10 things to know today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday:
AP Wire
Feb 5, 2014

1. PROBE TARGETS NAVY PERSONNEL

The service is investigating alleged cheating on written tests by senior sailors training on nuclear reactors that power submarines.

2. HOW 'OBAMACARE' MAY IMPACT EMPLOYMENT

The Congressional Budget Office projects that the law will cause the loss of the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time jobs by 2021.

3. POLICE PIECING TOGETHER ACTOR'S FINAL HOURS

They say Philip Seymour Hoffman withdrew $1,200 in six ATM transactions in about an hour the day before he was found dead with a syringe in his arm.

4. MICROSOFT NAMES BALLMER'S REPLACEMENT

Satya Nadella, head of the company's cloud computing business, is only the third CEO in Microsoft's 38-year history.

5. WHY TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS ARE KILLING FEWER CHILDREN

Experts credit the increased use of car seats and booster seats for a 43 percent decline in such deaths over a decade.

6. DEATHS MOUNT FROM SYRIAN REGIME'S 'BARREL BOMBS'

Since Thursday, the crude bombs packed with fuel and scrap metal have killed around 80 people.

7. FACEBOOK FEELING THE 'LIKE' ON 10TH BIRTHDAY

More Americans check the social networking site daily than read the Bible, and it has more monthly users worldwide than most continents have people.

8. WHO'S BACKING THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE

An unusual coalition of lawmakers from both parties, labor and business leaders, and veterans groups are joining forces to push for approval of the project to carry oil from Canada to the U.S.

9. LENO'S TOP TARGET ON 'TONIGHT'

The comedian has made 4,607 jokes at Bill Clinton's expense during his years on the program.

10. SURVEY: MORE THAN HALF OF AMERICANS WILL FOLLOW OLYMPICS

The Associated Press-GfK Poll also finds that figure skating is by far the most popular winter sport, with 24 percent citing it as their favorite.

 

Comments

Vladtheimp

#2. The new CBO Report updates older ones (that the White House has been citing regularly) and says there will be over 2 million fewer people in the workforce (and paying taxes into the economy)by 2024. The Report also says:

that “as a result of the ACA, between 6 million and 7 million fewer people will have employment-based insurance coverage each year from 2016 through 2024 than would be the case in the absence of the ACA

that there is “no compelling evidence that part-time employment has increased as a result of the ACA,” but that is hardly surprising, since the employer mandate won’t go into effect until 2015. "Originally scheduled to take effect in 2014, that penalty is now scheduled to be enforced beginning in 2015. In CBO’s judgment, the costs of the penalty eventually will be borne primarily by workers in the form of reductions in wages or other compensation—just as the costs of a payroll tax levied on employers will generally be passed along to employees."

That "In the current, interim projections, CBO and JCT [the Joint Committee on Taxation] estimate that the ACA’s coverage provisions will result in a net cost to the federal government of $41 billion in 2014 and $1,487 billion over the 2015–2024 period." (Of course, this is offset by the fact that Obama cut over $700 billion of Medicare money that had been allocated to Seniors, and increases taxes on investment income and medical devices by $569 billion.)

This Report is such bad news for the White House that it immediately tried to spin and lie about its impacts.http://www.washingtonpost.com/op... Expect the usual Art Carney suspects who comment here to adopt the spin and try to convince rational people that the loss of over 2 million workers, who decide they are better off living off Government benefits and/or working fewer hours, with the concomitant loss in tax dollars, is good for the economy (we can always replace them with illegals made citizens). In the words of Harry Reid and Pelosi, they will be "Free Agents" and "entrepreneurs" who, "if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations because you will have health care." Is this a great country or what?

Tri-cities realist

I wonder how they will spin it, perhaps "CBO... Nobody trusts Congress"... Or... Well I'm sure they'll come up with something, or just try to obfuscate by tarnishing the messenger. Keep up the good work Vlad, your time and energy here are appreciated by some.

Vladtheimp

The "little man screaming at the sky" thanks you for your kind words - my guess is the Carney wannabees here will combine laughable spin with attacks on the messenger.

Just for grins, the common understanding of "carney" is a travelling amusement show referred to as a carnival and/or a person who performs or works at a carnival. "Wikipedia defines the"carney language" as:

"The carny vocabulary is traditionally part of carnival cant, a secret language. It is an ever-changing form of communication, in large part designed to be impossible to understand by an outsider."

Lanivan

Oh my, deja vu en retour....

Mystic Michael

Of all possible people, you are among the very least qualified to credibly claim "spin". Then again, when you make your specious accusations on the basis of false (i.e. falsified?) information, as you chronically do, suddenly "spin" seems to exist everywhere!

Corrections:

* The President never cut $700+ billion of "Medicare money that had been allocated to seniors". That's a flagrant lie, to which you seem to be particularly attached. The President cut unnecessary overhead in the program (i.e. waste), in order to make the program more cost-effective and more efficient. Not a dime of money allocated for direct benefits was ever touched. It's precisely the kind of thing for which you typically advocate, and would ordinarily cheer - except when it's been done by this particular president.

