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TSMC delays Arizona plant because of US skilled worker shortage?

July 22, 2023

If you really what it to end bring Taiwanese workers to the US, demand TMSC give them US benefits. However, there is no reason to bring that many Taiwanese workers to the US. The impact of which will be felt a year or two later when they are still in the US.

From reading this, the plant to be built and is behind schedule will make 4 nanometer chips. The later US plant will build three nanometer chips. The Taiwanese are already in R&D on 2 nanometer chips. Biden should be pushing for TSMC to build the 2 nanometer chips in the US. The 4 will become obsolete and the three will be at midlife. Someone needs to push them.

The plant construction will be done as fast as TSMC wants it to be. Their worries and concerns should have been brought to bear

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Conflicts of Interest on Company Prescription Plans

July 21, 2023

This is interesting. Companies, large companies, and public institutions hire consulting firms to research drug coverage for their employees. This is what companies and institutions do, get the experts to come in, use their expertise and knowledge of the process or the market, to get the best efficiencies or deals at lower costs. The way STAT reports it, the consultants are playing both sides. The consultants sign on with the companies for a fee. In turn, the consultants work with the PBMs and health insurers to get the company a better plan. And then once the company agrees, the consulting firm supposedly get a kickback from the PBMs and insurance companies.

Opaque conflicts of interest permeate prescription drug benefits,, Bob

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A Writer and a Friend . . .

July 21, 2023

Spencer England departed a year or so ago, Barkley Rosser from Econospeak

recently, and now my friend Dan . . .

Daniel Robert Crawford, 75, died peacefully at his home, surrounded by hisfamily, July 17, 2023. He was born October 30, 1947 to Robert and RuthCrawford in Oakland, CA. Dan’s family of origin was a Navy family so theymoved several times before settling in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Dangraduated with Honors in 1965 from Cuyahoga Falls HS, from the Collegeof Wooster in 1969, from the University of Rochester in 1972 and LeslieCollege, Cambridge in 1987.

Dan loved being an educator. His second Master’s degree in SpecialEducation allowed him to teach and tutor Special Education students untilhe retired in 2010 and began his study of

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Considering Alternatives to Patent Monopoly Financing of Drug Development

July 20, 2023

There is more to this story than just making technology open to the public so others can manufacturer it. Think about what is being said here. The manufacture of face masks went overseas. When many were needed, foreign manufacture could not keep up and the prices were ridiculous. We are in a situation of whether we want all product being manufactured overseas and face shortages and high prices even though costs do not require such?

Speaking of which EpiPens are another example here. Nobody could duplicate the delivery system EpiPen had. Mylan changed Pfizer’s EpiPen design to achieve patented exclusivity. Teva could not duplicate it as a generic because patients could not use the Mylan instructions in applying the Teva generic. According to FDA’a

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Not All Non Profit Hospitals Deserve Tax Exemption Status

July 20, 2023

This is the third or forth I have seen concerning Non-Profit hospitals. The issue being whether a Nonprofit hospital provide enough nonprofitable care to be considered nonprofit which entitles them to tax exemptions. As the authors discuss, some for-profit hospitals provide greater nonprofit care. Read on and I am sure there will be more to come on this topic.

Do Nonprofit Hospitals Deserve Their Tax Exemption? NEJM, Ge Bai, Sunjay Letchuman, and David A. Hyman.

Many hospitals in the United States were founded by religious organizations or philanthropists and were expected to focus on relieving the suffering of poor people. Times change. Hospitals are one of the largest industries in the United States, with annual revenues exceeding $1.4

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Some Healthcare Detail on costs, smoke, and morphine.

July 19, 2023

Three healthcare issues that are relevant to today. Things we should be talking about. If you remember Merrill Gooz had a chart up showing healthcare costs have been around 17%. For more than a decade, CMS and CBO consistently overestimated the growth in health care spending, which undermines efforts to spend more on health-related social needs.

Health Care Costs Will Comprise About 20% of US Economy by 2031, JAMA Network, Emily Harris.

