Sunday, May 4, 2014

Report: Just 2.4 Million HealthCare.gov Customers Paid Their First Premium!

http://dailycaller.com/ ^ | 05/3/2014 | n/a
Just 67 percent of Obamacare enrollees in federally-run marketplaces had paid their premiums by April 15, bringing the federally-run Obamacare enrollment tally to only 2.45 million, according to documents provided to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The Obama administration has been heavily promoting that 8 million Americans selected plans on Obamacare marketplaces, but has refused to release any data on how many purchased their plans. The 67 percent payment rate as of April 15 is markedly lower than the 80-85 percent that experts have predicted will end up paying their premiums. April 30 is the final day for most federal exchange customers to make their payments. Of those who have paid their premiums, just 25 percent fall within the highly desired young invincible range from age 18 to 34 — drastically lower than the administration’s minimum goal of 39 percent needed to avoid premium hikes next year. “In a sad reversal away from its vows of transparency, the Obama administration, from inside the Oval Office on down, has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep basic details of the health care law from the public,” said Michigan Republican Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the committee. “Tired of receiving incomplete pictures of enrollment in the health care law, we went right to the source and found that the administration’s recent declarations of success may be unfounded.” The Obama administration has been touting exchanges’ 8 million sign-ups far and wide, but have come under fire for refusing to release any data on the number of Americans that have actually paid for their health care plans.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailycaller.com ...

America Cannot Wait Until 2016: Barack Obama Must Go NOW!

Canada Free Press ^ | May 3, 2014 | John Lillpop
With the nation, his presidency, and the American form of self-governance under siege, is it not time for Barack Hussein Obama to face reality and spare the nation yet another two + years of grief? From the use of the IRS to persecute political enemies, to reckless spending which added trillions of dollars to the bloated and dangerous federal deficit, to deliberate lies about a flawed Marxist health care program repugnant to most Americans, to abandonment of border security, national sovereignty, and refusal to enforce immigration law, and to inept, naive mismanagement of foreign affairs, has not Barack Obama already done enough damage to America? On top of all of that, e-mails produced in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit reveal that the Obama administration withheld evidence concerning the Benghazi slaughter of 2012, which cost four American diplomats their lives, and which may have been covered up just weeks before the 2012 presidential election in order to protect Obama’s foolish campaign claim that Al-Qaeda had been decimated! Under the circumstances, is it not time for the American people to demand, “Enough is enough!”
(Excerpt) Read more at canadafreepress.com ...

Will 80% Income Taxes and a New 10% Wealth Tax Fix Our Economy? (Only in liberal logic)

