Saturday, November 29, 2014
Maybe this will wake up people to the injustice of taxing people for not buying something. Since when is a contract between buyer and seller still a valid contract when there is compulsion involved? "Hey buddy, buy this or else." That's not really buying anything. That's extortion. Similar compulsion in this case if recognized by the courts could be used as a precedent to overturn the individual mandate. Whoever thought George H. W. Bush's ADA would get us to that?
[R]equiring medical testing violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
That 1990 law, according to employment-law attorney Joseph Lazzarotti of Jackson Lewis P.C. in Morristown, N.J., largely prohibits requiring medical tests as part of employment.
"You can't make medical inquiries unless it's consistent with job-necessity, or part of a voluntary wellness program," he said.
The lawsuits are based on the view that it is no longer voluntary if employees face up to $4,000 in penalties for non-participation, loss of insurance or even their jobs.
|"King Kong" 1933|
Your average annual nominal return from the S&P500 with dividends fully reinvested comes to 4.61% from October 1999 through October 2014, per Ironman.
Your average annual nominal return from the Vanguard Intermediate Term Bond Index Fund (VBIIX) for the fifteen years to 11/28/14 has been 6.48%, per Morningstar.
That's a 40% better rate of return from bonds than stocks on average.
"Hey, what's this show about, anyway?
"I don't know — they say it's some big gorilla.
"Oh, geez — ain't we got enough of them in New York?"
Friday, November 28, 2014
Gold just cannot fall fast enough to keep up with the decline in oil prices. As a consequence, oil remains the better investment relative to gold, but you'd be crazy to buy either in this environment, in my arrogant opinion. You might as well try to catch a falling knife, or two of them.
Oil is plunging on increased supply in tandem with flagging demand, which has been flat to barely rising in the US. Gold has been suffering price declines as the dollar ends trade close to its 52-week high of 88.44 at 88.22.
From a Breitbart story, here:
Still another witness told police he had “already told investigators from Saint Louis County Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he was not willing to formally discuss ... the incident, but he was willing to discuss his fears.” He said “threats… had been made to the residents of Canfield Green Apartment Complex. He said notes had been posted on various apartment buildings threatening people not to talk to the police, and gunshots were still being fired every night.” He said “there were at least 10 other people who were outside and saw exactly what happened. He was not willing to provide names of any of those individuals.” He said Wilson told Brown “no less than 10 times to get down” while they were both on the street. He said Brown never had hands raised. ...
At least 12 witnesses claimed that Brown was shot from behind, which was factually false. At least 16 witnesses said Brown’s hands were up when he was shot, which was factually false. One witness said Wilson used a Taser, then a gun: false. Another said she witnessed the events, but admitted she was blocks away when the events occurred. Still another witness said there were two officers involved in the shooting, and admitted she couldn’t tell what she’d seen and what she’d read about the case. One witness admitted in testimony to changing his story to “coincide with what really happened.” Another witness said that he was friends with Brown, and that Brown was shot while on his knees. When informed that such a story contradicted all physical evidence, the man admitted that he had not seen the shooting and then asked if he could leave because he was “uncomfortable.”
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
The ratio is effectively unchanged since the first estimate of third quarter GDP, falling from 1.421 to 1.419.
$24.9126 trillion market cap on 9/30/14 divided by $17.5552 trillion current dollar GDP = 1.419.
The ratio soared to 1.715 at the end of 1999, was .912 at the end of 2002 and fell to .740 at the end of 2008.
The market remains very expensive.
3Q2014 GDP revised up to 3.9% on surge in net exports (refined petroleum) and government spending (war on ISIS)
Today's second estimate of 3Q2014 real GDP surprised to the upside, rising to 3.9% from 3.5%. Consensus estimates had GDP declining to 3.3%.
Personal Consumption Expenditures contributed 1.51 points, hardly much above the average contribution for the three years 2011-2013 at 1.48. The people are spending about the same.
Likewise the contribution from Gross Private Domestic Investment was only slightly below average at .85 points. During the prior three years this had contributed to GDP annually on average just .94 points. So you could say investment activity is steady to declining.
No, the major contributions to GDP came from the huge reversals in net exports and government consumption expenditures. The former has contributed on average just .08 points annually 2011-2013, the latter -.45 annually. That's right, the net export category has been entirely inconsequential to GDP for the last three years, and that in a heretofore moribund dollar environment, while government spending has actually been a subtraction from annual GDP because the GOP takeover of the US House in 2010 arrested spending in its tracks.
