Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, Law, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: $5000 More Next Year, The Health Insurance Tax (HIT), United States Health Risks?
Is it fairly clear out there that people really aren’t very enthusiastic about ObamaCare? So is it a popular idea to increase the damage the failed law is doing? One would think not. Silly me. Over the Thanksgiving weekend the administration finalized the ObamaCare Tax ( the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) Love the acronym). This is a provision in ObamaCare that will cost nearly $60 billion over the next five years and raise health care premiums by 3 percent.
The final rule, published on November 27, imposes a fee beginning in 2014 for health insurers with premium revenues over $25 million per year. Can’t have any of the dreaded insurance companies making too much money. The tax is levied for “United States health risks,” and is hidden from consumers since it is directly levied on health insurance companies.
But of course the insurance companies don’t pay the tax, you do. It will be added to the cost that you are already shocked by. It will disproportionately fall on small companies. The American Action Forum found that premiums for small businesses and household will increase as much as 3 percent over the next ten years or roughly $5,000 per family over the next decade. That’s all you need — another $5,000 added to your bill. The taxes don’t even go to fund new health care benefits, but goes right into the Treasury.
They can’t help themselves. More control, more regulations, more taxes and then they simply cannot understand why the unemployment rate stays so high. They are unable to grasp that there is a relationship between increased regulation and taxes and control and employers’ reluctance to hire. They are cheering the unemployment rate’s move from 7.3 % all the way down to 7 %. That it should be around 3 % by now never seems to occur to them.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Freedom, Health Care, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: An Encounter With Health Care, My Day, Taxing Medical Devices.
Hot on the trail of ObamaCare’s tax on Medical Devices, I spent the day in outpatient surgery. Doctors and nurses remained remarkably cheery, were unfailingly kind, and used all sorts of medical devices in my care.
The tax is unbelievably stupid. Some small companies have gone out of business, others have laid off large numbers of employees. Economics 101 — if you want less of something, tax it. Fewer choices, less innovation, fewer splendid ideas will reach the marketplace. Everybody loses.
The administration pronounced vast improvements in the website,trying to pretend they had met the Dec. 1st deadline, but customers were still having a hard time signing up. Liberals seem not to understand that even if the website were working perfectly, ObamaCare would still be a disaster. They fail to understand human nature in hot pursuit of do-goodism. They do not understand health care, and they don’t understand basic economics. Other than that…
Long Day, need sleep. I’m fine.
Read the previous post. It applies here.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: The Cost of Compliance, The Magic Economy, The Problem of Regulation
It must be pleasant to look out the windows at the Rose Garden and see the unicorns at play. As President Obama said in his weekly address, there are some silver linings to be found in the economy.
Actually he said “most of the headlines you’ve read have probably been about the government shutdown and the launch of the Affordable Care Act…but if you look beyond those headlines there are some good things happening in our economy. And that’s been my top priority since the day I walked into the Oval Office.” There he goes again.
Nobody believes anymore that improving the economy is Obama’s top priority. The brightest spot in the economy is the energy boom in America’s shale deposits, which is making America energy independent. This success has happened entirely in the private sector on private lands, much to Mr. Obama’s annoyance.
Oddly enough, a big chunk of the increases in hiring has been in compliance officers. The administration’s drive to regulate everything proceeds apace. But regulatory agencies don’t consider the impact they have on labor markets, even though they have been subject to requirements that they consider the effect of regulatory change on the economy.
In America, the administrative state traces its origins to the Progressive movement. Progressives believed that the triumph of the modern state marked an “end of History,” a point at which there is no longer any need for conflict over fundamental principles. Politics would give way to administration which would become the task of neutral and highly trained experts.
Regulation raises the cost of production, which leads to higher prices and reduced output. This causes job loss in the regulated industry. Job losses include lost wages, job search costs and retraining costs. Higher prices for regulated goods and services raise costs in other industries and lower the buying power of consumers. These too can impact jobs.
