Amid U.S. government shutdown concerns, marginal sales gains forecast for this holiday season

The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects sales in the months of November and December to marginally increase 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion, over 2012’s actual 3.5 percent holiday season sales growth. The forecast is higher than the 10-year average holiday sales growth of 3.3 percent.

“Our forecast is a realistic look at where we are right now in this economy – balancing continued uncertainty in Washington and an economy that has been teetering on incremental growth for years,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, in a statement. “Overall, retailers are optimistic for the 2013 holiday season, hoping political debates over government spending and the debt ceiling do not erase any economic progress we’ve already made.”

On the recent government shutdown and NRF’s holiday outlook, “Our forecast is also somewhat hinging on Congress and the Administration’s actions over the next 45 days; without action, we face the potential of losing the faith Americans have in their leaders, and the pursuant decrease in consumer confidence.”

Economic variables including positive growth in the U.S. housing marketing and the increased consumer appetite to buy larger-ticket items give retailers reason to be cautiously optimistic for solid holiday season gains. However, much remains up in the air, including fiscal concerns around the debt ceiling and government funding, income growth and even policies and actions surrounding foreign affairs, all of which could impact holiday sales. According to NRF, the holiday season can account for anywhere from 20-40 percent of a retailer’s annual sales, and accounts for approximately 20 percent of total industry annual sales.

“The economy continues to expand, albeit at an unspectacular pace,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz, in a statement. “In order for consumers to turn out this holiday season, we need to see steady improvements in income and job growth, as well as an agreement from Washington that puts the economic recovery first. Our forecast leaves room for improvement, while at the same time provides a very realistic look at the state of the American consumer and their confidence in our economy.”

NRF’s holiday sales forecast is based on an economic model using several indicators including consumer confidence, consumer credit, disposable personal income, and previous monthly retail sales releases. It now includes the non-store category (direct-to-consumer, kiosks and online sales.) For historic sales information visit NRF’s Holiday Headquarters and the Retail Insight Center.

Shop.org Forecasts Online Sales to Grow Between 13-15% This Holiday Season

Shop.org today released its 2013 online holiday sales forecast, expecting sales in November and December to grow between 13-15 percent over last holiday season to as much as $82 billion.**

Shop.org calculates sales based on government data including consumer confidence, consumer credit, disposable personal income, and previous monthly retail sales releases. The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that final Q4 2012 (October – December) e-commerce sales increased 15.5 percent.

“Online and mobile continue to be a leading area of growth for retailers. In this economy savvy, cost-conscious consumers go to the web to do their research and get the best bang for their buck,” continued Shay. “In addition to researching what their peers are saying online about products and gifts this holiday season, consumers will use the buy online pick-up in store option, retailers’ apps and mobile websites to find something special for their loved ones.”

NRF Forecasts Seasonal Employment to Grow Between 720,000 and 780,000

According to NRF, retailers are expected to hire between 720,000 and 780,000 seasonal workers this holiday season, in line with the actual 720,500 they hired in 2012, which was a 13 percent year-over-year increase from 2011.

“Retailers will add hundreds of thousands of valuable jobs to the economy this holiday season, including extra staff for their distribution centers, store managers, e-commerce and mobile positions and helpful staff associates,” said Shay. “Teenagers, college students and adults love working in retail during the holidays, especially with the perks of employee discounts and being the first to see what’s added to store shelves. Additionally, as we’ve heard from several companies, these holiday positions offer thousands of people the opportunity to turn seasonal employment into a long-term dynamic and thriving career opportunity.”

* NRF defines “holiday sales” as retail industry sales in the months of November and December. Retail industry sales include most traditional retail categories including non-store, auto parts and accessories stores, discounters, department stores, grocery stores, and specialty stores, and exclude sales at automotive dealers, gas stations, and restaurants.

** Shop.org measures electronic sales as a component of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s “non-store” category, which includes sales from kiosks, direct to consumer and mobile.

