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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

OTP - March 2014: Russia denies calling shots in Ukraine’s Crimea standoff

Only Babe Ruth calls shots!

At a press conference for Kremlin-controlled media on Tuesday, Putin reiterated his position that Moscow has the right to use “all means” necessary to protect ethnic Russians and vital military assets in Ukraine, first among them the Black Sea fleet in the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

 

Bitter Mouse Posted: March 05, 2014 at 07:54 AM | 3254 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: lies, politics, war

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   1001. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4670202)
Sure there is. That one consenting adult and one consenting group of adults agreed upon that price.


Sure. One consenting adult agreed with another consenting adult to split the value of the work of thousands of other non-consenting adults between themselves. LIBERTOPIA!


Yeah, Dan is crazy on this one.

There is no effective consent in corporate governance. Shareholders have virtually no say, because 1) mutual funds (who own a majoirty of all stock) don't actively vote their shares, and 2) hostile takeovers have been effectively neutered.

A bunch of people agree to expropriate the profits of the actual owners of the corporation through cronyism and insider dealing. Modern corporate "governance" is a lot closer to criminal fraud than to the free market.
   1002. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:03 PM (#4670212)
Reposted for the flip, and to add some more ideas:

How should we "structure the economy" then? Serious question, because a statement like that begs more questions than it answers.

Some thought starters:

High tariffs on goods and services from low wage countries, or countries that don't have similar or stronger environmental, labor, and consumer protections.

Require mutual funds to vote their shares actively, and appoint independent directors to company boards. Make it illegal for anyone to hold the positions of CEO and Chairman simultaneously. Allow only independent directors to vote on CEO compensation, and allow the CEO to have no say in independent director selection. Require the Stock Exchanges or debt holders to appoint the auditors for a corporation. Management has no say, and the auditors must be changed every 3 years.

Uber-strict anti-trust enforcement. No one is allowed to sustain more than 25% market share in any industry. In some industries, the threshold should be much lower; e.g. no bank should be allowed to have more than 5% of deposits.

Require corporations to dividend out 75% of their profits (it would be a deductible expense). If shareholders want to reinvest those profits, it must be an affirmative choice.

Tax all profits of hedge funds, private equity funds, etc. at the highest individual marginal rate.

Edit:

Increase marginal tax rates on very high incomes. 50% over $1M, 60% over $3M, 70% over $5M, 80% over $10M.

Increase estate taxes on large fortunes. I'd tax at the recipient level, and person can give any other person $5M in gifts or bequests lifetime, tax free. Anything over that is taxed at 90%.

I'd also eliminate charitable foundations. If you want a tax deductible contribution you must alienate all control of the money. It must be given away today with no future control.
   1003. GregD Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4670215)
Huey Long is in the house! (I'm not being snide; I love Huey.)
   1004. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4670218)
Huey Long is in the house! (I'm not being snide; I love Huey.)

I am very much a conservative populist. I hate leftist secularism, but I hate accumulated wealth and the corruption it brings almost as much.
   1005. BrianBrianson Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4670221)
The Laffer curve peaks at ~70%, so it's not really worth raising taxes beyond that, especially if you actually apply them, and don't write in a string of loopholes to ensure the top earners pay zilch. It's probably pretty flat between 50% and 80%, so I think beyond 50% is probably pointless, and lends itself well to anti-tax rhetoric and whatnot. 50% on income over a Megadollar a year should be fine, if you just bin all income into income.
   1006. GregD Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4670224)
The Laffer curve peaks at ~70%, so it's not really worth raising taxes beyond that, especially if you actually apply them, and don't write in a string of loopholes to ensure the top earners pay zilch. It's probably pretty flat between 50% and 80%, so I think beyond 50% is probably pointless, and lends itself well to anti-tax rhetoric and whatnot. 50% on income over a Megadollar a year should be fine, if you just bin all income into income.
I do think this is true since it is hard to get effective rates over 50% even when the published rates are higher, and you build in too many incentives for doing end-arounds on the tax system, even worse than what we have now.
   1007. JE (Jason) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4670230)
Increase estate taxes on large fortunes. I'd tax at the recipient level, and person can give any other person $5M in gifts or bequests lifetime, tax free. Anything over that is taxed at 90%.

Leaving aside the traditional arguments against the death/estate tax, your lifetime gifts or bequests idea sounds like an administrative nightmare.
   1008. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4670236)
If ever in slavery’s 250-year history in North America there were a kind master or a contented slave, as in the nature of things there must have been, here and there, we may be sure that Mr McQueen does not want us to hear about it. This, in turn, surely means that his view of the history of the American South is as partial and one-sided as that of the hated Gone With the Wind.


What's amusing about this is not just the false equivalency but the total misunderstanding of how anti-slavery writers wrote and how many--not all--historians have written about slavery.

I'm just curious as to where that original quote in #978 came from, since there wasn't any link or any attributed source.
   1009. BrianBrianson Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4670240)
As far as estate taxes, it's probably impossible to get an actual measure of their effect, but I'd probably also stick at 50% over a million bucks (and perhaps nothing below that?) 50% has a feeling of fairness to me that higher levels don't so much. Obviously gifting around it can be a problem, but if you're taxing land value, and you're taxing the income being generated by wealth, taxing any other wealth doesn't seem that important.

Especially if you could push inflation up a little, to discourage hoarding of wealth.
   1010. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4670243)
The Laffer curve peaks at ~70%, so it's not really worth raising taxes beyond that, especially if you actually apply them, and don't write in a string of loopholes to ensure the top earners pay zilch. It's probably pretty flat between 50% and 80%, so I think beyond 50% is probably pointless, and lends itself well to anti-tax rhetoric and whatnot. 50% on income over a Megadollar a year should be fine, if you just bin all income into income.

My goal is not to maximize revenue, it is to destroy large fortunes.

Leaving aside the traditional arguments against the death/estate tax, your lifetime gifts or bequests idea sounds like an administrative nightmare.

Possibly. May be simpler to just apply it to bequests, and have a separate, highly progressive gift tax.
   1011. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4670246)
I'm just curious as to where that original quote in #978 came from, since there wasn't any link or any attributed source.


Here ya go, chuckles ... William F. Buckley's finest!
   1012. bobm Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:37 PM (#4670253)
How should we "structure the economy" then? Serious question, because a statement like that begs more questions than it answers.

Some thought starters:


Eliminate all tax deductions for interest on corporate debt, personal mortgages, etc.

Thereby drive down speculation and government subsidization of leverage for private equity, debt-financed acquisitions, privatization of government assets (eg toll roads) to capture tax deductions, stock and option speculation, speculation and overconsumption of real estate etc.
   1013. BrianBrianson Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4670254)
Well, I'm not solely concerned about revenue, but also about creating maximal economic growth (rising tide, ships). The conservative rhetoric about tax cuts creating growth actually becomes truth once you're over the Laffer peak - beyond a tax rate of ~70%, raising taxes actually does hurt business, jobs, etc.

