Thursday, May 28, 2015

NY Obamacare Premiums Up Another 25%?

Just last week we learned that insurers were just now able to peer underneath the hood of Obamacare and tally up their costs in order to set rates for 2016.  All signs point to bad mojo for Dear Leader's signature "achievement"...
Now that insurers have had more time to look at the claims coming in from those enrolling from Obamacare, they're finding that the pool of customers is older and sicker than originally projected, driving up medical costs. Meanwhile, federal help isn't what they anticipated.
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the largest health insurer in Maryland, proposed an average increase of 30.4 percent for 2016 (with a range of 19.3 percent to 45.7 percent).
A similar story is playing out among insurers who have filed rate proposals throughout the country. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee asked for an average increase of 36.3 percent. In South Dakota, Wellmark proposed a 42.9 percent average increase.
Here in New York, we've had all the bad features of ObamaCare for many many years, well before the Lightworker brought the Light, so our premiums were expensive to begin with.  When Obamacare hit we were not spared at all.

Well, my proposed renewal rates just came in the mail and my premiums for my small business are going up 24%.  That'll be roughly 75% in three years.  At this rate, Obamacare is going to fall in on itself like the poorly constructed edifice that it is.

Free of Union Yoke, Twinkie-Maker Worth $2 Billion

With a unionized work force, Hostess (Twinkies) was worth nothing.  Today, without that unionized work force, it's worth $2 billion.
Twinkies never die.
Neither does its Hostess brand, apparently, as Post Foods joined the sea of bidders looking to acquire the snack company for as much as $2 billion, according to the New York Post.
The same was true with General Motors and Detroit...and the same will happen with others, like, for instance, Chicago.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Big Banks Got Their "Mind Right"

Via Bloomberg.
Wall Street is giving the Second City a second chance.
The price of Chicago’s most-actively traded bond has erased almost all of the decline that followed Moody’s Investors Service’s May 12 decision to cut the city to junk. Buyer confidence has been bolstered because banks aren’t demanding penalties related to the downgrade, anticipating Chicago will be able to sell $668 million of general obligations Wednesday to refinance debt.
Wall Street’s support is helping Chicago avert a cash crunch as a $20 billion pension-fund shortfall leaves it with the lowest credit rating of any big U.S. city except Detroit. The loss of its investment-grade rank from Moody’s triggered provisions allowing banks to seek as much as $2.2 billion in accelerated debt payments or fees to break derivative contracts.
Such requirements helped push Jefferson County, Alabama, into bankruptcy when it was unable to refinance debt after the 2008 credit crisis.
Who could force those derivatives payments? Big banks like JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and BofA.  Who has the DOJ been suing the bejeebus out of these last few years, taking multiple multi-billion dollar settlements out of their hides?   Big banks like JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and BofA.  Who is playing nice with Chicago, Dear Leader's adopted hometown and the site of his presidential library?  Big banks like JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and BofA.

Looks like the big banks got their "mind right" ala Cool Hand Luke.


I've been saying this for awhile...we don't really have true poverty in America.  We have relative poverty, or, from an alternate perspective, we have made being at the low end of the economic spectrum vastly more livable and humane.  Remember, our poor (mostly) are obese and watch too much TV.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Free Advice That Is Actually Worth Something

I have a very smart (and free) tip for any of the 197 Republican candidates for President. 

On the campaign, make it a salient point that you will ensure that the American armed forces will be oriented towards protecting the American homeland and American interests abroad, and will not be ridiculously distracted by a focus on global warming climate change. 

Only the looniest, true-believers actually believe this "climate change is a threat to national security" bullshit.

I Was Right? Obama Will Leave a Smoldering Wreck of a Democratic Party

Flashback time:  I said Obama, despite multiple seeming successes, would destroy the Democratic party.  Here is just one of my numerous assertions to that effect:
As long-time readers of this blog know, I have advanced the theory - from almost the very moment that Barack Obama was elected - that he would be a disastrous President and that he would destroy the Democratic Party.
It's all subjective, of course, but there are folks that try to quantify the relative strength of the political parties, and here is some of their recent thinking...
One of the most underappreciated stories in recent years is the deterioration of the Democratic bench under President Obama's tenure in office. The party has become much more ideologically homogenous, losing most of its moderate wing as a result of the last two disastrous midterm elections. By one new catch-all measure, a party-strength index introduced by RealClearPolitics analysts Sean Trende and David Byler, Democrats are in their worst position since 1928.
Hmmm.  Sounds pretty close to what I said...years ago, mind you.

