#Obamacare Follies: Calorie info on all vending machines

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**Posted by Phineas

"Does Nanny approve?"

“Does Nanny approve?”

Nancy Pelosi once said we’d have to pass the ACA bill in order to find out what’s in it. The latest escapee from Pandora’s box? Vending machine operators across the nation now must display calorie information for every item stocked on each and every machine.

That’s about five million machines, btw:

The rules will apply to about 10,800 companies that operate 20 or more machines. Nearly three quarters of those companies have three or fewer employees, and their profit margin is extremely low, according to the National Automatic Merchandising Association. An initial investment of $2,400 plus $2,200 in annual costs is a lot of money for a small company that only clears a few thousand dollars a year, said Eric Dell, the group’s vice president for government affairs.

“The money that would be spent to comply with this — there’s no return on the investment,” he said.

“Return on investment?” Don’t you know the State has a higher purpose in mind than your grubby profits, you capitalist-roader kulak? Prepare for liquidation!!

(Ahem.)

Carol Brennan, who owns Brennan Food Vending Services in Londonderry, said she doesn’t yet know how she will handle the regulations, but she doesn’t like them. She has five employees servicing hundreds of machines and says she’ll be forced to limit the items offered so her employees don’t spend too much time updating the calorie counts.

“It is outrageous for us to have to do this on all our equipment,” she said.

Brennan also doubts that consumers will benefit from the calorie information.

“How many people have not read a label on a candy bar?” she said. “If you’re concerned about it, you’ve already read it for years.”

But Kim Gould, 58, of Seattle, said he doesn’t read the labels even after his choice pops out of a vending machine, so having access to that information wouldn’t change what he buys.

That last line is the key, in my mind. I’ve learned from the Real World Job that most people will ignore signs, especially if it’s providing information they already know, such as “that pack of sugared donuts probably isn’t good for you, even if you are drinking a diet soda.” If they’re interested in the information, it’s already printed on the product. If they’re not, adding another warning label for them to ignore when they’re hungry isn’t going to change much at all, certainly not enough to justify the non-productive compliance costs. (If I have to sink more money into obeying regulations, then I have less to hire more people if my business does well. Economics, progressives. You should try learning it sometime.)

But shouldn’t all this be the individual’s business,  in any event? We know roughly which foods are good for us and which aren’t, and that too much of almost anything is bad. But if I choose to have that Three Musketeers bar, I don’t need the government hanging over me like a nag and a scold, and I don’t need them forcing vendors to raise prices to compensate for the government’s useless, onerous rules. This is another example of the infantilization of the citizen through the cancerous growth of the State, as it claims jurisdiction over anything even remotely tied to health.

A recent survey showed a record number of Americans — 72%! –feel government is a bigger threat to the United States than Big Business or Big Labor.

And it’s finding out just what’s in the ACA that’s convincing them.

via Jim Geraghty (Be sure to read the rest — it’s an eye-opener.)

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Naked socialism makes inroads in Seattle w/ election of #OWS Socialist

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Tax the rich

Socialism is on the rise in America.
(Image via The Sundries Shack)

The Associated Press reports that an Occupy Wall Street protester who publicly identified herself as a Socialist while running to serve on the city council in Seattle has won the election (via Memeorandum):

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle voters have elected a socialist to city council for the first time in modern history.

Kshama Sawant’s lead continued to grow on Friday, prompting 16-year incumbent Richard Conlin to concede.

Even in this liberal city, Sawant’s win has surprised many here. Conlin was backed by the city’s political establishment. On election night, she trailed by four percentage points. She wasn’t a veteran politician, having only run in one previous campaign.

But in the days following election night, Sawant’s share of the votes outgrew Conlin’s.

“I don’t think socialism makes most people in Seattle afraid,” Conlin said Friday.

While city council races are technically non-partisan, Sawant made sure people knew she was running as a socialist — a label that would be politically poisonous in many parts of the country.

Sawant, a 41-year-old college economics professor, first drew attention as part of local Occupy Wall Street protests that included taking over a downtown park and a junior college campus in late 2011. She then ran for legislative office in 2012, challenging the powerful speaker of the state House, a Democrat. She was easily defeated.

