Tag Archives: Generosity

Analysis: how much did each Obamacare mandate drive up health insurance premiums?

How each Obamacare mandate affected the health insurance premiums
How each Obamacare mandate affected the health insurance premiums

Since 2010, we were inundated with reports and studies from various groups that argued that the new mandates in Obamacare would drive up the cost of health insurance. And that was actually observed to happen. Year after year, health insurance costs rose – usually by double digits. We knew why this was happening, too: Obamacare required health insurers to cover more conditions, many of them not even related to health insurance.

Here is an an analysis of which mandates caused health insurance costs to rise the most from the Daily Signal.

Excerpt:

Obamacare caused premiums to rise for various reasons, chief among them being the vast new regulations the law imposed on insurance markets. A new analysis from Milliman backs this up. The study provided estimates of the average impact that various Obamacare regulations had on premiums.

[…]Changes in morbidity (or the sickness of the population) due to newly uninsured by itself caused 4 percent increases in premiums nationally, but in Ohio it raised premiums by 35-40 percent.

Age is also a factor in premium prices, and Obamacare disrupted the natural order by dictating the age banding, which disproportionately harmed young people. (Age banding here refers to how much the most expensive plans can be in comparison to the cheapest.)

Before Obamacare, the national rate of age banding was 1-to-5. In other words, the most expensive plan was five times more costly than the cheapest plan, with expense increasing with age.

Obamacare mandated that the rate be set at 1-to-3, so that the most expensive plan could be no more than three times as expensive. While elderly people’s premiums might have seen fewer increases—which is both due to banding and the fact that Obamacare is close to a death spiral—young people have suffered.

Overall, young people can expect to have rate increases between 58.9 percent and 91.8 percent using national averages. However, not every state had a 1-to-5 age band.

In places like Ohio, the effects are far worse—it had a 1-to-6 age band. Even accounting for the differences in its population from the national average, young people in Ohio can still expect to pay an average of 7.7 percent more on top of other increases.

In addition to this “youth tax,” mandates like the “essential health benefits” and actuarial requirements further punish all Americans with benefits that they don’t need, at prices they can’t afford. While in places like Maryland these mandates might only contribute 8 to 10 percent to premium increases, nationally they raise premiums by an average of 16.5 percent, up to 32 percent.

Overall, accounting for gender, age, and the relative proportions of all those groups, Americans are paying 44.5 to 68 percent more in premiums owing just to Title I regulations. That number is even higher when factoring all the other adverse effects of Obamacare.

Notice that “guaranteed issue”, which is so popular with those who feel that they can somehow be generous by spending other people’s money, is one of the biggest drivers of health insurance costs. When pollsters ask people whether they want to keep these provisions, they mostly say yes. But when the pollsters ask whether they want to keep these provisions if it means that their own health insurance costs will go up, they mostly say no. It’s amazing how American voters, especially Democrats, love the idea of spending other people’s money. As long as they don’t have to pay for it, then it’s a great idea to spend someone else’s money in order to buy the feeling (and the peer approval) of being generous and compassionate.

And after 8 years of Obama offering that feeling to his supporters, we now have a national debt of $20 trillion, instead of $10 trillion. Mind you, in decades of asking my co-workers, I’ve never yet met one Democrat who could tell me what the national debt was. I guess that would interrupt their feelings of generosity and compassion.

 

 

Wayne Grudem explains what the Bible says about spending, saving and charity

Bible study that hits the spot
Bible study that hits the spot

A practical lecture on money – spending, saving, charitable giving – from famous pastor Wayne Grudem.

I like the way that Wayne Grudem navigates the Bible finding the passages that tell you who God is, so that you can make better decisions by analyzing alternatives and choosing the one that gives your Boss a maximum return on investment. He’s very practical.

The MP3 file is here.

The PDF outline is here.

