<%3Fxml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"%3F> Cialis.com free trial » Canadian pharmacy. 24h online support | We care about your health! from the Congressional Budget Office that shows how much the average health insurance premiums would be under the new plan for people in different income levels.  For a single person making around $38,000 a year, the estimated premium is $6100 a year, or 16% of income.  Suppose that this person is young and healthy and  simply pays for the tax penalty the cost is only $950 a year. Meanwhile, the person could save the difference.  Of course, right now this person pays no tax penalty, so the government is simply going to redistribute his or her money in subsidies for others.   If you look at the table, it seems that not a single income bracket pays less than 2.5% of their income for the premium, so even the poorest folks would do better to just skip health insurance while they are healthy, save the cash, and simply enroll when they do need to consume health care.  Of course, this will drive up health insurance premiums for everyone who is enrolled, and give more incentive for those who are enrolled to drop their coverage.

How does the math work out for employers?  Lets use the same employee making $38,000 as an example.  The employer is forced to pay 72.5% of the average premium of $6100, which is $4422.50  or  8% of 38,000 which is $3040.  Obviously, dropping the insurance is cheaper for the employer.  If the difference in cost were given to the employee directly then the employee still comes out ahead with more cash in his or her pocket.    When you go up in the income scale, the incentive is even higher to drop insurance.  For example, an employee making $102,000 a year with a family plan would cost   an employer around $15000 a year in insurance premiums or simply $8000 in tax penalties.  If the difference were given to that employee that employee would still come out ahead by several thousand dollars a year after the tax penalty.  That money could be used to pay for preventive care out of pocket.

Finally, lets examine why we have health insurance now.  It is to cialis.com free trialagainst future diseases  and healthcare consumption.  Your insurance doesn’t exactly buy you anything you can use right now.  For example, I was pregnant this year, and if I didn’t have health insurance to begin with  I would have had to pay quite a bit for the treatment I received.  Since pregnancy is a preexisting condition and I would not have been able to buy health insurance anywhere while pregnant.  Now if the new law passes, I could buy health insurance while pregnant since it would be illegal to refuse insurance to patients with preexisting conditions.  This completely changes the definition of insurance and makes it almost like a coupon program you can join at anytime.  Basically, your membership fee is your taxes, and then you can pay a middle layer of insurance companies when you need health care.  So, there is really no need to carry expensive health insurance that covers everything  when you are healthy because you can enroll anytime.

If all the young and healthy knew how to do basic math, they would be dropping their health insurance and opt for more cash  pay as soon as this bill is enacted.  Fortunately (or unfortunately) for Congress most American public schools aren’t so great so many people would become new insurance company customers because they cannot figure out that 2.5% is less of a penalty than the 15 or 16% they would be required to shell out.    I don’t know if this healthcare bill would actually raise the percentage of people who are insured because a lot of people out there do have common sense, and businesses will figure out that the 8% penalty is much less than what they would be required to pay otherwise.

So could you save money with Obamacare?  You probably can if you have a preexisting condition and need to consume a lot of health care.  On the other hand, this will cost a lot more for those who are young, healthy, or make too much money.   In the end, it is just and does not do anything at all to improve the quality of healthcare in this country.

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]]> http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/11/10/could-you-save-money-with-obamacare/feed/ 4 Cialis.com free trial » Canadian pharmacy. 24h online support | We care about your health! http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/09/16/who-benefits-from-the-obama-tariffs-on-chinese-tires/ http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/09/16/who-benefits-from-the-obama-tariffs-on-chinese-tires/#comments Thu, 17 Sep 2009 01:15:57 +0000 admin http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/?p=446 If you haven’t heard by now, President Obama heeded the complaints of the United Steelworkers’ union and slapped a punitive 35% tariff on Chinese produced tires.  This has sparked anger in Beijing and China vowed to investigate poultry and automotive parts imports from the United States.  China is also filing a formal complaint with the WTO.  So who does this really benefit?

