Alex Blumberg http://wuky.org en The Fiscal Cliff: A Love Story http://wuky.org/post/fiscal-cliff-love-story America, if you're scared by all the talk you've been hearing about the fiscal cliff, take heart: There are reasons for people across the political spectrum to love the cliff.<p>There's a lot for liberals to like in the fiscal cliff, says <a href="http://www.slate.com/authors.matthew_yglesias.html" target="_blank">Matthew Yglesias</a>, who writes wonky articles about economics for Slate.<p>Take the spending cuts. Mon, 31 Dec 2012 08:32:00 +0000 Alex Blumberg 25352 at http://wuky.org Why The Falling Birthrate Is Bad News For My 2-Year-Old Son http://wuky.org/post/why-falling-birth-rate-bad-news-my-2-year-old-son The U.S. birthrate just fell to its <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/11/29/166181293/the-birth-rate-just-hit-a-record-low-thats-bad-news-for-medicare" target="_blank">lowest point since we've been keeping track</a>. Here's why that may be a problem for my 2-year-old son.<p>Right now, I, my colleagues and everybody else with a job is paying to support our parents, our grandparents and all the other elderly people in the U.S. who currently receive Medicare and Social Security. Fri, 07 Dec 2012 07:54:00 +0000 Alex Blumberg 24432 at http://wuky.org Why The Falling Birthrate Is Bad News For My 2-Year-Old Son Does Medicaid Make People Healthier? http://wuky.org/post/does-medicaid-make-people-healthier A while back, Robin Boros lost her job, and she and her husband couldn't afford health insurance.<p>One time, Boros passed out, and her husband called an ambulance.<p>"The hospital bill, it was atrocious," she says. "We couldn't pay it."<p>They never figured out why Boros passed out. But after that, she and her husband avoided going to the doctor. At times, she says, she even bought blood pressure medication on the street.<p>"That was awful," Boros says. "But you do what you got to do."<p>Boros lives in Oregon. Tue, 03 Jul 2012 22:14:00 +0000 Alex Blumberg 16982 at http://wuky.org Does Medicaid Make People Healthier? Why Does The Mortgage-Interest Tax Deduction Still Exist? http://wuky.org/post/why-does-mortgage-interest-tax-deduction-still-exist <em>This is the latest story in our series on <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/archives/archive.php?thingId=149649575" target="_blank">money in politics</a>.</em><p>If you have a mortgage on your home, you can deduct the interest from your taxes. It's a popular, well-entrenched policy. But according to one policy adviser to a U.S. senator, "the mortgage-interest deduction, from a purely policy perspective ... Wed, 06 Jun 2012 06:56:00 +0000 Alex Blumberg 15547 at http://wuky.org Why Does The Mortgage-Interest Tax Deduction Still Exist? When Lobbyists Pay To Meet With Congressmen http://wuky.org/post/when-lobbyists-pay-meet-congressmen <em>Yesterday, <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/04/19/150904641/why-lobbyists-dodge-calls-from-congressmen" target="_blank">we reported</a> on the fundraisers that lobbyists hold for Congressmen every day in Washington. Today, we hear what happens inside those events. The stories are part of our <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/archives/archive.php?thingId=149649575" target="_blank">series on money in politics</a>.</em><p>At a typical event, there's a member of Congress and a member of his or her staff who is in charge of collecting the checks. Fri, 20 Apr 2012 07:26:00 +0000 Alex Blumberg 13227 at http://wuky.org When Lobbyists Pay To Meet With Congressmen Senator By Day, Telemarketer By Night http://wuky.org/post/senator-day-telemarketer-night <em>This is the first story in a Planet Money series on money in politics. We'll have more this afternoon on </em>All Things Considered<em>, and this weekend on </em>This American Life<em>.</em><p>We think of lawmakers having one job: making laws. But there's a second job most lawmakers have to do. And it's a big job.<p>"I think most Americans would be shocked — not surprised, but shocked — if they knew how much time a United States senator spends raising money," says Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin. Fri, 30 Mar 2012 07:48:00 +0000 Alex Blumberg 12233 at http://wuky.org Senator By Day, Telemarketer By Night Jack Abramoff Explains The 'Lobbyist Safecracker Method' http://wuky.org/post/jack-abramoff-explains-lobbyist-safecracker-method Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff has been making the rounds lately. He's out of prison. He has a new book. He's in a talkative mood. So I figured it was a good time to ask him about the business of lobbying — not about what he did that was illegal, but about the ordinary, legal stuff.<p>The firm he worked for was called Greenberg Traurig. I chose a year at random when Abramoff was working there, and picked a client I hoped would be fairly typical. Fri, 27 Jan 2012 05:01:00 +0000 Alex Blumberg 4805 at http://wuky.org Jack Abramoff Explains The 'Lobbyist Safecracker Method' Forget Stocks Or Bonds, Invest In A Lobbyist http://wuky.org/post/forget-stocks-or-bonds-invest-lobbyist Corporations don't lobby Congress for fun. They lobby because it helps their bottom line. Getting a regulation gutted or a tax loophole created means extra cash for the corporation. But getting laws changed can be very expensive. How much money does a corporation get back from investing in a good lobbyist?<p>It's a messy, secretive system so it was always hard to study. Fri, 06 Jan 2012 05:01:00 +0000 Alex Blumberg 3802 at http://wuky.org Forget Stocks Or Bonds, Invest In A Lobbyist The National Debt: What The Left And Right Agree On http://wuky.org/post/national-debt-what-left-and-right-agree The congressional supercommittee <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/21/usa-debt-failure-idUSWEN106520111121" target="_blank">announced</a> Monday that it failed to come to an agreement on reducing the deficit. After three months of negotiating, the Democrats and Republicans just couldn't agree on how much spending to cut or how high to raise taxes.<p>But this is not a story about how the left and right disagree with each other. Tue, 22 Nov 2011 21:17:00 +0000 Alex Blumberg 1741 at http://wuky.org The National Debt: What The Left And Right Agree On