Author Archives: Peyton Lawson

Teacup Pigs are pets

Learn how to adopt teacup pigs and where to get them

The Teacup Pig pet craze is becoming more prominent as people become familiar with the intelligence and charm of these little creatures. As a standard warning, teacup pigs do not stay that size forever, so they should not be construed as a fashion accessory in the same manner as Chihuahuas. Also known as miniature pigs, teacup pigs were originally developed and used for medical research and the pet market. In European countries, teacup pigs and potbellied pigs have been kept as pets for some time prior to being introduced in the US in the 80s. A similar pig kept as a pet, the Vietnamese potbellied pig, was a craze in the 1990s. Why do people keep these little pigs? For one thing, they have a higher intelligence quotient than dogs and cats, but they are less likely to jump up on shelves than cats, and aren’t as loud as dogs. They are generally clean animals (despite the view of pigs in mud) and have a different personality than traditional dogs and cats. Teacup pigs also don’t grow to the enormous size that farm pigs do.

Notes and Special Information

Special note: Teacup pigs aren’t cute forever and they deserve the same respect that other pets do, so don’t start looking up recipes when the pig becomes a little big or less attractive. 

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Understanding how penny stocks work

Understanding how penny stocks work

Penny stocks generally have a bad name and to be honest here, there is a reason for that. Statistically speaking, 95% of the penny stocks out there are not good investments. Many of them can be absolutely ridiculous but at first glance, it can be hard to tell apart the top penny stocks from the rubbish ones unless you understand the literal definition of trading with penny stocks.

When it comes to penny stocks, it is important to know who you can bring yourself to trust. Penny stocks are not for everyone so obviously before getting started with the concept, you need to brainstorm a little, asking yourself pertinent questions. Are penny stocks right for you? What are the risks you might run into? What are the biggest pitfalls going around out there? To direct you to high-quality shares that can really multiply your investment dollars, Awesome Penny Stocks has a team of members absolutely dedicated to finding companies that have proven management teams, rock-solid fundamentals, growing market shares and an excellent upside potential.

When it comes to penny stocks, the key is to get the right stock at the right time. While the game is obviously not meant for everyone, trading in penny stocks represents a rewarding form of investment in more ways than one.

1. For starters, you got to think about the money. With the right penny stock picks, you can easily transform a few hundred dollars into a few thousand dollars and you can get there just by remaining steadfast in researching the best shares in the different markets

2. Penny stocks represent the only way for people to become part of a company before it turns into something big, becoming a monster out for the kill. By investing in the top penny stocks, you can become part of something big without actually having a degree in your drawer at home or field experience in the cutthroat world of business.

3. Making sense of the endless list of penny stocks and trading in the shares is a great way of learning about the different markets out there without actually committing to any one of them. You make the best of the different worlds and equipped with the knowledge you will undeniably develop, you will, later on, be able to settle in a field that you think has a great potential.

4. Trading in the top penny stocks is exciting and there is a significant potential for rewards there as well. You can get started with a few hundred dollars and no baggage to speak of. Currently, thousands of investors are reaping benefits from penny stocks; you can join them right away.

5. Penny stocks are on the rise. More and more investors are getting involved in this game and with the S.E.C. cracking down scams; the list of penny stocks left behind is pretty safe.

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Udall keeps filibuster reform drumbeat going

Udall keeps filibuster reform drumbeat going

Sen. Tom Udall continues to advance his cause of changing the Senate rules to reduce the role of the filibuster and the ability of a minority of senators to delay legislation from being voted on — in some cases indefinitely — in the Senate.

“The institution is broken,” Udall said on a conference call with reporters. “It’s broken, it needs help.”

This echoes an argument that Udall made earlier this week on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.

“A filibuster used to be something that was extraordinarily rare,” Udall told Maddow Tuesday night. “You know in LBJ’s days, back in the 1954 to 1961 period, he only had to cut — and this is six years — cut one filibuster off in that period. This year, Harry Reid had to cut off 84.”

Udall’s solution to gridlock in the Senate is through what he calls the Constitutional Option. He cites Article 1, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution, specifically the portion which says, “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings.”

Three previous times, the Senate has used its right to change rules on the first day of a new Congress, according to Udall. However, using the Constitutional Option is just one step along the process of reforming the Senate, he warns.

