The French Death Spiral

October 21, 2013

You know it’s bad when even the EU thinks France taxes too much!

International Liberty

There’s a tendency in public life to exaggerate the positive or negative implications of any particular policy.

This is why I try to be careful not to overstate the potential benefits of reforms I like, such as the flat tax. Yes, we would get better growth and there would be less corruption in Washington, but tax reform would not be a panacea for every ill. Many other policies also need to be fixed to generate sustained prosperity.

Likewise, I’m obviously not a fan of Obamacare, but I try to remind people that our system was already messed up even before Obama was elected. As such, repealing Obamacare – while the right thing to do – is just one of many things that need to happen to restore a competitive and efficient healthcare system.

Now that I’ve warned about the risks of overstatement, I’m going out on a…

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Orwellian: Israeli soldiers *not* raping Palestinian women is racist

October 21, 2013
satire head desk

“Head meets desk”

The Israelis just can’t win. Rape, and you’re a racist. Don’t rape, and it’s because you’re racist:

We didn’t include in our excerpt the following passage in which the failure of Israeli soldiers to rape Arab women is portrayed as an act of racism by a BDS activist.  Really, that has been an argument for years, and apparently started with a left-wing Israeli grad student complaining about how the IDF dehumanizes Palestinians.  It has morphed is to a standard trope (emphasis added):

“The claims go beyond being absurd – in one case, a professor asked me if I knew how many Palestinians have been raped by IDF forces. I answered that as far as I knew, none. She triumphantly responded that I was right, because, she said, “You IDF soldiers don’t rape Palestinians because Israelis are so racist and disgusted by them that you won’t touch them.””

There’s much more at Legal Insurrection on the insane antisemitism of the “Boycott, Disinvestment, & Sanctions” crowd and their willing-dupe allies(1) in American academia.

Disgusting.

Footnote:
(1) Including, sadly, as we see, some Israelis.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare: site code needs a “minor rewrite”

October 21, 2013
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Somehow, I think untangling a warehouse full of tangled fishing line would be easier. According to that noted radical conservative, Tea Party rag The New York Times, there’s no way the Obamacare web site’s problems will be fixed by November 1st:

From the sluggish websites to garbled enrollment information, the flaws require the extensive rewriting of code: “One specialist said that as many as five million lines of software code may need to be rewritten before the Web site runs properly,” the Times reports — that’s out of a total of approximately 500 million lines of code, according to another expert. 

And these are just the problems they know about. It’s a sure bet that there are other giant bugs lurking in the code, waiting to be revealed by the fixes — or created by them. (1)

Fixing the problems may not be as simple as rewriting millions of lines of code; don’t forget, a great deal of the problem lies with the political decision to make people register for the site, create an account, and be verified in order to determine their subsidy eligibility before they’re allowed to browse the available policies. This was done to “protect” people from seeing the true, skyrocketing costs of coverage, so they wouldn’t run screaming at the start. (But, they’re screaming now…) Fixing the code probably requires undoing that, but good luck getting the White House and HHS to sign off on it.

I hope the programmers have plenty of coffee on hand.

via JWF

Footnote:
(1) Ever done a major plumbing renovation for a house? Installing new pipe to fix one leak seems to almost always reveals weaknesses elsewhere.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Antarctic Sea Ice Didn’t Get The Memo That It Was Supposed To Melt

October 20, 2013

How dare the ice defy Al Gore? Oh, wait. According to a Warmist cited in the article, the heat is just “hiding in the oceans” and could be released at any time. I guess it’s just waiting for the right time to ambush us…

Watts Up With That?

Image Credit: Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group

By WUWT Regular Just The Facts

Per the graph above, Antarctic Sea Ice Extent has remained above the 1981 – 2010 “normal” range for much of the last three months and the current positive Antarctic Sea Ice Extent anomaly appears quite large for a planet supposedly on the verge of Dangerous Warming.

