Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Who Voted to Leave and Who Voted to Stay – Updated

Poll

It is pretty clear who voted to stay and who voted to leave the EU in England.

Hat Tip to Sam Wang Princeton Election Consortium Brexit survey of the day. “The UK voters who dominated the vote to Leave are also the ones who have to live with the outcome for the least amount of time.” Another elite versus the commoners.

With a fear for snide comments on stats in return, reader voislav comments: “The analysis (Princeton Consortium)is a bit misleading because turnout also increased by age. Sky projects that the turnout for 18-24′s it was in the 30s and for 24-35′s in the 50′s, vs 80+% for the 55+ crowd. BBC shows lower turnout in younger areas of the country.

If you look at the Guardian analysis (link below) the correlation with age is not that strong, there is a much stronger correlation with education and income. Wealthier, more educated young people tend to be more politically engaged, so they dominated the youth vote.”

Median Age

Higher Educaction

Median Annual Income

Scatter plots taken from EU referendum: full results and analysis “The Guardian.” These plots are interactive and you can locate different areas and city of the country making it worthwhile to visit The Guardian site.

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More Lies

After almost 8 years the Party of NO and me too, the Republican Party through Mr. Paul Ryan has announced its sketchy version of a national healthcare plan. There is nothing unusual (maybe I should not say this, as distortion and out-right telling lies is unusual) or earth shattering being offered in Mr. Ryan’s plan. For sure, Mr. Ryan’s plan lacks many of the things the PPACA offers today. I do not want to get tied up examining the detail right now so I will move on to something else I wish to point out

Riding on the back of Mr. Ryan’s plan is a complaint, a complaint the PPACA leaves many people without coverage due to its design. As read in Mr. Ryan’s plan;

“as a result of Obamacare’s poor design and incentives, many Americans — who do not have an offer of health insurance through their employer— have fallen into a coverage gap between their state’s Medicaid eligibility and the eligibility criteria for the Obamacare subsidies.”

This statement in Mr. Ryan’s Plan is a blatant lie perpetuated by Mr. Ryan and the Republicans. 19 states did not expand Medicaid to cover their citizens up to 138% FPL. These states were allowed to do so by a SCOTUS ruling supported by Mr. Ryan and Republican. Furthermore, Republicans in their efforts to block anything done by Barack Obama made it clear they would not allow the PPACA to be expanded to cover those citizens who fell into this gap.

Maybe people are immune to the lies coming out of Congress and subsequently do not comment on such an outrageous lie fostered by Mr. Ryan. They are quick to complain about the PPACA and slow to call out Republicans for their lies about the PPACA, which is far better than what is offered by the Party of No.

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Ken Burns Delivers Stanford Commencement Speech

I believe the fully and completely ignored danger in this election is believing Trump is just a flash in the pan and he will never win against HRC regardless of how much she is denigrated by Republicans trying to prove Bengahzi or DEMS who believe Bernie is their candidate. It is not a good time to ignore this imposter. His candidacy needs to be put away vigorously. Below is Ken Burn Commencement speech which touches upon the fascist Trump issue. You can either listen or read.

“For 216 years, our elections, though bitterly contested, have featured the philosophies and characters of candidates who were clearly qualified. That is not the case this year. One is glaringly not qualified. So before you do anything with your well-earned degree, you must do everything you can to defeat the retrograde forces that have invaded our democratic process, divided our house, to fight against, no matter your political persuasion, the dictatorial tendencies of the candidate with zero experience in the much maligned but subtle art of governance; who is against lots of things, but doesn’t seem to be for anything, offering only bombastic and contradictory promises, and terrifying Orwellian statements; a person who easily lies, creating an environment where the truth doesn’t seem to matter; who has never demonstrated any interest in anyone or anything but himself and his own enrichment; who insults veterans, threatens a free press, mocks the handicapped, denigrates women, immigrants, and all Muslims; a man who took more than a day to remember to disavow a supporter who advocates white supremacy and the Ku Klux Klan; an infantile, bullying man who, depending on his mood, is willing to discard old and established alliances, treaties, and longstanding relationships.

I feel genuine sorrow for the understandably scared and — they feel — powerless people who have flocked to his campaign in the mistaken belief that — as often happens on TV — a wand can be waved and every complicated problem can be solved with the simplest of solutions. They can’t. It is a political Ponzi scheme. And asking this man to assume the highest office in the land would be like asking a newly minted car driver to fly a 747.

