The economy seems to be in such a bad shape four and a half years into the recovery, that a slight adjustment in Food Stamps for a limited number of New Yorkers, seems to have put a strain on the Kosher Soup Kitchen Masbia. Reports the Forward: Masbia, the most robust kosher food pantry and soup kitchen network in New York, is at the forefront of filling hungry bellies — both Jewish and non-Jewish — but not without its own struggles.
Author Archives: Yossi Gestetner
The East Ramapo school district could end up granting a $1 million rent credit and waiving other fees to the yeshiva tenants of the Colton school property under the terms of a proposed settlement to end an expensive court battle. A judge has yet to sign off on the settlement.
If approved by the court, the cash-strapped district is expected to move forward with the sale of the Colton Elementary School to the tenants, Monsey-based Congregation Bais Malka and the Hebrew Academy for Special Children, a Brooklyn-based religious school for children with special needs.
The Obama administration is boasting that 7 million people signed up for an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan; or what some call Obamacare. My wife and I signed up late last week for a Bronze Plan which is one before the bottom in the 5-rung system of Catastrophic, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum health plans available in New York.
Since we cannot afford healthcare, we enrolled in one of the cheapest plans within the Bronze category. Many hospitals, excluding local community hospitals, do not accept this plan. It apparently fails to cover many procedures, and the plan has annual $12,700 deductibles and co-pays if we actually need care.
Alex Sink was the Chief Financial Officer (Comptroller) for Florida until a few years ago. In 2010 she came within 1.1% of winning the Governor’s race after picking up more than 2.55 million votes in the general election vs Rick Scott. Now she is running in #FL13; a special election to the House. Yesterday she said the U.S. needs to reform immigration because “we have a lot of employers over on the beaches that rely upon workers, and especially in this high-growth environment, where are you going to get people to work to clean out hotel rooms or do our landscaping?”
Remember how N.J. Governor Chris Christie hugged, kissed, licked and praised Obama in the days before the 20102 election as to how fast, swift, easy, quick and smooth the Federal Government is working with NJ to help after Sandy? Remember when Christie went CRAZY when the GOP-led House wanted an extra week to debate a Sandy relief bill? Well now “the Republican governor spent much of the time on the defensive, telling Hurricane Sandy victims the federal government is to blame for their woes,” reports NJ.Com, saying “We’re stuck dealing with a federal system that is broke. The fact is though that they don’t have, in my opinion, the first idea of what they’re doing. And a disaster of this scale is not what they were built for.”
The Board of Education at the East Ramapo Central School District is appealing a court ruling which limits the Board’s ability to place Orthodox Jewish Special Needs children in private schools instead of the default system which places them in Public School. East Ramapo Board President Yehuda Weissmandel wrote an article to the Journal News, the main paper in the School District, defending the Board to which to Editors responded with an editorial, to which I responded with a letter and here it is: Your editorial in response to Mr. Weismandel’s article asserts the following:
California and Texas are this Country’s largest states by population. Both are of the largest States geographically; both are along the Border with Mexico, and both suffered through the politically-hyped 2008 economic meltdown. The difference of the two states? One is run by Liberals and the other by Conservatives.
Voters in San Diego picked yesterday a new Mayor; Republican Kevin Faulconer over local Democrat Councilman David Alvarez by a margin of ten points. To put it in context, Bush the first time around won this place by 4 points and the second time by 6, but President Obama won San Diego by 10 points in 2008 and 5 points the second time around. Meaning, if Democrats thought that Obama’s results are a permanent change in this GOP-leaning California County, yesterday’s result’s proved otherwise.
A writer by the name Jay Michaelson has an article in the Forward which lashes out at Conservatives with revisionist history and snarky lines. Why? He writes:
“According to a recent study by Yale University, only 32% of Americans believe that global warming is happening, and that human beings are responsible for it. This despite a complete – that’s right, complete – consensus on that point on the part of scientists not working for the fossil fuel industry.”
