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Medicare Actuary Throws Cold Water on ACA Cheerleaders

Health care wonks are very excited this week that Medicare is now expected to go bankrupt four years later than previously predicted. To the rest of us, a slightly later bankruptcy may not seem too encouraging, but those on the left have been quick to attribute Medicare’s somewhat-extended lease on life to structural reforms put in place by the ACA. There’s no consensus among the experts about what the main cause of this shift is. But even if you think it’s the ACA, there’s now a further problem complicating ACA cheerleading. Paul Spitalnic, the chief actuary for the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, has come out claiming that the ACA’s Medicare changes aren’t sustainable.

He’s particularly critical of the cuts in Medicare reimbursement rates built into Obamacare. Providers simply won’t be able to afford those cuts as long as it remains as labor intensive to deliver care as it currently is. More, via the Washington Times:

Absent an unprecedented change in health care delivery systems and payment mechanisms, the prices paid by Medicare for health services will fall increasingly short of the costs of providing these services. By the end of the long-range projection period, Medicare prices for many services would be less than half of their level without consideration of the productivity price reductions. Before such an outcome would occur, lawmakers would likely intervene to prevent the withdrawal of providers from the Medicare market and the severe problems with beneficiary access to care that would result. Overriding the productivity adjustments, as lawmakers have done repeatedly in the case of physician payment rates, would lead to substantially higher costs for Medicare in the long range than those projected in this report.

Spitalnic is right to note that policies like tinkering with reimbursement rates won’t solve the health care crisis unless new technologies (like digital consultations) and approaches (like empowering nurse practitionersrevolutionize service delivery. That revolution will help our health care system the most, and policy makers should work to facilitate it.

Article source: http://www.the-american-interest.com/blog/2014/07/29/medicare-actuary-throws-cold-water-on-aca-cheerleaders/

Don't Panic! We Can Expand Social Security and Medicare

Actuarial science is the art of prediction. And speaking of predictions, here’s one that hasn’t been wrong yet: No matter what new data emerges about Social Security and Medicare, the well-funded opponents of those two worthy programs will always insist that we’re on the brink of catastrophe – unless something is done right now to slash their benefits.

Consider the Trustees’ Report for the Social Security trust fund, which was released Monday. The report indicated that Social Security’s retirement program is fully funded for the next 20 years, until 2034, after which it will be able to pay three-quarters of benefits.

Social Security’s disability insurance fund is projected to run out of savings in 2016, but its growth rate is the lowest it’s been in 25 years. The 2016 shortfall is easily fixed with a transfer of money from the retirement fund – a fix that Congress has performed 11 times in the past, but which this Congress has so far refused to do for ideological or political reasons. Even if that transfer were never repaid, the overall fund would still be in the black until 2033.

Social Security experts have known of these reported shortfalls for many years. They’re relatively modest, amounting to 2.88 percent of taxable payroll over the next 75 years, and easily remedied.

The trustees also reported that Medicare’s finances have improved considerably. A few years ago they were predicting that the hospital fund would be depleted in 2017. Just last year they were forecasting that it would run out in 2026. Now they tell us that hospital fund is now fully solvent until 2030.

In other words: There’s no bad news on Social Security, and Medicare’s outlook has improved. So how did the well-funded naysayers react to these positive developments?

“Social Security Trustees Show Program Headed Toward Insolvency,” shrieked the all-caps header from the anti-government Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “Trustees’ Reports Underscore Need For Prompt Reforms to Make Medicare, Social Security Programs Sustainable,” insisted the right-wing Concord Coalition.

Billionaire hedge funder and former Nixon cabinet officer Peter G. Peterson funds both organizations, along with Fix the Debt and other groups that echo Peterson’s conservative anti-government agenda. It should be no surprise, therefore, that they’ve chosen fear over facts once again.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, for example, plays up a slight shift in Social Security’s finances while completely ignoring the substantial improvement in Medicare’s. The Concord Coalition falsely states that “Social Security and Medicare will increasingly squeeze other parts of the federal budget.” (Social Security is forbidden by law from drawing funds from “other parts of the federal budget.”)

Neither group notes that Medicare provides health care coverage at lower cost than private insurers, or that Medicare’s rates of cost inflation have historically been well below that of private carriers.

There are several lessons to be learned from this. The first is: Don’t panic! The second is: Check your assumptions. Medicare’s health care expenses rose more slowly than expected because the assumptions behind past predictions were off. Cost increases were slower than expected, partially as the result of the Affordable Care Act and partially due to other factors which are not yet fully understood.

Nor do we have to cross our fingers and hope that the assumptions behind these numbers change. We can change them ourselves, through smart policy choices. For example: If we reduced wealth inequality, which has grown dramatically over the last 20 years, the situation would improve considerably. Despite the talk about “aging populations” – we’ve known about aging Baby Boomers since 1964, after all, and have factored them into past calculations! – unequal wage growth was a major factor leading to the current (and relatively) minor shortfalls, as Monique Morrissey has documented.

