Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Obamacare Cliff: Redistribution & The Disincentive To Work

As awful as Obamacare has been at its purported goal of making health care affordable, it has been unquestionably successful at one of Obama's other primary goals: the redistribution of wealth.  Unfortunately, the poor design of the redistribution function is one of the reasons Obamacare is failing.
As the Economist points outObamacare imposes new taxes and costs on the middle class to fund subsidies for low-income earners.  Low-income people get Obamacare for almost free, while middle class families are required to pay full freight for the most expensive government health care plan in the world by far.
Progressive taxes and fees almost always cause a reduction in economic activity due to the incentive effect, but this effect can be minimized if the progressivity is intelligently, efficiently designed.  Which Obamacare was clearly not.
One of the basic rules of progressive income taxation is that you should never have marginal tax rates over 100% (or, realistically, anywhere near 100%).  If you start taxing people over 100%, they quickly decide to stop earning.  Obamacare contains an extreme violation of this rule.
The Obamacare subsidy calculator from the Kaiser Family Foundation illustrates the cost of Obamacare at various income levels.  For a married couple in their 50's in San Diego, subsidized Obamacare costs range from $61 per month to $507 per month, while the unsubsidized have to pay $1107 per month, or more than $13,000 per year.  That's a lot of money to a middle-income couple (and that's for the high-deductible "Silver" plan!).
Looking at the data from running the KFF calculator at different income levels, we see that there is an "Obamacare Cliff" for our hypothetical San Diego couple.  If they earn a combined $63,000, they have to pay only $507 per month for Obamacare.  But if they earn $64,000, they have to pay $1107 per month, reducing their take-home pay by $6410 (considering state & federal taxes as well).  That's a 741% marginal tax rate on that additional $1000 of income!
Under Obamacare, this couple actually gets more take home pay if they earn $55,000 than they do if they earn $65,000!  That's a strong incentive to cut back hours.  Why work more hours if the government is going to take all your additional earnings?  Take some time off, pick up a hobby!
The income level at which the cliff happens will vary by family (the cliff happens at $98,000 for a family of four in Omaha, for example), but everyone has a cliff at some income level.
Think this is just theoretical and nobody actually manages income around tax incentives?  Don't be so sure.  I first learned of the Obamacare Cliff from a friend whose neighbor is nearing retirement and managing his income precisely around the Obamacare Cliff.  And any competent tax advisor will certainly be advising his clients near the cliff to do anything they can to stay on the right side.
But that's not all.  The cliff is likely to get even bigger with the huge Obamacare premium increases expected in 2017.  This will not end well.



Alan Greenspan: "We're Running To A State Of Disaster"

Back in March, the former Fed chairman said that we're in trouble because "productivity is dead in the water, and real capital investment is way below average because business people are very uncertain about the future." Greenspan went on to add that entitlement programs are crowding out capital investment, and thus crowding out productivity."
Alan Greenspan is back delivering more warnings about the state of the global economy, hammering home the same key points made back in March.
"We have a global problem of a shortage in productivity growth and it's not only the United States but it's pretty much around the world, and it's being caused by the fact that populations everywhere in the Western world are aging, and we're not committing enough of our resources to fund that. We should be running federal surpluses right now not deficits. This is something we could have anticipated twenty five years ago and in fact we did, but nobody's done anything about it. This is the crisis which has come upon us."
Of course nobody has done anything about it Alan, your prior employer makes it so that precisely zero fiscal accountability needs to take place.
Entitlements are still a hot button issue with Greenspan (as they should be for everyone), saying that if we don't fix this issue we're headed for a disaster. Greenspan wants entitlements (and the America's inability to fund them in any way shape or form) to be the central issue of the presidential debate.

"Entitlements are crowding out savings, and hence capital investment. Capital investment is the critical issue in productivity growth, and productivity growth in turn is the crucial issue in economic growth. We're running to a state of disaster unless we turn this around."

"This should be the central issue of the presidential debate. Unless and until we can rein in entitlements, which have been rising at a nine percent annual rate in the United States and comparable levels throughout the world, we are going to find that productivity is going to maintain a very low rate of increase"
Greenspan also doesn't really view recession as the biggest problem right now, he is concerned (rightfully so) about the longer term problem of low economic growth and soaring entitlement growth.
"I don't think that's our problem. Our problem is not recession which is a short-term economic problem, I think youhave a very profound long-term problem of economic growth at the time when in the Western world there is a very large migration from being a worker to being a recipient of social benefits"
As we said last time, Greenspan spoke some truthiness for once, if only he hadn't gotten us into this mess in the first place.


