Follow Barack Obama prior and during his tenure as the 44th President of the United States. Read about my personal observations along with every day facts as they happen. This blog will only submit factual information about the first black President, now in his 2nd term of office.


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ObamaCare - UPHELD ! Supreme Court Says Laws are Legal

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Supreme Court, in a landmark ruling Thursday, upheld President Obama'shealth care overhaul, including the controversial requirement that most Americans have health insurance.
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Obamacare supporters celebrate as they respond to the Supreme Court ruling .

The court handed Obama a campaign-season victory in rejecting arguments that Congress went too far in requiring Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty.
Chief Justice John Roberts announced the court's judgment that allows the law to go forward with its aim of covering more than 30 million uninsured Americans.
The court, however, found problems with the law's expansion of Medicaid, but even there said the expansion could proceed as long as the federal government does not threaten to withhold states' entire Medicaid allotment if they don't take part in the law's extension.
The court's four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, joined Roberts in the outcome. Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.
Stocks of hospital companies moved sharply higher on the decision, including HCA Holdings[HCA  29.47    2.86  (+10.75%)  ]Community Health Systems [CYH  27.54    2.05 (+8.04%)   ] and Tenet Healthcare [THC  5.25   0.27  (+5.42%)   ].
Medicaid-related stocks such as Amerigroup [AGP 65.47    3.07  (+4.92%)   ]and Molina [MOH  23.16    1.84  (+8.63%)   ] also jumped.
Stocks of drug companies and medical device makers were slightly lower, as were the biggest insurance companies.
"This gives us clarity, which is what markets needed," said Todd Schoenberger, Managing Principal at the Blackbay Group in New York. "This resolved the uncertainty about health care."
"However," he added, "with that said, there seems to be some confusion on the ruling. I'm getting word that the mandate is looking like a tax, and if that is the case, that could hurt the economy and that won't help at all. Who knows how this impacts the election?"
The markets overall were sharply lower amid skepticism that European leaders would be able to form a solution to tackle the ongoing debt crisis.
"The Affordable Care Act's requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax," Chief Justice Roberts wrote for the court's majority in the opinion.
"Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness," he concluded.
In another part of the decision and in a blow to the White House, a different majority on the court struck down the provision of the law that requires the states to dramatically expand the Medicaid health insurance program for the poor.
The upholding of the insurance purchase requirement, known as the "individual mandate," was a major election-year victory for Obama, a historic ruling on the law that aimed to extend coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans.
The 2010 law constituted the $2.6 trillion U.S. healthcare system's biggest overhaul in nearly 50 years. Critics of the law had said it meddles too much in the lives of individuals and in the business of the states.
Twenty-six of the 50 U.S. states and a small business trade group challenged the law in court. The Supreme Court in March heard three days of historic arguments over the law's fate.
Supreme Court Health Care Ruling
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Pro-life activists, led by Rev. Pat Mahoney (2nd L) of Christian Defense Coalition, pray in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, DC.

The court's ruling on the law could figure prominently in the run-up to the Nov. 6 election in which Obama seeks a second four-year term against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who opposed the law.
The ruling produced a day of drama at the Supreme Court, as the justices read various parts of the opinions from the bench on the last day of the court's term.
Roberts concluded his 59-page opinion by writing: "The Framers (of the U.S. Constitution) created a federal government of limited powers and assigned to this court the duty of enforcing those limits," he wrote.
"The court does so today. But the court does not express any opinion on the wisdom of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Constitution, that judgment is reserved to the people," he said.
The healthcare case produced four different opinions, totaling 187 pages.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, renewed his vow to try to repeal the healthcare law.
"Today's ruling underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety," Boehner said in a statement just minutes after the court released its ruling.
Boehner's Republican-led House will likely vote to repeal the measure, but Obama's fellow Democrats in the Senate are certain to block it.
Obama and his fellow Democrats expended a great deal of energy and political capital in securing congressional passage of the measure over unified Republican opposition. The law is reviled by conservatives, who dubbed it "Obamacare."
The healthcare battle has been the most politically charged case before the Supreme Court since 2000, when the justices halted the Florida vote recount in a ruling that gave the Republican Bush the presidency over Democrat Al Gore.
Unlike healthcare in other rich countries, the U.S. system is a patchwork of private insurance and restrictive government programs that has left tens of millions of people uninsured.
The United States pays more on healthcare than any other country.