If you think in terms of ObamaCare, the idea is that neutral and highly trained expert bureaucrats will tell highly trained physicians how to care for patients, and highly trained bureaucrats will tell insurance company actuaries how much they should charge for insurance benefits. You see the problem.
Obama has repeatedly denied Republican assertions that over regulation is a problem, yet data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows an 18 percent increase in the number of compliance officers in the U.S. between 2009 and 2012. At last count there were an estimated 227,500 compliance officers employed. Those numbers do not include professions like bank examiners, tax collectors or Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors who monitor companies for fraud and safety violations.
Reform advocates argue that the private sector was left without proper oversight for too long.
Um, Benghazi, Cash for Clunkers, the IRS, Solyndra, Fast and Furious, EPA overreach, falsifying job numbers, auto bailout, seizing AP phone records, EPA attack on coal companies, the Keystone XL Pipeline, firing Inspector Generals, and it’s the private sector that has been left without proper oversight?
The pages in the Code of Federal Regulations hit an all time high of 174,545 pages is 2012. In 2012, the cost of federal rules exceeded $1.8 trillion, and regulatory burdens cost each U.S. household $14,768.
Private business has been telling the administration for nearly five years that over-regulation is a problem, but the administration denies it. Progressives know better. So the result is that the President of the United States looks out the windows of the White House at the unicorns playing in the garden, and explains to the people in his weekly address that there are some silver linings to be found in the economy. We need only 8.0 million jobs to get back to the pre-recession unemployment rate, which will take around five years.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Election 2014, Health Care, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: Notable Quotations, Robert Heinlein, The Nanny State
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Election 2014, Energy, Politics, Progressivism, Taxes | Tags: Barack Obama, Richard Epstein, Uncommon Knowledge
I am a great admirer of Richard Epstein. I like his mind and the way he thinks and I am fascinated with anyone who can speak for 20 or 30 minutes in complete sentences without pause and without a stumble. There is a perfect coordination between brain and mouth.
I am a slow thinker— clear enough, but s-l-o-w, and the connection between thought process and actual speech leaves much to be desired. I have made speeches that were
much somewhat admired, but they were short and it was a struggle. This particular video from Uncommon Knowledge from the Hoover Institution is from March of 2009. It is nevertheless completely fascinating, but over 30 minutes long, if you can make the time.
Richard Epstein discusses his personal and professional associations with Barack Obama in the video starting at 20.36 and lasts around ten minutes if you are short on time. I have found his comments on Obama to be as good a guide as I can find, and have proven accurate as situations arise. It helps to explain the inexplicable.
There is a lot that is inexplicable. The man remains much of a mystery, and as we get deeper into the weeds of ObamaCare, it is more puzzling. He does not change his mind. Once he has accepted ‘received knowledge’ he is not open to changing his mind. Hence, in spite of the collapse of the IPCC, Obama will pursue his pledge to stop global warming in its tracks. The failure of the stimulus merely means that he needs more infusions of wealth into the economy to stimulate it. See what you think.
Filed under: Capitalism, Conservatism, Economy, Politics, Taxes, The United States | Tags: A Hot Research Topic, The Dallas Fed, The Uncertainty Debate
I’ve written often about the effects of policy uncertainty on business, based on comments from businessmen. Now it has become a significant issue among economists who are doing serious academic research on the topic. Business in the private sector is risky. When do you take a chance on starting a business? When do you add a new product? How much do you have to worry about your competition? Can you add a new building, expand the office, hire more employees? Imagine how many businessmen are needing more help but reluctant to hire in the current uncertainty about health insurance.
The Dallas Fed held a Conference back around the first of October on the Causes and Macroeconomic Consequences of Uncertainty. Richard Fisher, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas summed it up nicely: “Uncertainty matters a lot.” Business, he said, “is the process of managing under conditions of uncertainty, and business executives organize their teams and resources to minimize uncertainty of factors under their control; and they develop contingencies and operating tactics and strategies for factors over which they have no direct control.”
