We've talked about how Obamacare will affect our regular health insurers and routine doctor visits, but how about how Obamacare will affect Medicare?
We've all known for a while that the future of Medicare, the program than provides health insurance to seniors, is in dire straits. What we're just finding out is that Obamacare is making it worse.
The White House's decision earlier this month to postpone part of U.S. President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform (the employer mandate that will fine businesses that don't offer employees insurance) underscores how flawed the bill is and how unprepared we are for its full roll-out.
The Big Banks On Trial, Again
You want to know why the entire global financial system almost collapsed in 2008?
There seems to be a simple answer. Not encouraging, but simple: The European Commission is exploring the possibility that there was a conspiracy among 13 of the world's major banks that colluded to keep the entire house of cards a secret.
In a press release Monday the European Commission announced it sent a "statement of objections" to Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC), Barclays (BARC), Bear Stearns , BNP Paribas (BNP), Citigroup (C), Credit Suisse (CS), Deutsche Bank (DB), Goldman Sachs (GS), HSBC (HBC), JP Morgan (JPM), Morgan Stanley (MS), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), UBS (UBS) as well as the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) and data service provider Markit.
This statement of objections is a formal step in EU investigations that charges the banks, the dealers' association, and the swaps pricing agent and index controller of "colluding to prevent exchanges from entering the credit derivatives business between 2006 and 2009."
The companies are then expected to answer the charges.
"If, after the parties have exercised their rights of defence, the Commission concludes that there is sufficient evidence of an infringement, it can issue a decision prohibiting the conduct and impose a fine of up to 10% of a company's annual worldwide turnover."
Part of the antitrust behavior of the accused, besides controlling pricing of derivatives to their exclusive benefit, would likely address their complicity in veiling the entire market to deflect fears of counterparty exposure, concentration of risks and leverage in the financial system.
Behind the Veil: Where the Elite Meet
Nearly Half of Americans Say Obamacare is a Bad Idea
Obamacare critics have maintained from day one the president's signature healthcare bill is disastrous and doomed to fail.
Now with just months until the bill takes full effect, more and more Americans are beginning to think the same thing.
According to recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, support for the Affordable Care Act is slipping.
The fresh poll shows 49% of Americans say President Barack Obama's health care reform bill is a bad idea. That's the highest percentage since the poll began measuring backing and opposition for the reform in 2009. Only 37% say the plan is a good idea.
The numbers reflect a sharp increase in disapproval since July 2012 following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold President Obama's healthcare overhaul. At that time, 44% of survey respondents called it a bad idea vs. 40% who called it a good one.
The latest poll also revealed 38% of participants said they and their families will be in worse shape under the new health care law, the highest negative outlook percentage toward Obamacare since it was signed into law in 2010.
Now just 19% say they will be better off while 39% say the law won't make much difference.
Meet the Controversial "Bad Actor" Who Will be in Charge of Your Health Care
Amid a wash of government scandals, America is vulnerable right now. Actions taken by the IRS have left us feeling utterly degraded by the Obama administration. Â Â
And another Washington scandal we see brewing won't make Americans feel any more comfortable about the power granted in our nation's capital.
You see, there's an unelected official who is known as a bad actor, and she's about to be granted broad, undefined power over the people of this country.
The source of her power: Obamacare.
I'm talking about the U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, who come 2014 could be in charge of your health care.
Shah Gilani: "You've Got To Be In It To Win It"
Appearing on Fox Business, Capital Wave Strategist Shah Gilani engaged in the age old debate: Bullish or bearish?
Shah made the bullish case, saying the stock market's rising and investors may want to jump in.
"I think you got to be in it to win it," Gilani said. "You got to stay in the market as long as the trend is up."
On the other side was Dan Shaffer of Shaffer Asset Management. He had a decidedly bearish view, warning of a "deflationary depression"
Why I'm Calling a Market Top
Party like it's 1999.
I'm not talking about celebrating the new millennium all over again. I'm talking about celebrating the markets roaring ahead, like they did in 1999.
