MONEY WOES: Obamacare premiums will cost $536 per taxpayer household

money-woeThe average 25% Obamacare premium hikes next year are only the tip of an iceberg. Each taxpaying household will bear an average cost of $536 even if they’re not enrolled in Obamacare.

The White House pooh-poohs higher premiums by saying that the insured won’t pay the full amount; subsidies will cover part of it. But subsidies come from tax dollars and from borrowing to increase the national debt.

FOX News reports the additional subsidy cost to taxpayers will rise $8.5-billion next year, on top of the 2016 subsidy costs of $43-billion, raising the annual subsidies to $51.5-billion. The country has about 96-million households that pay federal income taxes, so this averages to $536 per household. Each year. On top of the higher premiums for the insured.

Of course, corporate taxes will cover some of the bill–but those taxes are passed along to consumers via higher prices on goods and services.

Obamacare (mis-named as the Affordable Care Act) is a vast collection of federal red tape, regulations and mandates managed by federal bureaucrats and government-paid agents.

The new premium hikes are a double-whammy: They hit those who have Obamacare coverage AND they hit every taxpayer.

Doctors spend 2 weeks each year on ‘obscene waste’ paperwork

health-costsA bombshell study reveals that doctors waste almost two full work weeks each year explaining to regulators how they practice medicine.

The time spent on this paperwork robs doctors from seeing nine patients each week. One health care CEO labels it an “obscene waste,” especially because multiple reports ask for the same things. Medical staff spend even more time on the paperwork than the doctors themselves.

The Health Affairs journal study attributes the red tape to federal Medicaid and Medicare regulations, plus private insurers. But most blame was heaped on federal requirements.

Only quality control reports were studied, not the other massive health care red tape. By themselves, the quality control reports consumed 785 hours per physician, representing $40,000 per doctor in non-productive time each year, totaling $15.4 billion nationwide. 

The Physician Foundation financed the study of 394 medical clinics, focusing on cardiology, orthopedics, primary care, and multispecialty practices. The authors agree quality measurement is important, but conclude “the current system is unnecessarily costly.”

Halee Fischer-Wright, president and CEO of the Medical Group Management Association, commented, “On top of the obscene waste of billions of dollars each year on quality measures, the most alarming thing about this study is that nearly three-fourths of the groups reported that the quality measures are not even clinically relevant.” 

“This study proves that the current top-down approach has failed,” Fischer-Wright said. “It serves no purpose to have over three thousand competing measures of quality across government and private initiatives. . . . the federal government needs to get out of the business of dictating patient care through wasteful mandates and create simplified systems.”

 

Industry rails against Obama’s dishwasher rules

Cughompanies that make dishwashers are warning that the Obama administration’s latest efficiency standards for their industry would backfire.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers is accusing the Department of Energy (DOE) of a politically motivated drive to increase dishwasher efficiency standards, which are so bad that they would cause consumers to re-wash dishes, erasing any efficiency gains.

Rob McAver, the group’s head lobbyist, said regulators are going too far and the new rules will allow only 3.1 gallons to be used to wash each load of dishes.“At some point, they’re trying to squeeze blood from a stone that just doesn’t have any blood left in it,” McAver said.

Some of the group’s members, which include companies like GE Appliances & Lighting and Whirlpool Corp., tweaked their models to comply with the DOE’s December proposal to ratchet up standards. They then ran standard tests with food stuck to dishes.

“They found some stuff that was pretty disgusting,” McAver said.McAver brought DOE officials to his office recently to show them the results and released photos of it publicly this week.

He’s hoping that the disgusted reactions to the tests will spur DOE to go back to the drawing board for the standards and work more closely with the industry this time.

“The poor performance that would result would totally undercut and go backwards in terms of energy and water use, because of the need for running the dishwasher again, or pre-rinsing or hand-washing, which uses a lot of water,” he said.

McAver suspects the DOE is pushing the rules to try and meet President Obama’s greenhouse gas emissions goals under the Climate Action Plan, his second-term climate change initiative. And while appliance makers are willing to work with the administration, they don’t want that to come at the expense of effective products.

Source: Industry rails against Obama’s dishwasher rules | TheHill

Red tape messes up our 4th of July fireworks

flag_and_fireworksRed tape abounds during our red, white and blue Independence Day celebrations, especially the fireworks displays.

