Some of us have been saying this for years.
But seriously? I would consider trying elsewhere for a part next time. Too late for this weekend, since my brother is planning to stop at one for a part for working on the truck for us Sunday. I like my local store, and it’s right around the corner, but that is unacceptable corporate behavior. No that the company I work for would behave any differently, but we aren’t a theft target and are pretty secure from non-employees. Ironically, there is a small time auto parts place in town that I’d never likely have gone to anyway, which I am already making a point never to use due to that family having been behind the local swearing fine (since held to be unconstitutional and rendered moot in a review by the state).
Via Jeff Soyer
I want so badly to keep this blog going, but I burned out a couple of weeks before the election and I don’t have my mojo back just yet. I stopped reading the news, in fact, because I couldn’t take the post-election dissection. The GOP didn’t lose because they failed to pander to Hispanics. They didn’t lose because Mitt Romney sucked. They didn’t lose because the American people are idiots, or because bread and circuses, or because people hate the rich. They didn’t lose because they didn’t get the message out.
They lost because alongside some of the right message, they preached the wrong message. And the wrong message was louder.
They’re not going to get anywhere with hate and bigotry. The entire social conservative agenda has to go. The GOP has got to divorce social conservatism from economic conservatism or they’re not going to win another election anytime soon. Some of us figure that it matters less what those folks think, because there’s not much chance of them managing to push that agenda through into law. But Obamacare, so who knows. In any case, they terrify people with this stuff, and rightly so.
The economic message was not as well explained as it could have been, either. It seems to me that these folks were preaching to the choir, counting on turnout. But Republicans seem not to trust their own party anymore. If you can’t even get them up off their behinds to vote against Obama, you’ve got serious issues. Candidates have to go so far right now to capture the base that the average voter looks at them like they’re Martians. And, culturally speaking, they may as well be.
I’m sorry I wasted a vote on these freaks. I hope Gary Johnson runs again. How the Libertarians shoot themselves in the foot is another (weirdly related) post. But at least they’ve got principles, and ones that aren’t based on denying the personhood of women (another entirely different, but related post).
At this point my worst-case scenario isn’t that another Democrat wins the Presidency in 2016. It’s that the GOP once again doesn’t bother running, and all of the signs point that way. Balance is necessary, and I’m not seeing any to speak of.
I laughed when I saw California with the lowest proportion of the population. Massachusetts was tied for second with Maryland, with Illinois third and, it appears, Minnesota fourth. No surprises there, or with Alaska having the highest percentage and Texas the highest total.
Of course, the question of secession was settled by force over a century ago, but that makes it neither less appealing nor less of a political statement to agitate lip service toward it.
I was amused by this lament, even as I can relate to it. I forget that Jacobson is a relative blogging newbie. Thus for me it’s not 2008 that was the heyday, similar to what he described, of conservative – and liberarian and just plain interesting personal/general – small bloggers, but 2003. Thus the blog title tagline here about 2003 (until I change it, which I will sometime).
2008? At that point we’d been betrayed by Bush, and McCain of all people was the nominee. Obama won, to carry out something all too closely resembling a third Bush term. It’s hard to say McCain wouldn’t have been worse, or certainly as bad. The only thing positive I can say about Bush 2004 is President Kerry. Ugh. I mean, seriously, how could he even get nominated, let alone elected to the senate, even from Massachusetts? Then again, the idiots in Massachusetts just elected Elizabeth Warren. Then again, she has more brain cells to rub togeher than Kerry ever did. But I digress.
Anyway, the original blogs gave way to corporatization, going big or going away, and to social media having supplanted aspects of what blogging was circa 2003. I still have many online friends (and Deb) as a result of that, but there are people who are big names now whom I don’t know the same way, or who have changed beyond recognition, or perhaps whom I don’t really want to know. Either there have not been smaller upstarts to fill the void, or I have not come across them. Then again, I stopped blogging almost entirely for a while, or got muddled at it. Things change.
