Healthcare.gov has my email address, because I once searched for plan information on the site, and now the artificial intelligence – or just perhaps an algorithm – has decided to pester me to sign up or pay a penalty. Having fooled the system (because I can’t get Obamacare since I passed my 65th birthday), I checked some prices to see the cost of plans for my neighbors, assuming a family of two parents and two teenage children.
It’s not a pretty picture. Without premium subsidies, all of the so-called Obamacare Bronze plans cost about $900 a month, or $10,800 a year. All of them have a deductible of about $12,000, which adds up to a total cost of $22,800 – before you receive one penny of health insurance. It’s all on you – just put pennies in the jar each January and set aside 2,280,000 as your personal Copper plan. Actually, someone should call the coppers for allowing such a ripoff junk health plan.
The missing ingredient in this analysis is that the government (middle class taxpayers) provides a subsidy to our average $50k-a-year household of four, amounting to $800 or so per month. That money goes directly to the insurance company. You pay the difference in premiums and you also pay all that $12,000 deductible. It seems insanely expensive – between contributions from taxpayers and subscribers – and some might say a windfall for insurance companies, a deal that was negotiated by Chicago’s current mayor under assault, who is also a former investment banker.
The Democrats may have bowed to the healthcare industry, prostrated their principles, humiliated party members, destroyed the President’s legacy and may even made Valerie Jarrett unhappy, but things might get even far worse.
British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbin is starting a campaign against inequality that should be emulated by all (five, ten?) American politicians not controlled by big business.
“One proposal is pay ratios between top and bottom, so that the rewards don’t just accrue to those at the top,” he said.
“Of the G7 nations only the US has greater income inequality than the UK, and pay inequality on this scale is neither necessary nor inevitable.”
Corbin is talking about real compensation – wages, salaries and bonuses – while many reports for the American public will note an executive $1 million wage, but exclude their $12 million bonus. That trick is good PR for the overpaid, but not good statistics when comparing worker to CEO. Also not mentioned is that company owners (with no work required) usually make much more than the executives. When comparing apples to apples, the mismatch is onerous.
“Total direct compensation for 300 CEOs at public companies increased 5.5% to a median of $11.4 million in 2013, concluded an analysis by The Wall Street Journal and Hay Group. A separate AFL-CIO study of CEO pay across a broad sample of S&P 500 firms showed the average CEO earned 331 times more than the typical U.S. worker last year. In 1980, that multiple was 42,” according to a report in the Wall Street Journal in November, 2014.
The record of being the most unequal of G7 nations – Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, and United States – is a distinction without merit. So-called pay inequality solutions here include lowering the taxes on the highest paid, sheltering savings of the richest Americans, and maintaining government subsidies to the poorest workers (EITC), rather than really raising (not $10.10) the minimum wage. And those negative plans are the ones endorsed by many in the Democrat Party. Most in the GOP also want to privatize everything from national parks to public roads and schools – in short, anywhere a buck can be squeezed.
“Another proposal would be to bar or restrict companies from distributing dividends until they pay all their workers the living wage,” Corbin explained.
“Only profitable employers will be paying dividends, if they depend on cheap labor for those profits, then I think there is a question over whether that is a business model to which we should be turning a blind eye.”
During the 2008 financial crisis, it was common that many, running for public office, also espoused caps on highest salaries to five or ten million dollars. Continue reading →