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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Famously Horrific IT Decisions

Brought to you by the government which works dumber:
As late as the last week of September, officials were still changing features of the Web site, HealthCare.gov, and debating whether consumers should be required to register and create password-protected accounts before they could shop for health plans.
And so, of course they decided that you should be able to get no info before giving the government all your info. 

This one decision is the source of many of their problems, because at 60-70 million people need info on these plans. About one-third of the states set up their own exchanges, but they were supposed to follow the government specs.

On the face of it, my guess is that this was  a political decision, because they didn't want people to see the true cost of the coverage. Also it would have allowed journalists and other people to analyze the cost of the subsidies (horrific). If you want to generate massive traffic on a website that is not designed for it, turning a 15 minute inquiry with one database inquiry into a 14-hour struggle with over a hundred db transactions is going to be successful. Many would not define that as success, but hey, spinsters have different standards.

The specs were issued late - very late. Some of the functions even on the state exchanges require calls to government info. 

The capacity does not apparently exist to get this done on time, and it is the government which created this mess. You can file the paper applications, but then the people who process the paper applications have to enter them in the site that is pitifully inadequate. So if you are going to have to do that, you should do it early and send it directly to the government by mail that's going to give you a delivery confirmation receipt, which you will need to keep.

I have spent the last few weeks digging in the ACA dirt burrowing past the government-imposed data blackout, and I will be posting a series of articles for people who are forced into this mess. 

The only thing that is going to save this process at all is that the insurance companies have set up their own websites with calculators, and here's a multi-state site. You can use ValuePenguin to find the list of plans in your area for many states as well as the base premiums, and it does contain a basic calculator so that you can figure about what your premium cost will be.

In the annals of government FAILURES, this one will be legendary. 

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Take a Moment To Laugh About It

A few of my favorite DU threads on the shut-down follow. Even DUers are getting tired of the hysteria. 

Weren't we all supposed to be distributing the pension cyanide pills to escape the 212 degree atmospheric armageddon of climate collapse? It's so hard to get people to pay attention to your own private world ending these days!

Genocide by another name.GOP Has Not Forgotten -----seniors, the poor, the disabled, the sick, the vulnerable, vets, et al. They just want to eliminate them altogether because they are useless eaters. They only want to fund people who deserve to live and have a life.

2. Tell me about it. Where I live, the streets are strewn with the dead. nt

It's racism. No, REALLY. 

Then there is the whole line of argument about whether dissident legislators should be rounded up for sedition and sent to camps or just executed for treason in the normal manner. Mind you, this furor is raging on DEMOCRATIC Underground. 

Economic Treason: The definition of "treason" and could Republicans be guilty of this crime I think DU comes off rather well in response to this one, but some are doubling down. Domestic Republican Terrorism is a good example of such a reply.  Then there's my personal favorite - Class Action Lawsuit!

Sedition! This is classic, too classic to excerpt. A taste-test at this buffet of delights:

13. They are forcing government shut down. nt

18 USC § 2384 - Seditious conspiracy

US Code

Current through Pub. L. 113-36. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.)
If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay to the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

Sedition and indefinite detention! 

Try them for treason along with sedition:

It's not as if the voices of reason aren't trying to fight back, but passions are high.

Democracy is fragile, isn't it? In 1397, at the time of the Revenge Parliament, Thomas Haxey incurred the wrath of Richard II for suggesting in a bill of complaints that His Majesty's household expenses should be curtailed, for which offense King Richard II had him tried and condemned to death for treason. Haxey survived his temerity; Richard II did not. Some brilliant ideas never die, it seems. 

 More than 600 years later, we are willing to sell our birthright for political pottage and, um, the executive is getting into a pissing match with Congress. 

Friday, October 04, 2013

Cry For The Children!

Federal employee union spokepersons are engaging in self-satire at an astonishing rate:
Karen Buondonno, a drone researcher at the Federal Aviation Administration for 23 years, used to view her job as secure. That sense of safety has eroded, she said, a casualty of three furloughs since 2011. ... 

“It’s no job security,” said Lytle, who lives in Waukegan, Illinois, and took online classes and finished her bachelor’s of science degree in environmental management and policy earlier this year. She hasn’t been able to advance her career because of a dearth of openings, she said. “If you’re trying to do something, go into other fields, don’t go into a government agency, it’s not worth it.”
As opposed to the private sector, where everyone is guaranteed yearly raises, benefits, retirement, sick pay, and lifetime job security? But wait, there's more (H/T Small Dead Animals)
But lately, civil servants are more often castigated as overpaid bureaucrats. President Barack Obama sent a letter to federal workers on Tuesday lamenting that they have been treated as a "punching bag" and caught up in Congress's disagreements.

 Perhaps as a result, more and more dedicated civil servants are looking to leave government and find a job in the private sector.

 "Most people I know are looking for new jobs," said one Defense Department employee who requested anonymity to speak openly.
Won't they have a shock when they find out what wages and benefits have done in the private sector?  Median real household incomes in the private sector are falling hard, and government pay is bucking the trend for the nation. Even nominal median household incomes have only rebounded to about the GR highs (2008) (Sentier data):

Nor does this info depend on ideology - here's Ezra Klein on the topic.

It is not that I am happy that these people are experiencing worries and cash flow difficulties, but I am awed at the complete idiocy of what they are claiming - that the federal government will be deprived of their brilliance due to a desperate escape into the private sector in search of rising wages and long-term security. 

There is a problem in DC, and what we are seeing here exemplifies it.

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