Patterico's Pontifications

10/13/2013

GOVERNMENT SLOWDOWN, DAY THIRTEEN

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:44 pm



Dang those stupid Republicans for fighting ObamaCare, and in the process depriving us all of non-essential government serv — excuse me one moment. I have just been handed a piece of paper. Pardon me while I read it.

. . . .

OK, there is a news article stating that people should consider lowering their income to get cheaper health care:

People whose 2014 income will be a little too high to get subsidized health insurance from Covered California next year should start thinking now about ways to lower it to increase their odds of getting the valuable tax subsidy.

“If they can adjust (their income), they should,” says Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow with the Kaiser Family Foundation. “It’s not cheating, it’s allowed.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, if your 2014 income is between 138 and 400 percent of poverty level for your household size, you can purchase health insurance on a state-run exchange (such as Covered California) and receive a federal tax subsidy to offset all or part of your premium.

A real life example:

For older people, getting below the 400 percent poverty limit could save many thousands of dollars per year.

Take, for example, Jacqueline Proctor of San Francisco. She and her husband are in their early 60s. They have been paying $7,200 a year for a bare-bones Kaiser Permanente health plan with a $5,000 per person annual deductible. “Kaiser told us the plan does not comply with Obamacare and the substitute will cost more than twice as much,” about $15,000 per year, she says.

This new plan, Kaiser’s cheapest offering for 2014, would consume about 25 percent of their after-tax income. The new plan still has a $5,000 deductible but provides coverage for things her current policy does not, such as maternity care, healthy child visits and coverage for dependents up to age 26. Proctor has no use for such coverage, since her son is 30.

If you like your health care, you can keep it.

The article goes on to explain that if the couple can lower their income a couple thousand dollars, they will be eligible for a subsidy worth $14,000-15,000 per year.

So, let’s sum up.

Individuals, if you make more money, you will lose in the end because you will not be eligible for subsidies.

Companies, if you expand and employ people full time, you will lose in the end because you will be forced to pay for health insurance for your employees.

But none of this will keep people from improving their income or expanding their businesses.

Right?

Where was I?

Oh yes.

Dang those stupid Republicans for fighting ObamaCare, and in the process depriving us all of non-essential government services . . .

UPDATE: See the update to this post for evidence that the cliff is not as sudden as portrayed in this article.

59 Responses to “GOVERNMENT SLOWDOWN, DAY THIRTEEN”

  1. Over at twitchy they have a number of things about protests in DC today, you should take a look.
    The crowd took the Barry-cades from the various memorials and left them at the gates of the WH. One had a sign “Return to Sender”

    Palin, Cruz, and Lee were there.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  2. There seems to be a strong desire among Democrats to utterly destroy the American economy.

    There is no other way to explain their behavior. Sheer ignorance and incompetence only explains two-thirds of their actions.

    SPQR (768505)

  3. They value equal misery for all.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  4. Free political cartoon idea: Daleks. Painted orange and white, like traffic cones, and wearing reflective belts. Various politicians’ faces (your choice) atop them, all charging about, screaming at each other, and us: “Capitulate! capitulate! capitulate!”

    htom (412a17)

  5. I can’t believe people threw away their country with both hands.

    Sarahw (b0e533)

  6. 2. There seems to be a strong desire among Democrats to utterly destroy the American economy.

    There is no other way to explain their behavior. Sheer ignorance and incompetence only explains two-thirds of their actions.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 10/13/2013 @ 4:55 pm

    I’m not asking you this question, SPQR, because I gave offense letting you think I did.

    But what part of “fundamentally transform” did these people not understand?

    Steve57 (4bf843)

  7. I was not offended Steve57.

    SPQR (768505)

  8. If one understands that Frank Davis, the Stalin loving hater of GM, was one of his strongest influences, it all comes clear:

    http://twitchy.com/2013/10/13/it-belongs-to-the-people-sarah-palin-and-sens-cruz-lee-address-million-vets-march-pics/

    narciso (3fec35)

  9. America is a nasty piece of work

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  10. But as Douthat says, we’re Kurtz Republicans because
    cannibals, it’s kind of fuzzy at Carlos Slim’s scratch pad.

    narciso (3fec35)

  11. Good to know. I’m pretty much impossible to be offended my own self.

    Sometimes I’ll throw off what I meant as a purely rhetorical question in the middle of a comment. It wasn’t actually directed at anyone.

