The Conservative Tea Party Still Stoned On Delusions

Lake and Mountain Range wallpaper

Lake and Mountain Range wallpaper

Steve has written one of the must read posts about Benghazi,  WINGERS HAPPY TO SCRAP THEIR ENTIRE BENGHAZI SCANDAL IN FAVOR OF A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BENGHAZI SCANDAL, featured in this post at Crooks and Liars. Another post featured at C and L is this,  There’s A Reason Why All Of The Reports About Benghazi Are So Confusing. Maybe its a just-me situation, but I do not find it especially confusing. Benghazi was basically a CIA op with some embassy personnel. We knew this almost from the first week and President Obama’s official statement and later when House Republicans were told the same thing by the CIA. The only real news that is kinda new is the size of the armed CIA force on the ground. Which is one of the reason the conspiracy theories conservatives started with – unprotected embassy, Obama weak on national security fell apart and now they are literally debating the number of armed agents. Erin Burnett has always been a willing water carrier for the far Right, CNN Benghazi Special Pushes Debunked And Deceptive Claims.

Back to new news or new old news. I check in on Steve’s No More Mister Nice Blog to see if that Benghazi link was working OK and find that he had the gull to criticize the tea smokers. A few of them see the link and the hoards of tea baggers descend writing about how wonderful, perfect, great, shiner than new patriots they are and how liberals kick puppies. You know, the usual. It is the same tiresome lies, sheeple under the delusion they have clear thoughts, feel strongly they can distinguish a lie from a truth they are strangers to, they’re like the nationalists of old Imperial japan though they were holier-then-thou or cultists who have seen the one true light and everyone else is a heretic. They’re literally the blast from the past, a modern version of the Spanish Inquisition mixed with some proto-fascism smothered in ingenuous platitudes, with a cup of outraged plantation master angry at the uppity. They’re the pure true plastic as compared to those fake patriots who founded liberalism and democracy, and created the syntax that became the Constitution, the tea smokers say they believe in, except the parts they don’t. To them the Civil War and White v Texas, decided nothing, if a state wants to conduct its govmint like Tehran, well that is fine with them. I know some of them and on a personal level they can be pleasant. Lots of pleasant people throughout history have believed in some wacko garbage, been great at denying reality, are champions at the utter inability to take an honest assessment of themselves and the shaky foundations of their beliefs.

Since the tea smokers are still around and high on some stuff reasonable adults should avoid, let’s ake a look back at some tea bagger history:

Matt Taibbi on Deluded Tea Partiers, Ayn Rand and How the U.S. Is Like the Soviet Union

MT: I wrote Griftopia really as a crime book about what happened on Wall Street in the last ten or fifteen years. But the politics are an element of the crime, and there had to be a mechanism through which they could get ordinary people to not pay attention to what was going on. To me, the Tea Party was an example of exactly how that works. I see it as a phenomenon where Wall Street has found a way to convince ordinary people to back their political agenda and their deregulatory aims, under the rubric of “we’re going to get the government off our backs,” and it’s really, in the end, it’s just going to be off their backs, but ordinary people believe in it.

MA: People say they don’t want government and yet they still want all the services that government does. But they somehow don’t connect the dots, it seems.

MT: Right, they somehow want their food to be clean; they don’t want to drink poisoned water; they want to have cops to protect them from burglars, but they’re very attracted to this whole idea that the government causes all of our problems. As I travel around the country, most of the Tea Party people I talk to — a lot of them are small business owners. They have hardware stores or restaurants, and they see regulation as an ADA inspector or a health inspector coming to bother them and ring them up with little fines here and there. That’s their experience with government regulation. And so when they think about JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs and regulating those banks, to them it’s the same thing. They have no idea that regulation for these big companies is really a law enforcement problem, that it’s not this little niggling health inspector type of business.

The whole Wall Street collapse was one of the first things one of the tea smokers said the tea baggers were formed in response to. At the beginning I remember hearing that and thinking maybe we had some common ground, but the tea hypocrites killed strong financial reform (After Watering Down Financial Reform, Ex-Senator Scott Brown Joins Goldman Sachs’ Lobbying Firm) and we got the watered down Dodd-Frank bill, which the tea smokers are still fighting against. So that is a lie, a sham, a delusion that goes so deep and at the same time is so ridiculous you wonder if you’re talking to someone from the same planet. Tea baggers till believe that Barney Frank and Fannie May caused the Wall Street collapse. Which is like believing space aliens left a loaf of white bread and mayonnaise on the front porch. So how is an organization that cannot tell the difference between a fairy tale and reality going to lead the nation to a better way. Tea Partiers Who Opposed Bank Bailout Take Campaign Donations From Bailed-Out Banks

Newly Elected Tea Party Conservatives Kill Jobs and Stop Progress. Because the great tea bagger in the sky will send locusts if we practice some old fashioned Keynesian economics.

Texas governor Rick perry is a tea bagger and has the level of integrity they have come to be known for, Rick Perry Sought State Profits From Teacher Life Insurance Scheme

When you smoke too much tea kids, this is what happens, Washington Legislator Calls For Tea Party To Stockpile Ammunition For Dystopic Future. But they claim to be reasonable and well informed.

Since I brought up puppies, as usual it is the far Right who believes it is every America’s constitutional right to treat puppies like sh*t, Tea Partiers barking mad over anti-puppy-mill humane measure in Missouri

And of course tea smokers hate Obamacare. Something to do with freedumb. That is the freedumb to deny working class Americans the right to have health insurance. The freedumb to keep American workers from organizing their purchasing power from the free market insurance industry. This is the way tea smokers define freedom – the right to make everyone else life as hard, miserly and miserable as possible. Those little store owners and big corps like Hobby Lobby have the freedom-right to treat their employees like trash. If the govmint takes way their right to act like little dictators, they fell oppressed. Tea smokers think of workers as disposable barely human-like creatures – 36 Senators Introduce Bill Prohibiting Virtually Any New Law Helping Workers. They like to think of themselves as populists, but they’re more like thugs who say they believe in free enterprise. Free for them, back of the bus for everyone else. Say something, do something about respect and dignity for workers and you’re interfering with tea bagger freedumb. Except, you know the ones that depend on Medicare and Medicaid to keep from falling into financial disaster or just to stay alive. What are no govmint-no way-no how tea smokers doing on Medicaid. They’re getting govmint assistance because the rest of us are subsidizing companies like Walmart. Where does the plasticroots tea baggers movement still get most of its money, from 501s running on Walton and Koch brothers money. Sure your neighbor is sending in twenty bucks a month that pays for the signs at the little rallies. The big bucks that buy legislation is coming from businesses, that the last things they want to see is competition and empowered employees.