There has been a strong back and forth in the political class on whether the CBO said last week that Obamacare helps or does not help the economy. The easiest way to asses if Obamacare, according to the CBO, is a net positive or net negative to the economy, employment, the deficit and so on, is to compare the CBO’s economic and budget projections of last week to the ones they released in January 2010; two months before Obamacare was signed. That was the last pre-ACA projections that they made; making it the closest thing to an honest assessment how economic things changed from pre to post ACA. The charts below give you some context on a few key area:
In 2012, about 46 million Americans were living in poverty and about 46 million Americans were on Food Stamps (SNAP). How does this stack up from an historical point of view? Well, in Bill Clinton’s last budget year, about 30 million Americans were in poverty but only 17 million received SNAP.
Basically, under Clinton the number of people on SNAP was only about 55% of the amount of people living in poverty, but in 2012 under Obama it was about 100% (see chart below).
And here is the issue:
The Westchester Medical Center in Westchester New York announced that it will not accept ACA (Obamacare) health plans. While this is not the first down-state hospital to announce this, it will effect to New York (Orthodox) Jewish Community in a very strong way and here is why:
Rockland County is home to the third largest concentration of Jews worldwide, following Israel and Brooklyn. Unofficial data from the local Hatzolah (Jewish EMS) suggests that about half its Ambulance calls are transported out of the County; half of which are taken to WestMed. This means 1 in 4 of all Rockland calls within the Jewish Community land up in Westchester (The Medical Center in Westchester is referred to just as “Westchester” by the local medical community). 50% kids under the age of three with fever who request emergency care, are transported to Westchester. Basically, aside from the Community hospitals in Rockland County, this is the closest major hospital that the Jewish Community in Rockland has to its disposal.
New York State has 150 Assembly Districts, but one district stood out extremely strong in the last presidential elections: Assembly District 48 represented by Assemblyman Dov Hikind who arguably has the largest Ultra-Orthodox Jewish constituency of anyone in the lower chamber of the NY State Legislature.
75.6% of the district went for Mitt Romney in the 2012 elections. The closest NY Romney Assembly District does not even break the 60% mark! John McCain in 2008 also scored very well in this area of New York.
Hasidic businessman Menachem Stark was abducted on Rutledge St. late Thursday night between Harrison Ave. and Broadway in Brooklyn. Here is footage of the van on Broadway. (Note that the video runs in rewind multiple times too.). See Video Here
General Motors sold 2,980,688 units in the U.S. during OMG-help-us 2008 but sold 2,786,078 units in bailout-worked, everything-is-great 2013. This is a drop of about 6.5% for GM at a time when overall US auto sales in 2013 seems to have been at least 11% stronger than 2008.
GM sold 2,595,717 units in the US during 2012.
Some Democrats argue that Republican “obstructionism” and “constant DC infighting” is holding back the job market, but looking back at some of the most chaotic moments in Washington politics of the last 40 years, one sees that the job market continued doing just fine despite “infighting.” Heck, even with an economy 1/3 the current size and off the heels of the 1973 oil crisis, the US produced 1.3 million jobs in the 12 months leading up to Nixon’s resignation. Perhaps the two millions jobs of the last 12 months is not the best considering the current size of the economy, but that is at the feet of Obama’s weak economic policies. Infighting, as recent history shows, has nothing to do with it. See Chart Here
Bill, Hillary and Obama’s tweets and posts about Nelson Mandela are very self-centered. The Clintons called him Madiba; the name used for him out of affection, and Bill’s tweet showed him sitting with Mandela (“my friend Madiba”). The WH posted a photo of Obama visiting Mandela’s prison cell. Bush 43 on the other hand did nothing of this kind. His center simply released a short statement, which is interesting because Bush did more for South Africa (which Mandela led 1994-1999) than Obama and Clinton combined as illustrated in my tweet:
2013 is coming to an end and now is time to once again take a look at the economic Stimulus package signed by President Obama in March of 2009.