* The ACA doesn't reduce the number of future JOBS. If anything, the net effect of the ACA is stimulative to the economy. What the ACA does is to reduce the pool of excess LABOR, i.e. people whose only reason for remaining in the workforce is to qualify for employer-based health insurance will now be free to explore other options. Entrepreneurs will be free to launch new businesses, young mothers will be able to stay home with their little children, etc.

This is a bad thing??? I submit to you that it is unwelcome news ONLY for the plutocrats (i.e. Koch Brothers) who are ideologically committed to keeping the labor markets just as cutthroat as possible.

Vladtheimp

Corrections:

Obamacare did, indeed, cut roughly $711 billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare. Medicare is a program for Seniors. Obamacare allegedly was intended to cover all of the uninsured, focusing on the poor, through Medicaid and subsidies for the poor. Don't believe me - the $711 billion figure comes from the Congressional Budget Office. http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default...

I never said the CBO determined the ACA reduced the future number of jobs - try reading what I wrote and stop being a Carney - I said that the Report stated "there will be over 2 million fewer people in the workforce" - that being in addition to the lowest labor participation rate in history under Obama. I also said this could not possibly be good news for the economy.

The reduction in the workforce is only a reduction in "excess labor" in the mind of an elitist who doesn't have to worry about insurance or putting dinner on the table. If a working middle class person who gets no subsidy has to reduce the number of hours they work to qualify for a subsidy, that is not excess labor - it's an intended consequence of Obamacare, which negatively impacts everyone but the poor,including the working Middle Class.

You can't spin this disaster, and misstatements and misquoting comments don't work. You're far more persuasive when you are arguing in favor of a fully socialized single payer system that you and Obama so badly want.

Mystic Michael

"Excess labor" refers to the fact that for every available job, there are at least three people in need of a job. All three can't take the same job at the same time, can they?

People who don't need a job for any purpose other than the employer-provided health insurance will now voluntarily remove themselves from the workforce - thereby automatically making those jobs accessible to the many others who do need them...including the many "invisible" job hunters that the Labor Department statistics chronically under-count. But the jobs themselves aren't going away. So the employee income stream that each job represents isn't going away either.

In terms of its economic impact, this would appear to be a net change of...zero. Even if two million people leave the workforce, some two million more - from the ranks of the unemployed - will be stepping right in to take their place. So what's the problem?

Answer: There IS no problem. It's just another phony, ginned-up pseudo-controversy dreamed up by the hard Right in order to sow the seeds of worry, discord - and opposition. At the end of the day, I think what they really object to is that the ACA makes ordinary people more empowered, more independent, less dependent upon employers for their health insurance needs. And that's a power shift that hard Right ideology just won't tolerate.

tetrahydra

Vlad should change his name to rightwingspinmaster. Or maybe walkingcontradiction.

Vladtheimp

1. I'm pleased you realize now that Obama did, in fact, take $711 Billion from Medicare, a program directed at the health care of Seniors, in order to pay for Obamacare, in part for subsidies for the non-senior poor.

2. Please provide a reputable source for your statement that "for every available job, there are at least three people in need of a job"; in any event, it is a meaningless factoid when specific jobs and types of jobs are impacted by Obamacare.

3. You apparently fail to understand that under the Obamacare Exchanges, the costs of health insurance have sky-rocketed in most states, making insurance close to unaffordable for many in the lower middle class who don't qualify for an Obamacare subsidy. These are the people likely to reduce their hours worked in order to qualify for subsidies and thus afford health insurance. This is not excess labor. As the report says, “If those subsidies are phased out with rising income in order to limit their total costs, the phaseout effectively raises people’s marginal tax rates [the tax rates applying to their last dollar of income], thus discouraging work." This will apply to all who are qualified for the same job and type of job equally - there is absolutely no reason to assume that, even if there really are 3 people in need of a job for each available job, which I seriously doubt, the combination of subsidies and tax rates will disincentivize each of the 3 people who might be qualified for these relatively low paying jobs.

4. Your last argument is the Pelosi argument: "We see it as an entrepreneurial bill, a bill that says to someone, if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations because you will have health care." You and Granny McBotox need to get into the real world. Of course, Granny also claimed, in selling Obamacare, that "It will create 4 million jobs, 400,000 jobs almost immediately — jobs, again, in the health care industry but in the entrepreneurial world as well."

5. This is all desperate shoveling of progressive smoke, my friend.

Mystic Michael

"2. Please provide a reputable source for your statement that 'for every available job, there are at least three people in need of a job...'"

*sigh*

All right, O' Obtuse One. Here's your spoon-feeding of reality for the day. But somehow, I suspect that no matter how much actual reality you're offered, it really won't matter. You'll deny that the sun is up - even while its rays are hitting you in the face - if your crusty, dusty old ideology tells you it should be dark outside:

http://www.epi.org/press/ratio-j...

Lanivan

What exactly do you have against freedom? You yourself claimed your superior health insurance benefits enticed you to remain at your job, even in the face of other interesting job offers. One would think you would be grateful that younger generations of workers will not have this dilemma, and that millions are now free to cut back their hours, change career directions, retire early even with pre-existing conditions, and allow their jobs to open up to others.

