State governors are practically begging the federal government for permission to cut hundreds of thousands from their Medicaid rolls. Why? Thanks to the recession, declining revenues, and the rising price of health care, state governments are increasingly unable to bear the burden of Medicaid costs. The Wall Street Journalexplains:
About eight million Americans joined the Medicaid rolls between 2007 and 2010, many because they lost jobs. The federal government picks up 57% of states' Medicaid tab, on average. But in July, $26 billion in additional federal Medicaid funding will expire, leaving states to plug a big budget hole.
Nearly two years ago, David Brookspredicted disaster for the government’s acquisition of General Motors, calling it a quagmire:
For the elemental facts about the Obama restructuring plan are these: Bureaucratically, the plan is smart. Financially, it is tough-minded. But when it comes to the corporate culture that is at the core of G.M.’s woes, the Obama approach is strangely oblivious. The Obama plan won’t revolutionize G.M.’s corporate culture. It could make things worse. […]
David Cay Johnston is disappointed with reporting on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to end collective bargaining for public-sector employees. Why? Because reporters have conflated “benefits” with “pensions,” when they’re anything but. He explains:
Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin' s pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers.
It doesn't come as a surprise to learn that gay marriage isn't a particularly lucrative issue for Republicans anymore. The combination of growing tolerance -- 44 percent support gay marriage, up from 42 percent in 2004 and 37 percent in 2005 -- and a financial crisis have put the issue on the back burner, even for conservatives. As time moves on, and baby boomers die off, I expect "pro-same sex marriage" to become the majority opinion (see this fantastic Onion parody for a sense of what that will look like).
In Wisconsin, Paul KrugmanseesNaomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine" at work:
In recent weeks, Madison has been the scene of large demonstrations against the governor’s budget bill, which would deny collective-bargaining rights to public-sector workers. Gov. Scott Walker claims that he needs to pass his bill to deal with the state’s fiscal problems. But his attack on unions has nothing to do with the budget. In fact, those unions have already indicated their willingness to make substantial financial concessions — an offer the governor has rejected.