This year, though, she pushed a platform that resonated with the city. She backed efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15; called for rent control in the city where rental prices keep climbing; and supports a tax on millionaires to help fund a public transit system and other services.

[…]

During her campaign, she condemned economic inequality, contending that some people aren’t benefiting from the city’s declining jobless rate, ongoing recovery from the recession, and downtown building boom.

In other words, she ran on a “what’s yours is ours” platform. Sound like anyone else you know? Hint: He talked during the 2008 presidential campaign season about how “spreading the wealth” was so important in order to get the American economy growing again.

I despise Occupy Wall Street and the concept of “socialism” and its many forms even more.  But one thing I’ll say I respect about Sawant is that she was at least honest about who and what she was. So many other socialists out there masquerade as rank and file “liberals” or “progressives” Democrats but in reality their agendas are much more far left that they are willing to admit to the public. They just don’t like to use the “Socialist” label because it is indeed toxic, as the article noted, in many areas of the country.  So they run on platforms that are largely socialistic in nature but call themselves and what they advocate something else in order to appeal to a larger mass of people.

Unhinged nutball “Democrat” Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) labeled this tactic perfectly in an interview with the left wing Salon magazine earlier this year. He called it “stealth socialism” and praised the fact that it was on the rise under the “leadership” of the Obama administration.  Democrat darling Howard Dean hobnobs with European Socialists when he thinks no one is looking.   Senator Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, is a self-described “Democratic Socialist” who appears as an “independent” on the ballot in Vermont (also the home state of Dr. Dean), and even sometimes brags on his official Senate website about his “socialist successes.”  He caucuses in the US Senate with  – shock! – Democrats.

It’s time to make more Democrat politicos own up to both their true philosophy and intentions.  See a Socialist pretending to be a middle of the road Democrat? Call ’em out on it. Often.  And explain what makes them socialists to people who otherwise wouldn’t understand. Because most elected Democrats sure as heck won’t admit it themselves – nor will their like-minded allies in the mainstream media who treat socialism masking itself as “liberalism” as equating to “compassion”, and who view “Democrats” who are really Socialists in sheep’s clothing as “the altruistic people who care about the little guy.”

A little sunlight in this area certainly couldn’t hurt, would it? Well, yes, it might hurt a few political careers … which wouldn’t be a bad thing. Not at all.

#Obamacare: VA Democrat calls for making physicians serfs of the State

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**Posted by Phineas

"A Democrat directs his serfs"

“A Democrat directs his serfs”

What was it I was saying yesterday about ownership of one’s own time and labor being essential to a free man or woman? Oh, yeah:

Nothing you pay money for is an inherent, natural right. To declare health care a “right” everyone is entitled to, you have to take from someone else, if need be by force, their property, whether it is their time and labor, or the products they produce. Force them to sell something for less than what it is worth or to provide it “free,” and you are effectively stealing from them, even enslaving them. For the government to demand that taxpayers pay far more than they need to for insurance in order to subsidize your medical procedures is no different than a medieval lord taking a farmer’s grain crop and giving it to his favorites.

And as if to illustrate that last point, along comes Virginia House of Delegates candidate Kathleen Murphy, a Democrat, who advocates making it a law that physicians must accept Medicare and Medicaid patients:

FYI last night at the Great Falls Grange debate, Democrat delegate candidate Kathleen Murphy said that since many doctors are not accepting medicaid and medicare patients, she advocates making it a legal requirement for those people to be accepted.

She did not recognize that the payments are inadequate to cover the doctors’ costs. She also did not recognize there is a shortage of over 45,000 physicians now and that it is forecast to be 90,000 in a few years.

Democrats appear to want to make physicians slaves of the state, but Democrats don’t admit they would just drive more doctors out of practice into retirement and other occupations. The Obamacare law and regulations are causing millions of people to lose their health insurance, drop many doctors and hospitals. The HHS internal forecast is 93 million Americans would lose their health insurance due to the Obamacare law and rules about adequacy of insurance.

It’s like the old joke in which the patient complains to the doctor that “it hurts whenever I do this,” and the doctor replies “then stop doing that!”

