November 7, 2013

michelebachmann:

michelebachmann:

No one will lose their existing plans, except for:

800,000 people in New Jersey

76,000 people in Maryland, Virginia, D.C.

37,000 people in Pennsylvania

300,000 people in Florida

119,000 people in California

Total number of people losing their existing plans, as reported by the AP:

Alabama: 90,000

Alaska: 5,300

California: 900,000

D.C.: 21,300

Florida: 330,000

Georgia: 400,000

Idaho: 105,000

Indiana: 108,000

Iowa: 1,000

Kentucky: 130,000

Louisiana: 10,000

Michigan: 225,000

Minnesota: 140,000

Mississippi: 600

New Hampshire: 20,000

New Jersey: 150,000

New Mexico: 26,000

New York: 100,000

North Carolina: 160,000

Oregon: 150,000

Pennsylvania: 215,000-250,000

Washington: 290,000

Wyoming: 3,200

(via anarcho-americana)

July 11, 2013
theonion:

U.S. Stock Market Soars After Bernanke’s Reassuring Comments About ‘Pacific Rim’

theonion:

U.S. Stock Market Soars After Bernanke’s Reassuring Comments About ‘Pacific Rim’

(via anarcho-americana)

July 11, 2013
nationalpost:

CIA allowed 9/11 mastermind, waterboarded 183 times, to design vacuum cleaner to keep him from ‘going nuts’Confined to the basement of a CIA secret prison in Romania about a decade ago, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the admitted mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, asked his jailers whether he could embark on an unusual project: Would the spy agency allow Mohammed, who had earned his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, to design a vacuum cleaner?The agency officer in charge of the prison called CIA headquarters and a manager approved the request, a former senior CIA official told The Associated Press.Mohammed had endured the most brutal of the CIA’s harsh interrogation methods and had confessed to a career of atrocities. But the agency had no long-term plan for him. Someday, he might prove useful. Perhaps, he’d even stand trial one day.And for that, he’d need to be sane.“We didn’t want them to go nuts,” the former senior CIA official said, one of several who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the now-shuttered CIA prisons or Mohammed’s interest in vacuums. (AP Photo)

nationalpost:

CIA allowed 9/11 mastermind, waterboarded 183 times, to design vacuum cleaner to keep him from ‘going nuts’
Confined to the basement of a CIA secret prison in Romania about a decade ago, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the admitted mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, asked his jailers whether he could embark on an unusual project: Would the spy agency allow Mohammed, who had earned his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, to design a vacuum cleaner?

The agency officer in charge of the prison called CIA headquarters and a manager approved the request, a former senior CIA official told The Associated Press.

Mohammed had endured the most brutal of the CIA’s harsh interrogation methods and had confessed to a career of atrocities. But the agency had no long-term plan for him. Someday, he might prove useful. Perhaps, he’d even stand trial one day.

And for that, he’d need to be sane.

“We didn’t want them to go nuts,” the former senior CIA official said, one of several who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the now-shuttered CIA prisons or Mohammed’s interest in vacuums. (AP Photo)

July 10, 2013
"

The market for private healthcare in Sweden is small. Few people can afford it since they already pay 70 percent tax for all of their “free” stuff. The politicians have private health care, though, naturally paid for by taxpayers. Apparently they are such special people that the healthcare systems they have designed for others are not good enough for them.

When I moved to the U.S., our family health insurance took three months to kick in. One of my family members broke a leg in this period. We found a “five-minute clinic” half an hour away, had the leg X-rayed, straightened and casted, with no waiting time — all for $200 cash. That kind of service is non-existent in Sweden. It is an example of how a market, not yet totally destroyed by the state, can create affordable and high quality services.

The reason American insurance-based healthcare is so expensive is that it is heavily regulated and legally connected to the equally-regulated insurance industry. Both are well protected from competition by regulation. Obamacare will make them even more expensive, bureaucratic, and inaccessible. The way to fix U.S. healthcare is by excising the central planners and regulators from it, not by implanting droves more of them.

I have seen (and lived in) the future of American health care, and it does not work.

"

, The Truth About SwedenCare (via thefreelioness)

(Source: thefreelioness, via anarcho-americana)

July 10, 2013
ThinkProgress Facebook Thread on the Minimum Wage

antigovernmentextremist:

I have died and gone to hell.

July 10, 2013
Oregon's Very Radical and Very Terrible Plan to Make College 'Tuition-Free'

For the past week, the world of higher education has been buzzing aboutOregon, where state legislators have taken the first step towards a radical attempt at combating student debt. The proposed “Pay It Forward” plan is catchy as it is seemingly straightforward. Colleges would no longer charge their undergraduates tuition up front. Instead, students would promise to pay a fixed percentage of their income to the state for a set number of years after graduation. 

You earn a lot, you pay a lot. You earn a little, you pay a little. But most importantly, nobody has to take out loans to cover the cost of classes. 

It’s bold. It sounds progressive. And if implemented, it could be a boondoggle. Here’s why.

The Plan
To be absolutely clear, Pay It Forward is nowhere close to becoming a reality. So far, Oregon’s legislature has passed a bill instructing a state commission to consider the idea and possibly flesh out a pilot program that would itself have to be approved by lawmakers. What officially exists now barely qualifies as an outline. 

That said, we have an decent sense of what the plan might look like in practice. As originally proposed by a group called Students for Educational Debt Reform, bachelor’s degree recipients would pay 3 percent of their annual income for 24 years after finishing school, while community college grads would pay 1.5 percent. In other words, each full year of college would cost 0.75 percent of a student’s earnings. The average B.A. completing their degree today would pay an estimated $39,653 over a lifetime, more than $7,000 above the actual cost of tuition and fees. That extra money would go towards making the system self-sustaining over the long term. However, taxpayers would have to keep footing their portion of the state’s higher ed bill. Pay It Forward would only replace the costs currently covered by tuition.

The Upside
There are some potential advantages to this approach. First, the obvious: fewer loans. Under Pay It Forward, Oregon students would not borrow any money to cover tuition. That means less debt impacting their credit score. And, just like under income-based repayment plans for federal student loans, there’s zero chance of default. 

The plan also has an appealing progressive streak. Future One Percenters will pay the most for their educations. Graduates that find themselves mixing espresso drinks after commencement, or who devote themselves to low-pay careers like teaching, will pay the least.

Meanwhile, the system might encourage poor students to reach for better, more selective colleges. Some higher-ed experts, such as the University of Wisconsin’s Sara Goldrick-Rab, argue that low-income students are discouraged from applying to top schools by so-called “sticker-shock.” They see the astronomical advertised price of tuition at State U. and assume they can’t afford it, even if the admissions office promises that they’ll provide ample financial aid. Part of the problem may be that poor and working class families have little trust in large, unfamiliar institutions. But under Pay It Forward, up-front tuition is no longer an issue, and there’s no need to guess about grants and other aid. 

Finally, the program could potentially enforce some spending discipline on Oregon’s colleges. Without the ability to raise tuition, schools will be forced to clamp down on their most profligate habits.  

The Downside
So what could go wrong? Lots, sadly. Because Pay It Forward wouldn’t eliminate student debt completely, it might inadvertently make college less financially manageable for some students. At the same time, it could drive the most talented young people out of the state college system altogether. And, to top it all off, the whole plan might be financially unsustainable for the state.

Let’s take those one at a time. 

One of the fiercest critics of Pay It Forward so far has actually been Wisconsin’s Goldrick-Rab. In a lengthy, must-read vivisection* of the policy posted today at The Century Foundation, she hones in on what I think is one of the idea’s biggest weaknesses: it would still leave plenty of students buried in loans. 

It’s a major misconception that student debt is driven entirely by tuition. In many cases, it’s not. At public schools, and especially community colleges, room, board, and supplies like textbooks are often far more expensive, especially once you take institutional aid into account. Pay it forward delays the cost of classes until after graduation, but not the cost of housing, meals, or course materials. So, as Goldrick-Rab points out, the typical student at The University of Oregon would still be staring down about $14,000 a year in expenses. Working 20-hours a week at a minimum-wage job, she notes, would earn them $7,000 after taxes. The other $7,000? Either they’d pay it upfront with family help, or they’d borrow it. (That’s one of the reasons she’s doubtful the plan would help with sticker shock). 

Which brings us to why Pay It Forward might actually be a bad deal for some cash-strapped students. Today, financially troubled federal loan borrowers have the option of wrapping all their debts into an income-based repayment program that caps their monthly bill at 10 percent of discretionary earnings. It’s a great safety net. But under Pay It Forward, BA’s from Oregon would still have to pay an additional 3 percent of their income, for 24 years. 