But in today's report net exports contributed .78 points and government spending .76 points as 1) refined petroleum exports from the US shale boom help to pressure oil prices lower, making imported oil cheaper (imports thus are less of a subtraction from GDP at the same time), and as 2) the war on ISIS in Iraq and Syria ramps up military spending. Without those contributions to GDP and the other things being equal, growth was more like 2.36%.
Same old same old, except the dollar hit a 52 week high yesterday at 88.44. How long exports can help us in this rising dollar environment is anyone's guess, as is the tolerance of the American people for more spending on yet another foreign war.
Monday, November 24, 2014
In 1954 the Eisenhower Administration employed 750 agents who rounded up and deported 1.1 million Mexicans illegally in the country in what was called Operation Wetback. It took them one year.
With full-time employment in the United States still flat on its back with 3 million fewer working full-time than at the 2007 peak at 123.2 million, there is a plentiful number of people here which could be usefully employed at the federal level in the effort to enforce current immigration law and help secure the border.
Those who say we could never round up 11 million illegals fail to appreciate that the ratio of the agents to the deported in 1954 was 1:1,466. A deportation force of 7,500 Americans employed by the federal government, therefore, should be able to round up and deport 11 million illegals today. And if you paid them $50,000 each, the cost to the Treasury would be less than a half billion dollars. Peanuts in a $4 trillion dollar government.
We just have to want to do it.
But why stop with just 11 million illegals when there may be as many as 30 million here illegally, from places like Ireland, France, Poland and you name it? Triple the budget to employ 23,000 and you could really start to clean the place up and restore law and order, once and for all, and JOBS.
We owe it to ourselves.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
The trend beating every year since 2008 began in April, so that makes 6 straight months of improving mobility levels on American roadways. Prior to April the up-trend was preceded by a number of months only beating 2012 and 2013 levels.
The level was 2.982 trillion miles in September 2014. In 2008 it was 2.989 trillion.
The peak year was 2007 at 3.035 trillion miles. The trough year was 2011 at 2.948 trillion miles.
We are slowly but convincingly climbing out of the depression in American travel in 2014.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Is This The Real Reason Obama Announced the Order in Vegas?
President Obama today is playing golf at the Shadow Creek golf club in North Las Vegas, reputed to be the nicest golf course in Vegas. It’s 55 degrees and mostly sunny.
"The object of government in a tyranny is the good of one man only." -- Aristotle
Hm, funny how that happens.
Up to 30,000 missing emails sent by former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner have been recovered by the IRS inspector general, five months after they were deemed lost forever.
The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) informed congressional staffers from several committees on Friday that the [Lois Lerner] emails were found among hundreds of “disaster recovery tapes” that were used to back up the IRS email system. ...
In June [IRS Commissioner] Koskinen told Congress the emails were probably lost for good because the disaster recovery tape holds onto the data for only six months. He said even if the IRS had sought the emails within the six-month period, it would have been a complicated and difficult process to produce them from the tapes. ...
There are 250 million emails on the tapes that will be reviewed. Officials said it is likely they will find missing emails from other IRS officials who worked under Lerner and who said they suffered computer crashes [too].
Friday, November 21, 2014
In case you missed it in Obama's Constitutional Law 101, the Congress not the president sets the rules on naturalization
Thursday, November 20, 2014
... by repudiating Obama's executive action, 8PM tonight.
Blending dental and medical plans let the administration assert that enrollment was more than 7 million. The move also partly obscured the attrition of more than 1 million in the number of people enrolled in medical insurance.
News networks to help Obama by not broadcasting his unconstitutional plan to break the immigration law
There's no sense in riling up the people unnecessarily over such a trivial issue, after all. Note that this blackout includes so-called conservative Fox News Network, which is co-opted by its open-borders libertarian owner, Rupert Murdoch (Australian-American naturalized in 1985).
"If anyone assumes the government by fraud [hello ObamaCare] this is a tyranny. ... To preserve a tyranny ... guard against everything that gives rise to high spirits." -- Aristotle
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Obama to throw strapped Americans under the bus and help illegals instead: Too bad what's going to happen in Vegas isn't going to stay in Vegas
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Some Adviser Gruber who Obama said "never worked on our staff" visited White House and Obama 21 times since 2009
The Hill, here, placing Gruber multiple times at the scene of the crime:
MIT professor Jonathan Gruber held a series of high-level meetings with administration officials beginning in 2009 and extending through June of this year.
During the height of 2009’s ObamaCare debate, Gruber met repeatedly with former Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, National Economic Council Director Larry Summers, and Jeanne Lambrew, the deputy director of the White House Office of Health Reform, among other officials. He also participated in a meeting of economists with President Obama.