Progressives have created a deadly problem through government interference in the economy: their “Affordable Care Act” requires millions of individuals to buy policies and pay inflated prices for coverage they don’t need, in order to cover the costs of, among others, Medicare and Medicaid patients. But, as has been mentioned in several places, far more Medicaid “takers” are signing up than relatively well-off “payers,” threatening the viability of Obamacare, itself.

Compounding this is the doctor shortage “Mason Conservative’s” correspondent mentioned above: not just from doctors leaving the field rather than deal with Obamacare, but fewer and fewer accepting Medicare and Medicaid patients. Already reimbursed at an artificially low rate by the government for their services, many are refusing to take on more such patients –or any at all– as Obamacare signs up thousands more.

A rational person would look at the problem and recognize its causes: top-down government intervention in the healthcare market. That same rational person would then realize that the “hair of the dog” is not the solution; that, in fact, ending the disruptive government intervention is what’s called for.

But, we’re not dealing with rational people. We’re dealing with progressive Democrats, convinced against all evidence that an economy and society managed by technocratic government “experts” is best, let alone possible. It’s their central delusion and it is absolutely crucial to their political belief system.

Hence Ms. Murphy’s suggestion that doctors become servants of the State. It isn’t possible that government created this problem, it’s just some recalcitrant doctors. Or, if government did create a problem, it’s only a “glitch,” to be fixed by more, you guessed it, government intervention, even if that means taking by force of law the time and labor (the property!) of the doctors.

After all, it’s for the public good, and only government knows what’s truly good for the public.

PS: Though it is kind of fitting for the party that defended slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation, no?

RELATED: Legal Insurrection calls it the “revolt of the kulaks.”

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Fascist NYT editorial board: #ObamaMisspoke on #Obamacare – but your old plan sucked anyway

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Failure to communicate

”What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” – Captain, Florida Road Prison 36, from the movie ‘Cool Hand Luke’

(Monday AM Update: The thread title has been changed to something even more fitting of what the NYT editorial board wrote. :)  –ST )

Unsurprisingly, the editorial page at the New York Times has lined up with other far left fascists when it comes to who makes decisions on the type of healthcare insurance plan you can have (via Memeorandum). In an editorial titled “Insurance Policies Not Worth Keeping”, the board lectures (bolded emphasis added by me):

Congressional Republicans have stoked consumer fears and confusion with charges that the health care reform law is causing insurers to cancel existing policies and will force many people to pay substantially higher premiums next year for coverage they don’t want. That, they say, violates President Obama’s pledge that if you like the insurance you have, you can keep it.

Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that. By law, insurers cannot continue to sell policies that don’t provide the minimum benefits and consumer protections required as of next year. So they’ve sent cancellation notices to hundreds of thousands of people who hold these substandard policies. (At issue here are not the 149 million people covered by employer plans, but the 10 million to 12 million people who buy policies directly on the individual market.)

But insurers are not allowed to abandon enrollees. They must offer consumers options that do comply with the law, and they are scrambling to retain as many of their customers as possible with new policies that are almost certain to be more comprehensive than their old ones.

Indeed, in all the furor, people forget how terrible many of the soon-to-be-abandoned policies were. Some had deductibles as high as $10,000 or $25,000 and required large co-pays after that, and some didn’t cover hospital care.

This overblown controversy has also obscured the crux of what health care reform is trying to do, which is to guarantee that everyone can buy insurance without being turned away or charged exorbitant rates for pre-existing conditions and that everyone can receive benefits that really protect them against financial or medical disaster, not illusory benefits that prove inadequate when a crisis strikes.

Got that, rubes?  It’s Republicans who have “stoked confusion” over a law that the President merely “misspoke” about when he told the American people they wouldn’t – couldn’t – be kicked off their existing plans once Obamacare fully took effect. To the slobbering lapdogs at the NYT editorial board who have rolled over for Obama from day one, this can be sweetly and conveniently spun as “misspeaking”, but to the millions of citizens of this country receiving letters in the mail that their coverage has been cancelled, alerting them that they’ll need to pony up a lot more cash (that they don’t have) in order to afford something comparable for them and/or for their families, some who are right in the middle of a healthcare issue who are now extremely concerned that they may not be able to keep their primary care physician – another “misspeak” by Obama –  this is called exactly what it is: A BALD-FACED LIE.

