Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Regulations of Land Use Forces Income Divide

This is found everywhere - communties are working over time to limit where one can live and what they can drive. Remember how 'high speed trains' and electirc cars  where the ticket to a better life but who could afford this new inventions?

As we all know, both of these are a bust except, of course, in California where common sense left years ago.

Land-Use Regulation Increases Income Inequality
Source: Randal O'Toole, "Yes, Land-Use Regulation Does Increase Income Inequality," Cato-at-Liberty.org, July 23, 2012. Peter Ganong and Daniel Shoag, "Why Has Regional Convergence in the U.S. Stopped?" Harvard University, May 31, 2012.

Harvard University economists have proven that land-use regulation is a major cause of growing income inequality in the United States. By restricting labor mobility, the economists say, such regulation has played a "central role" in income disparities, says Randal O'Toole, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute.

•When measured on a state-by-state basis, American income inequality declined at a steady rate of 1.8 percent per year from 1880 to 1980.
•The slowing and reversal of this long-term trend after 1980 is startling.
•Not by coincidence, the states with the strongest land-use regulations -- those on the Pacific Coast and in New England -- began such regulation in the 1970s and 1980s.
•Forty to 75 percent of the decline in inequality before 1980, the Harvard economists say, was due to migration of workers from low-income states to high-income states.

The freedom to easily move faded after 1980 as land-use regulation in many of the highest-income states made housing unaffordable to low-income workers. Average incomes in those states grew, leading them to congratulate themselves for attracting high-paid workers when what they were really doing is driving out low- and (in California, at least) middle-income workers.

The barrier between the 1 percent and the 99 percent is far more porous than the one between middle class and working class, says O'Toole. The rising cost of higher education and the high cost of moving into regions with land-use regulation prevent less-educated people from bettering themselves.

 Increased regulation of commercial operations limits people's ability to start small businesses. Increased traffic congestion (favored by "progressive" anti-auto cities) also hits working-class people harder than middle-class workers, as the former are less likely to be able to take advantage of flex-time, telecommuting and other ways of avoiding congestion.

Green Jobs Cost Taxpayers Billions : Oh Really?

Again, Who Knew? If the Obama administration makes a promise it is a given they are managing the information to sucker the public. The question remains, just how much suckering can the general public take before they decide enough is enough. really

I believe, for a large portion of our country, there is no amount that is too much.

Green Jobs Gone Bust
Source: Deroy Murdock, "Green Jobs Gone Bust," National Review Online, July 20, 2012.

In a radio address on November 1, 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama pledged to invest $15 billion a year over the next decade in renewable energy, creating 5 million new green jobs. Now, Obama seems incapable of keeping this promise, says Deroy Murdock, a media fellow with the Hoover Institution.

•The Department of Energy's (DOE) website boasts that its "clean energy" initiatives -- dubbed 1703, 1705, and Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) -- loaned $34.7 billion and launched "nearly 60,000" jobs.
•This totals a staggering $578,333 per position.
•According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, private employers pay workers, on average, $62,757 annually in wages and benefits.
•So, Obama is "creating jobs" at 922 percent of the private sector's cost of employing workers for a year.

In addition, at least 10 "clean" companies that were subsidized went bankrupt:

•Abound Solar consumed $70 million of its $400 million Energy Department loan guarantee. The company blamed Chinese subsidy payments and European subsidy cuts for falling prices in its thin-film-panel sector. On July 2, Abound Solar filed for Chapter 7 liquidation and prepared to lock shop and fire its 125 employees.
•Solar Trust envisioned Earth's largest solar-power plant. DOE offered it a $2.1 billion loan guarantee in April 2011, provided that it raised private capital. Solar Trust missed DOE's benchmarks, however, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 2.
•Ener1 received a $118.5 million DOE stimulus grant in August 2009. The electric car battery company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on January 26, 2012.
•Solyndra, the most notorious of Obama's green-energy baubles, filed for bankruptcy on August 31, 2011. Taxpayers are liable for this solar-panel maker's $535 million in loan guarantees -- the first that DOE made under Obama.
•Other bankrupt "clean" companies include: Energy Conversion Devices, Aptera Motors, Beacon Power Corp., SpectraWatt, Raser Technologies, and Mountain Plaza, Inc.

Monday, July 30, 2012

ACA Will Destroy the Family/Health Care

More news on how the Affordable Care Act will destroy the family and our health care system from National Center for Political Analysis.

Richard Walker

Chief Operating Officer

Here's the most underreported story of the summer. When the Supreme Court ruled on the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) it inadvertently liberated millions of people who were going to be forced into Medicaid. Now they will have the opportunity to have private health insurance instead. What difference does that make? It could be the difference between life and death.

Study after study has found that patients on Medicaid have worse outcomes than patients with private insurance. With respect to cancer care, outcomes are much better if you have private insurance, but there does not seem to be much difference between Medicaid and being uninsured. In most places Medicaid patients have a terrible time finding doctors who will see them and facilities that will admit them. That's why so many of them turn to community health centers and the emergency rooms of safety net hospitals for basic medical care.

The subsidies in the private exchange, on the other hand, are incredibly generous. The most the family has to pay is 2% of their income. A family of three, struggling to get by on an income, say, of $25,000 a year, would pay $500 for an insurance plan that could be worth as much as $15,000! Further, the private plans in the exchange will pay providers about 50% higher fees that the rock bottom payments they would have gotten from Medicaid.

ObamaCare is still a Rube Goldberg contraption that desperately needs repealing and replacing. But in the interim, the Supreme Court has done a lot of families a big favor.

Batman Expalins Why 'Good' IS Better

Well, well - Hollywood still has a soul? This is a good article about what is right and how we still see our own life in the light of self fulfillment. The evil among us always has center stage to demand the spot light from the media that believes we have to feel good about helping those less fortunate by crushing the people that produce the wealth.

Oh yeah, by the way, the media millionarie anchors of the networks forgets all about this as they get into their luxury sedan heading out to the suburbs and the gated communitirs. Hipocrits?

Batman Battles The Politics Of Resentment. Andrew Klavan:

'The Dark Knight Rises' depicts the depravity inherent in radical movements.


Murder is the opposite of art: destructive, impoverishing, nihilistic. To discuss the act of a killer as if it had some relevance to a work of culture is to usher the age-old enemy of mankind into one of his citadels. So I will pass over the massacre in an Aurora , Colo. , theater in a silence respectful toward its victims.

But the film that was playing in that theater—"The Dark Knight Rises"—deserves to be loudly celebrated as a masterful and stunningly honest work of Western popular culture.

The movie is a bold apologia for free-market capitalism; a graphic depiction of the tyranny and violence inherent in every radical leftist movement from the French Revolution to Occupy Wall Street; and a tribute to those who find redemption in the harsh circumstances of their lives rather than allow those circumstances to mire them in resentment.

None of these themes necessarily arises out of filmmaker Christopher Nolan's politics, of which I know nothing. Whatever his politics, he is an artist committed to creating, in Shakespeare's words, "abstract and brief chronicles of the time." This is where Mr. Nolan's honesty comes in.

There are, after all, no socialist filmmakers in Hollywood . There are only capitalist filmmakers (Michael Moore, for one) who make socialist films. Likewise, none of the coiffed corporate multimillionaires who anchor the network newscasts can honestly support the Occupy movement which, taken to its logical conclusion, would result in their being hanged from lampposts.

Yet while repeatedly tainting the free-market tea party movement with a racism it doesn't espouse and linking it to violence it doesn't commit, many creatives and journalists lend moral support to the socialist "occupiers"—underplaying the widespread vandalism, lawlessness and grotesque anti-Semitism characteristic of their demonstrations.

"The Dark Knight Rises" is a stinging, relentless critique of that upside-down and ultimately indefensible worldview. And why not? Our chattering classes frequently tell us that art should speak truth to power and shock the bourgeoisie. It just never seems to occur to them that "the power"—and the modern Babbitts of the bourgeoisie—are themselves.

Mr. Nolan's response to them—the perfectly cast, brilliantly choreographed conclusion to his Batman trilogy—is a sophisticated vision of the way economic systems actually work and don't work. The essence of that vision is encapsulated in two scenes that purposely echo one another.

In the first, the embittered villain Bane, mouthing revolutionary bromides, stages an assault on the stock exchange. In the midst of the uproar, we hear a police officer say of the stock market, "That's not my money, that's everyone's money"—a recognition, in other words, that the 1% and the other 99% do the work of free trade together.

Later, after Bane's revolution has destroyed the investment class with mob violence and show trials and thus plunged Gotham City into chaos, Catwoman and her fellow thief enter a ransacked house. "This used to be someone's home," mourns Catwoman, her conscience awakening. "Now it's everyone's home!" exults her unrepentant colleague, gloating over the ruin.

The world of the film is our world, and the direct opposite of the world imagined into being by our intelligentsia. Here, free markets and investments, while creating super-wealthy men like the philanthropist hero Bruce Wayne, also create a rising tide of money that lifts the rest of us. Meanwhile, the forcible redistribution of private property is identified as theft, the forerunner of disorder and despotism.

But the heart of the film is not money. It's people and what they choose to make of the injustices of their lives. Catwoman is the linchpin of that theme. She is the link between those like the heroic capitalist Wayne, who allow hardship to temper their souls, and those like Bane, who cling to their hurts and demand to be repaid in societal destruction. Catwoman begins as a thief making revolutionary proclamations: "There's a storm coming." She ends up confronting the true nature of that storm and a choice between that and freedom's better way.

