Folks always complain that the media doesn’t report any good news. It reminds me of Gabriel Heatter, a commentator who used to begin each broadcast with “Ah, there’s good news tonight.” In the interest of public service, your columnist is providing you with a column that is filled with good news, and as the song says, “Where seldom is heard a discouraging word.”
The budget deficit is going down, according to the latest estimates from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. For Republicans, this is like Chicken Little finding out that the sky is not really falling. Not only that, the ratio of debt to gross domestic product is expected to remain stable for the next 10 years.
Social Security is not going bankrupt. According to the Social Security and Medicare trustees, the eventual shortfall is a lot smaller than we’ve been led to believe, and the system can be tweaked rather than attacked with an axe. That same report also indicates that projected increases are not so dire.
Health-care costs are flattening out. Remember when we were told that when Obamacare takes effect in January 2014, the system would break the budget? Well in California, which has enacted the health care exchanges mandated in the national law, medical insurance premiums went down. It turns out Medicare benefits don’t have to be reduced, if we can reduce the administrative costs of our private health care system that are outrageously high and/or raise taxes. We presently have one of the lowest tax rates of any civilized country in the western world.
U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachman will retire at the end of her term. Does anything else really have to be added?
Maine has passed a law that requires a search warrant in all but exceptional cases before authorities can track a cell phone as the government is doing now. It is the first such law of its kind and a blow struck for personal privacy in a world where there is precious little of it left.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, will be leaving office about the time you read this column. Ahmadinejad is, among other things, a Holocaust denier. He is leaving the presidency with his popularity rating at about the same level among the Iranian people as dysentery. There is no denying that someone even worse may replace him, but this is supposed to be a good news column.
The Jersey Shore is back in business. It’s good for the economy and good for the devotees of all the Shore points.
There also is more good news, perhaps on the way from Wildwood where residents are being asked to vote on an ordinance that would prohibit sagging pants and inappropriate dress on the boardwalk. Critics say that there is no way to enforce such a dress code. I beg to differ.
In the mid-1960s, a policeman stopped me while I was strolling on the Wildwood boardwalk with my shirt hanging out of my pants. I put my shirt back in my pants. If they could enforce a dress code back then, they can enforce one now. It’s not too much to ask someone to cover his or her butt. I applaud Wildwood’s effort. No cracks please.
According to AAA, gas prices are actually going down. This is, as everyone knows, not permanent good news, but let’s take good news where we can.
The toilet paper shortage is over in Venezuela. Even if you don’t live in Venezuela and are reading this column online, you never know when you might visit that country and have an emergency. There’s also the matter of human compassion. I can think of few things worse than running out of toilet paper. Countries have gone to war over lesser issues.
Grand Central Station is 100 years old (and the restrooms haven’t been cleaned for the last 50, but remember, this is a good news column).
An Oxford University study suggests poverty is shrinking (or maybe poor folks are just getting shorter?).
Owning a dog can make you healthier (it’s all that exercise you get bending over and picking up the mess).
My dear Phillies fan, you are unhappy about Cole Hamels, I give you Cliff Lee. You’re wearing a frown because of Ryan Howard; think of Domonic Brown.
A new electric car charging network will allow cross country road trips by 2014.
We’ve managed to stay out of Syria. So far.
Now that summer vacation is arriving for American students, chances are we’ll once again hear the refrain that our kids don’t spend nearly enough time in school as in most European and Asian countries. Actually that’s not true, according to the New York Times. The myth got perpetuated because kids in different countries are on different schedules. When you combine the number of days spent in the classroom and the hours in a day devoted to actual instruction, American kids spend as much time – 900 hours – in the classroom as kids in China and other western countries.