Incompetence or Disloyalty?

That always seems to be the choice with these bozos.

Mr. Tillerson has voiced skepticism that the United States is even capable of doing anything to counter the Russian threat.

“If it’s their intention to interfere, they’re going to find ways to do that,” Mr. Tillerson said in an interview last month with Fox News. “And we can take steps we can take, but this is something that once they decide they are going to do it, it’s very difficult to pre-empt it.”

This is a man who was the CEO of Exxon. If he knew that Shell was stealing his top geological talent, would he have said something like that? Presumably he can talk to the NSA about what they would suggest? WTF is wrong with this guy?

Amazingly, there is actually a person in the relevant job of under secretary for public diplomacy, who seems to have a different view from his boss.

“This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation,” Mr. Goldstein said.

I really hate the conclusion that so many folks at the top of our government are disloyal. But they keep pushing me toward it.

It might be worthwhile to frontpage a list of all the Russia-friendly things that they’ve done. There’s this, and, only this week, Trump’s total disinterest in, and active distraction from, Vladimir Putin’s threatening speech.

If you’ll supply them, I’ll write a post in a day or so. My excuse for crowdsourcing is that it’s allergy season, and I’ve got a very busy Monday and Tuesday.








Sillamäe Again

 

Here’s a light but crabby post for a Saturday. Fits my mood.

I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Sillamäe, Estonia, and more thinking about it. So when a publication screws up the facts, I feel a need to respond.

This time, it’s Atlas Obscura doing a remarkable job of stuffing errors into a short article. Read more








How to read the Senate Bill

The Senate healthcare and tax cut bill is expected to drop in a few cups of coffee. There are a ton of rumors floating around. Here is a cheat sheet on how to read it.

1) Reconciliation places severe constraints on the bill

a) The Parliamentarian is most likely going to be stripping out significant non-germane to the budget items
b) $1 billion in savings must come from each of two committees (HELP and Finance)
c) Anything the Senate passes must meet or beat the $119 billion in budget window deficit reduction that the House AHCA was scored at.

2) Three major pots of money

a) Tax cuts
b) Individual market changes
c) Medicaid cuts to pay for tax cuts

3) Follow the money
Any extra dollar used to pay for a slower Medicaid termination has to come from either Medicaid on the back-end, fewer tax cuts or lower individual market changes. Anything used to up subsidies on the individual market has to come from itself, faster/steeper Medicaid cuts or fewer tax cuts. Anything that ups the tax cuts must come from the individual market or Medicaid…etc.

4) Index rates matter
Slower terminations but lower index rates on per capita caps is a budget gimmick. It gives a little bit of money in the 10 year budget window but leads to massive cuts in the out years against the current counterfactual.

5) Market design and incentives matter

a) Look at where the work disincentives apply

a1) Medicaid expansion where the FMAP disappears once a person churns out once
a2) Medicaid expansion to individual market transition without CSR as people move from high AV low premium insurance to low AV high premium insurance if they earn a dollar too much
a3) 350% FPL instead of 400% FPL

b) How does the individual market function without a mandate and without the patient and state stability funds?

6) More coffee is better








Slim hope open thread

My only hope for the new year is that 2017 is not telling 2016 “hold my beer and watch this…..”

 

Open thread








Alright You Unsympathetic Jackals…

Y’all want me to quit kvetching about something on the internet? That’s practically active sympathy for Putin in my book, but Bqhatevwr.

Y’all want something a little more inspiring? Well, intercourse yourselves sideways with an oxidized agricultural implement, but here you go anyway, because I love you folks.

This is Tikka 2016, getting ready for his next campaign speech.

tikka-microphone

And here he is unwinding after a demanding five minutes or so on the campaign trail:

tikka-at-ease

So drink these in until you’re catatonic.

Humph.