Spending:

  • Christianity does not teach asceticism (= don’t enjoy anything in this world), Paul condemns it in 1 Timothy 4:1-5
  • When you buy nice things, even if it is a little more expensive, it’s an opportunity to be thankful for nice things that God has provided
  • Even being rich is OK, but don’t let it make you haughty and arrogant, and don’t set your hopes on your money (see 1 Tim 6:17)
  • It is important for you to earn money, and you are supposed to use it to support yourself and be independent
  • It is possible to overspend and live recklessly (Luke 15:13) and it’s also possible to overspend and live too luxuriously
  • Increasing your income through career progression is wise, because it allows you to give away more and save more
  • God gives us freedom to decide how much we spend, how much we give away, and how much we save
  • every choice a Christian makes with money will give him or her more or less reward in his or her afterlife
  • Do not spend more than you have – you should make every effort to get out of debt as quickly as possible

Saving:

  • Saving money is wise so you can help yourself and others, and have money in your old age when you will not be working
  • If you do not save your own money, you end up being dependent on others (e.g. – family or taxpayers)
  • Not saving money for the future is a way of “putting God to the test” (Matt 4:7)
  • You are to “be dependent on no one”, to the extent that you can (1 Thes 4:12)
  • We don’t know the future, that’s why we should prepare for an emergency, and buy insurance to guard (James 4:13-17)
  • It’s right for us to learn how to save to be able to buy bigger assets, like a car or a college education
  • Saving and investing in stocks and bonds lets people in business start and grow companies, creating jobs and new products
  • Don’t over-save, trusting too much in money more than you trust in God (Ps 62.10; Matt 6:19,24; Luke 12:15-21)

Giving:

  • it is required for the people of God to give something out of what they earn, but no percentage is specified (Deut 26:12-13)
  • you do not give money to become right with God, you can’t earn your salvation
  • a Christian gives to show God that you trust him to take care of you, and to experience trusting him through your giving
  • the quality of your resurrection life with God is affected by giving you do for the Kingdom (Phil 4, Matt 6:19-21; 1 Tim 6:18-19)
  • when you get involved in the lives of others and give to them, you have the joy of experiencing caring for others (Acts 20:35)
  • it’s possible to give too little, but it’s also possible to give too much – be careful about pride creeping in as well

The first part of this lecture made me think of my treat for the week, which is to get a double chicken burrito bowl after my weight lifting. It is very easy to say grace when you are hovering over a double chicken burrito bowl. It is good to have nice things especially when it makes you thankful for what you have.

I was so happy listening to this talk because he was condemning bad stewardship, which I see in a lot of young people these days. I was happy until he got to the part about trusting in your savings for your security, and then I thought – that’s what I do wrong! I save a lot but it’s not just for emergencies and to share with others, like he was saying – I want a sense of security. This was more of a temptation in my 20s than it is now in my 30s, though.

Charity should hurt

I can remember being in my first full-time job as a newly hired junior programmer when the 2001 recession struck. I would cry while signing checks to support William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith ministry, because I was so scared. I had no family or friends where I lived to help me if anything went wrong, and that’s been the story of my working life. If anything goes wrong, there is no backup. But it’s that experience of crying when I gave that allows me to say today “that’s when I became the man I am, that’s what a man does when he is a follower of Jesus”. If you are not doing the actions of charity, then you will not having the experience of trusting God and letting him lead you. There is more to the Christian life than just saying the right things – you have to do the right things.

Don’t follow your heart

If you’re scared about giving when you are young, then do what I did in my 20s: work 70-hour weeks, get promoted often, and save everything you earn. I volunteered every Saturday for 9 months in order to get my first white-collar part-time job when I was still in high-school. The faster you increase your savings, the easier it’s going to be to take a genuine interest in caring for the people around you. Read Phil 1 (fellowship), Phil 2 (concern for others), and Phil 4 (charity). Turn off your emotions and desires when it comes to choosing what to study and what work to do, and put Philippians into practice. Your freedom to give is very much tied to the quality of your decisions of what to study, where to work, how much you spend on entertainment, and so on. That’s why you need to turn off your feelings and desires and do what works, even it it’s not fun, and even if it involves responsibilities, expectations and obligations.

Wayne Grudem explains what the Bible says about spending, saving and charity

Bible study that hits the spot
Bible study that hits the spot

A practical lecture on money – spending, saving, charitable giving – from famous pastor Wayne Grudem.

I like the way that Wayne Grudem navigates the Bible finding the passages that tell you who God is, so that you can make better decisions by analyzing alternatives and choosing the one that gives your Boss a maximum return on investment. He’s very practical.

The MP3 file is here.

The PDF outline is here.

