Morning Report – Mel Watt doesn’t get the vote 11/01/13

Vital Statistics:

Last Change Percent
S&P Futures 1755.0 4.0 0.23%
Eurostoxx Index 3062.3 -5.7 -0.18%
Oil (WTI) 95.64 -0.7 -0.77%
LIBOR 0.238 -0.004 -1.76%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 80.53 0.338 0.42%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.58% 0.02%
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 106.2 -0.2
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 105.2 -0.2
RPX Composite Real Estate Index 200.7 -0.2
BankRate 30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 4.15
Markets are up this morning on no real news. The Markit PMI fell in October, but came in a little better than consensus. Bonds continue their post-FOMC sell-off with the 10 year yielding 2.58%. MBS are down a few ticks.
Mel Watt failed to garner the 60 votes needed to move to a final vote, so he will probably end up withdrawing his name for consideration to run FHFA. Watt was considered to be a little too political and there were grave doubts he would be working in the best interests of the taxpayers. Moody’s Chief Economist Mark Zandi has been mentioned as a possible nomination, however he has been a vocal proponent of principal forgiveness and that will be an issue.
The thing to keep in mind about principal reduction is that there are two losers in this situation – the taxpayer who obviously backstops the insurance and the investors who own the paper. The investors who own these mortgage backed securities are mainly pension funds, and they have been quietly urging their representatives in Washington to not go the mass forgiveness route. Think about things from a pension fund’s perspective – the expected rate of inflation for their liabilities has been growing a lot faster than the paltry rate of return they are getting on their assets in this QE-manipulated environment. The dirty little secret of many of these funds is that they are making, shall we say, optimistic assumptions about the expected rate of return on their asset in order to claim they are in fact solvent. Capital losses (even on insured MBS) will happen, which will push them even deeper in the hole. Many of these plans are government / union and many politicians have their own retirement in these plans. So that is a look at the behind-the-scenes issue with the whole FHFA head.
Politically, Acting Chairman Ed DeMarco may in fact make a convenient target for the Left, who can rail against his refusal to entertain principal mods while that the same time offering assurances to their state pension funds that nothing will change. And the Republicans get to do the dirty work. A win all around.
One note, CBO did conduct a study that showed that a mass principal forgiveness program would save the government money, primarily through increased economic growth, however that result depends on the government getting it right in terms of crafting a policy that would not cause a wave of strategic defaults. That is the $10,000 question.
John McCain and Lindsey Graham are going to hold up the nomination of Janet Yellen unless they get more details from the Administration over the Benghazi attacks. In spite of this, Yellen will get confirmed. I don’t anticipate the political sausage-making will affect the bond market at all.

89 Responses

  1. I think DeMarco may be less of a target for the left these days due to his role in getting $4 billion of the JP Morgan settlement for the FHFA.

    Ideally, President Obama would just nominate him for the permanent position. He’s done a better job than anyone else.

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  2. Watt saying he won’t withdraw…

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  3. Good ISM numbers…

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  4. Why the sequester is needed. Otherwise this would never change:

    “Homeland Security workers routinely boost pay with unearned overtime, report says
    By Emily Wax-Thibodeaux, Published: October 31 E-mail the writer

    Federal employees at the Department of Homeland Security call it the “candy bowl,” a pot of overtime money they have long dipped into to pad their pay even if they haven’t earned it, whistleblowers say.

    This practice, which can add up to 25 percent to a paycheck, has become so routine over the last generation that it’s often held out as a perk when government managers try to recruit new employees, according to these accounts.

    Over the past year, as federal cuts have torn through department budgets, the use and misuse of overtime has become a matter of increasing concern among federal managers, employees and unions.

    Elam, who has worked at his office since 2008, said he had noticed the problem for years but that it began bothering him more after automatic federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, kicked in this year. He said he worried about employees losing work and programs being slashed while employees continued to get overtime payments.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/homeland-security-workers-routinely-boost-pay-with-unearned-overtime-report-says/2013/10/31/3d33f6e4-3fdf-11e3-9c8b-e8deeb3c755b_story.html?hpid=z1

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  5. I’ll bring this over here, since I didn’t realize you’d gotten a Morning Report up while I was reading it.

    Short piece. in The New Yorker that has a good summary (h/t to Wonkblog for the link):

    While President Obama was in Boston on Wednesday to deliver a speech at Faneuil Hall, he was also scheduled to attend a private meeting with friends and supporters. One of the well-wishers in attendance was Jonathan Gruber, an M.I.T. economist and an architect of both Mitt Romney’s health-care plan in Massachusetts and Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

    Gruber’s specific expertise is predicting the effects of changes to health-care policy. His models of the insurance market helped convince both Romney and Obama of the importance of including an individual mandate in their respective plans.

