Today, is the first day of the U.S. federal government's fiscal year, which begins with a little under one-fifth of all of the U.S. federal government's 4.4 million employees being told to not report to work today as part of the government's "shutdown". By any chance, did you notice the sheer amount of money they spent last week? Way more than any other week in the rest of the entire fiscal year! And since what they spent last week would have been enough to keep the entire Department of Veterans Affairs running for an entire year, including its emergency acquisitions of artwork, we think they can probably afford to go a few weeks without spending anything more.
But then, if Washington D.C.'s bureaucrats really cared about the interests of the American people, they might have used a good portion of that money to pay down the national debt enough so they could instead keep the government running without hitting the national debt ceiling later this month. Somehow, we don't think that idea even occurred to them.
Today is also the first day that the Obamacare health insurance "marketplaces" are supposed to be open for business. If you want to get a sense of how much health insurance for an individual will cost in 2014, as compared to what it costs today, check out the four maps below. The two on the left are for 27-year olds, the two on the right are for 40-year olds. Individuals living in states shown in shades of red will be paying more than today and the more red the state, the more money you'll be forced to bleed to pay for your health insurance coverage.
Now that you've seen the maps and have a good general idea of what you can expect pay for health insurance your state in 2014 compared to what you may have been paying today, find out now if it makes more sense for you to not buy health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges and pay the "penalty" tax instead. (Don't let the word "penalty" throw you - you may decide it's the right way to go for you, especially if you're young and healthy, and especially after you see just how small in comparison it may be with respect to your actual out-of-pocket costs for health insurance in the new age of Obamacare!)
You might think that in the run up to the launch of the Obamacare state exchanges, the bureaucrats of the Department of Health and Human Services would be tightly focused on doing whatever it took to make sure their opening and operation went off without a hitch, fully meeting all promises made by President Obama and the Democratic Party members of the U.S. Congress over three years ago. You would be wrong.
Instead, they would appear to care more about how household net worth is distributed within the U.S., at least if the following one-day sample of visits to our site that we snipped during the last two weeks is any indication (this is the same period of time in which we were rolling out our tools and commentary related to some of the more perverse incentives of Obamacare, which didn't seem to interest them as much).
For fun, why don't you return the favor and see how your income ranks within the distribution of income earned by federal government bureaucrats (we're afraid that we don't have the data to find out the distribution of federal employee net worth!) Although the data for our tool of comparison is for 2011, the results will still very closely line up with today's data, even if you don't account for the effect of inflation (but it would be better if you do by converting your income today to be in terms of 2011 U.S. dollars first!)
On a final note, is anybody else amused that neither Ezra Klein, nor his like-minded team of pro-Obama administration sycophants at the Washington Post's Wonkblog, could muster up the energy to do any real analysis of the information they directly solicited from Trader Joe's, leaving it wide open for us to do it instead? You would expect that kind of absence of critical thinking from the similarly-biased writers and editors at Time magazine, but the Wonkbloggers actually put some effort into getting a statement from Trader Joe's, so their not doing any serious analysis of Trader Joe's claims really stands out.
Perhaps that's just us expecting something from them that's simply beyond their cognitive capabilties. Or their journ-o-listic integrity....