Originally Posted by MJ1970
...The real problem right now is that production has been throttled back. There are several reasons for this. Some of it is general economic uncertainty, some of it is certainly regime uncertainty, some of it is concern about future monetary and fiscal policies, some of it has to do with a diminished capital base which is based on savings (deferred
The first three are irretrievably intertwined. Arguably the fourth is as well - consumers are reluctant to spend without confidence of a predictable income. That's difficult to have, given an unemployment and under-employment rate not seen since the 1930s.
Businesses can't plan for the future without some assurance of their future expenses. Therefore they can't invest, they can't hire, they can't do much of anything at all except survive until such assurances become apparent. The only factor that is preventing the US economy from a devastating collapse is an overall perception that Obamacare and next year's looming tax increases will be repealed, diminished, or at least deferred, after the composition of Congress's composition changes next week.
Look at the markets recently... bets have been made that some reduction of government's unprecedented expansion is on the horizon, but for now everyone is simply marking time.
If Obamacare is implemented as written, everyone's expenses will increase (except for insurance companies). The degree to which it will increase expenses is difficult or impossible to forecast. At the very least, tax reporting requirements will increase. If it is not repealed, small businesses will need to fire employees, but the number is unknown. Large businesses will either have to pass on increased insurance premiums, contribute more of their own revenue to them, or both. Lastly, they could elect to eliminate insurance altogether, and pay a simple "fine" for compliance, but does anyone really expect the "fine" to remain unchanged year after year? Of course not.
From Apple's recent 10-K:
Changes in the Companys tax rates, the adoption of new U.S. or international tax legislation or exposure to additional tax liabilities could affect its future results.
This language, or something like it, appears in every company's annual report. At present, large tax increases for next year are certain.
Arguably, companies don't pay taxes. Consumers who buy their products do. The effect on tax increases on both companies and individual consumption is difficult to predict, but suffice to say that taxing an activity always results in less of it. So we're back to your point #4.
What about the apparent winners - insurance companies? Insurance is a low margin, high volume business. Smaller ones will disappear, leaving fewer companies to compete for lower premiums. It looks like the larger ones will succeed, but what happens when they're unable to compete with the nonprofit "cooperatives" encouraged by Obamacare? We'll begin see them disappear as well. The big problem with nonprofit entities is not only that they produce no profit... they don't produce anything.
Therefore... no one is safe.
What needs to be done is for government, in particular, to get out of the way of producers. Stop inhibiting and punishing them.