As a student of history, I recognize this type. He emerges everywhere and in all eras. We see nurtured in his campaign an incipient proto-fascism, a nativist anti-immigrant Know Nothing-ism, a disrespect for the judiciary, the prospect of women losing authority over their own bodies, African-Americans again asked to go to the back of the line, voter suppression gleefully promoted, jingoistic saber-rattling, a total lack of historical awareness, a political paranoia that, predictably, points fingers, always making the other wrong.

These are all virulent strains that have at times infected us in the past. But they now loom in front of us again — all happening at once. We know from our history books that these are the diseases of ancient and now fallen empires. We know from our history books that these are the diseases of ancient and now fallen empires. The sense of commonwealth, of shared sacrifice, of trust, so much a part of American life, is eroding fast, spurred along and amplified by an amoral internet that permits a lie to circle the globe three times before the truth can get started.

We no longer have the luxury of neutrality or ‘balance,’ or even of bemused disdain. Many of our media institutions have largely failed to expose this charlatan, torn between a nagging responsibility to good journalism and the big ratings a media circus always delivers. In fact, they have given him the abundant airtime he so desperately craves, so much so that it has actually worn down our natural human revulsion to this kind of behavior. “Hey, he’s rich, he must be doing something right.’ He’s not. Edward R. Murrow would have exposed this naked emperor months ago. He is an insult to our history. And do not be deceived by his momentary “good behavior.’ It’s only a spoiled, misbehaving child hoping somehow to still have dessert.

And do not think that the tragedy in Orlando underscores his points. It does not. We must “disenthrall ourselves,” as Abraham Lincoln said, from the culture of violence and guns. And then “we shall save our country.”

This, ladies and gentlemen, is not a liberal or conservative issue, a red state–blue state divide. This is an American issue. Many honorable people, including the last two Republican presidents, members of the party of Abraham Lincoln, have declined to support him. And I implore those “Vichy Republicans” who have endorsed him to please, please reconsider. We must remain committed to the kindness and community that are the hallmarks of civilization and reject the troubling, unfiltered Tourette’s of his tribalism.”

It is folly, a huge mistake to ignore this man. Ken Burns goes on . . .

“The next few months of your ‘commencement,’ that is to say, your future, will be critical to the survival of our Republic. ‘The occasion is piled high with difficulty.’ Let us pledge here today that we will not let this happen to the exquisite, yet deeply flawed, land we all love and cherish—and hope to leave intact to our posterity. Let us ‘nobly save,’ not “meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.”

Hat Tip to Watch Ken Burns’s Powerful Take-Down of Donald Trump at Stanford Commencement Nathan Place, Daily Beast, June 13, 2016

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Interesting Phenomena

According to the New York Fed Reserve Bank the PPACA appears to be doing what it was intended to do besides grant more people healthcare. States that opted into the Medicaid expansion and the PPACA have experienced a decrease in the number of billings going to collection agencies.

Per Capita Collection Balances

“We see that between 2009 and 2015, the series is statistically and economically indistinguishable from zero in every quarter, which is consistent with the constant and parallel trends of the series in the first chart. This means that collections in counties that did not expand Medicaid grew along similar trends as in counties that did. However, starting in the first quarter of 2015, the difference in differences turns sharply negative. By the fourth quarter of 2015, the chart indicates that, on average, collections declined by more than $100 per capita in the counties most affected by the Medicaid expansion relative to less affected counties. This is a sizable decline, given that the mean of collection balances over our sample period is $280 (and the standard deviation is $186). Note that the declines do not start as soon as the ACA is implemented (in the first quarter of 2014)—this should not be surprising since bills can take many months to enter collections.”

Change in Per Capita Collection Balances

States opting out of the Medicaid expansion and the PPACA experienced a continued rise in collection agency balances.

Hat Tip to Nancy Letourneau at the Washington Monthly who points out Obamacare’s Success in Protecting our Finances

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Does One Chair Lifted Over One’s Head Make a Riot???

This certainly isn’t the 1968 Dem Convention in Chicago; but, there were a lot of angry people in Nevada.

“What I see is that the only thing holding those assh-les back, were the security people and the fence in front of them. That one man did indeed pick up a chair and raise it in the air and unless he was doing so so that his imaginary elf friend could sit down then I expect he was doing it to menace the people on the stage.” So Bagerite says in the comments section of May 22nd The Daily Banter New Video of Nevada Dem Convention Shows Someone May Have Been Hit By Chair. So where does this place Bernie Sander’s comment that “no one was touched?”

