Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Department of the Treasury

Scary Default Scenarios Based on Faulty Treasury Department Release

Within hours of the “brinkmanship” press release by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, major media began to repeat the highly dubious risks outlined by the department without reading carefully exactly what it contained. The headline and opening paragraph were all that the echo chambers needed:

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Treasury Refuses to Sell Its Gold Even in the Event of Default

It took more than six months for the Department of the Treasury to answer Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch’s questions about how the Treasury would respond to a government shutdown or the failure of the Congress to raise the debt limit. But its response is revealing:

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The Messy First Day of Obamacare

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013:

 

The president anticipated glitches when his key legislative centerpiece was rolled out on Tuesday, and he got them:

In the first week, the first month, the first three months, I would suspect that there will be glitches.

This is 50 states, a lot of people signing up for something. And there are going to be problems. And I guarantee you, there will be problems….

Even fawning CNN had to admit there were problems: “We tried in about 20 different states’ [exchanges]. In 12 of them we hit glitches. Sometimes it made it impossible to sign up. There were error messages….”

And then Obama had the chutzpah to compare the Obamacare roll out with the recent Apple roll out of its new operating system:

Consider that just a couple of weeks ago, Apple rolled out a new mobile operating system and within days they found a glitch, so they fixed it.

I don’t remember anybody suggesting [that] Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads or threatening to shut down the company if they didn’t.

There’s just one tiny problem with this analogy. I don’t remember any government agent holding a gun to my head forcing me to buy an iPhone.

But the Obamacare Kool-Aid has affected others, not just Obama. HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius called the glitches a great success:

We have had a few slowdowns, a few glitches, but it’s sort of a great problem to have. It’s based on the fact that the volume has been so high.

Unspoken is the assumption that Obamacare hits on exchange websites is so high because Obamacare is so popular. Isn’t that like saying that paying income taxes must be popular because so many people file income tax returns?

The problems were rife, all across the country. The moment New York’s new healthcare website was launched at 8AM, it crashed. Seekers “were greeted with error messages … [and] the links for employers, employees and brokers also experienced periodic problems,” according to CBS News. In California an insurance broker scheduled an appointment with two of his clients to be the first in the state to sign up for Obamacare, but had to cancel the appointment when he discovered that he wasn’t “approved” to sign them up, and he couldn’t tell his clients how much they would have to pay for the insurance anyway – the premium calculation bot wasn’t working. Besides, he learned later that his customers’ applications wouldn’t be received by the insurance companies for at least a month. Aside from that, things went well.

In Washington, DC, people trying to determine if they were eligible either for Medicaid or for subsidies to purchase insurance on its exchange will have to wait. In Vermont, that state’s exchange won’t be able to accept premium payments until sometime in the middle of November. In Oregon, only a few specially selected individuals were allowed to get online as its rollout was only a “beta test” – the real rollout would be taking place later.

The administration admitted that its own website was suffering a delay in its online shopping system for small business owners, along with a delay in its Spanish-speaking site. In Colorado, its exchange, Connect for Colorado, was forced to delay certain computer functions, and applicants had to call a hotline to complete the process. In Iowa there were no certified “navigators” to take those calls. Reuters noted that these glitches showed up in 24 of the state exchanges. Maryland’s exchange was delayed for four hours, and Minnesota said it would be late in the day when it would be able to confirm its connection to the federal data base.

So much for the triumphant start. As Joel Ario, a health care consultant who used to work at the Department of Health and Human Services, said: “Nobody is going to say we’re not starting on October 1st. But in some situations you have seen a redefinition of what ‘start’ means.”

Sarah Kliff, a writer for the Washington Post who has been tracking the Obamacare launch for months, said that yesterday wasn’t really “the big day” after all – it was just the beginning of a “soft launch”:

Instead, it’s January 1st, the day that the individual mandate takes effect and any plans purchased on the [exchanges] actually kick in.

The space between October and December is viewed … as a soft launch: the time to make the new web sites live, sort out the kinks and get the sites in prime condition for the beginning of 2014.

