Posts Tagged ‘w’

Captain Rick: California has published prices for its ‘Silver Plan’ for ‘Obamacare’ in compliance with the Affordable Care Act. Some potential participants may be surprised at the figures: $2,000 deductibles, $45 primary care visit co-pays, and $250 emergency room tabs.

Those are just some of the charges enrollees will incur in a silver-level plan in California, which recently unveiled an overview of the benefits and charges associated with its exchange.
That’s on top of the $321 average monthly premium.

For some, this will be great news since it will allow them to see the doctor without breaking the bank. But others may not want to shell out a few thousand bucks in addition to a monthly premium.

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Obamacare Refresher

People who don’t have ‘affordable health insurance’ through their employers will be able to sign up for coverage through state-based exchanges.
Enrollment is set to begin in October, with coverage taking effect in January.
You must have some form of coverage next year, or you will face annual penalties of $95 or 1% of family income (whichever is greater) initially and more in subsequent years.

Each state will offer four levels of coverage: platinum, gold, silver and bronze. Platinum plans come with the highest premiums, but lowest out-of-pocket expenses, while bronze plans carry lower monthly charges but require more cost-sharing. Gold and silver fall in the middle.

The federal government will offer premium subsidies to those with incomes of up to four times the federal poverty level. This year, that’s $45,960 for an individual or $94,200 for a family of four.
There will be additional help to cover out-of-pocket expenses for those earning less than 250% of the poverty line: $28,725 for a single person and $58,875 for a family of four. The subsidies are tied to the cost of the state’s silver level plans.

A 40-year-old enrolling in the Bronze Plan, the least expensive, could pay as little as $219 a month. But, if he did get sick, he’d get socked with a $5,000 deductible, $60 co-pays for primary care visits and a $300 emergency room charge.

Obamacare provides protection for those who need a lot of care by placing a cap on out-of-pocket expenses.
The maximum a person in an individual platinum plan will spend a year is $4,000, while those in the other tiers will shell out no more than $6,400.

Whether potential enrollees find these plans affordable will depend on how healthy they are and whether they are currently insured. Those currently insured will experience significant increases in their contribution levels to their healthcare costs in the future as their employers look to offset their added costs. 

Obamacare is on a course to destroy America 

Obamacare is a program that is being financed by debt dollars. Its costs are adding to the U.S. National Debt which now stands a staggering $17 trillion.
Obamacare is a program that will soon explode and help push America over the real ‘Fiscal Cliff’…on a journey to become a third world country. 

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Associated ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

Obamacare: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/obamacare/

U.S. Debt Crisis: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/u-s-debt-crisis/

Captain Rick’s Fiscal Cliff Course 101: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/

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Captain Rick: Center-left Prime Minister Enrico Letta was sworn in Sunday to head a broad coalition of ministers from his own party and members of Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right party. The big question is … can he correct Italy’s current course of economic destruction?

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In a speech to parliament Monday, Letta stressed the need to stimulate growth and create jobs, but said Italy couldn’t borrow its way out of trouble. “After more than a decade without growth, we can’t wait any longer for a policy of recovery,” he said. “Without growth and without cohesion, Italy is lost.”

Letta’s appointment ends two months of political stalemate with hope of economic stability, but many doubts remain about the coalition’s durability and uncertainty over how it will achieve its economic goals.

The priorities for Letta’s government mirror those of 87-year old Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, who was persuaded to accept a second term after parliament failed to agree on an alternative. Napolitano established two expert committees to work on overhauling Italy’s convoluted electoral system and political institutions, and making structural reforms to restore competitiveness, boost growth and make a dent in the debt mountain.

Debt Crisis in Italy is severe

Government borrowing totals about two trillion euros, equal to around 127% of gross domestic product, a ratio surpassed in the eurozone only by Greece. The economy hasn’t grown for years, unemployment is near 12% and rising, and living standards for many are tumbling.

The eurozone’s third-biggest economy was brought to the brink of collapse in late 2011 when yields on its huge debt pile climbed to unsustainable levels around 7%. Tax increases and spending cuts by a technocrat government led by Mario Monti reassured investors. But they led to a backlash against austerity in February’s elections, boosting support for comedian Beppe Grillo’s protest movement and leaving no party able to form a government on its own.
Letta wants to adjust Italy’s unpopular austerity drive, and Berlusconi has campaigned for a tax on property to be reversed, but it is unclear how the new government would make up for the revenue shortfall as the economic situation continues to deteriorate.

