Category Archives: Economy

Humana pulls out of ObamaCare exchange plans

Going as planned…

obamacare

Via NY Post: Count it as another nail in ObamaCare’s coffin: Humana, one of the country’s top insurers, announced Thursday that it’s pulling out of ObamaCare exchange plans in all but a few states next year.

It will offer policies in “no more” than 11 state marketplaces, down from 19. The numbers don’t add up: Humana took nearly $1 billion in losses from the coverage this year. This follows the exit from the exchanges of such other giants as Cigna and UnitedHealth Group, also after outsized losses.

It’s the much-feared “death spiral”: Too many older, sicker folks are resorting to ObamaCare policies, and not enough younger, healthy folks. So the average enrollee is running up higher bills than the insurers expected — and raising rates will only scare away even more lower-cost customers.

Meanwhile, the Obama Justice Department is moving to block health-insurer mergers — including an Anthem-Cigna deal as well as Aetna’s bid to buy Humana. Why? As The Post’s Josh Kosman reports, the “move would be a blow to the president’s state-focused ObamaCare.” The White House fears the mergers would give the combined firms too much power to set rates, limiting consumer options.

Funny: The ObamaCare law encourages lots of other anti-competition mergers, of hospitals and other providers, in the name of “efficiency.” And doctors across America are giving up on traditional independent practices — as the law pushes them to do. And countless people stuck buying policies on the exchanges have been shocked at how limited their options — like choice of doctor and hospital — turn out to be.

President Obama and Hillary Clinton both used to pooh-pooh the idea of a “public option”: Government-run health insurance that’s just a step away from European-style socialized medicine. But ObamaCare’s woes have pushed both to start suggesting it may be the only answer after all.

The only answer, that is, besides replacing ObamaCare with a truly market-based system that still helps the less fortunate, but doesn’t try to dictate everything from Washington.

DCG

5 reasons why Democrat docu-maker Michael Moore thinks Trump will win

While the Left’s willing accomplices in the media pour on their sickening adulation of Hillary in their selective reporting of the Democratic National Convention, one Democrat is actually speaking the truth.

In a very long, tediously verbose email to his followers whom he addresses as “friends,” which you can read for yourself here, Hollyweirdo film maker Michael Moore mournfully predicts that Donald Trump will defeat Hillary Clinton this November.

By the way, did Moore take in even one Muslim refugee?

By the way, did Moore take in even one Muslim refugee?

Moore writes:

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I gave it to you straight last summer when I told you that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for president. And now I have even more awful, depressing news for you: Donald J. Trump is going to win in November. This wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full time sociopath is going to be our next president. President Trump. Go ahead and say the words, ‘cause you’ll be saying them for the next four years: “PRESIDENT TRUMP.”

Notwithstanding his forlorn wish that he could “be proven wrong,” and despite his belief that “the American people clearly want” the Obama legacy to be continued, which the “whip-smart” Hillary Clinton who “cares about kids” will, Moore tells his followers that they must “stop living in denial and face the truth which you know deep down is very, very real.”

According to Michael Moore, these are the 5 reasons Trump is going to win:

1. Trump will win the rustbelt states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin

These are four traditionally “blue” states in the rustbelt of the upper Great Lakes which can no longer be relied on to vote Democrat because “the Clintons’ support of NAFTA helped to destroy the industrial states of the Upper Midwest, and Trump will “hammer” Hillary on this “and her support of TPP and other trade policies that have royally screwed the people of these four states.” Moore predicts that “What happened in the UK with Brexit is going to happen here” because of the plight and anger of the former industrial workers of America’s rustbelt:

“From Green Bay to Pittsburgh, this, my friends, is the middle of England – broken, depressed, struggling, the smokestacks strewn across the countryside with the carcass of what we use to call the Middle Class. Angry, embittered working (and nonworking) people who were lied to by the trickle-down of Reagan and abandoned by Democrats who still try to talk a good line but are really just looking forward to rub one out with a lobbyist from Goldman Sachs who’ll write them nice big check before leaving the room.”

