You remember the post a couple of days ago when I broadly hinted that you shouldn’t believe a single statistic (or most of anything else) this administration proffers?
More proof. You might recall a number of administration spokespersons and Democrat mouthpieces telling us that millions have enrolled and paid?
An official from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services admitted at a House hearing today that no one knows how many people have actually paid for Obamacare coverage.
“So we don’t know at this point how many people have actually paid for coverage?” asked a member of Congress.
“That’s right,” the CMS official conceded.
Inept, incompetent and unfortunately, in charge.
I’m not sure that this will surprise anyone, given the size and intrusiveness of our government:
World economic freedom has reached record levels, according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, released Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. But after seven straight years of decline, the U.S. has dropped out of the top 10 most economically free countries.
For 20 years, the index has measured a nation’s commitment to free enterprise on a scale of 0 to 100 by evaluating 10 categories, including fiscal soundness, government size and property rights. These commitments have powerful effects: Countries achieving higher levels of economic freedom consistently and measurably outperform others in economic growth, long-term prosperity and social progress. Botswana, for example, has made gains through low tax rates and political stability.
Obviously the decline began before the Obama administration, but the policies of this administration have certainly hastened the decline and are certainly a primary reason for the US dropping out of the top 10:
Those losing freedom, on the other hand, risk economic stagnation, high unemployment and deteriorating social conditions. For instance, heavy-handed government intervention in Brazil’s economy continues to limit mobility and fuel a sense of injustice.
It’s not hard to see why the U.S. is losing ground. Even marginal tax rates exceeding 43% cannot finance runaway government spending, which has caused the national debt to skyrocket. The Obama administration continues to shackle entire sectors of the economy with regulation, including health care, finance and energy. The intervention impedes both personal freedom and national prosperity.
And that’s certainly been the case these past 5 years. Regulation has exploded, government intrusiveness has increased, freedom is in retreat.
Despite financial crises and recessions, the global economy has expanded by nearly 70% in 20 years, to $54 trillion in 2012 from $32 trillion in 1993. Hundreds of millions of people have left grinding poverty behind as their economies have become freer. But it is an appalling, avoidable human tragedy how many of the world’s peoples remain unfree—and poor.
The record of increasing economic freedom elsewhere makes it inexcusable that a country like the U.S. continues to pursue policies antithetical to its own growth, while wielding its influence to encourage other countries to chart the same disastrous course. The 2014 Index of Economic Freedom documents a world-wide race to enhance economic opportunity through greater freedom—and this year’s index demonstrates that the U.S. needs a drastic change in direction.
Drastic action needed, dithering and inaction expected, continued decline the result.
Of course “ICYMI” is internet shorthand for “In Case You Missed It“. And in case you missed a couple of things I found interesting I thought I’d throw them up here.
According to the White House, 79% of those enrolled in Obamacare need subsidies because they cannot otherwise afford the premiums that have, in some cases, nearly doubled. Only 21% did not need subsidies.
As Businessweek noted, people “earning up to four times the poverty rate—as much as $96,000 a year for a family of four”—can get Obamacare subsidies from the federal government.
79%. That’s right, 79%. And why do they need subsidies? Because they can’t afford their insurance premiums anymore. And why can’t they afford their insurance premiums anymore?
Oh, and here’s a great chart on something else you might have missed:
Yes, that’s right … when all is said, done and figured, the real unemployment rate is around 11%, not 6.7%. No wonder those 79% need subsidies.
I threw that in because this is the state of the job market and that has an effect on who is going to enroll in this boondoggle of a government program. But right now, it appears young people – you know, the one’s Obama et al are counting on paying for this – aren’t enrolling.
But hey, is the White House worried? Nah, they – as usual – have it all figured out:
About 30 percent of new enrollees are under 35. White House officials say that’s an acceptable mix, and they expect more young people to come on board closer to the March 31 deadline. “We think that more and more young people are going to sign up as time goes by, based on the experience in Massachusetts,” Gary Cohen, deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, said on a conference call with reporters. “We’re actually very pleased with the percentage that we have right now, and we expect that percentage to increase.”
This is the usual whistling past the graveyard this administration is so prone too. They have no idea what will happen. They “think” more will sign up.
