Monday, February 23, 2015

Wages, the Unleveled Playing Field

I was watching the news the other night, and they reported that Walmart is going to raise wages to $9 per hour. Later in the program they covered labor unrest in the S.E. Asian country of Myanmar with protestors complaining about being paid 17 cents an hour. I wondered how many times 17 cents went into 9 dollars. Hmm about 53 times.

That prompted me to research what the wages were in China for building cell phones. It looks like it is around $70 per week but the number of hours had to be more than 40 but less than 67 depending on what you read (6 days a week 11 hours a day). Figure a 66 hour week,labor costs about $1.06 an hour. It takes about 7 hours to assemble a cell phone in China by one estimate and another suggests that in cost terms figure about $12 in Chinese labor per phone. So somewhere between 7 to 12 hours to assemble each unit. US labor at $9 per hour with employer costs of $6 we get $15 per hour. At those rates cell phone labor here in the US would run about $150 per phone. And if you take into effect the quality of work provided by the minimum wage worker, cell phone productions costs would probably be closer to $350 per unit Stateside.

Suppose you are sewing shirts in Myanmar at 17 cents an hour, 53 employees is a hell of a workforce at 9 dollars and hour. Can you imagine having to supply Obama health care to them? Worker Comp or Social Security? Nah, no worry there. I’m tempted to buy 25 sewing machines and set up a shirt factory in Bangladesh.

Labor is cheap in the rest of the world and we enjoy its benefit. The trouble is, it is affecting our employment rates in the US. 16 million people are unemployed (9 million full and 6 million with part time jobs). For the price of a Walmart greeter, you can have 53 people sewing shirts for you 11/6 in Myanmar. I can meet that payroll. These used to be American jobs.

And if that isn’t bad enough, from the Associated Press: "More than half of America's recent college graduates are either unemployed or working in a job that doesn't require a bachelor's degree." That doesn’t bode well for the government student loan program. A college education does not guarantee a well-paying job. But, to keep the ball rolling, Obama might probably offer College grads on the student loan program, a nothing down Fanny Mae home loan as a bonus. Give them more “free” stuff--let them sell their souls to the company store.

Then there is the growing underground economy. It’s called, "Businesses without addresses.“ If you don’t have a business location, the government can’t tax or regulate you. A lawn or pool cleaning business is invisible. The Uber cabs are under the tax radar, as is every business running out of a garage. With the advent of cell phone and the internet, many more services exist without a taxpaying address --part of our hidden economy. The net effect; as government controls increase, taxes collected will decrease, with more people appearing to be in need of government help.

Single and make 40K cutting lawns? - - figure you save 12k in taxes and Social Security not paid, you qualify for food stamps and free health care. And for God’s sake don’t get married if you plan to have kids, your partner will lose her welfare benefits. And if you are here illegally, what are they going to do to you if they catch you? They’re certainly not going to deport you.

The pitiful hourly wage in Myanmar suggest that religion could be the only escape people have, from the economic shackles of slave like poverty. Christianity held the world together during the dark ages, with the promise of a better life in the "Hereafter." For the “I want it now generation” the promise 70 virgins and heaven tomorrow (if you’re in a hurry) sure beats the reality of working for 17 cents an hour.

So here we are with people making 17 cents an hour in one country and college graduates in another that can’t find a decent job. If a couple in Myanmar find true love, they’ll be making 34 cents an hour together. If two college grads find true love, they’ll have a baby just looking at their combined monthly student loan payment.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Greece to Repudiate Debts

February 28 is when Greece has to refinance its debts with the EU. I think Merkel of Germany has already been enlightened by Greece’s new leader when he probably told her something like; “Take a long walk off a short pier.”

Bankruptcy will not kill Greece, any more than it did Iceland. It looks as if people will start bailing out of the Greek crap starting about Friday the 13th (if you are in the know) and about 7 days later Feb 20, if you weren’t paying attention.

The basic thing about Greece, is that bankruptcy is a one time event, which makes life worth living again. The scary thing is that the rest of the world cannot see the reality of the action. Greece will leave the Euro and rise up out of the ashes like the Phoenix.

Greece does not need the Euro, the other EU nations need to keep Greece in the union to give the Euro legitimacy. The EU is offering a country drowning in debt, a cinderblock as a life preserver.

