Category Archives: IRS

Washington state’s health-exchange rates to jump 24 percent


Shocker, not.
From Seattle Times: Washingtonians buying insurance through the state’s health-insurance exchange will see the largest premium increases next year since the exchange was created in 2013.
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange board this week approved rate increases averaging 24 percent. The rates, first approved by the state’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner, will impact about 180,000 customers.
“We at the exchange understand that, yes, this is going to create a challenging environment that is going to be difficult” for customers, said Michael Marchand, chief marketing officer and spokesman for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which was created after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in 2010.
Customers of the exchange will also have fewer insurance providers to choose from in 2018. In King and Pierce counties the number drops from seven to four, Snohomish County goes from six to three and Kitsap County from four to three.
Rate increases averaged 11 percent last year, 4 percent in 2016 and 1 percent in 2015.
Read the rest of the story here.
DCG

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

Aetna drops last 2 state markets under Affordable Care Act

Obama_laughing
Obamacare going as planned. Let’s hope we can get rid of this monstrosity.
From Yahoo: While Republicans rewrite the Affordable Care Act in Washington, the future of the current law has grown hazier with the nation’s third-largest health insurer completely divorcing itself from state-based insurance markets.
Aetna said late Wednesday that it won’t sell individual coverage next year in its two remaining states — Nebraska and Delaware — after projecting a $200 million loss this year. It had already dropped Iowa and Virginia for next year. The insurer once sold the coverage in 15 states, but slashed that to four after losing about $450 million in 2016.
The government-backed marketplaces are a pillar of the Obama-era federal law because they allow millions of people to buy health insurance with help from income-based tax credits. But insurers like Humana, and now Aetna, have been fleeing that market, and the remaining coverage options are growing thin. Other companies like the Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem say they are wary of returning without a guarantee that the government will provide cost-sharing subsidies that reduce expenses like co-payments. Those are separate from the tax credits that help pay premiums.
The White House has assured lawmakers it will continue paying the subsidies, but it has offered no long-term guarantee.
About 12 million people bought coverage for this year on the exchanges, and every market had at least one insurer offering coverage. But a growing number were down to one.
Companies are in the middle of figuring out their prices and coverage plans for next year, and insurance experts expect some holes to develop in those marketplaces.
“All it takes is one insurance company to exit, and that can create panic for other insurers and they pull out too,” said Cynthia Cox, a health insurance expert for the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, which studies health care. “Insurers don’t want to be the last one holding the bag.”
The federal law prevents insurers from rejecting patients based on their health, so if competitors pull out, the last insurer may be left covering all the high-cost patients in that market.
Metropolitan or highly populated areas are still expected to draw several insurers. But rural areas may not be attractive to insurers looking to cut losses. They generally have a smaller, older population.
Ultimately, insurers with the most common brand in health insurance, Blue Cross-Blue Shield, will decide the fate of the marketplaces. Many of those plans specialize in individual insurance and have a long-standing presence in their markets. They also are the only remaining option on exchanges in nearly a third of the nation’s more than 3,100 counties.
DCG

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

Candlelight vigils and funerals are being planned to highlight those who, activists say, will die under Trumpcare

hyperbole
From Vocativ: Activists are planning several protests around the country — at elected representatives’ offices and places of worship — to mourn for those they say will die if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.
Protesters are holding candlelight vigils, symbolic funerals, and die-in demonstrations to protest President Trump and the Republican Party’s efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare with a new bill, called the American Health Care Act or AHCA. The first vote by the House of Representatives on the measure is scheduled for Thursday.
One of the more grim protests being planned will be held in Des Moines, Iowa, in front of Republican Congressman David Young’s office. Organizers say the event is “a vigil to mourn the deaths of the Iowans and Americans that will die if Trumpcare is passed. Almost 200 Iowans are projected to die each year, 2000 total over the next decade. We need to make sure David Young knows what he would be voting for.”
Organizing For Action, the political advocacy group that grew out of President Obama’s first presidential campaign, is planning a funeral procession in New York’s Staten Island with an effigy of Trump as the grim reaper. The protest, planned for Thursday, will march to Representative Dan Donovan’s office.
Indivisible, an organization made up of former Congressional staffers, is also organizing a series of candlelight vigils for the estimated 24,000 people who will die yearly if the GOP plan is passed as it currently stands. One demonstration, to be held at a San Diego church, will “pray for mercy for the sick and suffering in San Diego and across America.”
In Cincinnati, nearly 100 people have said they will attend a “die-in” protest on Wednesday. Each participant is instructed to lie down on the ground while holding a sign stating their hypothetical cause of death. Among the suggestions are “I died from a bacterial infection because I couldn’t afford to go to the doctor” and “My cervical cancer wasn’t discovered in time because I couldn’t go to Planned Parenthood.”
The American Health Care Act is scheduled for a floor vote in the House of Representatives on March 23. President Trump and his administration have reportedly held a series of phone calls and meeting intended to pressure Republicans opposed to the bill to fall in line.  Several Republican lawmakers have come out against the bill, which they say fails to live up to promises of a full Obamacare repeal.
According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, some 24 million Americans are estimated to lose health insurance over the next decade if the plan goes through.
DCG