Furthermore, in 2013 we had the third most expansive Southern Sea Ice Area measured to date;

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Unhappy with Obama, Saudi Arabia refuses UN security council seat (Update)

October 19, 2013
"Not happy"

“Not happy”

Oh, they said it was because of the general ineffectiveness of he United Nations in the various crises in the region, but, really, the KSA is ticked off at the Obama administration for its bumbling mishandling of Syria, Iran, Egypt, Iran, and Iran. (You might notice a bit of a focus in the Saudi estimation of their security needs. If you guessed “Iran,” take a cigar from the humidor.) This has Walter Russell Mead rightly concerned, and he helpfully points out the many ways an angry Saudi Arabia could make life miserable for Team Smart Power:

It remains unclear to us whether the Obama administration has for its part thought through the full consequences (1) of a serious rift with the Saudis. It’s possible the administration thinks there is little they can actually do, and it’s also possible that they calculate that the costs of making the Saudis happy are not worth paying (getting tougher on Iran, distancing from the Muslim Brotherhood, and foregoing the ultimate dream of a democratic Arab Middle East).

There are not many signs of order and coherence in US Middle East policy at the moment, so there is at least the possibility that the White House hasn’t really thought through just what the Saudis could do that would make us unhappy. That would be a mistake. The Saudis have a lot of weight in Pakistan and could make things easier or harder for us there. They have a lot of influence particularly among the hard core Islamists and in the nuclear program. It’s worth thinking about what that could mean. Also, as US dependence on Middle East oil decreases, China looms larger as a customer for the Saudis, and there are a number of favors those countries could do for each other that would make life more complicated for American foreign policy.

Consider this a second warning shot from the Saudis, the first being their flirtation with Moscow. As I wrote at the time:

We are witnessing the growing collapse of American influence throughout a region crucial to our security, and our rivals will be sure to pick up the slack. This isn’t just the loss of a few years’ work: this is the crumbling of a geopolitical position that’s taken 70 years to build. And it’s all due to the stunning ineptitude of Barack Obama and the Hundred Acre Wood school of foreign affairs. They are leading us toward a major disaster.

We’re in the best of hands.

There’s more at Via Meadia.

Footnote:
(1) “…thought through…?” The team that couldn’t foresee a need to have an emergency reaction force handy for the consulate in Benghazi, in the middle of an al Qaeda recruiting ground — with the anniversary of 9-11 approaching? Why on Earth would anyone think that?

UPDATE: Slight mistake based on my misreading of Mead’s post. Saudi Arabia didn’t quit the UN Security Council, but the did refuse a seat on it, to almost everyone’s shock. I’ve corrected the subject.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Tweet of the Day, #Obamacare testing train wreck edition

October 19, 2013
"Train wreck"

“I didn’t test the site. I thought you did!”

National Review’s Jim Geraghty catches HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitting in the pages of The Wall Street Journal something she should have known years ago:

This is going to sit well with her boss, don’t you think? After all, the fourth-greatest president ever is always willing to humbly own up to mistakes. He might even recognize the mistake he made in hiring the former Kansas governor and fire her in the spirit of accountability.

Oh, stop laughing.

Besides, as Jim argues elsewhere, why should we want her fired?

If you think Sebelius is a blitheringly incompetent leader and manager, who ignores red flags and who is now requiring underlings to attempt increasingly implausible, desperate spin, and you want to see Obamacare go away . . . why would you want to get rid of her? The next HHS secretary might be better at the job.

As Napoleon once said, “Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake.”

Speaking of that “testing issue” Sebelius isn’t the only one to acknowledge a mistake total, catastrophic screw up. Writing in the Washington Examiner, Richard Pollock reports that Sebelius was indeed right when she said they had only a brief time to test the site and its systems. “Brief,” as in 4-6 days before launch:

Federal officials did not permit testing of the Obamacare healthcare.gov website or issue final system requirements until four to six days before its Oct. 1 launch, according to an individual with direct knowledge of the project.

The individual, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the troubled Obamacare website project as suffering from top-level management disarray, changing systems requirements and recurring delays.

The root cause of the problems was a pivotal decision by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials to act as systems integrator, the central coordinator for the entire program. Usually this role is reserved for the prime information technology contractor.

As a result, full testing of the site was delayed until four to six days before the fateful Oct. 1 launch of the health care exchanges, the individual said.

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Federal officials were “freezing requirements in time to permit full testing at all levels of the site — integration testing, user testing, performance testing and tuning,” the individual said.

“Normally a system this size would need 4-6 months of testing and performance tuning, not 4-6 days,” the individual said.

No, really? When you’re only taking over 16% of the entire US economy?? Surely you jest.