I knew there were tax changes coming, barring anything done to avert them, and I just discovered one aspect I’d not know of before in the chart here. Child tax credit is going from $1000 back to $500 in 2013. That may not suddenly mean we owe more, or even that we get less back in earned income credit, but it may be a close thing, or may matter in a couple years.
Not that the child tax credit should even exist, but since it does, and it potentially affects our finances, why would we approve of an arbitrary drop? As such things go, it seems least worst, in the manner of the EIC if you’re really into evening things out. The trouble with the EIC is the donut hole dropoff, which we start to approach, in which your effective tax rate is staggering. Even now, I figured out last tax year that each dollar of self-employment income I might add means 47 cents in additional tax. If I charge you $40 to fix your computer because I figure that’s all you can afford, or all the market will bear, I make a tad over $20 of it in reality, and no matter that I spent three hours, for which I should have charged between $120 and $300. But this is not about pricing and marketing and even the effects of self-esteem on same.
Also, the more direct impact on us is the end of the payroll tax reduction, which arguably should never have been enacted anyway. But since it was, the end of it represents a substantial tax increase on people of modest income. We’re talking about eliminating what we saved by canceling our landline, to put it in real terms, or enough to get McDonald’s 2-3 times a month… except we don’t do that, because the money isn’t there! If it’s not there for things we want or need, how is it there for a tax increase? It’s not. Nor is it there to be a portion of the additional we’d need to spend on groceries in order to change my diet to comply with what the cardiologist wants to see to maximize my lifespan and minimize my chance of additional stents or worse. Not. There. For. Health. So it’s not there for taxes, either, and if you think Obamacare is going to help me afford to eat healthier, you’re delusional.
The thing is, again, the tax shouldn’t have been cut in the first place, so nobody would be able to miss it. Or it should have been eliminated 100% in a massive overhaul of everything. As long as you pay lip service to it being a retirement account, or even if you don’t, and instead recognize it as a wobbly pay-as-you-go Ponzi scheme, cutting that tax makes no sense, as it affects if either way.
The child tax credit, though… As a matter of social policy, what is it? It recognizes that people with children could use an added tax advantage because OMG expensive. By extension, it makes having children a prioriy of the government. New
subjects citizens to help keep the social security Ponzi scheme economy going in the future, replacing older workers as the retire, and some so the whole scheme economy doesn’t collapse.
Back to the donut hole. It’s more than the taxes. My 47% assumes self-employment, and would be lower otherwise, but if it’s employment or business income, if it takes time away from home, it means daycare. If I were to trade in my part-time job for full time, there would be an immediate daycare “tax” of $270 a week. Not even guessing at how much more that might be in summer or school vacation weeks. I have to account for that, elimination of the EIC, even though for us that has been on paper and being taken to cover old tax debt each year, incurring income tax on income that had none before as well as the added income, insurance costs that will change, and costs associated with commuting and having less “free” time. Working from home or doing business from home and flexibly/less than full time modifies that, but doesn’t avoid it entirely. For a specific potential job, I estimated needed $40,000 a year above the income I make part time just to stay even. Not compensating me at all for taking my time. That’s basically $43 an hour for each extra hour above what I work part time.
No wonder I still keep thinking what I have to do is make a living at self-employment and/or writing and/or part-time work from home.
Things have to change, in any event. My reaction to the election was a coldly furious resolution to be prepared to survive whatever happens. Ironically, that means improving my income. Expenses have nowhere to go but up, since we are about as to the bone as possible. I figure on being better able to cover living expenses, while continuing to keep them as low as possible, while preparing against disaster, disruption, lack of income in the future… all the things that can happen “unexpectedly” (if you have blinders on). It’s great to hope things go well and change for the better, but in reality it could take decades to recover from this depression and from four more years of fundamental transformation. If it happens at all. In the long view, the tax blip coming up is nothing, and could help things turn toward the saner sooner rather than later.
Yeah, I feel like an ass for not voting Gary Johnson. Especially in Massachusetts, where it doesn’t matter either way. I had a notion that the vote for Romney would be closer in this state than anyone would expect, and thought I’d contribute to that end. Especially since Gary Johnson was arguably the best Liberarian candidate ever.