Townhall.com ^ | May 4, 2014 | Hunter Lewis
The economist offering this “solution” has been feted by the Obama White House economic staff, the International Monetary Fund, and by many of the people running world economies today. His ideas are definitely “in play.” Thomas Piketty, the forty-two year old French economist whose book, Capital in the Twenty-first Century, became an overnight sensation and unexpected bestseller, is being hailed as the new Keynes, an economic thinker who can lead us out of our current economic malaise, just as Keynes is alleged by his followers to have lead us out of the Great Depression. Keynes’s keynote book, The General Theory, is loaded with economic theory. There are only two pages of data in that book, and Keynes dismisses the scant data he cites as “improbable.” By contrast, Piketty’s new book, Capital in the Twenty-first Century, is stuffed with data. Indeed Piketty considers himself a successor to the economist whose data Keynes dismissed, Simon Kuznets. Almost everyone admits that Piketty’s theoretical case is weak — but, his supporters say, look at all this data. You can’t argue with this mass of historical evidence! Let’s take a closer look. Piketty’s primary argument is that wealth (which tends to be concentrated in few hands) grows faster than the economy, so that those with a lot of wealth keep getting richer relative to everyone else. This is supposed to be an inescapable feature of capitalism. (If this sounds familiar, it should be. It echoes both Marx and Keynes, although we should remember that Keynes mocked most of what Marx said as “hocus-pocus.”) So what then is the evidence that wealth has grown faster than the economy? We’ll start with the chart below, adapted from Piketty’s book. The top line is return on capital and the bottom line is the economic growth rate. The top line is supposed to be how the rich are faring and the bottom line how the average person is faring. Note that the lines on the far right are just a projection of Piketty’s, and not actual history. Piketty 1 This chart is astonishing for many reasons. First of all, it suggests that capital earned a 4.5 percent or higher return for the years 0-1800 C.E. This is a crazy number. If the human race had started out with only $10 in year 1 and compounded it at 4.5 percent a year for any series of 1,800 years, by now we would have much, much more than a trillion times the entire world’s wealth today, which is estimated at $241 trillion by Credit Suisse. The 4.5 percent or higher number is also crazy because Piketty is right that there was negligible economic growth prior to the industrial revolution, and such high returns for the rich are just not consistent with so little growth. The truth is that rich people for most of those years were interested in spending or hiding their wealth, not in investing it, because wealth out in the open was likely to be stolen, if not by bandits, then by government. If you look closely at the more modern part of the chart and ignore the projection into an unknown future, you will see that the lines do not support Piketty’s thesis. His idea that the rich will always necessarily get richer relative to everyone else under capitalism is not supported by the data he presents. The next chart shows the share of wealth of the 10 percent richest in Europe over time (dark-blue, top line), the share of wealth of the 10 percent richest Americans (the light-green, second line from top), the share of wealth of the top 1 percent Europeans (the light-blue, third line from top), and the share of wealth of the top 1 percent Americans (the dark-green, fourth line from top). This chart doesn’t support Piketty’s thesis either. Yes the share of the rich has grown since 1970, but only after falling previously. Piketty 2 The next chart is one that I have commented on in an earlier article. It shows the income of the top 10 percent in the US over time as a percent of all income. Income in this case includes capital gains which arguably are not true income, but rather the exchange of one asset for another, and excludes government transfer payments which make a considerable difference to the results. Even so, once again we do not see an inexorable rise in the income of higher earners over time, far from it. Piketty 3 What we actually see is two peaks for high earners, right before the crash of 1929 and again before the crash of 2008. These are the two great bubble eras in which government printed too much new money, which led to a false and unsustainable prosperity. These were also crony capitalist eras, as rich people with government connections used the new money to become even richer or benefited from other government favors. Unfortunately world central banks have blown up yet another bubble in capital markets following the crash of 2008, which has again brought the high earners share back to 50 percent in 2012, based on data that became available after the book’s publication. This newest bubble too will eventually burst and bring the share back toward the 40 percent level of 1910, the start of the chart. Perhaps the most astonishing claim in Piketty’s book is that government bureaucracies need to be reformed so that they can make most efficient use of all the new income and wealth taxes that are recommended. The assumption is that almost complete government control of the economy would be best, but that the machinery needs some fine tuning. Economist Ludwig von Mises demonstrated almost 100 years ago that a state managed economy will simply not work, because among other problems it cannot set workable prices. Only a consumer run economy can do that. Socialists have been trying to disprove Mises’s thesis ever since, but have never succeeded. Piketty should at least read Mises. A state managed economy is also unable to save and invest, especially invest with intelligence. This is crucial, because it is quality, not quantity of investment that matters most for job creation. Piketty says that taxing away the savings of private individuals is a better choice than alternative ways of controlling inequality such as communism, protectionism, or capital controls. But none of these approaches will control inequality; they will just create poverty for everyone, rich and poor alike, without ending inequality. A significant wealth tax would be self-defeating from the start. It would destroy the stock, bond, and real estate markets. With many sellers and few buyers, wealth would simply evaporate. Read more at Against Crony Capitalism.org

Obamacare Puts Economy on Voters' Minds

Real Clear Politics ^ | May 4 ,2014 | Salena Zito
This is not the first time a president has expressed a rather unpresidential amount of glee over a personal vindication of sorts. Sometimes such arrogance goes unchecked; sometimes it gets checked off in the ballot box. Historically in Washington, presidential hubris is viewed as an entitlement of the office – although outside Washington, where the view is not seen through the confines of the political bubble, it usually rubs people the wrong way. The numbers for Obamacare in the survey are equally staggering: A majority of respondents said the law’s implementation has been worse than they expected, the cost of health care is increasing rather than decreasing, and the quality of care is getting worse rather than better. Some Democrats insist they are seeing Obamacare lessen as a boat-anchor on their political fortunes. In the isolation of their cloakrooms that may seem to be the case, but what they fail to understand is that Obamacare, at its core, is an economic problem. It was not a slowdown created in a vacuum. And it wasn’t just bad winter weather that caused this stunning grind; constant news reports of January, February and March, detailing Obamacare’s impact on the middle class, strongly contributed to the economy’s lack of growth. People know something that political strategists have failed to calculate: Policy cancellations, premium increases and plan changes are not finished; they’re just getting started, and their impact will roll through the country all summer. Many people, who haven't seen any increases yet, eventually will – and they will be floored when they discover how much health care will cost. Don’t think that won’t affect their votes in the fall.
(Excerpt) Read more at realclearpolitics.com ...

