The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.
Showing posts with label Connect The Dots. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Connect The Dots. Show all posts

Saturday, February 25, 2017

ObamaCare A Thorn For The GOP

After years of conservative and Right-wing politician railing about the ACA (AKA ObamaCare), it seems the worms has turned with most Americans interested in keeping the core of the law.

The GOP majority in the US House of Representatives have, over the past few years, wasted 58 repeal ObamaCare votes. Each vote cost the nation $1.4 to $1.6 million per vote.  The math yields an alarming waste of our tax dollars and Congressional resources wasted on obstructing Obama.

Connect The Dots offers a graphic with specifics lists of ACA benefits important to millions. 

The following Huffington Post favorability ratings are also reflective of a GOP out of touch with the nation, even though Pew Research data shows a much highrr favorbaility rating.

Hufffington Post ACA (ObamaCare)

Latest Polls

Feb 16 – Feb 19
2,013 Registered Voters
46459Favor +1
Feb 13 – Feb 19
11,512 Adults
52453Favor +7
Feb 7 – Feb 8
712 Likely Voters
473914Favor +8
Jan 30 – Jan 31
725 Likely Voters
464113Favor +5
Jan 23 – Jan 24
1,043 Likely Voters
454114Favor +4
Jan 20 – Jan 22
1,992 Registered Voters
47458Favor +2
Jan 15 – Jan 18
1,006 Registered Voters
50460Favor +4
Jan 12 – Jan 16
1,036 Adults
50350Favor +15
Jan 12 – Jan 15
1,000 Adults


-Favor +2

Pew Research continues to publish polling results with a favorable disposition to the ACA.  Contrary to Trump peppering his minions with words of "fake polls" Nate Silver;s 538 blog lists Pew with an B plus rating and a slight left lean (to be fair).  

Talking Points Memo published a piece earlier today with favorable ACA results at the level of 54% approval. (CLICK image below)

What is it about the ACA doesn't the GOP understand?  Would you care to wager, the majority party in the US Congres will work to motivate the ACA Vs. a full repeal?  Of course, GOP ideology induces fears of improvements which will appear as such, but in the long run fail the spirit of providing healthcare to Americans. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Connect The Dots Show The Power Of The Vote

Repost from Connect The Dots

Connect The Dots USA

When that sleeping giant finally awakens, however, Republicans better watch out. Here we see that Democrats win by a huge margin with minority voters. They win Black voters by about a 90% margin and have been steadily winning Hispanics and Asians by wider and wider margins as ugly Teapublican bigotry and xenophobia take over the Republican party.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Connect The Dots: Social Security (Always Under Attack From The GOP)

I literally grow as excited as a teen with a new video game when I see Connect The Dots has published its most a nascent piece.

Here is the latest. It provides information about Social Security.  It is important to remember as long as there is a GOP, Social Security is under attack. 

Social Security, which celebrates its 79th birthday today, is one of our most successful federal government programs, paying out every benefit owed since 1935 and keeping many seniors and disabled out of poverty. And that’s why Republicans and their Wall Street overlords want to drown the beloved program in a bathtub.

The next time someone tries to convince you that the Social Security trust fund is empty, show them this accounting statement. Notice how in 2013, the trust fund earned $103 Billion by loaning the surplus back to other parts of the U.S. government. That's a 3.75% annual rate of return and makes more economic sense than stuffing the money under the mattress (or in a lock box) where it earns no interest and gets eaten up by inflation.

Also note that the outlays for Disability Insurance (DI) exceeded income by $32 Billion so that amount of treasuries had to be sold by the Disability trust fund. How could all this happen if the trust fund were empty? On the contrary, as I illustrated in an earlier post, the Social Security Trust Fund is America’s largest creditor:

According to the recently released annual report of the Social Security & Medicare Boards of Trustees, the Old-Age & Survivors Insurance (OASI) program can pay out full benefits until 2034. After that, even if nothing is changed, it can still pay out 77% of benefits from its dedicated payroll tax.

