The deficit for FY 2013, which ended on September 30, was $680 billion. To economists, what matter is not the amount of the deficit, but what percentage of GDP it represents. In this case, it’s 4.1% of GDP.
For FY 2009, the deficit was 10.1% of GDP. So the deficit has fallen by more than half.
Right now, our most immediate concern is (or should be, GOP) jobs, not the deficit. Yes, we have longer-term deficit problems, but the most important thing to do now is not to make those future deficits worse by failing to create jobs. To the extent we do that, we generate more tax revenue and we reduce demand for unemployment benefits, Medicaid, and food stamps, so the government automatically gets more and spends less without cutting the safety net or raising taxes.
“While few explicitly talk about Obama in racial terms, the [Republican] base supporters are very conscious of being white in a country with growing minorities. The base thinks they are losing politically and losing control of the country.”
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) told Fox News that it wasn’t “appropriate” for him to call Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) an asshole in a GOP meeting. But he doesn’t say that his characterization of Reid was incorrect.
“I am not terribly different than some other writers who have been in the individual market. We have BCBS covering a family of four with a variety of pre-existing (but not life threatening) conditions. Like others, BCBS of Illinois informed us that our policy would no longer be valid after January 1, 2014. They also informed us that they would role us automatically into a slightly more expensive (and largely comparable) plan if we did nothing.
“Here is where it gets a bit more interesting. The “cancellation letter” directed us to the BCBS website, where we could shop through various other options. There are a large number of options (e.g., network breadth, deductibles, co-pays, etc.), many of which are also comparable to what we have at lower rates. Relatively minor tweaks to our deductible will save us hundreds per month – more than offsetting the deductibles. And, since getting the letter, we have gotten follow-up emails and telephone calls from BCBS encouraging us to compare our options at the BCBS website.
“It has become quite clear over the past couple of weeks that BCBS does not want us shopping on the Illinois Exchange. Of course I will ultimately do that, if nothing else to check out competitive options. BCBS has huge market share here and they have the best, most comprehensive network – I won’t be a bit surprised if we stay with them. That said, we have suddenly become much more attractive and important to BCBS than we were. Getting through underwriting a few years ago was ridiculously difficult, now we are being marketed heavily and encouraged essentially to skip the exchange all together and shop exclusively at BCBS.
“Count me among those who think the ACA will ultimately work to the net benefit of the vast majority of people in the individual market – myself included.”
From someone who wrote to Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo after receiving one of those “cancellation” letters. My guess is that this guy’s experience is fairly typical, and once again the Obama Administration is doing a crappy job of ‘splaining.
I’m tired of hearing that the economy isn’t producing jobs because business lacks confidence in President Obama. Yes, companies are sitting on a ton of cash rather than adding to payroll, but this failure to hire would be the same if Romney were in the Oval.
If England used to be a nation of shop keepers, the U. S. has become a nation of middle managers. While it’s easy to calculate out how many people it takes to produce Fords on an assembly line, it’s not as straightforward to figure out how many people you need in cubicles writing reports and emails to each other.
As the economy has come back, a lot of jobs have been eliminated, as companies realized that they didn’t need all the people they had before the meltdown. To some extent, they made bigger profits because people who kept their jobs were so grateful and terrified that they were willing to do a job-and-a-half rather than complain. But remaining workers also found themselves able to get more done because meetings were shorter and there were fewer co-workers up and down the chain of command to deal with by memo or email or office visit. Businesses realized that before the meltdown, they had a lot of employees who may have looked busy, but weren’t terribly productive.
When the economy tanked, our private sector was over-staffed, as we typically complain that the government is. Companies that find themselves under-staffed are hiring (people doing a job-and-a-half won’t do that forever), but they won’t let themselves become over-staffed any time soon. A lot of jobs are just gone for now, regardless of who controls Congress or the White House.
Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, who briefly replaced Teddy Kennedy (because it was too damn cold for Martha Coakley to shake hands outside Fenway Park or something) and then lost his bid for a full term to Elizabeth Warren in 2012, has set up a political action committee in New Hampshire, The People’s Seat PAC.
It looks as if Brown is preparing to run against Dem NH Senator Jean Shaheen in 2014. Brown has long owned a vacation house in Rye, NH.