And there are other considerations - set the marginal tax rate too high, and you really will drive wealth overseas (and again, Laffer is showing you where that'll happen). When you're doing it, you can fiddle a bit, of course, but it's an excellent first order model to find your starting place.
   1014. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4670259)
I'm just curious as to where that original quote in #978 came from, since there wasn't any link or any attributed source.

Here ya go, chuckles ... William F. Buckley's finest!


Thanks, although The American Spectator is R. Emmett Tyrrell's baby. The late William F. Buckley, Jr. founded National Review. Not that the vintage WFB wouldn't have been able to come up with something equally fatuous, at least back in the earlier years of his magazine. The actual author of that hit piece, BTW, was James Bowman. I know this is a mean thing to say, but one look at that face tells you a lot.
   1015. bobm Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4670263)
My goal is not to maximize revenue, it is to destroy large fortunes.

End property tax exemptions for universities and large religious institutions, eg NYU or the Catholic Church.

Require larger spending annually by foundations (as pct of assets) and university endowments to maintain tax exempt status. Disqualify administrative expense and payments to trustees, related entities, non-arms length parties, etc from counting towards the annual minimum.
   1016. Mefisto Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:49 PM (#4670268)
I'll sign on to 1002 in its entirety. I'd probably agree with 1015 too, but I need to think about some aspects of those proposals.
   1017. SteveF Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:51 PM (#4670270)
Require larger spending annually by foundations (as pct of assets) and university endowments to maintain tax exempt status

Why bother. Just end tax exempt status for everyone and everything. Allowing for the deduction is enough, I'd say.
   1018. BrianBrianson Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4670274)
Now 1017 is something to sign on to. If a charitable purpose is worthwhile and no one's doing it, that's the whole ####### point of having a government. Cheaper to have the government do it than anyone else (even if one of the ways it's made cheaper is by giving shoddier service).
   1019. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 12:59 PM (#4670281)
Now 1017 is something to sign on to. If a charitable purpose is worthwhile and no one's doing it, that's the whole ####### point of having a government. Cheaper to have the government do it than anyone else (even if one of the ways it's made cheaper is by giving shoddier service).

That's clearly untrue. The Government is much worse at providing charity than private charities, not to mention the deadweight loss of taxation.

Also, we should be encouraging alternative, private forms of association and help, not ceding more and more authority to the almighty Gov't.

End property tax exemptions for universities and large religious institutions, eg NYU or the Catholic Church.

Require larger spending annually by foundations (as pct of assets) and university endowments to maintain tax exempt status. Disqualify administrative expense and payments to trustees, related entities, non-arms length parties, etc from counting towards the annual minimum.


If they make a profit, sure. Like Harvard, NYU and few dozen other schools.

But taxing most colleges, charities and churches that basically struggle to break even is a horrible idea.
   1020. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:00 PM (#4670283)
I have to go to a meeting, but I have been reading while wolfing down lunch, and there are many ideas I can high five. Higher top end income taxes, making everything income, fewer deductions, an effective estate tax, and removal of non-profit status. Love it!
   1021. SteveF Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4670286)
I have no real issue with charities as such, but tell me your politics and I'm sure I can find an example of a tax-exempt organization doing something with tax-exempt money you find morally reprehensible. On average, I don't think these organizations are advancing humanity any better than for-profit organizations.

I have no real feel for whether the government could do it all better, but I'm certainly open to BrianBrianson's idea. Obviously you can't make money off of feeding people who can't afford food, but there's value in feeding them. So obviously there's a need for some organization to fill that role.
   1022. BrianBrianson Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4670291)
The Government is much worse at providing charity than private charities


If by The Government you mean the night club in Toronto, you're almost certainly right. If by The Government, you mean the body with the tax and spend for the common welfare bunch, you're almost certainly wrong. Charities can cheat a bit by not paying the people who work there (not a positive in an era when willingness to work far exceeds the availability of jobs), but otherwise it's the same song and dance where economy of scale trumps just about everything else.

I'm not saying Catholic churches shouldn't be allowed to run Bible classes with a bit of soup at the end for the homeless, only if they need a tax break to do it, then it's effectively being paid for by the government, so we might as well run it more efficiently.
   1023. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4670298)
If by The Government you mean the night club in Toronto, you're almost certainly right. If by The Government, you mean the body with the tax and spend for the common welfare bunch, you're almost certainly wrong. Charities can cheat a bit by not paying the people who work there (not a positive in an era when willingness to work far exceeds the availability of jobs), but otherwise it's the same song and dance where economy of scale trumps just about everything else.

No. Government is worse because:

1) It makes charity an "entitlement", causing all sorts of negative behaviors from people who can no expect the dole to continue.
2) Every dollar of increased taxation costs something like $0.50 in deadweight loss by reducing/altering economic incentives.
3) Gov't extracts a larger administrative burden, by having lots of highly paid, rent seeking bureaucrats and politicians running the programs.
4) Gov't an't instill any sort of positive message about lifestyle choices b/c "OMG the Gov't can't legislate morality".
5) It removes all the intangible benefits of voluntarily helping, and being helped by other ordinary people.

The goal of charity is not to give as much money away as quickly as possible, the Gov't is great at that. The goal is to help the recipients become self-sufficient and productive citizens. The Gov't is dead awful at that.
   1024. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4670312)
It's not entirely accurate to say that Obama carried the district in 2012- He may have, he carried the 10th in 2012, but the 2012 10th and the 2014 13th do not overlap 100%, it's also got part of the old 9th, which was R leaning and did not go for Obama - of course I have no idea which way the old 9th neighborhoods which are now in the 13th voted.

Precinct level voting data and some computer software allows analysts to reconfigure the voting data to reflect various configurations, including the current version of FL-13. I don't think there is any reason to doubt the oft-repeated claim that Obama carried FL-13. There'd have to be a lot of journalistic negligence if it were not the case, and it's not like there weren't Democratic political operatives who'd have noted such an error.
   1025. bobm Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4670313)
It removes all the intangible benefits of voluntarily helping, and being helped by other ordinary people.

People can still volunteer without the charity being exempt from taxes.
   1026. Mefisto Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4670315)
Just end tax exempt status for everyone and everything.


Yes to this also.

It makes charity an "entitlement", causing all sorts of negative behaviors from people who can no expect the dole to continue.


Some day I'm going to write an article on the immorality of private charity. Short version: it reinforces class structure by rendering the recipients subservient to the givers. Government programs avoid this problem because they establish written standards and apply them equally (speaking generally here; of course there are failures in execution).
   1027. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4670319)
Some day I'm going to write an article on the immorality of private charity. Short version: it reinforces class structure by rendering the recipients subservient to the givers. Government programs avoid this problem because they establish written standards and apply them equally (speaking generally here; of course there are failures in execution).