Free markets lift us all. People's "revolutions" inevitably result in tyranny. Forgiveness and self-betterment redeem society while embittered extortions in the name of "social justice" poison it. None of these simple truths is hidden in the film. That is why left-leaning critics on both coasts have reacted to the movie with the same willful blindness with which they view history.

They should instead take a tip from Batman's faithful butler Alfred: "Maybe it's time we all stopped trying to outsmart the truth, and let it have its day."

Mr. Klavan's latest thriller novel for young adults is "Crazy Dangerous" (Thomas Nelson).

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Carbon Dioxide Down : So What!

The question that remains is why do we push to limit CO2? Many environmentalists believe that humans are the major cause of increased CO2 and that elimination of a large portion of the human race is a good way to stem the increase of this green house gas. And even better, cows are a big problem as well with all their farting.

This makes about as much sense as the entire lobby that is pushing the 'climate change' fraud on the public. How is it possible that we can continue with this hysteria over the problems that are supposedly caused by CO2 when there is so much evidence that has shown climate change facts have been managed or out right lies, and yet we spend billions on fighting shadows and thousands become unemployed as a result.

What ever happened to common sense? All politics and money?

United States Cutting Carbon Dioxide Production Dramatically
Source: Robert Bryce, "Inside the Strange World of 'Green Energy' Politics and How It's Ruining the U.S.," Fox News, July 17, 2012.

The United States is dramatically cutting its production of carbon dioxide. Proof of that has come from both the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris and the Energy Information Administration in Washington, says Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Reports from these agencies and others confirm that the United States is leading the way globally in the campaign to cut emissions.

•On May 24, the IEA reported that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions "have now fallen by 430 million tons (7.7 percent) since 2006, the largest reduction of all countries or regions."
•The reasons for that big reduction, says the IEA, are lower oil use, the economic downturn, "and a substantial shift from coal to gas in the power sector."

IEA's assertion that much of the reduction in emissions stems from efficiency gains due to the greater exploitation of natural gas is crucial. Because the United States is a leader in this industry and is among the first to employ it widely, it will likely lead the way in cutting emissions in the near future.

•During the first four months of this year, coal-fired electricity generation in the United States fell by 21 percent compared to the same period last year, while gas-fired generation soared by 34 percent.
•This contributed to a drop in carbon dioxide emissions of 7.8 percent from the first quarter in 2011.
•Meanwhile, complicated environmental emissions standards in Europe have actually led energy producers there to increase output from coal while shelving natural gas.

In addition, earlier this month, Lawrence M. Cathles, a professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Cornell University, published a new study that found that utilizing natural gas to displace coal would be far faster and cheaper than attempting to use nuclear energy and renewables, and better yet, could reduce global carbon emissions by as much as 40 percent.

Nevertheless, much of the environmental lobby remains adamantly opposed to the use of natural gas, despite its cleanliness advantage over coal and the fact that it produces seven times more electricity than wind and solar combined.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

States' Financial Crsis A Lack of Will

Little wonder we have so many problems now that we didn't seem to have a few years ago. How did all these problem come up in just the last few years? Maybe it's that our president has decided to spend more money and faster then ever before. All of sudden, people are alarmed at the rate at which are debt has grown locally and nationally. The lights have come on. 

Maybe it a good thing now so many people are understanding the disaster that is just around the corner and are willing to stand up to voice concerns and solutions. The deciding factor, though, will be a change in Washington in the Senate and the White House.

Report of the State Budget Crisis Task Force
Source: "Report of the State Budget Crisis Task Force," State Budget Crisis Task Force, July 2012.

Serious reform is necessary in order to correct states' budgetary imbalances and ensure their fiscal solvency into the future. To this end, it is first essential to identify and resolve those problems that are the primary drivers of states' deficits, says the State Budget Crisis Task Force.

•Medicaid spending is consuming an ever-growing share of states' limited resources -- it recently surpassed total spending on K-12 education, and expenditures on the program will almost certainly continue to grow, if even at a slower pace.
•Actions by the federal government to address its own deficit could threaten to exacerbate the financial woes of the states; reductions in grants, federal projects and stimulus assistance could undermine states' already tenuous position.
•Unfunded liabilities, specifically those of retirement funds for public workers, will almost certainly create significant problems for future state administrations.
•States' sources of revenue are increasingly volatile because of their growing reliance on sales taxes, which are vulnerable to fluctuations in the business cycle.
•Additional pressure is placed on states by their local governments' fiscal concerns: as municipal authorities are increasingly unable to cover their traditional share of costs for joint ventures like education, states are increasingly expected to step in and make up the difference.
•Many states are repeatedly trapped by their own financial rules, which subsequently inspire creative accounting gimmicks and sidestepping that fail to address the true problem.

These problems are broad and, as a consequence, intimidating to tackle. However, equally far-reaching reform can address many of these issues.

•States should take advantage of multiyear fiscal planning.
•States should make greater use of rainy day funds.
•States should cooperate with the federal government to control rising health costs.
•States should implement diverse and broad-based tax structures that are less vulnerable to economic downturns.
•States should exercise greater oversight over local governments to verify financial health.

Energy Efficiency Lost in Government Overreach

I wonder who decided what is best for all of us? Smaller cars that go slower will do a nice job of keep everyone closer to home. And how nice it will be for all of us to lower our expectations and cool are desire to be some place other than where we have been or are now. Others have decided it best that we shouldn't have too much freedom of movement. It's too confusing and disruptive.

Isn't wonderful that we have all these people with all of their great ideas for a better life for all of us down here in the trenches. What ever happened to the free market place? Why do we need a benevolent government elite to determine what life should be like us? Conservation is a good thing, but not at the end of a stick.

The Paradox of Energy Efficiency
Source: Ronald Bailey, "The Paradox of Energy Efficiency," Reason Magazine, July 17, 2012.

A thorough understanding of the so-called rebound effect is essential for the formulation of energy policy. The rebound effect occurs where increased energy efficiency is offset by increases in energy use due to a lower cost of consumption. The magnitude of energy rebound effects has important implications for strategies aimed at enacting energy conservation requirements, says Ronald Bailey, Reason Magazine's science correspondent.

A crucial example of the rebound effects exists in the automobile industry, where manufacturers have worked for decades to create more efficient vehicles with superior mileage.

•Fuel economy increased by 60 percent between 1980 and 2006.
•During that same time period, however, the average curb weight of vehicles increased 26 percent while horsepower rose 107 percent.
•Consequently, most of the gains in fuel economy have gone into compensating for weight and horsepower.
•A study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Christopher Knittel found that average fuel economy has only risen from 23 miles per gallon to 27 miles per gallon since 1980.

Further, cars aren't the only place where greater efficiency has failed to translate to reduced consumption.

•Looking at even longer time scales, lighting efficiency has improved by more than many thousand-fold from sputtering candles to modern LEDs over the past three centuries.
•The result of this, however, is an increased consumption of lighting that, by some estimates, entirely erases the gains in efficiency that were realized over those centuries.
•A similar effect has been measured in household heating and cooling: while systems have become more efficient over time, their enhanced performance has been offset by the adoption of larger dwellings.

Informed minds disagree on exactly what the rebound effect is (what percentage of efficiency gains are erased by rational changes in consumption), but some estimates have placed the figure at above 100 percent. That is to say, efficiency gains, while enabling an improved quality of life, do little if anything to reduce mankind's impact on the world.

This understanding is essential for the creation of informed energy regulations because it demonstrates that their goals are often self-defeating. Governmental support for a blind rush to improve efficiency will likely prove counterproductive or, at the very least, yield results that are consistently disappointing.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Nuclear Power Waste Small : Yucca Mountain IS Perfect

Why would anyone believe the president would have even the slightest intention of allow nuclear power to be used as a source of energy. The eco-fascists that seem to have such a firm grip on the controls of power, and the intent of Obama to kill all sources of energy other then wind, bio or solar, begs the question, does the president or his administration believe prosperity is a good thing?

Does everything come down to getting and keep power no matter the consequences?

Yucca Mountain: The Safe Future for Nuclear Energy

Source: "Yucca Mountain: The Safe Future for Nuclear Energy," Institute for Energy Research, June 19, 2012.

The Obama administration's stance on nuclear energy has been, on the whole, entirely inconsistent. On the one hand, he regularly extols the benefits of relatively clean and efficient nuclear energy in his speeches to the environmental lobby. On the other, he has essentially mortgaged the future of the industry by sidelining the Yucca Mountain facility, where nuclear waste was due to be deposited, says the Institute for Energy Research.

This decision by the Obama administration runs contrary to his repeated advocacy of alternative energy, and ignores the potential contributions of nuclear energy to America's future energy mix.

•The 19 percent of the electricity generated in the United States by nuclear power plants is comparable to the electricity used in California, Texas and New York combined.
•Nuclear power accounts for 8.5 percent of our total domestic energy consumption.
•Further, nuclear plants -- of which there are 104 total in the United States -- produce far less waste than traditional power plants.
•A 1,000-megawatt nuclear-electric plant, for example, produces about one metric ton of waste per year, versus 1 million tons from a similarly sized coal plant.

