With little tangible headway being made in Washington on averting the looming federal taxes-and-spending crisis, a key observer said Wednesday that he puts the chances of Congress reaching a deal before the Jan. 1 “fiscal cliff” deadline at less than 1 in 3. Erskine Bowles, who ran President Obama’s 2010 deficit commission that called for tax increases and spending cuts to fix perennial deficits, blamed both sides for his pessimism, saying Republicans will have to budge on their opposition to raising income-tax rates and that the White House hasn’t been serious enough
One bright spot of Barack Obama’s re-election was knowing that unemployment rates were about to soar for the precise groups that voted for him — young people, unskilled workers and single women with degrees in gender studies. But now the Democrats are sullying my silver lining by forcing Republicans to block an utterly pointless tax-raising scheme in order to blame the coming economic Armageddon on them. Democrats are proposing to reinstate the Bush tax cuts for everyone … except “the rich.” (Why do only tax cuts come with an expiration date?
With a chip on his shoulder larger than his margin of victory, Barack Obama is approaching his second term by replicating the mistake of his first. Then his overreaching involved health care — expanding the entitlement state at the expense of economic growth. Now he seeks another surge of statism, enlarging the portion of gross domestic product grasped by government and dispensed by politics. The occasion is the misnamed “fiscal cliff,” the proper name for which is: the Democratic Party’s agenda. For 40 years the party’s principal sources of energy and money — liberal activists, government-
The choice of a successor to Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state has turned into an unexpectedly nasty political fight that could cost the White House valuable goodwill with Republicans. Republican opposition to presumptive front-runner Susan E. Rice did not fade after the election, as White House officials and her supporters had predicted. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, did not win any public GOP support after meeting with two Republican senators Wednesday, her second day of unusual face-to-face sessions intended to blunt critiques of her role in explaining the fatal Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Libya.
Of all the deductions woven into the sprawling U.S. tax code, few have been more fiercely guarded than the enormous tax break that lets homeowners deduct the interest they pay on their mortgages. But as Congress and the White House negotiate the first major rewrite of tax laws in decades, changing the generations-old mortgage-interest deduction — which costs the government roughly $100 billion a year — has gone from far-off possibility to part of the conversation. The outcome of that debate could have profound long-term effects on homeowners across the country — and particularly those in the Washington area
A 300lb gingerbread replica of the White House was the centrepiece of the White House Christmas decorations, unveiled today by Michelle Obama. The impressive structure, which features a marzipan version of the kitchen garden and an oversized model of First Dog Bo, was pride of place in the the State Dining Room. The First Lady presented this year´s decorations before an appreciative crowd of military families Wednesday, then spent some time doing holiday crafts with military kids. Scroll down for video
LivingSocial plans to lay off as many as 400 U.S. employees, including some in the District where it is headquartered, according to sources inside the company. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized by the company to discuss the layoffs. A LivingSocial spokesman declined to comment. The story was reported earlier Wednesday by the Washington Business Journal. The cuts would represent a sudden U-turn from earlier this year, when the online daily deals venture said it was hiring multiple people each day
The Justice Department accused the Gallup Organization on Wednesday of bilking federal agencies out of millions of dollars by routinely inflating prices for contracts. The 57-page civil complaint says that Gallup, the world’s best-known polling organization, inflated estimates for the number of hours that it would take to perform its polling services for the Treasury and State departments. The Justice Department accused Gallup of submitting false invoices totaling $13 million. Federal officials also accused Gallup of negotiating to hire a federal employee
Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer said on Wednesday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel that the GOP would be foolish to accept Obama’s proposed framework for handling the fiscal cliff. “Look, Obama never offered anything in public about entitlement,” Krauthammer said. “He always says he wants a discussion. And now he says after the Republicans give up their one issue on taxes, ‘I’ll discuss a bargain next year.’ Of course he wants that, because that’ll be at a time when the Republicans are defrocked, disrobed and disarmed. They will have nothing to bargain
This is part one of a multi-part interview with a government insider intimately familiar with the events that took place in Benghazi. In this part, he provides important background, and explains this administration is engaged in a massive cover-up. DH: It’s been a while since we’ve discussed Benghazi. What have you heard lately? II: Before I answer that, I want to get a few things off my chest. Every politician, whether it’s a congressman senator, diplomat, or their spokespeople and the media are lying to the American public every time they call the location of the attack a consulate. It was not.
