Unions Finally Clue In to Obamacare Issues May 24, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
1 comment so far
It’s so hard to keep a straight face when you read something like this. Apparently many union leaders have figured out that Obamacare ain’t all that:
… some unions leaders have grown frustrated and angry about what they say are unexpected consequences of the new law — problems that they say could jeopardize the health benefits offered to millions of their members.
The union plans were already more costly to run than traditional single-employer health plans. The Affordable Care Act has added to that cost — for the unions’ and other plans — by requiring health plans to cover dependents up to age 26, eliminate annual or lifetime coverage limits and extend coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
“We’re concerned that employers will be increasingly tempted to drop coverage through our plans and let our members fend for themselves on the health exchanges,” said David Treanor, director of health care initiatives at the Operating Engineers union.
Not very likely. A recent survey showed that 97.4% of employers thought it was likely or certain that they would continue providing health insurance to full time employees. What they’re doing instead is transferring some of the cost to employees, going with higher deductibles, and perhaps turning to “skinny” health plans to control costs.
But even if the employers don’t dump employees onto the health exchanges, the health care consumer won’t be able to keep what they have:
“It makes an untruth out of what the president said, that if you like your insurance, you could keep it,” said Joe Hansen, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. “That is not going to be true for millions of workers now.”
Sucks to be thrown in with the rest of us, huh? Part of liking your insurance is liking the price. It was never true for anybody that Obamacare wouldn’t change either the terms or costs of your healthcare package.
And the unions can finally see that without the special carve-outs they thought they were going to get, their health care is going to suffer just like ours.
Bloomberg Gets Excited About Mortgage Rates May 23, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
This is news?
We had a record low last November – that was newsworthy because it was, like, an all-time record. And the fact that mortgage rates are increasing is certainly important. But it doesn’t seem worth reporting a “2-month high.”
Acronyms I Haven’t Heard in a While May 22, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
|ROPMA:||‘Soldier beheaded’ in Woolwich machete attack: latest|
|OPSEC:||“Our government did that, put a tag on my son’s back.“|
The Unexpected Soft “G” May 22, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
I have a long history of mispronouncing words I’ve read but never heard, but even given a hard-earned compensatory wariness, I have to confess that I didn’t see this one coming:
Steve Wilhite created the Graphics Interchange Format, or GIF, while working for Compuserve in 1987. On Tuesday, he received a Webby Award for it and delivered his five-word acceptance speech (that’s all the Webbys allow) by flashing a GIF on the big screens at the Cipriani Wall Street in New York.
And, in a flash, it all became clear:
“It’s pronounced JIF, not GIF.”
Five words to turn my world upside down.
Why Obamanomics Doesn’t Work May 21, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
1 comment so far
Ironman at Political Calculations notes some recent data concerning fiscal multipliers:
Research published by the Federal Reserve in January 2013 finds that the fiscal multiplier for government spending is somewhere between +0.6 and +0.7, which applies when unemployment rates are high (above 7.5%).
…For a fiscal multiplier of 0.6 to 0.7, if government spending were increased by 1 billion dollars, the nation’s GDP would only rise by somewhere between 600 to 700 million dollars.
He then takes a look at the effect of increasing taxes:
…the fiscal multiplier that applies for taxes is approximately -3.0, which as you notice, is both rather large in magnitude and negative.
What being large in magnitude means is that changes in tax levels will have an outsized effect upon GDP. What being negative means is that is changes in a nation’s tax policy have an opposite effect upon its GDP. So, for example, if a nation…were to hike its taxes by $1 billion, it would expect to see its GDP fall by $3 billion.
The President’s approach has been to crank up spending a lot and lower taxes a little. Now he’s let the GDP catch up to his spending a bit, so the spending effect isn’t so bad, but he’s letting taxes increase.
So we’re always in trouble.
Low taxes, minimal spending, small government, individual autonomy. Is that so hard to believe in?
Symptom May 20, 2013Posted by Sobek in News.
I just finished reading a talk that included the following quote, in which the writer notes
“the striking fact that even as traditional marriage has declined in the United States … the evidence has mounted for the institution’s importance to the well-being of children.”
I’d like to suggest that it’s not a coincidence that such evidence is mounting. During a college anatomy class many, many years ago, we were studying the roles of the different structures of the brain, and it was noted that we still don’t understand what some of these structures do. In part that’s because of how we come to understand the parts we do get – through traumatic accidents. If fifty people get damaged in a certain part of the brain, and then they all have trouble with their speech functions, then you might reasonably conclude that area of the brain deals with speech functions. Some parts of the brain don’t usually get damaged, unless the damage is so severe that the victim is killed, so it’s much harder to get data on what those parts do. Basically, we learn the most about some things when they stop working properly.
Just so with marriage. It’s an institution that, in the West, has functioned more or less the same for thousands of years. There have been so-called intellectuals throughout our history who have tried to tear it down, but either they were unsuccessful, or else they were too successful at also tearing down every other aspect of society, and it was hard to attribute the resulting bloodshed to any one thing.