In the clips, you can see a chair over someone’s head and it is moving forward towards the stage. The levitating chair was stopped by two people before it could get past the fence. During the appearance of a little bit of upper butt-check, you can see Mr. Upper-Butt-Cheek bending over and helping someone up. Apparently a woman was knocked down during the take down of the person with the chair over his head (not to be confused with The Hora) in preparation for what? Since there was no one in the chair, one can assume it was ready to be flung somewhere.

I could not find it; but somewhere, someone is holding a piece of wood in the air also.

Anyhoo, judge for yourself.

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Remembering the Carter-Reagan Race

Barkley Rosser made an interesting comment on one of the threads which is worthy of a separate posting. He is pointing out similarities between Trump and Reagan in saying whatever they want to say, backing away from them (it was just a suggestion), and never being held accountable for making statements devoid of facts. People leap to the unrealistic or untrue commentary and when the statement is challenged, the candidate disavows them while the voters remember what was initially said.

“Trump is pulling something that I think he is going to get away with, which is that he can just say all kinds of things that appeal to certain people, but when people who dislike those things complain, well, he just disavows them or “walks them back,” maybe, for a little while, whatever. So he gains with those who like this stuff, but he manages to avoid being really held accountable seriously for any of it (“that is just a suggestion”). So none of us really know what his positions are on anything, and he in fact may not really have any. It is all about him and his ego and his claim to power, and those who are impressed will vote for him.

What I worry about on this is remembering the Carter-Reagan race. About this time in 1980 Dems were hoping Reagan would be the nominee. He had just said that “trees cause pollution” (which is technically correct if one counts pollen as pollution), which had led to him having very low poll ratings. Oh boy, the Dems were drooling at the prospect of running against this numbskull who would say all kinds of goofy stuff in contrast to more serious candidates like BWH Bush.

Now of course there were other reasons Reagan won, including a bad economy and the embarrassment of the Iran hostage crisis, but I remember all too well the first debate between them, which was universally viewed as a victory by Reagan, with Carter never recovering after that in the polls. I remember that if one was paying close attention, Carter “won on points,” doing well at pointing out the silliness of much of what Reagan was saying. But then there was that magic moment when after Carter criticized him for his warmongering foreign policy statements, Reagan just leaned back and said, “There you go again,” and that was it. He won the debate on a single well-delivered phrase that was in fact devoid of content. But, it sold.

So I fear that whether it is Hillary or Bernie (still has a small chance, much better if HRC gets indicted before the convention), they can win on points showing how nonsensical statement after statement Trump has said is, but then he wins the darned debate with some wisecrack along the lines of what Reagan pulled with Carter.

As it is, both Hillary and Bernie are seriously wonkish, with pretty well developed platforms. We have seen extended discussions and debates about their positions on various issues here, and it is known that Hillary especially has a very long and detailed set of positions, with some charging that she has overdone it going too wonkish. Unlike others I do not think she will just drop all that the minute she gets in, if she gets in, but I do think that both she and Bernie will end up modifying what they advocate when face a GOP-controlled House, which I think is highly likely, even if hopefully the Dems do manage to take the Senate.

But there is a real possibility of a replay of 1980, whichever of them is the Dem candidate.”

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The PPACA and the Uninsured, Sanders, and HRC

I have been listening to the Sanders healthcare Uninsured narrative and his own Undetailed healthcare plan. To me, much of this sounds like Republicans tossing around the usual nonsense about the PPACA. It would be better if Sanders just said we can do better than the PPACA and here is how we can get there (and then explain it). There is something to remember though and pre-PPACA involving the last all out effort to install healthcare in 1992 as led by HRC. It failed because Congress did not lead it and nothing else “major” has been brought to the table by Republicans except a lot of excuses. The Democrats do not escape critiquing either as they have been equally negligent in producing something, anything of plan to get people healthcare. The prelude to the passage of the PPACA was the Senator from Aetna, Joe Liberman, holding the PPACA captive until some fast maneuvering by Reid and Pelosi. Now Sanders may believe he can command a better healthcare plan into being; but, I doubt it will happen until people begin to demand it and change Congress. Not enough of people are doing so today.

“‘You’ve got to take out the Medicare buy-in,‘ Mr. Lieberman said. ‘You’ve got to forget about the public option. You probably have to take out the Class Act (Long Term Care), which was a whole new entitlement program that will, in future years, put us further into deficit.’”

A Blue Dog Senator, Ben Nelson wanted to know the impact of the Medicare buy-in. “I am concerned that it’s the forerunner of single payer, the ultimate single-payer plan, maybe even more directly than the public option.”

