Sunday, April 17, 2016

The House That Uncle Sam Built
...These problems were created by actions by the Federal Reserve combined with government housing policy (especially the government- sponsored enterprises - Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae). Misguided government interference in the market is the real culprit in laying the foundation for the Great Recession.

This paper provides a “common sense” and understandable outline of fundamental causes and cures. The analysis is based on long proven economic laws. Despite the wishes and hopes of politicians, economic laws are just as immutable as the laws of physics. If you jump off a ten story building, hitting the ground will not be pleasant. If the Federal Reserve holds interest rates below the natural market rate by rapidly expanding the money supply (“printing” money) as Alan Greenspan did, individuals and businesses will make bad investment decisions and there will be negative consequences to our long term economic well-being. There are no free lunches....
BUYING 'REFORM'
...But this money didn't come from little old ladies making do with cat food so they could send a $20 check to Common Cause. The vast majority of this money — $123 million, 88 percent of the total — came from just eight liberal foundations.

These foundations were: the Pew Charitable Trusts ($40.1 million), the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy ($17.6 million), the Carnegie Corporation of New York ($14.1 million), the Joyce Foundation ($13.5 million), George Soros' Open Society Institute ($12.6 million), the Jerome Kohlberg Trust ($11.3 million), the Ford Foundation ($8.8 million) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ($5.2 million).

Not exactly all household names, but the left-wing groups that these foundations support may be more familiar: the Earth Action Network, the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood, the Public Citizen Foundation, the Feminist Majority Foundation . . .

What did this liberal foundation crowd buy with its $123 million?...

..."We had a scare," Treglia says. "As the debate was progressing and getting pretty close, George Will stumbled across a report that we had done and attacked it in his column. And a lot of his partisans were becoming aware of Pew's role and were feeding him information. And he started to reference the fact that Pew had played a large role in this — that this was a liberal attempt to hoodwink Congress."

"But you know what the good news is from my perspective?" Treglia says to the stunned crowd. "Journalists didn't care . . . So no one followed up on the story. And so there was a panic there for a couple of weeks because we thought the story was going to begin to gather steam, and no one picked it up."...
In Defense of Washington
The Charge: We’re out of touch with the heartland. The Defense: The whole country should be grateful for that.

Yes, yes, America, even here in Washington—the city that can’t feel your pulse—we have a dim sense of how you feel. You consider us cloistered elitists, unaware of how life is lived. All of our ideas, you sneer, are based on books and white papers, not the gritty reality of “real” America.

In fact, that view of Washington is unlearned, impoverished, and un-American. Because the sad truth is this: Washington is not out of touch enough....

...The Charge: We’re obsessed with power and position. The Defense: Maybe—but at least we’re not obsessed with money....
University introduces website to report microaggressions
The University of Michigan-Flint has launched a website where "students who experience any form of bias or micro-aggressions whatsoever" can tattle on members of their community.

In a campus-wide email sent Tuesday afternoon (and shared with the Washington Examiner), UM-Flint staff announced the new website and encouraged students, faculty and staff to begin reporting. They can even do so anonymously....

Socialism has created a humanitarian disaster in Venezuela
...But a couple of years ago, the then minister of education admitted that the aim of the regime’s policies was “not to take the people out of poverty so they become middle class and then turn into escu├ílidos” (a derogatory term to denote opposition members). In other words, the government wanted grateful, dependent voters, not prosperous Venezuelans....

...The economic crisis is having a particularly nasty impact on healthcare. According to the Venezuelan Pharmaceutical Federation, only 20 per cent of the drugs that doctors require are available. People must rely on social media to scout the country for medications for their loved ones. The lack of spare parts means that much medical equipment is useless: 86 per cent of X-Ray machines are out of service, for example. “Babies born prematurely are dying like little chicks” was a February headline of El Nacional, Venezuela’s last independent daily. It quoted a resident doctor in one of the public hospitals saying that, due to the shortages, they cannot save the lives of all patients. “We are operating under war conditions,” she said....
Europe’s Pension Reckoning Approaches
...State-funded pensions are at the heart of Europe’s social-welfare model, insulating people from extreme poverty in old age. Most European countries have set aside almost nothing to pay these benefits, simply funding them each year out of tax revenue. Now, European countries face a demographic tsunami, in the form of a growing mismatch between low birthrates and high longevity, for which few are prepared.

Europe’s population of pensioners, already the largest in the world, continues to grow. Looking at Europeans 65 or older who aren’t working, there are 42 for every 100 workers, and this will rise to 65 per 100 by 2060, the European Union’s data agency says. By comparison, the U.S. has 24 nonworking people 65 or over per 100 workers, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which doesn’t have a projection for 2060....
Obamacare Hits Another Bump in the Road
Well, the hammer has fallen: The largest health insurer in the U.S. has started pulling out of select Obamacare exchanges.

