We did it for COVID. We did it for the Great Recession.” Why can’t we do it all the time?

We did it with the “Economic Stimulus Act 2008. The federal government simply sent people money.

Generally, low and middle-income taxpayers received up to $300 per person or $600 per couple.

The purpose was to stimulate economic growth and to cure the recession.

It worked:

As federal deficits (blue) declined, we fell into a deep recession, cured only by a robust increase in federal deficit spending (red).

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a common measure of the economy. The above graph should come as no surprise. The formula for economic growth is:

GDP = Federal Spending+ Nonfederal Spending + Net Exports

Mathematically, as federal deficit spending decreases, economic growth falls, and as federal deficit spending increases, economic growth increases.

If you want economic growth, you want federal deficit spending to increase.

I’ve written about this many times. It’s simple algebra. I’m not sure why this is a mystery to the politicians who think a debt limit is prudent finance. It’s exceedingly ignorant finance.

I mention this again because of an article I just read on MEDPAGETODAY:

Uninsured Rate Hits Record Low of 8.3%
— But that number will slowly rise as pandemic health insurance protections unwind, experts say
by Joyce Frieden, Washington Editor, MedPage Today May 24, 2023

WASHINGTON — The uninsured rate in the U.S. has fallen to a record-low 8.3%, but that percentage is expected to gradually increase as insurance protections from the COVID-19 pandemic wind down, according to officials from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Why will insurance protections “wind down.” For the same reason we currently have a debt=limit battle in Congress. Sheer ignorance.

The federal government has repeatedly proved that it has the infinite ability to pay for anything. Why is it “winding down” payments for healthcare insurance?

The temporary policies enacted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic “have contributed to a record low uninsurance rate in 2023 of 8.3% and record-high enrollment in both Medicaid and ACA [Affordable Care Act] marketplace coverage,”said Caroline Hanson, Ph.D., principal analyst at the CBO, during a briefing sponsored by Health Affairs.

“As those temporary policies expire under current law, the distribution of coverage will change and the share of people who lack insurance is expected to increase by 2033.”

CBO is projecting an uninsured rate of 10.1% by 2033, and “while that’s obviously higher than the 8.3% that we’re estimating for 2023, it is nevertheless lower than the uninsured rate in the last year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” which was about 12%, she said.

Think about it. America has about 330 million people. A ten percent uninsured rate means 33 MILLION (!) people in America will have to do without health care insurance. I hope you’re not among them.

Whether or not you have insurance, here are some data that should concern you:

“A widely cited study published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2009 analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey and found that uninsured individuals had a 40% higher risk of death compared to their insured counterparts. This study estimated that lack of health insurance contributed to approximately 45,000 deaths annually in the United States.

“Another study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2017 conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of previous research. The analysis concluded that uninsured individuals faced a 25% higher risk of mortality compared to those with insurance.”

When you don’t have healthcare insurance, you die younger. 

“Throughout the 2023-33 period, employment-based coverage will remain the largest source of health insurance, with average monthly enrollment between 155 million and 159 million,” Hanson and co-authors wrote in an article published in Health Affairs.

Employer-based health care insurance has two features seldom discussed.

  1. It ties employees to their employer, making job negotiation and movement much more difficult
  2. It is paid for by the employee because the employer figures the cost as part of the employment. Salaries could be higher without this “perk.”

If the federal government funded a comprehensive Medicare for All plan, employees would earn more without costing employers more.

However, they added, “in addition to policy changes over the course of the next decade, demographic and macroeconomic changes affect trends in coverage in the CBO’s projections.”

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 gave states a 6.2-percentage-point boost in their Medicaid matching rates as long as the states didn’t disenroll anyone in Medicaid or CHIP for the duration of the COVID public health emergency.

Hanson noted that this law “allowed people to remain enrolled regardless of their changes in eligibility. So, for example, even if they had an income increase that would have made them ineligible but for the policy,” they were still able to stay on Medicaid.

