Scott Brown Says Different Things to Different People – At his first press conference as a U.S. senator, Scott Brown (R, MA) took another chance to side with the most orthodox conservatives, falsely claiming that the Recovery Act has not created “one new job“. However, there have been nearly 600,000 whose jobs were saved or created in the last quarter of 2009 alone. Brown understood this last week, when he asked Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick to increase “the pace of the state’s economic stimulus spending.” This came after reports that the stimulus had added more than 9,000 jobs last quarter (see graph below) to the 23,000 already created or saved in Massachusetts (UPDATE: saved or created 53,000 jobs in Massachusetts).
Writer Pens False Article, Pundits Repeat Her Falsehoods – Terri Cullen, who was recently hired by Reuters from the Wall Street Journal, wrote an article said that President Obama’s budget amounted to a backdoor tax increase for middle-income and even lower-income people, based largely on the scheduled expiration of income tax cuts passed in 2001. But the president had actually proposed keeping those cuts in place for all but high-income families. Reuters pulled the story after conceding it contained “significant errors of fact.” But by then, some prominent conservatives had seized on the article, and a few — notably Rush Limbaugh — insisted that the retraction meant simply that the media were protecting the president. Ms Cullen has now left Reuters.
The Money Shines Bright on Mitch McConnell’s Old Kentucky Home – After the Supreme Court handed down its decision two weeks ago, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the leader of Senate Republicans, praised it from the senate floor. He dismissed the notion that the decision might allow a flood of foreign money to influence our elections. Now we learn that Senator McConnell has received substantial funds from a subsidiary of a big foreign defense contractor that’s currently being investigated by the Justice Department for bribery. Senator McConnell has been quite good to that subsidiary — this year alone he’s requested seventeen million dollars in earmarks for its Louisville facility.
Health Insurance Company Raises Rates While Gathering Record Profits -Anthem Blue Cross in California will raise it’s premiums for health insurance by 39% on March 1, 2010. That’s 15 times faster than inflation.
In a letter faxed to Anthem Blue Cross, US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called for the insurer to publicly explain why it raised premiums. The rate hikes were “even more difficult to understand” in the light of soaring profits at Anthem Blue Cross’s parent company, WellPoint Incorporated, Sebelius said.
WellPoint earned 2.7 billion dollars in the last quarter of 2009, she said, calling on the insurance company to “provide a detailed justification” for the increase.
Additionally, WellPoint CEO Angela Braly earns an annual salary of nearly $10 million and held nearly $2 million in stock options at the end of 2008. Additionally, WellPoint spent nearly $9.5 million on lobbying against health reforms in 2009, labor advocate group AFL-CIO noted in a recent release.
A recent Harvard study published by the American Journal of Public Health found that over 45,000 Americans die every year for lack of health insurance — more than the number of Americans killed by kidney disease.
We Want it on TV! You’ll Put it on TV? Nevermind! – Republicans have been complaining that the entire health care debate has not been on TV. President Obama has now invited them to discuss health care in a bipartisan, televised setting later this month. the president said he wants “to look at the Republican ideas that are out there.” The reply? The House and Senate GOP leaders said Obama and his fellow Democrats must first shelve both the House and Senate versions of the health care bills under consideration.