The New York Times ran a front page story on Sunday that could have been a case study of why it is essential to put budget numbers in context. The article, "Medicaid Rule For Immigrants May Bar Others," explains how new rules intended to prevent illegal immigrants from getting Medicaid may also prevent many eligible beneficiaries from getting assistance. The problem is that many low income people don't possess the necessary documentation (e.g. drivers licenses or birth certificates) needed to receive Medicaid under the new rules.
I want to follow up quickly to a couple of notes on my posting where I referred to the "Die at the Border" policy. I was not arguing for open borders. I don't think that anyone who has given the issue serious thought advocates open borders, since a literal open border policy would almost certainly imply an inflow of hundreds of millions of people in the next couple of decades.
DINING WITH DEAN. From Tuesday�s American Prospect breakfast with Howard Dean:
Walter Shapiro: Governor, from where you sit, is the fact that there will be two caucuses between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary a done deal, or is this still open for negotiation, as to whether there will be caucuses and/or whether New Hampshire will have its traditional unmolested Iowa/New Hampshire role in American history?
Howard Dean: We don�t molest anybody. We leave that to the deputy press secretary of the Homeland Security agency.
THE TRUTH ABOUT IRAN MIGHT WORK -- BUT WILL DEMS TELL IT?Matt, Ezra, and Garance all give very thoughtful answers to my question below about Iran -- no question, arguments about cost and effectiveness should certainly prove more effective this time around. My concern, however, is that some Dems -- primarily the presidential contenders and their advisers, and we all know who I'm talking about here -- won't see it our way.
MITT ROMNEY CHANNELS JOHN EDWARDS. This is a bit of an old story already, but I think it's still worth noting for the historical record, since I haven't seen it noted elsewhere, that John Edwards, not Mitt Romney, was the first presidential candidate to propose making health insurance mandatory. Romney's just the first to get that approach to health care policy enacted into law -- an outcome attributable to the difference between being a senator from a conservative state and the governor of a liberal one.
WHITE REPUBLICANS' BLACK REPUBLICAN PROBLEM. Here's an interesting preview of a forthcoming article by a Yale economist demonstrating that "white Republicans nationally are 25 percentage points more likely on average to vote for the Democratic senatorial candidate when the GOP hopeful is black," and that there is no noticeable boost in black voter turnout when the Republican candidate is black. Similar findings also apply to House and gubernatorial races. The sample size for black GOP senatorial candidates is, needless to say, limited -- the economist, Ebonya Washington, identified and analyzed five such races between 1982 and 2000.
BUT WHY? The Urban Institute's C. Eugene Stuerlewrites:
a postwar boom in the U.S. labor force is just now ending. Since around 1950, the percentage of adults who worked rose almost every year except in recessions. But now the great swell of working boomers is starting to retire, and most of the gain in female labor force participation is over. If Americans keep retiring at the same ages they do today, the share of adults who are working will fall markedly. The effect on the economy will be roughly equivalent to increasing the unemployment rate by 3/10 of 1 percent every year for 20 years straight starting in 2008.
PLAYING POLITICS ISN'T A POLICY. I'm going to dissent, with Ezra, from the emerging TAPPED line on Iran here and say that any Democrat who comes out and argues that we can't deal with Iran until Bush is out of office will do nothing more than reaffirm to the nth degree the perception that Democrats cannot handle national security matters. Iran is not just an American problem and is not going to go away as an issue if Democrats choose to punt on it. The U.S. did not precipitate this conflict.