Read the whole article. This is how our $634 million was spent. Obamacare, and all the revelations like this coming out every day, is the greatest selling point for small-government conservatism America has ever seen.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Response

October 19, 2013

This is a great post by AGconservative on why the “defund” strategy against Obamacare was misguided and why some on the Right attacking others on the Right for not supporting it are… not helping. Must reading.

agconservative

Andrew C. McCarthy wrote a response to a Jonah Goldberg post about the shutdown deal today. Let me preface this post by saying that I am generally a fan of McCarthy, and believe he writes a lot of insightful things, especially in the foreign policy arena. With that in mind, his latest post is full of several inaccurate claims and straw man arguments.  Instead of trying to write a response in column form, I would like to address several specific claims made by McCarthy:

1)   “Because, as a matter of law, Obamacare could not proceed unless both congressional chambers agreed to fund it, and because Republicans control the House, House Republicans could deny it funding.”

This claim is made in the post on several occasions and is essentially the premise of the main argument. The problem is that it is completely false. Most of Obamacare was funded in the original…

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Libertarian political humor

October 18, 2013

This passed through the Public Secrets inbox today. Already shared it on Twitter, but I thought I’d post it here. Not only is it funny, but it catches the Classical Liberal/modern Libertarian mindset nicely while poking gently at both progressives and (some strains of) conservatives. Enjoy:

satire Libertarians

 

As they say, “Heh!” Smiley Laughing Maniacal Clown


Fast and Furious: “walked” grenade used in firefight that killed three Mexican cops

October 17, 2013

More murderous fruit of a “felony stupid” operation:

CBS News has learned of a shocking link between a deadly drug cartel shootout with Mexican police last week and a controversial case in the U.S. The link is one of the grenades used in the violent fight, which killed three policemen and four cartel members and was captured on video by residents in the area.

According to a Justice Department “Significant Incident Report” filed Tuesday and obtained by CBS News, evidence connects one of the grenades to Jean Baptiste Kingery, an alleged firearms trafficker U.S. officials allowed to operate for years without arresting despite significant evidence that he was moving massive amounts of grenade parts and ammunition to Mexico’s ruthless drug cartels.

(…)

In 2009, ATF also learned Kingery was dealing in grenades; weapons of choice for Mexico’s killer cartels. Documents show they developed a secret plan to let him smuggle parts to Mexico in early 2010 and follow him to his factory. Some ATF agents vehemently objected, worried that Kingery would disappear once he crossed the border into Mexico. That’s exactly what happened.

Kingery resurfaced several months later in 2010, trying to smuggle a stash of grenade bodies and ammunition into Mexico, but was again let go when prosecutors allegedly said they couldn’t build a good case. In 2011, Mexican authorities finally raided Kingery’s factory and arrested him — they say he confessed to teaching cartel members how to build grenades and convert semi-automatic weapons to automatic.

This is a variant on the “Gunwalker” plot we’ve all come to know and love: instead of allowing a straw buyer to illegally purchase firearms in the US to smuggle to psycho drug cartels in Mexico, the ATF let Kingery buy parts here and assemble them in his workshop in Mexico. And, just like the thousands of arms they let walk across the border, the boobs at ATF and Justice lost Kingery, too.

And now three more Mexican police are dead, and the Obama-Holder Department of Justice has more blood on its hands.

RELATED: Earlier posts on Operation Fast and Furious. And here’s why Eric Holder could not have known what was going on — OCDETF.

UPDATE: Fixed the headline to more accurately reflect the CBS story.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Is it time for Speaker Boehner and team to resign?

October 17, 2013
"We needed a better plan"

“Strategy and tactics”

I’ve never been a basher of Speaker John Boehner; figuring that it’s always easier to be the “Monday-morning quarterback” than the man on the field calling the signals, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt his years of experience warranted, even if I haven’t always agreed with his actions.

And, as some will recall, I was very skeptical of the defund/shutdown strategy against Obamacare. Still am, in fact, but that’s neither here nor there; once the battle had been joined, it was up to our leaders in the House, where the main action would be fought, to conduct the operations competently and come out of them with a win. The House majority, representing as it does a majority of the people, was well within its constitutional prerogatives to refuse funding for government operations until the Senate and the White House agreed to acceptable changes.  And if the leadership couldn’t get everything –that is, defunding or delaying Obamacare for a year, which was never going to happen– then at least get some significant concessions that would make the struggle worthwhile. That would require effective negotiation and compromise by both sides, and it is in the conduct and results of those negotiations that we should judge Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, and Majority Whip McCarthy.

