American Elephants

A Bird Ballet by The Elephant's Child

If you just looked at your W2 to find out how much your employer paid for your health insurance this year, here’s a peaceful moment. Sit back, relax, drain your mind of disturbing thoughts and enjoy. Do enlarge to full screen.

The Cheapest Family ObamaCare Plan Will Cost $20,000 by The Elephant's Child

Barack Obama has unwittingly done a huge favor for Republicans. Employees at larger companies should have received their W-2 statements by now. Better take a close look. ObamaCare has required employers to add a line reporting the total cost of employer-sponsored  health-insurance coverage.For many, it will be a surprise or even a shock.

Many Americans have never given any thought to how much their employers pay for their health insurance, assuming that it is just something they get free. When they see the cost is $12.000 to $16,000 or more they may be shocked. Salaries have been lower than they might have been without health care as a “benefit.”

Republicans have long been aware that many people don’t respond to political arguments about taxes because they don’t really know how much they pay. Taxes are withheld from every paycheck and the important number for many is how big the refund is.

Many people were shocked to find that their paychecks were less on January 1, as the temporary cut in the payroll tax expired. The theory behind that was that putting a little extra in employees pockets (those who still had a job) would induce them to spend it immediately, whence those funds that were spent would through a “multiplier effect” (holy Keynesian writ to the Left) make the economy grow. Unfortunately taking that tax money out of Social Security has made the program even more fragile, and people looking sensibly at the faltering economy didn’t spend the extra money, but saved it, and there wouldn’t have been a multiplier effect anyway.

Welcome to the real world. Peter Orzag, then the director of the Congressional Budget Office, told lawmakers :

The economic evidence is overwhelming, that when your firm pays for your health insurance, you actually pay through reduced take-home pay. The firm is not giving that to you or free.

Now they are forced to disclose that number on a tax form although health benefits are not counted as taxable income — yet. The number was supposed to have been included in W-2s last year, but HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius gave employers a one-year reprieve.

Surely you remember Nancy Pelosi’s ‘witty’ statement that “We have to pass the bill so we can find out what’s in it. Not so witty as it turns out. What’s in it is just plain ugly.

In a final regulation issued Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has assumed the cheapest health insurance plan under ObamaCare available in 2016 for a family will cost $20,000 a year.

Under ObamaCare, Americans are required to buy health insurance or pay a penalty to the IRS.  The assumption that the cheapest plan for a family will cost $20,000 is found in the examples the IRS gives to help people understand how to calculate the penalty owed the government if they do not buy a mandated plan. And of course everybody is learning that the way they will have to cope with that is to pay the fine and wait to buy insurance until they get sick.

The White House has apparently noticed that they might lose the cases pending before the court on the religious exception, and attempted a little jiggery-pokery to try to get the complainants to withdraw, but they believe that this isn’t just a cute little thing for the hapless Tim Carney to get the assistance of the press arm compliant media to dispose of, so it wouldn’t embarrass the administration, but a matter of serious Constitutional principle. ObamaCare should collapse from the weight of its stupidities, but the White House will try to fix everything with executive orders and regulation. But ObamaCare is law, and a very bad law at that, and the fixing would have to be done by Congress.

Te favor for Republicans that I mentioned? People will learn that all those promises of” better health care that cost way less” were blatant lies.  ObamaCare is going to be way more expensive, there won’t be anywhere enough doctors, as more and more opt out of regular care for “concierge practices” or other ways to practice medicine. I know of a number who have changed what they do so they aren’t involved with the Affordable Care Act. Even the name is offensive, since the Act is making medicine unaffordable. We are moving to Britain’s NHS, the world’s worst health care in a major industrialized country, which is saving money by knocking off the old folks. Which reminds me, the administration is looking for people to serve on the “death panels.” Even in this dreadful economy, they’re not getting applicants.

NRA—2, Obama—0 by The Elephant's Child

After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, The National Rifle Association advocated placing armed guards in all schools, to outrage from the Obama administration, and launching a debate about good guys with guns v. bad guns with guns. In the meantime, the Newtown Board of Education has voted to request additional armed School resource officers.  Combined with the eight unarmed security personnel in the new budget, the plan would put one armed and one unarmed security officer at each Newtown school.

Also on Thursday,  a student opened fire at Price Middle School just south of downtown Atlanta, wounding a 14-year old in the neck before an armed officer working at the school was able to get the gun away.

The wounded boy was taken “alert, conscious and breathing” to Grady Memorial Hospital. He was expected to be released Thursday night.

School Superintendent Erroll Davis said the school does have metal detectors. “The obvious question is how did this get past a metal detector? That’s something we do not know yet.

There is nothing, nothing, nothing that the federal government can do to prevent “Black Swan” events. Here’s an excellent summary — the top ten myths about mass shootings.

Patty Andrews, The Last Andrews Sister, Has Died At Age 94. by The Elephant's Child

Patty was the youngest, and leader of the group, the blonde confident one. Maxine was the middle sister, whose harmonic range gave the impression that there were more than three sisters. LaVerne was the oldest, a strong-willed redhead. In the 1940s they were the most profitable and popular attraction in the country and sold over 75 million records.

They came from Mound, Minnesota. Patty was only 7 when they won first prize at a talent contest at the local Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis. Their father was a Greek immigrant and a restaurateur, and their mother was Norwegian. When their father’s restaurant collapsed in the Depression, they went on the road to support the family, and came to national attention in 1937 with “Bei mir bist du schön.”

They entertained the allied forces all over the world during World War II, sang at military bases, the Stage Door Canteen, and recorded a series of Victory Discs for distribution to Allied fighting forces only, and were the star attraction at many a war bond rally. Wherever our troops went, the music of the Andrews Sisters went with them. Their music has continued to be influential, and remembered. R.I.P.

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