SCENT OF A CENT
OK, read ‘em and weep: Dollars added to the national debt - $1,650,971,205,167. Debt held by the public - $7.5 trillion, up from $5.8 trillion a year ago. Number of banks taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. - 99. Stimulus dollars spent from the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - $164 billion. Number of banks receiving assistance from the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program - 684. Deficit as a percent of the gross domestic product for fiscal 2009 - 11.2 percent, up from of 3.2 percent in fiscal 2008.
Ding, ding, ding - time’s up. Take a breath. All these numbers come from the intrepid bean-counters at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
“Fiscal year 2009 will be one for the history books,” said Maya MacGuineas, the group’s president. “A lot of astonishing things occurred this year. While we’ve been warning about persisting deficits and growing debt for years now, we’ve never seen numbers quite so daunting.”
Syndicated radio host Armstrong Williams threw open the doors of his Capitol Hill home Wednesday night to host a party for Michael Jackson. No, wait. Not that Michael Jackson.
“We’re talking Prince George’s County Sheriff Michael Jackson. He’s running for county executive, and I truly believe in his cause. We are gun-toting, God-fearing folks, and we believe in law enforcement and support law enforcement. We all need to stay connected here,” Mr. Williams tells Inside the Beltway.
Among the attendees of the soiree to honor the candidate, who is a Democrat and retired Marine: R&B artist Ginuwine, business consultant Marty Bender and sports entrepreneur Rock Newman.
“A good time to had by all? Of course, you bet,” Mr. Williams adds. “Now we’re looking toward the campaign trail.”
THE DIZZYING HEIGHTS
Yes, it gave the public pause to find out that National Public Radio host Scott Simon earns $300,648 a year to host “Weekend Edition Saturday,” according to a recent Washington Post salary survey. Listeners queried NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard about the figure, who in turn queried Mr. Simon.
“I am grateful for the salary that I earn and feel that it is merited by the popularity of our program, the audience our show generates, the number of interviews, essays and reported pieces that I do, and whatever value I have to NPR that may contribute to our relationship with the public,” Mr. Simon replied.
“There are a few other people in public radio who earn more, both at weekly and daily programs. Most everybody in commercial broadcasting earns a lot more.”
Well, OK. That’s nice. But just in time to amuse everybody who makes, say, under $50K a year, along comes Michael Massing of the Columbia Journalism Review, who shares this:
“Katie Couric’s annual salary is more than the entire annual budgets of NPR’s ‘Morning Edition’ and ‘All Things Considered’ combined. Couric’s salary comes to an estimated $15 million a year; NPR spends $6 million a year on its morning show and $5 million on its afternoon one. NPR has 17 foreign bureaus (which cost it another $9.4 million a year); CBS has 12. Few figures, I think, better capture the absurd financial structure of the network news.”