The COVID public health emergency has been canceled now. Disenrollments can begin.

As a result of the law, Medicaid enrollment has grown substantially since 2019 — by 16.1 million enrollees, she said. But that has been superseded by another act of Congress, which allowed states to begin “unwinding” the continuous eligibility rules and start disenrolling people from Medicaid and CHIP beginning on April 1.

In total, “15.5 million people will be transitioning out of Medicaid after eligibility redetermination,” said Hanson. “Among that 15.5 million people, CBO is estimating that 6.2 million of them will go uninsured and the remainder will be enrolled in another source of coverage,” such as individual coverage or employment-based coverage.

Of those who are leaving Medicaid, how many are leaving voluntarily and how many are “falling through the cracks” because they didn’t receive their disenrollment notification or failed to fill out the required paperwork to reapply?

“We recognize that before these continuous eligibility requirements were put into place, people were losing Medicaid coverage, both because they were becoming no longer eligible for Medicaid, and … because they did not complete the application process despite remaining eligible,” said CBO analyst Claire Hou, PhD. However, she added, “we’re currently not aware of any data that would allow us to quantify the size of those two different groups.”

All of the above would be unnecessary if our Monetarily Sovereign federal government (which has unlimited funds) simply would fund a comprehensive, no-deductibles Medicare for All program.

Hanson delivered some bad news for those footing the bill for private health insurance. “We are projecting relatively high short-term premium growth rates in private health insurance, and this is for a few reasons,” she said.

“One is the economy-wide inflation that we’re experiencing in 2023 and that we have been experiencing, and that has not fully reflected itself in premiums yet.

And another contributor is the continued bouncing back of medical spending after the suppressed utilization that we saw earlier in the pandemic.”

The study authors project average premium increases of 6.5% in 2023, 5.9% during 2024-2025, and 5.7% in 2026-2027.

The current and projected-to-increase hardship on the American people is totally unnecessary. The federal government efficiently could ameliorate this hardship by: 

  1. Funding comprehensive, no-deductible Medicare for every man, woman, and child in America
  2. Funding Social Security benefits for every man, woman, and child in America.

Both would add dollars to Gross Domestic Product, thus growing the economy.

Instead, Congress battles over the unbelievably stupid debt ceiling. How do those people manage to dress themselves in the morning, much less be elected to America’s Congress? It boggles the mind.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

Twitter: @rodgermitchell Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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The Sole Purpose of Government Is to Improve and Protect the Lives of the People.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

Can’t leave your job because of healthcare insurance? Here’s news.

Are you in one of these positions? You want to ask for a raise, but you fear you could get fired. Or, you would like to change jobs or quit working altogether.

But you are held captive by your health care insurance. Your company pays some of the premiums, and you can’t afford to pay the total amount yourself.

Or you have a pre-existing condition and will not be able to find another policy. It’s about to get even worse for you and for your company:

Higher premiums are coming. Much higher Data: Kaiser Family Foundation

It cost an average of $22,463 to cover a family through employer-sponsored health insurance in 2022, according to an annual benefits survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Though your employer may seem to pay the $22,463, you actually pay it. Your employer figures those dollars as part of your employment cost and your salary, sick days, vacation days, lunchroom, and any other perks you receive.

If there were no healthcare costs, your employer could raise your salary by that average of $22,463. Instead of paying it to you, he pays it to the health care insurance company.

Why it matters: Nearly 159 million Americans get health coverage through work, and coverage costs and benefits have become a critical factor in a tight labor market.

While families and individuals paid similar amounts for coverage in 2022 and 2021, premiums have increased by 20% over the past five years, KFF said.

And because many premiums for 2022 were finalized in the fall of 2021, before the effects of inflation were clear, KFF expects a higher increase in average premiums for 2023 than what’s been observed in recent years.

A single person paid $7,911 on premiums in a year for their employer health plan in 2022.

Again, while it may seem that you only paid “only” $7,911, you actually paid the full premium in lost wages — wages you should have received, but didn’t.

