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Thursday, February 3, 2Oll GUEST COMMENTARY Free Press Page 5 Politics by the numbers: good omens for GOP mind that. But they're not going to have much to say about legis- lative outcomes. House Republi- cans will take it as a poke in the eye and perhaps as an attempt to renege on a deal. Not helpful in reaching other agreements. In the Senate, where Demo- crats have a 53-47 majority, but not iron control, the situation is different. In the 2012 cycle, 23 Democrats come up for re-elec- tion and only 10 Republicans. You can get a good idea of their political incentives by looking at the 2010 popular vote for the House in their states. Since the mid-1990s, when partisan percentages in presi- dential and House elections converged, the popular vote for the House has been a pretty good gauge of partisan balance. Of the 10 Republican sena- tors up for re-election, only two represent states where Democrats won the House vote - Olympia Snowe of Maine and Scott Brown of Massachusetts. They're both well ahead in local polls. For the 23 Democrats up for re-election, the picture is differ- ent. Eight represent states where the House vote was 53 percent to 65 percent Democratic and where Barack Obama got more than 60 percent in 2008. Count them all as safe. But 12 represent states where Republicans got a majority of the House vote in 2010. These include big states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Virginia, and states like Montana and Nebraska, where Republican House candidates topped 60 percent. Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin round out the list. In another three states - New Mexico, Washington, Minnesota - Republicans won between 46 percent and 48 percent of the House popular vote. These were solid Obama states in 2008. They don't look like solid Democratic states now. The point is that Democratic senators from all or most of these 15 states have a political incen- Numbers can tell a story. Looking back on Barack Obama's second State of the Union mes- sage, and looking forward to the congressional session and the 2012 elections, they tell a story that should leave Democrats uneasy. Start off with the audience in the House chamber. Not all mem- bers of Con- gress attend- ed; Obama briefly and Paul Ryan at greater length in his otherwise brief rebut- Michael Barone tal both appropriately noted the absence of Gabrielle Giffords. But the contrast between the audience at Obama's first State of the Union last year and the audience this year is remarkable. Then there were 316 Democrats and 218 Republicans in Congress. This year there are 289 Repub- licans and 246 Democrats. No president has seen such a large change in the partisan compo- sition of his State of the Union audience since Harry Truman. That obviously will have leg- islative consequences. Obama told Republicans to give up on all but the most minor changes to Obamacare. They're not going to follow this advice. As for spending, Obama reit- erated his call for a limited freeze on domestic discretionary spend- ing and cuts in defense. Again, as Ryan made clear, this Congress has different ideas. The political incentive for Obama is to sound consensual, not confrontational. The current uptick in his job approval, put- ting him just over 50 percent, began when he agreed with Republicans to continue current income tax rates rather than raise taxes on high earners. But last Tuesday night, he con- tinued to call for higher taxes on the greedy rich in a time of slug- gish economic recovery. Not as consensual as one might expect. House Democrats, almost all elected from safe districts, won't continued from page 4 Letters Thanks for the help with CHS Carnival like to thank Cheney Free Press for gaining wide recognition and awareness for our Family, Career, Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) chapter at Cheney High School. Lastly, thank you to everyone at Cheney High School for the support, especially Mrs. Urdahl, our FCCLA adviser. We couldn't have done it without you, Mrs. Urdahl! In conclusion, we raised about $1,200 and we will be donating more than $600 to Children's Miracle Network. The rest will be split among the various clubs that participated in the carnival. Thank you for the support! Jenny Kim, Linnea Kessler Carnival organizers and CHS students Cheney We want to thank the whole community for supporting us throughout planning and orga- nizing the Cheney High School Carnival! We appreciate all of the help- ful contributions we received from our amazing sponsors: Haakon Industries, Cheney Muffler, State Farm, Logo Dogz, National Guard, 4ever Books, McDonald's, Chase Bank, Kes- sler Gis, Les Schwab, Copy Junc- tion, Bud's Barber Shop, NAPA Auto Shop, Owl Pharmacy, The Pottery Shed and Snap Fitness Center. Secondly, we'd like