Enrollment started on Tuesday but any insurance purchased won’t become effective until January 1. And for those who delay, they have until March 15th to make their purchases or else be faced with paying a fine – oops, a tax, not a fee.

There are some other problems, too. According to the Kaiser Foundation, more than three quarters of those without insurance didn’t even know that the launch date was October 1st. And how about this for a marketing problem: the insurance companies will have to persuade healthy young people to buy insurance they don’t want in order to offset the costs of unhealthy people pouring into the system. Here’s how the Associated Press explained it:

One of the biggest challenges to the law’s success is the ability of insurers to persuade relatively young and healthy people to buy insurance as a way to balance the costs for the sicker people who are likely to get their coverage as quickly as possible.

Previous such rollouts have hardly been successful. When Massachusetts opened its version of Obamacare in late 2006, it took a total of 18 separate interactions – web visits, emails, or phone calls – before an individual could get coverage. After 9/11, the FBI tried – for 12 years – to upgrade its computer system. It began with its Virtual Case File system which was given up for lost in 2005 after $600 million of taxpayers’ money, in favor of its Sentinel system, which finally went live last year.

The task with Obamacare is equally daunting: hooking up the national databases at the Department of the Treasury (the IRS) and the Department of Homeland Security with each of the states’ exchanges. As James Pethokoukis, a writer for the American Enterprise Institute, asked: “What could possible go wrong?”

All of these glitches may be considered in another light: they build the case for a national single-payer health care system that would do away with insurance companies and those messy and confusing state exchanges. Harry Reid, bless his statist heart, was interviewed on Las Vegas’ PBS program “Nevada Week in Review” last month, and was asked “where do we go from here?” Reid, for once, was crystal clear:

What we’ve done with Obamacare is [take] a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever.

When pressed by one of the panelists about whether that meant that Obamacare was just one more step towards a single-payer, insurance- and exchange-free health care system run entirely by the government, Reid said: “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”

For totalitarians like Reid, Obama, Sebelius, and others, those glitches truly signify success after all.

————————–

Sources:

The Washington Post: Reports of problems precede launch of Obamacare

Associated Press: Under fire, ‘Obamacare’ going live — with glitches

The National Review Online: Obamacare: Wrong in Practice, Wrong in Theory

Reason.com: Eight Things That Could Go Wrong With Obamacare

The Washington Post: The White House says Obamacare begins on Oct. 1. Not really.

The Las Vegas Sun: Reid says Obamacare just a step toward eventual single-payer system

Politico: President Obama: Expect months of ‘glitches’

Reuters: Obamacare launch hits early hitch as web traffic snarls up sites

Associated Press: ‘Obamacare’ exchanges start up as gov’t shuts down

Politico: Obamacare D-Day becomes a soft launch

The Wall Street Journal: FBI Files Go Digital, After Years of Delays

Natural News: Obamacare exchanges hit with over 50 percent fail rate; feds claim the worse the glitches, the bigger the success!

Glitches, as Anticipated, Plague First Day of Obamacare

California insurance broker Jason Andrew planned to help a couple of his clients sign up for Obamacare on Tuesday, the first day of the federal health care roll out, but couldn’t, for two reasons: first, he hadn’t yet been certified by the state to do so, and secondly, he couldn’t get accurate quotes from the state exchange’s computer. Andrew just laughed it off:

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Is There an Agenda Behind an Insurance Company’s Unwillingness to Insure Schools with Armed Teachers?

This article first appeared at the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, June 24th, 2013:

 

When Bernie Zalaznik, the Resident Vice President of the Wichita Branch Office of EMC Insurance Companies sent a letter to Kansas school districts on May 15th, just two weeks before Kansas Law 2052 takes effect, alarm bells went off. The letter said:

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Another Go at How Much We Owe

Have you ever wondered how much we as taxpayers actually owe because of commitments politicians have made on our behalf? Turns out, the answer is not as simple as you might think.

I.O.U.S.A.