But worry not, dolts, this is for your own good- and for the good of ALL OF MANKIND:

Starting next year, all plans sold in this country will be required to provide 10 essential benefits, including some, like mental health and substance abuse treatment and maternity and newborn care, that are not now part of many policies. And premiums may well rise, in part because insurance companies must accept all applicants, not just the healthy.

Premiums are apt to come down for older patients and sicker patients with chronic illnesses. Premiums will likely go up for younger, healthier patients. Even so, analysts at the Kaiser Family Foundation believe that most people will actually pay less next year, because those with modest incomes will qualify for federal subsidies and many poor, uninsured people will be eligible for Medicaid.

As I wrote Friday in response to TPM’s absurd piece essentially stating the same thing:

Got it? Even if that 3% number [of people ‘actually’ impacted]  is correct (and I’d bet $100 it’s not), those people don’t matter, are insignificant in the scheme of things. After all, sacrifices have to be made for the “common good”, right?  Just like those people who have lost jobs, or have seen their hours reduced, their full time status reduced to part time, and/or pay cut as a result of companies having to make cost adjustments due to the regulations under Obamacare.  They don’t count. As to the rest, well, there will be a  ”net benefit” to Obamacare, you see, because even though they are losing their current plan thanks to Democrats who voted against a GOP resolution in 2010 that would have prevented that from happening, they’ll have “better” options under a “new” plan … except the dum dums at TPM and other liberal outlets parroting this tripe don’t get that for many, comparable plans are too expensive for them and they will  NOT qualify for a subsidy.

… and nor would they qualify for Medicaid. But again, these people don’t matter, right?

Surprisingly enough, though the reliably left wing parrots at the NYT predictably take Obama’s side on this issue, the equally and usually reliable Obama supporters and proponents of Obamacare at the Charlotte Observer do not.  Observer associate editor Peter St. Onge wrote at the paper yesterday:

It’s becoming harder to believe [a lie] didn’t happen with this president and his health care law. We all know the quote by now. In 2009, as the Affordable Care Act was being written, Obama told the American Medical Association: “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.” A year later, he reiterated: “If you like your insurance plan, you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you.”

But that wasn’t true. And he knew it. So did a handful of Republicans and journalists who said then that the president couldn’t possibly keep his promise. The Affordable Care Act did allow for some insurance plans to be grandfathered, but the law also required that medical coverage be more robust than the plans many people held. Cancellations were inevitable. Millions of them.

But Obama didn’t equivocate. He didn’t say, “Well, I’m not talking about all Americans…”

“Period,” he said.

Now the inevitable has arrived. Americans with individual insurance policies are getting cancellations in the mail. The media are widely reporting what too few did four years ago. Republicans are pouncing with Joe Wilson-like fury.

And now, the president and his supporters are trying to deflect the hard truth with soft logic:

“Those Americans had substandard plans…”

Doesn’t matter.

“Most will be able to get subsidies for their new, improved plans…”

Also doesn’t matter.

“The cancellations affect only a small number of people…”

Maybe so (or maybe not, according to some estimates). But that doesn’t absolve the deception.

[…]

Obama, not surprisingly, doubled down last week, blaming the media for “misleading” people by not reporting on the better deal many Americans are getting. Did you expect, “Sorry about that, but I had to fib”?

That’s the calculation the president faced four years ago when deciding what we should know. Should he jeopardize a worthy law – which it is, by the way – by acknowledging its shortcomings up front? Or should he risk a political hit after Obamacare is the law of the land?

But in choosing the latter, he forgot a more basic truth: It should have been our decision, not his.

Welcome to the club, Charlotte Observer.   This doesn’t absolve you from your years of covering for Dear Leader on Obamacare, your years of accusing Republicans and conservatives of “racism” and opposing the President for the sake of opposing him, but we’ll take your veiled mea culpa here – and remind you of it often.

Naked Fascism: The real story behind the liberal “defenses” of #Obamacare

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Useful idiot.

Words of wisdom.

