Thursday, June 9, 2011


Status of debt ceiling talks

Reuters reports that disagreement over Medicare remains one of two key stumbling blocks preventing Republicans and Democrats from cutting a deal to raise the debt ceiling.  Republicans have been pushing for the Ryan voucher plan to destroy Medicare.  Democrats refuse.  Now, it looks like Republicans make accept something, anything with regard to Medicare hoping that will neutralize the fallout from the Ryan plan.   One idea gaining some traction among Democrats and Republicans is to revamp the payment structure that consistently threatens doctors with huge pay cuts (the Doc fix).  Democrats want to get a permanent Doc Fix done and Republicans, as I said, are about ready to accept anything they can get with regard to Medicare.  Ironically, the Doc Fix being discussed will actually add to the deficit—about $300 billion over 10 years.

The other stumbling block has to do with taxes.  Republicans are refusing to include any tax reform in a deficit deal.  Democrats want a balanced tax/spend approach or at least the semblance of one.

When a deal is reached, the spending cuts are almost certain to be spread out over many years, perhaps 10.  Even Republicans know that there is no way to cut $2 trillion over one year.

Pawlenty’s “economic” plan

Pawlenty’s plan would be a windfall for millionaires.  Think Progress estimates that  Taxpayers with incomes in excess of $1 million would enjoy an average cut in personal income taxes of $288,822, a 41.4 percent cut.   Taxpayers with incomes in excess of $10 million would enjoy an average cut in personal income taxes of $2.4 million, a 46.3 percent cut.  The cost:  These tax cuts for the rich would add $141.8 billion to the deficit.

Governor Christie (R, NJ) says family of three earning $3,000 yr is too rich for Medicaid reports: “Adults in a family of three that makes as little as $103 a week would earn too much to qualify for health care provided by Medicaid under a sharply curtailed program Gov. Chris Christie wants the federal government to approve this year… The Christie administration is expected to propose cutting the maximum income level of Medicaid from $24,645 to $5,317 a year for a family of three.” Christy is the guy who takes $1,000 free rides on state helicopters.

Weiner Scandal

CQ Roll Call says so many members of Weiner’s staff are out looking for other jobs that his office has been left largely unattended over the last few days.  Additionally, Democratic Party officials in NY are desperately searching for an alternative candidate in the 9th District to run in 2012 or for a special election after Weiner resigns

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