Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 6:21 AM ET, 12/14/2010

Wonkbook: Tax plan proceeds with high public support; judge rules against health mandate; Summers final speech

By Ezra Klein

The tax plan easily passed its first cloture vote through the Senate, and seems likely to sail through the body. But then comes the House, where Democrats are considerably less favorably inclined, and a single question: Are the negotiations still open?

House Democrats want to change the estate tax provision in the law. They'd bring the exemption down from $5 million to $3.5 million, and the rate up from 35 percent to 45 percent. It wouldn't be a huge change in the law, actually. It would save $10 billion over the next two years, and simply restore the estate tax levels present in the ninth year of the Bush tax cuts (which had been the lowest estate tax levels in recent history -- at least until the 10th year eliminated the tax altogether).

The problem is that conservatives are starting to wonder if the tax deal is such a good deal for them. Charles Krauthammer opposes it, and "the Tea Party Patriots" are comparing it to TARP. Erick Erickson, founder of RedState.com, says the "deal must now die," and Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin agree with him. If the deal gets opened back up in the House, expect conservative grumbling to turn into open revolt, which could scotch approval when the deal then goes back to the Senate.

And many House Democrats would be fine with that outcome: They've been wanting to fight Republicans over the tax cuts for the rich, and this would give them their chance. So they may not be as afraid of the bill going down as they would be in other contexts. This deal, in other words, is not done yet.

Top Stories

The tax deal will pass the Senate, report Aaron Blake and Shailagh Murray: "President Obama's tax package easily cleared its first hurdle Monday, with the Senate voting overwhelmingly to move forward with the bill. But the real battle awaits in the House...With about two-thirds of the chamber voting, the measure had passed the 60-vote threshold late Monday afternoon. The procedural vote clears the way for a final vote Tuesday on the package, which Obama negotiated with Republicans and would prevent tax-rate increases from hitting most American workers starting Jan. 1...Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who is soon to be the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, said Sunday that the main sticking point is the change in the estate tax. "

Only fifteen Senators opposed the deal: http://bit.ly/ekNNdK

Polling suggests most Americans support the tax deal, reports Jon Cohen: "A slender 11 percent of those polled back all four of the deal's primary tax provisions: an across-the-board extension of Bush-era tax cuts, additional jobless benefits, a payroll tax holiday and a $5 million threshold for inheritance taxes. Just 38 percent support even two of the components. But put all four items together, and 69 percent of all Americans support the package. Large majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents alike favor the agreement, which has drawn stiff opposition from some Democrats in the House. In the poll, 69 percent of liberal Democrats support the agreement, which Obama has called a framework for legislation."

A district court judge ruled health care reform's individual mandate unconstitutional (two others have ruled previously and found it constitutional), reports Rosalind Helderman: "A federal judge in Virginia ruled Monday that a key provision of the nation's sweeping health-care overhaul is unconstitutional, the most significant legal setback so far for President Obama's signature domestic initiative. U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson found that Congress could not order individuals to buy health insurance. In a 42-page opinion, Hudson said the provision of the law that requires most individuals to get insurance or pay a fine by 2014 is an unprecedented expansion of federal power that cannot be supported by Congress's power to regulate interstate trade."

But he didn't stop the bill's implementation or suggest the mandate should invalidate the rest of the legislation, writes Ezra Klein: "Hudson ruled against the government, but he didn't stop it (you can read the full opinion here). He refused the plaintiff's request for an injunction against the legislation's continued implementation...He [also] refused to overrule anything but the individual mandate itself....'The Court will sever only Section 1501 [the individual mandate] and directly-dependent provisions which make specific reference to 1501.' That last clause has made a lot of pro-reform legal analysts very happy. Go to the text of the health-care law and run a search for '1501.' It appears exactly twice in the bill: In the table of contents, and in the title of the section...The attachment of the 'specific reference' language appears to sharply limit the scope of the court's action."

And conservatives may come to regret this line of attack: "The individual mandate was created by conservatives who realized that it was the only way to get universal coverage into the private market. Otherwise, insurers turn away the sick, public anger rises, and, eventually, you get some kind of government-run, single-payer system, much as they did in Europe, and much as we have with Medicare. If Republicans succeed in taking it off the table, they may sign the death warrant for private insurers in America: Eventually, rising cost pressures will force more aggressive reforms than even Obama has proposed, and if conservative judges have made the private market unfixable by removing the most effective way to deal with adverse selection problems, the only alternative will be the very constitutional, but decidedly non-conservative, single-payer path."

