In case you missed it, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll found majority support for employees in public-sector unions:
Americans oppose weakening the bargaining rights of public employee unions by a margin of nearly two to one: 60 percent to 33 percent. While a slim majority of Republicans favored taking away some bargaining rights, they were outnumbered by large majorities of Democrats and independents who said they opposed weakening them.
In lieu of defined benefits, some states and localities are mulling a shift to 401(k)-style pension plans, reportsJeannette Neumann for The Wall Street Journal:
Republicans have taken the lead in campaigns to make the switch. In February, Florida Gov. Rick Scott called for a shift to 401(k)-type plans when he proposed his budget. Former two-term Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty called for a shift before stepping down in January. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval also proposed a switch in his January State of the State address.
The New York Times reports that President Obama plans to support an amendment to the Affordable Care Act that would allow states to opt out at the beginning of the process -- in 2014 -- rather than three years later in 2017:
The bipartisan amendment that Mr. Obama is now embracing was first proposed in November, eight months after enactment of the Affordable Care Act, by Senators Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, and Scott Brown, Republican of Massachusetts. Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, a Democrat, is now a co-sponsor.
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. […]