Here is why:
In days before being inaugurated, Obama’s team projected that if we have a Stimulus package of $775 billion, the U.S. Economy will produce a net of between 3.3 million and 4.1 million non-farm jobs by the fourth quarter (the last three months) of 2010. No, it was not a projection of “jobs saved or created! Instead, the paper wrote that if the Stimulus reaches mid-point of the above projected job growth, the US will have 137.55 million people on payroll at the fourth quarter of 2010.
Well, we are at the fourth quarter of 2013 and we are short of this target by close to one million.
The Stock Market moves one way or another based on the monthly Employment Report from the payroll firm ADP. Every month, two days before Government releases its own estimate, ADP releases a report of how many private sector jobs have been added or lost in the previous month. “It has had an average miss of 41,000,” John Briggs from RBS told CNBC, but the fact is ADP has been off by only a few thousand jobs per month and here is the what people like Briggs are missing:
The deadly terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India happened five years ago this week. Indians, Americans and Jews were all targeted in the assault. But amid the carnage of that night, a story of hope and survival emerged, involving a Jewish child and his Indian nanny, who saved the boy during the attack and has stayed by his side ever since. Moshe is a typical, rambunctious 7-year-old. See Video Here
Since Bush left office, you don’t read much about gas prices but the price for a regular gallon gas at the pump was on average $3.243 in November, according to the Energy Information Administration.
November 2011 and November 2012, both under Obama, are the only two Novembers to be higher than what Americans paid in recent weeks. Worse, November 2013 prices are higher than all but 7 of Bush’s 96 months in office.
If you are a family of four living in Brooklyn with a personal pre-tax income of $71,000 a year, good luck trying to pay for health insurance.
Here is the simple math:
If Child Health Plus will be around in 2014, you will pay $90 a month to cover your two children. This is a $1,080 cost for the year; which is indeed very cheap and a great help for taxable families. However, if you and your spouse want to enroll in a middle of the road (Silver) Obamacare Plan, you will need to pay an after-subsidy annual premium of $6,745, excluding your children’s coverage.
Andrew Couts of Digital Trends took a lot of heat for reporting early in October that the Government has already spent more than $600 million on healthcare.gov. The push-back was so strong that the website issued a correction and said the number was above $500M and not all of it was spent at the time.
But today David Powner from the Government Accountability Office confirmed this number to Congress saying, “By the end of September, [it was] north of $600 million spent.”
The 4.8 million policies that were canceled due to Obamcare is a number collected by major media organizations, but the rest of the numbers in the headline is from the Obama Administration which reports that 106,185 people have ‘selected’ – but not all of them paid for – a health insurance plans through the exchanges. 79,391 of those selections are from State exchanges while only 26,794are from the Federal Exchange which is spread in 36 States. This number of selections is well-short of the 1.2M people that were suppose to sign up in this time frame.
Those numbers are as of November 2nd.
Separately, almost 400,000 who logged onto the Exchange websites are eligible for Medicaid.
Market Watch notes that “Roughly 26.9 million unique visitors went to state-run and federally run exchange web sites during the first month, and 3.16 million callers checked in on call centers, HHS said.”
Secretary of State John Kerry thinks you are stupid or that it’s 1972 and no one can double-check news and facts! Following the collapse of the Nuclear talks with Iran, Kerry said Sunday that the President held all along that a no deal with Iran is better than a bad deal. Kerry made it appear as if the U.S. backed away from the talks because only a bad deal was in the works, but the fact is the French upended Kerry and rejected a deal as per Saturday reports, and Kerry today morning admits that in fact the U.S. was ready to move forward with a deal, a bad deal that is, but Iran said no thank you.
The one who smiles now is Bibi Netanyahu. He is the one that argued a no deal is better than a bad deal. He begged his “allies” in the West not to make these offers to Iran. Kerry refused. He walked into the talks Saturday head-held-high thinking he is on the cusp of a historic deal, but all went to hell.