Folk-pop interlude: Joanna Newsom plays "Good Intentions Paving Company".

Still to come: Larry Summers calls for stimulus on the way out; Republicans won't support a tweak to health care reform; Obama signed the First Lady's child nutrition bill into law; future international climate talks will only get tougher; and a 5-year-old reads a Walt Whitman poem.

Economy

Larry Summers called for more stimulus in his final speech as a White House aide, reports Perry Bacon: "Lawrence H. Summers urged that spending on highways and other infrastructure be increased in his final major address as President Obama's top economic adviser, saying that Americans' impulse to save more money means the government must spend more to ensure economic growth and job creation. Summers announced in September that he would leave his job as head of the National Economic Council to return to his professorship at Harvard University by year's end. In his remarks, he avoided using the word 'stimulus' but said that less consumer spending would hobble the economy for years. He said the decrease, however, could be offset in part by the public sector."

Read the speech: http://bit.ly/g3MUpM

Manufacturers say breaks in the tax package will spur them to hire, reports David Kocieniewski: "To many manufacturing companies, the tax cut proposal now being considered in Washington may be just enough to spur additional spending and hiring. At Yushin America, a Rhode Island company that makes and maintains robotic manufacturing equipment, executives say that the business tax breaks would allow them to invest in new machinery, new employees and even a new roof. 'It’s a chance for us to put it back in the business and grow,' said Michael Greenhalgh, operations manager of the company in Cranston, which employs 60 people and has annual sales of about $21 million."

Even the Fed's main dissenter would keep interest rates low: http://nyti.ms/gybLRU

House Democrats want to amend the tax plan to raise the estate tax, reports Jonathan Allen: "House Democratic efforts to change the tax deal struck by President Obama and congressional Republicans are focusing on an amendment to the estate tax provision, according to senior party sources familiar with a Monday leadership meeting...The House estate tax proposal, originally written by Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), would apply a 45 percent levy to wealth over $3.5 million. It was adopted 225-220. The president and congressional Republicans agreed to a rate of 35 percent for the next two years, with an exemption for the first $5 million."

The number of "temporary" tax provisions is unprecedented: http://on.wsj.com/fMpiY2

Quantitative easing two is working, writes Jeremy Siegel: "Those who look only at interest rates to judge whether monetary policy is too loose or too tight are making a mistake that monetary economists have long warned against. As a colleague of Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago in the 1970s, I remember him stressing that the extremely low interest rates of the early 1930s were not indicative of an easy monetary policy. They were instead the result of the Fed's drastically tight policy, which did not provide enough reserves to failing banks and drove the economy into the Great Depression. Similarly, the double-digit interest rates that we witnessed in the 1970s were not indicative of the Fed's brave stance against inflation but of a far-too-easy policy that inflated the money supply and heightened inflationary expectations."

We should worry about social mobility, not economic inequality, writes Michael Gerson: http://wapo.st/ghhcQ8

Adorable children who contain multitudes interlude: A 5-year-old recites "O Captain, My Captain" by Walt Whitman.

Health Care

Republicans are blocking a fix to health-care reform's tax reporting provision, report Sarah Kliff and Jennifer Haberkorn: "Republicans rebuffed a Democratic effort to repeal health reform’s universally panned 1099 IRS reporting requirements as a piggyback in the tax cut deal, congressional aides on both sides of the aisle confirm to POLITICO. The move leaves 1099 rollback in play for the next Congress, giving Republicans an easy target in an otherwise challenging landscape for health reform repeal. Democratic aides allege Republicans are stalling on repeal of the unpopular measure for political benefit. Health reform’s 1099 tax reporting provision requires businesses to file IRS paperwork on any vendor purchases moer than $600. Both parties have failed in multiple attempts to dial back the unpopular provision."

Republicans want to expedite the individual mandate lawsuit to the Supreme Court: http://politi.co/ghBAh1

The individual mandate is needed for health care reform to work, write Attorney General Eric Holder and HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius: "If we want to prevent insurers from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions, it's essential that everyone have coverage. Imagine what would happen if everyone waited to buy car insurance until after they got in an accident. Premiums would skyrocket, coverage would be unaffordable, and responsible drivers would be priced out of the market. The same is true for health insurance. Without an individual responsibility provision, controlling costs and ending discrimination against people with preexisting conditions doesn't work."

