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Posted at 7:01 AM ET, 02/28/2011

Wonkbook: Government shutdown delayed

By Ezra Klein

PH2011021406379 (2).jpg

At least for a few weeks. Late on Friday, House GOP leadership unveiled a two-week extension of government funding that cuts $4 billion -- but only goes after programs President Obama targeted for elimination in his budget. For Democrats, that's good enough. Reid spokesman Jon Summers, in a statement that should be taught in political flack school as an example of how to attack your opponent while agreeing with the reasonable compromise measure they've offered, said, "We are encouraged to hear that Republicans are abandoning their demands for extreme measures like cuts to border security, cancer research and food safety inspectors and instead moving closer to Democrats' position that we should cut government spending in a smart, responsible way that targets waste and excess while keeping our economy growing."

As for what happens when this spending bill expires in a few weeks? That's tougher. The Republican proposal goes after some of the low-hanging fruit by using the cuts Obama identified in his budget. And it doesn't bridge the two essential arguments between the Republicans and the Democrats, which are how much spending to cut, and where it should come from. So we can't yet say that disaster is averted. But it is, at the least, delayed.

Top Stories

A short-term budget deal is near, report Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane: "The threat of a government shutdown receded Friday, as Senate Democrats tentatively embraced a Republican plan to immediately cut $4 billion in federal spending by targeting programs that President Obama has already marked for elimination. The GOP proposal, unveiled late Friday by House leaders, would keep the government running only until March 18 - two weeks past the current March 4 deadline - a shorter extension than Democrats are seeking. But by offering a stopgap measure that cuts only programs Obama has identified as unnecessary, Republicans appear to have broken an impasse over spending that has been brewing since they took control of the House this year."

Tens of thousands of protestors are swarming Madison, Wisconsin, report Michael Fletcher and Sandhya Somashekhar: "Tens of thousands of demonstrators swarmed the state Capitol building here Saturday in protest of Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to strip public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights. Protesters have crowded around the Capitol for more than a week, since unrest erupted over the Republican governor's plan. Local media quoted police as saying the crowds Saturday were on track to rival those last weekend, which were estimated at nearly 70,000. Walker threatened on Friday to trigger as many as 12,000 layoffs beginning next week unless lawmakers enact his plan. The demonstration is certain to be the largest of dozens taking place around the country against Walker and other Republican governors who have taken similar stands against their public employee unions."

The rumored crackdown on protesters in the state capitol never happened, reports Andy Kroll: "It was the eviction that never happened. Police inside the capitol were expected to remove protesters at 4 p.m. But 4 p.m. came and went, and nothing happened. Yes, the protesters have been mostly moved off of ground floor of the rotunda and up to the 1st floor. But apart from that, the party continues here inside the Wisconsin capitol."

Events in the Midwest and Middle East could affect the recovery, report Neil Irwin and Michael Fletcher: "Just when the economic recovery seemed to gain momentum, two new threats have emerged that could undermine it. One has flared in the Midwest, the other in the Middle East. The standoff over benefits for public employees in Wisconsin, pitting Gov. Scott Walker (R) against unions and their Democratic allies, presages battles in many state capitals that could lead to hundreds of thousands of public jobs being cut nationwide...Budget cutting is already taking a greater toll than analysts had expected, according to figures released Friday by the Commerce Department...Political turmoil in Libya and other Arab nations, meanwhile, has driven the price of oil up 14 percent this week and is already starting to mean higher prices for American consumers at the gasoline pump. The price spike could buffet global financial markets if the upheaval spreads further."

Debates over monetary policy reflect a split between theorists and empiricists, writes Christina Romer: "Empiricists, as the name suggests, put most weight on the evidence. Empirical analysis shows that the main determinants of inflation are past inflation and unemployment. Inflation rises when unemployment is below normal and falls when it is above normal. Though there is much debate about what level of unemployment is now normal, virtually no one doubts that at 9 percent, unemployment is well above it...Theorists, on the other hand, emphasize economic models that assume people are highly rational in forming expectations of future inflation. In these models, Fed actions that call its commitment to low inflation into question can cause inflation expectations to spike, leading to actual increases in prices and wages."