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

President Hillary Rodham Clinton's first 100 days

That President Trump is continuing the neoCon’s foreign policy in Syria is disheartening.
That Trump has elevated his daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka and Jared Kushner, to senior White House advisory positions although neither has any qualifications, is disheartening.
But whatever our unhappiness with Trump, just remember a President Hillary Rodham Clinton would be infinitely worse.

Assessing President Rodham Clinton’s first 100 days

By Howard Hyde ⋅ May 5, 2017

Having closed out the first one hundred days of the new administration, an assessment of the new president’s accomplishments is in order.
By any objective historical measure, the achievements of President Hillary Rodham Clinton have been extraordinary.  Let’s start with the Budget and Defense One-Two Punch.  The Omnibus Budget Act of 2017, passed by Congress and signed by the president in record time, calls for beefy increases in the budgets of the administration’s surrogate agencies: a 31% increase for the EPA, a 6% increase for the Department of Energy, and a 12% increase for the Department of the Interior, to name just a few.  All of these increases have been offset dollar-for-dollar either by reductions in spending for the Pentagon and Department of Defense or by increases in taxes on the rich.  “The era of the American military being used to intimidate and assault the freedom-loving people of the world is over,” Clinton is alleged to have proclaimed.
Some critics of Clinton’s budget have suggested that she is merely trading the externally facing military for the domestic-facing para-military, noting that many of the increases to the agencies are earmarked for “energetic and proactive enforcement” of regulations and that procurement requests for weapons and ammunition for the EPA’s various SWAT teams have already increased since passage of the budget.
The First Amendment has undergone a refreshing rebranding under the Clinton administration.  “Hate groups, hateful individuals and hate speech will no longer be permitted to hide behind the Bill of Rights, like terrorists using civilian children as human shields” (also alleged but not disputed).  Accordingly, all universities that accept federal funding, or that accept students who have taken federal student loans or grants, have been advised to follow the leadership of the University of California, Berkeley in setting standards for who may be allowed to speak on campus.  Dozens of “Tea Party” groups have lost their tax-exempt status.  “Lois Lerner was too lenient,” one staffer remarked off the record.  “We are cracking down for real this time.”
Gun violence should be seeing a substantial reduction under the Clinton administration now that the national gun registry database is actively integrating records from state-level sales and other sources, and with mandatory universal enrollment required of all firearm owners before year’s end.  At least one source close to the administration has said candidly off the record that “the die is cast.  Before the end of the first HRC term, we’ll have [confiscated] all of their guns.”  When asked what about those gun owners who would not be willing to give up their guns regardless of cost to themselves, the same staffer shrugged.  “Then they will pay that cost.”
“Syrian” “refugees” and sanctuary cities are thriving in America.
Due to the untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia and the precipitous retirement in February of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Clinton has been given her golden opportunity to railroad through her picks for the Supreme Court.  As a result, Elizabeth Warren is on track to become the first Native American female justice, with Loretta Lynch not far behind (with the competing double-credential of first black woman – which will triumph?).  Those irritating challenges to the constitutionality of the administration’s agenda from freedom of speech to gun control will all be DOA.
And of course, Obamacare is on the point of being repealed and replaced…with a single-payer system run exclusively by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in close consultation with the Veterans Administration and the Bureau of Indian Affairs: “America (finally) Cares.”
(End of nightmare fantasy.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled life.)
Regardless of any failing of the Trump administration, “bullet” is far too feeble a word to describe what we as a nation have dodged.
Howard Hyde is editor of www.CitizenEcon.com, fellow of the American Freedom Alliance, and author of the books Pull the Plug on Obamacare (2013) and Escape From Berkeley: An EX liberal progressive socialist embraces America (and doesn’t apologize) (2016).