New York City government recognizes 31 genders

Like this says below, our Country is becoming an insane asylum. 

Nearly half a year ago, I reported that speech crime has come to America: New York City can fine employers for up to $¼ million for failing to call an employee by his/her preferred name, pronoun, or title. In other words, if a biological male employee imagines himself to be a woman, his employer is bound by city law to address him as “she”.
NY Mayor Bill de Blasio and his lesbian wife Chirlane McCray at a Halloween celebration at Gracie Mansion. Photo credit Robert Mecea
NY Mayor Bill de Blasio and his lesbian wife Chirlane McCray at a Halloween celebration at Gracie Mansion. Photo credit Robert Mecea
As Mayor Bill De Blasio’s New York City Commission on Human Rights puts it:
“In New York City, it’s illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity and gender expression in the workplace, in public spaces, and in housing. The NYC Commission on Human Rights is committed to ensuring that transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers are treated with dignity and respect and without threat of discrimination or harassment.”
The Commission defines “gender identity” entirely subjectively as “One’s internal, deeply-held sense of one’s gender as male, female, or something else entirely,” and a “transgender” as “someone whose gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth.”
All of which means that in New York City, by law individuals
have the right to:
  • Work and live free from discrimination and harassment due to their gender identity/expression.
  • Use the bathroom or locker room most consistent with their gender identity and/or expression without being required to show “proof” of gender.
  • Be addressed with their preferred pronouns and name without being required to show “proof” of gender.
  • Follow dress codes and grooming standards consistent with their gender identity/expression.
That employers and landlords would be fined for not calling someone by the gender of their imagination is bad enough.
Worse still, the New York City Commission on Human Rights’ publication, Gender ID Card, actually lists 31 genders! Beginning with the very boring “man” and “woman,” the 31 genders in alphabetical order are:
  1. Man
  2. Woman
  3. Agender
  4. Androgyne
  5. Androgynous
  6. Bi-gendered
  7. Butch
  8. Cross-dresser
  9. Drag king
  10. Drag queen
  11. Femme
  12. Femme queen
  13. Female-to-male
  14. FTM
  15. Gender bender
  16. Gender blender
  17. Gender gifted
  18. Gender fluid
  19. Genderqueer
  20. Hijra (Note: Wikipedia says “hijra” is a term used in South Asia, especially in India, to refer to trans women (male-to-female transgenders).
  21. Male-to-female
  22. MTF
  23. Non-binary transgender
  24. Non-op
  25. Pangender
  26. Person of transgender experience
  27. Third sex
  28. Trans
  29. Transexual/transsexual
  30. Trans person
  31. Two-spirit
America has become an insane asylum.


Looks who’s demanding that Donald Trump’s history needs to be examined

Kinda sick when this clown is asking these questions of Trump maybe trying to nudge his media to do it when they did none of it with him.....



SWEDEN: Less than 500 of more than 163,000 illegal alien Muslim invaders found a job in 2015

What will they do here? Take jobs from Americans?  Get on Welfare?

Only 494 asylum seekers out of 163,000 who arrived in Sweden in 2015 managed to secure a job, local media reported, citing migration officials. The rest of them prefer to collect welfare benefits.

The Local (h/t Maria J)  Using figures from Sweden’s employment agency Arbetsförmedlingen and migration authorities Migrationsverket, SVT reported on Tuesday that 494 asylum seekers who arrived in 2015 have managed to find a job to support themselves while waiting for their application to get processed.


A person who arrives in Sweden with valid identification documents and has applied for asylum is normally allowed to work despite not yet having a work or residence permit, if Migrationsverket grants them an exception.

Such an exception is called the ‘at-und’ and usually gets processed automatically, reported SVT. However, only a third of asylum seekers aged 20-64 were given one in a year when Sweden received an unprecedented number of asylum claims.


“It was an incredible number of people applying for asylum in Sweden and so that we would be able to register all of them, we had to de-prioritize certain tasks, and that was the matter of jobs,” Migrationsverket officer Lisa Bergstrand told SVT.