    Steve57 (4bf843)

  12. America is a nasty piece of work

    I couldn’t disagree more, happyfeet.

    Dana (6178d5)

  13. my observation is based on empirical evidence

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  14. feets, we don’t live in America. Failifornia is a third world country.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  15. It was heartening to see day 13 as the moment the barrycades were dismantled and stacked at the White House. It was also encouraging to see Cruz, Lee and Palin engaged in the demonstration. And the interviews and photos of the vererans were great. The best photo I saw was of a vet with two prothetic legs on one of those two-wheeled, gyro-stabilized, battery powered scooters carrying one of the barrycades to the White House. And the states are now paying to reopen the “national” parks (more accurately to be known as Barry’s hostage play grounds in the future) and we can see the kinder face of the National Park Service. Which is basically a good thing even if we now know that it is a distortion of the truth.

    The reports on California health care costs and the need to be needy is sobering. I received my policy documents at the end of September, but when I called to ask if the costs were firm, I was told that they couldn’t even comment on that until after Oct. 1st. Presumably they will need to figure out how many people will rearrange their income so that they can pay the $15,000 fees. With a $5000 deductible, and a mere $2000 penalty … excuse me … tax … the obvious solution is to skip the insurance entirely until you need it. You can get a lot of health care services for $5000 cash, and you can pocket the difference between the $15000 premium and the Roberts tax … say $13000 a year … for quite a while. Invest a fair portion of these savings in Pb and Au. No taxes on either unless you sell them, and I would intend to expend most of the former in practice if not in self defence.

    Given these grim cost projections, look for the pre-Barry uninsured number to grow from 37 million to 250 million … the only people with insurance will be those who qualify for total federal subsidies, or have Presidental waivers for their existing plans. The rest of us will be on our own. And you know what? I think we’ll discover a lot of way to get excellent health care absent any insurance or federal involvement.

    bobathome (c0c2b5)

  16. Nobody tells me anything:

    “To determine eligibility for a subsidy, the government uses modified adjusted gross income, or MAGI. To get this figure, start with the line labeled adjusted gross income on your tax return (it’s the last line on the first page of Form 1040). Then add in non-taxable Social Security benefits, tax-exempt interest and foreign earned income, and housing expenses for Americans living abroad. (For a synopsis, see http://www.tinyurl.com/k8jwk4h.)”

    felipe (6100bc)

  17. Mr. red have I told you about the endless stream of trash-pickers that flow through my alley every day?

    like flightless carrion birds they circle and circle and they never never stop

    this is definitely not america

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  18. feets, we don’t live in America. Failifornia is a third world country.

    No, it’s just the harbinger.

    California : USA :: Silver Surfer : Galactus

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  19. In light of how crooked and rancid America is becoming during its banana-republic moment in history — with a smug, corrupt IRS and the arrogant responsibility it has been given to oversee Barry’s Obamacare — I hope that more and more Americans at least modify their attitudes so if they once were chagrined at the thought of their fellow citizens cheating on their taxes, they now will look the other way and even murmur some quiet support or nod with approval towards such behavior. After all, since we’re going the route of Greece, we might as well act like Greeks.

    BTW, Patterico.com now has so many new posts, with resulting overly small, dead-end threads of responses, this blog feels like a maze.

    Mark (58ea35)

  20. Failifornia is a third world country.

    I’m not being glib when I theorize that America’s largest state — originally viewed as sort of a sunny promised land — increasingly will resemble a country like Mexico—which, by the way, now has an hourly wage structure that’s even lower than that of China. But perhaps enough influence of US normalcy and order will always somehow seep into such a future, so that headless bodies and chopped-off limbs won’t plague the California landscape as they do in Mexico.

    Mark (58ea35)

  21. “You’ve no doubt heard of Senior Meals on Wheels preparing hot meals delivered to the elderly. But there’s a different meal program that’s been put on hold because of the partial government shutdown. It’s the USDA’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

    In Michigan’s western Kent County alone, more than 1,300 low-income seniors depend on the program. For them, it’s a nutrition lifeline: They can’t just go to a food pantry for similar assistance.