to thank the Eastern Washington Univer- sity Alpha Xi Delta Sorority girls and EWU Visual Communica- tions Design students for volun- teering at the carnival. We'd also I tive to reach agreements with Republicans that go a lot further than Obama did at the State of the Union. Finally, what about the por- tents for the 2012 presidential race? Well, start off with the fact that Democrats won the House popular vote in only two of the 17 states that do not have Senate elections next cycle. The other 15 went Republican. Overall, Democrats carried the popular vote for the House in 15 states with 182 electoral votes in 2012; add three more for the Dis- trict of Columbia. Democrats were within 5 percent of Republicans in House elections in five more states with 52 electoral votes. That gets Democrats up to 237 electoral votes, 33 votes shy of the 270-vote majority and 128 short of the 365 electoral votes Obama won in 2008. Opinion can change, as it did in 2009 and 2010. But these are not favorable numbers for Obama or his party. Michael Barone, senior politi- cal analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexam- iner.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co- author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.cre- ators.com. Boomers' second adolescence is put on hold A few years ago, baby boomers needed 3-D glasses to take in the gorgeous vision of their decades to come. Books and articles foresaw baby boomers skipping off into a "Second Adolescence" of self-ful- fillment. No longer chained to the 9-to-5 and still healthy, the newly "retired" would follow their muse. The future was theirs, despite all that gray hair (or gray roots). Certain economic realities have since intervened, forcing boomers to hang onto their old jobs with all 20 fingers. House prices col- lapsed, taking away their home-equity bag of gold. Their IRAs and 401(k)s may be moth- eaten by bad investment Froma Harrop decisions, such as selling stocks after the crash and not holding on for the recovery. Or perhaps they didn't put enough into the investments to begin with. Meanwhile, their "safe" savings vehicles deliver about zero interest. And Medicare and Social Security are in deep trouble, or so we've been told. But let's linger a bit on the golden dream. In her 2004 book, "My Time: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life," Abigail Trafford writes about fit 50-plus Americans turning "the bonus decades into a personal renaissance." They could "give back" to their communities, here to 3o for ity and affordable motive service repair in Cheney? Doin 3 business in Cheney since 19 7 9. Family owned & opdtted, O S, 19010 Cheney Spangle Road, Cheney, WA 235-61241 We do all types of services Oil Changes Scheduled Maintenance Overhauls We have the experience and technology to correctly diagnose and repair your vehicle. Give us a call today/ FREE ESTIMATES ON MOST JOBS spend time with grandchildren, nurture intellectual interests, start a new career and get married again - or at least shack up. Sadly, hopes of re-inventing one's aging self as a filmmaker or landscape architect have been put on hold for all but the reasonably rich. The good news is that, con- trary to rumors, the government- run benefits will survive, if in a less cushy form. First off, Social Security is just fine. The money in the program's trust fund will keep promised benefits flowing for about 28 years. Those who argue that the trust fund is empty are just trying to con American workers out of the benefits they earned through the payroll tax - a tax that was hiked 25 years ago specifically to cover the boomers' retirement. The trust fund was invested in Treasury securities. They can't be defaulted without approval by Congress. Now name me one member of Congress who would vote to stiff the workers. Medicare is another matter. As of Jan. 1, the oldest baby boomers started turning 65, the eligibility age for this government health insurance plan. The rising costs of Medicare will accelerate as the huge boomer generation partakes of the benefits. Medicare is not a self-fund- ing program, like Social Security. General revenues, mainly income taxes, pay for 39 percent of it. That makes Medicare, to use tea party language, a redistribution- ist scheme and form of socialized medicine. The economics of Medicare and politics of taxation should concern would-be retirees. A recent Associ- ated Press/Washington Post poll showed that only 20 percent of those born between 1946 and 1964 think their Medicare will be secure. (On the plus side, the same poll has American adults of all ages saying they would sacrifice to preserve Medicare benefits.) How do you stop the program from bankrupting America? First off, wring the enormous waste out of its care-delivery system. Next, raise taxes. Next, ask beneficiaries to pay