Source: National Retail Federation

47 Comments

        1. You should have gone with a similar universal healthcare model that every other developed country has.

          What I don’t understand here is why the big push to get rid of Obamacare now, when the Republicans in Congress have already voted for it in the first place? It’s passed all three branches of government, and survived multiple court challenges and defunding efforts, yet now at the last minute it suddenly becomes such a big deal that the GOP is willing to utterly destroy their chances in next year’s elections. Holding government to ransom is exactly the sort of thing that will see the White House and the Senate dig their heels in, as you’d applaud them to do if this were an external entity trying to dictate to the entire USA.

          This will only end one way, and it won’t be what the Tea Party folks want. Electoral wipeout next November and from then on business as usual in DC.

            1. Dave H,

              You speak of “life expectancy”. I wonder, do you have even the slightest idea regarding the variables that account for life expectancy?

              Please do not post anymore until you have educated yourself.

            2. Boris, let’s drop the labels for a moment. We taxpayers already subsidize healthcare in the most inefficient manner every time an uninsured person who has avoided all preventative treatment does to the emergency room. By liberarian logic, emergency rooms are the biggest socialistic “waste of money”. Yet no libertarian has the balls to advocate that we turn away those who cannot pay. Why not?

              If you were the sovereign of a small nation, and like all other nations, you had economic swings such that at any given moment 5-10% of your workforce was between jobs, and a further 15% was in school under the working age, and perhaps another 15% was retired how would you ensure that these people didn’t flood emergency rooms for healthcare that ALL taxpayers have to cover?

              Would you say to the kids, “sorry that you’re too young to have jobs, if your deadbeat parents aren’t taking care of you, then just find your way to some charity.”

              Would you say to the retired, “sorry that you put all your savings in the stock market and lost, you’ll just have to reverse mortgage your underwater house to afford healthcare when you need it.”

              Would you say to the unemployed, “Don’t get sick until you find another job!”

              If your libertarian principles are so righteous, you’d boldly tell the poor and downtrodden to die quickly to relieve pressure on those who can pay,

              Or you could show a tinge of empathy and work together with all related industries and groups (at least, those who are willing to collaborate instead of declaring openly that the first goal is to ensure your overthrow) to attempt to COMPROMISE to find a pragmatic system whereby the maximum health can be offered to the maximum number of people in a sustainable manner.

              You will be singing a different tune when you, like everyone else, sees the day when you need serious healthcare assistance.

              Before the evil government got involved, a large percentage of Americans died penniless in their late 50’s and early 60’s due to lack of heathcare and lack of savings to afford it.

              Please propose a realistic solution instead of the ridiculous “every man for himself” fantasy.

              … and if you really want to save money, disband the expensive federal military. State militias and hired mercenaries can defend the nation whenever necessary.

            3. Mike,

              At what point have you seen me advocate for the status quo. This is a familiar knee jerk reaction of the left. If you don’t like their ideas, then you’re somehow for the status quo. The left doesn’t listen. You can offer alternatives for a very long time, and yet they will still accuse you of being for the status quo. It’s intellectually dishonest.

            4. If you’re anti-reform, then by definition you’re for status quo.

              I realize that this is a separate issue than the minority House extremists whining that they could not dictate existence of a bill that the majority passed easily, but it does not reinforce your position that the US has the “best” healthcare in the world. It is only the most expensive healthcare in the world. Until you bring forth objective data, all you are doing is spouting off your political views, and nothing more. Please stick to facts.

            5. Mike,

              You can claim not to know or care all you want, but this is what you said:
              __________

              “You will be singing a different tune when you, like everyone else, sees the day when you need serious healthcare assistance.”
              __________

              So, hotshot, I’ll ask again: What do you know about my healthcare needs, you presumptuous prick?

              TELL ME!

              You’re going to support your damned statement. Do you understand? Coward!

            6. Mike,

              Where, exactly, did I say I was anti-reform.

              I have clear said that healthcare should be in the free market. It is not now, and has not for a long time been, in the free market.

              Therefore, by definition, I AM NOT STATUS QUO!

              The problem with lefty scum is that THEY DON’T LISTEN!