    Bill Anderson, 81, and his wife, June, 83, are among those affected. Medical emergencies have depleted their savings. Social Security provides enough money to pay the utilities and insurance, but they turn to the government food program for meals.

    They rely on weekly deliveries of nutritionally balanced surplus food. “The pantry gives you food, but not really enough to put in your refrigerator,” June Anderson says.

    “I would get out and beg before I’d let us go hungry,” Bill Anderson adds.

    Ron Cusin, who boxes up the basics that come from USDA’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program, says usually the packages include some dried milk, pasta and two different types of juice”
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/10/11/232159777/shutdown-leaves-some-seniors-worried-about-their-next-meal

    Required name (b5f718)

  22. Comment by Mark (58ea35) — 10/13/2013 @ 6:17 pm

    Mexico—which, by the way, now has an hourly wage structure that’s even lower than that of China.

    You’ve got that backwards.

    You should say China now has a wage structure that’s higher than that of Mexico. It’s not that Mexican wages dropped – in fact I think they rose – it’s that Chinese factory wages rose a great deal, owing to age discrimination, a continual increase in the number of factories, the one child policy. And don’t forget the slow and small appreciation of the renimbi.

    Higher Chinese wages is one factor, besides general Chinese untrustworthiness (owing to absence of the rule of law and a free press) bringing some clothing manufacturing back into the United States.

    Other manufacturing is heading toward other low wage countries.

    Sammy Finkelman (bec8ba)

  23. …Higher Chinese wages…

    I was born in the year of the tiger, myself.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VgSMxY6asoE

    See those guys? I don’t look like any of them. Except maybe some schlub in the fifth row.

    Steve57 (4bf843)

  24. People whose 2014 income will be a little too high to get subsidized health insurance from Covered California next year should start thinking now about ways to lower it to increase their odds of getting the valuable tax subsidy.

    Nothing new about that. I read that already.

    This occurs because you abruptly fall off a cliff when you reach 400% of poverty – there’s no phaseout.

    But it doesn’t matter what somebody earns all year. Where they have got to watch themselves is in late 2014, when they’ll know better where they stand. Maybe take a a week or two off. See if they can take their pay in the next calendar year, so it’s not on the W-2 form..

    But, if you don’t do that, and find out when your taxes are being prepared in March, that you’ve exceeded the threshold, there’s one way out….

    Sammy Finkelman (bec8ba)

  25. I think if people miscalculate, people young enough may be able to establish and contribute to a tradional IRA, which is deducted before Adjusted Gross Income on a 1040 form, and – what’s really significant about it – can be deducted AFTER the close of the tax year, all the way until April 15th of the next calendar year!

    However, only certain people are eligible to do this. They must be young enough, have income low enough (not an issue for people approaching the cliff I think unless they have a really large family) and not have an employer provided retirement plan available to them, or have an employer provided retirement plan but have small income, below the IRA phaseout – and the IRA must be established well enough in advance of April 15th, so that it can actually be funded by April 15th.

    The key figure to watch (like a hawk) for anyone buying a silver plan listed on the exchange and tenatively getting a subsidy, will be modified adjusted gross income (which is simply 1040 adjusted gross income with a few things added back to it, mainly Social security benefits and tax exempt municipal bond interest. This is a standard figure, already needed to be computed for purposes of determining eligibility for a traditional IRA deduction.)

    When making calculations, don’t forget bank accounts and other small sources of income, (unless maybe you choose not to report it) which could take you just a little bit too high, and you would go over 400% of poverty..

    (equally bad of course is losing eligibility for Medicaid I assume)

    Remember also, it’s the figures on a joint tax return that count, and married people cannot file anything but a joint return if they want to claim the subsidy, unless they are considerd unmarried.

    Sammy Finkelman (bec8ba)

  26. “Required Name”, Obama’s refusal to negotiate and Senate Democrats refusal to pass the House’s continuig resolution, has consequences.

    SPQR (768505)

  27. 24. …But, if you don’t do that, and find out when your taxes are being prepared in March, that you’ve exceeded the threshold, there’s one way out….

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (bec8ba) — 10/13/2013 @ 7:03 pm

    Yeah. It involves sandpaper and bending over.

    But, hey! Aren’t the Republicans the silly ones for shutting down the gub’mint.