When the vice president cuts off debate and moves to adopt rules by majority vote on the first day of Congress, something not seen since the 1970s, at least 51 Senators must agree on a rules package. There are some popular changes, according to Udall, including support for eliminating secret holds and making all secret holds transparent.

Some Senate experts say it doesn’t necessarily have to be on the first day of the new Congress, but Udall is pushing for it to happen then.

Other ideas include eliminating the filibuster and just requiring 51 votes to end debate.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., also spoke to reporters about the Constitutional Option and the need to change Senate procedures. “The Senate is broken, continuous debate and some other changes would help a great deal,” Merkley said, echoing a theme by Udall.

Udall noted that while the Senate “had some big achievements, there is no doubt,” he said examples of the Senate failing to pass other important bills easily came to mind. “Not a single appropriations bill made it to the floor,” Udall told reporters.

Udall said that he isn’t trying to make the Senate another version of the House, where he served for a decade before running for Senate.

“I think all of you have observed that we’ve done no appropriations this year,” Merkley told reporters. “It’s very much damaging our advise and consent function.”

“I think it’s a very important one when we’re trying to come together in the proposal that will make the institution work better.”

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Beware the hidden cost of an early tax refund

Beware the hidden cost of an early tax refund

We live in a society of instant gratification — cell phones and other mobile devices offer instant access to new music, movies, and other entertainment. It’s not a stretch to extend this idea to our financial affairs; ATMs offer 24-hour access to your money, and more and more transactions take place over the Internet.

This time of year, many families are looking forward to their tax refunds. That combined with the headache of sorting through tax documents and finding what credits you’re eligible for (especially with the new stimulus credits coming), we all feel that the money is somewhat of a reward.

But families, especially working families, must be aware of the dragon lurking in the darkness. His name is RAL.

RALs, or refund anticipation loans, are short-term, high-interest loans made by tax preparers that allow the taxpayer to receive their anticipated refund instantly.

There is little regulation of RALs, and they are increasingly being offered by the same predatory lenders like payday loan companies. Tax preparers and lenders have no restriction on the amount they can charge for a RAL, which means that working families can end up paying a high-interest rate for a loan as short as a few days.

In fact, the preparer doesn’t even have to tell the tax filer that they’re getting a loan — just that they can receive their refund right away. The RAL can eat up a significant chunk of a family’s refund.

But it’s their money, right, so what does it matter?

Actually, much of it is public money that comes from other taxpayers. Many low-income working families receive a variety of tax credits.

The federal earned income tax credit (EITC) is one such refund. Last year, New Mexico’s working families received more than $370 million from the EITC. New Mexico’s working families tax credit (WFTC) refunds another 10 percent of the EITC amount. Both credits were designed to help lift working families out of poverty, and provide financial assistance to families and children in need.

But this money can end up going to an unintended source — the tax preparer.

In 2005, almost 200,000 New Mexico tax filers received an EITC, and one-quarter of these filers got a RAL. According to H&R Block’s Web site, a RAL for about $1,000 refund costs $140 — or, more than 10 percent; more than what is refunded by the WFTC.

Tax filers may be so enticed by the instant gratification of a quick refund that they may not carefully consider the financial consequences. Some don’t realize that they can get their full refund if they are willing to wait a few days.

Many also do not realize that free tax preparation is available to low-income families, and, when returns are filed electronically, they can get their refund in as little as a week. Direct deposit can make the wait even shorter.

Simply put, the practice of RALs damaging the abilities to work families to improve their economic status.

The legislation was introduced in the recently concluded legislative session that would have required that tax preparers disclose that what they are offering is a loan, and what the interest rates will be. Unfortunately, that bill went nowhere.

Predatory lending practices are nothing new, but in economic times such as this, we need to keep as many families afloat and out of poverty as we can.

Regulation of RALs through the full disclosure of fees, disclosure of how long the refund normally takes, and a limit on the amount a tax preparer or lender can charge, will help solve this problem.

But the problem can only really be solved if state lawmakers show more concern for the welfare of New Mexico’s low-income working families than the welfare of unscrupulous businesses.

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Filed under economy, Politics

NM approves six new medical marijuana producers

NM approves six new medical marijuana producers

The New Mexico Department of Health is expanding its medical cannabis program with the approval of six new nonprofits that will grow the drug for patients. That brings the total number of such producers to 17.

