The WonkLine: June 10, 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, and subscribe to the RSS feed. Also, you can now follow The Wonk Room on Twitter.




Global warming has “virtually wiped out” the most complex Caribbean coral reefs, “compromising their role as a nursery for fish stocks and a buffer against tropical storms,” a new study finds.

Badly outnumbered and months behind in the debate on energy and climate change, House Republicans plan to introduce an energy bill” drafted by global warming denier Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) today, “setting a goal of building 100 reactors over the next 20 years.”

China is planning a vast increase in its use of wind and solar power over the next decade and believes” it can achieve 20 percent renewable power by 2020,” even as the U.S. renewable standard in clean energy legislation has been whittled down to less than 15 percent by 2020.

National Security

A car bomb exploded Tuesday night outside of a luxury hotel that was popular among foreigners in Peshawar, Pakistan, the capital of Pakistan’s war-torn North-West Frontier Province, which “had been considered an oasis of relative security” killing at least 16, including several foreign aid workers.

The New York Times reports that Iraqi leaders are resisting U.S. pressure to postpone a national referendum on the Iraq-American security agreement, “a measure likely to lose if put to a popular vote with the outcome that American troops could be forced to leave as early as next summer.”

Administration officials have succeeded in persuading the Pacific island nation of Palau to accept 17 Chinese Muslim Uighur detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay for temporary resettlement.

Health Care

Tim Foley debunks the ‘Canadians come to America for health care’ myth: “The definitive study was done nearly 10 years ago for Health Affairs, and it found ‘the number of Canadians routinely coming across the border seeking health care appears to be relatively small, indeed infinitesimal when compared with the amount of care provided by their own system.'”

Merrill Goozner wants you to join the Health Corps! “The new Health Corps should be seen as an essential part of that reform effort. Its mission would be to improve the nation’s health by focusing like a laser beam on disease prevention – a task largely ignored by our existing sick care system,” he writes.

The LA Times tracks Republican reaction to the HELP bill.


The Hill reports that “on the eve of a major overhaul of the financial system…the financial industry has built a more than $6 million war chest to sway lawmakers.”

According to data from the Investment Company Institute, “the global financial crisis helped wipe away more than one fifth of assets held in retirement plans in the United States last year.” Assets held in retirement plans declined 22 percent to $14 trillion last year, from $17.9 trillion in 2007.

Colin Barr at Fortune writes that the TARP payback doesn’t necessarily mean more bank lending: “Half of the big banks paying back federal loans are investment firms or asset managers, so lending isn’t likely to pick up.”