The relatively dangerous waste produced by nuclear power plants brought about the need for the Yucca Mountain facility. Energy producers taking advantage of nuclear energy (and therefore requiring a safe and secure place to store their waste) have been forced to pay fees to the government since 1982 for the construction of such a facility.

The Obama administration's subsequent closure of the project was a poor decision in this regard, and should be reversed for three significant reasons.

•First, Yucca Mountain has already undergone a 30-year-long process of scientific examination and has been accepted by law as the only permanent nuclear waste repository in the United States.
•Second, the money that has been collected from energy producers since 1982 should rightfully be used for the purpose for which it was intended; that is, the government should deliver on its promise to create a safe repository.
•Third, the government's failure to offer a viable repository location has limited the growth of the industry and stalled America's progression toward a reliable and diverse energy mix.

Britain Economy Failing : Keynesian Agenda Failed

Conservatives knew that the Keynesian approach to our problems would not work and hasn't as witnessed by our high unemployment and stagnate economy. Britain is a prime example of how it fails and so are we. But ask any Democrat about how this has worked out for us and they will reply 'we need more time'. 


U.K. Experience Casts Doubt on Viability of Keynesian Remedies
Source: "U.K. Experience Casts Doubt on Viability of Keynesian Remedies," Economic Policies for the 21st Century, July 9, 2012.

The plight of the United Kingdom's economy is a useful rejoinder to those who believe the fixed exchange rate is the main driver of the economic problems in the Eurozone. The United Kingdom responded to the financial crisis by running large fiscal deficits, cutting interest rates to zero, and "printing money" through several rounds of quantitative easing, says Economic Policies for the 21st Century.

Yet over this period, the result has been worse macroeconomic performance in the United Kingdom than in Spain, a country "trapped" in the euro straightjacket. This outcome is fundamentally inconsistent with the Keynesian view that the key to recovery in peripheral Europe is devaluation and monetary-financed deficit spending.

•Since the end of 2006, pound sterling has depreciated by about 20 percent relative to the euro, with an average devaluation of 25 percent over this period.
•The depreciation was designed to boost growth by increasing competitiveness and exports.
•Similarly, while some may argue that the poor performance of the United Kingdom in recent periods is due to austerity measures, the actual national income data show that government spending has increased in four of the past five quarters.

What has been the aggregate result of these Keynesian measures? The U.K. economy has contracted by 0.5 percent cumulatively since September of 2010 -- a time span in which even Spain managed modest growth. This offers a valuable illustration for Europe's peripheral economies, each of which is seeking relief from economic crises.

•The weakness of the peripheral European economies -- Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Ireland -- is often attributed to an "uncompetitive" real exchange rate.
•The idea is that wages in these countries rose faster than productivity, which means that the cost of an hour of labor is too expensive relative to the value of its output.
•An extension of this logic train is that if the euro currency didn't exist, it would be easy for these countries to solve their problems by simply devaluing their currency.
•However, as can be seen in the experience of the United Kingdom, currency freedom and flexibility is not a silver bullet to economic woes.
•In fact, the ability to print money and finance government likely brings with it a host of problems that far exceed the benefits to be had from currency flexibility.

Green Energy As A Domestic Agenda : Hello 17th Century

One has to wonder how this world ever got to the present with people like the 'greens' and other crack-pot eco-nut jobs. If it weren't for the term 'insane' or 'delusional' these groups and individuals could not be explained.

How does this happen that groups of people can be totally unaware of reality?

The Problem with a "Green Domestic Product"
Source: Bjørn Lomborg, "The Problem with a 'Green Domestic Product,'" Slate, July 15, 2012.

One of the recurrent themes at the United Nations' spectacularly unsuccessful Rio+20 summit in June was the need to change how we measure wealth. Many argue that we must abandon our obsession with gross domestic product (GDP) and develop a new "green" accounting standard to replace it. Such a system, advocates suggest, would incorporate economic decisions to preserve the natural environment, says Bjørn Lomborg, an adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School.

However, greater understanding of such a metric reveals the fallacies involved. Notably, by placing a disproportionate focus on preserving the environment and maintaining the status quo, a "green" standard would stifle economic innovation and discourage civilization-altering discoveries.

The prototypical example reported in the run-up to Rio+20 and used to support "greening" GDP centered on the Nakivubo Swamp in Uganda's capital, Kampala.

•Wastewater flows from the city toward Lake Victoria, but it is naturally purified by the swamp in a way that prevents the need for water treatment facilities.
•Without the swamp's purification services, a study showed, Kampala would need a sewage plant costing at least $2 million a year.
•Further, because the benefits of the cleaner water are estimated at $1.75 million, it was recognized by a green accounting standard that the economically efficient decision was to preserve the swamp for its purification uses.

This supposedly efficient decision, however, is ultimately misleading. The problem in this case is that, eventually, some proposal will come forth for the swampland that is more valuable than the $2 million that it is currently worth. But environmentalists, enabled by a green accounting standard, would block such a change in the name of preservation.

This outcome, which is inevitable given the swamp's proximity to a major city, underlines the problems with such a standard: they fail to account for long-term benefits yielded by short-term sacrifices.

•For example, the World Bank claims that in order to be green, we need to take into account that consuming fossil fuels will deprive future generations of those resources.
•In reality, burning fossil fuels over the past 150 years has enabled greater creativity and innovation that has vastly improved global quality of life.
•Further, the burning of fossil fuels has allowed for the discovery and exploitation of substitutable sources of energy, such as natural gas from "fracking."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

ACA WILL Cost More In Dollars AND Jobs

More bad news coming from ACA act. The costs will skyrocket out of control and jobs will be lost by the 10's of thousands. Where is the up side to this new insurance plan?

Another mandate is just what we need right now to secure a total collapse of our economic system. Just where does Mr Obama stand on economic disaster? Is he okay watching our 236 year legacy of freedom for the individual to purse their own destiny, or is he fine with presiding over a nation sliding into total dependency, joining all other third world nations on the ash heap of history?

The Impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Job Creators and the Economy
Source: John C. Goodman, "The Impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Job Creators and the Economy," testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, National Center for Policy Analysis, July 10, 2012.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will radically transform the U.S. health care system. Arguably the most radical piece of legislation ever passed by Congress, the law seeks to provide health insurance to many Americans by requiring many employers to provide coverage. This provision, however, threatens the fragile economic recovery in the United States, says John C. Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis and a research fellow with the Independent Institute.

This is first true when mandated coverage is understood as a raise to the minimum wage. Economists have found that noncash benefits typically substitute dollar-for-dollar with real cash wages. Thus, the cost to the employer of providing coverage will be taken directly from potential wages.

•The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the average annual cost of a minimum benefit package at $4,500 to $5,000 for individuals and $12,000 to $12,500 for families in 2016.
•That translates into a minimum health benefit of $2.28 an hour for full-time workers with individual coverage and $5.89 an hour for full-time employees with family coverage.
•Thus, the minimum cost of labor will be a $7.25 cash minimum wage and a $5.89 health minimum wage (family), for a total of $13.14 an hour or about $27,331 a year.
•Any worker whose productivity level is below this wage will be hard-pressed to find a job.
•Further, employers will be further incentivized to invest in capital that can perform simple tasks and price low-skilled workers out of the market entirely.

Aside from this impact on the labor market, Americans will also face a new economic burden in the form of taxes. Both direct and indirect (felt through higher prices passed onto customers), these taxes will stifle economic growth.

•Americans and American businesses will face more than $500 billion in 19 new types of taxes and fees over the next decade to fund health reform.
•According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, about 73 million taxpayers earning less than $200,000 will see their taxes rise.
•Additionally, the law's tax on medical devices will cost 45,661 jobs across that industry alone, according to former chief Labor Department economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth.

Employers to Dump Millions Into ACA : Costs to Skyrocket

One has to wonder just how many individuals will actually be added to the 'single payer' offered by the government to insure everyone has insurance once the plan is fully inplimented?

The original offering by the CBO was about 18 million would  join but now it looks more like another 9 to 12 million more, forcing up the cost from 1.7 trillion to 2.6 trillion over 10 years.

Worse - think about the planers of Social Security and Medicare said about costs when they first offered these fail safe items to the general public - and even worse yet, Medicaid. But what the hey, what's another trillion or two added to the debt, who cares, right?

One in 10 U.S. Employers to Drop Health Coverage
Source: Louise Radnofsky, "Deloitte: One in 10 U.S. Employers to Drop Health Coverage," Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2012. "2012 Deloitte Survey of U.S. Employers," Deloitte, July 24, 2012.

Around one in 10 employers in the United States plans to drop health coverage for workers in the next few years as the bulk of the federal health care law begins, and more indicated they may do so over time, according to a study by consulting company Deloitte, says the Wall Street Journal.

•Deloitte's findings differ from estimates by rival firm McKinsey & Co. last year that found 30 percent of employers say they would "definitely or probably" stop offering health insurance after 2014, as well as calculations by the Congressional Budget Office that estimated around 7 percent of workers could lose coverage under the law by 2019.
•In all, 9 percent of companies in the Deloitte study said they expected to stop offering insurance in the next one to three years.
•Around 81 percent were planning to continue providing benefits, and 10 percent weren't sure.
•Around one in three respondents said they could decide to stop offering health coverage if they find that the law requires them to provide more generous benefits than they do at the moment; if a tax on high-cost plans takes effect in 2018 as scheduled; or if they conclude that the cost of penalties for not providing insurance could be less expensive than paying for benefits.
•Only 16 percent of respondents said that they would be likely to stop offering health benefits if their competitors did.