That's funny. Like those perpetually on the dole aren't subservient to the politicians and political bosses who ensure their continued benefits.

Leftists love the dole because people on the dole vote for leftist candidates, who will maximize their benefits.
   1028. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4670320)
Some day I'm going to write an article on the immorality of private charity.

So Jesus's injunction that, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me,” is in fact immoral?

Probably a tough sell.

Or is the immorality found in remaining well-off/rich after the donation?

So it's "donate enough to make yourself poor, or don't donate at all"?
   1029. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4670322)
people on the dole vote for leftist candidates, who will maximize their benefits.


And yet isn't the largest percentages of welfare recipients found among the Southern rural poor, who of course almost always vote conservative? Actual question, BTW -- I read that just a few minutes ago before seeing your post, but am actually busy with work for once & don't have time to track the assertion down.
   1030. BrianBrianson Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4670323)
Well, of course, if your goals aren't to engage in a charitable purpose of helping other people, but trying to impose your own goals on them, the government is usually bad at that. That falls well into "Tough titties, if you want to encourage people to follow your morality, you pay for it."

Beyond that, Government extracts some admin burden, which can be kept low or made high, depending. A lot of charities spend a ton on bureaucracies too.

Government workers are ordinary people. If we have to hire social workers, they're still regular people. Jobs. Bills. The whole kit and caboodle.

Your tax dollar assertions are only true if you take that dollar of taxation and burn it in a heap. In practice, hiring social workers, hiring people to maintain parks, buying soup, whatever, causes negative deadweight until your tax rate hits 70%. And since making them tax exempt is taking away tax income in the first place, there's no real change.

And, of course, I didn't say private charities aren't great. Only that when your private charity relies on indirect government financial report, it can be done more cheaply directly.
   1031. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4670326)
So Jesus's injunction that, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me,” is in fact immoral?

Probably a tough sell.

Or is the immorality found in remaining well-off/rich after the donation?

So it's "donate enough to make yourself poor, or don't donate at all"?


Of course SBB. It's immoral for me to give $30K to charity of my own free will ($25K of which will go to the poor), but it's super-duper moral for leftists to vote to take $60K of my money through taxation, and give $20K to the poor eventually (after the bureaucrats and fraudsters get their share).

   1032. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:32 PM (#4670329)
There'd have to be a lot of journalistic negligence if it were not the case,


Political reporting of late generally constitutes "journalistic negligence"

plus those reporters who have noted that Current 13 is not exactly the same as old 10 tend to state, Well Pinellas County leans democratic which indicates they haven't done that work, but here someone has broken it down by Precinct
and it seems that the Precincts now in 13 did go for Obama in both 2008 and 2012.
   1033. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:32 PM (#4670330)
Well, of course, if your goals aren't to engage in a charitable purpose of helping other people, but trying to impose your own goals on them, the government is usually bad at that.

Right. Keeping people perpetually on the dole isn't "helping them". That's what Gov't does.

The first goal of charity (besides preventing immediate starvation/freezing etc.) should be to make people self-sufficient and get them off charity. It is impossible to live a truly fulfilling life as a ward of the state.
   1034. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:35 PM (#4670336)
Your tax dollar assertions are only true if you take that dollar of taxation and burn it in a heap. In practice, hiring social workers, hiring people to maintain parks, buying soup, whatever, causes negative deadweight until your tax rate hits 70%. And since making them tax exempt is taking away tax income in the first place, there's no real change.

No. If you "burned" the money the taxation would have deadweight loss of 150% of taxes, the $1 burned plus $0.50 in the costs of collection, avoidance, and distorted incentives.

The $0.50 deadweight loss number assume the Gov't is actually buying something useful with the money.
   1035. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4670337)
people on the dole vote for leftist candidates, who will maximize their benefits.


I think a stronger factor is that many people vote cultural identity- it's why southern whites "on the dole" vote GOP and those Blacks who are not still vote Dem.
   1036. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4670346)
I have been shockingly lax in signing up. How do I get one of these waivers?

Apparently, Monty isn't the only one avoiding ObamaCare - ObamaCare Enrollment Below Goal:
Contrary to the Obama administration’s expectations, fewer people chose health plans last month than in either January or December. And the proportion of young adults — a critical demographic if the marketplaces are to function well — did not increase compared with January. The enrollment tallies suggest that administration officials and their allies, who have undertaken a blitz of outreach activities, face a significant challenge in reaching their enrollment goals by March 31, the end of the initial six-month sign-up period.

Enrollment is around 4.2M (although that counts those who have yet to pay and may back out), the goal was 7M, leaving quite a shortage of customers, particularly the younger, healthier folks needed to subsidize the rates of older, sicker customers.

Not sure what comes next. Many are speculating that Obama will waive the Individual Mandate penalties once the sign-up period ends. Politically, imposing the tax on folks who decline ObamaCare could be costly. There's also some question as to whether the IRS is in any position to actually impose those penalties. The Administration has insisted that they don't have data on who has actually paid, so how can they figure out who to tax?
   1037. Mefisto Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4670347)
Like those perpetually on the dole aren't subservient to the politicians and political bosses who ensure their continued benefits.


Very few people -- relatively -- are "perpetually" on "the dole". Generally speaking, people use government services at different stages of their lives.

As others have pointed out, using government programs actually has little to do with voting records. Among other things, those are private. Private charity can and often does insist on public displays of subservience as a cost of future benefits.
   1038. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4670354)
Of course SBB. It's immoral for me to give $30K to charity of my own free will ($25K of which will go to the poor), but it's super-duper moral for leftists to vote to take $60K of my money through taxation, and give $20K to the poor eventually (after the bureaucrats and fraudsters get their share).


This is not at all what anyone is saying. Feel free to give your money to a charity, it is your money. However it should not be a tax deduction and the charity should not be tax free.

Regarding government "taking your money", well this goes back to the Libertarian argument as to whether it is OK for a government to take your money and spend it. I think it is. We can have that argument, but it is a separate one from if charities should be deductions/tax free organizations.
   1039. GregD Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4670357)
The first goal of charity (besides preventing immediate starvation/freezing etc.) should be to make people self-sufficient and get them off charity. It is impossible to live a truly fulfilling life as a ward of the state.
The government actually does much more of this than most charities because it is much more expensive to provide ongoing career counseling and education/training than to run drop-in lunch programs. (I am by the way all for drop-in lunch programs.) Where non-profits are doing this work, they are usually receiving not just tax-exempt status but federal or state funding to do it. I'm agnostic about whether having the government provide the service is better or worse than having the government subcontract it to non-profits. But the fact is almost all of that type of retraining comes ultimately from government (meaning not tax exemption.)