The candidate we really needed was Bill Weld.
He got no traction with the Republican party, though, because he was a libertarian. He was what I think of it meaning to be a Republican. After him, Cellucci was close, but not quite. Jane Swift was kind of a joke by comparison, but more in an in over her head competence thing. I still thought it was rude the way Romney shoved her out of the way to start his presidential run in the form of being a governor. I disliked that before I disliked RomneyCare. Then he became presidential and outshone all the others this time. There is probably nobody who has run for President who would be a viable future candidate. Not sure who is a viable candidate. It’s possible Ryan is too socially conservative, and that part must go. But I digress.
I just don’t remember them later!
I was wrong, obviously. I forgot Wizard’s First Rule: People are stupid. Thought of that at work, while my thoughts churned.
I can’t go Galt now, or I would. Planned or not, I’ve de facto been going Galt for the past four years. I said things would get better regardless who won. I didn’t say they’d stay better, let alone get as much better, and as I conceded to a leftist acquaintance, we would crash either way. Just why sooner rather than later?
No, I have to change my life to what will seem to be better and wealthier, because I can’t go unprovisioned into the darkness, and provisioning takes money, while it still buys things.
Republicans will have to change. Mitt ran a good race, as a better candidate than I’d have imagined. Cerainly none of the crew were better, which is a sad statement. Sure, there were some near misses and some excitement, but they all were flawed. He didn’t emphasize social conservatism, yet the party has saddled itself with that to the point people assume. From what I could see, that was what people feared. While they didn’t need to fear it, republicans need to be more overt in recognizing and acknowledging it’s over, that there’s a new normal. Better to focus on the economics that will no go out of style, and improve foreign policy while keeping the general tenor of strength and world leadership.
The sad thing is, before Bush hit his second term and went crazy, or perhaps showed what was always there, when Bush was running, it seemed like republicans has overtly become the big tent party. It’s better, or at least no worse, to be gay or a minority and go republican. (Note that I am leaving out libertarians here, though I did have thoughts on that and Gary Johnson as well.) If there are loudmouths who sound like they’ll take away your right to early term abortions or stand fast in the way of marrying whoever you want, well, they are loudmouths, not representative. Sadly, democrats project. They project fraud onto republicans, while being the primary home of it. They project racism onto republicans, while being the current and historic home of it.
It was always discomforting that Mitt was the grandfather of Obamacare.
He was also too nice, too non-specific economically, and too easily associated in people’s minds with Bush, who remains poisonous. In some ways, I’d call this a referendum on Bush versus Obama. If I had to make a choice of having Bush back or keeping Obama, I’d go for Bush, but it would be a razor thin thing, holding my nose and hoping he didn’t screw it up. Mitt is no Bush, but it took me a while to get enthusiastic rather than resigned to him.
It’s just an election, at least. Hugo Chavez was elected, so how bad could it be?
On the plus side, I was not looking forward to blogging critically of the Romney administration, given the morass it faced. Oh, I would have. I may have more fun going all out on the clown who’ll inherit his own (and yes, GWB’s) mess.
As for the voters, you own it. You voted for it, and oh won’t you get it. Thanks for taking me along. Appreciate it. Especially you single issue voters (see above, and also delusions like that there’d cuts to school funding enough to matter – as if that’s a federal issue anyway) and people who grew up financially privileged as children of rent-seekers or workers of angles and influence or thuggery however polished, who seem yet to have learned of the real world. Good luck with that, eventually.
And yes, I voted, so even to you pathetic morons who spout the witless line about not having the right to complain if I didn’t vote, I sure as fuck will complain. Boy will I complain. If that were all you reaped from what you’ve sown, you’d be lucky, and I’d be thrilled. Are you ready for what’s coming?
Though I was saying it 25-30 years ago. Wish I had those portions of letters I wrote back then. It’s the end of cake.
I remember Carter’s concession speech. It was fairly gracious, and for lack of anything better to say, promised a smooth transition.