Benefits consultants have also said that their clients are considering changes to the way they offer coverage that fall short of dropping insurance altogether, including requiring employees to pay a greater share of costs, paying only a fixed amount toward workers' costs, and giving employees more generous insurance arrangements if they show healthy behaviors.

The Deloitte study found that many of those actions were already taking place. Around three quarters of respondents said they had increased the amount that employees contributed to their plans, and a similar proportion said they would do so in coming years.

Califronia Bullet Train A loser : Japan's Train A NoGrowth

Please explain why this is even being discussed? California is broke and in debt for the next five decades or more. Who are these people? How can they believe they can continue to spend money they don't have and can't get any more as the taxpayers don't have anymore money either?

UCLA Study of Japan's Bullet Train Raises Questions about California Project
Source: Ralph Vartabedian, "UCLA Study of Japan's Bullet Train Raises Questions about California Project," Los Angeles Times, July 13, 2012. Jerry Nickelsburg and Saurabh Ahluwalia, "California High-Speed Rail and Economic Development: Lessons From Japan," UCLA Anderson Forecast, June 2012.

The state government of California is currently underway to fund one of the largest infrastructure projects in the history of the United States. The state's proposed bullet train, which will cost an estimated $68 billion, would connect Los Angeles and San Francisco, purportedly bringing vast economic growth to both cities and the Central Valley between, says the Los Angeles Times.

However, a new study by Jerry Nickelsburg, senior economist with the UCLA Anderson Forecast, suggests that this economic outcome is likely fanciful. In coming to this conclusion, he analyzed historical data regarding the economic impact of the construction of a similar bullet train in Japan.

•Nickelsburg examined the growth rates of cities and regions served by Japan's system, compared to the nation's overall rate of growth, over a 30 year period.
•He found that the introduction of high-speed passenger service had no discernible effect on local growth rates over and above national rates.
•The analysis looked at nearly a dozen urban and rural prefectures and found no evidence that the introduction of bullet train service improved tax revenues, which was used as a proxy for local gross domestic product.
•In one case, one region without high-speed rail service grew just as quickly as a similar region with it.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority responded to the study by referring questions to University of California, Merced, lecturer Dipu Gupta, who said he disagrees with the central conclusion that the project would not spur growth. Gupta argued that the effects of such an infrastructure project are not isolated to localities, and therefore the study disguised the true economic benefits of the train.

Nickelsburg responds, however, that Gupta's statements are really only applicable to freight improvements and that his study certainly would have captured the benefits of a passenger train if they existed.

Nickelsburg further contends that rather than creating new jobs in Los Angeles or San Francisco, the bullet train will simply contribute to urban sprawl by encouraging workers to live in the Central Valley and commute to work in the cities. This, he argues, will not have a substantial net positive impact on job growth.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Poverty Rising : Progressive Voter Base Rising

Poverty is just what the progressives want as this is a growing voter base. The progressive liberal agenda is designed to force as many into a subsistence life as they can while they are in power. This will almost guarantee the next election cycle will favor the liberal Democrat as these poverty level voters will be under pressure to get a job and become productive members of society with Republicans and Conservatives in power.

As the levels subsistence will be very difficult to eradicate in just four years, the progressive will benefit in the next elections.

Poverty Levels on Rise
Source: Associated Press, "Poverty Levels on Rise," Politico, July 22, 2012.

The ranks of America's poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net, says the Associated Press.

Census figures for 2011 will be released this fall, but the Associated Press surveyed more than a dozen economists, think tanks and academics, both nonpartisan and those with known liberal or conservative leanings, and found a broad consensus: The official poverty rate will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7 percent.

The predictions for 2011 are based on separate AP interviews, supplemented with research on suburban poverty from Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution, and an analysis of federal spending by the Congressional Research Service and Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Institute.

•The analysts' estimates suggest that some 47 million people in the United States, or 1 in 6, were poor last year.
•An increase of one-tenth of a percentage point to 15.2 percent would tie the 1983 rate, the highest since 1965.
•The highest level on record was 22.4 percent in 1959, when the government began calculating poverty figures.

Poverty is closely tied to joblessness. While the unemployment rate improved from 9.6 percent in 2010 to 8.9 percent in 2011, the employment-population ratio remained largely unchanged, meaning many discouraged workers simply stopped looking for work. Food stamp rolls, another indicator of poverty, also grew.

Demographers also say:

•Poverty will remain above the pre-recession level of 12.5 percent for many more years.
•Suburban poverty, already at a record level of 11.8 percent, will increase again in 2011.
•Part-time or underemployed workers will rise to a new high.
•Poverty among people 65 and older will remain at historically low levels, buoyed by Social Security cash payments.
•Child poverty will increase from its 22 percent level in 2010.

Analysts also believe that the poorest poor, defined as those at 50 percent or less of the poverty level, will remain near its peak level of 6.7 percent.

EPA Manages Facts On Mercury Polution

What a great report on the EPA and how they are using managed news as science.

If any of you have ever gotten involved in a discussion with a liberal on mercury in our water due to coal fired energy plants, then you will have a good idea of how the progressive liberal 'play book' is front and center in the discussion. With the 'play book', facts aren't necessary. It's all about the seriousness of the charges. 

Well, let me back up a bit, the discussion might start as this, a back and forth of ideas, but before long it turns into a shouting match as the liberal runs out of 'talking points' from the play book. Not that they ever had any sound reasoning, you understand, as most of their points om mercury pollution are decades old, and even then, their points were isolated and unfounded in any kind of real science. Feel good computer models are good enough.

MACT Attack ( Maximum Achievable Control Technology)
Dr. Robert Peltier, PE ( Dr. Robert Peltier, PE is POWER’s editor-in-chief.)

The Utility MACT Rule, the most recent skirmish in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) war on coal, is based on flimsy scientific evidence of actual health effects and again demonstrates the agency’s indifference to conducting rigorous scientific inquiry. The end justifies the means is not science.

The Utility MACT Rule established the first-ever maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standard for the emissions of hazardous air pollutants from coal-fired power plants. Understanding how the EPA developed its scientific justification for the rule meant wading through dozens and dozens of highly technical reports. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) performed that onerous task for us and has published a comprehensive analysis of the EPA’s scientific basis for the rule. Its new report, “All Pain and No Gain: The Illusory Benefits of the Utility MACT,” is available on the CEI web site. Lead author and Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis, Jr. granted me permission to quote from that report.

Indeterminate Health Benefits

The health effect studies by the EPA are based on that portion of atmospheric mercury that lands in bodies of water and ends up in aquatic food chains. The EPA’s December 2000 “appropriate and necessary” determination, the trigger for the MACT Rule, determined from computer modeling that 7% of the pregnant women in the U.S. have blood mercury concentrations exceeding the EPA’s reference dose (the “safe exposure level”) of 5.8 ppb. The reference dose is one-tenth the benchmark dose of 58 ppb, the mercury level associated with any health effects. Interestingly, the highest level found in any woman mentioned in any of the Center for Disease Control’s epidemiological studies was 21 ppb.

The EPA’s modeling predicted that there are 24,000 prenatally exposed children born to women in the U.S. each year who live “in subsistence fishing households [and] consume enough methylmercury in self-caught fish to impair fetal cognitive and neurological development” (italics mine). That sounds like a lot, but the mothers of those 24,000 children, who received doses of mercury sufficient to produce a benchmark dose (58 ppb), exist only “in the EPA’s computer models,” not in real life.

Facts are often stubborn and unyielding. “In the 22 years since the Clean Air Act tasked the EPA to study the health risks of mercury, and the 12 years since EPA published its ‘appropriate and necessary’ determination, the agency has not identified” a single child whose learning or other disabilities can be traced to prenatal mercury exposure caused by coal-fired power plants.

The EPA also must show a causal connection between the benchmark levels of mercury in the blood stream and specific health effects to justify rulemaking. Lacking examples in the U.S., the EPA turned to epidemiological studies of people in New Zealand, the Faroe Islands, and a 20-year study of children in the Seychelles. In sum, “none of those children was learning disabled, or cognitively abnormal in any way, despite having mercury exposures many times greater than those of most American children,” and the effect on IQ was indeterminate.

Despite the results of these studies, the EPA determined, again through computer modeling, that the rule will avert the loss of 511 IQ points, which translates into 0.00209 IQ points for each of the estimated 24,000 prenatally exposed children in the study group. Psychologists will tell you that the standard error of a typical IQ test is 3 points. The EPA computers then translated that miniscule loss in IQ into the present value of lost lifetime earnings—$0.5 million to $6 million. To suggest that IQ can be calculated to five decimal places is ludicrous, but to then suggest that there is a direct relationship between IQ and lifetime earnings at such small increments of IQ borders on the absurd.

High Cost of MACT

There are many other discrepancies in the science used by the EPA to justify the MACT Rule, such as the agency’s reliance on co-benefits, particularly removal of fine particulates (particulates are regulated under a different rule). If the industry’s estimate of $98 billion of added costs is accurate, the cost/benefit ratio of the MACT rule is wildly out of proportion and scientifically unjustified. Many other scientific and technical problems with the EPA’s mercury analysis are discussed in the CEI report, including pages of references to each of these studies.