Trump understands and speaks to their anger. Moore writes:

“When Trump stood in the shadow of a Ford Motor factory during the Michigan primary, he threatened the corporation that if they did indeed go ahead with their planned closure of that factory and move it to Mexico, he would slap a 35% tariff on any Mexican-built cars shipped back to the United States. It was sweet, sweet music to the ears of the working class of Michigan, and when he tossed in his threat to Apple that he would force them to stop making their iPhones in China and build them here in America, well, hearts swooned and Trump walked away with a big victory that should have gone to the governor next-door, John Kasich.”

Some signs that Trump will win those 4 rustbelt states are:

  • All four states have elected Republican governors since 2010 (only Pennsylvania recently elected a Democrat).
  • In the Michigan primary in March, more Michiganders came out to vote for the Republicans (1.32 million) that the Democrats (1.19 million).
  • Trump is ahead of Hillary in the latest polls in Pennsylvania and tied with her in Ohio.
  • In 2012, Mitt Romney lost by 64 electoral votes. The electoral votes cast by Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are precisely 64, which means “All Trump needs to do to win is to carry, as he’s expected to do, the swath of traditional red states from Idaho to Georgia (states that’ll never vote for Hillary Clinton), and then he just needs these four rust belt states. He doesn’t need Florida. He doesn’t need Colorado or Virginia. Just Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. And that will put him over the top. This is how it will happen in November.”

2. The Angry White Man

While he has only contempt for America’s angry white men who he says are furious that the “male-dominated, 240-year run of the USA is coming to an end” and “a woman is about to take over,” Moore nevertheless sees the 2016 presidential election as the “last stand” of the “Endangered White Male” who will turn out in droves to vote for Trump.

3. Hillary Clinton

Asking his followers, “Can we speak honestly, just among ourselves?,” Moore says outright that “Our biggest problem here isn’t Trump – it’s Hillary.” Here are the dimensions of what Moore calls “The Hillary Problem”:

  • Hillary Clinton is a hawk, who “will find a way to get us in some kind of military action.”
  • Hillary Clinton is hugely unpopular — nearly 70% of all voters think she is untrustworthy and dishonest.
  • Hillary Clinton is an opportunist — she doesn’t really believe “in anything other than what can get you elected. That’s why she fights against gays getting married one moment, and the next she’s officiating a gay marriage.”
  • Young women, in particular, don’t like Hillary and “are among her biggest detractors…. [N]ot a day goes by that a millennial doesn’t tell me they aren’t voting for her.
  • No enthusiasm of Hillary means low voter turnout: “No Democrat, and certainly no independent, is waking up on November 8th excited to run out and vote for Hillary the way they did the day Obama became president or when Bernie was on the primary ballot. The enthusiasm just isn’t there. And because this election is going to come down to just one thing — who drags the most people out of the house and gets them to the polls — Trump right now is in the catbird seat.”

4. The Depressed Sanders Vote

While Moore maintains that Bernie Sanders’ supporters will vote for Hillary, he warns that “The fire alarm that should be going off is that while the average Bernie backer will drag him/herself to the polls that day to somewhat reluctantly vote for Hillary, it will be what’s called a ‘depressed vote’ – meaning the voter doesn’t bring five people to vote with her. He doesn’t volunteer 10 hours in the month leading up to the election.” That’s because Bernie supporters, being young, “have zero tolerance for phonies and BS.” And although “They’re not going to vote for Trump; some will vote third party, but many will just stay home.” And Hillary picking Tim Kaine — “a moderate, bland-o, middle of the road old white guy” — as her running mate sent precisely the wrong message to the Bernie millennials.

5. the angry, DEFIANT american

Moore calls his 5th reason why Trump will win “the Jesse Ventura Effect”. By that he means what happened “back in the ‘90s when the people of Minnesota elected a professional wrestler as their governor” simply because they could — a gesture of defiance against the establishment, “Minnesotans’ version of a good practical joke on a sick political system.”

Moore predicts “This is going to happen again with Trump” when the voter draws “the curtain and are all alone in the voting booth” — “one of the few places left in society where there are no security cameras, no listening devices, no spouses, no kids, no boss, no cops … and no one can make you do anything.” And because of “the anger that so many have toward a broken political system, millions are going to vote for Trump not because they agree with him, not because they like his bigotry or ego, but just because they can. Just because it will upset the apple cart and make mommy and daddy mad.”