If there is one thing that you can confidently assert, it is that the Obama administration has been an outstanding generator of a vast fog of uncertainty, even as they claim to want to create jobs. Economists have been hearing from their business contacts, but “until quite recently the economists who study business cycles and monetary policy paid scant attention to the effects of uncertainty on aggregate job and output growth.” Their standard models assumed that people and businesses could insure away individual risk.
Gut feeling may work for ordinary people, but economists dealing in macroeconomics give direction to governments and help set policy and the distribution of shocks is currently far from normal. In his post John Taylor has listed the academic papers presented — with links, if you’re interested. It is a good thing that the profession has taken interest in the effects of uncertainty, and is trying to understand and quantify the reality.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Health Care, Law, Politics, Progressivism, Taxes | Tags: Integral Problems, ObamaCare Danger Signs, Vast New Undocumented Costs
ObamaCare remains the prime subject of conversation as people finally really focus on the law, the rollout, the problems and the flashing red lights for the future. Here are some of the most informative:
From the Washington Examiner: “Obamacare launch spawn 700+cyber-squatters capitalizing on Healthcare.gov state exchanges.”
More than 700 websites have been created with names playing off of Obamacare or Healthcare.gov, making it likely that some Americans will mistakenly hand over private information to unknown third-parties. … by visiting a website, you’re revealing your interest in a given product — or by identity thieves.
From the American Enterprise Institute: “Obamacare’s next shoe to drop: People buying coverage on the exchanges may owe more money that they’re being told.”
People will undoubtedly find that subsidies that they received were miscalculated, and that they owe more money than they were told.
The current IT problems are a sideshow to these looming harms. The next wave of troubles will be hard to fix. The president will need to seek relief from Congress.
From Ricochet: Peter Robinson recounts “A Brief Conversation About Obamacare”
With two economists — angry, shocked, appalled.
Item: ObamaCare imposes a marriage penalty—the most severe marriage penalty, as one of them put it, “that exists anywhere in the entire American welfare state, Better to get divorced.
Item: ObamaCare has nothing whatever to do with improving medical care or indeed with holding down medical costs. “It’s nothing but a massive redistribution program.”
Item: Although it imposes vast new costs on the federal government, there is nothing anywhere in the budget that even begins to address these new costs. As one of my friends put it, “Obamacare is completely and utterly unfunded.”
From the Gateway Pundit: “Former Xerox Engineer; Obamacare Website Won’t Be Fixed Anytime Soon:”
A retired 44-year veteran of Xerox Corp. tells FOX Business that the problems with the health exchanges “won’t be fixed anytime soon,” that it appears the Administration didn’t do “the most rudimentary Beta tests” to catch problems ahead of time, and that the software architecture clearly is “very outdated.”
A former computer engineer adds: I had a 54 year career in technology. Obamacare will never be implemented. This is an integrated system involving many players with different systems, hardware and programming language. … It appears that the potential users of the system have not been involved in addition every time a law is changed, they will have to open up the system and make program addition and/changes.
Also from the Gateway Pundit: “Team Obama Blew Enough Cash on O-Care Website to Pay Developer $200 an Hour for 5,000 Years
Computer engineers are shocked at the cost of the Obamacare website.
From The American, AEI’s magazine: “Obamacare’s Next Bout: More Legal Challenges”
Four Legal Challenges to Health Care Exchanges: The cases are another reminder that much of Obamacare was constructed haphazardly out of political fables, budgetary gimmicks, legal contortions, and procedural shortcuts. Its troubled past keeps catching up with its unworkable future.
Filed under: Cool Site of the Day, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Health Care, Politics, Taxes | Tags: Birth of the Tea Party, How We Got ObamaCare, Not Radical - But Heroes
I have believed from the beginning that ObamaCare was an unworkable mess that would deeply damage the country, and events have only heightened my apprehension. With every leftist working to demonize the Tea Party as ignorant backwoods radicals who are to be feared, it’s worth mentioning that the Tea Party had it’s birth in opposition to the passage of ObamaCare.
