Archive for July 2009

I'll Take This Government Contract

Local swimmers have gotten a court order forcing the City of San Diego to chase away the seals from the Scripps children's pool in La Jolla.  But it is not my intention to blog on that specifically, but on this bit:

The city said it would blast recordings of barking dogs to scare away the pesky pinnipeds at the cost of $688,000 a year. San Diego cannot use force because the seals are a federally protected marine species.

Please, oh please can I get paid $688,000 a year to play loud recordings on the beach?  I have not even cracked a spreadsheet on this, but I am betting I can turn a profit on that.

A Quick Thought on the Gates Arrest

I don't have a clue if Professor Gates was arrested primarily because he was black.  But I can certainly say that it is not just blacks who are arrested every day for what is being called "comptempt of cop."  Police officers have developped a theory, which is not backed up by any actual written law, that they are the dictators of the immediate area that they occupy, and that citizens owe them absolute obedience to their commands and complete deference to their majesty, or else risk arrest.  While blacks may fall victim to such arrests at a higher rate, this is not just an issue of racism.  It is an issue of abuse of power as well.

Update: Carlos Miller has many of the same thoughts, and a lot more detail.  Having been arrested himself for "comtempt of cop," he should know.

Follow-up On Preventative Care

I am coming back from vacation today, but just as a quick note, Bruce McQuain has another good post on the current health care bills and Obama's press conference.  In that post, he links two very good posts that provide more facts and discussion around my claim yesterday that health care savings from "preventative medicine" are mostly a myth.  Those two posts are from a physician and from the Manhattan Institute.

And here is McQuain again on the CBO's testimony on the health care bills.

[Democratic Senator] Conrad: Dr. Elmendorf, I am going to really put you on the spot because we are in the middle of this health care debate, but it is critically important that we get this right. Everyone has said, virtually everyone, that bending the cost curve over time is critically important and one of the key goals of this entire effort. From what you have seen from the products of the committees that have reported, do you see a successful effort being mounted to bend the long-term cost curve?

[CBO director] Elmendorf: No, Mr. Chairman. In the legislation that has been reported we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount. And on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs.

Perhaps the Most Egregious Statement of the Healthcare Debate

No, not the one that said everyone who likes their current health plan can keep it, though that clearly is a whopper.  This is the one that fascinates me:

[Obama said] if doctors have incentives to provide the best care, instead of more care, we can help Americans avoid unnecessary hospital stays, treatments and tests that drive up costs.

What he is referring to is the fact that if doctors prescribe more procedures, they make more money.

I spent years as a consultant  working with incentive programs in corporations.  They are very tricky things.  It is much harder to create incentives for the wrong behavior than the right behavior.  But I don't think you need similar experience to dissect this plan.  Because there is absolutely nothing of real substance in this plan, or any HMO has discovered, that will truly create incentives for "the best care."  It just doesn't work with doctors.  I know doctors, and when Obama says "best care" he means saying no to a lot of things.  That is not how doctors would understand the phrase.  I worked with Kaiser-Permanente for about a year as a consultant, and this was a constant source of friction between the Kaiser business people and the Permanente medical staff.

Really, all Congress and Obama are doing is twiddling one knob called "payment model" and the knob only has two settings - either create incentives for the doctor to do a lot for the patient by paying for individual services, or create incentives for the doctor to do as little as possible for the patient and resist every plea for a test or specialist referral.  Basically, Obama's intention is to flip the switch from the former to the latter position, similar to what is being done currently in the Massachusetts health plan with switching to capitated payments from fee for service for doctors, and similar to the strong HMO model that pissed so many people off years ago that many states banned practices Obama is implementing nationally.

Yeah, I know the response, that somehow "preventative medicine" will reach the golden mean.  Forget it.  Preventative medicine is great as a spur to individual well-being, but does little to reduce total system costs**.  Waving around the flag of "preventative medicine" is about as believable as when politicians say they will make up budget gaps with savings and efficiency.  Basically, the next time we see either will be the first time.

** This kind of thing always sounds heartless, but for example it is actually cheaper not to find a cancer until its almost too late.  An expensive operation may be called for, but a quick death is actually cheap for the system.  Finding a cancer early means expensive treatments now, and probably expensive treatements later in a longer life.  I much prefer the latter, but it is more expensive.  You can't get around that.  The big wins in reducing health costs rom preventative medicine are in public health and nutrition, and most of those battles are won.  There may still be some savings in pre-natal care, but even that is iffy.