Not only do federal regulations govern the import, testing, shipping, sales and displays of firecrackers, Roman candles, bottle rockets, fountains, sparklers and all the rest, but bureaucrats consider fireworks to be a dangerous pollutant. The EPA’s new ozone limits threaten to force communities to cancel the holiday extravaganzas.

Already, communities must ask the Environmental Protection Agency to grant an “exceptional event” waiver when smoke from a public fireworks display drifts near an air-quality monitoring station. Without the waiver, the community could be penalized for polluted air. But the in-the-works restrictions on ozone make it worse.

The current rules say only 75 parts per billion of ozone are permitted; that’s being lowered to 65 or 70. Imagine the difficulty of finding and removing a handful of molecules mixed-in with a billion others.

Unsure whether they can get EPA waivers, the promoters may have to drop fireworks shows altogether, lest their town be hit with a loss of highway funds or other punishments for being a “non-attainment” area.

This is just part of the red tape that is messing with our holiday traditions. A spokeswoman for the fireworks industry calls the Obama-esque level of regulations “completely insane.” Read about the rest of the holiday red tape here: This July 4, the rockets’ red glare requires lots of red tape – Washington Times

 

Red tape to ban short-term loans for people in need?

dollars and red tape(Article released by the Online Lenders Alliance. While critics label it as “predatory lending,” the short-term loan industry says they take financial risks to help people who need cash urgently. But the CFPB – Consumer Financial Protection Board – is proposing regulations that could dry up those loans.)

By Samantha Bentson, CEO, Cashland Holdings

I recently attended the CFPB’s Richmond hearing where the agency released its draft proposal governing short-term credit.  During the public comment period I heard many of the same stories from customers and employees that I hear every week in my own business in Oklahoma:  Consumers would have no other options without these loans and they value the relationships they have with their lenders.

That’s why, like many of the members of the public that day. I was stunned by the CFPB’s proposal.  As written, it could put me out of business, cost 45 employees their jobs, and eliminate credit options for thousands of people in the states I serve.

Our company owns 13 retail locations throughout Oklahoma and provides loans online in Oklahoma, Missouri, and New Mexico.  We offer revolving lines of credit and installment loan products. Our customers come from diverse backgrounds.  We serve individuals, single income families, and married families with children across all income brackets. 

Our business is often the only financial lifeline our customers have to manage the peaks and valleys of their household budgets resulting from unexpected car repairs, a medical emergency, or school expenses for children.

Surprisingly, the CFPB’s own analysis of its proposal predicts 60 to 80 percent of consumers would no longer have access to this form of credit, effectively eliminating an industry and an option for my customers and millions of consumers nationwide.

Congress recognized the need for a short-term credit when it passed the Dodd-Frank Act.  Yet, the CFPB appears to want to wipe out the industry administratively. Is Congress prepared to see 50 million consumers lose access to the only form of short-term credit available to them and eliminate a $46 billion industry if the CFPB’s proposal is implemented as written? 

Congress must step in and remind the CFPB of its original intent. Dodd-Frank also prohibited the CFPB from setting rates, yet the CFPB proposal appears to backdoor a 36% rate cap by creating its confusing rules only for products that exceed this arbitrary rate.  Congress should exercise its oversight authority and remind the CFPB not to overstep its legal boundaries.

Cashland has served the Oklahoma community for over twenty-five years.  I am often told by customers that I was the only “person” willing to help them when they so desperately needed to borrow money.  I am concerned as to where these customers will go if they do not have an option of short-term credit. 

I often read commentary in Washington, D.C., publications from consumer groups and industry representatives about how to treat consumers who need short-term credit.  I can tell you from personal experience that outside the Beltway there will be millions of Americans left lacking any credible options without honest community businesses like mine providing these loans. 

Congress must step in and ensure the CFPB’s final rules don’t hurt the very people they purport to help.

Bentson is the CEO of Cashland Holdings which operates several retail establishments in Oklahoma, Missouri, and New Mexico and has an online lending platform.  She is a member of the Online Lenders Alliance.

Source: CFPB proposal would hurt consumers it’s designed to help 

Dishwashers ruined by energy regulations: Prices up $143 but dishes don’t get clean

Dishwashers used to workWho wants a dishwasher that doesn’t work but costs more than ever?

The Department of Energy is completing a second round of regulations dictating the machines must use less water and less energy.

Prices already rose by $44 a unit with their first round in 2012. But add another $99 to the price from the 2015 regulations, spurred by President Obama’s call to “save the planet” by restricting use of energy. These are the government’s official cost projections; industry says the costs are even higher.