The country’s health care spending will grow an average of 5.4% per year between 2022 and 2031, accounting for about $1 out of every $5 spent in the US by the end of the period, according to new projections from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published in Health Affairs. Theagency expects that

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How to Save Social Security . . . Investors Version

July 18, 2023

I am seeing numerous articles on Social Security as of late. How to save it from running a deficit. Is this really, what this is about? Even though, the nation has almost always run a deficit except during Clinton(?). There are different ways in which Social Security can be funded.

As one finance expert proclaimed, print more money to fund it or MMT theory. As long as the dollar is in demand globally, we are safe. Another possibility is to open more of the nation’s income to Social Security taxes. I believe the suggested number is $400,000 now. What do we do if a person’s income is not the typical version or salary?

We could do a combination of an increased rate and tax higher salaries.

Dean Baker pointed this out in his commentary “The

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US: Nonprofit Hospitals Chase Low-Income Patients on Debts

July 17, 2023

This is more of an introduction to the Human Right Watch Org and the review of healthcare in the United States. The topic is no surprise as we have touched upon this in earlier commentaries.

In this short piece they are finding private nonprofit hospitals are not so nonprofit. Indeed, they are skimping on healthcare to those who can not afford to pay for it. There is a 62-page report I have not read as of yet. When I do I will be providing more information than this short and to the point piece.

US: Nonprofit Hospitals Chase Low-Income Patients on Debts, Human Rights Watch Org, June 2023

A weak Government Oversight is fueling the care crisis

(Washington, DC) – The United States government’s failure to adequately regulate private

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New Deal democrats Weekly Indicators for July 10 – 14

July 16, 2023

Weekly Indicators for July 10 – 14 at Seeking Alpha

 – by New Deal democrat

My Weekly Indicators post is up at Seeking Alpha.

Several indicators that had been stubbornly positive throughout the decline in leading metrics as of this past week finally turned either neutral or negative. Much as the dominant punditry at the moment is that the economy will actually stick a “soft landing,” these turns argue that instead consumers may finally be reining in purchases, and holdout metrics in the important construction sector may finally be turning down.

As usual, clicking over and reading will bring you thoroughly up to date, and bring me a little pocket change.

New Deal democrats Weekly Indicators for July 3 – 7, Angry Bear, New Deal democrat

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July 15, 2023 Letters from an American

July 16, 2023

July 15, 2023, Letters from an American, Prof Heather Cox Richardson

[Warning: the 13th paragraph of this piece, beginning “They did,” graphically describes racial violence.]

July 16 marks the 160th anniversary of the most destructive riot in U.S. history. On July 13, 1863, certain Democrats in New York City rose up against the Lincoln administration. Four days later, at least 119 people were dead, another 2,000 wounded. Rioters destroyed between $1 and $5 million in property including about fifty buildings, two churches, and an asylum for orphaned Black children. In today’s dollars, that would be between $20 million and about $96 million in damage. 

While the Republican and Democratic parties swapped ideologies almost exactly 100 years after

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Ruling with a Gavel and a Grudge

July 16, 2023

Ruling with a Gavel and a Grudge, Brennan Center for Justice, Michael Waldman, March 2023

We already know what took place with the cases before SCOTUS. The term ended just weeks ago. What still plagues us is judge shopping and one judge stymies a nation. Read on, it is a pretty good article.

Constitution watchers brace for upcoming Supreme Court rulings on the Voting Rights Act, affirmative action, and the “independent state legislature theory.” The Marble Palace on First Street gets most of the attention. In the meantime, federal judges across the country are showing us what happens when the lower courts have right-wing ideologues.

After a hearing last week, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Amarillo, Texas, will soon rule on an outlandish demand

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Biden Administration Taking Action To Limit Junk Healthcare Insurance

July 16, 2023

About half of this is original and the other half is a rewrite. Just explaining things more than the author.

What President Joe Biden is doing is repealing trumps Short Term Healthcare Coverage which today is less than 365 days. This was extended from prior 3-month coverage (maximum 4 months) when Congress failed to repeal the PPACA or ACA. President trump by executive order lengthened the 3-month coverage to one day shy of one year.