    [. . . ]

    Finally, Gruber was frank about the issue that has caused the President so much political pain this week: the oft-repeated promise that any American who liked his health-insurance plan could keep it. It turns out than many people—probably millions—will not be able to keep the exact plans they currently have.

    But the details and context are important.

    Gruber broke down the A.C.A. “winners” and “losers” for me. About eighty per cent of Americans are more or less left alone by the health-care act—largely people who have health insurance through their employers. About fourteen per cent of Americans are clear winners: they are currently uninsured and will have access to an affordable insurance policy under the A.C.A.

    But much of the current controversy involves the six per cent of Americans who buy their own health care on the individual market, which the A.C.A. has dramatically reformed. Gruber argued that half of these people (three per cent of all Americans) will have little change to their polices. “They have to buy new plans, but they will be pretty similar to what they had before,” he said. “It will essentially be relabeling.”

    The other half, however, also three per cent of the population, will have to buy a new product that complies with the A.C.A.’s more stringent requirements for individual plans. A significant portion of these roughly nine million Americans will be forced to buy a new insurance policy with higher premiums than they currently pay. The primary reason for the increased cost is that the A.C.A. bans any plan that would require a people who get sick to pay medical fees greater than six thousand dollars per year. In other words, this was a deliberate policy decision that the White House and Congress made to raise the quality—and thus the premiums—of insurance policies at the bottom end of the individual market.

    “We’ve decided as a society that we don’t want people to have insurance plans that expose them to more than six thousand dollars in out-of-pocket expenses,” Gruber said. Obama obviously should have known that his blanket statement about “keeping what you have” could not apply to this class of policyholders.

    Gruber summarized his stats: ninety-seven per cent of Americans are either left alone or are clear winners, while three per cent are arguably losers. “We have to as a society be able to accept that,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, that’s a shame, but no law in the history of America makes everyone better off.”

    Brent–you’re part of the 3%!

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    • Mich:

      From the article:

      Gruber summarized his stats: ninety-seven per cent of Americans are either left alone or are clear winners, while three per cent are arguably losers.

      I really don’t know how anyone can take this claim seriously. First of all, he is being rhetorically deceptive by combining “those who are left alone” with “clear winners” in order to create the impression of a huge number, 97%. More honestly stated, what he is suggesting is that 83% of the people will be unaffected, and 14% of the population will gain at the expense of 3% of the population. But to believe this one must believe that the small (he dismisses it with the qualifier “arguable”) cost to the 3% is enough to cover the huge gains allegedly received by the 14%. Is that really the case?

      The problem is in his grossly generalized assumptions about his identified demographics. Take the 14%. First of all, it is not the case that ACA will result in 100% of Americans being privately insured. So to say that because 80% of the nation currently gets employer provided insurance, and 6% gets individual insurance, that the remaining 14% will become insured because of O-care is simply wrong. It will be less than 14%. In fact, some of that 14% already gets medicaid, and those rolls will be increased under O-care. While the additional number enrolled may be also be considered ACA “winners”, taxpayers (current or future) will have to pay for it, so already the percentage of “losers” has climbed from his ridiculous 3%.

      He then defines the 14% as the “currently uninsured” which “will have access to an affordable insurance policy under the A.C.A.” So he assumes that the only reason anyone in this 14% doesn’t currently have insurance is that they can’t afford it. But that is obviously not true. Many of the currently uninsured choose not to have a policy because they don’t want to spend the money on it, not because they can’t afford it. This is especially true of young people, which coincidentally enough is precisely one of the targeted demographics that O-care relies upon to help subsidize the whole system. So if the system is relying on such new (and generally healthy) entrants into the system to help subsidize it, how in the world can they be considered “winners”? So clearly Gruber’s 14% called “clear winners”, already an overestimation, is actually even smaller, and some portion of that 14% should actually be added to the 3% which are clear (definitely not just “arguable”) losers.

