Friday, August 23, 2013

An Obamacare Worksheet

The Kaiser Family Foundation has an Obamacare Subsidy Calculator. One simply enters family size and composition and family income and voila! it returns the yearly cost of a "Silver" coverage plan for the family, including a breakdown of citizen and State contributions for the premium and maximum out of pocket costs. For example, for a citizen-family of four, two adults and two kids, with a yearly income of $70,000, the Silver Plan total yearly premium is $9869, with a citizen contribution of $6594, or 67% of the premium. The Silver Plan maximum yearly out of pocket cost for this traditional citizen household unit would be $12,700, and the average co-pay for medical costs is 30%.

The KFF also has produced a survey of employer health benefits. In 2013 the average employer-provided health insurance for a family had a yearly premium of $16,351, where the employer paid $11,786 of this premium while the employee paid the remaining $4565. The Michigan BCBS "One Blue" health comes close to this premium; it's actually about $3000 less. This plan has a $1000 deductible per year for the family, and a maximum yearly out of pocket cost of $11,000. The copay ranges from 20%-50% depending on the service provided.

Clearly the People's "Silver" Healthcare Plan has the smaller total premium. But so what? The Obamacare alternative would cost this family $2000 more in premium payments per year, has a $1700 higher out of pocket maximum, with a 30% copay.

How does Obamacare help this family with medical costs? The family's income does fall in the notorious "Top 40%", so perhaps it's only proper social justice policy that they pay more?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Nothing to Benghazi?

The usual Obama apologists are now whining that the Benghazi incident, although certainly tragic, has been inflated into a pseudo-scandal by opponents of the Administration. 

We assert that the Administration wanted to believe, either sincerely or to preserve a critical election narrative, that "Al Qaeda was on the run". Let us review the actions of the Administration regarding the Benghazi attack that we now know (hat tip to Mona Charen):

1. They denied requests for greater security in Libya.
2. Later, they denied that they denied requests for greater security.
3. Later still, they blamed budget cuts for the lack of increased security.
4. They refused to provide military assistance to repel the attack, leaving the defense force present out on a limb.
5. Later, they denied that such military support was available or possible.
6. They have obfuscated the participation and engagement of the President and the SoS in the response to the attack.
7. They suppressed the fact - for two weeks - that it was known quickly after (during?) the event that it was a organized paramilitary style attack, and not a spontaneous protest turned riot. They promulgated this falsehood aggressively by dispatching the UN Ambassador to every major Sunday news programs to repeat it.
8. They publicly embarrassed and discredited the President of Libya by refuting his assertion that it was an organized terrorist attack.
9. Later, they suggested that the President had all along acknowledged publicly that it was an (implicitly suggested as organized) terrorist attack.
10. They blamed the CIA for misinforming them as to the nature of the attack.
11. They lied about the extent to which the original CIA talking points for public discussion of the attack had been revised by CIA at the insistence  the State Department.
12. They ordered diplomats not to cooperate with a congressional investigation.
13. They demoted career diplomatic officers for publicly contradicting the false "spontaneous attack" claim.

Right, there is nothing to see here. Now go watch Dancing with the Stars, Citizen.

Friday, April 19, 2013

What Boston should teach us.

We are relieved and very grateful that combined law-enforcement forces at local, state, and federal levels have concluded the capture of the Boston Marathon bombers with speed and efficiency.

But let's not kid ourselves: these "terrorists" were amateurs, deadly, but amateurs. We need to seriously contemplate what a professionally trained platoon of well-armed terrorists, fanatical and suicidal, could do in eight hours in the heart of a major city. Remember Mumbai? How we will prepare?

Monday, April 08, 2013

OBF - Obama Bombast Fatigue

Today President Obama led a Connecticut crowd into a frenzied ecstacy for gun control laws that would not have prevented the tragedies that the White House has exploited to push for this legislation.

