Rebirth of Reason

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unread

Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Post 0

Sunday, October 20, 2013 - 9:20amSanction this postReply
"jobs, jobs, jobs..."

Inserted into now five years of speeches, as in , "now I'm going to focus on ...", usually with the required optics of sleeves rolled up.

Five years not enough for the government to downhill spend our way to "jobs, jobs, jobs?" Going to take ten years of these beatings?

Watch what happened to the funny money: high unemployment, so wages suppressed. Wages suppressed so prices suppressed. No actual new value in the economies for the printed funny money to go after(except for what value can be found in the artistic talents of a secretary printing 12 or more zeros on a piece of paper and walking it over to the Fed), and couldn't erupt as price inflation, so... it sloshed into the equities marketplace, and showed up as inflated stock prices. Wall Street traders wait with bated breath ever month, "Is the tsunami of funny money insanity going to rain for another 15 minutes?" and gleefully gets in front of it for as long as the insanity rains, because the funny money has nowhere else to go!

But notice: stock market highs caused by last chance inflation is not the same as stock market highs caused by economic expansion and real value; stock market prices are being scored in units of funny money with nowhere else to go! A totally hollow market bubble. MainStreet sees this; no jobs, dusty 'For Lease' signs springing up like weeds, and yet... record highs on Wall Street. Puzzled? Shouldn't be.

Why doesn't it show up as new jobs and circulation in the economies? Because those who take risk and run uphills saw exactly what the current infestation did to the GM bondholders on a whim, for example, and nobody in their right mind is going to sign up to prepay their own ransom out in front of this fiscal Wreck on Rails. So what that leaves is, those playing in the government chutes and ladders shed risk game willing to give it the old college try using OPM with risk shed unwillingly onto others. No skin in the game state capitalism. Curt Schilling's Studio 38 is the new model of 'jobs, jobs, jobs.' Solyndra is the new model of 'jobs, jobs, jobs.' The most inefficient and undisciplined system of taking on risk imaginable, because it deliberately -isn't- taking on risk, it is shedding it onto unwilling others...

But here's the good news! They didn't just run the printing presses with QE1 and QE2, etc. They dropped a bond on the FED[*]-- a promise to overtax the stimulated economies that would result, and clawback the funny money. Only nothing got stimulated, but here comes the clawback anyway. Only, the same flat on their back economies not only get overtaxed for the principal of the bonds, but interest too! And after paying back principal plus interest, the Fed turns the interest back over to Treasury to spend. Translated: the treasury takes that interest just paid by the private sector as taxes, and then goes out into the same economies and demands value for those dollars.

Secretary artistically prints zeros on paper into the economies, $2T in funny money into the economies, $2T out in value produced by the private economies, $2T out in taxes from those same(well, chutes and ladders same)economies, interest out in taxes, interest out in value...and all that sucking out of the private economies is supposed to 'stimulate' them. Do the accounting of value and where value comes from in all of that...

Do you feel stimulated yet? How can that -possibly- work? It's not amazing that it didn't; what is amazing is that anyone thought it would; a secretary printed 12 zeros on a piece of paper! Seriously?

What happens when interest rates climb from 0.25% to just 1.25%? Short term federal debt service jumps by a factor of 500%, not 1%...interest payments on that debt go up by a factor of x5.0...and that is with only a 1% spike in rates. Yes, not all treasury marketable securities debt is 0-1yrs..but 30% of it is, and moot, because the hidden/unmarketable securities debt which was formerly subsidized by the #1 willing debt holder-- the SS Trust Fund-- is not only long term out of the debt holder subsidy business, but freshly a beggar at the Treasury window, demanding that those old unmarketable securities be replaced with brand new debt...so not only must new debt be found for the raised debt ceiling, and new debt/revenue be found to redeem the unmarketable securities, but new debt/revenue must be found to -replace- the hole left in the budget by the exit of the longterm subsidy from SS Trust Fund...in these flat on their backs economies, none of the above is going to happen. We can't even stay afloat without borrowing 40% of every dollar spent, much less find all that -new- revenue. This is the long predicted by some result of decades of hosing over the future. Well, the leading edge of the Boomers is just now leaving the peak of their earnings and taxpaying years and riding up on the beach of retirement; the enormity of the blunder of this government fiscal mismanagement can't be overstated, and here it comes.