First of all, I don’t think this  benefits the Obama administration because they really need to sustain a good relationship with Beijing.  Even though the tire industry is a small part of the trade between the two countries, the Chinese government definitely sees this as a grave insult.  The Chinese commerce minister Chen Deming said that this act is “an abuse of special safeguard provisions and sends the wrong signal to the world”.  Frankly I don’t think it is worthwhile to anger China over a tiny percentage of trade between the two countries just to yield to  some political supporters.

Next, this will probably hurt Americans more than the Chinese. The poultry industry is now on edge because they export tons of chicken feet and wings to China at a premium price.  If China imposes a tariff on them they will lose quite a bit of profit.  The USA Poultry & Egg Export Council expressed that they are ““.   The New York Times published a particularly amusing article on this matter which said that the , but Chinese people are also very price conscious so any increase in price will bring consumption down.  The poultry industry is right to be concerned, because those chicken feet are fairly worthless here in America.  Suppose that this tariff protects $1 billion in domestic tires, but loses $2 billion in chicken exports, then American workers still lose as a whole.

Another way this hurts Americans is that the tariffs will increase tire prices.  Most of the Chinese tires are cheap low end products.  American manufacturers such as and import them to the United States.    The tariffs on Chinese tires will inevitably increase prices for American consumers who buy the lower end tires.   Additionally, if manufacturers had to increase the price of their low end products they would probably increase the price of their premium products to make their products seem more “premium”, and that means more expensive tires for everyone.Americans are also very price conscious right now, and the higher prices might mean lower sales, and ultimately that might hurt the American tire industry and decrease jobs in that sector anyway.  In that case this protectionist measure would have accomplished the exact opposite of its purpose.

So who really benefits from this?  I think the trade lawyers should be happy because Obama pretty much open the doors for more similar complaints from every other industry.  In Bush 43′s administration four similar industry complaints were rejected because Bush wanted to keep trade free.  Now Obama is sending a signal out there that he is willing to approve protectionist measures for small groups that he favors so more groups may be hiring up lawyers to file complaints because now they have a bigger chance of getting their petitions approved.  Although , whoever files them will be getting a fee. So in the end, I think  the lawyers win.

Ultimately, I highly doubt that this tariff on 0.4% of China’s exports to the United States is going to turn into an all out trade war, but it is certainly making Obama less popular to everyone except the specific unions that he is agreeing to.  Decisions like this affect a lot more than just the people making the complaints, and it is probably wiser to reject them all like Bush did.  That way at least it looks like there are no favorites.

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Cialis.com free trial » Canadian pharmacy. 24h online support | We care about your health! http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/09/11/my-memories-of-911/ http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/09/11/my-memories-of-911/#comments Sat, 12 Sep 2009 00:05:47 +0000 admin http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/?p=444 It has been eight years, but I still remember a lot of details from that tragic day of 9/11/2001. I was barely 18 and just moved into the dorms at UC Berkeley. My roommate was a jovial Arabic girl from San Diego trying to be a doctor and a lawyer. It was just another day of school.

Before class started, my roommate told me that someone bombed the World Trade Center. All I thought was, “well, that seems like a popular target”. There was a girl in our hall that came from New York, and she was watching the small TV in the lounge. I walked past her and she seemed somewhat petrified by the images on the screen. Columns of black smoke replaced the once gleaming towers. It wasn’t a bomb that did this, it was planes. I had to go to class.

In class I saw a friend from high school, and he told me that the towers completely collapsed and there were simultaneous plane attacks in other parts of the country. He laughed and said that at least the terrorists will not try to bomb the World Trade Center anymore. Details were still streaming out, but we weren’t exactly concerned. We were 3000 miles away in California. How could this affect us? All we saw was the constantly pristine blue California sky outside.

When I got back to the dorm for lunch I saw that my mom left me a message on the answer machine. She insisted that I get an answer machine before I moved into the dorms. All she said was, “Xin, AMERICA UNDER ATTACK. BYE” My roommate and I cracked up at this message because it was serious and yet at the same time so comical. How could America be under attack? How much damage could this event possibly do? It was incredulous. It was just a couple buildings that got destroyed? Right?

For the most part that day was almost like just any other day for me because New York was a world away. It was the days and years to come that stirred up fear and unrest in everyone. The death toll in the attack and the constant warnings of further attacks made everyone on edge. Even my granddad in China told us not to go outside to public places, because he was afraid for us. The entire world changed for the worse on that day. The safety that we took for granted was no longer a guarantee.

Now eight years later America is still fighting the terrorists and Ground Zero is still vacant. I would say that wounds caused by 9/11 definitely have not totally healed, and for some the scars will be permanent. When I look back on that day I see how naive and immature I was about the whole event, and I wonder if the hijackers who died on that day now see what a mistake they made.

Finally, I hope that those who remember the events of 9/11 teach their kids never to hate something or someone so much that they are willing to destroy themselves and others. The senseless deaths on that day also remind me not to take my life for granted no matter what, because each day is a gift from God.

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Cialis.com free trial » Canadian pharmacy. 24h online support | We care about your health! http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/06/24/the-immigrant-mentality-and-homeownership-why-it-can-be-a-dangerous-combination/ http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/06/24/the-immigrant-mentality-and-homeownership-why-it-can-be-a-dangerous-combination/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2009 00:49:49 +0000 admin http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/06/24/the-immigrant-mentality-and-homeownership-why-it-can-be-a-dangerous-combination/ Amidst the housing crisis I have read many stories about how many immigrant minorities were “duped” into borrowing ridiculous amounts of money for homes that they could not possibly afford.  An example that is often passed around is of     I cannot say that I understand the motivation of this family on buying such an expensive home, but I can speak from my experience as a Chinese immigrant as to why the “American dream” of homeownership could be so alluring and so destructive.

First of all, most Chinese immigrants I know are pretty frugal about everything except for their homes, cars, and their kids’ education.  Amongst the adults in my parents generation I think most do not go on expensive vacations, eat out  a lot, or buy very expensive clothes.  As a result, their idea of home affordability is a lot higher than 38% of their incomes.  Several people have said to me that Chinese people do not really care about spending more than 50% of their incomes on a mortgage, and I have found that to be true in many instances.  As  a result many people buy a lot more than they probably should have.  I have also  heard the same logic from some first generation  Asian Indian coworkers in the past.  Basically, they can afford the expensive house because they save on everything else.  Usually for married couples this is usually fine until one person loses his or her job.

Another cultural dynamic  that skews how affordable a home is for many immigrants is that many adult children , parents, and other family members are expected to pool their money together towards buying a house.  I know many people my age who own homes due to parental contribution, or some are living with their parents and helping to pay for the mortgage.  In the case of the strawberry pickers it seems that several families pooled together to afford the ridiculously high mortgage.  I think this arrangement is a lot less common in non-immigrant Caucasian American families.  Again, this could work if all family members are committed to paying for the debt and they keep their jobs, but otherwise it could be disastrous.

Next, Chinese culture has a big thing with something we call “face” or mianzi.  It essentially means that you have to project how successful you are to others.  In America I guess it is called “keeping up with the Joneses”.  Having a big beautiful house in a nice school district is a big part of having face.  It is something you can take pictures of and send back home to China and it is also something you can show off to friends and family via dinner parties.  Having face also includes having , and sometimes a nice car, too.  The value of face is priceless for a lot of Chinese people, and they are willing to sacrifice financially for what is essentially bragging rights. I remember a friend telling me once that all her parents spends on is their house and their expensive car, and they do not seem to enjoy life at all because they have no money left over to take vacations.  However, having that house and car seems to add to their self worth even though she thinks it is pretty superficial.

Finally, I think homeownership is so ridiculously appealing to all immigrants because it is a form of assimilation.  It is saying to the world that you own a little piece of America and you are part of something bigger.  Most  immigrants I know do work really hard for what they have, and it is pretty sad when they lose it all, but ultimately those who are in foreclosure now are responsible for their own decisions.  There were definitely shady real estate agents and mortgage brokers that targeted immigrant populations in this crisis, but I think many immigrants lost their usual conservatism and frugality when they were mesmerized with the idea of owning a home.  I know many immigrant families are still plodding away by pooling their incomes for huge mortgages these days, and I applaud them for being responsible, but for those who are draining their savings perhaps it is better to walk away and  start over again.

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Cialis.com free trial » Canadian pharmacy. 24h online support | We care about your health! http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/06/01/bond-buyers-are-finally-calling-the-us-treasurys-bluff-what-does-this-mean-for-you-and-me/ http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/06/01/bond-buyers-are-finally-calling-the-us-treasurys-bluff-what-does-this-mean-for-you-and-me/#comments Tue, 02 Jun 2009 00:19:44 +0000 admin http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2009/06/01/bond-buyers-are-finally-calling-the-us-treasurys-bluff-what-does-this-mean-for-you-and-me/ There was a mini panic in the financial markets recently when the .  The 30 year bond’s yield is now over 4.5%.  This is due to the fact that the central bank has been trying to push long term rates down by announcing that it is buying an additional $1 trillion of U.S. agency debt.  It seems like bond buyers are no longer taking this manipulation of yields, and they are demanding the interest on their investments.  What does this mean for little guys like you and me?

First of all, I am glad that this is happening because I am just sick of all the efforts to push down mortgage rates  when there is no good reason to push it down.  Higher mortgage rates will encourage people to borrow less money, and push down housing prices.  That is not a bad thing on both counts. People will buy houses when it is affordable and reasonable.  Many people are buying right now because housing prices have come down dramatically, and not because of the historically low  mortgage rate. New homebuyers may not be able to lock down mortgages under 5% any longer, but the dip in prices to come may just make up the difference. The only negative is for those who are waiting to refinance, because those below 5% rates are now gone.

Higher yields on treasuries may also make those in charge of the  U.S. government think a little bit before they issue more debt. They need to know that they cannot make every bond buyer pay extremely low rates and this endless borrowing needs to be controlled. If the U.S. government spent and borrowed less, then our taxes may be lower.  However, these higher yields will just mean that Americans will be paying more in interest for years to come with their tax revenues.  This is unfortunate, but bond buyers are investors who should not have to accept rates that do not match the risk of the investment.  For what it is worth, I think right now the yield on 10 and 30 year treasuries is still fairly low so the U.S. is still getting a fairly good deal.

Some other effects I am hopeful about is that perhaps short term rates will follow on the upward trend and savings rates will go up accordingly.  The worst scenario is that inflation is going up AND savings yields are still abysmal, and in a way that is sort of happening now.  Inflation isn’t tremendous this year, but I am noticing some small increases in gas and food prices.  Additionally, wage growth is fairly small all over the board due to the recession.

Anyway, the that its holdings are safe by pledging that the U.S. will try to reduce its budget deficit and eliminate the market manipulations by the government.  I personally think that China’s worries are justified because actions speak louder than words.  If the U.S. is really trying to reduce its budget deficit then it shouldn’t pledge more and more borrowing and spending.   The fact that Geithner had to make such a trip to reassure Chinese leaders shows that the U.S. government is feeling insecure about its debt situation and that does not inspire confidence in the bond market. China really has no obligation to buy trillions of U.S. treasuries and China is free to invest its reserves however it wants.  If China’s reluctance to lend encourages the US to cut its borrowing and spending then it is a good thing for  United State citizens in the long run.

In conclusion, the stock markets are showing signs of recovery, so this will probably push bond yields higher since there will probably be less demand for bonds.   This is good news for everyone who has money in the stock market.  It is reasonable that bond yields are going up, and it is nice to see some market forces push back against the heavy hand of government intervention.

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