Even without addressing wealth inequality, lifting the payroll tax cap would cover much of the shortfall. We could also modestly raise payroll taxes and increase benefits, a move polls show that most Americans would support. We could supplement revenue with other measures, like a financial transactions tax.

But scenarios like wage equity, lifting the cap and a financial transactions tax aren’t attractive to billionaires. That helps explain the existence of well-financed groups which generate fear and push for benefit cuts, while pretending that revenue-raising options simply don’t exist.

We do have real problems, of course. We need to end our dependence on private insurers and rein in for-profit providers in order to get our health costs in line with other developed countries.Wealth inequality and the erosion of employer pensions will lead to a retirement crisis unless we increase our nation’s meager Social Security benefits.

We can certainly meet these challenges. All that’s required is a rational conversation about revenue-generating alternatives. But groups like the Committee and the Concord Coalition exist to foster fear, not wisdom. Here’s another prediction we’re not afraid to make: No matter what next year’s Trustees Report says, they’ll tell us it spells catastrophe.

(Additional data sources for this article include the Social Security Administration and Christian Weller and Rebecca Vallas, Center for American Progress. They are not, however, responsible for our interpretation of the data.)

Article source: http://ourfuture.org/20140729/dont-panic-we-can-expand-social-security-and-medicare

Tea Party And Republican House Want Radical Changes In

Leave it to the Republican Party, and particularly its Tea Party extremists, to propose, as part of the House of Representatives budget proposals, to raise the eligibility age for future retirees for Medicare and Social Security benefits.

Presently, one must be 65 to gain Medicare, and the proposal is to raise it to 67!

Presently, one must be 67 to gain Social Security full benefits for future retirees, and the proposal is to raise it to 70!

This is pure right wing radicalism, by a party which overwhelmingly, in its past, opposed both Medicare in the 1960s and Social Security in the 1930s, when they were first made law!

These two programs are the most popular social programs, brought to America by the Democratic Party under Lyndon B. Johnson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and have had a lot to do with the growth of the middle class and a sense of security for the elderly!

Instead of raising the Medicare tax slightly, and raising the limit on Social Security to at least $250,000 income, instead of $117,000, insuring the viability of these programs long term, instead the GOP wishes to make life harder for those nearing retirement age, forcing many to work longer years full time, rather than having some time to enjoy life and take life easier after decades of toil, many of them often working at low wages, exploited by corporations and employers in general, who have an anti labor attitude!

This is an issue for the midterm elections of 2014 and beyond, that under no circumstances will there be a radical change in Medicare and Social Security allowed, because of the greed, selfishness, and lack of concern for the average American by the elite upper class that votes Republican, and victimizes the rest of the population!

Article source: http://www.theprogressiveprofessor.com/?p=22704

Rim Country Gazette: We can EXPAND Social Security, Medicare

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Article source: http://rimcountrygazette.blogspot.com/2014/07/we-can-expand-social-security-medicare.html

Elizabeth Warren's Eleven Tenets of Moonbattery | Right Wing News

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Written By : Dave Blount
July 21, 2014

At first she was good for a laugh: a clueless limousine leftist who used Affirmative Action to establish herself at Harvard by pretending to be part Indian. Expressing a seemingly deliberate parody of far left ideology mainly in hysterical shrieks, she was more like a comedy act than a legitimate political candidate. But then she was elected Senator.

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That’s okay, we thought. It’s only Taxachusetts, the ultra-liberal wacko-land infamous for electing and repeatedly reelecting profoundly detestable characters like Gerry Studds, Barney Frank, Ted Kennedy, Hanoi John Kerry, et cetera.

But now that she wants to be president, it’s time to stop laughing. Liberals are ready to bail on Shrillary. The Historic First Black President has been an unmitigated disaster, so now they will push the Historic First Female President. If it isn’t going to be Shrillary, it will be Elizabeth Warren.

As Mitt Romney found out the hard way, we have reached the point in the Democrat Death Spiral where it doesn’t matter how unqualified or even demonstrably incompetent a candidate Democrats run. Anyone capable of reading the following off a Teleprompter is likely to win:

“I will confiscate the wealth other people create and give some of it to you.”

But Elizabeth Warren brings even more to the table. Evidently inspired by the 25 Points of the Nazi Party, her Eleven Tenets of Progressivism will terrify anyone who cherishes the hope that America might recover from Obamunism.

The complete list, with annotation:

1. “We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it.”

Warren regards herself as the Mother of Occupy Wall Street. Yet she backs a corporate welfare bank. Basically “stronger rules and tougher enforcement” means doubling down on the crony capitalism that has characterized the Obama regime. Investors will not be able to twitch a finger without federal permission. On the upside, they won’t be able to lose money, because they will be subsidized to the hilt and bailed out if anything goes wrong. Investments will be made on a political basis. Winners and losers will be chosen by Elizabeth Warren. The long-term consequences of replacing a free market economy with a command and control centralized economy are obvious to any student of Soviet history.

2. “We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth.”

By science, she means Lysenkoism (i.e., lunacy imposed as science for political reasons), as the second clause makes obvious. The tyrannical EPA will continue to run amok under Warren, destroying whole industries for ideological reasons and throwing people off their own property on a whim.