      But what about the 83%? Well, he acknowledges that 3% of the population will have to buy new plans, but he says they will not be changed in any significant way. He doesn’t tell us how he knows that, but if that were really true, why would they have to buy new plans in the first place? But more importantly, he says that 80% will not be effected because they get their insurance through their employer, and he dismissively assumes that for this reason they will be “more or less” unaffected. But he ignores the fact that the parts of the law that effect employers have not yet been implemented. It is possible, and almost a certainty, that large numbers of employees will be adversely impacted once the employer mandates kick in. Indeed, if it were true that O-care would have no impact on employer provided insurance, then why would it have needed to include any provisions regarding employer-provided insurance? Also, he ignores the so-called “cadillac-tax” which will require those who get high levels of insurance benefits from their employer to pay a new excise tax. Again, we see that he classifies as “those who are left alone or clear winners” many people who are in fact clear losers in the plan.

      Clearly Gruber is playing fast and loose, both with language and his numbers, in order to create an impression of O-care that simply is not true.

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  6. I am not part of the 3%, but our costs are going up big time in 2014.. The spin war will be over how much of that is due to normal healthcare inflation and how much is due to new mandates..

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  7. This practice, which can add up to 25 percent to a paycheck, has become so routine over the last generation that it’s often held out as a perk when government managers try to recruit new employees, according to these accounts.

    I was thinking, during the shutdown, that maybe I should be focusing on DoD, rather than the FDA or NIH, for finding a job should I decide to become a federal moocher. This is making me think that DHS might be a better route. . .

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  8. our costs are going up big time in 2014

    This was another link in Wonkbolg (Howard Fineman in HuffPo–I haven’t read the article myself yet):

    According to an Affordable Care Act timetable established by administration officials, early next October insurance companies will announce their new menu of health care plans for the ACA marketplaces — plans that may be more varied and numerous than those offered this year, but that almost certainly will come with higher prices. The likely price hikes will hit the individual and small-business insurance markets only weeks before Election Day on Nov. 4, 2014.

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  9. The word from HR is that our brokers are still working out the choices for new plans, but we are being told to brace ourselves – it won’t be pretty..

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  10. Brent has employer based insurance I believe. He’s in a different class of shaftee than the individual market.

    David Frum wrote about his plan changes. He’s a better example to use than the $54 plan person.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/10/29/the-obamacare-ripoff-more-money-for-less-insurance.html

    Jonathan Chait makes the straight up case for redistribution, but he goes too far in setting up a strawman with the whole “denial of healthcare” argument. Wanting to keep underwriting standards for certain risks, isn’t “denying healthcare”. It’s simply making those who have the risks bear more of the costs.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/10/letting-everyone-keep-their-plan-terrible-idea.html

    The PPACA never would have passed if President Obama had conceded this publicly. The lie about keeping your existing plans was absolutely necessary to pass it.

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  11. It’s impossible not to look at Gruber as anything but a psychopath. The hubris he exhibits is on par with serial killers. It’s telling that President Drone Strike was eager to talk to him.

    Why do these freaks wish to control society? Why is the power attractive to them?

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  12. Some pretty good snark:

    @samsteinhp: now, you can try and fail to log on to http://healthcare.gov while taking off on a flight.

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  13. Why do these freaks wish to control society?

    Because we know, better than you do, what’s good for you. Now come and eat your oatmeal and drink your prune juice for breakfast.

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    • Mich:

      Because we know, better than you do, what’s good for you.

      The veil of sarcasm notwithstanding, it really is a premise that underlies so much of what progressives advocate for. But it’s even worse. Not only do they think they know what is best for everyone else, they also think they are smart enough to understand and manipulate the particulars of highly complex systems in order to provide that conception of what is best to everyone. They are, of course, wrong on both counts.

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  14. The failure to acknowledge that some will die who otherwise would not have is baffling. Keeping the law as it was would result in deaths that would not have occurred as well. To pretend that some might experience, at worst, mild financial inconvenience is, well, I can’t quite articulate how pathological that behavior is. It could only be worse if he didn’t realize it.

    That’s why Buckley and the phone book is so true. God save us from experts.

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  15. “It’s simply making those who have the risks bear more of the costs.”

    AKA, denying health care. Not giving is taking.

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  16. AKA, denying health care. Not giving is taking.

    What is not forbidden is mandatory.

    Christ what a liberty loving philosophy.

    Oops, I’m pretty sure that’s racist to say out loud. My Bull Connor (D) is showing.

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  17. Has Rand Paul’s “plagiarism reached Doris Kearns Goodwin or Mike Barnicle levels yet? Has it reached Maddow levels yet ?

