I Went Looking For Valerie And Found Gamaliel…

I Went Looking For Valerie And Found Gamaliel…

I was perusing Valerie Jarrett videos on YouTube and found one where she is giving a speech to ‘Realizing The Promise‘, a group a 2500 community organizers who went to Washington on 12.4.08 to speak with elected officials and shape the agenda for the congress and new administration.  When I watched the video above,  I realized that they have opened a #10 can of whoop ass and do not even realize it.

…understanding that ordinary people, when they come together around a common vision, with common goals, and common beliefs can do extraordinary things.

That statement sounds extraordinarily similar to the 9.12 Project and the upcoming March on Washington, D.C.

During the course of the research of one simple topic, many stepping stones have popped up to explore and this particular article could go on and on the way I am apt to do.  In the hopes of not boring my readers too much, I am going to keep this post to just a few topics; introductions to Valerie Jarrett, Gamaliel Foundation, and Economic Policy Institute.  For those of you that would like to watch the vids of the Realizing the Promise Forum on 12.4.08, you will find the links at the end of this post.

Now without further ado, Valerie Jarrett, (or as I like to call her, Obama’s second wife).

AKA Valerie Bowman

Born: 14-Nov1956
Birthplace: Shiraz, Iran

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: Black [1]
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business, Government
Party Affiliation: Democratic [2]

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: White House Office of Public Liaison

Tom Leonard, “Valerie Jarrett Leads Barack Obama’s Influential Black Advisers”, London Telegraph, 6 November 2008: “In one of his first appointments, Mr. Obama named Valerie Jarrett — an African American businesswoman, senior advisor and close family friend — as one of the leaders of his White House transition team.”

Treasurer for the Hopefund, Barack Obama PAC.

Husband: William Robert Jarrett (m. 1983, div. 1988, one daughter)
Daughter: Laura

High School: Northfield Mount Hermon School, Northfield, MA (1974)
Law School: BA, Stanford University (1978)
Law School: JD, University of Michigan Law School (1981)
Administrator: Trustee, University of Chicago

White House Staff Director, Office of Public Liaison (2009-)
The Habitat Company President and CEO (2007-09)
The Habitat Company EVP (1995-2007)
Illinois State Official Chairman, Chicago Transit Authority (1995-2003)
Illinois State Official Chicago Department of Planning and Development Commissioner
Illinois State Official Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley
Illinois State Official Chicago Deputy Corporation Counsel, Finance and Development
Member of the Board of Chicago Stock Exchange (2000-07, as Chairman, 2004-07)
Member of the Board of Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (2006-07)
Member of the Board of Navigant Consulting, Inc.
Member of the Board of USG (1998-)
Chicago Museum of Science and Industry Trustee
Carol Moseley Braun for President
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
German Marshall Fund Board of Directors
John Kerry for President
Joyce Foundation Board of Directors
New Leadership for America PAC
Obama for America
Obama for Illinois

So…..of course I went over to Realizing The Promise’s website and found that the Gamaliel Foundation was a presenter of the 12.4.08 forum.  Enter Saul Alinsky (again).

Gamaliel Foundation
Chicago, Illinois

  • Network of grassroots organizations working to bring about social change
  • Models its tactics after those of the radical Sixties activist Saul Alinsky

The stated mission of the Gamaliel Foundation (GF) is “to be a powerful network of grassroots, interfaith, interracial, multi-issue organizations working together to create a more just and more democratic society.” Predicated on the notion that America is a land rife with injustice, GF agitates for social change by supporting the efforts of a network of organizations (the Gamaliel Network) whose goal is to allow for individuals to “effectively participate” in the political, environmental, social and economic arenas. GF offers, for its network affiliates, programs to teach techniques and methodologies for bringing about social change; ongoing consultations; and organizer recruitment campaigns.

The Gamaliel Foundation derives its name from the biblical figure who, according to the New Testament, chastised the Jewish Sanhedrin (rabbinical court) for wanting to give the death penalty to Jesus’s apostles. Says GF, “We work in the hope and the confidence that this work is of God.” GF was established in 1968 to support the Contract Buyers League, an African American organization fighting to protect homeowners on Chicago’s West Side who had been discriminated against by banks and lending institutions.

