Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

What we voted for: new Obamacare taxes coming in 2014

The New York Post reports.

Excerpt:

The cost of President Obama’s massive health-care law will hit Americans in 2014 as new taxes pile up on their insurance premiums and on their income-tax bills.

Most insurers aren’t advertising the ObamaCare taxes that are added on to premiums, opting instead to discretely pass them on to customers while quietly lobbying lawmakers for a break.

But one insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, laid bare the taxes on its bills with a separate line item for “Affordable Care Act Fees and Taxes.”

The new taxes on one customer’s bill added up to $23.14 a month, or $277.68 annually, according to Kaiser Health News. It boosted the monthly premium from $322.26 to $345.40 for that individual.

The new taxes and fees include a 2 percent levy on every health plan, which is expected to net about $8 billion for the government in 2014 and increase to $14.3 billion in 2018.

There’s also a $2 fee per policy that goes into a new medical-research trust fund called the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Insurers pay a 3.5 percent user fee to sell medical plans on the HealthCare.gov Web site.

[...]Americans also will pay hidden taxes, such as the 2.3 percent medical-device tax that will inflate the cost of items such as pacemakers, stents and prosthetic limbs.

Those with high out-of-pocket medical expenses also will get smaller income-tax deductions.

Americans are currently allowed to deduct expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of their annual income. The threshold jumps to 10 percent under ObamaCare, costing taxpayers about $15 billion over 10 years.

Then there’s the new Medicare tax.

Under ObamaCare, individual tax filers earning more than $200,000 and families earning more than $250,000 will pay an added 0.9 percent Medicare surtax on top of the existing 1.45 percent Medicare payroll tax. They’ll also pay an extra 3.8 percent Medicare tax on unearned income, such as investment dividends, rental income and capital gains.

Right now, Obama is furiously trying to re-write the law by arbitrary executive decisions. But all this does is remove the amount of money being paid into the system, while keeping the amount being spent the same. What will be the end result of a massive shortfall in funding for Obamacare? As Byron York argues, the end result of will be that the Democrats bail out health care insurance companies to keep them from going bankrupt.

Transcript:

COLBY: What do you think about these bailouts of insurance companies, as well? Could that happen?

YORK: It absolutely will happen –

COLBY: Will happen?!

YORK: As a matter of fact, it’s written into the law. There’s something called “risk corridors,” which basically ensure that if an insurance company ends up paying a lot more in benefits than it takes in in premiums, then the federal government will bail it out — it will make it good. And it looks like we are entering a situation — certainly in the first month of January — where the insurance companies will be in that situation. And they’e not going to take the losses. It will be the taxpayer who makes up for those losses.

Do you think that raising the debt from $8.5 trillion to $17 trillion was irresponsible? Then wait until the government has to bail out all their left-wing cronies in the health insurance industry.

One thing is for sure – the Republicans will be running on Obamacare in 2014:

New Hampshire:

Minnesota:

This money that is being wasted due to socialist incompetence doesn’t come from government workers or politicians – they don’t earn any money of their own. The money comes from government borrowing from your children. Honestly, I if I had children, I might be tempted to leave this country, especially if I wanted to have lots of them. This really isn’t the place for a big family any more.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Moody’s anticipates U.S. credit downgrade following fiscal cliff deal

Here’s the latest from the Moody’s web site.

Excerpt:

Moody’s Investors Service said that the fiscal package passed by both houses of Congress yesterday is a further step in clarifying the medium-term deficit and debt trajectory of the federal government. It does not, however, provide a basis for a meaningful improvement in the government’s debt ratios over the medium term. The rating agency expects that further fiscal measures are likely to be taken in coming months that would result in lower future budget deficits, which are necessary if the negative outlook on the government’s bond rating is to be returned to stable. On the other hand, lack of further deficit reduction measures could affect the rating negatively. Notably, yesterday’s package does not address the federal government’s statutory debt limit, which was reached on December 31. The need to raise the debt limit may affect the outcome of future budget negotiations.

[...]The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the net increase in budget deficits from the fiscal package when compared to its baseline scenario (which assumes taxes on all income levels would increase) is about $4 trillion over the coming decade, excluding higher interest costs on the resultant higher debt. Based on that estimate, a preliminary calculation by Moody’s shows that the ratio of government debt to GDP would peak at about 80% in 2014 and then remain in the upper 70 percent range for the remaining years of the coming decade. Stabilization at this level would leave the government less able to deal with future pressures from entitlement spending or from unforeseen shocks. Thus, further measures that bring about a downward debt trajectory over the medium term are likely to be needed to support the Aaa rating.