The Presidential Campaign Status - Polls show general election polls Obama over Romney

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Presidential campaign is getting at it's very critical stages, with only a few months to go before the general election. With this said, President Obama is leading Mitt Romney beyond the margin of error in several polls, especially in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Mitt Romney always seems to have to play catch up. Unfortunately for him, I do not believe that he has the ability to catch up and I'll tell you why.
Romney calls the 'president out of touch'. But Mitt Romney so is tone deaf to think that he can flash his Swiss bank account amongst Ohio voters and beat President Obama. The President's margin in Ohio should continue to grow. Romney was the guy that said that the auto industry needed to go bankrupt. People would be out of work. But thanks to President Obama, a plant that makes the Chevy Cruise at the Lordstown Ohio plant is now flourishing with 3 shifts of workers. In a nearby city called Youngstown Ohio, there is a steel mill there that plans to reopen. Since their closings many years ago, Youngstown has become a ghost town of sorts. I know because that is my home town, and I know first hand what happened to the city, and to my own family when dad was laid off from work as a foreman at the US Steel plant.
So what happens if Mitt Romney does not win Ohio in the general election? If I can interject some history in elections here, no candidate has every won the Presidency, either Democrat or Republican without winning the state of Ohio. Ever!!!.   Let's add a little more history. No person has ever won the Presidency since 1960 if the candidate did not win at least two of the three states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. So the challenge for Mitt Romney is overwhelming. President Obama leads in all three of those states by a widening margin.
One way that Mitt Romney is trying to even the field, he along with the Republicans are attempting to find people in those important states and disqualify them from voting. Today, a judge in a court in Florida has voted in the Repulicans favor. The judge believes that the state has the right to ban specific voters from voting, even though those same voters have voted year after year. How do you tell a senior citizen in Florida, who obviously has had the right to vote for the last 40-50 years now, that he or she now doesn't have that right. The whole idea of limiting voters from voting is utterly senseless, but the court system sometimes makes bad decisions.
Tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will vote on President Obama's Health care plan. The mandate to force people to sign up for insurance may be overturned, or the entire law may be overturned. If just the mandate is overturned and citizens now have the right to refuse coverage, that will technically doom the entire bill. Why? Because insurance companies will push to remove the entire law. They are in agreement with everyone having to accept coverage, but if people have a chose to choose whether they want it or not, not realizing that if they do not have insurance, that their own lives may be in jeapordy. If the insurance companies now regain the right to choose who they will insure, the people who didn't want the coverage may be the ones most volnerable later when they need the coverages.
The U.S. Supreme Court will be making one of the most important decisions that they can or have ever made. This happens tomorrow. This will also define exactly how and what you can expect from the U.S. supreme court in the future.
It is now less than 24 hours and then every citizen will know their fate as far as their health insurance to go forward from this point.

As far as I believe, I believe that the U.S. Supreme court will uphold the decision to keep the plan as it stands, and I'll say it with a vote of 6 to 3. It will be an enorumus undertaking for 5 of the Justices to vote down the health care plan. I am optimistic. Justice Scolia may be the only Justice to take a 'NAY' vote on the Health insurance plan.
President Obama will then be vindicated and he will now be able to fully concentrate on his reelection campaign.


