The WonkLine: September 14, 2009

Welcome to The WonkLine, a daily 10 a.m. roundup of the latest news about health care, the economy, national security, immigration 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.

Climate Change

“A strong shift toward renewable energies could create 2.7 million more jobs in power generation worldwide by 2030 than staying with dependence on fossil fuels would,” according to a report issued today by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council.

Clean energy legislation passed by the California state Senate on Friday “would require California’s utility companies to get one-third of their electricity from solar, wind and other alternative energy sources by 2020,” but it is “uncertain if Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would sign it.”

“In the last five years alone, chemical factories, manufacturing plants and other workplaces have violated water pollution laws more than half a million times,” the New York Times reports.

National Security

The New York Times reports that Osama bin Laden has released a new message. The voice on the tape, believed to be bin Laden, “said that the White House had shown no real shift in policy under the Obama administration because it is ‘occupied by pressure groups’ that control it.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that “differences remain with the U.S. over resuming peacemaking with the Palestinians.” VOA reports that “Iranian state media say Iran has agreed to start talks with six world powers on global economic and security problems in early October. The United States and five other world powers: Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China accepted an Iranian offer last week to hold wide-ranging negotiations.”


American Banker finds that “rumors that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is close to broke — which have increasingly gained traction as the level of federal reserves has declined — appear greatly exaggerated.”

The Chinese government “unexpectedly increased pressure Sunday on the United States in a widening trade dispute, taking the first steps toward imposing tariffs on American exports of automotive products and chicken meat in retaliation for President Obama’s decision late Friday to levy tariffs on tires from China.”

Michael Mandel at Economics Unbound points out that “in real terms, college costs are up by 23% since 2000. But real pay for young college grads is down 11% over the same period.”


This week, the Senate finance committee will consider adding citizen verification requirements to their health care bills shortly as the White House indicated that undocumented immigrants should be additionally barred from purchasing private insurance at full cost on the exchange in the wake of Rep. Wilson’s outburst. The Washington Post points out that “there is room for reframing and repackaging the immigration debate,” and that despite the hurdles, immigration reform “may not be as crazy as it sounds.” The number of immigrants applying to become US citizens dropped 62% last year due to high fees associated with naturalization and the souring economy.

Health Care

George McGovern has a simple answer to health care reform, “Medicare for All.” “If we want comprehensive health care for all our citizens, we can achieve it with a single sentence: Congress hereby extends Medicare to all Americans,” he writes.

The new big problem from the Senate Finance Committee: how to pay for the Medicaid expansion.

The AP looks at some of the winners and losers from Baucus’ health plan.