en Bernanke Wants The US President To Declare "Economic Emergencies" In Future Crises <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog</em></a>,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>Presidents should get the power to declare economic emergencies along the lines to declare war, said former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Monday.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>It&nbsp;might make sense to give &ldquo;the president some ability to declare emergencies or take extraordinary actions and not put that all on the Fed,&rdquo; Bernanke said at a conference. &ldquo;The constitution gives the president significant flexibility to respond to military situations,&rdquo; in part because they are chaotic, he noted.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>&ldquo;I am sure it is not politically possible, but it would be worth thinking about,&rdquo; the former Fed chairman said.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ndash; From the <em>MarketWatch</em> article:&nbsp;<a href="">Presidents Should Be Able to Declare Economic Emergencies: Bernanke</a></p> </blockquote> <p>For those of us who&nbsp;remain horrified and disgusted by the 2008-09&nbsp;Federal Reserve and U.S. government bailout of the kleptocratic oligarchs who created the crisis, the above comments&nbsp;by the mastermind&nbsp;of&nbsp;this historic theft should be extremely concerning.</p> <p>Although bankers and oligarchs got everything they wanted and more from the post crisis panic, what seems to bother Bernanke is that some of the response measures had to be pursued publicly. By calling for the U.S. President to declare economic emergencies in future crises, he is explicitly saying he doesn&rsquo;t want Congress involved at all, even if just ceremonially. <strong>This man is a dyed in the wool fascist.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><em>MarketWatch</em>&nbsp;reports</a> that:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) &mdash; Presidents should get the power to declare economic emergencies along the lines to declare war, said former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Monday.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>While the Fed retains the authority it needs to respond to another financial crisis, financial crises &ldquo;tend to have a certain chaotic element to them,&rdquo; that no one can predict, Bernanke said during a panel discussion sponsored by The Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>In light of this, it might make sense to give &ldquo;the president some ability to declare emergencies or take extraordinary actions and not put that all on the Fed,&rdquo; Bernanke said at a conference. &ldquo;The constitution gives the president significant flexibility to respond to military situations,&rdquo; in part because they are chaotic, he noted.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;I am sure it is not politically possible, but it would be worth thinking about,&rdquo; the former Fed chairman said.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>After the House initially rejected the proposal and stock markets tumbled, Congress reconsidered and the measure was signed into law and became the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>After coming across the above, I got to thinking about the process for declaring national emergencies. I performed&nbsp;a quick search and read a little bit about the <a href="">National Emergencies Act of 1976</a>. It was passed in response to a spate of national emergencies initiated by President Richard Nixon, and was intended to ensure&nbsp;Congress exerted more oversight on such declarations for obvious reasons.</p> <p>Unsurprisingly, Congress hasn&rsquo;t been doing its job. As <a href=""><em>USA Today</em> pointed out</a> in a special report last year:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>The 1976 law requires each house of Congress to meet within six months of an emergency to vote it up or down. That&rsquo;s never happened.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Here are some additional excerpts:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>In his six years in office, President Obama has declared nine emergencies, allowed one to expire and extended 22 emergencies enacted by his predecessors.</em></p> <p><em><strong>Since 1976, when Congress passed the National Emergencies Act, presidents have declared at least 53 states of emergency</strong> &mdash; not counting disaster declarations for events such as tornadoes and floods, according to a USA TODAY review of presidential documents. Most of those emergencies remain in effect.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Even as Congress has delegated emergency powers to the president, it has provided almost no oversight. The 1976 law requires each house of Congress to meet within six months of an emergency to vote it up or down. That&rsquo;s never happened.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>In May, President Obama rescinded a Bush-era executive order that protected Iraqi oil interests and their contractors from legal liability.</strong> Even as he did so, he left the state of emergency declared in that executive order intact &mdash; because at least two other executive orders rely on it.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Seriously?</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>Invoking those emergencies can give presidents broad and virtually unchecked powers.</strong> In&nbsp;<a href="" title="">an article published last year</a>&nbsp;in the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, attorney Patrick Thronson identified 160 laws giving the president emergency powers, including the authority to:</em></p> </blockquote> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>&bull;<strong> Reshape the military, putting members of the armed forces under foreign command, conscripting veterans, overturning sentences issued by courts-martial and taking over weather satellites for military use.