This will not be our first credit rating downgrade, we had one before from Standard and Poor’s in August 2011 and a second one from Egan Jones in April 2012. So this will be the third one in a row during Obama’s borrowing and spending spree.

Would you like to see some graphs showing the impact that the fiscal cliff deal has on our long-term debt? There is a pretty good article on National Review by Yuval Levin that has the charts. The truth is that entitlements are driving our debt, and the fiscal cliff deal does nothing about it.

All Obama seems to be able to do as President is borrow from future generations in order to spend now. When I consider his drug-using years with his “Choom Gang” friends, I’m not sure that he is really qualified to do anything other than borrow and waste money. So far, he’s spent a lot more time using drugs than running businesses in the private sector, it seems to me. Maybe he has an addiction issue with borrowing and spending?

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

President Food Stamp: growth in food stamp rolls is 75 times number of jobs created

The Weekly Standard explains.

Excerpt:

With the latest jobs report, it is now the case that “Under Obama, Food Stamp Growth [Is] 75 Times Greater Than Job Creation,” according to statistics compiled by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee. “For Every Person Added to Jobs Rolls Since January 2009, 75 People Added To Food Stamp Rolls.”

Since January 2009, as the chart shows, a net of 194,000 new jobs have been created. During that same time, 14.7 million have been added to the food stamp rolls.

“Simply put, the President’s policies have not produced jobs. During his time in office, 14.7 million people were added to the food stamp rolls. Over that same time, only 194,000 jobs were created—thus 76 people went on food stamps for every one that found a job,” says Senator Jeff Sessions, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee. “This is a product of low growth. Post-recession economic growth in 2010 was 2.4%, and dropped in 2011 to 1.8%. This year it has dropped again to 1.77%. Few, if any, net jobs will be created with growth of less than 2%.”

This is unacceptable, and we need a change.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Labor force participation at 31-year low: record number of Americans out of work

CNS News reports.

Full text:

The number of Americans whom the U.S. Department of Labor counted as “not in the civilian labor force” in August hit a record high of 88,921,000.

The Labor Department counts a person as not in the civilian labor force if they are at least 16 years old, are not in the military or an institution such as a prison, mental hospital or nursing home, and have not actively looked for a job in the last four weeks. The department counts a person as in “the civilian labor force” if they are at least 16, are not in the military or an institution such as a prison, mental hospital or nursing home, and either do have a job or have actively looked for one in the last four weeks.

In July, there were 155,013,000 in the U.S. civilian labor force. In August that dropped to 154,645,000—meaning that on net 368,000 people simply dropped out of the labor force last month and did not even look for a job.

There were also 119,000 fewer Americans employed in August than there were in July. In July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 142,220,000 Americans working. But, in August, there were only 142,101,000 Americans working.

Despite the fact that fewer Americans were employed in August than July, the unemployment rate ticked down from 8.3 in July to 8.1. That is because so many people dropped out of the labor force and stopped looking for work. The unemployment rate is the percentage of people in the labor force (meaning they had a job or were actively looking for one) who did not have a job.

The Bureau of Labor Statistic also reported that in August the labor force participation rate (the percentage of the people in the civilian non-institutionalized population who either had a job or were actively looking for one) dropped to a 30-year low of 63.5 percent, down from 63.7 percent in July. The last time the labor force participation rate was as low as 63.5 percent was in September 1981.

Let’s see how things are going for Obama’s biggest supporters – the young people who have been brainwashed by public schools to hate corporations , entrepreneurship and free market capitalism.

CNN Money reports:

The drop in the unemployment rate in August isn’t particularly good news for the economy — it’s driven mostly by nearly 400,000 people dropping out of the labor force, rather than more people finding jobs.

But those dropping out aren’t so much the discouraged 30-, 40- or 50-year olds. In fact, the Labor Department said there was a modest decline in the overall number of discouraged job seekers.

The drop is because so many young adults, aged 16 to 24, are no longer looking for work.

There were 453,000 fewer young adults with jobs in August than in July. But despite that plunge, only 27,000 more young people were looking for new jobs. Most apparently stopped looking and left the labor force. And those numbers take into account seasonal factors such as younger workers returning to school.

As a result, the percentage of young people who are counted in the labor force fell to its lowest level since 1955.