No, you won’t get the money back from lower electric bills. Manufacturers say that would take 20 years–twice as long as most dishwashers last.

The kicker: The new units don’t get things clean because water use is restricted and the energy limits prevent use of high-velocity sprayers.

Dishwashers could use 6.5 gallons per cycle until 2012, when that limit was lowered to 5 gallons. The 2015 Department of Energy (DOE) rules will drop that to 3.1 gallons per cycle.

The 2012 regulation restricted energy usage to 307 kWh (kiloWatthour) per year for a standard washer. The 2015 proposal lowers that to 234 kWh/year.

Manufacturers expect to lay off workers, because who wants to pay more and get less. Similar energy restrictions are in the works for other appliances.

cat licks plate

Get ready to work harder as you wash dishes by hand. Unless you have a willing pet to lick your plates clean.

Read more: Plan to wash dishes by hand; red tape makes dishwashers work worse but cost more – Washington Times

Fireworks lobby to Obama: Enough of ‘insane’ rules

 

Julie Heckman, pyro assoc exec dir
Julie Heckman, from POLITICO article

The fireworks industry complains that President Obama’s regulators are “completely insane” by forcing so many rules on their patriotic industry.

Fireworks use is up, but the rate of injuries is down, says Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association.

She told POLITICO, “the overall usage of backyard consumer fireworks has increased significantly during the past decade, and when you look at the use of fireworks and compare then the number of injuries, actually, the injury rate has declined. I’m not aware of one other consumer product on the market today where the usage has risen so dramatically, yet the injuries have gone down.”

Self-policing by the industry is a big part of that, she says, with self-imposed standards that are tougher than federal regulations to make fireworks safer.

But Heckman complains, “I’ve been working with the industry for a very long time, 26 years.  I have never seen as many rulemaking initiatives as I have with this administration.  It has just been completely insane. . . . we’ve got to comply with ATF, CPSC, EPA, OSHA, multiple divisions of the Department of Transportation; it’s really challenging.”

Read the interview at POLITICOFireworks lobby to Obama: Enough with all the rules

FDA bans trans fats; you cannot eat what you like

Next targets: sugar, sodium, caffeine

Homer with donut and broccoli

The mission of the FDA–Food and Drug Administration–is to protect us from unsafe foods. But the agency has re-interpreted its mission as protecting us from what they deem as “unhealthy” even if not “unsafe.”

Their newest regulation dictates that artificial trans fats must be off our grocery shelves within three years.

The FDA released a specific plan giving packaged-cookie makers, ready-made frosting producers and margarine suppliers until 2018 to eliminate the artery-clogging substance from their products. Artificial trans fats (also called “partially hydrogenated oils” typically are used for fried and baked goods.

The American Heart Association called the regulation a “historic victory for the nation’s health” that it claims could prevent up to 20,000 heart attacks each year.

Critics, however, called it a nanny-state measure. “The FDA’s role [is to] . . . make sure the ingredients of the food supply are safe. That’s different than making sure people eat something that’s healthy,” said Daren Bakst, a research fellow at The Heritage Foundation. “Other ingredients are coming. That’s their intent: to go after sugar, sodium, caffeine,” he said.

Since 2006, the FDA has required companies to include trans fat content information on their nutrition labels, and many producers have eliminated trans fats altogether. The FDA estimates that consumption of trans fats fell by 78 percent from 2003 to 2012 and Americans ate about 1 gram a day on average in 2012, down from 4.6 grams in 2006.

HEAR Ernest’s commentary on this:

 

Source: FDA bans artificial trans fats from grocery shelves; critics see nanny-state overreach – Washington Times

More manual labor! Regs raise prices of labor-saving appliances

Appliance CostsThe era of affordable labor-saving devices is threatened by rising appliance costs, caused by federal energy regulations.

Washing clothes by hand sounds Third World to Americans, but how else might limited budgets respond to sticker shock since washing machines and dryers already can cost $600 to $1,000? That’s apiece, not both together.

Energy savings cannot be counted on to  offset the larger price tags. Agencies project electric bill “savings” extended over as long as 30 years. But the Consumer Electronics Association warned regulators that it’s nonsense to count 30 years of using less energy when consumers don’t use an item that long, sometimes only for a few months. The agencies did not listen.

