Health Insurance Sticking Point in German Coalition Talks

Windows of a hospital in Erlangen, Germany, July 17, 2014
Windows of a hospital in Erlangen, Germany, July 17, 2014 (Reinhard Kuchenbäcker)

One of the sticking points in attempts to form another grand coalition government in Germany is the country’s mixed public-private health insurance system.

The Social Democrats campaigned on merging the two. Their argument is that the one in ten Germans with private insurance (mostly people with yearly incomes over €50,000) get better care: shorter waiting lists, more services. Read more

Everything You Need to Know About the Coalition Breakthrough in Germany

German chancellor Angela Merkel answers questions from reporters in Brussels, June 28, 2012
German chancellor Angela Merkel answers questions from reporters in Brussels, June 28, 2012 (Bundesregierung)

Germany’s Christian Democrats and Social Democrats have agreed to form another “grand coalition” government.

Here is everything you need to know about the deal. Read more

The Pros and Cons of a Flat Tax in Italy

Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi arrives for a European Council meeting in Brussels, June 24, 2011
Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi arrives for a European Council meeting in Brussels, June 24, 2011 (European Council)

Center-right parties in Italy, led by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, are calling for a flat tax of 15 to 20 percent.

The single rate would replace the current five income tax brackets and possibly the two businesses taxes (national and regional).

Renato Brunetta, the leader of Berlusconi’s Forza Italia in the lower house of parliament, tells the Financial Times: “It’s the fiscal shock that will make Italy emerge from the trap it’s been in for the past decades.”

Here are the pros and cons. Read more

What Happens Next in Catalonia?

View of the Palau Nacional in Barcelona, Spain, December 29, 2013
View of the Palau Nacional in Barcelona, Spain, December 29, 2013 (CucombreLibre)

Separatist parties defended their majority in Catalonia’s regional parliament on Thursday, but only by a whisker. The parties that want to secede from Spain won seventy out of 135 seats against 57 for the unionists.

Catalonia in Common, a left-wing party that rejects both independence and Spain’s suspension of Catalan home rule, won the remaining eight seats. Read more

What You Need to Know About the Republican Tax Plan

View of the United States Capitol at dusk, December 8, 2011
View of the United States Capitol at dusk, December 8, 2011 (Architect of the Capitol)

Republicans in the United States have enacted the final version of their tax plan.

The reforms cut corporate and income tax by a magnitude of $1.5 trillion, with the biggest gains going to the highest incomes.

Included is a repeal of the individual mandate from Obamacare, which could throw millions of Americans off health insurance.

Here are the most important things you need to know about the changes. Read more

How and Why Americans Switch Parties

Visitors at the de Young museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, California, October 16, 2005
Visitors at the de Young museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, California, October 16, 2005 (Thomas Hawk)

13 percent of Americans switched parties in the last five years. Economic anxiety had little to do with Democrats changing sides to support Donald Trump.

Those are some of the more surprising findings of the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group. Read more

Why Millennials Are More Sympathetic to Big Government

Voters listen to a speech by Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine in Davidson, North Carolina, October 12, 2016
Voters listen to a speech by Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine in Davidson, North Carolina, October 12, 2016 (Hillary for America/Alyssa S.)

Polls show that Americans under the age of 35 are more sympathetic to big government than their elders. Democrats have a 48-point advantage among millennial voters, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey.

That is not so surprising when you realize that their generation may be the first in a long time that is worse off than their parents’.

Michael Hobbes’ feature about millennials in The Huffington Post contains some sobering statistics.

On average, he writes, Americans under the age of 35:

  • Have 300 percent more student debt than their parents;
  • Are half as likely to own homes as young people were in the 1970s; and
  • Will probably have to work until they’re 75.

The stereotype of the overqualified liberal arts graduate working as a barista is only half-correct. Many young Americans are struggling to find high-paying jobs despite having spent tens — sometimes hundreds — of thousands of dollars on their education. Less known is that one in five young adults live in poverty. Read more