Paul Krugman: Evangelist of Political Salvation

Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize in economics. He is also the resident economist for The New York Times.
In his latest article, he laments the power of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. He tries to offer eschatological hope. He assures his readers that there is hope politically because the Democrats may eventually come back into power. But this is only hope, he says. The United States of America is on the path to becoming a Third World tyranny. He actually believes this.
I want to stress this fact: he is as sound a political analyst as he is a sound economist.
The obvious silliness of all this should be apparent to anybody who knows about bipartisan American politics since approximately 1953. There has been a bipartisan American foreign policy. There has certainly been a bipartisan policy with respect to Social Security and Medicare. There has been a bipartisan policy with respect to the federal deficit. On anything that has mattered, bipartisan politics has been dominant. On peripheral issues, such as ObamaCare, Congress has voted along party lines, but even that division was short-lived. There were sufficient numbers of Republicans in the Senate who voted with the Democrats this year to save ObamaCare. The Republicans’ 100% opposition was political posturing in 2010.
Any liberal who looks at what Obama accomplished ought to abandon his faith in politics. Obama had a majority in both houses of Congress, early 2009 to early 2011, yet all he had to show for it was ObamaCare. I predicted this from the day he was elected. I said that Nancy Pelosi would be the ramrod for his policies. On the day he was elected, I predicted that he would be cautious, and would do his best to avoid political confrontation. This is exactly what he did for eight years. He did not create a national health plan. ObamaCare is a gigantic boondoggle for the health-insurance industry. Yet even that has backfired, as critics predicted. Healthcare insurers are bailing out every year. In 2019, when the new tax law goes into effect, individuals will not be forced to pay a fine to the federal government for failing to purchase healthcare insurance. With respect to individual purchases, this is going to undermine the whole program. But there wasn’t much of a program to undermine.

This post was published at Gary North on December 28, 2017.

House Democrats Asked To Vote Against Stopgap Spending Bill

.@WhipHoyer says House Democrats are being asked to vote against the stopgap-defense-disaster spending package.
‘We are asking our members to vote no. If Republicans want Democrats’ votes, they need to work with us on a serious compromise.’
— Jennifer Shutt (@JenniferShutt) December 19, 2017

Update: In what could be a serious problem for Ryan and the rest of the GOP leadership, Democratic leaders in the House have asked their members to vote against the Republican continuing resolution bill as it stands.
In addition, Politico reported that several conservative House Republicans spoke out against including the reauthorization of the Obamacare CSRs in the final version of the bill – a condition that Mitch McConnell added to secure the vote of Maine moderate Susan Collins.
In other news, McConnell said Tuesday that the Senate would vote on the reconciled Obamacare bill tonight.
The House is expected to vote early this afternoon.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 19, 2017.

You Milked It, You Own It

This is the sort of horse**** that really pisses me off.
Like everyone in my generation, I am finding it increasingly difficult not to be scared about the future and angry about the past.
I am 35 years old – the oldest millennial, the first millennial – and for a decade now, I’ve been waiting for adulthood to kick in. My rent consumes nearly half my income, I haven’t had a steady job since Pluto was a planet and my savings are dwindling faster than the ice caps the baby boomers melted.
So let me see if I get this right. You’re 35, which means you were of voting age when Obamacare was passed. You went to college after the scam of ramping college prices, driven by student loans, went into place. In other words you got to vote for the majority of that **** too.
But generalizations about millennials, like those about any other arbitrarily defined group of 75 million people, fall apart under the slightest scrutiny. Contrary to the clich, the vast majority of millennials did not go to college, do not work as baristas and cannot lean on their parents for help. Every stereotype of our generation applies only to the tiniest, richest, whitest sliver of young people.
Well that last sentence is true.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-12-16.