Uh huh …
ObamaCare says it needs an enrollment of 38% of youth to pay for this monstrosity. 24% are enrolled. And, apparently knowing youth better than I do (“Insurance? I”m not sick. Beside, I want that new 60″ TV.”) they’re sure they’ll make the time and effort to enroll and throw their money into the pit before March.
Not going to happen. I’d suggest those who are going to enroll have, for the most part, enrolled.
Of course that doesn’t mean the administration won’t claim to have 38%. But I’ll remind you they also claim unemployment is at 6.7%
And coming to a presidential race near you soon:
“Hillary’s Hit List: The Clintons keep a favor file of saints and sinners, according to this excerpt from ‘HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton,’” out Feb. 11 from Crown, by POLITICO’s Jonathan Allen and The Hill’s Amie Parnes: “There was a special circle of Clinton hell reserved for people who had endorsed Obama or stayed on the fence after Bill and Hillary had raised money for them, appointed them to a political post or written a recommendation to ice their kid’s application to an elite school. On one early draft of the hit list [a post-campaign spreadsheet], each Democratic member of Congress was assigned a numerical grade from 1 to 7, with the most helpful to Hillary earning 1s and the most treacherous drawing 7s. The set of 7s included Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), as well as Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Baron Hill (D-Ind.) and Rob Andrews (D-N.J.). …
“For Hillary, … the spreadsheet was a necessity of modern political warfare, an improvement on what old-school politicians called a “favor file.” It meant that when asks rolled in, she and Bill would have at their fingertips all the information needed to make a quick decision-including extenuating, mitigating and amplifying factors-so that friends could be rewarded and enemies punished.”
Now, Bill and Hill aren’t the first to do this nor will they be the last, but they certainly are an indicator of how awful our politics have become. It is a patronage system which has little at all to do with duty, service or honor and a lot to do with grabbing power and exercising it for the benefit of the politician and the politician’s cronies. The money, time and effort that typically goes into keeping up with this sort of thing is rather interesting in and of itself. Another indicator of the pettiness of politicians and their desire for retributive “justice”.
Of course money is no longer a problem to the former Governor and First Lady of Arkansas. Bill, who wrote off his underwear for tax purposes is now a multi-millionaire. Who says politics doesn’t pay off? And, so is his wife. So they’ve had both the time and money to put together an organization which will be pretty formidable in 2016.
As for the enemies on the Democratic side, well, it will be interesting to see how that plays out, won’t it? Especially if the “enemies” are situated in a strategic area that Hill needs and isn’t doing that well in. Bet that “numerical grade” goes up a bit in situations like that, huh? Bill Clinton is Mr. Pragmatism himself. Hill, yeah, not so much I think – not when it comes to “enemies”.
Anyway, I got a chuckle out of the list. Kerry just can’t win can he?
Well you all saw the new job numbers – 74,000 new jobs, 525,000 more workers drop out of the workforce and magically, the U3 unemployment rate dropped to 6.7% (“and the underpants gnomes … SCORE!”)
Trust … why wouldn’t you trust the BLS’s numbers when you continually see this formula add up to “less” unemployment? /sarc
In more ways than one, trust in government is being squandered by those in government.
For instance have you ever seen “leaders” who seem to know less about what their “minions” are doing than this latest bunch? Barack Obama is clueless as is, to a lesser extent, Chris Christie. And so we are witness to abuses of power on a regular basis. Most of those abuses can be linked to politics in general. But let’s face it, whatever the reason, we are seeing more and more abuse of power to the point that one might suggest that our government has become too powerful (“suggest” hell, it IS too powerful).
There’s another point that bothers me. I don’t know about you, but the way I’ve always been taught – in fact what I learned as a leader – is a leader is responsible for everything that does or doesn’t happen on his watch.
And while we may apply that in our lives and jobs, “we the people” seem content with swallowing the “gee, I didn’t know that was going on” nonsense from politicians. I’ve never seen an occupation where they are given so many passes on things that in the normal business world – or any other “world” – would be the end of their career.
In terms of leadership, It really doesn’t matter what happened, it’s his or her problem and responsibility. Good leaders don’t let those sorts of problems crop up very often. That’s because it is the leader’s job to set the ethical and moral boundaries of his administration and to relentlessly patrol those boundaries and punish those who cross them.
But that doesn’t happen today in politics. Instead we just leave ‘em be when they say “uh, gee, I didn’t know a thing about this.”