British soul interlude: Adele sings "Rolling in the Deep" on the Late Show with David Letterman.

Closing credits: Wonkbook is compiled and produced with help from Dylan Matthews and Michelle Williams.

Want Wonkbook delivered to your inbox or mobile device? Subscribe!

Still to come: The Senate is taking up patent reform -- and it's proving surprisingly contentious; regulators asre beginning to define what count as 'essential benefits' on the health-care law; governors disagree on how flexible to make health care reform; there is little evidence that public workers are overpaid; the EPA emerges from the short-term spending bill unscathed; and the gritty, live-action Archie movie.


Obama has few options for helping cash-strapped states, reports Zachary Goldfarb: "The budget crisis facing many states is threatening to undermine key elements of President Obama's agenda, but with Republicans in control of the House and widespread concern over the federal deficit, he has few options to make a significant difference. Even those who say Obama needs to secure significant new federal spending to help states avoid cutting health care and education programs and laying off workers acknowledge the limits. 'We know there is not a great appetite for major new funding, but there is a real short-term crisis here,' said Charles Loveless, the legislative director of a powerful labor union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees."

The Senate is taking up patent reform -- and it's proving surprisingly controversial, reports Ed Wyatt: "The Senate on Monday will begin debating a bill that critics say will undermine American strength abroad, plunder the United States economy and exceed the government’s constitutional authority...Rarely has the Patent and Trademark Office elicited such passions. But included in the bill is a long-debated feature that would change the federal patent system to a 'first to file' protocol of determining patent priority — one used by nearly all of the rest of the world — from its current 'first to invent' system. 'This bill would be death to innovation in America,' said Phyllis Schlafly, the conservative writer and activist who has rallied opposition to the bill among conservative groups like the Gun Owners of America and the Christian Coalition. Those groups have joined in opposition with small-business advocates and groups of professional engineers, who say that the change would favor big corporations over small inventors and make it harder for start-ups to ward off people seeking to steal their ideas."

HAMP, set to be cut by Congress, has been largely ineffective, report Alan Zibel and Louise Radnofsky: "Just one in four of the 2.7 million homeowners who sought to participate in the Obama administration's signature mortgage assistance program have succeeded in getting their monthly payments reduced. The rest failed to qualify for the program or were disqualified after they were initially accepted into the program, according to an analysis by the Wall Street Journal of data on applicants to the program newly released by the Treasury Department... House Republicans have called the program a waste of money and are considering a bill this week to end the program."

China is aiming for lower growth:

Even Republicans like budget director Jack Lew, reports Lori Montgomery: "At 27, Jacob J. Lew helped save Social Security. At 41, he helped cut a deal to balance the federal budget. During the Clinton administration, he became the only White House budget director in a generation to banish deficit spending. In a city suddenly crawling with would-be deficit-busters, even some Republicans recognize Lew as the real deal. 'You guys did an absolutely magnificent job of managing the nation's fiscal affairs,' Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) gushed when Lew, in his second stint as White House budget director, appeared last week before the House Budget Committee. 'It's true it was a Republican Congress, but give credit where credit is due. You guys did a great job.' Now President Obama has asked Lew to work that magic again."

Regulator flip flops are unhealthy, writes Steven Pearlstein:

Texas' education cuts show the cost of austerity, writes Paul Krugman: "In low-tax, low-spending Texas, the kids are not all right. The high school graduation rate, at just 61.3 percent, puts Texas 43rd out of 50 in state rankings. Nationally, the state ranks fifth in child poverty; it leads in the percentage of children without health insurance. And only 78 percent of Texas children are in excellent or very good health, significantly below the national average. But wait -- how can graduation rates be so low when Texas had that education miracle back when former President Bush was governor? Well, a couple of years into his presidency the truth about that miracle came out: Texas school administrators achieved low reported dropout rates the old-fashioned way -- they, ahem, got the numbers wrong."

