The WonkLine: May 11, 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.


The House Natural Resources Committee is holding a field hearing today “to discuss the responsible expansion of solar energy in California and across the nation” at the University of California, Riverside Palm Desert Graduate Center.

The New York Times discusses the Intervale Green complex, a “new, green, low-income housing development” by the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation with 128 units, “a large, glass-windowed lobby, two green roofs and a sculpture-filled courtyard.”


Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, and local op-eds in North Carolina and Louisiana repeated the “just wrong” lie that an MIT study found cap and trade is a $3100 tax.


According to an Associated Press analysis, “counties suffering the most from job losses stand to receive the least help” from the stimulus’ infrastructure money, as states are planning transportation projects “in communities where jobless rates are already lower.”

The Obama administration this week “plans to restore an aggressive enforcement policy against corporations that use their market dominance to elbow out competitors or to keep them from gaining market share.” Mark Thoma approves.

TPM Muckraker finds that bailout-recipient Citigroup is asking borrowers to oppose President Obama’s student loan reforms.

National Security

The lawyer for American journalist Roxana Saberi — who was convicted of espionage by Iran and jailed there since January — says that an Iranian court has granted Saberi’s appeal and she will be released.


Reuters reports that a suicide bomber killed 10 people at a security post in Pakistan on Monday as the army pressed on with an offensive against the Taliban, which is seen as a test of the government’s resolve to get to grips with an intensifying insurgency.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Egypt for his first foreign trip since taking office, flying to the Sharm el-Sheikh resort in the desert peninsula of Sinai for talks with President Hosni Mubarak.

Health Care

Congress is considering providing “tax credits or other subsidies to employers” who “reward employees for healthy behavior, including better diet, more exercise, weight loss and smoking cessation.”

A new CAP report finds that health system modernization “could increase productivity growth in health care by 1.5 to 2.0 percentage points annually” and “would save nearly $600 billion in health spending over the next decade, and $9 trillion over the next 25 years.”

Roll Call wonders if the Senate Finance Committee’s roundtables are helpful in drafting health reform legislation.