4:16 PM, Jun 27, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
There has been a long stagnation following the “Great Recession.” No good news there. Lots of unemployment, hence no competition for labor and, thus, no increase in incomes. But … at least there is no inflation. That, anyway, is what we are told by the engineers with their handles on the economy’s throttles. The Federal Reserve, in fact, would like to see some more inflation.
Well, maybe they have been looking in all the wrong places. As Ben Steverman of Bloomberg reports:
Officially, inflation is nothing to worry about. Prices rose 1.8 percent in May from a year ago, according to data released today by the U.S. Commerce Department. That's the largest increase since 2012 but still shy of the Federal Reserve's 2 percent inflation target.
Meanwhile, in the real world:
A new report from the American Institute for Economic Research shows how rising costs for certain necessities make many Americans' personal inflation rate much higher.
Among the things that have gotten more expensive:
… water and sewer bills, have doubled since 2000. Gasoline is up 183 percent.
These things, it should be pointed out, do not fall under the heading of “discretionary spending.”
So while the official number, the Consumer Price Index is:
… up 47 percent since 2000, the institute’s Everyday Price Index (EPI) is up 69 percent … Among the culprits: college tuition and fees, up 130 percent, and child care, up 72 percent.
If you live in a city, rent your home and have skipped both car ownership and parenthood, you're in luck. The institute calculates that this hypothetical "urban renter" has seen costs rise “just” 43 percent since 2000.
So, incentives being what they are, the smart play is to not buy a home or start a family.
The new American dream.
12:02 PM, Apr 4, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In late March, President Obama took a week-long trip through Europe which included a stop of less than 24 hours in Brussels, Belgium for meetings with the European Union and NATO.
9:05 AM, Mar 7, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Late last year the Wall Street Journal reported that Hewlett-Packard was replacing Verizon's Terremark subsidiary as the host of the federal government's Obamacare website, Healthcare.gov, when Terremark's contract expired in March 2014.
8:01 AM, Feb 25, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Details of the Healthcare.gov rescue in the fall of 2013 continue to dribble out via months-old contracts and modifications posted online.
6:47 AM, Feb 7, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Documents recently released by the government show that the value of hotels and local transportation contracts for the U.S. delegation to Nelson Mandela's funeral in December were considerably higher than previous estimates. On December 19, we first reported the cost at about $11 million. However, rather than two hotels and one vehicle contractor, additional contracts have been disclosed bringing the total to five hotels and two vehicle contractors.
8:39 AM, Feb 6, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The CEO of AOL, Tim Armstrong, said on CNBC this morning that "Obamacare is an additional $7.1 million expense for us as a company."
"We have to look at our benefits programs very seriously," said Armstrong. "In the CEO chair, let me give you an example of the decisions we have to make as a company: Obamacare is an additional $7.1 million expense for us as a company. So we have to decide whether or not to pass that expense to employees or whether to cut other benefits."
3:15 PM, Nov 26, 2013 • By JAMES C. CAPRETTA
The past two months have laid bare the emptiness of the president’s most prominent Obamacare promises. Millions are losing the plans they have and like against their wishes, contrary to the president’s oft-repeated pledge. And those being forced into Obamacare could lose access to the doctors and hospitals they trust, also contrary to assurances from the president. The evidence demonstrating that these commitments cannot be met is so overwhelming that even the administration has abandoned defense of the president’s previous statements.
Bring the ‘clerkship’ back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Nov 11, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 09 • By JAY COST
At the start of last month’s government shutdown, a mostly overlooked message emanated from the Twitter account of Michelle Obama, informing her followers: “Due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to fund the government, updates to this account will be limited.” The conventions of American governance typically exclude the first lady from the rough-and-tumble of politics, yet it does raise an important question: Why is America paying a staffer good money to publish Tweets under Michelle Obama’s name?
7:45 AM, Oct 31, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
For what I think is the first time, President Obama admitted that some Americans will pay more for health care under Obamacare. He made the admission in remarks at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts.
"Because of the tax credits that we’re offering and the competition between insurers, most people are going to be able to get better, comprehensive health care plans for the same price or even cheaper than projected. You’re going to get a better deal," Obama said, boosting his signature legislation.
"I just want to know why I can't keep what I have. ... Why do I have to be forced into something else?" 8:44 AM, Oct 28, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
One Florida woman is going from paying $54 a month to $591 under Obamacare, CBS reports:
"For many, their introduction to the Affordable Care Act has been negative: A broken website, and now cancellation notices from insurance companies, followed by sticker shock over higher prices for the new plans," says a CBS reporter. "It's directly at odds from repeated assurances from the president."
1:38 PM, Sep 25, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
A new report by the American Action Forum finds that Obamacare exchanges will cost $5.3 billion and 16 million hours in paperwork burdens.
"If you have a high school diploma, there’s almost nothing for you."1:39 PM, Aug 22, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, on Air Force One en route to New York for the president's education bus tour, had some strong words to say about the prospects of those who don't graduate from high school, and also about those who complete high school but do not go on to college.
In Copenhagen, $430,285.70 for hotel and $200,629 for limousines.9:53 AM, Jun 29, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
The Washington Times reports that the cost of Obama's Africa trip, estimated as high as $100 million, is overshadowing President Obama's agenda. If past VIP trips are any indication, lodging and local transportation would represent only a fraction of the $100 million, yet those costs would likely still dwarf those of the average citizen traveling abroad. In late March, Vice President Joe Biden's $321,000 limo bill and $585,000 Paris hotel bill for his trip to Europe earlier this year were revealed.
2:24 PM, May 31, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Supporters of President Obama’s overhaul of American medicine are touting the early evidence from California’s Obamacare exchange (still under construction) as good news for their side. But as the Los Angeles Times notes, the Golden State’s version of Obamacare will mean higher insurance premiums and a lower qu