Since Obama is often compared to Carter, whom he has made look good, and this election has been compared to 1980, albeit less Reaganesque, and is likely to be “unexpectedly” an electoral exclamation, I wondered how Obama’s concession might compare. It sometimes seems he no longer cares to win. At the same time, there are expectations that if he wins, it will be through fraud. There have even been suggestions of a more overt coup, though that seems less likely than it might have several weeks ago.
Has he written it yet? Thought about what he might say? Will it be dragged out, reluctantly delivered?
I don’t picture it being gracious. Any more than I picture a gracious transition, or a lame duck period free of danger for the country. We may see how much havoc executive power can wreak in just a couple of months.
Even before giving this any thought, we’d talked about what kind of ex-president he might be. He’s young. Which I suppose means I can’t think of myself as being old, since Obama went and made our mutual birth year look bad. I’m only four months older. I’d also like to think I could have done a better job of being President in my sleep. But I digress. Maybe he could write another autobiography? Perhaps he’ll be neither as overtly bitter nor as embarrassing as Carter turned out to be. At least I can find multiple good things to say abou Carter as President. I can find exactly one to say about Obama, and his space policy (not NASA policy and the Muslim outreach, but space) was probably accidental. It is what Republican/Conservative policy should be, and arguably isn’t in part due to wanting not to match, because Obama must be wrong, and because Republicans aren’t so much small government as they are differently big government. Which in this case should be enough to delay or even avert the end of the United States.
Large swaths of these “coincidences” I’d not heard of before. I’d been aware of the LA Times withholding an incriminating tape, but can’t recall ever seeing what that was all about. Still don’t buy the birth part, although that released certificate was pretty strange.
Because what in the world do you even say about a comment like this one that the President made last night:
“You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship, where we’re counting ships. ”
I mean, I’ve got nothing to say about that. All I’ve got is flabbergasted silence.
I hope he’s not surprised when he loses this damnable election.
Someone mentioned the electoral college on Facebook, and while the question actually involved why bother if the electors can vote how they want, not honoring the popular vote in the state, I’d been thinking so much about the topic again that I spewed forth this comment:
Things changed a lot since they set it up that way. The idea was that it was the collection of states forming the federal government, so there was a balance between state and individual representation. Each state had the same number of senators, regardless of size, representing the interests of the states and appointed by same, not directly beholden to the populace. Representatives were directly elected by the people, representing the people, with as close to an even population per as reasonably possible. Presidency was a mix of the two. People voting, but to come up with the preference of the people in the state, and weighed by population plus a base for each state. The idea of senators representing the states went out the window with the 17th amendment, so they are glorified representatives. Strengthening the federal government in the 1860s probably made that inevitable. The more direct representation got skewed by limiting the size of the house of representatives, entirely aside from what the early invention of gerrymandering and rise of political parties did. Not that there was no merit in the fear of its size becoming unwieldy, but that certainly would be an antidote to the problem of excess legislation. Once the rest was decoupled from the concept of a federal system with representation of states plus individuals, the electoral college method started to seem increasingly odd. It still makes a lot of sense to me, as a traditionalist with a clear understanding of how it was meant to work, but I understand the confusion and the arguments for direct election. That would have its own problem, but on a national rather than state scale. Take away Boston and the vote in MA would no longer be lopsided and predictable. Take away the coastal cities in California, ditto. A case can be made that it’d be scary and rural votes would never count at all the other way, too.
Followed by this related comment:
There are those of us who see things as having gone downhill since the 17th passed, and would gladly repeal it. The argument against repealing it is that state legislatures can be corrupt and appoint a senator you’d never consider. On the other hand, that moves the action closer to home, giving everyone reason to try to turn over the state legislators if they can’t get senatorial selections right.
All of which is part lesson that anyone ought to be able to follow, and part opinion with a dash of opposing view to consider. I’ve debated the topic before with Steven Taylor, who is vehemently opposed to the electoral college. I used to find that odder than I do now, especially coming from a political science professor, than I do now. I am still not convinced, and might rather undo the changes that have rendered it less logical, but I come closer to seeing it than I once did. Still, I predict that if it comes to pass, with all else being equal, the result in practice will be worse than you’d expect. As is often the case for seemingly laudable ideas.