Lt. Col. Ralph Peters: Barack Obama is an “Outright Coward” [VIDEO]

Conservative Tribune ^ | May 4 2014 | Conservative Tribune
The Benghazi scandal has exploded this week over new information that points directly to the White House as perpetuating a coverup of the nature of the attack and the criminal negligence on the part of Obama in securing our personnel. We know that security was cut by 70% in the days leading up to the attack and that Ambassador Stevens’s numerous calls for help went unanswered by Hillary Clinton. The general who had jurisdiction over Benghazi this past week testified that we may have been able to save the lives of the four Americans who died that night, and at the very least we should have tried. Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a staple on Fox News, said that Obama is an “outright coward” for his gross dereliction of duty and failure to have the military go in and try to rescue our personnel. From Breitbart: Friday on Fox News Channel’s “America’s Newsroom” while discussing the lack of a military rescue mission for the American’s trapped in Benghazi during the long siege on the consulate in Benghazi, Fox News strategic analyst Lt. Col. Ralph Peters told co-host Bill Hemmer President Barack Obama was an “outright coward”… “You do every single thing you can to rescue those Americans and you don’t say we don’t know,” Peters said. “We failed, the Administration failed. First of all this is part of a pattern for President Obama. he has no courage. It is whether it is Benghazi or Syria, Putin, for the first time in our history, we’ve had great presidents, terrible presidents, this is the first time we have had president who is an outright coward.”
(Excerpt) Read more at conservativetribune.com ...

Progressive Policy: No Progress, Anywhere

Townhall.com ^ | May 4, 2014 | John Ransom


David206 wrote: Again .. You get the facts wrong ! NOT ONE DROP OF KEY STONE is for the U.S.A. All the oil is spoken for by Asian countries ALL OF IT !!!!! I fact if the pipe line is built , we will see an INCREASE of Gasoline and Diesel of at least 40 cents. Why? I'd tell ya but go look it up yourself I did.--Another Oil Train Explodes in Town; River Contaminated: Who Wants Keystone Now? Dear Comrade 206, Again…you have your punctuation wrong! Oh yes, another proponent of Common Core math. Question: If Johnny has 18 billion barrels of oil, and Mary adds 2 billion barrels of oil, how much can we tax the racist white men for their exploitation of ancient fossil burial grounds, black people and the transgendered? Answer Key: At least $.40 more! There is only one group of people standing in the way of this country, this economy and this people making progress. And that group is Progressives. The facts are not on your side. This is the same math that has brought us a GDP print just short of contraction for the first quarter of 2014 at 0.1%. And since it subject to revision, there's a possibility that we may have had a contraction-- that is a recession, albeit short-lived so far-- in GDP when the statistical dust finally settles. As the Washington Post points out in their Wonk Blog, construction spending, which is a major portion of GDP, has likely been overestimated. And the same can be said for retail sales, which was revised downwards. “Do the math,” writes the Post, not known to be unfriendly to whatever bogus number the administration puts out, “and you’ve got an economy that contracted by 0.1 percent in the first quarter -- and that might be the optimistic case. Barclays economist Cooper Howes said his calculations show a 0.2 percent decline. In either case, it would represent the worst performance for the recovery in three years.” This is the same math that allows the administration to claim 8 million people signed up for Obamacare, when in fact, only about 2.5 million people paid premiums to actually complete their “sign-up.” When WorldCom used this kind of math, Bernie Ebbers got 25 years. Were I running for Congress or the United States Senate, my platform would be to amend every piece of legislation with the final words “All portions of the above legislation shall apply equally to the government of the United States of America and its employees.” Because this the same math that has unemployment plunging to 6.3%, which is just short of “full employment” according to the Federal Reserve Bank, yet employment underutilization is growing not shrinking. Real unemployment is more like 23%. As we noted on Ransom Notes Radio, one in five households is absent a member that has a job. Please explain to me exactly how that is anything like full employment? Punctuation is optional. Indisbelief wrote: Just throwing oil out on the market will not bring down the price. Keeping the oil here at home and causing a local glut will keep the price down. Just as the situation with Steel City. Oil used to flow from Texas to steel City but then Keystone was built for the Canadian oil. The oil backed up at Steele City and caused a glut. The price of fuel was .40- .60 cents a gallon cheaper than the rest of the country. Now that the keystone from steel City, through Cushing, to Texas has been reversed there is no more glut at Steele City and no more depressed prices. The Bakken oil will never be destined for U.S. market--Another Oil Train Explodes in Town; River Contaminated: Who Wants Keystone Now? Dear Comrade InDisNeyLand, Please step away from the bong now. Seems like more and more of the Townhall trolls will work for weed. I don't really understand your point, Comrade Dis. But then of course neither do you. The Keystone pipeline has not been built. So I'm guessing that you're talking about some other pipeline that was built. Let's pretend that you were, just for the sake of reality therapy. So let's establish your premise, as hard as it may be: 1) keeping oil here at home will lower prices; 2) not keeping oil here at home will raise prices and 3) shale oil will not stay here at home. I don't really care about prices as long as the product is an American product. But I will observe this: currently oil prices are determined by a cartel. If America develops its energy resources, as I have written extensively about since joining TownhallFinance, the energy balance of power switches to the United States worldwide. Don't just take my word for it. In December 2012, PwC issued a report out of their London based branch that essentially backed up the data that I have produced regarding GDP growth, employment and energy production. PwC estimates that if shale oil is fully developed, US Gross Domestic Product could grow an additional 2-5 percent per year --that’s $300 to $800 billion in extra growth…every year…compounded-- greatly reduce the influence of OPEC, lower global energy prices, and ---with NatGas thrown in-- add at least a million jobs to manufacturing that are now just going to energy costs. That means- I’m saying this, not PwC- that we could significantly reduce the deficit, without drastically cutting benefits for a generation of Americans who have planned to count on those benefits. It means-- I’m saying this, not PwC-- we don’t have to raise taxes. Actually, it means we could go to some sort of a simplified tax code, like the fair or flat tax. Along the way, the U.S. would create at least 10 million new U.S. jobs in ten years, plus keep an average of $500 billion per year here at home yearly. Over twenty years that would be an additional $12.5 trillion in GDP even at a modest 2 percent growth rate. At 4 percent, the numbers are closer to $15.5 trillion. And that's the reason why I'm not really worried about the price of oil in this scenario. By keeping the money here at home, it adds to our GDP, our national income, and here is the coolest part: that money compounds throughout our entire economy. Do think the average Saudi worries about the price of oil? Yes they do. They want it high. Ask yourself “why?”

