Hoosier Lottery On Pace for Almost $1 Billion in Revenue

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Hoosier Lottery officials are announcing that the organization is on pace for record breaking numbers in revenue. Per Indiana Economic Digest: 

The Hoosier Lottery is on pace for a record revenue year, thanks in part to to higher Powerball ticket prices and jackpots. The lottery projects that revenue for its 2013 fiscal year ending June 30 will be $945 million, about 9.5 percent more than last year’s record of $855.6 million. The impact on Indiana coffers won’t be as impressive. Lottery officials are forecasting net income at $227.6 million, about $200,000 more than last year’s result.

 

There is one catch to the whole record breaking revenue celebration though…..

One reason the record sales won’t bring more income to the state for the fiscal year is that the lottery is spending about twice as much as it did last year on advertising and promotion—nearly $23 million. The commission forecasts total operating expenses will come in at $716.5 million, more than 10 percent higher than last year’s $645 million.

I still think a better investment than Powerball tickets is this.  It just lacks the excitement.

 

 

‘A War on Coal Is Exactly What’s Needed’

The Weekly Standard has picked up an interesting but not surprising quote from Daniel P. Schrag, adviser to the President. You can read the entire article by clicking here. Here is a block quote to back up my previous post on what is coming from this administration. 

“The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants. Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.

Climate Change Tuesday

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On Tuesday, the President is announcing his “Climate Change” plan. For many years, various sections of our American population has latched onto a theory that 1) American individuals are responsible for weather patterns and earth’s temperature changing due to their pollution and 2) Man and government can somehow use their supernatural powers change weather patterns and cool the earth. 

Throughout history there has been all sorts of predictions of doomsday related to humans and pollution. Before I go into a 5,000 word diatribe I will just link you to a long but wonderful read from Matt Ridley titled, Apocalypse Not: Why You Shouldn’t Worry About the End Times. 

You can believe in this theory.  I personally don’t because in the end all the things proposed con people out of their money and make guys like this become uber rich. What I do have a problem with is taking this theory and applying it to government policy that has massive consequences to everyday activities in life. Energy is the best invention ever known to man. I personally want to shake the hand of the man who got fire going back in the day. People who founded oil and coal should be given a lifetime achievement award for making our lives better in almost every action we do in life.

On Tuesday the President is going to announce new “regulation” to combat Climate Change. Here is a brief synopsis of what is coming courtesy of The Blaze

“We’ll need all of our citizens to do our part to preserve God’s creation for future generations,” Obama noted in an online video the White House released Saturday. The president added that he’ll lay out his vision for reducing carbon pollution, preparing the U.S. for the effects of climate change and leading other nations in the global effort. Obama’s speech Tuesday afternoon at Georgetown University will come the day before he leaves for a weeklong trip to three African nations. “There’s no single step that can reverse the effects of climate change,” Obama says in the video. “But when it comes to the world we leave our children, we owe it to them to do what we can.”

So during this speech you will hear “Combatting Climate Change”. While this notion is silly like we are at war with some hidden force, what does it mean? When you turn on the news that night you will hear news anchors interview environmental groups packed full of lawyers saying the President hasn’t done anything to improve the environment. This is farthest from the truth in the sense of massive regulation that has been passed since he has been in office. I will give a few examples that has purposely flown under the radar by our truth telling media.

New EPA rules flying under the radar are making it so costly that possibly 280 coal plants will have to shutdown. Regulations have consequences and can be quite costly. Who the hardest hit you ask?

Coal-fired electric generating plants will be shut down across 32 states, with the hardest hit states being Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Indiana, according to the coalition.

And yes, natural gas coming online is also making this possible but the enforcement of rules will be the most devastating. Just ask yourself, when you lose that much power, where else are you going to get it? Wind turbines and solar panels are not replacing it fast enough and have major limitations. If your a wind turbine supporter, just note that electrical and natural gas lines are hooked up to them so it can be powered when the wind’s not blowing. 

What else has the President been up too? Well, just recently while no one was looking his administration slipped a regulation into a little noticed rule on microware ovens that raises the price of coal per ton. Per Bloomberg.com

Buried in a little-noticed rule on microwave ovens is a change in the U.S. government’s accounting for carbon emissions that could have wide-ranging implications for everything from power plants to the Keystone XL pipeline. The increase of the so-called social cost of carbon, to $38 a metric ton in 2015 from $23.80, adjusts the calculation the government uses to weigh costs and benefits of proposed regulations. The figure is meant to approximate losses from global warming such as flood damage and diminished crops.

This money will not be used to “combat” or “help” the supposed fight in climate change. The government is broke and needs revenues. At the same time many within policy making has a disdain for coal as is and see this as a step to punish those who use it. Here is one example from the same article how radical or dangerous these groups are in feverishly wanting to price everyone using coal:

Laurie Johnson, chief economist for climate at the Natural Resources Defense Council says the administration should go further; she estimates the carbon cost could be as much as $266/ton.