The President thrives on this stuff. He loves the sugar rush of affirming crowds that accept platitudes and tabernacle oratory as policy. He's become bored with the day to day real problems of our country and our role in the world if they can't be solved quickly by the mere presence of his wonderfulness. Meanwhile, we sense the tide of history going out our country. Our economy is enfeebled, the achievements in Iraq and Afghanistan made with enormous sacrifice are frittered away, and the national fabric is in tatters from four years of class, race and gender warfare. We shelve dreams of great achievements and turn inward, to fight for meaningless gun laws and to force all citizens to applaud two men on a wedding cake. We are becoming a silly people and an object of contempt for the Rising Powers.

Friday, March 29, 2013

It is finished?

Christians remember this day as when Jesus of Nazareth was condemned by his own people, crucified by the Romans, and died. Holy Week's climax is the complete removal of God from Jesus. Infinitely remote from his Father, Evil encircled Christ, mocked, taunted, tortured and killed him. It was a manic orgy of darkness, heralding the triumph of Satan over God, and the death of Hope.

At the end of Tenebrae, Christians depart the sanctuary in darkness and silence. It is symbolic of the journey from Gulgalta by Mary and other mourners toward a seemingly hopeless future. Has God fled the world? The answer will be revealed after the passing of an anxious day.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Minimum Wage Math.

Suppose you own a Subway store.

A healthy store grosses about $7000 per week (about 1000 sales per week).

Per week, you pay two full time workers, and another three full-time equivalents of part-time employees. Four of them are minimum wage, $7.25 per hour (sans FICA, etc). If you keep your store open for ten hours, seven days a week, you are paying at least for 280 hours of minimum-wage work, or about $2030 a week.

You are now required to pay $9.00 an hour for the minimum wage. Your labor costs have increased by at least $490 per week. This comes right out of your profit, which is about $1000 a week. Your income, your capital savings to expand to another store, and your reserve for hidden costs, such as remodeling every five or six years, has just been halved.

What do you do? You let go of at least one part-time employee, of course, and you pick up the slack by working 20 more hours yourself.

And another kid is on the street without a job.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

More details on budget prestidigitation.

This correspondent, in pursuit of accuracy and fairness, ammends an earlier dispatch on the Magic That Is Federal Budgeting. Here we include spending, revenue, and the resulting deficit from 2008 through the estimate 2013 budget, courtesy of the OMB. Numbers in 2005 Gigabucks. The 2012 and 2013 entries are estimates:

  • 2008: receipts = $2288.1  outlays = $2703.8  surplus (deficit) = $(415.7)
  • 2009: receipts = $1899.0  outlays = $3173.4  surplus (deficit) = $(1274.4)
  • 2010: receipts = $1927.9  outlays = $3081.0  surplus (deficit) = $(1153.0)
  • 2011: receipts = $1998.7  outlays = $3126.3  surplus (deficit) = $(1125.6)
  • 2012: receipts = $2089.4  outlays = $3212.5  surplus (deficit) = $(1123.1)
  • 2013: receipts = $2409.1  outlays = $3157.4  surplus (deficit) = $(748.3)
During the current Adminstration's budget authority (2010-2013) we see that outlays increase, except for a small estimated decrease of $55.1B in 2013. The deficits since 2010 are at a steady $1100-1200B until 2013, when magic occurs(!) and they suddenly plumment by nearly $500B. This is caused by increased revenue, in fact about $9 of new revenue for each $1 of spending reduction. And projections of spending for 2014 and beyond? Rising steadily, with deficit reduction coming from ever increasing revenue.

This is why, the humble opinion of this correspondent, the Administration's claim that "we've cut over two trillion dollars from the deficit" over the next ten years through a "balanced" approach is just so much malarkey. Or, if we may be as bold to state ("truth to power" as the Left loves to claim),  a lie.

We do not blame the continuing death spiral of increasing spending only on the White House, although they do enjoy proposing more and more programs to cure this ill and that; no Congress cannot be persuaded to abandon the mathematics of More Spending = Reelection, and nor perhaps can the People face weaning from the Government Teat. As Uncle Billy said to George Bailey, "this is a pickle, George, this is a pickle!" But shall we at least start by being honest about what are doing?