Mary Meeker and Kleiner Perkins look at the US as if it were a business:

Felix Salmon is not amused: " Try asking a “corporate turnaround specialist” to turn around a corporation run as a democracy, where every employee gets an equal vote. Auditing business lines isn’t going to help you much there. Besides, Meeker’s 'spending problem' is in the future, and overwhelmingly in Medicare and Medicaid — her 'negative net worth' number of $44 trillion for the USA includes $58.1 trillion in future Medicare and Medicaid liabilities. And her solutions on that front are all but nonexistent: 'isolate and address the drivers of medical cost inflation' or 'improve efficiency / productivity of healthcare system; are not an answers so much as just ways of restating the question. There’s really no point in calling for “brutal decisions” while at the same point refusing to take any view on what those decisions should be. And it might come as a shock to Meeker, but you can’t really extrapolate from the rich and well-educated employees of technology and financial-services firms to Americans as a whole."

Parody trailer interlude: The gritty live-action Archie movie adaptation.

Health Care

Regulators are starting to debate what constitutes "essential care", reports Avery Johnson: "Maggie Haslam's five-year-old autistic son, Drew, has undergone intense behavioral, physical and speech therapy that helped him learn to dress himself and communicate such concepts as 'over' and 'under.' The therapy greatly helped Drew, said Ms. Haslam, a public-relations agent in Silver Spring, Md. But was it essential? The next big issue for the federal health law as it moves toward implementation is how regulators will define so-called essential benefits—the basic medical services that health plans must cover under the law. The legislation gives 10 categories of care that plans must provide for customers of the health-insurance exchanges that are launching in 2014. But the law leaves details up to regulators, who are now starting to develop the rules."

Democratic and Republican governors are split on how flexible to make health reform, report Amy Goldstein and Dan Balz: "Democratic and Republican governors, burdened by crushing budget pressures from Medicaid, said Sunday that federal officials should allow them more freedom to change eligibility rules and other aspects of the public health insurance program for the poor. But they displayed sharp ideological differences over how far such flexibility should go...Several conservative governors urged Congress and the Obama administration to convert Medicaid, a pillar of the nation's social safety net for nearly half a century, from an entitlement program to a block grant. The idea would be similar to the profound change that welfare underwent in the mid-1990s, when the government began to give states a fixed sum of money each year, along with latitude to spend it as they wanted."

More than half of all states want permission to cuts hundreds of thousands from their Medicaid rolls:

Budget cuts could threaten health spending everyone likes, writes Walter Shapiro: "A prime example is the $5-billion National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the $31-billion National Institutes of Health (NIH). Aside from ideologically pure libertarians who probably think that Thomas Jefferson went too far with the Louisiana Purchase, no one believes that battling cancer should be left to the private sector and the vagaries of the profit motive. Since the Cancer Institute (like the NIH) spends nearly 80 percent of its money on grants, it is difficult to portray these medical research agencies as exemplars of bloated Big Government. The arbitrary nature of the budget battles means that NIH is on the chopping block along with the rest of discretionary domestic spending."

The individual mandate could be replaced if struck down in court, write Kevin Outterson and Austin Frakt:

Domestic Policy

It is hard to say whether public workers are overpaid, report Michael Luo and Michael Cooper: "Are state workers overpaid? An analysis of recently released census data compiled for The New York Times by demographers at Queens College of the City University of New York yields a complicated picture, one that highlights the variation in pay from state to state and occupation to occupation, and one that does not fit neatly into a one-size-fits-all approach to cost cutting. The clearest pattern to emerge is an educational divide: workers without college degrees tend to do better on state payrolls, while workers with college degrees tend to do worse. That divide has grown more pronounced in recent decades. Since 1990, the median wage of state workers without college degrees has come to surpass that of workers in the private sector."

Arne Duncan is urging states to avoid education cuts;

A product safety database could be killed in House cuts, reports Lyndsey Layton: "The first-ever government database of product safety complaints, which is scheduled to go public in two weeks, could be scrapped as a result of a budget amendment offered by a freshman member of the House. As part of the spending bill that passed the House on Feb. 19, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) won support for a measure to withhold money to implement the system, which is set to launch March 11. The database, which was welcomed by consumer advocates, would make public thousands of complaints received by the Consumer Product Safety Commission each year about safety problems with products, from table lamps to baby strollers."