Howard Hyde is actually too soft on President Hillary Rodham Clinton.
An even better picture of President Hillary’s first 100 days can be gleaned from Hillary Clinton’s 100 most damaging WikiLeaks (go to the link for more information on each “most damaging WikiLeaks”):

  1. Obama lied: he knew about Hillary’s secret server and wrote to her using a pseudonym, cover-up happened (intent to destroy evidence).
  2. Hillary Clinton dreams of completely “open borders”.
  3. Hillary Clinton received money from and supported nations that she KNEW funded ISIS and terrorists.
  4. Hillary has public positions on policy and her private ones.
  5. Paying people to incite violence and unrest at Trump rallies.
  6. Hillary’s campaign wants “unaware” and “compliant” citizens.
  7. Top Hillary aides mock Catholics for their faith.
  8. Hillary deleted her incriminating emails. State covered it up. Asked about using White House executive privilege to hide from Congress.
  9. Bribery: King of Morocco gave Clinton Foundation $12 million for a meeting with Hillary, 6 months later Morocco gets weapons.
  10. “Spirit Cooking” (Warning: satanic/extremely graphic).
  11. State Department tried to bribe FBI to un-classify Clinton emails (FBI docs).
  12. Hillary caught on tape about rigging the Palestine election (audio).
  13. Latinos are “needy”. Latino outreach is “taco bowl engagement”.
  14. Clinton campaign was in direct communication with DOJ regarding Hillary’s investigation.
  15. Bill Clinton receives $1 million “birthday gift” from ISIS-funding Qatar while Hillary was SoS, Qatar receives arms flow increases of 1,482%.
  16. Hillary cheated in debates: DNC head Donna Brazile caught giving MULTIPLE debate questions to Hillary.
  17. Hillary campaign prays for shooters in news stories to be white.
  18. Rigging the primaries against Bernie Sanders (DNC favored Hillary).
  19. Rigging the primaries against Bernie Sanders (Hillary’s team).
  20. Hillary was hateful, neglectful, above the law, “contemptuous” to her security detail, and “blatantly disregarded” security, (FBI docs)
  21. Clinton Foundation schemed with Big Pharma: keep the price of AIDS drugs high in America and NO to cheaper generic versions.
  22. Democrats created fake Trump “grope under the meeting table” Craigslist employment ad in May 2016.
  23. Hillary’s camp excited about a black teen’s murder (to help her agenda).
  24. Rigging media polls through oversampling.
  25. “Bill Clinton Inc.” How millions of dollars were raised for the Clintons. Blurred lines between personal and Foundation money.
  26. Hillary sold 20% of America’s uranium to Russia as Secretary of State. Clinton camp worried that the deal is being investigated.
  27. Hillary is still privately against gay marriage.
  28. Acknowledging radical Islam is a real threat and a “serious problem for our future”.
  29. Admitting terrorists will infiltrate the Syrian refugee program.
  30. Hillary’s poor health (collapsing, memory loss, drug research).
  31. Hillary took money from foreigners for campaign (illegal).
  32. Hillary says climate change activists should “get a life”.
  33. Hillary is pro-fracking, calls it “a gift”, despite what she publicly says.
  34. Referring to a “Shadow Government” that protects Hillary (FBI docs).
  35. List of reporters that Hillary wined and dined, including biggest journalists and pundits of CNN, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, NY Times. Entire “interview” with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes is staged, reading word-for-word.
  36. Democrats using American lobbyists to money launder foreign       donations illegally.
  37. The New York Times colluding with Hillary, allowing quote edits.
  38. Racist remarks about Blacks and Muslims.
  39. Tipped off by the State Department about Benghazi emails.
  40. Hillary’s staff admitting she is “tainted” and “really vulnerable” on corruption and bribery.
  41. Podesta’s very close friend at DOJ in charge of FBI re-opening email investigation, previously gave campaign “heads up”.
  42. Billionaire George Soros has influence over Hillary, ties to election fraud in systems used for U.S. voting.
  43. Clinton campaign refuses to report sexual harassment (then forwards complaint to harasser).
  44. CEO of Google (parent company) working for Hillary Campaign.
  45. Admitting Hillary did not use private server for security reasons (shows intent).
  46. Hillary Clinton “doesn’t seem to know what planet we are all living in at the moment”.
  47. Hillary’s team: She has “the worst judgment” and her “instincts” have led to many problems for campaign.
  48. Are there other emails that Hillary didn’t release to Congress? “Definitely”.
  49. Obama elevated Malaysia on the human rights list JUST to let Malaysia into TPP.
  50. Big media collusion email, working with reporters.
  51. Using female senator to conjure fake sexist claims against Bernie.
  52. Hillary campaign caught partaking in insider trading (illegal).
  53. Hillary Clinton bragged about being invited to Putin’s “Inner Sanctum”.
  54. Hillary needed to be reminded to NOT to discuss foreign policy intel over private email server.
  55. John Podesta’s password was p@sswOrd.
  56. Hillary Clinton had to be told when to smile during speeches.
  57. “Bernie needs to be ground to a pulp” and more.
  58. Disney, ABC head is colluding with Hillary’s campaign.
  59. Coordinating with SuperPACs, which is illegal.
  60. Hillary’s team admitting she lies a lot.
  61. Plotting to attack Obama because “his father was a Muslim”.
  62. Colluding over withholding Benghazi emails.
  63. Hillary plans to support the TPP.
  64. Entire “interview” with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes is staged, reading word-for-word.
  65. Hillary Clinton stole furniture from the State Department (FBI docs).
  66. Hillary told Tim Kaine back in July 2015 he would be VP.
  67. Hillary tweaks her policies based on donors’ wants.
  68. “…go through all the emails and pull the official ones”
  69. Hillary sends U.S. intelligence and war plans to Podesta’s hacked email.
  70. Hillary’s team admits to knowing of classified material in emails.
  71. NBC colluded with the Clinton campaign.
  72. Avoiding the press because of tough questions.
  73. Clinton Foundation did not pay for the services they received.
  74. Illegally coordinating with Priorities USA, a SuperPAC funded by George Soros.
  75. Conflict of interest: Bill was personally paid and received gifts from CGI sponsors.
  76. Man who ran ‘Bill Clinton Inc.’: “I’m also starting to worry that if this story gets out, we are screwed”.
  77. Podesta illegally has access to top secret information.
  78. Podesta connects to unsecure network where anyone could access.
  79. Hillary’s speechwriters: “I don’t mind the ‘backs of dead Americans’ because we need a bit of moral outrage.” (Benghazi)
  80. Admitting Hillary failed foreign policy.
  81. The AP colluding with the Hillary campaign.
  82. Hillary camp using “propaganda”.
  83. Hillary’s camp says she has a “character problem” and is “arrogant”.
  84. Staging fake anti-Trump protest, conspiring with Univision CEO.
  85. Meeting to go over Cheryl Mills’ testimony to FBI/Congress.
  86. Journalist talks strategy with Clinton staff and asks for permission to write article.
  87. Violating campaign finance law.
  88. Proof that ‘Correct the Record’ (SuperPAC) is directly coordinating with the Hillary campaign against federal campaign law.
  89. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in direct contact with the Hillary campaign.
  90. Hillary’s team working with hundreds of MSM news pundits.
  91. Admitting Obamacare isn’t working.
  92. Hillary tries to hide her tiny rallies.
  93. Hillary had a mole working on Biden’s team.
  94. John Oliver caught colluding with Hillary’s campaign.
  95. Politico’s Glenn Thrush colluding with Hillary’s campaign, admits to being a “hack”.
  96. “We are finishing up the next round of TV scripts”
  97. ‘The Huffington Post’ colluded with Hillary.
  98. Clinton campaign memorized their email cover-up script.
  99. Heavy press collusion over Cuba and Hillary’s health.
  100. Obama picked people in his administration from the suggestion list of CiTi bank advisor/Wall St shill.