Policies other than a mandate could have the same effect and be less vulnerable to legal challenges, writes Derek Thompson: http://bit.ly/gzV2W0

Domestic Policy

Obama signed into law Michelle Obama's child nutrition bill, reports Nia-Malika Henderson: "The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act will expand the number of children in school lunch programs by 115,000, increase the reimbursement rate to school districts for meals by six cents and replace the junk food available outside the cafeteria, such as in vending machines, with more healthful options...Before supporting the law, liberal Democrats needed assurance from the White House that the $2 billion cut from the food stamp program to fund it would be restored."

The new Republican immigration subcommittee chair wants to cancel tax deductions for employers that hire illegal immigrants: http://nyti.ms/gKFYw0

Net neutrality lobbying is heating up, reports Cecilia Kang: "Expect lobbying around net neutrality to reach fever pitch through Tuesday. After that, the Federal Communications Commission will go into its bunker to deliberate a draft of rules that will be voted on Dec. 21. One group, Free Press, plans to let the FCC know that it doesn't like what it has heard so far. The public interest group will deliver a petition to the agency, with 2 million signatures, saying draft rules that don't regulate wireless networks with anti-discrimination provisions do not go far enough... AT&T executive vice president Jim Cicconi continued to make his rounds at the FCC last week, meeting with Chairman Jules Genachowski's staff and Republican commissioners Robert McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker."

The lame duck session may last past this week in the Senate: http://politi.co/e0mS8r

Conservatives should give up on fighting the social safety net, writes Jim Manzi: "While it is always possible that some future society will find a way to cultivate widespread wealth and stability without a welfare system, or that existing welfare systems will wither away, the welfare state appears to be concomitant with the growth that capitalism creates. As far as can be determined from history, the idea of an advanced capitalist society without a welfare system is misplaced nostalgia -- or more accurately, an anachronism. It is like wishing for a commercial jet aircraft without wing stabilizers. If it is not advisable to eliminate the welfare system, we can at least understand reforms to it as attempts to create a check on a check."

Man versus nature interlude: A horse joins a bicycle race.

Energy

International climate negotiations aren't getting any easier, report Alex Morales, Kim Chipman, and Jim Efstathiou: "No new targets for curbing greenhouse gases were set, and debate on the future of the Kyoto Protocol, which limits emissions by developed countries until 2012, was put off until the next meeting in Durban, South Africa, in December 2011. With President Barack Obama struggling to salvage his energy agenda and richer and poorer nations in conflict over extending Kyoto’s emission limits, a new worldwide climate treaty may be 20 years away, said Tim Wirth, who in 1997 led the U.S. delegation in Kyoto, Japan. Such a delay endangers the future of $2.7 billion a year in pollution credits sold under a UN program based on the Kyoto agreement."

Mark Begich and Lindsay Graham will lead Senate efforts on energy policy next year: http://bit.ly/fIK2Ny

A Swedish town has basically eliminated fossil fuel usage, reports Elisabeth Rosenthal: "Kristianstad has already crossed a crucial threshold: the city and surrounding county, with a population of 80,000, essentially use no oil, natural gas or coal to heat homes and businesses, even during the long frigid winters. It is a complete reversal from 20 years ago, when all of their heat came from fossil fuels. But this area in southern Sweden, best known as the home of Absolut vodka, has not generally substituted solar panels or wind turbines for the traditional fuels it has forsaken. Instead, as befits a region that is an epicenter of farming and food processing, it generates energy from a motley assortment of ingredients like potato peels, manure, used cooking oil, stale cookies and pig intestines."

A "clean" energy standard's chances of passing are increasing, reports Ben Geman: "A leading Democrat on energy policy signaled Monday that he’s open to a 'clean' energy standard for utilities -- a GOP-backed proposal that’s favorable to new nuclear plants and low-emissions coal projects. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) has long championed a renewable electricity standard that would require utilities to supply escalating amounts of power from sources like wind and solar. Bingaman said in the Capitol Monday that he’d look at a wider standard that includes non-renewable forms of energy -- but only if it doesn’t crowd out the renewables."

Closing credits: Wonkbook is compiled and produced with help from Dylan Matthews, Mike Shepard, and Michelle Williams. Photo credit: White House.