3. “We believe that the Internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality.”

That means the federal government running the Internet. Do you like PBS? Would you like to see it on every channel? Fine, then you won’t mind an Internet run by people like Warren.

4. “We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage.”

Raising the minimum wage not only correspondingly raises unemployment by lifting the cost of labor above the market price, but increases long-term government dependency by making it impossible to reach the first rung on the ladder to economic success. Raising the minimum wage is an act of economic malice intended to force more people onto welfare.

5. “We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them.”

Hamburgers will be sold by vending machines under President Warren; otherwise it will not be economically feasible to sell them at all.

6. “We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt.”

The extravagantly expensive farce higher education has already degenerated into will only get worse. Not ready for the real world? No worries. Just spend 20 years working on your PhD in Queer Studies and stick taxpayers with the tab.

7. “We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions.”

To ensure that everyone gets a pension, the federal government will confiscate your 401K.

8. “We believe—I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014—we believe in equal pay for equal work.”

Enforcing “equal pay for equal work” will entail all wages being dictated by Washington, on the basis not of merit but of political correctness.

9. “We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America.”

To ensure that perverted sexual liaisons are regarded as “equal” to holy matrimony, homosexuals will be granted ever more protections and privileges, so that hiring them will be mandatory and firing them forbidden.

10. “We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform.”

What “reform” means coming from Warren is amnesty. Combined with extravagantly lavish welfare benefits and a wide open board, it means the total eradication of the American people, who will be washed away by a tsunami of Third World parasites. This process is already underway under Obama.

11. “And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies. We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it. We will fight for it!”

It is not enough that companies are compelled to provide birth control. They must be compelled to provide abortion, even if it is a profound violation of their religious beliefs. The objective is to eradicate morality in general and Christianity in particular.

Nothing could be more disgusting than to be ruled by the likes of Elizabeth Warren. But at this point it is impossible to deny that nearly all Democrats would vote for her against any Republican — and more Democrats are pouring over the open border by the millions.

Elizabeth-Warren-tyrade

On tips from TED, Bodhisattva, ., Stormfax, R F, |, and Jester. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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Article source: http://www.rightwingnews.com/democrats/elizabeth-warrens-eleven-tenets-of-moonbattery/

Article source: http://medicareinsider.com/2014/07/21/elizabeth-warrens-eleven-tenets-of-moonbattery-right-wing-news/

Has Citizenship Jumped The Shark? | Right Wing News | Medicare

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Written By : Derek Hunter
July 21, 2014

Growing up, I was – as I assume you were – inundated with lists of “the benefits of citizenship.” The list was long and capped, naturally, by the fact the United States was the best, strongest, freest nation on the planet.

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Being an American was a source of pride. But is it still? Do the benefits of citizenship still outweigh the alternative?

Derek Hunter

As progressives cheer the dissolution of our southern border and, by extension, our sovereignty, it’s worth looking at the benefits of non-citizenship illegal aliens now enjoy and comparing them to the responsibilities of citizenship.

Most people don’t like paying taxes. But it’s the price of citizenship, and if we don’t we face losing our property and jail time. We also do it because the government has legitimate functions that only it can do and that need to be paid for. It also does way more than it needs to or should, but that’s an argument for another time.

But the people flooding our border haven’t paid taxes and, to be honest, have no real prospects for paying taxes in the future, if they stay.

Most do not speak English, have no education and no real skills to contribute to the economy. No doubt some have potential in the future. But we don’t live in the future, and the total number who will fulfill that potential are almost as rare as unicorns.

Until those unicorns can draft a business plan, they all will be a drain on the economy, an economy that even after five “Recovery Summers” can’t employ enough Americans in full-time positions to return us to where we were before the last recession.

The jobs they take while they await their immigration hearings – and they will take jobs even though they aren’t legally allowed to – will be under-the-table jobs. No taxes will be paid. More importantly, those jobs won’t go to Americans who would have paid taxes on their wages. Medicare taxes will not be paid. Social Security taxes will not be paid. And the employers who hire them, illegally, for cash will save money too, not having to pay their share of taxes or for benefits.

In addition to the jobs they will fill, they will get sick. Everyone, citizen or not, can show up at an emergency room and get health care. The difference is a citizen will get a bill, but an illegal alien will not. A citizen is required to buy insurance; an illegal alien is not. A citizen who doesn’t buy insurance eventually will be forced to pay a fine for not following the law and may have to declare bankruptcy to pay for services received. Illegal aliens can…well, you get the idea.

Citizens who fall on hard times, such as the Obama economy, can avail themselves of the social safety net until they get back on their feet. But illegals can too. Sure, it’s against the law for illegal aliens to receive welfare, but the few documents that are required can be purchased easily on the black market. Identity theft is rampant in the illegal alien community, as it were.

Moreover, many states offer driver’s licenses and in-state tuition to illegals. You, as a citizen, can’t attend a college in another state without paying full-freight, but someone in the country illegally can. Illegal aliens are even boarding domestic flights without photo IDs, but you can’t. Advantage illegals.

