- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 11, 2010

BUDGET

Debt-panel chiefs paint gloomy picture

BOSTON | The heads of President Obama’s national debt commission are painting a gloomy picture as the nation struggles to get its spending under control.

Republican Alan Simpson and Democrat Erskine Bowles told a meeting of the National Governors Association on Sunday that everything needs to be considered - including curtailing such popular tax breaks as the home mortgage deduction.

“This debt is like a cancer,” Mr. Bowles said in a sober presentation nonetheless lightened by humorous asides between him and Mr. Simpson. “It is truly going to destroy the country from within.”

Mr. Simpson said the entirety of the nation’s current discretionary spending is consumed by the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs.

“The rest of the federal government, including fighting two wars, homeland security, education, art, culture, you name it, veterans, the whole rest of the discretionary budget, is being financed by China and other countries,” Mr. Simpson said. China alone currently holds $920 billion in United States IOUs.

The 18-member commission Mr. Simpson and Mr. Bowles head is charged with coming up with a plan by Dec. 1 to reduce the government’s annual deficits to 3 percent of the national economy by 2015. The total federal debt next year is expected to exceed $14 trillion - about $47,000 for every U.S. resident.

FEC

Palin PAC donates $87,500 to hopefuls

JUNEAU, Alaska | Sarah Palin’s political action committee contributed at least $87,500 to candidates she has endorsed in the past few months, according to a report filed Sunday with the Federal Elections Commission.

Candidates receiving money from Mrs. Palin for the period covering April 1 to June 30 include former Gov. Terry Branstad, who won last month’s Republican gubernatorial primary in Iowa, and Joe Miller, who is challenging Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in the August Republican primary. Each received $5,000.

But SarahPAC’s financial disclosure also shows Mrs. Palin spending more than $210,000 on consulting.

Among Mrs. Palin’s other high-profile endorsements, Republican Carly Fiorina, who is running for the U.S. Senate from California, received $2,500. Sharron Angle, who is challenging U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada, also got $2,500. South Carolina Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley, for whom Mrs. Palin personally campaigned, got no money, according to the filings.

Mrs. Palin has more than $1 million on hand to help campaigns this fall, PAC treasurer Tim Crawford said.

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