One final problem with the EPA’s basic analysis of mercury requires mention. The EPA’s estimate of the amount of mercury discharged into the environment from power plants, and used in the rulemaking, was 46 tons in 1990 (about 18% of mercury from all sources). The amount was projected to rise to 60 tons a year in 2010. Instead, only about 48 tons were discharged in 2010 and 29 tons were discharged in 2011—more than 50% below the EPA’s estimate.

The End Game

Niccolo Machiavelli (b. 1469) is best known in the West for The Prince, a book that describes the politics of power, particularly how a new prince should wield power to build an enduring political structure. In the book, Machiavelli writes, “I shall do a minor evil to achieve a greater good.”

It’s clear to me that EPA’s politically appointed leadership believes that the perversion of science is a “minor evil” committed to achieve the “greater good” of ridding the nation of coal-fired power generation. Science may be the first casualty in the EPA’s war on coal, but all of us are its victims.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Seeking Knowledge Leads to Opportunity & Truth

If the truth be known, then all life will be better for it. "Know the truth and it will set you free".

'Gilbert de Tournai commented that "never will we find truth if we content ourselves with what is already known…Those things that have been written before us are not laws but guides. The truth is open to all, for it is not yet totally possessed." '

US Postal Service A Favored Industry : Government Over Reach

The evidence just seems to mount up higher and higher every day concerning how government intervention in the the free market causes problems.

The question that has to  be asked is why is this not stopped when our legislators vote year after year to support a failing industry that they have no business controlling?

The Pathology of Privilege
Source: Matthew Mitchell, "The Pathology of Privilege," Mercatus Center, July 8, 2012.

The financial bailouts of 2008 were but one example in a long list of privileges that governments occasionally bestow upon particular firms or particular industries. At various times and places, government favoritism has been bestowed through different vehicles. Today, two prime examples reside in the deleterious monopoly power and the pervasive regulatory framework, says Matthew Mitchell, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Regarding monopolies, the United States is far less friendly to these firms than in centuries past. However, a sterling illustration remains in the U.S. Postal Service.

•While the U.S. Constitution grants Congress "the power to establish post offices and post roads," it does not, like the Articles of Confederation before it, grant Congress the "sole and exclusive right" to provide these services.
•By the 1840s, a number of private firms had begun to challenge the postal service monopoly.
•This competition forced the postal service to lower its rates, but it also encouraged the postal service to harass its private competitors: within a few years, government legal challenges and fines had driven the private carriers out of business.
•More than a century later, in 1971, the postal service was finally converted into a semi-independent agency called the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
•Its monopoly privileges, however, remain: no other carriers are allowed to deliver non-urgent letters and no other carriers are allowed to use the inside of your mailbox.

The continued dominance of the Postal Service is a vestige of monopoly power and government intervention to favor one firm over another.

Similarly, while the regulatory framework imposed by government is often decried by businesses as burdensome and costly, studies also find that these regulations can actually be used as tools by firms in order to undermine would-be competitors.

•University of Chicago economist George Stigler won the Nobel Prize for showing that regulatory agencies are routinely "captured" and used by the firms they are supposed to be regulating.
•Subsequent regulation can be employed in order to create insurmountable barriers to entry.
•Thirty-six states, for example, require government permission to open or expand a health care facility, and 39 require government permission to set up shop as a hair braider.

These tools and others allow the government to bestow favored status on some firms at the expense of others.

California's Global Warming AB32 Costs Skyrocket

Once more California forges ahead in the face of financial disaster with this law on climate change. This obsession, this insanity about green house gases that don't actually exist says a lot about who these people are and why they are in so much trouble.

They are progressive liberals, and as such they can not learn from mistakes. It is impossible, or nearly so, to change directions once commited. Once on a path to destruction, they will remain on it until all is lost - no amount of history or truth can stop their enviable slide into the ash heap of history.

New Study on California Global Warming Law Indicates Higher Costs
Source: Lucy Ma, "New Study on CA Global Warming Law Indicates Higher Costs," Independent Voter Network, July 4, 2012. Andrew Chang, "California Can't Afford ARB's Global Warming Policies," Andrew Chang & Company, LLC, June 28, 2012.

AB 32, also known as the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, propelled the state to the forefront in the fight against global warming. Successful passage of the law effectively turned the state into one of the most stringent regulators of greenhouse gas emissions in the nation and globally, charging the California Air Resources Board with implementing emissions-reducing initiatives, says the Independent Voter Network.

However, new cost analysis commissioned by the California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA) suggests that the California Air Resources Board's 2010 projections understated the losses from the law's implementation. Using notably conservative estimates, the CMTA study finds that economic consequences will be substantial.

•The study found that the average California family will end up paying an additional $2,500 annually by 2020 when AB 32 is fully implemented.
•In addition, the state is expected to lose an additional 262,000 jobs and 5.6 percent of the gross state product.
•Crucially, a state that is already in dire financial straits will, by the study's estimates, face a whopping $7.4 billion decrease in annual state and local tax revenues as a result of the law.

This new information comes at a time when the state's government is already struggling to maintain funding for some of its most basic services, and economic recovery remains anemic -- prompting calls for further consideration of the law.

Importantly, this new information also sheds light on the seemingly insuperable obstacles that will be faced by the state's small businesses, which will be disproportionately affected by the law's policies.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Obama Elite Progressives Highest Paid in USA

Here is an eye-opener! Ever wonder why Obama wants to have a big government that will control all aspects of our lives and how he will do this, well wonder no more. You pay willing pew sitters to do your bidding and pay them a lot. 

Most everyone has heard of 'income redistribution' that Obama demands to level the playing field. The field has be leveled all right and the money has gone to Washington elite progressives.

This is incredible!

The One Percenters' Fortress City
Source: John H. Fund, "The One Percenters' Fortress City," American Spectator, June 2012.

In 2010, Politico noted that despite the contemporary economic climate, times were "booming" for the Washington governing class: "[t]he massive expansion of government under Obama has basically guaranteed a robust job market for policy professionals, regulators and contractors for years to come." Two years later, this trend has held true with an amazing concentration of wealth at the nation's capital, says John H. Fund, a senior editor of the American Spectator.

Numerous studies have been conducted on the regional concentrations of wealth around the country, and while it is tempting to believe that cities like New York or Los Angeles would dominate their findings, this is far from the truth.

•Money magazine recently looked at the 3,033 counties in the United States based on income and found that the top one-half of 1 percent is dominated by Washington, D.C.
•Of the 15 counties with the highest median household incomes, an astonishing 10 are in the Washington area and have an average income almost double that of the nation as a whole.
•Four of the remaining five surround New York City, and are populated by many Wall Streeters who benefited from the stimulus and other federal bailouts.

The incredible wealth to be found in Washington has allowed the cities' elites to weather the economic recession with little harm.

•A full 74 percent of Washington elites said the recession had hurt them less than most Americans.
•In 2010, a poll conducted by Penn Schoen Berland for Politico found that 45 percent of Washington elites thought the country and economy were headed in the right direction.
•This finding is much higher than the polling result (25 percent) for the nation as a whole.

The reason for this wealth barrier stems largely from the incredible salaries that public-sector workers are able to command under the current administration's government expansion.

•In 2008, the average compensation in pay and benefits for federal civilian workers was $119,900 annually, compared to the private industry annual average of $59,900, according to the Cato Institute.
•In 1980, only 3 percent of Washington residents had incomes of $200,000 or more in today's dollars; this figure has since increased to 13 percent.
•To join the top 1 percent of D.C. earners, a household must have an annual income of $527,000, a far higher amount than in the rest of the country.

Solar Power Subsides Skyrocket German Energy Tab

One has to wonder will common sense ever return to Washington? The best way to start to turn the Washington agenda around is turn out those that are the ruling power structure that have brought the nightmare on us.

Progressives believe everything is about getting and keeping power. But explain to me how such a small group of people such as the environmental lobby, can have so much influence on how the politician votes?

Germans Cough Up for Solar Subsidies
Source: Alexander Neubacher and Catalina Schröder, "Germans Cough Up for Solar Subsidies," Der Spiegel (Germany), July 4, 2012.

Despite recent turnover in the office of Germany's environment minister, it appears that the country will not change course anytime soon on its extraordinary subsidies for solar power. This revelation comes at the expense of all consumers in the country -- studies have repeatedly concluded that solar power's inherent inefficiencies necessitate higher rates and additional taxes for subsidies, says Der Spiegel (Germany).

•A new study by Georg Erdmann, professor of energy systems at Berlin's Technical University, says that the latest plans for the country's energy future will saddle consumers with an additional $377 billion in costs for solar power.
•He predicts that an environmental surcharge known as the EEG contribution, which is already added to German energy bills, will rise sharply.
•This renewable energy surcharge currently amounts to 3.59 cents per kilowatt hour, and Erdmann's calculations show the EEG contribution jumping to over 10 cents per kilowatt hour.

Such a level of investment would be justifiable if solar power were a reliable source of energy that could effectively replace expenditures in other areas. However, its innate limitations place a veritable cap on its market feasibility.

•All of Germany's photovoltaic arrays together generate less power than two nuclear reactors (the form of energy that they were largely meant to replace).
•Further, the German Physical Society finds that the public's understanding of solar power's potential output is grossly misinformed.
•While solar capacity is often stated in terms of maximum possible production, solar power must wait for optimal conditions (lots of sunshine with the sun directly overhead) for that capacity to be reached.
•Additionally, while solar cannot fill capacity during non-peak hours of the day, capacity cannot meet solar power's output when conditions are perfect.
•This on-again-off-again pattern for solar creates a nightmare for those that desire consistent and steady power output.