There are currently 2,807 medical marijuana patients, with 1,266 of those having individual permits to grow for their own personal use. In addition to the new non-profits, the Department is also considering changes to the regulations that govern the program. The next public hearing about the proposed changes will be on December 2.

“This will help patients in New Mexico get the medicine they need safely and legally under State law,” Secretary of Health Alfredo Vigil said in a statement. “We are consistently examining our program to ensure our patient’s needs are met without jeopardizing public safety.”

The six new producers are located in San Juan, Sierra, San Miguel, Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties. The previously approved producers are in Santa Fe, Cibola, Harding, Doña Ana, Lea, Catron and Bernalillo counties.

The producers will have eight weeks to bring their operations up to speed, and then their contact information will be distributed by the department to patients. It will take three to six months, however, before they have medical marijuana for sale.

Each producer is limited to 95 mature plants and seedlings,  and they may also have a limited supply of marijuana on hand in addition to the plants. In addition to the nonprofit producers, patients themselves may acquire a permit to grow up to four mature marijuana plants and 12 seedlings, for their own personal use. New Mexico does not allow caregivers of patients to grow the drug, however, unlike some other states.

The Department will hold another public hearing to receive input on proposed changes to the regulations that govern the program. The hearing will be held 9:30 a.m. Dec. 2 in the Harold Runnels Building auditorium in Santa Fe. The Department made changes to its proposed regulations based on comments it received at an August public hearing.

“This gives the public another chance to review our proposals and make suggestions about how we can improve our program,” Dr. Vigil said.

New proposed changes include:

*Implementing an annual fee for nonprofit producers based on how long the nonprofit has been operating (previously proposed 7 percent fee on gross annual revenue). The fees would be $5,000 for producers licensed less than one year, $10,000 for more than one year, $20,000 for more than two years and $30,000 for more than three years.

*Eliminating the proposed open and closed application periods

*Removing size requirements from definition of mature plant and size limits from definition of seedling

*Allowing nonprofit producers to get plants, seeds and useable cannabis from other licensed nonprofit producers

There are 16 conditions for which medical cannabis is allowed: severe chronic pain, painful peripheral neuropathy, intractable nausea/vomiting, severe anorexia/cachexia, hepatitis C infection currently receiving antiviral treatment, Crohn’s disease, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Inflammatory Autoimmune-mediated Arthritis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with intractable spasticity, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, and hospice care.

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New Mexico Food Gap Task Force invades the ‘food desert’

New Mexico Food Gap Task Force invades the ‘food desert’

ALBUQUERQUE — The New Mexico Food Gap Task Force is expected to submit its first report to Gov. Bill Richardson today. The panel’s members want the state to pay for fresh fruits and veggies in schools, and to help rural communities gain access to fresh foods. But with state revenues plummeting, will they be able to wrangle the cash?

While food banks put bags of food directly into the hands of the hungry, the Food Gap Task Force, a group appointed last year by Gov. Richardson, is charged with a more complicated mission: finding creative ways to help poor, rural areas of the state gain better access to healthy and affordable food. The task force is trying to close the “food gap” between financially comfortable city folk and cash-strapped residents of far-flung communities.

The most familiar face on the task force is activist Pam Roy, who is also a co-director of Farm to Table, and the director of the New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council. As the co-founder of the Southwest Marketing Network, she has worked for years to help local farmers market their products. With the help of task force co-chair Brian Moore, a state representative and small grocery store owner from Clayton, the group’s proposals have been making the rounds of the Legislature’s interim committees, where they have drawn some significant interest.

Buy Local

Getting more locally grown produce in schools has long been is one of Roy’s goals. Buying locally helps family farmers and puts fresh fruit and vegetables on the plates of some kids who don’t eat a lot of lettuce that’s not sitting on top of a hamburger patty. Seems like a win-win for kids and schools, right? But sometimes local food costs a little more, and sometimes red tape gets in the way.

“We’re requesting a $3.3 million investment into the school meal program to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables — New Mexico-grown when possible,” Roy says.

That “when possible” thing is important. School food activists have long fought over federal policies that made it hard for school districts to request locally grown foods. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently made it clear that districts can request local products, but districts still struggle to come up with enough money for fresh fruits and vegetables, which are a lot more expensive than macaroni and cheese.