The centre-left Social Democrat-Green government wants to hand out mainly temporary residence permits in the next three years, which would step up the pressure on asylum seekers to find work. A permanent permit could be offered after the first expires, if the person is able to support themselves.


But figures suggest that the gap between Swedes and foreign-born is likely to grow. In April, the unemployment rate among people born in Sweden was at its lowest since before the global financial crisis in 2008, falling to 4.7 percent. The equivalent among residents born abroad was 14.9 percent.

Long waiting times for residence permits, today up to a year, makes the matter all the more pressing. But Arbetsförmedlingen has little means of supporting asylum seekers looking for work. (Not to worry, there are very few of them)


First Couric, Now Gumbel Accused of Deceptive Edits in Anti-Gun Segment

More of the Garbage from former NBC host. This is kinda like a Dictator news outlet, they only want you to hear what they want you to hear

They once shared co-hosting duties on NBC’s Todayshow and now it looks like Bryant Gumbel has joinedKatie Couric in being accused of using deceptive editing techniques to attack gun rights.
The inventor of the AR-15 rifle, Jim Sullivan, has attacked HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel for misrepresenting “much of what I had said” in his interview for their anti-gun segment aired on the May 24 program. 
Sullivan, in a May 31 article for The Federalist, charged that the anti-gun segment (by Real Sports correspondent David Scott and producers Chapman Downes and Katie Melone) tried “to make the AR-15 civilian model seem too dangerous for civilian sales. They didn’t lie about what I said, they just omitted key parts, which changed the meaning.”
Sullivan went on to list his specific objections: 
The examples I most object to are: 1) When I appear to say that the civilian-model AR-15 is just as effective or deadly as the military M16, they omitted that I had said “When firing semi-auto only” and that “the select fire M16 on full auto is of course more effective”; and 2) the interviewer pretended not to understand the relevance that, due to the Hague Convention, military bullets cannot be expanding hollow points like hunting bullets that give up all of their energy in the target body instead of passing through with minimum wound effect, with most of the energy still in the bullet and wasted.

The following is the relevant portion of Sullivan’s interview, with HBO’s Scott, as it was aired on the May 24 edition of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel
DAVID SCOTT: Keane says the difference is clear, that military assault rifles are fully automatic, able to fire at speeds like this with a single pull of the trigger. While the AR-15 is semi-automatic, thus only able to fire at speeds like this. But the designer of the gun says the AR-15 is every bit as deadly as its military counterpart. 
SCOTT TO JIM SULLIVAN The lethality of the AR-15.
SCOTT: Is that reduced in the civilian semi-automatic mode?
SCOTT: It’s not?
SULLIVAN: It’s the same.
SCOTT: The same?
SULLIVAN: In fact the gun is functioning exactly the way the military model is in semi-automatic.
SCOTT: And even the U.S. Army’s field manual advises soldiers to fire in semi-automatic mode during combat, because of its greater accuracy. 
Gumbel’s teaser, introduction and conclusion to Scott’s piece were full of heated rhetoric with the HBO host going as far to condemn: “It seems the gun people keep mining new depths.”

As NewsBusters’ Dylan Gwinn wrote at the time, the segment used incendiary and inaccurate language in its depiction of the AR-15:  
On Tuesday night’s episode of Real Sports, the investigative arm of HBO’s leftist sports department took exception with the AR-15 rifle. Specifically, the marketing of the AR-15 as a “sporting rifle.” Which, as reporter David Scott contends, was created for military use, with the sole purpose of killing.
Narrator: From 12 dead at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, to 14 killed by terrorists in San Bernardino...From 10 killed by the Washington D.C. Snipers... To 26 dead in a school in Newtown, Connecticut... One massacre after another is being committed with America's most popular sporting gun: A gun, after all, that was designed for one purpose. And sports is not it.
And cue the scenes of death and destruction from Vietnam. Of course, there’s only one problem with all this. The AR-15 sold today to Americans in gun shops, or online, is not the same one issued to the military in Vietnam. Nor, is it even the same one issued to the military today.