In subsequent trips, Gruber received tours of the West Wing and the residence, and had breakfast at the White House mess, an exclusive West Wing cafeteria. He also met with Jason Furman, who now chairs the Council of Economic Advisers, and Nancy-Ann DeParle, the White House's point person on ObamaCare’s implementation.
The visitor logs, which are publicly available but were first reported by The Wall Street Journal, show Gruber has visited the White House 21 times during the Obama presidency. Some of the records are incomplete — missing details about when Gruber entered or exited the complex — so it’s possible that some of those visits did not occur.
[T]here will be situations in which the common good demands and requires that the executive go beyond the letter and even the spirit of the law. In these extreme or emergency situations — situations in which an existential threat poses a grave danger, with the survival of the political community itself at stake — the executive's extralegal decisions effectively become the community's higher law.
Probably the clearest example from American history is Abraham Lincoln's 1861 suspension of habeas corpus, defiance of the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (who denounced Lincoln's actions as unconstitutional), and subsequent arrest (without charge) of pro-secessionist Maryland state legislators who appeared poised to condemn the suspension and vote to join the Confederacy.
Was Lincoln acting like a tyrant, as Maryland native John Wilkes Booth and many other critics of the time contended? You bet he was. And it's a good thing, too. Had Maryland seceded, Washington would have been surrounded by enemy armies and the South almost certainly would have won the Civil War quickly and decisively. Extralegal action was required to keep that from happening.
Twitchy is all over it, with video of Obama proudly naming Jon Gruber as one of the academics from whom he has "stolen ideas liberally". Jon Gruber is now just "some adviser who never worked on our staff".
Sunday, November 16, 2014
|UC Berkeley Professor DeLong served under Summers at Treasury|
"[P]eople like ... Jon Gruber ... are not ideologues. They are not only at the top of the profession. These are pioneers in the fields of public finance and health services research who in many ways provided the intellectual groundwork and the empirical research on which current health policy debate is based."
Key to ALICE calculations is assessing when more than a third of income goes to rent/housing, which usually happens when a good job goes away and is replaced by a lower-paying one, making the mortgage or the rent suddenly unaffordable. Rents have risen and become less affordable at the same time as the housing market has recovered from the 2011 lows. In the summer it was reported here that 52% of Americans have had trouble in the last three years covering either the rent or the mortgage.
The Florida data is discussed here, where fully 45% of the households are in rough shape:
While 15 percent of Florida households are below the poverty level, another 30 percent are financially insecure — a figure that also applies to Sarasota and Manatee counties — based on a new measurement developed by the United Way. ... Florida's large number of financially fragile households is rooted in a number of economic trends, including housing affordability and other cost-of-living concerns. But the main driver is the dearth of middle-class jobs.
The Connecticut data is discussed here, where 35% of the households are struggling:
In Connecticut, the new report said, 10 percent of all households fall under the poverty level, and 25 percent are between the poverty level and the ALICE [asset-limited, income-constrained, employed] threshold. ... Similar ALICE reports have been done in a limited number of other states by their United Way organizations. Northern New Jersey was the first to shine a light on the ALICE population, and this year, for the first time, Connecticut, California, Florida, Indiana and Michigan United Ways have commissioned their own studies. Connecticut has the lowest proportion of residents below the federal poverty level and the lowest combined total in the ALICE category and below the poverty line of any of the states.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Jake Tapper for CNN here:
In previously posted but only recently noticed speeches, Gruber discusses how those pushing the bill took part in an "exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter," taking advantage of voters' "stupidity" to create a law that would ultimately be good for them.
The issue at hand in this sixth video is known as the "Cadillac tax," which was represented as a tax on employers' expensive health insurance plans. While employers do not currently have to pay taxes on health insurance plans they provide employees, starting in 2018, companies that provide health insurance that costs more than $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family will have to pay a 40 percent tax. ...
"It turns out politically it's really hard to get rid of," Gruber said. "And the only way we could get rid of it was first by mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people when we all know it's a tax on people who hold those insurance plans." ...
The second way was have the tax kick in "late, starting in 2018. But by starting it late, we were able to tie the cap for Cadillac Tax to CPI, not medical inflation," Gruber said. CPI is the consumer price index, which is lower than medical inflation.
Gruber explains that by drafting the bill this way, they were able to pass something that would initially only impact some employer plans though it would eventually hit almost every employer plan. And by that time, those who object to the tax will be obligated to figure out how to come up with the money that repealing the tax will take from the treasury, or risk significantly adding to the national debt.