The smoke in the tea tent is so thick, they believe – it is one of their “facts” that taxes are too high. They’re at their lowest level since the 1950s and that mean Obama has lowered taxes for small business 16 times. Bu those are real world facts, not the “facts” that come through the pipe and are sucked into the feeble brains of tea baggers.

Tea baggers are pro family? Yea right, Tea Partiers Protest Clean Water Rules Meant To Prevent Bladder Cancer. Because the Founders intended we have the freedumb to get cancer.

I could literally do this all day. Tea smokers, conservatives to the far Right of the far Right, are nothing new, they are the same freaks and thugs that have been fighting human progress since the days of feudal lords who claimed the peasants should shut-up and know their place. That they have convinced some working class Americans  big banks and corporations are their friend is both laughable and pathetic. Many of these tea baggers are paying more for basic services and getting less than. Their votes are giving private business a license, not to fairly compete, but to steal. They think hippie liberals are giving them the shaft. Nope, the tea baggers are so good at shafting themselves we don’t have to bother.

The Corporate Elite Are Redistributing Income To Themselves and Giving Americans The Shaft

Panorama View of Cumberland, Maryland 1906

Panorama View of Cumberland, Maryland 1906.  

Located on the Potomac River in the western part of the state, Cumberland was an important transportation hub early in the nation’s history.

In 1906 Teddy Roosevelt, the “trust buster” was president ( he would never get the tea bagger vote). It was the year of the Great San Francisco earthquake, the year Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle was published and Congress passed the Meat Inspection Act ( something else that conservatives would defeat if up for a vote today).

Fighting Back Against Wretched Wages

OFTEN relegated to the background, America’s low-wage workers have been making considerable noise lately by deploying an unusual weapon — one-day strikes — to make their message heard: they’re sick and tired of earning just $8, $9, $10 an hour.

Their anger has been stoked by what they see as a glaring disconnect: their wages have flatlined, while median pay for chief executives at the nation’s top corporations jumped 16 percent last year, averaging a princely $15.1 million, according to Equilar, an executive compensation analysis firm.

Conservatives, most libertarians and some centrist Democrats have been saying for years that the reason we have to keep wages low is to be competitive – competitive to whom, Asia. That is and has been a race to the bottom for half of the U.S. The truth is slight more complicated, but not so much so that even your kool-aid drinking conservative neighbors can understand. By shipping jobs overseas and using that leverage to put downward pressure on wages, all the while taking away much of organized labor’s power, corporate dreams have come true. Corporate America is making record profits – that means they could be paying people a living wage and keeping jobs in the U.S. rather than do that, these corporations are putting massive sums of money in executive pockets and shareholders. Sure some of the middle-class gets some of that via their mutual funds – but most Americans do not benefit from this capital redistribution from workers to the wealthy. This is a good recent example of how the very wealthy are redistributing capital to themselves, A Pension Deficit Disorder: The Massive CEO Retirement Funds and Underfunded Worker Pensions at Firms Pushing Social Security Cuts

A major player in the national debt debate, the “Fix the Debt” campaign, is arguing that cuts to Social Security and Medicare are necessary to avoid economic disaster. Meanwhile, the corporations leading this campaign are contributing to Americans’ retirement insecurity by funneling enormous sums into their CEO retirement accounts while underfunding their employee pension funds.

Key findings:

* The 71 Fix the Debt CEOs who lead publicly held companies have amassed an average of $9 million in their company retirement funds. A dozen have more than $20 million in their accounts. If each of them converted their assets to an annuity when they turned 65, they would receive a monthly check for at least $110,000 for life.
* The Fix the Debt CEO with the largest pension fund is Honeywell’s David Cote, a long-time advocate of Social Security cuts. His $78 million nest egg is enough to provide a $428,000 check every month after he turns 65.
* Forty-one of the 71 companies offer employee pension funds. Of these, only two have sufficient assets in their funds to meet expected obligations. The rest have combined deficits of $103 billion, or about $2.5 billion on average. General Electric has the largest deficit in its worker pension fund, with $22 billion.

Although they have not remedied their own internal pension fund debts, the Fix the Debt CEOs say they have the solution for our national debt problems, which would include cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

In some cases, the Fix the Debt member corporations could eliminate their pension fund deficits with cash they currently have on hand. GE, for example, has more than $85 billion in liquid assets, according to their most recent 10-K report — enough to easily wipe out their $22 billion pension deficit. But rather than fixing their own internal debts, these CEOs have embarked on an aggressive effort to persuade policymakers and the public that savings from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are essential to addressing the country‘s financial challenges. While these CEOs have offered few details on how they would cut costs with these reforms, it would likely be by limiting access to these programs paid for by all working Americans and by yet again raising the retirement age.

The corporate elite tell the public we have to pay sub-living standard wages or we’ll have to rise prices. What they could do is make reasonable salaries – say in the $85k to $125k range. I just suggested some heresy – hey this is America and corporate executives have to make millions or they won’t work. Fine, quite and lets usher is a new generation of hard working ethical executives they care about workers and America. Some conservatives bloggers have linked to this story – Exclusive: Signs of declining economic security, saying this is the result of Obama’s policies. They cannot put two and two together. Corporate profits at at all time highs and wages at all time lows. These companies could hire, they could pay more, but they are hoarding the money for themselves. Not exactly secret information, so conservatives continue to be the worse informed people on the planet. Read the comments on this post – if we made proof of general economic knowledge a requirement for voting, these people would not be allowed to vote. In one crazy-funny comment, one commenter goes off on how the communists are to blame. There is a very similar cognitive dissonance between what the Conservative base thinks about ” free enterprise” corporate America and what they thought about Bush and Iraq. They could not, and still cannot bring themselves to believe that the Bush administration betrayed America and they can’t believe these flag waving, “free enterprise” talking American businesses have betrayed America for more wealth than they will ever need and certainly never earned.