In other words, like so many other political analysts, Moore correctly sees the American people as sick of the prevailing system, and they want to “shake things up,” which “President Trump would indeed do just that, and a good chunk of the electorate would like to sit in the bleachers and watch that reality show.”

H/t FOTM reader MCA.

~Eowyn

New York City’s public schools join fight against ‘white power’

New York City tax dollars at work in the public indoctrination system.

Principal Darlene Cameron

Principal Darlene Cameron

Via NY Post: On the last day of school, Principal Darlene Cameron of Star Academy-PS 63 in the East Village gave her small faculty a chart defining racist and non-racist institutions and asked them to think about where their school fits in.

A non-racist institution, among other things, is conscious of and aims to wipe out a culture of “white power,” “white privilege” and “inherent white advantage.” “We fit into the category of white power and privilege!” a white teacher at the K-5 school told her colleagues. The concept that whites enjoy everyday benefits simply because of their skin color has become the rage.

Elite private schools have grappled with the notion. The Post exposed an extreme case — how the Bank Street School for Children on the Upper West Side made white kids feel guilty about their “whiteness” while heaping praise and cupcakes on kids of color. The school’s diversity director stepped down after the report.

Now public schools are jumping on the bandwagon.

Carmen Farina/AP Photo

Carmen Farina/AP Photo

After recent killings of black men by cops and murders of police officers, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña called on educators to tackle “tough conversations” about race, violence and guns.

In addition, Fariña announced a new curriculum that emphasizes social justice. She also recommended a K-12 reading list compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, “Perspectives for a Diverse America,” which includes selections on race, gender and LGBTQ issues. In K-2, for instance, kids can learn the true story of Z and Vielpunk, a couple of gay male penguins rearing a chick in a German zoo.

The ninth-through-12th-grade readings include a 1990 essay, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” which lists 50 hidden benefits whites enjoy. No. 17: “I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.”

The chart handed out at Star Academy, written by an Illinois-based anti-racism ministry, angered some parents questioned by The Post. “When you start sending out things like this, it divides us,” said Robert Powell, a black dad in The Bronx who served on the city’s Panel for Educational Policy. “It’s a subtle form of racism.”

Education author Sol Stern called the chart “left-wing propaganda” and “brainwashing.” White privilege “is an argument, not a fact,” he said.

David Bloomfield

David Bloomfield

But David Bloomfield, a Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center education professor, who is white, lauds the idea. “It reminds me a bit of when ‘Heather Has Two Mommies’ was recommended reading by the DOE before same-sex couples became mainstream,” he said. Greater awareness can help teachers pick books that reflect other races, he added.

It can also spur classroom discussion. “If you put the US presidents on your classroom wall, it sends a signal of who’s in charge,” Bloomfield said. “The teacher might point out to students that these are all white, except one, and all, currently, males.”

Cameron told The Post she plans to have teachers discuss the race-based issues in the fall. “We want to be sure we’re as inclusive and welcoming as possible, and that we’re all aware of the different backgrounds that come together to make up our community,” she said.

Star Academy students are 65 percent Hispanic, 20 percent black, 10 percent white and 4 percent Asian, records show.

An essay included in city high-schoolers’ reading list seeks to explain the hidden benefits supposedly enjoyed by white people. Some examples of so-called “white privilege”:

  • I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.
  • I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
  • I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.
  • I can choose…bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.
  • I will feel welcomed and “normal” in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.

DCG

$15 minimum wage shutters old-school Brooklyn diner

#FightFor15 must be so proud.

del rio diner

From NY Post: Say goodbye to the late-night fries and gravy. One of the last classic Brooklyn diners is biting the dust — and soon they’ll all die off due to the state’s minimum-wage increase and other factors, restaurateurs and economic experts predicted Friday.

The owner of the four-decade-old, 24-hour greasy spoon, Del Rio Diner in Gravesend, said his place is closing down because he can’t afford to pay cooks $15 an hour, along with rising rents and expensive Health Department inspection fees.