Just remember: There will be a price to pay. There was then, and there will be again.
Look what happened on Monday morning. We got some weaker-than-expected economic numbers and the Dow cut its gains in half... for about a minute.
Then it was like, oh, wait a minute, those bad numbers are good numbers for the stock market, because the Federal Reserve won't be tapering any time soon if the economy is tapering. And the Dow roared up by about 65 points... in about a minute.
So go ahead and party like it's 1999. But if you get hammered by the coming crash, you've got no one to blame but yourself. And it is coming.
We've all been here before. This time it just looks different, but it ain't.
Stock Market Today: June off to a Guarded Start
The first trading day of June got off to a muted start at the opening of the stock market today.
Shortly before noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 34.66, or 0.23%, to 15,150.23. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index slipped 6.42, or 0.39%, to 1,624,32. The Nasdaq gave back 33.87, or 0.98%, to hit 3,422.04.
Market participants were hoping for a rebound in today's stock market following Friday's steep sell-off.
Jitters over tumbling Japanese stocks and worries about the Fed winding down its market-supportive bond-buying program sent stocks spiraling Friday, the last trading day of May.
How Big Corporations Are Destroying the "Free Market"
As an economist, I wince whenever I hear someone say that we live in a true free market.
The reality is we live in a semi-free market where regulation stifles business and corporate money influences and distorts what would normally be a highly competitive marketplace.
And over the last two decades, the situation has only gotten worse for consumers, producers, and defenders of the so-called "free market."
From 2008 to 2010, 30 major corporations paid more money in lobbying fees than they did in taxes, according to the Public Campaign.
But while traditional lobbying once centered on altering tax rates and encouraging legislation to liberalize and deregulate the economy, it has now evolved into a competitive weapon for companies trying to box out competitors and raise barriers to entry in their markets.
It's a business phenomenon that I like to call the "Rise of the Fifth Rail."
You see, in traditional markets, companies compete on four specific principles: Price, product quality promotion, and place (market access). These principles are known as the "four P's."
The first three are self-explanatory in that customers want the highest quality product at the cheapest price. Companies use promotional techniques to instill a need for its products and do so by marketing against the offerings of a competitor.
The fourth principle centers on a company's ability to reach new markets and still provide low prices for high-quality products. A strong coordinated distribution network tends to make this possible.
Naturally, when all four work together, you end up with a company like Walmart (NYSE: WMT), which has the ability to provide low, everyday prices due to its best-in-class distribution network.
But over the last few decades, this new phenomenon of using lobbying as a competitive tool has altered the course of market economics, and driven fair competition into the ground.
And that phenomenon is rotting the American free market from the inside.
How to Find Stock Market Crash Protection for Your Portfolio
Thanks to billions of dollars in quantitative easing from the U.S. Federal Reserve, fears over a looming stock market crash have been put on hold lately.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index is up 16% this year. The market's outstanding performance has shrugged off weak earnings reports, slowing growth in China, and continued weakness in Europe.
It seems that zero interest rates really do trump all. Even Warren Buffett is unsure how all this ends, telling shareholders at the Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B) annual meeting "it's really uncharted territory. It's a lot easier to buy things sometimes than it is to sell them."
And I recently heard legendary real estate investors who at a conference compared the market to a game of musical chairs where everyone keeps playing because the music - QE - is still going.
Why the Bulls Are Back in the Stock Market Today
The stock market today is off to a strong start with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up more than 150 points around noon.
Right out of the gate, the Dow advanced 107.78, or 0.70%, to 15,410.88, the Standard & Poor's spiked 14.82, or 0.90%, to 1,664.42, and the Nasdaq jumped 40.47, or 1.17%, to 3,499.61.
Boosting the stock market today were accommodative comments from international central banks that the printing presses won't be turned off anytime soon.
The Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank both reaffirmed that their easy money policies will remain intact as long as necessary. The news sent European and Asian markets all up more than 1%, with the momentum spilling over to the United States.