This left wing shed risk chutes and ladders nonsense has killed the risk-reward engines that drive economies uphills, and that isn't coming back until America realizes it didn't win the Cold War, it caught the Cold, and needs to cough up all the left wing phlegm.

Focusing only on downhill public debt fueled downhill spending is guaranteed to get us to the bottom of every hill. We are well on our way to the inevitable left wing terminus, which is, two wretches in rags in a hovel pointing at their sores as proof that they deserve the last piece of not so maggoty rotted meat.


[*]Yes, I'm ignoring the part of QE1 and QE2 that was MBS via fanny and freddie, but that obfuscation is ultimately the same thing: risk shed onto treasury in the name of some failed social experiment being beaten like a dead horse, even today, five years after the 2008 crisis it caused. These two ticks have their fangs sunk into 90% of every new mortgage written today...'run the economy' total insanity.

(Edited by Fred Bartlett on 10/20, 9:44am)

Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Post 1

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 9:58amSanction this postReply
I've paid for my own health insurance for over 30 years. About two years ago, my 'family plan' policy with a $1000/person deductible had suddenly -- since 2009-- climbed from about $1000/mo to over $2000/mo-- and this was with my oldest son leaving the plan and getting his own health care insurance coverage. So I switched to Highmark in 2010, got a 900/mo (now $1100/mo) higher deductible($7500/person) catastrophic plan. We weren't reaching the deductible at $1000/person, and so, not reaching the deductible at $7500/person is doing nothing but cutting my costs by about $12000/yr. If I could find a 10,000 deductible plan for less money, I'd buy it.

These were basically catastrophic coverage only plans, covered nothing. We pay normal care costs out of pocket...and because of that, doctors and dentists charge us less. OK, so...what is wrong with this picture?

Oct 1, I got notified that Highmark is dropping my plan as of Jan 1. Apparently, even though I'm happy with what I have, Obama isn't happy with what I have, even though he isn't subject to the same law. Apparently, for exampkle, my 58 yr old wife needs paid maternity benefits. She giggled at that, until she realized our plan was canceled. Seriously?

The letter I got 'suggested' (by law)that I go to the government marketplace to investigate alternatives. As if.

My b-i-l, who handles this stuff, told me I should expect a 65 to 99% rate increase for similar coverage, based on what he's been seeing with his customers, who are all royally pissed.

Fortunately, that isn't the only alternative. I can still walk into a local private insurer's office, sit down, and take care of this tribal insanity induced nonsense in an hour or so. I investigated alternatives on their functioning website, chose to make an appointment to walk in and talk to a human being, and it all ... worked.

The only thing that didn't work on their website was their no doubt mandated link to the government exchange website...

National socialism; completely stillborn.

You just have to love it.


Post 2

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 5:26amSanction this postReply
We can now add 'Ecotality' to the 'Solyndra' list of 'Running the Economy' jobs,jobs,jobs goodness.

They got how much taxpayer money to give it the old college try? 135 million dollars in total. $35 million approved for two projects in 2005 and 2011, and $100 million in 2009.

To manufacture electric car recharging stations...

And by 'jobs, jobs, jobs' we mean, layoff employees and declare Chapter 11, stiffing the DOE...

We feeling 'stimulated' yet?

Post 3

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 6:22amSanction this postReply
Now bankrupt Ecotality received $100 million from the Department of Energy under Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (link1, link2).

Post 4

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 6:25amSanction this postReply
Took care of my health insurance issue in private marketplace. Was pretty painless. Learned a lot.

1] There is no reason at all to go to the exchanges -unless- you want to apply for federal subsidy. Private carriers still have ACA compliant plans.

2] If you go to the exchanges, and if you qualify and get subsidy based on estimate income, there will be a reconciliation at end of year for actual income, and you may owe on your taxes if you understimated your income. Translated; the IRS becomes part of your HI world if you purchase through the exchanges.

