Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Business Channel. More
Thompson has written for Slate, BusinessWeek, and the Daily Beast. He has also appeared as a guest on radio and television networks, including NPR, the BBC, CNBC, and MSNBC.
Americans should know that those Members who vote for this climate bill are voting for what is likely to be the biggest tax in American history.
When the Heritage Foundation did its analysis of Waxman-Markey, it broadly compared the economy with and without the carbon tax. Under this more comprehensive scenario, it found Waxman-Markey would cost the economy $161 billion in 2020, which is $1,870 for a family of four. As the bill's restrictions kick in, that number rises to $6,800 for a family of four by 2035.
This is the world that Karl Rove lives in: Obama's approval rating is in deep trouble, the public wants to kill government-run health care, and the Republicans have a shot at riding health reform like a gust of wind out of their smoldering ashes. The rest of us live in a world that looks, well, the utter and exact opposite. This is what Karl Rove being wrong looks like:
Why has health-care reform stalled in Congress? Democrats, after all, control both Houses, and President Obama, whose popularity remains high, has made universal health care his No. 1 priority. What's more, an overwhelming majority of the public wants it. In the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 76% of respondents said it was important that Americans have a choice between a public and private health-insurance plan. In last week's New York Times/CBSNews poll, 85% said they wanted major health-care reforms.
So why the stall? Mainly because Congress can't decide how to pay for it. The hardest blow came last week when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the trial-balloon bill emerging from the Senate Health Committee would cost a whopping $1 trillion over 10 years and would cover only a fraction of Americans currently without health care. According to the CBO, another tentative bill, this one coming out of the Senate Finance Committee, would cost even more -- $1.6 trillion.
Proposals for reform of financial regulation are now everywhere. The most significant have come from the US, where President Barack Obama's administration last week put forward a comprehensive, albeit timid, set of ideas. But will such proposals make the system less crisis-prone? My answer is, no. The reason for my pessimism is that the crisis has exacerbated the sector's weaknesses. It is unlikely that envisaged reforms will offset this danger.
At the heart of the financial industry are highly leveraged businesses. Their central activity is creating and trading assets of uncertain value, while their liabilities are, as we have been reminded, guaranteed by the state. This is a licence to gamble with taxpayers' money. The mystery is that crises erupt so rarely.
Washington DC's terrible Metro accident
-- yikes, I used to ride the red line every day -- made we want to go
look up information about the city's train system. So I went to the National Transit Database
historical tables to see what I could find. Had there been big changes
in services? A drop off in funding? Not really. Here are the total
operating expenses of the Metro over the past ten years, in millions
and billions of dollars:
Of course, this needs to be adjusted for population growth, increased usage and expansion. So here's the growth in total services provided (in billions of miles traveled):
I combined the two to get the dollars spent per mile traveled. That's increased too:
So if you only want the website, the Daily News will pay you $100 to take the newspaper. You don't have to read it. You don't have to look at it. You can toss it, use it for fish wrap, or just blanket yourself in the local business section like a paper Snuggie. Could this possibly work?
The Daily News will now charge $145 annually to a newspaper subscriber, $245 if a subscriber wants the paper and access to the paper's web site--and, here's the key figure, $345 if the subscriber only wants the web site.
Why do we need President Obama's big-bang health-care reform at all? What's the real agenda here? If it's really to cover the truly uninsured, a much cheaper, targeted, small-ball approach would do the trick. But on the other hand, maybe the real goal is a government takeover of the U.S. health system.
In a recent column, Larry Elder points to an ABC News/USA Today/Kaiser Family Foundation survey that shows 89 percent of Americans are satisfied with their health care. That means up to 250 million people could be happy with their plans. So why is it we need Obama's big-bang health-care overhaul in the first place?
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