Tuesday's political stuff

Peter Orszag, former director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Obama and now at Citigroup, had an interesting piece in the August 23 Washington Post on Paul Ryan's budget, which has been very popular with Republicans. Among other points: It would not actually reduce the deficit.

Kathleen Geier points out on The Washington Monthly's "Political Animal" blog that suicide has now replaced car accidents as the leading cause of death by injury in the United States. This is partly the result of a remarkable 25% drop in automobile deaths since 2009 but also because suicides have increased by 15%, possibly related to the economy. Death by poisonings have more than doubled.

A recent survey of 6,145 small business owners by the George Washington University School of Political Management and Thumbtack.tom found that they favor President Obama over former Governor Romney by a substantial 47 to 39 percent. See also reports at U.S. News and Phoenix Business Journal.

This is slightly old news but still mildly amusing: A little over a month ago Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan claimed to have a personal-best marathon time of "two hours fifty-something," which would be impressive even for someone in Ryan's famously excellent shape. But Runner's World magazine reported that Ryan had apparently run in only one marathon, the 1990 Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota (no kidding), and his time had been just over four hours (still vastly better than I could do, of course). Ryan acknowledged that he'd misremembered.

Now the interesting part: It turns out that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), who (and I say this with great respect and affection) looks something like an aging boiled chicken in a business suit, ran the 1972 Boston Marathon in 3 hours and 16 minutes, way, way faster than Paul Ryan. Come to think of it, he does look wiry. Maybe I should cool it with the chicken similes.

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