Teacher development could transform our school system, writes Bill Gates:

Collective bargaining can reduce deficits, writes Michael Bloomberg: "In New York City, we share the same goal as cities and states across the nation -- less spending and better services. We, too, are seeking to legislate changes to reduce pension and benefit costs and modernize our labor laws. But in some cases, we believe expanding collective bargaining would be more beneficial than trying to eliminate it. For example, in New York, state government -- not the city -- has the authority to set pension benefits for city workers, but city taxpayers get stuck with the bill...Our proposal to the state is simple: legislate lower costs this year and, going forward, give us the authority to negotiate fair pension savings ourselves."

Interlude making fun of past interludes: Al Qaeda Attacks Internet With Photo Of Adorable Piglet.


The GOP's short-term spending bill does not target the EPA, reports Andrew Restuccia: "The short-term spending bill released Friday by House Republicans does not include language to block funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate rules or slash the agency’s budget. The continuing resolution (CR) would fund the government for two weeks while lawmakers work out a longer-term spending bill to keep the government running through the end of the fiscal year. The Republican proposal would cut current spending by $4 billion. Democrats said Friday they were 'encouraged' by the proposal. The House passed earlier this month a broad continuing resolution that would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year. The measure, which would cut current spending by $61 billion, includes a provision to block funding for EPA climate regulations."

Closing credits: Wonkbook is compiled and produced with help from Dylan Matthews and Michelle Williams. Photo credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais Photo

By Ezra Klein  | February 28, 2011; 7:01 AM ET
Categories:  Wonkbook  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Reconciliation
Next: Health care doesn't keep people healthy -- even in Canada


The government shutdown may have been "averted" but the real story is that the crisis framing has effectively been prolonged. Two weeks? I think we can expect a Republican strategery of manufacturing one long contextless deficit crisis for the next year at least.

Posted by: BobFred | February 28, 2011 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Both physicians and Wisconsin Senate Democrats have taken an oath. Wisconsin Senate Democrats are being hailed for departing from their posts and refusing to vote their consciences as part of an elected body, all in violation of their oath. Will physicians who violate their oaths by refusing to treat indigent patients be equally rewarded by supportive Democrats? Or are Democrats just piggishly greedy and self-interested, persecuting those they disfavor while allowing the favored few to toss aside oaths and violate laws?

As a result of the Obama/Pelosi PPACA, unelected, unaccountable THIRD-TIER regulators will now determine what is essential health care. The "Institute of Medicine, which has been charged by the Department of Health and Human Services with making recommendations on defining criteria for deciding what are essential benefits. Lobbying on all categories has been intense," and payoffs are likely to be even more intense. Good news for Democrats: the union corporations will be at the table with their hands out, too!

As a result of the Obama/Pelosi PPACA, MORE than a MAJORITY of the Sovereign States are now forced "to remove hundreds of thousands of people from the Medicaid" program. It's collective bargaining, so it must be a good thing.

Several patriotic governors have begged "the Obama administration to convert Medicaid, [which, despite evidence to the contrary, its devotees continue to hail as] a pillar of the nation's social safety net for nearly half a century, from an entitlement program to a block grant. The idea would be similar to the profound change that welfare underwent in the mid-1990s, when the government began to [return to] states a fixed sum of [taxpayer] money each year, along with latitude to spend [such taxpayer money collected by federal authorities] as [the Sovereign States] wanted."

Oh, fuel prices are rising and the 2012 election is getting closer.

Posted by: rmgregory | February 28, 2011 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I dont know what to say.

The GOP is so nihilistic and the Dems so cowardly that they are all useless and dangerous.

Our gvmt is completely broke and I don't see it getting fixed in our lifetimes.

History will write that Americans were even more stupid than the Easter Islanders, people who cut down all their trees only to learn too late they were their lifelines.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 28, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

"A prime example is the $5-billion National Cancer Institute (NCI) one believes that battling cancer should be left to the private sector and the vagaries of the profit motive."

