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June 14, 2011

Krugman: MediCare saves money, a lot of money

Medicare Saves Money - NYTimes.com
And here’s what you need to know: Medicare actually saves money — a lot of money — compared with relying on private insurance companies. And this in turn means that pushing people out of Medicare, in addition to depriving many Americans of needed care, would almost surely end up increasing total health care costs. The idea of Medicare as a money-saving program may seem hard to grasp. After all, hasn’t Medicare spending risen dramatically over time? Yes, it has: adjusting for overall inflation, Medicare spending per beneficiary rose more than 400 percent from 1969 to 2009. But inflation-adjusted premiums on private health insurance rose more than 700 percent over the same period. So while it’s true that Medicare has done an inadequate job of controlling costs, the private sector has done much worse. And if we deny Medicare to 65- and 66-year-olds, we’ll be forcing them to get private insurance — if they can — that will cost much more than it would have cost to provide the same coverage through Medicare. By the way, we have direct evidence about the higher costs of private insurance via the Medicare Advantage program, which allows Medicare beneficiaries to get their coverage through the private sector. This was supposed to save money; in fact, the program costs taxpayers substantially more per beneficiary than traditional Medicare. . . .

June 13, 2011

Graph: American Workers Share of National Income

Chart Of The Day: For American Workers, No Economic Recovery | TPMDC

June 12, 2011

Hail Mitt Romney, destroyer of jobs!

Mittens Romney is the current frontrunner for the Republicans in 2012 so it's time we really got to know the man, right? I mean, we all know he looks like a slightly manic sitcom dad and he's a Mormon and brought healthcare reform to Massachusetts when he was governor there. We also know his dad was a governor in Michigan and despite that Romney called for the government to let the auto industry die, which would have killed two million plus jobs in related industries. What else do we know? We know he made a lot of money selling video porn to hotels. And we know that he ran a "vulture firm" that sought out indebted businesses he could buy up, strip for parts, and sell off--ruining industries and shipping jobs overseas. (More on this below.) We also know that he'll say anything he thinks people want to hear, in order to get elected. DownWithTyranny!: Is Mitt Romney A Job Creator-- Or A Job Destroyer?
Eventually a failing AOLTimeWarner sold off Warner Music-- which included the record divisions-- to a consortium of investors that included, prominently, Bain Capital, the vulture firm (that's actually what it's called) run by Mitt Romney, who hopes to propel himself to the White House by claiming to be a job creator. He wasn't; he was a job destroyer-- as a business strategy. In 2008 the Boston Globe explained the Bain strategy of slashing jobs. A few weeks ago a much-diminished Warner Music sold itself to a Russian Mafia character (an oil billionaire)-- and inside player who was already on the Board-- who basically bought it for the debts it had accrued while Bain and the rest of the consortium destroyed what was once the world's greatest record company and turned it into nothing at all... shedding 4/5 of the employees in the process. That's the Romney job creation prowess. We had over 500 people working at Warner Records USA when Bain came along. Now there are less than 100. And, in the process, Bain made a fortune and everyone else lost, especially the artists and the public and... music. As the Globe explained, Bain "specializes in leveraged buyouts. Leveraged buyouts combine small amounts of investors' money with large amounts of borrowed money to buy established companies, increase their value, and resell them at a profit."

June 10, 2011

Wisconsin Gov. quietly slips new regulations into budget requiring craft brewers to use huge distributors for their products

This is a Small Government Conservative, all right. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s War On Craft Beer | ThinkProgress
Tucked into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) much-discussed budget was a little-noticed provision to overhaul the state’s regulation of the beer industry. In a state long associated with beer, the provision will make it much more difficult for the Wisconsin’s burgeoning craft breweries to operate and expand their business by barring them from selling directly to restaurants and liquor stores, and preventing them from selling their own product onsite. The new provision treats craft brewers — the 60 of whom make up just 5 percent of the beer market in Wisconsin — like corporate mega-brewers, forcing them to use a wholesale distributor to market their product. Under the provision, it would be illegal, for instance, for a small brewer located near a restaurant to walk next door to deliver a case of beer. They’ll have to hire a middle man to do it instead. But more noteworthy than the provision itself is how it was enacted. The provision was quietly slipped in the massive budget legislation without any consultation from independent craft brewers, who are justifiably outraged by it. One group that clearly did have input, however, is one of the world’s largest beer makers — MillerCoors . . .