Andrew J. Coulson
Just over a year ago, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the legislature was insufficiently funding K-12 education, and ordered it to boost that funding. A bi-partisan consensus now seems to have emerged that spending an extra $1 billion over the next two years is the proper first step in abiding with the Court’s ruling. Additional increases are likely to follow in later years. In a special budget session to begin today, the legislature will decide what balance of tax increases and economies in other areas will be used to raise the extra funds.
So Washington state taxpayers are looking at the prospect of ever higher taxes to pay for ever higher education spending far into the future. Unless business blossoms unexpectedly in the next few years, that’s liable to be economically painful. Will it be worth it? As a guide, we might look at how effective previous increases in spending have been.
Despite an increase in annual spending of $1.5 billion even after taking enrollment growth into account, academic performance has barely budged. The most hopeful signs are from the 4th (and uncharted 8th) grade NAEP scores, but there is good reason to doubt that even these very modest upticks lead to real reimprovements by the end of high school. One obvious indication of the problem is that SAT scores are essentially unchanged over the period. Another reason is that evidence from the NAEP Long Term Trends study reveals a pattern in which modest gains in the early grades evaporate by the end of high school (as can be seen on this nationwide chart of the performance of 17-year-olds). Based on the SAT scores, the same pattern likely holds in Washington state, but neither the Long Term Trends NAEP data series nor test results for older students are available at the state level.
Moreover, Washington state residents seem to drastically underestimate how much is spent per pupil in their public schools. In a 2012 survey, about half of respondents thought it was less than $8,000 / pupil. In fact, as shown in the chart above, total spending from all funds was $12,467 / pupil in that year. The survey also finds that when the public is informed about actual spending levels, support for increased K-12 spending falls dramatically (and that is true despite the fact that the survey in question misleadingly represented a lower partial spending figure as if it were total spending).
So Washington state has already tried even larger increases in spending than the one currently contemplated in Olympia with little or no academic effect. What’s the alternative? How about a proven policy for improving the achievement of students in both public and private schools that simultaneously saves millions of dollars?
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
Obamacare Train Wreck? Washington Post: Obama Administration “has gone hat in hand to health industry executives.”
Obamacare looks increasingly like a disaster. It could be Obama’s Iraq War. (Sadly it’s even more expensive.) Senator Baucus, a Democrat, recently said he saw an Obamacare “train wreck coming down.”
Then he announced his retirement.
Obamacare, which was forced through against the will of a majority of Americans according to polling at the time, has the potential to get very ugly indeed. And the law has only gotten more unpopular with time. Things are going so badly that Kathleen Sebelius now has to beg for funds from health industry executives (you know the people who wrote large parts of the law) to get the thing off the ground.
In other words she is playing the crony card, giving industry another chance to show which companies really want to play ball with the government, and of course reap (potential) benefits.
Thing is we may be past that point Ms. Sebelius. And as Baucus saw, you and the administration are running out of track.
(From The Washington Post)
“It sounds like the people she’s going to are people that are being regulated by her agency, I think that is definitely problematic,” said Meredith McGehee, policy director for the Campaign Legal Center. “That’s not a statement about the value of the law, but it’s a statement about using the power of government to compel giving or insinuate that giving is going to be looked at favorably by the government.”
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Huge Value-Added Tax Increases in Europe Show Why Washington Politicians Should Never Be Given a New Source of Tax Revenue
Daniel J. Mitchell
The most important, powerful, and relevant argument against the value-added tax in the short run is that we can balance the budget in just five years by capping spending so it grows at the rate of inflation, a very modest level of fiscal restraint.
The most important, powerful, and relevant argument against the value-added tax in the long run is that more than 100 percent of America’s long-term fiscal problem is too much spending.
So why even consider giving politicians a new source of revenue such as the VAT, particularly since this hidden form of national sales tax helped cause the European fiscal crisis by facilitating a bigger welfare state?*
And now Europeans are doubling down on that failed approach, thus confirming that politicians will rarely make necessary spending reforms if they think more revenue can be squeezed from taxpayers.
Here’s a chart taken from the recent European Commission report on taxation trends in the EU. As you can see, the average VAT rate in Europe has jumped by nearly 2 percentage points in just five years.
As I explained last week, European politicians also have been increasing income tax rates, so taxpayers are getting punished when they earn their income and they’re getting punished when they spend their income.
