You’re looking at the biggest story involving the federal budget and a crucial one for the future of the American economy. Every year for the last six years in a row, the Congressional Budget Office has reduced its estimate for how much the federal government will need to spend on Medicare in coming years. The latest reduction came in a report from the budget office on Wednesday morning.This is a huge story. While there are still issues, this makes every doom and gloom deficit hawk look naive and foolish. But don't expect them to acknowledge it. They still want to cut Medicare and Social Security and blame Democrats for it. See every Paul Ryan budget.
The changes are big. The difference between the current estimate for Medicare’s 2019 budget and the estimate for the 2019 budget four years ago is about $95 billion. That sum is greater than the government is expected to spend that year on unemployment insurance, welfare and Amtrak — combined. It’s equal to about one-fifth of the expected Pentagon budget in 2019. Widely discussed policy changes, like raising the estate tax, would generate just a tiny fraction of the budget savings relative to the recent changes in Medicare’s spending estimates.
Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit Court is a moderate conservative with an unapologetic bias toward reality and logic. This bias makes him an ideal Slate columnist. It has also turned him into something of an iconoclast among his conservative colleagues, who frequently jettison prudence and precedent in order to achieve results that just happen to align with the Republican Party’s platform.More politics and policy below the fold.
On Tuesday, Posner put his judicial independence front and center during marriage equality oral arguments at the 7th Circuit. While lawyers for Wisconsin and Indiana attempted to defend their state’s marriage bans, Posner issued a series of withering bench slaps that unmasked anti-gay arguments as the silly nonsense that they are. Reading this string of brutal retorts is fun enough—but it’s even better to listen to them delivered in Posner’s own distinctive cadence. With the help of my Slate colleague Jeff Friedrich, I’ve collected the most exhilarating, satisfying, and hilarious of the bunch.
A must read from Jelani Cobb on Ferguson:
In the days after 9/11, it was common to hear people say that it was the first time Americans had really experienced terrorism on their own soil. Those sentiments were historically wrong, and willfully put aside acts that were organized on a large scale, had a political goal, and were committed with the specific intention of being nightmarishly memorable. The death cult that was lynching furnished this country with such spectacles for a half century. (The tallies vary, but, by some estimates, there were thirty-three hundred lynchings in the decades between the end of Reconstruction and the civil-rights era.) We know intuitively, not abstractly, about terrorism’s theatrical intent. The sight of Michael Brown, sprawled on Canfield Drive for four hours in the August sun, dead at the hands of an officer who was unnamed for a week, recalled that memory. It had the effect of reminding that crowd of spontaneous mourners of their own refuted humanity. A single death can be understood as a collective threat. The media didn’t whip up these concerns among the black population; history did that.LJWorld.com:
After getting beaten up over the last several election cycles over the federal health reform law commonly known as Obamacare, Kansas Democrats adopted a platform that defends the law and calls for full implementation in the state, including expansion of Medicaid.TomSpears:
And some Democrats think they've found a weapon to use to fight back with in the health reform debate, Gov. Sam Brownback's own health care policies — such as privatizing Medicaid and authorizing a health care compact to take over administration of federal health care programs — which they now refer to collectively as "BrownbackCare."
A respected Canadian medical journal that was sold to offshore owners last year is now printing scientific junk for hire, but still trading on its original good name.They should just rename the journal Vaccines and Autism.
Experimental & Clinical Cardiology was published in Oakville, Ont., for 17 years and had a solid reputation for printing original medical research. It was sold in 2013, and its new owners say they are in Switzerland, but do their banking in Turks and Caicos.
And for $1,200 U.S. they’ll print anything — even a garbled blend of fake cardiology, Latin grammar and missing graphs submitted by the Citizen.
When scientists enter government in the role of a scientific adviser or as the head of a science agency, they need to be prepared for the unexpected. Some of their most crucial contributions come during crises, a theme that will be explored on 28–29 August at a global summit of science advisers in Auckland, New Zealand. On the eve of that meeting, Nature takes a look at how such officials performed during the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, as well as the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and a deadly disease outbreak in Europe the following year.TPM:
These cases show that science advisers have key roles in a crisis, especially in disseminating clear, reliable information to government leaders and the public. But at times, they struggle with the demands presented by disasters: rare events can take them by surprise, bureaucracy can strangle their attempts to respond and they often cannot keep pace with the evolving situation. “We have to form a view about advice for the government,” Beddington says. “And we have to do that on a fairly quick time scale.”
Pew: What If The Libertarian Movement Doesn't Really Exist?