But there is one sector of the economy that is still doing fine – the parasitic public sector is doing fine.

CNS News reports:

There was good news for American workers in August—if government was their employer.

The unemployment rate for government wage and salaries workers dropped from 5.7 percent in July to 5.1 percent in August. At the same time, the number of government wage and salary workers counted as unemployed dropped by 123,000 people from 1,182,000 in July to 1,059,000 in August.

[...]Answering questions from reporters on June 8, President Obama said that the private sector was “doing fine” and that the “weaknesses” in the economy were in government.

“The private sector is doing fine,” said Obama. “Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government, oftentimes cuts initiated by, you know, governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don’t have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.”

Government workers live off of the money confiscated from businesses, who have to please customers by trading them valuable goods and services in order to make money.

This is not unexpected. Socialism is the destroyer of prosperity. In 2008, we elected an unqualified Marxist ideologue as President. He wrecked the economy because he doesn’t understand economics. He’s put us on the path to becoming Greece. In November, I hope that we’ll get it right for a change.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thomas Sowell and the New York Times agree on why Obama fails

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell

An editorial by famous economist Thomas Sowell at Right Wing News. (H/T Doug Ross’ links)

Excerpt:

After reading Barack Obama’s book “Dreams from My Father,” it became painfully clear that he has not been searching for the truth, because he assumed from an early age that he had already found the truth — and now it was just a question of filling in the details and deciding how to change things.

Obama did not simply happen to encounter a lot of people on the far left fringe during his life. As he spells out in his book, he actively sought out such people. There is no hint of the slightest curiosity on his part about other visions of the world that might be weighed against the vision he had seized upon.

As Professor Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago Law School has pointed out, Obama made no effort to take part in the marketplace of ideas with other faculty members when he was teaching a law course there. What would be the point, if he already knew the truth and knew that they were wrong?

This would be a remarkable position to take, even for a learned scholar who had already spent decades canvassing a vast amount of information and views on many subjects. But Obama was already doctrinaire at a very early age — and ill-informed or misinformed on both history and economics.

[...]Barack Obama is one of those people who are often wrong but never in doubt. When he burst upon the national political scene as a presidential candidate in 2008, even some conservatives were impressed by his confidence.

But confident ignorance is one of the most dangerous qualities in a leader of a nation. If he has the rhetorical skills to inspire the same confidence in himself by others, then you have the ingredients for national disaster.

He gives a few examples, but he’s not the only person to have noticed this. Consider the following article from the radically left-wing New York Times, of all places. (H/T Forbes)

Excerpt:

But even those loyal to Mr. Obama say that his quest for excellence can bleed into cockiness and that he tends to overestimate his capabilities. The cloistered nature of the White House amplifies those tendencies, said Matthew Dowd, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, adding that the same thing happened to his former boss. “There’s a reinforcing quality,” he said, a tendency for presidents to think, I’m the best at this.

[...]He may not always be as good at everything as he thinks, including politics. While Mr. Obama has given himself high grades for his tenure in the White House — including a “solid B-plus” for his first year — many voters don’t agree, citing everything from his handling of the economy to his unfulfilled pledge that he would be able to unite Washington to his claim that he would achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Those were not the only times Mr. Obama may have overestimated himself: he has also had a habit of warning new hires that he would be able to do their jobs better than they could.

“I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard, his political director, at the start of the 2008 campaign, according to The New Yorker. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

Though he never ran a large organization before becoming president, he initially dismissed internal concerns about management and ended up with a factionalized White House and a fuzzier decision-making process than many top aides wanted.

What you have in Barack Obama is a man who governs based on his own intuitions and sense of superiority. He’s not grounded in facts, and he’s not willing to listen to anyone else’s view if it disagrees with those intuitions. He wants to be praised without having achieved anything praiseworthy. Where did this attitude of ignorance coupled with arrogance come from? Would you hire a person like that to work with you?

UPDATE: Stuart Schneiderman answers the question I asked about where this attitude comes from:

Obsessed with perfection and fixated on his own prowess Obama is suffering from vainglorious self-puffery, self-esteem to the nth power.

He is the reductio ad absurdum of a culture of self-esteem that does not reward achievement but that teaches people to keep telling themselves that they are the best, regardless.

When the most powerful leader of the free world needs to compete and win at making chili or playing pool he is trying to find a sliver of evidence that would protect him against the encroaching suspicion that his greatness is just a bunch of media-drive hype.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , ,

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