Friday, November 14, 2014
"I support immigration reform, making sure that we start where American people want to it start, border security. Build a strong smart guest worker program because that has to be part and parcel of border security. But to simply say no, I believe is unacceptable. Just to say no to everything is unacceptable. That's the message that American people sent on Tuesday night."
-- quoted here
Reminds me of the now-defunct Senator Scott Brown, lately of Massachusetts and not-so-lately of New Hampshire, who also said No to the Republican leadership shortly after taking Senator Ted Kennedy's seat in the US Senate. That worked out great, didn't it, Senator Elizabeth Warren?
Hm. Just what is it that it is acceptable to say No to, Mr. Gardner?
"You shall have no other gods before me?"
"You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth?"
"You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not acquit anyone who misuses his name?"
"You shall not murder?"
"You shall not commit adultery?"
"You shall not steal?"
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor?"
"You shall not covet your neighbor's house?"
"You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor?"
Thursday, November 13, 2014
. . . they can't even pay attention.
Look who's stupid now: Neither Rush Limbaugh nor his caller remember the chronology and politics of ObamaCare
It's been only four years and already the basic facts are forgotten.
The Supreme Court didn't even take the ObamaCare case until a year after the 2010 elections, in November of 2011, and ruled the mandate a constitutional tax on June 28, 2012. The Court had simply nothing to do with the 2010 landslide victory of the Republicans, but neither Rush's caller nor Rush remember that.
From today's transcript here:
CALLER: Yes, Rush. Thank you so much for taking my call. I really appreciate it, and if you don't mind me taking the liberty, I'd like to give a shout out to James Marshall Timberlake, he's my first grandson born November 2nd. But I thank you. The reason I called is that I believe there's an American who has been vilified who really is a hero concerning Obamacare, and that is Chief Justice John Roberts. Had he done what all of us expected him to do to find it unconstitutional, you would not have had the Republican landslide in 2010; you would not have had the Republican landslide in 2014; you would not be talking about Jonathan Gruber today. ...
RUSH: I want to know where it started that the way we win is to have liberalism implemented so that everybody can learn how rotten it is. When did that start? "John Roberts did a great thing by letting this thing be proclaimed constitutional. That way we've exposed these people for who they really are." We didn't need this! If Roberts had found this thing unconstitutional the 2010 elections would have been the same because Obama would have stayed the same. He would have found a way to get this done some other way. He wouldn't have just taken his chips and gone home and cried about it.
Add two to Jonathan Gruber's pile of stupid American voters.
In the first hour today, after which the first caller of the day almost hit the third rail when he pointed out that Jonathan Gruber may have his "stupid voters" but Rush Limbaugh has his "low information voters".
Nevermind the two leading Republican candidates for president in October 2011 agreed they got the idea from Heritage (transcript here).
ROMNEY: Actually, Newt, we got the idea of an individual mandate from you.
GINGRICH: That’s not true. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.
ROMNEY: Yes, we got it from you, and you got it from the Heritage Foundation and from you.
GINGRICH: Wait a second. What you just said is not true. You did not get that from me. You got it from the Heritage Foundation.
ROMNEY: And you never supported them?
GINGRICH: I agree with them, but I’m just saying, what you said to this audience just now plain wasn’t true.
ROMNEY: OK. Let me ask, have you supported in the past an individual mandate?
GINGRICH: I absolutely did with the Heritage Foundation against Hillarycare.
ROMNEY: You did support an individual mandate?
ROMNEY: Oh, OK. That’s what I’m saying. We got the idea from you and the Heritage Foundation.
GINGRICH: OK. A little broader.
So far ObamaCare's Jonathan Gruber from MIT has called us stupid "off the cuff" THREE TIMES, but you forget he wrote the (comic) book
here revealing there are now at least three episodes of Jonathan Gruber defending work-arounds to hide the truth from the easily gulled masses, meaning his opinion of the people is anything but "off the cuff":
After the first tape surfaced -- prompting Republican outrage -- Gruber went on MSNBC to express regret. On Tuesday, he said: "I was speaking off the cuff and I basically spoke inappropriately, and I regret having made those comments."
As I recall, not a single Republican in either chamber in 2010 was stupid enough to vote for ObamaCare, but every Democrat was.
Nevertheless liberal condescension was palpable from the beginning, and Gruber actually memorialized it with his comic book about ObamaCare early in 2012. The American people reelected Obama anyway, which must in Gruber's mind vindicate his low estimation of the people's intelligence to this day.
Well . . .
You were warned.
Well . . .
