Archives for FUBAR

Political spin clouds economic realities

Midterm politics are distorting economic decision-making as leaders of both parties spin rival views of the road ahead, offering visions based on questionable economics. The resulting political angst is leaving a mark on major legislation. A far-reaching financial overhaul bill signed by President Barack Obama on Wednesday reflects voter anger over bankers, bailouts and bonuses. A measure extending unemployment insurance, soon to be on Obama’s desk, was scaled back from an earlier, far more ambitious Democratic stimulus plan. Angling for advantage, Democrats look to troubles before Obama took office. “It’s a choice between the policies that got us in this
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Tea Party excess in Idaho

Three times since 2000, Republican Rod Beck failed in his bid to rejoin the state Senate, defeated by primary election rivals he insists didn’t support party ideals. So Beck opted to change Idaho’s GOP from within. At the state Republican convention last month, he got his big chance. Joined by tea party members, Ron Paul disciples and old-guard conservatives, Beck strode into the three-day confab in Idaho Falls amid a swelling national tide of frustration with Washington, D.C., magnified by Idaho’s already rightist tilt. When it was over, a majority of the 500 delegates had transformed their platform with a
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Obama plays the blame game

President Barack Obama is taking aim at Senate Republicans, accusing them of playing politics with measures that would extend benefits to the unemployed and increase lending to small businesses. Striking a deeply partisan tone in his weekly Saturday radio and online address, Obama said the GOP leadership has chosen to “filibuster our recovery and obstruct our progress” by blocking votes on agenda items the president says would breath life into the economic recovery. “These steps aren’t just the right thing to do for those hardest hit by the recession,” Obama said. “They’re the right thing to do for all of
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Scandal never dies in New York

Candidates for New York state attorney general, who have vowed stern enforcement of white collar crime, are also targeting corrupt politicians — a popular issue with voters. At least a dozen city and state politicians have been implicated in corruption scandals within the past year. It’s a familiar story for a system that has never fully shed its links to the Tammany Hall political machine that used patronage and corruption to maintain power in the 19th century. Meanwhile the state capital of Albany has been unable to make progress on important matters such as the state budget, which is almost
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Pentagon is going broke

The Pentagon said on Wednesday it may be forced to take extreme measures — like not paying salaries — if the Democratic-led Congress fails to pass a $37 billion defense spending bill before lawmakers begin an August recess. A senior Democratic aide said lawmakers would find a way to get it done. “We will pass it this work period. We have to,” the aide said. Tensions are growing in the Pentagon about the fate of the bill, which has languished in Congress despite repeated pleas for action by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who needs to fund a 30,000-troop surge for
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Tea Party billboard compares Obama to Hitler

A billboard created by an Iowa tea party group that compares President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin is drawing sharp criticism — even from fellow tea party activists who have condemned it as offensive and a waste of money. The North Iowa Tea Party began displaying the billboard in downtown Mason City last week. The sign shows large photographs of Obama, Nazi leader Hitler and communist leader Lenin beneath the labels “Democrat Socialism,” “National Socialism,” and “Marxist Socialism.” Beneath the photos is the phrase, “Radical leaders prey on the fearful & naive.” The co-founder of the roughly
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Credit scores hit new lows

The credit scores of millions more Americans are sinking to new lows. Figures provided by FICO Inc. show that 25.5 percent of consumers — nearly 43.4 million people — now have a credit score of 599 or below, marking them as poor risks for lenders. It’s unlikely they will be able to get credit cards, auto loans or mortgages under the tighter lending standards banks now use. Because consumers relied so heavily on debt to fuel their spending in recent years, their restricted access to credit is one reason for the slow economic recovery. “I don’t get paid for loan
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Rich more likely to default on mortgages

No need for tears, but the well-off are losing their master suites and saying goodbye to their wine cellars. The housing bust that began among the working class in remote subdivisions and quickly progressed to the suburban middle class is striking the upper class in privileged. Whether it is their residence, a second home or a house bought as an investment, the rich have stopped paying the mortgage at a rate that greatly exceeds the rest of the population. More than one in seven homeowners with loans in excess of a million dollars are seriously delinquent, according to data compiled
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Steele on gaffe: Ain’t no big thing

In his first public remarks since his widely condemned comments on Afghanistan, Republican Party chairman Michael Steele said Thursday he “ain’t goin’ anywhere” despite calls for his resignation. Steele’s appearance before Colorado Republicans was his first since he came under fire last week from within the GOP for calling the nine-year-old conflict in Afghanistan a mistaken “war of Obama’s choosing.” The gaffe prompted criticism of Steele’s leadership, and some calls to resign. “Every time something happens, people say, ‘Oh, you should step down. You should step down.’ The reality is, that’s not happening, so stop the noise on that,” Steele
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