Since I wrote my piece detailing how “progressive activist” and Obama tool Sally Kohn lectured millions of Americans who have lost their health insurance plans as a result of Obamacare that it was a “good thing” that was happening, I’ve noticed a similar theme/excuse-making from other liberals on the same issue.   As a refresher, here’s a snippet from Kohn’s piece (bolded emphasis added by me):

(CNN) – Conservatives are expressing shock and outrage that the Obama administration knew that many people in the individual insurance market would not be able to keep their plans once the Affordable Care Act took effect. Such shock is not surprising; overblown outrage is the stock and trade of conservative politics these days.

But here’s what conservatives won’t tell you, lest it undermine their theatrics: Many insurance plans are shutting down because they don’t meet the higher bar of quality benefits required under Obamacare, and of those people who lose access to their plans, many will pay less and all will have better and more comprehensive options.

Also, with a few exceptions, no one is really noting that this point isn’t quite news. In 2010, the fact that certain insurance plans would not be grandfathered into Obamacare because of their inadequate coverage was widely covered by the press. It was a given, after all that, if standards for health insurance were going to be raised in America — a good thing — then some plans that don’t meet the bar would no longer be available. One could blame this on the Affordable Care Act, or alternatively, one could blame this on insurance companies for providing such substandard care in the first place.

Here’s what this boils down to:

Will some people lose their current insurance? Yes.

Will these same folks lose health insurance coverage? No.

They will all have access to better plans and in many cases pay less because of expanded options and tax credits.

Kohn is basically saying, “Yeah, so you’re losing your insurance plan (that you may have liked) but the new one will be a ‘better’ (even if more expensive and out of your price range) because that’s how President Obama wanted it to be. So just deal with it, stupid, and you might see the benefits of it eventually.”  She’s not the only one.  Dylan Scott at Talking Points Memo wrote this ode to fascism today:

What Really Happens To People Whose Insurance Is ‘Canceled’ Because Of Obamacare

[…]

What really matters is what happens to the people who are receiving those cancelation letters that congressional Republicans have been parading in front of the cameras?

The bottom line: Almost all of them are going to receive the same or much better coverage, and many of them are going to receive financial help to purchase it.

First, let’s put the issue in perspective. As Jonathan Gruber, the MIT professor who oversaw Massachusetts health reform and is therefore as close as we have to a true veteran of a dramatic insurance overhaul, told the New Yorker, it’s only a small percentage (3 percent, to be precise) of Americans who you can really argue might at least potentially get screwed.

About 80 percent of people, those who receive insurance through their employer or are already enrolled in a government program, won’t experience any change at all, Gruber said. (The Kaiser Family Foundation puts the number at 79 percent).

Another 14 percent are currently uninsured people who will now be able to get covered because of the Affordable Care Act, Gruber said. (Kaiser pegs it at 16 percent uninsured). How many of those actually get covered depends on a few variables — like whether Republicans states come around and expand Medicaid — but that’s the share that stands to gain.

So then you have 6 percent who might receive a cancelation [sp] letter (Kaiser says the individual market is 5 percent). Of those, Gruber argued, about half aren’t really going to see a change: They’ll technically enroll in a new plan, but it’ll be very similar to what they already had.

That leaves 3 percent who will have to buy significantly different plans, some of whom might have to pay more for them (at least before the law’s tax credits and other financial assistance kick in).

[…]

To be clear, nobody has done an analysis yet of what people who have received a cancelation notice are going to pay for coverage under the ACA. There’s just no way to do that. But we can take a pretty educated guess by looking at the breakdown of the health insurance market provided by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

People making less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level qualify for either tax credits or expanded Medicaid (which, to be clear, has to cover the same set of 10 benefits that private plans have to cover). According to Kaiser, about 60 percent people in the individual insurance market (more than 10 million) have an income within that range, which leaves the other 40 percent (about 4.4 million) who don’t and won’t qualify for help.

So mash this all up — it’s an imperfect science — and Gruber’s prediction that about 3 percent of Americans are actually at risk of ‘losing’ under Obamacare holds up pretty well.

“We have to as a society be able to accept that,” he told the New Yorker. “Don’t get me wrong, that’s a shame, but no law in the history of America makes everyone better off.”