Captain Rick wishes ‘Best of Luck’ to Enrico Letta, new Prime Minister of Italy

Enrico, I wish you luck in turning around the massive debt problem in Italy. Social greed for welfare is a sure invitation for economic destruction. Italy is one of the largest consumers of welfare spending in Europe. The party you represent loves welfare. I equate it to the Democratic Party in the U.S.

The U.S. debt has not yet reached the percentage of GDP as in Italy, but I see it as just a matter of time before it does. Americans will be watching what happens in Italy … perhaps as a ‘crystal ball’ vision of what awaits America.

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Info from previous reports:

European Debt Crisis: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/european-debt-crisis/

U.S. Debt Crisis: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/u-s-debt-crisis/

Fiscal Cliff 101: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/

Italy: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/italy/

Captain Rick: The U.S. Legislature has failed to balance America’s budget almost forever. If it compromised by using the economic common sense rule of 20% of GDP for both revenue and spending, its budget crisis would end and a much brighter future would await the children of our world.

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Record Tax Revenue: I am glad to see we have hit a new record of $2.7T in revenues, just a tick above the previous record of $2.6T in 2007. As population grows, we better hope our tax revenue keeps going up every year. Things went far astray during the ‘Bush War and Tax Cut’ era, the Great Recession that followed and ‘Obamas Record Spending Spree’ to try to fix it, including a reckless 2 point payroll tax cut. Thankfully, it and some other irresponsible tax cuts vanished on Jan 1 as a result of the Fiscal Cliff and helped bring us closer to sanity. Unfortunately this new revenue record leaves America with a very anemic tax revenue of only 16.9% of GDP. The 40 year average is 18%. A healthy economy achieves revenue equal to 20% of GDP…so America is still far short of needed revenue…and part of the reason why America’s finances are in such terrible shape.

Record Spending: The other part of the reason America’s finances are in such terrible shape is because America’s spending is too high. America is currently spending $3.55T or 22.2% of GDP. That percentage is higher than almost every year since 1986. A healthy economy limits  spending equal to 20% of GDP…so America is still far over the limit for spending…the other part of the reason why America’s finances are in such terrible shape.

Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals debate: Republicans and conservatives argue that taxes are too high and do not agree to any further increases. They say the entire answer lies in cutting spending. Democrats and liberals argue that spending levels should be held. They say the entire answer lies in tax increases. Its easy for me to see why our legislature is in gridlock. Both sides are stubborn and illogical. Neither side possesses the the solution. The solution resides in compromise. 

Captain Rick’s proposal of compromise: I propose that the U.S. Legislature uses the economical common sense guideline of 20% of GDP as a target for revenue and spending to achieve a balanced budget. 20% has proven to be workable figure for successful governments in the past. The figure can be argued…19 v 21…but 20% is a good starting point. Diminishing America’s national debt is a story for another day. It would require the balance to shift to more revenue and less spending…perhaps 21% of GDP revenue and 19% of GDP spending. Real compromise needs to begin soon … in order to protect the future of our children.  

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Info from previous reports:

Fiscal Cliff: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/

U.S. Debt Crisis: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/u-s-debt-crisis/

GDP: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/gdp/

Captain Rick: The March 27 deadline for the U.S. government shutdown has been averted by yet another stunt by U.S. lawmakers to kick the U.S ‘debt can’ down the road AGAIN until the end of the fiscal year in September … when it will all come back to haunt us AGAIN.

U.S lawmakers finally brought the 2013 budget fight to an end on March 21 by approving a bill that ended the threat of a U.S. government shutdown on March 27. It funds the government through the end of the current fiscal year in September. The measure now set to become law reduces the impact of the $85 billion in forced cuts — called sequestration — to only $59 billion.

It establishes stop-gap budgets for targeted departments and programs. It resets priorities and helps better manage the draconian formula as set forth by the sequestration spending cuts. Overall, the legislation locks in $984 billion in non-entitlement program spending — a tiny drop from the $1.043 trillion initially approved before the forced sequestration cuts took effect.

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I believe I speak for most Americans and many people around the world when I say … we have had enough of the “U.S. Capital Circus”. Its time for America’s president and lawmakers to unite and figure out a real solution to get America off of the deficit spending binge and balance the budget, followed by a way to pay back America’s monumental national debt of $1.7 trillion, which now exceeds America’s GDP. This is an extremely serious world economic issue … the world’s largest! Nothing else comes close in magnitude. Time is running short. Without real, credible action soon, America will fall over the real ‘Fiscal Cliff’ … a point of ‘no return’. It will take much of the world along for the fall.