My Greatest Fear on the Health Care Bill

There are a lot of problems with the health care bills in Congress.  At the end of the day, I will endure most of them, as I have every other indignity thrown at me by the Feds.  If they charge me 8% of my company's payroll as a health care tax, well, we can probably raise prices, particularly in the inflationary spiral the Fed has set us up for.  I will be sad to see the most successful in this country punished with high new taxes, but these taxes mostly won't apply to our family.  And I will find some way to get my family the health care it needs, even if we have to fly to India to do it.

But my biggest fear is for individual liberties, with the effect I have called "the health care Trojan Horse for fascism."  We all know that the government has developed a taste for meddling in the smallest details of our lives.  But as more of the nation's health care spending flows though government hands, nearly every decision you make will suddenly affect the government's budget.  What you eat, how heavy you are, whether you smoke, whether you play an athletic sport where you can get hurt, whether you pursue dangerous hobbies like rock climbing or skiing, whether you wear a bike or motorcycle helmet, whether you have a seat belt on, whether you drink alcohol, whether you like to use dangerous power tools -- all these become direct inputs into government spending via medical bills the government is paying.  And if you think that Congress will avoid legislating on these activities once it inevitably gets in financial trouble with health care, you have not studied much history.

And all this avoids discussion of other powerful individual liberty-related topics, such as the ability to get the end of life care you want or whether the government will even allow you to go "off plan" with your own money if you disagree with its Commissar's rulings on what care you should and should not receive.

It's fascinating for me to watch all these children of the sixties in the Democratic Party, most of whom screamed (rightly) at George Bush continuing to implement new plans where we give up individual liberties for security.  But here come those exact same people, with the exact same message - because this is what health care reform is about, at its core - giving up individual liberties in exchange for a (perceived) increase in security.

Don't Get Too Hopeful

Those of you who may be encouraged by the reports of disagreements and problems among Democrats in reachi9ng consensus on a health care takeover, don't be too encouraged.    This appears to be exactly like the run up to Waxman-Markey.  If this is the case, these cries by certain Democrats of problems in the bill are really thinly disguised pleas for bribes.

Recalcitrant Democrats  in Congress know that Obama will be happy to spend tens of billions in taxpayer money to buy off the votes he needs to pass these bills.  This is how they got over the hump in the House with Waxman-Markey, and you can expect the same thing to happen again, and happen fast, on health care.  In fact, I expect the bribes to be higher than the $3.5 billion per vote clearing price on Waxman-Markey.  Obama knows that only steamroller tactics will pass a bill -- if he pauses even for a second to let opponents have time to take their case to the public (or even to finish reading the bill) he will likely lose.  Sunlight is his worst enemy right now, and he will gladly spend our money for porkbarrel projects in key districts to avoid it.

More on the Health Care Bills

The NY Post has a very good editorial on the health care bills (HT:  Q&O).  Too much good stuff to excerpt, it includes even more crazy provisions in the House and Senate bills I had not seen yet (its like a scavenger hunt as people go through the 1000 pages, or maybe more like searching for landmines).

But since the bill doesn't even start taking effect until 2013 (except for the higher taxes, which come earlier, of course), we have to really really rush and make sure its approved before the August recess (and before critics are able to actually read the thing - no chance those in Congress will read it, ever).  Also, its such a burning problem, it just must be solved now, as evidenced by...

The most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll (June 21) finds that 83 percent of Americans are very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the quality of their health care, and 81 percent are similarly satisfied with their health insurance.

They have good reason to be. If you're diagnosed with cancer, you have a better chance of surviving it in the United States than anywhere else, according to the Concord Five Continent Study. And the World Health Organization ranked the United States No. 1 out of 191 countries for being responsive to patients' needs, including providing timely treatments and a choice of doctors.

I have written a number of times, the fact that we spend more on health care is not a bug, its a feature.  We are the wealthiest nation on earth, and there is only so much we can spend on food, clothing, shelter, plasma TV's and other necessities.  We choose to spend a lot of that extra money on our health and longevity.  Why is that a bad decision?

Very Funny

Damnit Jim -- I'm A Doctor, Not A Thespian

Today is the 30th 40th* anniversary of the most expensive flubbed line in history.  "One small step for A man, one giant leap for mankind."