Which helps to explain why much of Europe is suffering from economic stagnation. Given the perverse incentives created by redistributionist fiscal policy, it makes more sense to climb in the wagon of government dependency.
For more information, here’s my video that describes the VAT and explains why it’s a bad idea.
*The same thing is now happening in Japan.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
One reason why Washington keeps getting bigger is that so many business people are willing to throw their competitors under the government bus. The Washington Post today describes how a major lobby group representing small banks cut a secret deal with Rep. Barney Frank to not oppose his big-government financial bill if it excluded small banks from regulations and shifted $1.5 billion in annual fees from them to the big banks.
We saw a similar jockeying of lobbyists with the Obamacare health bill, and we see it with legislation on the agenda right now. With the Internet tax bill before Congress (the Marketplace Fairness Act), giant Amazon has switched sides to support expanding online sales taxes, and thus throwing smaller retailers and consumers under the bus.
With corporate tax reform under discussion, all firms want a lower rate but some firms not targeted by base broadening seem willing to throw those that are under the bus. The problem is that some of the proposed base broadening is bad policy, so legislation could end up making road kill of economic growth.
What about the ethics of all this? It’s appalling to see how bad legislation like Dodd-Frank gets passed on the strength of special-interest payoffs. But lobbyists—such as the head of the small-bank association profiled by the Post—surely think that acting in the interests of their members is the ethical thing to do.
As for legislators, most of them probably think that you can’t make an omelette without cracking eggs. So while they may know that they are causing some damage, they also have warm feelings for the people they are helping—friends in the lobby groups they smooze with, other legislators they owe favors to, and businesses in their home districts. Furthermore, legislators can absolve any nagging ethical doubts they may have by demonizing the groups that the government is running over in legislation.
The problem is that when Washington acts to expand an already big government, it nearly always damages society overall. That’s because government legislation coerces people to take actions that they would not freely choose. Reducing freedom nearly always means reducing prosperity. So while Capitol Hill horse-trading may seem like a good sport, the end result is often more mandates and taxes enforced by police power. It is usually a zero-sum game, or much worse.
Private markets work on fundamentally different principles. The main one being that voluntary trade is mutually beneficial. If individuals and businesses are acting in an honest fashion and not trampling anyone’s rights, freedom of trade is a win-win for all involved. It generates value and leads to overall growth and prosperity in society.
So while the ethics of lobbyists is a concern, a more important problem in Washington is that too many legislators think they can solve society’s problems with mandates and taxes. Dirty Harry said “a man’s got to know his limitations.” And so do policymakers because their good intentions are not enough to overcome the inevitable damage caused by further expansions in government power.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
Washington Post suffers 85% earnings drop
50 By MACKENZIE WEINGER | 5/3/13 12:00 PM EDT
The Washington Post Co. on Friday reported bad news for its newspaper division, with revenue totaling $127.3 million for the first quarter of this year — down four percent from 2012 — and an operating loss of $34.5 million.
Overall, the company posted a profit of just $4.7 million, an 85 percent drop in earnings from the net income of $31 million for the first quarter of last year.
In the newspaper division, daily and Sunday circulation at the Post dropped 7.2 and 7.7 percent, respectively, compared to 2012. Average daily circulation totaled 457,100 copies, with Sundays at 659,500. The report also noted that in January of this year, the Post increased the paper’s price for daily home delivery and daily and Sunday single copies. And print advertising revenue at the Post in the first quarter of 2013 dropped 8 percent to $48.6 million, down from $52.7 million in the first quarter of 2012.
As for online — primarily washingtonpost.com and Slate — the company had better news to report. Revenue generated by the company’s online publishing increased 8 percent to $25.8 million for the first quarter of 2013, compared to $23.9 million for the first quarter of 2012. The company also posted a 16 percent increase in online display advertising, although online classified advertising revenue on washingtonpost.com fell 6 percent for the first quarter of 2013.
The company, meanwhile, has announced plans for a paywall this summer.
For this year’s first quarter, the company noted much of the $34.5 million in operating losses come from pension, early retirement and severance expenses. In the first quarter of 2012, the company’s newspaper division lost $20.6 million, for comparison.
Newsprint expense was down 12 percent for the first quarter of this year compared to the first quarter of 2012 “due to a decline in newsprint consumption.”
Overall, the company reported an 85 percent drop in net income for the first quarter, with revenue up slightly compared to last year — $959.1 million to 2012’s first quarter of $955.5 million.