</strong></em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>&bull; Suspend environmental laws, including a law forbidding the dumping of toxic and infectious medical waste at sea.</em></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><strong><em>&bull; Bypass federal contracting laws, allowing the government to buy and sell property without competitive bidding.</em></strong></p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>&bull; Allow unlimited secret patents for Army, Navy and Air Force scientists.</em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>All these provisions come from laws passed by Congress, giving the president the power to invoke them with the stroke of a pen. &ldquo;A lot of laws are passed like that. So if a president is hunting around for additional authority, declaring an emergency is pretty easy,&rdquo; Scheppele said.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>After President Richard Nixon declared two states of emergency in 17 months, Congress became alarmed by four simultaneous states of emergency.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>It passed the National Emergencies Act by an overwhelming majority, requiring the president to cite a legal basis for the emergency and say which emergency powers he would exercise. All emergencies would expire after one year if not renewed by the president.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Bush&rsquo;s Proclamation 7463 provides much of the legal underpinning for the war on terror. Bush cited that state of emergency, for example, in his military order allowing the detention of al-Qaeda combatants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and their trial by military commission.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>The post-9/11 emergency declaration is in its 13th year. Eleven emergencies are even older.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The National Emergencies Act allows Congress to overturn an emergency by a resolution passed by both houses &mdash; which could then be vetoed by the president.<strong> In 38 years, only one resolution has ever been introduced to cancel an emergency.</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>Congress, useless as usual. Unless of course a corporate giveaway is crafted by&nbsp;lobbyists, in which case it flies through both chambers and becomes law instantaneously.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, President Bush declared a state of emergency allowing him to waive federal wage laws. <strong>Contractors rebuilding after the hurricane would not have to abide by the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires workers to be paid the local prevailing wage.</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>&ldquo;The history here is so clear. The Congress hasn&rsquo;t done much of anything,&rdquo; said Harold Relyea, who studied national emergencies during a 37-year career at the Congressional Research Service. &ldquo;Congress has not been the watchdog. It&rsquo;s very toothless, and the partisanship hasn&rsquo;t particularly helped.&rdquo;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>If anything, Congress may be inclined to give the president additional emergency powers.</strong> Legislation pending in Congress would allow the president to invoke an emergency to waive liability for health care providers and to sanction banks that do business with Hezbollah.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Scheppele, the Princeton professor, said emergencies have become so routine that they are &ldquo;declared and undeclared often without a single headline.&rdquo;</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Bernanke may be a kleptocratic oligarch criminal, but stupid he is not. He knows exactly what kind of power an &ldquo;economic emergency&rdquo; would grant to the executive, which is exactly why he wants it to happen.</p> <p><strong>A Republic or Democracy this is not. </strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="415" height="380" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Ben Bernanke Ben Bernanke Federal Reserve Michigan Monetary Policy President Obama TARP University Of Michigan Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:03:14 +0000 Tyler Durden 502807 at SaVinG PRiVaTe EmaiLS <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="" width="804" height="1024" frameborder="0"></iframe><br /> . </p> <p style="text-align: center;">h/t Dead Canary</p> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:53:44 +0000 williambanzai7 502806 at Crude Plunges On Biggest Weekly Inventory Build In 14 Years <p>So much for last night's lower than expected API build, DOE data shows a massive build compared to the 3.95 mm barrels expected:</p> <ul> <li><strong>*CRUDE OIL INVENTORIES ROSE 10.30 MLN BARRELS, EIA SAYS</strong></li> </ul> <p>This is the 8th build in a row and biggest weekly inventory rise in 14 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="316" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This is the fastest inventory build EVER...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="301" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>and WTI has broken back below $50...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="619" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Unambiguously good still?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Charts: Bloomberg</em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="961" height="506" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Crude Crude Oil Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:35:13 +0000 Tyler Durden 502804 at Swiss Franc Plunges On FinMin "Minimum Exchange Rate" Comment <p>Just what are the Swiss up to...