Between the lines: Employers are making tough choices in a competitive labor market and in some instances, absorbing rising costs of coverage instead of passing them on to workers.

An October survey of 1,200 small businesses found that nearly half of them have increased the cost of their goods or services to offset the rising costs of health care. Four in 10 businesses surveyed stopped offering health insurance altogether.

Angry about inflation? Much of the blame goes to the ballooning cost of health care. You pay inflated costs directly via premiums and insurance deductibles, and indirectly via the lost wages your employer would have paid you.

 

In fact, why do you or your company pay anyone, when the federal government is perfectly capable of paying your doctor, hospital, nurses, pharmaceutical company, and medical equipment manufacturer with no help from you?

You also pay the inflated costs of the goods and services you purchase from companies that have had to raise their prices to cover increased insurance costs.

In short, employer-supplied health care insurance is a net loser for everyone except for the insurance companies.

It cuts your salary while increasing what you pay for goods and services.

 

When the federal government pays, you get more and it costs you nothing.

The cost of care is expected to continue to increase in the coming years, putting added pressure on employers to offer competitive benefits packages.

Employer-sponsored plans have seen increased demand for mental health services, and 44% of companies surveyed with 200 or more employees offered mental health or self-care apps as benefits, accompanying research in Health Affairs says.

Covered workers are picking up a portion of the cost when they visit in-network physicians: Average copayments were $27 for primary care and $44 for specialty care, and there was even more cost-sharing for hospital admissions or outpatient procedures.

A large majority of firms with 50 or more employees cover some telemedicine in their largest health plan. What’s next: Premiums are likely to surge next year as inflation persists.

“Premium increases may be even higher than the 3–4 percentage points that we have seen in recent years,” the Health Affairs study authors write.

It’s the classic vicious circle. The cost of health care goes up which directly increases inflation, Then, inflation pushes the cost of insurance up, which impacts your net salary. And ’round and ’round we go.

Your net take-home pay is numerically reduced by the insurance premiums, while it is functionally reduced by inflation.

Employer-provided health care insurance costs you both ways.

THE SOLUTION The U.S. federal government has infinite dollars. It neither needs nor uses tax dollars to pay its bills. Even if all federal tax collections totaled $0, the government could continue spending any amount, forever.

In fact, all federal tax dollars are destroyed upon receipt.

Without collecting a penny in taxes, the federal government could provide you and your family with free, comprehensive, no-limit health care insurance, that includes everything you can imagine — eyes, dental, psychiatric, every form of health-related equipment, etc.

Your healthcare could cost you nothing, either for services or for premiums. It could be Medicare for All only much, much better. And it wouldn’t increase the cost of goods and services, because, unlike employer-provided insurance, it wouldn’t increase employers’ costs.

Unlike employer-funded medical insurance, which does nothing for the economy, federally funded Medicare for All would grow the economy by adding stimulus dollars.

SO WHY NOT? Why don’t you have this plan, already? 

Because you have been led to believe three lies.

Lie #1. You shouldn’t trust the government to provide health care.

But, a comprehensive Medicare for All plan would not involve the government providing health care. The plan would involve the government only paying for health care.

The actual care still would be provided by your same doctors, nurses, hospitals, therapists, and equipment manufacturers. It merely would cut out the wholly unnecessary and costly middlemen, the insurance companies.

The insurance companies provide no medical function. They merely collect your dollars, take some for themselves, and pass the rest on to the real medical practitioners.

The government would function as your insurance company. The big differences would be no dollars would be taken from you, and the government never can run short of dollars.

Lie #2. Your taxes would go up.

The U.S. federal government, unlike state and local governments, is Monetarily Sovereign. It cannot unintentionally run short of U.S. dollars.

It can spend forever without collecting any tax dollars.

Compare the federal government to state and local governments. They are monetarily non-sovereign. While state and local taxes fund state and local spending, federal taxes do not fund federal spending.