“The Company reported operating income of $23.1 million in the first quarter of 2013, compared to operating income of $21.3 million in the first quarter of 2012,” the press release stated. “Revenues increased at the television broadcasting and cable television divisions, offset by declines at the education and newspaper publishing divisions. Operating results improved at the education, television broadcasting and cable television divisions, offset by a decline at the newspaper publishing division.”
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri May 03, 2013 12:30 pm
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How did Barack Obama become Monsanto’s man in Washington?
How did Barack Obama become Monsanto’s man in Washington?
By Jon Rappoport
April 29, 2013
And when are anti-GMO activist groups going to stop saying they’re “shocked and disappointed” by the president?
Shocked and disappointed is polite-speak and politically correct reaction. It’s baloney.
Don’t you get it? Obama has never been on your side. He never deserved your trust.
Disappointment implies he was your buddy and then unaccountably walked away.
The man is a politician. He’s a liar. Different pols have different styles of lying. Some pretend they’re your friend before they screw you over and leave you in the dust.
I’ve previously published Obama’s track record as Monsanto’s number-one political supporter in America.
Meet Monsanto’s prime lobbyist, Barack Obama:
After his victory in the 2008 election, Obama filled key posts with Monsanto people, in federal agencies that wield tremendous force in food issues, the USDA and the FDA:
At the USDA, as the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto Danforth Center.
As deputy commissioner of the FDA, the new food-safety-issues czar, the infamous Michael Taylor, former vice-president for public policy for Monsanto. Taylor had been instrumental in getting approval for Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.
As commissioner of the USDA, Iowa governor, Tom Vilsack. Vilsack had set up a national group, the Governors’ Biotechnology Partnership, and had been given a Governor of the Year Award by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, whose members include Monsanto.
As the new Agriculture Trade Representative, who would push GMOs for export, Islam Siddiqui, a former Monsanto lobbyist.
As the new counsel for the USDA, Ramona Romero, who had been corporate counsel for another biotech giant, DuPont.
As the new head of the USAID, Rajiv Shah, who had previously worked in key positions for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major funder of GMO agriculture research.
We should also remember that Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, once worked for the Rose law firm. That firm was counsel to Monsanto.
Obama nominated Elena Kagan to the US Supreme Court. Kagan, as federal solicitor general, had previously argued for Monsanto in the Monsanto v. Geertson seed case before the Supreme Court.
The deck was stacked. Obama hadn’t simply made honest mistakes. Obama hadn’t just failed to exercise proper oversight in selecting appointees. He was staking out territory on behalf of Monsanto and other GMO corporate giants.
And now let us look at what key Obama appointees have wrought for their true bosses. Let’s see what GMO crops have walked through the open door of the Obama presidency.
Monsanto GMO alfalfa.
Monsanto GMO sugar beets.
Monsanto GMO Bt soybean.
Coming soon: Monsanto’s GMO sweet corn.
Syngenta GMO corn for ethanol.
Syngenta GMO stacked corn.
Pioneer GMO soybean.
Syngenta GMO Bt cotton.
Bayer GMO cotton.
ATryn, an anti-clotting agent from the milk of transgenic goats.
A GMO papaya strain.
And soon, genetically engineered salmon and apples.
This is an extraordinary parade.
Obama was, all along, a stealth operative on behalf of Monsanto, biotech, GMOs, and corporate control of the future of agriculture.
He didn’t make that many key political appointments and allow that many new GMO crops to enter the food chain through a lack of oversight.
Nor is it coincidental that two of the Obama’s biggest supporters, Bill Gates and George Soros, purchased 900,000 and 500,000 shares of Monsanto, respectively, in 2010.
Records don’t show Monsanto or other biotech giants pouring a landslide of (visible) campaign cash down on Obama, relative to other large donors.
Goldman Sachs was Obama’s number-one $$ donor, and Goldman touts GM-crop commodity contracts, for both buys and sells; but Goldman has its fingers in every significant money pot from Nome to Tierra Del Fuego.
The “Obama riddle” is as plain as the nose on the face of Globalism. Monsanto’s agenda, to monopolize the world’s food supply, is essential to the Globalist blueprint. That blueprint ultimately aims for redistribution of food to the world from a point of Central Planning
As president, Obama has a sworn obligation to Globalism. His oath isn’t to protect the Constitution. Are you kidding?