I read just the other day that the real origin was a casual mention in an Obama campaign speech when he was first running, that didn’t mean anything, because most of what Obama said in campaign speeches didn’t mean anything — but Team Obama liked it, and thought it might be a good idea to pursue. No documentation, don’t know if it’s true. But it’s interesting.
Megyn Kelly revisits the timeline of ObamaCare at the Kelly File on Fox News. I can’t embed the video, but follow the link and do watch it. Not long, but we forget ( or at least I forget) just how these things came about. Valuable.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Immigration, Law, Politics, Taxes | Tags: Big Debt-Big Government, Can't Stop Spending, Increasing Debt
President Obama made some formal remarks in the State Dining Room on the reopening of the government. It was an amazing speech, perhaps the most self-serving speech ever given, by anyone ever. He continued to blame Republicans for threatening default, although no Republican threatened default at any time. All the default talk came from President Obama himself. It was President Obama who claimed that if we defaulted — old folks on Social Security wouldn’t get their checks. It was President Obama who claimed that — we would not be able to pay our bills. It was President Obama who tried — to talk the Dow Jones Industrial average down with talk of default. And now he’s trying to emphasize, once again, that it’s all the Republicans’ fault.
So the key now is a budget that cuts out the things that we don’t need, closes corporate tax loopholes that don’t help create jobs, and frees up resources for the things that do help us grow — like education and infrastructure and research. And these things historically have not been partisan. And this shouldn’t be as difficult as it’s been in past years because we already spend less than we did a few years ago. Our deficits are half of what they were a few years ago. The debt problems we have now are long term, and we can address them without shortchanging our kids, or shortchanging our grandkids, or weakening the security that current generations have earned from their hard work.
So that’s number one. Number two, we should finish fixing the job of — let me say that again. Number two, we should finish the job of fixing our broken immigration system.
There’s already a broad coalition across America that’s behind this effort of comprehensive immigration reform — from business leaders to faith leaders to law enforcement. In fact, the Senate has already passed a bill with strong bipartisan support that would make the biggest commitment to border security in our history; would modernize our legal immigration system; make sure everyone plays by the same rules, makes sure that folks who came here illegally have to pay a fine, pay back taxes, meet their responsibilities. That bill has already passed the Senate. And economists estimate that if that bill becomes law, our economy would be 5 percent larger two decades from now. That’s $1.4 trillion in new economic growth.
So now the Republicans cut the deficit with their wretched sequester, and I’ll take credit for that. But now that’s enough deficit cutting, and I need more money to spend on — wait for it — education and infrastructure and research. How money spent here creates jobs has not yet been explained. Would any big infrastructure project be ready to go before Obama has left office?
There may be a broad coalition behind comprehensive immigration reform, but you will notice that it does not include the American people. Our immigration system is broken because the President of the United States refuses to enforce the immigration laws, and the people oppose any amnesty for the same reason. Corporate America in general, and Silicon Valley in particular, want greatly increased immigration so they can get cheaper IT workers. America has no shortage of qualified STEM graduates. Corporations do not want to hire those who have been laid off during the recession. They assume, I guess, that anyone unemployed was laid off for reason. Unfair? Absolutely.
Mr. Obama assumes that jobs are created by government by spending money on education, infrastructure and research. They are not. Anxious businessmen have tried and tried to explain to this president that high corporate taxes, excessive regulation and absolute uncertainty about what this government will do next are killing their ability to hire, to expand and to take risks. President Obama will not listen, and has not been listening for over four years.