By having a junk healthcare insurance plan, people can skirt getting an ACA (PPACA) plan for a less money. The issue being, the payout is

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We would’ve never been able to see cricket live on television

July 15, 2023

Basically, a story about big oil selling prosperity to a country by having their cricket team televised on TV and building a new stadium to be completed by 2025. Exxon and their partners were busy telling the story of fossil fuels as the solution to poverty. This story told as more and more Global North countries pass laws regulating emissions or incentivizing a shift away from fossil fuels. Their message is simple: Having your own fossil fuel industry means everyone will have access to energy and your country will get rich.

Except it has not happened in this manner for countries welcoming the major oil companies. It is all hype to get them to buy into the hope of prosperity. And it never happens.

Guyana, Exxon, and the Making of a New Petro

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Open Thread July 14, 2023 Labor Costs are an Issue?

July 14, 2023

Powell: “Labor costs are really the biggest factor in most parts of that sector (service),” Powell said. “We need to see a better alignment of supply and demand in the labor market and see some more softening in labor market conditions so that inflationary pressures in that sector can also begin to subside.” I believe Powell is attempting to be another Volcker. In all my years in consulting to supply chain Globally, Direct Labor has not been the issue. It has been Overhead, Materials, and the inefficiencies of manufacturing, It is amazing what you can do if you change the paradigm and let them discover reality.

Open Thread July 9, 2023 US Debt, Angry Bear, angry bear blog

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Who is Deciding How to Spend $50 Billion in Opioid Settlement Cash?

July 13, 2023

Angry Bear has been writing about the Opioid epidemic and what has been influencing it for years. I was to write on it at one time and continued to do so. It would seem there should be more coming forth from companies who promoted its use. If we go back and read the Jink and Porter letter misused to promote the use and sale of an Opioid, one can see how its use grew. $50 billion is not enough to resolve the damage done.

How $50 billion in opioid settlement funds will be spent depends on these people, Shots – Health News, NPR, Aneri Pattani from KFF Health News

As more than $50 billion makes its way to state and local governments to compensate for the opioid epidemic, people with high hopes for the money are already fighting over a little-known

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The Solution Being the Fourteenth Amendment.

July 10, 2023

I subscribe to Letters from an American as written by Prof. Heather to which she has hundreds of commenters. Of course, I answer some when if comes to economics, manufacturing, and supply chain. The latter two being the source of my income for some 40-something years. Rising through the ranks most certainly gave me the knowledge to access issues and provide solutions many of which were not agreed to till they were successful. Of course, I did not tell them, the direction I had taken.

This is an excellent commentary providing insight to how the 14th came about and why. Even now, it is not fully accepted by the courts and is skewed in meaning.

July 8, 2023, Letters from an American, Prof. Heather Cox Richardson

On July 9, 1868, Americans

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Supreme Court ‘Shadow Docket, Brennan Center for Justice

July 10, 2023

I believe the shadow docket will become controversial given it lacks the transparency of a typical court hearing which records the verbalization of the court giving reason for decisions. In instances, where a decision is needed, the court should be meeting and deciding. One issue amazes me, the lack of any verbalization on promoting the death sentence. In most instances, they promote the continuance of it. If such is the case, they should attend a few each year.

With regard to this commentary, I thought it was necessary for us to understand the shadow docket. Hope this helps.

The Supreme Court ‘Shadow Docket,’ Brennan Center for Justice, Harry Isaiah Black and Alicia Bannon, July 2022.

In June 2022, the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade,

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Open Thread July 9, 2023 US Debt

July 9, 2023

Differences between Japan and the US Debt. Explain how Japan can manage twice the debt/GDP with no problems but the US is headed to a crisis. Or is the issue really about unnecessary deficit spending due to tax breaks skewed to upper income brackets?

Open Thread July 2, 2023 Partisan SCOTUS, Angry Bear, angry bear blog

Tags: Open Thread July 9 2023

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The Supreme Court’s ‘Shadow Docket’

July 9, 2023

I have been looking around for a simpler explanation of what the Shadow Docket is. This, before a deeper dive into it. It is more like a secret club where a bunch of judges get together and decide the fate of a particular subject without a formal presentation to the court or documentation open to review.

