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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 02/14/2012

Morning Bits

Oblivious no longer. “[T]he geniuses we have put in charge of our children’s education seem to be in the throes of a brilliant epiphany about the electronic generation: If you give them laptops, they will learn. Well, duh. . . . Sadly, my own longstanding prescription for the burlesque disaster that is the U.S. education ‘system’ — nuke it and start from scratch — has never gotten much traction. It looks like Steve Jobs (RIP) may be getting the job done for me.”

The Obama team seems oblivious to the looming fiscal train wreck. “The 2013 Obama budget projects $360 billion in healthcare savings over 10 years. The budget says money will be saved by charging wealthier people higher Medicare premiums and cutting some payments to providers and drug companies. According to the White House, the savings extend the life of the Medicare trust fund — set to be insolvent after 2022 — by two years. The GOP says this is paltry, and that House Republicans last year proposed transforming Medicare into a system of private insurance to extend its life further.”

The Obama administration’s accounting sleight-of-hand suggests the president is oblivious to the concerns of critical swing-state voters. “If the president tries to hold the line here, his chances in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and New Mexico will be substantially worse off that when he started this process. Yes, he gets credit from liberal women, but that’s the base of his base. They’re not voting Republican this year, no matter whom the GOP nominates. Instead of fixing the problem, Obama has worsened it by suggesting that the core complaint is so unworthy as to be remedied by an accounting gimmick. One doesn’t prescribe a placebo unless he or she believes that the problem is all in the patient’s head.”

Rick Santorum’s campaign may be a bit oblivious on this one. “Bob McDonnell hits Rick Santorum on military comments.”

The most oblivious administration ever? Larry Kudlow makes a good case it is: “Former Bush economist Keith Hennessey estimates that new proposals would create a ratio of 1.2 dollars of tax increases for every dollar cut in spending. Most of the spending cuts would slam Medicare doctors and other health providers. Unlikely to happen. And there is no overall entitlement reform. Somehow the Obama budget is being offered as a substitute for the $1.2 trillion in spending cuts from the supercommittee. But the slam down in defense remains a huge problem. The deficit for the coming year, which is $1.3 trillion, would be 8.5 percent of GDP. More important, budget spending remains at over 24 percent of GDP. Debt held by the public for 2013 would be $12.7 trillion, or 77.4 percent of GDP. In terms of ten-year totals, spending would rise by $47 trillion and deficits by $6.7 trillion.”

Pundits may oblivious to the electability strengths and weaknesses of each candidate. Michael Barone provides some needed perspective: “The old steelworker House district where he was first elected in 1990 has been losing population ever since. And even in 2008, John McCain won non-college whites by a 58 percent to 40 percent margin. Santorum would probably run better among this group than Romney, whose unforced errors and political tin ear have made him seem aloof. But there’s also a case to be made that Romney may run better among another, less noticed group — affluent voters.” Read the whole thing.

Oblivious to the cost, indifferent to the charges of crony capitalism. “The White House intends to boost government subsidies for wealthy buyers of the Chevy Volt and other new-technology vehicles — to $10,000 per buyer. That mammoth subsidy would cost taxpayers $100 million each year if it is approved by Congress, presuming only 10,000 new-technology autos are sold each year.”

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 02/14/2012

 
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