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Friday, July 22, 2016

Judy Woodruff, "Words to Harsh for Hillary?"

PBS Anchor Judy Woodruff Asks Mike Pence Three Times About Harsh 'Over the Top' Hillary Critics By Tim Graham | July 22, 2016 | 9:22 AM EDT Share it Tweet it PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff was awarded an interview with Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence for Thursday night's newscast, and she questioned Pence from the right about whether Trump can be someone social conservatives can support.
"You have spent virtually your entire life as a deep believer in Christian values, Christian conservative values. That has not been a centerpiece of Donald Trump’s campaign. Do you think you are going to be able, with your own beliefs, to persuade him on issues like LGBT rights, on — I don’t know, on the issue of abortion? Do you think you can change his views in those areas?" Pence said how grateful he was for Trump's pro-life stand in this campaign. But what really stood out was Woodruff's repeated protests against "pretty harsh criticism" of Hillary Clinton. She said "Last question," and then asked the same question three times, insisting the Republicans were just too harsh. JUDY WOODRUFF: Last question. A lot of, I should say, the talk at this convention from the stage and from the delegates has been pretty harsh criticism of Hillary Clinton. We have heard, "Lock her up." We have heard -- we have seen the signs, "Hillary to prison," talk of indicting her. Is this -- you're somebody who's been outspoken against negative campaigning. Do you think it's been over the top, as even some Republicans have said? And do you think it's been a wasted opportunity, so far, to talk about what's positive about Donald Trump? GOV. MIKE PENCE: Well, first, I think that's what freedom looks like. The American people get to express themselves, and in the ways that they choose. But I have got to tell you, I - this convention, I have sensed a tremendous amount of energy, a tremendous amount of unity, not around the personalities, but around the choice that we face this fall.... WOODRUFF: But for the last three nights, "Lock her up" has been a refrain we have been hearing. PENCE: People are frustrated, $19 trillion in national debt that just hasn't been piled up by Democrat administrations. It's been nearly doubled under this administration.... We want a different type of leadership. We want a different direction for this country. And that's why I truly do believe that Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. WOODRUFF: Different, but does it have to be so negative, is my question? PENCE: I think we have got to lay out the choice for the American people. It's a choice between change and the status quo.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Problems with Obamacare.

Home Depot became yet another company that announced it would shift part-time workers to the government-run healthcare exchanges. In addition, a company spokesperson conceded that full-time employees, though they will still get health benefits, would pay more due to an increase in costs next year. 

Companies like Trader Joe's and Walgreens have made similar announcements before the Obamacare exchanges are set to open in October. 
According to a company spokesperson, "Home Depot's change would affect roughly 20,000 part-time workers who previously had chosen the limited liability medical plan the company offered," which, as Reuters notes, companies can no longer offer after December 31 under Obamacare.
Home Depot's current plan for part-time workers "provided coverage of up to $20,000 depending on the plan and were administered by Aetna Inc."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Rich and Poor Hit by Hi Rates and Taxes!

While the most sweeping provisions of the health care overhaul have not yet gone into effect, plenty of Americans will still be paying higher insurance premiums this year -- as insurance companies try to preemptively cover the cost of a tax increase included in President Obama's Affordable Care Act.
That tax doesn't take effect until next year, when other major provisions like the so-called "individual mandate" and insurance subsidies also kick in. But that hasn't stopped insurance companies from charging higher premiums this year to cover the hike, as well as the cost of ObamaCare benefits such as free birth control and preventive care.
Premiums for individuals and small businesses are projected to increase due to the tax by roughly 2 percent this year and by as much as 3.7 percent in 2023, according to a widely cited analysis by the insurance industry.
Officials will argue about who is to blame for the hike -- insurance companies for sticking customers with the cost, or the government for imposing the industry tax hike in the first place. But the projected increases are the latest sign that Americans, in exchange for expanding and strengthening insurance coverage, will in many cases be paying more.
Already, a pair of taxes has hit higher-income households to cover the law. Those making more than $250,000 are seeing a .9 percentage point increase in their Medicare tax, and another 3.8 percentage point hike on investment income.
"The goal was to make health care more affordable, but adding a tax on health insurance does the opposite, increasing the cost for families and small businesses," Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for the group America's Health Insurance Plans, said Tuesday.
Zirkelbach and others on the side of insurance companies say younger Americans will be among those facing the largest increases.
The looming tax on the insurance industry will cost health-insurance providers $8 billion in 2014, then $14.3 billion in 2018 and a total $100 billion over the next 10 years, according to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.
Insurance companies say they can start charging the higher premiums now because some polices bought in 2013 extend into 2014. State insurance commissioners say that practice is OK so long as the increases are pro-rated for next year. However, California Insurance Commissioner David Jones told Politico the company Anthem BlueCross is collecting money from customers that it "doesn't have to pay until 2014."
While the new law will provide insurance for millions more Americas -- and curtail the insured having to cover the medical bills of the uninsured -- insurance providers are questioning the fairness of the tax.
Further, they're raising concern that the individual requirement that people buy health insurance, set to take effect in 2014, doesn't have enough teeth to it. They argue younger Americans might be inclined to pay next year's $95 fine, and even $325 the following year, instead of more expensive insurance.
If fact, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association has purportedly appealed to the president to add or increase penalties, including a late-enrollment fee.