Got it? Even if that 3% number is correct (and I’d bet $100 it’s not), those people don’t matter, are insignificant in the scheme of things. After all, sacrifices have to be made for the “common good”, right?  Just like those people who have lost jobs, or have seen their hours reduced, their full time status reduced to part time, and/or pay cut as a result of companies having to make cost adjustments due to the regulations under Obamacare.  They don’t count. As to the rest, well, there will be a  “net benefit” to Obamacare, you see, because even though they are losing their current plan thanks to Democrats who voted against a GOP resolution in 2010 that would have prevented that from happening, they’ll have “better” options under a “new” plan … except the dum dums at TPM and other liberal outlets parroting this tripe don’t get that for many, comparable plans are too expensive for them and they will  NOT qualify for a subsidy.

The “defenses” from liberals over the fresh media reports about how many people are losing their current insurance coverage over Obamacare  are getting more pathetic by the minute,  including another emerging tactic: trying to “debunk” Obamacare horror stories:

Since insurers have begun informing beneficiaries that their health care plans do not meet the new federal requirements of Obamacare, and will be either cancelled or significantly altered, the media has profiled countless middle class Americans who claim that the new health care law will force them to pay more for coverage.

Deborah Cavallaro, for instance, a real estate agent from Los Angeles, was enrolled in an individual plan that cost her just $293 per month. Under Obamacare, Cavallaro says she’ll have to pay over $400 for coverage she doesn’t need or want. But a higher premium doesn’t tell the whole story: while Cavallaro may spend more each month, she’ll be buying more comprehensive insurance with fewer out-of-pocket costs, better benefits that will cover more and cost her less if she actually falls ill, and much more robust consumer protections.

Assuming all of the above written by Think Progress is true (it probably isn’t), just shut up, Ms. Cavallaro, and accept that this “change” in your insurance policy “is for your own good.” Umkay?

Merriam-Webster defines fascism in the following fashion:

: a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government

[…]

1: often capitalized :  a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2:  a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control <early instances of army fascism and brutality — J. W. Aldridge>

Some liberals try to distance themselves from the word fascist by falsely asserting that fascism is primarily a “right wing” thing.  Clueless wonders. As a Twitter friend notes:

 

 

 

Explaining fascism to people who don’t follow politics much is sometimes tricky and difficult. In the case of Obamacare, the arguments against centralized government making your decisions for you pretty much write themselves. End of story. It’s time for people to wake-up. Today.

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

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**Posted by Phineas

"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 Public Secrets)

Obamacare’s doctored coverage: destroying the private insurance market

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**Posted by Phineas

"Quack medicine"

“Quack medicine”

I linked this in my last post, but it really deserves top-level billing of its own as a picture-perfect example of how Obamacare harms, not helps, the middle classes.

Redondo Beach resident Steve Duschene has bought his own insurance on the individual market for several years now and has had to deal with the problems of rising costs, often by cutting back on coverage he’d otherwise like to keep. So, he decided to try buying a policy on Covered California, our state exchange.

What he found was, to say the least, upsetting:

I have visited the state exchange, CoveredCA.com, and what I found is not encouraging. In fact, it’s frightening, with few policy choices, higher monthly premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs.

(…)

Relieved to see Anthem, which has provided my family’s health insurance policies for nearly 10 years, I was stunned by the $900 monthly premium, not to mention higher out-of pocket costs. Like our current plan, Anthem’s Obamacare policy would cover three doctor visits per person per year, but with a 35 percent increase in the monthly premium.

The sticker shock did not end at the premium. Our doctor office co-payment would double from $30 under our current policy to $60 under the Obamacare policy, and in the event of a trip to an emergency room, our co-pay would triple from $100 to $300. Our current policy includes no co-pay for an urgent care visit; Obamacare would hit us for a co-pay of $120.

Duschene then notes the dilemma of the individual policy buyer:

Under Obamacare, however, there appears to be no alternative to significantly higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs. If we want insurance, we will have no choice but to shop through the exchange.

But he’s also careful to note  the alternative, which is to not carry insurance, but buy it only at need, knowing that one cannot be refused. He correctly calls this, as I have in other posts on other facets of Obamacare, a “perverse incentive.” And his closing reveals that this isn’t a bug, but a feature:

Back in January, the Anthem representative could not predict Obamacare prices, but now we know. And the more we learn about the Affordable Care Act, the less affordable it becomes. It’s open season on individual health insurance consumers.

