The First Draft: $829 billion — and that’s the good news
You’ve no doubt heard the old saying about money and Washington: a billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money. That seems to be the case for fixing U.S. healthcare.
President Barack Obama got some good news from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office yesterday, which estimated that a healthcare plan by the Senate Finance Committee would cost $829 billion. CBO said this plan would cut the budget deficit by $81 billion over 10 years.
There was good news this morning too, as the Labor Department reported new unemployment claims at a nine-month low.
These moves are so recent they haven’t shown up in polls tracking whether Americans approve of how Obama is doing his job. The president’s job approval rating has been wiggling around 52 percent for the last three weeks, according to an average of poll results by RealClearPolitics.com. Disapproval ratings for the same period floated around 42 percent.
He’s still doing far better than Congress as a whole, which generally gets dismal poll ratings. It certainly is now, with the RealClearPolitics average approval rating at 25.8 percent, with a 66.5 disapproval rating.
Which brings up today’s question: is this kind of minute attention to polls worthwhile? Does it impede the business of government? Is it interesting to anybody outside the Washington Beltway? Let us know.
Photo credit: REUTERS/Choi Bu-Seok (Hundred dollar bills a headquarters of Korea Exchange Bank, October 8, 2009)