I.O.U.S.A. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John C. Goodman has discovered how hard it is to make sense of the (often) nonsense parading as government statistics, especially concerning who owes how much to whom:

The place to start is with a report put out annually by the U.S. Treasury. There I learned that the federal government officially recognizes an outstanding debt of $17.5 trillion.

Ah, but that’s just the starting point, as bad as it is:

What about Social Security? It’s not on the list. What about Medicare? It’s not there either.

On further investigation, I found out why. “Social Security promises are part of current law and can be changed by Congress at any time,” I was told. Ditto for Medicare. And disability insurance. And survivors insurance. Etc. Etc. That’s a bureaucratic way of saying, “We can break those promises any time we want to.”

So there’s the accounting fiction. Thanks Mr. Goodman for ferreting it out for us. Because the promise can be broken at any time, it really isn’t

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Standard and Poor’s Extends, Defends and Explains Its Downgrade

Standard and Poor - not the most popular build...

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In a series of expected additional press releases, the Standard & Poor’s credit rating agency is expanding its downgrade of debt securities tied to the now-lower-rated sovereign debt of the United States, including Israeli bondsFannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and “pre-funded” municipal bonds. Other credits tied closely to U.S. sovereign debt are also expected to be downgraded shortly, with only a few exceptions.

Most municipal bond issues are not pre-funded with U.S. Treasury securities, and so they aren’t likely to

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Fair Tax? Flat Tax? The Case for No Tax

Exterior of the Internal Revenue Service offic...

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Stephen Moore’s math in his Wall Street Journal article is compelling: by the time the Democrats’ proposed three-percent surtax on incomes over $1 million a year is added to all the other taxes people pay, those at the high end would be paying 62 percent of their income in federal and state income taxes.

He adds together the current 35 percent top income tax bracket to the three percent surtax, along with the expected repeal of the Bush “tax cuts” in 2012, payroll taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes, the 0.9 percent Medicare surtax, the hidden 3.8 percent sales tax in ObamaCare which begins in 2014, and state income taxes, and he comes out, inevitably, to

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What’s Wrong with Insider Trading? Ask Raj Rajaratnam

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 12:  Billionaire Galleon ...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

When Raj Rajaratnam, founder of Galleon Management, was convicted on all 14 counts of insider trading earlier this month, it made the phones ring in lawyers’ offices all across the country. Rajaratnam was only one of 47 people charged but he was by far the biggest fish caught in the net set by United States attorney for Manhattan, Preet Bharara. It took Bharara’s office 9 months of wire-tapping Rajaratnam’s phone, and 18 months of additional investigative work to get the convictions, and Bharara was ecstatic: “The message today is clear–there are rules and there are laws, and they apply to everyone, no matter who you are or how much money you have.”

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Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Looms

electrical tape

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Tuesday’s hearing of the House Oversight Committee gave Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) a chance to vent, and witness Elizabeth Warren, President Obama’s Special Advisor for the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP), a chance to defend, and for the entire hearing to accomplish nothing. The BCFP was the brainchild of Warren, and the centerpiece of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act which was signed into law last July. Its Orwellian title hides the fact that the new agency will do little to reform Wall Street and nothing at all to protect the consumer.

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Tax Breaks, Subsidies, and Big Oil

Bombay high

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Echoing the Obama administration’s characterization of the tax breaks being enjoyed by the five major oil companies (Exxon, ConocoPhillips, BP America, Shell, and Chevron) as “subsidies,” the Senate tried to remove them on Tuesday, but failed.

The White House said,

The administration believes that, at a time when it is working with the Congress on proposals to reduce federal deficits, the nation cannot afford to maintain these wasteful subsidies.

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Social Security: Way Beyond Tweaking

Scanned image of author's US Social Security card.

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Just one year ago this week the Senate Special Committee on Aging, headed up by wealthy and aging Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), announced that massive shortfalls in funding for Social Security could be papered over with just a few modest “tweaks“:

Modest changes can be made over time that will keep the program in surplus. They are not draconian, as the report points out, and they can be done and [they] will be done.