What happened then and why we have ended up with the PPACA in its present format was an agreement made by Congress Person Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid. With the winning of the Massachusetts Senate race by Scott Brown, the dynamics had changed once again in January of 2010.

The Christmas Eve passage of the PPACA bill by the Senate was on the table to be tweaked considerably to get what they wanted to pass into law with the 60-vote majority with Paul Kirk (replaced Edward Kennedy) and later with the election of Martha Coakley. The election of Republican Scott Brown as the new Senator from Massachusetts, stopped any thought of tweaking the Senate bill by the House especially with the conversations going on between Senators Lieberman and Nelson. Instead, Congress Person Nancy Pelosi and Senator Reed decided to take up the already passed bill from the Senate on the Floor of the House. It passed and the PPACA as we know it has been brought up some sixty-something times after the House Republicans passed it 219-212.

Since its passage, there has been a dispute over how many people are actually covered by the PPACA and why those who are not, are not. There have been mega-fabricated-stories on why it has failed people and there has been reasons or facts about why the PPACA does not cover people. Charles Gaba at ACASignups has tracked the signups to the PPACA since it was passed into law in 2010. He has one of the more accurate measurements of signups, why people lose coverage, and why they are not covered detailed on his site.

2016_total_coverage_pie_chart

If you click on the Pice Chart, you will get a readable version of this pie chart. If you doubt its accuracy, Larry Levitt of Kaiser Family Foundation had this to say to Charles Gaba:

“Obviously some of the estimates are approximations, but I do not see any glaring problems. — Larry Levitt (@larry_levitt) March 29, 2016

Let’s get into this a bit and what I want to look into are the “Uninsured.”

• Adults Medicaid Eligible: 5.0 million; And not covered due to the state not expanding Medicaid
• Children Medicaid/CHIP Eligible: 3.0 million And not covered due to the state not expanding Medicaid
• Medicaid Gap: 2.8 million; States not implementing the Medicaid Expansion have penalized citizens from Medicaid (except as already
established under state law) and from the PPACA Market Exchange.
• Undocumented Immigrants: 4.7 million; Federal Law says no coverage available.
• Eligible for Subsidized Exchange policies: 6.5 million; And chose not to sign up.
• Ineligible for Subsidized Exchange policies: 7.0 million; And have the chance for ESI policies or has an income above the 400%.

Except for the 4.7 million undocumented immigrants, all people have a chance to have healthcare insurance of some type unless their state governments disenfranchise them. Now is this going to change with the election of a new president? Probably not until gerrymandering goes away and Congress changes which will not happen under HRC or Sanders. Stomp your foot all you want to, it will remain the same until people wise – up and figure out the Republicans and the big-money people are not on their side. Our biggest issue right now is to get a Justice on SCOTUS who will favor the people and not moneyed or religious interests like the Koch Brothers and Hobby Lobby. To bow out of an election if HRC wins or Sanders wins is self-defeating and not a good choice.

The links are there if you wish to read Kaiser or Charles Gaba. This is briefly what both had to say on the topic of the insured and uninsured. The election comments are my own and I hope you think carefully about the 2016 election.

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Leave your Economic Modeling at Home when flying the “Doing What We Do Best” Airlines

Which appears to be taking ethnic looking civilians off their flights.

Perhaps economists should not do their modeling on American Airline flights or for that matter other airlines. It seems one 40-year-old man with curly dark hair and olive skin coloring was quietly sitting in his seat scribbling calculations on a notepad. His seatmate on this puddle-jumper from Philadelphia to Syracuse was a young 30ish blonde haired woman carrying a red tote bag.

As the story goes, the young woman was curious about his unrecognizable note taking. After being rebuffed by a simple “no” from the man about whether his home was Syracuse, she took to her book and jotted down a note and gave it to the flight attendant. The plane door shut and after a delay on the tarmac, the plane began to move to the runway to take off only to be diverted back to the gate.

At the gate, the woman who had said she was sick earlier (in her note to the flight attendant) was taken off the plane. A short time later, the pilot came back to the unsuspecting man and he was escorted off the plane and asked what he knew about the 30-something blonde haired woman who sat next to him on the plane. He admitted to not knowing anything other than her acting strangely.

The woman had seen his note taking and did not understand the equations he was writing. In her note to the flight attendant, she stated she was ill. Not understanding the equations he was writing on his notepad, she suspected it to be secret code for some plot to be hatched on Flight 3950 of American Airlines. Upon deboarding the plane, she explained to the officials what she suspected; “she believed him to be a terrorist and his note taking a secret code.”

