November 22, 2010

On Work Disincentives: An Imperfect Analysis Making a Nearly Perfect Point; ObamaCare’s Disincentives Would Make Things Dramatically Worse

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:32 pm

At Zero Hedge (the original analysis apparently comes from a gentleman named Walter Emmerich at the Cleveland, Mississippi Current, but I’m not aware of any available direct link):

In Entitlement America, The Head Of A Household Of Four Making Minimum Wage Has More Disposable Income Than A Family Making $60,000 A Year


Zero Hedge should have picked a better term than “disposable income”; Mr. Emmerich’s “Total Economic Benefit” is better.

The places where Mr. Emmerich falls down include at least these:

  • The Medicaid benefit may cost $16,500, but it doesn’t deliver that much in value to recipients. From a taxpayer’s standpoint the figure is correct. From the recipient’s standpoint, it’s at least a few thousand less because of waste, fraud, abuse, and excessive bureaucracy.
  • The same issue is there with the School Lunch program, but in much smaller amounts. If 2 kids are getting 200 meals each per year at school while school is in session, the $1,800 would represent a ridiculous $4.50 per lunch ($1,800 divided by 400 meals). Again, it may cost that much, but that’s not what’s getting delivered. The pure food cost per meal is probably the neighborhood of $1.00 – $1.50.
  • If (emphasis if) the $60K per year family has employer-paid health insurance, the net value of what is provided (after subtracting out the employee portion of all premiums, all deductibles, and copays) should be added. I believe that net number would be in the neighborhood of +$10,000 for the $60K family.

My back of the envelope adjustments would end up showing the following “Economic Benefits”:

  • For the $3,625 family, about $5,000 less, or $26,630.
  • For the $14,500 family, again about $5,000 less, or $32,777.
  • I’d shave a bit less from the Medicaid number for the $30K family, leaving them at about $25,000.
  • The $60,000 family, assuming health care coverage, would be at about $45,000.

There’s a whole host of other factors to consider, especially at the 60K two-income level, not the least of which relate to the financial stresses and requirements of having a higher-paid job, which evidence themselves in higher commuting (which could include tolls, fares, and/or parking), clothing, meals at home and meals away from home costs, even extending to the legitimate need for two cars vs. one in at least the two lowest scenarios. It wouldn’t be tough to build an argument that these extra costs could be as high as $10,000 per year, especially if you compare two cars to one.

Look at the chart that follows developed by Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation. ObamaCare’s subsidy structure is such that the sum of additional costs incurred and government benefits given up in some cases end up being more than increased income earned — even before considering the factors brought up by Mr. Emmerich:


The orange boxes represent income breaks where the amount of the lost health care subsidy alone — again, before considering any of the other factors noted by Emmericah — is over 80% of the additional reported income earned.

The maroon boxes represent income breaks where the lost health care subsidy is over 100% of the additional reported income earned.

The blue boxes show how much extra a married couple who are both 60 years old and who earn identical reported incomes give up in health care subsidies by remaining married.

Disincentives to work are bad enough now. If ObamaCare is allowed to kick in, they’ll become positively stifling.

Addendum: I added “reported” before “incomes” in the final few paragraphs because the incentive to earn money under the table will be self-evidently huge. Not reporting a few grand in income, in addition to avoiding existing income and Social Security taxes, will be rewarded with literally thousands in health care subsidies.

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘Not This Mitt Again’) Is Up (Plus Cutting-Room Floor Items)

RomneyNo0808It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Wednesday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.


Left on the cutting room floor: A lot.

Here are links to selected other BizzyBlog posts from the past several years dealing with matters I could not address or fully vet in the space available at PJM.

“Who Do You Believe, Mitt Romney or His Lying Spokesman?” (April 19, 2010)

Mitt Romney doubled down on his position that he only wants to repeal the ‘worst aspects’ of Obamacare. When asked if that includes “the repeal of the individual mandate and pre-existing exclusion,” he says “No.” Today’s PJM column notes that in March, Romney “called … (Commonwealth Care’s) imposition of an individual mandate to purchase insurance ‘the ultimate conservative plan.’”

“Dean of Harvard Medical Gives Romney/ObamaCare an ‘F’” (Nov. 20, 2009)

Among other things, Dean Jeffrey S. Flier notes the move in Massachusetts towards “capitated payments,” involving “(annually) limited dollars per patient for all of their care.” That is, rationing. Here are a couple of other RomneyCare-related posts:

  • July 29, 2008 – ”Romney Defends RomneyCare Crackup; WSJ Strikes Back”
  • Jan. 31, 2008 – ”WSJ Op-Ed: RomneyCare Is Life-Threatening CoerciveCare.”