    Steve57 (4bf843)

  28. Comment by bobathome (c0c2b5) — 10/13/2013 @ 5:50 pm

    the obvious solution is to skip the insurance entirely until you need it.

    The trouble with that is there’s a limited open enrollment period, which ends in March, and next year will end I think befiore January 1.

    You could gain a few extra months of time by buying a policy and not paying the premium. The federal government will cover one month’s worth of missed premiums, if what I read is correct, and the next two months will be swallowed by the insurance company, which may of course send it to a collection agency. The policy only gets cancelled after 90 days of non-payment.

    You can gain another enrollment period by changing your address.

    In fact, it may pay to change your address in general, as the cost of insurance will vary widely depending on address, just like auto insurance. (but most plans will have limited choice of doctors, so it wouldn’t pay maybe to make your address where you don’t really stay most of the year, or at all)

    You can get a lot of health care services for $5000 cash, and you can pocket the difference between the $15000 premium and the Roberts tax … say $13000 a year … for quite a while.

    But you’d want some kind of catastrophic policy too. I don’t think such policies are actually illegal to offer – they just don’t count.

    The tax for 2014 is low. It is at least $95 per person, but no more than 1% of income and no more than $695 per person, whichever it lower, with some exemotions for hardship. It goes higher in subsequent years, up to 2 1/2% of income. It’s not collected except from tax refunds (and other money due you from the federal government?)

    Raise your witholding, which anyone can do, and they’ll never get the money before Congress forgives it all. But raise it too much and you might be required to file estimated taxes.

    Invest a fair portion of these savings in Pb and Au.

    Lead and gold? Why are they investments? no high paying dividend stocks. If you are really scared of risk, the top 4 yielding sticks in the Dow Jones Industrial average.

    Given these grim cost projections, look for the pre-Barry uninsured number to grow from 37 million to 250 million

    It takes years for a death spiral to take place.

    In New York State individual insurance became about $1,500 amonth and is expected to go lower under Obamacare because of the supremacy clause..

    Sammy Finkelman (bec8ba)

  29. Also above the line for adjusted gross income (but unlike IRA contribution, must be done by December 31)

    Health savings account deduction (see form 8889)

    Educator expenses

    Movng expenses (use form 3903)

    Capital gains losses – I think long term losses are limited to $3,000 per year)

    Deductible part of self employment tax

    Penalty on early withdrawal of savings

    Student loan interest deduction

    Tution and fees (use form 8917)

    Farm loss

    Sammy Finkelman (bec8ba)

  30. There was a protest run in the road encircling Valley Forge, headed by some fellow that was given a $100 ticket for running on the side walk path earlier in the week.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  31. Well this season, like every other year, I’ve got about twice as many tomatoes as I can possibly use or freeze and nobody I know will take any more of them either. So that part of America is still working pretty much the same as it always has.

    elissa (0b17af)

  32. ellisa: I like your comment because almost everyone thinks that only the government can help. Way, way back in the day, people helped. They really did not need the the government to tell them so.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  33. Sammy, thank you for your helpful advice. I will certainly plan on selling my house and moving rather frequently in order to properly game the rules in Pelosi’s folly. Your question about Pb and Au are understandable. The Pb investment is somewhat prospective, and it’s not for everyone. Currently a round of .45 ACP FMJ goes for about $.55. I figure this will rise rapidly in the near future. So this current expenditure is simply intended to reduce costs later on, and, of course, such savings are currently tax free and thus will not affect my MAGI (the mysterious modified adjusted gross income that will soon be the principal driving force in the American economy.) The gold is a matter of personal taste. Like Scrooge McDuck, I find that a nice dive into a bathtub full of gold doubloons relaxes me completely. And we shall see just how long it takes for the death spiral to consume Obamacare. But I take it from your remarks that we both expect this to happen, it’s just a question of when. My clock started when Pelosi rammed this thing thru with a parliamentary trick, even though she assured us we would have to wait to find out what she’d done. And don’t forget to consider the probable affect on SS taxes when more and more people tailor their incomes to stay below the magically 400%. Reduced employment engendered by the Fed’s illadvised purchase of almost all long term Federal debt coupled with reduced income per employee in response to the 400% cutoff would be a double whammy for the social security ponzi scheme, and it will quickly induce serious problems for other items in the so-called federal budget.

    bobathome (c0c2b5)

  34. Well this season, like every other year, I’ve got about twice as many tomatoes as I can possibly use or freeze and nobody I know will take any more of them either. So that part of America is still working pretty much the same as it always has.