</p> <ul> <li><strong>*SWISS FINANCE MINISTER WANTS NEW MINIMUM EXCHANGE RATE: HZ</strong></li> </ul> <p>A confidential paper signed by Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, <strong>discussed in government last week, said that new minimum exchange rate should be "considered,"</strong> Handelszeitung reports in a prerelease of an article to be published Thursday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As Bloomberg adds,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Paper, also backed by Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann, suggests that Swiss govt should have more influence on SNB decision making via regular and more intensive consultations with the central bank: HZ</p> </blockquote> <p>And Swissy dumped...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="316" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Full Statement pre-release (via Google Translate):</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>A new minimum exchange rate of the euro compared to the franc should be "considered".</strong> And: The state government has to take with regelmaessigeren and intensified debates more gain influence on the decisions of the Swiss National Bank (SNB). Be explicitly "target 'must' to coordinate the money economy and the general economic policy content and communication." <strong>These controversial claims, signed by Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, are in a confidential discussion paper, which has led in the Bundesrat last week to controversial discussions. </strong>About it reports the "commercial paper" in its morning edition.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Topic of discussion were proposals for possible policy responses to the Frankenstaerke. While the Federal Council has not yet approved the paper, but the impact and march direction is outlined: the high politics in Bern,<strong> dissatisfied with the by surprising cancellation of guaranteed exchange rate of CHF minimal 1.20 to the euro, will publicly demonstrate power and win back power to act. </strong>The said committee jointly presented by Widmer-Schlumpf and Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann analysis states clearly that neither fiscal nor economic or organizational measures are likely to influence decisively the new, for the economy as a whole been considered a difficult situation or to overcome all. The central factor for the development of the Swiss economy, concluded the economists of the covenant, is and remains the monetary policy of the SNB.</p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="952" height="501" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Commercial Paper Google Monetary Policy Swiss Franc Swiss National Bank Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:21:32 +0000 Tyler Durden 502802 at And The Market Breaks <p>Update: just three minutes later and the NYSE is "fixed", with BATS revoking self-help. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="618" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But the mission was achieved: the selling was halted, if only for the time being.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="733" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>*&nbsp;&nbsp; * &nbsp; * </strong></p> <p>When in doubt how to send stocks soaring, or at least halt the selling, the solution is simple: break the market. </p> <p>Moments ago everyone's favorite, venerable exchange, the NYSE, <em>broke </em>as per BATS which <a href="">just delcared self-help</a>: "<strong>BATS Exchange has declared self-help against NYSE Arca per Rule 611 of Regulation NMS. Routing to NYSE Arca has been suspended as of 10:11:59 ET."</strong></p> <p><img src="" width="601" height="617" /></p> BATS fixed Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:19:32 +0000 Tyler Durden 502803 at Despite Hard Data Collapse, US Services Surveys Point To Modest Bounce In February <p><strong>US Services PMI rose and beat very modestly from 57.0 to 57.1</strong> in February (this is a flash print). This is the highest Services PMI print since October but Markit warns not to get excited, data &quot;is <strong>up only slightly compared to the fourth quarter of last year</strong>, meaning growth this year is running at a rate similar to the 2.2% annualised pace seen late last year.&quot; ISM Services (survey) confirmed this modest improvement in February (despite all the hard data collapsing) boucing very modestly from 56.7 to 56.9 in Feb despite a<strong> drop in BusinessActivity and New Orders</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Services PMI at highest since Oct..</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 487px; height: 402px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As Markit notes,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;The pace of US economic growth jumped to a fourmonth high in February, according to Markit&rsquo;s PMI survey data. Business picked up especially towards the end of the month, when the impact of bad weather on the East Coast and port delays on the West Coast began to clear, which suggests this may be a temporary upturn.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Even with the strong growth recorded in February, the average reading across the manufacturing and services surveys for the first quarter so far is up only slightly compared to the fourth quarter of last year, meaning growth this year is running at a rate similar to the 2.2% annualised pace seen late last year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s certainly not a pace of expansion that will worry the Fed into hiking interest rates any time soon. However, the ongoing resilience of the US economy, and in particular the sustained robust job creation signalled in February, adds to the sense that policymakers will continue to prepare the ground for a rate rise later this year.