James Pethokoukis at AEIdeasdid the visit, and this graph is the highlight of it.
The red dots on the right axis reveal the Obama tale. It’s an especially humorous, if simultaneously mendacious, one, given that in this auspicious quarter we were supposed to be in the same prosperous state with or without Obama’s promised stimulus benefit. The benefit, after all, only was supposed to ameliorate the pain of the last five years.
Instead, those red dots demonstrate, not just the failure of Obama’s stimulus, but the active damage that “stimulus,” in concert with the rest of Obama’s economic and jobs policies, have done and still are doing to our economy.
There have been many iterations of the boom and bust cycles inherent in a free market economy; standing out in national memory are the series of recessions and panics/depressions through the 19th and 20th centuries and the early parts of the current century in the US.
The recent CBO report on the mid- and long-term effect on willingness to be employed of Obamacare hinted at the moral hazard of Obamacare and of welfare, generally [emphasis added].
In 2014, for example, a single person or a family whose income is 150 percent of the FPL [Federal Poverty Level] and is eligible for subsidies will pay 4 percent of their income for a certain “silver” health care plan purchased through an exchange; if their income is 200 percent of the FPL, they will pay 6.3 percent of their income for that plan. An increase in income thus raises the enrollee premium (and reduces the subsidy) both because the percentage-of-income formula applies to a larger dollar amount and because that percentage itself increases. People whose income exceeds 400 percent of the FPL are ineligible for premium subsidies, and for some people those subsidies will drop abruptly to zero when income crosses that threshold.
Insurers are facing pressure from regulators and lawmakers about plans that offer limited choices of doctors and hospitals, a tactic the industry said is vital to keep down coverage prices in the new health law’s marketplaces.
Yeah—Obamacare regulates what coverages must be offered and at what prices (i.e., at no increase in price while adding mandatory coverage for contraceptives, pre-natal care, maternity care, etc. And regardless of whether the man required to buy a health plan needs these things. Or the empty-nesters. Or post-menopausal women. Or…).
Senators Lamar Alexander (R, TN) and Tim Scott (R, SC) are proposing legislation that would address income inequality (while acknowledging that income inequality by itself is not, of necessity, bad) by addressing a critical aspect of opportunity equality (or inequality): education.
While I disagree with the details of the plans, the two Senators most assuredly are on the right track.
Alexander’s proposed bill, the Scholarships for Kids Act, would transfer Federal dollars to States, and each State then would determine how parents could apply the funding. Scott’s proposed bill, the CHOICE Act, would use Federal transfers to States to facilitate each State’s ability to supplement existing scholarship programs for “military families, those with children facing physical challenges, and students in impoverished areas.”
But sufficient for the moment. Recall this in the next Congress, though, and address it more firmly then.
What is this? It’s the food stamp compromise just reached between the Democrat-controlled Senate and the people’s House of Representatives. The compromise keeps food stamp benefits for most Americans while cutting them overall by $800 million per year—a 1% cut.