Daily Fix, March 18

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The House defunds NPR, Chaffetz wants the troops out of Afghanistan, Mike Lee is making a mark, Medicaid does pay for many student births and bouncy balls fall from heaven.

*The House on Thursday passed a bill to defund NPR.   The GOP-backed measure, sponsored by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), passed 228-192. One Republican voted present, and seven voted against the bill. No Democrats supported it.  The bill has only a slim chance of becoming law, as both Senator Harry Reid and President Obama oppose the measure.  The Hill

*Opposition to the war in Afghanistan has grown in the House, but not nearly enough to call for an end to it.  A bill directing Obama to have troops out of Afghanistan by the end of the year garnered only 93 votes.  Utah’s Jason Chaffetz was one of 8 Republicans voting for it.  The war in Afghanistan is now the longest in U.S. history, having run over 113 months. The Vietnam War lasted 103 months.  “The president needs to define success in Afghanistan. I think he has failed to do so,” Chaffetz told The Hill after the vote.  “A politically correct war is a lost war,” Chaffetz said. “At the present time, we are playing politics.”  The Hill // SL Trib

*Meanwhile, a government shut-down looms as both sides dig in their heels. More than the dollar amounts of the cuts are the policy statements – defunding Planned Parenthood (which Harry Reid says is unacceptable), restrictions on funding for climate change and more. For Democrats, who’ve already gone further on spending cuts than even they expected, the legislative riders are a step too far. They can compromise on trims, but not on principles, they say. House Speaker John Boehner’s Republican caucus is dug in and divided — with some members prepared to shutter the government in a drive to press ideological battles they have long fought. Stay tuned for more fireworks. Politico

*The Washington Post’s Marc Thiessen defends Senator Mike Lee after a WaPo colleague takes him to task and accuses him of being a lightweight.  Not so, says Theissen who says Lee made his mark and showed himself “a force to be reckoned with in the Senate” even before taking his seat.  Indeed, Senator Lee has forced an open vote on earmarks, put Senators on record in support of a balanced budget amendment and is leading the push to tie the continuing resolutions to spending cuts.  Good job, Senator.  WaPo

*State data confirms what the legislature suspected – Medicaid is paying for a lot of babies for college students. their occupation on birth certificate forms.  In Cache County, home to Utah State University, Medicaid picked up the tab for 53 percent of student births, and in SUU’s back yard of Iron County, 69 percent, state records show.  The lion’s share of those Medicaid-funded births to college students happened in Utah County, home to Utah Valley University and Mormon church-owned Brigham Young University. SL Trib

*And if none of that interests you, well, take a look at what it looks like to drop 20,000 bouncy balls out of a helicopter.  SL Trib

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5 Responses to “Daily Fix, March 18”

  1. Daniel B. Says:

    RE: Paragraph 3–even if the cuts do pass, they are only chopping at the leaves. Discretionary non-security spending is not the problem: entitlement spending and net interest payments on debt are. Kudos to those who are pushing to cuts, but unless entitlements are reformed, in addition to the cuts proposed, it is all just so much dross. It is growth in the big three (Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, that last of which I’ll never get a penny of, anyway) that are going to drive our country into bankruptcy, not cowboy poetry and Planned Parenthood (even as much as I don’t agree with spending tax dollars on those programs).

  2. hollyonthehill Says:

    Daniel, you are absolutely correct. Millions – even billions – in cuts, mean almost nothing. We need to tackle entitlements. Glad Utah has – now the feds need to “man up” and “get ‘er done”.

  3. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    Starting with defense spending would make more sense, its much bigger, its growing at a faster rate then any other form of spending, hell this years defense budget is $1.22 TRILLION.

    Daniel B,

    Even after the trust fund is empty 27 years from now, and assuming that even happens(projections are very conservative, and very likely to underestimate), You would still receive 78% of what social security promised. As per the social security law when the trust fund is empty the program will cut payments to levels matching incoming tax revenues.

    Medicaid costs are currently bumped up higher then they would normally be due to the recession. Give it a few years and they will move back into line, Even with the Obamacare expansion(with is paid 90% by the federal government).

    And Medicare(this goes for Medicaid as well) cost growth is more related to the overall cost growth in the medical industry, Actually Medicares cost inflation has been lower then industry wide cost inflation, this is mostly due to medicare not needing the absurd administrative overheads that private insurance companies do.

    Currently, in the USA we have on average 4 billing personal per doctor for insurance billing, and 1 administrative person per hospital bed for the average hospital, a full 30% of health care costs in the USA is administration related.

    As always I suggest single payer as the solution, would save us trillions of dollars, make us more competitive internationally, and make health care truly universal.

    And we don’t have to pass any tax increases to get single payer either, bit of shuffling from existing health care spending would be all that is needed.

    $430 billion year (state medicaid spending)
    $450 billion year (employer and employee health deductions)
    $724 billion year (federal medicare/medicaid spending)
    $60-90 billion year (Obamacare)
    ???? (Tricare, FEHB benefits, COBRA, State employee health plans, etc)

    Think about it for a minute, That is almost $1.5 trillion and that is only counting the lines I have numbers for, Add the lines I don’t have numbers for and the cost savings we could obtain from giant reductions in administrative overhead from a single payer system($300-400 billion) and it is very clear more taxes would be unneeded.

    Either way(back to the topic), unemployment insurance is costing us $553 billion per year atm, that will go down with unemployment to a nominal $50-100 billion per year, then as the economy recovers so will tax revenues we are down by around $500-1000 billion so that will help, and ending the Bush tax cuts(and i mean for everybody) will save another $400-500 billion per year.

    I would suggest some more stimulus to speed things along, we could use a transcontinental HSR, a super grid, expansion of nuclear power plants, FAA spending, etc.

  4. John Says:

    Good for Chaffetz. I do wonder why we’re still in Afghanistan since things seem to be about the same what they were seven years ago.

  5. JBT Says:

    Speaking of “bouncy balls” I think it is neat that Holly is refusing to step down in the middle of her term so that Craig Frank can have his seat back since the legislature redistricted him back in. It appears that the Republican leadership has thrown its support behind Holly instead of the ex-incumbent. Maybe its time for Craig to remove his “Under the Dome” website, or at least give it a new name. “Craig Off the Hill” has a nice ring to it. 😉

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