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>ISM Services rose modestly also...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 313px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With virtually everything except the all important New Orders and Business Activity rebounding...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 598px;" /></a></p> <p>Unlike everywhere else, the respondents did not have a hard time braving the snow in February:</p> <ul> <li>&quot;The lower price of oil is providing a beneficial impact on certain products, specifically plastics.&quot; (Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing &amp; Hunting)</li> <li>&quot;Business conditions are seeing less money being spent on capital projects by the major oil companies.&quot; (Construction)</li> <li>&quot;Business is on par or slightly up for this time of year. This time of year is considerably slower than peak season.&quot; (Arts, Entertainment &amp; Recreation)</li> <li>&quot;West Coast ports are causing shortages.&quot; (Health Care &amp; Social Assistance)</li> <li>&quot;Signs of continued, but slowed growth in our sector. Low fuel prices and utility prices helping with costs. International markets remain lagging behind US growth.&quot; (Professional, Scientific &amp; Technical Services)</li> <li>&quot;The West Coast port labor union situation is slowing down the products we need to release to our customers. Business is good, but waiting and not shipping on time will cost us big time.&quot; (Information)</li> <li>&quot;Sales continue to be solid which is believed to align with lower fuel costs and overall consumer sentiment being positive.&quot; (Retail Trade)</li> <li>&quot;Port congestion is causing major delays in the delivery of product. The reduced cost of fuel has increased our sales and we believe it will continue throughout the first quarter.&quot; (Wholesale Trade)</li> </ul> <p>And here is the macro reality:</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 314px;" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Charts: Bloomberg</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="956" height="501" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Consumer Sentiment Markit Reality Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:08:35 +0000 Tyler Durden 502801 at VIX Tops 15 As Stocks Slide To 2-Week Low <p><strong>Just 2 days ago everything was awesome (according to stocks). </strong>Nasdaq hit 5000 proving it's different this time, despite the total collapse in macro and earnings data. So perhaps - just perhaps - as buybacks slow, US equity markets are exposed to reality underneath them. VIX has snapped back above 15, its highest in 10 days, and the S&amp;P is back at 2-week lows...<strong> retracing all the "Greek Deal" gains.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>VIX rapidly snapped from under 13 to over 15...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="378" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Stocks are back at pre-Greek-Deal levels...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="437" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1225" height="892" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Equity Markets NASDAQ Reality Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:51:02 +0000 Tyler Durden 502800 at "There’s Going To Be Chaos" - What Is The Worst-Case Outcome Of Today's Supreme Court Obamacare Hearing <p>Today, for the second time since 2012, the fate of Obamacare lies in the hands of the Supreme Court, and like last time, it will likely be all about Justice John Roberts ' decision. Later today, the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of King v. Burwell, the latest challenge to Obamacare, and one that could potentially leave it gutted from an unexpected direction. As a result, <strong>nearly eight million Americans could lose their health insurance depending on how the Supreme Court interprets four words in the "Affordable" Care Act.</strong></p> <p>But while the law, or rather "tax", was already found to be constitutional in the Scotus 2012 ruling, the current case centers on whether, as many Republicans argue, one line in the law was intended to restrict subsidies to people who bought insurance through a state exchange or whether, as Democrats contend, that line was a simple oversight in the law’s drafting.</p> <p>As <a href="">Bloomberg adds</a>, the new case is narrower, centering on the statute’s language:&nbsp;<strong>At issue is whether Obamacare can provide subsidies nationwide to people who buy insurance, or only to those in the states that have set up their own online marketplaces, known as exchanges.</strong></p> <p>Here are the four words that could make or break Obamacare:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The statute says people qualify for credits when they buy insurance on an exchange <strong>“established by the state.” </strong>Those four words matter because only about one-third of the states have set up exchanges, with the rest relying on the federal system. The challengers contend that the people who buy on the federal exchange can’t claim the subsidies. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The group behind the suit, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, describes itself as an advocate for limited government and individual liberty. According to the Washington Post, the group’s financial supporters include companies tied to Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who fund conservative causes. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The institute represents four Virginia residents who say they don’t want to buy the insurance required under Obamacare</strong>. Should the court block the subsidies, the four say they would fall within an exception to the insurance mandate for people who can’t afford coverage. One lurking issue that may arise during argument is whether any of the four has suffered the type of legal injury that entitles them to sue.</p> </blockquote> <p>As Bloomberg also notes, a decision against the Obama administration would wipe out the tax credits that make insurance affordable for millions of people under the law. It would also leave hospitals with billions of dollars in unpaid bills and potentially cause insurance markets to collapse.</p> <p>“If the court rules for the challengers, <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>there’s going to be chaos</strong></span>,” said Abbe Gluck, who teaches at Yale Law School and backs the administration in the case.</p> <p>That may be a tad dramatic, but as the <a href=";_r=0">NYT breaks down</a>, roughly 7.5 million people could lose their subsidies in 34 states (shown on the map below). . The status of people in three other states — Oregon, Nevada and New Mexico — is unclear because those states at one time intended to run their own marketplaces, but now rely on the federal government to manage them.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="507" /></a></p> <p>While it is difficult to handicap what the odds are of an adverse, if mostly for Obama's legacy, ruling, Reuters reports that "a growing number of U.S. patients and their doctors are already devising a Plan B in case they lose medical coverage, as even physicians who think the court will uphold the subsidies are gearing up for the worst. As a result, doctors are "dusting off playbooks they retired when Obamacare slashed the number of uninsured people." </p> <p>From <a href="">Reuters</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Interviews with doctors reached through professional groups show that they are lining up free clinics to care for patients with chronic illnesses, asking pharmaceutical companies to provide discounted drugs, and moving up preventive-care appointments and complicated procedures.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>"We have to be able to navigate this on behalf of our patients if it comes about," </strong>said Dr. Jeff Huebner, a family physician in Madison, Wisconsin, one of the affected states.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Many providers as well as patients are unaware of the looming threat, but some physicians are already preparing for it.</p> </blockquote> <p>Huebner adds that he "would advise patients in this boat to schedule a visit with their primary care provider as soon as they can" to set up "transition plans." Other doctors, such as pediatrician Marsha Raulerson in Brewton, Alabama has persuaded one drug company to provide an expensive asthma medication to one of her patients if she loses her insurance. "But after a few months you have to re-apply" and show that the patient is still unable to afford medication, Raulerson said. "It's not an easy process, especially if you have to do it for a lot of patients." She is also stockpiling as many free samples as she can.</p> <p>Dr. Robert Wergin, a primary care physician in Milford, Nebraska, is scrambling to locate labs and imaging centers that offer the lowest prices for blood tests, X-rays and MRIs.</p> <p>"Around here, people feel responsible for their bills and I'm not sure they would come in if they lost insurance and couldn't pay," Wergin said. </p> <p>In retrospect, perhaps chaos is not all that dramatic:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Yolanda Diaz, 27, is one of them. A single mother of two, she suffers from occasional blackouts that last several minutes. She cannot afford the full premium on her wages as a pantry manager at Brevard County, Florida, community center so she pays $74.95 a month and the rest is covered by a $205 Obamacare subsidy. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Her coverage began this month, Diaz said, and the first thing she did was make appointments for an MRI and CT scans in hopes of identifying the cause of the blackouts. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"I would hate to have to go to the ER, but if the subsidies get taken away I don't know what I'll do," she said. U.S. law requires hospitals to treat all emergency cases regardless of ability to pay, so many uninsured patients seek care there. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of those expected to be priced out of insurance in case of unfavorable ruling, the Urban Institute estimated 81 percent are, like Diaz, employed full- or part-time.</p> </blockquote> <p>To be sure, the Obama administration is confident the worst will not come to pass: <a href="">it contends that the phrase is a “term of art,” </a>and says that other parts of the law show that there is no distinction between federal and state run exchanges.</p> <p>“If you look at the law, if you look at the testimony of those who were involved in the law, including some of the opponents of the law, the understanding was that people who joined the federal exchange were going to be able to access tax credits,” President Obama said in an interview with Reuters. “And there’s in our view not a plausible legal basis for striking it down.”