Obamacare

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Frontrunning: February 20





  • Greece Should Not Give In to Germany’s Bullying (FP)
  • Greece Can Pay Its Debts in Full, but It Won’t (WSJ)
  • Early Friday humor: Euro Region Economy Strengthens Amid Wrangling on Greece  (BBG)
  • Euro zone may need extra summit to clinch Greek deal (Reuters)
  • Oil-Drop Pain Spreads to Saudi Arabia’s Energy Behemoth (WSJ)
  • Yellen Confronts Economists’ Ignorance (BBG) - where does one even start with this one
  • ECB Plans to Push Greek Banks to Shed State Debt If Talks Fail (BBG)
 
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Feds Hold Hearing On Whether They Should ‘Regulate’ Sites Like Zero Hedge





As America continues to drift toward totalitarianism, it is only a matter of time before political speech on the Internet is regulated.  It is already happening in other countries all around the globe, and control freak politicians in the US have begun a renewed push to regulate independent news websites. People are hungry for the truth, and an increasing number of Americans are waking up to the fact that they are not getting the truth from the corporate-controlled media.  But as the alternative media has grown, it was only going to be a matter of time before the establishment started cracking down on it.

 
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Fourth Turning: The Shadow Of Crisis Has Not Passed - Part 2





The dominoes are beginning to fall. The initial spark in 2008 has triggered a series of unyielding responses by those in power, but further emergencies and unintended consequences juxtapose, connect and accelerate a chain reaction that will become uncontainable once a tipping point is reached. The fabric of society is tearing at points of extreme vulnerability, with depression, violence and war on the foreseeable horizon. Mr. President, the shadow of crisis has not passed. The looming shadow of crisis grows ever larger and darker by the day as this Crisis enters the most dangerous phase, where the existing social order will be swept away in a torrent of carnage and ferocious struggle. We are not a chosen people. We are not immune from dire outcomes.

 
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Obama May Attack ISIS In Any Country He Chooses, Deploy Ground Troops On A Whim, Delay Afghanistan Pull Out





The Nobel peace prize-winning president has been busy today: not only did he already petition Congress earlier to declare war on the Islamic State, a non-country which technically doesn't exist, but now he plans to expands his "war powers" to any other place in the world. From Reuters:

  • MILITARY AUTHORIZATION BILL WOULD PRESERVE PRESIDENT'S ABILITY TO ORDER OPERATIONS AGAINST ISLAMIC STATE IN COUNTRIES OTHER THAN IRAQ, SYRIA - WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN
  • WHITE HOUSE SAYS COMBAT BOOTS ON THE GROUND MAY BE USED FOR HOSTAGE RESCUE OPERATIONS
  • OBAMA NOT RULING OUT DEPLOYING COMBAT TROOPS ON GROUND TO ASSIST AIR STRIKES AGAINST ISLAMIC STATE, IF PENTAGON RECOMMENDS IT -WHITE HOUSE

And not only that: also according to Reuters, Obama is considering a request from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to slow the pace of the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, a senior administration official said on Wednesday.

 
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Economists: They Can Add But Can't Put Two & Two Together





Once again we found ourselves bewildered while watching financial discussions on television. All one needs to do to follow along is forget your rational objective analysis at the door, have another glass of the proverbial “Kool-Aid™, and chant with the congregation panel “everything is just awesome!” Why? Because it’s in the “numbers!” When you listen to most of these debates by economists using today’s “numbers” one can’t help but think any release of data must be taken as holy writ. For our money, when it comes to this new theology of economics, we’d rather be with the heretics. Maybe we don’t understand how they can believe the numbers they recite. But we do no one thing above all else. We won’t partake in the Kool-Aid.

 
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US Trade Deficit Soars In December As Strong Dollar Hurts Exports, Downward Q4 GDP Revisions Imminent





And so after that epic 5.0% Q3 GDP print, driven largely by Obamacare, the payback begins, and the annualized Q4 GDP print, which came in at nearly half the previous quarter run rate, or 2.6%, is about to tumble by another ~0.5% following the just released trade data for December which saw a 17.1% surge in the US trade deficit from $39 billion (revised to $39.8 billion) to a whopping $46.6 billion in December, the widest deficit since 2012, as US exports declined 0.8% to 4194.9Bn from $196.4 Bn, while imports rose notably from $236.2Bn to $241.4Bn in the month before. All of this brought to you courtesy of the soaring USD. This was also the biggest miss to expectations of $38.0 billion since July of 2008. If this does not force policymakers to reassess the impact of the soaring dollar on US trade, nothing will.

 
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Greece FinMin: "No U-Turn" In Our Position; "Write-Off Can Occur In Several Methods" Spokesman Adds





a day after the FT report sent futures soaring and has been responsible for the jump in European stocks this morning, the Greek finance minister made it quite clear that, as has been happening on pretty much every day since his ascent to power, he has been misinterpreted and that as Bloomberg noted a little over na hour ago, "there has been no "U-turn" on the Greek debt position, adding that "Our promise is solid, debt will be rendered sustainable even if haircut replaced with euphemisms, swaps" Greece’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis comments in Twitter post.