The Gamaliel Network receives much of its funding from the leftist group Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). Yet according to the Roman Catholic Faithful website, GF’s “goals and philosophies are at fundamental odds with Church teaching.” GF endorses “scriptural relativism“and “encourage[s] a wide range of scriptural interpretations.”

The Gamaliel Foundation models itself after the activism of the 1960s radical Saul Alinsky, who authored the books Reveille for Radicals (1946), The Professional Radical (1970), and Rules for Radicals (1971). Alinsky’s prescription for effective organizing consisted of the following elements: (a) Develop a “trade union in the social factory” to serve as a vehicle by which people in the neighborhood can bargain, strike, and struggle to advance their agendas; (b) create a power-oriented community organization willing to use militant, confrontational tactics; and (c) promote a democratic organization where organizers do not themselves lead, but rather develop local leaders so as to create the veneer of self-determination and grassroots democracy.

GF likens its own mission to that of the biblical apostle Paul. “In Corinthians,” explains GF, “Paul states, ‘I am Paul, a disciple of Gamaliel.’ Saul Alinsky made all of his organizers read the letters of Paul because he regarded his namesake to be one of the greatest organizers of all time.”

The Gamaliel Foundation takes a strong stand against current homeland security measures and immigration restrictions. In September of 2003, for example, Ana Garcia-Ashley, GF’s Director of Civil Rights for Immigrants, described the Patriot Act as an “attack on immigrants.” Moreover, GF seeks to persuade the U.S. government to “legalize and provide rights to tax-paying [illegal] immigrants in this country.” “We support any immigration legislation,” adds GF, “that secures the civil rights of all immigrants; leads to the legalization of undocumented persons; provides for full labor protection and labor rights of immigrants; ends the inhumane detention and warehousing of asylum seekers; ends deportation for minor offenses; encourages family unity; provides security of our borders; includes humane border enforcement policies; [and] protects the civil liberties of all people.”

The Gamaliel Foundation is a sponsoring organization of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride Coalition, which seeks to secure ever-expanding rights and civil liberties protections for illegal immigrants, and policy reforms that diminish or eliminate restrictions on immigration.

At its 2003 National Leadership Assembly in Milwaukee, GF assembled a large number of leftist religious leaders to launch a voter drive against the incumbent Bush administration. At the event, featured speaker Rev. Tommie Pierson of Metropolitan Congregations United stated that he looked forward to the sound “of furniture being moved out of the White House.” Also attending the event were Democratic Senator Russ Feingold and Democratic Presidential candidate and Progressive Caucus member Dennis Kucinich.

Gregory Galluzzo, a former Jesuit priest, is the Executive Director of the Gamaliel Foundation. In 1980 Galluzzo co-founded, along with his wife Mary Gonzalez, a Chicago Latino activist organization called the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO). Today, Ms. Gonzalez is the Gamaliel Foundation’s Director of Western Territory. UNO, also modeled after Alinsky’s methods, is known for using aggressive organizing and confrontational tactics to push for change.

The President of the Board of the Gamaliel Foundation is Ann Smith, who in 1985 became the first black female to win a statewide election in Illinois when she was voted onto the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

The Gamaliel Foundation receives grants from the Bauman Family Foundation, the Public Welfare Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Ford Foundation, George Soros‘s Open Society Institute, and others.

From Gamaliel’s own website:

CCRC, which spanned communities in Northwest Indiana, the South Suburbs and parts of the City of Chicago proved to be unwieldy. Jerry and I decided to split it into three parts. Barack would work to found a new independent project in the South side of Chicago, Mike Kruglik would be the director of the South Suburban Action Conference and Jerry Kellman would develop organizing in Northwest Indiana. At that point Jerry asked me to become Barack’s consultant.

And at this time we were just creating the Gamaliel Foundation. I met with Barack on a regular basis as he incorporated the Developing Communities Project, as he moved the organization into action and as he developed the leadership structure for the organization. He would write beautiful and brilliant weekly reports about his work and the people he was engaging.