              They think if you’re against THEIR ideas, then you’re against addressing a problem.

              Lefties are ignorant. Lefties are arrogant. Lefties should FOAD.

            7. I neither know nor care. What I do know is that EVERY citizen seeks healthcare that he cannot immediately pay for out of pocket. Realistically speaking, there is absolutely no way a person can expect to live a healthy life without insurance. Problem is, the world is full of deadbeats who think otherwise — they are clogging up emergency rooms expecting to be treated by a doctor paid for by you & me right now. The only way you’re going to get these deadbeats to pay up is to make it mandatory that they do so via insurance.

            8. Please show me the data, Boris. You claim US heathcare is cheap, while all studies say the exact opposite. You claim socialism is evil (without actually defining it), but you participate in a system today where a large percentage of people are freeloaders, being subsidized by the taxpayer. You seem to think that civil duties are all “socialism”. Hate to break it to you, but all democracies of the world have ALWAYS had a mixed economic system of both capitalism mixed with socialism. Neither is inherently evil until taken to their absolute extremes. You, sir, seem to advocate taking capitalism to its “free market” extreme. The result is radical instability, which the US suffered through every single generation. Moderating effects of pooling money won’t kill you. If you want to see how great capitalism is without regulation and “socialism”, visit Somalia.

            9. Mike,

              I will give you 1 million dollars if you can show me even one time where I said that U.S. healthcare is cheap.

              Ya see, this is what I’m talking about. You’re unintelligent. You’re uneducated. You’re ignorant of human dynamics and of basic economics, and you don’t listen.

            10. Boris,

              At 4:02pm you stated, “I will give you 1 million dollars if you can show me even one time where I said that U.S. healthcare is cheap.”

              I interpret “cheap” as being no more costly than other options. Who wrote on this very forum at 3:36pm,

              “NO! NO! NO! It is not cheaper in Japan or anywhere else than it is in America.”

              I will take my million in US currency immediately, and save the immature name calling for someone with a worse memory than you have.

            11. Mike,

              You speak of “the maximum health can be offered to the maximum number of people in a sustainable manner”.

              That is the free market. I know you don’t understand this. And I know that you will likely never understand this.

              Socialized systems SLOW DOWN progress and intrude against survival of the fittest. Survival of the fittest decreases human suffering. Socialism increases it.

            12. Boris, that is BS. There is no “free market” in health care. You don’t go shopping around for the best value in healthcare when some drunk plows into you on the road. Likewise, you never asked your personal physician about his rates, did you? Why not? Surely you should shop around for the best deal.

            13. Mike,

              Arrgggh!

              Geez, but you just get worse and worse and worse. You are simply unbelievable. I have a question for you:

              CAN…
              YOU…
              LISTEN?

              I didn’t say that there was CURRENTLY a free market for healthcare.

              I said that healthcare should be in the free market.

              I already know that it is not in the free market. And that is my point.

              THAT…
              IS…
              WHY…
              IT…
              IS…
              SO…
              DAMNED…
              EXPENSIVE!

              Seriously Mike, but your reading comprehension is embarrassing. Did you even make it out of junior high?

          1. Anyone who has spent time in another country would agree with this point. In Japan, I paid $65 dollars for an MRI, which would have cost $200 without insurance. Costs overall are cheaper.

            In the US, anyone who can’t have insurance (no longer the case since ACA) goes to the emergency room, which ultimately costs the tax payer far more than earlier care. This is why insurance for all is a good idea. It’s cheaper.

            1. eN,

              NO! NO! NO!

              It is not cheaper in Japan or anywhere else than it is in America. Your 65 bucks is being subsidized with taxes.

              Why people do not understand that “free” or “cheap” healthcare is neither free nor cheap will remain a mystery for the ages.

              Those of us who accomplished individuals will now have less access and longer wait times because the dregs of society will not also be standing in the Que.

              Why should I or anyone else have to sacrifice for anyone else’s fecklessness?

              I hate socialists with an unremitting passion!!!