As an American citizen you can be arrested for allowing your children to play in front of your house, as happened in 2012, or for allowing them to play in a park without you hovering over them, as happened this month. As an illegal alien, you can pay a human trafficker up to $10,000 to smuggle your child thousands of miles through several countries, have them enter the country illegally, and they’ll get free health care, food, housing and a plane ticket to be reunited with you.

Imagine placing an ad on Craig’s List seeking a stranger to drive your minor child from Los Angeles to St. Louis for cash. Forget not having anyone in St. Louis waiting for them; you’re just sending them to the city. How long do you suspect it would be before a SWAT team and child protective services kicked in your door? A half-hour at most?

That’s what these illegal aliens who’ve sent for their kids to join them here – and many, if not most, of the unaccompanied minors are sent for by their parents, not sent by them – are doing. Their children aren’t being taking into protective custody by social services, the parents aren’t being arrested or even investigated; they’re being reunited with their illegal alien children. And it’s all being done on our dime.

We aren’t there yet, but we’re fast approaching a time when it’s more advantageous to be in the United States illegally than it is to be a law-abiding citizen. If we don’t gain control of our borders and reclaim our sovereignty, we will jump that shark in the next 10 years. The president’s much ballyhooed “comprehensive immigration reform” won’t make a dent in the real problem of punishing citizens but will incentivize law breaking.

We are no longer talking about a situation that can be assuaged by a “Little Dutch Boy” approach. The dike has collapsed, and we’re all wet.

Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist. You can also stalk his thoughts 140 characters at a time on Twitter.

Also see,

Killing Joy

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Article source: http://www.rightwingnews.com/column-2/has-citizenship-jumped-the-shark/

Article source: http://medicareinsider.com/2014/07/22/has-citizenship-jumped-the-shark-right-wing-news/

5 More Monthly Dividend Stocks | Seeking Alpha | Medicare Insider

In December I compiled a list of Monthly Dividend Stocks to Snag in 2014, which has proven to be one of my most popular articles of the past year. It’s not hard to see the appeal of a monthly dividend, particularly if you are retired and living off your investments. Your expenses—including everything from house and car payments to your utilities and mobile phone bill—are almost always on a monthly cycle, whereas most income-producing investments pay quarterly or semiannually. A monthly dividend makes basic budgeting and planning a whole lot easier.

But let’s say that you’re still years from retirement. A monthly dividend is still preferable because, if you reinvest your dividends in new shares, your share count will grow faster, speeding up the process of compounding. This matters very little over the course of a single month. But over an investing lifetime, it can have an outsized effect on your returns.

Today, I’m going to give you five new monthly dividend stocks. But first, let’s quickly review my list from December. In the last article, I recommended monthly payers Realty Income (O), American Realty Capital Properties (ARCP), Banco Bradesco (BBD), Banco Itaú (ITUB), Whitestone REIT (WSR), and Student Transportation Inc. (STB).

With the single exception of ARCP, which has been in the doghouse with investors due to some questionable acquisitions of late, all of these monthly dividend stocks are positive for the year and beating the total return of the SP 500. I continue to recommend all six of these original picks as part of a diversified dividend portfolio.

Now, with no more ado, let’s add some new names to the list.

I’ll start with LTC Properties, Inc. (LTC), a real estate investment trust that invests primarily in the long-term care sector of the health care industry, including long-term care provider properties, skilled nursing properties, assisted living properties, independent living properties and memory care properties. LTC also invests in first-lien mortgages secured by long-term care properties.

A little over 80% of LTC’s portfolio is invested in properties, with the remainder in mortgages. And among properties, skilled nursing is the biggest single segment, at 55%. Assisted living comes in second at 37%.

LTC is backed by absolutely fantastic macro trends. As the Baby Boomers age, there will be unprecedented demand for long-term services—and thus unprecedented demand for long-term care facilities.

The elephant in the room when discussing long-term care is, of course, Medicare. It’s no secret that the U.S. government is short of funds these days, and Medicare cutbacks have been an unfortunate outcome. But that is what makes LTC such an attractive way to play the trend of Boomer aging. LTC is a landlord, not a care provider, so Medicare cutbacks will have little impact on revenues. And even better, as with Realty Income and American Capital Realty Properties, most of LTC’s properties are leased under triple-net leases, meaning the tenant covers taxes, insurance and maintenance.

LTC’s monthly dividend works out to a current yield of 5.2%.

Next on the list is Canadian entertainment and media company Corus Entertainment (OTCPK:CJREF). Corus has an extensive presence in both TV and radio. Corus’ television operations include the children’s brands YTV, Treehouse, Nickelodeon (Canada), TELETOON, Cartoon Network (Canada). They also include networks geared towards women, including W Network, Cosmopolitan TV, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network (Canada) and W Movies. Additional assets include Quebec’s French-language channels Historia and Séries+, HBO Canada, and three local over-the-air television stations. Corus also owns 39 radio stations that are among the most popular in Canada.

Corus recently reported earnings that were a little less than the Street expected, sending the shares down sharply. But revenues were up a not-too-shabby 14% for the quarter, and earnings per share were up 20% in the quarter.

