Employment Rate

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Last Updated on Friday, 14 March 2014 10:48 Written by Craig DeLue Thursday, 13 March 2014 15:49

The unemployment rate depends on the government’s determination of the number of people actively looking for work, the participation rate. The result is that the monthly unemployment figures often seem confounding. The monthly jobs report can be flat, but the unemployment rate dips due to a shrinking participation rate.

Instead of attempting to figure out the percentage of people who are looking for a job, but can’t find one, it would seem simpler to report the number of employed Americans as a percentage of the working age population, the Employment rate.

In the last 30 years, Federal spending has quadrupled from $852 billion in 1984 to nearly $3.5 trillion in 2013; a growth rate that is nearly twice the rate of inflation. If Federal spending had grown at the rate of inflation, 2013 spending would have been $1.9 trillion.

A primary driver in the growth in Federal spending has been benefit payments to an increasing number of people that aren’t employed. When the percentage of working age people drops as is evidenced by the Employment rate and Federal spending increases, the only result can be economic catastrophe. The pyramid turns upside down.

In a country of about 315 million people, the Federal Government reports that only about 145 million are employed which represents only 46% of the total population. Next time you’re at a sporting event or concert or movie theater, look around and realize that over half the people aren’t employed, aren’t paying Social Security or Medicare taxes. Do the math.

 

Chris Christie Disqualified

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 February 2014 16:05 Written by Craig DeLue Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:48

Chris Christie took actions prior to the bridge-gate affair that should disqualify him from serving in public office.

An elected official should be loyal to the principles of the party he purports to represent and act in the best interest of his constituency. Chris Christie has failed on both fronts, and demonstrated that he lacks the ethical character to represent others.

One of New Jersey’s Democratic Senators, Frank Lautenberg, passed away in June, 2013. Senator Lautenberg’s passing gave Republican Governor Christie the opportunity to appoint a Republican to fill out the remainder of Lautenberg’s term which ended January, 2015.

Christie, seeking reelection himself in 2013, felt appointing a Republican for the remainder of Lautenberg’s term might damage his own prospects in heavily Democratic New Jersey, so he decided to hold a special election to fill the late Senator’s seat.

The logical election date for the special election would have been that November in which elections were already scheduled. Holding the election in November would have been acting in the best interest of the taxpayers of New Jersey.

However, the leading candidate for Senator Lautenberg’s seat was the popular Democratic mayor of Newark, Cory Booker, and Christie feared that having Booker on the same ballot as himself might draw extra Democratic voters to the polls. So, at a cost of over 10 million taxpayer dollars, Christie scheduled the special election for the Senate seat in October.

 

Christie has demonstrated through his actions that he is neither loyal to the fiscally conservative principles of his party nor the best interests of the citizens he was elected to represent. Chris Christie established that he is loyal only to himself and is willing to throw his party aside as well as the best interests of his constituency to advance his own prospects. As such, Chris Christie has disqualified himself from serving the public.

   

Long Term Care Insurance – Do You Need It?

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Last Updated on Thursday, 27 March 2014 09:07 Written by Craig DeLue Wednesday, 04 September 2013 00:00

 

One of the most confusing types of insurance is long term care (LTC) coverage. Many people don’t know exactly what it is and why it might be something they should explore. Others who’ve had personal experience with friends or family that have needed care have a better understanding, but also may not know the particulars.


Whether it’s right for you or not, it’s important to understand why some people buy LTC insurance. Everything starts by understanding that long term care is not covered to any significant extent by standard health plans or Medicare. Standard plans and Medicare focus on covering medical care; the vast majority of long term care expenses are from the need for personal care such as assistance with dressing, bathing, meal preparation, etc. Personal care, also called custodial care, is not covered by standard health insurance or Medicare.


The longer you live the more likely it is that you’ll require long term care. If you make it to age 65 the federal government estimates that you have a 70% chance of needing care at some point in the future. That’s a big percentage, but keep in mind that for many people the care they require will be end of life care that lasts only weeks or months. However, for others care will be required for years. And, care can be extremely expensive. Depending on the type of care a person requires, where they live, and the care setting (home vs. facility), the cost of care can top $100,000 per year, particularly in metropolitan areas.


In a nutshell, there is a good chance a person will need care and the care can be very expensive. So, should you explore long term care insurance? The answer depends on your circumstances. To consider LTC insurance you should have assets to protect and the income or liquidity to pay the insurance premiums without affecting your lifestyle. If you don’t have assets, you don’t need coverage.


How much does long term care insurance cost? It depends on your age, marital or domestic partners status, and health. The premiums are based on the age at which you apply for coverage so there is a substantial benefit to buying at a younger age. Additionally, there are significant premium discounts, as much as 50%, for good health and people in a marital or domestic partner relationship. The other major factor affecting premium is the level of coverage purchased. Like buying a car you can purchase basic transportation or a luxury vehicle loaded with all the options.


Annual premiums can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands. The average premium is about $2,100 a year. If you’re younger when you purchase it will likely be lower, if you’re older it will be higher. If you live in an area in which the cost of care is low, you’ll need less coverage so the premium will be lower; the opposite is true of higher cost areas.


If you’re about 50 years old or older, and you have assets and income, you should investigate LTC coverage. If you decide to explore this type of insurance it is very important that you speak with an agent the both specializes in LTC insurance and who represents all the major LTC insurance companies. Agents that don’t specialize in this type of coverage typically don’t understand how it works and there can be significant differences in premium from company to company. Finally, if you are serious about buying a plan, make sure that the company you choose is financially strong and has been selling LTC coverage for a while.

   

House - The Patient is Sick

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Written by Craig DeLue Wednesday, 02 November 2011 00:00

Alas, everything has its lifecycle and unfortunately even the great become the once great before they succumb. And so it is with House which for about 5 years reached the pinnacle of entertainment. Brilliantly written, acted and directed. Now it is none of these things and it hasn’t been for a year or two.

Can the patient be saved? Unlikely without a major reshuffling. Things are so bad now that one of the characters is played by someone who possesses no acting ability whatsoever, Charlyne Yi. To call Ms. Yi an actor is literally an insult to people that ply that trade.

When did the patient become ill? It started with the introduction of the private detective character, Lucas, and has been headed straight downhill since. You know the writing is bad when even Hugh Laurie sounds stilted, and you know the direction is bad when quality actors suck and episodes lack anything close to being interesting.

No, I’m afraid this patient isn’t going to make it.

 

   

Terra Nova - Not Good Enough

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Written by Craig DeLue Tuesday, 04 October 2011 00:00

I expected more from the $20 million Fox dinosaur tale. While good in concept, the show is poor in execution. Characters are not compelling and while the lead may remind many of Mel Gibson in appearance and voice, the comparisons end there.

The most disappointing part of the show is what was billed as the stars, the dinosaurs. Sorry, but not convincing at all.

   

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