Articles of Interest

Bailout costs rise, local election turnout, health care, light bulbs, newspapers, Kansas coal prospects

Estimate of TARP’s Cost to Taxpayers Increases (Wall Street Journal) “The Congressional Budget Office has quietly altered its estimate of the ultimate cost to taxpayers of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, now figuring the initiative will be much more expensive in the long run than it previously figured. In January, the CBO pegged the ultimate cost to taxpayers of the $700 billion TARP at $189 billion. When the agency issued revised numbers in late March, it revised that to $356 billion, a change that drew little attention.” I don’t imagine this will be the last time we see the cost of bailouts rising.

Expected Turnout For Tuesday’s Election: 12 Percent (Brent Wistrom in the Wichita Eagle) “The six candidates for Wichita City Council have clashed on many fronts. But they agree on one thing. The projected turnout for Tuesday’s election is dismal.”

That’s ridiculous (Letter to the editor of the Wichita Eagle) A letter-writer makes the case for government provided health care by illustrating a scenario where if a citizen calls for police or fire assistance, they’ll have to make payment arrangements before receiving service. This, of course, is a ridiculous comparison and ignores the context in which these services are provided. Besides, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to look into private provision of police and fire protection.

Climate Change’s Dim Bulbs (George F. Will in the Washington Post) Will comments on some of the problems with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL), as recently noted in a New York Times article The Bulb That Saved the Planet May Be a Little Less Than Billed. He concludes: “Worrywarts wonder what will happen when a lazy or careless, say, 10 percent of 300 million Americans put their worn-out bulbs in the trash. Stop worrying. What do you think? That Congress, architect of the ethanol industry and designer of automobiles, does not think things through?”

Life After Newspapers (Michael Kinsley in the Washington Post) Kinsley claims that people are getting more news and analysis than ever. It’s just online. If true — I was not aware of this — then there is hope for newspaper companies to survive: “Sorry, but people who have grown up around computers find reading the news on paper just as annoying as you find reading it on a screen. … If your concern is grander — that if we don’t save traditional newspapers we will lose information vital to democracy — you are saying that people should get this information whether or not they want it. That’s an unattractive argument: shoving information down people’s throats in the name of democracy. But this really isn’t a problem. As many have pointed out, more people are spending more time reading news and analysis than ever before. They’re just doing it online.”

Sebelius holding coal cards (Tim Carpenter in the Topeka Capital-Journal) Analysis of the “coal bill,” which passed the Kansas house, but with fewer votes than it has in the past. House Speaker Mike O’Neal said earlier this year that there would be enough votes in the house to override the governor’s promised veto, but it looks like the vote count is moving in the wrong direction.

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