Thursday, June 23, 2011

You know your candidacy is off course...

...when you're trying to steal supporters from Ron Paul.
The two-minute video (embedded at the end of the column) is a somewhat confusing attack on the Federal Reserve, which appears to be part of an attempt by Gingrich to appeal to supporters of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), a fierce critic of the Fed.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Greatest Scandal Since Watergate?

David Brooks says Fannie Mae is a huge political scandal that isn't getting enough attention.
[T]he Fannie Mae scandal is the most important political scandal since Watergate. It helped sink the American economy. It has cost taxpayers about $153 billion, so far. It indicts patterns of behavior that are considered normal and respectable in Washington.

I agree. I'd like to see more attention paid to the nexus of politicians, lobbyists, and financial industry executives. In the meantime, the so-called GSA's should be completely privatized. Whatever benefit they're providing the mortgage business is outweighed by their potential for risk and corruption.

But it's interesting how Brooks brings up Bachmann at the end of his column. He warns Washington insiders that they need to police themselves, or someone like Bachmann will be elected to do it for them. It's almost like he thinks she's some sort of bogeyman: "You better watch out, or Michelle Bachmann's gonna eat your face!"

Friday, June 10, 2011

One in Five Americans Receive Medicaid?

In a letter to Pres. Obama, Sen. Rockefeller and 36 other Senate Democrats wrote...
We are unwilling to allow the federal government to walk away from Medicaid’s 68 million beneficiaries, the providers that serve them and the urban and rural communities in which they live.

This was sent in response to the Republican proposal to turn Medicaid into a block grant program, which would end the Federal match for state Medicaid spending and distribute the Federal subsidy as a defined amount. It's an interesting debate, but what caught my attention was the "68 million beneficiaries."

According to this website, the current U.S. population estimate is approximately 311 million. If there are really 68 million Medicaid beneficiaries, that means approximately 21% of the U.S. population is currently receiving Medicaid benefits.

Huh?! One in five Americans are currently on Medicaid? Really?

I figured the Senate Democrats had to be exaggerating the number, so I did a search for the "real" number. That led me to this website, which says that as of May 2010 there are 48 million Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare and Medicaid are not the same thing. But I'm pretty sure there aren't as many Medicaid beneficiaries as there are for Medicare. So I kept searching.

And found this, posted at, which appears to be a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. It says that as of June 30, 2009, there were over 50 million Medicaid enrollees. Un. Bee. Lee. Vuh. Bull. That's 16% of U.S. population, or one in six.

So yeah, it looks like the Senate Democrats' number is wrong. But not by as much as I thought.

(via Peter Suderman via Insta.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Milbank on Risk-Taking Politicians

I don't normally agree with Dana Milbank's politics, but I think he nailed today's column:
The discussion, before Spitzer moved on to “other stories I’ll be drilling down on,” was about Weiner’s “strategy” for political survival. That’s a fun parlor game, but whether Weiner survives is hardly important. Of more consequence is what’s driving all these men (and the occasional woman) to reckless behavior.

Some apologists claim these men simply have more testosterone, and greater libido, than the general population. More likely, it’s the same thing that is causing many more of their colleagues to engage in reckless behavior in their professional lives: a sense of invincibility.

Milbank concludes by writing "We’d be better off if lawmakers gambled more with their private parts and less with the public good." Makes me wonder if Milbank is spending any time thinking about what additional limits we should impose on government in general, and Washington in particular.