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  18. Frum’s point is more on target:

    “The ACA was ingeniously designed to deliver benefits to Democratic constituencies and impose costs on Republican ones. The big surprise in the ACA rollout is that this design is going awry. It’s not only plutocrats and one-percenters who will find themselves worse off; not only the comparatively affluent retirees enrolled in Medicare Plus programs. Self-employed professionals who earn too much to qualify for ACA subsidies will soon discover what I have discovered: They are paying more for a worse product.”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/10/29/the-obamacare-ripoff-more-money-for-less-insurance.html

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    • jnc;

      The ACA was ingeniously designed to deliver benefits to Democratic constituencies and impose costs on Republican ones.

      I don’t think that is actually true. With the exception of the web-site problems (which will get fixed), O-care is not going awry. It is working exactly as designed. Obama and his merry band of progressives knew (and know) very well that the one-percenters alone could never sustain this monstrosity, and that ultimately the middle class would have to bear a substantial amount of the financial burden for his “compassion”. The way O-care was sold to the public should not be confused with what it was actually designed to do. I don’t think there is any way that Obama is surprised or shocked by the constituencies that are getting f-ed by this. It is working just as he, and anyone who was gave the matter any serious thought, knew it would work.

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  19. Explain how you can read that piece on Gruber and not come away thinking he is mentally ill?

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  20. “for finding a job should I decide to become a federal moocher”

    lobbying.

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  21. “The PPACA never would have passed if President Obama had conceded this publicly. The lie about keeping your existing plans was absolutely necessary to pass it.”

    I wonder. Was he lying? Or is he playing with Constanza rules?

    Or, even worse, just a throwaway line in a speech that kinda became policy until it didn’t.

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  22. Not anymore. my a lot of my clients do. in part anyway.

    [edit — but i do have colleagues who represent state/local governments and other public entities, such as universities.]

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  23. Based on the reported sophistication of the Obama campaign in the use of polling and past election data for microtargeting the electorate, I believe the phrase was chosen intentionally based on the best polling data available at the time. It wasn’t an accident.

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  24. The evolution of PPACA negative consequences denialism:

    Stage 1: There are no negative consequences or losers with the PPACA. Everyone will either be better off or keep what they have.

    Stage 2: The people who think they are losers aren’t actually worse off. They are just to ignorant to understand what they have or didn’t have.

    Stage 3: The number of losers under the PPACA is inconsequential

    And now with Chait’s piece we arrive at Stage 4:

    The losers under the PPACA deserve to be losers because that’s the correct moral choice.

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  25. That’s false NoVA. They were punked by the military version of the Onion.

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  26. yeah. i deleted it.

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  27. If the level of obfuscation and flat out lying in this article is any indication, progressives really are afraid to engage the redistribution arguments on the merits.

    http://www.salon.com/2013/11/01/the_rights_sickest_obamacare_lie_yet/

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    • BTW, another extremely irritating talking point I keep hearing with regard to people who are getting their policies cancelled is that, taking subsidies into account, the cost of their new policy might be lower. Well, perhaps the cost to the individual buyer is lower, but the cost of the policy itself is still higher, and someone is paying for it. So for every person who’s costs go down because of a subsidy, there is another person (or group of persons) whose costs have gone up by precisely the amount of the subsidy. So can we please stop pretending that costs are in any way lower?

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  28. Wait, aren’t we all in this together? Why should those with more risk and costs have to pay more?

    “The 1 percent’s flood insurance scam
    It’s time for wealthy with vacation homes and valuable shoreline land to pay their own way — and not rely on us
    By David Dayen
    Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013 07:43 AM EST”

    http://www.salon.com/2013/10/30/the_1_percents_flood_insurance_scam/

    See also

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=240904662

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  29. Why should those with more risk and costs have to pay more?

    Because you can control where you live while you can’t control whether or not you get sick.

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    • Mich:

      Because you can control where you live while you can’t control whether or not you get sick.

      This is not a sensible answer. Both examples involve both behavioral risk factors, which can be controlled, and external risk factors that cannot be controlled. But even if we assume that your fundamental premise (one risk is chosen, the other is not) is correct, you still have not established any reason to think that a chosen risk should be paid for by the one who has the risk, while a risk that was not chosen should be paid for by someone other than the one who has the risk.

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  30. That was too easy, jnc. . . are you trying to bait me? 🙂

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  31. “progressives really are afraid to engage the redistribution arguments on the merits”

    i thought that polls really well and that it’s just obstruction and weak Democrats preventing implementation

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  32. “So can we please stop pretending that costs are in any way lower?”

    Never!

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  33. “Michigoose, on November 1, 2013 at 11:58 am said:

    Why should those with more risk and costs have to pay more?

    Because you can control where you live while you can’t control whether or not you get sick.”