H/t Thought Crime Radio
~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

UN warned Trump that ObamaCare repeal could violate international law

United Nations
From Fox News: The United Nations warned the Trump administration earlier this year that repealing ObamaCare without providing an adequate replacement would be a violation of multiple international laws, according to a new report.
Though the Trump administration is likely to ignore the U.N. warning, The Washington Post reported the Office of the U.N. High Commission on Human Rights in Geneva sent an “urgent appeal” on Feb 2.
The Post reported that the confidential, five-page memo cautioned that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act would put the U.S. “at odds with its international obligations.”
The warning was sent to the State Department and reportedly said the U.N. expressed “serious concern” about the prospective loss of health coverage for 30 million people, that in turn could violate “the right to social security of the people in the United States.”
Congressional Republicans failed in March to pass an ObamaCare replacement bill. A new proposal is emerging on Capitol Hill, but it’s unclear when it might be considered and how sweeping it may be.
A spokesman for the U.N.’s human rights office in Geneva confirmed the authenticity of the letter, which was sent by Dainius Puras, a Lithuanian doctor who serves the U.N. as “Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.”
Xabier Celaya, a spokesman for the U.N., said Puras cannot comment on his ObamaCare letter until it becomes public in June.
Though the report calls out the Trump administration, there’s very little the U.N. can actually do. 
According to the report, the letter sent to the Trump administration also was supposed to be shared with the majority and minority leaders in both houses of Congress — but that did not happen.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer’s office said they never received the letter, as did officials in House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office. The letter from Puras did make its way to the Department of Health and Human Services, where an unnamed employee supposedly leaked it.
DCG