Germany is the loser if Greece packs it up. Europe is expecting Greece to kowtow to the bankers. Funny, I don't think it is in the cards. They have a choice, repudiate the debt or go back to a military dictatorship. 26 percent unemployment is a lot of frustrated people drinking beer with not much to do, other than riot.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Restaurant Menu Prices From 1938

Here is a reprint from two years ago for some of you that might have missed it.

I was searching through some picture albums of my parents from way back and ran into some restaurant menus  from the depression era of late 1930's.. The first 3 pictures are from the Manhattan  Restaurant



 

The Second menu (three pictures) is on the Union Pacific Railroad from 1937 somewhere in Wyoming.






This last menu is from the Hotel Windermere in Chicago 1937.


Double click on the images to see what the prices were back then.   Did you notice that the Manhattan offered a broiled (Whole) lobster for 65 cents?  In today's world, you'd be lucky to get half a lobster for $30.  Bear in mind, the people that read these menus in real time are probably dead by now.

The pay raise that everyone gets each year because of inflation is just an allusion. Look around, the new hires are starting out a few pennies less than what the seasoned workers are making.  The neat thing about inflation is that Congress doesn't have to raise the tax rates, you earn more, you pay more.  That's the real difference between the Democrats and Republicans; print as you go verses pay as you go.

The real odd thing is that the average person does not connect the dots. The relationship between government spending and inflation does not exist. Rumor has it, we've always had inflation-- I guess we're supposed to get used to it.  My wife bought a new battery and asked me to guess how much she paid for it, and I said $40.  Her answer; "That's the price you would have paid 20 years ago, the battery was $100."

Let's see,(from top menu third pic red part) I'll have the broiled lobster with coffee and a slice of cake--that's about 85 cents total, plus 15 cents for a tip.  The trouble is, 76 years of inflation have raised the prices a tad.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Currency Adjustments (The Collapse of the Euro)

Switzerland gave no notice when it stopped supporting the Euro. People were surprised that the message wasn’t telegraphed like the Federal Reserve does. Think about it for one moment. Why give any advanced notice? England in 1967 denied that it would devalue the Pound up to the minute it did it. We went off the gold standard in the blink of an eye. When it comes to currency, countries are ruthless.

Right now, we probably have several European countries printing the first of their new currency. A new currency could take from about 3 to 8 months to produce before any announcement is made. Notice one thing, this all has to happen under extreme secrecy. It will be a sudden and swift conversion from one currency to another. Figure a three day weekend with a holiday sandwiched in so the currency can be distributed to the banks.

Europe is going off of the Euro. It is a little like a divorce. Each side thinks their significate other has no idea of what is about to happen. The trouble is, the shoe doesn’t fit any better for you than it does for her. I would hazard a guess that the following countries are now printing a new currencies; Spain, Portugal, Italy, and France. This is all about the failure of Euro.

Travel on to oil related problems, and any country that has an economy supported by oil at $90 a barrel will soon repudiate its debts and issue a new currency. Of course the basket cases like Venezuela, Greece, or Nigeria, are more likely to witness a regime change first and a new currency second. In this case you lose your life savings.

What we will be facing is the rise of dictatorships where one individual can get things done; replacing a Democracy smothered in bureaucracy. Adolf Hitler’s rise to power wasn't so surprising, Germany of the 1930's was today’s Greece, smothered in debt.

The European commonwealth is going to buy back over a trillion Euros as a Quantitative Easing package. They looked at what the Fed did in the US and it appears to have worked. The trouble is, the effect was cosmetic. It moved future demand into present demand. Politicians that manipulate the financial system too much, will end up losing the confidence and support of their citizens.

At some point in the future, gold silver and platinum will have to be a part of any world monetary system. The present system is a political solution to a financial problem. Increasing the amount of currency that a government can print to pay the bills, over time loses all perspective. You end up paying more for less. Savings is defined as the option to consume later what you produced today. Printed dollars are the product of zero production, but they spend just as well as those that were earned and saved.

Look for France to exit out of the Euro in the coming year, followed by Greece, Spain and Portugal. The reason I picked France to be first, is that there used to be a saying that the French devalued the French Franc every time they changed their underwear. Let's give them an excuse to change their underwear.


Monday, January 19, 2015

They Have Tiped Over The Apple Cart

The financial fiber of the world economy got a jolt when Switzerland announced that they would no longer peg the Swiss franc to the Euro. They had been buying Euros to support the parity by printing Swiss francs. The volume of money involved forward into the future was a blank check and they didn’t like the concept. They already owned 480 billion Euros that they didn't even need. I have often stated that the Euro will die, only for one reason, the politicians cannot print Euros. Guess what, they are about to print Euros over someone’s dead body and it doesn’t look pretty. Gone is the Swiss backing of the Euro. Everyone wants to hold Swiss francs, but spend Euros. Bad money always chases good money out of circulation.

The low interest rates around the world are beginning to take a toll. Very low rates tend to accelerate the miss allocation of resources to nonproductive ends. Normally, interest rates play a big part in whether a project will get built or not. Very low interest rates force the flow of cash to investments that pay a higher return. So if the banks are paying 1 1/2 interest and the stock market returns 12% guess where money is going? The current chicken coming home to roost is oil exploration investments. Canadian tar sands which has the consistency of very thick molasses (after heating) can be pumped through a pipeline if someone thinks that it is a good buy at $100 a barrel. Whoever financed the tar sands project is probably standing at a freeway exit holding a cardboard sign saying, "Will work for food."

Some people are claiming that the economy is out of the woods now because there isn't the hint of a recession. I’d like to point out to them that a recession and a depression are two different animals. We are in a full blown depression and have been since 2006. A recession is an economic statistical calculation. In a depression, you have terms like Quantitative easing, high unemployment, ZIRP, high enrollment in government programs like food stamps, and extreme government waste (economic stimulation) trying to find solutions like Solyndra. We can't stop printing dollars and we don't dare let interest rates set their own level (if we expect to pay the interest on what we printed).

The real trouble right now is the trust of government, and I suggest that it is misplaced. Fanny and Freddie have resumed writing 3% down low interest, home loans. The house is way overpriced, but this will make it easier for minorities to purchase a home. Common sense suggests that if these homes were such good deals, there wouldn't be any left. Isn’t this what started the housing mess?

The government ZIRP (zero interest rate policy) stimulates borrowing and encourages people to take on more debt and consume product. Couple that with Quantitative Easing (printing money) and this is what the world is dealing with. We used to put money in the bank and talk about compound interest being the 8th wonder of the world. Now it’s all about consumption and seeing how many dollars you get back on your credit card purchases. You don't have to wait and save up to purchase what you want, you can have it now. Kind of makes you wonder, isn't this what bubbles are made of?????

Switzerland just tipped over the apple cart by saying “no” to printing more francs and the funny thing is that nobody is quite sure what will happen next. The sanctity of the Euro has been challenged by the oldest successful banking country in the world.


As a post note:

In Switzerland
Step one: Foreign depositors face a 7 ½ percent tax on Swiss bank deposits
Step two: Swiss Franc unpegged from the Euro 1/15/2015

In Denmark
Step one: Foreign depositors now face a 2 percent tax on Danish bank deposits 1/19/2015
Step two: Hmmmm

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Congressional Idiots

I had a day off from work the other day and decided to listen to a live session of the House of Representatives. The discussions revolved around taxing the rich and stemming the flight of corporations to foreign shores.

The Democrats normally pull out an example of some corporate CEO making millions while his workers make very little. You never see this “rich“ (high income earner) person being a basketball or football player who makes millions but pays very little in taxes. It is always the rich against the middle class. Did you ever notice the difference between the two? The rich don’t have to work and if you don’t work, you pay no taxes. In the process of getting rich, you pay taxes. Once you make it, you have no more taxes to pay. Middle class people have taxes to pay and if you have enough deductions to escape taxes, you’ll be classified as poor. From a basic point of view, the rich and the poor pay no taxes and the middle class is stuck with the bill. So we get a two hour Congressional litany on why Congress should tax the rich, great vote getter, rah rah, rah.

Congress also wants to stem the flow of companies moving offshore. Have you ever asked yourself the question, why all of the new startup companies, start in a garage? Answer: the government cannot control what you do in your garage. Want to start a business? The paperwork is ridiculous, not to mention the extra money needed to satisfy all of the state laws that needed to be observed. Before you even open, you have to open up accounts with the state for unemployment insurance, workman’s comp, Social security, employer tax ID and so on. They will send you forms 4 times a year that threaten you with fines if filled out wrong or sent in late. I can guarantee that you will not even comprehend how to fill out the forms unless you are a lawyer. And if you become a success, the lawyers will feed on your company as if it was dead carrion. No wonder manufacturing has moved to a safer less restricted havens.

You really don’t have to think too hard to realize that Congress has dug itself in a deep hole and hopes passing a few new laws will somehow change things back to the ways they were. Their approach is a little like walking down the stairs with both shoes untied. They know where they are going, but its going to be a little different this time.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The New Year Approaches

To the average person on the street, the economy is OK. Not great, but OK. So when we carry that concept further, there is nothing to fix because nothing is broken. If we were to ask if the economy is in need of being fixed, we would get the expected 3-5% lead pipe cinch return of yes. The thing to remember here is that these five percent opinions have more than two solutions to “fix” the problems.

At this point, 95 percent of the population has no idea that there are economic problems. Everything worked yesterday and everything works today. So if there is a problem, it is pretty much invisible. Remember economics is not a course that many study. Government debt and inflation are things we have always lived with in our life time.

We have a national debt of 18 trillion and a collective mentality that this is something that Congress can fix every year. The same with Social Security and any other financial problems, the solutions for all have been pushed into the future.

Do you get the idea that the average person is more into sports twitter and Facebook? Reality is where your mind meets the road. There are no pressing world financial problems as far as the average man is concerned. Providing for, and feeding your family are the goals for the present. Infrastructure, retirement, government finances will all be taken care of; if they aren’t we will elect someone else. The mindset of the 95 percent of the population is very simplistic, it works, and will keep working.

How can the concept of nation debt out of control be explained, or where the money went that was in the Social Security fund? These problems project no immediate peril to the Hoi Polloi, they are of little concern.

The basic concept of public officials is to push all of the pending problems past their time in office. So here we go with the coming New Year. Forget the canaries in coal mines, the deck chairs on the Titanic, people are tired of the stories and no longer pay attention to them. A while ago, the Vice President, referred to the last six years as “The greatest recession since the Great Depression.” All I can say to Obama and Biden, the horse ride is not over, there are still two more years for them in the saddle. And they are definitely not out of the woods, they’re part of the woods.

The coming year could be very telling. With the drop in oil prices, the Middle East will have to choose between guns and butter, and by the way, you can’t grow much food in a fox hole. Russia’s currency could hyper inflate to nothing, they don’t produce much for consumer consumption (if it explodes, it's not editable). The EU as a currency for the European Union could end, Greece and Spain want out. Look for our stock market to hit 26,000. It’s the last game in town. We are all going to get rich.

Belly up to the bar, our government will fix what ails you. I’m not sure how we will pay for all of this, but we know it will involve Republicans; they still have a few dollars left.

So with the year at an end, a toast to the incoming year; here’s wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Inflation coupled with deflation

It seems very unlikely to have both Inflation and deflation at the same time, but we have it. Health care costs are skyrocketing and gasoline prices are dropping.

The big items are not even being mentioned. The bond market is at an all-time high. If interest rates were to rise 600 basis points to about 8 percent, the bond market if marked to market would suffer a 75% loss. The bond market is at a top, it can go no higher from here, it can only go down. The California housing market is still unaffordable to the middle class unless both husband and wife work. This too could face a 50 percent cut in value, home values do not support the current rental rates so why own a home, rent.

Interest rates are low, so why save your money for later? Spend it now while it will still buy something and borrow some more or put it on plastic. Stocks are going up, and who cares if its selling for 200 times earnings, buy it and hold on for profits. It doesn’t matter what it’s worth, if it’s going up. For some reason, the housing fiasco seems to come to mind. Buy Apple at $1000 and sell it when it hits $1100 or borrow more and double your bet. The interest on the loan is peanuts compared to the rise in stock values.

The government is printing money, which is inflationary. The job market is not quite as it appears, people are returning to work, but most new jobs are a lot lower paying; less earnings is deflationary. Of course if you don’t have a job, no money is very deflationary.

Social Security retirement paychecks are inflationary. The government already spent the money paid into the program for other things, now they have to print dollars to cover the plan. Food stamps are a similar animal.

Once your unemployment runs out, you can go back to school on a student loan. Your own family might not have the ability to loan you money for school, but the government has a ready and willing check book. Sell your soul to the company store for a 4 year edu-vacation.

The one thing that is very easy to understand about the economy, is that it is not in a composed settled state, it is in a state of turmoil, a dynamic state of flux, twisting in different directions. Our bond market which is 10 times bigger than the stock market is not an area to park money for investment purposes. Interest rates are at zero. Investment funds are now dealing in indexes which are a step removed from the stock market. They don’t have to buy and sell stocks, just hold the index. The stocks on the stock market are real, the index options are a synthetic creature. There is a finite value of stocks to be purchased, but there are an infinite number of index options that can be sold on the stocks traded.