</p> <p>Enter Plan B, or lack thereof (just like the ECB, which as we all know lied to Zero Hedge that it didn't have a Plan B on Greece, when it in fact, only it called it a Plan Z):</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>The Obama Administration has stated it has no backup plan ready if the Supreme Court rules against it. “<strong>If they rule against us, we’ll have to take a look at what our options are,” Obama said recently. “But I’m not going to anticipate that. I’m not going to anticipate bad law.” </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Republicans on the other hand, are eager to show they have a Plan B. In the past two days, lawmakers from the House and the Senate have said they’re in the process of working on alternatives to the law, should the Supreme Court rule in favor of the plaintiffs. Reps. Paul Ryan, John Kline and Fred Upton wrote in the Wall Street Journal, they’re proposing an “off-ramp out of Obamacare,” that would allow states to opt-out of insurance mandates and offer options for those who can’t otherwise insurance. Sens. Orrin Hatch, Lamar Alexander and John Barrasso wrote in the Washington Post, they too would help those who can’t afford coverage during a “transitional period” and let states create alternative marketplaces.</p> </blockquote> <p>So as we head into today's oral argument, much is once again at stake. For those seeking further detail, here is some additional Q&amp;A on the outcome courtesy of Bloomberg:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><strong>1. What is the administration’s argument?</strong></p> <p>The administration says the disputed phrase is a term of art that includes a federally facilitated exchange. U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli urges the court to look beyond the “established by the state” wording to the rest of the act and its broad purpose of providing coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans.</p> <p>Verrilli says Congress designed the law with the goal of offering tax credits nationwide and argues that no member of Congress suggested otherwise during the debate over the measure, which is President Barack Obama’s biggest legislative initiative.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><strong>2. What will happen if the court rules for the plaintiffs?</strong></p> <p>Prepare for falling dominoes. Within a matter of weeks, the system would have to stop providing tax credits for an estimated 7.5 million Americans in the 34 states that never authorized their own exchanges. Many of those people would probably find premiums unaffordable without the subsidies and would drop their coverage, boosting the ranks of the uninsured.</p> <p>Yet those who are sick and need insurance would probably try to hang onto their coverage, as healthy people dropped out. Insurers call this phenomenon “adverse selection,” and say it inevitably results in premiums spiraling upward. The Urban Institute estimates that premiums would increase by 35 percent, on average.</p> <p>Doctors and hospitals, faced with more uninsured patients, would be forced to provide more uncompensated care. If they try to make up for the losses by charging commercial insurers higher prices, that would raise health-care costs for everyone.</p> <p>Finally, the law’s requirement that employers provide insurance to their workers would be gutted in states where subsidies aren’t legal. Penalties on employers for not providing coverage are triggered when their workers receive a subsidy for an Obamacare plan; without subsidies, there’s no penalty.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><strong>3. How would the federal government and states respond?</strong></p> <p>It’s unclear. Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the Republican chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, has said his party will design a “bridge out of Obamacare” for people in states affected by the ruling. There’s no agreement among Republicans on how such a policy would work.</p> <p>States could respond by simply setting up their own exchanges. The Obama administration could make that easier, for example by letting them use to sell insurance online.</p> <p>However, the U.S. health secretary, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, said in a Feb. 24 letter to Congress that the administration couldn’t do much on its own.<br />“We know of no administrative actions that could, and therefore we have no plans that would, undo the massive damage to our health care system that would be caused by an adverse decision,” she wrote.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><strong>4. What is corporate America’s take on the case?</strong></p> <p>The hospital and health-insurance industries are backing the administration. That includes HCA Holdings Inc., the hospital chain that is the nation’s largest private health-care provider. Trade groups for the hospital and health-insurance industries are also urging the court to back nationwide subsidies.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><strong>5. Who holds the pivotal vote?</strong></p> <p>The most likely candidate is Chief Justice John Roberts. He cast the decisive vote in 2012, joining the court’s four Democratic-appointed justices to uphold the core of the law. The other four Republican appointees voted to invalidate the entire measure, saying Congress exceeded its authority.</p> <p>Opponents of Obamacare accused Roberts, normally the leader of the court’s conservative wing, of betrayal. Those criticisms escalated after CBS News reported that the chief justice first voted against the administration and then switched sides.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><strong>6. Which way is Roberts likely to go?</strong></p> <p>Both sides can find reasons for hope. Roberts is no stickler for statutory wording. He reads laws against the backdrop of institutional principles that Gluck says might cut in the administration’s favor, including deference to the views of administrative agencies.</p> <p>In a 2009 case involving the Voting Rights Act, as well as the 2012 health-care decision, Roberts deviated from what he said was the most natural reading of a law to avoid declaring it unconstitutional.</p> <p>“The chief is an institutionalist,” Gluck said. “He’s not a hyper-literalist.”</p> <p>Jonathan Adler, a law professor who was one of the first to make the case against nationwide subsidies, says Roberts is more inclined to adhere to a statute’s wording in non-constitutional cases.