Friday, August 2, 2013

'Obamacare' mandate delay will cost $12 billion, affect 1 million workers

Reuters
August 2, 2013

President Barack Obama's decision to delay implementation of part of his healthcare reformlaw will cost $12 billion and leave a million fewer Americans with employer-sponsored health insurancein 2014, congressional researchers said Tuesday.
The report by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office is the first authoritative estimate of the human and fiscal cost from the administration's unexpected one-year delay announced July 2 of the employer mandate - a requirement for larger businesses to provide health coverage for their workers or pay a penalty.
The analysts said the delay will add to the cost of "Obamacare's" insurance-coverage provisions over the next 10 years. Penalties paid by employers would be lower and more individuals who otherwise might have had employer coverage will need federal insurance subsidies.
"Of those who would otherwise have obtained employment-based coverage, roughly half will be uninsured (in 2014)," CBO said in a July 30 letter to Representative Paul Ryan, Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee.
Under Obama's healthcare reform law, employers with 50 or more full-time workers were supposed to provide healthcare coverage or incur penalties beginning January 1. But the requirement will now begin in 2015.

The delay intensified doubts about the administration's ability to implement Obama's signature domestic policy achievement and stirred Republican calls for a similar delay in another Obamacare mandate that requires most individuals to havehealth insurance in 2014.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Federal Reserve Is Bailing Out FOREIGN Banks … More than the American People or Economy

Washington’s Blog
July 28, 2013
Federal Reserve Policy Mainly Benefits Big Foreign Banks
We’ve extensively documented that the Federal Reserve is intentionally locking up bank money so that it is not loaned out to Main Street. Specifically – due to Fed policy – 81.5% of all money created by quantitative easing is sitting there gathering dust in the form of “excess reserves” … instead of being loaned out to help Main Street or the American economy.
And we’ve extensively documented that large percentage of the bailouts went to foreign banks (and see this and this). (A 2010 Fed audit also revealed that of the $1.25 trillion of mortgage-backed securities the central bank purchased after the housing bubble popped, some $442.7 billion -  more than 35% – were bought from foreign banks.)
It turns out that these themes are all connected.
Specifically, most of the Fed-created money which is gathering dust is actually being held by foreign banks.
The Levy Economics Institute noted in May:
Excess reserves are the surplus of reserves against deposits and certain other liabilities that depository institutions (loosely called “banks”) hold above the amounts that the Board requires within ranges set by federal law. The general requirement is that covered institutions maintain reserves at least equal to ten percent of liabilities payable on demand. For the first time in history, there is statistical evidence that as much as one-half or more of excess reserves are held for United States banking offices offoreign banks.
Zero Hedge reports today:
As per last night’s [Federal Reserve] H.8 update, commercial bank deposits rose by $94 billion in the week ended July 17: the fourth largest weekly increase in history …. This took total commercial bank deposits to an all-time high of $9.54 trillion.
***
The entire difference can be attributed to the $2+ trillion in excess reserves created by the Fed since the start of the [global financial crisis] .
Speaking of Fed reserves with banks, the most recent number was $2.1 trillion, and its allocation breakdown by Domestic (small and large) and Foreign banks operating in the US is as follows:
Foreign banks continue to be the biggest beneficiary of the Fed’s monthly $85 billion liquidity largesse, just as they were the biggest winners during QE2.
In fact, the total reserve cash distribution continues to favor foreign banks, which now have a record $1.13 trillion in cash, or $9 billion more than all Domestically-chartered banks, at $1.122 trillion. The notable shift of cash reallocation from domestic to foreign banks since QE2 can be seen on the chart below.
To nobody’s surprise, global liquidity (as created by the Fed) continues to be infinitely fungible, and increasingly benefits offshore-based (mainly European) banks.
(And see this earlier report from Zero Hedge).
We’ve repeatedly noted that loose Federal Reserve policy benefits of the super-elite at the expense ofMain Street, the U.S. economy or the average American.
It now appears that the policy benefits foreign super-elite even more than the elites in the U.S.
The Federal Reserve – like many parts of the U.S. government – are sucking the prosperity out of America … and shipping it abroad.

With Obamacare it Pays More Not to Work

CNBC
July 30, 2013

Be careful you don't fall off the Obamacare "cliff" when the boss asks you to put in some overtime.
Working more could ultimately mean thousands of dollars less for you under a quirk in the new health-care law going into effect this fall. This could prompt some people to cut back on their hours to avoid losing money.
"Working more can actually leave you worse off," the price-comparison siteValuePenguin.com notes in a new analysis.
"It's sort of an absurd scenario," said Jonathan Wu, ValuePenguin.com's co-founder. "It's something for people to be aware of."
In that scenario, an individual or family whose annual income surpasses maximums set by the federal government—if only by $1—will totally lose subsidies available to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

For Congress, ‘it’s classified’ is new equivalent of ‘none of your business’

McClatchy 
July 31, 2013


The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reportedly gave its approval last week to an Obama administration plan to provide weapons to moderate rebels in Syria, but how individual members of the committee stood on the subject remains unknown.
There was no public debate and no public vote when one of the most contentious topics in American foreign policy was decided – outside of the view of constituents, who oppose the president’s plan to aid the rebels by 54 percent to 37 percent, according to a Gallup Poll last month.
In fact, ask individual members of the committee, who represent 117 million people in 14 states, how they stood on the plan to use the CIA to funnel weapons to the rebels and they are likely to respond with the current equivalent of “none of your business:” It’s classified.
Those were, in fact, the words Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chair of the committee, used when asked a few days before the approval was granted to clarify her position for her constituents. She declined. It’s a difficult situation, she said. And, “It’s classified.”
She was not alone. In a string of interviews over days, members of both the Senate intelligence committee or its equivalent in the House were difficult to pin down on their view of providing arms to the rebels. The senators and representatives said they couldn’t give an opinion, or at least a detailed one, because the matter was classified.
It’s an increasingly common stance that advocates of open government say undermines the very principle of a representative democracy.
“It’s like a pandemic in Washington, D.C., this idea that ‘I don’t have to say anything, I don’t have to justify anything, because I can say it’s secret,’” said Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute, a Washington-based libertarian think tank.




Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/07/30/198097/for-congress-its-classified-is.html#storylink=cpy

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