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Old 2015-12-07, 10:11   #188
Fusion_power
 
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Decrypting the obamacare mess is not difficult. There are only a few basic factors in play.

1. Obamacare enabled seriously ill people to get insurance relatively cheap compared to prior options. Of course they all signed up immediately. This was expected, but still, the cost of providing care for these seriously ill patients is a primary cost driver.

2. Many young people elect to pay the penalty for not getting insurance because it is cheaper than paying $100/month or more for crappy insurance. This leaves insurance companies in a bind because they were counting on these young healthy people to subsidize the older and sicker group in item 1.

3. Medical costs have continued to rise unabated. Contrary to obamacare promises, medical care costs are increasing still in double digit percentages.

4. While a few states bought into the medicaid expansion, most did not. This prevents a huge chunk of the uninsured low income population from having any form of coverage.


A woman I know is a case in point to demonstrate why there are problems. 30 years old, low paying job, has an obamacare policy which she purchased at the beginning of the year, had a baby in October which was covered by the policy. She is currently on maternity leave through the end of December. Her policy is doubling from $52/month to just over $105/month. She does not think she will be able to cover the increased cost given her income. Her husband has a part time job which is not quite enough to pay all the bills and certainly not enough to maintain the insurance. It takes both of them working to make ends meet. She has student loans which have been paid down by about 60% over the last 4 years, but still has 4 years left to make payments in the $260/month range.

Last fiddled with by fivemack on 2015-12-07 at 10:25 Reason: 'backslash dollar' not 'forwardslash dollar' (refresh to confirm it worked)
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Old 2015-12-08, 09:38   #189
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As Joseph Stiglitz put it:
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While the US spends more money per capita on medical care than almost any other country (and more as a percentage of GDP), it is far from topping the world in life expectancy. France, for example, spends less than 12% of its GDP on medical care, compared to 17% in the US. Yet Americans can expect to live three full years less than the French
Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/business/...oseph-stiglitz
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Old 2015-12-09, 01:10   #190
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Bernanke's "Helicopter Drop" Hits Finland; Prime Minister and 70% of Finnish Support "Free Money"; Dauphin Canada Revisited | Mish

Mish is way off base in his objections - redistribution of tax revenues != money-printing, and the Finnish scheme is at least as much about simplifying the social-welfare system by replacing a patchwork quilt of benefits with a lump sum payment as it is about funneling "new money" to da peeps. Furthermore, such schemes are highy unlikely to lead to Mish's bugbear of hyperinflation due to the fact that the scale is far too small. This is even more true in a broadly deflationary environment such as exists in most of the developed world (outside of selected central-bank-targeted 'bubble' asset classes which have been repeatedly shown to not provide the hoped-for sustained 'trickle down' wealth effect touted by the CBs) as a result of a global decades-long debt-splosion binge. Quick exemplar: Were the US to provide every citizen with (say) $10000 per year in lieu of all current welfare payments, a significant portion of the cost is nullified by cancellation of existing transfer-payments. How much depends on which current benefits get nixed, from the major categories: Social Security ($845B/yr), Medicare and Medicaid ($831B/yr), food stamps and unemployment compensation ($420B/yr). But let's say half gets nullified in this way, thus $5000 new money per citizen each year, total cost ~$1.6-1.7 trillion/yr. We've been running deficits averaging ~$1 tln per year since 2008-9, and while there has been appreciable 'stealth inflation' in living costs, nearly all of it can be directly tied to central bank bubble-blowing and government support for elite looting rather than the bottom 90% having too much money to spend chasing too few goods. Ending the looting and fairly taxing corporate profits would easily cover the cost. Moreover, unlike (say) DoD warmonger-spending such low-level money issuance gets overwhelmingly spent right back into the domestic economy, boosting GDP and the revenue side of the equation.

Nonetheless, there are problems with such schemes - NC detailed some of the likely 'unintended consequences' earlier this year - my snip here is the closing, which describes a plausible alternative in the form of a Depression-style jobs-guarantee:
Quote:
I’m at a loss to understand reader objection to the idea of a job guarantee. It would either price many McJobs out of existence or convert them back to their old form, of being part-time positions for young people still in school. It would similarly increase compensation for important jobs like home health care workers that now pay rock-bottom wages. It would make it harder for retailers to continue their abusive practice of requiring workers to be on call. And there is no dearth of meaningful work that needs to done: providing universal day care, better elder and hospice care; replanting forests; building wildlife tunnels; maintaining and improving parks; repairing and upgrading infrastructure with an eye to energy efficiency. These are all ways of increasing national output in a manner which can also improve the environment. If we had more enlightened leadership, a Marshall Plan to retool the economy to reduce energy consumption and convert more sources to cleaner ones would be a high-priority target for Job Guarantee workers.

