Morning Report – Obamacare goes before the Supreme Court 3/4/15

Markets are flattish on no real news. Bonds and MBS are up small.

The ADP Employment number came in at 212k, slightly lower than expectations. The Street is forecasting Friday’s payroll number to come in at 235k. The key number on Friday will be average hourly earnings, not payrolls.

Mortgage Applications rose .1% last week. Purchases were down .2%, while refis were up .5%. Refis as a percentage of applications dropped to 61.5%. A month ago, they were 71.5%.

Great interview with Stuart Miller, CEO of Lennar on CNBC. Key points: Spring Selling Season is just getting started, but initial indications look good, not seeing any sort of slowdown in the energy states, and a hike in interest rates will probably mean the economy (and wages) are improving, so it isn’t necessarily a negative for the builders.

Oral arguments over Obamacare will be heard at the Supreme Court today. At issue is what the term “established by the state” means. 33 states refused to set up exchanges for Obamacare health plans. Does this mean they are ineligible for Federal subsidies? Does “the state” = “the government” or does it mean a particular state?  The Administration is arguing that the intent was to provide subsidies to everyone, even if they didn’t set up an exchange. Others have pointed out emails showing it was meant to be a carrot to encourage states to establish exchanges, and regardless of intent, the law says what it says. If the SC rules for the plaintiffs, the issue gets punted back to Congress to fix, and since Republicans control the House and Senate, there will be a negotiation over the fix. If the SC rules for the Administration, then nothing changes. The decision is expected in June.

The CFPB is going after forced arbitration language in credit card loans, auto loans, etc. So other lenders are going to share in all the fun the mortgage industry has had over the past 5 years or so.

18 Responses

  1. I like a good Fristing.

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  2. Heh.

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  3. I’m curious if the Clinton’s, using their own servers, had access to each other’s email? Would Bill feel comfortable using it if he knew Hillary could access it?

    Who did the IT people work for, Bill or Hillary?

    Gossipy? Yes! Interesting? Yes!

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    • JNC – for the professionally liberal sites like MJ, as I wrote earlier –

      Obviously, the liberal Ds will be clamoring for their Bold Leader, the distorter-of-facts-to-suit-her-narrative.

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  4. I suspect this is to push a liberal to run for President. Once the primary is over and she has the nomination, this will become a tin-foil hat conspiracy…

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  5. Thought it was interesting that the amicus brief was filed on behalf of MA, NY, CA, CT, and other blue states.

    MA already has their system in place. Did NY, CT, and CA not establish exchanges in a fit of Republican pique?

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  6. I thought MA’s state exchange was so fucked up they dumped it for Federal?

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  7. What do you all think?

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  8. That’s an interesting precedent for highway funds and other conditional subsidies.

    Let the lawsuits against speed limits, drinking ages and EPA regulations commence.

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  9. I had forgotten about this. There should be no more whining about Scalia and Thomas recusing themselves ever again after King v Burwell.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2011/12/obamacare_and_the_supreme_court_should_elena_kagan_recuse_herself_.html

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    • jnc:

      There should be no more whining about Scalia and Thomas recusing themselves ever again after King v Burwell.

      Different rules apply to liberals. If you are the correct ideology, odds are you can get away with pretty much anything. Besides, Kagan’s failure to recuse herself is perfectly aligned with liberal constitutional philosophy. After all, if Constitutional principles are “living” and hence so flexible as to allow justices to read pretty much whatever they want into the Constitution, then why can’t the same be true for judicial principles of ethics?

      As an aside, last weekend I found myself watching clips of the Watergate hearings on youtube. I thought it was notable that much of the aggressive questioning of witnesses came from Republican members of the House, (I took special note of a very young Fred Thompson) and it struck me that it seems unlikely that that would happen today. Ideology trumps principles fairly routinely now, and that seems true not only in the traditionally political branches, but even on the Supreme Court.

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  10. The other thing to keep in mind about the HRC email issue is that if any of her emails had classified info in them, she is guilty of mishandling classified info. Putting classified email on an unclassified server is a big no-no…

    And mishandling classified info is a felony.

    The Democratic race just got blown wide open…

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  11. I thought it was notable that much of the aggressive questioning of witnesses came from Republican members of the House, (I took special note of a very young Fred Thompson) and it struck me that it seems unlikely that that would happen today.

    obama could get caught in a Motel 6 with an 8-ball and a dead hooker and you would get 0 D votes to impeach…

    Like

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