Per Congresswoman “Red” Jan Schakowski and President Barack Obama, that’s the whole point: the destruction of the private insurance market.

You can bet there are a lot more stories like Steve Duschene’s. It’s in the plan.

via Stuart Stevens

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Unhinged #NCpol Dems: What liberal NC professors think of opposing viewpoints

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Liberal academic bias

Very real. Extremely disturbing.
(Image via the Washington Times)

College Fix’s Ben Smith files this report on the recent “Scholars’ for North Carolina’s Future” gathering held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prepare for much New Tone:

CHAPEL HILL – Abortion safety laws make it “more dangerous for the black woman’s body.” Republican lawmakers “want kids to die.” Conservatives “are trying to take the U.S. hostage” and hope to “destroy our public school system.”

That’s just a sample of some of the vitriol spewed Thursday night at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, which played host to a meeting of Scholars’ for North Carolina’s Future, a group of secular-progressive college professors who have helped lead, along with the NAACP and AFL-CIO, weekly “Moral Monday” protests at the state capitol over the last several months.

The Moral Monday movement is a massive and disruptive weekly civil disobedience demonstration, and it has become somewhat of a spectacle in North Carolina, with liberal activists using it as a platform to rally against the Republican-held majority in the General Assembly and its approval of issues such as voter-ID laws and fiscal responsibility on public education.

The panel was billed around campus as a chance to learn what Moral Mondays are really all about, and see how they “fit in with past social movements.” Before the panel at the Global Education Center at UNC Chapel Hill began, many in the audience of about 165 people discussed their experiences during protests at the Raleigh statehouse.

Several openly bragged about their arrests, fights with cops, and the help with legal entanglements they’ve received from the NAACP. More than 900 arrests have occurred since the protests launched in April. As the audience – a mostly white, elderly group – waited for the meeting to begin, they also talked with impassioned contempt about conservatives. About a dozen students attended the event, which was heavily publicized in the Gender Studies and Journalism departments.

The lack of minorities in the audience, less than 10, was astonishing for a group so entwined with the Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP. Jesse White, former director of UNC’s Office of Economic and Business Development and an adjunct government professor, began the meeting by asking those who had attended a Moral Monday to stand. Almost 75 percent of the crowd stood.

He then asked all to be seated except those who have been arrested at a Moral Monday. About a dozen remained standing, none of them students. As he continued, he called the movement “inspiring” and Republican state legislators regressive.

Remember when going to college was supposed to expose you to all kinds of differing viewpoints?  It’s been so long …

Anyway, make sure to read the whole thing, and if you’re a parent who is paying or who will be paying for your daughter and/or son to attend UNC-CH, Duke, or any of the other universities mentioned in the piece, question what you’re money will be paying for.  The intolerance level is set to “HIGH” for many of the professors at these “institutions of higher learning”, and while I know many conservatives who have gotten a great education at UNC-CH, Duke, and other colleges in this state, I know of far more with the mindset of the “professors.”

Related to all this, Michelle Malkin’s Twitter aggregation site Twitchy.com documented a rant I posted earlier this week about prominent NC left wing activists based in the Raleigh area who have been after me and other loudmouthed NC conservative women for months in attempts to “out” our identities. Why? Because we dared to invade their social media frat party.  You can read the back story on this here and here.   Also,  please make sure to read Robert Stacy McCain’s post on this, titled “When ‘Shutuppery’ Fails“.

BTW, this is a group of mostly liberal women who have been engaged at this. Talk about War On Women … by women! ;)

Flashback – 8/1/12:

The potential threat to liberty in driverless cars

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**Posted by Phineas

And he's driving, too.

And he’s driving, too.

Yesterday, I wrote about the European Union proposal to mandate speed governors on all cars, which would be automated to force a driver to slow down, should he exceed the legal speed limit. As an aside, I mentioned the trend toward driverless cars and the potential for state control of those.  (And hacking, let’s be honest. But that’s another issue.)