I would agree government should do more. And I think we both agree that a crucial factor is government doing more to increase job opportunities, since you can train people forever but if there aren't jobs, it's going to have a limited impact. I don't however think there's much evidence that charity can make up the gap of what the government does in this field, much less what it needs to do.
   1040. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4670359)
Sure. One consenting adult agreed with another consenting adult to split the value of the work of thousands of other non-consenting adults between themselves. LIBERTOPIA!

Yeah, Dan is crazy on this one.


I don't think Dan is really up on how Corporate Governance in the US actually works (As opposed to how it should work)-

But yes CEO pay is a huge problem precisely because there's been a breakdown in how corporations are being governed,
Dan's "consenting adult" spiel implies that there's been a fairly negotiated deal between arms-length parties, that's largely not happening anymore.

Several factors are in play:
Many investors are not in a company for the long haul and are not really interested in how its being run long term, they buy they sell, they let the pre-existing management have their proxy vote. Some large institutional investors, should be involved, but so long as dividends and share price are steady they will not rock the boat.

Plus many times management will seek out jurisdictions to incorporate where it's easier for them to remain in control- even after they sell off majority ownership- one reason why "hostile" takeovers are so much less common than 30 years ago.

2 things have to change, shareholder have to get more active and the laws have to change to allow shareholders to have more effective control over corporations that they already own (in theory)

   1041. SteveF Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4670361)
Enrollment is around 4.2M (although that counts those who have yet to pay and may back out), the goal was 7M, leaving quite a shortage of customers, particularly the younger, healthier folks needed to subsidize the rates of older, sicker customers.

I read insurance companies are less concerned about the number of young people signing up -- they expected it to be quite a bit below the 40% the government was expecting and priced accordingly -- than they are about the gap between men and women (45% to 55%). Women between the ages of 25 and 45 cost up to twice as much in some markets as men.
   1042. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:48 PM (#4670362)
Regarding government "taking your money", well this goes back to the Libertarian argument as to whether it is OK for a government to take your money and spend it. I think it is. We can have that argument, but it is a separate one from if charities should be deductions/tax free organizations.

And the argument always boils down to what they are using the money for. Every use of tax money can't be OK.

No one would argue that it would be legitimate to democratically enact a 10% income tax surcharge on blonde people and redistribute that money to brown haired people.

No one would argue that it's not OK for the Gov't to tax you to maintain a military.

In between, it's always an argument about how much, and for what purpose is OK.
   1043. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:48 PM (#4670364)
I don't think Dan is really up on how Corporate Governance in the US actually works (As opposed to how it should work)-

The spirit of liberty found in libertarianism is all to the good, but the separation of ownership and control of our major enterprises was the death knell of libertarian economics. Economic arrangements got too complicated for doctrinaire libertarianism over a century ago.
   1044. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4670367)
Enrollment is around 4.2M (although that counts those who have yet to pay and may back out), the goal was 7M, leaving quite a shortage of customers, particularly the younger, healthier folks needed to subsidize the rates of older, sicker customers.


From everything I have seen enrollment is high enough and varied enough that there will be no "death spiral". ACA will be fine. Obviously more people is better (especially for those people who will now have health insurance), but other than people not having the insurance they should have, there is not a huge negative to falling short on the goal.

Not sure what comes next.


The law will continue to be tweaked, both for political reasons and to make it function better (and sometimes both), like every law ever. In bulk ACA will live on, like pretty much every entitlement ever. The GOP will scream every time anything happens, with fixes it will be "Tyranny anew" with waivers it will be "the law is failing" and so on. The Democrats will vary, some supporting whatever, some not so much, but slowly they will coalesce around support (especially as it becomes the new normal more and more).

That is what will happen next. You are welcome.
   1045. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:51 PM (#4670369)
From everything I have seen enrollment is high enough and varied enough that there will be no "death spiral".

Avoiding the death spiral -- and the analysis of whether or not we'd have one -- was premised on the individual mandate, which is gone. All the parts needed to be in it for everything to work. The ACA is basically a disaster at this point.
   1046. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4670372)
In between, it's always an argument about how much, and for what purpose is OK.


And as I posted previously I think the preamble to the constitution provides some helpful guidance on things that are foundationally OK.

* establish justice
* insure domestic tranquility
* provide for the common defense
* promote the general welfare
* secure the blessings of liberty

Of course deciding what "general welfare" means is tricky and context dependant, but I think job training, lunch for the hungry, regulations to ensure clean water and so on all fit very nicely within "general welfare" that a responsible government will be trying to promote.
   1047. The Good Face Posted: March 12, 2014 at 01:59 PM (#4670374)
But yes CEO pay is a huge problem precisely because there's been a breakdown in how corporations are being governed,
Dan's "consenting adult" spiel implies that there's been a fairly negotiated deal between arms-length parties, that's largely not happening anymore.


While there are any number of problems with corporate governance, CEO pay isn't really a "huge" one. There are only a tiny number of CEOs to begin with, and the average CEO pay was under $3M last I checked. It's unseemly when some CEO breaks the bank with a massive haul, but such events are not statistically significant in the context of the US economy. They're an optics problem, a tail wagging the dog. They understandably occasion outrage, "They could have paid me 10% of that to fuck up their company!" but as a "huge" problem that must be solved to "fix" the economy, it's pretty meaningless.
   1048. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:01 PM (#4670377)
Avoiding the death spiral -- and the analysis of whether or not we'd have one -- was premised on the individual mandate, which is gone. All the parts needed to be in it for everything to work. The ACA is basically a disaster at this point.


This is flat not true. The death spiral is if the population in insurance plans is unhealthy (more so than expected) which causes more cost, which means premiums go up the next cycle, which drives away more healthy people, which starts the cycle over (hence it being a spiral).

The individual mandate, by requiring people purchase insurance, is a method to ensure there is no death spiral (if everyone gets insurance then the population can't be less healthy than expected, assuming competent actuaries), however lack of a mandate is not a sufficient condition for a death spiral.

The analysis I saw (which was posted on a thread back when) suggested given the numbers of people who had signed up back then, that there was no real threat of a death spiral. And more people have signed up in the meantime.

But hey, keep clapping and wishing if you want.
   1049. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4670378)
Of course deciding what "general welfare" means is tricky and context dependant, but I think job training, lunch for the hungry, regulations to ensure clean water and so on all fit very nicely within "general welfare" that a responsible government will be trying to promote.

Yet nobody thought that for the first 100+ years. The things you are describing can be characterize as individual welfare, and general welfare to mean collective goods. That's certainly the dominant political thought of the 18th and 19th centuries.