more for their medical services. The junior generations will help pay for these benefits, if only to encourage frightened boomers to remove their big rear ends from the jobs that younger people want. (More positions will free up as the new health care law helps workers who want to start businesses, but are afraid of losing their company medical coverage, go forth.) Concerning the rest of the financial picture - the real es- tate, the savings, the investments - would-be retirees are on their own. A Second Adolescence? At least the sex will be free. To find out more about Froma Harrop, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and car- toonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Pete Baccarella web page at www.creators.com. m" USAF retired: 953-4598 TOMLINSON # ! m mX P00.S H0.E SALES WEST PLAINS Go to tourfoctory.com for all Virtual Tour #s Price Address Town 8d/Ba/Gar Tour # $115,000 ..... 509 E Grace St .............. ,Med Lk ..... 3/1/1 .................... 692314 $161,500 ..... 9224 W Foxtail Ln .., ..... PENDING 3/2/2 .................... 537205 $174,900 ..... 2823 Oxford Ln ............. Cheney .... 3/2/2 .......  ............ 697187 $178,750 ..... 13410 W Whitetip Ave... Airway Hts 3/2/2,.AHO ......... 678157 $192,200 ..... 9015 W Red St .............. Cheney .... 4/2/2...AHO ......... 681185 $195,950 ..... 321 S ,Molly ,Mitchell ...... 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Family Dentistry 1841 First Street, Cheney F&M Business Center 235-8451.443-8520 Hours: Men., Thurs., Fri. 7:00- 2:30, Tues. & Wed. 7:00 - 4:30 MEDICAL LAKE DENTAL Ryan K. Love, D.D.S. Bruce C. Toiilion, D.D.S. Jessica M. Toillion, D.D.S. 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Men., Wed., Thurs. 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Tues. 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Fri. 123 N. Brewer, Medical Lake 299-5171 INLAND CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY DENTISTRY RICHARD N. ROCCANOVA, D.D.S. JACOB J. RIDL, D.D.S. 1717 First Street, Cheney 235-6241 ROBERT I. STOCKTON, D.D.S. Family Dentistry 60 Simpson Parkway Drive. Cheney 235-29OO HEALTHCARE ROCKWOOD CHENEY CLINIC 19 N. 7th, Cheney 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Monday - Friday 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.rn Saturday Noon - 4:00 p.m. Sunday 235-6151 744.1732 Charles B.H. Hough, M.D Tom Koeske, M.D. Cod Lopez, D.O. Jonathan Staben, M.D. Carol Gahl, PA-C Natalie Koncz, PA-C Meiissa Norton, PA-C ROCKWOOD MEDICAL LAKE CUNIC 725 North Stanley Street, Suite D, Medical Lake, WA 99022 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday 509-299-5145 Fax: 509-299-5154 Douglas R. Gwinn, M.D. Barbara Tritt, P.A.-C .PHYSICAL THERAPY AIRWAY HEIGHTS PHYSICAL THERAPY 9725 West Sunset Highway Located next to Boeing 509-624-4100 Jeffrey R. Wills, P.T., Clinic Director Paula Dillon Mays, P.T., A.T.C. Susan Barry, P.T. Sarah Forrey, P.T.A. APEX PHYSICAL THERAPY 1855 First Street, Cheney Monday-Friday 7:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. 509-559-5038 Amy K. Sanderson, P.T., O.C.S. Vince Piccolo, P.T., O.C.S., C.S.C.S. Keisey Deines, P.T.A. APEX PHYSICAL THERAPY 12721 14th Ave. Airway Heights Monday-Friday 7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 509-244-9968 Monty Soliday, M.P.T. Keisey Deines, P.T.A. Ryan Clouse, D.P.T MEDICAL LAKE PHYSICAL THERAPY 725 N. Stanley, Suite B 509-299-7379 Fax: 509-299-7307 Tim Ahem, P.T. Ara Jo Rising, P.T. ROCKWOOD PHYSICAL THERAPY AND MEDICAL FITNESS CENTER (Cheney) 1727 1st Street, Cheney, WA 99004 509-838-2531 ext. 5605 Fax: 509-235-2175 Monday & Wednesday 7:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. Tuesday & Friday 7:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Thursday 10:00 a.m. -630 p.m. Blondel Assonken, D.P.T. Nicole Stevens, D.P.T. PUBLISHING CHENEY FREE PRESS William lift, President Hadan Shellabarger, Publisher John McCallum, Editor 1616 W. First Street, Cheney 235-6184 299-5678 Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. VETERINARIANS BLACKHAWK VETERINARY HOSPITAL Eric Wed, D.V.M. 423 W. Rrst Street, Cheney 235-2020 624-9613 Hours: M0nday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday 9:00 s.m. to 3:00 p.m. CHENEY VETERINARY CLINIC, INC. William B. Holleman, D.V.M. 1971 First Street, Cheney 235.6860 Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., Wednesday 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. MEDICAL LAKE VETERINARY CLINIC James A. Roloff, D.V.M. Dee Henry, D.V.M. 212 E. Lake Street, Medical Lake, WA 99022 299-3675 Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Saturday 8:00 a.m. - Noon WEST PLAINS ANIMAL HOSPITAL Kris Belles, D.V.M. 10510 W. SR 2, Suite 3, Spokane, WA 99224 824-3474 Mon. & Fri. 8:00 am-5:30 pm Open late Thursday to 7:00 pm Sat 8:00 am-5:30 pm