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Sequester budget impacts on jobs are exaggerated

Deep government spending cuts are unlikely to weigh on employment as heavily as initially feared, with most of the impact reducing hours worked rather than payrolls, according to economists. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office last month estimated that the $85 billion in federal budget cuts known as the “sequester,” which started taking hold on March 1, would cost the economy about 750,000 jobs by the end of the year. Several economists have dismissed the CBO projection as too high and said in the worst case scenario, total job losses would probably be in the region of 300,000, partly because government
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House set to pass typical bill with huge budget cuts

A familiar budget plan to sharply cut safety-net programs for the poor and clamp down on domestic agencies performing the nuts-and-bolts programs of the government is cruising to passage in the tea party-flavored House. The Republican measure is advancing to the finish line in the House as the Senate starts a lengthy slog toward passage of a rival budget measure. It takes a sharply different view, restoring automatic cuts to agency budgets and increasing taxes by $1 trillion over the coming decade. The dueling budget plans are anchored on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum in Washington, appealing to core
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Obama visits Isreal amid low expectations

President Barack Obama faces a stony reception when he travels to the West Bank on Thursday for talks with Palestinian leaders who accuse him of letting Israel ride rough-shod over their dream of statehood. Obama has said he will not bring any new initiatives to try to revive long-dormant peace talks and has instead come to Israel and the Palestinian territories for simple consultations. Arriving in Israel on Wednesday, the main focus of initial discussions with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to be pressing regional concerns, primarily Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the civil war in neighboring Syria. After repeated run-ins
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Low wage workers see lots of doom and gloom in the future

America’s lower-income workers have posted the biggest job gains since the deep 2007-09 recession — but few are bragging. As a workforce sector, those earning $35,000 or less annually are generally pessimistic about their finances and career prospects. Many see themselves as worse off now than during the recession, a two-part Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey of workers and employers shows. The survey revealed that many people at the lowest rung in the workplace view their jobs as a dead end. Half were “not too” or “not at all” confident that their jobs would help them achieve
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Mark Sanford’s comeback: ‘The God of second chances’

Mark Sanford says he believes in “a God of second chances,” and now the former South Carolina governor has taken the first step toward reviving a political career that was derailed by an extramarital affair. Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of political satirist Stephen Colbert, always dreamed of a career in politics — and now she has a chance to realize that dream. As Sanford advanced Tuesday night to an April 2 GOP runoff for an open congressional seat in a southern coastal district, Colbert Busch easily won the Democratic primary to earn a spot on the May 7 general
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Republican hypocrisy: Supporting womanizer Scott DesJarlais

Even in Washington, DC, where hypocrisy rules, Republican Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee stands out. The so-called “social conservative pressured a former lover — a woman he impregnated while married — to have an abortion. Then divorce proceeding from his wife revealed she had two abortions while they were married. DesJarlais, a a rabid right-winger, campaign against divorce and supports legislation to try and make the procedure illegal in America. Even worse, Republican leaders in Congress look the other way at the various scandals of his career and keep hm on the Agriculture Committee and even the Oversight and Government Reform
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Cost of wars linger on for years, centuries

If history is any judge, the U.S. government will be paying for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for the next century as service members and their families grapple with the sacrifices of combat. An Associated Press analysis of federal payment records found that the government is still making monthly payments to relatives of Civil War veterans — 148 years after the conflict ended. At the 10 year anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, more than $40 billion a year are going to compensate veterans and survivors from the Spanish-American War from 1898, World War I and II, the
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Arizona lawmakers back gold, silver as currency

Arizona lawmakers say the global economy is on the precipice of financial ruin and the U.S. dollar could soon be worth less than the paper used to make it. These doomsayers are pushing forward legislation that would declare privately minted gold and silver coins legal tender, no different under state law than the U.S. dollar printed by the federal Department of Treasury. The measure is Arizona’s latest jab at the federal government, which prohibits states from minting their own money. It also reflects a growing distrust of government-backed money. “The public sees the value in it,” said Republican Rep. Steve
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Rand Paul endorses plan for illegal immigrants to attain citizenship

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is endorsing a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants, a significant move for a favorite of tea party Republicans who are sometimes hostile to such an approach. In a speech to be delivered Tuesday morning to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the potential 2016 presidential candidate declares, “If you wish to live and work in America, then we will find a place for you.” A copy of the speech was obtained in advance by The Associated Press. Paul’s path to citizenship would come with conditions that could make it
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Fed not expected to relax interest rates during economic surge

The U.S. economy is strengthening on the fuel of more job growth, rising home prices and solid retail sales. Just don’t expect the Federal Reserve to let up in its drive to keep stimulating the economy with record-low interest rates. Not yet, anyway. That’s the view of economists as Fed policymakers hold a two-day meeting that starts Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Fed will issue a policy statement and update its economic forecasts, and Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a news conference. All of which will likely reinforce Bernanke’s stated view that the job market, in particular, has a long way
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