If you buy Corus’ U.S.-traded ADR, be careful. While Corus has a $2 billion market cap, the ADR is traded over the counter and has low trading volume. Be sure to use a limit order to avoid moving the market.

Corus’ monthly dividend works out to a current yield of 4.5%.

Next on the list is another Canadian stock, Shaw Communications (SJR). Shaw can be thought of as Canada’s Comcast (CMCSA). It’s one of Canada’s largest cable companies and is particularly dominant in Western Canada. Shaw provides internet service, cable TV and home phone service to more than 3 million Canadian households.

Paid TV is no longer a growth business, of course. Cord cutting is a long-term problem that won’t be going away anytime soon. But a home internet connection is more important than ever in the age of streaming media, and Shaw’s overall business looks to remain stable for the foreseeable future.

Unlike Corus, Shaw’s ADR trades on the NYSE and is far more liquid, with average volume of over 200,000 shares per day.

Shaw’s monthly dividend currently yields 4.1%.

Investor who have grown to love MLPs over the years should also love this next monthly dividend payer: The Tortoise Power Energy Infrastructure Fund (TPZ). TPZ is a closed-end fund, which means that, unlike ETFs or mutual funds, its share price can vary wildly from the value of its underlying holdings. As of this writing, TPZ traded at a discount to its net asset value of 10%.

TPZ’s portfolio is an interesting mix. It’s currently invested about 50% in stocks and 68% in bonds. And yes, I realize that this adds up to well over 100%. TPZ, like many closed-end funds, can use leverage to juice returns.

TPZ’s biggest holdings include some of the most familiar names in the MLP space, including Kinder Morgan Management (KMR), Enbridge Energy Management (EEQ) and Enterprise Products Partners (EPD).

At current prices, TPZ’s monthly dividend works out to a yield of 5.3%.

Most of my recommendations in this article and in the previous article on monthly dividends have been pretty conservative. If you want to add something with a little sizzle to your portfolio, consider the PIMCO Global StockPLUS Income Fund (PGP), managed by Bill Gross protégé Dan Ivascyn.

Like TPZ, this PIMCO fund is a closed-end fund, meaning it can trade for above or below its net asset value. PGP currently trades at a massive premium to NAV of about 73%, though this is within normal ranges for this fund. Part of the reason for the inflated premium is Ivascyn’s use of derivatives, but a big factor as well has been the consistently high income that the fund throws off.

At current prices, PGP’s monthly dividend yields 8.5%

If you decide to buy PGP, be prepared for a wild ride. Its share price is known to fluctuate wildly. But investors have been more than compensated for the volatility by the fund’s returns of recent years. PGP has enjoyed annualized returns of 29.5% over the past five years.

This article first appeared on InvestorPlace and on Sizemore Insights as Five MORE Monthly Dividend Stocks.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered specific investment advice or as a solicitation to buy or sell any securities. Sizemore Capital personnel and clients will often have an interest in the securities mentioned. There is risk in any investment in traded securities, and all Sizemore Capital investment strategies have the possibility of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Article source: http://seekingalpha.com/article/2311185-5-more-monthly-dividend-stocks

Article source: http://medicareinsider.com/2014/07/12/5-more-monthly-dividend-stocks-seeking-alpha/

Article source: http://medicareinsider.com/2014/07/20/5-more-monthly-dividend-stocks-seeking-alpha-medicare-insider/

Developers are Crabgrass: McFadden, Mills, and that Fleet Farm

image credit
image credit – 2008 – interesting commentary 
Start with the logo. And the card. A fine eye is not needed to see, yes, a difference in the shade of orange. Oh, if it were only that … But it’s not.

MinnPost online today, headline:Mills taps Scott Walker’s former campaign chief to help with race against Nolan

Go green on that one, yes?

That is about all that’s needed to cover Mills III and his sorry privileged ego trip.

Moving to The McFadden -

MinnPost online today, another headline:Mike McFadden open to raising the age for Medicare benefits

Yes: Eric Black on pinning The McFadden down on an issue being as hard as pulling hen’s teeth:

In order to head off the projected insolvency of the Medicare Trust Fund, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden would favor raising the age of eligibility for Medicare benefits.

McFadden is open to other fixes for the analogous problem with Social Security, but wasn’t willing — despite being pressed on it several times in a recent interview — to indicate any measures he would endorse to extend the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund.

McFadden took several other policy positions in an interview last week, which I will write about soon. But this piece will focus on a long, somewhat strange exchange over the big senior entitlement programs.

As regular Black Ink readers know, I’ve been pursuing McFadden for policy specifics. To his credit, he has granted me several interviews recently to pursue those positions. Last Friday, we went over a specific set of issues on which, to my knowledge, he had not yet taken a coherent position.

One of them was the projected insolvency of Social Security and Medicare. “Insolvency,” by the way, doesn’t mean going broke, as it is too often termed. It means that official and reasonable projections for both Social Security and Medicare indicate that they will in the foreseeable future not be able to pay all promised and projected benefits from the dedicated income streams (mostly FICA payroll taxes) that have supported the programs for decades.