</p> <p>“The chief certainly is willing to bend a statute in order to avoid declaring a statute unconstitutional, but that’s not at issue here,” said Adler, who teaches at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.</p> <p>One other factor: As chief justice, Roberts has always kept one eye on the court’s institutional integrity. One theory is that he was driven in 2012 by concern that a ruling striking down the law would be seen as a political decision.</p> <p>If true, that thinking might suggest another Roberts vote in favor of the administration and another close call for Obamacare.</p> <p>* * * </p> <p><em>Finally, here is some visual detail <a href=";_r=0">courtesy of the NYT</a>:</em></p> <p><strong>How would insurance coverage change?</strong></p> <p>The effect of a court decision would not be limited to the people currently receiving subsidies in the federal marketplaces. People who buy their own health insurance in those states, even without subsidies, could be affected, because rates would increase if insurance pools become older and less healthy. Estimates from the Urban Institute prepared for The New York Times show how a post-King world would look compared with the current trajectory for the Affordable Care Act — or if the health law had never passed.</p> <p><img src="" width="600" height="243" /></p> <p><strong>Which groups would be most affected?</strong></p> <p>The people who would lose their insurance are more likely to be white, high-school graduates, employed and from the South.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="758" /></a></p> <p><strong>What about the rest of the states?</strong></p> <p>States that run their own insurance marketplaces would be unaffected by a court ruling, meaning a widening gap between insurance coverage in the two groups of states. The Urban Institute estimated the outcome for federal and state-run marketplaces by 2016.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="217" /></a></p> <p><strong>How will the states react?</strong></p> <p>Under any court ruling, states will have the power to restore their residents’ subsidies if they establish their own exchanges. It would not be easy, but some states face more hurdles than others. Here is a look at the status of the states that could be affected. Some have already begun doing the work of building exchanges. Some have signaled weak interest and taken little action. Others have already set up legal impediments.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="630" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="827" height="699" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> B+ Competitive Enterprise Institute Florida Gluck Greece Mexico New York Times Obama Administration Obamacare President Obama Reuters SCOTUS Testimony Wall Street Journal Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:48:22 +0000 Tyler Durden 502799 at Oil Prices Rise As ISIS Attack Iraq Oil Pipelines <p>UPDATE: And now <strong>*YEMEN GUNMEN BLOW UP OIL PIPELINE IN SHABWA: ARABIYA</strong></p> <p>As oil prices started to slide this morning, following their pop on lower-than-expected API inventory build data, headlines crossed:</p> <ul> <li><strong>*ISLAMISTS ATTACK IRAQ OIL PIPELINES EAST OF TIKRIT: IRAQIYA</strong></li> </ul> <p><a href="">As we detailed yesterday, Tikrit is key, </a>and this (unconfirmed for now) headline sent WTI and Brent up 40c per barrel (for now).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As Blkoomberg reports,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Islamic State militants burned pipelines in Tal Hasiba region east of central city of Tikrit, accord. to state-sponsored Iraqiya television, which didn&rsquo;t say where it got information.</p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>And the immediate reaction...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img height="633" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With ISIS suffering from lower cashflows (thanks to lower oil prices), we suspect their efforts to raise oil prices (by any means possible) will continue.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Charts: Bloomberg</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="959" height="1012" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> headlines Iraq Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:31:58 +0000 Tyler Durden 502798 at Great Big Fat Greek Expectations <p><a href=""><em>Submitted by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog</em></a>,</p> <p>From what I read in the press every day, as well as from private communication,<strong> a pretty wide divide seems to appear between what many people think the Syriza government in Athens should do, and what they actually can do at this point in time.</strong> It should be useful to clarify what this divide consists of, and how it can be breached, if that is at all possible.</p> <p>In particular,<strong> many are of the opinion that Greece cannot escape its suffocating debt issues without leaving the eurozone and going its own way, reintroducing the drachma and defaulting on much of its &euro;240 billion debt. </strong>Those who think so may well be right. But right now that is mostly irrelevant. Because Alexis Tsipras and his men and women simply<strong> don&rsquo;t have their voters&rsquo; mandate to go down that road</strong>. They may at some time in the future, but they don&rsquo;t today. The expectations are too great, and certainly too immediate.</p> <p><strong>If Syriza wants to achieve anything, it will need to stick to democratic principals and procedure. </strong>Every important decision, and every &ndash; even slight &ndash; change of course will need to be laid out before either the Syriza fraction in Parliament, the entire parliament, or the Greek population as a whole, to vote on. The government looks to be sticking to this principle as solidly as it seeks to stick to its mandate. None of that grey wiggle room that is so typical in most political systems.