Every recent president has had an overriding loyalty to Globalism.
Obama’s signing of the Monsanto Protection Act, making that corporation senior in power to the US court system, wasn’t an accident. It was taken in keen awareness of his duty to his Globalist betters.
You won’t, of course, see this disclosed on the evening news.
Here is a president who, like Bush, has no plans for a better world. Obama’s notion of “better” is tied up in the Globalist agenda:
An elite-run bureaucracy, promoting equality and justice, reduces all populations to a lowest common denominator, squashing freedom and prosperity.
Obama’s supporters will never learn the truth, because they’re blinded by the light, which they project on to the persona of the president.
Obama is aware of the con, since he triggered it, and he leverages it.
He’s all nudge-and-wink. “Yes, we’ll help you and you and you. Of course we will.”
He might help you if you make a declaration of dependence. Sacrifice yourself on an altar of despair and then you might earn the right to be fed.
Obama, while on the campaign trail in 2008, was promising transparency in government, was claiming that every person has the right to know what’s in his food (GMO labeling). But clearly, that was all cover and fluff. He was lying through his teeth and he knew it. He’d been vetted for the presidency, and he knew the job entailed joining Monsanto and the larger Globalist agenda as a front man.
He hasn’t changed over the past four years. He’s been a covert agent since the beginning.
Imposter. Charlatan. These words fit Obama. He’s pretended, like Clinton, to care, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t care that GMO food is taking over the country and the world. He wants it to happen. He’s always wanted it to happen.
The sitting president of the United States, Monsanto, DuPont, and Dow, among others, are prepared to do whatever is necessary to make GMO food dominate America.
They intend, through Monsanto-gene drift among millions of plants in ag fields, through increased planting of GMO crops, and through introduction of still more GMO crops, to wrap up the USA in genetically engineered food.
Obama is on board. He’s always been on board.
He is the GMO president.
If tomorrow, the Globalist Rockefellers of this world decided that all food grown in the US should be injected with Prozac, Obama would find a way to help.
Stop making excuses for the man. He’s not a victim of evil forces surrounding his presidency. He signed up for this trip with eyes wide open.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:24 pm
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According to Washington Post Exposé, People Who Utilize Tax Havens Are Far More Honest than Politicians
Daniel J. Mitchell
Since I’m the self-appointed defender of low-tax jurisdictions in Washington, this caught my attention. Thomas Jefferson wasn’t joking when he warned that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” I’m constantly fighting against anti-tax haven schemes that would undermine tax competition, financial privacy, and fiscal sovereignty.
Even if it means a bunch of international bureaucrats threaten to toss me in a Mexican jail or a Treasury Department official says I’m being disloyal to America. Or, in this case, if it simply means I’m debunking demagoguery.
The supposedly earth-shattering highlight of the article is that some Americans linked to offshore companies and trusts have run afoul of the legal system.
Among the 4,000 U.S. individuals listed in the records, at least 30 are American citizens accused in lawsuits or criminal cases of fraud, money laundering or other serious financial misconduct.
But the real revelation is that people in the offshore world must be unusually honest. Fewer than 1 percent of them have been named in a lawsuit, much less been involved with a criminal case.
This is just a wild guess, but I’m quite confident that you would find far more evidence of misbehavior if you took a random sample of 4,000 Americans from just about any cross-section of the population.
We know we would find a greater propensity for bad behavior if we examined 4,000 politicians. And I assume that would be true for journalists as well. And folks on Wall Street. And realtors. And plumbers. Perhaps even think tank employees. Anyhow, you get the point.
Citing a couple of anecdotes, the reporter then tries to imply that low-tax jurisdictions somehow lend themselves to criminal activity.
Fraud experts say offshore bank accounts and companies are vital to the operation of complex financial crimes. Allen Stanford, who ran a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, used a bank he controlled in Antigua. Bernard Madoff, who ran the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history, used a series of offshore “feeder funds” to fuel the growth of his multibillion-dollar house of cards.
The Allen Stanford case was a genuine black eye for the offshore world, but it’s absurd to link Madoff’s criminality to tax havens. The offshore funds that invested with Madoff were victimized in the same way that many onshore funds lost money.
Moreover, there’s no evidence in this article – or from any other source to my knowledge – suggesting that financial impropriety is more likely in low-tax jurisdictions.
We then get some “hard” numbers.