“Schools only get $2.57 [in reimbursement from the federal government] to provide a free lunch, and it costs them about $3.07 if they put a fresh fruit or vegetable option on the plate.”

Hence the $3.3 million.

Already there are 12 school districts in the state buying local foods, up from eight last year. Most buy apples, as well as pears, melons, tomatoes, salad greens, carrots and potatoes.

It’s no secret that New Mexico is in a budget crunch, but Roy is optimistic about the group’s chances in the next session. State Sen. Pete Campos and Reps. Rhonda King, Paul Bandy and Danice Picraux are among the bipartisan legislators whom Roy calls her “champions.”

Refrigerator Madness

Besides grocery money for schools, the task force wants to create a pilot program to invest in infrastructure in rural underserved communities. OK, it’s not as exciting as giving apples to hungry kids, but a small investment in reefers — commercial refrigerators, that is — could go a long way.

“One-third of our counties are considered what we call ‘food deserts,’” Roy says.

In a typical food desert, she explains, residents have to drive more than 10 miles to a grocery store, but in New Mexico it’s often more like 25 to 100 miles round trip. And when people have to drive a long way to get to a store, they’re less likely to buy food that spoils quickly — like fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We could go into a convenience store in Vaughn and say ‘Hey, we’ll help you put a cooler in here if you’ll put salads and oranges and apples in there.’ Then the only thing to buy in Vaughn isn’t a deep-fried burrito from Allsup’s. We could buy four or five coolers for $20,000,” Moore says.

When USDA invested in two large refrigeration units in northern New Mexico, it allowed schools to buy large quantities of apples, carrots and potatoes from local farmers, more than they could use immediately. In fact, the coolers’ supply of last season’s apples lasted into March of this year, Roy says.

Distribution Solution

Broadening the food distribution network is the last priority for the Food Gap Task Force. Many small towns in New Mexico don’t have grocery stores, and most of the small, rural stores that do exist are supplied by only one distributor, Affiliated Foods, which is based in Texas.

“The challenges of rural distribution are incredible. The stats are ugly. They pay $85 for what we pay $55 for, and they have to drive 35 miles to get it,” says Steve Warshawer, Enterprise Development Manager for La Montañita Coop, a member-owned family of grocery stores based in Albuquerque.

According to Roy, La Montañita has created an excellent example of an alternative distribution network with its regional foodshed project and Cooperative Distribution Center. To help New Mexico growers bring their products to market, the Coop’s trucks crisscross the state, picking up goods and delivering them to the Cooperative Distribution Center warehouse in Albuquerque. Although some of the products are sold through the Coop, many go to other grocery stores in the area.

A pilot program to strengthen the rural distribution system could help the Coop and other organizations pick up and deliver food to underserved communities.

“It could be a USDA commodity truck, a food bank truck or a Coop truck out on certain rounds, picking up and dropping off food. And a lot of these places don’t have retail stores, but most of them have a school, a community center, a convenience store, something like that where people could come to pick up food,” Warshawer says.

The details aren’t worked out, but that’s the point of a pilot project, he says.

“We’re trying to address rural food access and the rural economy … The goal is to ferret out which methods will achieve the desired result.”

Low Cash Flow

The problem, as usual, is money.

“A small investment by the state could go a long way,” Roy says. It could also spur private investment. The task force aims to execute these projects in partnership with the N.M. Department of Agriculture.

“We’ve had a lot of nonprofits like the McCune Charitable Foundation put money towards these issues and a partnership would be able to accept that money. That’s what we’re hoping for. We just need to get in there and do something,” Moore says.

But Sen. John Arthur Smith, the Democratic Chair of the Legislative Finance Committee, is not so sanguine. How realistic is the task force’s hope that its projects be funded fully, to the tune of nearly $4 million?

“If the public wants a tax increase then there will be the money for it,” Smith says.

“And If I’m still chair then we’ll listen to it on its merit. But the only place you can find additional money now is to take it from education or health care. And that’s not a pleasant option,” he says.

Now all eyes are on the calendar as legislators wait for the next state revenue estimate, due in two weeks. It is not expected to be good.

Despite the dour forecast, Moore is hopeful that the task force’s proposals will receive some funding.