3] If you are self employed and have been paying for your individual insurance, you are likely not going to qualify for any subsidy, or be getting so little subsidy that the extra grief is not worth it. But you are also tuned up on how much health insurance costs, so are not shocked by the premiums. What is largely happening is, small businesses who formerly provided small group plan rates to their employees are converting those plans to individual plans, which at some levels of very small business 'group' rates are far less expensive than the business 'group' rate. The owners of these small businesses are finding relief...while the employees are getting shocked. To which those owners say "Sorry...ACA/Obamacare. Take it out on Obama..."

4] If you've been getting your HI paid for by others/your employer in the past and have gotten pushed into this marketplace, you are likely to be shocked by the fact that HI costs as much as it does, even with those subsidies. This is going to play out over the next year.

5] This one shocked me the most; there are not only maximum income limits for the federal subsidy, but lower income limits as well. (?!?!?!?!) ThHe folks really taking it up the butt are the folks coming in, maybe working part time, who fall under the limits for subsidy; those folks only choices are either unsubsidized private insurance like the folks above the income limit(not really a choice at all), or to get pushed onto MEDICAID/MEDICARE...which isn't being expanded to accomodate all these people, and so, they remain uninsured!

Huh? Aren't these exactly the people this ObamaCare thing was supposed to help? The '45 million uninsured' or whatever number he pulls out of his C.O. ass?

The other nugget waiting to explode; 'health insurance as imputed income for all Americans.' Self employed already used to this fact of life-- the value of self provided HI gets declared as fringe benefit income on W2. It is deductible as a cost for the emplloyer paying for the insurance...it will soon be declared as income for everyone who receives such benefits, as if they were getting the income and paying their own HI. So soon enough, everyone will be enjoying this fact of life. Can't wait to hear the screaming and moaning when that hits John Q Public in the face...at least, those who still have jobs that pay health insurance benefits. This is why, employees getting pushed into the private marketplace really aren't being screwed by their employers-- what the government is doing is finding a new massive source of income to tax-- the value of helath insurance benefits. Nobody thought twice about this when it was only the self-employed who paid that tax. And now, the self-employed aren't going to think twice when everyone else joins the fun.

The government has long seen the plot of income x people earning income vs. income. Hey know where the taxable pile of income is-- hence the payroll tax, and the endless charade of 'redistribution of income/taxing the rich' -- like the nation has been distracted into thinking ACA is. Or, sure, they will gladly make a show of it...as long as the nation at large doesn't notice that it is getting sheared.

When all the dust cleared...I'm paying $4800/yr less than what I am paying today, and it will be better coverage that actually pays for routine care. If this is income redistribution, then it is clearly going in the wrong direction. (I'm being facetious; I am coming from a situation where I was paying $1100/mo...and a couple years ago, over $2000/mo; the exact same 'deal' looks aweful to someone who was previously paying $0/mo...)

But I have the sense the market is going to be in turmoil; the numbers have to add up, and they are not. So I doubt that I will be seeing this 'deal' for long...maybe the first year.


(Edited by Fred Bartlett on 11/06, 7:20am)

Post 5

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 6:46amSanction this postReply
Think about the -current- taxation of HI benefits.

If employer pays on your behalf, the employer deducts the cost of that benefit as a business expence-- the cost of hiring his employees.

But the employee, who in theory earns his compensation from his employer, does not have to declare the value of that benenfit as W2 imputed income...at least not today.

However, the self-employed who also purchase and pay for their own HI as an employee benefit -- themselves -- can also deduct that as a business expense, reducing their taxable business income. However, the self-employed only must also declare the value of that HI on their W2 as fringe benefit income.

Its a business deduction either way, but ... only the self-employed-- who provide the benefit to themselves-- must declare that value on their W2, whereas an employee -- who have that value provided for by others? -- and yet, who in theory, earn what they earn-- currently do not declare that same benefit on their W2.

Why would or should the self-employed have their health insurace benefits taxed any differently than those employed by others?

Moot...because that is about to change...for those employed by others.