Obama's Claim of ‘Economic Immobility’ Called a Myth

NewsMax email ^ | 5/3/14 | Newsmax
President Barack Obama delivered a speech in December decrying what he called the nation's "diminished levels of upward mobility in recent years."

And a Gallup poll late last year found that just 52 percent of Americans believe there is "plenty of opportunity" to get ahead, down from 81 percent in 1998.

But an article on the Reason Foundation's website headlined "The Myth of Economic Immobility" points to a recent report from five economists, published via the National Bureau of Economic Research, that failed to find decreasing economic mobility.

"Contrary to the popular perception," they wrote, "intergenerational mobility" has remained "extremely stable" for Americans born between 1971 and 1993.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.newsmax.com ...

'A Vocal Segment of the Right'

American Thinker ^ | May 4, 2014 | Clarice Feldman
There is an incredibly incestuous relationship between the media and the administration. Because of this, and because of the media’s puppy love crush on Obama and desire to see him re-elected, the seven-hour-long slaughter of the ambassador and three defenders at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi and the administration’s role in facilitating it and covering up their fecklessness never received the attention it deserved. Secretary of State Clinton’s refusal to provide the necessary security teams the ambassador repeatedly begged for, the murky arms dealings going on there, fallout from the unnecessary removal of the then-compliant Libyan head Kaddafi, and the refusal to send in troops to aid the beleaguered U.S. forces were all brushed aside by means of a dog-and-pony show about a barely viewed cockamamie video whose producer was quickly bundled off to jail before the paparazzi. Hillary, the president and even Colin Powell made appearances as the coffins of the 4 Americans slaughtered there arrived home and disingenuous expressions of sympathy and concern were uttered. All of this was a cheap show for the dummies. No one with any sense at all believed the official explanation even after Susan Rice -- who had no operational part of the events nor firsthand knowledge of them -- was trotted out with the fantastical story. Efforts to get to the bottom of this have been routinely stymied and Congressional committees stonewalled by the malfeasants and their staffs. Judicial Watch, less constrained by law than the committees, finally got the smoking gun emails which establish beyond peradventure of doubt that the administration covered up the truth to boost Obama’s re-election.