“We really just want to show people what we could do. We want to be able to say, ‘OK, here’s what we did with $25,000: We were able to provide apples for all the kids in after-school programs in Taos for one semester,’ or ‘For $5,000 we put a cooler in a chapter house [on the Navajo Reservation] and we helped them make fresh fruits and vegetables available for chapter house members,” Moore says.

“We know this has to be incremental. You can’t do it all in one chunk.”

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Group again calls Pearce corrupt despite letter clearing him

Group again calls Pearce corrupt despite letter clearing him

Remember last year when a Washington group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, named U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce as one of the 22 most corrupt members of Congress?

The central allegation the group made was that Pearce failed to report his sale of the assets of Lea Fishing Tools, Inc. to Key Energy Services for more than 540,000 shares of stock in 2003. The group said Pearce was required to report the sale and his failure to do so likely violated the Ethics in Government Act.

A year later, the group released its new list of the 20 most corrupt members of Congress on Wednesday. U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson — who both made last year’s list for their roles in the U.S. attorney scandal — aren’t on this year’s list, but Pearce is.

But there’s no new allegation against Pearce. There’s a regurgitation of last year’s allegation about the asset sale.

The group cites two instances of corruption, or perceived corruption, in naming Pearce to its list of corrupt members of Congress. One is his deal as president of Lea Fishing Tools, Inc. in which Pearce made millions of dollars.

Rep. Pearce was the president of Lea Fishing Tools from which, in 2002, he drew a salary of $277,352 and held stock worth between $1 and $5 million. In the fall of 2003, Rep. Pearce sold the company’s assets to Key Energy, in exchange for 542,477 shares of common stock. The value of the stock at the time was $5.2 million. During an October 29, 2003 conference call, however, the president of Key Energy said Lea Fishing Tools was purchased for $12 million. Rep. Pearce failed to report the transaction on his 2003 financial disclosure report, and the $6.8 million discrepancy remains unresolved

There’s a new statement that, while Pearce claimed in September 2007 that he had sent a letter to the House Committee on Standards and Official Conduct seeking confirmation that he did nothing wrong, he “did not address CREW’s allegations directly and did not make a copy of the letter public.” It also states that the House committee “has not published a response to Rep. Pearce’s query” on its Web site.

What CREW missed is that the committee did respond, 11 months ago, in a letter to Pearce stating that he had apparently done nothing wrong.

The Oct. 11, 2007, letter to Pearce from the committee, provided Wednesday by Pearce’s office, states that, based on facts Pearce presented to the bipartisan committee, “you were not required to report the 2003 sale of certain assets by Lea Fishing Tools to Key Energy Services.” That’s because the law doesn’t require disclosure of transactions that involve the assets of a business that is actively engaged in “a trade or business (as opposed to business such as a limited partnership established only to purchase real estate),” the letter states.

As I reported last year, Pearce failed to adequately address the charges leveled by CREW, choosing to instead keep his head down. He didn’t even send out a news release announcing the House committee’s letter after it was sent to him. To my knowledge, today is the first time the letter has been published by a news outlet.

But shouldn’t the onus be on the group accusing a congressman of illegal activity? The letter is a public record. The group says the House committee hasn’t published the letter on its Web site, but did it bother to ask the committee or Pearce whether there was a letter?

In an election year, such questions are fair. The director of CREW is a former staffer for two Democratic members of Congress — one of them the partisan Sen. Charles Schumer of New York. Schumer runs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which is committed to helping Democrat Tom Udall defeat Pearce in the race to replace Domenici.

Last year, 18 of the 22 people the group targeted were Republicans. This year, 14 of the 20 are Republicans.

There’s one other allegation CREW makes against Pearce: that he may have advocated for drilling on the Otero Mesa in exchange for campaign contributions from those with ties to oil companies. The only new information CREW provided on Wednesday was that, a year after it first made the allegation, Pearce has taken additional money from oil companies.

When CREW first made the allegation last year, Pearce pointed out that he wasn’t a member of Congress when the Bureau of Land Management decided to support drilling on Otero Mesa.

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Schwarzenegger to cohost border guvs conference in Santa Fe

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will co-host a Border Governors Conference on September 19-20 in Santa Fe. Leaders from Mexico and U.S. border states will discuss border security, economic development, and energy.