By Ezra Klein  | December 14, 2010; 6:21 AM ET
Categories:  Wonkbook  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Reconciliation
Next: Why the tax deal might fail

Comments

So the mandate will soon be outlawed and the GOP will NEVER allow any incremental tweaks to Obamacare.

So what? Seems that the new system can easily adapt regardless of the fact that the GOP will continually try to sabotage the system. That's because there are always loopholes in laws that businesses can exploit.

As I understand the new law, providers are now banned from rejecting applicants because of pre-existing conditions, but they are not banned from adjusting premiums for different classes of customers (i.e. healthy customers, sick customers, young customers, old customers).

This would mean that under the new law providers can jack-up premiums to unaffordable levels for people who game the system and wait until they get sick before joining.

I don't believe providers can achieve their desired profit margins by simply raising premiums for those who don't game the system, because eventually no one would be able to afford insurance.

Eventually, people will realize that people who are gaming the system can't really wait to buy insurance until they get sick because they will be unable to afford the initial premiums (and deductibles, etc). Such premiums and deductibles will be designed to keep sick people from applying for and buying insurance.

And so people will learn that if they want quality health care they will have to buy insurance while they are healthy.

Now, should I be wrong about that, then what happens then is that profit margins for providers will start declining. And when that happens those providers will be pressuring the GOP to allow tweaks to the law.

Indeed the GOP will eventually allow such tweaks long before the calls for a true single payer system become ardent or long before insurance companies go out of business because no one can afford insurance. But the GOP will exploit these tweaks to full advantage in the same way they have prevented permanent tweaks to, for example, the doc fix, a problem they like to keep around so they can exploit it politically on an annual basis.

This is all one reason why I am no longer a Republican. Namely, the GOP doesn't believe in long-term fixes to real problems that affect the average American.

Obamacare could easily help solve many of our health system problems if we had two parties willing to make annual tweaks to the system as time goes by. Instead, as usual, the GOP instead wants to sabotage the system and polarize the people for political purposes.

Posted by: lauren2010 | December 14, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

“It makes no sense to me to provide huge tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires while we drive up the national debt that our children and grandchildren will have to pay," Sanders said in a statement after the vote."

there is a thin line to walk between standing on principle, and being a self-righteous individual.
watching barack obama and michelle obama signing a law at tubman elementary high school, yesterday, and to imagine their conversations, and knowing their heartfelt concern, and deep understanding of american life, in a way that sanders does not,and knowing their concern for those americans who have less and need more, makes me realize all the more, how hard it has to be for barack obama to thread the needle, and make difficult compromises, and how much easier it is, to dig your heels in on principles, instead of plowing through the hard work of compromises for the greater good.
watching president obama over these years, is a lesson in how a very good person can exist in politics, and make the world a better place.
it seems to me that it is a whole lot easier to be howard dean or bernie sanders, than to make complicated compromises and walk a hard road, like the president.
he doesnt allow himself the luxury of self-righteousness, in having to make very tough and pragmatic decisions.
he has had to maneuver through extraordinarily rough waters, and through much scornfulness, but he is prevailing, and we will be the better for it.

Posted by: jkaren | December 14, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

So it's just fine with the House if the Bill goes down, eh???

That 8 hr Filibuster everyone is so proud of meant absolutely nothing if Unemployment Checks are abruptly stopped. "Vote for us! We care more about political posturing than the Unemployed. Morally corrupt just like the GOP! Bonus: Prez is Undermined, No Start Treaty.....Responsible Leadership in Action. Going Teabagger!"

Posted by: carolerae48 | December 14, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

As I understand the new law, providers are now banned from rejecting applicants because of pre-existing conditions, but they are not banned from adjusting premiums for different classes of customers (i.e. healthy customers, sick customers, young customers, old customers).

Posted by: lauren2010 | December 14, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

this would be wrong. There is a 4 to 1 ratio as per the plan. From Wikipedia:

The new program sets premiums as if for a standard population and not for a population with a higher health risk. Allows premiums to vary by age (4:1), geographic area, and family composition.

You'll note that nowhere in there does is say anything about health risk. So no pre-ex means no pre-ex. Feel free to correct yourself anytime.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Protection_and_Affordable_Care_Act


Also I'll note that if the mandate falls and equal protections are not put in to avoid adverse selection against insurers you'll see costs nationwide similar to MA or NY or NJ. And those states can somewhat afford it. Most all others can't.