Five months ago UnitedHealth, which had been singing sunny songs to investors about its bright future on the exchanges, abruptly began crooning the blues. In an earnings call barely a month after executives assured investors that all was going swimmingly, they confessed that they were losing a ton of money on their Obamacare policies and described a pattern that sounded as if consumers were gaming the system -- signing up for a few months, using a ton of services, and then canceling their policies. If this continued, they said, they would have no choice but to pull out of the exchange business....

Obamacare Was Going to Lower Health Care Costs. What Actually Happened.
...Courtesy of the Affordable Care Act, public spending is outpacing private spending. For 2015, the Congressional Budget Office reports that the federal government spent a total of $936 billion on health programs (for example, Medicaid, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act), a 13 percent increase over the 2014 level....

Even NPR agrees that Obamacare has failed
thorough repudiation of the (un-)Affordable Care Act comes from, of all places, state-run National Public Radio. Timed to be buried by Super Tuesday coverage, NPR this week released a new study that indicates that Obamacare has failed on almost all levels.

The poll, by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, shows that three quarters of Americans think health care in their state has not improved under Obamacare. The survey says more people think health care has gotten worse (26%) than better (15%). Forty-nine percent of people think health care has stayed about the same.

And I hope you haven’t been making plans of what to do with that $2,500 a year you’ll be saving on premiums. The NPR poll confirms that that was just another in Obama’s litany of lies. Forty-five percent of respondents said their premiums had gone up, while 46% said their premiums had stayed about the same. Only 4% said their premiums had actually gone down, as Obama promised they would.

Along with higher premiums, co-pays and deductibles have gone up for 35% of people. Fifty-six percent say they’ve stayed about the same. Again, only 4% of those surveyed said their copays and deductibles have actually gone down.

Meanwhile, the increased benefits Obama swore we’d get apparently haven’t materialized. Seventy percent of people said their benefits have stayed about the same. Twelve percent said their benefits have actually decreased. Only 16% of people polled said they have better benefits now than before Obamacare....

OBAMACARE AT SIX: A LEGACY OF DECEPTION
...This not only highlights the president’s most notorious lie about Obamacare (“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.”), it dovetails with CBO projections about things to come: “Over the next few years, more employers are expected to respond to the availability of coverage through the marketplaces by declining to offer insurance to their employees. As employers change their insurance offerings, some of their employees are expected to enroll in coverage through [Obamacare exchanges].” Presumably, this will also be celebrated by the White House, at least until Obama is finally evicted....

...Another fraud perpetrated by the president during his 2009 speech to Congress was included in his list of allegedly inaccurate statements made by opponents of his health care plan: “There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false.” That was too much for Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina, who responded by shouting “You lie.” Representative Wilson took a lot of heat from the media over this, but he was later vindicated when it was discovered that illegal immigrants have indeed been receiving hundreds of millions of Obamacare subsidies....

Chelsea Clinton reveals her mom thinks it is ‘important’ to extend Obamacare to illegal aliens
...CLINTON: “It’s such an important question. Thank you for supporting my mom. My mom has very strong feelings that we must push as quickly as possible for comprehensive immigration reform, and this is a real difference between her’s and Senator Sanders’ record, she supported comprehensive immigration reform at every possible chance and she was one of the original supporters and sponsors of the DREAM Act. She does not believe that while we are working towards comprehensive immigration reform we should make people wait, like the families you are talking about. Which is why she thinks it’s so important to extend the Affordable Care Act to people who are living and working here, regardless of immigration status, regardless of citizenship status. ...
U.S. state prosecutors met with climate groups as Exxon probes expanded
A coalition of U.S. state attorneys general received guidance from well-known climate scientists and environmental lawyers in March as some of them opened investigations into Exxon Mobil for allegedly misleading the public about climate change risks, documents seen by Reuters showed.

Peter Frumhoff of the Union of Concerned Scientists, which has urged action on climate change, and Matt Pawa, who litigated against Exxon in a global warming case, were listed as presenters at a March 29 meeting of more than a dozen state prosecutors, according to emails between the offices of attorneys general in New York and Vermont.

The previously unknown level of coordination with outside advisers offered a glimpse behind the scenes in an increasingly pitched battle between Exxon and environmental groups....

IPCC Official: “Climate Policy Is Redistributing The World’s Wealth”
...Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection, says the German economist and IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer. The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated. – Ottmar Edenhofer [co-chair of the IPCC Working Group III.]

Does Transit Save Energy?
...The key issue turns out to be occupancy -- how full is the train or bus. And it turns out that occupancy is probably lower than most people think. That is because everyone rides on buses or trains as they commute -- they are going in the direction of most people's travel at the time of day they travel, so the transit is totally full. But no one thinks about those trains having to go back the other direction, usually mostly empty....

Friday, April 01, 2016

Another Climate Alarmist Admits Real Motive Behind Warming Scare
One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole,” said Edenhofer, who co-chaired the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015.

So what is the goal of environmental policy?

“We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy,” said Edenhofer.

For those who want to believe that maybe Edenhofer just misspoke and doesn’t really mean that, consider that a little more than five years ago he also said that “the next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.”...