The meeting will be paid for by Govs. Richardson and Schwarzenegger, but mostly the money will come from private sponsors, according to a press release from Richardson’s office. It was originally scheduled to be held in Arizona, but Gov. Jan Brewer canceled the meeting after several officials said they would boycott because of Arizona’s controversial immigration law.

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Ban on roadway construction in forest and grandlands reinstated

Ban on roadway construction in forest and grandlands reinstated

Late last week, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reinforced an earlier decision by the 9th Circuit Court, in reestablishing a Bill Clinton-era ban on roadway construction on almost 60 million acres of forest and grassland in 38 states, including over one million acres in New Mexico. “It’s not a surprise but it is a welcome relief,” said Bryan Bird of WildEarth Guardians, the Santa Fe-based environmental-advocacy group. “We’ve always known the Clinton ruling was sound.”

Only days before he left the White House, President Clinton signed the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which placed a hold on roadways and commercial-timber harvesting in areas such as the national forests surrounding the Pecos Wilderness, along the Rio Chama River north of Española, and between Taos and Questa. The Rule allowed for controlled burning and other fire mitigation, and the reestablishment of Clinton’s rule also maintains such practices.

But in 2005, the Bush administration rescinded Clinton’s protective regulations, giving states authority over what to do with these wilderness areas. Attorneys general in several western states, though, including New Mexico, sued to reinstate Clinton’s Rule.

New Mexico Rep. Steve Pearce (R), cosponsor of HR 1581, the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release bill, which would effectively undo any manner of roadless designation, vowed to forge ahead legislatively. “A court ruling cannot kill the bill,” Pearce pointed out after the 10th Circuit’s ruling. Indeed, only Congress or the Supreme Court have that power. Both sides, though, seem to view the latter as an unlikely pursuit at this point.

“Representative Pearce doesn’t seem to understand that these areas are of far greater value undeveloped than they are developed,” said Bird. “Once you open up these pristine areas to development you jeopardize the watershed. They’re highly valuable to wildlife and for water.”

Pearce countered that HR 1581 would “allow more Americans to enjoy our federal lands and actually protect the habitats of wildlife through proper management.” It would also, he said, “return the ability of land managers to allow for responsible development and multiple uses.”

“This issue’s certainly not dead in the water but it provides a buffer until Congress designates these areas as wilderness areas,” said Bird. “We’re confident now that the Obama administration would not sign anything that’d weaken this ruling.”

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Nearly 60 percent of New Mexico voters oppose cuts to Medicaid

Nearly 60 percent of New Mexico voters oppose cuts to Medicaid

59 percent of New Mexico voters say the federal budget deficit reduction should not involve cutting Medicaid, according to a new poll commissioned by advocacy groups in the state.

The Research and Polling, Inc. poll also found that 83 percent of surveyed New Mexico voters believe Medicaid, which provides government-funded health insurance for lower-income Americans, is an important program.

The New Mexico Business Weekly reports:

Nearly 560,000 New Mexicans, or about a quarter of the state’s population, are on Medicaid. That includes 461,200 residents aged 21 and younger.

The total cost for the state’s program is $3.74 billion a year. Of that, $2.6 billion comes from the federal government and $1.1 billion from the state’s general fund.

Between 1990 and 2009, spending for New Mexico’s Medicaid program grew by an average of 12 percent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

New Mexicans aren’t alone in their support for Medicaid, which is one of the most popular government programs in the United States. A Bloomberg News national poll found that only 21 percent of Americans favor cutting Medicaid after it has been identified as “government help for medical care for low-income people”, while 76 percent oppose.

The Bloomberg poll also found that cutting Medicaid was less popular than repealing all recent tax cuts, reducing Social Security benefits by slowing cost-of-living increases, raising the retirement age, eliminating all federal income tax deductions, cutting defense spending, or increasing Medicare co-pays.

The extent to which Medicaid will be cut in order to reduce the deficit is currently at the center of the negotiations between congressional Republicans and Democrats on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction created by the debt ceiling increase passed in August. A recent proposal from Republican committee members would cut Medicaid by $185 billion over the next ten years, and a Democratic proposal would cut $75 billion.

Medicaid would largely be spared if the committee fails to reach an agreement by the November 23 deadline. At that point, large cuts to Medicare providers and defense spending would kick in to make up most of the total amount of medium-term deficit reduction required by the debt ceiling increase, assuming Congress does not step in to extend the deadline.

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