Also we're already seeing with clients caps come off normally capped limits like speech therapy, physical therapy etc. All caps come off as of 2014 and if you don't believe this will increase costs then you're naive, stupid or both. This will lead to providers gauging the system further to increase their profits where in the past they would have looked for new treatments if they weren't backstopped by insurance.

Posted by: visionbrkr | December 14, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

"As I understand the new law, providers are now banned from rejecting applicants because of pre-existing conditions, but they are not banned from adjusting premiums for different classes of customers (i.e. healthy customers, sick customers, young customers, old customers)."

Insurers can only adjust their rates due to age (3:1), geography, family composition and tobacco use per the new law.

http://www.kff.org/healthreform/upload/8061.pdf (pg 5/13, insurance market and rating rules)

"I don't believe providers can achieve their desired profit margins by simply raising premiums for those who don't game the system, because eventually no one would be able to afford insurance."

Even if providers could charge more for the sick (which they can't under PPACA), remember the subsidies.

Anyone individual with income less than ~$44,000 or a family of four with income less than ~$88,000 sees their portion of the insurance premium capped at 9.5% of income ($4,180 and $8,360, respectively) no matter what the total cost of the premium. Premiums would have to be very high to be unaffordable for a household at 500%+ of the poverty level. If premiums did rise high enough to be unaffordable for a high income household, the household breadwinner could always go into work and demand a pay cut in order to be elligible for the subsidies.

"Indeed the GOP will eventually allow such tweaks long before the calls for a true single payer system become ardent or long before insurance companies go out of business because no one can afford insurance."

While you could be right that sabotaging the PPACA could lead to political support for single payer, things could always go the other way. Per Gruber's analysis Ezra linked to yesterday, without the mandate only 6.8 million more people will be covered in 2019 but it will cost the government nearly $200 billion a year and individual market premiums will soar. It depends on whether insurance companies or Obamacare receive the blame.

In any case, I think you can replicate the effects of the mandate pretty well with a tax credit rather than a penalty.

Posted by: justin84 | December 14, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

justin84,

liberals will blame insurers. conservatives will blame Obamacare.

I also don't know that a tax credit will work as well as a penalty. A penalty has worked in MA. (97% covered) I don't know of anywhere where a tax credit has been tried and worked.

Posted by: visionbrkr | December 14, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Odd at this eleventh hour, with upwards of 5-6 millions 99ers hanging on every breath, how l/t unemployed are interwoven with America's HCR conumdrum. 99ers, in addition to being the anathema of gov't stats folks who will die if the ACTUAL number of 99ers out there is publicly cited, have a pre-existing condition. Fuse that with our sloth and suckling and it is no wonder why NO ONE will mention us or even fight for us. Remember: Those of you with nationally syndicated blogs and appear on all the cable shows (and maybe even have some clout with a WH staffer, etc.), you copy/paste what appears in the downloads each day: "...the "deal" (my parenthesis) will benefit the unemployed."

NO, IT WILL NOT! It marginalizes all of us, Tiers I-IV and the 99ers. The mirror that we all ask those with jobs and money (and power) to look into for an epiphany once in a while has fallen and the shards apparently can only be addressed one at a time.

Obama's version of Schindler's List.

Posted by: kickoradell | December 14, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

So according to vision and justin, all these complaints I here lately from conservatives that Obamacare is causing rates to go up for everyone are just patently false.

Posted by: lauren2010 | December 14, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

lauren,

I don't think I said that.

When you increase coverage levels you do increase costs incrementally AND by over-utilization.

For example when you say there is a cap on physical therapy of say 30 visits per year (as was the case by NJ law) it allows people to go for treatment they need but doesn't allow them or doctors to abuse it. I'm not a doctor but if after 30 visits physical therapy isn't fixing the problem sufficiently don't you think that alternate means should be attmpted?

Now that those caps are increasing and eventually going away this will increase both total overall cost as well as abuse of the system allowing physical therapists to continue treatments that don't fix the problem. This will increase costs too.

This is just one example. All other caps set are in for a reason and are there to address overall costs. Its not because insurers are EVIL and out to get you liberals. that's what gets lost with the rhetoric that comes from the left.

Posted by: visionbrkr | December 14, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"So according to vision and justin, all these complaints I here lately from conservatives that Obamacare is causing rates to go up for everyone are just patently false."