Midterm Elections & A Paradigm Shift (Return) to the Left

After the President was elected and inaugurated, I wrote several articles specifically stating that if he didn’t accomplish significant changes by the Midterm Congressional elections, he would not be reelected. We are seeing this on its way to fruition with the Alabama race to fill the seat of Jeff Sessions. The Democrat Doug Jones has won it, and the Republican-held majority in the Senate now shrinks by one seat.
Not that it really matters. Susan Collins was one of the three Republicans quashing the attempt to remove the provision making Obamacare mandatory. Olympia Snow was the Republican Senator from Maine that allowed Obamacare to come up on the Senate Floor in the first place. Roberts (the ‘conservative’) the Supreme Court justice enabled Obamacare to be kept as a law.
The parties are merely an illusion of a two-party system. All of them are Statists, elitists, and Marxist-Progressives determined to completely rend the Constitution and enslave all of the citizen-serfs while they assume the positions of ‘uncrowned’ nobility. Will they remove the mandatory clause from Obamacare, or repeal the entire law? No.
In a pig’s eye will any of these imperial statists remove a law that has every American citizen by the throat…a law the lawmakers exempted themselves from, ‘stamped’ with ‘King’ Obama’s approval with the Supreme Court solidifying it.

This post was published at shtfplan on December 14th, 2017.

Get The Rope, Pitchforks And Torches

This is the sort of article that ought to get you digging around in the garage for what the American people seem to forget they have: Pitchforks, torches and rope.
There is one simple and easily actionable approach that each of us could take to try to wrest control over health policy decisions away from the lobbyists who now control it with little effective counterbalance and put it back in the hands of our patients, who should be powerful shapers of such decision making.
This is a short excerpt from an article in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) on a conversation they urge doctors to have with you. The gist of it? Obamacare and forced cost-shifting in general is something you should demand more of from politicians.
Now let me note something for the record: The AMA, which of course is the last three words of the title of that journal, has just 15% of practicing physicians as members today. This was 75% in the 1950s. Yet the “association” has never had it better when it comes to its finances.
How is this possible?
The AMA makes most of its money today on the forced subscription to the ICD and CPT codebook sales that both change every year and become more complex. The association has created for itself a monopoly with the force of law in that government-funded health care providers must use it, and yet they’re a privateorganization.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-12-14.

Why Is An Appendectomy In The United States 10 Times More Expensive Than An Appendectomy In Mexico?

This is what can happen when you go to a socialized healthcare system. A lot of people out there believe that the United States has a free market healthcare system, but that is actually not true. The percentage of the population that receives government-subsidized healthcare is rapidly approaching 50 percent, and the healthcare industry may be the most heavily regulated sector of the entire U. S. economy. Every year the rules, red tape and regulations seem to get even worse, and every year health insurance premiums rise much faster than the overall rate of inflation. If we don’t start applying free market principles and start getting healthcare costs under control, our entire healthcare system could very easily implode.
I would like to share with you an excerpt from an article by former DEA agent David Hathaway. According to Hathaway, the average cost for an appendectomy in the United States is $33,000…
My son had an attack of appendicitis late Saturday night. I knew that the Obamacare inflated prices for surgery in the U. S. would be ridiculous and that the service would likely be impersonal, involve long waits, and be nerve-wracking. I have friends in the medical field so I inquired just for grins. The price for the latest routine appendectomy in my area was, my jaw dropped, $43,000. I read on-line that the average cost for an appendectomy in the U. S. is $33,000. I am not near some of the great direct-pay medical facilities in the U. S. like the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, but I am near Mexico. I chose that option since I have often utilized foreign medical and dental facilities in the past and find the service and prices to be outstanding.
You can buy a very nice brand new car for $33,000.

This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on December 4th, 2017.