There was a period, back in the 90s, where my confused CPA was somehow taxing me *twice* for the cost of my health insurance benefits(I think, by not deducting them from my K1 / "S" Corp income.) So they were showing up as part of my K1, and -also- showing up on my W2... Another CPA caught the mistake, refiled five years of corrected past returns, and recovered a chunk of change for me.

If a CPA doesn't understand our tax law, what prayer does anyone else have?

(Edited by Fred Bartlett on 11/06, 7:21am)

Post 6

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 7:14amSanction this postReply
Re: There is no reason at all to go to the exchanges -unless- you want to apply for federal subsidy.

When I got my termination letter on Oct 1, this was a little misleading. By law or arrangment, these letters from the carriers must highlight the option of going to the exchanges. It was a little confusing; I initially thought since my provider dropped my old 'non-complying' plan that I had to go to the exchanges. However, the letter did also indicate that private providers also had ACA compliant options...sort of as an after thought. But the letter kind of pointed you to the 'exchanges.'

No reason at all, unless you want to apply for the federal subsidy. The local HIGHMARK storefront was uncluttered, uncrowded, and served great coffee. Made an appointment, had it all explained, got great quotes and options, was totally painless.

No website. No exchange. No hassle. And nothing but pleasant surprises. The staff/agent was informativbe, laid out all the plan options and costs and benefits, compared them in detail to our current coverage, was clear as a bell.

No sketchy public welfare state "navigators."

I don't see how this ACA thing, in balance, can be anything but a political disaster for Obama and the Democrats; his base, when they smack their face into this thing, is going to turn on him like Piranha. It's benefitting the wrong people -- me -- and I'm never going to vote for these idiots. It is hurting the people he said it was going to help.

The self-employed are fringe anecdotes. There are a ton of small businesses and a ton more small business employees. The handful of small business owners finding relief-- by shedding their many more employees onto Obamacare -- is overwhelmed by the number of their many more employees being shed onto Obamacare. There is no way that their sticker shock is going to bode well for the Democrats, especially after all the claims that have been made for this thing.

The trouble is, during the heady years before the rubber hit the road, they oversold this thing. Now that the rubber is hitting the road, complete with 'exemptions' and 'exclusions' and widespread net sticker shock-- with the anecdotes seeing benefit not about to vote for the Dems anyway-- reality is a much harsher mistress to tame with mere spin; the spin, if anything-- including his latest attempt to rewrite history by inserting his latest "if" before the once emphatic "period" -- is going to do nothing but enrage folks.

It is already past time to sell the Obama stock. ACA is going to sink his legacy after it is finished sinking the nation.

American National Socialism: stillborn when it should have been merely aborted.


Post 7

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 7:51amSanction this postReply

"Don't take it personally. He didn't know you still drive a Pinto, Sandra."

Post 8

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 8:16amSanction this postReply
Old World:

Employer pays for HI for employee, takes business deduction thT reduces his taxable business income. Employee gets 'free' benefit, doesn't pay tax on HI.

New World.

Employer doesn't pay HI for employee, and either does or doesn't increase salaries by the amount of the previous health insurance. If he doesn't increase salaries, he loses the deduction...but he's also dropped the cost of the HI. So he's ahead by the complement of his highest marginal tax rate. (The 'cost' of getting the previous deduction was more than the tax benefit of the deduction; the 'cost' was 100%, while the 'tax benefit' was his marginal tax rate times that 100%...)

If he increases the salary...he gets the same business deduction as before. No net net. He defers add'l profit to pay and keep his employees. (How is that going to net out in economies with high unemployment and suppresed wages?)

If he increases wages somewhat, then somewhere between those two.

But now, employee has higher income, that he pays taxes on...and he also pays for his own health insurance.

Net: taxes on employees increase, costs increas, ... same benefit. Employer's costs do not change or go down.

Employer's taxes do not change.

Government has found a way to shepherd the value of previously untaxed health care benefits into a new taxable pile of money.

The rich get richer, and the working poor get poorer...thanks to the legislative genius of government selling redistributive justice and the working poor continually falling for it...

