All the more Reason

…to speed reform of the way in which our economy produces medical care services and in which we pay for them.

[A] 66-year-old couple retiring this year with average Social Security benefits can expect medical costs to consume 67% of the Social Security they will receive in retirement.

A 55-year-old couple who plan to retire in 10 years can expect to devote about 90% of their lifetime Social Security benefits to healthcare costs.

There’s more:

Social Security benefits typically grow by approximately 2% a year—the overall rate of inflation. But medical costs in general tend to rise by more, 5% to 7% a year[.]

The Democrats’…Budget

The House Democrats are showing their disdain for the American people with this thing (you have to drill to see what they’re burying).

Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D, MD) published the House Democrats’ version of a budget, and it nearly doubles the Federal deficit over the next 10 years and increases the national debt by nearly a third over the same period to $25 trillion dollars. On purpose. Remember this as he gears up for his run for the Senate next year.

There’s More To It

…than this, or so it seems.

A wave of cash is leaving the eurozone, where returns on safe assets are infinitesimal, if they are positive at all, and headed to the US and other refuges such as Denmark and Switzerland.

Europe’s common currency has fallen 22% against the dollar in less than a year, from $1.39 to $1.08. The euro touched a 12-year low of less than $1.05 this month.

Returns on safe assets are infinitesimal in the US, too, with the Fed still actively suppressing interest rates (to the detriment of those Americans dependent on fixed income assets, but that’s another story). Why, then, would money come to the US at the expense of the eurozone—at the expense of the EU?

Central Banks, Interest Rates, and Fear

The Fed is looking to start raising its benchmark interest rates “real soon now.” This is expected to inject fear into investors used for so long to being coddled and protected from uncertainty by an interventionist central bank.

Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF,

warned Tuesday that markets could be heading for a repeat of the 2013 “taper tantrum,” in which stocks fell and interest rates rose around the world as the Fed considered winding down its “quantitative easing” bond-buying program.

She went on:

Of Course He Will

The National Labor Relations Board, the union arm of the Wagner Act, enacted a rule a few weeks ago that allows unions to hold organizing votes in non-union companies before company management has a chance to respond.

The Senate passed a resolution canceling the NLRB’s rule with a party line oriented vote. The House is taking up the bill and is expected to pass it as well, and with a party line oriented vote.

President Barack Obama, who succeeded in packing the NLRB for this sort of purpose, is expected to veto the resolution.

More Competition Stifling

New tax transparency requirements between multinational corporations and European governments may be broadened further this year to encompass public disclosure of the companies’ tax arrangements in Europe.

… The bill, if approved by European governments, would oblige national tax authorities to inform each other and the commission about tax deals they agree with multinational corporations.

… Under the draft bill, which must be approved the 28 European Union governments, the disclosure of so-called tax rulings would happen every three months and would include deals going back 10 years.

A Number of People Predicted This

The first stage of the Seattle-mandated $15/hr minimum wage, to $11/hr, takes effect next month, but already Seattle’s low wage workers are feeling the pain of their pay “raise.”

…the city is experiencing a rising trend in restaurant closures.

The closings have occurred across the city, from Grub in the upscale Queen Anne Hill neighborhood, to Little Uncle in gritty Pioneer Square, to the Boat Street Cafe on Western Avenue near the waterfront.

The shut-downs have idled dozens of low-wage workers, the very people advocates say the wage law is supposed to help. Instead of delivering the promised “living wage” of $15 an hour, economic realities created by the new law have dropped the hourly wage for these workers to zero.

Of Course They Did

Several unions filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the constitutionality of a recent Wisconsin law which bans mandatory union dues as a condition of employment.

Because they claim a higher right to the fruits of a man’s labor—his wages—than the man earning those wages has.

According to The Associated Press the unions are arguing that the law violates their constitutional rights because it requires unions to act on behalf of workers who are no longer required to pay union dues.

Crony Capitalism

Corporate fascism is, at its core, government management of each of the several economic sectors in a nation’s economy—agricultural, manufacturing, technology, communications, transportation, and so on. This management is executed by government through otherwise privately controlled business entities. De facto corporatism also is useful for reducing opposition and rewarding political loyalty.

Crony capitalism, on the other hand, is government influence of individual businesses in a nation’s economy—agribusinesses, automobile companies, alternative energy companies, telecommunications companies, and so on. Crony capitalism also is useful for reducing opposition and rewarding political loyalty.

Typical

In an ambitious first budget plan, Governor Tom Wolf on Tuesday proposed more than $4 billion in higher taxes on income, sales and natural gas drilling to support new spending on schools and to cut property taxes as part of an effort to overhaul the way public education is funded.

Wolf, a Democrat, is also asking the Republican-controlled Legislature to cut corporate taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars, borrow more than $4 billion to refinance pension debt and inject new money into business loans, clean energy subsidies and water and sewer system projects.