I welcome your comments, likes and shares!

Info from previous reports:

Fiscal Cliff: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/

U.S. Debt Crisis: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/u-s-debt-crisis/

Captain Rick: Many economists were shocked by the magnitude of this drop in economic growth. I was surprised, but not shocked. Those following my reports know I have been forecasting a coming recession for some time. I caution that this is only the first of three GDP reports for the 4th quarter of 2012.  It won’t be until the end of March until the third and final GDP figure for the fourth quarter of 2012 is released. The final figure could be slightly higher or lower. Regardless of the final figure, the economic trend is not favorable. How Congress handles the very serious looming U.S. debt crisis, especially the portion of the Fiscal Cliff that was ‘kicked like a can down the road’ will play a roll in future economic growth. If Congress gets tough and addresses the debt crisis head on, I suspect it will present a deeper, temporary plunge into negative growth territory. If Congress continues to ‘kick the can down the road’, I suspect we will see less of a dive in GDP early on…but will set the stage for a much deeper dive in a year or two…possibly as deep or deeper than the ‘Great Recession’ of 2008-2009.

I see several troubling economic factors that parallel the times leading up to the ‘Great Recession’. The world stock markets are within 2% of the all time highs reached just prior to the stock market crash of 2008. Like then, I see no justifiable reason for the recent market rise. It looks to me like a bunch of gamblers in Vegas betting it all. The market is again inflating into a balloon ripe for explosion. Real estate prices have been climbing at a fast pace, as is real estate speculation…similar to that witnessed prior to the bursting of the real estate bubble, prior to the Great Recession. I can not predict how much farther things can go before a repeat of 2008 occurs…but I feel that a down slide is coming at some point soon. Much will have to do with congress’s handling of the debt crisis. The best thing they can do is ‘bite the bullet’ and suffer the consequences of balancing the budget early on. While that will most likely allow our GDP figures to become even worse than they are now, action soon might stave off an economic catastrophe a few years from now. I wish I could offer a more wholesome outlook for the American economy, but the fact remains…America is facing the most serious financial crisis in its history, one which has the potential to reduce America to a third world nation if not handled properly and soon.

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Captain Rick: The December Jobs Report marked the tenth month in a row of lackluster job creation. Only 155,000 jobs added, just above the red break-even line of enough jobs to keep pace with population growth. That leaves 4.8 million discouraged workers … hopelessly unemployed.

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1.84 million jobs were created during 2012. That sounds huge, but it only broke even with the 1.8 million needed to keep pace with population growth.

U.S. Unemployment rate is inept and meaningless … the real unemployment rate is about 15%

I no longer report on the U.S. Labor Department unemployment percentage, which basically counts only those who are registered and receiving unemployment compensation. It does not include the other half of the workers that dropped off of the government’s ‘radar screen’ … the 4.8 million who have exhausted their unemployment compensation and remain discouraged and hopelessly unemployed. The Labor Department should abandon the ‘unemployment rate’ and replace it with a figure that is closer to reality. The actual unemployment rate, sometimes called the ‘underemployment rate’, stands at about 15%, among the highest since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The growing number of hopelessly unemployed is worrisome

Studies widely show the longer a person is unemployed, the weaker his or her chances are of getting a job. At some point, long-term unemployment can lead workers to become permanently detached from the labor force. That’s not good for the economy.

How long will it take to reduce unemployment to pre recession levels?

The Hamilton Project, an economic research arm of the Brookings Institution, publishes a “jobs gap” calculator that estimates just how long it will take to get back to pre recession levels, assuming the only major job market dropouts are Baby Boomers who are retiring. At the current rate of hiring, the Hamilton Project estimates it would take until 2025 to get back to a pre-recession job market. I must caution … that report does not consider the monumental fiscal challenge America faces with the upcoming Fiscal Cliff Sequester and Debt Ceiling issue. If President Obama and the U.S. Legislature continue to ‘kick the fiscal can down the road’, it could be far beyond 2025 before America recovers to pre recession unemployment levels, possibly never.

Caution for U.S. State Governors and City Managers

If you think America is on the road to recovery … THINK AGAIN !!! America is on a very serious fiscal downhill slide …headed for the ultimate ‘Fiscal Cliff’. Continue to spend money like there is ‘no tomorrow’ or prepare for coming reality by shoring up fiscal defenses.

Get Educated about the serious fiscal problems facing America … and the world

A great source: Captain Rick’s Fiscal Cliff Course 101 … The course starts at the very bottom.