“For example, one big reason that our rates are skyrocketing is that it is becoming illegal for CareFirst and all other health insurance companies to deny someone with a preexisting condition. What insurance provider in their right mind would cover someone new who say, just contracted flesh eating bacteria, for example? It’s the equivalent of a home insurance provider accepting a new customer whose house was already burning down. People can now pay a small fine/tax, and not get insurance until they get a major health problem and then the insurance provider has to accept them at the same rate that everyone else is paying. This is just plain stupid; it violates the entire point of insurance and will result in people gaming the system.”
“Aides and lawmakers in both parties fear that staffers — especially low-paid junior aides — could be hit with thousands of dollars in new health care costs, prompting them to seek jobs elsewhere. Older, more senior staffers could also retire or jump to the private sector rather than face a big financial penalty.”
IF TRUTH-IN-LABELING rules applied to Congress, the proposed law giving states the power to collect sales tax from out-of-state online retailers would be named the Marketplace Unfairness Act… .
For mammoth retailers like Amazon or Walmart, the prospect of juggling “a few thousand local tax rates” may not be an intolerable burden. For countless smaller online businesses, however, it could be the kiss of death. And what happens when the technology turns out not to be quite as cheap and easy as advertised? Writing in the Wall Street Journal last summer, Overstock.com’s chairman/CEO, Patrick Byrne, and president, Jonathan Johnson, warned against complacency:
“It took our team of 20-30 experienced IT professionals 9,412 hours over five months to install, test and integrate the software that let us properly calculate use tax in one additional state. The annual software license fees for the first year, the internal and external development and installation costs, and the cost of collateral hardware and software came to $1.3 million. And that’s just for one state.”
Whatever inequities exist in the current system, the proposed legislation would be much worse. There’s a crucial reason why merchants can only be required to collect taxes for states in which they are physically present: Anything else would be taxation without representation. States must not be allowed to reach beyond their borders, imposing tax obligations on retailers who had no vote or voice in creating those obligations, no political recourse, no opportunity to be heard. Against such unfairness, Americans once fought a revolution. A craving for revenue is no reason to forget that.
“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”
“When you print money, the money does not flow evenly into the economic system. It stays essentially in the financial service industry and among people that have access to these funds, mostly well-to-do people. It does not go to the worker. I just mentioned that it doesn’t flow evenly into the system.
Now from time to time it will lift the NASDAQ like between 1997 and March 2000. Then it lifted home prices in the U.S. until 2007. Then it lifted the commodity prices in 2008 until July 2008 when the global economy was already in recession. More recently it has lifted selected emerging economies, stock markets in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, up four times from 2009 lows and now the U.S.
So we are creating bubbles and bubbles and bubbles. This bubble will come to an end. My concern is that we are going to have a systemic crisis where it is going to be very difficult to hide. Even in gold, it will be difficult to hide.”
In a report that could prove a big political headache for the administration, the Society of Actuaries estimated Tuesday that insurers will have to pay out an average of 32 percent more for claims on individual health policies under the Affordable Care Act, a cost likely to be passed on to consumers.
While some areas will see declines in medical claims costs, the report predicts the majority of states will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets, where people purchase coverage directly from insurers rather than get coverage from employers.
By 2017, the estimated increase would be 62 percent for California, about 80 percent in Ohio and Wisconsin, more than 20 percent for Florida and 67 percent for Maryland. Much of the reason for the higher claims costs is that sicker people are expected to join the pool, the report said.
The costs associated with this study don’t even touch the tax hikes associated with the legislation. Let’s also not forget that the Department of Health and Human Services is projected to be the federal government’s first trillion-dollar-a-year department. All of this brings back that famous Thomas Sowell quote, “It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.”
The new policy will alarm hundreds of thousands of British expatriates who live and have transferred their savings, proceeds from house sales and other assets to eurozone bank accounts in countries such as France, Spain and Italy.
The euro fell on global markets after Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch chairman of the eurozone, announced that the heavy losses inflicted on depositors in Cyprus would be the template for future banking crises across Europe.
“If there is a risk in a bank, our first question should be ‘Okay, what are you in the bank going to do about that? What can you do to recapitalise yourself?’,” he said.
“If the bank can’t do it, then we’ll talk to the shareholders and the bondholders, we’ll ask them to contribute in recapitalising the bank, and if necessary the uninsured deposit holders.”
Ditching a three-year-old policy of protecting senior bondholders and large depositors, over €100,000, in banks, Mr Dijsselbloem argued that the lack of market contagion surrounding Cyprus showed that private investors could now be hit to pay for bad banking debts.
Without a deal, Cyprus’s banking system would have collapsed and the country could have become the first to crash out of the European single currency.
Swiftly backed by euro zone finance ministers, the plan will spare the Mediterranean island a financial meltdown by winding down the largely state-owned Popular Bank of Cyprus, also known as Laiki, and shifting deposits below 100,000 euros to the Bank of Cyprus to create a “good bank”.
Deposits above 100,000 euros in both banks, which are not guaranteed under EU law, will be frozen and used to resolve Laiki’s debts and recapitalize Bank of Cyprus through a deposit/equity conversion.