Today, there are between 50 and 60 offshore financial centers around the world holding untold billions of dollars at a time of historic U.S. deficits and forced budget cuts. Groups that monitor tax issues estimate that between $8 trillion and $32 trillion in private global wealth is parked offshore.
So we have offshore wealth of somewhere “between $8 trillion and $32 trillion”? With that level of precision, or lack thereof, perhaps you now understand why the make-believe numbers about alleged tax evasion are about as credible as a revenue estimate from the Joint Committee on Taxation.
Speaking of make-believe numbers, the article mentions one of Washington’s worst lawmakers, a Senator who pushed through a law that has united the world against the United States.
Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) has been holding hearings and conducting investigations into the offshore world for nearly three decades. In 2010, Congress passed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act requiring that U.S. taxpayers report foreign assets to the government and foreign institutions alert the IRS when Americans open accounts.
He justifies bad policy by claiming that there’s a pot of gold at the end of the tax haven rainbow.
“We can’t afford to lose tens of billions of dollars a year to tax-avoidance schemes,” Levin said. “And many of these schemes involve the shift of U.S. corporate tax revenues earned here in the U.S. to offshore tax havens.”
But FATCA is predicted to collected less than $1 billion per year, and it probably will lose revenue once you include Laffer Curve effects such as lower investment in the American economy from overseas.
The most interesting part of the article, as least from a personal perspective, is that the Center for Freedom and Prosperity is listed as one of the “powerful lobbying interests” fighting to preserve tax competition.
The efforts by Levin and other lawmakers have been opposed by powerful lobbying interests, including the banking and accounting industries and a little-known nonprofit group called the Center for Freedom and Prosperity. CF&P was founded by Daniel J. Mitchell, a former Senate Finance Committee staffer who works as a tax expert for the Cato Institute, and Andrew Quinlan, who was a senior economic analyst for the Republican National Committee before helping start the center. …The center argues that unfettered access to offshore havens leads to lower taxes and more prosperity.
Having helped to start the organization, I wish CF&P was powerful. The Center has never had a budget of more than $250,000 per year, so it truly is a David vs. Goliath battle when we go up against bloated and over-funded bureaucracies such as the IRS and the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The reporter somehow thinks it is big news that the Center has tried to raise money from the business community in low-tax jurisdictions.
According to records reviewed by The Post and ICIJ, the organization’s fundraising pleas have been circulated to offshore entities that make millions by providing anonymity for wealthy clients, many of them U.S. citizens.
Unfortunately, even though these offshore entities supposedly “make millions,” I’m embarrassed to say that CF&P has not been able to convince them that it makes sense to support an organization dedicated to protecting tax competition, financial privacy, and fiscal sovereignty.
But maybe that will change now that the OECD has launched a new attack on tax planning by multinational firms.
Let’s close by returning to the policy issue. The article quotes me defending the right of jurisdictions to determine their own fiscal affairs.
Mitchell, the co-founder of CF&P, added that nations shouldn’t be telling other countries how to conduct their affairs and noted that the United States is one of the worst offenders in the world when it comes to corporate secrecy.
My only gripe is that the reporter mischaracterizes my position. Yes, there are several states that are “tax havens” because of their efficient and confidential incorporation laws, but that means America is “one of the best providers,” not “one of the worst offenders.”
This is something to celebrate. I’m glad the United States is a safe haven for the oppressed people of the world. That’s great news for our economy. I just wish we also were a tax haven for American citizens.
“The United States is one of the biggest tax havens in the world,” Mitchell said. “In general, the United States is impervious to fishing expeditions here, and then the United States turns around and says, ‘Allow us to do fishing expeditions in your country.’”
But I’m not a hypocrite. Other nations should have the sovereign right to maintain pro-growth tax and privacy laws as well.
Other nations shouldn’t feel obliged to enforce bad American tax law, any more than we should feel obliged to enforce any of their bad laws.
P.S. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that “onshore” nations are much more susceptible to dirty money than “offshore” jurisdictions. Which is why you have a hard time finding any tax havens on this map showing the nations with the most money laundering.
P.P.S. On the topic of tax havens, you won’t be surprised to learn that Senator Levin is not the only dishonest demagogue in Washington. If you pay close attention around 1:25 and 2:25 of this video, you’ll see that the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue also has an unfortunate tendency to play fast and loose with the truth.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
Senator Menendez is a powerful guy from New Jersey. From New Jersey.