We remember him best for the 1972 blowout to a crookedly leftist republican, but George McGovern increasingly became a Libertarian Hero. Read it if you haven’t; it’s a great appreciation, and includes details you may not have known.
I remember the 1972 election well, because I already followed politics to some degree, and favored Nixon. When we held a class election between the two candidates, I was almost the only one who voted Nixon, foreshadowing how our parents would vote in Massachusetts, but not in other states.
Odd, too, that I favored Nixon after his imposition of wage and price controls, which infuriated my father. I couldn’t believe the government had the right to do such a thing. We make fun of the hapless Carter, and it is well-deserved, for all he was far better than Obama, but Nixon piled on Johnson to create the basis for economic conditions Carter (and Ford, and Reagan initially) faced. But I digress.
It is a good man who can observe, inerpret and accept reality, admitting he was once wrong in some regards. Without ceasing to be right in others. Well done.
Really? And I thought you were a good prosepective VP candidate?
I work at a large company that provides a health insurance benefit for part time employees who have worked there over 1000 hours, or about a year. We’re drawing toward the end of the second year of that.
There are two plans. Let’s say that one costs $10 a month and has pathetic coverage, a catastrophic plan that is marginal until you have been personally responsible for $5250, after which it pays everything that it covers. That’s over 1/3 of my gross income there, and could easily be half of someone’s income, depending on location and seniority. That’s equivalent to an out of pocket maximum closer to $25,000 on the income I’d need in order to be out the other side of the donut hole. I am up over $3000 of that so far this year. That’s a lot of years of making sure the providers get at least $10 a month to avoid having it sent to collections.
The other plan, which I was on last year, costs five times as much, and covers much more. That year, I only saw a doctor a few times, and for whatever reason I never saw a bill. I’m pretty sure I should have seen bills for a portion of each office visit. I was supposed to have been on the same plan, but the company defaults your choice to the bottom plan, and in a tricksy accident I was not allowed to select the one I wanted. You know that’s a guarantee I’d actually need the coverage for that year. In six more days, I will get to select again, which is a relief.
I am also covered, into the beginning of next year, by the part of RomneyCare called Health Safety Net, which is backstop coverage for people who are poor, but not so poor, and have crappy insurance that they can’t actually afford to use but that satisfies the mandate. I had thought that covered all the things, and that was why I never saw one bill from the doctor last year. However, it covers stuff at hospitals and “community health centers” (what are those? where? who designates them? couldn’t tell you!), but not at regular practices. That would encourage one to hit the ER for something relatively mundane, which makes no sense, given the alleged overuse of ERs by poor people was the driving force behind RomneyCare. I have never done that in my life, and it would never occur to me, unless I had an emergency. The practice I use has after-hours urgent care that’s pretty easy to get into, and they have people on-call for emergency visits. Usually seeing a nurse practitioner, but no need for more for most things. Heck, when middle child broke her arm, we went there, not ER. NP saw her and then our family doctor, who is her boss, stepped in to help put on a cast. We didn’t even have to see the orthopedic people.
As an aside, the wife is on separate insurance, through her employer, and the kids are fully covered by RomneyCare, but we pay a monthly premium for that. Not sure how we’d do it if kids were on an employer plan for probably more additional premium than the state charges, but were not as well covered. I know! We’d magically up our income tens of thousands of dollars to get to the other side of the donut hole. Can I digress like a fiend, or what?
Where was I? The point of this was to discuss my EOB (explanation of benefits) for the 34 hours I spent at the hospital, getting a cardiac catheterization that resulted in two stents, followed by time in a room for observation – otherwise I’d have been home same day.
The cath and stent procedure was free as part of a large study I agreed to participate in for the privilege of it being free, and not having to be transferred to another hospital if they found blockage that could be treated with stents. (Bypass would have required transfer, since there is not a full cardiac unit there – thus the study showing the efficacy of hospitals being able to do stents without full cardiac units.) I thought that was cool, and a worthy goal. Cost didn’t matter so much, since RomneyCare would backstop the hospital charges.