The purpose of federal taxes is not to help the government spend, but rather:

a. To control the economy by taxing what the government wishes to reduce and giving tax breaks to what the government wishes to reward.

b. To create demand for the U.S. dollar by requiring taxes to be paid in dollars.

c. To reduce your demand for services (like free health care insurance), by making you believe taxes are necessary to pay for benefits.

Lie #3. Federal spending causes inflation.

No inflation ever has been caused by spending. All inflations, including the current one, are caused by shortages of key goods and services, most often oil and food.

During and after the Great Recession of 2008, we had massive government spending without inflation. We only experienced inflation when COVID caused shortages of oil, food, lumber, computer chips, shipping, labor and other products and services.

Inflation (red line) doesn’t parallel federal deficit spending (blue line).

If you understood that the federal government has infinite money and does not need or use taxes, you would demand Medicare for All, Social Security for All, College for All, Food Assistance for All, Housing Assistance for All, etc.

Why don’t we have it?

The very rich, who run America, don’t want it. They are rich because of the income/wealth/power Gap between them and you. The wider the Gap, the richer they are. But the more free benefits you receive, the narrower the Gap becomes.

Your free benefits actually make the rich less rich.

So the rich bribe the politicians (via campaign contributions and promises of employment), the media (via advertising dollars and media ownership), and the economists (via donations to schools and employment in think tanks).

The rich bribe these people to tell you “the Big Lie” that federal taxes fund federal spending, and if you want more benefits you’ll have to pay for them.

It’s all a con to keep you ignorant. An ignorant public is a docile public, which is exactly what the rich want. It keeps them rich.

Sen. Bernie Sanders recommended a Medicare for All plan, but his plan had three serious faults:

Fault #1. It claimed to rely on tax collections, the same fault current Medicare has. So Sanders struggled to show how it was tax-neutral.

That was unnecessary. He should have explained that federal taxes do not fund federal spending and that the federal government would do what it always does: Create dollars, ad hoc, to pay every bill.

Fault #2. It was not comprehensive. It still required co-pays and didn’t cover many medical problems. This was done to save money and balance against tax collections — an unnecessary step.

The federal government does not need to save dollars. It has infinite dollars. It never can run short of dollars, even if it collects zero taxes.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan: “A government cannot become insolvent with respect to obligations in its own currency.”

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke: “The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.”

The scare stories about federal “debt” and deficits are just that: Scare stories. False scare stories.

So called federal “debt” and deficits are no burden on a government with the infinite ability to pay its bills. If the federal government and your political representatives were doing their job, you would have free, comprehensive Medicare for All right now.

Why do you pay a middleman when the government can provide better service, free?      

 

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

Twitter: @rodgermitchell Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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The Sole Purpose of Government Is to Improve and Protect the Lives of the People.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

Insurance for all . . . and more.

A government’s sole purpose is to improve and protect people’s lives. No rational person would take dollars from the economy and give them to a federal government that has the infinite ability to create dollars.

Our Monetarily Sovereign government’s greatest asset is its infinite ability to create and spend its sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar. The federal government cannot unintentionally run short of dollars.

 

It can pay any bill and fund any enterprise based on dollars and do it without the need to collect a penny in taxes. In fact, federal taxes (unlike state/local taxes) are destroyed upon receipt.

The U.S. federal government has infinite dollars.

Though the federal government may not always be good at running things, it is outstanding at paying for things.

Consider retirement. Social Security pays for retirement life by issuing money. Though the government collects the FICA tax, this tax doesn’t fund Social Security. Like all other federal taxes, FICA dollars are destroyed.

But Social Security, unlike private retirement plans, does not rely on stock market or bond market investments or any other form of income, and it does not need to make a profit or even to break even.

Pay no attention to the Henny Penny claims of the Social Security fund’s insolvency. Social Security can become insolvent only if the federal government wants it to. Benefits could double or triple or begin at age 0 rather than in the 60s, and SS always will be able to pay benefits.

Consider Medicare. This program, too, is funded by federal money creation. Despite what you have been told, Medicare is not financed by taxes but by federal money creation.

