November 2011

Nov 23, 2011

Occupy the Gravy

By John Dickerson, Slate

First, a prayer: May your Thanksgiving gathering be the supercommittee of our dreams, which is to say a happy meeting where everyone gets along despite their ideological differences and divides the pie equitably. We recognize, however, that some families are like the actual supercommittee—and the day may end with one faction pouting to Chris Matthews in the guest room after a political debate. In that case, the better prayer is always Loudon Wainwright’s Thanksgiving one: "If I argue with a loved one, Lord, please make me the winner." In that spirit, we present Slate's annual guide to this year's political arguments, so that you might be lightly armed for small skirmishes.

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Nov 22, 2011

Super-Committee Failure Forecasts Sequester Fight

By Susan Davis, National Journal

The super committee’s failure to come up with $1.2 trillion in deficit-reduction measures has paved the way for an election-year battle by Republicans to rewrite the sequester rules and protect defense spending in the face of a White House veto threat. House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., a vocal opponent to the sequester from the onset, said on Monday that he will introduce legislation in the coming days to prevent the cuts from taking effect in their current form.

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Super Committee Failure Won’t Hurt the Economy for Another Year

By Jim Tankersley, National Journal

A compromise in the super committee was never going to boost the economy right away. Failure will not hurt it, for at least another year. The across-the-board budget cuts that will now be triggered by the Budget Control Act are scheduled to take effect in 2013, when the Federal Reserve projects the U.S. economy will be growing at a 3.0-to-3.5-percent clip, or about double the growth rate today. The Bush tax cuts—which the super committee failed to find agreement on, as well—are set to expire in 2013, too.

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Analysis: End to debt gridlock is not in sight

By Charles Babington, Associated Press

The supercommittee's failure reflects the nation's divide: Americans crave both the Republicans' demand for low taxes and the Democrats' insistence on protecting social programs. So far, no group or leader has persuaded them they can't have both and there's no quick solution in sight. It's possible the stalemate won't be broken by the time of the 2012 elections, nearly a year away. Some GOP strategists think Republicans can oust President Barack Obama and win control of both chambers of Congress. That would enable them to enact much of their agenda, and Americans could render a judgment on its results.

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Obama Weighed Risks of Engagement, and Decided to Give Voters the Final Say

By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

In remaining aloof from the special deficit committee in Congress even as it collapsed on Monday, President Obama showed his calculation more clearly than ever before: Republicans will never agree to raise taxes on the wealthy to balance any spending cuts, so let the voters decide. Congress could still reach a bipartisan compromise in the next month, or next year, to avoid the threat of automatic spending cuts, especially in military programs, in 2013. But the president is figuring that Congress will not, and he will campaign by contrasting what he calls his “balanced” approach to putting the nation on a solid fiscal footing to Republicans’ antitax reliance on spending cuts, especially for Medicare and Social Security.

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Panel Fails to Reach Deal on Plan for Deficit Reduction

By Helene Cooper, New York Times

Leaders of the Congressional committee charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions conceded on Monday that panel members had failed, setting up what is likely to be a yearlong political fight over the automatic cuts to a broad range of military and domestic programs that would go into effect starting in 2013 as a result of their inability to reach a deal. Speaking an hour after the committee’s failure was announced by its leaders in an e-mail statement, President Obama promised to veto any legislation that seeks to avoid the automatic cuts. The president also pledged that “one way or another” the deficit would be trimmed by at least $2.2 trillion, the only question being whether it was with a “scalpel, not a hatchet.”

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Analysis of President Obama's Remarks on Super Committee Failure

By John Harwood, CNBC

CNBC's John Harwood weighs in on President Obama's comments on the failed deal to cut U.S. spending.

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Supercommittee announces failure in effort to tame debt

By Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane, Washington Post

A special congressional committee created to try to curb the national debt abandoned its work and conceded failure Monday, the latest setback in a long effort by Washington to overcome ideological differences and stem the rising tide of red ink. In a joint statement issued hours before a midnight deadline, the Democratic and Republican leaders of the panel said that they were “deeply disappointed” by their inability to reach an agreement and that they hope for progress in the months ahead.

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As Deficit Panel Fails, Obama Vows to Keep Mandatory Cuts

By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

President Obama said Monday he will veto any attempt by Congress to undo the across-the-board spending cuts mandated for 2013 that were triggered when lawmakers' failed to agree on a more surgical plan to trim deficits over the next decade. "My message to them is simple: No. I will veto any effort to get of rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending. There will be no easy off-ramps on this one," Obama said from the White House briefing room.
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Opposites Attract

By John Dickerson, Slate

If Mitt Romney is weak broth, Newt Gingrich is a bouillon cube. Watching the two Republican presidential front-runners in New Hampshire over two days has been a study in contrasts. Romney is a known conservative ingredient suitable in a main dish. Gingrich is a powerful dose of partisan flavor to be used sparingly. Gingrich is having his moment now because he offers punchy answers and ready solutions to seemingly insoluble problems. If he endures an examination of his personal baggage, his record on the issues, and his private-sector career, it will be in part because he is the “Republican Ideas Man.” But when you listen to those ideas—the scope of the change he is proposing, and the punch with which he delivers his pitch—you get the sense that that voters may not be interested in the Gingrich past because they’re too scared of the Gingrich future.

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Iowa beckons, and Mitt Romney is responding

By Dan Balz, Washington Post

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will make one of his infrequent visits to Iowa on Wednesday amid growing signs that he could try to steal a victory in a state that toppled his hopes of winning the party’s nomination in 2008. The recent opening of a campaign office in downtown Des Moines has generated fresh speculation about whether Romney is ramping up operations. Advisers say their strategy hasn’t changed. But circumstances certainly have, and Romney’s campaign appears ready to try to take advantage.

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Ron Paul: Flawed U.S. policy contributed to 9/11 attacks

By Nia-Malika Henderson, Washington Post

Ron Paul might be the next big thing in the GOP 2012 field, with recent polls showing him doing well in Iowa and New Hampshire. But as has happened with Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, top-tier status in the polls, means increased scrutiny. Paul’s non-interventionist approach to foreign policy will likely be front-and-center on Tuesday, when CNN hosts a Republican candidates’ debate on national security. In the video below, Paul expounds on his views, saying that U.S. policies contributed to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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