On the EOB, there is no indication that anything about the event was “free.” It may be that there is some tiny portion of the charges that is what they actually meant that is not noticeable in its absence. The hospital billed over $60,000 for the 34 hour stay, plus another $2500 for the hospitalist in charge of me for most of that time. Great guy. Chatted with him twice, briefly. He even gave me his cell number in case I needed anything after I got home and couldn’t reach anyone. Even in the middle of the night… call. Except… his number was nowhere on any of the paperwork. Oops.
About $40,000 of the total on the main bill was “physician” charges. Since the hospitalist was covered elsewhere (and the insurance actually covered all but around $400, after discounting it to about $1600 they’d actually cover), that was all for the excellent cardiologist who did the “free” procedure and presumably the anesthesiologist. I expected the retail on the procedure not to be cheap. Specialized room, team of people, special prep and recovery area, special skills and equipment… but, yeah, don’t think so, especially “free.” The room overnight, amazing nurses, meals, whatever… those were apparently around $4000-5000 of the total charges.
Anyway, insurance denied most of it, either not covered or separately billed items already included elsewhere not being allowed. I maybe should have called this “hospital games,” since the culprit here appears to be the hospital, but I suspect this is what they have been trained to do by the government and insurers, as self-defense. If my old business could only have collected 30% of what we billed our clients, our prices would have gone up accordingly, and every scrap of any billable time or expense would have been included. Like when I’d go to four people to solve minor problems in 15 minutes, that was our minimum increment of .25 hours (which was too low), it could instead have been four minimum charges for four incidents, making it 1 hour.
The part they didn’t deny, but discounted deeply, was the physician charges, implying that those are so large because they already incorporate all the supplies, labs, etc. Net result is almost as low an insurance payment for the 60k as for the 2.5k. The other thing they paid is a tiny indigent care surcharge the state collects.
I was pretty amused by the whole thing. I’d never be able to pay my share of it regardless, so as well for them it’s backstopped. But it makes me wonder what they bill RomneyCare now, and what that coverage allows them to get paid for. Is the 60k thing a ploy to get a ton of state money? Or will the state pay only what the insurer left me for a balance? No idea. What should happen is I will either never see a bill from the hospital, or I will remind them of HSN if I do, and will never see anything else about it.
I was opposed to RomneyCare, and can’t believe I am supporting Mitt for President, not that there’s a choice, but with actual enthusiasm. It has been good to us, though. Not that times should have been this rough. I call myself “pragmatic libertarian, because I’d love to see that pure society, but we have to get there from here. You can’t just snap fingers and make it so. You have to backtrack through the bramble maze. People can’t be left in the lurch as if there is and has always been a free market economy. It’s an interesting question, then, how you backtrack to FDR, undo the effects of wage controls that made health insurance a free perk of employment that could differentiate employers, undo the effects of insurance being for maintenance, not “insurance,” and undo the effects of later adding Medicare/caid in part because of the effects of FDR on the market, making matters vastly worse. You can’t just press Ctrl-Z on entrenched policies and their aftermaths. I hope we can make a start, though, before it gets out of hand.
Eight year old daughter and libertarian-in-training: “Why do we have to say the pledge of allegiance at school every day?”
Me: “Because they’re communists.”
Me: *Laughs* “Communists.”
Daughter: “What’s a communist?”
Me: “It’d take too long to explain. Let’s just say the pledge is a form of indoctrination.”
* Or: Fun with hyperbole, just wish it were more hyperbole and less close to reality.
This is and interesting take on the idea of a coup, with MSM as the long-term perpetrators, not specific to a particular candidate. It’s certainly less messy than Obama either losing or not daring to let the voting occur, and Romney would be simply a minor setback along the way, one that can be managed, and has already been rendered squishier than might have been. The real antidote here might be Gary Johnson, and who is it that controls, even more than collusion between the major parties, who has visibility and a presence in debates? The media.