A 23% cut to seniors is a terrible thing, but it’s hardly a 100% cut as if the Old-Age fund were completely empty. The Trustees specifically define “solvency” to mean the program can pay out full benefits for the next 75 years! That is a very high bar and not the common definition of “solvent.”

The Disability Insurance (DI) fund is a much more urgent matter. Its trust fund will be depleted late in 2016 — just two years from now! After that, if nothing is changed, it will only be able to pay out 81% of benefits owed. By law, the OASI and DI trust funds are two separate accounts and cannot pull from each other. In 1994, however, Congress temporarily reallocated the payroll tax to make up a shortfall in DI. Normally, OASI gets a payroll tax of 10.6% and DI gets 1.8%, with the employer and employee each paying half.

There is an easy, permanent fix to all this — just scrap the wage cap and collect payroll taxes on earnings over the arbitrary $117,000 (in 2014). Back in 1983, 90% of all income in the U.S. fell under the cap and was subject to the Social Security tax. With growing income inequality and more income going to the top, now only about 83% of all income falls under the Social Security cap. So we could either raise the cap to $180,000 to make sure the tax once again reaches 90% of total U.S. income, or even better, just scrap the unfair cap all together. The Medicare payroll tax (for Part A Hospital portion) has no such wage cap.

And let's not forget that getting unemployed and underemployed folks back to full employment, as well as raising the minimum wage, will bring in more payroll taxes and further improve Social Security projections.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Connect The Dots USA: Corporate Tax Dogers

On August 7th 2014, I published a piece related to President Obama's position on corporate entities that deploy strategy involving moving their corporate offices (with all key employees and administration) to overseas locations. "Corporate Inversion," as  a typical example of American capitalism is factually despicable and existentially unfair. As Obama stated in "they are gaming the system." Not only is the practice deeply unfair, the strategy also reduces US jobs. Do you think corporate headquarters in foreign locations will lead to job offers for the thousands who work in various management and administrative roles?  No, those jobs will go to English speaking foreign workers from local labor markets.

Yet, Mitt Romney thinks, "corporations are people my friend." 

A paradigm not unfamiliar for an elitist who has earned a quarter billion via venture capital "corporate takeover" and resell of operations. Resell of operations inherently means consolidation of operations and mass reduction in acquired company employees. As we all know, "To the victors go the spoils." Romney's "corporations are people" is as insanely insensitive as his Boca Raton "47%" solicitation from very wealthy dinner guests.

Most large US corporations compensate their CEO's at obscene and opulent levels, while compensating employees in a highly disproportionate level. A quick look at three top US corporations with operations in a middle-sized central US city (Cincinnati), provides a clear picture of how "they" earn and how "we" earn. The disparity is stark and yes obscene.

Ah, but the CEO is so integral to the success of the corporation!  Alas, a reality that perpetuates decisions to flee the Nation for tax futile oversea locations.  If you are not aware corporate taxes (paid to governments) is a key area of corporate strategy and planning you should do a bit of reading. The CEO has at this (Most are men) disposal corporate tax lawyers who run rings around federal tax lawyers and they have the advantage of political indifference. Factually, the CEO has a political party (the GOP including Libertarians) who has a mission of tax reduction as the key strategy for developing a healthy economy. The mission is flawed based on both empirical study and via experience (See Trickle-down/Supply Side Reaganomics). Perpetual cutting taxes as key to federal austerity measures has proven to be an oasis-like failure. It is frankly, analogous to seeking a "compassionate" conservative in a world where none ever existed. 

Yet, the CEO continues to charge his strategic planners with strategy to increase corporate profitability. Connect The Dots has published a couple of graphics that delineate the fallacy and ridiculousness of corporate tax dodging.

Read more after the break below


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Connect The Dots..... ReFocuses on Federal Spending

Connect The Dots USA helped with reaching the 8 million ACA enrollees as much as any efforts from the Democrats.

There was time when I performed daily checks of the Connect the Dots Facebook page. I will also admit to suffering instances of angst and chagrin when the page developer off working on direct information sessions and "in the trenches" work related to enrollment. Critical work I was too busy to accomplish. 

After wishing us all a hardy thank you for our efforts, the page developers are turning to another battle: the fight for income equity and disseminating information about federal spending. Both are critical to life for the middle class or those who live in the lower income strata.

Connect The Dots USA

Thanks to everyone who helped put the Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment over the 7 million goal yesterday. More enrollments will be trickling in from state-run exchanges and as folks still in the queue complete their applications. 

Estimates are that 9.5 million folks who otherwise would not have insurance are now insured because of the Affordable Care Act, including new coverages on-and-off the exchanges, through the Medicaid expansion, and young adults under 26 years being able to stay on their parents’ plan. That’s a big dent in the 38 million uninsured U.S. citizens/legal immigrants and a great start for the ACA. Take a victory lap!

We’ll now pivot on this FB page to one of my other favorite (and often confusing) topics: “Budgets and Deficits and Debt, Oh My!” We hear talk of trillions over here and billions over there, of government shutdowns, of cutting 100 billion dollars from domestic, non-defense, discretionary spending. What the heck is that anyway? You might be thinking “Wait, I might actually like that stuff... is a $100 billion cut going to hurt?” Let’s find the answers and tame those budget beasts.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Affordable Care Act Moves Forward! Connect The Dots Has Our Backs

The Affordable Care Act open enrollment is rolling along well in some states and not so well in other states.  Do you know the missing link between "working well" and "not working so well?" States that setup marketplace exchanges (as provisioned by the ACA) are experiencing far less enrollment issue than states did not setup-up state exchanges.  
A Primer to the State Exchanges: States have either implemented a state run health insurance exchange, or let the federal government run the health insurance exchange for them. Some states have taken a variation on the approach by partnering with another state or the federal government. No matter what approach your State took the way you shop for insurance is the same. Find your State's marketplace now and fill out an application for coverage that starts as early as January 1st, 2014. 
• Sometimes health insurance exchanges are called health insurance marketplaces.
• The official health insurance marketplace for State's not running their own exchange is  See more
GOP Obstruction and insane resistance the provision of the ACA, has provide fruit for powerful plutocrats like the Koch brothers.  After, shelling out over $200 million in support of  "repeal or defund"  The brother from Kansas suit find a degree of satisfaction in ACA website issues. 

Connect The Dots has continued its stellar Obamacares education campaign via another information laden Facebook post.   The developer of the page points a finger at the core of enrollment problems and provides an opportunity to get around the problem in a few states where the GOP refused to setup an ACA exchange. 

As you view the image that follows, Connect also includes vital information about Medicaid Expansion: a key component of the ACA

Connect The Dots

If you live in one of the states setting up their own health insurance exchange (indicated by an “S” and one of the “P”s on this map), you can also bypass the jammed up federal site.

Here are the direct links for those states:
District of Columbia:
(for enrollment this year, using

The current problems with enrollment in states where Governors towed the GOP party-line or edict via refusal to setup an exchange will be resolved.  The ACA will move forward in some form despite GOP obstruction. The real tragedy is, there are people who need healthcare in states where the GOP governors have refuse to provide a website exchange.

Quick look at states with the highest level of uninsured (in 2009) has much in common with the states depicted via the Connect The Dots Facebook page.

Percentage of people without health insurance coverage by state, according to the United States Census Bureau(2009).[1]

A sad state of affairs when the highest need existing states led by the GOP and with constituents who consistently vote Republican. 

ACA enrollment issues related to "back-end" Insurance providers must be fixed and fixed damned fast. Back-end problems are inexcusable to be frank, and should have the highest of priorities in bringing the problem to an end. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Connect The Dots and Our Crazy Health Care Environment

Connect The Dots and  crazy healthcare USA style.   Why not simply Fix it?


August 8, 2013

Connect The Dots USA

It’s August recess so we know what that means — another wave of Teapublican misinformation campaigns to undermine full implementation of ObamaCare on Jan 1st, 2014. Time to trot out the old lies about death panels and government bureaucrats between you and your doctor. I guess they prefer the for-profit private insurance bureaucrats and death panels!

Apparently, 40 futile House votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and 27 GOP-controlled states currently rejecting the Medicaid expansion is not enough. Teapublican congress people and lobbyists are actively discouraging uninsured folks from signing up to get health insurance and, in many cases, getting some tax subsidies to help purchase private insurance. Now that’s just plain mean.

The meanies may have millions of Koch dollars to spend on their anti-ACA propaganda campaign, but unlike August of 2009, they won't be getting much help from Big Insurance. This time around, insurance companies have spent over three years gearing up for the exchanges and will be advertising hard to get folks to enroll, especially the young, healthy types.

With open enrollment starting Oct 1st 2013, expect to see a lot of advertising explaining how individuals and families not already covered in an employer plan or government plan can sign up for insurance on the new web-based exchanges. Sorely lacking will be an explanation of WHY we needed healthcare reform in the first place. When you understand the WHY, the who, what, when and how make a lot more sense.

So let’s start at the beginning... 

All other industrialized democracies when faced with challenges in their healthcare systems have found different ways to cover everybody while spending far less than we do and getting better overall results. In many ways, foreign healthcare models are not really “foreign” to America — we’ve actually blended versions of all the systems together into a costly, confusing, inefficient, bureaucratic “crazy quilt.” 

Let’s examine the problems in our healthcare system and see how the Affordable Care Act addresses those problems and where it falls short.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Connect The Dots USA: Connects On All Things Fiscal

This past January, Connect The Dots USA published a piece that was relevant to any layman's review our our "spending' issues.  The piece is still relevant as the GOP continues to seek austerity measures, when such measures might harm a slowly recovering economy.  The salient point on matters of the economy; we cannot afford to have a party has failed to match Democrats in fiscal management. 

Considering the graphic above and the Connect the Dots USA information that follows, I am going to pose a couple of questions at the end of this piece.

Connect The Dots USA

Now let's dispel in one graph the Teapublican talking point that our entire deficit/debt problem is a SPENDING problem. How can any rational person look at this graph of our Spending versus Revenue going back to 1969 and not concede that wealso have a huge REVENUE problem?

Here we see federal spending (the red line) vs. revenue (the yellow line) as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (value of all goods, services, exports created annually) from 1969 to 2012. The more the red line is above the yellow line, the greater the deficit is for that year. So a deficit is when the government spends more than it takes in IN A GIVEN FISCAL YEAR (Oct 1st of year preceding to Sept 30th). A surplus is just the opposite. All the deficits added together is the long-term debt. Think of the debt as the country’s credit card balance (currently at a very low interest rate of about 1.5%/year).
You can see from this deficit graph that Saint Reagan — far from balancing any budget — started this trend of running huge budget deficits. He slashed tax rates and discovered that didn't bring in enough added revenue to offset the increase in spending — especially military spending. 
In recent times, only Clinton created a surplus ($230 Billion) mainly by getting revenue back up to about 20% of GDP. That was squandered in the Bush years when revenue dropped to 15% of GDP and spending soared to 25%. Remember, GDP is currently about $15.5 Trillion, so each 1% difference is a whopping $155 Billion. For fiscal year 2012, the deficit is actually down $200 Billion to $1.1 Trillion. 
Notice that the five years that had budget surpluses (1969, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001) also had revenue near 20% of GDP. That then seems a reasonable and historically supported target. To achieve that target, we'd have to increase revenue by $670 Billion and decrease spending by $450 Billion EACH YEAR. We cannot, as the Teapublicans insist, get there in any civilized way by cutting spending alone. 
So yesterday's "Fiscal Cliff" deal that generates additional revenue of only about $60 Billion per year ($620 Billion OVER TEN YEARS) is only about 10% of what we ultimately need in added revenue. But it's a start.
I. How is it the Republicans can convince 47% of US voters the party on the right is best in handling economic issues?  I offer none other than George W. Bush as a perfect example of a president (with No viable leadership agenda) as proof positive that many people who are voting now may have voted twice for Bush.  Anyone who voted for Bush is an enabler in our current economic malaise. Anyone who voted for Bush twice, should refrain from voting in national elections.

II. How long can the protectionist GOP maintain their diligent watchdog role in holding off tax increases on the nation's wealthy.  Revenue is an issue and that fact is exacerbated during times when cutting spending is undesirable (according to some economists).  Also, the Bush Tax Cuts have been accurately portrayed as a major cause on the nation's economic collapse. Why are the nation's citizens not clamouring as if their refrigerators were stolen about continuing the Bush Tax Cut "wrongs?" I am mindful of the need to also reduce spending.

III. How many Americans will fall in-line behind Paul Ryan's new budget to be released this week? 


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Connect The DotsUSA and Federal Spending.

Cross posted w/permission from Connect The DotsUSA. Com

How can we have an intelligent debate about cutting spending when most folks have no idea how the federal budget breaks down? So here’s the 2011 federal budget all in one beautiful pie chart. If you master this, you’ll understand way more than most. The "fiscal year" actually begins October 1st of the year preceding, so we are already three months into fiscal year (FY) 2013. 

Because Congress and the President cannot agree on a full-year budget, we kept the government open in 2012 using a series of Continuing Resolutions (aka CRs), which are temporary agreements to continue spending at existing levels. The current Continuing Resolution expires on March 27, 2013. Hence, the looming danger that Teapublicans will use the occasion to shut down the government. 

Total spending in 2011 was approximately $3.6 Trillion, so each 1% sliver equals about $36 Billion or $36,000 Million. Total spending in 2012 was down a little to $3.5 Trillion. 

Everything in red is Mandatory spending, meaning it is dictated by existing law or interest rates and very difficult to change without a battle royale. This makes up about 2/3 of the entire budget and includes Social Security 20%, Medicare 13%, Medicaid 8%, other Safety Net programs 10% and Interest on the long-term debt 6%. 

Note that Social Security and Medicare are SPECIAL because they have dedicated revenue streams through the payroll tax. Social Security is 100% funded through its 12.4% payroll tax and trust fund. Medicare is only 37% funded through its 2.9% payroll tax (specifically for the Part A hospital portion only) and another 13% funded through enrollee premiums for Part B and Part D. Nearly half of Medicare's funding comes from general tax revenues, so Medicare is only 50% an "earned benefit." More to come on that in a future graphic. 

Everything in yellow is Discretionary spending, which is hammered out each year between Congress and the President. What I found most surprising is that almost all Military spending ($718 Billion), including the two wars, is negotiated each year. And it makes up more than half of our Discretionary spending. That leaves only about 14% of the entire budget — the little bitty 1% and 2% slivers in the lower right — that are “non-defense discretionary” spending. It includes important investments like Education, Environment & Science and Transportation. And that's where Teapublicans love to hack away because they count on you not knowing what's included in "non-defense, discretionary spending." 

Note that Foreign Humanitarian Aid is only about 1% of the budget. In a recent poll, most people mistakenly believe it is a whopping 27% and that just eliminating aid to places like Haiti will solve our budget problems.

Discretionary Spending Forecast for FY 2013.

Connect the Dots and the following chart reflect a noticeable difference in Defense spending totals. We suspect the difference could be based on 2011 actual figures and 2013 projected figures.  In any case we often report that Defense Spending comprises approximately 58% of US Discretionary Spending. (an obscene fact to put it mildly)

The chart above shows Discretionary spending as 36 % of federal spending.  I like to look deeper at how US Discretionary spending breaks-out.

Chart Source