Medicare Ads and Other Inane Policies

Medicare Ads and Other Inane Policies

By Dr. Thomas Patterson |

We’ve all seen them, the Medicare TV ads exhorting seniors to apply for enhanced benefits. Government appears to be coaxing often reluctant retirees into greater dependence.

But this is a colossally bad idea, even for those of us who support helping citizens in their sunset years. It stimulates greed (it’s freeeee!) and entitlement in the demographic which government programs have already made into the most wealthy. It expands the reach of government into our lives.

But it’s worse than that. The ads are pitching benefits in a program already teetering on bankruptcy. Americans were told that their mandatory payroll contributions were put in a fund to finance payouts in retirement, but that was a lie. Politicians raided the trust long ago and today’s retirees are dependent on the (inadequate) contributions of today’s payers – yes, like any other welfare program.

The rational response would be reforms that include reducing expenses where possible. Instead, we spend untold millions to pump up program outlays. Not smart. Consequences to follow.

But screeching Medicare ads aren’t the only government initiative which, partisan disagreements aside, simply don’t make sense. Take electric cars. They’re touted as a big key to a carbon-free future. We’re pouring public funds into subsidies, charging stations and other enticement for owners.

We may disagree over the feasibility of carbon reduction strategies to ultimately reduce climate change, but it doesn’t matter. Electric cars aren’t the answer. They still require energy that must be produced somehow.

The pollutants may come from an electricity generating plant instead of a car’s exhaust, but the damage done isn’t greatly different. The environmental costs of battery production and disposal as well as the extra power sources needed to service a national fleet of autos make EVs an environmental loser.

But politicians use them anyway to bolster green credentials. Buyers like the subsidies, the perks and driving a cool car. Manufacturers are joining the ranks of the uber-rich. So, the beat goes on.

EVs could have some environmental benefit if nuclear generation sourced their electricity. Once again, stupidity intervenes.

The environmental Left decreed long ago that nuclear was off-limits. Nuclear power plants would henceforth be discouraged by excessive regulation and harassment. The strategy has basically worked, but it’s a shame.

It’s still true that nuclear is by far the most environmentally friendly, non-emitting energy source available. Nuclear-producing France pays 50% less for energy with 10% the amount of pollution experienced by Germany, which sanctimoniously exited the nuclear market years ago.

Here‘s more lunacy. A year ago, America had finally achieved energy independence, after decades of kowtowing to Arab sheiks and oil-rich autocrats . Within days, the Biden administration returned us to supplicant status. Pipeline permits were canceled, offshore drilling cut back and even the remote ANWR oil deposits were shut down.

Meanwhile, with our consent, Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline was approved, which will dominate Western Europe‘s natural gas supplies. Biden unsuccessfully begged OPEC to increase oil production, so US gas prices have predictably skyrocketed and a cold winter looms.

Again, the environmental benefits of our foolishness are nil. Pipelines are the most environmentally safe way of transporting natural gas. The fuels from Russia and the Middle East are no cleaner than ours.

We have more inane policies. Children too young to vote, drink, smoke or drive are now permitted to change their socially constructed gender by irreversibly altering their bodies-without parental consent.

$450,000 payouts are seriously proposed for illegal immigrants who were separated from their children in a humane effort to avoid mixing children with adults during detention. In spite of causing no known harm, GMO bans limit the amount of food available to starving Africans.

The driving force for these nutty, harmful policies is the relentless pursuit of electoral success by pandering to special interest groups. We’ve come a long ways from Thomas Jefferson’s vision of a “wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another…”

Listen to political analysts uncritically predicting the fate of multi-trillion dollar spending bills based solely on how the vote would affect legislators’ prospects for remaining in office another term.

It’s disgraceful, but we expect no more, so that’s what we get.

Long-Planned Rate Change Will Bring VLT Parity For Electric Cars, Traditional Vehicles

Long-Planned Rate Change Will Bring VLT Parity For Electric Cars, Traditional Vehicles

Changes to state law mean that drivers who purchase alternative fuel vehicles will pay the same vehicle license tax (VLT) rate as other drivers by 2023. The change in VLT rates is phased-in, starting Jan. 1, 2022.

The VLT is paid during vehicle registration and is assessed in place of a personal property tax often charged in other states. The VLT funds transportation infrastructure in Arizona, including highways, bridges and local roads, and contributes to the general funds of cities/towns and counties.

In 2019, the Legislature amended Arizona Revised Statute 28-5805 (link is external) . This implemented a phased-in approach for making the VLT formula used for alternative fuel vehicles the same one used currently for traditional cars and trucks, bringing fairness to VLT assessments. The changes in the formula will begin taking effect this coming January and be completely phased-in by 2023. The changes ensure that drivers of alternative fuel vehicles contribute to the preservation and maintenance of the state’s 7,000-mile highway system at the same rate as drivers of traditional vehicles. Bringing parity to VLT assessments is especially important for the continued maintenance and expansion of Arizona’s infrastructure as alternative fuel vehicles continue to increase in popularity in Arizona.

Under current state law, an alternative fuel vehicle registered before Jan. 1, 2022, will have its VLT calculated using 1% of the manufacturer’s base retail price of the vehicle. For an alternative fuel vehicle registered between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2022, the VLT will be calculated using 20% of the manufacturer’s base retail price of the vehicle. After Dec. 31, 2022, the formula used to calculate VLT for alternative fuel vehicles will be the same one used for other vehicles, as determined by ARS 28-5801 (link is external) .

What potential buyers of alternative fuel vehicles need to know

  • It’s important to note that the VLT formula attached to an alternative fuel vehicle is determined by vehicle registration date, which can be different from the purchase date. A temporary registration permit issued by a vehicle dealer qualifies as the registration date and must be issued before Jan. 1, 2022, for a vehicle to have its VLT calculated using the 1% formula.
  • For private party sales, new title documentation must be processed by an MVD or an Authorized Third Party office before Jan. 1, 2022, for the alternative fuel vehicle to have its VLT calculated using the 1% formula. Note: Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division offices will be closed Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday.

What current owners of alternative fuel vehicles need to know

  • A current owner of an Arizona-registered alternative fuel vehicle who makes no changes to their vehicle title will continue to have their car’s VLT calculated with the 1% formula. The VLT rate changes won’t affect these vehicles until a change is made to the vehicle title, triggering a new registration cycle.
  • The VLT formula attached to the alternative fuel vehicle will be changed to the current formula in use if a new registration cycle is established. Examples of this include but are not limited to: selling the car, transferring ownership, adding or removing an owner from the title, and a lease buy-out.
  • Paying off a vehicle loan and the lender’s name being removed from the title will not trigger a new registration cycle.