 
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Greece Changes Strategy: No Longer Demands Debt Write Off, Ask For Debt Exchange Instead





Update, and in line with the FT report, here's Bloomberg: GREECE SAID TO DROP WRITEDOWN REQUEST AFTER OPPOSITION FROM EU

Over a week after the new Greek government came to power, it has presented its first actual proposal of how it hopes to negotiate with Europe that does not involve the infamous "debt write off", which as both Germany and the ECB have made clear, is a non-starter as it impairs the ECB's balance sheet and leads to a loss of "faith" in the money printer, the legacy monetary system and so on. So instead of yet another debt restructuring, the FT reports that Yanis Varoufakis "would no longer call for a headline write-off of Greece’s €315bn foreign debt. Rather it would request a “menu of debt swaps” to ease the burden, including two types of new bonds." Actually he still does, only he is not calling it as such.

 
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The Future of Medicine? Forget Private Doctor Appointments, Group Medical Visits are Coming





"According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, around 10 percent of family doctors already offer shared medical appointments, sessions that bring together a dozen or more patients with similar medical conditions to meet with a doctor for 90 minutes. With pressure from the government and insurers to bring down the cost of care while treating the increasing number of people with health insurance, patients can expect group visits to become more common. “It’s efficient. It’s economical.""

 
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Thanks Obamacare: This Is What Americans Spent The Most Money On In Q4





If readers need clarification on what was the primary source of spending-based "growth" for the US economy in the fourth quarter, the same source that bumped up final Q3 GDP from 3.9% to 5.0%, please ping us: we will gladly explain the chart below.  And just in case it is still unclear what Americans are spending their "gas sasvings" on, here it is one more time.

 
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Q4 Annualized GDP Misses, Tumbles To 2.6% From 5.0%; Surging Personal Consumption Pulled Forward From 2015





Following last quarter's upward revised 5.0% GDP, driven higher mostly as a result of even more mandatory Obamacare taxation, Q4 GDP had nowhere else to go but down, the only question was how much. Wall Street estimated 3.0%. Moments ago we got the first estimate for Q4 GDP and it was a miss, printing at 2.6%, and nearly 50% below the Q3 annualized number. This also means that the final 2014 GDP is 2.4%, higher than the 2.2% in 2013 as well as the 2.3% in 2012.

 
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How Much More GDP "Growth" Will Be Due To Obamacare?





Now that the soaring dollar and plunging crude are sure to punish the Q4 2014 and Q1 2015 GDP growth rate by more than half, with estimate now sliding to the mid to low-2% area, what "benefits" to the US economy can one expect from the tax that is Obamacare? As the following chart courtesy of Goldman shows, thanks to contributions from Medicaid and Medicare and, drumroll, Exchange subsidies, the "benefits" from Obamacare will be with us, well, maybe not "us", but certainly with the way GDP is calculate for a long, long time, as the recent health spending ramp is only just getting started.

 
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Obamacare Website Funneling Private Consumer Data To Private Companies





The government’s health insurance website is quietly sending consumers’ personal data to private companies that specialize in advertising and analyzing Internet data for performance and marketing... but it's for your own good - The Obama administration says HealthCare.gov’s connections to data firms were intended to help improve the consumer experience.

 
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Do We Want Solutions, Or Just What's Easy?





We are so brainwashed by centralized models of state authority that few can even imagine a system where the solution is not one centralized monstrosity ruled by a political/financial Aristocracy. A good first step would be to admit to ourselves that we don't really want solutions; what we want is magic: financial magic that makes healthcare free and affordable, medical magic that fixes all our lifestyle ills without forcing any rigorous adult routines and limits on us, political magic that transforms our system from its current corrupt crony-capitalist paradise into a functioning, transparent democracy and economic magic that makes all the unpayable debt vanish so we can borrow another $50 trillion, or $100 trillion, with no restraints on our spending or cronyist corruption. We have no idea what it will take to jolt us from our preference for magic over realistic, difficult (i.e. adult) solutions, but we suspect a crisis that threatens to completely unravel the Status Quo will be part of the process.

 
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Presenting The 2015 "Shadow Of Crisis Has Passed" State Of The Union - Live Webcast & Full Speech





UPDATE: Full SOTU Speech released - "THE SHADOW OF CRISIS HAS PASSED"

By now it is well known that The State of The Union tonight will be about President Obama's Robin-Hood Agenda. Furthermore, it is entirely clear that his proposals have no chance of becoming law. As WaPo's Marc Thiessen notes, Obama is not delusional, his move is completely and transparently political... And just as Eric Cantor suggests will merely serve to inflame the GOP. From taxes to cyber security and from community college to housing... in 50-65 minutes, all will be clear...

 
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