If the broadcasters had been more successful in their lobbying over the years, we’d have had no cable TV; no VCRs, DVDs or Blu-Ray; no recordable cassette tapes; no iPods; and certainly no satellite radio.But I’d still get to keep my torrents, right?! ; )
Yesterday, the [left-communist-conservative] George W. Bush Institute, based at [obviously left-communist-conservative] Southern Methodist University (SMU), “the innovation arm of The George W. Bush Center,” announced that its “first major initiative” would be a program to train principals and prepare them for service in public schools across the country. The Institute says its goal is to “train half of the nation’s public school principals in the next decade”:* In case you missed it, this post will explain the weird construct.
The first major initiative of the new George W. Bush Institute will be to create a training program that will provide more qualified principals to the nation’s public schools, officials announced Wednesday.
The institute, which will be based at Southern Methodist University, is launching the Alliance to Reform Education Leadership with a pilot program that includes school districts in Fort Worth, Dallas, Plano, Denver, St. Louis and Indianapolis. The goal of the program is to train half of the nation’s public school principals in the next decade.
The immediate question that popped into my mind is “What would the alternatives be for an employee who no longer had health insurance under McDonald’s crappy [see the chart] health care plan?“
You’d think the the WSJ would figure that out for us, right?
Nope, because the results would’t fit the narrative that Rupert Mudoch is peddling with this article: that tons of employees will actually become uninsured due to the new health care reform law.
Thankfully, E.D. Kain did some digging and figured it all out for us:
I went over to the Kaiser Family Foundation to take a look at what I might qualify for under the healthcare law if I were a single McDonald’s worker (using 2014 dollars). Generously assuming I’d make $10/hour (I believe shift managers make about $9.81/hour) I calculate my yearly salary at $20,800 – or about 181% of poverty.Stories always look so much more dramatic when you leave your audience with the impression that the supposed victims in the story (i.e., the McDonald’s workers) are gonna get screwed – instead of the exact opposite.
Turns out I’ll be on the hook for a premium of about $1127 a year, or about $21 per week. That’s $11 less a week than I’d pay for McDonald’s mini-med benefits. But instead of yearly maximum benefit of $10,000 I’d have no maximum benefit at all since maximum benefits are no longer legal. And I’d only have a maximum out-of-pocket expense of $2,083. This plan – a ‘silver’ plan under the new law – is going to be quite a lot better than McDonald’s, actually. [...]
As a cashier making $7.51 an hour I would be on the hook for a yearly premium of $494 or about $9.5 a week. I’d get far, far superior health coverage for about $4.50 less a week than the cheapest McDonald’s plan, which caps benefits at $2,000 – $83 less than my out of pocket maximum on the silver plan which has an actuarial value, at this income, of 94%.
P.S. I think we need to pass a law that compels every Republican/teabagger to spend at least a half-hour on both HealthCare.gov and the Kaiser Foundation’s Health Reform Source site. We could probably shave a few percentage points off the crazy that way.
Food for thought from Matt Yglesias:
What you see around the world is that policies of economic “neoliberalism”—fiscal discipline, controlled inflation, private ownership of businesses, openness to trade and investment—succeed in producing growth. In principle, this growth can make everyone better off. But what leaders like Lula, or the post-Pinochet leftwing governments of Chile, or Bill Clinton, or the Blair and Brown governments in the UK bring to the table is to actually deliver on that promise through tax and welfare policies that ensure growth is broadly shared. Then on the other side you have things like the center-right governments in Sweden and Denmark (and perhaps the Cameron/Clegg government in the UK) who are succeeding by persuading people that some budget cutting needn’t presage a wholesale gutting of the welfare state.For anyone needing a quick terminology primer, neoliberalism is a market-driven approach to economic and social policy. It first took hold in Chile under Augusto Pinochet (from 1973) before spreading to the UK under Margaret Thatcher (from 1979) then came to the United States under Ronald Reagan (from 1981) and then fanned out to the rest of the world. It’s certainly been great for economic growth and done the world a lot of good.
Either way it’s global movement toward a model in which the government intervenes in the economy primarily through tax-and-transfer functions rather than through planning. Nothing’s perfect in life, but this trend has served the world pretty well and I think both sides of the equation are very much necessary. This progressive liberal synthesis is taking over pretty much everywhere in the democratic world except the United States, where the GOP remains ideologically unreconciled to the welfare state and I keep coming across odd columns urging us to try to emulate the alleged successes of Chinese central planning.
I don’t share Yglesias’ praise for welfare. I think things have gone well for the world in spite of such handouts–they are an economic drag. I acknowledge plenty of personal and international welfare helps people in the short run. But I think it necessarily causes a lot more long-term harm by reducing overall growth and creating awful incentives. It’s those incentives which I blame for stagnant wages on the low end. Replacing welfare with a negative income tax is my solution to the working poor’s plight.
I do share Yglesias’ disdain for China’s alleged success; their per capita GDP is lower than most nations and we musn’t forget the awful, awful failures of history’s greatest monster which are the reason they sunk so low.
Decades ago, China’s sudden openness to trade spurred a lot of international investment on account of its cheap labor. This lead to mind-boggling economic growth. But it’s not a success of central planning relative to the rest of the world! It is rather a recovery from the awful failures of Maoist central planning. As Yglesias notes:
It seems to me that it’s very plausible to imagine that if China had spent the entirety of the post-war period governed by merely bad policies [instead of Mao's overwhelmingly bad policies] they’d be as rich today as, say, the Belorussians are. And though Belarus is nobody’s idea of a great success story, its per capita GDP in PPP-adjusted terms is nearly double China’s
Here’s more evidence for the thesis that our public school system is awful and Democrats are to blame:
This week, President Obama called for the hiring of 10,000 new teachers to beef up math and science achievement. Meanwhile, in America, Earth, Sol-System, public school employment has grown 10 times faster than enrollment for 40 years (see chart), while achievement at the end of high school has stagnated in math and declined in science (see other chart).I say it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. As I said earlier, Democrats demagogue increasing public education spending the way Republicans demagogue tax cuts.
Either the president is badly misinformed about our education system or he thinks that promising to hire another 10,000 teachers union members is politically advantageous–in which case he would seem to be badly misinformed about the present political climate. Or he lives in an alternate universe in which Kirk and Spock have facial hair and government monopolies are efficient. It’s hard to say.
Look over the charts again. What have we gotten from double education employment and quadruple spending over the past 40 years? Bupkiss.
Does anyone really believe that these companies that out of the goodness of their black oil hearts are spending millions and millions of dollars to protect jobs? This is like Eva Braun writing a kosher cookbook — it’s not about jobs at all, ladies and gentlemen, it’s about their ability to pollute and thus protect their profits.
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