"You're a Sleaze": Donald Trump Calls Out ABC News Reporter

Finally the Media is put on the spot for their Liberal Obama Suckass Bias

Veteran defends Trump's support of vets, slams liberal media


Monday, May 30, 2016

Electronic Voting Machines & Why Voters Should Be Suspicious Of Every Election

Long an 'exporter of democracy' to the rest of the world, there is ample evidence that the United States lacks even the most rudimentary, basic protections necessary to preserve voting integrity within its own borders.
Some of the evidence is circumstantial, some is statistical, and some is pretty direct and clear-cut. Taken together, a pattern that emerges strongly suggesting that ever since electronic voting machines were introduced in the United States, we’ve had a string of suspect election results that frankly are not consistent with a free and fair voting outcome.
This week, we're joined by Brad Friedman, election integrity analyst to understand better the systems and practices currently in place to collect and tally votes in America. As we gear up to elect our next president, it's clear that numerous concerns exist about the state of 'free and fair' voting in our country:
Trust is different than 'verifiable'. Trust, frankly, has no place in elections. There is no reason to ever trust anybody. We need to be able to verify all of this.

There are basically two different types of electronic voting systems that are currently used today.

One is the touchscreen system that people know about. They’ve seen those votes flipping and so forth. Those machines are, in fact, 100 percent unverifiable -- period. I’ve asked the companies that make the systems many times, if they have any evidence whatsoever that any vote ever cast on one of those machines during an election, for any candidate or initiative on the ballot, if any of those votes have ever been recorded as per the voter’s intent, any evidence whatsoever. They have none -- they are 100 percent unverifiable. Thankfully, many states are getting rid of those and they’re moving to paper ballots.

The problem, however, with hand marked paper ballots is that most of them are run through optical scan computers to be scanned. The problem is, they often don’t work. You can’t tell whether they have worked properly, whether they have accurately recorded the vote, unless you actually hand count the paper ballots -- begging the question of why the hell are we using these optical scan systems in the first place. So when you have a paper ballot, at least it is verifiable if anybody bothers to do a hand count. But we don’t bother to do so in this country; almost never. When problems are found, often they are completely ignored.

So that’s why I’ve argued for years now that the most transparent and reliable way to run an election is to hand count the paper ballots at the precinct on election night publicly in front of everyone with the results posted at the precinct before those ballots are moved anywhere.

Short of that, it really is faith-based elections. We're trusting that they’re recorded accurately, even though we’ve got so much evidence that they often are not. I think it’s a crazy way to run a democracy if you ask me(...)

There is every reason to be suspicious of every election. There's a lot of money at stake, a lot of money, a lot of power at stake in these elections and so people should be suspicious about them.

No matter what you do, people will try to game elections. There's just too much at stake for people to not want to try to do that. That’s why you need a system that is as transparent as possible because people are going to try to game it. The trick is you have as many eyeballs looking as possible to make it as difficult as possible to game the election. That’s the trick; and when you begin to use security by obscurity and hide the way that votes are actually counted and the way that votes are actually cast and the systems that are used to tally them, we have no idea in the end.

I think that’s just absolutely crazy. Every time I come out and make that argument, it depends what election has just happened, but I'm then branded either a Democratic partisan, a Republican partisan, a Bernie supporter, a Hillary supporter -- whatever it is. People don’t like to hear these facts. So I’ve had to go to bat for a lot of candidates who I would have never ever even considered voting for. But I think that their supporters have the right to know whether they won or lost, and have the right to know that the election was tabulated accurately. That’s what we no longer have in this country and it’s ridiculous.
Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Brad Friedman (53m:45s)