“Mitt Romney, the GOP’s Bridge to Oblivion” (July 20, 2009)

This is a guest post by Gregg Jackson and John Haskins about the perils of a Romney GOP nomination. Best sentence: “Conservatives will not turn out in large enough numbers to defeat Obama to vote for a Republican-branded liberal with no allegiance to the Constitution, no convictions about infanticide or defending natural marriage or the right of every child to a natural human family who lies brazenly and morphs into a ‘conservative’ before elections.” Haskins has assembled several lengthy lists of socially conservative Romney opponents, including “attorneys, law professors and other holders of advanced degrees in law or constitutional theory” who make this key assertion:

Romney’s claim that judges somehow changed Massachusetts’ marriage laws and he was ‘forced’ or had legal authority to bypass the Legislature and violate the marriage statutes with his orders imposing homosexual ‘marriage’ in Massachusetts, is legally absurd and false.

“Look at What Well-Known Investment Firm Contributed to the DNC and Democrats and NOT Republicans in 2006 and 2008″ (March 13, 2009)

Why, it’s Mitt Romney’s “former” firm, Bain Capital. Imagine that.

“Romney, Russia, Georgia, and Iran: The Last Straw” (August 21, 2008)

Cutting to the chase: Romney, his wife, and his “former” (not really) investment and management partnership Bain Capital were at the time and likely still are heavily invested in state-controlled Russian companies and their Iranian oil projects. The massive conflict of personal and national interest should be obvious. Related: Feb. 3, 2008“Duncan Hunter Has Raised the National Security Alarm Over Mitt Romney. So Where Is the Scrutiny?” That’s still a good question.

“Mitt Romney Calls Gregg Jackson ‘Delusional’; What Does That Make Romney?” (Jan. 10, 2008)

You want delusional? Here’s Romney’s response to Jackson when he raised questions as to why Romney changed marriage certificates to read “Partner A and Partner B” and ordered justices of the peace to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies when he was under no compulsion to do so until the legislature passed legislations legalizing same-sex “marriage” — a necessary step, according to the Goodridge ruling itself:

Everybody in the entire nation knows that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court made same-sex marriage legal and that I fought it in every single way I could.

“Romney Was a Tax-Raiser in Massachusetts” (Jan. 1, 2008)

Money quote, from an Massachusetts journalist: “… he raised $500 million in fees, everything from home sales to marriage licenses. And then he raised corporate taxes.”

Myth Romney: On Reagan, Hyde and Abortion, His History Rewrites Are Virtually Smears” (Dec. 17, 2007)

Ronald Reagan was never “adamantly pro-choice,” as Romney claims. This post proves it.

Positivity: Medford man honored for saving woman’s life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:43 am

From Medford, Oregon:

November 19, 2010 5:33 PM

An employee at a Black Bear Diner is honored by Medford Fire and Rescue for helping save a woman’s life, last month.

John Lawson calls himself a cook, no more no less.

Medford Fire and Rescue call him a hero.

“She said, ‘John I need your help, apparently this lady had eaten and came back to the restaurant and was choking’,” said Lawson in recalling his co-worker’s request to aid a customer.

A diner customer left restaurant and returned asking for assistance. Lawson quickly stepped in. He performed the Heimlich Manuever, helping her breathe again, according to Medford Fire and Rescue.

“She went from not being able to breathe at all, to being able to breathe pretty well when responders got there,” said Deputy Chief Gordon Sletmoe from Medford Fire and Rescue.

Lawson doesn’t call himself a hero or a lifesaver, but that is what Medford Fire and Rescue honored him for, Friday.

“Its what anybody should do. Its not just me, I mean. If you see someone having problems you should stop and help. If you see someone with a flat tire on the side of the road, don’t you know abut stopping and helping? I do,” said Lawson.

They held a ceremony at the Black Bear Diner, presenting him with a certificate of appreciation.

“Mr. Lawson is an average citizen and he did what needed to be done and so in my book, he is a hero,” said Sletmoe.

Sletmoe said it was Lawson’s actions that helped save this woman’s life.

“If someone stops breaking for a very short period of time and they’re going to go unconcious, ultimately if they don’t breathe obviously that can lead to cardiac arrest.”

According to Sletmoe, 300,000 people in the United States have cardiac arrests outside of hospitals every year, less than eight percent survive. …

Go here for the rest of the story.