I believe it was Grover Cleveland that vetoed a bill providing flood relief saying "It's the job of the people to support the government, not the job of the government to support the people."
   1050. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:04 PM (#4670380)
While there are any number of problems with corporate governance, CEO pay isn't really a "huge" one. There are only a tiny number of CEOs to begin with, and the average CEO pay was under $3M last I checked. It's unseemly when some CEO breaks the bank with a massive haul, but such events are not statistically significant in the context of the US economy. They're an optics problem, a tail wagging the dog. They understandably occasion outrage, "They could have paid me 10% of that to #### up their company!" but as a "huge" problem that must be solved to "fix" the economy, it's pretty meaningless.

Disagree. The rent seeking in corporate governance extends far beyond the CEOs to the Corporate Boards, hedge funds and PE firms paying themselves egregious "consulting fees", the management consultants and HR folks that exist only to justify the CEO's pay, and the corporate politics that dominate senior management thinking in this sort of environment.
   1051. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:05 PM (#4670381)
Yet nobody thought that for the first 100+ years.


The nature of modern air and water pollution was not applicable during the first 100+ years. Nevertheless, water rights were a huge deal in the expansionist west, as were rancher vs farmer rights with regards to fencing in land. And yes, the state(s) were neck deep in the questions at the time, too.
   1052. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:07 PM (#4670384)
The nature of modern air and water pollution was not applicable during the first 100+ years. Nevertheless, water rights were a huge deal in the expansionist west, as were rancher vs farmer rights with regards to fencing in land. And yes, the state(s) were neck deep in the questions at the time, too.

Water rights are different, I grant that.

Restrict my comments to the individual welfare benefits.
   1053. The Good Face Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4670390)
Disagree. The rent seeking in corporate governance extends far beyond the CEOs to the Corporate Boards, hedge funds and PE firms paying themselves egregious "consulting fees", the management consultants and HR folks that exist only to justify the CEO's pay, and the corporate politics that dominate senior management thinking in this sort of environment.


Well now you're conflating a number of different issues together; we're well beyond the question of CEO pay at this point.

CEO pay is the Welfare Queen of the left and populist right; a tiny sample size that justifiably gets people riled up, but that isn't particularly meaningful.
   1054. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4670396)
Yet nobody thought that for the first 100+ years.

Of course. And the language BM quoted explains why. The Fed gov't is to "provide for" a common defense, but merely "promote" the general welfare.
   1055. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:24 PM (#4670399)
I'll assume we can add environmental regulation to the list of appropriate government activities then?

Restrict my comments to the individual welfare benefits.


In the founding era, populations were such that the common welfare was manageable at the private level. During westward expansion/Robber Baron/Gilded Age America, that model began fracturing and breaking, culminating with the rank misery and poverty of the Depression. The post-war era, moving into modernity proper, has been a struggle to find a model that provides for the common welfare in a society that is no longer small enough or familial enough, in kind, to map to the founding era's more privatized theory of "taking care of your own." The world has changed a lot since 1781, and how to justly provide for the common good has to change with the world.
   1056. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4670404)
Yet nobody thought that for the first 100+ years. The things you are describing can be characterize as individual welfare, and general welfare to mean collective goods. That's certainly the dominant political thought of the 18th and 19th centuries.


The US was built with the idea of growth and change. The founding fathers knew that the future was a different world and built in places in the government to accommodate the changes they knew would be necessary, but which were unknowable at the time exactly what they should be.

The fact that things have changed since the days of Grover Cleveland is not surprising to me nor would it be surprising to the founders. However, there were those even back in the day who were arguing for the government to help individuals. Thomas Paine is one example.
   1057. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4670406)
The individual mandate, by requiring people purchase insurance, is a method to ensure there is no death spiral (if everyone gets insurance then the population can't be less healthy than expected, assuming competent actuaries), however lack of a mandate is not a sufficient condition for a death spiral.

If, as now seems likely, ObamaCare enrollment ends up ~30% below its initial goal (~5M instead of 7M), and with far fewer younger, healthier and male enrollees, how can anyone rule out a death spiral or at least a significant rate impact? The initial rates would have to have an awful lot of margin baked in to absorb that large a shortfall. #1048 seems like wish-casting rather than analysis.
   1058. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4670410)
The Fed gov't is to "provide for" a common defense, but merely "promote" the general welfare.


Promote: further the progress of (something, esp. a cause, venture, or aim); support or actively encourage.


For example the government is promoting the general welfare of its citizens by providing free lunches to hungry students. It is improving those students lives, but it can not provide each and every student with (for example) a good home with loving parents. It can promote their general welfare by seeing to it that they are not hungry during school, when they should be learning, but cannot provide them everything they need for their welfare.

It can however provide for the common defense, by having a military which defends all of the US from external attack.

See the difference?
   1059. bobm Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4670411)
[1057]
To one side, it’s a massive bailout of insurance companies that could cost taxpayers billions of dollars. To the other, it’s an important protection for consumers that might not cost anything.

Welcome to the debate over the “risk corridor” provision in the 2010 Affordable Care Act. With the federal HealthCare.gov website working better and millions of Americans signing up for new coverage, the once-obscure provision has taken center stage in efforts by Republicans to dismantle the law known as Obamacare.

The idea of risk corridors is to compensate insurance companies that end up with bigger costs than they expected. Under the law, they must sell policies equally to everyone, regardless of their medical history, so it’s possible some insurers could end up with an especially unhealthy pool of customers.If an insurer’s actual claims in 2014 are at least 3% greater than the claims projected when the insurer set 2014 rates, the government must reimburse the insurer for half of the excess. If actual claims jump 8% beyond projected claims, the government covers 80% of the excess. [...]

Federal officials say they’re counting on the program, which lasts through 2016, to forestall any nervousness among insurers about their initial customer base and prevent them from raising rates. They point to a similar plan put in place when Medicare was expanded last decade to include Part D coverage of prescription drugs.


http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2014/01/22/explaining-risk-corridors-the-next-obamacare-issue/
   1060. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:42 PM (#4670412)
how can anyone rule out a death spiral or at least a significant rate impact


Well one can read the study from Kaiser (I think that is who did it) that looked at the issue (and that I linked to a while back). Or you could hope and pray (like you are doing) that there will be a death spiral.