Here is a perfect example of how this money will be used. California has their own mini model in pricing for “Climate Change” which is basically a tax. It is in the form of “Carbon Trade Auctions” and the cost gets buried in whatever good the consumer has to purchase. E&E Publishing is now reporting Gov. Jerry Brown is wanting to “borrow” up to $500 Million from this fund to help the overall general budget.  This money will not be used to “combat climate change”. 

California Gov. Jerry Brown yesterday proposed borrowing $500 million in revenues from the state’s landmark carbon cap-and-trade auctions and using those to help balance the general fund budget.

He also wants to break the state’s own law in doing this:

By law, the Golden State must spend the funds on efforts that reduce carbon emissions or otherwise meet the purposes of California’s climate measure, A.B. 32.

On a national scale, any implementation of pricing on the American public will just end up the same. Be fully aware of what is coming.

 

Another Indiana School District Battling Obamacare Regulations

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More developments with Indiana school districts dealing with countless rules/regulations related to Obamacare. This story comes out of North Spencer County School Corporation. Superintendent Dan Scherry and the school board recently learned from a trade association that Obamacare would make him legally liable if fines are incurred. 

Scherry said the law states an individual could be held responsible for fines incurred for an employee working full-time that isn’t offered health insurance. To give individual employees relief from that provision of the law, the North Spencer school board on Monday discussed and approved a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Hold Harmless Resolution.

 

That resolution, which Scherry said was developed by the Indiana School Board Association, basically absolves administrators or other individuals from personal liability for those fines and makes the school corporation responsible.

 

 

And how much would have someone in like Mr. Scherry faced if the rule wasn’t found and dealt with? What is the process for something like this in order for a fine to happen?

“For us, it could be a $300,000 or $400,000 fine, so you’re talking about changing lives there,” said Mr. Scherry. If an employee is working more than 30 hours a week and not covered by health insurance, Scherry explained they could make a complaint with the insurance exchange through the government, then the government could impose a fine saying the business or school district didn’t follow the law. Without this resolution, Scherry said the fine could haunt individual people, but after it is passed by school boards the school corporation would be responsible.

With school districts already facing massive budget tightening as is, this new fine process will be the new normal for local taxpayers. Even though the school districts are protecting employees from not getting fined, now the taxpayer is on the hook. Go ahead and expect school corporation budgets to be cutting more from teaching areas so they can stash a “rainy day” fund for Obamacare fines.

Here is a link to the rest of the story.

I think I will just let Mr. Scherry sum up what this bill is doing to various aspects of our economy:

“It’s just a mess,”

Farm Bill & Indiana Schools Facing Obamacare “Uncertainty”

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Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly was recently on the floor of the Senate pleading for the passage of the new ten year farm bill currently up for debate. He did the basic verbal judo political speak in saying the bill would help “Hoosier Farmers”. Senator Donnelly is very much celebrated as a moderate thinker by the political writers at the Indianapolis Star. I personally have challenged a few of their writers in what direction he would choose once in the Senate and get the usual “Bipartisanship” line and that is about it. I am not seeing anything as of right now from the Indianapolis Star on this issue but if they write about his statements on the proposed farm bill, it will be very nuanced without much substance.

The current Farm Bill of 2013 will most likely pass the Senate and head to the House. The farm bill is anything but a farm bill. Here is small paragraph from RedState.com

Today, the Senate will invoke cloture on the 5-year farm bill, S. 954.  The 1150-page Senate bill costs $955 billion over 10 years and creates a new shallow loss program covering up to 90% of a farmer’s income – on the taxpayer dime.  Roughly 80% of the cost is related to food stamps.  For good measure, this bill contains sugar subsidies, biofuels subsidies, and conservation programs.  This mega-bill was rushed through the committee process and has only been subject to four amendments on the floor. 

Farm bills of this magnitude need to be stopped and absolutely broken down for separate votes. On top of that, when a Senator like Joe Donnelly steps to the microphone to express support for this bill, just be honest and say what the bill is.  Here is the link to his floor speech and it says nothing about what the bill really is intended to support.

One more piece to “Farm Bills”, they hardly ever help a bunch of farmers. Face the Facts USA has an excellent breakdown of the most previous data of the last farm bill. They added a nice slideshow for their data breakdown. Here is the link for their article but will post one small piece:

The most recent Farm Bill shows the bulk of its $96.2 billion cost went elsewhere. $77.6 billion in 2011 went to the food stamp program known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Just $13.44 billion went to programs for farmers.