(h/t Instapundit)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

New Research Conveniently Says Exactly What We Want It to Say...

Fake studies are quite common, and ones that fit the narrative are more likely to be so, wisely counsels Glenn Reynolds...


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tell Me Again Why the Future Belongs to China?

Remember when multi-national corporations were tripping over themselves to do business in China?  Some knew it wouldn't end well.

Well, here is a story that is indicative of what doing business in China is really like.  A giant Brazilian mining company that ships oodles of iron ore to China spends $135 million per ship to build monster ships to ship the iron ore.  Then China says that the ships can't dock at its ports for "safety" reasons.  So the Brazilians build a $1.4 billion terminal in Malaysia to unload the ore from the monster ships to smaller ships that can dock in China.  Having been sliced to ribbons financially, guess what, the Brazilians have to sell the monster ships to China for $110 million apiece. 

So China makes the Brazilians bear all the construction risk, screws them with some regulatory BS, nearly bankrupts them and gladly takes the goodies off of the rubes for a song.

And yet people still believe that China is the global economic leader of the future...?  Sorry folks, not after shenanigans like this they won't. 

NY Post Asks: Why Are Contributions to DeBlasio's Charities Plummeting?

Because he's a putz.

Well, here's the detail...
It’s not that you’ve hurt their feelings, Mr. Mayor: The rich are giving less to charities you control because they expect you to waste the money.
Contributions are plummeting to nonprofits like the Fund for Public Schools and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.
The Wall Street Journal notes that donations to the Mayor’s Fund (run by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray) dived 63 percent, to $19 million, last year from $52 million in the final year of Mike Bloomberg’s term.
The shocker is that anybody is giving him any money.  OK, it's not a shocker, there are a lot of stupid, rich people in NYC.

Shocker: Third Worlders Act Like Third Worlders in the First World

Hey, here's a little bit of basic, albeit politically-incorrect, wisdom - when you allow people from the Third World to take control of parts of your society, those parts of society will become Third World.

Just remember, all these "Asians" were invited and paid for by lefty government officials who wanted to transform the electorate.  So, Labor got its votes and Britain got sex trafficking of young girls.  Fair trade off, no?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bad Ole' Days Coming Back to NYC

Hey, don't say I didn't warn you.

Violent crime soars, de Blasio splits town
He’s on the road again.
As violent crime soars in the Big Apple, Mayor Bill de Blasio has far more pressing matters to deal with — touting his progressive agenda in two more out-of-state locales.
The Wages of Apathy strike again.

Monday, May 11, 2015

American Poverty

As lefties prattle on about income inequality, more uncomfortable data about the true state of American poverty.  We have only relative poverty within our borders.  Measured in global terms, we don't have poverty.

Our problem is that our poor people are fat and watch too much TV.  If you've ever been to, say, Delhi or a Brazilian favela you know that American poverty is a high class problem.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Mediocre Putz Strives to Be Tomorrow's Progressive Icon

The deep left has to arrive at a standard-bearer in post-Obama era.  There are, obviously, a few logical candidates but no clear winner (no, not even Hillary).  Which means there will be competition for said role.

That has to be the explanation behind this.  I'd worry if I was a "progressive." 

DeBlasio is a putz who was elected by the affirmative vote of all of 17% of NYC voters, and he's managed to sputter and flail in his early tenure as mayor here.

I pray DeB is the best they've got.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Greece: The Truth Is Hiding in Plain Sight

Remember when I saw a Nobel prize-winning economist say, "Well, different people do better (economically) at different times."  How about that for taking off the high-octane analytical hat and chalking things up to basic common sense observations, huh?

I am reminded of that watching respected Finance/Economics professor (and my former professor) Charles Calomiris suggest simply that Alexis Tsipras just might be nuts.

Yeah, let's get back to basics here folks.  SYRIZA, Tsipras's political party, literally means "Coalition of the Radical Left".  Let's parse this.  First, they don't even hide it the way normal Euro lefties do behind some vague, anodyne moniker like 'People's Democratic Movement' or some such non-descriptive nothingness.  Not just Left, but Radical Left in case you are interested in degrees of leftism.  And not a disciplined, uniform group of radical lefties, but a coalition.  In other words, a hodge-podge amalgamation of all manner of radical lefties.

Yeah, I'd say the truth in Greece is hiding in plain sight.  Further reason, in my opinion, to cut 'em loose.

UPDATE:  And sure enough, the stupid Greeks are still poking sticks in people's eyes as they run out of money...


Yeah, seriously...mousetraps work because mice are highly simplistic and unevolved creatures.  That's racism, straight up!

