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08 Jul 2011 14:08


U.S.: Breakthrough Medicaid study proves its usefulness

  • 35% increased likelihood Medicaid users would go to a doctor
  • 15% increased likelihood they would use prescription drugs
  • 30% increased likelihood they would get admitted to the hospital source
  • » A new study with broad ramifications: The results of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s study may seem obvious, but the debate on whether or not to cut funding for Medicaid has long rested on whether experts thought low-income people would actually use the public form of medical insurance. The new study proves this is the case, and does it in an interesting way — rather than comparing the insured to the uninsured (a common tactic used before), the study treated Medicaid the same way researchers might treat a drug. The result? Fellow researchers are hailing the study as “historic” and say it’ll shape national health care debates for years to come.

14 Feb 2011 11:27


U.S.: By the numbers: Obama’s budget cut plans deep, but not too deep

  • $3.73
    the size of Obama’s latest budget plan, just released today
  • $1.1
    the amount Obama plans to cut from the deficit over the next decade
  • 2/3 the share of deficit cuts that would come from cutbacks in various federal programs
  • $7.2T the amount that would be added to the public debt – not the deficit – over the next decade
  • $4T the amount Obama’s own deficit commission wanted to cut over the next decade source
  • » Only one silo gets the cuts: Obama wants to effectively limit all non-security discretionary spending for the next five years, an area which only accounts for 12 percent of federal spending, at the cost of doing something about defense spending or programs like Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security – which, as popular as they are, account for huge chunks of the pie. The cuts are also much lower than what Republicans want, although they’re also hoping to avoid defense spending cuts, even though that’s a huge chunk.

10 Feb 2011 23:54


U.S.: GOP budget plan: How 2% can save you $626 billion or more!

  • 15.4% GOP’s proposed cuts to non-defense spending for the rest of 2011
  • 2.2% GOP’s proposed cuts to defense spending, under the same plan source
  • » Here’s the interesting part: Despite those numbers, the cuts to defense spending actually net about $165 billion more in savings than the non-defense cuts. Why? Simple: We spend a crapload of money on defense. (Bonus chart with more information here.)

10 Jan 2011 20:41


U.S.: Jerry Brown gives California a bitter budgetary pill to swallow

  • $12.5B the size of the spending cuts that Jerry Brown’s trying to sell to California residents
  • five the number of years of tax increases that would also be part of the fairly risky deal
  • no Republicans are on board with Brown on this yet – he used the phrase TAX INCREASE! source
  • » About those tax increases: They would extend a series of temporary tax increase implemented in 2009, which are set to expire in July. Californians are set to vote on the increases in June. And other changes are recommended too – certain services could be transferred from state local governments (such as prisons), and services for the poor are among the ones getting cut the most. However, K-12 schools will be protected from cuts (and just about nothing else).

17 Nov 2010 11:04


U.S.: Thanks, budget cuts: Arizona man can’t get life-saving liver transplant

  • lucky Francisco Felix, a Phoenix man on the list for a liver transplant, receives a liver donation late Monday night. He has Hepatitis C, and a transplant is his only option.
  • dumb Because the state’s cuts to health care, liver transplants are no longer covered, which means that he couldn’t pony up the $200,000 to pay for the liver. source

11 Nov 2010 09:42


Politics: Obama: Skip the politics, let’s listen to fiscal commission’s ideas

  • Before anybody starts shooting down proposals, I think we need to listen, we need to gather up all the facts. If people are, in fact, concerned about spending, debt, deficits and the future of our country, then they’re going to need to be armed with the information about the kinds of choices that are going to be involved, and we can’t just engage in political rhetoric.
  • President Barack Obama • Offering firm – but vague – support for his fiscal commission’s work. An early version if his report was released yesterday, and it specifically made Democrats very angry (and Republicans as well, over proposed massive defense cuts). Obama’s point? Let’s look at their ideas, avoid the politics and start talking about what makes most sense. That said, though, Obama’s not offering specifics until he sees the full report, which isn’t coming along until December 1. Plus, he’s in Seoul, not DC. source

20 Oct 2010 10:15


World: The word of the day in Britain is “austerity.” Hey, budget cuts!

  • Hear that sound? That’s the sound of a bunch of Brits taking in the government’s new austerity measures, a tour that’s hit many other European nations already. (In some countries, such as France and Greece, the reaction has been harsh and violent.) They have a plan to decrease their spending within a few years, and much of the cut is going to come directly from their welfare state. They’re cutting in other places, too, but this is where the average person will feel it most:
  • 19% in overall spending cuts over the next four years
  • 2015 the year British finance minister George Osbourne says they want have the budget balanced
  • 490k the number of public sector job cuts Osbourne says they expect to make due to austerity measures source
  • 66 the new retirement age (by year 2020) – and France is bitching about retiring at 62
  • 24 the minimum number of hours that couples need to work to receive the Working Tax Credit
  • £7B the amount the government says it could save each year with new welfare cuts source
  • » Where they’re still heavily focused: The country is making great efforts towards green energy, investing in wind energy and cutting carbon. Still, it’s worth emphasizing that these are coming during a period where they’re making some of the harshest cuts since World War II.

05 Oct 2010 12:45


Culture: Forgotten legacy: Edward R. Murrow High School cuts TV budget

First rule of Edward R. Murrow High School: Don’t shut down the TV studios. Second rule: Don’t break the first rule. Oh crap. source

25 Jan 2010 21:02


U.S.: Budget cutapalooza: What it means, and why Michael Steel likes pie

  • 17% of the budget will be affected by the cap
  • » Subject to cuts: Reports say that the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Energy, Transportation, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services will be affected by the cuts. Guess what, kids? D.C.’s about to have a three-year recession.
  • » Unaffected by cuts: Social Security and Medicare (he couldn’t touch those even if he wanted), and organizations affected by military, veterans, homeland security and international affairs. The cuts only take on discretionary spending.

A douchey comment by Michael Steel:

  • Given Washington Democrats’ unprecedented spending binge, this is like announcing you’re going on a diet after winning a pie-eating contest.
  • Rep. John Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel • Regarding the budget cuts. Considering the year of controversial spending that the Obama administration has just had, we imagine any cuts in the nature of this would be welcomed by the right. Or maybe they’ll make jokes about pie contests. We’ll see. source
  • Note: in an earlier version of this story, we mistook Michael Steel for RNC chair Michael Steele. We apologize. We’re sure he gets that a lot. At least we’re not alone in making this boneheaded mistake.Thanks to Joel McDonald for correcting us below. Much appreciated.

20 Nov 2009 12:03


U.S.: How big budget cuts screwed over the California university system

  • Dismantling this institution, which is a huge economic driver for the state, is a stupendously stupid thing to do, but that’s the path the Legislature has embarked on. When you pull resources from an institution like this, faculty leave, the best grad students don’t come, and the discoveries go down.
  • University of California-Berkeley dean of the College of Chemistry Richard A. Mathies • Describing how a $813 million budget cut has decimated the system, forced tuition hikes and created huge protests at universities throughout the University of California system. We’d straight-up say the budget cut was a terrible idea, but we just want to point out the level of gridlock getting ANY budget passed in California this year. The state’s jumbled constitution and laws have had the effect of screwing the state. Simple as that. • source