If Governor Chris Christie is looking for a boost to his flagging presidential ambitions, he’s probably not going to get it from the folks back home.
A Quinnipiac University Poll released Monday shows that many New Jersey voters are turned off by Christie and his presidential ambitions, with 56 percent saying they disapprove of his job performance. More than half of those interviewed say that their shoot-from-the-hip Republican governor isn’t trustworthy and that he doesn’t care about their needs. Christie’s 38 percent approval rating is the lowest he has registered since becoming governor in January 2010.
But it gets worse: 65 percent of Garden State voters say Christie would not make a good president (vs. 29 percent who think he would do a good job), and by similar margins voters say he shouldn’t run.
Meanwhile, more than a third of those interviewed said Christie should be removed from office if it is ultimately determined that he ordered or knew about the infamous closing of traffic lanes in Fort Lee, N.J., that led to massive traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge in early September 2013.
Recently, two reports, commissioned by the state legislature and Christie’s office, failed to turn up any evidence that Christie participated in the scheme – said to be political retaliation against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee – or knew about it as it happened. However, the U.S. attorney’s office is conducting a criminal investigation of the bridge scheme; there is no indication of when that will be concluded.
The new telephone survey was conducted April 9 to 14 and involved 1,428 New Jersey voters. The findings have a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points.
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- More Americans Have Health Insurance (Whether They Want it or Not)
As expected, groups representing hospitals sued the Trump administration Wednesday to stop a new regulation would require them to make public the prices for services they negotiate with insurers. Claiming the rule “is unlawful, several times over,” the industry groups, which include the American Hospital Association, say the rule violates their First Amendment rights, among other issues.
"The burden of compliance with the rule is enormous, and way out of line with any projected benefits associated with the rule," the suit says. In response, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services said that hospitals “should be ashamed that they aren’t willing to provide American patients the cost of a service before they purchase it.”
Between December 2017 and July 2019, enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) fell by 1.9 million, or 2.6%. The Kaiser Family Foundation provided an analysis of that drop Monday, saying that while some of it was likely caused by enrollees finding jobs that offer private insurance, a significant portion is related to enrollees losing health insurance of any kind. “Experiences in some states suggest that some eligible people may be losing coverage due to barriers maintaining coverage associated with renewal processes and periodic eligibility checks,” Kaiser said.
Billionaire John D. Arnold, a former energy trader and hedge fund manager turned philanthropist with a focus on health care, says Big Pharma appears to have a powerful hold on members of Congress.
Arnold pointed out that PhRMA, the main pharmaceutical industry lobbying group, had revenues of $459 million in 2018, and that total lobbying on behalf of the sector probably came to about $1 billion last year. “I guess $1 bil each year is an intractable force in our political system,” he concluded.
The Wall Street Journal’s Richard Rubin says Elizabeth Warren’s proposed taxes could claim more than 100% of income for some wealthy investors. Here’s an example Rubin discussed Friday:
“Consider a billionaire with a $1,000 investment who earns a 6% return, or $60, received as a capital gain, dividend or interest. If all of Ms. Warren’s taxes are implemented, he could owe 58.2% of that, or $35 in federal tax. Plus, his entire investment would incur a 6% wealth tax, i.e., at least $60. The result: taxes as high as $95 on income of $60 for a combined tax rate of 158%.”
In Rubin’s back-of-the-envelope analysis, an investor worth $2 billion would need to achieve a return of more than 10% in order to see any net gain after taxes. Rubin notes that actual tax bills would likely vary considerably depending on things like location, rates of return, and as-yet-undefined policy details. But tax rates exceeding 100% would not be unusual, especially for billionaires.