September 13, 2014
One key reason that poverty stopped declining after the War on Poverty started is that the poor and lower income population stopped working. In 1960, nearly two-thirds of households in the lowest income one-fifth of the population were headed by persons who worked. But by 1991, this work effort had declined by about 50%, with only one-third of household heads in the bottom 20% in income working, and only 11% working full-time, year round.
This was not a matter of the poor not being able to find work. While the economy was chaotic during the 1970s, during the 1980s and 1990s America enjoyed an historic economic boom creating ultimately 50 million new jobs. The proof is in the pudding, or in how people actually voted with their feet. Millions of illegal aliens surged across the border to gain those jobs and participate in America’s economic golden age, with the unemployment rate collapsing to 4.4% under President Bush by 2006.
via Ryan Leads On Welfare Reform And Fighting Poverty.
September 11, 2014
I estimate that the ACA’s long-term impact will include about 3% less weekly employment, 3% fewer aggregate work hours, 2% less GDP and 2% less labor income. These effects will be visible and obvious by 2017, if not before. The employment and hours estimates are based on the combined amount of the law’s new taxes and disincentives and on historical research on the aggregate effects of each dollar of taxation. The GDP and income estimates reflect lower amounts of labor as well as the law’s effects on the productivity of each hour of labor.
via Casey B. Mulligan: The Myth of ObamaCare’s Affordability – WSJ.
September 9, 2014
We’ve gone down this road before. In 1972, shortly after a congressional report documented egregious waste and fraud in the young program, Medicare enlisted Physician Standards Review Organizations later renamed Peer Review Organizations to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions. PSROs did what RACs do now: they reviewed claims that hospitals submitted and rejected those that they deemed inappropriate. But, as Tim Jost has observed, “PSROs never succeeded in meeting the expectations of their supporters or overcoming the criticisms of their increasingly vocal detractors.” They saved no money, outraged physicians and hospitals, and embroiled Medicare in protracted litigation.
Medicare couldn’t audit its way out of wasteful spending back then. It can’t audit its way out of it now. RACs are an ill-fitting patch for a system that needs a much more comprehensive fix.
via Crashing Medicare | The Incidental Economist.
September 9, 2014
According to the World Economic Forum’s 2014-15 Global Competitiveness Report, the United States has the third most competitive economy in the world. The U.S. ranked fifth in 2013-14. Switzerland has the most competitive economy. Global competitiveness is “defined as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity.”
via The U.S. ranks 3rd in global competitiveness | Ranking America.
From the report itself regarding U.S.: “some weaknesses in particular areas remain to be addressed. The business community continues to be rather critical, with trust in politicians still somewhat weak (48th), concerns about favoritism of government officials (47th), and a general perception that the government spends its resources relatively wastefully (73rd). The macroeconomic environment remains the country’s greatest area of weakness (113th), although the fiscal deficit continues to narrow and public debt is slightly lower for the first time since the crisis.”
September 6, 2014
Evidence points to ObamaCare as an important factor in the shrinking workweek.
Last fall, White House economists offered up a simple gauge of ObamaCare’s impact on the workweek: the number of workers clocking just above the 30-hour-per-week threshold at which the employer mandate hits vs. the number with workweeks just shy of that mark.
If that ratio derived from the Current Population Survey of households were flat or rising, it would show that employers, as a whole, weren’t restructuring work hours to avoid ObamaCare’s costs. In fact, the ratio of regular 31- to 34-hour workers vs. 25- to 29-hour workers has been plunging — from 0.71 in December 2012 to a record low 0.55 in June.That shift isn’t apparent in the BLS part-time work data because the agency considers 35 hours or more to be full time.
via Low-Wage Workers See Hours Trimmed As ObamaCare Hits – Yahoo Finance.
September 4, 2014
Many conservatives believe that we had a free-market health care system in America, until Obamacare was signed into law. But that’s not true. The government takeover of our health care system didn’t happen in 2010. It happened in 1965, when LBJ shepherded through Congress the amendments to the Social Security Act that became known as Medicare and Medicaid.
via Don’t Just Replace Obamacare—Replace the Great Society | The Weekly Standard.
September 3, 2014
Even when people are not sick they make irrational decisions, according to Dr. Azziz. He cites a polemic by the Economic Policy Institute but ignores actual research such as the RAND study on “How Do Consumer-Driven Health Plans Affect Vulnerable Populations?” In fact, the ongoing growth of consumer-directed plans provides strong evidence that consumers are very capable of making good choices in health care — at least when the plans are carefully designed.But that isn’t really the point of Dr. Azziz’s missive. Instead, he is just pushing the age-old progressive argument that commoners aren’t capable of self-government and need a well-educated elite to guide them.
via Perfect Information? | Health Policy Blog | NCPA.org.