The fact is, this can be spelled out in a giant crayon, and it would still not make any difference... they will still vote for the Democrats.

See...politically, they couldn't -directly- see a path to directly taxing those health care benefits(even though that is in fact coming-- to shepherd the last remaining employees who are getting untaxed benefits into this growing pile.)

But by forcing the above Kabuki dance, they can force more folks into buyng their own health insurance ... from taxable wages. Some fraction of employers will stop providing HI and instead, increase wages. That is a new source of taxable income for the goverment, from a broad base.

All part of the slow boil...

First, just the self-employed. Fuck 'em, no hue and cry.

Then, the folks who get transitioned off of employer provided plans into the private health care markeptplace by this process. The pile is growing bigger now. Eventually, that pile is big enough...and the remaining pile gets swept up with the imputed income play.


(Edited by Fred Bartlett on 11/06, 8:25am)

Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Post 9

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 8:33amSanction this postReply
What Obama should have said was: If I like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."

Now, what needs to be said, and Obama won't say this either, is, "Once your current policy is taken away from you, and you get over any bad news that may or may not be associated with your new policy... don't get used to it. It too will go away."

The long term plan behind ObamaCare is to transition America from what remains of the private health care market to a fully socialized medicine system. Period.

Keep that in mind and you can understand why the Democrats aren't as upset about the many glaring problems visible to us all (except where it might impact their popularity during election years). It is why they aren't frantic to find compromises that would fix ObamaCare problems. They can't say it out loud, but they are thinking, "No problem, this is just a temporary stop along the way. It really doesn't matter if it doesn't fully work - as long as it moves us closer to single-payer." (And as a side note, when the exchanges are used to push huge numbers of people into Medicaid, it is helping move in the direction of a single-payer system.)

So what comes next? We don't know. If Obama were to remain politically strong, and the GOP continue to be divided and disliked, the Senate would remain under control of the Progressives, and they would likely gain a majority in the House. And that would put them where they need to be for converting the coming ObamaCare caused crisis (not the little one that we are seeing now, but the bigger one that is coming) into a single-payer transformation.

But Obama's charm is finally wearing a bit thin for the media and for the country at large. Dick Morris listed what he called Presidential Epitaphs - sayings or events that encapsulate the functional end of a presidency - the end of the leadership power. Examples: Nixson, saying, "I'm not a crook." Ford pardoning Nixon. LBJ saying he would NOT get us into a wider war. Bush the elder saying, "Read My Lips - No New Taxes!" Clinton saying, "I did not have sex with that woman." Bush the younger saying there were WMDs in Iraq. And Obama saying, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."

In Obama's case, most of his power came from large numbers of people ignoring all facts when hit with his personality and campaign rhetoric. And the media being so charmed as to enter a kind of political fantasy land and toss out their normal adversarial role against power to become PR agents. It certainly has worked and that is a nasty statement in itself about our culture. But it relies on them being able to believe he is not telling lies. If his statements bring up doubt that he means what he says, that he might be manipulating the public and the media for ends he is hiding, then all the charm evaporates and the spell is broken, and his leadership power is gone.

If this is what happens, then we are not likely to go into single-payer, because the Democrats are unlikely to win the House. But the crisis over this system, and the funding crisis that will accompany it, will get some kind of kludged up compromise that is part ObamaCare and part something else - whatever changes will let it appear that the politicians have done something and fixed the problem - but it will probably just kick down the road an election of two.

If we got really lucky, the scenario would be an upset public who focused their anger on Progressivism, and their anger would be so great that the media became frightened and went back to acting as if they were impartial reporters of the facts, and the Senate and Presidency would fall to the GOP (which would move a least a little more towards being libertarian), and ObamaCare would be repealed. I don't think we are going to be that lucky... not this time around.

But in any case, don't get used to the health care you have now... or the health care you will get next - the story is still unfolding.

Post 10

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 12:28pmSanction this postReply

Yes, and as many have pointed out: one issue is health insurance, the other is health care. The issues are being conflated.