Millionaires and their wealth are not just fleeing Hollande’s France, with its new 90 percent top rate tax. They’ve also been escaping Britain’s 50 percent tax too. As The Telegraph’s Robert Winnett reported earlier today, “almost two-thirds of the country’s million-pound earners disappeared from Britain after the introduction of the 50p top rate of tax.” In the 2009-10 tax year, more than 16,000 people declared an annual income of more than £1 million to HM Revenue and Customs. This number fell to just 6,000 after Gordon Brown
On November 19, Pravda’s Xavier Lerma wrote an article asserting that President (I use the term loosely) Barack Obama had been re-elected “by an illiterate society.” (Snip) Lerma writes “He [Obama] is a Communist without question promoting the Communist Manifesto without calling it so… His cult of personality mesmerizes those who cannot go beyond their ignorance. They will continue to follow him like those fools who still praise Lenin and Stalin in Russia. Obama’s fools and Stalin’s fools share the same drink of illusion.” Sounds pretty dead-on if you ask me…
Potential secretary of state candidate Susan Rice owns up to $600,000 of stock in the Canadian company pushing to build the Keystone XL Pipeline, according to her financial disclosure reports. OneEarth reports that Rice, Obama’s preferred candidate to succeed Hillary Clinton, owns millions of dollars of stock in oil companies, including TransCanada, the company behind the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline. TransCanada is currently awaiting approval from the State Department on whether it can build the pipeline, which would stretch from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
With negotiations over how to avoid going over the “fiscal cliff” intensifying, there’s a lot of attention on Grover Norquist and his “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” in which lawmakers who sign it pledge to taxpayers that they will (a) oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and (b) oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates. On the pledge, I have several thoughts. 1. Mr. Norquist has basically been a force for good, since he raises the price
LOS ANGELES, – His critics have called the President "lazy," and "indifferent." They accused him of being more interested in golfing than governing. The President has been seen as likable, but utterly useless. Enough about Dwight D. Eisenhower. This is about Barack Obama. Over the last few weeks, Obama administration officials have come under fire for what critics see as a combination of incompetence and corruption. Attorney General Eric Holder and United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice are engulfed in scandals ranging from Fast and Furious to Benghazi. Americans ended up murdered, and getting
After more than a year of campaigning for it, the Palestinian Authority will have its moment tomorrow when the General Assembly of the United Nations will vote tomorrow to upgrade the PA’s status to nonvoting observer. Israel’s foes will rejoice and many of its friends will worry. Some of that will be justified, as the decision will be a symbolic triumph that the Palestinians will attempt to portray as tantamount to UN recognition of their independence in the areas Israel won in the Six Day War. But after working hard to prevent this from happening, the Israeli government has
A new species of fish was recently discovered, and it´s been named after Barack Obama. The Bulletin of Alabama Museum of Natural History revealed four presidents and a vice president have had their names given to recently identified fish. Saint Louis University´s Steven R. Layman and Geosyntec Consultants´ Richard L. Mayden´s "Morphological Diversity and Phylogenetics of the Darter Subgenus Doration (Percidae: Etheostoma), with Descriptions of Five New Species" claimed Obama, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Teddy Roosevelt, and Al Gore were so honored because they promoted conservation
Marc Lamont Hill stopped by The Factor tonight to talk about a proposed “wealth tax” with Bill O’Reilly. The majority of the interview consisted of O’Reilly trying to argue why such a tax would naturally lead to government inspectors in private homes, and Hill trying to explain to O’Reilly why his line of argument makes no sense. (Snip) O’Reilly highlighted a growing movement for some kind of “wealth tax,” which he said was “off-the-chart unconstitutional.” Hill argued that if done properly, that kind of tax could make the United States “more democratic and fair.”
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that President Obama has come out in support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid´s (D-Nev.) plan to reform the filibuster. This goes counter to Obama´s view of this parliamentary procedure when he was a part of the Senate minority in 2005. As a little background, the Republicans in the Senate at the time were angered by Democrat filibusters that were preventing President Bush´s judicial appointments from getting an up or down vote. The GOP threatened what was called the "nuclear option" of circumventing the filibuster by using reconciliation
Welcome to the pretzel logic of liberal environmental protection: In order to "save" owls, the Obama administration is going to shoot them dead. This is not — I repeat not — an Onion parody. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the White House released a big fat policy turkey: its final critical habitat rule for the endangered northern spotted owl. The Obama plan will lock up 9.6 million acres of land (mostly, but not all, federal) in Oregon, Washington and northern California. This is nearly double the acreage set aside by the Bush administration. Thousands of timber workers
Since most of the data in post-election polling has offered little beyond a parade of ugly news, here´s a glimmer of hope from Gallup: For the first time in Gallup trends since 2000, a majority of Americans say it is not the federal government´s responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage. Prior to 2009, a majority always felt the government should ensure healthcare coverage for all, though Americans´ views have become more divided in recent years...Republicans, including Republican-leaning independents, are mostly responsible for the drop since 2007 in Americans´ support for government ensuring universal health coverage.
The White House said Wednesday that former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will have lunch with President Obama, their first meeting since the president´s hard-fought re-election. "On Thursday, Governor Romney will have a private lunch at the White House with President Obama in the Private Dining Room," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney wrote in a statement. "It will be the first opportunity they have had to visit since the election," Carney said. "There will be no press coverage of the meeting." President Obama said at a press conference on
Jennifer Rubin notes that President Obama comes in for criticism from some newspaper editorial boards today because he has chosen to campaign rather than negotiate. The Post editorial board, which endorsed Obama in part because “the president understands the urgency of the problems as well as anyone in the country and is committed to solving them in a balanced way,” now warns: “Since his reelection, Mr. Obama has fueled a campaign-style effort to pressure Republicans to give ground on taxes. That’s fine, but it won’t be enough. At some point,
CHICAGO- Preventing surgery-linked infections is a major concern for hospitals and it turns out some simple measures can make a big difference. A project at seven big hospitals reduced infections after colorectal surgeries by nearly one-third. It prevented an estimated 135 infections, saving almost $4 million, the Joint Commission hospital regulating group and the American College of Surgeons announced Wednesday. The two groups directed the 2 1/2-year project. Solutions included having patients shower with special germ-fighting soap before surgery, and having surgery teams change gowns, gloves and instruments during operations to prevent spreading germs picked up during the procedures.
This week the United Nations begins two weeks of climate talks in Doha, Qatar. The primary goal of these meetings is to draw President Obama into accepting a redistribution plan designed extract money from the U.S. economy in the form of a global warming tax and doling out the cash to Third World nations. "There will be expectations from countries to hear a new voice from the United States," said Jennifer Morgan, director of the climate and energy program at the World Resources Institute in Washington. The meeting in Qatar´s capital will focus on ramping up what is described