The WonkLine: March 9, 2009

Welcome to The WonkLine, a daily 10 a.m. roundup of the latest news about health care, the economy, national security and climate policy. This is what we’re reading. Tell us what you found in the comments section below.



National Security

The U.S. military announced yesterday that 12,000 American soldiers would withdraw from Iraq by September, marking the first step in the Obama administration’s plan to pull U.S. combat forces out of the country by August 2010.

McClatchy reports on a large Chinese copper mining operation in Afghanistan: “China’s willingness to gamble so much in one of the world’s poorest and riskiest nations testifies to its determination to acquire the commodities it needs to maintain its economic growth and social stability.”

Spencer Ackerman writes about the absence of new Republican ideas on foreign policy.

Health Care

Michael Hiltzik argues that the insurance industry’s commitment to health care reform is only “skin deep.” “The industry wants the government to assume the cost of treating the sickest, and therefore most expensive, Americans,” he writes.

The New York Times is reporting that the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Service Employees International Union recently withdrew from a dialogue with industry groups “seeking agreement on major changes in the health care system.”

Ronald Brownstein summarizes the challenges of health care reform.


Justin Fox looks to find out “how much of Citigroup was a domestic commercial bank that the FDIC could take over, and how much was multinational financial stuff outside the FDIC’s jurisdiction.”

The Employee Free Choice Act “has provided a welcome stimulus to a seriously depressed industry: Republican political operatives.”

AIG appealed for its fourth rescue “by telling regulators the company’s collapse could cripple money-market funds, force European banks to raise capital, cause competing life insurers to fail and wipe out the taxpayers’ stake in the firm.”


Scientists at a climate science conference in Copenhagen will warn that “rising sea levels, triggered by global warming, pose a far greater danger to the planet than previously estimated.”

Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) asked for disaster relief assistance on Friday for ranchers hit by “the worst drought on record” in south-central Texas.

Governor David Paterson (D-NY) “is considering giving, rather than auctioning, a greater amount of permits” for global warming emissions to industrial polluters.