Healthcare spending down? Is Obamacare the reason?

Obama administration to tout slow growth in national healthcare spending – http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/194367-cms-to-tout-slow-growth-in-healthcare-spending

The agency responsible for implementing ObamaCare will release a report on Monday showing slow growth in national healthcare spending.

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) will brief reporters at the National Press Club on what the Obama administration has touted as a trend of slower healthcare spending growth since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

This report is so easy to disregard, it’s hardly worth the time it takes to comment. Regardless, we’ll do it anyway. There is one key term that exposes this fraudulent attempt to prop up the success of Obamacare. Spending. Spending on healthcare. It really is down. Why is this? That’s due to the COST of healthcare including insurance. Yes, the only reason spending has gone down is because COSTS have gone up acting as a disincentive.

The only study worth examining would be one that accounts for an equivalent amount of products and services before and after the implementation of Obamacare. That isn’t even possible yet until all of the true costs minus exemptions and other delays are expired.

For the Kool-Aid drinkers among us that believe in the rhetoric about Obamacare actually lowering costs, at least consider this simple rationale. Obamacare is about extending healthcare INSURANCE for all. Not CARE. Expand any system to include a much larger pool of applicants and costs must increase to accommodate them. Further expand existing coverage to cover all the tenets of the Obamacare requirements and costs go up across the board. Common sense.

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Can federal unemployment checks really grow our economy over $50 billion dollars a year?

The US economy is losing up to a billion dollars a week because of the “fiscally irresponsible” decision to end long-term unemployment benefits, a Harvard economist said on Friday.

Professor Lawrence Katz based his assessment on official forecasts of the impact to the economy of 1.3 million jobless Americans losing benefits. Read more – http://www.alternet.org/economy/us-economy-losing-one-billion-week-after-jobless-benefits-cut?page=0%2C0

He later told the Guardian that the calculation was based on the “multiplier effect” of cancelling the benefits program, which had been forecast by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Applying the CBO’s estimated multiplier effect to the $400m per week being lost in benefits, Katz said, translated into a cost to the economy of between $600m and $1bn.

If Keynesian economists ever hope to get any respect, they are going to have to sell their premise much better. No matter what ‘multiplier’ you dream up, multiplying it by zero still equals zero. Simply put, economic ‘activity’ doesn’t equate to economic growth. One can spend that unemployment check dollar an infinite amount of times and its value in terms of economic output is still one dollar. Less when you factor in that it was printed or borrowed and costs interest to boot.

Economic growth must contain increased productivity and/or wealth. Otherwise it isn’t growth, merely activity which describes the ‘busy work’ our government employees conduct at taxpayer expense.

The plight of the unemployed, particularly the long-term that qualify for the federal government extensions at the heart of this debate, is a moral issue as much as an issue of practicality. Erosion of skills, motivation to search for a job, ancillary issues such as foreclosures and bankruptcies, etc., are all valid concerns as a result of a loss of an income source such as unemployment. You just can’t sell it as a product of economic growth. You may say it is a way to stop the bleeding and making things worse, but that brings the moral question into the debate.

Which is the ultimate bearer of the cost of transfer payments that must be borrowed are future generations with no say in the matter. Keynesian economists have no formula in which to interject morality into their equations. Even the morality issue is moot as far as formulas are concerned. Circulating a dollar throughout an economy simply cannot result in growth. Growth is required to ever increase productivity to expand the wealth base to be able to pay back that dollar along with its accumulated interest.

The bottom line is that Keynesian spending can only ever serve as a band-aid to stave off facing reality. That comes at a cost. A cost is a debt and all debts are always paid. It may be the borrower, it may be the lender or it may be a third-party but someone will pay it. Guaranteed.

The argument as to whether using taxpayer dollars to fund non-productive activity during economic downturns is preferable to simply allowing people to fend for themselves is a complex one. Attempting to integrate ethical issues into economic policy is imperfect at best and immeasurable as well.

One thing we can ascertain for sure. Policies that truly grow an economy are best and far more likely to result in maximizing employment and eliminating this debate altogether. Keynesian economics has never been about sound policy rather it just serves as a tool for proponents of big government and collectivism.

FIAT buys 100% of Chrysler – the UAW thanks Obama a billion times

So FIAT has finally bought out the UAW shares to completely own Chrysler – Fiat Agrees To Buy Rest Of Chrysler From UAW Trust For $4.35 Billion.

