was regressive — he would have turned the savings into tax credits for purchasing health care — but he was right about where the revenues should come from. I worr ied that Obama would come to regret the position he took,” said Mr. Reich, who served as labor secretary in the Clinton administration.
“Half a year later, it appears that the president will need to tax employer provided health benefits in order to finance universal health care. Or at least the tax-free benefits now enjoyed by higher-income employees. Many in Congress and in the White House are convinced it’s the only good option. Max Baucus, chair of Senate Finance, explicitly put it on the table [two weeks ago]. Peter Orszag, the president’s budget director, has told Congress the option should remain on the table.
“The White House is in a revenue bind. The president had intended to raise money for health care by limiting the income tax deductions that wealthy taxpayers can claim. This would have generated some $318 billion over 10 years, about half of Obama’s proposed ‘health care reserve fund.’ But the proposal ran into a buzz saw of opposition from congressional Democrats. Not only did Baucus balk but so did Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
“With deficit vultures already circling, Obama has to come up with a far more reliable way to fund health care. That’s where employee health benefits come in.” significant and wise, but it is by no means the entirely new approach that he led everybody to expect.
“Mr. Obama is in the right, in my view, but he owes his supporters an apology for misleading them. He also owes George W. Bush an apology for saying that the last administration’s thinking was an affront to U.S. values, whereas his own policies would be entirely consonant with them. In office, he has found that the issue is more complicated. If he was surpr ised, he should not have been.” “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is widely regarded in the media as the ultimate authority on climate change,” Mark W. Hendrickson writes at www.townhall.com.
“Created by two divisions of the United Nations, and recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, its pronouncements are received as if they come down from Mount Olympus or Mount Sinai. The common presumption is that the IPCC has assembled the best scientific knowledge. Let’s take a closer look at this organization to see whether it merits such uncritical deference,” Mr. Hendrickson said.
“The IPCC’s February 2007 report stated: It is ‘very likely’ that human activity is causing global warming. Why then, just two months later, did the vice chair of the IPCC, Yuri Izrael, write, ‘the panic over global warming is totally unjustified’; ‘there is no serious threat to the climate’; and humanity is ‘hypothetically . . . more threatened by cold than by global warming’?
“IPCC press releases have warned about increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere, yet Dr. Vincent Gray, a member of the IPCC’s expert reviewers’ panel asserts, ‘There is no relationship between warming and [the] level of gases in the atmosphere.’
“A 2001 IPCC report presented 245 potential scenarios. The media publicity that followed focused on the most extreme scenario, prompting the report’s lead author, atmospheric scientist Dr. John Christy, to rebuke media sensationalism and affirm, ‘The world is in much better shape than this doomsday scenario paints . . . the worst-case scenario [is] not going to happen.’
“Clearly, the IPCC does not speak as one voice when leading scientists on its panel contradict its official position. The solution to this apparent riddle lies in the structure of the IPCC itself. What the media report are the policymakers’ summaries, not the far lengthier reports prepared by scientists. The policymakers’ summaries are produced by a committee of 51 government appointees, many of whom are not scientists.”
Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or email@example.com.