The minimum-wage law was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We’d need to raise the burger to $9 from $6.45. I don’t want to do that to my customers. They’ve been good to me. These are middle-class people,” said owner Larry Georgeton, 66.

“This is going to kill me to leave. But I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place,” said Georgeton — who has served everyone from movie stars to sports heroes at the fabled neighborhood hangout on Kings Highway near West 12th Street.

The Del Rio’s closing was first reported Friday by the Web site BrooklynDaily.com.

“The outlook for this business model is bleak. If you’re a diner, going automated isn’t an option. Neither is raising prices on your working-class customers — a $20 sandwich isn’t going to work,” said Michael Saltsman, research director at the Employment Policies Institute, which studies job growth. “It’s too bad because it’s these sorts of restaurants that make neighborhoods unique.”

Other old-school Brooklyn diners such as the Vegas in Dyker Heights, the Mirage in Midwood and the Floridian in Marine Park are also at risk, Saltsman said.

“I’m happy for McDonald’s workers. God bless them. I hope you get $30 an hour. But we can’t handle it,” Georgeton said.

Over the years, the Del Rio has served former Yankees star Joe Pepitone, actress Jessica Biel and late “Sopranos” star James Gandolfini, Georgeton said. It will close its doors for good Monday at 7 a.m.

Georgette Barrile, 69, who worked as a Del Rio waitress in the ’80s added, “I never thought this place would close. It’s heartbreaking.”

DCG

Governor Malloy Bypassed Airport Security Checkpoint With Son’s Backpack

Rules are for little people.

dannel malloy

From The Courant: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (demorat) bypassed a federal security checkpoint at Bradley International Airport last Nov. 27 while carrying a backpack belonging to his son, Samuel Malloy, through a private corridor to the departure gate area as he and first lady Cathy Malloy saw their son off for a flight, a Courant investigation of the episode has found.

Security camera footage shows Malloy carrying the red backpack on his shoulder through a side door within the Bradley terminal to which airport security personnel admitted him. Then he was ushered by state police with his wife through a secure, non-public interior corridor and ended up at the airport’s departure gates, the video shows.

The corridor bypassed one of the now-familiar security checkpoints where U.S. Transportation Security Administration agents electronically screen travelers’ bodies and baggage with X-ray devices 2 million times a day, the investigation found.

Malloy, in an interview, confirmed the bag was not screened.

Malloy’s 23-year-old son went, separately from his parents, through the regular public security checkpoint while carrying no baggage, then caught up to them at the departure gate area. The videos do not show Malloy turning the backpack over to his son – but Malloy said it was at the gate area where his son took the pack from him, and then boarded the plane headed toward his home in Los Angeles after a Thanksgiving visit.

The episode was flagged by airport personnel, who objected to the Malloys getting special VIP treatment that enabled them to get the son’s backpack around the public security checkpoint, and into the gate area where no member of the public can go without a boarding pass. At least one expressed alarm at a backpack getting onto a commercial jet without undergoing normal scrutiny.

Internal emails written by one or more individuals who work at the airport said it was “a violation” of security rules and that “this Governor is not above any law.”

Asked about the bag and security, Malloy apologized and said he’d been in a hurry to get his son on the flight because “we were running a little behind.”

“It was kind of an absent-minded mistake,” Malloy said in an interview on Wednesday. “And I am sorry. You know, to cause anybody consternation is not what I was trying to do. I was just trying to see my son off with his mother.”

“It would have been very easy…to have had him take his own bag” through the security checkpoint, he said.

Malloy said his state police security detail made all arrangements for his family’s movements at the airport – including going through the secure corridor to the gate area, rather than saying goodbye before the security checkpoint as the general public must.

“The reality is, I’m kind of led around a little bit” by the state police security detail assigned to protect him, Malloy said. “I haven’t been outside of my house without somebody standing beside me in many years. And so my security knows what the mission is, and I basically follow them.”

TSA higher-ups later reviewed the incident, examining the videos, and found no violation, saying the backpack wasn’t a threat. TSA officials declined to release a copy of their investigation.