Heath Care Law being Voted On by The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

President Obama's most championed bill will be in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court as on Thrusday they will rule on the constitutioality of the law. The decision will have an immediate and long-term impact on all Americans. It will affect how you get medicine and your health care. The drama cannot be overstated. It is the most difficult case that the Supreme Court justices have to rule on. The fate of health care is literally in their hands. The bill is most championed by President Barack Obama. It is the culmination of 3 days of hearings that the Supreme Court heard back in March concering the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Act was supported by the Democrats and overwhelmingly opposed by the Republicans. The challenge focused primarily on the law's requirement that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine. The mandate that requires people to purchase health insurance is the primary concern of both the supporters and detractors of the law. It was designed to reduce health care costs, expand coverage and protect consumers.
A wide range of reforms will take place if the law stands, one of which will ban insurance companies from providing coverages to pre-existing conditions. The law will also not allow insurance companies from setting a dollar limit on health insurance payoffs. There will be no additional cost for preventative care.
With the law, people are required to buy health insurance either from their employers or a state-sponsored exchange. If you do not purchase insurance, you will face a fine starting in 2014. It requires that healthy people still pay in their plans even when healthy so that contribute in their plans whether they are healthy or not.
Presently, there are 26 states lead by Florida that claim that they cannot be inforced to buy health insurance, as some may feel that they neither want or need it.
Most polls show that a majority oppose the health care reform law, and some people have no opinion. In a march CNN/ORC poll, 76% of the people say that not passing the law by the Supreme court will not have an effect on who they vote for President in November.


Tax hikes ahead? Be prepared

Monday, June 25, 2012

The only thing certain about the tax code these days is, well, the uncertainty of it all. If Congress doesn’t take action before the end of the year, federal tax increases will go into effect next year, raising levies on income, capital gains, dividends, wages, gifts, estates, and more.
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Here’s an overview of some of the key tax policy issues to keep on your radar screen. Then for specific strategies to consider in preparation, read Viewpoints: Prepare for tax changes. 

Lower tax rates are set expire at the end of 2012

Most observers agree that Congress is going to have a hard time addressing tax and budget issues before the November elections, says Shahira Knight, Fidelity’s vice president of government relations. "More likely, action will wait until a lame-duck session of Congress, or 2013, and that’s unsettling for investors and the markets,” she notes. “It may be a roller-coaster ride as key deadlines approach.”
So where does that leave you as a taxpayer and investor? “A good approach is to be prepared for a range of possibilities, and to start now,” says Jim Buza, vice president of guidance and advice for Fidelity. “That’s really what you should do in any climate, but it’s especially critical now.” To get started, use our tax calculator to the right to estimate how you might be impacted.
The tax cuts enacted by Congress in 2001 and 2003—often referred to as the Bush tax cuts—provided a broad range of tax relief, including lower tax rates on income, long-term capital gains, and qualified dividends. We dodged the expiration of these lower taxes back in 2010 when Congress extended the tax cuts for two years (through 2012). Now cuts are set to expire on December 31, 2012, and any action will likely come down to the wire as it did in 2010.
It’s difficult to predict what will happen, but three scenarios are possible:
  1. All the tax cuts could expire if Congress and the president fail to reach an agreement before December 31. In this case, the new Congress could act in 2013 to reinstate some of or all the tax cuts.
  2. The tax cuts could be extended temporarily, giving Congress time to act on a permanent solution—possibly by reforming the tax code.
  3. Some type of compromise could be reached in the lame duck session, with some taxes extended or modified and others allowed to expire.
One area of uncertainty is income tax rates. Without action, the 25%, 28%, 33%, and 35% tax rates will increase, and the 10% tax bracket will go away.
The tax rates on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends, which are currently 15% (0% for taxpayers in the lowest two income brackets) are also set to change. Without Congressional action, the long-term capital gains rate would revert to 20% for most taxpayers and to 10% for those in the 15% income tax bracket in 2013. Qualified dividends, meanwhile, would go back to being taxed as ordinary income, so for some investors, the top tax rate could rise to 39.6%
Estate and gift taxes also were part of the 2001 tax cuts. For 2012, beneficiaries have to pay estate tax on amounts over $5.12 million at a top rate of 35%. The exemption is scheduled to revert to $1 million in 2013, and the top rate will increase to 55%.
The limitation on certain itemized deductions (known as Pease, named for the congressman who helped create the legislation) and the phaseout of personal exemptions (known as PEP, personal exemption phaseout) also need to be addressed. These provisions have the effect of further increasing the tax rate of people in higher income tax brackets. PEP and Pease are currently suspended, but they will come back in 2013 unless Congress acts.
A long list of other taxes could also be impacted. For example, without congressional action, the child tax credit will be reduced, and marriage penalty relief will expire, as will a host of tax benefits for education, adoption, and dependent care.
The prevailing sentiment among lawmakers in both parties, according to Knight, seems to be to avoid increasing taxes on middle-income households—but the definition of middle income hasn’t been agreed upon. The president defines it as single tax filers with incomes below $200,000 and joint tax filers with incomes below $250,000. Others have said the line should be drawn at $1 million, notes Knight. The real disagreement is about what happens to taxes affecting higher earners with incomes above these levels. However, if Congress and the president gridlock and fail to act, the tax cuts will expire for everyone—including middle- and lower-income families.

