The Note: Questionable Figures

As chronicled by Tom Fahey in Saturday's Manchester Union Leader, with the approaching onslaught of retiring baby boomers, Sen. Judd Gregg foresees big bad bills from the big three -- Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid -- public distribution projects. "He argued the nation needs to find a way to control spending on entitlement programs, and to boost the economy through business-friendly tax policy." Afraid the federal government may be wading into deep water sans life preserver with the addition of the Medicare prescription plan, he Notes uneasily, "It's $8 trillion of unfunded liability that was added." LINK

Medicare and the states:

The New York Times' Robert Pear reports that that the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures close to agreement on sweeping changes to state Medicaid programs that would trim (or cut) as much as $10 billion - the sum the governors assume will be missing from the budget. LINK

"State officials say their goal is not just to save money, but also to avoid wholesale cuts in coverage like those in Tennessee, which is dropping more than 300,000 people from its Medicaid rolls, and in Missouri, which is dropping 90,000. They believe states should be allowed to impose higher co-payments and deductibles on Medicaid recipients with higher incomes. The groups are still refining their proposals, with the aim of getting their recommendations to Congress for action this year."

Pear's dateline is "Nashville," and another Times reporter, Shaila Dewan, looks at Tennessee's dual system for driver's licenses: one for those who can't prove they're hear legally, and the other for those who can.

House of Labor:

The great Harold Meyerson weighs in with a fair piece that describes why the SEIU may be a victim of its own success.

"But this [dissident] endeavor has been complicated by the SEIU's growing sense of exceptionalism, which is causing rifts not only with its adversaries in labor but with its allies as well. At one level, that sense of exceptionalism is understandable: While most unions have struggled to stay afloat, the SEIU has grown by close to 750,000 new members since Stern became president in 1996. In the past month alone, it has picked up 90,000 new members in two mega-organizing campaigns (among child-care workers in Illinois and home-care workers in Michigan)." LINK

"Part of the problem is that (John) Wilhelm, or any candidate of change, cannot assemble a majority at the AFL-CIO's convention without the support of unions that are not entirely committed to the SEIU's agenda of change. The SEIU, for instance, favors restricting union's organizing campaigns to their core industries -- a prescription that the United Auto Workers (UAW), which has tried to augment its shrinking numbers in the auto industry by organizing teaching assistants on university campuses, might well view as a death sentence. In Vegas, UAW President Ron Gettlefinger sided with Stern, Wilhelm, and Teamster President James P. Hoffa on Hoffa's proposal to create the rebate for organizing. He's hardly likely, however, to agree to a labor restructuring that condemns his union to go down with General Motors and Ford."

Ben Boyd, Mr. Stern's top communications adviser, said in response to the article, "Mr. Stern has given Mr. Wilhelm his every assurance that if he runs on the right platform that the will certainly support him and he will remain in the federation."

2008: Republicans:

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