Archives for News

Obama wants $1.5 trillion in new tax revenue

President Barack Obama‘s proposal to reduce long-term deficits with $1.5 trillion in new taxes is less an opening bid in a negotiation than it is an opening salvo in a struggle to draw sharp contrasts with congressional Republicans. Obama’s proposal is aimed predominantly at the wealthy and comes just days after House Speaker John Boehner ruled out tax increases to lower deficits. It also comes amid a clamor in his own Democratic Party for Obama to take a tougher stance against Republicans. And while the plan stands little chance of passing Congress, its populist pitch is one that the White
Read More

Obama, Republicans carry tax, budget fight into 2012 elections

President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress are digging in to fight the 2012 U.S. election campaign over the budget and taxes, leaving a congressional “super committee” in political no man’s land. On one side is Obama vowing to defend social programs and proposing new taxes on the rich; on the other side are the Republicans opposing any new taxes and demanding deep social program cuts. What’s a super committee to do? Probably the bare minimum required then call it a day, leaving U.S. voters to make the tough decisions about fiscal policy at the polls in November 2012, analysts
Read More

GOP won’t touch Medicare drug plan

Republicans want to pull the plug on the health care overhaul they call “Obamacare,” blaming it in part for the United States’ ballooning budget deficit. But they’re quiet when it comes to the Medicare drug benefit — another massive health care entitlement, with unfunded future costs over $7 trillion. Arguably, it could be driving up the deficit more than President Barack Obama‘s ambitious health care plan is. But when the Republican presidential candidates were asked last week asked if they would repeal the Medicare drug benefit, they said no way. After all, Republicans created it. Debt and deficit are the
Read More

Calm chaos followed Reno air show disaster

Amid the horrific aftermath of the nation’s deadliest air racing disaster, a crash that killed nine and sent about 70 people to Reno-area hospitals, a sort of calm pervaded. Witnesses were spattered with blood and pieces of flesh, yet video of the scene shows paramedics, police and spectators attending to the wounded with a control that seems contradictory to the devastation. Officials and those in the tightly-knit air racing community credit not only a detailed plan for just such a crash, but the type of people at the event: pilots, veterans and others accustomed to dealing with a high-pressure situation.
Read More

Five die in RV at biker fest

Three men and two women at a Tennessee biker festival to raise money for needy children died in a recreational vehicle when fumes from a generator leaked into the camper, an organizer for the event said. Police were investigating the deaths but said no foul play was suspected. Two of the men worked security into the early morning hours Sunday during the festival’s party, which featured motorcycle drag races, live music and bikini and tattoo contests. The charity’s website said there was free beer. Bill Langford, the director of the event Bikers Who Care, was puzzled over the deaths at
Read More

Obama’s solution: Tax the rich

President Barack Obama, in a populist gesture designed to appeal to voters, will propose a “Buffett Tax” on people making more than $1 million a year as part of his deficit recommendations to Congress on Monday. Such a proposal, among suggestions to a congressional Super Committee expected to seek up to $3 trillion in deficit savings over 10 years, would appeal to his Democratic base ahead of the 2012 election but likely not raise much in revenues. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a tweet on Saturday the tax would act as “a kind of AMT” (Alternative Minimum
Read More

GOP wannabes revive privatizing Social Security

Most of the top Republicans running for president are embracing plans to partially privatize Social Security, reviving a contentious issue that fizzled under President George W. Bush after Democrats relentlessly attacked it. As President Barack Obama sidesteps ways to keep the retirement system viable, his would-be rivals are keen on letting younger workers divert part of their payroll taxes into some type of personal account to be invested separately from Social Security. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has a version. Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Ron Paul of Texas have said younger workers should be allowed to invest in
Read More

Republicans try to stall end of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

Two top Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee have asked Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to delay the new policy allowing gays to serve openly in the military. In a letter to the Pentagon chief this week, California Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, the committee chairman, and South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson — two opponents of repealing the ban — complained that the policies and regulations for implementing the change have not been finalized nor provided to the panel. “Since it is evident that the department does not have final, approved policies in place, we believe it is essential that you
Read More

Obama’s legacy: Land of the poor, home of the foreclosed

Barack Obama‘s road to re-election is lined with lots of boarded-up homes. Though the high unemployment rate dominates talk in Washington, for many 2012 voters the housing crisis may well be a more powerful manifestation of a sick economy. And, in an unfortunate twist for Obama, the problem is at its worst in many of the battleground states that will be decisive in determining whether he gets another term. Swing states Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Ohio and Michigan — they all pulse red-hot on a foreclosure rate “heat map.” And by themselves those five add up to 80 of the 270
Read More

Jobs plan gets some support from House Republicans

Sounding cooperative but drawing a firm line on tax increases, House Republican leaders said on Friday they see some areas of possible agreement with President Barack Obama on his jobs plan. Extending a tax break for businesses that allows them to write off the value of new equipment purchases is one area of common ground, the leaders said in an open letter to House Republicans. But the president’s proposed 28 percent cap on itemized deductions, affecting mostly wealthy taxpayers, is “a tax increase on charitable contributions, mortgage interest deductions, and municipal bonds for states,” the memo said. Republicans also rejected
Read More