November 22, 2013

Maybe This Will Get John Kasich to Work on Fixing Ohio’s Economy Instead of Bragging About It

Filed under: Economy,Ohio Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:39 pm

Here are the basics; all figures are seasonally adjusted.

Ohio’s Unemployment Rate:
– October 2012 — 6.9%
– August 2013 — 7.3%
– September 2013 — 7.4%
– October 2013 — 7.5%

National Unemployment Rate:
– October 2012 — 7.9%
– October 2013 — 7.3%

Ohio’s Jobs Added (these are not typos):
– Month of September 2013; +200 (Establishment Survey)
– Month of October 2013; +400 (Establishment Survey)
– 12 months ended Oct. 2013; +27,200 (Establishment Survey)
– 12 months ended Oct. 2013; LOSS of 33,200 (Household Survey; proof here)

In 12 months, Ohio has gone from far better to a bit worse than the rest of the nation in unemployment. By contrast, Florida, to name just one example, has gone from 8.2% unemployment a year ago to 6.7% in October 2013.

Ohio’s payroll job growth has been dismal. Including contractors and the self-employed, the state has lost employment. In the past five months, employment per the Household Survey has dropped by 44,500.

Could Team Kasich and the Ohio GOP please spare us their paeans to Ohio’s supposedly great economy? It hasn’t been great for well over a year.

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UPDATE: Those who are concerned about Census Bureau’s alleged book-cooking might point out that the numbers from a year ago could have been inflated. I won’t deny that issue, but it doesn’t change the fact that Ohio’s position relative to other states has badly deteriorated.

Here are a few states (I don’t think I caught them all) whose unemployment rates were higher than Ohio’s a year ago but are lower now: AL, CO, DE, FL, ME, WA, and WV.

Only two states besides Ohio have seen their unemployment rate go up 0.6 points in the past year: LA (the unemployment rate is still 6.5%) and TN. No other state has seen a greater increase in their unemployment rate.

UPDATE 2: A year ago, Indiana’s unemployment rate was 1.5 points higher than Ohio’s. Now it’s the same. (Right to work, anyone?)

Obamacare = Mandatory Medicaid (and Mandatory ‘Expanded Medicaid’ in States Which Expanded It)

Filed under: Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:54 pm

So Medicaid is now mandatory for those who “qualify.”

Really? Yeah, really:

Nicole Hopkins: ObamaCare Forced Mom Into Medicaid
My mother preferred to pay for her care rather than be on the government dole. Now she has no choice.

… she (my mother) couldn’t afford the new plan offered by her insurer, (so) she told me she was eager to explore her new choices under the Affordable Care Act. Washington Healthplanfinder is one of the better health-exchange sites, and she was actually able to log on. She entered her personal and financial data.

There was just one option—at the very affordable monthly rate of zero. The exchange had determined that my mother was not eligible to choose to pay for a plan, and so she was slated immediately for Medicaid. She couldn’t believe it was true and held off completing the application.

… The situation sounded absurd, so I asked her to walk me through her application on Washington Healthplanfinder to make sure she wasn’t missing anything. Sitting in New York with my computer, I logged onto the site under her name and entered the information my mother provided over the phone. I fully expected her to realize that she had forgotten some crucial piece of information, like a decimal point in her annual income. We checked and double-checked the information, but the only option still appeared to be Medicaid. She suggested clicking on “Apply for Coverage,” thinking that other options might appear.

Instead, almost mockingly, her “Eligibility Results” came back: “Congratulations, we received and reviewed your application and determined [you] will receive the health care coverage listed below: Washington Apple Health. You will receive a letter telling you which managed care plan you are enrolled with.” Washington Apple Health is the mawkish rebranding of Medicaid in Washington state.

The page lacked a cancel button or any way to opt out of Medicaid. It was done; she was enrolled, and there was nothing to do but click “Next” and then to sign out.

… Before ObamaCare, Medicaid was one option. Not the option. Before this, she had never been, in effect, ordered to take a handout. Now she has been forced to join the government-reliant poor, though she would prefer to contribute her two mites. The authorities behind “affordable care” had erased her right to calculate what she was willing to spend to preserve her dignity—to determine what she thinks is affordable.

That little contribution can mean the difference between dignity and despair.

For the truly poor, being institutionally forced to take welfare is demoralizing.

So now you’re not allowed to turn down or opt out of the authoritarian state’s “largesse.”

I hope to have more on this in a column in the next few days. The implications of this, combined with Buckeye State Governor John Kasich’s beloved and illegimately obtained “Medicaid Expansion,” are stunning, and very troubling.

I’ll give away one clue: Effective January 1, 2014, there will no longer be a Medicaid “asset test.”

As Obamacare Flails and HealthCare.gov Fails, New Yorker Mag Writer Weighs in With ‘The Republican War on Competence’

HealthCare.gov is so insecure that IT experts say they wouldn’t use it themselves. The supposedly firm November 30 deadline for the web site’s repair and recovery really isn’t. Back-end problems abound. Earlier this week, Henry Chao told a congressional committee that “the back-office systems, the accounting systems, the payment systems, they still need be built.” That is, they apparently haven’t been started.

This is the time the New Yorker Magazine has chosen to publish a column (HT James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web) by former Bill Clinton speechwriter Jeff Shesol officially entitled “The Republican War on Competence.” The browser window title is even funnier: “Obamacare and the Republican War on Competence.” You can’t make this up. Shesol’s content is just as hysterical.

(more…)

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (112213)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:05 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.

Positivity: Pope Francis blesses man with severely disfigured face

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:00 am

From Vatican City:

Nov 20, 2013 / 11:51 am

Continuing his efforts to promote a “culture of encounter” with the disabled, Pope Francis again embraced a severely disfigured man after his Nov. 20 weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square.

The Pope spoke with a man who lacks facial features, embraced him and gave him a blessing. Pope Francis then smiled at the man, kissed him and gestured toward the sky in the midst of a crowded square.

The cause of the man’s disfigurement was not known. His identity is also not known, the British newspaper The Daily Mail reports.

It is the second time this month that the Pope’s hospitality towards the disfigured has drawn public attention.

At the end of his Nov. 6 audience, Pope Francis warmly embraced Vincio Riva, an Italian man suffering from severe tumors all over his body. His disorder is known as neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition.

The Pope received Riva for several minutes, took the man’s face in his hands, kissed him and gave him a blessing. Riva later said he “felt only love” by the action, noting that the Pope did not know whether his condition was contagious.

Though previous Popes have also made a habit of greeting the disabled, Pope Francis has drawn unique media attention for his actions. …

Go here for the rest of the story.