This is one of the three "where were you when..." moments in my memory (moon landing, Challenger explosion, 9/11).  Actually, I have a fourth of equal power for me, but it does not seem to be on very many other people's lists.  That was the moment in 1989 I turned on the TV and saw people climbing on and partying around the Berlin wall.  I don't know if there was simply not any warning for this moment, or if I was in some kind of new job lala land and missed the lead up, but it was a real wtf moment for me, a total surprise.

* This is the second time I have done this in a week, dropping a decade in the math.  I think it is some subconcious process fighting aging.

Those Coca-Cola Wall Signs They Sell At Swap Meets Are For Wimps

This person is selling old billboards - the actual full sized original art, typically about 9 feet tall and 20 feet wide.  So if you have a really big wall you need to decorate...

I found the site because model railroaders use it a lot -  the pictures from the web site when printed on a color printer size about perfectly for scale billboards, and it is surprisingly difficult if one is building a period railroad to get the appropriate period commercial art to decorate it.


Government Health Care: Only For the Little People

Not much I even need to add to this, via Riehl World View:

On Tuesday, the Senate health committee voted 12-11 in favor of a two-page amendment courtesy of Republican Tom Coburn that would require all Members and their staffs to enroll in any new government-run health plan. Yet all Democrats -- with the exceptions of acting chairman Chris Dodd, Barbara Mikulski and Ted Kennedy via proxy -- voted nay.

In other words, Sherrod Brown and Sheldon Whitehouse won't themselves join a plan that "will offer benefits that are as good as those available through private insurance plans -- or better," as the Ohio and Rhode Island liberals put it in a recent op-ed. And even a self-described socialist like Vermont's Bernie Sanders, who supports a government-only system, wouldn't sign himself up.

Does anyone else find this reminiscent of Obama's decision to send accept a scholarship for his own education, send his kids to private school in DC, and then, nearly as his first action as President, kill the voucher program that let other African American kids in DC go to private school.

Rethinking the Kindle

I absolutely love my Kindle, and take it wherever I go.  I particularly like the wireless feature, such that within 60 seconds of wanting a book anywhere in the country I can have the book.

But the recent events surrounding Amazon retroactively removing books from people's Kindles without their knowledge has me really worried about the model.  I have, by the way, no doubt that there were serious legal issues that forced them to take these steps in this case.  But considering the number of book burnings we have seen by religious nuts and totalitarians and statist-wannabees in even the last century, it is scary to me that we've actually made eliminating a book from peoples' homes so much easier.

Ray Bradbury was creepy enough, with his teams of book burners in Fahrenheit 451.  But even in that book the burning was a struggle.  There was conflict, effort, resistance.   How much worse is it now if books can disappear at a keystroke?  It is a cold sort of horror, like being unable to fight against a germ warfare attack without even the ability of a heroic stand against an invading army.

Update: I have read various places that Bradbury has said his book was not about censorship and the state but about TV and pop culture destroying books and reading.  That it is more of a book of low-culture vs. high culture.  Anyone know the truth of this?

It doesn't matter to me.   I am a fan of both high and low culture (I am reading Les Miserables but last night I took a break to watch a rented copy of Underworld).  If folks can read Huckleberry Finn as a Gay novel, I can read Fahrenheit 451 (while listening to my well-worn Rush 2112 CD, of course) as a critique of censorship and totalitarianism.

What A Real Global Warming Insurance Policy Would Look Like

Cross posted from Climate Skeptic

It is frustrating to see the absolutely awful Waxman-Markey bill creeping through Congress.  Not only will it do almost nothing measurable to world temperatures, but it would impose large costs on the economy and is full of pork and giveaways to favored businesses and constituencies.

It didn't have to be that way.   I think readers know my position on global warming science, but the elevator version is this:  Increasing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 will almost certainly warm the Earth "” absent feedback effects, most scientists agree it will warm the Earth about a degree C by the year 2100.  What creates the catastrophe, with warming of 5 degrees or more, are hypothesized positive feedbacks in the climate.  This second theory of strongly net positive feedback in climate is poorly proven, and in fact evidence exists the sign may not even be positive.  As a result, I believe warming from man's Co2 will be small and manageable, and may even been unnoticeable in the background noise of natural variations.