Writing at The Federalist, Sean Davis examines Boehner & co.’s performance, as well as the lack of trust between them and the caucus, and concludes that it is time for them to resign. First, the trust issue:

So why the bloody fight over [tactics]? The battle erupted because conservatives did not trust Boehner and Cantor to actually fight on the debt limit. To many conservatives, the constant Boehner/Cantor strategy, regardless of the issue at hand, boils down to “the real battle is the next battle.” Surrender this fight, and we’ll promise to fight for real next time. Their proposed debt limit/delay strategy perfectly resembled that caricature. They won’t fight on the less risky battle (shutdown), so why should we trust them to fight on the really risky battle (default)?

That distrust, regardless of which side of the defund or delay argument you come down on, is the primary reason for the mess in which Republicans currently find themselves. Democrats stayed united because they trusted the strategy laid out for them by Reid and Obama. The GOP fracture was caused entirely by a lack of trust in its leadership.

Then there’s Speaker Boehner’s utter incompetence as a negotiator:

The next negotiating factor that eliminated any Boehner credibility in the eyes of Obama and Reid is Boehner’s terrible habit of offering unilateral concessions without getting anything in return from Reid or Obama. In order to explain why those actions were so problematic, we first need to define what was at stake. The object of the negotiation — the thing that nearly everybody wanted — was for the government to re-open and for default to be avoided. Democrats wanted a clean spending bill and a clean debt limit extension with nothing else attached. That was their dream deal. Republicans wanted any spending bill and debt limit to be coupled with some sort of full delay or defunding of Obamacare. That was their dream deal. Any deviation from either side’s dream deal is defined as a concession — it’s something they gave up in order to get to the object of the negotiation.

The trouble is, per Davis, Obama and Reid bet that, if they stayed firm and offered no concessions, Boehner would start “negotiating with himself,” which is exactly what happened, as Boehner offered unilateral concession after unilateral concession. All the Democrats had to do was sit back, say no, and wait. It was as if he had a cartoon sucker hanging over his head:

"Suckers."

“Your House negotiating team”

But what of his deputies, Majority Leader Cantor and Majority Whip McCarthy? Davis does not spare them, either:

First, [Boehner] never took the time to determine what negotiators call the “walkaway value” of his conference. What is the final deal that they would accept? Granted, that is a very difficult value to agree on, especially when you have more than 200 individuals who think their solution is best and everyone else is an idiot. But that’s the Speaker’s job. When you are negotiating on behalf of other people, you cannot walk into a negotiation without knowing their walkaway value. And where were Cantor and McCarthy during all this? If Boehner thought he would be advantaged by staying above the fray, then Cantor and McCarthy — the whip whose sole job it is to count votes — should’ve been listening and whipping and cajoling on Boehner’s behalf. Their job is to support the Speaker, and every indication is that they completely failed to do so.

In other words, their job was to “take the temperature ” of their caucus, find out what their minimal agreed conditions were, get everyone signed off on the same page, and convey that to Boehner, so that he could then field a unified caucus in the negotiations, knowing that he could deliver the votes in a deal. Instead, Cantor and McCarthy failed to do this, Boehner failed to make them do this, and instead the Speaker offered deal after deal that he could not carry out.

The result, then, was not only a defeat for Republicans and conservatives in this round (and it was a defeat, no matter how much some spin it), but also a weakening of our position in any future conflicts, because of both the caucus’ continued lack of trust in the leadership (now deepened) and Reid and Obama’s defensible belief that, in another showdown, they could use the same intransigent strategy again and expect to win. With the current leadership, I’d say they were justified in that belief.

Under the parliamentary, “Westminster system” of government, Cabinet ministers are considered accountable for the functioning of their department and can be expected to resign if something bad goes wrong. It’s called the principle of “ministerial responsibility.”

While the American Executive Branch doesn’t usually operate under the same principle (1), I do believe it applies more closely in party caucuses in the House. Boehner and his leadership team have failed repeatedly in their negotiations with the Senate and the White House. They can’t run the government, obviously, but they are not even achieving what could be reasonably expected when controlling a majority of the chamber that most closely represents the People. And that comes down to individual failures by John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Kevin McCarthy.