You were warned.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Alibaba came across a curious trend: women who bought larger bra sizes also tended to spend more . . .. Dividing intimate-apparel shoppers into four categories of spending power, analysts at the e-commerce giant found that 65% of women of cup size B fell into the “low” spend category, while those of a size C or higher mostly fit into the “middle” or higher group.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
"We made this meeting so luxurious, with singing and dancing, but see Obama, stepping out of his car chewing gum like an idler," wrote Yin Hong, a professor of journalism at Beijing's Tsinghua University, on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo micro-blog service. Twitter, like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, is banned in China, whose censors fear such services could aid political protest.
. . . idler or bungler or both he is willing . . .
Monday, November 10, 2014
The group found traces of cesium-134, a radioactive element released by the [Fukushima] power plant [in 2011], 100 miles off the coast of Eureka, California. The amount of radioactive chemicals in the water is still below levels that are harmful to humans and is 1,000 times below limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency for drinking water. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution predicts contaminant levels could increase over the next two to three years.
Expect hysterical warnings from the nothinkums.
So far, the faster pace of job creation hasn't coaxed enough people back into the labor force. As of October, the seasonally unadjusted participation rate for people age 25 to 54 stood at 81.1 percent, up 0.3 percentage point from a year earlier but about 6 million people below the 10-year pre-recession average of 83.5 percent.
Examine the record here of full-time job losses in recessions since 1969 and you will see that full-time jobs recovered to their previous peaks in 2 years after 1969, 2 years after 1974, about 3 years after 1981, 3 years after 1990 and about 3 years after 2000.
But after 2007? Full-time jobs have yet to recover, over 7 years since peaking in July 2007 at 123.2 million.
It's true that total nonfarm employment recovered to the November 2007 high this June, after 6.5 long years, but full-time is still 3 million below the 2007 peak.
The voting public has been very patient with President Obama and the Democrats. They know this was the biggest jobs debacle in the post-war. From peak to trough between July 2007 and January 2010 14.442 million full-time jobs were lost, beating the 8.1 million lost from 1981 under Reagan by a wide margin, a 9.3% loss. The percentage lost from the peak was also highest in the post-war, down 11.7% in the recent catastrophe vs. the 9.6% loss of full-time jobs from August 1974, the previous most recent top episode for full-time job destruction in percentage terms.
So it's understandable that voters might have re-elected Obama and the Democrat Senate in 2012 on the presumption that such a serious episode would take longer to fix. But even so it was still a relatively close election.
Last Tuesday's nationwide blow-out of Democrats, however, from the US Senate on down through the US House, governorships and state legislative chambers shows that the patience of the country has run out. While full-time jobs have roared back in the last 12 months it is likely that the trend has peaked for the year and that it will be next summer before we see full-time recover fully.
That will be 8 years . . . 5 years too many for many of the millions who lost their jobs to put their lives back together and rejoin the middle class. Five years too many for those who lived in the 5+million homes lost to foreclosure. For them there remains the hope only of minimum and low wage work, food stamps, government disability assistance, Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare and early death.
Obama will be remembered for attempting this hollowing out of the middle class, and some will correctly conclude it was intentional on the part of the country's first Bolshevik president.
"[T]he mass of middle class parasites which lived on the back of the old order is now, equally ready to live on the back of the proletarian State."
Sunday, November 9, 2014
And who better to really know than a fellow-traveling Tea Party libertarian?
[Scott] Brown lost the Senate race to Democrat incumbent Jean Shaheen because Scott once posed nude for Cosmo. “Naked male Republican” is not a thought anyone, Republicans included, wants in his or her mind, even if this particular one happens to be buff.
Most of the Republicans America just elected ain’t. And I’m glad of it. We’re seeing more of the old-fashioned establishment-type Republicans who keep their pants and pantyhose on. And who don’t get them in a wad over every little piece of legislation.
The 114th Congress is not going to be full of people who, every time a bill is brought to a vote, have to go dig up the grave of James Madison and ask Jim if the bill is Constitutional. ...
Never mind that young people, women, Hispanics, and blacks forgot to vote. In two years those young people will have done a lot of growing up. What happens when you’re a grown-up? You vote for someone named Bush. Women will probably forget to vote again. You know how forgetful women are. “Did I lose an earring?” “Where’s my purse?” “I could have sworn I left the car keys right here.” And Republican policies for robust job growth and business opportunity will have moved Hispanics and blacks to the top of the socio-economic ladder. Once you get an in-ground pool, you’re a good Republican.
Anyway, this good Republican can dream, can’t he?
Ted Cruz and Justin Amash, call your offices.