When Barack decided to go to Harvard Law School, he approached John McKnight, a professor at Northwestern and a Gamaliel Board member for a letter of recommendation. When Barack was leaving he made sure that Gamaliel was the formal consultant to the organization that he had created and to the staff that he had hired.

Barack has acknowledged publicly that he had been the director of a Gamaliel affiliate. He has supported Gamaliel throughout the years by conducting training both at the National Leadership Training events and at the African American Leadership Commission. He has also attended our public meetings.

I am sure there is more to Gamaliel, but there are only so many hours in the day and many stepping stones to explore.  The next introduction that needs to be made is for the Economic Policy Institute that was part of the Realizing the Promise Forum which actually led me back to where I started a week ago, Campaign For America’s Future.  Peruse the board of directors of this think tank, the unions involved, and a few of the bios, and then let’s see where it leads you.

Economic Policy Institute

EPI Board of Directors

Rebecca M. Blank, University of Michigan
Barry Bluestone, Northeastern University
R. Thomas Buffenbarger, International Association of Machinists & Allied Workers (IAMAW)
Larry Cohen, Communications Workers of America (CWA)
Ernesto J. Cortes, Jr., Industrial Areas Foundation
Jeff Faux, Economic Policy Institute
Leo W. Gerard, United Steelworkers of America (USWA)
Ron Gettelfinger, United Auto Workers (UAW)
Teresa Ghilarducci, The New School for Social Research
Ernest Green, Lehman Brothers
Alexis Herman, New Ventures
Robert Johnson
Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect
Donna R. Lenhoff, National Employment Lawyers Assoc.
Julianne Malveaux, Bennett College
Ray Marshall, University of Texas, Austin
Ed McElroy, American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
Gerald W. McEntee, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
Lawrence Mishel, Economic Policy Institute
Debra Ness, National Partnership for Women and Families
Pedro Noguera, New York University
Jules O. Pagano, American Income Life
Manuel Pastor, University of Southern California
Bernard Rapoport, Bernard & Audre Rapoport Foundation
Bruce S. Raynor, UNITE HERE
Robert B. Reich, University of California, Berkeley
Rep. Linda T. Sánchez, U.S. House of Representatives
William Spriggs, Howard University
Andrew L. Stern, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Richard L. Trumka, AFL-CIO
Raul Yzaguirre, Arizona State University

Alexis HermanAlexis Herman
New Ventures
Alexis Herman was the first African American to become the secretary of labor, serving during President Bill Clinton’s second term. In 1989, Herman joined the Democratic National Committee as chief of staff and by 1992 was the CEO of the Democratic National Convention. After Clinton’s election in 1992, Herman was appointed assistant to the president and director of the White House Public Liaison Office in 1993.

Robert Johnson
Robert Johnson
Robert Johnson serves on the Boards of the Democracy Alliance, The Institute for Americas Future, and the Brennan Center for Justice. He was formerly a partner in Impact Artist Management and President of Bottled MaJic Music, a recording label and music publishing enterprise. Dr. Johnson served as a managing director of Soros Fund Management; he’s also worked as Chief Economist for the Senate Banking and Budget Committees.
Robert Kuttner
Robert Kuttner
The American Prospect
Mr. Kuttner is the co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect and regularly writes on political and economic issues. He is also a co-founder of the Economic Policy Institute. In 1996 he was the winner of the Paul Hoffman Award for Human Development of the United Nations, for his work on the relationship of economic efficiency to social equality.
Raul Yzaguirre

Raul Yzaguirre
Arizona State University
Raul Yzaguirre is presidential professor of practice in community development and civil rights at Arizona State University. Yzaguirre is one of the most widely recognized national leaders in the Hispanic community, having served as long-time president and chief executive officer of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).

I will continue to dig on EPI because I have seen very interesting amounts of money going to this think tank from the NEA and the unions, but it appears that nobody has really dug on this organization.

What I found interesting was the following from DiscoverTheNetworks.  Please take your time reading this and recognize the emphasized names; i.e, Apollo Alliance, ACORN, Midwest Academy, etc.