It’s time for the Speaker and his deputies to accept responsibility, resign, and make way for new leadership that has the confidence of the caucus.

Footnote:
(1) Especially not this administration; under any decent government, HHS Secretary Sebelius would have resigned over the Obamacare roll-out fiasco. And don’t get me started about Eric Holder.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


If you still think the MSM is unbiased and nonpartisan…

October 16, 2013
"Thumb on the scale"

“Thumb on the scale”

Then here’s a needed reality check:

Bob Filner, the former San Diego mayor forced out of office in a storm of sexual harassment allegations, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a series of false imprisonment and battery charges involving three women.

The episode for Mr. Filner and the city he led for less than a year ended at a swift 16-minute court hearing in Superior Court, where Mr. Filner, dressed in a crisp blue suit and a gold tie, entered his plea with a series of “yes, sirs” as the judge described the scope of the one felony charge and two misdemeanor charges.

It was a sharp contrast from his resignation speech in August, when the mayor said he had been the victim of a “lynch mob.” His lawyer, Jerry Coughlan, said afterward that the once-defiant Mr. Filner, who faced sexual harassment allegations from 17 women, had “learned to get beyond denial” during his treatment for sexual disorders at a facility in Los Angeles in September.

Notice what’s missing? Any mention of “Filthy Filner’s” political party. If he had been a Republican, his affiliation would have been all over the page. Read the rest of Charlie Cooke’s article for the proof.

Don’t tell me liberal media bias is a myth.


I am a bad person, for my sympathy well has run dry.

October 16, 2013
"Facebook staffer"

“California Kos blogger, post-Obamacare”

It’s true. I cannot muster the merest hint of a tear, nor think of consoling words, for this Daily Kos blogger who just got his new Obamacare rates:

My wife and I just got our updates from Kaiser telling us what our 2014 rates will be. Her monthly has been $168 this year, mine $150. We have a high deductible. We are generally healthy people who don’t go to the doctor often. I barely ever go. The insurance is in case of a major catastrophe.

Well, now, because of Obamacare, my wife’s rate is gong to $302 per month and mine is jumping to $284.

I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any fucking penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?

Oh, ok, if we qualify, we can get some government assistance. Great. So now I have to jump through another hoop to just chisel some of this off. And we don’t qualify, anyway, so what’s the point?

I never felt too good about how this was passed and what it entailed, but I figured if it saved Americans money, I could go along with it.

I don’t know what to think now. This appears, in my experience, to not be a reform for the people.

What am I missing?

Good question, “Tirge Caps.” Shall we start an understanding of basic economics? Or your divorce from reality, assuming that government could pull off something this massive and not have it fall apart like an old Yugo? Or a healthy dose of skepticism, given your apparent childlike, albeit charming, faith in Obama and Pelosi’s promises?

But you needn’t have suffered for your many deficiencies, Tirge, my friend and fellow Californian. If only you’d listened to and learned from those of us who’ve been screaming bloody murder over this anti-constitutional monstrosity for nearly four years, you might have avoided this unpleasant experience.

Alas.

On the other hand, I’m not sure what you’re complaining about. Since, from your tone of anguished betrayal, you most likely voted for Obama and, I again assume, a California Democrat for the House, that letter you received is exactly what you voted for, moron.

Congratulations.

PS: Yes, this is uncharitable and mean-spirited of me. With the harm Obamacare is causing the nation… tough.

via Matt Vespa and Salena Zito

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Why is the Obamacare web site crashing so much? The “Chicago Way”

October 15, 2013
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

That’s a question many have been asking, including speculation that, due to faulty design, the site is effectively attacking itself.

However, there’s another, albeit related cause for why people are having such a horrific experience with the site. Writing in Forbes, Avik Roy reports on a growing consensus that the the principal reason is the site is trying to hide the true costs of the policies it’s selling:

“Healthcare.gov was initially going to include an option to browse before registering,” report Christopher Weaver and Louise Radnofsky in the Wall Street Journal. “But that tool was delayed, people familiar with the situation said.” Why was it delayed? “An HHS spokeswoman said the agency wanted to ensure that users were aware of their eligibility for subsidies that could help pay for coverage, before they started seeing the prices of policies.” (Emphasis added.)