Spending:

  • Christianity does not teach asceticism (= don’t enjoy anything in this world), Paul condemns it in 1 Timothy 4:1-5
  • When you buy nice things, even if it is a little more expensive, it’s an opportunity to be thankful for nice things that God has provided
  • Even being rich is OK, but don’t let it make you haughty and arrogant, and don’t set your hopes on your money (see 1 Tim 6:17)
  • It is important for you to earn money, and you are supposed to use it to support yourself and be independent
  • It is possible to overspend and live recklessly (Luke 15:13) and it’s also possible to overspend and live too luxuriously
  • Increasing your income through career progression is wise, because it allows you to give away more and save more
  • God gives us freedom to decide how much we spend, how much we give away, and how much we save
  • every choice a Christian makes with money will give him or her more or less reward in his or her afterlife
  • Do not spend more than you have – you should make every effort to get out of debt as quickly as possible

Saving:

  • Saving money is wise so you can help yourself and others, and have money in your old age when you will not be working
  • If you do not save your own money, you end up being dependent on others (e.g. – family or taxpayers)
  • Not saving money for the future is a way of “putting God to the test” (Matt 4:7)
  • You are to “be dependent on no one”, to the extent that you can (1 Thes 4:12)
  • We don’t know the future, that’s why we should prepare for an emergency, and buy insurance to guard (James 4:13-17)
  • It’s right for us to learn how to save to be able to buy bigger assets, like a car or a college education
  • Saving and investing in stocks and bonds lets people in business start and grow companies, creating jobs and new products
  • Don’t over-save, trusting too much in money more than you trust in God (Ps 62.10; Matt 6:19,24; Luke 12:15-21)

Giving:

  • it is required for the people of God to give something out of what they earn, but no percentage is specified (Deut 26:12-13)
  • you do not give money to become right with God, you can’t earn your salvation
  • a Christian gives to show God that you trust him to take care of you, and to experience trusting him through your giving
  • the quality of your resurrection life with God is affected by giving you do for the Kingdom (Phil 4, Matt 6:19-21; 1 Tim 6:18-19)
  • when you get involved in the lives of others and give to them, you have the joy of experiencing caring for others (Acts 20:35)
  • it’s possible to give too little, but it’s also possible to give too much – be careful about pride creeping in as well

The first part of this lecture made me think of my treat for the week, which is to get a double chicken burrito bowl after my weight lifting. It is very easy to say grace when you are hovering over a double chicken burrito bowl. It is good to have nice things especially when it makes you thankful for what you have.

I was so happy listening to this talk because he was condemning bad stewardship, which I see in a lot of young people these days. I was happy until he got to the part about trusting in your savings for your security, and then I thought – that’s what I do wrong! I save a lot but it’s not just for emergencies and to share with others, like he was saying – I want a sense of security. This was more of a temptation in my 20s than it is now in my 30s, though.

Charity should hurt

I can remember being in my first full-time job as a newly hired junior programmer when the 2001 recession struck. I would cry while signing checks to support William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith ministry, because I was so scared. I had no family or friends where I lived to help me if anything went wrong, and that’s been the story of my working life. If anything goes wrong, there is no backup. But it’s that experience of crying when I gave that allows me to say today “that’s when I became the man I am, that’s what a man does when he is a follower of Jesus”. If you are not doing the actions of charity, then you will not having the experience of trusting God and letting him lead you. There is more to the Christian life than just saying the right things – you have to do the right things.

Don’t follow your heart

If you’re scared about giving when you are young, then do what I did in my 20s: work 70-hour weeks, get promoted often, and save everything you earn. I volunteered every Saturday for 9 months in order to get my first white-collar part-time job when I was still in high-school. The faster you increase your savings, the easier it’s going to be to take a genuine interest in caring for the people around you. Read Phil 1 (fellowship), Phil 2 (concern for others), and Phil 4 (charity). Turn off your emotions and desires when it comes to choosing what to study and what work to do, and put Philippians into practice. Your freedom to give is very much tied to the quality of your decisions of what to study, where to work, how much you spend on entertainment, and so on. That’s why you need to turn off your feelings and desires and do what works, even it it’s not fun, and even if it involves responsibilities, expectations and obligations.

As refugees rape and sexually assault German women, will pro-refugee Christians repent?

Muslim populations in Europe
Muslim populations in Europe

First, let’s get the facts from the Washington Free Beacon, which links to Der Spiegel and BBC.

They write:

Dozens of reports of sexual assault perpetrated by Arab and North African men on New Year’s Eve have shocked officials in Cologne, Germany.