            2. I find it very striking that we have, on one side, Mike making points with pretty much a firm but reasonable and polite tone … while on the other side we have boris making points with large doses of insults and name-calling.

              I.e.
              hotshot
              presumptuous prick?
              your damned statement.
              Coward!
              do not post anymore until you have educated yourself.
              You’re unintelligent.
              You’re uneducated.
              You’re ignorant of human dynamics
              your reading comprehension is embarrassing.
              Did you even make it out of junior high?
              And more.

              The majority of the really sickening vitriol and infantile insulting on here and elsewhere seems to be disproportionately on one side.

    1. If we’re lucky, we won’t see another Republican president for decades to come.

      The fact of the matter is that, if not for the severely gerrymandered House districts created from 2010-2011, the Democrats would once again control all three houses of government after the 2012 election. Democratic House reps received 1.4 million more votes than Republican reps, yet they were able to keep the House by a slim 18 or so seats.

      Obamacare was put on trial in the 2012 election and the verdict from the American people was returning President Obama to the White House, leaving the senate to the Democrats and restoring Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. If not for the recent gerrymandering, the US government would not be shut down today.

      1. The Republicans are in the process of committing political suicide and already cannot win by popular vote. When their schemes to cheat their way into office through voter suppression and gerrymandering are put to a stop, then the Democrats will become the conservative party and an even more liberal group will come forth by splintering off on the left.

        Please don’t interrupt the Republicans while they shape the political future of the country.

    2. Anti Business?
      1. Obama is anti business
      2. Obamacare will kill the 40 hour workweek, thereby killing healthcare benefits for workers.
      3. Obamacare will be paid for mostly on the backs of the middle class, the very people that he so professed to help, he ends up taxing and screwing them the most.
      4. Democrats never saw a tax they didn’t like.
      5. Businesses arent hiring, due to uncertainty of Obama’s agenda and the uncertainty of Obamacare costs.
      6. I am NOT a republican
      7. Democrats are the most anti business people on the planet.

      Get your bloody facts straight.

      1. your rant is not based on any facts. just an attempt to use generalizations that are meaningless. what a shock. mine is – what the republicans are doing will hurt the economy.

    3. Excuse me I’m a Democrat and even I know Republicans are incredibly PRO-BUSINESS. It’s the Dems who don’t give a rat’s ass about business in their pursuit of often zealous and questionable idealogical ends. Don’t be too proud of this political party, it has it’s massive flaws too.

      1. when people say im a democrat but … they usually aren’t a democrat. you think people on the internet were born yesterday? just admit you are a republican. theres nothing wrong with that. we are a free country.

  1. Apparently R2 thinks that diversity is a bad thing, and that Dems have all the answers. Or else he or she is just writing to annoy reasonable people. Not constructive.

  2. To us foreigners, America is a very perplexing country. As one of the richest (but definitely not THE richest) developing country (between 10 and 20 countries are ahead, depending on whom you ask and how one measures GDP) , America has been famous around the world for its colossally defunct, antiquated, inefficient and overall poor quality of health care. Many developing (i.e. poor) countries have much better health statistics. In America, unless you are moderately rich, you are more likely to NOT have proper health care. The health industry doesn’t seem to mind (or care much) that half of the nation is unable to obtain medical help for a major health event in their lives. While America may have some of the world’s best medical facilities and experts, these are accessible by a fairly small group of privileged few who have adequate insurance (or are rich enough) that can pay for them.

    The recently changed “Obamacare” law seems to make significant improvement to this situation. From the perspective of the rest of the world, medical care is one of the universal human rights (it is in the Article 25 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights), and is is one of the common services for which every single gainfully employed citizen automatically contributes (via some sort of tax, or assessment). Strangely enough, America never had this, and now that they are finally getting something that vaguely resembles universal medical care (with mandatory participation), they are fighting it.

    If all other universal health care systems of the world (as well as the one in the state of Massachusetts) are any indication, health care cost will be lower for an average consumer (because it will now finally be spread across many more people), and more people will be able to benefit from it. Health providers will eventually also likely receive benefits; with more people finally able to afford health care, many will finally begin seeing their doctor on a regular basis, bringing more business to the medical industry.

