Tag Archives: Stimulus

By any measure, Obamacare has been a disastrous failure

Well, the law was supposed to take until now to come into full effect. Now that we are getting the full Obamacare, what are we seeing?

The Wall Street Journal says not enough of the young Democrats who voted for Obamacare are signing up for it:

This month the Health and Human Services Department dramatically discounted its internal estimate of how many people will join the state insurance exchanges in 2016. There are about 9.1 million enrollees today, and the consensus estimate—by the Congressional Budget Office, the Medicare actuary and independent analysts like Rand Corp.—was that participation would surge to some 20 million. But HHS now expects enrollment to grow to between merely 9.4 million and 11.4 million.

Recruitment for 2015 is roughly 70% of the original projection, but ObamaCare will be running at less than half its goal in 2016. HHS believes some 19 million Americans earn too much for Medicaid but qualify for ObamaCare subsidies and haven’t signed up. Some 8.5 million of that 19 million purchase off-exchange private coverage with their own money, while the other 10.5 million are still uninsured. In other words, for every person who’s allowed to join and has, two people haven’t.

Among this population of the uninsured, HHS reports that half are between the ages of 18 and 34 and nearly two-thirds are in excellent or very good health. The exchanges won’t survive actuarially unless they attract this prime demographic: ObamaCare’s individual mandate penalty and social-justice redistribution are supposed to force these low-cost consumers to buy overpriced policies to cross-subsidize everybody else. No wonder HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said meeting even the downgraded target is “probably pretty challenging.”

The program doesn’t work unless young, poor, healthy people are forced to pay for the health care of rich, older, sickly people.

The radically leftist New York Times reports that out of the 22 health insurance co-ops Obamacare created, nine of them have already closed – leaving customers without coverage.


The grim announcements keep coming, picking up pace in recent weeks.

About a third, or eight, alternative health insurers created under President Obama’shealth care law to spur competition that might have made coverage less expensive for consumers are shutting down. The three largest are among that number. Only 14 of the so-called cooperatives are still standing, some precariously.

The toll of failed co-op insurers, which were intended to challenge dominant companies that wield considerable power to dictate prices, has left about 500,000 customers scrambling to find health insurance for next year. A ninth co-op, which served Iowa and Nebraska, closed in February.

At a time when the industry is experiencing a wave of consolidation, with giants like Anthem and Aetna planning to buy their smaller rivals, the vanishing co-ops will leave some consumers with fewer choices — and potentially higher prices.

The failures include co-ops in New York, Colorado, Kentucky and South Carolina.

The shuttering of these start-ups amounts to what could be a loss of nearly $1 billion in federal loans provided to help them get started. And the cascading series of failures has also led to skepticism about the Obama administration’s commitment to this venture.

UPDATE: A day after this was posted, another IRS co-op has just closed, this time in Utah. Now we are up to 10 out of 22.

Cato Institute health care expert Michael Tanner talks about the increases in health care premiums caused by Obamacare at CNS News:

For example, insurance companies have begun submitting their requests for rate increases for 2016, and those requests suggest that premiums could skyrocket next year. Already we’ve seen requests for increases for individual plans as high as 64.8 percent in Texas, 61 percent in Pennsylvania, 51.6 percent in New Mexico, 36.3 percent in Tennessee, 30.4 percent in Maryland, 25 percent in Oregon, and 19.9 percent in Washington. Those increases would come on top of premium increases last year that were 24.4 percent above what they would have been without Obamacare, according to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. At the same time, deductibles for the cheapest Obamacare plans now average about $5,180 for individuals and $10,500 for families.

Recall that on this blog, pretty much all of 2009 and 2010 was spent carefully explaining the moral hazards and other problems created by Obamacare. This was stuff that Republicans knew would happen. But on the other side of the aisle, there was too much naive, youthful exuberance from the secular left. Evidence was ignored, and feelings won the day. Obamacare was passed on the memes and tweets, while the studies reported by people like me went entirely unread.

Investors Business Daily just posted a list of 12 problems with Obamcare for the middle class:

Remember how many times I blogged about this one:

6. Shorter Workweeks

Because ObamaCare’s employer mandate fines don’t apply for workers who average fewer than 30 hours per week, the law gives companies an incentive to put a cap on workhours — particularly for low-wage workers who are less likely to be offered coverage.

The impact isn’t big enough to show up in economywide data, but there’s little doubt that the employer mandate has hurt a lot of people. IBD found 450 employers that capped workhours, and Current Population Survey data show a dive in the share of workers clocking just above 30 hours per week.

And what about the penalty for not buying what the government tells you to:

7. Impact On Wages

In 2016, a company with 50 full-time-equivalent workers could face a penalty of $2,160 per employee (with 30 workers exempted). When the after-tax fine is converted to tax-deductible wages, it equates to $1.71 an hour for a full-time worker.

Who will pay the penalty? For the most part, it won’t be employers — at least not directly. The CBO expects that “the penalty will be borne primarily by workers in the form of reduced wages or other compensation.”

Again, I want to emphasize that it is the evidence-hating secular left that is surprised by these “unexpected” problems with their childish policy. Those of us on the religious right predicted them, because we read the studies that were done before the 2012 election.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the economy’s not doing so well, either:

Changes in quarterly earnings and revenue for S&P 500 companies
Changes in quarterly earnings and revenue for S&P 500 companies

In 2006, we handed both the House and Senate to Democrats. The national debt was $8.5 trillion. In 2008, we handed the Presidency to the Democrats. The national debt was $10 trillion. After 10 years of Democrats, we now have a national debt of $18.5 trillion. It has been a long, low-interest, no-growth Keynesian binge. The kind of economics you expect from a socialist community organizer.

National debt up more than $10 trillion since Pelosi/Reid budgets of 2007

This post is from Red State.


Despite his promises to cut the deficit in half by the end of his “first” term, Obama  racked up the largest deficits in U.S. history:

  • FY2009: The federal budget deficit was $1.413 trillion, the highest in U.S. history. (“Monthly Budget Review: November 2011,” Congressional Budget Office, 11/7/11)
  • FY2011: The federal budget deficit was $1.299 trillion, the second highest in U.S. history. (“Monthly Budget Review: November 2011,” Congressional Budget Office, 11/7/11)
  • FY2010: The federal budget deficit was $1.294 trillion, the third highest in U.S. history. (“Monthly Budget Review: November 2011,” Congressional Budget Office, 11/7/11)
  • FY2012 The federal budget deficit was $1.090 trillion, the fourth highest in U.S. history. (“An Analysis of the President’s 2013 Budget,” Congressional Budget Office, 10/5/12)

You shouldn’t be shocked by Obama’s failure to reduce the deficit in half by the end of his first term in office. He did warn us there would be “trillion-dollar deficits for years to come.”

Interest expense on the national debt is what sinks countries. The zero interest rate environment we have today masks the problem. When we return to normal interest rates, say 6%, our interest expense will jump to approximately to 25% of tax receipts. We have recently seen what happens to countries with debt problems similar to ours. Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Argentina all brought to their knees by excessive debt.

Heritage Foundation economist Stephen Moore:

Here is the biggest worry about an $18 trillion debt: What happens if/when interest rates start to drift back upward? Answer: This is the economic equivalent of the nuclear option.

Each 1-percentage-point rise in interest rates causes the U.S. deficit to rise by more than $1 trillion over ten years. So a 300-basis-point rise in rates — nothing more than a return to normalcy — would mean about $5 trillion in federal deficits.

If that happens, the debt-servicing costs grow astronomically and interest payments would become the biggest expense item in the budget. We start to pay more and more taxes just to finance past borrowing. This is what happened in Detroit; look at how that turned out.

Maybe this debt bubble won’t burst. Let’s pray that it doesn’t. If it does, the 2008–09 real-estate crash could look like a picnic by comparison.

[…]Oh, and we’re still borrowing half a trillion a year, so the debt will likely hit $20 trillion sometime before 2018. Have a nice day.

In 2007, when Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took over the spending, the national debt was only 8.5 trillion!

I am really hoping that interest rates will go up. Not only would it help me personally to get a predictable return on my investments, but I would like the people who voted for the Democrats to perceive (when it blows up) that lowering interest rates and borrowing trillions of dollars was not the right way to achieve real economic growth. The economy looks better if you throw 10 trillion dollars of borrowed money at it, but it’s not sustainable. In fact, it seems as if the left is always trying to wreck the economy with one bubble or another. It’s not just reducing mortgage lending requirements to create a housing bubble, it’s reducing student loans requirements to create a higher education bubble, and it’s reducing interest rates to create a debt bubble. It’s almost as if they were trying to destroy the economy.

Will the Social Security and Medicare programs be there for young Americans?

Of course not, and the voting in Democrats that they seem to like to do is making it worse.

Here’s an article from the Daily Signal to tell about it.

Chart first:

Social Security insolvent in 2024
Social Security insolvent in 2024

And now the story:

Social Security’s trustees projected in 1983 that the recently enacted Social Security reforms would keep the program active for at least the next 75 years, through 2058. However, according to research by Rachel Greszler, a senior policy analyst, and James M. Roberts, research fellow for economic freedom and growth at The Heritage Foundation, that approach date has accelerated.

“If the trend since 1983 continues, the program will become insolvent in 2024—34 years earlier than originally projected,” Roberts writes.

Now you might think that the way Democrats appeal to younger voters, that they are taking care of this problem for them.

Well, here’s an article from Investors Business Daily.


The White House recently conceded that President Obama’s executive order effectively legalizing an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants means that newly legalized workers will contribute to Social Security and Medicare and be eligible for benefits.

Does the president have any idea how much money his action could cost the country — i.e., taxpayers?

[…]The Social Security and Medicare Trust Fund trustees estimate the two program’s combined long-term unfunded liabilities — the estimated amount the government will have to pay in benefits above what it expects to receive — at about $49 trillion. Obama’s amnesty action greatly exacerbates the problem, because retirees get back far more than they pay in.

[…]Because the U.S. pays hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement benefits, on average, for each new retiree, whether part of Obama’s amnesty program or not, the president has just vastly worsened the long-term financial condition of the country’s two primary retirement safety nets.

But Obama’s newly legalized workers will impose even heavier losses than Steuerle’s examples.

Most workers pay into the programs for their working careers, between 40 and 50 years. But millions of Obama’s newly legalized are working-age adults with children, so many could be in their 40s or older.

Thus they could pay FICA taxes for the next, say, 15 or 20 years — less than half the average American worker — and be eligible for the full array of Social Security and Medicare benefits.

In addition, most will be lower-income workers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that foreign-born, full-time workers earn about 80% of native-born Americans ($33,500 vs. $41,900).

Social Security is a social insurance program and is structured to provide disproportionately more benefits for lower-income workers. Medicare pays the same regardless of how much a worker pays in.

To be sure, these new workers’ entry will likely help the trust funds initially, because most will be paying in rather than taking out.

Under current rules, workers must pay FICA taxes for 40 quarters (10 years total) before being fully eligible for the programs. But within a few decades the oldest will start retiring.

Given the demographic unknowns, estimating the amnesty’s financial cost to our retirement programs — and so to U.S. taxpayers — can only be approximate.

But using a basic simulation model, we believe the government will receive about $500 billion in payroll tax revenue (including Part B and drug premiums), and expect it to pay out some $2 trillion in benefits over several decades.

Yeah, so they are actually making it worse. But hey, at least we have redefined marriage, right?

As if that were not enough, there’s this lovely story from CNS News.


The Daily Treasury Statement that was released Wednesday afternoon as Americans were preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving revealed that the U.S. Treasury has been forced to issue $1,040,965,000,000 in new debt since fiscal 2015 started just eight weeks ago in order to raise the money to pay off Treasury securities that were maturing and to cover new deficit spending by the government.

The only way the Treasury could handle the $942,103,000,000 in old debt that matured during the period plus finance the new deficit spending the government engaged in was to roll over the old debt into new debt and issue enough additional new debt to cover the new deficit spending.

This mode of financing the federal government resembles what the Securities and Exchange Commission calls a Ponzi scheme. “A Ponzi scheme,” says the Securities and Exchange Commission, “is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors,” says the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“With little or no legitimate earnings, the schemes require a consistent flow of money from new investors to continue,” explains the SEC. “Ponzi schemes tend to collapse when it becomes difficult to recruit new investors or when a large number of investors ask to cash out.”

Now you might ask yourself – are young people aware of these things? Of course not. What they learn in university is how to escape their repressive religious backgrounds by experimenting with risky, irresponsible sexual behavior. They are not aware of the situation, and when they vote, they vote like they were picking candidates on American Idol. I guess I can understand why young people act stupidly. They are concerned with what the culture tells them to be concerned about, and that’s legal baby-killing, redefining marriage to separate kids from their mom or dad, police shooting people who commit crimes, a nonexistent gender pay gap and global warming. What is appalling to me is when their parents vote Democrat… which is basically voting to have a higher standard of living for themselves, then passing the bill onto to their kids. It’s especially amazing when married women do this to their own kids. What are they thinking?

Japan in recession after following Paul Krugman’s Keynesnian advice

Here’s the news story as reported by CBC:

Japan’s economy unexpectedly slipped back into recession as housing and business investment dropped following a sales tax hike, hobbling its ability to help drive the global recovery.

The world’s third-largest economy contracted at a 1.6 per cent annual pace in the July-September quarter, the government said Monday, confounding expectations that it would rebound after a big drop the quarter before.

The news cast a pall over financial markets: Japan’s share benchmark fell 3 per cent, and many others in Asia also declined. Shares were lower in early trading in Europe and Dow Jones and S&P futures were off 0.5 per cent, suggesting a dismal start for the week on Wall Street.

This Daily Signal article by respected economist Stephen Moore explains what led to this mess:

The tenets of Lord Keynes and his modern disciples have been put on trial in Japan, and the verdict is not a happy one. The rest of the world, not least of all the U.S., ignores these lessons at its own peril.

The engine of growth that created the Land of the Rising Sun economic miracle in the post-World War II era first began to falter in the early 1990s in large part because of a centrally planned industrial policy model.

The panicked response to the downturn was to flood the economy with a continuing series of Keynesian monetary and spending stimulus injections.

None of it has worked.

The collapse of Japan’s stock market tells the whole story. In December 1989, the Nikkei 225 index stood at a lofty 38,900. Today, almost a quarter-century later, the index stands at just under 16,000.

In 25 years Japan has experienced a nearly 3/5 liquidation of its financial wealth.

Japan has directed tens of billions of dollars into public works projects — “investments,” as President Obama calls them. This was paid for with debt. In the last two decades, Japan’s debt burden catapulted from 19% of GDP, among the lowest in the industrialized world, to over 142%, among the highest.

The government spending coincided with a monetary policy almost unprecedented in its looseness. From the late 1980s through 2000, the central bank’s balance sheet more than doubled — a precursor to the “quantitative easing” carried out by the U.S. Federal Reserve. And since 2000, the balance sheet has doubled once again.

Inflation rates in Japan are bearing down on 4% — a near-high among major competitors.

The result? The expected Keynesian “multiplier effect” from spending and a flood of yen into the market never arrived.

Housing starts in Japan are still lower than the level nearly 25 years ago. Unemployment, still low by international standards, is nearly twice the level of 1990, and wages have been flat.

Labor force participation continues to trend downward as well — falling by around 4 percentage points over the last two decades.

Yet, liberal economists have urged Japan to keep the stimulus coming. Last winter, the New York Times’ Paul Krugman exulted in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s expansionary fiscal and monetary policies.

“So, how is Abenomics working?” he wrote. “The overall verdict on Japan’s effort to turn its economy around is so far, so good. If Abenomics works, it will serve a dual purpose — giving Japan itself a much-needed boost and the rest of us an even more-needed antidote to policy lethargy.”

Japan, Krugman predicted, “may also end up showing the rest of us the way out” of stagnation.

Forbes magazine confirms leftist “economist” Paul Krugman’s detailed advice to Japan:

In the 1990s it was Krugman who most loudly championed Japan’s innumerable and reckless “stimulus” schemes, together with dozens of rounds of “quantitative easing” (fiat money printing). Japan followed his advice and ever since then has suffered a secular stagnation. Since 1990 Japan’s public debt has ballooned from 68% to 233% of GDP; its money supply is up 286%, while its industrial output is lower by 3.4% and its equity index is down by 73%. This is what Keynesians “stimulus” has done for Japan – and Krugman wants the same for the U.S.