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

Obama IRS targeted for audit 1 in 10 donors to conservative groups

Under Obama, conservative Americans suddenly found themselves living not in the U.S.A., but in the (former) Soviet Union.
In 2013-14, news came that the all-powerful Internal Revenue Service of the Obama administration was singling out for scrutiny conservative groups that had applied for non-profit status. See:

But what actually happened is even worse. It turns out Obama’s IRS targeted for audit:

  1. Not just conservative groups that had applied for non-profit 501(c)(4) status, but also conservative groups that already were 501(c)(4)s.
  2. Not just conservative groups, but also individual conservative Americans.

(1) Obama IRS targeted all right-wing groups

In February 2014, then-Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) stated that:

“Additionally, we now know that the IRS targeted not only right-leaning applicants, but also right-leaning groups that were already operating as 501(c)(4)s.  At Washington, DC’s direction, dozens of groups operating as 501(c)(4)s were flagged for IRS surveillance, including monitoring of the groups’ activities, websites and any other publicly available information. Of these groups, 83 percent were right-leaning. And of the groups the IRS selected for audit, 100 percent were right-leaning.

The right-leaning groups that were targeted included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Leadership Institute, a 501(c)(3) that trains young conservative activists. The group’s president, Morton Blackwell, told Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) the audit had cost his organization more than $50,000 and hundreds of man-hours. As part of the investigation, the Leadership Institute was required to produce 23,430 pages of documents and answer far-ranging questions about its interns and other miscellaneous topics.

(2) Obama IRS targeted conservative individuals

On July 22, 2015, the D.C. citizens’ watchdog group Judicial Watch announced that it obtained documents from IRS which confirm the IRS had used donor lists to conservative tax-exempt organizations (such as the aforementioned Leadership Institute) to target those donors for audits. The IRS produced the records in a Freedom of Information lawsuit by Judicial Watch seeking documents about selection of individuals for audits, based upon application information and donor lists submitted by Tea Party and other 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations (Judicial Watch v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:15-cv-00220)).
One of the damning documents is an exchange of letters between then-Democrat Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman:

  • In his letter to Shulman of September 28, 2010, Baucus wrote: “I request that you and your agency survey major 501(c)(4), (c)(5) and (c)(6) organizations.…”
  • Shulman replied in a letter dated February 17, 2011: “In the work plan of the Exempt Organizations Division, we announced that beginning in FY2011, we are increasing our focus on section 501(c)(4), (5) and (6) organizations.”

Note: Sen. Roy Blunt wrote that Douglas Shulman was cleared to visit the White House more than 100 times during his four years as Obama’s IRS commissioner. In contrast, Shulman’s predecessor, Mark Everson, says he was cleared to visit the Bush White House just once during his four years as IRS commissioner.

After receiving Sen. Baucus’s letter, the IRS considered the issue of auditing donors to 501(c)(4) organizations, alleging that a 35% gift tax would be due on donations in excess of $13,000, which required the IRS audit the donors.
But the 35% gift tax was really just a ruse because a gift tax on contributions to 501(c)(4)’s was considered by most to be a dead letter since the IRS had never enforced the rule after the Supreme Court ruled that such taxes violated the First Amendment. In fact, the IRS had not enforced the gift tax since 1982.
The documents show that individual donors to Crossroads GPS, associated with Republican Karl Rove, were specifically referenced by IRS officials in the context of the gift tax audit. IRS attorney Lorraine Gardner emailed a 501(c)(4) donor list to former Branch Chief in the IRS’ Office of the Chief Counsel James Hogan. Later, this information was shared with IRS Estate Gift and Policy Manager Lisa Piehl.
In September 2014, another Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit forced the release of documents detailing that the IRS sought, obtained and maintained the names of donors to Tea Party and other conservative groups. IRS officials acknowledged in these documents that “such information was not needed.” The documents also show that the donor names were being used for a “secret research project.
At a May 7, 2014 hearing, the House Ways and Means Committee announced    that, after scores of conservative groups provided donor information “to the IRS, nearly one in ten donors were subject to audit.” In 2011, as many as five donors to the conservative 501(c)(4) organization Freedom’s Watch were audited, according to the Wall Street Journal. Bradley Blakeman, Freedom’s Watch’s former president, said he was “personally targeted” by the IRS.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said:

These documents that we had to force out of the IRS prove that the agency used donor lists to audit supporters of organizations engaged in First Amendment-protected lawful political speech. And the snarky comments about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the obsession with Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS show that the IRS was targeting critics of the Obama administration. President Obama may want to continue to lie about his IRS scandal. These documents tell the truth – his IRS hated conservatives and was willing to illegally tax and audit citizens to shut down opposition to Barack Obama’s policies and reelection.