Now we have a growing sense that marriage is obsolete (and, ironically, that it’s the MOST IMPORTANT CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE EVAH, but only for gays and lesbians), and we’re seeing the tragic results. It’s not just a coincidence – the attacks on the institution are producing the data that demonstrate the folly of those attacks.
The article I was reading is here, and it also has a lot of information about those aforementioned symptoms (divorce, abuse, cohabitation, “gay marriage,” etc.). Also, it’s a talk given by Dallin H. Oaks, an apostle and a former member of the Utah Supreme Court, so if you’ve ever wondered what an apostle looks and sounds like, here’s your chance.
It Didn’t Take a Nostradamus May 19, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
Who could have foreseen this?
Corporate America’s response to the 40%, “Cadillac Tax” on employee benefits exceeding $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families is driving up the cost of healthcare for both workers and taxpayers. The Congressional Budget Office released a report this week that cuts its estimate of revenue from the tax 42 percent over the next decade, from $137 billion to about $80 billion.
Well, we did, over 3 years ago:
The Cadillac insurance plan tax levies a 40% tax on the amount of a premium over a threshold: for individual plans that threshold is $8500 and for family plans it’s $23,000. I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out that within a couple of years, compensation packages will adjust so that nobody is paying that tax. No more Cadillac insurance plans.
Turns out that others agree:
“I don’t think there’s any employer that’s going to pay the tax,” said Steve Wojcik, a vice president at the National Business Group on Health, a a Washington-based trade group that represents Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) and other large employers. “I would be surprised if they [the IRS] even collect,” he said.
Yeah, it didn’t take a lot of foresight to see this coming. I also included this cool chart back in 2009:
One change: the tax doesn’t go into effect until 2018, so I’m going to revise my estimate of revenues down to $0 billion. The CBO should start seeing things my way by about 2016.
[H/T: ArthurK in the AoSHQ sidebar]
1 comment so far
Some software engineer wrote an article called “We’re living in an Ayn Rand economy” at Salon. It displays absolutely no understanding of Ayn Rand’s work, and it’s filled with silliness and misappropriations of various stats, but I’d like to focus on his primary point:
In the past 20 years, corporate profits have quadrupled while the corporate tax percent has dropped by half. The payroll tax, paid by workers, has doubled.
Because, of course, they’re greedy:
Perhaps Ayn Rand never anticipated the impact of unregulated greed on a productive middle class.
Ayn Rand’s philosophy suggests that average working people are “takers.” In reality, those in the best position to make money take all they can get, with no scruples about their working-class victims, because taking, in the minds of the rich, serves as a model for success. The strategy involves tax avoidance, in numerous forms.
Pretty standard liberal fare, but let’s dig in anyway:
Fecal News You Can Use May 18, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
Attention swimmers: More than half of the public pools tested in a new study contained bacterial evidence that someone may have pooped in the pool.
It turns out that “everything that guy just said is BS” – the study didn’t actually say that people pooped in the pool, it said that they don’t shower properly before entering the pool. That leaves them with a certain amount of, how you say in your country, residual errrr, you know, the ummmmm….aw screw it:
“Each person has an average of 0.14 grams of fecal material on their perianal surface that could rinse into the water,” the report notes.
I guess DinTX didn’t need to reroute that sewage pipe after all.
There’s No Helping These People May 18, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
add a comment
What the heck, San Francisco?
A popular San Francisco restaurant called Bacon Bacon must shut its doors Friday after failed negotiations with neighbors who complained about the smell of bacon.
Had they put their restaurant next to me, that sentence would have ended “…neighbors who reveled in the aroma of bacon.”
As for SF? Surely Dante reserved a circle for those who reject bacon.
Gail Collins vs. a Wet Frisbee May 18, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
1 comment so far
I’m not sure whether it’s a metaphor or simile, but Gail Collins of the NYT is sure struggling with whatever it is:
Before Congress is finished with the Internal Revenue Service, there’s a serious danger some of us are going to wind up feeling sorry for the auditors.And, honestly, that is not the way we were planning on spending the spring. Especially since it appears that there are people making decisions at the I.R.S. who have the intelligence of a wet Frisbee. [emphasis mine]
“Intelligence of a wet Frisbee?” So dry Frisbees are smarter than wet Frisbees? Frisbees get smarter when they dry off?
She goes on to try to gin up sympathy for the IRS: they have so many cases, the law is so difficult to implement, organizations are trying to game the system… Talk about studiously avoiding the issue and trivializing the systemic abuse that’s been uncovered.
If Ms. Collins witnessed a hit and run accident, she’d be worried about how it affected the driver’s gas mileage.
Ignorance or Evasion? Either Way They’ve Gotta Go May 17, 2013Posted by geoff in News.
I thought Oliver North was pretty evasive with this “I don’t recall”s back in 1990, but Eric Holder (“I don’t know”) and Steve Miller (“I don’t remember”) make him look pretty forthcoming. Here’s a compilation of Holder’s “I don’t know”s from a couple of days ago: