Picking up signals transmitted over the open ocean by military vessels in international waters isn't illegal.
If only there were one simple word for all of that.
The word is oppression. How about this: you have your government regulated banks and I have my banks that are not regulated by anybody, that's the way I prefer it.
I'm all for what bitcoin is trying to achieve.
Bitcoin is a currency. It cannot try to achieve anything. As for the people behind bitcoin, it's extremely unclear what they are trying to achieve and not all of the possibilities are harmless. I can very easily make an argument that bitcoin looks like merely the latest version of a pump-and-dump scheme. The exchanges look a lot like pyramid schemes. Most of the arguments supporting bitcoin show a shocking lack of understanding of economics and how and why currencies actually work. I see a lot of credulous arguments in support of bitcoin that make me worry that many of the supporters are FAR too trusting and will be taken advantage of.
I do not see why there are still people out there who keep saying Bitcoin is a good investment
For those at the top of the pyramid scheme it probably is. For everyone else? Yeah, not so much. Bitcoin has all the hallmarks of a pump and dump scheme. Thinly traded asset of dubious future value? Check. Marketing campaign to recruit investors? Check. Early large purchases at discounted rate? Check. Absurdly fast rise in "value"? Check. Early investors selling out or disappearing and leaving the new investors holding the bag? Check.
Unregulated bitcoin exchanges are basically pyramid schemes waiting to happen. The bitcoin currency itself looks shockingly like a pump and dump scheme and should be treated as radioactive (i.e. very carefully) until proven otherwise.
No thanks. I can get a better laptop/Netbook/tablet for cheaper and they include a screen.
I can build a better desktop for cheaper as well.
If I want to experiment I'll get a RPi
What niche is this filling?
Possibly good for an automotive entertainment center or in an RV... but nah. Way over priced. Let me know when it's under $100.
Any of those savings (which could be considered part of an employees salary) get passed on to the employee?
Any of those savings (which could be considered part of an employees salary) get passed on to the employee?
We were able to give raises we couldn't before. The company kept some of the savings and some of it got passed on.
The challenge is that we offered health coverage to everyone but not everyone took it. That was their choice to forego the insurance. It's unfair (and can create legal problems) to give raises only to those who took insurance through our company when others are doing the same job just as well. Any time you have two people doing the same job you have to have a justification if you are going to pay them differently based on responsibilities or performance. We also offer an IRA with an employer match but not everyone chooses to participate. We don't give raises to those who don't participate.
Why would anyone think the Government could run healthcare?
Let's see, maybe because they already do through Medicare and other programs. Maybe because governments around the world do a highly competent job of it for better outcomes and lower cost than we incur in the US. Maybe because reflexively assuming governments are incapable of doing anything well is demonstrably false. Maybe because health insurance is a marketplace that is used by everyone and CANNOT be operated effectively or humanely without government involvement.
Is there any sign of competence or efficiency in Medicare, Medicade, or the VA?
Quite a bit actually. Not saying they don't have their flaws (they do) but they are hardly the debacles you seem to be implying.
There is not one single thing that the Government of the US has ever done more efficiently than the private sector.
What a bunch of crap. There are plenty of things the private sector does an absolutely crap job of. Policing, firefighting, military, infrastructure, medical care for at risk groups (elderly and poor especially), basic research, the judiciary, banking regulation, environmental protection, and quite a bit more. Any time you have a situation where market forces do not work well, the private sector is demonstrably unable to deal with the problem. I'm all for doing as much with the private sector as we can but the argument that the private sector is always better is absurd, wrong and frankly damaging to our society.
And the policies of the current administration are a LARGE reason we're losing small business in the US.
And your evidence for this is what exactly? Small businesses are alive and well. I run one myself and I work with entrepreneurs daily. Every piece of evidence I've seen contradicts your argument. Please back up this blanket assertion with some actual facts.
We almost seem to be actively trying to make it impossible for US small businesses to succeed with ACA and too many regulations and endless paperwork and taxation.
The ACA HELPS small business. My company was able to get health insurance through the ACA for our employees and cut expenses while doing so. Our employees generally pay less than before, the company's saves $10K/year on the cost of insurance and none of our employees will lose their coverage if they lose their job. Explain to me the downside here.
The Feds will pay for the Medicaid expansion for the FIRST THREE YEARS. After that, the State is on the hook to cover it.
Terrific, so what? Medicare is funded by the states now. The only difference is the size of the program. Furthermore do you think the cost for those people who don't have coverage magically disappears just because they don't have insurance? It gets paid for one way or another and you can either do it directly through a formal program or you can do it indirectly through higher insurance rates and hospital bills for everyone else. Either way you are going to pay for it.
Which is why cost is an issue, since the States are generally in the same shape as the Feds in regards to budgets - not enough money, too many obligations.
Then, gasp, raise taxes. I know, that gives republicans hives because they think taxes are the root of all evil. Let's be frank though. This has NOTHING to do with the cost. This is ALL about politics since all the resistance is coming from republicans who care more about getting re-elected than about providing poor people health coverage. The cost doesn't go away just because they aren't willing to fund it through Medicaid. If they were proposing some alternative way to get poor people health insurance then I might give some credibility to the argument that they are trying to be responsible but that simply isn't happening.
Compare that to an area where schools have someone on staff who can prescribe pills, or doctors will insist you consider it...
No school I am aware of in the US (and I work part time in a school) has anyone who would be permitted to even give out a vitamin pill much less prescribe anything. The liability alone prohibits it. The ONLY thing a school nurse or trainer is generally allowed to do is either give a bag of ice, give out a bandaid for minor cuts or send the child home to get medical care from a licensed doctor. They are NEVER allowed to prescribe, give out or even recommend any sort of medication.
And as for the Rep. govenors that refused the Medicaid expansion, they did the cost analysis.
I call bullshit on it having anything to do with a cost analysis. This was ALL about politics. This is simply republicans dragging their heels at the expense of a bunch of poor people for political grandstanding. I live in a state with a Republican governor and a republican majority legislature and they passed the medicaid expansion because it makes financial sense. The terms of the deal are quite clear and the cost of providing medical care to those poor people isn't going to go away whether or not the medicare expansion gets passed.
Some governors plan long term and not just short term.
Then you would expect to see states led by democrats doing the same thing. The fact that all the refusals are coming from the opposition party tells you everything you need to know about this issue.
I'm looking to go that route again, but man...I looked at the health sherpa site that shows what obamacare offers in my area, and deductibles on anything but near gold plans is over $3K?!?!?
I got a technically silver PPO plan (effectively gold if I stay in network with Blue Cross) that is compatible with an HSA. (HSAs are great) Cost to me is about $300/month and I get no subsidy. $4800 out of pocket max and $3K deductible. Everyone worries about the deductible but that isn't the important bit. The important bit is the out of pocket max. Health insurance isn't supposed to be to pay for your regular checkup. It's to keep you from going bankrupt if something serious happens.
I would end up on many plans paying about $3K a year in premiums AND $3K+ in deductibles before I started having any insurance kick in. WFT?
That's what an HSA is for. You put in $3K pretax and use that to pay the deductibles. Any plan compatible with an HSA has a minimum deductible of $1250/year. Only "high deductible" health insurance plans are compatible with HSAs.
Sadly, I think we're stuck with obamacare, and it won't be repealed, but it needs to seriously be altered
Sadly? I disagree. I think changes will (and should) be made in due time, but the basic goals it accomplishes are good ones. It removes the tie between employment and health insurance, it eliminates the pre-existing conditions problem and it prevents insurance companies from dropping you when you get sick. We can debate the details of how to deliver those things but the fact that they are possible now is a Good Thing.
I think we're good with disallowing the pre-existing conditions, but aside from that, I can't see much that helps me or most people at my level of IT income or stage of life that is good about ACA as it currently stands...
You are missing the other really important bit, namely that your insurance is no longer tied to your employer. No one should lose health insurance simply because they lost their job.
A few hundred? Try $800/month which is the cheapest plan the ACA offers where I live. And that plan was total garbage, didn't cover half of what you'd expect and had huge co-pays.
The problem with ACA is that it MANDATED HMO's... Not health insurance. Some people don't need an HMO... if you're running a moderately successful home business you're usually making enough money to cover your families medical expenses out of pocket. What you couldn't afford is catastrophic injuries like car accidents, cancer, heart attacks, etc... So you'd get a very limited policy for that. It wouldn't pay for prescriptions and such but if you started getting $200k hospital bills it would kick in. Those plans were pretty cheap... in the $200/range.
ACA made those kinds of plans illegal. Now you have to buy plans that cover all those things you didn't need... and they cost a fortune. If I tried to get the plan I have with my employer through the ACA exchange it would be over $1600/month. That's insane! And yes, I actually looked it up.
Ironically, one type of small business is flourishing because of all of this. My best friends father is an insurance salesman. When the ACA passed he was terrified... he'd go out of business. He's an older, cranky, eastern European man and hates democrats so that made it even worse. But when the reality finally dawned on him and everyone's insurance policies got canceled, he suddenly LOVES Obama. You see, he makes a commission on insurance sales. Because all of his clients now have to re-sign up for their insurance, he's basically making back all the money he already made off all of his clients the first time he signed them up.
The cost of individual health care plans was insane, and the crappy ACA plans provide worse coverage with fewer providers - and they're even more expensive!
I have exactly the opposite experience. I got a better plan for roughly the same cost and I had numerous to choose from. I also was able to get a Health Savings Account which is a great deal if you are eligible for one. My out of pocket maximum is around $4800 per year which I can easily manage if I have to. Most importantly my ability to get and keep health insurance is no longer tied to a specific employer which is LONG overdue. It should never be the case that losing your job should cause you to lose your health insurance. That's just morally wrong.
I really think what the feds are up to here is trying to kill off as many individual and small business operators as possible.
I run a small business (a manufacturing company) and the Affordable Care Act has been hugely helpful to us. Our employees were able to get similar coverage to what they had with our company plan, usually for less money out of pocket. Plus the company did not have to pick up any of the cost which saves our company roughly $10,000 per year. Basically we were paying roughly $550 per employee per month and the company picked up half the cost for an HMO. Now our employees are paying between $130-250/month out of pocket and the company doesn't have any of the cost.
For those that are not aware how this works... Every time there is a new budget proposal, NASA first suggests axing its most popular projects... usually Hubble, but sometimes other things... and they send that up to the hill... Congress panics "They can't shut down Hubble! It's the only sciencey thing we do anymore!!!" and they give NASA a bit more money. It's all part of the game. BTW, you're supposed to write into your congressman angry about how NASA doesn't get enough money right about now. I'm not saying you shouldn't... they really don't get enough money... but you should at least know the game that's getting played.