Thursday, December 26, 2013

Student debt and College Presidents Pay

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Health Care, Covered California, and Deductibles

Socialism: Converting Hysterical Misery into Ordinary Unhappiness

Corey Robin,
In yesterday’s New York Times [1], Robert Pear reports on a little known fact about Obamacare: the insurance packages available on the federal exchange have very high deductibles. Enticed by the low premiums, people find out that they’re screwed on the deductibles, and the co-pays, the out-of-network charges, and all the different words and ways the insurance companies have come up with to hide the fact that you’re paying through the nose.
For policies offered in the federal exchange, as in many states, the annual deductible often tops $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a couple.
Insurers devised the new policies on the assumption that consumers would pick a plan based mainly on price, as reflected in the premium. But insurance plans with lower premiums generally have higher deductibles.
In El Paso, Tex., for example, for a husband and wife both age 35, one of the cheapest plans on the federal exchange, offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has a premium less than $300 a month, but the annual deductible is more than $12,000. For a 45-year-old couple seeking insurance on the federal exchange in Saginaw, Mich., a policy with a premium of $515 a month has a deductible of $10,000.
In Santa Cruz, Calif., where the exchange is run by the state, Robert Aaron, a self-employed 56-year-old engineer, said he was looking for a low-cost plan. The best one he could find had a premium of $488 a month. But the annual deductible was $5,000, and that, he said, “sounds really high.”
By contrast, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average deductible in employer-sponsored health plans is $1,135.
Ed. Note:  He is  not saying that Covered California is a bad deal.  Only that you should look closely at the annual deductible as well as the monthly premium.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Delta Tunnels Protest

by Dan Bacher 

Over 400 people organized by Californians for a Fair Water Policy, a statewide coalition opposing Gov. Brown’s massive water export tunnels, on Friday attended a rally at the State Capitol protesting the Bay Delta Conservation Plan as the 120 day comment period for the BDCP and environmental documents began. 

"So, on this Friday the 13th the BDCP public comment period begins," said Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA). "They give us 40,214 pages of documents – that’s a nine-foot high stack containing 20% more pages than the 32 volumes of the last printed edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. We’re asked to provide comments within 85 working days – that’s 473 pages a day. You can purchase a printed copy for only $3,000." 

"Turn the pages and you’ll discover what William Burroughs meant when he observed that, 'a paranoid schizophrenic is simply someone who’s discovered what’s going on,'" quipped Jennings. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Last Friday Night Film Series Event of 2013!

Campus Progressive Alliance Presents

“Utterly Riveting.” –- New York Times
“Incredible. A Must See.” -– Chris Hayes, All- In, MSNBC
 “Jaw Dropping.” -- Vanity
 Free Admission! Everyone Welcome!
Friday, December 13, 2013
Shorts – 6:00pm  Feature - 6:30pm
Mariposa Hall 1000
Sacramento State University

Robert Reich: Raw Deal

   Robert Reich : A Raw Deal

Austerity is bad economics

The budget deal passed the House today. The proposal includes not extending the unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed.  This is an outrage. Over 220,000 California workers will lose the benefits that provide food and shelter for their families.  Corporate agriculture gets bailed out, the banks get bailed out, but the unemployed get pushed aside. The crisis was caused by finance capital.  The unemployed and their families  should not have to pay for their crisis.

 In economics, austerity is the  policy of reducing government spending by cutting social services such as health care, education, food assistance, and other welfare assistance.  Governments   reduce spending by cutting money for these and similar services.  At the federal level, Republicans seek austerity by cutting social Security and Medicare. In the case of state governments in the U.S., public tax money is used for police, fire fighters, park services, nurses, doctors, social workers and health assistants.  Austerity programs cut these services.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Its a bad bargain- call and say NO

The Congressional  negotiators have announced a deal for the budget- a bad deal.   The proposal includes not extending the unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed.  This is an outrage. Corporate agriculture gets bailed out, the banks get bailed out, but the unemployed get pushed aside.
The crisis was caused by finance capital.  The unemployed  should not have to pay for their crisis.
From the Coalition on Human Needs
Important issues.
  • Some are saying that since the unemployment rate went down in November, we don't need any more federal unemployment insurance for those out of work more than six months.  
But wait:  long-term unemployment ROSE last month.  In November, 37.3% of the jobless had been out of work for six months or more, up from 36.9% in September.  The proportion of long-term unemployed is double the rate in 2007 (before the recession hit).  (Source:  Economic Policy Institute.)
  • Congress has never let long-term UI benefits expire unless the long-term jobless were no more than 1.3 percent of the labor force.  Now, they are double that - 2.6 percent.
  • Denying this basic survival assistance to millions will hurt them badly and is simply wrong.  But it also hurts everyone because it takes a massive whack at the economy.  Estimates of the number of jobs lost in 2014 if federal unemployment benefits expire range from 240,000 (U.S. Council of Economic Advisors) to 314,000 (Economic Policy Institute).   

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Half of all families in the U.S. near poor

Half of all families in the United States are poor, near poor or face economic insecurity where “one major setback in income could push them into poverty.” That’s the shocking conclusion of a report released today by The Hamilton Project. Released by the left-of-center think tank housed at the non-partisan Brookings Institution, the report is a bombshell for those who believe that the current workings of the economy are both sound and fair.
According to the report titled “A Dozen Facts About America’s Struggling Lower Middle Class,” families with household incomes under $60,000 a year “live in economically precarious situations.” The earnings of half of all American households fall between $15,000 and $60,000. And it’s barely sufficient for many to keep their head above water.
Sadly, the tough news for workers who face economic insecurity and their children doesn’t end with lower pay. Four out of 10 kids who live in families earning between $15,000 and $60,000 face hunger, food insecurity or food-related health challenges such as obesity.
And on top of it all, working poor and lower-middle-class workers pay the highest marginal tax rates of any other group of taxpayers in America, reaching up to 95 percent of earned income.
Read the entire piece at

Monday, December 2, 2013

California Holocaust

antiracismdsa: California Holocaust: Some celebrate the 300 anniversary of Serra’s birth.  by   George Monbiot Nowhere is the Church’s denial better exemplified than in it...

The Pope v. Unfettered capitalism

John Nichols 
Remember when the Occupy movement [1] demanded that issues like income inequality [2], race-to-the-bottom globalization and the failures of the free market be placed on the agenda?
Remember the silly critique [3] of Occupy that said the movement’s necessary challenge to austerity lacked specifics?
Problem solved.
The pope has gotten specific.
Condemning the “new tyranny” of unfettered capitalism and the “idolatry of money,” Pope Francis argues in a newly circulated apostolic exhortation [4] that “as long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems.”
The pope has taken a side, not just in his manifesto but in interviews, warning: “Today we are living in an unjust international system in which ‘King Money’ is at the center.”