In the issues section of his campaign website, where many of his position statements raise far more questions than they answer, McFadden says:

Save Medicare Social Security From Going Bankrupt. We can keep our promises while also being realistic about the challenges our current program faces. The senior safety net is heading towards bankruptcy because of irresponsible politicians like Al Franken who’ve used scare tactics to win elections. We have to take action to preserve this important program for future generations.

I had been asking what action McFadden proposed [...]

Eric Black: What is your proposal for extending the actuarial life of these programs?

Mike McFadden: We have a problem in this country. We have a problem with our senior entitlements and I believe this is a perfect example of how broken Washington is. We don’t address the issue. Here’s the facts, Eric, and you know them. Right now if you look at Social Security and Medicare, in 1950 there were 16 workers per retiree. Today there are three per retiree. And we’re headed toward two per retiree. The Social Security Administration says that Social Security is insolvent in 19 years, in 2033. Insolvent. That’s from the Social Security Administration. The CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] says Medicare is insolvent six years later, in 2026. [EB: I know, the math on those two dates doesn’t work].

EB: OK, so what’s your proposal?

MM: My proposal is that we address it now, in a bipartisan fashion and that every issue is on the table. Anytime a politician in Washington tries to address long-term entitlements they get demonized. You asked about what scare tactics Al Franken used. In 2008, a Franken ad falsely implied that Norm Coleman would take away survivor benefits, [...]

EB: What is the way that you would favor. I understand that you want to negotiate, but which of the proposals to make this happen would you support at the table?

MM: What I would support at the table is sitting down and looking at, when I say everything is on the table, everything’s on the table. [...]

[...] EB: OK, so you disagree with people who say there’s no problem. You think there is a problem. You want to sit at the table and you want to do something. There’s certain things you don’t want to do. You haven’t mentioned yet anything that you do want to do. To change the program.

MM: So what I want to do, let’s look at Social Security. Social Security you have two issues. You have a demographic issue and you have health-care costs. [At this point, he apparently realized that he was talking about Medicare, not Social Security, so he switched]. So on Medicare you’ve got two issues: you’ve got a demographic issue and a cost issue. And I think we need to look at the retirement age and what age an individual becomes eligible for Social Security, excuse me, for Medicare.

EB: Obviously look at raising it?

MM: Yeah. Absolutely. [...]

[and more of the same -- you get the flavor, but read the original, it's truly a hoot]

[note - italics in original; but bolding added] What a gentleman, he’d postpone his Medicare eligibility, so his class could continue paying minimal taxes. Yes, Medicare, and while on the subject of age-to-qualify, why not Social Security in the same bucket? Goose up the qualifying age. Again, McFadden a self-consistent man who doubtlessly would willingly postpone his qualifying age for receiving Social Security benefits; same altruistic motive being likely too. How do you find a guy like that, Norm? Did you know that in advance, Vin?

HOWEVER, some Commie-Marxist liberal freaks will be whining, they do that, yet one might even yield there, FICA taxing [yes the bolding in the extended quote], give Mike and his upper class golfing partners a break and don’t raise the rate.

Only raise the ceiling.


Table is from the SSA online.

The McFadden, his handlers, his golfing buddies, their entire social class including Vin and Norm, they have the income wherewithal and can pay more. The pain would be their gain. As in meeting a moral imperative. Since it won’t kill them it will make them stronger. Morally. A boost in character in knowing they can do more, for more of us, and will be made to.

We should all help them along towards achieving that epiphanimonious moment of truth and character enhancement, by our reelecting Al. Help Washington to “address the issue” that way. Nineteen years from now, in 2033, you will be glad you did.

____________UPDATE____________
I have had the opportunity to speak face-to-face with Jim Abeler. One thing Jim Abeler is, is unevasive. He gives direct answers to clear and direct questions. Whether or not you like the answer, you can trust it as Abeler’s, not handler-prompted gobbledegook.

Sure. I like Al. In the November election, I vote Al. But wanting the better opponent, in case, that’s not a political fault. It’s plain and simple common sense.

Article source: http://zaetsch.blogspot.com/2014/07/mcfadden-mills-and-that-fleet-farm-logo.html

Mike McFadden open to raising the age for Medicare benefits

This is one in an occasional series of articles about the policy positions of U.S. Senate candidates Mike McFadden and Al Franken.

In order to head off the projected insolvency of the Medicare Trust Fund, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden would favor raising the age of eligibility for Medicare benefits.

McFadden is open to other fixes for the analogous problem with Social Security, but wasn’t willing — despite being pressed on it several times in a recent interview — to indicate any measures he would endorse to extend the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund.

McFadden took several other policy positions in an interview last week, which I will write about soon. But this piece will focus on a long, somewhat strange exchange over the big senior entitlement programs.

As regular Black Ink readers know, I’ve been pursuing McFadden for policy specifics. To his credit, he has granted me several interviews recently to pursue those positions. Last Friday, we went over a specific set of issues on which, to my knowledge, he had not yet taken a coherent position.