See also:

~Eowyn

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

Trump Stock Rally Leaving Big Media-Entertainment Behind

The most-biased, left-leaning companies are not thriving? Gee, I wonder why…
trump-and-us-media
From Hollywood Reporter: The Donald Trump election rally that’s sent the Dow Jones Industrial average hurtling toward an all-time high of 20,000 has left behind one key industry: big media conglomerates.
The president-elect has spent the election railing against television news giants like CNN and even right-leaning Fox News Channel. And Wall Street appears to be listening now that the real-estate mogul is heading to the White House. Of the 50 entertainment/media stocks tracked by The Hollywood Reporter, 36 of them lag the 9 percent gain made by the blue-chip index ahead of Friday’s potential record-breaking open.
While it’s tough to say there’s an exact correlation between Trump’s criticism of media and falling stock prices, experts say there are some legitimate concerns for the sector — as well as some lucrative opportunities — under a Trump presidency.
“Media and technology have underperformed because Trump wasn’t exactly favorable to leaders of those industries, so perhaps his policies will reflect that,” said Michael Kramer, founder and portfolio manager of Mott Capital Management. “He has been very critical of media. Obviously, the bad-mouthing hurts.”
trump-and-crooked-media
On the flipside, Steven Birenberg of Northlake Capital Management predicts that a lucrative business environment under Trump will help a variety of industries and it’s only a matter of time before media-entertainment catches up. The FCC, Justice Department and IRS could all adopt a more business-friendly, merger-friendly posture, which would keep stocks humming under Trump, he says.
Among Birenberg’s favorite stocks, all of which he owns shares of, are Comcast and Charter Communications, two of the major players in cable television.
“Cable is a big winner under Trump as net neutrality could go away. At least the odds of the FCC enforcing any price caps on broadband will go away,” says Birenberg, who did not support Trump. “I despise the man … but when it comes to managing my clients’ money, my fiduciary responsibility is to do what is best for them, so if Trump helps out media and entertainment stocks, I’ve got to take advantage.”
He also likes video game publishers Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard due to the transition to digital downloads and in-game purchases, as well as Live Nation Entertainment, the giant concert promoter that also operates Ticketmaster. “The concert industry is booming globally,” he says.
Trump has been beating the drum against what he considers unfair trade deals with China, and among the biggest losers since the election is Alibaba. The massive Chinese new-media company that is co-producing films with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners is off 7 percent since the election.
Another laggard since Nov. 8 is Facebook, down 3 percent. The social networking giant has been under fire from the left for promoting “fake news” and from the right for allegedly pushing negative stories about conservatives and positive ones about liberals.
Also lagging are some theater operators, most notably Regal Entertainment Group, down 7 percent, and Cinemark Holdings, off 3 percent. Movie theaters, though, are expected to get a boost from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which could open this weekend to as much as $350 million globally.
Kramer says the Trump rally has mostly benefited bank, energy and infrastructure stocks, and he suspects it won’t last. “It’s all about tax reform, deregulation and infrastructure and deficit spending under Trump, and those are all pro-growth policies,” he said. “The market is forward-thinking, but it doesn’t know what the actual policies will be, so the rally may fizzle.”
Beyond a Trump effect (perceived or real), there are plenty of issues plaguing individual companies. Disney, for example, will score big with Rogue One, but it lost 2 million ESPN subscribers in the fiscal year ending Oct. 1. As for Viacom, it remains to be seen what new CEO Bob Bakish can do to turn around the Paramount film studio as well as cable channel MTV. And 21st Century Fox was hit by a downgrade Monday by Telsey Advisory Group, which predicts the Rupert Murdoch-controlled company will have to fight European regulators over its planned $14.1 billion acquisition of the 61 percent of British satellite TV service Sky that it doesn’t already own.
Read the whole story here.
maga
DCG

