O.M.G., this is bad. Little did I know that the slowly dwindling stockpile of Halloween candy in my pantry could be the last we see of . . . CHOCOLATE! NO!!!!! Mars Inc. and Barry Callebaut, two of the world's largest chocolate makers, say that's the path we're headed down. They cite a perfect storm of factors: Less cocoa is being produced as more and more people are devouring chocolate. In 2013, consumers ate about 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than was produced, The Washington Post reports, and that deficit could go up to 1 million metric tons by 2020. The Ivory Coast and Ghana produce more than 70 percent of the world's cacao beans, and both countries are experiencing dry weather that l

Obamacare Architect's Contempt for the American People Knows No Boundaries

Jonathan Gruber is an interesting case. He is an MIT professor that was one of the chief architects for Romneycare in Massachusetts and Obamacare. He gained some notoriety this past Summer when the Halbig case was decided. That is the case that considered whether the ACA allows subsidies to be given through the federal exchange or whether they were limited to state exchanges by the plain language of the statute. We covered the case here. ACA apologists were put in the strange position of opposing the language of the statute saying that this was merely a "typo" and was certainly not intended by any of the architects of the ACA. Yet, a video of Professor Gruber saying just the opposite i

Which medical plan "loophole" did the IRS just close?

Last week, the IRS released Notice 2014-69. The notice states that plans that do not provide in-patient hospitalization or physician services do not provide "minimum value" as that term is defined by the ACA. Does this notice and the regulations forthcoming affect so-called "MEC plans" we have previously discussed here and here? No. MEC plans are not affected by this notice. This notice is specifically directed at plans that claim to mee the minimum value requirement under the ACA. Thus, they purport to absolve employers from all ACA related penalties. At the same time, the plans will disqualify any employees receiving an offer of such a plan at a cost less than 9.5% of the employee's

Luxury Condo FOR SALE - Indoor swimming pool, movie theater, and NUKE PROOF

If your neighbor is digging a backyard bomb shelter, you can show him up by buying one of these puppies: "The real selling point of the 1,820-square-foot apartment: It will be buried 174 feet underground in a decommissioned missile silo sturdy enough to withstand a nuclear attack. Mr. Allen, a 45-year-old Orlando, Fla., sports bar and nightclub owner, insists he isn’t a “tinfoil hat-wearing” type preparing for the end of the world. Rather, he cites growing security threats—such as a global health pandemic, cataclysmic weather and terror attacks. “There’s a Camp David for the president,” he says. “If you’re at a certain level where you can afford it, you can get that, too.” The so-called

King v. Burwell going to SCOTUS

You may recall the circuit panel ruling in Halbig v. Burwell this past Summer. This is a little case with huge potential implications for the ACA. I say potential because the panel holding was quickly vacated by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. This means that there is no split in the circuits at this time on whether the clear language of ACA limiting premium subsidies to individuals living in states with state-run exchanges will be upheld. Yes, the plaintiffs in Halbig are arguing that the language of the ACA should be upheld. Huh? Limiting the availability of exchange subsidies to individuals living in states with state run exchanges (as the ACA's language clearly provides) would elimi

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