John McCain Holds The Keys To Tax Reform’s Fate

Anybody who was watching the July Senate floor vote on the Republicans’ bill to repeal and replace Obamacare will remember the audible gasps that John McCain elicited when he surprised his own party by voting against the plan. And now just four months later, he’s gearing up to do it again.
According to the New York Times, McCain may once again decide the fate of one of the Trump administration’s top legislative priorities.
The senator from Arizona has been tight-lipped about whether he will vote ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ on the bill, which was voted out of the Senate Banking Committee yesterday with the support of Bob Corker and Ron Johnson, who have both expressed reservations about the plan – Johnson had even said he wouldn’t vote for it.
As the NYT points out, McCain has staked his career on a platform of fiscal responsibility, and has bucked his party by voting against tax cuts in the past.
McCain’s skepticism of tax cuts stretches at least as far back as 1994. At that time, he was fretting about being fiscally responsible now that Republicans had seized control of Congress. ‘I think we would be making a terrible mistake to go back to the 80s, where we cut all of those taxes and all of a sudden now we’ve got a debt that we’ve got to pay on an annual basis that is bigger than the amount that we spend on defense,’ McCain said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 29, 2017.

“Make Or Break”: Senators Push For Sweeping Changes To Tax Bill As GOP Leaders Struggle To Vote It Out Of Committee

With roughly 14 sessions of Congress left before the New Year break, the GOP’s chances of passing comprehensive tax reform by the end of the year – as the White House has promised to do – are looking increasingly remote. So far, the biggest obstacle – as with the Republicans disastrous failure to repeal and replace Obamacare – is the Senate, where disparate groups of lawmakers are opposing the bill for different, and sometimes contradictory, reasons.
***
In what has been called a “make or break” marathon negotiating session, at least two Senators have come out against the bill in its current form, sending the administration scrambling to hammer out a compromise on the pass-through rate that would entice Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson and Montana’s Steve Daines to vote ‘yes’.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 28, 2017.

Illinois Supreme Court Rules Against Pensions

The Illinois Supreme Court has used STRICT CONSTRUCTION to defend the State against State Employee pensions that have been bankrupting the State. Previously, back in 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that health care benefits provided to state employees were a ‘permanent benefit’guaranteed by the state constitution. That has led to a complete disaster as healthcare costs have risen out of control thanks to Obamacare, which handed insurance companies more money and a monopoly status that everyone had to have insurance even the y7outh who never used it.
Those health care costs are destroying the fabric of the entire economy pushing pension costs over the top. The Supreme Court is mindful of the disaster he caused with its 2014 ruling and they have been obvious under political pressure to reverse it. They figured a way to do this using STRICT CONSTRUCTION. Therefore, the benefit cannot be greater than what was expressed in the statute. Consequently, they now delivered a six-word ruling on Thanksgiving eve refusing to hear the retirees’ appeal of a state Appellate Court ruling that essentially upheld Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s now-completed, three-year phase-out of retiree health care coverage.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Nov 28, 2017.

Two Paths Diverge: Which One Will the President Take?

At the beginning of the year as the President was assuming office, I penned a piece that focused upon the need for the President to ‘clean house’ regarding the Administration, and putting Congress in its place. I also stressed the need for him to run a ‘tight ship,’ as the midterm elections of Congress in 2018 are going to determine the success of his term. As it stands, things do not look very promising. RINO (Republicans in Name Only) members of Congress have derailed his efforts on everything from Obamacare to Border Control. Every effort the President has initiated has met with dogged resistance.
Who are these resistors? To be sure, many of them can be found ensconced within levels of government or government-influenced positions where said position is not necessarily determined or changed by an incoming administration. An example of how this happens is Ben Bernanke, appointed to head the Federal Reserve under George W. Bush, and kept in place by Obama until 2014 when Yellen stepped into the spot.
The prime example of an infestation are the holdovers from the Obama administration in the State Department…the same department boasting such ‘winners’ as Victoria Nuland and Hillary Clinton. The State Department that almost singlehandedly (with the help of Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain) toppled the government of Ukraine via coup d’tat, as well as enabling the ‘Arab Spring’ to unfold.

This post was published at shtfplan on November 24th, 2017.

