Sen Vitter, David [LA] – 12/1/2009

Sen Kohl, Herb [WI] – 12/1/2009

Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] – 12/1/2009

Sen Feingold, Russell D. [WI] – 12/1/2009

Sen Nelson, Bill [FL] – 12/1/2009

Sen Sanders, Bernard [VT] – 12/2/2009

Sen Franken, Al [MN] – 12/2/2009

Sen Whitehouse, Sheldon [RI] – 12/4/2009

Sen Johnson, Tim [SD] – 12/4/2009

Sen Boxer, Barbara [CA] – 12/7/2009

Sen Webb, Jim [VA] – 12/7/2009

Sen Tester, Jon [MT] – 12/7/2009

Sen Begich, Mark [AK] – 12/10/2009

Finally, S.AMDT.3156 submitted on 12/10/09 by Senator Lautenberg was rejected. As with the above amendment, the vote failed at 56 yeas and 43 nay, with one not voting, because it did not meet the minimum 60 votes needed. 14 pages long, it too dealt with the importation of drugs and began:

[At the end, add the following:

TITLE X–IMPORTATION OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

SEC. 10001. SHORT TITLE.

This title may be cited as the “Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act of 2009”.

SEC. 10002. FINDINGS.

Congress finds that–

(1) Americans unjustly pay up to 5 times more to fill their prescriptions than consumers in other countries;

(2) the United States is the largest market for pharmaceuticals in the world, yet American consumers pay the highest prices for brand pharmaceuticals in the world;

(3) a prescription drug is neither safe nor effective to an individual who cannot afford it;

(4) allowing and structuring the importation of prescription drugs to ensure access to safe and affordable drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration will provide a level of safety to American consumers that they do not currently enjoy;

(5) American spend more than $200,000,000,000 on prescription drugs every year;

(6) the Congressional Budget Office has found that the cost of prescription drugs are between 35 to 55 percent less in other highly-developed countries than in the United States; and

(7) promoting competitive market pricing would both contribute to health care savings and allow greater access to therapy, improving health and saving lives.

SEC. 10003. REPEAL OF CERTAIN SECTION REGARDING IMPORTATION OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS.

Chapter VIII of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 381 et seq.) is amended by striking section 8…]

I find it interesting that if so many Senators are willing to say that we are being unjustly charged, that we aren’t just going after Pharma for monopolistic practices.

Anyhow, that’s where we are today, except for one more point. The Senate has managed to plow through and dispense fifteen amendments. We are now up to FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN submitted amendments! Only four hundred and twenty two more to go.

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