Dreaming of The Day Conservatives Act in The Best Interests of America

Black and White Chess wallpaper

Black and White Chess wallpaper

President Obama has a very low rate of judicial appointments. Like legislation ranging from proper nutrition for low income children to job creation, the conservative minority in the Senate has used holds and the invisible filibuster to block well qualified nominees. And here the conservative noise machine is doing their part, Right-Wing Media Campaign Against Judicial Nominee Cornelia Pillard

Falsely ascribing a quote of conservative former Chief Justice William Rehnquist to Pillard in which he wrote for the Supreme Court that family leave policies not equally provided to both sexes are a “self-fulfilling cycle of discrimination,” Perkins inaccurately described it as Pillard’s condemnation of “celebrating motherhood.” Where Pillard has observed that the anti-choice personhood movement could be exposed as unconstitutional by increasing awareness of the equal protection ramifications for pregnant women, Perkins fabricated the charge that Pillard “criticizes” the ultrasound. Resorting to spreading the ridiculous myth that Pillard would “declare” abstinence-only education “unconstitutional,” Perkins managed to debunk such a silly charge in his very next sentence by quoting her accurate observation that a sex education class that stereotypes and disadvantages women could theoretically be “vulnerable to an equal protection challenge” under established precedent.

While the legal arguments can be a little complex it does boil down to women have the same right to reproductive health information as men ( sex ed) and the same range of freedom over their reproductive rights. I guess I’m to the left of Pillard because abstinence only sex education, the whole cultural incentive for it, is based on particular far Right religious dogma. As such it is on it’s face discriminatory against everyone whose religious or secular beliefs think that abstinence only is outdated and ineffective. Studies have shown a combination of abstinence and birth control education is the most effective way to stop sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. So one has to wonder if conservatives do not actually want to encourage STDs and unplanned pregnancies. Both of which put more demands on health and social services which we all know conservatives are against. So their goal is to perpetuate a life of hardship, if not cruelty for millions of Americans. Know the facts and the outcomes one can only assume that much like Iran’s conservative religious leaders, America’s conservatives are more interested in the triumph of their dogma, than what is morally right.

Not quite head spinning news, but close, Justice Robert’s Picks Reshaping Secret Surveillance Court

The recent leaks about government spying programs have focused attention on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and its role in deciding how intrusive the  government can be in the name of national security. Less mentioned has been the person who has been quietly reshaping the secret court: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

In making assignments to the court, Chief Justice Roberts, more than his predecessors, has chosen judges with conservative and executive branch backgrounds that critics say make the court more likely to defer to government arguments that domestic spying programs are necessary.

Ten of the court’s 11 judges — all assigned by Chief Justice Roberts — were appointed to the bench by Republican presidents; six once worked for the federal government. Since the chief justice began making assignments in 2005, 86 percent of his choices have been Republican appointees, and 50 percent have been former executive branch officials.

Though the two previous chief justices, Warren E. Burger and William H. Rehnquist, were conservatives like Chief Justice Roberts, their assignments to the surveillance court were more ideologically diverse, according to an analysis by The New York Times of a list of every judge who has served on the court since it was established in 1978.

I was under the impression the FISA Court judges were executive branch appointees with Congressional approval. Like Senator Richard Blumenthal(D) I find it disturbing that one appointed judge with a garaged lifetime job, with a well known radical agenda, has exclusive say over the surveillance court. Robert’s seem to be appointing radical clones of himself.

900,000 Jobs? Read the Letter, Paul

Here’s a way to get some more jobs in the very near term—900,000 to be precise: cancel the sequester.

That’s what the CBO said in response to Rep. Van Hollen’s request for such an analysis.

…canceling the automatic spending reductions effective August 1 would increase outlays relative to those under current law by $14 billion in fiscal year 2013 and by $90 billion in fiscal year 2014.

Those changes would increase the level of real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.7 percent and increase the level of employment by 0.9 million in the third quarter of calendar year 2014 (the end of fiscal year 2014) relative to the levels projected under current law, CBO estimates.

The budget office goes on to say that if you didn’t replace the deficit savings, higher federal debt could lead to slower growth down he road, so if you’re worried about that, you’d want to replace sequestration with a balanced package of spending cuts and tax revenues that kick in later when the economy isn’t so demand constrained.

But output gaps being what they are, more or less spending by the federal government feeds pretty directly into growth and typically with “multiplier” effects that increase the bang-for-each-buck (e.g., pave a road and you’ve created more business at both the pavement supply company and the diner where the new crew has lunch).

This is way too easy to explain. Under something resembling normal circumstances, with a loyal, but somewhat reasonable loyal opposition, conservatives would see how they’re hurting the economy and job growth, and adjust accordingly. We’re not in normal mode. Any job creation makes president Obama look good, so if conservatives have to screw over the country to take away that credit they will continue to to do so. If Democrats running in 2014  know how to run a good campaign they should be adding this sequester hostage taking to their list of talking points.

Conservologic, If You’re Attacked By Two Rabbits That Makes All Rabbits Criminals

Canoe Trip wallpaper

Canoe Trip wallpaper

Let me get the freaks, weirdos, racists, crazed zealots and delusional nutwits out of the way first, National Review Tells Young Whites To Avoid Blacks, Again

Victor Davis Hanson, a scholar of military history and longtime National Review foreign affairs columnist, has a habit of dipping his toes into racially uncomfortable water. In a past column, for example, Hanson accused President Obama of attempting to victimize white people for political gain.

[  ]…The thrust of Hanson’s argument — black men are criminals and you should stay away from them, my son — is largely indistinguishable from Derbyshire’s. “Be careful if a group of black youths approaches you,” Hanson quoted his father as saying before a move to San Francisco. “After some first-hand episodes with young African-American males,” he continued, “I offered a similar lecture to my own son.”

The Atlantic also has a good piece up on Hanson. What is moronic is to base one’s world view on an encounter with punks – note their apparent ethnicity and so feel entitled to forever claim that everyone from that group is cause for concern about your personal safety. Conservatives have been playing this game for years ( not all of them, but obviously still many). Norman Podhoretz, thought of as one of the great thinkers of the conservative establishment, once wrote an essay, now in many college English anthologies, that told of his being persecuted by blacks in his neighborhood while he was growing up. That is unfortunate, but says nothing about race, as much as he and like minded conservatives would like to think. Some black kids during that time were literally murdered by whites. So if we’re going to use the Podhoretz and Hanson standards, that means we should have a talk with our kids about how violent white folks can be. I have been shot at once in my life. It was by a white middle-class male. he was so arrogant about it he didn’t even care that I knew who he was. Look at the FBI’s Most Wanted List –  there are no African Americans on that list of very violent offenders. Second worse terror attack in U.S. history was the Oklahoma City bombing – two white guys. Or we could say that individuals are on the FBI list, bad people bombed the Murrah Federal Building, some punks accosted Hanson’s dad. It’s only human to note appearance, but it’s a mistake to infer that millions of people are criminals because of one or two personal experiences. Hanson, being a supposed intellectual, knows better, so that is what makes his thinly veiled racism all the more damning.