Campaign For America’s Future (CAF)

  • Progressive organization that supports increased taxes to pay for an ever-growing number of social welfare programs
  • Has received funding from George Soros

Working to “revitalize a progressive agenda” and to “expose the conservative agenda that has made things worse,” Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization that supports tax hikes, socialized medicine, and a dramatic expansion of social welfare programs. UndueInfluence.com describes CAF as a “labor-dominated lobbying and electoral network heavily influenced by progressive plutocrats and secret donors working on anti-corporate, anti-military, welfare-state, and other ‘progressive’ programs.”

CAF was co-founded in 1996 by: (a) Robert Borosage, who previously served as Director of the Institute for Policy Studies and founded the Progressive Majority Political Action Committee; and (b) Roger Hickey, who co-founded the Economic Policy Institute and was the Media Director for the National Center for Economic Alternatives. Borosage and Hickey also co-founded CAF’s sister organization, Institute for America’s Future (IAF) in 1999.

CAF (in conjunction with IAF) focuses its efforts on the following major issues and projects:

(a) Healthcare for All: “47 million Americans remain uninsured and millions of families are plunged into bankruptcy when serious illness strikes. Everyone in America deserves high quality, affordable health insurance. That’s why [CAF] is launching a national effort to discuss and debate progressive solutions to the [challenge] of covering all Americans.”

(b) Revitalizing Education: While criticizing the Bush Administration’s “No Child Left Behind Act” of 2001, CAF supports an across-the-board increase in federal funding for public education. Specifically, the organization calls for “universal pre-school care [including] health and nutritional programs in addition to traditional academic development activities”; “the expansion of Head Start to all qualified applicants”; “immediate increases in federal school construction and maintenance funds”; “a student-teacher ratio of 15 to 1”; higher pay for new teachers and for “skilled/experienced teachers … working in disadvantaged areas”; “universal access to after-school programs [which] will require increased investment at the local, state and national level”; and more “grants and subsidized loans” for higher education.

(c) Protecting Social Security: CAF seeks to “educate the public about Social Security and the pitfalls of privatization.”

(d) Accountable Congress: In 2005, CAF purchased television airtime to broadcast commercials demanding the removal of then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for ethics violations. The ads solicited donations of up to $2,500. Says CAF: “Tom DeLay is finally gone, and we’re not stopping there. We’re turning our guns on DeLay’s successors—with the same unapologetic and sustained campaigns to expose their corruption and make them accountable to their constituents.”

(e) Straight Talk: CAF produces both online and print media “designed to serve up ammunition to progressives who have the opportunity to challenge the grip that the right has had on our imaginations and our policies over the past quarter century.”

(f) Energy Independence: CAF helped create the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of labor, environmental, and social justice groups professing a commitment to the development of “good jobs and energy independence.” United by their belief that America is a chief source of worldwide “environmental disruption, rising social inequity, and … fundamentalist anger,” Apollo Alliance’s endorsing organizations and partners include Greenpeace, the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Wildlife Federation, the Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and ACORN. Apollo Alliance’s National Steering Committee and National Advisory Board members include, among others, Robert Borosage, Carl Pope of the Sierra Club, Julian Bond of the NAACP, Gerry Hudson of the Service Employees International Union, and U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. Apollo Alliance has also received strong support from the socialist Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, and from New York Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.

(g) Each year, CAF holds a “Take Back America” conference, which the organization describes as “a catalyst for building the infrastructure to ensure that the voice of the progressive majority is heard.” In 2005, prominent speakers at this conference included Howard Dean, Antonio Villaraigosa, John Edwards, Jesse Jackson, Arianna Huffington, and Bill Moyers. CAF credits “Take Back America 2006” with helping to secure progressive wins in that year’s midterm congressional elections. Participants in the 2006 event included John Kerry, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Russ Feingold, Bernie Sanders, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jan Schakowsky, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. Topping the agenda for CAF’s “Take Back America 2007” event were the issues of “affordable education and health care for all”; “the right to join a union”; and “pushing for a vote to get U.S. troops out of the middle of the civil war in Iraq.”