As you know if you’ve been following this space, Obamacare’s bevy of mandates, regulations, taxes, and fees drives up the cost of the insurance plans that are offered under the law’s public exchanges. A Manhattan Institute analysis I helped conduct found that, on average, the cheapest plan offered in a given state, under Obamacare, will be 99 percent more expensive for men, and 62 percent more expensive for women, than the cheapest plan offered under the old system. And those disparities are even wider for healthy people.

Roy then asks the logical question: why create a system that raises the price of coverage?

Because, silly. It’s all about the wealth redistribution:

The answer is that Obamacare wasn’t designed to help healthy people with average incomes get health insurance. It was designed to force those people to pay more for coverage, in order to subsidize insurance for people with incomes near the poverty line, and those with chronic or costly medical conditions.

But the laws’ supporters and enforcers don’t want you to know that, because it would violate the President’s incessantly repeated promise that nothing would change for the people that Obamacare doesn’t directly help. If you shop for Obamacare-based coverage without knowing if you qualify for subsidies, you might be discouraged by the law’s steep costs. (Link added.)

In other words, Healthcare.gov demands to know your income information first so that it can calculate what, if any, subsidy you’re eligible for, in an attempt to both tempt you and shield you from sticker shock. But this then leads to “traffic congestion” as the site processes data from you and thousands of other users and then tries to verify what’s been input. And that, in turn, leads to the now-infamous site crashes.

Thus, base and deceptive political considerations were put ahead of seeing that Americans got at least a functional web site for their $634 million. We shouldn’t be surprised, though; it’s the Chicago way.

There’s much more, so be sure to read it all.

RELATED: At Hot Air, Allahpundit discusses on a health industry expert calling for the whole healthcare.gov site to be taken down for a month to fix the myriad problems. Heckuva job, Mr. President.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


But of course: Access to open air Flight 93 Memorial in rural Pennsylvania blocked off

October 15, 2013

If we had an honest press, instead of lapdog media courtiers, the White House pulling crap like this –turning the Park Service into a partisan police– would be headline national news.


My Obamacare experience

October 15, 2013

Not mine of course, but fellow Californian Anthony Watts’. You might find his adventures with the “Covered California” web site of interest. Bear in mind that California enthusiastically signed up for Obamacare and runs its own web site, which is *supposed* to be a better experience than the Federal site. Reality, though…

Watts Up With That?

First, apologies to my readers for the diversion from the usual fare, but I’ll point out that this entry is covered under the masthead in the category of “recent news” and there’s a relevant WUWT category.

Since like many of you, I’ve been forced to sign a document (at my radio station where I employed part-time) that confirms I’ve been given another document that advises me of my Obamacare rights, and of course being in tune to the news, I’ve been wondering if the claims about the Obamacare websites are as bad as claimed.

I read an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune “Sebelius visit fails to reassure as health care website glitches persist” that said:

Sebelius, who is making similar trips to cities across the country to spread the word about the website, told the audience of about 100 people that Healthcare.gov was “open for business.”

“Believe me…

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The Obamacare chronicles: Building the moocher class, subsidy by subsidy

October 14, 2013
"Turn right for Obamacare"

“Turn right for Obamacare”

I’ve talked before about the perverse incentives built into Obamacare (Browse this category for more examples), but those have been largely about the incentives provided to businesses to cut hours and stop hiring full-time workers thanks to the onerous burdens imposed by the ACA. But now we have an example from the other end, that of the victim consumer of Obamacare.

The San Francisco Chronicle looks at the situation of people caught in a trap by Obamacare: On the one hand, the coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act, along with its ban on lifetime benefits caps, has caused a tremendous rise in insurance rates. (For example. And again.) On  the other hand, people making up to 400% of the poverty level are eligible for varying degrees of subsidies — money provided by our taxes and federal borrowing.

The problem is that some people are caught on the wrong side of the subsidy boundary: if you make 401% of the poverty level, your rates may triple, you may be forced to buy coverage you don’t need, but you also get no subsidy. Like they used to say on Starkist commercials, “Sorry, Charlie!”

But, hey, no worries! The Chron’s Kathleen Pender has the solution for you: earn less, so you can get a larger subsidy. Her main example deals with the Proctors, a San Francisco couple in their 60s who make just above the 400% mark and so do not qualify for subsidies, but are suffering huge increases in their insurance premiums. Pender covers tax and IRA strategies the couple can follow to get them under the magic boundary and greatly reduce their direct insurance costs. But the kicker comes in this line:

You can also consider reducing your 2014 income by working just a bit less.