I get asked all the time - "what if you are wrong?  What if the climate is, unlike nearly every other long-term stable natural process, dominated by strong positive feedbacks?  You buy insurance on your car, won't you buy insurance on the earth?"

Why, yes, I answer, I do buy insurance on my car.  But I don't pay $20,000 a year for a policy with a $10,000 deductible on a car worth $11,000.  That is Waxman-Markey.

In fact, there is a plan, proposed by many folks including myself and even at least one Congressman, that would act as a low-cost insurance policy.  It took 1000+ pages to explain the carbon trading system in Waxman-Markey"“ I can explain this plan in two sentences:  Institute a federal carbon excise tax on fuels whose rate increases with the carbon content per btu of the fuel.  All projected revenues of this carbon tax shall be offset with an equivalent reduction in payroll (social security) taxes. No exemptions, offsets, exceptions, special rates, etc.  Everyone gets the same fuel tax rate, everyone gets the same payroll tax rate cut.

Here are some of the advantages:

  • Dead-easy to administer.  The government overhead to manage an excise tax would probably be shockingly large to any sane business person, but it is at least two orders of magnitude less than trying to administer a cap and trade system.  Just compare the BOE to CARB in California.
  • Low cost to the economy.  This plan may hurt the economy or may even boost it, but either effect is negligible compared to the cost of Waxman-Markey.  Politically it would fly well, as most folks would accept a trade of increasing the cost of fuel while reducing the cost of employment.
  • Replaces one regressive (or at least not progressive) tax with a different one.  In net should not increase or decrease how progressive or regressive the tax code is.
  • Does not add any onerous carbon tracking or reporting to businesses

Here are why politicians will never pass this plan:

  • They like taxes that they don't have to call taxes.  Take Waxman-Markey "” supporters still insist it is not a tax.  This is grossly disingenuous.  Either it raises the cost of electricity and fuel or it does not.  If it does not, it has absolutely no benefits on Co2 production.  If it does, then it is a tax.
  • The whole point is to be able to throw favors at powerful campaign supporters.  A carbon tax leaves little room for this.  A cap and trade bill is a Disneyland for lobbyists.

Here are three problems, which are minor compared to those of Waxman-Markey:

  • We don't know what the right tax rate is.  But almost any rate would have more benefit, dollar for dollar, than Waxman-Market.  And if we get it wrong, it can always be changed.  And it we get it too high, the impacts are minimized because that results in a higher tax cut in employment taxes.
  • Imports won't be subject to the tax.  I would support just ignoring this problem, at least at first.  We don't worry about changing import duties based on any of our other taxes, and again this will affect the mix but likely not the overall volumes by much
  • Making the government dependent on a declining revenue source.  This is probably the biggest problem "” if the tax is successful, then the revenue source for the government dries up.  This is the problem with sin taxes in general, and why we find the odd situation of states sometimes doing things that promote cigarette sales because they can't afford declining cigarette taxes, the decline in which was caused by the state's efforts to tax and reduce cigarette use.

Postscript: The Meyer Energy Plan Proposal of 2007 actually had 3 planks:

  1. large federal carbon tax, offset by reduction in income and/or payroll taxes
  2. streamlined program for licensing new nuclear reactors
  3. get out of the way

Things That Are Below Average

Having the A/C fail when it is 115F outside.

The good news is that it is only 92 in my bedroom.  Oh, and its a dry heat.

Update: The candy bars in my pantry are all melted.

Friday Funnies: Homeopathy

Sometimes one molecule of active ingredient diluted into the entire volume of the world's oceans still isn't enough of a pick-me-up on a Friday afternoon.  So I leave you with this, via John Stoessel:

Anyone want to bet that things like homeopathy will get included in the government's "must cover" rules under the new health proposal?

Another Example of "Reduced Rationing on the Basis of Price and Ability to Pay"

Previously, I used 1970s gas price lines as an example of a situation where the government, as Uwe Reinhardt puts it, "reduce[d] rationing on the basis of price and ability to pay."

Here is another example:  The Pruitt Igoe housing project in St. Louis, which was abused so badly by its occupants it had to be torn down less than 20 years after it was built.


I will remind you of my earlier comparison of universal health care to public housing:

Lyndon Johnson wants to embark on a futile attempt to try to provide public housing to the poor?  Our taxes go up, a lot of really bad housing is built, but at least my housing did not get any worse.  Ditto food programs "” the poor might get some moldy cheese from a warehouse, but my food did not get worse.  Ditto welfare.  Ditto social security, unemployment insurance,and work programs.