Medicare does not do medical treatments; Medicare pays for medical treatments.

Social Security and Medicare replace insurance companies as retirement and healthcare insurance providers. Having no need for income or profits and having the unlimited ability to pay for anything, the federal government is a much better source of insurance dollars than any private sector insurance company.

We previously have recommended instituting Medicare for All and Social Security for All. In that same vein, we recommend Life Insurance for all.

The federal government already provides life insurance for its civilian employees. Worldwide Assurance for Employees of Public Agencies (WAEPA) is one version:

As a non-profit formed For Feds, By Feds, we understand what it takes to help provide peace of mind. More than 46,000 Feds and their families choose WAEPA’s portable life insurance coverage to help protect the future of their families.

While we actively provide more than $10 billion in coverage to Feds, we’ve refunded over $100 million in premiums since 1996. That’s one way how WAEPA serves Feds who serve our country.

Short-Term Disability Insurance — WAEPA’s newest product provides paycheck protection for eligible illnesses or injuries.
 
You can receive up to $6,500 in coverage a month for up to six months to replace lost income if you’re out of work due to recovery.
 
Underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company, 51 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

Another is Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI):

The Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program is a life insurance program for Federal and Postal employees and annuitants, authorized by law (Chapter 87 of Title 5, United States Code).

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) administers the Program and sets the premiums.

FEGLI does not build up cash value. You cannot take a loan out against your FEGLI insurance. OPM has a contract with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) to provide this life insurance.

MetLife has an administrative office called the Office of Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (OFEGLI). OFEGLI is the contractor that adjudicates claims under the FEGLI Program.

While Medicare and Social Security replace private insurance companies, WAEPA and FEGLI pay private insurance companies to administer their programs.

Either approach has advantages, but all have two glaring weaknesses.

  1. The federal government unnecessarily extracts premiums from the private sector.
  2. None of the programs offers comprehensive coverage, as though the government needed profits or even breakevens. It doesn’t.

The WAEPA website includes this chart:

It shows neither plan is comprehensive nor complete, which is not surprising. Two other federal programs, Medicare and Social Security,  are not comprehensive or complete.

But why? Given that the federal government has infinite financial resources, why should any plan it supports offer less than the optimum? 

Why does Medicare have a 20% deductible, along with limited coverages and not covering drugs or dental care, etc., without an extra cost? Why are Social Security benefits so meager? In WAEPA and FEGLI, why is one spouse’s life insurance death benefit less than the other’s?

The federal government repeatedly acts as though it can run short of dollars. It works like a monetarily non-sovereign entity. And why does the federal government extract a tax to fund something when it has the unlimited ability to support anything?

BOTTOM LINE

  1. The federal government has infinite dollars. It can pay any debt denominated in dollars. No such obligation is a burden on the government or on taxpayers.
  2. A healthy economy needs a continual input of dollars. Federal deficit spending prevents and cures recessions.
  3. A government’s sole purpose is to improve and protect people’s lives.
  4. No rational person would take dollars from the economy and give them to a federal government that has the infinite ability to create dollars.

Therefore, the federal government should fully fund the following comprehensive, no deductible, tax-free programs for every man, woman, and child who wants to participate:]

  • Healthcare insurance (aka Medicare for all)
  • Retirement insurance (Social Security for all)
  • Life insurance
  • College
  • Salary for attending college
  • Food support [aka Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)]
  • Rental (living quarters) support

Objections:

  1. Federal spending causes inflation: In previous posts (here, here, here, and elsewhere, we have demonstrated that federal deficit spending does not cause inflation. Shortages cause inflation. Inflations are cured by curing the shortages, which can be accomplished with the aid of federal deficit spending.
  2.  If given these benefits, people would refuse to work. We suggest this is not true, as demonstrated by the fact that people at all wealth strata continue to work.

    The total of human wants never is satisfied.

    If the government pays for an apartment’s rent, the family wants a bigger apartment, a car, a yacht, or a vacation home. People always want more for themselves, their children, and charity.

