October 10, 2013

Jim Jordan on the Outrageous 5-Month Delay in Having Sara Hall Ingram Testify

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:33 pm

He’s not happy, and shouldn’t be:

AP Limits Iowa Obamacare Sign-ups Story to State Feed, Headlines ‘At Least Five’ Sign-Ups As ‘Some’

This post follows up on Noel Sheppard’s item this morning on the progress of ObamaCare enrollment in Iowa, wherein we learn that there have been a “Hardy Handful” of five Hawkeye Staters who have signed thus far, with no identified press coverage outside of the state.

A search on “Iowa insurance” (not in quotes) at the national web site of the Associated Press done at 1:30 p.m. returned nothing recent. AP has covered the story, but has from all appearances limited its exposure to a five-paragrapher at its Iowa feed. The Iowa story’s headline is definitely from the “Let’s deceive readers and hope they don’t read the story” branch of media brinkmanship (presented in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes; bolds are mine):

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Digital Trends Writer Blames ‘Bunch We Have in Congress at the Moment’ for HealthCare.gov’s Outrageous Cost

Andrew Couts at Digital Trends is apparently the one who has broken the story (link is in original) that “The exact cost to build Healthcare.gov, according to U.S. government records, appears to have been $634,320,919, which we paid to a company you probably never heard of: CGI Federal.” Without getting into minutiae, some of that amount may not be directly related to HealthCare.gov, but Kathleen Sebelius’s HHS is obviously nowhere near done spending development money yet.

The bio for Couts says that he “covers a wide swath of consumer technology topics, with particular focus on the intersection of technology, law, politics, and policy.” His represented background would seem to indicate that he should know that the pin-the-blame-on-Congress game he plays in his writeup is misleading and irresponsible. Excerpts follow the jump (links are in original; bolds and numbered tags are mine):

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Initial Unemployment Claims (101013): 374K SA; Raw Claims Up by 2% Over Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:23 am

Prediction: Bloomberg has 311,000 seasonally adjusted claims, up from 305,000 (before likely upward revision today) last week.

Seasonal adjustment Factors:

  • Week ended Oct. 5, 2013 — 90.1
  • Week ended Oct. 6, 2012 — 93.8

That’s a pretty big difference in the year-over-year seasonal factors for no readily apparent reason. It works to this year’s disadvantage.

Raw (i.e., actual) claims:

  • Week ended Sept. 28, 2013 — 252,092 (before revision)
  • Week ended Oct. 6, 2012 — 329,919

For the prediction to pan out, raw claims will have to be 280,000 or lower (280K divided by .901 is 311K, rounded). That seems achievable.

This week shouldn’t be affected much may be affected, based on a few headlines I’ve seen in the past hour, by the 17% shutdown.

The report will be here at 8:30 a.m.

HERE IT IS (permanent link) — YIKES:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending October 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 374,000, an increase of 66,000 from the previous week’s unrevised figure of 308,000. The 4-week moving average was 325,000, an increase of 20,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 305,000.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 336,849 in the week ending October 5, an increase of 84,616 from the previous week. There were 329,919 initial claims in the comparable week in 2012.

I suspect the 17% shutdown will get much of the blame for this, but I’m not buying it, especially since furloughed federal workers are getting back pay, i.e., they shouldn’t be getting unemployment benefits at all.

But will they get benefits anyway, on the “logic” that they aren’t getting paid, right now, at this moment? Is it really possible that the shutdown is a double-dip for furloughed federal workers?

Or has there been a catch-up in claims processing left over from previous weeks because of computer conversion issues in a few states, one of which is California? (In the comments, Steve notes that this is a factor. Why don’t they post claims to the week in which they were actually filed? Talk about rendering comparative data meaningless.)

Mitgating factor: If last year’s seasonal adjustment factor had been used this year, seasonally adjusted claims would have come in 15,000 lower (336,849 divided by .938 is 359K, rounded).

‘Ayes’ Wired Shut: GOP Must Hold Line on Mandate Delay

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:59 am

Republicans must continue to insist on a one-year individual mandate delay.

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This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Tuesday.

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On Saturday morning, Fox News interviewed Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan about an apparent overture by President Barack Obama intended to bring about an end to the horrible, awful, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it 17 percent government shutdown.

The idea, in essence: Pass a bill to fund the entire government, and then we can talk about making needed changes to Obamacare.

Pretty funny. For all practical purposes, at least in terms of having a functioning exchange, the overhyped linchpin of the entire enterprise, there is no Obamacare right now.

Sure, there’s a web site, but only a tiny percentage of those wishing to use it have been able to, and even fewer have actually purchased policies.

It got so bad last week that on Thursday, press apparatchiks, desperate for a poster child after almost three days of non-stop dispatches about HealthCare.gov’s “glitches,” swallowed the story of twenty-something Chad Henderson hook, line and sinker. Publicity hound Henderson claimed that he “got health insurance,” but was later found to have purchased nothing. Beyond that, he disclosed that he works — perhaps it’s “worked,” now that he’s no longer a useful idiot — “for an organization that pays me quarterly to posts [sic] the political stuff as ‘advocacy’ (so it’s kind of my job).” It didn’t take much of an effort to find pathetic Obama worship and hatred of conservatives in his now-protected Twitter account or his still-open (as of when this column was written) Instagram collection.
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Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101013)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:10 am

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.

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Tool of the week: Kathleen Parker, who in reviewing the Obama administration’s thuggery and petulance during the partial shutdown, can’t come up with adjectives any stronger than “embarrassing,” “dumb,” and “ridiculous.”

Well she did write that Obama’s conduct “reeked of the small work of a petty bully.”

Wrong again, Kathleen. It WAS, and still IS, “the small work of a petty bully.”

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Daily Caller: “Ten states where Obamacare wipes out existing health care plans.” As in, if you like your plan, you can’t keep it.

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An abortion “slush fund” in Obamacare.

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More climate irony, given that it goes against the IPCC’s attempt to keep the global warming hoax alive — “What happened to hurricane season? And why we should keep forecasting it.” Please do. And keep score, because storm was way down this year.

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Of no interest beyond online media — “Reid Supporter Whittemore Gets 2 Years in Campaign Cash Case”

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The country’s in the best of hands“Fraud firm gets OK to sign people up for ObamaCare”

Positivity: The Crickets Choir

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

Inspiring (HT Anchoress).

Don’t miss it.

Go there.