But health care is different.  The author above is probably correct that some crappy level of terribly run state health care will probably be an improvement for some of the poor.  But what is different about many of the health care proposals on the table is that everyone, not just the poor, will get this same crappy level of treatment.  It would be like a public housing program where everyone's house is torn down and every single person must move into public housing. That is universal state-run health care. Ten percent of America gets pulled up, 90% of America gets pulled down, possibly way down.

Universities are Farther Left Than I Remembered

It is not at all surprising that an Ivy League University professor does not recognize a difference between rationing by individual choice based on price signals and rationing based on government mandate.  What is surprising to me is that I remember this particular professor, Uwe Reinhardt, as the only person who would ever take the free market side of campus debates.  Kind of depressing.  I guess he must have seemed free market just by contrast, or else he has evolved a bit.  Is it ironic to anyone else that radicalism of the 1960s, which purported to be based on individualism and freedom, has led to campuses where it is normal not to even consider individual liberty as part of a public policy equation?  It just reinforced my sense that no one really wants to get rid of "the man," they just want to be "the man" themselves.

In particular he writes:

As I read it, the main thrust of the health care reforms espoused by President Obama and his allies in Congress is first of all to reduce rationing on the basis of price and ability to pay in our health system

We actually have plenty of examples of the government ending rationing by price and ability to pay.  Gas price controls in the 1970s are one very good example.  Anyone remember the result?


Or more recently in China, where gas prices were controlled well below world market levels:


We substituted gas rationing by willingness to pay the posted price with gas price rationing by ability to waste four hours of one's day sitting in lines. (I had never thought of this before, but there must be some interesting economic implications of preferentially routing fuel to those least likely to have a full-time job).

Perhaps worse, Reinhardt equates criticism of the current health care system ( and particularly its productivity) with support for socialization of the system.  Really?  There are perfectly valid free market reasons to criticize health care, where any number of government policy decisions over the years have disrupted the efficacy of price signals and created terrible incentives.

More here from Doug Bandow of Cato

Postscript: Farther left?  Further left?  Sorry, I try, but your scribe is an engineer at heart and sometimes struggles with the native tongue.  When I was in fourth grade, I remember doing a battery of achievement tests, and getting 99+ percentile scores on every test but spelling, where I got something like a 25th percentile.   I think this score put me down mostly with kids for whom English is a second language  (or maybe even worse, with Russian kids for whom ours is a second alphabet).  Only technology in the form of spell-checkers has bailed me out of my personal handicap.

Tort Lawyer Full Employment Act

From Walter Olson, on the House health care bill:

Contacts on Capitol Hill inform me that Republicans yesterday managed to block a remarkable provision that had been slipped into the House leadership's 794-page health care bill just before it went to a House Ways & Means markup session. If their description of the provision is accurate "” and my initial reading of the language gives me no reason to think it isn't "” it sounds as if they managed to (for the moment) hold off one of the more audacious and far-reaching trial lawyer power grabs seen on Capitol Hill in a while.

For some time now the federal government has been intensifying its pursuit of what are sometimes known as "Medicare liens" against third party defendants (more)....

The newly added language in the Thursday morning version of the health bill (for those following along, it's Section 1620 on pp. 713-721) would greatly expand the scope of these suits against third parties, while doing something entirely new: allow freelance lawyers to file them on behalf of the government "” without asking permission "” and collect rich bounties if they manage thereby to extract money from the defendants. Lawyers will recognize this as a qui tam procedure, of the sort that has led to a growing body of litigation filed by freelance bounty-hunters against universities, defense contractors and others alleged to have overcharged the government.

It gets worse. Language on p. 714 of the bill would permit the lawyers to file at least some sorts of Medicare recovery actions based on "any relevant evidence, including but not limited to relevant statistical or epidemiological evidence, or by other similarly reliable means". This reads very much as if an attempt is being made to lay the groundwork for claims against new classes of defendants who might not be proved liable in an individual case but are responsible in a "statistical" sense. The best known such controversies are over whether suppliers of products such as alcohol, calorie-laden foods, or guns should be compelled to pay compensation for society-wide patterns of illness or injury.

He has a lot more detail.  Ask anyone in a public contact business in California how similar laws for ADA violations have worked out.  Just one more horrible, failed law from California that has driven the state into the ground now being emulated at the national level.