Looks like a clean cut white surfer dude I used to hang out with in high school. He is wearing a hoodie though. He is Jason Derek Brown and he is wanted for robbery and murder. I wonder if all his victims and their families are now entitled to be suspicious of all white dudes.

Next,  Rand Paul’s White Supremacy Double Game

Jack Hunter, the Rand Paul social media staffer who wrote columns attacking Abraham Lincoln and defending Southern secession under the name “Southern Avenger,” tells the Daily Caller that he’s leaving the senator’s staff and returning to punditry to clear his name and avoid dimming Paul’s rising star. Even though Paul defended Hunter when the Washington Free Beacon broke the news of his long career of neo-Confederate race-baiting…

I still think it is remarkable how much establishment conservatives are determined to knock Paul (R-KY) out of presidential contention. If liberals had started up on Hunter and Paul everyone would shrug and go on about their business. Though since the conservative media is after Paul (R-KY) the story stays alive.

Pennsylvania police chief: F*ck all you libtards out there, you take it in the a**

Kessler has uploaded several profanity-laced videos to YouTube. In one video, Kessler berates “libtards” and warns of an armed rebellion against the government.

“F*ck all you libtards out there, as a matter of fact, read my shirt,” he says, turning around to show a message on his back which read, “Liberals take it in the a**.”

“You take it in the ass and I don’t give a f*ck what you say so you can all just go f*ck yourselves. Period. I wont be going to D.C. and I don’t give a f*ck. If you f*cking maniacs want to turn this into an armed revolt, knock yourselves out. I’m not about that, so see you on the other side.”

In a video on basic pistol defense, Kessler repeatedly shoots a picture of scary clown, which he says is Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Kessler is also known to be a fan of wacko Alex Jones and an antisemitic rock band. The Confederate flag he is wearing on his shirt in the video speaks volumes about his strange brand of “patriotism”.

I still wonder why faux patriots like Kessler and his pals stayed home and cleaned their 86 semi-automatic weapons instead of demanding Bush and Cheney explain their lies about Iraq. Why do they never rant about how Wall Street stole around $17 trillion of America’s wealth. 5 Reasons It’s Just Absurd That America Doesn’t Tax Wall St’s Transactions. The short version,

The Tax Works in Countries with the ‘Freest’ Economies

Unimaginable Amounts are being Traded in the U.S., with zero tax

A Tiny Tax Would Pay the Entire 2013 Federal Education Budget

It’s Easy to Administer — Especially for One of the Most Profitable Companies in America.

Big Revenues, Little Risk

Food, Work and The Deep Moral Corruption of Conservatism

Japanese World Map

Japanese World Map, created between 1850-1900. The map is from a woodcut engraving and shows an enormous archipelago representing Japan at the center of the world. The interesting characters drawn in the insets are of a Russian soldier. The inset texts have a very brief history of each country.

House Republicans cheer as they pass farm bill without food stamps or a future, which is like the time they cheered for death for anyone who did not have health insurance. It is certainly the same as cheering for misery.

House Republicans cheered as they passed their special farm-not-food farm bill by the skin of their teeth Thursday afternoon. It wasn’t clear in the immediate run-up to the vote if Republicans would have the votes, and then Democrats forced repeated procedural votes as a protest against the Republican leadership’s decision to separate the farm subsidies part of the traditional farm bill from funding for nutrition programs.

The way forward is murky for the bill, since the Senate already passed a farm bill including both farms and food and isn’t likely to agree to strip out the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in conference…

..In other words, that what they passed won’t pass the Senate or get the president’s signature is not the issue. This is about John Boehner, and his need to show he could get the House Republicans he ostensibly leads to pass something, anything, to make up for his farm bill failure last month. And he barely got it through: The 216-208 vote was only good enough for passage because some Republicans were absent.

In the bizarre alternate reality in which conservatives live, money to feed hungry people is money down a endless void. Be fore we proceed to see how food assistance is both good for the country in terms of economics and American ideals like humanitarianism, this bit from the far Right Heritage Foundation, Food Stamps Don’t Stimulate Economic Growth

The number of Americans on food stamps, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is at historic highs, but some on the left—like Paul Krugman—think that’s not such a bad thing because, as they argue, food stamps “stimulate” the economy:

We desperately needed (and still need) public policies to promote higher spending on a temporary basis.… [E]ach dollar spent on food stamps in a depressed economy raises G.D.P. [gross domestic product] by about $1.70—which means, by the way, that much of the money laid out to help families in need actually comes right back to the government in the form of higher revenue.

Others on the left have made similar statements about SNAP stimulus. What’s the problem with this argument?

First, food stamps are intended to serve as a temporary safety net for those who face economic hardship, not as an economic stimulus. To justify food stamps as a stimulus to raise government revenue ignores the long-term economic consequences of welfare spending.

Maybe I’m giving them too much credit, but I think that is a pretty clever. She does not in anyway rebut the food stamp argument directly, she suddenly shifts, to a yea but it adds to the total national debt in the long term argument. That is not true either, but it gives the typical Fox News viewer or Breitbart reader the kind of mental rationale they need to repeat it to the point of nausea. First, just the numbers that would relate to being a drain on taxpayers,

When the money goes to people, they spend it and stimulate the economy on the order of $1.5 to 1.7 for every dollar spent. This means that the $78 billion spent on food stamps in 2011 led to $115 billion in overall economic activity.

That $37 billion is how tax payers get their money back, grocery stores make money and pay some taxes, food suppliers and farmers make money and pay some taxes. Oh, and of course this $37 billion helps people keep and create jobs. And frankly I don’t care about that and no one with a conscience should. Even if the program came out even $78 billion spent to $78 billion in economic activity, people need to eat. Conservatives do not seem to have much in the way of moral qualms about people going hungry, but most Americans do. Some more numbers and some stuff about people who conservatives think should just drop dead,

Advocates for the poor consider such cuts unconscionable. Food stamps, they argue, are far from lavish. Only those with incomes of 130% of the poverty level or less are eligible for them. The amount each person receives depends on their income, assets and family size, but the average benefit is $133 a month and the maximum, for an individual with no income at all, is $200. Those sums are due to fall soon, when a temporary boost expires. Even the current package is meagre. Melissa Nieves, a recipient in New York, says she compares costs at five different supermarkets, assiduously collects coupons, eats mainly cheap, starchy foods, and still runs out of money a week or ten days before the end of the month.