One of them was the projected insolvency of Social Security and Medicare. “Insolvency,” by the way, doesn’t mean going broke, as it is too often termed. It means that official and reasonable projections for both Social Security and Medicare indicate that they will in the foreseeable future not be able to pay all promised and projected benefits from the dedicated income streams (mostly FICA payroll taxes) that have supported the programs for decades.

In the issues section of his campaign website, where many of his position statements raise far more questions than they answer, McFadden says:

Save Medicare Social Security From Going Bankrupt. We can keep our promises while also being realistic about the challenges our current program faces. The senior safety net is heading towards bankruptcy because of irresponsible politicians like Al Franken who’ve used scare tactics to win elections. We have to take action to preserve this important program for future generations.

I had been asking what action McFadden proposed to take to save the big senior entitlement programs from bankruptcy. Even though he had the question in advance, and had agreed to the interview, it was surprising how hard McFadden fought to avoid committing himself to anything resembling a change in either program that would extend their projected solvency. On the chance that you might find it interesting or amusing, here’s the full exchange:

Eric Black: What is your proposal for extending the actuarial life of these programs?

Mike McFadden: We have a problem in this country. We have a problem with our senior entitlements and I believe this is a perfect example of how broken Washington is. We don’t address the issue. Here’s the facts, Eric, and you know them. Right now if you look at Social Security and Medicare, in 1950 there were 16 workers per retiree. Today there are three per retiree. And we’re headed toward two per retiree. The Social Security Administration says that Social Security is insolvent in 19 years, in 2033. Insolvent. That’s from the Social Security Administration. The CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] says Medicare is insolvent six years later, in 2026. [EB: I know, the math on those two dates doesn’t work].

EB: OK, so what’s your proposal?

MM: My proposal is that we address it now, in a bipartisan fashion and that every issue is on the table. Anytime a politician in Washington tries to address long-term entitlements they get demonized. You asked about what scare tactics Al Franken used. In 2008, a Franken ad falsely implied that Norm Coleman would take away survivor benefits, and Tom [an aide to McFadden] will send you the back up on that. [EB: I’ll do a short separate on that allegation in the next few days.]

But it’s not just Senator Franken. This is Washington. Anytime they try to fix something … we are on the road to insolvency and [if] we address it today when we have optionality, we can do it in a way where we don’t affect anybody, Eric, that’s near-term retirement. That wouldn’t be fair.

EB: What is the way that you would favor. I understand that you want to negotiate, but which of the proposals to make this happen would you support at the table?

MM: What I would support at the table is sitting down and looking at, when I say everything is on the table, everything’s on the table. What I wouldn’t support is anything that would change the benefits for people that are nearing retirement. And by that I mean 10, 12 years from retirement

EB: I believe that’s almost a universal agreement that people who are at or near retirement have to have their promised benefits guaranteed. I haven’t heard you mention anything that is going to make the situation better as far as heading off that [projected insolvency].

MM: What I have said is I’ll sit at the table and get this fixed. I’ve heard many people say that we don’t have a Social Security or Medicare issue. I think that’s wrong. In fact I think it’s immoral. We are making promises to our kids that we can’t keep.

EB: OK, so you disagree with people who say there’s no problem. You think there is a problem. You want to sit at the table and you want to do something. There’s certain things you don’t want to do. You haven’t mentioned yet anything that you do want to do. To change the program.

MM: So what I want to do, let’s look at Social Security. Social Security you have two issues. You have a demographic issue and you have health-care costs. [At this point, he apparently realized that he was talking about Medicare, not Social Security, so he switched]. So on Medicare you’ve got two issues: you’ve got a demographic issue and a cost issue. And I think we need to look at the retirement age and what age an individual becomes eligible for Social Security, excuse me, for Medicare.

EB: Obviously look at raising it?

MM: Yeah. Absolutely. And you know, Eric, if we were progressive, when this was put into place when the average lifespan was significantly lower than it is today, you’d almost put it in as a formula, take the average lifespan minus some number of years. Because otherwise we’re gonna have to revisit this question.

EB: So one thing is to raise the age for Medicare benefits and maybe put in place a formula that would cause it to continue going up in line with changes in life expectancy?

MM: Yeah, you tie it to life expectancy. Who knows how long our kids will live?

EB: And you are in favor of raising the age it for Social Security as well?

MM: Well, right now they already did, they raised it to 67. I think you know we would need to look, you know they phased that in and they gave people ample amount of time to do that.

EB: That’s still headed for insolvency, so what would you do about it?

MM: We need to put all options on the table.

EB: Tell me about the options that you would put on the table that you would support.

MM: Everything, Eric.

EB: Everything anybody can think of that could be done that would extend the solvency of Social Security, you’d be for?

MM: No, I didn’t say that I would be for; all I would say is that we have to look at all the different options.

EB: Oh, you favor looking at them all?

MM: What I said is that I favor looking at them and coming up with a solution, and one that allows us to save Social Security and Medicare. 

EB: OK, so you’re not at this point prepared to talk about elements of the solution that you would favor, you just think it needs to be solved and all options need to be on the table?

