There’s Always Been “Them” and “Us”

But this suggests there’s an awful lot of “them” for the fix we’re in.

Most people think they pay too much to Uncle Sam, but for some people it simply is not true.

In 2009, roughly 47% of households, or 71 million, will not owe any federal income tax, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Some in that group will even get additional money from the government because they qualify for refundable tax breaks.


…Experts say that to pay for all the things on the country’s growing tab, the money can’t just come from a shrunken pool of taxpayers*.

I don’t consider myself an “expert”, but even I can figure that out. Speaking of things on that “growing tab”, I expect illegals, their healthcare needs/unpaid medical bills ($2 MILLION?!?!?! in one case)/sad stories to remain front and center.

Going back to Mexico is not an option, said the 43-year-old man, kneeling next to his wife’s wheelchair.

His wife, 45, lost her eyesight to diabetes. She also has high blood pressure. And her kidneys are failing.

For years, he has taken her to a dialysis clinic attached to a public hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. The facility that gave her free care plans to close Saturday.

They are illegal immigrants with no health insurance and, they say they have nowhere to go for his wife’s vast medical needs. The closing clinic offered to help return them to Mexico.

Tears at the heart, does it not? I mean, how could it not? But why is the clinic closing?

To help save the hospital, which, by the way, has the only Level 1 trauma center in the area.

…A judge ruled last week that Grady could close this week, rejecting a legal request by 36 patients who sought to keep the clinic open until they could find permanent treatment elsewhere. The hospital agreed to pay for three more months of dialysis at a different clinic, according to a court document.

…Grady’s dialysis clinic provides care to the poor and uninsured regardless of citizenship.

Crippled by the economy and growing financial pressures, the public hospital, which served about 724,000 patients last year, has a $33 million deficit. Its dialysis clinic has a $2 million deficit and needs another $2 million to upgrade its equipment, said Grady’s attorney, Bernard Taylor. More than half of its 96 patients were illegal immigrants.

That impacts the care of all the folks who might utilize that hospital.

…“The hospital, along with the patient, each bears some responsibility in doing everything we can to find a long-term solution,” Mr. Gove said.

Federal law generally prohibits coverage of illegal immigrants by Medicaid and Medicare (which pays for dialysis for citizens regardless of age). Some states — but not Georgia — allow those immigrants to use Medicaid dollars in emergency situations, potentially including dialysis. Legal immigrants must wait five years before qualifying for benefits.

Well, THAT would seem to be yet another inequity in the system!*

…In the Atlanta region, that has made Grady, which accepts all patients regardless of immigration status or ability to pay, the provider of last resort for many illegal and uninsured patients. The taxpayer-supported hospital estimates the dialysis clinic will lose $2 million this year. Mr. Gove said he could not project how much the three-month extension might cost.

Lindsay R. Jones, the lawyer for the patients, called the order Friday by Judge Ural D. Glanville of Fulton County Superior Court “an angry, punitive decision.”

And riddle me this: Where is it either “angry” or “punitive” to run out of money?

*Especially in light of statistics like these: A recent patient survey indicated that 70 percent of the women who gave birth at Parkland [Memorial Hosp., Dallas, TX] in the first three months of 2006 were illegal immigrants. That’s 11,200 anchor babies born every year just in Dallas. According to the article, the hospital spent $70.7 million delivering 15,938 babies in 2004 but managed to end up with almost $8 million dollars in surplus funding. Medicaid [US taxpayers] kicked in $34.5 million [40% of the cost], Dallas County taxpayers kicked in $31.3 million and the feds tossed in another $9.5 million.

6 Responses to “There’s Always Been “Them” and “Us””

  1. ricki says:

    “roughly 47% of households, or 71 million, will not owe any federal income tax,”

    Perhaps not the best wording. Many years I don’t “owe” any, in the sense of having to send an additional check to Uncle Sam (thank you, capital losses), but not OWING and not PAYING are two different things. I’m already having on the order of 30% hoovered out of my paycheck each month. (And that doesn’t count property tax, state tax, or sales taxes)

    Perhaps it’s a quibble, but my first thought was, “wait, I don’t owe any.” Because it’s money I never see.

  2. tree hugging sister says:

    You’re right, ricki. “Owe” is not the best lead for the story and later they DO explain that the 47%, indeed, have a “net liability of zero”.

    The ranks of those whose major federal tax burdens net out at zero — or less — is on the rise.

    …where we’re always praying that we don’t “owe any MORE”. And I’d really, REALLY like to know how these guys do it:

    Nearly 22% of those making between $50,000 and $75,000 end up with no federal income tax liability or negative liability as do 9% of households with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000.

    I’m neither that clever nor, perhaps, that crooked.

  3. NJ Sue says:

    I remember PJ O’Rourke making a comment to the effect that, despite our ideology of rugged individualism, 50% of Americans are on the mooch when it comes to taxes.

  4. greg newson says:

    What we all are witnessing is the greatest crime in the history of mankind.A total destruction of a nation by its leaders.There are at least 20 million illegals in the US.5 to
    8 in California alone.
    The sad thing is nobody cares.But in two years our economy will collapse;then all the young people will be out
    of work.Unemployment below 25
    years of age is already 52%.
    Let’s all worry about the
    fu#king Iranians,instead of
    the 25 million people destroying our public services..

  5. Quibbles aside, that 47% is correct or very close, and I don’t mean “people not owed a refund”. We are very close to the point where the people who pay no taxes and get benefits from those who do will outnumber those who do actually pay taxes. And that is bad.

  6. tree hugging sister says:

    Way bad, Mr. Summers.


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