The Daily Caller broke the Menendez story and the Washington Post is trying to poke holes in the story. As it should if it can do it using good sources etc. However the Post’s methods may be suspect and Tucker Carlson, editor of the DC, is taking it to the Post.
Regardless of the hookers, I don’t particularly care about that, Menendez has much more important things to answer to, as we discussed in THIS POST. He did fly around on the jet of a guy who owes the taxpayers millions of dollars and who apparently has used his connections to Menendez to intimidate competition in South Florida.
The post Crony Washington Post? “Their reporting on the Menendez story has been amateurish.” appeared first on AgainstCronyCapitalism.org.
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Aaron Ross Powell
Today the Washington Post published a front page story about changing intepretations of the Second Amendment. The piece begins with a lecture by professor Don Kates.
In 1977 at a Denver hotel, Don Kates paced a conference room lecturing a small group of young scholars about the Second Amendment and tossing out ideas for law review articles. Back then, it was a pretty weird activity in pursuit of a wacky notion: that the Constitution confers an individual right to possess a firearm.
“This idea for a very long time was just laughed at,” said Nelson Lund, the Patrick Henry professor of constitutional law and the Second Amendment at George Mason University, a chair endowed by the National Rifle Association. “A lot of people thought it was preposterous and just propaganda from gun nuts.”
More than 35 years later, no one is laughing. In 2008, the Supreme Court endorsed for the first time an individual’s right to own a gun in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller. The 5 to 4 decision rendered ineffective some of the District’s strict gun-control laws. And Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion echoed the work of Kates and his ideological comrades, who had pressed the argument that the Second Amendment articulates an individual right to keep and bear arms.
Kates–a liberal, civil rights attorney–published a seminal 1983 Michigan Law Review article arguing for an individual right interpretation of the Second Amendment, the same intepretation the Supreme Court endorsed 25 years later in District of Columbia v. Heller. Kates saw the crucial connection between civil rights and the natural right to self-defense–a connection most of his peers continue to miss.
Over at Libertarianism.org, you can watch one of Kates’s Constitutional jurisprudence changing lectures. Just two weeks back, we posted a talk he gave in 1989 on the history of gun ownership in America and the historical implications of the right to self-defense.
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We weren’t planning on making “How Washington D.C. Works (Or Not)” into a regular series, but then, we can’t make this stuff up and the politicians keep generating fresh material!
Today’s example of how our federal government works, or doesn’t really, is from March 7th, when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Director Tom Frieden, M.D., was being questioned by Representative Andy Harris, also a medical doctor, before an oversight hearing for the Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (we couldn’t make that committee name up either). The topic is the purported effect of sequester budget cuts on the number of vaccinations available for children:
So, how exactly can a $30 million budget cut from the CDC’s “Section 317″ state grant program deprive 2,050 children in Maryland of vaccines as part of the budget sequester, while the President’s proposed $58 million budget cut to the same program not deprive any child anywhere of vaccines? (And did we mention that the President originally proposed the sequester, too?)
If you really want to make your head hurt, the Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler tried to sort out all the numbers and government interagency dynamics as part of his Fact Checker column, in which he notes that the President proposed a number of spending cuts because he didn’t think they would ever happen. We’ll just cut straight to the bottom line and share the results of Kessler’s “Pinocchio Test” as to the Obama administration’s claims of the “harm” from sequester budget cuts:
We remain disturbed at how vague and fuzzy estimates keep getting turned into hard facts by the administration. This is a grant program, meaning that the recipients (which also rely on other funding) might be able to make adjustments to accommodate the shortfall in funds. The initial sequester is only for the remaining seven months of the year, so estimates–apparently based on many of the shots a child would receive in their lifetime–are open to interpretation.
At the same time, we don’t think it is necessarily fair to equate the administration’s request to reduce funding in 2013 with the across-the-board reductions mandated by the sequester. There likely would have been greater flexibility in a non-sequester environment.
Still, even before the sequester, the administration had sought to reduce costs by ending shots for children who have insurance–on the grounds that the president’s own health-care law was creating new avenues to obtaining vaccinations. Many families might have been dissuaded from getting vaccinations because of the higher costs involved. What are those numbers? That’s still unclear.
The administration’s vaccination statistics earn Two Pinocchios.
That the administration only earns two Pinocchios illustrates just how jaded a journalist that Glenn Kessler has become in Washington D.C.
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