According to Spiegel Online, dozens of women reported being sexually assaulted by individuals belonging to a group of 1,000 young men gathered in a square near Cologne’s main train station on New Year’s Eve. The men were largely of Arab or North African descent, Cologne Police Chief Wolfgang Albers said, according to BBC.

At least one women reported being raped. There were nearly 100 complaints filed about incidents last Thursday, about a quarter of them related to sexual assault and many other related to thefts.

Albers said that the incidents last week in Cologne constituted “a completely new dimension of crime.” Mayor Henriette Reker called the alleged crimes “monstrous.”

“We cannot allow this to become a lawless area,” Reker said.

The perpetrators of the assaults and thefts last week appeared to range from ages 15 to 35. Investigators have zeroed in on a group of men from North Africa who have been behind small thefts in Cologne recently.

Germany received a record number of migrants last year, which has resulted in fierce debate surrounding the country’s acceptance of migrants and refugees.

As everyone knows, Germany is taking in 800,000 primarily Muslim refugees. So naturally the authorities are hesitant to come clean and admit that the rapists and sexual assaulters were let in by their generous, compassionate government policy.

Now consider this article from the UK Guardian about the Muslim child-rape sex-trafficking gangs that exist everywhere in the UK, thanks to the Labour Party’s generous immigration policy and generous welfare policies.

The article says:

Police and social workers in Oxfordshire had a tainted perception that girls as young as 11 consented to sex with men who raped and brutalised them, an independent report into the failure to stop their exploitation has said.

Throughout their interactions with six young girls in Oxford, professionals struggled with the law on consent, failing to understand that such was the power of the grooming process the children had no power to say no to gang rape, sexual torture and violence.

[…]The report called on the government to research why the perpetrators of this type of child abuse – which has been seen in Rochdale, Rotherham, Derby, Bristol and Oxfordshire – were predominantly from a Pakistani and/or Muslim heritage.

Blyth said what the children were subjected to was “indescribably awful”.

The number of children affected by the Muslim underage sex-trafficking is put at 1400 by the BBC. 1400 children raped and sex-trafficked, primarily by Muslims immigrants.

What is interesting about this is that I keep hearing about all of these compassionate Christians – mostly philosophers, missionaries and pastors and other wordsmiths – who keep telling me how important it is for the West to retreat from wars against radical Islam, and then welcome in predominantly Muslim immigrants who are displaced by our retreat. I ask them whether they understand that the Boston bomber’s parents were let it by claiming to be refugees. I ask if they knew that the San Bernardino terrorist woman was background-checked by five different government agencies. And I ask them about the victims of crime by illegal immigrants who are convicted, but never deported. Their answer is that they didn’t mean for it to happen. They thought that because they felt good supporting a policy, that meant that it would have good results.

I guess I have a simple question for the pro-refugee people. What would you say to the victims of this “generous” immigration policy? The ones who are blown up, shot up, raped, sexually assulted, intimidated? I think these kind, Bible quoting Christians want everyone to believe they are “nice”. That’s why they want to be so generous with other people’s lives, other people’s chastity, other people’s modesty, other people’s money. One wonders how a feelings-driven religious leader like Russell Moore, who supports illegal immigration and Muslim refugees, would handle it if he or someone close to him were the victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants or radical Muslims? I guess he probably hasn’t thought about that beyond the level of feelings and people-pleasing. Probably, he is not even aware of what is going outside the walls of his pious little church. Pastors are not the most reality-grounded people in the world, in most cases. Most are not good at thinking about consequences to policies. The important thing, they think, is how policies make them feel about themselves, and how it causes them to be seen by others in their pious little churches. What would a pious preacher like Russell Moore say to the victims of his religious blathering?

Are Christians who use other people’s money to help others “generous”?

Gross public debt, Democrats control spending in 2007
Gross public debt, Democrats control spending in 2007

Normal Americans who work for a living know that you cannot be generous with someone else’s money – you have to earn your own money and give your own money away if you want to be “generous”. And this is actually what the Bible says – be generous to others with your own money. There is no support in the Bible for discharging your obligations to people in need by having a secular leftist government subsidize their abortions, etc. But many Christians escape the need to be generous with their own money by voting for the secular government to take someone else’s money. This way, they can have the feelings of being generous without having to make the sacrifice themselves.