    The underwriting fights in the PPACA aren’t over catastrophic care, but rather subsidizing preferred classes.

    In both cases the people that cost more to insure should pay more. There are behavior choices that increase your cost to insure.

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  34. I thought that this was interesting given our recent discussion on Tea Partiers and their science awareness (or whatever the correct term was that the researcher used). Views among Democrats, Republicans and Tea Partiers on global warming and its cause(s) :

    Two-thirds of Americans (67%) say there is solid evidence that the earth has been getting warmer over the last few decades, a figure that has changed little in the past few years. While partisan differences over climate change remain substantial, Republicans face greater internal divisions over this issue than do Democrats.

    The national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Oct. 9-13 among 1,504 adults, finds that most people who see solid evidence of global warming – 44% of the public overall – say it is mostly caused by human activity, such as burning fossil fuels. Just 18% say it is mainly caused by natural patterns in the earth’s environment.

    Among the 26% of the public who say there is no solid evidence of global warming, about as many say “it’s just not happening” (13%) as say “we just don’t know enough yet about whether the earth is getting warmer” (12%).

    Opinions of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents divide into four roughly equal size groups: 23% say there is solid evidence of global warming and it is mostly caused by human activity; 19% say warming exists but is due to natural patterns; 25% see no solid evidence and say it is just not happening; 20% say there is no solid evidence but not enough is known yet.

    Among Tea Party Republicans, the largest share –41% – says that global warming is just not happening, while another 28% say not enough is known. Among non-Tea Party Republicans, just 13% say global warming is not happening and among Democrats and Democratic leaners, just 4% express this view.

    Democrats are far less divided over global warming than Republicans, although liberal Democrats are more likely than moderates and conservatives to say that global warming is mostly caused by human activity (75% vs. 58%) rather than by natural patterns.

    And given that there is as close to global consensus among scientists as you ever see (somewhere in the neighborhood of 95% of climate scientists agree that there is a man-made component to climate change), this was what really caught my eye:

    A majority (54%) now say that scientists generally agree that the earth is warming because of human activity, while 37% say that scientists do not generally agree. A year ago, opinion was evenly divided: 45% said scientists generally agreed, while 43% said they did not.

    Most Democrats say there is scientific consensus on global warming (71%). Only 41% of Republicans say that scientists generally agree, while 48% say they do not.

    Perceptions of where the scientific community stands on global warming are associated with individual views on the subject. About three-quarters (78%) of those who say human activity is the primary cause of global warming think that most scientists generally agree. About four-in-ten (38%) of those who say warming is mostly due to natural patterns in the environment think scientists generally agree that human activity causes global warming.

    Among the 26% of Americans who say there is not solid evidence of global warming, 31% say there is scientific agreement that human activity is responsible for global warming, while 61% think there is not agreement among scientists.

    Greg Sargent is looking at it for voting trends (of course), but I find the disconnect between the climate scientists’ opinion and the Tea Partiers’ opinion more interesting.

    So, McWing, I know that you don’t believe in AGW, what say you?

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    • Mich:

      The national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Oct. 9-13 among 1,504 adults, finds that most people who see solid evidence of global warming – 44% of the public overall – say it is mostly caused by human activity, such as burning fossil fuels.

      I don’t understand why polls ask questions like this. I would venture to guess that not even 1% of the 44% who claim that warming is “mostly caused by human activity” have done any personal research into the question or have any direct knowledge of any such evidence. All they are doing is regurgitating things they have heard, and believe, from sources that they trust. The question might just as well have been “When the NYT says that most climate scientists claim X, do you therefore believe X?”

      I think that polls like this tell us a lot more about the public’s perception of the credibility of scientists (and the conveyors of information about them) on highly politicized issues than they tell us about the public’s perception of science as an activity, which is how they are often presented.

      Like

  35. “Both examples involve both behavioral risk factors, which can be controlled, and external risk factors that cannot be controlled.”

    And underwriting can separate between the two and price accordingly. Prohibiting that underwriting and pricing by statute is a political decision.

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  36. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today granted an injunction blocking Obamacare’s contraception coverage requirements for a produce company.
    In seeking an injunction, the owners of Freshway Foods argued that the federal mandate requires them to violate their religious beliefs. The Obama administration argued that the burden on the owners’ religious beliefs was not substantial.
    The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case supporting the employer mandate to provide contraceptive coverage.
    The ruling is the latest in a series of decisions as the issue works its way to the Supreme Court.

    whoops. too quick on the draw ….WTF is the ACLU doing siding against the employers in a religious discrimination case?

