You can read the full ruling here. David Hawkins, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s climate programs, told Greenwire (subs. req’d) tonight,
Hawkins added, “The import of this ruling is that failure of Congress or EPA to act on GHG will not immunize emitters from legal action to compel reductions in emissions.”
Take that, delayers!
Again, a federal climate bill would be the best strategy for the country — and the world. But if Congress fails to act — and if fiddlers like Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska block EPA action, then the only place left for recourse will be the courts.
At the Values Voter Summit on Friday, former Miss California Carrie Prejean said that conservatives needed to be “an example” of “tolerance, respect and just how to be civil.” But her advice was ignored the next day when Young America’s Foundation spokesman Jason Mattera addressed a breakout session called “Turning The Tide In Your Generation.” In his comments, Mattera evoked the battle of David against Goliath as a metaphor for conservative college students who are ‘persecuted’ by the big bad liberals who control academia.” While discussing that theme, Mattera took the opportunity to argue for the supremacy of conservatism by saying, “our women are hot“:
During the panel, Mattera took the David and Goliath metaphor another perverse step: If conservatives (David) smite liberals (Goliath), they will be rewarded with the hot conservative women, just like King Saul promised his daughter to the warrior who slew the evil giant. “You know his daughter must have been beautiful because there’s no guy whose gonna die for an ugly girl,” Mattera chortled. “Our women are hot. We have Michelle Malkin. Who does the left have, Rachel Maddow? Sorry, I prefer that my women not look like dudes.”
Reporting for CampusProgress, Sarah Posner points out that Mattera had even more problems with his David and Goliath metaphor: “‘David has the righteous answer,’ Mattera said, ‘because he is taking pride in his Christian beliefs.’ No matter that Mattera didn’t accurately grasp David’s biography or the biblical timeline. In conserva-land, David, a character from the Old Testament, was a Christian even before Christ was born.”
My sense is that politically speaking it’s counterproductive to talk about the role views about race play in shaping the health care debate. Still, these appear to be the facts:
As evidence of the link between health care and racial attitudes, we analyzed survey data gathered in late 2008. The survey asked people whether they favored a government run health insurance plan, a system like we have now, or something in between. It also asked four questions about how people feel about blacks.
Taken together the four items form a measure of what scholars call racial resentment. We find an extraordinarily strong correlation between racial resentment of blacks and opposition to health care reform.
Among whites with above average racial resentment, only 19 percent favored fundamental health care reforms and 57 percent favored the present system. Among those who have below average racial resentment, more than twice as many (45 percent) favored government run health care and less than half as many (25 percent) favored the status quo.
Something that I find interesting about this is that if you put the argument a certain way—”racism has a lot to do with opposition to social insurance programs in the United States” people get very upset. But if you say something like “European social democracy works because post-WWII European countries were so homogeneous, but mass immigration is causing consensus around the welfare state to break down” then you come to expressing something approaching conventional wisdom among the center and right in the United States. These strike me, however, as nearly identical points of view just being expressed slightly differently.
While marking-up the Kennedy health care bill, Republicans on the Health, Pensions, Education and Labor Committee (HELP) introduced at least seven amendments designed to lower subsidies for Americans who purchase coverage through the Exchange. Now Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee are pushing the same agenda, asking Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) to accept at least 27 separate amendments to reduce the Committee’s far less generous affordability measures.
Premiums under Sen. Max Baucus’ health plan would be five times as large “as under the HELP bil” yet Republicans want to finance the repeal of health industry taxes, incentives for states to cap non-economic malpractice awards and expanded Health Savings Accounts, by slashing subsidies:
Kyl Amendment #D5
The amendment would strike the Medicare DSH provision, replace it with other language.
The amendment would tie the premium tax credit to the lowest cost bronze plan.
Cornyn Amendment #D4
Provide a positive update for physicians reimbursed under the Medicare fee schedule beyond 2011.
Strike the premium tax credit for individuals between 300-400 percent of FPL under Title I, Subtitle C of the Chairman‘s Mark.
Bunning Amendment #D3
Deletes the provision in the Chairman‘s mark that requires the Medicare Commission‘s (or Secretary‘s) original proposal to go into effect automatically if Congress has not passed legislation based on the Commission‘s (or Secretary‘s) proposal by a certain date.
Paid for by reducing the federal poverty level threshold for premium credits in the bill by the amount necessary, starting with the premium credit for individuals between 300% and 400% of poverty.
Enzi Amendment #D2
Provide incentives through temporary increases in federal Medicaid match rates to states that adopt caps on non-economic damages for medical malpractice cases.
Reduce the subsidies as much as necessary to make this amendment budget neutral starting with subsidies awarded to individuals earning 400% of poverty.
Grassley Amendment #C12
This amendment would suspend any fees for two years following an announcement of an economic recession by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
It would be offset by eliminating any subsidies in the Chairman‘s Mark for individuals and families between 300 and 400 percent of federal poverty level ($66,150 to 88,200 for a family of four).
According to an analysis of the Baucus bill by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, families of three earning anywhere between $54,930 per year (300% FPL) and $73,240 per year ($400% FPL) would have to spend 13% of income on health care premiums or somewhere in the range of $7,141 – $9,521 per year. (Comparatively, families in this range would spend $4,339 – $9,155 under the HELP bill).