What Stalinist Glories?

OK.  But what past glories are we talking about?

Bread lines?  Killing Polish people?  Fighting a war where you lose 14% of your population and roughly half of your young men?

Those past glories?

Monday, May 04, 2015

Black/White Balkanization Is Political, Not Racial

In a post I wrote last August titled "Media Headscratching:  Why Are There So Many Fergusons in America?", I posited that there is so much racial balkanization in America simply because blacks and whites want different things out of government - it is not so much racial balkanization as it is political (or policy) balkanization.   This post by Elizabeth Price Foley brings the contrast out quite well - it is sharp and across the board.

Blacks and whites simply have much different policy preferences, and when one prevails, it drives out the other.  Baltimore, like numerous other places, has achieved a critical mass of black influence in government institutions, and, predictably, those institutions have delivered what black constituents, by and large, want.  As a result, whites have left those places (and to a large degree many blacks as well).
Blacks and whites want different things from government (of course this is generalizing, but generalizing fits the reality), and each tend to get what they want.  The result is racial balkanization because you can't have these things exist in the same locales.  Whites repeatedly vote for business-friendly/law and order politicians and blacks repeatedly vote for the regulatory state and redistributionist economics (they do this in concert with a coalition of white liberals).  The heavy hand of government is what blacks have said over and over is what they want.  For good or ill, whites have, by and large, said 'you may have it' and left places like Detroit, Cleveland, Newark
While it may offend some tender sensibilities (of white liberals mostly), the racial balkanization we see in America is a result of the design of our system and, perhaps perversely, a sign that our system works.  Our federalist system ensures at least 50 fairly independent policy laboratories, and our multi-level structure (federal, state, city) ensures even more, almost exponential, policy variety.  Our system says you may have your policy views prevail right here and I will have mine prevail over there - you may have your high-taxes and lax policing here and I will have my low taxes and stricter policing over there.  The fallout has seemed to play out along racial lines although the design and operation of our government structure is purely political. 

That is not sinister, it is just a fact of life.  All groups have a political culture, just like they have an artistic or linguistic culture.  That is why you have Vladimir Putin, because no matter what you call the Russian political system, Russians have a political culture of czarism, they want/need a protective and nationalistic authoritarianism.  It's their culture.  People want to live under certain conditions, the problem becomes when only one group gets its way and imposes its way on others - this is playing out quite visibly in Ukraine and the Middle East.  In America, we are same except we have a system that prohibits, relative to the rest of the world, just one group from getting its way. 

Did Bubba Just Go All Latrell Sprewell?

Did Bill Clinton just go all Latrell Sprewell on us...?
"I gotta pay our bills,"
Lest anyone who was not a NY Knicks fan in the 1990s forget...

Friday, May 01, 2015

Baltimore Crisis: It's the Fault of Lead Paint

This is the dumbest thing you will read all day, maybe all year.  It is not a culture stripped of family structure, marinated in high-risk/self-destructive behavior and short-term gratification, and a political elite maniacally focused on the spoils of power rather than on social well-being...' s lead paint.
The problem is not black culture. It is policy and politics, the very things that bind together the history of Ferguson and Baltimore and, for that matter, the rest of America.

Specifically, the problem rests on the continued profitability of racism. Freddie Gray’s exposure to lead paint as a child, his suspected participation in the drug trade, and the relative confinement of black unrest to black communities during this week’s riot are all features of a city and a country that still segregate people along racial lines, to the financial enrichment of landlords, corner store merchants and other vendors selling second-rate goods.
This might as well be filed under the heading "Higher Education Bubble' as this guy is a college professor. 

Life is too short to fisk the numerous and egregious inanities of this argument, but newsflash for the professor, lead-based house paint was banned in 1978.  Everybody older than say 35 had exposure to lead-based paint (I did) but we all seemed to turn out OK.  It is a virtual certainty that Freddie Gray had minimal exposure to lead paint, and it is a virtual certainty - because the lead paint-cognitive development link is bunk cooked up by the plaintiffs bar - that Freddie Gray wasn't held back in life because of lead paint.  Just because his family was involved in a lawsuit over lead paint, doesn't mean it played any role.  Trial lawyers notoriously recruited poor inner city residents to feed their lead paint lawsuit industry, promising scraps to people like the Gray family so they could bully major corporations into expedient settlements that mostly enriched lawyers.

If the poor black community and their media apologists want to white wash the serious social pathologies of the inner city with conscience-salving distractions like lead paint, expect nothing to change.