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By Ezra Klein  |  August 6, 2010; 11:56 AM ET
 
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The Medicare Trustees just released a report projecting that the public spending on Medicare will be much smaller over the long run thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Coupled with the overall budget savings from the bill it's clear the Act will have a substantial affect on the long run budget situation. Could you create a debt graph to show the differences between what our debt would be in 50 years with the Affordable Care Act and without it? If you could also incorporate the debt with and without the Bush tax cuts and wars that would be great. Thanks!

Posted by: DKOSullivan | August 6, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

How about a health care question:

The CBO made a number of projections about the number of companies that would drop coverage altogether under the ACA, but given how the law changed at the end, I expect that number will go up. When that happens there is additional tax revenue in the form of the $2,000 fine per FTE, plus added tax revenue from the fact that employer-subsidized premiums wouldn't be deducted from the corporate taxes. The question is whether the combo of those two is sufficient to cover the added subsidies for those employees who will buy insurance in the Exchanges.

Posted by: StokeyWan | August 6, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

At a maarginal tax rate of 100% no labor would be produced & tax revenue would be 0. At 0% rate no tax revenue would be produced. The Republicans argue that keeping the low the marginal rate on high incomes will increase revenues.

What marginal rate would maximize revenue?

Posted by: doctored | August 6, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I have a question about welfare spending since in any conversation I seem to have with my conservative friends about the deficit, this subject invariably seems to come up.

What percentage of the annual budget is due to welfare programs? Moreover, is there any way of breaking that number down into specific programs and the percentage of recipients that are short term vs. long term?

Posted by: bmkhawk | August 6, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Can you examine the timing between when GOP appointed judges make gay-rights-related decisions and elections?

It always seems right before an election, some GOP judge finally decides to "expand" gay-rights or to allow the case to be heard. Then right after the election, the new rights are thrown out.

This would imply these kinds of cases have lengthy delays (as the judge waits for the election to come around), and indeed, that always seems to be the case.

So, do gay-rights-related cases in fact have lengthier time to trial/decision than other cases?

Posted by: lauren2010 | August 6, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

This might be a tricky one. What are the effects of smoking compared to dipping tobacco or snuff? I know all have negative health effects, but is one more dangerous than the others?

I've heard from a lot of places that smoking is worse, but I can't find definitive studies anywhere.

Posted by: Russell_A | August 6, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

On Social Security, in 2037 it starts paying out 78% of benefits if we do nothing.

Where does the amount Social Security would be paying individuals if we do nothing compare to the various cuts that people would receive over their lifetime if we, say, raised the retirement age, changed how it's indexed, etc...

At first, by doing nothing new retirees in 2037 would get 78% versus 0%. But as the 78% number gets lower over the years, how does it compare? And over an average lifetime, at what point would it actually be WORSE as far as the amount we'd get if we did nothing?

(Getting at basic point that if the CRISIS is Social Security not paying out 100%, the solution can't be reducing what Social Security is paying out.)

Posted by: Mike3211 | August 6, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

To what degree was the expansion of the 1980s driven by deficit financed government spending?

Posted by: Tim42 | August 6, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

What ever happened to the Cap-and-Dividend bill sponsored by Cantwell and Collins?

Seems like a much better alternative than what we're going to get, which appears to be... nothing at all.

Posted by: dukejcb | August 6, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Dylan,

Cato's blog has a piece up that's getting some traction among some of my more right-wing friends -- Neal McCluskey claims that since 1970, public school employment has increased at ten times the rate of public school enrollment. He has a chart. I was hoping you could look into this and find out if it's true, and if it is, what some possible explanations are that go beyond "Democrats have been throwing patronage to teachers' unions for decades." Thanks!

Posted by: jhorton87 | August 6, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Tried to embed the link to the Cato post on public school employment/enrollment -- here it is: http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2010/08/05/grigori-rasputin-bailout/

Posted by: jhorton87 | August 6, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I have seen GOPers link to a paper by the Romers, jointly writen by husband and wife. I tried to read it, but, as a person not in the field, found it too wonky. GOPers, naturally, assert that it says tax cuts raise revenues. I find that hard to believe. But what does this paper really say?

Posted by: gratis11 | August 6, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

This may have been covered on this blog before, but are there any breakdowns of total national health care spending broken down by:

1) labor costs
2) overhead (admin, building, etc.)
3) technology costs (devices)
4) pharmaceuticals

As far as I can tell, this should cover most of the costs in our health care system (not including insurance overheads). Is this information available?

Posted by: AnonymousInMA | August 6, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Is there a way to tell how many jobs would be saved via additional aid to the States? That is, if we give/loan the States $5 billion, how many layoffs would be prevented? $10 billion? $20 billion?

Posted by: FormerSwingVoter | August 6, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

If we let the Bush tax cuts expire and at the same time reset federal spending to the 1999 level, would that balance the budget?

Posted by: lauren2010 | August 6, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Obama is taking a lot of heat from the right for her trip to Spain. They're now calling her Marie Antoinette. And the president has taken heat in the past for excessive White House staff. Are there numbers for what I guess might be called discretionary spending by presidents, that would compare how much, say, Bush or Clinton spent in comparison to what Obama is spending? Thanks.

Posted by: Justwondering14 | August 6, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

We keep hearing about how the stimulus was too small. True. But it also wasn't the last word on stimulus/rescuing the economy. Congress has passed numerous fixes, assistance, etc since then. How much TOTAL money has Congress thrown at the problem. After all, unemployment assistance, food stamps, state aid, etc is not *only* stimulative when it's in the stimulus bill.

Arguably any money spent by the government is stimulative, but I'm only interested in stuff specifically targetted at the recession/economy.

Thanks!

Posted by: roquelaure_79 | August 6, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

You often hear Republicans express concern about the effect of proposed legislation on small business. Are there any proposals on the table that would make corporate taxes more progressive?

Posted by: bovlb | August 6, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

"Michelle Obama is taking a lot of heat from the right for her trip to Spain. They're now calling her Marie Antoinette. And the president has taken heat in the past for excessive White House staff. Are there numbers for what I guess might be called discretionary spending by presidents, that would compare how much, say, Bush or Clinton spent in comparison to what Obama is spending? Thanks."

Really? She's the freakin' first lady. She can take a trip to Spain or wherever she wants.

Posted by: justin84 | August 6, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Hey Dylan,

Over on another thread, a few folks would like a better breakdown of "small business" income from the 1040 (small businesses that report as individuals). Specifically, how many small businesses report profits of 250K or more, what % of small businesses report that income. Maybe a quintile analysis or something to get a sense of the distribution of income among "small businesses" in the US. Thanks

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"Michelle Obama is taking a lot of heat from the right for her trip to Spain. They're now calling her Marie Antoinette. And the president has taken heat in the past for excessive White House staff. Are there numbers for what I guess might be called discretionary spending by presidents, that would compare how much, say, Bush or Clinton spent in comparison to what Obama is spending? Thanks."

'Really? She's the freakin' first lady. She can take a trip to Spain or wherever she wants.'

Which is why I'd like to compare Obama's 'discretionary' spending to Bush's -- to shut the wingers up.

Posted by: Justwondering14 | August 6, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Hey Dylan,

Can you break down the Michael Fleischer article at the WSJ (it got a lot of press): http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052748704017904575409733776372738-lMyQjAxMTAwMDAwODEwNDgyWj.html Did Bush tax cuts help with these extra employment cost? What about the Obama stimulus tax cuts, health care reform, and the proposed HIRE act?

Also was an insurance rate hike of 20% unusual for NJ (where he has his business)?

Posted by: chrisgaun | August 9, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

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