    Comment by elissa (0b17af) — 10/13/2013 @ 7:41 pm

    Too bad you do not live on my planet of JawJuh, it is! Homegrown tomatoes, Yoda loves!

    Yoda (c1890a)

  35. You’ve got that backwards.

    You’re correct, Sammy. I guess I was both discounting the economic evolution of the PRC (still thinking of it as overly stuck with the trappings of a Mao-induced backwater) and, in turn, overplaying the mediocrity of Mexico’s economy.

    There are so many degrees of success or failure of a nation or community — of its economy and culture — that it’s difficult to know exactly how optimistic or pessimistic one should be at any moment in time.

    Mark (58ea35)

  36. And since you brought it up, elissa, please tell the lettuce nibblers what the growing season is for organic, free range, non-factory farm tomatoes.

    nk (dbc370)

  37. What about if you just work for CASH, and not report anything, and when you go to the doctor, you pay him in CASH, and if anyone asks, you just say:

    No Comprende Senor!

    askeptic (2bb434)

  38. Laser-like focus on destroying the economy.

    Icy (d08929)

  39. Mr 57 asked:

    But what part of “fundamentally transform” did these people not understand?

    Well, that’s just it: some 51% of the electorate wanted America fundamentally transformed, and they have gotten just that. Oh, it will be a bad transformation, but when your base is the indigent, the immigrants and the incompetent, there is little for them to fear from that fundamental transformation; it’s not like things were going to get worse for them.

    As for the problems with Obaminablecare, they don’t matter, because it was never intended to work. All it was ever intended to do was pass, to establish the principle that the federal government is ultimately responsible for everybody’s health care coverage. Once Obaminablecare fails, as it obviously will, the Democrats will throw up their hands and say, “Well, we tried it the ‘conservative’ way, using the private insurance system, but it didn’t work, so single payer is all that’s left.” The apparently barbaric idea that the government shouldn’t be responsible for health care will be off the table.

    The saddened Dana (3e4784)

  40. One could defend the thought that the proposed transformation was to a post-partisan, post-racial America, and that is what people were voting for, or thought they were voting for.

    Because those are the kinds of things he said in his campaign;
    but this is a classic example of talk being cheap, and needing to watch what a person does, not listening to what they say.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  41. Some poll results. A few days old, though. http://i.imgur.com/0Oi0ahn.jpg

    nk (dbc370)

  42. 38. Comment by SPQR (768505) — 10/13/2013 @ 11:07 pm

    Remember claim that single payer is better than US health care?

    That argument is solely based on life expectancy statistics. But they are misleading.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1371861/NHS-director-dies-operation-cancelled-times-hospital.html

    How does Stephen Hawking escape all that??

    Not only that, but he must have the world’s record for survival with AOS (Lou Gehrig’s disease.)

    (But maybe that could be because Lou Gehrig’s disease is not exactly what he has.)

    The answer, it seems, is that NHS care is different in different districts. He’s in the right location.

    Even so, they must be doing more for him.

    Sammy Finkelman (bec8ba)

  43. EBT cards don’t work for an hour or two and government teat sucklers empty WalMart shelves in Louisiana… film at 11…

    Colonel Haiku (d9226e)

  44. SF: You’ve got that backwards.

    35. Mark 10/13/2013 @ 10:26 pm

    You’re correct, Sammy.

    You looked at some statistic without pondering or knowing their historical values.

    I guess I was both discounting the economic evolution of the PRC (still thinking of it as overly stuck with the trappings of a Mao-induced backwater) and, in turn, overplaying the mediocrity of Mexico’s economy.

    You mean underplaying. sometims double negatives and the like are hard to get right. What you overplayed was non-mediocrity.

    Sammy Finkelman (bec8ba)

  45. I don’t think the royal foozles [sorry, happyfeet] have NHS either, Sammy.

    nk (dbc370)

  46. 33. Comment by bobathome (c0c2b5) — 10/13/2013 @ 9:58 pm

    33.Sammy, thank you for your helpful advice. I will certainly plan on selling my house and moving rather frequently in order to properly game the rules in Pelosi’s folly.