Not everyone's rate, no.

If you are sick, community rating will bring your rate down substantially.

If you aren't sick your premium will increase, unless you make less than 400% of the FPL in which case the taxpayers pay for most/all of your health insurance. However, if you're young and healthy, make 400%+ of the FPL and are currently in the individual market, your rate will soar.

If you have employer provided insurance, your costs will also go up because reform will push up utilization and you aren't getting much (anything?) in the way of new subsidies as an offset.

Posted by: justin84 | December 14, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"I also don't know that a tax credit will work as well as a penalty. A penalty has worked in MA. (97% covered) I don't know of anywhere where a tax credit has been tried and worked."

Visionbrkr,

I think it depends on the size of the credit/deduction.

I mean the mandate is worth what, $695 or 2.5% of AGI?

Imagine making someone inelligible for any tax deduction or exemption without proof of health insurance for the prior year. Losing that would cost an individual in the 25% tax bracket $2,337.50 if they took the standard deduction and a personal exemption.

Posted by: justin84 | December 14, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

It's just my impression, but isn't this latest ruling against the ACA getting a lot more media attention than the two previous rulings in favor, plus I believe some other summary dismissals. It's being said the opponents have "won the first round". When in fact this is at least the third round.

Posted by: jtmiller42 | December 14, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

If you have employer provided insurance, your costs will also go up because reform will push up utilization and you aren't getting much (anything?) in the way of new subsidies as an offset.

Posted by: justin84 | December 14, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

a lot of this depends on what state you're in and the current pre-ex laws in that state. Every situation is different on so many factors but overall an increase in utilization is expected and will increase costs just as a mandate (not an individual one) but a mandate to cover procedure "X" is required that was not before or increased where it was limited before.

Posted by: visionbrkr | December 14, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I mean the mandate is worth what, $695 or 2.5% of AGI?

Imagine making someone inelligible for any tax deduction or exemption without proof of health insurance for the prior year. Losing that would cost an individual in the 25% tax bracket $2,337.50 if they took the standard deduction and a personal exemption.

Posted by: justin84 | December 14, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

don't forget its whatever is GREATER. This means many people will not forgo insurance. Also if you had them forgo their deductions could a smart business person just make sure they had no deductions or limited them to the point where it made more financial sense to do so? Sometimes I think if the individual mandate goes away we'd be better off with just set open enrollment periods and financial penalties (similar to what medicare does to those that enroll after age 65 without creditable coverage).

In the end I don't care how we get there but costs right now are increasing at exorbident levels in blue states like mine solely because of limited or non-existent pre-ex provisions and no individual mandate.

Posted by: visionbrkr | December 14, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Ezra speaking of the First Lady, don't know how you feel about your colleague Jennfier, but she made a lying unprincipled attack on her this morning. Here's what Jennifer wrote in her Morning Bits segment:

"Who knew? Michelle Obama claims, "Childhood obesity isn't just a public health threat, it's not just an economic threat, it's a national security threat as well.... We can't just leave it up to the parents." Thunk. In a nutshell, the liberal nanny state."


And, here's what the First Lady ACTUALLY said:

"And from military leaders who tell us that when more than one in four young people are unqualified for military service because of their weight, childhood obesity isn’t just a public health threat, it’s not just an economic threat, it’s a national security threat as well. These folks come at this issue from all different angles. But they’ve come together to support this bill because they know that it’s the right thing to do for our kids. And they know that in the long run, it won’t just save money, it will save lives.”


Note the use of ellipses to make her statement appear nonsensical and the inclusion of the line about parents in the quotes, which appears nowhere in the printed remarks.

Though you and I disagree every day, I have never seen you pull a stunt like that yet!

Posted by: 54465446 | December 14, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

yeah, for practical purposes there's no real difference between the mandate and any of the many tax incentives that are already apparently constitutional.

Posted by: eggnogfool | December 14, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse


Refinancing means taking out a new mortgage with a lower interest rate to pay off your existing mortgage, search online for "123 Mortgage Refinance" I got 2.831% rate on refinance!

Posted by: terellwilson | December 15, 2010 2:28 AM | Report abuse

Yes most of the brands do give out samples of their products. Look for "123 Get Samples" online and get the samples. They are the best. You wont need CC.

Posted by: merelevi | December 15, 2010 4:44 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company