Many tax provisions have already expired and need to be extended

Several popular tax provisions expired at the end of 2011. These provisions have routinely been extended in the past, but because of the tight budget situation, lawmakers will be scrutinizing them more closely, and some of the provisions may not be renewed. Here are a few of the items on the bubble:
  • The option to deduct state and local sales taxes on your federal return instead of state and local income taxes.
  • The ability to make tax-free individual retirement account (IRA) distributions to qualified charities at age 70½.
  • Various energy efficiency tax credits.
  • The ability to deduct mortgage insurance premiums on your federal tax return.
The alternative minimum tax (AMT) patch is another item that has yet to be renewed for 2012. Without it, the exemption amount will drop to the 2000 level of $45,000 from last year’s $74,450 for couples filing jointly. If that happens, about 31 million taxpayers would have to pay at least some AMT in 2012, compared to 4 million in 2011.1

New taxes from health care reform

Among the many provisions of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 are tax increases on higher earners to defray the cost of the legislation. Unless the health care reform law is overturned in its totality by the Supreme Court or changed by Congress, the tax provisions will take effect in 2013. (Read Viewpoints: Supreme Court and health care: what it means.)
First, the employee’s share of the Medicare payroll tax will increase to 2.35% from 1.45% on wages above $200,000 (single filers) and $250,000 (joint filers). Second, taxpayers will owe a new 3.8% tax on their net investment income (including interest, dividends, capital gains, annuities, royalties, certain rents, and certain other passive business income) on modified adjusted gross income (AGI) above $200,000 (single filers) and $250,000, (joint filers). This new 3.8% tax will be imposed on the lesser of a taxpayer’s net investment income or on the amount of their modified AGI above those amounts.

How to prepare

All these tax provisions, and many others, will be in play as the end of the year approaches and Congress debates how to address the nation’s budget challenges. Rather than try to predict how the debate will turn out, your time probably would be better spent focusing on sound tax planning that can serve you well in multiple scenarios, says Buza.

Next steps

The tax information and estate planning information contained herein is general in nature, is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Fidelity does not provide estate planning, legal, or tax advice. Fidelity cannot guarantee that such information is accurate, complete, or timely. Laws of a particular state or laws that may be applicable to a particular situation may have an impact on the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of such information. Federal and state laws and regulations are complex and are subject to change. Changes in such laws and regulations may have a material impact on pre- and/or after-tax investment results. Fidelity makes no warranties with regard to such information or results obtained by its use. Fidelity disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or any tax position taken in reliance on, such information. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.
1. The Fidelity® Personalized Portfolios service applies tax-sensitive investment management techniques (including tax-loss harvesting) on a limited basis, at its discretion, primarily with respect to determining when assets in a client’s account should be bought or sold. Because it is a discretionary investment management service, any assets contributed to an investor’s account that Fidelity Personalized Portfolios does not elect to retain may be sold at any time after contribution. An investor may have a gain or loss when assets are sold.


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