You are browsing the archive for 2013 November 06.

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Sen. Rand Paul Appears on Fox's On the Record with Greta Van Susteren – November 5, 2013

November 6, 2013 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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The Big Obamacare Story That Hasn’t Surfaced Yet

November 6, 2013 in Economics

By Hunter Lewis

It’s even worse than a jammed website, canceled policies, and rising policy prices. The policies may also not be what they seem.

In the first place, exchange policies typically restrict the hospitals and doctors you can use. In New Hampshire, for example, 10 of the state’s 26 hospitals are excluded from exchange policies and this takes out all the doctors affiliated with those hospitals as well.

That’s bad enough, but there is worse. In many of the policies, doctors will be paid significantly less than what private insurance has previously paid or that would be paid in other private policies sold outside the exchanges. This means that if you lose your doctor because he or she is no longer included in the policy coverage, you will not only find your doctor choices limited. You may also find that the doctors who are included don’t want your business.

Medicaid and some Medicare patients have experienced this problem for years. The rates paid make them undesirable patients to many doctors. But now people outside Medicaid and Medicare will experience the same problem.

As we know, Obamacare was devised by assembling special interests behind closed doors at the White House. As in any crony scheme, everyone is gaming the system, starting with the president, Congress, and the special interests that wrote the legislation, extending to the administration regulation writers, who in many cases virtually rewrote the legislation, and then leading back to the  insurance companies, which are now trying to work around the regulations.

This has zero resemblance to a normal market, in which producers compete on quality and price to  win over customers. The customer has been completely lost in all the maneuvering and self-serving behavior.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Sen. Paul Joins Senate Colleagues in Support of Military Justice Improvement Act

November 6, 2013 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul today joined Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at a press conference to push for the passage of the bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act. This piece of legislation will be offered as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which is expected to be considered by the Senate prior to the Thanksgiving recess. Sen. Paul’s remarks can be found below.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH SEN. PAUL DISCUSS THE MILITARY JUSTICE IMPROVEMENT ACT
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Source: RAND PAUL

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Peter Klein in ‘Investor’s Business Daily’

November 6, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Posted yesterday at IBD: 

That so much importance is placed on the Fed chief’s temperament may seem absurd. But this indicates a much deeper problem: the Fed has too much power.

The Federal Reserve is the most important economic planning agency in the world. It’s charged with promoting full employment, stabilizing prices, and overseeing the financial sector. So the new chair’s theoretical views, management style, and personality quirks could affect trillions of dollars of economic activity.

Is it wise to hand such extraordinary power to an elite cadre of economists and bureaucrats?

The pretenses of top-down planning have been debunked by history. Throughout the last century, every nation that adopted central planning had its economy flounder.

Even at the microeconomic level, the limits of top-down planning are increasingly obvious.

Read the whole thing.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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New Mises Academy Courses Coming Next Week

November 6, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Coming from Mises Academy this month:

Be sure and see William Anderson’s Mises Daily article today on Keynes, plus Robert Batemarco’s Monday article on Crony Capitalism.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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William Anderson Busts the Ghost of Keynes

November 6, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

6577

Writing in today’s Mises Daily:

Academic economists who hold to the “market test” view of economics should be puzzled. Here is a paradigm that claims there cannot be an inflationary recession, yet all of the recessions that have wracked the U.S. economy in recent decades have been inflationary. Furthermore, despite the spending of more than a trillion dollars in the name of the Keynesian “stimulus,” the economy continues to founder, as unemployment rates remain stubbornly high and millions of workers either have abandoned their search for work or work in part-time jobs just to keep food on the table.

Given the fact that both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations (not to mention Congress) have followed the Keynesian playbook, the sorry results should be enough to discredit Keynesianism, this time for good. Either a theory explains and predicts phenomena or it does not, and it should be clear that Keynesian theory has failed.

Alas, the academic “market test” really does not embrace the actual success or failure of a theory. It seems that many academic economists do not wish to be bothered by what happens in the real world. The vaunted “market test” is not about actual results, but is about what many economists are willing to accept as what they wish to be true and what politicians believe is good for their own electoral purposes.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Will Smart Phone Apps Revolutionize Medicine?

November 6, 2013 in Economics

By Hunter Lewis

No– the government seems determined to stop it.
The Bloomberg article below describes a brave new world in which consumers can monitor their health through smartphone apps, share the information with their doctors, and also communicate with their doctors without an appointment, especially in emergencies. The article however fails to mention that Medicare and some private insurers won’t pay a doctor for time spent on e-mail, texting, and the like. Medicare not only wants you to go to the doctor’s office. It won’t even pay for treatment of more than one complaint per visit. If you have two problems, you are supposed to make another appointment and come back.
The article does refer to the FDA’s plan to regulate the field, which it seems to regard positively. It does not explain that the cost of FDA approval will  kill app innovation and availability.
Why is this happening? Because the FDA wants to be paid. Big drug companies contribute billions to FDA salaries and expenses, in addition to offering high paying jobs when employees leave government employment. Neither the government, nor key allies such as the American Medical Association, which enjoys a lucrative government granted monopoly in medical coding, have an incentive to change the way medicine is practiced. On the contrary, they keep us stuck where we are.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-01/medical-advice-just-a-touch-away-with-smartphone-apps.html

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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How to End Egypt's Subsidies Addiction

November 6, 2013 in Economics

By Dalibor Rohac

Dalibor Rohac

Following the military takeover and the bloody crackdown on the followers of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt has been living through intermittent violence and unrest. Incidence of violence directed against the country’s Coptic minority seems to be on the rise, as does the activity of Islamists operating in the Sinai Peninsula. In short, this seems to be a very odd moment to discuss the arcane details of Egypt’s subsidy programmes.