In the 2004 presidential election, CAF partnered with both the Democratic Party and a number of far-left special interest groups in a campaign to oppose tax cuts. The Democratic National Committee stated, “The Democratic Party is partnering with MoveOn.org, People for the American Way, Campaign for America’s Future, and dozens of other groups representing millions of Americans to organize a massive public mobilization … [J]oin us by calling and emailing your representatives in Congress to let them know that the majority of Americans oppose more irresponsible tax cuts …”

CAF also endorsed “Invest in America,” an anti-tax-cut statement supported by: ACORN; Alliance For Justice; the American Friends Service Committee; the Center for Community Change; the Center For Women’s Policy Studies; the Children’s Defense Fund; the Democratic Socialists of America; the Environmental Working Group; the League of United Latin American Citizens; the League of Women Voters; the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund; the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy; the National Council of La Raza; the National Lawyers Guild; the National Organization for Women; the National Women’s Law Center; the Older Women’s League; Peace Action; Physicians for Social Responsibility; Planned Parenthood; Public Citizen; the Service Employees International Union; the United States Student Association; Veterans For Peace; and Women’s Action for New Directions.

CAF’s co-founders (in addition to Borosage and Sweeney) and advisors include, among others: Peter Barnes of Redefining Progress/Working Assets; Ann Beaudry of People for the American Way; Mary Frances Berry, former Chairman of U.S. Civil Rights Commission; Susan Bianchi-Sand of the National Committee on Pay Equity; Julian Bond of the NAACP; Heather Booth, founder of the Midwest Academy; John Cavanagh of the Institute for Policy Studies; Jeff Cohen of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting; Mitchell Cohen, the co-editor of Dissent magazine; Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group; Barbara Ehrenreich, Honorary Chairman of the Democratic Socialists of America; Columbia School of Journalism professor Todd Gitlin; Heidi Hartmann, President of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research; longtime radical leftist Tom Hayden; Bullitt Foundation President Denis Hayes; former National Organization for Women President Patricia Ireland; Illinois congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.; Rev. Jesse Jackson; Robert Kuttner of the American Prospect; Harold Meyerson, Vice-Chairman of Democratic Socialists of America; former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich; Arlie Schardt, President of Environmental Media Services; Susan Shaer, Executive Director of Women’s Action for New Directions; Andrew Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union; John J. Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO; and Leslie R. Wolfe of the Center for Women Policy Studies. The late feminist icon Betty Friedan also served as an advisor to CAF.

A notable Senior Fellow for CAF is Rick Perlstein, a political commentator for the Village Voice.

CAF has received funding from George Soros, the Agnes Gund Foundation, the Arca Foundation, and the Rockefeller Family Fund.

In March 2008, CAF presented its Lifetime Leadership Award to Norman Lear, recognizing him “for his work as both a groundbreaking television producer and an outspoken progressive activist and benefactor”; for “fighting the rising influence of the religious right in American politics”; and for founding People for the American Way, “an organization that has been a staunch critic of the right and a fierce defender of the principle that progressive Americans must have their faith and their patriotism acknowledged and respected.” CAF also honored Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky “for her advocacy in Congress.”

At its March 2008 “Take Back America” conference in Washington, DC, CAF joined six fellow leftist organizations in announcing plans for “the most expensive [$350 million] mobilization in history this election season” — an initiative that focused on voter registration, education, and get-out-the-vote drives. The other members of CAF’s coalition included MoveOn.org, Rock the Vote, ACORN, the National Council of La Raza, the Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund, and the AFL-CIO.

I am going to stop right here because the well is deep and the web is a tapestry.  What I find extraordinarily sad is that the liberal left wing of the Progressive Socialist Democratic Party has signed on for such an all or nothing battle.  Do they not realize that there are indies and former republicans that actually do agree on some issues with them?  They act like Bush, “You are either with us or against us.”  Sorry state of affairs.

Realizing The Promise Forum Video:

The Meaning of this Political Moment Part 1

Get Ready For The Health Choices Commissioner

This administration’s version of the healthcare reform absolutely, positively, must be decimated because even more power will flow to the Executive Branch of our government and they are already so far over the line that I personally cannot believe people have not been dragged out in handcuffs already.  The middle and right of this country have some d*** fine manners and political correctness.