If, along the way to single payer there is a way to raise taxes on a currently untaxed massive pile of cash(the current value of health insurance premiums paid as benefits by employers to employees)then so be it, say not only the Hope and CHangers, but the GOP playing their role as designated distractors who have done nothing in 50 yrs to fix any of this, slow it down, or even, refrain from adding to it. Oh, that hapless GOP, they tried so hard to save us from this mess in DC, but just couldn't quite do it, and so, it's bidness as usual inside the Beltway. And now, they've joined hands with the Dems to condemn the TParty folks, because they are getting dangerously close to spoiling the little tag team gig that the GOP and Dems have rolling, and the Roves and McCains etc. just couldn't have that...

It was exactly the introduction of third party payer MEDICARE/MEDICAID that busted the marketplace, by creating the current endemic ring-around-the-rosy.

Totally didn't have to be that way; MEDICARE/MEDICAID could have alwyas been a re-imbursment based insurance, just like private insurance used to be before the crisis.

Think about that. Suddenly there would be over a hundred million new cost auditors in the marketplace, folks who are nowhere to be seen today.

THIS IS NOT A BILL. How many of those are stacked up, not even opened? THIS IS NOT A BILL is exactly what screwed up the health care marketplace.

Doctors used to also conduct what is called 'commerce.' Believing it is beneath them is not something the nation's taxpayers should be paying for to the tune of $900B this year for MEDICARE/MEDICAID, compared wit the $3B it started out as in 1966, in a nation more than half our present size, whose relative CPI is only about 7.5 max. That $900B is over twenty times (population times inflation) adjusted $3B, and loss of commerce in the health care marketplace is why...


Post 11

Sunday, November 10, 2013 - 10:46amSanction this postReply
So its becoming clearer--ish.

The 'minimum' level for ACA subsidy is '100% of the federal poverty level.' If you earn below 100% of the federal poverty level, you are pushed onto MEDICARE/MEDICAID...which isn't being expanded to accomodate these folks!

In fact...it is being borrowed -from- in order to pay for ACA!

Is anyone getting this?

These were the very people we were told this thing was supposed to help!

Someone needs to be making 100% of the poverty level or -higher- in order to be eligible for ACA subsidy, up to some maximum income, where again subsidy is $0.

Apparently...they don't vote.

Post 12

Monday, November 11, 2013 - 6:56amSanction this postReply
In light of the above...it now makes sense why the employer over 50 mandate was delayed...

... 'large' employers, of which there are fewer, but who employ over 50 employees, are not the lions share of employees.

The 'taxable HI' analysis above will have rounded up the small business employees pushed onto individual plans(to join the tiny sliver of self employed "S" corp folks folks who long have had their HI benefits taxed on their W2s). This latest segment will not see a line item on the W2, but they will be paying for HI benefits out of aftert tax dollars, unlike before, where it came out of their pretax earnings. (Employers pay employees what they 'earn'...and report whatever 'income' is required by the government...)

But, just like 'the employer half of FICA', most W2 earners are not going to be able to 'see' the new tax on their 'earnings.'

When the large employer mandate finally kicks in, it will be a new minority of workers that will suddenly be subject to a new 'imputed income' for HI benefits on their W2. There will be an ugly battlefield of special exemptions to the law, but uiltimately these folks get rounded up too, to satisfy the massive revenue sucking sound coming out of DC, trying to keep the gig running for another 15 minutes.

Note: these large employers are already filing 'information only' returns etailing these currently untaxed HI benefits. That is in prep for the coming change in the law.

Bottom line: taxes raised on the broad working middle class.

Similar play on regulated pension plans, as the other can't be resisted giant pool of black ink out there...

(Edited by Fred Bartlett on 11/11, 6:58am)

Post 13

Monday, November 11, 2013 - 10:00amSanction this postReply

" ... the GOP playing their role as designated distractors ... "

More like bench-warmers ... waiting for their chance to get in the game.


Post 14

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 7:44amSanction this postReply
how this is being spun

You have to love it.

Signed up for Obamacare: 50,000...

Pushed onto Medicaid: 440,000...

That is 'good news' for Obamacare...

Post to this thread

User ID Password or create a free account.