That average comes out to about $4.43 a day. According to conservatives and their brilliant insights into the human psyche, that kind of cash is what makes people lazy and want to live off gov-mint giveaways. So here we have a issue with a political movement that is not so much about politics as about the mental state of someone who wants misery for another human being who they see as the disgusting other. A few more numbers and humans,

The majority of SNAP recipients are children or elderly–and many work. A report released in November 2012 by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service shows that 45 percent of SNAP recipients were under 18 years of age and nearly 9 percent were age 60 or older. What’s more, more than 40 percent of SNAP recipients lived in a household with earnings.

So 54% of SNAP recipients are at a place in life where they have no boot straps to pull themselves up with. This should be embarrassing to conservatives who worship the absolute god-like perfection of the free market: how can that 40% work 40 or more hours a week and still not earn enough not to qualify for food assistance. Spoiler alert, I have part of the answer to that mystery: employers like Walmart, Target, McDonalds, Applesees, Sears. Taco Bell, Amazon and most retail grocery chains do not pay most of their employees a living wage, but they all have executive management that takes home millions – far more than they earned, deserve or need for a comfortable life. The same people Republican governors have cut taxes for and the same executives that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan wanted yet another tax cut. And like a dovetail joint those tax cuts for people who rob from their employees to give to themselves we have the deep wisdom of the Koch brothers, Billionaire Koch Brother Says Eliminating The Minimum Wage Will Help The Poor.

The Kansas ad does not specifically mention the minimum wage, but it does claim that Americans earning $34,000 a year should count themselves as lucky, because that puts them in the top 1 percent of the world. “That is the power of economic freedom,” the ad concluded. Meanwhile, Charles and David Koch are the ones comfortably in the 1 percent, with a net worth of about 1 million times that figure. Watch the ad:

The ad cites a report from the Koch-funded Fraser Institute showing that “The United States used to be a world leader in economic freedom but our ranking fell. And it’s projected to decline even further.” (That same Fraser report interestingly ranks Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Chile ahead of the U.S. Those places all have government-run health care, which the Kochs adamantly oppose.)

The Kochs were sent to elite colleges by their wealthy dad, from who they also inherited a large fortune. They did some really innovative stuff like buy some paper mills, some companies they make artificial carpeting synthesized from petroleum products. Most of their money now comes from their money. When you’re that rich and reach a certain threshold of wealth, your money by way of very safe investments and interests pays back huge sums of money. Listening to them give advice how how to get out of a low wage job is to listen to someone who is truly clueless. Someone who has never achieved anything on their own because they started out life, not a step up the ladder, but on top of the ladder charging fees to anyone who wanted to get on. The picture at this link says basically the same thing Lincoln said about labor being superior to capital, People like the Kochs, Romneys, Gold-Sachs, Bank of America, the Walton family, the Coors family, Sheldon Adelson take our ideas, they take our labor, they take our talent, they frequently take our health, they take our jobs during a takeover or export them to Asia, then turn around and call us the takers. It is close to the Antebellum plantation owners calling the slaves ungrateful for all the opportunities they provided.

Reeds in the Wind wallpaper

Reeds in the Wind wallpaper

Reeds in the Wind wallpaper

Neo-Confederate Rand Paul Aide A Daily Caller Contributor, Fox Regular

Jack Hunter, a congressional aide to Sen. Rand Paul with a history of “neo-Confederate” and “pro-secessionist” views, has produced dozens of articles and video commentaries for The Daily Caller and appeared as what one Fox Business host termed a “regular” guest on that network. He also helped then-Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), currently the president of The Heritage Foundation, write his most recent book.

The conservative Washington Free Beacon reported today that Hunter, a “close” Rand Paul aide who also co-wrote the Kentucky Republican’s 2011 book, “spent years working as a pro-secessionist radio pundit and neo-Confederate activist … Hunter was a chairman in the League of the South, which ‘advocates the secession and subsequent independence of the Southern States from this forced union and the formation of a Southern republic.'”

And Jamelle Bouie also notes, I’m Shocked—Shocked!—That Rand Paul Has Ties to Neo-Confederates. MM and Bouie note the revelations started in the Washington Free Beacon, they do not speculate on the Beacon’s motivations. The Beacon is well known far Right rag that echoes much of the same trash that is part of the conservative echo chamber that includes Drudge, the Breitbart sites and Fox News. This story about Rand Paul might well be the only story with a political angles where they got their facts straight. Now why would an uber-conservative newspaper that sees it’s primary job as propelling the radical conservative agenda down as many throats as possible, go after Rand Paul. This is just my speculation. Matthew Continetti is the editor-in-chief of the Beacon. In the past he has worked for The National Review and Bill Kristol’s The Weekly Standard. In other words in his deep in connections to the conservative establishment. The conservative establishment usually gets it’s way. Those that kept up with Fox News reporting during the Republican primaries may remember that there was some, though not universal doubts and criticism about Romney. Once The national Review and Bill Kristol decided that Romney was THE conservative candidate, all criticism disappeared. It appears they are doing the opposite with Rand. It is an open secret that rand plans to run for president in 2016. Maybe they do not like Rand because of his murky opposition to the exploits of the NSA – there are too many conservative defense contractors making millions off the surveillance state for such opposition to become part of the Republican party platform. Radical religious conservatives like Rick Santorum do not like Paul because he is not enough of a dogmatist. Rand has said that conservatives need to become hipper. That kind of talk does not sit well with people who are literally still fighting the culture wars of the 60s and 70s. While like many i wish the r2016 had not begun, but it has. Right now Paul Ryan and Chris Christie seem to be leading in straw polls. So this move by the Beacon could be part of an early effort to knock out at least one of the fringe candidates before they can get any traction.

Another study and the Great Recession is still not the fault of liberals, Barney Frank or Fanny May, Two Sentences that Explain the Crisis and How Easy it Was to Avoid

The lenders were overwhelmingly the source of mortgage fraud.
The lenders were not only fraudulent, but following the “recipe” for ”accounting control fraud.”  They were deliberately making enormous numbers of bad loans.
This had to be done with the knowledge of the bank CEOs.  One of the wonderful things about being a CEO is the ability to communicate to employees and agents without leaving an incriminating paper trail.  Sophisticated CEOs running large accounting control frauds can use compensation and business and personnel decisions to send three key messages:  (a) you will make a lot of money if you report exceptional results, (b) I don’t care whether the reports are true or the results of fraud, and (c) if you do not report exceptional results or if you block loans from being approved by insisting on effective underwriting and honest appraisals you will suffer and your efforts will be overruled.  The appraisers’ petition was done over the course of seven years.  Even if we assumed, contrary to fact, that the CEO did not originate the plan to inflate the appraisals the CEOs knew that they were making enormous numbers of fraudulent “liar’s” loans with fraudulent appraisals.  It is easy for a CEO to stop pervasive fraudulent lending and appraisals.  Where appraisal fraud was common it was done with the CEO’s support.