And by the way the death spiral does not end up actually removing the law. All of the various parts of the law will still be in place, such as out of pocket expense maximums, inability to refuse insurance because of pre-existing conditions and so on. None of that disappears, even if they much cheered for (and still very unlikely) death spiral happens.
   1061. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4670415)
It's little more than a utopian fantasy that we can have economic prosperity by just paying each other more for goods & services while erecting high tariffs to keep out foreign competition. If you can't compete globally, there is little chance of sustaining a higher income economy.
   1062. Shredder Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4670419)
The Administration has insisted that they don't have data on who has actually paid, so how can they figure out who to tax?
The penalty isn't due for over a year. They don't need to know who has and hasn't paid at the moment. It's like saying "the government has no idea how much income people earned in 2014, so how can they figure out how much people owe in taxes next year?!"
The analysis I saw (which was posted on a thread back when) suggested given the numbers of people who had signed up back then, that there was no real threat of a death spiral. And more people have signed up in the meantime.
We went over this a month or two ago. It started with some right wing hack saying that we were in the worst case scenario, when in actuality the report the guy was quoting set out a worst case scenario of ~25% of enrollees being young and healthy. That's what the percentage was when the Kaiser report came out in December, with the projection that those numbers would increase as we got closer to the deadline. Young people have always been expected to sign up later than older, sicker people who had a much greater incentive to sign up early. Here's what the report actually said:
Scenario 2: Young adults age 18-34 enroll at a 50% lower rate than other individuals relative to the potential market. Under this scenario, young adults would represent 25% of enrollees, substantially less than their share of the potential market. It is roughly comparable to what Covered California reported for October and November (the first two months of open enrollment), with 21% of all enrollees who picked a plan in the 18-34 age range. However, this is likely a worst-case scenario, since the expectation is that older and sicker individuals are more likely to buy first and that younger and healthier people will tend to wait until towards the end of the open enrollment period (which concludes March 31, 2014). In fact, our recent survey of people in California who are uninsured found that 58% of young adults said they planned to get coverage in 2014. But, if this more extreme assumption of low enrollment among young adults holds, overall costs in individual market plans would be about 2.4% higher than premium revenues.

Insurers typically set their premiums to achieve a 3-4% profit margin, so a shortfall due to skewed enrollment by age could reduce the profit margin of insurers substantially in 2014. But, even in the worst case, insurers would still be expected to earn profits, and would then likely raise premiums in 2015 to make up the shortfall, However, a one to two percent premium increase would be well below the level that would trigger a “death spiral,” which would occur if insurers needed to increase premiums substantially, in turn further discouraging young and healthy people from enrolling.
   1063. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4670420)
Or you could hope and pray (like you are doing) that there will be a death spiral.

I'm not hoping or praying for anything - just noting that it appears that the enrollment pool may be ~30% smaller & demographically much different than predicted. How can that not have an impact? Are you saying the initial rates were deliberately set so high that they can absorb that? Really?
   1064. Shredder Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4670423)
If, as now seems likely, ObamaCare enrollment ends up ~30% below its initial goal (~5M instead of 7M), and with far fewer younger, healthier and male enrollees, how can anyone rule out a death spiral or at least a significant rate impact? The initial rates would have to have an awful lot of margin baked in to absorb that large a shortfall. #1048 seems like wish-casting rather than analysis.
You would basically have to believe that everyone who has signed up in 2014 is older and sicker. That simply doesn't make any sense theoretically, and is contrary to basically every projection available.
   1065. BrianBrianson Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4670424)
The $0.50 deadweight loss number assume the Gov't is actually buying something useful with the money.


It's no different than charities, which also have a little overhead in collection (and of course, the American way of collecting taxes is crazy - try working in Britain some time, you'll be amazed), so there's no "deadweight" there wouldn't be anyways.

And if what you're buying ain't useful, the government shouldn't be supporting it with charitable tax breaks anyways.

Beyond that, the number of people perpetually on the dole is pretty small, and without it, they'd just be moochers and petty thieves. People don't go on welfare because it's a good option, but because they don't have any other options. And the kind of "punish people on welfare so they'll get off" attitudes you're pushing usually make it harder. "What are people on welfare doing with cellphones?" - no phone, you ain't gonna find work. "What are people on welfare doing buying tasty food?" - if you're miserable, you're never getting through a job interview. Almost everyone wants a job for the money *AND* social standing - and the few who don't, nobody's going to want to hire anyways. The kind of making their life harder bs just makes it harder for them to find work, and keep it.
   1066. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4670425)
See the difference?

Always did. "Provide for" means pay for, as the feds have always done for the common defense. Promote, including under the definition you cited, includes things other than "paying for."

The people that wrote the constitution were wordsmiths of the highest order. They regularly quibbled over extraordinarily subtle differences in words. When they used different words, with different meanings, they meant different things.
   1067. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4670426)
Thanks Shredder, I believe that is the report that was linked to, and it says basically what I remember it saying - even if it is a different report :)

How can that not have an impact?


Read the report. Or wait, I am positive there will be more analysis, based on facts, which will shed light on the issue. The next wave of rate setting does not happen for a while yet, and the numbers from this year are not even totally solid.
   1068. Shredder Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4670430)
The kind of making their life harder bs just makes it harder for them to find work, and keep it.
And don't forget, it really makes the "kick the poors" crowd feel a lot better about themselves.
   1069. JE (Jason) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4670431)
It started with Jason quoting as gospel some right wing hack saying that we were in the worst case scenario,

Phil Klein may be conservative-libertarian, Shredder, but he's no right-wing hack. And while I have no reason to doubt Kaiser's polling unit, its analysts are hardly unbiased.
   1070. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4670432)
You would basically have to believe that everyone who has signed up in 2014 is older and sicker. That simply doesn't make any sense theoretically, and is contrary to basically every projection available.

Not everyone by any means, but how low an enrollment can be sustained? I find it hard to believe the rate structure was set to sustain an enrollment so much different than what was projected. Not seeing any actual numbers proving the current pool is sustainable without rate increases.
   1071. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4670434)
Always did. "Provide for" means pay for, as the feds have always done for the common defense. Promote, including under the definition you cited, includes things other than "paying for."


Total nonsense. When GM promotes its new cars, are you suggesting they are doing it in some manner not involving money? Seriously?

Promoting something, supporting it, actively encouraging it, very often requires financial resources. Suggesting otherwise is dumb.

It requires more than money to have a happy life, a positive welfare, there is much to that that the government can not buy. Thus is can not buy general welfare, it can only promote it. You are trying to quibble, to slice the words finely to support your opinion, which is your right, but any common sense reading of the words suggests that the founders strongly believed general welfare was well within the purview of the federal government. Suggesting otherwise is silly.
   1072. Shredder Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4670437)
I find it hard to believe the rate structure was set to sustain an enrollment so much different than what was projected. Not seeing any actual numbers proving the current pool is sustainable without rate increases.
The number of signups, when it comes to the cost of provision, is not nearly as important as the demographics of the sign up pool, which should be more than healthy enough to avoid a death spiral. Take one extreme - if Obamacare passed and no one signed up, not even sick people. That would not necessarily increase the cost of provision for insurance carriers. They don't have to pay for procedures for people who don't sign up. If everyone who did sign up was older and sicker, and no younger and healthier people signed up, we'd have a problem. That hasn't happened.
Phil Klein may be conservative-libertarian, Shredder, but no right-wing hack.
He certainly provided some incredibly hacky reporting in that article you cited. It was clear that he hadn't even read the report, aside from the words "worst case scenario". And that's a charitable interpretation. If he did read it, he either didn't understand it, or he lied about it. Here's what he said
In December, a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation identified a “worst-case scenario” situation in which just 25 percent of enrollees were in the 18-to-34 demographic.
Facutally correct! They did identify that scenario. Then Klein either knowingly or unknowingly completely left out the part where that "worst case scenario" really wasn't all that bad. Why do you think he would do that, Jason?
   1073. The Good Face Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:06 PM (#4670438)
Total nonsense. When GM promotes its new cars, are you suggesting they are doing it in some manner not involving money? Seriously?