Now, supporters of the Oregon plan do have a counterargument. Ending tuition as we know it would free students to spend their financial aid money on living expenses. For instance, federal Pell Grant recipients could use their awards to cover housing instead of course credits. The problem is that most students don’t get Pell Grants. Most students would still face a very real possibility of having to borrow. 

Of course, those students who wouldn’t have needed to borrow may have it even worse. After all, there’s a good chance they’ll be paying more for their education over time than if they had simply been allowed to pay up front.

The next big issue is what I call the engineer problem. If you’re a student who plans to make a lot of money after college, say as an engineer or a computer programmer, Pay as You Go is a terrible deal. The average student is already asked to pay more than the value of their tuition over time. Students who make higher than average salaries will be asked to pay vastly more. If you’re a student contemplating grad school, say to become a doctor or a lawyer, the problem may be even worse, since chances are you’ll be relying on an income-based repayment program to handle your federal loans down the line anyway. Depending on the precise math, it may no longer be worthwhile for a talented student to attend an Oregon public school instead of a private institution that might offer them merit aid. 

The engineer problem would also pose an accounting headache for the state. Remember, the system assumes that high-earning students will balance-out low-earning ones. Cut the high-earners out of the equation, and students will suddenly need to pay a higher percentage of their income to keep the system solvent.  

That said, what it would take to keep the system solvent is a bit of an open question in the first place. Advocates have suggested that state would need to spend $9 billion over a quarter century before enough former students are paying into the program to cover its costs. The problem (well, one of the problems) is that their calculations appear to be based on the earnings of college graduates. But only half of Oregon public college students finish a B.A. within six years, and dropouts tend to earn far less than their classmates who earn a degree. Their figure is also based on a projection of the economy’s health and college graduate earnings decades from now, which is utter guesswork. If those estimates don’t pan out, the whole idea could turn into a financial albatross for taxpayers. Or, possibly worse, the state would have to ask students to pay back more of their income.

Ordinarily, when state legislators tell a committee to study an offbeat policy idea, it doesn’t generate headlines in the New York Times. But the attention the Oregon plan has received speaks to just how frustrated Americans have become with student debt, and how desperate they are for a solution. But there are no simple fixes at this point, and the last thing we want to do is make a sad situation even worse.

_________________________________

*A few of my points later in this post are similar to hers, though not altogether the same. In any case, I’d like to give credit where it’s due, and encourage any education wonks out there to read her whole take. 

June 28, 2013
"

Libertarianism does not set out to remold human nature. One of socialism’s major goals is to create, which in practice means by totalitarian methods, a New Socialist Man, an individual whose major goal will be to work diligently and altruistically for the collective.

Libertarianism is a political philosophy which says: Given any existent human nature, liberty is the only moral and the most effective political system.

Obviously, libertarianism — as well as any other social system — will work better the more individuals are peaceful and the less they are criminal or aggressive. And libertarians, along with most other people, would like to attain a world where more individuals are “good” and fewer are criminals. But this is not the doctrine of libertarianism per se, which says that whatever the mix of man’s nature may be at any given time, liberty is best.

"

Murray Rothbard (via conza)

(via darrellfalconburg)

June 28, 2013
"Which is more dangerous to personal liberty in a free society: a renegade who tells an inconvenient truth about government lawbreaking, or government officials who lie about what the renegade revealed?

That is the core issue in the great public debate this summer, as Americans come to the realization that their government has concocted a system of laws violative of the natural law, profoundly repugnant to the Constitution and shrouded in secrecy."

— Judge Andrew Napolitano, "The truth shall keep us free" (via hipsterlibertarian)

June 28, 2013

(Source: thinksquad, via moralanarchism)

June 28, 2013
If Obama Wants No More Snowdens, He Should Stop Spying and Assassinating

hipsterlibertarian:

In a classic case of not-sorry-but-sorry-he-got-caught, President Obama said today that while “he won’t engage in ‘wheeling and dealing and trading’ to get NSA leaker Edward Snowden extradited to the U.S.,” (and honest kudos are due to him on that point) he is still “‘concerned’ over what other classified information Snowden may still try to disseminate.”

Implicit in his statement, of course, is a similar concern for any future leaks — a hypothetical for which there’s a better solution than concern: Stop engaging in criminal, leak-worthy behavior:

If the Obama administration wants to curtail the flow of leakers, said Assange, it should stop spying on the world, end its policy of indefinite detention, stop its assassination program and cease invading other countries.

Seriously, less of this:

image

and leaks will get a whole lot less concerning.

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