House Minority Leader John Boehner recently released a memo arguing, among other things, that the House Democrats' health care bill would result in "massive cuts to Medicare benefits for seniors" and "a negative impact on seniors' benefits and choices." It's nothing the Republicans haven't said before. But this time, to justify the claim, Boehner said he was relying in part on a finding finding from Factcheck.org.
More competition among insurers isn't always a good thing. (Austin Frakt, Incidental Economist) Dealing with Medicare is usually easier (or at least less difficult) than dealing with private insurers. (Joe Paduda, Managed Care Matters) The public option won't make a huge difference. (Eric Pianin, Mary Agnes Carey, Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News and Janet Adamy, Wall Street Journal) Obama's health care strategy: Brilliant! (Robert Pear and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times) Why we should eat dogs. And not the kind you get at the ballpark. (Jonathan Safran Foer, Wall Street Journal)
Looking at the GDP numbers last week, I wondered about possible sources of sustained GDP growth, given that so much of what drove the 3.5% third-quarter figure were one-off boosts like cash-for-clunkers. Well, today's Wall Street Journal has the beginning of an answer: Corporate cash stockpiles. Here's the Journal: In the second quarter, the 500 largest nonfinancial U.S. firms, by total assets, held about $994 billion in cash and short-term investments, or 9.8% of their assets, according a Wall Street Journal analysis of corporate filings.
Last month, the Maldives held its cabinet meeting underwater to highlight the fact that the island nation is at risk of vanishing as global warming causes sea levels to rise. The cabinet members all put on scuba gear, got paired with a diving expert, and had to communicate by writing on whiteboards with nifty waterproof pens. Now the Nepalese government is trying to do one better, announcing its own cabinet meeting on... Mount Everest, in order to draw attention to melting glaciers.
Last week, I wrote about a panel at the inaugural convention of the self-described "pro-Israel, pro-peace" organization J Street, in which former Bush NSC staffer Hillary Mann Leverett said the following: Too often, Iran's security concerns are dismissed in the U.S. and in Israel as false or manufactured, reinforcing the stereotype of Iranians as chronically duplicitous and unprepared to keep any commitment they enter into. ... Those stereotypes are simply not supported by the historical record. ...
Now Google is in. In compelling testimony to the Energy and Public Works Committee last week, the director of climate change and energy initiatives for the company's philanthropy (Google.org), Dan Reicher, mounted a powerful argument that the federal government should invest at least $15 billion a year of climate bill revenues in clean energy research and development. Declared Reicher: Putting a price on carbon, while absolutely necessary, is not sufficient to address the climate problem and importantly, will not put the U.S.
Whenever I read the words, "You're not from around here, are you?" I automatically imagine them being said with a serious Southern--or at least rural--twang.
Be sure to check out Daniel Pauly, a professor of fisheries at the University of British Columbia, on NPR's Fresh Air today. He'll be discussing a piece he recently wrote for TNR, "Aquacalypse Now: The End of Fish," about the global fishing industry's threat to the fish population.
Judging from Jeopardy, economics needs a lot more popularizing. Is America's long-term unemployment problem looking downright European? The 'did Lehman cause the crisis?' debate continues. Roubini says "reckless" U.S. policy will lead to biggest bubble ever. Nate Silver gives 5-to-2 odds that gay marriage in Maine will be affirmed. David Warsh: Carmen Reinhart is the most influential female economist around.
As the world tries to cut its carbon emissions in the next few decades, natural gas will become increasingly crucial as a stopgap fuel, since it produces less CO2 pollution than coal or oil. At least, that's what the EIA thinks will happen. And the geopolitical implications of this trend are interesting.