The Baltimore Sun

HOW WELL-OFF does a family have to be before Democrats will stop throwing government subsidies at them? That's the question to ask when considering the complaints that new federal regulations will prevent New Hampshire from offering subsidized health insurance to as many middle-class families as it can do now.

The new rules would require the state to provide subsidized insurance through the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to 95 percent of eligible children in families that earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level before enrolling additional children in families that earn more than 250 percent of the federal poverty level. That's right, liberals are complaining about being required to help poorer kids before financially better-off kids. For a family of four, 200 percent of the poverty level equals $41,300 a year, and 250 percent equals $51,625.

This summer, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to expand SCHIP to cover "children" up to age 20 and families earning up to $82,600. And that's only because the Democratic leadership in the House thought it couldn't get away with broadening the subsidies even further.

This fight over subsidized insurance has nothing to do with insuring needy children (poor children are covered by Medicaid) and everything to do with politicians making more people dependent on government aid.

- The Union Leader (N.H.)

While bad debt and credit fraud might seem like totally different problems, banks handle both in similarly ham-handed and ineffective ways. Remember when Dr. Richard Kimball (Harrison Ford) was hotly pursued by a U.S. marshal, portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones, in the movie The Fugitive? Though he shouted his innocence, the implacable marshal shouted right back: "I don't care!" Neither do the banks. Why should they, after being spoiled senseless by usury laws permitting interest rates once charged only by organized crime? Because of write-offs, the poor slob who actually owes the debt, mortgage or credit card is less important than the endless shell game of selling discounted notes to second, third and fourth parties. Small wonder Wall Street insiders liken subprime mortgages to neutron bombs: Kill the people but leave the houses.

- Ken Allard, San Antonio Express-News

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