Read more:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Obamacare simply stated....

Union Legislation

Why do Dems oppose...New Senate Republican legislation?

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry warns that allowing employers to pay their workers more is “a federal attack on your rights at work.” Repubican legislation would allow 7.6 million middle-income workers to make more money?

One-size-fits-all contracts mean that individual effort and performance go unrewarded; the worker who takes a dozen smoke breaks earns just as much as the toiling employee who works hard and plays by the rules.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Money Money Money

Stocks strong this morning with the bond and mortgage markets trading lower in price and higher in yield. French President Francois Hollande led a revolt against Germany’s austerity-first doctrine for combating the financial crisis, winning easier aid terms for Spain and Italy in an effort to reshape the balance of power in Europe. At the 19th European summit since the crisis broke out, Hollande pushed through the concessions by threatening to delay endorsement of a deficit-reduction treaty that German Chancellor Angela Merkel touted as one of her signature achievements. Euro leaders agreed to let the permanent bailout fund pour money into Spanish banks directly, instead of channeling it via the Spanish government. Direct recapitalizations will be possible once Europe sets up a single banking supervisor, possibly as early as 2013. Spanish and Italian bonds surged after euro-area leaders expanded steps to stem the debt crisis by easing repayment rules for emergency loans to Spain’s banks and relaxing conditions on potential help for Italy. Given past non-performances when EU summits were held, this one is being considered some kind of success.

Monday, July 2, 2012

California Democats Attack Prop 13

ACTION NEEDED: Contact members of the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee (see below) and tell them you oppose Assembly Constitutional Amendment 21.

WHEN TO TAKE ACTION: Now. A bill radically amending the two-thirds vote protection provided by Proposition 13 is up for a hearing this Monday, July 2nd, at 1:30. Even if it's the weekend, please call anyway and leave a message!

WHY: Los Angeles Assemblyman Mike Feuer (916-319-2042) has introduced a bill, ACA 21, that lowers the two-thirds vote for local education parcel taxes from a two-thirds to a 55% vote.

This bill will make it easier for local politicians to increase your property taxes, already 14th in the nation, even higher! The money will go to fund education programs, despite the fact that at least 40% of the state budget already goes to education. Increasing taxes in the middle of the worst foreclosure crisis in 70 years is neither warranted or wise. `

Call Mike Feuer (916-319-2042) and your representatives on the Committee and tell them to vote NO on ACA 21.
Henry Perea (Dem--District 31)
Chairman of the Committee
Diane Harkey (Rep--District 73)
Vice-Chair of the Committee
Jim Beall (Dem--District 24)
Chuck Calderon (Dem--AD 58)
Gil Cedillo (Dem--District 45)
Nathan Fletcher (Rep--AD 75)
Felipe Fuentes (Dem--AD 39
Richard Gordon (Dem--AD 21)
Brian Nestande (Rep--AD 64)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ed Schultz the pride of MSNBC

U.S. labor unions paid MSNBC “Ed Show” host Ed Schultz roughly $200,000 in 2011, and roughly $337,000 over the last seven years, according to Department of Labor documents.
Read more:

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Governor "Moonbeam" is at it again!

To increase taxes or not to increase taxes? The question was posed to Californians in a recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.

"Strong majorities of Californians favor Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed tax initiative and oppose the automatic cuts that public schools will face if voters fail to approve the measure in November," according to the PPIC summary. The Brown tax increase was favored by 72 percent of Californians and 68 percent of likely voters because people are worried about budget cuts, especially to education.

In this Jan. 18, 2012, file photo, Gov. Jerry Brown leaves the Assembly after he delivered his State of the State address before a joint session of the Legislature at the Capitol in Sacramento. While most other governors are proposing tax cuts and letting temporary tax increase expire, Brown is trying make the case for boosting taxes on the wealthy and the state sales tax.
ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTOADVERTISEMENT But not so fast. For one thing, polls this far away from an election are highly volatile. As was pointed out by Joel Fox of the Small Business Action Committee, just look at the polls in the Republican primaries. One day Mitt Romney's poll numbers make him look invincible. The next day he's losing in South Carolina to Newt Gingrich. And who knows what will happen in Florida on Jan. 31.