No surprises here. Originally, the UAW-VEBA trust debt was $8 billion. Completely unsecured. That is until the Obama lawless bankruptcy team stepped in. While the first-line creditors got 29 cents on the dollar for their ‘secured’ debt, the UAW-VEBA actually ended up making money on the bankruptcy. So far, about a billion dollars at taxpayer expense. Heritage.org has the background here – http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/06/auto-bailout-or-uaw-bailout-taxpayer-losses-came-from-subsidizing-union-compensation.

Take the FIAT $4.35 billion added to the $4.6 billion note (not including the 9% interest it’s earning) and you find that the UAW-VEBA made out just great to the tune of a $8.95 billion dollars. Not bad for a completely unsecured debt of $8 billion. Sure pays to have friends in high places and get paid back for supporting their political campaigns.

I’m sure that our Italian friends at FIAT as well as the UAW here at home would thank you the taxpayer over and over for your generosity. Probably about a billion times.

Shouldn’t our unemployed receive a ‘living wage’ benefit amount as well?

What’s the easiest way to reduce the nations unemployment rate short of actually creating jobs? You simply allow the federal extension of unemployment benefits to expire as Congress just did Dec. 27th. This is what is considered an exercise in behavior modification. Two results are likely to emerge. One is that people who have been enjoying some government cheese while reclined in their favorite easy chair will now be motivated to actually go out and get a job. In particular, one in which the pay differential previously was not great enough above the benefit check amount to generate said motivation. Secondly, we will see yet another decrease in the labor participation rate as more will choose to give up the job search in favor of cheese from another source.

The resulting decline in the official unemployment rate will allow President Obama to chirp even more about the success of his never resting mission to employ the middle class. With two more groups scheduled to lose benefits later this year bringing the total to 5 million overall, one would suspect this opinion as well as all the others rendered will be moot. It’s more likely that Congress will “see” the light in an election year and come together to re-instate the extensions.

Which brings me the point. This is being sold as a morality issue.

“Neglecting to extend this vital lifeline to millions of workers is simply immoral” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

One has to appreciate the attempt by our state-run media to once again run interference for the President’s woeful record on job creation which is the reason for our discussion here today. Take this article from Bloomberg.

The economics are largely positive. Congress has extended long-term jobless benefits — meaning, beyond the normal 26 weeks — 11 times since the recent recession, with President George W. Bush making the first request in 2008. Employment, tax revenue and gross domestic product have all been greater because of extended benefits. The Congressional Budget Office says the same would be true for 2014 if Congress spent the $25 billion needed to maintain benefits through the year.

As always, there are downsides. Long-term unemployment benefits have cost taxpayers $255 billion since 2008, increasing the national debt. But debt keeps declining as the economic recovery picks up steam, and the stimulus that unemployment benefits provides will keep the virtuous cycle going next year.

Without unemployment insurance, the almost 5 million long-term jobless will become all but invisible, statistically speaking. Workers whose benefits are cut off are likely to stop looking for jobs and therefore won’t be counted in the official statistics.

Wow! Positive economics, increased employment, tax revenue and GDP all because of increasing our deficits and debt for an income redistribution program. As always, we have to ask this question. If a little is good, why not more? Much more? If a relatively meager unemployment check is enough to stimulate our economy so effectively, why would you not double down and really push it? The masses are protesting for a $15 per hour minimum wage, why not protest for an equivalent unemployment check? At $15 per hour, a 40 hour check should yield $600 per week. Don’t our unemployed ‘deserve’ a living wage as well?

Oh, and don’t be concerned about the 5 million stealing Sauron’s ring and becoming invisible. Taxpayers across the nation will be paying the fare in some other fashion for those who don’t ‘find’ one of those elusive jobs.

Nancy Pelosi has been regurgitating liberal economist drivel for years touting stimulus spending as having a return on investment of at least 1.5 meaning for every dollar spent, we see an increase in growth of a buck and a half. Again, why not spend much much more? The answer is of course that it doesn’t work which Nancy Pelosi knows quite well. That little fact doesn’t fit the narrative however.

What is lost in the entire debate about morality in ending benefit programs are the voices of those without a voice. Meaning future generations, some who haven’t even been born yet, who will have to pay the bill. Is it any more moral to enact taxation without representation to our youth than it is to fail to extend a welfare program into perpetuity? The fact is that Nancy Pelosi and her ilk aren’t seeking the votes of those future generations so their concerns go unfounded. As always with most Americans and the political environment we live in, we live in the moment and bailouts of the current generation for past misgivings are paid for by future generations.

Nancy Pelosi, your morality is immoral.