Monday, July 25, 2011

First time lace

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

There is no Obamacare- but there is Obama reform

There is no "Obamacare" because Obama did not win a public option or Medicare for all.  The health care plans under the Affordable Care Plan are optional and PRIVATE.

The main cost control will be national exchanges where people can go shopping for insurance from any state - regardless of where they live.  Insurance companies that enact unreasonable rate hikes may not be allowed to participate in these exchanges - so they will be limited to hard selling people in their own states. 

The Affordable Care Act says that parents can keep their kids on their private insurance until the kids reach 26; it prevents insurance companies from dropping insured people for getting sick (after all they paid their premiums)  prohibits insurance companies from capping coverage - so they can't stop paying just because you have a serious illness that requires costly treatment, it also requires that some preventative care be free of deductibles and co-payments.

Starting in 2014 the law prevents insurance companies from denying policies to people who have pre-existing conditions. Before the Affordable Care Act, it was almost impossible for people with pre-existing conditions to get any health insurance, regardless of how much they paid.  The law sets up an external review process - so that if a private insurer denies a claim, the patient can get a neutral party to review their decision instead of being forced to appeal directly to the insurance company. 

The new law also gives tax credits to small businesses that offer health insurance to their employees. I really support this law. Once you actually read it and see what it does  - it makes life better for most Americans.

If you want to read more about the law - there is a summary on this link.  The complete act is available online at the Government Printing Office at this link.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

An Open Letter to a Paul Ryan Fan

  • Ignacio - the library is a pretty vague explanation of where you get your economic information. 
    My guess is that Fox/Federalist Society/Koch/American Enterprise Institute et al are tuning you into the economic posturings of people such as Ayn Rand and Ludwig Von Mises (the German economic school). 
    They do not provide any context for their ideas (such as Von Mises pandering to fascism as a support for total absolute capitalism). 
    This is filtered information designed to support ideas that are generally not supportable by facts, and that help the richest one percent while harming the rest of the country.  country.                                                                                                                                                                                                           
    Mainstream America heeds mainstream economists - such as the Americans Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman. Both are Nobel prize winners in economics (by contrast Von Mises could barely get a job when he came to America - and he was bosom buddies with Ayn Rand) Stiglitz won the 2002 Noble for describing market assymetry because market players have different levels and quality of information.                                                   Stiglitz wrote: "Whenever there are “externalities”—where the actions of an individual have impacts on others for which they do not pay or for which they are not compensated—markets will not work well. But recent research has shown that these externalities are pervasive, whenever there is imperfect information or imperfect risk markets—that is always. The real debate today is about finding the right balance between the market and government. Both are needed. They can each complement each other." If you really get your information from neutral sources, then you should be aware of Stiglitz and Krugman. Krugman has been repeatedly warning that the unemployment crisis is caused by lack of consumer demand (because of stagnant/sinking wages for the middle class and unemployment). Paul Ryan, following Rand and Von Mises, believes that the rich create jobs - not consumer demand. Actually the rich are sitting on enormous piles of wealth - the worsening economy has benefited them, executive bonuses and corporate profits are at all time highs. Tax breaks do not give them incentive to create jobs only consumer demand creates jobs. This is a vital point, which is why I dwell on it. I don't think it will convince you anyway but it may help other readers understand the core economic disagreement over Paul Ryan's budget engineering.
            Ryan favors cutting social safety net programs for the elderly - Social Security and Medicare, so he can give more money to corporate tax breaks. These are called tax expenditures and they are enormous - mind shattering. The United States gives away most of its wealth to corporations. Many of the biggest corporations don't pay a dime of state or federal tax while receiving enormous subsidies and tax breaks such as the Foreign Tax Credit and the Credit for Production of Nonconventional Fuels (See Env. Law Institute report "Estimating US Gov. Subsidies to Energy Sources - you won't find it on Fox News or the American Enterprise Institute). The rich and the largest corporations are not turning around and creating jobs in the United States. High unemployment and stagnant wages means there is low consumer demand in the United States - but there is growing consumer demand and rising wages in developing countries such as China and India. American corporations are thus creating jobs in China and India. Bottom line - cut the tax expenditures for corporate welfare - and stop pillaging Social Security and Medicare to fund corporate welfare. 

    All the best, 

Sunday, July 03, 2011

A bevy of hats

Some finished objects from last month's knitting. Top hat will be frogged to make a smaller hat - the other two are gifts made using Elizabeth Zimmerman's design "Ganomy" from "Knitter's Almanac."