Even environmentalists within the country are beginning to turn their back on the massive spending on solar, largely out of fear that such spending will come at the expense of more effective renewable energies.

•Nearly 50 percent of all green energy subsidies go to solar power, which yields only 20 percent of the energy generated by subsidized technology.
•For the same amount of money, wind produces about five times more energy than solar.

Wage Distribution Even Across Earnings Levels

Interesting turn on household incomes across the entire wages and benefit range - so many times it turns out the first impression of a report is wrong or at least not complete but tells a story that the reporter wants to tell. In this case of wage distribution, the story is no different.

Income Inequality in the United States
Source: Merrill Matthews, "How ObamaCare Increases Income Inequality," Forbes, June 22, 2012.

Income inequality appears to be growing in the United States. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released October 2011, which analyzed incomes among the five quintiles between 1979 and 2007, found that over the course of the past few decades, those within the highest quintiles have seen incomes grow much faster than their low-quintile colleagues, says Merrill Matthews, a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation.

•According to the CBO, the total share of income for families in the highest quintile rose from 43 percent to 53 percent between 1979 and 2007.
•Moreover, the top 1 percent's share doubled from 8 percent to 17 percent.
•By contrast, the other four quintiles' income share was lower in 2007 than in 1979, with the lowest quintile shrinking from 7 percent to 5 percent of total income.

However, the CBO's report, while advertised as comprehensive in its consideration, failed to consider a number of mitigating factors that help explain these trends. Incorporation of these factors allows for a clearer understanding of income inequality in the United States.

•There are fewer people per household in the United States now than there were in 1979 (the average figure fell from 3.33 to 2.59).
•This is partially a function of a higher rate of divorce, along with more seniors living on their own.
•This spreads out household income and causes it to appear lower in aggregated data.
•Furthermore, the CBO's income data fails to consider the role of benefits in total compensation.
•An Employee Benefit Research Institute study points out that in 1950, wages made up 95 percent of total compensation, while benefits comprised only 5 percent.
•By 2004, wages were only 81 percent, versus 19 percent for benefits.
•Mark J. Warshawsky, director of retirement research at Towers Watson and a member of the Social Security Advisory Board, concludes that while income may have become more unequal, total compensation growth was essentially evenly distributed across all earnings levels.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Green Energy Systems Fail : Again AND Again!!

What a great idea - spend money we don't, we have to borrow the money, on things that are decades away from being useful then spend some more on the same failed agenda. Can this be just a reward to the environmentalist and a money laundry scheme for campaign funds?

Is it possible that an elected president would knowingly subvert taxpayer funds by the billions to increase his voter base while causing 10,000's to be relegated to the unemployment line? Would he knowingly do this just for politics and blind a belief in a socialist agenda?

Solar Getting Burned Again
Source: Ken Silverstein, "Solar Getting Burned Again," energybiz.com, July 5, 2012.

Critics of the solar power industry don't object to their fuel source. But they do oppose the swath of state and federal monies used to entice start-ups. Their argument is based largely on the fact that the United States is running large budget deficits and that solar power has hardly produced results that warrant favoring it over large base-load plants that run on coal, natural gas or nuclear power, says energybiz.com.

Indeed, the flurry of spending promulgated by the Obama administration that was earmarked for the solar industry has produced few of the promised green jobs, and instead has resulted in production delays and disappointment. This can be seen most recently in General Electric's solar operations.

•GE was to make thin-film solar panels that could convert power from the sun to energy used for homes at a 12.5 percent efficiency rate.
•While that is 4 to 7 percent less than those panels produced in China, GE said that its strong point would be price -- its panels would be so cost-effective that homeowners could not refuse.
•However, after the Chinese managed to churn out enormous numbers of cheap, efficient panels, the price for solar panels dropped dramatically and undercut the profit margin for most American competitors, including GE.
•GE's plan now is to delay production and improve its technology over the next 18 months so that the efficiency rate of its technology would equal that of its Chinese competitors.

GE's operations were upset by a sudden influx of Chinese goods. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, the U.S. solar market has seen the prices for panels drop by more than 50 percent in the past year at a time when the value of imports of Chinese-made solar cells nearly quadrupled from $639 million in 2009 to $3.1 billion in 2011.

GE is not the only victim of cheap Chinese panels.

•Abound Solar, a firm that acquired a $300 million federal loan guarantee, only recently announced that it would enter into bankruptcy.
•Abound will join Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt, and Solyndra as government-backed firms that couldn't stand up to market pressures from abroad.
•In the case of Abound, taxpayers will be on the hook for only 10 to 15 percent of its loan guarantee; of course, this still amounts to roughly $70 million.

Government loans for Students Raises All Costs

The progressive agenda is to bring as many as possible under the wing of government and what a good way to do that is to drive them into unsustainable debt. The more the government guarantees loans to students the more the colleges and university will raise the cost.

And guess who is a big contributor to the progressive liberal Democrat campaigns - who knew - college and university personal as well as the endowments.

Student Debt Hits the Middle-Aged
Source: Josh Mitchell, "Student Debt Hits the Middle-Aged," Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2012.

Student debt is rising sharply among all age groups, but middle-aged Americans appear to be struggling the most with payments, according to new data released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The delinquency rate -or the percentage of debt on which no payment has been made for 90 days - was 11.9 percent for debt held by borrowers aged 40 to 49 as of March. That compares with a rate of 8.7% for borrowers of all ages.

Two-thirds of the nation's $900 billion in student debt is held by Americans under 40, the Fed estimates. But borrowers over 40 are having a particularly tough time with student debt for several reasons, consumer and higher-education experts say:

•Many debtors over 40 are still paying balances from college years ago, while their home values and savings have declined sharply in recent years. Some have stopped payments after losing jobs.
•Many parents-no longer able to tap home equity to pay for their children's education-are taking out new student loans to do so.
•An Education Department program that provides loans to parents to fund their kids' education is among the fastest-growing of the government's education loan programs.

Since 2005, the number of Americans in their 50s with student loans has doubled to 4.6 million, and borrowers in their 60s and older more than tripled to 2.2 million.

Student debt has been rising as enrollments and tuition climb. The Fed data show the number of Americans with student debt rose to 37 million this year from 23 million in 2005.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Detroit Is The New America?

This is a little long but take the time to read about our future if the progressives stay in power.

USA: The Next Detroit
By Porter Stansberry

One of the most important things to remember about socialism – or coercion of any kind – is it fails eventually because human beings have an innate desire for liberty and a strong need for personal property rights. In fact, the origins of government lie in the need of agricultural communities to protect themselves from violence and theft. So it is particularly ironic that in more recent times, it is government itself that has more frequently played the role of bandit.

When you start taxing people at extreme rates to pay for socialist "benefits," when you start telling them which schools their children must attend, when you start giving jobs away to people based on race instead of ability… you quash human freedom, which bogs down productivity and if continued for long enough leads to social collapse.

I find it perplexing that only 20 years after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the West continues to implement laws that mimic all of the failed policies of our former "communist" foes. Our current president won the election by promising to "spread the wealth around." But… truth be told… we don't have to look to Eastern Europe or the Soviet Union to find a society destroyed by coercion, socialism, and the overreaching power of the State. We could just look at Detroit…

In 1961, the last Republican mayor of Detroit lost his re-election bid to a young, intelligent Democrat, with the overwhelming support of newly organized black voters. His name was Jerome Cavanagh. The incumbent was widely considered to be corrupt (and later served 10 years in prison for tax evasion). Cavanagh, a white man, pandered to poor underclass black voters.

He marched with Martin Luther King down the streets of Detroit in 1963. (Of course, marching with King was the right thing to do… It's just Cavanagh's motives were political not moral.) He instated aggressive affirmative action policies at City Hall. And most critically, he greatly expanded the role of the government in Detroit, taking advantage of President Lyndon Johnson's "Model Cities Program" – the first great experiment in centralized urban planning.

Mayor Cavanagh was the only elected official to serve on Johnson's task force. And Detroit received widespread acclaim for its leadership in the program, which attempted to turn a nine-square-mile section of the city (with 134,000 inhabitants) into a "model city." More than $400 million was spent trying to turn inner cities into shining new monuments to government planning. In short, the feds and Democratic city mayors were soon telling people where to live, what to build, and what businesses to open or close. In return, the people received cash, training, education, and health care.

The Model Cities program was a disaster for Detroit. But it did accomplish its real goal: The creation of a state-supported, Democratic political power base. The program also resulted in much higher taxes – which were easy to pitch to poor voters who didn't have to pay them. Cavanagh pushed a new income tax through the state legislature and a "commuter tax" on city workers.

Unfortunately, as with all socialist programs, lots of folks simply don't like being told what to do. Lots of folks don't like being plundered by the government. They don't like losing their jobs because of their race.

In Detroit, they didn't like paying new, large taxes to fund a largely black and Democratic political hegemony. And so in 1966, more than 22,000 middle- and upper-class residents moved out of the city.

But what about the poor? As my friend Doug Casey likes to say, in the War on Poverty, the poor lost the most. In July 1967, police attempted to break up a late-night party in the middle of the new "Model City." The scene turned into the worst race riot of the 1960s. The violence killed more than 40 people and left more than 5,000 people homeless. One of the first stores to be looted was the black-owned pharmacy.