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  37. I think they view it as a violation of church and state. I.e. the ability to opt out constitutes “establishment”. It’s a stretch, but that’s my best guess.

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    • jnc:

      I think they view it as a violation of church and state. I.e. the ability to opt out constitutes “establishment”. It’s a stretch, but that’s my best guess.

      I think there is a certain twisted logic to such a position (even though I am entirely on the side of the employer). Why should Catholics be able to opt out of a law that no one else can opt out of? No reason, from what I can tell. The proper, constitutional solution, of course, is to eliminate the mandate altogether.

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  38. So, McWing, I know that you don’t believe in AGW, what say you?

    Can one believe AGW is true and beleive that the economic and social incentives among “Climatr Scientists” leads the output of their “data” to overestimate it’s long-term negative impact? And can that person also beleive that “Climate Science” research is being used to further control society for the benefit of the Command/Control proponents?

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  39. J, don’t forget to ad RepUblican sabotage to your list.

    And like I said yesterday, to the left it’s always 1950’s Mississippi.

    The GOP faithful then kept up their crusade past the president’s reelection, in a pattern of “massive resistance” not seen since the Southern states’ defiance of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954.

    There can’t be, according to the left, any principled opposition.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/the-obamacare-sabotage-campaign-99176.html#.UnOlGs5AVsQ.twitter

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  40. “The proper, constitutional solution, of course, is to eliminate the mandate altogether.”

    Or eliminate employer tax deductions for insurance so that your employer isn’t involved at all in your health insurance decisions.

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    • jnc:

      Or eliminate employer tax deductions for insurance so that your employer isn’t involved at all in your health insurance decisions.

      We should do that too, although that wouldn’t really solve the problem. Taxing insurance benefits wouldn’t eliminate group providers, and some of them may still object to the contraceptive mandate on religious grounds. Ultimately the only way to “fix” an unconstitutional law is to either change the constitution or eliminate the law.

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  41. Nova,
    Are your ears burning from the Plum Line?

    shrink2 responds:
    2:09 PM EST
    I was told NoVA quit due to abuse of some personal info he divulged, which is pretty disgusting.

    I missed that. What happened?

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  42. that would solve a lot of problems, i think

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  43. I was explaining why you weren’t there. You can update the thread if you wish.

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  44. Or eliminate employer tax deductions for insurance so that your employer isn’t involved at all in your health insurance decisions.

    I would be all for that. Health insurance should be portable and permanent. I have all my other insurance through USAA and I would love to be able to use them for health insurance as well.

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  45. oh jeez.

    Do I need to make an appearance?

    That was my fault for engaging Athenia or whatever her name is. I tried to make a point using my own situation, which is stupid. and i don’t even remember what happened after that. but i was just seeing red and I guess kind of left in a huff. it stopped being fun that day.

    for reasons I can’t really explain, she makse me so mad and uncomfortable that I thought it best to just stop. which is weird, cause i’m typically not so thin-skinned. but it’s totally my fault.

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    • A I recall you were being called some sort of rich plutocrat for giving out your tax bill. Living in a rather glass house in probably that same tax bracket I didn’t throw any stones but I didn’t run to your defense which is probably cowardly.

      Alewife (as I call him/her because I can never bother to look up the real spelling) is amusing because her economic theories are even more ludicrous than those of your garden variety libertarian.

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  46. USAA is great. I do have a Prudential life insurance though, because of the return of premium feature if I don’t die.

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  47. she make my skin crawl. it’s weird.

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  48. USAA is great. I do have a Prudential life insurance though, because of the return of premium feature if I don’t die.

    Smart hedge.

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  49. “novahockey, on November 1, 2013 at 1:50 pm said:

    she make my skin crawl. it’s weird.”

    Aletheia identified as a he. I believe the handle is from this Greek word.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aletheia

    Regardless, she/he is one of the best recruiting tools I have for libertarianism.

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  50. Corked (sort of) by Yellow.

    Like

  51. “the state of not being hidden; the state of being evident”

    get a load of that bullshit.

    Like

    • BTW, Brent, I was really going to try to get to Monster B’s tomorrow, but it turns out I have to be in New Haven tomorrow night. Good luck, and I will try to make it another time.

      Like

  52. ha. the PL is posting on TPM

    Like

  53. Thanks, Scott.. I’ll let you know the next time we are gigging…

    Like

  54. Aletheia can claim all day long that she’s a he, but I don’t buy it. She’s a great recruiting tool for reality. Although I’m still laughing at her branding me a reactionary last night.