Jonah Goldberg thought along the same lines this morning and imagined some of the “fun” we could have:

Let’s be fair: The experts aren’t always wrong, and even when they’re wrong, their arguments aren’t necessarily unreasonable given their assumptions. But if you follow the logic of mandatory seatbelts and motorcycle helmets, red-light cameras and anti-texting laws (1) to their natural conclusion, it’s easy to imagine that some bureaucrats will want to co-author your car’s software.

And then what? Will you ever be allowed to go over the speed limit again? Police are already drooling to see our GPS data. Will that become automatic too? Will the cops have the power to tell your car to stop whether you want it to or not? Will authorities be able to tell your car to take a detour to alleviate traffic? Make it turn around when it gets too close to certain off-limit areas?

Whoever thought that driving your own car could be the next “live free or die” moment?

Footnote:
(1) I am, however, strongly in favor of laws against cell phone use and texting while driving, having nearly been run down several times by people paying more attention to their phone than to the road. Studies show phoning while driving is as impairing as driving while drunk. And texting isn’t much better.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Socialist French government finds there really is such a thing as being “overtaxed”

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Via the UK Telegraph comes a report that France’s Socialist government, famous for burdening their “rich” with extraordinarily high taxs, have come to the conclusion that they can’t tax their people (the rich and middle class) anymore without bleeding them dry (via Memeorandum) :

France’s Socialist government has admitted that the country cannot cope with any further tax rises and promised no more hikes just days ahead of the country’s largest ever tax bill.

In an unfortunate piece of timing, however, the pledge came just as the environment minister announced the creation of a new “carbon tax” and amid reports that the overall tax pressure on French households will rise even further next year.

Returning from their summer break, the French are about to discover stinging rises in tax bills in their letter boxes – the result of a series of new levies enacted by President François Hollande as he seeks to plug the French deficit and bring down public debt – now riding at 92 per cent of GDP.

But the extent of the hikes has apparently even shocked the very Socialist ministers who implemented them.

The total tax pressure (taxes and social security contributions) will account for 46.3 per cent of GDP this year – a historic high – compared to 45 per cent in 2012.

Some 16 million households will see an automatic 2 per cent rise in income tax as calculations are no longer mitigated by inflation. Family tax breaks will be cut.

The rich will see the highest rises, following Mr Hollande’s decision to raise the rate to 45 per cent for those earning more than 150,000 euros – effectively 49 per cent due to an additional levy.

Amid discontent at the forthcoming rises, Jean-François Copé, head of the opposition Right-wing UMP party today pledged to enact “massive tax cuts” and to slash state spending by ten per cent should his party win power in 2017.

In a clear damage limitation exercise, a chorus of top Socialists spoke out against any more rises.

Pierre Mosovici, the finance minister, told France Inter radio: “I’m very sensitive to the French getting fed up with taxes We are listening to them.” Laurent Fabius, the foreign minister followed suit, warning Mr Hollande to be “very, very careful” as “there’s a level above which we shouldn’t climb”.

One Socialist told Les Echos newspaper that the hand-wringing was totally hypocritical as “they are crying wolf, but the wolf is us.”

The topic was top of the agenda at the Socialists’ annual “summer university”, which opened today , and where Ségolène Royal, Mr Hollande’s former partner, called for a “moratorium on new taxes.” Even more categorical was Bruno Le Roux, Socialist leader in the National Assembly, who declared: “There will be no new taxes” for the rest of Mr Hollande’s five-year mandate.

I’d like to think Socialists somewhere (in this case, France) have finally had their wake up call on how high taxes stifle growth by cutting off job creators and potential workers at the knees, but we know they haven’t.   As PJ Tatler’s Rick Moran notes:

Jeez, what a bunch of hypocrites. They stick it to the people least able to absorb a tax hike without a decline in their standard of living, and then declare a de facto moratorium on tax hikes — at least until they think they can get away with more tax increases politically.

The net result of the tax increases will be slower growth, which, considering all the new spending that Hollande has proposed probably means the deficit will go up, rather than shrink. The French president was one of the biggest boosters in Europe of getting rid of “austerity” budgets, so now we’ll see just how “Hollandonomics” plays out in the real economy.

Sound familiar?

Overtaxed

Will the American left soon come to the same conclusions when it comes to overtaxing? Don’t count on it!