Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hello, everyone. Nice and sunny again. The weather predictions keep changing and they say that now they expect snow next weekend. I hope that turns out as accurate as last weekend's snow did. We got some rain but temps were 10-15 degrees higher than they thought.

Still thinking about the health care reform act (since by now I would guess that Obama has signed it). The Republicans are trying to either get the mandates declared unConstitutional or to repeal the whole thing. I don't think they have much chance either way. Certainly they won't be able to get the repeal going until after November when they hope to have shifted some of the political power their way. I don't really like the notion of being forced to buy insurance although by the time that kicks in I will be in Medicare and I won't have a choice either way. I would much rather that the insurance companies had been forced out of most of the health insurance business totally. However, I can see one silver lining in the mandate. From what I have read the maximum fine for not having insurance is going to be $695/person. The fine is capped at 2.5% of family income. For a family that makes $50k/year that would be about $1300. Given that families of four are now faced with the about $13-15,000/year, the fine sounds downright economical. I don't know fully what the business provisions are but I have heard that small business will get a tax credit for providing employee insurance or they will have to pay a fine. I don't know the dollar amounts of either. By the way, the fine isn't much above the amount Congressmen and Senators pay now each year for their health insurance. The insurance companies are going to have to find a way to live with this and I think they will be harder pressed than ordinary Americans will be.

Unfortunately, four years is a long time for the Party of No to get up to some mischief and I can see them pecking away at the various provisions starting with the mandates. That would be a reasonable, to their small minds, tactic. After all, if you can destroy enough of the funding, you can destroy the whole thing. I don't think the Supreme Court will go along with their arguments on the Constitutionality of the mandates. After all, striking down that legislation would call into question a whole range of mandates that force people to make economic expenditures they would otherwise not make by all levels of government: taxes (of all kinds), auto insurance, vaccinations, school enrollment. That would be a royal can of worms.

I saw a discussion yesterday on CNBC of a study (sorry I forget who did the study) that concluded that in a very few short years we will have a reversal of the current job market conditions--instead of too many workers for too few jobs we will have too many jobs and not enough workers. I am skeptical as were the commentators featured on the segment but for a very different reason. I remember about 20 years ago when I decided to go for a Ph.D. and then into college teaching. It seemed like a good idea because the demographics looked promising. The WWII/Korean War veterans who went into academia back in the fifties and early sixties were going to be retiring in droves and the children of the baby boom generation (my generation) would provide another large pool of potential students that would need a lot of new teachers. Well the veterans didn't retire in the numbers projected. Not all that many slots opened up. Worse, those that did were either not filled at all or were filled by temporary instructors or were were filled with cheap part timers or teaching assistants. Colleges and universities were caught in a budget vise and trimmed costs the same way businesses did--slashing payroll. Too many of the baby boom generation--the ones they are depending on to retire--have taken a hit on their retirement savings and are hanging on to either up the amount of social security they will get or to recoup as much as possible of what they lost. Mom looked at that and had much the same skepticism I did. She retired from nursing and, during her working life, saw repeated dire warnings of shortages of nurses followed by gluts as the hospitals recruited cheaper labor from overseas and the nursing programs flooded the market with new graduates. In the one case the shortage never materialized. In the other, cheap LEGAL immigrants took the jobs before enterprising students could finish their course of study.


Kay Dennison said...

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Me being me, I remain skeptical.

Looking to the Stars said...

I don't see a shortage of people for jobs either. I think they are trying to feed us B.S.

A fw years ago that might have worked but not now, the american people are not as gulliable as they used to be