A major factor is that people are not focusing on the November election. It's still more than nine months away. No one has seen the ads, pro and con, for the Brown initiative. Other tax-increase initiatives also may be on the ballot.

Gov. Brown's "temporary," five-year tax increase includes two components: an increase of 1 or 2 percentage points in the state income tax for those making $250,000 or more per year. And a half-cent sales tax increase.

But when the poll broke down the two taxes, Californians became schizophrenic. The income-tax boost on the "rich" was favored by 68 percent of likely voters. But 64 percent opposed raising sales taxes, which everybody pays. That brings to mind the old saying, "Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that man behind the tree."

We also don't know what condition the economy will be in later this year. The major economic surveys, such as those by Chapman University, anticipate continued moderate growth. But nobody knows what lies ahead. A sudden shock, like the September 2008 financial meltdown, could strike the country. War in the Persian Gulf could send oil prices into the stratosphere. And the European debt crisis could crash. People in a renewed recession would be less likely to increase their own tax burdens.

Then there's the finding that 55 percent of likely voters, in the PPIC summary, "believe state government could cut spending and still provide the same level of services." So people still are skeptical that government has done enough to save on current spending.

"Raising taxes at this point is just so beyond the pale," Lew Uhler told us; he's the president of the Roseville-based National Tax-Limitation Committee. "I just don't see people buying into the class-warfare stuff. They're not only trying to increase taxes on high-income families, but also the sales tax."

He pointed out that the governor remains an enthusiast for the California High-Speed Rail Authority and its spending plan of at least $99 billion on a project widely considered a boondoggle. "He's re-establishing his Gov. Moonbeam name by this craziness," Mr. Uhler said.

The last time Californians passed a tax-increase initiative was in 2004 with Proposition 63. It increased state income taxes on millionaires by 1 percentage point to fund mental-health programs. Yet it passed with just 54 percent of the vote even though opponents spent just $13,000 compared with proponents' approximately $4.7 million. And that was during the height of the real estate boom, when it seemed the good times never would end.

Times are different now. The economy still is hobbled. Any tax increases will face solid opposition. Bring it on.

Lew Uhler

President, National Tax-Limitation Committee

Monday, January 30, 2012

Market Update for Jan 30, 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

The rally in the bond and mortgage markets is continuing this morning, Europe stock markets weaker and US equity markets set to open lower at 9:30. Dec personal income and spending at 8:30 was in line with estimates; income up 0.5% against estimates of +0.4%. Dec spending unchanged against estimates of +0.1%; more evidence that holiday shopping didn’t meet those early lofty estimates. Spending stalled in December as Americans used a jump in incomes to restore depleted savings, indicating the biggest part of the economy will not be a driver of the expansion.

Last week Greek officials were “confident” that they could make a deal with creditors to fend off another debt default cliff. Nothing happened, not necessarily a surprise as we have been subjected to the continual uncertainty and lack of progress for two+ years now. Greece signaled opposition to economic oversight in exchange for aid, taking Italian interest rates higher this morning and driving equity markets lower. European Union leaders gather in Brussels today for their first summit of 2012 to put the finishing touches on a German-led deficit-control treaty and endorse a 500 billion-euro ($661 billion) rescue fund to be set up this year. Greece and its private creditors said Saturday they expect to complete a deal in coming days after bondholders signaled they would accept a bigger cut in their debt holdings----it never ends.

The DJIA opened -100; 10 yr note +17/32 1.83% -7 bp and MBS 30 yr prices +6/32 (.18 bp).

This week’s elephant is the Jan employment report on Friday; current estimates are an increase of 160K non-farm jobs and private non-farm jobs +170K, the unemployment rate at 8.5%. The actual unemployment rate is closer to 16% however, that the “official” rate is at 8.5% is evidence that many have simply dropped out of looking for jobs. Until the Fed revised estimates for growth downward for 2012 and 2013 last week and Q4 GDP advance report was weaker than forecasts (+2.8% against +3.1% expected) there was an increasing belief the economy was gaining a little momentum. Now economic bulls are re-thinking that idea.

The bellwether 10 yr note is working on a key resistance level at 1.80% this morning. In early trade it dropped to 1.82% and at 10:00 sitting at 1.83%. The MBSs are pushing into new highs in prices not seen in over a year. The Fed’s decision to leave the FF rate at 0.0% for the next three years and with no inflation now or on the horizon, the long end of the curve is seeing buying as investors seek yield. The safety trade over Europe’s debt crisis has ebbed recently but still plays a role in the decline in rates.