Mr. Krugman repeatedly invokes the magic multiplier, the bogus claim that when we spend our own dollar we boost GDP by a dollar, but when the government takes it and spends it, GDP is boosted by $1.40. Wow. Fabulous. Government spending not only “pays for itself,” but more than pays for itself. On this view, were government to take everything we earned and spend it, the economy might well expand to the moon. Is it magic – or voodoo?

I notice that leftists at the BBC are calling the failure a “surprise“.

Where did Abenomics go wrong?

In the spring of 2013, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched an ambitious growth strategy that rapidly became known as Abenomics.

Its aim was to drag Japan’s economy out of 20 years of deflation and put it back on the road to growth. Billions of dollars were pumped into the economy through stimulus spending. The Bank of Japan went on an even bigger spree, printing hundreds of billions of dollars of new money and using it to buy government bonds.

And the leftist New York Times is calling it “unexpected“:

The surprise recession underscores the difficulties faced by Mr. Abe, who won power two years ago on a pledge to reinvigorate the economy and end his country’s long streak of wage and consumer-price declines. His agenda, dubbed Abenomics, has focused largely on stimulus measures, in particular an expanded program of asset purchases by the central bank. Yet its impact, economists say, has been dulled by the tax increase, which was approved under a previous government.

[…]Then, in early 2014, Mr Abe’s government took a calculated gamble. With the economy growing he could risk putting up taxes for the first time in nearly 20 years. Consumption (purchase) tax would rise from 5 to 8%. The tax rise was urgently needed to plug the giant hole in Japan’s public finances.

Why does anyone take economic advice from people on the left like Paul Krugman? Raising taxes, increasing debt and more government spending never helps the economy grow. Certainly not at the rate that pro-growth policies do.

We need to cut our corporate tax, which is the highest in the world. We need to cut spending and cut government duplication and waste. We need to privatize inefficient government programs. We need to reward work instead of dependency. We need to stop borrowing money and raising our national debt. We need to stop printing money, aka – quantitative easing. We need to raise interest rates and encourage saving instead of spending.

Nancy Pelosi’s brother-in-law gets $737M of taxpayers’ money to build solar plant

From the UK Daily Mail.


Nancy Pelosi is facing accusations of cronyism after a solar energy project, which her brother-in-law has a stake in, landed a $737 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, despite the growing Solyndra scandal.

The massive loan agreement is raising new concerns about the use of taxpayers’ money as vast sums are invested in technology similar to that of the doomed energy project.

The investment has intensified the debate over the effectiveness of solar energy as a major power source.

The SolarReserve project is backed by an energy investment fund where the Minority Leader’s brother-in-law Ronald Pelosi is second in command.

PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund (East) LLC is listed as one of the investors in the project that has been given the staggering loan, which even dwarfs that given to failed company Solyndra.

Other investors include one of the major investors in Solyndra, which is run by one of the directors of Solyndra.

Steve Mitchell, who served on the board of directors at the bankrupt energy company, is also managing director of Argonaut Private Equity, which has invested in the latest project.

Since Solyndra has filed for bankruptcy has been asked to testify about the goings on at the firm by two members of the House and ‘asked to provide documents to Congress’.

[…]The project approval came as part of $1 billion in new loans to green energy companies yesterday.

Did they learn anything from Solyndra? No:

‘The administration’s flagship project Solyndra is bankrupt and being investigated by the FBI, the promised jobs never materialised, and now the Department of Energy is preparing to rush out nearly $5 billion in loans in the final 48 hours before stimulus funds expire — that’s nearly $105 million every hour that must be finalised until the deadline,’ said Florida representative Cliff Stearns, who is chairman of the investigations subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Since Nancy Pelosi took over federal spending in January 2007, the national debt has increased from $8.5 trillion to about $17.5 trillion. That’s NINE TRILLION dollars in new spending. And much of it just handed off to the people and groups who got the Democrats elected 2008 and 2012.