No or few records cover the decisions. The number of decisions in 2022 outnumber the more formal decisions. It was a favorite of the trump administration which leads one to ask why so many of their filings were taken up and approved. The trump Republicans were using it more than any other administration and they were allowed to do so. The court has taken on a particular political cloak or hue. It still holds true today and will for years to come.

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How the Super Rich Are Killing Social Security

July 8, 2023

How the Super Rich Are Killing Social Security, Robert Reich Blog, Robert Reich

Since Angry Bear has a well known expert on Social Security in the name of Dale Coberly, I like to post other commentary on the topic. Robert Reich suggests increasing the salary limit well beyond 2023’s $160, 200 cap. He proposes eliminating the cap over $250,000 on salary and investments.

Here’s the real reason Social Security is in danger that nobody’s talking about.

It’s not just because too many boomers like me are retiring. It’s because of inequality.

Now, I don’t want to alarm you. Social Security is still helping us oldies enjoy our golden years — but only for so long.

Social Security is one of the most popular and successful government programs

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A 400-year veto Angers opponents in Wisconsin

July 8, 2023

Wisconsin governor’s 400-year veto angers opponents in state with long history of creative cuts, AP News, Scott Bauer.

Wisconsin’s governor attempted to lock in a school funding increase for the next 400 years by issuing a partial veto that angered his Republican critics and marks the latest creative use of the unique gubernatorial powers in the state.

Wisconsin allows governors to alter certain legislation by replacing words and letters wherever they see fit, and Gov. Tony Evers struck a hyphen and “20” to change the end date for a $325 per-student spending increase from 2025 to 2425.

With those seemingly simple changes, Evers enacted four centuries of funding increases that cannot be undone unless a court strikes it down or a future

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Pharmacies making Generic Versions are being sued by Manufacturers

July 7, 2023

“Generic drugs are approved only after a rigorous review by FDA and after a set period of time that the brand product has been on the market exclusively. A generic drug is a medication with the exact same active ingredient as the brand-name drug.” It is not unusual to buy generic versions of a particular product. It will not be labeled as the same product name.

I can not take certain drugs and am confined to drugs which are more costly. I started looking at the ingredients on one patent drug which contained an 2mg of an antihistamine and 325mg of acetaminophen. To buy twenty tablets of the name brand drug (take 4-tabs a day) is $7-8. I can buy a 100 4 mg tabs of the antihistamine for $6 and 100 tabs of the acetaminophen for $4. There is no magic

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The Medicare Advantage Quality Bonus Program: High Cost for Uncertain Gain

July 7, 2023

The Medicare Advantage Quality Bonus Program, Urban Institute, Laura Skopec and Robert A. Berenson

The following is an introduction and a portion of a very readable report to which the link can be found at the end of this introduction. The findings are similar as to what Kip Sullivan and others have been reporting all along. To which I have reported and confirmed on Angry Bear on numerous occasions. The one liner finding to this being, the Quality Bonus Program (QBP) is a significant source of overpayment in the MA system. There are places, I did editing to emphasize particular points. Mostly this is the author’s work which I largey agree with today.

“High Cost for Uncertain Gain“

The Medicare Advantage (MA)’s QBP or Quality Bonus Program was

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How Often Do Health Insurers Deny Patients’ Claims?

July 3, 2023

Similar story as what Medicare Advantage does in comparison to Traditional Medicare. Denials in commercial healthcare sound very similar as to what is found in Medicare Advantage plans. Similarities are the same companies sell both types of healthcare insurance. What has come into play with commercial healthcare is the PPACA which can force commercial healthcare to release more information. What is being looked at in this commentary are denials of care.

How Often Do Health Insurers Deny Patients’ Claims? No One Knows, ProPublica, Robin Fields

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power.