Obamacare Rage: One Family Of 4 In Virginia Is Faced With Paying $3,000 A Month For Health Insurance

Could you afford to pay $3000 a month for health insurance? Previously, Ian Dixon had been paying $900 a month for health insurance for his family of four, but thanks to changes in the Charlottesville insurance market, a similar plan will now cost him more than $3,000 a month. When I first came across this story on Zero Hedge, I have to admit that I got angry. I was angry at the Democrats for destroying our healthcare system in the first place, and I was angry at Republicans for failing to repeal Obamacare even though they have had almost a full year to do so. Obamacare is financially destroying hard working families all over the nation, and Congress must take action immediately.
Originally, Ian Dixon was excited about Obamacare because he thought that it would mean that he could continue to provide health insurance for his family once he left his full-time job. But now that he is facing a bill of more than $3,000 a month, all he is feeling is ‘rage’…
Ian Dixon, who left his full-time job in 2016 to pursue an app-development business, did so because the ACA guaranteed that he could still have quality coverage for his young family, he said.
But when the 38-year-old Charlottesville husband and father of a 3- and a 1-year-old went to re-enroll this month, his only choice for coverage would cost him more than $3,000 a month for his family of four, which amounted to an increase of more than 300 percent over the $900 he paid the year before. And this is for the second-cheapest option, with a deductible of $9,200.
‘Helpless is definitely a good word for it,’ Dixon said. ‘Rage is also a good word for it.’

This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on November 19th, 2017.

OBAMACARE PREMIUM SPIKES IN 2018 NOW GREATER THAN TWO THIRDS OF A FAMILY’S WAGES IN SOME AREAS

Just as in 2016, Obamacare could remain one of the major hot button topics for voters going into the 2018 mid-term elections.
And unless the Congressional Republicans can hammer out some form of repeal, replace, or adaptation of the Healthcare Act before the end of 2017, then premiums are expected to once again skyrocket for the majority of American families next year.
And how high might some of these premiums go? Well in an example from one family in Virginia, their monthly premiums are going to be greater than two-thirds of the average household income for the entire state.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on NOVEMBER 18, 2017.

“Helpless, Raging” Charlottesville Families Shocked By These 2018 Obamacare Premiums…”It’s Horrific”

Over the past several months, Democrats have jumped on every opportunity possible to blame the Trump administration for yet another year of staggering Obamacare premium increases. Ironically, despite arguments from the Left that Trump’s defunding of Obamacare’s marketing budget would cause 2018 signups to plunge, as Politico recently noted, they’re actually up in 2018…which begs the question: was the Obama administration just wasting $100 million a year in taxpayer money for nothing? Shocking thought, we know.
Meanwhile a fresh barrage of outcries from Democrats, most notably Ms. Nancy Pelosi, came after Trump’s decision to cut federal subsidies, an action which the CBO insisted could result in devastating premium increases of up to 20%.
Of course, if Trump is responsible for 20% of Obamacare’s premium hikes in 2018, then perhaps Nancy Pelosi should explain to the Dixon family in Charlottesville, VA precisely who is responsible for the other portion of the 235% premium hike they just received.
As the Washington Post points out this morning, the Dixons, a family of 4 in Virginia, were shocked earlier this month to find that their Obamacare premiums were going to surge from roughly $900 per month in 2017 to over $3,000 per month in 2018.
Ian Dixon, who left his full-time job in 2016 to pursue an app-development business, did so because the ACA guaranteed that he could still have quality coverage for his young family, he said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.

Blame Game Over Obamacare’s 2018 Premium Surge Reaches Feverish Pitch, Will It Matter In 2018?