    BTW, I still need a top hat, NoVA!

    I have all my other insurance through USAA and I would love to be able to use them for health insurance as well.

    They do offer health insurance (I found out recently). I haven’t looked in to it, but you’ve reminded me that I should.

    Like

  55. Hi all, just came across this fitness test and I KNOW how y’all love these online tests.

    http://www.popsci.com/article/science/check-your-fitness-age-research-based-calculator?dom=PSC&loc=recent&lnk=1&con=check-your-fitness-age-with-this-researchbased-calculator

    I had great scores so it’s probably bullshit but it made me feel fantastic after all the work I’ve been putting in. My V02 max was 50 but I won’t share my fitness age because you’d probably just be embarrassed…………….lol

    Looks like things have been cookin’ here at ATiM really well……….I’m happy about that and enjoy catching up once or twice a week.

    Like

  56. Really good look at the coming nightmare that is The Abomination.

    http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-01/health-consumers-finding-out-they-were-sold-a-lemon.html

    Thanks 52%. Unfortunately, we’re all gonna get it good and hard.

    Like

  57. Choke on it moron.

    e thing that gets me,” says Stadler, who voted for Obama in the 2012 presidential election, “is I thought Barack Obama was the only guy I could trust in Washington. He ended up lying to me because he said, if I like my insurance, I could keep it

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/healthcare-shoppers-aren’t-as-dumb-as-obama-thinks-195824524.html

    Like

  58. Wow! Incompetence on steroids.

    there was no single administrator whose full-time job was to manage the project.

    But he lectured them? I’m confused, it’s like he’s bad at being President!

    the president had stood on the Truman Balcony for a champagne toast with his weary staff and put them on notice: They needed to get started on carrying out the law the very next morning.

    Does WaPo realize just how bad this makes their Christ look?

    the president emphasized the exchange’s central importance during regular staff meetings to monitor progress.

    It’s those damn Republicans and that son of a bitch Cruz.

    No matter which aspects of the sprawling law had been that day’s focus, the official said, Obama invariably ended the meeting the same way: “All of that is well and good, but if the Web site doesn’t work, nothing else matters.”

    To funny!

    But the president had a deeper message. The health-care law, he told the gathering, according to participants, was “the most important thing” in his presidency. “We’ve got to do it right.”

    God, how contemptuous Obama must be of them.

    During the regularly scheduled meeting June 24, Lambrew from the White House gave no hint that the administration might delay a requirement that businesses with more than 50 employees provide insurance. Instead, administration officials informed Reid, Pelosi, Hoyer, Baucus and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) by phone about a half-hour before the news became public eight days later.

    I’d say that number was an overestimation.

    CGI was issuing warnings of its own. On Aug. 17, about six weeks before the launch date, a company employee sent an e-mail to a CMS staffer… obtained by The Post, said that, for the tasks that CGI was responsible for, the exchange was 55 percent complete.

    This last part is deeply telling on how Obama is “managed” by his subordinates.

    But that was still to come. A month earlier, on Sept. 5, White House officials visited CMS for a final demonstration of HealthCare.gov. Some staff members worried that it would fail right in front of the president’s aides. A few secretly rooted for it to fail so that perhaps the White House would wait to open the exchange until it was ready.

    Yet on that day, using a simplified demonstration application, the Web site appeared to work just fine.

    http://m.washingtonpost.com/politics/challenges-have-dogged-obamas-health-plan-since-2010/2013/11/02/453fba42-426b-11e3-a624-41d661b0bb78_story.html

    Like

    • McWing:

      It’s those damn Republicans and that son of a bitch Cruz.

      If nothing else, all the complaints about R obstructionism of O-care just demonstrate the depth of arrogant stupidity of Obama and the rest of the D’s in passing such huge and system-changing legislation on a party line basis. The R’s explicitly refused to take any stake in its success up front and were always going to do what they could to make its implementation difficult. If Obama didn’t think he could succeed in the face of such opposition, then he shouldn’t have forced it through. If he did think he could, then, again, he is arrogant and stupid.

      BTW, in all seriousness I do not understand how anyone can be surprised at how poorly this whole implementation process has been managed. In the first place, it is government, which as a general rule does not do things particularly well. But more importantly it is Obama’s government, and there has never been anything about Obama or his history to suggest that he ever was or could be a competent executive managing a large organization. He’s a speech maker and an academic policy wonk. He’s not an executive. It was hubris on his part to think he could ever be a capable president, and willful blindness on the part of those who voted for him to think so.