    Oh, you don’t have to do that. Move, I mean.

    If you can get mail at a separate address, you could do this. Even more so, if you have a second home, or there is a relative where you might stay. Maybe a parent’s or in-laws home.

    If you do move frequently, you should rent.

    The other location(s) would have to be in a different district than where you are currently – a place where there are a different bunch of health insurance policies available.

    As I said, not really a good idea because the doctors on the list are liable to be pretty local, but maybe worth considering for someone under the age of 65 who summers and winters at a different places.

    Maybe even necessary…

    I don’t know how many times you could switch back and forth.

    A birth, divorce or marriage and losing a job, or, more precisely, an employer’s policy (that ability to continue under COBRA doesn’t count) are other reasons to enroll in the middle of a policy year. I’m sure we’ll learn more details as time goes on.

    Sammy Finkelman (bec8ba)

  47. Your question about Pb and Au are understandable. The Pb investment is somewhat prospective, and it’s not for everyone. Currently a round of .45 ACP FMJ goes for about $.55. I figure this will rise rapidly in the near future.

    Wait, wait. That’s a manufactured item.

    So this current expenditure is simply intended to reduce costs later on, and, of course, such savings are currently tax free and thus will not affect my MAGI (the mysterious modified adjusted gross income that will soon be the principal driving force in the American economy.)

    A bargain – getting things at a lower than expected cost – is always tax free. It’s not a bargain, as they say, if you never would ahve bought it. But it actually always is good (provided you are not afraid of losing it, and it is not perishable) to buy extra of something you like, because whatever it is you are buying, it can always be that it will get in short suppply, or something will change about the way it is manufactured.

    Magi: Theer are places this kind of thing affects things now but people are not aware of it, but they will be here.

    Magi or something close to it, is important when it comes to the college financial aid application. People get asked about their assets as well as their income but only of their income was above $50,000) in the previous calendar year.

    People just don’t know when they should keep their income low but they will under this system.

    The gold is a matter of personal taste. Like Scrooge McDuck, I find that a nice dive into a bathtub full of gold doubloons relaxes me completely.

    You could fill it quicker with pennies. Make sure they are dated 1981 or earlier, if you want the value in copper. The composition of the penny was changed in the middle of 1982. I don’t know any way to tell what category a 1982 penny belongs in, they disguised it so well.

    Well, the older pennies equal one ounce, and I think the later ones, made mostly out of zinc, weigh less. I think there is also a difference in the way they conduct electricity.

    That change in 1982 was actually a kind of distortion of an act of Congress. Congress had passed a law authroizing the Secretary of the Treasury to alter the ratio of the various metals and Donald Regan made it almost entirely out of zinc.

    Even so, now it costs more than a penny to make a penny, buit I’m not sure of its metallic value.

    Sammy Finkelman (bec8ba)

  48. The composition of the penny was changed in the middle of 1982.

    I don’t remember knowing that, if I ever did.
    But I think recent ones are even lighter, almost like plastic in a board game, I guess they changed the composition again.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  49. You looked at some statistic without pondering or knowing their historical values.

    FWIW, I was relying upon one article awhile back, which didn’t give the full context of the statistics. Your rebuttal made me go “hmm,” and so I looked up additional reports on the topic — one of them that contained a chart — and realized China’s ascent, more than the notion that Mexico is dropping, is the reason for the convergence between hourly rates in the two countries.

    And I did “overplay” the mediocrity of Mexico by assuming the reason its average worker’s wages were now lower than China’s was due to economic stagnation or decline. If anything, Mexico is now more competitive than PRC China, and polls of American companies indicate many of them are switching their production lines from west of the Pacific to south of the border.

    Some in Mexico may now want to break out in a round of “happy days are here again,” and in one way they’d have reason to feel that way. But it dawns on me that our neighbor to the south — one way or the other — hasn’t been an enviable, uplifting society for decades and decades, regardless of whether its hourly wages are competitive or not. In turn, huge amounts of immigration from south to north also occur regardless of circumstances in Mexico.

    America, happy days are here again.

    Mark (58ea35)

  50. And we shall see just how long it takes for the death spiral to consume Obamacare. But I take it from your remarks that we both expect this to happen, it’s just a question of when.