As Americans head to the exchanges to purchase their Obamacare plans for 2018, many are experiencing a bit of sticker shock. As the Wall Street Journal points out this morning, folks in Deaf Smith, Texas can expect their premiums to surge 87% next year while those in Clinton, Iowa are looking at a sickening increase of 171%, with monthly premiums surging from $288 to $781.
In Deaf Smith, Texas, for example, a 40-year old single individual who earns too much for federal aid will see premiums jump 87% – from about $290 to $540 – according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of prices for a popular, midprice health plan. Only people who make less than 400% of the poverty level – about $48,000 in most states this year – are eligible for federal aid.
In Clinton, Iowa, premiums will rise from $288 to $781, an increase of 171%, for the same plan.
‘There is unquestionably a growing divide in affordability between lower-income people who qualify for premium subsidies and middle-income people who do not,’ said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
AnnMarie McIlwain, a patient advocate in Summit, N. J., pays $1,087 a month for a family policy, and her premiums next year are going up 39%. With their deductible, the family’s annual health costs could surpass $20,000.
‘I find it outrageous. I think there’s going to be a huge outcry,’ said Mrs. McIIwain, 56. ‘They have gone up year over year, but never like this.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 9, 2017.

Woman Who Flipped Off Trump’s Motorcade Was Fired For Her Behavior

The woman made infamous for flipping off president Donald Trump’s motorcade says she was fired from her job for her childish behavior. Juli Briskman said the marketing company bosses called her in and gave her the boot.
But, nonetheless, the 50-year-old says she has no regrets about flipping off the president’s motorcade. Briskman was cycling in Virginia last month when she offered the gesture in what she described as a ‘gut reaction’ to Donald Trump’s policies. ‘He was passing by and my blood just started to boil,’ she told the Huffington Post. ‘I’m thinking, DACA (aka, ‘dreamers,’ children of illegal immigrants who were allowed to stay in the United States) recipients are getting kicked out. He pulled ads for open enrollment in Obamacare. Only one-third of Puerto Rico has power. I’m thinking, he’s at the damn golf course again.’
A photographer traveling with the presidential motorcade snapped Briskman’s picture and the image quickly spread across news outlets and social media. Many hailed Briskman as a hero, with some saying she should run in the 2020 election; while others called her disrespectful, emotionally driven, and childish.

This post was published at shtfplan on November 7th, 2017.

John McCain Confirms: Tax Reform Is “DOA In The Senate”

Note how the latest GOP tax plan has converged with that proposed weeks ago by Goldman Sachs pic.twitter.com/rcmczAFPWH
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) November 6, 2017

It’s official: The Republican tax reform bill is dead on arrival in the Senate now that John McCain has become the third Republican senator to confirm that he plans to vote against it.
What’s worse for the Trump administration, McCain reportedly wants the bill to receive input from both parties – a criticism that he cited as his reason for voting against the Trump administration’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. This is particularly problematic because there’s approximately zero chance that any Democratic lawmakers will break ranks to vote with Republicans, despite President Donald Trump repeatedly saying that he expects to win a modicum of bipartisan support.
McCain reportedly confirmed that the bill in its current form is effectively DOA during an interview with Fox Business’s Charlie Gasparino.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 6, 2017.

Can Trump and Rand Paul Save Healthcare?

Last week, Donald Trump signed a new executive order facilitating more flexibility for consumers of health insurance.
The order allows for more flexibility in purchasing insurance across state lines, and greater freedom both small businesses and groups of consumers in creating “association health plans” (AHPs). In theory, this will broaden access to the benefits currently enjoyed only by those with employment-based insurance, and other types of group insurance.
The order paves the way for healthcare reforms long favored by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul who believes the reforms will help bring down healthcare costs.
In an op-ed for Breitbart, Paul writes:
Millions of Americans will be eligible to band together to demand less-expensive insurance. The 28 million individuals left behind by Obamacare will now be eligible for inexpensive insurance.
How will it work? Well, nationwide associations like the National Restaurant Association will be allowed to form groups across state lines and, with the leverage of size, demand Big Insurance bring down their outrageous premiums.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on October 20, 2017.