For more analysis of the Baucus amendments, click HERE. The full list of affordability amendments is available after the jump: Read more
Had some conversations early today with a minister in the government of Saxony that touched on some of the economic difficulties inherent in the transition from being a province of East Germany to being part of the united Germany state. Viewed from one direction, the transition has been quite successful. The West Germans ponied up a huge amount of money to help do adjustments, and the Saxony government quite smartly spent the bulk of it on infrastructure investments—and you can really see very high-quality roads, transit, etc. in the parts of the province I’ve seen. Everything looks quite spic-and-span, even moreso in many ways than in richer parts of the country. And as a consequence, average incomes in Saxony are now around 70 percent of what’s found in the West compared to less than 40 percent at unification. And an unemployment rate of 16 percent (compared to 12 in the West) is way lower than the 25 percent or so that immediately followed reunification.
Another way of looking at it, of course, is that West Germany invested a ton of money, East Germany was fortunate to be integrated into a big capital-rich country with access to all the markets of the EU, and 20 years later there’s still much higher unemployment and much lower incomes.
What this makes me think of most of all is the dilemmas that will be facing the government of South Korea if the DPRK ever collapses. The DPRK is much poorer and more backwards than the GDR ever was. They’ve been separated for longer. South Korea is smaller relative to North Korea than West Germany was to East Germany. And South Korea is also poorer than West Germany. All told, I think there’s ample reason to believe that the South couldn’t really manage a reunification process. Which is something their government seems to realize without quite admitting—their official policy is reunification, but in practice they fear a DPRK collapse. And they’re right to fear it. But political debates about North Korea policy aside, the fact of the matter is that that horrible regime can’t last forever. And I think it would make sense for a broader international community to start thinking about what we can do to support a transition process that’s going to be too big a task for South Korea to shoulder on its own.
Today on his Fox News show, Glenn Beck tried to show that his criticism is principled and bipartisan. He said that while President Bush did have czars, they weren’t “crazy people” — like President Obama’s appointees. To show that he doesn’t see political party, he pointed to his dislike of Bush’s $700 billion bailout:
He [Obama] will say that Bush started us down the path toward socialism, and he’d be right by that. Bush started the crazy spending. He would be right again. Bush started the bailouts. Yes, he did — hated him for it.
PRESS AVAILABILITY: I’ll be in Pittsburgh Thursday night and all Friday as press — but if there are any press who want to interview me, just shoot me an email.
G20 PREVIEW: I don’t normally go to these sort of meetings — CAP’s Andrew Light is the international climate expert (and he’ll be there, too, and available for interviews). He moderated a discussion with members of the U.N. and CAP previewing what will be discussed at next week’s G20 Summit. He explains what to expect in this Clean Skies News interview:
And here’s another video if you want the perspective of Sabina Dewan, CAP’s Associate Director of International Economic Policy, on the broader questions: What is the G-20 and why is it significant? What are leaders expected to focus on at the upcoming Pittsburgh G-20 meeting? What principles should guide discussions of the global economic recovery?
As part of this week’s installment of the “Senate Doctor’s Show,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) claimed that uninsured undocumented immigrants who seek emergency hospital care have created a situation that’s “just like a store where there’s a lot of shoplifting.” Based on this logic, Barrasso also concludes that undocumented immigrants shouldn’t even be allowed to purchase insurance with their own money:
When I talked to high school groups and they ask about this [undocumented immigrant emergency care], I kinda refer to it just like a store where there’s a lot of shoplifting. The owner of the store has to raise the prices for people who pay their own bills — who pay their own way — to make up for what they lose in shoplifting. These folks in the emergency room aren’t shoplifting in the terms of stealing things, but they are using services getting bandages and casts and all sorts of different things and they’re not paying for it. Then the question is, how do you do that?
And a reporter asked me, should we sell illegal immigrants health insurance to pay the way? I don’t think you want to give that kind of — any certification to somebody who is in our nation illegally — somebody who has broken into the country. They broke the law by coming here illegally. And I think that applies to Social Security, I think it applies to drivers’ licenses, as well as to health insurance.
Clearly, Barrasso wasn’t thinking of the 30 million or more uninsured US citizens when describing uninsured undocumented immigrants who can’t pay their hospital bills as “shoplifters.” It turns out that all noncitizens are far less likely than their native-born counterparts to use the emergency room. Communities with low rates of emergency room use tend to have much higher concentrations of noncitizens than areas with high rates of emergency room use. So if Barrasso is really concerned about uninsured “shoplifters” driving up health care costs for those who do have coverage, it might make sense for him to support health care reform that guarantees that all those uninsured individuals have health insurance.
The White House has indicated that it supports barring undocumented immigrants from participating in the government exchange and purchasing insurance at full cost. However, the President has indicated that a “basic standard of decency” is reason enough to continue providing undocumented immigrants in a “death situation” or suffering from a “severe illness” emergency care.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) “wants to put the brakes on the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to curb climate change” by barring the EPA from “spending any funds on regulating carbon dioxide pollution from power plants, manufacturers, and other major emissions sources.” Murkowski has proposed an amendment to the Interior appropriations bill (H.R. 2996) under consideration this week by the U.S. Senate to prevent the EPA from regulating global warming pollution from stationary sources:
Effective during the 1-year period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, none of the funds made available for the Environmental Protection Agency under this Act may be expended to regulate or control carbon dioxide from any sources other than a mobile source as described in section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act or to treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act except for purposes of section 10 202(a) of that Act.
As international leaders meet in New York City to discuss a global climate deal, the EPA is moving forward with regulatory proposals. “Murkowski’s amendment would thwart the 2007 Supreme Court ruling that said EPA does have authority under the Clean Air Act to deal with climate pollution,” writes Frank O’Donnell in the Wonk Room. “By trying to block the agency through such a sneaky, back-door approach, Murkowski is bidding to become a climate outlaw.”
Obama should be speaking round 9:30 am EDT depending on length of ceremonial opening. Many of the other speeches –IPCC head Pachauri, China President Hu Jintao Nobelist Wangari Muta Maathai — are also must-see.