However, the problem of energy and food subsidies is one of the most significant challenges facing Egypt today. Regardless of what political future looms for Egypt, a reform of subsidies is necessary to avert an approaching economic catastrophe.

Egypt’s government directs up to one third of public spending — or 13 per cent of the country’s GDP — to fuel subsidies such as diesel oil, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), petrol, and natural gas, as well as various foodstuffs. Subsidies explain the dire state of Egyptian public finances, with a projected deficit of 15 per cent of GDP in the current fiscal year and with public debt at around 90 per cent of GDP. The economy is being kept afloat only by the inflow of aid from Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Egypt’s public debt is a ticking time bomb.”

This fiscal problem is magnified by the distorted incentives subsidies create, leading to overconsumption and waste. Because wealthier Egyptians tend to consume more of the subsidized commodities — particularly of energy — it is no surprise that they are the largest beneficiaries of subsidy spending. In urban areas, for example, the top quintile of the income distribution receives eight times as much in energy subsidies as the bottom quintile.

Moreover, many of the subsidized goods end up being resold on the black market. According to some estimates, this includes roughly one third of the subsidized bread and 20 per cent of the total supply of subsidized sugar and cooking oil. The same problem arises with bottled LPG, used for cooking, which is typically resold at ten times the subsidized price.

Egypt’s subsidy problem persists in spite of decades of half-hearted reforms. In January 1977, for example, President Anwar Sadat announced a modest reduction in subsidy spending on certain groups of commodities. What resulted were so-called bread riots in major Egyptian cities, which led the government to cancel the reforms. Since then, several other attempts were made, temporarily moderating …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Cut Spending by … Cutting Spending

November 6, 2013 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

House and Senate budget conferees have begun meeting in an attempt to head off another potential government shutdown when the latest continuing resolution expires, on January 15. In theory, the committee is supposed to report no later than December 13, but few on Capitol Hill expect them to come up with a deal by that deadline. As usual, the two parties are at loggerheads over taxes and spending. The Democrats want more of the former and none of the latter; for Republicans, it’s the reverse. Another crisis looms.

But there is a way that the two parties can come together to solve this problem, if members are willing to compromise.

It is important to understand that a compromise doesn’t require new taxes. According to the Congressional Budget Office, revenues will return to their historic average without any new tax hikes. And, between the new taxes in Obamacare and the fiscal-cliff deal last December, Democrats have already pushed through more than $2.8 trillion in new taxes over the next ten years. The basis for any budget compromise must come on the spending side.

No more sacred cows for either party — it’s time to get serious.”

And there’s reason to believe that this can be done. Over the last few years, both Democrats and Republicans have suggested ways to cut spending, only to be blocked by the other party. Now, however, is the time for both parties to cut programs even if they are championed by special interests in their parties. There can be no more “sacred cows.”

To show how this could be done, scholars at the Cato Institute have put together a plan that balances the budget without tax increases and reduces our dangerously high debt burden, by cutting $3 trillion over the next ten years. It builds on good ideas from both Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, to expand individual freedom and reduce the burden of government.

Cut Corporate Welfare: For too long both parties have endorsed giveaways to major corporate interests. This is not even a question of dubious tax breaks — which, it can at least be argued, allow people to keep more of their own money, even if the tax breaks are distortionary — but rather of direct payments and subsidies. Such corporate welfare has nothing to do with capitalism or free markets. Among the worst examples are agricultural subsidies, included in the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Obama Betrays Future of Our Very Lives

November 6, 2013 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

I have been researching and reporting on Obamacare since its inception. Now I want as many readers as possible to have the most penetrating analysis yet on how so many of us are going to be impacted by the radical and historic way this law changes the relationship between Americans and their doctors.

Bradley Allen, a pediatric heart surgeon and former professor and surgical director of the Children’s Heart Institute in Houston, wrote an op-ed last month in The Wall Street Journal that gets inside our growing anger and confusion at this grim “health care law’s destructive effect on the fundamental nature of the way their care is delivered” (“ObamaCare 2016: Happy Yet?” Allen, The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 23).

All of us are aware that Barack Obama’s kingly assurance that “if we like our present health care plan, we can keep it” was fantasy. But the president did not anticipate that his Affordable Care Act (ACA) website would get screwed up. Therefore, he’s had to delay his actual intention from the beginning to disintegrate the individual insurance market so that all health insurance would become single payer — from the government.

How many of you could foresee this development?

Listen to this: According to The Washington Times, this past August Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the ACA was a “first step to ‘work our way past’ employer-provided health insurance to a government-run health care system” (“Obamacare scam — Endgame was always single payer, government-run health care,” Emily Miller, The Washington Times, Oct. 30).

Harry Reid is far from a whistleblower.

If you do a fact-based search on “Obama for single payer,” you’ll find clear evidence, including videos, of his enthusiasm for a single payer system during his campaigns for office.

Now he’s stuck with fixing Obamacare — probably until he leaves office. Its widespread effects, already beginning to be dangerous, are crucially worth knowing, as some will have become a part of our health care system by the time you vote for the next president and Congress in 2016.

In The Wall Street Journal, Allen takes a toll of the damage that has already been done:

“Even before the ACA cut $716 billion from its budget, Medicare only reimbursed hospitals and doctors for 70 percent to 80 percent of their costs. Once this cut further reduced reimbursements, and the ACA added stacks of paperwork, more doctors refused to accept Medicare: It just didn’t cover expenses. …read more

Source: OP-EDS