Conservative Media, Breitbart and Palin Throw Temper Tantrum on CBO Immigration Reform Facts

Concept High Speed Train wallpaper

Concept High Speed Train wallpaper

It was only a matter of time before Sarah Palin had a public meltdown,

Please take a look at the article linked below to understand how the amnesty bill the Senate passed yesterday is a sad betrayal of working class Americans of every ethnicity who will see their wages lowered and their upward mobility lowered too. And yet we still do not have a secured border. This Senate-approved amnesty bill rewards lawbreakers and won’t solve any problems – as the CBO report notes that millions of more illegal immigrants will continue to flood the U.S. in coming years.

That is the kind of incoherent rambling, mixed with an astounding lack of basic knowledge one would expect to hear from someone who never read a newspaper, a report from a respected economic policy center. Someone who has lived in a cave. But no, it is from someone that was a vice-presidential candidate just six years ago. Working class wages have been stagnant for years without an “amnesty” bills – Corporate profits hit all time high, wages hit all time low. And the middle-class has been losing ground since the 1980s.

I’m not going to do a fact by fact knock down of Palin or Breitbart’s Big Government or Breitbart’s Serial Lies and Distortions. MM has already done that, Conservative Media Misuse CBO Report To Attack Economic Benefits Of Immigration Reform. I just want to get to the effect on employment and wages, which Palin and Breitbart are so shrill about,

CBO: Wages Would Be “Slightly Lower” Over The First Decade But Higher By Next Decade. According to the CBO, the rapid increase in the numbers of workers would temporarily decrease wages but those wages would increase in the second decade of the legislation:

CBO’s central estimates also show that average wages for the entire labor force would be 0.1 percent lower in 2023 and 0.5 percent higher in 2033 under the legislation than under current law. Average wages would be slightly lower than under current law through 2024, primarily because the amount of capital available to workers would not increase as rapidly as the number of workers and because the new workers would be less skilled and have lower wages, on average, than the labor force under current law. However, the rate of return on capital would be higher under the legislation than under current law throughout the next two decades. [Congressional Budget Office, June 2013]

Real GNP Would Rise Overall By 2.4 Percent In 2023 And 4.5 Percent In 2033. According to the CBO report, real Gross National Product (GNP) could increase by as much as 4.8 percent in 2033 but would be greater by 2.4 percent in 2023 and 4.5 percent in 2033…

[  ]…Short-Term Increase In Unemployment Rate Due In Part To Immigration Reform Is Due To Expanding Workforce And Lack Of Occupations Available To Workers. According to the CBO report, the short-term increase in the unemployment rate would be in part due to the arrival of new immigrants who would not be able to fill the jobs demanded. Some workers would be forced to move into new fields in order to restore equilibrium which causes short-term unemployment. [Congressional Budget Office, June 2013]

CBO: Legislation Would Have “No Effect On Unemployment After 2020.” According to the CBO report, the immigration reform bill would have no effect on the unemployment rate after the year 2020. [Congressional Budget Office, June 2013]

One has to wonder why Breitbart links to other posts within it’s own site to back up the same fact free assertions instead of linking to the CBO report. yea but we’re going to be invaded by a wave of for’ners. Well, not really. They might represent a high of 4% of the population by 2033. So we’ll have plenty of time to adjust to the shock. Many of those people, because of immigration preferences will be high skilled workers – doctors, engineers, etc. MM also deals with the conservative lies about impact on Social Security. It is ironic that all of the consequences the Right brings up about this very modest immigration reform package passed by the Senate, that will never be passed into law anyway, are already occurring, but they can all be traced back to our crony corporate culture. Medicaid is strained because corporations like Walmart, McDonalds, Target, Applebees, and many other large companies pay such low wages and scarce health benefits. Yet, these very profitable companies are off-shoring as much as a trillion dollars in profits, Mindblowing Facts About America’s Tax-Dodging Corporations.

One last note. Conservatives especially, but some Democrats as well, have spread the myth of Reagan Democrats. This was supposedly some decisive moment in hsitory where a lot of blue-collar Democrats jumped to Right of center. Palin uses that myth in her FaceBook meltdown. It is myth Sarah, just like Game of Thrones is not real.

Debunking The Myths of Obamacare Rate Shock

Foggy River Bend wallpaper

Foggy River Bend wallpaper

Jonathan Cohn dives into the “rate shock” and Obamacare debate once again, Un-rigging the Rate-Shock Debate, The truth about what those healthy 25-year-olds will pay.

Still, I think many Obamacare critics and quite possibly some of its supporters don’t fully grasp the significance of one key factor: the subsidies.

To review: Obamacare reorganizes the market for people buying coverage on their own, so that they are no longer at the mercy of insurers who pick and choose the healthiest customers. This “non-group” market is pretty small, in relative terms: The vast majority of Americans will continue to get insurance from employers, Medicare, or Medicaid. But for insurers who sell non-group coverages, the rules for conducting business are changing dramaticaly. Under Obamacare, these insurers must provide all beneficiaries with a core set of benefits, for example, and they can’t deny coverage to people who have pre-existing conditions. Insurers are reacting to this by raising premiums. They really don’t have a choice, since they can no longer skimp on benefits or avoid taking on sick people.

If you want to make Obamacare look really bad, you stop telling the story right there. You imagine a young, healthy person who can get cheap coverage today, compare what he’d pay under Obamacare, and, then, declare that Obamacare has “doubled premiums.” But the real story doesn’t end there. And one big reason is that Obamacare also provides people with financial assistance. This assistance, which comes in the form of tax credits, has the opposite effect of the regulations. It makes insurance less expensive.

Conservatives and libertarians who just hate the Affordable Care Act have not been restrained by ethics in how they talk about Obamacare. They have made statements and illogical arguments that range from wacky exaggeration (Look to Communism to Explain Obamacare – Newsmax.com (Dec. 12, 2009) to stories that dig into new depths of depraved lying. While they have succeeded in convincing much of their base, that was to be expected. The unfortunate effect of the propaganda has to confuse many people who are not especially political and have a combination of personal financial worries and concerns about their health care, and how they’re going to pay for it. Before preparing for this post I read a few of what seemed like sincere concerns expressed in comment sections. With some people wanting to get what they heard was affordable insurance, but they’re afaird – see conservative disinformation – they they’ll be penalized for not having insurance, it will change their tax rate for the worse or they will not get the coverage they need. None of those things should concern anyone – with the possible exception of certain young adults who – when buying insurance on their own, may see slightly higher premiums. Though see bold above, much of that costs in around 85% of cases, will be offset by subsidies.