    I think this may be even true for the people who designed the system.

    Everything they are doing is designed to postpone the date when people realize it, hopefully to a time when Obama is no longer president!!

    My clock started when Pelosi rammed this thing thru with a parliamentary trick, even though she assured us we would have to wait to find out what she’d done. And don’t forget to consider the probable affect on SS taxes when more and more people tailor their incomes to stay below the magically 400%.

    It only makes sense if you have a particular insurance policy – a silver policy that’s listed on the exchange. and if your income is around that.

    Maybe in the end, people will pay the penalty and sighn up with some medical practice and maybe there’s be some unqualified insurance policies available

    (Catastrophic until next January 1, the premium decreasing every month. I guess a state would have to authorize the issuance of such policies.)

    Reduced employment engendered by the Fed’s illadvised purchase of almost all long term Federal debt

    That doesn’t reduce emplpyment. It’s interest rates going up when they stop that’s supposed to reduce employment.

    But they won’t. Especially now that the partial government shutdown has embargoed the September employment statistics – and maybe they won’t even be able to collect the date for October. They’ll try to collect it late, asking peole about what they did a week ro two before, if it ends soon.

    coupled with reduced income per employee

    But a person could get two part time jobs.

    I said earlier that 2014 statistics will be used for 2015. Actually the look back period may be in some cases less than one year.

    in response to the 400% cutoff would be a double whammy for the social security ponzi scheme, and it will quickly induce serious problems for other items in the so-called federal budget. </i.

    What the 400% cutoff measns is that there is a negative marginal income tax rate untill income rises by several thousand dllars, but people can avoid the effects, the second year, by increrasing their withholding rate.

    The first year, (late spring 2015) it may take people by surprise, when they discover the federal income tax refund they have been expecting has been swallowed up whole and taken away from them.

    The rate they will be charged monthly will also go way up, and the way people may respoond to this is to increae etheir withholding, maybe too much. They may also try not woreking late in 2015, and they then may get a lower charge. they won't get any actual money back unless the rate BALANCE IS REDUCED TO ZERO.

    And if they withold too much, they may wind up owing money and not pay. This will be discovered after April 15, 2016.

    By this time so many people will be affected Congress may do something, that, will, howeverr have the effect of making Obamacare more financially unsound.

    Sammy Finkelman (bec8ba)

  51. SF: The composition of the penny was changed in the middle of 1982.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 10/14/2013 @ 7:33 am

    I don’t remember knowing that, if I ever did.

    It didn’t get big headlines. Just fillers in the newspaper.

    But I think recent ones are even lighter, almost like plastic in a board game, I guess they changed the composition again.

    According to Wikipedia, it hasn’t been changed again.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penny_United_States_coin)

    1793–1796 100% copper 13.48
    1796–1857 100% copper 10.89
    1856–1864 88% copper, 12% nickel (also known as NS-12) 4.67
    1864–1942 “bronze” (95% copper, 5% tin and zinc) 3.11
    1943 zinc-coated steel (also known as 1943 steel cent) 2.67
    1944–1946 “brass” (95% copper, 5% zinc) 3.11
    1946–1962 “bronze” (95% copper, 5% tin and zinc)
    1962–1981 “brass” (95% copper, 5% zinc)
    1982 varies: “brass” (95% copper, 5% zinc) or copper-plated zinc (97.5% zinc, 2.5% copper)[6] 3.11 or 2.5
    1983–present 97.5% zinc, 2.5% copper (core: 99.2% zinc, 0.8% copper; plating: pure copper)[7] 2.5

    In honor of the Lincoln cent’s 100th anniversary, special 2009 cents were minted for collectors in the same composition as the 1909 coins.[8]

    The isotope composition of early coins spanning the period of 1828 to 1843 cents reflects that of copper from Cornwall ores from England while coins after 1850 that from the Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan ores, a finding consistent with historical records.

    Sammy Finkelman (bec8ba)

  52. It went down from 3.11 grams to 2.5 grams in 1982.

    A group of pennnies shouldn’t feel lighter recently since it’s been a long time since any substantial percentage of pennies have been dated 1982 or earlier. They were already mostly post-1982 in the 1990s.