I also cannot keep up with the crap coming out of this administration so commentary will be at a minimum.  I will say this though; this administration is currently retreating so fast to find a hold point, that the 9.12 March on Washington, D.C. will cement the momentum we have achieved so far.  Make sure that if you cannot attend the Mother of all Tea Parties, you get your behinds off the couch and go to one in your town or city!

Make sure to go over to CNS and read the whole article.

Health Care Bill Gives Obama Power to Appoint Government ‘Commissioner’ With Sweeping Power to Dictate Health Coverage

(CNSNews.com) – The health care bill under consideration in the House of Representatives would give President Obama the authority to name a new federal “Health Choices Commissioner” who would have sweeping power to govern the health insurance plans offered in a so-called “exchange” where millions of Americans would get their health insurance if the bill is enacted.

These powers would include deciding which treatments are covered, which companies can participate, which states can run their own exchange, and enrolling individuals into the public exchange.

Though the bill, House Resolution 3200, faces many political hurdles, it has passed three House committees and could be ready for a floor vote after Congress returns from recess. The overhaul package calls for establishing a health insurance exchange where people earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level will be able to purchase health insurance with the help of federal subsidies. This exchange would include a “public option” government-run health care plan as well as private plans that provide a minimum benefits package dictated by the government.

The Health Choices Commissioner would establish “the benefits to be made available under Exchange-participating health benefit plans during each plan year,” according to page 84 of the 1,018-page bill. That means the commissioner would determine what benefits the participating insurance companies must offer participating customers in the exchange.

The commissioner would also set rules for insurance companies to participate in the health insurance exchange, and establish criteria for individuals to receive federal subsidies to purchase insurance in the exchange, according to section 142 on page 42 of the legislation.

Further, the commissioner would have the authority to establish “automatic enrollment” of individuals who qualify for the health insurance exchange.

“The Commissioner shall provide a process under which individuals who are Exchange-eligible individuals described in subparagraph (B) are automatically enrolled under an appropriate Exchange participating health benefits plan,” the legislation says, beginning on page 97. “Such process may involve a random assignment or some other form of assignment that takes into account the health care providers used by the individual involved or such other relevant factors as the Commissioner may specify.”

The exchange eligible individuals [determined by subparagraph (B)] include someone who “has not opted out from receiving such affordability credit,” someone who “does not otherwise enroll in another exchange participating health benefits plan,” and someone “enrolled in an Exchange-participating plan that is terminated (during or at the end of the plan year) and who does not otherwise enroll in another Exchange participating health benefits plan.”

The IRS Is The Underlying Foundation Of Obamacare

We work until mid August to pay “our debt” to the federal government.  It sure looks like slavery or indentured servitude to me, but if the fascists in control get their version of a bill rammed down our throats, your fear of the IRS will grow exponentially.  Does anybody else think that working 3/4 of the year for the Federal Government, the Debt, the Federal Reserve, and the Deficit is somehow not what our Founding Fathers envisioned?

Health care reform means more power for the IRS
By Byron York – Washington Examiner

There’s been a lot of discussion about the new and powerful federal agencies that would be created by the passage of a national health care bill. The Health Choices Administration, the Health Benefits Advisory Committee, the Health Insurance Exchange — there are dozens in all.

But if the plan envisioned by President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats is enacted, the primary federal bureaucracy responsible for implementing and enforcing national health care will be an old and familiar one: the Internal Revenue Service. Under the Democrats’ health care proposals, the already powerful — and already feared — IRS would wield even more power and extend its reach even farther into the lives of ordinary Americans, and the presidentially-appointed head of the new health care bureaucracy would have access to confidential IRS information about millions of individual taxpayers.

In short, health care reform, as currently envisioned by Democratic leaders, would be built on the foundation of an expanded and more intrusive IRS.

Under the various proposals now on the table, the IRS would become the main agency for determining who has an “acceptable” health insurance plan; for finding and punishing those who don’t have such a plan; for subsidizing individual health insurance costs through the issuance of a tax credits; and for enforcing the rules on those who attempt to opt out, abuse, or game the system. A substantial portion of H.R. 3200, the House health care bill, is devoted to amending the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 in order to give the IRS the authority to perform these new duties.