Not everybody can get these subsidies: They are based on income, so that people who earn more money get less help, and people with incomes of more than four times the poverty line get no assistance at all. (That’s roughly $46,000 a year for an individual and $94,000 a year for a family of four.) But the subsidies are a lot bigger and benefit way more people than many people realize. Most of the commentary I’ve seen doesn’t really convey that.

Let’s go back to former Romney adviser Avik Roy’s 25 year old nonsmoking male buying insurance on his own. If he is making poverty wages, say $15k a year ($7.50 hr, 40 hr week), his insurance will be free. I’m going to try to make the rest of this post as brief as possible, but I do recommend going over to the links to read the entire column and in one case, their full report. Claim About Obamacare Reform “Rate Shock” Is “Unfounded,” Urban Analysis Finds

But, as the Urban Institute paper points out, the large majority of young people affected by this will also become eligible for premium subsidies to help buy coverage in the new exchanges that health reform will create, or for Medicaid (if they live in a state that adopts health reform’s Medicaid expansion).  As a result, the age-rating change “would have very little impact on out-of-pocket rates paid by the youngest nongroup purchasers.”

Specifically, the study found:

92 percent of people ages 21 to 27 projected to buy an individual plan in an exchange in 2017 are expected to have incomes less than 300 percent of the poverty line, so they would be eligible either for Medicaid (if their state expands it) or for substantial subsidies to help pay premiums in the exchange.

Similarly, 88 percent of 18- to 20-year-olds projected to buy a plan in the exchange are expected to be eligible for premium subsidies or Medicaid.

The study also notes that among the estimated 951,000 young adults ages 21 to 27 who now buy coverage in the individual market and have incomes too high to qualify for premium subsidies or Medicaid, two-thirds are age 26 or younger and in families with access to employer coverage.

This is also an important point that Avik and others at Forbes and elsewhere are failing to note. Everyone who is under 27 can stay on their parent’s plan. Those plans are almost always lower cost group plans. Plus they will have the slightly expanded guaranteed benefits specified by the ACA. About that Urban Institute Study,

ACA will not cause rate shock

ACA will not cause rate shock

Quick-Take-on-Young-Adults-with-Current-Nongroup-Insurance-or-Uninsured

This chart shows that the people Forbes claims to care so much about will get some kind of tax break/subsidy. In the category of people who buy insurance on their own – non-group insured – maybe 11% may pay more. Though they too will get better benefits and cannot be denied coverage for preexisting conditions. Again, not perfect, but not the “disaster” or “rate shock” being predicted by partisans with an agenda that trumps the facts.

• Given the age-rating gradient HHS has adopted in regulations, premiums for people age 28 to 56 would be very similar regardless of the age rating limits chosen; premium variation across the rating scenarios is concentrated in the age groups of 21–27 and 57 and above.
• Although the average premiums insurers will charge for 21–27 year-olds are lower under 5:1 than under 3:1 rating, subsidies these purchasers receive will leave average out-of-pocket premiums almost identical under the two methods. Over 90 percent of young adults age 21–27 purchasing single nongroup coverage in the exchanges receive significant subsidies that limit their costs as a share of their income.

The ratio seems like wonky stuff, but it is just the limit the ACA places on premiums for the same benefits between young insured and older insured. This is so younger insured are not forced into paying for the higher health care costs of older insured. The full report is available at the link.

Does Rush Limbaugh listen to his own words, “Yes Virginia, There Are Death Panels”: Limbaugh Exploits Child Transplant Patient To Revive Obamacare Myth.

Rush Limbaugh rehashed the widely debunked myth that President Obama’s Affordable Care Act will result in death panels to smear Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, claiming that “Obamacare establishes death panels and right now Sebelius is it.”

Limbaugh used the case of Sarah Murnaghan, a 10-year-old girl awaiting a lung transplant, as evidence that “The government’s making the decision who lives and dies. That’s what Obamacare is.” Later, Limbaugh responded to a caller, saying, “Yes Virginia, there are death panels.”

So Limbaugh wants the gov’mint to intervene in the personal medical care of a patient. That would be something like a death panel would do. The ACA or Obamacare does not give the gov’mint authority to intervene in the diagnostic or medical procedures for individual patients. It could only do so if the government had the authority Limbaugh lies about. And good for Politico (I’m a little shocked that Politico is being so rational) for explaining how the government should not get involved in the case of this one girl because it would likely just mean the death of one or two other girls, Kathleen Sebelius at center of storm over child’s lung transplant

“I can’t imagine anything worse than one individual getting to pick who lives and who dies,” she said. Sebelius said putting Sarah next in line would disadvantage other young people who have also been waiting for transplants — including three in the same area. Helping one child could possibly hurt another.

Some experts agree that the lung allocation policy may need to be revisited; it has been for kidney and liver transplants. But they say no snap decisions should be made because of the media glare.

Should Sebelius step in and do something? No. She doesn’t have all the facts,” said NYU bioethicist Art Caplan. Acting under pressure from a media savvy family “or the noisiest person in line” is bad policy, he added.

[  ]…Caplan noted one reason that may give Sebelius pause: by moving someone up the list, someone else goes down. One child saved could mean another child dies. Sebelius, he noted, “doesn’t have all the information.”

So Limbaugh and other conservatives are the ones acting as Death Panels via media pressure to act on the politics of the moment, not the medical ethics which might save this one adorable little girl, but kill one or possibly three others. This is also a good post on the subject, Suddenly everyone is a backseat expert on medical ethics

Here’s the thing. There are many people waiting for lungs in Pennsylvania now, and few will get them. With so few lungs available, it’s important to come up with a fair, unbiased system that maximizes the potential to make good use of them while also not favoring anyone unfairly over anyone else. There is just no way that it ends well for everyone. When a lung becomes available, someone is going to get it, and others will not. That means one person gets a chance to live, and the rest likely die. It’s tragic, no matter how the decision is made.