"Given the rocky start, 14 million additional Americans covered by insurance through the exchanges and Medicaid is sound progress; and the budget office projects a sharp increase in enrollment in 2015 and 2016 and a bigger net reduction in the number of uninsured. Its projections for subsequent years remain essentially unchanged. In 2017, it predicts 12 million more in Medicaid and 24 million more in private coverage through the exchanges.

The new law will free people, young and old, to pursue careers or retirement without having to worry about health coverage. Workers can seek positions they are most qualified for and will no longer need to feel locked into a job they don’t like because they need insurance for themselves or their families. It is hard to view this as any kind of disaster". http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/0...

It's time to find another boogeyman, Vlad. Obamacare isn't cutting it anymore.

Vladtheimp

Way to attempt to avoid the issues raised in the CBO Report, Ms. Carney!

tetrahydra

First of all the term carny is derogatory. Believe me once in my youth I called a carnival worker carni and let's just say I was lucky to escape unscathed. Second of all no one in their right mind thinks any jobs lost are a good thing. What I don't get is how it is the ACA's fault that people would rather work less hours and scam the system. How many seniors do the same thing when they get social security. How many unemployed choose to not take low paying jobs instead of getting their unemployment benefits. And lastly how many politicians are working part time and getting paid six figures,completely ignoring the wishes of the people who voted them in. It is easy to point fingers while you sit on the sidelines.

Tri-cities realist

" What I don't get is how it is the ACA's fault that people would rather work less hours and scam the system." The subsidies disincentivize people from working more, in which case they lose the subsidy. You can thank the authors of ACA for that.

Former Grandhavenite

Regarding #10 I've never really understood the appeal of figure skating, let alone watching other people skate. It's always extremely popular and seems to make up like 2/3 of the Olympic coverage on TV as opposed to things I'd much rather watch like the luge, ski, and boarding events.

They say this year there's going to be TWICE as much figure skating, since there are now separate individual and paired events. I have a hard time putting much stake in any sport scored by a subjective judgement. The clock doesn't lie about how long it took someone to ski down a hill, but the skating judges can sure take into account biases about the athlete's nationality, choice of music, or just straight up bribes which has happened on several occasions.

Of course, more power to those who do like watching the skating. I just wish I didn't have to depend on foreign websites with streaming video for coverage of a lot of the events. When I was in the eastern part of MI it was nice to switch over to the CBC coverage.

Lanivan

#13. This is interesting - A comparison between Reagan and Obama on federal spending, the GDP, and inflation. And don't forget - Obama took office facing the most severe recession in 80 years.

A comparison he following comes from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Census Bureau, the Treasury Dept, and US Inflation Calculator. The comparison is for the first four budget years (Oct-Sept) of each President. http://www.dailykos.com/story/20...

The average Dow gain per year: Reagan, 11.81%; Obama, 11.72%

The average Unemployment Rate: Reagan, 8.58%; Obama, 8.69%

The average jobs (thousands) created per year: Reagan, 1638; Obama, 1645

Poverty Rate (3 years only): Reagan, from 14% - 14.4%; Obama, from 14.3% - 15%

By these measures, both Presidents are remarkably similar.

But then there is GDP, debt, and spending. Combining GDP relative to debt is the most common measure for these two.

Average yearly debt to GDP increase: Reagan: 7.83%; Obama, 4.84%

Average Federal government spending increase using Total Expenditure data from BEA:

Reagan: 8.89%; Obama 1.02%

Subtracting inflation: Reagan: 4.21%; Obama, -1.08%

Vladtheimp

Without checking each of your factoids, if you're comparing Reagan with Obama, the economy Reagan inherited from Jimmy Carter was also the worst American economy since the Great Depression at that time: inflation was running at roughly a 12% rate, compared to the less than 3% or so Obama got from Bush; Mortgage interest rates were staggering, having topped 16%; Obama inherited historically low rates from Bush; Unemployment was at 7.5%, and on its way to 10.8%; Obama inherited a lower but still comparable rate; Oil prices were triple what they had been four years earlier, while prices have increased significantly under Obama.

The biggest difference, of course, is that under Reagan's policies the country went back to work and thrived, unlike the job situation under Obama: Total job growth during the first four years of the Obama recovery has been 4,657,000 or just 97,020 jobs per month. That's not even enough to hit the breakeven level of 150,000 jobs per month when population growth is taken into account.

Now, contrast that with the Reagan recovery. That generated a total of 11.2 million new jobs or 233,333 per month, more than enough to put people back to work. (CNS News)

Tri-cities realist

Were the jobs created under Obama actually newly created jobs, or the oft cited "new or saved jobs"? I understand how they count new jobs, I don't understand how they can determine whether a job was saved, since by its very nature 100% of existing jobs were saved.

Vladtheimp

#14, IN SELLING OBAMACARE, ART IMITATES LIFE

Art: http://news.yahoo.com/obamacare-...

Life: http://youtu.be/p1MH_UEpVjQ

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