Another Reason

…not to do business through ObamaMart and to get rid of Obamacare and with it ObamaMart. Even the AP has the tale.

When you apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, dozens of data companies may be able to tell that you are on the site. Some can even glean details such as your age, income, ZIP code, whether you smoke or if you are pregnant.

The data firms have embedded connections on the government site. Ever-evolving technology allows for individual Internet users to be tracked, building profiles that are a vital tool for advertisers.

Repealing Obamacare

Republicans—leadership, rank and file—and Conservatives want to repeal Obamacare, and they’re right to do so. Obamacare has been an unvarnished disaster for our nation.

To this end, Republicans need to pass repeal legislation and put it on President Barack Obama’s desk, where he surely will veto it. That veto will work to Republicans’ benefit as it helps shape the 2016 elections, but things must not stop there.

The leadership also is playing small ball, working a piecemeal approach. This includes

  • a bill that would define a full-time worker under the health law as working 40 hours per week

Carbon Footprint

[I]n 2011, the University of Technology Sydney made a significant breakthrough by synthesizing something called graphene paper (GP), an ultra thin layer of graphite that has five to six times lower density than steel, but is two times harder with 10 times the tensile strength and 13 times higher bending rigidity.

GP also works well in lithium-ion batteries and even better in lithium-sulfur batteries. The latter kind has far greater storage capacity and is a whole lot cheaper; GP solves the sulfur degradation problem.

There’s a lot more at the link.

Colleges, Again

Frank Mussano and Robert Iosue opened their op-ed in The Wall Street Journal with this claim:

College tuition rates are ridiculously out of hand.

They’re right, too. College costs, and not just their tuition costs, are way out of whack with the value received. One evidence of that (eliding interest costs) is the extreme difficulty too many college graduates have paying back their student loans out the salaries their degrees get them.

They continued:

[T]uition has surged more than 1,000%, while the consumer-price index has risen only 240%. The percentage of annual household income required to pay the average private four-year tuition reached 36% in 2010, up from 16% in 1970.

Government Intrusion

…into citizens’ lives, and one State government’s response.

Virginians who try to sell homemade food from their kitchens are feeling the heat from state and local inspectors.

“I have to turn down my neighbors when they ask if they can buy pesto I make from my own basil plants,” says Bernadette Barber, a farmer in Lancaster, VA.

And

In Arlington, government inspectors shut down a home-based soup maker, even though no customer complaints had been registered. Others have encountered similar fates, stripping them of needed income.

Because Government Knows Better. And there might be a problem.

How’s Obamacare Working Out?

How’s Obamacare Working Out?

President Barack Obama offered this justification for the structure of his Obamacare:

My guiding principle is, and always has been, that consumers do better when there is choice and competition. That’s how the market works. Unfortunately, in 34 states, 75% of the insurance market is controlled by five or fewer companies. In Alabama, almost 90% is controlled by just one company. And without competition, the price of insurance goes up and quality goes down.

How’s he doing by his own standard?

Good Medicine for Bad Bankers

That’s the title of an Alan Blinder op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. It’s subtitled One way to keep bankers from behaving badly is to hit them in their pocketbooks with penalties that affect bonuses.

Blinder cited remarks by New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley:

Mr Dudley highlighted the “ongoing occurrences of serious professional misbehavior, ethical lapses and compliance failures” at giant financial institutions. And he warned the audience, which included a number of the world’s leading bankers, that unless the epidemic of bad behavior stops, “the inevitable conclusion will be reached that your firms are too big and complex to manage,” in which case “your firms need to be dramatically downsized and simplified.”

A Misunderstanding of Economics and Human Nature

Plainly, too many have never read Adam Smith, whose Wealth of Nations showed that allowing individual self interest—personal greed—to operate in unfettered in a free market was the fastest, most efficient way to broad prosperity for the entire population of economic actors. Apparently we don’t teach basic economics in school, anymore.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed about the failure of Vermont’s overt move toward a single-payer health system, the paper noted that Harvard’s William Hsiao and MIT’s Jonathan Gruber, architects of that state’s plan, had assured all concerned of the following:

Crony Capitalism

Montreal-based CGI Group Inc, the company that received a $74 million contract to develop and maintain the Hawaii Health Connector web portal, will be awarded another year-long state maintenance contract despite the ongoing problems with the site.

The money comes from a $204 million federal contract the state received in 2012 to set up the Obamacare network in the islands.

This is the same crowd that had so much fun with the ObamaMart failure in 2013.

Hmm….

On Trade with Cuba

Doug Erwin, an Economics Professor at Dartmouth, writing in The Wall Street Journal, had a thought.

Restoring trade ties and expanding commerce would revolutionize the Cuban economy and transform Cuban society. It would spur the growth of a business class, creating competing pockets of power and new, wealthy groups that would challenge the ruling Communist Party. It would give Cuban citizens access to more information, and information about the outside world destabilizes any repressive regime. What would happen if every Cuban citizen had access to a smartphone, could organize protests via Twitter, and spread the word about government outrages?