MM: That’s right, all options need to be on the table; we have a problem. Politicians have not addressed it. Any time that people have tried to address it and say that we have a problem, they get accused of not being sensitive to seniors, and I think we have to address it so that we can save these programs.

That’s the end of the exchange on the entitlements, although we talked about several other topics, some of which I will write about soon.

It’s fairly obvious that McFadden didn’t come into the conversation intending to announce a position on changing the age for Medicare benefits. I insisted fairly hard that everything-is-on-the-table was not a position — even though he said himself that anyone who takes such a position risks being “demonized.”

Article source: http://www.minnpost.com/eric-black-ink/2014/07/mike-mcfadden-open-raising-age-medicare-benefits

Has Citizenship Jumped The Shark? | Right Wing News

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Written By : Derek Hunter
July 21, 2014

Growing up, I was – as I assume you were – inundated with lists of “the benefits of citizenship.” The list was long and capped, naturally, by the fact the United States was the best, strongest, freest nation on the planet.

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Being an American was a source of pride. But is it still? Do the benefits of citizenship still outweigh the alternative?

Derek Hunter

As progressives cheer the dissolution of our southern border and, by extension, our sovereignty, it’s worth looking at the benefits of non-citizenship illegal aliens now enjoy and comparing them to the responsibilities of citizenship.

Most people don’t like paying taxes. But it’s the price of citizenship, and if we don’t we face losing our property and jail time. We also do it because the government has legitimate functions that only it can do and that need to be paid for. It also does way more than it needs to or should, but that’s an argument for another time.

But the people flooding our border haven’t paid taxes and, to be honest, have no real prospects for paying taxes in the future, if they stay.

Most do not speak English, have no education and no real skills to contribute to the economy. No doubt some have potential in the future. But we don’t live in the future, and the total number who will fulfill that potential are almost as rare as unicorns.

Until those unicorns can draft a business plan, they all will be a drain on the economy, an economy that even after five “Recovery Summers” can’t employ enough Americans in full-time positions to return us to where we were before the last recession.

The jobs they take while they await their immigration hearings – and they will take jobs even though they aren’t legally allowed to – will be under-the-table jobs. No taxes will be paid. More importantly, those jobs won’t go to Americans who would have paid taxes on their wages. Medicare taxes will not be paid. Social Security taxes will not be paid. And the employers who hire them, illegally, for cash will save money too, not having to pay their share of taxes or for benefits.

In addition to the jobs they will fill, they will get sick. Everyone, citizen or not, can show up at an emergency room and get health care. The difference is a citizen will get a bill, but an illegal alien will not. A citizen is required to buy insurance; an illegal alien is not. A citizen who doesn’t buy insurance eventually will be forced to pay a fine for not following the law and may have to declare bankruptcy to pay for services received. Illegal aliens can…well, you get the idea.

Citizens who fall on hard times, such as the Obama economy, can avail themselves of the social safety net until they get back on their feet. But illegals can too. Sure, it’s against the law for illegal aliens to receive welfare, but the few documents that are required can be purchased easily on the black market. Identity theft is rampant in the illegal alien community, as it were.

Moreover, many states offer driver’s licenses and in-state tuition to illegals. You, as a citizen, can’t attend a college in another state without paying full-freight, but someone in the country illegally can. Illegal aliens are even boarding domestic flights without photo IDs, but you can’t. Advantage illegals.

As an American citizen you can be arrested for allowing your children to play in front of your house, as happened in 2012, or for allowing them to play in a park without you hovering over them, as happened this month. As an illegal alien, you can pay a human trafficker up to $10,000 to smuggle your child thousands of miles through several countries, have them enter the country illegally, and they’ll get free health care, food, housing and a plane ticket to be reunited with you.

Imagine placing an ad on Craig’s List seeking a stranger to drive your minor child from Los Angeles to St. Louis for cash. Forget not having anyone in St. Louis waiting for them; you’re just sending them to the city. How long do you suspect it would be before a SWAT team and child protective services kicked in your door? A half-hour at most?

That’s what these illegal aliens who’ve sent for their kids to join them here – and many, if not most, of the unaccompanied minors are sent for by their parents, not sent by them – are doing. Their children aren’t being taking into protective custody by social services, the parents aren’t being arrested or even investigated; they’re being reunited with their illegal alien children. And it’s all being done on our dime.

We aren’t there yet, but we’re fast approaching a time when it’s more advantageous to be in the United States illegally than it is to be a law-abiding citizen. If we don’t gain control of our borders and reclaim our sovereignty, we will jump that shark in the next 10 years. The president’s much ballyhooed “comprehensive immigration reform” won’t make a dent in the real problem of punishing citizens but will incentivize law breaking.

We are no longer talking about a situation that can be assuaged by a “Little Dutch Boy” approach. The dike has collapsed, and we’re all wet.

Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist. You can also stalk his thoughts 140 characters at a time on Twitter.

Also see,

Killing Joy

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Article source: http://www.rightwingnews.com/column-2/has-citizenship-jumped-the-shark/