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

Nearly half of Americans want to keep ObamaCare

I’ll bet that those in favor of Obamacare didn’t receive an 80 percent increase notice for their health care premiums for 2017.
serious
Via NY Post: Barely a quarter of Americans want ObamaCare completely dismantled, while nearly half want it kept as is — or even expanded, pollsters said Thursday.
In a post-election poll commissioned by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, 26 percent of respondents said they want all of the Affordable Care Act repealed. Pollsters found that 19 percent of those surveyed said they like the status quo, and 30 percent want ObamaCare expanded.
obamacare2
President-elect Donald Trump — who spent the campaign trashing ObamaCare and promising to repeal it — has already backtracked on that pledge.
Trump now says he wants to keep at least two major ObamaCare provisions — allowing children to remain on a parent’s plan until age 26, and barring insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
That approach seems to match with 17 percent of poll respondents, who want ObamaCare scaled back but not thrown out entirely.
Republican respondents, at a 52 percent clip, were strongly in favor of killing ObamaCare altogether, this poll found. But even that’s a shift down from 69 percent of GOP backers who said a month ago they wanted all of ObamaCare trashed.
This poll was conducted between Nov. 15 and 21 with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
DCG

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

ObamaCare fallout: As premiums rise, so does cost to taxpayers

Going as planned.
obamacare2
From Fox News: The Obama administration is trying to calm the panic over soaring ObamaCare premiums by pointing to subsidies many will receive to offset the cost — but analysts and GOP lawmakers counter that those subsidies nevertheless will stick taxpayers with a rising bill. 
With enrollment set to begin Nov. 1, the administration announced Monday that premiums are set rise an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally run online market. Some states, such as Arizona, will see premiums jump by as much as 116 percent.
Department of Health and Human Services officials are stressing that subsidies provided under the law, which are designed to rise alongside premiums, will insulate most customers from sticker shock.
But the rising cost of subsidies, which already totals tens of billions a year, would be passed on to the taxpayer.
“Taxpayers are already in for a lot,” Tom Miller, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told FoxNews.com. “The cost doesn’t go away, it just goes into someone else’s pocket.”
In a March report, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that subsidies given to enrollees in 2016 would amount to $43 billion in 2016, and predicted the cost would rise to $106 billion by 2026. It also said that over 10 years, ObamaCare provisions would reduce the deficit thanks to tax provisions and cuts to Medicare. That was before the latest announcement by the administration. It’s unclear how exactly the looming premium hikes will affect that picture, though Republicans are now seeking new estimates.
Analysts say it’s safe to assume taxpayer costs will rise. Miller noted that HHS reported an average subsidy of $291 per month in 2016. A 25 percent increase in premiums would theoretically translate into an extra $73 per month, or about $870 a year per person.
you don't say
“If you assume conservatively that there’s 10 million people getting subsidies, that’s an extra $8.5 billion in extra costs taxpayers are getting hit by going into next year,” he said.
Other experts warned this is likely to continue as long as premiums keep rising. “Its real simple, premiums are going up and up, and subsidies are going to go up with them,” Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and a former CBO director, told FoxNews.com.
The Department for Health and Human Services, when asked for comment by FoxNews.com, noted that the law’s coverage provisions are set to cost 28 percent less in 2019 than the CBO originally projected, amounting to about $49 billion less than originally predicted when the law was signed in 2010. A spokesman also said the same office predicted that repealing the law would increase the deficit by approximately $350 billion over 10 years.
Holtz-Eakin urged caution on the administration’s analysis. “It’s been a mixed pattern, because the enrollments haven’t been what they expected so it hasn’t been as big of an impact financially,” he said. “The bad news is that spending per person is much higher than anticipated due to subsidy increases because of premium hikes.”
Obama signs Obamacare bill
One of the biggest ObamaCare costs to taxpayers has been absorbed into the Medicaid budget, paid for by both state and federal governments. As a sweetener to get states to go along with the plan, the federal government offered to pick up the cost of expanding Medicaid eligibility up to 133 percent of the poverty line. That siphoned low income — and expensive – customers away from ObamaCare exchanges, seemingly contributing to its current solvency. But that cost – in the hundreds of billions — also is borne by taxpayers.
The CBO projected in 2013 that, in part due to ObamaCare, federal Medicaid spending would more than double over the next 10 years, topping $554 billion by 2023. State governments pay another $160 billion toward Medicaid. “Volume has been greater in Medicaid, and per person costs have been much higher than expected,” Edmund Haislmaier, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told FoxNews.com.
Sensing a spike in taxpayer costs, the Republican-led House Committee on Energy and Commerce has written to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services demanding how much taxpayer money will be spent subsidizing the cost of rising premiums.
“While the Administration continues to focus on premium ‘affordability,’ it ignores the undeniable fact that federal taxpayers are subsidizing these premium increases through tax credits,” the letter from Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., says. “The Committee is concerned that the federal taxpayer continues to bear the burden of subsidizing the growing cost of health care insurance.”
The committee is demanding estimates of the amount of money spent covering rising premiums by Nov. 7.
obamacare
DCG

