For our weekend political readers:
GOVERNMENT VS. PRIVATE SECTOR = OBAMA VS. MITT
The Economist says “America needs a serious debate both about the size and scope of government, and how to pay for it.” And in an enticing piece, the Economist writer, explores what government role tact the winner of the Presidential race may take in scaling a mountain of economic woes.
The winner of the November election will immediately be faced with the problem of the “fiscal cliff” —- a preset $400 billion tax increase, with the expiration of various tax cuts and a $100-billion-a-year cut in spending -— which could push the economy back into recession.
Looming over that is the gaping deficit. And over that, America’s schizophrenia: it taxes itself like a small-government country, but spends like a big-government one.
Or “Another fine mess” for Mr. Obama or Romney to tackle. Each with his own polar-opposite philosophy.
Mr. Obama, who has spent most of his life in the public sector, academia or community work, plainly thinks the state has a bigger role to play in galvanizing the economy when demand collapses (as in 2008) and in moderating inequality.
By contrast, Mr. Romney, who made $200 million or so in private equity, believes that the best thing that government can do is to get out of the way by cutting taxes, reducing regulations and leaving people to build their businesses.
But can either man do the job? The Economist has doubts.
America needs a man who can spell out what he thinks a modern government should do and then how to pay for it. With luck, the debate will push either Mr. Obama or Mr. Romney to do that. At the moment, neither seems to understand the central domestic challenge of the next Presidency.
Go to this link to read the full explanation of how this “fine mess” has been “galvanized” by inflexibility and less-than-forward thinking from both candidates and their parties.
COULD STATES BE BETTER OFF IF THEY OPT OUT OF MEDICAID EXPANSION?
Forbes thinks so, despite the conventional line that “the government will pick up most of the cost.”
But if the government picks up most of the Medicaid tab, what could be the far-reaching effect for states” that take advantage of the recent Supreme Court ruling, allowing them to opt out of Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid?” Dramatic says Forbes.
It turns out, the logic of the government picking up most of the cost is flawed and that the Medicaid expansion will cause state budgets to explode.
Read the entire story to learn why Forbes believes that will happen under a quagmire of regulations that could have taxpayers footing more of the bill. Plus read about the “woodwork effect” and how Forbes believes it could cost states “billions of dollars in increased spending.”
A CALL TO EMBRACE STATE EXCHANGES UNDER THE HEALTH CARE REFORM ACT
Most of the debate under Obamacare has been about the pros and cons of expanding Medicare, but The Week says, “Largely lost in the fight over Obamacare is a worthy provision that lets states develop insurance systems that are right for them.”
The Week writer, former Republican U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee heart physician, calls state insurance exchanges “perhaps the most innovative, market-driven, and ultimately constructive part of the law.”
Originally a Republican idea, the state insurance exchanges mandated under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will offer a menu of private insurance plans to pick and choose from, all with a required set of minimum benefits, to those without employer-sponsored health insurance. These exchanges are expected to bring health insurance to an additional 16 million Americans. Unlike the Medicaid expansion, these Americans will gain private insurance, and can choose the plan that's right for them.
a href=”http://theweek.com/bullpen/column/230655/why-both-parties-should-embrace-obamacares-state-exchanges”> this link
a href=”http://theweek.com/bullpen/column/230655/why-both-parties-should-embrace-obamacares-state-exchanges”> this linkto find out more about how state exchanges work. It's been a big point of debate in Arkansas and will remain so in the upcoming legislative session.
CANDIDATE'S TWITTER AND FACEBOOK PRESENCE ZOOMS HIGHER AND HIGHER
Rhode Island Democratic congressional candidate Anthony Gemma has quite a following.
In February alone, Democrat Anthony Gemma, who is running even in polls against first-term Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), added 400,000 Twitter followers, according to social media monitoring sites. On Facebook, meanwhile, fans of his campaign page ballooned from 3,414 to 107,614 during the same time period. He now has nearly 1 million Twitter followers — more than Mitt Romney.
But how did this candidate from such a tiny state amass such a huge following? Gemma's not talking and in an entertaining article, Politico speculates on how it may have happened, especially since “14 percent of his followers are from Canada, 2 percent from London, and 3 percent from the state of Georgia.”
Has some manipulation been going on and if so what would the effect be on his campaign if the facts came out? “An over-sized social footprint that suggests mass appeal can be embarrassing for a campaign should it be revealed.”
Furthermore, Politico says Gemma has very little engagement with his followers and when he does, the response is sometimes pitiful.
On Feb. 24, the same day he picked up more than 87,000 followers, he asked his audience to re-tweet a photo; only six did.
There is a lot more social media intrigue to this story for candidate Gemma in his extremely tight race, and it is saturated with gems like this. Read more here on the pitfalls of the new modern-day political campaign landscape.
THE LAST RIDE
A few weeks before America's first woman in space died earlier this month at the age of 61, she gave an interview to Harvard Business Review.
After her space career, Ride a physics professor, founded Sally Ride Science, “a company focused on improving science education for kids, which she called a business imperative for the country.”
In the interview, Ride talked about how she became an astronaut, her transition to business, and her thoughts on NASA and whether she thought the space agency was a “boys club.”
Go to this link to read an American hero's comments about those and a number of other questions.
EARLY OLYMPIAN OVERCOMES TRAGEDY
It was 1904 and athlete Simon Gillis was practicing the hammer throw on an empty parking lot in New York City. The huge man was winding up to throw his 16 pound ball and chain, when a teen aged boy raced on to the lot after a ball. The swirling ball and chain hit the lad in the head, and killed him.
Despite the tragedy Gillis went on to compete in the London Olympic Summer games of 1908 where he placed seventh. Gillis also competed in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden but besides being a world class athlete, The New York Times has chronicled the amazing life of this man that involved several careers.
He was a NYPD policeman, and engineer, a contractor, a dancer, and a astronomically huge eater for which he earned the nickname, “The Whale.”
For breakfast he would order a dozen eggs — not scrambled, or fried, or boiled. Rather, they were still in the shell. Then he would decorate the top of each egg with a dab of mustard, popping the whole ovoid into his mouth, consuming it raw, shell and all, or as he liked to call it, “Eggs with the fur on.”
Another time he and a friend ate 27 dozen oysters and six T-bone steaks at one sitting.
Read more here about the life of Simon Gillis in this delightful Times story.