Findings reveal how little consumers know about the way their claims are reviewed and denied by the insurers they pay to cover

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The Supreme Court’s ban on affirmative action could mean colleges struggling to meet goals of diversity and equal opportunity

July 2, 2023

Pretty self-exclamatory and not needing a comment by me.

The Supreme Court’s ban on affirmative action means colleges will struggle to meet goals of diversity and equal opportunity, Economic Policy Institute, Adewale A. Maye

After extensive deliberation, the Supreme Court has delivered a landmark ruling that effectively prohibits the use of race-based affirmative action in college admissions. Race-blind admissions processes will further exacerbate existing inequalities and undermine the recognition of the unique challenges that Black, Hispanic, and Native American students encounter throughout the admissions process. By disregarding the significance of race, these approaches risk creating a wider divide between equal opportunity and communities

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When is harm done in the Courts?

July 1, 2023

Some confounding SCOTUS decisions which do not have logical backing and are more partisan than normal. There is no standing on either of these cases.

303 Creative LLC v. Elenis

This SCOTUS ruling is puzzling to me in that it brings up the question in my mind of when is harm done? “303” was not asked to make a cake. It did not refuse to make a cake. It assumed the law would be enforced upon them, if they refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple. We are talking about a hypothetical occurrence. The courts should have rejected the premise from the beginning as they suffered no harm.

Some points:

In 2008, Colorado amended the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) to expand its anti-discrimination protections to members of the LGBTQ

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Hospital and Pharmacy’s Profit Stream that Was Supposed to Help Patients

June 30, 2023

This is a long post. Briefly in the beginning, the article discusses what the 340B program is about. It is pretty simple. The government has the pharmaceutical companies provide drugs to low income neighborhood facilities at a much lower price than what they would charge to hospitals in higher income areas. This is based upon the income of patients coming to the hospital. The hospitals are to pass the savings on to the patients. For some reason, the government did not track the price to the hospitals and the corresponding cost/price to the patient. So, some commercial entities, even though they are hospitals took advantage.

The NYT article discusses a hospital in a low-income area. The hospital is acquired by a business owning multiple hospitals.

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Affirmative Action Struck Down, Roberts v Jackson

June 29, 2023

History Rhymes Again – Civil Discourse, Joyce Vance,

Just over 60 years ago, Alabama’s segregationist governor, George Wallace, made his infamous stand in the schoolhouse door, barring the path against court-ordered integration at the state’s flagship university. It was June 11, 1963. Wallace, in his inaugural address, had promised voters “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

But Wallace’s defiance failed in the face of the rule of law. He ultimately stepped aside to permit the first two Black students at the university to enroll.

In a 1978 case, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the Supreme Court held that college admissions policies that considered race as one of several factors in

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CNBC: Fed Chair “Powell says more ‘restriction’ is coming”

June 29, 2023

Calculated Risks Bill McBride

Fed Chair Jerome Powell is participating in a panel discussion today at the European Central Bank (ECB) Forum on Central Banking 2023 in Sintra, Portugal.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell talked tough on inflation Wednesday, saying at a forum that he expects multiple interest rate increases ahead and possibly at an aggressive pace.

From Jeff Cox at CNBC: Powell says more ‘restriction’ is coming, including possibility of hikes at consecutive meetings. Excerpt:

“We believe there’s more restriction coming,” Powell said during a monetary policy session in Sintra, Portugal. “What’s really driving it … is a very strong labor market.”…“I wouldn’t take, you know, moving at consecutive meetings off the table,”

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Supply Chain Backlog, Profit Taking, or Labor Driving Inflation?

June 28, 2023

Corporate profits have contributed disproportionately to inflation. How should policymakers respond? Economic Policy Institute, Josh Bivens

The inflation spike of 2021 and 2022 has presented real policy challenges. In order to better understand this policy debate, it is imperative to look at prices and how they are being affected.

The price of just about everything in the U.S. economy can be broken down into the three main components of cost. These include labor costs, nonlabor inputs, and the “mark-up” of profits over the first two components. Good data on the separate cost components exists for the nonfinancial corporate (NFC) sector for companies producing goods and services. This segment of the economy makes up roughly 75% of the entire

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