(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

It’s An Illusion: Here Are the REAL Unemployment Numbers

SHTF Plan ^ | May 2, 2014 | Mac Slavo
Mainstream financial pundits are falling over themselves today following a report from the Labor Department indicating that the national unemployment rate has fallen yet again, this time to just 6.3%.  The Associated Press, whose report on the new rate is being distributed to news services around the country, says this is “the strongest evidence to date that the economy is picking up.” They cite numerous economic experts, claiming that the U.S. economy is now experiencing vigorous job growth, which they say is confirmation that the economic health of our nation is bouncing back from a rough winter. In fact, they mention bad “weather” and “winter” eight times in a single article just to make sure we understand that the problems we’ve seen over the last few months were seasonal.  But, as is generally the case with mainstream assessments and government statistics as of late, the devil’s in the details. The drop in the unemployment rate from March’s 6.7 percent came as the agency’s survey of households showed the labor force shrank by more the 800,000 in April. The participation rate, which indicates the share of working-age people in the labor force, decreased to 62.8 percent, matching the lowest level since March 1978, from 63.2 percent a month earlier. Thus, while U.S. companies added some 288,000 jobs last month, three times as many people were dropped from the official unemployment statistics and are no longer counted in the labor pool. At this rate we’re well on our way to achieving the Communist dream of 0% unemployment before the end of the President’s term. Karl Denninger looks even deeper into the report at Market Ticker and points out that, while jobs were created last month, the claims of vigorous job growth are not even close. Uh oh. Yes, that headline number looks good. But April is usually good, and that’s where the rubber meets the road; on an annualized basis we actually saw deceleration. Funny how that works, isn’t it? That’s right. That little down-hook in the above chart says it all. We’re creating jobs at a slower pace now than at the same time last year. Contrarian economist John Williams suggests the the government’s numbers are not even close. At his web site ShadowStats.com Williams calculates the rate of employment using the same methods that were used prior to 1994 when they were officially defined out of existence by bureaucrats looking to pad the numbers. According to those numbers, we’re looking at an unemployment rate of over 23%. As the above chart shows, nearly one in four Americans are without work. That’s quite a disconnect considering the government’s numbers are off by about 265%! Moreover, how is it possible that our economy is officially growing, while everyone in 20% of all American family households is unemployed? According to shocking new numbers that were just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20 percent of American families do not have a single person that is working. So when someone tries to tell you that the unemployment rate in the United States is about 7 percent, you should just laugh. One-fifth of the families in the entire country do not have a single member with a job. On top of that, nearly 50 million people are actively receiving food assistance – fully one in six Americans. Yet, the stock market hit all time highs just this week. Something isn’t right, especially if you take a look at the following chart which shows that America’s leading companies showed nearly zero earnings growth in the first quarter of 2014: So, while the experts from the government and private business bloviate over the rigorous health of our economy and the success of President Obama’s policies, it’s important to keep in mind that they are doing their damnedest to bury the real story. That’s because reality isn’t a fairy tale and as we have noted on numerous occasions it will end with the total detonation of the U.S. economy and financial markets, likely leading to a variety of serious issues that include a collapse of our currency and widespread impoverishment of the majority of people in this country. What will follow will be nothing short of a total collapse of our way of life, so much so that Richard Duncan, author of The New Great Depression, suggests our entire civilization is in serious trouble: If this credit bubble pops the depression is going to be so severe that I honestly don’t think our civilization can survive it. When it does finally buckle, as noted by well known investor Doug Casey, it will be unstoppable and the speed of it will leave most people waking up to the danger after it has already happened. How long the illusions will continue is anybody’s guess, but it should be clear that what we’re seeing from our government and their propaganda arm in the media is nothing but conjecture. When the trick is finally revealed a whole lot of people are going to feel quite foolish. Please Spread The Word And Share This Post

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C-Span’s Benghazi Omerta Day 2.

Omerta - A rule or code that prohibits speaking or divulging information about certain activities, especially the activities of a criminal organization.

That old mafia term certainly applies to the general media blackout of all things that could impossibly affect the public aura of Obama.   I haven’t bothered to determine when the House of Representatives last announced the formation of a special committee to investigate the executive branch, but it is without question a newsworthy event, unless one is part of the outer ring of Obama’s defense, part of the hometown political cabal that will defend him at all costs. That is the unspoken purpose of C-Span’s daily “Washington Journal,” probably the last Leftist call-in show with any ratings. Yesterday on Day 1, the morning after the special investigative committee announcement, this video journal of America’s capital city asked viewers, “What is your view of the death penalty?” Today’s Special Committee Avoiding question is, “Your View on the Beltway Culture.” Omerta. It is past time to Freep, and Freep heavily, C-Span. Do it. There are two phone lines:
Independents: 202-585-3882
Republicans: 202-585-3881.