Ignorance isn’t an acceptable excuse. It’s the 7 year-old’s defense, one we don’t accept from our own kids, and yet we let politicians who claim to be leaders pull it every single day.
Trust? How can you trust anyone you let lie to you daily? How can you trust anyone who has no apparent moral or ethical boundaries and are only sorry to be caught? How can you believe anything they say? More importantly, how can you let these people have any say over your life at all?
Just wondering …
I wonder just how intelligent the bulk of Americans are. From a Quinnipiac poll:
American voters support 71 – 27 percent raising the minimum wage. Republican support is 52 – 45 percent. Given several options:
- 33 percent of voters say increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour;
- 18 percent say increase it from the current $7.25 per hour to something less than $10.10;
- 18 percent say increase it to more than $10.10 per hour;
- 27 percent say don’t increase the minimum wage.
Raising the minimum wage will lead businesses to cut jobs, voters say 50 – 45 percent, with Republicans seeing job cuts 68 – 29 percent and Democrats saying no 65 – 29 percent. Independent voters expect job cuts 51 – 45 percent.
We’re faced with the lowest job participation numbers in a long, long time, our economy is just starting to recover, a majority of Americans know that raising the minimum wage will lead “business to cut jobs” and yet, the majority also want to raise it anyway (to include 52% of “Republicans”).
It makes you just want to throw up your ands and say “screw it”.
The Affordable Care Act, the monstrosity of Democratic legislation with the Orwellian name, continues to lose supporters. And, as an added special feature, people in employer based programs are now paying more out-of-pocket for their medical expenses than before ObamaCare. Very “affordable”, no?
Support for the Affordable Care Act has plummeted since late last summer, and people with employer-based health insurance say they increasingly are paying more for out-of-pocket medical expenses, a new Bankrate.com survey released Wednesday revealed.
When Bankrate.com first polled people in September—right before the launch of Obamacare insurance exchanges, there was an even split between those who said they would repeal the Affordable Care Act if given the power to do so and those who would keep it: 46 percent each. (The rest either had no opinion or didn’t know how they felt.)
But three months later, after the botched launch of those government-run exchanges, the number of people who said they would gut Obamacare had risen to 48 percent, while the number of respondents who said they would keep it as law had plunged to 38 percent.
While the “botched launch” may have had some effect on that “plunge”, my guess is that hitting people’s wallet has pushed it down even more. Health care insurance isn’t some esoteric policy argument. It’s something that is important to everyone. It is about their family and trying to afford the best for their family’s health. When policy negatively effects real people, they react just as negatively (and I do hope that Democrats double down on their support of the law, since it is all theirs anyway) :
The survey also found that people, by a 2-to-1 margin, felt Obamacare had had a more negative than positive impact on their own, individual health care. The poll questioned 1,005 adults, and had a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.
His company’s survey also found that a total of 44 percent of people with employer-provided insurance said they are shelling out more dollars in deductibles and copayments than they were a year ago. And 47 percent of that group of people reported having more money deducted from their paycheck to pay the cost of those insurance plans than in 2012.
People earning between $50,000 and $75,000 annually were the most affected group: with 64 percent of them reporting a bigger hit on their paychecks from health insurance. Just 38 percent of the people earning less than $30,000 reported paying more for insurance in payroll deductions as of 2013.
The great leveling. Apparently you’re “rich” if you earn between $50 and $75k, so it’s okay that you’re paying more – and besides, those “Cadillac plans” just aren’t fair (well, except for the exempt unions, of course … and Congress, and ….). Don’t forget the tsunami of cancellations that will hit employer based programs hasn’t yet happened.
Obviously it doesn’t take great powers of perception to realize that this is just going to get worse and worse as the months pass. And as those months pass, those supporting the legislation will become fewer and fewer. It will be a grand issue on which Congressional Republicans can run (if they actually can figure out how to do that successfully without the usual idiocy). Unfortunately, politics aside, it is going to be a building disaster for the American people.
Repeal is the best remedy.
Mostly because you get tired of saying “I told you so”. Focus – Germany:
With Greenpeace successfully forcing the shutdown of nuclear power, and keeping out fracking for gas, what’s left? A boom in coal. In fact, over the next two years Germany will build 10 new power plants for hard coal. Europe is in a coal frenzy, building power plants and opening up new mines, practically every month. It might sound odd that a boom in German coal is the result of Greenpeace’s political success.
