Congressional Budget Office
Moments ago the Obama administration revised its estimate for Obamacare enrollment, now saying - with the bruising midterms safely in the rearview mirror - that it expects some 9.9 million people to have coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges in 2015, millions fewer than outside experts predicted. And actually it is not even 9.9 million: "Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said Monday the administration was aiming for 9.1 million paid-up enrollees for 2015, though the range could extend to 9.9 million, according to the agency’s analysis. Ms. Burwell said she respected the work of the Congressional Budget Office and its projections but that she believed HHS figures were based on the best and most up-to-date information." So really 8 million, or less?
On Nov. 15, 2010, a letter signed by academics, economists and money managers warned that the Federal Reserve's strategy of buying bonds and other securities to reduce interest rates risked "currency debasement and inflation" and could "distort financial markets." As Bloomberg reports, they also said it wouldn't achieve the Fed's objective of promoting employment. Four years later, many members of the group, which includes Seth Klarman of Baupost Group LLC and billionaire Paul Singer of Elliott Management Corp., explain why they stand by the letter's content...
What's the opposite of government efficiency? In a double-take-instigating headline, the federal government’s Obamacare enrollment system has cost about $2.1 billion so far, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis of contracts related to the project. BGOV’s analysis shows that costs for both healthcare.gov and the broader reform effort are far greater than anything publicly discussed. However, that pales into insignificance when considering health reform has cost American taxpayers $73 billion in the last four years... and counting.
* Where is Venezuela's 366 tonnes of gold?
* Does Venezuela still control and own unencumbered it’s own gold reserves?
* Is any of the country's gold encumbered, loaned or leased to Goldman Sachs or other banks?
It’s not just homeowners who have to worry about rising interest rates, the Federal government might soon get a taste of its own medicine. From the admittedly partisan Republican Senate Committee on the Budget comes this report outlining how federal interest outlays will dovetail with other expenses in the future. "By the end of the budget window in 2024, however, CBO forecasts that interest payments will nearly quadruple to an astonishing $880 billion."
Remember all those allegations that Obamacare would be an unmitigated disaster for businesses, especially smaller companies? Well, now we have some facts. A week ago we noted that the Philly Fed found that Obamacare was a disaster for business, and now no lessor entity than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is out with its latest forecasts, concluding "certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act will tend to reduce labor force participation." While we already noted that 'work is punished' in America, it appears now that with Obamacare, non-work is actually incentivized.
- Clearly it's time to bomb Assad (on Qatar instructions): Islamic State executes dozens of Syrian army soldiers (Reuters)
- Ukraine Declares Russian Invasion as Sanctions Threat Raised (BBG)
- Ukraine Reports Russian Invasion on a New Front (NYT)
- German Unemployment Rises as Risks to Economy Build (BBG)
- Ebola spreads to Nigeria oil hub Port Harcourt (BBC)
- FBI Probes Possible Hacking Incident at J.P. Morgan (WSJ)
- FBI, Secret Service investigate reports of cyber attacks on U.S. banks (Reuters)
- If you like your Venezuela, you can stay in Venezuela: Airlines Abandon Fliers Amid Currency Dispute (WSJ)
- Boomer Wealth Dented by Mortgages Poses U.S. Risk (BBG)
- People Aren't Buying Guns (BusinessWeek)
According to government's own projections, the 'universal coverage' provided by the Affordable Care Act will still yield almost 4 million Americans who will prefer to pay an average tax of more than $1,000 to the government for 2016, rather than buying health insurance that year... and the total number of nonelderly uninsured Americans projected for calendar 2016 is some 30 million.
The gross, in fact epic, incompetence of the Congressional Budget Office when it comes to doing its only job, forecasting the future state of the US economy, has previously been extensively documented here (and here and here and here). This incompetence is in the spotlight once again this morning with the CBO's release of its latest forecast revision of its original February 2014 projection. And while every aspect of the revised projection has changed, in an adverse direction of course, the punchline is the chart below: the CBO's revised projection for 2014 GDP. It's one of those "no comment necessary" visuals.
There is much hope pinned on continuing economic recovery in the United States despite a deterioration of the global economy virtually everywhere else. While it was not surprising to see a bounce back in activity after a contractionary first quarter, there are several economic data points that suggest that sustainability of the bounce is unlikely. Expectations are very likely well ahead of reality at the current time. This increases the risk of disappointment in the months and quarters ahead which could be a negative for the markets.
Roughly a month ago, we exposed CYNK Technology Corp. The CYNK bubble was, of course, the result of carefully planned deceit and clever promotion by a handful of people who stood to make a lot of money on the trade. But when you think about it, CYNK’s stock wasn’t really any dumber than owning US Treasuries. In the case of CYNK, it only took about a month for the bubble to inflate and burst. The Treasury bubble, on the other hand, was built on credibility earned over decades; but while previous generations earned the world’s trust, modern day politicians have blown through it. Now all they have left is their snake oil sales pitch. And a mountain of obligations that closed July 2014 at a record high $17.69 trillion.
Paul Krugman reads the latest long-term forecast from the US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and he likes what he sees. Even though the chart below is the CBO’s projections for the growth of federal debt, described by CBO as "a path that would ultimately be unsustainable," Krugman nonetheless offers a rosy commentary...
Here’s a radical suggestion to help counter to the pro-crony forces: be upfront about the true sinister nature of organizations like the Ex-Im Bank. Let’s call a spade a spade, and finally describe the Ex-Im Bank what it truly is: fascism. Such a word comes off as a boogey man term used to rile up emotions. But in the battle of ideas, sophistry always comes up short. Just as the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, precise words are better than vague words when it comes to making a point.