Wearing “navy Diesel jeans and a red Lacoste sweater, a look he described as ‘simple elegance;'” the Carlo Alberto Medal winner, University of Pennsylvania Economist, Italian by birth, and tenured Professor Guido Menzio was working on “some properties of a model of price-setting he was to present” at Queens University. Apparently, like many Americans, the young woman with blond hair did not understand differential equations and mistook the equations to be secret codes.

After some embarrassing moments for the officials and the pilot listening to the Professor’s explanation on mathematical modeling, Guido Menzio was allowed to reboard the plane. He and the other passengers took off to Syracuse more than 2 hours late. The woman responsible for his being removed from the plane and questioned had taken another flight.

Ivy League economist ethnically profiled, interrogated for doing math on American Airlines flight,” Washington Post, Catherine Rampell, May 7, 2016

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SCOTUS Approves New Rules for FBI Hacking and Legislates New Law

In 2014, Joseph Hall explained why this could be an issue. “The US Department of Justice is seeking to drastically expand its abilities to search computers remotely through an obscure change in the rules of criminal procedure. This would have the effect of making it easier for law enforcement to remotely break into and search computers worldwide when the computer’s location is concealed. This change is highly dangerous in that it will essentially allow law enforcement to hack into hundreds of millions of computers all over the world. This kind of expansion of power should not be happening in an obscure forum – The Judicial Conference’s Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure – but in open debate and consideration in Congress. Yesterday, I testified before the Advisory Committee, having worked with CDT’s Senior Counsel Harley Geiger on our written testimony.”

This was approved the other day by the Roberts Court changing Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. In the past, a Federal judge in each district would have to approve a warrant to search a computer, telephone, etc. With this change, a warrant just has to be issued by a Federal judge or magistrate and the FBI then has carte blanc to search globally any number of computers technologically concealed, hijacked, or damaged for the same issue. Other courts can not longer reject the one court’s warrant (unless appealed to a higher court).

“Chief Justice John Roberts submitted the rule to Congress on behalf of the Court as part of the justices’ annual package of changes to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The rules form the basis of every federal prosecution in the United States.” It was the court’s decision to decide within the district it resided in and other districts could reject or decide for another district’s decision. The change in Rule 41 by SCOTUS gives a district court the ability to allow the FBI to investigate globally without revealing the location. Why Roberts believes in this expanded power and another attack on the 4th Amendment is . . . ?

Hat Tip to Joseph Lorenzo Hall, CDT “US DOJ Seeks to Search and Seize Data on Computers Worldwide”. Congress still has the power to change the rule with Legislation and advocate for less or no intrusion into 4th Amendment protected privacy. Doubtful it will the same as it failed to stop Usury or Loan Sharking in 1978.

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7 Million at Risk from Man-made Quakes

Interesting Vox article on natural and manmade earthquakes my fellow Vet and cohort in writing Mark Jamison sent me. This year for the first time ever the USGS is including a map of areas in the US which may be prone to human-induced earthquakes” in addition to areas which are prone to natural earthquakes.

“By including human-induced events, our assessment of earthquake hazards has significantly increased in parts of the U.S.,” said Mark Petersen, Chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project. “This research also shows that much more of the nation faces a significant chance of having damaging earthquakes over the next year, whether natural or human-induced.”

Natural and Induced Earthquates

From the highest to the lowest potential hazard the USGS has ranked these states: Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Arkansas. Oklahoma and Texas have the largest populations exposed to induced earthquakes. Small areas of Ohio and Alabama have experienced induced earthquakes; but, this has dropped off with lesser activity. “Wastewater disposal is thought to be the primary reason for the recent increase in earthquakes in the CEUS. While most injection wells are not associated with earthquakes, some other wells have been implicated in published scientific studies, and many states are now regulating wastewater injection in order to limit earthquake hazards.”

Earthquates since 1980 and Recent Areas

Central US has experienced the greatest change in earthquake frequency going from 24 earthquakes per year (1973 to 2008) with an average magnitude of 3.0 to increased frequency year over year 318 per year with a high of 1010 in 2015. From 2009 to 2015, the rate steadily increased, averaging 318 per year and peaking in 2015 with 1,010 earthquakes. The latest data through mid-March shows 226 earthquakes. As fracking and the resulting waste water injection activities picks up in a region, the frequency of earthquakes increases. It is not believed Hydraulic fracking is to be the cause of the increased earthquakes. Testing the maps after one year will verify predictability of location and frequency of earthquakes.

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