The Democrats’ plan would require all Americans to have “acceptable” insurance coverage (the legislation includes long and complex definitions of “acceptable”) and would designate the IRS as the agency charged with enforcing that requirement. On your yearly 1040 tax return, you would be required to attest that you have “acceptable” coverage. Of course, you might be lying, or simply confused about whether or not you are covered, so the IRS would need a way to check your claim for accuracy. Under current plans, insurers would be required to submit to the IRS something like the 1099 form in which taxpayers report outside income. The IRS would then check the information it receives from the insurers against what you have submitted on your tax form.

If it all matches up, you’re fine. If it doesn’t, you will hear from the IRS. And if you don’t have “acceptable” coverage, you will be subject to substantial fines — fines that will be administered by the IRS.

Under some versions of health reform now circulating on Capitol Hill, the IRS would also be intimately involved in how you pay for insurance. Everyone would be required to buy coverage. The millions of Americans who can’t afford it would receive a subsidy to pay for it. Under the version of the plan currently under negotiation in the Senate Finance Committee, that subsidy would come through the IRS in the form of a refundable tax credit. Under the House plan, the subsidy would come directly from the Health Choices Administration.

In either scenario, the IRS would be the key to making the system work. Before you could receive any subsidy, whether through the IRS or not, the Health Choices Administration would have to determine whether you are eligible for it. To do so, the bills under consideration would give the Health Choices Commissioner the authority to demand sensitive, confidential information from the IRS about individual taxpayers. The IRS would have to provide it.

Under current law, it is a felony for a government official to release taxpayer information in all but the most limited of circumstances. One such exception is for law enforcement; the IRS is allowed to give taxpayer information to prosecutors in criminal cases. The information can also, in some instances, be released to the Social Security Administration and the Veterans’ Administration for the determination of benefits. The health care bills would change the Internal Revenue Code to permit the IRS to give similar information to the vast, new health care bureaucracy.

That means the personal tax information of millions of Americans would enter the system whether they want it to or not. “There’s a mandate to buy insurance,” says one Republican House aide. “You have to buy it. You have millions of people who can’t buy it without a subsidy, so they will have no choice but to accept the subsidy in order to buy insurance, and then the Health Choices Commissioner will have access to their tax records.”

“How many hands would this information go through?” asks a GOP source in the Senate. “What are the quality controls? This increases the risk of misusing this information.”

Some versions of the bill even permit the release of confidential taxpayer information for decidedly less pressing reasons. In H.R. 3200, the IRS would be required to provide taxpayer information to the Social Security Administration for the purpose of helping Social Security officials find qualifying seniors who can then be encouraged to enroll in the prescription drug program. “There is no precedent for using taxpayer information for the purpose of identifying people to go out and advertise to them,” says the House expert.

So far, there has been little substantive public debate about the integral role of the IRS in nearly every aspect of the various national health care proposals. But people who are closely involved with the process are deeply concerned about what they view as a massive, and in some senses unprecedented, expansion of the Internal Revenue Service.

First, they wonder whether the IRS can handle the new demands. “There is a sense at the IRS that their purpose is to collect revenue and not to implement all sorts of other programs,” says a second Senate GOP aide. “Also, the IRS isn’t necessarily great at doing what it does already. How is it going to determine whether 300 million people have health insurance?”

Second, they are concerned about anticipated abuse of the system. “You’re going to have lots of fraud,” says the House source. “People claiming lots of affordability credits or refundable tax credits. The IRS is not going to have the resources and expertise to police this stuff.”

Finally, there is a third concern, more fundamental than questions of whether the IRS can handle the job: Should the IRS be involved in health care enforcement in the first place? As seen in the town halls across the country in August, many Americans are concerned about the coercive nature of the proposed national health care system. Handing the IRS the power to monitor every American’s place in the system worries them even more.

Backers of the Democratic bills are betting that the handouts involved — giving people money to buy health insurance — will outweigh concerns about privacy and coercive government. Perhaps. But before Congress makes any decision on national health care, voters should know just what it will involve.

Any more doubt about our current leaders putting their boots on your necks?

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