Forbes and Former Romney Advisor Twist Costs of California Obamacare

Model Train wallpaper

Model Train wallpaper

First, who is Avik Roy, according to his little background biography box at Forbes:”The Apothecary, a blog about health care and entitlement reform, is edited by Avik Roy, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and a former health-care policy adviser to Mitt Romney. Avik also writes a weekly column on politics and policy for National Review.” Used to work for the guy who likely set a record for lies, distortions, half truths and egregious smears during a presidential election. He works for a radical conservative “think tank” that publishes bought and paid for research and writes for The National Review. The latter’s most recent triumph of truth and reason being the defense of a report claiming all Latinos have low IQs and saying the U.S. should fight on the side of murderous dictator Bashar al-Assad. Avik could still write the truth about something, but his background does speak to a less than stellar character. Rate Shock: In California, Obamacare to Increase Individual Health Insurance Premiums by 64-146%.

Here’s what happened. Last week, Covered California—the name for the state’s Obamacare-compatible insurance exchange—released the rates that Californians will have to pay to enroll in the exchange. “The rates submitted to Covered California for the 2014 individual market,” the state said in a press release, “ranged from two percent above to 29 percent below the 2013 average premium for small employer plans in California’s most populous regions.”

[  ]…The next cheapest plan, the “bronze” comprehensive plan, costs $205 a month. But in 2013, on eHealthInsurance.com (NASDAQ:EHTH), the average cost of the five cheapest plans was only $92. In other words, for the average 25-year-old male non-smoking Californian, Obamacare will drive premiums up by between 100 and 123 percent.

I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible. There are some number wonks who enjoy this sort of news, but arguing about numbers also bores many people. That last paragraph is Avik’s big gotcha. His, look what they’re not telling you that I discovered. There is a little problem with that:

1. I went over to the site where he got his numbers, used the 25 year old single male non-smoker ( which does leave out categories like married, over 25, insurance that is part of a group plan associated with one’s job – the kind of plan most people have). Right now that male can get a monthly plan for as low as $75 a month. One of the huge things he leaves out is what each plan offers in return for that premium. The lowest priced plans are generally awful – they have high deductibles, high out of pocket costs, a percent of any costs after the deductible and many have yearly cost ceilings – like they will not pay over $15k per year. They go as high as $230. Or think of it this way; if cars averaged $150, which would be the best car. The $75 car or the $230 car. One would think a uber conservative wonk like Avik would understand how the market works. That site is pretty easy to use if anyone would like to get an estimate on their insurance – just plug in your situation, single, married, family, age etc and you get quotes from at least ten companies. Obamacare has set a base standard for coverage. As those nefarious liberals said in the past, a few people may see their individual plans go up. Though there is no proof, none, and Avik offers none, that his 25 year old male buying individual insurance will positively  go up a hundred percent.

2. It seems odd that California would go up as much as 100% when Oregon rates and Massachusetts rates have gone down.

A Family Care Health Plans official on Thursday said the insurer will ask the state for even greater decrease in requested rates. CEO Jeff Heatherington says the company realized its analysts were too pessimistic after seeing online that its proposed premiums were the highest.

“That was my question when I saw the rates was, ‘Can we go in and refile these?'” he said. “We’re going to try to get these to a competitive range.”

( Avik also failed to take into account tax credits)…Another is higher premiums in the 2014 individual market, though for many people they’ll be offset by tax credits. The higher rates are because people with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage. Also, plans have to offer stronger benefits than they used to, leading to higher premiums.

The same is true for California in that category of insured – the single male getting their own insurance. For many people, though not all, those costs will be offset. We are arguing here with a person who makes a living pushing propaganda for the conservative movement, so of course he does not do subtle distinctions. I mentioned Massachusetts. Ezra Klein just reviewed the history of Romneycare in that state, which is basically the same thing as Obamacare, and he found that overall, insurance rates are down. Credit to Avik and Forbes for including some of the rebuttal he has received,

Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic argues that I’m being unkind to California (1) by not describing the mandates that Obamacare imposes on insurers in the individual market, and (2) not explaining that low-income people will be eligible for subsidies that protect them from much of the rate shock.

3. Cohn also wrote on that California report,  California Will Be Spared the Obamacare Apocalypse No sticker shock here—just affordable insurance premiums

It’s hard to provide a precise figure on premiums in the new exchange, which is officially called Covered California, because so much depends on individual circumstances, plan selection, and region. But you can get a sense of the prices by looking at what a 40-year-old single person would pay, on average, for the second cheapest “silver” plan on the new market. Such a plan, which would cover about 70 percent of a typical person’s medical expenses, would go for about $300 a month or around $3,600 a year. That compares favorably with what insurance costs today. The typical employer plan, for example, presently costs about $5,500 a year. Employer plans are generally more generous than the silver plans would be, so you’d expect them to be more expensive—but not by such a large margin.

( and this is important for people making in the minimum wage to a few dollars more)…Somebody with an income at 250 percent of the poverty line, or around $29,000 a year, would on average pay just $2400 a year in premiums for that same silver plan. Somebody with an income of 150 percent of the poverty line, or about $17,000 a year, would pay just around $700 a year. This person could also get a “bronze” policy, which comes with higher out-of-pocket expenses, for essentially no premiums at all.

I encourage everyone to read Avik, the California report and Cohn. The report is not that difficult to read through. It seems like they anticipated that people find insurance jargon less than easy to read and tried to make it clear. Yet because insurance is so dependent on individual circumstances, and you’ll get to pick among more insurance companies because of increased competition ( yes it is a capitalist oriented plan that will mean more income for insurance companies) that one can get side tracked in details. In some markets – some states and some regions, only one or two insurance companies have all the business. Obamacare increases the amount of competition, How Obamacare May Help Make Health Care Cheaper By Forcing Insurance Giants To Compete

Setting up the insurance marketplaces is one of the last major Obamacare provisions to take effect — and as the administration works to prepare for that enrollment period to begin in 2014, critics on both sides of the aisle have decried their efforts to implement the health reform law as a “train wreck.” While overhauling the nation’s current health care system certainly hasn’t been without some bumps along the way, Obamacare has not exactly been disastrous so far. The health reform law has already provided better preventative care for millions of previously-insured Americans, forced some health insurers to lower their premiums, and begun to encourage a greater emphasis on primary care.

Obamacare is not my dream, I would have rather seen the ability for everyone to opt into Medicare – a single payer plan. If like Avik, someone was paying me big bucks to find some ragged edges to Obamcare, I could certainly muddy the waters. The net effects of Obamacare are the average insured will see their premiums go down a bit, and millions more Americans will have access to health care. That is not perfect, but it is better than the status quo.

The Atlantic takes down the newest non-scandal, The Fake Story About the IRS Commissioner and the White House. White House records show Douglas Shulman signed in for 11 visits, not 157, between 2009 and 2012. What does it say about conservative “values” that they have to hide behind so much mendacity.