Please follow and like us:
error0
 

Harvard’s minimum wage protests were caused by its own professors

liberal logis
Via NY Post: The social-justice warriors of Harvard are on the march again, this time in solidarity with the university’s dining-hall workers. Students and faculty have spent the past few days protesting low wages and an increase in health-care premiums for the people serving their grilled cheese, french fries and occasional lobster dinners.
On Oct. 5, about 750 workers went on strike. It was Harvard’s first such revolt in 33 years, and strikes are becoming more common at colleges across the country. In Pennsylvania, thousands of faculty went on strike at 14 colleges and universities on Wednesday alone.
Harvard was fortunately prepared, having stocked up on frozen food for students in the days leading up to the walkout. But who knows when their TV dinners will run out. Two weeks later, things seem to have reached an impasse. Harvard has closed six of its 14 dining halls, staffing its remaining ones with temporary workers and giving students money to spend at local pizza joints.
In its defense, Harvard says, the dining-hall workers make an average of almost $22 per hour, more than the $15 living wage required by the People’s Republic of Cambridge. Moreover, the university says that health-care costs are going up all over the country and dining-hall workers are going to have to bear some of the brunt of that.
The Chronicle of Higher Education sums up Harvard’s problem pretty well. “How does the richest university in the world negotiate with some of its lowest-paid workers?” the publication asks. When your endowment is over $37 billion, why don’t you pay the people who serve food more than $30,000 per year?
harvard-strike
The argument seems to be carrying weight. Earlier this week, Harvard divinity students wore yellow flowers in their hair and sang “Lean On Me” and “We Shall Overcome” as they protested outside the Science Center. They ate bread together, which, according to divinity student Nestor J. Pimienta “symbolized that we’re sharing in the struggle.”
It’s always fun to share in the struggle when you get to skip out on class. According to an account in the Crimson, “After chants of ‘No justice, no peace!’ subsided, [professor] Timothy P. McCarthy ascended the steps of University Hall to address the crowd, which had reached hundreds of people. McCarthy announced to cheers that he had ‘cut short’ his lecture in ‘American Protest Literature from Tom Paine to Tupac’ to walk out with his students.”
Harvard’s undergraduates clearly see the plight of its dining-hall workers as the latest story of oppression in American history. But they seem not to see that Harvard professors actually support the very policies that have put the university in this bind.
In 2014, 10 Harvard scholars sent a letter to Congress insisting that an increase in the minimum wage would not negatively affect employment rates. Indeed, former Harvard Law professor and current Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has testified before Congress in favor of a $22 minimum wage.
elizabeth_warren
The assumption of these liberal scholars is that the rich who run corporations (or “nonprofit” institutions in this case) are simply hoarding money. If we want the poor to get more money, employers of these workers should just pay them more. And if they don’t, we should get the government to mandate that they do.
Who cares if you’re paying more than minimum wage? If you have more money, fork it over. Why shouldn’t dining-hall workers make as much as English professors? The laws of supply and demand simply don’t enter into the thinking of pointy-headed students and faculty.
The real sticking point in negotiations with the dining-hall workers is rising health insurance premiums. The cost of health insurance has gone up somewhere around 20% nationwide because of the Affordable Care Act. Insurance companies are canceling plans left and right, and the pool of insured people are older and less healthy than forecasters projected — meaning that it’s going to get worse.
As a 2015 article in the National Interest pointed out, “the Harvard faculty is chock-a-block with ObamaCare’s biggest boosters. The new plan was approved by Harvard’s provost, the economist Alan M. Garber, who had signed on to a 2009 open letter assuring the president that a tax on high-end insurance plans “offers the most promising approach to reducing private-sector health-care costs while also giving a much needed raise to the tens of millions of Americans who receive insurance through their employers.”
The Harvard faculty screamed bloody murder last year when the administration tried to raise their health-insurance premiums. Obviously, their dining-hall workers are less able to absorb these increases. But the policies pushed in Harvard’s faculty lounges have left everyone — not just the students eating ramen noodles — much worse off.
DCG

Please follow and like us:
error0