Switching topics, more and more financial decisions are not only being made by businesses in how to adopt the coming Obamacare guidelines but local municipalities are as well. The new unspoken effects are hitting public schools. Just recently, my high school I attended released a statement saying part of the cuts they needed to make was from uncertainty with costs pertaining to the healthcare law. Now more news is coming out from other Indiana schools with what they have to do to be able to afford the law. This comes from Hancock County, Indiana:

Part-time employees could see their hours cut or changed under new federal regulations related to the Affordable Care Act. Though portions of the Affordable Care Act have been phasing in since its adoption in 2010, the new legislation grows teeth Jan. 1 and Hancock County governments, businesses and school districts are taking notice. Large employers who have part-time staff working between 30 and 40 hours a week, for example, will be required to provide health insurance. Failure to provide the coverage for 95 percent of the employer’s workforce could result in significant monetary penalties from the federal government.

 

Even the lawyers hired to help sort out the coming law are uncertain:

And while the law was designed to provide more Americans with affordable health care, there’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding the new regulations. “There’s mass uncertainty,” said Jim Matthews, attorney with Bose McKinney and Evans in Indianapolis who has been advising clients on the act. “There are so many surprises in this law, and they just keep coming and coming.”

The Eastern Hancock School Board had to cut non-contract employee hours from 30-40 to 29 hours. Not only is it the school district but the county itself:

The Hancock County Commissioners budgeted for a 20 percent increase in health insurance costs for 2014, still not knowing the full impact of the Affordable Care Act. Details of the 2014 budget will be worked out in the next few months, and one discussion point will be whether to cut the hours of some part-time employees or make them full-time. 

“Normally, you would benefit from two part-time positions rather than a full-time position,” Commissioner Brad Armstrong said. “But if your part-time position is going to get over 30 hours, then it incurs the cost in benefits, there’s really no savings in doing that.”

Many of the county’s part-time employees are in the community corrections department, said Mary Bowmer, payroll administrator. Adding health insurance for a single employee will come at a cost of more than $6,600 for the county.

The full article is in this link. This is just a microcosm of what is too come for the entire nation. Municipalities are struggling massively from tight budgets, this will only confuse the budget makers a few more years as this law plays out.

 

 

Early Indicator of “Obamacare”

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When Congress passed another healthcare plan designed to “help” the American people it had widespread implications. The bill has thousands of pages of not just law, but also regulations written after the bill was passed.

One of the programs within the bill for the HHS(Health & Human Services) agency to begin implementing right away was a “High Risk Pool” for people with already pre-existing conditions. I have been following this program for awhile now in the press. Here is the short version of what the program was created to do. Five Billion dollars was set aside to assist people with already pre-existing conditions until the full bill was implemented. Projections were to sign up anywhere from 350,000-500,000 people. Now the stats are out and should give many pause in seeing how costs of the total health care program will affect the United States government overall spending of this bill down the road.

Investors.com reported on April 10,2013:

ObamaCare funded the PCIP with $5 billion to cover patients with pre-existing conditions from 2010 to 2014. Less than a third of the people HHS projected would enroll in the plan actually signed up for the coverage. Yet despite the low enrollment, the plan is broke. In fact, it started running out of money at the beginning of this year, which means it busted its budget a full year ahead of projections. In a 2012 report, HHS conceded that it had miscalculated (though not until page 11 of its 15-page report): “On average, the PCIP program has experienced claims costs 2.5 times higher than anticipated.”

So what were the estimated numbers in 2010 for this one small program within the bigger healthcare plan? Here is a breakdown from the Heritage Foundation:

In 2010, the Obama Administration estimated that 375,000 people would enroll in the PCIP. But as of January 2013, over two-and-a-half years since the plan began, only 107,139 were enrolled—less than 29 percent of original projections.

Not only did costs skyrocket, but major changes to the program recipients as well:

In addition to suspending enrollment, CMS made major benefit adjustments in an effort to control program costs—mainly by increasing enrollee cost-sharing requirements. These changes included the consolidation of three plan options into one, increased co-insurance, and increased maximums for out-of-pocket costs (a 56 percent increase for in-network services and a 42 percent increase for out-of-network services).

This is not unexpected. History is filled with facts to teach us present day Americans about the fallacy of “Government Healthcare Programs” but we always choose the divine providence of “The Government” when it comes to social experiments. In the same article quoted above, they also had this historical data to show us the coming cost explosion from previous healthcare experiments:

In 1965, the Johnson administration figured Medicare would cost $12 billion by 1990. Its actual cost was $110 billion. Now it’s almost $600 billion and climbing.

Washingtontimes.com had these historical numbers on November 18,2009:

In 1965, the House Ways and Means Committee estimated that the hospital insurance program of Medicare – the federal health care program for the elderly and disabled – would cost $9 billion by 1990. The actual cost that year was $67 billion. In 1967, the House Ways and Means Committee said the entire Medicare program would cost $12 billion in 1990. The actual cost in 1990 was $98 billion.

Once 2014 kicks in which is full implementation of the law itself, we unfortunately will be on the side of waiting to see costs explode. Not only that aspect, but HHS will probably start changing rules once people have signed contracts for health insurance. Constantly changing rules is part of having “Centrally Planned” programs by the government.

Like I said, we unfortunately will have to wait and see.