      Like

      • Ace points out that the NYT has introduced yet another euphemism for describing Obama’s “you can keep it” lie: he “misspoke”.

        Seriously, how much contempt does the NYT editorial board have for the intelligence of its readership?

        Like

  59. Nice tweet from Jonah Goldberg.

    @JonahNRO: If you read “fear of Republicans” as “fear the public will find out” or “fear of transparency” the Post story makes much more sense.

    Scott, I’ve seen no evidence that he’s even a policy wonk. He speaks in sound bites and scolds even in private.

    Like

  60. Wonder what changed his mind.

    I conclude by quoting what President Bill Clinton, now a supporter of the four-legged stool, said in a commencement speech at Portland State University in Oregon on June 13, 1998: “It’s wrong to condone illegal immigration that flouts our laws, strains our tolerance, taxes our resources. Even a nation of immigrants must have rules and conditions and limits, and when they are disregarded, public support for immigration erodes in ways that are destructive to those who are newly arrived and those who are still waiting patiently to come.”

    #OpenBordersInstantCitizenship

    Like

    • Obama advisor Cass Sunstein blames the Tea Party on…wait for it…Whittaker Chambers!

      The Weekly Standard makes sensible point. After detailing several of Obama’s many deceptions, it says “If Sunstein thinks it’s damaging for the Tea Party to accuse liberals of having secret agendas, then he should tell his fellow liberals to stop harboring secret agendas.”

      Like

  61. I plead guilty. The whole Hiss thing set me off. Not the in-paybackable debt, not TARP, not the Stimulus or Obamacare. It was Chambers.

    Whitaker. Motherfucking. Chambers.

    Like

    • McWing:

      If you’ve never read Chambers’ autobiography, Witness, I highly recommend it. One of the most interesting and meaningful biographies I’ve ever read.

      Like

  62. You’d think I’d have it memorized. I’m TeaBagger. Thanks, I will.

    Like

    • BTW, I watched a Netflix original documentary this weekend, called Hank: Five Years from the Brink. Basically it was an extended interview with Hank Paulson about his role as Treasury Secretary during the financial crisis. Very interesting and definitely recommended.

      Like

      • How long before this is a national policy?

        Whether or not individuals of the left actually support this specific policy, this is the type of overweening, controlling, and arrogant government that progressivism as an ideology does promote.

        Like

        • Megan Mcardle on the notion that only 3% of the population will be “losers” under O-care.

          A lot of folks with employer-sponsored insurance are also going to see their insurance changed, though not quite as quickly. And not “The benefits will get so much more awesome!” but “The Cadillac tax kicked in and we had to drop most of our plans except for the ones with high deductibles.” A friend who sits on the benefits committees of two organizations says that their experts predict that pretty much all plans will end up being of the “consumer-driven” (read: high-deductible) model once the so-called Cadillac tax kicks in…

          …Moreover, the people who end up in those plans won’t just be choosing them as the cost of other plans goes up; they’ll be forced into them because the other plans aren’t offered at all. They are going to be screaming mad, and Democrats should not delude themselves that they will be soothed by all the marvelous things that may then be happening in the individual market. That’s why I still think there is a good chance that this gets rolled back before it goes into effect — but that is going to create its own, not insubstantial, budget problem: The Cadillac tax is supposed to raise about $80 billion by 2023.

          And this just looks at price, not things such as provider networks, which is going to bring on a long and lasting wave of public outrage starting sometime around March of next year. (More on this later.)

          I actually think that graph is very telling; it is, in fact, how most of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s supporters think the law is going to work. Even those who understood that some folks would be worse off assumed that this fraction would be very, very small.

          Like

        • Another post-O-care “if-you-like-your-insurance” horror story.

          Like

        • Apparently O-care has bailouts of insurance companies written into it. Presumably this will also be attributed to regulatory capture, with the insurance companies portrayed as the bad guys, just as is the case with banks.

          Like

  63. Scott, the impact on employer provided health insurance will be huge. I predict at least another year of an illegal “delay” in it’s implementation.

    One of the utter bullshit claims I heard in the run up to Obama/Pelosi/Reid destroying our healthcare system with the immoral Abomination was that Americans go to the doctor to much. Again, this is about control and paternalism. I ask again, why are the left so accepting of paternalism?

    In regards to the left, it seems there is nothing to small to politicize. As is their want, that which is not forbidden is mandatory.

    Like

    • McWing:

      I ask again, why are the left so accepting of paternalism?

      Because those on the left who are politically active view themselves as the wise and responsible parents.

      Like

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