The real question, how long can the consumer be the driving force for our economy? Sooner or later people will either run out of items they deem necessary to buy or run out of funds to buy them with. At that point we begin to see deflation. Exhaustion of consumption from a lack of funds or credit. In 1929 it was different, there were no credit cards. In today’s world, let the good times roll, put it on plastic.

The present conflict is a war pitting inflation against deflation. We have a very good shot at the hyperinflation Germany experienced before WWII. They had everything with no deflation. Inflation won out, the Mark's value went to zero the hard way, a beer in the end cost 4 billion marks. Of course if you were a senior citizen who manage to save a million marks, that turned worthless as far a buying power went. From there, it wasn’t hard for Adolf Hitler to rise to power, he was going to change things and help those who had been screwed out of their life savings by a democracy that listened to no one, had all the answers and spent what they didn’t have.

The thing that needs to be pointed out is that there are contradictive things in motion. We just had a 400 point move in the stock market. And bonds are at a rate so low, you wouldn’t loan money to a relative. Does there seem to be something wrong with the way we value risk? Buy a stock it will go higher. As for bonds, compound interest used to be the 8th wonder of the world, now all investors do, is wonder who's buying them?

As long as the stock market goes up we are going to make money. That seems a bit artificial to me, an "investor" can make just as much money on a fast falling market as they can on a market going up. If you examine it, a majority of the players only play the up side. I once asked my broker why? And he said that it was easier to sell a market going up than a market going down. The human mind is geared for appreciation, not the negativity it takes to short a market.

So here we are with, an elf like looking, Janet Yellen posturing how great the economy is. She has a cute cherubic look that could sell just about anything. It's Christmas and everyone wants the good times to return. One or two weeks of holiday cheer should fit the bill.

Merry Christmas everyone, and God Bless.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Numbnuts Our Emperor

Six years ago the President had full control of the Congress and passed Obamacare and never got around to the immigration issue.

We got affordable healthcare for everyone, so I am told. You go down and sign up and pay your premiums and you have health care for you and your family. How’s it work? Not sure. Would you stand in line for a free hotdog and a coke or would you stand in line to pay $10 for the same hot dog and coke? We can deduce that there are two lines, and the free line is the long one.

The passing of Obamacare, was done in Congress with the idea that Obama did not need Republican support to get it passed. It was done in a manner that was like sticking a branch into a wasps nest. He knew before the fact, that there would be harsh consequences. Afterwards, nothing constructive has come out of Congress. Then Obama got reelected and things deteriorated even further. Now as the chief executive in charge of enforcing the laws, he has chosen how to enforce them and I might add rather selectively

The newest executive order is his attempt to fix the illegal alien problem in the US. He wants to help these hard working people that snuck into our country with the right to stay here legally. Our hospitals and schools are flooded with illegals and their kids. Their kids get a better life at the expense of our kids who learn how to be tough enough to keep what’s theirs. There is no additional money allocated by Congress to support this influx of refugees.

Our institutions have fixed budgets that cannot accommodate the extra people. It’s a little like the VA hospitals. The budget was drawn up during peace time and was expected to keep up with a war time casualty rate with no additional funding. The indignation of the Congress and the President over the treatment of our veterans by the VA was laughable. It reminds me of Claude Rains in the movie Casablanca, the cop was given his winnings when he walks into the casino, and remarks “I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” The average citizen has no concept of how the VA or any organization gets their funding. Each organization submits a budget a year or two in advance and it either gets approved or sliced down a bit. The average time to get a street light installed on a heavily traveled intersection takes about 5 years; and 4 of that are to get the funds to pay for it.

Numbnuts has poisoned the well with his latest executive order, weeks before the newly elected Congress has been installed in office. My only question is why? The Republicans are not hard asses, I believe they were ready to formulate an immigration bill that wouldn’t have given away the store. Even if they weren’t, this sets the tone that their vote one way or the other wouldn’t matter. This, “My way or the highway” looks like the country may be facing another government shutdown.

Will this executive order on immigration be received with great celebration? Step up, sign in and be deported when the next president gets elected. Survival has more to do with being invisible with the forces at hand. Why bother to register? They already get free medical, schooling for their kids and don’t have to pay taxes. Who's supposed to to deport them if Obama won't?

What needs to be understood, is that usually a law has a penalty to punish violators. The penalty is the deterrent. We have removed the penalty for illegal immigration. I wonder, do you get bus fare to anywhere in the USA after crossing the border now; “I have a wife and kids in Bangor Maine.” If you're a border guard, what are your new duties?-- voter registration, border-greeter and maybe bus ticket agent? If there is no penalty for violating a law, what justifies its existence? HMMMMM

IMHO the President needs some comeuppance. We are not ready for his arrogant way to selectively enforce the laws of the land. Congress has not been offered a real choice of what to do unless they agree with his plan. Somebody said it well, the other day, “How can he expect to have an agreement on nuclear arms with Iran when he can’t even get an immigration bill out of the Congress?” His arrogance has turned many in Congress against him. His condescending lectures of what is wrong with America sets the wrong tone. No amount of his jawboning will push the economy into prosperity. Congress still holds the purse strings. Come January, he’s going to know what it’s like to be in line, in Wal-Mart with a full cart and a food stamp card, with zero dollars on it. And we know damn well, there is no Humble Pie in his shopping cart. Could be the fight of the Century--the economy country will be the sure loser.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Government Subsidized Health Care Costs Vs Health Insurance

Many people interviewed on TV talk about the fact that they cannot afford their health insurance. What needs to be realized, is that these people are beyond health insurance, they can’t afford to pay for treatments they already need. Insurance is a concept of paying in small amounts for services you will need later and be able to pay for them fully over time.

Obamacare works if everyone is taxed for health care and pays into the system. The trouble is, that is not the way it is functioning. If you make no money as far as the Federal government is concerned, you avoid the tax all together. If your income changes, your health insurance costs change. Most people between the ages of 18 and 40 really don’t need health insurance (i.e. the most they would normally pay for health care treatment, is probably half of what their health insurance premiums would be). Figure average premium at about $300 per month extended out for about $3,600. Women look at this a tad different with child delivery. Why should a baby delivery cost 10K? -- ask a lawyer.

With Obamacare, many people presently cannot pay their medical bills and maintain their accustomed standard of living. These people want the program. Then there are those that have a pretty good idea that they need insurance, those over the age of 50 to the age of 65. Then we have those covered by an employer work sponsored program, where the employee pays part the employer pays the rest. In reality, the employee pays it all. What we have in the middle are a lot of people in the 18 to 50 age group that have no insurance at all or are employer insured. They really won't consume health care services, they are healthy.

Most people don’t buy car insurance because they need it, they buy it as a condition of the bank loan that they have made with their lender. Many buy it to comply with the law, but in some areas of Los Angles, half the people are driving without insurance. I’ve driven 30 years without an accident until last year and it was only a $1,500 fender bender that wasn’t even my fault. Over that same time, I spent probably close to $25,000 in auto insurance. On the other hand, I knew a person who had no auto insurance that had her car stolen, $12,000 went poof. If that’s all that happens to her in 30 years, she’ll be $13,000 ahead of me in the amount paid out.

The new health insurance is invisible to the 18 to 50 crowd. There are people in this group that are always cited by Obama as examples of those who need health insurance, like kids and single mom's. Give it a moment of thought, this group of people already know the cost of what they need and it falls outside of the realm of what they can afford or want to pay. Obama’s health insurance goes a long way to cover it by forcing the healthy to contribute to a plan they really do not need. The trouble is, the healthy are not waiting in line to sign up for it especially when the deductible is about $5,000.

The number of new cash paying customers that have opted to enroll in plan is the real issue. Did the numbers go up? I think not. There is still a tremendous number of people not enrolled in Obamacare. Open enrollment is for the people who have gotten really sick after the last open enrollment closed.

If you are young, without insurance, Urgent Care is where you go, show them a credit card and you might wait 15 minutes. Plus you know the total cost right then and there.

I'm sure that after winning a Nobel peace prize Obama believes that only he, knows what's best for our country, kind of makes you wonder who is in charge of those awards. Another Nobel prize winner was the doctor that perfected the ice pick lobotomy---I'd imagine that's the quickest way to turn a Republican into a Democrat, short of taxing them to death, and it's probably a covered procedure under Obamacare. Has anyone asked how much the "free" part of Obamacare is costing? Of course not, the government is paying for it- whoever that is.