The single most valuable asset owned by the U.S. federal government is its Monetary Sovereignty — its unlimited ability to create and control the value of the U.S. dollar.

Unfortunately, the government and many information sources refuse to acknowledge this great asset, so we slog along with poverty, hunger, homelessness, illness, lack of education, recessions, and depressions.

The federal government has the power to mitigate or prevent them all with the application of its Monetary Sovereignty. 

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

Twitter: @rodgermitchell Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY

The surprising connections among, taxes, religion, and Medicare for All

Background The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor even uses tax dollars. The Treasury destroys all the dollars it receives. It creates new dollars, ad hoc, each time it pays for anything.

Even if the federal government collected zero dollars in taxes, it easily could fund comprehensive Medicare for every man, woman, and child in America.

The sole purposes of federal taxes are:

  1. To control the economy by taxing what the government wishes to discourage and by giving tax break to what the government wishes to encourage.
  2. To assure demand for the U.S. dollar by requiring that dollars be used for paying taxes.
  3. To help the rich, who control America, get richer, that is, widen the Gap between them and the rest of us. This is accomplished by pretending the federal government can’t afford to fund such benefits as Social Security, Medicare, poverty aids, etc.

Because the federal government does not fund Medicare for All, most businesses pay for some part of a private healthcare insurance policy.

This gives the business great power, not only over your working day, and not only over your salary, but even over your health, just by the terms of the policies they provide.

The latest evidence of that power relates to religion. Businesses, more and more, are able to exercise religious bigotry, and the right-wing courts love it.

The federal government encourages charitable giving by providing tax deductions. According to the Internal Revenue Service, a charity involves these activities:

The exempt purposes set forth in Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and the prevention of cruelty to children or animals. 

The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erection or maintenance of public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening neighborhood tensions; eliminating prejudice and discrimination; defending human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.

All but one of the above are for the benefit of the general public. That one is religion.

Religion is not charity in the true sense of the word “charity.” When you make a contribution to your religion, it’s tax deductible. But that gift goes to your own — what shall we call it — club, sect, group, creed, cult, faction, team, clan, clique, party, etc.

If, for instance, you happen to be a Catholic Republican who belongs to a country club and has season tickets for the Cubs, your gift to your Church is deductible, but your gift to the GOP, your country club, and the Cubs are not.

According to the IRS:

To define churches and other religious entities, some of the IRS guidelines consider whether or not an institution has:

  1. a distinct legal existence and religious history,
  2. a recognized creed and form of worship
  3. established places of worship
  4. a regular congregation and regular religious services, and
  5. an organization or ordained ministers.

The IRS doesn’t say who or what you must worship.

Based on that logic, I could start a group called, “MAGAs for Trump.”

From what I can tell, MAGAs are more worshipful of Trump than of any other “god,” I should be able to give tax-deductible gifts to the group.

And for sure, many football fans worship their team with much greater fervor than any god. So football tickets should be tax deductible.

Religion is something invented not by any supreme, magical entities in the sky but rather, by people.

Every culture down through the centuries seems to have invented religions. That is why there are, and have been, hundreds or even thousands of religions. Sun gods, moon gods, river gods, we have gods by the trainload. 

And no god is better or worse or more realistic than any other god.

The Romans and Greeks had many religons. Currently, we have such religions as Confucianism, Shinto, and Taoism. There are Japanese religions, Chinese, Korean, Mongolian, and Vietnamese religions.

We have invented Buddhism, Neo-Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Baháʼí, dozens of types of Christianity, Druze, Islam of various types, Khawarij, and Judaism of various types. And did I mention Mandaeism and Yazdânism?

Each little tribe hidden in the jungles of Africa and South America has its own religions. And by IRS definition, contributions to any of them would be tax deductible.

But why?

Why does the federal government wish to encourage these clubs, sects, groups, etc? Few of them are charities in the true sense of the word.