Yes, you read that right: Obamacare makes the cost of individual policies so high that it is in the economic interests of some people to become less productive and earn less, because they need that government subsidy to survive economically — or to survive at all.

This is what economist Dan Mitchell has described as the “poverty trap.” While the quote below talks about welfare benefits and the disincentives they create to earn more and be more productive, I think it applies equally to the Obamacare subsidy question:

Most people focus on the huge burden that the food stamp program imposes on taxpayers, which surely is significant, but there is another economic cost that is equally worrisome, and it applies to all income redistribution programs. Whenever the government gives people money simply because their incomes are below a certain level, that creates a poverty trap. More specifically, because people lose benefits for earning more income, they are penalized with very onerous implicit marginal tax rates for climbing the economic ladder.

I highlighted that last sentence because it illustrates perfectly the situation faced by the Proctors and others; if you substitute “insurance premiums” for “marginal tax rates,” you’ll see what I mean. And, heck, let’s call those insurance premiums what they are: a tax. You’re required under penalty of law to pay them, even if the money goes to a company, rather than the government. For you and me, there’s no effective difference.

(And you should read and bookmark Mitchell’s post. He has another that contains a chart that graphically shows how welfare traps people in poverty.)

Pender’s article, in short, reveals the insidious heart of Obamacare: it creates incentives for people to become moochers, infantilized wards dependent on the government, rather than productive, self-reliant citizens building wealth for themselves and others.

And, in my darker moments, I suspect that’s the whole point.

PS: Before anyone goes after me for mentioning the Proctors, I’m not blaming or criticizing them. It’s the Democrats and their anti-constitutional monstrosity that put them in this bind. They’re free to act in their own best interests given the circumstances in which they find themselves, and I’ll not throw stones. It’s the people who created this mess who deserve the brickbats.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Pat Condell on progressive feminism and Islamic misogyny

October 13, 2013

The great Pat Condell pretty well covers it: as long as so-called feminists continue to turn a blind eye to the mistreatment of women under Islam, “progressive feminism” is nothing but an Orwellian joke.

Preach it, Brother Pat:

If you’re curious about the assertions Condell makes about the treatment of women under Islam, he provides a list of references in the “About” section under this video on YouTube. Be sure to hit the “Read more” link to see them.


The Snowden Scandal: Blazing Incompetence

October 11, 2013
Obama foreign policy advisers

Our national security watchdogs

This reminds me frighteningly of the communications breakdowns that enabled the 9/11 attacks. Has no one learned anything?

Apparently not:

Just as Edward J. Snowden was preparing to leave Geneva and a job as a C.I.A. technician in 2009, his supervisor wrote a derogatory report in his personnel file, noting a distinct change in the young man’s behavior and work habits, as well as a troubling suspicion.

The C.I.A. suspected that Mr. Snowden was trying to break into classified computer files to which he was not authorized to have access, and decided to send him home, according to two senior American officials.

But the red flags went unheeded. Mr. Snowden left the C.I.A. to become a contractor for the National Security Agency, and four years later he leaked thousands of classified documents. The supervisor’s cautionary note and the C.I.A.’s suspicions apparently were not forwarded to the N.S.A. or its contractors, and surfaced only after federal investigators began scrutinizing Mr. Snowden’s record once the documents began spilling out, intelligence and law enforcement officials said.

“It slipped through the cracks,” one veteran law enforcement official said of the report.

No sh… er… kidding, genius.

Forget firings. Someone needs to be shot over this. And I don’t mean just Mr. Snowden.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


1-800-T-O-T-A-L-F-A-I-L: One Man’s Obamawreck Nightmare

October 11, 2013

You really must read this story. I predict thousands upon thousands like this across America. And lots of angry people.


About that NBC/WSJ poll that panicked Republicans

October 11, 2013
"Thumb on the scale"

“Thumb on the scale”

You know, the one that showed Republicans getting killed over the government shutdown? Turns out there was a…. slight bias in the sample:

Gee, why am I not surprised that a poll that draws one-fifth of its respondents from government employees turns out badly for the party that’s against Big Government?

I think we can safely ignore this one.

Check out Bryan Preston’s post for analysis.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)