WASHINGTON -- This is a moment when policymakers should be thinking big, not small. History will little note nor long remember that the payroll tax holiday was extended for two months rather than 12. The complex and difficult questions we're avoiding, however, may haunt us through the century.Let me be clear that I applaud President Obama and the Democrats for the political victory they won last week. The impact was to weaken the influence of the most reactionary and clueless faction in Congress -- the tea party Republicans -- and strengthen the hand of both progressives and pragmatic...
Republican Representative Bob Inglis was one of only a few Republicans in the House of Representatives who lost their seats to Tea Party challengers in 2010. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz spoke with Inglis, a longtime conservative, just over a year ago before he left Congress. He checks back in with Inglis to find out what he has been up to since he left politics.
Politically, this has been, in many ways, a bad year for the White House, as a quick look at the polls will show. Economically, it’s been rough, as a look at the jobs numbers will show. But as far as the administration’s bitter, high-stakes negotiations with the Republicans in Congress go, it’s really been a surprisingly good year for the White House.Thursday’s payroll tax-cut deal concludes the last of the four major negotiations of 2011. The first was in February, when Congress needed to fund the government or risk a shutdown. The next was in August,...
Just in time for the holidays, Congress showed us it can work in a spirit of bipartisan cooperation to pass a two-month extension of a popular tax cut. On its own! With perhaps a small amount of prodding.The payroll tax cut bill zipped through Congress on Friday, approved by a Senate with only two members present and then passed by a near-empty House in a five-minute session. Then everybody went away. Why can’t they do this all the time?
“According to a new CBS poll, 33 percent of Americans say they won’t have enough money to cover their holiday spending. I believe these people are called Congress.” – Jay Leno
“This was the 427th of 2,000 debates to be held between now and when President Obama is re-elected. There are so many debates. For a group of people who don’t want the government interfering in our lives a lot, they interfere in our lives a lot.” – Jimmy Kimmel
“If there is a [government] shutdown, 800,000 nonessential federal employees will be suspended. You know, maybe that’s our budget problem right there. We have 800,000 nonessential federal employees.” – Jay Leno
“Having a functioning government is on my bucket list.” – Andy Borowitz
Here’s a roundup of this morning’s must-read budget and economic stories:
According to The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Politico members of Congress have passed a deal to extend the payroll tax cut for another two months. The plan, which also includes an extension of unemployment benefits, now goes to the President for his signature.
The Wall Street Journal takes a look at what economists think about the tax extension.
ABC News reports on the extension of unemployment benefits.
The Washington Post says the cost of Medicare is rising more slowly, but more Americans will soon be eligible for it.
The two-month extension means Congress and Obama will need to negotiate a longer-term deal to continue past February the tax holiday and other policies like federal unemployment insurance benefits and continued higher payments to doctors who accept Medicare patients. Boehner's position going into those negotiations has arguably been weakened.
Congress recently prevented the Energy Department from spending money to enforce a planned phase-out of energy-wasting 100-watt incandescent light bulbs. Conservatives saw getting rid of the bulbs as limiting Americans' choices. But the industry says it's really too late to make a difference.
When you think of Republican congressman Paul Ryan, terms like earnest, serious, and important come to mind. So does the term old-fashioned. Ryan comes from an old-fashioned place, the blue-collar town of Janesville, Wisconsin. He cherishes the old-fashioned values of a faithful family man. He even looks old-fashioned, with his white shirts and striped ties. And he uses old-fashioned argument skills, persuasively weaving big-picture themes with the numbers that back them up.
And Ryan has old-fashioned goals, too, like saving America from fiscal bankruptcy, economic stagnation, and a European-style entitlement state.
Keep reading this post . . .
With all the political posturing in Congress over the Keystone XL tar-sands oil pipeline, it's easy to lose sight of the real issue: This pipeline is dangerous, unnecessary, and would cost the American people far more than we can afford. What we're watching unfold in Washington, D.C., is more than just a high-stakes political power play -- it's a scam undertaken by Big Oil's congressional puppets on the orders of oil companies that have billions of dollars at stake.
At first glance, it’s not at all clear that the Democrats should be dominating the PR fight over the payroll tax-cut extension that's stalemated Congress. When the music stopped on the congressional debate, the GOP-controlled House had passed a year-long extension of the tax cut while the Senate had only passed a two-month extension, and the White House had endorsed the latter. The House then rejected the Senate deal for what appeared to be uncharacteristically logical reasons: The deal entailed a half-cooked (actually one-sixth cooked) policy when any economist would tell you...