    As I said, America is a very perplexing country to us looking from outside.

    1. It’s perplexing from the inside too. But a bigger country requires bigger solutions which are often unwieldy. We also spend way too much money policing the world, money that could benefit it’s people easily. I hate to think how much happier and more prosperous we could be without the distraction of idiot nations & moron dictators out there bent on others global destruction.

    2. Noooo Predrag, We must stop this move to join the rest of Western civilization. We must stop these 30 million people gaining health care, because…. uhhh….. ummm….. wellll…. We have lots of reasons. I just don’t want to say them out loud because they don’t sound very good.

    3. Predrag,

      Thank you for telling us how foreigners look at the U.S. Of course, as it turns out, Americans think a few things about foreigners as well. We think that foreigners tend to be petty ingrates who would soil their trousers if the U.S. were not here to provide them with the vast majority of things that improve the quality of their otherwise useless lives — such as the technology they use to post anti-American insults.

      Your perceptions are your perceptions, but they happen to be untrue. When it comes to the United States, foreigners have always tried to ease their cognitive dissonance by telling themselves lies. The United States has the highest quality of health care in the entire world. Sheesh! And you don’t have to be well off to partake of it. The ignorant arrogance of your pronouncements is stunning.

      Americans don’t go over the border to Canada to get healthcare, but a lot of Canadians have to come over the border to American to get quality healthcare and not have to wait so long or for permission to get important tests done.

      We have more high-tech tests available per capita than ANY OTHER nation on the planet. That is a fact. Same with medicine. And we develop more medical technologies and treatments and medicines here in the States than in the rest of the world combined.

      When we report infant mortality rates, we report them as beginning from the actual time of birth. Other countries report them beginning with the child being at one year old or beyond. That’s one example of how foreign countries cook the books.

      You cannot compare our hospitals or our doctors or our nurses or the quality and availability of our medical technologies to the sort of socialized mediocrity you get in foreign countries. People that come here from foreign countries and experience our healthcare are routinely stunned at the difference between the mythologies they had once believed and the reality of what is. And socialized hospitals are dirty as hell.

      The emotional investment that leftwingers have in socialism is like a drug that causes hallucinatory symptoms. Seeing things not as they are, but how they imagine them to be.

      1. I have no doubt that you truly believe that your health care system is the best in the world, but factually, this simple isn’t supported by the statistical data. And it is not just infant mortality rates.

        I do have a hard time finding this in the American media, though; it is one of those things where things that don’t get ratings (sell papers) simply isn’t reported. Much like when American “Dream Team” isn’t winning in basketball, the American media simply doesn’t cover the international event at all (remember world championship of 2002, held in Indianapolis, when USA was eliminated in semi-finals?).

        In most places outside the US, it is a widely known fact that the US has statistically rather poor health care. The country that has by far the best medical facilities, the best experts and specialists and the best equipment has such disproportionately poor record, precisely because so many of its citizens are excluded from access to it.

        Seeing things not as they are, but how they imagine them to be, Americans (and especially the conservative ones, who like to preserve status quo).

        1. Predrag,

          Factually, it is.

          You can gainsay all you want.

          I clearly didn’t say it was JUST infant mortality rates. I clearly said that was an example. You’re being dishonest.

          You say, and I quote, “In most places outside the US, it is a widely known fact that the US has statistically rather poor health care. The country that has by far the best medical facilities, the best experts and specialists and the best equipment has such disproportionately poor record, precisely because so many of its citizens are excluded from access to it.”

          Predrag, it may come as a shock to you, but I can guarantee that I have a much greater grasp of our healthcare system than you do. Yes, believe it or not. I have two diseases that will most likely end my life earlier than I would like to contemplate, so I happen to know a thing or two about this subject. I’ve been in American emergency rooms dozens of times over the last 12 years or so. I have also heard, firsthand accounts of people that have moved here from foreign countries that have expressed their surprise over the difference between what they thought they knew, and what the situation really was.