People need a sense of purpose and social engagement. Employment provides that.
------------------

And on a lighter note, today's "clown car economics" award goes once again to serial recipient ZeroHedge - without scrolling down into the reader comments, see how long it takes you to spot the flaw in their "investing strategy" here:

Why Diversification Is For Losers: "investors owning just the top 10 performers of the S&P 500 has never suffered a single rolling 12 month period loss (lowest was April 2009 +0.24%)."

In fact, let's make it a double award, the second installment of which is for the following piece of rampant illogic:

Weimar Greece - The Effects Of A Currency Collapse: "While no longer making headlines in the mainstream media, cash remains a scarce commodity in Greece. In response, Greeks have done what all people do when they cannot get enough currency - they improvise. Greece is right where Weimar Germany was in late 1922..."

Good grief, where to begin in this appalling mix of counterfactuals and non sequiturs?

[1] "Currency collapse" refers to plunge n buying power of a currency, i.e. hyperinflation, the precise opposite of cash being a "scarce commodity";

[2] Weimar suffered from *too much* currency with near-zero purchasing power, hence pictures of folks carting around wheelbarrows of the stuff and burning it as fuel;

[3] Weimar Germany was a sovereign currency issuer beset by unpayable WW1 deb and war reparations - Greece also has unpayable debts but does not issue its own currency.
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Old 2015-12-12, 20:37   #191
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20 People Now Own As Much Wealth as Half of All Americans
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According to “Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us,” just the twenty individuals at the top of the pile—a group that could fit into a Gulfstream G650 luxury jet, according to the study’s authors—now control more wealth than the bottom half of the population.

Last fiddled with by only_human on 2015-12-12 at 20:39
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Old 2015-12-16, 22:28   #192
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Racial discrimination in the sharing economy, by Ben Edelman et al. (HarvardBusiness School)

Article: http://www.benedelman.org/publicatio...2015-12-09.pdf
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Old 2015-12-17, 01:31   #193
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
Racial discrimination in the sharing economy, by Ben Edelman et al. (HarvardBusiness School)

Article: http://www.benedelman.org/publicatio...2015-12-09.pdf
Just the abstract is chilling.
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Old 2015-12-17, 19:57   #194
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Cost Of Military Jet Could House Every Homeless Person In U.S. With $600,000 Home
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The $400 billion program to create a fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, which, as The Hill points out, is seven years behind schedule and chronically plagued with misfortunes and incompetencies, could have housed every homeless person in the U.S. with a $600,000 home.
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Old 2015-12-17, 20:16   #195
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That $400B figure will only continue to balloon. This Lemon is a bottomless money pit.
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Old 2015-12-17, 22:35   #196
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Sure, but would housing our homeless keep 'Mericans safe? Huh? Would it?

Seriously, even if/when they finally get some F-35s deployed which don't burst into flames within their first few mission-hours, the plane is guaranteed by design to be a dismal piece of shit, performance-wise. That's what happens when the top military brass who wrote the specs all watched too many Transformers movies and thought those accurately depicted 'cutting-edge' technology.
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Old 2015-12-21, 08:43   #197
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End of year tax related selling is making the market choppy. This is likely to continue at least another week. There are signs the market has a lot more upside potential. At the same time, valuations are very high relative to revenues. This has a lot of parallels with 1929.

Some interesting things that will play out in the market tomorrow include Toshiba's announcement of a $4.5 billion loss. Quite a few tech companies, particularly with exposure to the personal computer market, are looking risky over the next few quarters.

Are you looking forward to 2016 yet?
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Old 2015-12-21, 08:51   #198
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
Are you looking forward to 2016 yet?
Disaster movies do have a perverse attraction. Adding a love interest or a comedic twist would help. It can't all be airspace violations, planes shot down or blown up or old enemies fighting proxy battles in distant countries.
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