Freedom of Information Act requests by The Courant for security footage and other information relating to the incident – which happened during a 20-minute period between 11 a.m. and noon on the day after Thanksgiving – were denied in recent months by the TSA, the Connecticut Airport Authority, and the Connecticut state police.

However, the video footage and several emails were obtained by The Courant.

Malloy has been vocal in urging vigilance for against terrorism – saying “if you see something, say something.” Asked Wednesday if he thought airport personnel were right to “say something” about the incident involving him and his son’s backpack, he said “absolutely.”

He said if he had it to do over, “I would have thought about it and it wouldn’t happen. There’s no reason for it to happen except that we were trying to get my son on a plane to say goodbye and we were running a little late.”

The governor said as far as he knows, the backpack went onto the jet with its contents unexamined. Asked if it was inspected at Bradley, he said, “No, it was not.” Had his security detail examined the contents earlier? “I wouldn’t think so,” he said. But he also said he didn’t think anything in it would have been a problem at the checkpoint. “No,” he said, “Not that I know of.”

Read the whole story here.

h/t Hot Air

DCG

New USDA Rules Eliminate Junk Food in Schools

Apparently Michelle hasn’t ruined the kids’ lunches enough already.

An example of Michelle Obama's mandated school lunches

An example of Michelle Obama’s mandated school lunches

From Yahoo:  Students might notice some changes in the cafeteria when they go back to school in a few weeks.  The USDA will announce rules today that require schools to get rid of unhealthy snacks and eliminate students’ exposure to junk food, ABC News has exclusively learned.

The biggest difference this year will be what students see around the school. If a snack, food item or beverage is not healthy enough for a school to sell or serve, it can’t be advertised either. That means no more pictures of soda on vending machines or in the cafeteria.

Katie Wilson, USDA deputy under secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, said many schools requested these changes.  “Education and wellness and advertising to kids about healthier choices [and] that all has to be part of the school environment just like making sure they have pencils and paper and computers,” Wilson said.

One study found that 70 percent of elementary and middle school students see ads for junk food at school and research published earlier this month showed that kids tend to eat more after seeing ads for unhealthy food.

Another lovely school lunch

Another lovely school lunch

Snacks can’t have too many calories or too much sodium, fat or sugar, according to the guidelines for schools. Foods that are “whole grain-rich” or mostly made up of fruits or vegetables are emphasized, and schools are recommended to sell only water, low-fat milk or milk alternatives, or 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice.

Wilson said 98 percent of schools around the country already meet these standards. Now that the rules are finalized, she said the USDA will continue its efforts to educate parents, communities and school staff about better nutritional food choices.

Healthier food in schools is nothing new. Guidelines about healthy school lunches and snacks have been rolling out for several years and are part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign launched in 2010 to fight childhood obesity.

mooch eating

DCG

Socialist Sawant wants to cap fees landlords charge Seattle renters

Is the socialist going to pick up the tab for any unpaid fees? Don’t hold your breath.

Socialist Kshama Sawant

Socialist Kshama Sawant

From the Seattle Times: Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant on Thursday proposed legislation that would put a cap on the amount of money landlords charge incoming renters.

The ordinance would limit move-in fees — including a security deposit and any nonrefundable, one-time payments — to no more than the cost of one month’s rent.

Sawant’s legislation also would require landlords to allow renters to pay their move-in fees in installments rather than immediately and in full. Landlords asking for last month’s rent up front would likewise be required to accept that sum in installments.

The council member said her proposal is aimed at reducing costs for Seattle renters during a time in which many of them are struggling to make ends meet.

“Seattle renters are facing a serious crisis. In May, one-bedroom apartment rentals rose 11 percent, the highest increase in the nation,” Sawant said in a statement, referring to a report by the rental-search website Abodo. “We need to reduce all barriers faced by renters. The cost of moving into a rental unit is first on that list.”

The Abodo report said the price for an average one-bedroom apartment in Seattle rose to $1,906 in May from $1,722 in April. The company’s most recent report said the price for an average one-bedroom in Seattle fell 9 percent from June to July.

Read the whole story here.

See also:

DCG