Stricter federal energy decrees are in-process for plenty more, including:

Refrigerators Freezers
Lamps Lighting
Dishwashers Icemakers
Space heaters Ovens
Stoves Electric Chargers
Clothes washers Clothes dryers
Air conditioners Furnaces

Each product gets mind-numbing new standards on power usage, design and labeling. The red tape language is dizzying, such as telling manufacturers to consult “Appendix Z to subpart B of 10 CFR Part 430.”

When appendices reach the letter Z, we’re in trouble.

Source: Regulations could kill your labor-saving home appliances – Washington Times

Privacy at-risk on HealthCare.gov website

Healthcare-dot-gov_risksOnce it met you, it won’t forget you. And you can forget your privacy.

All who shared information with healthcare.gov will be remembered forever. That Obamacare website stores information indefinitely about all who visited it, even if they did not buy their insurance through the website.

The data system is called MIDAS–Multidimensional Insurance Data Analytics System. Developing the website cost taxpayers over $2.1-billion, yet it still is not finished.

The practic is like what the Consumer Financial Protection Board does. Both government websites keep a mountain of personal data on millions of Americans. Goodbye, privacy! What will the feds eventually do with it? We have to guess.

And is either site more secure than the files of millions of federal workers, which got hacked through the Office of Personnel Management? Unlikely.

Experts told Congress that the longer the data is kept on government websites, the more likely it will be hacked and and privacy of millions will be breached.

The Associated Press writes up more details:  Government data warehouse stores personal information indefinitely for all HealthCare.gov users – Red Alert Politics

New red tape: White House quietly projects $110-billion more

WH red tape agendaRed tape keeps growing.

The White House released its regulatory agenda of new red tape. They did it quietly on the eve of a holiday weekend, namely the Thursday evening before Memorial Day. Issuing such notices about red tape is required by law.

An American Action Forum (AAF) review of the agenda found more than $110 billion in potential costs, with billions more in unknown burdens. No wonder President Obama wanted it announced with a whisper, not a shout.

Read more: Administration’s Regulatory Agenda Imposes $110 Billion in Costs — American Action Forum

Regulation adds 40% to San Diego housing prices

San Diego housingSan Diego County’s regulations account for 40 percent of the area’s high cost of new housing, according to a study by the The Fermanian Business and Economic Institute at Point Loma Nazarene University.

Just reducing regulations by 3 percent would save consumers $2.5 billion and boost the local economy by 37,331 more jobs, according to the report.

Financing for the study came from homebuilders.

One local city has delayed a proposed $20 per square foot fee on new apartments pending the outcome of a lawsuit elsewhere.

Source: Regulation adds 40% to housing prices, study shows | UTSanDiego.com

Wham! Regulations sock it to consumers


Socking it to the consumer
Consumer prices will increase by more than $11,000  just from 36 of the Obama Administration’s regulations, reports the American Action Forum (AAF).

It’s a wallop to the jaw for everyday people. AAF’s research finds this includes higher-priced vehicles, pricier household goods, and more expensive food. “Energy-efficiency” standards are the biggest reason for higher prices.

Of course,  politicians and bureaucrats claim they’re saving us money. So ask yourself, Have YOU saved $11,000 thanks to federal regulations?

THE GIMMICKS:

Typically, agencies speculate that IF buyers keep using the mandated energy-saving products for long enough, they eventually will have a net gain. That’s IF things don’t wear out (or a light bulb doesn’t burn out).

As The New York Times researched and reported in 2012 about automobiles, projections of fuel savings often presume that consumers will keep their cars twice as long as is normal. Plus their study presumed gasoline would cost almost $4.00 a gallon. Projected “savings” also are not offset against interest paid on loans to buy more-expensive products, nor the extra repair charges to make old things last longer.  Continue reading Wham! Regulations sock it to consumers

‘Costliest regulation ever’ pushed by EPA

NAM on EPA and ozone (larger)Claiming it wants to help us breathe better, the EPA chokes our economy.

While 40% of the country has not been able to meet the ozone standards issued in 2008, the EPA wants to go farther and faster. The proposal is a limit of 65 parts per billion to replace the current 75 ppb.

Trying to filter such tiny amounts from the air is vastly expensive. The National Association of Manufacturers reports that this would be the single costliest regulation in American history.

The Heritage Foundation’s Daren Bakst and Nicolas Loris write, “Lost jobs and less disposable income are not just economic costs; they can lead to significant health problems, particularly among the poor.”

And about carbon dioxide regulations, they say, “If the EPA is allowed to push through these jobs-crushing regulations, it will, at best, be able to boast a climate benefit of a few hundredths of a degree Celsius abated warming by the turn of the century. Sound like it’s worth it?”