</p> <p><strong>This also makes the task ahead that much harder.</strong> Syriza must be seen by its voters as doing what it can to remain in the eurozone, while at the same time negotiating terms with the other members that will allow relief from the relentless -humanitarian &ndash; pressures the country has been put under by its previous governments and EU partners.</p> <p>And while it may well be so that Tsipras and Varoufakis et al have in private long concluded that in the long term attempts to succeed in combining these two goals are doomed to fail, or even that the eurozone as a whole has no future, the fact is that for now some 70% of Greeks reportedly demand that the country remain in the currency union.</p> <p><strong>There&rsquo;s a deep underlying historic component to this that needs to be recognized if one is to understand what is happening. </strong>Before the EU, and certainly the euro, Greece always felt under threat from the east, a result of centuries of occupations. They had a deep longing to be recognized as a part of Europe, and to feel protected in that sense.</p> <p>Ambrose Evans-Pritchard summed it up quite nicely in an interview from &lsquo;the lion&rsquo;s den&rsquo; over the weekend:</p> <p style="margin-left: 20px;"><a href="" target="new"><span style="font-size:13px;color: #FF2222;font-weight:bold"> Humiliated Greece Eyes Byzantine Pivot As Crisis Deepens </span> </a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><i>&ldquo;When it comes to the choice, I fear Tsipras will abandon our programme rather than give up the euro,&rdquo; said one Syriza MP, glancing cautiously around in case anybody was listening as we drank coffee in the &ldquo;conspiracy&rdquo; canteen of the Greek parliament.</i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>&ldquo;The euro is more than just money. It is talismatic for the Greeks. It was only when we joined the euro that we felt truly European. There was always a nagging doubt before,&rdquo; he said.</b></i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>&ldquo;But you can&rsquo;t fight austerity without confronting the eurozone directly. You have to be willing to leave. It is going to take a long time for the party to accept this bitter reality. I think the euro was a tremendous historic mistake, and the sooner they get rid of it, the better for all the peoples of Europe, but that is not the party view,&rdquo; he said.</i></p> </blockquote> <p><strong>This is what Tsipras faces. </strong>There&rsquo;s an almost schizophrenic attitude even among his own caucus. And there may be plenty voices that say he should at least threaten to leave the eurozone, just to have some leverage in negotiations, but they don&rsquo;t understand the lay of the land. The European &lsquo;partners&rsquo; in the talks know only too well that it would be an empty threat: Greek voters don&rsquo;t want to leave the eurozone, so threatening to go anyway would only ring hollow.</p> <p><strong>Tsipras instead must repeat again and again that his goal is to remain in the union, and Greece will do what it can to pay off all its debts. He has no wiggle room on that, not at the moment.</strong> If he would want to present his people with the option of leaving the eurozone, it could only be done <i>after</i> very extensive talks in which it becomes ever clearer that the &lsquo;partners&rsquo; make it impossible for Greece to achieve that other Syriza commitment, of cutting back austerity measures, within the currency union.</p> <p>He must at some point be able to turn to his people and say:<strong> we&rsquo;ve done all we could, we&rsquo;ve even compromised some of your election demands, but Germany etc. just won&rsquo;t give up</strong>. He needs to be able to prove to Greek voters that they can&rsquo;t have both an end to austerity AND the continued membership of the eurozone.</p> <p><strong>This will take time, probably lots of it.</strong> But it&rsquo;s the only thing Tsipras, if he means to stick to strict democratic rules &ndash; which he&rsquo;s done thus far -, can do. Claiming today from the outside that he should already have left the eurozone, or at least threatened to do so, is premature at best, and not helpful.</p> <p>The Syriza MP cited above by Ambrose says it all, really. <strong>Some of the MPs are pretty much willing to let go of the euro. But they, too, need to understand that Tsipras can offer that option to the people only after long-drawn-out talks, at the end of which he may be able to say</strong>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;Look, you know what we&rsquo;ve been discussing with the partners, because we&rsquo;ve kept you informed every step of the way. It is now clear that if you wish to stay in the eurozone, it will mean austerity, it will mean soupkitchens and no health care and no jobs for your children, for years to come. Do you really want the euro that much? If not, we can go it alone, we have the models ready and we can explain them to you. And it will no doubt be difficult at first, but at least it will be our own difficulties, not those imposed by others.. It&rsquo;s up to you, the people, to decide.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>For now, those talks haven&rsquo;t been held. So Tsipras can&rsquo;t say these things. <strong>It will need to be a game of patience. There was never any other way.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="192" height="179" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> ETC Eurozone Evans-Pritchard Fail Germany Greece None Reality Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:16:31 +0000 Tyler Durden 502797 at