    They are not much the latest year as they once were. In fact I think mintages of coins have gone down a lot since 2008, when the Great Recesssion hit, and when growth in use of debit and credit cards kept going up.

    You used to see the latest state quarter (1999-2008) pretty easily, but you don’t see so many quarters dated 2009 and later. Parking meters and laundry machines are taking quarters less and less.

    Sammy Finkelman (bec8ba)

  53. 1982 and earlier pennies were worth about 2.5 cents for copper value the last time I checked. People who want to rip them off of you at face value will tell you that you cannot melt down US currency. What they will not tell you is that you can in Mexico or China where they will ship them.

    nk (dbc370)

  54. So that’s where they went! The 1982 and previous have become hard to find. I use them as scale 10 pound weights in scale models of boats. (12″ to 1″)

    htom (412a17)

  55. Played D&D, that is! nk wrote:

    1982 and earlier pennies were worth about 2.5 cents for copper value the last time I checked. People who want to rip them off of you at face value will tell you that you cannot melt down US currency. What they will not tell you is that you can in Mexico or China where they will ship them.

    Treasures in Dungeons and Dragons had copper pieces at the low end of the scale, followed by silver pieces, electrum pieces, gold pieces and platinum pieces at the top. It’s good to know that the copper pieces are going up in value.

    The Dana who played in college (3e4784)

  56. Sammy – There is no cliff at 400%. The phase out occurs leading up to 400%. At 399% a person does not qualify for a full subsidy and at 401% nothing. It is more like at 399% they get a mouse turd of a subsidy and then at 401% they get nothing.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  57. Sammy, I’m beginning to think that your ideal for personal satisfaction comes from organizing your life so that it perfectly comforms to the rules set by the goons in DC. Have you no joys beyond minimizing your taxes or maximizing your “entitlements”? Don’t you find it offensive that you have to spend more and more of your time (which is actually your life) keeping various sets of bureaucrats happy? Or does this give you a feeling of accomplishment?

    Your earlier comment on a penny being an ounce of copper suggests to me that you have never held an American Eagle or a Canadian Mapleleaf bullion coin. They are quite large, and a copper coin of one Troy ounce would be much larger, certainly much larger than a penny. It always amazes me to think that each of the atoms of gold in that Eagle was created in a super nova and blown out into space. And only time, gravity, and a host of geologic and industrial processes have collected them in such a way that I can pick one up and admire their scarcity and the miraculous set of coincidences that allow me to exist in such a marvelous age. Also, after I dive into my bathtub of gold doubloons I can grab a hand full of the little pieces of eight and ponder whether I want to trade ten or fifteen of the little guys for a new Lexus. So far no Lexus, but I love my used 4×4 F150’s.

    For myself, my wife and I have various projects that we want to accomplish, and we select these largely independently of the rules and taxes that the thugs in DC and the local county planning offices impose on us. Although we do select the locale so as to minimize likelihood of governmental malfeasance. Nevertheless, we end up spending a lot of time and money complying with their rules, but I always consider these activities to be a theft of my time on this earth. And I deeply resent the assumption by mediocrities like Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, Harry Reid, or Hte One that they are suitably endowed to be my master.

    bobathome (c0c2b5)

  58. There is a way for some people to get that last little bit of income out of the way so they can get the subsidy.

    Since the subsidy is figured as the excess cost of a silver plan in your locale over 9.5% of your Modified Adjusted Gross Income, getting under the subsidy bar can give you an immediate tax credit of thousands of dollars.

    A 60-year old couple might have a silver-plan cost of $14,000. If they make exactly $62,000, the get a subsidy of everything over $5890, or $8110. If they make a few dollars more, they get no subsidy. So, how to get that income down without actually getting their income down?

    If at least one of them is self-employed, the entire insurance bill is deductible from their MAGI (apparently independent of whether they get a tax-credit subsidy later). So, if the silver plan doesn’t do the job, they choose the gold or platinum plan for (say) $3000 more.

    Now here’s the irony. If they make $65K after accounting for the silver plan, they will have to pay $14K for that plan and get no subsidy. If, however, they choose the platinum plan for (say) $3000 more, they pay about $9K for the platinum plan, after their $8110 subsidy.

    And of course it costs even less since their deductible is now zero and their co-pays are also much lower.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)


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