          And yes, Canadians really do come over our border every day to gain access to our healthcare. It is a fact. People in those border towns make jokes about it.

          As for me, I have had to wait in great agonizing pain a number of times BEHIND illegal aliens. You know, people who experts like yourself claim have no access to our system. The thing that I’ve noticed with foreign idiots is that they project their inadequacies on Americans. Are you ready to learn something? Well here it is:

          Not having insurance does not mean you don’t have access to our healthcare system. Everyone has access to it. NO MATTER WHAT FOREIGN IMBECILES IN INSIGNIFICANT COUNTRIES MAY THINK! Mexicans hop the border and get free dialysis for from us for crying out loud. You can brag all you want about what is “common knowledge” in other countries, but you sound dumb doing it. You’re talking out of your ever-lovin’ ass.

          Do you understand?

          1. You are very rude (and with no reason; I wasn’t rude to you).

            I am sorry to hear about your health, which makes me feel a bit uncomfortable discussing this with you, as you may have an emotional element in this discussion, and I don’t want to say anything that may be personally hurtful (despite of your being rude).

            I am very well aware that both Canadians and Mexicans cross border to get health care. They do that for two obvious reasons: Canadians who have money come to avail themselves of the best medical facilities in the world. Mexicans come to take advantage of the free access to the emergency room treatment. This still doesn’t say anything meaningful about the access to health care for a large percentage of American population.

            Data remains there and it is very obvious, so I’ll say this again: with all the best medical expertise and facilities, and free access to emergency rooms for the uninsured, America still falls behind in quality of health care, especially preventive health care. And it is very obvious why it is so. While there is access to the emergency room for those who are hit by a bus (or are having a seizure, or have difficulty breathing from the anaphylactic shock), millions of Americans will not go to a doctor (because they can’t afford one) when they frequently feel tired, or feel occasional chest pains, or when their urine looks too orange, or is too sticky, or when they show some of those symptoms that aren’t debilitating, but are in fact indication of diabetes, cardiac or vascular disease, or even tumors. Because millions of Americans cannot afford a doctor, they don’t do annual check-ups (some sources state one in three Americans don’t do this).

            I have met many young adult Americans who genuinely believe they have no need for health insurance because they believe they are healthy. They also never bother with annual exams. For us foreigners, this is simply inconceivable: that’s almost like not brushing teeth every day, or not washing hands before a meal. And yet, apparently a third of the country’s population simply doesn’t bother, and the single most likely reason is because they can’t afford it, or consider the expense unnecessary.

            I will finish my discussion on this subject here, as I have a long and busy day ahead of me. Thanks for reading.

  3. Whenever I see someone so lacking in even the most basic understanding of economics, and so ignorantly an advocate of socialized healthcare, I have to remember that I’m probably looking at someone who is so much of a loser in life that they need other people to take care of them, because they’re too stupid, lazy and feckless to take care of themselves.

    And socialists are never able to actually gather the requisite facts to reasonably assess a situation. What they do instead is cherry pick and distort reality. Another thing they do is to impose their notion of “compassion” on the rest of us.

    I couldn’t care less if some lousy bleeding heart wants to sign over his paychecks to the dregs of society. Such a self-loathing individual can go live in a cardboard box under the highway overpass for all I care. But they have no right to redistribute one single cent of MY earnings to anyone else at all. Period.

    And the figures stated for “uninsured” people in the U.S. don’t really tell the tale. They count illegal aliens, even though they say they don’t. They count people who are not perpetually uninsured, but just temporarily. And they count people who are young and healthy and have chosen for the time being to save their money and forgo health insurance.

    The state has NO right to compel me to provide for other people. And if other people are to lazy, dumb, backward, irresponsible and criminal to provide their own food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare, then they shouldn’t be reproducing.

    1. “But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he sayeth, “Truly, thou must lie in the ditch, because you are obviously lazy, dumb, backward, and irresponsible. That can be the only reason for thy situation.”

      You think the VAST numbers of poor people in the richest nation on earth is because they are all lazy parasites? Society doesn’t happen — it is arranged and structured.