Is This Constitutional?

From the House health care bill:

"There shall be no administrative or judicial review of a payment rate or methodology established under this section or any other section."

Julius Shulman

Julius Shulman, creator of perhaps my single favorite urban photo, has died at the age of 98.  I like the black and white version linked above better than the color, which I confess I had never seen before.

Another Great Argument for Open Immigration

Via Tyler Cowen:

Female migrants should on average be prettier, ceteris paribus, than those who stay in the old country.

Surprise of the Day

A new stadium for a professional sports team is going to be built without public money.  At least, that is, without any money from governments of the United States.  It will be built and owned by the Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, agruably a nation unto itself.

On Congressional Bribery

Normally, if I were to contemplate resorting to bribery to change someone's decision, I would have to face two hurdles.  First, of course, I would face legal consequences because in many contexts., bribery is illegal.  Second, I would have to consider the cost -- is the price being demanded worth it.  After all, it makes little sense to spend a million dollars to bribe someone to make a decision worth a hundred thousand dollars to me.

But, unfortunately, neither of these problems exist when Congressional leadership seeks to bribe recalcitrant lawmakers to vote their way.  Bribery in this context is not illegal, its just "horsetrading."   And the cost is meaningless, because folks like Nancy Pelosi do not bear the cost of the bribe, taxpayers do.

It is totally clear to me that Obama and Pelosi will spend any amount of money to pass their key legislative initiatives.  In the case of Waxman-Markey, the marginal price per vote turned out to be about $3.5 billion.  But they didn't even blink at paying this.  That is why I fear that some horrible form of health care "reform" may actually pass.  If it does, the marginal cost per vote may be higher, but I don't think our leaders care.

Stimulus Only Saving Government Jobs

Waaaay back, before the stimulus was even passed, I did an analysis of the proposed spending in 2009-2010 and said that very little of it was for the infrastructure type projects that were being promised.  I concluded:

The reason so much of this infrastructure bill can be spent in the next two years is that there is no infrastructure in it, at least in the first two years!  42% of the deficit impact in 2009/2010 is tax cuts, another 44% is in transfer payments to individuals and state governments.  1% is defense.  At least 5% seems to be just pumping up a number of budgets with no infrastructure impact (such as at Homeland Security).  And at most 6% is infrastructure and green energy.  I say at most because it is unclear if this stuff is really incremental, and much of this budget may be for planners and government departments rather than actual facilities on the ground.

So don't call this an infrastructure bill.  This is a tax cut and welfare bill, at least in 2010 and 2011.

Via the Atlantic (hat tip to TJIC) we get a GAO report that comes to the same conclusions (they leave out the tax cut part and look at only the spending side):

But most federal stimulus funds aren't necessarily being spent to create $250K jobs out of thin air -- they're being spent to plug in the ongoing decay in state budgets. That was the conclusion of the GAO report early this month. Here's a graph they provided breaking down stimulus spending by program:

stimulusbreakdown.pngOf the $29 billion spent this year, 90 percent has gone to assist Medicaid and to stabilize tottering state budgets, according to the report. That's not just job creation -- that's emergency rescue, a fiscal crutch propping up our humpback deficit-ridden states. So what exactly is the logic in kicking the crutch away? If you see an old man with a cane who's barely managing to place one foot in front of the other, the logical commentary seems to me to be "Thank God for that crutch," not "Well obviously that crutch isn't doing much for him, he probably won't mind if I borrow it for a while."

But we're talking about job creation, so let's take a look at shovel-ready, highway spending, which the GAO puts at 6 percent of the spent stimulus. I suppose this would be a good place to knock the administration for not spending fast enough to create construction jobs, but Conor Clarke notes here (with a chart, of course), highway spending is actually ahead of schedule is all 16 states the GAO studied for the report.

Only $29 billion spent so far?  Can we please just stop it now before the other $700 billion or so get spent?  Why are we planning spending in 2015 to prop up the 2009 economy?

Thought on Mike Huckabee

I generally don't do horserace style political blogging on strategy between the Coke and Pepsi parties, and I am not going to start now.   However, I did find it funny that it was Mike Huckabee threatening Sarah Palin that she should not leave the GOP.  It's funny to me because of all the things the GOP could do to potentially attract me to the party, having Mike Huckabee leave the party would be close to first on the list.