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- $3 Cost of skull-and-crossbones 12-ounce “Shocktails” martini glass (Party City stores)

GRANNY LOGIC

Let the handwringing commence. With prospects of a Republican takeover of Congress, the Libertarian Party is asking questions, lots of questions.

“In order to balance the budget, where will the GOP pull the plug first: on Granny, or on foreign wars?” demands party Chairman Mark Hinkle. “Republicans may have no serious intention of cutting federal deficits or spending, and their complaints about ‘out-of-control spending’ might be hypocrisy.”

It’s complicated. A new Gallup Poll finds that 77 percent of Americans say the cost of entitlement programs like Social Security will create major economic problems. Forty-two percent favor raising taxes to cope with it; 31 percent say the government should cut benefits. The partisan divide: 86 percent of Republicans say the cost would yield economic problems; 29 percent favor a tax increase and 41 percent favor benefits cuts. Sixty-nine percent of Democrats say the programs would mar the economy; 60 percent favor a tax increase and 22 percent the cuts.

“To make Social Security solvent as our population ages, the federal government either has to raise the tax or cut the benefits. The last significant change to Social Security was a tax increase approved by Ronald Reagan. Libertarians favor cutting Social Security benefits, and we oppose tax increases. Libertarians would prefer to allow workers to opt out of Social Security. Perhaps entitlements can be cut gradually, rather than slashed abruptly, but that depends on taking action sooner rather than later,” says Wes Benedict, executive director of the party.

OVERHEARD

At a recent early-morning gathering of Republican types, that is:

“Let’s hope Hillary doesn’t throw her broom in the ring for 2012.”

PELOSI WATCH

“Isnt it interesting that Reps. Jason Altmire, Mark Critz and Kathy Dahlkemper are nowhere to be found when Nancy Pelosi is in town? No amount of hiding is going to change the fact that they vote with Pelosi nearly 100 percent of the time.”

(Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason, following House Speaker Nancy Pelosis appearance before a United Steelworker’s Union women’s conference in Pittsburgh Monday)

POLL DU JOUR

- 58 percent of likely voters are not members of the “tea party” movement.

- 55 percent say they support the tea party positions on the issues.

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