The largest black-owned clothing store in the city was also burned to the ground. Cavanagh did nothing to stop the riots, fearing a large police presence would make matters worse. Five days later, Johnson sent in two divisions of paratroopers to put down the insurrection. Over the next 18 months, an additional 140,000 upper- and middle-class residents – almost all of them white – left the city.

And so, you might rightfully ask… after five years of centralized planning, higher taxes, and a fleeing population, what did the government decide to do with its grand experiment, its "Model City"? You'll never guess…

Seeing it had accomplished nothing but failure, the government endeavored to do still more. The Model City program was expanded and enlarged by 1974's Community Development Block Grant Program. Here again, politicians would decide which groups (and even individuals) would receive state funds for various "renewal" schemes. Later, Big Business was brought into the fold. In exchange for various concessions, the Big Three automakers "gave" $488 million to the city for use in still more redevelopment schemes in the mid-1990s.

What happened? Even with all their power and money, centralized planners couldn't succeed with any of their plans. Nearly all of the upper and middle classes left Detroit. The poor fled, too. The Model City area lost 63% of its population and 45% of its housing units from the inception of the program through 1990.

Even today, the crisis continues. At a recent auction of nearly 9,000 seized homes and lots, less than one-fifth of the available properties sold, even with bidding starting at $500. You literally can't give away most of the "Model City" areas today. The properties put up for sale last week represented an area the size of New York's Central Park. Total vacant land in Detroit now occupies an area the size of Boston. Detroit properties in foreclosure have more than tripled since 2007.

Every single mayor of Detroit since 1961 has been a Democrat. Every single mayor of Detroit since 1974 has been black. Detroit has been a major recipient of every major social program since the early 1960s and has received hundreds of billions of dollars in government grants, loans, and programs. We now have a black, Democrat president, who is promising to do to America as a whole what his political mentors have done to Detroit.

Those of you with a Democratic political affiliation may think what I've written above is biased or false. You may think what you like. But there is no way to argue that what the government has done to Detroit is anything but a horrendous crime. You may think what I've written above is merely a political analysis. Perhaps so, but politicians drive macroeconomic policy. And macroeconomic policy determines key financial metrics, like the trade-weighted value of a currency and key interest rates.

The likelihood America will become a giant Detroit is growing – rapidly. Politicians now control the banking sector, most of the manufacturing sector (including autos), a large amount of media, and are threatening to take over health care and the production of electricity (via cap and trade rules). These are the biggest threats to wealth in the history of our country. And these threats are causing the world's most accomplished and wealthy investors to actively short sell the United States – something that is unprecedented in my experience.


Porter Stansberry

Public Transportation Systems Broken AND Broke

For the casual observer it will not come as a surprise that a subsidized enterprise like the public transportation system is dire need of money. Just like everything else that is funded by a government program, public transportation is broken.

Why is this so hard for progressive liberal Democrats, that control most large cities, to understand? Oh wait, it really is all about the money, tax payer money, going into the hands that know how to spend it better then anyone else.

Is U.S. Transportation Infrastructure Falling Down?
Source: Randal O'Toole, "Is U.S. Transportation Infrastructure Falling Down?" National Center for Policy Analysis, July 18, 2012.

Fifty years ago, almost all transportation in America was paid for out of user fees, not taxes. Railroads were private and less than 6 percent of America's rail lines had been built with federal subsidies. Most urban transit systems were private, as were intercity buses. Similarly, most highways were public but had been paid for with tolls, gas taxes and other user fees, says Randal O'Toole, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute.

Today, most of America's highway infrastructure is still paid for through various user fees. The revenue that these generate has allowed the nation's roads to remain in good repair.

•In 1990, 24 percent of America's highway bridges were considered "structurally deficient," meaning they had deteriorated enough since they were built that they could no longer support the loads for which they were designed.
•By 2011, this figure had fallen to just 11 percent, indicating a drastic improvement in highway maintenance.
•Additionally, according to the "roughness index" of the Department of Transportation, highways in 2009 were on average about 20 percent smoother than they were in 1989 -- a sign of improved upkeep.

The same improvements have not been seen in the United States' transit systems, particularly those serving individual metros. Despite overwhelming financial support, these transportation systems are routinely in disrepair and often request additional funds.

•In 2010, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said that it needed $3 billion to bring the system up to a state of good repair, but was able to find only about $200 million.
•The Chicago Transit Authority says it needs more than $16 billion to bring its system back to a state of good repair.
•New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority estimates that it needs $16.5 billion to bring the entire system into a state of good repair.
•In 2002, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority estimated that it needed $12.2 billion -- roughly the original cost of constructing the rail system -- to rehabilitate its rail lines.

In total, according to a 2010 report from the Federal Transit Administration, the nation's transit industry has a $78 billion backlog of work that must be done to bring transit infrastructure into a "state of good repair."

College Tuition Sudsides Cause Student Failures?

How or why does the insanity continue to drive education further into the black hole of government subsides. When everyone knows why education is failing, why do they still stand by and watch it fail?

Is it really all about the money and power of a source of campaign funds, colleges and university personal and endowments, or is it just easier to do nothing about the problem? When the roof caves in some time in the future, hopefully it will someone else's problem.

The Impact of Artificially Low Tuition

Source: Hugh MacIntyre, "The Impact of Artificially Low Tuition," Fraser Institute, Summer 2012.

Over the past few decades it has become common for governments around the world to implement policies aimed at increasing access to education, with the hope that it will result in greater prosperity. One of the most frequently utilized mechanisms for increasing access is to lower the cost of tuition compared to the market price, often through subsidized loans or debt relief, says Hugh MacIntyre of the Fraser Institute.

Unfortunately, these policies only appear to help students, while in reality they have numerous negative effects that lower the quality of education and worsen the job market for graduates.

•Studies have repeatedly shown that students subconsciously respond to lower tuition rates by putting forth less effort into their studies.
•The logic here is simple: if education is an investment, and the amount at risk has been significantly lessened by government policies, then the effort to ensure a good payoff can also be lessened.
•This culminates in students allocating more time to leisure, opting for easier courses, and producing biting criticism of tough-love professors.
•Additionally, by artificially lowering rates, government policies do succeed in pushing more students into schools, but this has the effect of creating a glut of graduates.
•As a result, the labor market is oversaturated with college-educated workers and the returns to their labor are significantly diminished by excess supply.
•Consequently, college-educated workers increasingly find themselves relegated to jobs that do not require a college education.

Furthermore, these government policies do not only lower the value of college education to students, but also lessen its value for employers.

•Employers rely on educational standards in order to assess the marginal productivity that a given employee will bring.
•Interestingly, researchers have found that the above-mentioned effects of decreased student effort result in institutions lowering standards (responding to customer preferences).
•Thus, government policies that encourage student malaise implicitly encourage colleges and universities to lower standards to fit that malaise.
•This leads to college educations that are unreliable indicators of student achievements.
•Further, the lowering of standards also has the effect of dulling the skills that college graduates actually have.

Unfunded Pension Liability Crushing State Budgets

Unfunded liabilities for the states are crushing budgets and forcing legislators to make decisions that are driving unions over the cliff. But the good news is state governments can make this work - look what happened in Wisconsin.

Burning Fast
Source: "Burning Fast," The Economist, June 23, 2012.

That states have underfunded pension liabilities is not news. A combination of generous benefit promises and lower requirements for workers' contributions have landed many states with liabilities that they may not be able to pay. What is news, however, are the enormous difficulties that many states are encountering in attempting to dig themselves out of their current hole, says The Economist.

This difficulty is partially a function of the sheer size of the states' unfunded liability, which can overwhelm tenuous political alliances for progress.

•The Government Accountability Office recommends that states should have a pension-funding level of at least 80 percent.
•According to a recent report from the Pew Centre on the States, only one state was fully funded in 2010, the most recent year examined.
•At the same time, 34 were funded at below 80 percent -- a figure that is up from 22 in 2008.
•Pew found that the total gap among all states in 2010 was approximately $1.38 trillion.

Furthermore, according to Josh Rauh of Kellogg School of Management, these figures from Pew are overly optimistic, as they allow states to use their own biased accounting data. States tend to inflate the rate of return on their investments (most states use the high figure of 8 percent) when this is nowhere close to realistic rates of return in the current economy.

When more realistic rates reflecting the current economy are used, the situation becomes even more severe and the need for immediate government action becomes more paramount. However, recent austerity programs proposed by lawmakers have been met with fierce resistance.

•Many states that try to bring in pension reforms are ending up in court, as unions argue that to take what has been promised to them is unfair and illegal.
•Attempts to change contribution rates and types for current workers, for example, have been ruled against by courts in Florida and New Hampshire.
•Actions to adjust downward the benefits received by current workers and retirees remain on unknown judicial ground.

This leaves states on shaky ground as they attempt to shore up shoddy finances. Though they should seek to address their enormous unfunded liabilities, resistance from negotiating parties may handicap their ability to do so.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Birth Certificate High Tech Researched : Obama Born Where?

This is something that is food for thought given the technology that is used to research the bases for the Obama birth certificate - does this matter, maybe, but you be the judge for what it's worth.


Tax the Rich Until they Are Gone : Good For Economy?

One thing we all can rely on is that the left, progressive liberal Democrats, will always use class warfare to gain ground in an election. They will other divisive tactics as well but it seems this one always seems to resonate with a large proportion of the population.