Most religions are nothing more than political groups hawking their gods, no different from the Dems and the GOP, selling their candidates.

The only thing that differentiates religions from Trump’s GOP is that religions are devoted to preaching myths. Hmmm. On second thought, maybe Trump’s GOP is a religion.

Judaism teaches that there are eight levels of charity. Look it up. The highest level is helping someone stand on their own gwo feet so they won’t need charity. The lowest level is to give unwillingly.

The other six levels involve different degrees of anonymity for the giver and for the recipient. For example, giving under the condition your gift will be announced to the world is a much lower level than giving anonymously.

But every level of charity involves giving to someone else, not to yourself. No level of charity involves giving to your own group, cult, clan, etc.

I’ll interrupt this discourse by saying I have no objection to charitable tax deductions. In fact, I consider all federal tax deductions to be economically beneficial.

The federal government has no need for your tax dollars so, in that sense, all deductions are good deductions. They all add stimulus dollars to the economy.

But if the primary purpose of federal taxes is to control the economy, I suggest that tax-deductible giving to religions is wrong.

It’s economically wrong because religions (most of them) are no different from advertising agencies or political parties.. They do everything agencies and political parties do and more. Religions often combine book and media publishing, radio stations, TV stations, real estate holdings, and speaking into massive income. 

But unlike secular publishers, broadcasters, real estate holders, and speakers, religions can receive tax-deductible contributions, giving them a huge economic advantage.

It’s legally wrong because giving preferential treatment to religious donations violates the Constitution’s establishment clause.

But most importantly, and ironically, it’s morally wrong because too many religions have a terrible moral history of murder, torture, various forms of corruption, and above all, bigotry.

And here is the latest immoral example to come to my notice. 

From Slate Magazine, Mark Joseph Stern, USING GOD TO DENY BASIC HEALTH CARE

Placing a boss’s claims of religious objections ahead of access to lifesaving medication is “morally and intellectu­ally repulsive,” said Mark Joseph Stern.

But a federal judge’s ruling last week that the government can’t require employers to cover PrEP antiretrov­iral drugs, which prevent HIV, could portend something far worse: bans on mandates for “almost any preventative care.”

A group of Texas plaintiffs argued that the Affordable Care Act’s rules made the complicit in potential “homosexual behavior,” drug use, and extramarital sex, violating their religious beliefs.

District Judge Reed O’Connor, known for trying to strike down the entire ACA in 2018, endorsed that argument.

But he also went further and ruled that the government agencies that decide on ACE requirements for preventative care lack the authority to create such policy.

The decision will be appealed. But it can give the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority “the opportunity it craves” to hobble these agencies.

All sorts of treatments — HIV tests, breast cancer screening, heart medication — could be next.

That would “shred the ACA,” and cause “grievous harm to millions of Americans.”

For example, if you are gay, and your boss’s religion bans gay sex, your company’s health insurance policy could refuse to cover any disease that came from your gay partner –not just AIDS but any disease. 

You go to the hospital for monkeypox? Your company insurance won’t cover it because you caught it from your gay partner, and your boss’s religion doesn’t recognize gay couplings.

And how far is this from denying insurance for someone of a different religion? After all, Muslims don’t recognize Hindus.

The Catholic hospital won’t accept you because you’re Hindu? The baker won’t bake your cake because you’re living together without official marriage? Here it comes.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Tax deductible gifts to religions cost the federal government money, just as Medicare for All would cost the government money.

Both those costs are economically beneficial because they leave money in the economy rather than taking money from the economy and giving it to the federal government, which destroys it.

Having the federal government pay for health care insurance is economically wiser than having businesses or individuals pay. When the government pays, it pumps growth dollars into the economy.

Further, the absence of comprehensive Medicare for All incentivizes businesses to pay for healthcare insurance, which gives them “moral” and religious power over employees.

We are seeing the return of government-backed bigotry disguised as “freedom of religion.”

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

Twitter: @rodgermitchell Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

The Ten Steps will grow the economy and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY