• Tag Archives Obamacare
  • $1.5 Trillion GOP Tax Bill Signed By Trump – Housing Largely Uneffected Thanks To Lower Marginal Tax Rates (Ham and Mayonnaise!)

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Snake Hole Lounge. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    President Trump on Friday signed the Republican $1.5 trillion tax overhaul that is expected to trigger tax cuts for most Americans next year. The GOP/Trump bill undoes some of the damage caused by the tax increases put in place on January 1, 2015 by the Obamacare legislation such as increasing the top bracket from 35% to 39.6%.
    Although this is not related to housing per se, the corporate tax rate has been cut to 21%, putting the US in the middle of the G-7 nations instead of being the most heavily tax major nation on earth.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on December 26, 2017.

  • Three Cheers for the GOP Tax Plan

    Last night the Senate passed the Republican proposed tax plan, a major political victory for Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress.
    At the Mises Wire, we have featured numerous articles pointing out many of the fallacies involved with the general debate on the issue of “tax reform.” For example, the absurdity of “revenue neutral” reform, the danger of raising rates through eliminating loop hopes, the fallacy of trying to address the deficit through eliminating deductions on state and local taxes, and the general notion that tax breaks can be equated to tax subsidies. While the Republican bill does fall for some of these traps, the result of the bill as a whole is a genuine reduction in the tax burden for the majority of Americans. That is always something worth celebrating.
    There are additional benefits to be found within the bill as well.
    For example, the elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate is a small, but significant, step to improving the American healthcare system. As I noted in March, when Paul Ryan’s attempt at Obamacare reform failed, the rise of direct primary care and other market solutions meant that the best thing the GOP could do is simply provide as much freedom as possible for Americans to opt out of government-managed insurance markets:
    Given that this is happening naturally on the market already, the legislative focus for those in Washington concerned about American healthcare should be preventing any future laws and regulations that would destroy this model going forward. Further, rather than trying to completely overhaul Obamacare, simply eliminating the individual mandate tax and allowing Health Savings Accounts to be used for healthcare membership would be subtle ways of empowering the market to revolutionize American medicine. This should be coupled with real tax cuts, not ‘revenue neutral reform’ to help Americans keep their own hard-earned money to help pay for it.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 12/20/2017.

  • Republican Tax Plan Is Headed For Final Round Of Votes

    Barring some unforeseen catastrophe (or another floor-vote surprise akin to Sen. John McCain’s last minute decision to strike down the Senate’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare), Congressional Republicans appear all but certain to pass the reconciled version of President Donald Trump’s tax-cut plan – the first time Congress has successfully passed comprehensive tax reform since 1986.
    With their self-imposed Friday deadline looming, the Republicans’ Senate leadership managed to secure commitments from several holdouts, including Maine Sen. Susan Collins, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Utah Sen. Mike Lee.
    At last count, the only Senator who hasn’t committed to a ‘yes’ vote is Arizona’s Jeff Flake. Flake famously delivered a scathing speech condemning President Trump from the floor of the Senate after announcing that he would not seek another term. He has been an outspoken Republican critic of the Trump agenda, per Reuters.
    Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Corker – the only senator who voted against the Senate’s original tax bill – said late last week that he would vote for the current bill after several provisions were added that would benefit him personally, along with a handful of other Republicans.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 19, 2017.

  • GOP Releases All 479 Pages Of The Tax Reform Bill – “Vote-A-Rama” Begins

    The Senate tax bill is headed for a potentially unlimited series of decisions on possible amendments – known as ‘vote-a-rama’ – as the full text of the revised bill has just been released.
    As Bloomberg reports, it’s unclear how long that process might take, though we do note that unlike Obamacare, Senators will at least get to see what’s in the bill before they vote on it.
    Democrats could spend hours offering numerous amendments meant to highlight any flaws they believe the bill contains.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.

  • Obamacare’s Revenge: The IRS Will Not Process Your Tax Return Unless You Tell Them Whether You Have Health Insurance Or Not

    Yes, this is a true story. I was completely shocked when I learned about this too, and this just underscores the importance of repealing the individual mandate immediately. Shortly after taking office, President Trump issued an executive order which was intended to move the IRS away from enforcing Obamacare’s individual mandate, but now the IRS has found a way around that executive order. According to the official AARP website, the IRS has announced that it will not process any tax returns from individuals that are not willing to disclose whether they currently have health insurance or not…
    The Internal Revenue Service won’t process individual tax returns in 2018 unless taxpayers indicate whether they have health insurance coverage or an exemption.
    The move, announced last month, reverses course from this year, when the IRS said it would not require filers to indicate on 1040 tax forms whether they had health insurance. Filers were still required to have medical insurance or pay a penalty, but the IRS accepted and processed returns even if taxpayers didn’t indicate coverage status.
    So what this means is that you will not get your refund until you tell the IRS if you have health insurance.
    And if you don’t have health insurance and you don’t qualify for an exemption, you could be hit with a very painful financial penalty.

    This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on November 26th, 2017.

  • Financial Tyranny: “We The People” Are The New Permanent Underclass In America

    Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,
    Americans can no longer afford to get sick and there’s a reason why.
    That’s because a growing number of Americans are struggling to stretch their dollars far enough to pay their bills, get out of debt and ensure that if and when an illness arises, it doesn’t bankrupt them.
    This is a reality that no amount of partisan political bickering can deny.
    Many Americans can no longer afford health insurance, drug costs or hospital bills. They can’t afford to pay rising healthcare premiums, out-of-pocket deductibles and prescription drug bills.
    They can’t afford to live, and now they can’t afford to get sick or die, either.
    It’s a gamble any way you look at it, and the medical community is not helping.
    Healthcare costs are rising, driven by a medical, insurance and pharmaceutical industry that are getting rich off the sick and dying.
    Appallingly, Americans spend more than any developed country on healthcare and have less to show for it. While Obamacare (a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act) may have made health insurance more accessible to greater numbers of individuals, it has failed to make healthcare any more affordable.
    Indeed, health care in America has become just another way of making corporations rich at consumer expense.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 14, 2017.

  • Here’s The Latest On The GOP Tax Bill As The Senate Starts Debate

    Much like the Obamacare repeal and replace effort earlier this year, the past couple of weeks have been an invariable roller coaster ride for GOP representatives as Congressional leaders have tried to form some level of consensus within a fractured party with competing interests. This week will undoubtedly be no different.
    In light of that, we’ve taken a look at some of the key differences between the Senate and House tax bills as they currently stand. As of now the biggest difference is the treatment of the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction. While the Senate has called for a full repeal of the SALT deduction, House members have drawn a hard line, even though almost all political “hard lines” become flexible under the right circumstances, demanding at least $10,000 worth of property tax deductions be allowed. Per Bloomberg:
    The House and Senate are on a collision course over one of the most prized individual breaks in the tax code.
    The Senate Finance Committee will start debating late Monday afternoon the 247-page tax proposal released last week by Chairman Orrin Hatch. As of now, the ‘conceptual’ mark has some significant differences with the tax bill the House Ways and Means Committee approved last week — chief among them the Senate’s call for repealing the state and local tax deduction entirely.
    Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady took a hard-line approach during a ‘Fox News Sunday’ interview, saying the House won’t accept a tax bill that eliminates the deduction entirely. The House bill retains the deduction for property taxes up to $10,000.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 13, 2017.

  • Repealing Obamacare’s Individual Mandate Would Save $338 Billion

    With Republicans scrambling to find every possible dollar to pay for Trump’s “massive” tax reform package, on Wednesday morning a new analysis by the CBO calculated that repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate – an idea that had been floated previously by Trump – would save $338 billion over 10 years. CBO previously estimated repeal would save $416b over 10 years due to reduced use of Obamacare subsidies, demonstrating once again how “fluid” government forecasts are.

    The report was released as the Senate prepares to unveil its own version of the Tax reform bill amid growing GOP dissent, and comes as some Republicans are pushing for repealing the mandate within tax reform, as a way to help pay for tax cuts. Still, as The Hill reports, that idea has met resistance from some Republican leaders who do not want to mix up health care and taxes. Previously the CBO had come under fire on Tuesday from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who slammed the agency after Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told The Hill that he had been informed that the CBO was changing its analysis of the mandate to find significantly less savings.
    Just as notable was the CBO’s announcement that it was changing the way it analyzes the mandate, which Republicans suspect would show less government savings and fewer people becoming uninsured as a results.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 8, 2017.

  • Trump Proposes Repealing Obamacare’s Individual Mandate To Pay For Tax Cuts

    Wouldn't it be great to Repeal the very unfair and unpopular Individual Mandate in ObamaCare and use those savings for further Tax Cuts…..
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017

    In a proposal which will further infuriate Democrats, moments ago Trump suggested repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate to fund his proposed tax cut.
    “Wouldn’t it be great to repeal the very unfair and unpopular individual mandate in ObamaCare and use those savings for further tax cuts for the Middle Class. The House and Senate should consider ASAP as the process of final approval moves along. Push Biggest Tax Cuts EVER,’ President Trump says in series of posts on Twitter.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 1, 2017.

  • 37 Percent Rate Increase In 2018??? Obamacare Is Imploding And It Must Be Repealed Now!

    Are you ready to pay 37 percent more for health insurance in 2018? Obamacare is imploding faster than most of us imagined, and these rate increases are absolutely killing hard working middle class families all across the country. I wrote about the steady erosion of the middle class yesterday, and health insurance is one of the main reasons why the cost of living is increasing at a much faster rate than our paychecks are. It greatly frustrates me that we have given the Republicans control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives and Obamacare still has not been repealed. The truth is that should have happened on day one of the Trump presidency.
    Monday’s news was dominated by headlines about the indictments of Paul Manafort and Robert Gates, but a new round of Obamacare rate increases is going to have much more of a direct impact on the lives of ordinary Americans. According to CNN, premiums for silver Obamacare plans will increase by an average of 37 percent next year…
    Premiums for the benchmark silver Obamacare plan will soar 37%, on average, for 2018, according to federal data released Monday.
    And remember, this 37 percent increase is on top of all of the other yearly increases that we have seen so far. Many families have already seen their health insurance premiums more than double since Obamacare became law, and now things are going to get even worse.

    This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on October 30th, 2017.

  • Some Doubt about the Economic Benefits of GOP Tax Reform

    There’s a lot of optimism out there that passage of the Trump tax plan will juice the economy. Many analysts say tax cut optimism is one of the factors that continue to push stocks up, and that has created headwinds for gold and silver. But as we’ve pointed out, there are reasons to question this mainstream narrative.
    Now some in the mainstream are even starting to question the mainstream narrative.
    There are two major problems with putting hope in GOP tax reform.
    In the first place, despite some appearance of progress, it remains questionable whether Congress can pull it together and actually get anything done. Multiple failures to repeal, or even significantly reform, Obamacare didn’t create a lot of confidence in the Republican Congress. There are a number of potential sticking points, including a proposal to eliminate the deductibility of state taxes.
    Second, as Peter Schiff pointed out, the plan as presented won’t likely create the economic growth it promises. Why not? Because it’s going to balloon the deficit and that is historically bad for economic growth.

    This post was published at Schiffgold on OCTOBER 30, 2017.

  • It’s The United States of SCAetna Too

    I don’t know why I bother, to tell you the truth. There is simply zero outrage over what goes on in corporate America these days, no matter the facts.
    And let’s remind of those facts, including that every American family has a middle-class house payment stolen from them every single month.
    I just got my “Obamacare” renewal “offer.” The gross increase for their generous offer is +24%. The “net” increase cannot be determined because they can’t yet tell me what the APTC will be. If it was to be the same the “net” increase would be 19,000%.
    No, I didn’t mis-type that.
    I think it’s rather obvious I won’t be “accepting” their “generous” offer. In a few days I will have the “new” APTC amount available, which I remind you is only available to me because I have decided that I’m not going to work any more for any material amount of money, will live on a much small income level, and this of course means that I don’t buy all the fancy stuff (which by the way included quite a few fancy things over the years in both goods and services) that I used to buy.
    Yes, I take the APTC from all of you who still go to work every day to make as much money as you can and thus pay all those taxes. It’s several thousand dollars a year and I make no apology for it. In fact I put my middle finger up toward you daily for you are the ones who could choose to raise hell and withdraw your consent (exactly as I did), and if you did in concert it would force peaceful political change and an end to these scams. Since you choose not to I will instead take the money that you fund the government with and smile in wry bemusement as you mewl out yet another repetition of “Please sir, just the tip this time…..” toward Mordor on the Potomac, smug in the knowledge that just as you didn’t get “just the tip” last time you won’t this time either.

    This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-10-29.

  • Here’s How Much Your Obamacare Rates Are Going Up In 2018 (Hint: It’s A Lot And It’s All Trump’s Fault)

    A new study conducted by Avalere and released earlier today found that Obamacare rates will surge an average of 34% across the country in 2018. Of course, this is in addition to the 113% average premium increase from 2013 and 2017, which brings the total 5-year increase to a staggering 185%.
    Meanwhile, and to our complete shock no less, Avalere would like for you to know that the rate increases are almost entirely due to the Trump administration’s “failure to pay for cost-sharing reductions”…which is a completely reasonable guess if you’re willing to ignore the fact that 2018 premium increases are roughly in-line with the 29% constantly annualized growth rates experienced over the past 4 years before Trump ever moved into the White House…but that’s just math so who cares?
    New analysis from Avalere finds that the 2018 exchange market will see silver premiums rise by an average of 34%. According to Avalere’s analysis of filings from Healthcare.gov states, exchange premiums for the most popular type of exchange plan (silver) will be 34% higher, on average, compared to last year.
    ‘Plans are raising premiums in 2018 to account for market uncertainty and the federal government’s failure to pay for cost-sharing reductions,’ said Caroline Pearson, senior vice president at Avalere. ‘These premium increases may allow insurers to remain in the market and enrollees in all regions to have access to coverage.’
    Avalere experts attribute premium increases to a number of factors, including elimination of cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, lower than anticipated enrollment in the marketplace, limited insurer participation, insufficient action by the government to reimburse plans that cover higher cost enrollees (e.g., via risk corridors), and general volatility around the policies governing the exchanges. The vast majority of exchange enrollees are subsidized and can avoid premium increases, if they select the lowest or second lowest cost silver plan in their region. However, some unsubsidized consumers who pay the full premium cost may choose not to enroll for 2018 due to premium increases.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 25, 2017.

  • Trump Hints At War With North Korea: “Sorry, But Only One Thing Will Work”

    When we commented on this morning’s Trump tweetstorm, in which he covered everything from the fake (and not so fake) media, to RNC donors, to reaching out to Democrats on Obamacare repeal, to “late night” comedians and their “one-sided coverage” of Trump, we said that Trump has yet to make a comment on the most cryptic topic of the last week, his repeated suggestions that the current situation is a “calm before the storm.”
    Moments ago, he may have done just that, when in his latest pair of tweets, Trump ominously suggested that following 25 years of failed diplomacy with North Korea, there is “only one thing that will work.”
    “Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, makings fools of U. S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!”

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 7, 2017.

  • It Has Never Been Cheaper To Hedge A Market Crash Using This One Trade

    In mid-August, at the height of the North Korea geopolitical turbulence, and amid uncertainty about the Fed balance sheet unwind, fears of a government shutdown and the US debt ceiling, as well as the fate of Trump tax reform and Obamacare repeal, when the VIX soared following a series of missile launches by Kim Jong Un only to crash right back to near all time lows, we used an analysis from BofA’s derivatives analyst Benjamin Bowler to show “How To Hedge A Near-Term Market Shock: Here Are The Best Trades”
    As we said then “if the events from last week demonstrated something, it is that just when there appears to be virtually no risk, is when the likelihood of a historic surge in volatility is greatest, as many experienced first hand last Thursday. Hence the need to hedge. But what? And using which product?” As Bowler explained “the decision about whether it’s rational to hedge is really a matter of looking at the price of tail insurance embedded into option markets and asking if the probabilities they assign are ‘fair’ or not.” As he further wrote, when it comes to predicting what the next “severe tail event” could look like, “we find that not only are some markets like Gold pricing in a very low probability of Korean risk escalation, there are significant differences across assets in terms of what they imply about potential risks.”
    He then presented the chart below which shows how historical worst 3M drawdowns since 2006 are priced by 3M 25- delta options across asset classes; hedges that are most underpricing their historical drawdowns are at the top and those most overpricing their tails are at the bottom. What the chart shows is that gold call options imply less than a 1 in 100 chance of a severe tail event over the next month, despite being among the most reactive assets to rising Korean tensions last week. With record low Gold vol slaved to record low real rates vol, this represents a loose anchor which likely won’t hold in any significant geopolitical risk escalation. In contrast to gold, Nikkei is at the other end of the spectrum with options assigning over a 5% chance of a near term tail-event.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 3, 2017.


    ‘The best way to teach your kids about taxes is by eating 30% of their ice cream.’ – Bill Murray
    When I saw that slimy tentacle of the Goldman Sachs vampire squid, Gary Cohn, bloviating about Trump’s tax plan and how it was going to do wonders for the middle class, I knew I was probably going to get screwed again. And after perusing the outline of their plan, it is certain I will be getting it up the ass once again from my beloved government.
    I know everyone’s tax situation is different, but I’m just a hard working middle aged white man with two kids in college and some hefty family medical expenses. I’m already clobbered with Federal, State, City, and real estate taxes, along with huge toll taxes, sales taxes, gasoline taxes, utility taxes, phone taxes and probably a hundred more hidden taxes and fees.
    I fucking hate taxes and want nothing more than to see them cut dramatically. I voted for Trump for the following reasons:
    He wasn’t that evil hateful shrew named Hillary Clinton He promised to repeal and replace Obamacare

    This post was published at The Burning Platform on Sept 29, 2017.

  • Meet The Six Republican Senators Who Could Kill Trump’s Tax-Reform Bill

    The nine-page dax document unveiled by the Trump administration this week included may of the proposals we expected to hear: streamlining the tax code for individuals into three (or possibly four) brackets, eliminating state and local deductions, repealing of the estate tax, major reductions on corporate rates and incentives for American companies to repatriate billions of dollars in overseas profits.
    And while the details of the bill have yet to be worked out (Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said they will be negotiated in committee), after a handful of holdout senators killed the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare (resulting in an embarrassing defeat on repealing an unpopular law that President Donald Trump has said “should’ve been a slam dunk”), the administration is likely already trying to figure out where senators stand. And, more importantly, where various senators stand in terms of their reservations.
    To help give readers a sense of where the legislation stands, Bloomberg has identified six senators who may (and in many cases will) cause problems for the Trump administration by opposing the bill. The list includes moderates, hard-core conservatives, and several senators who already have – or may soon announce – that they will not be seeking reelection, presumably allowing them more freedom to consider the legislation on its actual merits.
    The full list is presented below:

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 29, 2017.

  • Tax Reform Eh?

    I’ll take under on the odds of this getting done.
    If you think fixing Obamacare was tough politically taking on taxes is even worse.
    Further, the “50+1” vote option is gone as of the weekend, so you can forget about that too. This means you need Democrat votes in the Senate to pass anything of this general sort, although there are gimmicks they can use to get “temporary” cuts in the budget process.
    This is going to be highly amusing to watch, along with the market’s “reliance” on it when (not if) it becomes obvious that there’s not a snowball’s chance in Hell that this goes through either this year or next before the midterms.

    This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-09-28.

  • “Betrayal”: Drudge Slams Trump Tax Plan, Says “Illusion Of Party Differences Is Finished”

    Despite the ubiquitous “tax cuts for billionaires” comments from the likes of Schumer and Pelosi, Matt Drudge has seen enough when it comes to President Trump’s policies. After the leaked details of Trump’s tax plan suggests a ‘surcharge on the wealthiest Americans’, Drudge took to Twitter…
    First keep Obamacare, now raise taxes on top earners? At least illusion there is difference between parties is finished once and for all!
    — MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) September 27, 2017

    His website also led with a scathing headline: “More Betrayal Republican Plan to Raise Taxes.”
    Drudge is criticizing the GOP for making concessions to Democrats on taxes and health care, confirming there is no longer an “illusion” of difference between the two major parties…
    Something we have discussed numerous times. As Charles Hugh Smith recently exclaimed…

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 27, 2017.

  • Stocks and Precious Metals Charts – Another Option Expiration Opera Buffa

    “The government is the potent omnipresent teacher. For good or ill it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.
    To declare that the end justifies the means — to declare that the government may commit crimes — would bring terrible retribution.”
    Louis D. Brandeis
    Today was another Comex options expiration for the precious metals. And it went as expected.
    In a bit of good news, the GOP has pulled the plug on their pig of a healthcare plan, because that is what it what, despite all the obfuscating lipstick that they attempted to smear on it. It takes real talent to craft a plan that is worse than Obamacare, which was itself a recycled piece of flotsam from the Heritage Foundation.

    This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 26 SEPTEMBER 2017.