There's an awfully big difference between GM promoting a car to me and providing a car to me.
   1074. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4670439)
Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) will not run for re-election.
   1075. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4670440)
Not everyone by any means, but how low an enrollment can be sustained?


The raw numbers of enrollment don't really matter, it is the composition. So "how low" is not the right question. EDIT: As Shredder says above.

I find it hard to believe the rate structure was set to sustain an enrollment so much different than what was projected. Not seeing any actual numbers proving the current pool is sustainable without rate increases.


I think you are confused. The federal government set the goals, based on their best guesses. the individual insurers set the rates based on their opinions. I really doubt the insurers based everything on what the government was forecasting, especially since in any market there are many insurers. Each insurer (and its actuaries) did the calculations to determine their own rates within each state and each "metal".

The government did not set the rates. But the government did set up the risk corridors (see 1059) to minimize insurer rick and also set up provisions if the insurer set its rates too high and took in too much money relative to the amount spent on medical expenses they would have to refund the money. Guardrails on either side if you will.

You seem to think the system is much more fragile than it really is and seem confused by the various provisions and roles of the various players. This is understandable, since the whole thing is pretty complex and there is much misinformation about it out there.
   1076. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:09 PM (#4670442)
There's an awfully big difference between GM promoting a car to me and providing a car to me.


Correct. The government cannot provide for your welfare, there is too much there and much of it is non-financial in nature. It can promote it though, and doing so takes money.
   1077. JE (Jason) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4670445)
The fight against the Muslim Brotherhood expands into the Gulf. This and this are fascinating stories:

Two Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders, Akram El-Shaer and Mohamed El-Qabouty, have been arrested by INTERPOL in neighboring Gulf states, according to a statement issued by the Egypt's prosecutor-general on Wednesday.

El-Shaer, a former MP for the Suez Canal city of Port Said, was arrested in Saudi Arabia, while El-Qabouty was found in Kuwait.

According to the prosecutor's statement, both Islamists leaders are accused of "committing terrorism, violence and inciting the killing of citizens." They are also accused of plotting a raid on police stations in Port Said.

The Brotherhood has been blamed for militant attacks that have largely targeted security forces, as well as churches, since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.


Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain announced Wednesday the withdrawal of their ambassadors from Qatar because Doha had not implemented an agreement among Gulf Arab countries not to interfere in each others' internal affairs.

The three countries, which are all part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) along with Qatar, announced the unprecedented move in a joint statement.

They said GCC members had signed a deal November 23 that included "a security agreement and a commitment to the principles that ensure non-interference in the internal affairs of any of the GCC countries, either directly or indirectly, and not to support any activity that would threaten the security and stability of any of the GCC countries from organizations or individuals, including support for hostile media."
   1078. Shredder Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4670446)
The government did not set the rates. But the government did set up the risk corridors (see 1059) to minimize insurer rick and also set up provisions if the insurer set its rates too high and took in too much money relative to the amount spent on medical expenses they would have to refund the money. Guardrails on either side if you will.
Right. The risk corridors only constitute "bailouts" if you ignore the source of the money the government is using the reinsure the insurance companies who end up big losers. They're getting that from insurance companies who were big winners.
   1079. JE (Jason) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:16 PM (#4670448)
Facutally correct! They did identify that scenario. Then Klein either knowingly or unknowingly completely left out the part where that "worst case scenario" really wasn't all that bad. Why do you think he would do that, Jason?

I don't know. Maybe because, like many DC journalists today, he posts numerous articles every weekday? (I have a meeting at the top of the hour and don't feel like spending the interim time tracking down all of Krugman's blemishes.)

I also don't know why he didn't refer to Kaiser as a liberal foundation whose analysts championed Obamacare when it was being debated.

   1080. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:16 PM (#4670449)
They said GCC members had signed a deal November 23 that included "a security agreement and a commitment to the principles that ensure non-interference in the internal affairs of any of the GCC countries, either directly or indirectly, and not to support any activity that would threaten the security and stability of any of the GCC countries from organizations or individuals, including support for hostile media."

IOW they're pissed off at Al Jazeera
   1081. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:17 PM (#4670450)
The $0.50 deadweight loss number assume the Gov't is actually buying something useful with the money.


It's no different than charities, which also have a little overhead in collection

Here's a particularly sweet charity, founded by the bozo who used to own the Detroit Tigers.

And here's how that charity's overall performance is rated by Charity Navigator: 1 star out of 4

BTW Charity Navigator is an indispensable resource if you're ever wonder where to make a donation. It's wholly non-partisan, and you can find both high ratings and low ratings all across the political spectrum, with full explanations of the details for each case.
   1082. The Good Face Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4670453)
There's an awfully big difference between GM promoting a car to me and providing a car to me.


Correct. The government cannot provide for your welfare, there is too much there and much of it is non-financial in nature. It can promote it though, and doing so takes money.


Although I personally don't really have a problem with the government making transfer payments to people, or otherwise providing for their immediate physical needs like food & shelter, your argument is really, really dumb. You're trying to make promoting into something it's not. Just deal with the facts on the ground; there are plenty of fine arguments to support your preferred policies that don't involve torturous misdefinitions of common words.
   1083. JE (Jason) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4670454)
IOW they're pissed off at Al Jazeera

Which is about as independent of the Emir as RT is of the Kremlin.
   1084. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:21 PM (#4670455)
The projection was that 40% of ObamaCare enrollees would be 18-34, it's currently at 27%.:
The Obama administration last year estimated that 5.65 million people would be enrolled by the end of February, and that 1.27 million people would sign up in that month alone. Those predictions were abandoned as unrealistic after the disastrous launch of the federally run Obamacare exchange HealthCare.gov on Oct.1. The technologically troubled site was unable to enroll more than 130,000 people by the end of the first two months of operation.

