Freedom Wall - World War II memorial, Washington D.C.
"Only don't tell me that you're innocent. Because it insults my intelligence and it makes me very angry."So, the (evolving) explanation is that although Sestak earlier claimed he was offered a "high-ranking" position - possibly Secretary of the Navy - now it was just a uncompensated advisory board position. Because, you know, ex-Presidents are regularly dispatched to Democratic primary challengers to relay unpaid job offers. And that Thursday lunch with Bill Clinton along with the near-simultaneous phone call to Sestak's brother? Just good old-fashioned gab, not "getting the story straight before the Friday news dump."
In a situation like this [a hypothetical business], the firm has a strong financial incentive to junk its group coverage and dump its workers onto the taxpayer-subsidized plan. Under the new law, firms with more than fifty workers that don’t offer coverage would have to pay an annual fine of $2,000 for every worker they employ, excepting the first thirty. In this case, the security firm would incur a fine of $140,000 (seventy times two), but it would save $610,000 a year on health-care costs. If you owned this firm, what would you do? Unless you are unusually public spirited, you would take advantage of the free money that the government is giving out. Since your employees would see their own health-care contributions fall by more than $1,100 a year, or almost half, they would be unlikely to complain. And even if they did, you would be saving so much money you afford to buy their agreement with a pay raise of, say, $2,000 a year, and still come out well ahead.Sure, it's a win-win for everybody as long as the government picks up the balance of medical expenses. Who will pay for that? Somebody else, as usual.
Since the oil rig exploded, the White House has tried to project a posture that is unflappable and in command.Which is reminiscent of this quote by Harry S Truman:
But to those tasked with keeping the president apprised of the disaster, Obama's clenched jaw is becoming an increasingly familiar sight. During one of those sessions in the Oval Office the first week after the spill, a president who rarely vents his frustration cut his aides short, according to one who was there.
"Plug the damn hole," Obama told them.
When contemplating General Eisenhower winning the Presidential election, Truman said, "He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, 'Do this! Do that!' And nothing will happen. Poor Ike—it won’t be a bit like the Army. He’ll find it very frustrating."Yeah, Obama needs to go all South Side of Chicago on that oil leak. Take that!
Support for repeal of the new national health care plan has jumped to its highest level ever. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 63% of U.S. voters now favor repeal of the plan passed by congressional Democrats and signed into law by President Obama in March.Wait, but wasn't the strategy of the White House to accelerate the roll-out of health care reforms so that Americans would appreciate this superb piece of legislation? Maybe those who were polled saw this report from the Hill indicating that Obamacare is dissuading small businesses from hiring new workers:
A study by the National Center for Policy Analysis shows that tax credits in the new healthcare law could negatively impact small-business hiring decisions.Oh, and businesses who already have workers? Well, according to today's NY Times, they could be socked with additional penalties:
About one-third of employers subject to major requirements of the new health care law may face tax penalties because they offer health insurance that could be considered unaffordable to some employees, a new study says.A "little noticed provision" deep within a 2,500 bill? Who saw that coming?
The study, by Mercer, one of the nation’s largest employee benefit consulting concerns, is based on a survey of nearly 3,000 employers.
It suggests that a little-noticed provision of the law could affect far more employers than Congress had assumed.
The state's four biggest health insurers today posted first-quarter losses totaling more than $150 million, with three of the carriers blaming the bulk of their deficit on the Patrick administration's decision to cap rate increases for individuals and small businesses.Since MassCare is the model for Obamacare, get ready for a multiplication of problems. Here's Megan McArdle:
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state's largest health insurer, reported a $65.2 million net loss for the three months ending March 31. Its operating loss was even steeper, $95.5 million. The company drew $55 million from its reserve to cover the anticipated losses from the state-imposed premium cap in the second quarter, accounting for the majority of its operating loss.
There's a depressing possibility, even a likelihood, that this is our future. It's hard to simultaneously expand demand, while lowering the incentives for supply (i.e. Medicare reimbursements), without having some pretty dramatic mismatches between the two. There's an old adage common in restaurants and engineering that goes "Good. Fast. Cheap. Pick Two." Change that middle word to "Universal" and you've got a pretty good summation of the problem that Massachusetts now faces--and that the rest of us soon will.Oh boy.
The new healthcare law will pack 32 million newly insured people into emergency rooms already crammed beyond capacity, according to experts on healthcare facilities.Good gravy, wheresoever did they get that idea?
A chief aim of the new healthcare law was to take the pressure off emergency rooms by mandating that people either have insurance coverage. The idea was that if people have insurance, they will go to a doctor rather than putting off care until they faced an emergency.
People who build hospitals, however, say newly insured people will still go to emergency rooms for primary care because they don’t have a doctor.
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) suspects the fallout that occurred in Massachusetts’ emergency rooms could happen nationwide after health reform kicks in.If only the mainstream media had reported this probable issue instead of relying on a little-read blogger who warned about this very problem in the Bay State.
The insidious thing about an unfriendly business climate is that it takes a long time for the effects to show up in the government's inability to pay its bills. So long, in fact, that when the sovereign bankruptcy comes, it's easy to draw the conclusion that tax rates are too low. Both California and Greece are going through a variety of this type of denial right now. But with the governor of California and the prime minister of Greece both promising to turn over a new leaf, this is a good time to remember that you can't take people's money if you prevent them from making money in the first place.As the EU tries to prop up Greece with a new round of loans, Robert Samuelson says "Sic semper welfarious" or "Thus always to welfare states"
What we're seeing in Greece is the death spiral of the welfare state. This isn't Greece's problem alone, and that's why its crisis has rattled global stock markets and threatens economic recovery. Virtually every advanced nation, including the United States, faces the same prospect. Aging populations have been promised huge health and retirement benefits, which countries haven't fully covered with taxes. The reckoning has arrived in Greece, but it awaits most wealthy societies.And, as I've noted before, America's reckoning is on the near horizon.
Here's the problem: The law imposes fines on employers whose employees take advantage of the bill's available subsidies. In theory, that could include some state governments. The question the report attempts to answer is: If those fines do indeed apply to state governments, would the imposition of those fines "run afoul of the Tenth Amendment?"It's a little inside baseball, but it has something to do with the "commandeering" doctrine and intergovernmental tax immunity. More directly, it's another example of stuff we had to find out about after the bill was passed.