Story of the Day
Line Grows Long for Free Meals at U.S. Schools
Millions of American schoolchildren are receiving free or low-cost meals for the first time as their parents, many once solidly middle class, have lost jobs or homes during the economic crisis, qualifying their families for the decades-old safety-net program. The number of students receiving subsidized lunches rose to 21 million last school year from 18 million in 2006-7, a 17 percent increase, according to an analysis by The New York Times of data from the Department of Agriculture, which administers the meals program. Eleven states, including Florida, Nevada, New Jersey and Tennessee, had four-year increases of 25 percent or more, huge shifts in a vast program long characterized by incremental growth.
The Cure for an Uncoordinated Economy: Laurence Kotlikoff
If a deadly virus struck our country, scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would diagnose the problem, inform the public, and then prescribe a cure. If only this were true for our economic illness. Neither President Barack Obama nor the disloyal opposition has explained what really ails the economy. But this hasn’t stopped them from applying highly expensive and generally ineffective elixirs. The Obama administration blames its predecessor, reasoning that President George W. Bush enabled the housing bubble to develop and stood by as Wall Street churned out trillions of dollars in deeply flawed investments. The resulting financial panic led to a huge, ongoing slump.
Editorial: To protect Social Security, end payroll tax cut
From USA Today
Social Security has long been one of the federal government's biggest successes. Created in the depths of the Depression, it lifted millions of seniors out of poverty and created a secure, if modest, safety blanket as people reach retirement. The program has a problem, however. As lifespans have increased and Baby Boomers start to retire, Social Security is paying out too much for what it takes in.
Rather than fix the problem with some combination of tax hikes and benefit reductions, successive presidents and congresses keep finding ways to do the opposite. President George W. Bush tried, without success, to divert some of the program's income into private accounts. And last year, to prop up the sagging economy, Congress enacted a supposedly temporary, 2 percentage point cut in the payroll taxes that underwrite Social Security.
Gingrich Sold Access, Not Just Ideas
"Newt Gingrich is adamant that he is not a lobbyist, but rather a visionary who traffics in ideas, not influence. But in the eight years since he started his health care consultancy, he has made millions of dollars while helping companies promote their services and gain access to state and federal officials."
"Mr. Gingrich and his aides have repeatedly emphasized that he is not a registered lobbyist, an important distinction in their effort to position him as an outsider who will transform the ways of Washington. They say that he has never taken a position for money and that corporations have signed on with him because of the strength of his ideas... Yet if Mr. Gingrich has managed to steer clear of legal tripwires, a review of his activities shows how he put his influence to work on behalf of clients with a considerable stake in government policy. Even if he does not appear to have been negotiating legislative language, he and his staff did many of the same things that registered lobbyists do."