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Insider Scoffs at Default Concerns, Blasts Geithner, Bernanke

Barack Obama and Timothy Geithner

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Although Monday, May 16th is the day the financial world was supposed to end as the federal government’s spending hit the debt ceiling, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (left) announced that he was able to put off that day of reckoning until August 2nd. In a letter to Congress, Geithner said that by borrowing from a pension fund belonging to federal workers and from an emergency fund set up to “help deal with foreign financial crises” coupled with slightly higher tax revenues than expected, he is able to stave off the inevitable until

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Boehner Caught in the Middle

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House Speaker John Boehner’s speech to the Economic Club of New York on Monday night revealed much about the pressures he is facing in the fight over increasing the debt ceiling. In attendance were investors, bankers, and other Wall Street suits looking for reassurance that Congress wasn’t going to spoil their party by taking away their punch bowl of profligate government spending, but also that any cuts in spending would be modest and deferred into the future. Such reassurance would

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Government to Sell GM Stock Before It Declines Further

2011 Chevrolet Volt exhibited at the 2010 Wash...

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When the federal government took over General Motors in July of 2009, it was “the only way to avoid an economic calamity,” according to President Obama.

Stuffed full of $50 billion of taxpayers’ money, GM began to revive, a little. It had lost an amazing $103 billion over the previous five years, partly by acceding to union demands for generous compensation packages (including payments to workers even when the plants where they worked weren’t even running!), and partly by

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Standard & Poor’s: Clock is Ticking on U.S. Debt

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 16:  A trader works on the...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Within minutes of Monday morning’s announcement by the credit-rating agency Standard & Poor’s that “we have revised our outlook on the long-term rating [for US government debt] to negative from stable,” the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 200 points.

In its announcement, the agency tried to soften the blow:

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Investors in U.S. Debt at Tipping Point?

Teeter-Totter Crossing

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When Terence Jeffrey, writing for CNSNews.com, noted that true federal spending for the fiscal year 2010 wasn’t $3.7 trillion after all, but closer to $11 trillion, he discovered an old accountant’s trick to make things look worse (or better) than they are: either double count, or don’t count at all.

In the process of sorting out the accountant’s trick, however, Jeffrey uncovered an unnerving fact:

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The Panic of 1893: Boosting Bankers’ Money and Power

Caption said: "MR. J. PIERPONT MORGAN, WH...

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Junius Morgan was, at best, a third-tier English banker in the 1850s, who was fortunate to have had a hand in a number of lucrative financings, mostly for industries seeking seasonal financing. His conservative nature was partly a cause of his lack of distinction. He’d inherited a substantial sum when his father died and was exceedingly careful when risking any part of it. One of the maxims Junius instilled into his son, John Pierpont Morgan, was, “Never under any circumstances do an action which could be called into question if known to the world.”

The two first-tier international banking families were the Baring Brothers and the Rothschilds. Barings financed the Louisiana Purchase and the French indemnity payment after Napoleon’s loss to the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo. So influential was Barings that the Duke of Richelieu commented:

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A Harvard Professor’s Goofs, Gaffes, and Blind Spots

N. Gregory Mankiw

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Harvard Professor Gregory Mankiw, in writing a hypothetical speech in the New York Times for the President in the year 2026, thinks politicians can kick the entitlements can down the road for another 15 years. His opening could come from any politician’s current teleprompter:

My fellow Americans, I come to you today with a heavy heart. We have a crisis on our hands. It is one of our own making. And it is one that leaves us with no good choices.

For many years, our nation’s government has lived beyond its means. We have promised ourselves both low taxes and

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Federal Red Ink Forever

Deputy Secretary of State for Management and R...

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When the Congressional Budget Office’s preliminary analysis of the Obama Administration’s 2012 budget was announced last week, observers were shocked—shocked!—to learn that deficits over the next 10 years would be nearly $10 trillion, almost $2½ trillion more than the administration’s estimate.

The CBO had to modify many of the administration’s assumptions, and address at least one major error, in order to come up with its conclusion. First, the CBO assumed that the economy wouldn’t rebound nearly as strongly as projected by

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.

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