Another highlight—or low-light—of Tuesday's report was the disclosure that the rate of sign-ups by young adults, ages 18-34, had remained flat at 27 percent of total enrollment over the past two months. That's well below the 40 percent level that some health-care experts have said would likely offset benefits paid out to older, sicker enrollees, which in turn would reduce pressure on insurers to significantly hike prices for 2015.


We don't have any real information on how healthy the enrollment pool is, but the incentives are much stronger for the less healthy, older population. Why would you not expect the pool to reflect the incentives provided? You don't get a death spiral in a single year, but rate hikes seem inevitable, unless the enrollment for the last month is remarkably different.
   1085. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4670456)
Correct. The government cannot provide for your welfare, there is too much there and much of it is non-financial in nature. It can promote it though, and doing so takes money.

Maybe, but it doesn't really matter, because we're not talking about the government providing for "your," or any particular individual's, welfare, because that isn't what the words say. The gov't is to "promote" the "general welfare." IOW, the welfare of the citizenry at large, not individual or factional components of it. It can only promote my welfare in my status as a member of the citizenry; it can't target it. (Unless, of course, it targets everyone else's roughly similarly.)
   1086. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4670458)

Several factors are in play:
Many investors are not in a company for the long haul and are not really interested in how its being run long term, they buy they sell, they let the pre-existing management have their proxy vote. Some large institutional investors, should be involved, but so long as dividends and share price are steady they will not rock the boat.


Assuming I completely agree with you, I don't see how current corporate governance + additional layer of old timey protectionist/jingoist garbage on top is an improvement over current corporate governance. Any moves in the legal structure should be *towards* a structure that consists of consenting parties agreeing, not farther away. If I'm not a shareholder, my opinion of what third parties do behind a boardroom door is as relevant as my opinion of what third parties do behind a bedroom door: not at all.
   1087. Shredder Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4670459)
The projection was that 40% of ObamaCare enrollees would be 18-34, it's currently at 27%.:
Which is actually higher than it was when Kaiser did it's worst case projection and came to the conclusion that premiums may have to rise a percentage point or two. Hardly a death spiral.
You don't get a death spiral in a single year, but rate hikes seem inevitable
Yeah, a whole percent or two. Read the report. If you disagree with it, make your case, or find a report that says Kaiser doesn't know what they're talking about, but right now, you aren't scaring us with any information that we didn't already have.
   1088. Shredder Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4670462)
I don't know. Maybe because, like many DC journalists today, he posts numerous articles every weekday?
You're right, this completely outweighs his responsibility to be accurate. Or we could go to Occam's Razor. Right wing journalist, far right wing rag, etc. Heck, as has been demonstrated here before, if the positions were reversed, that would have been enough for you to trash it without even reading the column to begin with.
   1089. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4670465)

your argument is really, really dumb. You're trying to make promoting into something it's not.


Nope. Promoting is supporting. And the government is supporting the welfare of all citizens, by (for example) feeding some school lunches. The fact you - Captain "North Korea is a Democracy" thinks my argument is dumb, is not exactly hurting my feelings.

The gov't is to "promote" the "general welfare." IOW, the welfare of the citizenry at large, not individual or factional components of it. It can only promote my welfare in my status as a member of the citizenry; it can't target it. (Unless, of course, it targets everyone else's roughly similarly.)


You are putting your own meaning in this, while accusing me of doing the same. Where does it say or even suggest "it can't target it". Despite what you want it to say, it does not say that. No where is individual aid precluded.
   1090. JE (Jason) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4670467)
You're right, this completely outweighs his responsibility to be accurate. Or we could go to Occam's Razor. Right wing journalist, far right wing rag, etc.

Hopelessly partisan commenter makes hopelessly partisan comment. Film at 11.
   1091. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4670471)
Read the report.

I've read the report, and it is hardly the confidence booster some are suggesting. We know the Administration has been wrong, thus far, on it's age projections for ObamaCare enrollment. That alone has implications for the rate structure, but what if they are similarly wrong on the health of the enrollment pool, which seems just as likely given the incentives. The Kaiser study doesn't even pretend to address that, just age, and it limits its finding to the impact on 2015 rates. Significant rate increases could be in the pipeline, and ruling out a death spiral seems premature.
   1092. Shredder Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4670479)
We know the Administration has been wrong, thus far, on it's age projections for ObamaCare enrollment. That alone has implications for the rate structure, but what if they are similarly wrong on the health of the enrollment pool, which seems just as likely given the incentives.
You understand that projections are the same thing as actual data, right?
and ruling out a death spiral seems premature.
Keep those fingers crossed, Clapper!
Hopelessly partisan commenter makes hopelessly partisan comment. Film at 11.
It's quite fitting that this appears right underneath your name, Jason.
   1093. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4670482)
Which is about as independent of the Emir as RT is of the Kremlin.


Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain announced Wednesday the withdrawal of their ambassadors from Qatar


Of the 4 Qatar likely has the least vile government
   1094. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 12, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4670483)
You understand that projections are the same thing as actual data, right?

The actual data through February is showing that the Administration missed its mark. Are you expecting a big change in the last weeks?
   1095. The Good Face Posted: March 12, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4670491)
The fact you - Captain "North Korea is a Democracy" thinks my argument is dumb, is not exactly hurting my feelings.


I'm not trying to hurt your feelings; the point is not that you're dumb, but rather that you're making a really dumb argument. And you are. Which is fine, BBTF would be lost without people making really dumb arguments.

Of course, you've never managed to rebut the North Korea argument, which makes your constant harping on it kind of amusing. All you do is point and splutter how "It's OBVIOUS" North Korea isn't a democracy, but when pressed to support your claim, you can't. It's just not YOUR kind of democracy, which is a different matter altogether.
   1096. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 12, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4670492)
We know the Administration has been wrong, thus far, on it's age projections for ObamaCare enrollment. That alone has implications for the rate structure


Again the rates were done independently by the individual insurance companies and not by the government.
   1097. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 12, 2014 at 04:04 PM (#4670495)
you've never managed to rebut the North Korea argument


Neither have I rebutted the "argument" the world is flat, the moon is made of green cheese, or that the lizard people* secretly rule the world. I think it lovely that you continue to double down that North Korea is a democracy, and really hope you keep it up.

* Not to be confused with all the other groups secretly and not so secretly ruling the world and various portions therein.
   1098. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 12, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4670499)
I think it lovely that you continue to double down that North Korea is a democracy, and really hope you keep it up.


They just had an election last week!
   1099. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 12, 2014 at 04:08 PM (#4670501)
Actual headline from The National Journal - Republican Wins Bellwether Florida Special Election. I'll wait to see if they print a deranged letter to the editor disputing their terminology.
   1100. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 12, 2014 at 04:12 PM (#4670504)
They just had an election last week!


Didn't third generation dude win 100% of the vote? If that doesn't scream democracy I don't know what does.
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