Yes, this is the sort of thing that happens when governments try to set priorities in a market for political reasons and it blows up in their face:
Europe’s appetite for cheaper electricity is reviving mines that produce the dirtiest Across the continent’s mining belt, from Germany to Poland and the Czech Republic, utilities are expanding open-pit mines that produce lignite. The projects go against the grain of European Union rules limiting emissions and pushing cleaner energy. Alarmed at power prices about double U.S. levels, policy makers are allowing the expansion of coal mines that were scaled back in the past two decades. Lignite demand worldwide is forecast to rise as much as 5.4 percent by 2020, according to the International Energy Agency.
And the preferred energy sources just don’t deliver:
Germany’s wind and solar power production came to an almost complete standstill in early December. More than 23,000 wind turbines stood still. One million photovoltaic systems stopped work nearly completely. For a whole week coal, nuclear and gas power plants had to generate an estimated 95 percent of Germany’s electricity supply.
But if you ask them, these same folks will tell you how much smarter they are than you, how their priorities make more sense than yours and why they should be able to use force to make you live with their choices.
The irony is simply hilarious:
Coal remains the biggest source of fuel for generating electricity in the U.S. and coal exports are growing fast. Demand is being stoked by the rise of power-hungry middle classes in emerging economies, led by China and India. By the end of this decade, coal is expected to surpass oil as the world’s dominant fuel source, according to a recent study by consultant Wood Mackenzie.
And that brings us to the paradox created by government:
Germany’s energy transition has also been a transition to coal: Despite multi-billion subsidies for renewable energy sources, power generation from brown coal (lignite) has climbed to its highest level in Germany since 1990. It is especially coal-fired power plants that are replacing the eight nuclear power plants that were shut down, while less CO2-intensive, but more expensive gas-fired power plants are currently barely competitive. Energy expert Patrick Graichen speaks of Germany’s “energy transition paradox”: the development of solar and wind farms, yet rising carbon dioxide-emissions.
Oh … and we told you so.
Even Michael Moore thinks that ObamaCare is a disaster. And that’s saying something when a big government liberal (socialist?) finds a big government program to be … well, just awful. But, as Allahpundit over at Hot Air points out, what do you suspect Moore’s solution might be?
I was just thinking yesterday, “I wonder what a guy who supports CastroCare thinks we should do to fix ObamaCare?” If you can’t guess, read this. If you can, why bother? His big knock on O-Care is true enough — “affordable” care ain’t so affordable — but you already knew that, just like you already know what he thinks should be done about it. The solution togross mismanagement of the federal exchange, capricious deadline-shifting driven by political whim, and tens of trillions in unfunded Medicare liabilities is, obviously, a bigger role for government in health care. There’s no problem with liberalism that socialism can’t solve.
It doesn’t occur to Moore that the problem is two-fold – government’s inability to run any large program efficiently as well as the fact that because of it’s inefficiency, we can’t afford his solution. Not to mention that my health care isn’t any of the government’s business. Then, of course, in Moore’s case, there’s the fact that he was snookered by CastroCare.
But it all comes down to a fairly basic problem. Most on the left, Moore included, really don’t understand how an economy works, where money actually comes from and how markets make wealth possible. Apparently they actually believe that the government “has money” or it falls from the sky or whatever. Then there is this innate belief that big government is the solution to all our ills, despite the fact that they can’t point to a single example of where that is true and won’t acknowledge the fact that many of the problems we face today are a product of big government.
When you don’t understand how wealth is produced or how money is earned, you have a tendency to believe in underpants gnomes. The second part of the process is always an unknown or a mystery, but you’re sure that the result will be a positive. So you tend to believe in the fantasy of big government being both efficient and beneficial.
Be clear, I’m not saying that all government is bad or that there aren’t certain parts that are beneficial. There are very limited aspects of government that I think are both necessary and beneficial. But what we have today – this inefficient monstrosity that is in every area of our life run by an ossified bureaucracy more interested in its survival than serving the public and politicians who aid and abet that bureaucracy – is not at all necessary or beneficial.
Yet the Michael Moore’s of the world seem to think that the way you clean up a big government mess is by making government bigger. Apparently in the underpants gnome world of liberals, there’s a point where big government, if expanded enough, suddenly becomes efficient.
This week, Bruce, Michael and Dale talk about Global Warming, NSA Spying, and Obamacare.
The direct link to the podcast can be found here.
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