So here are my points in response to this “stolen valor” view of generosity, which seems to be so popular with dependent professors and dependent pastors who do not work in the private sector.

First, illegal immigration and refugee asylum typically costs us money, since unskilled immigrants and asylum’d refugees do not typically pay as much in taxes as they using in taxpayer-funded benefits.

Evidence:

  • Under current law, all unlawful immigrant households together have an aggregate annual deficit of around $54.5 billion.
  • In the interim phase (roughly the first 13 years after amnesty), the aggregate annual deficit would fall to $43.4 billion.
  • At the end of the interim phase, former unlawful immigrant households would become fully eligible for means-tested welfare and health care benefits under the Affordable Care Act. The aggregate annual deficit would soar to around $106 billion.
  • In the retirement phase, the annual aggregate deficit would be around $160 billion. It would slowly decline as former unlawful immigrants gradually expire.

These costs would have to be borne by already overburdened U.S. taxpayers. (All figures are in 2010 dollars.)

Meanwhile, the same people who want big government to help the poor probably do not even realize that the national debt has doubled under Obama to $20 trillion, as of January 2017. Now do the people who want to give away all these benefits via big government intend to pay for it with their own money as the Bible says? No, they intend to pass the costs onto generations yet unborn via the national debt. They want to feel generous themselves, but with someone else’s money. There is a word for that – we call that slavery. It turns out that big government Christians really are in favor of slavery. They want to force the next generation to work tomorrow, so that they can feel generous today.

Government not serious about protecting the public

Second, we know that big government cannot be trusted to deport criminals, because we saw that on display in the Kate Steinle affair, where an illegal immigrant who had many prior convictions was released to commit worse crimes. If you think that illegal immgrants get deported after committing serious crimes, you really need to reconsider how trustworthy government is about border security.

For example, Senate Democrats blocked a bill to crack down on sanctuary cities.  Although amnesty and asylum for refugees sounds good, it relies on big government being serious about enforcing the law, and protecting the public. During the Obama administration, we have seen the Snowden leak, the Clinton private e-mail server which was hacked by foreign governments, the Benghazi coverup, the arms smuggling to drug cartels by the ATF, the China hack, the wikileaks leak by gay private Bradley Manning who got a taxpayer funded sex change, etc.

Previously, we saw how the parents of the Boston bombers were granted asylum as Chechen refugees. That was a failure of national security. And the FBI has already explained that our procedures for vetting refugees is inadequate. The refugees, by the way, are selected by the United Nations and a Muslim organization affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. So it’s just wishful thinking to think that this is a priority for the government. And recall that about 5 seconds after Obama bragged about how he had “contained” ISIS (Islamic State), the Paris attack happened. Democrats do not care about national security, so we cannot trust them to vet refugees. The people who want Syrian refugees to come in are depending on big government to take national security seriously. But we have zero evidence that they can do that.

Here’s Hillary Clinton:

Hillary Clinton focused on her real enemy – Americans who disagree with her – in a campaign speech on Thursday.
In a statement her own campaign Tweeted out as her marquee comment, Clinton declared: “Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”

The UK Daily Mail describes Clinton as “reading her speech at a brisk clip from a teleprompter at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City,” but slowing down to mock Republicans over the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” which “Republicans often accuse President Barack Obama of purposefully avoiding.”

The Daily Mail cheekily notes that Clinton “referred repeatedly to ‘radical jihadism’ as a global scourge, but didn’t explain how the concept of jihadism is consistent with the notion that adherents of the world’s second largest religion are wholly uninvolved.”

Remember, this is the person who sent and received classified e-mails on a private unsecure email server, and blamed a terrorist attack on a YouTube video – for political gain. And it’s people like her who are promising us that they are serious about deporting illegal immigrants who commit crimes, and vetting refugees who are coming from Muslim countries.

What I have found in asking people who want amnesty and asylum for refugees is that they are incredibly uninformed about things like the national debt, the costs, the risks, etc. I don’t see why people trust the government to enforce border security law, deport lawbreakers, and vet refugees carefully. I think people who clown around advocating for policies based on their feelings and a misreading of the Bible need to be more cautious and humble. You don’t know how the world works, so shut your ignorant mouths before you get more people killed, and pass more debt onto the next generation. If you want to do something for refugees, do it yourself. If you want to do something for the poor in other countries, do it with your own money.