The scary part here is this group of voters that believes they have been left behind in the struggle for economic success is growing larger every year. One has to believe this is the plan for the progressives - divide the country into the haves and the have-nots all the while designing ways to increase the have-nots to enlarge the voter base.

The problem that results is at some point there won't be enough haves to support the have-nots. What happens then?

The Fortunate 400
Source: William McBride, "The Fortunate 400," Tax Foundation, June 29, 2012.

Since 1992, the IRS has tracked the top 400 earners in terms of adjusted gross income -- the so called Fortunate 400. Data regarding their adjustable gross income has indicated that both the members of this group and its primary sources of income have changed dramatically over time, says William McBride, an economist at the Tax Foundation.

That there is significant turnover among the Fortunate 400 speaks to the fact that the receipt of enormous amounts of wealth is a feat that is difficult to repeat. Many who make large sums in one year fail to do so again, and only a few manage to do so with regularity.

•Of all the filers who have made the list since 1992, 73 percent were on the list just once.
•Virtually no one has remained on the list for all years (the most recent data is based on 2009 returns); in last year's report, just 4 people remained on the list for 17 years.
•This suggests that most top earners do not have a portfolio of big investments that can be cashed in year after year, but rather one big asset, such as a family farm or business or stock, the sale of which triggers a capital gain.

The fleeting nature of this wealth is partially due to its source. While wage and salary income is mostly stable, income from capital gains and several other sources is highly volatile, often exaggerating gains or losses in the economy as a whole.

•In the early 1990s, capital gains remained low at about $12 billion (in aggregate), but then climbed to $62 billion in 2000 at the peak of the stock market.
•They then dropped in half to $31 billion in 2002, peaked again at $96 billion in 2007, and collapsed again to $37 billion in 2009.
•In every year since 1994, all 400 top earners reported capital gains.

One constant over the entire studies time period, however, has been the exceptionally large amount of taxes paid by this group of earners.

•The Fortunate 400 paid more in income taxes than they received in wages and salaries in every year studied.
•During that time, in which marginal income tax rates and capital gains taxation rates have decreased, tax revenue from the Fortunate 400 has doubled (from $8 billion to $16 billion).

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Government Services Increase All Costs to Consumers

That costs will go up the more the government gets involved must come as a shock to the purchasing population. hmmmm  Not really anymore, especially with the new media that is watching the cut-throat politicians that are finding new ways to extract tax dollars to waste on pet projects and to 'level the playing field' for all consumers.

The reality, government intervention was never meant to help the consumer, it has always been to extract more money from the unsuspecting public.

Just Wait until It's Free
Source: J. R. Clark and Dwight R. Lee, "Just Wait until It's Free," The Freeman, July/August 2012.

Modern government is increasingly treated as a universal provider; politicians are lobbied for and subsequently provide more and more services, in the hopes that prices can be driven down to increase the number of beneficiaries. However, it remains true that there is no such thing as a free lunch: government involvement does nothing to lower prices, and almost always raises them, say Dwight R. Lee, a professor at Southern Methodist University, and J.R. Clark, a professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

In its ill-conceived attempts to lower prices, government bureaucrats usually resort to subsidies that can offset or eliminate the cost of the good. However, in order to understand how this eventually raises prices, it is first necessary to differentiate between marginal cost and total cost.

•The marginal cost is the amount that must be paid by the individual consumer to purchase the good after a subsidy has been applied.
•The total cost, on the other hand, is the amount the individual must pay along with the amount paid by the government in order to subsidize its cost.
•Individuals, as a rule, only care about the price tag they seen in front of them (the marginal cost), because they have already paid their portion of the total cost in tax monies whether they consume the good or not.
•This leads to overconsumption as individuals are implicitly encouraged to purchase more of a good than they otherwise would.

Subsidized goods are often saddled with price controls to keep producers from responding to government largesse and increased consumer demand by raising prices. However, the price will inevitably rise, regardless of government-enforced price ceilings.

•Because consumers pay such a small portion of the total cost in the form of the marginal cost, they are not encouraged to shop around and select the most efficient (cheapest per unit of quality) producer, allowing for significant market coverage by inefficient producers.
•Further, because consumers often have little control over which provider they must use (e.g. public education), service providers need not supply superior service or quality goods.
•Finally, government involvement in the procurement of public goods grows the government bureaucracy necessary for expenditure oversight, inevitably raising costs in the form of red tape.

Thus, while the total cost of the good may be taken on by other taxpayers, this should not be mistaken for the government reducing the price of a good.

Electric Cars AND Green Energy are Liberal Disasters

How is it that one person, Obama, can tell all the rest of us how to live our lives by using our tax dollars to kill the gas and oil industy while wasting billions of electric cars that no one wants, and 'green energy' project that don't work.

Little wonder why GM is building the Cadilac in China. Is this out sourcing with our tax dollars to? 

U.S. Drivers Slow to Embrace All-Electric Vehicles
Source: Nathan Bomey, "U.S. Drivers Slow to Embrace All-Electric Vehicles," USA Today, July 9, 2012.

President Barack Obama set a goal of getting 1 million plug-in hybrids and all-electrics on U.S. roads by 2015. The administration pumped billions of dollars in loans and grants into battery technology companies, but now, some of the recipients are sitting on more capacity than the market wants, says USA Today.

Though technology advances have allowed for marketization of several electric vehicles, popular demand remains lacking.

•Sales of the all-electric Nissan Leaf, which can travel about 75 miles on a single overnight charge, plummeted 69 percent in June from a year earlier.
•Though sales have upticked recently, the Chevrolet Volt has also not found popularity on the market.
•This is in stark contrast to sales of traditional hybrid cars: sales of various models of Toyota Prius hybrids are selling as fast as the automaker can ship them.

The lackluster performance of these plug-in vehicles is such that Pike Research of Boulder, Colorado, has concluded that the president's 2015 goal will almost certainly not be reached, and that even a 2018 horizon would be a stretch.

Sales of the vehicles have been undermined by a number of factors.

•Falling gasoline prices, which nationwide are now well-below $4 per gallon, have weakened a crucial incentive for the purchase of non-gasoline consuming vehicles.
•Many other potential buyers are also concerned about adapting their driving habits to all-electric vehicles: unlike the Volt, which has a backup gasoline engine, the Nissan Leaf is all electric and is confined to its 75 mile radius before needing to be recharged.
•Finally, increasing efficiency for standard vehicles in the entire market has further destabilized electric vehicles' comparative advantage.

Medicaid Spending Forecast : 4.4 Trillion

Ask most progressive liberal Democrats if this country is in trouble and they will say without any hesitation, 'we are not in trouble but that we need to level the playing field so everyone has the same chance to succeed'. What they mean is, and as the president told us, everyone that has already succeeded has to sacrifice their ill-gotten gains so those that have no idea how to succeed get what they want.

Really? As long as the federal government is in charge of our medical system, as it is now with the Affordable Care Act, medical care for the poor is going to get worse and then the quality of care for those that can pay will be next as the cost of all care will go through the roof. This is the agenda that the president has in mind forcing the 'single payer' down our throats. The population will have no other place to go. Worse this system will collapse under it's own weight and we all will wind up with no care at all. 

With the government demanding that 30 million more people get coverage for all medical problems, and that most of these problems have to be free, only means disaster for the entire system is just around the corner.

Medicaid Freedom of Choice
Source: Stephen Moore and Peter Ferrara, "Medicaid Freedom of Choice," American Spectator, June 2012.

The Medicaid system, which provides health care to many of America's most in need, is largely broken. Its problems, broadly, fall into two categories. First, it creates subpar health outcomes for enrollees who, because of their lack of economic means, often have no alternative avenue to gain care. Second, it creates unnecessary cost overruns due to poorly conceived incentives, say Stephen Moore, a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, and Peter Ferrara, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.

With regard to the first problem, numerous studies have been conducted that show that, for a number of reasons, Medicaid participants routinely receive poor treatment by health care providers.

•Scott Gottlieb of the New York University School of Medicine writes that a 2010 study of throat cancer "found that Medicaid patients and people lacking any health insurance were both 50 percent more likely to die when compared with privately insured patients."
•A 2011 study of heart patients found that people with Medicaid who underwent coronary angioplasty were 59 percent more likely to have strokes and heart attacks, compared with privately insured patients.
•Medicaid patients were also more than twice as likely to have a major, subsequent heart attack after angioplasty as were patients who didn't have any health insurance at all.
•A 2010 study of major surgical procedures found that being on Medicaid was associated with the longest length of hospital stay, the most total hospital costs and the highest risk of death.

These studies speak to the ineffectiveness of the Medicaid program in providing adequate care for those who rely upon it. Part of this problem stems from a lack of access: because the government only reimburses doctors at roughly 60 cents on the dollar for physician charges, many doctors refuse access to Medicaid patients, or cap the number they're willing to see.

Frustratingly, this lack of effective care is coupled with enormous expense, as Medicaid is projected to consume larger and larger amounts of federal and state budgets.

•On the federal level, President Obama's budget projects Medicaid costs will total nearly $4.4 trillion over the next 10 years alone.
•Annual costs are expected to soar by 127 percent to nearly $600 billion in that period.
•Further, the National Association of State Budget Officers reports that states Medicaid spending may exceed spending on anything else, even K-12 education.