Read more: Attempting to rein in the EPA | TheHill

‘Dirty Rotten Ethanol Scoundrels’ – Wall St. Journal

ethanol in gasolineA Wall Street Journal editorial notes that the EPA is reducing the amount of ethanol that must be blended into gasoline below the level required by the 2007 energy bill.

Why? Because it’s impossible to meet the goal without diluting gasoline so badly that it will damage car engines because ethanol is corrosive. Requiring 10% (E-10) is bad enough, but mandating anything higher would “damage the engines and fuel systems of most of the cars and trucks on the road today . . . risking accidents, breakdowns and valve, pump, cylinder and injector replacements rarely covered by consumer warranties.”

But to placate corn farmers, the Agriculture Department pledged $100 million in state grants to help fix vehicles that use higher blends of ethanol. That’s more taxpayer money to fix the damage caused by taxpayer subsidies of ethanol.

The WSJ concludes: “Such is the corruption of corporate welfare, which continues for no reason other than that it already exists.”

Read more: Dirty Rotten Ethanol Scoundrels – WSJ

What difference does the number of regulations make?

Major regulationsPresident Obama loves to say that he’s issued fewer regulations than George W. Bush did. Obama does that to distract and confuse people because it’s both true and extremely misleading. It’s the cost that counts — the economic impact — far more than the number of regulations.

An illustration: One person may have twice as many coins as another person, but if they have four pennies and the other person has two quarters, then the smaller number of coins is clearly more significant.

Obama’s smaller number of regulations have a far bigger and more negative impact on our economy than Bush’s regulations did. As FactCheck.org noted early in 2012, “It’s true (barely) that Bush issued more new regulations than Obama at the same point in their presidencies — but Obama didn’t mention that his cost more.

More from Competitive Enterprise Institute: https://cei.org/blog/obama-has-issued-more-economically-significant-rules-65-years-bush-did-eight

The FTC — America’s abusive nanny

Uncle Sam Says Obey the FTCThe FTC — Federal Trade Commission — “is showing troubling signs of overaggressive behavior” says a new policy paper from the National Taxpayers Union’s Pete Sepp.

“Americans may find themselves unwitting (and ultimately unwilling) wards of an obsessive ‘nanny’ that will dictate not only their everyday choices as consumers, but also the direction of technological innovation.”

One example? The FTC decided to investigate whether Google’s search results are “unfair” because they rank some websites above others. 

Read more: http://www.ntu.org/governmentbytes/detail/ftc-a-three-letter-way-to-spell-nanny

First, free Obamaphones. Now, free Internet. Next???

Obama givesBAmerica’s welfare state keeps growing because Congress allows bureaucrats to expand programs, immune from accountability to voters.

The latest proposal would give free Internet service to tens of millions of people. It would be done by the nonelected commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission

Millions of people already get free phones through the fraud-ridden FCC program nicknamed “Obamaphones.” Expanding this to the Internet (Call it “Obamanet?”) could add tens of millions of people, thanks to FCC’s loose eligibility criteria.

The cost would be borne by the rest of us through surcharges on our cellphones, landlines and business lines. Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/3/ernest-istook-free-internet-service-expansion-of-o/#ixzz3c6rKWtYm 

FEMA overpays hurricane damages by $177-M

FEMA money fliesFEMA overspent hurricane reimbursements in Florida in 2004 and 2005 by more than $177 million — and the federal government is liable for another $1 billion in future disaster costs “due to lax insurance reviews.”

And now Baltimore wants taxpayers to cover the damages from its riots–which local officials stood back and let happen.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/1/deborah-simmons-stephanie-rawlings-blake-larry-hog/#ixzz3bvzfruRc

Federal watchdogs admit $100-billion wasted each year

Burning MoneyOur national government admits to wasting at least $100 billion a year, yet nobody gets fired for it. Bureaucrats and Congress don’t fix the loopholes; that could make some people mad and their votes might be lost.

Everyday people would be in prison if they handled their taxes the way our government handles our tax dollars. Government inefficiency is legendary.

The mis-named EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) is actually a public assistance program with 24% levels of fraud and waste, costing us almost $18-billion a year. Medicare wastes almost $46-billion annually, with a 12.7% error rate.

READ MORE DETAILS HERE:

For the government’s official list of “high-error programs, click HERE.

Everyday people bear the brunt of higher prices and fewer jobs

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