Shapiro assumes that cancer researchers with new ideas wouldn't be able to find funding without government help. I find that assumption to be absurd.

Not that there is anything wrong with the profit motive, but I'd like to remind everyone that private does not necessarily equal for-profit. The goal of libertarians is not to maximize corporate profits - in fact, if every good or service was provided by a private, non-profit organization, a libertarian would have nothing to object to.

$5 billion works out to be about 16 bucks per person. I find it hard to believe that NCI couldn't find that much via donations - particularly if people weren't forced to fund programs they objected to via coercive taxation.

Imagine if the trillion dollars spent annually on global empire was sent back to the taxpayers, and they were allowed to dispose of their own money as they saw fit. Surely many billions would continue to flow into defense, but hundreds of billions would be available for other uses. I'd imagine a couple of billion would find their way towards cancer research - many people seem to place a high value on it.

Posted by: justin84 | February 28, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"Debates over monetary policy reflect a split between theorists and empiricists, writes Christina Romer"

Christina Romer


Any questions?

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 28, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

"Texas' education cuts show the cost of austerity, writes Paul Krugman: "In low-tax, low-spending Texas, the kids are not all right. The high school graduation rate, at just 61.3 percent, puts Texas 43rd out of 50 in state rankings"

After a good week last week, Krugman is back to obfuscating the truth. With one of the top three illegal immigration rates in the nation, any statistical comparison of Texas to say Monatana or Vermont is completely invalid, as any fool would know.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 28, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

No one probably cares about it but take a second to think about Frank Buckles the last veteran of WWI who died yesterday. Not only did he live through that as an ambulance driver, he survived three years of internment by the Japanese in WWII. He was freed by what is arguably the greatest and yet nearly unknown special operations action in US history, the raid on Santo Tomas prison.

This man was alive for 44% of our nations's history, just an amazing life!

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 28, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

"Empiricists, as the name suggests, put most weight on the evidence. Empirical analysis shows that the main determinants of inflation are past inflation and unemployment. Inflation rises when unemployment is below normal and falls when it is above normal. Though there is much debate about what level of unemployment is now normal, virtually no one doubts that at 9 percent, unemployment is well above it...For theorists, any rise in an indicator of expected or future inflation, like the recent boom in commodity prices, suggests that the Fed’s credibility is at risk. They fear that general inflation could re-emerge quickly, despite high unemployment."

What about the UK?

CPI inflation has shot up from 1.1% YoY back in Sept09, and is currently 4.0% YoY. Unemployment for both periods was 7.9%, well above the 5.3% 10 year average prior to the great recession.

And if unemployment is at the new normal in the UK (which would explain the high inflation from an empirical perspective), why shouldn't the UK engage in fiscal austerity to bring down the budget deficit?

Posted by: justin84 | February 28, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse


The UK is a very interesting case. What has happened to them is that the recession has further eroded most British industries, which will never resume their prior levels. If you look at their GDP, you will see that an inordinate amount of it comes from the financial/insurance sector. In fact it can be argued that the ONLY relevance the UK has in the 21st century is this primacy.

They moved rates where we didn't because they had to protect their only legitimate claim to superpower status.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 28, 2011 9:57 AM | Report abuse

"What has happened to them is that the recession has further eroded most British industries, which will never resume their prior levels."

In that case, isn't the UK more or less at full employment? And if so, isn't now the time for the UK to tighten the budget?

"They moved rates where we didn't"

Could you elaborate a bit more on this John?

Posted by: justin84 | February 28, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse


My bad. Great Britain dramatically cut it's budget in the fall of last year causing wider unemployment in an effort to support the pound. I thought they had also raised rates at that time, but they had not.

Their projected deficit at that time was about 10% of GDP where as ours was about 9% of GDP. The numbers have of course worsened for both countries.

The attempt to avoid raising interest rates, didn't work and now they're expected to raise rates soon, possibly next month to combat inflation which in January was 3.97%

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 28, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Krugman is misrepresenting Texas.

Across the nation, high school performance is pretty well correlated with the number of minorities you have in your state.

Iowa does so well not because it spends money, but rather because its all white.