Dozens Shot Over Memorial Day Weekend As The Collapse Of Chicago Accelerates

News media Silent over this

Chaos and violence threaten to spiral out of control in America’s third largest city, and nobody seems to have any idea how to solve the problem.  After decades of control by the radical left, many parts of the “Windy City” have become rotting, decaying, gang-infestedhellholes.  Just like Detroit, the city of Chicago is rapidly becoming a joke to the rest of the world, but a horribly corrupt political culture likely stands in the way of any type of major reform any time soon.  And just like much of the rest of the nation, a spirit of violence and civil unrest is rising in Chicago.  So far this year, the number of shootings in Chicago is up 50 percent compared to the same time period last year, and that was before we even got to Memorial Day weekend.  As of Sunday morning, at least 40 people had already been shot, and authorities were bracing for even more violence as the holiday weekend stretched on…
A string of nearly two dozen shootings on the West Side has pushed the number of people shot during the Memorial Day weekend to at least 40, with two more days to go.
As of early Sunday morning, the toll stood at four dead and 36 wounded across the city, including a 15-year-girl shot to death as she rode in a Jeep on Lake Shore Drive near Fullerton Avenue, police said.
The cries to fix what is wrong with Chicago are becoming increasingly desperate, but at this point the city is drowning in debt and is pretty much flat broke.
So the options for doing anything about this growing crisis are quite limited.
But that isn’t stopping prominent city leaders from speaking out.  According to the New York Times, Rev. Corey Brooks believes that “we could be looking at a blood bath” this summer if nothing changes…
“If something doesn’t change, if we don’t get jobs for these kids, if we don’t change the economic situation, I’m worried that we could be looking at a blood bath,” said the Rev. Corey Brooks, a pastor on the city’s South Side, a mostly African-American area where some of the shootings have been concentrated. “If something doesn’t happen, I fear that we’re potentially looking at one of the worst summers we’ve ever had.”
As of Friday morning, homicides in Chicago were up 52 percent in 2016, compared with the same period a year ago, and shootings had increasedby 50 percent, though the pace of violence had slowed in recent weeks, the police said.
I believe that Rev. Brooks is correct, but he isn’t identifying the core of the problem.
Thanks in large part to unchecked illegal immigration, gang membership has been surging in Chicago.  Back in 2012, the Chicago Crime Commission estimated that there were150,000 gang members living in the city, but of course by now that number is likely far higher.
No city in the United States has a higher population of gang members than Chicago does, and hundreds of factions are constantly battling for turf.  The police in Chicago insist that they have the situation under control, but everyone can see that they do not.
And how could they?  There are only 13,318 law enforcement officers of all types in the city of Chicago.  They are outnumbered by the gangs by much more than a 10 to 1 margin.  There is no way in the world that they are ever going to be able to stop the gang violence.  All they can do is hope to contain it.
Sadly, they are fighting a losing battle, because with each passing month thousands more gang members cross our southern border illegally and head directly for our major cities where they are warmly received by their gang brothers.
Perhaps this helps to explain why 3,000 millionaires left the city of Chicago last year.
Do you want to know somewhere else that has been controlled by the radical left for decades and that is now seeing chaos and violence spin out of control?
In Venezuela, we get to see what it looks like when an entire country starts to shut down.  The following comes from the New York Times
The courts? Closed most days. The bureau to start a business? Same thing. The public defender’s office? That’s been converted into a food bank for government employees.
Step by step, Venezuela has been shutting down.
This country has long been accustomed to painful shortages, even of basic foods. But Venezuela keeps drifting further intouncharted territory.
At this point, more than 80 percent of all basic consumer products are in short supply, and some people have become so desperate that they are actually hunting cats and dogs for food.  My wife and I had a lot more to say about the rapidly deteriorating situation down inVenezuela during a recent episode of our new television show.  It is so important to watch what is going on down there right now, because eventually the same things will be happening here in America too.
When society breaks down, people become very desperate, and crime spirals out of control.  The mafia and the gangs are having a field day at the moment, and the police are so overwhelmed that they can’t do much to stop them.
And if you need medical treatment down in Venezuela right now, you might as well forget it
The Luis Razetti Hospital in the portal city of Barcelona looks like a war zone.
Patients can be seen balancing themselves on half-broken beds with days-old blood on their bodies.
They’re the lucky ones; most are curled up on the floor, blood streaming, limbs blackening.
Children lie among dirty cardboard boxes in the hallways without food, water or medication.
Without electricity or functioning machines, medics have had to create their own solutions. Two men who had surgery on their legs have their limbs elevated by makeshift slings made out of water bottles.
Most Americans would scoff at the suggestion that we could ever see scenes like that in the United States, but just a few years ago most Venezuelans would have probably said the exact same thing.
For so long, watchmen all over America have been endlessly warning people to get prepared.
But at some point, time runs out.
In fact, down in Venezuela time has already run out.  Store shelves all over the country are empty, there are chronic shortages of basic supplies, some people are hunting dogs and cats for food, and there has been an almost total breakdown of public services.
I wish that I could say that these kinds of conditions are only going to be limited to Venezuela.  But I cannot say that.  Great suffering is going to eventually spread all over the world, and that is going to include our own nation.
I hope that you are using this short period of relative stability wisely, because it will be gone way too soon.
Courtesy of Michael Snyder