Education? Recent college graduates cannot find the jobs they prepared for and are working part-time in fast food. Or is it the free kindergarten for four-year-olds that you expect to transform the job market? It takes years for most infrastructure projects to get off the ground, often because of excessive regulation. Your administration has sponsored all sorts of new products and new research to develop alternative energy that no one needs or wants, and most of the grants have come to nothing except bankruptcy.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Politics, Progressivism, Taxes, The Constitution | Tags: Obama's Political Theater, The Debt Ceiling, The Shutdown
The shutdown is political theater to cover up the bigger battle to restrain the federal government. The Obama administration is spending $3.6 trillion per year —without a budget. Government expenditures are expected to increase rapidly. The government has piled up $17 trillion in debt and something like $60 trillion more in unfunded spending promises.
The new fiscal year begins on October 1, which is why all this is going on now. Federal fiscal year 2013 just ended, and fiscal year 2014 began. In fiscal year 2013, the federal government collected about $2.813 trillion in revenues — and spent about $3,455 trillion. The difference between the two numbers —$642 trillion —is the unified budget deficit for Fiscal Year 2013.
So where did we get that $642 trillion that we didn’t have? We borrowed it. The Treasury department sold IOUs that we call Treasury bonds (technically bills, notes and bonds). Investors pay cash and in return get a promise that the Treasury will pay them back later, with interest, and on time.
The Treasury needs to borrow a lot because the deficit is big. The deficit is big because the federal government is spending a lot more than it collects in revenues. If we had a balanced budget, the Treasury wouldn’t need to borrow more money. If Congress and the president cut spending and /or raised taxes. The U.S. National Debt is, according to the U.S. Debt Clock — $16,962,445,100,671 heading rapidly for $17 trillion, and up.
Everybody who sits down at the kitchen table with their checkbook and a bank statement understands the basic problem. Government can just print more money, but that gets you inflation. It’s more complicated than that, but the constraint that prevents disaster is the “debt limit.”
The Democrat’s answer to these problems is usually to raise taxes. You will frequently hear a Democrat saying that under FDR the marginal tax rate on the rich was 94% and that worked out alright, why can’t we do that again? Republicans look at the size and overreach of the federal government and see no reason why we can’t do a bit of cutting back.
— In 1920, newly elected President Harding inherited a sharp economic downturn from his predecessor Woodrow Wilson that was almost as severe as the 1929 crash. Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon slashed tax rates steeply. The top rate went from 73% to 24% and the bottom rate went from 4% to 0.5%. By 1922 the economy recovered and we had the” Roaring 20s.”
— In 1837, financial panic swept the country. President Martin VanBuren was determined to get government out of the way. He slashed federal spending from $37.2 million in 1837 to $24.3 million in 1840, and taxes went down as well. Some consider this the worst downturn until the Great Depression. (Everything is measured by the Great Depression). The economy came roaring back and revenues more than tripled one year into the recovery.
— When the Panic of 1893 hit, President Grove Cleveland refused to spend federal money. He vetoed a $10,000 spending measure to help farmers in Texas. His veto read” federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character.” He vetoed 299 other spending bills. By 1895 the economy had grown beyond its earlier peak.
You know the more recent history of tax cuts, from Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan and George W. Bush — all successful and resulting in economic boom. Please show a successful result from raising taxes or increasing spending.
The government shutdown showed that the 83% of the government that keeps running costs a staggering $250 billion a month. We simply do not know what the cost of ObamaCare is going to be, except that it will be far more than estimates. Everything about ObamaCare is a budget matter as well as a political problem. It is costing huge numbers of jobs, and the rollout is a catastrophe. Obama should have gone for the Republican offer of a one-year delay.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has demonstrated that he can lie as well as his boss, and is way out of his depth. Instead of outrageous charges of extortion and terrorism from the President and his aides, we need an upside. Oddly enough, it is proved to come from spending less, and budget restraint,Unbelievable Numbers rather than the Keynesian belief that the economy needs more stimulus.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Law, Politics, Progressivism, Taxes, The United States | Tags: Facing the Facts, The Debt Limit, Wishful Thinking
This is one from the archives of Powerline, though I think I posted it before as well. Seems a fitting moment to replay it, and it makes the point nicely.