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 28, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Great article on Medicaid.

Medicaid is a plague on state budgets and society. The states cannot withstand its raw destruction.

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 28, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

So if Krugman is lying let's see the proof.

Vague complaints about immigration don't cut it.

We need data.

I just saw one chart saying that white Texans graduate at about the national average among whites (which means Texas would rate about 25 or 26 for just whites). Blacks also graduated about the national average, but there was a significant difference between white/black rates in Texas, and of course the hispanic rates were bad too.

The chart didn't say whether there were any illegal kids affecting the stats.

That chart wasn't proof either way so I didn't link to it, though it did show Texas was not stellar at the least even for whites and blacks.

I'd like to see the skeptics here provide actual proof that illegal kids skewed the ratings. They made that claim so presumably they have the proof.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 28, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

BTW, when you provide the proof, please let us know BOTH the legal hispanic drop out rate AND the illegal hispanic drop out rate. Surely, those two must be different if Krugman is lying.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 28, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse


Who said he is lying? I said he is obfuscating the truth. He is using real statistics to portray something they do not.

The dropout rates among Hispanic children nationwide are astonishing, regardless of legality. I posted in the other thread, that the out of wedlock birthrate of a state was the best guide to it's educational achievement. Not surprisingly Texas is in the top ten in that category. Matter of fact, it correlates exactly. Texas is the 7th worst education state acording to Krugman, and is also the 7th worst in the OOW rate nationally (depnding on which year of course. it flips position one rung or two from year to year)

So fiscal austerity, while being A factor is not the primary one.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 28, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

School children are going hungry. Not only is money being limited to universities, cut from junior colleges, but the children from K thru 12, middle school, and high school are arriving to classes each morning without food, without money to buy food, and the government threatens voters with a shut down. Have our leaders no responsible when it comes to protecting children in the United States?

Thomas Chi

Posted by: ThomasChi | February 28, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"Have our leaders no responsible when it comes to protecting children in the United States?"

What a buffoonish statement! Why don't you ask "have they no parents"?

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 28, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

lying, obfuscating, what's the difference, especially at this level of discourse?

You've made some claims, but you haven't proved them.

Just because there is a correlation between two trends doesn't mean there are cause and effect there.

Also, you have to show that fiscal austerity or impoverishment isn't itself contributing to the out of wedlock stats somehow.

I might guess impoverished areas have more out of wedlock births. That certainly seems reasonable. There certainly seem to be more divorce lawyers herein the South.

Indeed, are there more impoverished American citizens in Texas per capita than the lower half of California? Or the other way around?

I tend to think that Southern impoverishment happens despite having capitalism in place, and that the biggest reason for it is fiscal austerity bias in poorer areas. I know, for example, poorer polling stations in Florida have fewer voting machines per 1000 residents than in richer areas. Perhaps if the powerful and elite tried to bring up these areas instead of ignoring them there'd be greater wealth there.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 28, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I just wanted to THANK YOU so much for find 3.17% Rate. You were great! The closing went really smoothly on my Mortgage Refinance. As in the past, I'll continue to tell everyone about 123 Mortgage Refinance

Posted by: nancydavis573 | March 1, 2011 3:59 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, the real story is TEXAS and their $$$ 27 BILLION DOLLAR or more budget deficit and crisis!!!

(note: it's over two years, because the Texas legislature only meets every other year!)

You have their republican HOR member John Cornyn begging Arne Duncan for almost $1 Billion in federal education money, because Gov Perry wants to fund Texas education using Federal money.

Then you have HOR republican Hall on the NASA committee groping for more Federal NASA money for Texas and complaining that capitalism and private funding is NFG for space and technology R&D.

Don't understand the definition of conservatism except as it applies to Wyoming state legislature and how they killed a bill to ban civil unions in their state with only 4 democrats in the legislature.

This is what you should be writing about... GOP, Texas, and what it means to be conservative, (i.e., grope "off the record" and in committee hearings for federal tax money for your state).

And, they do nothing about the economic/fiscal crisis.

Posted by: FranknErnest | March 5, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

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