      The right-wing government where I live once did a survey on welfare recipients. Everyone expected a self-serving, right-wing result, “They’re mostly bums”. In fact, they had the honesty to declare their findings very publicly — that most welfare recipients were short term, most got off when they could, some were unavoidable and needed help – e.g. too mentally or physically screwed to function without assistance, and that they found only a small percentage that they considered free-loading parasites.

    2. …”But they have no right to redistribute one single cent of MY earnings to anyone else at all.”

      If this refers to some form of welfare, I could understand the argument; it is libertarian, conservative, and on its own, has merit from the conservative angle.

      However, if it refers to paying for medical insurance based on one’s earnings, this makes absolutely no sense.

      I am a foreigner and can’t vote in the US (although I live there). Out of everything I buy, taxes are taken out. On earnings I make, I must pay taxes to the government from which I use practically no services. My children don’t go to American schools (I chose to pay for their schooling in an international school). So, why am I required to pay all those taxes?

      What is the fundamental difference between all sorts of services that government provides using tax money, services which are used by portion, but not ALL of the people who pay taxes, and a service (health care) that would essentially be used by practically ALL of the tax-paying people at some point in their lives?

      As far as legality (and constitutionality) of this is concerned, it appears that the American Supreme Court agrees that there aren’t any fundamental differences between taxes that pay for various government services, and money that pays for health insurance. So, how do those who argue from the conservative position in America explain the validity of taxation in general, but exempting health care from the service that this taxation provides for?

  4. Millions of Tea Party loyalists fled the United States in the early morning hours today, seeking what one of them called “the American dream of liberty from health care.”

    Harland Dorrinson, 47, a tire salesman from Lexington, Kentucky, packed up his family and whatever belongings he could fit into his Chevy Suburban just hours before the health-insurance exchanges opened, joining the Tea Party’s Freedom Caravan with one goal in mind: escape from Obamacare.

    “My father didn’t have health care and neither did my father’s father before him,” he said. “I’ll be damned if I’m going to let my children have it.”

    But after driving over ten hours to the Canadian border, Mr. Dorrinson was dismayed to learn that America’s northern neighbor had been in the iron grip of health care for decades.

    “The border guard was so calm when he told me, as if it was the most normal thing in the world,” he said. “It’s like he was brainwashed by health care.”

    Turning away from Canada, Mr. Dorrinson joined a procession of Tea Party cars heading south to Mexico, noting, “They may have drug cartels and narcoterrorism down there, but at least they’ve kept health care out.”

    Mr. Dorrinson was halfway to the southern border before he heard through the Tea Party grapevine that Mexico, too, has public health care, as do Great Britain, Japan, Turkey, Spain, Belgium, New Zealand, Slovenia, and dozens of other countries to which he had considered fleeing.

    Undaunted, Mr. Dorrinson said he had begun looking into additional countries, like Chad and North Korea, but he expressed astonishment at a world seemingly overrun by health care.

    “It turns out that the United States is one of the last countries on earth to get it,” he said. “It makes me proud to be an American.”

    (Borowitz)

  5. Boris claims, “Whenever I see someone so lacking in even the most basic understanding of economics, and so ignorantly an advocate of socialized healthcare…”

    Boris ignores the fact that all healthcare has ALWAYS been socialized, ever since the first emergency room!!! The question of today is how to incentivize users of healthcare to pay for it. That involves amortizing costs over one’s lifetime and leveling costs amongst the greatest number. The biggest insurance pool you will ever have in a nation is … wait for it … the entire national population. This has PROVEN to reduce overall healthcare costs.

    The only realistic way a voluntary insurance system can save money over a fully-insured nation is if health care organizations actively refuse to serve people who cannot pay. There are not enough competent charities on the planet to cover the gap. That is reality, and that is specifically what no libertarian will admit in public.

    As the Supreme Court ruled, taxes are inevitable. If you’re going to live in a society that strives to maximize health of ALL citizens, we’re going to have to share costs. Sharing, what a concept.

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